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Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Kinsolving and Washington
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a Jan. 15 WorldNetDaily column about turmoil within Episcopal congregations over the issue of homosexuality, Les Kinsolving writes: 

An overwhelming majority of the members of these two historic parishes recently voted against continuing their membership in the Episcopal Church. They did so because their faith is the same as existed at the time of George Washington: that the practice of sodomy, which is so frequently condemned in Holy Scripture, is not only morally wrong, but remains the major means of distribution of that massive lethal disease AIDS, for which science has not been able to find a preventative or a cure.

You mean George Washington knew about AIDS? Wow, those Founding Fathers were more amazing than we ever imagined.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:32 AM EST
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Headline of the Day
Topic: NewsBusters

"Global Warming's Communist Underpinnings And the MSM's Active Participation in Same"

-- Headline of a Jan. 15 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:18 PM EST
Historical Revisionism Watch
Topic: Newsmax

In a Jan. 15 Newsmax review of David Bossie's new anti-Hillary movie, Kenneth Timmerman writes that Dick Morris "says he parted ways with the Clintons after he saw Hillary hire private investigators and retired intelligence officers to track down and harass the women who were threatening to reveal the sexual antics of her husband in the White House."

Well, actually...

Morris's resignation was announced hours before President Clinton delivered his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention last Thursday night. His departure came after the Star, a supermarket tabloid, published allegations by the $200-an-hour prostitute that she had a long-running relationship with Morris. 

We've previously noted this.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:16 PM EST
Shocker: NewsBusters Defends Huckabee
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters hasn't exactly shown the love to Mike Huckabee lately, but a Jan. 15 post by Mark Finkelstein tried to turn that around by taking MSNBC's Willie Geist to task for saying that "without his charm and his personality," Huckabee would "be dismissed as a crackpot" and happily noting that Joe Scarborough accused reporter David Shuster of hypocrisy for criticizing Huckabee, but not Barack Obama, for "going into a church to preach his political word."

A few days ago, Finkelstein was defending Fred Thompson at Huckabee's expense. Are the NewsBusters boys starting to realize that the Huckster really is a conservative after all?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:55 PM EST
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Jan. 15 WorldNetDaily article on its recent Bahamian cruise includes the following:

[WND managing editor David] Kupelian had harsh words about Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., stating if she were to be elected in November, American culture would descend into "a level of hell."

"Things are weird enough now with people Tasering each other and piercing every part of their bodies," he said. "[Hillary] reminds me of a 'Terminator' who can morph into any shape."

Huh? Body piercings are Hillary's fault? Was this guy blaming Hillary for getting Tased? Did we miss something? Perhaps not: WND has also likened people who get tattoos and other body modifications to Charles Manson.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:30 PM EST
NewsBusters: Obama Too African to Be President
Topic: NewsBusters

A Jan. 11 NewsBusters post by Seton Motley noted that the church Barack Obama attends claims that it is "Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian" and remains "true to our native land." Motley has decided that this means Obama isn't a real American -- and isn't even American enough to run for president:

A commitment to Unashamed Blackness, remain true to (his) native land (that would be Africa, as per Trinity United parlance) and the embrace of the Black Value System certainly seems to stand in diametric opposition to Obama's potential upcoming oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and his doing his very best to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Our prohibition on the Presidency for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has chosen fidelity to the United States but whose loyalties are called into question merely by the matter of his place of birth, could reasonably be extended to Obama, who had the good fortune to be born in America, but who chooses to pledge allegiance elsewhere as an article of faith.

All of these are questions worth asking.  So why are the media not?

Because it doesn't matter all that much, and because Motley is so hopelessly biased against Obama that he's trying to throw a racial bogeyman into the presidential race? That's our guess.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:38 AM EST
Monday, January 14, 2008
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We predicted Nov. 1, that at some point, tears would be a weapon in the Clinton campaign; however, modesty requires us to admit we picked the wrong Clinton for weepy duty. We thought Bill would be appointed to get teary over the rough treatment accorded his wife, but it was Hillary herself who played the sensitivity card.

There was a catch in her voice, a whimper, an expression of how deeply she cares. But we examined the TV tape minutely, and she was dry-eyed. Good thing, too. If this woman every really wept, her tear ducts would spew BBs and buckshot.

