Last Tuesday, in a blog suggesting the PBS Frontline documentary on 'News War' would be biased, I added: "Suffice it to say PBS has not contacted the news watchers at the MRC." Frontline executive editor Louis Wiley protested that they had. I asked our publicists, and they located an e-mail from April, requesting a 90-minute interview with MRC president Brent Bozell, which was refused. I was not aware of the request, and I was incorrect.
Here is a refreshing change of pace. According to Editor and Publisher, New Mexico Radio station KSFR has made a new policy to eschew usage of newswire stories based on quotes from "unnamed officials" or other unattributed sources.
Though I disagree that these "unnamed" sources in any way added to any "credibility" to take us to war -- it was rather the opposite, really -- the unnamed source has become the scourge of government. So, this is a great idea and would cut down on the kind of destructive leaks that have so consumed the "News" purveyors of late.
Eliminating the over use of unattributed stories would help cut down on the interagency feuds that have been ripping Washington apart since at least Watergate -- though it has gotten far worse since Bush entered the White House.
So, even as i disagree with the Radio station news director in what unnamed sources have done specifically, I agree in general that it is destructive and should be minimized. I say this to you MSM news "reporters" (and we KNOW you read Newsbusters, don't pretend you don't):
If you are so sure your story is legitimate, put a name to your sources. If they refuse to be named, that should be your first clue that the source has an agenda that doesn't hold "truth" as one of its end games.
Remember the basic tenets of journalism: who, what, where and when.
In a statement obtained by this NewsBuster, a senior Bush administration official has disputed a New York Times article, Jailed 2 Years, Iraqi Tells of Abuse by Americans that suggests that the review process for detainees held by the U.S. military in Iraq is inadequate. The Times story is anecdotal, telling the story of Laith al-Ani, an Iraqi Sunni who was released by U.S. authorities last month. According to the Times story, "people like Mr. Ani . . . are being held without charge and without access to tribunals where their cases are reviewed."
Without responding to the specifics of Mr. Ani's case, the senior Bush administration official told me that "the facts of our detention system belie the themes of this article. We follow well-established standards of review that go well above and beyond what the law requires. And we do so in the face of a ruthless and determined enemy."
A couple of NewsBusters have gone past "exposing liberal media bias" in recent days to simply insulting people:
A Feb. 18 post by Noel Sheppard calls Rep. John Murtha a "despicable caricature of a grossly-corrupt and has-been legislator" and cheered on Brit Hume's similar insult of Murtha. (A day earlier, Sheppard was lambasting Tim Robbins for hurling "childish epithets" at President Bush. What's the difference?)
-- A Feb. 14 post called Helen Thomas "caterwauling" and expressed hope that she would be removed from her front-row "throne" in the White House briefing room.
Back when Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton was first lady, no one better embodied what she once called the “vast right-wing conspiracy” than Richard Mellon Scaife.
Mr. Scaife, reclusive heir to the Mellon banking fortune, spent more than $2 million investigating and publicizing accusations about the supposed involvement of Mrs. Clinton and former President Bill Clinton in corrupt land deals, sexual affairs, drug running and murder.
But now, as Mrs. Clinton is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, Mr. Scaife’s checkbook is staying in his pocket.
Christopher Ruddy, who once worked full-time for Mr. Scaife investigating the Clintons and now runs a conservative online publication he co-owns with Mr. Scaife, said, “Both of us have had a rethinking.”
“Clinton wasn’t such a bad president,” Mr. Ruddy said. “In fact, he was a pretty good president in a lot of ways, and Dick feels that way today.”
As for the conservative response to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, Mr. Ruddy said, “The level of intensity and anger toward Hillary is not getting to the level that it was toward Bill Clinton when he was president.” He added, “She has moderated and developed a separate image."
Just because Ruddy and Scaife have chilled out about the Clintons doesn't mean that NewsMax won't be critical of them, Hillary in particular, as the 2008 presidential race gears up:
Dick Morris has two Feb. 19 columns bashing Hillary. Nowhere is it disclosed that he is actively working against Hillary's campaign, which conflicts with his political consultant/pundit work.
NewsMax columnist John LeBoutillier runs an anti-Hillary PAC. A few weeks ago, he called her "a polarizing, divisive, hard-left screaming figure."
In December, NewsMax columnist Charles R. Smith practically salivated at the prospect of engaging in some old-school Clinton-hating.
Columnist Ronald Kessler repeated without challenge a false anecdote by Morris about Hillary and 9/11.
Ruddy may have softened his views on the Clintons, but doesn't mean that NewsMax will go similarly soft. There are too many Clinton-haters still writing for NewsMax.
Bozell, Graham Don't Give a Hoot Topic: NewsBusters
In a Feb. 18 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham promotes boss Brent Bozell's latest column, which touts the Philip Anschutz-owned film producer Walden Media for making, as Graham described it, "family-friendly and faith-friendly films." Graham added: "Brent told me it was a 'V-8 idea,' a slap-your-forehead business proposition to serve an underserved market of religious families with children."
