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Monday, February 27, 2006
Klein's Labeling Bias
Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Feb. 27 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein repeatedly calls groups such as the Israel Policy Forum and Americans for Peace Now as "leftist," but it describes the American Israel Public Affairs Committee only as "powerful" despite its apparent conservative leanings (which it denies).

This follows a pattern we've observed of Klein regularly using terms such as "liberal" or "leftist" -- but rarely "conservative" or "rightist" -- in his Israel-related articles.

A search of the WND archives shows that the word "conservative" appears in only seven Klein articles, and he is applying that word to a political figure in only one apparent instance, a reference to "Conservative Rabbi Avraham Reisner" in a July 2004 article. But in this case, he may also be referring to the Conservative branch of Judaism, as described by Klein in an April 2005 article. The word "rightist" appears in only one Klein article, in a quote.

The word "leftist," meanwhile, shows up in 33 WND articles; an example is a Jan. 4 article that describes one group as "an extreme leftist Israeli organization" and a politician as a "[f]ar-leftist Israeli lawmaker."

Of course, given Klein's history of whitewashing the violent history of the extremists he lovingly covers, such behavior is not surprising.

P.S. In his mention of AIPAC, Klein also neglected to note the fact that a Defense Department analyst pleaded guilty to giving classified information to AIPAC lobbyists.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:59 AM EST
False Equivalence Alert
Topic: NewsBusters
A Feb. 24 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd (expanded upon at the MRC's Free Market Project) asks why the media reported the connections Enron officials had with the Bush administration when the company collapsed, while it paid less attention to the fact that the CEO of scandal-ridden Fannie Mae "served in the Clinton White House and was speculated to be on presidential hopeful John Kerry’s short list for Treasury secretary."

Ummm ... because the Bush administration was in office at the time of the Enron collapse, while the Clinton admininistration has been out of office for five years and discussion of Kerry's cabinet picks is moot because he didn't win the election?

UPDATE: Fixed spelling of Shepherd's name.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:29 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, March 2, 2006 12:57 AM EST
Friday, February 24, 2006
New Article: Some Conservatives Are More Equal Than Others
Topic: The ConWeb
The ConWeb ignores doubts -- raised by their fellow conservatives -- about the credibility of Bill Tierney's claims about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:40 AM EST
Preview: Bad WND Reporting
Topic: WorldNetDaily
We'll have a detailed report on this next week, but we wanted to note this Feb. 22 WorldNetDaily article by Joseph Farah purporting to be an "analysis of Justice Department statistics." This article is a mess. it doesn't support the claims Farah makes -- specifically, that "the most likely victim of a hate crime in the U.S. is a poor, young, white, single urban dweller," emphasis on "white" -- the headline implies something the article doesn't support, and Farah ignores statistics from the federal study he cites that don't support his predermined conclusion, like any mention of sexual orientation as a motivating hate-crime factor.

In other words, it's basically the same junk journalism WND engages in. Stay tuned.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:09 AM EST
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Equivocation of the Day
Topic: NewsBusters
A Feb. 23 NewsBusters post by John Matthews claims that the Associated Press press was wrong (and, of course, biased) to highlight a "secret agreement" between the Bush administration and Dubai Ports World to take over the operation of six U.S. ports because such secret deals are routine.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:58 PM EST
Another Silencer
Topic: Media Research Center
Brent Bozell followed the MRC script in his Feb. 22 column, downplaying the news value of the vice president shooting a guy in the face. He bashed Time and Newsweek for putting "a dying story already eight days old" on its cover, adding: "But we already know every single bit of the story, having heard it hundreds of times over the last week."

Bozell also played the Clinton Equivocation game by noting that while the Cheney shooting was on the newsmagazine covers, "White House lawyer Vince Foster shooting himself dead in 1993 was not." Bozell engages in a bit of heresy here -- not by resorting to the Clinton Equivocation, but by stating that Foster committed suicide when conservatives all know that Bill 'n' Hil whacked him.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:06 AM EST
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
CNS Labeling Bias Watch
A Feb. 22 article by Monisha Bansal wrote about "the liberal League of Conservation Voters," but offered no descriptor for the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, which she quoted as criticizing the LCV's allegedly Democratic-leaning agenda.

SourceWatch calls CEI "neoliberal," but it describes the group "an ideologically-driven, well-funded front for corporations opposed to safety and environmental regulations that affect the way they do business," which sounds pretty conservative to us.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:29 PM EST
Thought Experiment
Topic: NewsBusters
Using the same NewsBusters logic that declares that the media should no longer cover the Dick Cheney shooting incident because a majority of the public doesn't think it's news, shouldn't Brent Baker, Noel Sheppard, et al., be agitating for an end to the Iraq war since a majority of Americans believe it's a mistake?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:04 AM EST
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Inaccuracy in Media
Topic: Accuracy in Media
In a Feb. 21 Accuracy in Media column, Cliff Kincaid wrote that columnist Molly Ivins is "an identified plagiarist. ... But she's still carried nationally by Creators Syndicate."

