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Saturday, November 10, 2007
CNS Skips the B-Word

A Nov. 9 article by Randy Hall claims that "only three State Department employees have been killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led coalition invaded the country more than four years ago." By Hall fails to mention a certain relevant B-word -- Blackwater.

Blackwater USA serves as the security contractor for State Department employees in Iraq, and has been embroiled in numerous controversies that have resulted in, among other things, the resignation of the State Department’s security chief after a panel found serious lapses in the department’s oversight of such private guards.

None of this is mentioned by Hall, though one would think it would be revelevant to what he wrote about: the security of diplomats in Iraq. But it appears Hall is more concerned with portraying State Department employees complaining about possible forced assignments in Iraq as wusses.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:39 AM EST
Sheppard Ignores Willey's Lack of Credibility
Topic: NewsBusters

A Nov. 9 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard complains that Kathleen Willey's new book isn't being "welcomed with open arms by evening television magazines like '60 Minutes' and morning shows like 'Today.'" While raising the dark specter of "liberal media bias," Sheppard ignores the more logical explanation: Willey has a history of contradictory claims and, thus, has no credibility as a Clinton accuser.

Not, of course, that forwarding claims by people who lack credibilty has been a problem for Sheppard in the past.

Sheppard also asserts that "only Fox News has even mentioned" Willey's book. Apparently, in Sheppard's handbook of media bias, lengthy appearances on two Fox News programs (plus Hannity's radio show) translates to "mention."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:43 AM EST
'Even the Liberal' (Yet Anti-Union) Denver Post
Topic: Washington Examiner

The Washington Examiner printed an edited version of our letter regarding its Nov. 7 editorial bashing Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter for signing an executive order permitting state employees to form unions. We noted what the editorial didn't -- that the order is a rather weak one, given that it prohibits state personnel from pressuring employees into joining a union, forbids strikes and binding arbitration, and grants the Colorado legislature the right not to fund provisions in collective bargaining agreements.

But the Examiner edited out one relevant point that we originally wrote. The editorial stated:

Now, even the liberal Denver Post is calling Ritter a modern-day “Jimmy Hoffa,” a “toady to labor bosses” and “a bag man for unions and special interests.” And that was just in the introductory paragraphs of a rare front-page editorial by the Post last Sunday.

Doesn't the fact that the Post opposes the order and called Ritter "a modern-day 'Jimmy Hoffa,' a 'toady to labor bosses' and 'a bag man for unions and special interests'" -- in an editorial on the front page of the paper, no less -- mean the opposite, that the Post is not a "liberal" paper? Indeed, Post owner William Dean Singleton is known to bust unions at the papers he owns. "Liberal" newspapers are not exactly known for doing that.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:14 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, November 10, 2007 10:41 AM EST
Friday, November 9, 2007
Farah's Double Standard on Violence-Tainted Advertising
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his Nov. 9 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah announces that he has canceled his subscritption to the Washington Post because it published "a six-page advertising supplement by the totalitarian government of China boasting about its 17th National Congress of the Communist Party." Farah added, "I'll bet no one at the Washington Post even gave a second thought to whether the paper should accept advertising money from a totalitarian police state responsible for unspeakable crimes against its own people."

Perhaps Farah's declaration would have a tad more moral heft if he didn't accept advertising money from a company that sells T-shirts advocating violence against journalists.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:37 PM EST
CNS Book Double Standard Watch

We've previously noted CNSNews' double standard on political books: Conservatives are allowed to rebut claims in books by liberals, but liberals generally don't get a chance to rebut claims in books by conservatives.

CNS keeps it up in a Nov. 7 interview by Terry Jeffrey and Michael Chapman of M. Stanton Evans, author of a new book claiming that "Sen. Joe McCarthy was right about the communist threat and that liberals have ignored the evidence and distorted history." Presented in a Q-and-A format, the questions are of the softball variety, and no apparent effort is made to offer up anyone with a contrasting opinion of McCarthy.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:34 AM EST
NewsBusters Still Shilling for O'Reilly After All
Topic: NewsBusters

Despite its recent shocking correction of claims made by Bill O'Reilly, NewsBusters is still content to pretend that some false claims made by O'Reilly are true. A Nov. 7 post by Justin McCarthy claimed that "O’Reilly also dispelled the false 'New York Times' story that 'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' (O’Reilly only said 'MSNBC' without mentioning Olbermann by name) is competitive with 'The O’Reilly Factor.' In fact, 'The Factor' dominates the 8:00 PM slot dwarfing 'Countdown.' "

