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Friday, January 18, 2008
NewsBusters Falsely Claims Author 'Touts Abortion as a Way to Reduce Crime'
Topic: NewsBusters

The headline of a Jan. 17 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock falsely proclaims, "ABC Promotes Author Who Touts Abortion as a Way to Reduce Crime." This is the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy in action: In fact, all Steven Dubner did in his book "Freakonomics" is detail a study that advances the theory that legalized abortions have reduced overall crime rates by reducing the number of children growing up in poor, single-parent, or teenage-parent households and, therefore, those who would have been more likely to commit crimes. Whitlock offers no evidence that Dubner is "tout[ing] abortion as a way to reduce crime" or doing anything other than reporting the study's findings.

Whitlock also calls Dubner's claim "unsubstantiated"; in fact, an early version of the study contains numerous references, and the chapter in "Freakonomics" in which Dubner and co-author Steven D. Levitt discuss the study has several pages of endnotes.

Whitlock then tries to read Dubner's mind. Noting a quote from Dubner that "It's good to know what forces work in society, if for no other reason than to keep doing the right thing," Whitlock adds: "The right thing, one presumes he means, is to keep aborting children." In fact, as the transcript Whitlock attached to his post demonstrates, Dubner was not talking about the abortion-crime study when he made that remark; rather, he was talking about gun laws (which he said don't work, a stance even Whitlock admitted "could be described as conservative and rarely seen on network television") and turf wars over crack cocaine.

Whitlock further claims that it was not mentioned that Dubner's finding "has been repeatedly challenged since Dubner and his economist co-author Steven Levitt made it in their book. In fact, a study by another economist, John Lott, found that legalized abortion actually increased the murder rate by seven percent." Since we're going to play that game, Whitlock doesn't mention Lott's history of dubious research, which would seem to make Lott less than credible on the issue.

For support, Whitlock cited an August 2007 CNSNews.com article promoting Lott's finding; as we noted at the time, the article took unsupported swipes at all researchers to defend Lott's dubious work, claming without evidence that blogging "under a different name to defend his work," as Lott was found to have done, is "a practice that many academics engage in."

UPDATE: Whitlock's post is repeated in the Jan. 18 MRC CyberAlert.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 AM EST
Updated: Friday, January 18, 2008 11:55 AM EST
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Kincaid Misleads on Solomon's Bias
Topic: Accuracy in Media

In a Jan. 16 Accuracy in Media column, Cliff Kincaid writes:

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards took some criticism when it became known that he had gone to work for a hedge fund. As noted by the Washington Post, “The hedge fund that employed John Edwards markedly expanded its subprime lending business while he worked there, becoming a major player in the high-risk mortgage sector Edwards has pilloried in his presidential campaign.” Edwards claimed he didn’t know anything about the firm’s involvement in subprime lending.  

It is interesting to note that the co-author of the Post article, John Solomon, has left the paper to become editor of the rival and conservative Washington Times. Solomon had come under savage attack by left-wingers for doing stories about corruption in the Democratic Party. They probably realized that Solomon was on to something when he uncovered Edwards’ relationship with a hedge fund company.

The problem was not that Solomon was "doing stories about corruption in the Democratic Party"; the problem is that Solomon has distorted facts and left out important information in doing so. Indeed, Solomon's article on Edwards and the hedge fund, which Kincaid references, was criticized by the Post's own ombudsman for implying that Edwards "couldn't have consulted for a hedge fund, Fortress Investment Group, or taken contributions from its employees without putting his liberal principles at risk."

AIM claims to be about "fairness, balance, and accuracy in news reporting." Will Kincaid apply those standards to Solomon's work?


Posted by Terry K. at 5:03 PM EST
'Hong Kong' Fouhy?
Topic: NewsBusters

Fresh from calling Barack Obama too African to be president, Seton Motley takes time in a Jan. 17 NewsBusters screed against the Associated Press to make a reference to "AP Political Reporter Beth 'Hong Kong' Fouhy."

The man's all class.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:54 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2008 2:55 PM EST
Would You Take Financial Advice From This Man?
Topic: Newsmax

What would arguably be more stupid than taking political advice from Dick Morris? (Morris' latest failed prognostication: "I think the Republican Party is reaching a huge consensus on McCain. ... I expect him to beat Romney [in Michigan] tomorrow.") Taking financial advice from Dick Morris.

Yet Newsmax is offering you that opportunity. A series of investment seminars later this month in California titled "Grow Your Wealth in Turbulent Times: Finding 15%+ Investment Opportunities" features "famed political guru" Morris, along with Newsmax publisher Christopher Ruddy and "investment expert" David Frazier.

