B102-DES57
Watching The Watchmen (& -women)
Copyright © by Dan Schneider, 5/15/03

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  1 of the most amazing things about the Internet is how such a potentially great medium, for advancing the best in human nature, debases itself. & Iím not just talking about the obvious stuff like porno sites, relentless spam, or the narcissistic blogs that proliferate daily. I mean most of the sites devoted to Ďcorrectingí perceived errors in mainstream media sources. Most of these watchdog groups & individuals are often far more biased than their mainstream counterparts have ever been, yet they typically are blind to this obvious point.
  I decided to look at 11 political sites- 5 Left Wing sites, 5 Right Wing sites, & 1 claimed Centrist site. With the Left & Right sites I paired the 10 sites off in to their most similar counterparts. See the table below, with my explanation to follow.

Left

Center

Right

FAIR

Aggressive Voice

AIM

Rush Limbaugh Online

 

Moorewatch.com

Take Back The Media

 

Leftwatch.com

The Nation

 

National Review

Jill Matrix

 

Rachel Lucas

    The 1st pair are a couple of dedicated & Ďimpartialí media groups. AIM (the misnomered ĎAccuracy In Mediaí) is a Radical Right group that formed in the 1980s, ostensibly to protect the reputation of President Ronald Reagan from the dread ĎLiberalí bias of the mainstream media. A quick read of my essay on the Conservative Media will quickly dispel that notion. AIM is not only Rightist, but Fundamentalist Christian, yet they still claim the Libs are out to get all things non-Lib. Thereís some truth in that claim, but its inverse is equally true. As for the media itself? Granted, most of the field reporters tilt Left, but ALL of the corporate owners tilt Far Right, & their political contributions prove it. The best comparison I can relate is that in the Antebellum South all the slaves were ĎLiberalí & wanted Liberty, but it was the ĎConservativeí masters whose opinions ruled. AIM has never shown any true bias in the media, except its own. Yet, AIM spawned its own counterpart in the late 1980s- a group called FAIR (the equally misnomered ĎFairness & Accuracy In Reportingí). FAIR directly cites AIM as its raison díetrť & distorts things in its own Leftist (Boo! Hiss! America is evil!) type of way.
  The next 2 sites assail 2 icons of the extremes. Rush Limbaugh Online is a Leftist parody site very slickly modeled on the real Radical Rightistís website- seeking to expose his ceaseless pabulum & deceit, while Moorewatch.com is a Rightist blog which obsessively details the Left Wing oaf's seemingly endless font of lies & distortions. The only real difference is that RLO uses parody in its attacks while MWC is more directly brutal.
  Take Back The Media is a Leftist site that is sort of a less established version of FAIR, while its Rightist counterpart is Leftwatch.com- a seemingly 1 man operation headed by a Brian Carnell. The 4th pair are a couple of venerable magazines which long predate the cyber era- the Progressive/Liberal The Nation & William F. Buckleyís Right Wing/Conservative National Review. The last duo are personal blogs run by a couple of women- the Leftís Jill Matrix, & Rightist Rachel Lucasís personal blog. RL is also affiliated with Moorewatch.com. The lone ĎCentristí site I could find- in fact the only 1 to proudly proclaim itself such was Aggressive Voice- ĎThe ONLY news source that doesn't sway to either side of the political spectrum.í Weíll see if their billing is, indeed, accurate.
  I will quote very little from each site, lest this become a tome & not a brief capsule essay. Most of the sites have the same old same old- predictable takes on the predictable subjects & persons. In fact, you probably could not tell the difference from where a piece was posted from either the Left of Right Wing sites- they are that generic, generally. I decided to grade each site on a 1-100 scale of excellence. To get that figure I broke the ratings down in to 5 categories of 1.0-10.0 rankings, with different weightings- so that multiplied within a rating & added together, they would total 100%. I figure Iím the least biased person I know, but still Iíll have biases &, this being a Ďnon-scientificí survey, Iíll grant myself a 10% margin of error- which seems fair. Category 1 is A&D (Accuracy & Deception)- I weight this as being at 40%- thereby my 1.-10.0 figure would be multiplied by 4, to make up the 40% of the rating. The next 2 categories I weight at 20% each- or the 1.0-10.0 figure multiplied 2x. These categories are F (for Fairness in allowance of opposing views), & I (for Integrity- basically not being hypocritical). The 2 least important categories are the technical 1s, each weighted at 10%, & not multiplied at all- E&H (Entertainment & Humor) & S&C (Style & Construction of a site- how it looks & works for a viewer. Before we hit each site & grade it I want the readers, of whatever stripe, to bear in mind this truism- BOTH sides lie at every opportunity.
  1st up is FAIR. While occasionally nailing a story correctly, in general they rate dismally on the A&D scale. Why? They buy in to some of the most ludicrous Leftist conspiracies around- despite the evidence against it. Here is a bit of a 2000 story they reprint from an Edward S. Herman. Itís called ĎHometown Hostility, The Philadelphia Inquirer vs. Mumia Abu-Jamalí. Itís ludicrously biased: 

