NewsMax may be toning down its anti-Clinton rhetoric, but WorldNetDaily is plowing full speed ahead with its old-school Clinton smears. Read more.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
MRC Flip-Flops, Defends McCain
Topic: Media Research Center
How times change. As late as August, the Media Research Center (in the personage of Brent Bozell's Aug. 29 column) was deriding John McCain as a "liberal media darling." Now, the MRC is running to McCain's defense.
A Nov. 14 MRC CyberAlert by Brent Baker attacks CNN's Rick Sanchez for "[t]rying to create a scandal over Republican presidential candidate John McCain's failure to rebuke a woman supporter who called Hillary Clinton a 'bitch,'" complaining that "Sanchez's spin matched that of left-wing bloggers." Baker added that Sanchez "haughtily intoned" his report.
A Nov. 15 NewsBusters post by Baker repeats the attack on Sanchez, happily noting that CNN host and Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz (another person the MRC normally despises) stated that the "little incident was pretty badly hyped by Rick Sanchez."
But if the MRC hates McCain for cozying up to the so-called liberal media, why is it defending him now? Why should it care that McCain is embroiled in a controversy? Perhaps because when the chips are down, it will defend any Republican and attack any non-Republican -- thus making it an unofficial adjunct of the Republican National Committee -- as we noted when the MRC flip-flopped on Chris Matthews.
Newsmax Mag's Clinton Article Really Is Positive
So we picked up a copy of the current issue of Newsmax's magazine, the cover story of which is a profile of Bill Clinton's life after the presidency, to see if is really as positive as Christopher Ruddy's recent atypical fawning over the guy suggests.
The answer is yes. The article (not online) has numerous nice things to say about Clinton, noting that he "has reinvented himself as an extrordinary pitchman for charitable causes globally and "never appears at a loss for energy or vision." It offers friendly views of the Clinton Global Initiative and his friendship with former president George H.W. Bush, played down played the usual conservative attack on Clinton's private life and even touted a quote from a psychotherapist who said that "Bill Clinton is the embodiment of the American Dream" for coming from humble circumstances. Even a sidebar profile of "Bill's Ultra-Rich Buddy," Ron Burkle, is told in a straightforward manner.
The only arguably negative parts are a few paragraphs spent on Clinton's "finger-wagging rage" during an intervew with Fox News' Chris Wallace and an accompanying unverified anecdote by Richard Miniter, a conservative author who is not described as conservative, and a sidebar on the post-presidency activities of other former presidents that bashes Jimmy Carter and fails to mention Watergate in regard to Richard Nixon, noting only that he was "[d]isbarred by the State of New York in 1976."
The article was written by Edward Sigall, who, near as we can tell, appears to be this guy -- a person who, despite a long career at the National Enquirer, describes himself as "[o]ne of America’s most respected editors and writers."
In his column in the magazine (also not online; it's a partly rewritten version of his Sept. 14 online column), Ruddy endeavored to draw a line between his Clinton-hating antics of the past and his fawning behavior of today:
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
WND Columnist Wrong About Florida Recount
From a Nov. 5 WorldNetDaily column by Michael Ackley:
In fact, in at least four different scenarios, Gore would have won Florida.
WND Misleads on Holiday Lights
Gearing up for yet another misleading "war on Christmas," a Nov. 6 WorldNetDaily article claiming that Fort Collins, Colo., is considering "banning red and green lights at the Christmas holiday because they fall among the items that are too religious for the city to sponsor" is misleadingly written. The article is vaguely written enough to leave the impression that such a ban would apply to all displays in the entire city, including private ones, when in fact it only applies to holiday displays on city property.
Further, WND failed to note that the city's holiday display task force recommended numerous "symbols incorporating light" for display on the grounds of the city's museum, including religious symbols WND ought to approve of such as a creche and a menorah.
Bozell Can't Stop Lying About Hillary, Part 2
Topic: Media Research Center
Brent Bozell's Hillary mendacity continues: Media Matters reports that in an appearance on Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes," Bozell claimed that Hillary Clinton "was behind the whole FBI-gates," an apparent reference to FBI files reportedly obtained by the Clinton White House. Unfortunately for Bozell, independent counsel Robert Ray determined that "there was no substantial and credible evidence that any senior White House official, or First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, was involved in seeking confidential Federal Bureau of Investigation background reports of former White House staff from the administrations of President Bush and President Reagan.''
Ponte Attacks Matthews, Smears Clinton
In his Nov. 13 NewsMax column, Lowell Ponte declares that the "now-menopausal" MSNBC host Chris Matthews is "in love" with Barack Obama, claiming that Matthews' expressed approval of a recent speech Obama gave "reflects the sensibility of aging boomers who came of age in the era of JFK, Bobby Kennedy, honorable poet Eugene McCarthy, the Rev. Martin Luther King, anti-Vietnam War protests, the Summer of Love, hippies, and chemically-altered consciousness." Ponte seems to have somehow overlooked the fact that Matthews has asserted that John McCain "deserves to be president," as well as other expressions of support for Republicans and attacks on Democrats that contradict Ponte's description of Matthews as a "liberal baby boomer."
