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Monday, June 11, 2007
Huston's Selective Criticism of Thompson Critics Continues
Topic: NewsBusters

A June 9 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston criticized a Los Angeles Times article noting that Fred Thompson "is lending his voice to radio commercials for a company that says it fights identity thieves and that was co-founded by a man accused of taking money from consumer bank accounts without permission." Huston called the article "one lame attempt to cast Senator Thompson in a bad light. And it is another example of the MSM looking to stick a pin in Thompson's big poll ratings, it appears."

Once again, Huston fails to note that it's not only "the MSM" that has reported criticism of Thompson and, in fact, it was conservatives such as NewsMax and MRC sister site that have led the way in "sticking a pin in Thompson's big poll ratings." And WorldNetDaily has now joined in with a June 10 article claiming that " Doubts continue to swirl over Fred Thompson's faith even among members of his own church," citing a professor at a private religious school who "issued a challenge on the Internet to anyone who can come up with evidence that Thompson, now an actor, is active in the Church of Christ." And in a June 11 WND column, Vox Day declares that Thompson "is actually one of the less Conservative candidates" and is "pro-choice."

If Huston is going to attack criticism of Thompson, shouldn't he attack all criticism of Thompson? Or does conservative media get a pass?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, June 11, 2007 1:16 AM EDT
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Sheppard's Straw Man
Topic: NewsBusters

In a June 9 NewsBusters post on former TV anchor Bree Walker buying Cindy Sheehan's "Camp Casey" land in Texas, Noel Sheppard writes, "The next time someone tells you that there aren’t any liberals in the media, make sure to point out the following to said person."

Nice straw man there, Noel. First, nobody is credibly arguing that liberals don't work in the media; the debate is over whether liberals advance their views through their news reporting, something for which Sheppard offer no evidence that Walker did while she was an anchor. Second, Walker no longer works in "the media" as a news anchor; as Sheppard himself notes, she is now a " 'progressive' talk radio host" (yes, "progressive" is inexplicably in scare quotes).

By the same standard, Sheppard should also be attacking another radio host, Melanie Morgan, for trying to buy Sheehan's land through her Move America Forward group. But apparently Sheppard doesn't apply the same rules of conduct to conservatives as he does to liberals.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:59 AM EDT
Saturday, June 9, 2007
Did Plame Commit Perjury?
Topic: The ConWeb

One hot topic on the ConWeb of late -- mainly to deflect attention from Scooter Libby's conviction and sentencing on perjury and obstruction charges -- is discussion of the idea (if not fervent hope) that Valerie Plame committed perjury when she testified to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform earlier this year that she did not "recommend" or "suggest" that her husband, Joseph Wilson, take a fact-finding trip to Niger in 2002 to see if Saddam Hussein's Iraq had been trying to buy uranium. The claim is based on a recently released memo by Republicans on the committee. The claim has been championed across the ConWeb:

  • A May 25 National Review article by Byron York claimed the memo "show[ed] Mrs. Wilson suggesting her husband for the trip." 
  • A May 26 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard cited York's article to suggest that Plame "committed perjury."
  • A June 1 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd mentioned "the recent allegation that Plame perjured herself in congressional testimony," linking to Sheppard's post.
  • A June 1 NewsMax article by Ken Timmerman claimed that "The Valerie Plame e-mail shows without any doubt that she recommended her husband for the mission in Niger." Timmerman repeated his claim in a June 8 FrontPageMag article. Timmerman's personal website goes on to claim that Plame "was hoping" that the memo "would remain classified" and that it "shows beyond any doubt who sent Joe Wilson to Niger in Feburary 2002."

But does it? To coin a phrase, it depends on your definition of "recommend." The key passage from Plame's memo that Timmerman, Sheppard, et al., have touted as the smoking gun is this: 

So where do I fit in? As you may recall, [redacted] of CP/[office 2] recently approached my husband to possibly use his contacts in Niger to investigate [a separate Niger matter]. After many fits and starts, [redacted] finally advised that the station wished to pursue this with liaison. My husband is willing to help, if it makes sense, but no problem if not. End of story. 

Now, with this report, it is clear that the IC is still wondering what is going on… my husband has good relations with both the PM and the former minister of mines, not to mention lots of French contacts, both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity. To be frank with you, I was somewhat embarrassed by the agency’s sloppy work last go-round, and I am hesitant to suggest anything again. However, [my husband] may be in a position to assist. Therefore, request your thoughts on what, if anything, to pursue here. Thank you for your time on this.

