CNS Misleads On Asthma Risk From Coal Topic: CNSNews.com
An April 19 CNSNews.com article by Matt Cover highlights a claim by President Obama that coal could create "the kinds of air pollution" that is "creating asthma for kids," retorting:
Asthma, however, is not caused by coal, or the emissions from coal-fired power plants, as the president suggested. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) the true cause of asthma is unknown, although scientists believe it is caused by a confluence of genetic and environmental factors or early viral infections.
A 2001 study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that two coal-powered plants in Chicago were responsible for 2,800 asthma attacks per year. Likewise, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America states that "Substantial scientific evidence" has linked air pollutants like sulfur dioxide -- a compound released when coal is burned -- to respiratory problems. Specifically, the AAFA states that "People prone to allergy, especially those with allergic asthma, can be extremely sensitive to inhaled sulfur dioxide."
Coal-burning plants also produce nitrogen oxides. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, "Nitrogen oxides play a major role in the formation of ground-level ozone (or smog) in the summertime. Smog triggers millions of asthma attacks each year in the U.S., and worsens or causes other respiratory ailments."
Cover did concede that "The NIH did say that respiratory irritants, such as air pollution, can trigger an asthma attack," then added, "but not that air pollution causes the disease."
MRC's Bozell Heathers All Over NYT's Brooks Topic: Media Research Center
Brent Bozell's April 20 column is one massive Heathering of New York Times columnist David Brooks for not being slavishly devoted to right-wing talking points in his appearances on NPR as a regular segment with liberal Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne.
Bozell claims Brooks' main goal is to "please his bosses at the New York Times – and let’s not forget his check-signers at NPR and PBS." Never mind that Bozell is doing the same thing to his MRC donors by railing against Brooks.
Bozell concludes by huffing:
Anyone who wonders why conservatives and Republicans are so disgusted with the tilt of public broadcasting (and its sedate, self-satisfied civility) should begin with the notion that David Brooks is “balance.” If liberals weren’t cowards who feared losing TV debates, they’d hire a real conservative to engage in some serious Friday night discussions on PBS and NPR.
That's a tactic Bozell himself is not eager to embrace. His regular appearances on Fox News -- particularly his weekly slots on "Hannity" and "Fox & Friends" -- rarely include a liberal counterpoint to his right-wing rantings. When will Bozell allow someone to challenge him in person on Fox, or does his contract forbid such full debate?
AIM Wants Trump To Go Even More Birther Topic: Accuracy in Media
Carol A. Taber writes in an April 19 Accuracy in Media column about how much she approves of Donald Trump's raging birtherism, and says it's time to take the next step:
Trump has a spine, which is why he is gaining momentum and has pulled way ahead of the pack. Now we must convert that momentum into action. Instead of passing judgment about who is crazy or sane on the issues of the birth certificate and the Social Security number, we must ask Obama to show his hand, and we then must forensically test whatever he has, or he must fold. Forensics testing is not an outlandish idea; as distasteful as this analogy might be — a sordid affair vs. a serious Constitutional issue — forensics testing of a blue dress a few years ago revealed another set of lies of a young U.S. president, also attempting to defraud the public.
Because of the irregularities and unanswered questions outlined above, certainly the American people have a right to know whether the birth record that supposedly establishes the eligibility of their president is un-tampered with. And they also have a right to know whether the social security number that he has been using is genuinely his or stolen. Use of another person’s social security number is a felony.
Between this and Roger Aronoff's softball interview of Jack Cashill, it appears that AIM is fully aboard the Obama conspiracy crazy train.
WND Race-Baits Over McDonald's Beating Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has apparently decided to do a little weekend race-baiting.
WND's front page currently contains a link to a video -- the raw video, not news coverage of it -- of someone being beaten by a group of females. WND's headline: "Black-on-white beating inside McDonald's."
While there have been reports of an investigation of the incident as a hate crime, it turns out the real story may be more complicated. It appears that the beating victim was actually a transgender woman, and the beating was over bathroom use.
Given WND's hostility toward the transgendered, WND should be endorsing this beating, not going the racial route.
