AIM Perpetuates Libby Fallacy Topic: Accuracy in Media
A July 6 "special report" by Roger Aronoff asserted that Richard Armitage "was the real 'leaker' " in the Valerie Plame case. As we've detailed with others who have made thesameclaim, Libby did, in fact, leak Plame's CIA identity to at least two reporters. Aronoff 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.
Aronoff also alleged that there is "evidence that Plame may have lied under oath before Congress about her role in her husband’s trip" to Niger that "deserve[s] follow-up." But as we've detailed, that "evidence" is a memo that shows, in fact, that Plame did not "recommend" or "suggest" her husband, Joseph Wilson, for the mission in Niger, that it was CIA higher-ups' idea to send him, and that Plame was reluctant about the idea.
A Reading Assignment for Noel Sheppard Topic: NewsBusters
Has NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard ever heard of Media Matters? Apparently not, because he's written a few posts of late that make claims contradicted by my employer.
In a July 9 post, Sheppard singled out Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s "rant" during the Live Earth concerts asserting that conservative media figures such as John Stossel, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity are "lying to you, lying to the American public, and telling you that global warming doesn't exist." He claimed to highlight Kennedy's remarks as being "[f]or those whose gastrointestinal tracts couldn’t allow them to stomach the goings on during Saturday’s Live Earth concerts." A July 15 post called Kennedy's statements "absurd" (and professed to be "verklempt" that Stossel and conservative radio host Steve Malzberg would trash Kennedy for saying such a thing).
But if Sheppard had read Media Matters, he would know that Stossel, Hannity, Beck and Limbaugh have indeed made false, misleading, or just plain wacky claims about global warming (among many other issues).
In another July 15 post, Sheppard repeated a Rasmussen Reports poll that he claimed showed Americans "overwhelmingly believe" the media has a liberal bias. Well, maybe, if you think 40 percent is "overwhelming." He then went on to insult anyone who doesn't think otherwise, saying of the 25 percent who said that "ABC, CBS, and NBC deliver the news without any bias": "How’d you like to be part of that addle-minded minority?" In noting that 49 percent of liberals believe that network TV news has a conservative bias, Sheppard wrote: "Can you imagine the intellectual capacity of someone who believes that ABC, CBS, and NBC are conservatively biased? Must be the same people who think Michael Moore’s films are actually documentaries, and Al Gore is more qualified to make climate prognostications than accredited meteorologists and climatologists."
Of course, Media Matters has documented numerous instances of pro-conservative, anti-liberal tilt on CBS, NBC and ABC.
The question is, can Sheppard tear himself away from thinking up new insults for Al Gore long enough to do some actual research and check out that newfangled thing called Media Matters?
A July 13 NewsBusters post by Joe Steigerwald attacked a Washington Post aticle for noting that "Al Gore’s film has raised awareness of energy conservation," asserting that "While the article stumbles over itself bestowing platitudes on Al Gore’s “documentary,” it – of course – fails to mention that while Al was busy lecturing America about the evils of carbon emissions, his own house in Tennessee was using over 20 times more energy than the national average." Steigerwald added: "Of course people caught up in the hysteria of the green movement constantly 'forget' to include little things like that in their stories. Mentioning such a thing about their hero Albert is obviously off-limits."
What appears to be off-limits for Steigerwald (not to mention the rest of the NewsBusters crew, especially Gore Derangement Syndrome victim Noel Sheppard) is telling the full truth about Gore. Steigerwald "forgot" to mention that Gore paid above and beyond his normal electricity bill in order to buy energy from solar or other renewable energy sources. Nor does Steigerwald note that Gore had to battle local zoning laws to get solar panels installed.
Speaking the full truth about Gore at the MRC -- or even mentioning anything positive about Gore -- is obviously off-limits.
Media Matters catches NewsMax's Ronald Kessler pedding a falsehood (itself peddled by Bay Buchanan) about Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and 9/11 -- the same one he uncritically repeated in his June 18 profile of Buchanan and her Clinton-bashing book.
A lengthy July 13 FrontPageMag screed by John Perazzo against Media Matters (my employer) makes this claim: "Such assignments [to monitor conservatives in the media] are made possible by Media Matters' $8.5 million budget, which is, by way of comparison, more than ten times as large as the budget of a website like FrontPage." The Horowitz crew has made this comparison before; Jacob Laskin wrote in a 2005 article that Media Matters' $2 million in start-up money "was a sum larger than a ten year budget for a site like www.frontpagemag.com."
But that is a false comparison because FrontPageMag, as a opinion journal, is not the same thing as Media Matters, a media watchdog group. A much more logical comparison would be to the Media Research Center, which employs at least 60 and has income of at least $15 million.
(Plus, Perazzo's and Laskin's comparison of Media Matters only to FrontPageMag curiously glosses over the fact that FrontPageMag is a division of a much larger operation, the David Horowitz Freedom Center. They are silent on the subject of the Center's overall budget.)
Also, Perazzo notes the number of Media Matters staffers who have ties to the Democratic Party -- which involved little more than copying-and-pasting information posted on Media Matters' website. But since he refused to parallel Media Matters with the MRC for funding purposes, he thus ignores the number of MRC staffers with ties to the Repubican Party (a few of which we've noted).
Perazzo (and the Horowitz operation in general) is pretending that an operation like Media Matters doesn't exist on the conservative side, when in fact it has for 20 years.
A July 11 article, after recounting how "[k]ey Republican senators are now deserting President Bush on Iraq," a situation bhe blamed on re-election worries, Kessler absolves President Bush of any blame for his current political situation in Iraq, depicting as a result of "mounting American and Iraqi casualties, Iraqi ingratitude for America's support, the Iraqi government's lack of progress in achieving needed political goals, and the fact that Iraqis are senselessly killing each other." Kessler adds: "Americans lose sight of the Bush administration's greatest success: the fact that the U.S. has not been attacked in almost six years."
Meanwhile, NewsMax is hyping a report that "Al-Qaida is stepping up its efforts to sneak terror operatives into the United States and has acquired most of the capabilities it needs to strike here," a situation Kessler fails to address.
Another July 11 article describes the latest news on plans for the Bush presidential library, to which Kessler generously offers "[m]y suggestion for the library: A branch of Johnny's Barbecue, the Midland, Texas, establishment where Laura's father Harold drank coffee and smoked cigarettes with his friends almost every morning."
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.
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.
New Article -- Out There, Exhibit 43: Dim Bulbs of Bias Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily, CNSNews.com 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.
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.
CNS Labeling Bias Watch Topic: CNSNews.com
A July 11 CNSNews.com article by Nathan Burchfiel perpetuates CNS' longtimedepiction 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.
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."
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.