Topic: The ConWeb
Who are the year's most egregious violators of truth, fairness and sanity on the ConWeb? We honor the worst. Read more.
Friday, January 18, 2008
NewsBusters Falsely Claims Author 'Touts Abortion as a Way to Reduce Crime'
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.
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:
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?
'Hong Kong' Fouhy?
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.
Would You Take Financial Advice From This Man?
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.
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?
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
CNS' Own Readers Bash Its Anti-Huckabee Bias
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:
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.
Reading Comprehension Watch
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?
Corsi Offers Biased Promotion of Anti-Hillary Film
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.
Kinsolving and Washington
You mean George Washington knew about AIDS? Wow, those Founding Fathers were more amazing than we ever imagined.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Historical Revisionism Watch
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."
We've previously noted this.
Shocker: NewsBusters Defends Huckabee
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?
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch
A Jan. 15 WorldNetDaily article on its recent Bahamian cruise includes the following:
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.
NewsBusters: Obama Too African to Be President
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:
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.
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