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Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Dick Armey Doesn't Know What The MRC Is
Topic: Media Research Center

How ineffective must the Media Research Center be when one of the country's most prominent conservatives can't figure out exactly what it is?

The Daily Caller reports on right-wing displeasure that Dick Armey, the ousted founder of FreedomWorks, talked to Media Matters (disclosure: my employer) about the behind-the-scenes turmoil at the group. Turns out he thought he was talking to the MRC:

“I wouldn’t know Media Matters from a hole in the wall,” the 72-year-old told TheDC. “That was a major, big screw up on my part. I thought they were somebody else.”

When asked who he thought Media Matters was, Armey replied, “Who’s the guy with the red beard that always does the show where he points out how biased the press is?”

“Oh… the Media Research Center? Brent Bozell?” TheDC suggested. Bozell appears weekly on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show to spotlight liberal media bias in a segment called “Media Mash.”

“Yeah, I thought it was Brent Bozell,” Armey replied. “What I thought I had was I’d get them interested in the absolute screw job I got from The Washington Post.”

While at least some of Armey's cluelessness is his own fault, it also illustrates the questionable status of Bozell and the MRC in the conservative movement. That a leading conservative can't figure out how to differentiate the conservative media-watchdog group from the liberal media-watchdog group says a lot about how the MRC has failed to stand out.

Given that, maybe the MRC really did need to blow $5 million on things like billboards and such to mostly preach to the converted.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:34 PM EST
WND's Latest Obama Smear Job: 'The First Muslim President'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Building on last month's edition, which ominously (and ludicriously) painted President Obama's re-election as an "American Tribulation," this month's edition of WorldNetDaily's Whistleblower magazine returns to old-school Obama-hate with the theme "The First Muslim President":

Barack Obama’s relationship with Islam has long been one of the most radioactive questions surrounding his presidency. Before the 2008 election, it was considered impolite in the extreme even to mention publicly Obama’s middle name, “Hussein,” a name given only to Muslim babies. And despite repeated polls showing a significant percentage of voters – one in three conservative Republicans and almost one in five of all voters – believe the president is currently a Muslim, those who dare bring up the issue are mercilessly scorned as ignoramuses and bigots.

Yet, there’s a side to Obama’s life, from his Muslim childhood, schooling, Quran studies, mosque attendance and prayer in Indonesia, to his bewilderingly pro-Muslim policies today as president, that has been carefully concealed from the public by the “mainstream media.”

If you’ve wondered why the current U.S. president seems so supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood – both in the Arab-Muslim Middle East and, in the form of its various front organizations, within America itself – “THE FIRST MUSLIM PRESIDENT” will open your eyes.

Given that the author list is filled with Obama-haters like Joseph Farah, David Kupelian, Aaron Klein and Jerome Corsi,  and given that said Obama-haters have been harping on Obama's purported Muslim-ness for years, there appears to be little here that most people don't already know and -- given Obama's decisive re-election -- have decided they don't care about. So, not much eye-opening, but a lot of sleaze, guilt by association, and outright hate.

You know, what we've come to expect from WND.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:55 PM EST
NewsBusters Nitpicks Reporting on Boehner's Speaker Election
Topic: NewsBusters

Ken Shepherd devotes a Jan. 4 NewsBusters post to complaining that a Washington Post article on the re-election of John Boehner as House speaker stated that Boehner "narrowly" won the seat. But Shepherd fails to explain exactly why that win really was narrow.

Shepherd declared that Boehner "handily beat his closest opponent, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for the office, 220-192. Boehner did see a smattering of dissenting votes in his conference, but no serious challenger within his conference came close to depriving the Speaker of a majority on the first ballot." He added that Post reporter Paul Kane "sought, like others in the media, to portray the vote as a razor-thin close call -- 'Boehner watched the white-knuckle proceedings from off the floor' -- that underlines how "difficult for him" it's been for Boehner to lead the House Republican conference over the past two years." Shepherd went on to huff, "It might have helped Kane's "close vote" storyline if there was one Republican to whom most dissenters rallied around, but the anti-Boehner vote was fractured."

