Topic: Media Research Center
Don't MRC folks like to debate?
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Another Solo MRC Appearance on Fox News
Topic: Media Research Center
Don't MRC folks like to debate?
Whitlock Misleads on Attorney Firings (Update)
A March 13 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock complained that ABC reported on the apparently politically motivated firings of several federal prosecutors by the Bush administration, but "when President Clinton fired 93 attorneys at the beginning of his first term, ABC never mentioned the story."
But the two situations are not analogous. Clinton replaced all federal prosecutors upon entering office, and Whitlock notes no evidence that Clinton was retaliating against any or all of them for specific reasons, other than repeating the MRC's own contemporanous speculation that "Clintonites made the move to take U.S. Attorney Jay Stephens off the House Post Office investigation of Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski." Meanwhile, the Bush administration's firing of several prosecutors comes in the middle of Bush's second term, and evidence is mounting that they were let go for partisan reasons -- prosecuting too many Republicans and not enough Democrats.
Whitlock did not note whether ABC reported President Bush's similar firing of most U.S. attorneys when he took office in 2001 -- a much more analogous situation to Clinton's -- nor did he even mention that Bush, in fact, did fire those prosecutors. Whitlock also failed to mention another analogous situation: the Washington Post's report that the Bush administration considered replacing all federal prosecutors in 2005.
UPDATE: Brent Bozell's March 13 column makes the same misleading conflation, with the added deception of mentioning nothing about why the Bush firings have become a controversy. Like Whitlock, Bozell also fails to mention that like Clinton, Bush replaced most U.S. attorneys when he took office and considered replacing them all again in 2005.
This stuff's coming on quite suddenly. Was there, like, some meeting among the Conservative Elite earlier this week to hammer out this meme (and to ignore its logical inconsistency)?
UPDATE 2: It would appear so -- and Fox News sat in on it. Brent Baker, in a new post, praised Brit Hume for "scolding his media colleagues for how 'news stories reporting that the Bush administration had considered firing all 93 U.S. attorneys across the country [in 2005] failed to mention that that is exactly what Bill Clinton did soon after taking office back in 1993.' " Of course, this is another misleading comparison: Bush's proposal of replacing all the attorneys that he himself had appointed four years earlier was something that not even Clinton did.
However, it may be the closest we get to the MRC admitting that Bush followed in Clinton's footsteps on this issue.
UPDATE 3: Another post by Baker falsely conflates Clinton's attorney replacement with the current round of Bush's replacements (and doesn't report that Bush did the same thing Clinton did in 2001 and thought about doing it in 2005).
None of these NewsBusters posts, by the way, mention the current circumstances under which the attorneys are being replaced -- under a provision snuck into the USA Patriot Act reauthorization that allows the Justice Department to appoint interim prosecutors without district court or congressional authorization. That's not a power Clinton had.
MRC, aka The Fox News Defense Society
Topic: Media Research Center
As we've previously detailed, the Media Research Center will never admit that Fox News is conservatively biased, despite the copious evidence to support the claim, and will defend Fox News against such accusations.
The MRC pulls that duty once again over the controversy regarding Nevada Democrats' pulling out of a presidential candidate debate sponsored by Fox News. A March 12 NewsBusters post by Brent Baker take Fox News' side, down to echoing the channel's attack on "radical fringe" groups who it blames for undoing the debate; Baker drops references to "the far Left" and "left-wing activists." Baker obsequiously adds that "[t]he idea that Fox runs biased debates is a bum rap" because it co-hosted two Democratic presidential candidates in 2003 and nobody complained then and that the Nevada Democratic Party's stated reason for withdrawing -- Fox News CEO Roger Ailes' deliberate confusion of Barack Obama with Osama bin Laden -- was a "thin reed" to grasp on because it was "a joke that basically mocked President Bush."
Baker then decalared:
It's similarly impossible to imagine that Baker would be taking the same position he is now if "conservatives or Republicans were working to ostracize a liberal media outlet"; in fact, he'd probably be compiling the anecdotal evidence to support the effort. After all, encouraging conservatives to ostracize "liberal media outlets" is the MRC's raison d'etre.
