We have a new article at Huffington Post summarizing the conspiratorial history of WorldNetDaily columnist Jack Cashill, who appeared on Glenn Beck's Fox News show last week.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy Watch
A Feb. 2 NewsBusters post by Kyle Drennen indulges in the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy by writing about a CBS report on the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Iran and headlining it, "CBS 'Early Show' Celebrates Anniversary of Iranian Revolution."
Drennen offers no evidence that there was any "celebrating" on CBS' part going on or that it was anything other than a straightforward report.
CNS Repeats Misleading Claim on EFCA
A Feb. 2 CNSNews.com article by Pete Winn on the Employee Free Choice Act notes that supporters of the bill have pointed out that it "will not eliminate the ability for workers to choose to have a secret ballot election," which is followed by a paraphrased retort, passed along uncritically, by Michael Eastman, executive director of labor relations at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that "business has never said that secret ballots would be forbidden."
Further, even if one interprets "business" very narrowly as applying only to paid business lobbyists, that's wrong too. Eastman himself asserted in a U.S. Chamber blog post that the EFCA "would effectively do away with secret ballot elections in union organizing." Another Eastman blog post sermonizes about the secret ballot and falsely asserts that "Workers would lose a vital privacy protection - the ability to vote in a secret ballot election - if Card Check became law."
Yet, Winn does not challenge or correct Eastman's statement.
NewsBusters Ignores Its Own Abortion Labeling Guidelines
In a Jan. 30 NewsBusters post taking offense at a anti-abortion ad being described as "anti-abortion," Ken Shepherd writes that "our very own NewsBusters Style Guide has this mandate for our contributors: 'Refer to both sides [of the abortion debate] using their preferred language, pro-life and pro-choice.'"
NewsBusters has a stylebook? Who knew?
Shepherd then goes on to suggest that the use of "anti-abortion" is "pejorative." He doesn't explain why that is -- he's even called out on it by the target of the post, Christianity Today, an editor of whom responded in a update by declaring himself "Proud to be anti-abortion." But more importantly, does NewsBusters actually follows this style tip?
We found a few posts that make use of "anti-abortion," and Dave Pierre declares that "The goal of the pro-life movement is to eliminate elective abortions," which certainly sounds anti-abortion to us. We also found a couple more that express similar annoyance with the "anti-abortion" term, like this post from Tim Graham, again without explaining why.
CNS' Jeffrey Fails to Challenge Stanek
In a Jan. 29 interview, CNSNews.com editor in chief fails to challenge claims made by anti-abortion activist Jill Stanek, even though some have been proven false or unsubstantiated.
Jeffrey allows Stanek to repeat her story of how she "held a premature baby" that had allegedly survived an abortion "in her arms for forty-five minutes as the child struggled for life and then died." In fact, the Illinois Department of Public Health investigated Stanek's claims but could not substantiate them.
Jeffrey and Stanek also have the following exchange:
In fact, state law did already mandate lifesaving measures for premature babies. The July 2000 letter from Ryan's office on the investigation does not claim what Stanek purportedly witnessed was legal; it claimed that it could find no evidence to substantiate it.
Later, both Jeffrey and Stanek push the point that a proposed "born alive" law in Illinois was opposed by then-Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama even though it "essentially identical to the federal bill" in that it declared that it did not impinge on Roe v. Wade. In fact, according to abortion-rights advocates, because federal law does not regulate abortion, being merely "idential" to the federal "born alive" law was not enough to fully ensure that a state law would not impinge on Roe; it would also have to make explicit reference to Illinois law and make clear that it would not affect access to abortion under Illinois law.
Stanek then claimed that this "was a totally new argument that had never come up before--and was bogus." That's debatable, given that, as Planned Parenthood of Illinois points out, the Illinois "born alive" law didn't pass until 2005, when it specifically addressed both federal and state law.
A good reporter would have challenged Stanek on her claims -- after all, she has a history of peddling dubious or false clames, as well as making inflammatory attacks. But Jeffrey -- because he apparently shares Stanek's views on both abortion and Obama -- lets them pass unimpeded by reality.
AIM Intern Rage Watch
Topic: Accuracy in Media
You how just pointing out a simple fact will set some people off? Aaron Saltzman ("an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia") is the set-offee in a Jan. 29 Accuracy in Media blog post.
Saltzman declares that a Los Angeles Times writer, Janet Hook, is "using literary spin to bolster her personal political message" by noting that the House vote on the stiumulus package "passed on a strict party-line vote" and that President Obama "had worked hard to gain bipartisan support" for the package. Let the intern explosion begin:
Saltzman also seems to forget that those same policies have resulted in the current economic situation. Nevertheless, he goes on to personally attack the reporter:
Remember, this is all because Hook told the truth -- that the House stimulus package split down party lines, and Obama tried to recruit Republicans to vote for it.
Saltzman concludes by urging readers to send an email to Hook "and tell her to stop the spin." How about sending an email to Saltzman and tell him to cut back on the caffeine and temper his right-wing rage?
Sunday, February 1, 2009
MRC's Noyes Repeats Misleading Goldberg Claim
In a Jan. 31 NewsBusters post touting Bernard Goldberg's new anti-liberal, anti-Obama book "A Slobbering Love Affair," Rich Noyes includes a lengthy excerpt from the book -- one that contains a misleading claim.
As Media Matters points out, in the section of the book Noyes excerpted, Goldberg made a big deal that CBS' "The Early Show" aired a segment on "Five Things You Should Know About Barack Obama," but he failed to note that five days later, the show aired a segment listing "Five Things You Should Know" about John McCain.
