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Wednesday, April 4, 2007
CNS Singles Out Pelosi for Criticism of Syria Visit, Downplays GOP Visit

An April 4 article by Julie Stahl features criticism of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for visiting Syria to meet with officials there. While Stahl notes that "three Republican congressmen" have also visited Syria, she does not name those congressmen nor note any criticism specifically directed toward those Republicans beyond lumping them in with Bush's criticism of Pelosi.

Stahl quoted "Arab affairs expert" Mordechai Kedar of the BESA Center for Strategic Studies "near Tel Aviv" as saying that Pelosi "understands nothing in the Middle East" and that her visit is "a hammer to hit President Bush," but she exhibits no evidence that she asked Kedar if the visits by the "three Republican congressmen" were similarly "a hammer to hit President Bush."

In addition to downplaying visits by Republicans, Stahl also fails to note that at least one Republican congressman's visit to Syria was apparently done "in cooperation with the [Bush] administration," which would seem to undercut any criticism of Pelosi's visit.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:49 PM EDT
WND Still Navel-Gazing About Website Blocking
Topic: WorldNetDaily
An April 3 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh reports that the Navy is no longer blocking access to WND on military servers. But as he has in his previous reporting on the issue, Unruh once again fails to note the fact that the military blocks access to numerous websites other than WND.
You'd think that would be a relevant fact to someone who worked for the Associated Press for 30 years. Or that the issue would make WND want to crusade for free military access to all websites. But you'd be wrong. 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Tim Graham, Art Critic
Topic: NewsBusters

An April 3 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham not only takes the Washington Post to task for writing something nice about "long-time avant-garde hippie" Yoko Ono (what, he couldn't work "dirty" in there somewhere?), Graham also snickers at Ono's art. Noting that Ono, who was in Washington for the cherry blossom festival, encouraged "public participation in art by having people write their wishes on a piece of paper and tie it to one of her peace trees," Graham added: "How scribbling a wish on paper is 'art' is anyone's guess. Is it art if you bring your calligraphy pen?"

As the Post article noted, the project is "part of the artist's long-standing efforts to encourage public participation in artmaking." Why is that a bad thing -- or bad art?

Graham goes on to note that one of Ono's "peace trees" is on the grounds of the "federally funded Hirshhorn Museum," meaning that "once again, the conservative taxpayer is offering their involuntary support for fuzzy-headed liberal art projects in the nation's capital." Are conservatives like Graham really that threatened by a tree? And really, it's no less "involuntary support" than, say, renaming an airport after Ronald Reagan. See, Tim, it works both ways.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:35 AM EDT
WND's Experts
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has been touting the work of some dubious "experts" of late.

The new issue of WND's Whistleblower magazine -- dedicated to scaremongering over vaccines -- includes the following article:

"Doctors' group opposes all vaccine mandates." The 4,000-member Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, established in 1943, has called for a moratorium on the government forcing any vaccines on the American people, warning, "Our children face the possibility of death or serious long-term adverse effects"

As we've detailed, the AAPS is little more than a conservative advocacy group whose views WND has touted in the past. Think about it: Does it really make logical medical sense to never vaccinate anyone?

In an April 2 column bashing Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani for being too nice to gay people, Janet Folger cites Jeffrey Satinover in support of her claim that "homosexual sex is three times more dangerous than smoking." (Italics hers.) but as we've noted when another WND columnist cited him, Satinover is an anti-gay psychiatrist who calls homosexuality "psychologically unhealthy," "an inferior way of life,"and a "sociopathy" akin to "grow[ing] up in a Cosa Nostra family,"  adding that "homosexuality--like narcissism--is best viewed as a spiritual and moral illness."

Neither Satinover nor the AAPS are exacly reliables source of objective research. Yet WND and its columnists want you to believe otherwise.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:17 AM EDT
NewsMax-Andy Martin Watch
Topic: Newsmax

NewsMax has printed another Barack Obama-bashing column by "Internet journalist, broadcaster, and critic" (not to mention crazy person) Andy Martin, this time suggesting that Obama supports the idea of slavery reparations because he has endorsed a candidate for Chicago alderman who supports reparations. Martin also calls Obama's supporters "ignorant suckers."

