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Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Folger, WND Still Mislead About Anti-Gay Protesters
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Janet Folger just bring herself to tell the real story about anti-gay protesters.

In her July 16 WorldNetDaily column, Folger purported to detail the "cliff notes of what so called 'hate crime' legislation has already done in America." She cited the following as "the facts":

Crystal Lake, Illinois. Two 16 year old girls are facing felony "hate crime" charges for the content of their flyers.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Arlene Elshinnawy, a 75-year-old grandmother of three, and Linda Beckman, a 70-year-old grandmother of 10 (along with nine others), were arrested for sharing their faith on the public sidewalk.

But as we've detailed, Folger's not big on "the facts" when telling the story of anti-gay protesters:

  • The girls in Crystal Lake, in fact, faced charges after allegedly plastering their high school’s halls and distributing anti-gay fliers directed towards a fellow student in the school’s parking lot.
  • Elshinnawy and Beckman not the meek, ordinary grandmothers that Folger portrays -- they are anti-gay, anti-abortion activists in thrall to bullhorn-wielding street preachers.

Given that Folger is hiding the truth about the Crystal Lake and Philadelphia cases, she's likely doing the same about the other two cases she cites:

Elmira, N.Y. The Elmira police arrested seven Christians for praying in a public park where a homosexual festival was getting started. A female officer told the group, "You're not going to enter the park, and you're not going to share your religion with anybody in this park." The group of seven didn't say anything, but got down on their faces and silently prayed. They were promptly placed in handcuffs.

Folger (and Bob Unruh, in the July 7 WND article from which Folger apparently got her information) leaves out one important detail: According to a June 24 Elmira Star-Gazette article on the incident, the group did their silent praying in front of the stage, thus disrupting the event. Folger and Unruh also fail to mention, as the Star-Gazette detailed, that the protesters were quickly released and returned to the event, but not in the park.

A June 27 Star-Gazette article describes the leader of the protesters, Julian Raven, as "a born-again Christian street preacher" and quoted an Elmira pastor as describing Raven's preaching style as "zealous and militant." The article adds: "

Julian preaches loudly and with a passion that borders on anger. He holds a Bible in one hand and waves his other in the air as punctuation, while he wails of woes and bellows about schools removing the Ten Commandments, television shows "full of filth" and violence spreading across the city and the nation.

Sounds like Elshinnawy and Beckman's kind of guy. How about Folger's other example?

St. Petersburg, Fla. Five Christians, including two pastors, were arrested at a homosexual rally for stepping onto the public sidewalk instead of staying caged in their officially designated "free speech zone." Their signs were also "illegal" because they were slightly "bigger than their torsos." Apparently, large people are entitled to more speech than those with smaller frames.

Yep, the leader of the protests, Rev. Billy Ball, is another bullhorn-wielding street preacher. And it turns out that one of his protesters frightened an 8-year-old child by walking up to her and her mother with a sign that said, "You're Going To Hell."

Unruh, for his part, uncritically repeats Folger's claims in a July 17 article on attempts to add a federal hate-crime law into a defense spending bill. Unruh quotes several opponents of the law, but nowhere does he allow supporters of the law to rebut their claims. Further, nowhere does Unruh note that a clause of the bill states: "Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the free speech or free exercise clauses of, the First Amendment to the Constitution." 

By painting these people as victims and Christian martyrs, Folger and Unruh clearly want to hide the true -- some might say obnoxious -- nature of these aggressive, boundary-pushing, bullhorn-wielding preachers and their followers.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:29 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 7:43 PM EDT
Baker Misleadingly States Bias Poll's Claims
Topic: Media Research Center

In a July 16 NewsBusters post (and July 17 MRC CyberAlert item), Brent Baker follows Noel Sheppard's lead by misleadingly stating the results of a Rasmussen Reports poll on media bias.

