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Friday, June 29, 2007
Sheppard Hides Agenda Of Another Anti-Global Warming Activist Group
Topic: NewsBusters

In a June 29 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard continues his deceptive descriptors of anti-global warming activists. This time, he calls the Heartland Institute, which had issued a press release critical of Al Gore, "a non-partisan social and economic think tank."

In fact, the Heartland Institute is a conservative activist group in thrall to big business. According to SourceWatch, the institute "campaigns on what it calls 'junk science', 'common-sense environmentalism' (i.e. anti-Kyoto, pro-GM), the privatization of public services, smokers' rights (anti-tobacco tax, denial of problems from passive smoking), the introduction of school vouchers, and the deregulation of health care insurance. The institute is one of several organizations the tobacco industry has cultivated to promote its interests, and it refuses to publicly disclose who its corporate and foundation funders are.

The institute's press release quoted by Sheppard states: "The Heartland Institute has been running ads in national newspapers calling on Al Gore to debate Lord Christopher Monckton, a prominent global warming 'skeptic.'" But as we've previously noted, Monckton has his own credibility problems. The institute's website has a page in which it promotes the dubious claims about the environment and global warming made by Michael Crichton in his book "State of Fear."

Posted by Terry K. at 8:36 PM EDT
WND Still Narcissistic About Site Blocking
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A June 29 WorldNetDaily article once again complains about Internet filters that block WND's website.

As we've previously noted, WND has taken a narcissistic approach to the issue, caring only about the blocking of WND and not examining the larger question of other news and commentary website that content filters regularly block.

Ironically, WND has regularly criticized libraries who refuse to install content filters on their public computers for the very reason WND is upset -- the filters also block legitimate non-pornographic content. Most notoriously, WND asserted in a January article that one library that refused to use the filters "told porn addicts to go ahead and get loaded."

Shouldn't WND, as a news organization, be wondering what other sites, besides itself, are being blocked by faulty content filters? Or is it just too selfish to care about anyone's freedom of speech other than its own?

Posted by Terry K. at 4:12 PM EDT
MRC Doubles Down on Coulter Defense
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has officially become a Ann Coulter dead-ender.

Another June 28 press release -- the second Coulter-related MRC release of the day -- complains that "[s]ome leading national media are misreporting conservative Ann Coulter’s remarks about liberal Democratic Presidential candidate John Edwards." But in repeating Coulter's "entire quote" that "Bill Maher was not joking and saying he wished Dick Cheney had been killed in a terrorist attack," the MRC does not note that Coulter distorted Maher's words in a not-dissimilar fashion to the way the MRC accuses the media of distorting Coutler.

The release goes on to quote Brent Bozell explaining Coulter's "humor":

Ann Coulter was making the point that (a) a leftist like Bill Maher made the serious statement that it might be a positive thing to have Vice President Dick Cheney killed by terrorists,” Brent Bozell continued, and, “(b) it received no condemnation from the national press; and therefore (c) she would escape negative media scrutiny in the future were she to take that line against John Edwards.

It is an inescapable truth that Ann Coulter was dripping with sarcasm when she made her remark.

1) That "dripping with sarcasm" excuse doesn't extend to Amanda Marcotte, as we've noted.

2) Bozell softened Coulter's distortion. She didn't say that Maher said "it might be a positive thing to have Vice President Dick Cheney killed by terrorists," she said Maher said "he wished Dick Cheney had been killed in a terrorist attack." No "might" involved.

3) Unmentioned by Bozell is that Coulter made the arguably serious statements that "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York  Times Building" -- which she called "prescient," not exactly the sign of someone who's jokiing -- and that "We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee." Both of these statements predate Maher's remark, so it can be plausibly argued that Coulter set the precedent for making death threats against her political enemies and that Maher was merely following her lead. 

If the MRC is going to defend Coulter -- which it appears it will do to the death -- it's axiomatic that this defense extends to her death threats as well. Are you really comfortable doing that, Brent? Is Coulter worth this much effort?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:20 AM EDT
Thursday, June 28, 2007
NewsMax Joins Coulter-Is-Victim Parade, Repeats False Claims
Topic: Newsmax

A June 28 NewsMax article follows in the Media Research Center's footsteps in portraying Ann Coulter as a victim of the mean liberal media and Elizabeth Edwards.

