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Tuesday, November 22, 2005
MRC: Disagreeing with Bush = "Left"
Topic: Media Research Center
A Nov. 22 MRC CyberAlert item cites a poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press to claim that "[t]he news media elite are to the left of the public in several policy areas related to the war on terrorism." But that claim plays on conservative stereotypes of liberals and never states how disagreeing with the Bush administration on Iraq on "several policy areas related to the war on terrorism" -- which is what this is about -- equals being "left."

Some statistics as cited by the MRC:

-- "Efforts to establish a stable democracy:" Will succeed: Public 56% Media: 33%; Will fail: Public: 37% News media: 63%

-- "Decision to take military action" Public: "right decision" 48%, "wrong decision" 45% News media: "right decision" 28%, "wrong decision" 71%

-- "Iraq's impact on war on terrorism" Public: "helped" 44%, "hurt" 44% News media: "helped" 22%, "hurt" 68%

-- "Is torture of terrorist suspects justified?" Combining "often" and "sometimes," vs. "rarely" and "never"

Public: 46% yes, 49% no News media: 21% yes, 78% no

MRC offers no explanation of why disagreeing with these statements is a "left" position. After all, for example, there are thousands of years of history backing up the difficulty of establishing a stable democracy in the Middle East. But does the MRC really want people to think that torturing suspects with impunity is a "right" position?

Posted by Terry K. at 4:04 PM EST
Trusting Commies
Topic: Media Research Center
In a Nov. 22 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham aims to "balance" praise for the retiring Ted Koppel by pointing out alleged examples of his "serious (sometimes atrocious) liberal bias. One of the most recent: going to Vietnam to interview communists to prove John Kerry was right about his war record."

Graham might want to have a chat with his colleague Noel Sheppard, who is much more trusting of commies and believes that they are fair and balanced reporters (as long as they say nice things about President Bush, anyway).

Posted by Terry K. at 11:47 AM EST
Quote of the Day
Topic: CNSNews.com
A Nov. 22 CNSNews.com article on conservatives believe that Roe v. Wade should be overturned (actually, reporter Randy Hall portrays their argument as dismissing "the concept that the Roe v. Wade decision is a 'super-duper precedent' that should not be re-examined even if Judge Samuel Alito sits on the U.S. Supreme Court," but you get the idea) quotes Manuel Miranda, the ex-Republican Senate staffer accused of improperly leaking Democratic memos on judicial nominations to conservative organizations such as CNS, discussing Alito's 1985 statement that the Constitution does not protect the right to an abortion:

"I view the 1985 statement and how he's handling it a little bit like I view my marriage," Miranda added. "I learned when I got married that my personal views really don't matter much. That's how a judge approaches a decision as well. His personal views don't matter much."

Posted by Terry K. at 11:32 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, November 22, 2005 11:48 AM EST
Monday, November 21, 2005
MRC Prefers Propaganda
Topic: Media Research Center
In a Nov. 21 NewsBusters post, contributing editor Noel Sheppard noted that unlike the U.S. media, which gave President Bush "low marks and mixed reviews regarding his just ended trip to China," the "Chinese media were much more positive about Bush's trip." But the Chinese news sources he cites as issuing those glowing reports -- People's Daily, China Daily and Xinhua.net -- are all state-owned media outlets, who presumably aren't reporting anything their government overseers don't want reported.

Is that the kind of media Sheppard and his MRC buddies secretly (or maybe not so secretly) want in the U.S.?

UPDATE: As if the post itself wasn't entertaining enough, the discussion thread on it has degenerated into attacks on the Clenis. Sample post:

Which is stupider? A President who can't open a locked door or a President with a cock so LITTLE that he has to pleasure a fat girl ( and we all know they can't even take a proper cock), with a cigar. How about a President with a little liberal dicK? To quote Jennifer Flowers, about five inches is all he's got!

Posted by Terry K. at 3:54 PM EST
Updated: Monday, November 21, 2005 4:07 PM EST
'Extreme Leftist'
Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Nov. 21 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein describes Israeli politican Yossi Beilin as "an extreme leftist lawmaker." Not knowing much about Israel -- our experience is pretty much limited to ConWebWatch's exploration of Klein's whitewashing of Israeli right-wing militants in his WND reporting -- we wondered why Klein would use such a pejorative term to describe Beilin.

Looking in WND's archive, we that that in a May 26 article, Klein described Beilin's political party, Yahad, as "extreme left," and in a July 2004 article, he called Beilin "discredited."

The answer may lie in Klein's accompanying description of Beilin as "an architect of the 1993 Oslo Accords." It's apparently part of the loyalty test WND gives anyone writing about the Middle East that the Oslo accords must be rejected. A July 2001 WND commentary by Joshua Hasten bashed Oslo as the product of a "liberal Jewish think tank" and claimed that those who pushed those accords such as Beilin are "guilty of treason against the Jewish State. ... Israel should hand out jail terms to these individuals just as if they were found guilty of jeopardizing national security through espionage."

Despite Klein's labeling of Beilin and Yahad as "extremist," neither he or any party member have advocated the death of opponents that we could find, let alone performed the act. By contrast, the right-wing Kach-Kahane movement and its successors have been linked to such incidents as the killing of 29 Arabs by Baruch Goldstein in 1994 -- but Klein has never used the word "extreme" to describe them. The closest he comes is in a Aug. 4 article on an incident in which an AWOL Israeli soldier opened fire on a bus, killing four Arabs, in which he described Kahane-Kach as "activist." (This was the incident in which Klein infamously described the soldier as being "murdered" by a mob following the shootings, a description he does apply to the shooter's victims.)

