CNSNews.com wasn't the only Media Research Center division more interested in making political attacks on President Obama instead of honoring the victims of the Tuscon massacre. A Jan. 12 NewsBusters post by Mark Finkelstein dredges up the discredited claim that Obama refuses to place his hand over his heart during the National Anthem.
"Giffords is in a drug-induced coma in intensive care," the newspaper reported on Jan. 9. "Doctors frequently awaken her to check her responsiveness, and she could open her eyes and respond to simple commands Sunday -- an encouraging sign, said [Dr. Peter] Rhee."
First, the TusconSentinel article is contradictory on the subject of whether Giffords' eyes were open; it goes on to state that "Giffords cannot speak because she is on a ventilator, and cannot see because of the area of her injury and the surgery requires her eyes be kept closed, the doctors said."
Second, Rhee specifically said in a Jan. 9 press conference: "No, we can't get into too much more detail than what we already have. But I can tell you right now with the type of surgery, her eyes, she can't open her eyes at this point, mechanical standpoints, and she's also on the ventilator, so she can't speak at this time."
Third, the Tuscon Sentinel is not a "newspaper"; it's "an online-only nonprofit that is attempting to fill the space left by the closing of the Tuscon Citizen."
So, to sum up: Jones relied on a paraphrase from an online publication it mistakenly thinks is a real newspaper in order to attack the president, ignoring the actual words of the doctor being paraphrased. Just another day at work for CNS, it appears.
Corsi Sorts (Some) Fact From Fiction (That He Helped Spread) About Loughner Topic: WorldNetDaily
The headline on Jerome Corsi's Jan. 11 WorldNetDaily article reads, "Sorting fact from fiction about Jared Loughner." But Corsi himself is responsible for some of the fiction he's aiming to correct, and he doesn't touch the biggest myth about Loughner promoted by his employer.
One piece of fiction Corsi labored to correct was the relationship between Loughner and his apparent intended victim, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, prior to the shooting. He noted "numerous reports that Giffords and Loughner had encountered each other before Saturday's attempted assassination," he declared that "So far, no evidence has established that Loughner ever served as a formal volunteer to a Giffords' election campaign, or that Giffords knew Loughner well, even though she wrote him what appears to have been a typical congressional letter to a constituent."
Corsi didn't mention that two days earlier, he had falsely claimed that Giffords and Loughner had a much closer relationship, when he asserted that "it is now known that Loughner worked for Gifford's election campaign in 2007." Interestingly, that falsehood remains live and uncorrected on WND.
Corsi also touched on the issue that "that Rep. Giffords had subscribed her YouTube website to Jared Loughner's YouTube channel" without mentioning his own muddled reporting. In the same article containing the above-noted falsehood, Corsi stated that "Gifford subscribed to Loughner's website since Oct. 25, 2010." He may have meant to write that differently, but he's suggesting here that Gifford subscribed to Loughner's YouTube channel the day it was created -- something Corsi's own screenshots disprove. Again, this messed-up claim remains live and uncorrected on WND.
For all this concern about getting facts straight, Corsi avoided address perhaps the biggest myth being perpetrated in the media about Loughner -- that he was clearly influenced by Karl Marx and Adolf Hitler, as evidenced by the presence of "The Communist Manifesto" and "Mein Kampf" in a book list on his YouTube profile. In fact, as we detailed, there are 19 other books on Loughner's list that WND (as well as Newsmax and the Media Research Center) never saw fit to tell their readers about, including anti-totalitarian books by Ayn Rand and others that would seem to contradict the idea that he was some sort of commie Nazi.
But that's Corsi and WorldNetDaily -- where they can't be trusted to tell the truth, even when they insist that's what they're doing.