Of course, an a person's endorsement of a candidate does not necessarily constitute endorsement of all views held by that candidate. After all, just because NewsMax runs Martin's columns doesn't mean that NewsMax endorses, say, Martin's anti-Semitic views or his offer to buy the Tribune Co., owner of the Chicago Tribune and other papers and TV stations (no mention of where the money would come from to pay the $35 a share he's offering).

Or ... does it? 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:20 AM EDT
Monday, April 2, 2007
NewsBusters Takes Bait, Repeats False Drudge Claim
Topic: NewsBusters

From an April 2 NewsBusters post by Mithridate Ombud:

Drudge mentions that during a live press conference in Baghdad, CNN "reporter" Michael Ware heckled John McCain. Video from the event is sure to follow. What will be interesting to see is who in the mainstream press covers it. Will it be covered on CNN? Will the press gossip blogs mention it? Or will this be swept under the rug as usual?

But oops! Drudge's post is anonymously sourced, citing only an unnamed "official." And double oops! Ware denies it. And triple oops! Footage of the press conference in question shows Ware saying nothing at all, let alone "heckling" anyone.

Yet strangely, Ombud did not update his/her post to include any of this information.

A later April 2 NewsBusters post by Matthew Balan reports that Ware pointed out that he didn't even get to ask a question during the press conference. Balan noted that "Ware had criticized McCain and the congressional delegation in his report," but that's irrelevant to the issue at hand -- whether Ware "heckled" McCain at the press conference.  While Balan noted that there "was no indication of heckling or laughing of any kind" during the brief excerpt of the conference that CNN ran, he does not mention the Raw Story item with more footage of the press conference and Ware's silence. And nowhere does Balan acknowledge Ombud's earlier post repeating Drudge's false claim.

Will NewsBusters ever get around to admitting that Ombud (and Drudge) were wrong? Or, like the last time it relayed false information, will such an admission be belated and buried?  

Posted by Terry K. at 9:03 PM EDT
Graham Still Thinks 8 Equals 93
Topic: NewsBusters

An April 1 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham praises Wall Street Journal columnist Mark Lasswell for comparing the Bush administration's firing of eight U.S. attorneys to the dismissal of 93 U.S. attorneys by the Clinton administration when it took office despite the fact that, as we've detailed, there is no comparison.

Graham goes on to further praise the columnist for noting that ABC's George Stepahnoploulos, while serving in the Clinton administration, opposed the hiring of one of those fired attorneys, Jay Stephens (a Republican -- a fact neither Lassell nor Graham point out, and something that would explain why Stepahnoploulos would be opposed to Stephens), to investigate the collapse of Madison Guaranty, an Arkansas savings and loan whose collapse was a component of the Whitewater scandal. Graham added: "Ironically, when the Stephens law firm later found no serious criminal offense in Whitewater, the Clintonistas began touting it everywhere -- and still do to this day."

Even more ironically, according to a search of the MRC and archives, this appears to be the very first mention of Stephens' report -- better known as the Pillsbury report -- by the Media Research Center. As summarized by Joe Conason and Gene Lyons in "The Hunting of the President":

Based on the Clintons' sworn interrogatories, interviews with forty-five other witnesses,  and some two hundred thousand documents, the report concluded  that the president and first lady had told the truth about their  Whitewater investment: The Clintons were passive investors who  were misled about the actual status of the project by Jim McDougal  almost from the start. ... The Pillsbury Report found no evidence that Whitewater's losses had been subsidized by taxpayers  in the savings and loan bailout. But even if they were, it concluded,  the Clintons were not at fault.

Instead of making demands of Stephanopoulos, perhaps Graham should explain why the MRC was so loath to tell its readers about evidence that exonerated the Clintons during Whitewater -- or anytime, really.

