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Thursday, April 5, 2007
CNS Loves the Lord (Monckton)

An April 5 article by Nathan Burchfiel joins NewsBusters and NewsMax in repeating global warming denier Lord Monckton's request for a debate with Al Gore. Like NewsBusters and NewsMax, CNS makes no attempt to balance or counter any of the claims Lord Monckton has made.

While Burchfiel writes that "the two have squared off before in a series of articles published in London's Sunday Telegraph in November 2006," he fails to point out that, in fact, Gore was debunking claims Monckton made in his Telegraph piece. From Gore's op-ed:

First, Monckton claims that Dr James Hansen of Nasa said that the temperature would rise by 0.3C and that the sea level would rise by several feet. But Hansen did not say that at all, and the claim that he did is extremely misleading. In fact, Dr Hansen presented three scenarios to the US Senate (high, medium, and low). He explained that the middle scenario was "most plausible" and, as it turned out, the middle scenario was almost exactly right.

Further, as we've noted (but the CNS, NewsMax and NewsBusters haven't), Monckton's claims have also been debunked by British Guardian columnist George Monbiot, calling his claims "a mixture of cherry-picking, downright misrepresentation and pseudo-scientific gibberish."

Posted by Terry K. at 2:38 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, April 5, 2007 2:40 PM EDT
New Article: The Bogus Defense of the Day
Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters tries out new excuses for the Bush administration's firing of U.S. attorneys that are just as dubious as the 8-equals-93 defense. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:38 AM EDT
NewsMax Bashes Pelosi, But Not Republicans Doing Same Thing
Topic: Newsmax

NewsMax is joining the rest of the ConWeb in bashing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for visiting Syria while giving Republicans a free pass.

An April 4 NewsMax article did note that "Republican Sen. Arlen Specter" was among those congressmen who have visited Syria, the headline still read,"Nancy Pelosi Embraces Terror State."

An April 4 column by Phil Brennan, meanwhile, smears Pelosi by suggesting she is "comfortable in the company of butchers — she's long been an ardent supporter of those members of the abortion industry who have killed 40 million unborn babies without a murmur of protest from the present speaker of the House" and concludes: " Come home Nancy, and leave the business of wartime diplomacy to the adults." Nowhere does Brennan mention that Repubican congressmen have similarly visited Syria.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 AM EDT
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Klein's Terrorist Buddies Weigh In on Pelosi
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Aaron Klein's mighty Wurlitzer creaks to life and -- voila! -- he finds that "members of terror organizations" (well, two of them, anyway) approve of Nancy Pelosi's visit to Syria, or so he claims in an April 4 WorldNetDaily article. While Klein notes that "a congressional delegation including three Republicans traveled to Damascus," he apparently did not ask his terrorist buddies what they thought about GOP visits to Syria -- or did and failed to pass on their responses in favor of smearing Pelosi.

If you'll remember, Klein pulled the same stunt before the November 2006 election, claiming that terrorists endorsed the election of Democrats. And like before, there's no explanation of why we should trust the words of terrorists as Klein does -- after all, while Klein wrote in 2004 that Yasser Arafat "is hoping John Kerry wins the presidential election in November" and conservatives asserted that an Osama bin Laden video released before the 2004 presidential election was spun by conservatives as an endorsement of Kerry, it was later revealed that bin Laden's message was designed to assist the President's reelection.

The headline on this article hilariously calls Klein's reporting a "shocker!" Why? Isn't this the kind of story Klein always grinds out? It's not shocking at all.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:52 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 4, 2007 6:55 PM EDT
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

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