Kevin McCullough follows Brent Bozell's lead in a Feb. 17 WorldNetDaily column, asserting that Bryant Gumbel is a racist while Rush Limbaugh's similar comments were merely "rather nebulous."
Friday, February 17, 2006
An Expanded Challenge to WND
A Feb. 17 WorldNetDaily article making a plea for donations to WND's legal defense fund again cites unsupported assertions regarding a libel lawsuit filed against WND by Clark Jones, a supporter of Al Gore. The headline derogatorily calls Jones a Gore "crony" -- an assertion repeated in a quote by WND managing editor David Kupelian, who refers to "fighting Al Gore's cronies in court" -- and repeated WND editor Joseph Farah's baseless assertion that "Understand that this lawsuit would be dropped in a flat second if Al Gore wanted it to be dropped. ... Understand also that WND did nothing wrong and libeled no one in the publication of this exhaustive series." The article also claims that WND has defended itself from the lawsuit "at great cost."
So we will expand our challenge to Farah and WND to demonstrate full transparency regarding the Jones lawsuit. Not only do we challenge WND to display all legal documents filed in the case on the WND website, we challenge it to open its books to show the costs of defending itself as well as a complete list of donations to the legal defense fund so that WND's donors can be assured that the money is going where WND says it is.
Waddaya say, guys?
Bozell's Fake Outrage
Topic: Media Research Center
The MRC's Brent Bozell has condemned Bryant Gumbel's statement on HBO's "Real Sports" that the Winter Olympics has "a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention." Saying that "Gumbel’s remarks reek of racism and arrogance,” Bozell added:
What if Gumbel had said ‘a paucity of whites makes the NBA look like a Democratic convention?’ Rush Limbaugh was roundly denounced by the media when he made allegedly racist remarks about a football player. So where are the media condemnations now against Gumbel?
Bozell's criticism is cynical and meaningless because he defended Limbaugh's 2003 remark that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was getting a free pass because "the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well." In an Oct. 3, 2003, column -- in which he mis-paraphrases Limbaugh by saying that "liberal sports reporters are blinded by a desire to see a black quarterback succeed"; Limbaugh said "the media" but didn't narrow it down any further at the time of his remarks -- Bozell said that Limbaugh was correct and that he was getting a bum rap for being a racist:
There are countless examples – we’ve all heard them – of commentators, columnists, and editorial writers agitating for more black coaches and quarterbacks in the NFL.
If Bozell doesn't think Limbaugh was being racist, then he has no basis for asserting Gumbel is racist. And anyway, how does he know Gumbel wasn't joking? That defense seems to work for Ann Coulter, and MRC has raised no known objection to any of her inflammatory remarks.
Here's the MRC spin on the Dick Cheney-Brit Hume interview, as described in a Feb. 16 NewsBusters post by Brent Baker (and repeated in a Feb. 16 CyberAlert): Other journalists are jealous that Hume got the interview, so they're taking shots at the "integrity" of Hume and Fox News (never mind that there's copious evidence of the conservative-friendly slant of both Hume and Fox News).
Baker also implies further anti-Fox bias because some broadcast networks cropped video cliips to hide the Fox News logo (though they did credit Fox News with a line of text). Baker should demonstrate that this practice applies only to Fox News clips before suggesting bias. Or jealousy.
UPDATE: Added Media Matters links to articles showing Hume's and Fox News' conservative bias.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Show Your Work, WND
WorldNetDaily is putting its inimitable spin on Dick Cheney shooting a hunting companion. A Feb. 15 article by Joe Kovacs reports on a song by Jill Sobule that, in Kovacs' words, suggests that "the vice president was hunting with a male companion as part of a homosexual love story."
Kovacs also lists what he calls "[o]nline reaction from those who have heard the song," but doesn't say where this reaction came from. Aren't journalists supposed to tell readers where they get their information from?