-- MIchael Ackley, Jan. 14 WorldNetDaily column 

Posted by Terry K. at 9:51 AM EST
Sheriff Says WND Quoted Him Out of Context
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has been obsessed in recent days with a Colorado incident in which, according to a Jan. 8 article by Bob Unruh, a 11-year-old boy "was taken by police against his parents wishes to a hospital after he was horsing around and bumped his head." Unruh quoted Garfield County, Colo., Sheriff Lou Vallario as saying that the decision to use SWAT team force -- after the father repeatedly refused to allow paramedics to examine the child and, as a result, a magistrate's order was issud for the boy to be seized -- was justified because the father was a "self-proclaimed constitutionalist" and had made threats and "comments" over the years.

Apparently, that's not quite what Vallario said. From a Jan. 12 article in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent:

Authorities said they have received hundreds of phone calls and e-mails this week from people around the country who think Garfield County uses SWAT teams on people just because they are constitutionalists.

Some messages included angry cursing and comparisons between Garfield County and Nazi Germany.

Callers mistakenly believed the Garfield County All Hazards Response Team - similar to a SWAT team - was used for "no reason other than that (Sheriff Lou Vallario) personally had it in for constitutionalists," said community relations deputy Tanny McGinnis. She estimated the Sheriff's Office received up to 400 calls and e-mails on the matter this week. Most were in response to a story that appeared on a website Monday about the use of the armed team to remove a child from the home of Tom Shiflett near New Castle, to get the child medical attention.

"A lot of people have shared with us that they were misled by the original World Net Daily article," McGinnis said. "(Sheriff Lou Vallario) made a statement about constitutionalists that was completely taken out of context."

She said many people apologized in e-mails after hearing Vallario's side of the story, and that a WND reporter cut off Vallario and wouldn't listen to answers he didn't want to hear.

"It wasn't an interview," McGinnis said. "It was an argument. This guy would not listen if he didn't like the answers."

Unruh responded to the paper:

WND reporter Bob Unruh responded in an e-mail: "When I interviewed the sheriff, I tried diligently to allow him to wander where he chose with his answers. I specifically was trying to find out the reasoning for dispatching a SWAT team under the circumstances the family already had described to me, or whether this family's version was incorrect. I understand the sheriff has been telling people my reporting is incorrect. However, he's declined to contact me about any concerns he has.

"His reference to Mr. [Tom] Shiflett [father of the injured boy] as a 'constitutionalist' came when I asked him specifically about why a SWAT team was used to take a child to a doctor's exam. I asked him what that meant, or if anything was wrong with that; the sheriff then said he'd had 'personal encounters' with Mr. Shiflett, and he'd made threats. I asked if Mr. Shiflett had been cited, or ticketed, or otherwise penalized for those 'threats,' and the sheriff refused to cite a single incident or situation. ... I would be more than happy to talk to the sheriff, especially to hear an explanation why he responded with the 'constitutionalist' description of Mr. Shiflett when I asked about the use of a SWAT team."

The only allusion to the fact that there's a controversy over what exactly Vallario said on WND is a Jan. 12 article by Unruh in which he noted that "Vallario also criticized WND reporting on the events to a local newspaper, without contacting WND with any concerns." But Unruh didn't mention Vallario's complaint about the "constitutionalist" remark being taken out of context or the threats and vulgar comments made to the sheriff's office as a result of Unruh's reporting; he didn't note what the Post Independent quoted Vallario as saying in response to Unruh's defense: "But Vallario said it's not his job to make sure a reporter reports the news accurately." The article does not indicate that Unruh has since tried to contact Vallario.

It's no surprise that WND would stand accused of twisting words -- indeed, Unruh joins Les Kinsolving as being credibly accused of such in recent months. Vallario's description of Unruh's interview with him as "an argument" and that Unruh "would not listen if he didn't like the answers" certainly lends itself to the type of belligerant, slanted journalism Unruh has engaged in at WND. We suspect that Unruh didn't learn such an argumentive style of "interviewing" at the Associated Press, where he worked for nearly 30 years.

WND should address Vallario's concerns on its own website, but unfortunately, it has a history of a lack of transparency regarding its operations.

