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Thursday, August 10, 2006
Today's Love Letter from Kessler
Topic: Newsmax

Another day, another love letter to the Bush administration from NewsMax's Ronald Kessler. This time, it's a fawning profile of Office of Management and Budget deputy director Clay Johnson III. It features this hard-hitting insight:

Analyzing why Bush makes his trademark smirk or half smile, a gesture that many take as a sign of arrogance, Johnson says it's a manifestation of Bush's inability to act or pretend. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:36 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 9, 2006
A Tale of Two Stories

A pair Aug. 9 article nicely illustrate the news service's conservative slant.

The first article, by Susan Jones, reports on incumbent Sen. Joe Lieberman's loss to the more liberal Ned Lamont. It's actually somewhat balanced, including response from Lamont but also some predictable Democrat-bashing from the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The second article, also by Jones, features the same situation in reverse -- a Republican House primary in Michigan in which the incumbent, Joe Schwartz, lost to a more conservative challenger, Tim Walberg. But Jones quoted only Walberg supporters hailing the win and bashing Schwartz; nobody from Schwartz's camp, let alone anyone from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was apparently contacted for comment.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:28 PM EDT
Poe vs. Poe
Topic: Horowitz

Richard Poe -- last seen here telling lies and distortions about Hillary Clinton -- took on Media Matters' (my employer) deconstruction of the book he co-wrote with David Horowitz smearing George Soros, "The Shadow Party" -- and immediately contradicted himself.

In an entry on the blog (repeated at two other Poe blogs, though his eponymous site appears to be dormant), Poe insisted that when he and Horowitz refer to Soros a Nazi "collaborator," "[w]e do not judge or condemn Mr. Soros for youthful actions taken under duress, and in fear for his life." Of course, Poe then goes on to do precisely that:

Indeed, boys as young as Soros commonly served in those years in underground resistance movements and partisan bands from icy Norway to sunbaked Crete. That path was open to Soros, if he chose it.

He chose a different path instead, murky, sinuous, and fraught with moral peril. Once embarked upon that path, he would never leave it. He walks it to this day.

We're looking forward to their long-awaited response to the Media Matters item, which we suspect will be chock full of similar contradictory logic.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:58 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 9, 2006 1:00 PM EDT
NewsBusters Misleads on Controversial Statement
Topic: NewsBusters

In an Aug. 8 NewsBusters post suggesting that ESPN writer Jason Whitlock's comment on what he called the NFL's "officiating crisis" -- "It's ridiculous to have 50 year-old white guys chasing after 25-year old black guys" -- was racially insensitive, Mark Finkelstein claimed that Air Force football coach Fisher DeBerry was "reprimanded by the Air Force Academy and forced to issue an apology" for saying that black football players "can run very, very well."

But Finkelstein misrepresents the nature of the controversy over what DeBerry had said. In fact, according to the article Finkelstein cited as evidence of his claim, DeBerry had implied that his team lost a game because the other team "had a lot more Afro-American players than we did, and they ran a lot faster than we did," further noting that "You don't see many minority athletes in our program." Indeed, DeBerry said in his apology that he was apologizing "for remarks I made recently about minority recruitment." His saying that black football players "can run very, very well" was never the issue in and of itself, as Finkelstein claimed.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:00 PM EDT
Horowitz Smears Dead Woman
Topic: Horowitz

Apparently, people with non-conservative ideologies aren't allowed to rest in peace, if David Horowitz has anything to say about it.

Repeating the kind of sensitivity he showed after the death of Peter Jennings, Horowitz joined NewsBusters in insisting that an Los Angeles Times obituary attack the deceased's political views. The entirety of Horowitz's blog post:

How the LA Times says goodbye to a Communist who dedicated her life to mass murderers and enemies of freedom

The obituary is here. I don't think it needs any comment.

We have one: Why do you feel the need to attack the dead, David?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:47 AM EDT
Stuff We Overlooked
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A few weeks back, the Washington Post did an article on the Alliance Defense Fund, the conservative legal group for which WorldNetDaily serves as a public-relations agent. Eye-opening stat: ADF's annual budget is $20 million. 

And gee, look, here's yet another WND article that largely regurgitates an ADF press release and makes no attempt to tell the other side of the story.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:26 AM EDT
Tuesday, August 8, 2006
When Does 'Media Research' Stop Being 'Media Research'?
Topic: NewsBusters

When Michael M. Bates uses his NewsBusters post to complain that a newspaper obituary of a "Marxist radio commentator" didn't attack her for being "a functionary for the monstrous tyranny of Communism."

When Michael Rule uses his NewsBusters post to polemicize about "liberals on the fringe left," making the unsupported, if not non-factual, claim that there is "no room" in the Democratic Party for those who "stand up for national security and take a stand to make America a safer place" if Joe Lieberman loses in today's primary.

