WND Lack of Disclosure Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Oct. 14 WorldNetDaily column by Jerome Corsi tries to revive dubious allegations that Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland is gay (despite being married). But nowhere in his column nor in his bio at the end does Corsi disclose that he wrote a book with Strickland's Republican opponent, Ken Blackwell.
Here's the lead to an Oct. 13 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones:
In yet another apparent attempt to suppress the conservative vote in November, a former White House official is out with a new book suggesting that President Bush's top political advisers ridiculed evangelical leaders -- calling them "nuts" and "goofy" behind their backs, while embracing them in public to win votes (as the Los Angeles Times put it).
Yes, it's another carry-the-Republican-water hit job from Jones -- this one on the new book by David Kuo, a former official in the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives -- that hardly bothers with the pretense of being a "news" article. The only specific claim Jones cites from Kuo's book, as taken from the Los Angeles Times article she's referencing, is the above one, that Bush officials called evangelical leaders "nuts" and "goofy"; she quotes a spokesperson from Focus on the Family attacking the book and defending the Bush administration -- but never countering any specific claim Kuo makes in the book.
And, since the point of her article was to attack the book and not fairly examine its claims, Jones fails to note that Kuo makes the same claim as John DiIulio, the former head of the Faith-Based Initiatives office -- that the Bush administration cared only how the program fit into its political agenda. But that would have required actual reporting and research, which Jones does not do. She's much more content regurgitating press releases.
An Oct. 13 WorldNetDaily article bizarrely claims that an incident in which the head of Michelle Malkin was apparently digitally added to a photo of a woman in a bikini was an "Internet assault."
The article further describes Eric Muller -- who decisively debunked Malkin's 2004 book "In Defense of Internment" -- as a "Malkin-obsessed UNC professor" for posting the photo on his website. But WND mentions nothing about Muller's discrediting of Malkin.
NewsBusters' latestreferences to the AP's flawed story about Harry Reid's land deal that fail to acknowledge the problems with the story -- problems NewsBusters would almost certainly acknowledge had the subject of the story been a Republican and not a Democrat:
No. 8: "NB Staff" noting that conservative radio host Mark Levin repeated earlier NewsBusters items on the Reid story.
No. 9:Clay Waters, referring to "the Associated Press story that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid failed to disclose a real estate deal in which he made a $700,000 profit." That's somewhat close to accurate, but that's not what the AP reported; it erroneously claimed that Reid "collected a $1.1 million windfall."
No. 10:Michael Rule, referencing Reid's "lucrative, yet questionable, land deal," linking to the erroneous AP article.
MRC Continues to Ignore Questions About AP-Reid Story Topic: NewsBusters
Rich Noyes because the seventh NewsBusters poster in the past couple days to reference the supposed land-sale scandal involving House Democratic Leader Harry Reid, as reported by the Associated Press. And like his six colleagues, Noyes fails to address the questions that have been raised about the AP story.
Meanwhile, yesterday's NewsBusters items by Brent Baker, Scott Whitlock and Tim Graham about the AP Reid story were repeated in today's MRC CyberAlert -- again, all without acknowledging the questions raised about it.
Does WND Really Think That Catholics Aren't Christians? Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Oct. 13 WorldNetDaily article on Georgetown University's decision to bar outside Protestant student ministries from campus misconstrues the issue to the point where it portrays the Catholic school as not being Christian.
The opening paragraph describes Georgetown as a " 'Christian' college." And rather than describing the groups as Protestant, most references to them describe them as "Christian evangelical," falsely suggesting that all Christian groups are barred and ignoring the fact that Catholics are Christians.
As per WND practice, the article is told from the point of the view of the conservative legal group Alliance Defense Fund, which is fighting the decision, and doesn't allow anyone from Georgetown to respond to ADF's claims. The article does state that "The university did not respond to a request from WND for a comment," but this is not such a pressing issue -- in fact, WND first reported on it in a Aug. 26 article that more accurately described the barred groups as Protestant -- that WND could not have waited for Georgetown officials to respond. Further, that article includes a defense of the policy by Georgetown officials that were not included in the new article. Do WND reporters not read their own website?