Unruh also appears to blame Vallario for not telling him about Tom Shiflett's history of questionable behavior that Vallerio cited for using a SWAT team to seize the boy, as his comment to the Glenwood Springs paper indicates. Unruh notes in the Jan. 12 article that "in an e-mail response to a WND reader who questioned his actions," Vallario stated that "when we requested his cooperation [Shiflett] said, 'if you want my son, bring an army.'" Unruh then bashed the sheriff again:

However, what the sheriff left out of his response was what [caseworker Matthew] McGaugh reported happened just before the alleged threat. McGaugh confirmed he had delivered a not-so-veiled threat to Shiflett. 

"This worker explained that the Department had an obligation to investigate the report, that it appeared the child needed medical attention, and that if he didn't consent, the Department would have to obtain a court order to get a medical evaluation for the child," McGaugh stated in a sworn affidavit.

So stating what is presumably standard procedure in such a case is a "threat"? Unruh then allows Shiflett to explain away his own threat -- claiming it was because "social workers had upset him by threatening a court order" -- as well as a previous arrest of Shiflett for "chasing a man down the street with an ax." Yet Unruh won't give Vallario a fair opportunity to tell his story or air his complaints about WND's coverage.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:30 AM EST
Updated: Monday, January 14, 2008 1:45 AM EST
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Graham: 'Fox & Friends' Too Easy on Hillary
Topic: NewsBusters

We're pretty sure we've posited before that the Media Research Center believes that anyone named Clinton must not be given any positive coverage whatsoever. This theory is confirmed yet again in a Jan. 12 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham, who complains that "Fox & Friends" is being too nice to Hillary Clinton: "But please, Mr. Ailes, can't we ask Hillary a tougher question about her views or her record or her scandals?"

Graham repeatedly bashes Hillary's performance during a recent "Fox & Friends" appearance, claiming that "Hillary babbles on" and at one point begging, "Won’t anyone interrupt?"

We suspect that Graham's demand for hard-hitting coverage from "Fox & Friends" doesn't extend to any interviewee who's not liberal. After all, the MRC's Brent Bozell appeared on "Fox & Friends" the other day and was tossed a series of softballs (and, as we noted, was not even identified as conservative). We suspect Graham doesn't want that little arrangement to change. Otherwise, Fox News would have to have on someone from -- gasp! -- Media Matters opposite them. We can't imagine Bozell (or Fox News, for that matter) allowing that -- which is to say, a real debate -- to happen.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:07 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, January 13, 2008 11:11 AM EST
WND Still Not Backing Up Mafi Story
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We're previously detailed how WorldNetDaily has reported on the case of Denise Mafi -- a Utah homeschooling mom who claims she was threatened with loss of custody of her children because she did not provide required paperwork to state officials notifying them of her homeschooling plans -- without offering any independent corroboration of her story. That is, the article (and all previous ones) quotes only homeschooling activists regarding the nature of the charges.

That trend continues in a Jan. 12 WND article, which again repeats the claim that Mafi's "recollection of events has been confirmed by attorneys" without identifying who those "attorneys" are. It also repeats a previous claim that "Court officials told WND the comments didn't happen as Mafi reported, but have been unable to provide a transcript to confirm either version," but it's buried at the end of the article, and WND doesn't bother to tell what court officials have to say. If Mafi's story can be told without having a court transcript, why can't the court's side?

This is basic journalism, folks. Does WND care more about advancing an agenda than telling the full story? (Wait -- we already know the answer to that.)

Posted by Terry K. at 10:43 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, January 13, 2008 10:47 AM EST
Saturday, January 12, 2008
MRC Hates Huckabee, Loves Thompson
Topic: Media Research Center

We know that the MRC doesn't like Mike Huckabee, judging by CNS' unbalanced attacks on him. But, judging by whom its writers defend on NewsBusters, we're starting to get a picture of who it does like: Fred Thompson. A sampling of recent posts: 

  • A Jan. 11 post by Scott Whitlock was upset that "ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos derided GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson as a 'hit man'" for his attacks on Huckabee during a recent debate.
  • A Jan. 11 post by Mark Finkelstein was similarly annoyed that Joe Scarborough called Thompson a "hatchet man" for John McCain in the debate, adding that Huckabee "went scatalogical in responding to Thompson."
  • A Jan. 11 post by Clay Waters bashed the New York Times for "hitting the theme of a 'faltering' Fred Thompson, lashing out in a desperate bid to salvage his campaign" and portraying Huckabee as "turning the other cheek."
  • A Jan. 10 post by Whitlock praising an ABC report on the shady past of a supporter of Barack Obama, specifically cited a similar report on Thompson to claim that ABC's "investigations of Republicans often include a sneering, sarcastic tone that was lacking in his segment on Obama." (Whitlock does include one of the few defenses of Huckabee to be found on NewsBusters, complaining that an ABC report on "Mike Huckabee and the his record on crime ... leveled charges of hypocrisy."

