Topic: The ConWeb
ConWebWatch's Terry Krepel is featured in a June 17 article in the UK's Observer on right-wing attacks on the Clintons.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Another Endorsement of Racist, Eugenicist Immigration Law
We'll call this an implicit endorsement.
UPDATE: Also falling in the implicit category is a June 16 WorldNetDaily column by William J. Federer:
Friday, June 15, 2007
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch
Topic: Media Research Center
A June 14 appearance by NewsBusters executive editor Matthew Sheffield on "Fox & Friends" to discuss accusations that CNN staged a story follows the MRC-Fox template: Sheffield appears alone, the host concurs with Sheffield, and Sheffield, NewsBusters and the MRC are never identified as conservatives or professional critics of CNN.
Breaking: Slutty 'Obama Girl' Uses Slutty Domain Registrar
Here's the takeaway from Ken Shepherd's in-depth investigation of the whole "Obama Girl" thing, as detailed in a June 14 NewsBusters post:
Is Shepherd really suggesting that the only reason the "Obama Girl" folks registered their domain through GoDaddy because they both feature sexy chicks?
Kessler, Land Downplay Evangelical Criticism of Mormonism
Ronald Kessler's fluffing of Mitt Romney continues in a June 13 NewsMax article in which he interviews Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. In it, Kessler gives space to Land to engage in liberal-bashing -- claiming that it's a myth that liberals are "sweet, loving, and tolerant" and that liberals are most likely to oppose having a Mormon as president because they look upon them as "people of faith on steroids": "Liberals do not tolerate people who disagree with them. And, of course, the one group they are least tolerant of is people who believe in moral absolutes."
In fact, polling indicates that conservatives object to Romney's Mormonism more than liberals.
Kessler also allows Land to downplay evangelical concerns about Mormonism -- even suggesting that Rudy Giuliani's "one too many" marriages are more objectionable than Romney's Mormonism -- and to join in Kessler's agenda of portraying Romney as a different kind of Mormon. "A significant percentage of Evangelicals have reservations about voting for a Mormon — reservations which I think Mitt Romney could successfully address," Kessler quote Land as saying, adding:
Kessler and Land both fail to note that some of those "less charitable" people are his fellow Southern Baptist leaders. For instance, according to the Baptist Press (the news service of the SBC), a 2005 issue of the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology calls Mormonism a "cult" and generally disparages the religion in contrast with Christianity. For instance, Journal editor Steven J. Wellum writes:
Also, the SBC's North American Mission Board's website contains a resource sheet on Mormonism listing under "Cults, Sects, and New Religious Movements." The resource sheet lists among its tips for converting Mormons:
And, since this is Kessler, he would be remiss if he didn't get a little Romney-fluffing out of Land:
Thursday, June 14, 2007
We Don't Think It Means What You Think It Means
A June 14 NewsMax article is headlined, "Public Outrage Over Limbaugh Censorship."
But the article itself shows that Limbaugh is, in fact, not being censored at all. The article describes efforts by Broward County, Florida, officials to end a partnership with a local radio station "to disseminate information during a hurricane emergency" because it airs conservative radio shows like Limbaugh's. There's no evidence of an ultimatum issued by the county demanding the station "censor" Limbaugh or anything of that sort. Nor have county officials demanded that Limbaugh's show not air anywhere in the county -- which would actually be censorship. Indeed, there's no evidence that the radio station has stopped airing Limbaugh or even offered to do so in order to keep the county's business (which would not stop another station from picking up Limbaugh's show).
It's merely free trade, one customer choosing who it wants to do business with, or not, for whatever reason -- something we thought conservatives supported.
AIM Recycles Dubious Claims in Libby/Plame Case
Topic: Accuracy in Media
A June 11 Accuracy in Media "special report" by Roger Aronoff recycles the (misleading) conservative line about the Valerie Plame-Scooter Libby case.
Aronoff repeats the claim that "it was Richard Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State under Colin Powell, not anyone from the White House, nor a supporter of going to war in Iraq, who told Robert Novak and Bob Woodward that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, worked for the CIA and had recommended her husband for the trip to Niger." But as we've noted, this ignores the fact that Libby was also discussing Plame's identity with reporters at the same time, and it's irrelevant to focus on Armitage since Novak was merely the first to report it.