Noyes fails to note Goldberg's misleading claim, perhaps too enraptured in how "fun" the book is. Indeed, Noyes revels in Goldberg's statement that "you can't make this crap up" while ignoring the fact that Goldberg did actually make up some of that crap. As Media Matters also details, Goldberg included a doctored conversation between Charlie Rose and Tom Brokaw that falsely portrays them asserting that "there's a lot about him [Obama] we don't know."
Obama Hate Central: Farah Peddles ACORN Lie
In his Jan. 31 column, Farah asserts that "there are plans to redistribute up to $5.2 billion of taxpayer money – that's your money – to ACORN."
As we've repeatedly noted, the stimulus package doesn't even mention ACORN by name, let alone allocate money to the group. Further, according to ACORN's Bertha Lewis, "Since it is set aside for non-profit housing developers to help purchase, rehab, and resell foreclosed properties, we aren't eligible for it in the first place."
NewsBusters Ignores Republican Ties of Philly Papers' Owner
A Jan. 28 NewsBusters post by Stephen Gutowski is alarmed that the owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News has asked the state of Pennsylvania for a $10 million bailout. In a Jan. 30 follow-up post, Gutowski declared he "was dismayed and angry to learn" about the bailout and repeated criticism of it, including from Media Research Center head Brent Bozell.
Missing from both posts: Any mention of the political leanings of the papers' owner, Brian Tierney.
As a 2007 American Journalism Review profile details, Tierney is a "Republican activist" who has "worked for the Republican National Committee" and was "a Reagan appointee in the U.S. Small Business Administration's public affairs office." He later "anded a regular spot as the conservative voice on 'Inside Story,' a weekly public affairs show on WPVI-TV, the local ABC affiliate," and "chaired the third unsuccessful mayoral bid of local Republican businessman Sam Katz."
If the owner of a newspaper had these kind of liberal ties, the boys at NewsBusters would be howling about liberal bias and socialism. Yet Gutowski appears oblivious to Tierney's political leanings; indeed, he claims that "the bailout request has some pointing out that liberal bias is how the Inquirer got itself into this situation in the first place."
Saturday, January 31, 2009
CNS' 'Nonbeliever' Obsession Continues
Despite the fact that it has been repeatedly demonstrated to be a non-story, CNSNews.com is still clinging to the notion that there's something controversial about Barack Obama making a reference to "nonbelievers."
CNS' latest stab at beating this dead horse is a Jan. 30 article by Penny Starr in which she asks Sen. Joe Lieberman "how Obama’s reference to non-believers might be perceived by Islamic extremists who espouse the belief that killing non-believers is justified." Like pretty much everyone else CNS has pushed this story on, Lieberman didn't bite either:
Earth to Terry Jeffrey and CNS: This story is dead, in a Monty Python parrot kind of way. Can you please stop wasting your (and your interviewees') time by pretending it isn't?
Gainor Repeats Global Warming Denier Fallacy
In a Jan. 29 CNSNews.com column, the MRC's Dan Gainor writes:
Gainor is perpetuating the fallacy that short-term changes in weather, let alone an individual winter storm in January, bear any relevance to the global warming debate. Even Patrick Michaels -- a global warming denier like Gainor who is authoritatively quoted as contradicting Gore in another Jan. 29 CNS article -- has warned against portraying short-term extreme weather as indicative of the existence (or not) of global warming.
Sheppard Desperately Spins GDP Drop, Concocts Conspiracy
In one of the more shameless attempts to spin away bad news for conservatives, Noel Sheppard uses a Jan. 30 NewsBusters post to claim that because the gross domestic product declined slightly less than what was predicted, media reports of a severe recession are overblown.
Sheppard also baselessly asserts that this may very well be the bottom of the recession: "To be sure, the fourth quarter of 2008 might not be the worst of this recession. Nobody knows. However, isn't it just as possible that this will be the low point?"
Um, has Sheppard not been paying attention to the news? Has he not noticed the wholesale slashing of jobs and retail failures in the past couple of weeks alone? Indeed, actual economists not wedded to tarting up right-wing doctrine have pointed out:
How can Sheppard be so oblivious to such unavoidable warning signs about the economy? It's because he thinks it's a big conspiracy to help Obama, that's how:
Yes, Sheppard is channeling hateful conspiracy-monger Cliff Kincaid. Is channeling Kincaid really how NewsBusters wants to move forward in the Obama era?
Friday, January 30, 2009
WND Columnist Repeats False Terrorist Claim
Shira Drissman asserted in a Jan. 29 WorldNetDaily column:
CNS Changes Tune on Stimulus Spending
A Jan. 30 CNSNews.com article by Matt Cover, in attacking a claim by House Majority Speaker Nancy Pelosi that 75 percent of the stimulus "would be doled out in the first 18 months after it becomes law," states that "only about 64 percent of the money in the bill will be spent by the end of fiscal year 2010."
While that's correct (as we've noted), it appears to contradict what Cover was reporting just the day before -- that "only 52 percent of the money in the stimulus bill devoted to new government spending will actually be spent by 2010." In his Jan. 30 article, Cover is too busy shooting down Pelosi's claim to square it with his own previous reporting.
CNS Repeats Bogus Obama Pay Smear
a Jan. 30 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas repeats a campaign smear against Barack Obama. In writing about Obama's signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, Lucas adds: "Women who worked on Obama’s Senate staff last year, however, were themselves paid on average 78 cents for every dollar a man was paid, according to data last year from the Report of the Secretary of the Senate."
As we detailed when Lucas first peddled this smear last June (and again in September), there's no evidence provided that women in Obama's Senate office were paid less than men for the exact same job with equivalent experience -- which is what the issue of equal pay, as well as the Ledbetter act, is all about.
Lucas does appear to concede that point this time, adding that the data "are based on gender without regard to job position, experience, or education that could be factors in pay." But of course, that's not in the headline -- nor did he directly make that point in his previous articles.
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