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Saturday, September 22, 2007
NewsBusters Still Obsessed With Mildly Hurt Jena Six Victim

A Sept. 21 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard continues NewsBusters' growing obsession with the white victim in the Jena Six case, insisting that "the name of the white boy who was beaten by the 'Jena 6,' Justin Barker, is rarely mentioned, and the assault which precipitated the arrest of the '6' is either ignored, or downplayed."

But Sheppard fails to highlight that Barker spent only a very brief time in the hospital being treated for his injuries in the assault, and he doesn't mention at all the fact that the evening of the assault, Barker felt well enough to attend a high school ring ceremony.

Nor does Sheppard address one of the sailient issues in the case: that the Jena Six originally faced attempted murder charges for an attack in which the victim was essentially treated and released.

While Sheppard invokes the Duke rape case to show how the media likes to focus on the victim, he fails to mention a more appropriate comparison: prosecutorial misconduct. In addition to the attempted-murder charge, the conviction of one of the Jena Six, Mychal Bell, was overturned because the judge ruled Bell not have been charged in adult court.

In another Sept. 21 post, Sheppard praised a column by Kansas City Star sportswriter Jason Whitlock -- whom Sheppard proudly noted had "called Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton terrorists during April's Don Imus controversy" -- for writing that that Barker "was cold-cocked from behind, knocked unconscious and stomped by six black athletes." Sheppard put the statment in boldface and harrumphed, "As NewsBusters noted, media have almost universally ignored or downplayed this." But immediately after that statement -- which Sheppard copied-and-pasted but did not boldface -- Whitlock also noted that Barker "sustained no life-threatening injuries and was released from the hospital three hours after the attack." That, presumably, is not something Sheppard wants highlighted.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:04 AM EDT
AIM has Trouble Backing Up Claim That Bush-National Guard Report Was 'Bogus'
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A Sept. 21 Accuracy in Media column by Roger Aronoff on Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS described the 2004 CBS report on President Bush's National Guard service supported in part by questionably sourced memos as making "explosive but false charges" and was "bogus almost from start to finish."

But as we've noted, nowhere to our knowledge has AIM examined every claim made in the CBS report in detail to determine their accuracy what evidence exists to support them -- and what claims were rendered "false" by the questionable documents. The only article Aronoff links to in support of his assertion is a Cliff Kincaid column citing the Thornburgh-Boccardi report's description of one misleading claim. But one claim is not the entire CBS story.

Aronoff and Kincaid may work for Accuracy in Media, but he shows no apparent interest in venturing beyond right-wing talking points by explicitly outlining for its readers everything what was accurate, or not, in the CBS report -- something it joins the Media Research Center in strangely shying away from.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:37 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, September 22, 2007 12:38 AM EDT
Friday, September 21, 2007
NewsMax Falsely Takes Credit for Breaking Sulick Story
Topic: Newsmax

A Sept. 21 NewsMax article declared that "NewsMax’s Kenneth R. Timmerman broke the story on Monday that CIA Director Michael Hayden was bringing back Michael J. Sulick, three years after he left the Agency to protest reforms being put in place by then-CIA Director Porter Goss."

Actually, no. Timmerman's first report on Sulick was on Sept. 17; the Washington Examiner's Rowan Scarborough beat him out, filing his account on Sept. 14. Sure, it was a highly biased account, but he did get the scoop before Timmerman.

The NewsMax article, ironically, is based on a new Examiner article by Scarborough on Sulick. More on that later.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:37 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 21, 2007 11:32 PM EDT
CNS Ignores Boxer Amendment, Attacks Hillary

A Sept. 21 article by Susan Jones described Sen. Hillary Clinton as "among the 25 liberal senators voting no" on an amendment by Republican Rep. John Cornyn denouncing's ad criticizing Gen. David Petraeus. Jones went on to speculate that Clinton "may be trying to mollify the group that has criticized for her cautious, 'centrist' stance on the Iraq war."

