Fact-Free Commentary Topic: WorldNetDaily
What is it about Mychal Massie? His job as a WorldNetDaily columnist, apparently, is to spout opinions and not bother to back them up.
Take Massie's June 13 WND column. He claims that "Liberal politicians and the liberal media ... attacked the FBI for doing its job in gathering evidence against corrupt Rep. William Jefferson, D-La." Not only does he offer no evidence of this (on the "liberal media" side, anyway), he ignores the fact that the leading critic of the FBI "doing its job" in searching Jefferson's congressional office is a Republican, House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
Massie further claims that a "liberal Democrat site" stated that the death of Iraqi terrorist al-Zarqawi "[wasn't] such a big deal," but he doesn't offer a link or even the name of the site. He claims that "Richard Clarke, Tim Russert, Chris Matthews, CNN, MSNBC, National Public Radio, liberal politicians, et al., all tried to downplay the significance of Zarqawi's blessed fate as nothing that would shorten the war," but he doesn't offer any quotes to show how they purpotedly did that.
Massie attacks "Liberal, anti-war, anti-American politicians and their lycanthropic mainstream media allies" who "try parsing things, claiming to support the troops, but not the war. That is code-speak for not supporting the president." This ignores the fact that Republicans did the exact same thing to President Clinton during the conflict in Kosovo.
We'd complain about standards, but we know he has none. This is, after all, the guy who bashed a congressman for likening President Bush to Bull Connor even though less than a year earlier, Massie himself was likening Harry Reid and Democrats to both Bull Connor and Orval Faubus.
MRC Hypocrisy, Coulter Division Topic: Media Research Center
A June 13 Media Research Center press release quotes Brent Bozell accusing "liberal journalists" who highlighted Ann Coulter's "remarks about certain 9/11 widows" of being "moral, editorial hypocrites" because they allegedly did not issue criticism when "Senator Hillary Clinton accused Congress of running a plantation."
If Bozell finds the "plantation" metaphor so offensive, why is it used several times against Democrats on MRC websites?
Bozell goes on to attack "those who selectively abuse conservatives while turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to appalling remarks by the left." Given that just today, as we've noted, a columnist for his CNSNews.com attacks Asians for "causing untold damage to America's heritage and cultural base," Bozell appears to be the one who needs to open his eyes to the ideas his organization is promoting.
Those Damn Asians! Topic: CNSNews.com
A June 13 CNSNews.com column by Ralph Hostetter serves up an ethnic group to blame for America's immigration woes, and for once, it's not Hispanics:
America's cultural and ethnic balance was established over a 230-year period. Its Mother Country was England, with a spiritual history of Christianity for at least a millennium.
And then came the 1965 Immigration Act, described as "infamous" by some and a "disaster" by others. Take your choice. One thing is certain. It is causing untold damage to America's heritage and cultural base.
The Act abolished the national origin quota system and replaced it with a system which gave 60 percent of the newly established quota -- 170,000 new openings -- to Asians, who bring a different culture to America.
Taking the year 2000 as typical, a total of 888,788 persons were naturalized. Of those, 121,273 came from Europe and the Americas and nearly three times that number, 331,136, came from some 44 Asian countries, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Only 11,739 new citizens were naturalized from America's Mother Country, England, in 2000, a mere 1.3 percent, and 11,365 Canadians were naturalized.
The Immigration Act of 1965 has corrupted the entire U.S. immigration system. Taking advantage of the family reunification provision, Asian cultures measure a nearly three-to-one ratio with respect to European cultures immigrating to the United States.
Hostetter's moral: We need to import more white European Christians who are willing to, in his words, "preserve the 230 years of America's culture, heritage and traditions." 'Cuz those damn Asians aren't gonna do it.
Getting It Wrong: Soros and Chinese Cars Topic: WorldNetDaily
A June 12 WorldNetDaily article gets so many details wrong that you have to wonder if there is any truth to its main -- but unsupported -- claim.
The article begins by stating that conservative bogeyman George Soros is "considering pouring hundreds of millions into a Chinese state automaker with plans to begin dumping cheap exports on the U.S. market next year." The unbylined article offers no support for this claim other than its assertion that "WND has learned" it.
That statement contains another dubious claim: that the Chinese automaker Chery will "dumping cheap exports on the U.S. market." The article doesn't support that claim; it discusses only one Chery model the QQ minicar, then states that "The list price on the Chery is expected to be around $20,000 in the U.S." That actually sounds a little on the high side for a minicar -- hardly "dumping," which usually refers to imported goods being sold below cost. In fact, the price appears to refer to a different Chery model, the larger "crossover" V525, that will reportedly be the first Chery to be sold in the U.S. That car is described as "the features of a $30,000 car for under $20,000" -- which still doesn't necessarily meet the definition of "dumping" that WND raises.
