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Saturday, May 5, 2007
Morris' Selective Disclosure
Topic: Newsmax

So Dick Morris knows how to do disclosures after all.

A May 5 NewsMax column by Morris notes after a mention of Mike Huckabee: "(disclosure: a former client)." Yet Morris has never issued a similar disclosure in his columns to accompany his many attacks on Hillary Clinton. Of course, such a disclosure would have to be a bit more detailed:

(Disclosure: Her husband was a former client until I was dismissed from his administration after got caught with a hooker who liked to suck my toes. As a result, I despise her with the white-hot passion of a thousand suns and am actively working against her candidacy.)

Works for us...

Posted by Terry K. at 10:38 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, May 5, 2007 10:41 AM EDT
Friday, May 4, 2007
Sheppard Praises Beck, Mum on Experts' Misinformation
Topic: NewsBusters

To nobody's surprise, NewsBusters posts on May 3 and May 4 by Noel Sheppard touted claims made during Glenn Beck's anti-global warming special by various global warming skeptics.

Also to no one's surprise, Sheppard doesn't say a thing about the energy industry links and previous misleading claims made by those same skeptics Beck featured in his special.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:37 PM EDT
Farah Misleads About Fluorescent Bulbs
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An April 16 WorldNetDaily article by Joseph Farah on the alleged toxicity of "energy-saving and money-saving compact fluorescent lamps" that "everyone is being urged, cajoled and guilt-tripped into purchasing" featured the case of the Brandy Bridges family, who purportedly faced a $2,000 bill to clean up mercury contamination in their home after a fluorescent bulb broke. Since the family could not afford it and insurance would not cover it, the family "has been forced to seal off her daughter's bedroom [where the bulb broke] with plastic to avoid any dust blowing around. Not even the family pets are permitted in to the bedroom. Her daughter is forced to sleep downstairs in an overcrowded household."

Turns out Farah's article is a load of scaremongering hooey.

Via PZ Myers (h/t Oliver Willis), we learn that the newspaper article from which Farah apparently lifted his story about the Bridges family pointed out that a four-figure cleanup following a broken fluorescent bulb is unnecessary overkill:

Officials have said that Bridges has little to worry about and she could easily clean up the bulbs by hand.

State Toxicologist Andrew Smith said it would be unlikely that a person could contract mercury poisoning from the levels of mercury found in Bridges’ daughter’s room.

“In this situation, my understanding, was this 1,900 was the sign reading right at the spot of the floor where the bulb broke,” said Smith. “While 1,900 was certainly considered an elevated reading of mercury vapor, it was a very localized level that I would not expect to result in any sign of mercury exposure.”

Smith said mercury is only dangerous with long-term exposure and in this case the person would have to stay right at the spot of the 1,900 reading or there would have to be elevated levels of mercury vapor in the breathing zone — about 3 feet — above the spill. Mercury also dissipates over time.

The air in the bedroom at the 3-foot level measured between 31 to 49 ng/m3 of mercury, depending on the location.

Smith said a CFL light bulb breaking is not in the same category as when a mercury thermometer breaks.


Scott Cowger, director of outreach and communications for the DEP, said the DEP’s Web site ( has guidelines for cleaning up a broken fluorescent bulb.

Cowger said it is important to ventilate the area by opening windows and not to vacuum the area of the broken bulb, which may spread the mercury. While wearing appropriate safety gloves, glasses, coveralls or old clothing and a dust mask, a person can remove the glass pieces and put them in a closed container.

The dust can be cleaned up using either two pieces of stiff paper, a disposal broom and dustpan or a commercial mercury spill kit. Afterward, the area should be patted with the sticky side of tape, according to the DEP Web site.

Cowger said all the items used in cleaning up the spill should be treated as “universal waste” or a household hazardous waste that can be disposed of without hiring professionals.


The DEP spokesman said, though, it “isn’t necessary to hire professionals at all” for a light bulb. The specialist who responded to Bridges’ broken bulb was trained to respond to chemical spills and to clean up such spills to “appropriate standards.”

So the bedroom doesn't need to be sealed off! They can air out the room and sweep up the glass! There's absolutely no reason to spend $2,000!

Further, Myers adds that according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the amount of mercury in a compact fluorescent bulb, plus the amount of mercury emissions from the electricity needed to power that bulb (as generated by a coal-fired power plant) is still less than the mercury emissions generated for the electricity needed to operate an incandescent bulb.

Farah didn't mention any of this. No surprise -- for being the head of a "news" organization, Farah's own reporting record is abysmal.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:35 AM EDT
NewsBusters' Double Standard on Shunning Ideological Heretics
Topic: NewsBusters

Continuing NewsBusters' obsession with the tussle between liberals and Washington Post columnist David Broder, Matthew Sheffield writes in a May 2 post: "The problem Broder is encountering is that even though he is a liberal, the fact that he has crossed the far left on its most important agenda item (surrendering in Iraq) has made him anathema."

First, Broder, while he may not be reliably conservative, is not liberal. Second, Sheffield implies that similar shunning of ideological heretics doesn't happen on the right; it does, and NewsBusters has participated in it.

In early 2006, Bruce Bartlett, an economist and policy analyst who worked in both the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, lost his job at the conservative National Center for Policy Analysis for writing a book questioning the current President Bush's conservative credentials. And NewsBusters did its part to shun Bartlett as well:

  • A Feb. 21, 2006, post by Mark Finkelstein complained that the only reason a "conservative author" like Bartlett got attention from "MSM shows" was because he took "serious shots at a Republican president." Finkelstein later snapped at Bartlett's claims about Bush: "I wonder what Bartlett's former boss Jack Kemp would think of that?"
  • In a March 13, 2006, post, Dave Pierre was upset that the Los Angeles Times quoted Bartlett in a series on the "Conservative Crackup": "How about problems in the Democratic Party and among liberals?"