Yes, they are. But then again, Kovacs pulled information for a previous article on teacher-student sex from a gossip site.
And then again, too -- as we've repeatedly established -- WND isn't exactly journalism.
Farah vs. Gore, The Next Round
WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah has penned yet another column hatin' on Al Gore. At the end of it, he adds an "important postscript" about the libel lawsuit filed against WND by Gore supporters over a Gore-bashing series WND ran before the 2000 election. Farah again makes the following claim:
Understand that this lawsuit would be dropped in a flat second if Al Gore wanted it to be dropped. Understand also that WND did nothing wrong and libeled no one in the publication of this exhaustive series.
But as we previously noted, Farah has never offered any objective evidence to back up either of those claims, nor has WND offered any unfiltered evidence from this lawsuit.
Our previous challenge still stands: Since very few of WorldNetDaily's readers have access to the court records of Hardin County, Tennessee, where the lawsuit was filed (and where we assume it still resides), WND should prove that it has aspirations beyond promoting its editor's worldview (or is it a grudge?) and post all court filings in the case -- not just the ones that make WND look good or Gore look bad -- on the WorldNetDaily website. This way, readers can judge for themselves how ethically WND behaved or whether Gore (or, more accurately, Clark Jones, the guy who filed the lawsuit and claims he was libeled) has a case.
How about it, Mr. Farah?
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Cliff Kincaid's Fact-Free Criticism
Topic: Accuracy in Media
A Feb. 15 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid declares that former Rep. Bob Barr is not a true conservative because he has been caught consorting with the likes of MoveOn, Al Gore and the ACLU in criticizing the NSA's domestic spying program. But never once does Kincaid defend the program.
That's because Kincaid was off making unsupported allegations elsewhere in his column. He wrote that "the ACLU favors the legalization of the possession and distribution of child pornography, as well as the legalization of dangerous drugs." Proof, please?
Then, Kincaid launched into another defense of Steven Hatfill, the "person of interest" suspected but never charged in the post-9/11 anthrax attacks. While Kincaid insists that Hatfill "is a patriot who believes in fighting the war on terrorism," it's worth noting that neither Kincaid nor anyone else at AIM has seriously addressed the fact that Hatfill has a history of associating with right-wing racist militants in South Africa (beyond whitewashing the connection as "politically incorrect").
P.S.: CJR Daily notes another recent example of Kincaid's inaccuracies.
CNS Smears Union Workers
A Feb. 14 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones suggested that unionized hotel workers are lazy and unambitious. The lead of Jones' article:
Instead of looking for better jobs or job training, the nation's hotel workers are seeking more money and better benefits from the jobs they already have with the world's big hotel chains.
Jones offers no evidence that working in a hotel is a necessarily transient position or so awful that a "better jobs or job training" is preferable.
WND Blackwell Fluff Watch
WorldNetDaily runs yet another article about an Ohio Republican political scandal, the only apparent reason for doing so being to fluff Ken Blackwell's campaign for Ohio governor. Blackwell, WND has repeatedly insisted, is not part of the scandal.
As ConWebWatch has detailed, WND can't be bothered with reporting on most other Republican-linked scandals, so we must assume that it has an ulterior motive (fluffing Blackwell) in reporting on the Ohio scandal.
The Clinton Equivocation, Part Deux
NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard joins in playing the Clinton Equivocation card in a Feb. 15 post that cited NewsMax's "but Hillary whacked a guy, too" article falsely claiming that Hillary mowed down a policeman.
New Article: Swiftly False Revisionism
According to Jerome Corsi, Ben Barnes was telling the truth about President Bush's National Guard record -- and Corsi apparently knew it during the 2004 election. Why didn't Corsi say so then, or stop the Swift Boat Veterans from attacking Barnes? Read more.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Which of these things is not like the others on this WorldNetDaily front-page capture from this evening?
