MRC Obscures Full Limbaugh Story, Ignores Own History On Giving Benefit of the Doubt Topic: Media Research Center
In a Sept. 28 NewsBusters post, Brent Baker defended Rush Limbaugh against the "misinformation" promoted "by the far-left Media Matters" that "Rush Limbaugh, on Thursday, had called military personnel who served in Iraq and oppose the war 'phony soldiers.'" (Like previous MRC defenders of Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly against my meanie employer, Baker relied in part on overheated posts by Radio Equalizer's Brian Maloney, yet again repeating Maloney's false assertion that Media Matters is "George Soros-funded.") But Baker glosses over the holes in Limbaugh's defense. Baker writes:
On his September 27 radio program, a caller asserted that the media “never talk to real soldiers. They pull these soldiers that come up out of the blue and spout to the media.” Limbaugh interjected: “The phony soldiers.” After the call, Limbaugh proceeded to recount:
Here is a Morning Update that we did recently, talking about fake soldiers. This is a story of who the left props up as heroes. They have their celebrities and one of them was Army Ranger Jesse MacBeth.
But -- as Media Matters pointed out when Limbaugh tried to pass off a selectively edited piece of audio of incident as the "entire" segment -- Limbaugh didn't do this "after the call." There was at least a minute and a half gap between Limbaugh's "phony soliders" comment and his first mention of MacBeth, the only "phony soldier" he mentioned by name during the entire show.
Baker then demanded that Limbaugh be given the benefit of the doubt:
At worst, who Limbaugh meant by “phony soldiers” was unclear and so any story should, at the very least, include Limbaugh's explanation and not just presume the hostile spin from a far-left group is a newsworthy take that cannot be contradicted in multi-minute segments with plenty of time to better inform viewers.
What is the MRC's record in similar cases? As we've documented, the most notorious case of the MRC acting worse than it accuses Media Matters of doing is its insistence in a 2005 CNSNews.com article that when Democratic strategist Paul Begala said " They want to kill us, particularly in this city, and New York, and some other places," "they" meant Republicans, not Islamic terrorists. When Begala protested that his words were misinterpreted, then-CNS editor David Thibault called Begala a liar: "There was nothing unclear about what Begala said, and he, as a pundit, should know that words matter. We quoted him accurately." When that argument became too untenable to sustain, Thibault resorted to attacking "Begala's unmistakable and outrageous coupling of terrorists and Republicans."
Begala got no benefit of the doubt from the MRC over an "unclear" statement. Why should it demand that Limbaugh get a pass?
MRC, Maloney Still Can't Get Facts Right Topic: NewsBusters
As it did with Bill O'Reilly, the MRC again farms out its defense of right-wing hosts saying controversial things -- this time, Rush Limbaugh calling anti-war members of the military "phony soldiers -- to Radio Equalizer's Brian Maloney.
In yet another overheated post, Maloney still can't get basic facts right. As he did in his defense of O'Reilly, Maloney insisted that Media Matters (my employer) is "George Soros-funded."
Brian, honey: It's not. And yo, MRC guys: "Research" is in the name of your organization; try it sometime. Coping false claims from bloggers -- even if they are your "friend" -- is not "research."
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch Topic: Media Research Center
A Sept. 28 appearance by the Media Research Center's Rich Noyes on "Fox & Friends" to tout the MRC's demand for CBS and CNN to apologize to Bill O'Reilly followed the template: no co-panelist with an opposing view, and the MRC is never identified as conservative.
Further, "Fox & Friends" co-host Steve Doocy served as a cheerleader for Noyes' viewpoint, saying at one point: "CNN and CBS and MSNBC for that matter as well, why would they get in bed -- essentially, they've stopped reporting. You know, 'We're just going to be spoon-fed by this leftie outfit Media Matters.' " Ironically, he's saying that as he's being spoon-fed by a right-wing outfit.
WND Ignores Full Story of Gun Law Poster Boy Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Sept. 27 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh is headlined, "Ex-military to be denied gun ownership." That's wildly overstating the issue at hand; the article is about right-wing group Gun Owners of America's fight against a proposed law designed to put enforcement behind federal bans on gun ownership by those with certain mental health conditions. Nowhere does the article state that all "ex-military" would be "denied gun ownership" as the headline blares; rather, GOA head Larry Pratt is complaining that the law would bar gun ownership by "battle-scarred veteran[s] suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," without ever explaining why that's a bad thing.
Unruh went on to uncritically relate a GOA-promoted anecdote:
The GOA cited a recent Pennsylvania case to illustrate the dangers that would be presented.
It was an apparent "offhanded, tongue-in-cheek remark" made by Horatio Miller that got the case started. He allegedly said it could be "worse than Virginia Tech" if someone broke into his car, because of the guns there.
