ConWebBlog: The Weblog of ConWebWatch

your New Media watchdog

ConWebWatch: home | archive/search | about | primer | shop

Sunday, October 17, 2010
Newsmax Drools Even More Over Palin
Topic: Newsmax

Is it possible for Newsmax to give Sarah Palin more sycophantic treatment than it already was? It appears so.

In the wake of Newsmax's drooling over Palin during her appearance in its Obama-bashing pre-election video series, it touts Palin's upcoming reality series on TLC in a manner that embarrassing even for Newsmax:

Oh, gosh, Sarah Palin soon will have another accomplishment to cross off of her bucket list.

  • Junior high flute player: Check.
  • Co-captain and point guard of Wasilla High School’s state champion basketball team, on which she earned the nickname “Sarah Barracuda” for her competitive tenacity: Check.
  • Head of her high school’s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes: Check.
  • Miss Wasilla: Check.
  • Miss Congeniality in Miss Alaska competition: Check.
  • Wife: Check.
  • Mom of five: Check.
  • Hockey mom: Check.
  • Top Mama of Mama Grizzlies: Check.
  • Wasilla City Council member: Check.
  • Mayor of Wasilla: Check.
  • Chairwoman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: Check.
  • Governor of Alaska (and the 49th state’s first female gov at that): Check.
  • GOP vice-presidential candidate: Check.
  • Best-selling author: Check.
  • Tea party fave: Check.
  • Political endorser with clout: Check.
  • Fox News commentator: Check.
  • Dubbed the “most formidable force in the Republican Party, by none other than the press secretary of President Barack Obama's Democratic White House: Check.
  • Mother of Bristol, who has survived several cuts in ABC-TV’s “Dancing with the Stars”: Check.
  • Potential presidential candidate in 2012 election: TBA.
  • TV star in “Sarah Palin’s Alaska”: You BETCHA, coming soon to your living room, in a new TLC reality series.

Producing the eight-show series is Mark Burnett, the guru behind CBS-TV’s wildly successful “Survivor” series, among others. The “Alaska” series, which TLC characterizes as part travelogue, part documentary, will premiere at 9 p.m. Eastern time Nov. 14.

Being a junior-high flute player is a "bucket list" item? And heading the local FCA chapter? And being a hockey mom? And being the parent of a contestant of someone on "Dancing With the Stars"? Really?

Yes, Newsmax really wrote that in a "news" article.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 PM EDT
AIM's Resident Coward Defends James O'Keefe
Topic: Accuracy in Media

"Jonah Knox" -- the man who hides behind a pseudonym because he's too cowardly to put his real name behind his Obama-hate and right-wing smears -- resurfaces yet again at Accuracy in Media, this time in defense mode.

The subject of "Knox's" ardor is none other than discredited videographer James O'Keefe, coming in the wake of his weird, creepy attempted stunt against CNN. "Knox" takes O'Keefe's defense at face value:

James O’Keefe deserved our support in the face of the CNN assault against him. Some time to review what happened—and what did not happen—was needed. He had put himself on the line for conservatism and yet when CNN ran a story accusing him of planning to do something that he never did, some conservatives quickly abandoned him.


As it stands now, by siding with conservatives and putting his neck on the line for the conservative cause, he is isolated with few friends. The mistreatment of O’Keefe is not the way to encourage more young conservatives to engage in journalism. It is another sad chapter in the story of how conservatives play defense, in order to score “integrity” points with liberals, when an offense is required.

It's not a good sign when O'Keefe's biggest defender in the media is afraid to show himself in public and is too cowardly to give us his real name.

"Knox" then quickly devolved into what is apparently one of his favorite pastimes, hating gays:

“Right on the Edge” had featured Ryan Sorba, labeled an “anti-gay” activist by CNN, as he encountered far-left homosexual demonstrators who had gathered in Illinois outside a church to protest Peter LaBarbera’s Truth Academy event to tell the truth about the dangerous health hazards of the homosexual lifestyle. CNN made it seem like Sorba, a young conservative leader, was a polarizing figure making outrageous claims.

In fact, as AIM editor Cliff Kincaid points out, Sorba was friendly to the demonstrators, offered them sodas and water, and had wanted to engage in a dialogue with them. They reacted with anger, rage, and name-calling. Kincaid also spoke at the Truth Academy and was at the demonstration, taking pictures and talking to the protesters. Film footage captured the fact that one gay protester expressed the hope that Kincaid might get hit by a car. The anti-conservative demonstration was organized by the Gay Liberation Network in Chicago, a group run by a Trotskyite communist.

