Bozell Excuses Imus Insult As 'Botched Joke' Topic: Media Research Center
We've detailed how the Media Research Center has tried to equivocate and distract attention from Don Imus' "nappy-headed ho" remark. Brent Bozell keeps it up in an April 20 column, calling Imus' insult nothing worse than a "botched joke" and attacking CBS executives for being "craven" in firing him.
Speaking of craven, it's worth looking at the MRC's reaction to another recent "botched joke" -- John Kerry's misstatement prior to the 2006 midterm elections that students who don't perform well "get stuck in Iraq." The MRC wasn't in such a forgiving mood then; a Nov. 6, 2006, CyberAlert called the remark an "insult of troops" and looked down on NBC's Matt Lauer for daring to suggest that Kerry never "meant to question the intelligence of U.S. troops in Iraq."
A Dec. 28, 2006, Times Watch item by Clay Waters attacked the New York Times for "giv[ing] Kerry the benefit of the doubt in assuming he didn't actually mean what came out of his mouth."
A Jan. 25 Times Watch item by Waters (repeated in a Jan. 26 CyberAlert) criticized the Times again for "repeating a pro-Kerry explanation for his 'botched joke.'" In noting the Times' statement that "Republicans quickly turned" the remark "into a defining caricature of him," Waters added: "One could also quibble with the word "caricature," as if Kerry's remark somehow didn't reflect what he really thought about the war."
An Oct. 31, 2006, NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard didn't give Kerry the same benefit of the doubt he gave Imus. (If you'll recall, Sheppard found Imus' firing, but not Imus' insult, "deplorable.") Sheppard declared that Kerry made an "extrordinarily demeaning statement" and attacked CNN for telling Kerry's side of the story: "Fascinating. So, Kerry insults America’s troops on Monday, and on Tuesday, CNN is advancing the notion that this all a strategy for Kerry to go 'head to head with the president again.' Isn't that special?" A Nov. 1, 2006, post by Sheppard compared Kerry's remark to Trent Lott's remark about Strom Thurmond, declaring that "America’s media are much more receptive and tolerant of Democrat jokes and/or mistatements than those from Republicans."
And Sheppard is much more receptive and tolerant of and/or mistatements by Imus than by Democrats. Why is that?
Shocker: Unruh Admits More Than One Side of Story Exists (Sorta) Topic: WorldNetDaily
An April 19 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh on a proposed Oregon gray-rights law contains something that's increasingly rare at WorldNetDaily in general and Unruh's articles in particular -- more than one side of the story.
Granted, it's only one paragraph, and the 27th paragraph at that. But we believe this is the first time that Unruh has acknowledged that there is another side of the story (as we've noted).
Of course, Unruh hands over the rest of the article to activist opponents of the measure making unsupported and unverified claims. For instance, "[Under S.B. 2], it will be legal for a man to walk into a women's shower, locker or rest room, as long as he keeps his underwear on, and anyone who complained (spell discriminate), could be sued under S.B. 2!" Unruh offers no explanation of why the legal analysis of the bill provided by this person, who he describes only as being with a "ministry" called Restore America, is accurate or in any authoritative. Indeed, Unruh quotes no legal analysts at all, only conservative Christian activists.
Unruh also quotes an pseudonymous writer on a Baltimore-based blog as a credible source without explaining why a Baltimore-based blogger is a credible source about an issue in Oregon.
Kessler Shops His Bush Letters, Gets An Article Out of It Topic: Newsmax
This is what NewsMax's Ronald Kessler has been reduced to in his slavering defense of the Bush administration: an April 18 article declaring that letters written by Bush are among the most valuable with collectors of presidential letters.
Indeed, it appears that Kessler may be looking to cash in while the market's still hot. he writes:
In thanking me for an autographed copy of my book "A Matter of Character: Inside the White House of George W. Bush," Bush's father hand-penned a note letting loose his unvarnished feelings about the media coverage of his son and specifically about author Kitty Kelly. Such a letter would have greater value than a more mundane one, Zimet observed.
Did Kessler pull a two-fer by turning an appraisal into an article? Regardless, go for it, Ron!
New Article: He Who Must Not Be Denounced Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has long depicted Don Imus as a liberal who gave a platform to other liberals. So why isn't it happy that he's gone? Read more.