But the issue was never a specific opponent -- it was whether dissenting Republicans would embarrass Boehner by denying him a majority on the first ballot. Shepherd seems to have overlooked a claim on NewsBusters' sister website CNSNews.com that Boehner would not be re-elected speaker and would "either resign or be forced out," citing "a group of Congressmen" who planned to deny Boehner a majority. Ultimately, Boehner got just six votes above the needed majority of 214, even though there are 233 Republicans in the House.

Shepherd also wrote, "When all was said and done, a full 95 percent of the House GOP voted for Boehner, meaning just 5 percent defected. By contrast, a full 4 percent of Democrats refused to cast a vote for Nancy Pelosi, a fact which Kane left unmentioned." But Pelosi's dissenters are irrelevant because, since the vote for speaker typically breaks along party lines and Democrats are the minority in the House, Pelosi had no realistic chance of being elected speaker. 

By contrast, if enough Republicans refused to vote for Boehner, he would not have won the necessary majority. That was an actual possibility, a fact Shepherd glosses over.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:06 PM EST
WND Prematurely Blames Psychiatric Drugs for Sandy Hook Massacre
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It has yet to be reliably confirmed what psychiatric drugs, if any, Adam Lanza had been taking prior to undertaking his Sandy Hook school massacre. But that's not keeping WorldNetDaily from blaming them anyway.

Barbara Simpson ranted in her Dec. 30 column:

here’s a clear link between SSRIs – selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – and violence, homicides and suicides. The list of horrific crimes by people taking such drugs is daunting. Millions of prescriptions are written annually, a high proportion for youngsters to “calm them down” in classrooms. You know the names: Prozac, Luvox, Zoloft, Paxil; they alter brain chemistry, sometimes with fatal results.

A Jan. 4 article by Michael Carl, in addition to cherry-picking crime statistics to downplay gun violence, gave space to a firearms trainer with the delightful name of Ignatius Piazzato rail against thedrugs

“Prior to the introduction of psychiatric drugs being given to children and adults, we did not have these homicidal and suicidal mass shootings, even though guns were readily available and unrestricted,” Piazza said.

He contended that a ban on the use of psychiatric drugs would result in a significant drop in mass shootings.

“Over time, as our youth are no longer begin drugged into becoming sociopaths, we will return to the days when these type of horrific, murderous rampages never happened,” Piazza said.

WND managing editor David Kupelian devoted an entire Jan. 7 column to the subject, regurgitating a earlier correlation-equals-causation attack he had done in his book "How Evil Works." Once again, he cited the case of Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, blaming the antidepressant Effexor for it. As we pointed out the last time he did this, Kupelian failed to mention the influence of a fundamentalist Christian preacher to which Yates and her husband were in thrall, who preached austerity (the Yates family lived in a bus the preacher had sold them) and taught that it was better to kill oneself than to mislead a child in the way of Jesus. It's arguable that that the life Yates was living compounded the stress on her mental state, but Kupelian is silent about it.

Kupelian then went on to suggest a conspiracy of silence:

When on earth are we going to find out if the perpetrator of the Sandy Hook school massacre, like so many other mass shooters, had been taking psychiatric drugs?

In the end, it may well turn out that knowing what kinds of guns he used isn’t nearly as important as what kind of drugs he used.

That is, assuming we ever find out.

When is Kupelian going to start caring about reporting facts and not spewing baseless conspiracies?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:32 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 10:46 AM EST
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Newsmax Columnist Baseless Claims Obama's 'Hollowing Out' Navy
Topic: Newsmax

Herbert London uses his Jan. 3 Newsmax column (also posted at Accuracy in Media) to rehash Mitt Romney's campaign claim that President Obama is decimating the Navy:

In the World War I period from 1914 to 1918 the United States had a fleet level of 363, a fleet smaller than Germany, the United Kingdom and France. It remained at that level in the 1920’s (an average of 376) and during the ‘30’s till 1938 (an average of 339 ships).

