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Thursday, August 16, 2007
NewsBusters Still Silent on Fox News' Wikipedia Hijinks
Topic: NewsBusters

An Aug. 16 NewsBusters post by Matthew Balan is the third NewsBusters post in recent days to reference a website that traces who is editing entries on Wikipedia. Like "Mithridate Ombud" and Matthew Sheffield before him (we we've noted), Balan fails to mention that numerous Wikipedia edits came from the IP address of Fox News (as we've noted).

Balan does, however, take care to point out that CNN's Kiran Chetry is "an alumna of Fox News Channel’s 'Fox & Friends Weekend.'" The man clearly has his priorities straight.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:52 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 16, 2007 7:53 PM EDT
Baker Again Cites Morano's Bogus Statistics
Topic: Media Research Center

As he did on Aug. 8, the Media Research Center's Brent Baker again responded to a news report that dares tro be critical of global warming deniers by citing false and unsupported statistics by Marc Morano. In an Aug. 16 NewsBusters post and CyberAlert item, Baker writes in response to an NBC report:

Citing the far-left Union of Concerned Scientists, [NBC reporter Anne Thompson] highlighted their claim that “ExxonMobil gave almost $16 million over seven years to denier groups, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute.” But as Marc Morano, of the minority staff of the Senate's Committee on Environment and Public Works, disclosed in a posting, “proponents of man-made global warming have been funded to the tune of $50 BILLION in the last decade or so,” not even counting the impact of one-sided media reporting, “while skeptics have received a paltry $19 MILLION.” 

Baker overlooks the absurdity of the numbers he cites. If Baker accepts Thompson's claim that "ExxonMobil gave almost $16 million over seven years to denier groups" -- a number he makes no effort to correct -- that would mean that all other "denier group" activity totals a mere $3 million, an assertion that's absurd on its face.

Indeed, as we've detailed, Morano's $19 million is a single statistic, funding by ExxonMobil to "denier groups," and Morano makes no attempt to include all money spent by such groups. Further, there is no substantiation of the $50 billion figure, and he appears to be blindly throwing in tangental issues such as alternative-fuel development in his accounting of funding for "proponents of man-made global warming" to artificially inflate the figure.

Is Baker (not to mention the other conservatives who have swallowed these numbers) so desperate to attack global warming that they will peddle any number that discredits it, no matter how clearly absurd?


Posted by Terry K. at 9:26 AM EDT
New Article: Temper-Tantrum Journalism
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily leads a short-lived, passive-aggressive protest against the White House for alleged disrespect of Les Kinsolving. But does Kinsolving's brand of journalism really deserve respect? Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:16 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Meet Your Anonymous NewsBusters Bloggers
Topic: NewsBusters

An Aug. 15 NewsBusters post by "Mithridate Ombud" is the second in an apparent series of "Meet Your News Providers," in which she highlights media workers caught doing bad things (this time, allegedly robbing a bank).

Hey, we have a nutty idea: How about "Mithridate Ombud" stepping out from behind his/her pseudonymous identity? (We've tried to out "Ombud" before.) After all, there's little reason to trust the opinion of someone who won't put his or her own name on it -- or perhaps even an organization like the Media Research Center that permits such pseudonymous blogging.

So, how about it, "Mithridate"? Why are you so ashamed to use your real name?

UPDATE: "Ombud" writes in another Aug. 15 post that "a BBC IP address has been tracked down to a recent Wikipedia edit that changed the name of George Walker Bush to George Wanker Bush." "Ombud," like Matthew Sheffield in a earlier post on Wikipedia edits, is silent on the fact that numerous Wikipedia edits came from the IP address of Fox News.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:25 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 15, 2007 7:42 PM EDT
Farah Swallows Morano's Bogus Numbers Too
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah is the latest conservative to mindlessly repeat Marc Morano's bogus statistics regarding funding of global warming opponents vs. proponents. From Farah's Aug. 16 column:

Government and corporations have spent about $50 billion in the last 10 years promoting the hysterical notion that catastrophic, manmade global warming is going to destroy the planet unless we provide Al Gore and his friends with all the power they need to stop it.