Aronoff also claimed that Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, "suggested" in a July 2003 New York Times op-ed that Cheney's office sent him to Niger. In fact, Wilson specifically stated that "I was informed by officials at the Central Intelligence Agency that Vice President Dick Cheney's office had questions about a particular intelligence report" and that "The agency officials asked if I would travel to Niger to check out the story so they could provide a response to the vice president's office." Wilson never said that Cheney's office sent him.
Aronoff then attacks Fitzgerald for not addressing the issue of whether Plame was a classified or covert agent at Libby's trial. But Libby was not charged with anything related to Plame's outing; he was charged with lying to investigators and obstructing justice in the investigation of Plame's outing. Plame's status is irrelevant to the charges against Libby.
Finally, Aronoff asserted that Plame "has some explaining of her own to do" because of a recently released memo that "appears to contradict a statement she made under oath before a Congressional committee," suggesting that Plame "lied under oath" when she said she "she unequivocally denied having played any role in picking Joseph Wilson for a fact-finding trip to Niger."
But that's not what Plame said. As we noted (as well as National Review's Byron York, who Aronoff cites), Plame denied that she "supported" or "recommended" Wilson. The memo, in fact, supports that contention; it's clear from the context that CIA officials, not Plame, initiated the idea of Wilson going to Niger and that Plame is ambivalent at best about it and willing to defer to the judgment of others -- hardly the stance of someone actively lobbying for her husband, as Aronoff suggests that Plame did.
In a June 14 NewsBusters post highlighting the MRC's criticism of a Project for Excellence in Journalism study finding that Fox News offers less Iraq war coverage than CNN or MSNBC, Tim Graham repeats his post on the NRO Media Blog attacking the PEJ's studies as "Swiss-cheese studies. Their studies are not comprehensive, but a series of little snapshots making random selections of certain hours of TV content and not others." From Graham's NRO post:
We're not sure what the problem is. Graham never explains why the random cross-section method is not a valid way to conduct this kind of research -- which, in the case of the PEJ study, covered "48 different outlets in five media sectors, including newspapers, online, network TV, cable TV, and radio" and focused on trends and trajectories in news coverage, not specific examination of content beyond subject.
Graham went on to claim in his NewsBusters post that the MRC's 2006 study of Iraq war coverage was "a more thorough study of Iraq coverage on cable." But Graham is comparing apples and oranges. The PEJ is not trying to find "bias" in content; the MRC is. And it's arguably just as much a "Swiss cheese study" as the PEJ's; its methodology was to examine "the 10am and 2pm EDT hours of live weekday news coverage" over a two-month period.
The MRC's study was largely devoted to shoring up preconceived notions of "liberal bias," with its main finding being that CNN and MSNBC offered "lopsidedly negative coverage" of the Iraq war, while Fox News did not. The study also skews to the MRC's longtime obsession of demonstrating that Fox News is not biased (though MRC representatives get preferential treatment in their appearances on Fox). At one point, the question is asked: "So how does the Fox News Channel compare to its cable news competitors? Or do liberal journalists’ complaints reveal more about their ideological preferences than the professionalism of FNC’s correspondents?" At no point are the correspondents of CNN and MSNBC described as "professional."
Further, the study does not explain why the "pessimistic" tone of CNN and MSNBC's coverage is inherently biased or non-reflective of reality, or why Fox News' "fair and balanced" coverage is not biased or is an accurate reflection of reality. Nor does the study explain why there most be a "balanced" representation of positive vs. negative news in Iraq war reporting.
Graham was not the only NewsBusters denzien to bash the PEJ study. A June 13 post by Matthew Sheffield called the PEJ "leftish" and repeated Bill O'Reilly's defense of Fox News' lack of coverage -- "We don't highlight every terrorist attack because we learn nothing from that. And that's exactly what the terrorists want us to do" -- concluding, "O'Reilly's overall point is spot-on."
