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Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Bias on Public Broadcasting Bias
Topic: Media Research Center
In a Nov. 16 NewsBusters post noting a report detailing how former Corporation for Public Broadcasting chairman Kenneth Tomlinson violated agency rules and procedures in trying to steer PBS and NPR to the right, Tim Graham makes a big deal out of pointing out that "Tomlinson hiring contractor Fred Mann to analyze PBS and NPR content is the first time in forty years that CPB has actually evaluated an individual program for balance."

But Graham doesn't offer the background of Mann, who was paid $14,170 to monitor alleged bias on the PBS show "Now." As Media Matters notes, Mann worked for 20 years at the National Journalism Center, an organization that counts among the alumni of its training programs Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund and right-wing pundit Ann Coulter.

And Mann's "contractor" work makes Graham's MRC look like meticulous by comparison. From Media Matters:

In a June 20 speech on the Senate floor, [North Dakota Sen. Byron] Dorgan said that he had received the "raw data" Mann provided Tomlinson and was "struck and disappointed" by the methods he used in conducting the study. For example, Mann labeled certain segments of the show "anti-Bush," "anti-DeLay" and "anticorporation." In addition, Mann classified all the guests appearing on NOW as either "conservative" or "liberal," labeling Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) as "liberal." Dorgan inferred that Hagel had "apparently said something that wasn't completely in sync with the White House" and concluded: "That is not the prism through which someone should evaluate whether something makes sense."

Graham also claimed that "PBS and NPR live up to their reputations for liberal bias on a regular basis," citing a special MRC link page as evidence. But that page doesn't prove much:

-- It's heavy on Brent Bozell columns, which shouldn't be confused with factual reporting or serious research;

-- It fails to note that the PBS shows "Tucker Carlson Unfiltered" and "The Journal Editorial Report," which Graham cited as examples of "balance" on PBS, in fact have a conservative bias; and

-- the frequency of articles is approximately once a month -- which hardly indicates an avalanche of bias examples -- and the most recent article on the list was written in June.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:03 PM EST
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
NewsMax's Silly Obsessions
Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax got to mix two of its favorite pastimes -- being a booster/apologist for Jeanine Pirro and its bizarre obsession with Robert Byrd's 60-year-past KKK affiliation -- in the same Nov. 15 article.

Speaking of bizarre, the article also includes the strangest defense ever of Strom Thurmond: "Though Thurmond was once a pro-segregationist Dixiecrat - he never joined the Klan." But unlike Byrd, Thurmond did run for president on a pro-segregation ticket, which suggests a lot more ambition to spread and enforce such views on his part. NewsMax fails to note that, of course.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:45 PM EST
In a Nov. 15 article (ironically, on Republicans demanding an apology from Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean for claiming that a Maryland Republican official called Dean an "anti-Semite"), Nathan Burchfiel repeats the claim that Maryland lieutenant governor Michael Steele "was also reportedly pelted with Oreo cookies on at least one occasion, symbolizing the criticism that Steele was black on the outside, but white on the inside" without noting that this claim has been found to be highly dubious, if not outright false.

CNS' Randy Hall also repeated the claim in a Nov. 3 article.

Also guilty of repeating this apparently baseless claim is (surprise) WorldNetDaily's Mychal Massie in a Nov. 8 column. (We've previously noted NewsMax's use of the claim.)

So far, no ConWeb news organization (CNS, WND, NewsMax) has noted the dispute over the Oreo-pelting claim.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:10 PM EST
Conservative Radio Joins MSM Conspiracy?
Topic: Media Research Center
That mean MSM conspiracy keeps expanding.

A Nov. 15 NewsBusters post by Greg Sheffield claims that the White House press corps is out to get White House press secretary Scott McClellan fired. As part of his evidence for such a claim, Sheffield wrote that "Connie Lawn, White House correspondent since 1968 and currently employed by USA Radio Network, became the first member of the press corps to ask him if he should resign."

But USA Radio Network is hardly the liberal-leaning news outlet of the kind that conservatives such as Sheffield take such great joy in bashing. The network, which counts many Christian radio stations as among its more than 1,100 clients, was founded by Marlin Maddoux, who was longtime host of the Christian radio show "Point of View" and a co-founder of the conservative Alliance Defense Fund.

USA Radio Network's news director is Bob Morrison, whose bio includes the following statement:

As Psalm 115 suggests, these little [award] statues mean nothing compared to our sovereign God almighty -- Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Yeshua the Messiah) -- to whom we give all the praise and glory for any success we enjoy -- but it's good to assure our affiliates and listeners that there are no finer quality newscasts being done than right here at USA Radio Network!

