Matthew Sheffield, in a Sept. 20 NewsBusters post:
Sometimes when I'm talking about the media with someone who's smart but not particularly that political, they'll sometimes wonder why it's worth pointing out press bias or unfairness. The way they figure it, basically everyone is smart enough to take everything they see in the press with a grain of salt. If they come across something that's not true, they'll reject it.
It's a nice idea in theory, but in practice it just doesn't work that way. Most people are either too busy, too apathetic, or not intelligent enough to question the accuracy of something they see on TV or read somewhere.
Is that why Sheffield keeps falselyclaiming that liberals were trying to "censor" the ABC miniseries "The Path to 9/11" because it put Clinton administration officials in a "bad light" when, in fact, they were complaining that it put them in a false light?
Breaking: New WND Reporter Is Biased! Topic: WorldNetDaily
With his hiring by WorldNetDaily, Bob Unruh has apparently said "screw that" to everything he learned about journalism in his nearly 30 years' experience with the Associated Press. Here's the lead paragraph of his Sept. 20 article:
Another three dozen major American corporations have acceded to the demands of homosexual activists in their corporate decision-making process and have been given a top ranking in an activist group's annual assessment of their accommodations.
Unruh offers no evidence to back up his claim that "demands" have beed "acceded" to. Unruh also misspells "Volvo" as "Volva"; apparently, they don't have those fancy imported vehicles out where he is.
We suspected this would happen. This is apparently the reason he punted his AP career for WND -- he wanted to write biased news and not be held to any sort of standard of fairness. And WND is more than happy to indulge that urge.
Farah Gets It Wrong About Anthrax Topic: WorldNetDaily
Via Orcinus, we learn that WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah has been engaging in false fear-mongering. In his Sept. 11 column regarding the unsolved post-9/11 anthrax attacks, he wrote:
ABC News reported in October and November 2001 that at least five experts had identified a substance called bentonite that was used to upgrade the anthrax found in the letter sent to Sen. Tom Daschle's Washington office. ABC's experts, as well as former U.N. inspectors that worked in Iraq, claimed that bentonite "was a trademark of the Iraqi germ warfare program."
ABC wasn't the only news agency that reported the bentonite discovery. The Wall Street Journal also claimed it was detected in the anthrax mailings that nearly paralyzed the country.
Remember bentonite? It turns out one of the largest manufacturers is (get ready for this, Michael Moore) a subsidiary of Halliburton, Vice President Dick Cheney's former employer.
In fact, bentonite was not found in the anthrax mailings. David Neiwert at Orcinus links to a website compiling evidence about the anthrax attacks, which points out that, contrary to ABC's claims, no trace of aluminum -- an indicator of bentonite -- was ever detected in tested anthrax samples.
Orcinus also notes that Michelle Malkin linked and excerpted Farah's column as evidence for the erroneous bentonite claim.
A Sept. 18 NewsMax article by Ronald Kessler paints the Bush administration's faith-based initiative in glowing terms, complete with the Bush sycophancy Kessler has become known for:
The media have characterized Bush's faith-based initiative as a way to introduce religion into the public sphere. Because he prays and reads the Bible every day, they routinely portray Bush himself as a religious zealot.
In fact, many of Bush's closest friends going back to Yale say he has never brought up religion with them. Bush talks about religion publicly only when asked questions by reporters.
Kessler himself declares:
While the initiative may seem like a way of mixing church and state, further examination reveals that it is simply a way to make sure that organizations that help the needy are not deprived of federal funds simply because they are affiliated with a religious group.
Kessler features Jim Towey, the current occupant of the White House's Faith-based and Community Initiatives office, but fails to mention the first occupant of that post, John DiIulio. That could be that after he resigned the post in 2002, he complained that the Bush White House cared much more about politics than policy, infamously calling it "the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis."
Apparently, if Kessler can't turn it into a straw man, he won't address it at all.
WorldNetDaily still can't get over the thought of female (not male) high school teachers having sex with students. A Sept. 19 WND article plays up "the latest instructor following in the path of other female teachers who rape their students and receive little or no jail time."
And once again, WND includes its lengthy list of cases illustrating "the phenomenon of teachers accused or convicted of having sex with their students" without noting, as we did, that some of the incidents on that list date back as much as 15 years and was plucked from a gossip website.
