So That Explains It! (Part 2) Topic: The ConWeb
We recently noted that conservatives had suddenly become lockstep in their effusive praise of Oliver Stone's new movie "World Trade Center." Turns out there's a reason for that: The New York Times reports that Stone's studio, Paramount, hired Creative Response Concepts -- the folks that helped bring you the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth -- to market the film to conservatives.
New Article: Ronald Kessler's House of Fluff Topic: Newsmax
The formerly respected journalist brings his Bush hagiography skills to NewsMax, praising the White House and attacking its critics. Read more.
At Long Last, A WND Lawsuit Update Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 26 WorldNetDaily article marks the first time in 3 1/2 years that WND has written a news article about the lawsuit filed against it by Tennessee businessman Clark Jones over an 18-part series of Al Gore-bashing articles. Based on the links at the bottom of the article, this is the first news article that WND has published on the case since December 2002. A lot has happened in those 3 1/2 years that WND hasn't told us about. For instance, the December 2002 article describes WND as being represented by the U.S. Justice Foundation in the case; WND's current attorney, according to the new article, is Larry Parrish. (WND, to our knowledge, has never publicly explained why the change was made.) We are presuming him to be the Memphis-based attorney by that name who is currently seeking appointment as Tennessee attorney general. A WBIR-TV news article describes Parrish as "an anti-obscenity advocate" who "in the 1970s prosecuted the stars and producers of the adult film "Deep Throat" in Memphis." While the WND article describes him as a "media lawyer," his FindLaw profile doesn't list media law as one of his specialties. A July 17 Memphis Commercial Appeal editorial endorsing candidates for local judicial candidates chose the incumbent, D'Army Bailey, for a circuit court seat in which Parrish was a challenger: "Parrish questions Bailey's judicial performance and ethics. However, we have to seriously question the ethics of a challenger who uses a case he has before Bailey as a campaign vehicle to attack the judge."
The article is also heavy on pro-WND spin, as you might imagine. The headine calls it a "free-press lawsuit," and the only people apparently contacted in connection with the article are Parrish and WND editor Joseph Farah. Ironically, Farah is uoted as saying that "WorldNetDaily has made every effort to ensure that its reporting in this series –- and in everything it has covered – was fair, honest, truthful, balanced and accurate."
Such a one-sided story that WND has a vested interest in spinning to its benefit -- not to mention begging for money at the end of it -- is, by definition, neither fair nor balanced, a contrast to Farah's alleged mandate. How can WND possibly approach such balance? By posting all legal documents in the case on its website, as we've previously challenged WND to do. Needless to say, we've never gotten an answer.
Posting those documents might help to explain why WND has been virtually silent about this lawsuit for the past 3 1/2 years. Unless there's something in there that it doesn't want made public...
Jim Gilchrist and Jerome Corsi started their promotion tour for their new book by trying to profit off the victims of 9/11 -- their first stop was Ground Zero in New York, as a July 26 WorldNetDaily article notes.
The article quotes Gilchrist as once again making the mostly false claim that "The terrorist hijackers on 9-11 were in this country illegally." Perhaps making such a dubious claim while promoting a book on the backs of thousands of dead victims of terrorism might explain why there were what WND called "angry, shouting protesters" at their little photo op.
Both NewsMax and NewsBusters have seized upon the claim by Miami Herald TV critic Glenn Garvin that about two-thirds of the 150 critics present at a gathering left the room before Fox News chief Roger Ailes took the stage for a presentation, with several “voicing their scorn for what they say is Fox News’ conservative spin.”
But doubt has been raised about Garvin's claim. Another critic present at the gathering wrote to Romenesko and noted: "I have no idea what made him think that two-thirds of our colleagues left the room before the Fox News session with Roger Ailes." Garvin responded with his own letter to Romenesko standing by his claim.
NewsBusters has updated its post to reflect the question about Garvin's claim; NewsMax has not.
The Undermining Resumes Topic: WorldNetDaily
Aaron Klein was a good boy for a few weeks, but the WorldNetDaily Jerusalem reporter has returned to his undermining tactics against Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. A July 25 Klein article once again brings up Olmert's plan to withdraw from the West Bank. Uh, Aaron, there's a war going on -- how about reporting on that instead of undermining your country's leader with your own political agenda?
Speaking of strange takes on the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict, a July 26 CNSNews.com article by Julie Stahl appears to blame the deaths of four United Nations peacekeepers killed in an Israeli attack on their outpost on ... the United Nations. The article's headline: "Kofi Annan Could Have Ordered Peacekeepers to Leave."
NewsBusters Defends O'Reilly Over False Claim Topic: NewsBusters
A July 26 NewsBusters post by Brad Wilmouth (repeated in a July 26CyberAlert) railed against Keith Olbermann for viciously smearing" Bill O'Reilly over his false claim that Americans massacred German troops in World War II at Malmedy -- in fact, Americans were the ones massacred by Nazis. Wilmouth claimed that "O'Reilly later corrected his mis-statement."
