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Wednesday, July 20, 2005
The Daily Les, 7/20
Topic: The Daily Les
WorldNetDaily's Les Kinsolving was in full suck-up mode to Scott McClellan today:

Question one:

KINSOLVING: Scott, U.S. News and World Report has just published what it identified as Mike McCurry, former Clinton spokesman, expressing sympathy for you about what the Media Research Center headlined as "reporters in full scold mode" on July the 11th, including your plea, "if you'll let me finish" – and NBC's response, "no, you're not finishing, you're not saying anything." And my question – first of two – has anyone from these three networks – NBC, ABC, CBS – apologized to you for this behavior?

Question two:

KINSOLVING: A New York Daily News columnist, Michael Goodwin, called this, in his words, "hostile hectoring" that revealed much of the mainstream press for what it has become, the opposition party. "Forget fairness, or even the pretense of it. Bias has now slopped over into blatant opposition, providing comfort food to ideological comrades." Do you disagree with The New York Times – New York Daily News on this?

If there's one thing that Kinsolving is not known for, it's "hostile hectoring" -- at least while there's a Republican president in office.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:18 PM EDT
CNS' Roberts Coverage
Topic:'s saturation coverage (eight articles) of John Roberts' nomination as a Supreme Court justice sneaks in some of that labeling bias (not to mention other types of bias) that CNS is known for.

One article cites the reaction of "conservative, pro-life, pro-family groups, while another cites the reaction of "Abortion rights supporters"; the article's headline calls them "abortion activists." (Yes, both were written by Susan Jones.) Additionally, Jones allows a rebuttal of a claim made by one of the "abortion activists," while no such rebuttal of any claim appears in the "pro-life" article.

Another Jones article is headlined "Far Left Furious Over 'Fringe, Extreme' Nominee," but the only organization quoted in the article is

And yet another article by Jones at least admits the truth -- that the quotes of Democrats praising Roberts were taken from comments circulated by the Republican National Committee. But Jones would never think the RNC would circulate such comments for nefarious reasons, would she?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:19 PM EDT
CNS' Double Standard
While made a big deal out of Paul Begala's (falsely reported) comments, it has offered no original coverage of this July 12 statement by Republican Rep. Peter King:

And Joe Wilson has no right to complain. And I think people like Tim Russert and the others, who gave this guy such a free ride and all the media, they're the ones to be shot, not Karl Rove.

CNS offers no apology or explanation on Begala today. Meanwhile, Media Matters (full disclosure: my employer) weighs in.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:13 PM EDT
Poe, Part 9
Topic: WorldNetDaily
The July 19 installment of Richard Poe's opus demonstrates the reason that Poe has been awarded so much WorldNetDaily bandwidth of late -- it tells the tale of Joseph Farah, First Amendment Hero, fighting those mean, nasty Clintons.

But first, we get another detour into the Mena drug-smuggling stuff. Again, Poe plays guilt-by-association; the only actual Clinton connection Poe offers is that Bill Clinton was Arkansas governor at the time. Poe also implies that the death of Gary Webb, a reporter who wrote the "Dark Alliance" series linking the CIA to drug trafficking benefiting the Nicaraguan Contras, belongs on the Clinton death list because Webb wrote about Mena as part of his reporting. What Poe doesn't mention: 1) Webb's death was pretty clearly a suicide following years of decline after the newspaper Webb worked for retracted his stories; and 2) Farah wrote a May 1997 column denouncing "Dark Alliance" as "a poorly crafted hoax," "a well-crafted piece of propaganda," and "pure fantasy, conjecture, theory -- not news."

Poe notes that "The late Mr. Webb wrote of the Mena operation from a leftwing perspective. Others, such as American Spectator editor R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., have written about Mena from a conservative perspective. Still other writings have emanated from the shadow world of professional liars, dissemblers and disinformers." Then, Poe cops out by declaring: "To unravel fact from fiction in the Mena affair lies beyond the scope of this discussion." He offers readers no reason to believe that he isn't spinning his own web of fact and fiction.

Finally, we get to the Farah deification -- and more Richard Mellon Scaife non-disclosure. In noting the work Farah's Western Journalism Center did in promoting the anti-Clinton writing of Christopher Ruddy, Poe fails to note the $330,000 Scaife gave to the WJC in 1994-95 -- and, therefore, no explanation of why Scaife was giving money to an organization to promote the writing of someone already on the Scaife payroll (Ruddy was a reporter for Scaife's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review). Poe also makes an unsubstantiated claim that "the Clinton administration's economic warfare succeeded in forcing Farah to cut staff and stop funding investigative reporters, including Ruddy," but again fails to note Ruddy's double-dipping of Scaife money from the Tribune-Review and the WJC.