In fact, as Media Matters points out, the Times article is correct. Its claim that "Countdown" "has even come tantalizingly close to surpassing the ratings ... at least among viewers ages 25 to 54, which is the demographic cable news advertisers prefer" is absolutely true, and O'Reilly's claim that "In the past five weeks, 'The Factor' has beaten them by 225 percent in total audience and 100 percent in the key demo" is misleading. The article also noted that "Most of the time, though, Mr. O'Reilly outdraws Mr. Olbermann by about 1.5 million viewers over all at the same hour, according to Nielsen Media Research," something O'Reilly and McCarthy failed to mention.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:40 AM EST
CNS Plays Up ENDA Attack, Ignores Provision Contradicting It
A Nov. 8 article by Susan Jones on the passage in the House of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act reported that "House Republican leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the bill would undermine state and federal marriage laws across the country." But Jones didn't mention that, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported, ENDA includes "a reaffirmation that the Defense of Marriage Act banning federal recognition of same-sex marriage remains intact."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:07 AM EST
Updated: Friday, November 9, 2007 9:08 AM EST
Finkelstein Defends His Attack on Obama's Patriotism By Claiming It Wasn't One
Topic: NewsBusters


In response to criticism on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" of his Oct. 20 highlighting of a picture of Barack Obama standing without his hand over his heart at a campaign event during what he first claimed was the Pledge of Allegiance (later corrected to the national anthem), Mark Finkelstein wrote a Nov. 7 NewsBusters post defending his original item.

Fineklstein complained that "the MJ panelists and the Obama campaign have seized on the fact that it was the anthem and not the pledge to excuse Obama's failure to put his hand over his heart. That is a distinction without a difference: the tradition is to place the hand over the heart for the anthem as well as for the pledge." Actually, there is a arguable distinction: it's somewhat more accepted (rightly or not) to not put hand over heart for the national anthem, as the crowd at any given sporting event can attest.

Finkelstein then insisted:

I don't question Barack Obama's patriotism, though it is obvious that he's not enthralled with certain traditional expressions of it that many Americans appreciate.

That's a tad disingenous. By making the effort to highlight this photo on a conservative website, Finkelstein absolutely was questioning Obama's patriotism -- as indicated by the number of comments on the post citing the photo as evidence that Obama is unpatriotic. It's also indicated by his statement that "I found it jarring that Obama, asked about it, went out of his way to state 'I won't wear that pin on my chest' because it was 'a substitute for I think true patriotism.'"

The whole point of conservatives like Finkelstein making a big deal out of Obama not wearing a flag pin or not assuming a specific position during the national anthem is, implicitly or otherwise, to question his patriotism. If not, why bring it up in the first place?

UPDATE: Finkelstein's post has apparently morphed into an anonymous email that (falsely) accuses Obama of not having hand over heart during the Pledge of Allegiance and (presumably) questions his patriotism. In debunking it, the Washington Post has found photos of Obama with his hand over his heart -- which seems to contract Finkelstein's suggestion that Obama hasn't been acting in a patriotic enough manner on the campaign trail. Will he let his NewsBusters readers know about this?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:54 AM EST
Updated: Friday, November 9, 2007 1:44 PM EST
Thursday, November 8, 2007
MRC- Fox News Appearance Watch
Topic: Media Research Center
The MRC Business & Media Institute's Dan Gainor is sure racking up the appearances on Fox Business. His latest, on Nov. 8 -- at least the fourth in the past month -- follows the template: solo, and no acknowledgment that Gainor and the MRC are conservative.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:54 PM EST
Matthews Channels Finkelstein
Topic: NewsBusters

"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?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 PM EST
NewsBusters Pushes Phelps' 'Democrat Views'
Topic: NewsBusters

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."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 PM EST
New Article: Once and Future Bias
Topic: 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.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:38 AM EST
Shocker: NewsBusters Corrects O'Reilly!
Topic: NewsBusters

Given the Media Research Center's historic defense 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.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:14 AM EST
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Huston's Rant of the Day
Topic: NewsBusters

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.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:42 PM EST
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.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:58 AM EST

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