ConWebBlog: The Weblog of ConWebWatch

your New Media watchdog

ConWebWatch: home | archive/search | about | primer | shop

Monday, April 30, 2007
Kessler Fluffs Perino
Topic: Newsmax

An April 30 NewsMax article by Ronald Kessler gives his patented fluff job to deputy White House press secretary Dana Perino. Kessler has a weird focus on her looks, starting off by noting that she has been "[h]ailed on blogs as gorgeous and sexy" and the going for the full fluff:

She has girl-next-door good looks, blond hair, greenish-blue eyes, and a high forehead. But what you notice when she is interviewed on TV is her expressive delivery. You stop and listen for her interesting nuances of emphasis. She doesn't project the total confidence of the polished newscaster, and as a result, she inspires more trust.

In terms of her ability to rapidly fire out pertinent facts, she is the female Sean Hannity.

Kessler also serves up his, um, interesting take on the White House press corps:

Perino is more likely than Snow to take on reporters who overstep their bounds. Decades ago, reporters understood that press briefings were to convey and clarify news. Questions were asked to elicit information.

Now that briefings are televised, reporters use the opportunity to preen before the cameras and badger the briefer — conduct that years ago editors considered unprofessional. In those days, if reporters wanted to uncover their own facts, they could engage in investigative reporting, as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein did during Watergate.

Presumably for Kessler, "overstepping their bounds" means that reporters dare to question Perino. We suspect Kessler would be a lot more tolerant of reporters "overstepping their bounds" if the president was a Democrat.

Kessler keeps up the theme in a hard-hitting question to Perino: "How does she stand the obvious press bias against the president?" He also cheers how Perino "cut ... off" Helen Thomas and happily noted that "Perino in effect called Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a liar. But she did it in such a moderate tone that many didn't realize it."

Posted by Terry K. at 6:55 PM EDT
Speaking of Self-Proclaimed Messiahs ...
Topic: NewsBusters

An April 30 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd takes ABC to task for an article (written nearly two months ago) about a guy named Jose de Jesus who calls himself the Second Coming of Jesus, complaining that "Nowhere ... are any Christian scholars or preachers consulted for comment or to condemn Jose de Jesus for blasphemy."

We don't recall seeing anyone at the MRC condemning another certain self-proclaimed messiah by the name of Sun Myung Moon. And we certainly don't remember anyone at the MRC objecting when Moon's newspaper, the Washington Times, pounted out a one-sided, flattering profile of the MRC.

If false messiahs are to be condemned for "blasphemy," let's denounce all of 'em, hmmmm?

Posted by Terry K. at 6:36 PM EDT
Blumer Misleads on Stem Cell Research
Topic: NewsBusters

An April 27 NewsBusters post by Tom Blumer claimed that an apparent possible treatment involving adult stem cells was made by "a company more interested in advancing human health than in generating unsupported hype" -- that is, doing research involving embryonic stem cells. Blumer concludes: "Five or ten years from now, will we be asking ourselves how many lives that could have been saved or improved by adult and other non-embryonic stem cell research efforts were instead sacrificed because of money diverted to the black hole of embryonic stem cell research?"

That statement assume something for which Blumer provides no evidence -- that embryonic stem cell research is being conducted at the expense of adult stem cell research. Given Blumer's reporting of the results of adult stem cell research, that appears not to be true. While he asserts that adult stem cell research "largely ISN'T where the funding, especially the public funding, is going," he offers no evidence to back up the claim, further ignoring that newer, more experimental research tends to attract public research money because a direct payoff isn't guaranteed. If adult stem cell research is the rousing success Blumer portrays it as, it doesn't need public funding; it should be able to find sufficient private, profit-oriented funding.

Further in describing embryonic stem cell reserarch as a "black hole," Blumer fails to note that while decades of research has been done on adult stem cells, human embryonic stem cells were not isolated until 1998. In other words, given the decades-long head start of adult stem cell research, it's too early to tell whether embryonic stem cell research is the "black hole" Blumer portrays it as. That's why you do research, right? Adult stem cell research probably didn't result in useful treatments the first time either, something Blumer shows no interest in investigating.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 AM EDT
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Sheffield Backs Faulty Power Line Post
Topic: NewsBusters

An April 28 NewsBusters post by Matthew Sheffield endorses a Power Line post by John Hinderaker claiming, "The truth is that the Bush administration has been extraordinarily scandal-free. Not a single instance of corruption has been unearthed."

We'll let David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo demonstrate how wrong Hinderaker and Sheffield are.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:50 AM EDT
Award-Winning WND Article Has Shaky Factual Basis
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An April 27 WorldNetDaily article touts the third-place win by WorldNetDaily's David Kupelian in the annual Amy Foundation Writing Awards for religious writing. But the factual basis for Kupelian's winning article is questionable at best.