Baker wrote that "by about two-to-one or greater, the public recognize a liberal bias over a conservative bias on ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, NPR as well as in the New York Times and Washington Post." But that's not exactly what the poll numbers say. The lead claim -- that 39 percent of Americans believe that "the three major broadcast networks deliver news with a bias in favor of liberals," compared with to "20 percent," the source of the 2-to-1 comparison Baker touts. But it's not clear from Rasmussen's press release what exactly the "20 percent" is referring to in relation to the 39 percent; the actual questions asked are behind a pay wall.

A much more accurate description of the poll's results would be to state that 61 percent of Americans do not believe network news is liberally biased -- but that wouldn't suit the MRC's agenda.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:18 PM EDT
Farah and Anti-Catholicism
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a July 13 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah is weirdly proud that "non-Catholic Christians did not rise up in anger and violence when insulted by the pope," after Pope Benedict XVI declared that Protestants did not belong to the "true church." Farah adds: "I don't want to kill the pope because of his wrongful conclusions about me and my faith."

Farah doesn't have to; as a self-described "evangelical Christian" and head of WND, he can attack the pope and Catholics in other ways -- which has happened. WND's July 11 article on the pope's decree quotes six comments from a newspaper's comment board on the decree, only two of which (and the two shortest) supported the pope. The others included comments like "I am embarrassed to be Catholic" and "Just shows why it is almost impossible to remain a practicing Catholic."

Most notoriously, as we've noted, in an October 2006 article on Catholic Georgetown University's decision to remove non-Catholic ministries from its campus, WND suggested that Catholics weren't Christians, putting the word "Christian" in scare quotes in describing the university. But WND was silent when a Baptist school, Baylor University, removed all non-Baptist ministries from its campus a few years earlier.

Will the pope's decree cause Farah and WND to become more explicitly anti-Catholic? We'll be watching (and perhaps William Donohue should as well). 

Posted by Terry K. at 9:26 AM EDT
CNS' Selective Amnesia on Thompson

A July 13 article by Fred Lucas engages in a little selective amnesia. In claiming that "media scrutiny" (read: "liberal" media scrutiny) of Fred Thompson's record as a lobbyist is making him "a target for his political opponents" (read: liberals), Lucas makes no mention of an article he wrote a month ago detailing how Thompson's Senate voting record and previous comments could change the view of Thompson as "the great conservative hope of 2008."

Indeed, in his new article, Lucas cites only one attack on Thompson: the claim by what Lucas called "pro-abortion lobbyists" (thus perpetuating CNS' biased labeling practices) that Thompson lobbied for their group in the early 1990s.

Lucas then adds, parenthetically, that "Since the L.A. Times published its story, the paper has altered at least one dubious comment by DeSarno-in the website posting of the story-without issuing a correction or explanation." But Lucas does nothing to substantiate that assertion, not even reporting who originally made that allegation. Most likely Lucas got his information from NewsBusters' Warner Todd Huston -- who writes that, contradicting Lucas's assertion that the Times did not offer "a correction or explanation," the paper did, in fact, offer an explanation: The original website version of the article was replaced by the version that ran in the print edition. So Lucas seems to have suffered a tiny bout of amnesia here as well.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:47 AM EDT
Monday, July 16, 2007
NewsMax Scaring Folks Into Buying Radios
Topic: Newsmax

As we've noted, NewsMax is trying to cash in on recent reported terrorism threats by trying to get its readers to buy crank-operated radios. A July 16 article details the sales NewsMax has seen -- and the further scare tactics it's employing, as indicated by its headline, "Terror 'Chatter' Extremely High -- Prepare":

 Our recent e-mail news alert shattered sales records for our emergency radio — one every  home must have in the case of a terror attack or other catastrophe.

Just a  few years ago, Manhattan lost their electricity and millions of people had  no idea what happened.

Those  with emergency radios like the Kaito Emergency Radio, however, knew exactly what was happening.


Homeland  Security Chief Michael Chertoff believes a terror incident could happen  this summer. Other news reports indicate al-Qaida is back to full strength  and terrorist chatter is at an all time high.

Take  Homeland Security's advise and get your family an emergency radio.

