Rather Repetitive Topic: NewsBusters
Ho-hum -- another insistence by Dan Rather that his Bush National Guard story, dubious documents aside, was mostly true and corroborated, another dismissal by Brent Baker of the story as "discredited."
Hey, Brent, we have an idea: Instead of going through this stimulus-response kabuki dance every time Rather brings up the issue, how about the MRC engaging in some actual media research and provide a detailed analysis of Rather's story -- the entire story, not just the part involving the documents -- telling us once and for all what is "discredited" and what is not. (Much of the story did not hinge on those documents and has not been disproved, as we've noted.)
Ah, but it's just too easy to regurgitate long-memorized conservative talking points instead, isn't it, Brent?
UPDATE: Today's MRC front page linking to the CyberAlert version of Baker's item goes even further, calling the Bush National Guard story "bogus" and "thoroughly discredited." Prove it, Brent.
Credit Where It's Due Topic: NewsBusters
A July 12 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard on the latest press release by the Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee -- which attacks an upcoming Discovery Channel program by Tom Brokaw on global warming -- does what Tim Graham failed to do when he cited the committee's previous release: note that one of the persons behind it was Marc Morano, formerly a reporter for MRC's CNSNews.com.
Corsi the Alarmist Topic: WorldNetDaily
In a July 12 WorldNetDaily article, Jerome Corsi (last seen telling terrorists how to blow up New York with a nuclear weapon) gets all alarmist about a Texas statewide highway expansion project called the Trans-Texas Corridor. While his main objection appears to be that non-Americans (specifically, a "capital consortium based in Spain") are helping to build it, its contractors have made political donations, and its purported role to "movement to integrate the U.S., Mexico and Canada," Corsi describes the project only in the most apocalyptic terms:
The TTC project at full development will involve the removal of as much as 584,000 acres of productive Texas farm and ranchland from the tax rolls permanently, while displacing upwards of 1 million people from their current residences.
The 11 separate corridors planned will permanently cut across some 1,200 Texas roads, with crossover unlikely for much of the nearly quarter-mile-wide corridor planned to be built. Dozens of small towns in Texas will be virtually obliterated in the path of the advancing Trans-Texas Corridor behemoth.
Corsi also calls the TTC "a four-football-fields-wide highway."
Corsi offers no evidence to support things like the obliterated-small-town claim, nor does he offer any evidence that the TTC will block or reroute any more roads than existing interstates do. And, of course, he's completely wrong about it being a "a four-football-fields-wide highway." According to the TTC website, while the TTC corridor would be as much as 1,200 feet wide, it would not be paved end to end with concrete; it would contain interstate highways, separate interstate lanes for trucks, passenger and freight rail lines, and transmission lines for electricity and communications. The TTC also states: "As much as possible, TTC routes will incorporate existing highway, railway and utility corridors." So some of those thousands of acres that Corsi claims will be taken off "the tax rolls permanently" already are off the tax rolls.
Graham Speaks Out Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Tim Graham fired off a letter to Romenesko to rebut a Philadelphia Inquirer editorial that, in part, attacked the MRC for being part of "an anti-Times frenzy whipped up by Republican strategists, then echoed ad nauseam by Pavlovian talk shows and blogs." It's telling of the MRC's modus operandi that each of Graham's first three sentences contains either the terms "media elite" or "liberal media elite."
It's also kinda cute how Graham insists that conservatives aren't "entirely focused on election politics" in their attacks on the Times, while assuming that the Times is a "public menace" whose only motivation for its reporting is animus against the Bush administration.
NewsBusters Nonsense Topic: NewsBusters
-- Ian Schwartz is irked that the New York Times' "sycophantic" profile of Keith Olbermann "discusses Countdown's ratings only by its growth and not by actual numbers."
-- Matthew Sheffield insists that those who entered derogatory statements about ex-Enron chief Ken Lay upon his death last week were "liberals."
