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Friday, September 28, 2007
Dick Morris Non-Disclosure Watch
Topic: Newsmax
For the second time in a week, Dick Morris has written a NewsMax column attacking Hillary Clinton. And, as with his previous Hillary-bashing columns, neither of them disclose that Morris is actively working against Hillary's presidential campaign, which undermines his objectivity as a political analyst.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 AM EDT
Thursday, September 27, 2007
The Media Research Bill O'Reilly Defense Center
Topic: Media Research Center

Taking a page from its Ann Coulter defense playbook, a Sept. 27 Media Research Center press release reports that Brent Bozell "is calling upon CBS and CNN to distance themselves from left-wing hate groups and apologize to Bill O’Reilly for their participation in the smear campaign against him, " further referencing "dishonest, far-left, hatemongering organizations such as Media Matters."

So, if Media Matters (my employer) is a "left-wing hate group," doesn't that make the MRC a right-wing hate group?

(Oh, and Bozell falsely claims that Media Matters is "funded by ultra-leftist billionaire George Soros." Doesn't anyone at the MRC do any actual research?)

Posted by Terry K. at 6:09 PM EDT
NewsBusters' O'Reilly Silliness
Topic: NewsBusters

Now that the Media Research Center has decided to defend Bill O'Reilly, it's time for the folks at NewsBusters to weigh in:

-- Ken Shepherd plays the distraction card by claiming that Keith Olbermann "made a cryptic crack that could be taken to be racially insensitive, if not racist." Missing is how exactly name-checking "Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles" is racist. And shouldn't Shepherd be providing the entire Olbermann transcript so it can be put in its full context?

-- Noel Sheppard endorses Tammy Bruce's defense of O'Reilly, while overlooking the irony of Bruce deploring "the left's" purported campaign to "demonize" those they disagree with while calling those she disagrees with "the Gestapo."

-- Mark Finkelstein seems to think it was OK for Al Sharpton to defend O'Reilly without actually having listened to what O'Reilly said.

-- Sheppard joins O'Reilly in warning against "factually inaccurate statements promulgated by leftwing websites and organizations," but he doesn't explain how O'Reilly's own words are "factually inaccurate."

Posted by Terry K. at 2:45 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2007 4:37 PM EDT
Brent Baker's Double Standard
Topic: Media Research Center

A Sept. 27 NewsBusters post (and CyberAlert item) by Brent Baker attacked coverage "pushed by a far-left group to suppress Bill O'Reilly over a supposedly racist remark." That "far-left group" would be Media Matters (my employer). Baker claimed one TV story " failed to identify the ideology of Media Matters."

If identifying a group's political ideology in the media is so important, why hasn't he or anyone at the MRC complained every time Fox News fails to identify an MRC spokesman who appears on it as conservative? Tim Graham certainly didn't demand it yesterday during his appearance on Neil Cavuto's show. Nor did Brent Bozell during his solo appearance on "Fox & Friends" earlier today.

Despite calling Media Matters' documentation of O'Reilly's remarks a "left-wing smear" (as if one can be "smeared" by one's own words), Baker makes no attempt to discuss or refute O'Reilly's remarks, instead copying-and-pasting a post from Brian Maloney's conservative blog Radio Equalizer hyperbolically declaring it "by far the most disgusting attempt at taking words out of context we've seen in a long time." Maloney (and Baker) cite Juan Williams' defense and support of O'Reilly as some sort of mitigating factor when Williams has been a longtime defender of O'Reilly and thus not exactly unbiased on the issue. Maloney also muffs basic facts, for instance, falsely calling Media Matters "Soros-funded."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:37 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2007 1:53 PM EDT
NewsMax's Brennan Follows Anti-Global Warming Script
Topic: Newsmax

In a Sept. 25 NewsMax column, Phil Brennan lashed out against the "mass hysteria over the alleged warming of the planet." He threw a bunch of numbers out to try and back it up. For instance:

Those evil deniers however, have taken the trouble to look at the facts instead of the propaganda from the U.N. and the rest of the global warming fanatics. They point out that the the anthroprogenic sources of CO2 account for exactly 0.11 percent of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere. In other words, 99.89 percent of the greenhouse effect has not a damn thing to do SUVs, jet travel, backyard barbecues or any other human activity.