Shepherd Pretends 'Partial-Birth Abortion' Isn't A Political Term (Update) Topic: NewsBusters
An April 18 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd bashed CBS for using the phrase "what the law calls a partial birth abortion" to describe the procedure banned in a law the Supreme Court upheld, even though it's "c umbersome," because "[b]oth 'late term abortion' and 'partial birth abortion' are now phrases that signify a position." Shepherd claimed that "'partial-birth abortion' is not political invective, it's descriptive layman's language to describe a medical procedure," comparing it to "heart attack" as "the layman's term for the medically-correct term 'myocardial infarction.' "
In fact, the phrase "partial-birth abortion" is political invective. Shepherd doesn't acknowledge the fact that the term was coined and used in the mid-1990s by opponents of the procedure -- that is, Republicans and conservatives. Pretending that it's not a political term doesn't make it so, especially since Sheppard seems to express such glee that it "vividly describes" the procedure at hand.
UPDATE: Indeed, Shepherd seems to revel in those descriptions, and he's offended when they're not vivid enough. In an April 19 post, he writes that some newspapers "included descriptions of the gruesome abortion procedure, although none described the suctioning of the unborn child's brain from the skull as the manner of ending the fetus's life, and the NY Times failed to mention the brain suction at all."
The New Clinton Conspiracy Topic: Accuracy in Media
In an April 18 "special report" at the Richard Mellon Scaife-funded Accuracy in Media, Cliff Kincaid declares that Media Matters (disclosure: my employer) is "a front organization for Senator Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign." But Kincaid needs to work on his conspiracy-mongering to make it more factual and less hypocritical.
Kincaid doesn't explain why, if Media Matters is a "front organization" for Clinton, Media Matters has regularly defended John Edwards and Barack Obama against instances of conservative misinformation.
Kincaid claims that "In the Media Matters world, where Hillary rules, you are not supposed to say anything seriously or comically critical of the former First Lady" -- using as an example of the "comically critical" Don Imus' description of Hillary as Satan. But he doesn't explain why there is no mention on the Media Matters site of one of the most conservative-beloved examples of Hillary-bashing, in a "Saturday Night Live" skit from January.
Kincaid claims that Keith Olbermann's use of Media Matters items on his MSNBC "Countdown" show "puts in question the 'independence' of MSNBC in the Imus matter." But he doesn't explain why the Media Research Center's heavy presence on Fox News does not similarly call into question the "independence" of Fox News.
Kincaid plays up connections between Media Matters and George Soros, but AIM has a history of downplaying its links to Richard Mellon Scaife.
Kincaid misrepresented a Media Matters item about him, claiming that Media Matters had "falsely impl[ed] that I had fabricated a letter from the Afghan Ambassador" and "rushed into print with this defamatory item without checking the facts beforehand. Then it refused to retract or apologize after being caught." In fact, Media Matters merely pointed out that "the letter as posted on the America's Survival website [operated by Kincaid] consisted of separate elements cobbled together from various sources" and that "Kincaid had provided no acknowledgment that the document he posted was an electronic collage and certainly no explanation for why he had not simply posted a photographic reproduction of the letter."
WND, CNS Ignore Full Story of Arrested Grandmas Topic: WorldNetDaily
April 18 articles by WorldNetDaily (by Bob Unruh) and CNSNews.com (by Fred Lucas) hype the opposition to a federal hate-crime bill by highlighting the idea that grandmothers will be jailed for, in Unruh's words, "sharing the Gospel of Jesus on a Philadelphia public sidewalk." But neither Unruh nor Lucas tell the full story of these women.
Lucas led off his article by noting "grandmother of 10" Linda Beckman "went to jail overnight for publicly objecting to a homosexual rights rally in Philadelphia." While that's a little closer to the truth than Unruh got, it's still not the full story. Beckman and Arlene Elshinnaway -- both of whom are featured in commercials opposing the bill being pushed by the anti-gay grouup Faith2Action (led by WND columnist Janet Folger), which is the source of the "jail grandma" hype Unruh and Lucas bought into.
In Elshinnaway's commercial, she says she "attended a homosexual event in Philadelphia," where she "to share the gospel of Jesus Christ." Accompanying footage shows her standing alone on a street corner handing out pamphlets, implying that was doing when she was arrested. Beckman similarly claims in her commercial that she "was arrested on a public sidewalk of Philadelphia for sharing the gospel" and shows her, like Elshinaway, standing alone on a street corner handing out pamphlets. She concludes, "Sending grandmothers to jail goes too far."
