WND Ignores Pyramid Scheme Aspect of 'Liberty Dollars' Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has published four articles on the raid of a company that issued "Liberty Dollars," an alternative form of currency -- on Nov. 16, Nov. 17, Dec. 1, and Dec. 27. All of these articles have several things in common -- they copoiously quote Liberty Dollar officials and supporters, they limit response to federal officials on the raid to pointing out their opposition to alternative currency (WND hates the Federal Reserve, so this unfairness is unsurprising), and they ignore one key component of the feds' case against the Liberty Dollar.
As the affidavit supporting the raid and seizure states (h/t Reason, David Neiwert), the folks behind the Liberty Dollar were essentially running the enterprise as a "multi-level marketing scheme," giving the company and its associates a profit for putting the coins into circulation.
Rather than reporting that, WND does things like the Nov. 17 article by Bob Unruh, who quotes company founder Bernard von NotHaus at length and makes no apparent effort to contact federal officials to respond to Von NotHaus' claims (i.e., "Make no mistake, the FBI and Secret Service raid on the Liberty Dollar ... was a direct assault against the U.S. Constitution and your right to own and use gold and silver in any way you choose"). It's yet another example of unblanaced journalism by a reporter with a long history of it and who ought to know better.
Gore Derangement Syndrome Watch Topic: NewsBusters
"In a year when a charlatan -- one that has done absolutely zip, zero, zilch to solve the various wars raging across the globe, several involving his native country -- can win a Nobel Peace Prize, nothing should come as a shock."
As an added bonus, later in the post Sheppard takes offense to a statement in a Dallas Morning News editorial declaring the illegal immigrant "Texan of the Year" that opposition to illegal immigration in part "derives from racist sentiment." Sheppard never bothers to actually disprove the statement -- perhaps because he can't -- so he instead fumes that "the issues of terrorism and national security in this piece were totally ignored."
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah's Dec. 29 WorldNetDaily column lets loose another string of invective at the Clintons, further cementing WND's role as the designated Clinton-haters of the ConWeb.
In his column, Farah calls the Clintons "the most corrupt, unhappy, unsatisfied, miserable, power-mad, ambitious, immoral people in public life," adding, "Neither of these people have ever lifted a finger to help someone around them who was in trouble, in crisis." As a bonus, Farah calls Bill Clinton a "no-good, puffed-up, ego-maniacal, lying, serial-adulterer husband" and Hillary "a dyed-in-the-wool Marxist activist," concluding that one should "avoid people like the Clintons as you would avoid drug-resistant staph infections." Farah serves up no evidence to support his claims, of course, even as he demands specifics for claims Hillary has made.
Farah goes on to attack the Children's Defense Fund as a "socialist organization" and "an effort to use the plight of poor children to confiscate and redistribute other people's wealth." Farah doesn't support that claim either.
This is followed up with a Dec. 31 column by Carey Roberts that purports to document Hillary's "ardent embrace of a radical gender ideology." The column is filled with out-of-context quotes; it concludes by noting that the definition of "equal rights for women" includes "[n]o mention of equal rights for men." That misses the whole point of equal rights for women, which is to make them equal to men. Does Roberts have a problem with that?
For Huston, Name-Calling = Political Analysis Topic: NewsBusters
In a Dec. 29 NewsBusters post, Warner Todd Huston calls blogger Steve Benen "young Stevie" and an "Internet gadfly," claims that Benen "wasn't a very attentive intern" when he worked in the Clinton White House and engages in a "childish, low-brow style of writing" and is an "infant tyro" to boot.
What did Benen do to warrant such name-calling? In Huston's words, Benen engaged in "wild-eyed name calling in place of real political discourse."
On top of that, of course, Huston can't get his facts straight. The Benen post that got Huston's panties in a bunch was a Washington Monthly post about the New York Times' hiring of William Kristol as a columnist, in which, in Huston's words, "Benen calls Kristol a 'cast off from Time magazine,' a writer of 'shallow, predictable tripe,' an embarrassment,' a speaker with 'bitter, sycophantic belligerence," a 'thug,' 'clownish,' and says that The New York Times has 'damned standards and consequences" to have hired him.'"
As Benen hismelf pointed out in a response on his own blog, the Carpetbagger Report:
In this case, Huston removes the context a bit. I quoted Jonathan Chait using the word “thug” in relation to Kristol. Huston apparently thought this context would undermine his criticism of me personally, so he omitted it in order to say use of the word “thug” represents a “childish, low-brow style of writing.”
Huston, meanwhile, took his own response to the response to his own website, Publius' Forum, in which he declared that "Nothing is particularly worth quoting from his reply." Especially not the part about Huston taking Benen out of context. Or all of his own name-calling.