Ponte then writes:
Ponte, offers no evidence whatsoever that Clinton was referring to Obama specifically when calling Hillary's opponents as "boys."
Does Ponte also think that the Southern term "good ol' boy" has some kind of "code word" racist connotation as well? Does this mean that when Ronald Reagan referred to "states' rights" in a speech in Mississippi while running for president in 1980, he was also sending a "code word" to "Southern ears"? Do tell, Mr. Ponte.
Bozell Can't Stop Lying About Hillary
Topic: Media Research Center
We've noted that in promoting his new anti-Hillary book, Brent Bozell falsely asserted that Time magazine "introduced her to the country as an 'amalgam of Betty Crocker, Mother Teresa, and Oliver Wendell Holmes.'"
He's still doing it: In a Nov. 13 National Review article, Bozell and Tim Graham wrote that "Time’s Margaret Carlson describing her as 'an amalgam of Betty Crocker, Mother Teresa, and Oliver Wendell Holmes.'" We'll let TPM's Greg Sargent do the honors this time:
Bozell and Graham go on to complain in their National Review article that they and others in the "alternative media" are "blasted as 'Clinton haters' and 'persecutors' straight out of the 'vast right-wing conspiracy'" for "having the temerity to seek the truth." But their book's lead claim is not only false, it's easily proven to be false.
The reason Bozell and Graham are "blasted as 'Clinton haters'" is because, in fact, they are.
UPDATE: Graham defends his and Bozell's quoting of the Time article in a Nov. 14 NewsBusters post, insisting that Carlson "described Hillary that way, and we think it's emblematic of the pro-Hillary media goo" and that entire article shows that "Margaret sounds exactly like the 'gushing and cringe-worthy' Hillary friends that get sent out to spin the media." But that's not what Graham claimed in the National Review article (and their promo copy); they didn't go after the whole article. And Graham's suggestion that because Carlson "described Hillary that way" that it is, ipso facto, an accurate reflection of her personal opinion of Hillary brings to mind Graham's attempt to falsely ascribe the opinions of people quoted in a Washington Post article about Che Guevara to the person who wrote the article.
UPDATE 2: Sargent responds here.
Also worth noting out of Graham's response is this snide aside: "Let’s put aside for a moment the point that Hillary doesn’t come anywhere close to Betty Crocker (she wouldn’t be caught dead making Bill’s dinner every night, when there are servants for that)." And Graham is purportedly offended by being called a "Clinton-hater"?
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Kincaid Whitewashes Waterboarding
Topic: Accuracy in Media
In a Nov. 11 Accuracy in Media column, Cliff Kincaid wrote:
In fact, there is evidence that waterboarding does, in fact, result in "permanent physical or psychological harm." Further, as we've noted, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's waterboarding produced results that were "debatable," and author Ron Suskind adds that what U.S. interrogators got out of Mohammed after waterboarding were "things that professional interrogators say could have been gotten otherwise."
CNS Reports Old News
A Nov. 12 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas touted "a government report on casualty rates" claiming that "American soldiers died in higher numbers during some of the peace-time years in the 1980s than in recent years when the military has fought conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan." But it wasn't until the end of the article that Lucas mentioned a relevant fact: This report "was first released in June and updated in August."
Lucas is reporting something that was first released at least three months ago.
WND Misleads on Abortion Clinic Law
A certain Nov. 12 WorldNetDaily article carries no byline -- perhaps because it's so slanted that the writer was ashamed to put his or her name to it.
The article is about a proposed law in Oakland, Calif, to require a 8-food "bubble" between women going to abortion clinics and anti-abortion protesters. But that's not how WND described it. Here's the lead:
The article never clearly states the basic provision of the law -- that it would require an 8-foot buffer between protesters and patients. It quotes only anti-abortion activists, mostly someone from the Pacific Justice Institute, the "public interest law firm" in the lead, who claimd that the law is "the biggest threat to free speech in a generation, and that's not hyperbole."
The article also depicted Oakland councilwoman Jane Brunner as telling reporters that "the ordinance 'would give women the right to make that choice and safely go to the clinic,' without hearing any statements that conflict with the abortion-rights lobby." In fact, here's what Brunner said, according to an Oct. 23 San Francisco Chronicle article:
Brunner said nothing about "statements that conflict with the abortion-rights lobby."
If we were falsely portraying other people's statements, we wouldn't want our name to be associated with it, either. Too bad WND as a whole has no similar sense of shame.
