Fighting Media Bias, Or Reciting McCain Talking Points? Topic: Accuracy in Media
In a Sept. 30 Accuracy in Media blog post claiming that the New York Times fired a "partisan shot aimed at hurting the McCain campaign," Rep. Lamar Smith wrote:
In an article from September 24, the Timesalleged that embattled mortgage company Freddie Mac paid McCain campaign manager Rick Davis for consulting services through last month. Citing unnamed sources, the article clearly suggested wrongdoing on the part of Davis and, by extension, Sen. McCain.
First, the Times’ insinuations are false. Davis separated from his consulting firm in 2006 and has not received a salary there since that time.
Second, the Times omitted key facts from their reporting. Davis was never a lobbyist for Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae and, in fact, has not served as a registered lobbyist in several years.
In fact, the Times never claimed Davis himself was paid by Freddie Mac; rather, the article stated that Davis' firm was contracted to receive the money, adding that "took a leave from Davis & Manafort for the presidential campaign, but as a partner and equity-holder continues to benefit from its income." In claiming that "Davis was never a lobbyist for Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae," Smith ignores the fact that Davis was, as the Times article noted, the head of an advocacy group funded by Fannie and Freddie with the purpose of opposing regulation of the entities, which Smith seems to think is not "lobbying."
Smith is merely regurgitating the McCain campaign's denials of the Times article, not to mention uncritically mouthing the campaign's claims that the Times is a "partisan" publication. Further, by focusing only on this single article, Smith ignores the evidence revealed since then that suggest Davis continues to have ties to his firm -- namely that Davis is still listed as an officer of the company and has maintained other financial connections to it.
Smith claims to be battling "the problem of media bias," but all he's really doing is reciting McCain talking points.
Kessler Hauls Out the Scaremongering Topic: Newsmax
Ronald Kessler is up to his old scare tactic of baselessly portraying Democrats as the preferred candidate of terrorists in his Sept. 30 Newsmax column.
Kessler quotes "former top FBI counterterrorism analyst" Frederick Stremmel as claiming that "Al-Qaida or affiliated groups probably will attack the United States in the months after the election to 'welcome' the new president," adding:
Al-Qaida knows that an attack before the election would help elect Republican Sen. John McCain, Stremmel says. The terrorists would prefer Democratic Sen. Barack Obama because they believe he would “swing the pendulum back” to more lenient anti-terrorism policies, Stremmel says.
“The months following the election or inauguration of the new administration is prime time for an attack,” he says. “They will want to impact the new administration and its policies. There is a history of Islamic terrorists wanting to make life miserable for successive administrations.”
That is why al-Qaida attacked the U.S. less than eight months after President Bush took office.
Kessler added a similar claim by "former FBI profiler" James R. Fitzgerald:
Al-Qaida knows that, if it attacked before the election, “It would get McCain elected,” Fitzgerald says. “For obvious reasons, they would much prefer Obama.”
Kessler, Stremmel and Fitzgerald offer no actual evidence that Al-Qaeda "prefers Obama" or that Obama favors "more lenient anti-terrorism policies." Indeed, one major piece of evidence Kessler fails to cite demonstrates the opposite. As we've noted, author Ron Suskind in his book "The One Percent Doctrine," reported that CIA analysts agreed that a videotaped message by Osama bin Laden's that surfaced just before the 2004 presidential election "was clearly designed to assist the President's reelection." Conservatives promoted the video as bin Laden's expression of support for John Kerry -- and, thus, played into bin Laden's hands.
If history is any indication, look for much more scaremongering by Kessler as we get closer to the election.
CNS Still Treating Alveda King's Honorary Doctorate As Real Topic: CNSNews.com
A Sept. 30 CNSNews.com article by Mary Jane O'Brien about an interview by CNS editor-in-chief Terry Jeffrey of anti-abortion activist Alveda King repeatedly refers to her as "Dr. Alveda King" and "Dr. King." The problem, as we pointed out last time CNS did this: King has apparently not earned any doctorate degree.
As biographies of King onseveralwebsitesstate, King "received her honorary Doctorate of Laws from Saint Anselm College."As a Saint Anselm publication details, in 2001 she "was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree for her extraordinary efforts as an advocate for education reform and improvement of race relations and for her passionate participation in the political and academic arena following the great challenges of her young life." While it's an honor, it's not a real doctorate.
King does not hold a doctorate she has earned, as far as we can determine; even if she had, Associated Press journalistic style dictates that the "Dr." honorific is given only to medical doctors.
