ConWebBlog: The Weblog of ConWebWatch

your New Media watchdog

ConWebWatch: home | archive/search | about | primer | shop

Wednesday, January 10, 2007
News Expo 200-Huh?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily boldly announces a new -- yet apparently six-year-old -- confab:






















UPDATE: WND has corrected the headlines. 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:32 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 9:27 AM EST
So Much for Not Taking a Position on Global Warming
Topic: Media Research Center

A Jan. 4 Media Research Center press release quotes Brent Bozell: "As anyone who has read our reports knows, the MRC has not taken a position on global warming." We're not sure what "reports" Bozell is referring to, but when the vast majority of MRC's global warming-related content that we've seen is devoted to attacking the idea, it's hard to claim with a straight face that it has "not taken a position."

Take, for example, a Jan. 9 NewsBusters post by Rich Noyes -- no mere blogging schmo, he's the MRC's research director. According to Noyes, the NBC Nightly News, after reporting that the unusually mild winter in some parts of the country on El Nino,  "flip-flopped" after "a handful of lilberal complainers" proceded to "whine" and spew "mean-spirited idiocy," "repudiated" the original report. Global warming supporters "whine" and are "mean-spirited"? Nope, no "taking a position" there.

Further, Nightly News host Brian Williams hardly "repudiated" the original report. As the transcript Noyes supplied demonstrates, an updated report served up what Williams called "the rest of the story" (we thought the MRC believed in telling all relevant sides of a story). The report went on to note that "[m]any experts say" global warming "plays a part," adding: "So the unusual warmth in the Northeast could partly be the result of global warming. Indeed, even the heavy snow in the Rockies this year might be partly caused by global warming."

As the italicized phrases show, the report couched the global warming link in large doses of speculation -- hardly the "repudiation" Noyes claims it is; Noyes, meanwhile, offers no evidence that global warming is not involved.

So a top MRC official belittles global warming supporters and attacks a TV network for merely acknowledging the possibility that global warming exists -- and somehow that is not having "taken a position on global warming."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:13 AM EST
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
WND Still Peddling Dubious 'Darwin=Hitler' Claim
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a Jan. 9 article referencing "Hitler-type 'designer' babies," WorldNetDaily once again brings up D. James Kennedy's program "Darwin's Deadly Legacy." While the article notes that the program was controversial, but failing to go into details:

One of the biggest supporters of eugenics was Adolf Hitler, according to a program called "Darwin's Deadly Legacy", a Coral Ridge Ministries production featuring more than a dozen experts in various fields talking about the connections between Darwin's theories, eugenics, Hitler and abortion.

Its premise is that Darwin's thinking changed the world's perception of people, so instead of considering them made in God's image, they became just another organism. Bloggers Internet-wide as well as the Anti-Defamation League launched their criticism in pointed phrases when the airing was announced.


D. James Kennedy, the Coral Ridge founder, suggested, "No Darwin, no Hitler."

But as we documented when the program first aired, WND glossed over accusations that Kennedy's Coral Ridge ministry misled one participant about the nature of the program, which was one gist of the criticism from "bloggers Internet-wide as well as the Anti-Defamation League" to which WND alludes. Coral Ridge ultimately agreed to remove that participant from future airings of the program.

Another criticism of the program was that it conflated evolution and social Darwinism and ignored evidence that such concepts preceded Darwin; as one blogger pointed out: "Racism, anti-semitism, and ethnic cleansing long preceded Darwin, and the idea of selection was common to anyone who had domesticated and bred plants and animals."

Even some conservatives criticized the program. One columnist for Alan Keyes' Renew America website wrote, "I felt totally disappointed and regretful that I had recommended this program to Christian families. It appeared hastily put together and thinly disguised to promote authors and their books."

The article also curiously states: "Producer Jerry Newcomb said the show included WND columnist Ann Coulter, who also wrote the bestselling 'Godless: The Church of Liberalism.' " Why attribute that claim to the show's producer? Didn't anyone at WND watch the program?

Finally, the article repeats a defense of the program from Rabbi Daniel Lapin, thus providing another missed opportunity for WND to note Lapin's involvement with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. How does WND ever hope to "personal virtue and good character" if it treats scandal-tarred figures such as Lapin as legitimate conservative spokesmen?

Posted by Terry K. at 6:43 PM EST
WND Silent on Columnist's Attempt at Censorship
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily is fond of portraying any purported abridgement of religious freedom as "censorship," and it claims to be "faithful to the traditional and central role of a free press in a free society." But it has yet to weigh in on one recent censorship attempt involving one of its own columnists.

