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Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Blog Misleadingly Comes to Kincaid's Defense
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media has linked to a video, produced by the right-wing birther-populated website 24Ahead, that purports to defend Cliff Kincaid's comments buying into the right-wing conspiracy that Barack Obama isn't an American. The video weirdly attacks Think Progress for falsely titling their version of the Kincaid video by stating that he "suggests Obama wasn't born in U.S.": "Kincaid didn't 'suggest Obama wasn't born in the U.S. He didn't make any suggestions as to where Obama was born. He only -- correctly -- stated that we don't really know."

That's a distinction without a difference. Given that the alternative to being born in the U.S. is not being born in the U.S., by questioning whether there is proof that Obama was born in the U.S., Kincaid is, in fact, suggesting that he was not.

The video goes on to repeat other conspiratorial points about the birth certificate, claiming the one released by the Obama campaignis, "at this point in time, just a picture," and that FactCheck.org has only "seen" the certificate. In fact, FactCheck states it has "seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate."Nevertheless, the video asserts that the folks at FactCheck "aren't document experts and they didn't verify it with the issuing agency." And even WorldNetDaily has 

24Ahead also asserts that FactCheck "blatantly lies about  the 10/31 statement from the state of Hawaii" without offering evidence. It then tries to raise doubts by claiming there is no "definitive proof."

At no point does 24Ahead acknowlege the logical point that if  and according to the Oct. 31, 2008, statement that 24Ahead is presumbly referring that Hawaii state health director Chiyone Fukino said that Obama's original birth certificate is on file with the state in accordance with state policies and procedures, and all information on the released certificate is derivative of the original certificate, then there is no need to release the original certificate other than to feed into the partisan anti-Obama paranoia of folks like the anonymous staffers of 24Ahead.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:41 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, March 5, 2009 1:32 PM EST
Sheppard Fires, Misses
Topic: NewsBusters

In a March 2 post on the Fox News Forum, NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard bashes John Kerry for attacking George Will's false claims about global warming by using information first reported by Media Matters and the Center for American Progress' Think Progress blog. Why? Because Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, is an "indirect benefactor" of affiliates of these "political propaganda organizations" through her donations to the Tides Foundation, which have donated to these groups.

There's just little one problem with Sheppard's conspiracy theory: it's not true.

As we and others have detailed, Heinz Kerry's donations to the Tides Foundation have been explicitly earmarked toward specific projects in Pennsylvania, making it impossible for that money to have gone toward CAP or Media Matters. Thus, the entire premise of Sheppard's article is false.

Curiously, at no point does Sheppard address the actual claims CAP and Media Matters have made about Will's false statements on global warming, nor does he mention that Washington Post ombudsman Andy Alexander has raised questions about the claims and the editing process that allowed them into Will's column.

Apparently, it's much easier to engage in ad hominem attacks than offer a fact-based response.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:53 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, March 3, 2009 1:55 PM EST
Farah Still Obfuscating on WND, Obama Birth Certificate
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah's March 3 column takes another stab at bashing Keith Olbermann for tweaking WorldNetDaily -- and fails yet again to tell the full truth about what WND reported about Barack Obama's birth certificate.

To recap the story thus far: last December, we caught Farah baldly lying about the fact that last August, WND reported that "WND investigation into Obama's birth certificate utilizing forgery experts" found the certificate released by Obama's campaign "to be authentic." Olbermann picked it up and reported it on "Countdown" in January. That got Farah riled up, and he obfuscated, claiming that WND "appeared to suggest an image of Barack Obama's birth certificate on his website was found conclusively to be genuine." Again, not true. WND did a lot more than "suggested" its authenticity -- it affirmatively declared it.

So last week, when Olbermann discussed the birth certificate issue again and noted that "the right-wing site the WorldNetDaily authenticated the Obama birth certificate," it was almost guaranteed that Farah would respond -- and obfuscate again:

It is simply untrue that WND ever "authenticated" the document on Obama's campaign site. First of all, we would have to examine the original document, not a web posting, to do that. Second of all, assuming it is not a fraud, which is more than I would assume, it proves nothing about Obama's actual place of birth, for the reason stated above.