The bio of Morris at the end of the promo also engages ina bit of revisionism as well, claiming that "Morris is almost universally credited with piloting Bill Clinton to a stunning comeback re-election victory in 1996." That statement appears to assume a narrow definition of "universally," covering only people who don't know that Morris quit Clinton's 1996 campaign two months before the election after getting caught with a $200-an-hour prostitute.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:23 AM EST
Alien vs. Predator Fetus
Topic: Media Research Center

In his Jan. 16 column, Brent Bozell demands that the media ban the use of the word "fetus" because it is "a cold, humanity-negating word" and "too demeaning of human life" (not to mention because it's a soft' n' cuddly word that plays into to Bozell's anti-abortion agenda). Bozell, meanwhile, hearily endorses the use of another word that is arguably just as humanity-negating: "alien."

As in "illegal alien," of course -- the preferred term among conservatives like Bozell for humans in this country illegally. No whining from Bozell about how "alien" is "too demeaning of human life" -- in fact, the term popped up in three Bozell columns last year, as well as numerous other places in MRC websites.

If Bozell wants to defend the use of "alien" to describe a human because it's an accepted legal term (as conservatives are wont to do), then he must accept "fetus" as an accepted legal and medical term. Waddaya say, Brent?


Posted by Terry K. at 1:17 AM EST
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
CNS' Own Readers Bash Its Anti-Huckabee Bias
Topic: CNSNews.com

We weren't the only ones to notice CNSNews.com's slanted attack on Mike Huckabee's record on taxes in Arkansas -- rank-and-file readers noticed too, judging by CNS' Jan. 15 letters column.

Letter-writer Randy H. stated: "You failed to mention the court-ordered mandate to raise income for schools and roads. If this is not a hit piece, why did you not mention the facts concerning what Gov. Huckabee had to do?" Randy added a little stinger at the end: "Unfortunate that what I thought was the last bastion of unbiased media has activist journalists as well." Poor guy doesn't know just how wrong he was about that.

Another writers adds in a similar vein: " Huckabee may still be a tax raiser, but don't charge him for what is court-ordered."

Yet another person wrote:

It is interesting that the CATO Institute, at the request of Cybercast News Service only did an analysis of Mike Huckabee's tax record. If the intent was to help readers understand the potential impact of a candidate's tax policy, wouldn't it make sense to include the massive tax increases under Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani? The truth is none of the GOP hopefuls can be given an A+ on taxes, especially those who were conservative governors in liberal states as were Huckabee and Romney. Cybercast News Service could and should take the lead in objective reporting by evaluating all candidates on the same issues and by the same criteria. In the end, Huckabee may not look as good as Romney or Giuliani, but Cybercast News Service would look better than their counterparts in the establishment media. ...

CNS no longer has to take our word for it that their reporting is fairness-challenged -- real, live readers don't like it either. Will CNS do anything about it? We shall see.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:25 PM EST
Reading Comprehension Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

A bizarre Jan. 12 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston bashes the Associated Press for doing an article Chris Matthews' remarks about Hillary Cinton. The AP, Huston asserts, "is trying to drum up sympathy for Matthews who is supposedly on the receiving end of a "backlash" for his supposed attacks on Hillary Clinton." Huston excerpts a statement from the AP article noting that "The liberal watchdog Media Matters for America counted more than eight negative remarks Matthews made about Clinton for every positive one during September, October and November." Huston responded: "Gadzooks! EIGHT THINGS? That monster!" (Boldface his).

Um, Warner, honey, that's a ratio. The actual count is 82 negative remarks vs. 10 positive ones.

And this guy is a featured writer on a major blog ... why?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:59 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, January 16, 2008 1:01 PM EST
Corsi Offers Biased Promotion of Anti-Hillary Film
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Ken Timmerman isn't the only one engaging in a little historical revisionism in connection with the new anti-Hillary movie. Jerome Corsi writes in a Jan. 15 WorldNetDaily article:

Also attending the premiere was Billy Dale, the 35-year White House travel office manager whose career began under President Kennedy and ended when the Clintons pressed criminal charges against him that later were proved false. The Clintons, according to federal investigators, were trying to clear the way for their campaign contributors to place their own people in the travel office.

In fact, as we've noted, contrary to Corsi's suggestion, independent counsel Robert Ray reported that there were irregularities in the travel office under Dale and that "the Federal Bureau of Investigation had determined that sufficient evidence existed to provide the requisite predicate for the opening of a criminal investigation." Further, Ray also pointed out that "The decision to fire the Travel Office employees was a lawful one. The Travel Office employees served at the pleasure of President Bill Clinton, and they were subject to discharge without cause."

Corsi also noted that "Featured in the film and attending the premier was Kathleen Willey, author of WND Books' 'Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton[.]' In the film, Willey speaks at length about the Clinton camp's personal attacks on her for accusing the president of sexually accosting her in the White House." But Corsi -- following apparent WND editorial policy -- doesn't note Willey's history of contradictory statements and outright lies. Similarly, Corsi noted the film touches on "Peter F. Paul's $17 million civil lawsuit" without noting that Paul is a convicted felon.

Further, Corsi curiously fails to use the word "conservative" in the article, describing Newt Gingrich, Frank Gaffney, Tony Blankley, Ann Coulter and Robert Novak only as "political notables" and failing to accurately describe them as conservatives.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:19 AM EST
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

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