MRC Silent on Study Documenting Negative Obama Media Coverage Topic: Media Research Center
A study on media bias issued by the Center for Media and Public Affairs should be a big deal for the Media Research Center. After all, as we've noted, the CMPA is a conservative-leaning group whose work is the foundation of the MRC. It touts a book by CMPA founder Robert Lichter, "The Media Elite" -- which "demonstrated that journalists and broadcasters hold liberal positions on a wide range of social and political issues" -- at the top of one "Bias Basics" page. But a new CMPA study has drawn nothing but crickets so from from the MRC.
As the Los Angeles Times reported, the new CMPA study found that evening news shows on ABC, NBC and CBS were tougher on Obama than on Republican John McCain during the first six weeks of the general-election campaign:
During the evening news, the majority of statements from reporters and anchors on all three networks are neutral, the center found. And when network news people ventured opinions in recent weeks, 28% of the statements were positive for Obama and 72% negative.
Network reporting also tilted against McCain, but far less dramatically, with 43% of the statements positive and 57% negative, according to the Washington-based media center.
Why has the MRC been so quiet about this? Because it can't spin those results away since the CMPA is a trusted source to it. And also because it contradicts the MRC's cherished claim that, in the words of MRC chief Brent Bozell, the "liberal media" are "neck-deep in the tank for Sen. Obama."
Indeed, even after the Times published its story on July 27, posters at the MRC's NewsBusters blog are still clinging to the old meme in July 28 posts:
Mark Finkelstein asserted that there is "plenty of MSM sycophancy for Barack Obama."
Jeff Poor bashed NBC's Brian Williams for suggesting there wasn't "a pro-Obama bias in the media" despite "allegations of just the opposite."
Seton Motley asserted that the media was serving up "wall-to-wall slavish and adoring reporting" on Obama.
Lyndsi Thomas cited the alleged existence of "'Obamania' present within the mainstream media," "the glowing media treatment of Obama" and "their gushing ways to help their candidate of choice."
None made mention of the CMPA study that makes their views inoperative. After all, overwhelimingly negative coverage isn't exactly "gushing."
Will the MRC acknowledge the existence of the study? Ore are they feverishly devising an explanation to downplay its results? Then again, the MRC's own analyticalskills leave something to be desired.
UPDATE: A July 29 MRC "Worst of the Week" item complained that the network evening newscasts gave Obama's foreign trip "more than ten times the coverage" than to McCain's foreign trip in March. Again, no mention of the CMPA study.
Where Are They Now? Topic: Free Congress Foundation
Back in 2005, we detailed how conservatives who complained there wasn't enough obstruction of President Clinton's judicial nominees were quick to complain about obstruction of President Bush's nominees. One of those critics was John Nowacki, former head of the Free Congress Foundation's Center for Law and Democracy, who left in late 2003 to take a position as senior counsel in the Justice Department's public affairs office.
Turns out he's been quite busy over there. The Chicago Tribune reported in May 2007 that Nowacki was helping to "shape the department's widely criticized response" to the controversial firings of several federal prosecutors for what appeared to be partisan reasons, adding "Nowacki worked closely with [former DOJ official Monica] Goodling to track the progress of congressional investigations and helped fashion testimony by top Justice Department officials, according to records released in the inquiry. That testimony is under review by departmental watchdogs trying to determine if Justice Department authorities intentionally misled Congress."
Now, a new inspector general's report asserting that Goodling "routinely broke the law by conducting political litmus tests on candidates for jobs as immigration judges and line prosecutors" offers a role for Nowacki as well. From the Washington Post:
Investigators cited discrepancies in information provided by Goodling, Sampson and former press aide John Nowacki, who, like Goodling, received his law degree from Regent University, founded by television evangelist Pat Robertson. But they stopped short of concluding that the conduct rose to the level of a criminal violation.
An earlier version of the Post story noted that Nowacki was "on assignment in Iraq." What the heck is Nowacki doing in Iraq, and who is he "on assignment" for?
Farah's Disingenuous New Book Topic: WorldNetDaily
So WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah has a new book coming out, "None of the Above," which a July 27 WND article hyperbolically describes as "is the first book of its kind in modern U.S. history – calling for Americans to send a message to the Democratic and Republican parties that they will not vote for candidates who do not honor and uphold the principles of the Constitution." The article adds: "Farah devotes chapters to explaining why both Barack Obama and John McCain are unqualified for the office and will each lead the country in the wrong direction – further from the uniquely American concepts of self-government, personal responsibility, national sovereignty and individual rights."
But as we've documented, the message that Farah's own website is sending is not "none of the above" but, rather, "vote for McCain." WND's news coverage is relentlessly anti-Obama -- to the point of telling outright lies about him -- while refusing to hold McCain to any meaningful scrutiny. WND has also offered only scant coverage of the type of third parties, even the ones with views that Farah presumably supports. Further, WND managing editor David Kupelian declared earlier this month that "John McCain really needs to be elected president in November."
Until WND offers genuine criticism of all candidates, not just the non-conservative ones, Farah's book must be considered as nothing but a disingenuous stunt.