Corsi Still Sniping at Gilchrist Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Dec. 29 WorldNetDaily article by Jerome Corsi keeps up hisattacks on co-author and Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist for endorsing Mike Huckabee and his plan on dealing with illegal immigration, making sure to snipe that "Gilchrist was hard pressed to explain to incredulous radio hosts how 100,000 illegal immigrants were going to self-deport themselves per day to achieve the stated goal."
As before, nowhere does Corsi disclose that he and Gilchrist wrote a book together -- a clear conflict of interest.
In a Dec. 28 NewsBusters post, Warner Todd Huston attacked a UPI article as further proof that the media is, among other things, "heavily left leaning and biased."
As we noted the last time Huston did this, UPI is owned by the Moonies and a sister company of the conservative Washington Times, so while UPI is a lot of things, "heavily left leaning" is not one of them.
But, hey, Huston also thinks Richard Mellon Scaife's newspaper in Pittsburgh and the Boston Herald are liberal. Can we get whatever it is he's smoking?
MRC Ignores Study Results That Contradict MRC Topic: Media Research Center
A Dec. 27 NewsBusters post by Tom Blumer touts a new study by "a leading nonpartisan media watchdog, the Center for Media and Public Affairs" claiming that "Fox News Channel's evening news show provided more balanced coverage than its counterparts on the broadcast networks" of the 2008 presidential campaign. But while Blumer lists the study's breakdown of positive vs. negative coverage for Republican candidates, he doesn't do the same for Democratic candidates -- and, thus, ignores the study's headline claim: "Election Study Finds Media Hit Hillary Hardest."
According to the study, "On-air evaluations of Hillary Clinton were nearly 3 to 2 negative (42% positive vs. 58% negative comments. ... Sen. Clinton was evaluated more often than alll her Democratic opponents combined."
This pretty much contradicts the message promoted by the MRC for years, most recently in MRC president Brent Bozell's new (factually challenged) Hillary-bashing book -- that the media has been giving Hillary a free ride. Indeed, in his Dec. 25 column, Bozell mocked Hillary's campaign for complaining about negative coverage and Time's Mark Halperin for pointing it out, even though one of the MRC's favorite sources of research -- the CMPA's director, Robert Lichter, co-authored a 1981 study finding that the "media elite" hold liberal views, which the MRC prominently touts -- confirms those suspicions.
Kessler: Nobody's Buying My Romney-Fluffing! Topic: Newsmax
Ronald Kessler sounds a little hacked off at the start of his Dec. 26 Newsmax column:
Last April, Newsmax magazine ran a cover story headlined, “Romney to the Rescue: Romney’s Got the Right Stuff for 2008.”
Based on interviews I conducted with Mitt Romney and his friends, family, and aides, as well as with critics and neutral observers, the profile depicted him as a remarkably successful businessman and conservative governor with impeccable character.
Since the Newsmax article appeared nothing has changed.
Kessler then hacks away at Romney's Republican presidential rivals, noting that unlike certain other candidates, Romney hasn't "appointed a close friend as police chief who has since been indicted for dealings involving figures with ties to the Mafia," "has not been revealed to have a lazy streak," has not "commuted or pardoned 1,033 criminals, including 12 murderers" or "has not been found to have a vicious, out–of-control temper."
Kessler goes on insist that "the public’s perception of Romney has been distorted by the lens of media coverage and televised debates that focus on the trivial and irrelevant," followed by the greatest hits of his Romney-fluffing (though, thankfully, not his creepy fawning of Romney's wife). He concludes: "The Newsmax cover story last April called Romney 'The Reagan Candidate.' That is as true today as it was then."
The only thing missing was the tag, "I'm Mitt Romney, and I approve this message."
Shocker: Finkelstein Sorta Concedes Matthews Isn't a Total Liberal Topic: NewsBusters
Is Mark Finkelstein admitting reality about Chris Matthews?
As we've noted, Finkelstein has often used his NewsBusters posts to bash Matthews as an evil, unrepentant liberal (one post, for instance, accused Matthews of taking a "plunge off the Olbermann end of the pool"), despite the copious evidence to the contrary.
But Finkelstein seems to finally be conceding the truth. In a Dec. 27 post noting Matthews's statement that he has a "conservative gut" but liberal beliefs on some social issues, Finkelstein adds: "In fairness, I have heard Matthews express the odd conservative sentiment, as when he praises the way Rudy Giuliani got tough on crime in NYC or blasts Hillary's big-government giveaways."