Cashill Still Thinks Christopher Andersen Proved Him Right Topic: WorldNetDaily
In his April 21 WorldNetDaily column, Jack Cashill peddles yet again his conspiracy theory that Bill Ayers wrote Barack Obama's first book, calling on his usual source for backup:
The reader need not take my word for this. Christopher Andersen, in his 2009 book, "Barack and Michele: Portrait of an American Marriage," makes the same case based on interviews with Obama's friends in Chicago, quite possibly with Ayers himself.
A celebrity biographer with impeccable mainstream credentials, Andersen argues that, at "Michelle's urging," a "hopelessly blocked" Obama "sought advice from his friend and Hyde Park neighbor Bill Ayers."
What attracted the Obamas were "Ayers' proven abilities as a writer." Noting that Obama had already taped interviews with many of his relatives, Andersen elaborates, "These oral histories, along with his partial manuscript and a trunkload of notes were given to Ayers."
As we've previously detailed, this is circular logic -- Andersen's book on the Obamas cites Cashill as part of his backup for his claims about Obama's "Dreams From My Father." Further, Andersen himself backed away from Cashill's theory in a CNN interview during which he explicitly said, "I definitely do not say he [Ayers] wrote Barack Obama's book."
If Cashill is going to continue to blatantly misrepresent what Andersen has said and wrote, why believe anything else he has to say?
WND's Corsi Lies About Obama's Record on Immigration Topic: WorldNetDaily
Jerome Corsi falsely asserts in an April 17 WorldNetDaily article that President Obama "has resisted any and all measures to secure the U.S. border with Mexico."
That is a complete lie. In fact, the Associated Press has reported that "the U.S.-Mexico border is more fortified now than it was even five years ago. Far more agents patrol it, more fences, barriers and technology protect it and taxpayers are spending billions more to reinforce it." The AP also reported that "Obama's administration has moved immigration investigators to the border and begun inspecting southbound train cargo to help stem cash and weapons flowing to Mexican drug cartels."
Further, USA Today reported that a joint operation between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement agencies that launched in September 2009 "has resulted in the arrest of 270,000 illegal border crossers, the seizure of 1.6 million pounds of marijuana and the recovery of $13 million in cash in the border's Tucson Sector."
Corsi went to claim that Obama's purported lack of border enforcement can be traced to "the Democratic Party's expectation that the surge in Hispanic population will represent an electoral advantage for Democratic candidates seeking public office." Corsi offers no evidence to back up this claim.
If Corsi can lie so casually and blatantly, why trust anything he has to say in his upcoming Obama-bashing birther book?
Farah To Appear On Fox; Lack Of Principles All Around Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah has loved to complain that he can't get on Fox News because of his birther proclivities and other WND escapades -- but he has also complained that one investor in Fox News' owner is a Saudi prince, and he does not take the principled stand of forbidding WND employees from appearing as a protest against such involvement.
Anyway, Farah will appear on Fox Business tonight -- his first appearance on a Fox News network in quite some time and, as Media Matters points out, evidence that Fox News no longer his standards prohibiting birthers on its networks.
So we have a network without principles inviting a guest without principles. Sounds like a match made in heaven.
Newsmax Fawns Even More Over Trump, If That's Possible Topic: Newsmax
Now that Newsmax has finally admitted the obvious-to-everyone fact that it's working with Donald Trump to promote his presidential ambitions, it just keeps sliding further and further into the tank for the guy.
In an April 20 column, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy is a big, slobbering wet kiss to Trump. He complained that it was "unfair" for news organization to examine "every little company that Trump has been associated with that had a lawsuit, bankruptcy, or other problem" because it ignores "Trump’s fantastic business success that has yielded him a multibillion-dollar net worth."
Ruddy then asserts, "Make no mistake about it — Donald Trump is the real McCoy. ... Trump holds a reputation as a pragmatic man who gets things done. He is also politically savvy — as he is demonstrating with a remarkable rise in GOP polls."
Despite his fawning prose, Ruddy insists, "Newsmax has not endorsed any GOP candidate — including Trump — for president. We are giving all of these candidates a platform to talk to our readers about the big issues facing us."
