Just Askin' Topic: NewsBusters
If you're going to criticize a media outlet for conducting an interview of Ted Kennedy and not bring up Chappaquiddick, as Tim Graham does in a June 20 NewsBusters post, does that mean media outlets who interview Laura Bush should be similarly criticized for not noting the fact that she ran a stop sign and killed somebody?
WND Felon Update Topic: WorldNetDaily
A June 20 WorldNetDaily article by Art Moore details the latest doings by his Clinton-harrassing, convicted-felon buddy, Peter Paul. And, as he has done before, Moore whitewashes Paul's record of felony convictions.
Moore resorts to legal gobbledygook to describe Paul's most recent felony conviction: "Paul has pleaded guilty to a 10(b)5 violation of the Securities and Exchange Commission for not publicly disclosing control of Merrill Lynch margin accounts that held stocks in his company, Stan Lee Media. He has maintained that everything he did was under the aegis of Merrill Lynch management, compliance officers and corporate securities counsel."
PAUL admitted orchestrating a scheme in which he and others manipulated Stan Lee Media stock, trading it through numerous nominee accounts that hid from the investing public PAUL's ownership and control of large volumes of stock that were being traded. PAUL also admitted that to further the scheme, he sought to inflate and stabilize the price of the stock by instructing market makers in Stan Lee Media stock to execute trades that created a false appearance of constant demand and that concealed from the investing public the fact that PAUL had arranged for large blocks of stock to be sold at substantial discounts in after-hours trading. Finally, PAUL admitted that he had secretly borrowed millions of dollars on margin using as collateral the stock that he had traded through the nominee accounts; in this way PAUL concealed from the investing public that he was effectively liquidating a substantial part of his stock holdings in Stan Lee Media.
Why won't Moore describe Paul's felonies this clearly? Because Paul would lose what little credibility he has if people understood his felony record. Of course, Moore himself loses journalistic credibility every time he regurgitates Paul's claims without doing any fact-checking (which as we've noted, is a problem). Moore appears to be utterly enraptured by anything Paul says, no matter how dubious.
WND Smackdown! Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah, in a June 19 column, attacked Republican Rep. Mike Pence because he supports an immigration reform plan that Farah and Pat Buchanan call "stealth amnesty." Farah further attacked the developers and promoters of that plan, the conservative Vernon K. Krieble Foundation and the Heritage Foundation, and attacked conservatives for "looking for handouts from Helen Krieble and affirmation from the Heritage Foundation."
It got a response: Rebecca Hagelin -- Heritage Foundation vice president and former vice president of communications for WND -- devoted her June 20 column to attacking Farah, claiming that he "makes numerous false charges and engages in character assassination based on sloppy research" and that he "concocts an extremely yellow tale – instead of investigating the facts." Hagelin concluded:
"Never let the facts get in the way of a good story," the saying goes. But Farah has done just that. In the process, he has maligned Mrs. Krieble and Rep. Pence – great Americans making great sacrifices to make America a better place.
There's no question that Joseph Farah is a red-blooded, true-blue American. But on this story, he comes out yellow.
Such direct, detailed criticism of WND in general and Farah in particular is extremely rare on the WND website (for instance, it refuses to publicly acknowledge the existence of ConWebWatch, even though we seem to have prompted a correction there yesterday). One can surmise that the only reason Hagelin's column ran at all is because she's a former WND employee.
WND even ran a letter (which aren't archived and cycle out after a week) criticizing Farah: "I believe your jump from disagreeing with Pence's proposals on immigration to personal attack are harmful to the cause and actually shows a side of you that I had not seen before. It was troubling."
Farah doesn't respond to any of this criticism; instead, he uses today's column for self-promotion, claiming that WND was the first to report the revelation, noted in Ron Suskind's new book, that al-Qaeda was planning to unleash poison gas in the New York subway system (though WND's account was less detailed than Suskind's).
