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Friday, September 21, 2007
CNS Ignores Boxer Amendment, Attacks Hillary

A Sept. 21 article by Susan Jones described Sen. Hillary Clinton as "among the 25 liberal senators voting no" on an amendment by Republican Rep. John Cornyn denouncing's ad criticizing Gen. David Petraeus. Jones went on to speculate that Clinton "may be trying to mollify the group that has criticized for her cautious, 'centrist' stance on the Iraq war."

Nowhere in the article does Jones mention another amendment brought before the Senate, by Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer. That amendment cited not just the MoveOn ad but also Repubican attacks on Democratic Sens. John Kerry and Max Cleland to condemn condemning "all attacks on the honor, integrity, and patriotism of any individual who is serving or has served honorably" in the military. Since she did not mention the amendment itself, Jones also did not mention that Clinton joined 50 senators in voting in favor of it, and that nearly all Republicans voted against it. (Because of the way votes on Iraq-related amendments are set up, it would have required 60 votes to pass.)

Jones also serves up her own interpretation of Clinton's vote on the Cornyn amendment: "In other words, she refused to support Gen. Petraeus or condemn the personal attacks on him." In fact, with her vote on the Boxer amendment, she did exactly what Jones demanded she do. But since Jones has apparently decided that the Boxer amendment doesn't exist -- or that the Republicans' votes against it can be similarly interpreted as a refusal "to support Gen. Petraeus or condemn the personal attacks on him" -- Jones' attacks on Clinton stand unchallenged.

Further, Jones reported that House Minority Leader John Boehner "insisted that House members from both parties 'deserve the opportunity to express their support for General Petraeus and to condemn the despicable attacks launched against this honorable man by a radical left-wing poltiical organization." But she did not report that earlier this year, referring to a Democratic-backed nonbinding resolution opposing President Bush's troop increase in Iraq, Boehner declared that a "nonbinding resolution is nothing more than political theater."

Posted by Terry K. at 5:07 PM EDT
NewsBuster: La Raza 'Analogous' to KKK (Update)
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Sept. 21 NewsBusters post on the National Council of La Raza's criticism of a Kansas City parks board member who has expressed her support of the anti-immigration group the Minutemen, Richard Newcomb called La Raza "an organization analogous to the Ku Klux Klan in that it promotes the advancement of one race over another."

Unless Newcomb has some evidence that La Raza has been lynching white people, his analogy is a tad off. Indeed, given the number of racists and neo-Nazis who support the Minutemen, Newcomb may in fact be describing the wrong organization as "analogous to the Ku Klux Klan."

Newcomb also objected to a news article's description of the Minutemen as advocating "vigilante patrolling of the Mexican border," though he offers no response other than calling the Minutemen "an organization set up to assist in enforcing U.S. law." In fact, Minutemen members have engaged in vigiliantism.

UPDATE: The post has been edited to remove the reference to the KKK, though the copy of the post at Newcomb's personal blog retains it. But the post still begins by asking, "Can the Associated Press distinguish between racial supremacy groups and civil rights groups?" suggesting that La Raza is the former (and, thus, analogous to the KKK).

UPDATE 2: Here's a screen shot of Newcomb's original La Raza-smearing statement at NewsBusters.

UPDATE 3: It's worth noting that NewsBusters has not alerted its readers to the fact that the post has been substantively edited from its original posting. 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:22 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, September 22, 2007 10:06 AM EDT
CNS Labeling Bias Watch

Another sign that may be regressing to a more biased view of journalism: A Sept. 20 article by Matt Purple repeatedly invokes the term "pro-abortion" to describe Sen. John Kerry and others that the rest of the world more accurately describes as "pro-choice."

Then again, as we've detailed, CNS has regularly used "pro-abortion" and "pro-life."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:12 AM EDT
Will CNS Return To Its Old, Slanted Ways?

We suspect that one impetus for the Media Research Center to hire Human Events' Terry Jeffrey as editor is his TV talking-head experience, which can be leveraged to promote the website. And lo and behold, Jeffrey pops up on the Sept. 19 edition of CNN's "The Situation Room."

And lest anyone think that Jeffrey's arrival means a continuation of the moderation and we'd previously noted occuring under interim editor Patrick Goodenough (now returned to the international desk), don't count on it -- as we've detailed, his record doesn't show evidence of such a thing. In his "Situation Room" appearance, Jeffrey sounded all the movement-conservative notes, criticizing Rudy Giuliani, defending Dick Cheney, and promoting the Bush administration's economic policy (except for the parts, like the Medicare prescription benefit, that "disappointed conservatives like me").