New Article: The ConWeb Shrugged Topic: The ConWeb
WorldNetDaily, Newsmax, and the Media Research Center want you to know that Marx and Hitler were on Jared Loughner's reading list -- but not that Ayn Rand is too. Plus: More ConWeb falsehoods, silliness and crassness about the Arizona shooting. Read more >>
NewsBusters Likens NY Times Krugman to Fred Phelps Topic: NewsBusters
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman takes a lot of abuse from right-wingers for his liberal political views and his economic theories that contradict the right-wing way of doing things (never mind that Krugman did receive a Nobel Prize in economics). But did you know that Krugman is just like Fred Phelps, pastor of Kansas’ Westboro Baptist Church and best known for leading his tiny flock in odious protests of funerals of fallen soldiers?
That’s what NewsBusters’ Matthew Sheffield wants you to think. In a January 12 post (cross-posted at the Washington Examiner, where he works as an online media consultant), Sheffield asserts that any liberal who suggests that extreme right-wing rhetoric might be contributing to an environment that may have played a role in the Arizona shooting is acting just like Rev. Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church brood because, as Sheffield explained, liberals think “Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and anyone else who dares to resist the march of history are heretics. That's why they need to shut up, or in the event that they choose not to, have someone else shut them up.”
Sheffield transcribed a Phelps sermon asserting that, in Sheffield’s words, “Innocent people were killed because American and its leaders have sinned against the higher light.” He then claimed that this "is effectively what New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said in a column printed Monday.” This is followed by a lengthy section of Sheffield juxtaposing excerpts of Phelps’ sermon with Krugman’s column.
But Sheffield’s little experiment discredits his argument. For instance, Krugman’s statement that he was “expecting something like this atrocity to happen” is juxtaposed by Phelps’ statement “God appointed the Afghanistan veteran to avenge himself on this evil nation.” How are those statements any way analogous? We have no idea.
Krugman has never claimed he wanted to silence all views he opposes, nor does he claim divine approbation for his views; rather, he spoke in his column specifically of “eliminationist rhetoric” that he identified as “coming, overwhelmingly, from the right.” Krugman has not called for his opponents to be struck down from above, nor is he running around the country picketing the funerals of those he disagreed with.
Americans may not be able to agree on much these days, but one thing both left and right do agree on is that the funeral protests held by Phelps and his fringe congregation are hateful and despicable. What purpose could Sheffield have in likening Krugman to Phelps other than revel in the vitriolic rhetoric Krugman is trying to tone down?
NewsBusters Misleads About Attacks on 'Right-Wing Extremism' Report Topic: NewsBusters
Ken Shepherd gets a number of things wrong in his Jan. 11 NewsBusters post on a Newsweek article related to the Arizona shooting. he starts off:
Jared Loughner, the suspect arrested in Saturday's shooting death of a federal judge and critical wounding of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona), is no right-winger and certainly not a military veteran.
All the same, Newsweek published an article today suggesting that Loughner's deadly rampage on Saturday was the consequence of conservative politicians dismissing the warnings of a Homeland Security report from 2009 warning about "lone wolf" attacks by right-wingers, particularly those who are armed forces veterans.
In "The Missed Warning Signs," Aaron Mehta, a reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, sought to lay the blame for the shooting at the feet of Rep. John Boehner and other conservatives.
First, the article does not "lay the blame for the shooting at the feet of Rep. John Boehner and other conservatives"; it re-examined the controversy over the DHS report in light of the shootings. At no point does Mehta call Loughner a "right-wing extremist," and he states that DHS "have not established any such possible link" between Loughner and right-wing extremism.
Second, Shepherd presumably had to fight off the MRC kneejerk urge to dismiss the CPI as liberal, made even more implausible by the fact that it's now run by John Solomon, former editor of the conservative Washington Times.
Then, after quoting Mehta stating that the DHS report "was overwhelmingly criticized by conservative commentators and lawmakers, who derided it as political propaganda from the Obama administration. Some experts worry that its findings were ignored due to political blowback," Shepherd writes: "The political blowback centered on findings in the report that some military veterans were likely to radicalize and be lone-wolf terrorists."
In fact, conservatives used the report as a cudgel to advance paranoia against the Obama administration, deliberately misconstruing to claim, in the words of one Fox News host, that the administration "basically is labeling anyone who disagrees with the agenda of the administration should be watched by the law enforcement agencies in this country, because they could be possible domestic terrorists."