UPDATE: Graham informs us that the MRC has in fact previously (if briefly) mentioned the Pillsbury report, in a item in a February 1996 MediaWatch. But that item declared that it was a "public relations line" that the report cleared the Clintons, though it offers no evidence to the contrary. Our basic point -- that the MRC ignored or minimized evidence that exonerated the Clintons -- still stands.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:12 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2007 11:53 PM EDT
Klein Again Whitewashes Israeli Extremists
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An April 1 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein reported on claims that former Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek "ratted out fellow Jews to the British occupiers of pre-State Israel, even once trying to have former prime minister Menachem Begin arrested." But Klein was vague about what was going on in pre-state Israel at the time.

Klein noted that "Kollek mostly ratted out the Irgun," a group he described only as "a paramilitary and activist group that carried out retaliatory attacks against Arab terror and was considered by some to be politically conservative," adding: "The Irgun broke away from the Haganah, another Zionist activist group, out of protest for the Haganah's socialist leanings and policy of restraint in the face of Arab attacks." Begin was head of the Irgun for several years.

What Klein doesn't note is that the Irgun was more than "a paramilitary and activist group" that was "politically conservative": it was, arguably, a terrorist group. Most notoriously, Irgun was responsible for a 1946 attack on the King David hotel in Jerusalem, in which 91 people died.

We're not taking sides here, just pointing out that once again, Klein is whitewashing the record of right-wing extremists. His failure to tell the whole story of the Irgun and its violent history leaves out a key component of Kollek's possible motivation for "ratting out" the group to the British and, thus, is doing his readers a disservice. But, of course, Klein has been guilty of this same disservice all through his tenure at WND.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:37 AM EDT
Saturday, March 31, 2007
The MRC In (And Out Of) Context
Topic: Media Research Center

A March 30 NewsBusters post excerpts Rush Limbagh's speech accepting the William F. Buckley, Jr. Award for Media Excellence at the Media Research Center's 20th Anniversary Gala the night before:

Media Research Center was at the beginning, and set a standard, and had the guts to go after the left. And now, Brent and his organization are being copied. For once, it's the left that's bringing up the rear. Except they do it far differently than the way Brent's organization does. They lie. They take things out of context. And one of the problems with this is that the mainstream media, which again, I call the Drive By Media does not listen to my show, or anybody else's show.

This is presumably a potshot at Media Matters (disclosure: our employer), though he offers no evidence that Media Matters has, in fact, taken Limbaugh out of context. Judge for yourself.

Meanwhile, it's false to suggest that the MRC has never taken anyone's comments out of context:

It has taken Howell Raines out of context.

It has taken Chris Matthews out of context. 

It has taken Katie Couric out of context. 

It has taken Joe Klein out of context. 

It has taken John Chancellor out of context. 

And those are just the low-hanging fruit. There are plenty more out-of-context examples and misrepresentations to be found for anyone will to dig a little deeper.

It would seem that the "standard" the MRC has set is taking people out of context. 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:10 AM EDT
Friday, March 30, 2007
CNS Follows WND's Biased Lead on Buskeros Case
Topic: has taken a stab at weighing in on the Melissa Buskeros case. But like WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh, the March 30 CNS article by Eva Cahen quotes only pro-homeschooling sources and makes no apparent effort to contact German officials for their side of the story.

So, is what German officials have to say not a "legitimate side" of this story, or what?

Posted by Terry K. at 5:45 PM EDT
NewsMax Stands By Its Favorite Crazy Person
Topic: Newsmax

A March 30 NewsMax article defended Andy Martin's evidence-free claim -- made in a March 28 NewsMax column -- that Barack Obama has "locked ... away" his white grandmother "in his racist closet", calling him "one of the most racist politicians in America today" and accusing him of trying to hide his white heritage.

Nowhere does NewsMax note Martin's history of mental illness and anti-Semitism that call into question Martin's veracity on ... well, on anything, really. Nor does NewsMax explain why it would run a column by a person with such a history.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:18 PM EDT
Klein Finally Notes Months-Old Israeli Rape Scandal
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A March 29 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein is not notable for its main subject matter -- allegations of resume-fudging by Israeli politician Shimon Peres. Rather. what's notable is that it's the first time Klein has mentioned (though not until the final paragraph) the months-old "rape scandal" involving Israeli president Moshe Katzav.