And not only does Poe once again not disclose Scaife's role in providing him a steady income through the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, he mentions it and in the article without disclosing his employment status there (Poe is a former FrontPageMag editor).

Posted by Terry K. at 1:29 AM EDT
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Still No Apology
Today, serves up irate letters on Jered Ede's claim that Paul Begala said that Republicans want to kill him, but none that question Ede's interpretation of Begala's statement -- and no explanation of how it was determined that the "they" in Begala's statement "They want to kill us" refers to Republicans, especially when Begala was also talking about terrorists at the time.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:43 PM EDT
How Credible Are WND's Nuke Warnings?
Topic: WorldNetDaily
World O'Crap reports on the latest alarmist claims from WorldNetDaily that Osama bin Laden's gonna nuke us all, and soon.

WND's main source for the claim that al-Oaida has smuggled comes from Paul L. Williams, who 1) is trying to sell a book and 2) has been making smiliar claims for months (as WO'C noted).

WO'C also details the factually challenged history of Juval Aviv, who makes the claim in a July 9 WND article that "terrorists will try to carry out an attack on the United States within the next 90 days." Turns out there are questions over whether he was the "former Israeli counterterrorism intelligence officer" he claims to be and was a source on stories that later turned out to be false.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:28 PM EDT
New Article: Playing the Plame Blame Game
Topic: The ConWeb
To no one's surprise, the ConWeb regurgitates Republican talking points in defense of Karl Rove. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:59 AM EDT
Poe, Part 8
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Richard Poe's July 18 installment of his apparently never-ending WorldNetDaily series of Clinton-bashing focuses on the case of Steve Kangas, who was found dead in an office building owned by Richard Mellon Scaife, an apparent suicide. Poe dismisses Kangas as a "loser" and failed pornograher who was a self-proclaimed martyr for Hillary Clinton -- "he may have died for her – shedding his blood to guard the secret of the Rosetta Stone." His conspiratorial slant, suggesting that Kangas was an "assassin," ignores other, similar conspiratorial claims about Kangas that come to a different conclusion.

Poe also writes: "Evidently, Kangas had decided that Scaife was the "core problem." But why Scaife?" He doesn't provide a truthful answer, failing to mention the millions upon millions given to conservative organizations to dig up dirt, true or otherwise, on the Clintons. Indeed, Poe presents Scaife as a sage, talking up the "Clinton death list" and calling Vince Foster's death the "Rosetta stone" of the Clinton administration.

And of course, Poe again refuses to tell his readers of Scaife's role in providing him with a steady paycheck at the Center for the Study of Popular Culture.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:32 AM EDT
Monday, July 18, 2005
The Daily Les, 7/18
Topic: The Daily Les
In today's White House press briefing, Les Kinsolving asks a sympathetic question about the Karl Rove-Valerie Plame controversy:

KINSOLVING: Scott, Jack Kelly of The Pittsburgh Post Gazette notes that the Intelligence Identities Protection Act defines a covert agent as someone working undercover overseas. He notes Valerie Plame has manned a desk at the CIA headquarters since 1997, while Mark Steyn of the Chicago Sun Times notes that Valerie's husband conceded on CNN that she is not a clandestine officer and hasn't been one for six years, so leaking her CIA connection did not endanger her life or comprise her mission. And my question – I have a follow up – would you or the president or Karl Rove disagree with these two nationally syndicated columnists?

... and tries to get an answer to a question he originally asked back in May about whether President Bush supports contraception:

KINSOLVING: I have one follow up. Nineteen members of Congress from seven states have written a letter to the president saying that they are still waiting for an answer to a May 26th question: Is the president opposed to contraception? And my question is, could they now have an answer to my question? Or do you regard them, too, as not to be dignified with a response?

Scott McClellan still didn't answer it; that's actually a gain for Kinsolving from May, when McClellan said he wouldn't dignify the question with a response.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:58 PM EDT
Compare and Contrast
Topic: Newsmax
Original headline for a July 18 Associated Press story: "Spellings, Clinton Disagree on Hispanics."

NewsMax's headline for the same AP story: "Hillary Clinton Panders to Latino 'Advocacy' Group La Raza."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:09 PM EDT
Book-Bashing, Then and Now
Topic: Newsmax
In yet another attempt to give Ed Klein's discredited "The Truth About Hillary" a boost, NewsMax's John LeBoutillier has written a July 18 column called "How Hillary Clinton Controls the Media." In it, he describes "the latest salvo from the Hillary War Machine: a new spin that the book - which has now been in the top ten on the New York Times best-seller list for three straight weeks - is actually "'not doing well.'" He claimed that reporters are using words like "drop-off," "sinking" and "fallen" to describe the book and concluded: "Clearly Team Hillary distributed a new set of Talking Points to their media lap dogs in the MSM."

