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Monday, October 29, 2007
Conservative Media Dishonesty: The List
Topic: The ConWeb

An Oct. 8 American Thinker article by Randall Hoven lists 101 instances of "media dishonesty" -- a list almost entirely devoid of conservatives. Hoven writes:

I did receive a few complaints for not having "conservatives" on the list. There turns out to be a good reason for that: there just aren't that many who pass the criteria for clear dishonesty in the public debate. It is probably also related to the fact that so few journalists are conservative. Some people did send me "conservative" candidates for my list, but they told me more about the submitters  than the people on the list. I suspect Media Matters was the ultimate source of most or all of them.

So, to help Mr. Hoven out, here are some examples of conservative media dishonesty that we've documented, using the same criteria Hoven cited on his list:

1. Joseph Farah, WorldNetDaily, plagiarism, undisclosed conflict of interest (2005). More than half of a WND article written by founder and editor Farah was copied without attribution from a Reuters article; the other half features a company Farah didn't disclose was a WND advertiser.

2. WorldNetDaily, fell for hoax (2005). WND reported that Terri Schiavo's husband sold the rights to his story to CBS for a TV movie. Turns out WND got its information from an April Fool's post on a blog.

3. WorldNetDaily, fabrication (2004). Claimed that  Teresa Heinz Kerry, donated millions to "radical, anti-American groups" through an organization called the Tides Center. In fact, Heinz's donations were earmarked for specific environmental causes. Called on the falsehood, WND then peddled the logical distortion that "it is accurate to say that donors to Tides are indeed supporting all of its causes" because "donors to the Tides Foundation pay approximately 10 percent above and beyond the amount grant recipients get for administrative fees and overhead to Tides."

4. Aaron Klein, WorldNetDaily, fabrication (2004). Klein falsely suggested that the charity Islamic Relief had ties to terrorists and that the orphans for whom it was raising money didn't exist. WND was forced to retract the article and apologize to the charity.

5. Jack Cashill, WorldNetDaily, fabrication (2002). Wrote a seven-part WND series suggesting that James Kopp was innocent of killing abortion doctor Barnett Slepian and was framed by liberal government officials "determined ... to protect the abortion industry." Six months after the series ran, Kopp confessed to killing Slepian.

6., misrepresentation (2005). An article asserted that when Democratic strategist said at a Democratic gathering that "They want to kill us, particularly in this city, and New York, and some other places," he was referring to Republicans, not -- as is clear from the context of Begala's remark -- Islamic terrorists. When Begala tried to set the record straight, then-CNS editor-in-chief David Thibault essentially called Begala a liar.

7. Dan Riehl, NewsBusters, fabrication (2006). Riehl asserted that S.R. Sidarth, the target of George Allen's infamous "macaca" statement, was "making fun of an Hispanic William & Mary student's death" on a University of Virginia discussion board; in fact, the person posting under Sidarth's name did not "make fun" of the students, merely linking to an article about it and offering no other comment.

8. Media Research Center, misrepresentation (1994). The MRC pasted quotes together -- one ellipsis represented a 28-page span -- from a book by former New York Times editor Howell Raines to falsely portray him as insulting Ronald Reagan's intelligence by the statement "Reagan couldn't tie his shoelaces if his life depended on it." In fact, Raines was referring to Reagan's fly-fishing skills.

9. Christopher Ruddy, NewsMax, fabrication (2000). Claimed that Bill and Hillary Clinton were selling their Chappaqua, N.Y., house because their neighbors have put the home under 24-hour video surveillance on the off-chance of being able to sell something to supermarket tabloids. His source? Anonymous sources "at some of America's most notorious supermarket tabloids."

10. James Hirsen, NewsMax, fabrication (2005). Claimed that U2 was "[t]eaming up with the legendary rock group U2 for a one-night only appearance." In fact, Santorum's campaign had merely purchased tickets for the concert to resell to donors. NewsMax then corrected the article without alerting readers to the fact that it had been changed or apologizing for its error, then misleadingly claimed that "NewsMax had never claimed that U2 or Bono were holding their concert for Santorum."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:31 AM EDT
Sunday, October 28, 2007
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

An Oct. 26 appearance by MRC's Business & Media Institute director Dan Gainor on the Fox Business channel (part 1, part 2) to chat up how businesses are aiding victims of the Southern California wildfires shows what we suspected: The same template for MRC appearances on Fox News is being applied to MRC appearances on Fox Business. As happens so often with MRC representatives on Fox News, Gainor appears solo on Fox Business, and neither he nor the BMI are identified as conservative.

Meanwhile, the template continues on Fox News: An Oct. 21 appearance by BMI's Amy Menefee on "Fox & Friends" (part 1, part 2) discussing "the media’s obsession with the 'R' word, Recession," is a solo appearance, and nowhere is mentioned that she or BMI are conservative.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:42 PM EDT
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Sheffield Thinks All Liberals Are Socialists
Topic: NewsBusters

An Oct. 27 NewsBusters post by Matthew Sheffield asserts that "a recent study of Facebook profiles of BBC employees finds, surprise surprise, that Britain's taxpayer-funded network is utterly dominated by socialists."

Well, no. The Daily Mail article he cites as evidence does not use the word "socialist" -- which describes a specific political view; it uses the word "liberal" instead, as the excerpt of the article Sheffield quoted makes clear. Most of those self-identified "liberals" "either vote Lib- Dem ... or Labour," according to the article. Sheffield offers nothing to back up his suggestion that either Labour or the Liberal Democrat parties in Britain are explicitly socialist parties, or any other explanation of British politics -- or that the Daily Mail is a conservative newspaper that actually supported Hitler and Mussolini through much of the 1930s -- to put these statistics in perspective.