Timmerman, et al's definition of "recommended," it seems, is based on proactiveness on Plame's part -- that Plame approached CIA officials with the idea of sending Wilson to Niger and intensely lobbied for him to go on the trip. In fact, as the memo states, it was the CIA that first "approached" Wilson. 

While Plame goes on to state Wilson's qualifications for such a trip, the fact that she immediately states afterward that she was "hesitant to suggest anything again" shows that she was hardly lobbying for Wilson, as does her statement that she sought the "thoughts" of others on the issue.

Despite what Timmerman, et al, claim based on this memo, it's not clear at all that Plame did anything more than respond to queries from CIA higher-ups. Plame did not initiate the idea of sending Wilson, and her "recommendation" was tepid at best and came only after the CIA first approached her with the idea.

In other words, it's a differing view of events, not the clear-cut perjury Timmerman, et al, want you to believe.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:17 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, June 9, 2007 10:46 AM EDT
Friday, June 8, 2007
Horowitz Misleads on Professor Email Case
Topic: Horowitz

In a letter emailed June 1 to NewsMax's subscriber list, David Horowitz wrote the following regarding his "National Campaign for Academic Freedom," inm which he attacks "radical leftists" at colleges who have "made careers out of their anti-American beliefs" and will "go to any extreme to crush their enemies -- even ruining livelihoods":

Take, for example, the outrageous action undertaken by the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) system against Professor Walter Kehowski.

Last fall, as Thanksgiving Day approached, Kehowski emailed his colleagues the text of George Washington's "Thanksgiving Day Proclamation of 1789" along with a link to the webpage where he'd found it - conservative writer Pat Buchanan's web log.

In a very short time, five faculty members filed complaints, claiming Kehowski's email was "hostile" and "derogatory" because of the link to Buchanan's website.

Just days ago Chancellor Rufus Glasper placed Kehowski on leave and recommended his firing. That's right. They want to fire a professor for sending colleagues an email of the text of our first president's Thanksgiving address and because that email had a link to a conservative's website.

Well, no. As we've detailed, Kehowski has a long history of history of promoting inflammatory anti-immigrant rhetoric, as well as a long history of violating the school's email policy. Indeed, the Arizona Republic has reported quoted school district chancellor Rufus Glasper as saying that Kehowski has "continued to disregard district policies despite previous sanctions and directives. Kehowski was suspended without pay for five days in September 2005 for a similar violation."

In other words, it's not about Kehowski sending an email that linked to Pat Buchanan's website (which is tame given that anti-immigrant and white "racialist" sites such as VDARE and American Renaissance have joined Horowitz in taking up Kehowski's cause). It's about Kehowski repeatedly violating the conditions of his employment.

Will Horowitz tell the full truth about Kehowski? Don't count on it.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:22 PM EDT
Graham Complains of 'Liberal Media' Terms on Abortion
Topic: NewsBusters

So Tim Graham is annoyed, in a June 7 NewsBusters post, that the New York Daily News uses what he calls "a very typical liberal-media template" for abortion related terms, avoiding the use of "pro-life" and "pro-abortion." Nowhere does Graham explain that it is inaccurate to do so, or even how it is a "typical liberal-media template."

Perhaps Graham could share with his readers the style guide from that MRC's on the subject. As we've detailed, CNS regularly uses "pro-life" and "pro-abortion" (as well as overall biased coverage of the abortion issue). Is that not a "typical conservative-media template"? Aren't those terms more skewed and less accurate than, say, "abortion foes" or "pro-abortion rights" (the Daily News' preferred terms)?

Or is this yet another of those instances where only the "liberal media" is biased and, as the MRC often suggests, there is no such thing as conservative media bias?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:14 AM EDT
NewsBusters Still Won't Acknowledge Conservative Criticism of Thompson
Topic: NewsBusters

Warner Todd Huston devotes a June 7 NewsBusters post to dissecting at length a New York Observer article on Fred Thompson, declaring, "Well, it didn't take long for the MSM to start their attacks on Fred Thompson now that he is in the race."

Nowhere does Huston acknowlege that, as we've pointed out, conservatives beat the Observer to the punch in, um, punching Thompson. Not only has NewsMax bashed Thompson, NewsBusters' sister MRC website has highlighted conservative attacks on Thompson.

