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Tuesday, July 3, 2007
NewsMax Flip-Flops on Huckabee
Topic: Newsmax

A July 3 NewsMax article by Dave Eberhart attacks Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee for not being an "authentic" conservative. Among the reasons Eberhart listed was his "liberal policy of criminal pardons" while Arkansas governor:

Case-in-point: Wayne Dumond, a convicted rapist who was released during Huckabee's tenure as governor and who subsequently sexually assaulted and murdered a woman in Missouri following his release.

In October 1996, Huckabee met privately with the parole board to talk about the Dumond case. Some members of the board have since stated that they were pressured to re-examine and vote in favor of Dumond's parole. Huckabee has denied influencing the parole board in any way, but acknowledges some responsibility for signing Dumond's parole.

Dumond's case had gained some celebrity status in the mid 1990s from critics of President Bill Clinton who felt the former Arkansas governor had been too harsh with Dumond because Dumond's initial victim was a distant Clinton relative.

What Eberhart doesn't mention: A few years ago, NewsMax sang a much different tune as one of those "critics of President Bill Clinton" who tried to tie the DuMond case to Clinton and steer it away from Huckabee. As we've noted, NewsMax ran a November 2002 article uncritically quoting Huckabee, who was running for re-election as governor, claiming that Clinton "is running the campaign of his Democratic opponent, Jimmie Lou Fisher, who has made a 1984 rape case the central focus of her bid to replace Huckabee as the state's chief executive." The article added: "Clinton's role in resurrecting the rape case against Huckabee is particularly ironic, given the still unrefuted charges that he himself raped Arkansas businesswoman Juanita Broaddrick in 1978."

The article went on to identify DuMond's victim, Ashley Stevens, as "the daughter of Clinton cousin and campaign contributor Walter Stevens," asserting that "Stevens herself botched descriptions of the truck DuMond was driving at the time of the crime - and even got the color of his eyes wrong."

Not only did the 2002 article not mention, as Eberhart did, that Huckabee "pressured to re-examine and vote in favor of Dumond's parole," it allowed Huckabee to claim that Fisher's campaign "completely mischaracterized his role in the case":

"My opponent has used one issue," Huckabee told Imus, "and that is over a commutation that was actually done by [Clinton's successor] Jim Guy Tucker. ... He commuted the sentence of Wayne DuMond, a convicted rapist, and then the parole board released him. In the middle of that, I did give consideration to an earlier release, but I denied it."

Worse still, many believe DuMond never committed the rape in the first place.

The 2002 article also failed to mention that DuMond had been arrested for the Missouri murder in 2001. He died in prison in 2005.

Why has NewsMax flip-flopped on Huckabee and his role in the DuMond case? Doesn't Bill Clinton-bashing play anymore? Or is NewsMax simply trying to clear the path for Mitt Romney? Perhaps Eberhart can explain that. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:59 AM EDT
Monday, July 2, 2007
NewsBusters, MTV's Loder Ignore Film's Bias
Topic: NewsBusters

Noel Sheppard's habit of hiding the inconvenient political agendas of those he promotes in his attacks on his political enemies appears to be spreading throughout NewsBusters -- and even outside of it.

A July 2 post by Ken Shepherd MTV's Kurt Loder's attack on Michael Moore's "Sicko," uncritically repeating Loder's citing of a documentary called "Dead Meat" that attacks Canada's socialized health system. But as News Corpse notes -- unmentioned by both Loder and Shepherd -- "Dead Meat" is a conservative film that debuted at David Horowitz's right-wing Liberty Film Festival. Further, "The film’s credits include special thanks to the rightist Manhattan Institute, the Pacific Research Institute, and the Heartland Institute." The latter institute, you may recall, is the one whose conservative leanings Noel Sheppard has been trying to obscure.

We can probably assume that "Dead Meat" is as least as biased as "Sicko," and both Ken Shepherd and Loder should have noted that.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:53 PM EDT
Gore Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

Noel Sheppard continues to exhibit a full-blown case of Gore Derangement Syndrome, devoting a July 2 NewsBusters post to attacking him over effectively responding to anything Gore actually said in a New York Times op-ed.

Sheppard blasted away at the op-ed, calling it "factless, feckless, feculent foolishness" and continuing to bash Gore: "This guy was actually once the vice president, and was a few electoral votes away from being president? And there are people who voted for him back then, and believe him to be sane now?"

