Oh, The Irony Topic: NewsBusters
Noel Sheppard -- the NewsBusters writer who scolded the media for not immediately picking up the Iran badges story but failed to tell his readers that the story turned out to be bogus -- has joined the MRC attack bandwagon, compiling reports claiming that the ABC News story stating that Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is "in the mix" in the Jack Abramoff corruption investigation.
We're glad Sheppard is showing an interest in this sort of thing. We just wish he would show a similar interest when his own writing turns out to be flawed.
Finally! (Sorta.) Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters is all over denials of an ABC News story that Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is "in the mix" in the Jack Abramoff corruption investigation, but where is its notification to readers that the story that Iran will require non-Muslims to wear badges -- over which, way back on May 19, it scolded the media for not immediately picking up -- is apparently bogus?
NewsBusters has finally addressed the issue -- not in an new post where its readers would readily see it, but in an addendum to the original May 19 post by Noel Sheppard:
UPDATE 05-24 by Matthew Sheffield: The Post has retracted the report. "It is now clear the story is not true," Douglas Kelly, the National Post's editor in chief says.
About time. Why did it take so long? After all, this is still a few days after the allegations were first raised -- the ABC/Hastert story is barely two days old, and the NewsBusters boys are already promoting those doubts as loudly as it can.
And why isn't NewsBusters eager to highlight this retraction for its readers, preferring instead to bury in in a days-old post that nobody will go back and read? Because that would unduly interfere with its mission of painting the "liberal media" as the main purveyor of false allegations. It's too busy slapping around ABC News to be bothered with a more clearly fake story by a conservative paper, even though it promoted that story.
Your NewsBusters At Work Topic: NewsBusters
What is NewsBusters doing instead of reporting to its readers that the Iran-badges story is bogus? Among today's articles: Defending Matt Drudge and taking issue with the claim that Anderson Cooper is "popular."
BadgeGate: You Know the Drill Topic: NewsBusters
Another day of mounting evidence that the Iraq-badge story is fake, another day that NewsBusters fails to acknowledge this after scolding the media for not reporting the original (and apparently false) story.
UPDATE: NewsMax has published an May 25 article noting that the National Post has apologized for publishing the story.
Misleading Claim on Judicial Nominations Topic: Free Congress Foundation
A May 15 commentary by the Free Congress Foundation's Marion Edwyn Harrison, Esq. (repeated at Accuracy in Media) claims that the federal judiciary "is approaching - some would say, is in the midst of - a crisis," in part because "[t]here are 30 vacancies, 10 appellate and 20 trial."
But as ConWebWatch has pointed out, when the number of federal judicial vacancies was more than 60 in the final years of the Clinton administration, the FCF saw no emergency; one FCF commentary dismissed the number of vacancies as "only 63."
BadgeGate Update Topic: Horowitz
-- A lengthy May 24 FrontPageMag article by Andrew G. Bostom is predicated on the Iran badges story being true. The only hint Bostom provides that it likely is not is a parenthetical insertion that the story is "now disputed."
-- The sound of crickets still emanates from NewsBusters on the subject of the story's apparent lack of veracity.
Kupelian, WND Launch More Ad Hominem Attacks Topic: WorldNetDaily
A May 23 WorldNetDaily article resumes WND's ad hominem attacks on critics of David Kupelian's book "The Marketing of Evil" from the Ohio university where librarian Scott Savage was criticized for recommending the book. The article describes one critic as "openly socialist," and another is described three times as "openly homosexual."
When the article finally gets around to addressing the actual claims of critics -- specifically, that Kupelian's description of sex researcher Alfred Kinsey and his work is a "factually untrue characterization of Dr. Kinsey and his work" -- it resorts to repeating (without labeling them as such) the dubiously supported claims of anti-Kinsey researcher Judith Reisman. And the article resorts to ad hominem attacks here too: it calls Kinsey "notoriously fraudulent," and Kupelian himself is quoted as calling him "a profoundly troubled human being sexually" who "encouraged serial pedophiles for obtaining his so-called 'research' on child sexuality."
