NewsMax has taken an interesting approach to telling its readers about Dick Morris' anti-Hillary activism: having Ron Kessler write about it. A Feb. 1 article by Kessler details Morris' involvement in a documentary that will "present Hillary's conflicting statements side-by-side and will portray her disingenuous statements and misrepresentations alongside the facts."
Too bad Kessler and Morris engage in a misrepresentation of their own. Kessler writes:
As an example of Hillary's disingenuousness, Morris will feature Hillary's NBC interview with Jane Pauley on Sept. 17, 2001. Trying to engender sympathy, Hillary told Pauley that when the two airplanes hit the World Trade Center, her daughter Chelsea was at Battery Park near the towers.
"She'd gone for what she thought would be a great jog," Hillary said. "She was going down to Battery Park, she was going to go around the towers. She went to get a cup of coffee — and that's when the plane hit."
"She was close enough to hear the rumble," Pauley said.
"She did hear it. She did," Hillary said.
"And to see the smoke . . ."
"That's right," Hillary responded, saying she did not locate her daughter until two hours later.
"At that moment, she was not just a senator, but a concerned parent," Katie Couric said the next day on NBC's "Today."
It was a great tale, but Hillary had made it up from whole cloth. Her arrogance was so profound that she did not coordinate the story with Chelsea, who wrote an article for "Talk" in which she described what she had been doing that day.
According to Chelsea, she wasn't jogging at the World Trade Center. Rather, she was miles away in a friend's apartment on Park Avenue South. She watched the events unfold on TV. Hillary told the story with a straight face.
But Morris is wrong, and Kessler doesn't bother to fact-check him. According to Media Matters:
Clinton never said Chelsea was "jogging near the World Trade Center," as [Thomas] Kuiper [author of "I've Always Been a Yankees Fan," a collection of dubiously sourced purported Hillary quotes] in the press release. Rather, Clinton said Chelsea "was going to go around the towers." Dick Morris made this same false claim in Rewriting History, as Media Matters noted. Kuiper's claim from his book that Sen. Clinton said Chelsea "was in potential danger" is also false. At no point did she suggest that Chelsea was endangered by the attacks.
Moreover, Kuiper misrepresented Chelsea's account of the attacks in claiming that she "contradicted" her mother. From Kuiper's account of Chelsea's retelling of the attacks, one would believe she spent the entire day in her friend's apartment "on the other side of town" and that she did not go to get coffee. A November 9, 2001, UPI article, however, gave a different account:
"When the World Trade Center collapsed on Sept. 11, I was 12 blocks away, (and) nothing has been the same since," Clinton wrote in the December/January issue of Talk magazine, on sale Friday in New York.
Clinton had been staying with her high school friend Nicole Davison in her apartment near Union Square for a few days in September before she went to England to study at Oxford. After they had coffee together, Davison went to work and Clinton returned to the apartment.
Davison called Clinton with the news of the first plane that crashed into the World Trade Center. Clinton turned on the television and watched the second plane crash into the second WTC tower, and tried to reach her mother in Washington, but after speaking to her assistant, the phone line went dead.
Chelsea Clinton is the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.
Panicked, Chelsea Clinton left the apartment and found herself running toward downtown "in the direction everyone else was coming from," in search of a public telephone. She was desperate to call her mother and her father, who was on a speaking tour in Australia.
Chelsea Clinton was downtown in line at a pay phone when she heard the rumble of the second tower collapsing. Later she found Davison and another friend, and the three spent the day walking uptown. Chelsea Clinton wrote that she had an "irrational medley of thoughts" running through her head.
We figured that NewsMax would have problems telling the truth about Hillary. Who knew it would be starting so early?
And another question: Now that Morris' anti-Hillary activism has been reported at NewsMax, does it think it's now absolved from reporting it every time Morris disparages Hillary (which, we can assume, will be often)?
NewsBusters Doesn't Think 'Fag' Is A Slur? Topic: NewsBusters
In a Feb. 1 NewsBusters post (and TimesWatch item), Clay Waters complained that a New York Times headline describes Joe Biden's remarks about Barack Obama as an "Oops!" while former Rep. Dick Armey "didn't get the benefit of the doubt from Times' headline writers" when he referred to Rep. Barney Frank as "Barney Fag," which the Times headline called a "slur."
Oh, gee, I dunno ... could it be that the term "fag" is, in fact, a slur? Is Waters trying to tell us that it's not?
Meanwhile, none of the words Biden used to describe Obama are, in and of themselves, slurs like "fag" is.
WND Misleads on Library Porn Filters Topic: WorldNetDaily
Here's the lead of a Jan. 31 WorldNetDaily article:
While pornography itself doesn't "shoot the bullet" for sex crimes, it does "cock the trigger," and Sacramento officials who supervise their public library system have told porn addicts to go ahead and get loaded.