Newsmax 'Editorial' Misleads on Obama Topic: Newsmax
An unbylined July 27 Newsmax article, billed as a "Newsmax editorial," misleads in its attempt to bash Barack obama over his visit to the Middle East and Europe.
The "editorial" tried to play fast and loose with poll numbers, complaining that "Press reports this weekend have almost completely ignored the Rasmussen poll" that showed Obama with a 5-point lead over John McCain -- thus showing that Obama didn't a bounce from his trip -- "to only report on a Gallup poll, which showed Obama with a nine-point lead. Not as good as the Newsweek poll from June, which had Obama 15 points ahead of McCain." In fact, the Gallup poll showed a trend of increasing support during the trip, suggesting that there was a bounce.
The editorial then tried to downplay the reaction to Obama during his speech in Berllin, asserting that "the crowd’s size was beefed up by the fact that the event was billed as a free rock concert for German citizens, with popular musical performers helping to draw the big crowd. Scant U.S. media even noted the warm-up rock draws of reggae artist Patrice and rock band Reamonn." As we noted when NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard made this claim, it's highly doubtful that anyone at Newsmax has any knowledge whatsoever of the German music scene, much less enough to determine that those bands, and not Obama, were the reason thousands came out to see the event.
The editorial also attacked Obama's speech, "in which he proudly proclaimed he was in Germany as a [sic] 'a fellow citizen of the world.'" Newsmax doesn't note that Obama also said that he was "a proud citizen of the United States." Nor does it note that, while addressing the United Nations in June 1982, Ronald Reagan said, "I speak today as both a citizen of the United States and of the world."
The editorial also claims:
Perhaps the most notable -- and reprehensible -- was Obama’s decision to cancel a visit to wounded American soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in southern Germany.
Apparently, the Pentagon informed Obama that since his visit was a political one, the hospital visit would be only open to him and his official Senate staff. This excluded the press and campaign officials.
The Pentagon did offer to allow Obama’s campaign plane to land at the nearby U.S. air base at Ramstein. The media also was to be accommodated there.
Without the photo opportunity and his press entourage, Obama declined to meet the wounded soldiers. At first, Obama’s campaign claimed to the press he decided to cancel the trip to visit the troops because it was "a trip funded by the campaign," and therefore somehow inappropriate. [What is inappropriate about a presidential candidate visiting wounded troops?]
But the Obama story belies the fact it was only after the Pentagon closed the event to his traveling press, that Obama’s campaign nixed the event.
Rightfully, McCain noted that it is never inappropriate for a candidate or official to visit U.S. troops.
In fact, as NBC's Andrea Mitchell pointed out, Obama never planned to take the press with him to Landstuhl: "The Obama campaign thought that they could go, leave the press corps on the tarmac, and then take off with military escort and make this one last visit, as he did, by the way, in Iraq. He visited a casualty unit in the Green Zone without photographers as part of the congressional delegation. But the military said that the rules are that he could only go as part of a previously arranged congressional delegation to Rammstein." Newsmax never mentions this Green Zone visit.
Then again, if Obama had gone to Landstuhl, Newsmax would likely be attacking Obama for using the event to politicize the troops.
If we were the authors of this misleading "editorial," we would've left our byline off it too.
CNS Lacks Context in Fighting GOP Obstruction Accusations Topic: CNSNews.com
A July 28 CNSNews.com article by Josiah Ryan goes the one-sided in citing two Republican congressmen "dismissed Democratic claims of obstructionism and expressed outrage last week over a government report that shows the majority of bills that have passed in the Democrat-controlled Senate of the 110th Congress have done so without any debate or even a vote." The source for this claim, according to Ryan, is "a non-partisan study released on June 10 by the government’s Congressional Research Service (CRS), which indicates that 855 of the 911 bills passed by the Senate of the 110th Congress have been streamlined by Democratic Party leadership with a procedural tactic known as Unanimous Consent (UC), which requires no debate or even a vote."
But Ryan offers no link to the study itself, nor does he report what the unanimous-consent rate has been in previous Republican-controlled Congresses to demonstrate that the current Congress' rate is somehow different (we suspect it's not). Ryan also fails to note that during those Republican Congresses, Republicans and allied groups regularly accused Democrats of obstructionism -- asCNSitselfreported. A May 2005 CNS article, for instance, noted that the Republican National Committee kept an "obstructionist forecast" on Democrats.
While Ryan does quote the press secretary of Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the quotes are taken from a month-old article in The Hill, while the Republican congressmen, Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint, are desribed as speaking at a press conference last week (despite the article carrying an "On the Spot" tag, the name CNS uses for its ambush interviews of congressmen on the sidewalk outside the Capitol); Ryan also interviewed a conservative Heritage Foundation spokesman for the article.
The last time we checked in on Robert Beale, former investor in WorldNetDaily and father of WND columnist Vox Day, he was on the lam, having skipped town to avoid a trial on tax evasion. In the meantime, justice has been served.