[...]

Now the U.S. Navy is a mere shadow of itself. During the recent presidential debate, candidate Mitt Romney noted that naval capability had shrunk to a level lower than World War I. Technically he was correct since naval forces are now at 287.

President Obama glibly responded by suggesting this is irrelevant; after all, we don’t rely on bayonets or horses either. His implication is that our ships are more sophisticated than their predecessors at sea so the numbers do not carry the same logistical weight they once did.

By any standard this is questionable. Numbers matter. If one third of our ships are in repair and one third are in port for the rest and relaxation of sailors, there are approximately 90 vessels available to patrol the seven seas protecting American interests. This is not only an historical record, it is a number inadequate for the task at hand.

An active and assertive blue water Chinese navy is intent on challenging U.S. naval superiority in the Pacific. In the past, challenges of this kind were met by a show of force, an aircraft carrier force or joint military maneuvers with an allied nation. At the moment, we do not have the fleet strength for a symbolic act or to engage in joint training with say, Japan.

The Obama administration has simply hollowed out U.S. capabilities.

That's simply not true. The U.S. controls 50 percent of the world's naval power, compared to just 11 perdent in 1916, and fact-checkers agree that Romney (and London's) obsession with comparing Navy ship numbers over decades is meaningless.

London also misses the fact that there wasn't an Air Force in 1916, which reduces the need for a massive number of ships.

London goes on to lament that "Military spending is 4.5 percent of GDP, a far cry from World War II levels and a fraction of domestic spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security." London ignores that this is a large increase from the late 1990s, when military spending was 3 percent of GDP. Current declines in military spending are mostly tied to the winding down of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:27 PM EST
Another One-Sided Story From WND On Discrimination Lawsuit
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh turns in yet another biased effort on the case of Crystal Dixon, a woman who is crying discrimination after being fired from her human resources job after writing a letter to the editor denouncing gay rights.

As he did back in December, Unruh uses a Jan. 4 WND article to lavish attention on Dixon's side of the case, as presented by a right-wing legal organization.Unruh makes no effort to present the case of Dixon's former employer, nor does he quote or link to the rulings in the case he is ostensibly writing about.

At no point does Unruh explain that Dixon's attack on gay rights raised questions about her ability to perform her human resources job fairly and without bias, threatening the university's reputation and justifying its decision to terminate her.

Unruh has a lengthy history of biased reporting.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:16 PM EST
CNS Is Turning Into NewsBusters
Topic: CNSNews.com

Terry Jeffrey apparently thinks the "news" operation he serves as editor in chief of, CNSNews.com, is no different than any other Media Research Center website.

Jeffrey devotes a Jan. 5 CNS "news" article to complaining about a Washington Post article critical of Catholics. That's the kind of thing that normally appears at the main MRC site or at NewsBusters, and it's rarely presented as "news."

NewsBusters, meanwhile, wrote a post (credited only to "NB Staff," which tells us that they don't want anyone to know who actually wrote it) about Jeffrey's article, failing to disclose that CNS, like NewsBusters, is an MRC operation.

This isn't the only anti-media rant presented as "news" at CNS. A Jan. 7 article by Elizabeth Harrington highlights how "Executive Producer Erik Jendresen of National Geographic Channel's upcoming television movie 'Killing Lincoln,' said John Wilkes Booth 'could be the poster child for the Tea Party.'"

This complaint did appear at NewsBusters, but written by Christian Toto and cross-posted from Breitbart.com. It seems that Harrington duplicated MRC effort in doing her own piece saying substantially the same thing.

Or is CNS abandoning any pretense of reporting "news" and turning itself into yet another MRC website devoted to whining about the "liberal media"?

UPDATE: A joke from a Jay Leno monologue is now a Jan. 8 CNS "news" article by Gregory Gwyn-Williams Jr. and Eric Scheiner. Yes, it apparently took two people at CNS to transcribe a joke and turn it into a four-paragraph article.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:17 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 5:57 PM EST
WND Again Touts 'Second Amendment Analyst' Who Inspired Terrorists
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Michael Carl uses a Jan. 4 WorldNetDaily article to cherry-pick data to claim that "more Americans commit murders with hammers than with 'assault rifles' or other long guns."