As we've previously detailed, Kupelian's award-winning March 22, 2006, article on teacher-student sex paints the situation as an "epidemic" despite absolutely no hard evidence to back it up. The closest thing to evidence Kupelian cited that wasn't anecdotal was an alarmist claim by researcher Charol Shakeshaft that "the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests." But this number is extrapolated from another survey and has no direct research to support it. But it wasn't until after he recounted that study in detail that Kupelian bothered to note that one criticism of Shakeshaft's work called it "a misuse of the data" and that Shakeshaft herself "acknowledged many factors could alter the analysis." (Indeed, as we've noted, WND has never cited any hard evidence to support its "epidemic" claim.)

We also noted that, in making his moral case against teacher-student sex, Kupelian took a black-and-white approach in portraying anyone who doesn't follow his fundamentalist Christian point of view as supporters of a "secular, de facto atheistic worldview" who believe "there is just no logical reason adults shouldn't be able to have sex with children or whatever else they please," failing to acknowledge that non-religious arguments against teacher-student sex do exist.

Further, he smeared homosexuals as "evil, the source of the lower" for giving into their "selfish or unreasonable feelings."

The Amy Award citation, as quoted by WND, called Kupelian's article a "thought provoking, skillful presentation of biblical truth." But how can you be telling the "truth" if you're fudging facts in the process? And how can such a fact-fudging article be worthy of any award?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:11 AM EDT
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Sheppard's Silliness
Topic: NewsBusters

In an April 27 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard asks regarding Hillary Clinton's posting at the liberal blog Firedoglake: "Would you want to post an article at a website that got itself in some trouble of its own last year when it featured an offensive, Photoshopped picture of Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Connecticut) in blackface?"

Sheppard might want to similarly ask why President Bush and Vice President Cheney have appeared on a radio show that promotes offensive racial stereotypes

Sheppard has been busy of late saying silly things. In another April 27 post, he insists that David Broder is a "clearly left-of-center columnist" despite copious evidence to the contrary.

Sheppard also added regarding Paul Begala's attack on Broder for his likening of Harry Reid to Alberto Gonzales: "Begala likely loved the slam of Gonzales. However, writing so candidly about a fellow Democrat is verboten for shameless pols like this former Clinton administration hatchet man. ... It’s okay to shills like Begala if members of the club write vitriol about Republicans. But dare point the microscope at a Democrat, and you will suffer the tortures of the damned." Sheppard might want to have a little chat with fellow NewsBuster Warner Todd Huston, who bashed a conservative columnist in a conservative newspaper for committing the offense of not being in "the club" by being critical of Rudy Giuliani.

UPDATE: Sheppard addes in an April 28 post that Broder is "an outspoken member of the left who rarely has anything good to say about the right." Apparently, President Bush isn't a member of "the right."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:11 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, April 28, 2007 11:33 AM EDT
Friday, April 27, 2007
WND Still Plugging Its Favorite Felon
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A few days after we pointed out that WorldNetDaily's claim that the thoroughly discredited and corrupt convicted felon Peter Paul's claim that a videotape of of Hillary Clinton is "smoking gun" evidence that she broke election laws offered nothing to back up that claim beyond the discredited Paul's own statements, an April 25 WND article by Paul's pet stenographer, Art Moore, serves up a short clip and a transcript.

This time around, Moore completely dispenses with any mention of Paul's extensive criminal record or the fact he is currently facing a prison term for stock fraud.

Further, Moore makes a point of stating that "knowingly accepting or soliciting $25,000 or more in a calendar year is a felony carrying a prison sentence of up to five years." If so, doesn't Paul face a similar criminal penalty, above and beyond the prison sentence he currently faces for stock fraud, for offering this illegal contribution to Clinton? After all, if it's illegal for Clinton to accept it, isn't it also illegal for Paul to give it to her? This is something that Moore doesn't address.

It would appear that Paul had better lawyer up even more -- and that Moore should aspire to be more than a stenographer for a convicted felon.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:17 PM EDT
NewsBusters (Loves/Hates) Michael Ware: Pick One
Topic: NewsBusters

An April 26 NewsBusters post by Rich Noyes begins: "Left-wing blogs loved it when CNN’s Michael Ware rebuked Senator John McCain a few weeks ago, after McCain suggested he could safely walk through areas of Baghdad." Noyes doesn't mention that NewsBusters hated it, to the point that it repeated false claims that Ware heckled McCain at a news conference. Further, last fall when Ware noted that U.S. advisers on Iraq "could not be more divorced from the Iraqi reality," NewsBusters denounced him as exhibiting "the height of gall" and "perfectly illustrat[ing] the arrogance of today’s media." And last spring, NewsBusters further depicted Ware as a friend to "those eager to hear the United States is losing in Iraq."

