Two Levels of Wrong Topic: WorldNetDaily
Craig R. Smith manages to work multiple levels of wrongness into this paragraph in his Jan. 23 WorldNetDaily column:
Back in the 1990's, President Bill Clinton (with sidekick Al [Gore]) used these same "illegal" searches on at least one American citizen, Aldridge Aims. Mr. Aims hadn't called al-Qaida or Hezbollah. In fact, he was an American on American soil. But he was selling secrets to our enemies. Clinton authorized the surveillance of Aims without a warrant. Thankfully he did. Aims now sits in a federal prison for the rest of his life so he can't hurt America any more.
Aside from painfully misspelling Aldrich Ames' name, Smith is wrong to claim that the Ames-related warrantless searches were "illegal." They were not illegal in 1993, when they were conducted. The FISA law that governs such searches did not cover them until 1995.
New Article: Out There, Exhibit 37: Betraying the Lost Cause Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax trashes the Confederacy in order to trash the Clintons once more. How will that go over with its conservative readers? Read more.
Stillwell Hides Background (Again) Topic: NewsBusters
Cinnamon Stillwell -- she of the Israeli extremist whitewashing -- checks in again with a Jan. 22 NewsBusters post, copiously citing a group called MEMRI as claiming that the recent Osama bin Laden audiotape was mistranslated by "the media," implying that this was done deliberately (this is a site that criticizes "the media," after all).
What Stillwell fails to report (in this instance, anyway) is that MEMRI has been criticized as a group that specializes in translating articles that portray Arabs and Muslims in a negative light.
So we're guessing by Stillwell's new post that NewsBusters has no problem with someone who apparently sympathizes with violent extremists writing for them.
Lack of Disclosure Watch Topic: CNSNews.com
A Jan. 20 CNSNews.com article by Randy Hall on state funding restrictions on abortion clinics in Texas identifies Planned Parenthood as "the nation's most frequent provider of abortions." But Hall applied no descriptors to the anti-abortion groups featured in the article, the Texas Alliance for Life and STOPP International, not even describing them as "pro-life" groups.
Texas Alliance for Life's agenda is probably easy enough to figure out by name alone, but STOPP International's isn't, and it would seem to be an important one to note that is relevant to this article: STOPP has a specific agenda to attack Planned Parenthood, which perhaps colors what they have to say just a tad.
Sell, Sell, Sell Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily abandons the pretense of pretending an ad is a "news" article with a Jan. 21 article headlined "Meet WND's newest advertiser." WND goes about it in a strange way, though.
WND editor Joseph Farah is quoted as stating: "We value our advertisers. ... They make it possible for millions of readers to get their news for free – news often found nowhere else." But nowhere in the article is the advertiser (Right Wing Stuff) actually named, though it states what it sells ("the largest selection of liberal-baiting merchandise on the Net"). Meanwhile, WND has treated other advertisers as providers of actual news. WND apparently values some advertisers more than others.
Should Gay Actors Be Allowed to Portray Christians? Topic: WorldNetDaily
It's not often we see a ConWeb editor contradict an atricle elsewhere on his website, but WorldNetDaily has such an example. A Jan. 20 WND article describes an alleged furor over the fact that gay actor Chad Allen portrayed a Christian missionary in the newly released movie "End of the Spear." The article asks whether it is "appropriate ... to portray a missionary martyr using an activist who blatantly promotes anti-Christian values and could use the film to further his agenda."
But the article links to WND editor Joseph Farah's Jan. 19 review of "End of the Spear." Farah enthusiastically endorsed the film -- "It's powerful. It's moving. It's suspenseful. It's beautiful. It's horrifying. It's evidence that miracles still happen in this sometimes beautiful, sometimes horrifying world in which we live" -- but if Farah was offended that a gay man acted in the film, he didn't show it in his review.
