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Thursday, August 17, 2006
Yet Another Reason Not to Trust Dick Morris
Topic: Newsmax

There are, of course, many reasons not to trust Dick Morris -- his high error rate on prognostication and his obsessive hatred of the Clintons chief among them -- but there's another: His attacks on his former clients. Bill Clinton has been the biggest target of Morris' disgruntlement, but his Aug. 9 column offered up another ex-client he doesn't mind trashing in public, Ned Lamont:

In the general election, Lieberman can paint Lamont (a former client of mine) as the rich, light-weight dilettante he is (heir to the fortune of J.P. Morgan's partner) and can focus on the broad range of his legislative agenda.

If Morris is going to talk smack about you as soon as he's out of your employ, why even bother hiring him in the first place? 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:32 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
What WND Investors Are Up To These Days
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Aug. 16 Minneapolis Star Tribune article details the fugitive status of one Robert Beale, for whom an arrest warrant was issued after he failed to appear for his federal trial on tax evasion charges.

As we've noted, Beale was an investor in WorldNetDaily, sitting on its board of directors for several years. (He is no longer on the board.) A June 2003 WND article detailed Beale's fight with with the state of Minnesota over taxes.

Beale is the father of Theodore Beale, better known to WND readers as columnist Vox Day.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:11 PM EDT
Klein Uses Terrorist to Attack Olmert
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Today's attack on Ehud Olmert by WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein enlists the enemy to make his point. Klein quotes the "chief rocket coordinator for the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank" as saying that Israel's military campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon was a "failure," Olmert's statements of victory are "delusional," and as a topper, that Israel's army is "full of gay soldiers."

Klein sure seems to be on unusually good terms with the enemy. He is certainly able to channel them for his own anti-Olmert purposes.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:20 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 16, 2006 2:52 PM EDT
NewsBusters Makes Misleading Claim About Greenfield
Topic: NewsBusters

In an Aug. 16 NewsBusters post, Greg Sheffield claimed that CNN's Jeff Greenfield "compared Israel to a whole host of history's evil people," including Nazis. But the transcript he attaches as evidence doesn't support the claim.

In an appearance on Don Imus' radio show, according to Sheffield's transcript, Greenfield said:

I’ve never heard it explained adequately how you solve a problem where two different people think God gave them the same piece of land. I mean, what actually, we’ve seen how you’ve made progress. And what happens is, at some point, and I don’t just mean in the Middle East, at some point, to be blunt about it, somebody gives up something. You don’t conquer them, you know, like Germany and Japan after World War II.

DeKlerk gave up, in the best possible sense, South Afirca – he said, ‘we can’t keep this going any more.’ The colonial forces, the British and French and others said we can’t run this part of the world anymore.

Essentially Mikhail Gorbachev gave up that malicious dream of a totalitarian state could change the world.

And in the American south, the white southerners, the segregationists, they were made to give up, said you know what, we can’t do this anymore. So the question I get is, who gives up what?

Sheffield doesn't offer enough transcript to provide the full context of what Greenfield said, but it's clear that Greenfield is not making a direct comparison of Israel to Nazis (or imperial Japanese, or Soviets, or apartheid-era South Africa) that Sheffield claims. What Greenfield appears to be saying is that neither Israel nor Hezbollah will be able to declare total victory over the other in the way the Allies did over Germany and Japan after World War II. Greenfield's analogy presumably applies just as much to Hezbollah as to Israel; in other words, if Greenfield is calling Israeli Nazis, he's calling Hezbollah that, too.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:30 AM EDT
AIM: Times Deserved Fake Anthrax Attack
Topic: Accuracy in Media

How much does Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid hate the New York Times? His Aug. 16 column suggests that it deserved to be the victim of a fake anthrax attack. Kincaid wrote that "there are some lessons here for the paper, if it will only take some time to consider the implications of what happened." Nowhere does he condemn the attack, calling it nothing more severe than a "terrible prank." And nowhere does Kincaid mention Ann Coulter's facetiously taking credit for the attack, even though he has criticized Coulter's extreme rhetoric in the past.

Kincaid repeats the usual conservative tropes about the surveillance programs that the Times reported on, lamenting, "Why can't the paper realize that it is 'our' nation?" Such a claim, of course, neglects the questionable legality of some of those programs. He also brings up the case of onetime post-9/11 anthrax attack suspect Steven Hatfill, whom Kincaid claims was the victim of a "libelous onslaught" by Times columnist Nicholas Kristof; needless to say, Kincaid fails to mention Hatfill's association with militant white supremacists in South Africa, a connection that AIM has previously downplayed as being merely "anti-communist."

Posted by Terry K. at 11:05 AM EDT
New Article: The ConWeb Ignores A Republican
Topic: The ConWeb
There's a Republican running against Joe Lieberman -- why is the ConWeb so reluctant to acknowledge his existence? And will Christopher Ruddy's endorsement of Lieberman mean a slew of fawning NewsMax articles about him? Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:14 AM EDT
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
WND's Undermining du Jour
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Today's Ehud Olmert-undermining hit job by WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein reports (claiming anonymous sources, natch) that "Military intelligence officers here have been asked not to talk to the media without prior authorization from their superiors while some are being petitioned to highlight Israel's gains in Lebanon." Klein has been pushing the unsupported claim that Israel lost the month-long battle against Hezbollah because Olmert restrained the IDF.

