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Friday, October 14, 2005
WND Still Defends Bush
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Just because Joseph Farah is retracting his endorsement of President Bush last fall is not reason for WorldNetDaily to stop defending the guy. An Oct. 13 WND article claims that Bush's low approval ratings "still remain higher than the low-point ratings of the last seven presidents, including his predecessor Bill Clinton." The article also quotes the blog Power Line as pointing out that "the Republican base is holding remarkably firm" despite what it claims is "a media onslaught against the Bush administration that has no parallel in modern history."

Posted by Terry K. at 7:47 PM EDT
Topic: Media Research Center's Susan Jones somehow managed to slip a story past her MRC overlords that actually included criticism of President Bush.

In her Oct. 13 article on Bush's via-satellite visit with troops in Iraq, Jones wrote: "Apparently disconcerted by the echo factor, President Bush's delivery was choppy and halting. He looked uncomfortable speaking to faces on a video screen -- and this at a time when polls indicate Americans are increasingly upset with his handling of the war in Iraq." Jones also noted the visit was, in reality, "a series of scripted questions."

That's probabaly not the message the MRC ultimately wants portrayed; in an Oct. 14 CyberAlert, Jones' MRC colleague Brent Baker was rushing to Bush's defense, pointing out that "the answers were not staged" and that "The soldiers, naturally nervous about appearing on live TV with the President of the United States, were simply told who should answer which question and to 'take a breath' before answering." Baker also insisted that any focus on the choreography of the visit advanced a "media-generated controversy."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:08 PM EDT
New Article: NewsMax's Fiction Writer
Topic: Newsmax
James Hirsen takes a break from plugging his new book to advance a couple of bogus claims. Incorporates the ConWebBlog posts about Rick Santorum and U2. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:03 AM EDT
The Daily Les, 10/13
Topic: The Daily Les
Les Kinsolving threw in on today's fracas over Harriet Miers, but it's unclear from his WorldNetDaily article what he asked; he wrote only that "WND asked [Scott] McClellan earlier about Miers' religion, receiving a response devoid of the subject." But -- judging by the proximity of MeClellan's "Les, Les, Les" -- here is what Les asked, according to the transcript:

KINSOLVING: There was no -- there were no less than 18 questions all dealing with Supreme Court nominee Miers' religion. And I wanted to ask, does the President believe that she should and will adhere to the admonition rendered under Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and under God the things that are God's?

Kinsolving also got in a non-Miers question related to his other obsession, homosexuality:

KINSOLVING: Presuming that the President is grateful that Oprah Winfrey is giving $100,000 rewards for assisting in the capture of child molesters, could you tell us whether the White House has seen any evidence of support for Oprah's action from the nation's many homosexual organizations, or has there been silence or opposition?

McClellan's response: "All right, next question. I'm not going to dignify that."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:03 AM EDT
Thursday, October 13, 2005
The Schiavo Slant, Part 4
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Today, WorldNetDaily graces us with the preface of Diana Lynne's WND-published "Terri's Story," and it's the strongest sign yet that the book has a pro-Schindler slant.

Some sample quotes from the preface:

-- "What if the husband was mistaken? Or worse, what if he lied as some fear?"

-- "Even if Michael Schiavo would have realized in a quiet moment by himself over the last decade during which he sought to end her life that he was mistaken about Terri's wishes, the pro-death train had already left the station."

-- "While it was debated among family members, lawyers, lobbyists, lawmakers, bioethicists and news commentators as to whether Terri Schiavo would have wanted to live for the past 15 years in her brain-injured state, it is indisputable she never asked to not be fed. She never declared a desire to be dehydrated to death."

-- "At that point, the right-to-die case flashed across the radar screens of pro-life organizations such as Life Legal Defense Foundation, the Alliance Defense Fund, The Christian Defense Coalition, National Right To Life Committee and the American Catholic Lawyers Association, which entered the fray in various ways to bolster the efforts of Terri's parents and siblings to keep her from becoming a 'sacrificial lamb on the stage of the right-to-die movement.'"

That last statement would appear to the theme of Lynne's book: She portrays Terri Schiavo as the "sacrificial lamb on the stage of the right-to-die movement" and bashes anyone who doesn't agree.

We can assume that Lynne's book is biased and in no way "definitive" -- in other words, another "whole story" that's anything but.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 PM EDT
Quote of the Day
Topic: The ConWeb
Apparently, if you hurt Tom DeLay, you hurt foster children:

Just as Senator Jesse Helms had been portrayed negatively in the media so has DeLay. Recently a new home for foster children was dedicated in Houston. DeLay saw that it was built. Most people are unaware of what DeLay has done to get foster children out of often abusive situations. That doesn't fit with the image of "The Hammer."