While Bozell's column is essentially a promotional vehicle for Walden's new film "Amazing Grace," conspicuous by its absence in his column is any mention of the film "Hoot," which Walden co-produced. That may be because it is, as a CNSNews.com article last May called it, "soft-core eco-terrorism" for kids. As we noted, that article was as mum about Walden's "family-friendly and faith-friendly" credentials as Bozell is about noting Walden's involvement in a film that falls afoul of his (not to mention Graham's) political beliefs.
A Feb. 16 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd claimed that Howard Kurtz's Washington Post profile of Michelle Malkin "painted [the] conservative blogger and author as paranoid, vindictive, obsessive and shrill." Perhaps that's because she may be, in fact, all of those things.
In fact, Kurtz was much kinder than he could have been -- he mention her book "In Defense of Internment" without noting that it has been discredited, and stated that after some blogs posted her address on the Internet, "Malkin and her family have moved elsewhere in Maryland" without noting that it was done in response to Malkin's habit of posting the personal information of those she dislikes. All of which, of course, goes unmentioned by Shepard.
WND Still Not Telling Whole 'Philadelphia 11' Story Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Feb. 15 WorldNetDaily article continues its tradition of failing to tell the full story surrounding the "Philadelphia 11," the group of anti-gay protesters led by Michael Marcavage who disrupted a gay street festival in 2005.
In reporting on the dismissal of a lawsuit by the group against the city of Philadelphia for getting arrested and briefly detained over their disruption, the article -- based in part on an Alliance Defense Fund press release -- is devoted almost in its entirety to criticism of the decision, waiting until the final paragraph of the 14-paragraph article to actually quote from the ruling. No apparent effort was made to contact any representative of the city to comment.
Marcavage and his group are described in sympathetic, martyr-like terms, depicted as having been arrested for "quoting the Bible and speaking against the behavior" -- but does not mention that the group disrupted the event by standing in front of a stage with a bullhorn, interrupting a performance, as we've noted. The article also continues WND's history of never detailing Marcavage's extremist activist history.
The article also bizarrely described the gay event they disrupted as "a publicly funded celebration of homosexual choices" -- an cumbersome insertion of the fundamentalist view that gays choose to be so.
Hillary Clinton seems to view black voters the same way plantation owners viewed slaves – they are her property, they will do what she says, and she will make their lives hell-on-earth if she doesn't get her way.
She also knows how to keep the field hands in line: Make the house slaves do all the dirty work.
She is the mean plantation madam who believes the slaves will love her more if she has them punished thrice daily, and she will resort to philosophical lynchings, intellectual rape and rhetorical beatings to get it done.
-- Kevin McCullough, Feb. 16 WorldNetDaily column.
But aren't conservatives supposed to be offended by "plantation" references? In fact, weren't they specifically attacking Hillary for using it not that long ago? Yes, they were -- it's the Clinton Exception in action.
MRC Division Lauds Donohue's 'Thoughtful Arguments' Topic: Media Research Center
In a Feb. 13 article at the Media Research Center's Culture and Media Institute, Kristen Fyfe complained that "vitriol-spewing anti-Christian" blogger Amanda Marcotte was being turned into a "martyr" by the "liberal media" after the Catholic League's William Donohue led an effort urging the John Edwards campaign to fire her and another blogger for controversial posts made before their hiring by Edwards. Fyfe added: "None of these outlets reported Bill Donohue's thoughtful arguments regarding Marcotte."
That may be because Donohue is not exactly known for "thoughtful arguments." A guy who rants about "gook jokes" and "secular Jews" controlling Hollywood and bashing Christians, as well as a certain inconsistency in his outrage, in his using is hardly what most would consider a font of "thoughtful arguments."
Further, Fyfe fails to disclose that her boss, Brent Bozell, is on the board of advisors of Donohue's Catholic League.
UPDATE: A Feb. 13 CNSNews.com article also cited Donohue's criticism of Marcotte while failing to disclose Bozell's link to Donohue.
NewsBusters Plugs Fox News Comedy Show Topic: NewsBusters
The boys at NewsBusters are, unsurprisingly, plugging the new comedy show on Fox News. Matthew Sheffield endorsed it this way:
Here at NB and MRC, we often rightly complain at the media's leftward slant. This slant exists largely because the news and entertainment media shun and blacklist people with known conservative and libertarian politics, however, it's also a question of the right's interest in media.
If you're sick of every comedy show being run by left-wingers like Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, and David Letterman, join me in watching the "Half-Hour News Hour" this Sunday and tell everyone you know who might like it to tune in as well.
