A Feb. 20 FrontPageMag article by P. David Hornik runs to the defense of right-wing Israeli politician Avigdor Lieberman by whitewashing Lieberman's controversial statements.
Hornik states that while he has "reservations" about Lieberman because "has been under police investigation for a decade," used a campaign slogan that "smacks of bigotry," and "joined—and saved—the feckless Olmert government at a time of mounting public protest over the failed war in Lebanon," he defends Lieberman over claims that he is "racist and fascist" in his positions on Israeli Arabs, calling his position is not "necessarily reprehensible." But in doing so, Hornik joins in Lieberman's demonization of Israeli Arabs and fails to note Lieberman's most inflammatory statements, nowing only that "his rhetoric has once or twice gone over the top."
Hornik fails to detail any of those "over the top" statements, such as his likening of Israeli Arabs in the Knesset to Nazi collaborators and calling for the execution of any Arab Knesset member who meets with Hamas.
Hornik also claims that Lieberman's support of a loyalty oath for Israeli citizens "obfuscates more than it illumines" but that it "is a legitimate response to a very real problem and danger that Israelis live with."
NewsBusters Baselessly Attacks NYT Topic: NewsBusters
Stephen Gutowski turns his Feb. 19 NewsBusters post on the settlement of a lawsuit filed by Vicki Iseman against the New York Times over an article that, in Gutowski's words, "insinuated Iseman had an affair with John McCain" into an attack on the Times that the facts don't support.
It is quite sad that it takes a lawsuit for the New York Times to at least sort of admit their wrong doing in publishing the disgrace to professional journalism that article is. And it is maddening that their pseudo-apology falls well short of what is required for this kind of egregious assault on reporting. Not to mention that it seems to take a lawsuit to make the New York Times print an editorial contrary to their opinion.
Gutowski offers no evidence that the Times refused to to publish Iseman's side of the story before this -- for example, a Feb. 22, 2008, Times article specifically states McCain denying any affair and attacking the Times for purportedly suggesting it. He also ignores that the Times has regularly published conservatives like David Brooks and William Kristol. NewsBusters is much less likely to "print an editorial contrary to their opinion" than the Times is, which makes this a pot-kettle-black statement.
Further, Gutowski fails to explain how the Times' "pseudo-apology ... falls well short of what is required." The article contained no false statements, so there was no "wrongdoing" in the first place. Indeed, the fact that the lawsuit was settled with no retraction and no payment by the Times to Iseman, and got only a restatement of the article, is an indication of the weakness of Iseman's case.
By contrast, CNSNews.com -- like NewsBusters, a division of the Media Research Center -- has yet to apologize to Paul Begala for falsely claiming that he said that Republicans are trying to kill him and his family. Gutowski's anger seems a bit misdirected.
Newsmax's Weird Attack on Jack Valenti Topic: Newsmax
A Feb. 9 Newsmax article by Jim Meyers was a weird attack on Jack Valenti, the former aide to Lyndon Johnson turned movie industry lobbyist, playing up an assertion revealed by "Documents obtained by Newsmax under the Freedom of Information Act" that Valenti "was investigated by the FBI for his relationships with a 'top hoodlum,'" that "Valenti's father and father-in-law were both jailed for embezzlement," and that "an unsubstantiated report claimed that Valenti, who died in April 2007 at age 85, had arranged for an abortion for a woman impregnated by LBJ."
Why did Newsmax try to disparage Valenti, who died two years ago? Because he was a liberal? Because he's dead and, thus, can't fight back? It's unclear. But it is clear that Meyers was attempting a smear job.
A Feb. 19 Washington Post article offers a fuller view of what was in Valenti's FBI file than Meyers does. It points out that the information about Valenti's father and father-in-law showed up in "a routine background check performed when Valenti joined the Johnson administration in 1963," and that they were "picayune concerns," adding: "Nothing discovered during the background check was solid enough to endanger Valenti's position as a special assistant to the president."
