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Thursday, July 21, 2005
Paul Begala Responds
Campus Progress (which sponsored the conference at which Begala spoke) has it all.

What are the chances that will take note of it, let alone admit that if it was unclear about what Begala said, it should have asked him in the first place?

Posted by Terry K. at 3:49 PM EDT
Coulter Caught Plagiarizing Again?
Topic: The ConWeb
Raw Story reports that Ann Coulter has been caught in wholesale cribbing from conservative magazines to pad a recent column.

She has done this before, as ConWebWatch has suspected.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:41 PM EDT
Misquote Watch Continues
In lieu of any explantion or retraction of its false claim that Paul Begala said that Republicans want to kill him, today prints a column by Christopher Adamo repeating the false claim.

Adamo also adds: "It is noteworthy that in his bizarre ramblings, he completely blurred any distinction between al Qaeda terrorists who slaughtered three thousand innocent people, and Republicans who managed to implement a meager tax cut for Americans." This from a guy who compared Michael Moore to Herman Goebbels.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:58 AM EDT
Poe, Part 10
Topic: WorldNetDaily
It feels like a concluding chapter. Could our long national nightmare be over?

In the latest (and possibly last) chapter of Richard Poe's WorldeNetDaily magnum opus on July 20, he goes beyond lionizing Joseph Farah: He lionizes Free Republic's Jim Robinson, who apparently was born a poor black child. When Poe drops the line, "Robinson grew up dirt poor in Fresno, Calif., in a family of nine children," you know you're in for it.

Poe also repeats a conservative canard about the 2000 presidential election in Florida: "Big Media robbed Bush of many times that number of votes simply by calling Florida for Gore while the polls were still open in the Florida Panhandle. ... By calling Florida for Gore while people were still voting in the Panhandle, Big Media cost Bush a net loss of about 10,000 Florida votes, according to post-election surveys." Let's drag out the bullet points for this one:

-- No network called Florida for Gore until 11 minutes before the polls in the Panhandle closed, as ConWebWatch has noted.
-- The 10,000 figure comes from none other than John Lott, the conservative researcher who can't be trusted about much of anything.
-- WorldNetDaily itself went hunting for Panhandle residents who were discouraged from voting. Their conclusion: "After a week-long dragnet, Republicans have been able to scare up just a handful of Bush supporters willing to testify that they canceled trips to the polls after the networks gave Florida to Gore 11 minutes before polls closed in the Panhandle's Central time zone." Additionally, WND found only one person actually willing to talk about it.

Poe does serve up one interesting tidbit here that's not hopelessly conspiratorial or Clinton-obsessed. He writes that had Al Gore been declared the winner in Florida (or, in Poe-speak, "had Gore succeeded in stealing the election"), the operator of the right-wing Sierra Times website (how right-wing? It has run more articles by Anthony LoBaido than WorldNetDaily has) had coordinated a nationwide trucking strike he was prepared to pull the trigger on. As he quoted the Sierra Times guy: "We were simply not going to accept a Gore presidency."

And conservatives complain about Democrats still bitter about the way the 2000 election ended?

Assuming Poe has indeed finished his opus, we'll be compiling and expanding our Poe blog series into a ConWebWatch article next week. Stay tuned.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EDT
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

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