-- Free Congress Foundation's Paul Weyrich, in an Oct. 13 commentary on Accuracy in Media, NewsMax and

By the way, Weyrich dubiously claims in this column that "The Hammer ... is what the national media has called DeLay because DeLay is the first Republican Leader in modern times to attempt to enforce party discipline." This implies that DeLay doesn't embrace the nickname; in fact, he does.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:42 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, October 13, 2005 6:49 PM EDT
The Daily Les, 10/12
Topic: The Daily Les
Les Kinsolving does his master's bidding in asking Scott McClellan about WorldNetDaily-promoted claims regarding Harriet Miers' stint on the Texas Lottery Commission. From the transcript:

KINSOLVING: Scott, WorldNetDaily reported in 1995 Ben Barnes, Texas former lieutenant governor, secured a contract for a company called GTECH to run the Texas Lottery. And my first question: Did Harriet Miers continue the Texas Lottery's contract to GTECH without bid, so that Barnes received a $23 million payoff as part of the deal, authorized by Miers?

McCLELLAN: I would encourage you to go back and look at news reports at the time, because the governor's office at the time denied any connection that you may be asserting within your question. That's an issue that's already been discussed, and I think that Ben Barnes has said the same.

KINSOLVING: In 1999, a former executive director of the Texas Lottery, named Lawrence Littwin, filed a lawsuit alleging he lost his job as a result of political influence wielded by Barnes. And my question, since this Littwin suit was settled out of court for $300,000, what is the White House response?

MR. McCLELLAN: The allegations have been disputed previously by both the governor's office and -- by the governor's office at the time, and by Mr. Barnes. I would encourage you to go back and look at the comments that were made at the time. I'd be glad to provide those to you if you would like.

We wonder: Has Jerome Corsi or Joseph Farah reported that these allegations are disputed?

Posted by Terry K. at 6:21 PM EDT
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
The Schiavo Slant, Part 3
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Today's "Terri's Story" excerpt by Diana Lynne purports to describe, in the words of the front-page promo, "how activists crafted law used to kill Terri Schiavo."

Again, there is an issue of balance -- Lynne has made no mention thus far of the "activist" tendencies of the supporters of Terri Schiavo's parents, the Schindlers, such as Randall Terry, Gary McCullough and David Gibbs III. WND claims Lynne's book is "definitive," but given her unwillingness thus far to forward any criticism of the Schindlers and their supporters, evidence to support that description is scant.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:15 PM EDT
NewsMax Attempts to Un-Punk
Topic: Newsmax
An Oct. 12 NewsMax article builds on the politicians-at-U2-concerts theme while ignoring its own role -- started by its own false reporting.

The article states: "First Sen. Rick Santorum and now Sen. Hillary Clinton have tried to cash in on the popularity of rock group U2 and its front man Bono by scheduling fund-raisers at the band’s concerts. But U2 wants no part of it."

That, of course, is not how NewsMax originally portrayed Santorum's presence at an upcoming U2 concert, falsely stating that U2 was "teaming up" with Santorum for a fund-raiser (as ConWebBlog previously reported). NewsMax has since changed the article (without telling readers) to reflect reality: Santorum got a luxury box for his well-heeled donors.

But now that Clinton's gotten in on the act, NewsMax is looking askance at the whole deal, noting that "backers can catch the concert in comfort with a wet bar, private bathroom and plush chairs in Clinton’s $7,000 suite" without noting that Santorum's backers are getting the same type of accomodations.

NewsMax also quotes a U2 publicist as saying, "The U2 concerts are categorically not fund-raisers for any politician – they are rock concerts for U2 fans." without noting that the comment was in response to Santorum's fund-raiser claims, as Santorum Exposed points out.

But again, NewsMax has yet to admit its original false story, which tells you about journalistic standards on the ConWeb.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:29 AM EDT
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
NewsMax Gets Punk'd
Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax's James Hirsen falsely claimed that U2 was holding a fund-raiser for Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Rick Santorum.

An Oct. 10 article originally read this way (courtesy Santorum Exposed):

Teaming up with the legendary rock group U2 for a one-night only appearance will be Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.).

The thousand-dollar-a-seat concert has been put together by Sean and Ana Wolfington and will take place at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia in support of Santorum’s re-election, reports NewsMax's James Hirsen.
Wolfington puts it this way: "It's truly appropriate for U2, a band with a purpose, to be involved in a fund-raiser with Senator Rick Santorum, a politician with a purpose. Both men are passionate about what they believe and their faith is very important to them."

NewsMax has since changed the article to somewhat closer reflect reality:

On Sunday, October 16, a unique political event will take place.

At a concert of the legendary rock group U2, Senator Rick Santorum will hold a fund-raising event for one night only.

The thousand-dollar-a-seat fund-raiser has been put together by Sean and Ana Wolfington, and it will take place at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia in support of Santorum's reelection.

In other words, Santorum got some seats to the U2 show -- or rather, as Joe Trippi points out, a luxury box -- and is giving them out to high-dollar campaign donors. Santorum Exposed also quotes a spokesman for Bono as saying that "U2 concerts are categorically not fundraisers for any politician - they are rock concerts for U2 fans."

But NewsMax makes no note of the correction -- or even any hint of the article's significant alterations, which also removed Hirsen's name. Hirsen, a NewsMax columnist, is currently plugging his new book, "Hollywood Nation."

