Sheffield Admits Double Standard on NYT Topic: NewsBusters
In a June 6 NewsBusters post on Rupert Murdoch's attempted purchase of Dow Jones, a company with a dual-tier stock structure that keeps control of the company in the hands of the Bancroft family, Matthew Sheffield admitted that he has not held the company to the same criticism he has inflicted on the New York Times Co., which has the same structure:
Of course, the fact that [NYT Co. CEO] Pinch [Sulzburger] deliberately steers his paper in a leftward direction is what makes his corporate control a non-issue in the eyes of the left. The fact is the Bancrofts have been unique in the newspaper business in keeping a hands-off policy for media empire. It's also why I have refrained from criticizing their similarly cushy stock arrangement which gives them control of Dow Jones.
As we've previouslynoted, Sheffield has repeatedly criticized the the New York Times Co.'s dual-tier structure without acknowledging that other companies, including Dow Jones, have the same structure.
Sheffield also suggests that Dow Jones is unique in "keeping a hands-off policy" on editorial policy. In fact, most media companies generally don't dictate editorial policy. One exception that comes to mind is Freedom Newspapers, whose flagship is the Orange County Register in California (and also owns papers in Colorado Springs and suburban Phoenix); the company dictates that all its newspapers promote a ... libertarian viewpoint. Sheffield would be hard-pressed to find a "liberal" media company -- even the New York Times -- that's so dogmatic.
We once asked of Sheffield: If dual-tier stock is bad for the Times, why isn't bad for Dow Jones? We have our answer: Sheffield's political agenda. His railing against the NYT's dual-tier structure is meaningless because it's structually the same as Dow Jones, whose editorial policies he likes. Sheffield merely opposes the New York Times' brand of journalism and not that of Dow Jones and its notoriously right-wing Wall Street Journal editorial page.
In other words, it's a double standard. Just say the words, Matt ...
Whitlock Misrepresents Cuomo, Ignores Criticism of Gerth-Van Natta Book Topic: Media Research Center
The headline on a June 4 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock on a TV appearance by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta, authors of a new Hillary-bashing book (repeated as a June 5 MRC CyberAlert item) reads, "ABC's Cuomo Derides Anti-Hillary Book as an 'Ambien Substitute' and a 'Sleeper.' " Whitlock wrote:
On Monday's Good Morning America, ABC co-anchor Chris Cuomo acted as lawyer for the defense when he interviewed the co-authors of a new book that contains critical revelations about 2008 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Cuomo grilled Don Van Natta and Jeff Gerth, the New York Times investigative journalists behind "Her Way," asking if their book was a "sleeper" and an "Ambien substitute."
But Whitlock falsely portrayed what Cuomo said, as is made clear in the transcript Whitlock himself quoted:
CUOMO: The [Clinton] campaign said it is an Ambien substitute. They say the book is just a rehash. How do you respond to that, that your book is a sleeper? It's all been done before. You only needed a library card to report this out. Your response?
"Ambien substitute" and "sleeper" were not Cuomo's opinions of the book, as Whitlock claimed; Cuomo was merely repeating the Clinton campaign's characterization of the book and asking Gerth and Van Natta to react to it.
We've seen this sort of misrepresentation by the MRC before, as we noted when it claimed that Katie Couric called Ronald Reagan an "airhead" when, in fact, she was merely repeating what others had been saying about the conclusions of a newly released Reagan biography.
Whitlock also falsely attributed the "library card" comment to Cuomo in order to launch another attack on him:
How insulting is it for Cuomo, who was parroting Clinton talking points and taking his information off of cue cards, to claim that these Pulitzer Prize winning journalists simply needed "a library card" for their book on the New York politician?
Whitlock went on to assert without evidence that Cuomo "didn't appear comfortable even discussing a book critical of Senator Clinton" and that Cuomo "seemed hesitant to discuss Gerth and Van Natta's claim that Hillary Clinton made a secret political pact when she married Bill Clinton."
