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Sunday, September 9, 2007
Unruh Misleads on Planned Parenthood 'Lies'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 9 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh, headlined "Planned Parenthood lies when attacking pro-lifers," repeats assertions that statements made by a Planned Parenthood about an anti-abortion group in Illinois are "lies" and "libel" without proving that they, in fact, are.

Planned Parenthoood is building what Unruh describes as a "superstore abortion clinic" (a pejorative description he does not ascribe to anyone) in Aurora, Illinois. According to anti-abortion activist and WND columnist Jill Stanek, area Planned Parenthood official Steve Trombley sent a letter to city officials critical of local anti-abortion activists who are fighting the clinic and, in particular, the Pro-Life Action Network and its leader, Joe Scheidler. As quoted by Unruh:

• "Scheidler (along with a handful of other anti-abortion leaders) formed PLAN – the Pro Life Action Network. Scheidler called PLAN the 'pro-life mafia' and proclaimed 'a year of pain and fear' for anyone seeking or providing abortion.

• "After a six-week trial in 1998, a jury in Chicago unanimously found that the Pro-Life Action League Network orchestrated 121 crimes involving acts of threats of force or violence against women's health facilities that offered abortion. These crimes proven at trial included beating a post-operative ovarian surgery patient over the head with a sign, knocking her unconscious and causing her to bleed from the sutures in her abdomen; seizing a clinic administrator by the throat, choking and bruising her; and slamming a clinic staff member and volunteer against the stairs (sending them to a hospital and causing permanent injuries) and destroying medications and equipment. Joe Scheidler personally praised the individuals who carried out some of these misdeeds, even taking credit for them...."

Unruh repeats the response of Stanek -- "Oh my, if that doesn't scream libel lawsuit, I don't know what does" -- adding:

Her reaction stemmed from the fact that the allegations cited by Trombley in his letter were allegations in a precedent-setting lawsuit brought by the National National Organization for Women on behalf of all abortion providers in the U.S. including Planned Parenthood against pro-life protesters including Scheidler, alleging they engaged in a criminal conspiracy to halt the abortion industry. 

But the case, before the U.S. Supreme Court three times, was repeatedly and resoundingly overturned, the last time on a rare unanimous decision. That essentially nullified lower court conclusions that the pro-life activists violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

But Stanek does not offer, and Unruh does not report no evidence to contradict Trombley's claim that the incidents happened, or that the court disproved their existence. All the court did is negate the claim that the incidents were part of a "criminal conspiracy to halt the abortion industry."

Unruh similarly quotes a letter from Tom Brejcha of the conservative Thomas More Society, attorney for Scheidler and the Pro-Life Action League, demand that Trombley retract his "false and libelous assertions" by calling them a "legal nullity" because the RICO decision was overturned. Indeed Brejcha does not specifically refute the incidents described by Trombley; in fact, he tries to depict them as "what Dr. Martin Luther King had described as "peaceable, non-violent direct action" - peaceful, passive acts of Gandhian civil disobedience." So King and Gandhi would have approved "beating a post-operative ovarian surgery patient over the head with a sign, knocking her unconscious and causing her to bleed from the sutures in her abdomen"?

Unmentioned by Unruh are other claims Trombley made in his letter:

  • Scheidler once said "I just wish I had a medal or some sort of battle scar for each time I was arrested" for his forceful opposition to abortion and throughout the period of militant anti-abortion protesting, when clinic bombings and murders of doctors spotted the headlines, Scheidler was unapologetic about his group's tactics. "I'm doing what I have to do. So what? I've got some misdemeanors... I don't consider myself a criminal," he said.
  • Immediately upon learning of the Aurora facility, these radical anti-abortion activists began photographing the license plates of our construction workers and vowed to harass those who were working to build the facility. They also announced their intention of seeking a permit to picket the homes of our employees who will operate the facility.

Are Unruh and Stanek declining to challenge these claims (perhaps because they're true)? While Brejcha claims in his letter that Scheidler "has never been arrested let alone convicted of any criminal act in connection with pro-life or anti-abortion activity. He has never advocated violence against either persons or property. Nor has he engaged in any such violence in opposing abortion, or otherwise," Unruh does not mention it in his article.

