Huston Misleads on Thompson Claim Topic: NewsBusters
A July 7 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston called a claim that Fred Thompson worked as a lobbyist for a family-planning group in the early 1990s "hearsay" and "an unproven (and maybe unprovable) claim." Huston further asserts that there's "no real proof by anyone here. A casual reading easily makes the "evidence" against Thompson seem stronger than that in his favor... even though both are just a she-said/he-said claim."
In fact, the Los Angeles Times article that reported on the claim cites "the minutes of a 1991 board meeting of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Assn." as evidence and names five people as corroborating the claim.
Huston seems to have a funny definition of "unproven (and maybe unprovable)."
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch Topic: Media Research Center
TimesWatch's Clay Waters appeared on on the July 5 edition of Fox News' "The Big Story with John Gibson" to talk about Al Gore's Live Earth concerts (and spout the MRC corporate line). As with the majority of Media Research Center spokespersons' appearances on Fox News, Waters appeared solo, the MRC was not described as a conservative organization, and Gibson did not challenge what Waters had to say and mostly worked to reinforce his argument.
What WND Didn't Tell You About Ex-Gay Topic: WorldNetDaily
Ex-Gay Watch points to an interview by Warren Throckmorton with Michael Glatze, whose change from gay to "ex-gay" has been heavily promoted by WorldNetDaily this past week. The interview notes a couple things WND hasn't mentioned about Glatze.
First, Glatze was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka the Mormons. WND has promoted attacks on Mormons, such has evangelical Christian pastor Bill Keller's assertion that a vote for Mitt Romney, a Mormon, for president is a vote for Satan; Keller states that "is an unashamed and proud member of the Mormon cult founded by a murdering polygamist pedophile named Joseph Smith," and that Mormonism is "doctrinally and theologically in complete opposition to the Absolute Truth of God's Word." WND has also promoted the story of a Christian group allegedly hassled by police in Utah for trying to evangelize Mormons by handing out a video criticial of Mormonism and its founder Joseph Smith. A November 2006 WND column by evangelist Greg Laurie -- whose evangelical events WND haspromoted -- calls Mormonism a "cult."
Another poster on Ex-Gay Watch theorized that WND may have downplayed Glatze's Mormon conversion because it hates gays more than Mormons.
The Throckmorton interview also noted: "[Glatze] said he had not met Roy Masters, nor did he think of him as an influence. He didn’t recognize the name as associated with meditation although he said he had been involved in some Buddhist oriented meditative practices." Throckmorton doesn't explain the Masters connection further. As we've documented, WND has a long synergistic relationship with Masters and his operations, and WND's promotion of Glatze's story would appear to suggest that Glatze is involved with Masters at some level.
NewsMax's In-Kind Contribution to Lieberman Topic: Newsmax
Last August, we noted that NewsMax's Christopher Ruddy was "making a donation" to the re-election campaign of Sen. Joe Lieberman following his decision to run as an independent after losing the Democratic primary. My Left Nutmeg reports that Ruddy made good on his promise, donating more than $12,000 to Lieberman's campaign between August and October 2006. (My Left Nutmeg also noted that NewsMax co-owner Richard Mellon Scaife also donated to Lieberman, though his donation was later returned.)
And, as he had done previously with Mark Foley, Ruddy has enlisted NewsMax to provide an in-kind contribution to Lieberman. The new issue of NewsMax magazine features Lieberman on the cover plus an interview with Lieberman in which he bashes George Soros and suggests that he might switch to the Republicans "if the Democrats don't show some modicum of interest in going on the offense in fighting the global war on terror."
We haven't seen the magazine itself yet, but we have to wonder if Ruddy disclosed to his readers his financial contributions to Lieberman -- and if Ruddy will declare this in-kind contribution to Lieberman to the Federal Election Commission.
Aaron Klein Labeling Bias Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 6 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein uses the word "leftist" three times -- twice to describe Israeli politican Avraham Burg and once to describe the Labor party he belongs to.
As we've noted, Klein loves to hurl around descriptors like "leftist" and "liberal," but he has an aversion to using "rightist" or "conservative" do describe Israeli politicians or parties that are, in fact, rightist or conservative.
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.