Topic: Media Research Center
Led by the Media Research Center, the ConWeb seeks to shield Fox News from the fallout of a phone hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers. Read more >>
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
CNS, WND Published Buchanan's 'Brevik May Be Right' Column
Pat Buchanan's July 25 column expressed sympathy for the views of accused Norway terrorist Anders Breivik, declaring that "As for a climactic conflict between a once-Christian West and an Islamic world that is growing in numbers and advancing inexorably into Europe for the third time in 14 centuries, on this one, Breivik may be right."
Guess who published Buchanan's column? WorldNetDaily and CNSNews.com. Neither has since commented on the wisdom of publishing someone who expresses sympathy with the views of a mass murderer and terrorist.
Massie Falsely Attacks Obama Over Joplin Tornado
WorldNetDaily columnist Mychal Massie rants in a July 22 TwitLonger post:
Massie is lying. While some people in Joplin are living in tents, it's not because trailers aren't available and Obama has "ignored them." Another article on a tent city in Joplin notes that "many flocked to shelters and placed in FEMA trailers."
Indeed, FEMA began sending trailers to Joplin a couple weeks after the massive tornado that hit the city, and more continue to arrive. FEMA is also near completion on two sites in Joplin where 350 trailers will be set up.
If others are "afraid to say" what Massie's saying, it's because they did their research and know what Massie's saying is wrong.
Noel Sheppard, Fox News Apologist
The Media Research Center has regularly downplayed the News of the World phone-hacking scandal in an effort to avoid implicating its beloved Fox News, and one of the chief worker bees has been Noel Sheppard.
In a July 17 NewsBusters post, Sheppard tried to deflect criticism of Fox News by CNN's Howard Kurtz for its initial reticence in covering the scandal by noting a Media Matters report on cable news coverage of it: "does Kurtz really think 30 reports on this subject by Fox from July 4 through July 13 is them ignoring the story? ... 30 reports in ten days not only means three a day, but also that Fox is continuing to cover the matter."
First, given that Fox News is a 24-hour cable news operation, shouldn't we expect more than an average of three reports a day? Sheppard is setting the coverage bar extremely low, especially since CNN and MSNBC aired at least twice as many reports on the scandal during that time.
Second, Fox News did actively ignore the scandal early on. Fox's first report wasn't until July 6, two days after it exploded with the revelations of phone-hacking of the voice mail of teenage murder victim Milly Dowler.
Sheppard also sought to exonerate Fox's media-criticism show, "Fox News Watch," for initially ignoring the scandal by huffing that the following week the show "did two segments on the scandal encompassing two thirds of the program." At no point does Sheppard comment on "Fox News Watch" not only ignoring the scandal the previous week but also declaring in a web-only segment that they won't "touch it" -- even though that's in the Kurtz transcript Sheppard includes in his post.
Sheppard was still at it in a July 24 post, responding to criticism of Fox News by Ariana Huffington by launching a personal attack on her:
More embarrassing than Sheppard? We find that hard to believe.
Sheppard went on to uncritically parrot Fox Business employee Charlie Gasparino's defense of Fox News' coverage of the scandal, then reference his own previous post on the subject:
Again, Sheppard failed to acknowledge that Fox News' coverage of the scandal fell far behind that of the other cable news networks. Indeed, it can be argued that if it were not for scrutiny of that lack of coverage, the deficit might be even bigger that it is.
CNS Repeats Geller's Misleading Defense
In a July 25 CNSNews.com article, Patrick Goodenough highlights criticism of right-wing anti-Muslim writers whose work was cited in accused Norway terrorist attacker Anders Behring Breivik's lengthy manifesto, then cites those writers' response. He writes regarding Pam Geller:
But it's misleading to claim that Geller is "is referred to just once by name." As others have noted, the manifesto cites Geller's Atlas Shrugs blog at least 13 times.