The folks at RealClimate have taken the trouble to look at the facts as well, and they pretty much debunk Brennan's numbers. Don't expect Brennan to report that, of course.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:06 AM EDT
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham appeared on the Sept. 26 edition of Fox News' "Your World with Neil Cavuto" to bash Katie Couric for having an opinion on the Iraq war that he disapproves of. As per usual, the MRC is not identified as conservative, but Fox News departed from typical procedure by pairing him up against Democratic strategist Kirsten Powers (who is identified as a Democratic strategist).

The NewsBusters post promoting Graham's appearance happily quotes Graham saying that Couric "really sounds like... a light-headed Hillary [Clinton] and it sounds like she's trying to claw back into the good graces of and maybe she's trying to rub the belly of the Buddha, Frank Rich, and everybody who attacked her for being some sort of Bush tool when she went to Iraq." And the MRC complains about Democrats spouting their "two minutes hate"?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:20 AM EDT
Timmerman Continues Anti-Sulick Crusade
Topic: Newsmax

Ken Timmerman is ramping up his war on Michael Sulick.

In a Sept. 25 NewsMax column, he extensively quotes Republican Rep. Peter Hoekstra further bashing Sulick, who had resigned from the CIA in 2004 but recently returned as head of the CIA's clandestine service. As he did in his previous attack article on Sulick, Timmerman teased a Sulick-bashing anecdote from "my new book, 'Shadow Warriors: Traitors, Saboteurs, and the Party of Surrender,' which will be released in early November," but he offered no support for his claim. Presumably, Timmerman is waiting until he can sell some copies of said book until he reveals his purported evidence.

Timmerman makes no apparent effort to contact Sulick for a response to his and Hoekstra's accusations, though he does reprint some praise of Sulick.

Timmerman lets his bias nakedly show by noting that he asked a White House spokesperson "why President Bush would reappoint Sulick and Kappes to top CIA positions after they had tried to undermine Bush administration policies." It appears that Timmerman is a Bush dead-ender for whom disloyalty to a man is a graver offense than service to country. Timmerman doesn't address the possibility Sulick believed that to best serve the country, Bush administration policies perhaps needed to be undermined.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
'Squinting Two-Minute's Hate'
Topic: NewsBusters

A Sept. 26 NewsBusters post by Matthew Balan noted that Bill Clinton "blasted 'disingenuous' Republicans for their 'feigned outrage' over’s ad attacking General David Petraeus."

The headline: "Bill Clinton's 'Squinting Two Minute's Hate' on CNN."

Balan also made sure to call Clinton an "impeached former president" and claimed that "Clinton put on his best 'angry face' during the clip."

It's unclear why Balan felt the need to put "Squinting Two Minute's Hate" in quote marks, since Balan doesn't indicate he's lifting that quote from anyone and, apparently, just made it up himself.

And these are the folks who are so easily offended when someone says something mean about President Bush?

Posted by Terry K. at 8:48 PM EDT
WND Still Doesn't Support Pro-Lifers' Libel Claim
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 25 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh reported that "pro-life protesters who are opposing the opening of a mega-clinic abortion facility" in Illinois are filing a libel lawsuit against Planned Parenthood for "publicly accusing peaceful pro-life activists of having a record of advocating violence." Unruh repeats claims by the lawyer for the activists, that the acts of violence it cited are a "legal nullity" because the case in which they were cited -- a lawsuit by the National Organization of Women claiming that violent abortion protests fell under federal RICO organized crime statute -- was ruled against by the U.S. Supreme Court.

As we noted when Unruh last reported on this, the fact that the RICO ruling does not necessarily mean the alleged incidents cited as support in that case didn't happen, as Unruh and the "pro-life activsts" appear to be suggesting. None of the specific claims made by Planned Parenthood against Joe Scheidler and his Pro Life Action Network are refuted by Unruh, Scheidler or his attorney. (Scheidler now runs the Pro-Life Action League, which is spearheading opposition to the Illinois clinic.)

