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Friday, August 25, 2006
NewsBusters Exposes Sidarth ... As UVA Football Fan
Topic: NewsBusters

Dan Riehl keeps racking up the stupidity. In an Aug. 25 NewsBusters post, headlined "Allen Critic S. R. Sidarth Exposed," Riehl asserts that Sidarth -- the University of Virginia student videotaping Republican Sen. George Allen's campaign for Allen's opponent, James Webb, whom Allen famously called a "macaca" -- was "making fun of an Hispanic William & Mary student's death."

Unfortunately for Riehl, the UVA discussion board he cites contains no racial slurs on Sidarth's part, and not much "making fun" either. Sidarth started the thread by merely linking to an article about the W&M student's death -- but offering no comment, racial or otherwise, beyond the link. Later in the thread, when the discussion shifted to sports, Sidarth added another post: "Al Groh left the NFL to coach UVA." The article on the student's death, by the way, offers no obvious clue that the dead student was Hispanic; his last name, Reyno, is not an obviously Hispanic name.

So we have Sidarth "exposed" as someone who likes football and, apparently, doesn't like William & Mary.

Riehl later updated his post to explain what the hell his point was:

I understand some are questioning the point of this post, so please allow me to clear this up from my point of view. The Washington Post has been showing us this sensitive, hurt young man named SR Sidarth for a week. Now, we find out that Sidarth is fully capable of using the death of another individual, who also happened to be Hispanic, as a means of feeding his ego and touting his school. That really is not disputable if you read the thread Sidarth himself started and followed.

In essence, this allegedly sensitive young man had no problem exploiting the actual death of another individual for some props and yuks. Now, where is the sensitivity in that? My point in addressing Reyes ethnicity is because it is a fact of the story and said ethnicity did not give Sidarth pause. So, how sensitive is he really to the issues of race when it comes to others? Obviously, not very.

But I am addressing his obvious lack of sensitivity, not calling him a racist. Frankly, I think mocking a young man's death is just a bit more repugnant than calling someone a silly name. And if you wish to suggest he wasn't mocking the man's death by posting that story so it could be held up to ridicule, then you need to either read the thread, or consider extending that same generousity to Senator Allen. Because in Sidarth's case, holding up Reyes' death to ridicule is precisely what was done.

And no one can even agree on the origin of the word to conclude it was racist. If Allen is going to hang for being insensitive, SR Sidarth is not worthy of tightening the noose given his own grossly insensitive actions in initiating the thread at issue.

Despite claiming that he is "not calling him a racist," Riehl -- by bringing up the dead student's alleged ethnicity -- certainly heavily implied that Sidarth was, in fact, a racist. Riehl is the only one talking about the race of the dead student here -- not Sidarth, not even anyone else on that thead. And of course, to make the point that he wasn't calling Sidarth a racist, he brings up the dead student's ethnicity again and, to top things, gets his name wrong, calling him "Reyes" (it's "Reyno").

Hey, NewsBusters: Are you really sure you want this guy blogging for you?


Posted by Terry K. at 1:53 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, August 25, 2006 1:54 PM EDT
WND's Peter Paul Whitewash Update
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Aug. 25 WorldNetDaily article (unbylined, unlike several recent WND articles on Paul that were written by Art Moore) provides a new take on WND's whitewashing of Paul's criminal record. Paul's latest nuisance lawsuit against the Clintons blames Bill Clinton for the failure of his Stan Lee Media venture: "I am an injured businessman whose entire interest was to employ an ex-president as a rainmaker for my company."

As we've documented, WND has previously downplayed and whitewashed the fact that Paul pleaded guilty to manipulating Stan Lee Media stock, burying it instead in legalistic language. This time, however, WND fails to mention this conviction at all -- despite its relevance in a case that is purportedly centered around the business dealings of Stan Lee Media.

The article also mentions Aaron Tonken as support for Paul's charges without noting that 1) Tonken, like Paul, is a convicted felon, currently serving a five-year prison sentence for bilking celebrities, and 2) WND published Tonken's book about the misdeeds that made him a convicted felon, with the usual Clinton-bashing thrown in for effect (would WND have published Tonken's book if he didn't put that in?). Additionally, the article fails to note that the United States Justice Foundation, Paul's legal representative in the case, has also represented WND in the past. (CNSNews.com sets a fine example in this regard.)

The article further calls Paul's latest legal action a "second amended complaint." What does that mean? Is Paul making additional claims, or is he retracting claims he previously made? WND doesn't say.

This is just another example of how WND is so eager to smear the Clintons that it treats the claims of a convicted felon as pearls of wisdom.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:31 AM EDT
Quote of the Day
Topic: NewsBusters

"As Brent Bozell demonstrated back in the day, for Rush Limbaugh to state that sportswriters were rooting for black quarterbacks like Donovan McNabb was a simple, easily provable truism."