NewsMax led off by proclaiming that she endeavored to "set the record straight" after "a relentless 24-hour firestorm during which much of the mainstream media used selective quotes to mangle the meaning of several of Ann’s comments about Edwards," stating: "She further explained that she never wished John Edwards would die. She simply said on "Good Morning America" on June 25 that Bill Maher had wished the death of Vice President Cheney by terrorist attack and got away with it." But, as even the MRC has admitted, Coulter distorted Maher's remarks, and Maher did not "wish the death of Vice President Cheney by terrorist attack."

NewsMax went on to claim that Coulter "was blindsided by a phone call from Edward’s wife Elizabeth. Apparently, the call was pre-arranged by Matthews without Coulter’s knowledge." The article later stated, "As Rush Limbaugh said on his Web site, 'Ann Coulter was clearly ambushed' by the Edwards phone call." In fact, Coulter was alerted in advance to Elizabeth Edwards' call.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:02 PM EDT
WND Columnist: Make More (White) Babies!
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Last week, WorldNetDaily columnist Tristan Emmanuel was nattering on about "Anglo-Saxon self-hatred." In his June 28 WND column, Emmanuel takes the next logical step: encouraging whites to have more babies.

He doesn't come right out and say that, of course. But it's clear that's what he means by his opening statement: "If politicians won't find a way to deport illegals, then it is time for Americans who care to take matters into their own hands. By having lots of babies." Emmanuel throws in the obligatory caveat that "this is not about promoting racism," but later writes:

America will have to shoulder the responsibility of being the only Western democracy left; at least the only one big enough to give the remaining "whites" a geographical location to call "home," and – here is the important part – a place relatively free from hostile cultures.


And what do you think it'll mean for that traditional American demographic when the Latin American population explosion meets the Muslim population explosion on American soil, and traditional Americans are in the minority?

So yeah, he's talking about white babies -- it would seem that, to him, only whites can be "traditional Americans."

UPDATE: It's not exactly an isolated view, by the way -- Fox News host John Gibson said the same thing.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:41 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 28, 2007 3:40 PM EDT
MRC Still Defending Coulter, Smearing Marcotte
Topic: Media Research Center

In a June 28 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard asserted that Ann Coulter was "ambushed by Elizabeth Edwards and Chris Matthews" -- even though Coulter knew beforehand that Edwards would call in -- and refers us to a new MRC press release defending Coulter and attacking Edwards. The bulk of the release is dedicated to attacking yet again bloggers Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan, even though they haven't worked for the Edwards campaign for months and the controversial statements Brent Bozell and the MRC are attacking them for were made long before their brief employment by Edwards.

The press release also supplies a list of offending statements by Marcotte and McEwan, but they're taken out of context (as the MRC loves to do). For instance:

In the Duke Lacrosse case, "Can’t a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it?" (Marcotte)

We're not sure why the MRC singled this out, given that it's clearly sarcasm. Does Bozell and Co. really think that Marcotte thinks that white men should be allowed to rape black women with impunity?

Of course, there's no mention of what Coulter actually said. But if the MRC is going to defend Coulter, that means axomatically it's defending her words as well. So the MRC is all for calling John Edwards a faggot and wanting to blow up the New York Times building. It is against Coulter being held accountable for her words the way it does for Marcotte and McEwan.

Also of note: In yesterday's press release, Bozell is quoted as saying that Marcotte and McEwan "insulted Christians and their faith in the most repulsive words imaginable, which I won’t repeat here." Those "insults" are all repeated in today's press release. Bozell's Repulse-O-Meter seems to have recalibrated itself rather abruptly.