That's right -- WND has mixed a promo for a Michael Moore-bashing video with its Cheney-shooting coverage. Not quite as gloriously insensitive as WND's pairing of an article about the suicide of a child prodigy with a promo for a child-training book that offers the parental advice, "Keep your objective in mind -- subjection of their will," but still...
UPDATE: Edited for clarity.
Nabobs of Negativity
A Feb. 14 NewsBusters post by Mark Finkelstein describes an episode of "Hardball" focusing on Dick Cheney's shooting of a hunting companion as "decidedly downbeat." "grim," pessimistic," "the apotheosis of vitriol," "an absolutely ceaseless cavalcade of criticism," finally stating: "The negative portrayal of the Vice-President and of the administration's handling of the matter was absolutely unrelenting."
And the positive side of the vice president shooting a guy, then blaming the guy for getting shot, is ... what, Mark?
Topic: Accuracy in Media
A Feb. 14 Accuracy in Media press release is long on accusations and posturing but short on actual facts.
The press release features Cliff Kincaid -- taking about from obsessing about Rachel Maddow's lesbianism -- accusing "the major news media" of behaving in a "rabid manner" regarding Dick Cheney's accidental shooting of a hunting companion. "From charges that Cheney was drinking to claims that the shooting was an assassination attempt, our media have behaved in a completely irresponsible manner that brings discredit upon the journalism profession," Kincaid said.
The problem is that Kincaid offers no proof that Kincaid has offered no proof of the media pushing "charges that Cheney was drinking to claims that the shooting was an assassination attempt."
Presumably, Kincaid was taking his marching orders from NewsBusters, which had just a single instance of something that resembled Kincaid's claim at the time the AIM press release was posted: an appearance on MSNBC's "Hardball" by Ron Reagan. (NewsBusters later noted an item at the Huffington Post suggesting Cheney was drunk, but since when are blogs "major news media"?)
A single instance on the third-rated cable news network does not a campaign by "the major news media" make. Kincaid might want to shy away from issuing sweeping, overbroad indictments based on just one incident.
Farah Doth Protests Too Much
In a Feb. 14 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah takes umbrage at a North Carolina newspaper critical of its coverage of a North Carolina speech by NAACP president Julian Bond.
Farah is real sensitive to the fact that WND got a quote by Bond wrong. Relying on an eyewitness report, WND reported on Feb. 2 that Bond was "equating the Republican Party with the Nazi Party" when he allegedly said that "The Republican Party would have the American flag and the swastika flying side by side." In fact, Bond said "Confederate swastika," which puts a different spin on things. WND didn't report that until Feb. 7 -- five days later -- forcing it to backtrack a bit and state that Bond "did not directly equate the Republican Party with the Nazi Party."
Yet somehow, according to Farah, the local paper, the Fayetteville Observer, is to blame for not reporting Bond's "swastika" comment at all, insisting that it was "the most explosive quote Bond uttered at the speech." Farah further defended WND's reporting on the event by claiming the quote was reported "almost completely accurately."
Well, when you've had to retract two articles in the past year because of the false information contained in them, like WND did, and have been caught red-handed plagiarizing news, as Farah was, "almost completely accurately" seems like a reasonable jouralistic standard by comparison.
And if you're going to bash "the Old Media" for allegedly "deny[ing] their dwindling number of readers, viewers and listeners the truth," it's best if you don't have a history of not reporting inconvenient facts. As ConWebWatch has documented, WND's Jerusalem reporter, Aaron Klein, has a history of whitewashing the terrorist history of the right-wing extremists he writes about, it couldn't be bothered to report on Republican political scandals, its coverage of the Terri Schiavo case was highly biased, it painted a soft 'n' cuddly portrait of an anti-abortion extremist, it falsely portrayed the admitted killer of an abortion doctor as innocent ... we could go on.
Before Farah starts criticizing the journalism of others, he needs to stand up and admit -- and then fix -- his own journalistic shortcomings.
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