MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch Topic: Media Research Center
Media Research Center employees garnered two appearances on Fox News in recent days -- one by CNSNews.com's Nathan Burchfiel discussing his Aug. 7 CNS article on firefighters who were allegedly taunted while appearing in a gay-pride parade, and the other an appearance by the Business & Media Institute's Dan Gainor on the Aug. 10 "Fox & Friends" to attack the New York Times for a blog post by "Freakonomics" co-author Steven Levitt asking, "If You Were a Terrorist, How Would You Attack?"
As is Fox News' standard practice, Gainor and Burchfiel appeared alone without other panelists, and their conservative political affiliations were not mentioned. Further, while Gainor repeatedly attacked the Times -- e.g., "It's another example of irresponsible activity by the New York Times," "this from the New York Times, that last year wasn't taking terrorism seriously when they revealed secret banking tracking for terrorist organizations," "The New York Times doesn't give a darn about ordinary Americans" -- and made unsubstantiated claims, such as that Levitt wrote the post "to get as much possible press, and The New York Times is loving it," nowhere did Gainor or any of his "Fox & Friends" interviewers note Levitt's reasoning behind his post:
Consider that posting them could be a form of public service: I presume that a lot more folks who oppose and fight terror read this blog than actual terrorists. So by getting these ideas out in the open, it gives terror fighters a chance to consider and plan for these scenarios before they occur.
Patterson's Dubious Clinton Attack Gets a Pass Topic: NewsBusters
An Aug. 9 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard repeated an exchange on MSNBC's "Hardball" between "anti-war activist Jon Soltz of VoteVets.org" and "Move America Forward Vice Chairman, and two-time New York Times bestselling author Buzz Patterson," in which Patterson asserted that Hillary Clinton "wanted to outlaw uniforms, military uniforms in the White House" during Bill Clinton's presidency. Sheppard did not mention, as Media Matters has detailed, that Patterson has never offered any evidence to support his assertion and has repeatedly changed his story on the background of the purported directive. One possible reason: Sheppard credited Move America Forward chief Melanie Morgan for his post.
And lookie here -- Morgan's Aug. 10 WorldNetDaily column similarly referenced the Patterson-Soltz dustup, also without referencing the factually dubious Clinton attack.
Huston Ignores That Giuliani, Romney Share Obama's Pakistan Position Topic: NewsBusters
An Aug. 10 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston complains that a Los Angeles Times article's statement regarding "official and unofficial suggestions by U.S. politicians that American forces unilaterally strike Al Qaeda figures believed to be taking shelter in Pakistan's tribal lands if Musharraf's government fails to do so" doesn't single out Barack Obama by name:
Why no mention of Barack Obama and the scolding he has taken for his over-the-top rhetoric?
Does anyone doubt that if a Republican candidate had said something on the campaign trail that caused a foreign ally to react in such a visceral way that the L.A.Times would waste no time in linking that candidate's name to such a story, regardless if his rhetoric was "official" or not?
In fact, as we've noted, Republican candidates Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney do, in fact, endorse the substance of Obama's view on Pakistan. Why didn't Huston mention that, hmmm?
Huston goes on to assert: "But the L.A.Times knows better. They know that Obama does not represent at any time the official policy of either the Bush Administration or the United States. They know better than to classify Obama's comments as 'official and unofficial suggestions.'" How does Huston know that this is not "the official policy of either the Bush Administration or the United States"? As we've seen with Iraq, the Bush administration clearly has no problem invading a country when it serves U.S. interests.
CNS Smears Researchers to Defend Lott Topic: CNSNews.com
An Aug. 9 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas highlights a claim in a new book by John R. Lott that -- contrary to claims forwarded in the best-selling book "Freakonomics" -- abortion has led to increased crime. But in recounting Lott's checkered research history, Lucas takes an unsupported swipe at all researchers:
In a written statement, [John] Donohue [co-author of the abortion-reduces-crime study in "Freakonomics"] did not comment on either study. He instead raised questions concerning Lott's research methods and said, "I am a social scientist, however, so Lott's behavior has in my mind, put him outside the bounds of scientific discourse."