But did O'Reilly really issue a correction? Here's what O'Reilly said on the May 31 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, a day after he made the false claim in a debate with Wesley Clark: "In the heat of the debate with General Clark, my statement wasn't clear enough. ... After Malmedy, some German captives were executed by American troops." Claiming he "wasn't clear enough" is hardly a correction, much less an apology -- something one might think would be in order after falsely accusing Americans of committing a war atrocity. Would this "correction" be acceptable to Wilmouth and the MRC if it came out of the mouth of, say, Chris Matthews? We doubt it.
Wilmouth then defends O'Reilly, claiming that he "had no motive to intentionally fabricate a claim specifically about Malmedy." But while Wilmouth further claims that Olbermann "chose to attribute the worst possible motives to the FNC host's statement," motivation is not an issue here; it's a matter of properly correcting a false claim. And even if ascribing motives was an issue, how is Olbermann any different from the MRC? Wilmouth and his co-workers ascribe nefarious motives -- i.e., "liberal bias" -- to its political enemies on a regular basis. That comes from the top; Brent Bozell insists that the New York Times is motivated by a "left-wing agenda" (or is it a "far left-wing agenda"?). And Wilmouth's bretheren at CNSNews.com regularly assume that Democrats act only for purely political reasons, an assumption it refuses to make about Republicans.
In other words, Wilmouth is criticizing Olbermann for doing the exact same thing his employer does.
We Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means Topic: NewsBusters
A July 25 NewsBusters post by Geoffery Dickens begins:
So there you are enjoying your morning coffee, perusing Sports Illustrated’s Web site for the latest training camp information on your favorite NFL team and then whammo, you get hit with liberal bias. Is anyplace safe from it?
So what was SI writer Peter King's grave offense? Recommending in an opinion column that his readers go see Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth."
Since when is expressing an opinion "liberal bias"?
NewsMax Promotes WND Book -- And Its Dubious Claims Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax and WorldNetDaily typically have very little to do with each other publicly -- and have even fired a few pot shots at each other -- but NewsMax has signed on to promote and sell the new WND-published book on the Minutemen by Jim Gilchrist and Jerome Corsi, complete with a fawning review of the book by Phil Brennan. Thus, NewsMax is promoting the same dubious claims regarding the book and its authors as WND.
A July 25 NewsMax article touts the claim that "The real number of illegal aliens in the U.S. is not 12 million, as the federal government claims, but closer to 30 million." No evidence is offered to support the claim. Similarly, a July 25 article by Gilchrist and Corsi calls the 30 million number "an estimate documented in our book" but, again, no documentation is offered here.
The NewsMax article also repeats the claim that "A number of the terrorist hijackers on 9/11 were in this country illegally" -- actually, it's a slightly more accurate version of the claim at WND that all of the 9/11 hijackers were here illegally. In fact, all 19 hijackers entered the U.S. legally, though two had overstayed their visas and were thus illegal at the time of 9/11.
UPDATE: WND did not publish the Gilchrist-Corsi book; World Ahead Publishing, best known for its questionable book of purported Hillary Clinton quotes, did. It appears that the wall between WND and NewsMax still stands.
A July 24 Washington Post article describes research into partisan behavior, including a study in which both pro-Israel and pro-Arab respondents saw the exact same news reports as critical of their respective causes: "Both groups were certain they were right and that the other side didn't know what it was talking about." The article also notes:
The tendency to see bias in the news -- now the raison d'etre of much of the blogosphere -- is such a reliable indicator of partisan thinking that researchers coined a term, "hostile media effect," to describe the sincere belief among partisans that news reports are painting them in the worst possible light.
Which would seem to explain the Media Research Center.
In a July 21 CNSNews.com harangue, Frank Salvato -- last seen here suggesting that Hillary Clinton wants to kill all conservatives -- made numerous false and unsubstantiated claims in the course of bashing anyone who has criticized President Bush as a "Fifth Column."
Salvato attacked Joseph Wilson as "the whiniest man on the face of the planet," criticizing him and his wife, Valerie Plame, as "disgruntled political has-beens" for filing a "nuisance lawsuit" against Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and Scooter Libby over their role in exposing Ms. Plame's undercover CIA status "as Hezbollah committed itself to an all out war against Israel, the United States and the free world, setting the Middle East afire." Salvato wrote: "Pay no attention to the fact that during an investigation into the Plame matter a federal prosecutor failed to find one noteworthy piece of evidence to bolster the assertion that Cheney, Rove or Libby had anything to do with facilitating columnist Robert Novak with Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA covert operative." In fact, special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation is continuing and he has made no public conclusions about whether Cheney, Rove or Libby "had anything to do with" leaking Plame's name.
Salvato added: "Disregard the unarguable fact that Plame was serving as a CIA analyst and hadn't been a covert operative for years at the time the story was printed." His assertion seems to conflict with an actual unarguable fact: that Plame's CIA status was classified, and it is presumably an offense on some level when a classified CIA operative's identity is disclosed.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi also made Salvato's list of fifth-columnists. Why? Because Pelosi wanted to include language in a resolution expressing support for Israel in its battle against Hezbollah and Hamas language "asking that both sides concern themselves with limiting civilian casualties." According to Salvato, "by including such language Pelosi would have had the United States House of Representatives recognizing Hezbollah and Hamas as legitimate entities worthy of seats at a negotiating table rather than the terrorist organizations that they are," though he doesn't explain exactly how this would, in fact, be so.
