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Saturday, March 28, 2009
Estrich Defends O'Reilly, Misses the Point
Topic: Newsmax

Susan Estrich uses her March 27 syndicated column -- posted at Newsmax, where she's one of the token liberals -- to defend Bill O'Reilly's appearance at a fund-raiser for an organization that helps rape victims:

What's Bill O'Reilly doing at a benefit for rape victims and their families?

Helping them raise money. Last time I checked, that's a good thing.

I disagree with much of what Bill has to say on most subjects. I think he feels the same way about me. That's fine. But he happens to have a huge following.

Many people agree with him, respect him and might even give more money because of him to a foundation that provides financial support so that the families of rape victims can be with their loved ones during the investigation and trial of the criminal case — which is what the foundation he was supporting in Florida does.

[...]

So why exactly is it that we shouldn't let him help us? How is it that you get stronger by excluding people?

Estrich blames only "ratings silliness" for the controversy over O'Reilly -- but at no does she explain what, exactly, O'Reilly actually did to earn the criticism over his recent appearance at an Alexa Foundation fundraiser.

On his radio show three years ago, O'Reilly suggested that a rape victim was responsible for her own rape because she was drunk and dressed less than demurely -- something one would think Estrich would concerned about given that she also writes in her column, "I don't believe in 'blaming' the victim."

O'Reilly further sent one of his producers to stalk and ambush a liberal blogger who highlighted his remarks, then falsely portray the encounter on his show. That sort of behavior is also something you'd think Estrich might be concerned about.

But Estrich doesn't mention any of that. Instead, she writes: "O'Reilly and I don't agree on much, but he's not wrong to hold up a mirror for us, to focus us on what we need to teach our daughters, as well as our sons. And I would definitely take his money."

Estrich also suggests that O'Reilly's status trumps his actual words:

When you tell O'Reilly he's not welcome, you're also telling all the people who watch him every day that you're not so sure about them, either.

On the other hand, having him, and them, on your side can be a major help if you're trying to get something passed almost anywhere in the United States other than Berkeley and Cambridge.

But is capitalizing on a person's status worth it when that person has, again, made statements that are at odds with the cause being promoted in his name?

Estrich seems to be grossly missing the point. The question is not whether the Alexa Foundation is a worthy cause (and nobody has said it's not); it's whether it should have invited a person who has made remarks that appear to contradict its mission. Estrich's refusal to tell the full story of the controversy surrounding O'Reilly ignores the real issue and is a disservice to her readers.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:03 AM EDT
MRC Promotes Limbaugh Ratings, Corellation-Equals-Causation Fallacy
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has been quick to attribute apparent increases in ratings for Rush Limbaugh's radio show to, as Brent Baker wrote in a March 26 post, "White House attacks on him." Baker does point out that, according to the right-wing Radio Equalizer post from which he obtained his information, there's something else at work: 

Finally, implementation of the new, far more accurate electronic Portable People Meter (PPM) ratings system has benefited talk radio, as the manual diary-based "phantom cume" problems of the past disappear. For years, programmers complained that the old system cost them listenership and are now armed with the proof they'd long sought.

Baker merely cites it as "another factor," when it may very well be the sole source of the ratings jump.

MRC chief Brent Bozell, meanwhile, issued this statement:

"President Obama declared war on Rush Limbaugh and his ratings went through the roof.  If that's not a magnificent backfire, I'm not sure what is.

"Maybe the White House has learned its lesson and will stop launching coordinated assaults on individual members of the media who disagree with them.  Hopefully, they haven't."

At no point does Bozell note the change in the ratings system.

CNN's Political Ticker uncritically cited the MRC's claims and quoted Bozell without noting the rating system change that appears to have played an equal, if not greater, factor.