"It is not clear whether he was making a threat against a person who might burglarize his car, or if he was simply saying that the bad guy could do a lot of damage because of the guns he would find there," the GOA said.
Miller, with no criminal record and the holder of a concealed carry permit who had passed rigorous background checks, was ordered never to own or possess a gun again.
"I contacted the sheriff and had his license to carry a firearm revoked. And I asked police to commit him under Section 302 of the mental health procedures act and that was done. He is now ineligible to possess firearms [for life] because he was committed involuntarily," the district attorney reported.
"The comment Miller made was certainly not the smartest thing to say," said the GOA. "But realize, we don't incarcerate people for making stupid statements in this country – at least not yet."
In fact, Horasio Miller -- Unruh got his name wrong, apparently because GOA misspelled it -- is not unacquianted with law enforcement. From a June 23 article in the Harrisburg, Pa., Patriot-News:
It wasn't until after Horasio Miller got in trouble at Harrisburg Area Community College that his neighbors on Green Street in Susquehanna Twp. started to come forward, police said.
Miller, 42, of the 3700 block of Green Street, was committed involuntarily for a mental evaluation after a 12: 30 p.m. Tuesday incident in which Harrisburg police said they found him inside HACC's Cooper Union Building with a 9mm pistol.
Yesterday, Susquehanna Twp. police got warrants for Miller's arrest, charging him with simple assault by physical menace, theft of services and a wiretapping violation, said Police Chief Rob Martin.
Since Miller was committed, police have gotten calls from his neighbors concerning his behavior, Martin said. "In the prior weeks, they were too afraid to call," he said.
Martin said police were told Miller pointed a gun at his landlord sometime in the past few weeks.
Police also served a search warrant on Miller's apartment yesterday, where they found evidence that he had "hacked" into the telephone box at the building and was getting free service, Martin said.
He said police also recovered evidence that Miller had been listening in on phone conversations of other tenants in the building.
Martin said Miller has not been released from the mental evaluation. "Whenever he's released, he will be released right into our custody," the chief said.
Miller's apartment was so dirty that the township has deemed it unfit for human habitation, police said. "It was horrendous," Martin said. "The dirt, the filth, mold, mildew."
Tuesday's incident started when a man, identified as Miller, approached a student in the college cafeteria and said he had guns in his car, police said.
"It would be worse than Virginia Tech if someone broke into my car. I have guns in the car," Fran Chardo, Dauphin County's first assistant district attorney, said the man told the student.
That student told an armed HACC security guard, who called police and watched the man until the officers arrived, HACC spokeswoman Tracy Mendoza said.
Miller, who is not a HACC student, was taken into custody after officers found a 9 mm handgun in his backpack, police said. Police later took a handgun from his car and two firearms from his home, authorities said.
The Dauphin County district attorney's office had the county sheriff revoke the permit Miller had to carry a concealed weapon.
Susquehanna Twp. police said they have been called numerous times about Miller by neighbors, some of whom said he would walk around outside wearing holstered handguns.
Martin said his officers have been called to Miller's apartment building 22 times since 2004.
Half of those calls were made by Miller for minor reasons, such as a lost cell phone or a recovered bicycle, but Martin said the other half were neighbors' complaints about Miller.
Miller was not charged or cited in any of those incidents, Martin said.
After Miller was taken into custody, chief HACC spokesman Pat Early sent an e-mail to the college staff explaining what happened. Early said he did not tell the students or the public about the incident.
"It was something that was handled quickly, quietly. There wasn't anything to tell," Early said.
So, contrary to the GOA's assertion, Miller did not lose his gun privileges merely for making a "stupid statement," and there was a clear reason he was "committed involuntarily."
We found this information about Miller pretty easily, and even got Miller's name right. Why didn't Unruh?
Dick Morris Non-Disclosure Watch Topic: Newsmax
For the second time in a week, Dick Morris has written a NewsMax column attacking Hillary Clinton. And, as with his previousHillary-bashingcolumns, neither of them disclose that Morris is actively working against Hillary's presidential campaign, which undermines his objectivity as a political analyst.
The Media Research Bill O'Reilly Defense Center Topic: Media Research Center
Taking a page from its Ann Coulter defense playbook, a Sept. 27 Media Research Center press release reports that Brent Bozell "is calling upon CBS and CNN to distance themselves from left-wing hate groups and apologize to Bill O’Reilly for their participation in the smear campaign against him, " further referencing "dishonest, far-left, hatemongering organizations such as Media Matters."
So, if Media Matters (my employer) is a "left-wing hate group," doesn't that make the MRC a right-wing hate group?
(Oh, and Bozell falsely claims that Media Matters is "funded by ultra-leftist billionaire George Soros." Doesn't anyone at the MRC do any actual research?)