Donohue was referring to Lott's 1998 book, "More Guns Less Crime," which was roundly criticized in some academic circles and on blogs for allegedly being founded on faulty research. Lott also admitted to going on to one of the blogs under a different name to defend his work, a practice that many academics engage in.
Huh? According to who? Lucas offers no evidence that "many academics" write under assumed names to defend their work. This appears to be a cheap shot against all researchers in order to make Lott look less dishonest and more "mainstream."
The above paragraphs are Lucas' only reference to the controversies surrounding Lott -- of which there are many. Lucas goes on to add: "Despite those controversies, Lott's commentaries continue to be reviewed and published in such places as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, as well as other establishment media." That's no testimony to the veracity of Lott's research, though, since he has been getting stuffwrong in those publications as well.
Blumer Wants Us To Believe Anonymous, Unsubstantiated Claims Topic: NewsBusters
An Aug. 9 NewsBusters post by Tom Blumer claims that an Associated Press article on the Scott Thomas Beauchamp controversy "make[s] it appear that this is a "he said, she said" dispute, instead of a situation where Beauchamp and TNR have been thoroughly discredited." Citing the anonymously sourced Weekly Standard article by Michael Goldfarb asserting that Beauchamp's articles have been discredited, Blumer claims "Goldfarb had, and has, at least two sources." But those sources are anonymous, which we thought was a bad thing as far as conservatives are concerned. Indeed, fellow NewsBuster Robin Boyd wrote not too long ago: "The use of 'anonymous' sources is nothing more than a journalistic ploy to prevent others from verifying the information presented."
Further, as Eric Boehlert points out, the Army has said that neither the results of its investigation of Beauchamp's claims nor his alleged recantation of said claims will be made public -- as Boehlert put it, "we just have to take their word for it."
This means Blumer is asking us to believe anonymous claims that lack verifiable proof -- a different standard than the one to which he held the Associated Press in the Jamil Hussein (non-)controversy.
WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein continues to hide relevant information about conflicts in the West Bank town of Hebron from his readers.
In his Aug. 9 WND article, Klein again details the eviction by Israeli Defense Forces of two families in a Hebron market without noting their right-wing extremist sympathies, and repeated his assertion that the Hebron market was closed "after a series of clashes broke out in the mid-1990s" without noting that one of those "clashes" was right-wing extremist Jew Baruch Goldstein's massacre of 29 Arabs in Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs in 1994.
New Article: Freshly Brewed Smears Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily columnist and Faith2Action chief Janet Folger is all too willing to mislead and lie -- and even quote a neo-Nazi racist -- in order to promote her anti-gay agenda. Read more.
Hillary Too Polarizing, Says Hillary-Hater LeBoutillier Topic: Newsmax
In his Aug. 8 NewsMax column, John LeBoutillier writes of the 2008 presidential election and Hillary Clinton:
Out of it all, the country wants to find someone who makes at least an effort to re-unite us all as Americans first and partisans second.
Hillary cannot do this and will never be able to. The very minute she takes office many will oppose her. And that will never change. She is a polarizing figure, just the way G.W. Bush has become polarizing. Can a nation of 300 million people only elect presidents now from two families? Are the two main political parties the wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Bushes and the Clintons? Until this changes, we, as a nation, are in for more years of division and disgust.
LeBoutillier doesn't mention that one of the reasons Hillary Clinton is a "polarizing figure" is that he himself has a personal, vested interest in keeping it that way. As we've detailed, LeBoutillier regularly attacks Hillary in his column, operates the Stop Hillary PAC, and was the chief spokesman for the now-abandoned Counter Clinton Library.