Isn't that more newsworthy than "the MSM" criticizing him? Huston apparently doesn't think so. Or do these articles magically not exist in Huston's eyes because conservatives would never attack Thompson?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:35 AM EDT
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Dougherty Backs Racist, Eugenicist Immigration Law
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a June 7 WorldNetDaily column, Jon Dougherty (WND's original one-source wonder) writes:

The 1965 Immigration Reform Act, the creation of radical, far-left "Down With The Establishment" ideologues hellbent on reversing what had been an effective and manageable system of legalized immigration into the United States since 1924, were steering the civil rights juggernaut smack dab into the heart of traditional America. In its wake, the ideologues, partnered with like-minded members of Congress, destroyed a rational quota system that, according to's Ben Johnson, "had regulated the ethnic composition of immigration in fair proportion to each group's existing presence in the population," and was serving the nation well.

So, what is this wonderful 1924 immigration law that was so "effective and manageable" that Dougherty would apparently like to go back to it? According to Wikipedia:

The Immigration Act of 1924, which included the National Origins Act, Asian Exclusion Act or the Johnson-Reed Act, was a United States federal law that limited the number of immigrants who could be admitted from any country to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already living in the United States in 1890, according to the Census of 1890. It excluded immigration to the US of Asians. It superseded the 1921 Emergency Quota Act. The law was aimed at further restricting the Southern and Eastern Europeans who had begun to enter the country in large numbers beginning in the 1890s, as well as East Asians and Asian Indians, who were prohibited from immigrating entirely. It set no limits on immigration from Latin America.


Some of the law's strongest supporters were influenced by Madison Grant and his 1916 book, The Passing of the Great Race. Grant was a eugenicist and an advocate of the racial hygiene theory. His data purported to show the superiority of the founding Northern European races. But most proponents of the law were rather concerned with upholding an ethnic status quo and avoiding competition with foreign workers.

The act halted "undesirable" immigration with quotas. The act barred specific origins from the Asia-Pacific Triangle which included Japan, China, the Philippines, Laos, Siam (Thailand), Cambodia, Singapore (then a British colony), Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Burma (Myanmar), India, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and Malaysia. It barred these immigrants because they were deemed to be of an "undesirable" race. As an example of its effect, in the ten years following 1900 about 200,000 Italians immigrated every year. With the imposition of the 1924 quota, only 4,000 per year were allowed. At the same time, the annual quota for Germany was over 57,000. 86% of the 165,000 permitted entries were from the British Isles, France, Germany, and other Northern European countries.

The quotas remained in place with minor alterations until the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.

So, Dougherty would see immigration laws that are favored by racists and eugenicists? It would seem so.

Oh, and Ben Johnson, whose 2002 FrontPageMag article Dougherty approvingly cites, similarly fails to mention the racist and eugenicist aspects of the 1924 law.

UPDATE: WND has been critical of the 1924 immigration law when that suited its purposes. From an April 5 WND column by Logan Paul Gage of the anti-Darwin, anti-evolution Discovery Institute:

In the run-up to the Immigration Restriction Act of 1924, Congress relied on eugenics arguments and even heard testimony from an "expert eugenics agent." The intent was to restrict the access of Italians, Jews and other "defectives" to American shores. In the Executive Branch, Secretary of Agriculture James Wilson promoted eugenics through the American Breeders Association.

So, WND, which is it? Was the 1924 immigration law bad because it was based on eugenics, or was it good because it kept brown, yellow and/or swarthy people out?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:58 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 7, 2007 6:03 PM EDT
Sheppard Hides Background of 'Scientific' Group
Topic: NewsBusters

A June 5 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard claimed that the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change -- which published a "detailed analysis" attacking NASA global warming specialist James Hansen's claims about "a dire global warming future" -- is a "scientific organization." Sheppard adds: "Think this study will get much air or print space tonight or tomorrow? Neither do I."

Nowhere does Sheppard mention the main reason the study will not get the attention he thinks it deserves -- the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change has close ties to the energy industry, which typically funds global warming skeptics like the Center.

The organization's principals -- Sherwood Idso and his sons, Craig and Keith, have all worked for the Western Fuels Association, a cooperative that supplies coal and transportation services to consumer-owned electric utilities in the Western United States.

