501(c)(3) organizations like the Media Research Center -- of which NewsBusters is a part -- aren't supposed to endorse candidates, but NewsBusters writers are making their preferences known. And these days, they don't like Mike Huckabee, given the frequency of how they're likening him to Democratic presidential candidates.
We've previously noted that Tim Graham claimed that Huckabee "sounded like Hillary" on the issue of "tuition breaks for illegals." Now, a Nov. 25 post by Mark Finkelstein claims that in an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Huckabee "indulging in some class-warfare rhetoric that would have been the envy of" John Edwards.
Finkelstein offers no evidence that Huckabee's "populist message" -- pointing out that "the economy, while doing great for the people on Wall Street, is not necessarily translating down to the guys handling the bags and selling the tickets and serving you Cokes on the airplane" -- is factually false. Yet he attacks Huckabee by saying his message is calculated to "appeal to the liberal media" and that he is "sow[ing] the whirlwind in GOP circles, all the better from the MSM perspective."
One has to wonder: What is it about Huckabee that MRC's conservatives hate? If hard-core social conservative Huckabee isn't conservative enough for them, who is? Judging by Warner Todd Huston's sycophancy, Fred Thompson.
WND Article Promoting Flawed Study Gets Canadian Politician In Trouble Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Nov. 24 WorldNetDaily article reports: "A Canadian political party leader's posting of a WND article on homosexuality has brought him before the country's Human Rights Commission to face accusations he was motivated by 'hate and defamation.'" The article described the study:
The 2002 WND story posted online by [Ron] Gray [of the Christian Heritage Party] cited a study published in the Regent University Law Review by Steve Baldwin, executive director of the Council for National Policy in Washington, D.C. Titled, "Child Molestation and the Homosexual Movement," the study found child molestation and pedophilia occur far more commonly among homosexuals than among heterosexuals on a per capita basis.
"Overwhelming evidence supports the belief that homosexuality is a sexual deviancy often accompanied by disorders that have dire consequences for our culture," Baldwin wrote.
"It is difficult to convey the dark side of the homosexual culture without appearing harsh," wrote Baldwin. "However, it is time to acknowledge that homosexual behavior threatens the foundation of Western civilization – the nuclear family."
The April 2002 WND article about the study, by Jon Dougherty, details findings in the study but, in true WND style, doesn't allow anyone to rebut it with the same amount of detail. Unfortunately for Gray and WND, the study is based on a flawed assumption that homosexuality is equivalent to pedophilia.
As Mark E. Pietrzyk detailed, research shows that the vast majority of adult males who molest boys have no interest in adult homosexual relationships. According to researcher Gene Abel, "only 21 percent of the child molesters we studied who assault little boys were exclusively homosexual. Nearly 80 percent of the men who molested little boys were heterosexual or bisexual, and most of these men were married and had children of their own."
Further, People for the American Way points out, the study is "refuted by longstanding research on the sexual abuse of children" and "constitutes yet another effort by Religious Right groups to exploit the Catholic Church controversy to advance their anti-gay agenda."
WND Repeats False Claim About Stem Cells Topic: WorldNetDaily
In a Nov. 24 article, WorldNetDaily attributes to conservative activist and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson the claim that "[a]t least 70 conditions already are being treated with stem cells."
As we've detailed, this is false. This number -- forwarded by anti-embryonic stem cell researcher David Prentice in a list of ailments purportedly treatable by adult stem cells -- has been discredited; FDA-approved adult stem cell treatments are available for only nine diseases.
The WND article also excerpts a New York Times article quoting James Thompson, leader of a team of researchers that found a way to turn ordinary human skin cells into what appear to be embryonic stem cells without using a human embryo. as saying that the research supercedes the need for embryonic stem cells -- or, in WND's words, "the war is virtually over." But the article did not note that in a Times article the day before in which it is attributed to Thompson and a Japanese researcher making the same discovery that that "it would be premature to abandon research with stem cells taken from human embryos."
NewsBusters Hatin' on Illegal Immigrants Topic: NewsBusters
A pair of NewsBusters took time out from their holiday weekend to throw a little hate in the direction of illegal immigrtants.
