As we'venoted, the bloggers at the Media Research Center's NewsBusters who claim that "the MSM" is out to get Fred Thompson conveniently ignore the fact that the major attacks to date have been coming from conservatives. The latest evidence for this comes from ... another MRC division, CNSNews.com:
While many Republican voters view likely presidential candidate Fred Thompson as the great conservative hope of 2008, a review of Thompson's Senate voting record and past comments could change the minds of some conservatives.
The June 5 article by Fred Lucas went on to note that rankings by conservative interest groups of Thompson's senatorial record "are comparable to interest groups' scores for [John] McCain, who is often scorned by the right" and that "Thompson's reputation as a lady's man between the nearly two decades he was divorced and remarried could also come up in the presidential race."
For the second time in as many days, NewsBusters' Ken Shepherd has written a post about Joe Scarborough's comment wondering if Fred Thompson's wife "works the pole." As we've noted, NewsBusters and the MRC had trouble working up similar outrage over Don Imus' "nappy-headed hos" remark.
Indeed, Shepherd himself was largely silent about the Imus controversy at the time. His only NewsBusters contribution during the height of the controversy was an April 10 post on the correct way to spell "hos."
Why bother to make a point of this? It shows the MRC's highly selective outrage. It was more upset that Imus got fired than outraged by what Imus said, it ignores or excuses inflammatory statements by stalwart conservatives like Ann Coulter -- for instance, calling anyone offended at Limbaugh's depiction of Barack Obama as "Halfrican" as "humor-challenged" -- yet Shepherd is targeting Scarborough for (as he indicated in his previous post on the subject) being insufficiently conservative.
Pandagon reports on the extreme anti-gay views of Chicago street preacher Ruben Israel not mentioned in a June 1 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh on Israel's quest to appear in a gay-pride parade. Israel claims that homosexuality is a threat to national security and adds:
WHEN YOU HAVE A BUNCH OF GIRLY MEN ABUSING THEMSELVES WITH EACH OTHER IN SEXUALLY PERVERTED WAYS…THEIR BRAIN CHEMISTRY CHANGES AND THEY NO LONGER DESIRE GOD’S GIFT TO THEM….A.K.A. WOMEN.
Indeed, Unruh seems to have made an effort to soften Israel. In addition to ignoring his extreme anti-gay views, the caption for a picture of Israel accompanying Unruh's article stated that he was at an "earlier protest that said condemned abortionist killer Paul Hill was a murderer, not a Christian." WND has generally ignored Hill's story; as we've noted, WND has also printed a seven-part series by Jack Cashill falsely depicting another accused killer of an abortion doctor, James Kopp, as an innocent man -- just a few months before Kopp admitted the murder.
One big surprise in this article: Unruh actually makes an effort to contact the attorney for the gay-pride parade to tell the other side of the story -- something Unruh is generally loath to do.
In a June 4 NewsBusters post, Ken Shepherd bashed Joe Scarborough for wondering if Fred Thompson's wife "works the pole." While Shepherd noted that Don Imus "was canned for his 'nappy-headed hos' remark about the Rutgers women's basketball team," it's worth remembering that he and his MRC co-workers had trouble mustering up much condemnation for Imus' remark.
The presumed real reason for Shepherd's criticism pops up later in his post. Scarborough, you see, is something of an apostate, a conservative who has committed the sin of not being conservative enough, who has stated that he had "been bashing my party more than the Democratic Party" and -- gasp! -- has said nice things about Hillary Clinton, a mortal sin.
That's apparently more offensive to the folks at NewsBusters than Imus' racist remark.
Note to NewsBusters: Conservatives Are the Ones Attacking Thompson Topic: NewsBusters
A June 4 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston reprises an earlier post by Mark Finkelstein by speculating how "the MSM" will attack Fred Thompson's presidential campaign -- and ignoring that conservatives are the ones leading those attacks.