And CNS' new "On the Spot" video is apparently going to be all about trying to corner Democratic politicians on misleading claims. A group of videos posted Sept. 20 feature reporter Nathan Burchfiel buttonholing Democratic congressman on the cherry-picked claim that "violence has been down in the [Iraq] region in the past three months as a result of the troop surge" in ad hoc interviews on what appears to be the little subway system that runs between the Capitol and congressional office buildings.

Such interviews appear to be more about trying to corner the congressmen into making an embarassing off-message statement than eliciting actual useful information from them. That appears to be the one thing CNS learned from George Allen's "macaca" debacle -- its attempt to use Jim Webb's fiction against him, in conjunction with Allen's campaign, came off as the desperate move it was.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:00 AM EDT
Thursday, September 20, 2007
NewsBusters Runs to Defense of 'Jena Six' Victim
Topic: NewsBusters

A Sept. 20 NewsBusters post by Matthew Balan claims that CNN and USA Today's coverage of the racially charged "Jena Six" controversy -- which culminated in the charging of a group of black teenagers in the beating of a white student -- is "burying mention of the teenager who was beaten by the six high school students, or not mentioning him at all." But Balan omitted a notable fact about the beaten student.

Balan claimed that a article "didn’t mention Justin Barker until the twenty-second paragraph of the story"; he then excerpted the section of the article that described how the teens allegedly "knocked out Justin Barker -- a white classmate -- while stomping and kicking him during a school fight," adding, "Barker was taken to a hospital with injuries to both eyes and ears as well as cuts. His right eye had blood clots."

But Balan didn't mention one relevant fact: Hours after the fight, according to the Alexandria Town Talk, Barker "attended a ring ceremony at the high school" that evening, suggesting that his injuries weren't all that serious or life-threatening.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:15 PM EDT
MRC Rather Stuck on Memogate Talking Points
Topic: Media Research Center

From CyberAlert items to NewsBusters posts, he Media Research Center is all over Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS over the infamous Bush National Guard story, all of them adhering to the same right-wing talking points: The story was "discredited" because of the use of "forged" documents. This seems like a good time to remind y'all of a couple things.

First, the Thornburgh-Boccardi investigation into the CBS story reached no conclusion as to whether the documents in question were "forgeries." Their report stated: "The Panel was not able to reach a definitive conclusion as to the authenticity of the Killian documents." So whether the documents were "forged" is something of an open question.

Second, as we've previously noted, the MRC has never offered a detailed analysis of the CBS story to pinpoint what, exactly, was "discredited" -- and what wasn't -- by the questionable nature of the documents. You'd think an organization with "research" as its middle name would be interested in doing a little, you know, research.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:49 PM EDT
Cinnamon Stillwell: An Update
Topic: The ConWeb

In January 2006, we noted that conservative blogger Cinnamon Stillwell, in embracing right-wing Jewish extremists and whitewashing their violent backgrounds, was acting not unlike WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein.

Now, as Sadly, No! reports, Stillwell has fulfilled her destiny by serving up a fawning review of Klein's new WND-published book detailing his gimmick of talking to terrorists who just happen to say things that rile up his conservative readers.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:21 AM EDT
Sheppard Hearts Drudge's Inaccurate Headlines
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Sept. 19 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard responded to criticism by Time's Joe Klein of a banner headline on the Drudge Report describing Hillary Clinton's proposed health care plan as "HEALTH INSURANCE PROOF REQUIRED FOR WORK" though the Associated Press article Drudge linked to didn't say that such a requirement was a component of the plan. Sheppard writes:

Klein concluded: "How stupid does he think we are? Answer: Extremely dumbolic."

Actually, Joe, if this is what Drudge thinks of your intellectual capacity, I have to agree with him.

After all, here's the money quote from Hillary that I suggest you read veeeerrrry sllllooowwwly: "you have to show proof to your employer that you're insured as a part of the job interview - like when your kid goes to school and has to show proof of vaccination."

Honestly, Joe: What don't you get about that?

If in the future, prospective employees are going to have to show proof of insurance to a prospective employer, wouldn't that indeed mean "HEALTH INSURANCE PROOF REQUIRED FOR WORK?"

Seems pretty simple to understand, so much so that even a third grader would.

Want me to get you a third grader to help you with this in the future?

Sheppard curiously leaves out what the AP article reported immediately before quoting Clinton as saying, "you have to show proof to your employer that you're insured": "She said she could envision a day when..."

We'll type very slowly so Sheppard understands: "envision" refers to something that has not occured. If Hillary Clinton is "envisioning" that "you have to show proof to your employer that you're insured as a part of the job interview," that means she has not made that a requirement of the health care plan she is proposing now. Drudge's putting those words in a banner headline suggests that such a thing is imminent when it is not.

