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Thursday, September 13, 2007
WND Matt Sanchez Silence Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has added a Sept. 13 article and column to the list of dispatches it has published by Iraq correspondent Matt Sanchez. WND has yet to tell its readers of Sanchez's gay-porn past nor how someone with such a history is allowed to work for WND despite Joseph Farah's declaration that someone with a similar history would not be employed by WND because "WorldNetDaily hires only serious and experienced journalists with the highest standards of ethics – both in their professional lives and their personal lives."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:35 AM EDT
NewsBusters Nonsense
Topic: NewsBusters

-- While Warner Todd Huston demands that Fred Thompson be judged on what he meant, not what he said, Mark Finkelstein declares Barack Obama "a not-ready-for-prime-time player" on what he thinks Obama said, not what he meant.

-- Brent Baker complains (in the CyberAlert, too) that Katie Couric spent more time covering the death of a parrot than covering wayward Hillary Clinton fundraiser Norman Hsu. But neither Couric nor Baker (nor anyone else at NewsBusters or the MRC, for that matter) have spent any time whatsoever covering wayward Mitt Romney fundraiser Alan Fabian.

-- Similarly, Dave Pierre complains that the LA Times devoted little coverage to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa after a commission "fined the mayor $5,200 for 30 campaign violations related to his 2003 run for a District council seat." See previous item.

-- Jason Aslinger bashes CBS' Andrew Cohen for criticizing the reduction in post-9/11 civil liberties because he "does not credit that policy for the prevention of further terrorist attacks" and for "complain[ing] about the claimed 'unconstitutionality' of Guantanomo Bay" while failing to cite "the deterrent effect of the facility." Aslinger offers no evidence to support his cause-effect assertions. Aslinger asserts that only "legal eggheads" care about such things, concluding: "The contrast in approaches could not be more distinct: the Bush Administration has taken clear, decisive, tangible action - while Cohen would convene a terror summit."

-- Noel Sheppard is surprised that a conservative columnist would write a column supporting the conservative postiion on global warming.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:58 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Bedtime for Noel
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Sept. 11 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard attacked editor Joan Walsh for backing up her claim that Katie Couric's CBS Evening News reports from Iraq were "softball" and a "puff piece drop in" (attacked by Sheppard in a previous post) by linking to a video from Sheppard asserted:

So, the editor of one of the leading ezines in the country is actually defending her position concerning Couric, Petraeus, and the war in Iraq by using a video created by an extreme leftwing organization like MoveOn the day after it published an ad in the New York Times so disgraceful that many Democrats came out against it.

... even though in the immediately preceding paragraph, he quoted Walsh calling the MoveOn ad "marred, in my opinion, by the right-baiting play on Petraeus as 'Betray us.' "

The title of Sheppard's post? "Is Salon’s Editor in Bed With MoveOn?"

Given that Sheppard is in bed with Marc Morano, he may not be the right person to be raising such issues of coziness. 

UPDATE: Walsh responds:

Newsbusters criticized Frank Rich for criticizing Couric (whom they used to hate until she did her Petraeus-eye view). Somehow male Couric critics and male MoveOn fans -- lefty blogosphere skeptic Matt Bai loves MoveOn -- aren't "in bed" with the group. Try to find some new ways to say I'm too nice to MoveOn, OK, Noel? My daughter's kind of alarmed. 

... and Sheppard responds right back:

As such, your apparent disagreement with "Betray Us" by no means mitigates your continued use of MoveOn to buttress your position. Though you might not like the breath emanating from the person snoring next to you, he still appears to be your bedmate ...

All that give-and-take, and we can't get Mr. Sheppard to acknowledge our existence (let alone correct all the mistakes and misleading assertions he's made.) And we know they know we exist, since they're stealing our ideas.

So, Noel, is Marc Morano's breath minty fresh? Do tell ...

Posted by Terry K. at 7:11 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2007 11:36 PM EDT
Topic: NewsBusters

Allow us to state for the record that the name of NewsBusters' new "comedy show" might be a little, er, fresher if we hadn't thought of it two years ago (and used it as recently as three months ago).

Not sayin', just sayin'...