  Antioch College's commencement for the class of 2000 featured a taped speech by death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted in a highly questionable 1981 trial of murdering a Philadelphia police officer. (See Extra!, 11-12/95.) The Ohio college's graduation events also included a teach-in by supporters of Abu-Jamal and an organized police protest. Although the selection of a condemned prisoner as speaker was surely the most notable and unusual feature of the event, the Philadelphia Inquirer's coverage focused on the police protest, with the front-page article (4/30/00) headlined "Speech Met with Silent Protests" and an accompanying picture of Maureen Faulkner, widow of the officer Abu-Jamal is accused of killing.
  This skewed framing is typical of the biased coverage accorded Abu-Jamal's case by his hometown's major daily. The same slant on the news had already been displayed in the Inquirer's coverage of a taped speech by Abu-Jamal at Oregon's Evergreen State College, in which a page 2 article (6/12/99) focused on Faulkner and what was admittedly a "handful" of protesters. The Inquirer had previously failed to report on a pro-Mumia tribunal held in Philadelphia on December 6, 1997, with over 700 people in attendance and many internationally known panelists. A journalist asking the paper about this was told by an editor that it was not covered because it was a "publicity stunt." But a full-page ad placed in the New York Times (6/14/98) by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) was the basis of an Inquirer news article, although a paid ad, by definition, is a bid for publicity. A full-page counter-ad in the Times by Abu-Jamal supporters, on the other hand, was never mentioned.

 

  The piece goes on to cite MAJís alleged innocence, & use Amnesty Internationalís condemnation of his trial as proof. For an honest assessment of MAJ, & other assorted shady icons, read my essay on them. Of course, FAIR NEVER mentions the overwhelming evidence that MAJ committed the crime &/or is protecting the real killer, nor that this guy was not some esteemed journalist, but a 2-bit Left Wing Radical with a troubled past.
  For such problems with the truth FAIR scores a measly 1.5 in A&D. Multiplied by 4 this counts as 6 points in the 1-100 final score. As for fairness? In the F category FAIR scores little better- I give it a 2.0- or 4 points in the 1-100 scale. Why? Because there is almost no attempt at moderation on the site, much less a conservative POV, nor are there any exposures of Leftist lies, just- as weíve seen- a regurgitation of them. Yet, disingenuously, they claim the opposite: ĎFAIR, the national media watch group, has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. We work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints. As an anti-censorship organization, we expose neglected news stories and defend working journalists when they are muzzled. As a progressive group, FAIR believes that structural reform is ultimately needed to break up the dominant media conglomerates, establish independent public broadcasting and promote strong non-profit sources of information.í They get an extra Ĺ point over their A&D score because they, at least acknowledge they are Ďa progressive groupí. Itís not much, but enough for Ĺ a point. As for I- Integrity? I give them a 3.0 (or 6 points for the 1-100 scale). Why? Well, they are blatantly Left Wing in their shilling- witness this typical call to arms: ĎACTION ALERT: Do Media Know That War Kills? March 14, 2003í Yet we all know that the U.S. military has gone to extraordinary lengths to avoid civilian casualties- how? Media saturation of this fact- they are hardly as ignorant as FAIR claims. This is a demerit. Yet they rate higher than the previous 3 categories if only because they post this disclaimer & explanation on their site: ĎFAIR was launched in mid-1986 at a time when the major media were bending distinctly rightward. Big media businesses were being absorbed by even bigger ones, with dangerous implications for those viewpoints already underrepresented. Well-financed right-wing groups like the misnamed Accuracy In Media (AIM) were harassing journalists who uncovered unpleasant truths about poverty, inequality, government corruption or U.S. military and nuclear policy.í Thatís a measly 16 points total for the 1st 3 categories- even perfection in the remaining 2 categories could only improve FAIR to a dismal 36. Donít worry, theyíre not close- on E&H (Entertainment & Humor) they get a 1.0- thereís virtually nothing there. As for S&C (Style & Construction of the site), I grade it a meager 4.0- just a blue sidebar with links, & a white main frame with the bland stories. This may be an attempt to seem Ďnewsyí but it does little for the Websurfers out there. Overall FAIR limps home with a 21 out of 100. Yikes!
  Does AIM do any better? What do you think? On the A&D scale they rate a meager 2.5. They deceive as much as FAIR does, in the opposite direction, but gain a whole point better than their rivals for the simple fact that they openly & blatantly display links to Conservative orgs & columnists. X4 that = 10 points. On the F scale they only rate a 0.5, for again rehashing the old ĎAll the major media surveys for the past 20 years have shown that 80 to 90 percent of the mainstream media consistently vote for Democratsí canard. See my slaves/masters analogy above. Thatís an extra point for them. As for the Integrity issue? Another measly 0.5 rating- or a single point on the 1-100 scale. Thatís 3 issues & 12 points. Why so stingy a rating? 2 reasons- 1) unlike FAIR, AIM does not have any direct email links to its leaders (out of fear?), & 2) they post ridiculous homophobic (or as I prefer homotaediot) stories like this:

