"If she was watching 'Today' this morning, you can imagine Hillary Clinton using her best North-Korean-parliament rhythmical clapping in response to what she saw. It might be 'ronery' in her Georgetown or Chappaqua spreads, but it's always heart-warming to know you've got friends at the highest-rated morning show."
-- Mark Finkelstein, June 29, 2006, NewsBusters post
"They love these lunchtime meetings. And they're always at -- [Hillary's]usually standing in front of the camera, and she's clapping, like she's Chinese. I know the Chinese clap at each other, but what is she clapping at?"
-- Chris Matthews, on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Nov. 7
Actually, it turns out that Matthews has a long history of likening Hillary Clinton's clapping to that of Asian communists, which suggests that Finkelstein may be channeling Matthews instead of the other way around.
And all this is especially funny because Finkelstein regularly attacks Matthews for being a horribly biased liberal. And now they sound alike? What's up with that?
A poll currently running on NewsBusters asks: "Does Fred Phelps Get Less Media Coverage Because of His Democrat Views?"
This attempt to hang Phelps around the neck of the Democrats ignores the fact that the two things he and his clan are known for -- anti-gay activism and protesting at military funerals -- are not views held by any Democrat, despite NewsBusters' previous suggestion to the contrary.
Unfortunately, none of the answers to the poll is "No, because Phelps' anti-gay activism is much closer to the mainstream of conservative thought than any Democratic view."
New Article: Once and Future Bias Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com took a stab at serving up relatively balanced reporting earlier this year. With the arrival of new management, however, that's all gone. Read more.
Given the Media Research Center's historicdefense of Fox News (and the MRC's cozy relationship with said channel), it's typically verboten for its writers to point out anything that contradicts Fox News' "fair and balanced" mantra. So it was a shock when NewsBusters posted not one but two items correctly claims made by Bill O'Reilly.
A Nov. 7 post by Kyle Drennen noted an appearance by O'Reilly on CBS' "Early Show," in which he said, "You see, I don't believe anything the press writes about Bill and Hillary Clinton at all...We tracked it yesterday, and we couldn't find any swift boat reference." Drennen responded: "Well, a Fox News article with Associated Press contributors quoted the former president: 'We saw what happened the last seven years when we made decisions in elections based on trivial matter...When that scandalous Swift Boat ad was run against Senator Kerry.'" Gasp!
In another Nov. 7 post, Lynn Davidson is offended the O'Reilly called Rev. Fred Phelps and his rabidly anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church flock "far right":
But Phelps isn't “far right.” According to Wikipedia and Kansas Voter View, he's a registered Democrat who ran in five Kansas Democratic primaries, including governor. He also reportedly campaigned for then-Sen. Al Gore in the 1988 presidential campaign (these photos seem to back this up), culminating in invitations to both Clinton-Gore inaugurations, although that support waned as Clinton-Gore promoted gay rights.
As we pointed out the last time somebody tried to claim this, Phelps' Democratic connections 20 years ago are irrelevant today; Davidson offers no evidence that any Democrat currently supports Phelps' crusade. Further, Phelps' anti-gay campaign is much closer to the conservative mainstream than his picketing at military funerals is to the liberal mainstream (or any other mainstream, for that matter). Phelps promoted a 2005 vote in Topeka, Kan., his hometown, to repeal a city ordinance prohibiting discrimination against homosexuals in city government hiring -- a thoroughly mainstream conservative position -- and Phelps' granddaughter, Jael Phelps, ran against the state's first openly homosexual officeholder for a Topeka City Council seat (and got clobbered), something the conservative Southern Baptist Convention-owned Baptist Press newswire deemed worthy of coverage.
It would take a herculean effort for Warner Todd Huston to top his anti-Eagles screed, but he gamely gives it a shot in a Nov. 7 NewsBusters post that appears to have something do with insisting that any declared Republican who supports Barack Obama was never a real Republican in the first place.
Not that he has any personal knowledge of that, of course. Yet Huston bravely searches campaign donor records for proof that two Obama supporters in Nebraska, a Mr. Filipi and a Mr. Kleinsmith -- described in a Time article as "a Republican" and "a lifelong Republican," respectively -- are genuine Republicans:
A campaign donor search of Mr. Filipi shows no financial activity thus far reported. That doesn't make the lie to his claim of being a Republican, but it does say he wasn't so active as to have donated his money. For a Doctor, that says a lot. There is also no donor activity for Mr. Kleinsmith, but his Barack Obama group page shows a photo of quite a young man, he can't be even into his thirties, so it's a bit hard to take the "lifelong" claim too seriously. At his age how much time could he really have vested in that "lifelong" Republican claim, anyway? The average person rarely pays much attention to politics before their thirties, for instance.