It's also worth mentioning that none of the numbers Radio Equalizer cited came anywhere near previous claims that Limbaugh's ratings have doubled since January. Additionally, genuinely accurate radio ratings, particularly for a show airing on a patchwork of stations at various times of the day, are nearly impossible to compile.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:09 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, March 28, 2009 12:09 AM EDT
Friday, March 27, 2009
Meanwhile...
Topic: NewsBusters
County Fair details how, despite what NewsBusters' Matthew Vadum thinks, the admission of a liberal blogger to a single Obama press conference does not equal two years of the Bush administration setting aside established protocol so that Jeff Gannon could ask fawning questions during White House press briefings.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:40 PM EDT
Wheeler Doesn't Disclose Links to Candidate
Topic: Newsmax

In a March 27 Newsmax column, Scott Wheeler attacks Scott Murphy, the Democratic candidate for a U.S. House seat in New York. At no point does Wheeler identify himself as the executive director of the National Republican Trust PAC, or that his PAC has spent at least $190,000 in ads supporting Murphy's Republican opponent, Jim Tedisco.

Is Wheeler's non-disclosure a violation of federal election laws? Seems like it.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:51 PM EDT
Bozell's Revisionist History on Ken Tomlinson
Topic: Media Research Center

In his March 24 column bashing National Public Radio's alleged liberal bias, Brent Bozell writes:

Public broadcasting has been incredibly hostile to anyone who would dare to police it for fairness and balance. Conservatives ought not forget what happened to Kenneth Tomlinson, the former board chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Fur flied when liberals discovered Tomlinson had conducted a private study to determine if PBS and NPR shows tilted to the left. An inspector general’s report suggested Tomlinson somehow had violated CPB by-laws and he was forced to resign.

First, the study Tomlinson commissioned, by Fred Mann of the right-wing National Journalism Center, was a shoddy, slapdash affair that was not a serious look at bias.

Second, Bozell falsely suggests that the study alone "somehow had violated CPB by-laws" and was the sole reason Tomlinson was "forced to resign." In fact, there were numerous other complaints against Tomlinson. As an inspector general's report on Tomlinson detailed, Tomlinson "violated statutory provisions and the Director's Code of Ethics by dealing directly with one of the creators of a new public affairs program during negotiations with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the CPB" in creating the right-wing "Journal Editorial Report" (now airing on Fox News).The report also found "evidence that suggests 'political tests' were a major criteria used by the former Chairman in recruiting a President/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for CPB, which violated statutory prohibitions against such practices."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:42 AM EDT
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Examiner Again Hides Funding of Anti-Union Study
Topic: Washington Examiner
Barbara Comstock, in a March 26 column, is the latest Washington Examiner writer to attack the Employee Free Choice Act by uncritically citing a study by Anne Layne-Farrar without noting that the study was funded by anti-union groups.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:20 PM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Today'sWorldNetDaily commentary section is a big ol' steaming pile of Obama derangement:

  • Erik Rush buys into the conspiracy theory that Obama "is going to great lengths to ruin us on purpose."
  • Jack Cashill is whining yet again that even his fellow right-wingers are ignoring his discredited conspiracy theory that William Ayers wrote Obama's first book.
  • Craige McMillan approvingly cites Cashill's discredited conspiracy theory, adding, "I guess that means Bill Ayers will soon become the White House writer-in-residence." McMillan further bashed Obama as "an empty suit who consults his handlers, via his teleprompter, before answering – or not – even the softball questions lobbed at him by the adoring media who worked so hard to elect him."

The winner of today's WND derangement award, however, has to be Phil Elmore. He howls about "Glorious Leader Obama" endeavoring "to place his Orwellian visage on the telescreens of the nation's media outlets" so that "citizens are inundated with the inevitability of Obama's increasingly statist rule," linking to WND's oft-repeated lie that Obama wants to create an army of, in Elmore's words, "fascist brownshirts." Elmore goes on to assert that Obama "Twitters his daily enemies list through his Blackberry while waiting for his latest firearms prohibitions to be uploaded to iTunes as podcasts."

