Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media forsakes actual media criticism for the hateful, conspiratorial rantings of Cliff Kincaid and Don Feder. Read more >>
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Paul Sperry Resurfaces at WND
Look who's back at WorldNetDaily -- Paul Sperry.
Sperry -- the former WND Washington bureau chief whom we last saw getting wrong things over at FrontPageMag -- has penned a Dec. 15 WND article based attacking Rahm Emanuel based on anonymous allegations (WND sure does love repeating anonymous allegations, don't they?)
The Sperry bio at the end of the WND article doesn't list him as a full-time employee, noting instead his former WND title and his status as "a Hoover Institution media fellow." As we detailed, Hoover's right-wing media fellow program is a one-week program he went through twice, the last time in 2006. Sperry appears to be way too proud of something that only took up two weeks of his life and seemingly only taught him how to be a right-wing hack.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Joseph Farah vs. Wikipedia, Day 2
Joseph Farah has dialed things back a bit in his war on Wikipedia. In his Dec. 16 column, Farah praises a Wikipedia editor who removed the offending information on Farah's Wikipedia bio after reading Farah's Dec. 14 screed. Then Farah started hurling rhetorical questions:
Of course a lot of these questions also need to be answered by Farah and WorldNetDaily:
Where is WND's ombudsman?
Where is WND's corrections department?
Where does Clark Jones go to get his reputation back after WND spent seven years denying that it libeled him, then abruptly settled Jones' lawsuit against WND by admitting that it published false claims about him that it failed to fact-check before publication?
Will WND inform its readers about the nature of the reparations it made to Clark Jones for sullying his reputation? Will WND fact-check any of the other articles out of that 2000 Al Gore-bashing series and admit and apologize for any other false claims?
How about answering these questions, Mr. Farah, before getting all high and mighty about the behavior of other websites? How about treating the subjects of WND's stories with the same level of honesty you demand from others about yourself?
Or, better yet, try reporting facts instead of hurling smears.
If Farah does that, maybe he will be regarded as something other than a thin-skinned whiner.
UPDATE: Right Wing Watch concurs with the idea that Farah is really writing about himself and WND instead of Wikipedia.
MRC Falsely Portrays Coverage of Shoe-Thrower
Topic: Media Research Center
A Dec. 16 MRC CyberAlert item (and NewsBusters post) by Brent Baker, under the headline "CBS and ABC Tout Shoe-Thrower as 'Celebrity' and 'Folk Hero,'" confuses reporting facts with taking sides by falsely framing the the TV networks as celebrating the guy who threw his shoes at President Bush. But it's clear from the reports Baker excerpts that the networks are reporting on the thrower's popularity in Iraq, which even Baker tacitly admits between the lines.
Once more, to make it clear to Baker: The networks are reporting what happened in Iraq. Baker's the one spinning facts into bias -- but that's the skewed tunnel vision through which the MRC views everything.
Indeed, the MRC is quite put on that the media is even reporting this at all. Posts on NewsBusters highlight the coverage without pointing out any factual errors -- which tells us that they object to any coverage of it.
Caruba: Get Off My Lawn, Damn Kids!
Aaron Klein Anti-Obama Agenda Watch
Just how desperate is Aaron Klein to make guilt-by-association smears on Barack Obama?
A Dec. 14 WorldNetDaily article by Klein is the second to be scraped from posters at a "far-left leaning" blog urging Obama to be "more socialist."
As we noted the last time he did this, it's something of a cry for help -- Klein apparently hasn't figured out that the election is over and he's still in pre-election smear mode.
It's quite sad to see Klein descend to such a base level, where conspiracy-theory ranter Cliff Kincaid is gleaning column ideas from him.
This is not journalism. Klein is merely prostituting himself as a far-right polemicist.
Newsmax Ignores GOP Filibuster Flip-Flop
A Dec. 15 Newsmax article by Tim Collie examining whether Senate Republicans will "filibuster on controversial [judicial] nominees" from Barack Obama fails to note that Republicans leaning toward filibustering opposed the practice when Democrats used the strategy for a few of President Bush's nominees.
But as Right Wing Watch notes, in 2005 Kyl supported the "nuclear option," which would have wiped out the right to filibuster judicial nominees.
Collie also cites statements made by Curt Levey, an attorney executive director of the conservative Committee for Justice, in a Washington Post article. But as Media Matters notes, Levey also told the Post (though Collie doesn't quote it) that Republican senators should "play hardball" on Obama's judicial nominees. Nowhere does Collie mention that the CFJ previously called filibusters by a minority of senators to block judicial nominations "unconstitutional."