Posted by Terry K. at 12:32 PM EDT
Massie Again Repeats Bogus Immigration Statistic
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've previously noted Mychal Massie's embrace of Rep. Steve King's claim that 25 Americans are killed by illegals every day, half of whom by murder and the others mostly by drunken driving -- a total of 9,000 a year -- despite the fact that a cursory examination shows that the number has no basis in reality. Massie peddles it once again in his Sept. 11 WorldNetDaily column attacking Rudy Giuliani for making the logical point that because illegal immigration is considered a civil offense, it isn't a crime by legal definition (as well as "Robert Pape and the professorial elite" for his claims about Islamic terrorism and Earl Ofari Hutchinson for -- well, we don't know why since Massie never explains):

Giuliani, Pape and Earl Ofari Hutchinson should try explaining to the remaining family members of 9/11 victims and the parents of the children murdered by illegals in Newark just how their positions make sense. Let them explain themselves to the remaining family members of approximately 9,000 Americans killed and murdered by illegals every year.

Apparently for Massie, the number is just too good to fact-check.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:44 AM EDT
Ronald Kessler's Mighty Wurlitzer
Topic: Newsmax

Aaron Klein is not the only ConWeb reporter with his own coterie of sources he can reliably count on to spout the (Republican) party line.

In a Sept. 10 article, NewsMax's Ronald Kessler marshals his Mighty Wurlitzer to denounce Robert Draper’s new book "Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush," for committing the sin of being critical of the Bush administration (for which Kessler is heavily in the tank). Kessler quotes a pair of his old faithfuls -- Andy Card and Brad Blakeman -- to nitpick the book and express "embarrassment" that the White House chose to cooperate with such an author. Blakeman, for his part, happily obliges:

"Draper looks disheveled on TV, and he is critical because the media expects it, and it sells books,” said Blakeman, who is president and CEO of Freedom’s Watch, a new conservative group. “They gave this guy access when he clearly was not qualified.”


“Any company or agency knows that you don’t reward people with access if they are ether incompetent or have a predisposition to trash you, yet this author was given access to the president.”

In fact, far from having "a predisposition to trash" the president, Draper has issued praise for Bush. In a Salon interview, Draper addressed the accusations of critics like Card, Blakeman and Kessler:

I did have a deal with the White House, and that is that I would write a fair-minded, nonjudgmental literary narrative of Bush's presidency, and I think I've delivered that. I do think that the writer of that piece, Richard Wolffe, whom I know and admire, is right that the book has thrown the White House off message when Bush is trying to turn the page on a lot of things. That's not my book's intention. Its intention is to be a lasting book, and I told the president that when I was making my pitch to him -- a book that was not just for and about the news cycle.

Draper went on to offer an honest assessment of the president:

And it's amazing to me that people refuse to acknowledge that he has any gifts at all. But those who are in a room can feel it. And among them is that Bush has a very pungent personality. He has these scruffy charms about him. He doesn't really put on airs. The guy you see is the guy he is, pretty much. Sure, he has a variety of shortcomings, and they've hamstrung his presidency in a variety of ways. But one thing that became meaningful to me in doing that book is that I interviewed people who have been working for Bush over the years -- they love this guy. I don't just mean that they admire him. I don't just mean they are in awe of him. I mean they really love him and would take a bullet for him. I've spent a lot of time now with a lot of elected officials and the people who work for them, and you can't always say that about them.

But beyond the fact that Bush is charming and there's this incredible loyalty that is cultivated between him and his subordinates, he has a surprising intellect. A guy who reads Cormac McCarthy isn't a dummy. And a guy who can listen to an economist talk about a tax scheme and just eviscerate the guy because he doesn't seem to really understand what he is talking about and there's a loose thread in his argument cannot be intellectually lazy. I think that what's difficult to reconcile is this man's brightness with his capacity for incuriosity.

What's wrong with this as far as Kessler, et al, are concerned? Draper appears to care about the truth, whereas they only want hagiography.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:24 AM EDT
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has been hyping a purported break-in at the house of Kathleen Willey (who just happens to have a book coming out), purportedly by the Clintons (and, of course, failing to mention Willey's utter lack of credibility on such matters). WND followed that up with a break-in claim by Clinton-basher David Schippers.