It's also worth noting that, in accordance with longstanding WND practice, Unruh makes no apparent attempt to contact Trombley to give him an opportunity to respond to criticism of his letter. 

Posted by Terry K. at 10:14 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 9, 2007 10:29 AM EDT
Kessler Still Uninterested in Freedom's Watch Funding
Topic: Newsmax

A Sept. 7 NewsMax column by Ronald Kessler is his second promoting an ad campaign by the conservative pro-war group Freedom's Watch. In it, he states that Freedom's Watch "has more funding than and other George Soros operations." But, as before, Kessler shows no interest whatsoever in learning where exactly that funding is coming from.

If Kessler is going to make a big deal out of Soros' funding of liberal groups, shouldn't he show maybe a little interest in how conservative groups are funded? Or is that somehow too gauche a question for him to ask of his apparent BFF, Freedom's Watch head Brad Blakeman?

Kessler's refusal to find out the answers to basic questions in an apparent bid to avoid embarrassing his conservative friends makes him a lot of things, but a good reporter is not one of them. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 AM EDT
Saturday, September 8, 2007
FrontPageMag Lets Nowrasteh Falsely Claim that 'Path to 9/11' Is True
Topic: Horowitz

In a Sept. 7 FrontPageMag softball interview, Jamie Glazov lets Cyrus Nowrasteh assert without evidence that ABC is blocking the DVD release of his miniseries "The Path to 9/11" "to appease the Clintons." Glazov played along by tossing low-and-slow questions:

  • "Well, it looks as though among the twenty television DVDs slated for nationwide release on Sept. 11, your film, The Path to 9/11, is not one of them. It couldn’t possibly be that your $40-million, five-hour ABC miniseries, which has received seven Emmy nominations and attracted an audience of 25 million people, has no interest. It definitely has more interest than a lot of the garbage on DVD shelves. What is happening here do you think?"
  • "So if there are powerful forces operating out there to protect Bill Clinton's presidential legacy and to help, in turn, Hillary’s bid for the White House -- and to make sure she is not damaged in any way by this DVD, how would their 'political pressure' work exactly? How does it operate?"
  • "Tell us a bit about The Path to 9/11 and why the Democrats were – and are – so furious about it. Didn’t ABC almost cancel it last year due to 'pressures' and some 'edits' were imposed?"
  • "What is the meaning in all of this and what can concerned citizens do?"

Nowrasteh offered up one notable talking point -- er, "answer" -- to Glazov's softball inquiry:

They were upset because we hit on the hot-button truth they didn’t want exposed: Their poor record in dealing with Usama Bin Laden and terrorism in the 90s, as well as the lead-up to 9/11. Now, the miniseries was also harsh on the Bush administration, especially Condoleeza Rice, and we point out their many failures as well. So there’s no bias here and those who say there is haven’t watched the show.

In fact, Media Matters did watch the show, and it did find that it didn't tell the truth and was less-than-harsh on the Bush administration. Nowrasteh himself has admitted that at least one scene was fabricated. Nowrasteh's insistence that "The Path to 9/11" tells "the hot-button truth" is, simply, a lie.

Glazov also failed to disclose the ties between his employer and Nowrasteh. Nowrasteh has spoken at the conservative Liberty Film Festival, which is part of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and the various Horowitz operations have promoted "The Path to 9/11."

Nowrasteh should stop lying about the content of his minisesries -- and Glazov should stop enabling him. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:08 PM EDT
Meanwhile ...
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Media Matters details how a Sept. 5 WorldNetDaily article by Art Moore on the alleged theft of a manuscript of Kathleen Willey's new Clinton-bashing book (coincidentially published by WND's book-pubishing partner -- what are the odds?) quotes Willey calling herself credible but omits the facts that demonstrate she's, um, not.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:53 AM EDT
Friday, September 7, 2007
WND Stays Silent on Sanchez's Gay-Porn Past
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has posted another missive by Matt Sanchez from Iraq. In doing so, WND has again failed to mention Sanchez's past as a gay-porn actor and apparent male escort, or how it meets WND's previously stated policy of hiring "only serious and experienced journalists with the highest standards of ethics – both in their professional lives and their personal lives." WND editor Joseph Farah has previously declared that Jeff Gannon -- with a past not unlike Sanchez's -- would be a poor fit for WND.