Further, Shepherd failed to concede that the DHS report cited an FBI report authored during the Bush administration as as evidence that "some returning military veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have joined extremist groups."
Shepherd huffed that Mehta suggested that "it's Republicans like Boehner and conservative bloggers like Michelle Malkin who are to blame for pooh-poohing a real threat." But Shepherd doesn't disprove the notion.
In a Jan. 11 NewsBusters post, Geoffrey Dickens purported to know the contents of the minds of Chris Matthews and his guests on "Hardball."
Dickens titled his post, "Jealous Liberal Radio Hosts Join Chris Matthews in Blaming Conservative Talkers for Giffords Shooting." He then asserted that Matthews was "envious" of conservative radio hosts, presumably because of his noting that the "have big audiences."
At no point does Dickens explain why Matthews and his guests are "jealous" and "envious" -- indeed, in the transcript he supplies, there's no talk whatsoever of jealousy or envy.
In other words, Dickens is just making stuff up -- par for the course of MRC "research." The MRCdoesthisregularly.
UPDATE: Matthews' larger point -- that right-wing radio hosts with a large audience like Michael Savage and Mark Levin -- who are "furious at the left with anger" and engage in "ugly talk" -- is correct. Dickens seems uninterested in talking about that.
Newsmax's Walsh Laments 'Hispanicazation of America' Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax columnist James Walsh is not terribly fond of people who aren't as white as him. He demonstrates this yet again in his Jan. 10 column, in which he rants about "Obama's 'Hispanicazation' of America" and peddles a slew of falsehoods in the process.
Walsh kicked things off by baselessly asserting that "many" of the "illegal aliens" in the United States arrived "as drug-smuggling 'mules.'" He then claimed there has been a "reduced number of apprehensions" as a result of "reassigning Border Patrol agents inland." In fact, deportations of illegal immigrants increased in fiscal year 2010 over the previous year, and a record percentage of those deported had criminal records.
Walsh also embraced right-wing myths, complaining about "the Obama administration’s $2 billion loan of U.S. taxpayer money in 2009 to Brazil’s Petrobras oil company for deep off-shore oil drilling. Obama confidant George Soros, through the Soros Fund Management LLC, until recently owned millions of dollars of Petrobras stock." In fact, the loan was approved by the Export-Import Bank, which does not rely on tax money and which at the time of the loan was controlled by Bush administration appointees. Further, Soros reduced his stake in Petrobras prior to the approval of the loan, so he didn't benefit from the loan as much as Walsh suggests.
Walsh asserted that "Former Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi reportedly said to a gathering of illegal aliens in California in 2009 that U.S. immigration laws were “un-American,” suggesting that they need not be obeyed." In fact, Pelosi criticized as "un-American" immigration raids that separate undocumented parents from their documented children, not all immigration laws.
Walsh even bizarrely claimed that Hillary Clinton's acknowledgment of the indisputable facts that drug cartel violence along the U.S. Mexico border is fueled by U.S. demand for illicit drugs and easy access to weapons meant that she was blaming everything on the U.S., adding, "'Blame America' has become the global agenda of the Democratic Party."Of course, Walsh is ignoring facts here too -- Clinton also said that the U.S. and Mexico "have a co-responsibility" to crack down on border crime and that the U.S. would encourage the Mexican government to increase its battle against rampant corruption by promoting police and judicial reform.
He tossed in yet another baseless sweeping generalization, insisting that "Many national forests, parks, monuments, wilderness areas, and wildlife refuges -- once the pride of the nation -- are serving today as marijuana fields for illegal alien gangs."
But the ultimate problem, in Walsh's eyes, is all those brown people:
When will President Obama recognize that illegal immigration is slowing economic recovery? Can he resolve the chaos while still appeasing his Hispanic base?
To maintain his populist aura, the president is in the habit of saying one thing to one audience and the opposite to another.
One Obama apologist explained, “Campaign rhetoric is one thing,” suggesting that governing is another. The deliberate Hispanicazation of the United States to secure a block of votes is quite another.
