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Tuesday, December 18, 2007
NewsBusters Is Inconsistent On Using Single Example to Make Blanket Generalizations
Topic: NewsBusters

A Dec. 17 NewsBusters post by Justin McCarthy suggests that because Fox News did a "softball interview" with Hillary Clinton, it can't possibly be a "right-wing" channel.

Meanwhile, a Dec. 17 NewsBusters post by Mark Finkelstein noted that Chris Matthews "derided" supporters of Hillary Clinton as "castratos" and a "eunuch chorus." But, strangely, he did not follow in McCarthy's footsteps by declaring that this means that MSNBC isn't a liberal channel.

As we've noted, Finkelstein and others at the MRC believe Matthews is a rabid liberal despite copious evidence to the contrary. Indeed, the evidence continues to mount: Media Matters reports that Matthews' negative comments about Hillary far outnumber his positive comments, while his positive comments about Rudy Giuliani outnumber his negative ones. Will Finkelstein and the rest of the MRC ever admit the truth?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:15 PM EST
Will FrontPageMag Admit Conservative Student's Beating Hoax?
Topic: Horowitz

A Dec. 18 FrontPageMag item repeats a Dec. 17 New York Sun article about Francisco Nava, a Princeton student described as "leading a movement to instill conservative moral values among undergraduates" who claimed he was assaulted and had received email threats.

But the Sun has since issued an update, linked to from its original article, stating that Nava "has said that he fabricated the assault, and that he sent e-mail death threats to himself, three other Princeton students, and a prominent conservative professor at Princeton."

A search of FrontPageMag indicates that it has not informed its readers that the alleged beating of Nava was a hoax. Will it ever tell its readers the truth? We'll see.

UPDATE: Media Matters has more details. Also, the Horowitz group Students for Academic Freedom similarly repeats the original Sun article but not that the story is a hoax.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:44 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, December 19, 2007 2:00 AM EST
Shocker: Unruh Talks To Someone Associated With Gays!
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh seems to be expanding his horizons: He includes an entire paragraph in a news article in which it appears he talked to someone who works for a group associated with gays.

In a Dec. 18 article featuring yet another attack on a California law that requires that applies anti-discrimination laws to students -- which, of course, he deliberately misconstrues as "advocating homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism and other alternative lifestyle choices" -- includes the following paragraph:

And Ali Bay of Equality California told WND the new law "doesn't require that any specific curriculum be included in California's classrooms." 

We commend Unruh for screwing up his courage to deign to actually speak to someone who is not like him and works for a group that has close ties to gay people. That's one step to becoming a real journalist, which you would nearly three decades with the Associated Press, where he worked before joining WND, would have taught him by now. (As we've documented, it hasn't.)

That and the two preceding paragraphs, though, are the only paragraphs in the article in which an alternative view is permitted. Unruh spends the rest of the article repeating alarmist claims by opponents of the law and suggesting that specific books that he claims "advocat[es] homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism and other alternative lifestyle choices" -- an invocation of the depiction-equals-approval fallacy -- are imminent, despite his quoting of Bay that no specific curriculum is required. And Unruh immediately countered the above paragraph by writing:

Technically it is correct that the law doesn't "require inclusion." But opponents say it does now ban anything that can be "perceived" as being discriminatory, up to and including references to "mom" and "dad" or "husband" and "wife."

Unruh, of course, does not permit Bay to specifically address these claims -- perhaps because they are based purely on speculation and Bay would undermine that.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:41 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, December 18, 2007 9:43 AM EST
ConWeb Duels Over Global Warming Conerence
Topic: Accuracy in Media

For many months, NewsBusters has informed readers that when it comes to current events involving global warming, if you have any interest in learning the facts, or at least a close approximation of them, you must rely upon foreign press outlets.

What transpired on Saturday is a perfect example of this maxim: after the United States got virtually everything it wanted from the United Nations climate change conference in Bali, it gave in to a relatively minor demand from delegates of developing countries.