The only substantial attempt Sheppard made to disprove a Gore claim is reponding to a statement that carbon-dioxide levels "have been driven from 280 parts per million at the beginning of the coal boom to 383 parts per million this year" by citing "a study done recently by a scientist named Ernst-Georg Beck, wherein after researching papers done many others in the past two centuries, he concluded that as recently as 1940, the atmospheric CO2 level was above 400 ppm." Sheppard then claimed, "Of course, science is unimportant to Gore."

But it may be even more unimportant to Sheppard and Beck. As RealClimate points out, Beck "ignores the last 50 years of carbon cycle research" by assuming that "all chemical measurements in the 19th and early 20th century actually were fine" (they're not; CO2 measurements are highly inconsistent). Further, the spike in CO2 levels in 1940 Beck reported does not corellate with other known atmospheric data.

Sheppard also writes that he's going on a "much-needed vacation." Here's hoping he takes the opportunity to get treated for his bout of Gore Derangement Syndrome.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:54 PM EDT
WND Ratchets Up Gay-Bashing
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has been cranking up the anti-gay rhetoric (and name-calling) of late.

-- A headline on a June 30 article by Jay Baggett about anti-gay protesters at a gay pride festival calls the event a "homosex-fest," as does a June 29 article by Jennifer Carden. WND does not explain why such a term is used or considered an acceptable description of the event, or why something like "gay pride festival" is not acceptable.

-- A July 1 article by Bob Unruh starts this way:

Not even an afternoon at a baseball game apparently is going to be safe for parents who want to protect their children from advocates for homosexuality, with the San Diego Padres' confirmation their July 8 game will simultaneously offer free caps to attract children, and a formal recognition of the area's homosexual organization.

It's not until later in the article that you learn that what Unruh calls "formal recognition" of "advocates for homosexuality" is the Gay Men's Chorus of San Diego singing National Anthem and a block of tickets made available through the local gay-pride organization. Unruh suggests in the lead that the "advocates for homosexuality" are giving away the caps, but that's not true either; it's a separate promotion unrelated to gays buying baseball tickets.

Unruh quotes the usual gay-bashers and a Padres rep but nobody from the  gay pride group -- not surprising given that the overall tone of the article is that gays should not be allowed to attend baseball games. Does Unruh's (and WND's) fundamentalist Christianity prohibit him from even speaking to gay people for his news articles?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:26 AM EDT
CNS on Peter Paul: Closer, But...

A June 29 article by Fred Lucas comes closer to a complete telling of the Peter Paul story than anyone else on the ConWeb -- such as WorldNetDaily, whose Art Moore might as well be fellating the guy -- but there's still a few flaws that fall to Paul's favor.

Lucas writes: "The Clinton attorneys in recent briefs point out that Paul is a convicted felon. He pleaded guilty to manipulating his company's stock price in 2001 and pleaded guilty to a previous felony of defrauding the Cuban government in 1979." While that isn't a WND-type whitewashing, Lucas still glosses over the more daming details -- not mentioning that investors and banks were defrauded out of $25 million, for instance. And Paul did not plead guilty to the scam in 2001; that's when he was indicted, around the time of which he fled to Brazil and fought extradition back to the U.S. for two years. He pleaded guilty in March 2005 and is still awaiting sentencing after two years -- another suggestion that Paul is stalling for time.

Lucas made a similar claim in a June 19 article. The original version, reprinted at NewsMax, states that Paul "has two previous felony convictions, pleading guilty to fraud in the 1970s and to a drug charge in the 1980s." But the CNS version was later edited to "clarif[y] wording" to state that Paul "has a previous felony conviction of defrauding the Cuban government in the 1970s," removing the reference to the drug-related case. But the cocaine is a separate charge of which Paul was convicted at the same time as the Cuban-defrauding case, as the Washington Post points out. So it makes no sense for Paul and Lucas (through the "clarification") to suggest that it was the same thing.

Lucas states that "Paul accuses the Clinton camp of bringing up his history in a bid to divert attention away from the facts of the case," but he doesn't mention the equally valid argument that Paul is bringing up these charges against the Clintons in order to divert attention away from his felonious history and to attempt to reduce the prison sentence he's about to receive. 

Lucas also quotes James Nesfield, president of a group called the Equal Justice Foundation of America, noting only that Nesfield "is not a disinterested party, having bought the troubled Stan Lee Media firm." Indeed, the EJFA appears to be little more than a proxy for Paul to attack the Clintons. Its website declares that "The case of Paul v Clinton has been selected by EJFA as the most important Whistleblowing case in America in 2007"; no other cases are mentioned. The website also states that it had an "Official Site opening" on June  26 -- just three days before Lucas' article appeared.