Such anonymous sources raise the question of whether Klein is merely serving as a willing conduit by his alleged "military intelligence officials" to get anti-Olmert sentiment into the media. Actually, we should say more anti-Olmert sentiment, as Klein has already demonstrated himself to be a willing conduit for that.

We have to wonder: Would WND permit such reporting if Klein was writing about the U.S. in Iraq instead of Israel? We suspect not.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:53 PM EDT
Quote of the Day
Topic: NewsBusters

"Also, if an individual takes on the task of dogging a political campaign with a video camera for the opposition, being held up to scorn doesn't sound like such a bad thing to me."

-- Dan Riehl, in an Aug. 15 NewsBusters post defending Virginia Sen. George Allen after he called a staffer for Allen's re-election opponent, James Webb, who has been videotaping Allen's public appearances, a "macaca."

Fellow NewsBuster Tim Graham, meanwhile, takes the but-the-Post-didn't-report-this approach in his defense of Allen's "supposedly racist" remark.

Meanwhile, Josh Marshall notes what Riehl and Graham don't: that Allen is very likely aware of how offensive the term "macaca" can be.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:03 PM EDT
That 'Objective' WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily is normally several time zones away from objectivity, yet WND is purporting to offer "[a]n objective examination of increasingly popular Sept. 11 conspiracy theories" in the new issue of its Whistleblower magazine. We're assuming that WND is endeavoring to debunk conspiracy theories, given a lament that "more people found themselves believing the worst about the federal government" and an Aug. 9 article noting that a (liberal) religious publisher is publishing a book theorizing that "the Bush administration planned the events of Sept. 11, 2001, so they could provide justification for going to war with Afghanistan and Iraq."

If so, this would be highly ironic because WND is much better known for promoting conspiracy theories than debunking them. It has given credence to everything from the "Clinton body count" to alleged plans detailing "the plot for global government and one-world religion." For WND to lament that people are "believing the worst about the federal government" is disingenuous because WND itself has encouraged that belief through its continual attacks on the government, criticizing the IRS (WND's subject header for IRS-related items is "The Power to Destroy") and the Federal Reserve (the previous issue of Whistleblower was dedicated to attacking it as "the fraud of the century").

Given that WND's conservative-libertarian-reconstructionist leanings make it hostile to nearly all aspects of the federal government, why take it seriously as it runs to the government's defense now?

Posted by Terry K. at 3:13 PM EDT
Penis-Obsessed Blogger Posts At NewsBusters Again
Topic: NewsBusters

Apparently, an obsession with the phallus is not an obstacle to writing for the Media Research Center -- despite the fact that the MRC also operates an entire subsidiary dedicated to keeping such obsessions off the public airwaves -- because NewsBusters has posted another entry from Jeff Goldstein.

This time, amid an attack on Andrew Sullivan, Goldstein claims that "the overwhelming majority of devoutly religious 'Christianists' and missionaries" have not expressed "a desire to see, say, San Francisco pushed into the sea." Goldstein fails to note that Bill O'Reilly has expressed a desire for San Francisco to be bombed into oblivion by al-Qaida, which is almost the same thing.

And really, is a penis-obsessed guy like Goldstein with issues about homosexuality the best person to write about what Andrew Sullivan has to say?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:25 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, August 15, 2006 3:18 PM EDT
Monday, August 14, 2006
Klein Back to Undermining Olmert
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Aug. 14 WorldNetDaily "news analysis" by Aaron Klein marks a return to his Ehud Olmert-bashing, Israel-undermining ways. Using assertions that are either unsupported or supported only by anonymous sources, Klein claims that "Israel lost the war in Lebanon on all fronts ... largely because Olmert refused to allow the Israeli Defense Forces to do its job."

As we've previously documented, Klein is vehemently anti-Olmert and regularly works to undermine him. That kind of bias hardly makes for trustworthy reporting or "analysis."

UPDATE: Glenn Greenwald notes that Klein isn't alone in unilaterally declaring victory for Hezbollah -- and, thus, doing what conservatives have bashed Iraq war critics for doing: engaging in defeatism by criticizing the head of the country at a time of war.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:08 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, August 14, 2006 7:22 PM EDT
NewsBusters Makes False Claims About Letters
Topic: NewsBusters

An Aug. 13 NewsBusters post by Dave Pierre claimed that "the majority of the published letters" in the Los Angeles Times regarding an Aug. 5 Times column by Tim Rutten calling for the reopening of a discussion about whether Mel Gibson's film "The Passion of the Christ" is anti-Semitic in the wake of Gibson's spout of anti-Semitic remarks during a drunk driving arrest -- a column Pierre described as "especially ugly and vitriolic" and "builds the case that anti-Christian and anti-Catholic prejudice is alive and well at the Los Angeles Times" -- "defended Rutten and his hate."