In fact, they are not merely standing on a street corner handing out pamphlets when they were arrested. Both she and Beckman are part of the so-called "Philadelphia 11," led by Repent America's Michael Marcavage, who were arrested briefly for interrupting a gay festival in Philadelphia in October 2004. As we've detailed, Marcavage -- with a bullhorn -- and his group tried to interrupt a stage performance with their preaching, and were arrested only after they refused to go to an area on the edge of the event. The charges against them were eventually dropped; while Beckman says her commercial that she "faced 47 years behind bars," even the attorney for the gay event the protesters interrupted doubted they would actually face anything more severe than probation. The group was not passively "sharing the Gospel of Jesus on a Philadelphia public sidewalk."
Neither Unruh nor Lucas tell the full story of the Repent America arrests, presumably because it would interfere with the "jail grandma" narrative.
UPDATE: Beckman is less a typical grandmother and more of a right-wing activist; she has a record of arrests for blockades of abortion clinics.
And more links from us: The extremist activism of Repent America's Michael Marcavage, and Janet Folger's trust in the word of a convicted killer with a history of lying over that of law enforcement officials.
Bozell Bitter Over Pulitzers Topic: Media Research Center
Brent Bozell started his April 18 column by asking, "Conservatives often ponder why more young conservatives don’t go into journalism." Perhaps because conservatives tend to put ideology over the pursuit of journalistic truth, as evidenced by the MRC giving an award to Rush Limbaugh (for "media excellence" and "outstanding leadership in the conservative movement," not "journalism").
Bozell then launches into a rant over the recently awarded Pulitzer Prizes, complaining that they have a liberal agenda. In attacking the award for commentary given to Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bozell dug up a column in which she cited "unindicted liars walking the halls of the Bush White House," adding, "Tucker can’t deliver a shred of evidence to support the accusation of a presidential 'lie.' " But Bozell offers no evidence that it was submitted for consideration by the Pulitzer judges; in fact, since it was written only a month ago, it couldn't have been.
Bozell also deplored giving the National Reporting prize given to Charlie Savage of The Boston Globe, for his reporting on President Bush's use of 'signing statements' to assert his controversial right to bypass provisions of new laws. "This underlines that heavy usage of a story on left-wing publicity machines like Air America and the Huffington Post apparently wins you major Pulitzer considerations," he added. Note that Bozell is not attacking the accuracy of the reporting but, rather, that "left-wing publicity machines" used it. The better question is, why didn't "right-wing publicity machines" use it? Are such signing statments somehow less offensive to conservative sensibilities if a Republican president signs them? Because we certainly would have never heard the end of it from Bozell and Co. if Clinton had been caught using them to the same extent that Bush did.
Further, Bozell lumped the New York Times' Maureen Dowd on "the liberal list" of recipients of the commentary prize. But Dowd won her prize in 1999, when she was advancing conservative anti-Clinton talking points in her columns. For example, in one of her prize-winning columns, Dowd called Clinton the "Animal House President," adding, "If he escapes again, he will grope again." Another column called Clinton a "sex addict." How is that different from what Bozell himself wrote about Clinton at that time? (Beyond Dowd's belief that Clinton shouldn't have been impeached over sex, that is.)
Slantie Bob Hates Journalistic Fairness Topic: WorldNetDaily
Bob Unruh, as we've detailed, has chosen not to burden his reporting for WorldNetDaily with the time-honored journalistic precept of fairness. An April 17 WND article by Unruh continues that tradition, yet again presenting only one side of an issue (presumably the one he supports), this time on a "federal 'hate speech' proposal." Unruh uses opponents of the proposal to frame it, depicting it as a law "that already has been used to send grandmothers to jail for their 'crime' of sharing the Gospel of Jesus on a Philadelphia public sidewalk." Indeed, the article is headlined, " 'Jail grandma' hate speech debate begins."
As he has done manytimesbefore, Unruh makes no attempt whatsoever to fairly present the views of supporters of the proposal, let alone deign to actually talk to one.
An April 16 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock on "reliably left-wing" Keith Olbermann becoming co-host of a sports show on NBC is ominously headlined "Liberal Bias Invades NFL." We suspect that neither Whitlock -- nor anyone else at the MRC -- was running around screaming "Conservative Bias Invades NFL!" when Rush Limbaugh was hired by ESPN.
As if to illustrate that point, Whitlock linked to a June 2000 column by his boss, Brent Bozell, which not only failed to lament the arrival of "conservative bias" in the NFL with Limbaugh's hiring but complained that one sportswriter critical of Limbaugh's selection "refused to separate politics from sports." Of course, that's the same thing Whitlock is failing to do here. (Limbaugh himself similarly failed to do so, which cost him his ESPN job.)