On the other hand, real scientists who are even remotely skeptical about these claims are denied positions in academia and grants. By comparison, the climate-change skeptics have spent less than $20 million in those 10 years, according to some estimates.

Farah did attempt to hedge things a bit, throwing in "according to some estimates" though he's citing only one estimate, Morano's. But he embraces Morano's wrongness by claiming that "Government and corporations have spent about $50 billion in the last 10 years." While Morano asserted that "proponents of man-made global warming have been funded to the tune of $50 BILLION in the last decade or so," the source Morano cites in support, Bob Carter, said (without evidence, of course) that it was $50 billion since 1990. That would be 17 years, by the way.

As we've detailed, Morano offers no evidence to back up his claim that "proponents of man-made global warming have been funded to the tune of $50 BILLION," whether it be over 10 or 20 years, and Morano's number of $19 million for "skeptics" is a single statistic -- the amount ExxonMobil has given to conservative organizations over the past two decades -- and not reflective of the total to which skeptics have been funded. Further, that $50 billion amount appears to encompass entire budgets of organizations in which only a small amount of which may have gone to "proponents of man-made global warming," and includes tangental or unrelated numbers such as spending on alternative fuel development.

Farah adds:

As a former editor in chief of daily newspapers, I have an exquisitely refined sense of propriety. I frequently served as a highly paid expert witness on newspaper standards and practices. My job often entailed cutting out biased copy from stories before they ever saw the light of day.

Too bad none of that purported "sense of propriety" is reflected at WND, where it appears nobody's job is to "cut out biased copy from stories before they ever saw the light of day" (as we've repeatedly documented).


Posted by Terry K. at 2:25 PM EDT
Kessler: Rove-Fluffing, Scaife-Fluffing
Topic: Newsmax

NewsMax's Ronald Kessler revved up his fluffing skills for a pair of Aug. 13 articles.

The first weighs in on Karl Rove's resignation. Kessler does a fair bit of Rove-fluffing -- delcaring him "perhaps the greatest political tactician in American history" -- with a bit of his usual Bush-fluffing on the side:

Besides getting a huge advance in a book deal, Rove will be contributing to President Bush's legacy by writing a book that will be more widely read if it comes out when Bush is still president.

As part of shaping Bush's legacy, he is going to be one of the key planners of the Bush library, where he will have a prominent position. Rove is a brilliant student of American history, surpassing the most erudite history professors. He will relish comparing Bush with other presidents.

The other article details a crucial issue of utmost importance: what rich people are reading while vacationing on Nantucket:

In a sign that Americans may be tiring of unremitting negative portrayals of their country, the hottest book this summer on the largely liberal island of Nantucket is "Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10." 

In featuring the owner of Nantucket bookstore owner Mary "Mimi" Havemeyer Beman, Kessler engages in some serious name-dropping: "Beman's customers range from billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife and Tommy Hilfiger to Teresa Heinz, Bob Wright of NBC, Chris Matthews, Tim Russert, and Brian Williams. Over the years, Princess Grace and Jacqueline Onassis have been customers as well."

Kessler goes on to add:  

On the other side of the political spectrum, "Richard Mellon Scaife likes best sellers, fiction and nonfiction best sellers," Beman says. When Ann Coulter's books come out, they are always snapped up.

Nowhere does Kessler disclose that Scaife, as part-owner of NewsMax, is essentially his boss.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:09 AM EDT
Meanwhile ...
Topic: WorldNetDaily

-- Oops! WorldNetDaily's Chuck Norris inadvertently reveals the secret agenda of evangelical-promoted Bible-as-history classes in public schools -- to "get God back into your public school." Bartholomew and Ed Brayton catch Norris in the act of walking back that goal changing it to "get the Bible back into your public school" without telling readers. (The National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, in reproducing Norris' column, deleted the reference entirely after Brayton called them on it.)

--  Not only did Melanie Morgan overlook an unsubstantiated Clinton smear uttered by her Move America Forward compadre "Buzz" Patterson in her Aug. 10 WND column, she invented a couple new military regulations as well, as Media Matters documents.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:30 AM EDT
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Baker Doesn't Think Rove Leaked Plame's Identity
Topic: Media Research Center

In an Aug. 14 NewsBusters post and CyberAlert item, Brent Baker was upset that news reports on Karl Rove's resignation "highlighted his 'leaking' of Valerie Plame's name":

On the Plame case, once again, none of the network stories noted that while Rove may have mentioned her employer to reporters, it was Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage's leak to columnist Robert Novak which got her name and CIA employment into the news media.