And shoddily researched borderline-racist rants are something else entirely.
Bozell Pushes Ariz. Shooting Falsehoods Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Brent Bozell was clearly in a lying mood during his Jan. 10 interview with Newsmax to discuss news coverage of the Arizona shooting.
"Note how quickly the New York Times came out with an editorial calling for the Fairness Doctrine as a result of this," Bozell said. But that didn't happen -- in fact, a search of the Times' website indicates no mention of "fairness doctrine" anywhere in the Times in the past 30 days.
The closest a Times editorial published between the shooting and Bozell's interview came to discussing speech issues regarding the shooting is a Jan. 10 editorial that called for "quieting the voices of intolerance," which is not even remotely the same thing as "calling for the Fairness Doctrine."
Bozell also asserted that "The Daily Kos whackjob website has got targets over faces that they don’t like." Not true either -- in fact, Daily Kos has issued no graphics containing a bulls-eye image regarding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, one victim of the shooting.
Bozell, by the way, is the same guy who is complaining that conseratives are being unfairly maligned over the shooting.
WND Using Massacre to Sell Books Topic: WorldNetDaily
Lest anyone actually think that WorldNetDaily puts principles before money, note the promotional ad inserted into this Jan. 10 WND article:
The link goes to the page for the "Marx & Satan" book at the WND online store.
That's right -- WND invoking the alleged perpetrator of the Arizona massacre to sell books.
How utterly craven can one be?
UPDATE: WND continues the cravenness with an article-length plug arguing "the biblical case for armed self-defense," calling it the "common-sense, tried-and-true biblical and constitutional prescription" to "a man-made disaster like the Arizona massacre."
Newsmax Still Hiding Facts About Loughner's Book List Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax has its story on Arizona shooter Jared Loughner, and it's sticking to it. Two more Newsmax articles persist in incompletely reporting the contents of Loughner's book list.
Davd Patten and Kathleen Walter wrote in a Jan. 10 article that "Loughner’s bizarre rants mention Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto and Hitler’s Mein Kampf, but do not mention Palin, Fox News, the Tea Party, or other high profile conservatives such as host Glenn Beck or Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C." In the attached video interview, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell said that Loughner "isn't even a conservative. We now know he's some kind of anarchist who liked the Communist Manifesto."
Another Jan. 10 article by Patten, inveighing against the "backlash mounted against media outlets who blamed the shooting on inflammatory right-wing rhetoric," similiarly stated that "His online rants appeared to reflect a muddled, possibly left-wing viewpoint that embrace anarchy. Intellectually, his influences appeared to range from Karl Marx to Hitler’s Mein Kampf."
As it did the day before, Newsmax failed to note the books on Loughner's list that contradicted its notion that he is a liberal: anti-totalitarian tomes like "Animal Farm," "Farenheit 451," and Ayn Rand's "We the Living."
Of course, as Salon.com pointed out, the presence of such contradictory books -- not to mention two books by the Greek philosopher Plato -- on Loughner's reading list suggest that perhaps he's just a crazy person and people shouldn't be trying to divine significance where there is none:
But Loughner is almost certainly insane and, like the countless other mentally disturbed people who send similar ravings to media outlets around the world, his ideas would have been ignored as incoherent and irrelevant if he hadn't fired a gun into a crowd of people Saturday. The fact that he did fire that gun, however, doesn't make his delusions suddenly meaningful. It doesn't make his list of favorite books significant. Crazy people who make headlines and change history are still crazy.
By studying Loughner's book list for clues to the political leanings that somehow "drove" him to commit murder, commentators are behaving a lot like crazy people themselves.
But Newsmax, like WorldNetDaily, is too wedded to the narrative of trying to paint Loughner as a liberal that the facts don't matter -- and neither does logic.
No, Really: WND's Klein Tries to Blame AZ Shooting On Bill Ayers Topic: WorldNetDaily
It appears that selectively quoting from Jared Loughner's reading list was only the beginning of the misinformation and outright falsehoods WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein intends to peddle about the Arizona shooting.
