ConWebWatch home
ConWebBlog: the weblog of ConWebWatch
Search and browse through the ConWebWatch archive
About ConWebWatch
Who's behind the news sites that ConWebWatch watches?
Letters to and from ConWebWatch
ConWebWatch Links
Buy books and more through ConWebWatch

So Not Over It

The ConWeb just can't get past certain people and incidents.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 4/15/2005

Remember how the ConWeb wanted Democrats to get over certain things?

"The bottom line, here, is conclusive: Bush won. Gore lost. Get over it," NewsMax's Phil Brennan wrote in 2001. In the same vein, NewsMax's John L. Perry lamented that "Nine months later, they still haven't gotten over it" -- "they" being the Democrats and "it" being the 2000 election. NewsMax also lamented in 2003 that the media "just can't seem to get over allegations that Arnold Schwarzenegger groped more than a dozen women during his Hollywood and bodybuilding days."

But the ConWeb has an undisputed inability to get over certain things as well. It has demonstrated this with a recent obsession with telling long-debunked lies about Al Gore, but other subjects appear to be eternally fair game:

The Terri Schiavo case. Nearly two weeks after the death of Terri Schiavo, an April 12 story by Jeff Johnson broke the allegedly startling news that Dr. Richard Cranford, made a mistake 25 years ago in diagnosing a patient believed to be in a "persistent vegetative state" similar to Schiavo's who later recovered.

Of course, there is no point in doing this story at this point other than to cast aspersions on Cranford, who had examined Schiavo as one of five doctors ordered by a court to do so; Cranford was chosen by Terri Schiavo's husband, Michael Schiavo. One big clue to that is sticking the words "Dr. Humane Death" in the headline, a term that, according to the article, Cranford said he wanted to be known by.

Another clue is Johnson's description of Cranford's March 28 appearance on MSNBC's "Scarborough Country," written to make Cranford sound like a crank. Cranford, Johnson wrote, "went on to call another neurologist who disagreed with his diagnosis 'a charlatan' and accused [MSNBC reporter Lisa] Daniels of being 'stupid.' Host and former U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough interrupted to defend Daniels, touching off a clash with Cranford, which included the doctor admonishing Scarborough with: 'You've got to get your facts straight.'"

But Johnson leaves out the context of Cranford’s comments, as the transcript and video clip of the appearance demonstrates. He called Daniels “stupid” because she asked a stupid question – namely, whether a CAT scan was taken of Terri Schiavo. Basic reporting would have easily reveal that a CAT scan was indeed taken in 2002. Even Fox News knew about that.

And the neurologist that Cranford called a "charlatan" is none other than Dr. William Hammesfahr, he of the bogus Nobel Prize nomination. CNS has never disclosed Hammesfahr's bogus nomination to its readers.

While Johnson did report Cranford's contention that there is a difference between the 1980 case and Terri Schiavo in that the man in the 1980 case, unlike Schiavo, did not have "severe deterioration" of the brain, Johnson goes on to describe “more than two dozen cases where published news reports document patients diagnosed as being in a persistent or permanent vegetative state, or coma 'waking up.'" But a coma is not the same as a persistent vegetative state, and Johnson does not state whether any of those patients showed brain deterioration, like Schiavo did.

Meanwhile, an April 11 column by Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid pulls a late hit in recycles the claim that an ABC News poll that found a majority of respondents favored removing Terri Schiavo's feeding tube was biased. Kincaid cited questions that allegedly should have been asked, such as:

  • Are you aware that Michael Schiavo is living with another woman, has sired two children by her, and admitted melting down his wife's wedding ring to make jewelry for himself?
  • Did you know that the description of Terri being in a "persistent vegetative state" is disputed by more than 30 physicians, including a neurologist from the Mayo Clinic?
  • Did you know that Carla Iyer, a nurse who cared for Terri in the mid-'90s, filed an affidavit (available at saying that Michael openly pined for Terri's death, prohibited the nurses from providing even the smallest comfort, such as a cool washcloth, apparently tampered with Terri's charts showing any rehabilitative progress, and reportedly asked, "When is that b---ch going to die?"