Elmore also complained that Obama "appointed a chief information officer (a post that sounds disturbingly similar to some form of propaganda ministry, in title if not in fact)." Elmore seems not to be aware of the fact that nearly every organization of significant size employs a chief information officer. That little nugget of information just may make Elmore's head explode.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:58 PM EDT
NewsBusters, AIM Promote False Obama Attack
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters and Accuracy in Media referenced or alluded to a report that President Obama was involved in a teleprompter blunder -- but that report turned out to be false.

A March 18 NewsBusters post by Mike Sargent touted "the President's latest teleprompter gaffe," in which Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen briefly and mistakenly began reading a speech intended for Obama off a teleprompter, followed by Obama purporting to offer Cowen's remarks, during which "President Obama thanked President Obama for inviting everyone over." Sargent complained that an AP story on the incident was "stunningly unclear" and fretted that the media was "skipping a possibly unfavorable story."

A March 21 AIM blog post by K. Daniel Glover called for the creation of a website listing the "Obamateurism Of The Day," citing as evidence examples in which "Obama is caught without a Teleprompter or plagued by one that malfunctions." In support, Glover links to another blog post listing alleged Obama mistakes, including "Thanking himself in a Teleprompter malfunction."

As it turns out, Obama was making a joke.While Sargent ceded the possibility that it was (though presumably hoping it wasn't for agenda purposes), Glover did not. That puts them in line with other conservatives who didn't get the joke.

Will Sargent and Glover update their posts to reflect the full truth? Don't count on it.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:23 AM EDT
MRC: Ed Schultz = Michael Savage
Topic: Media Research Center

In a March 25 Media Research Center press release, Brent Bozell bashed MSNBC's relationship with liberal radio host Ed Schultz, calling it "eerily reminiscent of MSNBC’s Michael Savage experiment.  Savage is crazy Right, and Schultz is crazy Left; the only thing they have in common is that MSNBC hired them both."

Except, of course, for the fact that Schultz and Savage aren't anything alike. The MRC could come up with only two examples of purportedly outrageous remarks by Schultz. And, of course, one is not that serious -- calling Sen. Richard Shelby “a terrorist on the American worker. He is a terrorist on wage workers” for opposing a bailout of the auto industry -- and the other is misrepresented.

According to the press release: "Just this past Friday, Schultz called Republican Senator Jon Kyl a 'spineless scumbag' for daring to criticize President Obama’s joke about how his bowling was so bad it was 'like Special Olympics or something.'" But Bozell's own employees tell a different story. In a March 24 NewsBusters post, Jack Coleman writes that Kyl criticized Obama "[n]ot because of Obama's revealing gaffe about the Special Olympics, but for schmoozing with Leno at a time of widespread economic anxiety."Coleman also pointed out that Schultz donated $100 to Special Olympics and challenged Kyl to do the same.

Savage, meanwhile, has accused Hillary Clinton of killing John Kennedy Jr. and claimed that President Obama "has a plan to force children into a paramilitary domestic army."

There is no comparison -- Savage wins the crazy competition hands down.

Further, Bozell's dismissal of Savage as "crazy right" obscures the fact that Bozell has criticized Savage only after Savage's firing from MSNBC in 2003 made it palatable for Bozell to distance himself from a fellow right-winger. Indeed, the first reference in the MRC archives to Savage is an April 2003 CyberAlert item noting that then-MSNBC reporter Ashleigh Banfield -- whom Savage recently called Banfield a "slut" after her Iraq "reports portraying the radical Arab point of view" -- "denounced MSNBC for giving an hour a week to radio talk show host Michael Savage." The CyberAlert not only didn't criticize Savage's hiring, it seemed to concur with his view of Banfield.