Of much more interest to the FBI, according to the Post, was "the vexing question of whether Valenti was gay" and other sexually related allegations.
It's not until the 15th paragraph of his article -- after rehashing the alleged mob ties and criminal behavior of Valenti's relatives -- that Meyers gets around to the sexual part of Valenti's file. A note that an FBI agent heard from an informant who wanted Valenti investigated as a "sex pervert" because "he had read in the newspapers that Valenti swims in the nude in the White House pool" is dismissed only as "curious." The Post, meanwhile, puts the sexual stuff into context:
[T]he files ... provide further insight into the conduct of the FBI under [J. Edgar] Hoover, for whom damaging personal information on the powerful was a useful tool in his interactions with presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Richard M. Nixon.
In the Washington of the early 1960s, allegations or proof of homosexuality could end a career. In October 1964, Walter Jenkins, another senior aide in the Johnson administration, was arrested for allegedly having sex in the men's room of the Washington YMCA. The news leaked just before the election, and Johnson, rushing to stem the political damage, quickly secured the resignation of Jenkins, then his longest-serving aide.
Meyers devotes only two paragraphs late in the article to Valenti's alleged "association with a homosexual in California and Texas," identified as a professional photographer, adding that "President Johnson asked the FBI to probe any 'derogatory information' concerning his White House associates." Again, the Post tells the full story:
Johnson initially blocked the FBI from obtaining a sworn statement from Valenti or approaching the photographer, asserting that Valenti was "attracted to the women and not to the men," files show. But under FBI pressure, the president relented and approved an investigation of his close friend.
It's not surprising that Newsmax would hide information and not tell the full story. The question, still, is why Newsmax felt the need to attack Valenti.
Craige McMillan calls President Obama a "corrupt Chicago illegal alien," goes on to rant about "socialist public educational institutions," references "[t]he communist morons you've elected," and repeats the false right-wing talking point about "[t]he $4 billion stimulus to ACORN."
Erik Rush asserts that Obama "continues to be marketed like a Muppet" and is acting like a "pharaoh," and smears "Nancy Pelosi, whom I am beginning to suspect has some trouble walking and keeping her heart beating at the same time."
MRC Double Standard Watch Topic: Media Research Center
A Feb. 18 NewsBusters post (and Feb. 19 MRC CyberAlert item) by Scott Whitlock criticized New Yorker writer Hendrik Hertzberg for likening the dynamic between President Obama and Rush Limbaugh to that between Martin Luther King and Bull Connor. Whitlock irrelevantly adds: "It should be pointed out that Bull Connor, the Alabama public safety commissioner in the '60s, was a Democrat, thus making Hertzberg's comparison even more faulty."
Funny, we don't recall any outrage on the part of the MRC when right-wing WorldNetDaily columnist Mychal Massie likened Sen. Harry Reid to Bull Connor and Orval Faubus, and also claimed that Democratic critics of then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "are fully representative of Bull Connor and Orval Faubus" -- then hypocritically criticized Rep. Charles Rangel for saying that "George Bush is our Bull Connor."
From Morano's Mouth to Sheppard's Keyboard Topic: NewsBusters
The Think Progress Wonk Room has gotten a hold of a contact list used by Marc Morano, the former CNS reporter now working for Sen. James Inhofe, to whom he sends out his misleading anti-global warming propaganda.
On the list, unsurprisingly, are a pair of NewsBusters staffers, Noel Sheppard and Matthew Sheffield, and Dan Gainor of the MRC Business & Media Institute. We've previously reported on Morano's misleading global warming claims, as well as Sheppard's slavishrecitation of them.
Sheppard is, unsurprisingly, proud to regurgitate whatever spurious information Morano sends him: "I'm sure I speak for all my fellow jokers when I say that I am honored to be mentioned with these highly-respected climate realists."