Kincaid: Gay Republicans Are Actually Democrats Topic: Accuracy in Media
In his Oct. 9 Accuracy in Media column, Cliff Kincaid insinuates that you can't be both gay and a Republican (not to mention aggressively misinterpreting BlogActive's Michael Rogers, as we noted). In his Oct. 12 column he comes right out and says it. And not just that: he claims that gay Republicans are, in fact, Democrats:
If you are getting the idea that gay Republicans may be closeted Democrats, then you are beginning to understand how the Mark Foley scandal could have been a Democratic Party dirty trick.
So if the gay Republicans are not really Republicans, what are they? One veteran observer of this ["secret gay"] network told AIM that the Foley scandal should make it crystal clear that the gay Republicans are in reality "liberal activists" who want to use the party to advance the same homosexual agenda embraced by the Democrats.
Kincaid also attacks Rep. Jim Kolbe, the first openly gay Republican in Congress, as a "closeted Democrat": "It's certainly the case that he started acting more like a Democrat once his secret life was exposed."
Kincaid also states, " It is also beyond dispute that the current scandalous state of affairs will outlive the Foley scandal unless the secret network of bludgeon and blackmail is exposed." But what Kincaid seems to want instead is for that bludgeoning of gay Republicans -- by people like himself, for no other reason than the fact that they're gay -- to be out in the open.
Bozell: Pelosi Loves NAMBLA! Topic: Media Research Center
The latest method of distracting attention from the Mark Foley scandal: Link Nancy Pelosi to NAMBLA!
Brent Bozell tries this move in his Oct. 12 column. But the closest he can come to actually doing that is claiming that "in a 2001 “gay pride” parade in San Francisco, Nancy Pelosi was just three spots in the parade from radical gay advocate Harry Hay, who avidly spoke in favor of sex with teens and fiercely advocated for NAMBLA’s inclusion in gay-pride parades." In other words, it's guilt by proximity -- which doesn't link Pelosi to NAMBLA at all.
Which goes to show that Bozell claims at the end of his column that "None of this is meant to minimize what is rightful outrage over Foley’s scummy behavior, and the actions (or inactions) of anyone covering them up," minimizing it is exactly what he's trying to do.
The AP tried to characterize Bush as a "tepid" supporter of Speaker Hastert and directly said that "half the country" wanted Hastert to resign.
So, um, WHERE do they get this "half the country" statistic? Out of their rear-ends, that's where.
Maybe we might be near the truth to say half the registered voters might have said that they want Hastert to resign, but CERTAINLY not half the country. Not even half the country votes in the first place! And, it is highly doubtful that half the electorate even knows who Denny Hastert is to even want him to resign.
No, this "half the country" statistic is a figment of the AP's fever swamp imagination.
About half of Americans believe the scandal over former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley's contacts with teenage congressional pages should cost House Speaker Dennis Hastert his leadership post, according to a CNN poll released Monday.
The poll, conducted Friday through Sunday by Opinion Research Corp., found that 52 percent of the 1,028 adults interviewed think Hastert should step aside. Thirty-one percent said they think he should keep his post, and 17 percent had no opinion.
ConWeb Promotes Dubious AP Article on Reid Topic: The ConWeb
So, how's the rest of the ConWeb promoting the dubious AP article about Harry Reid?
WorldNetDaily latched onto the article as well, without reporting the questions about the article's central claim that Reid cleared $1.1 million in a land deal. It also promoted the AP's claim that Reid hung on the AP reporter doing the article without the reporter's history of misleading articles about Democrats.
NewsMax ran the AP article under the headline, "Sen. Harry Reid: $1 Million in Shady Land Deal."
CNSNews.com, meanwhile, gets all snarky in a front-page blurb:
Bias? Hmmm. The "Foley scandal" gets another mention on the front page of Thursday's Washington Post, but you'll have to turn to page A-3 to see the article headlined "Reid Land Deal Under Scrutiny." The sub-head makes it sound like this is nothing more than a question of "disclosure requirements.
CNS does no actual article on it but, rather, a "News This Hour" brief. It repeats the dubious claim that Reid "collect[ed] $1.1 million" on the deal --but, like the rest of the ConWeb, fails to note the questions raised about the claim.
