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Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Corsi's Lame, Mendacious Defense
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Last week, the Cato Institute's Daniel Griswold penned an attack at NRO on Jerome Corsi's latest anti-globalism book "America for Sale," assailing its conclusions (claiming Corsi's protectionism makes him sound like Dennis Kucinich) and his factual errors. After an initial response at WND that included no actual rebuttal of any of the claims Griswold made, choosing to instead bash "free-trade Republicans" for daring to criticize him. As we noted, Corsi forwarded an initial response at WorldNetDaily that included no actual rebuttal of any of the claims Griswold made, choosing to instead bash "free-trade Republicans" for daring to criticize him.

Corsi has followed up with a lengthier, if only slightly more detailed, Jan. 26 WND column. Kicking off with attacks on Griswold, defending his own credentials, and highlighting what Griswold didn't write -- mendacious tactics repeated during his defense of his error-laden anti-Obama book -- it's not until the 24th paragraph that Corsi gets around to rebutting something Griswold actually did write, and a healthy chunk of that is defending his definition of when the current recession started because it conveniently absolves President Bush of most responsibility for it:

Yet, Griswold chooses to quibble about when the current recession began. He insists the National Bureau of Economic Research, "the accepted authority on the U.S. business cycle," puts the start of the recession at December 2007.

The National Bureau of Economic Research is a private, nonprofit research organization that is not part of the federal government and has never been appointed by the federal government to make official declarations of when recessions begin or end.

Pushing the start of the current recession back to December 2007 is a subjective determination that serves political purposes, allowing organizations like CNN to push blame for the economic downturn into the Bush administration, suggesting President Bush was responsible for the housing bubble that caused the recession.

I chose instead to use the more conventional and objective standard defined by economic statistician Julius Shiskin in the 1970s and commonly used by economists since then that a recession officially begins after two consecutive quarters of negative growth in GDP; this definition would set the start of the recession to December 2008.

To use Shiskin's definition of when a recession starts is not an error, as Griswold insists in his intentionally deprecating essay.

Just as convenient as Corsi's use of the Shiskin recession definition is Corsi's overlooking criticism of Shiskin's definition as simplistic and outmoded:

Ignorance about recessions has taken hold because of a simplistic idea that a recession is two successive quarterly declines in gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the nation's output.

The idea originated in a 1974 New York Times article by Julius Shiskin, who provided a laundry list of recession-spotting rules of thumb, including two down quarters of GDP. Over the years the rest of his rules somehow dropped away, leaving behind only "two down quarters of GDP."

Like most rules of thumb, it's far from perfect. It failed in the 2001 recession, for example. At the time and until July 2002, data showed just one down quarter of GDP, leading policy makers to claim there had been no recession. Yet, later that month, revisions showed GDP down for three straight quarters. Complicating matters further, with the benefit of time, we now know that GDP actually zigzagged between negative and positive readings, never showing two negative quarters in a row.

The far more important issue in 2001 was the loss of 2.7 million jobs - more than in any postwar recession. Even taking into account labor force growth, those job losses were greater than in most recessions over the past 50 years.

That's why Corsi has so little respect among actual economists -- politics is more important to him than facts.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:09 PM EST
New Article: Mistaken Identity
Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com thinks an official's reference to "Christian Identity" refers generically to Christianity, even though context makes clear he's talking about the extremist group. Is CNS getting this wrong on purpose? Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 11:01 AM EST
What Was Once Bias Is Now 'Historically Normal Scrutiny'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has historically presented overly negative news coverage of Republicans presidents and their causes, like the Iraq war, as evidence of liberal bias. But what happens when the MRC's favorite news channel, Fox News, is accused of overly negative news coverage of President Obama? Why, that's just "historically normal."

A Jan. 26 MRC item by Rich Noyes highlights a study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs (which he describes as "non-partisan" despite admitting that he's a former employee) noting Fox News' highly negative coverage of President Obama. But rather than admitting that Fox News has a bias, Noyes framed it as, according to the headline, "historically normal scrutiny," claiming that Fox News merely offered "scrutiny roughly equal to that provided by the old networks in the past."