 

Making The Abnormal Normal
By Cliff Kincaid
May 5, 2003

 

  While our troops were fighting for freedom in Iraq, the American way of life was continuing to deteriorate here at home, with Hollywood leading the way. You may remember Hollywood actress Jessica Lange starring in "Tootsie" with Dustin Hoffman, who plays an actor who dresses like a woman to get acting parts. That was a comedy. Cross-dressers were people to be laughed at. But now, on the HBO cable channel, cross-dressing has become a deadly serious subject, with Lange starring in a film called "Normal" about a husband who decides he is really a woman in a manís body.
  Jessica Lange, you may recall, appeared at one of the communist-organized anti-war rallies in Washington, D.C. She also appeared at a film festival in Spain on September 25th, where she viciously attacked President Bush, saying, "I despise him. I despise his administration and everything they stand for.... It is an embarrassing time to be an American. It really is. Itís humiliating."
  Speaking of embarrassing, it was during the war that the film "Normal" aired several times on HBO. Itís about a seemingly "normal" Midwestern factory worker, Roy Applewood, a husband and father of two who stuns his family and community by revealing he wants a sex change operation. Irma, his wife of 25 years, is played by Lange. The film shows him as he begins exploring what it takes to be a woman, from earrings to perfume to taking hormones to developing breasts.
  Some in the liberal media like this kind of thing. Tom Shales of the Washington Post called the film brilliant and "pioneering." He notes that when "Roy" puts on his first outfit, a loud blue dress, he bears a distinct resemblance to Clinton Attorney General Janet Reno. Perhaps out of a misguided notion of tolerance, the media do not condemn or even criticized perverted displays of sexuality such as HBOís "Normal."Ö.