NewsMax still hasn't reconciled this crass sales pitch with the Bush administration's claim (as reported by NewsMax itself) that there is no imminent terrorism threat against the United States.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:05 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 12:48 AM EDT
Graham Attacks Fein's Conservatism
Topic: NewsBusters

Tim Graham, in a July 15 NewsBusters post attacking a Bill Moyers program on PBS, wrote of guest and lawyer Bruce Fein: "Moyers labeled [him] a 'conservative,' but he compared Bush to King George III, to Adolf Hitler, to the communist autocrats of the Gulag, and to, well, FDR, in suggesting the post 9-11 era could see a mistake like our interning of Japanese Americans." In a later July 15 post, Graham went after Fein himself, putting "conservative" in scare quotes in the headline and claiming that "Fein was a member of the Reagan Administration, but during the Dubya years, Fein sounds a lot like your typical 'Bush hater,' comparing the president to a long list of historical villains."

Graham really doesn't disprove anything Fein says, instead pretending that Fein really isn't a conservative:

How "conservative" are the conservatives that PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers interviews? Sadly, when Moyers puts you on his show, every conservative in America should suspect you’re either (a) no longer conservative or (b) your conservatism/libertarianism at least somehow landed you in strange-bedfellows agreement with Moyers. In this case, if anything, Fein was not only fiercer in his denunciation of Bush-Cheney than Bill Moyers, he was harsher than the guy from The Nation magazine. Calling Fein a conservative is a little like trying to call Zell Miller a liberal. Would Democrats accept that?

Of course, Fein has conservative cred to spare, from writing a column for the Washington Times to scholar posts at the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation to penning one of the articles of impeachment against President Clinton.

Graham never explains why no conservative is permitted to criticize President Bush; he seems to believe that one hallmark of a conservative is unquestioning fealty to all Republican officials no matter what, and to Bush in particular. Then again, unquestioning fealty to Bush is what the MRC does. It looks like the MRC will be as much a dead-ender with Bush as it is with Ann Coulter.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:37 PM EDT
WND Cranks Up Anti-Romney Jihad
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah's whim is WorldNetDaily's command. So when Farah declared in a July 13 column that Mitt Romney is a "political chameleon," a "charlatan," "as phony as a three-dollar campaign promise," that was the green light for WND's "news" side to trash Romney.

The festivities actually started a day before, with a July 12 article about "two dozen family values activists" who accused the conservative National Review of "puff" reporting on Romney's presidential campaign that ignores his "constitutional bungling" of the court decision that led to same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. The same day as Farah's column, WND summarized an editorial in the "Mormon church-owned Deseret Morning News in Salt Lake City" attacking Romney for allegedly doing "nothing during his 10 years on the board [of hotel chain Marriott] to reverse the corporation's policy of offering pornography on TV in its rooms."

And a July 14 article by Bob Unruh followed up on the same-sex marriage talking point, quoting "constitutional experts" -- all of whom are linked to conservative activist groups -- as claiming Romney "did no more or less than create the first homosexual marriages recognized in the nation." In true Unruh tradition, he provides no opportunity for Romney's campaign or any non-conservative "constitutional experts" to rebut the charges made in the article.

These latest attacks have mostly stayed away from attacking Romney's Mormonism, though as we've noted, WND has promoted such attacks in the past.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:10 AM EDT
AIM Perpetuates Libby Fallacy
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A July 6 "special report" by Roger Aronoff asserted that Richard Armitage "was the real 'leaker' " in the Valerie Plame case. As we've detailed with others who have made the same claim, Libby did, in fact, leak Plame's CIA identity to at least two reporters. Aronoff is making the absurd argument that because Armitage leaked Plame's name to Robert Novak, and Novak was the first to report it ahead of the reporters to whom Libby leaked, that Libby's leak somehow magically didn't happen.

