More Less-Than-Wholeness Topic: WorldNetDaily
With the first anniversary of Terri Schiavo's death coming up, we had a feeling that Diana Lynne would surface to write some more about the case (and, hopefully, to sell a few more copies of her book). And we were right. A March 27 column by Lynne attacks Jon Eisenberg's book "Using Terri," which described the right wing's support of the Schiavo case (and which we cited in our critique of Lynne's book). For all of Lynne's attacks, there are a couple things worth noting:
-- Despite Lynne's claim that "Eisenberg's book is a misleading, disingenuous case of the pot calling the kettle 'black,' " and that "Schiavo was a right-to-die case five years before it became a right-to-life case," Lynne never denies or disproves Eisenberg's basic assertion that the religious right used the case for their own purposes.
-- Despite Lynne's diversionary tactic of detailing what was spent on the attorneys for Michael Schiavo to counter Eisenberg's claims that the religious right spent "between $400,000 and $500,000" backing Terri Schiavo's parents, the Schindlers, Lynne appears to concede this number as the truth -- which would be the first time that Lynne has acknowledged this. In her book, she never cited the funding for that side, disingenuously describing it as "a grass-roots effort." Lynne also concedes here that Wesley Smith was "an unpaid adviser to the Schindlers"; in her book, she cited Smith's writings but failed to disclose his adviser status.
-- It appears that Lynne is about to drag George Soros into this; apparently, a Clinton connection couldn't be found or fabricated. After describing Soros as "the Daddy Warbucks of left-wing political campaigns and numerous left of center causes," she claims that "Employing Eisenberg's methodology, George Soros conspired to cause Terri's death." But Lynne fails to mention -- as she similarly failed to do in her book -- the contributions of pro-life extremists Randall Terry and Gary McCullough. C'mon, Diana, if you're going to dismiss Michael Schiavo attorney George Felos as having a "fascination with death and dying," you might want to mention that McCullough was the media consultant for a convicted killer and condoned his act of murder.
This looks to be a week-long series from Lynne. We'll check in again when she does.
Neil Who? Topic: NewsBusters
A March 24 NewsBusters post by Brad Wilmouth asserted that Keith Olbermann hit a "new low" for naming Barbara Bush the day's "worst person in America" for earmarking a donation to a Hurricane Katrina relief fund to purchase software from her son Neil's software company. Wilmouth wrote that Olbermann "neglected to mention that the Bush family had also given other donations without any requirement as to how the money should be spent."
The amazing thing is that anyone at the MRC knows who Neil Bush is. Despite his history of shady business dealings and a more sordid personal life than Bill Clinton's, the MRC has had next to nothing to say about him. Of the four mentions of him in the MRC database, three (here, here and here) are from 1992, all of which ponder whether the media will play up alleged Clinton scandals as they did Neil Bush's connection to a failed S&L. The fourth mention, from 2000, repeats the 1992 allegations.
There are only two mentions of Neil Bush on CNSNews.com: An article from February that noted he had spoken to the same Saudi Arabia group to which Al Gore had made remarks critical of U.S. abuse of Arabs, and a 2001 almanac item in which we learn that Neil shares a birthday with former Journey lead singer Steve Perry.
WND Fails to Disclose Blackwell Deal Topic: WorldNetDaily
Remember when we noted WorldNetDaily's sudden concern for Republican corruption in Ohio (as opposed to its utter disinterest in Republican-link corruption elsewhere), which seemed to serve no purpose other than to boost Ken Blackwell's campaign for Ohio governor? It turns WND had another motive for its pro-Blackwell coverage: WND is publishing Blackwell's new book.
That would be "Rebuilding America," co-written with Jerome Corsi (yes, the revisionist-minded bigot). WND Books has Blackwell's book scheduled for release in May, which means that in all likelihood, Blackwell was under contract with WND in January, at the time WND published its first Ohio-corruption articles -- a fact it did not disclose to its readers.
