Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Dick Morris Non-Disclosure Watch
NewsBusters Just Can't Stop Smearing Gore
How much does the Media Research Center viscerally despise Al Gore? An Oct. 16 NewsBusters post by Genevieve Ebel provides a clue. Describing a couple of brief clips of Gore on his Current cable channel, Ebel claimed that Gore was "[l]ooking more like a bored college student making a video in his dorm room or a clip from Saturday Night Live" and that he "droned" and was "languid."
Gore Derangement Syndrome is clearly running rampant through the MRC offices.
NewsBusters Gives Limbaugh A Pass on Factual Errors
An Oct. 16 NewsBusters post by Justin McCarthy recounted a phoned-in appearance (solo, of course) by Rush Limbaugh on "Fox & Friends." Limbaugh made false claims, but all McCarthy took him at face value, declaring that Limbaugh wanted "to discuss Harry Reid’s and 40 other Senate Democrats’ smear of Limbaugh."
So what did Limbaugh get wrong?
He asserted that criticism of his "phony soldiers" remark was "based on a total lie." That's not at all clear based on the transcript. Limbaugh can assert all he wants what he meant to say, but that doesn't necessarily make it unassailable fact.
He called Media Matters (my employer) a "George Soros/Hillary Clinton organization," adding, "when we say Media Matters, say Hillary Clinton and George Soros." In fact, Media Matters is not funded by Soros.
Limbaugh also channels Stephen Colbert: After "Fox & Friends" co-host Steve Doocy stated that "nobody really heard what Imus said until Media Matters brought the tape out and started sending it to different journalists," Limbaugh replied, "That is very key. The people that heard Imus say it didn't care. There was no brouhaha for two days, like my comment with Donovan McNabb. I made it on Sunday. It wasn't until Tuesday the world blew up on it, but that was the local Philadelphia media."
By not holding conservatives to the same factual standards it holds non-conservatives, NewsBusters makes itself look hypocritical, not to mention silly.
Klein's PR Work for Right-Wing Rabbis Continues
An Oct. 16 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein continues his PR work from the Rabbinical Congress for Peace, once again repeating the group's attacks on Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert without noting that the group is right-leaning or has a history of repeatedly attacking Olmert.
Klein also whitewashes the backgrounds of the rabbis he quotes. For instance, he describes Meir Porush only as "a nationalist Knesset Member." In fact, Porush belongs to the ultra-Orthodox Agudat Israel party; Porush once said Ariel Sharon reminded him of Benito Mussolini.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Sheppard Ignores Dubious History Of Another Denier
What a surprise -- another supposed global warming "expert" touted by Noel Sheppard, another failure to tell the full story.
In an Oct. 14 NewsBusters post, Sheppard promoted claims by William Gray -- er, Dr. William Gray, a meteorologist who, according to Sheppard, "was thrust into the limelight as one of the leading hurricane forecasters in the world." According to Sheppard, "Dr. Gray spoke to a group of meteorologists and students at the University of North Carolina telling the audience that the theory of manmade climate change is 'ridiculous' and the product of 'people who don't understand how the atmosphere works.'"
What Sheppard doesn't tell you: That list of "people who don't understand how the atmosphere works" also includes Gray himself. As Media Matters details, Gray's research -- which has never been published in any peer-reviewed journal -- contains fundamental misconceptions on the physics of climate.
As we've detailed, Sheppard has a history of inconveniently ignoring the dubious track records of his favorite global-warming-denier sources.
Will Sheppard tell his readers the truth about Gray? See answer to similar question in previous post.
Sheppard Inconveniently Silent About British Lawsuit Backers
We've noted how NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard (among others) touted a British court ruling that there were nine (or is it 11?) errors in Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth" without noting that the court also ruled that the movie's "four main scientific hypotheses" are "very well supported by research published in respected, peer-reviewed journals and accords with the latest conclusions of the IPCC." Turns out there's something else that Sheppard and Co. aren't telling their readers.
