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Thursday, July 26, 2007
We Get Results (And No Thanks)
Topic: Washington Examiner

Last week, we noted that Lorie Byrd, in her July 19 Washington Examiner column touting her new attack site Media Mythbusters, falsely claimed that the Associated Press "retracted" its so-called "Sunni burning six" story. We also wrote a letter to the Examiner, which was published Tuesday.

Today, the Examiner published the following correction and appended it to her online column:

A July 19 oped by Lorie Byrd (New Web site will keep track of questionable news stories) incorrectly reported that the Associated Press had retracted a story it ran in late November that six people had been burned to death during sectarian violence at a Sunni mosque in Iraq. Byrd also raised questions about the AP's source, police Capt. Jamil Hussein, saying that he could not be found and that his name was a pseudonym. In January, the Iraqi Interior Ministry, which initially denied Hussein's existence, confirmed that he was an Iraqi police officer and said he faced disciplinary action for speaking to the media.

Byrd herself issued a correction on the Media Mythbusters blog, but tried to fuzz it up a little: "Instead of saying they 'retracted' elements of the story, I should have said they revised elements of the story." Byrd then digresses into the "ongoing dispute" over the identity of Jamil Hussein.

As much as Byrd likes to tout those who contribute to Media Mythbusters' attacks, she makes no acknowledgment to us for pointing out she was wrong, which would be the honorable thing to do. This speaks to the partisan nature of the website -- that it will not praise anything the media does if it conflicts with Media Mythbusters' agenda, and it will admit errors only bregrudgingly and when it can't otherwise avoid doing so.

Still, when a website that claims "When in doubt, tell the truth" as a motto is forced to apologize for, uh, telling the truth, that's not exactly an auspicious sign.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:25 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 16, 2007 1:02 PM EDT
CNS Obscures Previous Sutton Testimony

A July 26 article by Fred Lucas plays up a refusal by U.S. attorney Johnny Sutton to testify before a House committee regarding the prosecution of two U.S. Border Patrol agents in the shooting of an unarmed illegal immigrant on the U.S.-Mexico border (we've noted previous slanted ConWeb coverage of this story). While Lucas notes in the first paragraph that Sutton was "scolded at a Senate hearing this month for his role in the controversial prosecution of two ex-border agents," he doesn't explicitly state that Sutton testified July 17 before the Senate Judiciary Committee, nor does he adequeately explain why the House committee wants his testimony when has already testified before the Senate (though it's hinted that the Republican House members pushing for Sutton's testimony have uncovered new evidence).

Lucas also ignores a statement by Sutton's office, as reported by the Associated Press, that Sutton does not comment on nonpublic matters while cases are pending. The Border Patrol case is currently being appealed.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:46 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 26, 2007 1:50 PM EDT
WND's Unruh, Folger Just Can't Stop Misleading
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A July 25 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh repeats the assertion by WND columnist and anti-gay group Faith2Action president Janet Folger that her renditions of "what so called 'hate crime' legislation has already done IN AMERICA" are "the facts." As we've previously demonstrated, Folger and Unruh leave out lots of facts in the cases they cite; thus, what they claim cannot be "the facts."

Unruh is more guilty than Folger because he is treating an activist's opinions as unassailable truth despite easily obtainable evidence that she's making misleading, if not false, claims -- a stance that has no business being in a purported "news" story. Does Unruh have no journalistic pride? Apparently not.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:22 AM EDT
Adamo Unleashes Fury on Cal Thomas

Somebody woke up on the wrong side of the rhetorical bed. A July 19 column by Christopher Adamo unleashed a surprising vitriolic attack on conservative columnist Cal Thomas. Why? We're not exactly sure.

Adamo started off by bashing Jimmy Carter as, among other things, "a deliberately malignant force striving to wreak horrendous harm on the country," a "naive imbecile" and a "degenerate." This somehow leads to Adamo claiming that Thomas is "headed down this same path" and "can now be counted upon, ostensibly in the name of offering a 'Christian' perspective, to advance the cause of the counterculture while insidiously undermining those on the right."

What did Thomas do that offended Adamo so? Again, we're not exactly sure; the only actual quote from the July 4 Thomas column Adamo attacks is the statement that "religion is not the exclusive property of conservative Christians." Adamo doesn't bother to directly quote anything else Thomas says, preferring to paraphrase -- and add his own interpretation -- instead.