Huston offers no evidence to support his suggestion that Filipi and Kleinsmith are somehow not authentic Republicans because they did not donate to Repubican candidates.
Then, having bashed Filipi for being an insufficiently loyal Republican, he strangely bashes Mr. Filipi for not doing enough for Obama, accusing him of doing nothing more than creating a web page:
OK, either Time writer Jay Newton-Small is Internet illeterate, or he is trying to make Mr. Filipi's Internet venture sound bigger than it is. Because the "Nebraskans for Obama" thing that Mr. Filipi supposedly "founded" is just another group page on the Obama website. So, far from "founding" anything, Mr. Filipi just opened an easily created page within Barack Obama's campaign website. Mr. Newton-Small's description makes Filipi's web effort seem herculean in contrast to what it really is.
Huston give no indication that he tried to talk to Mr. Filipi, so, in fact, he has no idea whether the only thing Filipi did for Obama is "open an easily created page within Barack Obama's campaign website" and, thus, is baselessly attacking Filipi because -- well, we don't know why. Jealousy? Hatred? Hard to tell. After all, as we've documented, Huston is a sycophant for Fred Thompson, and he may be feeling a bit put out that his candidate hasn't exactly caught the imagination of the electorate the way Obama has.
Moy's Readers Bust Her on Misleading Reporting Topic: The ConWeb
It seems that Catherine Moy's history of shabby and misleading "reporting" continues: A Nov. 4 column by Ray Duke in the Vacaville (Calif.) Reporter, where Moy pens a weekly column, details how Moy stated in a Reporter column and elsewhere that "A Code Pink supporter wearing an orange mask charged at some veterans with a knife" during a "pro-troop" rally and counterprotest. This purported incident was mysteriously never reported to police -- perhaps, Duke writes, because the protester wasn't trying to knife veterans at all but, rather, trying to cut down a Marine flag, something much different than what Moy described. (That, of course, is its own punishment for hacking off a group of Marines.)
Duke also notes that Moy never disclosed in her Reporter column that she is acting executive director of Move America Forward, the organization that sponsored the "pro-troop" rally -- a clear conflict of interest.
It seems that Moy is getting busted on a regular basis by her own readers: A Nov. 4 letter to the Reporter notes that Moy "was revealed in these pages to have relied for 'facts' on an obscure, ultra-conservative Christian Internet site to support her pro-Bush notions. Mostly her columns amount to venting, and her observations both locally and nationally, smack of vindictiveness." Ouch.
WND Ignores Willey's Lack of Credibility Topic: WorldNetDaily
As part of its bid to solidify its position as the leading Clinton-hating news organization on the Web, WorldNetDaily has been promoting the new book by discredited Kathleen Willey, best known for claiming that President Clinton groped her. But in none of its main reporting thus far related to Willey's book -- articles on Sept. 5, Nov. 5 and Nov. 7 -- has WND noted Willey's history of false and contradictory testimony.
As Media Matters details, the Nov. 5 article by Art Moore (best known around these parts for his virtual fellating -- and efforts to hide the criminal record -- of Peter Paul) reports that Willey claims that she "[m]ost definitely" suspects that her husband was murdered and that she "ha[s] suspicions" the Clintons were involved. In suggesting parallels between the deaths of Foster and her husband, Willey repeats the false claim advanced by then-Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Christopher Ruddy -- now of Newsmax, last seen trying to distance himself from his history of Clinton-hating -- that Foster was left-handed, while the gun was found in his right hand. Willey refers in the book to "the left-handed Vince Foster," but Moore doesn't note that Ruddy has acknowledged that the claim that Foster was left-handed was a "factual error."
Moore also doesn't tell his readers that the report from independent counsel Robert Ray found that "Willey's Testimony to the Grand Jury About the Alleged Incident Differed Materially from Her Deposition Testimony Given in Jones v. Clinton," noting that Willey "said at her deposition ... that [Clinton] did not fondle her." Ray also found that Willey contradicted herself on whether she had told others about the alleged incident, and asserted that Willey gave false information to the FBI. All of this casts a pall over any claim Willey makes.
WND editor Joseph Farah once claimed that "everything" WND has covered has been "fair, honest, truthful, balanced and accurate." Wouldn't a news organization genuinely committed to being "fair, honest, truthful, balanced and accurate" -- as opposed to pushing a one-sided agenda -- have told its readers the full story of Kathleen Willey?