Perhaps that's because the columnist, Melanie Morgan, is acting as the censor and not the censored. ABC Radio -- the owner of San Francisco station KSFO, the home of Morgan's radio show -- sent a cease-and-desist letter to a blogger named Spocko, who had posted clips of extremist comments made by Morgan, her co-host Lee Rodgers, and other KSFO hosts, claiming that he was violating KSFO's copyright (while ignoring the same doctrine of "fair use" that WND has claimed in its wholesale lifting of stories it takes from other sources and sticks under a WND byline). Shortly thereafter, Spocko's Internet hosting service shut down Spocko's blog.

Since then, Spocko has launched a new blog, and his audio clips are spreading across the Internet.

If WND is truly "faithful to the traditional and central role of a free press in a free society," why isn't it running to Spocko's defense? Perhaps because it's more important to bury bad news about one of its columnists.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:19 PM EST
New Article: Slanties 2007: Bringing SlantieBack
Topic: The ConWeb
It's time once again to honor the year's most egregious violations of truth and sanity on the ConWeb. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:36 AM EST
Monday, January 8, 2007
Who (Really) Is Avigdor Lieberman?

You'd think that a column headlined "Who Is Avigdor Lieberman?" would, you know, tell us who Avigdor Lieberman is.

But Alan Caruba's Jan. 8 column manages to avoid doing that -- at least, fail to tell the important stuff. While Caruba tells us that Lieberman is a "soft-spoken fellow" who is an Israeli deputy prime minister and who "has been credited with revitalizing Likud," a conservative Israeli party, Caruba doesn't note that Lieberman is a founder and member of the right-wing Yisrael Beytenu party, who thought Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu granted too many concessions to the Palestinians.

Caruba writes that Lieberman "wants the Arabs out of Israel" and "wants Israel's Arabs to take a loyalty oath" and that he "believes Arabs would be happier living among other Arabs." Caruba calls Lieberman "radical," but he doesn't say just how radical an anti-Arab Lieberman is. According to Wikipedia:

In 2002, the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth quoted Lieberman in a Cabinet meeting saying that the Palestinians should be given an ultimatum that "At 8am we'll bomb all the commercial noon we'll bomb their gas two we'll bomb their banks....” In 2003, Ha'aretz reported that Lieberman called for thousands of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel to be drowned in the Dead Sea and offered to provide the buses to take them there. In May 2004, he said that 90 percent of Israel's 1.2 million Arabs would "have to find a new Arab entity" in which to live beyond Israel's borders. "They have no place here. They can take their bundles and get lost," he said.

This gets closer to a correct answer to the question "Who Is Avignor Lieberman?" than Caruba's fawning, soft-pedaled portrayal.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:53 PM EST
Owens Won't Admit It
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Jan. 8 NewsBusters post, Bob Owens -- like his NewsBusters compadre Warner Todd Huston -- is all too eager to distract folks from the fact that his claim that Associated Press source Jamil Hussein didn't exist has been proven to be false. Rather than question why the Iraq Interior Ministry flip-flopped and suddenly confirmed Hussein's existence after weeks of denying it (and folks like him unquestioningly believing it), Owens bashes "the Leftist swarm" for "conflat[ing] Hussein's ability to exist with the veracity of his claims."

Shouldn't Owens be more concerned about why he took the Iraqis' false claim that Hussein didn't exist at face value? As recently as Jan. 3, Owens was chastising the AP for standing by Hussein "even after the Iraqi Interior Ministry Officially stated that the AP's source, Captain Jamil Hussein, simply didn't exist, and that no one by that name ever worked at the two police stations where AP said he did." Yet he apparently feels no need to apologize for trusting someone who was peddling a claim now proven false.

Indeed, now he refuses to take the Interior Ministry at its word:

This is a fascinating "fact," in that Kazamiyah Hospital does not have a morgue, but instead a freezer, as stated by the same Iraqi General that now vouches for Jamil Hussein's existence. Any dead at Kazamiyah Hospital are transported by the police to the Medical Jurisprudence Center at Bab Almadham. Is this general credible, or not? I'll leave that for you to decide.

Wait -- Owens and other conservative bloggers have spent the past month presenting the Interior Ministry's claim that Hussein didn't exist as unimpeachable. Is he suddenly doubting the Interior Ministry now because of its Hussein flip-flop -- or because AP cited it as a source?

If it's the latter, that seems to indicate that Owens is less concerned with accuracy than with the conservative goal of trying to discredit AP.