The point of Thomas' column was that, upon a visit to his ancestral Indiana town, he realizes that Democrats are people too and he calls for people to be wary of politicians who rely on patriotism. That concept, apparently, was just too much for Adamo's brain to take:

Ostensibly presented as an uplifting piece focusing on American commonality set against an Independence Day backdrop, Thomas's narrative quickly deteriorates into an affront against traditional America, while attempting to elevate the political left. He begins by taking the kind of swipe at "talk radio" worthy of Harry Reid, Diane Feinstein or Nancy Pelosi.

Worse yet, he does so under a completely false pretense (itself a fitting tactic among liberals) by suggesting that the American heartland is some sort of sanctuary, free from the likes of Limbaugh and Hannity, as if the better part of the country is that which is shielded from them.

In truth, Middle America is the domain of talk radio, with its advocacy of American values and heritage, and rejection of those who would undermine such things.

Yet Thomas sinks further still, to eventually make a contextual comparison between the segment of America that embraces talk radio (apparently meaning the conservative grassroots) and Nazi chieftain Herman Goering. Pelosi and Reid should be proud.

In his not-so-subtle manner, Thomas thus disparages conservatism and its ties to the Christian faith which is present on the political scene as a result of true conservatives in the Republican Party. In contrast, the only politician he credits with speaking truth is Illinois Democrat and presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

Adamo does begrudgingly admit that Thomas' statement that "religion is not the exclusive property of conservative Christians" is "technically true," but Thomas' "suggestion that Republicans in general, or conservatives in particular, claim otherwise is itself a vile and patently false accusation." Adamo fails to mention that this is claimed by implication, when conservatives state that one can't be both a Christian and a Democrat.

Adamo then decides to reframe the issue to his liking:

What conservatives have continually said is that although many Republicans do not uphold conservative or Christian values, the Democrat Party is, on an official basis, openly and thoroughly hostile to such things.

It is ludicrous to suggest that a party, which embraces every element of the counterculture from sexual perversion to the slaughter of the unborn to a view of "spirituality" that lauds any and every religious concept with the sole exception of the Christian worldview, can somehow be considered a haven for devout Christians.

For Thomas to imply as much, even in as indirect of a manner as he does, is to aid and abet proponents of those ideologies in their efforts to undermine and destroy the Christian heritage of America.

Adamo ignores that Thomas has done exactly that, asserting that Hillary Clinton is "not a person who believes in the central tenets of Christianity." But never mind; Adamo was in full anti-liberal rant mode:

From "hate crimes" (thought control) legislation to "sensitivity training" to Madalyn Murray O'Hare's [sic] conversion of public schools into temples of secularism, America now suffers innumerable social plagues as a result of mandated and legislated immorality from liberals, aided and abetted by a church community that is increasingly indifferent and morally confused.

World War II Democrats would not have tolerated the treasonous denigration of America and lauding of the enemy from liberal partisans such as Harry Reid and Jack Murtha. The media did not spend its time working to minimize American victories while magnifying any errors or gains on the part of its enemies.

Now, both work tirelessly to dispirit American troops while legitimizing and thus inspiring Islamic terrorists. Patriotism has not changed, but the Democrat Party [sic] most assuredly has.

We hope Adamo got back to his meds in time.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:41 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 26, 2007 1:53 AM EDT
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Huston Misleads on Bush, Iraq
Topic: NewsBusters

A July 25 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston takes time that could better be used penning his apology to the Los Angeles Times to accuse the New York Daily News of "[f]ollowing the left's playbook of claiming Bush has illicitly linked Saddam's Iraq to 9/11." Huston then launches into a highly defensive explanation of why, when President Bush asserted that al-Qaeda in Iraq is part of the al-Qaeda "terrorist network" that attacked on 9/11, he wasn't linking Iraq to 9/11.

It should be no surprise that Huston leaves a few things out. First, when Huston stated that "there is no speech in which Bush claimed that Saddam was responsible for 9/11 ... This is a lie that the left has promulgated since Bush announced we were going into Iraq," he failed to note that other Bush administration officials and supporters have, in fact, made that claim.

Huston then writes: "What Bush really did was link al Qaeda, the al Qaeda that is in Iraq today, to the same network controlled by Osamma bin Ladden [sic], the very same bin Ladden that did take credit for perpetrating 9/11," adding, "What he did was say that the al Qaeda that planned 9/11 has a branch in Iraq and always has had one in Iraq." Nowhere does Huston note that the claim that al-Qaeda in Iraq is the same thing as, or is controlled by, Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda is highly disputed by Bush's own officials.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:37 PM EDT
NewsMax Won't Disclose Morris' Anti-Hillary Activism
Topic: Newsmax

We've already described how Dick Morris will not disclose in his columns attacking Hillary Clinton that he is actively working against her campaign (though he will disclose his work for other candidates while praising them).