Despite presenting that first claim as fact, the article offers no evidence to back it up; in fact, it's merely a repeat of a quote from a conservative legal group -- who similarly offers no evidence for his assertion.
As for the paragraph's second assertion -- that the Sacramento library system has "told porn addicts to go ahead and get loaded" -- it's a wild, misleading overstatement of the facts the article presents (as is the headline: "Let the porn flow, says public library"). What appears to be happening is that, according to that conservative legal group, adult computer users at the library may request that the content filter be turned off. While offering lots of scary rhetoric, the article offers no evidence that Sacramento library computer users are, in fact, getting "loaded" on porn. Indeed, porn filters have a longhistory of filtering out legitimate non-porn websites, something the article doesn't mention.
Another thing the article doesn't include: the other side of the story. While the article states, "Sacramento library officials did not return messages left by WND asking for a response," certainly this was not so time-sensitive an article -- apparently based on a press release from the conservative legal group, the Pacific Justice Institute -- that WND couldn't have shown a little fairness and allowed library officals to respond.
Corsi Doesn't Let Prosecutor Respond Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Jan. 31 WorldNetDaily article by Jerome Corsi on memos that purportedly contradict prosecutors in the case of two Border Patrol agents, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, imprisoned for shooting at an unarmed illegal immigrant and covering up evidence of the shooting failed to give prosecutors an opportunity to respond.
While Corsi recycles previous statements on the case by prosecutor Johnny Sutton, he makes no apparent attempt to obtain a response from Sutton or his office to the new allegations.
As we've detailed, Corsi and WND have a shoddy record of telling both sides of this story. Since Corsi has interviewed Sutton before, we know he knows how to get a hold of the guy, so there's no excuse -- beyond bias -- for Corsi not to get a response.
UPDATE: In a Feb. 1 article, Corsi did obtain a response from Sutton's office, but that was relegated to only a single paragraph of the 27-paragraph article.
Still No Complete Morris Disclosure Topic: Newsmax
While a Jan. 31 NewsMax column by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann attacking Hillary Clinton did mention "voters who don't like her and don't think she should be president (including us)," there is no mention of the extent to which Morris hates Hillary -- that he's soliciting donations for an anti-Hillary documentary.
How can Morris credibly opine about Hillary's presidential prospects when he's 1) actively working against her and 2) refuses to properly disclose that involvement in his columns? He can't.
After the 1998 election, with its razor-thin victory for Republicans in the House of Representatives, a dozen conservatives informed the Republican Leadership that they would not vote for Gingrich as Speaker under any circumstance. That was when Tom DeLay and others in the GOP Leadership told Gingrich that the ball game was over.
In fact, Republicans lost five seats in the House in 1998 -- hardly a "razor-thin victory."
WND Falsely Accuses Clinton of Flip-Flop Topic: WorldNetDaily
An unbylined Jan. 30 WorldNetDaily article accuses Hillary Clinton of flip-flopping on the Iraq war:
New York Sen. Hillary Clinton Hillary [sic] has told an Iowa audience that she was deceived on the congressional vote to take military action against Saddam Hussein in Iraq, contradicting an earlier video recording in which she testifies that her decision was made based on her own information and intelligence.
But the article makes no mention of evidence that the Bush administration did, in fact, offer misleading evidence to Congress on Iraq. According to a Nov. 19, 2005, FactCheck.org article, noted that one main piece of evidence was a classified National Intelligence Estimate released to members of Congress shortly before its October 2002 vote to authorize action against Iraq:
This so-called National Intelligence Estimate was supposed to be the combined US intelligence community's "most authoritative written judgment concerning a specific national security issue," according to the Senate Intelligence Committee. The report was titled "Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction."
Though most of the document remains classified, the "Key Judgments" section and some other paragraphs were cleared and released publicly in July, 2003. The most recent and complete version available to the public can be read on the website of George Washington University's National Security Archive, which got it from the CIA under the Freedom of Information Act.
The NIE as declassified and released by the CIA says pretty much what Bush and his aides were saying publicly about Iraq's weapons - nearly all of which turned out to be wrong:
On one important point the National Intelligence Estimate offered little support for Bush's case for war, however. That was the likelihood that Saddam would give chemical or biological weapons to terrorists for use against the US.
Al Qaeda: The intelligence estimate said that – if attacked and "if sufficiently desperate" – Saddam might turn to al Qaeda to carry out an attack against the US with chemical or biological weapons. "He might decide that the extreme step of assisting the Islamist terrorist in conducting a CBW attack against the United States would be his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him," the NIE said.
The report assigned "low confidence" to this finding, however, while assigning "high confidence" to the findings that Iraq had active chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs, and "moderate confidence" that Iraq could have a nuclear weapon as early as 2007 to 2009.
