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Tuesday, July 12, 2005
MRC's Labeling Obsession
Topic: Media Research Center
How distorted is the Media Research Center's obsession with political labels?

A July 5 entry on the MRC-run Times Watch ("Documenting and Exposing the Liberal Political Agenda of the New York Times") offers one answer. In it, Times Watch director Clay Waters takes the Times to task for using the word "conservative" in a story about ... conservatives:

Sunday’s lead story involves the new Supreme Court vacancy left by the surprise retirement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. "Conservative Groups Rally Against Gonzales as Justice," by Adam Nagourney, Todd Purdum and David Kirkpatrick spins into a labeling frenzy, with 23 instances of the term "conservative" (not including two in headlines) in the 1,900-word story.

Well, God forbid that the Times use the word "conservative" when it does a story about the conservative reaction to something. Does Waters have an alternative he'd like to offer?

Meanwhile, the MRC-run has its own problems with labeling advocacy groups; conservatives get positive names, while liberals get non-flattering ones.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:26 PM EDT
NewsMax Plays the Clinton Card (Again)
Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax has resorted to some decidedly lame tactics to defend White House senior adviser Karl Rove against revelations of his role in the Valerie Plame affair.

A July 11 article rehashes a January Washington Post op-ed by Victoria Toensing, a former deputy attorney general, who claimed that the leak of Plame's name as a CIA operative that the facts of the case as of January "do not support evidence of criminal conduct." NewsMax fails to note that Toensing has a personal interest in the case; she's a buddy of Robert Novak, who originally released Plame's CIA connection in a 2003 column.

A July 12 article quickly jumped to NewsMax's defense of last resort -- dragging in the Clintons. Yes, NewsMax compared Plame's outing, "a revelation, by the way, that did nothing to damage her career as a desk-bound analyst, let alone endanger her life," to questionable accusations that Bill Clinton raped Juanita Broaddrick, which it claimed falls under the catetory of "truly serious allegations of genuine criminality." In NewsMax's view, anything the Clintons have done is, de facto, much worse than any misdeed by conservatives.

It's a bad sign for conservatives when NewsMax plays the Clinton-equivocation card this soon.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:38 PM EDT
Les Kinsolving, Sycophant
Topic: The Daily Les
The OG (Original Gannon) himself, Les Kinsolving, stands out again. On a day when the White House press corps had suddenly turned press secretary Scott McClellan into a stonewalling mess trying to deflect attention from Karl Rove's involvement in the Valerie Plame affair, Our Boy Les turns reliably sycophantic with his question to McClellan:

One follow-up. Considering the widespread interest and the absolutely frantic Democrat reaction to Karl Rove's excellent speech to conservatives last month, does the president hope that Karl will give a lot more speeches?

And WND's claim of being "a watchdog exposing government waste, fraud, corruption and abuse of power" fails yet again.

(Update: Changed topic to newly created "Daily Les" for easy future reference.)

Posted by Terry K. at 12:18 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 13, 2005 11:05 PM EDT
Monday, July 11, 2005
Hoodwinked Again?
Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 11 WorldNetDaily article claims that Jack Cashill's book "Hoodwinked" is "currently appearing at No. 6 on the non-fiction list at a popular online bookstore." What bookstore? WND won't say.

As ConWebWatch readers know, books from niche publishers ("Hoodwinked" is published by Nelson Current, ex-partner of WND Books) do not make it into the upper sales echelons of "popular online bookstores" for no reason. An ad was placed in a major publication, Cashill appeared on a high-profile media outlet, or Cashill got his friends together to buy copies from said "popular online bookstore" to juice the rankings. WND doesn't tell us why, so draw your own conclusions.

Are Cashill and WND hoodwinking us again, just as they did with James Kopp?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:32 PM EDT
Irony of the Day
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein -- who wrote an article that WND was forced to retract -- has penned a July 11 article on the Associated Press' retraction of statements that, in Klein's words, "falsely linked Israel to the deadly bombings." (The ConWeb was unusually quick to correct that, if you'll recall.)