The Society of Professional Journalists' ethics code dictates that journalists should "avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived" and "disclose unavoidable conflicts."
The problem here is that WND promotes itself as providing journalism, which it clearly does not. Shilling for your authors, after all, is not journalism.
UPDATE: The same goes for Tom Tancredo, who has been featured in WND articles without the disclosure that he too is writing a WND-published book.
Sheppard's Criticism of AP Misfires Topic: NewsBusters
A March 24 post by Noel Sheppard argues (not terribly persuasively) that an Associated Press article from the previous day that reported Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff (Sheppard erroneously calls him "Alan") saying that the deal giving control of operations at six U.S. ports to Dubai government-owned DP World "could have helped implement stronger security at many ports where the U.S. now has limited influence" is a "quite a flip-flop" from the AP's Feb. 11 article first noting the deal and Dubai's links to terrorism. Sheppard admonished the AP: "Maybe if you had interviewed Chertoff on February 11 rather than Chuck Schumer ... the deal would have gone through, and America would not only be potentially safer, but also would not have appeared xenophobic to its friends and enemies."
Sheppard fails to note the blindingly obvious fact that if Chertoff hadn't waited until now to make this point, long after the deal has been scuttled, perhaps it wouldn't have blown up like it did. Nor does Sheppard note that the AP's Feb. 11 article also noted the Bush administration's side of the story, that it "considers the UAE an important ally in the fight against terrorism since the suicide hijackings," adding that "shipping experts" have pointed out "DP World's strong economic interest in operating ports securely and efficiently" and that "even under foreign control, U.S. ports will continue to be run by unionized American employees." You wouldn't know from Sheppard's portrayal of it, but the AP article is actually well balanced.
Posters on the thread to Sheppard's item pointed out another flaw in his reasoning: that Chertoff wasn't a part of the process that led to the original federal decision to approve the deal, as noted in a Feb. 26 Washington Post article.
And there's yet another flaw: By only noting Schumer's opposition to the deal, Sheppard ignores the fact that the controversy was also fueled by Sheppard's conservative fellow travelers, such as Michael Savage and WorldNetDaily. As we've noted, Sheppard previously falsely claimed that only the "Antique Media and the Left" opposed the DP World deal.
Farther down in the thread, forced to defend his post, Sheppard shares his (and, apparently, MRC's) view of research:
I'm not sure our charge here is to always connect every dot. Many of my editors are frequently reminding me that it is sometimes better to allow the reader to reach his/her own conclusions. If not, aren't we similar to that which we find offensive?
Well, Noel, it might help if you had done enough research in the first place, so that those dots connect to the solid foundation of truth rather than the shifting sands of uninformed, biased opinion.
'There Is No MSM' Topic: The ConWeb
In his thoughts on the Ben Domenech debacle, PressThink's Jay Rosen makes this important comment:
But in fact there is no MSM. No one answers for it. It has no address. And no real existence independent of the dreary statements in which it is bashed. Therefore it is not a term of accountability, which is one reason it's grown so popular. No one's accountable; therefore all rants can be right. If you're a blogger, and you write things like, "The MSM swallowed it hook, line and sinker," you should know that you have written gibberish.
Something for the ConWeb to think about. Not that they will, of course -- they're too invested in the MSM concept as a convenient target to abandon it.
NewsBusters: We Love Aren't Too Bothered by Plagiarism! Topic: NewsBusters
Note to Greg Sheffield: Your claim that "Washington Post editors have proven that indeed they take orders from liberal activists, as they cave in to left-wing pressure to fire Ben Domenec [sic] as their first conservative blogger" would hold more water if you didn't work for an organization that takes orders from conservative activists and the Bush White House. (Case in point: NewsBusters'embrace of the Bush-approved term "terrorist surveillance program.")