Aronoff also alleged that there is "evidence that Plame may have lied under oath before Congress about her role in her husband’s trip" to Niger that "deserve[s] follow-up." But as we've detailed, that "evidence" is a memo that shows, in fact, that Plame did not "recommend" or "suggest" her husband, Joseph Wilson, for the mission in Niger, that it was CIA higher-ups' idea to send him, and that Plame was reluctant about the idea.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:59 AM EDT
Sunday, July 15, 2007
A Reading Assignment for Noel Sheppard
Topic: NewsBusters

Has NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard ever heard of Media Matters? Apparently not, because he's written a few posts of late that make claims contradicted by my employer.

In a July 9 post, Sheppard singled out Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s "rant" during the Live Earth concerts asserting that conservative media figures such as John Stossel, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity are "lying to you, lying to the American public, and telling you that global warming doesn't exist." He claimed to highlight Kennedy's remarks as being "[f]or those whose gastrointestinal tracts couldn’t allow them to stomach the goings on during Saturday’s Live Earth concerts." A July 15 post called Kennedy's statements "absurd" (and professed to be "verklempt" that Stossel and conservative radio host Steve Malzberg would trash Kennedy for saying such a thing).

But if Sheppard had read Media Matters, he would know that Stossel, Hannity, Beck and Limbaugh have indeed made false, misleading, or just plain wacky claims about global warming (among many other issues). 

In another July 15 post, Sheppard repeated a Rasmussen Reports poll that he claimed showed Americans "overwhelmingly believe" the media has a liberal bias. Well, maybe, if you think 40 percent is "overwhelming." He then went on to insult anyone who doesn't think otherwise, saying of the 25 percent who said that "ABC, CBS, and NBC deliver the news without any bias": "How’d you like to be part of that addle-minded minority?" In noting that 49 percent of liberals believe that network TV news has a conservative bias, Sheppard wrote: "Can you imagine the intellectual capacity of someone who believes that ABC, CBS, and NBC are conservatively biased? Must be the same people who think Michael Moore’s films are actually documentaries, and Al Gore is more qualified to make climate prognostications than accredited meteorologists and climatologists."

Of course, Media Matters has documented numerous instances of pro-conservative, anti-liberal tilt on CBS, NBC and ABC

The question is, can Sheppard tear himself away from thinking up new insults for Al Gore long enough to do some actual research and check out that newfangled thing called Media Matters?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:26 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, July 15, 2007 11:27 AM EDT
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Speaking of Off-Limits ...
Topic: NewsBusters

A July 13 NewsBusters post by Joe Steigerwald attacked a Washington Post aticle for noting that "Al Gore’s film has raised awareness of energy conservation," asserting that "While the article stumbles over itself bestowing platitudes on Al Gore’s “documentary,” it – of course – fails to mention that while Al was busy lecturing America about the evils of carbon emissions, his own house in Tennessee was using over 20 times more energy than the national average." Steigerwald added: "Of course people caught up in the hysteria of the green movement constantly 'forget' to include little things like that in their stories. Mentioning such a thing about their hero Albert is obviously off-limits."

What appears to be off-limits for Steigerwald (not to mention the rest of the NewsBusters crew, especially Gore Derangement Syndrome victim Noel Sheppard) is telling the full truth about Gore. Steigerwald "forgot" to mention that Gore paid above and beyond his normal electricity bill in order to buy energy from solar or other renewable energy sources. Nor does Steigerwald note that Gore had to battle local zoning laws to get solar panels installed.

Speaking the full truth about Gore at the MRC -- or even mentioning anything positive about Gore -- is obviously off-limits. 