If Hillary cannot "re-unite us all as Americans" if elected, it's because of people like LeBoutillier (and several other NewsMax writers) who don't want that to happen if Hillary is involved.
Waters Ignores That Giuliani, Romney Share Obama's 'Extreme' Pakistan Position Topic: Media Research Center
In an Aug. 7 TimesWatch item, Clay Waters claimed that a New York Times blog post "takes a rather hostile anti-Republican tone that portrays second-tier candidate Rep. Tom Tancredo as an extremist who has gone too far even for a party that likes to posture as tough," based on Tancredo's assertion that "the United States should reserve the right to bomb Islam's two holiest sites, Mecca and Medina, in retaliation for a major terrorist attack on American soil." Waters responded: "By contrast, when Democratic candidate Barack Obama suggested the United States invade an ally, Pakistan, to go after Al Qaeda, possibly destablizing a nuclear power, Jeff Zeleny's August 2 report didn't find anything controversial or gaffe-like."
First, Waters didn't give the full context of Obama's statement -- that when he "suggested the United States invade an ally, Pakistan, to go after Al Qaeda," he also said he would do so only if "we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and [Pakistani] President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act."
Second, perhaps Zeleny "didn't find anything controversial or gaffe-like" because major Republican presidential candidates hold the same position as Obama. As Media Matters notes, even though Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney attacked Obama for his statement regarding Pakistan, they agreed with its substance. Romney said, "Of course America always maintains our options to do whatever we think is in the best interests of America," while Giuliani said, "I would take that option if I thought there was no other way to crush Al Qaeda, no other way to crush the Taliban, and no other way to be able to capture bin Laden."
NewsBusters Takes Mine Owner At His (Misleading) Word Topic: NewsBusters
An Aug. 7 NewsBusters post by Terry Trippany (also posted at her own blog, Webloggin) uncritically accepts as fact the assertions of media bias made by Bob Murray, head of the Murray Energy Corp., regarding coverage of a collapse in a Utah mine he operates in which serveral miners are trapped. Murray specifically attacked Associated Press writer Seth Borenstein and Fox News.
Trippany picked up on Murray's attack on Borenstein, claiming that a Borenstein article "looked past any facts in cause of the Utah mine collapse and concentrated instead on the type of mining being done." Trippany adds:
There is no doubt in my mind that an agenda is being driven in Borenstein's report. Why else would he concentrate on the type of mining being done instead of getting geological information that would substantiate or disprove the claims of the mining company? ... A perfect drive by for a perfectly silly report that leads the reader to believe that a greedy corporation is violating safety rules to make a quick buck.
Trippany cited an edited version of Borenstein's article, apparently thinking it was all Borenstein wrote. The full version shows that Borenstein also quoted a co-owner of the collapsed mine and a spokesman for the mining industry calling the method in question safe and successful. Trippany claimed the article "leads the reader to believe that a greedy corporation is violating safety rules to make a quick buck" without noting that Murray Energy has racked up a rather notable tally of federal safety violations and that Murray himself has opposed more stringent mining safety regulations. (Borenstein's article didn't note that either.)
Trippany seems to be making the assumption that everything Murray says is ipso facto true and beyond question. For instance, Trippany states that the mine "collapsed after an earthquake struck the area" -- a claim Murray has made. In fact, the U.S. Geological Survey and seismologists at the University of Utah have stated that there was no earthquake in the area, and that the collapse itself caused the recorded seismic event.
Further, while Trippany noted that Murray "also took a swipe at Fox News," she does not explore or attack what Fox News allegedly reported, unlike what she did with the AP. As we'vereported, the MRC typically turns a blind eye to evidence of bias at Fox News.
In an Aug. 8 NewsBusters post, Sheppard notes that Al Gore said in a speech that global-warming deniers "offered a bounty of $10,000 for each article disputing the consensus that people could crank out and get published somewhere" a mere few days after a Newsweek article outlining the strategy and funding behind the deniers makes the same claim (and that both used the word "deniers"), Sheppard asks (while offering no evidence that disproves the claim):
Is this a coordinated attack designed to incite anger in citizens that polls show are not as upset about this issue as the left and their media minions?