More MRC Coulter-defending: Tim Graham, in writing about ABC's Jake Tapper's pointing out (as we have) that Coulter misquoted Bill Maher to justify her own hateful rhetoric (though Graham doesn't say that), concedes that "Maher didn't say he wished Cheney would die." Will MRC/NewsBusters now correct all the posts that claim he did? Don't count on it. Graham then adds:

I think it should be obvious to everyone in the talk-show wars that death-wish jokes are more trouble than they are worth, and that free speech doesn't mean that some speech isn't deplorable, and it's our right to speak out and deplore it.

Will Graham "speak out and deplore" Coulter for her numerous "death-wish jokes"? Again, since official MRC policy is to defend Coulter at all costs, don't count on it.

UPDATE: One of those MRC writers Graham will have to correct over the Maher quote is Graham himself, who wrote a couple hours earlier of "Coulter’s complaint that Bill Maher can get away with saying Dick Cheney should be killed by terrorists."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:26 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 28, 2007 3:26 PM EDT
WND Renews Attacks on Harry Potter
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In 2003, upon the release of the book "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," WorldNetDaily engaged in attacks on the book; the most prominent, we noted, was a column by Caryl Matrisciana (producer of an anti-Harry Potter video that, unsurprisingly, WND sells) in which she went all Godwin's Law on us, claiming that the book appropriated several Nazi symbols, then goes on to call Harry "the young Wiccan" and claim that the books promote "an anti-Christian morality that encourages children to lie, cheat and steal in Harry fashion."

WND backed off on the Potter-bashing for a while after that, but with the impending release of the final book, the lure was too much to resist. 

A June 27 WND article by Jennifer Carden rehashes the Harry-bashing, repeating unchallenged claims by Matrisciana and another anti-Harry activist, Steve Wohlberg, that the Harry Potter books "make witchcraft look 'cool' and exciting" and that Harry himself "lies a lot, break rules at school, curses, throws temper tantrums, and even drinks 'firewhisky' (he's an underage drinker)." Carden makes no apparent effort to contact other Potter experts for a different perspective.

Also unmentioned by Carden: Matrisciana is married to Patrick Matrisciana, producer of the notorious, discredited film "The Clinton Chronicles," which perhaps tells you all you need to know about her anti-Potter film.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:59 AM EDT
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
MRC Falsely Portrays Coulter As A Victim
Topic: NewsBusters

The latest in the Media Research Center's Ann-Coulter-is-a-victim meme:

-- Geoffrey Dickens referenced Chris Matthews' "now infamous, staging of the Ann Coulter vs. Elizabeth Edwards throwdown."

-- Matthew Sheffield referenced "Chris Matthews's ambush of Ann Coulter."

In fact, it wasn't an "ambush"; Coulter knew in advance that Edwards might call. From today's "Hardball":

DAVID SHUSTER (correspondent): So, how did the Ann Coulter-Elizabeth confrontation happen? Before Tuesday's "Hardball" appearance, MSNBC promoted that viewer comments and questions would be part of the program.

TAMMY HADDAD ("Hardball" executive producer): The Edwards campaign called to ask if it was possible that Elizabeth could talk to Ann Coulter live on the air, and we told them yes.

SHUSTER: In turn, Haddad had a conversation with Coulter.

HADDAD: I talked to Ann before the show and told her that we had gotten a call from the Edwards campaign and that Elizabeth might call in, and she was fine with it.

UPDATE: Here's the transcript.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:00 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 28, 2007 5:12 PM EDT
MRC's Meta-Defense of Coulter
Topic: Media Research Center

A June 27 Media Research Center press release touches all the bases that have been percolating at the MRC all day regarding the Elizabeth Edwards-Ann Coulter clash: Coutler is the victim, it's an audition for return of the Fairness Doctrine, and look over there -- Amanda Marcotte! Plus, Brent Bozell ranting about "the iron boot of liberalism" and claiming, "Hugo Chavez does this type of censoring in Venezuela—but in America, we don't." Nowhere does the press release mention what Coulter said to prompt Edwards' confrontation.

Thus, we must assume, by their long silence on the subject, that Bozell and the MRC approve of Coulter's history of insults and offensive comments.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:49 PM EDT
MRC Still Defending Coulter (Updated)
Topic: NewsBusters

As we've previously detailed, Ann Coulter does no wrong in the eyes of the Media Research Center; she can (and will) say the most offensive, outrageous things, and the MRC will not only refuse to criticize her, it will vociferously defend her right to do so, even as it criticizes liberals for doing the same thing (or some lesser version of it).