Indeed, the word "bias" appears nowhere in Noyes' item. Nor does Noyes use the word "balance," even though the CMPA found that overall coverage of Obama was almost evenly split between positive and negative coverage, demonstrating further how far out of the mainstream Fox News' coverage of Obama is.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:14 AM EST
Morris' 'Secret Plot' Not So Secret
Topic: Newsmax

A Jan. 24 Newsmax column by Dick Morris carries the headline "Pelosi and Reid Plot Secret Plan for Obamacare." In it, Morris claimed that "Highly informed sources on Capitol Hill have revealed to me details of the Democratic plan to sneak Obamacare through Congress."

But as Media Matters points out, this "secret plan" is not "secret" at all -- the plan Morris describes has been reported in the media since the Democrats lost their Senate supermajority with the victory of Scott Brown.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:46 AM EST
WND, Klein Falsely Impugn J Street Again
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The headline of Aaron Klein's Jan. 26 WorldNetDaily article reads, "'Anti-Israel' group recruiting across nation." But at no point does Klein quote anyone saying, or does Klein himself assert, that the group in question, J Street is "anti-Israel."

The closest Klein gets is his longtime, one-sided smear that J Street has been "accused of working against Israel," again failing to note that the charge comes from right-wingers like himself who have an agenda of marginalizing any perceived critics of Israel.

As per usual, Klein refuses to allow J Street to rebut the charge.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:03 AM EST
WND Gives Conservative Propagandists A Pass
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Jan. 25 WorldNetDaily column by Andrea Shea King carried the headline "Feds controlling media? It's been done before." King highlighted a claim that "the Department of Justice has hired bloggers as propagandists and sock puppets," likening it to the 1940s "Operation Mockingbird" as an example of "behind-the-scenes media manipulation."

Unmentioned by King were examples of "media manipulation" under the Bush administration:

  • As we've noted, columnist Armstrong Williams accepted $240,000 from the U.S. Department of Education to promote the No Child Left Behind education policy through his TV appearances and in his syndicated radio and TV shows and his newspaper column.
  • Columnnist Maggie Gallagher had received tens of thousands of dollars from the Department of Health and Human Services during 2002 and 2003 for helping the Bush administration promote the President's Healthy Marriage Initiative.
  • Retired military officers were used by the Pentagon to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance.

Interesting how conservatives get a pass for disseminating propaganda from King and WND, while others don't.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:03 AM EST
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Yes, Newsmax Paid Zogby To Poll This Question
Topic: Newsmax

Yes, there is an actual article at Newsmax with this actual headline:

Newsmax/Zogby Poll: Scott Brown Could Defeat Obama in Presidential Race

Zogby, as we've detailed, is a notoriously unreliable pollster --  Nate Silver described it as "the worst pollster in the world."

Even more hilariously, Zogby picked Brown to lose his Massachusetts Senate race against Martha Coakley. Now all of a sudden it thinks Brown could beat Obama?


Posted by Terry K. at 8:00 PM EST
NewsBusters Thinks Scott Brown Posed Only 'Semi-Nude'
Topic: NewsBusters

A Jan. 19 NewsBusters post by Lachlan Markay referenced the "semi-nude photo shoot" Sen.-elect Scott Brown did for Cosmopolitan magazine in the early '80s. A Jan. 23 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham similarly noted the "semi-nude picture from 1982."

In fact, as one can see, Brown is completely nude in the photo in question, with only a strategically placed forearm to keep it from being toally NSFW (at the MRC world headquaters, anyway).

Or are Markay and Graham including the accompanying clothed photos to declare that the photo spread, as an aggregate, is "semi-nude"?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:18 PM EST
Hirsen Launches Baseless Attack on Conan O'Brien Buyout
Topic: Newsmax

James Hirsen baselessly asserted in a Jan. 22 Newsmax column that Conan O'Brien was getting federal bailout money to leave NBC:

Are we, the American taxpayers, financing a bailout for Conan O’Brien?