Whitlock goes on to ask: "Will the [Washington] Post and other liberal media organizations decry Olbermann’s selection?" But he does not note that, unlike Limbaugh prior to ESPN, Olbermann has a notable track record in sports broadcasting.
Mychal Massie was in rare form today. In his April 17 WorldNetDaily column, Massie stated that Don Imus "doesn't need me to defend him, and this piece is in no way intended to do so." Massie then, of course, goes on to do precisely that:
However, no matter how insulting his comments were, they didn't sanction rape, murder, drugs and killing police. Albeit off color, they were said in the context of what he annually earned CBS $20 million for doing – being an edgy, push the line, condescending, fading radio personality. His words weren't six plus minutes on a CD that glorified drugs, guns, and bump and grind.
Note to Massie: If you're equivocating Imus' remarks, you're defending him.
Massie also gets mean -- and gets some of his facts wrong -- in the apologies he demands from liberals. For instance, he demanded that "The DNC apologizes for encouraging liberal black Marylanders to pelt former senatorial candidate Michael Steele with Oreo cookies, which represented the crudest of racial epithets." But Massie offers no evidence that the DNC or anyone else "encourag[ed] liberal black Marylanders to pelt" Steele with Oreos, and Steele himself has told conflicting accounts of the purported incident.
Massie also asserts that Bill Maher said that "Vice President Cheney should have been assassinated while in Afghanistan." In fact, Maher said: "I’m just saying if he did die, other people, more people would live. That’s a fact." That's not explicit advocacy.
Massie offers no evidence to support other claims that he claims a "cacophony of race mongers" has made:
-- that "Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, John Murtha and Charlie Rangel" have voiced "vicious insults and false accusations they continue to smear upon our brave military men and women, and their families."
-- that "Harry Reid and Joe Biden" hurled "racist insults" at Justice Clarence Thomas.
-- that "Shock jock John "Sly" Sylvester" engaged in "nakedly racist name-calling of Powell and Rice on his Madison, Wis., radio show." Who?
(This, by the way, from a guy who loves to smear Democrats by likening them to Bull Connor, so Massie knows from race-mongering.)
Massie went on to call Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama "Two of the nation's foremost immoralists" and further called Obama "black genocide-advocating. But Massie's greatest flight of thesauricfancy was reserved for a certain New York Times columnist:
Where were Jackson and Sharpton when the openly bigoted, white harridan Maureen Dowd wrote a racist, poisonous screed against Justice Thomas? Can there be a more specious hate-filled attack on a black man than the coded, cozened speech Dowd intentionally smeared him with when she accused him of being a slave to his most base and reprobate physical urges? ("Could Thomas be right?" June 25, 2003) Mine was the lone voice in a July 2003 article that defended him. Today, Dowd continues her verbal flatulence with impunity.
Again, Massie offers no evidence of Dowd's statements to back up his claim.
In an April 17 NewsMax column, Ronald Kessler allowed GOPAC to make misleading claims about the U.S. attorney firing scandal:
"You put in place this effort to focus on a troop surge and to get some real momentum for the administration's policy in Iraq, and there's some signs that that momentum is beginning to take hold, that there's some success on the ground," Steele said. "And all of a sudden — boom. You take three steps back with something that's within the prerogative of the executive branch to do, and that is to hire and fire those at-will employees for whatever reason.
"Bill Clinton fired 93 of them, for goodness sake, and no one blinked an eye. George Bush fired eight in the second term, and you think it's Armageddon."
Thus, the Democrats turned innocuous, if poorly handled, firings into a front-page story.
As we've detailed, the 8-equals-93 argument is bogus. And both Kessler and Steele ignore the fact that Justice Department offiicals, including Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, have made conflicting, misleading and/or false claims about how and why the attorneys were replaced, which makes things rather beyond "innocuous."
Klein Hides Full Story on Israeli Land Topic: WorldNetDaily
Aaron Klein used an April 16 WorldNetDaily column to defend his previous reporting on a claim that "[l]and in Jerusalem owned by a Jewish group and purchased primarily using Jewish donor funds has been used for the illegal construction of dozens of Palestinian apartment buildings, a refugee camp and a United Nations school."
But Klein never reported the full scope of the issue at hand. Similarly, the New York Times has reported that a significant percentage -- 39 percent -- of the land held by Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank is privately owned by Palestinians. That would seem to be a relevant thing to note -- at least, if would be if Klein wasn't a hopelesslybiased writer.