Noel, honey, current events are not the same as events that might happen in the future. Even a third-grader can tell you that. 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:07 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
'Medieval' and Misleading
Topic: NewsBusters

A Sept. 18 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd repeats a claim by blogger Mark Shea that "the mainstream media" has called Pope Benedict XVI "medieval" 169,000 times. Shepherd changed "mainstream media" to "biased secular media."

The problem is, the only evidence Shea and Shepherd offer in support is a Google search. Shea offers no indication that he narrowed Google's search parameters to focus on only "mainstream media," nor does he indicate that he weeded out articles in which the word "medieval" is not specifically describing the pope. Indeed, Shea appears to have done nothing more than plug "Benedict XVI" and "medieval" into the general Google search engine, which pulls in much more than the "mainstream media" (or even the "biased secular media").

Given the MRC's lax research standards, though, that appears to be good enough for Shepherd to declare "bias."

Posted by Terry K. at 6:10 PM EDT
New Article: Aaron Klein's Hebron Hijinks
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Jerusalem reporter again hides the right-wing extremist backgrounds of the people he's writing about -- and won't admit they're linked to the "outlawed" extremists he purports to deplore. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 AM EDT
Quote of the Day
Topic: Accuracy in Media

From a Sept. 18 Family Security Matters column by Mike Cutler, reprinted at Accuracy in Media, about the DREAM Act, which would would provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrant students and permit them to be eligible for in-state college tuition rates:

So what would the provisions of this amendment provide?

1. In-state tuition for illegal aliens, a benefit that even our own US citizen college kids do not have.

Actually, "US citizen college kids" who attend college in the state where they live do, in fact, receive in-state tuition rates (which would seem to be the self-evident point of it). Further, the benefit is not for all "illegal aliens," as Cutler appears to claim, but for those who meet certain criteria -- foremost among them having arrived in the United States as a child.

According to his bio, Cutler "is a Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies and a well-respected authority on immigration and border security issues." On what planet are such absurd, non-factual claims considered "well-respected"?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:15 AM EDT
Knight: 'Inaccurate' to Call Gay Marriage Ban a Gay Marriage Ban
Topic: NewsBusters

A Sept. 18 NewsBusters post by Robert Knight (a version of a Culture and Media Insitute item) is headlined, "Post Can’t Disguise Disgust for Pro-marriage Maryland Ruling." In it, Knight claimed that the Washington Post showed "bias" by calling a law upheld by a Maryland appeals court defining marriage as between one man and one woman "the state’s ban on gay marriage": "That’s as inaccurate as describing the law as 'the state’s ban on polygamous marriage,' or 'the state’s ban on incestuous marriage' or perhaps 'the state’s ban on interspecies marriage.'"

Well, no. Knight is playing the longtime conservative rhetorical game of treating homosexuality as akin to incest and bestiality. Can Knight identify any significant movement supporting "incestuous marriage" or "interspecies marriage" in Maryland? No, he can't.

Conservatives weren't forcing the passage of "defense of marriage" laws out of fear of "incestuous marriage" or "interspecies marriage"; they feared gay marriage. Thus, since the motivation behind the law was to stop gay marriage, and it does in fact ban gay marriage -- which is exactly what Knight wants -- it's hardly "inaccurate" to call it a "ban on gay marriage."

UPDATE: Knight might want to send a memo to his co-workers at, who headlined a Sept. 18 article on the case "Maryland Court Says No to Same-Sex Marriage."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:50 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2007 2:19 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Shocker: WND Prints Substantive Criticism of Its Reporting
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily typically pretends that criticism of its reporting comes from people who are ideological enemies and don't get their brand of journalism (even though bias, false claims and plagiarism are universally understood journalistic failings). Also typically, the only criticism of WND that it highlights is of the most extreme type in order to paint that as representative of all criticism of it.

So it was a surprise to see WND run a critical letter that focused on WND's journalistic failings, regarding a Sept. 15 article on a study purporting to show that "some homosexuals can change their 'orientation' through religiously mediated guidance." Since WND refuses to archive its letters and it will cycle out after a week, we'll reprint it here:

I am extremely disappointed at your extreme bias in the report of conversion therapy for gay people. While quick to tout the report as a success and demonize those who were criticizing it, you failed to mention key aspects of the report according to Dr. Throckmorton. There were 25 participants who failed to continue the study. The failure to follow up with these people would automatically disqualify it from any legitimate psychological journal. If you include those 25 people to make up a total of 98 participants in the study, there was only an 11 percent success rate of conversion from identifying as gay to identifying as straight. Of those reporting heterosexual feelings, the following statement was part of the study:

    "Most of the individuals who reported that they were heterosexual at Time 3 did not report themselves to be without experience of homosexual arousal, and did not report heterosexual orientation to be unequivocal and uncomplicated. … We believe the individuals who presented themselves as heterosexual success stories at Time 3 are heterosexual in some meaningful but complicated sense of the term."