So gays are all commies too? Sheesh.

Insistence on embarrassing himself like that may be one reason "Knox" doesn't want people to know who he is.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:13 AM EDT
Saturday, October 16, 2010
MRC Slaps Together A Protest
Topic: Media Research Center

Staging a protest with just three days notice against a target that will be mostly vacant that day is hardly a recipe for success, but that's the route the Media Research Center has chosen.

In an attempt to take its dishonest "Tell the Truth!" campaign to the next level, the MRC will team up with Tea Party 365 to mount a protest on Sunday outside the New York headquarters of the New York Times and NBC, which will involve "grassroots activists" who "will picket w/ 'Don't Believe the Liberal Media' signs" and "Four giant billboard trucks circling the protest."

But note the date on the MRC press release: Oct. 14. That's just three days before the event. A three-day notice for a protest intended for national notice -- it wasn't even promoted on the MRC's own NewsBusters blog until late afternoon on Oct. 15 -- doesn't exactly bode well for attendance, and it suggests the apparently improvisational nature of the protest, seemingly designed to ride the coattails of the tea party movement.

And the idea that the MRC is "grassroots" is utterly laughable.An organization that has taken millions of dollars from the likes of Richard Mellon Scaife and other prominent right-wing funders is hardly "grassroots."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:12 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, October 16, 2010 12:17 PM EDT
NewsBusters' Double Standard on Jesse Ventura
Topic: NewsBusters

In an Oct. 15 NewsBusters post, Lachlan Markay takes Joy Behar to task for allowing Jesse Ventura on her show to discuss Bill O’Reilly’s “Muslims attacked us on 9-11” claim, during which he referenced his truther leanings: “I got a conspiracy theory. So who's to say they actually did or not?” Markay went on to harangue Behar, asking whether she “is in fact a truther herself, or simply so viciously hostile to conservatives that she will dub a center-right position ‘hate speech’ while overlooking a repugnant, wackjob conspiracy theory simply because the person espousing it agrees that Bill O'Reilly is a ‘spineless puke.’ ”

NewsBusters might have a little more credibility in criticizing anyone who helps Ventura spread his conspiracy theories if one of its editors hadn’t himself done exactly that.

As we've previously noted, late last year, an episode of Ventura’s TruTV show, helpfully named "Conspiracy Theory," focused on global warming and asked whether it was “a plot to cheat, extort, and control you and everybody else.” Playing a lead role in advancing the conspiracy was none other than NewsBusters associate editor Noel Sheppard.

The conspiracy-lovers at Alex Jones’ Prison Planet website loved that episode so much they clipped the entire thing (Jones, himself a 9-11 Truther, appears in the show too). Sheppard -- ludicrously identified as an “investigative journalist” -- appears in the opening segment, eagerly playing along to make things sound as spooky and clandestine as possible, declaring that global warming is all about “power and money and control of the population.” He goes on to call the idea of carbon credits “one of the biggest Ponzi schemes we’ve ever seen,” then slips Ventura “a list of scientists that I want you to talk to. You will learn a lot from these folks.”

Sheppard has regularly used his NewsBusters soapbox to attack the idea of global warming and make distracting claims such as portraying the existence of cold weather during the wintertime as evidence there’s no global warming.

It seems NewsBusters’ criticism of Ventura’s conspiracy theories only applies when it’s not promoting the same conspiracy theory.

(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)

Posted by Terry K. at 11:13 AM EDT
Friday, October 15, 2010
Newsmax's Walsh Scaremongers About DREAM Act
Topic: Newsmax

Anti-immigrant writer James Walsh tries his best to scaremonger about the DREAM Act in his Oct. 11 Newsmax column.

His best, though, isn't terribly effective. First, Walsh tries to scare people about the range of people covered, the maximum age of 35 means they "could have children or grandchildren of their own." Next, he complains that "are the costs of education and the lack of a guarantee that DREAM children will stay in the United States after taxpayers provide their education. An estimated 65,000 DREAM 'children' would be eligible for all benefits provided to U.S. citizens (ages 12 to 18). In addition, many DREAM 'children' could qualify for minority entitlements, causing U.S. citizens to lose out on college placement and financial aid."

This is followed by the usual warning about "family reunification provisions." Then, Walsh plays his trump card: terrorism!

Under current federal law, immigration and naturalization procedures remain poorly administered, and investigations are haphazard. The U.S. Congress is to blame for failed oversight.

