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Friday, March 9, 2007
CNS Press Release Rewrite Watch
A March 8 article by Susan Jones is little more than a regurgitation of a press release from the Thomas More Law Center urging people not to use the new presidential dollar coins because "In God We Trust" was moved from the face or tail of the coin to the edge.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:22 AM EST
AIM's Double Standard on Candidate Drug Use
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Andy Selepak wants to know more about Barack Obama's drug use.

In a March 7 Accuracy in Media column, Selepak declares that "we are not given any kind of definitive coverage of his use of cocaine, an issue that might impact how voters think of him," adding:

We are led to believe that he started down the wrong path but suddenly woke up, realized the error of his ways, and made something out of himself. He strikes many as a real success story. But how often did he use cocaine? How did he get it? Did he become addicted? All of these are questions the media won't ask.

Selepak concludes: "There are too many missing pieces to this man's life. We need to know more-much more. The public has a right to have a clear picture of the man in the middle of the media mania." 

But AIM was not so eager to learn about the alcohol and alleged drug use by George W. Bush. In a Sept. 2, 1999, AIM column by Reed Irvine and Cliff Kincaid, they complain that questions about Bush's alleged use of cocaine "are inspired not by a rumor, but by suspicion," scoffing at the idea that he should be "compelled" questions about it because similar questions were not asked of Bill Clinton despite the unimpeachable testimony of the likes of Gennifer Flowers, "whose claim that she had a 12-year affair with Bill Clinton is no longer disputed by anyone but Clinton himself." Uh, not exactly.

But in November 1999, Irvine and Kincaid were cheering the fact that a Bush biography -- which included the charge that Bush had once been arrested for cocaine possession -- was pulled from bookstores after it was revealed that its author was a convicted felon. But rather than asking Bush to clarify the record, they attacked the author as "the ultimate in hypocrisy and deceit."

And when news of Bush's 1970s arrest for DWI made the news before the 2000 presidential election, AIM was eager to declare that Al Gore's alleged drug use when he was younger "was far more serious than Bush's drinking problem." 

In other words, AIM didn't really care to know about mind-altering substances when Republicans used them. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:36 AM EST
Thursday, March 8, 2007
CNS Spins Prosecutor Firings As Attack on GOP Senator

A March 8 article by Susan Jones takes a partisan spin on the emerging scandal of the Bush administration firing federal prosecutors for apparently partisan reasons -- painting a Republican senator who allegedly pressured one now-fired prosecutor to indict a Democrat before the November 2006 elections as a victim of Democratic attacks. Here's the lead:

Democrats have placed a big, red X on Republican Sen. Pete Domenici's back. The New Mexico Republican's "questionable behavior" may soon make him the target of an obstruction of justice probe, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said on Thursday.

Jones also wrote that Domenici, "anticipating an Ethics Committee probe," has hired defense attorney Lee Blalack, who "represented former Rep. Randy 'Duke' Cunningham, the California Republican who resigned in disgrace after pleading guilty to taking bribes," without noting that one of the federal prosecutors forced out of her job, Carol Lam, had prosecuted Cunningham.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:59 PM EST
Huston Bashes Conservative Paper, Conservative Columnist for Criticizing Giuliani
Topic: NewsBusters

A March 8 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston criticizes "the MSM's attack dogs" for going after Rudy Giuliani -- specifically, the Boston Herald for "going after his bigoted and obviously stupid potential Conservative voters -- stupid at least as far as the Herald is concerned."

What Huston fails to mention: the Boston Herald is a conservative paper, and the author of the article Huston criticizes, Jay Ambrose, is a conservative syndicated columnist, as indicated by his position as a senior fellow with the conservative Independence Institute.

So if a conservative like Ambrose says conservatives won't accept Giuliani as an acceptable Republican presidential candidate, perhaps a conservative like Huston should listen. Or is any criticism of a Republican in the media forbidden in Huston's eyes?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:52 AM EST
This Is A News Story?

The first paragraph of a March 6 article by Monisha Bansal:

Liberals are wrong about everything and have the mentality of kindergarteners, in the view of conservative comedian and commentator Evan Sayet.

And a conservative comedian's act is news ... why?

Even more absurdly, Bansal sought rebuttal to the comedian's statements:

The Democratic National Committee did not respond to invitations to comment for this article, but Toby Chaudhuri, communications director for the liberal Campaign for America's Future, told Cybercast News Service that "Sayet is a comedian with a cross to bear."

"He hasn't been able to think of any new jokes for over 30 years. Maybe that's why he gets laughs even before he opens his mouth," Chaudhuri said.

