Double Standard on Scandalous Behavior Topic: Media Research Center
A May 11 item by Tim Graham at the MRC's Times Watch attacks a New York Times article for reporting on the seamy details of the personal life of the leading Republican contender for Hillary Clinton's New York Senate seat, John Spencer. Graham plays the MRC's version of the Clinton Equivocation, claiming that the Times gave Bill Clinton a pass in the 1992 presidential race when Gennifer Flowers made her allegations public.
Graham insists that while the behavior of Spencer -- who, strangely, Graham does not actually name in full in this item, referring only to "Mr. Spencer" -- is not the issue, though he does aver that "New York Republicans can and should wince at Spencer’s personal life." Rather, Graham insists, "the issue here is the shifting standards of the New York Times, depending on which side of the civility divide the Clintons are placed."
Graham seems to ignore that much of the seamy Clinton allegations were peddled by political enemies or gold-digging ex-paramours, while in Spencer's case, the person pushing them is a fellow Republican, his opponent KT McFarland. We don't recall any of Clinton's Democratic opponents making similar attacks on him in 1992.
Additionally, in showing that he has no qualms about using scandalous behavior against a political opponent when it suits him, Graham takes a whack at Ed Rollins, a McFarland adviser, noting "the irony of Mr. Rollins throwing around the adultery card, considering he was the Hillary in his own publicly documented marriage meltdown."
Are we sure Spencer's seamy personal life isn't the issue? Given Graham's eagerness to change the subject, perhaps it is.
WND Cites Misleading Poll Topic: WorldNetDaily
A May 13 WorldNetDaily article on for House speaker Newt Gingrich's views on immigration states:
Gingrich, who will appear on NBC's "Meet the Press" tomorrow, cited a recent poll released by Zogby and the Center for Immigration Studies showing overwhelming support – 65% to 30% – for the House bill, a measure that emphasizes enforcement.
But, as Media Matters reports, this poll is misleading because it misrepresented both the House immigration measure and the competing Senate measure to respondents. It soft-pedaled the harsher aspects of the House bill and failed to tell respondents about the enforcement provisions in the House measure. Additionally, the Senate version described in the Zogby poll was superceded by a compromise proposal with somewhat altered provisions 10 days before Zogby took its poll, but Zogby notes only the original version and doesn't mention the compromise.
Additionally, WND fails to describe the Center for Immigration Studies as an anti-immigration group with an interest in passing the harsher House version of the bill -- and thus, paying for a poll that shows support for it. As Media Matters also noted, most other polls on the issue run counter to Zogby's conclusions.
World Net Daily points out that the Associated Press drove by a Swedish study that finds lesbians react differently to sex hormones than heterosexual women. Evidently, the desire of the AP was to claim that homosexuality is genetic, that it can't be helped.
Aside from the absurdity of citing WorldNetDaily as a credible source for anything -- given its history of bias, lies and plagiarism -- the article that Ombud cites isn't a "news" article at all. It's a May 10 commentary by Robert Knight of Concerned Women for America's Culture & Family Institute (where Knight's article was first posted). Knight is even more biased and agenda-driven on this issue than WND, which makes him even less of an authoritative source.
Non-Conservative News at NewsMax Topic: Newsmax
Cliff Kincaid might want to rethink his war on Dana Priest over the CIA secret-prison story that Kincaid insists is false. From, of all people, Ken Timmerman at NewsMax:
The U.S. government acknowledged yesterday that the CIA operated "a very high number" of secret flights that stopped in Europe en route to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba according to members of the European Parliament visiting Washington, DC.
The European Parliament commission says it has received "ad hoc information" from Eurocontrol, a private organization that tracks flight information for 36-member states, documenting 1,000 flights of CIA-operated aircraft. These included a Boeing 737, with registration number N313P, that human rights groups claim was chartered by a CIA front company to carry prisoners from Afghanistan to secret prisons in Egypt, Syria, Uzbekistan and Eastern Europe.
The aircraft made "several flights from Kabul, stopping in Poland, Romania, and Morocco along the way to Guantanamo," Fava said. "We don't think they were making refueling stops."
Original news on NewsMax that makes the Bush administration look bad? We're shocked, too.
NewsMax Promotes (Yet Another) Anti-Hillary Book Topic: Newsmax
To absolutely no one's surprise, NewsMax has glommed onto the latest anti-Hillary book. A May 12 article by Carl Limbacher promotes John Podhoretz's book "Can She Be Stopped?" accompanied by a summary of Podhoretz's 10-point plan to "expose Hillary as the far-left liberal that she truly is."
Perhaps just as unsurprisingly, Limbacher failed to note that Podhoretz trashed the last anti-Hillary book that came out (and was heavily promoted by NewsMax), Ed Klein's "The Truth About Hillary," as we've previously noted.
More News From the ADF's PR Division Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's aversion to actually talking to anyone at Ohio State University-Mansfield regarding the Scott Savage controversy continues with a May 11 article that recounts the case through the new angle of excerpting a May 6 Columbus Dispatch op-ed by Christopher Phelps, one of the professors who criticized Savage for recommending WND managing editor David Kupelian's book "The Marketing of Evil." It's a selective quoting of Phelps' op-ed, focusing on his claim that Kupelian's book is "unabashed bigotry" and a "screed."