  & on the piece drones, never even attempting to hide its contemptible hatred. The Ďlinkí between opposing the war & homosexuality is subtly implied by the mere absurd linking of the 2 in the same story. As for E&H & S&C? A 1.0 for E&H, unless you find pieces like the above to be knee-slappers, & a solid 6.0 for the look of the site itself. Itís easy to maneuver, but has basic links. Still, itís alot easier than FAIRís site. AIM, therefore scores a 19 out of 100, just shy of FAIRís 21. Still, itís a statistical dead heat of horror considering the 10% margin of error. As for a running tally itís the Left @ 21% & the Right @ 19%.
  On to the 2 watchdog sites of 2 Extremist icons- both are fat, despicable, deceitful, stupid white men: radio talk show magnate Rush Limbaugh & indy filmmaker Michael Moore. Rush Limbaugh Online is a fairly straightforward parody site. On the A&D it gets a middling rating- but thatís because itís meant to deceive a viewer in to believing itís the real RLís site. That means a 6.0- or 24 on the 1-100 scale. Itís already outstripped both FAIR & AIM. Itís almost unfair to rank the site in the F category since parody is not meant to be fair. Itís not fair- so a 1.0- or 2 more points. As for Integrity? Give it a 5.0- itís fair to its own aims &, occasionally, to RL. Thatís 10 more points for 36 total. As for Entertainment & Humor give it a solid 7.5- itís not great humor, & often predictably sophomoric. But it rates a 9.5 in the S&C for being well designed. Thatís 17 more points for a 53 total. Alot better than the 1st 2 sites- in fact, well more than the other 2 combined, but still, on a 1-100 scale 53 is still not close to being passable for a Web junky to waste their time looking at the site. As for its Rightist counterpart, Moorewatch.com, I must be upfront & admit Iíve posted a few pieces there, so I may be perceived as being biased pro or con- depending on how youíd interpret my posts. As for A&D Iíll say itís Ĺway there- or a 5.0 (20 on the 1-100 scale). For every lie it exposes of MM thereís another 1 they falsely propagate. On the Fairness meter they get a 0.5 because any dissenters are routinely attacked, often ad hominem. Occasionally the attacks are funny, but always mean-spirited, & with little or no intellectual wit. Thatís a single point there. As for Integrity? About a 4.0- a little less than RLO because they donít have the parody cover- but 1 should note that MM, himself, would rate about a 0.1 on the integrity meter. Thatís 8 more points for a running count of 29 points. E&H rates a 6.0 but S&C is quite poor & banal- itís merely a no-frills blog, whose content is king- but a poor king. This was surprising. Give it a 2.0, for a 5 category total of 37. Total score is RLO 53, MWC 37. Adding & averaging out the Left-Right cumulative scores gives us Left 74, Right 56- or averaged on a 1-100 scale Left 37% & Right 28%- both dismal, but still enough within the margin of error to argue.
  Take Back The Media is a poor manís FAIR. On the Accuracy & Deception meter they rate a 3.5- theyíre fairly upfront on who they represent, but the how is so biased itís sickening. Hereís how they shill for journalistic carny Bill Moyers: ĎThis week on NOW with Bill Moyers, Posted Friday, May 2, 2003 by vgdesign Bill Moyers interviews FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, a vocal opponent of further efforts at media de-regulation.í Thatís 14 points. Add a point for Fairness (actually a 0.5 multiplied by 2 for the 1-100 scale)- theyíre Leftist all the way. Give them a solid 7.0 for Integrity, though- hereís their manifesto: ĎTake Back The Media is a cooperative project by progressive American citizens. We are dismayed at the pro-government, pro-corporate bias shown by American media, and we intend to do something about it. Many American share our views on how the media promotes a pro-war, pro-big corporation agenda, and our numbers are growing every day.
  While we do not advocate any violent action against private property or citizens, we do advocate using the Power of The Purse and non-violent action to bring back responsibility to the corporate media.
í Thatís good for 14 points & a 29 running total. Occasionally humorous ads lighten up the site- giveíem a 4.5. As for the S&C? Solidly designed, but a bit crowded, with too many links- a 6.5 & a total of 40 points overall.
  Leftwatch.com is a pleasant surprise. Itís also the 1st site thatís the purview of a single person, & not a group or an org. Its domo, Brian Carnell, is surprisingly fair- almost (gulp!) moderate. A surprisingly strong 9.0. He is fair in opinion-making, as well as the style in which he attacks the opposition- whether heís wrong or right. Bravo! Thatís 36 points. Heís almost as strong in the F category- I say an 8.5, with surprisingly fair-minded discussion forums, not to mention this on Mumia Abu Jamal:

  In the 1980s Mumia Abu Jamal was convicted of killing Philadephia police officer Daniel Faulkner and sentenced to death. A host of activists, actors and others maintain Jamal was framed by police and had an unfair trial.
  An objective look at the evidence, however, reveals that Jamal had a fair trial that reached a reasonable verdict. As an opponent of capital punishment, the distressing thing about the Jamal case is that it gives pro-capital punishment advocates plenty of ammunition to portray anti-capital punishment advocates as overly credulous and irrational -- which in this case, many of them have aptly proven themselves to be.
  Part of the reason for this credulity is Jamal's extreme Left credentials. Along with being a former Black Panther, Jamal was obsessed with John Africa's MOVE organization. At Jamal's trial, he repeatedly attacked the American justice system, for example, at one point instructing his lawyer to object that murder hadn't been defined under U.S. law to his satisfaction.
  The most curious fact of his case, however, is that Jamal has never said he didn't shoot Faulkner. The closest he has come is in statements saying he didn't commit the crime for which he was charged. Paul Mulshine, whose article on the case can be found below, believes this is because Jamal plans to admit to the shooting but present an argument of justifiable homicide.