You also falsely stated that the study disputes the contention by the American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association that change is not possible. Neither association has ever made such a claim. Of course your readers ate up your story and responded to your poll in kind. Why are you afraid to report the truth, the whole truth? Are you afraid that your own basis for being against gay people is rooted in hatred?

Micah Bergdale

Of course, there's no indication that WND has actually done anything to correct its shoddy reporting. Pushing its ideology on its readers is much more important than fulfilling the journalistic mission of telling them the full truth.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:49 PM EDT
Of Cherry-Picking and Censorious Desires
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Sept. 15 NewsBusters post promoting his cherry-picking attack on the Huffington Post, Tim Graham criticized "leftist Web sites like" for "demanding" that the Democratic Party "provide no bow of respect or prestige to Fox News, since it was a 'mouthpiece for the Republican party, not a legitimate news channel.'" Graham added: "Leftist bloggers like Matt Stoller of were explicit in their censorious desire that Fox News should not exist: 'The lies of FOX News and Roger Ailes have no place in public discourse, journalism, or the Democratic Party presidential debates.'"

First, note Graham's conflation of Stoller's comment about "the lies of FOX News and Roger Ailes" to an "censorious desire" that all of Fox News be muzzled. Of course, Stoller never said that, unless Graham is admitting that everything on Fox News context is a lie.

Second, by applying similar conflation to Graham's work: By attacking Huffington Post, isn't he expressing a similar "censorious desire"? Isn't it Graham's sweetest dream to see HuffPo shut down? Graham, through his study, is trying to use a tiny fraction of objectionable post to tar the entire operation -- the best way to accomplish such a thing, even if he won't say the words.

And cherry-picking is exactly what Graham does, by the way: Out of the tens of thousands of posts made on HuffPo over the past two years, Graham specifically cites just 19. Graham then claims: "These blogs may not be typical, but they are common." Since Graham did no statistical analysis of objectionable content in HuffPo blogs -- that is, comparing the number of posts with objectionable content to the total number of posts made on the site -- he has no factual basis for that statement.

Graham makes his bias clear in his "study" by his disparaging attacks on HuffPo's bloggers as an "all-star far-left cast of celebrity dilettantes," "celebrit[ies] toasted by the leftist elites" and "Arianna’s cast of hate-speech specialists." Remember, Graham is making this judgment on the content of just 19 posts out of thousands.

Would Graham and his MRC compadres be similarly offended if, say, the entirety of NewsBusters was judged by objectionable content by commenters on a single post? You bet they would. That's why we accuse NewsBusters of forwarding false or misleading claims and smears, we don't merely cherry-pick hither and yon. We back it up.

And remember, NewsBusters has run ads from a company that sells a T-shirt that says, "Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some Assembly Required." Does Graham find that more or less offensive than what he plucked out of HuffPo?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:25 AM EDT
Timmerman Joins in CIA-Bashing
Topic: Newsmax

Apparently, hatin' on Michael Sulick is what all the cool conservative kids are doing these days.

Joining the Washington Examiner's Rowan Scarborough in Sulick-bashing is NewsMax's Kenneth Timmerman in a Sept. 17 article. Like Scarborough, Timmerman depicts ex-CIA chief Porter Goss as a noble reformer and Sulick as a career agent who threw a fit over it. Also like Scarborough, Timmerman hurls unsubstantiated allegations at Sulick and his co-worker Stephen Kappes:

As I will reveal in my upcoming book, "Shadow Warriors: Traitors, Saboteurs, and the Party of Surrender," Kappes had been implicated in a serious security breach at a CIA station overseas, but was never disciplined by the Agency.

Furthermore, both he and Sulick were engaged in activities to lobby members of Congress in their own districts that violated U.S. law. When Goss tried to discipline them, the two men resigned in protest.

Timmerman offers no evidence for these claims -- apaprently, NewsMax readers don't need to have claims substantiated. Might sell a few more copies of that book.

Timmerman then goes on to claim that Sulick’s rehiring "sends a 'terrible message' to CIA officers who are trying to do their job and stay out of politics, and suggests that the CIA bench is so thin they have no other candidates for the critical job as head of the Clandestine Service." He attributes this claim to "former agency officers." He also relays a complaint by Republican Rep. Peter Hoekstra, former chairman of the House intelligence committee, that he wasn't consulted when Kappes was rehired as CIA deputy director.

Both Scaborough and Timmerman are so eager to defend Goss that they don't mention who was CIA executive director -- the agency's No. 3 position -- under Goss: Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, currently under indictment for corruption. Neither of them explain why Sulick and Kappes are worse hires than Foggo.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:27 AM EDT

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