-- Sheffield buys into the spin from Ann Coulter's publisher that charges of plagiarism against her are "illegitimate," complains that the media has "failed" to report on "a litany of charges made by critics against the equally vocal (but liberal) Michael Moore."
New York Times columnist Frank Rich assembled for his Sunday column all the standard cliches of the liberal narrative of Bush vs. Heroic Liberal Press, including the old cartoon that Ari Fleischer was somehow telling the press to shut up when he suggested late in a news briefing in 2001 that Bill Maher might have watched his mouth before praising the courage of al-Qaeda.
Of course, Maher wasn't "praising the courage of al-Qaeda"; he was opining that flying an airplane into a building wasn't a cowardly act.
If you're criticizing someone's alleged misinterpretation, it's generally best if you don't create another in the process.
Is CNS Likening Gays to Terrorists? Topic: CNSNews.com
A July 10 CNSNews.com article by Jeff Johnson seems unusually eager to create a connection between gays and terrorists. The article is an attack on gay lawmaker Barney Frank, claiming that a provision he sponsored to "eliminate a long-standing ban on homosexual foreigners entering the U.S." had the effect of permitting the 9/11 hijackers to be allowed entry into the country -- a charge being promoted chiefly by Frank's Republican opponent for his House seat.
Johnson quotes other conservatives, such as Gerald Posner and WorldNetDaily's Samuel L. Blumenfeld, as evidence to support his claim. Johnson also cites a panel discussion at the Center for Immigration Studies without noting that the CIS is a conservative group that favors heavy restrictions on immigration.
What's interesting here is Johnson's attitude toward gays in general and Frank as a gay man in particular. CNS follows its usual style of sticking to the word "homosexual," using "gay" only in scare quotes or the quoted words of others. Johnson also describes Frank as an "avowed homosexual lawmaker" and notes "his participation in the homosexual lifestyle." Johnson also adds in an aside, without evidence to support his claim: "Frank uses the term 'homophobic' throughout his writing to refer to any person or group that objects to the homosexual lifestyle." Johnson seems to be buying into the conservative assumption that homosexuality is a choice. (And we know what they say about assumptions.)
Johnson paints Frank's effort to repeal immigration restrictions based on ideology as a larger effort to disguise his main goal to overturn immigration restrictions on gays because that restriction would allegedly not have been repealed by itself. But Johnson never addresses the specific issue the ban on gay immigration other than a tacit acknowledgment that it existed. Does CNS favor restoring restrictions against gay immigration in the same manner that it appears to favor restoring ideological restrictions? Johnson never answers, let alone asks, that question.
But by suggesting a link between terrorism and the so-called "gay agenda," Johnson has set up an odious comparison that he doesn't have the courage to take to its logical conclusion.
We Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means Topic: Media Research Center
According to a July 6 Media Research Center press release, "the NYT’s story on the anti-terrorist financial monitoring program has generated the following damage to the United States:"
a federal class-action lawsuit against the program, alleging violations of financial privacy laws;
complaints filed in 32 countries alleging that the program violated European and Asian privacy laws;
and, the Belgian prime minister is calling for a Justice Ministry investigation into whether the program, based in Belgium, violated Belgian law.
So, according to the MRC, the Bush administration being called to account for possible violations of U.S. and international law is somehow "damage" to the U.S., but those violations themselves, apparently, were not. Yet, if the U.S. had followed the law in the first place, there would be no such "damage."
Very peculiar definition of the word "damage," Mr. Bozell.
Coulter and Plagiarism: Another Update Topic: Newsmax
We've updated our 2004 article on plagiarism regarding WorldNetDaily and Ann Coulter to reflect our latest research finding that Coulter appears to be the guilty party.
And to nobody's surprise, NewsMax is galloping to Coulter's defense yet again: A July 8 article calls the plagiarism charges "a desperate measure to undermine the credibility of one of America’s most prominent conservative voices."
