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Monday, October 18, 2010
What Happened to the MRC's Protest Video?
Topic: Media Research Center

So we got a tip that a video of the Media Rsearch Center's hastily organized "Tell the Truth" protest in New York on Sunday was posted on its video site, Eyeblast.tv. But clicking on the link that was supplied to us brings an interesting message: "This video has been taken down for inappropriate content."

Huh? Why would the MRC declare that a video of its own rally was "inappropriate"? Perhaps because it wasn't all that well attended.

New York radio station WNYC reported that the rally was attended by mere "dozens"who engaged in chants of "Tell the truth!"

WNYC also quotes the MRC's Brent Bozell asserting, "This the most grassroots operation that I've ever seen in my lifetime. And the suggestion that this is an astroturf, nationally organized organization is completely false." Yes, what could be more "grassroots" than an organization that has taken millions of dollars from the likes of Richard Mellon Scaife and who spent part of a $2 million stake putting on this little protest?

The MRC is curiously silent about the protest in the rest of its empire -- we couldn't find anything on its front page, at NewsBusters, at CNSNews.com or anywhere else on Eyeblast. The only evidence that something might have happened on Sunday is a picture on Bozell's Facebook page of him pretending to have applied for a job at the New York Times, one of the protest targets. It doesn't mention anything about the protest itself.

If the MRC is so afraid to promote its big little protest, why blow the money to hold it in the first place?


Posted by Terry K. at 8:31 PM EDT
WND's Welch: Difference of Opinion = Treason
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Dave Welch uses his Oct. 16 WorldNetDaily column to unleash an attack on a judge who issued an opinion he disagrees with.

Welch bashes Judge Virginia Phillips' decision against the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy an "act of judicial jihad" and "an act of treason." Welch continues:

The raw arrogance represented by this Virginia Phillips should result in impeachment.  She has proven herself not only unfit for judgeship but is in fact a "domestic enemy" of the very kind our military members take an oath to defend against.

In addition to the usurpation of authority, the blow against the values that represent the fabric and foundation of this county is even more egregious.  Even the social engineers with much influence in our Defense Department understand caution is in order before throwing away centuries of historical military precedence.

As he has before, Welch goes into anti-gay territory: "Elevating sexual perversion to protected – and yes, it will be protected, not equal – status in our military effectively destroys the vital moral strength needed to withstand and prevail against the horrors of war."


Posted by Terry K. at 5:15 PM EDT
Bozell: 'Christiane Amanpour Needs Lithium Badly'
Topic: Media Research Center

The MRC's Brent Bozell uses an Oct. 15 Newsmax interview to push his so-called "Tell the Truth" campaign, but instead he ends up exposing what the campaign is really all about: bullying and lying.

Bozell engaged in a hysterical attack on ABC "This Week" host Christiane Amanpour: "Christiane Amanpour needs lithium badly. She is just out of control with her Christian bashing."

On top of the outrageous personal attack, Bozell offers no evidence to back up his claim that Amanpour has done any "Christian bashing," let alone that it is "out of control."

Indeed, a examination of headlines on NewsBusters entries tagged with Amanpour as a topic since Amanpour became "This Week" host indicates no expressed concern over "Christian-bashing." And the only thing close to "Christian-bashing" that the MRC can cite in its "Profile in Bias" of her is a segment of her 2007 special on religious extremists, of which the only thing the MRC finds worth noting as an example of "bias" is Amanpour's description of the controlling behavior enforced on students of evangelist Ron Luce's Honor Academy as akin to "totalitarian regimes." The MRC doesn't explain why that's offensive or even inaccurate.

Bozell also demonstrates he has no idea how journalism works by complaining that Sarah Palin " comes out with a book and there are no less than 12 researchers assigned by the AP to try to find any dirt they can." Of course, as others have noted, if you're writing something about a book that you want to post quickly, it only makes sense to divide things up among a number of people instead of having only one person do it.

Bozell then whines about Obama "nationalizing banks," not mentioning that it first started happening under Bush.

Bozell concludes by engaging in the de rigeur defense of Fox News: "For years and years CNN called itself the most trusted name in news. Guess what? There’s a new winner in town. The new most trusted name in news since Obama started attacking them is Fox News. So this has royally backfired on this administration."

The truth, however, is when it comes to actual news -- not opinion -- people really do trust CNN over Fox. Last week, when the first Chilean miners were brought to the surface, CNN's ratings topped those of Fox News.

Such false and outrageous claims by Bozell can only undermine the $2 million the MRC is spending on its so-called "Tell the Truth" campaign (and its lame little protest).