Got that? As far as Baker is concerned, Rove didn't leak Plame's identity; he merely "mentioned her employer to reporters."

And, like numerous MRC writers before him, Baker apparently believes the absurd notion that because Armitage leaked Plame's name to Robert Novak, and Novak was the first to report it ahead of the reporters to whom Rove leaked, that Rove's leak -- er, mentioning of Plame's employment -- somehow magically didn't happen.

UPDATE: As Media Matters reminds us, Rove didn't merely "mention her employer to reporters" -- he served as confirmation of what Armitage told Novak, something Baker fails to mention.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:16 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, August 14, 2007 7:32 PM EDT
Massie Repeats Bogus Stats on Illegals
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In the course of defending Michael Savage from a San Francisco City Council resolution condemning him for using "defamatory language" against immigrants, Mychal Massie writes in his Aug. 14 WorldNetDaily column:

InFoWars.com notes: "Since illegal aliens are unlikely to be committing white-collar crimes, that figure likely underestimates the amount of violent crime committed by illegal aliens." Using said report, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, pointed out that 25 Americans are killed by illegals every day (about evenly split between motor vehicle accidents and outright murder). That's more than 9,000 murdered a year, or about 36,000 in the past four years. That is roughly 10 times more than the total number of Americans killed in Iraq. 

In fact, as Colorado Media Matters has detailed (and as we've previously noted), King has no hard numbers to back that up; King merely misleadingly "extrapolated" figures from an April 2005 Government Accountability Office study, which found that 27 percent of the federal prison population is made up of "criminal aliens," to formulate the questionable statistic regarding the number of deaths caused by illegal immigrants. But the federal prison population is only about 7.5 percent of the total U.S. prison population, which makes King's extrapolation wildly overblown.

This, unsurprisingly, gives Massie a platform to rant against illegal immigrants, claiming that "liberal Democrats and Republicans ... view illegal aliens that are breaking our laws, potentially undermining elections, bleeding the middle-class dry, raping and murdering as just the model citizenry we need more of" and railing against "innocent, clean living black students" who are "brutally assaulted and murdered, by animalistic, illegal aliens."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:02 AM EDT
AIM Buys Into Morano's Bogus Stats
Topic: Accuracy in Media

We've previously noted that NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard bought into Marc Morano's bogus statistics about funding of the various sides of the global warming issue. Now, Accuracy in Media's Roger Aronoff joins the fun in an Aug. 10 article attacking the Newsweek article on global warming skeptics:

The Newsweek story is misleading, even false, in another key aspect. Senate staffer Marc Morano, a long-time conservative journalist and activist, points out that while those skeptical of the man-made global warming theory have received some $19 million, the forces favored by Newsweek have taken in closer to $50 billion, much of it from American taxpayers and channeled through federal and global agencies. This figure, of course, doesn't include the dollar value of all of the media coverage in support of the theory. 

Aronoff gets a little credit for admitting that Morano is "a long-time conservative journalist and activist" (but doesn't being an activist preclude one from being a real journalist?), but he still swallowed Morano's bogus stats without question.

What is wrong with Morano's numbers? Let's recap and expand:

-- Morano's $19 million is not an analysis of all expenditures by "hose skeptical of the man-made global warming theory" but, rather, is just a single statistic: the amount ExxonMobil has given to conservative organizations over the past two decades.

-- Given that Morano is citing only a single statistic, he's clearly lowballing the money spent by "skeptics." As we've noted, a single conservative activist organization spent a half-million bucks on newspaper ads alone -- more than 5 percent of Morano's claimed total. 

-- Morano's source for the $50 billion number is denier Bob Carter. The article to which Morano links in which Carter makes this claim offers no evidence to support it. 

