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Wednesday, May 2, 2007
New Article: Fairly Unbalanced
Topic: Media Research Center
Appearances by Media Research Center spokesmen on Fox News mostly lack hard questions about the claims they make -- but then, Fox News provides little opportunity for anyone to ask such questions of the MRC. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:40 AM EDT
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
CNS Misleads on Abortion, Eugenics
Topic: CNSNews.com

A May 1 CNSNews.com article by Monisha Bansal is designed to promote the idea that" Charles Darwin's theories provided the basis for the eugenics movement, which 100 years ago saw the passage of the world's first forced sterilization law," which sounds a lot like D. James Kennedy's factually dubious attempt to link Darwin to Hitler. Bansal's main source is John West, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, whom she describes only as a "conservative policy expert." in fact, the Discovery Institute is an anti-evolution, pro-creationism (which they call "intelligent design") activist group, something alluded to only when Bansal quoted a spokesman for the American Humanists Association, who referenced "the rhetoric creationists have been using since the late 1970s."

Bansal also repeated the usual conservative attack line that "Planned Parenthood Federation of America's founder Margaret Sanger was an advocate of eugenics," quoting West as saying, "Abortions are performed on the poor in disproportionate numbers," countered only by a statement pulled from Planned Parenthood's website that the organization finds Sanger's views on eugenics "objectionable and outmoded." She apparently made no effort to contact an organization spokesman herself.

But, as Pandagon notes, during the period of Planned Parenthood’s history in which Sanger was associating with eugenicists, the organization was, in fact, adamantly anti-abortion.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:43 PM EDT
Sheffield Spins Terrorism Report
Topic: NewsBusters

A State Department report has found that terrorist attacks in 2006 increased 25 percent over the year before, with deaths from those attacks increasing 40 percent, but that's not what NewsBusters' Matthew Sheffield wants you to hear: His May 1 post is headlined, "Terrorism Is Down Almost Everywhere."

According to Sheffield, "the increase in terrorism was almost entirely due to Iraq. Nowhere in either piece do you learn the fact that aside from the Middle East (which does not include Afghanistan according to State), the number of terrorist attacks worldwide is down from a year ago by over 300 incidents. The number of deaths from terrorism was only up 14 percent." Sheffield claimed that this was evidence that "the Bush administration's idea that making Iraq the "central front in the war on terror" seems to be working," adding: "These aren't the kinds of facts you'll hear on the evening news or read in your local newspaper."

"Only 14 percent" more deaths -- that's not exactly progress. Way to spin it there, Matt.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:24 PM EDT
Farah Acknowledges That We Exist
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Via Scoobie Davis, we learn that WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah, in a appearance on Air America's Thom Hartmann Show presumably to plug his new book, mentioned ConWebWatch:

Hartmann questioned Farah about how he used the Scaife-funded Western Journalism Center to shill for Scaife-funded pseudo-journalist Christopher Ruddy's Vince Foster conspiracy theories (I have a comprehensive post on the matter here). Farah asked if Hartmann got his information from ConWebWatch. Hartmann told him that he got his info from this site. Farah went on and accused me of being a Google bomber and an anti-Semite.

We'll get a transcript together shortly. 

It would be rude not to acknowledge it, so: Hi, Joe! 


Posted by Terry K. at 12:14 AM EDT
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 ABCNews.com 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 CNSNews.com 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
Topic: CNSNews.com

In an April 26 CNSNews.com 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

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