Newsmax Promotes John Fund's Dubious Book Topic: Newsmax
John Fund has released an "revised and updated" version of his factually challenged 2004 book "Stealing Elections" in time for the 2008 election, publicized in a Sept. 28 Newsmax article by Dave Eberhart.
And promote he does, regurgitating Fund's claim that "miscounts and voter fraud scandals everywhere from Seattle to Miami have rocked elections during the past several years — and, in very bad news for the election next month — many of the problems have not been resolved."
Eberhart claims that "Fund details Obama’s involvement with ACORN throughout his career," but there are questions about Fund's veracity. As Media Matters details, Fund claims that "ACORN also runs something called "Camp Obama," which trains campaign volunteers in the same tactics that Obama honed as a community organizer" -- but the newspaper article Fund cites as evidence of his claim makes no mention of ACORN. In fact, Camp Obama is run by the Obama campaign to train volunteers how to recruit voters for Obama.
Eberhart also states that Fund's book addresses "how ACORN led 'the worst case of voter-registration fraud' in Washington State’s history." This appears to be a reference to a 2007 case of seven ACORN workers who were indicted in Seattle in 2007 for submitting more than 1,700 voter registration forms that were found to be fraudulent, many of which bore the names of celebrities or "nonexistent people." But as Media Matters also points out, no votes were cast under those fradulent voter registrations.
Despite Fund's additional dubious reporting, Eberhart's article serves up several points at which one can buy the book from Newsmax's store.
Huston Misleads on Obama's Soldier Bracelet Topic: NewsBusters
A Sept. 28 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston was less than eager to tell the full story about the bracelet carrying the name of deceased soldier Ryan Jopek that Barack Obama said he was wearing as a counter to the soldier bracelet John McCain's bragged about wearing. Huston promoted a claim by Jopek's father that "his family had asked Barack Obama to stop wearing the bracelet with his son's name on it. Yet Obama continues to do so despite the wishes of the family."
It's not until Huston updated his post later in the day that he takes a stab at telling the other side of the story, citing an Associated Press article in which Jopek's mother weighs in, quoting only her statements that she "asked Obama not to mention the bracelet on the campaign trail" and that she was "satisfied" with how Obama discussed the bracelet in the presidential debate.
Ignoring the fact that the mother's claim that she "asked Obama not to mention the bracelet" is substantively different from the father's claim that he asked Obama "to stop wearing the bracelet," Huston asserted: "The fact remains, the woman has repeated that she asked Obama not to mention her son on the campaign trail and this AP report confirms that." But he ignored the AP article's claim that while she "never got a reply" to her request for Obama not to mention the bracelet, she "said she didn't hear of him mentioning it after that" until the debate.
Sounds to us like Obama kept his word until McCain felt the need to play up his dead-soldier credentials at the debate.
Over at Newsmax, Phil Brennan cited Huston's post for a Sept. 28 article claiming that Jopek's father said "his ex-wife [Jopek's mother] had asked Obama to stop using the bracelet as a publicity stunt." He makes no mention of the AP article Newsmax published the same day repeating the mother's claim that she approved of the mention.
WND Finally Tells The Other Side of Obama 'Truth Squad' Story Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Sept. 29 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn finally gets around to reporting the other side of the story regarding membership by Missouri law enforcement officials in an Obama "truth squad" that previous WND articles baselessly suggested would use the power of their office to legally harrass anyone running ads critical of Obama. But Zahn baselessly frames it as the officials "back[ing] off the intimidating implications," even though there's no evidence they made any such claim in the first place that needed to be "backed off."
Zahn further fails to note that John McCain's campaign also utilizes law enforcement officials on its "truth squads," let alone question the propriety of that in the same way it attacked those on the Obama side.
Zahn ends by quoting one county sheriff who is a "truth squad" member noting, "I came into my office Monday morning, and I've got 500 emails and 19 nasty phone calls calling me a communist pig!" Is WND proud of its readers doing that sort of thing?
A Sept. 30 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones promotes the claim by conservative activist Richard Viguerie that the defeat of the Wall Street bailout package "shows the power of the New and Alternative Media." But Jones doesn't cite any specific examples of how the "New and Alternative Media" -- in context, the conservatively correct term for right-wing blogs, websites and talk radio -- caused the bill to fail, beyond a claim that "Even the Associated Press noted the power of the Internet in torpedoing the bill." The AP quote that Jones serves up -- "furious pressure built up against the bill in e-mail campaigns and on Internet Web sites" -- also offers no specific examples.
Further, since a significant minority of House Democrats also voted against the bill, credit for defeating the bill cannot go to right-wing media alone.