This may be right up there with WorldNetDaily devoting an article to a book getting more Amazon five-star reviews than "The Da Vinci Code" as the lamest ConWeb story ever.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:29 AM EST
ConWeb Spins Libby Verdict
Topic: NewsBusters

With the arrival of the verdict in the Scooter Libby case, Media Matters conveniently posted a guide to myths and falsehoods about the case to look out for in news coverage. And right on cue, the ConWeb seemed determined to touch on as many of them as it could.


A March 6 post by Mark Finkelstein made a big deal out of there not being an underlying crime (irrelevant since Libby was charged with obstructing the investigation into whether there was an underlying crime) and that Richard Armitage, not Libby leaked Valerie Plame's name to Robert Novak (also irrelevant -- Libby and Armitage, along with Karl Rove, did leak the name to journalists prior to Novak's printing of it). Finkelstein added that for CBS' Bob Schieffer "[t]o claim, without citing a single damning fact, not only that this is going to hurt the Vice-President 'very badly,' but that the harm will extend to the Bush administration at large, smacks of a smear" ignores a particular "damning fact" or two: that Libby was the chief of staff for the vice president, and he was convicted on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.

A March 6 post (and March 7 CyberAlert item) by Brent Baker also irrelevantly brought up Armitage.

A March 7 post by Finkelstein claimed that "neither Cheney nor Libby could have 'leaked' Plame's identity since it was, thanks to Richard Armitage, already out there." Again, since Libby has been documented chatting up Plame's identity with at least two journalists prior to the publication of Novak's column, he did, in fact, "leak" Plame's identity.

A March 7 post by Scott Whitlock also irrelevantly noted that Plame "had her identity revealed to reporter Bob Novak by an administration critic, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage." 

A March 7 post by Tim Graham also mentions Armitage, as well as suggesting that Plame and her husband, Joe Wilson, aren "far from victims" because the "have made two book deals and a movie deal." Graham also asked: "But if campaigns to discredit critics were illegal, how many Clinton administration officials would have gone to jail?" But, of course, Libby wasn't convicted of trying to discredit a critic; he was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice.

A March 7 post by Dave Pierre -- you guessed it -- makes a big deal out of Armitage.


In a March 7 column, Phil Brennan stated that "Mr. Fitzgerald was appointed to determine if a specific law concerning the exposure of the identity of members of the intelligence community, in this case the CIA, was violated in the case of one Valerie Plame Wilson." In fact, Fitzgerald was not limited to investigate only possible violations of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act; the Department of Justice granted Fitzgerald broad "plenary" authority to investigate the "alleged unauthorized disclosure" of Plame's identity.


A March 6 article makes an even more irrelevant reference to Armitage: recounting a conversation between Armitage and the Washington Post's Bob Woodward. Like the others, WND doesn't mention that Libby was also disclosing Plame's identity to reporters before Novak revealed it in his column.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:16 AM EST
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Farah's AP Hypocrisy
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah's March 7 WoirldNetDaily column rips the Associated Press as "the worst purveyor of political propaganda and distortion," a "pervasive information virus," and "deceitful."

We'd believe Farah's alleged outrage was genuine if we hadn't noticed the following on WND's front page today:






































That's right -- WND is making liberal use of the wire service its leader is railing against. And WND is not paying a dime to AP for relying on its material, either.

As as we've previously noted. WND has also plagiarized AP material without giving them proper credit -- something WND itself has complained about.

"Something must be done," Farah concludes. We agree -- WND should stop profiting off work it doesn't pay for, particularly in light of its contempt for the creators of said work.

If there was ever a textbook definition of hypocrisy, this would be it. If Farah hates the AP so much, why is he freeloading on it to run his business?

Posted by Terry K. at 10:06 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, March 7, 2007 10:08 PM EST
NewsMax Gets Nasty About Hillary
Topic: Newsmax

A March 4 NewsMax article begins this way:

Like rodents deserting a sinking ship, former Clinton intimates seem to be abandoning the the lumbering S.S. Hillary Clinton for the sleek new racing yacht Barack Obama.

What was that NewsMax head Christopher Ruddy was saying about Hillary not getting the "intensity" of "hate" that Bill Clinton got?

The Clinton "intimate" being referred to here is for Clinton White House special counsel Greg Craig. NewsMax adds that Craig played a "most notorious role" as "as Juan Gonzalez's attorney in his fight to seize Juan's son Elian and take him back to Fidel Castro's Cuba." The article goes on to describe how "a terrified Elian was seized from his Miami family relatives by gun-waving federal agents who smashed in the door of his house and stuck a gun in his 6-year-old face."

As we noted at the time, NewsMax said a lot of inflammatory things about Elian's seizure, more than a few of them overblown and contradicted by evidence.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:12 PM EST
MRC Solo Again on Fox News (Update)
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham made an appearance today on Fox News. As in other recent Fox News appearances by MRC representatives, Graham was alone, with no other panelist to counter his claims.