Aside from a March 29, 2006, post by Tim Graham referencing "anti-Bush books by old Bush officials like Paul O'Neill and Bruce Bartlett," these are the only mentions of Bartlett to be found on NewsBusters.

It seems Sheffield and Co. consider Bartlett to have "crossed the far right" by violating an important part of their agenda -- criticism of Bush is verboten -- and, thus, is now as "anathema" as Democrats consider Broder. Care to discuss why that is, Matt?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:26 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, June 9, 2007 11:25 PM EDT
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Slantie Bob's Fear-Mongering
Topic: WorldNetDaily

All you need to know about Bob Unruh's May 3 WorldNetDaily article on a federal "hate crimes" bill: the word "grandmother" appears five times. Of course, that's all just fear-mongering; Unruh repeats the highly misleading claim that "a grandmother was hauled to jail and threatened with 47 years in prison for proclaiming her Christianity on a public street" without telling the full story of that incident.

Actually, there is one other thing you need to know: Unruh makes no attempt to tell the other side of the story. But you probably knew that already.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:25 PM EDT
CNS' Unbalanced Hate Bill Coverage

A May 3 article by Randy Hall on a proposed "hate crimes" bill that would cover sexual orientation repeats without challenge a misleading claim by Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America:

"Justice should be blind," CWA President Wendy Wright said in a news release. She said the assailants of Matthew Shepard - a homosexual youth who was killed in 1998 - should receive the same sentence as the killer of Mary Stachowicz, "a grandmother who was brutally murdered by a homosexual man [in Chicago in 2002]."

"Victims are - and should be - treated equally in the justice system, regardless of their 'sexual orientation,'" Wright added. "We cannot imagine that President Bush would sign a bill that would create a two-tiered justice system that discriminates against grandmothers."

Neither Wright nor Hall explain how the bill "discriminates against grandmothers" -- a shameless, fraudulent appeal we saw a few weeks ago when with both CNS and WorldNetDaily swallowed right-wing spin that the bill will throw grandmas in jail. Nor do they point out that, since it covers "actual or perceived religion," the hate-crimes bill would likely cover Stachowicz, a "devout Catholic" (as described in a CWFA column) whose "questioning" of Nicholas Gutierrez's "lifestyle" is reported to be a factor in her murder.

Hall also adopts the conservative view of gays -- that they are not homosexual but are "individuals who engage in homosexual behavior," a terminology he used in his description of the bill.

In fact, this article features no supporter of the bill defending it. Another May 3 article by Hall on the bill contains a mere three paragraphs (out of 26) quoting a sponsor of the bill in support. Similarly, a May 3 article on the bill by Nathan Birchfiel contains only two paragraphs (out of 19) telling the supporters' case.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:08 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, May 3, 2007 3:17 PM EDT
Thanks, CNS, For Proving Us Right
Topic: kindly proves our point on its unbalanced reporting on liberal vs. conservative claims: A day after an article appeared on a book claiming that President Bush committed impeachable offenses that quotes two conservatives rebutting the claim, a May 3 CNS article by Fred Lucas touts a sympathetic biography of conservative icon William F. Buckley but includes no comments from liberals who might mention, say, Buckley's onetime support of segretation.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:33 AM EDT
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Why Does Sheffield Hate Free Markets?
Topic: NewsBusters

A May 2 NewsBusters post by Matthew Sheffield is another tirade against the New York Times Co.'s dual-tier stock structure, in which the Ochs-Sulzburger family has effective control of the company. Sheffield railed against the "second-class status that regular shareholders receive in comparison to a small liberal clique that has almost exclusive control over the money-losing paper" and claimed that such a structure means the Times is "taking money from investors and not giving them anything to show for it."

As we noted the last time Sheffield did this, dual-tier stock structures are hardly unique to the times, and investors who feel that the company has not given them "anything to show" for their investment are free to cash out -- neither of which Sheffield mentions.

Further, contrary to Sheffield's claim that the company is "money-losing," the New York Times Co. made an operating profit of $54.5 million in the first quarter of 2007, and operating profit for the company's News Media Group, which includes newspaper operations, was $59.6 million.

As an employee of an organization that runs a division that used to be called the Free Market Project, Sheffield should know that in a free market, companies are free to structure their companies in the manner they choose, and that investors are free to invest, or not, in those companies. Why is Sheffield so eager to force a structure on the Times Company contrary to one freely chosen and accepted by its investors?

Posted by Terry K. at 7:51 PM EDT
CNS' Double Standard on Impeachment Books

A May 2 article by Kevin Mooney on a new book by two "liberal authors" who claim that President Bush has committed impeachable offenses includes rebuttals but two conservatives. While such attempts at balance are what we like to see (though Mooney doesn't give the book's authors a chance to rebut the rebuttals), it's a marked change from the Clinton years and another book making a case for impeachment.

An Aug. 17, 1998, CNS article promoted Ann Coulter's book "High Crimes and Misdemeanors," repeating claims by a spokesman for the book's publisher, the conservative Regnery, that it's "a serious look at the case against the President for impeachment, including his actions in scandals going back to the beginning of his presidency right up through his testimony [today]." No apparent effort to contact anyone to rebut claims in Coulter's book was made.

While its record has improved, CNS still has a tendency to serve up conservative rebuttals to claims by liberals while allowing conservative claims to stand unchallenged.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:29 PM EDT
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

A May 1 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 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

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