Sheffield might want to look into why such a conservative broadcaster has turned against McClellan.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:49 PM EST
New Article: More Sand in the Umpire's Eyes
Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax tries a new tactic in its campaign to discredit Patrick Fitzgerald: misinterpreting his words. And WorldNetDaily joins in by promoting a purported witness who later "clarified" (read: retracted) his claims. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:00 AM EST
Monday, November 14, 2005
Something Else NewsMax Needs to Retract
Topic: Newsmax
An Oct. 28 NewsMax article quotes Michael Steele, Maryland's lieutenant governor and a black Republican, as saying that "during a 2002 campaign debate, Democratic Party supporters pelted him with Oreo cookies – black on the outside, white on the inside." NewsMax repeated the claim in a Nov. 7 article (and in a Nov. 4 Associated Press article it reprinted).

But it looks like this claim is false. The Baltimore Sun is reporting that it can't find anyone who attended that debate who can corroborate the Oreo-pelting claim.

Come on, NewsMax -- you know how to correct articles now. You even made a big deal about the difference between covert and classified. Care to give it a go?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:30 PM EST
NewsMax Really Does Corrects Itself
Topic: Newsmax
We can't even remember the last time we saw one of these, but here it is: a prominent NewsMax correction.

A Nov. 14 article tries to soft-pedal it by calling it a "clarification" in the headline, but it is in fact a full-fledged correction. NewsMax fully admits that in a Nov. 11 item, it atributed a quote by Sen. John Kerry to Sen. John McCain. Somebody (since it does not have a history of doing so on its own) sent NewsMax into full mea culpa mode here:

The quote attributed to Sen. McCain was published in error. Sen. McCain never made such a comment.

The quote should have been attributed to Senator John Kerry (D-MA), as reported by the New York Times on Friday November 11.


NewsMax apologies for the error and duly notes the correction.

Wow, NewsMax. We didn't know you had it in you to honorably apologize for making a factual error. As long as you're in a correcting mood, how about setting the record straight about your lie that y'all never claimed that U2 was holding a fund-raiser for Rick Santorum?

Posted by Terry K. at 5:43 PM EST
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Advertising Masquerading As News
Topic: WorldNetDaily
More evidence that part of the deal in advertising at WorldNetDaily is that you get a "news" story written about you: an Oct. 26 article about the Life Donor program (which aims to "educate pregnant young women about their options to abortion, saving countless unborn lives in the process"). This story has regularly appeared on WND's front page ever since.

Life Donor appears to be getting the same deal from WND as advertisers such as Voice of the Martyrs (whose profile of its founder is currently a "news" article on the WND front page, even though it was written back in July) and Swiss America (which got a free plug when WND editor Joseph Farah steered a plagiarized article toward Swiss America's line of business).

Why doesn't WND explain to its readers why it continually breaches the wall between news and advertising to benefit its advertisers?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:47 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, November 13, 2005 10:59 PM EST
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez, Jr, sees the 60 miles of the Texas-Mexico border his deputies patrol as a frontline in the war on terror – his biggest fear is smugglers will bring terrorists and dirty bombs into the U.S. through his county. Gonzalez, Zapata County's chief lawman and chairman of the Border Sheriff's Association, told a San Antonio conference yesterday it's not a matter of "if," but "when," a terrorist will enter the U.S. through Mexico with a dirty bomb or some other weapon of mass destruction.

-- Nov. 12 WorldNetDaily article

Suitcase nukes? Relax: most of the information causing the fear over this has come from one Russian general who has changed his story many times.

-- From Richard Miniter's "Disinformation," on sale at the WND Book Service

Posted by Terry K. at 10:41 AM EST
Friday, November 11, 2005
Vallely and More
Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax tried its hand, as part of its smear-Patrick-Fitzgerald campaign, to hop on the Paul Vallely bandwagon in a Nov. 9 article by citing three other people, as well as Vallely, quoted as claiming that Joseph Wilson was running around Washington telling anyone he could buttonhole that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA. Media Matters shoots it down.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:38 PM EST
A Tale of Two Articles
The general approach taken by is encapsulated in two Nov. 11 articles by Randy Hall. The first summarizes documents a Democratic event celebrating recent election victories; Hall quotes Republicans picketing outside the event.

The second article by Hall summarizes a Veterans Day speech by President Bush, in which he criticizes Democrats for "claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war" and claims that ""while it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began." Hall does not quote any Democratic response to Bush's claims.