Posted by Terry K. at 2:12 PM EDT
Farah Thinks 'Big Media' Are Afraid Of Him
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah begins his Oct. 16 WorldNetDaily column by declaring, "Most WND readers have no idea how much the Big Media fear, loathe and dread this news site."

Actually, there's no fear, and the loathing has much more to do WND's jettisoning of journalistic concepts like accuracy and fairness than any sense of dread about a competitor.

Nevertheless, Farah continues to peddle his fantasy:

The Big Media refuse to allow WND to buy any of their content – content they willingly sell to other websites.

For instance, WND editors really like Charles Krauthammer. He's a brilliant commentator, analyst and pundit. He makes his living writing for the Washington Post. You've seen him often on television sharing his insights about the economy, foreign affairs and politics.

The Washington Post shops his writings to other newspapers and websites. But when WND editors inquired about purchasing rights to publish his columns, they were told, in no uncertain terms, not to WND.

A salesman eager to make the sale told WND the price, which was quickly accepted. The salesman said he would have to check with his superiors for a final approval. He came back with the following explanation for the turndown: The Post is fighting for the same eyeballs as WND; therefore, no.

"If a website is popular, we'd rather keep them on our site," he said.

Perhaps such a rejection has more to do with WND's own petty behavior than competitiveness.

The same day that Farah's column appeared, WND also linked on its commentary page -- as its daily token liberal opinion piece that purports to be a balance to the half-dozen-plus right-wing opinions elsewhere on the page -- to a column by Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson. Note where WND links to his column:

 

 

That's right -- instead of linking to Robinson's column at the Post, WND links to it at the liberal website Truthdig.

Is Farah really so bitter about the Post refusing to sell him Krauthammer's column that he has forbidden WND from linking to any Post content? It appears so.

Such unprofessional behavior may very well be the reason his "Big Media" collegaues want nothing to do with him. Well, that and the plagiarism.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:04 AM EDT
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Newsmax Drools Even More Over Palin
Topic: Newsmax

Is it possible for Newsmax to give Sarah Palin more sycophantic treatment than it already was? It appears so.

In the wake of Newsmax's drooling over Palin during her appearance in its Obama-bashing pre-election video series, it touts Palin's upcoming reality series on TLC in a manner that embarrassing even for Newsmax:

Oh, gosh, Sarah Palin soon will have another accomplishment to cross off of her bucket list.

  • Junior high flute player: Check.
  • Co-captain and point guard of Wasilla High School’s state champion basketball team, on which she earned the nickname “Sarah Barracuda” for her competitive tenacity: Check.
  • Head of her high school’s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes: Check.
  • Miss Wasilla: Check.
  • Miss Congeniality in Miss Alaska competition: Check.
  • Wife: Check.
  • Mom of five: Check.
  • Hockey mom: Check.
  • Top Mama of Mama Grizzlies: Check.
  • Wasilla City Council member: Check.
  • Mayor of Wasilla: Check.
  • Chairwoman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: Check.
  • Governor of Alaska (and the 49th state’s first female gov at that): Check.
  • GOP vice-presidential candidate: Check.
  • Best-selling author: Check.
  • Tea party fave: Check.
  • Political endorser with clout: Check.
  • Fox News commentator: Check.
  • Dubbed the “most formidable force in the Republican Party, by none other than the press secretary of President Barack Obama's Democratic White House: Check.
  • Mother of Bristol, who has survived several cuts in ABC-TV’s “Dancing with the Stars”: Check.
  • Potential presidential candidate in 2012 election: TBA.
  • TV star in “Sarah Palin’s Alaska”: You BETCHA, coming soon to your living room, in a new TLC reality series.

Producing the eight-show series is Mark Burnett, the guru behind CBS-TV’s wildly successful “Survivor” series, among others. The “Alaska” series, which TLC characterizes as part travelogue, part documentary, will premiere at 9 p.m. Eastern time Nov. 14.

Being a junior-high flute player is a "bucket list" item? And heading the local FCA chapter? And being a hockey mom? And being the parent of a contestant of someone on "Dancing With the Stars"? Really?

Yes, Newsmax really wrote that in a "news" article.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 PM EDT
AIM's Resident Coward Defends James O'Keefe
Topic: Accuracy in Media

"Jonah Knox" -- the man who hides behind a pseudonym because he's too cowardly to put his real name behind his Obama-hate and right-wing smears -- resurfaces yet again at Accuracy in Media, this time in defense mode.

