Finkelstein Uses Son's Woes to Attack Gore Topic: NewsBusters
Mark Finkelstein uses a July 6 NewsBusters post to claim that NBC's "Today" offered up a "predictable MSM response" to Al Gore III's arrest on speeding and drug-posession charges, claiming the show "sought to downplay the Gore incident by pointing to Republican politicians whose kids have caused trouble, while praising Chelsea Clinton as unusually mature." In doing so, Finkelstein tried to do his own downplaying of the foibles of the kids of Republican politicians and failed to mention extenuating circumstances regarding those of Democratic ones.
According to Finkelstein, "Al Gore III was arrested for speeding 100 MPH with pot and a variety of other drugs in his car. [NBC reporter John] Yang equates that with the Bush girls drinking -- but not driving -- while underage." But as we reported back in 2001, the Bush girls did a bit more than "drinking ... while underage" (apparently, doing so while not driving is an exculpatory factor for Finkelstein). Jenna Bush had accumulated two alcohol-related citations in a month while she was, presumably, under Secret Service protection as the daughter of a sitting president. Gore III's father, meanwhile, has been out of office for more than six years and was, presumably, not under Secret Service protection at the time of his arrest.
Finkelstein also noted that Chelsea Clinton "had her own alcohol-related run-in, but 'Today' chose to overlook it." As evidence, Finkelstein linked to an article in a British tabloid notorious for running pictures of topless women. And as we noted when it first happened, Clinton, unlike Jenna Bush, was of legal drinking age at the time, and Chelsea's father had been out of office for well over a year.
Indeed, the ConWeb -- including Finkelstein's NewsBusters boss, Brent Bozell -- spent much time and energy blaming everyone but the Bushes themselves for Jenna's misbehavior. Meanwhile, Finkelstein used an NewsBusters post earlier in the day to approvingly repeat a claim from MSNBC "Morning Joe" panelist John Ridley attacking the former vice president for caring more about the upcoming Live Earth concerts he's staging than his son. Finkelstein also asserted that Gore's statement that he was going to treat his son's problems as "a private family matter" was "a mantra reminiscent of his 'no controlling legal authority' line from years ago regarding questionable fund-raising." Huh?
The only surprise here is that it's Finkelstein issuing these nasty little attacks and not Gore Derangement Syndrome sufferer Noel Sheppard.
NewsMax Forgets Its Own Attack on Thompson Topic: Newsmax
"Democrats Launch Attack on Fred Thompson," reads the lead item in NewsMax's July 1 "Insider Report," promoted all week in its breaking news box. (The teaser leads to a sign-up page, though the "Insider Report" is published on the NewsMax website.)
The problem: In asserting that "the Democrats have already gone on the attack in anticipation of a Thompson run," NewsMax conveniently forgets that one of the very first attacks on Thompson came from ... NewsMax's very own Ronald Kessler, just hours after Thompson announced he was considering a presidential run (as we noted).
This continues a pattern of conservatives complaining of liberal attacks on Thompson and pretending they weren't also attacking him.
WND Columnist Cites Discredited Bias Study Topic: WorldNetDaily
From a July 5 WorldNetDaily column by Craige McMillan on Rupert Murdoch's attempt to purchase the Wall Street Journal and efforts to retain the paper's editorial independence:
In December 2005, the University of California at Los Angeles published a study led by its political science department that tagged the Wall Street Journal's news pages as – gasp – the most liberal of the 20 major outlets studied. Let me give you the quote:
"Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS' 'Evening News,' the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of the Wall Street Journal."
The study was wide-ranging and independent, using only the university's own research funds – nothing from any outsiders. Secondly, it quantified media bias by using standard political indicators and comparing news outlets to well-established politicians with long voting records.
In fact, as Media Matters documented, that study, far from being "independent," was conducted by two researchers (Timothy Groseclose and Jeffrey Milyo) who had previously received funding from conservative think tanks. And far from using "standard political indicators" to quantify media bias, the method the researchers used -- which involved tallying media mentions of think tanks in politicians' speeches -- is so flawed as to be nearly useless; for instance, it categorized the American Civil Liberties Union as "conservative," a judgment McMillan probably would not agree with. Further, the authors showed little recognition of previous scholarly research on the subject.
CNS Immigration Articles Mostly Good Topic: CNSNews.com
A pair of July 3 CNSNews.com articles by Jeff Golimowski and Katherine Poythress about left-wing and right-wing extremists involved in the immigration debate were quite surprising and interesting -- as far as they went, at least.
The surprising part came in the left-wing article, which paints the Aztlan "reconquista" movement of reclaiming the southwestern United States for Mexico as the domain of extremists criticized even by other "pro-immigrant" groups -- and even more surprisingly, that the group known as MEChA, while referring to it in its 1960s-era founding papers, is not actively promoting it. The article states that "according to observers on the left and the right, the modern MEChA movement is run by college students and focuses mainly on encouraging Latino high school students to go to college and the retention of Latino students already enrolled in universities," adding that "the group is so decentralized that Cybercast News Service could not even locate a national spokesperson."
The article quotes one activist as saying that "MEChA is being used as a bogeyman by the anti-immigrant movement" and notes that the Southern Poverty Law Center's Mark Potok describing that "conspiracy theories" about Aztlan originated among far-right groups and later worked their way into the wider immigration debate. But nowhere does the article single out those "mainstream" conservatives trying to make hay out of the Aztlan "bogeyman," such as Michelle Malkin and Lou Dobbs.