New Article: Newsmax's Stimulus Falsehoods Topic: Newsmax
The Clinton-bashing glory days of the 1990s are reprised at Newsmax, where the same treatment -- and lack of adherence to facts -- is now applied to President Obama. Read more >>
The Obama administration economic stimulus package is going to force the Treasury to borrow approximately $2.5 trillion in 2009 and another $4 trillion in 2010, with the result of increasing the current $10 trillion national debt by 65 percent in just two years.
If the Obama administration increases the national debt by 65 percent every two years, the debt will be $16.5 trillion in 2010 and $27.225 trillion by 2012, the year of the next presidential election.
According to who? Corsi doesn't say.
If Corsi derived these numbers on his own, how did come to this conclusion? Corsi doesn't show his work.
For all we know, Corsi pulled them out of a certain bodily orifice.
But who cares about facts and documentation when Corsi's actual purpose in writing this article is to throw out bizarre, scary analogies:
Earth's home galaxy, the Milky Way, is estimated to contain about 200 billion stars. So, if each star cost one dollar, one trillion dollars would buy five Milky Way galaxies full of stars.
One trillion seconds of ordinary clock time equals 31,546 years. So, spending money at the rate of one dollar every second, or $86,400 every day, would still take nearly 32,000 years to spend $1 trillion.
If someone were to build city blocks that contained 10 homes valued at $100,000 per home, you would end up with ten houses to a block, ten blocks to a mile and a hundred blocks per square mile. It would take 10,000 square miles to reach $1 trillion in value.
Why would a "trained economist" indulge himself in peddling such trivial crap? Again, no answer is forthcoming beyond Corsi's own amplydemonstrated Obama Derangement Syndrome.
Yet, WND treats Corsi's article as "news," not the unsubstantiated opinion it is. And Farah apparently defers to Corsi on all things economic -- which tells you much of what you need to know about WND.
This is not the first time Corsi has told lies about the stimulus -- he's already on record as making the false claim that Obama wants "cut the Pentagon budget for fiscal year 2010 by $55 billion, more than 10 percent of last year's $512 billion defense budget." In fact, Obama wants to increase the Pentagon's budget by $14 billion; the reported cut is from a budget proposal.
Further, Corsi's Feb. 13 article references "Craig Smith, founder and CEO of Swiss America" without disclosing that Smith is a WND columnist and that Swiss America is a longtime WND advertiser -- a disclosureproblem WND has long had.
If Corsi is a "trained economist" -- and as we've noted, the evidence is that he's not -- you wouldn't know it from reading this. A trained right-wing smear artist, perhaps.
Patten asserted that the "actual figure" the bill will cost "is now closer to $3.27 trillion." Patten added: "That stems from the $744 billion it will take to pay for the additional debt the legislation will create, and $2.527 trillion in increased spending from the new and expanded programs the bill will spawn over the next decade."
That's wrong too. As Media Matters details, more than half of that $3.2 trillion figure comes from the cost of permanently extending more than 20 provisions in the recovery bill -- which the bill does not do.
Patten is discrediting himself by the day -- and Newsmax is apparently happy with that.
Blumer Falsely Suggests Bush Didn't Pre-Pick Questions Topic: NewsBusters
In a Feb. 17 NewsBusters post, Tom Blumer purports to be offended that President Obama's "team" was preselecting who "be allowed to submit a question to His Excellency," adding: "What would the press be saying if Bush had employed these crutches?"
As we pointed out when fellow NewsBuster Warner Todd Huston made the same claim, Bush did, in fact, employ that cruch, relying on lists of pre-selected reporters during press conferences.
Joseph Farah spends his Feb. 18 column bashing "an Internet pundit out there in the blogosphere whose name I will not utter" over her attacks on WND's Aaron Klein, accusing him of stealing story ideas from her blog.
Since Farah won't utter her name, we will: Debbie Schlussel, who is, ironically, a former WND columnist -- which Farah curiously fails to mention. We'vedetailed Schlussel's special brand of crazy in her work for WND in the early 2000s.
