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Monday, June 4, 2007
Shooting Their Own
Topic: NewsBusters

In a June 4 NewsBusters post, Ken Shepherd bashed Joe Scarborough for wondering if Fred Thompson's wife "works the pole." While Shepherd noted that Don Imus "was canned for his 'nappy-headed hos' remark about the Rutgers women's basketball team," it's worth remembering that he and his MRC co-workers had trouble mustering up much condemnation for Imus' remark.

The presumed real reason for Shepherd's criticism pops up later in his post. Scarborough, you see, is something of an apostate, a conservative who has committed the sin of not being conservative enough, who has stated that he had "been bashing my party more than the Democratic Party" and -- gasp! -- has said nice things about Hillary Clinton, a mortal sin.

That's apparently more offensive to the folks at NewsBusters than Imus' racist remark.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:09 PM EDT
Note to NewsBusters: Conservatives Are the Ones Attacking Thompson
Topic: NewsBusters

A June 4 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston reprises an earlier post by Mark Finkelstein by speculating how "the MSM" will attack Fred Thompson's presidential campaign -- and ignoring that conservatives are the ones leading those attacks.

Balloon #3 - Thompson is Lazy

With this one, I think we have the winner as I have seen this line thrown off a few times, though this is the first time I've seen a full story on the charge. Newsweek has come out full bore on Thompson's supposed "laziness".

Does Fred Thompson have what it takes to be president? The former senator turned "Law & Order" actor, who launched an exploratory committee last week, has been dogged by rumors that he doesn't have the work ethic for a long campaign. "The book on him is he's lazy," David Keene, president of the American Conservative Union, said last week.

Huston overlooks the fact that a conservative is, in fact, the one making the "lazy" charge, instead bashing Newsweek for reporting it. Indeed, as we've noted, NewsMax's Ronald Kessler has been leading the conservative attack on Thompson, calling him not only lazy but a supporter of McCain-Feingold-style campaign finance reform.

If Huston and Finkelstein really care so much about attacks on Thompson, shouldn't they also acknowledge that their fellow conservatives are leading the way?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:32 PM EDT
A Sexpidemic! WND Has Ignored
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Quick, somebody alert WorldNetDaily's Sexpidemic! Police about this:

FREMONT, Neb. -- Police in Fremont said they are searching for a former schoolteacher who is accused of having a sexual relationship with a teenage boy.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Brandy Reynolds, of Fremont. Police said she had sexual encounters with a 15-year-old boy for two years. 

Uh, wait, on second thought:

The boy was a student at Omaha Baptist Academy, where Reynolds taught. 

We already know that WND will ignore bad news about homeschoolers. Will it ignore a lust-filled woman on a sex rampage at a school that uses the A Beka conservative Christian homeschool curriculum? It has so far.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:53 AM EDT
Sunday, June 3, 2007
NewsBusters Hearts Conservative Bias
Topic: NewsBusters

We've occasionally wondered whether conservatives recognize conservative media bias, let alone consider it equivalent to liberal media bias.

One answer confirming a negative answer to that question came from Mark Finkelstein, who expressed in a June 3 NewsBusters post on Fred Thompson's potential presidential candidacy that a conservative appeared unchallenged on NBC's "Today":

You would normally expect the guest in these situations to be Tim Russert or Chris Matthews. If ever a conservative were to be on, you could be virtually certain that he would be balanced by a liberal. But, lo and behold, there was Stephen Hayes, who has a major piece on Thompson in the Weekly Standard. And nary a James Carville or facsimile thereof in sight.


What made it remarkable was [host Campbell] Brown's willingness to play the straight woman, neither accentuating the negative nor saddling Hayes with a liberal sidekick. 

Finkelstein spent the rest of his post pondering how "the MSM" will attack Fred Thompson without noting that the first major attack on Thompson following the announcement of his prospective candidacy -- as a lazy politician who supported the un-conservative idea of campaign finance reform -- came from a conservative, NewsMax's Ronald Kessler.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:06 PM EDT
Saturday, June 2, 2007
Morgan's Crocodile Tears
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A May 29 WorldNetDaily article by Melanie Morgan and Catherine Moy purported to feel sorry for Cindy Sheehan following her quitting her anti-war activism. They called it "very sad," claimed that "It was difficult to see a grieving mother wander the world with a bleeding heart the anti-war left wouldn't allow to heal" and concluded, "Our prayers go out to Ms. Sheehan."

Somehow we doubt that. Morgan and Moy, after all, are the ones who gleefully smeared Sheehan as a porn addict in order to sell their book "American Mourning," and Morgan is on record as repeatedly attacking Sheehan. Any sorrow they feel is more likely due to the loss of Sheehan as their gravy train rather than any compassion toward her.