As NewsBusters mentioned yesterday, this was a HUGE victory for America and the Bush administration, as such nations have been refusing for years to participate in carbon emissions cuts. By holding to its position all day Friday, and threatening this conference with resulting in absolutely nothing after almost two weeks of deliberations, the U.S. forced developing nations to finally accept their responsibility in this matter. 

-- Noel Sheppard, Dec. 16 NewsBusters post

Our national “news” programs have been preoccupied with baseball players on steroids, but they should devote some attention to the Bush Administration’s approval of a plan to put the United Nations on steroids. Apparently looking to leave office with the blessings of the “international community,” the Bush Administration just sold out American interests at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia.  


As usual, Americans will pay and get nothing in return. This time, it is worse―a U.S. administration is giving away our sovereignty to unelected bureaucrats and global elitists. 

-- Cliff Kincaid, Dec. 17 Accuracy in Media column 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:56 AM EST
Monday, December 17, 2007
No Bias, Just Hillary-Bashing
Topic: NewsBusters

Mark Finkelstein threw out some red meat for the Hillary-haters at NewsBusters in a Dec. 16 post, hurling all sorts of invective her way, asserting that she was "at her platitudinous worst," that she "exuded all the joie de vivre of an undertaker in a cold December rain," and concluding, "Can a presidential candidate so lacking in the basic tools of the politician's trade be successful?"

Finkelstein can certainly bash the heck out of Hillary if he wants, but how does this fit in with the MRC's purported mission of ferreting out liberal bias? (Unless, of course, Clinton-bashing is now an official MRC mission.) The excuse Finkelstein gave for his diatribe is that news outlets are being critical of Hillary or airing unflattering clips -- which contradicts the thesis of a new book by a certain MRC president.

Finkelstein bashed Hillary again in a Dec. 17 post, asserting she "was in full cackle." He then adds at the end, referring to his earlier post: "To those who might say I'm being unfair, criticizing Hillary for her mirthlessness yesterday and now for her madcap laughter today, I say let's hear it for authenticity . . . and the happy medium." We say the guy hates Hillary so much he's constantly on the prowl for any flimsy excuse to attack her.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:54 PM EST
Has Corsi Betrayed His 'Minutemen' Co-Author?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Dec. 15 WorldNetDaily article by Jerome Corsi features numerous figures in the Minutemen anti-immigration movement attacking Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist's endorsement of Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. But Corsi offered no in-depth examination on controversies involving the Minutemen and the split between its two factions and fails to disclouse his own conflict of interest.

Nowhere does Corsi mention that he co-wrote a book with Gilchrist promoting the Minutemen's efforts. Further, while Corsi gave Gilchrist a chance to discuss the reasons behind his endorsement, they consititute only three paragraphs of Corsi's 23-paragraph article; the vast majority of the remainder are attacks on Gilchrist by others in the anti-immigraiton movement. That would seem to be a betrayal of sorts of Gilchrist by Corsi and a choosing of sides with Gilchrist's former Minuteman partner, Chris Simcox, whom Corsi prominently quotes attacking Gilchrist.

Corsi only lightly touches upon the split between Gilchrist's Minuteman Project and Simcox's Minuteman Civil Defense League, noting only that the groups "split two years ago over funding" and that they are "completely separate organizations of citizen volunteers seeking to curb illegal immigration."

But there's a lot more to the sitution than a "split" over "funding." As the Washington Post reported earlier this year:

Former leaders of the Minuteman Project accuse founder Jim Gilchrist, 58, of using $300,000 of the group's money to support his pet causes, including promoting a book he co-wrote and funding an unsuccessful run for Congress in a 2005 special election. Last month, saying they are the group's board of directors, they took over the Minuteman Project Web site and bank accounts, and fired Gilchrist as president.