Klein's Good News, Bad News
Not-so-good news: While Klein divulges a bit more information about outgoing Israeli president Moshe Katsav (whom Peres is succeeding), this time reporting that Katsav resigned amid "allegations he sexually assaulted four female employees," he offered no further information about Katsav -- as has been Klein's style -- including the fact that Katsav is a member of the conservative Likud party. Further, while Klein notes that one of Peres' opponents was a member of Likud, he called it an "opposition" party rather than "conservative," though he called the Labor party "leftist." (Klein has a problem admitting that Likud -- or anyone in Israel, for that matter -- is conservative.)
Bad news: Klein is still bashing Peres, claiming he "is known in Israel as a serial loser of elections" and rehashing past attacks.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Misleading NewsMax Headline Watch
What the headline of a June 13 NewsMax article says: "Bill Clinton: Al Gore Will Enter Race."
What the article actually quotes Clinton as saying: "Someone’s got to fizzle. ... If someone fizzles, then yeah, he could enter the race."
Anonymous WND Attack on Clinton Conflicts With Fellow Clinton-Hater
A June 13 WorldNetDaily article quotes an anonymous "long-time aide" to the Clintons as saying that "Bill and Hillary Clinton had a secret pact to first take turns as governor of Arkansas, then as U.S. president, but Bill at the last minute reneged on his end of the deal."
The blinking red light here is that the source is anonymous. That person is further described in the article as a "confidante, who has been with Clinton from the start" and a "well-placed source," but no explanation is offered as to why this person demanded -- and WND granted him/her -- anonymity.
This is a reminder that WND has no reservations about jettisoning what little journalistic integrity it has in order to advance its political agenda, a key component of which is a white-hot hatred of the Clintons. Remember what WND editor Joseph Farah himself has said about quotes from anonymous sources: that they're "usually quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better."
Nevertheless, WND has no reservation about resorting to anonymous sources when it deems necessary. For example, it used an anonymous source in 2002 to claim that the Clintons were mean to their pets.
The WND story continues:
This conflicts with the record of that time told by a different Clinton-hater, Dick Morris. From his 2004 attack book "Rewriting History":
In other words, by Morris' account, Hillary didn't run for Arkansas governor in 1990 because polling showed she couldn't win, not because Bill pulled a switcheroo on her in public.
Morris' account is Carl Bernstein's Hillary bio, which the WND article described as stating that "does not allude to any betrayal, though, and suggests Hillary simply changed her mind about running." WND did not note that Morris is the source for Bernstein's account, nor, strangely, did it note that Bernstein wrote the book, identifying it only by title. Similarly, WND identified the Hillary book by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta, "Her Way," only by title and not mentioning the authors, repeating that book's claim that the Clintons had a "secret pact of ambition" without noting that questions have been raised about that claim.
(We would add that Morris is a likely possibility for WND's anonymous source since 1) this account conflicts with what he said publicly and 2) he works for the competition, NewsMax.)
So, which Clinton-hater are we to trust? WND's anonymous source (who can be assumed to be a Clinton-hater simply by virtue of collaborating with WND), or Dick Morris?
(Thanks to J.S. for research assistance.)
As we've seen with Joe Scarborough, the conservatives at NewsBusters deal harshly with fellow conservatives who deviate from the orthodoxy.
It happens again in a June 13 post by Mark Finkelstein, who bashes conservative Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby for daring to voice opinions on immigration that don't conform to conservative opinion. Finkelstein writes that Jacoby's column "could just as easily have been written by his erstwhile Globe colleague Thomas Oliphant, the quintessential effete East Coast liberal" and -- just as Finkelstein colleague Tim Graham suggested Scarborough was suffereing from Stockholm syndrome from hanging around all those liberals at MSNBC -- asks, "Is liberalism contagious?" concluding: "Has Jeff acquired some fuzzy liberal thinking via osmosis? Could it be time for him to take a Beantown break and recharge his conservative batteries elsewhere?"