Now, the Times printed four letters; therefore, a "majority" would be more than two. Pierre does finally say as much at the end: "Three letters defended Rutten's bigotry." But that isn't true either. Two of the letters agreed with Rutten's contrention that "the Passion" took an unfair, if not anti-Semitic, view of Jews. Pierre does not explain how supporting that view is "bigotry."

Further, the third letter that Pierre claimed "defended Rutten and his hate" did nothing of the sort. In fact, it suggested that Gibson's alleged anti-Semitism "pales in comparison to the Hollywood Jews who seem to revel in using Christians and Christianity as backdrops for evil." Does that sound like support for Rutten? Nope -- sounds more like support for Pierre's view. That makes it two letters of support for Pierre's side, not one -- and points of view evenly divided, not a "majority" for one side.

Pierre needs to revisit this post and publicly retract what's false. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:04 AM EDT
Sunday, August 13, 2006
NewsMax Discloses Its Bias, For Once
Topic: Newsmax

In an Aug. 9 column, NewsMax editor and CEO Christopher Ruddy declared that he is "making a donation" to the re-election campaign of Sen. Joe Lieberman, who is running as an independent after losing the Democratic primary to Ned Lamont. This foreshadows lots of pro-Lieberman, anti-Lamont coverage coming from NewsMax.

At least he declared his donation upfront this time. As we documented, NewsMax promoted the nacent candidacy of Mark Foley for a Senate seat in Florida but didn't disclose that Ruddy had donated to his campaign.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:30 PM EDT
New Conservative Global Warming Meme
Topic: NewsBusters

The anti-global warming folks -- apparently feeling a bit sensitive to charges that they are being funded by oil companies and other fossil-fuel purveyors -- have initiated a counterresponse: We don't get that much money from them, and anyway, it doesn't go toward countering the idea of global warming.

An Aug. 13 NewsBusters post by Amy Ridenour demonstrates this approach. Ridenour is CEO of the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think-tank responsible for the conservative black group Project 21 and, thus, the hypocritical Mychal Massie (she is also one of the peripheral players in the Jack Abramoff scandal). In reproducing an exchange of letters between her and Long Beach News-Telegram columnist Tom Hennessy rebutting a column he wrote about the Al Gore movie "An Inconvenient Truth." In it, Hennessy had noted that one global warming skeptic, Tim Ball, "is promoted by the National Center for Public Policy Research, which has received funding from ExxonMobil." Ridenour's response:

This makes it appear as though Dr. Ball received cash from us, and by extension ExxonMobil, when in fact all we did was reprint a small amount of his writing on one of our websites.


As it happens, Dr. Ball has never received a penny from us, and our support from ExxonMobil amounts to less than one percent of our budget. This leaves Dr. Ball with zero percent of less than one percent. Not much! Yet, apparently, worthy of note in the press. 

This approach manages to be only slightly less head-in-the-sand that fellow NewsBuster Matthew Sheffield's skepticism that ExxonMobil funded the group that paid for an anti-Al Gore video posted to YouTube.

Ridenour also took issue with Hennessy's claim that Ball "is in high demand by the front groups sponsored by the fossil fuel industry":

A more factual description more likely is that, over a two-year period, a retired academic spoke once time each to two of Canada's most prestigious think-tanks, and co-wrote a paper for one of them. 

All of this, of course, is obfuscation. Ridenour hammers away at imprecise specific claims in an attempt to undermine larger assumptions that are essentially true. None of what Ridenour has said refutes the fact that fossil-fuel companies are funding conservative groups who promote global warming skepticism. And Ridenour's narrow definition of "in high demand" doesn't mean that Ball is not actively promoting his skeptical views with the help of conservative think tanks like Ridenour's.

Ridenour further attacked Hennessy for "intend[ing] to undermine Dr. Ball's credibility as an honest scientist," but there are some warning flags that Ridenour declines to mention. The DeSmog Blog notes that despite promoting himself as "the first Canadian PhD in Climatology," the record suggests a paucity of published scholarly research on the subject. Another entry makes the point clearer, claiming that "Dr. Ball has not published any research in a peer-reviewed science journal in the last 20 years."

The blog also notes that Ball "has been criss-crossing the country in a campaign to undermine public support for the scientific proof behind human-caused climate change," which suggests that he is in "high demand" by somebody.  

Posted by Terry K. at 11:13 AM EDT
Friday, August 11, 2006
NewsBusters' False Suggestion About Wiretapping
Topic: NewsBusters

In an Aug. 11 NewsBusters post noting how data intercepts played a role in the foiling of the British terror plot, Greg Sheffield falsely suggests that those critical of the Bush administration domestic spying program opposed all domestic surveillance.

In fact, as Media Matters pointed out when RNC chairman Ken Mehlman similarly claimed that Democrats oppose "NSA technology," such a claim is a straw man. Critics of the NSA eavesdropping program were never opposed to all eavesdropping (and we doubt Sheffield can provide us with a major politican who does believe that); the problem is that the NSA was apparently operating outside the bounds of established U.S. law.

Perhaps Sheffield should lay off the GOP talking points and try the novel approach of reporting facts.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:09 PM EDT

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