Heads up: We'll be addressing the issue of Kupelian and Reisman in depth on the ConWebWatch side later this week.
BadgeGate: It's Not Just NewsBusters Topic: Horowitz
The Horowitz empire has also reported the increasingly dubious claim about Iran requiring non-Muslims to wear badges (copying NewsMax's article) without following up on the questions about its veracity that we've been able to find on either FrontPageMag or Discover the Network(s).
Fact-Checking, Or the Lack Thereof Topic: NewsBusters
Eric Boehlert relates the difference between conservative bloggers and liberal bloggers on the issue of fact-checking.
And, in a related story, NewsBusters has still yet to acknowledge the fact that Iran-badges story it scolded the media for not reporting is looking more and more to be false (despite the original promulgator of the the story still clinging to it).
AIM Contradicts Itself Topic: Accuracy in Media
A May 22 AIM Report by Wes Vernon takes contradictory stands on the idea of anonymous sources. As part of AIM's factually dubious war on Washington Post reporter Dana Priest and her article on secret CIA detention facilities in Europe, Vernon first dismissed Priest's story because it was "based completely on anonymous sources," adding that the story "has not been confirmed."
But later, in coming to the defense of Rep. Curt Weldon over his claims regarding the "Able Danger" intelligence program, takes a different tone on anonymous sources and lack of smoking-gun evidence. Vernon dismissed a Philadelphia Inquirer article questioning Weldon's claim that the Soviets buried dozens of suitcase-size nuclear devices in the U.S. during the Cold War: "So the Inquirer essentially casts doubts on the 'suitcase nukes' charge based on the failure to find a needle in a haystack." Vernon also notes that "Among those who came to the congressman's defense was Lowell L. Wood, Jr., who has outstanding credentials in science"; Vernon wrote that "Wood added that 'a fundamental adage' in the 'always imperfect' intelligence business is that 'the absence of evidence isn't the evidence of absence.'"
Vernon also defends Weldon's use of an anonymous source to back up his claims:
The Philadelphia Inquirer's March 15 hit pieces include the name of someone they claim was "Ali." Weldon says, "I have not and will not identify [my source]." Curiously, the media seem oblivious to the possibility they may have put the man's life in danger.
AIM needs to make up its mind about a few things and not judge them by how well they support conservative talking points.
Still Waiting On That Retraction Topic: NewsBusters
As we enter our third day following the emergence of questions about the National Post report that the Iranian parliament passed a law requiring non-Muslims in the country to wear certain insignia identifying them as such -- and as evidence continues to mount that the story is false -- Noel Sheppard and the rest of the NewsBusters crew has remained silent about it, even though it was quick to repeat claims against the veracity of USA Today's story on the NSA phone database.
Double standard, anyone? Apparently, the MRC isn't as interested in accuracy if a fellow conservative publication is the one that gets its facts wrong.
NewsBusters Misleads on Party ID, Abramoff Topic: NewsBusters
A May 21 NewsBusters post by Mithridate Ombud claims that none of the six articles about corruption allegations against Rep. William Jefferson to which he links uses the word "Democrat." That's misleading; five of the six linked articles (the exception is the one from the CBS affiliate in Fresno) add "D-La." on the first reference to Jefferson, clearly indicating that Jefferson is a Democrat.
Ombud also claims that "We all know that even when someone who isn't even in the Republican party, like Jack Abramoff, gets caught doing something bad the media frames the story with the word 'Republican' four or five times per column inch." Not only does Ombud offer no evidence to back it up, he/she is wrong about Abramoff, who has a long history of Republican and conservative activism, starting when he was president of -- that's right -- a College Republicans group.
BadgeGate: The Tally Topic: NewsBusters
How has the rest of the ConWeb covered the apparently bogus accusation about Iran requiring non-Muslims to wear badges?
WorldNetDaily: Wrote article questioning original claim. Columnist Craig R. Smith, however, didn't get the memo; his May 21 column attacking Iran over the claim as if no doubts had been raised about its veracity.