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Tuesday, July 10, 2007
David Limbaugh Perpetuates Libby Leak Fallacy
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Add David Limbaugh, in a column at WorldNetDaily and NewsMax, to the list of conservatives peddling a fallacy about the Scooter Libby case: that "Richard Armitage, not Libby, was the leaker."

As we've previously pointed out, Libby did leak Valerie Plame's name to at least two reporters. Limbaugh 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. 


Posted by Terry K. at 1:35 PM EDT
Klein Features Jumblatt, Ignores His Background
Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 9 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein touts claims made by Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt. As we've detailed, Klein and Jumblatt have a fairly cozy relationship -- Jumblatt issued a statement in support of Klein when he had been denied entry into Syria -- and Klein does not mention Jumblatt's support of Hezbollah and history of anti-American, anti-Semitic rhetoric, let alone explain why a person with a history of flip-flopping views is a credible source.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:27 AM EDT
CNS Ignores Pollsters' GOP Ties
Topic: CNSNews.com

A July 10 CNSNews.com article by Kevin Mooney details a study claiming that "Younger voters, especially women, are embracing a pro-life position in surprising numbers and in sharp contrast to attitudes that held sway 15 years ago." But Mooney didn't mention that the "public consulting firm" responsible for the study, Overbrook Research, does much of its consulting work for Republicans.

The study includes bios of its authors, Christopher Blunt and Fred Steeper. It says of Blunt: "His analysis has helped shaped Republican campaign strategies nationally and in many individual states, including Missouri. In the most recent election cycle, his analysis played an integral role in the RNC’s microtargeting efforts in dozens of campaigns." It says of Steeper: "Mr. Steeper has had significant public opinion research roles in nine GOP presidential races spanning more than 30 years. He was one of two principal polling and focus group consultants to the George W. Bush 2000 presidential campaign and conducted special research projects for the 2004 campaign. In addition, Mr. Steeper was the senior polling consultant for the George Bush 1988 and 1992 presidential campaigns."

Overbrook Research also lists the Republican National Committee as among its list of clients,  and that "Overbrook Research services also used on behalf of" groups such as Ohioans for Ken Blackwell, Bush-Cheney 2004, and Missourians for Kit Bond -- all Republicans.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:04 AM EDT
Is Bozell Really Ignorant of Coulter's Violent Threats?
Topic: Media Research Center

Is Brent Bozell really as clueless as he appears to be about Ann Coulter's more violent statements?

He certainly appeared to be in a July 9 appearance on "Hannity & Colmes." Bozell attacked a blogger who allegedly called for the death of Rush Limbaugh and Ted Nugent (though, in fact, not until "WHEN they manage to inevitably push their litany of hatespeak into actual bloodletting, and full-blown civil war"), claiming this threat was ignored while Ann Coulter's threats against John Edwards were highly publicized and, in Bozell's words, "vilely taken out of context," despite the fact that there's a big difference between a blogger nobody had heard of until this incident and a million-selling author who appears regularly on TV.

When Alan Colmes (who noted the predicate before the blogger's threat) pointed out that Coulter is on record as stating that the only question about Bill Clinton was "whether to impeach or assassinate," Bozell responded: "I have never heard her say that." That's true only a narrowly technical sense; Coulter didn't speak those words but wrote them in her 1998 book "High Crimes and Misdemeanors."

Colmes also pointed out to Bozell that Coulter got the words of Bill Maher wrong and that Coulter was using Maher as a justification for her statement that rather than referring to John Edwards as a "faggot" in the future, "I'll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot." Bozell tried to quibble, demanding, "Give me the quote, Alan," which Colmes did. Bozell then retorted: "But you haven't read the whole quote. I don't have it in front of me, but the whole quote said a lot more than that, and you know it."

If Bozell is that whiny and defensive against Alan Colmes, we can see why he won't appear on TV against most liberals (as we've noted). And his purported ignorance of Coulter's more controversial statements doesn't exactly ring true.

UPDATE: Sean Hannity claimed he "never heard" of Coulter's remark, either, despite the fact that he discussed it on "Hannity & Colmes" a year ago.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:43 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 10, 2007 5:35 PM EDT
Monday, July 9, 2007
Gore Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

In a July 9 NewsBusters post, Gore Derangement Syndrome sufferer Noel Sheppard declared that Al Gore's Live Earth concerts "appear to have failed miserably," asserted that those who believe Gore on the subject of global warming are "sycophants," and took yet another snipe at Gore: "Hmmm. Al Gore failing to motivate large percentages of people. Shouldn’t be a surprise outside of blue American states, correct?"

Sheppard then went on to suggest, as he has before, that Gore is only doing this for the money, claiming that "those at the helm are making a huge amount of money off of this issue," asserting that "the ringleader and Global Warmingist-in-Chief is identified to have made up to $100 million in the past seven years, and stands to make significantly more if this issue stays in the limelight" and asking, "Just how much are regular folks who are scraping to make ends meet, save for their kids’ college costs and their own retirement willing to sacrifice so that Al Gore can become a billionaire?" And again, as he has done before, Sheppard offers no actual evidence that Gore is motivated only by the money.

Sheppard has a nice, cushy slot at the MRC where he gets to smear Gore, for which he presumably is well compensated. By his own logic, isn't he, like Gore, doing it just for the Benjamins?


Posted by Terry K. at 2:40 PM EDT
AIM Parrots Misleading Fluorescent Bulb Scare Tactics
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A July 5 Accuracy in Media "special report" by Cliff Kincaid and Andy Selepak puts a protectionist twist on scary claims about compact fluorescent light bulbs, claiming that CFL proponents "fail to mention that the bulbs are made in communist China and are potentially hazardous to human health," further attacking General Electric for manufacturing CFLs "in Red China at the expense of American jobs and workers." Suddenly AIM is concerned about American jobs moving overseas?

Kincaid and Selepak went on to claim: "The Washington Times reported on May 3, 2007, that it cost one Maine family $2,004.28 to clean up the toxic mess from just one broken CFL, and that it would 'take 16,667 cubic meters of soil to 'safely' contain all the mercury in a single CFL.' " In fact, the Times article was not a news article but, rather, a column (reproduced at the Fox News website) by conservative activist Steven Milloy that was an attack on CFLs, not the balanced "news" article Kincaid and Selepak suggest it is. Milloy has a habit of spouting debunked claims in order to attack global warming and nuclear radiation concerns.

In repeating the anecdote about the Maine family purportedly facing spending "$2,004.28 to clean up the toxic mess from just one broken CFL," Milloy -- and, thus, Kincaid and Selepak -- fails to tell the whole story. As we documented when WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah peddled similar distortions, the Maine family does not need to spend $2,000 to clean up the spill and, in fact, could easily clean up the broken bulb by hand and open the windows in the room so that mercury vapors could dissipate.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:03 PM EDT
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)."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:32 AM EDT
Sunday, July 8, 2007
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.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:03 AM EDT
Saturday, July 7, 2007
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 has promoted -- 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.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:44 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, July 7, 2007 9:45 AM EDT
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.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:58 AM EDT
Friday, July 6, 2007
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.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:00 PM EDT
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.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:51 PM EDT
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. 


Posted by Terry K. at 12:12 AM EDT
Thursday, July 5, 2007
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.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:36 PM EDT
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.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:46 PM EDT

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