It has been reported that in order to buy out Conan’s contract and cut him loose from the network, so Jay Leno can become the “Tonight Show” host again, NBC will pay out around $44 million. $32 million will go directly to Conan and $12 million will be paid to the late night host’s staff.

What does this have to do with taxpayers?

Remember, although part of a spinoff to Comcast, NBC is still owned by General Electric. Reuters reports that when it comes to government assistance to troubled American businesses, GE is “among the largest recipients of taxpayer help.”

The company, which has been decidedly supportive of President Obama, jumped enthusiastically into a government program called the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program (TLGP).

Through this program, GE was able to issue debt with a government guarantee, which means you and I are guaranteeing GE’s bonds. It also means easier access to funds for the company and much lower interest rates. Although GE was one of 88 companies in the program, the $60 billion GE borrowed was almost one fifth of the total TLGP guarantee amount.

NBC is on track this year to lose more that half a billion bucks. So, the ability of GE’s subsidiary to pay Conan his multimillion-dollar severance is thanks to us taxpayers.

In fact, as we pointed out the last time someone (NewsBusters' Ken Shepherd) tried to make a similar argument, the bailout money went only to one GE subsidiary, GE Capital, not the corporation as a whole. And NBC Universal remains profitable, so there's no need for it to dip into corporate funds to pay off O'Brien.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 AM EST
Geller Lies About ADL, Armenian Genocide
Topic: Newsmax

We previously noted Pamela Geller's screed against Anti-Defamation League Abe Foxman, smearing him as a "terrible Jew" and liberal Jews as having a "sickness of the soul." Turns out she can't get her facts right, either.

She writes:

Back in August 2007, I demanded Foxman’s resignation after his continual denials of the Armenian genocide.

We, as a people, cannot condone such unspeakable silence. We, of all people, must never be silent about the systemic death of a people.

This Islamic genocide was heinous and brutal. And considering the level of Islamic anti-Semitism in the Quran and Sunnah, it would be healthy and good for living Jews (and all decent and good people) to denounce roundly the Islamic genocide of the Armenian people.

But Abe Foxman not only would take that basic fundamental stand, but he went one step further. He fired Andrew Tarsy, the New England regional director, after he broke ranks with national ADL leadership and said the human rights organization should acknowledge the Armenian genocide that began in 1915.

Dr. Andrew Bostom said at the time that Foxman “apparently thinks that [he] can pick and choose among genocides . . . In a telephone interview, James Rudolph, the regional ADL chairman, called Tarsy an extraordinary leader. Indeed, Tarsy was acting in the best ADL tradition of trying to unite people of different ethnic groups, in this case Jews and Armenians, to promote human rights.”

If the national ADL doesn’t acknowledge the genocide, it is complicit in a cover-up.

In fact, while there was a controversy over whether ADL should recognize it as a genocide and Tarsy was indeed fired for contradicting the ADL’s then-stand of taking no official position, the ADL did ultimately release a (albeit carefully worded) statement calling it "tantamount to a genocide" two years ago:

In light of the heated controversy that has surrounded the Turkish-Armenian issue in recent weeks, and because of our concern for the unity of the Jewish community at a time of increased threats against the Jewish people, ADL has decided to revisit the tragedy that befell the Armenians.

We have never negated but have always described the painful events of 1915-1918 perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against the Armenians as massacres and atrocities.  On reflection, we have come to share the view of Henry Morgenthau, Sr. that the consequences of those actions were indeed tantamount to genocide.  If the word genocide had existed then, they would have called it genocide.

I have consulted with my friend and mentor Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and other respected historians who acknowledge this consensus.  I hope that Turkey will understand that it is Turkey's friends who urge that nation to confront its past and work to reconcile with Armenians over this dark chapter in history.

Having said that, we continue to firmly believe that a Congressional resolution on such matters is a counterproductive diversion and will not foster reconciliation between Turks and Armenians and may put at risk the Turkish Jewish community and the important multilateral relationship between Turkey, Israel and the United States.

There is no cover-up -- Geller is lying about Foxman and ADL. Why does that not surprise us?