This, on top of Warner Todd Huston's Thompson sycophancy, suggests that the MRC has chosen sides in the Republican primary. Are 501(c)3 groups allowed to do that?

UPDATE: A Jan. 12 post by Tom Blumer regurgitates Rush Limbaugh's complaint that the "drive-by media" is tyrying to declare Thompson's candidacy over and that Huckabee as the Republican nominee is "exactly what the Drive-Bys want." Does this mean the MRC is doing the bidding of Limbaugh?

Posted by Terry K. at 10:23 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, January 12, 2008 2:13 PM EST
Friday, January 11, 2008
WND Falsely Describes California Law
Topic: WorldNetDaily


A Jan. 11 WorldNetDaily article referred to "a new state law that would mandate a positive – and no other – portrayal of bisexuals, homosexuals, transgenders and others choosing alternative sexual lifestyles in public schools."

This is false. SB 777 adds sexual orientation to the state's anti-discrimination laws as they apply to schools and requires that schools don't present material that "promotes a discriminatory bias" against those groups covered under the anti-discrimination clause. The word "positive" does not appear in the law.

WND offers no evidence that all non-discriminatory references to homosexuals are ipso facto "positive" -- a variation of the Depiction-Equals-Endorsement Fallacy. Nor does WND allow anyone to counter the claims made by opponents of the law, as is standard WND practice.

UPDATE: A Jan. 11 Newsmax article by Lowell Ponte weighs in on the same issue. Ponte, unlike WND, gives a notable amount of space to supporters of the law, though he allows opponents to have the last word on with the law "might" do or "could in theory" do.

Of course, WND does the same thing, admitting that "technically" supporters are correct about the law's provisions but pushes alarmist speculation about what the law "could" do. 

Posted by Terry K. at 7:09 PM EST
Updated: Friday, January 11, 2008 11:46 PM EST
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

In his appearance on the Jan. 11 edition of "Fox & Friends," MRC president Brent Bozell said of NBC talking heads having opinions: "[A]dmit it. Don't pretend to be anything but what you are." Yet nowhere during this appearance was Bozell or the MRC identified as conservative, allowing Bozell to pretend to be something other than who he is.

Bozell also appeared solo as well. Both of these attributes are key parts of the template for MRC appearances on Fox News.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:04 PM EST
NewsBusters Bashes CBS' Smith -- But Pentagon Proved Him Right
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Jan. 10 NewsBusters post, Kyle Drennen accused CBS' Harry Smith of "sounding like a liberal conspiracy theorist" and "reminiscent of left-winger Rosie O’Donnell" for "question[ing] the authenticity of an audio tape of the confrontation between U.S. and Iranian ships on January 6."

It looks like Drennen must think the Pentagon is a "liberal conspiracy theorist" as well, because it's backing away from the implication that the voice on the tape unquestionably came from an Iranian ship. According to ABC News, "the voice on the tape could have come from the shore or another ship," adding: "The Navy never said specifically where the voices came from, but many were left with the impression they had come from the speedboat because of the way the Navy footage was edited."

Sounds to us that Smith was right to raise questions. Will Drennen admit this?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:49 AM EST
Updated: Friday, January 11, 2008 12:51 AM EST
Thursday, January 10, 2008
CNS Still Attacking Huckabee

A Jan. 10 article by Josiah Ryan follows in the footsteps of previous CNS bashing of Mike Huckabee by repeating attacks on Huckabee while giving the candidate no real opportunity to respond.

This time around, Huckabee's sin is that, according to "data compiled for Cybercast News Service by Stephen Slivinski, director of budget studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, the tax hike Huckabee supported between 1997 and 2007 [as Arkansas governor] were far heftier than his tax cuts." While Ryan cites a spokesman for Americans for Fair Taxation noting that Huckabee supports the so-called "fair tax," he adds a spokesman for Americans for Tax Reform bashing Huckabee. All of this is countered only by a note that "Repeated calls to the Huckabee campaign for comment on this story were not returned."

Shouldn't CNS explain to its readers why it's attacking a fellow Republican?

Posted by Terry K. at 3:00 PM EST

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