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Friday, October 26, 2007
NewsBusters Repeats False Smear of Hansen
Topic: NewsBusters

An Oct. 25 NewsBusters post by Matthew Balan asserted that a segment of the CNN series "Planet in Peril" "failed to mention that NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen ... has received funding from George Soros, while mentioning that 'second biggest contributors to [global warming skeptic Senator James] Inhofe's Senate office are energy and natural resource companies.'" Balan further asserted that "Hansen received $720,000 from George Soros’s foundation [the Open Society Institute] in 2006." Balan's evidence for this claim was a Sept. 26 NewsBusters post by global warming misleader Noel Sheppard, who in turn cited an Investor's Business Daily editorial.

But the IBD doesn't claim that "Hansen received $720,000 from George Soros." Rather, it asserted that "Hansen was packaged for the media by Soros' flagship 'philanthropy,' by as much as $720,000, most likely under the OSI's 'politicization of science' program."

Sheppard went on to chastise the media for not having "looked into this matter - you know, acted like journalists instead of advocates!" Of course, that's something Sheppard himself has no interest in doing, as we've noted; otherwise, he would have contacted Hansen for his side of the story before making (well, copying and pasting) his accusation. Had he done so, he would have learned the story behind the money and that Hansen says he "did not receive one thin dime from George Soros." Hansen added: "By the way, in case anybody finds out that George Soros INTENDED to send me $720,000 but could not find my address, please let me know! We are pretty hard pressed here."

That, of course, wasn't good enough for Sheppard. In a Sept. 28 post, he insisted that Hansen "failed to thoroughly refute the claims made against him." But Sheppard fails to offer any evidence to counter Hansen's denial and, thus, support his earlier assertion that Soros "gave $720,000 in 2006" to Hansen. While Sheppard concedes some shakiness by admitting that "we don't know whether he received a dime either directly or indirectly from George Soros or one of his foundations," he won't accept Hansen's denial at face value, the way he accepts whatever claim by global warming deniers that comes down the pike.

Given that, Balan is repeating a lie when he asserts that "Hansen received $720,000 from George Soros." Will this lie get corrected before it gets copied and pasted into today's CyberAlert? We'll see.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:35 AM EDT
Thursday, October 25, 2007
CNS Again Misleads on CLEAR Act

Yesterday, we noted how's Kevin Mooney presented a one-sided view of an immigration-related bill, refusing to talk to anyone on the other side of the story to give them an opportunity to counter the claims made by conservative activists. Mooney does pretty much the same thing in an Oct. 25 CNS article featuring a "report" by Daryl Metcalfe, a Pennsylvania state legislator, purporting to demonstrate how "[r]ape, kidnapping, drug smuggling, assault, burglary, murder, and fraud convictions have been imposed on illegal aliens found to be residing throughout Pennsylvania."

That "report," though, is little more than an anti-immigrant screed, featuring anecdotes of crimes committed by illegal immigrants with no effort at statistical research or any other purpose than to be alarmist. For instance, it repeats a claim by right-wing site Family Security Matters that "the estimated 2,158 murders committed by illegal aliens every year in the United States has now killed more American citizens than the Iraq war." This echoes Rep. Steve King's demonstrably false assertion that 12 Americans are murdered every day by illegal immigrants. And even FSM admits its numbers are based on a series of assumptions and extrapolations not necessarily supported by actual hard data.

Of course, comparing raw numbers of alleged deaths is highly misleading because the soldiers' deaths are taken from a much smaller population -- roughly 200,000 U.S. personnel on duty there, vs. roughly 300 million people in the U.S. -- so the soldiers' death rate is much higher than even FSM's alarmist numbers.

One of our favorite misinformers shows up in Metcalfe's report as well: Several claims are credited to former WorldNetDaily writer Jon Dougherty, credited as "author of the best-selling book, Illegals: The Imminent Threat Posed By Our Unsecured Borders." By what measure was Dougherty's book "best-selling"?

As he did the day before, Mooney incompletely reports on the CLEAR Act, which would give local officials authority in enforcing federal immigration laws. Mooney failed to note (as we did) that there is conservative opposition to the CLEAR Act.