  Compare that with the shamelessly distorted FAIR piece on MAJ. Thatís another 17 points. 53 in 2 categories, or heís already tied for the best # with Rush Limbaugh Online, with 3 categories left. As for Integrity, I give a 5.0. Why so middling? Well, despite the siteís sterling characteristics in the 1st 2 columns it only gets a 5.0 because of its relentless & prominent ads. Thatís 10 more points for 63. As for E&H- give it another 5.0- fairly no-frills but the reading is its strength. As for S&C- a 6.0 for its simple, uncluttered look. Add those 11 points on & the total is 74 for the site. This is the 1st passable site- email its webmaster @ brian@carnell.com to give him his plaudits. The scores for these 2 sites are TBTM 40 & LWC 74. The running Left-Right totals are Left 114 points, or 38% & Right  130 points, or 43.3%- still a dead heat given the margin of error.
  On to the 2 venerable old warhorses- & most well-known quantities; 1st the Leftís The Nation. A straightforward & honest Liberal journal since 1865, but not a loony Left rag. Give it a 9.0 for A&D- thatís 36 points. But it only rates a 4.0 on Fairness. Only occasionally does a moderate view get printed, & rarely a Conservative 1. Thatís 8 more points for 44. As for Integrity a solid 7.5- not too much stridence. Thatís 15 points for a 59 total. E&H is a solid 6.0- occasional humor, but little entertainment. S&C gets a big 9.0- the site is not too bland, nor cluttered & itís also not too linky. In short itís very readable- 9.0. These 15 points tally a 74- tying it with Leftwatch.com for the best site so far.
  As for the National Review, you know they are Rightists up front, but they lose Ĺ their load due to the inevitable distortions- a 5.0 or 20 points. They get a 1.0 on Fairness- almost no middle ground & nothing but Cons, Cons, Cons. 2 points for 22 total. Integrity gets them a 5.0- they are what they are. Thatís 10 points for 32. E&H gets a 9.0- solid reads but Bill Buckleyís savage wit saves the day. As for the siteís S&C they get a solid 7.5- but the main frame is a little crushed toward the middle. Thatís a 48.5 total, compared to The Nationís 74. The Left has won 3 of the 4 head to head matchups but the running totals are Left 188 points, the Right 178.5 points. Divide by 4 you get a % total of Left 47% & Right 44.63%. Still a virtual tie, given the margin of error, but getting closer & closer.
  The last head-to-head matchup starts with the bloggers- both female. 1st thereís the Leftís Jill Matrix. I discovered it on a blogroll listing Leftist blogs. Accuracy & Deception gets a middling 5.0. Itís not particularly accurate but there are no attempts at distortion. 20 points. As for the F category- she vacillates & occasionally whines, but thatís enough for a 6.5, or 13 points. Total is 33. As for Integrity it gets a 7.0- itís a blog, dammit!- sheís true to herself it not real world facts. 14 more points. E&H gets a 2.5- itís a dull blog, thatís it- too much emphasis on the personal, with dull, meandering opinions. As for S&C itís meager- a solid 5.0. The total is 54.5 points.
  Her counterpart is Rachel Lucas, a right wing Molly Ivins who simply has THE BEST personal political humor blog that Iíve found on the Web- albeit, my only exposure to such was in researching the 50 or so sites I looked at for this essay. As for A&D Iíd give her a solid 8.0- pretty accurate in her reportage, even including some anti-gaybashing stuff that would make any Leftist proud. Thatís 32 big points. As for Fairness I give her an 8.5, or 17 more points for 49 total. RL can admit her errors, & nails German neo-bigotry in an exchange with a Professor. Hereís her take on Fairness: ĎOn the other hand, if you just think I'm off my rocker on some issue and would like to tell me why without insulting me, you never know, I just might reconsider my stance. It's been known to happen.í As for Integrity, a 9.5 is due- she states who & what she is: ĎRachel is a 31-year-old gun-totin' capitalist oppressor college student with two jobs, two dogs, and no kids. If you take offense to that, kiss my ass. Don't mess with Texas, because that's where Rachel lives with John, where they like to make fun of liberals and play with guns.í Those 19 points round up the total to 68. She gets a solid 8.0 for humor. Her home page has the statement: ĎPiquance. Impudence. Ordnance.í, & she often takes on Ďfreakishly idiotic assclownsí who upbraid her for misspelling Ďordinanceí- when itís clear she MEANS Ďordnanceí as in firearms. She gets a 5.0 on S&C- but, then again, itís also just a blog. Those 13 points round her off to 81, & make hers the best site reviewed yet. That she should be linked to the mediocre Moorewatch.com is odd, since she has it all over that site in almost every way. The totals for the Extremist sites are thus: Leftists 242.5 pts, or 48.5%, Rightists 259.5 pts, or 51.9%.
  The difference is 3.4%, well within the 10% margin of error. Yet, since the Left won 3 of the 5 categories weíll call it even closer. But, both sides average failing scores, barely Ĺway up the scale. Can a lone Centrist/Moderate/Independent site do better? Letís now look at Aggressive Voice which bills itself as ĎThe ONLY news source that doesn't sway to either side of the political spectrum.í Still, I say it leans 55-45% leftward. On the A&D I give it a solid 7.5- they truly hit both Left & Right, although they seem to relish hitting the Right a little bit more, probably since they dominate the media. They have 2 ĎWatchí features on Rightist talk show flak Bill OíReilly, as well as anorexic Right Wing blondie Ann Coulter. Iíve barely heard of the woman, but there was this other website link I found to her name that described wanting to strip her, stick an apple in her mouth & tie her to a bed doggy-fashion toÖ.you get the drift. The 7.5 rating is good for 30 points. On the Fairness meter I give them a roaring 9.5, if for no other reason that they actually solicit opinions & articles from their readers- especially if they differ from their posted opinions. Hereís their solicitation: 

  How AGGRESSIVE is your voice? We can use the feedback as well as any suggestions you may have for us. Direct all of your questions and comments to editor@aggressive-voice.com.
  Want to participate in our newest segment, "Head 2 Head" e-mail us your article with a different opinion to one already published. Make sure you let us know which article you oppose. If your article is selected, it will appear in the next edition.