Posted by Terry K. at 12:28 PM EST
Sunday, November 20, 2005
NewsMax Continues Murtha Lie
Topic: Newsmax
In a Nov. 20 article, NewsMax once again insisted that Rep. John Murtha called "for an immediate pullout" from Iraq. He didn't, of course; as we've noted, Murtha suggested a pullout "at the earliest practicable date."

Unlike NewsMax's previous article on the vote for an immediate pullout, the Nov. 20 article does note that the actual resolution the House of Representatives voted on was authored by Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter, not Murtha.

NewsMax also got defensive about claims that the Rrepublican-engineered vote was a political stunt, quoting a congressman as saying that "the move wasn't designed as a political stunt, as frustrated reporters tried to pretend on Saturday." NewsMax, of course, had a much different view of the Nov. 1 move by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to pull the Senate into closed session to discuss an investigation of whether the Bush administration misled the country into the Iraq war:

-- In a Nov. 2 article on the session, NewsMax put the word "stunt" into the headline.

-- A Nov. 8 article by Jason Barnes called it a "political stunt."

-- In a Nov. 3 column, Barry Farber noted "Senator Harry Reid's motion to have a secret stunt-session of the Senate."

Posted by Terry K. at 8:43 PM EST
Harry-Bashing Is Back
Topic: WorldNetDaily
After taking a year-long breather from bashing Harry Potter at every major release of a book or movie (during which a book and a movie were released), WorldNetDaily is back in the Potter-denouncing business.

On Oct. 30, WND Joseph Farah had as a guest on his radio show Steve Wohlberg, author of "Hour of the Witch: Harry Potter, Wicca Witchcraft and the Bible." In the book, Wohlberg purports to show "how an overwhelming fascination with the “fictional” Potter is leading to a huge increase in the real-life practice of Wicca Witchcraft (one of America’s fastest growing religions, as reported by National Public Radio)."

And in a Nov. 18 review of the new Harry Potter movie, professional prude Ted Baehr -- operator of Movieguide, which "reviews" movies through a fundamentalist Christian lens -- unsurprisingly gave it thumbs down:

As usual, however, both the book and the movie promote an abhorrent, evil, occult worldview that is dangerous to both children and adults. In fact, the occult worldview in this movie may be worse, because, at a high point in the first act, the hero exclaims, "I love magic!"

On the other hand, the lying and deceit of the children protagonists are not as strong as the first three movies.

[...]

Although it may be argued that the Harry Potter books and movies are just fantasy stories having nothing to do with reality, they still entice impressionable young children, teenagers and even adults with an elitist worldview full of occultism and paganism.

Baehr is much more excited about the new Chronicles of Narnia movie, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," which he proclaimed in a Nov. 15 WND review as "a great tool for the church to help people understand the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Posted by Terry K. at 11:40 AM EST
Saturday, November 19, 2005
WND Repeats Lies About Itself
Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Nov. 19 WorldNetDaily article yet again claims that WND is "ranked No. 1 in the category of 'News and Media'" at Alexa.com when, in fact, that ranking is in the Society > Politics > Conservatism > News and Media category.

In addition to rehashing other dubious claims about WND's ranking on Alexa and Ranking.com -- which, as we've noted, are counting systems based on browser toolbars and link exchanges and are not necessarily reflective of actual traffic counts -- the article also includes the following:

When WND got started in 1997, the big three Internet services were AOL, Compuserve and Prodigy," said Joseph Farah, the founder, editor and chief executive officer of WND. "Today, WND is bigger than both Prodigy and Compuserve and closing in on AOL."

But this is an irrelevant comparison. The primary business of AOL, CompuServe and Prodigy is providing Internet connections -- a business WND is not in.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:32 PM EST
NewsMax Spreads Falsehood on Iraq Vote
Topic: Newsmax
In a Nov. 19 article, NewsMax gets a basic fact wrong in order to put a pro-Republican slant on a Nov. 18 House of Representatives vote on an immediate U.S. pullout from Iraq.

After bashing "over-hyped media coverage of Democratic Rep. John Murtha's call for a U.S. pullout," NewsMax called the vote as being on "Murtha's pullout proposal." This is false. The resolution that was voted on was not introduced by Murtha but by a Republican, Rep. Duncan Hunter. Unlike Hunter's proposal, Murtha never called for an "immediate" pullout of troops; he called for a withdrawal "at the earliest practicable date." Indeed, as the Washington Post reported, Murtha said that Hunter's proposal is Hunter's resolution "is not what I envisioned" because it avoids a broader debate of the war, which "is not going as advertised."

WorldNetDaily, meanwhile, did get this fact correct in a Nov. 18 article, even noting that "Democrats accused Republicans of changing the meaning of Murtha's proposal."

Posted by Terry K. at 11:09 AM EST
Friday, November 18, 2005
Slant-O-Rama
Topic: CNSNews.com
Today's edition of the CNSNews.com "Fact-O-Rama" is a step up from yesterday's outright lie, but it still ain't necessarily factual: It joins the conservative attack on Rep. John Murtha for speaking out against the Iraq war by describing "mixed reviews" of a book Murtha wrote.

Where did these reviews that CNS considers so authoritative come from? Readers at Amazon.com.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:18 PM EST
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
Lie-O-Rama
Topic: CNSNews.com
Today's CNSNews.com "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

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