Nowhere in the article does Jones mention another amendment brought before the Senate, by Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer. That amendment cited not just the MoveOn ad but also Repubican attacks on Democratic Sens. John Kerry and Max Cleland to condemn condemning "all attacks on the honor, integrity, and patriotism of any individual who is serving or has served honorably" in the military. Since she did not mention the amendment itself, Jones also did not mention that Clinton joined 50 senators in voting in favor of it, and that nearly all Republicans voted against it. (Because of the way votes on Iraq-related amendments are set up, it would have required 60 votes to pass.)

Jones also serves up her own interpretation of Clinton's vote on the Cornyn amendment: "In other words, she refused to support Gen. Petraeus or condemn the personal attacks on him." In fact, with her vote on the Boxer amendment, she did exactly what Jones demanded she do. But since Jones has apparently decided that the Boxer amendment doesn't exist -- or that the Republicans' votes against it can be similarly interpreted as a refusal "to support Gen. Petraeus or condemn the personal attacks on him" -- Jones' attacks on Clinton stand unchallenged.

Further, Jones reported that House Minority Leader John Boehner "insisted that House members from both parties 'deserve the opportunity to express their support for General Petraeus and to condemn the despicable attacks launched against this honorable man by a radical left-wing poltiical organization." But she did not report that earlier this year, referring to a Democratic-backed nonbinding resolution opposing President Bush's troop increase in Iraq, Boehner declared that a "nonbinding resolution is nothing more than political theater."

Posted by Terry K. at 5:07 PM EDT
NewsBuster: La Raza 'Analogous' to KKK (Update)
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Sept. 21 NewsBusters post on the National Council of La Raza's criticism of a Kansas City parks board member who has expressed her support of the anti-immigration group the Minutemen, Richard Newcomb called La Raza "an organization analogous to the Ku Klux Klan in that it promotes the advancement of one race over another."

Unless Newcomb has some evidence that La Raza has been lynching white people, his analogy is a tad off. Indeed, given the number of racists and neo-Nazis who support the Minutemen, Newcomb may in fact be describing the wrong organization as "analogous to the Ku Klux Klan."

Newcomb also objected to a news article's description of the Minutemen as advocating "vigilante patrolling of the Mexican border," though he offers no response other than calling the Minutemen "an organization set up to assist in enforcing U.S. law." In fact, Minutemen members have engaged in vigiliantism.

UPDATE: The post has been edited to remove the reference to the KKK, though the copy of the post at Newcomb's personal blog retains it. But the post still begins by asking, "Can the Associated Press distinguish between racial supremacy groups and civil rights groups?" suggesting that La Raza is the former (and, thus, analogous to the KKK).

UPDATE 2: Here's a screen shot of Newcomb's original La Raza-smearing statement at NewsBusters.

UPDATE 3: It's worth noting that NewsBusters has not alerted its readers to the fact that the post has been substantively edited from its original posting. 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:22 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, September 22, 2007 10:06 AM EDT
CNS Labeling Bias Watch

Another sign that may be regressing to a more biased view of journalism: A Sept. 20 article by Matt Purple repeatedly invokes the term "pro-abortion" to describe Sen. John Kerry and others that the rest of the world more accurately describes as "pro-choice."

Then again, as we've detailed, CNS has regularly used "pro-abortion" and "pro-life."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:12 AM EDT
Will CNS Return To Its Old, Slanted Ways?

We suspect that one impetus for the Media Research Center to hire Human Events' Terry Jeffrey as editor is his TV talking-head experience, which can be leveraged to promote the website. And lo and behold, Jeffrey pops up on the Sept. 19 edition of CNN's "The Situation Room."

And lest anyone think that Jeffrey's arrival means a continuation of the moderation and we'd previously noted occuring under interim editor Patrick Goodenough (now returned to the international desk), don't count on it -- as we've detailed, his record doesn't show evidence of such a thing. In his "Situation Room" appearance, Jeffrey sounded all the movement-conservative notes, criticizing Rudy Giuliani, defending Dick Cheney, and promoting the Bush administration's economic policy (except for the parts, like the Medicare prescription benefit, that "disappointed conservatives like me").