Indeed, in her June 1 WND column, Morgan was back to bashing Sheehan, accusing her of "years of insults directed against our servicemen and women by Cindy Sheehan, and repeated denouncements of our government and this nation" and being "filled with so much hate and bitterness." There's no sign of the compassion Morgan fronted just a few days earlier.

Morgan also announced that her conservative group, Move America Forward, is attempting to buy the plot of land Sheehan owns near President Bush's ranch near Crawford, Texas, that Sheehan has announced that she will sell. Will Morgan offer Sheehan a fair price, or will they lowball her and try to obtain it as cheaply as possible? After all, Sheehan said she purchased the land with insurance money from the death of her son, Casey, in the Iraq War.

Do Morgan and Moy really have compassion for Sheehan, or will Morgan and MAF try to hurt Sheehan one more time by trying to screw her out of her land? We shall see.

UPDATE: Sheehan's sister is quoted as saying of Move America Forward's interest in Sheehan's land: "It’ll be a cold day in hell before she sells it to them." 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:58 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, June 3, 2007 8:39 PM EDT
Friday, June 1, 2007
BMI Misleads on Post Profile
Topic: Media Research Center

A May 31 article by Jeff Poor at the MRC's Business & Media Institute (summarized in a May 31 NewsBusters post by Julia A. Seymour) claimed that a Washington Post profile of PR executive David Fenton depicted him "as an entrepreneurial Mahatma Gandhi figure – furthering causes deemed pure and wholesome by the Post, from the protection of swordfish to abolishing the death penalty. Weeks described Fenton’s PR firm as 'left-leaning.' That’s an understatement to say the least." Noting Fenton's support of anti-nuclear power causes, Poor added, "Yet nowhere in the story was a pro-nuclear point of view presented. Nor was any point of view that showed another side to any of Fenton’s causes."

But the Post article did feature criticism of Fenton and terms stronger than "left-leaning":

Over the years, Fenton has been linked to nearly every ultra-liberal cause and celeb in U.S. politics. Anti-Bush billionaire George Soros, for instance. When Fenton Communications a few months ago took on the advocacy of the Appeal for Redress, a petition to Congress from members of the military who oppose the war in Iraq, Sean Hannity of Fox News said, " is not Fenton's only client. The list reads like a who's who of left-wing advocacy groups;, America Coming Together, Campaign for America's Future, the AFL-CIO and the NAACP Voter Fund are just a few of their other clients. So the sponsors of the group are left-wing antiwar protesters, and their public relations mouthpiece spends the rest of their time flacking for George Soros and company, and we're to believe this is a nonpartisan effort?"

According to Poor, it seems, "ultra-liberal" is less understated than "left-leaning," and quoting Sean Hannity attacking Fenton is not showing "another side" to Fenton.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:37 PM EDT
NewsBusters Nonsense
Topic: NewsBusters

-- Ken Shepherd whacks Valerie Plame for claiming "her life was ruined, her career ended, and national security possibly compromised because her CIA employ was made public, but of course she now wants to cash in with a memoir." He then claims "the icing on the cake" is a conservative blogger's allegation that "Plame perjured herself in congressional testimony." Funny, we thought the icing on the cake was that Plame was, in fact, covert at the time Scooter Libby and others in the Bush administration outed her CIA employment.

-- Mark Finkelstein is outraged that the media isn't reporting the most shocking revelation from Carl Bernstein's new book on Hillary Clinton is that she failed the DC bar exam more than 30 years ago.

-- Tim Graham hates masturbation.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:24 PM EDT
NewsMax Crops Leprosy References From Dobbs' Rebuttal
Topic: Newsmax

A May 31 NewsMax article reports on CNN anchor Lou Dobb's rebuttal to a New York Times article on him that Dobbs called a "scurrilous personal attack." But nowhere does NewsMax mention the key claim made in the Times article: that Dobbs repeated a false claim about the number of leprosy cases in the U.S.

Perhaps that's because if it did, NewsMax would have to admit its own errors. As we've detailed, NewsMax columnists George Putnam, Diane Alden and "Medicine Men" Michael Arnold Glueck and Robert J. Cihak have repeatedly cited that false statistic -- that there have been 7,000 new cases of leprosy in the past three years (in fact, that's the number for the past 30 years). Indeed, on the same edition of "Lou Dobbs Tonight" in which he responded to the Times article, Dobbs admitted his mistake on the leprosy statistic, saying of its source, Madeleine Cosman: "The fact is, I made a mistake, and I've said we would never have used her as a source if we had known of her controversial background." NewsMax didn't report this, either.