This refusal extends to NewsMax. In a July 24 article reporting on Morris' latest attack on Hillary, there's no mention of the fact that Morris is an activist against Hillary's presidential campaign by cooperating with and promoting an upcoming anti-Hillary documentary -- even though NewsMax's on Ronald Kessler has reported on it.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:25 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2007 9:26 AM EDT
Speaking of Belated Apologies ...
Topic: NewsBusters

A July 24 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd takes Keith Olbermann to task for taking too long to apologtize for a segment that aired on "Countdown" while he was on vacation that criticized Wendy Vitter as committing a "ho-pas" for the dress wore during the news conference in which her husband, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), admitted to an affair with a prostitute.

So we know about NewsBusters' sensitivities. Will Shepherd, as NewsBusters managing editor, ask that Warner Todd Huston similarly apologize to the Los Angeles Times for falsely suggesting that its article tying Fred Thompson to lobbying efforts for an abortion-rights group was not true? After all, it's been nearly a week since the the Times' story was confirmed, and Huston has yet to ackowledge that fact.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:41 AM EDT
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Massie's Favorite (Non-Existent) Word
Topic: WorldNetDaily
In his July 24 WorldNetDaily column, Mychal Massie returns to his thesauric well once more and reprises the word "Erebusic" -- which we've already noted doesn't exist.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:57 PM EDT
'Democrat Debate' (Update)
Topic: NewsBusters

We already know about conservatives' general refusal to use the proper grammatical form of "Democratic," preferring incorrect constructs like "Democrat Party," as we've documented. Matthew Balan ratchets up this strange refusal a bit in a July 23 NewsBusters post, using terms like "Democrat presidential candidates," "Democrat debate" and "Democrat administrations."

Balan's post purported to count the number of "liberal" or "left-wing" questions vs. "conservative" questions asked at Monday's Democratic presidential debate (see, Matthew? It's not so hard to add those two little, grammatically correct letters!) But his catetorization of "left-wing" vs. "conservative" seems a bit arbitrary, apparently to pump up the number of "left-wing" questions. He listed a question asking "how Obama and Clinton address criticisms that they’re not 'black enough' or 'feminine enough' " as a "left-wing" question. We don't get it.

UPDATE: Brent Baker used Balan's post to claim in a July 24 MRC CyberAlert that "candidates were hit with questions from the left over the right by nearly a 3-to-1 margin." That's misleading, since Baker's tally covers only 23 questions tagged "left-wing" or "conservative" out of 39 questions asked. Baker has a bad habit of making misleading ratio claims about such tallies.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:26 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2007 4:02 PM EDT
Will Huston Apologize?
Topic: NewsBusters

We've previously noted a July 7 NewsBusters post in which Warner Todd Huston called a claim in a Los Angeles Times article that Fred Thompson worked as a lobbyist for a family-planning group in the early 1990s "hearsay" and "an unproven (and maybe unprovable) claim" (though the article cited "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 further derided the article as having "no real proof by anyone here" and "just a she-said/he-said claim." He concluded that the story was "nothing but claims made with no evidence to back them up so far," adding: "All in all, this is a very badly reported, partisan story that slams Fred Thompson instead of a fully investigated story, fairly presented, so that readers can make a more informed decision on whether to believe the claims made therein." 

Since then, more evidence to back up the aricle's claim about Thompson has surfaced: The New York Times reported on July 19 that billing records support the claim that Thompson did some lobbying work for an abortion-rights group.

Huston has yet to acknowledge the New York Times article (though he did take the time to assert on July 9 that parts of the LA Times article were "disappearing" from the website, though it turned out that the story had been replaced by the version that ran in the print due to an uncorroborated minor claim). Even though Huston's attack on the LA Times has proven to be discredited, there's no recognition of that fact by Huston or anyone else on NewsBusters.

Shouldn't Huston note this fact and acknowledge his error of his earlier rhetoric? We think he should. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2007 1:42 AM EDT
Monday, July 23, 2007
WND's Baehr Smears Obama
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In the middle of a July 23 WorldNetDaily rant against "homosexual propaganda" in the movies as exemplified by the new film "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry," Ted Baehr and Tom Snyder (no, not that one; this one's the editor of Baehr's Movieguide website) be felt the need to attack Barack Obama:

This week, the leading "progressive" candidate in the Democratic Party, Barack Obama, reiterated his support for teaching sex education to children in kindergarten. Since Obama, like the filmmakers behind "Chuck and Larry," also supports same-sex marriage, we assume this means that he wants to teach homosexuality to children as young as five.