  Thatís good enough for 19 points & a 49 point total. As for Integrity I giveíem an 8.5- they do lean Left, but the staff page is very up front about their leanings. 17 more points & weíre at 66- already passable. Hereís an example from a piece youíd not expect to see on this site. Itís called ĎAn Open Letter to that Idiot Sitting in the Middle of the Street, by Shane Jay Hayes, Contributing Columnist, March 30, 2003í:

  Did these selfish and self-centered morons ever stop to think about the consequences of their actions? While they are blocking the streets, traffic is snarled, ambulances are blocked from their destinations, cops are re-directed, money is being lost, stores must close, the neighborhood and the city suffers. They couldnít care less about humanity or human suffering obviously they enjoy causing it as much as Saddam. There would be some difference if they had some sort of message besides "War is bad". Because although war may be bad it is also necessary in the course of human progress, and in this case security.

  On the E&H scale I give them a 6.0 for mild humor on occasions, & a solid 8.0 for their niftily designed site. Those 14 points bring AV up to 80- just a point shy of our champion Rachel Lucasís 81 points. However, if we compare the averages we see that the Moderate/Centrist Aggressive Voice easily bests the Left & Right Wingsí average showings 80% to 48.5% for the Left, & 51.9% for the Right. The spread is well beyond the 10% fudge factor- even were we to 2ble it. It makes you wonder why people NEVER seek solutions in the middle? But, letís recap our stats, & see if any patterns emerge: 

 

A&D (40%)

Fairness (20%)

Integrity (20%)

E&H (10%)

S&C (10%)

Total (100%)

FAIR

1.5/6.0

2.0/4.0

3.0/6.0

1.0

4.0

21.0

AIM

2.5/10.0

0.5/1

0.5/1

1.0

6.0

19.0

Rush Limbaugh Online

6.0/24.0

1.0/2.0

5.0/10.0

7.5

9.5

53.0

Moorewatch.com

5.0/20.0

0.5/1.0

4.0/8.0

6.0

2.0

37.0

Take Back The Media

3.5/14.0

0.5/1.0

7.0/14.0

4.5

6.5

40.0

Leftwatch.com

9.0/36.0

8.5/17.0

5.0/10.0

5.0

6.0

74.0

The Nation

9.0/36.0

4.0/8.0

7.5/15.0

6.0

9.0

74.0

National Review

5.0/20.0

1.0/2.0

5.0/10.0

9.0

7.5

48.5

Jill Matrix

5.0/20.0

6.5/13.0

7.0/14.0

2.5

5.0

54.5

Rachel Lucas

8.0/32.0

8.5/17.0

9.5/19.0

8.0

5.0

81.0

Aggressive Voice

7.5/30.0

9.5/19.0

8.5/17.0

6.0

8.0

80.0

  What stands out 1st is that there were only 4 Ďpassableí sites out of 11- but they shared a common thread- 1 was the ĎCentristí Aggressive Voice, there were the 2 personal sites of fair-minded Conservatives- Brian Carnellís Leftwatch.com & Rachel Lucasís blog, as well as the oldest entity going- the Liberal-leaning The Nation. Letís look at how the pairings do against each other. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, the worst pairing were those very sites devoted to pointing out unfairness in other sites. The best pair were the personal female bloggists. In the A&D category the oldest entry- The Nation- was probably the most reliable news source, while its Liberal brethren at FAIR were the worst. As for overall Fairness Aggressive Voice is the tops. The pits are the Right Wing bigots at AIM, who also scrape the Integrity bottom. At the top of the Integrity heap is that feisty Texan Rachel Lucas. Sheís also a close 2nd in the Entertainment category. But, who could top the Elitist Snobs over at National Review, whose humor is only sometimes intentional? As for web design the top spot goes to the Rush Limbaugh Online guys- I mean, not only is it modeled on RLís slick site, but itís dead on with itís parody being not too far off from the Fat Manís idiocies. The biggest rout, points-wise, was Leftwatch.comís 34 point blowout of the pallid Take Back The Media. As for the biggest surprises- positive & negative? On the pro side the fair-minded Rightist sites of Brian Carnell (Leftwatch.com), &- especially- Rachel Lucasís kick-ass blog, were the biggest pleasures. Why? Because they put the lie to the idea that all right of center people are mindless, anti-abortion, pro-corporation zombies. As for the biggest negative surprise? The utterly abominable showing by the 2 biggest self-proclaimed watchdog groups- the horridly Leftist FAIR, & the even more abominable, & hate-mongering AIM.
  To summarize, there are only 4 sites that I would recommend visiting (bear in mind that there were 40-some other sites I did not even find interesting enough to review): the lone Centrist site Aggressive Voice, the venerable The Nation, Brian Carnellís simple but effective Leftwatch.com, & especially the piquant, impudent, & loaded Rachel Lucasís blog at http://www.rachellucas.com/ . Viva la Tťjas!

