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Saturday, May 26, 2007
MRC Still Won't Criticize Imus, Misleadingly Attacks Maher
Topic: Media Research Center

We've previously noted that the Media Research Center has a lot of trouble bringing themselves to criticize the racist remarks that got Don Imus fired.

The MRC keeps up the trend with a May 24 press release delcaring that Bill Maher's remarks about religion make Imus "look like a saint." In addition to the MRC's tacit approval of Imus calling women's basketball players "nappy-headed hos," it eliminates the context in which Maher made his remarks. The press release reprinted only the salacious stuff:

“‘We weren’t having sex, officer, I was performing a very private Mass, here in my car. I was letting my rod and staff comfort him. Take this and eat of it, for this is my roommate Barry. … And for all those who believe there is a special place for you in Kevin.”

But it made no mention of the context. As the clip shows, Maher was criticizing the late Jerry Falwell's hateful rhetoric toward gays:

MAHER: Jerry Falwell found out that you could launder your hate through the cover of God's will. He didn't hate gays; God did. All Jerry Falwell's power came from name-dropping God, and gay people should steal that trick. You know what? Don't say you want something because it's your right as a human being. Say you want it because it's your religion. Gay men have been going at things backward. Forget civil rights and just make gayness a religion. I mean, you're kneeling anyway.

The press release also quotes Robert Knight, director of the MRC’s Culture and Media Institute, as saying: "Maher is entitled to his vile views, but he’s not entitled to an endless ride on the airwaves courtesy of Time-Warner. ... If Don Imus’s offensive racial joke was too much for the public to bear, certainly Maher’s sickening description of the Mass and Communion as graphic homosexual sex acts is beyond the pale." But Maher's show doesn't appear on "the airwaves"; it appears on pay cable late at night. Imus' radio show, by contrast, appeared on public airwaves during the morning hours.

WorldNetDaily, meanwhile, recycled the MRC's press release into a May 25 article that, of course, made no effort to contact Maher or HBO for a response. WND added to its article by noting that "Maher stirred controversy two years ago when he said Christians suffer from a neurological disorder that 'stops people from thinking.' " But the quote of Maher that followed did not single out Christians:

"We are a nation that is unenlightened because of religion. I do believe that. I think that religion stops people from thinking. I think it justifies crazies. I think flying planes into a building was a faith-based initiative. I think religion is a neurological disorder. If you look at it logically, it's something that was drilled into your head when you were a small child. It certainly was drilled into mine at that age. And you really can't be responsible when you are a kid for what adults put into your head."

So, WND: Any Christians "flying planes into a building" lately?

The 2005 WND article from which that quote was taken actually broadened it somewhat, claiming Maher targeted "Christians and others who are religious," but it also stated, "Maher explained that he was not singling out evangelicals, but was targeting all 'religious' people."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:49 AM EDT
Friday, May 25, 2007
Save the Country, Buy A Cheap Flag Pin From WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily

From a May 25 WorldNetDaily article:

America is under attack like never before, from terrorists abroad to moral relativists within, but WND readers are grabbing an opportunity to say it still is the last, best hope for living in freedom, making WND's new United States National Flag Lapel Pin a runaway bestseller at


The United States, now in its third century, faces the hate of international terrorists bent on imposing their lifestyle on freedom-lovers worldwide, the attacks from its own citizens who want to denigrate or destroy its Christian foundations, and an invasion by millions who have crossed its border illegally.

But WND readers are jumping at the chance to wear the faithful depiction of the America flag, a die-struck jewelry piece that tells family, friends and even strangers, of their loyalty.

Given the fact that the pin costs just $2, it's highly likely that the pin is not American-made -- something that would presumably play a factor in the "patriotism" of owning such a pin. The article does not disclose the pin's country of origin, nor does it say exactly how many pins WND is selling that would cause it to describe the pin as a "runaway bestseller."

Further, the article fails to explain how buying a flag pin from WND (or anywhere else, for that matter) is any sort of antidote for the woes it describes. After all, one can be a loyal, patriotic American and not be a fundamentalist Christian, the only kind of Christianity WND recognizes as real.