Sounds like the same deal Joseph Farah has -- an identified plagiarist with a syndication deal at Creators. You might want to complain about that, Cliff.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:55 PM EST
The Rest of the Story
Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Feb. 21 WorldNetDaily article touts a petition signed by "[m]ore than 500 scientists with doctoral degrees ... expressing skepticism about Darwin's theory of evolution." Buried deep down in the article is a hint of information about the meaninglessness of the petition, noting that among the signers are those with doctorates in mathematics and computer science, disciplines that have nothing to do with supporting or disproving evolution.

A Feb. 21 New York Times article, fortunately, tells us what WND won't about the petition and those who signed it:

It also includes many with more modest positions, like Thomas H. Marshall, director of public works in Delaware, Ohio, who has a doctorate in environmental ecology. The Discovery Institute says 128 signers hold degrees in the biological sciences and 26 in biochemistry. That leaves more than 350 nonbiologists. ...

Of the 128 biologists who signed, few conduct research that would directly address the question of what shaped the history of life.

Of the signers who are evangelical Christians, most defend their doubts on scientific grounds but also say that evolution runs against their religious beliefs.

Several said that their doubts began when they increased their involvement with Christian churches.

Some said they read the Bible literally and doubt not only evolution but also findings of geology and cosmology that show the universe and the earth to be billions of years old.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:18 PM EST
Foley-Fluffing at NewsMax
Topic: Newsmax
A Feb. 21 NewsMax article by Dave Eberhart features the comments of Christopher Ruddy's favorite politician, Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.), on the issue of an Arab-owned company operating in U.S. ports.

Foley, you'll recall, has been the beneficiary of much fawning NewsMax coverage -- and the recipient of a 2003 campaign donation from Ruddy, NewsMax's editor, president and CEO, two days before NewsMax ran an article praising him.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:54 AM EST
New Article: The Silencers
Topic: Media Research Center
The ConWeb was eager to downplay the Dick Cheney shooting story, then almost immediately declare it a non-story. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:44 AM EST
Topic: NewsBusters
Bruce Rheinstein wrote to inform us that he is not NewsBusters contributor Mithridate Ombud, as we claimed in a recent article. The article has been corrected accordingly.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 AM EST
Monday, February 20, 2006
'Purported' DeLay-Abramoff Ties?
Topic: Newsmax
A Feb. 18 NewsMax article by Dave Eberhart on a pro-TomDeLay TV ad that also attacks liberal philanthropist George Soros claims the ad was a counter to an ad "that focused on purported ties between DeLay and fallen super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff." Later in the article, Eberhart writes: "That ad featured purported information about the connections between DeLay, R-Sugar Land, and Abramoff, who pleaded guilty to corruption charges."

If, to Eberhart, "purported" means "solidly documented," then, yeah.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:00 PM EST
Sunday, February 19, 2006
A Little Insight
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Tim Graham published a guest post on the CBS News Public Eye blog that offers, according to Graham's promotion of it on NewsBusters, "a small sense of how we answer the questions and critiques we've received over the almost 20 years the MRC has been taping and transcribing and exposing." But it raises a few more questions about the MRC's methods.

Graham makes a surprising admission: that "the great majority of what we watch and read is not noticeably unfair or inaccurate." So taken to its next logical point, this means that the media is not so rife with liberal bias as Graham and his co-workers would have you believe.

Yet, this doesn't stop Graham from making broad overgeneralizations about the media. The most egregious one is the assumption that everyone who works in the media is as liberal and as activist as liberal activist Danny Schechter:

The Danny Schechters of the world, weaned on sixties radicalism, have the network resumes. He’s worked at ABC, at CNN, and made documentaries and series for PBS. Most of us as young conservative journalists never considered sending a resume to these outlets.

This analogy would make a little more sense if Graham could serve up examples of demonstrated bias on the part of Schechter while a network employee. And Schechter's "documentaries and series for PBS" may not even be classifed as news.

Even though the facts don't support the "liberal media bias" meme, Graham supports it anyway. This gives us a little more than a "small sense" of how the MRC operates.

(Full disclosure: I work for that other media research group, Media Matters; I also have a (bad) link to Schechter's on the ConWebWatch front page but no other connection to Schechter.)

Posted by Terry K. at 10:05 PM EST

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