Further, in noting the National Council on La Raza's opposition to the CLEAR Act, Mooney apparently took that information only from La Raza's website and made no apparent effort to talk to La Raza -- or any other opponent of the CLEAR Act or other anti-immigration measures -- in person. By contrast, Mooney noted that two other sources for his article, Metcalfe and Steve Camerota of the anti-immigration group Center for Immigration Studies, "told Cybercast News Service" their statements.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:40 PM EDT
MRC Misleads on CNN Coverage of Medal of Honor Recipient
Topic: Media Research Center

In an Oct. 23 Media Research Center CyberAlert (and Oct. 22 NewsBusters post), Matthew Balan writes: "CNN decided to not to break away Monday afternoon from its almost non-stop coverage of the California wildfires as President Bush formally awarded a Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan the Medal of Honor, as its competitors Fox News and MSNBC aired the ceremony at the White House live." Balan added: "It wasn't until 2:43pm Eastern, eight minutes after its rival networks concluded its live coverage of the award ceremony, that CNN aired a 3-minute long segment featuring some of President Bush's remarks and a story by CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr on the 2005 battle in which Lt. Murphy was killed."

But in mentioning only this, Balan falsely suggests that the 3-minute segment was CNN's only coverage of Murphy's Medal of Honor. In fact, as Media Matters details, CNN reported on the story throughout the day and repeated that 3-minute segment later that day. Indeed, CNN mentioned Murphy a total of seven times on Oct. 22. Further, CNN did announce at two points earlier in the day that it had planned to air the Medal of Honor ceremony live, further contradicting Balan's suggestion that it didn't consider Murphy newsworthy.

If the MRC is going to make an issue about CNN's coverage of Murphy's Medal of Honor, it has an obligation to detail the entirety of that coverage. Failure to do so is dishonest and constitutes a false smear against CNN.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:31 AM EDT
New Article: An Inconvenient Smear
Topic: The ConWeb
How did the ConWeb react to Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize? NewsBusters slimed him, while Accuracy in Media dredged up old, discredited attacks. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:56 AM EDT
NewsBusters Bashes Carlin's Statement on Wildfires, Silent on Beck's
Topic: NewsBusters

An Oct. 24 NewsBusters post by Justin McCarthy claimed that in an appearance on "The View," George Carlin "blame[d] the victims on the Southern California wildfires." Carlin said that because homeowners in forest areas "overbuild, they put nature to the test and they get what's coming to them."

McCarthy did not mention -- indeed, there is no mention anywhere on NewsBusters -- of conservative radio host Glenn Beck appearing to root for the destruction of liberals' homes in the wildfires by saying, "I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EDT
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
WND Writer's Head Explodes At Idea That Dumbledore Is Gay
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've previously noted the anti-gay stylings of semi-offical WorldNetDaily columnist Linda Harvey -- she has claimed that "Open or suspected homosexuals should never be elected" because they are involved in "[w]eird sex, public displays of "affection" and nudity, and sex with youth." So with J.K. Rowling's revelation that Dumbledore, the Hogwarts Academy headmaster, is apparently gay, Harvey uses her Oct. 24 WND column to launch a tirade against not only homosexuality but the Harry Potter books as well:

Will these parents carefully remove the books from their children's collections and explain why to their kids? Or will some continue to desert clear biblical teaching and allow their kids to maintain hero-worship of an "out" homosexual?

Will some find ways to re-cast homosexuality into something different than the "abomination" it's called in Scripture? Will it become something more like a sad disability, one that the "mean religious right" targets for nefarious purposes? The demands for same-sex marriage and the promotion of homosexuality in schools are the products of well-funded, relentless and totally anti-Christian forces that Christian conservatives did not engineer.


Will we allow our kids to believe it would be perfectly appropriate for the headmaster of any school to be homosexual? After all, many teachers in public schools are now homosexual. Some elite private schools do have homosexual headmasters. Parents are not only allowing it, some pat themselves on the back for the lesson in tolerance being learned daily by their kids.


Why make him "gay," one wonders? Why now? An agenda seems to be lurking. The link between pagan/occult spirituality and outlaw sexuality has always been strong, one more reason to keep impressionable kids away from the increasingly weird genre of "fantasy" books and movies.