Can you say "cheap stunt to cash in on patriotism"? We knew you could.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:33 PM EDT
Meanwhile ...
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Media Matters notes that Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid is back to obsessing about lesbians, this time claiming in a May "Cliff's Notes" column that "the sex scandal the media won't touch involves Senator Hillary Clinton's alleged lesbianism."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:51 PM EDT
Bozell on Fox News: One Friendly, One Not, Both Solo
Topic: Media Research Center
Brent Bozell got in a pair of appearances on Fox News on Thursday. The first, on "America's Newsroom," was a solo appearance with the host serving up softball questions and the MRC not identified as a conservative group -- a friendly situation MRC representatives often receive on Fox News. The second, on "Hannity & Colmes," was also solo, but at least he did face some challenging questions from Alan Colmes to balance Sean Hannity's sycophancy.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:54 AM EDT
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Meanwhile ...
Topic: Newsmax

The Carpetbagger Report's Steve Benen details how NewsMax edited down (without telling its readers of the edit) Ronald Kessler's creepily obsequious description of Ann Romney, in an already massively obsequious, mega-fluffy profile of Mitt Romney:

“Ann is warm and very natural. She has the look of an outdoors woman bred to be an equestrian, which she is — good carriage, rosy complexion, square jaw, and blond mane.

“When she is not flashing her truly unbelievable smile, she may lower her eyes demurely. But Ann Romney is not demure — she may be modest, but she isn’t meek. She is unpretentious, but she isn’t shy. She lowers her eyes, thinking, and then looks up directly at her interviewer and dazzles him with that smile.”

As Benen writes: "There’s flattery, there’s sycophancy, and then there’s this." The Politico's Ben Smith adds that "I think I've never seen writing, in a publication apparently written by and for grown-ups," than Kessler's fluff job.

We've previously noted Kessler's fluffery of Romney (and check out Kessler's similar fluffery of Dana Perino, as well as his Bush fluffery), as well as NewsMax's tendency to make changes to articles without notifying readers.

UPDATE: Here's a copy of Kessler's original article we pulled out of Google cache. 

Posted by Terry K. at 6:04 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, May 25, 2007 1:09 AM EDT
Xenophone Complains of Being Called a Xenophobe
Topic: Newsmax

In a May 23 NewsMax column, E. Ralph Hostetter claims that the proposed compromise immigration bill "could very well take the United States from daylight into darkness." Why? We'll let him explain:

America's greatness and its continuing power were derived from the Anglo-European heritage and genius of the Founding Fathers. The Anglo-European heritage encompassed the concept of democracy from Greece, the rule of law from Rome and liberty under law (the Magna Carta) from England. The Founding Fathers wrote what has become known as "the greatest work of the mind of man" — the U.S. Constitution. For the first time in the history of mankind, a covenant was written to guarantee man's God-given rights of life, property, and liberty. That document created a democratic republic that has functioned well for more than 200 years.


America's Founding Fathers were undeniably Judeo-Christian and both the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution reflect this. In addition, they provided freedom for the practice of all other religions within the United States.


What is at stake is the very embodiment of Western civilization itself, based on its 2,000 years of distilled wisdom with respect to the concepts of democracy, rule of law and liberty under law.

The Immigration Act of 1965, sponsored by Sen. Ted Kennedy and his late brother Robert, turned America's immigration policies upside down. Since 1970, the number of legal immigrants from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Central America, and South America has risen to 85.6 percent while the Anglo-European nation immigrants have been reduced to 14.4 percent, a reverse of previous years.

Of the nearly half million legal immigrants admitted to the United States from the top 10 countries in a given year, only 71,000 represent the Anglo-European heritage of America. In the year 2000, of the 10 leading countries of birth of the foreign-born population, Mexico is No. 1, followed by China, Phillipines, India, Cuba, Vietnam, El Salvador, Korea, Dominican Republic.

The 10th is Canada, the remaining one nation of the Anglo-European heritage.

So what Hostetter appears to be saying is that only "Anglo-Europeans" (read: white people) can handle living -- or, perhaps more accurately, deserve to live -- under "Western civilization," as opposed to all those brown and yellow folks.

Hostetter goes on to complain that "I have already been labeled a xenophobe," calling the name "the evil fashion house of political correctness." But he doesn't deny that the term applies to him. (Indeed, he may be referring to us: We've previously called him a xenophobe because, well, he is.)