Owens also bashed the AP for leaving out "a very important detail" listed in Wikipedia on an organization, the Association of Muslim Scholars, cited in one article -- that it is "believed to have strong links with Al-Qaeda terrorists." But Wikipedia's claim is followed by "[citation required], meaning that the claim has not been substantiated, and Owens offers no other evidence. He then claims that AP should have mentioned those "strong alleged tie[s]," ignoring the fact that if they were genuinely "strong," they wouldn't have to be qualified as "alleged."

Posted by Terry K. at 4:21 PM EST
Updated: Monday, January 8, 2007 8:23 PM EST
NewsBusters Selectively Outraged Over Journalist Contact with Terrorists
Topic: NewsBusters

Robin Boyd is shocked -- shocked! -- that a news service would contact a terrorist. From her Jan. 4 NewsBusters post:

Okay - Reuters has email contact with Mullah Omar, Taliban chief, fugitive, terrorist, etc. and reports it as if it is no big deal. What the heck is wrong with this picture? Where did Reuters get the email address from - Omar's MySpace page? Has Reuters shared this email address with the authorities - i.e. the military hunting for terrorists? Or is the email addy for personal communication only. Which Reuters' employee was involved with the email communication?

Why do we continue to tolerate this blatant terrorist enabling so-called media organization? These journalists are responsible for "telling us the story" from the front of the war on terror. I just didn't realize it was only the terrorists' story they were interested in promoting.

What we want to know is, why isn't Boyd similarly outraged at WorldNetDaily for having similar contact with terrorists

Posted by Terry K. at 12:44 AM EST
Sunday, January 7, 2007
WND Changes Its Mission
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As late as last April, WorldNetDaily's mission statement read:

" is an independent newssite created to capitalize on new media technology, to reinvigorate and revitalize the role of the free press as a guardian of liberty, an exponent of truth and justice, an uncompromising disseminator of news.

" performs this function by remaining faithful to the central role of a free press in a free society: as a watchdog exposing government waste, fraud, corruption and abuse of power - the mission envisioned by our founders and protected in the First Amendment of the Constitution."

It now reads:

" Inc. is an independent news company dedicated to uncompromising journalism, seeking truth and justice and revitalizing the role of the free press as a guardian of liberty. We remain faithful to the traditional and central role of a free press in a free society – as a light exposing wrongdoing, corruption and abuse of power.

"We also seek to stimulate a free-and-open debate about the great moral and political ideas facing the world and to promote freedom and self-government by encouraging personal virtue and good character."

We're guessing that WND is downplaying the stuff about being an "exponent of truth and justice" and "uncompromising disseminator of news" because, as we've repeatedly documented, it's neither of those things.

The "personal virtue and good character" blather is new, though, a reflection of its recent efforts to position itself as a moral arbiter, such as its dishonest flogging of Sexpidemic! But wouldn't WND have shown "personal virtue and good character" by telling its readers that it had made such a substantial change to its mission statement?

However, if WND did that, it would also have to require its staff to live up to that standard as well. Is Joseph Farah showing "personal virtue and good character" by plagiarizing the work of others and peddling dubious statistics? Is Aaron Klein showing "personal virtue and good character" when he undermines the government of the country where he lives during a time of war?

Farah and the rest of WND's staff are presumably good enough Christians to know the story of the woman accused of adultery brought before Jesus for judgment, which by Old Testament law was death by stoning; Jesus replied, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." WND should similarly get its own house in order before casting moral judgment on others.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:54 PM EST
Saturday, January 6, 2007
Even More Conservative Media Blunders
Topic: The ConWeb

Glenn Greenwald serves up a nice little list of dubious and outright false claims conservative bloggers have made of late. Let us bring the ConWeb into the mix and add a few more to that list:

-- Dan Riehl's false claim at NewsBusters that S.R. Sidarth made racial slurs.

-- WorldNetDaily's false claim -- taken from a April fool's post at Gawker and presented as fact -- that Michael Schiavo sold the TV movie rights to the Terri Schiavo story.

-- NewsMax's false claim that U2 was holding a fund-raiser for Rick Santorum, followed by its false denial that it never made the claim.

-- Aaron Klein's vitriolic, error-laden attack on an Islamic charity, which WorldNetDaily was forced to retract.

-- WND author Paul L. Williams' apparently false attacks on Canada's McMaaster University, which WND has only partially retracted thus far.