As we pointed out when Newsmax did this, it's cherry-picked data that downplays the prevalence of gun violence. In fact, guns are the leading cause of violence-related death (homicide and suicide) for most age groups, as well as all age groups above the age of 15.

Carl follows that with this:

Second Amendment analyst and investigative journalist Mike Vanderboegh says the figures demand one question be asked: If it’s statistically proven that rifles are used in a relatively small number of homicides, why do those weapons seem to be the constant focus of attempts at new regulation?

“Why do they want to ban them? Because they are afraid of them? Why are they afraid?” Vanderboegh asked.

“I think it’s because many in our government fear that those weapons might one day get turned on them when their demands become too tyrannical,” Vanderboegh said.

Actually, Vanderboegh is a little more than a "Second Amendment analyst" -- he's the author of a "Turner Diaries"-esque novel that inspired defendants in an alleged plot to kill numerous government officials by  attacking federal office buildings and to disperse a deadly biological poison.

As we've documented, WND has repeatedly promoted Vanderboegh's purported gun expertise. But neither Carl nor anyone else at WND will tell you that Vandervoegh inspires terrorists.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:28 AM EST
Monday, January 7, 2013
MRC Misleads on Cost of Fiscal Cliff Deal
Topic: Media Research Center

Julia Seymour wrote in a Jan. 3 Media Research Center Business & Media Institute item:

To the chagrin of many conservatives, a deal that would result in tax hikes and lacked spending cuts was passed on New Year’s Day, hours after the the fiscal cliff deadline had passed.

Because it didn’t include spending cuts, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that it would cost $4 trillion over the next 10 years.

Actually, as Media Matters detailed, the CBO described the $4 trillion figure as lost revenue in comparison to what would have been collected if all the Bush tax cuts expired. Politico reported of the CBO estimate: "CBO begins its analysis from its March current law baseline that assumes all of Bush-era tax cuts would expire at New Year's Day, and therefore gives no deficit-reduction credit for the fact that the deal begins to raise rates for the wealthiest Americans." Politico added that the CBO attributed much of that figure to "lost revenues or payments on refundable tax credits."

But getting the story correct wasn't Seymour's job in the post -- it was to complain that "5 out of 6 morning and evening news programs on ABC, CBS and NBC" didn't mention her defective interpretation of the deal.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:49 PM EST
Birther Paul Irey Is Ready to Run to WND With More Birther Stuff
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Dr. Conspiracy reports on how upset Paul Irey -- one of the so-called "experts" whom WorldNetDaily has proclaimed as having provided "irrefutable proof" that Barack Obama's birth certificate is a forgery -- was at the prospect of having only 15 minutes to present his birther claims to a judge in yet another lawsuit spearheaded by Orly Taitz. So upset, in fact, that he claimed hewould hand over his presentation to WND:

15 minutes is not nearly enough … nor is it worth flying across the country and back for 15 minutes total time to testify.  You probably have 2 hours and the attorneys are going to spent that time objecting to the hearing … simply because they don’t want the evidence presented. Why can’t you stop them?  That’s what they did the last time.

I spent over a week preparing for 15 minutes???  Sure … the less testimony the better … for the criminals avoiding conviction.  I’m going to run everything that I can’t testify to on WND and say so.  Judge did not want to hear it.  Obama’s attorneys do not want to hear it.  I was ready to prove the forgery about 15 different ways  … but now we can say that the courts run us out before we can present the testimony … then the press censors it and the congress does nothing.

I am getting out of this country where Mickey Mouse can run for president because there are no laws against it … and no one has “standing” to challenge treason.

Turns out Irey didn't get to testify at all -- the judge had set aside that time for oral argument only, not witnesses. And Taitz ended up demonstrating that she not only improperly served the defendant (Obama) with notice of the hearing, the president apparently wasn't served with the papers until the day after the hearing.

