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Thursday, January 3, 2008
The Evil of Marketing, Redux
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Remember how WorldNetDaily engaged in some slightly shady techniques to promote David Kupelian's book "The Marketing of Evil"? They're still at it. A Jan. 3 WND article promoting the book begins this way:

The message in "The Marketing of Evil" by David Kupelian certainly has attracted its share of venom, including an unsigned comment, "Will you do me a favor and kill yourself?" and another from Ryan, "I'm SO VERY GLAD I'm not you! Get hit by a bus, please!"

But the article never states where these purported comments came from or offers any evidence that they were not made up by WND marketers. Given that the item is packaged to look like a WND "news" article, one expects a higher standard than repeating (if that's what they're doing) unverified comments.

And apparently to demonstrate that it's not above pushing its own brand of venom, the article adds a rebuttal it claims was taken from the book's page on "This book surely is like holy water dashed on vampires. The vampires being the undead leftists sucking the morality out of humanity like blood. If you hate truth, you will not comprehend this book. If you love it, this book is a must read."

But as we've noted, Kupelian has a somewhat shaky relationship with the truth. In addition to violating journalism ethics standards in turning a story into a blatant promotion for the book, Kupelian used "The Marketing of Evil" to repeat claims about sex researcher Alfred Kinsey (taken from rabid anti-Kinsey activist Judith Reisman) that are either distorted or false.

Further, the headline of the article calls Kupelian a "best-selling author" even though no evidence offered of "The Marketing of Evil" being a best-seller anywhere but at the WND bookstore -- and even then, the proof is suspect. The article states that Kupelian's book "was selected to head the Top Ten list this week at" Not that it is the best-seller; it was "selected to head the Top Ten list." By whom?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:35 AM EST
Compare and Contrast
Topic: Media Research Center

Here's yet another difference between our employer and those other guys.

In a Jan. 1 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham asserted that the Washington Post's Dana Milbank "claim[ed] improbably" that "The press will savage [Hillary Clinton] no matter what, pretty much." Graham cited only three examples to counter Milbank's claim, insisting that "It simply does not matter how many times Hillary Clinton gets tea and sugar cubes from Cynthia McFadden on ABC, or supportive see-her-website publicity from CNN’s Candy Crowley, or how many reporters are cued to ask her what makes her tear up."

Meanwhile, in noting the same Milbank comment, Media Matters points out that among those who have "savage[d]" Hillary is Milbank himself.

Further, as we noted, a study by one of the MRC's favorite conservative-leaning researchers, the Center for Media and Public Affairs, found that the majority of Hillary coverage on TV news has been negative. Graham doesn't say a thing about that.

UPDATE: Greg Sargent notes yet another incident of press hostility toward Hillary. 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:57 AM EST
Updated: Friday, January 4, 2008 5:45 PM EST
Kessler Rehashes Misleading Attacks
Topic: Newsmax

A Dec. 31 Newsmax column by Ronald Kessler touting "another year without a terrorist attack" rehashes false and misleading attacks on "the media and liberal politicians" he has previously made.

Kessler writes:

When the FBI foiled a plot to blow up John F. Kennedy International Airport in June 2007, the New York Times buried the story on page A37 of its final edition. In the dream world of the editors of the New York Times, such threats to America are far less important than the fact that 75-year-old Andrea Mosconi has a job of playing violins in a museum in Italy to keep them in shape, a feature which the Times played on page one the same day.

Kessler ignores the full story. As Times public editor Clark Hoyt noted, "the accused men were a long way from action and that despite the apocalyptic comments of the U.S. attorney, their ability to carry out an attack on the airport was very much open to question," which is what Times editors cited for putting the story inside, as well as being "mindful of a history in which terrorism cases have been blown out of proportion."

Kessler also states that "The USA Patriot Act has torn down the so-called wall imposed by Attorney General Janet Reno, a wall that prevented FBI agents from sharing information with each other and with the CIA." But as we've previously noted, the "wall" between the FBI and CIA was originally erected in 1978 and renewed in August 2001 under Republican Attorney General John Ashcroft. 

Further, Kessler claims that "presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama last August voted against revising the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to allow NSA to continue to monitor calls by foreign terrorists without a warrant even if all parties are situated overseas." As we detailed the last time Kessler did this, Clinton, Obama, and other Democrats who opposed the bill did not do so because they opposed revising FISA in the manner Kessler wanted; rather, the main point of contention was court oversight of the warrantless wiretapping program. Democrats wanted meaningful court oversight; Republicans didn't. Kessler mentions nothing about the court oversight controversy.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 AM EST
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Speaking of Rewriting History ...
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Dec. 31 NewsBusters post, Seton Motley attempts a revisionist version of the Iran-Contra affair, as seen through the eyes of the film "Clear and Present Danger," the plot of which he insists isn't directly comparable to Iran-Contra. He goes on to bash "liberal historian[s]" for making that comparison, then adds:

Harrison Ford's Jack Ryan gets to the bottom of it and at the film's close begins his blockbuster testimony before Congress.  After which we are sure a great many members of the fictitious Administration, including the President, would be soon thereafter frog-marched in shackles out of the White House -- as they were shown throughout the film to be clearly guilty.

By contrast, the Iran-Contra affair occurred, in actuality and not on a Hollywood lot, during the Ronald Reagan Administration.  In which outmoded and outdated weapons were sold to Iran, with the proceeds therefrom going to fund Contra rebels fighting the Communist Sandinistas in Nicaragua.