And this is a guy whose website will use the word "gay" only in scare quotes. This is a guy who wrote in his Jan. 16 column:
Notice the subtle way the struggle by blacks is equated with agitation by "the homeless" and homosexuals. This is Marxist Indoctrination 101.
If Farah has no apparent problem with a gay man successfully portraying a Christian missionary, why should anyone else?
CNS Attacks on Murtha Continue Topic: CNSNews.com
Lest you thought CNSNews.com was done attacking John Murtha, a Jan. 20 article by Jeff Johnson tries to link him to Code Pink, a group reviled by conservatives for its anti-war protests outside Walter Reed Medical Center (CNS previously reported on those). The only actual link is that Murtha had his picture taken with Code Pink members when they visited his office.
The article's headline -- "Code Pink Praises Murtha, Picketed Military Hospital" -- vaguely implies that Murtha joined Code Pink in its Walter Reed protests. Johnson also quotes Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, as insisting that Murtha was "embracing Code Pink," but he doesn't say what qualifies her to speak out on this issue. (Hint: She's a conservative, and WorldNetDaily books her speaking engagements.) Additionally, CMR's signature issue is opposing the placement of women in combat situations, which has nothing to do with Murtha or Code Pink.
But if having your photo taken with someone equals "endorsing" that person's views, as Johnson and Donnelly appear to claim, why hasn't CNS, to our knowledge, mentioned this?
NewsBusters Misleads on Abramoff Contributions Topic: NewsBusters
A Jan. 20 NewsBusters post by Vinny Fiore misled readers on the accuracy of a claim made by Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell.
Fiore claimed that Howell wrote "the truth" when she stated in a Jan. 15 column that disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff "had made substantial campaign contributions to both major parties" and that Democrats "have gotten Abramoff campaign money." In fact, that is a broad, misleading statement that ignores the fact that money donated under Abramoff's name went only to Republicans.
While Fiore stated that Howell's "most recent response to her liberal critics ... basically us[ed] the facts," Fiore ignored those facts when he stated:
So when the Washington Post, a well-respected liberal organ writes of Democratic corruption in Congress--and with Jack Abramoff to boot--it is the equivalent of shining daylight on the vampiric left, who cannot brings themselves to admit that they, too, are as guilty as any Republican in what will turn into the next "something-gate" in Washington.
Fiore's claim that Democrats "are as guilty as any Republican" in the Abramoff scandal is contradicted by the facts as noted by Howell:
While Abramoff, a Republican, gave personal contributions only to Republicans, he directed his Indian tribal clients to make millions of dollars in campaign contributions to members of Congress from both parties.
Records from the Federal Elections Commission and the Center for Public Integrity show that Abramoff’s Indian clients contributed between 1999 and 2004 to 195 Republicans and 88 Democrats.
Yes, despite the fact that twice as many Republicans as Democrats received money from "Abramoff's Indian clients," coupled with the fact that Abramoff "gave personal contributions only to Republicans," Fiore still believes that Democrats "are as guilty as any Republican." Go figure.
And we thought the MRC cared about accuracy in its media criticism.
UPDATE: Full disclosure: My employer, Media Matters, has been critical of Howell on this issue.
Guilt by Association Topic: NewsBusters
A Jan. 19 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock continues his previous work in attempting to falsely attach Hillary Clinton to Harry Belafonte's controversial remarks. Whitlock wrote:
The following day, Monday, January 16, the pop singer made a late appearance at the Canaan Baptist Church in New York with Hillary Clinton, -- yes, this was her infamous "plantation" speech. The two did not share a podium, but spoke at different times. This is the second event that Clinton and Belafonte both attended. On January 13, they were at a Children’s Defense Fund dinner together. Could protecting Mrs. Clinton be the reason the media isn’t following the story?
Because it's irrelevant? Because Clinton has never claimed she endorses what Belafonte said?
If such guilt-by-association links are truly important and relevant, perhaps Whitlock should ask his boss, L. Brent Bozell III, how many Washington gatherings Bozell has been to that were also attended by Jack Abramoff.