Because apparently Bill Ayers must be worked into this story somehow, a Jan. 10 article by Klein begins:
Jared Lee Loughner, the suspected gunman in Saturday's Arizona shooting, attended a high school that is part of a network in which teachers are trained and provided resources by a liberal group founded by Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers and funded by President Obama, WND has learned.
The group, Small Schools Workshop, has been led by a former top communist activist who is an associate of Ayers.
What is missing from Klein's article is any evidence that the curriculum at the high school Loughner attended is "communist," related to '60s radicalism, or even "liberal."
Without any facts to back up his implication that Ayers taught Loughner how to be a terrorist -- and because Klein and his research assistant Brenda J. Elliott, who also helped Klein with his factually dubious smear book on President Obama, couldn't be bothered to find out what actually is being taught -- this is yet another smearpiece rehasing the same tired claims about how Ayers is a unrepentant terrorist and, of course, a close personal friend of President Obama.
This is just another reminder of just how sleazy a reporter Klein is -- and how sleazy WND and Joseph Farah are for employing someone who engages in such dishonest reporting.
Meanwhile, Klein's original misleading claim has been passed on to others on the staff. A Jan. 10 WND article by Drew Zahn states that "Loughner also listed on his YouTube channel among his favorite books Karl Marx's 'The Communist Manifesto' and Adolf Hitler's 'Mein Kampf,' casting further doubt on the notion that he was an angered tea-party type." Like Klein, Zahn fails to note the existence of other books on Loughner's list, including several anti-totalitarian books such as Ayn Rand's "We the Living."
MRC's Double Standard on Moral Equivalency Topic: Media Research Center
In a Jan. 7 TimesWatch item, Clay Waters asserted that a New York Times reporter "betrayed a moral equivalence" in a story on on the bombing of a Christian church in Egypt by poetraying "the majority Muslims and the country’s often persecuted minority of Coptic Christians posed as equally to blame" for sectarian violence.
The MRC's crack bias-hunters, meanwhile, just can't seem to find the rampant bias on their own websites. Moral equivalency is exactly what Ron Futrell engaged in in a Jan. 6 NewsBusters post.
Writing about "joke videos" made by Capt. Owen Honors, commander of the USS Enterprise, that ultimately got him relieved of his command, Futrell complaind that "the media is not just reporting this story, they clearly show their disgust and outrage that anybody would make politically incorrect videos and live to play another day," then attacked "joke videos that people in newsrooms have produced."
Of course, these aren't the same at all, since the "Christmas videos" he cites also include "the outtakes of mistakes during newscasts" -- obviously a whole different animal than the videos Honors made. But Futrell is not going to let facts get in the way of his outrage. He then tries to pre-empt criticism of his view:
Of course, the media would argue that the job of somebody running an aircraft carrier is much more important than theirs (they wouldn’t really believe that, but they would say it,) so the Captain should be held to a higher standard, but there is no indication that security was in jeopardy here, if it were, then deal with that issue. Besides, we’re talking about the issue of what is decent and what is not decent.
I’m not so silly to think that the activist old media will ever hold itself to the same standard that they hold their subjects to. There are two sets of rules here, one for the media, another for the people they wish to destroy, in this case, it’s a member of the US military.
Of course, Futrell offers no evidence that "the media" is trying to "destroy" the entire military, let alone the career of one very irresponsible commander.
Futrell's single piece of evidence to back his claims about media videos is a single video he found on YouTube dating from 1983.
But that's what passes for "research" on "media bias" at the MRC.
Somebody, it seems, doesn't want Aaron Klein to have all the fun in slinging false and misleading claims at WorldNetDaily about the Arizona shooting. Jerome Corsi wants a piece of that action, too.
Corsi jumped into the fray with a Jan. 9 article featuring the bizarre assertion that "the YouTube website of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords suggests she subscribed to the YouTube channel of her suspected attempted assassin, Jarred Loughner, at some point before the shooting incident." While his article contains a lot of screenshots of web pages, none of them prove that, as Corsi later stated, "Gifford subscribed to Loughner's website since Oct. 25, 2010."
