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Sunday, January 15, 2006
Aaron Klein's Friends, Continued
Topic: WorldNetDaily
While researching our post on Cinnamon Stillwell and the history of the Jewish Defense League, we found an article from the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles detailing another JDL-linked act of violence, the 1985 murder of Arab-American activist Alex Odeh. (Earl Krugel, as part of a plea agreement regarding his sentence on plotting the bombings of a mosque and the field office of a congressman, was apparently supposed to provide authorities with that crime.) A man named Andy Green, a former JDL member, was considered one of the suspects in Odeh's death. From the article:

Green reportedly immigrated to Israel from New York City in 1975, where he met JDL founder Kahane. He then joined a West Bank settlement, and changed his name to Baruch Ben Yosef. In 1983 he moved back to his hometown, where he ran the office for Kach, another group Kahane started.

That presumably is the same Baruch Ben Yosef who pops up in a few WND articles. the first is a September 2001 article by Larry Dub arguing for the release of Israel spy Johnathan Pollard (Ben Yosef is described at the end of the article as a partner with Dub in "a series of suits in the Supreme Court of Israel which resulted in the government of Israel recognizing Jonathan Pollard as a bona fide Israeli agent and in granting him Israeli citizenship"). Two others are penned by Aaron Klein -- a August 2004 article in which he tries to soften the image of Ben Yosef and Mike Guzofsky (aka Yekutel Ben Yaacov) as "extremists," and the July 2005 Ariel Sharon "death curse" article in which "activist attorney" Ben Yosef describes the ceremony.

At no time have Klein or WND indicated that Green/Ben Yosef is a suspect in a murder in the U.S.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:10 PM EST
CNS' Greatest Hits
Let's take a trip down memory lane (and the ConWebWatch archives) and review some of's previous adventures in conservative journalism:

-- CNS changes its name from Conservative News Service to Cybercast News Service.

-- Saturation coverage of man who issued death threats against conservatives, but virtual silence about an anti-abortion extremist who threatened to kill abortion clinic workers.

-- Claiming that pan-religious website Beliefnet "leans strongly toward the feminist, pro-abortion, liberal dogma."

-- Countering any positive about the Clintons with slanted, negative articles.

-- Unbalanced coverage of the abortion issue tilted to the anti-abortion side.

-- Refusal to tell the full truth about Bush appointee Otto Reich.

-- Biased and misleading headlines.

-- Being an early promoter of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth

-- Subjective labeling of advocacy groups; conservative ones are described more positively than liberal ones.

-- Hypocrisy in accusing the "liberal media" of a double standard in reporting controversial statements.

-- Running to the defense of discredited conservative researcher John Lott.

-- Assuming that Democrats act only for political reasons, an assumption it declines to make about Republicans.

-- Regurgitating Republican spin, even when it's false.

-- Printing biased coverage of the Terri Schiavo case.

-- Being a recipient of leaked Democratic memos on judicial nominations, and providing a platform for Manuel Miranda, the ex-Bill Frist staffer linked to their possibly illegal leak, to tell his story unencumbered by balance from the other side. CNS has also forwarded other conservative spin points on Bush's judicial nominees.

-- Reported on a frivolous lawsuit filed against George Soros (over a dog bite, for $6 million) despite publishing a pro-tort reform article a day earlier.

-- Assuming that the cancellation of a conservative columnist in America by one of the more than 500 newspaper he appears in is evidence of a conspiracy.

-- And your garden-variety pro-conservative, anti-liberal slant.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:55 AM EST
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 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.

Nor can he deny the fact that the CNS in Cybercast News Service used to stand for Conservative News Service.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:11 AM EST
Saturday, January 14, 2006
The Republican Operatives at CNS
Murray Waas points out what ConWebWatch readers already knew -- that many 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.

Thibault also helped CNS lead the way in falsely smearing Paul Begala.

CNS' previous top editor, Scott Hogenson, took a leave of absence from CNS in 2004 to work for the Republican National Committee; after returning to CNS for a few months, he went back to the RNC for good.

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 and Cybercast News Service are one and the same.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:07 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, January 14, 2006 11:36 PM EST
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.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:31 AM EST
Friday, January 13, 2006
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.

Pretty sucky "news analysis" there, Scott.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:57 PM EST
CNS Swift-Boats Murtha
A Jan. 13 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.

UPDATE: Is CNS merely following Bush administration orders as part of its campaign to denounce Murtha? Just askin'.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:15 PM EST
Updated: Friday, January 13, 2006 5:21 PM EST
Disingenuous Statement of the Day
Topic: Accuracy in Media
From a Jan. 12 Accuracy in Media column by Slantie winner Cliff Kincaid:

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?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:59 PM EST
Another False NewsMax Headline
Topic: Newsmax
The headline on a Jan. 12 NewsMax article reads, "Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy Had Racial Covenants."

False. As the article itself states, the racial covenants in question were on deeds to houses owned by Biden's parents and Kennedy's brother, former president John F. Kennedy.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:48 PM EST
New Article: Something to Hide
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Why won't WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein tell the truth about the violent, extremist backgrounds of the right-wing Israelis he writes about? Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:12 AM EST
Thursday, January 12, 2006
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.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:31 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, January 12, 2006 1:36 PM EST
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.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:51 PM EST
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.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:38 AM EST
A Jan. 12 "Fact-O-Rama" starts this way:

Why the Long-Winded Speeches?

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?"

Posted by Terry K. at 11:23 AM EST
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Making Stuff Up
Topic: Horowitz
Remember the snit fit David Horowitz threw after we pointed out a factual error he committed, to which he responded by committing another factual error?

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 long pattern 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?

Posted by Terry K. at 6:35 PM EST

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