But Newsmax his done much more for Trump than give him a platform: Led by fluffer-in-chief Ronald Kessler, it has actively promoted the idea of him as president.
That PR-style promotion appears to be rewarded with closer-than-usual access to Trump. That is obvious in an April 21 article by Jim Meyers that furthers Trump's side of the story in his feud with Karl Rove.
Meyers cites an anonymous "Newsmax source" who attended a meeting Trump had with "about a half-dozen heavyweight Republican donors in Manhattan — largely hedge-fund guys — about his political ambitions," during which he "spent the first 10 minutes talking not about Obama but rather, about Rove, angrily referring to him several times as 'the loser' and the man who’s destroying the Republican Party." Meyers also noted that Trump "donated mega-bucks to Rove’s political committees last year."
So who was that mysterious "Newsmax source"? For all we know, it may be Trump himself. It's clear that this story was written with the aid of Team Trump, and it's unlikely to have run at all if Trump hadn't signed off on it beforehand.
Has Newsmax given this extensive of a "platform" to any other Republican presidential candidate? Not that we've seen. Ruddy -- who has not devoted any significant writing, let alone an entire column, to any other potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate besides Trump -- should stop the pretensse that it hasn't taken sides when it clearly has.
Setting Joseph Farah Straight Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah April 18 WorldNetDaily column is a rebuttal to a Media Matters detailing various birther myths and falsehoods. Despite Farah's claim to be "setting Media Matters straight," Farah perpetuates deceptions and misleading claims that hide the actual truth.
Farah asserts that the birth certificate Obama's campaign released "would likely not have been sufficient proof to get the young Obama signed up in Little League, if he had been living in Hawaii rather than Indonesia at the time of his eligibility for competitive sports." In fact, as FactCheck.org points out, that certificate is good enough for the State Department in satisfying legal requirements for proving citizenship and obtaining a passport.
Farah then claims that "This is a document that Hawaii has routinely handed out to register births occurring elsewhere, even out of the country, on the basis of an affidavit filed by a parent or grandparent." In fact, the right-wing organization Farah founded, the Western Journalism Center, reported that Hawaii does not provide birth certificates that say children born out of state were born in Hawaii or at a specific location in Hawaii.
Farah then dissembles on the grandmother stuff:
In a recorded interview Oct. 16, 2008, Sarah Hussein Obama does indeed seem to suggest he was. While it is true her translators insist repeatedly that she was mistaken, insisting he was born in Hawaii, the grandmother herself is clearly heard to say "Mombasa." It's hardly conclusive evidence of anything, but it is of some interest given the highly unlikely scenario that the grandmother traveled to Hawaii to witness the birth of a grandson to an American woman, when her financially struggling son, Barack Hussein Obama Sr., had already produced offspring with a Kenyan wife.
In fact, people who have listened to the tape issued by Obama-hating pastor Ron McRae, like FactCheck.org, have reported:
[I]t was McRae — not Sarah Obama — who said the future president was born in Kenya. McRae’s leading questions were relayed to her through a translator, since she spoke in her native Luo language, not English. Later, the part of the conversation that Berg omitted was revealed. And it makes clear that Sarah Obama misunderstood McRae at first, and tried repeatedly to correct McRae’s misunderstanding, saying emphatically: "He was born in America!"
Farah rebuts Media Matters' pointing out that WND peddled a fraudulent Kenyan birth certificate as real by asserting, "To the contrary, WND was the first news agency to proclaim the alleged Kenyan birth certificate produced by Orly Taitz as 'probably not authentic.'" Farah is being disingenous; the disavowal came only after several days of presenting it as real, even claiming that "WND was able to obtain other birth certificates from Kenya for purposes of comparison, and the form of the documents appear to be identical" -- which contradicted WND's later claim that "WND obtained several samples of Kenyan birth certificates in use around Aug. 4, 1961, the date of Obama's birth, showing differences" from the certificate it suggested was real. Farah has not explained that contradiction, nor has he explained why he published a "birth certificate" he couldn't bother to authenticate beforehand.