Monday, March 12, 2007
NewsMax Spins Romney's Abortion Flip-Flop As Reaganesque
More evidence that Mitt Romney is sewing up the crucial NewsMax endorsement: A March 12 article that spins his flip-flop on abortion following in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan. The article lists other politicians who "shifted on abortion as they set their sights on the presidency," but the headline reads, "Mitt Romney Like Ronald Reagan on Abortion Switch."
On Running Against the Media
In a March 11 NewsBusters post, Mark Finkelstein noted Fox News host Brit Hume's reaction to John Edwards' refusal to partiticipate in a Nevada presidential candidate debate sponsored by Fox News -- and ultimately cancellation of the debate after the Nevada state Democratic party refused to participate. Hume said that it's "a shrewd political move by him" because "what Edwards knows is that while he may be at war against Fox News, Fox News is not and cannot be at war with him." Finkelstein called Hume's statement "a fair-and-balanced comment reflecting an appreciation of real politik."
But while Finkelstein noted "pressure from liberal netroots and organizations such as Move.on" on Democrats to pull out of the debate, he didn't mention the stated reason Nevada Democrats gave for ultimately doing so -- Fox News honcho Roger Ailes' deliberate confusion of Barack Obama with Osama bin Laden. Nor did Finkelstein note the reaction of Fox News vice president David Rhodes to the news, in which he, as noted by Tim Graham in a March 9 post, attacked Nevada Democrats as being "controlled by radical fringe out-of-state interest groups." Sounds like a couple of people at Fox News are "at war" with certain Democrats. (Graham noted the cancellation of the debate but minimized Ailes' Obama comment: "It's a dumb-Bush joke, and Democrats object. And don't they know CNN has confused the names twice?")
Finkelstein also didn't note that there's at least one more presidental candidate who is "at war" with a media outlet. That, of course, is Mitt Romney: He has claimed that the "mainstream media" is attacking him "with hammer and tong" because he is "the conservative candidate."
Sunday, March 11, 2007
WND Still Making False Claims About Librarian's Case
A March 8 WorldNetDaily article about Ohio college librarian Scott Savage's lawsuit against faculty members who criticized him after he suggested a number of conservative books for a student reading list, including WND managing editor David Kupelian's "The Marketing of Evil," repeats false and misleading claims WND has previously made about the case.
The article states that Kupelian's book was "'banned' on the Ohio State University-Mansfield campus last year by 'gay' professors and their faculty supporters." But as we detailed, the book was never "banned."
The article also repeats the false claim that Savage was "accused of 'sexual harassment' simply for recommending" Kupelian's book. As we also detailed, that phrase came from materials put out by Savage's backer, the Alliance Defense Fund, whose claims on behalf of Savage WND relied on and uncritically reported. In fact, Savage was accused by two faculty members of "harassment based on sexual orientation."
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Goodenough's Dishonest "Faggot" Attack
And to think we actually believed Patrick Goodenough sorta cared about journalism.
The CNSNews.com managing editor proves us wrong in a March 9 commentary purporting to tar liberals with hypocrisy because they've used the word "faggot" just like Ann Coulter, including the earth-shattering discovery that "Daily Kos postings have included the word 'faggot' at least three times in recent years, as have other liberal blogs -- without apology, and without generating a furor."
Of course, those liberals, for thet most part, didn't use the word the way Coulter used -- as a deliberate slur against an ideological opponent -- and none of those writers, unlike Coulter, have a nationally syndicated column or make regular appearances on TV as a spokesman for a point of view that is generally critical of homosexuals. Further, most of the links Goodenough provides are to screen shots of the word, not the posts themselves, thus depriving his readers of the opportunity to judge how the word was used.
For instance, Goodenough states: "Blogger Melissa McEwan, on her site Shakespeare's Sister, used the line -- in reference to Leonardo da Vinci -- "I'm not so sure it's such a good idea for students to be studying that faggot anyway." But he doesn't include the context in which the post appears -- as criticism of conservatives pushing to add a Bible class to public school (or so we can glean from the screenshot; Goodenough won't let us see the whole thread).