Again, here's what WND wrote last August:

Philip J. Berg, a former member of Pennsylvania's Democratic State Committee and former deputy attorney general of Pennsylvania, filed the lawsuit this week in U.S District Court, asking the court to declare Obama ineligible for the presidency and to prevent him from running for the position.

However, a WND investigation has found that at least part of Berg's lawsuit relies on discredited claims.

[...]

A separate WND investigation into Obama's birth certificate utilizing forgery experts also found the document to be authentic. The investigation also revealed methods used by some of the bloggers to determine the document was fake involved forgeries, in that a few bloggers added text and images to the certificate scan that weren't originally there.

It is reasonable -- not to mention entirely accurate -- to deduce that if a "WND investigation ... found the document to be authentic," then WND has, in fact, authenticated the document. Needless to say, Farah again fails to link to the original August article so his readers can judge for themselves whether WND "authenticated" the birth certificate.

The simple solution to this crisis -- and to avoid further ridicule from Olbermann -- is for Farah to do what real news organizations would do: acknowledge what WND wrote last August, formally retract the story, then explain to readers why he and his website no longer stand by that conclusion.

But for some reason, he won't do that. Why?  Perhaps because he knows that the original report is true and that he's now playing a partisan game to undermine Obama's authority by peddling a lie.

Farah ironically concludes: "If you're sick of being lied to, I urge you to show the Keith Olbermanns and Jonathan Alters of the world what you think of them." But what good does it do to go after Olbermann and Alter if the person doing the lying is Joseph Farah?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:03 PM EST
Kessler Peddles Obama Falsehoods
Topic: Newsmax

In his March 2 Newsmax column, Ronald Kessler said of President Obama's plan to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year: "Most of those penalized under the tax hike are small businesses, which create most new jobs."

False. In fact, as of 2007, only 2 percent of tax returns that reported small business income are in the top two income tax brackets that would raise under Obama's plan.

Kessler also claimed that in a 2001 radio interview, Obama "expressed regret that the Supreme Court hadn’t engaged in wealth redistribution."

False -- Obama never said that. As we've detailed the last time Kessler made this false claim, Obama said that because the Supreme Court under Earl Warren did not address "redistributive change," it was evidence that the court was not as far-left as its critics have claimed. And Obama's "regret" was specifically aimed at the civil rights movement for overly relying on the court system to advance its agenda.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:10 AM EST
Liebmann's Back, Even More Hateful As Ever
Topic: The ConWeb

When Norman Liebmann wrote for Newsmax, he was best known for his virulent, hateful smears of the Clintons and others. He left Newsmax in 2004 after a spat over virulent hateful smears of gays, posting his work at his own website, Firehat.

We figured he wouldn't take too kindly to another Democrat in the White House, and boy were we right. Below are excerpts from Liebmann's March 1 posting, "The Washington Shell Game Goes Black":

Obama announced to the black community, a policy of Don’t ask - Just take. Many blacks anticipated this policy long ago – and took.

Female groupies fawn over Barack Obama. Charles Manson enjoyed that same kind of adoration. For Negroes, Obama’s election is like eating birthday cake three times a day for the next four years. Inasmuch as there is no such thing as black icing, they can coat the cake with soot.

His principal objective is to smooth out the bumps in America for the blacks. We may soon see traffic signs at every intersection that read, “Stop Whitey, Go Bro”.

Where in the past the blacks resented injustices, now they collect them. Revenge has become their recreational drug. The most marked characteristic is complaining. Ghetto dwellers resent the Oscar award going to a movie about a slum in India when it is their own slums that need to be further glamorized.

It is fitting that Hillary, the Bitch Goddess, has been replaced by Michelle – the Bride of Blackenstein. During the campaign Obama cautioned, “My wife is ‘out of bounds’”. Maybe he should have asked around.

Barack Hussein Obama is Islam’s Man in America. It needs no other. The Obama Administration is now Islam on the Potomac. 

Muslims are spreading over the world like a pox. Cure that plague and the economy will take care of itself.