If Hostetter finds the term "xenophobe" so offensive, how about "white supremacist"? That may actually be a little closer to what the guy is getting at.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:12 PM EDT
New Article: Aaron Klein's Mighty Wurlitzer
Topic: WorldNetDaily
In order to pursue his anti-Olmert, pro-right-wing agenda, the WorldNetDaily Jerusalem reporter consorts with terrorists and hides the unappealing backgrounds of some of his favorite sources. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:16 AM EDT
Biased NewsMax Poll in Progress
Topic: Newsmax

Something to keep in mind when NewsMax starts touting the results of its meaningless online poll on the compromise immigration bill:

-- NewsMax is promoting it on its website with the following line: "Back McCain-Kennedy Amnesty? Vote!" 

-- It has sent out the following email to its mailing list:

Dear NewsMax Reader:

The Senate led by Senators Ted Kennedy and John McCain has proposed an immigration deal that will give 12 million illegal aliens amnesty and eventual citizenship.

This bill will soon go to the House.

It is urgent you let the media and Congress know your opinion about the amnesty deal.

Vote today in NewsMax's online poll — Go Here Now.

Also please forward this email to as many friends and family as you can.

Thank you.

In other words, by waving McCain and Kennedy -- two people NewsMax hates -- as the masterminds of the bill and repeatedly invoking "amnesty," this poll will be even more biased and meaningless than usual. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:19 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, May 24, 2007 12:24 AM EDT
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
NewsMax Headline Replacement Watch
Topic: Newsmax

Somebody over at NewsMax is having quite a time of late stripping the supplied headlines off wire articles and replacing them with biased ones. The latest:

Associated Press: "Al Franken's worth nothing to laugh at."
NewsMax: "Al Franken a Multimillionaire Liberal."

* * *

Associated Press: "Gore kicks off book tour in Calif."
NewsMax: "Al Gore Assaults Reason on Book Tour."

* * *

The folks at the AP can't be too happy about this. And Christopher Ruddy shouldn't be either, if he cares about whether NewsMax is seen as a legitimate, fair news source and not just a conservative hatchet-wielder.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:35 PM EDT
Sheppard Bashes Edwards' Commencement Speech Fee -- But Giuliani Charges More
Topic: NewsBusters

In a May 22 NewsBusters post on John Edwards receiving a $55,000 fee to give a college commencement speech, Noel Sheppard writes, "If a Republican presidential candidate like Rudy Giuliani or John McCain charged a $55,000 fee to speak at a major university about poverty, would the media be all over it like white on rice?"

The answer is no. As Media Matters notes, Giuliani received nearly double that to give a commencement speech: He reportedly charged Oklahoma State University $100,000 for a speech he delivered in 2006 and an additional $47,000 for the use of a private Gulfstream jet. The Chicago Tribune adds that his visit "essentially wiped out the student speakers annual fund." The Tribune also reports:

Like other high-priced speakers in the private sector, Giuliani routinely travels in style. Besides the Gulfstream, which is a standard perk on the big-time speakers circuit, his contract calls for up to five hotel rooms for his entourage, including his own two-bedroom suite with a preferred balcony view and king-size bed, in the event of an overnight stay.

The Oklahoma contract also required a sedan and an SUV, restrictions on news coverage and control over whom Giuliani would meet, how he would be photographed and what questions he might be asked.

We're shocked -- shocked! -- that Sheppard finds Edwards' comparatively small speaking fee newsworthy but says not a thing about Giuliani's sky-high fee and patrician perks that bankrupt college students.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:22 AM EDT
Sheppard Ignored Anti-Global Warming Filmmaker's Dubious Record
Topic: NewsBusters

In a May 22 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard promoted, as he has before, the British film "The Great Global Warming Swindle," which according to Sheppard "presents the other side of the climate change debate the media and folks like soon-to-be-Dr. Al Gore don’t want you to hear." But Sheppard has yet to report on dubious claims in the film and others made by its director, Martin Durkin. From Media Matters:

An April 25 article in the UK's Scotsman reported that the film is "under fire" for claiming "that the world was hotter during the 'Medieval Warm Period' based on a graph that ended in 1975, and that volcanoes produce more carbon dioxide than humans. According to one study, volcanoes produce about 2 per cent of the emissions from human use of fossil fuels." A 2000 article from The Guardian noted that Durkin made a film in 1999 which argued that silicone implants reduce the incidence of breast cancer, as well as a 1997 Channel 4 series called "Against Nature" that, according to The Guardian, "compared environmentalists ... to Nazis, conspiring against the world's poor" and caused the UK's Independent Television Commission to:

hand down one of the most damning verdicts it has ever reached: the programme makers "distorted by selective editing" the views of the interviewees and "misled" them about the "content and purpose of the programmes when they agreed to take part". Channel 4 was forced to make a humiliating prime time apology.