Gilchrist fired back with a lawsuit accusing his former associates of defamation. He maintains that they have no standing to fire him from the California-based organization. He also accuses them of hacking into the Minuteman Project's Web site, stealing a donor database and pilfering his personal stationery, all of which the organization relies on to raise money.


This is not the first time the group has fractured. The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps has operated separately from the Minuteman Project since December 2005, after a bitter internal dispute over funding.

David Neiwert has more details on that 2005 dispute.

Meanwhile, Simcox is embroiled in his own funding controversy, as we've noted. Simcox's group has been attempting to build a border fence, promising to its funders that it would be 14 feet high and topped with razor wire. The fence the group has built, however, is a mere cattle fence-like five-strand barbed-wire fence.

WND has not previously reported on these controversies in detail, and Corsi's article appears to be the first instance in which WND has mentioned them at all. Since it looks like Corsi has taken a position against his old co-author, we may see more WND attacks on Gilchrist. But given the prominence that Corsi gave Simcox's attacks on Gilchrist, we may not hear a peep about Simcox's scandal.

In an apparent attempt to make up for all this Gilchrist-bashing, a Dec. 16 article by Corsi is devoted almost entirely to Gilchrist's point of view, in which he explains that his endorsement of Huckabee is conditional, "based on a tough understanding of the former governor's 'Secure America Plan' to oust all illegal aliens, or put them behind bars." But again, Corsi fails to note that he co-wrote a book with Gilchrist. 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:45 AM EST
More One-Sided Reporting by Unruh on Homeschooling
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Dec. 16 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh uncritically repeats allegations made by a Utah woman who homeschools her children, telling only her side of the story without any apparent effort at verification or giving state officials a fair opportunity to respond.

Unruh reported that Denise Mafi claimed that a judge issued a "threat" that the state "would order her children taken away from her" over a homeschooling dispute purportedly centering on a paperwork issue. Unruh offers no evidence that he verified Mafi's claims; he merely notes that "A WND call to the prosecutor in the case did not get a response, nor did other judicial officials respond to inquiries about the situation." In other words, Unruh did not bother to wait until officials were available to tell their side of the story before publishing his one-sided article.

Unruh went on to liken these state officials to Nazis, stating that "such threats are becoming more and more common in Germany, but that nation still lives by a Nazi-era law that makes homeschooling illegal." This is in reference to a German case in which, as we detailed, Unruh similarly denied officials a fair opportunity to respond and treated homeschoolers' claims as unassailable fact.

Unruh has a history of this kind of unbalanced, unfair reporting, particularly on the issue of homeschooling; Unruh's own children are homeschooled, which makes him clearly biased on the subject (and apparently prone to likening anyone who disagrees as Nazis).

Posted by Terry K. at 1:05 AM EST
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Newsmax Headline Watch
Topic: Newsmax

Headline on Dec. 15 Reuters article: "Lead in doubt, Clinton knocks on N.Hampshire doors."

Newsmax's headline on the same Reuters article: "Desperate Hillary Knocks on N. Hampshire Doors."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:30 PM EST
Dan Riehl Irony Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

Dan Riehl writes in a Dec. 12 NewsBusters post: "That's the way the [liberal] Netroots play - fast, dirty and cheap, as in shot."

Riehl, of course, knows from fast and dirty cheap shots, having falsely accused S.R. Sidarth of racist behavior in order to get back at him for being called "macaca" by George Allen. (Has Riehl ever apologized to Sidarth for that? We don't think so.)

Riehl goes on to accuse the "netroots" of having "no regard for accuracy." Oh, the irony.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:17 AM EST
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Maybe the question should not be whether Jesus and the devil are related, but Hillary and the devil.

I mean, let's face it, when you talk about the characteristics of Satan, they seem similar in a lot of ways to folks closely watching the actions of the Clintons.


There is no evidence that Satan and Jesus are brothers. Their words, actions and desires are completely opposite of each other. But, at the very least, one can build a strong circumstantial case that Hillary and Satan could well be siblings.