Any chance Sheppard will tell his readers the full story behind the "truck driver" and his well-funded, politically motivated lawsuit? Don't count on it.
CNS' Biased Attack on Schwarzenegger
An Oct. 15 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones uncritically repeats conservative attacks on a new laws signed by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that were "backed by the homosexual community," treating their laims as fact and not allowing any rebuttal to them.
Jones apparently merely rewrote a press release from the Campaign for Children and Families, which has a history of anti-gay activism. She treated as fact a claim that one bill "would indoctrinate via school textbooks and activities" about homosexuality by not attributing it to CCF.
While Jones writes that "Supporters said the new law is supposed to eliminate "confusion" about the state's responsibility to ensure that all school programs, textbooks, instructional materials and activities are free from unlawful discrimination," she then permits the CCF to frame the argument, describing the signed bills as disparagingly as possible without any response to that characterization by supporters.
Jones does know how to balance her reporting in at least a token fashion: another Oct. 15 article on Schwarzenegger's signing of a gun identification bill did devote a couple of paragraphs to "gun control groups," much of the article is dedicated to what "Second Amendment supporters" have to say -- a biased bit of labeling CNS has a history of doing.
Also, the article is headlined, "Schwarzenegger Sides With Gun-Control Advocates," which accepts without question the pro-gun framing of the bill.
Monday, October 15, 2007
AIM's Gore Derangement Syndrome
Topic: Accuracy in Media
The New York Times' Paul Krugman has a column today headlined "Gore Derangement Syndrome." The latest victim of this affliction on the ConWeb side is Accuracy in Media's Roger Aronoff.
Aronoff starts off his Oct. 12 column by claiming that the Nobel Peace Prize is "a joke, something that should be fodder for late-night comedians" because Al Gore won it. He then joins the ConWeb parade of citing a British court ruling that found "11 inaccuracies" -- apparently it's nine now; can't the right-wingers get the statistics right? -- though unlike, say, Noel Sheppard, Aronoff did actually note that the court also found that the film was "substantially founded upon scientific research and fact."
Aronoff also asserted that "Gore's history of lying could also be fair game" should he decide to run for president. As evidence, Aronoff notes that "AIM previously published the '17 Lies of Al Gore.'" Well, one of ConWebWatch's very first acts upon its founding was to debunk a significant portion of that article. In it, Reed Irvine had listed among the "lies":
As we pointed out, he never claimed to "uncover the pollution at Love Canal," only to hold the first congressional hearings on it; he was merely repeating what he thought a reporter had written about "Love Story" (and Gore did indeed serve as a model for one of the characters); and no less than Vinton Cerf, the guy who arguably did create the Internet, said that "I think it is very fair to say that the Internet would not be where it is in the United States without the strong support given to it and related research areas by the vice president in his current role and in his earlier role as senator."
Aronoff then tries to downplay AIM's error-filled history on this, claiming that a Vanity Fair article noting the inaccuracy of the attacks against Gore boiled down to "nitpicking the media about misquoting Gore on creating or inventing the Internet." But nowhere does Aronoff mention that AIM called Gore's proclaimed involvement in the Internet a lie -- a claim that itself is a lie.
That's a strange stance for someone working for an organization called Accuracy in Media to take.
Vox Day: Jews 'Have Worn Out Their Welcome'
Day writes that the apology sought from Coulter by "left-wing Jewish interest groups" "would appear to be an extraordinarily silly demand, except for the fact that Vanity Fair has recently announced that a remarkable 51 percent of the Vanity Fair 100 Power List are Jewish in a country in which Jews make up approximately two percent of the population. Jews also make up seven percent of the current House of Representatives, 13 percent of the Senate, and, according to John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, authors of 'The Israel Lobby,' roughly 100 percent of George W. Bush's foreign policy advisers." Day adds:
Day's column is a bit muddled. He appears to support Israel, but dislikes the Israel lobby: "As for Israel's survival, not only are the Israeli Defense Forces perfectly capable of defending the nation against a fourth-rate military power like Iran, but it has the Lord God of Israel on its side. Israel simply doesn't need the U.S. military to fight its battles for it." But Day's writing that "Jews have worn out their welcome in literally dozens of countries over the centuries" seems to condone at some level actions taken against Jews. Is that what he really wants to say?