But Noyes isn't denouncing him or calling him arrogant; in fact, he writes that Ware "provided an interesting insight." What prompted this stunning turnaround? Ware said something that could be interpreted as attacking Democrats. Noyes depicted Ware as saying that described "Democratic schemes for pulling out of Iraq" as "delusional."

Actually, that stretches it a bit. Noyes notes that Ware was responding to CNN's Kiran Chetry asking "would all of us, all the American troops pulling out, help the situation?" even though the withdrawal timetable provision in the military funding bill approved by the Democratic-controlled Congress addresses only combat troops, not a complete withdrawal of all troops.

They love him, they hate him -- Michael Ware is turning into the MRC's new Chris Matthews

Posted by Terry K. at 1:29 AM EDT
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Bozell Thinks Gaffney's A 'Centrist'
Topic: Media Research Center

An April 24 Media Research Center press release featured comments from MRC honcho Brent Bozell attacking PBS for "refusing to air Frank Gaffney’s 'Islam vs. Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center' " -- which he called a "very balanced and measured documentary on centrist Muslims" -- while running "the fanatical work of liberals like Bill Moyers."

Bozell offers no evidence to support either claim. Indeed, Gaffney's history is that of someone offering things that are other than "very balanced and measured," let alone "centrist." Indeed, PBS officials have said Gaffney's film has "serious structural problems (and) ... was irresponsible because the writing was alarmist, and it wasn't fair." Bozell not only fails to mention this, he offers nothing to counter the claim. An April 25 article by Kevin Mooney fails like Bozell to offer any evidence to counter the claims by Gaffney and his co-producers, not even noting the claims about the film being alarmist and unfair. Additionally, Mooney plays up a claim by one of the producers that PBS is "using the same tools of suppression and censorship Islamists employ to stymie debate."

Bozell claimed that PBS is "using viewers' tax money and airwaves to peddle Moyers’ notion that the liberal media coverage of the Iraq war wasn’t liberal enough" in his show "Buying the War," but Bozell offers no evidence to back this up, either. 

If PBS is using the "Islamist" tool of "suppression and censorship" to "stymie debate," Bozell and the MRC are, too, by not telling their readers the full story in order to let them make up their own minds.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:48 PM EDT
Adamo Misleads on Clinton

In an April 26 column, Christopher Adamo claimed that following the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, "[t]he collapsing rubble from the building had hardly settled on its victims before then President Bill Clinton was in front of the cameras, almost gleefully going through a 'laundry list' of political opponents on whom he disgracefully sought to fix blame for the disaster."

In fact, Clinton cited no "laundry list" of political opponents following the Oklahoma City bombing. In fact, in one speech five days after the bombing, Clinton criticized "loud and angry voices in America today whose sole goal seems to be to try to keep some people as paranoid as possible and the rest of us all torn up and upset with each other. They spread hate. They leave the impression that, by their very words, that violence is acceptable." He did not list specific names. Clinton said in another speech the next day: "If people are encouraging conduct that will undermine the fabric of this country, it should be spoken against whether it comes from the left or the right, whether it comes on radio, television or in the movies, whether it comes in the schoolyard, or, yes, even on the college campus." (Emphasis added.)

Adamo also wrote regarding the Virginia Tech shooting: "Certainly, no decent individual should be attempting to make political hay of any sort out of the unfathomable carnage and brutality that fell upon that institution. Rather, all respectable Republicans should be loudly decrying the shameless liberal effort to do just that." Adamo showed no sign of being critical of conservatives "attempting to make political hay" out of the shootings, such as Rush Limbaugh declaring that the shooter "had to be a liberal" or Melanie Morgan likening her critics to the Virginia Tech shooter.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:29 AM EDT
Sexpidemic! Update
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In an April 25 column, Joseph Farah renews WorldNetDaily's obsession with (feamale) teacher-student sex, recounting "the latest case in what seems like an epidemic of grown women preying on teenage boys in their charge." Farah adds:

We try hard to track these cases at WND, maintaining a running list in need of updating on a daily basis.

I'm sure this is something that happened occasionally before – 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago. But I am willing to wager it has happened more frequently in the last year than it did throughout the entire decade of the 1960s. Would anyone dispute that?

Sure, we'll give it a shot. 

As we've noted, WND has been woefully short on hard numbers about teacher-student sex, let alone anything that allow Farah to legitimately call it an "epidemic" (which is why he hedges and says it "seems like an epidemic"). Further, the frequency of this coming under WND's radar, according to researcher Bob Shoop, has more to do with an increase in such incidents being reported, not necessarily an increase in actual incidents.