Monday, December 15, 2008
Joseph Farah vs. Wikipedia
Could Joseph Farah be the most thin-skinned journalist on the planet? We've recently noted Farah's freak-out over a blogger for a weekly newspaper in Wisconsin making the (entirely accurate) observation that WND "is not an acceptable source of information."
Farah let loose another freak-out in a Dec. 14 column (note that it was posted on the evening of Nov. 14; Farah couldn't wait until the usual 1 a.m. ET posting time for new commentary secton items). The target of Farah's ire this time: Wikipedia. Why? Someone had changed the Wikipedia page on Farah to call him a "noted homosexual."
Thus, all Farah has to offer instead is an screed calling Wikipedia a "wholesale purveyor of lies and slander unlike any other the world has ever known," a "vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit," a "wholly unreliable website run by political and social activists promoting their own agenda" and a "a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution," not to mention pushers of "pseudo-journalistic terrorism and character assassination."
That's even more hilarious, because those same things can be said about WND.
"Wholesale purveyor of lies and slander"? "Vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit"? Just ask Barack Obama. WND has promoted numerous lies about Obama, and WND's Jerome Corsi used bogus documents to falsely impugn him. WND enlisted former Nazis to smear Obama as a Nazi. And Farah and his website are engaging in journlaistic fraud by pimping claims that Obama wasn't born in America when it declared months ago that the birth certificate submitted by Obama's campaign is "authentic."
All of which make it, yes, a "wholly unreliable website run by political and social activists promoting their own agenda" (as we've detailed).
Farah even claims, "I actually had to threaten a libel suit against Wikipedia to get the site to remove the previous attempt at defamation." Farah clearly doesn't understand how Wikipedia works. According to a Wikipedia comment thread on Farah's complaints, a Wikipedia editor noticed Farah's screed and made corrections accordingly. Farah does not state whether he made any attempt to correct or complain (or threaten a libel suit) prior to grinding out his currrent column.
(Given Farah's record on libel lawsuits, he might not want to actually go there. And no, Farah has never threatened us with a libel lawsuit nor otherwise contradicted anything we've wrote, which hopefully speaks to our accuracy in reporting on WND.)
Considering that Farah once called us a "talent-challenged slug," the man definitely knows his way around "pseudo-journalistic terrorism and character assassination." It appears that while Farah loves to dish out the insults, he can't take them in return.
Remember, this is all about some anonymous prankster calling Farah a "known homosexual." How thin-skinned is that?
WND Columnist Falsely Claims 'Close' Obama-Blago Relationship
In his Dec. 13 WorldNetDaily column, Ellis Washington asserted that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich "up to a few days ago was a good friend and a close political ally of President-elect Barack Obama."
That contradicts the known and documented history of relations between Blagojevich and Obama. As we've detailed, the Washington Post reported that while Obama worked on Blagojevich's campaign in 2002 and endorsed his re-election in 2006, the two were not close: "They sometimes used each other to propel their own careers but privately acted like rivals." The post also stated: "The two men have not talked for more than a year, colleagues said, save for a requisite handshake at a funeral or public event. Blagojevich rarely campaigned for Obama and never stumped with him. The governor arrived late at the Democratic convention and skipped Obama's victory-night celebration at Chicago's Grant Park."
Does that say "good friend and a close political ally" to anyone? Only, apparently, to Washington.
Washington also asserted that "Obama knows that he is neck-deep into the Blagojevich seat-selling scheme; after all, it is Obama's Senate seat that is for sale." That also contradicts known facts; prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has specifically said that the criminal complaint against Blagojevich "makes no allegations about the president-elect whatsoever -- his conduct."
Would You Take Financial Advice From This Man?
As we've noted, WorldNetDaily in July launched Red Alert, a "global financial strategies newsletter" headed by Jerome Corsi. The newsletter was described as being for "for people of wealth and those who want to be people of wealth," specifically, those with "assets of $1 million or more to protect" or income of "$85,000 a year or more." It proposes to offer "the insights and behind-the-scenes reports and deep analysis of one of America's top political thinkers, journalists, commentators and financial gurus."
More recently, Corsi has predicted that "within one year, even an economic failure like President Herbert Hoover will look like a genius when compared to the failures we are likely to see from a President Obama." Corsi seems to be mixing some of his bogus-document fantasies in with his predictions.
Corsi has also gloated over financial problems faced by media companies: "The only good news this week is that the death throes of the mainstream media have begun in earnest."