-- Tim Graham, Aug. 24 NewsBusters post

As we demonstrated back in the day: No, he didn't. 


Posted by Terry K. at 12:17 AM EDT
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Klein Pushes Unsubstantiated al-Qaida Link to Kidnapping
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Aug. 24 WorldNetDaily article shows off what Aaron Klein does with his time when he's not undermining the Israeli government of Ehud Olmert: he's trying to claim that al-Qaida is operating in Gaza against Israel.

Under the subhead "Members of family lead terrorist groups with ties to al-Qaida," Klein's main claim here -- that "A clan from the Gaza Strip with members involved in major terror organizations are lead suspects in the kidnapping of Fox News reporter Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig" -- is attributed to the usual anonymous sources, this time "senior Palestinian security officials." Klein later repeats his claim that anonymous "[a]nalysts are speculating" that the group that kidnapped Centanni and Wiig, the Holy Jihad Battalion, "is a front for al-Qaida."

But nowhere does Klein explicitly claim, anonymous sources or not, that the clan Klein is writing about are members of the Holy Jihad Battalion. Instead, Klein intermixes all these claims to create the impression that al-Qaida is behind the kidnappings -- something for which he apparently has no substantive evidence.

Klein also must deal with his erroneous Aug. 14 assertion that "independent Palestinian gunmen" affiliated with the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades kidnapped Centanni and Wiig. He does it here by attempting a diversion:

Last week, within hours of the abductions, Abu Abir, spokesman for the Committees, denied to WorldNetDaily his group was behind the kidnappings but hinted "other groups" are involved.

But Klein doesn't quote Abir in his Aug. 14 article -- which carries the headline "Terrorists: We kidnapped Fox reporters" -- and has never reported Abir's denial of involvement until now. While Klein quoted a "senior Al Aqsa leader" who "claimed his group did not sanction the kidnapping," the guilt-by-association Klein portrays with Al Aqsa and the kidnapping is unmistakable.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:33 PM EDT
That Time of the Season
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Just as the arrival of Santa Claus in the Macy's Thanksgiving parade officially kicks off the annual Christmas season, the first WorldNetDaily article regurgitating a press release from a conservative legal organization kicks off the annual "war on Christmas" promotion.

And so, we have an Aug. 24 WND article that is devoted exclusively to to promoting the case being pushed by the Thomas More Legal Center (and, of course encapsulated in a press release), that New York City schools allow the display of "menorahs and star-and-crescent symbols, but not Christian symbols." As is WND's war-on-Christmas policy (which we've extensively detailed), WND does not quote anyone from the NY schools, while it quotes a representative from the Thomas More Law Center and quotes from the center's legal filings, as well as from the ruling of a judge who agrees with them.

And you thought that stores were putting up their Christmas decorations too early...


Posted by Terry K. at 12:40 PM EDT
New Article: WorldNetDaily's Digital Cudgel
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WND's reason for being these days is to relentlessly attack Israel's Ehud Olmert and agitate for his overthrow, but WND won't call for a similar removal of President Bush despite a similar list of offenses. Meanwhile, Aaron Klein's Olmert-bashing continues. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:14 AM EDT
The MRC vs. Bookmobiles
Topic: Media Research Center

Time magazine Karen Tumulty clearly struck a nerve at the Media Reserch Center with her article on Hillary Clinton. Why else would there be not one but two denunciations of a throwaway comment?

The offending comment: "Hillary has already figured as Lady Macbeth in enough volumes to fill a bookmobile." The offended parties: Brent Bozell and Tim Graham, who are penning an addition to that bookmobile (as we've noted).

In an Aug. 22 NewsBusters post, Graham sniffed that the comment "exaggerates the number of anti-Clinton tomes by a factor of five or ten," but seemed gratifed that Tumulty mentioned his and Bozell's book.

Bozell, for his part, saw even less humor in the remark than Graham did; in his Aug. 23 column devoted to denouncing Tumulty's article, he wrote of the "bookmobile" comment: "That's just servile exaggeration, just as there isn't a bookmobile of George W. Bush-bashing books." He seemed less pleased that Tumulty mentioned his book; at least, it didn't keep him from spending an entire column on the article.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:54 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Internet Hosting Companies = Media Outlets?
Topic: NewsBusters

In an Aug. 23 NewsBusters post, Dan Riehl attacks Internet hosting companies with Democratic ties who have declined to host the website for Sen. Joe Lieberman's independent campaign as engaging in the "fascist tactic of denying someone an ability to be heard via the Internet" (does that mean if we ask the MRC to host this website and they refuse, we can call Brent Bozell a fascist?), but the post is headlined, "Dem Media Outlets Shut Out Lieberman for Lamont." Since when are hosting companies "media outlets"?