Goodenough also repeats the defense from Daniel Pipes that "the Middle East Forum and I do not inadvertently provide guidance to terrorists" without noting the fact that that is exactly what has happened with Breivik.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
MRC Offended That Someone Talked About Gay Marriage About TV
Media Research Center news analyst Brad Wilmouth uses a July 24 NewsBusters post to complain that someone talked about gay marriage on TV:
Wilmouth doesn't disprove anything Bloomberg said, meaning that he's complaining that it was said in the first place. That's emblematic of the MRC's anti-gay agenda.
WND Now Thinks Breivik Is A Nazi
WorldNetDaily is still trying to distance itself from accused Norway shooter/bomber Anders Behring Breivik. A July 25 article by the dubious F. Michael Maloof declares that "WND already has reported that the suspect made it clear his perception of himself as a 'Christian' does not comport with orthodox Christianity" as if that was true.
Maloof then took it further, citing unnamed "security officials" as claiming that "Breivik's manifesto resembles one by al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, although from a Christian rather than a Muslim standpoint." But if Breivik isn't a real question, doesn't that analogy mean that bin Laden isn't a real Muslim -- and, thus, attempts by WND and its fellow right-wingers to portray bin Laden as emblematic of mainstream Islam are false and dishonest? Maloof doesn't seem interested in exploring that.
Instead, Maloof portrays Breivik as a symptom of a neo-Nazi revivial, going on to note that "German investigators estimate that neo-Nazi households are raising several thousand children to become familiar with weapons, Nazi cult objects, songs of the Hitler Youth and Waffen-SS, and the worshiping of major figures from the Third Reich."
Maloof thus manages to undermine another right-wing talking point, that Nazism is left-wing, not right-wing. Oops!
Meanwhile, Mychal Massie used his July 25 column to rant about Muslim terrorism and "systemic animalism that is endemic to Islam" and how "we must take them as serious threats that warrant thorough watching and investigation" -- even as he conceded that Breivik isn't a Muslim.
Sheppard Botches Temperature Data
Serial global warming misleader Noel Sheppard used a July 24 NewsBusters post to trumpet how "no temperature records were actually broken" during last week's heat wave despite how "global warming-obsessed media were rife with reports about record-breaking heat":
But Sheppard misread the data. As Media Matters details, the 34 records he cites refers only to all-time ever at the 6,000 recording sites, not daily records. Here are the records that were actually broken during the heat wave:
What was Sheppard smoking when he mindlessly copied-and-pasted a fellow denier's fraudulent data into his post?
Can we expect to see Sheppard update his post and correct the record? Don't count on it.
Horowitz Reflexively Defends Spencer Over Norway Terror Manifesto
We haven't paid much attention to the David Horowitz empire lately -- indeed, the death of his NewsReal blog in May went by with little notice by, well, anyone. (We won't miss the catfights at all.) Even the fact that hateful right-wing columnist Ben Shapiro is ensconced at the David Horowitz Freedom Center as something all too appropriately called the "Shillman Journalism Fellow" is indicative of how little influence Horowitz has in the mainstream of public debate.
Horowitz, however, does have influence in the far-right streams he has confined himself to. Alleged Norway terror suspect Anders Behring Breivik issued a manifesto that cites Horowitz's FrontPageMag at least 34 times and, as we've noted, copiously cites some of Horowitz's fellow travelers like Pam Geller, Robert Spencer, and Walid Shoebat.
So what does Horowitz do? Complain that this was pointed out. From a July 25 FrontPageMag item:
Horowitz's complaint about McCarthy-esque tactics is interesting, since he has historically criticized only McCarthy's means, not his goal. In his review of an Ann Coulter book defending McCarthy, Horowitz criticized McCarthy for being "demagogic" and because "his recklessness injured the anti-Communist cause." He doesn't criticize the anti-Communist cause itself.
All Horowitz offers is a reflexive defense of Spencer, and no reflection whatsoever on why a person like Breivik would find Spencer's work so inspirational for his terrorist acts.
WND Gives Klein His Own Website
A July 24 WorldNetDaily article touts how "Aaron Klein, WND's senior reporter, today launched his own website – KleinOnline.com – dedicated to breaking news, exclusive investigations, and news-making interviews." The article curiously doesn't mention that the site is operated by WND -- which is made quite clear by the "WND Inc." tag at the bottom of the website.