Balloon #3 - Thompson is Lazy
With this one, I think we have the winner as I have seen this line thrown off a few times, though this is the first time I've seen a full story on the charge. Newsweek has come out full bore on Thompson's supposed "laziness".
Does Fred Thompson have what it takes to be president? The former senator turned "Law & Order" actor, who launched an exploratory committee last week, has been dogged by rumors that he doesn't have the work ethic for a long campaign. "The book on him is he's lazy," David Keene, president of the American Conservative Union, said last week.
Huston overlooks the fact that a conservative is, in fact, the one making the "lazy" charge, instead bashing Newsweek for reporting it. Indeed, as we've noted, NewsMax's Ronald Kessler has been leading the conservative attack on Thompson, calling him not only lazy but a supporter of McCain-Feingold-style campaign finance reform.
If Huston and Finkelstein really care so much about attacks on Thompson, shouldn't they also acknowledge that their fellow conservatives are leading the way?
We've occasionally wondered whether conservatives recognize conservative media bias, let alone consider it equivalent to liberal media bias.
One answer confirming a negative answer to that question came from Mark Finkelstein, who expressed in a June 3 NewsBusters post on Fred Thompson's potential presidential candidacy that a conservative appeared unchallenged on NBC's "Today":
You would normally expect the guest in these situations to be Tim Russert or Chris Matthews. If ever a conservative were to be on, you could be virtually certain that he would be balanced by a liberal. But, lo and behold, there was Stephen Hayes, who has a major piece on Thompson in the Weekly Standard. And nary a James Carville or facsimile thereof in sight.
What made it remarkable was [host Campbell] Brown's willingness to play the straight woman, neither accentuating the negative nor saddling Hayes with a liberal sidekick.
Finkelstein spent the rest of his post pondering how "the MSM" will attack Fred Thompson without noting that the first major attack on Thompson following the announcement of his prospective candidacy -- as a lazy politician who supported the un-conservative idea of campaign finance reform -- came from a conservative, NewsMax's Ronald Kessler.
A May 29 WorldNetDaily article by Melanie Morgan and Catherine Moy purported to feel sorry for Cindy Sheehan following her quitting her anti-war activism. They called it "very sad," claimed that "It was difficult to see a grieving mother wander the world with a bleeding heart the anti-war left wouldn't allow to heal" and concluded, "Our prayers go out to Ms. Sheehan."
Somehow we doubt that. Morgan and Moy, after all, are the ones who gleefully smeared Sheehan as a porn addict in order to sell their book "American Mourning," and Morgan is on record as repeatedly attacking Sheehan. Any sorrow they feel is more likely due to the loss of Sheehan as their gravy train rather than any compassion toward her.
Indeed, in her June 1 WND column, Morgan was back to bashing Sheehan, accusing her of "years of insults directed against our servicemen and women by Cindy Sheehan, and repeated denouncements of our government and this nation" and being "filled with so much hate and bitterness." There's no sign of the compassion Morgan fronted just a few days earlier.
Morgan also announced that her conservative group, Move America Forward, is attempting to buy the plot of land Sheehan owns near President Bush's ranch near Crawford, Texas, that Sheehan has announced that she will sell. Will Morgan offer Sheehan a fair price, or will they lowball her and try to obtain it as cheaply as possible? After all, Sheehan said she purchased the land with insurance money from the death of her son, Casey, in the Iraq War.
Do Morgan and Moy really have compassion for Sheehan, or will Morgan and MAF try to hurt Sheehan one more time by trying to screw her out of her land? We shall see.
UPDATE: Sheehan's sister is quoted as saying of Move America Forward's interest in Sheehan's land: "It’ll be a cold day in hell before she sells it to them."
BMI Misleads on Post Profile Topic: Media Research Center
A May 31 article by Jeff Poor at the MRC's Business & Media Institute (summarized in a May 31 NewsBusters post by Julia A. Seymour) claimed that a Washington Post profile of PR executive David Fenton depicted him "as an entrepreneurial Mahatma Gandhi figure – furthering causes deemed pure and wholesome by the Post, from the protection of swordfish to abolishing the death penalty. Weeks described Fenton’s PR firm as 'left-leaning.' That’s an understatement to say the least." Noting Fenton's support of anti-nuclear power causes, Poor added, "Yet nowhere in the story was a pro-nuclear point of view presented. Nor was any point of view that showed another side to any of Fenton’s causes."