Farah also take refuge in the eligibility argument: "But if his father was a Kenyan visiting student, as Obama claims, and his mother was Stanley Ann Dunham, it's doubtful either of his parents were in a position to confer even run-of-the-mill U.S. citizenship on their son – he because of foreign citizenship and she because of her age." That relies on a definition of "natural born citizen" that requires both parents be citizens -- a definition no modern U.S. court has validated. Further, the idea that Obama's mother could not confer citizenship upon him because of her age at birth is important only if Obama was not born in the United States. There are no age requirements for conferring citizenship on a child born in the U.S. to an American citizen; indeed, current interpretation of the 14th Amendment is that a child born in the U.S. is an American citizen regardless of the citizenship status of his parents.
Farah probably knows all of this. He simply chooses to deceive and mislead about the facts in order to further his anti-Obama agenda. And he thinks he's setting others "straight" on the birther issue?
(Disclaimer: I'm employed by Media Matters, but it has no editorial control over ConWebWatch.)
Bozell's New Group Acting With Malicious Intent Topic: Media Research Center
Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell has been quietly building a political action group on the side. Called For America, it claims to be "a non-profit 501(c)4 organized to educate Americans about traditional and contemporary American values, to relentlessly fight the growth of government, to oppose any substitute to freedom and self-government, to promote individual liberty and excellence, to promote economic opportunity, and to move America toward her founding principles."
For America launched its first major public action -- a malicious one. During President Obama's Facebook town hall, For America directed its followers to overwhelm the Facebook page hosting it by repeatedly posting a message to "repeal Obamacare," which caused the page to crash and make it unavailable for actual participants.
Bozell and his group are proud of their malicious prank. From the Daily Caller:
“As the comments grew on the town hall page we marveled at the speed and volume of posts from ForAmerica supporters,” said Bozell. “Within a few minutes, the town hall page was taken down and labeled ‘unavailable,’ and it was down for at least 39 minutes. When it was restored no new comments were allowed for several more minutes. We are only beginning to see the untapped power of this growing, formidable online army.”
According to Greg Mueller, an adviser for the group, “ForAmerica has amassed a very active and engaged online conservative army that engaged in a Facebook bracketing operation. The Obama folks have proven they are very good at new media, but there’s a new team in the game. We overloaded it with comments from that grassroots operation, which we believe disrupted the site for close to 40 minutes.”
The group urged supporters to post their own messages, but a number of people used their recommended language, which was “It’s not a tough choice, Mr. President. You have added $3.5 TRILLION to the debt already, the first thing we should do is repeal Obamacare!”
You did it ForAmerica! Did you hear?! ABC News, LA Times and other media reports show how ForAmerica FB fans crashed Obama's Facebook Townhall page today. Read it for yourself! Not to shabby for a days work! Congrats and thank you for getting involved!
Bozell's CNSNews.com even promoted the malicious prank in an April 21 article by Fred Lucas, noting that it asked questions of Facebook but not that informed Facebook that CNS is run by the same guy who deliberately tried to crash their website.
So it seems Bozell is no longer satisfied with his shoddy brand of "media research" -- he's moving on to intentionally destructive attacks on the president of the United States.
Can we stop taking him seriously as a so-called media analyst now?
UPDATE: Americablog raises questions about the For America/Daily Caller version of events, points out that you really can't crash a single Facebook page through the de facto denial-of-service attack For America claims it launched. The Daily Caller's Matt Lewis responds by stating he only reported what he was told.
Regardless of what actually happened, the fact that For America is taking pride in its claimed disruption of Obama's town hall is sufficient evidence of the group's malicious intent.
WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh keeps up his history of misleading about a gun violation in an April 19 article on the violator's release from prison.
Unruh writes that David Olofson "has been released from his 30-month prison term to begin rebuilding his life," quoting only a defense of Olofson from the right-wing group Gun Owners of America, who claimed that Olofson's conviction of "knowingly transferring an unregistered machine gun – a gun which fired a burst and jammed" was a "gross miscarriage of justice" because "Gun owners call that a malfunction." Unruh adds that Olofson is "an information technology professional with a wife and three children" and added further defense of Olofon from his lawyer.