We also noticed, Greg, that you make no mention of Domenech's long history of plagiarism, which the Post cited as the reason for parting ways with him. Does this mean that you condone plagiarism? Or just that conservatives should be exempt from facing consequences for their ethical transgressions?
UPDATE: Tim Graham, unlike Sheffield, does concede that Domenech's leaving is "probably for the best, considering the plagiarism examples liberals unearthed against him." Then he launched into Sheffield territory, claiming the the Post was "more than deferential to the left-wing bloggers that swarm around his site like angry killer bees."
It is rather humorous how Graham and Sheffield are downplaying or ignoring completely the plagiarism aspect and rushing to trot out the conservative-victim card.
More Deceptive Poll-Bashing Topic: Accuracy in Media
A March 24 Accuracy in Media column by Roger Aronoff is the latest to attack a CBS poll that found President Bush's approval rating at an all-time low of 34 percent as sampling too many Democrats without noting that the weighted percentage difference of Democrats to Republicans in the poll matches the demographics of the adult American population.
Aronoff also attacks the poll for being "based on a sampling of 1018 'adults,' rather than likely voters," but he fails to explain why a sampling of "adults" is less valid that one of likely voters. After all, Bush is the president of all Americans, not just likely voters. And Bush isn't up for re-election again, so limiting the poll to "likely voters" is a bit on the moot side.
Aronoff further claims, without evidence, that "the number of Democrats was inflated to get a more dramatic anti-Bush result." But as Media Matters noted, a CBS poll taken a couple weeks later in which the weighted percentage of Democrats and Republicans was roughly equal produced the same 34 percent job approval rating for Bush. Additionally, CBS weights its polls based on demographic characteristics, not party affiliation.
Dear NewsBusters... Topic: NewsBusters
Note to Tim Graham, Mark Finkelstein, Ian Schwartz, and the other NewsBusters denziens enraptured by Laura Ingraham's claim that the reporters are covering the Iraq war by watching it from the balconies of their Baghdad hotels:
Ingraham has not offered any actual evidence that this is the case. And neither have you.
You might want to try that whole evidence thing before continuing this particular line of attack.
Swift-Boating Olmert, Part 3 Topic: WorldNetDaily Today's attack on acting Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert by WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein is a reframing of the previous, anonymous-source-laden, scandal-report-being-suppressed article.
CNS Uses Documented Liar as Source Topic: CNSNews.com
A March 23 CNSNews.com article by Marc Morano describing the Democratic links of James Hansen, a scientist who has complained that the Bush administration is censoring his views on global warming, featured comments from a former NASA spokesman who was forced to resign for, among other things, making a false claim on his resume.
Morano quoted George C. Deutch to refute Hansen's claims of censorship. Deutsch resigned as a NASA spokesman in February after it was disclosed that his resume falsely claimed that he graduated from Texas A&M University (he hadn't received his degree). Deutsch has been unapologetic about the false claim, insisting that his resume was written in anticipation of graduating. Morano also repeated Deutsch's own claims of a "culture war" at the agency in which "[a]nyone perceived to be a Republican, a Bush supporter or a Christian is singled out and labeled a threat."
Morano also fails to make clear that the among the people Hansen and others accused of censorship was Deutsch. The Feb. 11 Washington Post article from which Morano pulled his Deutsch quotes also stated that Deutsch faced criticism because, allegedly, "he had edited scientists' writings to conform to administration views and tried to limit reporters' access to Hansen." But Morano cited only the "controversy surrounding a false resume claim" as the reason Deutsch resigned.
Farah: Evolutionists Are Nazis Topic: WorldNetDaily
In a March 23 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah claims that a recent article in a archaelogical magazine "illustrates how the genocidal mania of Hitler could only be built on a foundation of evolution." He further claims that "evolutionary theories ... led directly to Hitler and Stalin and Mao." Finally, Farah dismisses evolution as "a malodorous, filthy, contemptuous lie from the pit of hell. After all, where else but hell could Hitler get his inspiration?"