(And it's apparently not to be confused with the Equal Justice Foundation, which appears to be a conservative-leaning group involved in a number of issues, or the Equal Justice Foundation that funds public-interest work at Georgetown Law School, or the similarly themed Equal Justice America. Nesfield might want to look for a new name.)

Nesfield, by the way, has called himself a "modern-day pirate" and a "Machiavellian creature of the dark" in his role in snapping up distressed dot-com firms a few years back, including Stan Lee Media. That company is currently suing Marvel Comics and Stan Lee himself (who's no longer involved with the company), claiming that it owns a piece of the rights to comic characters created or owned by Lee and Marvel. (And the Freepers -- specifically, "Doug from Upland," who's working with Paul on a Hillary-bashing documentary -- are trying to tie this to the Clintons, too.)

Posted by Terry K. at 1:48 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 2, 2007 1:50 AM EDT
Sunday, July 1, 2007
Meanwhile ...
Topic: Newsmax
NewsMax reprints a June 30 Dick Morris column in which he misrepresents Nancy Pelosi's ownership of stock in "Alcatel-Lucent (formerly Alcatel SA), a company with extensive investments in Iran and Sudan — nations that sponsor terrorism." In fact, as Media Matters details, Pelosi never owned Alcatel SA stock; Pelosi purchased Lucent stock in 1999, and Lucent merged with Alcatel in 2006. Further, Morris never mentions that Lucent is one of the stock market's most widely held stocks, nor does he single out Republicans who also own it.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 PM EDT
Gore Derangement Syndrome
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard regularly attacks Al Gore, calling his film "An Inconvenient Truth" a "schlockumentary" and asserting without evidence that he's "a charlatan who doesn't believe in anything but himself and attaining power."

Sheppard keeps up the mindless attacks in a June 30 post. Repeating a op-ed by an employee of the Heartland Institute -- an activist group whose conservative leanings, secrecy over its funding and dubious ties to the tobacco industry Sheppard has previously declined to share with his readers -- Sheppard calls "An Inconvenient Truth" "political science fiction" and asserts, again without evidence, that Gore has "been lying all along for his own personal and financial gain."

Such unsupported personal attacks -- not to mention hiding the inconvenient facts behind his attacks on Gore and global warming when they conflict with his own agenda -- are quickly turning Sheppard into a shrill, unreliable source.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:48 AM EDT
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Does Corsi Care About Non-Clinton Conspiracies?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

From the Associated Press:

Sen. John McCain disposed of a snag in his personal financial disclosure requirements and a GOP presidential rival, Mitt Romney, has put off his disclosure obligations.

McCain's wife, Cindy, liquidated the contents of her $500,000-$1 million blind trust and placed the cash in a money market account, an aide said Thursday. The step was necessary to meet requirements of the Office of Government Ethics, which oversees financial disclosures by presidential candidates.

Does this mean we can look forward to Jerome Corsi ranting ominously, "What did John McCain know and when did he know it?"

Naaah -- that would be too boring. He makes more money (and gets more attention) when he builds silly conspiracies around the Clintons

Posted by Terry K. at 1:41 AM EDT
Friday, June 29, 2007
Sheppard Hides Agenda Of Another Anti-Global Warming Activist Group
Topic: NewsBusters

In a June 29 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard continues his deceptive descriptors of anti-global warming activists. This time, he calls the Heartland Institute, which had issued a press release critical of Al Gore, "a non-partisan social and economic think tank."

In fact, the Heartland Institute is a conservative activist group in thrall to big business. According to SourceWatch, the institute "campaigns on what it calls 'junk science', 'common-sense environmentalism' (i.e. anti-Kyoto, pro-GM), the privatization of public services, smokers' rights (anti-tobacco tax, denial of problems from passive smoking), the introduction of school vouchers, and the deregulation of health care insurance. The institute is one of several organizations the tobacco industry has cultivated to promote its interests, and it refuses to publicly disclose who its corporate and foundation funders are.

The institute's press release quoted by Sheppard states: "The Heartland Institute has been running ads in national newspapers calling on Al Gore to debate Lord Christopher Monckton, a prominent global warming 'skeptic.'" But as we've previously noted, Monckton has his own credibility problems. The institute's website has a page in which it promotes the dubious claims about the environment and global warming made by Michael Crichton in his book "State of Fear."