Further, as we've also noted, WND's list of teacher-student sex incidents dates back more than 15 years, which makes Farah's claim of a current"epidemic" even more disingenuous. And WND's obsessive list of alleged incidents comes off less like dogged reporting and more like an hobby that skews creepily prurient.

And note that it's only incidents that gets them off -- er, that they're reporting on. They seem not bothered by male teachers involved with students at all. That's even creepier.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:42 AM EDT
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
FrontPageMag Hearts VDARE
Topic: Horowitz

FrontPageMag has copied a article from notorious "white nationalist" website VDARE -- an April 22 attack by eugenicist-linked writer Steve Sailer on poet Nikki Giovanni, who taught at Virginia Tech University where Cho Seung-Hui's massacre took place. Sailer claimed that "Giovanni has published poems strikingly similar to Cho's plays in both vileness and incompetence," called her a "one of those sub-doggerel 'poets' who has such Important Things to say that she can't be bothered to take the time to say them well," a writer of "Afrocentrist drivel," a "minimally talented self-promoter" and "a small town version of New York City charlatan Al Sharpton."

This is not the first pas de deux David Horowitz's crew has had with racists; we've previously documented Horowitz's attempt to distinguish between "racist" and "racialist" after FrontPageMag ran a version of an article that first appeared on white separatist site American Renaissance that made dubious claims about the shootings of five whites by two blacks in Wichita in 2000 that some conservatives tried to hype as a reverse hate crime (though prosecutors found no evidence of it).

Posted by Terry K. at 4:14 PM EDT
Clay Waters' 15-Year-Old Grudge
Topic: Media Research Center

In an April 25 TimesWatch post (and NewsBusters post), Clay Waters notes new York Times reporter Adam Nagourney's apology for putting the "Breck girl" smear of John Edwards into circulation. Waters adds: "One doubts the Times ran a similar piece apologizing for circulating cracks about former Vice President Dan Quayle's spelling prowess."

Huh? What does Dan Quayle have to do with anything here? Seriously, we don't know; Waters offers no evidence to support his claim of any Times "crack" about Quayle used by Democrats to the extent that Republicans have seized on "Breck girl."

Is this Quayle thing what's driving Waters to be a professional Times-basher? Dude, it was 15 years ago. Maybe it's time to let it go.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:33 PM EDT
New Article: Clinton-Hating 2.0
Topic: Newsmax
Christopher Ruddy's supposed moderation on the Clintons obscures the fact that NewsMax remains a prime source for vitriolic anti-Clinton attacks. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:17 AM EDT
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Sheffield's Blinders
Topic: NewsBusters

Conservative media critics -- like, say, those at the Media Research Center -- would have you believe that the only reason newspapers are currently facing financial difficulties is because readers are tired of their purported liberal bias.

Matthew Sheffield is one of those. In an April 24 NewsBusters post, Sheffield rails against the New York Times, claiming that shareholders inflicted some "accountability" on the Times' "unprofessional and unethical behavior" by more than 40 percent of common-stock shareholders witholding a vote on the company's directors. Sheffield claimed that "the uber-leftist Sulzberger family ...  has been running the paper into the ground financially and off a cliff when it comes to bias, all the while stuffing its own pockets." He goes on to rail against the Time's dual-tier stock structure, under which, he says, "the people who own most of the Times stock actually have no control as to who runs the company since their shares can't vote on a majority of the board of directors."

Not only does Sheffield not mention the current paradigm shift from print to online that newspaper-based media companies are currently undergoing -- nor note that stockholders unhappy with the dual-tier stock structure (a not-uncommon structure, also used by companies such as Google, Ford, and Berkshire Hathaway) are free to sell said stock -- he approvingly repeats a claim from a pseudonymous commenter who makes the "astute point" that "Pinch [Sulzburger] and the Times are not about publishing. They are not about principle. They are there to push a left wing agenda."

That is an incredibly silly claim (if we made it, we'd want to stay anonymous too), and it says a lot about Sheffield that he thinks such a comment is "astute." The anonymous commenter's single piece of evidence for his claim is that the Times criticized Alberto Gonzales in a editorial. It ignores that numerous Republicans have criticized Gonzales, as well as numerous examples of the Times is deviating from its purported "left wing" agenda.

But the facts would interfere with the conservative media-bias narrative. Sheffield's blinders are way too comfortable for him to contemplate such a thing. 

Posted by Terry K. at 11:03 PM EDT

Newer | Latest | Older

Bookmark and Share

Get the WorldNetDaily Lies sticker!

Find more neat stuff at the ConWebWatch store!

Buy through this Amazon link and support ConWebWatch!

Support This Site

« April 2007 »
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30

Bloggers' Rights at EFF
Support Bloggers' Rights!

News Media Blog Network

Add to Google