The Right to Lie Topic: Accuracy in Media
In a Dec. 1 column, Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid describes a visit of "a local gun show" where he noted "one booth full of photos from Iraq that were described as being censored by the U.S. news media." These were photos of "American soldiers assisting the Iraqi people, especially children" that are purportedly not being shown in the media. He added:
I purchased a bumper sticker at the booth. It said, "Freedom of the press does not mean the right to lie." Perhaps the public can help stop the lies.
But lying and misleading is something Kincaid does with alarming frequency:
-- He has advanced many distortions or outright lies about Joseph Wilson, as ConWebWatch has detailed.
-- He has never disclosed to his readers that Joseph DiGenova and Victoria Toensing, whom he relies upon to attack Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, are Republican operatives.
-- Kincaid gets his facts wrong (and was not terribly condemning) in recounting Fox News' airing of an interview in which the wrong address was given for a purported terrorist, resulting in harassment of an innocent family.
-- Kincaid has repeatedly advanced the dubious claim (and does so again in the Dec. 1 article) that Newsweek's since-retracted article on allegations that U.S. interrogators flushed a Koran down the toilet directly results in rioting that killed several people. Additionally, Kincaid has failed to disclose a conflict of interest; his promotion of this claim on AIM benefits his own personal organization, America's Survival, which is agitating to extradite the writer of the Newsweek article, Michael Isikoff, to Afghanistan to face trial for the alleged deaths.
Perhaps Kincaid should paste that bumper sticker on his computer as a reminder that "Freedom of the press does not mean the right to lie" applies to him, too.
Update Topic: CNSNews.com
In our July article on CNSNews.com's deliberate misquoting of Paul Begala, we noted that the author of that article, Jered Ede, had previously worked for the Carrollton Record, a conservative magazine at Johns Hopkins University. We recently checked the Record's website hoping that perhaps Ede would be regaling his would-be proteges of his journalistic adventures, but we were surprised to find that the website has apparently disappeared completely. Which would mean that one sample of the type of journalism practiced by the record -- a picture of a chihuahua relieving itself on a picture of Bill Clinton -- is gone forever.
But wait -- we had the foresight to grab a copy of that photo before the Record site went all Judge Crater on us. Not only have we added it to our original article, we'll share it here as well to ensure that it lives in perpetuity, as pretty much anything put on the 'Net does:
CNS Misleads on Abortion Case Topic: CNSNews.com
A Nov. 30 CNSNews.com article by Jeff Johnson on abortion-related cases currently before the Supreme Court started off well but then descended into its typical anti-abortion bias.
Johnson started off by offering a balanced account of a debate over a New Hampshire "parental notification" law. However, he then served up statements from two anti-abortion groups that are unbalanced by any comment from pro-choice (or "pro-abortion" in CNS parlance) representatives.
In the final two paragraphs of the article, Johnson wrote:
The Supreme Court will also hear oral arguments Wednesday in the consolidated cases of Scheidler v. National Organization for Women and Operation Rescue v. National Organization for Women.
NOW is seeking to have peaceful protests on public sidewalks near abortion clinics declared acts of "extortion" subject to federal prosecution under the racketeering statutes enacted by Congress to fight organized interstate criminal activity.
That is a misleading description of the case. As the Associated Press reported, the main thrust of the issue is whether the fact that the anti-abortion protesters in question made threats of violence against clinics -- belying the "peaceful" description forwarded by Johnson -- makes the protesters liable under the racketeering statutes. From the AP article:
A federal judge issued a nationwide injunction against the anti-abortion protesters after a Chicago jury found in 1998 that demonstrators had engaged in a pattern of racketeering by interfering with clinic operations, menacing doctors, assaulting patients and damaging clinic property.
The Supreme Court ruled that because the protesters had not extorted money or valuables from the clinics, there was no basis for a racketeering violation or the injunction. But the appeals court found that the high court had not considered fully four counts of making a threat of violence that might be enough to support the ban.
Again, Johnson's description of the anti-abortion protesters as "peaceful" is far from accurate.
Another WND Ad Disguised As News? Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Nov. 30 WorldNetDaily article describes a case of a deformed child who received free surgery from a group called Mercy Ships. There is no indication that Mercy Ships is a WND advertiser -- its ads have appeared on WND previously, and the article contains a WND-specific donor link.
As we've detailed, WND is a notorious violator of journalistic standards that separate news and advertising. WND should have disclosed in the article that Mercy Ships is an advertiser; it did not, and rarely does, which creates the impression that WND's news pages have been co-opted for advertising purposes.
Making A List Topic: The ConWeb
So we made some blogger's list of "liberal loser" websites. We're unclear as to why, since we're not very good liberals -- ConWebWatch does no liberal advocacy. And we don't criticize conservative news for being conservative, we criticize it for being bad journalism. We even asked why in the comments on this post, but have not received an answer.
Oreogate, Part 2 Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax used a Nov. 28 article to repeat the dubious claim that Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele was "pelted ... with Oreo cookies during a 2002 campaign debate."