The subject of "Knox's" ardor is none other than discredited videographer James O'Keefe, coming in the wake of his weird, creepy attempted stunt against CNN. "Knox" takes O'Keefe's defense at face value:

James O’Keefe deserved our support in the face of the CNN assault against him. Some time to review what happened—and what did not happen—was needed. He had put himself on the line for conservatism and yet when CNN ran a story accusing him of planning to do something that he never did, some conservatives quickly abandoned him.

[...]

As it stands now, by siding with conservatives and putting his neck on the line for the conservative cause, he is isolated with few friends. The mistreatment of O’Keefe is not the way to encourage more young conservatives to engage in journalism. It is another sad chapter in the story of how conservatives play defense, in order to score “integrity” points with liberals, when an offense is required.

It's not a good sign when O'Keefe's biggest defender in the media is afraid to show himself in public and is too cowardly to give us his real name.

"Knox" then quickly devolved into what is apparently one of his favorite pastimes, hating gays:

“Right on the Edge” had featured Ryan Sorba, labeled an “anti-gay” activist by CNN, as he encountered far-left homosexual demonstrators who had gathered in Illinois outside a church to protest Peter LaBarbera’s Truth Academy event to tell the truth about the dangerous health hazards of the homosexual lifestyle. CNN made it seem like Sorba, a young conservative leader, was a polarizing figure making outrageous claims.

In fact, as AIM editor Cliff Kincaid points out, Sorba was friendly to the demonstrators, offered them sodas and water, and had wanted to engage in a dialogue with them. They reacted with anger, rage, and name-calling. Kincaid also spoke at the Truth Academy and was at the demonstration, taking pictures and talking to the protesters. Film footage captured the fact that one gay protester expressed the hope that Kincaid might get hit by a car. The anti-conservative demonstration was organized by the Gay Liberation Network in Chicago, a group run by a Trotskyite communist.

So gays are all commies too? Sheesh.

Insistence on embarrassing himself like that may be one reason "Knox" doesn't want people to know who he is.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:13 AM EDT
Saturday, October 16, 2010
MRC Slaps Together A Protest
Topic: Media Research Center

Staging a protest with just three days notice against a target that will be mostly vacant that day is hardly a recipe for success, but that's the route the Media Research Center has chosen.

In an attempt to take its dishonest "Tell the Truth!" campaign to the next level, the MRC will team up with Tea Party 365 to mount a protest on Sunday outside the New York headquarters of the New York Times and NBC, which will involve "grassroots activists" who "will picket w/ 'Don't Believe the Liberal Media' signs" and "Four giant billboard trucks circling the protest."

But note the date on the MRC press release: Oct. 14. That's just three days before the event. A three-day notice for a protest intended for national notice -- it wasn't even promoted on the MRC's own NewsBusters blog until late afternoon on Oct. 15 -- doesn't exactly bode well for attendance, and it suggests the apparently improvisational nature of the protest, seemingly designed to ride the coattails of the tea party movement.

And the idea that the MRC is "grassroots" is utterly laughable.An organization that has taken millions of dollars from the likes of Richard Mellon Scaife and other prominent right-wing funders is hardly "grassroots."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:12 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, October 16, 2010 12:17 PM EDT
NewsBusters' Double Standard on Jesse Ventura
Topic: NewsBusters

In an Oct. 15 NewsBusters post, Lachlan Markay takes Joy Behar to task for allowing Jesse Ventura on her show to discuss Bill O’Reilly’s “Muslims attacked us on 9-11” claim, during which he referenced his truther leanings: “I got a conspiracy theory. So who's to say they actually did or not?” Markay went on to harangue Behar, asking whether she “is in fact a truther herself, or simply so viciously hostile to conservatives that she will dub a center-right position ‘hate speech’ while overlooking a repugnant, wackjob conspiracy theory simply because the person espousing it agrees that Bill O'Reilly is a ‘spineless puke.’ ”

NewsBusters might have a little more credibility in criticizing anyone who helps Ventura spread his conspiracy theories if one of its editors hadn’t himself done exactly that.

As we've previously noted, late last year, an episode of Ventura’s TruTV show, helpfully named "Conspiracy Theory," focused on global warming and asked whether it was “a plot to cheat, extort, and control you and everybody else.” Playing a lead role in advancing the conspiracy was none other than NewsBusters associate editor Noel Sheppard.