This time, though, WND did admit that its obsession is confined to female teachers, noting that its list includes only "cases involving women." What WND has never explained, though, is why it is holding only female teachers to such close scrutiny. Don't male teachers have sex with students, too? Why isn't WND calling them out?
NewsBusters' Greg Sheffield didn't like it one bit when conservative radio hosts were accused of inciting harrassment of Muslims. From a Sept. 18 post:
Blame it on talk radio. That is what Washington Post reporter Michelle Boorstein accepts as the reason for an increase in the harassment of Muslims in the U.S. It has nothing to do with terrorist attacks or threats of violence against those like the Pope who dare question any aspect of Islam.
In a media ranking of all those who are capable of committing a sin, talk radio hosts are near the top, while Muslims are close to the bottom, between baby lambs and blind orphans.
But NewsBusters is quick to accuse others of incitement when it's politically advantageous. In a Sept. 19 NewsBusters post, Mark Finkelstein accuses Keith Olbermann of trying to incite a revolt against the Bush administration:
Olbermann didn't call on the Kosmonauts, netrooters and assorted Moveoners of the world to take to the barricades today. But with an entire universe of provocative statements from which to draw for his hypothetical, Olbermann chose the one invoking the people's right to rebel and overthrow an oppressive government. Let's say he put revolution in the air.
Of course, being an Olbermann post at NewsBusters, Finkelstein threw in the requisite Olbermann-bashing content, such as claiming that Olbermann "plays to his Daily Kos demographic with vitriolic condemnations of all things Bush" and references to "hyper-partisanship" and "the nec plus ultra of nastiness."
Why is hurling accusations of incitement bad when liberals do it but perfectly fine when conservatives do it? Because it's a conservative double standard.
Seesholtz Responds to WND Topic: WorldNetDaily
Mel Seesholtz -- the victim of Joseph Farah's current hysterical anti-gay jihad -- has issued a response to Farah's latest paranoid broadside. The e-mail Seesholtz quotes from a WND reader is quite entertaining.
WND Books, WorldNetDaily's book division, is publishing a new book next month co-written by right-wing radio host (and WND columnist) Melanie Morgan. Called "American Mourning," it's being promoted as telling "the whole truth about Cindy Sheehan." Given that things promoted by WND as being the "whole truth" usually aren't (Diana Lynne's book on the Terri Schiavo case comes immediately to mind), we have our doubts.
The prime piece of evidence is the bias of co-author Morgan. She is the chairman of Move America Forward, which bills itself as a "pro-troops" group. Last year, it sponsored the "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy" bus tour; as The Hill reported, "Sheehan is the main villain in Move America Forward’s war narrative." Morgan's columns also contain much anti-Sheehan rhetoric:
A December 2005 column lists Sheehan as among those who "hold a twisted hatred of this country."
A column from March wrote of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez: "Apparently he cringed at the notion that Cindy Sheehan might outdo him in shameless conduct."
An April column called Sheehan part of a "a leftist jihad on our campuses that tolerate only one point of view."
A June column referenced "the generation of Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan and anti-war activists protesting at the funerals of military personnel" despite the fact that Sheehan does not protest at military funerals (that would be these guys).
Morgan is so eager to be "pro-troops" that she has forwarded dubious claims and falsehoods about the war.
In a July 7 column, Morgan claims that she "truly ha[s] empathy for" Sheehan, but it's not what we're seeing from her. Will Morgan really serve up the "whole story" of Cindy Sheehan? Given her track record, we wouldn't count on it.
CNS Ignores Other Side of the Story Topic: CNSNews.com
A Sept. 18 CNSNews.com article by Randy Hall details a report by a "conservative think tank" that claims that "[l]abor leaders have established a close relationship with anti-American, anti-war activists." But Hall fails to obtain any response from labor leaders to the study.
Hall uncritically repeats the report's claims, by the anti-union National Legal and Policy Center, such as referring to antiwar groups as "tight and incestuous" and "shadowy" and a demand that "Congress should repeal the forced-dues collection clause in the National Labor Relations Act ... so rank-and-file union members are not required to subsidize subversion."
Hall does quote "Toby Chaudhuri, communications director at the Campaign for America's Future - which Horowitz claims is a 'union-funded' group" as claiming that "the conflict in Iraq was caused by different partnership than the one discussed in the report," but 1) Chaudhuri's group is not a union organization and therefore not a primary target of the NLPC report, and 2) Hall does not quote Chaudhuri as responding to the report's conclusions but, rather, a small part of it that allows Hall to portray Chauduri as a radical -- thus reinforcing the NLPC's anti-union attack.