And so we see it again following the Coulter-Elizabeth Edwards dustup on last night's "Hardball." In a June 26 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham plays the distraction card, complaining that in media reports on the dustup, "no one seems to be questioning Elizabeth Edwards attacking Coulter for the "language of hate" when the Edwards campaign hired Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan as official bloggers, who attacked 'Christofascists,' smeared Pope Benedict as a dictator, and mocked the core doctrines of Christianity as excuses for misogyny." Graham is clearly unable to address Coulter's history of offensive remarks without equivocating them. Aren't they offensive on their face? Perhaps Graham could explain why they're not.

The MRC has a cozy relationship with Coulter, who has served as a judge or featured attraction at the MRC's annual "Dishonors Awards" banquet. Perhaps that's why Graham and the rest of the MRC doesn't dare criticize Coulter.

UPDATE: And it continues: Scott Whitlock complains that ABC edited out Coulter's "zingers" to Edwards. Yeah, calling John Edwards a "shyster" is quite the bon mot. But shouldn't Whitlock be happy that ABC didn't repeat what Coulter said since it proves Elizabeth Edwards' point?

Meanwhile, Noel Sheppard attacks -- you guessed it -- not Coulter but Elizabeth Edwards ("look at the words Mrs. Edwards used. They seem rather scripted and on point, dontcha think?") and Chris Matthews ("Is this how you treat a guest, by springing the wife of a political candidate on her without any warning?"). Sheppard also accuses Matthews of setting the whole thing up "possibly to advance the current Democrat push to squash conservative talk radio."

Posted by Terry K. at 8:51 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 27, 2007 2:07 PM EDT
Bozell Complains About 'In-Kind Contribution' to Gore, Mum on Thompson
Topic: Media Research Center

Brent Bozell's latest column claims that NBC Universal's coverage of the Al Gore-led Live Earth concerts is an "enormous in-kind campaign contribution" to Gore, "even as liberals press him to run for president in 2008." Nowhere does Bozell note that Gore has repeatedly discouraged talk of his running for president, making such "in-kind contribution" talk meaningless.

Bozell also failed to mentioned another "in-kind contribution" by a major media company to a likely presidential candidate -- probably because the candidate is a Republican. That would be Fred Thompson, who has a daily commentary that's syndicated by Disney/Citadel-owned ABC Radio Networks. Further, Thompson is substitute host and "senior analyst" to Paul Harvey's news and commentary radio show, also syndicated by ABC.

Shouldn't Bozell be more concerned that an all-but-declared candidate like Thompson is getting free airtime (as opposed to Gore, who has not declared any interest)? Or is that OK if you're a Republican?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:18 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 27, 2007 1:26 AM EDT
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Sheppard Gives Coulter's Falsehood A Pass
Topic: NewsBusters

In a June 26 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard uncritically repeated Ann Coulter's response to a "Good Morning America" query about her suggesting John Edwards was a "faggot": "But about the same time, you know, Bill Maher was not joking and saying he wished Dick Cheney had been killed in a terrorist attack. So I've learned my lesson. If I'm gonna say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot." To which Sheppard sarcastically added: "No, Ann…only liberals like Bill Maher can get away with that."

But Sheppard didn't note that Coulter misdescribed what Maher actually said: "I have zero doubt that if Dick Cheney was not in power, people wouldn't be dying needlessly tomorrow. ... I'm just saying that if he did die -- other people -- more people would live." That's not the same as Maher "wish[ing Cheney] had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot."

Sheppard regularly gives passes to Coulter on her offensive remarks. As we noted, when Coulter made her "faggot" remark, Sheppard would say only that she made a "remark about John Edwards" but not what it was, let alone offer any condemnation of it.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:34 PM EDT
AIM Takes Refuge in Dubious Study
Topic: Accuracy in Media

In an appearance on CNBC's "Kudlow and Co." (not dated on the AIM website -- it may be from June 22) discussing an article about journalists donating to political causes -- which conservatives have been hyping -- Accuracy in Media's Roger Aronoff said that the article was consistent with "numerous surveys, such as the famous Freedom Forum survey in the '90s that showed 89 percent of the Washington reporters voted for Clinton."