But the Post article did feature criticism of Fenton and terms stronger than "left-leaning":
Over the years, Fenton has been linked to nearly every ultra-liberal cause and celeb in U.S. politics. Anti-Bush billionaire George Soros, for instance. When Fenton Communications a few months ago took on the advocacy of the Appeal for Redress, a petition to Congress from members of the military who oppose the war in Iraq, Sean Hannity of Fox News said, "Appealforredress.org is not Fenton's only client. The list reads like a who's who of left-wing advocacy groups; MoveOn.org, America Coming Together, Campaign for America's Future, the AFL-CIO and the NAACP Voter Fund are just a few of their other clients. So the sponsors of the group are left-wing antiwar protesters, and their public relations mouthpiece spends the rest of their time flacking for George Soros and company, and we're to believe this is a nonpartisan effort?"
According to Poor, it seems, "ultra-liberal" is less understated than "left-leaning," and quoting Sean Hannity attacking Fenton is not showing "another side" to Fenton.
-- Ken Shepherd whacks Valerie Plame for claiming "her life was ruined, her career ended, and national security possibly compromised because her CIA employ was made public, but of course she now wants to cash in with a memoir." He then claims "the icing on the cake" is a conservative blogger's allegation that "Plame perjured herself in congressional testimony." Funny, we thought the icing on the cake was that Plame was, in fact, covert at the time Scooter Libby and others in the Bush administration outed her CIA employment.
-- Mark Finkelstein is outraged that the media isn't reporting the most shocking revelation from Carl Bernstein's new book on Hillary Clinton is that she failed the DC bar exam more than 30 years ago.
NewsMax Crops Leprosy References From Dobbs' Rebuttal Topic: Newsmax
A May 31 NewsMax article reports on CNN anchor Lou Dobb's rebuttal to a New York Times article on him that Dobbs called a "scurrilous personal attack." But nowhere does NewsMax mention the key claim made in the Times article: that Dobbs repeated a false claim about the number of leprosy cases in the U.S.
Perhaps that's because if it did, NewsMax would have to admit its own errors. As we've detailed, NewsMax columnists George Putnam, Diane Alden and "Medicine Men" Michael Arnold Glueck and Robert J. Cihak have repeatedly cited that false statistic -- that there have been 7,000 new cases of leprosy in the past three years (in fact, that's the number for the past 30 years). Indeed, on the same edition of "Lou Dobbs Tonight" in which he responded to the Times article, Dobbs admitted his mistake on the leprosy statistic, saying of its source, Madeleine Cosman: "The fact is, I made a mistake, and I've said we would never have used her as a source if we had known of her controversial background." NewsMax didn't report this, either.
Will NewsMax continue to pretend its writers didn't promote a falsehood, or will it step up and admit -- and, more importantly, correct -- their mistakes?
Aaron Klein's Terrorist Buddies Check In Again Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein has trotted out his have-terrorists-endorse-policies-WND-doesn't-like gimmick oncemore, with a May 31 article in which "Palestinian terrorist leaders" -- well, three, including veteran Abu Abdullah -- endorse U.S. efforts to seek a cease-fire in Iraq.
Never mind that these are Palestinians, not Iraqis, that Klein is talking to; Klein offers no explanation of why Palestinian terrorists are qualified to speak for Iraqi terrorists. And as we've noted, Abu Abdullah has appeared in every single gimmick article Klein has written; if he and the other terrorists Klein's chatting up are such diabolilcal terrorist masterminds, why is Klein keeping them on retainer to spout quotes that support his agenda instead of reporting their whereabouts to the proper Israeli and/or international authorities so they can be arrested and/or killed?