The article also claims:
The "Chery" is a knockoff of the South Korean Spark, sold in the U.S. in partnership with General Motors. GM filed a lawsuit against Chery Automobile Co. for piracy of the car developed by its South Korean affiliate Daewoo.
Two things wrong here: 1) The Spark (also known as the Daewoo Matiz) is sold only in China, not in the U.S.; and 2) the lawsuit to which WND is presumably referring was settled last November.
The article also describes Soros and a fellow investor as "major proponents of global government and rabid environmentalists -- ironic, perhaps, given Cherys' plans to export into the U.S. and elsewhere gas-guzzling SUVs among other smaller vehicles." But the article doesn't describe what the purportedly "gas-guzzling" vehicles are.
It's a misleading mess of an article, the only apparent purpose of which is to smear Soros -- and given the article's factual errors and unsupported claims, it doesn't even do that well.
Shocker: NewsMax Nice to Byrd! Topic: Newsmax
Faced with writing a story about Sen. Robert Byrd's record-breaking Senate tenure and presumably torn between his softball tendencies and NewsMax's policy of pointing out Byrd's 60-year-past KKK affiliation at every possible opportunity, NewsMax's Dave Eberhart chooses ... the softball route.
Eberhart's June 12 article on Byrd doesn't even mention the KKK until the 19th paragraph, and even noted that "Byrd has more than once apologized for and explained his misdirected zeal." He even likens Byrd to Lou Gherig.
Joseph Farah, Superfan? Topic: WorldNetDaily
In a strange little June 10 WorldNetDaily column suggesting that there is a "Hillary curse" on the New York Yankees -- that the reason the Yankees haven't won the World Series since 2000 is because Hillary Clinton was elected a senator from New York that year -- Joseph Farah declared that he is "the real brand of Yankee fan, not the fan of convenience like Hillary." Judging by the link Farah supplied, his evidence to support his assessment of Hillary's Yankees fandom comes from the dubiously sourced Hillary-bashing quote book "I've Always Been a Yankees Fan."
The problem is, Farah's wrong. Hillary is on record as far back as 1994 -- long before she sought the New York Senate seat -- as being a Yankees fan.
(Coincidentially, we spent a few hours of our recent mini-sabbatical in Yankee Stadium watching said Yankees lose to Oakland, while Farah merely watched it on TV. So there.)
Kessler Brings the Fluff Topic: Newsmax Ronald Kessler presumably sets the tone of his work for NewsMax with his first big article after being named NewsMax's chief Washington correspondent -- a June 12 fluff piece on Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman.
That puts him in league with fellow NewsMax fluffmeister Dave Eberhart.
Quote of the Day Topic: NewsBusters
"Howard Kurtz reviews the latest Ann Coulter publicity salvo in his Monday Media Notes column, but fails to ask: why would the harsh remarks of this mere author be seen by the networks as more earth-shaking then, say, the shrillness of Hillary Clinton? Ann Coulter is not about to run for president, so why are her remarks bigger news than when Hillary opens a rhetorical can of fanny-whack?"
-- Tim Graham, June 12 NewsBusters post. That "shrillness" link is to a Brent Bozell column bashing Hillary over her description of the House of Representatives as being "run like a plantation" (despite the MRC's own history of using the metaphor to describe Democrats).
WND In Bed With Fred Phelps? Topic: WorldNetDaily
Is WorldNetDaily willing to overlook the odious protests of U.S. soldiers' funerals by Fred Phelps and his brood from the Westboro Baptist Church in order to embrace his extremist anti-gay agenda?
WND appeared to run to their defense in a June 11 article about an on-air altercation between Fox News host Julie Banderas and the WBC's Shirley Phelps-Roper. The article describes her as someone "who believes America's sinful behavior has resulted in God's cursings rather than blessings" and her church as an "anti-homosexual church" before it gets around to noting the church's funeral protests. (Sounds like David Kupelian's kind of place.) The article also describes Phelps-Roper as "licensed to practice law in Kansas and before the U.S. Supreme Court."
Interestingly, a search of WND's archives turns up no articles about WBC's funeral protests, despite the controversy surrounding them. In fact, a 2003 article also offers apparent support to the church by noting that equipment at a "homosexual webcasting radio station" was zapped by lightning after having another Phelps family member on who "had prayed God would 'strike the station.'" A 2000 WND article, however, sought to tar Al Gore with his association with the "vehemently anti-homosexual" Phelps.
As we've noted, WND and the ConWeb have had trouble condemning Eminem's gay-bashing lyrics, even as they attack his misogynistic ones.
More Bias From Aaron Klein Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein lets his biases show in a June 9 article that goes far beyond the supposed point of the article, which is about the website for the American branch of the Israeli Kadima party allegedly lifting parts of policy summaries from the the Texas Democratic Party's website.