The conspiracy-lovers at Alex Jones’ Prison Planet website loved that episode so much they clipped the entire thing (Jones, himself a 9-11 Truther, appears in the show too). Sheppard -- ludicrously identified as an “investigative journalist” -- appears in the opening segment, eagerly playing along to make things sound as spooky and clandestine as possible, declaring that global warming is all about “power and money and control of the population.” He goes on to call the idea of carbon credits “one of the biggest Ponzi schemes we’ve ever seen,” then slips Ventura “a list of scientists that I want you to talk to. You will learn a lot from these folks.”

Sheppard has regularly used his NewsBusters soapbox to attack the idea of global warming and make distracting claims such as portraying the existence of cold weather during the wintertime as evidence there’s no global warming.

It seems NewsBusters’ criticism of Ventura’s conspiracy theories only applies when it’s not promoting the same conspiracy theory.

(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)


Posted by Terry K. at 11:13 AM EDT
Friday, October 15, 2010
Newsmax's Walsh Scaremongers About DREAM Act
Topic: Newsmax

Anti-immigrant writer James Walsh tries his best to scaremonger about the DREAM Act in his Oct. 11 Newsmax column.

His best, though, isn't terribly effective. First, Walsh tries to scare people about the range of people covered, the maximum age of 35 means they "could have children or grandchildren of their own." Next, he complains that "are the costs of education and the lack of a guarantee that DREAM children will stay in the United States after taxpayers provide their education. An estimated 65,000 DREAM 'children' would be eligible for all benefits provided to U.S. citizens (ages 12 to 18). In addition, many DREAM 'children' could qualify for minority entitlements, causing U.S. citizens to lose out on college placement and financial aid."

This is followed by the usual warning about "family reunification provisions." Then, Walsh plays his trump card: terrorism!

Under current federal law, immigration and naturalization procedures remain poorly administered, and investigations are haphazard. The U.S. Congress is to blame for failed oversight.

A prime example is the recent case of Feisal Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan. On Oct. 5, 2010, in the United States District Court in New York City, Shahzad was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the terrorist attempt at Times Square. The judge asked the naturalized citizen if he swore allegiance to the United States when he was naturalized in 2009. Shahzad replied, “I did swear, but I did not mean it.” This case and the ever more facile pathway to citizenship offered by the DREAM Act are part of a growing concern for the nation. 

Of course, Shahzad has nothing whatsoever to do with the DREAM Act. But as far as Walsh is concerned, he makes a great bogeyman.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:00 PM EDT
Lessig Responds to Klein's Distortions
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Last week, we highlighted how WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein had entered into yet another guilt-by-association smear job in order to bash onetime Obama adviser Lawrence Lessig.

Over at Media Matters, we interviewed Lessig for his take on Klein's distortions, and he brings more detail about just how misleading Klein is.

Read about it here.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:27 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, October 15, 2010 2:57 PM EDT
Newsmax Wants Scott's Unsavory Past to Disappear, Despite Previously Attacking It
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax has painted itself in a bit of a corner: It spent most of the summer campaigning for a candidate in a Republican primary that didn't win, and now it has to figure out how to champion a candidate it spent months bashing.

As we've detailed, Newsmax threw what little weight it had behind Bill McCollum for the Republican nomination for Florida governor, but he lost to Rick Scott, whom Newsmax repeatedly demonized as participating in "the largest ripoff of taxpayers in the history of Medicare and Medicaid" while heading a hospital firm in the 1990s.

So how does Newsmax deal with Scott now? Through the time-honored way of not explicitly promoting him and attacking his Democratic opponent, Alex Sink.

That's what Jim Meyers does in an Oct. 13 article headlined "Who Is Alex Sink?" Meyers asserts that Sink,currently the state's CFO, has "a woeful record of acting as steward over public and private financial institutions." But those attacks are misleading.

Meyers appears to blames Sink for the fact that "audits dating back to 2000" warned of "risky, unregulated investments" by the state employee pension fund, even though Sink had not been elected to the CFO position until 2006.

Meyers also wrote that "Sink has also come under fire for authorizing convicted felons to sell insurance in Florida," but he did not mention, as others did, that they amounted to a dozen out of the more than half-million insurance licenses in the state.

Then, Meyers repeats a claim by the Scott campaign that the bank Sink used to work for "was investigated and fined millions of dollars for fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission" -- but makes no mention of Scott's involvement in defrauding the government.

Now that it has no choice to offer at least tacit support for Scott, Newsmax apparently intends to make sure his unsavory past goes down the memory hole.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:51 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, October 15, 2010 10:53 AM EDT
NewsBusters Busted By Fellow Right-Winger
Topic: NewsBusters

You know you've screwed up when your fellow ideologues feel moved to correct you.

NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein, in writing about a discussion on "Morning Joe" of the Delaware Senate debate between Democrat Chris Coons and Republican Christine O'Donnell, asserted that MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell "referred to the Delaware Senate candidate as a 'freak show.'"

Except that she didn't. And issuing the correction was none other than Glenn Beck's website, The Blaze:

However, the comment may not be that clear cut. It appears the Norah initially described the entire race as a freak show. However, her comments and reaction afterward raise questions as to whether the statement might have been directed at Christine in particular.

Oops! Then again, this is a guy who thinks every checkered scarf is a show of Palestinian support, so Finkelstein seems quite accustoming to seeing things nobody else does.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:37 AM EDT
Is Newsmax Hosting Morris PAC's Website?
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax's borderline incestous relationship with Dick Morris has apparently become even more so.

As we detail over at Media Matters, Newsmax is apparently hosting the website for Morris' new group, Super PAC for America. The WHOIS file for the website's domain gives a Newsmax phone number and email address as contacts (though the person named as a contact is conservative lawyer Cleta Mitchell, who does not appear to be a Newsmax employee), and the site's favicon is the same blue N used by Newsmax.

We haven't seen any stories on Morris' PAC at Newsmax, but even if there weren't any, providing even technical services to a partisan organization pretty much eliminates any pretense Newsmax may have had to fairness as a news organization -- and all the more so for failing to disclose its involvement with the PAC to its readers.

Giving positive coverage to Morris' PAC is one thing (and, arguably, expected from Newsmax); hosting its website is something else entirely.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 AM EDT
Thursday, October 14, 2010
WND Still Downplaying Abuse, Pushing Irrelevant Oath Keepers Argument
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily is still in full-on victim mode in the Johnathon Irish custody case, obsessing over the Oath Keepers aspect and essentially ignoring the child abuse part.

An Oct. 14 WND article by Bob Unruh touts how Oath Keepers sent a letter to the New Hampshire Division of Children, Youth and Family complaining about Irish's membership in the group being cited as a reason for the state to take the child. Unruh's repetition of the Oath Keepers' complaint that "the political affiliations of the parents have no business being cited in an affidavit alleging possible child abuse or neglect," and his later quoting of a statement that Oath Keepers members "have seen first-hand the heart-rending abuse that children can suffer at the hands of dysfunctional adults. It is to prevent such abuse that child protective services is given great latitude and power" are his only references to the abuse aspect of the case, which Unruh has never gone into significant detail about.

Instead, he obliquely states that WND "has confirmed there are other allegations and issues included in the charging document, a copy of which has been posted at Oath Keepers with blocks of information unrelated to the Oath Keepers allegation redacted."

Unruh clearly has no interest in delving into those "allegations and issues" -- Irish is WND's new poster child!

In his shilling for Oath Keepers, Unruh describes the group as one that "charges its members with following the U.S. Constitution and protecting the American life and American people," uncritically repeats Oath Keepers' claims that "they do not constitute a militia" and gives plenty of spaceto Oath Keepers defending the group.

Unmentioned are some of the more conspiratorial beliefs of the group, such as fearmongering about the government turning cities into "giant concentration camps." The New York Times has reported that Oath Keepers plays a role in a "resurgent militia movement," and has been "recruiting at Tea Party events around the country and forging informal ties with militia groups."

WND itself has promoted the anti-Obama aspect of the group, quoting Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes -- whom Unruh prominently features in his articles -- stating that "fears crystallized when Obama took office and suddenly had access to the accumulated power" and that "WND already has reported on several members of the U.S. military who have raised concerns about the implications of Obama's possible ineligibility to be commander-in-chief."

Unruh is studiously toeing the WND agenda -- condoning child abuse and hiding the facts about a militia-linked group.

UPDATE: A new article by Unruh noting the baby has been returned to the parents misleadingly claims the child was "snatched from her parents' custody a week ago when her father was accused of being an 'Oath Keeper.'" Unruh writes that "According to WND sources close to the case, the accusations against the father ... have been dropped" -- but he never mentions what those accusations were -- you know, abuse -- despite the fact that they are central to the story.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:37 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, October 14, 2010 11:55 PM EDT
McCaughey Misleads About Stimulus, Too
Topic: Newsmax

We've previously detailed how serial misleader Betsy McCaughey has joined Newsmax to mislead about health care. Turns out she's equally adept at misleading about the stimulus as well.

We have more at Media Matters.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:46 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, October 14, 2010 7:46 PM EDT

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