Nevertheless, Jones uncritically repeated Viguerie's assertion that the bailout bill "the support of the mainstream media, who told us ad nauseam that everyone -- everyone! -- supported a bailout." No evidence is offered to support Viguerie's claim.
A Sept. 29 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston bashed the Obama campaign for violating "the right of free political speech" by banning signs at a rally, further bashing "weak-spined school officials" at the Virginia college where the rally was held because they "bent over and meekly accepted the rules derived from the fascistic penchant of the Obama campaign with its anti-first amendment proclivities."
Funny, we don't recall Huston exhibiting similar outrage when, for instance, a woman was arrested outside a John McCain "town hall meeting" purportedly open to the public for carrying a sign. Or when the Bush administration engaged in a policy of expelling possible critics from Bush's public appearances.
Tell you what, Warner: Try getting a little mad about that, and then you might have a right to indulge your Obama Derangement Syndrome.
Yet Another WND Double Standard Topic: WorldNetDaily
Back in 2005, WorldNetDaily began promoting a book called "Sex Appealed" by Janice Law, which attacked the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas that overturned state sodomy laws by claiming that "the events of September 17, 1998, [upon which the case was based] were a prearranged, orchestrated set-up designed to test Texas Penal Statute 21.06 – a too-perfect case."
In an Oct. 25, 2005, column, Joseph Farah similarly attacked "the pre-meditated nature of the Lawrence case setup," adding, "It was quite simply the misdemeanor dream case homosexual activists in Texas and nationwide had been dreaming about. Or had they done more than dream about it? Had they schemed about it, too?" He further asserted: "If the Lawrence case were known to be a setup during the five years following the arrests, then the defendants would not have a right-to-privacy claim, and the U.S. Supreme Court probably would never hear the case."
An Oct. 27, 2005, WND "news" article repeated Law's claim that the Lawrence case "was based on a pre-arranged 'setup' of police, state judicial authorities and, ultimately, the highest court in the land." The same day, a WND column by Law bashed the case as "a set-up case of invited arrests," further exclaiming, "Isn't the U.S. Constitution good enough anymore?"
But there's a new case brewing that is a similarly pre-arranged setup. But instead of being horrified by it, WND has promoted it.
A Sept. 26 WND article by Drew Zahn touted plans by the conservative Alliance Defense Fund to use "a select team of 33 pastors in 22 states" who "will be preaching on politics in a direct challenge to a federal tax statute that forbids churches from interfering with political campaigns." Zahn added:
The ADF has promised it is ready to equip and defend the pastors selected for "Pulpit Freedom Sunday," even if that means going to court and challenging the tax code.
"We're reminding them that they have the right to openly discuss the positions of political candidates," ADF counsel Mike Johnson told WND, "and we're going to be there for them if there's a challenge."
Doesn't the fact that the ADF is specifically enlisting people to break the law wiht the express purpose of creating the basis of a court case in which the law can be challenged make their action the exact same type of pre-arranged "set-up case of invited arrests" WND condemned when it involved homosexuals? It certainly appears that way.
Yet Zahn offers no substantial criticism of the initiative -- only one paragraph in his 21-paragraph article.
Just another chunk of hypocrisy in a "news" organization already laden with it.
The 2008 presidential election in America is the most crucial election in this country's history, not because the issues are that critical but because of Sen. Barack Obama. The Democratic presidential candidate's language, posture and demeanor suggest that he may suffer from narcissistic personality disorder, or NPD.
NPD is the prime disorder experienced by all the madmen of history – from Hitler to Stalin, Mao, Kim, Pol Pot, Osama, Khomeini, Saddam and Idi Amin. These men wreaked havoc and killed millions. They looked normal. Few suspected their insanity until it was too late.
Ali Sina, Sept. 30 WorldNetDaily column. Hilariously -- though perhaps not so much for someone in the grip of ODS as this person is -- Sina concludes by stating, "There is no basis upon which to assume Obama would become a murderous tyrant." So why devote the rest of the column to claiming there is one?
Kincaid Once Again Repeats False Claim About Global Poverty Act Topic: Accuracy in Media
Cliff Kincaid once again claims, in a Sept. 28 Accuracy in Media article, that the Barack Obama-sponsored Global Poverty Act "cost an estimated $845 billion" -- a claim we'vedebunked every time Kincaid makes it. The bill has no funding mechanism, doesn't commit the U.S. to a targeted level of spending, and doesn't give the United Nations the power to impose a tax on the U.S.
Nevertheless, Kincaid went on to claim: "Commentators such as Andrew C. McCarthy have pointed out that Obama’s Global Poverty Act (S. 2433) would cost even more than the $700 billion that is being proposed as part of a socialist takeover of the U.S. financial sector."
