An Aug. 4 NewsMax article by Kenneth Timmerman (posted Aug. 3) buys into the purported Qana conspiracy, repeating claims that photos taken after the bombing were staged.
Timmerman first makes a big deal out of Human Rights Watch revising down its estimate of the death toll in Qana: "It made no apology to Israel for its earlier inflated claims." But inflated death tolls in a mass-death situation like this are not unheard of; a 2003 USA Today article points out that the death toll of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center was listed as more than 6,000 at one point before ultimately arriving at the final toll of less than 3,000. Timmerman further asserts without evidence that Human Rights Watch "appears to have played along with the Hezbollah media manipulation."
Timmerman then cites instances of Associated Press and Reuters photos from Qana that a "British blogger" claimed were "staged." Timmerman makes no apparent attempt to contact AP or Reuters for their response -- or even to bother to excerpt their Aug. 1 response to the "staging" claims, in which they claim that such staging is unlilkely, if not impossible. In fact, that AP article detailing their response to the conspiracy charge appears nowhere on NewsMax, which is an AP client.
Apparently, NewsMax is having a flashback to the Clinton years, when conspiracy theories were rampant and the truth was secondary.
-- Noel Sheppard might want to direct some of his rage at the Washington Post for not sufficiently playing up a Marine's lawsuit against John Murtha in-house: Fellow MRC affiliate CNSNews.com gave the story even worse play, burying it in another Murtha article.
-- Tim Graham bashes Ned Lamont as "ultraliberal" and "far left." He then goes on to describe Lamont as being in favor of things like "racial quotas" (linking to Lamont's position paper supporting affirmative action -- apparently, Graham has never heard of the Bakke case, which outlawed quotas as a condition of affirmative action). And we missed the memo that describes "universal pre-school" as part of the evil "ultraliberal" agenda. Graham then lapses into official Bush-speak in describing Bush's domestic spying program as "terrorist surveillance."
Aaron Klein's latest WorldNetDaily attack on Ehud Olmert comes in the form of an Aug. 3 article that quotes a terrorist as claiming that Olmert's plan to continue "unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria in spite of violence in Lebanon and Gaza" amounts to a "victory" for "Palestinian resistance."
Klein and WND's Joseph Farah should ask himself if their relentlessattacksonOlmert are similarly emboldening terrorists against Israel. They should also explain to their readers why they are trying to undermine the head of Israel at a time of war.
CNS Downplays Own Swift-Boating Role Topic: CNSNews.com
An Aug. 3 CNSNews.com article by Randy Hall reports that Sen. Max Cleland will attend a rally for Rep. John Murtha "condemning what they call 'Swift Boat' attacks against Murtha." But Hall minimzed his own role in issuing politically motivated attacks against Murtha.
In January, Hall co-wrote with Marc Morano a pair of stories -- which, as we reported, relied on claims made by political opponents and others who are incapacitated or dead -- attacking Murtha's war record and reviving 25-year-old corruption allegations. As we further noted, CNS editor in chief David Thibault essentially admitted that its attack on Murtha was politically motivated: "He has been placed by the Democratic Party and antiwar activists as a spokesman against the war above reproach."
In fact, Hall's attacks on Murtha are featured on the website of the group Vets for the Truth, whose president, Larry Bailey, he quotes in his article as further attacking Murtha.
But Hall mentions none of this in his article, though his Murtha attacks are linked at the end.
It looks like we can expect numerous future articles by Hall channeling Vets for the Truth's attacks on Murtha as the election season continues.
NewsBusters keeps up the drumbeat of smears against war photographers by accusing them of staging photos. The latest is Bob Owens, who in an Aug. 3 post claimed: "Most people viewing this photo, noticing the shattered toy perched precariously on shattered slabs, are even more convinced it was placed there by human hands, most logically the photographer's."
Evidence to back up this claim? Owens has none.
Makes you wonder, as we have previously, whether NewsBusters is less anti-bias and more anti-journalist.
UPDATE: Owens also blogs at Confederate Yankee, where this post was cross-posted. He's one of the main promulgators of the Qana conspiracy theory. We see that he has called John Murtha "America's most disgusting ex-Marine" -- then jumps further into conspiracy territory by suggesting that an AP report on the Haditha massacre was designed to "distract attention from the lawsuits against Murtha."
All of which suggests Owens' point of view is just a tad biased. Something NewsBusters might want to keep in mind before giving him its megaphone again.
Well, that and the fact that his little conspiracy theory keeps getting shot down.
New Article: Out There: The Hard Right Bank of the Mainstream Topic: CNSNews.com
Lurking among the more respectable columnists at CNSNews.com are hard-right conservatives making extreme statements. Read more.
An Aug. 2 NewsBusters post by Greg Sheffield suggests that the Associated Press photographers took photos of "dead children in Qana" solely in order to win a $500 weekly prize the AP gives in-house to reporters for exceptional work. Sheffield adds: "Is this what it takes? If we paid them $500 dollars [sic], maybe photographers in the region would take pictures of terrorists hiding behind human shields."
Sheffield might try going to an actual war zone sometime before smearing those who work there as reporters and photographers.
Further, the AP gave a similar $500 award to reporter John Solomon for a misleading article about Harry Reid. Does Sheffield think Solomon misled about Reid for the prize money, too?