New Topic Topic: NewsBusters
Given the fact that NewsBusters is the home of all sorts of misinformation, we've added a NewsBusters topic list to ConWebBlog (at top left of page). NewsBusters-related posts prior to this appear under the Media Research Center topic list.
No Kneejerk Conservatism Here! Topic: Media Research Center
In a Jan. 19 NewsBusters post noting that the "ideal slate of Oscar candidates" compiled by New York Times movie critics was heavy on "Brokeback Mountain," Clay Waters commented: "No liberal conventional wisdom here!" Waters added that the critics "have revealed liberal sympathies in their film critiques," presumably for their praise for "Brokeback Mountain."
Has it ever occurred to Waters that "Brokeback Mountain" may actually be a good movie, and that he is merely displaying his own "conservative sympathies" by criticizing anyone who praises the film because the film's subject matter makes him feel all icky inside?
When Hillary Clinton used her Martin Luther King Day tribute to accuse Republicans of running Washington like an Old South "plantation" - she knew whereof she spoke.
In fact, when Hillary and Bill ran Arkansas, Dr. King didn't even have a holiday in his honor - at least not all to himself.
Instead, Arkansans celebrated a combination holiday that honored both King and Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general who fought to allow the South to keep blacks enslaved.
But NewsMax has previously run a whole passel of articles praising Lee, including tributes on Lee's birthday for three years:
-- Let America not forget January 19, 2005, the 198th birthday of General Robert E. Lee. -- Calvin E. Johnson Jr., Jan. 19, 2005 (a version of this commentary also appeared Jan. 18, 2004, and Jan. 18, 2003)
-- Lee has taken a beating in recent years. Because he fought for the Confederacy, his image is being removed from public places all over the South, as a symbol of "hate" and "racism." Yet a remarkable book called "Robert E. Lee on Leadership" by H.W. Crocker III has convinced me that "Marse Robert" would have been the first to protect innocent Muslims on the streets of New York. ... Lee was a terror to his enemies. In battle after battle, he routed well-fed, well-equipped federal forces two and three times the size of his own starving, threadbare army. Yet, like George Bush today, Lee was criticized for being too soft on the enemy. ... It is time to replace Lee's portraits, wherever they have been taken down, time to restore Marse Robert to the schoolbooks, and to honor him as the great American he truly was. -- Richard Poe, Nov. 8, 2001
-- Some of the witless anti-Ashcroft rhetoric has bordered on the absurd. One of his critics, for example, expressed horror at Ashcroft's alleged kind words about Robert E. Lee and T.J. Jackson. Imagine, finding something good to say about Stonewall Jackson, a man so sunken in depravity that his motto was "Duty is mine, Consequences are God's." -- Phil Brennan, Jan. 10, 2001
NewsMax also decried as "plantation politics" the fact that then-Gov. Bill Clinton signed a law in 1987 that says the top blue star in the state flag symbolizes the Confederacy. But a November 2003 NewsMax "Insider Report" approvingly cited a book on the South and the Confederacy as evidence of Clinton's political acumen on the issue:
Bill Clinton, the smartest Democrat in a generation, knew better than to go anywhere near the issue, quietly declining all suggestions that he remove the Confederate motif from Arkansas' state flag. As Clinton recognized, Yankee moralizers are no more welcome today than were the carpetbaggers of 142 years ago.
Is NewsMax really changing its mind about the Confederacy, a cause still embraced by many of its conservative readers? Or is it just temporarily setting aside its principles in order to push yet another smear against the Clintons?
Then and Now Topic: WorldNetDaily
I don't think I need to remind you who is behind the National Enquirer. I don't think I need to tell you how politically motivated this sensational story about [Rush Limbaugh's] drug abuse is. But I will anyway. Remember how the National Enquirer rushed to the defense of Bill Clinton when he was accused of rape. Don't forget the tabloid's attorney is none other than David Kendall, Bill Clinton's own legal counsel.