UPDATE: The MRC's Rich Noyes appeared on Fox News later in the day to discuss the same subject as Graham -- Fox News' efforts to gin into a scandal the revelation that a New York Times reporter paid money to a teenage boy who was engaging in Internet pornography in order to gain his trust and write a story about him and, ultimately, get him out of that lifestyle. Unlike Graham, Noyes didn't appear alone; he was joined by ... another conservative, John Fund.

Where's this "fair and balanced" coverage of which Fox News speaks?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:54 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, March 7, 2007 6:35 PM EST
New Article: An Offensive Double Standard
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center is normally eager to marshal its forces against those who make remarks it considers offensive. So why won't the MRC criticize Ann Coulter? Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:09 AM EST
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
More WND Narcissism
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily continues its self-centered attitude toward website blocking by the military in a March 6 article by Bob Unruh that quotes WND editor Joseph Farah as saying, "WND has proved its willingness to fight for freedom of speech in the past and we will uphold that tradition in the future no matter what the cost," while failing once again to note that WND is far from the first mainstream website that the military has blocked its troops from seeing.

If Farah is so willing to "fight for freedom of speech," why won't he and Unruh fight for military access to other websites that are in the same situation as WND?

Posted by Terry K. at 7:56 PM EST
CNS Headline Bias Watch

The headline of a March 6 article on Scooter Libby's conviction on perjury and obstruction of justice charges readds: "Dems Target Administration as Libby Found Guilty."

Somehow, we don't recall any CNS articles in December 1998 headlined "GOP Targets Administration as Clinton Impeached."

Posted by Terry K. at 3:05 PM EST
Bozell Weighs In on Maher -- But Not Coulter
Topic: Media Research Center

A March 6 New York Post article quoted Media Research Center president Brent Bozell thusly regarding Bill Maher's comments on Dick Cheney: "Bill Maher is a vile and repugnant human being. ... Anyone who wishes for the death of the vice president in a time of war is, at best, a very sick puppy."

But Bozell has thus far not found the time to weigh in on Ann Coulter's "faggot" remark and the status of her scheduled appearance at the MRC's 20th Anniversary Gala.

That may be because Bozell is buddy-buddy enough with Coulter to do joint appearances on Sean Hannity's radio show. 

C'mon, Brent. Is "faggot" not "vile and repugnant"? Is Coulter not "a very sick puppy"? Inquiring minds who genuinely care about media bias want to know.

UPDATE: A March 6 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock calls Coulter's remark a "slur" but refuses to pass judgment on it, complaining instead that "Good Morning America" focused on Coulter and not Maher. He concluded: "Regardless of what one thinks of conservative author and pundit Ann Coulter’s comments, shouldn’t Bill Maher, who is a well known liberal author and pundit, receive similar scrutiny for his 'mean spirited' comments about a failed assassination attempt on the Vice President?" Of course, the MRC has not given to Coulter similar scrutiny -- or much scrutiny at all for that matter -- to that it has given Maher.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:52 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, March 6, 2007 3:56 PM EST
The Silence Continues
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center -- which is planning to feature Ann Coulter at its 20th Anniversary Gala on March 29 -- has officially remained silent about Coulter's "faggot" slur. Will the MRC honor its invitation to Coulter, thus condoning her slur, or will it follow the lead of fellow watchdog group, Accuracy in Media, which is discontinuing the sale of her books at its online store?

Then again, silence appears to be the MRC's official policy on Coulter, who has played a role at MRC's annual banquet each of the past four years. A search of the MRC archives turns up no mention whatsoever, let alone criticism, of two of Coulter's most notorious statements -- that "We need somebody to put rat poisoning in [Supreme Court] Justice [John Paul] Stevens' creme brulee" and "My only regret with [Oklahoma City bomber] Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."

Can we assume by its silence that the MRC finds no offense whatsoever in Coulter's slurs and threats?

Posted by Terry K. at 10:28 AM EST
NewsMax Slants Global Warming Article
Topic: Newsmax

A March 5 NewsMax article repeats the claim reported in a National Geographic News article that melting of polar ice caps on Mars proves that "the current warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun."

But as with NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard, NewsMax failed to mention the massive holes in this theory that National Geographic documented -- namel, that not only does it apparently fail to take into account changes in Mar's orbit and tilt that would affect changes in Mars' climate, it dismisses the greenhouse effect.

NewsMax also repeats a report from the Danish National Space Center which claims that "the Earth’s climate is strongly influenced by cosmic rays from exploded stars." But previous reports on this claim also note, unlike NewsMax, that these findings may not transfer to natural conditions outside the controlled laboratory environment.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 AM EST

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