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Saturday, September 10, 2005
The Counter Returns
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Remember the Alexa traffic ranking counter that WorldNetDaily had on its website until sliding numbers forced WND to remove it? Well, its ranking has increased, so it's back, buried among the ads on the left side of WND's front page, toward the bottom.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:12 AM EDT
Friday, September 9, 2005
The Daily Les, 9/9
Topic: The Daily Les
Today, Les Kinsolving did his best to play interference for Scott McClellan, attmpting to cut off another reporter's Katrina-related question with a Gannonesque query about same-sex marriage.

That's not the way Kinsolving tells it, of course:

WorldNetDaily unintentionally got in the middle of a verbal match today between White House press secretary Scott McClellan and ABC reporter Jessica Yellin, persistently trying to ask a question after being called on by the Bush spokesman.

Yellin, not satisfied with a response to her last question, badgered McClellan for more information about federal debit cards for Katrina evacuees as he tried to listen to WND's question, which had to be started repeatedly, each time at a higher volume to be heard.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:50 PM EDT
Good Wages Are Racist?
A Sept. 9 article by Susan Jones plays the race card to support President Bush's executive order to rescind the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires the government to pay prevailing local wages to construction workers, in hurricane-damaged areas.

After quoting House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi saying that the Davis-Bacon Act sprang from the Great Depression - "at a time when scurrilous employers were taking advantage of the desperation of American workers to care for their families," Jones writes:

But according to a report by the Cato Institute, Congress passed the Davis-Bacon Act in 1931 to benefit white-only unions at the expense of non-unionized black workers.

According to the Cato report, "Davis-Bacon was designed explicitly to keep black construction workers from working on Depression-era public works projects."

Those discriminatory effects continue today, the report says - "by favoring disproportionately white, skilled and unionized construction workers over disproportionately black, unskilled and non-unionized construction workers."

Here is the report Jones is quoting.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:37 PM EDT
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein has penned another article about Yasser Arafat's purported homosexuality, joining the other two he has written this week.

Is an obsession with homosexual behavior a prerequisite for employment at WND?

Posted by Terry K. at 3:25 PM EDT
Defending Michael Brown
Topic: Media Research Center
Most conservatives, even as they have rushed to the defense of President Bush, have been loath to defend Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director Michael Brown for his slow response to Hurricane Katrina. Until now.

NewsBusters has rushed in to fill the void. A Sept. 9 post by Dustin Hawkins takes issue with a Time magazine piece on Brown:

While accusing Brown of both padding his resume and having no emergency management expience prior to becoming FEMA head, TIME simply doesn't acknowledge his work as having "served as FEMA's Deputy Director and the agency's General Counsel. Shortly after the September 11th terrorist attacks, Mr. Brown served on the President's Consequence Management Principal's Committee, which acted as the White House's policy coordination group for the federal domestic response to the attacks." Nor does TIME mention his handling of some 150+ handling of other declared disasters and emergencies prior to Hurricane Katrina and the job he did.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:59 PM EDT
The Daily Les, 9/8
Topic: The Daily Les
Les Kinsolving uses this day's White House press briefing to recite conservative talking points about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who will be visiting the U.S. next week. In his polemic-slash-question, Kinsolving claimed that Ahmadinejad "was identified by five former U.S. hostages as one of their captors and interrogators in '79, and there's the assassination of a Kurdish leader in Austria in 1989 as well as recruitment of suicide bombers."

But that may be more speculation than hard fact. Both CNN and the BBC point out that known leaders of the 1979 taking of hostages at the American embassy in Tehran claim that Ahmadinejad wasn't involved.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:05 PM EDT
Presidential Threat Double Standard Alert
Topic: Newsmax
In a Sept. 8 NewsMax piece noting that the Secret Service is declining to say whether it's investigating Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu's threat to punch President Bush, NewsMax references Jesse Helms:

The agency took a tougher stance on Senatorial threats in 1994, when then-North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms joked that President Clinton "had better watch out if he comes down here. He better have a bodyguard."