Harvey offers no evidence to support her claim that "many teachers in public schools are now homosexual."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:56 PM EDT
Jill Stanek Is 'The Media'?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

From Jill Stanek's Oct. 24 WorldNetDaily column:

Saturday I attended a private meeting of conservative leaders during the Family Research Council Washington Briefing, a Salt Lake City II if you will, to discuss dilemmas we face with the 2008 presidential candidates.

Instructions were given not to speak to the media, and since I am the media, I took that to mean details discussed were off-the-record and, of course, I'll honor that.

1) Um, no, Ms. Stanek, you are not "the media." You are, as the bio at the end of column states, a "pro-life leader."

2) Even if you were "the media," why are you attending "private meetings" regarding public political issues about which you are instructed "not to speak to the media"? Isn't meekly acquiescing to such demands the exact opposite of what someone in "the media" should be doing?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:31 PM EDT
CNS Takes One-Sided View on Immigration

An Oct. 24 article by Kevin Mooney goes all one-sided in quoting only "policy analysts," "citizen activists" and Republicans who oppose "comprehensive approach" to illegal immigration because "activist judges" are "likely to strike down enforcement measures while leaving 'amnesty' provisions intact."

Mooney quotes no proponents of "comprehensive" immigration reform, featuring instead claims by the anti-immigration Center for Immigration Studies and several Republican politicians. Mooney also features Marianne Davies, whom he describes as being among "citizen activists" who are "mindful of the judiciary's apparently permissive posture toward illegal immigration" and as a spokesman for You Don't Speak For Me, which portrays itself as "American Hispanic Voices Speaking Out Against Illegal Immigration."

Mooney quotes Davies making unsupported claims about the National Council on La Raza, including that La Raza has "successfully interjected [itself] into the judicial confirmation process where they lobby for activist judges" and that La Raza "was really formed for the purpose of advancing interests that closely correspond with the goals and objectives of the Mexican government." Mooney made no apparent attempt to contact La Raza for a response.

Mooney also cited praise for the CLEAR Act, which authorizes local and state officials to enforce federal immigration laws, paraphrasing Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell (whom Mooney fails to identify as a Republican) as saying that "at a time when illegal immigration is intermixing with organized crime, drug trafficking, and homeland security threats, the Clear Act will put police officers in a stronger position to trigger federal action." But Mooney fails to note that there is conservative opposition to the CLEAR Act: a 2004 article by the conservative Heritage Foundation asserts that an earlier version of the bill is "unnecessary" and that it "takes exactly the wrong approach, inappropriately burdening state and local enforcement and providing insufficient protections for civil liberties."

By contrast, an Oct. 24 CNS article by Nathan Burchfiel on the DREAM Act, which would open up a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children, takes a somewhat more balanced approach, giving proponents as well as opponents a chance to make their case.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:29 PM EDT
Graham Tries to Divert From MRC Funder's Tawdry Divorce
Topic: Media Research Center

An Oct. 22 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham portrays the Washington Post as "a liberal, Clinton-loving newspaper" because it published an article on the tawdry divorce proceedings of "conservative philanthropist" Richard Mellon Scaife. Graham grudgingly admits that Scaife is a "backer of the MRC, truth be told." But he doesn't disclose how much support it gets from Scaife's foundations. In fact, as Media Transparency details, the MRC has received nearly $2 million from Scaife foundations between 1997 and 2005.

Graham also bashes the article's writer, David Segal, as "one of a pack of liberal media elitists who began his career at the 'neoliberal' magazine The Washington Monthly." Graham has attacked Segal numerous times, at one point falsely ascribing the views of people Segal quoted to Segal himself.

Graham complains that the Post article's "joy in Scaife’s misfortune was hardly hidden" and "began and ended with the gimmick that the divorce was so entertaining that you should literally pack a lunch and travel to Pittsburgh to watch it." But he really takes offense at the article's claim that the Scaife-funded American Spectator fishing expedition to "try to unearth prurient and embarrassing details about Bill Clinton's years as governor of Arkansas ... came up virtually empty-handed," responding:

Anyone who goes back and looks into what caused the impeachment of President Clinton begins with the Spectator's 1993 expose on "Troopergate" -- how Clinton used state troopers to acquire sexual conquests -- for that story spurred the sexual harassment lawsuit of Paula Jones. (She was portrayed by the Spectator as a willing bimbo simply named "Paula.") The Jones lawyers found Monica Lewinsky, the President lied about a sexual relationship with her, and the rest is Clinton scandal history, including Clinton admitting his sexual harassment of Jones with a nearly million-dollar financial settlement. That's hardly coming up "empty-handed."