Also note the scare quotes around "Foley scandal," reflecting CNS' desire to pretend that there is no scandal since it involves Republicans (as we've previously noted).
NewsBusters' Double Standard on the AP Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters is quick to attack the Associated Press when it reports anything seen as reflecting poorly on conservatives or the Bush administration -- for example, Al Brown's Oct. 12 post bashing the AP for "spreading disinformation" through a "dishonest" headline on the Army's plans to maintain current troop levels in Iraq through 2010. But what happens when the AP issues misleading information that reflects poorly on Democrats?
Why, it promotes it, of course -- then criticize folks for not similarly giving it big play. From an Oct. 11 post by Terry Trippany:
Did you happen to go home from work this evening and miss this AP Exclusive?
Not too surprisingly the exclusive AP story didn’t make its way onto the front page of the New York Times or Washington Post web editions yet (at the time of this posting). You can search for it however. It appears that the powers that be in our lib friendly newsrooms are too busy pushing speculative studies with inflated numbers of deaths for the war in Iraq.
But the article Trippany is promoting -- claiming that "Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a Las Vegas land sale even though he hadn’t personally owned the property for three years, property deeds show" -- has problems. As TPM Muckraker points out, that claim isn't true:
Reid made a $700,000 profit on the sale, not $1.1 million. Also, the story, by the AP’s John Solomon, makes it sound as if Reid got money for land he didn't own. But that's not the case. It purports to show that Reid collected $1.1 million on the sale of land he didn’t own.
Yet, as Solomon obliquely acknowledges, Reid, who had bought the land along with a friend in 1998, transferred his ownership in the land to a limited liability company in 2001. The company, which was composed solely of this land owned by Reid and his friend, in turn sold the land in 2004. That's when Reid collected his $1.1 million share of the sale. Since Reid had originally put down $400,000 on the sale, his profit was $700,000, not the full $1.1 million, as Solomon states in his lead.
And, as Media Matters notes, AP reporter John Solomon has previously written misleading reports by Solomon about Senate Democrats, including Reid.
Yet, NewsBusters has chosen not to point out these problems to its readers -- solely because the article's target is a Democrat instead of a Republican. Double standard, anyone?
UPDATE: NewsBusters' Clay Waters, Greg Sheffield and Scott Whitlock also promote the AP's allegations at face value without noting the questions raised about them. Waters also notes Reid's "hanging up on an AP reporter questioning him about the deal" without noting that reporter's history of reporting misleading claims about Reid.
UPDATE 2: Tim Graham joins in, again without noting questions about the article's accuracy.
An Oct. 12 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones regurgitates a list of claims by the conservative American Family Association that makes several dubious claims about "what conservatives can expect if Democrats regain control of Congress." Among them:
-- A push to make homosexual marriage and polygamy legal in all 50 states.
-- Only liberal judges will be appointed. They will create laws to implement the social agenda liberals cannot get passed through the legislative process.
-- Liberals will make the killing of the unborn more difficult to stop.
-- Liberals will continue to try to rid our society of Christian influence, including any reference to God in our Pledge and on our currency.
-- An increase in taxes to push new social programs.
-- Passing a new "hate crimes" law making it illegal to refer to homosexuality in a negative manner.
Jones reported the AFA's assertions uncritically, making no attempt to fact-check the AFA's claims nor permitting a Democrat to respond. In other words, Jones is doing PR work for the AFA.
This is reminiscient of the 2004 presidential, when CNS refused to fact-check claims made by Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth against John Kerry because CNS agreed with the Swift Boaters' anti-Kerry agenda.
WND Solicits for Legal Fund, Won't Disclose Donors Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Oct. 9 WorldNetDaily article once again pleads for donations to WND's legal defense fund. And once again, it makes unsubstantiated claims about Al Gore supporter Clark Jones' lawsuit against WND. As we've documented, WND and editor Joseph Farah have made numerous unsubstantiated claims about Jones and the lawsuit.
There is one way WND could address this whole thing fairly and transparently, as we've proposed: post all court filings in the case on its website and open the books on its legal defense fund to the public and disclose its donors. WND has yet to respond to either request.
As the saying goes, if you have nothing to hide, you hide nothing.