Further, the organization has received $90,000 from ExxonMobil Corp. between 1998 and 2005. Sherwood Idso has defended receiving such funding, insisting that "the mere existence of funding, whether from private or public sources, does not, in and of itself, prove malfeasance on the part of the funds' recipients.", though, reports that beyond this, the Center "does not reveal its funding sources," which makes it difficult to judge whether how believeable Idso is on this subject.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:52 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 7, 2007 11:54 AM EDT
Shooting Their Own: The Final Chapter
Topic: NewsBusters

A June 6 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd delcares that it's the "Final Chapter of Scarborough Pole-Gate." (That, of course, would be the Joe Scarborough comment wondering if Fred Thompson's wife "works the pole.") Indeed: Shepherd writes that Joe Scarborough sent him "the relevant transcript from his June 1 'Morning Joe' program, lamenting in an e-mail that our 'follow up blog on Newsbusters... actually omits fact that there was a long discussion started by female athlete re pole exercising. Transcript shows whole thing taken wildly out of context.' " Shepherd reprinted the transcript, adding no further comment.

So it was not overly offensive after all. Still, the question we asked earlier remains: Given that Shepherd and his MRC co-workers couldn't work up much outrage over Don Imus' "nappy-headed hos" comment, why did Shepherd focus on Scarborough's comment, beyond punishing Scarborough for not being a loyal enough conservative? 

UPDATE: Indeed, nobody at the MRC has made a peep about San Francisco radio host Lee Rodgers saying that Condoleezza Rice looks "the hostess at an S&M parlor." Oh, that's right: Rodgers is a loyal conservative whom NewsBusters has previously defended, so it's OK.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:08 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, June 9, 2007 8:44 PM EDT
Folger Misleads on Gays -- Again
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Janet Folger's June 5 WorldNetDaily column is another anti-gay rant. Ostensibly a criticism of gays for suing the online dating site eHarmony for not providing for same-sex relationships, Folger likens homosexuality to pedophilia and "[t]he Mary Kay LeTerneau's of the world" and wrote of the woman suing eHarmony: "They don't offer a category for 'lesbian bullies seeking women,' so she wants to bully eHarmony until they do."

Folger then cites anti-gay "researcher" Jeffrey Satinover as an authority on the background of the American Psychiatric Association's decision to remove homosexuality from the DSM list of mental illnesses. As we noted the last time Folger cited him, Satinover has called homosexuality "psychologically unhealthy," "an inferior way of life,"and a "sociopathy" akin to "grow[ing] up in a Cosa Nostra family," and that "homosexuality--like narcissism--is best viewed as a spiritual and moral illness." So he's a tad biased on the issue.

Finally, Folger claimed:

The American Psychological Association recently published a study favorable to pedophilia – you know, child molestation. If you call it "Adult-child sex," it doesn't sound as bad. 

As we reported when Jerome Corsi tried to use that study against Ted Strickland, the candidate running against (and electorally stomping) Corsi co-author Ken Blackwell, the APA-published study was not "favorable to pedophilia"; rather, it reviewed previous studies on child sexual abuse to test the belief, held by "[m]any lay persons and professionals," that "child sexual abuse (CSA) causes intense harm, regardless of gender, pervasively in the general population," finding that "negative effects were neither pervasive nor typically intense, and that men reacted much less negatively than women." And far from being the endorsement of pedophilia Folger claims, the authors of the study explicitly stated that its findings "do not imply that moral or legal definitions of or views on behaviors currently classified as CSA should be abandoned or even altered."

Doesn't Folger ever get tired of being caught in the act of spouting anti-gay falsehoods and scare tactics? Apparently not.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:36 AM EDT
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Sheffield Admits Double Standard on NYT
Topic: NewsBusters

In a June 6 NewsBusters post on Rupert Murdoch's attempted purchase of Dow Jones, a company with a dual-tier stock structure that keeps control of the company in the hands of the Bancroft family, Matthew Sheffield admitted that he has not held the company to the same criticism he has inflicted on the New York Times Co., which has the same structure:

Of course, the fact that [NYT Co. CEO] Pinch [Sulzburger] deliberately steers his paper in a leftward direction is what makes his corporate control a non-issue in the eyes of the left. The fact is the Bancrofts have been unique in the newspaper business in keeping a hands-off policy for media empire. It's also why I have refrained from criticizing their similarly cushy stock arrangement which gives them control of Dow Jones.

As we've previously noted, Sheffield has repeatedly criticized the the New York Times Co.'s dual-tier structure without acknowledging that other companies, including Dow Jones, have the same structure.