Will NewsMax continue to pretend its writers didn't promote a falsehood, or will it step up and admit -- and, more importantly, correct -- their mistakes?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:31 AM EDT
Aaron Klein's Terrorist Buddies Check In Again
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein has trotted out his have-terrorists-endorse-policies-WND-doesn't-like gimmick once more, with a May 31 article in which "Palestinian terrorist leaders" -- well, three, including veteran Abu Abdullah -- endorse U.S. efforts to seek a cease-fire in Iraq.

Never mind that these are Palestinians, not Iraqis, that Klein is talking to; Klein offers no explanation of why Palestinian terrorists are qualified to speak for Iraqi terrorists. And as we've noted, Abu Abdullah has appeared in every single gimmick article Klein has written; if he and the other terrorists Klein's chatting up are such diabolilcal terrorist masterminds, why is Klein keeping them on retainer to spout quotes that support his agenda instead of reporting their whereabouts to the proper Israeli and/or international authorities so they can be arrested and/or killed?

Further, has Klein considered the possibility that the terrorists are using him to whip up support for the status quo in U.S. policy in Iraq in the Mideast, which currently works in the terrorists' favor (as Osama bin Laden in releasing a video before the 2004 election that conservatives promoted as endorsing John Kerry when the video's goal was to get President Bush re-elected)? Klein has provided no indication that he has.

Given such apparent lack of knowledge about terrorist motivation, this story (and the others Klein wrote in the same format) should be seen as nothing more that what it is -- a journalistic gimmick designed to push an agenda rather than genuinely inform readers.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:40 AM EDT
Thursday, May 31, 2007
NewsMax Selectively Quotes Politico on Kessler
Topic: Newsmax

Another tidbit from NewsMax's March 27 "Insider Report":

[We heard ...] THAT NewsMax chief Washington correspondent Ronald Kessler has garnered attention - and praise - from a prominent political blogger for his online article about Mitt Romney and his wife Ann.

In an item headlined "Talk about a must-read," Jonathan Martin of writes: "I don't even know where to begin. This Ronald Kessler story about the Romneys has so much to offer.

"Go read the whole thing now."

Kessler was also the author of the in-depth profile "Romney to the Rescue," the cover story of NewsMax Magazine's April issue.

But Martin's Politico post didn't endorse Kessler's article on Ronmey for the reason NewsMax wants you to think. Here's what Martin wrote after "Go read the whole thing now":

First off, Kessler is clearly infatuated with Ann Romney.  I'm not even sure what a "good carriage" is, but he says she has that to go with a "rosy complexion, square jaw, and blond mane."    Like I said, he's quite taken.   

In case you don't believe me...

"When she is not flashing her truly unbelievable smile, she may lower her eyes demurely. But Ann Romney is not demure — she may be modest, but she isn't meek. She is unpretentious, but she isn't shy. She lowers her eyes, thinking, and then looks up directly at her interviewer and dazzles him with that smile."

Ok, at this point the gov may be getting a little worried.  Frankly, I was also.

In other words, it's a must-read to observe Kessler's creepy sycophancy of Ann Romney (which we've noted). NewsMax similarly ignores the comments of another Politico writer, Ben Smith, who was even more mesmerized by Kessler's purple prose. NewsMax also doesn't note that the above passage Martin quoted was edited out of Kessler's article.

Martin continues:

Kessler goes to lengths to show how influential Ann Romney is with her husband.  She even weighs in on staff hires, he writes.

Which is revealing and fascinating.  But it also makes what Mitt said after the news of his wife's Planned Parenthood contribution broke look even worse.  Recall -- "her positions I don't think are terribly relevant to my campaign."

Ann Romney also says both are pro-life, which evidently means both have switched their stance on the issue.  But she also says that her husband was "always been personally pro-life," but then says on the matter, "Well, you know what?  He did change his mind." Perhaps she meant as it relates to his policy/governmental views and not just personal opinion, but the contradiction don't look good.  

In other words, Kessler essentially caught Romney in a flip-flop that he won't admit is one. This is, after all, the guy who insists that "While all the leading candidates have changed position on a range of issues, Romney has made a clear change on only one issue" (as we've also noted).

Posted by Terry K. at 3:30 PM EDT
You Read It Here First
Topic: Newsmax

Remember last week, when we warned that NewsMax would soon plug the results of a biased, meaningless poll on immigration? The first item in NewsMax's May 27 "Insider Report" reads:

By a margin of more than 23 to 1, Americans overwhelmingly oppose the Senate's plan for immigration reform, an Internet poll sponsored by NewsMax reveals.