Certainly WND will make note of that in its upcoming report on Irey's presentation.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:37 PM EST
CNS' Jeffrey Complains About Obama Corporate Donations, Ignores That Bush Did Same Thing
Topic: CNSNews.com

Terry Jeffrey writes in a Jan. 5 CNSNews.com article:

President Barack Obama’s inaugural committee on late Friday released a list of individuals and corporations contributing money to fund events surrounding the president’s Jan. 20 inauguration but did not reveal how much they contributed, the Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group reported on Friday evening.

What Jeffrey didn't report: the Bush administration also accepted corporate donations for his 2005 inauguration.

The Wall Street Journal reported that "For his 2005 inaugural, former President George W. Bush placed no ban on corporate money and took in $42 million." The New Standard reported shortly before the 2005 inauguration:

Nearly half of the $40 million fundraising goal set by President Bush's private inaugural committee has been met, paid for almost entirely by US corporations. According to a new analysis by the government watchdog group Public Citizen, 96 percent of the $17.8 million raised is from corporations or their chairpersons, CEOs, or presidents.

By failing to explain that Obama isn't doing anything all that different from Republican presidents, Jeffrey is failing his duty as a journalist, as well as violating CNS' mission statement to "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story." 


Posted by Terry K. at 12:56 PM EST
WND Still Touting 'Trustworthy' Designation, Ignores Child-Sex Charges Against Minister Linked To It
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily must really love that no-name website that proclaimed it "trustworthy" -- it has devoted another story to it. But it's not telling the full truth about the website that gave WND that silly little award.

This time around, WND proclaims how the editor of the Discerning Times at Enumclaw.com, Tim Williams, said he "actually considered placing WorldNetDaily at the top of the list and the Drudge Report second."

As before, WND identifies the Discerning Times at Enumclaw.com only as an "independent news organization." In fact, Enumclaw.com and its Discerning Times print product are operated by something called the Sound Doctrine Church of Enumclaw, Wash.

The church has been accused of being a cult. The church's response to this is to claim that all real churches are accused of being cults.

Also unmentioned in both WND articles: The church's associate pastor, Malcolm Fraser, has been charged with first-degree rape of a child. WND clearly knows about this because it published a Dec. 13 article by Bob Unruh on the case. Unruh takes Fraser's side in promoting the idea that he is an innocent victim of “disgruntled ex-members” of the church. Unruh also identifies Enumclaw.com as a "church publication," which means WND knows full well that it's not an "independent news organization."

Williams did not disclose what role this sympathetic article playing in him  placing WND so high on his list of "trustworthy" news sources, though surely it must have played some role. Indeed, Williams promoted the article on the church's website.

Meanwhile, Enumclaw.com devotes a significant portion of its content to proclaiming Fraser's innocence,  and the Discerning Times began publication only in August 2012 -- just four months after Fraser was charged -- raising questions about whether it exists solely to defend Fraser and attack the church's critics (which the November edition of the paper is mostly devoted to).

Similarly, WND did not note its story on Fraser in its articles touting its "trustworthy" award. Wouldn't a truly trustworthy news organization have disclosed those conflicts of interest?

The same goes for Williams' so-called "news" organization as well. As we pointed out, Williams could not have read WND and found it to be engaging in "top-notch journalistic practice."

If WND really wants to be considered a trustworthy news organization -- which, Williams aside, it isn't -- it should stop its constant promotion of a bogus award by a biased group nobody has heard of and start reporting facts, starting with the truth about how the birther conspiracy has been discredited.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:14 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, February 2, 2013 11:14 AM EST
Sunday, January 6, 2013
AIM's Kincaid Freaks Out Over Al Jazeera's Purchase of Current
Topic: Accuracy in Media

That sound you heard when Current TV announced it was being sold to Al Jazeera was Cliff Kincaid's head exploding.