Is WND really so willing to compromise the principles it claims to hold for the sake of political expediency -- which Sanchez has promised as a conservative reporting "good news" from Iraq? It appears so.

UPDATE: WND has posted another Sanchez article, similarly devoid of references to his gay-porn past. Meanwhile, in a Sept. 8 column, Farah is repeating his call for Larry Craig to resign because, as he explained previously, "The man is a pervert." If Farah wants Craig out of a job for homosexual behavior, how does he justify employing Sanchez?

Posted by Terry K. at 8:15 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, September 8, 2007 1:21 AM EDT
Huston's Double Standard on Criminal Fundraisers
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Sept. 7 NewsBusters post, Warner Todd Huston makes the stunning discovery that people are more interested in a congressional sex scandal than campaign finance. According to his accounting, he has declared "another small indication of how the GOP is treated unequally with the Democrat Party revealing Media Bias" in purportedly finding that there are been more media mentions of Larry Craig than Norman Hsu. Huston then tsks-tsks:

Now, wouldn't it seem to you that the story of a perhaps closeted gay Senator being "outed" is far less important to the "culture of corruption" in Washington than the story of a presidential candidate who has been taking massive campaign contributions from a convicted felon who is on the run from justice? Isn't it far more important to investigate illegal campaign donations to a politician than it is to report on the sex life of a politician?

So, Huston has declared "campaign contributions from a convicted felon" as something that deserves coverage. But we could find no mention by Huston -- or, indeed, by any NewsBusters blogger -- of Alan Fabian, a fundraising "bundler" for Mitt Romney's campaign and co-chairman of his national fiance committee, who has been charged in a 23-count indictment with mail fraud, money laundering, bankruptcy fraud, perjury and obstruction of justice.

Looks like Huston is operating on a double standard that "illegal and criminal political campaign donations" should be news only when they involve Democrats.

UPDATE: Richard Newcomb, in a Sept. 7 post similarly complaining that "the media" hasn't reported on Hsu to his liking, also fails to mention Fabian.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:38 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 7, 2007 12:49 PM EDT
Dick Morris Non-Disclosure Watch
Topic: Newsmax
Dick Morris has penned yet another column trashing Hillary Clinton -- appearing Sept. 5 at NewsMax and The Hill and Sept. 6 at FrontPageMag. And again, nowhere does he (or those who published the column) disclose that he is actively working against Clinton's election.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:13 AM EDT
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Judicial Watch Misleads on Democratic Donor

In a Sept. 5 column on fundraiser Norman Hsu's legal problems, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton wrote:

The Wall Street Journal reported Hsu's connection to some suspicious fundraising activity when it uncovered the fact that one of Clinton's leading donors, the Paw family, lived in a 1,250 square foot lime-green bungalow outside of San Francisco. William Paw, the 64-year old head of household is a mail carrier who earns $49,000 per year. His wife is a homemaker. And yet, the Paw family has donated a total of $200,000 to Democratic candidates since 2005.

But Fitton doesn't tell the whole story of the Paw family. In fact, as we've noted, the Journal also reported that William Paw's "grown children have jobs ranging from account manager at a software company to 'attendance liaison' at a local public high school. One is listed on campaign records as an executive at a mutual fund." In addition, the family owns a gift shop. Further, half of that $200,000 in political contributions from Winkle Paw, an adult son. The Journal reported Winkle Paw's statement that "I have been fortunate in my investments and all of my contributions have been my money."

Fitton also asserted, "Our work also led to the federal prosecution of David Rosen, her [Clinton's 2000] Senate campaign's national finance director," but he failed to add that Rosen was acquitted, which hardly makes that a bragging point. Indeed, Rosen's mother called his prosecution "totally 100 percent political from the onset," which summarizes nicely the Clinton-hating Judicial Watch's history of legal harrassment of the Clintons.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:07 PM EDT
Kinsolving's Semantics Problem
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a Sept. 6 WorldNetDaily column, Les Kinsolving takes offense to MSNBC's Keith Olbermann naming him to his daily "Worst Person in the World" list for insisting that Fidel Castro endorsed a Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama presidential ticket. Kinsolving also references the Media Matters item (which, in turn, references us) similarly pointing this out; Kinsolving suggests that Media Matters got the idea from Olbermann, but Media Mattters' item appeared before Olbermann's citing of Kinsolving.