Good job, Mark -- NewsBusters has taken a small step toward reality and fairness. Now if you can get Noel Sheppard to stop smearing Al Gore ...
MRC Turns on Halperin Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center loved Mark Halperin a year ago.
In an Oct. 31, 2006, "Media Reality Check," Rich Noyes touted how Halperin -- then with ABC News, now with Time magazine -- "admitted that the media elite have a bias problem." The MRC even gave Halperin a year-end "Recognizing the Obvious Award for Admitting There's Liberal Media Bias."
How times change. Brent Bozell's Dec. 25 column turns on Halperin with a vengence, excoriating Halperin's claim that Hillary Clinton is "held to a different standard." Bozell offers no evidence to contradict Halperin's claim; rather, he excoriates Halperin as a liberal shill with an "ardor about a Hillary-betraying media" who has "connections to the Clintons" and who just happens to be "the son of ultraliberal Morton Halperin, who not only served in Bill Clinton’s administration, but helped found the Center for American Progress, Hillary’s think tank and government in exile."
And no, Bozell didn't mention his organization's previous praise of Halperin, nor did the MRC mention Halperin's damning liberal associations in praising him in 2006.
The MRC turned on Halperin rather quickly. It's such a fickle mistress.
NewsBusters' Warner Todd Huston continues his Fred Thompson sycophancy by using a Dec. 26 post to promote a Human Events column by Jed Babbin making a dubious claim about the purported bias of the Associated Press.
The AP's crime, according to Babbin? Reporting the news -- specifically that Tom Tancredo, upon his quitting his quest for the Republican presidential nomination, endorsed Mitt Romney, which the AP described as a "stinging setback" and "a disappointment to Thompson." Babbin countered:
There is a small problem with the AP story: the facts. Tancredo did endorse Romney, but Thompson actually benefited from Tancredo’s withdrawal, possibly more than Romney did.
Why? Because Tancredo's state chairman in Iowa joined Thompson's campaign. Not reporting this, Babbin insisted, was "the functional equivalent of an attack ad directed at Thompson." Babbin offers no evidence to support this claim other than calling the chairman "the sort of worker bee a campaign likes to have on its side."
But, worker bee or not, Tancredo never polled more than 2 percent in Iowa. Why would Thompson benefit from this guy when Tancredo apparently didn't?
Such specious evidence, of course, didn't keep Huston from using Babbin's column as evidence that the AP is "an unpaid arm of the Democrat [sic] Party."
Huston's Outrage Knows No Holiday Topic: NewsBusters
Warner Todd Huston is outraged, in a Dec. 25 NewsBusters post, that the Google logo for the day features "a bow and candy cane": "Google doesn't want to cause any outrage by using the words 'Merry Christmas.'"
Uh, Warner, show us any previous instance in which the various holiday and tribute tweakings of the Google logo over the years has included any words other than Google. Otherwise, you look like a silly, paranoid, uncharitable goose on this wonderful Christmas Day.
Dude, you've had a long year of expressing misinformation, misplaced outrage, and Fred Thompson sycophancy. Use the holidays to get some rest.
Aaron Klein Gets Basic Facts Wrong Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Dec. 24 WorldNetDaily column by Aaron Klein attacked "a widely circulated piece by Associated Press writers Dion Nissenbaum and Cliff Churgin" for "paint[ing] a picture that squarely blames Israel" for the plight of Christians in Bethlelem.
Klein gets a basic fact wrong. Nissenbaum and Churgin don't work for the AP; they work for McClatchy Newspapers.
Now, here's a challenge for WND: Should it decide to correct Klein's factual error, will it admit the error to its readers -- as the vast majority of news outlets do when they correct a factual error in their news copy -- or will it silently make the change without alerting its readers? (We have screenshots, so we can document any before-and-after work.) The same error appears in a version of Klein's column appearing at Ynetnews.com.
Klein also misrepresents Nissenbaum and Churgin's article, though we don't expect WND to correct that. Klein writes, "The piece implied the wall caused the crash of Bethlehem's economy and prompted Christians to flee." Klein knows from implying things, since he got caught implying that Fox News paid a ransom for two of its journalists kidnapped in Gaza and had to walk it back, all the while insisting that he never implied such a thing: "I cannot stand idly by while others misrepresent and falsify my words to wrongly smear America's best cable news network."
That hasn't stopped Klein from misrepresenting Nissenbaum and Churgin's reporting, though. In fact, they offered some evidence for their suggestion -- the pastor of a Baptist church in Bethlehem, who said, "Building of the wall has prevented people from finding work. People see there are better opportunities outside the country," and a sociologist who said, "The answer is not religious. ... Rather it's a political, economic phenomenon, and unless there is political stability and economic prosperity, the more skilled, prosperous Palestinians will be leaving — both Christians and Muslims."
