WorldNetDaily's commentary page today includes a whopping seven columns attacking the Iraq Study Group report and its authors.
Joseph Farah leads the way with a broadside against ISG co-chairman James Baker, calling him "a legal pimp for Saudi Arabia" and a "Council on Foreign Relations hack." The report itself is called "lying, deceiving" and "evil."
Richard Booker ("a Christian minister and the founder and president of Sounds of the Trumpet Inc. and the Institute for Hebraic-Christian Studies located in Houston, Texas") joins Farah in the Baker-bashing, claiming that Baker "identifies" with "an anti-Semitic British official" based on a senior thesis Baker wrote as a Princeton undergraduate.
Melanie Morgan branded the report "a complete failure" and the work of "milquetoast do-gooders and has-been Washington insiders."
WND's "letter of the week" comes from Tim Hirota, who wrote, "it would seem that the methodology of the 'Study Group' consisted of James Baker and Lee Hamilton sitting in front of the TV watching CNN 24/7. The Report reads more like a declaration and terms of surrender." He goes on to called Baker and Hamilton "simple-minded" and insist that "An honest look at the war on terror, viewed both by current standards as well as history," shows that "opinion is nearly unanimous: We are winning in a big way."
Ilana Mercer is slightly more constructive, attacking the report's suggestion that Israel cede control of the Golan Heights.
Aaron Klein's Terrorist Buddies Weigh In on ISG Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Dec. 6 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein reprises his old partisan trick of interviewing alleged "senior terrorist leaders" who support Democratic views or oppose Republican ones. This time, the subject is the Iraq Study Group report. Klein's conclusion: The ISG's "recommendations for an eventual withdrawal from Iraq and for dialogue with Iran and Syria proves 'Islamic resistance' works and America will ultimately be defeated."
This time around, the designated terrorists are Islamic Jihad's Abu Ayman and Abu Abdullah of Hamas -- who both appeared in Klein's last effort, in which they endorsed a Democratic victory in the midterm elections -- along with a new player, Abu Nasser of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Actually, Nasser has appeared in numerous Klein articles issuing reliably inflammatory statements:
A July 20 article quoted him as having "hinted" that his group "obtained anti-aircraft missiles, which the group could use to target Tel Aviv International Airport."
In a May 15 article, Klein quoted Nasser as saying that the death of a Florida teenager in a suicide bombing at an Israeli restaurant was a "gift from Allah" and revenge against American Jewish support for Israel.
A Feb. 21 article featured Nasser as claiming his group would not respect any cease-fire with Israel agreed to by Hamas.
We've previously speculated on the extent to which Klein and the terrorists are collaborating, and whether Klein is merely a dupe or, in fact, a knowing tool of the terrorists. Still, we have to wonder: Given the fact that Klein is a conservative Jew with sympathies toward extreme Israeli right-wingers who oppose Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza, and his interview subjects have the stated goal of destroying the country where he lives, why doesn't Klein alert Israeli authorities to these terrorists' whereabouts -- since he obviously knows where to find them -- so the military can be sent in to deal with them?
Perhaps Klein is too cozy and too enamored with the propaganda value (not to mention the value to his journalism career) of his terrorist pals. Klein's gravy train, it seems, is more important than his country's security.
How Did Inhofe Get a CNS Article All to Himself? Topic: CNSNews.com
Among the threearticles that CNSNews.com devoted to reaction to the Iraq Study Group's report was this one by Nathan Burchfiel focusing exclusively on the views of Sen. James Inhofe (read: rewrote a press release). How did Inhofe manage to get such exclusive coverage from CNS?
One possible answer: A member of Inhofe's public relations team is Marc Morano, a former CNS reporter. Morano has been making his mark under Inhofe -- soon-to-be-outgoing chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works -- by issuing misleading press releases about global warming.
In a related note, another CNS article today by Randy Hall focuses on a hearing by Inhofe's committee on "the media's handling of climate change." One of the witnesses was Dan Gainor of the MRC's Business & Media Institute. Hall's article is surprisingly balanced for CNS, and it does disclose Gainor's ties to MRC.