Kinsolving insists that Olbermann and Media Matters (and us) are suffering from a semantics problem: 

In other words (of Olbermann on MSNBC), Castro's written statement that Senators Clinton and Obama are "an apparently unbeatable ticket" is no endorsement at all, no endorsement whatsoever, no endorsement in any way.

This, therefore, has been turned by Olbermann into a semantic argument.

How does "Webster's New World Dictionary" define the word "endorse"?

Several ways – beginning with what is done on the back of a check – then:

2. To write a note, title etc. on (a document);

3. To give approval to; support; sanction; to endorse a candidate.

In other words, there are six different definitions of the word "endorse" before the dictionary mentions any endorsement of a political candidate.

Fidel Castro – as neither a Democrat, nor a Republican – and surely not a U.S. citizen but a Cuban communist – surely did fulfill more than one of those dictionary definitions of the word "endorse" since he undeniably "gave approval to" and "support" as well as "sanction."

I will surely not denounce Olbermann as being one of the World's Worst People for this spectacular blunder. I would merely suggest that his comedy writers need, seriously, to recruit either a semanticist – or at least someone who is more familiar with the dictionary than Mr. Olbermann is.


To these two Internet critics and to MSNBC I would suggest: 1) Back to the dictionary! and 2) Try to avoid such astringencies as "false claim." 

But Kinsolving doesn't acknowledge (except through his reproduction of the Media Matters item) that Castro also wrote that Clinton and Obama's pro-democratic views are an "error," and he said of the two candidates, "They are not making politics: they are playing a game of cards on a Sunday afternoon." If Castro is attacking Clinton and Obama in this manner, how can he be simultaneously "endorsing" them?

It appears that Kinsolving is as unfamiliar with the rules of logic as Olbermann supposedly is with the dictionary. Then again, Kinsolving also believes that Bill Clinton was "indicted, tried and found guilty of both perjury and obstruction of justice."

UPDATE: Media Matters weighs in.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:34 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 6, 2007 3:10 PM EDT
Ruddy Ignores Evidence That bin Laden Supported Bush
Topic: Newsmax

In a Sept. 5 NewsMax column on the 2008 presidential candidates, Christopher Ruddy wrote regarding the "X factor" of a new terror attack benefitting the Republican candidate:

The Democratic theory behind this is that Osama bin Laden is well informed about U.S. politics and will act to influence the elections, if he needs to. The Democrats think bin Laden really wants another president like George Bush to succeed him, one who continues an aggressive war on terror, continues the Iraq occupation, and remains confrontational with states like Iran to sway world opinion.

This same Democratic theory says bin Laden and company believe they have been winning the war of world opinion as America spends hundreds of billions fighting a conventional war against an enemy, the terrorists, who fight asymmetrically using simple and inexpensive tactics. In the end, such a war bankrupts the United States at home while leaving us without allies abroad.

It’s nice theory. But I am not sure al-Qaida is happy about the destruction the U.S. military has rained on them in Afghanistan and Iraq. And they appear incapable of launching a major strike in the U.S. after many years since Sept. 11.

In fact, there is evidence to support this "Democratic theory" that Ruddy doesn't mention. As Media Matters has detailed, Ron Suskind, in his book "The One Percent Doctrine," reported on CIA analysts agreeing that a videotape of Bin Laden vehemently criticizing Bush released shortly before the 2004 presidential election -- and potrayed by conservatives as an endorsement of John Kerry's campaign -- "was clearly designed to assist the President's reelection."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:03 AM EDT
Huston Still Under Delusion That 'Path to 9/11' Was True
Topic: NewsBusters

A Sept. 5 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston rehashed unsubstantiated accusations by screenwriter Cyrus Nowrasteh that ABC is blocking the DVD release of his ABC miniseries, "The Path to 9/11," because of purported pressure by Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Huston happily plays along: "It sure seems like just another Clinton dirty trick to which a compliant media is happy to lend an assist," adding, "It looks like a certain political candidate's future is more important than either the truth or artistic integrity to the execs at ABC."