Sheffield also suggests that Dow Jones is unique in "keeping a hands-off policy" on editorial policy. In fact, most media companies generally don't dictate editorial policy. One exception that comes to mind is Freedom Newspapers, whose flagship is the Orange County Register in California (and also owns papers in Colorado Springs and suburban Phoenix); the company dictates that all its newspapers promote a ... libertarian viewpoint. Sheffield would be hard-pressed to find a "liberal" media company -- even the New York Times -- that's so dogmatic.

We once asked of Sheffield: If dual-tier stock is bad for the Times, why isn't bad for Dow Jones? We have our answer: Sheffield's political agenda. His railing against the NYT's dual-tier structure is meaningless because it's structually the same as Dow Jones, whose editorial policies he likes. Sheffield merely opposes the New York Times' brand of journalism and not that of Dow Jones and its notoriously right-wing Wall Street Journal editorial page. 

In other words, it's a double standard. Just say the words, Matt ...

Posted by Terry K. at 4:52 PM EDT
Whitlock Misrepresents Cuomo, Ignores Criticism of Gerth-Van Natta Book
Topic: Media Research Center

The headline on a June 4 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock on a TV appearance by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta, authors of a new Hillary-bashing book (repeated as a June 5 MRC CyberAlert item) reads, "ABC's Cuomo Derides Anti-Hillary Book as an 'Ambien Substitute' and a 'Sleeper.' " Whitlock wrote:

On Monday's Good Morning America, ABC co-anchor Chris Cuomo acted as lawyer for the defense when he interviewed the co-authors of a new book that contains critical revelations about 2008 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Cuomo grilled Don Van Natta and Jeff Gerth, the New York Times investigative journalists behind "Her Way," asking if their book was a "sleeper" and an "Ambien substitute."

But Whitlock falsely portrayed what Cuomo said, as is made clear in the transcript Whitlock himself quoted:

CUOMO: The [Clinton] campaign said it is an Ambien substitute. They say the book is just a rehash. How do you respond to that, that your book is a sleeper? It's all been done before. You only needed a library card to report this out. Your response?

"Ambien substitute" and "sleeper" were not Cuomo's opinions of the book, as Whitlock claimed; Cuomo was merely repeating the Clinton campaign's characterization of the book and asking Gerth and Van Natta to react to it.

We've seen this sort of misrepresentation by the MRC before, as we noted when it claimed that Katie Couric called Ronald Reagan an "airhead" when, in fact, she was merely repeating what others had been saying about the conclusions of a newly released Reagan biography.

Whitlock also falsely attributed the "library card" comment to Cuomo in order to launch another attack on him:

How insulting is it for Cuomo, who was parroting Clinton talking points and taking his information off of cue cards, to claim that these Pulitzer Prize winning journalists simply needed "a library card" for their book on the New York politician?

Whitlock went on to assert without evidence that Cuomo "didn't appear comfortable even discussing a book critical of Senator Clinton" and that Cuomo "seemed hesitant to discuss Gerth and Van Natta's claim that Hillary Clinton made a secret political pact when she married Bill Clinton."

Whitlock is too busy defending Gerth and Van Natta as "Pulitzer Prize winning journalists" to mention that the "secret political pact" claim rests on shaky factual ground. Nor does Whitlock note Gerth's history of dubious reporting during the Clinton administration and for the stories on U.S. military information allegedly shared with the Chinese -- for which Gerth won that Pulitzer -- in which Gerth falsely implicated scientist Wen Ho Lee.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:57 PM EDT
New Article: Mitt Romney's Fluffer
Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax's Ronald Kessler takes his fealty to the Republican presidential candidate to a stunningly creepy extent. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:10 AM EDT
Baker Thinks Armitage Is Relevant to Libby's Crime
Topic: NewsBusters

A June 5 NewsBusters post by Brent Baker noted of network news coverage of Scooter Libby's sentencing: "As occurred back on March 6, neither CBS or ABC uttered the name of the leaker: Richard Armitage."

But Armitage wasn't "the leaker"; he was, like Libby, one of the leakers. (The guy Armitage leaked to, Robert Novak, was merely the first to print the leak.) And as we noted last time the MRC did this, Armitage's role in leaking the name of Valerie Plame is irrelevant to Libby's lying and obstructing the investigation into the leak, so beating up on CBS and ABC for not mentioning Armitage is nothing more than meaningless, nonsensical media-bashing.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:09 AM EDT
Tuesday, June 5, 2007

As we've noted, 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,

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."

So, NewsBusters guys: Is CNS "the MSM"?

Posted by Terry K. at 6:32 PM EDT

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