A Nov. 24 post by Warner Todd Huston tries to downplay the humanity of immigrants by bashing a California sheriff who had praised an illegal immigrant who had stayed with a pair of accident victims until help arrived. "[T]hat this one illegal did something morally right even while he was breaking our laws, does not erase all the illegalities and law breaking that every other illegal immigrant has done over the last 30 years," Huston snarled. "Nor does it erase the fact that this particular illegal was breaking the law even as he was nice enough to help the little boy and his mother."
Huston then tries to downplay his own hate:
Estrada says that illegals get "demonized." I can agree with that. Sometimes anti-illegal immigrant activists get a bit carried away with how supposedly evil illegal immigrants really are. A dispassionate review of this issue can easily agree that illegals are sometimes overly "demonized." Then the Sheriff says they "do a lot of good." No one is saying all they do is necessarily bad, you know? Illegally immigrating here is the bad thing, but it does not follow that all illegal immigrants are somehow bad people because of it. But, like I said, even if they are basically good people, that inherent goodness does not absolve them of their lawbreaking.
But if Huston is opposed to "demonizing" illegal immigrants, why is he so worked up about the thought that anyone would praise them?
In a similar vein, a Nov. 24 post by Tim Graham is upset that Mike Huckabee doesn't want to demonize illegal immigrants, complaining that Huckabee "sounded like Hillary" on the issue of "tuition breaks for illegals," an apparent reference to the DREAM Act, which would permit in-state tuition rates for immigrants who arrived illegally in the U.S. as children.
Huckabee said, "If your government at the federal level is so incompetent that it fails to secure the border, you don't then grind your heel into the face of a 6-year-old child over it." Graham apparently has no problem with doing that.
A Nov. 23 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein promotes an "alternative plan" for dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Called the Israeli Initiative, it essentially comes down to paying Palestinians to leave the West Bank and Gaza and for Israel to officially annex those areas. While Klein asserts that the plan "has already gained broad backing, including from some leftist lawmakers and U.S. politicians," he never states one specific fact: The plan is being advanced by conservatives.
Klein describes Benny Elon, lead promoter of the initiative, only as "chairman of the National Union party and ... a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee." The National Union party is a right-wing party, and Elon has been a longtime opponent of the Israeli disengagement plan and other plans for peace promoted by non-conservatives, which Klein also doesn't mention. Klein also describes plan supporter Benjamin Netanyahu is described as a "[o]pposition leader" and "chairman of the Likud party" without noting that Likud is also a conservative-leaning party.
As we've detailed, Klein has a problem labeling conservatives as such.
Further, while Klein suggests that Elon's plan is a new one, WND wrote about it way back in 2002. In contrast to Klein's claim that the plan "has already gained broad backing," Wikipedia notes that a 2005 survey found that Elon's plan had no more public support than Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan, and that Elon's National Union party got only 7 percent of the vote in the 2006 Israeli elections.
Recent CNSNews.com articles make a mockery of its purported mission to "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story" by making only token efforts to obtain the other side of a story, then not bothering to follow up tell the full story.
A Nov. 21 article by Pete Winn on a planned boycott of the upcoming movie "The Golden Compass" reatures two conservative activists who "told Cybercast News Service" their objections to the movie. The other side, meanwhile, was represented by an excerpt from a 2002 interview with the author of the book on which the movie is based and an excerpt from an Australian newspaper interview with one of the actresses in the film. Winn made no apparent effort to contact anyone involved with the film for a specific response to the boycott threat.
A Nov. 20 article by Nathan Burchfiel quoted two "pro-life activists" claiming that "high abortion rates among black women" are linked to "high levels of 'hopelessness' in African-American communities across the United States." Burchfiel's attempt to "fairly present" the other side was limited to stating that "A spokesman for the Alan Guttmacher Institute did not respond to requests for comment by press time" and pulling statistics off the group's website. Was this story so time-sensitive that it couldn't wait for a live person from the Alan Guttmacher Institute to respond? Hardly.
A Nov. 16 article by Melanie Hunter featured a campaign by "[t]he nation's largest pro-life group" to urge Congress "to stop giving taxpayer dollars to organizations that perform abortions by passing one of two bills designed to ban the funding of abortion." Hunter made no apparent effort to contact an actual "organization that perform abortions" for a response; instead, she copied a statement from the Planned Parenthood website.