Now that the Media Research Center has decided to defend Bill O'Reilly, it's time for the folks at NewsBusters to weigh in:
-- Ken Shepherd plays the distraction card by claiming that Keith Olbermann "made a cryptic crack that could be taken to be racially insensitive, if not racist." Missing is how exactly name-checking "Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles" is racist. And shouldn't Shepherd be providing the entire Olbermann transcript so it can be put in its full context?
-- Noel Sheppard endorses Tammy Bruce's defense of O'Reilly, while overlooking the irony of Bruce deploring "the left's" purported campaign to "demonize" those they disagree with while calling those she disagrees with "the Gestapo."
-- Mark Finkelstein seems to think it was OK for Al Sharpton to defend O'Reilly without actually having listened to what O'Reilly said.
-- Sheppard joins O'Reilly in warning against "factually inaccurate statements promulgated by leftwing websites and organizations," but he doesn't explain how O'Reilly's own words are "factually inaccurate."
Brent Baker's Double Standard Topic: Media Research Center
A Sept. 27 NewsBusters post (and CyberAlert item) by Brent Baker attacked coverage "pushed by a far-left group to suppress Bill O'Reilly over a supposedly racist remark." That "far-left group" would be Media Matters (my employer). Baker claimed one TV story " failed to identify the ideology of Media Matters."
If identifying a group's political ideology in the media is so important, why hasn't he or anyone at the MRC complained everytimeFoxNewsfailstoidentify an MRC spokesman who appears on it as conservative? Tim Graham certainly didn't demand it yesterday during his appearance on Neil Cavuto's show. Nor did Brent Bozell during his solo appearance on "Fox & Friends" earlier today.
Despite calling Media Matters' documentation of O'Reilly's remarks a "left-wing smear" (as if one can be "smeared" by one's own words), Baker makes no attempt to discuss or refute O'Reilly's remarks, instead copying-and-pasting a post from Brian Maloney's conservative blog Radio Equalizer hyperbolically declaring it "by far the most disgusting attempt at taking words out of context we've seen in a long time." Maloney (and Baker) cite Juan Williams' defense and support of O'Reilly as some sort of mitigating factor when Williams has been a longtime defender of O'Reilly and thus not exactly unbiased on the issue. Maloney also muffs basic facts, for instance, falsely calling Media Matters "Soros-funded."
In a Sept. 25 NewsMax column, Phil Brennan lashed out against the "mass hysteria over the alleged warming of the planet." He threw a bunch of numbers out to try and back it up. For instance:
Those evil deniers however, have taken the trouble to look at the facts instead of the propaganda from the U.N. and the rest of the global warming fanatics. They point out that the the anthroprogenic sources of CO2 account for exactly 0.11 percent of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere. In other words, 99.89 percent of the greenhouse effect has not a damn thing to do SUVs, jet travel, backyard barbecues or any other human activity.
The folks at RealClimate have taken the trouble to look at the facts as well, and they pretty much debunk Brennan's numbers. Don't expect Brennan to report that, of course.
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Tim Graham appeared on the Sept. 26 edition of Fox News' "Your World with Neil Cavuto" to bash Katie Couric for having an opinion on the Iraq war that he disapproves of. As per usual, the MRC is not identified as conservative, but Fox News departed from typical procedure by pairing him up against Democratic strategist Kirsten Powers (who is identified as a Democratic strategist).
The NewsBusters post promoting Graham's appearance happily quotes Graham saying that Couric "really sounds like... a light-headed Hillary [Clinton] and it sounds like she's trying to claw back into the good graces of MoveOn.org and maybe she's trying to rub the belly of the Buddha, Frank Rich, and everybody who attacked her for being some sort of Bush tool when she went to Iraq." And the MRC complains about Democrats spouting their "two minutes hate"?
Ken Timmerman is ramping up his war on Michael Sulick.
In a Sept. 25 NewsMax column, he extensively quotes Republican Rep. Peter Hoekstra further bashing Sulick, who had resigned from the CIA in 2004 but recently returned as head of the CIA's clandestine service. As he did in his previous attack article on Sulick, Timmerman teased a Sulick-bashing anecdote from "my new book, 'Shadow Warriors: Traitors, Saboteurs, and the Party of Surrender,' which will be released in early November," but he offered no support for his claim. Presumably, Timmerman is waiting until he can sell some copies of said book until he reveals his purported evidence.
Timmerman makes no apparent effort to contact Sulick for a response to his and Hoekstra's accusations, though he does reprint some praise of Sulick.
Timmerman lets his bias nakedly show by noting that he asked a White House spokesperson "why President Bush would reappoint Sulick and Kappes to top CIA positions after they had tried to undermine Bush administration policies." It appears that Timmerman is a Bush dead-ender for whom disloyalty to a man is a graver offense than service to country. Timmerman doesn't address the possibility Sulick believed that to best serve the country, Bush administration policies perhaps needed to be undermined.