But NewsMax leaves out the context of what else was going on in 1994, or why "some pundits" were "complaining that Helms had committed treason." (Actually, it was only one pundit, The Baltimore Sun's Roger Simon.)

At the same time he made that remark, Helms had also reaffirmed an earlier statement that everyone in the armed forces believed that Clinton was unfit to be commander in chief, undermining respect for authority and, Simon claimed, giving aid and comfort to our enemies. (Imagine the conservative firestorm if anyone said that about President Bush today.) A man had recently sprayed the White House with semi-automatic bullets. And the nation was marking the 31st anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

NewsMax apparently wasn't bothered by Helms' statement -- if not secretly wished for something to happen to Clinton that would required bodyguards -- but it's worried that a female senator might pop Bush in the kisser (which NewsMax called a "much more explicit threat" than Helms') is worthy of a full-on investigation.

And, as an added bonus, the article references a incident in which, during a visit to hurricane-stricken Louisiana by Vice President Dick Cheney, a man said "Go f - - k yourself, Mr. Vice President." NewsMax called it an example of the "rising tide of hostility towards the Bush White House where normal boundaries of criticism have fallen by the wayside." But NewsMax failed to note that 1) the heckler was using the very same expletive that Cheney himself used against Sen. Patrick Leahy (an insult NewsMax had no apparent problem with) and 2) NewsMax helped obliterate some of those boundaries on criticism of the executive branch with its continuous attacks on the Clinton White House.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:48 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 9, 2005 12:31 PM EDT
New Article: WorldNetDaily's Junk Journalism
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Its founder and editor is a thief. Its reporters obediently do the bidding of conservative groups. Is this any way to run a news organization? Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:52 AM EDT
Thursday, September 8, 2005
WND Finally Gets It Right
Topic: WorldNetDaily
It took a good year, but WorldNetDaily finally wrote an article about Sandy Berger and the classified documents that got almost all of the facts right.

For once, WND notes that Berger took copies of classified documents, not originals (though the headline still claims that he was "stealing classified documents"), and there's no mention of the unproven claim that Berger stuffed documents in his socks.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:37 PM EDT
WND's Man in Jerusalem
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Jerusalem bureau chief, Aaron Klein, has served a helping of articles in recent days that showcase his own strangely biased viewpoint:

-- Two articles on claims that Hurricane Katrina was a punishment from God for President Bush's support of the evacuation of Jews from Gaza.

-- Two articles on speculation that Yasser Arafat died of AIDS.

UPDATE: The idea that Arafat died of AIDS has been a minor obssesion of Klein's; he was reporting on it last November, as ConWebWatch noted. Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that the medical report on Arafat's death "dispels a rumor that he may have died of AIDS."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:50 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 8, 2005 4:47 PM EDT
The Daily Les, 9/7
Topic: The Daily Les
Shocker: Les Kinsolving asks a somewhat normal question, about two Navy helicopter pilots who rescued 110 people, including two who are blind, were reprimanded by a Navy commander because they were supposed to devote themselves entirely to supply.

But Kinsolving leads his WorldNetDaily article with the question he apparently wished he had asked, about "the homosexual parade held on New Orleans' Bourbon Street last week" and "plans to hold the annual Southern Decadence festival in New Orleans despite the city's trauma."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:11 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 7, 2005
Factually Deficient Clinton-Bashing at NewsMax
Topic: Newsmax
As much as NewsMax has written about the Clintons, you'd think it would be able to get basic facts correct. But no -- a Sept. 6 article contains several factual errors and unsupported assertions.

NewsMax's troubles begin with the first five words of the article: "2008 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton." While Hillary is certinly a possible, if not likely, candidate, she is not a declared candidate, which makes NewsMax's assertion factually incorrect.

