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Thursday, July 14, 2005
Poe, Part 6
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Today's WorldNetDaily article by Richard Poe is chock full o' non-disclosure. Poe's main task here is to fluff NewsMax leader Christopher Ruddy and his 1990s reporting on the death of Vincent Foster. Poe describes Richard Mellon Scaife only as the publisher of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, which hired Ruddy as a reporter focusing mainly on the Foster death. Poe fails to inform his readers about Scaife's copious funding of conservative causes -- including Poe's employer, the Center for the Study of Popular Culture (the disclaimer remains at the end).

Poe also claims that "Ruddy exercised remarkable restraint in his reporting on Foster's death" in his 1997 book "The Strange Death of Vincent Foster," but fails to point out that even fellow conservative Ann Coulter (who whose defense Poe rushed after a newspaper dumped her column) dismissed Ruddy's book as a "conservative hoax book." Poe also fails to note that Scaife cut off funding to longtime beneficiary The American Spectator after it ran a negative review of Ruddy's book.

Finally, Poe fails to tell his readers that Ruddy's NewsMax has printed several of his columns and articles and that he is a contributing editor to NewsMax magazine.

(And since Poe goes after Media Matters in his article, I will do what Poe won't and disclose that I am a Media Matters employee, but Media Matters does not fund or have any editorial control over ConWebWatch.)

Also interesting to note: This is the first of Poe's series of commentaries that did not appear on the WND front page, only on the commentary page.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:49 PM EDT
Another WND Ad Disguised As News
Topic: WorldNetDaily
For reasons undisclosed to its readers, WorldNetDaily has run yet another ad-disguised-as-a-news-story about evangelist Greg Laurie. WND's July 13 article all but anoints Laurie as the heir to Billy Graham and promotes an upcoming Laurie event.

The article calls Laurie an "exclusive WND columnist," though his archive shows only three columns in 2005. WND also sells Laurie's books.

How much is Laurie paying for these "news" stories without news value? And shouldn't other evangelists be clamoring to get the same deal?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:42 PM EDT
Jesse Lee Peterson's Southern Strategy
Topic: reported on July 13 comments by conservative tool Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson that it was a "mistake" for Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman to address the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) national convention. But as the Washington Post reported, Mehlman is using his NAACP appearance to apologize for the Republicans' "Southern Strategy" of using race as a wedge issue to appeal to white voters.

Does this mean that Peterson supports the GOP Southern Strategy?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:28 PM EDT
Toensing Non-Disclosure (Again)
Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 14 WorldNetDaily article by Art Moore repeats the claims of attorney Victoria Toensing that Karl Rove didn't violate a statute forbidding the exposure of covert agents when he helped out covert CIA operative Valerie Plame to a reporter. Moore fails to point out, as NewsMax did previously, that Toensing is hardly neutral on this issue; she's a close friend of Robert Novak, who wrote a column outing Plame.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:14 PM EDT
New Article: Those Who Can't Do, Demand
Topic: Media Research Center
The MRC is again spending millions to get the media to "Tell the Truth!" Too bad it won't apply that standard to itself. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:14 AM EDT
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
The Daily Les, 7/13
Topic: The Daily Les
Today, Les Kinsolving serves as safe harbor, asking questions about WorldNetDaily's favorite subject of late, a nuclear attack on the U.S., and Kinsolving's favorite subject, sodomy, apparently thinking that Scott McClellan would be more eager to answer that than yet another question about Karl Rove:

KINSOLVING: Scott, I have a non-Rove question. One non-Rove question. Washington's Weekly Standard reports that when they asked the president to identify the Supreme Court justice who is his model for what a justice should be, he said Antonin Scalia. And he told the same thing to Tim Russert.
And my question: Does the president disagree with Justice Scalia's strong dissent with the 5-4 majority on the Lawrence v. Texas case?

McCLELLAN: Les, you want to refresh me on that case?

KINSOLVING: That's the sodomy case.

And then there's Kinsolving's attempt to be really safe harbor:

KINSOLVING: The Washington Times editorial page this morning published a cartoon comparing White House correspondents to sharks. My question, do you think that they were wrong to make this comparison? (Laughter.)

Posted by Terry K. at 11:01 PM EDT
Poe, Parts 4 and 5
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Richard Poe slides into full-on conspiracy mode for his next two WorldNetDaily segments to boost sales of his book, "Hillary's Secret War."