(You may recall that Hall and Morano teamed up earlier this year on a smear job on Rep. John Murtha.)
WND Misquotes Will to Hide Will's Misquote Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Dec. 7 WorldNetDaily article on Les Kinsolving's question during a Dec. 6 White House press briefing regarding the encounter between President Bush and Sen.-elect Jim Webb not only embraces the inaccurate take on the incident by columnist George Will, it doctors a quote from Will's column to fix what he got wrong about the incident. From the article:
"Wednesday's Washington Post reported that at a White House reception for newly elected members of Congress, Webb 'tried to avoid President Bush,' refusing to pass through the reception line or have his picture taken with the president. When Bush asked Webb, whose son is a Marine in Iraq, 'How's your boy?' Webb replied, 'I'd like to get them out of Iraq.' Bush said, 'That's not what I asked you. How's your boy?' Webb replied, 'That's between me and my boy,' Will wrote.
Here's what Will actually wrote in his Nov. 30 column:
Wednesday's Post reported that at a White House reception for newly elected members of Congress, Webb "tried to avoid President Bush," refusing to pass through the reception line or have his picture taken with the president. When Bush asked Webb, whose son is a Marine in Iraq, "How's your boy?" Webb replied, "I'd like to get them [sic] out of Iraq." When the president again asked "How's your boy?" Webb replied, "That's between me and my boy."
WND added in that Bush said to Webb, "That's not what I asked you." While that accurately reflects what Bush said, WND is presenting it as what Will said Bush said -- which Will didn't, as we've noted.
Further, the headline of the WND article suggests that Webb issued a "threat" against Bush; in fact, the article itself states (accurately) that Webb "felt like slugging the president" over the question, which is not a threat. Further contradicting itself, the article also quotes White House press secretary Tony Snow saying, "There was no threat to slug the president."
Given this kind of sloppy, inaccurate reporting, maybe WND is better off writing about Dennis Miller's comedy routines.
New Article: The Macaca Never Ends Topic: Media Research Center
From the Out There file: The MRC's Tim Graham is out to make sure that if others won't let George Allen's infamous remark die, he won't either. Read more.
Devoting an entire one-sided "news" article about unverified claims by a disgruntled political analyst with a vendetta wasn't enough, apparently; WorldNetDAily's Joe Kovacs has decided to top himself in the category of lame, lazy news reporting. A Kovacs-bylined Dec. 6 WND article is devoted to Dennis Miller's recent appearance on Jay Leno.
That's right -- Kovacs devoted a "news" article to a comedy routine. And, as the links at the end of the article show, this is at least the thirdarticle Kovacs has devoted to Miller's comedy routine.
And this guy's an "executive news editor"? Shouldn't he be doing news editor-like things such as, say, addressing the anti-Olmert bias in Aaron Klein's articles?
Klein Ignores Political Agenda of Rabbis Endorsing Olmert Overthrow Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Dec. 6 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein reported that a " group of prominent rabbinic leaders" urged Israelis to "launch a democratic uprising to bring down the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert." But Klein doesn't explain the political nature of the call -- which dovetails nicely with his own anti-Olmert agenda.
Klein reported that the call came from the Rabbinical Congress for Peace, "a coalition of over 1,200 rabbinic leaders and pulpit rabbis." But as blogger Richard Bartholomew points out, it's a right-leaning group that has opposed Olmert's plan of disengagement from Gaza and the West Bank (better known in Klein-speak as Judea and Samaria). Indeed, Klein has quoted members of the group on that subject before:
A June 29 article cited a "letter sent to Bush and signed by leaders of the Rabbinical Congress for Peace" claiming that Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza "is against U.S. interests, and that itviolates basic tenets of Jewish law."
A March 31 article reported on a press conference by the group, held to "blast Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's plan to unilaterally withdraw from most of the West Bank and to urge religious Knesset parties to abstain from joining Olmert's newly elected government."