Well, no, "the truth" is not an issue because Nowrasteh's miniseries didn't tell it. As we've detailed (as Media Matters has noted), Nowrasteh portrayed the Clinton administration's reaction to terrorism much more negatively than actual events, and the Bush administration's reaction much more positively than actual events.

Conservatives have never conceded the fact that "The Path to 9/11" didn't tell the truth about the Clinton administration, and Huston is merely trying to keep up a false pretense.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:31 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Sheppard's Laugher: Substance-Free Attack on Vanity Fair Article
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Sept. 4 NewsBusters item, Noel Sheppard feels the need to hurl all sorts of invective at a Vanity Fair article detailing how mainstream media reporters repeated false claims and misquotes about Al Gore during the 2000 presidential election.

Sheppard declared "absurd" the idea that "the media were much kinder to George W. Bush during the 2000 election campaign cycle than Vice President Al Gore" and challenged readers to say it "without laughing hysterically." He went on to personally attack the writer, Evgenia Peretz:

  • "Makes one wonder what the color of the sky is in Peretz's world."
  • "Get the feeling this was going to be a balanced report from Peretz, or an attempt to assist Gore in a makeover he's been working on since the day he conceded to Bush in December 2000?"
  • "This coming from a woman who admittedly can't possibly be impartial, and, as a result, should never have been given this story."
  • "I guess Vanity Fair couldn't find anybody on its staff with less connection to the former vice president. Liberal media? What liberal media?"
  • "Of course, as an obvious Gore sycophant, Peretz can't be so introspective or impartial."

Completely and utterly missing from Sheppard's screed is any evidence that anything Peretz reported is misleading or incorrect or even biased, despite his suggestion that Peretz's disclosure that she has had "maybe two passing exchanges with Gore in my life" somehow disqualifies her from writing the article. Oops!

Sheppard concludes by writing of the Vanity Fair article: "all I have to say is caveat emptor." That would apply to Sheppard himself if had bothered to make any substantive criticisms instead of making hysterical attacks. Indeed, as we've detailed, Sheppard has made numerous unsubstantiated attacks on Gore -- which certainly disqualifies him from making a critique of Peretz's article that anyone should take seriously (not that he has done so here, mind you).

Posted by Terry K. at 3:50 PM EDT
Bozell Ignores DeLay's Indictment
Topic: Media Research Center

Brent Bozell's Sept. 4 column praises Tom DeLay for being "clearly in a fighting mood" on NBC's "Today" to counter charges that the Larry Craig scandal is emblematic of Republican scandal problems. DeLay accused host Matt Lauer of a "double-standard" for listing only Republican scandals and not ones involving Democratic politicians (though DeLay had to go back to the 1980s -- as Bozell wrote, "the old 1980s examples of Reps. Barney Frank and Gerry Studds" -- to fill out his Democratic scandal scorecard).

Bozell somehow fails to include one certain relevant fact: DeLay himself is part of the Republican scandal problem, having been indicted on campaign finance fraud charges, which ultimately forced him to resign from the House.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:27 AM EDT
New Article -- Lies, Conservatives and Statistics: Crime Waves, Lie Waves
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily and the ConWeb embrace a congressman's unreliable numbers about crimes committed by illegal immigrants. Read more.

And check ConWebWatch's new look

Posted by Terry K. at 1:46 AM EDT
MRC's Evidence of Couric Bias Is Thin
Topic: Media Research Center

An Aug. 30 Media Research Center "Media Reality Check" by Brent Baker and Rich Noyes purports to document Katie Couric's "liberal approach" to her first year of hosting the CBS Evening News. But the evidence they provide is a bit thin -- only 12 examples over a year containing 200-plus half-hour programs. If the MRC could only find one a month, that's not a bad record.

Meanwhile, Media Matters found 17 examples of "conservative misinformation" on the part of Couric and the CBS Evening News over the past year. Doesn't that suggest that Couric is, in fact, leaning conservative?

Baker and Noyes also stated that Couric "put her liberal fingerprints all over Today during her 15 years at NBC." As we've detailed, that claim is not terribly reliable either -- among the MRC's evidence that Couric was biased at "Today" was the false assertion that she called Ronald Reagan an "airhead" when, in fact, all she did is report a claim to that effect in Edmund Morris' Reagan biography.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:12 AM EDT

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