NewsMax then botches the name of the FEMA director in the Clinton administration; it's James Lee Witt, not James D. Witt. To be fair, it was wrong in the Village Voice article NewsMax is basing its item on, but 30 seconds on Google would have provided a quick fact-check. (NewsMax did get the name right in a Sept. 7 piece bashing Witt.)

Having screwed up basic facts, NewsMax moves right along to baseless assertions:

Though Sen. Clinton touted former FEMA director Witt's experience, she made no mention of Raymond 'Buddy' Young, whom her husband appointed to the post of Southwest Regional FEMA Director in 1993.

Mr. Young, a former Arkansas state trooper, won the promotion after heading up efforts to discredit other state troopers whose allegations fueled the Troopergate scandal.

NewsMax offers no evidence to back up this assertion; in fact, this is the first time NewsMax has made this accusation. Young's name appears in only one previous story in NewsMax's archive, a passing mention in a September 1999 article attempting to prove the existence of Bill Clinton's purported black love child.

Additionally, the Arkansas state troopers pushing "Troopergate" were discredited not only by Young -- according to Conason and Lyons' "The Hunting of the President," the lead "Troopergate" troopers, L.D. Brown and Larry Patterson, were mad that Young got a federal job and they didn't -- but by the troopers themselves. As ConWebWatch (and the Conason-Lyons book) noted, the troopers backpedaled from many of their salacious allegations about Clinton when placed under oath.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:03 PM EDT
Meaningless Poll Alert
Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax is begging people to take part in yet another meaningless, biased opt-in poll.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:50 PM EDT
'Terri's Story'
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily is publishing a book on the Terri Schiavo case, written by WND news editor Diana Lynne. A Sept. 7 promo piece quotes WND's Joseph Farah calling the book "the powerful, insightful and definitive story" about the case. Somehow we doubt that, especially the "definitive" part.

Reason #1 to doubt it: The promo piece calls her "Terri Schindler-Schiavo," the name Terri's parents insisted on using and which WND used in much of its coverage.

Reason #2 to doubt it: Lynne and WND have a documented history of heavily biased reporting on the Schiavo case, playing up the allegations of Terri's parents and demonizing Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo, while not giving him a chance to respond to those charges. And WND was so eager to smear Michael Schiavo that it eagerly promoted a bogus story that made him look bad.

Reason #3 to doubt it: Lynne's "whole Terri Schiavo story" was a lot less whole before ConWebWatch insisted on a little fairness.

Lynne might surprise us by offering a balanced account in her book; she did make an attempt at fairness in her WND "whole story" after ConWebWatch's letter. But somehow, sadly, we suspect it will be as distorted and slanted as the rest of WND's Schiavo coverage.

UPDATE: The detailed blurb at the WND Books website seems to confirm those suspicions; it appears that anyone who didn't support Terri's parents in keeping Terri alive will be targeted. Lynne also purports to answer the question, "What would Terri have told us if she could speak?"

Posted by Terry K. at 11:57 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 7, 2005 12:37 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 6, 2005
More Junk Journalism At WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily
In yet another example of gross journalistic imbalance at WorldNetDaily, Ron Strom has penned a fourth article on the man who is accusing Allstate Insurance of firing him for writing an anti-gay column. Strom's Sept. 6 article touts a letter written on behalf of the man by several congressmen.

The article, like the three preceding ones also written by Strom, follow the Terri Schiavo template, playing up the man's accusations through cozy connections with his attorney -- who also served as a attorney for Schaivo's parents -- while downplaying or ignoring completely anything Allstate has to say.

To continue the count we began with Strom's first story: Of the 91 paragraphs Strom has written over four articles about this case, only six are devoted to Allstate's response, and all of them are buried at the end of their respective articles. The rest all advance the man's case.

If you wonder why ConWebWatch exists, this is why: to expose junk journalism like this.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:33 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 6, 2005 10:35 PM EDT

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