These purported, loosely documented incidents have prompted WND's Joseph Farah to go into Clinton-paranoia mode. In his Sept. 11 column, Farah asserts:

I lived through the Clintons in the 1990s and survived with the scars to prove it.

Yes, my offices were repeatedly burglarized during those years. (They never were before or since!) What was taken? Nothing. Even my post office box was broken into once. Imagine someone breaking into a post office to steal mail from only one box! And, of course, I was one of many who faced the wrath of the Clintons' political audits – one of many. Those were the bad, old Clinton years.

I am not eager to return to those days.

Of course, Farah offers no evidence to support the break-in claim.

Farah also runs to Willey's defense, claiming she has suffered from "unfair characterization" but not mentioning the facts behind her lack of credibility. 

Looks like Farah is firing up WND to act as a Clinton-hating 2.0 machine, just like NewsMax -- or perhaps even worse, given NewsMax's recent efforts to appear more mainstream.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:49 AM EDT
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Kessler Cites Discredited Writer
Topic: Newsmax

A Sept. 10 NewsMax column by Ronald Kessler promoting John Podhoretz's new book "World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism," states the following:

The outcome of World War IV is still in doubt — not because we don’t have the capability to defeat terrorists but because our effort is being undermined by our own people and the "defeat industry," as writer Amir Taheri has put it.

Taheri, you will recall, was the man behind the claim that the Iranian parliament passed a law that would require the country's Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims. Taheri's claim was heavily promoted by conservatives -- until it was proven to be false.

Taheri's lack of credibility, though, hasn't stopped conservatives like Kessler from approvingly citing him.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:20 PM EDT
Kinsolving's Continuing Problem With the Facts
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Why can't Les Kinsolving get basic facts straight?

During the Sept. 10 White House press briefing, Kinsolving centered a question around Media Matters (my employer,) calling it "financially supported by George Soros." But as Media Matters has pointed out, Soros has never given money to Media Matters, either directly or through another organization.

Of course, Kinsolving still thinks that Bill Clinton was "indicted, tried and found guilty of both perjury and obstruction of justice," so he's clearly unemcumbered by the truth.

Kinsolving also rattled off a list of right-wing radio hosts who Media Matters has "denounced." Among them was a name transcribed by the White House as "Forts," presumably Neal Boortz. But in the Sept. 11 WND article featuring Kinsolving's questions, "Forts" remains. That shows you the level of editorial scrutiny at WND, on top of Kinsolving's own.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:59 PM EDT
Waters Misleads on Kerry's Military Service
Topic: Media Research Center

In a Sept. 10 TimesWatch item and NewsBusters post, Clay Waters defended Rudy Giuliani from a New York Times article suggesting that he was exploiting his role after 9/11 for political purposes: "But where were these complaints about 'exploitation' when Democrat John Kerry milked his three months in Vietnam for all it was worth -- a period far less relevant to the electorate than Giuliani's 9-11 leadership?"

In fact, Kerry did two tours of duty during the Vietnam War, totaling 15 months, seven months of which were spent in the Vietnam theatre. Waters was apparently counting only the second, three-month tour in which he commanded a swift boat.

UPDATE: Waters' post also appeared in the Sept. 11 MRC CyberAlert. Call it a trifecta of falsehoods!

Posted by Terry K. at 2:25 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2007 4:29 PM EDT
Meet Your GOP 'Values Voter' Debate Organizer, Moderator
Topic: WorldNetDaily

So WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah has been selected to be moderator for a Sept. 17 "Values Voter" Republican presidential debate, as a Sept. 3 WND article announced. Even though Farah is, for all intents and purposes, a conservative, and the list of "America's leaders" that will supply questions -- Paul Weyrich, Phyllis Schlafly, Don Wildmon, Judge Roy Moore, Rick Scarborough, and Mat Staver (listed as being with "Liberty Council") -- are conservative, and the "Values Voters' Contract with Congress" forwarded by debate promoters is unapolegically conservative, the word "conservative" appears nowhere in the WND article announcing Farah's participation.