Then again, this is a guy who served up the Holocaust as a positive precedent for dealing with illegal immigrants.
UPDATE: Vox says the "left-wing Jewish interest groups" aren't demanding an apology from Coulter; the spokesman he cited is demanding that TV shows "stop inviting Ann Coulter to comment on politics." Duly noted; a call for an apology would be futile anyway, since Coulter apologizes for nothing she says and has willing defenders for it all. Vox also goes on to explain his stance on things Jewish ("generally pro-Jew and pro-Israel," not so much the "Israel lobby"), which still doesn't quite explain why he decided to assert that "Jews have worn out their welcome in literally dozens of countries over the centuries."
CNS' Misleading Questions to Congress
We've noted that CNSNews.com has taken to Capitol Hill to ambush congressman with questions (starting out by hitting them up on the underground subway system that links the Capitol to congressional office buildings). CNS has been keeping it up, and the questions have become more slanted and less reflective of reality.
An Oct. 11 article by Monisha Bansal on a congressional battle over whether to grant retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies who cooperated with the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program reported: "Cybercast News Service hit Capitol Hill Wednesday to ask members of Congress if they would support giving the companies immunity, with the following question: 'Should the government ever prosecute communications companies for helping the government intercept international communications with suspected al Qaeda links in the years after 9/11?'"
The wording of the question -- which fails to mention the words "retroactive" and "illegal" -- ignores the fact that the telecom companies wouldn't need immunity if the behavior in question wasn't illegal. It also ignores the flip side of that: allegations that telecom companies such as Qwest were retaliated against by the federal government because they refused to cooperate.
Similarly, an Oct. 3 article by Monisha Bansal and Nathan Burchfiel on the amending of a defense authorization bill to extend hate crimes legislation to cover sexual orientation and gender identity noted, "Some observers think the hate crimes legislation goes beyond criminalizing actions and actually criminalizes points of view." Who are those "some people"? Bansal and Burchfiel don't tell us. Then they forwarded their question of the day: "On Tuesday, Cybercast News Service hit Capitol Hill to ask members of Congress if the government should criminalize points of view and which views should be criminalized."
Nowhere did Bansal and Burchfiel note -- as the Democratic members of Congress the questioned pointed out -- that the amendment has an religious exemption.
CNS' goal with these ambush interviews, as we noted, appears to be to catch liberal politicians making an embarassing off-message statement. Otherwise, the questions would be more factual and balanced.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Michelle Malkin Is 'Center-Right'?
An Oct. 13 NewsBusters post by Tom Blumer criticized the Wall Street Journal for its "antagonism" toward "center-right blogs" in an editorial pointing out that "conservative bloggers" had "claimed the Frost kids shouldn't have been on Schip in the first place. As it turns out, they belonged to just the sort of family that a modest Schip is supposed to help."
Now, the leading attack dogs against the Frost family have been Michelle Malkin (last seen skulking around the Frosts' Baltimore to see if it was too ritzy for SCHIP) and Dan Riehl (last seen smearing the Frosts as "a couple of mostly spoiled brats who became parents and never felt compelled to take responsibility for themselves"). On what planet are these folks "center-right"? Blumer's, apparently.
Refusing to concede that his right-wing compatriots went too far and peddled false claims in attacking the Frosts, Blumer himself contributes to the smear by repeating unverified claims about the Frosts' vehicles:
Of course, he has no way of knowing if the vehicles were bought used, so he maliciously presumes they were all bought new. So what should the Frosts be permitted to drive instead? How much must they be limited to spending on transportation? Blumer does not offer an answer.