A Sept. 7, 2005, article detailed a claim by Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Lewin, the group's executive director, that Hurricane Katrina was "a consequence of the destruction of [Gaza's] Gush Katif [slate of Jewish communities] with America's urging and encouragement."
Strangely, Klein serves up none of this background on the Rabbinical Congress for Peace in his new article. Pointing out that this is little more than a ratcheting up of rhetoric from a group that has always opposed Olmert would seem to be relevant to readers. Instead, Klein presents the group's claims as if he had never written about them before -- an arguably dishonest stance.
But Klein is more than happy to take that stance because their goals -- removal of Olmert -- is Klein's as well, as we've detailed. Indeed, through his WND writing, Klein is doing the group's work in trying to foment that "uprising."
And the artist has perfected his craft in another medium with four best-selling books.
OK. Who is this "artist" whom WND deems worthy of such belabored, florid language?
Introducing "The Compleat Michael Savage Collection," a specially assembled and priced package of "The Savage Nation," "The Enemy Within," "Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder" and "The Political Zoo."
If you think whacked-out anti-gay, anti-liberal, sex-obsessed ranting is "art," sure, Savage is an "artist." But, in the rest of the world, Savage has the same connection to artistic endeavors as, say, slashfic.
On Tuesday, leaders of various "progressive" (liberal) organizations -- including Americans United, MoveOn.org, and the Campaign for America's Future -- gathered in Washington to organize support for the Democratic agenda.
We're not sure what the point is, but Jones is also on record, in an Oct. 30 article, using the inaccurate and derogatory term "Democrat Party."
Is WorldNetDaily's Joe Kovacs looking to step into the one-source-wonder shoes left behind by JonDougherty?
A Dec. 5 WND article by Kovacs repeats Dick Morris' unsupported assertion that should Hillary Clinton be elected to the presidency in 2008, "she won't use her married name of Clinton, but rather, her maiden name of Rodham." Not only does Kovacs make no apparent attempt to contact Clinton's office to respond to the claim, he also fails to note that Morris is hardly an objective or even reliable source about the Clintons. For instance, Media Matters has detailed how, in the course of attacking Clinton in his "rebuttal" to her "Living History" autobiography, Morris made numerous claims that contradicted things he had previously said about her and Bill Clinton.
Interestingly, NewsMax cribbed from the same Morris appearance on Fox News in which he made that claim. Like Kovacs, NewsMax didn't give Clinton a chance to respond or note Morris' hatred of the Clintons, but NewsMax at least had the good sense to not put a byline on it.
Mychal Massie's Word of the Day Topic: WorldNetDaily
Mychal Massie's thesaurus-rummaging for his Dec. 5 WorldNetDaily column turned up the following adjective to describe Al Sharpton: "endozoic."
Massie then goes on to suggest that Sean Bell, the man killed in a hail of 50 bullets from New York police officers, had it coming to him: "The death of Bell, was, in a word, the tragic (even if predictable) end of a wasted life. ... Bell, at the very best, left behind children out of wedlock and a life of crime, drugs and guns. It is doubtful (albeit unconfirmed at this writing) if he finished high school. He had no real job and no real prospects for the future." But in a CYA move, Massie added: "And no, I'm not saying he should have been gunned down by police in the street – unless they were acting in self-defense." Uh, sure...
Kincaid Still Dissembling on Secret Prisons Topic: Accuracy in Media
Cliff Kincaid uses his Dec. 5 Accuracy in Media column to make yet another attempt at explaining why those CIA secret prisons aren't really "secret prisons" and that President Bush never acknowledged their existence. And he doesn't succeed any more better than his previous attempts.
Much of Kincaid's latest effort -- as with his previous efforts -- is based on pure assertion, this time backed up by a press briefing by White House press secretary Tony Snow saying (nearly two months ago), "I don't believe anybody has ever talked about secret prisons. That is a -- they've talked about detention facilities.Whether they qualify as secret prisons, or not, I don't know." Despite Snow's "I don't know" qualifier, Kincaid then insisted that "Bush never acknowledged or admitted the existence of any secret prisons." Kincaid concluded: "That's why Snow responded that what the President actually said is that these were people who were detained. Snow was right. The media were wrong."