A Nov. 14 article by Burchfiel was almost entirely devoted to pushing a report from MRC sister organization Business & Media Institute claiming that "Major news outlets are largely ignoring personal responsibility in their coverage of a recent increase in loan foreclosures." Not until the final paragraph is it noted that "Representatives for the NBC 'Nightly News,' ABC 'World News' and CBS 'Evening News' did not respond to requests for comment by press time Tuesday." Again, this was not a time-sensitive article that needed to be pushed out as quickly as possible. And the absence of a follow-up article suggests that Burchfiel has made no further attempt to give the networks a fair opportunity to respond.
CNS' lack of balance is more evident in a series of articles it published on speakers at a recent gathering of the conservative Federalist Society. But while remarks by unabashedly conservative Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and John Roberts and President Bush weren't countered by any opposing view, the speech by Rudy Giuliani, who has a record of being less than conservative, was. Kevin Mooney wrote that "Some pro-life and Second Amendment advocates in attendance felt Giuliani's address was deliberately crafted to avoid directly addressing some of their central concerns."
By contrast, a July 31 article by Hutner covered a speech by Sen. Chuck Schumer before the American Constitution Society, the Federalist Society's liberal counterpart -- and Hunter contacted the leader of a conservative legal group for a response.
And there are still CNS articles that don't even make the pretense of telling the other side. A Nov. 21 article by Susan Jones on a California law that forbids employers from using state funds to deter union organizing tells only of business interests trying to overturn the law; Jones makes no indication that she even bothered to contact any supporter of the law for a response.
All of this further confirms our suspicions that CNS is pulling further right -- and more biased and unfair -- under new editors Terry Jeffrey and Michael Chapman.
Is Zelnick Disappointed Clinton Wasn't Indicted? Topic: CNSNews.com
In a Nov. 20 CNSNews.com review of Brent Bozell and Tim Graham's anti-Hillary book (hint: he likes it), Bob Zelnick writes (emphasis added):
Most journalists who sought to investigate the Clintons' alleged improprieties in Little Rock or Washington came away with lots of suspicious behavior but no smoking guns. The Clintons, of course, stonewalled those hot on the trail of impropriety, as did their closest associates. Even so massive an effort as that undertaken by the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal yielded a disappointing harvest of conclusive evidence of wrongdoing. Investigations headed by special prosecutors proved no more productive. From Whitewater to Travelgate, the Feds quietly gave up one ghost after another. Not a single indictment was returned against either Clinton in any case. Impeachment produced a division along partisan rather than evidentiary lines.
That can be read as saying that Zelnick was rooting for an indictment and was disappointed that the Clintons weren't indicted on anything, even though there was no "conclusive evidence of wrongdoing." If so, that seems to contradict Bozell and Graham's thesis that the media is monolithcally liberal on the subject of the Clintons; after all, Zelnick worked for ABC News for 21 years, notably coving national political and congressional affairs from 1994 to 1998, during the Clinton administration.
Given that one of the cornerstone beliefs among conservatives is that because many journalists hold liberal beliefs, those beliefs are reflected in their reporting -- Zelnick himself admits as much, praising the MRC for "provid[ing] me with ammunition for verbal repartee with my cherished liberal students and faculty friends" -- doesn't this also mean that Zelnick's conservative views were reflected in his reporting for ABC? If so, Zelnick -- and Bozell and Graham -- should admit as much, that conservative reporters are just as biased as they accuse liberal reporters of being.
As we'venoted, NewsMax really hasn't gone as soft on the Clintons as Christopher Ruddy's recent rapproachement suggests. The latest evidence:
A Nov. 18 article promoted Karl Rove's Newsweek column attacking Hillary, which "implied that a controversial question asked to Sen. John McCain by a woman in South Carolina ["How do we beat the bitch?"] was not without justification."
Dick Morris' Nov. 19 column in which, as we noted, he called Hillary Clinton "the commander of the Clinton secret police" and Clinton campaign communications director Howard Wolfson a "KGB enforcer look-alike."
John LeBoutillier spends his Nov. 21 column ranting about how "CNN stands for Clinton News Network."
We've previously noted that CNS passed along discredited information in a Nov. article on a breakthrough in stem cell research. CNS has now done done twomore articles on the research; they, like the first one, quotes only supporters of the research and critics of embryonic stem cell research, which the breakthrough research -- which turns skin cells into something resembling embryonic stem cells without the use of actual embryos -- purportedly would make obsolete.
