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Thursday, July 12, 2007
Shepherd Perpetuates Libby Leak Fallacy
Topic: NewsBusters

A July 12 NewsBusters post, Ken Shepherd asserted that the Associated Press, in an article mentioning the investigation of Scooter Libby and the leak of the identity of Valerie Plame as a CIA operative, "left COMPLETELY unmentioned" that "then-Undersecretary of State Richard Armitage, a critic of the Iraq war who reported directly to Colin Powell, NOT directly under Bush or Cheney in the White House, was the official who leaked Plame's CIA employment status. I mean, why let facts get in the way of a perfectly good managed storyline?"

That's a question we can put to Shepherd. Armitage was not "the leaker"; Libby did, in fact, leak Plame's CIA identity to at least two reporters. Shepherd, like fellow NewsBuster Mark 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. 

Posted by Terry K. at 6:04 PM EDT
NewsMax Tries to Cash In on Terror Threat
Topic: Newsmax

Following Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff's claim of a "gut feeling" that the United States faced an increased risk of attack this summer, NewsMax seizes on the statement to ... sell radios:

Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff is warning that he expects terror attacks on U.S. soil as early as this summer.
British and German intelligence sources have also warned a terror attack is imminent in the U.S. Recently, FBI Director Robert Mueller warned al-Qaeda is desperately seeking to acquire radioactive material to use here in the U.S.

Homeland Security advises every family and home to have an emergency radio, and one not dependent on home electricity. Please check out below our FREE offer for the Kaito Emergency Radio which includes a hand crank generator —  Go Here Now or read the information below.

Not only is that a bit crass, it ignores an inconvenient fact NewsMax itself reported: that the Bush administration has stated there was no specific, credible terrorism threat against the United States.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:03 AM EDT
New Article -- Out There, Exhibit 43: Dim Bulbs of Bias
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily, and Accuracy in Media all failed to tell the full story of the case they use to attack compact fluorescent light bulbs -- the truth of which would have undercut their attack. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:59 AM EDT
Will WND Retract Its Inaccurate Lesbian Gang Story?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A July 9 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh claimed that "Two news stories about hundreds of lesbian gangs attacking and raping young girls in schools and other public locations have prompted a backlash against the reporters by members of the homosexual community." But Unruh didn't report questions about the veracity of those claims, and has yet to report that some key claims have been retracted.

Unruh uncritically repeated the claim made by Rod Wheeler, "who has experience as a police detective," on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" of "a growing national concern over lesbians and some men 'recruiting kids as young as 10 years old in a lot of the schools in the communities all across the country.' Wheeler estimated the presence of 150 gangs, including lesbian gangs, in the Washington area alone."

In fact, that's not what Wheeler said; he made no distinction between gay and lesbian gangs when he said that "we've actually counted, just in the Washington D.C. area alone, that's Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, well over 150 of these crews." In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported that a gang specialist counts only one lesbian gang in the Washington area, adding:

Confronted by the Intelligence Report, Wheeler was unable, in several phone and E-mail exchanges over a two-day period, to specify a single law enforcement agency or officer, police report, media account or any other source he relied upon for his D.C. area lesbian gangs claim. But he insisted that his report was accurate and that any law enforcement officer who disagrees is "out of touch." "For some reason or other, these organizations don't lay it on the line because they don't know what is going on on the streets," said Wheeler. "This is a serious crisis and the so-called experts are missing it." 

Wheeler has since completely retracted the claim on his personal website, as well as another assertion, not repeated by Unruh, that "some of these groups carry pink pistols" (h/t Orcinus):

During the O’Reilly Factor segment on June 21st, while engaged in a discussion on Lesbian gangs, I inadvertently stated that gang members carry pistols that are painted pink and call themselves the "Pink Pistol Packing Group." I was not referring to the gay rights group "Pink Pistols" who advocates for the lawful rights of gays to carry weapons for protection. Further, I mentioned that there are "over 150 of these gangs" in the greater Washington DC area. What I actually meant is that there are over 150 gangs in the Washington DC area, some of which are in fact lesbian gangs. Lastly, I mentioned in the segment that there is this "national epidemic" of lesbian gangs. A better choice of words would have been to say that there is a growing concern nationally, and especially in major urban areas, of increased gang activity, which includes some lesbian gang activity.

I apologize for any misunderstanding this may have caused.

O'Reilly himself did something of a retraction of Wheeler's story, admitting he got "a little carried away with that."

Unruh also cited a report on the subject by a Memphis TV station. While he quoted a representative of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation as issuing a statement charging the reporting was "without … one solid statistic or credible source," he also asserted, without evidence, that the group "tried to suppress the Memphis report before it aired." Indeed, supporting the defamation group's claims, the SPLC described the Memphis report this way, something Unruh didn't tell his readers:

"Featuring dramatic "reenactments" of high school bathroom rape scenes shot in grainy black-and-white footage, the lengthy segment's vaguely salacious claims about local high school girls being raped and "sodomized" with "sex toys bought on the Internet" was based almost entirely on the lurid musings of a single Shelby County gang officer." 

Titled "Violent Femmes," the sweeps-week segment was so thinly sourced and grotesquely sensationalized that it's difficult to believe that any professional journalist found it to be credible. And it wasn't. Under intense pressure from local gay and lesbian activists, the affiliate's station manager finally admitted that WPTY-TV's reporters had neither independently verified the gang officer's overheated claims nor obtained any documentary evidence such as arrest records or written police reports to substantiate their tale. As the station grudgingly conceded, "Our investigation did not turn up widespread violence in schools due to this."

Unruh also featured the anti-gay group Americans for Truth calling the alleged suppression of the inaccurate, unverified Memphis TV story "Orwellian." And, like Unruh, Americans for Truth is silent about the story's unproven claims, instead asserting that " 'gay' pressure groups that are turning America’s newsrooms into homosexuality-promotion centers.

Will Unruh do a follow-up piece pointing out that the claims he reported are either wildly overblown or completely false and admitting his error in reporting unverified claims? We'd be shocked if he did.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:32 AM EDT
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
CNS Labeling Bias Watch
A July 11 article by Nathan Burchfiel perpetuates CNS' longtime depiction of the two sides of the gun debate as "Second Amendment supporters" and "anti-gun groups." Burchfiel offers no evidence that opponents of the issue at hand --  an amendment in a federal appropriations bill that restricts local law enforcement's ability to access federal gun trace data -- are "anti-gun," nor does he specifically explain how support for the amendment correlates to supporting the Second Amendment.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:35 PM EDT
Smear of the Day
Topic: NewsBusters

In a July 11 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham writes that the Democratic presidential debate to be held Aug. 9 on the gay-oriented cable network Logo is "a lot like the CNN/Sojourners magazine event designed to highlight the Democrats’ religious views – except this pander-to-the-libertine-left event ought to cancel out the impression that these candidates are devoted to their Bibles."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:43 PM EDT
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.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:25 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 11, 2007 7:57 PM EDT
Kinsolving Suggests Al Gore III Worse Than Libby
Topic: The Daily Les

In his July 10 WorldNetDaily column (and during the July 9 White House press briefing), Les Kinsolving asks:

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.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:38 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 11, 2007 1:45 AM EDT
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
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.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:35 PM EDT
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

A July 10 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

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