If those questions were asked, then Kincaid should have also noted the following:

  • Terri Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, encouraged Michael Schiavo to start dating again.
  • Very few of those "more than 30 physicians" disputing the "persistent vegetative state" diagnosis have actually examined Terri Schiavo, and two of those affidavits were rejected by George Greer, the Florida judge presiding over much of the case, as not credible.
  • Iyer's testimony was dismissed as "incredible to say the least" by Greer, adding: "Neither in the testimony nor in the medical records is there support for these affidavits as they purport to detail activities and responses of Terri Schiavo."

Kincaid also neglected the fact that several other polls returned similar results to the ABC poll, as ConWebWatch has noted.

Teresa Heinz Kerry. NewsMax seems to think just that because John Kerry lost the 2004 presidential election is no reason to stop beating up on his wife.

An April 2 article tries to revive a lie about Teresa Heinz Kerry that the ConWeb attempted to foist on its readers during the campaign. It claims that Heinz Kerry's charitable contributions "are known to include substantial sums to controversial groups like the Tides Foundation, which bills itself as an environmental action group that 'partners with donors to increase and organize resources for positive social change.'" The article adds:

Tides, in turn, helped fund the Ruckus Society, which attempted to disrupt the 2004 GOP convention. The group also bankrolled the "September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows," which harshly criticized Bush campaign ads that alluded to the 9/11 attacks.

But as ConWebWatch has repeatedly noted, Heinz's donations to Tides were earmarked for specific environmental projects in Pennsylvania, and none of the money went to the groups NewsMax mentioned. This is what is called "guilt by association" -- ironically, the same thing was painting as absurd on April 8 when the target was Tom DeLay.

NewsMax smeared Heinz Kerry again on April 12 in a report that she donated $4 million to a "U.S.-bashing museum." But the story says nothing about "U.S.-bashing": it describes that the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh "frequently showcases artwork depicting U.S. human rights abuses -- including exhibits on lynchings in America, the Rodney King beating and the Abu Ghraib prison scandal."

Is NewsMax really saying that violation of others' human rights is an attribute to be admired? Or that it's somehow "anti-American" to criticize such abuses? Yikes.

Hillary Clinton. The prime example of the ConWeb's inability to get over stuff is its apoplexy over anything involving Bill and/or Hillary Clinton. And with Hillary Clinton's re-election as senator coming in 2006 and her possible candidacy for president in 2008, the ConWeb is all set for another fit.

The ConWeb was all abuzz about a forthcoming attack book that promises “The Truth About Hillary,” despite the shoddy track record of its author, Edward Klein, in using anonymous sources and overheated psychoanalysis and speculation. WorldNetDaily plugged it, repeating claims made by that beacon of accuracy the Drudge Report that the book will "contain information which could damage the former first lady's possible aspirations."

WND also touted a "Hillary Meter" polling series done by the conservative-leaning polling firm Rasmussen Reports, which purports to measure Clinton's "effort to move to the political center." No explanation was given as to why Clinton has been singled out among potential presidential candidates for this treatment.

NewsMax, meanwhile, touted plans for a "Stop Hillary Now" campaign by New York conservatives. In fact, "Stop Hillary Now" is the headline of the latest column by rabid Clinton-hater Gary Aldrich, posted at NewsMax. Aldrich goes on to rant ominously:

For members of the "Vast Right Conspiracy" as Hillary described anybody in 1998 who offered spirited opposition to the Clinton Administration's dysfunctional antics, it's perfectly clear why Hillary should not be president. The eight years of Bill and Hill are burned into the memories of those who then called for Clinton's removal from office.

And a April 15 WorldNetDaily story takes the Hillary obsession a step farther by claiming -- with an anonymous, secondhand claim laundered through quasi-advertiser Jack Wheeler and with no supporting evidence -- that she's behind the "attention" given to DeLay's ethics problems.

Limiting the concept of "getting over it" to Democrats only is an idea that the ConWeb needs to, well, get over.

Send this page to:
Bookmark and Share
The latest from

In Association with
Support This Site

home | letters | archive | about | primer | links | shop
This site © Copyright 2000-05 Terry Krepel