The Thomas More Society, the conservative legal group by whom, according to WND, the "lawsuit is being prepared," has not yet posted the lawsuit on its website. One would presume such a lawsuit would specifically refute those claims.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:56 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2007 8:01 PM EDT
Kessler's Nose Is Growing
Topic: Newsmax

Ronald Kessler begins his Sept. 26 NewsMax column by claiming, "As Hillary Clinton rises in the polls, her nose grows longer and longer." But it's Kessler who has the proboscis problems.

Kessler started by asserting:

To be sure, she has never had any shame about making stories up out of thin air. After 9/11, Clinton appeared on national TV and claimed that when the two airplanes hit the World Trade Center, her daughter Chelsea was going to jog at Battery Park near the towers, where she heard and saw the catastrophe unfold.

Clinton’s arrogance was so profound that she did not coordinate the story with Chelsea, who wrote an article for Talk in which she described what she had been doing that day. According to Chelsea, she was on the other side of town in a friend’s apartment on Park Avenue South. She watched the events unfold on TV.

Kessler gets the story slightly closer to the truth this time by using something approximating Hillary's actual words from a September 2001 appearance on NBC's "Today": Hillary did indeed say that Chelsea "was going to go down to Battery Park, she was going to go around the towers." The last time Kessler made this claim, he falsely asserted that Hillary said that "Chelsea was actually at the World Trade Center when the bombs -- when the planes hit. She's going to Starbucks. She was jogging around. She heard the crash. She saw the smoke. Oh my God, isn't that scary."

Though he had to change Hillary's words to reflect the truth, Kessler's insistence that what Hillary said contradicts Chelsea still doesn't hold water. He offers no evidence that Chelsea wasn't planning to "jog at Battery Park near the towers."

Kessler also misleadingly describes Chelsea's location. The Talk article stated that Chelsea was in an apartment at Union Square, not "Park Avenue South," the southern terminus of which is at Union Square. (Perhaps Kessler was trying to paint Chelsea as a snobby elitist by linking her with snobby Park Avenue.) And Union Square, also known as the Flatiron district, is not on "the other side of town"; it's about two miles away from the World Trade Center site.

Kessler then stated:

Nor does Clinton’s hypocrisy have any limits. When asked about the recent ad suggesting that Gen. David Petraeus has betrayed the country, Clinton on "Meet the Press" on Sept. 23 called for an end to such attacks. “I don’t condone anything like that, and I have voted against those who would impugn the patriotism and the service of the people who wear the uniform of our country,” she said.

Yet three days earlier, Clinton had voted against a Senate resolution to condemn the ad. Her closest competitor, Sen. Barack Obama, voted earlier that day but conveniently missed the vote condemning the ad.

But Kessler omits that, as we've noted, Clinton voted for a similar resolution that criticized not only the MoveOn ad but Republican attacks against Democratic members of the military.

Kessler also wrote:

On Sept. 23, on "Fox News Sunday," Clinton said that she has “fought hard” for body armor . . .” She added, “I’ve stood with my colleagues to fight hard for armored vehicles because we knew that they needed additional protection in Iraq and they weren’t getting it.”

Yet last May, Clinton voted against the emergency supplemental bill to provide $1.6 billion for body armor, including advanced combat helmets; $2.4 billion to help protect against improvised explosive devices; and $3 billion for mine-resistant, ambush protected vehicles.

This is cribbed straight from Republican talking points. In fact, Clinton wasn't voting against body armor and combat helmets as Kessler suggests; Clinton said she voted against the bill because it didn't include a timeline for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Kessler also doesn't mention that Clinton voted for a previous version of the bill.

Kessler goes on to rewrite other sections of the same Republican National Committee press release from which he lifted the claim about Clinton voting against body armor. Is mindlessly repeating GOP talking points the best Kessler can do?

Well, as history shows, it appears so.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:40 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2007 5:41 PM EDT
While We're On the Subject of Things NewsBusters Won't Mention...
Topic: NewsBusters

A Sept. 22 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston attacked the Colorado State University student newspaper for its "F*** Bush" headine, calling the paper's editors "anti-intellectual collegians," "low-end compatriots," and "anarchist wannabes" and asserting that they "seemed to imagine that journalism should reflect some trash mouthed, morning disc jockey's schtick instead of serious, reasoned debate."