And as we've suggested, Sheffield offers no evidence to support his contention that "liberal" and "socialist" are interchangeable terms.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:32 PM EDT
Sheppard Brownnoses Inhofe
Topic: NewsBusters

An Oct. 26 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard starts this way:

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, delivered a startling and historic two hour speech on the Senate floor Friday about "recent developments which are turning 2007 into a ‘tipping point' for climate alarmism." 

Given that the Senate adjourned at 1:47 p.m. ET on Oct. 26 and no global warming-related items were on the agenda that day, Inhofe's speech has all the earmarks of having been made post-adjournment to an empty chamber for the benefit of C-SPAN cameras -- which makes it not terribly "startling" and rather less than "historic."

Sadly, Sheppard can't take his nose out of Inhofe's you-know-what to tell his readers the context of that speech. 

Posted by Terry K. at 10:17 AM EDT
Friday, October 26, 2007
Peter Paul Tells More Whoppers
Topic: The ConWeb

Here's a shocker: Fox News actually takes a stab at telling the full truth about Peter Paul!

An Oct. 26 article features Paul's new Hillary-bashing documentary, "Hillary Uncensored," but instead of merely regurgitating Paul's dishonest spin, the article actually details Paul's criminal history and lack of credibility, noting that "The allegations in the film are not new." Still it doesn't go far enough to counter all the false claims Paul made.

For instance, the article states one claim made in the film:

The Clintons later made sure Paul was kept in a Brazilian prison for 25 months, including 58 days in a maximum security cellblock nicknamed the "Corridor of Death," while the Justice Department waited to extradite him.

In fact, as the Department of Justice stated, Paul did not flee to Brazil until February 2001, and he refused to return after the United States Attorney's Office informed him that he was the target of a criminal investigation. Paul was arrested in Brazil in August 2001. Notice anything about those dates? They all occur after Bill Clinton left office, making it extremely unlikely that "the Clintons" had any direct hand in bringing Paul to justice. Further, the only reason Paul "was kept in a Brazilian prison for 25 months" was his own actions, not that of "the Clintons"; as the DOJ pointed out, Paul "contested" his extradition proceedings.

The article further states that "the securities fraud plea that he agreed to cop in March 2005 was to get out of jail after 43 months in Brazilian and New York prisons." The article doesn't mention, as the DOJ did, that at the time of Paul's plea, two of Paul's co-defendants, Stephen Gordon and Jeffrey Pittsburg, pleaded guilty to similar charges.

We've previously documented the efforts of WorldNetDaily and Newsmax to whitewash Paul's criminal history and pretend that Paul is someone who should be taken seriously.

UPDATE: The U.S. attorney who prosecuted Paul, Roslynn Mauskopf, was appointed by President Bush, further discrediting Paul's claim to be a victim of "the Clintons."

UPDATE 2: Media Matters has even more details. 

Posted by Terry K. at 4:10 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, October 26, 2007 11:12 PM EDT
Meanwhile ...
Topic: Newsmax

Media Matters gets to the crux of Newsmax's (the "m" is now lowercase, per a Newsmax logo change a few weeks back) criticism of it in an Oct. 25 article regarding Glenn Beck's statements about the California wildfires: "Media Matters quoted, but de-emphasized, much of the fuller context of Beck's remarks." In other words, Media Matters has committed the sin of quoting someone accurately.

Newsmax concludes its article: "Oh well, who care [sic] about the facts?" Which demonstrates that Newsmax doesn't care about copyediting.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:00 PM EDT
Softball Interview Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center empire published a couple of interviews with conservatives the other day. While not as obsequiously fawning and enabling as, say, FrontPageMag's Jamie Glazov, they are quite friendly and devoid of challenging questions.

In an Oct. 24 interview of Ann Coulter, CNSNews' Randy Hall happily plays straight man:

  • "What was you reason for putting together a collection of what we would call your greatest hits?"
  • "In your new book, you thank one group of Americans as unyielding in their defense ofthe truth to every single attack on you. What is that group, and why do you think they support you so strongly?"
  • "Do you think all the food thrown at you by liberal college students should be collected and given to the poor?"
  • "Do they throw finer cuisine at conservatives who speak at Harvard University?"

Meanwhile, in an Oct. 25 interview of Evan Coyne Maloney, director of the anti-liberal film "Indoctrinate U," NewsBusters' Matthew Sheffield makes sure to work in the corporate line -- "You think, speaking of the media, do you think that part of the reasons that there hasn't been a lot of coverage [of Maloney's film] is that the media are liberal?" -- and he also finds common ground with Maloney on the horrible burden of being a conservative:

  • "Yeah, I've noticed kind of a similar thing. We just launched a comedy show on our web site but some of the audience doesn't quite get it. It's hard for them to understand anyone can be funny, and on film, and be conservative."
  • "I think it goes back-way back to the idea of the popular front. We on the right had to build up an intellectual structure to carry out our views ... And then you're supposed to go on to the mainstream."
  • "Yeah, exactly. What we need is someone on the right to say, hey that was a good idea that they had on the left to create a popular front so let's do the same thing, spend the money to train people to reach out to the average person."

Sheffield also lets slide Maloney's claim that "there's no right-wing George Soros handing out millions upon millions of dollars to groups like a conservative ." Has no one ever heard of Richard Mellon Scaife?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:33 PM EDT
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

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