And CNS' new "On the Spot" video is apparently going to be all about trying to corner Democratic politicians on misleading claims. A group of videos posted Sept. 20 feature reporter Nathan Burchfiel buttonholing Democratic congressman on the cherry-picked claim that "violence has been down in the [Iraq] region in the past three months as a result of the troop surge" in ad hoc interviews on what appears to be the little subway system that runs between the Capitol and congressional office buildings.

Such interviews appear to be more about trying to corner the congressmen into making an embarassing off-message statement than eliciting actual useful information from them. That appears to be the one thing CNS learned from George Allen's "macaca" debacle -- its attempt to use Jim Webb's fiction against him, in conjunction with Allen's campaign, came off as the desperate move it was.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:00 AM EDT
Thursday, September 20, 2007
NewsBusters Runs to Defense of 'Jena Six' Victim
Topic: NewsBusters

A Sept. 20 NewsBusters post by Matthew Balan claims that CNN and USA Today's coverage of the racially charged "Jena Six" controversy -- which culminated in the charging of a group of black teenagers in the beating of a white student -- is "burying mention of the teenager who was beaten by the six high school students, or not mentioning him at all." But Balan omitted a notable fact about the beaten student.

Balan claimed that a article "didn’t mention Justin Barker until the twenty-second paragraph of the story"; he then excerpted the section of the article that described how the teens allegedly "knocked out Justin Barker -- a white classmate -- while stomping and kicking him during a school fight," adding, "Barker was taken to a hospital with injuries to both eyes and ears as well as cuts. His right eye had blood clots."

But Balan didn't mention one relevant fact: Hours after the fight, according to the Alexandria Town Talk, Barker "attended a ring ceremony at the high school" that evening, suggesting that his injuries weren't all that serious or life-threatening.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:15 PM EDT
MRC Rather Stuck on Memogate Talking Points
Topic: Media Research Center

From CyberAlert items to NewsBusters posts, he Media Research Center is all over Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS over the infamous Bush National Guard story, all of them adhering to the same right-wing talking points: The story was "discredited" because of the use of "forged" documents. This seems like a good time to remind y'all of a couple things.

First, the Thornburgh-Boccardi investigation into the CBS story reached no conclusion as to whether the documents in question were "forgeries." Their report stated: "The Panel was not able to reach a definitive conclusion as to the authenticity of the Killian documents." So whether the documents were "forged" is something of an open question.

Second, as we've previously noted, the MRC has never offered a detailed analysis of the CBS story to pinpoint what, exactly, was "discredited" -- and what wasn't -- by the questionable nature of the documents. You'd think an organization with "research" as its middle name would be interested in doing a little, you know, research.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:49 PM EDT
Cinnamon Stillwell: An Update
Topic: The ConWeb

In January 2006, we noted that conservative blogger Cinnamon Stillwell, in embracing right-wing Jewish extremists and whitewashing their violent backgrounds, was acting not unlike WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein.

Now, as Sadly, No! reports, Stillwell has fulfilled her destiny by serving up a fawning review of Klein's new WND-published book detailing his gimmick of talking to terrorists who just happen to say things that rile up his conservative readers.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:21 AM EDT
Sheppard Hearts Drudge's Inaccurate Headlines
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Sept. 19 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard responded to criticism by Time's Joe Klein of a banner headline on the Drudge Report describing Hillary Clinton's proposed health care plan as "HEALTH INSURANCE PROOF REQUIRED FOR WORK" though the Associated Press article Drudge linked to didn't say that such a requirement was a component of the plan. Sheppard writes:

Klein concluded: "How stupid does he think we are? Answer: Extremely dumbolic."

Actually, Joe, if this is what Drudge thinks of your intellectual capacity, I have to agree with him.

After all, here's the money quote from Hillary that I suggest you read veeeerrrry sllllooowwwly: "you have to show proof to your employer that you're insured as a part of the job interview - like when your kid goes to school and has to show proof of vaccination."

Honestly, Joe: What don't you get about that?

If in the future, prospective employees are going to have to show proof of insurance to a prospective employer, wouldn't that indeed mean "HEALTH INSURANCE PROOF REQUIRED FOR WORK?"