WND Attacks Editor's Own 'Fatcat' Home County Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Nov. 4 WorldNetDaily article states that because of "high-paying government jobs and billions in defense and homeland security contracts" -- which the article attacks as "Beltway bandits" -- "11 of the 25 wealthiest counties in America – including the Top 3 – are now in the Washington area." At the top of the list is "Fairfax County, Va., which last year topped $100,000 in median household income – the first U.S. county to do so – thanks to Uncle Sam awarding employers there an astonishing $13 billion in new federal contracts."
Unmentioned is the fact that WND editor Joseph Farah lives in Centreville, Va., which is located in ... Fairfax County. And we would be shocked if he wasn't beating the average county income.
(What is it about the ConWeb and high-rent areas? In addition to Farah's "fatcat" Fairfax County lifestyle, NewsMax and Christopher Ruddy are kickin' it in West Palm Beach.)
The article serves up a muddled message. It's eager to tsk-tsk that "Virginia, Maryland and D.C. grabbed a whopping 40% of the total $10.2 billion in contracts DHS awarded that year" -- a misleadingly worded claim, since it's actually companies located in those jurisdictions and not the jurisdiction itself that receives that money. Underlying all of this is the unspoken suggestion that companies who seek government business shouldn't be located near the seat of federal government -- a strange thing to suggest.
Again, the poster child for this is Farah. When he moved from Oregon to Washington in 2002, he stated his reason for doing so: "Now, as our business grows, we feel the time is right to become more visible – to take advantage of the opportunities to appear on television, to network with other like-minded colleagues, to make travel more feasible."
In other words, he's no different from the companies seeking government contracts who have located in the Washington area to take advantage of opportunities, to network with other like-minded colleagues, to make travel more feasible. We thought that was a good thing for Americans to aspire to do.
If it's good enough for Farah, why isn't it good enough for the so-called "Beltway bandits"?
Massie Cites Discredited Book as Evidence of Voter Fraud Topic: WorldNetDaily
In his Nov. 6 WorldNetDaily column arguing in favor of a law requiring photo IDs to vote in federal elections, Mychal Massie repeated cites John Fund's 2004 book "Stealing Elections" as evidence that Democrats have "has a long and distinguished history of" voter fraud.
But as Media Matters points out, Fund's book uses distortions and half-truths to impugn Democrats and distort events in the 2000 presidential election in Florida, as well as other cases in which he described alleged fraud that was never proven in a court of law (and, in one case, dismissed as "flat-out false" by a Republican state attorney general).
Massie also opens up his thesaurus again, calling an effort to oppose voter ID laws "nothing more than a transpicuous attempt to abrogate voting regulations by a radical liberal of the Democrat Party." Sadly, he doesn't trot out "Erebusic" this time.
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch Topic: Media Research Center
A Nov. 5 appearance by the Business & Media Institute's Dan Gainor on the Fox Business channel appears to follow part of the template for MRC appearances on Fox News and Fox Business by not identifying Gainor or BMI as conservative (only the first part of the interview is posted). Gainor did, however, appear opposite a liberal counterpart, a relative rarity for MRC appearances on Fox.
Sadly, No! tells the story of how P.J. Gladnick, NewsBusters poster and operator of the DUmmie FUnnies blog (NewsBusters is currently encouraging its readers to vote for DUmmie FUnnies for "funniest blog" in the Weblog Awards) took part in an orchestrated campaign to interfere with fundraising for a liberal activist who was dying of cancer.
Is this more or less shameful than NewsBusters' association with terrorist sympathizer Cinnamon Stillwell? We report, you decide.
'Medicine Men' Promote Questionable Abortion-Breast Cancer Study Topic: Newsmax
A Nov. 5 Newsmax "Medicine Men" column by Michael Arnold Glueck and Robert J. Cihak touts "[a]n article in the fall issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons by actuary Patrick Carroll" that "shows that induced abortion, especially nulliparous abortion, is the reproductive risk factor that most accurately predicts breast cancer incidence."
But as we reported, the group behind the study has a murky background, the study itself was commissioned by two British anti-abortion groups, and the study was published in a conservative journal, the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, that has a bad habit of putting its politics ahead of sound research -- most notoriously, publishing a 2003 anti-immigrant screed by Madeleine Cosman that got statistics wrong to play up a purported resurgence of leprosy (which puts the JAPS' purported peer review process into question).
As we've also noted, the JAPS is published by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a conservative group of which Glueck is a member and Cihak is a former president.
