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Friday, October 19, 2007
Is Fox Business Taking The Fox News Approach to MRC?
Topic: Media Research Center

An Oct. 17 NewsBusters post touts the appearance of Dan Gainor, director of the MRC’s Business & Media Institute, on the new Fox Business channel. The accompanying clip is only about two minutes long, lopping off his introduction. According to the post, "The segment lasted about ten minutes. It also included a panel discussion about recent allegations by the SEC against Countrywide Financial CEO, Angelo Mozilo for his recent sale of his stock in the company."

We can't tell from the clip whether Fox Business is following the lead of Fox News in its treatment of MRC representatives: appearing solo and not describing the MRC as conservative. But we'll be watching to see if Fox Business will ever embrace these two fundamental issues of fair reporting. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:08 AM EDT
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Gore Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

Noel Sheppard's hatred of Al Gore continues unabated: An Oct. 17 NewsBusters post attacks Gore for ... getting bad grades in college?

Yep. Sheppard regurgitates an old story about Gore's grades in college to assert that "Gore was a terrible science student, and clearly never excelled at anything relating to what folks in Norway and in the media consider him to be so expert at" and that is the reason "why Nobel Laureate Al Gore likely doesn't want to debate any of the myriad of scientists and politicians that have challenged him to such a tête-à-tête regarding his manmade global warming theories." Sheppard then sneers, "this is the man liberals and dolts in the media are willing to bet their very lives on when it comes to complex scientific issues surrounding meteorology and climatology."

If decades-ago grades are a qualification to speak about global warming, perhaps Sheppard should release his college grades as well. The only thing we've seen that he brings to the subject is a penchant for copying and pasting, which they don't offer college degrees in.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:37 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, October 18, 2007 8:52 AM EDT
CNS Misleads On Its Favorite Convicted Felon
An Oct. 17 article by Fred Lucas on Peter Paul's failed attempt to drag Hillary Clinton into a lawsuit he filed describes Paul as a "Hollywood mogul" but fails to mention Paul's history as a convicted felon. While Lucas writes that "Paul's suit claims that actions by the Clintons and their associates cost him his multi-million dollar Internet venture, Stan Lee Media, for which he was a majority owner," he does not note (as he sorta did in a previous article) that Paul pleaded guilty to a $25 million stock manipulation scheme, or that he is awaiting sentencing on that plea.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:24 AM EDT
WND Promotes More One-Sided Claims
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Oct. 17 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh touts the opposition of the World Congress of Families, which Unruh describes as an "international organization promoting families," to newly passed laws in California that, according to Unruh, "effectively mak[es] terms like 'mom' and 'dad' obsolete."

Of course, it goes without saying that it's a one-sided story; Unruh allows opponents of the laws to frame them as disparagingly as possible and does not permit supporters to make their case. But what the heck is the World Congress of Families?

As a 2004 Ms. Magazine article details, the WCF was founded in that hotbed of international organizations, Rockford, Illinois:

The WCF is more than just a meeting place for likeminded conservatives to share their fears about gay marriage and abortion; its objective is to reverse progressive social initiatives on reproductive rights, gay rights and population issues, particularly those negotiated at the United Nations.

That means, for example, trying to undermine programs at agencies such as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which promotes family planning, sexual and reproductive rights, sex education and condom use. 


Farooq Hassan of United Families International was more direct: He flatly declared that homosexuality was a sexual perversion, and therefore not eligible for consideration as a human right.

Allan Carlson, the WCF’s soft-spoken organizer, didn’t mince words either: “Since homosexual marriage is a clear and present danger to the family…the issue is high on everyone’s agenda,” he said in his address.

“Governments don’t create families. They can recognize and nurture them, or destabilize and delegitimize them. Homosexual marriage is the most potent weapon yet devised for the latter.” 

Unruh, of course, mentions none of this history of activism.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 AM EDT
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Dick Morris Non-Disclosure Watch
Topic: Newsmax

Dick Morris has written four straight NewsMax columns attacking Hillary Clinton without disclosing to his readers that he's actively working against her campaign.