‘Twas at the time a titanic scandal, at least according to Congressional Democrats and the media.  But after seven years of thorough, partisan investigation, Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh ended up with a grand total of zero (0) upheld convictions.  Meaning try as he might, Walsh could not prove any actual wrongdoing was committed by anyone.

In fact, according to Lawrence Walsh's Iran-Contra report, the sentences of Richard Secord (making false statements to Congress), Carl Channell (conspiracy to defraud the United States) and Thomas Clines (underreporting his earnings to the IRS) appear to have been upheld and served.

Further, the reasons other convictions were not upheld had little to do with failing to prove "any actual wrongdoing." As the Walsh report details, most principals were pardoned -- some even before being sentenced -- and those whose sentences were overturned, such as Oliver North and John Poindexter, were not done for lack of proof but, rather, because there were questions about the use of immunized testimony.

Looks like there was plenty of "actual wrongdoing" proven by Walsh. Will Motley correct himself?

Posted by Terry K. at 4:18 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, January 2, 2008 4:28 PM EST
CNS' Jeffrey Channels WND's Hatred of Public Schools

The questions asked of Mike Huckabee in a Dec. 28 interview by editor in chief Terry Jeffrey demonstrated an anti-public education bias we've typically seen at WorldNetDaily. Here are some of Jeffrey's questions:

  • Can you point to the language in the U.S. Constitution that authorizes the federal government to have a Department of Education or be involved in primary and secondary education?
  • But in principle, you agree with President Reagan that the Department of Education is unconstitutional and the federal government really shouldn't be involved in primary and secondary education?
  • Do you think that No Child Left Behind Act is constitutional? 
  • Let me ask you a question of basic fairness: All across America, there are working and middle class families, where sometimes both the mother and father are working, and a lot of times the mother is going into the workforce precisely because she wants to make the tuition money to send her child to a religious school, because she doesn't like the moral climate in the public school. She doesn't like what they teach about sex education, for example. She doesn't like what they teach about alternative lifestyles, for example. She thinks, in fact, the parents in fact believe, that the public school is a source of moral corruption for their child. Therefore, they feel that they have a moral duty to do everything they can to liberate that child from that public school and put that child in a learning environment where the teachers and the school administration share their moral vision. So, they scrape and they sacrifice and they save and they just get by, and they drive an old car, and they live in a smaller house, and they just get by on their mortgage, and then that family is not only taxed local property and income taxes to support the public schools that they will not patronize, but they are now taxed by the federal government to support a $70 billion federal Department Education that also supports that local public school. Do you think that's fair to that family?
  • You don't believe that public schools in America often try to indoctrinate children with a different value system than their parents are trying to teach them at home?
  • Governor, our whole system of government is based on an understanding of natural law that comes from God. The Declaration of Independence says that our rights are inalienable and we are endowed with them by our Creator. Shouldn't our public schools at least recognize that there is a God, and that our rights come from God, and that the ultimate source of our law is God? 

Jeffrey also does some strange parsing, alternately referring to "parochial school or a Christian school" and "Christian schools, and Catholic schools" (in context, Jeffrey appears to be equating "parochial" with "Catholic"). Does he not think Catholics are Christian? That's an attitude we've seen at WND, too.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:57 PM EST
Sheppard, Newsmax Shocked by Non-Shocking Event
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Jan. 1 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard expressed his purported shock that "the New York Times of all entities published a rather shocking piece pointing fingers at folks like Nobel Laureate Al Gore for being part of a group of 'activists, journalists and publicity-savvy scientists who selectively monitor the globe looking for newsworthy evidence of a new form of sinfulness, burning fossil fuels.'" Sheppard effused further: "Checking that link to make sure it really goes to a Times piece? I understand, I've checked it about nine times, and I still don't believe it." He finally concludes: "After all, it will truly be a happy new year if newspapers like the Times regularly publish articles tearing to shreds the deceptions fostered by Gore and his sycophants."

Newsmax was somewhat more professional about its purported shock in a Jan. 1 article, calling it "clear evidence that the climate of opinion on alleged global warming is shifting in favor of skeptics, especially since it comes from the New York Times, until now a fervent acolyte of climate change guru Al Gore and his doctrine of ongoing and disastrous climate change."

While both Sheppard and Newsmax note that the Jan. 1 Times article in question was written by Times columnist John Tierney (though Sheppard refers to him only as an "author" and buries his identity far down in his post), neither bother to mention one pertinent piece of information: Tierney is a conservative, and it's therefore unsurprising that he would take the same denier point of view associated with conservatives such as Sheppard and Newsmax.

Nor do Sheppard and Newsmax seem aware that newspapers like the Times regularly publish multiple points of view on a given subject -- which is more than can usually be said about NewsBusters or Newsmax. They might want to try it sometime.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:50 AM EST
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
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.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:49 AM EST
Monday, December 31, 2007
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."

-- Noel Sheppard, Dec. 30 NewsBusters post 

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."

Posted by Terry K. at 5:29 PM EST
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?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:57 AM EST
Sunday, December 30, 2007
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." 

We kid you not. The champion name-caller himself is offended by name-calling done by others.

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.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:21 PM EST
Corsi Still Sniping at Gilchrist
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Dec. 29 WorldNetDaily article by Jerome Corsi keeps up his attacks 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.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:00 PM EST
Friday, December 28, 2007
Huston Delusion Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

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?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:52 AM EST
Thursday, December 27, 2007
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.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:11 PM EST
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." 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:07 PM EST
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 ... 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:47 PM EST

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