The Accuracy in Media writer has been a longtime advocate of censoring Al Jazeera, and the Current deal gives the channel what Kincaid has fought against: a space on many cable TV systems. So it's no surprise that the deal has launched Kincaid into another censorious AIM rant:

Al-Jazeera, once considered the voice of Osama bin-Laden and known for anti-American and anti-Semitic rhetoric, has announced the purchase of Al Gore’s low-rated cable channel, Current TV, in a transparent attempt to buy access to the U.S. media market for operatives of the pro-terrorist Muslim Brotherhood. Gore has reportedly made $100 million from the $500 million deal.

Kincaid also complains that "Al-Jazeera promoted conspiracy theories that Muslim terrorists were not really behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks," ignoring his own promotion of discredited anti-Obama conspiracy theories and his touting of racists as credible sources.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:48 PM EST
What Stories Did WND Ignore in 2012?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has posted its annual "Operation Spike" list of "the most underreported or unreported news events of the year." As per usual, the list is really just the current obsessions of right-wingers like pretty much every WND employee. And the items on the list is more a reflection of what WND didn't cover than what the actual media did.

First on the list is purported voter fraud, declaring that "while no single instance or aspect of fraud likely was enough to give Obama the election, the aggregate of corrupt activities may well have tipped the vote." but as we've documented, many of the "voter fraud" claims WND has have have been discredited -- none of which WND has reported to its readers.

In second place is "The findings of Sheriff Joe’s Cold Case Posse" on President Obama's birth certificate. Again, WND has failed to tell its readers the truth: The posse's findings have been discredited. WND also perpetuates the false notion that the birther posse "went into it with an open mind." That's an utter lie, as demonstrated by WND birther extraordinare Jerome Corsi being a de facto member of the posse and the reported refusal of the posse to examine the findings of John Woodman, who wrote a book disproving birther conspiracies.

Those are just some of the many things WND has refused to report to its readers about its beloved birther conspiracy.

Next is "Obama’s real agenda for the next four years," which is nothing more than a plug for Aaron Klein's speculative anti-Obama attack book.

Also on the list is "Black attacks on whites," citing the work of Colin Flaherty and declaring, "WND has featured the reports to counterbalance the virtual blackout by the rest of the media due to their concern that reporting such incidents would be inflammatory or even racist." But since Flaherty paints such a broad brush that it appears to him that any random group of black people is a "mob" and all blacks are violent thugs out to murder all white people, this is nothing but race-baiting.

WND also throws in its "Whistleblower of the Year," John Cruz, who it credits with breaking HSBC's "massive fraud and support for terrorists and the drug cartel." But as we've detailed, other news outlets were covering this story before WND got its mitts on it, and there's little evidence that Cruz brought anything of value to the investigation. 

Then there's "The real unemployment numbers." Of course, there is only one "real unemployment number": the U-3 rate. Other numbers include things like underemployed people that make it, by definition, not a "real unemployment number."

That WND put such stories on its list demonstrates how pathetic and biased its own so-called journalism is.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:04 AM EST
Saturday, January 5, 2013
Noel Sheppard Takes Just 28 Minutes to Flip-Flop
Topic: NewsBusters

In a NewsBusters item posted on Jan. 4 at 9:00 a.m., Noel Sheppard heartily approved of Jay Leno insulting Harry Reid by saying of John Boehner telling Reid to "go fuck himself": "Doesn't he look like a guy who heard that a lot in high school? Usually followed by a wedgie then getting stuffed in a locker?” Sheppard added that "it's nice to see someone in the media go after Reid."

But just 28 minutes later -- 28 minutes! -- Sheppard was upset that Arnold Schwarzenegger "took a cheap shot at New Jersey Governor Chris Christie" by saying that "Chris Christie does not have a weight problem. He has a water retention problem." Sheppard huffed: "Yeah, those fat jokes never get old when tossed at a Republican - especially if they come from a Republican In Name Only."

Is Sheppard really that un-self-aware, or is he really that blatantly partisan?


Posted by Terry K. at 9:56 PM EST

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