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Monday, July 25, 2005
Just Like CNS Did
Topic: CNSNews.com
Can you misquote someone the way CNSNews.com did? Campus Progress (at whose conference Paul Begala was speaking when CNS insisted that he said something he didn't) has holding a contest on the issue.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:44 PM EDT
Rhetorical Question of the Day
Topic: Newsmax
A July 25 NewsMax article on Sen. Hillary Clinton's efforts to keep the Pentagon from obtaining detailed information about high school students for recruiting purposes quotes Clinton as saying, "It is critical that we do everything we can to make sure that our most sensitive personal information stays out of the wrong hands."

To which NewsMax adds: "The Pentagon - 'the wrong hands'"?

Much of the article, by the way, is a retelling of a June 29 NewsMax article, which contains the exact same rhetorical question.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:07 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 25, 2005 2:08 PM EDT
Lessons in Civility from CNS
Topic: CNSNews.com
In a July 25 commentary, CNSNews.com editor in chief David Thibault seems to be backing down from his insistence that Paul Begala said Republicans want to kill him. Instead, Thibault bashes Begala for using inflammatory rhetoric, insisting that he "should go back to school and learn about political civility and personal responsibility":

Begala's unmistakable and outrageous coupling of terrorists and Republicans in his remarks to the impressionable college liberals on July 13 is the latest in a long line of Democratic invective aimed at the GOP and by extension, those Americans who vote Republican.

Thibault is perhaps not the best person to be giving lectures on civility; he works for Brent Bozell, among the most uncivil of conservatives, and his CNS has, among other things, advanced the comments of a man (Jesse Lee Peterson) who called Democrats "elite, white, racist" and printed a column (by Frank Salvato) that begins, "There is an anti-American attitude prevalent among the liberal left."

Another possible reason for Thibault's backing off of his original claim: Today's letters column, which includes comments from readers who agree that Begala was referring to terrorists, not Republicans, when he said that "they want to kill us."

Posted by Terry K. at 11:30 AM EDT
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Columnist vs. Columnist
Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 23 WorldNetDaily article gives a plug to "Dr." Laura Schlessinger's upcoming one-woman show. Surprisingly, the article reverses longstanding policy on refusing to disclose conflicts of interest by noting the fact that she is a WND columnist, even though she hasn't penned a column since October.

But as World O'Crap points out, another WND columnist, Burt Prelutsky, has something to say about Schlessinger's show. In a July 15 column posted not at WND but at conservative site ChronWatch, Prelutsky revealed that he wrote a script for one act of the show, only to discover that 1) "Dr." Laura was unable to memorize it, and 2) she wanted the primary writing credit, even though she didn't write any of it.

I don't think we'll be seeing this Prelutsky column appearing at WND anytime soon.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:31 PM EDT
Friday, July 22, 2005
Target: Me
Topic: WorldNetDaily
The Freepers have discovered ConWebWatch -- specifically, my posts rebutting Freeper Richard Poe. Not that they've rebutted anything I've had to say, mind you, but they're doing a fine job of getting facts wrong about me.

So, to assist the Freepers should they actually get around to actually addressing what I have to say instead of launching personal attacks, here are handy links to my Poe series to save you the trouble of having to rummage through the blog to find them:

Part 1 | Part 2
Part 3 | Parts 4 & 5 | Part 6
Part 7 | Part 8
Part 9 | Part 10


And sometime next week, I'll have these compiled into a single ConWebWatch article. Just for you Freepers.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:58 PM EDT
CNS Responds
Topic: CNSNews.com
A July 22 article by Randy Hall houses CNSNews.com's response to Paul Begala's accurate claim that he was misquoted by CNS' Jered Ede, who wrote on July 15 that Begala said Republicans want to kill him. Hall does a surprisingly good job of explaining Begala's case; the interesting part is what CNS' David Thibault had to say:

David Thibault, editor-in-chief of Cybercast News Service, said readers "should not be fooled" by Begala's attempt to clarify his remarks.

"This is all about Begala trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube," Thibault said. "There was nothing unclear about what Begala said, and he, as a pundit, should know that words matter. We quoted him accurately. We even ran the quote in its entirety as a video clip on our website.

"And not surprisingly, the only ones defending Begala are his friends on the far left who think the same way he does," Thibault added.

"It's really not my place here to judge whether Republicans, as Begala claimed at the Campus Progress Student Conference are 'brain dead.' But let's put it this way: If Republicans, who have won the last three national elections, are brain dead, what does that say about Begala and the Democrats?"

What we learn from Thibault's statement:

-- Even though Begala used "they" to mean both Republicans and terrorists, and just before Begala said, "They want to kill me and my children if they can," he was talking about a terrorist attack, it was somehow "clear" to Thibault that in this instance, "they" meant Republicans.

-- Thibault and Ede are ideological soulmates who immediately assume the most negative and inflammatory interpretation of an ambiguous statement by a Democrat.

-- While Thibault says, "It's really not my place here to judge whether Republicans ... are 'brain dead,'" Thibault also believes it's not his place to check with the source of an ambiguous statement to make sure it accurately reflects the speaker's true meaning.

-- Thibault assumes that anyone who disagrees with him is "far left."

-- Thibault cares much more about ideology than journalism.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:40 PM EDT
Who Is Jered Ede?
Topic: CNSNews.com
Based on a little quick Googling, here's a little background on Jered Ede, the CNSNews.com correspondent who incorrectly wrote that Paul Begala said that Republicans want to kill him:

He is a student at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he has served as president of the College Republicans. He is a former editor and current business manager of the Carrollton Record, a conservative student-run newspaper at Johns Hopkins. One clue to the level of discourse at the Record is an article illustrated by a dog taking a dump on a picture of President Clinton.

He is working as an intern at CNS through a program run by the Collegiate Network, which "provides financial and technical assistance to student editors and writers at scores of independent (read: conservative) publications at leading colleges and universities around the country."

In short, the kind of person one would expect to assume the most negative and inflammatory interpretation of a Democrat's comments without following the journalistically responsible approach of talking with him afterward to find out if that was what he meant to say.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:22 AM EDT
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Paul Begala Responds
Topic: CNSNews.com
Campus Progress (which sponsored the conference at which Begala spoke) has it all.

What are the chances that CNSNews.com 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
Topic: CNSNews.com
In lieu of any explantion or retraction of its false claim that Paul Begala said that Republicans want to kill him, CNSNews.com 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: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com'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 MoveOn.org.

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
Topic: CNSNews.com
While CNSNews.com 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 FrontPageMag.com in the article without disclosing his employment status there (Poe is a former FrontPageMag editor).

Posted by Terry K. at 1:29 AM EDT

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