Coincidence, or a coordinated campaign by the left to stifle the growing number of scientists around the world who are speaking out and writing articles refuting anthropogenic global warming theories whilst inciting the public's anger?
Certainly, it seems quite suspicious that Gore and Newsweek ignored actual funding data going to both sides of this debate while employing very similar language just days apart to point fingers at "deniers," as well as using the tobacco industry analogy.
That "actual funding data" is, in fact, gamed statistics by Marc Morano, flack for global warming denier Sen. James Inhofe and a former CNSNews.com reporter, alleging that (caps are his) "proponents of man-made global warming have been funded to the tune of $50 BILLION in the last decade or so, while skeptics have received a paltry $19 MILLION by comparison." For instance, Morano states (and Sheppard regurgitates) that "The Sierra Club Foundation 2004 budget was $91 million and the Natural Resources Defense Council had a $57 million budget for the same year," but he offers no evidence to support his highly unlikely assumption that all $148 million -- or even any of it; Morano does't bother to detail any specific global-warming activities the two organizations are allegedly engaged in -- went toward fighting global warming. Morano has apparently lumped the entire budgets of such groups into his total regardless of how little of that was actually spent on global warming program related activities.
Meanwhile, as we've noted, it's highly likely that Morano is lowballing the money spent by "skeptics," given that a single conservative activist organization spent a half-million bucks on newspaper ads alone -- more than 5 percent of Morano's claimed total.
Sheppard, meanwhile, should not be complaining about conspiracies and coordination. His own copious history of NewsBusters posts on the subject shows that he's an all-too-willing shill for the global-warming-denial industry, so it's not untoward to wonder who his puppet masters are. In particular, Sheppard may feel a special kinship with Morano, who we can assume to be happy to help his old buddies at the MRC. After all, Sheppard's and Morano's screeds agaisnt the Newsweek article appeared in such close -- one might say suspicious -- proximity to each other that we can certain wonder if there was, in Sheppard's words, a coordinated attack.
Before accusing others, Sheppard needs to come clean with his readers on his own coordination efforts.
P.S.: The MRC proper also gets into the Newsweek-bashing act (coincidence?). In an Aug. 8 CyberAlert, Brent Baker calls the Newsweek article a "screed" and complained that the article "employed the belittling term 'denial machine' 14 times." Not because it's not true, mind you, but because it's "belittling." Baker joins Sheppard in uncritically citing Morano's purported statistics on funding.
UPDATE: More evidence Morano is fudging his numbers: In his article claiming that "$50 BILLION" has been spent "researching and promoting climate fears." Morano cites a "$3 billion donation to the global warming cause from Virgin Air's Richard Branson." In fact, Branson said that money is going toward developing clean technologies, such as wind turbines and cleaner-burning aviation fuel, with a heavy emphasis on developing "cellulosic" ethanol.
Development of non-fossil-based fuels is "promoting climate fears"?
And that $19 million number Morano and Sheppard are tossing around as the paltry figure that "skeptics" get? That's a fudge as well. They haven't added up any figures of the budgets of conservative global warming-denying groups; as Morano himself admits, that's just a single statistic, the amount Exxon Mobil has given to "groups skeptical of man-made global warming."
Aaron Klein's Aug. 7 WorldNetDaily article on Israeli officials who "forcibly evicted two Jewish families from a Jewish-owned market place" in the West Bank city of Hebron keeps up his whitewash job on the incident, again failing to note the right-wing and extremist sympathies of those evicted.
Klein also repeated his statement that the market was closed "after a series of clashes broke out in the mid-1990s" without noting that one of those "clashes" was right-wing extremist Jew Baruch Goldstein's massacre of 29 Arabs in Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs in 1994.