It was not until Savage's firing later that year that Bozell felt the need to put some distance  between him and Savage. Bozell began a July 2003 column with the disclaimer, "I’ve never written about radio/TV shock jock Michael Savage. I don’t know him, nor do I know much about him." He then dismissed Savage as "Saturday-afternoon cartoon conservatism" and fretted that "the conservative movement would get tagged by his outrageousness" -- then equivocated by claiming that certain remarks by liberals were much worse than anything Savage ever said.

Bozell couldn't speak up about Savage when it would have been genuinely brave of him to do so. For him to attack Schultz as a Savage clone is disingenous and cowardly -- not to mention utterly false.

UPDATE: Rich Noyes has dedicated a "Media Reality Check" to Schultz, adding to the list of offenses that Schultz once "compared [Rush] Limbaugh to Adolf Hitler." Funny, we don't recall the MRC being offended by Limbaugh's frequent use of the term "feminazi."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:07 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, March 26, 2009 11:38 AM EDT
WND's Washington: Obama's A Nazi Fascist Devil Mobster Manchurian Candidate
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Ellis Washington has already slimed Barack Obama as a Nazi, a fascist, a devil and a mobster. What's next on Washington's checklist of smears? How about Manchurian candidate?

From Washington's March 25 WorldNetDaily column:

Obama can't repent because he is self-righteous, a narcissist, the prince of covetousness and a purveyor of socialism, or what Churchill called, "the gospel of envy." This Manchurian Candidate will continue the ruination of this country that he, his wife and his administration utterly hate until he has bankrupted it.

That was actually rather lame -- not to mention used months ago by his WND boss and partner in Obama-hate, David Kupelian.

Washington's falling down on the job if he's cribbing from Kupelian -- he needs to get on the stick and conjure up some more primo crazy smears.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:30 AM EDT
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
NewsBusters Tunnel Vision Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters just can't stop echoing its parent organization's tunnel-vision interpretation of the state of the newspaper industry. The latest participant is Stephen Gutowski, who complains about an Associated Press article in a March 25 post:

Not surprisingly the AP skips over an important factor in these papers' collective downfall. That factor being their obvious, undeniable, and (thanks to NewsBusters) well documented liberal bias. While it is certainly true that old media's failure to quickly adapt to a new media world has been one of the main causes of their struggle it is equally true that their utter lack of professionalism and objectivity has played a key role as well.

Gutowski offers no evidence to back up his claim that purported "liberal bias" -- NewsBusters' documentation of which is almost exclusively anecdotal -- "has played a key role" in the downfall of newspapers, let alone a role equal to that of "failure to quickly adapt to a new media world" (which Gutowski at least gets credit for mentioning, unlike his fellow MRC employees).


Posted by Terry K. at 6:41 PM EDT
Examiner Misleads Again on Obama, Defense Spending
Topic: Washington Examiner

A March 25 Washington Examiner editorial asserts that President Obama "intends to slash defense spending 8.2 percent below the level planned under President George W. Bush."

As we noted the last time the Examiner misled about  defense spending, Obama's planned budget is $14 billion higher than the current one, which undercuts the Examiner's assertion that Obama is doing "defense-on-the-cheap." The "plan" that Obama is purportedly "slashing" was, in fact, only a preliminary budget request. Does the Examiner really think that the Defense Department should get everything it asks for without question?

The Examiner also falsely asserts that Obama is "severely cutting American defense forces." In fact, Obama claimed during the campaign that he wants to increase the size of both the Army and the Marines.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:58 AM EDT
Meghan McCain Gets Heathered
Topic: NewsBusters

Rowr! P.J. Gladnick unleashes a big ol' fit of Heathering at Meghan McCain in a March 24 NewsBusters post:

A quick listen to Ms McCain's voice on this video clip of her appearance on CNN's Larry King Live last night brought back memories of the years your humble correspondent spent in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, birthplace of the Valley Girl accent which, unfortunately, spread to many parts of the country. That Valspeak accent still painfully reverberates in my ears yet despite my earnest hope that it would die a permanent death, along comes Meghan McCain to resurrect that annoying sound in interview after interview in her quest for eternal publicity for herself.

