Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, October 08, 2007

Is Media Matters Superfluous?

Comedian Jon Stewart hosts a fake news comedy program called the "Daily Show." After you read this, you'll have to wonder how he succeeded. After all, it would seem that the mainstream media had the fake news market cornered.

We are being fed false and misleading information, in matters big and small. It has come from trusted sources such as established newspapers, experienced journalists, Pulitzer Prize winners and Nobel Peace Prize winners. It has been going on for a long time, sometimes by carelessness and sometimes by deliberate lying. I have compiled a list of 101 such incidents.

Did you know that Time magazine and other news organizations had a Vietnamese communist on full-time staff in Vietnam during that war? Do you remember that ABC, CBS and NBC have all rigged cars or trucks with explosives or other devices to make them look dangerous on TV, or that Consumer Reports lied about the Suzuki Samurai enough to put it out of business? Do you know that multiple "veterans" of the Viet Nam and Iraq wars who told of atrocities there were never even in the military? Did you realize reputable news organizations such as the Boston Globe and Reuters cannot tell the difference between a real soldier and a toy doll, commercial pornography and soldiers committing rape, a burning tire dump and a bombed building, a fired and an unfired rifle round, or footage of the North Pole and a clip from the movie Titanic?

When it comes to President Bush, the media have lied about his National Guard service, lied about his serving a plastic turkey to troops in Iraq on Thanksgiving and then made a big deal about that phony story, lied about his speeches, quoted him by removing the words he actually used, and admitted they would use a harsher standard with him than his opponent John Kerry. To this day, they criticize his administration's handling of the Katrina crisis, which was actually one of the most successful rescue and recovery efforts in history, but barely mention their own huge and egregious mistakes in reporting on that event.

My original lists were published in American Thinker on August 16 and August 20, 2007. Since then I have added several and subtracted a few.

The subject of my list is not just journalism, but any dishonesty as related to the public debate. For this reason I included more than journalists. Historians and other "non-fiction" authors especially could be included. On a case by case basis, people of perceived moral authority and sufficient notoriety were included, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. I also needed a certain amount of clarity and credibility in the offense.

For these reasons, I removed three people from my previous lists. Maria Bartiromo was removed because her conflict of interest was just not solid enough. The Citicorp executive she was involved with caught greater grief than she did. Joe Biden was removed because politicians' speeches should be out of scope, or else the list would be nearly infinite. Jacob Epstein was removed because, while he definitely plagiarized, his was a work of fiction with no apparent "public debate" connection. There are multitudes of plagiarizers.

I did receive a few complaints for not having "conservatives" on the list. There turns out to be a good reason for that: there just aren't that many who pass the criteria for clear dishonesty in the public debate. It is probably also related to the fact that so few journalists are conservative. Some people did send me "conservative" candidates for my list, but they told me more about the submitters than the people on the list. I suspect Media Matters was the ultimate source of most or all of them.

Also, I just did not vet the list for political leaning; I have no idea of the leanings of Mitch Albom, Jim Van Vliet, or a host of others on the list. However, I did add Doug Bandow, Michael Fumento and Armstrong Williams, all for "pay for play" type offenses, and all leaning to the conservative side.

So here is the list, in alphabetical order. And for those who don't know, or who would love to accuse me of plagiarism, there is a source for every item in the list, embedded in the name. Any quotes should be traceable to that source. (I've already been accused of plagiarism, but from those who read unauthorized copies that did not include the embedded links, instead of the original American Thinker article. That's right: I was accused of plagiarism because I was plagiarized.) While I provide a source for every item, a single source is not usually sufficient to prove anything. You might have to do some of your own searching if you remain unconvinced of a party's guilt. Space is limited.


Mike said...

Who is Randall Hoven that his word is to be considered gold? Certainly his entry on me is a lie, although he explains he needed to add some conservatives and I do qualify there.

The very article he links to, although a hit piece against me by a BusinessWeek writer on a witch hunt to burn conservative writers, shows as much. As it indicates, I received a $60,000 book grant from Monsanto in 1999 and then in 2004 began a column with Scripps Howard. No, I didn’t mention the grant because 1) it was for a book, and 2) it ENDED four years before the column began.

Did Monsanto really give me a grant in 1999 hoping that at some point in the future I’d say nice things about them?

As it happens, I did perhaps 120-130 columns for Scripps and wrote about Monsanto all of twice. Did Monsanto really pay me $30,000 for each of two 700-word columns? And this was at a time when the plurality of my columns were about ag-biotech and Monsanto is the ag-biotech leader.

The dishonest person here is Mr. Nobody Randall Hoven, who tries to compensate by attacking Somebodies.

Michael said...

Considering that the Mike commenting here is Michael Fumento and a source that I trust, I'm inclined to take his word that the author I cited is incorrect in at least this one instance. Two of his books reside on my bookshelf. If you would like to read some of finest and most exhaustively researched work anywhere, follow the link above.

Tom Forbes said...

Indeed. Some of the best coverage of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan have come from Mr. Fumento. I was particularly impressed with his coverage of the battle in Ramadi and the death of PO2 Michael Monsoor, the Navy SEAL who has been nominated for a Medal of Honor for throwing himself on a hand grenade in Ramadi.

Mike said...

Thanks, guys. You should soon be hearing from American Thinker about this article.

Michael Fumento