A prime example is the recent case of Feisal Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan. On Oct. 5, 2010, in the United States District Court in New York City, Shahzad was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the terrorist attempt at Times Square. The judge asked the naturalized citizen if he swore allegiance to the United States when he was naturalized in 2009. Shahzad replied, “I did swear, but I did not mean it.” This case and the ever more facile pathway to citizenship offered by the DREAM Act are part of a growing concern for the nation. 

Of course, Shahzad has nothing whatsoever to do with the DREAM Act. But as far as Walsh is concerned, he makes a great bogeyman.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:00 PM EDT
Lessig Responds to Klein's Distortions
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Last week, we highlighted how WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein had entered into yet another guilt-by-association smear job in order to bash onetime Obama adviser Lawrence Lessig.

Over at Media Matters, we interviewed Lessig for his take on Klein's distortions, and he brings more detail about just how misleading Klein is.

Read about it here.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:27 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, October 15, 2010 2:57 PM EDT
Newsmax Wants Scott's Unsavory Past to Disappear, Despite Previously Attacking It
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax has painted itself in a bit of a corner: It spent most of the summer campaigning for a candidate in a Republican primary that didn't win, and now it has to figure out how to champion a candidate it spent months bashing.

As we've detailed, Newsmax threw what little weight it had behind Bill McCollum for the Republican nomination for Florida governor, but he lost to Rick Scott, whom Newsmax repeatedly demonized as participating in "the largest ripoff of taxpayers in the history of Medicare and Medicaid" while heading a hospital firm in the 1990s.

So how does Newsmax deal with Scott now? Through the time-honored way of not explicitly promoting him and attacking his Democratic opponent, Alex Sink.

That's what Jim Meyers does in an Oct. 13 article headlined "Who Is Alex Sink?" Meyers asserts that Sink,currently the state's CFO, has "a woeful record of acting as steward over public and private financial institutions." But those attacks are misleading.

Meyers appears to blames Sink for the fact that "audits dating back to 2000" warned of "risky, unregulated investments" by the state employee pension fund, even though Sink had not been elected to the CFO position until 2006.

Meyers also wrote that "Sink has also come under fire for authorizing convicted felons to sell insurance in Florida," but he did not mention, as others did, that they amounted to a dozen out of the more than half-million insurance licenses in the state.

Then, Meyers repeats a claim by the Scott campaign that the bank Sink used to work for "was investigated and fined millions of dollars for fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission" -- but makes no mention of Scott's involvement in defrauding the government.

Now that it has no choice to offer at least tacit support for Scott, Newsmax apparently intends to make sure his unsavory past goes down the memory hole.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:51 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, October 15, 2010 10:53 AM EDT
NewsBusters Busted By Fellow Right-Winger
Topic: NewsBusters

You know you've screwed up when your fellow ideologues feel moved to correct you.

NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein, in writing about a discussion on "Morning Joe" of the Delaware Senate debate between Democrat Chris Coons and Republican Christine O'Donnell, asserted that MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell "referred to the Delaware Senate candidate as a 'freak show.'"

Except that she didn't. And issuing the correction was none other than Glenn Beck's website, The Blaze:

However, the comment may not be that clear cut. It appears the Norah initially described the entire race as a freak show. However, her comments and reaction afterward raise questions as to whether the statement might have been directed at Christine in particular.

Oops! Then again, this is a guy who thinks every checkered scarf is a show of Palestinian support, so Finkelstein seems quite accustoming to seeing things nobody else does.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:37 AM EDT
Is Newsmax Hosting Morris PAC's Website?
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax's borderline incestous relationship with Dick Morris has apparently become even more so.

As we detail over at Media Matters, Newsmax is apparently hosting the website for Morris' new group, Super PAC for America. The WHOIS file for the website's domain gives a Newsmax phone number and email address as contacts (though the person named as a contact is conservative lawyer Cleta Mitchell, who does not appear to be a Newsmax employee), and the site's favicon is the same blue N used by Newsmax.

We haven't seen any stories on Morris' PAC at Newsmax, but even if there weren't any, providing even technical services to a partisan organization pretty much eliminates any pretense Newsmax may have had to fairness as a news organization -- and all the more so for failing to disclose its involvement with the PAC to its readers.

Giving positive coverage to Morris' PAC is one thing (and, arguably, expected from Newsmax); hosting its website is something else entirely.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 AM EDT
Thursday, October 14, 2010
WND Still Downplaying Abuse, Pushing Irrelevant Oath Keepers Argument
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily is still in full-on victim mode in the Johnathon Irish custody case, obsessing over the Oath Keepers aspect and essentially ignoring the child abuse part.