Posted by Terry K. at 7:10 AM EST
Monday, January 25, 2010
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Victim in Chief Barack Hussein Obama is adding to his long list of evil, greedy corporations taking advantage of millions of fellow victims in America. After targeting Big Oil and the health-insurance evildoers, the banks are now the target of his ire.

[...]

Barack Hussein Obama was raised with such a victim mentality he now wishes to make us believe we are victims as well. Forget about being responsible for our own lives and futures. We are victims in Mr. Obama's world, and he is going to protect us. A victim needs someone to rescue them, and Mr. Obama is your Huckleberry. America is evil. Corporations are evil, and Mr. Obama will right the wrong.

If America is a victim of anything, it soon will be a victim of Barack Hussein Obama and his liberal agenda. His agenda is poised to kill free markets and personal responsibility and replace them with a total government takeover of our businesses and personal lives.

His name should be changed to Barack Hugo Obama. If he gets his agenda passed and implemented, Cleveland, Ohio, will look more like Caracas, Venezuela. It is said, "Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery." Mr. Chavez must be so proud of his protégé.

-- Craig R. Smith, Jan. 25 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 7:23 PM EST
Global Warming Deniers Go Conspiratorial
Topic: The ConWeb

It's never a good sign for the credibility of a movement when its supporters start crying conspiracy. But that's exactly what's happening with global warming deniers.

In December, Jesse Ventura’s “Conspiracy Theory” show on TruTV aired an episode on the idea that global warming is a conspiracy promoted by the United Nations and bankers. Ventura gets gets help in promulgating the conspiracy from prominent deniers Richard Lindzen, Lord Monckton and even serial global warming bamboozler Noel Sheppard, who repeated his previous assertion that the only reason Al Gore is a global warming activist is so he can make money off it. The conspiracy nuts with the Alex Jones empire loved it.

Curiously, Sheppard has never promoted his starring role on Ventura's show at his NewsBusters blog. Perhaps that's because his fellow NewsBuster P.J. Gladnick denounced Ventura for giving a platform to 9/11 truthers.

Nevertheless, this conspiracy theory is making its way up the right-wing media food chain.

In a Jan. 21 NewsReal post, F. Swemson endorsed the Ventura show, asserting that "the conclusions of this show seem solid" and that Lindzen and Monckton "also lends substantial credibility." Swemson adds: "Its premise, that the entire Global Warming scam is the product of a conspiracy in pursuit of money and power, is not at all outrageous when you stop to consider the fact that world leaders, in cahoots with the UN, have indeed been working hard to sell the public on a totally phony theory, based on a political rather than a scientific agenda."

Meanwhile, over at Newsmax, another prominent denier joined the conspiracy bandwagon. A Jan. 22 article by Jim Meyers reports that "Renowned meteorologist Dr. William Gray tells Newsmax that a possible new conspiracy regarding global warming has been uncovered in the U.S.," adding that "environmentalists, socialists, governments and businessmen are trying to take advantage of climate change concerns for their own benefit, and declared that cap-and-trade legislation would do 'very little' to improve the climate."

How does the denier movement remain credible when its most prominent members are making conspiratorial accusations? We shall see.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:15 PM EST
Geller: Liberal Jews Have 'Sickness of the Soul'
Topic: Newsmax

Pamela Geller used her Jan. 25 Newsmax column to go on a massive tirade against Anti-Defamation League Abe Foxman for daring to criticize Rush Limbaugh's suggestion that President Obama is an anti-Semite -- and, by extension, any Jew who's not as rabidly right-wing as she is:

Abe Foxman has come out against a great and wonderful friend of the Jews, Rush Limbaugh.

That is bad enough, but it is symptomatic of a deeper problem: I have for years derided Jews in America and the Jewish lay leadership for tolerating and supporting clear and present enemies of the Jewish people among our senior ranks. It is a sickness of the soul.

The liberal Jew worships at the church of human secularism. These lost souls are married to their liberal dogma.

[...]