Posted by Terry K. at 8:36 PM EDT
WND Still Narcissistic About Site Blocking
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A June 29 WorldNetDaily article once again complains about Internet filters that block WND's website.

As we've previously noted, WND has taken a narcissistic approach to the issue, caring only about the blocking of WND and not examining the larger question of other news and commentary website that content filters regularly block.

Ironically, WND has regularly criticized libraries who refuse to install content filters on their public computers for the very reason WND is upset -- the filters also block legitimate non-pornographic content. Most notoriously, WND asserted in a January article that one library that refused to use the filters "told porn addicts to go ahead and get loaded."

Shouldn't WND, as a news organization, be wondering what other sites, besides itself, are being blocked by faulty content filters? Or is it just too selfish to care about anyone's freedom of speech other than its own?

Posted by Terry K. at 4:12 PM EDT
MRC Doubles Down on Coulter Defense
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has officially become a Ann Coulter dead-ender.

Another June 28 press release -- the second Coulter-related MRC release of the day -- complains that "[s]ome leading national media are misreporting conservative Ann Coulter’s remarks about liberal Democratic Presidential candidate John Edwards." But in repeating Coulter's "entire quote" that "Bill Maher was not joking and saying he wished Dick Cheney had been killed in a terrorist attack," the MRC does not note that Coulter distorted Maher's words in a not-dissimilar fashion to the way the MRC accuses the media of distorting Coutler.

The release goes on to quote Brent Bozell explaining Coulter's "humor":

Ann Coulter was making the point that (a) a leftist like Bill Maher made the serious statement that it might be a positive thing to have Vice President Dick Cheney killed by terrorists,” Brent Bozell continued, and, “(b) it received no condemnation from the national press; and therefore (c) she would escape negative media scrutiny in the future were she to take that line against John Edwards.

It is an inescapable truth that Ann Coulter was dripping with sarcasm when she made her remark.

1) That "dripping with sarcasm" excuse doesn't extend to Amanda Marcotte, as we've noted.

2) Bozell softened Coulter's distortion. She didn't say that Maher said "it might be a positive thing to have Vice President Dick Cheney killed by terrorists," she said Maher said "he wished Dick Cheney had been killed in a terrorist attack." No "might" involved.

3) Unmentioned by Bozell is that Coulter made the arguably serious statements that "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York  Times Building" -- which she called "prescient," not exactly the sign of someone who's jokiing -- and that "We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee." Both of these statements predate Maher's remark, so it can be plausibly argued that Coulter set the precedent for making death threats against her political enemies and that Maher was merely following her lead. 

If the MRC is going to defend Coulter -- which it appears it will do to the death -- it's axiomatic that this defense extends to her death threats as well. Are you really comfortable doing that, Brent? Is Coulter worth this much effort?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:20 AM EDT
Thursday, June 28, 2007
NewsMax Joins Coulter-Is-Victim Parade, Repeats False Claims
Topic: Newsmax

A June 28 NewsMax article follows in the Media Research Center's footsteps in portraying Ann Coulter as a victim of the mean liberal media and Elizabeth Edwards.

NewsMax led off by proclaiming that she endeavored to "set the record straight" after "a relentless 24-hour firestorm during which much of the mainstream media used selective quotes to mangle the meaning of several of Ann’s comments about Edwards," stating: "She further explained that she never wished John Edwards would die. She simply said on "Good Morning America" on June 25 that Bill Maher had wished the death of Vice President Cheney by terrorist attack and got away with it." But, as even the MRC has admitted, Coulter distorted Maher's remarks, and Maher did not "wish the death of Vice President Cheney by terrorist attack."

NewsMax went on to claim that Coulter "was blindsided by a phone call from Edward’s wife Elizabeth. Apparently, the call was pre-arranged by Matthews without Coulter’s knowledge." The article later stated, "As Rush Limbaugh said on his Web site, 'Ann Coulter was clearly ambushed' by the Edwards phone call." In fact, Coulter was alerted in advance to Elizabeth Edwards' call.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:02 PM EDT
WND Columnist: Make More (White) Babies!
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Last week, WorldNetDaily columnist Tristan Emmanuel was nattering on about "Anglo-Saxon self-hatred." In his June 28 WND column, Emmanuel takes the next logical step: encouraging whites to have more babies.