The Obama Administration is the ghettos’ ATM machine. Giving stimulus money to irresponsible people is like slopping the hogs. No matter how often they are slopped, they are still hogs.

Obama may next force Congress to guarantee homosexuals equal time with heterosexuals on talk radio to present their kinky world view – perhaps to be called The Fagness Doctrine.

Nothing happens in The Beltway that does not devolve on the question of race. In his pursuit of his Negroöcracy, Obama is loading up Washington with hostile blacks in demographic overkill. He has appointed Eric Holder his Attorney General. Holder’s anti-Caucasian inclination will likely promote a forced integration of lawn jockeys.

The Stimulus is Hurricane Katrina revisited. If Katrina has demonstrated anything it is Obama’s belief that the blacks are incapable of rescuing themselves. This time they don’t have to loot. The Feds will be passing out $13 a week – which is hardly a lucky number. Hopefully, the survivors will not grab the rescue lines and drag the Coast Guard helicopters down out of the sky.

The Obama Administration is likely to be as beneficial to the American Military as the Bataan Death March.

The Prince of Darkness has been replaced by the Prince of Blackness. Obama has become a one person elite among Negroes. The rest are as they were. The semi-urbane Obama comports himself as though he is the Cary Grant of the Inner City. Being black is no longer considered a race, but a mystique.

Socialism is made to order for some ethnicities. If Karl Marx hadn’t invented Communism, he might have invented Hip Hop.

The nation trembles before one arrogant aborigine. Hope and change has been replaced with qualms and quaking. The major question of our time is - at Obama’s command will American soldiers fire on American citizens?

Wow. Just ... wow.

And the folks at Free Republic can't quite agree on whether Liebmann is racist or prescient.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:31 AM EST
Farah Misleads on New Deal
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah's March 2 column attempts to make the case that the Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal "failed miserably to pull the country out of the country's one and only Depression." Unsurprisingly, Farah deceives in doing so.

Farah writes:

After two complete terms in office in 1939, Roosevelt saw higher unemployment in 1939 than what the nation experienced when he took office – up from 16.3 percent in 1931 to 17.2 percent in 1939. No depression or recession in American history, before or since, ever lasted even half as long.

However, statistics can never tell the whole story.

No, "statistics can never tell the whole story" -- especially when you're cherry-picking them and placing them around erroneous information like Farah does.

Roosevelt, in fact, had not gone through "two complete terms in office in 1939"; he was elected in 1933, and his second term ended in 1941.

Moving the Roosevelt administration up two years allowed Farah to cherry-pick unemployment rates from 1931 (when Roosevelt wasn't in office, despite what Farah thinks) and 1939. Farah fails to mention that unemployment peaked in 1933 at 24.9 percent and had dropped to 14.3 percent in 1937 -- de facto evidence that the New Deal worked. Further, because federal labor statistics at the time did not count those in government work programs as "employed," the actual unemployment rate was even lower.

Since Farah is cherry-picking statistics to fit his preconceived notions, he fails to ask the question of why unemployment went up from 1937 to 1939. Many experts believe that it was because  Roosevelt cut spending and raised taxes in an effort to reduce the deficit.

But remember: Farah is a hack, and he doesn't believe in reporting facts when they conflilct with his right-wing agenda.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:13 AM EST
Monday, March 2, 2009
Aaron Klein Anti-Obama Agenda Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Aaron Klein's guilt-by-association garbage smears of President Obama continue unabated.

Not only does he yet again baselessly link Obama to communists, he tries to link Obama to Carlos the Jackal.

How pathetically desperate and filled with hate for Obama can one person be? Fortunately for Klein, he's employed by WorldNetDaily, whose raison d'etre is to spread Obama-hate.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:55 PM EST
Ruddy Repeats ACORN Lie
Topic: Newsmax

His employees have been asserting it for weeks. Now Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy joins them in his March 2 column, repeating the lie that the stimulus bill contained "handouts of $3 billion for groups like ACORN."

