Accuracy in Media


At the left-wing blog, ConWebWatch, dedicated to “monitoring” conservative
news websites, Terry Krepel has doggedly been criticizing Accuracy in

Krepel also serves as a senior editor at Media
the liberal media watchdog “dedicated to comprehensively monitoring,
analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.”

But if Krepel’s critique of this correspondent’s August 1st article,
“McCain’s Reverend Wright?,” is any indication, Krepel’s criticisms of AIM are
largely misplaced.

In “McCain’s Reverend Wright,” this correspondent discussed how news outlets
were associating Pastor John Hagee with John McCain (and,
specifically, the McCain campaign), even after the two men publicly distanced
themselves from each other. Some media outlets even go so far as to call Pastor
John Hagee McCain’s own Reverend Jeremiah Wright. “This election may well
come down to which candidate can better control his crazy pastors—and after
yesterday’s weirdness at the convention center, McCain has fallen behind by
about two cubits,” Dana Milbank wrote for the Washington Post.

Apparently Krepel takes exception to what the AIM article didn’t discuss:
that Pastor Hagee was supposedly “retracting” his apologies for his
controversial statements on Hurricane
and the Catholic
. “Stotts ignores that Hagee’s new apparent defense of his
inflammatory remarks—and more specifically, his claim that his critics ‘do not
understand the Bible view’—seems to contradict his previous retraction of them,”
Krepel writes.

The author then goes on to quote Pastor Hagee’s apology about his comments
connecting Hurricane Katrina with God’s wrath on homosexuals.

Krepel fabricates a sense of contradiction, underplaying Hagee’s consistent
stance on his belief in God’s sovereignty.

Hagee issued a statement in May, saying that

“As a believing Christian, I see the hand of God in everything that
happens here on earth, both the blessings and the curses…But ultimately
neither I nor any other person can know the mind of God concerning Hurricane
Katrina. I should not have suggested otherwise. No matter what the cause of the
storm, my heart goes out to all who suffered in this terrible tragedy. There but
for the grace of God go any one of us.”

In his column, Krepel omits
the first sentence and then ends at “otherwise,” heightening the contrast with
the next sentence.

Pastor Hagee said at the 2008 CUFI summit that “It is deeply troubling to
pick up a newspaper and read sweeping condemnations of things you did in fact
say but which are not new or controversial to those who believe in an
all-powerful God who is sovereign and intervenes in human history.”

In both instances, Pastor Hagee was consistent in his assertions about God’s
sovereignty and control over human events. But Krepel insists on finding
inconsistencies; he also asserts that Hagee is retracting his apology to
Catholic League President Bill Donohue.

“Is Hagee now un-retracting his retractions and standing by his attacks on
Catholics and gays once again? It appears so. Why didn’t Stotts notice that?,”
writes Krepel. If Pastor Hagee were intent on “attacking” Catholics, it wouldn’t
make much sense to invite them to his Summit. During the banquet Pastor Hagee
recognized Bill Donohue and two other Catholic leaders as his honored guests. He
had the following to say about the conflict:

“As some in the media sought to play us one against the other, we
did something the media was not expecting—we acted like Christians. We sat down
together, brother to brother, and talked. As a result of those meetings, we
developed a friendship, we developed a greater understanding, and now Christians
United for Israel has formed a new alliance. We’re honored to have with us
tonight some of the most important Catholic lay leaders in America and they have
brought many of their friends with them.”

Perhaps Krepel didn’t
actually listen to Pastor Hagee’s speech?

Hagee went on to say that “We have promised that in the future we’re going to
open the borders of our tent and bring the Catholics who are pro-Israel to this
event and celebrate our union because we are brothers and sisters in the faith.”
So Hagee is not only not “attacking” Catholics, he is trying to forge an
alliance with them.

Krepel’s column is most dishonest in that not only does he focus on
unrelated—and unfounded—topics, but criticizes this correspondent for getting
distracted by the very purpose of my original article. “Perhaps because she was
too busy trying to decouple Hagee from McCain, even though prominent McCain
supporter Joe Lieberman was a featured speaker at Hagee’s CUFI event,” writes
Krepel. Mr. Krepel thereby shows that he either failed to grasp the original
message of the article or intends to mislead his audience about AIM’s reporting.

He writes,

“Would Stotts let Obama get away with Barack Obama, for instance,
claiming that a close adviser who, say, spoke at an event that also featured
Rev. Jeremiah Wright was acting “independent” from him? We suspect

Regardless of the arrogance communicated by his claim to know
how a person he has never met would act in a hypothetical situation, Krepel’s
argument is logically inconsistent.

Barack Obama was married and baptized by Reverend Wright, attended his
church for two decades, and told MSNBC in March that
Reverend Wright “helped bring me to Jesus, helped bring me to church.” The
public would not therefore need to look to the actions of an Obama
representative to understand the candidate’s relationship with Rev. Wright, as
the media did with the McCain campaign. Obama’s actions speak for themselves.

Krepel’s comments on this article makes it clear that his “media critiques”
focus more on fitting Accuracy in Media’s reporting to a preconceived
ideological model rather than the dissemination of truthful and accurate
information. By focusing on a 200 word section of a 1,300 word article in order
to advance his own theories on Pastor Hagee, Krepel places AIM’s reporting in an
ill-fitted mold and misleads his own readership.

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