-- Craig R. Smith, Dec. 15 WorldNetDaily column

Posted by Terry K. at 10:40 AM EST
WND Loves Morrison's Scandal, Ignores Kline's
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Two WorldNetDaily articles, on Dec. 13 and Dec. 14, prominently feature a sex scandal involving Kansas attorney general Paul Morrison (who has since resigned because of it). Neither story mentions the investigation of improprieties -- including failure to live in the county where he works as mandated by law and allegations that he's not putting in all that many hours at work -- by Phill Kline, whom Morrison defeated for the attorney general post in 2006 and who succeeded Morrison as Johnson County, Kansas, district attorney after leaving office.

As we noted, WND columnist Jack Cashill mentioned the controversy around Kline but got the facts wrong and ignored key accusations. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:52 AM EST
Friday, December 14, 2007
Kincaid's Savage Attacks
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A Dec. 14 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid continues to profess to be outraged that "being pressured to stop sponsoring" Michael Savage's radio show "because he dares to exercise his First Amendment right of free speech and to criticize Islam." Again, Kincaid fails to note his previous support of boycotts of people or causes he opposes, and he fails to note Savage's lawsuit against the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is spearheading the Savage boycott, or Savage's previous efforts to pursue litigation against his critics.

Kincaid goes on to smear gays, suggesting that all gays are like the ones who participate in San Francisco's Folsom Street Fair -- in which, Kincaid asserts, ther were "naked homosexuals masturbating and having sex in public as children walked down the streets near them. Some were dressed up as animals being led around by leashes. Others were dressed in leather and being whipped" -- and therefore undeserving of federal hate-crime protection. (Kincaid has a thing against gays.)

And apparently just to prove that he's a classy guy like Savage, Kincaid beats the dead horse of Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick, calling waterboarding, which Kennedy opposes, is merely "a few seconds of discomfort," that Kennedy "let a young girl die in the bottom of his submerged car," which "was a fate much worse than waterboarding," and that Kennedy purportedly believes terrorists "should enjoy more rights than Mary Jo Kopechne, who died in that car struggling to breathe as the water enveloped her." Kincaid went on to insist that "In [Kennedy's] warped world view, real people and real victims such as Mary Jo Kopechne have no rights."

No wonder Kincaid is defending Savage so zealously -- he wants to be just like the guy. Does this mean that he believes, like Savage, that "90 percent of the people on the Nobel Committee are into child pornography and molestation"?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:13 PM EST
Updated: Friday, December 14, 2007 1:26 PM EST
WND Explains Away Shooter's Homeschooling History
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Remember when we predicted that WorldNetDaily, having finally conceded the fact that Colorado church shooter Matthew Murray was homeschooled, would endeavor to explain it away to protect homeschoolers? It has begun.

A Dec. 14 WND article plays up the claim that Murray "apparently boasted in an e-mail that he had discovered and practiced the teachings of controversial British occultist Aleister Crowley, called during his lifetime 'the wickedest man in the world.'" WND even tacitly admits its motive in doing this article:

Pastor Joe Schimmel told WND he recalled the October e-mail when he read the postings, included in WND stories, attributed to Murray. He said he thinks it's important for people to know what the attacker himself was feeling and thinking prior to his homicidal attack, especially since he's been described in the media as a homeschooled student from a religious family.


"What he really is, is a Satanist, subscribing to the teachings of Aleister Crowley," said Schimmel, who told WND other leaders in the Crowley image have included Timothy O'Leary and Alfred Kinsey.

Alfred Kinsey was a Satanist? Look for Judith Reisman to start reciting this as fact soon.

WND ties this story in with today's opt-in poll, which asks, "Who do you think is the 'wickedest man on Earth' today?" Leading the poll at this point are George Soros and Hillary Clinton, who are both far ahead of Osama bin Laden. Insert your own joke about WND's target audience here.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:04 AM EST
Cashill Whitewashes Kline Scandal
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Dec. 13 WorldNetDaily column by Jack Cashill had a goal of whitewashing allegations against Phill Kline, the anti-abortion activist and former Kansas attorney general now working as district attorney in Johnson County, Kansas. If only it weren't for those meddling facts.