Predictably, rather than responding to anything Phelps actually wrote, WND attacked Phelps as a leftist who has praised Marxism. And WND omitted a factual correction Phelps pointed out: Savage was accused of "harassment based on sexual orientation" -- which Phelps describes as "discrimination" -- not "sexual harassment," the term WND lifted out of inaccurate Alliance Defense Fund press releases and repeats here, falsely stating that Savage was accused of being a "sexual harasser."
WND also calls "The Marketing of Evil" a "bestselling" book and "one of the hottest-selling books in the country" but fails to provide evidence of it other than the deficient example of the book "topping Amazon.com's 'Current Events' bestseller chart for more than a week."
CNS' Anti-Democrat Slant Topic: CNSNews.com
A May 11 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones starts out with the promise of a balanced presentation:
Darned Republicans, say Democrats, giving more tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. Darned Democrats, say Republicans, opposing a bill that will encourage further economic growth.
And so goes the long-running argument in Washington over tax-cut legislation.
But the balance ends there, and Jones resorts to anti-Democratic, pro-Republican spin that CNS justloves. At one point, Jones writes, "Democrats frequently resort to emotional arguments intended to make those who are not wealthy resent those who are," but she makes no similarly pejorative comment about Republicans. In fact, she implicitly praises the Republicans' tax plan, writing, "Some analysts say extending the tax cut on investments will goose the stock market and juice the economy, just as earlier tax cuts did."
Today's ConWeb Spin Point Topic: NewsBusters
That massive NSA database compiling the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans? Old news.
We've already documented NewsMax's version of the spin point. The MRC has echoed it as well; a May 11 NewsBusters post by Rich Noyes similarly claimed that "there may not even be much 'news' here" since it is similar to a Dec. 24 New York Times article. And anyway, Noyes wrote, the program "seems like a thoroughly innocuous database of the same information that appears on your phone bill, but with your name, address and other personal information removed."
NewsMax's Zombie Falsehood Topic: Newsmax
A May 11 NewsMax article attacks a USA Today article on a massive NSA database that compiles the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans as old news, "though liberal media outlets have been blaring the story as a shocking revelation all Thursday morning." According to NewsMax, "CBS's '60 Minutes' blew the lid off the agency's domestic wiretapping in Feb. 2000, when the Clinton administration was using it for all sorts of unauthorized purposes." The article links to a December 2005 NewsMax item as proof.
But the NSA monitoring program specifically referenced in the December NewsMax article, called Echelon, predates the Clinton administration, as ConWebWatch has documented. Further, the article doesn't even claim, as the May 11 NewsMax article says it does, that "the Clinton administration was using it for all sorts of unauthorized purposes," let alone offer evidence to support that claim.
Further, the December article implies that under Clinton administration orders, "the NSA had even monitored and tape recorded the conversations of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond." This is false; that monitoring took place in the 1980s, well before Clinton took office. A NewsMax article more explicitly making that false claim abruptly disappeared from NewsMax's website without explanation.
New Article: The Evil of Marketing, Part 2 Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's hyping of criticism of a WND editor's book: Shameless marketing, or the result of a secret deal between WND and the Alliance Defense Fund? Read more.
Guilt by Association Watch Topic: Accuracy in Media
A May 9 Accuracy in Media article by Jennifer Verner keeps up AIM's attack on Washington Post reporter Dana Priest over her Pulitzer-winning series exposing the CIA's secret prisons. This time around, Verner plays the guilt-by-association card by attacking Priest's husband, William Goodfellow, "a far-left political activist and current executive director of the Center for International Policy (CIP), who has been at the vanguard of many of the most rabid attacks on Bush Administration policy." But Verner engages in some wobbly research to back up her claims.
According to Verner:
In 1974, he [Goodfellow] wrote a widely circulated op-ed for the New York Times that served to excuse the genocidal Pol Pot's forced evacuation of the Cambodian people from the cities. The piece was so influential that it is still quoted by Noam Chomsky and his followers to this day.
Verner gets the date wrong; Goodfellow's op-ed actually appeared July 14, 1975. As to Verner's suggestion that the op-ed was "widely circulated" beyond its Times appearance, searches on Google and Nexis failed to turn up a complete copy of it. Nexis contains an abstract summary, while two paragraphs of it appear (and have been repeated) on the Internet.
Verner also offers no evidence to support her claim that the op-ed is "quoted by Noam Chomsky and his followers to this day." A search of the archive of Chomsky's Z Magazine turned up only one reference to Goodfellow's op-ed: a June 1977 article co-written by Chomsky citing Goodfellow's claim regarding "the testimony of U.S. AID officials that Phnom Penh had only a six-day supply of rice."
Verner also attacks Joseph Wilson, who was a speaker at a CIP conference, claiming that his "statements about what he found in Africa and his wife's role in his mission have been completely undermined by a Senate Intelligence Committee report." In fact, much of the Senate Intelligence Committee report's "undermining" of Wilson appears not in the body of the report but, rather, in a partisan addendum written by Republicans.
These are just two paragraphs out of Verner's commentary; this provides a good reason to assume that the rest of it is similarly loosely researched.
WND's News Priorities Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily won't write about Republican corruption, but it will spend its precious resources to compile an article about a newspaper publisher arrested for DUI.
The presumed purpose of the WND article was to demonstrate the purported arrogance of the "mainstream media," but it notes that the paper immeidately ran an article on the publisher's arrest and quotes a newsroom employee saying, "The attitude here is great transparency and I appreciate that." Ironically, that's a transparency that doesn't exist at WND; witness its refusal to disclose its business and personal interests in the subjects it covers and unwillingness to fully disclose the financial details of its legal defense fund.