Stuff You Won't Read at WorldNetDaily Topic: WorldNetDaily
Via Orcinus, we learn that there's a major rift in the Minuteman organization is undergoing a major split between co-founders Jim Gilchrist and Chris Simcox. Further, questions have been raised about how the group's donations are being accounted for -- even Joseph Farah's former buddies at the Washington Times have made note of it.
Why won't you read about this rift and funding question at WorldNetDaily? Because it has a book to sell -- specifically, Gilchrist's version of the Minuteman story (with an assist from bigot and terrorist enabler Jerome Corsi). A July 21 WND article designed to juice early sales of the book lets us know what we're in for when there are two highly misleading, if not outright false, statements in the promo copy.
The article claims that the book will show that "The real number of illegal aliens in the country is not 12 million, which the federal government claims, but closer to 30 million." WND's Joseph Farah was caught peddling this same claim a few months. There appears to be no real-world evidence to support it.
The article also quotes Gilchrist as saying, "The terrorist hijackers on 9/11 were in this country illegally." In fact, all 19 hijackers entered the U.S. legally, though two had overstayed their visas and were thus technically illegal. It's a staple of anti-immigration folks who want to link 9/11 to the current immigration debate by claiming, like Peter Brimelow at the "white nationalist" VDARE.com, that "Every one of nineteen 9/11 hijackers was an illegal immigrant by definition. None of them told the U.S. immigration authorities what they intended to do."
The article further makes the claim that "What the ACLU called [the Minutemen] can't be published on a family-friendly Internet news site." Look for unsupported hearsay to support that claim, because the record doesn't. Even WND's own articles about ACLU monitoring of the Minutemen (here, here and here) fail to note any non-family-friendly comments by the ACLU, just an anonymous person purportedly quoted as saying that "They give us the middle finger every chance they get to try to get us to react."
UPDATE: Despite Corsi's co-authorship, WND did not publish the Gilchrist-Corsi book; World Ahead Publishing, best known for its questionable book of purported Hillary Clinton quotes that WND previously plugged the heck out of, did.
A July 23 NewsBusters post by Matthew Sheffield promoted a National Review article by Richard Nadler which cites a poll by the International Republican Institute claiming, among other things, that "most Iraqis feel safe in their own neighborhoods."
But neither Sheffield nor Nadler note the partisan ties of the IRI. As Media Matters has pointed out, well-connected Republicans fill every seat on IRI's board of directors. Given that partisan connection, would the IRI report any results that make the Bush administration look bad? Probably not.
What does it say about the reckless rhetoric emanating from the Horowitz organization that even NewsMax feels compelled to correct it?
A July 22 NewsMax article looks at the battle between Pat Buchanan -- who has spoken out against Israel's bombing of Lebanon -- and the neoconservatives who Buchanan claims want the U.S. to take advantage of the current Middle East situation by bombing Iran. NewsMax noted that in a July 21 unsigned Frontpagemag.com editorial, "Fellow conservative David Horowitz's online magazine, Frontpagemag.com, has opened up a front against Buchanan, with an article that levels charges of anti-Semitism against Buchanan and other so-called 'paleoconservatives' for their condemnation of Israel's actions in the war." Then, NewsMax gets in a dig at Horowitz:
Noting that in two of his columns Buchanan accused President Bush "of being a puppet of nefarious Jewish warmongers," the editorial charged that "Nothing sets Buchanan’s imagination racing like a Bush-backed Israeli war. On Tuesday, Pat asked, 'Who is whispering in his ear?' His answer: 'bloodthirsty Hebrews.'" (Note: Buchanan never used this term.)
NewsMax's dig at Horowitz is even more surprising given that the David Horowitz Freedom Center is using NewsMax -- through a page on the NewsMax website and use of NewsMax's mailing list -- by to solicit donations to facilitate distribution of a booklet designed to "counteract the lies spread by the left" about Israel. So NewsMax is biting the hand that feeds it to an extent.
Still, the fact that a news outlet Horowitz is paying to promote his views is criticizing his rhetoric says much about how irresponsible the Horowitz organization is.
If certain segments of the ConWeb are going to bash the New York Times as "fraternizing with the enemy" for taking a picture of an enemy sniper in Iraq, shouldn't they also be bashing WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein for his close association with terrorists?
In a July 21 WND article, Klein touts an "exclusive interview" with Abu Nasser, the second-in-command of the terrorist group Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Klein also keeps in touch with Mahmoud Abed El, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees terrorist organization.
If presenting a story from the point of view of our opponents is going to be perceived as anti-American, isn't Klein -- through his association with and regular quoting of terrorist sources -- also anti-American and anti-Israeli? Logic dictates that if the former is true, than the latter should be as well.