As he repeatedlyhasbefore, Unruh refuses to tell his readers the full story of Olofson's conviction, focusing only on his defense that a gun he had loaned to a prospective buyer that fired "several bursts of multiple rounds" was merely malfunctioning and was not a fully automatic weapon.
Unruh claimed that "ATF officials have declined to speak with WND on the record," but he could have easily gotten the prosecution's case from other sources, such as this May 2008 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article:
U.S. District Judge Charles Clevert said Olofson knew or should have known the gun in question fired automatically.
"This was a man who has considerable knowledge of weapons, considerable knowledge of machine guns," Clevert said. "Mr. Olofson, in this court's view, has shown he was ignoring the law."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Haanstad noted that Olofson had two previous gun-related convictions, including carrying a concealed weapon with his children trick-or-treating. He also noted that Olofson was reprimanded for corrupting Army computers and perhaps providing militia groups access to sensitive information.
People can legally own fully automatic, military-type M-16 rifles, but they must have a federal license and cannot transfer it to someone else.
According to court records, Kiernicki turned the rifle's firing selector to the third position, pulled the trigger, and three bullets fired with each pull. Then the weapon jammed. The automatic gunfire was reported to police, who contacted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Kiernicki testified Olofson told him the third position was for automatic firing, but it jammed, court records indicate. He also testified Olofson told him he had fired the weapon on the automatic setting at that same range without a problem, according to the records.
Clevert said the key was not what parts were in the weapon but whether it operated in automatic mode. He played a video used at trial showing ATF agents firing Olofson's weapon in automatic mode. He also noted that in one ATF test, the rifle didn't fire automatically when military-grade ammunition was used.
Haanstad said Olofson had provided weapons and ammunition to so many people he couldn't keep track. A search of his home turned up books on converting rifles to fully automatic, and e-mail on his computer showed he bought M-16 parts, records show.
Olofson had contact with vigilante groups and professed to be part of the sovereign movement, which doesn't acknowledge federal laws as applying to them, Haanstad said.
Unruh has demonstrated himself once again to be a lazy, biased reporter. But you knew that already.
The MRC's Horrible, Misleading Easter/Earth Day Study Topic: Media Research Center
The last time we saw the Media Research Center's Erin R. Brown, she was howling that a 5-year-old boy's painted toenails was "blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children." With her new so-called study, Brown further demonstrates that she shouldn't be taken seriously.
Let us count the ways Brown gets things wrong in the headline and opening of her April 20 NewsBusters post:
Holy Week: Media Worship Earth Day, Attack Easter
Easter is the quintessential Christian holiday - the celebration of Jesus Christ's death and resurrection. Although it has been celebrated by billions of people around the world for nearly 2,000 years, the mainstream media would rather celebrate the liberal holiday known as "Earth Day" and connect Easter to the abuse scandal that surrounded the Roman Catholic Church. Some major Findings:
Media Undermine Christian Holiday: Nearly two thirds of all stories about Easter were negative (22 out of 34).
Easter Used to Attack Catholic Church: Ninety-one percent of the negative Easter stories were about the pedophilia scandal in the Roman Catholic Church.
Love That Mother Nature: 100 percent of Earth Day stories were positive.
First: Contrary to her headline, Brown cites no example of anyone "attacking Easter."
Second: Despite the fact that she talks about "the mainstream media," the only media Brown analyzed in her study was evening network newscasts -- a small, uncomprehensive slice of the "mainstream media."
Third: Brown confuses reporting negative news about the Catholic Church -- in this instance, sexual abuse scandals that even she concedes were prominent -- as an "attack" on the church. Again, none of those stories addressed, nor any other story she cited, made any negative comments about the religious events of Easter even as she goes on to absurdly portray stories on the abuse scandals that also mentioned Easter as "negative stories about Easter" -- making Brown's assertion even more ludicrous.
Brown seems to think, as her NewsBusters colleague Dave Pierre does, that the media should not be allowed to cover the scandal during certain religious holidays -- or, perhaps, should be barred from covering it at all.