He doesn't come right out and say that, of course. But it's clear that's what he means by his opening statement: "If politicians won't find a way to deport illegals, then it is time for Americans who care to take matters into their own hands. By having lots of babies." Emmanuel throws in the obligatory caveat that "this is not about promoting racism," but later writes:

America will have to shoulder the responsibility of being the only Western democracy left; at least the only one big enough to give the remaining "whites" a geographical location to call "home," and – here is the important part – a place relatively free from hostile cultures.


And what do you think it'll mean for that traditional American demographic when the Latin American population explosion meets the Muslim population explosion on American soil, and traditional Americans are in the minority?

So yeah, he's talking about white babies -- it would seem that, to him, only whites can be "traditional Americans."

UPDATE: It's not exactly an isolated view, by the way -- Fox News host John Gibson said the same thing.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:41 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 28, 2007 3:40 PM EDT
MRC Still Defending Coulter, Smearing Marcotte
Topic: Media Research Center

In a June 28 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard asserted that Ann Coulter was "ambushed by Elizabeth Edwards and Chris Matthews" -- even though Coulter knew beforehand that Edwards would call in -- and refers us to a new MRC press release defending Coulter and attacking Edwards. The bulk of the release is dedicated to attacking yet again bloggers Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan, even though they haven't worked for the Edwards campaign for months and the controversial statements Brent Bozell and the MRC are attacking them for were made long before their brief employment by Edwards.

The press release also supplies a list of offending statements by Marcotte and McEwan, but they're taken out of context (as the MRC loves to do). For instance:

In the Duke Lacrosse case, "Can’t a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it?" (Marcotte)

We're not sure why the MRC singled this out, given that it's clearly sarcasm. Does Bozell and Co. really think that Marcotte thinks that white men should be allowed to rape black women with impunity?

Of course, there's no mention of what Coulter actually said. But if the MRC is going to defend Coulter, that means axomatically it's defending her words as well. So the MRC is all for calling John Edwards a faggot and wanting to blow up the New York Times building. It is against Coulter being held accountable for her words the way it does for Marcotte and McEwan.

Also of note: In yesterday's press release, Bozell is quoted as saying that Marcotte and McEwan "insulted Christians and their faith in the most repulsive words imaginable, which I won’t repeat here." Those "insults" are all repeated in today's press release. Bozell's Repulse-O-Meter seems to have recalibrated itself rather abruptly.

More MRC Coulter-defending: Tim Graham, in writing about ABC's Jake Tapper's pointing out (as we have) that Coulter misquoted Bill Maher to justify her own hateful rhetoric (though Graham doesn't say that), concedes that "Maher didn't say he wished Cheney would die." Will MRC/NewsBusters now correct all the posts that claim he did? Don't count on it. Graham then adds:

I think it should be obvious to everyone in the talk-show wars that death-wish jokes are more trouble than they are worth, and that free speech doesn't mean that some speech isn't deplorable, and it's our right to speak out and deplore it.

Will Graham "speak out and deplore" Coulter for her numerous "death-wish jokes"? Again, since official MRC policy is to defend Coulter at all costs, don't count on it.

UPDATE: One of those MRC writers Graham will have to correct over the Maher quote is Graham himself, who wrote a couple hours earlier of "Coulter’s complaint that Bill Maher can get away with saying Dick Cheney should be killed by terrorists."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:26 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 28, 2007 3:26 PM EDT
WND Renews Attacks on Harry Potter
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In 2003, upon the release of the book "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," WorldNetDaily engaged in attacks on the book; the most prominent, we noted, was a column by Caryl Matrisciana (producer of an anti-Harry Potter video that, unsurprisingly, WND sells) in which she went all Godwin's Law on us, claiming that the book appropriated several Nazi symbols, then goes on to call Harry "the young Wiccan" and claim that the books promote "an anti-Christian morality that encourages children to lie, cheat and steal in Harry fashion."

WND backed off on the Potter-bashing for a while after that, but with the impending release of the final book, the lure was too much to resist. 

A June 27 WND article by Jennifer Carden rehashes the Harry-bashing, repeating unchallenged claims by Matrisciana and another anti-Harry activist, Steve Wohlberg, that the Harry Potter books "make witchcraft look 'cool' and exciting" and that Harry himself "lies a lot, break rules at school, curses, throws temper tantrums, and even drinks 'firewhisky' (he's an underage drinker)." Carden makes no apparent effort to contact other Potter experts for a different perspective.

Also unmentioned by Carden: Matrisciana is married to Patrick Matrisciana, producer of the notorious, discredited film "The Clinton Chronicles," which perhaps tells you all you need to know about her anti-Potter film.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:59 AM EDT

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