WND Still Doesn't Support Pro-Lifers' Libel Claim Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Sept. 25 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh reported that "pro-life protesters who are opposing the opening of a mega-clinic abortion facility" in Illinois are filing a libel lawsuit against Planned Parenthood for "publicly accusing peaceful pro-life activists of having a record of advocating violence." Unruh repeats claims by the lawyer for the activists, that the acts of violence it cited are a "legal nullity" because the case in which they were cited -- a lawsuit by the National Organization of Women claiming that violent abortion protests fell under federal RICO organized crime statute -- was ruled against by the U.S. Supreme Court.
As we noted when Unruh last reported on this, the fact that the RICO ruling does not necessarily mean the alleged incidents cited as support in that case didn't happen, as Unruh and the "pro-life activsts" appear to be suggesting. None of the specific claims made by Planned Parenthood against Joe Scheidler and his Pro Life Action Network are refuted by Unruh, Scheidler or his attorney. (Scheidler now runs the Pro-Life Action League, which is spearheading opposition to the Illinois clinic.)
The Thomas More Society, the conservative legal group by whom, according to WND, the "lawsuit is being prepared," has not yet posted the lawsuit on its website. One would presume such a lawsuit would specifically refute those claims.
Posted by Terry K.
at 7:56 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2007 8:01 PM EDT
Ronald Kessler begins his Sept. 26 NewsMax column by claiming, "As Hillary Clinton rises in the polls, her nose grows longer and longer." But it's Kessler who has the proboscis problems.
Kessler started by asserting:
To be sure, she has never had any shame about making stories up out of thin air. After 9/11, Clinton appeared on national TV and claimed that when the two airplanes hit the World Trade Center, her daughter Chelsea was going to jog at Battery Park near the towers, where she heard and saw the catastrophe unfold.
Clinton’s arrogance was so profound that she did not coordinate the story with Chelsea, who wrote an article for Talk in which she described what she had been doing that day. According to Chelsea, she was on the other side of town in a friend’s apartment on Park Avenue South. She watched the events unfold on TV.
Kessler gets the story slightly closer to the truth this time by using something approximating Hillary's actual words from a September 2001 appearance on NBC's "Today": Hillary did indeed say that Chelsea "was going to go down to Battery Park, she was going to go around the towers." The last time Kessler made this claim, he falsely asserted that Hillary said that "Chelsea was actually at the World Trade Center when the bombs -- when the planes hit. She's going to Starbucks. She was jogging around. She heard the crash. She saw the smoke. Oh my God, isn't that scary."
Though he had to change Hillary's words to reflect the truth, Kessler's insistence that what Hillary said contradicts Chelsea still doesn't hold water. He offers no evidence that Chelsea wasn't planning to "jog at Battery Park near the towers."
Kessler also misleadingly describes Chelsea's location. The Talk article stated that Chelsea was in an apartment at Union Square, not "Park Avenue South," the southern terminus of which is at Union Square. (Perhaps Kessler was trying to paint Chelsea as a snobby elitist by linking her with snobby Park Avenue.) And Union Square, also known as the Flatiron district, is not on "the other side of town"; it's about two miles away from the World Trade Center site.
Kessler then stated:
Nor does Clinton’s hypocrisy have any limits. When asked about the recent MoveOn.org ad suggesting that Gen. David Petraeus has betrayed the country, Clinton on "Meet the Press" on Sept. 23 called for an end to such attacks. “I don’t condone anything like that, and I have voted against those who would impugn the patriotism and the service of the people who wear the uniform of our country,” she said.
Yet three days earlier, Clinton had voted against a Senate resolution to condemn the MoveOn.org ad. Her closest competitor, Sen. Barack Obama, voted earlier that day but conveniently missed the vote condemning the ad.
But Kessler omits that, as we've noted, Clinton voted for a similar resolution that criticized not only the MoveOn ad but Republican attacks against Democratic members of the military.
Kessler also wrote:
On Sept. 23, on "Fox News Sunday," Clinton said that she has “fought hard” for body armor . . .” She added, “I’ve stood with my colleagues to fight hard for armored vehicles because we knew that they needed additional protection in Iraq and they weren’t getting it.”
Yet last May, Clinton voted against the emergency supplemental bill to provide $1.6 billion for body armor, including advanced combat helmets; $2.4 billion to help protect against improvised explosive devices; and $3 billion for mine-resistant, ambush protected vehicles.
This is cribbed straight from Republican talking points. In fact, Clinton wasn't voting against body armor and combat helmets as Kessler suggests; Clinton said she voted against the bill because it didn't include a timeline for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Kessler also doesn't mention that Clinton voted for a previous version of the bill.
Kessler goes on to rewrite other sections of the same Republican National Committee press release from which he lifted the claim about Clinton voting against body armor. Is mindlessly repeating GOP talking points the best Kessler can do?