Fellow MRC staffer Brent Baker might be surprised to find Letterman described as "left-wing," given his frequentfeaturing of Letterman's Top 10 lists in MRC's more-or-less-daily CyberAlert, particularly the ones that bashliberals.
Those liberal-bashing Top 10 lists would seem to disprove Sheffield's notion that Letterman is "left-wing." which implies that they never make fun of their purported ideological soulmates. In fact, if Jon Stewart was the good left-winger Sheffield thinks he is, would he be doing this?
Will the Fox News "Half-Hour News Hour" tweak conservatives as much as the "left-wing" Letterman and Stewart tweak liberals? And will Sheffield find the show as funny if it does?
From a Feb. 15 NewsMax "analysis" by Phil Brennan:
As a blizzard of snow and ice pummels the Northeast after trouncing the Midwest, and waves of Arctic cold fronts drop much of America below sub freezing weather, the $64,000 question is, Where is Al Gore?
Gore claims that global warming is an immediate problem facing the United States and the world, and places like New York and Chicago could feel like Caribbean haunts.
If there is any doubt that God has a sense of humor, it has to be dispelled by a headline in Wednesday's Drudge Report: "House hearing on 'warming of the planet' canceled after ice storm."
But as Media Matters pointedout, weather conditions in a given location at a given time do not prove or disprove the fact that global warming is occuring, despite what conservatives like Brennan say.
The logical extension of Brennan's argument, should he choose to follow it, is here.
WND Tells One-Sided Story on Hate Crimes Bill Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Feb. 15 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh features unsupported and unchallenged attacks against a proposed congressional "hate crimes" bill. The beginning of Unruh's article sets the tone, under the headline "Diss a 'gay'? Go to jail!":
Two Christians in Australia have been indicted for criticizing Islam, and another for criticizing Zionism. A filmmaker has been threatened with arrest for using the word "homosexual" rather than "gay." Now a German priest faces jail time for publicly criticizing abortionists, and in Holland, "fornicators" and "adulterers" are protected classes and cannot be criticized.
All courtesy of the concept of federal "hate crimes" legislation, which unless defeated soon could be mandatory in the United States, warns a rising chorus of critics.
Throughout the article, Unruh allows the bill to be characterized and disparaged by its critics. Nowhere does Unruh offer an objective description of the bill or allow its proponents to speak for it.
Unruh features as an opponent of the bill Michael Marcavage of the anti-gay group Repent America, who makes the unsupported claim that "Truth is not allowed as evidence in hate crimes trials." Unruh later notes that "some of [Repent America's] members already have served jail time simply for proclaiming the biblical message" (italics his). This is presumably a reference to the group members' arrest for disrupting a gay event in Philadelphia (charges that were later dropped), which WND turned into a cause celebre. As we've detailed, WND's reporting on the issue was slanted and failed to tell the full version of events -- that Marcavage (carrying a bullhorn) and his protesters staged their demonstration in front of a stage at the event, in the middle of a performance, and refused an order to go to an area on the edge of the event. Not exactly the simple "proclaiming the biblical message" that Unruh portrayed it.
UPDATE: Similarly, another Feb. 15 WND article claiming that "lawyers are arguing whether the words 'natural family, marriage and family values' constitute 'hate speech' " tells only the anti-gay side of the story. Further, WND does not disclose that attorney and repentant tattoo bearer Richard Ackerman, one of the attorneys for the anti-gay side, once represented WND, let alone that WND pimped Ackerman's defense against charges that he filed frivolous lawsuits against Planned Parenthood.
Weyrich Repeats False Pelosi Claims Topic: Free Congress Foundation
A Feb. 13 column by the Free Congress Foundation's Paul Weyrich (reprinted at NewsMax) repeats the discredited claim that Nancy Pelosi asked for a large, luxurious jet to fly to California and back.
"The Washington Times broke the story that the Speaker was demanding a 747 with seating for 40, a middle compartment with a bed and a desk for, in this case, whoever is the host," Weyrich wrote. But the Times' claim has never been substantiated on the record; in fact, the House Sergeant at Arms, not Pelosi, requested a plane that would be able to fly nonstop from Washington to San Francisco.
Weyrich also wrote:
Given that Ms. Pelosi is two heartbeats from the Presidency, I felt perhaps her request was not unreasonable. That is, until I learned the following: the plane former Speaker Hastert used is capable of flying 3,700 nautical miles without refueling. That is well beyond the requirement for a San Francisco to Washington D.C flight. No, that wasn’t good enough. She wanted the larger aircraft.
Weyrich then complained: "Her people attacked the messenger for breaking the story. The Washington Times, you see, is right-wing trash." The problem here is not that the Washington Times is "right-wing trash"; it's that it's incorrect, unsubstantiated trash.
Further, nowhere does Weyrich acknowledge that the White House took Pelosi's side on this issue; press secretary Tony Snow said that she needs an Air Force plane to travel between Washington and her home district for security reasons.