NewsMax Still Hatin' on Hillary
More reminders that NewsMax hasn't gone totally squishy on the Clintons:
A Nov. 12 column by Barrett Kalellis claimed that Hillary Clinton is "a woman to whom honesty, openness, and forthrightness are strangers" and has "European socialist blood coursing through her veins."
A Nov. 12 column by John LeBoutillier sneeringly referred to Hillary as " this supposedly-smartest woman in the world."
A Nov. 11 "news" article is headlined: "Hillary: I Know Nothing."
Monday, November 12, 2007
Oliver Willis catches NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard making yet another malicious claim about Al Gore. In a Nov. 12 post, Sheppard claimed that Gore, who has joined a venture capital firm to guide investments that help combat global warming, "as brilliantly structured himself as a virtual financial hub of international investments associated with so-called global warming solutions whereby he'll benefit financially from any hysterical climate claim uttered by a media member, Hollywood sycophant, United Nations climate panelist, or, deliciously, himself." In fact, Gore is donating his salary to a advocacy group he founded.
As we've detailed, Sheppard has asserted without evidence that the only reason Gore is involved with global warming advocacy is for the money.
UPDATE: Sheppard updates his post to respond to Willis, whom he calls "someone connected to such a high-profile Clinton campaign front as Media Matters," insisting that "the salary to Gore is totally irrelevant. His connection to the largest venture capital firm in Silicon Valley affords him financial and investment benefits far beyond the salary he’s being paid." Sheppard offers no evidence to support this claim.
Let the record show that Sheppard has never countered anything we have written about him, even though we, like Willis, are employed by Media Matters. We like to think that's because he can't counter the facts.
Speaking Too Soon
Topic: Accuracy in Media
"Major oil spills have declined dramatically and rarely occur in U.S navigable waters. When was the last time anyone heard of a major U.S. oil spill? Also I don't know where he gets the idea that people associate oil and oceans with spills. To me it seems far more likely that ocean drilling would be associated with these words."
-- Don Irvine, Nov. 8 Accuracy in Media column about questions raised on a $5 million donation to the Smithsonian by the American Petroleum Institute for a project on the world's oceans.
"Heavy-duty bunker fuel oil has washed up on beaches throughout the San Francisco and Marin coastlines all day, leaving purplish sheens on the water, ugly black blobs in the sand, and hundreds of injured or dead birds.
-- San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 9
Bozell's Hillary Blackwash
Topic: Media Research Center
How credible can a book be when it can't even agree on its title?
That's the dilemma we face with the new Hillary Clinton-bashing book by Brent Bozell and Tim Graham. The MRC web page promoting the book proclaims it to be "Whitewash: What the Media Won't Tell You About Hillary Clinton, but Conservatives Will," but the book jacket illustrating the page (reproduced at left) reads, "Whitewash: How the Mainstream Media are Paving Hillary Clinton's Path to the Presidency."
The former title, if not official, seems to be the more accurate one according to the promo copy: "To expose the truth about Hillary that the supposedly objective media have buried, Bozell and Graham have interviewed dozens of leading conservatives who are fighting to let Americans hear the whole story: Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Mark Levin, Mary Matalin, Laura Ingraham, Cal Thomas, and many others."
The problem with such an approach is that very few of these people -- Bozell and Graham included -- are interested in "the truth" about the Clintons; they only want to attack and will forward any claim, regardless of its accuracy, to achieve that goal. Indeed, Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, Levin, Ingraham and Thomas are all on record making false or misleading claims (or just venomous smears) about the Clintons, which doesn't bode well for the veracity of the book. The promo page offers no evidence why, given such unmistakable animus toward the Clintons, the word of these conservatives (the authors included) should be trusted as unassailable fact.
We suspect that one thing incorporated into the book will be a 2006 MRC study by TimesWatch's Clay Waters purporting to claim that the New York Times "has used its seat more as a cheering section for Clinton than as a dispassionate perch for objective observation." But as we documented, the study is full of unsupported claims, opinions stated as facts and examples that provide dubious support at best to his central claim.
In fact, we may be so bold as to say that "opinions stated as facts" will be the defining element of Bozell and Graham's book.
Further, it's also not a good sign when your book's lead piece of evidence is easily debunked. From the promo copy:
Here's what actually appeared in the Jan. 27, 1992, article to which Bozell and Graham are referring:
Time never called her an "amalgam of Betty Crocker, Mother Teresa, and Oliver Wendell Holmes," as Bozell and Graham claim; it portrayed Hillary's supporters as making that claim -- and called it overblown. As far as Bozell and Graham are concerned, apparently, it's forbidden for anyone in the media to say anything nice about Hillary. There certainly won't be anything nice about her in their book, given the signs that it's little more than yet another conservative hit job.
UPDATE: The MRC has since swapped out the book cover image for one that has the current subtitle.
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