Kincaid began his column by writing, "We have talked about it before many times, and we have to talk about it again." We know the feeling. As long as Kincaid insists there were no CIA secret prisons (even though people were imprisoned, and it was kept secret), we have to write about his little semantic games.
WND: No Compassion Allowed for Illegal Immigrants Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Dec. 5 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh attacks a West Palm Beach, Florida, TV station for soliciting donations of goods for two families left homeless after a fire destroyed their home. Why is that a bad thing? Because the families entered the country illegally.
Unruh repeatedly complains that the station did not identify the families as "illegal aliens." The word "alien" appears six times in the article and photo caption, while the word "immigrant" appears only once in the article and once in the headline. Lest we think that WND is merely objectively reporting a story (something it has rarely been accused of), look at how it framed this question:
An assignment editor with the station, David Gould, was contacted by WND and asked how the station decides which stories to become advocates for, why the original report didn't note the families are illegals, should the station be soliciting on behalf of those who are breaking the law and how it is decided when reporters should admonish viewers as to how they should respond.
Since it's Unruh's byline on this article, it's presumably Unruh who asked these questions. This is a guy who worked for the Associated Press for nearly 30 years?
The compassion-free zone for anyone who's not a) an American citizen or b) a Christian extends to today's WND poll, which asks, "What do you think of a TV station raising money for illegals burned out of home?" At last check, the leading answer by a wide margin was, " I hope any money they raise goes for one-way airfare home."
Gal Beckerman at CJR Daily reminds us what the whole Associated Press "authorized source" controversy that NewsBusters is promoting is really all about:
It is important to get to the truth here. But the point is that the bloggers and the U.S. Army, who reflexively denied the initial account, did so not because they were concerned with accuracy. They picked on it because they saw a chance to use a potentially false story -- though it seems clear now that it might be true after all -- as a way of throwing into question all the reporting from Iraq and, more specifically, undermining the characterization of the situation in the country as abysmal.
Finkelstein Misleads on Murtha's 'Megalomania' (?) Topic: NewsBusters
Mark Finkelstein is just not gonna admit that Rep. John Murtha has a point about the situation in Iraq. From Finkelstein's Dec. 4 NewsBusters post:
'Today' invited John Murtha in for a victory lap this morning, and the Dem congressman from PA responded with breathtaking megalomania seasoned with anti-Americanism. Calling America "the enemy" in Iraq, he preened over having been "way ahead" and demanded the US now "take my advice."
Finkelstein then repeats himself, throwing that M-word out again: "Murtha later took his megalomania one step further. After calling the United States 'the enemy' in Iraq, he claimed 'it's time to take my advice.' " But Finkelstein's claim that Murtha "call[ed] the United States 'the enemy' in Iraq" is taken out of context. Here's what Murtha actually said, according to the video attached to the item:
MURTHA: We're adding to terrorism because we're the occupiers. We've become the enemy, and we're caught in a civil war. Who's paying the price --
MATT LAUER: But if you have a weak government there that can't quite protect its own people, doesn't it become a safe haven for terrorism?
MURTHA: It's the opposite. They'll get rid of the terrorists. The terrorists are there because of us. There was no terrorism before we went it. There was no Al Qaeda. There was no weapons of mass destruction. They have come there because the United States is the target. We're inciting terrorism by being in Iraq. We need to change direction, we need to redeploy our troops, and a very small percentage of people in this country are paying the sacrifice. It's easy to sit back here, Matt, and say "Stay the course." It's chaos already. We lost nine or 10 people over the weekend, Americans, and the Iraqis been killed -- mass killings by the Iraqis, so it's time to take my advice.
As you can see, what Murtha said is a lot different that what Finkelstein claimed he said. And it certainly isn't "megalomania"; such demonizing makes it hard to take Finkelstein seriously, however much he likes to tout that he "recently returned from Iraq" (where he used his platform to attack imaginary claims that American politicians want "abrupt withdrawal" of U.S. troops from Iraq).