Respondents in the poll - which drew more than 100,000 participants - also said they would oppose any 2008 presidential candidate who supports the Kennedy-McCain plan.

Nowhere does NewsMax indicate that the poll was an opt-in poll promoted on conservative websites, which makes it inherently unreliable as a indicator of public opinion as a whole, and it was promoted by NewsMax by disparaging the immigration plan, which distorts the results even further.

Also, while NewsMax provides the results for six of the poll's seven questions in the "Insider Report," it omits the seventh: "Who did you vote for in the 2004 election?" That's presumably because the number of poll respondents who voted for Bush is much higher than the 51 percent of the population that actually did, and disclosing that would betray the poll's bias.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 AM EDT
CNS Labeling Watch
A May 30 article by Nathan Burchfiel on Media Matters' (my employer) study on coverage of religion in the media labeled Media Matters as a "liberal media watchdog" but applied no descriptor at all to the conservative Culture and Media Institute, which criticized the study.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:00 AM EDT
Klein Finally Acknowledges Israeli President's Sex Scandal
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Good news: Months after the fact, WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein has finally told his readers that Israeli President Moshe Katsav is "embroiled in a rape scandal."

Bad news: That's all he has to say about Katsav; the reference is buried in a May 30 article about former prime minister Shimon Peres wanting to replace Katsav. In it, Klein claims that Peres was pushing "a scheme to intimidate Knesset members and get Peres elected" and that he "repeatedly has come under fire by critics for policies and plans many say would greatly undermine Israel's security."

Klein has attacked Peres before. In March, he wrote an article accusing Peres of "accused of falsifying his official biography on Israel's Knesset website to claim he served in the military and temporarily headed the Jewish state's navy." 

So we have a juicy rape allegation against Katsav, and Klein would rather devote himself to documenting a resume discrepancy? Yep. As we've previously noted, Katsav is a member of Klein's favorite political party, the conservative Likud; that is likely the reason Klein has been skittish about reporting on Katsav, while he's reported on numerous corruption allegations against (non-Likud) Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:16 AM EDT
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Kessler Already Attacking Thompson, Still Fluffing Romney
Topic: Newsmax

Well, that was quick. Just a few hours after it was reported that Fred Thompson will officially explore running for president, NewsMax's Ronald Kessler has an article up attacking Thompson as lazy, a supporter of campaign finance reform, and nowhere near the cool dude that Mitt Romney is. Indeed, here Kessler resumes his obsequious, creepy fluffing of Romney:

  • "In contrast to Thompson, looking at the leading presidential candidates from both parties, none comes close to having the accomplishments of Mitt Romney."
  • "As governor, all of Romney's actions fit the conservative mold, even more so than those of Ronald Reagan. "
  • "While all the leading candidates have changed position on a range of issues, Romney has made a clear change on only one issue. "
  • "If Romney's Mormon beliefs make him gullible, Christians and Jews must be equally gullible. After all, they believe that men parted the Red Sea and walked on water, that Jesus paid taxes with coins from a fish's mouth, that a drop of oil burned for eight days, and that Mary gave birth to Jesus as a virgin."
  • "As for the claim that Romney is too perfect, that's another misconception: Romney doesn't have a dog."

Wow. Just ... wow.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:49 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 3:40 PM EDT
MRC Softball Week At Fox News Continues
Topic: Media Research Center

It must be MRC softball question week at Fox News.

Times Watch's Clay Waters appeared May 29 on "Your World" to discuss the New York Times' purported lack of reporting on Hugo Chavez's crackdown in Venezuela. Not only was it a solo appearance, like many other MRC appearances on Fox News, and not only was it never noted that the MRC is a conservative group (which Fox News rarely, if ever, points out), guest host David Asman -- as he did the day before with the MRC's Dan Gainor, encouraged and parroted Waters' talking points:

ASMAN: I was just going to say, we go back in history to a guy named Herbert Matthews in the '50s, who was the one who created the myth about Fidel Castro. He was reporting for the New York Times. It looks like history is repeating itself.


ASMAN: So the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The enemy, in this case, being Bush, for both Chavez and the New York Times.

WATERS: Sorta like that, yes.

ASMAN: But can you get -- but that's pretty outrageous if you think about it.


ASMAN: You know, meanwhile, we should mention that the New York Times did have space for -- here's a rally in Kabul, Afghanistan. They also had a rally in Germany about globalization that was featured on page A3, I believe, a big photo of -- there it is, there's a picture from that rally. No pictures, two sentences in the New York Times about what happened in Venezuela.

And, of course, no effort made to get the New York Times to respond to Waters' (and Asman's) claims.

How much does the MRC pay Fox News to get such favorable, unchallenged coverage?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:33 AM EDT

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