That was the intelligence available to Congress when the House passed the Iraq resolution Oct. 10, 2002 by a vote of 296-133. The Senate passed it in the wee hours of Oct. 11, by a vote of 77-23. A total of 81 Democrats in the House and 29 Democrats in the Senate supported the resolution, including some who now are saying Bush misled them.
Further, a December 2005 Washington Post article noted that a congressional report had found that "President Bush and his inner circle had access to more intelligence and reviewed more sensitive material than what was shared with Congress when it gave Bush the authority to wage war against Iraq."
If WND does not point out evidence that Congress was "deceived" by the Bush administration about Iraq war intelligence, how can it claim that Clinton was "contradicting" herself by pointing that out?
Answer: She's a Clinton. The old journalistic rules about making factual claims don't apply to the Clintons, as far as WND is concerned.
Massie Defends One Controversial Remark, Ignores Another Topic: WorldNetDaily
In his Jan. 30 column, Mychal Massie defends Virginia lawmaker Frank Hargrove's statement that those advocating a Virginia state resolution that would apologize for slavery should "get over it." But Massie doesn't mention the other, more controversial statement Hargrove is quoted as saying: "are we going to force the Jews to apologize for killing Christ?" By not mentioning it, is Massie signaling that he approves of that statement?
New Article: Underreported, Indeed Topic: WorldNetDaily
Why did it take so long for WorldNetDaily to tell the full story of two imprisoned Border Patrol agents? And, now that it has finally told the other side, why is WND trying to bury it? Read more.
We wandered over to the right-wing Family Security Matters. And what was the first thing we saw? A column by former NewsMax columnist Joan Swirsky calling Hillary Clinton an "abused wom[a]n" who is not fit to be president. And thus we have an indicator of what we knew would be coming as the result of Hillary's presidential bid: a resurgence of 1990s-style Clinton-hating.
Nowhere, of course, does Swirsky actually support her suggestion that Bill Clinton physically abused her; instead, she drops a vague reference to "spousal abuse -- physical, mental or verbal." Swirsky goes on to claim that Hillary "couldn't stand up to her narcissistic husband" and thus will not "be able to stand up to the same kind of man in the world arena," adding:
It is in Hillary’s masochistic nature that once an abusive man apologizes or sweet-talks or threatens or charms or wields his real power, she will cave. When such a tyrant promises her even a smidgen, it is safe to say that she will stop representing the women and men and children of America and instead be in his thrall. Historically, she has been there, done that.
Just as overheated are Swirsky's descriptions of Bill Clinton, which include "Uriah Heepish," "malignant narcissist" and "petty tyrant."
Swirsky was also one of the contributors to a New Media Journal series on convicted felon Peter Paul's dubious accusations against the Clintons; as we detailed, she was all too eager to whitewash Paul's long criminal record for the sake of trying to make Paul into a credible anti-Clinton witness.
Swirsky claims, in her Family Security Matters bio, to be a "clinical psychotherapist." Sounds like she could use a little therapy of her own to deal with her case of Clinton Derangement Syndrome.
P.S. How far right is Family Security Matters? Its board of advisors includes not only disgraced, corrupt would-be homeland security secretary Bernard Kerik but also Clinton Derangement Syndrome sufferer and NewsMax columnist John LeBoutillier.
Here's a novel idea -- and one we'd like to see more of.
NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard and activist Mike Stark have done something unprecedented (at least in the history of NewsBusters): had something of a dialogue on the Spocko/KSFO story. Sheppard and Stark asked five questions of the other about the story, then posted the answers on their respective websites -- Sheppard on NewsBusters, Stark on Daily Kos.
We've criticized Sheppard for his telling of the Spocko story, but we commend him and Stark for lowering the hostile-rhetoric level on the issue by engaging in a fairly well-rounded dialogue. Hopefully we'll see more of this from NewsBusters in the future.
Mark Finkelstein has been in a serious liberal-bashing mood lately. This time, in a Jan. 28 NewsBusters post, he praises Fox News' Brit Hume for insulting John Kerry:
Hume wryly unloaded this haymaker on the Massachusetts senator of baleful Gallic mien: "Is it really fair to John Kerry to argue, Bill, that when he's in Switzerland he's away from home?" Brit was alluding to the fact that Kerry had attended an elite Swiss boarding school.
Refereeing the bout, host Chris Wallace declared a "cheap shot," but that didn't stop the panel from dissolving in laughter.
Ironically, Finkelstein spent an earlier post acting aghast that Hillary Clinton "went Mike Tyson on us" by issuing the "threat" that "When you are attacked, you have to deck your opponent, and that is what I believe you do." Finkelstein appears not to have a sense of irony, for he has not noted that comments like Hume's are the kind of thing Clinton was talking about.