Nowhere does Finkelstein allow for the possibility that Jacoby -- as a fellow conservative deviating from the conservative norm -- might have a point worth looking into. Finkelstein specifically attacks Jacoby's statement that a Mexico border wall would be "a Berlin-style wall of our own": "As commentators from Rush to Rich Lowry have pointed out, the Berlin Wall was built to keep its people in -- to render them prisoners in their own country. The border fence is there to keep people out. And any country that doesn't control its borders will eventually cease to be a country. It's disappointing that Jacoby doesn't acknowledge this." As Berlin proved, a border wall is fraught with symbolism, and Finkelstein shows no recognition that a U.S.-Mexico border wall can arguably be seen the same way.
GOP-Appointed Judges Aren't Hacks -- But Clinton-Appointed Judges Are
A June 12 NewsBusters post by Robert Knight led readers to a piece by Jan LaRue for the Knight-headed, MRC-operated Culture & Media Institute complaining about a Washington Post article on the Bush administration's politicization of the hiring process for immigrantion judges. In response, both Knight and LaRue cited the qualifications of a single immigration judge; Knight added, "If he’s a hack, we could use more hacks."
Knight and LaRue might want to drop an interoffice e-mail to Brent Baker, who used a June 11 NewsBusters post (and June 12 CyberAlert item) to similarly complain that network didn't note that two judges who ruled against the Bush administration's "policy of holding a sleeper cell suspect at a military brig without redress in civilian courts" were Clinton appointees.
In other words, to apply Knight and LaRue's line of reasoning, Baker is saying that all Clinton judicial appointees are hacks. But if it's OK to assume that Clinton appointees are ipso facto hacks, why isn't OK to assume that Bush appointees are as well? It's the same thought process, right?
Indeed, while Knight and LaRue were eager to detail the qualifications of a single judge in an attempt to show that the exception proves the rule, Baker pussyfoots around the qualifications of the Clinton appointees he clearly detests, linking to their bios only to show that they were indeed appointed by Clinton -- though one, Roger Gregory, was a recess appointment that President Bush renominated in 2001, which suggests by the magic Republican nomination method that he must not be a hack after all (unless a Clinton nomination stains the nominee with some sort of hackery taint that can't be removed even by the purifying power of a Bush nomination). Baker offers no evidence, other than who appointed them and issuing a ruling that contradicts a president he supports, that these judges are hacks.
So Knight and LaRue may want to have a little chat about double standards with Baker -- unless they believe that all Clinton appointees are ipso facto hacks as well.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Klein Repeats Unverified Attack on Peres
In a Jun 12 WorldNetDaily article reporting that "some" have accused Shimon Peres of "invoking the name of God to pander to the crucial religious vote," Aaron Klein repeated unverified accusations of "anti-Jewish quotes made by Peres to the media." As we've detailed, Klein declared them "purported" quotes without offering any evidence that Peres did, in fact, say what he is accused of saying to the context in which the word were allegedly said.
Klein also quoted "Rabbi Joseph Garlitsky, chief rabbi of Center Tel Aviv" attacking Peres: "Peres' relationship with God is something that is personal to him. But until he repents, until he comes out and says he made major mistakes with the Oslo Accords and with upholding PLO Leader Yasser Arafat as a partner for peace, and with urging withdrawals and land giveaways, bringing massive bloodshed to the Jewish state, he is not allowed to be president." But in a November 2005 WND article, Klein identified him (spelled "Gerlitzky") as chairman of the Rabbinical Congress for Peace -- a conservative group that has repeatedly attacked Peres and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. In other words, this is a political attack on Peres that Klein has refused to properly identify as such.
Interesting that Klein is suddenly roused to attack the non-conservative Peres when he couldn't be bothered to report on the rape scandal involving conservative Israeli President Moshe Katsav. Can you say bias?
Is Hostetter Anti-Asian?
Hostetter ratcheted that up a bit in a June 8 NewsMax column, in which he called for the U.S. to "repeal the infamous 1965 Immigration Act with its provisions that favor Asian immigrants five to one over Anglo-Europeans."
We wonder about Hostetter's hostility toward Asians, given that most other anti-immigration conservatives have chosen Hispanics as the ethnic group to demonize. Perhaps he needs to do an entire column on the Asian menace to explain the issue to his readers -- and while he's at it, explain whether he supports a return to the racist, eugenicist 1924 immigration laws that banned all Asian immigration to the U.S. as "undesirable."
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