Posted by Terry K. at 2:39 PM EDT
Duke-WND Update
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Again failing to live up to its motto of being "a watchdog exposing government waste, fraud, corruption and abuse of power," WorldNetDaily still has not done an original story on the travails of Republican Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

NewsMax, meanwhile, did note it in a July 6 article, but it was in the middle of an attack on Democrats running ads against six Republicans, including Cunningham. It goes into little detail about the allegations against Cunningham, but quotes the congressman saying that a government raid of his home and yacht was "an appalling abuse of government power." NewsMax also ran an Associated Press article on one aspect of the Cunningham imbroglio, his link to a corrupt developer.

Note to WND: Your competition has scooped you in an area in which you claim to have expertise. What's the holdup?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:34 AM EDT
New Article: Failing the Test
Topic: Media Research Center
The MRC wants you to believe that conservatives don't believe in litmus tests -- even as it's applying one to Alberto Gonzales. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:37 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 11, 2005 1:37 AM EDT
Saturday, July 9, 2005
ConWeb Job-Hopping
Topic: The ConWeb
The latest addition (near as we can tell) to the list of recent ConWeb job-hoppers is Sherrie Gossett.

A longtime correspondent for WorldNetDaily, she spent the past several months as an associate editor at Accuracy in Media's "AIM Report." As a byline this week reveals, Gossett is now a staff writer for A July 7 AIM article still lists her as an employee, however, so she may have just dumped the WND gig. (WND, NewsMax and CNS have historically not shared reporters.)

As one might surmise by her ConWeb history, Gossett can be counted on to reflect that bias. ConWebWatch has noted her twice -- in 2004, when she launched a biased attack on an error by the Boston Globe, and earlier this year, when she helped advance WorldNetDaily's baseless speculation about who killed a Coptic Christian family.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:37 PM EDT
Friday, July 8, 2005
Poe, Part 3
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Today's WorldNetDaily installment of Richard Poe's attempt to cash in on trendy Hillary-bashing hard-hitting expose of Hillary Clinton benignly describes Richard Mellon Scaife as a "Pittsburgh philanthropist and newspaper publisher." Last October, however, Poe described George Soros -- who, like Scaife, has donated millions of dollars to organizations in order to advance a political philosophy -- a little more harshly as a "Wall Street billionaire and leftwinger."

The main difference (other than Poe's eagerness to smear Soros)? Poe's employer, the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, has received more than $1.4 million from Scaife-contorlled foundations since 2000, and millions more in the decade before that. Even though the CSPC has distanced itself from Poe's work (the CPSC disclaimer at the end remains), Poe clearly has no interest in trashing a major source of his income. Poe also fails to disclose Scaife's financial connection to his employer.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:06 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 8, 2005 2:08 PM EDT
Mad Hot Slander
Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 6 WorldNetDaily article by Ron Strom baselessly bashes filmmaker Michael Moore for hosting a film festival in Traverse City, Mich.

Strom focuses on a rival film festival that will show "conservative and pro-America movies," presumably unlike Moore's festival. Strom also quotes a local woman who asserts without evidence that Moore "had a political agenda" in staging the festival, adding: "The movies he is showing represent the minority, extreme, radical left view."

While Strom writes that "Though none of Moore's films are in the line-up, some of the movies address political issues such as unemployment, globalization and corporate corruption," he doesn't list the films to be shown, though he does for the rival festival.

And what are these "minority, extreme, radical left" movies to be shown at the festival that Strom won't tell us about, even though they're listed on the festival web site that Strom links to? Here are a few:

-- "Mad Hot Ballroom," a documentary about New York City fifth-graders learning how to ballroom dance.

-- "Italian for Beginners," a slice-of-life movie about a group of Danes and the Italian language class they're taking.

-- "The Princess Bride," the classic modern fairy tale.