While Klein goes on an anti-Muslim tirade, implying (there's that word again) that Nissenbaum and Churgin laid no blame on Muslims for tensions in Bethlehem, he fails to note that the article did state this: "The steady influx of Muslims has brought more conservative values to Bethlehem and created periodic tensions, especially among Christians, who sometimes feel like a beleaguered minority."
Klein offers no evidence that the border wall did not play a factor in Bethlehem's decline, instead blaming those filthy Muslims: "Israel built the barrier five years ago. But Bethlehem's Christian population started to drastically decline in 1995, the very year Arafat's Palestinian Authority took over the holy Christian city in line with the U.S.-backed Oslo Accords."
Klein is in no position to judge others' reporting when he can't even get basic facts straight in his own.
UPDATE: WND took the coward's way out, correcting Nissenbaum and Churgin's employer to McClatchy -- though at this writing there's still a reference to "the AP piece" -- while not telling its readers of the change or admitting Klein got it wrong in the first place. (Ynet has changed it too, also without noting the change.) And as we promised if WND addressed this in a dishonest manner, here's a screenshot of Klein's original, false claim.
I guess we can take this as a sign that someone at WND (and, apparently, Ynet) reads ConWebWatch, even if they would never admit it publicly or give us any credit for pointing out the shortcomings in their editorial processes. It's a Christmas miracle!
UPDATE 2: Here's a screenshot of the original Ynet article (via Google cache) with with the AP references.
NewsBusters Begs MSM To Attack Huckabee Topic: NewsBusters
Here's a twist: A NewsBusters blogger is begging the media to attack a conservative.
A Dec. 23 post by John Stephenson notes a report that Mike Huckabee received a $35,000 consulting fee from "an embryonic stem cell research group," then asks, "I've been curious as to why no major MSM outlet has picked up on this? I wonder if Tim Russert will ask something about it on Meet the Press?" Stephenson adds: "So how will this make his social defenders feel? Will they look elsewhere? This news so far isn't registering in the MSM. Will it be ignored as if he is the media darling?"
We don't know. We want to know why NewsBusters is trying to put the brakes on Huckabee's surge in the polls. And we wonder: If and when "the MSM" does pick up on this story, will NewsBusters bash said MSM for going negative on a conservative?
UPDATE: In a similar vein, a Dec. 25 post by Mark Finkelstein, rather than showing outrage over an attack on a Republican presidential candidate, actually praises the Politico for offering "some snarky fun" with a "populist pop quiz" that challenges readers "to guess whether it was John Edwards or Mike Huckabee who made the variety of class-warfare claims listed."
Sheppard Misunderstands the Concept of Reporting Topic: NewsBusters
Noel Sheppard used a pair of Dec. 22 NewsBusters posts to launch screeds against the Associated Press -- and in so doing, demonstrate that he has no concept whatsoever about the concept of news reporting.
In the first post, Sheppard took offense to a list of the year's top stories that described the Iraq war this way:
The "surge" that sent more U.S. troops to Iraq was credited with helping reduce the overall level of violence. But thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of U.S. personnel were killed nonetheless during the year, and Iraqi political leaders struggled to make meaningful progress toward national reconciliation.
Good grief! Was such shameful editorializing either important or appropriate?
After all, the real news concerning Iraq this year is indeed that the surge - despite all the media's advanced and coincident errant pessimism - is working.
That's the story!
So, for Sheppard, noting relevant facts is "editorializing."
Sheppard takes a similar tack in another post, headlined "AP Begs Readers to Put More Democrats in Office Next Year." Of course, the article in question does no such thing; it merely reported on the failure of the Democratic-led Congress to accomplish much of its agenda this year due to Republican obstruction. Sheppard offers no evidence to the contrary -- he can't because it's true -- instead fulminating that it was "disgraceful" for the AP to point this out and that it was "mimicking Democrat [sic] talking points" in doing so.
Sheppard then attacked the article for ending with a quote from Democratic Senate Majority Leader, which Sheppard interpreted as a "final sycophantic exclamation point." Sheppard continued: "Could these folks be any more obvious? Much like a Democrat talking points letter of memorandum, this was actually how this AP article ended -- with a distinct call for more Democrats to be put in office next year."
So every article that quotes a Democrat is an endorsement of "Democrat [sic] talking points"? Doesn't he know that it's the function of a genuinely balanced media to report all points of view? Not that Sheppard has any personal experience in doing so, of course, being an alll-too-willing shill for the likes of James Inhofe and Marc Morano on global warming.