Another Worthess NewsMax Poll Topic: Newsmax
To absolutely nobody's surprise, a statistically meaningless opt-in NewsMax poll found that most people like Ann Coulter.
A June 19 NewsMax article claims that the poll reveals "that Americans overwhelmingly support Coulter and strongly disagree with her critics." The article claimed that the poll drew "more than 90,000 respondents from sites across the Web, such as Drudge Report and The New York Times" -- read: NewsMax bought ads on these sites and, presumably, other conservative leaning sites and blogs -- but it doesn't say that the poll is meaningless because opt-in polls have no scientific validity. The article also does not reveal the full list of websites on which NewsMax advertised the poll, but you can assume that they are mostly conservative websites (the New York Times being thrown in as a ringer), thus further skewing the poll's numbers.
Nor does it reveal that the poll is, in reality, just a marketing tool to gather e-mail addresses for its mailing list.
The article claims that "NewsMax will provide the results of this poll to major media and share them with radio talk-show hosts across the country," but we can bet that NewsMax will not tell those hosts that the numbers mean nothing.
WND Gives Olmert the Clinton Treatment Topic: WorldNetDaily
During the Clinton years, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah touted as fact the so-called "Clinton body count," the discredited notion that Bill Clinton is responsible for the deaths of dozens of people.
It looks like WND is using that same smear tactic against Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. Here's the lead of a June 19 WND article by Aaron Klein:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other Israeli officials should be tried as accessories to murder for facilitating the transfer in recent days of a cache of American weapons to Force 17, the presidential guard units of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
That's it -- no "according to [insert party here]," which violates most known journalistic precepts. Not until the eighth paragraph does Klein finally attribute this statement, to "the leadership of Manhigut Yehudit, a faction of the opposition Likud party."
And nowhere does Klein does explain what the Manhigut Yehudit faction is -- a conservative faction inside the similarly conservative Likud Party (and we know how much Klein hates to admit that Likud is conservative). Violent (and assassinated) right-wing activist Meir Kahane's son, Binyamin (also assassinated), issued a 1997 commentary titled 'Manhigut Yehudit." The faction also favors the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, just like WND does -- Pollard's wife, Esther, spoke at the group's 2005 annual dinner, and it offers prayer cards for him. Similarly, Klein has written numerousWNDarticles promoting the idea of releasing Pollard.
WND has already tried to swift-boat Olmert. It's only logical that the Clinton-smear treatment would be next.
UPDATE: WND has quietly updated Klein's article; it now begins with "Some Israeli politicians charge..."
WND Changing Its Mission? Topic: WorldNetDaily
Is WorldNetDaily backing off its original claimed mission to be a "watchdog exposing government waste, fraud, corruption and abuse of power"? Possibly (and not a bad idea, actually, considering that WND doesn't fulfill it).
A June 14 e-mail by managing editor David Kupelian seems to indicate a shift at WND from watchdogging to the Superman principle, proclaiming itself a defender of truth, justice and the American way. Seriously -- the e-mail is headlined, "Help restore truth, justice and the American way in 60 seconds." That's how long it takes for readers to encourage two friends to get on WND's news alert mailing list. Of course, they get plenty of ads for WND products along with those news alerts, something Kupelian fails to mention.
Kupelian portrays WND as a component of a "courageous, truthful and independent press – one that boldly exposed evil, rather than enabling it at every turn as today's elite media do":
This nation would be utterly transformed, almost like magic. Abortion would be outlawed if the press reported on that industry honestly. The radical gay-rights agenda would lose its mainstream support, and the "constitutional separation of church and state" would be universally seen for what it really is – pure fiction. You get the idea. If we had a truly dedicated, truth-oriented news media, America would quickly become a radically better and more unified nation.
That kind of news organization –- and I don't mean to brag –- is exactly how many Americans have come to regard WorldNetDaily.com.
