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Saturday, October 20, 2007
When CNS Reporters Assume ...

An Oct. 19 article by Susan Jones reported that "Republican leaders" were asking following the failed override of the SCHIP bill if Democrats will "continue to play politics with children's health care, or will they finally work to reach a bipartisan agreement on renewing the legislation?" Jones then added: "Democrats apparently plan to play politics: They've promised to introduce another, similar bill -- changing it just enough to attract more Republican support. But Republicans say bipartisan negotiations are the only solution."

Um, doesn't the fact that Democrats are changing the bill "just enough to attract more Republican support" in indication that Democrats are, in fact, acting in a bipartisan fashion?

Further, Jones' statement that "Democrats apparently plan to play politics" plays into CNS' longtime assumption that Democrats are motivated only by politics while Republicans are not. Indeed, Jones makes no statement to readers that Republicans' demand for bipartisan talks on SCHIP is as much a political strategy as what the Democrats are doing.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:14 AM EDT
Friday, October 19, 2007
Huston Attacks Reporting Site That Hasn't Reported Anything Yet
Topic: NewsBusters

An Oct. 18 NewsBusters post attacks the newly announced investigative reporting website ProPublica for being funded by "a pair of left-wing billionaires responsible for funding such groups as the Center for American Progress and and other far left Democrat backing organizations." He then tries to create a double standard:

How often do we see the MSM and other partisans attacking Fox News for being founded by Roger Ailes, a well-known conservative? Yet, the same is NOT the case for the founding of this new effort in "journalism."


It just amazes that the MSM is so blind to its own bias. They attack Fox News constantly because Ailes is a conservative, yet the advent of this new news source bought and paid for by left-wing extremists is met with unquestioning applause. How is it that a conservative MUST interject his bias into his product, but it is automatically assumed that a pair of super rich, leftist activists will leave their bias completely out of their so-called news?

Huston ignores an important distinction: ProPublica has yet to publish any articles -- its website states that "Operations will commence in early 2008" -- while Fox News has, well beyond merely being operated by Ailes, repeatedly demonstrated that it has injected conservative bias into its "product" -- something Huston curiously doesn't concede.

Even the Investor's Business Daily editorial Huston cites to back up his claims concludes by saying of ProPublica: "Let it be known by its product." If only Huston would do the same.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:59 AM EDT
Farah Renews Call for Hollywood Blacklist
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Back in 2003, we noted that WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah advocated the return of the Hollywood blacklist for "anti-American" actors (but mostly those who criticize President Bush). Farah makes the call again in his Oct. 17 column.

Farah proclaimed of the 1950s anti-communist blacklist era: "I spent years researching this period. I interviewed and spent time with many of the principals – including members of the [Hollywood] 10" who were blacklisted -- and then proceeds to get the name of one of them wrong. He refers to "Ring Lardner"; in fact, Lardner died in 1933. The person in question is actually Lardner's son, Ring Lardner Jr. Given the elder Lardner's distinction as an author in his own right, it's sloppy of Farah to refer to Lardner Jr. without the "Jr.," which raises the question of just how much research Farah has really done on the subject.

Farah also writes:

But there's a new breed of anti-Americanism deserving of punishment. A price needs to be paid for biting the hand that feeds Hollywood so well.

I don't think people should go to jail for their anti-American views. I just think they should never work in the entertainment industry again.

Farah offers no examples of "anti-Americanism" that must be "punished," instead asking his readers to make their own list. Probably a wise move, considering that last time Farah was portraying mere dissent as "anti-Americanism."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:29 AM EDT
WND Fails WND Columnist's Journalism Standards
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his Oct. 17 WorldNetDaily column, Craige McMillan serves up " a consumer's 'Bill of Rights'" for journalists. McMillan said he was talking about "Big Media," but there's no reason not to apply his standards to his employer as well. How good a job does WND fulfill McMillan's precepts in his "Bill of Rights"?

"Any reporter, editor or broadcaster manipulating facts or obscuring evidence will be terminated immediately." -- WND's Aaron Klein manipulated facts to falsely smear an Islamic relief organization as being linked to terrorists and holding fraudulent fund-raisers. Last we checked, he was still drawing a WND paycheck.

"You have a right to corrections displayed with the same prominence as the original article." -- WND's retraction of the above false Aaron Klein story occurred six months after the story appeared.

"You have a right to know if reporters, editors or broadcasters are married to, dating, sleeping with, suing or otherwise involved with government, business, academia or other interests that we report on." -- WND did not tell its readers about its apparent collaboration with the Alliance Defense Fund in promoting allegations involving a book written by WND managing editor David Kupelian.

"You have a right to know how a story originated. Was it a special interest group press release? Or did we identify and develop the story on our own?" -- WND regularly turns press releases into news articles -- as they repeatedly did in promoting the so-called "war on Christmas" -- without disclosing that fact to its readers.

"'Fake but accurate' reporting has no place in our news room." -- In 2004, WND falsely claimed that "Some of the groups organizing protests at this summer's Republican National Convention in New York -- including one anarchist outfit planning disruptions -- get funding from a foundation chaired by Teresa Heinz Kerry." When it was pointed out that Heinz-linked donations to the Tides Foundation were specifically earmarked toward specific causes that did not include anarchists, WND tried to spin its lie by asserting that "it is accurate to say that donors to Tides are indeed supporting all of its causes" because Tides takes a 10 percent administration fee from donations.

"Plagiarism, also known as reporters too lazy to make up their own stories (see Fake but Accurate, above), has no place in our newsroom. Violators will be terminated." -- It's hard to fire plagiarists when they run the place; WND founder and editor Joseph Farah has engaged in his share of plagiarism.

Does McMillan have the courage to assess the news organization that prints his column by the standards he expects the "mainstream" media to live by? Time will tell, but we won't be surprised if he won't.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:50 AM EDT
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

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