In other words, the Scaife-funded probe found the kind of stuff Graham turns up his nose at when detailed about conservatives like Scaife. Indeed, Graham is careful not to repeat the tawdrier aspects of Scaife's divorce, which include, as Segal wrote, "a dog-snatching, an assault, a night in jail and that divorce court perennial, allegations of adultery."

And by the way, the troopers tended to back off their claims when placed under oath and had other credibility problems.

Also, by claiming that "[m]ost of the details were personal," Graham glosses over the fact that Segal details the money Scaife doles out to various conservative causes. (A sidebar details Scaife's favorite recipients of his largesse, including a whopping $23 million to the Heritage foundation and nearly $18 million to the Free Congress Foundation.) The article also notes that Scaife's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review loses $20 a year and has cost Scaife $312 million to date. (One of the bones of contention is whether the Tribune-Review should be considered a business or a hobby, which will affect the size of alimony payments.)

We suspect that Graham and the rest of the NewsBusters crew would not be so sqeamish about such "personal" details if the person in question was, say, George Soros. Or Bill Clinton.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:56 AM EDT
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
ConWeb's Latest Promotion of Its Favorite Convicted Felon
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily and have resumed their shilling for their favorite convicted felon, Peter Paul, and his latest politically motivated and personal vendetta attack on Hillary Clinton, a film called "Hillary Uncensored."

Both an Oct. 22 WND article by Art Moore and an Oct. 22 CNS article by Fred Lucas tout the alleged popularity of the film's trailer. Moore, as he frequently does, called Paul a "business mogul" who "claims President Clinton destroyed his entertainment company." Lucas is slightly less fawning, referring to Paul as a "Hollywood businessman."

Both Moore and Lucas demostrate a lack of enthusiasm about discussing Paul's lengthy criminal history. Moore doesn't mention it at all -- Moore has previously done his best to whitewash Paul's criminality -- while Lucas mentions it only in passing, noting only that Clinton attorney David Kendall has "questioned the credibility of Paul, citing his previous felony convictions." Of course, that ignores Paul's current felony conviction, on a $25 million stock manipulation scheme for which Paul is awaiting sentencing.

WND's Moore repeated Paul's laughable assertion that "the film is not being 'directed by any right-wing group. It's not intended to have any ideological or political message at all, other than confirming what Machiavelli notices in Renaissance Italy, that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.' " In fact, longtime right-wing activist and Free Republic poster "Doug from Upland" (hiding behind a pseudonym, of course) was involved in the production -- as he has pointed out, he has "worked with Peter Paul for over two years on this" -- and is involved in promoting the film. Doug is a guy whose hate for all things Clinton is well documented in his Freeper posts. For instance, Doug wrote in promoting an upcoming screening of "Hillary Uncensored" at Dartmouth University:

Dartmouth will be a great venue. It was the recent scene of a Democrat debate. Peter Paul went to school there. Hillary went there for a Winter Carnival blind date and got ditched. Her date got stinking drunk (perhaps a good move considering the blind date).

Further, as we've noted, the Equal Justice Foundation of America, which also helped finance the film, appears to be little more than a proxy for Paul to attack the Clintons. And then, of course, there's all that free, fawning publicity from CNS and WND. If the film didn't have an "ideological or political message" in the form of bashing the Clintons, CNS and WND would not be promoting it -- and every other pronouncement by Paul -- so unquestioningly.

For Paul to portray himself as having no "right-wing groups" on his side is ludicrious on its face. Of course, WND and CNS -- being so far in Paul's pocket -- won't tell you that.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:42 PM EDT
More Anti-Democrat Bias From CNS

Last week, we noted that's Susan Jones made the assumption that Democrats in Congress "apparently plan to play politics" with a bill while ascribing no such motivation to Republicans. She does it again in an Oct. 23 article.

The headline -- "Democrats Playing Politics With Veterans Funding Bill?" -- depicts the bias to follow, and the lead paragraph sets the tone: "Congressional Democrats are stalling a veterans funding bill, and Republicans want the nation to know that, as Veterans Day draws near." The article quotes only Republican leaders and makes no apparent attempt to contact any Democrat to respond to her (and Republicans') accusations.