We're not going to get into the particulars of Schlussel's accusations against Klein or Farah's response to them (other than to note that Klein has a history of gleaning anti-Obama story ideas from right-wing blogs, including Schlussel's). Some of Farah's peripheral claims defending Klein, however, deserve attention. For instance, Farah wrote:
She attempted to defame Klein by alleging that he "had to retract a story he made up, claiming that Fox News paid ransom to Palestinian terrorists for Fox News personnel's release."
The truth is somewhere in the middle. While Klein did not explicitly claim that Fox News "paid ransom to Palestinian terrorists for Fox News personnel's release," the tone of Klein's article heavily implied that it did. It was only afterwards that Klein and WND walked things back a bit and definitively stated that Fox News didn't pay the ransom (but also misleadingly insisting that the article did as well).
Farah also wrote:
But even those lies were not sufficient for said blogger. She continued to target the Middle East's most courageous reporter, Aaron Klein, who risks his life interviewing some of the most dangerous people in the world, by writing: "Muslims in Gaza he claims to have interviewed never heard of the guy."
It must be easy hurling those kinds of libelous insults from the safe confines of her easy chair in the United States. However, Aaron Klein doesn't use anonymous sources when he quotes senior terrorist leaders in Gaza and many of the most prominent Islamists in the world. He names names. He records many of his interviews.
That's not exactly true either. We'venotednumerousinstances of Klein attributing claims to anonymous sources, including terrorist leaders in Gaza. Indeed, a Feb. 16 article by Klein quotes "a top PA [Palestinian Authority] negotiator" who was "speaking on condition of anonymity" making a claim about Obamathat is not subtantiated anywhere in the article. A Feb. 2 article by Klein similarly quotes "top PA officials... speaking on condition their names be withheld" making similar unsubstantiated claims about Obama. That's part and parcel of Klein's guilt-by-association smearcampaign against Obama.
The topper, though, is Farah's claim that the unnamed Schlussel is making "reckless, irresponsible accusations."That's WND's job -- from publishing false claims about a supporter of Al Gore to peddling bogus documents and repeatedlies about Obama, WND is the very definition of reckless and irresponsible.
Will Farah ever hold his own website to the same standards he hold Schlussel? Don't count on it.
Roy Moore writes of the stimulus plan in his Feb. 18 WorldNetDaily column:
More than $3 billion goes to ACORN, a community organization already under federal investigation for voter registration practices. Thirty million dollars goes to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's district in the San Francisco area to restore wetlands and in part to protect the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse.
There seems to be a pattern developing here of Moore believing that he can lie and mislead about Obama with impunity. Given that he's a lawbreaker himself -- and lost his position as Alabama Supreme Court chief justice because of it -- it's not that surprising, and he counters the suggestion forwarded in the name of his column that he's genuinely interested in a "moral foundation."
Of all the things we've written about NewsBusters' P.J. Gladnick, the only one that motivated a response was ... when we questioned his taste in poetry.
Three weeks after the fact, Gladnick responded in a Feb. 17 post -- which, for some strange reason, was removed shortly after its posting.
We read it before it went off into the ether. If we remember correctly, Gladnick provided an (lengthy) example of a poet he did like (whose name we do not remember). It wasn't our cup of tea, but we're not going to ridicule Gladnick's choice because we understand the whole different-strokes-for-sifferent-folks thing, but also because ridicule is exactly the same treatment Gladnick dished out to President Obama's choice of a poet, Elizabeth Alexander, by likening her work to that of a crazy woman.
Which is why we highlighted Gladnick's post in the first place. Gladnick (and Brent Bozell, who similary ridiculed Alexander's poetry) was interested only in scoring a cheap shot against Obama, both arguably could care less about poetry. Alexander's not exactly our cup of tea either, but there's no need to bash Obama over it. It certainly has nothing to do with the "liberal bias" they are supposed to be going after.