The July 12 segment plays the guilt-by-association game to link the Clintons to "money launderers, drug runners, and S&L pillagers." By the same standard Poe uses, Bush adviser Karl Rove is also linked to money-laundering and drug-running, but somehow we doubt Poe would ever describe Rove that way.

Poe's July 13 article purports to offer "The real story behind the Clinton body count." In it, Poe focuses on the deaths of two people on the so-called "Clinton body count" list, Vincent Foster and Jerry Parks. While Poe avers that "no one can prove that Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster met his death through foul play. It is quite possible that he committed suicide," he fails to note that at least four investigations that concluded that Foster did indeed commit suicide. And while the death of Parks remains unsolved, Poe does not tell us, as Snopes does, that a disgruntled former business partner with whom Parks had quarreled is a more likely suspect, and that Parks' son, Gary Parks, who has long promoted the idea that Clinton offed his father, has had his theories dismissed by police as "unsubstantiated, nothing to grasp."

In other words, the "Clinton body count" is dubious and falls apart when one examines all of the facts (as ConWebWatch has detailed in another case). But Poe won't tell you that.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:18 PM EDT
CNS Assumes Again
A July 12 article by Susan Jones falls into the trap (where CNS frequently finds itself) of assuming that Democrats are motivated only by politics.

In her article on the disclosed link between Bush adviser Karl Rove and the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame, Jones frames the issue as one of Democrats seeking revenge. The headline states, "Democrats Smell Scandal, Want Rove Removed"; the article begins: "Democrats think they've found a way to get rid of President Bush's political adviser Karl Rove, who has long been a favorite target of liberal wrath."

We don't recall ever seeing a CNS article headlined, "Republicans Smell Scandal, Want Clinton Impeached."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:28 PM EDT
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
The Daily Les, 7/12
Topic: The Daily Les
We're trying out a new ConWebBlog feature -- reporting the questions asked by Les Kinsolving, WorldNetDaily White House reporter and all-around conservative tool.

Today's questions by Kinsolving in the White House press briefing once again had nothing to do with the possible criminal actions of a senior White House adviser, but at least he didn't suck up like yesterday.

Question 1:

KINSOLVING: The news that the G8 nations offered the Palestinian Authority $9 billion inevitably recalls the 2003 International Monetary Fund report that Yasser Arafat diverted $900 million to a special bank account he controlled. And my question: Considering Mammoud Abbas' long association with Arafat, plus his refusal to dismantle any terrorist groups like Hamas, in accordance with the road map, how on earth did the president allow these billions to Abbas without U.S. protest?

Question 2, the full exchange:

KINSOLVING: Does the president believe that it is outrageous for a Los Angeles advertising man to be conducting a campaign to persuade the town selectmen of Weare, New Hampshire, to approve the building of a hotel on the land where Justice Souter's house is located? Or does he regard this as an historic irony resulting from Souter's vote in the case of Kelo versus the City of New London?

McCLELLAN: I haven't seen anything on it. Jim, go ahead.

KINSOLVING: You didn't see anything on it? You'd like to evade this one, wouldn't you?

McCLELLAN: No, I haven't seen anything on it, Les. I like to see reports before I comment on it.

ANOTHER REPORTER: No, it's the other ones he's trying to evade.

(Update: Edited to properly identify Kinsolving as questioner, change topic to the newly created "Daily Les.")

Posted by Terry K. at 8:19 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 13, 2005 11:04 PM EDT
More on the Union
Topic: WorldNetDaily
The Sacramento News & Review weighs in on the turmoil at the Sacramento Union. It sheds a little more light on J.J. McClatchy, who has taken over the magazine, calling him "one of the 'black sheep' in the McClatchy family -- a conservative in a liberal clan."

The article also puts the lie to yet another claim in the June 29 WorldNetDaily story on the Union, which called James H. Smith (a buddy of WND editor Joseph Farah) the "publisher" of the Union. In fact, Smith is quoted in the News & Review article as saying he resigned as publisher June 9, after McClatchy took over, which would make him a "former publisher" at the time of the WND article.

Additionally, the article also offers more details on the Union's problems that WND tried to downplay. Apparently, a mere 4,000 subscriptions to the Union magazine have been sold; by comparison, the Sacramento Bee has a daily circulation of 305,000.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:31 PM EDT
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

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