But the McCarthy article to which Kincaid links -- a Sept. 19 piece at National Review -- offers no evidence of it either. In fact, McCarthy does nothing but repeat Kincaid's own false claims about it:
The GPA is a monstrosity. Thanks to Obama’s praetorian guards in the mainstream media, it is a better kept secret than most covert intelligence programs. But Accuracy in Media’s Cliff Kincaid has been digging (see here). If the GPA became law, the United States would be required to fork up for foreign aid 0.7 percent of its gross national product through 2015. That is, Obama would skyrocket U.S. largesse from its current annual level of about $21 billion (the world’s most generous) to — you’ll want to be sitting down for this — $85 billion per year.
It's logrolling in our time -- Kincaid cites McCarthy, who cites Kincaid.
Kincaid also complains about something called the Jubilee Act, a debt-forgiveness bill to which Obama has signed on as a co-sponsor, because it "would cancel the debts of 26 foreign countries even while the U.S. suffers through its own financial crisis and Americans are losing their homes and savings."
Sheffield Baselessly Claims Most Top Papers Are Liberal Topic: NewsBusters
In making a big deal out of Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell's claim that most editorial cartoonists are liberal, Matthew Sheffield claimed in a Sept. 28 NewsBusters post that "Just two of the top twenty editorial pages in the U.S. lean conservative," and offered a list. Sheffield offered no evidence to back up his assertion -- and indeed, there are problems with his list. For instance:
He claims the Chicago Tribune is "liberal," even though it has endorsed only Republican presidential candidates for the past 130 years or so.
He claims the Washington Post is "liberal" even though it has often shared editorial positions with the "conservative" Wall Street Journal.
While it may be treated as a given inside the MRC offices that everyone in the media is liberal, out here in the real world, we require evidence, and not the circumstantial kind.
NewsBusters Repeats Bogus Attack on Obama 'Truth Squad' Topic: NewsBusters
Tom Blumer plays McCain water carrier in a Sept. 29 NewsBusters post, repeating unsubstantiated claims that an Obama "truth squad" in Missouri that includes a prosecutor will "threaten and intimidate" of Obama critics. Blumer howls: "These people are prosecutors. How do prosecutors "respond" to actions they feel violate the law? They prosecute. Most reasonable viewers would have concluded that they were planning to act against 'offenders' in their official capacities."
But as we noted when WorldNetDaily repeated this bogus claim, none of the law enforcement officials on the "truth squad" have said they would use the power of their office to silence critics (a claim Blumer baselessly rejects as "horse manure"). Blumer also fails to note that McCain has members of law enforcement on his "truth squads."
NewsBusters Runs to McCain Campaign Manager's Defense Topic: NewsBusters
A Sept. 26 NewsBusters post by Jacob S. Lybbert complained: "Rather than investigate the campaign donations paid out to Senators Dodd, Clinton, and specifically, Barack Obama, by Fannie Mae and Freddy [sic] Mac, the [New York Times] focused instead on McCain aide Rick Davis's employment by the consulting firm, Davis & Manafort."
Lybbert fails to note that Davis wasn't just employed by Davis & Manafort; he was a key employee of the firm (as the name "Davis" in the "Davis Manafort" name hints at). He also neglects to mention that Davis is much more than an "aide" (or, as he writes later, a "campaign adviser") to McCain; he's McCain's campaignmanager.
Lybbert then uncritically repeats the McCain campaign's response to the story and treats it as fact, without noting evidence that would seem to undercut the campaign's basic claim that Davis has no involvement in his own company -- specifically, that Davis is still listed as an officer of it. And it's since been reported that Davis did, in fact, maintain financial connections to the firm well after the date he claimed he separated himself from it.
"Obama spent two years at Columbia University yet left virtually no fingerprints of his presence there. Could that be because Columbia was where Mr. Obama first met 'mad bomber' William Ayers?" asked Martin.
You may recall Martin from our entanglements with him: He sued us and our employer, Media Matters, for (accurately, it can be reasonably argued) calling him anti-Semitic -- a lawsuit that was laughed out of court (twice), in no small part because he has a long history of lawsuit abuse.
Martin has a history of launching all sorts of Obama smears into the world -- he takes credit for launching the essentially false claim that Obama is hiding his "Muslim religion." As we've previously noted, Martin published a March 2007 article at Newsmax claiming that Obama has "locked ... away" his white grandmother "in his racist closet," calling him "one of the most racist politicians in America today" and accusing him of trying to hide his white heritage.
And Klein is taking the word of this guy as fact? Does he think that because an article is "referenced on multiple other blogs," that automatically makes it true?