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Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Meanwhile ...
Topic: CNSNews.com
Media Matters details how a March 13 CNSNews.com commentary by Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch fails to tell the full story about Barack Obama's "questionable behavior" regarding stock purchases -- namely, that once he realized his blind trust had invested in companies with business before the federal government, he sold the stocks at a loss.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:26 AM EDT
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
CNS Unearths Christian Coin Dealer
Topic: CNSNews.com

Who knew there was a fundamentalist Christian activist who was a coin dealer?

Randy Hall did, and he quotes the guy in a March 9 CNSNews.com article. Hall found the dealer, Troy Thoreson, spouting the usual right-wing stuff about the U.S. Mint's moving "In God We Trust" to the edge of the new presidential dollar coin:

"When this story first started to develop from the U.S. Mint, I could see the writing on the wall," said Thoreson, whose primary expertise is in dealing with modern coins.

Not only would this be the first time since 1866 that the national motto would not appear on the front or back of American dollar coins, but there would also be some "godless coins" since a number of them would accidentally go through the stamping process without having "In God We Trust" imprinted on them, he noted.

[...]

Thoreson offered a suggestion to those who decide to boycott the new coins - boycott the earlier dollar coins too.

"If the U.S. populace really wants to make a statement here - because these coins have little or no numismatic value - what they should do is find any 1979 Susan B. Anthony dollars or any 2000 Sacagawea dollars they have laying around," Thoreson said.

"Take them to your bank and turn those in as a protest about not having 'In God We Trust' on the front or the back of the new coins," he said. "That will drive the government crazy, because the banks are going to send them right back to the Federal Reserve, which is trying to get rid of them.

"And if you're a collector, you just need three of these coins: one with the inscription printed properly, one with the inscription accidentally printed upside-down and one of those that have no inscription at all," Thoreson added. "Get your one example of each and take the rest back down to the bank."

One question that Hall appears not to have asked: Does Thoreson so object to these new dollar coins that he would not deal in them, even if the government caves to his demands and withdraws it, thus increasing the numismatic value of those coins?

This, by the way, was the second article in two days on the issue, following a March 8 article by Susan Jones. 


Posted by Terry K. at 9:40 PM EDT
Another Solo MRC Appearance on Fox News
Topic: Media Research Center

A March 12 appearance by the MRC's Tim Graham on Fox News is the latest in which MRC spokespeople have appeared solo or with another conservative.

Don't MRC folks like to debate?


Posted by Terry K. at 7:46 PM EDT
Whitlock Misleads on Attorney Firings (Update)
Topic: NewsBusters

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.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:57 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 13, 2007 11:42 PM EDT
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:

Journalists who care about their profession should be appalled by such reasoning and repudiate the campaign to silence their brethren at Fox News, but the debate cancellation has so far been given relatively slight coverage from the other networks. And some of those journalists who work for other news organizations need to ask Senators Edwards and Reid whether or not they share the far Left’s belief that the Fox News Channel is nothing but a GOP mouthpiece.

It's impossible to imagine that the establishment media would be so silent if conservatives or Republicans were working to ostracize a liberal media outlet.

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.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 AM EDT
Monday, March 12, 2007
NewsMax Spins Romney's Abortion Flip-Flop As Reaganesque
Topic: Newsmax
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."

Posted by Terry K. at 3:23 PM EDT
On Running Against the Media
Topic: NewsBusters

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." 


Posted by Terry K. at 1:50 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, March 12, 2007 1:56 AM EDT
Sunday, March 11, 2007
WND Still Making False Claims About Librarian's Case
Topic: WorldNetDaily

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."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:03 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, March 11, 2007 1:13 PM EST
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Goodenough's Dishonest "Faggot" Attack
Topic: CNSNews.com

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:

[T]he entire article is, in itself, a DIATRIBE against anti-gay hate speech -- specifically, anti-gay hate speech disguised as "gay jokes." I refer, in fact, to the sort of purportedly "harmless" gay jokes made by the conservative spokeswoman and preternaturally insensitive attention seeker who laughably styles herself a writer and "pundit:" Ann Coulter.

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?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:31 AM EST
Friday, March 9, 2007
NewsBusters Now Loves Once-Reviled CNN Reporter
Topic: NewsBusters

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

It’s really the height of gall, but perfectly illustrates the arrogance of today’s media. On Wednesday evening, Michael Ware – CNN’s Baghdad correspondent – stated that the folks giving President Bush advice and information about what’s going on in Iraq – including General George Casey and Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad – “are men who could not be more divorced from the Iraqi reality. They very much live within a bubble, be it physically within the Green Zone or be it within the bubble of heavy U.S. protection” (video link and full transcript to follow).

Ware didn’t end there, for he knows better than all of the advisors, the commanders, and the boots on the ground: “And this is true even for their advisers and for the commanders and the American soldiers.”

Imagine the arrogance. This one reporter knows more about what’s going on in Iraq than everybody else.

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?


Posted by Terry K. at 6:20 PM EST
Feel the Hillary Hate
Topic: Newsmax

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?


Posted by Terry K. at 1:40 PM EST
CNS Press Release Rewrite Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com
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.

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
Topic: CNSNews.com

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:

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

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