Indeed, KleinOnline.com is repelete with copies of his WND articles, as well as selected excerpts from his WABC radio show, as well as the full shows themselves. Sadly, the archive only dates back to a year or so, so you can't listen to Klein declare his fealty to violent far-right extremist Meir Kahane.
On his July 24 radio show, Klein offered up a self-aggrandizing explanation for why the website was created. After ticking off various Klein-manufactured scandals, from Anita Dunn having "literally admitted" that the Obama campaign "controlled the media" -- in fact, she said no such thing; rather, she said the campaign got the media to cover what it wanted covered, which is the media strategy of every single political candidate -- to laughably complaining about anonymous sources pushing claims about his beloved Fox News in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal -- yes, the king of anonymous sources is complaining that others are using anonymous sources -- to boasting that not a single word of his Obama-bashing hit job "The Manchurian President" has been retracted -- that's because he has ignored our analysis of it -- Klein declares that there needs to be "an independent media in the United States," and his answer is to create as many news outlets as possible. He added, "If George Soros wants to take down Fox News, create another one."
Of course, Klein Online is not, by any stretch of the imagination, an "independent" news source. It simply rehashes what has already appeared at WND and on his radio show, and it's fully part and parcel of another "news" organization. There's no independence here at all, and there's no evidence Klein is doing anything other than the bidding of his employer. There's also no self-awareness on Klein's part that he is making copious use of the very same tactics of smearing and hiding behind anonymous sources that he accuses the "liberal media" of engaging in. Or perhaps he is quite aware he's using those tactics but wants to deceive his readers into thinking he's somehow different.
In short, Klein Online appears to be a one-stop shop for all of his anonymous attacks, guilt-by-association smears, whitewashing violent extremists, reporting in the service of dictators, and so much more. We can hardly wait!
We can also expect Klein to continue to gutlessly and petulantly ignore our existence, even though it admitting the falsehoods and distortions we've uncovered from him would go a long way toward becoming the "independent" website he claims to be.
Monday, July 25, 2011
WND Won't Tell You That Norway Shooter's Manifesto Cites WND And Its Buddies
The misdirection over the Norway terrorist bombing and shootings is in full swing at WorldNetDaily, which is eager to distance itself from alleged shooter Anders Behring Breivik -- even though he shares many of the same anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant views WND has promoted over the years.
A July 24 WND article takes pains to point out that "the media's quick characterization of the Norwegian terrorist as a 'Christian' may be as incorrect as it was to call Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh one." WND highlights that Breivik has called himself "not an excessively religious man," though it also notes that he considers himself "a supporter of a monocultural Christian Europe." WND also thinks that Breivik's claim that he's "100-percent Christian" is somehow countered by his also expressing "pride in his genealogical roots."
WND is also selectively quoting from Breivik's massive manifesto , which it has helpfully published on its website. A July 24 article, for instance, highlights one tiny part of the manifesto in which Breivik "considered a plan to obtain a weapon of mass destruction through a truce with extreme Islamists, despite his online anti-Muslim rants."
What WND has noted yet: Breivik's manifesto also offers more than a dozen links to the Atlas Shrugs blog operated by newly minted WND columnist Pamela Geller. The manifesto also copiously quotes anti-Muslim activist Robert Spencer, who shows up frequently at WND as well.
WND also hasn't mentioned that Breivik's manifesto cites WND six times:
On top of that, at least one WND columnist was offering implicit support for the attack. In his July 24 column, Vox Day used the attack as an excuse to rant about multiculturalism violent immigrants:
Instead of trying to distance Breivik from Christianity, WND might want to explain why Breivik is quoting it and so many of the people it supports -- and why its columnist seem to have no problem with such violence.
