Profiles in Hypocrisy: Volume Three
The ConWeb's claims about themselves (and Dennis Miller) defy the record ... again.
By Terry Krepel
The latest from the front lines of hypocrisy on the ConWeb.
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The hypocrite: Tom Ambrose of WorldNetDaily.
What he did: The editor of WND's commentary page spent an entire column Feb. 5 attacking and rebutting a weblog by a "paleolibertarian" commentator named Karen De Coster, who predicted WND's impending demise for, among other things, being slavishly pro-Israel and pro-war and for Joseph Farah's condoning of murder. "WND became a non-issue after their post-9/11 march to the State's drum," De Coster wrote. "WND became a gnat on an elephant's ass."
Why he's a hypocrite (this time, anyway): Horsepuckey. The claim of commentary from "all over" is truthful only if your political spectrum runs from conservative to liberatarian. The claim that "WorldNetDaily is not a conservative newssite" is even more of a laugh, proven by Ambrose's own commentary page. A typical weekday commentary page contains 15 to 20 articles, and it's rare that more than one or two of them are not conservative or libertarian. At last count, WND had about 35 regular writers of commentary, and only two of them -- Ellen Ratner and Maralyn Lois Polak -- are what anyone might be considered liberal. And even they have their caveats: Ratner has served as a news analyst for Fox News Channel, and Polak got suckered into the Clinton death list thing a couple years back. Sorry, we're just not getting that "not conservative" vibe here.
And WND's news division, never terribly "independent," has been sliding ever more rightward and unbalanced. Jon Dougherty's one-sided reports, staying virtually silent on the murder confession of anti-abortion extremist James Kopp after running a seven-part series claiming he was innocent (WND, by the way, is publishing a new book by the writer of that discredited series), the dishonest jihad against Sen. Patty Murray, the use of its news pages to promote people and books it has a financial interest in -- all point to signs other than what most people have come to a news organization ... fairness, accuracy, balance, that kind of thing. A story plugging the latest issue of WND's magazine (and, by extension, Farah's own book) even claims WND has a "radical agenda."
Yet it persists in pushing the "independent newssite" fiction.
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The hypocrite: Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily.
What he did: In a back-patting Feb. 11 column, Farah writes that "Unlike any other news service, WorldNetDaily remains uniquely committed to a fiercely independent brand of journalism. ... credible and fearless ... No sacred cows here. We skewer them, roast them and turn them into shish kebab."
Oh, and buy lots of WND stuff because, as the oatmeal guy said, it's the right thing to do. Plus, he writes, "there's another reason to buy them and read them WND Books represents another phase in the war to take back the media, to take back the culture."
Why he's a hypocrite (this time, anyway): See above. Also note the fact that in recent weeks, Farah moderated a forum at the Conservative Political Action Conference and spoke at a symposium hosted by the Christian Coalition, according to items in WND's own "Backroom" e-mail newsletter. How does that translate into being "fiercely independent," let alone "credible"?
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The hypocrite: David C. Stolinsky of NewsMax.
What he did: In a Jan. 31 column, he decries "the degeneration of politics into name-calling, slander, invective, and insults of the vilest sort. What I’m complaining about is the abuse of the right of free speech. What I’m distressed by is the lack of awareness that this right, like all rights, comes with responsibilities firmly attached."
"Let’s restrain our immoderate rhetoric. Let’s try to disagree without hating, and to express opposition without contempt. Who knows? We might even get used to it," Stolinsky writes. "Fear and loathing make an entertaining novel, but an unhappy and unstable nation."
Why he's a hypocrite (this time, anyway): Stolinsky writes for NewsMax, home of "Osama Mama," Dick "The Clintons Are Sociopaths" Morris, "Real Americans support (President Bush) 100 percent" and numerous other expressions of "immoderate rhetoric." If he feels so strongly about this issue, why doesn't he put his money where his mouth is and quit?
The hypocrite: Brent Baker of the Media Research Center.
What he did: He examined an appearance by Bill Clinton on NBC's "Today" show in a Feb. 13 CyberAlert: "Clinton then cited how Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity 'are very outspoken into, on the right wing of the Republican Party,' as if that's all there is to the news media -- and none of them are part of the news media anyway.'"
Why he's a hypocrite (this time, anyway): Hasn't Baker heard? According to a recent Gallup poll, 22 percent of respondents get their news from radio talk shows. So it turns out they are "part of the news media" after all. The MRC might want to check into that sometime.
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The hypocrite: Brent Baker and the rest of the Media Research Center.
What he did: In the same CyberAlert containing the above Clinton cite, Baker lavishly praised Dennis Miller for following the conservative line on the impending war with Iraq and Clinton-bashing during an appearance on MSNBC's "Donauhe."
Why he's a hypocrite (this time, anyway): This illustrates the MRC's standard for how it treats people: Say anything that contradicts the MRC orthodoxy and you get branded a liberal; don't criticize the MRC orthodoxy and you get a favorable mention in CyberAlert. Miller has been taking shots at the Clintons for years, but because Miller also took shots at Republicans, the MRC couldn't see past that and considered him, in the words of MRC chief Brent Bozell, "breathtakingly vicious." That attitude peaked when Miller was chosen over Rush Limbaugh to be a color commentator on ABC's "Monday Night Football." But now suddenly Miller's a conservative darling, even though he hasn't changed his tune all that much.
We caught one Miller quote that Baker didn't relay, however. He told Donahue that the evidence against Iraq and Saddam Hussein "is as real as the vast right-wing conspiracy." Just as before, the MRC ignores evidence that contradicts the point of view they're selling.
The hypocrite: Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center.
What he did: He felt the need Feb. 21 to issue a press release criticizing the hiring of Rick Kaplan, "well-known Clinton crony and liberal apologist" and "The man who made CNN into the 'Clinton News Network'" by ABC. "Kaplan will turn ABC News into a nightly picket-line showcase of anti-war liberals with no one to balance them," Bozell says.
Why he's a hypocrite (this time, anyway): If hiring a former political operative to run a news operation is such a bad thing, why hasn't Bozell complained about Roger Ailes, former Republican "crony," running the Fox News Channel? Oh yeah -- at the MRC, news with a conservative slant is considered "fair and balanced."