An Oct. 14 WND article by Bob Unruh touts how Oath Keepers sent a letter to the New Hampshire Division of Children, Youth and Family complaining about Irish's membership in the group being cited as a reason for the state to take the child. Unruh's repetition of the Oath Keepers' complaint that "the political affiliations of the parents have no business being cited in an affidavit alleging possible child abuse or neglect," and his later quoting of a statement that Oath Keepers members "have seen first-hand the heart-rending abuse that children can suffer at the hands of dysfunctional adults. It is to prevent such abuse that child protective services is given great latitude and power" are his only references to the abuse aspect of the case, which Unruh has never gone into significant detail about.

Instead, he obliquely states that WND "has confirmed there are other allegations and issues included in the charging document, a copy of which has been posted at Oath Keepers with blocks of information unrelated to the Oath Keepers allegation redacted."

Unruh clearly has no interest in delving into those "allegations and issues" -- Irish is WND's new poster child!

In his shilling for Oath Keepers, Unruh describes the group as one that "charges its members with following the U.S. Constitution and protecting the American life and American people," uncritically repeats Oath Keepers' claims that "they do not constitute a militia" and gives plenty of spaceto Oath Keepers defending the group.

Unmentioned are some of the more conspiratorial beliefs of the group, such as fearmongering about the government turning cities into "giant concentration camps." The New York Times has reported that Oath Keepers plays a role in a "resurgent militia movement," and has been "recruiting at Tea Party events around the country and forging informal ties with militia groups."

WND itself has promoted the anti-Obama aspect of the group, quoting Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes -- whom Unruh prominently features in his articles -- stating that "fears crystallized when Obama took office and suddenly had access to the accumulated power" and that "WND already has reported on several members of the U.S. military who have raised concerns about the implications of Obama's possible ineligibility to be commander-in-chief."

Unruh is studiously toeing the WND agenda -- condoning child abuse and hiding the facts about a militia-linked group.

UPDATE: A new article by Unruh noting the baby has been returned to the parents misleadingly claims the child was "snatched from her parents' custody a week ago when her father was accused of being an 'Oath Keeper.'" Unruh writes that "According to WND sources close to the case, the accusations against the father ... have been dropped" -- but he never mentions what those accusations were -- you know, abuse -- despite the fact that they are central to the story.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:37 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, October 14, 2010 11:55 PM EDT
McCaughey Misleads About Stimulus, Too
Topic: Newsmax

We've previously detailed how serial misleader Betsy McCaughey has joined Newsmax to mislead about health care. Turns out she's equally adept at misleading about the stimulus as well.

We have more at Media Matters.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:46 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, October 14, 2010 7:46 PM EDT
ConWeb Editors Defend Paladino, Bash Gays

It's a bit strange that two ConWeb editors issued columns on the same day defending New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino's anti-gay remarks -- remarks for which he has apologized. editor-in-chief Terry Jeffrey proclaimed that "Paladino spoke the truth about homosexual behavior," insisting that "For modern American liberals, there is no greater sin than to publicly express the view that there may be something wrong with homosexual activity and that children should not be taught to consider homosexual behavior morally equal to chastity and marriage." Jeffrey continues:

No prominent politician who questions the wholesomeness of same-sex sex can escape a vicious beating by the liberal elite—because these beatings serve a strategic purpose. They are designed to intimidate good people out of seeking political office and sticking up for the truth. They are designed to uproot the laws and norms of our society from the immutable natural law that is the true foundation of our freedom. They are designed to destroy truth and promote a lie.


To permanently establish their new society, the liberal elite must teach other peoples’ children that killing unborn children and same-sex marriages are morally correct and that the natural law, Biblical morality and more than 2,000 years of Western tradition are wrong.

That is why the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has ruled that parents cannot opt their kindergarteners out of Massachusetts public-schools classes that teach 5-year-olds that same-sex marriage is a good thing. That is why a federal judge in San Francisco—in ruling that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right—declared that children do not need both mothers and fathers and do just as well being raised by same-sex couples.

And that is why Carl Paladino needed to be pummeled for defending the traditional family in an Orthodox synagogue.

WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah, meanwhile, was just as hateful in asserting that Paladino's remarks were "perfectly reasonable" (italics his):

Paladino doesn't want kids "brainwashed," he said. Most people don't realize that is exactly what happens in many or most public schools when it comes to homosexuality. Kids are taught values that would be anathema to their parents if they only knew what was happening. That's what Paladino was saying. He said there is an ugly, revolting side to the "gay rights" movement. That is undeniably true. When candidates boast about taking their kids to "gay pride parades," you have to wonder about their sanity. These are spectacles that could never be aired in their entirety on television because of obscenity laws.