Such longtime refusal to disclose this conflict of interest to his readers every time he criticizes Clinton seriously compromises his ability to act as an credible political analyst.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:46 AM EDT
NewsBusters Just Can't Stop Smearing Gore
Topic: NewsBusters

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.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:23 AM EDT
NewsBusters Gives Limbaugh A Pass on Factual Errors
Topic: NewsBusters

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."

Doocy, meanwhile, asserted that "Media Matters only takes shots at guys like you, at Fox News. They never, ever touch anybody on MSNBC. They never mentioned anybody on CNN." 

By not holding conservatives to the same factual standards it holds non-conservatives, NewsBusters makes itself look hypocritical, not to mention silly. 

Posted by Terry K. at 2:05 AM EDT
Klein's PR Work for Right-Wing Rabbis Continues
Topic: WorldNetDaily

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.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:35 AM EDT
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Sheppard Ignores Dubious History Of Another Denier
Topic: NewsBusters

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.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:58 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2007 8:59 AM EDT
Sheppard Inconveniently Silent About British Lawsuit Backers
Topic: NewsBusters

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.

In an Oct. 9 NewsBusters post, Sheppard decribed the plaintiff in the lawsuit, Stewart Dimmock, only as "a British truck driver." From the UK Observer:

The Observer has established that Dimmock's case was supported by a powerful network of business interests with close links to the fuel and mining lobbies. He was also supported by a Conservative councillor in Hampshire, Derek Tipp.

Dimmock credited the little-known New Party with supporting him in the test case but did not elaborate on its involvement. The obscure Scotland-based party calls itself 'centre right' and campaigns for lower taxes and expanding nuclear power.

Records filed at the Electoral Commission show the New Party has received nearly all of its money - almost £1m between 2004 and 2006 - from Cloburn Quarry Limited, based in Lanarkshire.

The company's owner and chairman of the New Party, Robert Durward, is a long-time critic of environmentalists. With Mark Adams, a former private secretary to Tony Blair, he set up the Scientific Alliance, a not-for-profit body comprising scientists and non-scientists, which aims to challenge many of the claims about global warming.


In 2004 the alliance co-authored a report with the George C Marshall Institute, a US body funded by Exxon Mobil, that attacked climate change claims. 'Climate change science has fallen victim to heated political and media rhetoric ... the result is extensive misunderstanding,' the report's authors said. 

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.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:31 AM EDT
CNS' Biased Attack on Schwarzenegger

An Oct. 15 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. 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:05 AM EDT
NewsMax Headline Watch
Topic: Newsmax

The headline the Associated Press put on an Oct. 15 article: "Clinton Would Offer Iran Incentives."

The headline NewsMax put on it: "Hillary Goes Soft on Iran." 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EDT
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":

  • "He uncovered the pollution at Love Canal."
  • "He and Tipper were models for 'Love Story.'"
  • "He took the initiative in creating the Internet."

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.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:31 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, October 15, 2007 10:41 AM EDT
Vox Day: Jews 'Have Worn Out Their Welcome'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his Oct. 15 WorldNetDaily column defending Ann Coutler's remarks that Jews should become Christian, Vox Day gets disturbingly anti-Jewish.

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:

America is still quite friendly towards Jews, but the incessant attacks on Christianity by the likes of [Donny] Deutsch, [National Jewish Democratic Council executive director Ira] Forman and [Anti-Defamation League head] Abe Foxman have grown increasingly tiresome. Given this irritating behavior, and the historical fact that Jews have worn out their welcome in literally dozens of countries over the centuries, it is the height of foolishness for a small number of misguided individuals to demand that 80 percent of the American population remain silent about the tenets of its religious faith. 

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."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:33 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2007 1:15 AM EDT
CNS' Misleading Questions to Congress

We've noted that 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.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:13 AM EDT

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