Greenwald writes of the bloggers: "They operate in a credibility-free zone where there are never any consequences for their mistakes because the partisans who read them will always dismiss every one of these unfair smears on the media as well-intentioned." Indeed, we've seen no evidence that anyone at NewsMax, WND or the MRC has suffered any consequences as a result of the above false claims.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:43 PM EST
Warner, Al, Bob, Greg: Just Admit It
Topic: NewsBusters

Warner Todd Huston, in a Jan. 5 NewsBusters post, was eager to change the subject upon the news that Iraqi officials, after weeks of denying, now admits that Jamil Hussein -- source for several Associated Press articles -- does in fact exist. Rather than admitting that he and his fellow conservative bloggers were wrong and questioning the veracity of those officials whose word they treated as gospel, Huston insisted that "it is not yet assured that this person is, indeed, the 'capt. Jamil Hussein' the AP used as a source" and that "it's only a start toward solving the controversies surrounding this AP story." He goes on to list "central points of the story" that do not include "Why did the Iraqi Interior Ministry deny Hussein's existence for weeks, then suddenly change their minds?"

NewsBusters posters Al Brown, Bob Owens and Greg Sheffield were among the most vocal proponents of the now-discredited AP-Hussein story; none of them have posted a thing at NewsBusters on the subject since the Interior Ministry's flip-flop. Will they ever correct the record and admit that they were wrong, like they demand when "mainstream" journalists make mistakes?

Don't count on it -- remember, NewsBusters buried its correction on Amir Taheri's claim that Iran was requiring non-Muslims to wear colored badges. Besides, conservative bloggers just don't do that.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:18 AM EST
Finkelstein Misleads on Matthews' 'Anger'
Topic: NewsBusters

A Jan. 4 NewsBusters post by Mark Finkelstein claims there was a "a very rare display of real anger" between Chris Matthews and Matt Lauer during MSNBC's coverage of the swearing-in of the new Democratic-controlled Congress. In Finkelstein's words (boldface and italics are his):

Lauer: "Well, but, you say they're going to try to finesse it. In reality, Chris, they don't have a choice. What are they going to do, suggest they cut funding while troops are still in the ground in Iraq? They can't do that."

That got Matthews's Irish up. Clearly flashing some anger, he responded: "Well, that's a political assessment by you, Matt. I think the Democrats have to decide whether they want to climb aboard this catastrophe or not."

That transcript, and the video Finkelstein supplies, conveniently cuts off at that point -- thus avoiding having to show evidence that undermines his claim about Matthews' "anger." Here's the full excerpt of what Matthews said:

MATTHEWS: Well, that’s a political assessment by you, Matt. I think the Democrats have to decide whether they wanna climb aboard this catastrophe or not. Do they want to be partners in the continued war in Iraq? That’s a tough call. I agree with you. It’s a tough call to say, “We’re gonna stand up to the president, say he cannot fight the war the way he wants to fight it.” But the other alternative is that they go along with the war, and they become partners in this war for the next two years.

That's right -- mere seconds after Matthews was purportedly "angry" with Lauer, Matthews said to him, "I agree with you." That doesn't sound very angry to us. And even the truncated video Finkelstein supplies doesn't exactly show the anger he claims is there; the boldfacing and italicizing he added to the transcript isn't reflected in what they say.

Finkelstein tries to finesse it by claiming, "Matthews later struck a more conciliatory tone with Lauer, but the initial anger was unmistakable." Well, no. If Finkelstein had supplied his readers with the full video, they would have seen that, too.

Finkelstein has been on a Matthews-bashing tear of late, insisting that Matthews is a unreformed liberal (despite ample evidence to the contrary):

  • From a Jan. 3 post: " As a former aide to Tip O'Neill, Chris Matthews is accustomed to offering advice to Democratic Speakers of House.
  • A Jan. 5 post asks, "Has anyone checked the video to see if Chris Matthews was part of Cindy Sheehan's noisy protest that brought Rahm Emanuel's press conference to a halt the other day at the Capitol? Because Matthews has been on an absolute anti-war rampage."
  • Another Jan. 5 post attacks Matthews through NBC's Andrea Mitchell: "With due respect to Mitchell, whose scrappiness I admire, if someone won't admit that Chris Matthews is liberal, why should we believe her when she tells us it's raining?"

Right back atcha, Mark: If you can't admit that Matthews has also attacked liberals and praised Republicans, why should we think that you're anything more than a demagogic automaton?