Golimowski and Poythress' article on right-wing extremists, meanwhile, allows a representative of the Council of Conservative Citizens to defend itself against charges of being a white supremacist organization (though they do let the spokesman's pronouncements -- "Blacks have been here for about 400 years. Have we really successfully assimilated them?" -- speak for themselves) without recounting the group's history as a offshoot of the anti-integration Citizens Councils of America of the 1950s and '60s.
With these sorts of pieces and the jettisoning of a couple of its more extreme columnists such as Ralph Hostetter (who's now peddling his xenophobia at NewsMax), CNS seems to be turning in more of an in-depth, analytical (though still sympathetic to conservativism) journalistic direction. If it can keep this up and not be afraid to fully document the the bad of the conservative movement as well as the good, it might turn into a real news organization yet.
New Article: The Ann Coulter Defense Center Topic: Media Research Center
In the face of more outrageous statements, the Media Research Center aggressively defends Coulter yet again. Is she blackmailing Brent Bozell, or what? Read more.
In a July 4 NewsBusters post, Mark Finkelstein takes offense at the idea that "politics has once again managed to work its way onto the pages of ESPN" -- more specifically, that an ESPN writer stated that Tiger Woods is "as eloquent as Hillary Clinton":
But of all the adjectives one might employ in describing Hillary, surely "eloquent" is not among them. Even if you were seeking to be complimentary, you could call her "determined," or "purposeful," perhaps even "redoubtable." But eloquent? She of the nails-on-blackboard shriek?
Any excuse to slam Hillary, eh? The sound of her voice is irrelevant here. Is no one allowed to say anything positive about Hillary without being accused by NewsBusters of liberal bias? We suspect Finkelstein would have been similarly offended even if the article had used "determined" or "purposeful."
Finkelstein similarly took issue with the article's calling Woods "as distinguished as Barack Obama" -- Barack might be a pretty cool customer, but what makes the one-term senator "distinguished"? -- but not with the descriptor "as esteemed as Rudy Giuliani," though there are some New York firefighters who would beg to differ.
Kinsolving Can't Get His Facts Straight Topic: The Daily Les
According to a July 4 WorldNetDaily article, Les Kinsolving referenced "convicted perjurer Bill Clinton" during the July 3 White House press conference.
As we explained the last time Kinsolving made this error, Clinton was never convicted of perjury; in the civil (not criminal) case Paula Jones filed against Clinton, the judge ruled that Clinton gave "intentionally false" testimony about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky -- which is not perjury.
Kinsolving can't get simple facts right. How does he get to be a White House correspondent? Oh, yeah -- there are nostandards.
Not merely content to be merelyxenophobic about immigration, E. Ralph Hostetter also peddles misleading claims about illegal immigrants. In a July 3 NewsMax column, Hostetter writes:
Only a physical structure of substantial proportions will stop the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens who now slip into the United States, unhindered, every year. The 12 to 20 million illegal aliens presently in the United States arrived in the same manner.
Actually, no. In fact, as many as 45 percent of those illegally in the U.S. are people who arrived legally but have overstayed their visas. A wall on the Mexican border, which Hostetter enthusiastically favors, would be ineffective at stopping visa violators.
In a July 3 FrontPageMag article, Ben Johnson writes: "I missed Chris Matthews' comments on the Scooter Libby pardon, but I'm told it sounded as if half his face were paralyzed." Johnson also asserts that Matthews "bellows for much of the Left, which wants to see a lynching."
In fact, Matthews was not hosting "Hardball" last night, though he did call in with his reaction to the Libby verdict, a fact Johnson doesn't mention -- and really, everyone sounds "as if half his face were paralyzed" over the phone. What Matthews said was hardly "bellowing" for a "lynching":
He was President Bush's political ally, so I certainly understand that he sympathizes with Scooter Libby and his family. The human aspects of this are totally understandable. And it may well be that Libby has suffered enough already and will suffer in the future... you could argue that the punishment has been exacted without Libby going to prison.
The misinformation in this country [that "that 40 percent still think that Iraq attacked us on 9/11"] remains after all these years -- because of the propaganda before we went to war. The results are still in effect. We’re still under a misunderstanding of the nature of why we went to war. That’s the tragedy here.
And the idea that Matthews "bellows for much of the Left" isn't true, either.
Additionally, Johnson references Plame's alleged "potentially perjurous testimony before Congress," linking to Byron York's May 25 article asserting that a recently released memo shows that Plame lied when she said that she didn't "recommend" or "suggest" her husband, Joseph Wilson, for a CIA misson to Niger to investigate whether Saddam Hussein's Iraq was trying to buy uranium. But as we've demonstrated, the memo actually backs up Plame's assertions; the idea for sending Wilson to Niger came from CIA officials, not Plame.
Finkelstein Still Thinks Libby Didn't Leak Topic: NewsBusters
In a July 3 NewsBusters post, Mark Finkelstein claimed that NBC's Lester Holt was "obfuscating an important fact" when he suggested that the prosecutor in the Valerie Plame outing investigation, who obtained a conviction against Scooter Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice, "never really got to the root of this case." Finkelstein responded: "The prosecutor never got to the root of the case? Sure he did. He knew all along that the leaker wasn't Libby, but Richard Armitage over at the State Department," further insisting that "the fundamental reason that Libby wasn't charged with leaking was that he was not the leaker."
In fact, Libby did leak Valerie Plame's name to at least two reporters. Finkelstein is making the absurd argument that because Armitage leaked Plame's name to Robert Novak, and Novak was the first to report it ahead of the reporters to whom Libby leaked, that Libby's leak somehow magically didn't happen.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
CNS on Peter Paul: Closer, But... Topic: CNSNews.com
A June 29 CNSNews.com 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.
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.)