The overwhelming number of Americans reject special privileges for people based on their sexual proclivities. That's a fact. The overwhelming number of Americans reject same-sex marriage. That's a fact.

But the overwhelming number of media people do not. And, the overwhelming number of Democratic politicians, whether they admit it or not, do support those things. And both seek to portray the majority opinion as fringe.


Do you want your children to be indoctrinated into believing that homosexuality is just as right as heterosexuality? Do you want them to believe they cannot resist the temptations of homosexuality? Do you want them to believe God doesn't care how they behave sexually – or worse yet that God wants them to do whatever feels right to them?

That's what is at stake in this debate.

Right and wrong.

Both CNS and WND are not exactly gay-friendly, so this was sadly predictable.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:05 PM EDT
Farah Embraces Bogus Conspiracy
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It wouldn't be Joseph Farah if he wasn't playing the victim and engaging in baseless conspiracy-mongering, and that's what Farah does in his Oct. 11 column:

Here we go again.

I've been through this nightmare before.

Any day now, you can expect to begin hearing that dozens of groups and individuals critical of Barack Obama and his policies have been subjected to Internal Revenue Service audits.

That's the way it happened during the last Democratic presidential administration. And this one is, if anything, more desperate, more ruthless and more cunning that the one run by Bill Clinton.

The evidence for my prediction is this: Administration officials, political appointees, are already accessing confidential tax information on Obama's critics.

In a late August conference call with reporters, Austan Goolsbee, chairman of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, let it slip that he knew more than he should about the tax structure of Koch Industries, one of the primary funders of tea-party activity, including Dick Armey's FreedomWorks.

As a result, the treasury inspector general for tax administration plans to review what Goolsbee knew and how he knew it.

With a Republican midterm election landslide in the making, Democratic lawmakers are already demanding the IRS crack down on those paying for ads attacking them.

This is the way it starts.

I know because I've been there.

Farah has let his darkly vivid imagination run away with him yet again. In fact, Goolsbee did not "know more than he should about the tax structure of Koch Industries"; as Politico notes, all the information about Koch's tax structure was taken from publicly available sources, including Koch's own website.

Nevertheless, this gives Farah an opportunity to play his victim card and whine yet again how his Western Journalism Center was the subject of an IRS audit in the 1990s, just like "Every group and individual that made it onto Bill Clinton's radar screen by being critical of his administration." To do so, of course, Farah has to ignore the fact that, as we noted, a joint congressional committee in 2000 found no credible evidence that the IRS was biased against anti-Clinton groups.

Farah then asserted: "Obama is a true disciple of Saul Alinsky, and he won't hesitate to use quasi-legal and extra-legal means to go after his enemies. Apparently he's already begun putting together the enemies list."

Farah really wishes there was an Obama enemies list, and that he was on it -- that way he could sell more birther crap.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:53 AM EDT
New Article: Pat Boone, Obama-Hater
Topic: WorldNetDaily
The squeaky-clean '50s pop icon gets down and dirty in peddling lies and smears about the president. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 12:26 AM EDT
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
MRC Offended That NY Times Published Criticism of Geller
Topic: Media Research Center

An Oct. 11 MRC TimesWatch post by Clay Waters critiques the New York Times' profile of anti-Islam blogger (and former Newsmax columnist) Pam Geller by complaining that the article quoted a former Geller ally, Little Green Footballs blogger Charles Johnson.

After noting Johnson's statement in the article that Geller is "enabling a real bigotry" through her venomous screeds, Waters writes: "Times Watch isn’t sure the point of the above, given that blogger Charles Johnson has washed his hands of the right and has no allies or credibility among conservatives."

Why does it matter what other conservatives think of Johnson? Is his opinion any less valid now that he's no longer as extreme as Geller? Waters doesn't explain.

Waters concluded by touting how Geller issued a "typically take-no-prisoners response" to the Times article on her blog.

And the MRC proves once again that it has exempted itself from its own "Tell the Truth!" campaign.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:34 PM EDT

Newer | Latest | Older

Bookmark and Share

Get the WorldNetDaily Lies sticker!

Find more neat stuff at the ConWebWatch store!

Buy through this Amazon link and support ConWebWatch!

Support This Site

« October 2010 »
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Bloggers' Rights at EFF
Support Bloggers' Rights!

News Media Blog Network

Add to Google