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An email exchange re: this article

  Dear readers, watch as this fool hangs himself with distortions & spin doctoring.

----- Original Message -----
Cc: rcoen@fair.org ; phart@fair.org ; shohauser@fair.org ; jjackson@fair.org ; jnaureckas@fair.org ; srendall@fair.org ; dthomas@fair.org ; rushlimbaughonline@yahoo.com ; info@takebackthemedia.com ; institute@thenation.com ; jill@jillmatrix.com ; editor@aggressive-voice.com ; ar1@aim.org ; lee@moorewatch.com ; jim@moorewatch.com ; rachel@moorewatch.com ; brian@carnell.com ; letters@nationalreview.com ; nronline@nationalreview.com ; rachel@rachellucas.com
Sent: Thursday, May 15, 2003 8:27 AM
Subject: Political Websites Report Card
http://www.cosmoetica.com/B102-DES57.htm

B102-DES57
Watching The Watchmen (& -women)
Copyright © by Dan Schneider, 5/15/03

  1 of the most amazing things about the Internet is how such a potentially great medium, for advancing the best in human nature, debases itself. & Iím not just talking about the obvious stuff like porno sites, relentless spam, or the narcissistic blogs that proliferate daily. I mean most of the sites devoted to Ďcorrectingí perceived errors in mainstream media sources. Most of these watchdog groups & individuals are often far more biased than their mainstream counterparts have ever been, yet they typically are blind to this obvious point.
  I decided to look at 11 political sites- 5 Left Wing sites, 5 Right Wing sites, & 1 claimed Centrist site. With the Left & Right sites I paired the 10 sites off in to their most similar counterparts. See the table below, with my explanation to follow.

Left

Center

Right

FAIR

Aggressive Voice

AIM

Rush Limbaugh Online

 

Moorewatch.com

Take Back The Media

 

Leftwatch.com

The Nation

 

National Review

Jill Matrix

 

Rachel Lucas

    The 1st pair are a couple of dedicated & Ďimpartialí media groups....

----- Original Message -----
To: Steve Rendall
Cc: rachel@rachellucas.com ; nronline@nationalreview.com ; letters@nationalreview.com ; brian@carnell.com ; rachel@moorewatch.com ; jim@moorewatch.com ; lee@moorewatch.com ; ar1@aim.org ; editor@aggressive-voice.com ; jill@jillmatrix.com ; institute@thenation.com ; info@takebackthemedia.com ; rushlimbaughonline@yahoo.com ; dthomas@fair.org ; srendall@fair.org ; jnaureckas@fair.org ; jjackson@fair.org ; shohauser@fair.org ; phart@fair.org ; rcoen@fair.org
Sent: Thursday, May 15, 2003 6:26 PM
Subject: Re: Political Websites Report Card

Truth kind'a hurts, don't it? See interpolated:

----- Original Message -----
From: Steve Rendall
Sent: Thursday, May 15, 2003 11:27 AM
Subject: RE: Political Websites Report Card
Dear Mr. Dan Schneider:
 
In response to the e-mail you sent to me: As a media watch group presuming to scrutinize others, we must be open to scrutiny. That's why we invite thoughtful, accurate criticism. 
Unfortunately, that's not what you have provided here. Your very first paragraphs contain major errors of fact. Here's two to start with:
 ** AIM was not formed in the 1980s to defend Reagan as you write; it was founded in 1969 to defend Nixon.  
 
+++ According to you- according to AIM & other sources (both pro & con AIM) their start date could be any of a # of dates.
 
** FAIR does not claim to be impartial as you write. Our "What's FAIR" mission statement, linked on the front page of our website, states among other things: "As a progressive group...." 
 
+++ Obviously you missed the fact that I don't buy in to your political spin doctoring. Don't try the semantic BS with a writer. Simply stating your leanings IN NO WAY voids the claims to impartiality. When you make it your mission to uncover another's biases you are de facto stating you are not biased. AIM does the same thing- for better & worse. For worse they are obviously bigots. For better, they're honest bigots. By doing my report card I claim that- unlike y'all or AIM- I am impartial- did you not grade out a bit higher than your nemeses?
 