In fact, ACORN isn't even mentioned in the stimulus bill, let alone allocated money in it, and ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis has stated that "ACORN isn't getting any of this money ... we aren't eligible for it in the first place."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:49 PM EST
Examiner Baselessly Declares Jindal Anecdote To Be True
Topic: Washington Examiner

Ranked No. 2 on the Washington Examiner's "10 worst ideas of the week" for March 1 (print-only, not online) was this:

2. Doubting a true Katrina story

A host of liberal blog sites and MSNBC's Keith Olbermann accused Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal of lying about a post-Katrina incident he recounted Tuesday in his national speech, claiming he never actually went into the disister zone. But multiple reports show Jindal being all over the flood zone in the storm's aftermath and eyewitnesses confirm the story.

The Examiner misrepesents the nature of the criticism. No evidence is offered that critics have claimed Jindal never "went into the disister zone." Rather, the question is whether the anecdote Jindal told was true.

The Examiner also ignores the fact that Jindal's own office has confirmed that the incident didn't happen the way Jindal told it, which makes it something other than a "true Katrina story."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:56 PM EST
Where Are They Now?
Topic: NewsBusters

Mark Finkelstein -- whose transgressions at NewsBusters we've previously documented -- has largely abandoned NewsBusters (though he's still listed as a "senior contributor") to focus on his own new blog, Finkelblog. We checked in on him the other day and found a Feb. 26 post in which he sympathizes with CNBC's Rick Santelli for thinking that Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs issued a threat against him and his family and bashes NBC's Matt Lauer for calling Santelli out on it.

Finknelstein writes:

I tend to agree with Lauer’s bottom line.  It’s not as if Gibbs were waving around a photo of Santelli’s family and saying “nice kids. Wouldn’t want nuthin to happen to them.”  Hot Air has been very critical of Santelli for resorting to the same tactics of victimization typical of the left.  Then again, I do think Gibbs intended, let’s say, a chilling effect.  Criticize the president, and expect to be ridiculed on national TV. Of course Gibbs’ criticism of Santelli has boomeranged, making him something of a national hero to many, and presumably making it almost impossible for CNBC to fire him any time soon.

It’s Lauer’s role to ask tough questions of Santelli. But when Matt passionately expresses a point of view, as he did today, he ceases being a journalist and sounds more like a pundit—or surrogate White House spokesman.

First, Finkelstein's point is very confused. First, he agrees with Lauer that Gibbs didn't threaten Santelli, yet Lauer still gets bashed for saying so? If it's a fact -- and it objectively is, no matter how much Finkelstein imagines a "chilling effect" -- why make a big deal out of how "passionately" it is made. Ari Fleischer's post-9/11 "watch what you say" comment was widely interpreted as having a "chilling effect." Does Finkelstein agree? 

Second, wasn't Santelli acting like a pundit instead of the journalist he was supposed to be when he let his rant fly? How does that make him any better than Lauer? That is, beyond the fact that Finkelstein appears to agree with Santelli's rant and, thus, the guy gets a pass, and Lauer, being a liberal elitist, is not allowed to repeat an objective fact that makes Obama look good -- that even Finkelstein agrees with -- without being accused of being a "surrogate White House spokesman."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:21 AM EST
Joseph Farah, Right-Wing Hack
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Ever wonder why a hack like Bob Unruh is allowed to thrive at WorldNetDaily? Perhaps because WND editor Joseph Farah is a hack too.

Farah's Feb. 28 column contains at least the third time he has asserted the false claim that ACORN received money from the stimulus bill.

There's no reason for anyone to have respect for a person who shows no respect for the facts.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:44 AM EST
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Deep Thought
Topic: NewsBusters
It's at least a tad ironic that a NewsBusters blogger who thinks Hillary Clinton staged a hostage situation at a campaign office "to make herself look battle-hardened" is complaining about the alleged conspiracy theories of others.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:33 PM EST
Bob Unruh, Right-Wing Hack
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Did Bob Unruh learn anything about proper journalism in those three decades at the Associated Press that his boss, Joseph Farah, loves to tout? As we've documented, it appears not. The latest example of Unruh's lack of journalistic standards is a Feb. 28 WorldNetDaily article that manages to be both egregiously slanted and remarkably ill-informed.