-- Morano offered an alternate link to a similar claim -- an article by denier Steven Milloy, a maker of dubious claims who asserts that "The Bush administration, after all, is by far the largest funder of global warming alarmism, pouring about $30 billion of federal dollars into climate- and alternative energy-related research over the last six years." But like Carter, Milloy offers no evidence to substantiate his claim; further, Milloy lumps "alternative energy-related research" into the category of "global warming alarmism" without any explanation or justification for doing so. 

-- Morano seems to be playing the same game as Milloy. As part of the "money ... the climate alarmists have at their disposal," 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. Morano, like Milloy, offered no support for his contention that development of alternative fuels equals a donation to "climate alarmists."

-- Morano states 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 assumption that all $148 million -- let alone any of it -- went toward fighting global warming.

Is such deceit the best Morano can do? It appears so.

UPDATE: Welcome, Oliver Willis and APJ readers. Read more about Marc Morano here.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:52 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, August 14, 2007 4:08 PM EDT
Monday, August 13, 2007
CNS Article on Beauchamp Controversy Incomplete
Topic: CNSNews.com

An Aug. 10 CNSNews.com article by Nathan Burchfiel on the Scott Thomas Beauchamp controversy gets some things right but takes unverified criticism of Beauchamp on faith and ignores related issues.

Burchfiel accurately notes that it is "conservative media" that is promoting the Beauchamp controversy -- in which Beauchamp, writing anonymously for The New Republic, issued several columns making claims whose veracity has been questioned. But he lists The New Repubic among "news outlets" that have been "embroiled in a fabrication controversy"; The New Republic is an opinion journal.

Burchfiel repeated the claim that "a military investigation found no evidence to support many of [Beauchamp's] claims," but didn't mention that, as we've noted, the alleged military investigation -- anonymously reported by the Weekly Standard -- has not been released to the public.

The headline on Burchfiel's article -- "New Republic Scandal Further Damages 'Mainstream' Media Credibility" -- weirdly puts the word "mainstream" in scare quotes. Unsaid anywhere in the article, of course, is the fact that conservative media have similar credibility problems:

  • WorldNetDaily treated an April fool's joke as a real story and was forced to retract an article falsely linking an Islamic relief group to terrorism and accused it of making a fraudulent appeal for money for orphans that don't exist.
  • NewsMax falsely claimed that the rock band U2 was doing a fundraiser for Sen. Rick Santorum, then altered the article without telling its readers.
  • CNS itself put words into Democratic strategist Paul Begala's mouth, falsely claiming that he said that Republicans want to kill him and his family -- a falsehood CNS amazingly stood behind.
  • Michelle Malkin's false and misleading assertions during the Jamil Hussein non-controversy and her false claim that troops were snubbing John Kerry during a visit to Iraq.

Burchfiel concludes the article by quoting an attack on the "liberal media" by conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group commentator Mark Hyman -- a guy with his own long history of dubious and false claims.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:35 PM EDT
Sheppard Silent on Real Reason 'Skeptical Environmentalist' Is Treated Skeptically
Topic: NewsBusters

In an Aug. 11 NewsBusters post touting author Michael Crichton's glowing Amazon review of global warming denier Bjorn Lomborg's book "Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming," Noel Sheppard writes of Lomborg: "It is plain to see why Lomborg is such a controversial figure, as he is not afraid to call a spade a spade regardless of who might find such straight talk inconvenient."

Actually, the real reason -- which Sheppard fails to mention -- is that Lomborg is a lousy researcher. An earlier book he wrote concluded that the concerns of scientists regarding the world's environmental problems -- including global warming -- were overblown. But Scientific American magazine ran a series of articles from four well-known environmental specialists that lambasted Lomborg's book for "egregious distortions," "elementary blunders of quantitative manipulation and presentation that no self-respecting statistician ought to commit," and sections that were "poorly researched and ... rife with careless mistakes." 

By ignoring any criticism of Lomborg, it seems that Sheppard is the one who finds "straight talk" inconvenient.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:06 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, August 13, 2007 9:07 AM EDT
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Clinton Derangement Syndrome still runs rampant in the ConWeb (as we've detailed), and the latest to exhibit its symptoms is WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah, who spent his Aug. 10 column bashing her for something she did nearly 40 years ago -- and, of course, getting the details wrong in the process.