Will Hall bother to do a follow-up with a response to this report from union officials, and let their remarks stand without being countered by the NLPC, as Hall allowed their report to stand unchallenged here? Don't count on it.
Sheffield Still Misrepresenting 'Path to 9/11' Criticism Topic: NewsBusters
As he did earlier, NewsBusters' Matthew Sheffield is continuing to misrepresent liberal criticism of the ABC miniseries "The Path to 9/11." In a Sept. 18 post, approvingly citing a Wall Street Journal op-ed by the show's screenwriter and producer, Cyrus Nowrasteh, Sheffield refers to "left-wing critics who tried to censor a film that portrayed Democrats in any kind of a bad light."
As we noted before, the problem "The Path to 9/11" is not that was "portrayed Democrats in any kind of a bad light"; it's that it portrayed Democrats in a false light. Sheffield apparently does not understand the difference between the two.
Interestingly, the subhead on Nowrasteh's op-ed misleadingly reads, "My sin was to write a screenplay accurately depicting Bill Clinton's record on terrorism." The problem, of course, is that hedidn't. Apparently, Nowrasteh doesn't understand the difference either.
WND Ignores Schindler-Randall Terry Split Topic: WorldNetDaily
Here's something we didn't learn about from WorldNetDaily: The Schindler family -- Terri Schiavo's parents and siblings -- and Randall Terry, who served as a spokesman and activist for the Schindlers during the Terri Schiavo controversy, have apparently had a falling out.
A Sept. 2 article on the right-wing North Country Gazette by June Maxam attacks Terry for invoking the Schiavo case in soliciting fund for his campaign for a state legislature seat in Florida (which he decisively lost). According to Maxam, the conservative "grassroots" group RightMarch used a letter purportedly signed by Bob Schindler, Terri's father, to raise money for Terry's campaign:
Bob Schindler didn't write that letter. Randall Terry has used the name of Bob Schindler and Terri without authorization, a misappropriation of name. This is the individual who has sued his opponent for what he claims is slander and decried the so-called tactics of Jim King. Terry tactics are no better; in fact, they're far worse.
The misuse and misrepresentation by Randall Terry of the Schindler name has caused the family to place a disclaimer notice at the web site for the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation, proclaiming "Fraudulent Fundraising Alert!" The notice says "There is presently a solicitation letter being circulated that falsely implies that a member of the Schindler family is requesting donations for a political candidate. Any sources soliciting contributions in the name of the Schindler family is unauthorized, misleading and totally disingenuous".
Maxam further attacks RightMarch for "exploit[ing] Terri Schiavo in order to raise money for their own causes." Further, she even brings in Gary McCullough, who she describes as Terry's "best friend," into it, calling him, Terry, and RightMarch head William Greene, claiming that all of them are using methods "akin to snake oil sales tactics and not only exploit Terri Schiavo but desecrate her name."
Maxam is very much on the Schindlers' side here; she claimed Michael Schiavo "used and abused the Schindlers" and called Terry's primary opponent, James King, "almost singlehandedly responsible for the death of Terri Schiavo for his refusal to support legislation which would have saved her life."
As we noted, WorldNetDaily didn't mention any of this. To the contrary, in an Aug. 12 article, it touted Terry's candidacy by reporting on his use of a Bill Clinton impersonator in phone calls to voters. WND threw in various resume bullet points about Terry, noting that he "is the author of six best-selling books and "has spent time in jail for his peaceful civil disobedience operations while with Operation Rescue in the 1980s and 1990s."
What you won't find in this article, though, is any mention of his connection to the Schiavo case. As we reported, Terry and McCullough played a notable role in bringing the Schiavo case into public consciousness in 2003.
But, as we also reported, WND news editor Diana Lynne's book on the Schiavo case, despite being promoted as "comprehensive," failed to mention Terry and McCullough at all. In our report on Lynne's book, we speculated that Lynne's reason for doing so was to downplay the Schindlers' connection to anti-abortion extremists like Terry and McCullough or the amount of behind-the-scenes orchestration that went on to publicize the Schiavo case. But now, we have to wonder something else: that the Schindlers no longer wanted to be associated with Terry, and Lynne was more than happy to expunge him from her (biased) version of the historical record. That whitewashing seems to have drifted into WND as a whole with its failure to mention Terry's Schiavo work in its Aug. 12 article.
