Missing the Point Topic: Media Research Center
In a Jan. 14 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham expresses mostly pleasure with the Washington Post's pickup of the CNSNews.com Jack Murtha hit job, but complains that the Post pointed out that CNS' readers are "mainly conservative, and provides material for other Web sites such as GOPUSA." Graham writes: "Would Kurtz say the Post 'averages a million readers, mainly liberals'? Would it go through the list of publications that buy Post articles through the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service of the Washington Post Writers Group for clues as to how liberal the newspaper is?"
Graham misses the point (aside from the fact that he has no evidence beyond his own biased presumption that the Post's subscriber base is "mainly liberals"). Conservative journalism, as practiced by CNS, is fundamentally different from "mainstream journalism," as practiced by the Post. Regardless of the alleged liberal leanings of many journalists, "mainstream journalism" has as its foremost goal to tell facts in a reasonably impartial manner; it does not, in the vast majority of cases, have an explicit goal of promoting liberalism. CNS-style conservative journalism, on the other hand, promotes conservatism as its foremost goal, and facts are typically bent around that goal. Graham cannot deny that.
The Republican Operatives at CNS Topic: CNSNews.com Murray Waas points out what ConWebWatch readers already knew -- that many CNSNews.com staffers, including editor in chief David Thibault and Marc Morano, co-author of the John Murtha hit piece, have long history of Republican and/or conservative activism. To sum up:
-- Thibault is a former senior producer for GOP-TV's Rising Tide, the televised weekly news magazine broadcast by the Republican National Committee" as well as a former press secretary for Republicn Rep. Judd Gregg (now a senator).
-- Morano was a reporter and producer for Rush Limbaugh's mid-90s television show.
And lest we forget, former CNS reporter Jim Burns -- remembered here for his long history of obscuring the past of Otto Reich -- left CNS to work for a Republican congressman, where he was busted for plagiarizing columns from conservative researchers and putting them under his boss' name.
UPDATE: Just wanted to add the fact, for searching purposes, that CNSNews.com and Cybercast News Service are one and the same.
Aaron Klein, Meet Cinnamon Stillwell Topic: Media Research Center
A Jan. 13 NewsBusters post by Cinnamon Stillwell criticizing alleged double standards got us to wondering if Stillwell herself has perpetrated the same. What we found was much more interesting -- and disturbing.
A Dec. 6 column on her personal website (reproduced at ChronWatch, The Conservative Voice and J. (a Jewish publication in northern California) runs to the defense of Earl Krugel, a member of the Meir Kahane-founded Jewish Defense League, who was killed in prison while serving a sentence for plotting to bomb a California mosque and a field office of Republican congressman Darrell Issa, who is Lebanese-American.
Why is Stillwell running to Krugel's defense? She believes that Jews "must stand up for other Jews," whatever their behavior. Along the way, she goes the Aaron Klein route of downplaying Krugel's terrorism along with that of Kahane and the Jewish Defense League.
Stillwell suggests that "perhaps the JDL’s reputation as hardcore extremists is off the mark" because "neither [bombing co-conspirator Irv] Rubin nor Krugel had ever been convicted of any violent crimes," adding that "it appears the JDL’s real crime has always been standing up unequivocally for the Jewish people." Not exactly: JDL members have been implicated in numerous violent acts, including beatings, bombings, vandalism and murder.
Stillwell also claimed: "JDL founder Rabbi Meir Kahane’s biggest offense was calling for the forcible removal of all Arabs from Israel and the disputed territories." Again, not exactly: As a JDL founder, Kahane is linked to that group's history of violence. His followers have been inspred to commit other violent acts, such as Baruch Goldstein's massacre of Arabs Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs.
Stillwell laments that "if one dares mention the JDL in Jewish company, they are sure to be met with either immediate dismissal or a barrage of animosity and disavowal." That's because they are aware of the JDL's history.
The Media Research Center needs to explain why a person who condones such violence is permitted to write for NewsBusters.