UPDATE: Finkelstein's biased misinformation continues: In a Jan. 6 post, he takes a swipe at NBC for its "official line" that Iraq is in a "civil war." But he -- either here or in a Nov. 27 post by him to which he links in support -- offers no evidence to refute NBC's claim.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:25 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, January 6, 2007 10:27 AM EST
Friday, January 5, 2007
NewsMax Still Promotes Misleading Claim on Pelosi
Topic: Newsmax

A link on today's NewsMax front page reads, "Nancy Pelosi Doesn't Want You to Read This." It goes to a promotion for the November 2005 edition of NewsMax Magazine, which featured Peter Schweizer's liberal-bashing book "Do As I Say (Not As I Do)." At the top of the claims listed from Schweizer's book is:

California Democrat Nancy Pelosi receives large-scale financial support from organized labor – while she and her husband own a vineyard and stakes in a hotel and a restaurant chain that are all non-union shops.

As we reported, that's highly misleading. Not only does Pelosi treats her workers better than unionized vineyard workers, offering them higher-than-union wages, Pelosi is prohibited by law from helping her workers unionize. Further, Schweizer hilariously claimed that he's not obligated to research the claims he makes for their accuracy, which raises questions about the other claims in his book.

We predicted that NewsMax would do nothing to correct Schweizer's claim. It's nice to be proven right.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:40 PM EST
Kinsolving Hides Source of HUD Chief's Quote
Topic: The Daily Les

According to a Jan. 5 WorldNetDaily article, Les Kinsolving asked the following question at a Jan. 4 White House briefing:

There's a news report quoting the Secretary of HUD, [Alphonso] Jackson, as saying that 'Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Julian Bond have created an industry. If we don't become victims, they have no income. White folks have nothing to do with the fact that seven out of every 10 black children born in this country are born out of wedlock and we have more black males in prison than we do in college.' And my question: Does the president disagree with this statement by his Secretary of HUD?

But neither Kinsolving nor WND disclose the source of that "news report": a fluff piece by Ronald Kessler at WND's rival, NewsMax. While, unlike NewsMax, WND reported Jackson's claim that he refused to award a government contract to a winning bidder who didn't like Bush, the article dismissed it as merely one of the "blunt expressions of his opinions" rather than the admission of cronyism WND purports to be opposed to when it purports a desire to expose "wrongdoing, corruption and abuse of power."

Posted by Terry K. at 2:54 PM EST
An Incomplete WND Retraction
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We just noticed this "disclaimer" on the front page of the WND Books website and on the page for Paul L. Williams' book "The Dunces of Doomsday":

In a media release dated June 8, 2006, regarding The Dunces of Doomsday, WND Books/Cumberland House Publishing made statements, including a statement contained in The Dunces of Doomsday, referring to the theft of 180 pounds of nuclear material at McMaster University, the infiltration of McMaster University by terrorists, and consequent risk to the public.

Those statements were without basis in fact. WND Books/Cumberland House Publishing unreservedly retract the statements in the June 8, 2006 media release and apologize to McMaster University.

WND made similar claims about McMaster University (a school in Hamilton, Ontario) in a June 5 article promoting "The Dunces of Doomsday" -- claims presumably also contained in the book. But the article is still live on the WND site, and no "disclaimer" (read: retraction) has been forthcoming there. Why is only the press release retracted and not the claim in Williams' book and the WND article? After all, the information in the press release presumably came from the book and/or the WND article. Curious.

(WND, if you'll recall, had a bit of a retraction problem in 2005.)

Even more curious, WND hasn't reported a thing about the controversy between Williams and McMaster University -- something apparently serious enough that Williams has set up a legal defense fund, which claims that Williams "has been sued by McMaster University for $4 million plus punitive damages" and alleges the lawsuit has been "fuelled by Islamic contributions." The site further describes Williams as "such a true man of God. He is so dedicated to educate both Christians and Jews to what he knows is about to hit American soil." It adds: "Besides the funds Paul needs all the prayer warriors praying for this situation."

The website hasn't been updated since June, however, and the "disclaimer" at the WND Books site seems to be evidence that McMaster has a solid argument, and that Williams has lost a legal action somewhere along the way. When will it be applied to the WND site proper, as well as Williams' book?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:08 AM EST

Newer | Latest | Older

Bookmark and Share

Get the WorldNetDaily Lies sticker!

Find more neat stuff at the ConWebWatch store!

Buy through this Amazon link and support ConWebWatch!

Support This Site

« January 2007 »
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31

Bloggers' Rights at EFF
Support Bloggers' Rights!

News Media Blog Network

Add to Google