What does all this have to do with "exposing and combating liberal bias"? Nothing. But apparently, the folks at MRC seem content to let NewsBusters devolve into a very well-funded Little Green Footballs (or Protein Wisdom, perhaps a more appropriate comparison since Jeff Goldstein was a NewsBusters blogger until the MRC powers-that-be presuambly figured out how much Goldstein likes to talk about his penis).
In a Jan. 27 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard took up the cause of Peter Paul, the corrupt businessman who's suing Hillary Clinton over alleged "campaign finance fraud." But oops! Sheppard makes no mention of the fact that Paul is a convicted felon awaiting sentencing for stock fraud.
Or maybe not so oops! Sheppard used WorldNetDaily as a source for his post; as we've documented, WND has repeatedly whitewashed Paul's long criminal record.
Sheppard went on to add: "Those looking for some background regarding this issue should read a comprehensive analysis of the subject published by the New Media Journal last March." But that seven-part March 2006 series, like WND's reporting, whitewashes Paul's history of criminality. In part two, author and NewsMax columnist Joan Swirsky enables the whitewashing, claiming that it's unfair for Paul to be "solely distinguished by his ethical and legal lapses, specifically two convictions and confession of securities violations."
Swirsky quickly disposes of Paul's conviction on charges of cocaine posession this way: "Throughout the 1970s to the mid-‘80s, Mr. Paul was involved in various ventures, both legitimate and illegitimate – from working with undercover government operatives on an anti-Castro sting to getting indicted and serving prison time." And that allusion to "confession of securities violations" is the only mention of Paul's current troubles -- his guilty plea to $25 million stock fraud scheme (and related fleeing to Brazil to avoid charges, followed by a two-year extradition fight).
Yet, somehow, to Sheppard this is "comprehensive analysis."
An article in that series by Sheppard takes a similar whitewashing approach, then attacks the media for not mentioning Paul's criminality at the time of the 2000 fundraising event hosted by Paul that led to all of this: "[W]hy did its [New York Times] editors think that it wasn’t important to inform the public that it was hosted by a felon, or that the numbers being reported by the Clinton campaign to the FEC concerning its cost were suspect?" Wouldn't a better question be why Sheppard, Swirsky and WND are embracing a convicted felon for the sole purpose of slinging mud at the Clintons?
Another Sheppard-penned article in the series laments the "smears and attacks" on Paul and goes on to compare Paul to Jack Abramoff: "[C]onsider the fact that no member of Congress is believed to have received from Abramoff anywhere near the dollars Hillary took from Paul, and the disparity in press coverage becomes all the more preposterous."
In his NewsBusters post, Sheppard makes an even more preposterous comparison, this time to George Allen and Scooter Libby:
To put this in some perspective, last year, a sitting senator from Virginia, who was considered to be a serious presidential candidate in the future, uttered the word “macaca” at a campaign stop. As a result, the media pounced, the videotape of the event and its transcript was splattered incessantly all over the print and airwaves, and the senator not only lost his re-election bid, but probably also saw his political career come to an end. Furthermore, the media in recent weeks have been giving almost non-stop coverage to the trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the Vice President's former chief of staff.
By contrast, the media have totally ignored a serious lawsuit against a former president and his senator wife that was originally filed on February 25, 2004.
Think the media would be so mum if McCain, Guiliani, or any major Republican was involved in this action regardless of the merits of the case or this brief?
Of course, the target of Allen's "macaca" slur, S.R. Sidarth, is not a convicted felon (though Dan Riehl tried to falsely make him into something akin to one). And given that Libby's trial did not start until this past week, the media could not have given "almost non-stop coverage" to it in "recent weeks."
Sheppard's emphasis in the final paragraph is curious. Is he tacitly admitting that Paul's allegations against the Clintons are without merit? Is he saying that it doesn't matter if Paul is telling the truth as long at it hurts the Clintons? It seems to show a certain lack of faith in his favorite convicted felon.
More Political Attacks at NewsBusters Topic: NewsBusters
In a Jan. 27 NewsBusters post, Mark Finkelstein fires off another political attack that has nothing to do with NewsBusters' declared mission:
Did anyone really believe that Nancy Pelosi's recent whirlwind visit to Iraq was truly the "fact-finding" mission she billed it to be? I doubt it. But just in case there are some credulous folks out there, here's proof that rather than trying to find facts, Pelosi wanted to promote a political agenda.
Think about it. If Pelosi were truly interested in "finding facts," she might have asked this young analyst about the strides we are making with Sunnis and the cooperation we're receiving against al-Qaeda in Iraq, about new cooperation we're receiving from Shia government leaders in rooting out death-squad leaders -- and what might happen to those efforts if we followed Mr. Murtha's recommendation and "redeployed" our folks to Okinawa.
In other words, if Pelosi really cared, she would have repeated Republican talking points.
The MRC folks do know that such partisan activism bumps up against what the MRC is allowed to do under its 501(c)3 status, right?