And poor Bob Unruh thinks he's working for a "news" organization that provides an "unfiltered lens."
Rather than filtering Republican talking points through its particular lens -- as we've detailed the Media Research Center doing in the past -- NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard goes straight to the source in a Sept. 16 post and simply quotes a RNC press release attacking Rosie O'Donnell.
You have to admit: It does save money to just repeat the RNC talking points instead of rewriting them.
WND Still Misrepresenting Calif. Bills Topic: WorldNetDaily
Even as Joseph Farah descends into paranoia over the issue of proposed gay-related laws in California, his WorldNetDaily continues to distort and misrepresent those laws.
A Sept. 16 WND article uncritically states that the bills "have been approved by a pro-gay legislature." It described one proposal as a plan that would "arbitrarily withhold state funds from any school district that did not adequately promote the state 'model policy' on transsexuality, bisexuality or homosexuality," adding that another bill "would spend $250,000 to mandate "tolerance education" by promoting those alternative sexual lifestyle choices." As we've noted, this line of reasoning -- in fact, it's taken straight from a conservative group opposing the bills -- makes the logically fallacious assumption that non-criticism of homosexualtiy is the same thing as "promoting" it.
As we've documented, WND has consistently presented this issue only from the point of view of those who oppose it.
Joseph Farah's Sept. 16 WorldNetDaily column returns to the scene of his rhetorical crime of blowing up a desire to be "rid" of religious extremists like Farah who have distorted and misled about homosexuality-related bills in California -- as expressed in an Online Journal article by Mel Seesholtz -- into a threat to kill him, despite Seesholtz's explicit statement that that wasn't his intent.
Farah again referred to Seesholtz's "thinly veiled call for my death, along with James Dobson's" and "a nutcase calling for my head" -- despite the fact that he links to a letter to WND by Seesholtz, in which he writes:
Nowhere in my essay – or in my life – have I ever called for anyone to be killed. …
Aside from being taken out of context, when did "rid" become "kill"? To be sure, I would like to "rid" the U.S. Senate of politicians such as Rick Santorum, but certainly wish the man no physical harm.
Farah never acknowledges this explicit claim, so lost is he in his paranoid fantasy. Instead, he continues his personal attack on Seesholtz; in addition to calling him a "nutcase," Farah says he "has turned the vilification of Christians and the promotion of same-sex marriage into something of a cottage industry" and calls him "Ward Churchill of the pro-perversion, anti-Christian crowd." Farah's rant also expands to homosexuality as a whole: "Since homosexuals don't reproduce naturally, they need to recruit – not to be their children, mind you, but to be their prey"
Farah continues to misrepresent the bill that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed that would have prohibited school textbooks from "reflecting adversely" on a large list of various minority groups, including gays. Farah repeats the claims of WND's "news" articles on the issue -- biased articles, as we've documented -- that the bill would "mandated sexual indoctrination of kids from kindergarten on up," claiming, "This is not as [sic] education. This is homosexual reproduction." Farah added:
It's scary that California came as close as it did to imposing by force the values of the Mel Seesholtzes of the world on innocent little schoolchildren who have no need to hear about what homosexuals do in the privacy of their bedrooms, in the bathhouses, in the public restrooms and up on Brokeback Mountain.
Let's be honest; there's only one reason to teach kindergarteners about sexual perversion – and that is to raise a new generation of pliable sexual victims of that perversion.
You can couch this immorality in creative public-relations language. You can put any shade of lipstick on that pig you choose. But, at the end of the day, you know what is in the heart, minds and souls of those pushing their sick agenda down the throats of the innocent little schoolchildren.
Farah concluded that "Schwarzenegger made the right call when he terminated the bill with extreme prejudice." Anyone get the feeling that Farah wants to exercise a certain "extreme prejudice" upon gays, not to mention Seesholtz? Is the reason why Farah has chosen to interpret Seesholtz's article as a death threat because he secretly (or maybe not so secretly) wants to be "rid" of homosexuals in the very same manner?
UPDATE: Seesholtz has posted his own response at Online Journal, which is apparently the unexpurgated version of the the letter WND published.
The Santorum campaign constantly refers to their challenger as "Bobby Casey Jr." Using the diminutive is meant to remind voters that Mr. Casey's political career is a function of the fact that he is the son of the late governor.
If your job is to "expose and combat" bias, should you really be forwarding biased terminology in your own commentary?