UPDATE: If Hall wants to fact-check Bush, here's a good place to start his research.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:20 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, November 12, 2005 10:39 AM EST
CFIF: We Love Torture!
Topic: The ConWeb
The Center for Individual Freedom, whom we've most recently noted as making bogus claims about judicial picks, recently sent out a email via NewsMax's mailing list encouraging folks to pay CFIF $20 (preferably more) to send out blast faxes opposing the anti-torture bill. (Here's the link to the CFIF site on this.) How does CFIF back the idea of torture? Mostly by not calling it that:

You may be alive today because some interrogator wasn’t too fastidious about how he got his information from some proud, smirking jihadist.


No cruel or inhuman treatment... that sounds reasonable... or does it?

But the phrase “degrading treatment” – which could have been invented by Amnesty International -- is so vague and full of holes you could drive a Hummer through it.

Solitary confinement, harsh language, ridicule, mild threats, good-cop-bad-cop -- the Senate wants to outlaw all of these standard questioning techniques and restrict interrogators to the etiquette of a ladies’ lawn party.

These terrorists are butchering women and children all over the globe -- as well as launching sneak attacks on our troops – and we’re supposed to walk on egg shells when we try to find out which Americans they intend to kill next?

Exactly what are our troops suppose to do when questioning these terrorist thugs in an attempt to save American lives?

"Pretty please Mr. terrorist... I beg you...could you please tell us the details of your NEXT attack on innocent Americans?"

That's about the size of it folks. After all, we will now have to be extra careful not to do ANYTHING THAT WOULD DEGRADE OR INSULT THESE KILLERS!


Let’s Clear Up A Few Things Right Now

We don’t torture prisoners. We don’t blindfold them, threaten them with execution, and televise their pathetic pleas for life.

We don’t condone cruel and unusual punishments. We don’t lop off prisoners’ heads in front of TV cameras or on the world wide web.

With few exceptions, we treat prisoners as humanely as any enemy has ever treated its enemies. Ask the handful of U.S. troops who survived captivity how the terrorists treated them.

Abu-Gharib was the exception -- not the rule -- and mere child's play in comparison to how these terrorists, murderers and thugs treat our people -- or even their own people for that matter.

The only atrocities going on at Guantanamo Bay are the atrocities that these murderers and thugs who are being detained are heaping upon the fine U.S. soldiers assigned to guard them.

We give these terrorists their own Korans, prayer rugs, clean living conditions, indoor plumbing and three square meals a day... many of them NEVER had it so good.

Never underestimate the power to rationalize.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:02 AM EST
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Smear of the Day
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Jack Cashill, in a Nov. 10 WorldNetDaily column, smears Joseph Wilson as an anti-Semite.

Consider the source: Cashill is the same guy who wrote a seven-part WND series trying to portray an admitted killer as an innocent man.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:28 PM EST
Lies-Lies-Lies, Yeah
Topic: Newsmax
In a Nov. 8 NewsMax column headlined "Lies of the Looney Left Media," Steve Malzberg tells a couple lies of his own.

First, Malzberg buys into the false claim, promoted elsewhere at NewsMax, that special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald said that Valerie Plame wasn't a covert CIA agent. In fact, as we noted when other NewsMax writers made the same claim, when Fitzgerald said that "we have not made any allegation that Mr. [Lewis "Scooter"] Libby knowingly or intentionally outed a covert agent," he was referring to the fact that the charges against Libby for perjury and false statements are not linked to whether Plame was covert, not a determination that Plame was not covert. And Malzberg insists that "Democratic partisans and their media enablers" are the ones who get this statement "dead wrong."

Then, in responding to MSNBC's Chris Matthews' assertion that Plame's neighbors didn't know she worked for the CIA, Malzberg wrote:

Too bad that Chris hadn't read the Washington Times story of July 15, 2005. Reporters spoke with a former CIA agent who was himself covert from 1966 to 1990. Fred Rustman also happened to supervise Valerie Plame early in her career and he says that most of her neighbors and friends knew that she worked for the agency.

Too bad Malzberg didn't read that story either. That very same Washington Times article does quote a neighbor as saying he didn't know Plame worked for the CIA. Additionally, Fred Rustmann is not Plame's neighbor and has not supervised Plame in 15 years, making anything he has to say about Plame tenuous at best.

Seems that Malzberg has a bit of the loony factor going too.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:07 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, November 10, 2005 2:24 PM EST
Lynne Ratchets Up Michael-Bashing
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Diana Lynne ratchets up her attack on Michael Schiavo in a Nov. 10 WorldNetDaily commentary, saying that the mere act of Terri Schiavo's marriage to Michael set the stage for her death.

Since Lynne, as she has all along, is clearly interested in telling only one side of the Terri Schiavo story -- that which paints Terri and her parents in the most flattering light and Michael Schiavo in the most negative light -- shouldn't WND be honest with its readers and stop promoting Lynne's book, "Terri's Story," as "comprehensive"?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:03 AM EST

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