Yet nowhere on NewsBusters is any condemnation -- or, in fact, any mention whatsoever -- of the following epithets from an arguably anti-intellectual anarchist wannabe: "piece of shit," "worthless bitch," and "worthless whore."

Who said those horrible things? Ted Nugent, about Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Dianne Feinstein, respectively. Nugent also told Clinton to "ride one of these into the sunset," referring to the assault rifle he was holding.

If NewsBusters is going to condemn one offensive epithet directed toward a politician, shouldn't it condemn them all?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:32 AM EDT
Will NewsBusters Mention Jena Six Victim's White-Supremacist Interview?
Topic: NewsBusters

We've previously noted the complaint at NewsBusters that news reports on the Jena Six case didn't focus sufficient attention on Justin Barker, the (white) victim of a beating by other (black) students. We wonder if NewsBusters will be so eager to draw attention to this:

No sooner did tens of thousands of African-American demonstrators depart the racially tense town of Jena, La., last week after protesting perceived injustices than white supremacists flooded in behind them.

First a neo-Nazi Web site posted the names, addresses and phone numbers of some of the six black teenagers and their families at the center of the Jena 6 case and urged followers to find them and "drag them out of the house," prompting an investigation by the FBI.

Then the leader of a white supremacist group in Mississippi published interviews that he conducted with the mayor of Jena and the white teenager who was attacked and beaten, allegedly by the six black youths. In those interviews, the mayor, Murphy McMillin, praised efforts by pro-white groups to organize counterdemonstrations; the teenager, Justin Barker, urged white readers to "realize what is going on, speak up and speak their mind."


Barker's father, David, said his family did not know the nature of [Nationalist Movement leader Richard] Barrett's group when they agreed to be interviewed, adding, "I am not a white supremacist, and neither is my son."

But Barrett said he explained his group and its beliefs to the Barker family, who then invited him to stay overnight at their home on the eve of last week's protest march.

NewsBusters hasn't mentioned it yet. Wonder if they ever will...

UPDATE: David Neiwert has more on Barrett.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:06 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2007 8:35 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
CNS' Depiction-Equals-Approval Variations

Apparently, CNS' Susan Jones has been boning up on variations of the depiction-equals-approval fallacy, because she has employed them in two recent articles.

In a Sept. 21 article, Jones asserted that because Sen. Hillary Clinton didn't vote for an amendment condemning a ad critical of Gen. David Petraeus, "she refused to support Gen. Petraeus or condemn the personal attacks on him." As we noted, Jones made no attempt to document Clinton's reasons for voting against it, nor did Jones note that Clinton voted for another amendment that did, in fact, denounce the ad (as well as Republican attacks on Democratic members of the military). Jones was pushing the logical fallacy that the only acceptable way to express disapproval of the MoveOn ad was to vote for that particular amendment -- something for which she offers no evidence to back up.

Jones threw in a related logical fallacy in a Sept. 25 article on conservative criticism of a "leather fair" in San Francisco; Jones asserted: "The City of San Francisco sanctions the event by shutting down several city blocks and providing police for security." Jones offers no support for her claim that providing city services for a public event is the same thing as offering "sanction" for that event, nor any evidence that San Francisco would refuse to "sanction" a Christian-oriented event that would require the same city services.

This appears to be yet more evidence that fair and balanced journalism is not a priority under new CNS editor-in-chief Terry Jeffrey.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:44 PM EDT
CNS Didn't Identify Group As Anti-Union

A Sept. 25 article by Randy Hall on the United Auto Workers' strike against General Motors quoted Bret Jacobson of the Center for Union Facts, but Hall offered no descriptor of the group. As Jacobsen's comments demonstrated --  "the union appears to be trying to hold onto the 1950s with all it's got," the strike "endangers one of the major employers that feed and clothe their members," "It's sad that an auto union can't steer toward the 21st century" -- the Center for Union Facts is an anti-union organization.

Indeed, the group is operated by Rick Berman, lobbyist for various business-backed front groups. It refuses to divulge who its funders are.