UPDATE: What brought this smear on is a dubious claim by conservatives (like Sheffield) that photographers collaborated with Hezbollah in staging pictures of the victims of the Israeli bombing of Qana. Both AP and Reuters point out that such staging is unlikely, if not impossible.
WorldNetDaily -- already on record as trying to undermine Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert -- has moved on to trying to undermine Israel itself with an Aug. 2 article by Alex Traiman that promotes the views of an Israeli politician who claims that Hezbollah is "winning" the conflict with Israel. Isn't this the kind of negative, defeatist coverage that conservatives have bashed the American media for providing on the Iraq war? Yup -- just ask WND columnists Pat Boone, Doug Powers and Craig Smith, for starters.
While Traiman claims that "some politicians" are making this claim, he names and quotes only one, Moshe Feiglin of the Likud party and a group called Jewish Leadership (better known as Manhigut Yehudit). Missing from Traiman's article is any indication of the ideology of Likud or Feiglin. Likud, of course, is a conservative party, which means Feiglin is a conservative as well -- WND, of course has a history of not identifying conservative politicians and parties as such. Feiglin's Wikipedia profile tells us a few things Traiman won't -- that Feiglin holds right-wing positions such as opposing the Oslo accords and favoring the explusion of Palestinians from Israel.
NewsBusters joins today's abortion-bias bandwagon: An Aug. 1 post by Craig Bannister regurgitates a CNSNews.com article that decried Ms. magazine's "I Had An Abortion" petition, which Bannister calls "pro-abortion" (just like CNS) and claiming that the petition "celebrates 33 years of abortions." And, just like CNS, Bannister makes a big deal out of Ms. asking readers "to donate money to the publisher’s pro-abortion advocacy campaign," adding, "If that’s not media bias, what is?" Bannister further claims that anyone who signs the petition is "a pawn of this publication’s political agenda."
What, magazines aren't supposed to have agendas or ask for donations? Somebody get National Review on the phone!
CNS Labeling Bias Watch Topic: CNSNews.com
Wow, the abortion issue is bringing all sorts of bias today. CNSNews.com makes its contribution:
-- An Aug. 1 article by Alison Espach describes Ms. magazine's call for women to sign and online petition stating that "I have had an abortion" the magazine's "latest pro-abortion message" (though Espach lists no previous "pro-abortion messages"), adding that at the end of the petition, "the magazine asks for money." But Espach offers no descriptor at all to the anti-abortion American Life League and fails to note that it too solicits donations.
-- A July 31 article by Melanie Hunter, meanwhile, calls the American Life League a "pro-life group" while devoting all but three paragraphs of her 16-paragraph article on the issue of making a "morning-after" pill available over the counter to opponents of the plan, such as the American Life League.
WND's One-Source Wonder on Abortion Case Topic: WorldNetDaily
If you're going to print accusations of corruption about a grand jury investigation, should you those accused of said corruption to respond to the allegations?
Common sense -- and sound journalistic practice -- says yes. WorldNetDaily says no.
An unbylined Aug. 1 WND article centers on the comments of a single anti-abortion activist, Operation Rescue's Troy Newman, making those accusations after a grand jury in Kansas declined to indict abortion provider George Tiller in connection with the death of a woman who had an abortion at his clinic. Newman claims that Tiller has "effectively bought off" not only the district attorney but the state board that regulates doctors and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sibelius. "We believe the lack of indictment by the grand jury is the result of corruption and cronyism at the local and state level," Newman said.
Not only did WND made no apparent effort to contact Tiller, Sibelius or the Kansas Board of Healing Arts to allow them to respond to Newman's sweeping allegations. Nor does the article allow for the logical argument that the reason the grand jury found no wrongdoing in the woman's death is because there was, in fact, no wrongdoing. Real reporters go that route.
Biased, agenda-driven "reporting" like this, which forwards unsubstantiated personal attacks, seems like a good way to attract libel lawsuits, don't you think?
How many times have we caught ConWeb writers lying about Sandy Berger? Many, manytimes.
The latest offender -- two years after the fact -- is NewsMax's Charles R. Smith, who writes in a July 28 column: "Sandy would later plead guilty to stuffing his underpants with secret documents from the National Archives and destroying a few that might break bad on his days in the Clinton White House."
As we've pointed out before, Berger did not destroy any original documents and was cleared of charges that he withheld material from the 9/11 Commission. And there is no solid evidence that Berger was "stuffing his underpants."
This has been going on for two years. Is the ConWeb not aware of the concept of telling the truth?
We can probably assume that the rest of Smith's column, dedicated to attacking Joe Sestak, a Democrat who's challenging Republican Curt Weldon for his seat in Congress, is similarly factual.
A July 31 CNSNews.com column by Alan Caruba hurls all sorts of unsupported claims and wild accusations. He he starts by calling a Washington Post column by Eugene Robinson "twaddle" and "liberal idiocy," then progresses to the following baseless claims:
-- "To Eugene and his fellow liberals, everything began with and can be blamed upon President Bush. This convenient loss of memory is a common liberal trait."
-- "Another liberal trait is to regard any military response to an attack on the United States or one of its allies as wrong."
-- "Liberals can and do forget anything that does not fit into their view that dictatorships are a necessary evil and that they need to be understood, not condemned."
-- "It is a liberal article of faith that if only the Israelis or Americans would just stop existing, there would not be a problem with Islamic terrorism."
Evidence? Caruba doesn't need any stinkin' evidence! If he says it's true, ipso facto it must be.