Blumer overlooks one important point, as Greg Sargent notes: "When even the chronically dishonest WSJ editorial page denounces you for dishonesty on an issue it more or less agrees with you about, you're pretty far around the bend."
Sheppard Inconveniently Misleads Miller
NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard carried his misinformation campaign against Al Gore to Dennis Miller's radio show, repeating the claim that a British court found "nine material scientific falsehoods" in the Al Gore film "An Inconvenient Truth" without mentioning that the court also found that “four main scientific hypotheses" in the film are "very well supported by research published in respected, peer-reviewed journals and accords with the latest conclusions of the IPCC” or that one of the alleged "falsehoods" is a false conflation of two unrelated statistics. Sheppard also claimed without evidence that Gore's only motivation for making the movie was to cash in on Hurricane Katrina -- a longtime Sheppard smear against Gore -- which even Miller was compelled to correct.
From the Oct. 12 edition of Miller's show:
In an Oct. 13 NewsBusters post containing the audio, Sheppard frets that "I've debated whether or not this should be posted" out of concern over "seemingly shameless self-promotion." We have to wonder if perhaps Sheppard's real concern is that we, his biggest fans, would call him out on yet more false and misleading claims.
CNS' Biased Reporting on Gore's Nobel Peace Prize
In yet another sign that CNSNews.com's agenda is shifting toward more biased journalism, its coverage of Al Gore receiving the Nobel Peace Prize comprised largely of criticism of the award.
Over the course of three articles published on Oct. 12, CNS made no apparent effort to contact any supporter of Gore, quoting only from news articles for quotes from Gore and the Nobel citation, a "statement congratulating Gore" from the Sierra Club, and a full-page ad in the New York Times encouraging Gore to run for president.
The bulk of the articles, meanwhile, feature comments from no less than eight "critics of Al Gore" and "skeptics of man-made climate change" -- Steven Milloy, Timothy Ball, Patrick Michaels, Myron Ebell, Iain Murray, Amy Ridenour, Mario Lewis, and the MRC's Business & Media Institute. Most of these are described as having "told Cybercast News Service" their comments.
How such slanted covereage serves CNS' self-described mission to "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story" was not addressed by CNS.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
WND Channels Stephen Colbert
This paragraph in an Oct. 12 WorldNetDaily article on David Horowitz's defense of Ann Coulter's remark that Jews need to be converted to Christianity and that Christians are "perfected Jews" stood out to us (since it mentions our employer):
In other words, the problem is not that Coulter said what she said; the problem is that Media Matters accurately quoted what she said and served them up for wider distribution. Or, as Stephen Colbert put it: "Hatemongers like Media Matters take innocent statements like mine, Rush Limbaugh's, John Gibson's, and Bill O'Reilly's and make them offensive by posting them on the Internet, allowing the general public to hear words that were meant for people who already agree with us. Hey, Media Matters, you want to end offensive speech? Then stop recording it for people who would be offended."
And if Media Matters is a "pro-Democrat lobby," that must mean that the Media Research Center is a "pro-Republican lobby."
Indeed, WND appears to have no problem with what she said. In today's reader poll asking, "What are your thoughts on Ann Coulter's comments about Jews becoming Christians?" two responses lead by a landslide: "Ann had the courage to speak the truth – God bless her!" and "The attacks against her show how hostile American culture has become toward the Christian evangelical outlook."
The poll also serves up another possible response: "Ann underestimated the extreme sensitivity of Jews – she could have explained herself a little better." Yeah, when one's religion has been the target of a couple of millenia of eliminationist rhetoric -- which, in essence, is what Coulter is spouting -- as well as outright genocide, it does make one unreasonably sensitive.
Buy through this Amazon link and support ConWebWatch!
Accuracy in Media
Capital Research Center
Free Congress Foundation
Media Research Center
The Daily Les
Western Journalism Center
Support Bloggers' Rights!