In fact -- if Baehr and Snyder had bothered to look up what Obama actually said, rather than "assume" what he meant -- Obama emphasized that sex ed for kindergarteners would be "age appropriate" and be focused on inappropriate touching by strangers as a way to protect children from sexual predators (as we've previously pointed out).

Apparently, Baehr was too busy denouncing homosexuality as an "evil sin" to do any actual research for his column.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:51 PM EDT
Graham Misleads on Blogger Who Misleads
Topic: NewsBusters

A July 23 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham attacks the Washington Post for alelgedly calling an anti-immigrant blogger in Virginia a "mouse-pushing crackpot" in a profile of the man -- even though he admits that the article points out "that he can’t be dismissed as a crackpot if he’s actually shaping public policy" in the county where he lives.

But even that misstates what the Post article said: that the blogger, Greg Letiecq, "is not some mouse-pushing crackpot with a keyboard and an Internet connection. In the past 18 months, Letiecq has leveraged his blog to help elect allies, kill off opponents' campaigns and shape local public policy. Peers call his site the most influential local blog in Virginia." Yes, the article specifically said that Letiecq "is not some mouse-pushing crackpot."

Graham then goes on to defend Letiecq from the accusation that he claimed, in the Post's words, that "Illegal immigrant ice cream vendors might be spreading leprosy in Manassas" and that Letiecq's blog "often mak[e] up in passion what it lacks in proof." Graham wrote: "On the weird-sounding item on leprosy in your ice cream, the actual blog item doesn’t sound as weird as Miroff's freak-show carnival barking would suggest. "

In fact, the actual blog item -- headlined "You Want Leprosy With That?" and attacking food cart vendors as disease-ridden illegals -- is based on a recitation of claims made in a 2005 WorldNetDaily article taken about a Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons report by Madeleine Cosman attacking illegal immigrants. As we've reported, the JAPS is little more than a conservative publication gussied up with a medical spin, published by the equally conservative Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

Further, Letiecq unquestioningly repeats Cosman's claim that "in the past three years America has more than 7,000 cases of leprosy" -- a claim that has been proven false. Letiecq also links to a 2004 Rutherford Institute column by John Whitehead making the same claim.

So, Graham doesn't think it's "weird" to repeat false claims to support inflammatory accusations? Sheesh.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:39 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 23, 2007 1:43 PM EDT
At Last: CNS Applies 'Filibuster' to GOP

A July 20 article by Nathan Burchfiel finally breaks his previous aversion to the word and uses the term "filibuster" to describe the GOP's actions on a bill to mandate the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Good thing, too, since a July 23 CNS article once again, as it has before, mentioned the "filibustering" of some Bush judicial nominees.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:11 AM EDT
Sheppard's Swiftly Shifting Standards
Topic: NewsBusters

In a July 17 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard claimed to be concerned that Bill O'Reilly might be unfairly targeting Daily Kos as "one of the worst examples of hatred America has to offer" in O'Reilly's efforts to get JetBlue to disassociate itself from Daily Kos' annual convention by citing selected website entries:

Were these statements made by DKos diarists, or in the comments sections? There is indeed a difference that shouldn’t be ignored, or we are acting exactly like that which offends us.

If, on the other hand, such statements were representative of management’s views, O’Reilly should have made a stronger case to prove that. For instance, were the offensive comments made by Moulitsas or any of the major contributors? On the days the vitriol he cited occurred, what percentage of the comments did this hate-speech represent?

What should always be kept in mind concerning message boards at political websites is that a percentage of the commentary is likely going to be offensive to management and contributors. Without stepping on any toes, there are many comments made at NB message boards that I completely disagree with, and don’t condone in any way. I imagine the same happens at O’Reilly’s website, too.

As such, in the Internet Era, I think individuals and corporations must be careful in attaching too much relevance to what occurs at message boards unless it can be demonstrated that management either shares or condones such views. 

But Sheppard made no effort to investigate O'Reilly's claims to see if, in fact, they were by diarists or commenters. In fact, as Media Matters pointed out, all of the examples O'Reilly cited did indeed come from commenters, not diarists.

In a July 20 post, Sheppard praises O'Reilly for being "[d]epending on which side you believe ... extremely or moderately successful" in getting JetBlue to disassociate itself from Daily Kos. Nowhere does Sheppard mention that O'Reilly pulled his inflammatory Daily Kos statements from commenters, not diarists -- a behavior Sheppard purported to deplore just three days earlier. Instead, Sheppard joins in the attacking of Daily Kos:

However, it seems incontrovertible at this point that this is clearly a Democrat campaign website now. They do fundraisers, invite candidates to write diaries, hold conventions with said candidates, etc.