False Assertion at NewsBusters Topic: Media Research Center
Attempts to falsely link Hillary Clinton and Harry Belafonte are continuing at NewsBusters, where a Jan. 13 post by MRC "news analyst" Scott Whitlock, where a headline claims "Belafonte At Hillary Appearance" and later asserts the event in question was a "Belafonte/Clinton event."
This is false. The event was a charity dinner that both Clinton and Belafonte happened to be at.
CNS Swift-Boats Murtha Topic: CNSNews.com
A Jan. 13 CNSNews.com article by Marc Morano and Randy Hall suggests that Rep. John Murtha didn't earn two Purple Hearts during the Vietnam War.
CNS was among the first conservative groups to publicize the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth -- and to hide the group's political connections and the dubiousness of its members' claims against John Kerry.
This column is not meant to be a political attack on leading Democrats on the Judiciary Committee disguised as media criticism.
Oh, yes it is, Cliff; otherwise, it would not be appearing on the AIM website.
What Kincaid claims he actually wants to know is this: "I really want to know why the major media permit these characters [Joe Biden and Ted Kennedy] to launch personal attacks on Alito when their own personal lives are scarred by scandals."
What we really want to know is why Kincaid so aggresively bashes one political billionaire, George Soros, while not disclosing his longtime suckling at the teat of another, Richard Mellon Scaife?
Sexpidemic, Continued Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily is still pushing its titillating little meme that there is an epidemic of (female) teacher-student sex. Every original WND does on the subject, like this Jan. 12 article, is now padded out with a list of "other cases collected by WND from news reports" that first appeared Dec. 14. But WND offers no context to the list, implying that all the cases are current and failing to point out that some listed cases -- like the Pamela Smart case -- are as much as 15 years old.
Faulty MRC Analysis Topic: Media Research Center
An excellent example of why the Media Research Center fails as a credible media "watchdog" is a Jan. 12 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard. In it, he lambastes ABCs Martin Bashir for a "Nightline" segment in which, in Sheppard's words, he "brought on an Arkansas 'abortionist' to sell America the virtues of this oftentimes ghastly procedure." Why the scare quotes around "abortionist"? Sheppard never explains; it's a perfectly accurate term for what the doctor does and, indeed, what the doctor, William Harrison, calls himself. Perhaps Sheppard wanted Bashir to work words like "evil" or "minion of Satan" in there somehow.
The rest of Sheppard's article is excerpts from the transcript of Bashir's segment interspersed with Sheppard's comments imputing motives to Bashir that the transcript excerpts doesn't even support:
-- Sheppard claimed that Bashir "got political" when all Bashir did was state that Harrison's concern "is no longer with critics and protesters but with the prospect of Judge Samuel Alito being confirmed." Harrison is the one who "got political," not Bashir.
-- Sheppard claimed that "Bashir then depicted a gruesome position against adoption as an alternative to abortion." In fact, he lets the doctor speak for himself and highlights the fact that Harrison doesn't mention adoption as an alternative.
-- Sheppard then said that "Bashir then sold the necessity of abortion in our nation"; in fact, he asked the following question of the abortion doctor: "Roe v. Wade was originally conceived as an opportunity for women to have choice. But you seem to be suggesting that the women that you see actually have no choice." How is that "selling the necessity of abortion"?
-- Sheppard claimed that "Bashir concluded by painting a picture of abortion being a way for women to be "born again.'" While Bashir says it here first in response to Harrison's claim that a woman who has undergone an abortion has been "given her life back," Harrison originally made the claim in a Nov. 29 Los Angeles Times article, from which the idea to have him on "Nightline" presumably sprung.
Putting words into people's mouths and ascertaining purported motives, as Sheppard does here, is hardly the stuff of serious media analysis. If the MRC wants to continue to be taken seriously as a media analyst and not just a source for conservative complaints about the media, it should more closely scrutinize NewsBusters posts such as these before making them public. After all, the small army of NewsBusters posters, while for the most part not MRC employees, are operating under the MRC name and reflect on the entire organization.