So how does someone who sounds so annoyingly vacuous rate so much publicity?

[...]

The interview drones on but at this point your humble correspondent is suffering from too many vapid Valley Girl flashbacks to continue.  However, I leave with one piece of advice for Meghan McCain and her quest for fame way beyond her alloted 15 minutes. She should visit Kat Von D on LA Ink for an in-depth discussion on her important tattoo decision. A show like that would be a perfect fit for her and would be like totally rad, if not awesomely tubular.

Gladnick's cattiness is only because, like Gladnick's previous Heathering victims, Meghan McCain refused to strictly toe Gladnick's line of right-wing dogma.

Gladnick also asserts: "For the record, Laura Ingraham never actually called Meghan McCain fat." Only technically true; actually, Ingraham mocked McCain as a "plus-sized model."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:19 AM EDT
WND Embraces Baseless Racism Charge
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily regularly rails against what it sees as the invocation of accusations of racism by liberals. Joseph Farah, for example, recently complained that "Jackie Mason is being accused of racism because he referred to Barack Obama as a 'schwartza'" (but refusing to explain the historic context of the word as a epithet), adding that it was a sign that "some people – and I include Barack Obama's inner circle in this group – want to end dissent in this country." And David Kupelian asserted just two weeks ago that "Racism is largely a manufactured crisis in America today," invoked only by "long-time professional race-baiters who thrive on stirring up racial suspicions and hatreds" like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who have "thrived for decades on literally creating the perception of racism where none existed – for their own benefit."

Funny, because "creating the perception of racism where none existed" is exactly what WND reporter Chelsea Schilling is doing.

In a March 23 WND article, Schilling uncritically repeats allegations by the wife of an anti-abortion protester that her husband is being "targeted because he's a black man who dared to take a stand against race-based abortion":

While white pro-lifers have protested there for more than a decade, Lori [Hoye] said Walter's presence quickly became a problem for the clinic – because of his skin color.

"In the 90 minutes we were out there, 25 women went into that clinic and 23 of them were black," she said. "It's about keeping a black face off the sidewalk so the clinic can continue to target black people and not have any interference."

When WND contacted the clinic to ask if it had targeted Walter because he is a black man with a pro-life message, the operator quickly transferred the call, and a representative did not return messages.

Schilling offers no evidence whatsoever to back up Lori Hoye's assertions. That's bad, lazy, biased reporting -- the kind Schilling regularly engages in. Nor does Schilling bother to offer another view of hurling racism accusations either from her WND bosses (Farah, Kupelian) or others, such as Palm Beach Post blogger Rhonda Swan:

Isn’t there enough real discrimination, prejudice and racism in the world without making it up?

[...]

Can we get real here? What’s at stake is their credibility. If the National Black Pro-Life Union, Issues4Life and other anti-abortion groups want to make a case against buffer zones and for freedom of speech, making false accusations of racism is hardly the way to do it.

Will Farah and Kupelian hold their own reporter to the standards they hold liberal politicians? Somehow we doubt it.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:13 AM EDT
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
CNS Labeling Bias (And Bias In General) Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

A March 24 CNSNews.com article by Edwin Mora followed CNS' longtime labeling bias in inaccurately calling President Obama a "pro-abortion president."

Further, Mora quoted numerous people attacking Obama and Notre Dame University (for inviting Obama to speak at its commencement), but it's not until the 45th paragraph of his article that gets around to quoting someone supports Notre Dame's invitation to Obama.

An unbylined March 23 CNS article also inaccurately called Obama "pro-abortion."

UPDATE: A CNS article by Mora dated March 25 (but posted March 24) also inaccurately refers to "pro-abortion President Barack Obama."


Posted by Terry K. at 4:15 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 4:17 PM EDT

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