We would tell NewsBusters to knock off such silliniess, but they provide so much material for us. They obviously don't care that it looks like a two-bit ranting blog even though it's operated by a multimillion-dollar organization. Do MRC's donors know their money goes to publish such screeds?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:20 PM EDT
A Reminder
Topic: NewsBusters

For all of NewsBusters' conspiracy-mongering about staged Qana photos and a war photographer caught doctoring a couple photos, the boys at NewsBusters were much less concerned after a claim that Iran voted to require that non-Muslims wear badges turned out to be false.

As we reported, Noel Sheppard trumpeted the claim, then said nothing more even as the story was crumbling. Finally, five days later, an editor's note was quitely added to the item noting that the story had been retracted -- which basically nobody saw since readers weren't alerted to it.

NewsBusters cares nothing about journalism; they care only about politics. Otherwise, the retraction of the Iran claim would have been played as prominently as the original claim itself.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:42 PM EDT
Quote of the Day

"Blame for Haq's evil rampage falls on the executioner himself and on the Islamists and leftists who manipulated his confused mind and susceptible character."

-- Daniel Pipes, in an Aug. 8 column blaming Naveed Afzal Haq's shooting attack on a Seattle Jewish center, killing one, on "Sudden Jihad Syndrome" brought on in part by "[l]eftist demonizing of Israel."

Pipes adds: "Because the identity of the next homicidal jihadi cannot be anticipated, Muslims generally need to come under heightened observation. I regret writing this as much as you dislike reading it, but it needs to be said and operated upon."

Posted by Terry K. at 3:02 PM EDT
NewsBusters Nonsense
Topic: NewsBusters

-- Noel Sheppard is seriously deluded if he thinks what is emanating from Marc Morano and his fellow Republicans on the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works about global warming is any less propagandistic than what he thinks is coming from the New York Times.

-- Warner Todd Huston thinks that because the New York Times writing about the social services that Hezbollah has provided in Lebanon "amounts to a support for terrorism" by the Times. Guess he's never heard of the concept, increasingly ignored in conservative journalism, of telling the whole story.

-- Yeah, the Reuters photographer got busted for doctoring his photos -- as he deserved to -- but has Greg Sheffield ever bothered to balance his accusations of "staged" Lebanon photos with what the wire services have said about it -- or, for that matter, any evidence that wasn't circumstantial?

-- Matthew Sheffield bashes the report by House Judiciary Committee Democrats alleging violations of law by the Bush administration as "a copy and paste job from the angry left media" with "with the objective of getting President Bush impeached should Democrats ever take control of the House in November." Which, aside from changing "left" to "right," makes it different from Ann Coulter's "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" ... how?

-- Clay Waters goes almost as far as Warner Todd Huston, delcaring that any mention of Hezbollah's "nod to its charity works" is "otherwise known as propaganda." Gee, we thought it was a way to explain why so many Arabs support Hezbollah. Why doesn't Waters want people to know this?

-- Greg Sheffield is still unwilling to admit the undisputed-by-everyone-else fact that Exxon funded the conservative PR group that paid to create an anti-Al Gore video, calling any assertion to that effect "charges."

-- Brent Baker is bothered by Oliver Stone calling President Bush a Manchurian candidate. Where was Baker when conservative icon Paul Weyrich was calling John McCain that?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:08 AM EDT
Monday, August 7, 2006
Speaking of Being Independent From Reality ...
Topic: NewsBusters

In using an Aug. 7 NewsBusters post to bash the Associated Press for reporting that the 50 percent of Americans who still believe that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction had become "independent of reality," Noel Sheppard demonstrates why that's the case. He complained that "AP didn’t offer the possibility that many of these believers feel Saddam moved his weapons to Syria or elsewhere before the invasion began" (then again, neither has the Bush administration in any significant manner).

While Sheppard copies segments of the AP article -- only the parts that support his argument, of course -- a couple segments are notable by their absence:

The reality in this case is that after a 16-month, $900-million-plus investigation, the U.S. weapons hunters known as the Iraq Survey Group declared that Iraq had dismantled its chemical, biological and nuclear arms programs in 1991 under U.N. oversight. That finding in 2004 reaffirmed the work of U.N. inspectors who in 2002-03 found no trace of banned arsenals in Iraq.


The Pentagon and outside experts stressed that these abandoned shells [delared to be WMDs by congressmen Rick Santorum and Peter Hoekstra], many found in ones and twos, were 15 years old or more, their chemical contents were degraded, and they were unusable as artillery ordnance. Since the 1990s, such "orphan" munitions, from among 160,000 made by Iraq and destroyed, have turned up on old battlefields and elsewhere in Iraq, ex-inspectors say. In other words, this was no surprise.

Sheppard also fails to acknowledge these facts in his own writing.

Who, exactly, is "independent of reality" here?