Misleading NewsMax Headlines Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax builds smears into a couple recent headlines:
-- A Jan. 11 article on the trial of Democratic activists accused of slashing the tires on vans rented by Republicans carries the headline "'Kerry's Criminals': Democrats on Trial." But the term "Kerry's criminals" appears nowhere in the article; the person being quoted, apparently, is the NewsMax employee who wrote the headline.
-- In an attempt to link Hillary Clinton to recent inflammatory remarks made by singer Harry Belafonte, a Jan. 12 article carries the headline "Hillary Clinton to Fundraise with Harry Belafonte." But that's not quite true; as the article itself states, Clinton and Belafonte are merely scheduled to be in the same place, "an awards ceremony given by the Children’s Defense Fund, a liberal interest group," at the same time. Belafonte is not raising money for Clinton, as the headline implies.
The short answer, for many members of the Judiciary Committee, is yes.
It appears that the first paragraph actually answers the teaser on the CNS front page that links to the Fact-O-Rama: "There aren't many better opportunities for senators to get face time on national television than as members of the Senate Judiciary Committee grilling a Supreme Court nominee. Could it be that the senators harbor greater ambitions?"
That's just how Horowitz operates -- facts are secondary. He has now admitted that he has no evidence to back up two of the stories he has told multiple times to back up his charges that political bias is rampant in higher education. Horowitz, of course, has a longpattern of embellishing or just making up educational bias claims.
And on his blog, he has corrected yet another claim.
Between this and employee Richard Poe's history of dubious claims and non-disclosure of the Scaife money that funds him, why believe anything that comes out of the Horowitz organization?
No Resting in Peace Topic: Media Research Center
We've previously pointed out how the folks at NewsBusters give deceased conservative journalists an "RIP" bon voyage while not extending the same courtesy to those to don't reinforce the MRC's conservative ideology (like Peter Jennings). The death of New York Times reporter David E. Rosenbaum has received the same non-treatment from NewsBusters, with recognition only from Tim Graham, who noted only that a questioner in a Washington Post online chat suggested that Rosenbaum was assassinated.
This ignoring of Rosenbaum's death comes despite the fact that the MRC has praised his work in the past. An August 2003 CyberAlert called a article he co-wrote on Howard Dean "a solid, balanced piece" (except for the part about the purported conflict of Dean being a "fiscal conservative" yet favoring universal health insurance).
But the MRC has also branded Rosenbaum as a liberal as well, such as naming him runner-up for its 1997 "Bryant Gumbel Journalism Fellowship Award (for Liberal Advocacy)," presumably for daring to suggest that Republicans were in favor of "crippling Medicare and Medicaid." Rosenbaum also ran afoul of the MRC in 1996 for the brazenly suggesting that "a strong commitment to public schools" in the 1996 Democratic platform was a "middle ground" position.
And following a 1994 Rosenbaum analysis of the independent counsel Lawrence Walsh's final report of the seven-year, $40 million Iran-Contra investigation, the MRC wanted to know why he didn't write an analysis of "Walsh's documented financial extravagance." That's a charge we don't recall the MRC making about Kenneth Starr's investigation of Bill Clinton, which cost at least as much as Walsh's investigation.
Speaking of Bias by Omission... Topic: Media Research Center
In claiming in his Jan. 11 column that the underreporting of in-kind costs of a Hillary Clinton fund-raiser (for which her 2000 campaign recently paid a $35,000 fine) was "no tiny boo-boo in oversight," Brent Bozell not only offers no evidence that the underreporting was deliberate, he fails to note that Clinton's campaign manager was cleared of charges that he deliberately underreported the fund-raiser costs. Additionally, Bozell failed to note that the two people who have been pushing this claim are convicted felons angling to reduce their own jail sentences.