Posted by Terry K. at 9:42 AM EDT
Friday, July 13, 2007
Meanwhile ...
Topic: Newsmax

Media Matters catches NewsMax's Ronald Kessler pedding a falsehood (itself peddled by Bay Buchanan) about Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and 9/11 -- the same one he uncritically repeated in his June 18 profile of Buchanan and her Clinton-bashing book.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:52 PM EDT
FrontPageMag's False Comparison
Topic: Horowitz

A lengthy July 13 FrontPageMag screed by John Perazzo against Media Matters (my employer) makes this claim: "Such assignments [to monitor conservatives in the media] are made possible by Media Matters' $8.5 million budget, which is, by way of comparison, more than ten times as large as the budget of a website like FrontPage." The Horowitz crew has made this comparison before; Jacob Laskin wrote in a 2005 article that Media Matters' $2 million in start-up money "was a sum larger than a ten year budget for a site like"

But that is a false comparison because FrontPageMag, as a opinion journal, is not the same thing as Media Matters, a media watchdog group. A much more logical comparison would be to the Media Research Center, which employs at least 60 and has income of at least $15 million.

(Plus, Perazzo's and Laskin's comparison of Media Matters only to FrontPageMag curiously glosses over the fact that FrontPageMag is a division of a much larger operation, the David Horowitz Freedom Center. They are silent on the subject of the Center's overall budget.)

Also, Perazzo notes the number of Media Matters staffers who have ties to the Democratic Party -- which involved little more than copying-and-pasting information posted on Media Matters' website. But since he refused to parallel Media Matters with the MRC for funding purposes, he thus ignores the number of MRC staffers with ties to the Repubican Party (a few of which we've noted).

Perazzo (and the Horowitz operation in general) is pretending that an operation like Media Matters doesn't exist on the conservative side, when in fact it has for 20 years.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:50 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 13, 2007 1:10 PM EDT
NewsMax Headline Bias Watch
Topic: Newsmax

The headline the Associated Press put on a July 12 article: "Democrats Assail Bush Record on Race."

The headline NewsMax put on it: "Obama Plays Race Card on Libby Decision." 

Posted by Terry K. at 9:25 AM EDT
Kessler's Bush-Fluffing Continues
Topic: Newsmax

NewsMax's Ronald Kessler continues his Bush-fluffing ways in a pair of recent posts.

A July 11 article, after recounting how "[k]ey Republican senators are now deserting President Bush on Iraq," a situation bhe blamed on re-election worries, Kessler absolves President Bush of any blame for his current political situation in Iraq, depicting as a result of "mounting American and Iraqi casualties, Iraqi ingratitude for America's support, the Iraqi government's lack of progress in achieving needed political goals, and the fact that Iraqis are senselessly killing each other." Kessler adds: "Americans lose sight of the Bush administration's greatest success: the fact that the U.S. has not been attacked in almost six years."

Meanwhile, NewsMax is hyping a report that "Al-Qaida is stepping up its efforts to sneak terror operatives into the United States and has acquired most of the capabilities it needs to strike here," a situation Kessler fails to address.

Another July 11 article describes the latest news on plans for the Bush presidential library, to which Kessler generously offers "[m]y suggestion for the library: A branch of Johnny's Barbecue, the Midland, Texas, establishment where Laura's father Harold drank coffee and smoked cigarettes with his friends almost every morning."

My, my. Isn't Kessler being unfaithful to the Romneys

Posted by Terry K. at 12:55 AM EDT
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Shepherd Perpetuates Libby Leak Fallacy
Topic: NewsBusters

A July 12 NewsBusters post, Ken Shepherd asserted that the Associated Press, in an article mentioning the investigation of Scooter Libby and the leak of the identity of Valerie Plame as a CIA operative, "left COMPLETELY unmentioned" that "then-Undersecretary of State Richard Armitage, a critic of the Iraq war who reported directly to Colin Powell, NOT directly under Bush or Cheney in the White House, was the official who leaked Plame's CIA employment status. I mean, why let facts get in the way of a perfectly good managed storyline?"

That's a question we can put to Shepherd. Armitage was not "the leaker"; Libby did, in fact, leak Plame's CIA identity to at least two reporters. Shepherd, like fellow NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein, is making the absurd argument that because Armitage leaked Plame's name to Robert Novak, and Novak was the first to report it ahead of the reporters to whom Libby leaked, that Libby's leak somehow magically didn't happen. 

Posted by Terry K. at 6:04 PM EDT

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