The article forwards the usual self-promotional blather about Farah, the . What's missing is Farah's real journalistic record:

  • The circulation at the Sacramento Union, which Farah edited and tried to drag in a more conservative direction for 15 months in the early 1990s, plunged nearly 30 percent during that time, helping to hasten the paper's demise as a daily newspaper. 
  • The organization he founded after leaving the Union, the Western Journalism Center, accepted $330,000 from foundations controlled by Richard Mellon Scaife. WND was originally created as a division of the Western Journallism Center.
  • As a reporter, Farah has demonstrated a willingness to lie to advance his (conservative) political agenda and has plagiarized the work of others. 
  • WorldNetDaily routinely violates journalistic ethics standards by not disclosing personal and business interests in the subjects it covers. 

The "Values Voter" folks must be proud. Then again, the debate organizer is Faith2Action's Janet Folger, who has her own checkered record on telling the truth. As we've documented, Folger has repeatedly misled readers about incidents in order to promote her anti-gay agenda, and has even invoked the "research" of a neo-Nazi racist.

These are the values of the people behind the "Values Voter" debate. Are conservatives really comfortable with that?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:17 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2007 1:25 AM EDT
Monday, September 10, 2007
Another Huston Double Standard
Topic: NewsBusters

Warner Todd Huston has emerged as NewsBusters' chief defender of Fred Thompson (as we've noted). He does so again in a Sept. 10 post bashing the media's coverage of Thompson's reference to an "al Qaeda enforced smoking ban in Iraq" without investigating "what Thompson meant, or could have meant." Huston insisted that it was "just another attempt to destroy Thompson. ... Even Ron Paul is treated with more respect by the media."

Of course, Huston didn't give the same deference to John Kerry when he similarly mangled a statement. After Kerry said that if you don't successfully navigate the educational system, "you get stuck in Iraq" -- meant as criticism of President Bush that he later described as a "botched joke" -- Huston immediately declared: "Obviously, Kerry feels that all our soldiers are uneducated louts with no other opportunities." No effort made to find out "what he meant, or could have meant."

Double standard, anyone? Huston has a lot of them where Thompson is concerned. We've previously noted how Huston refused to ascribed a Thompson campaign official's reportedly anti-Israel views to Thompson himself, though his NewsBusters colleagues couldn't hang controversial statements made by bloggers hired by John Edwards' campaign around Edwards' neck fast enough.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:23 PM EDT
Meanwhile ...
Topic: WorldNetDaily

David Neiwert reminds us of the Sept. 4 Salon article by Alex Koppelman on the conservative campaign to portray two Border Patrol agents convicted of firing on an unarmed man and then trying to cover up the crime as heroes. Among those examined are Jerome Corsi's reports on the case for WorldNetDaily (we've previously detailed WND's interest in playing along with the exoneration campaign):

Corsi's most important contribution to the reworked conservative version of the Ramos and Compean case is to attempt to absolve the agents of a coverup. In reality, the incident was only discovered, and the agents prosecuted, because Border Patrol Agent Rene Sanchez, hundreds of miles away in Arizona, heard about it through his mother-in-law. In Corsi's version, however, Ramos and Compean's supervisors knew about the shooting as soon as it happened. Corsi relies on an early, ambiguous memo written by the Department of Homeland Security officer who investigated the shooting; the memo lists the agents' two supervisors among the Border Patrol personnel who were either at the location, helped destroy evidence, "and/or knew/heard about the shooting." The memo apparently refers to the known fact that the supervisors were at the scene of the shooting after it occurred but were not aware that it had occurred. At trial, the defense never tried to claim that the supervisors were present during the shooting, the investigator didn't testify that the supervisors were present at the shooting or had knowledge of it, and the supervisors took the stand themselves to insist they'd had no knowledge of the shooting till after Ramos and Compean were arrested. Compean himself admitted at one internal Border Patrol disciplinary hearing that he didn't report the shooting to his bosses because he didn't want to get in trouble.

Corsi is implying that the supervisors perjured themselves at trial. Contacted by Salon, Corsi stood by his scenario.

Any chance Corsi will come forward to address this criticism of his reporting and explain why he thinks the agents' supervisors perjured themselves? We somehow doubt it (though he has defended his reporting in the past after we raised questions). 