The subject of Unruh's article is the possibility that President Obama will overturn a rule instituted by President Bush in December that allows "doctors, hospitals, and even receptionists and volunteers in medical experiments the right to refuse to participate in medical care they find morally objectionable." Unsurprisingly, Unruh paints this in the most dire terms possible, baselessly claiming that Obama is "attempt to overrule their rights of conscience" and "demand[ing] doctors participate in the abortion industry."

Unruh also quotes critics of the proposed reversal, uncritically advancing their views that overturning the rule would mean "the closure of hospitals and clinics across America and a mass migration of physicians and their assistances to other careers." 

This demonstrates Unruh's failure as a journalist. This claim is patently absurd on its face -- the Bush rule has been in effect for only two months, and none of the sources Unruh quotes offers any evidence that doctors and other health professionals have entered the field because of the new ability to withhold, say, birth control on the basis on "conscience."

Indeed, Unruh doesn't even mention birth control -- he doesn't bother to quote any supporters of the reversal, who would have noted that the rule would allow a doctor who opposes birth control to refuse to prescribe contraception to a woman. The only medical issueUnruh mentions is the red-meat issue of abortion, as well as unsupported claims that "Medical students report changing career tracks away from obstetrics for fear of pressure to do abortions."

This article is a biased mess because Unruh doesn't care enough to gather both sides of the story -- and he works for a "news" organization that doesn't care about reporting facts to allow Unruh to get away with it. He, unfortunately is a hack, and Farah allows him to be one -- indeed, pays him to be one.

It's no wonder Unruh doesn't work for the AP anymore -- the biased and poorly reported stories he peddles at WND do not meet AP standards.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:42 AM EST
Saturday, February 28, 2009
WND Hides Truth Behind Roy Moore's Pollster
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Feb. 23 WorldNetDaily article reported that "A new survey shows that the leading candidate for governor in Alabama to replace a term-limited GOP Gov. Bob Riley is former state Supreme Court Justice and WND columnist Roy Moore. WND added that the survey was "done over 10,000 homes across Alabama from a database of ccAdvertising." WND offers no other information about the poll or who commssioned it -- or, more importantly, what ccAdvertising is.

As we've previously noted, ccAdvertising is a Republican-linked marketing firm that specializes in push polling, "in which real-sounding questions with ludicrous premises are asked to plant negative ideas in voters' minds."TPM Muckraker has pointed out that ccAdvertising's chief, Gabriel Joseph, once boasted of his firm's ability to "deliver a voter suppression message" to unfriendly voters. He's also not above threatening reporters: "If someone writes something that I don't like, I can make their life—I can make them understand a few things if I choose."

That the poll was done via phone numbers from ccAdvertising's "database" rather than by the normal polling methodology of randomly selected numbers makes this survey even more suspect.

In other words, it's highly likely that this "survey" was commissioned by Moore himself or one of his supporters in order to boost his prospective gubernatorial bid -- though WND has no apparent desire to inform its readers about it.

It would be nice if WND was more interested in reporting the truth -- that is, doing its job as a "news" organization -- instead of promoting one of its employees.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:48 AM EST
NewsBusters Repeats Discredited Jindal Anecdote
Topic: NewsBusters

A Feb. 27 NewsBusters post by Jack Coleman criticized MSNBC's Rachel Maddow for allegedly taking Bobby Jindal's post-Obama-speech address out of context by claiming his criticism of governmental failures in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina equaled saying that "government never works." Coleman writes that "Maddow edited the segment to deprive viewers of what Jindal said next." He then repeats what Jindal said next: the story of Sheriff Harry Lee, who "during Katrina ... [w]hen I walked into his makeshift office," was angry over government red tape.

Just one little problem: Jindal's anecdote appears to be mostly made up. As TPM Muckraker details, Jindal's office has now admitted that Jindal was never in Lee's office "during Katrina"; rather, Jindal overheard Lee talking about the episode to someone else by phone "days later."(Though Jindal's people later sorta tried to take that back.)

It seems to have worked out for the best that Maddow "deprived" her viewer of a lie, eh, Jack?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:18 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, February 28, 2009 12:21 AM EST

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