Sheesh. How many posts have we written about Riehl in the past week or so? He's new there, but already he's bucking to join NewsBusters A-list of misinformation-pushing and stupid-statement-making posters, alongside Mark Finkelstein and Noel Sheppard.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:50 PM EDT
Klein Fails to Admit Earlier False Claim on Fox Kidnapping
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Remember when WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein reported that the kidnappers of Fox News employees Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig were "independent Palestinian gunmen" affiliated with the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades? Never mind!

Klein hews closer to actual facts in an Aug. 22 article, reporting that "an unknown Palestinian terror organization" called the Holy Jihad Battalion has taken responsibility for kidnapping Centanni and Wiig. Klein fails to reference his earlier, erroneous claim, which he attributed to "leaders of the Al Aqsa Martys Brigades terror group." Well, shoot, if you can't trust a terrorist to tell you the truth, who can you trust?

Nevertheless, Klein continues to trust terrorists in his new article, authoritatively citing "the leader of a terror group that claims it represents the interests of al-Qaida" as making claims about why Centanni and Wiig were kidnapped, though Klein does not directly link this group to the kidnapping.

Klein further claims that "Analysts are speculating the group is a front for al-Qaida," though he quotes no analysts actually doing so. As we've noted, Klein relies heavily on anonymous and unsubstantiated claims, usually in the service of attacking Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert.

(UPDATE: Speaking of which, here's today's anti-Olmert article from Klein.)


Posted by Terry K. at 3:22 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 23, 2006 3:36 PM EDT
CNS Spins for George Allen
Topic: CNSNews.com

An Aug. 23 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones serves up a heapin' helping of favorable coverage of Republican Sen. George Allen, who sparked controversy by calling a staffer of Indian descent for his Democratic opponent, James Webb, who had been videotaping Allen's public appearances, a "macaca."

First, Jones tried to portray the controversy as over with the lead: "Sometimes controversy has a short shelf-life, and that appears to be the case with Sen. George Allen, the Virginia Republican who's running for re-election." Jones then offered a most charitable explanation for Allen's comment:

Allen was making the point that instead of visiting many parts of Virginia, Webb is simply sending a cameraman to record the competition.

This claim is unattributed -- understandable, since Jones seems to be on her own here in advancing this theory. In fact, Allen himself is on record with a different explanation: that in saying, "Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia," he was simply saying, "Just to the real world. Get outside the Beltway and get to the real world." Allen, as far as we know, has not claimed that the cameraman is Webb's proxy. Further, Jones offers no evidence that Webb has, in fact, refused to appear in "many parts of Virginia."

Having papered over that controversy, Jones went on to portray Webb's campaign as "cash-strapped" and dependent upon "media messengers, such as the Washington Post, which has run repeated stories about what some Allen supporters consider a manufactured controversy."

Jones has certainly done her part to play into that claim. Does that mean she's an "Allen supporter" too?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:51 PM EDT
A Reminder
Topic: NewsBusters

An Aug. 22 NewsBusters post by Dan Riehl takes offense at the idea at the suggestion that the reason the kidnapping of two Fox News employees in Gaza has not gotten the press conservatives think it deserves is because Fox News is generally hostile to the rest of the news media.

Let us take this opportunity to remind Riehl that his fellow NewsBusters are lusting to see footage of ABC's Bob Woodruff getting blown up and NewsBusters readers have asserted that Woodruff deserved to get blown up.

While we don't like to see journalists kidnapped (being former journalists ourselves), right-wingers have generally been so hostile to journalists -- as illustrated above -- that we are perversely amused when they demand sympathy for a conservative-friendly journalist in trouble. Riehl's own blog, Riehl World View, is an example; while Riehl himself appears to have refrained from editorial comment on Woodruff's injuries, the first comment on a Riehl post about the incident reads, "Shame they are taking away the time and attention of the good doctors from the soldiers."

If the alleged lack of coverage of the Fox News kidnappings is based solely on ideology, that's wrong. But Riehl must certainly be aware that if the kidnapping victims worked for, say, CBS instead of Fox News, a significant number of people on his side of the political spectrum -- including commenters at blogs he posts to -- would be rooting for the kidnappers to serve up the Daniel Pearl treatment.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:51 AM EDT
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Quote of the Day
Topic: Newsmax

"I know both individuals personally, Mel and Christ — and my friend Mel is no anti-Semite."

-- Pat Boone, Aug. 22 NewsMax column, in which he "literally and reverentially" asks people to "Lay off of Mel Gibson, for Christ's sake!"