It's important to note that Corsi's financial background is not in finance itself but it marketing. Corsi's bio on Red Alert states:
The distinction between finance and financial marketing is important, because Corsi appears to have been less than successful in the former.
As the Boston Globe detailed, Corsi was a principal in a group that launched an investment venture in Poland in 1995 that eventually lost about $1.2 million, much of it raised from a group of about 20 Minnesota investors -- at least two of whom received a court judgment against Corsi and the other principals but had yet to collect any money from Corsi because, according to one investor, Corsi's assets "had been moved into his wife's name . . . There was nothing to get out of him."
Corsi, meanwhile, had little to say beyond "no comment."
Still, the question must be raised given this history: Is Corsi a person from whom one should really be taking financial advice? Then again, he might be a better source on such things than, say, Dick Morris.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Dueling ConWeb Cruises
WorldNetDaily isn't the only ConWeb outlet who's peddling a cruise for its readers to buy.
For the second year in a row, WND is offering a Caribbean cruise; it claims it "has managed to put together an absolutely memorable, first-class Western Caribbean cruise, and yet charge half the cost of some cruises currently being promoted by similar organizations."
Featured guests on the WND cruise include Joseph Farah, Jerome Corsi, Aaron Klein and David Kupelian -- which might explain why WND had to cut the price to get people to join.
This is the cruise Farah has previously promoted as an opportunity to "plot the counterrevolution," adding that the idea "might be considered seditious after Jan. 20." Farah also claims: "And there's nothing like getting together with people who share your dread to kick around ideas not just about survival, but about fighting back, about overcoming, about victory." Yeah, nothing says "counterrevolution" like a Caribbean cruise. Rather Brooks Brothers riot-ish, actually.
Newsmax, meanwhile, has its own cruise from Rome to London planned to mark the website's 10th anniversary. Featured guests include Christopher Ruddy, Dick Morris, Ronald Kessler, and Dr. Russell Blaylock. Ruddy states:
Isn't the whole "off the record" thing a bit odd for something that claims to be a journalistic website? And since when did Ruddy and Morris, et al, become "faculty"?
FrontPageMag Falsely Impugns AP Photographer
The case of Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein was a cause celebre among right-wingers a couple years ago. Some of them still haven't gotten over it.
One of them is David Paulin, who uses a Dec. 12 FrontPageMag article (which also appears at American Thinker and his own blog) to express dismay that Hussein was given an International Press Freedom Award after spending two years detained by the U.S. military in Iraq without ever being charged.In the process, Paulin repeats unsubstantiated claims about Hussein.
Paulin asserted that Hussein "hobnobbed easily with pro-Saddam loyalists and al-Qaida terrorists," which purportedly gave him "the uncanny ability to show up just as an attack occurred." No evidence is offered to support the claim. Paulin added that "To some, Hussein's photos raised troubling questions about the AP's hiring practices and objectivity." Paulin does not say who "some" are.
Paulin does not mention why "due process" was a "common complaint": Hussein was never charged with a crime during his time in custody. Nor does Paulin explain why he apparently believes Hussein should have been denied "due process" and why he thinks it's acceptable to imprison a journalist without charges for two years.
Paulin also writes: "After two years in prison, he escaped the possibility of a criminal trial when he was freed under a general amnesty that took effect seven months ago." That's misleading; according to Hussein's attorney, Scott Horton: "When we say 'amnesty,' it’s usually an executive act. This was a judicial amnesty based on a review of the complete court record."
Horton also stated:
Paulin then snarked:
Again, Paulin offers no evidence that Hussein faced no risks in his photography, or that his relationship to terrorists is any more chummy that that of, say, Aaron Klein (whom we don't see Paulin ranting about).
Oddly enough, Paulin claims to be a journalist. You wouldn't know it from this little factually deficient attack.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
NewsBusters Misleads on WaPo Article on Obama, Blago
A Dec. 12 NewsBusters post by Michael M. Bates objects to the premise of a Washington Post article, as stated by its headline: "Obama Worked to Distance Self From Blagojevich Early On." Bates counters that "Obama - far from distancing himself early on - played a key role in electing the now disgraced governor," falsely suggesting that the Post didn't report in detail on the history between Barack Obama and Rod Blagojevich.
In fact, the Post article did give a substantive account of their shared history, including the fact that Obama worked on Blagojevich's 2002 campaign:
Now, why wouldn't Bates acknowledge this simple fact? Perhaps because he wouldn't have an item otherwise.
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