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Friday, November 18, 2005
Selective Outrage
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Malkin(s)Watch notes another ripped-from-the-headlines television event that was going on while WorldNetDaily was claiming offense that the Minutemen were being portrayed as murderers:

Law & Order:SVU does a "Terri Schiavo" episode in which the "Michael Schiavo" character, played by Dean Cain, is a serial rapist who has his wife's feeding tube removed to collect on the life insurance and, presumably, so she won't testify against him.

No word on what WND's Diana Lynne thought of that episode, though we suspect she approves.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:09 PM EST
News Article: Another Brick Out of the Wall
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Contrary to all journalistic ethics, WorldNetDaily escalates its policy of using its "news" articles to promote its advertisers. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:58 AM EST
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Today's "Fact-O-Rama" advances something that's not a fact: the claim -- promulgated by the Center for Individual Freedom -- that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals “is definitively the most reversed federal appellate court in the country and requires far more attention from the Supreme Court than any other inferior court."

CNS cites an article in a publication called InsideCounsel for the CFIF's claim. But if its "Fact-O-Rama" editor had read further down in that article, he would have found the following:

“It is not true any longer that the 9th gets overturned with more frequency,” says Jesse Choper, a professor of corporate and constitutional law at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. “A lot of the criticism—which is often quite partisan—is based on inaccurate facts.”

While the 9th Circuit has more reversals on a numerical basis, it also handles far more cases than any other federal circuit court, so that is not an accurate basis upon which to judge the circuit. On the basis of percentage of cases appealed to the Supreme Court that are reversed -- a more reliable indicator -- the 9th Circuit is, in fact, near the average for all federal circuits.

Strangely, though CNS cites from the CFIF study, it doesn't provide a link to it. A quick search of the CFIF website didn't uncover it.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:58 PM EST
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
The Minutemen's Mouthpiece
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily is serving as the forum for Minuteman leader Chris Simcox to vent some rage at NBC for a "Law and Order" promo that suggests that his group has committed murder. In a Nov. 16 article, Simcox is quoted is saying that there had not been "one incident of a member of our organizations committing acts of violence on our patrols, let alone murder."

However, Simcox has been arrested and convicted for having a loaded weapon on national park land, as ConWebWatch has noted. And blogger David Neiwert has pointed out that white supremacist groups have promoted Minuteman events.

And Simcox hasn't exactly denounced violence used by other border-watchers. After Casey Nethercott, formerly of competing border watch group Ranch Rescue, was sentenced to prison and his Arizona ranchland was ordered to be sold after he was found guilty of pistol-whipping a border-crosser, Simcox expressed outrage at the sentence. From the Washington Post:

"If the federal government was doing its job, ranchers would not be living in fear," said Chris Simcox, president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corp., a group that watches for illegal immigrant crossings and reports them to the U.S. Border Patrol.

WND has been a visible promoter of the Minutemen, while hiding its links to violence and racists; editor Joseph Farah even went so far as to sign up for a border-watching exercise this fall, though we haven't heard a peep about this excellent adventure since he first announced it.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:33 PM EST
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

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