Even later, Corsi contradicts himself: "A cached version of the Giffords website, dated Dec. 26, shows there was no link to the suspect's channel on that date." But rather than accepting the logical explanation that Giffords did not subscribe to Loughter's page at the time and only did so after the shooting, Corsi speculated that this lack of evidence was "giving rise to speculation that the site was changed after that point, or possibly even hacked."
The only source Corsi cites for any of this is speculation from right-wing Muslim-hater (and former Newsmax columnist) Pam Geller.
As if that weren't enough, Corsi throws in a completely false claim, that "is now known that Loughner worked for Gifford's election campaign in 2007." In fact, all that is known -- as Corsi acknowledges at the end of his article -- is that "in Loughner's home was found a form letter from Giffords' office, thanking him for attending a 2007 event." That is not the same thing as having "worked for Gifford's election campaign."
But then, this is the same guy whose vaunted documents he obtained during a trip to Kenya to find something to smear President Obama with were clearly fakes (not that Corsi has ever acknowledged that fact, mind you).
If that bit of incompetence wasn't enough, Corsi then tries to present himself as an expert on punk rock, asserting in a Jan. 10 article that Loughner "may have been inspired by the radical leftist punk-rock band Anti-Flag, one of his favorite bands."
Essentially, all Corsi has done here is read a tweet by someone who claimed Anti-Flag was one of Loughner's favorite bands, found a music lyrics website (he even links to it) and copied-and-pasted from selected songs. That, apparently, is Corsi's idea of journalism.
for good measure, Corsi also throws is a gratuitous, unsupported slam on an unrelated figure he apparently despises. Noting that Reuters Media's Anthony DeRosa was corresponding via Twitter with the Loughner friend who made the claim about Anti-Flag, Corsi added that DeRosa "has had a history of tweeting continuing attacks on Fox News and Fox News talk show hosts Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly, as well as a wide range of conservative media and political figures." He offers no evidence to back up this claim, and it's immaterial to his attack on music he undoubtedly doesn't like.
DeRosa, by the way, is not even a journalist, as Corsi suggests; he describes himself as "a Proposition Leader at Reuters Media working on strategic partnerships in print, online and broadcast media."
But then, Corsi's own journalistic standards are pretty abysmal, so it's unlikely he knows the difference.
UPDATE: For a much more responsible and less deliberately inflammatory take on the same subject, the Washington Post examines another song linked to Loughner and, unlike Corsi, talks to actual experts on the issue.
UPDATE 2: A reader points out that Corsi probably did not intend to write that Gifford subscribed to Loughner's YouTube channel "since Oct. 25, 2010," since he states in the preceding paragraph that that was the day the account was created, and he is instead guilty of misusing the word "since." Point taken, but it's telling of WND's editorial standards and Corsi's writing skills that this poorly written statement remains in the article a day after we pointed it out (and we're pretty sure they read us).
Farah Lies About Lakin's Crime, Orly Taitz's Fine Topic: WorldNetDaily
In yet another birther rant in the form of his Jan. 8 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah gooses the martyrdom of Terrence Lakin, misleadingly claiming that he "is serving a prison sentence for simply asking for proof of Obama's eligibility before being deployed to a foreign war." Wrong: As we've pointed out, Lakin is serving a prison sentence for disobeying orders, and if every soldier who received orders challenged the legitimacy of them, as Farah seems to want, the entire system of military discipline would break down.
Then Farah claims: "Attorneys who have brought lawsuits demanding proof Obama is a 'natural born citizen' as the Constitution requires have been fined for following the legal remedies." That's not true at all. Only one birther attorney has been fined -- Orly Taitz -- and it was not for "following the legal remedies" but, rather, for willfully violating the rules of the court system and for filing frivolous claims -- the facts of which, to our knowledge, WND has never accrately reported.
Farah can't even relay the simplest of facts without trying to twist them to fit his Obama-hating agenda. Is it any wonder his website cannot be trusted to tell the truth?