Further, has Klein considered the possibility that the terrorists are using him to whip up support for the status quo in U.S. policy in Iraq in the Mideast, which currently works in the terrorists' favor (as Osama bin Laden in releasing a video before the 2004 election that conservatives promoted as endorsing John Kerry when the video's goal was to get President Bush re-elected)? Klein has provided no indication that he has.
Given such apparent lack of knowledge about terrorist motivation, this story (and the others Klein wrote in the same format) should be seen as nothing more that what it is -- a journalistic gimmick designed to push an agenda rather than genuinely inform readers.
[We heard ...] THAT NewsMax chief Washington correspondent Ronald Kessler has garnered attention - and praise - from a prominent political blogger for his online article about Mitt Romney and his wife Ann.
In an item headlined "Talk about a must-read," Jonathan Martin of politico.com writes: "I don't even know where to begin. This Ronald Kessler story about the Romneys has so much to offer.
"Go read the whole thing now."
Kessler was also the author of the in-depth profile "Romney to the Rescue," the cover story of NewsMax Magazine's April issue.
But Martin's Politico post didn't endorse Kessler's article on Ronmey for the reason NewsMax wants you to think. Here's what Martin wrote after "Go read the whole thing now":
First off, Kessler is clearly infatuated with Ann Romney. I'm not even sure what a "good carriage" is, but he says she has that to go with a "rosy complexion, square jaw, and blond mane." Like I said, he's quite taken.
In case you don't believe me...
"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."
Ok, at this point the gov may be getting a little worried. Frankly, I was also.
In other words, it's a must-read to observe Kessler's creepy sycophancy of Ann Romney (which we've noted). NewsMax similarly ignores the comments of another Politico writer, Ben Smith, who was even more mesmerized by Kessler's purple prose. NewsMax also doesn't note that the above passage Martin quoted was edited out of Kessler's article.
Kessler goes to lengths to show how influential Ann Romney is with her husband. She even weighs in on staff hires, he writes.
Which is revealing and fascinating. But it also makes what Mitt said after the news of his wife's Planned Parenthood contribution broke look even worse. Recall -- "her positions I don't think are terribly relevant to my campaign."
Ann Romney also says both are pro-life, which evidently means both have switched their stance on the issue. But she also says that her husband was "always been personally pro-life," but then says on the matter, "Well, you know what? He did change his mind." Perhaps she meant as it relates to his policy/governmental views and not just personal opinion, but the contradiction don't look good.
In other words, Kessler essentially caught Romney in a flip-flop that he won't admit is one. This is, after all, the guy who insists that "While all the leading candidates have changed position on a range of issues, Romney has made a clear change on only one issue" (as we've also noted).
Remember last week, when we warned that NewsMax would soon plug the results of a biased, meaningless poll on immigration? The first item in NewsMax's May 27 "Insider Report" reads:
By a margin of more than 23 to 1, Americans overwhelmingly oppose the Senate's plan for immigration reform, an Internet poll sponsored by NewsMax reveals.
Respondents in the poll - which drew more than 100,000 participants - also said they would oppose any 2008 presidential candidate who supports the Kennedy-McCain plan.
Nowhere does NewsMax indicate that the poll was an opt-in poll promoted on conservative websites, which makes it inherently unreliable as a indicator of public opinion as a whole, and it was promoted by NewsMax by disparaging the immigration plan, which distorts the results even further.
Also, while NewsMax provides the results for six of the poll's seven questions in the "Insider Report," it omits the seventh: "Who did you vote for in the 2004 election?" That's presumably because the number of poll respondents who voted for Bush is much higher than the 51 percent of the population that actually did, and disclosing that would betray the poll's bias.
CNS Labeling Watch Topic: CNSNews.com
A May 30 CNSNews.com article by Nathan Burchfiel on Media Matters' (my employer) study on coverage of religion in the media labeled Media Matters as a "liberal media watchdog" but applied no descriptor at all to the conservative Culture and Media Institute, which criticized the study.