Reality-Checking the 'Reality Check' Topic: Media Research Center
In yet another attempt to tamp down the Mark Foley scandal, the Media Research Center issued an Oct. 11 "Media Reality Check" by Tim Graham comparing news coverage of the Foley scandal with Democratic congressman Mel Reynolds' sex scandal more than a decade earlier. (Hint: Graham would not have done this if there was more coverage about Reynolds.) Graham tried to put a misleading, objective patina on the otherwise partisan claims:
There are obviously some differences in the two sex scandals. Foley’s Web interactions were with a congressional page, while Mel Reynolds was dealing with a minor in private. But Foley’s scandal is based on sex talk, while Reynolds not only had an active sex life with one teen, he was trying to add more teen sex partners.
But Foley's "Web interactions" weren't with "a congressional page"; they were with numerous pages. Some other differences Graham failed to note:
Unlike Reynolds, Foley preyed on congressional pages under the supervision of Congress.
Unlike Reynolds' Democratic superiors in the House, Foley's Republican superiors were warned of his predatory behavior years before and apparently did nothing about it.
Graham also does not break down his story list into stories only about Foley's actions and stories about Repubican inaction on Foley, arguably separate stories.
Graham's version of reality appears to be what is in need of a "reality check."
An Oct. 11 WorldNetDaily article serves up the most bizarre spin yet on the Mark Foley scandal, suggests that Ohio gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland's vote of "present" seven years ago on a 1999 House resolution condemning a study on child sexual abuse is somehow equivalent to Foley's serial preying on congressional pages.
The article misdescribed the study as "an American Psychological Association study supporting 'nonnegative sexual interactions between adults and adolescents.' " It is not "an American Psychological Association study"; the study merely appeared in a journal published by the APA. Nevertheless, the article repeatedly calls it an "APA study."
Also, the study does not "support 'nonnegative sexual interactions between adults and adolescents.' " Rather, according to the study's abstract, the study reviewed 59 previous studies to test the belief, held by "[m]any lay persons and professionals," that "child sexual abuse (CSA) causes intense harm, regardless of gender, pervasively in the general population." It found that "Self-reported reactions to and effects from CSA indicated that negative effects were neither pervasive nor typically intense, and that men reacted much less negatively than women."
Further, the study's conlcusions contradict WND's claim that it "supports" adolescent-adult sex:
In this sense, the findings of the current review do not imply that moral or legal definitions of or views on behaviors currently classified as CSA should be abandoned or even altered. The current findings are relevant to moral and legal positions only to the extent that these positions are based on the presumption of psychological harm.
While one conclusion of the study is that not all instances of adult-adolescent sex are automatically "abuse," it does not endorse adult-adolescent sex as WND claims. WND also claims that "The APA study claimed scientific evidence established that sex between adults and underage minors might be positive for children"; in fact, the study makes no such claim. It merely states that some victims of childhood sexual abuse perceived their experiences as positive, which is a reason for researchers to take "a more thoughtful approach" when examining the issue.
WND goes on to claim without evidence that "Strickland's refusal to vote 'yea' has been interpreted as implicit support for pedophilia," but it does not report Strickland's previous comments defending his vote on the resolution, as stated in a 2005 Athens News article:
Strickland, who has publicly defended his HCR 107 vote in the past, reaffirmed Wednesday that he considers that his vote was cast "in support of the victims of abuse."
Strickland said at the time of the vote that he could not in good conscience support the resolution, because it declared that anyone who has had a childhood sexual relationship with an adult can never have a healthy and loving sexual relationship in later life, and is likely to become a sexual abuser him- or herself.
The congressman has argued that this is unfair to victims, and rules out the possibility of healing. He has also questioned, as a trained psychologist, whether most of his House colleagues even understood the specialized study they voted to condemn.
He added Wednesday that while he could have skipped the vote, he chose to vote "present" so that "my constituents would know that I wasn't just playing hooky."
While the article notes that "Strickland is the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Ohio running against Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell," it fails to disclose that WND is supporting Blackwell's candidacy through its publication of his book earlier this year (WND has a problem making such conflict-of-interest disclosures) and other previous articles attacking Blackwell's opponents. Nor does it note that Strickland has a double-digit lead over Blackwell in polls.