As such, Daily Kos clearly walks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck. With that in mind, it's time for Markos to grow up a little bit, and recognize that if he wants to play with the big boys, he's going to have to play by big boy rules.

Sheppard shouldn't have even bothered to write that July 17 post if he was going to immediately ignore the standards he set for himself in it.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:47 AM EDT
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Limbaugh's Disingenous Column
Topic: WorldNetDaily

David Limbaugh's July 20 column -- printed at WorldNetDaily and NewsMax -- was a disingenous attack on Chris Matthews.

Limbaugh started off by claiming that Matthews' appearance on "The Tonight Show" should be required viewing for "[t]hose who deny the overwhelming liberal bias of the mainstream media." Limbaugh conveniently forgets thatMatthews was a reliable basher of President Clinton. Limbaugh himself once praised Matthews as "usually fair to Republicans and intellectually honest."

Limbaugh then noted that Jay Leno stated that "God told him [Bush] that we should fight this war," adding, "Matthews said Bush needed 'a little humility.' Even Abraham Lincoln, Matthews said, didn't claim to have God on his side in the Civil War." Limbaugh responded: "While I can't prove a negative, I am confident Bush never said that God is on our side in this war – though it wouldn't bother me if he had – or that God directed him to attack Iraq." But he never quotes Bush directly on what he has actually said on the subject, only paraphrasing that "[h]e has said he continually prays for divine guidance and reads the Bible every day."

In fact, the UK Guardian reported:

George Bush has claimed he was on a mission from God when he launched the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a senior Palestinian politician in an interview to be broadcast by the BBC later this month.

Mr Bush revealed the extent of his religious fervour when he met a Palestinian delegation during the Israeli-Palestinian summit at the Egpytian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, four months after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

One of the delegates, Nabil Shaath, who was Palestinian foreign minister at the time, said: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I am driven with a mission from God'. God would tell me, 'George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did."

Mr Bush went on: "And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, 'Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East'. And, by God, I'm gonna do it."

While the White House has denied Shaath's account, Limbaugh should have noted that Leno and Matthews have a basis for making such a claim about Bush; instead, he attacks Matthews for "distorting the truth" by "unequivocally implying that Bush has claimed to get his marching orders directly from God and that that is scary – as if he's in some kind of spiritual trance."

Limbaugh quoted Matthews as saying, "I think we gotta be damn skeptical of this crowd, because on WMD, on the connection to 9/11, on the surge … on the torture, on every step of the way we've been given misinformation to the point now, we just did a poll, a fifth of the American people believe we found weapons of mass destruction when we got there. They're still indoctrinated. … How do we get all this misinformation? From the top, unfortunately. It's a sad thing." To respond, Limbaugh goes into full disingenousness mode:

  • "The administration never said Iraq attacked us on 9/11. It never said there was an operational relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida, just that there was a relationship, which there was. ... If two-fifths of the American people believe Iraq attacked us on 9/11, it isn't Bush's fault, because he never said that." Limbaugh narrowly defines his response, focusing only on Bush. In fact, Vice President Dick Cheney has tried to tie Iraq to al-Queda and 9/11.
  • "Only grassy-knoll nutcakes and anti-military types believe the 'brass' authorized systematic abuse of enemy combatant detainees." Limbaugh doesn't mention a 2002 memo by Justice Department lawyer John Yoo that pushed previous limits on "interrogation techniques" by narrowly defining what was torture. The Justice Department's advocacy of ways to seek ways to make such so-called "enhanced interrogation" permissible can very well be seen as coming from the "brass."
  • "And if one-fifth of the people believe we found new WMD stockpiles (we clearly did find old WMD), it isn't because Bush said so. Yet Matthews says this 'misinformation' came from 'the top,' meaning Bush. But he knows that Bush has never said we've found WMD there. Never. He's said quite the opposite. This one isn't even arguable." Limbaugh again draws his question narrowly, saying that because Bush never said, nobody said it. In fact, there's an important related issue: numerous war supporters -- and, thus, Bush supporters, have claimed that Saddam had WMD and that they were moved to Syria just before the war. While the Bush administration has denied this claim, shouldn't Limbaugh be taking his fellow conservatives to task for forwarding such misinformation that reflects badly on the Bush administration?

Matthews actually has a point, and rather than acknowledging that, Limbaugh merely attacked him by not telling his own readers the full truth.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:04 PM EDT

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