The article also still states that "As in the case of Santorum, Bono's religious convictions inform his activities," implying that Bono supports Santorum.

NewsMax thus joins the ranks of WorldNetDaily, which also wanted to believe something so badly it ran a false news story.

UPDATE: Thanks to the magic of the Google cache, here's a copy of NewsMax's original false story.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:58 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 12, 2005 11:31 AM EDT
NewsMax's Token Liberal
Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax runs Democratic strategist Susan Estrich's syndicated column mostly as a defense against claims that it's monolithically conservative (sorta like why WorldNetDaily runs columns by Bill Press -- or did until a few weeks ago). But in a follow-up on a dustup over why Clinton-basher (and fellow NewsMax columnist) Dick Morris, who has a new book out touting the presidential prospects of Condoleezza Rice, won't appear on any talking-head show against Estrich, who has a new book out touting the presidential prospects of Hillary, NewsMax has chosen sides -- and to nobody's surprise, it wasn't with Estrich.

An Oct. 11 article NewsMax attacks Estrich for promoting Hillary when she claimed a couple years ago that Hillary is too divisive to be president, suggesting that "before she debates Morris, whose new book "Hillary vs. Condi" debuted yesterday - perhaps she ought to debate herself." NewsMax goes on to call Estrich a "Carol Channing sound-alike." The end of the article announces: "Get Dick Morris' new book "Hillary vs. Condi" for an unbeatable price at's bookstore."

If NewsMax hates Estrich so much, why is it paying her good money to run her column?

Posted by Terry K. at 5:21 PM EDT
The Schiavo Slant Continues
Topic: WorldNetDaily
In what looks to be a series (starting with yesterday's piece), Diana Lynne has penned another article for WorldNetDaily promoting her WND-published book, "Terri's Story." These articles are providing details of the slant that "Terri's Story" is apparently taking on the Terri Schiavo case -- pro-Schindler, anti-Michael.

Today's installment -- and today's slant -- focuses on the autopsy report following Terri Schiavo's death. Lynne repeats criticism of medical examiner Jon Thogmartin's report without providing an opportunity for Thogmartin to respond, and she notes that the New York Times "preached" in an editorial about the case.

Lynne also quotes Dr. William Hammesfahr without citing the controversy over his falsely claiming to be a Nobel Prize nominee.

Finally, as she did yesterday, Lynne quoted people citing the purported bias of the media against Terri Schiavo without addressing the pro-Terri, anti-Michael bias exhibited by WorldNetDaily in its coverage of the Schiavo case (copiously documented by ConWebWatch) in which she, as a WND writer, participated.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:35 AM EDT
New Article: Supreme Confusion
Topic: The ConWeb
Accuracy in Media attacks WorldNetDaily! The Media Research Center bashes NBC for not reporting criticism of President Bush! NewsMax accuses Robert Bork of borking! The Harriet Miers nomination is turning the ConWeb topsy-turvy. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:53 AM EDT
Monday, October 10, 2005
Double Standard on Savaging
Topic: Media Research Center
NewsBusters' John Armor, in an Oct. 8 post, beats up on the Washington Post for an "extended whitewash" in an article on the Hillary Clinton fund-raising pseudo-scandal, claiming that "The reporter spends most of her article savaging the witnesses against Hillary Clinton" -- that, of course, would be convicted felons (and conservative darlings) Aaron Tonken and Peter Paul. Armor writes:

But if no one could be found responsible based on testimony of witnesses who have themselves committed crimes, no member of the Mafia would ever have gone to jail. Reporters, like prosecutors, have to take their witnesses as they find them. Sometimes, apparently “bad” people do tell the truth.

Armor offers no evidence that the "bad" Tonken and Paul are indeed telling the truth, other than an assumption that because what they say makes the Clintons look bad, it therefore must be the truth.

So, we've established that "savaging" convicted criminals who serve as witnesses is a bad thing (Armor is apparently so opposed to the practice that he doesn't even name Paul and Tonken in his post). But, a few NewsBusters posts later, what do we see Dustin Hawkins doing? Exactly what Armor advised against.

In an Oct. 10 post, Hawkins savages Sandy Berger, who responded to allegations made by former FBI director Louis Freeh on "60 Minutes":

Amusingly, it is Sandy Berger who will be coming to Clinton's defense tonight in a written statement to be read by CBS. Sandy Berger is best known for being Clinton's National Securoty Adviser who was recently given a $50,000 fine, ordered to do 100 hours of community service, and placed on probation for stealing Classified Government Documents and stuffing them in his pants.

So, Dustin and John, tell us again why Tonken and Paul are trustworthy and Berger is not.

UPDATE: Breaking factoid: John Armor posts at Free Republic as "Congressman Billybob."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:56 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, October 10, 2005 10:01 PM EDT
Quote of the Day
"Miers was raised Roman Catholic and found Christ in the late 1970s, according to one evangelical acquaintance."

-- Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation, Oct. 10 column published at

Huh? Is he really saying that Catholics don't believe in Christ?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:45 AM EDT

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