As a passionate, proud Jew, I too stand with Rush Limbaugh and would take up against Foxman in a heartbeat. Thank God for righteous Gentiles like Rush. He is beyond delicious.

[...]

Foxman also came out in support of the Islamic school in Brooklyn whose principal was forced to resign because of her involvement in anti-Semitic "Intifada NYC" T-shirts (see here).

See the pattern? Foxman demonizes Christian groups that love Israel but is kowtowing to the Islamic jihad.

Which Jews support deleterious characters like Foxman? Which Jews give blood money to these self-hating wretches? Who empowers these terrible Jews?

There's also some ranting about Foxman not recognizing the Armenian genocide, which seems irrelevant since Foxman's job is fighting Jewish defamation, not getting involved in other ethnic conflicts.

Newsmax has already deleted one of Geller's columns, apparently due to her inflammatory language. Is this one next?


Posted by Terry K. at 11:16 AM EST
WND Was MIA on Pombo's Scandals
Topic: WorldNetDaily

With the news earlier this month that Richard Pombo is set to make another run for a House seat from California, Talking Points Memo compiled a bill of particulars detailing Pombo's various alleged ethical violations (relatives on the payroll, attempted bribery, dalliances with Jack Abramoff).

That got us to wondering: What did WorldNetDaily, that self-proclaimed "fiercely independent newssite committed to hard-hitting investigative reporting of government waste, fraud and abuse," write about Pombo's ethical violations before he lost his House seat in November 2006?

Nothing that we could find. You will, however, find a May 2006 column by Henry Lamb touting Pombo's performance at a committee hearing, as well as a July 2006 column praising Pombo for co-sponsoring a bill to reform Indian gaming laws.

You will also find a column by WND editor Joseph Farah lamenting Pombo's 2006 loss:

Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., my co-author on a book called "This Land Is Our Land," a property rights manifesto published in 1996. Pombo is chairman of the House Resources Committee, where he spent much of his time trying to overhaul one of the most ridiculous pieces of legislation in the history of our country – the Endangered Species Act.

Pombo was targeted with millions of dollars by environmentalist extremist groups that don't really care about conservation or endangered animals but do care about government control and political power.

After all the shock expressed by Americans over eminent domain in the last two years, men like Pombo, who have been fighting for personal property rights for decades, should have been returned to power, not turned out. But this was a strange election cycle, indeed. It was quite an upset.

He is a good man. He will be missed not just by people in his congressional district, but by all freedom-loving Americans.

There's our answer -- Farah gave his friend and co-author a pass on his ethical violations, making a mockery of any pretentions to watchdogging.

We already knew, from WND's similar silence on the corruption of Jack Abramoff and Duke Cunningham that Republicans were exempt from WND's brand of "hard-hitting investigative reporting of government waste, fraud and abuse." Now we know it also helps to be a friend of the editor.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:23 AM EST
Sunday, January 24, 2010
NewsBusters Keeps Up Double Standard on National Enquirer
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters has been all over John Edwards' admission that he fathered a love child:

Erin Brown complained that it wasn't front-page news at every newspaper in America, even though much of the story had already been reported and Edwards himself hasn't held elective office in years. Brown nevertheless touted how "the National Enquirer busted Edwards in a Los Angeles hotel for cheating on his cancer-stricken wife."

Tom Blumer similarly complained that the Washington Post gave the National Enquirer's scoop on Edwards' affair short shrift, insisting that it "was worthy of follow-up" and that "The establishment media's failure to take the initial Enquirer story further was inexcusable."

Of course, as we detailed, NewsBusters' comrades at theMedia Research Center had a much different reaction to reports that suggested John McCain may have had an affair with a lobbyist; Brent Bozell denounced such talk as "rumor and gossip, fit to print only for the likes of the National Enquirer."

And we doubt anyone now affiliated with NewsBusters or the MRC was praising the Enquirer's reporting abilities when it discovered that Rush Limbaugh was surrepititiously buying pain pills.

Mark our words: The folks at NewsBusters will not have nice things to say about the Enquirer if the next big political scandal it breaks involves a Republican.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:30 AM EST

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