Missing from CNS' reports is a crucial statement from one of the lead researchers on the breakthrough. The New York Times reported that James A. Thomson, leader of the University of Wisconsin team that helped research the breakthrough, said that "it would be premature to abandon research with stem cells taken from human embryos." That statement is found nowhere in any of the three CNS articles on the subject.
Is this a violation of CNS' stated mission to "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story" -- or does it not consider embryonic stem cell research to be a "legitimate" story it is compelled to "fairly present"?
WND Still Misleading On Border Patrol Agents Topic: WorldNetDaily
Earlier this year, we detailed how WorldNetDaily has distorted the case of two Border Patrol agents convicted of shooting an illegal immigrant. A Nov. 21 WND article by Jerome Corsi keeps up the distortions.
Corsi's article is entirely devoted to accusations by a "Border Patrol activist group" that the U.S. attorney who prosecuted the Border patrol agents, Johnny Sutton, of suborning perjury in the case. At no point does Corsi indicate that he contacted Sutton or any of his representatives to allow them to respond to the charge, even to the statement that "Sutton is an overzealous prosecutor, just like Mike Nifong in the Duke University case."
Corsi also, in recounting the case, hides important details that conflict with his vision that the agents are innocent. Corsi sums it up this way:
Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean are in solitary confinement in federal prisons serving 11- and 12-year terms respectively for shooting Aldrete-Davila as he fled across the border on foot after bringing 750 pounds of marijuana across the Texas border.
Corsi ignores the fact that the salient reason Ramos and Compean were convicted was that they tried to cover up their involvement in the shooting by picking up their shell casings afterwards and failing to file an incident report on it. And Corsi's making a big deal about Ramos and Compean being "in solitary confinement" ignores the fact that the reason they are in solitary confinement is because Ramos was assaulted when he was in the general prision population -- where Ramos was placed after Corsi complained that Ramos was "held in solitary confinement treated as if he were Charles Manson," despite the fact that imprisoned law enforcement officers are typically held separately from the rest of the prison population. (Yeah, Corsi made a big deal out of the assault, too.)
Corsi needs to decide whether he wants Ramos and Compean in solitary confinement or not -- as well as decide whether he wants to actually become the real journalist he pretends to be and tell both sides of the story.
Sheppard Advocates Violence Against Liberal Columnist Topic: NewsBusters
In a Nov. 20 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard seconds indicted Tom DeLay's claim that he would like to "bitch-slap" New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, calling the idea "delicious" and adding, "Don't you love it when you find out that leading political figures in America think just like you?"
So much for fellow NewsBuster Tim Graham's suggestion that conservative bloggers are more civil than liberal ones...
CNS Repeats Discredited Claim About Stem Cells Topic: CNSNews.com
A Nov. 20 CNSNews.com article by Patrick Goodenough on "news of a breakthrough in stem cell research that some ethicists believe could spell the death knell for the controversial science of cloning human embryos for their cells" claimed that research involving "adult stem cells from non-controversial sources like bone marrow and placentas ... have -- unlike in the case of ESCs [embryonic stem cells] -- already reportedly yielded dozens of treatments."
As we noted the last time CNS made this claim -- forwarded by anti-embryonic stem cell researcher David Prentice -- Prentice's list of ailments treatable by adult stem cells has been discredited; FDA-approved adult stem cell treatments are available for only nine diseases.
Criticism of Bush = 'Anti-American' Topic: NewsBusters
A Nov. 20 NewsBusters post by Kyle Drennen noted a CBS segment on a group of American bridge players who held up a sign saying "We didn’t vote for Bush" during the World Bridge Championship in China last month. After repeating a transcript of the segment describing positive reaction to the sign, Drennen added: "Isn’t being anti-American fun?"
So a mere public statement that you didn't vote for Bush makes you "anti-American"? We must not have gotten the memo.
We note at Media Matters that Dick Morris has upped his dosage of Clinton Derangement Syndrome in his Nov. 19 Newsmax column, calling Hillary Clinton "the commander of the Clinton secret police" and Clinton campaign communications director Howard Wolfson a "KGB enforcer look-alike."
New Article: Not-So-Special Reports Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's "special reports" purporting to demonstrate liberal media bias have holes big enough to drive misleading claims through. Read more.