NewsBusters Wants to See Chelsea Clinton Drunk Topic: NewsBusters
What is with NewsBusters' obsession with Chelsea Clinton's (long-ago) drinking habits?
An Aug. 7 post by Scott Whitlock marks the second time in a month that this issue has come up there. This time around, Whitlock is miffed that a "Good Morning America" report that referenced "Jenna Bush's many underage drinking incidents" didn't mention "the public drunkenness of Chelsea Clinton." Like Mark Finkelstein before him, Whitlock fails to acknowledge one crucial difference: Unlike Jenna Bush, Chelsea Clinton didn't break any laws with her drinking.
That link Whitlock supplies, by the way, is an 2-year-old anonymous report from a gossip blog -- hardly concrete evidence of Chelsea's alleged debauchery. Would Whitlock accept such evidence against the Bush twins?
Sheppard Thinks Press Releases Are News Stories Topic: NewsBusters
An Aug. 6 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard asserts that a challenge by anti-global warming author Dennis Avery to debate Al Gore on the subject was "reported by PR Newswire."
Um, Noel, PR Newswire doesn't "report" anything. It is a press release distribution service; it distributes only what businesses and organizations have paid to distribute. Sheppard doesn't mention that the organization that paid to distribute Avery's challenge is the Heartland Institute, whose press releases Sheppard has previously regurgitated while failing to note that it's an activist group with conservative leanings, secrecy regarding its funding and dubious ties to the tobacco industry.
Sheppard, strangely, does repeat a quote from the press release that "The Heartland Institute has run more than $500,000 of ads in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Times promoting a debate." That's right -- a half-million dollars spent on ads by one group. Did Marc Morano include this amount in the allegedly paltry $19 million he claims global warming deniers have spent (which Sheppard claimed without support were "actual hard dollar numbers)? We somehow doubt it.
Corsi Conspiracy: NAFTA Blamed for Bridge Collapse Topic: WorldNetDaily
Remember conservatives' eagerness to center any and every sort of conspiracy around Bill Clinton? The new bogeyman appears to be any economic cooperation whatsoever between the United States, Canada and Mexico, and WorldNetDaily's Jerome Corsi is the high priest of that little religion.
An Aug. 5 WND article by Corsi endeavors to blame the Minnesota bridge collapse on NAFTA. Really:
Evidence of increasing international trade truck traffic on Interstate 35 through Minnesota raises concerns that NAFTA Superhighway traffic contributed to last week's collapse of the freeway bridge in Minneapolis.
WND has unearthed a Federal Highway Administration report dating back to 1998 that warned increasing NAFTA truck traffic was expected to create a safety concern with bridges in states along the I-35 NAFTA Superhighway, including Minnesota.
Corsi eventually descends into his longtime activism against a transportation corridor in Texas, the only tangental link to Minnesota is that the corridor would run "parallel to Interstate 35." Corsi doesn't explain why transcontinental trade is a bad thing.
Corsi also rails against something called the North America's SuperCorridor Coalition, Inc. (NASCO), which "designates I-35 as a NAFTA Superhighway." he ominously adds: "The original 2005 NASCO website opened with a graphic map of I-35 that highlighted in yellow the continental nature of the I-35 NAFTA Superhighway, illustrating clearly the highway's links into Mexico and Canada."
But the NASCO map Corsi appended to his article shows that its interest in I-35 in Minnesota stopping short of full transcontinental ambitions. The map's representation of I-35 stops at Duluth, Minnesota and does not extend from there into Canada.
And thus, Corsi's bizarre bridge conspiracy starts to crumble.
UPDATE: An Aug. 7 article by Corsi repeats his conspiracy theory, but again, Corsi doesn't explain why trade between the U.S., Canada and Mexico is a bad thing or, if such trade is in fact a good thing, why new highways and trade corridors shouldn't be built and expanded.
Corsi needs to pick a conspiracy and stick with it.