Farah's Double Standard on Secret Societies Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Nov. 1 WorldNetDaily article promoted a new book that claims "every person elected as president of the United States since  – and nearly every opponent – has belonged to a secretive, globalism-oriented organization known as the Council on Foreign Relations." The book suggests that the CFR and other groups such as the Bilderberg Group and the Trilateral Commission are "secret societies shaping a new world order from behind the scenes."
In a Nov. 3 follow-up column, Joseph Farah writes that Hillary Clinton is a member of CFR, adding:
Now, I'm about to let you in on a little secret. I want you to remember where you heard it: If you see Ralph Nader in the race, the insider establishment at the Council on Foreign Relations, Bilderbergers and Trilateral Commission has decided against Hillary. If you don't see him in the race, she has been anointed and blessed with their support.
How do I know this? Why do I say it?
Because the dirty little secret is that Ralph Nader gets much of his financial support from the Rockefeller cartel that runs these secret establishment power clubs – organizations dedicated to breaking down national sovereignty and moving us down the slippery slope toward world government.
What Farah doesn't mention is that he belongs to his own secret club that wants to pick its own presidential candidate. As we've reported, Farah belongs to the Council for National Policy, a secretive right-wing group that, most recently, barred all media except friendly ones -- like WND -- from covering a meeting in Salt Lake City. Indeed, WND was the only news outlet to report from that CNP meeting that that evangelicals are threatening to bolt the Republican Party if Rudy Giuliani is the presidential nominee.
It appears that in reality, Farah is not opposed to secret societies picking the president -- as long as it's the secret society he belongs to.
The MRC's Tim Graham has a bad habit of ascribing political motives to arts reviewers, claiming that the only reason they would praise a liberal-themed production is because they agree with the message, or would pan a conservative-themed production only because they disagree with the message. For instance, we've noted that Graham has criticized reviewers who like the radical rap group the Coup, suggesting that the only reason any reviewer would give the group top ratings is out of sympathy with its left-wing politics.
Graham serves up more arts criticism -- and criticism of the critics -- in two recent posts. In an Oct. 26 post, Graham complained that Washington Post reviewer Desson Thompson gave the film "Bella" -- being touted in conservative circles for, in the words of the MRC's Brent Bozell, being about a woman who considers abortion but "decides to carry her baby to term" -- "was picked to pieces as a cheesy bore" and "panned as an 'endless' fiasco," suggesting this was solely because the film is "vaguely pro-life." By contrast, Graham asserted, Post reviewer Stephen Hunger was "boosting the liberal documentary 'For the Bible Tells Me So' as not only moving but superbly thought out," adding, "Perhaps this is Hunter's way of strolling away from the office heat over his Michael Moore bashing" -- a reference to Hunter's negative review (as praised by Graham) of Moore's film "Sicko."
But doesn't Hunter's negative review of "Sicko" indicate that, in fact, he's driven by the quality of the film, not the message? And isn't Graham a bit too obsessed with a film's political message to give an honest review of a film's overall quality? Indeed, Graham continues: "But couldn't Thomson's criticism be applied to the gay film? Christian families in a liberal film struggle with a gay family member, and they all reconcile and agree the Bible's outdated. Where is the surprise, the dramatic tension in that?" He then praises the New York Times for "pann[ing] the film's artlessness, even as it endorsed its identity politics."
Graham did claim that "it's important that newspaper film critics review a movie first as a work of art, and then perhaps assess the political or cultural or moral messages within" -- which suggests he has a basic understanding of the role of the critic -- but then claimed that the reviewers' reactions to "Bella" and "For the Bible Tells Me So" "seemed to be based strongly on political criteria." Yet Graham offers no evidence to support this claim or to contradict anything Thompson and Hunter stated in their reviews.
Meanwhile, in a Nov. 5 post, Graham suggested that anyone who liked NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams' appearance on "Saturday Night Live" was a member of the media elite (read: liberal media). While Graham's own somewhat tepid assessment of Williams was "solid, not hilarious," TV critics "swoon[ed]" and were "chummy."
Again, Graham seems to be projecting his own personal opinions before a genuine artistic assessment. In a July 21 post, Graham mocked Williams as a "pompous snob" after Williams criticized bloggers as "a guy named Vinny in an efficiency apartment in the Bronx who hasn’t left the efficiency apartment in two years." Graham likened Williams to a "snobbish, pompous jerk who thinks he's bringing the gift of his enlightenment to all the rubes in their efficiency apartments."
Meanwhile ... Topic: NewsBusters Think Progress and Swampland's Ana Marie Cox give Warner Todd Huston's massive NewsBusters diatribe against the new Eagles album the attention it deserves: Cox suggests that Huston's rant is "the product of some kind of meth-and-Doritos rage binge."