Or, "Team Hillary" (snicker) could have merely picked up pointers from NewsMax's treatment of Hillary Clinton's autobiography. Here are some headlines from mid-2003 NewsMax articles, when Hillary's "Living History" was released:

"Harry Potter Still Tops Hillary on Amazon," June 11, 2003
"Juanita Beats Hillary in Ratings Showdown," June 11, 2003
Monica's TV Audience Dwarfed Hillary's," June 12, 2003
Lucianne Goldberg: Hillary's Book Sales 'Way Below 200,000' -- June 14, 2003
Limbaugh: Hillary's Book Sales Don't Add Up," June 18, 2003
"Coulter Dethrones Hillary on Amazon," June 20, 2003
"Dick Morris Lands on Best-Seller List; Coulter Crushes Hillary," June 25, 2003

That last article was eager to chortle that "Hillary Clinton's recently published, wildly hyped 'memoirs' failed to make the top 25 in non-fiction" at Currently, Klein's book isn't, either.

And, of course, LeBoutillier fails to acknowledge the long trail of lies, distortions and backtracked claims in Klein's book.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:53 PM EDT
No Apology (Yet)
It's a new day, and has neither defended nor apologized for its July 15 story falsely claiming that Paul Begala said that Republicans want "to kill him and his children to preserve tax cuts for the rich." It has, however, added a video of Begala's statement so that all can see how absurd the claim is.

Meanwhile, a July 18 CNS article by Susan Jones on conservatives who oppose laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation follows the doctrine of conservative correctness in its lead:

A conservative group is organizing opposition to a bill that would give special treatment to a group of people based solely on their behavior.

UPDATE: NewsMax repeats the CNS story, smears and all.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:54 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 18, 2005 1:37 PM EDT
Mild About Harry
Topic: WorldNetDaily
As late as 2003, WorldNetDaily greeted the release of a new Harry Potter book or movie with warnings that Harry was leading children into the occult.

A June 2003 commentary by Caryl Matrisciana, producer of a documentary attacking the Potter phenomenon that the WND store used to sell, calls Harry "the young Wiccan" and claims the the books promote "an anti-Christian morality that encourages children to lie, cheat and steal in Harry fashion." A 2001 interview of Matrisciana notes that she thinks the books "cleverly mask the true nature of their contents by repackaging evil in a fascinating, alluring child's world." Another WND article noted that the Christian Film & Television Commission rated the second Harry Potter movie "completely unacceptable for any audience" because of its "strong occult worldview and moral relativism." (The only other movie that year to the "completely unacceptable" rating: "Austin Powers in Goldmember."

The release of the latest Harry Potter book, however, is drawing no response whatsoever from WND -- no original articles, not even an outside link to someone else's story. Maybe WND thinks that since denouncing Harry didn't work, ignoring him might.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:53 AM EDT
Sunday, July 17, 2005
The Smear Spreads
Topic: Newsmax
In a July 18 NewsMax column, Geoff Metcalf writes: "Partisan disagreements on policy or legislation are anticipated and even healthy. However for an alleged grown-up to tell the young faithful that Republicans want to kill him and his children to maintain tax cuts for the rich is way over the line."

Yes, it would be over the line -- if he said it. But he didn't.

Time for Geoff to get in the apology line, right behind Jered Ede and Michelle Malkin.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:14 PM EDT
One Smear Is Not Enough
We've already noted how a July 15 article smears the Kennedys. Turns out it falsely smears Paul Begala too.

The lead of the article, written by Jered Ede, claims that Begala said at a gathering of progressive students that Republicans "want to kill me and my children" to preserve tax cuts for the rich. As quoted by Ede:

"They want to kill me and my children if they can. But if they just kill me and not my children, they want my children to be comforted -- that while they didn't protect me because they cut my taxes, my children won't have to pay any money on the money they inherit," Begala said. "That is bulls*** national defense, and we should say that."

But as the Princeton Progressive Review points out, the audio of the speech shows that it's clear that Begala never said that. He uses a string of "theys" that start out referring to the terrorists and end up referring to Republicans, not uncommon in spoken English. Ede and his CNS editors were either unable or unwilling to sort out which was which, then decided to go with the most inflammatory interpretation.

Will CNS run a correction? Let's watch Monday and see.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:41 AM EDT

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