Farah claims to have read Hillary Clinton's Wellesley College senior thesis on activist Saul Alinsky: "It's sheer torture, believe me. I did the heavy lifting for you. If there was anything in here worth your time, I would tell you." Well, unless Farah has been to the archive room on the Wellesley campus, the only place one can read the thesis -- a trip he has not mentioned in his columns -- he has not read it.

Another sign Farah has not actually read the thesis: he misportrays it. Farah asserted that Clinton wrote "in a most reverential way" about Alinsky, asserting that she and Alinsky share a similar lust for power:

Power, power, power, power, power. That is the essence of Hillary's thesis. And it is still what she is chasing today.

She's in love with power – and so was her mentor, Alinsky.

In fact, Clinton concluded her thesis by rejecting Alinsky's model. As MSNBC -- who, unlike Farah, did read her thesis -- reported:

In the end, she judged that Alinsky's “power/conflict model is rendered inapplicable by existing social conflicts” — overriding national issues such as racial tension and segregation. Alinsky had no success in forming an effective national movement, she said, referring dismissively to “the anachronistic nature of small autonomous conflict.”

[...]

“I agreed with some of Alinsky's ideas,” she explained in “Living History,” her 2003 biography, “particularly the value of empowering people to help themselves. But we had a fundamental disagreement. He believed you could change the system only from the outside. I didn't.”

Farah also weirdly fixates on on Clinton's thesis statement that "I have no 'loving wife' to thank for keeping the children away while I wrote": "What an odd comment, I thought. How many undergraduate students have a "loving wife" to help them write their thesis?"

Well, it could be argued that a not-insignificant number of college students were married at the time Clinton wrote her thesis in in the late 1960s. Perhaps Clinton was making a snarky feminist joke that Farah was too frothingly angry at her to find the humor in.

Farah also gratuitously slams Clinton's writing style as "uniquely laborious"; perhaps he should offer evidence that his own writing style as a college senior wasn't. 

Farah is a CDS carrier, and his strain is particularly virulent, so look for a lot more of this in the future. 


Posted by Terry K. at 12:27 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, August 13, 2007 12:32 AM EDT
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Will Buchanan Admit Racist-Eugenicist Origin of 1920s Immigration Law?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Pat Buchanan, in his Aug. 10 column (printed at WorldNetDaily), joins the chorus of conservatives who long for a return to restrictive 1920s-era immigration law:

[Aughor Robert] Putnam is an optimist about the long-term, but his optimism seems rooted less in his findings than in his hopes and America's experience with the Great Wave of immigration from 1890 to 1920.

But that Great Wave was followed by the Great Lull – little or no immigration from Coolidge through JFK to 1965, when LBJ opened the floodgates, though he probably had no idea what he was doing with the Immigration Act of 1965, which goes unmentioned in his memoirs.

[...]

Between 1924 and 1965, the Melting Pot worked. It converted the children of 15 million European immigrants into American citizens with shared traditions, values and culture. 

Will Buchanan admit that the "Great Lull" was largely brought about by racists and eugenicists?


Posted by Terry K. at 11:53 PM EDT
Gore Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Or maybe it's a Godwin's Law watch. From Henry Lamb's Aug. 11 WorldNetDaily column:

[Al] Gore's global warming religion is reminiscent of the eugenics phenomenon in the 20th century. The elite of the scientific community, and well-to-do of the social set, embraced eugenics as the enlightened way to the perfect society. Skeptics were ridiculed, denounced and pointed to as the kind of scum that would be eliminated if eugenics became the official policy of government.

[...]

Gore's army of in-crowd zealots are in precisely the same position the pro-eugenics in-crowd occupied when they convinced Hitler's government to implement the policies necessary to advance their point of view.

Should Gore's army prevail, the consequences will take longer than Hitler's violence but the end result will be quite similar: The destruction of a significant portion of society. 

[...]

Danger to the current generation lies with the hundreds, if not thousands, of misguided policy makers who have fallen under the spell of Gore's charismatic religion. The folks who hold positions in state legislatures and in Congress can inflict major damage on the economy and the lifestyle of America, all the while thinking they are doing something good.

Hitler – and his eugenics advocates – were absolutely convinced that they were doing something good.

The surprise is that Noel Sheppard didn't say this.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:44 AM EDT

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