UPDATE 2: WND also gave space to Michael Savage to claim that Breivik's arrest has "all the appearances of a cover-up":
McCaughey Misleads on Federal Employment
While that may be true, it ignores the fact that the number of federal workers as a percentage of the U.S. population has been on a downward trend for decades, reversed in the past few years due to 9-11 response and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. From an Office of Management and Budget report:
How many of these people does McCaughey want to get rid of?
Mychal Massie Channels Crazed Obama-Hater James David Manning
Remember James David Manning, the nutball pastor (and WorldNetDaily favorite) who has a propensity for calling President Obama a "long-legged mack daddy"?
Massie has called Obama a "mack daddy" at least once before.
Nice columnist you got there, WND.
CNS Does Oppo Research Disguised As 'News' Article
A July 20 CNSNews.com article by Matt Cover is a thinly disguised "BiasAlert" from its parent, the Media Reserach Center, a lengthy rebuttal to Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen, whom Cover claims "made several inaccurate statements about the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act during a news conference."
Cover stretches things to declare Van Hollen wrong, however. For instance, Cover's rebuttal to Van Hollen's statement that "you need a two-thirds vote to cut an oil and gas subsidy for the purpose of reducing the deficit" is that "The legislation does not specify whether ending certain tax expenditures would constitute a tax increase."
But haven't conservatives regularly portrayed ending tax subsidies as a tax increases? Yes, they have: An April 27 CNS article by Fred Lucas quotes a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner that a proposal by President Obama to cut oil and gas industry subsidies "would simply raise taxes and increase the price at the pump."
The article comes off as more an oppo-research hit piece rather than a "news" article. How does that sit with the MRC's nonprofit tax status?
C For Vendetta: Who Is Ed Hale, Corsi's Latest Birther Source?
Jerome Corsi continues his series of vendetta-driven articles seeking to expose anti-birther critics on Internet forums in a July 19 article, in which he declares that Democratic Party operative James A. Johnson, the former chairman of Fannie Mae, "has been directing a team of up to 100 who are paid to publish disinformation on a wide variety of websites to discredit 'birthers'" and is "apparently operating with the full approval and cooperation of the president."
Corsi's main source for this claim is Ed Hale, whom Corsi identifies only as "the Texas-based creator of Plains Radio." Corsi made no apparent effort to confirm Hale's claim beyond leaving a message with Johnson that wasn't returned.
So, who is Ed Hale? To begin with, here's an introductory sample of Corsi hanging out with Hale -- who seems to have forgotten to put on pants -- earlier this month. Corsi, of course, didn't mention that appearance in his article.
Ed Hale (left) and Jerome Corsi, apparently broadcasting from a basement somewhere.
Like a significant number of birthers, Hale is a PUMA, having shown up on CNN in 2008 to promote a website called Hillary Clinton Supporters for John McCain. He once claimed to have 21 million listeners to his Plains Radio webcast (actually, he misread his analytics data). Also, the domain for his Plains Radio website has expired; here's a capture from the Wayback Machine, which demonstrates the same 2001-era web design skills as his McCain website.
He has claimed to have Obama's Hawaii birth certificate, as well as the divorce decree of Barack Obama Sr. and Stanley Ann Dunham, neither of which he has apparently released publicly. Hale was also an eager promoter of the purported inflammatory Michelle Obama tape peddled by the dubious African Press International, which WND was also suckered into -- heck, Corsi was begging API for a copy -- until it was clear that API had no such thing.
Does this sound like someone who can be considered a reliable source for anything? It does to Jerome Corsi, and that's why he built an entire article about Hale's questionable claim.
Corsi also tries to fill in the many, many holes in Hale's story with screenshots from various Internet forums and plays connect-the-dots from there. But many of those posts clearly contain sarcasm that Corsi has chosen to take seriously.
On top of all this, Corsi concludes his article with a short bio of Johnson, making sure to note: "He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission and the American Friends of Bilderberg."
So Corsi has penned an article based on a never-proven claim from a completely unreliable source filled with misinterpreted conjecture and overheated fearmongering -- all because he and his birther crusade has been mocked on obscure web forums.
Is it any wonder that Corsi simply cannot taken seriously?
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