CNS has been more forthright about the center's biases in the past: A May 11 article called the center "one of the leading opponents of union leadership, and a March 23 article by Hall listed it among "union critics." And a February 2006 CNS article promoting the founding of the center noted that "Berman's critics complain that his advocacy groups are funded by the industries that benefit from their activities."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:23 AM EDT
WND Runs to Defense of Convicted Child Killer/Homeschooler
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 23 unbylined WorldNetDaily article attempts to portray a Texas woman convicted in connection with the death of a 4-year-old she was planning to adopt as a victim of anti-Christian discrimination, but the article leaves out parts of the story in an apparent attempt to make the woman look more like a victim.

Hannah Overton was convicted of capital murder Sept. 8 in the death of 4-year-old Andrew Burd. The boy died after Overton fed him a mixture of Cajun seasoning in water, and Overton failed to promptly seek medical attention for him. Overton was sentenced on to life in prison. Her husband, Larry, also faces charges in the boy's death.

The WND article attempts a revisionist history of the case, asserting that "those who know the Overtons best aren't buying the prosecution's story and, in fact, believe evidence was distorted and doctored by district attorney's office, police department, child protective services and the news media to railroad the homeschooling, Christian couple." 

The article claims that " the prosecutors used videotape images of Andrew asleep in his bed, taken from a camera placed in the room, the parents say, for the safety of their children. The recordings show Andrew sleeping on a bed stripped of a mattress. The video was shown in the courtroom by the prosecution in an effort to establish a pattern of abuse by the parents."

But evidence shows that Overton does, in fact, have a pattern of abuse. From an Oct. 20, 2006, KRIS-TV article:

Hannah Overton said she put Andrew in the bath to warm him up, but it did not work. While talking to Corpus Christi police, Hannah Overton changed her story.

"Mrs. Overton stated she fixed two sippy cups with the chili with the water and forced Andrew to drink it. The first cup to teach him a lesson, and the second as a form of punishment. At that time, Andrew fell over, hit his head and then threw up. She then picked him up and 'beat the s*** out of him,' " the affidavit states.

The report said Hannah came to the realization about what she'd done. She called her husband Larry Overton, who took the child to a health clinic, but Andrew died at Driscoll Children's Hospital. Before his death, doctors noticed even more problems.

"Andrew had what appeared to be a cigarette burn mark on his right arm, along with some bruising to the arm and leg area," doctor reports state. "Medical staff also advised that Andrew had what appeared to be scratches along the stomach and neck area."


A hearing is scheduled for Friday to determine what happens to the Overton's other four children, who are currently staying with family members. According to court documents, the Overton children told investigators little Andrew underwent stricter punishment in the home.

Isaac, 7, also told police that his brother, Andrew, is the one who got in more trouble and was never doing antyhing right. Isaac said Andrew had to stay in his room, and his mother watched him through the 'security camera' which was pointed at his bed.

Another of the Overton's children noticied problems as well. Isabel, 5, told investigators, "He gets no food, has to stay in bed, and does not get to go on trips. Isabel indicated on one occasion Andrew had to stay in bed for two nights and he could not even get up to go to the bathroom, and he had to 'poop' in the bed."

She too mentioned that the Overtons made sure Andrew stayed in bed by watching him on the camera.

As for the punishments for the Overton children, they too would get pepper or soap in their mouths for lying. The kids all seem to know there are consequences for lying or getting in trouble. 

WND mentions none of this. Rather, it quotes the Overtons' pastor as claiming that "the Overtons' story about the events leading up to Andrew's death has been consistent and unwavering from the beginning." The pastor then "paints a picture of an emotionally troubled Andrew who may have also brought physical illness to the Overton family from his previous foster home."

WND also asserts that Overton "rushed [Andrew] to the hospital within one hour and 49 minutes of becoming symptomatic. Prosecutors claim it took her three hours and grilled her about not calling 911." That's a generous -- and slanted -- way of describing it. Here's how the Corpus Christi Caller-Times put it:

During the trial, prosecutors questioned why Overton and her husband made several phone calls but none to 911, and delayed taking the boy to a clinic for more than 1 1/2 hours. One of the doctors who treated the boy that day testified their delay in seeking help reduced his chances for survival.

When polled, all 12 jurors said they found her guilty because of her failure to act.

WND seems to be turning into the Cinnamon Stillwell of Christian homeschoolers -- they must be defended and whitewashed, no matter how heinous their offenses. 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:13 AM EDT

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