Posted by Terry K. at 2:47 PM EDT
Jews Acting Like Nazis, Farah Says
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Richard Bartholomew, at Talk to Action, notes that WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah, in his Sept. 10 column, is linking Israeli leaders Ehud Olmert and Shimon Peres to the Nazis by stating they have a "Final Solution" to the dispute over the Temple Mount. By insisting on the actual construction of a Jewish synagogue on the Temple Mount -- currently the site of the Dome of the Rock mosque -- Farah also gets his religious history just plain wrong, Bartholomew says:

Farah goes on to argue that the only reason the Third Temple has not been built is because of Israel's "political elite". This is in fact a gross distortion of Jewish religious tradition; possibly Farah, who affects to write "G-d" rather than "God", is simply ignorant, but he also has a motive to spread disinformation: his readership consists largely of fundamentalist Christians, and stories involving the Temple Mount can always be relied on to whip up Christian apocalyptic fervour. 


This is actually a repudiation of mainstream religious Jewish thought, which has long argued that the building of the Temple will be an eschatological event undertaken by the Messiah. 


Of course Olmert and Peres "fear" Jewish religious fanatics taking over the area, for two rather obvious reasons - firstly, it would cause considerable international strife, and secondly, it would pitch Israel towards an ultra-orthodox theocracy. Neither problem bothers Farah, though, because Christian Zionists like him don't give a damn about actual Jewish lives. Further conflict in the Middle East is inevitable, not just because Muslims are evil to the core, but because God, acting like some kind of puppet-master, has future wars planned out in advance. And Israel ought to be theocratic because Jews should fit the sentimental stereotype of Christian Zionist fantasy. 

Bartholomew also notes that WND reporter Aaron Klein performs yet another bit of whitewashing of a right-wing extremist Jew. He describes Rabbi Chaim Richman only as "director of Israel's Temple Institute" without also stating that Richman is also involved with the "Sanhedrin", a Kahanist theocratic organization founded in 2005 (and about which WND and WND columnist Hal Lindsey has favorably reported in the past).

Bartholomew concludes:

And let me make "a little prediction" of my own. I lived in Jerusalem in 1993-94, and I remember seeing dozens of right-wing fly-posters showing Yitchak Rabin's head placed above a Nazi uniform. The consequence, of course, was that Rabin ended up being murdered by an Israeli fanatic. Should the same fate befall Olmert or Peres in revenge for their plans for a "final solution" and links to "Islamo-fascists" and "those who would finish the work of Adolph Hitler", I predict that Farah and Klein will follow the example of a certain non-Jewish Biblical figure, and wash their hands of responsibility. 

Posted by Terry K. at 10:17 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 10, 2007 10:19 AM EDT
CNS Ignores Full Story on Global Warming Research

A Sept. 6 article by Kevin Mooney featuring global warming denier (and employer of former CNS writer Marc Morano) Sen. James Inhofe's praise of Fred Thompson's views on the subject. As evidence that "numerous peer-reviewed studies released in recent months show that natural variability, as opposed to human carbon dioxide (Co2) emissions, are primarily responsible for altering the earth's climate," Mooney linked to a blog post by Morano that cited, among others, a study by Charles D. Camp and Ka Kit Tung that, according to Morano, "is the first to document a statistically significant globally coherent temperature response to the solar cycle." But Morano (and, thus, Mooney) failed to note that, rather than disprove global warming and though, according to a New Scientist article, "[c]limate-change skeptics may seize on the findings as evidence that the sun's variability can explain global warming," Tung says his findings provide important real-world evidence that climate model predictions of global warming are correct. (As we've detailed, Fox News' Brit Hume and NewsBusters' Brent Baker has reliably regurgitated Morano's propaganda.)

Mooney also cites the work of researcher Habibullo Abdussamatov that "the current warming cycle on earth also affects neighboring planets, such as Mars" to assert that "[t]his view is gaining currency among other climate scientists who now dismiss man-made global warming theories." But a National Geographic article pointed out the flaws in Abdussamatov's theory: "Perhaps the biggest stumbling block in Abdussamatov's theory is his dismissal of the greenhouse effect, in which atmospheric gases such as carbon dioxide help keep heat trapped near the planet's surface." Oops! (NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard has similarly misrepresented Abdussamatov's research.)

If CNS is not telling all sides of global warming research, it's not living up to its purported mission to "to fairly present all legitimate sides of a story." 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:37 AM EDT

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