Mark, You're No Ann Coulter Topic: NewsBusters
One gets the feeling that NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein aspires to an Ann Coulter level of liberal-bashing, but he lacks the sophistication (let alone the gams or the little black dress) to pull it off. As a result, he comes off as even more mean and hateful as Coulter.
Fresh on the heels of smearing Chris Matthews as playing the anti-emitism card and his baseless attack of Ken Auletta as a Hamptons-inhabiting liberal elitist, in a July 7 post, Finkelstein bashes MSNBC's Joe Scarborough. His offense? Apologizing for saying that if Osama bin Laden were caught, "Democrats, George Bush's nemesis, would say 'Well, it's not really that big of a deal anyway, because Americans are dying in Iraq.'" Finkelstein wrote:
Really, Joe? If Hillary, Nancy and Harry woke up tomorrow, turned on the tube, and saw that OBL were caught, you honestly think they'd be happy?
What's the point here? Is Finkelstein think political discourse needs to be even less civil? Does he really think that such mindless, fact-free bashing of his political enemies (for Democrats are clearly beyond mere opponents to him) contributes anything useful?
Remember that Mark is not writing on a low-rent personal blog but the website of a multimillion-dollar nonprofit organization that the word "research" in its name and purportedly has at least minimal standards about said research.
Why does the MRC permit such irresponsible attacks from people like Finkelstein? Does the MRC have any standards at all? (On the other hand, we haven't seen far-right-wing Kahane supporter Cinnamon Stillwell there for a while, so there may actually be a standard or two).
UPDATE 2: In a July 8 post, Finkelstein cites the ultra-slanted Horowitz-operated Discover the Network(s) to claim that the Center for Economic and Policy Research is "prominent supporter of, and apologist for, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez." High-quality research there, Mark.
It's All About David Topic: Horowitz
David Horowitz's Center for the Study of Popular Culture is now the David Horowitz Freedom Center. As board chairman Jess Morgan states: "David Horowitz, the Center’s founder, has become increasingly identified with issues of freedom at home and abroad."
Sure, much of that involves restricting the freedom of non-conservatives, but still...
'Lurid Media Speculation' Topic: NewsBusters
A July 7 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard laments that the Smoking Gun's posting of the Homeland Security manifest regarding Rush Limbaugh’s customs detention last month "is likely to incite more lurid media speculation." Gee, we thought that conservatives were all about lurid media speculation.
Oops, we're sorry. That's only when liberals are the target of it. Our bad.
Just Askin' Topic: CNSNews.com
If you're going to call a resolution to "support ... homosexual 'marriage'" a "Pro-Homosexual Resolution," as CNSNews.com does in the headline of a July 6 article by Nathan Burchfiel, shouldn't you also -- to be perfectly fair and logical -- label the "conservative family groups" like the American Family Association who have criticized the resolution "anti-homosexual"?
Update: Coulter and Plagiarism Topic: WorldNetDaily
We went back to the source from which WorldNetDaily lifted its John Kerry-Douglas Brinkley paragraph, an Aug. 28, 2004, Washington Post article. And it's not looking any better for Ann Coulter.
From the Post article:
The Kerry campaign has refused to release Kerry's personal Vietnam archive, including his journals and letters, saying that the senator is contractually bound to grant Brinkley exclusive access to the material. But Brinkley said this week the papers are the property of the senator and in his full control.
The Kerry campaign has refused to release Kerry's personal Vietnam papers on the grounds that Kerry is required by contract to grant Kerry hagiographer Doug Brinkley exclusive access to the archive. But then Brinkley contradicted the campaign saying the papers are Kerry's property and in his full control.
While both WND and Coulter stole the same paragraph from the Post, WND at least made a stab at attribution.
So, is Coulter guilty of plagiarism here? Even though she changed a few words, the structure of the paragraph is exactly the same, and she provided no attribution. She credits the Post earlier in the column for a Kerry quote, but that quote does not appear in the article from which she lifted the Brinkley paragraph. And given the growing body of evidence of a pattern of plagiarism, we'd have to lean toward the affirmative.