Whitlock is too busy defending Gerth and Van Natta as "Pulitzer Prize winning journalists" to mention that the "secret political pact" claim rests on shaky factual ground. Nor does Whitlock note Gerth's history of dubious reporting during the Clinton administration and for the stories on U.S. military information allegedly shared with the Chinese -- for which Gerth won that Pulitzer -- in which Gerth falsely implicated scientist Wen Ho Lee.
Baker Thinks Armitage Is Relevant to Libby's Crime Topic: NewsBusters
A June 5 NewsBusters post by Brent Baker noted of network news coverage of Scooter Libby's sentencing: "As occurred back on March 6, neither CBS or ABC uttered the name of the leaker: Richard Armitage."
But Armitage wasn't "the leaker"; he was, like Libby, one of the leakers. (The guy Armitage leaked to, Robert Novak, was merely the first to print the leak.) And as we noted last time the MRC did this, Armitage's role in leaking the name of Valerie Plame is irrelevant to Libby's lying and obstructing the investigation into the leak, so beating up on CBS and ABC for not mentioning Armitage is nothing more than meaningless, nonsensical media-bashing.
As we'venoted, the bloggers at the Media Research Center's NewsBusters who claim that "the MSM" is out to get Fred Thompson conveniently ignore the fact that the major attacks to date have been coming from conservatives. The latest evidence for this comes from ... another MRC division, CNSNews.com:
While many Republican voters view likely presidential candidate Fred Thompson as the great conservative hope of 2008, a review of Thompson's Senate voting record and past comments could change the minds of some conservatives.
The June 5 article by Fred Lucas went on to note that rankings by conservative interest groups of Thompson's senatorial record "are comparable to interest groups' scores for [John] McCain, who is often scorned by the right" and that "Thompson's reputation as a lady's man between the nearly two decades he was divorced and remarried could also come up in the presidential race."
For the second time in as many days, NewsBusters' Ken Shepherd has written a post about Joe Scarborough's comment wondering if Fred Thompson's wife "works the pole." As we've noted, NewsBusters and the MRC had trouble working up similar outrage over Don Imus' "nappy-headed hos" remark.
Indeed, Shepherd himself was largely silent about the Imus controversy at the time. His only NewsBusters contribution during the height of the controversy was an April 10 post on the correct way to spell "hos."
Why bother to make a point of this? It shows the MRC's highly selective outrage. It was more upset that Imus got fired than outraged by what Imus said, it ignores or excuses inflammatory statements by stalwart conservatives like Ann Coulter -- for instance, calling anyone offended at Limbaugh's depiction of Barack Obama as "Halfrican" as "humor-challenged" -- yet Shepherd is targeting Scarborough for (as he indicated in his previous post on the subject) being insufficiently conservative.
Pandagon reports on the extreme anti-gay views of Chicago street preacher Ruben Israel not mentioned in a June 1 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh on Israel's quest to appear in a gay-pride parade. Israel claims that homosexuality is a threat to national security and adds:
WHEN YOU HAVE A BUNCH OF GIRLY MEN ABUSING THEMSELVES WITH EACH OTHER IN SEXUALLY PERVERTED WAYS…THEIR BRAIN CHEMISTRY CHANGES AND THEY NO LONGER DESIRE GOD’S GIFT TO THEM….A.K.A. WOMEN.
Indeed, Unruh seems to have made an effort to soften Israel. In addition to ignoring his extreme anti-gay views, the caption for a picture of Israel accompanying Unruh's article stated that he was at an "earlier protest that said condemned abortionist killer Paul Hill was a murderer, not a Christian." WND has generally ignored Hill's story; as we've noted, WND has also printed a seven-part series by Jack Cashill falsely depicting another accused killer of an abortion doctor, James Kopp, as an innocent man -- just a few months before Kopp admitted the murder.
One big surprise in this article: Unruh actually makes an effort to contact the attorney for the gay-pride parade to tell the other side of the story -- something Unruh is generally loath to do.
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.
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?
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.
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."
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, "Appealforredress.org is not Fenton's only client. The list reads like a who's who of left-wing advocacy groups; MoveOn.org, 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.
-- 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.
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?