NewsMax Gallops to Coulter's Defense Topic: Newsmax
A June 17 NewsMax article insists that, despite Ann Coulter's statement that Rep. John Murtha was "[t]he reason soldiers invented 'fragging,'" it's "blatantly untrue" that she suggested fragging Murtha. Says NewsMax:
She did not suggest that Murtha, long out of the military service, should be killed by a grenade because his men considered him deserving of death -- which is what fragging means -- she was describing him as the kind of leader soldiers have good reason to distrust.
But not only does NewsMax offers no evidence that anyone claimed that Coulter said Murtha should be "killed by a grenade," thus confusing the issue by throwing in an extraneous, fictional element, it contradicts its own claim by defining "fragging" as "deserving of death," then contradictorily claiming that the issue was "distrust" -- which was not in the definition NewsMax provided.
NewsMax then follows it by repeating the hair-splitting defense of the remark -- "she didn't say that she wanted to kill Murtha, she'd didn't say that she thought he should be killed, and she didn't say that she thought Murtha should have been fragged" -- by the conservative blogger who first reported the remarks, who then wrote: "Is that hair splitting?"
We're so confused. Is NewsMax really that desperate to defend Coulter?
About Those Double Standards... Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters writers have expressed concern over alleged "double standards." But they mislead and show their own double standards by doing so.
In a June 16 post, Warner Todd Huston complained that it took "nearly a month" for the House of Representatives to oust Rep. William Jefferson from the House Ways and Means Committee, while Sen. Trent Lott was "taken out as majority leader in a mere 15 days" after making a "supposedly racist" comment regarding Strom Thurmond.
But the two situations are not analogous. The action against Jefferson was taken by his fellow congressmen and led by his fellow Democrats; Lott resigned voluntarily without official action being taken against him.
While Huston recounts Lott's comment, he downplays it as "supposedly racist" and a "silly little comment" without offering the context of why it was considered "supposedly racist." As most people know, when Lott said that "we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years" if Thurmond was elected president in 1948, Huston doesn't note that in 1948, Thurmond was running on a segregationist ticket.
Huston also oddly claims that an Associated Press article's noting that the House action against Jefferson was "unprecedented" was tantamount to defending him: "In fact the whole article is couched in the flavor of how badly kindly ‘ol Mr. Jefferson is being treated by all those mean folks in the House."
And, in contrast to Democrats leading the action to strip Jefferson of his committee seat, the ConWeb was defending Lott and downplaying and mitigating his statement (not to mention twisting the words of a Democratic senator as a distraction). Perhaps Huston ought to look into that double standard.
(And we also found it sadly amusing that a commenter who pointed some of this out in the thread on this item was immediately attacked as a "leftist Jew-hating shill.")
Another June 16 post, by Greg Sheffield, highlights a NewsMax item by Steve Malzberg complaining that Coulter's violence-inciting comments have received much more play in the "liberal press" than an obscure trade publication columnist's suggestion to Coulter: "Would it kill you to do us all a favor and kill yourself?" To which Sheffield adds: " think the double standard extends beyond just Coulter."
Ironically, Sheffield posted this about the time it was revealed that Coulter said that Rep. Jack Murtha is "[t]he reason soldiers invented fragging."
If you're going to denounce a columnist who urged that Coulter kill herself, shouldn't you also denounce Coulter herself for encouraging violence against a congressman (or encouraging the poisoning of a Supreme Court justice)? Given the fact that Coulter makes these statements without impunity, isn't it hypocritical to bash someone else who engages in the same level of rhetoric?
Unsurprisingly, no concern has been raised thus far at NewsBusters over Coulter's statement. Do that, Mr. Sheffield, and then perhaps you can credibly attack others doing the exact same thing.
WND Columnist Misleads on Ohio Gov. Race Topic: WorldNetDaily
A June 16 WorldNetDaily column by Fred Taub touts the puported inevitiability of Ken Blackwell being electeed Ohio governor. "Blackwell will not only be the next governor of Ohio, but will be the first black governor outside the south," Taub confidently declared, adding that Democratic opponent Ted Strickland faces "the illusion of a victory" and that money spent on Strickland's campaign will be "diverting dollars away from actual contestable states."