As we've noted, there is no evidence to indicate that Steele was "pelted" with Oreos during the debate. Steele himself is on record as saying only that a single Oreo rolled to his feet during the debate.
The Enforcer Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily is apparently going to be the enforcer of conservative correctness, at least as far as demanding usage of the term "Merry Christmas" over "Happy Holidays" is concerned. A Nov. 29 WND article blasts Fox News, a longtime promoter of such holiday correctness, for using the word "holidays" when it allegedly should have used Christmas.
WND was in the forefront of this battle last year when it recycled press releases from conservative legal groups promoting a so-called "war on Christmas."
NewsMax Endorses Torture Topic: Newsmax
A Nov. 29 NewsMax article wants to make Sen. John McCain into the poster boy for torture, claiming that he is being hypocritical in calling for the U.S. to stop using torture techniques. Why? When McCain was held prisoner in North Vietnam, "some of the same techniques were used on him. And -- as McCain has publicly admitted at least twice -- the torture worked!"
NewsMax adds: "That McCain broke under torture doesn't make him any less of an American hero. But it does prove he's wrong to claim that harsh interrogation techniques simply don't work."
Does NewsMax really want to go on record as endorsing torture? Apparently it does.
New Article: The Heart of Whiteness Topic: WorldNetDaily
Anthony LoBaido's WorldNetDaily articles on South Africa lament the demise of apartheid and, er, whitewash the violent history of the pro-apartheid mercenaries he hung out with. Read more.
ConWeb Cunningham Coverage Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've already detailed WorldNetDaily's miniscule coverage of Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham's guilty plea and resignation. How's the rest of the ConWeb doing?
CNSNews.com: Outside link, but it's the top headline.
NewsBusters: A post by Paul Chesser plays the false-equivalence game by suggesting that coverage of Cunningham should be equal to that of another congressman who resigned for lesser crimes (channeling $100,000 for personal use vs. Cunningham's taking $2.4 million in bribes).
No Coverage Topic: WorldNetDaily
For a "news" operation that purports to be "a watchdog exposing government waste, fraud, corruption and abuse of power," WorldNetDaily has been strangely reluctant to delve into the misdeeds of Republican Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham. While WND has promoted Cunningham's work in trying to save a cross sitting on public land, it has devoted absolutely no original coverage to questions involving a defense contractor who paid an inflated price for Cunningham's house (which the lobbyist later sold at a loss), or that Cunningham's Washington residence is on a yacht owned by the contractor.
Now that Cunningham has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud and wire fraud, and tax evasion, what does WND do? Keeps its record of no original coverage perfect by relegating Cunningham's plea to an outside link on its front page.
UPDATE: WND changed to a different wire story upon Cunningham's resignation from the House, but there is still no original coverage, and the linked article resides well down on WND's front page, below an article on the scant turnout at a book-signing session for Cindy Sheehan's new book. That's what WND considers bigger news than a corrupt congressman's resignation.
Non-Disclosure Topic: WorldNetDaily
Craig Smith's Nov. 28 WorldNetDaily column is essentially a commercial for Smith and his company, Swiss America Trading Corp. In it, Smith touts his prediction about "the ongoing bull market in gold" and how "it is still a 'golden' buying opportunity."
Nowhere is it disclosed that Swiss America is in the business of trading precious metals such as gold, meaning that Smith has a vested personal interest in writing about the subject. Of course, Smith's affiliation with Swiss America wasn't even disclosed on his WND column bio until ConWebWatch pointed it out.
At least two organizations are monitoring the content of Sunday sermons by U.S. pastors and threatening to report churches to the Internal Revenue Service if they hear political messages they deem inappropriate under federal guidelines on tax-exempt status.
College students bombarded with the personal political views of their professors are being urged by talk-show host Sean Hannity to fight back with hard evidence of purported indoctrination.
"Get your little tape recorders if legal, and I want you to start recording these left-wingers. Bring it to this program and we'll start airing it every single time on this program. I'm sick of this indoctrination. I'm sick of this left-wing propaganda."
WND's Elephant Topic: WorldNetDaily
The David Ludwig case -- in which a homeschooled student is accused of murdering his girlfriend's parents -- is turning into the elephant in WorldNetDaily's room. A Nov. 25 WND column by Ilana Mercer addresses the case while keeping WND's record intact by never once mentioning that Ludwig and his girlfriend -- of whom Mercer writes, "The two had been involved in an intense sexual relationship. They were hopped-up on feelings of uniqueness and had a heightened sense of being misunderstood" -- were homeschooled.
New Article: Joseph Farah, Terrorist Sympathizer Topic: WorldNetDaily
Guest author Eric Goodwin asks: Why is WorldNetDaily treating as fact a right-wing group's highly dubious claim that communists want to take over South Africa and kill all the white people, while ignoring the fact that this very same right-wing group was charged with trying to instigate its own takeover of the country? Read more.