First, Klein attacks Kadima's name, which isn't relevant to the issue at hand: "Some questions even have been raised as to the originality of the Kadima name. The main logo on the Texas site reads, 'Moving Texas Forward.' Kadima is the Hebrew word for 'Forward.'" But the Kadima name was chosen last November, and Klein offers no evidence that the party's name has any relation to the controversy he's writing about.
Secondly, Klein throws in some fact-free criticism of Kadima USA by Dov Hikind, a New York state assemblyman. Responding to a full-page New York Times ad, apparenly placed by the head of Kadima USA, stating that "The American Jewish Community stands as one with the State of Israel and fully supports the Prime Minister's quest for peace," Klein quotes Hikind as calling the statement "[p]ure baloney," but no evidence to contradict the ad is offered.
Klein describes Hikind only as "an outspoken critic of Olmert's planned evacuation of Judea and Samaria," but it turns out he's a bit more than that. A 1999 Village Voice article notes that Hikind is "a combative disciple of Jewish Defense League capo Meir Kahane." As we've detailed, Klein has an aversion to pointing out the Kahane links of the right-wing Israelis he quotes -- or even admitting that they're right-wing.
The ConWeb Hearts Coulter Topic: The ConWeb
Gee, we go out of town for a few days, and Ann Coulter finally says something that even some conservatives find loathsome. The key word here is "some"; the ConWeb appears not to have joined that particular bandwagon. After all, both NewsMax and WorldNetDaily have a business interest in Coulter's success by selling her new book.
And following those business interests, NewsMax repeated Mary Matalin's defense of Coulter, while WND wrote of the widespread criticism of Coulter: "How's this for book publicity?" WND columnist Kevin McCullough also defends Coulter, calling her a martyr "for the well-being of political discourse in general."
Meanwhile, over at Bozell's empire (which, near as we can tell, has no direct business interest in promoting Coulter), CNSNews.com did a fawning interview with Coulter, though it has stayed away thus far from original reporting on the current controversy. At NewsBusters, Mark Finkelstein took offense at the idea that Coulter's bashing of 9/11 widows "amounts to desecration of the graves of the 9/11 victims themselves"; he also suggested that any criticism of Coulter is motivated by jealousy of the money she's making off this controversy. Fellow NewsBuster Noel Sheppard calls the Coulter controversy "left-wing hysteria," adding, "from a publicity standpoint, Coulter must be thrilled about all the free attention these folks have given her."
And the MRC's Tim Graham took Coulter's side, claiming that her critics "did not consider that some of the 9-11 widows she mocked were also champions of political trash talk," adding: "Kristen Breitweiser, the most prominent Bush-trashing 9-11 widow, has sounded like a liberal version of Coulter at times on her huffing and puffing blog at the Huffington Post."
Labeling Ambiguity Alert Topic: CNSNews.com
A June 7 CNSNews.com article by Nathan Burchfiel on the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) dropping the term "social justice" from the criteria used to define the quality of a teacher states that the decision was "hailed by free speech groups." But the only group Burchfiel cites in support of the decision is the the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which is, in fact, a conservative group whose major donors are conservative foundations. Even the National Review admits this; a 2002 article notes that FIRE was founded by a "right civil libertarian." Even though the article states that "It isn't only conservatives who are defended by FIRE," it's clear by the group's promotion there and at CNS that conservatism -- or, more to the point, anti-liberalism -- is FIRE's main emphasis.
Then and Now Topic: WorldNetDaily
"Personally, when I read Gibson's remarks, I laughed out loud. Clearly this was not a threat. ... He was reacting in a predictable style to someone who can't or won't fight fair."
-- Joseph Farah, Sept. 10, 2003, WorldNetDaily column on Mel Gibson's statement about the New York Times' Frank Rich: "I want to kill him. I want his intestines on a stick. I want to kill his dog."
" ... murderous, hate-filled, venomous, disgusting and loathsome remarks. ... that sick and cowardly threat on the president's life."
-- Joseph Farah, June 7 WorldNetDaily column on New York state comptroller Alan Hevesi's introduction of Sen. Charles Schumer as "The man who, how do I phrase this diplomatically, who will put a bullet between the president's eyes if he could get away with it."
Who's Smearing Who? Topic: Accuracy in Media
A June 7 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid attacks Fox News' Shepard Smith for claiming in a Playboy interview that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are an example of stories that "lack veracity" but which serve as news. Kincaid adds, "as if the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth had been engaged not in getting out the truth about John Kerry's military career and dubious war crimes charges, but in smearing the Democratic Senator and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate."
Well, by mostaccounts, the Swifties were doing exactly that -- smearing Kerry with factually dubious and politically motivated accusations. Kincaid offers no evidence that the Swifties were doing otherwise -- nor, to our knowledge, has AIM ever fact-checked the Swifties' claims.
So, Cliff, unless you can come up with a detailed analysis of the Swifties' claims and the veracity thereof, let's not issue a blanket defense of 'em, mmmkay?