Oops. This is the guy Sheppard trusts to tell "the truth about this crucial issue"?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:59 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 23, 2007 1:00 AM EDT
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
CNS Assails 'ER' Plot, Ignores Factual Basis

A May 22 article by Randy Hall asserting that the season finale of NBC hospital drama "ER" contained "story elements critical of the war in Iraq, including the suggestion that government officials misuse terror threat levels and that U.S. forces torture prisoners during interrogation." Not only is the article incredibly one-sided -- Hall quotes three people critical of the show and Hollywood in general and only one person (a worker for an "anti-war group" and "a regular 'ER' viewer" who is quoted defending the show mostly on the basis of entertainment value, not the factual basis of the plot) in support, adding that messages to NBC "were not returned by press time" -- he makes no mention of evidence that, in fact, the Bush administration misused terror threat levels and Iraqi prisoners were tortured.

Hall's lead witness was Move America Forward chief strategist Sal Russo:

"Dismissing terrorist threat levels as election-year posturing does a disservice to the dedicated public servants who are trying to keep America safe against the threat of international Islamic terrorism," said Russo.


"Using the al Qaeda tactic of grossly exaggerating claims against American troops is insulting to our military and every American," he said.

But Hall never mentions that both claims do have a basis in fact -- ripped from the headlines, one might say. In 2005, former Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge revealed that the Bush administration periodically put the USA on high alert for terrorist attacks even though Ridge argued there was only flimsy evidence to justify raising the threat level:

"More often than not we were the least inclined to raise it," Ridge told reporters. "Sometimes we disagreed with the intelligence assessment. Sometimes we thought even if the intelligence was good, you don't necessarily put the country on (alert). ... There were times when some people were really aggressive about raising it, and we said, 'For that?' "

As far as torture goes, doesn't Abu Ghraib ring a bell? Might not that have rated a mention by Hall, if only to explain why Russo thinks the claim is "grossly exaggerated"?

Posted by Terry K. at 4:17 PM EDT
NewsMax Headline Watch
Topic: Newsmax

The headline the Associated Press put on a May 21 article: "McCain assails Romney on immigration."

The headline NewsMax put on it: "McCain's Nuts Again: Target Romney."

Posted by Terry K. at 3:41 PM EDT
MRC Talking Point Overtaken By Events
Topic: NewsBusters

Good news: Reality is catching up to the Media Research Center's silliest complaint.

We've frequently noted the MRC's obsession with news reports that gas prices were at "record highs," complaining that they weren't when adjusted for inflation while not similarly adjusting, say, Clinton-era tax increases and record Dow highs. But now, the current price of gas has reached the inflation-adjusted high.

So what does Brent Baker do in a May 21 NewsBusters post? Complain that news reports are still inaccurate, because the current price "does not beat [the inflation-adjusted high] but only 'matches' it." Baker then attacked ABC's Charles Gibson because he "continued to deliver distorted reporting in which he refused to adjust for inflation" by calling the current price "another record high."

Baker wouldn't be nearly as touchy about this if a Democrat was president. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:45 AM EDT
Monday, May 21, 2007
Waters Defends 'Innocent' Duke Players
Topic: Media Research Center

In a May 21 Times Watch post (and NewsBusters item), Clay Waters claimed that a New York Times article on the Duke lacrosse team that, though cleared of rape charges, had hired strippers and racked up 15 arrests over three years "may have been guilty of … being college students."

How many college students hire strippers for parties? And an arrest for beating up a guy while hurling anti-gay epithets, as one Duke lacrosse player was charged with, is hardly typical college-student behavior either.

Also, isn't that a lot of arrests for a rather small cross-section of a population? Assuming that the Duke lacrosse team has had, say, 100 full-fledged members over that three-year period, and assuming that each of those 15 arrests involved a different member of the team, that's 15 percent of the lacrosse team having been arrested. Can Waters name any overall college population -- like, say, the entire Duke student body -- in which 15 percent have been arrested? We doubt it. Then again, Waters went on to claim that there exists "credible allegations of discrimination by local cops against Duke students," so we're guessing not.

Waters may want to reconsider his defense over how "innocent" Duke lacrosse players are being "slimed."

Posted by Terry K. at 3:54 PM EDT

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