As we've previously reported, it is -- in that that Freedom Forum survey had an equally tiny survey response sample (133; the MSNBC had 144). The Freedom Forum survey is also flawed as an indicator of how all "Washington reporters" because the survey sample wasn't representative of what most people consider to be the Washington press corps. Only one-fifth of the survey participants were from major media; many were from regional newspapers or one-person Washington bureaus who are focused on reporting on their local congressmen for their employers and have next to no influence in Washington politics.

But as we saw with the Media Research Center (which similarly promotes the Freedom Forum survey numbers to justify its existence), methodology is irrelevant when the big numbers support the ConWeb's cause, at least for anyone who doesn't look closely at those numbers.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 AM EDT
Sheppard Demonstrates How Silly Kneejerk Bias Accusations Can Be
Topic: NewsBusters

Noel Sheppard was full of indignance in a June 24 NewsBusters post. A "Meet the Press" panel, he declared, was "the usual twenty minutes of Bush-bashing, Hillary sycophancy, and attacks on all politicians with an 'R' next to their names."

The problem? He doesn't support his claim that the people on the panel were motivated by liberal bias -- or even that they were liberal.

Sheppard started off by asserting that "Tim Russert stocked his panel exclusively with liberals: David Broder of The Washington Post, John Harwood of The Wall Street Journal and CNBC, Gwen Ifill of PBS’ Washington Week, and syndicated columnist Roger Simon." But he offers no supporting evidence that any of these folks are liberals; in fact, there is much evidence to support the idea that Broder is not liberal, and Harwood and Simon are not necessarily the kneejerk liberals Sheppard wants you to think they are.

Sheppard then claimed that "after Russert read an article published by the Associated Press which was somewhat critical of Hillary Clinton (D-New York), the panel felt compelled to defend her." Judging by what Sheppard highlighted, the panel made several observations about Clinton that can be easily supported by observation, from stating "Mrs. Clinton has done extremely well in every appearance that I’ve covered" to "after eight years of George Bush, the American people want competence this time, not likability." Sheppard proved none of the statements he highlighted to be incorrect, yet he insisted this was "Absolutely disgraceful Hillary sycophancy that wasn’t present three weeks ago when there were conservatives on the panel to refute these overtly liberal sentiments." If these statements were so egregious, shouldn't Sheppard himself disprove them?

This was followed by, according to Sheppard, "uninterrupted bashing of every Republican presidential candidate." Again, he makes no attempt to disprove anything said. For instance, Russert noted that one state official for Rudy Giuliani's campaign is "headed to prison on charges of distributing cocaine." Is Sheppard denying that? Does he think it's not relevant to discuss? How about the revelation that Giuliani didn't bother to show up for meetings of the Iraq Study Group, of which he was a member, in order to rake in cash making speeches? Not true or irrelevant?

What Sheppard seems to be saying -- with his regular disregard of facts that get in the way of his narrative -- is that all praise of Democrats by anyone on TV is liberal bias, as well as all criticism of Republicans. Is this any way to run a media watchdog group?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:54 AM EDT
Monday, June 25, 2007
Terrorists Heart Aaron Klein
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Middle Eastern terrorists sure seem to love the attention that WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein lavishes on them with his gimmicky terrorists-endorsing-Democrats series of articles.

That love continues in a June 25 WND article in which Klein brags that a June 20 article Klein wrote about U.S. weaponry and equipment being allegedly seized during this month's takeover of the Gaza Strip was "displayed prominently" on "Hamas' official websites." That article quoted only "Hamas members" as making that claim and offering no outside verification of it.

One has to wonder: Isn't Klein's time better spent doing actual reporting instead of bragging about how much terrorists love to read his stuff?

Posted by Terry K. at 6:51 PM EDT

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