I think we have an early front-runner for a Slantie Award, folks.
Ann Coulter: Anarchist, Not Conservative Topic: Free Congress Foundation
"I take second place to no one in denouncing these kinds of threats. People who advocate killing Justices because they profoundly disagree with them are not conservatives. They are anarchists." -- Paul Weyrich, March 22 column.
So, Mr. Weyrich, may we put two and two together regarding your statement and Ann Coulter's wish to see John Paul Stevens poisoned?
Sexipemic!: The Origin Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily shares with us the apparent explanation of its creepyobsession with (female) teacher-(male) student sex. It comes in the form of a March 22 article by David Kupelian taht appeared in the teacher-student sex issue of WND's Whistleblower magazine. It's alarmist in the WND kind of way, but it's not a bad read until it starts embracing dubious statistics and gets overly moralistic.
Kupelian states, "Recently, there has been a seeming explosion in a special type of teacher sexual abuse – female teachers having sex with underage teenage boys, who as a rule are willing participants in the sex," without disclosing that WND has played a role in making it seem like an explosion. As we've previously noted, WND has repeatedly printed a laundry list of alleged incidents it found on a gossip site without telling its readers that the alleged incidents on the list date back as much as 15 years. But Kupelian offers no solid evidence that there actually is an "explosion" in female teacher-male student sex.
Kupelian also touted an alarmist claim by researcher Charol Shakeshaft that "the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests," despite the fact that this number is extrapolated from another survey and has no direct research to support it. But it's not until he recounts that study in detail before Kupelian noted that one criticism of Shakeshaft's work called it "a misuse of the data" and that Shakeshaft herself "acknowledged many factors could alter the analysis."
In making his moral case against teacher-student sex, Kupelian plays it black-and-white in portraying anyone who doesn't follow his point of view as supporters of a "secular, de facto atheistic worldview" who believe "there is just no logical reason adults shouldn't be able to have sex with children or whatever else they please." And what is Kupelian's point of view? It's roughly summed up by this statement: "The sexual revolution glorified the destruction of Judeo-Christian civilization and the morality at its core." He also claims that "artificial birth control, abortion, [and] alternative sexual acts" is "an absurd end-run around God and His obvious restrictions on sex."
Apaprently, in Kupelian's world, there's no room for moderation; he seems unable to grasp that a person can oppose adults having sex with minors and not be a fundamentalist Christian like himself. After all, there is a nonreligous basis for laws against sex with minors, the idea that a minor, because he or she is a minor, cannot consent to sex. Kupelian might want to check into that sometime.
NewsBusters to Media: Don't Investigate Bush Topic: NewsBusters
It's not often you hear conservatives insist that the news media not investigate something, but that's what Noel Sheppard does in a March 22 NewsBusters post.
In attacking the Oregonian newspaper for seeking the release of "documents that could prove the existence of a potentially illegal domestic spying program," Sheppard claims: "The Oregonian has no pony in this race. Instead, it is clearly muckraking without regard to how it might impact national security and the war on terror."
Sheppard then argues that the Oregonian shouldn't investigate this case because "neither Congress nor the Supreme Court has yet determined the legality or illegality of this terrorist surveillance program" (using the Bush administration's preferred term for the eavesdropping program). He adds: "Shouldn’t it wait until such a determination has been made before filing a lawsuit over documents that might end up having been legally obtained?"
Sheppard missed the part where the Oregonian said that the documents it's seeking could "prove the existence of a potentially illegal domestic spying program." And the lack of a determination about legality certainly didn't keep conservatives from making myriad accusations of illegal behavior against President Clinton. For instance, do a search for "clinton and perjury" on the MRC's search engine, and you get 194 results, despite the fact that Clinton was never convicted of, let alone indicted for, perjury.
New Article: The Disconnect Topic: Media Research Center
A Media Research Center official insists that the media has a liberal bias, even as he admits that most news reports the MRC watches aren't biased. Read more.