As for the Earth Day stuff -- her rationale for linking Earth DAy and Easter is that "2011 marks a unique year in that 'Earth Day' falls right in the middle of 'Holy Week' -- Brown writes that "There were five stories about Earth Day all of which glowingly featured the Earth-celebrating holiday." She did not provide any examples of this, but one must suspect these examples are just as baseless as her Easter examples.
The narrow sample size and misleading, overstated conclusions are but another example in the MRC's long history of shoddy "media research."
Will WND Admit It Leaked Book Details To Drudge? Topic: WorldNetDaily
We just posted an article detailing WorldNetDaily's creation of birther-related news that it then reports on as if it had nothing to do with it, and WND serves up another apparent example.
As we were putting the finishing touches on our article, the Drudge Report posted an article claiming that Jerome Corsi's "high stakes publishing project" -- better known as his Obama-bashing birther book, "Where's the Birth Certificate?" -- went to press, quoting "a source close to the publisher"calling the book "utterly devastating."
WND immediately followed up with an article touting Drudge's promotion of the book, even repeating the anonymous quote that came from "a source close to the publisher." This was followed shortly thereafter by an article claiming that Corsi's book has "skyrocketed to the No. 1 spot among all books on Amazon.com" in the wake of Drudge's promotion, again referencing the "source close to the publisher" quote.
And who is publishing Corsi's book? WorldNetDaily.
WND's enthusiastic embrace of Drudge's article strongly suggests that the leak of information about Corsi's book to Drudge was not just approved by WND officials -- including editor and CEO Joseph Farah -- but is part of the marketing strategy for the book.
To sum up: WND is reporting on a story that it, by all appearances, leaked.
So if WND can get this kind of (as far as we know) free publicity, why is Farah begging readers for money to buy TV ads for the book, especially when he has promised nothing in return but a signed book? Why is Farah, as majority owner of WND, afraid to put his own money where Corsi's mouth is? We're still waiting for an answer about that questionable business practice.
Wayne Allyn Root Goes Birther, Denies That He Has Topic: Newsmax
Wayne Allyn Root insists that he's not a birther, but he sure sounds like one in his April 20 Newsmax column, declaring that Donald Trump "has brilliantly brought up an issue that millions of Americans are pondering."
Root begins his venture into birtherism with a lie, asserting that "Main Street Americans are rightfully concerned to learn that it is impossible to get a passport in America without a long-form birth certificate, yet we’ve allowed a man to become president without the same document." In fact, as FactCheck.org points out, the birth certificate Obama has provided satisfies legal requirements for proving citizenship and obtaining a passport.
After more denial that he's a birther -- "Asking Obama to prove his background does not make you extreme, or crazy, or a lunatic. It does not even make you a 'birther'" -- Root sounds even more like one:
Do I personally believe Obama was born in a foreign country? I have no idea. I am not a birther, but I do believe there might be something damaging hidden in his college if not his birth records.
Why do I think that? Because Obama behaves suspiciously. Because he hires armies of lawyers to keep his records sealed. I also believe all Americans have a right to ask the question of the man who commands our army and our economy.
Ironically, the more Obama refuses to produce the proof, and the more millions of dollars he spends on legal maneuvering to hide that proof, the more concerned Americans become. Obama is the one stoking the fire, not Trump.
Why exactly is Obama not destroying Trump’s political career by producing the birth certificate? It is so easy and simple — show it and the circus ends instantly. Trump’s gamble would turn into the biggest losing bet in modern political history.
Like birthers often do, Root exaggerates again; as we've noted, the idea that Obama "hires armies of lawyers to keep his records sealed" is highly misleading.
Kinsolving Again Complains White House Didn't Answer Question He Didn't Ask Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily keeps up its longtimepattern of complaining that the White House press secretary didn't answer a question WND White House correspondent Les Kinsolving with an April 19 article portraying White House press secretary Jay Carney declining to call on Kinsolving as an example of the Obama White House's alleged lack of transparency -- even baselessly suggesting that Carney knew the questions Kinsolving was going to ask and decided not to avoid answering them.
In fact, it's much more likely that Carney would rather spend his time talking to real reporters than a right-wing hack like Kinsolving.