Taub conveniently fails to note that according to the latestpolling, Strickland leads Blackwell by 16 points.
Biased WND Reporter Launching Newsletter Topic: WorldNetDaily
A June 15 WorldNetDaily article announced a new "intelligence e-mail newsletter" as a feature of WND's subscription-only G2 Bulletin, which will be written by WND Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein. The newsletter, to be called the Galil Report, will feature "exclusive, behind-the-scenes information regarding the latest news and events in the Middle East, with particular emphasis on Israel and the Gaza Strip, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon" and "the latest developments and behind the scenes news related to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's planned withdrawal from the West Bank," among other things.
While the article hurls around words like "comprehensive" to describe it, you won't see words like "accurate" or "fair." That's because Klein isn't known for that. As we've documented:
-- He has described the right-wing perpetrator of a massacre as being "murdered" by those who witnessed his massacre, a term he did not apply to the massacre's victims.
-- WND was forced to retract a Klein article that falsely smeared an Islamic charity.
-- Klein's reporting on Olmert has largely consisted of repeatedlyattacking him over his planned withdrawal of Israel from much of the West Bank, which Klein opposes.
Potential subscribers should be warned: Klein isn't fair, has problems with the truth, and likely won't be as "comprehensive" as WND claims, particularly about the things that Klein and WND oppose, like the Palestinians and West Bank withdrawal.
Reagan: Democrats Like Iraqi Terrorists Topic: Newsmax
Remember when, during the 2004 presidential campaign, Republicans took offense at John Kerry's comment that "we need a regime change in the United States" because it allegedly equated President Bush with Saddam Hussein?
In a June 14 NewsMax column, Michael Reagan forwards a more explicit argument, equating Democrats with Sunni insurgent terrorists in Iraq: "Both are operating under the same motivation – an unrequited lust for lost power. And both will do just about anything to retrieve it." While Reagan doesn't use the term "terrorists" in his column, the meaning is clear.
Reagan also dubiously claims that "when the GOP took over, Newt Gingrich refused to impose the kind of absolute, anti-minority rule his party suffered under the Democrats," and that "the Democrats have shown not one whit of gratitude."
WND Readers Pan Embrace of Phelps Topic: WorldNetDaily
If WorldNetDaily's June 11 article portraying the notoriously anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church in a favorable light was a trial balloon for future coverage of Fred Phelps and his brood; it was shot down pretty quickly by WND readers, who think that the WBC's protests of the funerals of dead soldiers overshadow's its Kupelian-esque anti-gay views.
In a June 12 WND opt-in poll seeking views on the on-air altercation between Fox News host Julie Banderas and the WBC's Shirley Phelps-Roper that prompted the article, nearly 32 percent said that "Julie's comments were over the top, but the protests at funerals of dead U.S soldiers are even more disturbing," and 16 percent each responded, "Julie's right! Shirley Phelps-Roper is the devil and belongs in hell" and "While I do think God is punishing America for its sins, Julie is correct to condemn the protests at U.S. soldiers' funerals." Only 2.90 percent said, "Julie is completely in the wrong, and the Westboro Baptist Church is correct that God is punishing America for its sins."
Additionally, the three letters WND ran (which disappear after a week) about the story on June 12 were all critical of Phelps-Roper, calling her "a disgrace and a psychopath," a "cult leader" and a "self-righteous, hateful, name-calling woman."
We suspect (and hope) that WND won't be running to the WBC's defense anymore.
Too Good To Ignore, Indeed Topic: NewsBusters
A June 14 NewsBusters post by Greg Sheffield calls the Duke lacrosse rape story "too good for the mainstream media to ignore."
Not unlike the story that Iran was forcing non-Muslims to wear badges, which was too good for NewsBusters to ignore -- and, apparently, too definitively proven bogus for NewsBusters to make any meaningful effort to alert its readers to that fact.