Posted by Terry K. at 6:54 PM EDT
News Conspiracy Busters Mongers
Topic: NewsBusters

First, the Qana conspiracy. Now, NewsBusters writer Noel Sheppard repeats a couple of dubious claims about the 2000 presidential election.

In the comment thread on an Aug. 5 post about, appropriately enough, 9/11 conspiracies, Sheppard claims that "Bush would have easily won that state if it hadn't been called an hour before the Panhandle polls closed." In fact, as we've previously reported, the first TV network to call Florida for Al Gore did so 11 minutes before the polls closed in the Florida panhandle, and even WorldNetDaily had trouble finding anyone who would confess to being dissuaded from going to the polls because of that.

Sheppard also suggested that "Gore trying to disqualify some military absentee ballots" was an act of "fraud." In fact, the military ballots in question did not meet Florida state election standards by not being postmarked or dated before the day of the election or through some other failing. We thought Sheppard was a rule-of-law kind of guy.

Sheppard also claims: "Democrats still avow that Bush stole the election regardless of the facts at the time, and the number of media outlets that went to Florida in January 2001 to count for themselves only to give the state to Bush." In fact, several of the scenarios under which media outlets counted ballots gave Gore the win in Florida. 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:07 AM EDT
Sunday, August 6, 2006
NewsMax Dissembles About Itself
Topic: Newsmax

An Aug. 4 NewsMax article simultaneously trumpets the fact that a July 31 New Yorker article by Hendrik Hertzberg listed NewsMax as among "influential" websites and aments that a separate New Yorker article by Hendrik Hertzberg claims that NewsMax deliberately uses the erroneous term "Democrat Party" to describe the Democratic Party.

NewsMax's response to that charge is quite disingenuous. It doesn't specifically deny Hertzberg's claim that it "blue-pencils Associated Press dispatches to de-'ic' references to the Party of F.D.R. and J.F.K.," but it claims that "on occasion and rarely, copy editors may have used the colloquial 'Democrat.' "

In fact, not only does NewsMax use the term "Democrat Party" more than rarely -- the term appears in approximately 245 NewsMax articles, according to its search engine -- it has indeed changed "Democratic" to "Democrat" in wire articles. For instance:

  • An Oct. 20, 2003, AP article on NewsMax uses "The Democrat and Republican parties" and "The Democrat party's database" where the original AP article (a version of which is available via Nexis) used "Democratic."
  • A July 8, 2004, AP article on NewsMax states: "Elaborate plans are already in the works to protect the Republican and Democrat party conventions in New York and Boston" where the original AP article used "Democratic."
  • A Dec. 22, 2004, AP article on NewsMax uses "Democrat party officials" and "Democrat stronghold" where the original used "Democratic," but let stand unchanged a reference to "the state Democratic Party."
  • A Nov. 6, 2002, UPI article on NewsMax states "In three of these cases, Republican incumbents dispatched Democrat incumbents," "the Democrat House leadership," and "Democrat party operatives" where the original article used "Democratic." (We've previously noted NewsMax's rewriting of UPI articles to make them slanted, something the AP presumably doesn't let them get away with.)

Perhaps instead of being disingenuous, NewsMax could explain to its readers why it felt the need to make that change. 

While NewsMax no longer appears to be actively changing AP articles to reflect its bias, the writers it publishes regularly use the term; a July 26 column by Phil Brennan, for example, uses the terms "Democrat candidate," "the Democrat party," "[i]n spite of Democrat claims," and "Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi." 

Somebody's not using that word colloquially.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:14 PM EDT
Saturday, August 5, 2006
Quote(s) of the Day
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Aug. 4 WorldNetDaily column by Kevin McCullough starts off by making the specious claim that "Liberals love pedophiles, because they must do so to keep their own belief system intact," makes stop at the even more specious claims that "modern liberalism's true goal is the actual eradication of God, moral values, and the ideas of absolute right vs. wrong" and "For liberals to denounce pedophiles, ultimately they would have to denounce, lesbianism, homosexuality, and their particular favorite – adultery" and concludes by again stating that "Liberals love pedophiles."

Nothing like a little fact-free columnizing to get one's day going... 

Posted by Terry K. at 9:22 AM EDT
Matt, Just Admit It
Topic: NewsBusters

An Aug. 4 NewsBusters post by Matthew Sheffield strangely casts doubt on a fact that makes conservatives look bad. Writing about a Wall Street Journal article on a video attacking Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," Sheffield notes that according to the article, "the video was uploaded [to YouTube] from a person using the computer owned by the DCI Group, a political lobbying firm that (wait for it) has connections with the nefarious ExxonMobil." He then adds: "That may or may not be the case."

Sheffield not only never proves that it's not, he bashes the reporters who wrote the article for being "suspicious ... that non-liberals may be finally starting to use films to carry political messages."

Sounds like somebody has projection issues.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:13 AM EDT

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