Such biased writing plays into CNS' longtime assumption that Democrats are motivated only by politics while Republicans are not. 

Posted by Terry K. at 9:23 AM EDT
Scarborough Leaves Examiner
Topic: Washington Examiner

MediaBistro reports that Rowan Scarborough has left the Washington Examiner, claiming that he's "retiring." But he was only at the Examiner since February; eight months into a new job is a strange time to "retire."

We have to wonder: Did our busting him on writing an egregiously biased article on CIA official Michael Sulick, thus perhaps forcing him to write a somewhat less biased follow-up (after we complained), play a part?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:01 AM EDT
Times Change: 'Heroic Cop' Kerik Now 'Rudy Crony'
Topic: Newsmax

We remember back in 2004, NewsMax vociferously defended then-homeland security secretary nominee Bernard Kerik from what it called an "unprecedented, full-scale attack" by the "leftist media." It attacked Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen for reporting "unverified incidents portraying Kerik as a bully who misused his authority," adding, "Even Jayson Blair covered his tracks better." Such attacks, NewsMax claimed, "hope to derail the nomination of a heroic cop the left fears will do an outstanding job of protecting the homeland and thus reflect credit on the man who picked him, President Bush."

How times change.

NewsMax was eventually forced to abandon its blanket defense of Kerik as the evidence of malfeasance and corruption continued to pile up. And now, in an Oct. 22 article, NewsMax is all to eager to hang Kerik around Rudy Giuliani's neck, reporting that Giuliani's presidential campaign "is increasingly concerned that the controversy swirling around ... Kerik could negatively impact his White House aspirations." NewsMax goes on to call Kerik a "Rudy crony" who "has been a thorn in Giuliani’s side for some time," adding that "after a week of press scrutiny, Kerik withdrew acceptance of the nomination, stating that he had unknowingly hired an undocumented worker as a nanny and housekeeper" without noting its own vociferous defense of the man.

Meanwhile, the main beneficiary of positive NewsMax coverage among Republican presidential candidates is Mitt Romney. Besides Ronald Kessler's creepy sycophancy, another Oct. 22 article cites an endorsement of Romney by Dr. John Willke, whom it calls "the doctor known as the founder of the pro-life movement." In a similarly sycophantic tone, the article adds: "Dr. Willke's fervent support should help erase doubts about Romney's commitment to the pro-life cause, which has been questioned due to his former position in support of abortion when he was governor of Massachusetts."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:14 AM EDT
Monday, October 22, 2007
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch
Topic: Media Research Center
An Oct. 22 appearance by MRC president Brent Bozell on "Fox & Friends" followed the template: Bozell appeared solo, and the MRC was not identified as conservative.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:29 PM EDT
NewsBusters Suddenly Loves Author It Used to Hate
Topic: NewsBusters

An Oct. 22 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard touts a Slate article by Steven Landsburg raising questions about whether global warming policies are worth it since "climate policy is almost entirely about you and me making sacrifices for the benefit of future generations." Sheppard promotes the article as "must-reading for all Americans - including elected officials" even though Landsburg "is likely not a household name."

But Landsburg is not necessarily the conservative-friendly writer that Sheppard makes him out to be. Landsburg is the author of the book "More Sex is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics," which advanced the theory that those practicing "monogamy, chastity, and other forms of extreme sexual conservatism" are contributing to the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases because they are not widely involved in sexual activity, thus "reducing the fraction of relatively safe partners in the dating pool."

Tim Graham spent an entire July 9 NewsBusters post denouncing Landsburg ("a regular contributor to the liberal site") and his "simple-minded thesis" ("He has not pondered that for religious people, armed with a sincere aspiration to avoiding the eternal consequences of sin, there is no convincing argument for casual dabbling in 'safe' sin or 'socially beneficent' sin"). Graham also attacked the New York Times for reviewing Landsburg's book: "Economics aside, this does not morally compute. Would the Times book editors pluck out of obscurity a tome that argued that people who don’t drive cause global warming? Pacifists cause wars? Vegetarians cause the mass slaughter of chickens?"

So, does this mean Landsburg is an OK guy now that he's writing something that dovetails with Sheppard's Gore-bashing agenda?

Posted by Terry K. at 5:19 PM EDT

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