Seems pretty simple to understand, so much so that even a third grader would.

Want me to get you a third grader to help you with this in the future?

Sheppard curiously leaves out what the AP article reported immediately before quoting Clinton as saying, "you have to show proof to your employer that you're insured": "She said she could envision a day when..."

We'll type very slowly so Sheppard understands: "envision" refers to something that has not occured. If Hillary Clinton is "envisioning" that "you have to show proof to your employer that you're insured as a part of the job interview," that means she has not made that a requirement of the health care plan she is proposing now. Drudge's putting those words in a banner headline suggests that such a thing is imminent when it is not.

Noel, honey, current events are not the same as events that might happen in the future. Even a third-grader can tell you that. 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:07 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
'Medieval' and Misleading
Topic: NewsBusters

A Sept. 18 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd repeats a claim by blogger Mark Shea that "the mainstream media" has called Pope Benedict XVI "medieval" 169,000 times. Shepherd changed "mainstream media" to "biased secular media."

The problem is, the only evidence Shea and Shepherd offer in support is a Google search. Shea offers no indication that he narrowed Google's search parameters to focus on only "mainstream media," nor does he indicate that he weeded out articles in which the word "medieval" is not specifically describing the pope. Indeed, Shea appears to have done nothing more than plug "Benedict XVI" and "medieval" into the general Google search engine, which pulls in much more than the "mainstream media" (or even the "biased secular media").

Given the MRC's lax research standards, though, that appears to be good enough for Shepherd to declare "bias."

Posted by Terry K. at 6:10 PM EDT
New Article: Aaron Klein's Hebron Hijinks
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Jerusalem reporter again hides the right-wing extremist backgrounds of the people he's writing about -- and won't admit they're linked to the "outlawed" extremists he purports to deplore. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 AM EDT
Quote of the Day
Topic: Accuracy in Media

From a Sept. 18 Family Security Matters column by Mike Cutler, reprinted at Accuracy in Media, about the DREAM Act, which would would provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrant students and permit them to be eligible for in-state college tuition rates:

So what would the provisions of this amendment provide?

1. In-state tuition for illegal aliens, a benefit that even our own US citizen college kids do not have.

Actually, "US citizen college kids" who attend college in the state where they live do, in fact, receive in-state tuition rates (which would seem to be the self-evident point of it). Further, the benefit is not for all "illegal aliens," as Cutler appears to claim, but for those who meet certain criteria -- foremost among them having arrived in the United States as a child.

According to his bio, Cutler "is a Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies and a well-respected authority on immigration and border security issues." On what planet are such absurd, non-factual claims considered "well-respected"?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:15 AM EDT
Knight: 'Inaccurate' to Call Gay Marriage Ban a Gay Marriage Ban
Topic: NewsBusters

A Sept. 18 NewsBusters post by Robert Knight (a version of a Culture and Media Insitute item) is headlined, "Post Can’t Disguise Disgust for Pro-marriage Maryland Ruling." In it, Knight claimed that the Washington Post showed "bias" by calling a law upheld by a Maryland appeals court defining marriage as between one man and one woman "the state’s ban on gay marriage": "That’s as inaccurate as describing the law as 'the state’s ban on polygamous marriage,' or 'the state’s ban on incestuous marriage' or perhaps 'the state’s ban on interspecies marriage.'"

Well, no. Knight is playing the longtime conservative rhetorical game of treating homosexuality as akin to incest and bestiality. Can Knight identify any significant movement supporting "incestuous marriage" or "interspecies marriage" in Maryland? No, he can't.

Conservatives weren't forcing the passage of "defense of marriage" laws out of fear of "incestuous marriage" or "interspecies marriage"; they feared gay marriage. Thus, since the motivation behind the law was to stop gay marriage, and it does in fact ban gay marriage -- which is exactly what Knight wants -- it's hardly "inaccurate" to call it a "ban on gay marriage."

UPDATE: Knight might want to send a memo to his co-workers at, who headlined a Sept. 18 article on the case "Maryland Court Says No to Same-Sex Marriage."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:50 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2007 2:19 PM EDT

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