Yesterday's 'Wag the Dog' Is Today's 'Conspiracy Theory' Topic: NewsBusters
A July 11 NewsBusters post by Brad Wilmouth claimed that Keith Olbermann was voicing "his latest consipiracy theory" when he suggested that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's assertion that he has a "gut feeling" that terrorists are more likely to strike during the summer was designed to distract attention from stories embarrassing to the Bush administration.
As we've documented, the MRC was not averse to raising such "conspiracy theory" allegations -- but instead calling it "wag the dog" -- against President Clinton, a history Wilmouth fails to mention.
UPDATE: Wilmouth's post also made it into the July 11 CyberAlert.
If young Gore [Al Gore III] is found guilty of this third-on-his-record alleged lawbreaking, the driving at 100 miles an hour while using pot and transporting a small drug store must beg the question: Did Scooter Libby do anything as potentially dangerous to his fellow citizens as Al Gore the Third?
Given that Libby helped to out an undercover CIA agent who headed a counterproliferation operation focused on Iraq, and in doing so exposed a CIA front company, thus endangering the covers and possibly the lives of an untold number of CIA operatives, we suggest that the answer is yes.
NewsMax Flip-Flops -- Again -- on Huckabee Topic: Newsmax
Last week, we noted that a July 3 NewsMax article by Dave Eberhart critical of Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee as "anything but conservative," particularly on the subject of granting a pardon to a man, Wayne DuMond, who was later convicted of murder, contradicted NewsMax's 2002 defense of Huckabee on that charge.
Well, a July 10 article by Eberhart features an "exclusive NewsMax interview" with Huckabee. The article is a laudatory piece, portraying Huckabee as "the Republican candidate with the truest consistent conservative credentials" and focusing on his support for a tax on consumption to replace the income tax. While Eberhart allows Huckabee to respond to the critics in Eberhart's earlier article on tax issues, there's no mention of the DuMond case. That's surprising, since Eberhart specifically attacked Huckabee's "liberal policy of criminal pardons" on July 3.
So, do NewsMax and Eberhart love Huckabee or hate him? Make up your minds, guys.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 debunkedclaims 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.
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.