Why is resume-fudging more important to Klein than rape allegations against a high-ranking official, you ask? As we've noted, this is likely because Katzav belongs to the conservative Likud party, which Klein loves, while Peres is a member of the center-left Kadima party, which Klein hates.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:16 AM EDT
Thursday, March 29, 2007
The ConWeb's Favorite Crazy Person
Topic: Newsmax

First, it was Melanie Morgan co-author Catherine Moy who fell for actual mentally ill person Andy Martin's ravings about Barack Obama. Now, NewsMax has posted a March 28 column by Martin claiming that Obama has locked away his white grandmother, in "one of the cruelest and most mendacious political kidnappings this nation has ever seen," in order to downplay his whiteness. Media Matters has more.

What is it about the ConWeb and demonstrably certifiable whackjobs? Remember, NewsMax (along with the Horowitz empire) was infatuated with Melrose Larry Green, too.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:56 PM EDT
Attorney-Firing Defense of the Day: Carter Did It!
Topic: NewsBusters

A March 29 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston makes the following declaration:

Of course, we on Newsbusters know that the ginning up of this "scandal" is all smoke and mirrors meant solely as an attack on president Bush, to weaken him and to further destroy the GOPs chances in 2008.

We also all know that every president has the Constitutional right to fire any or all the U.S. Attorneys just like Clinton did.

But whether the Bush administration had the right to fire U.S. attorneys is not the issue. And Bush did not fire those eight attorneys "just like Clinton did," as we've detailed.

Then, Huston throws out a defense that may be even more lame than the Clinton-did-it defense: Carter did it!

But, it wasn't just Clinton, apparently. Even Jimmy Carter while in the White House fired an attorney that was making things too warm for one of the members of his party, making the action purely political in nature. And he lied about it to the people.

Huston's source for this claim is a March 27 Human Events article featuring the assertions of David Marston, who was removed as a U.S. attorney in Philadelphia in 1978. But a 1978 Time magazine article on the controversy reveals something that neither Human Events nor Huston noted: Marston is a Republican. Time further described Marston as "an outright political appointee who hunted headlines as vigorously as he hunted official corruption in both parties."

The article also quoted then-House Speaker Tip O'Neill calling Marston "a Republican political animal" who took office "with viciousness in his heart and for only one reason -- to get Democrats."

The Carter-did-it defense is just the latest in an ever-shifting line of Bush administration defenses proffered by NewsBusters.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:24 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 4, 2007 1:26 AM EDT
Speaking of False Facts ...
Topic: NewsBusters

A March 28 NewsBusters post by Justin McCarthy repeats the latest false meme about the eight fired U.S. attorneys -- that they were dismissed for legitimate causes.

After taking Rosie O'Donnell to task for confusing judges and attorneys in her criticism of the firings, McCarthy adds: "As previously noted, there were plausible and very defensible reasons for the firings of at least three U.S. attorneys," linking back to a previous post on the subject, in which he claimed that fired U.S. attorney Carol Lam "did not aggressively prosecute illegal alien criminals," which "concerned even Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein." But as we noted then, Lam was never confronted by anyone at the Department of Justice about her alleged record on prosecuting "illegal alien criminals" before she was fired.

Perhaps that's why McCarthy tried to peddle a new sub-talking point -- that "ne reason for Carol Lam’s dismissal was her failure to prosecute gun crimes." But given that, according to the link he supplies as evidence, this claim was made by Justice officials at the same time they accused Lam of being lax on immigration, there's a pretty good chance that it's just as bogus. Indeed, as TPM Muckraker notes, when the FBI's bureau chief in San Diego was asked about the given rationales for her ouster (that she pursued corruption cases to the detriment of gun and border prosecutions), he responded, "What do you expect her to do? Let corruption exist?" (Lam prosecuted ultra-corrupt congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham.)

Posted by Terry K. at 1:44 AM EDT

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