-- "Les Miserables," a new version of the classic story.

-- "Casablanca." Yes, that "Casablanca."

Yes, movies like this are why conservatives feel the need to respond with polemics like "Michael Moore Hates America."

Now we know why Strom didn't list any of these movies in his article -- they would have undercut the case for an "alternative" festival.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:34 AM EDT
Thursday, July 7, 2005
Poe, Part 2
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Apparently, Richard Poe's attempt to piggyback on Ed Klein's Hillary-bashing book is going to be a series. WorldNetDaily has served up the second installment of Poe's conspiracy-mongering book, "Hillary's Secret War."

Today's segment shows us how much he is willing to bend facts to fit his anti-Clinton animus. He uses unnamed sources, he denigrates Arkansas as "a kind of Third-World country within the United States," and he certainly has no intention of including any exculpatory evidence about the Clintons. Poe also heavily implies that Bill Clinton, while he was Arkansas governor, was linked to purported CIA- and Iran-Contra-linked drug-running out of a small Arkanses airport, but he offers absolutely no evidence that Clinton was even aware of it.

And the disclaimer from the David Horowitz-led group that employs Poe is still at the end.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:37 PM EDT
ConWeb Unity
Topic: The ConWeb
One sidebar aspect of today's attacks that the ConWeb is in lockstep with: WorldNetDaily and were quick to report Israel's denial of reports that it had advance knowledge of the attacks; NewsMax repeated CNS' item.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:22 PM EDT
WND's Sudden Disinterest in Jumping to Conclusions
Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 7 WorldNetDaily article appears to be offended that anyone would jump to the conclusion that a fire at a Florida abortion clinic would be blamed on anti-abortion activists.

The article's secondary headline reads "Police investigating but pro-lifers immediately suspected." The leader of "a local pro-life group" laments how "abortion protesters undoubtedly will be blamed." Another anti-abortion activist is quoted as insisting that he and his fellow activists are not protesters: "We don't endorse any kind of violence. ... There has never been any type of brouhaha or melee."

Of course, WND had no problems jumping to conclusions when a Coptic Christian family was murdered earlier this year. WND promoted questionable speculation that the family was murdered by Islamic terrorists. WND then abandoned the story when it was revealed that the family was murdered in a robbery, despite the fact that there was plenty more of the story to report; the false accusations inflamed tensions between Christians and Muslims in the neighborhood where the killings took place.

Can we now expect Jack Cashill to pound out a seven-part series for WND on how anti-abortionists are being framed for the blaze?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:42 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 7, 2005 1:07 PM EDT
New Article: State of the (Sacramento) Union
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily tells a biased, incomplete story of the troubles at the revived version of the newspaper its editor used to work for. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:18 AM EDT
Wednesday, July 6, 2005
WND and Richard Poe: Together Again
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily serves up self-serving disingenuousness in the service of trying to make a buck with a July 6 article by Richard Poe.

The article is billed as "an eye-opening sneak preview of New York Times best-selling author Richard Poe's revealing book, 'Hillary's Secret War.'" But nowhere is it mentioned that Poe's book was published more than a year ago; it's hard to "preview" something that's been publicly available for quite some time. ConWebWatch noted the book upon its release; read the correspondence between Poe and I regarding it here.

The rest of the article is Poe's self-promotion and conspiracy theorizing about Hillary Clinton, designed to capitalize on Edward Klein's discredited "The Truth About Hillary." So wacky are his assertions that his employer has backed away from them, as the tagline at the end of the article attests:

Richard Poe is the investigative editor of David Horowitz's Center for the Study of Popular Culture, as well as managing editor of Horowitz's group blog Moonbat Central. The views expressed in Poe's book, "Hillary's Secret War," are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture.

How extreme does your anti-Clinton rhetoric have to be that even David Horowitz doesn't want to associate his organization with it?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:17 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 6, 2005 12:25 PM EDT

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