Cashill writes of the investigation of Kline done by Kansas City TV station KCTV:

The KCTV-5 staff spent nine months stalking the beleaguered Kline and waited for sweeps week in late November to share its much-anticipated findings.

Except that there was nothing to share. OK, although Kline did have a "residence" in Johnson County, where he spent several nights a week, he and his wife kept a home in Topeka, the state capital, so their daughter did not have to switch high schools. Kline freely admitted as much.

And that was about it. 

Um, no. From KCTV's report:

KCTV5 News caught up with Kline as he was leaving the Johnson County courthouse one afternoon and asked him about where he lived.

He pointed out that he owned a home in Topeka, but that he also had the apartment in Stilwell.

KCTV5 News frequently found his wife's car, which was also registered to the Stilwell address, at the home Phill Kline owns in Topeka.

KCTV5 spent weeks waiting and watching for him to show up there -- more than a dozen times early in the morning and late at night -- but not once did KCTV5 News see Kline in Stilwell.

Stilwell is a town in Johnson County; Topeka is not. Kansas law requires district attorneys to live in the county where they work. 

Cashill ignored completely the other main finding of the KCTV investigation: that Kline spent an average of only 29 hours a week in the office and found 24 weekdays during which Kline never clocked in or out at all. The station cites another district attorney who suggests the job can't be done "in less than roughly 50 to 60 hours a week."

As we've detailed, this is the kind of "reporting" we've come to expect from Cashill.

Cashill also noted in support of his attack that KCTV's investigation of Kline was "– in the words of the dependably anti-Kline alternative newspaper, the Pitch – even 'creepy.'" While the Pitch blog post from which Cashill pulled this word did indeed question the aggressiveness of the investigation and the reliability of the keycard info from which KCTV assembled Kline's at-work time, it also contains this interesting tidbit:

According to Web site Kansas Meadowlark, Kline spoke about the surveillance at a November 14 meeting of the Zenith Boosters Club. Kline complained about a camera crew tailing his daughter and the KCTV helicopter hovering over his property, according to this post. (Zenith head Jack Cashill declined to allow The Pitch to attend that meeting.)

Gee, Cashill didn't mention anything about this. Does the term "conflict of interest" mean anything to him? 

Posted by Terry K. at 10:30 AM EST
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Huston Keeps Up the Wackiness, Sycophancy
Topic: NewsBusters

So, Warner Todd Huston, you've just been the recipient of a highly coveted NewsBusted profile. What do you do now?

Why, more of the same, of course.

A Dec. 12 NewsBusters post accused the Chicago Sun-Times of endangering the life of the  son of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley by reporting that he is being deployed to Afghanistan: "Has this somewhat specific news endangered his life and/or that of his fellow soldiers now that the enemy has been told that the son of a famous politician is on his way to a specific theater of action as well as being told a targeted window of departure?" Huston does not mention whether he also thinks the son of Republican congressman and presidential candidate Duncan Hunter (who is also named Duncan Hunter, and who is also running for his dad's congressional seat) endangered himself and his fellow soldiers by announcing on his campaign website that he's been deployed to Afghanistan, just like Daley's son.

A Dec. 13 post keeps up Huston's Fred Thompson sycophancy by lashing out at ABC for characterizing Thompson's refusal to raise his hand in answer to a question on whether he supported the idea of man-made global warming as a "tantrum", insisting that Thompson was trying "to improve the depth of debate held that day" and expressing a "sensible and adult desire to engage in real debate." Huston added: "These are substantive and serious points made by candidate Thompson and his principled refusal to play the moderator's empty headed game deserves applause in stead of derision."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:06 PM EST

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