Another post Goodenough lists as a screenshot only, a Daily Kos post by Maryscott O'Connor, is described as "a headline reading: 'When is a faggot just a bundle of sticks?' (That posting goes on to ask, 'What's up with the little sly gay jokes? Hmm? As I read the comments in discussions on DKos, there are times when I almost have to check and see if I accidentally stumbled into a Wingnut [right-wing] blog.')" Again, Goodenough fails to include context; as Connor responded:
Note also the ambiguous wording of Daily Kos bloggers using the word "three times in recent years." To speak more specifically that Goodenough will: Of the thousands of posts started at Daily Kos since January 2004 (the date of the earliest post he cites), Goodenough could find only three that featured the word in a headline.
Let's not forget, too, that the word "gay" is verboten at CNS, which leads to clumsy constructions like Goodenough's use of the term "homosexual-rights groups." Perhaps Goodenough should explain to its readers why "faggot" is considered a more acceptable word to him than "gay."
We have to wonder even more now: Is the Media Research Center so in the tank that it absoultely will not criticize Ann Coulter? Does she have blackmail pics of Brent Bozell in a leather teddy, or what?
Friday, March 9, 2007
NewsBusters Now Loves Once-Reviled CNN Reporter
A March 8 NewsBusters post by Mark Finkelstein touts the comments of CNN Baghdad correspondent Michael Ware, who claimed that discussions of withdrawal timetables of U.S. troops from Iraq "may as well be happening on the planet Pluto for all that it counts to the bloodshed and endless combat that we're seeing" and that "anyone setting time frames like that without real pre-conditions, anyone trying to put artificial deadlines upon this conflict is only aiding the enemies, so-called, of America, al Qaeda and Iran."
But wait -- wasn't the NewsBusters gang slapping Ware around not so long ago for being insufficiently propagandistic for U.S. purposes about the Iraq war?
Yep. Here's NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard in a Sept. 21, 2006, post calling
And Megan McCormack claimed in a March 2006 post that Ware "sounded defensive" and "rant[ed]" when he said that "All of these critics who are saying that we’re not telling the good news stories, I’d like to know just how many of them have spent any time here on the ground? Or any of these people who are reporting the good news from within the belly of the U.S. military, how much time have they spent on the Iraqi street?" McCormack added, "Ware did not fail to disappoint those eager to hear the United States is losing in Iraq."
Further, the NewsBusters' boss, Brent Bozell, bashed Ware last October for a report that included "video filmed by terrorists" showing "Islamic terrorist snipers time and again shooting and presumably killing American boys," citing it as evidence that "CNN is the terrorist’s messenger service, FedEx for the fanatics who want us dead."
Didja hear that, NewsBusters boys? Michael Ware is your enemy! Why are you approvingly quoting him?
Feel the Hillary Hate
NewsMax is offering (for the price of turning over your email address so they can send you lots of email) "Hillary's Dirty Stuff." There's nothing new here -- they're excerpts from a couple of several-years-old anti-Clinton books, Barbara Olson's "Hell to Pay" and Carl Limbacher's "Hillary's Scheme."
What was that NewsMax head Christopher Ruddy was saying about Hillary not getting the "intensity" of "hate" that Bill Clinton got?
CNS Press Release Rewrite Watch
A March 8 CNSNews.com 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.
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:
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.
Thursday, March 8, 2007
CNS Spins Prosecutor Firings As Attack on GOP Senator
A March 8 CNSNews.com 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:
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.
Huston Bashes Conservative Paper, Conservative Columnist for Criticizing Giuliani
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?
This Is A News Story?
The first paragraph of a March 6 CNSNews.com article by Monisha Bansal:
And a conservative comedian's act is news ... why?
Even more absurdly, Bansal sought rebuttal to the comedian's statements:
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.
ConWeb Spins Libby Verdict
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 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.
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