Our clear declaration that we are on the left invalidates your AIM/FAIR opening argument: "The 1st pair are a couple of dedicated & 'impartial' media groups...."
 Your accuracy does not improve when you get down to cases. Take your very first shot at a specific work of ours. Your attempt to show our "ludicrous" treatment of the Mumia Abdul Jamal story contains a fabrication. Writing about an article by author and Wharton School professor emeritus Edward S. Herman, you quote a long passage from the article and then write:
 "The piece goes on to cite MAJís alleged innocence..."
 Really? Where in the article does Herman cite Mumia Abu Jamal's alleged innocence
 He doesn't.  
 
+++ Does he use those words? No. Is the whole thrust of the article meant to impugn the process by which MAJ was found guilty? Of course. Unless you're retarded it's fairly obvious that an impartial survey of the facts proves a) either MAJ is the killer, or b) he's covering for the real killer- most likely his brother. Just compare it to the same subject as approached by Leftwatch.com- a far less biased piece.
 
The issue under discussion was media coverage and questions about whether Abu Jamal received a fair trial--not his guilt or  innocence. These are two separate issues. The right to a fair trial is one of cornerstones in the impressive structure of U.S. civil rights. (If you are interested in a useful discussion of the Abu Jamal trial, I would refer you to Stuart Taylor's landmark article in American Lawyer, "Guilty and Framed.")
 
+++ Again, the two- in the real world- go hand in hand, & you know it. & do not pretend you are unaware of the media games played by partisans & political groups such as yours. You try to hide behind the 'media coverage' issue, but we all know that this is a Leftist feint to try to exculpate a schmoe who, bizarrely, the Left have turned into a 'hero'.
 
It took me less than five minutes to locate these major errors and outright distortions. I will not be reading any further than your failed and deceptive attempt to debunk Ed Herman's article. Pardon me for saying so, but I think your initial attempt to grade FAIR and others is a bust; it tells more about your biases and shortcomings than it does about anyone else's.
 
+++ Steve, the term is PARALLAX- FAIR is so far to the LEFT that ANY centrist position SEEMS biased. But, you're no different than dozens of extremist groups- Right & Left. Read what you will, but it vitiates none of the weak attempts to deflect genuine criticism. If you really want to be impartial take a cue from the Centrist site mentioned- you'll have to read on to get their name. I've had a bad couple of weeks- but your email finally made me chuckle. Thanks,  DAN
 
Sincerely,
Steve Rendall
FAIR
----- Original Message -----
Cc: rcoen@fair.org ; phart@fair.org ; shohauser@fair.org ; jjackson@fair.org ; jnaureckas@fair.org ; srendall@fair.org ; dthomas@fair.org ; rushlimbaughonline@yahoo.com ; info@takebackthemedia.com ; institute@thenation.com ; jill@jillmatrix.com ; editor@aggressive-voice.com ; ar1@aim.org ; lee@moorewatch.com ; jim@moorewatch.com ; rachel@moorewatch.com ; brian@carnell.com ; letters@nationalreview.com ; nronline@nationalreview.com ; rachel@rachellucas.com
Sent: Thursday, May 15, 2003 8:25 PM
Subject: Fw: Political Websites Report Card
----- Original Message -----
From: Steve Rendall
Sent: Thursday, May 15, 2003 7:27 PM
Subject: RE: Political Websites Report Card
 
Dear Mr. Dan Schneider:
 
You claim there are AIM people on record who say the group was founded in the 1980s, do you have any citations?
 
***Well, geez- if you actually researched the group there are dozens of conflicting accounts- not unlike your group's claims of impartiality.
 
This is not a good use of our time, but this one last item is too funny to pass up. You wrote that FAIR claims to be impartial but you have no evidence of such claims. When I write back respectfully showing you where we have prominently declared the contrary, you respond with: "Simply stating your leanings IN NO WAY voids the claims to impartiality." 
That's the perfect ending, let's leave it there. 
 
***Actually, this is better- so you are claiming- on the record- that you are indeed a group that shills for Left Wing extremism alone? For the intellectually & ethically challenged- 'Stating a political preference in no way voids a responsibility to avoid willful distortion.' That you miss that speaks volumes of your integrity. Perhaps you're looking to rout the AIMsters from the cellar. Nonetheless, this is GREAT- I encourage all the recipients of this email to feel free to post its contents on their websites. Let's see- I've OUTED the FAIR guys- who's next?   DAN
 
Best wishes on your continued success!
Steve Rendall
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