Somewhat less interesting is Boone's Aug. 17 column, in which he attacked the Senate because it "failed – again – to abolish the 'death tax,' the so-called estate tax." Boone mysteriously fails to mention how much money his estate will save after his death from the elimination of the estate tax.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:57 PM EDT
NewsBusters: Time Mentioned Our Book!
Topic: NewsBusters

An Aug. 22 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham seems to forgive a Time profile of Hillary Clinton for the offense of being "sometimes gooey" because it mentions the new anti-Clinton book he and Brent Bozell are writing. (And Graham actually describes his book as "anti-Clinton," refreshingly dispensing with the pretense that it's anything other than a partisan hit job.)

The book, by the way, is titled "Whitewash: How the News Media are Paving Hillary Clinton's Path to the Presidency" and is due out in September 2007. Such a title suggests that one prominent feature of it will be Clay Waters' report on how the New York Times allegedly drools all over Hillary -- which we debunked as being full of dubious and unsupported claims.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:44 PM EDT
WND Buries the Lead on Hitler-Darwin Claim
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Aug. 22 WorldNetDaily article -- the second WND article to promote an upcoming video issued by evangelical activist D. James Kennedy "linking Darwin to Hitler and the contemporary abortion industry" -- focuses mostly on "attacks" on the video by bloggers. But WND buries the actual news to come out of this: that one person who appears in the video not only doesn't ascribe to that theory, he was inserted without his permission.

The article claims that Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome Project, was "targeted" by bloggers for appearing in the video. The article offers only one link to such criticism, the blog Pharyngula. The article noted that Collins is a "theistic evolutionist" who "explained that he had been interviewed by Coral Ridge [Kennedy's ministry] about his book, and the taping was inserted into the program without his advance knowledge," and quoted Coral Ridge as saying that "Collins' comments weren't sought in an advocacy role" and "is not presented as an advocate of the Darwin-Hitler thesis." But that's buried further down in the article, obscuring the apparent deception of Collins being used in the video without his consent.

The article also notes that "blog criticism attacked him for appearing on the special, then offered a half-hearted apology," but the Pharyngula link the article supplies offers a much more straightforward apology from the blog's PZ Myers than the article suggests: "I apologize to Dr Collins for assuming he was a party to this creationist video, and I hope he sues those frauds."

Interestingly, the article treats the Darwin-Hitler link as incontrovertible fact rather than a provocative, partisan thesis promoted by right-wing Christians. An accompanying photo of a emaciated prisoners at a World War II concentration camp carries the caption: "The results of Darwin's theories."

This video is not the first time that WND has promoted a Darwin-Hitler link. In a March 23 column, WND editor Joseph Farah called evolution "a malodorous, filthy, contemptuous lie from the pit of hell" and cited an article purporting to illustrate "how the genocidal mania of Hitler could only be built on a foundation of evolution." (That may explain why WND is treating the Darwin-Hitler claim as fact.) And a July 1 column by Tom Flannery claimed, "The idea of a superior race eliminating all 'inferiors' on the basis of evolutionary dogma originated not with Hitler, but with Darwin. Not surprisingly, this was an idea also enthusiastically embraced by the racist and eugenicist Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood."

(A follow-up post by Myers notes: "I've been linked to by WorldNetDaily. Hoo-weee, you should see the sewage in my mailbox now.")


Posted by Terry K. at 1:54 PM EDT
Monday, August 21, 2006
CNS Questions Poll That Contradicts Conservative Agenda
Topic: CNSNews.com

An Aug. 21 CNSNews.com article by Nathan Burchfiel promotes the concerns raised by "pro-life advocates" who attacked a NARAL Pro-Choice America poll finding that a majority of respondents agree that "we need to keep politicians and government out of women's personal decisions about whether or not to have an abortion." According to the article, the poll is "inconsistent with numerous other surveys indicating that most Americans prefer that abortion be less available," ostensibly because only "registered and likely voters" were polled. This means that the "the poll was unable to gauge the general population's opinion." Burchfiel quoted one person, the National Right to Life Committee's Susan Muskett, as saying, "I think you just need to consider this is a poll that's released by a pro-abortion group."

But just 10 days ago, Burchfiel reported on an immigration-related poll by a "conservative grassroots organization" without noting the group's anti-immigration agenda as a factor that could skew the poll's findings. As we noted, the group's poll did indeed skew toward reinforcing its agenda by using biased language such as "illegal alien" (though Burchfiel included a wonderful disclaimer about the pollster's relationship to the Media Research Center, CNS' parent).

We would ask why a conservative news outlet scrutinizes polls that promote non-conservative views more severely than those that promote conservative views, but it's all pretty self-explanatory, isn't it?


Posted by Terry K. at 6:05 PM EDT

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