After 14 months fleeing from justice, Beale was captured in November 2007 carrying fake ID cards and a fake passport. He later expressed regret for his the anti-tax crusade that got him into hot water (his insistence that he did not have to pay income taxes is what led to his life as a fugitive); while he was on the lam, his wife divorced him (and sued him to obtain assets she claimed were hidden in Swiss banks) and he was removed from the tech company he founded. Beale cited anti-tax crusader Irwin Schiff as the genesis for his own anti-tax activism; WND hasportrayed Schiff as a victim of evil tax-grubbing feds, even after he was convicted on his own tax evasion charges. Remember, WND lists all tax-related stories with the tag "The Power to Destroy"; perhaps it's time someone checks on WND's tax record.
In April, Beale was found guilty of all seven tax evasion counts against him, with a potential penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
But the story doesn't end there: Earlier this month, Beale and three associates were charged with obstruction and conspiracy to impede justice. He was allegedly recorded on a prison phone saying he wanted the judge in his tax evasion trial "to be intimidated," adding in another call, "God wants me to destroy the judge. ... That judge is evil. He wants me to get rid of her." The four face a maximum of six years in prison on the conspiracy to impede charge and 10 years for the obstruction count.
In 2003, WND ran an article detailing Beale's complaint that Minnesota officials seized his $3 million, 30-room house for back taxes. It has been silent on Beale's current troubles.
Klein's Lie Remains Uncorrected Topic: WorldNetDaily
We previously detailed how a July 15 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein falsely claimed that Barack Obama made a "discredited distortion of the Holocaust." In fact, as Klein himself notes, the dispute in question is whether Obama's grandfather helped to liberate Auschwitz -- not the Holocaust itself. Thus, Klein is lying when he claims that Obama distorted the Holocaust.
At last check, it's still posted as originally written without change or apology.
We plan to regularly highlight Klein's lie until he retracts and apologizes for it.
Will MRC Tell The Full Story Behind Obama, Troop Visit? Topic: Media Research Center
Media Research Center outlets are full of high dudgeon over Barack Obama's cancellation of a visit to U.S. troops at the Landstuhl military hospital in Germany-- but silent about the full story behind it.
A July 24 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard asserted that Obama "has cancelled plans to visit two U.S. military bases while in Germany, this despite having all kinds of time to speak to gushing Berliners as well as getting in a workout at the Ritz Carlton."
A July 25 NewsBusters post by Mark Finkelstein noted that "Barack Obama's cancellation of plans to visit injured military members at bases in Germany has drawn considerable attention and criticism" while bashing MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell for reporting that "the Pentagon, perhaps the military with cooperation from some Republican operatives and, that's the sort of scuttlebutt, that there have been some foreign policy advisers of John McCain with connections in the Pentagon who had something to do with this." Finkelstein wrote: "Is this that journalistic standard of NBC/MSNBC? To propagate highly-inflammatory rumors, damaging to one candidate in a presidential race?"
CNSNews.com ran a July 24 Associated Press article highlighting the McCain campaign's criticism of Obama's cancellation of the visit: "Barack Obama is wrong. It is never inappropriate to visit our men and women in the military."
But Sheppard, Finkelstein and CNS has all failed to report further details about the cancellation: that the Germany leg of Obama's European trip was paid for by his campaign, and the Pentagon has confirmed that Obama couldn't visit the hospital with his campaign staff, which would be a violation of Pentagon regulations. Further, McCain has similarly declined to visit certain military installations as a candidate.
Having made initial reports on this story, aren't Sheppard, Finkelstein and CNS obligated to report all the relevant facts regarding it? We think so. Will they admit that had Obama actually visited Landstuhl, they would be criticizing Obama for politicizing the troops? Probably not.
An unbylined July 25 CNSNews.com article on Barack Obama's speech in Berlin was headlined, "A 'Citizen of the World' Campaigns in Berlin." The article also quoted John McCain's campaign saying that Obama was"proclaiming himself a 'citizen of the world.'" But nowhere does CNS note that Obama also said in the speech that he was also "a proud citizen of the United States."
CNS also fails to note that in June 17, 1982, speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Ronald Reagan said, "I speak today as both a citizen of the United States and of the world."
AIM Column Riddled With Falsehoods, Distortions Topic: Accuracy in Media
A July 25 Accuracy in Media column by Olavo de Carvalho ("a philosopher and the author of several books" who "writes for three very influential dailies in Brazil") aiming to smear Barack Obama is loaded with falsehoods, distortions and unsupported claims:
Carvalho claims that Obama said that the American flag is "to many people a symbol of violence." A quick Google search uncovered no instance in which Obama said those words.
Carvalho writes: "To collect funds for his campaign, he organized a lottery system - which is illegal in all 50 American states." First, lotteries are not "illegal in all 50 American states." Second, what Obama was actually accused of was a promotion that appeared to require a donation in exchange for a chance at the prize in question, considered a form of gambling that's illegal in most states; the campaign quickly moved to add language to the promotion permitting people to participate without making a donation.
Carvalho claims that Obama "flies everywhere in an airplane that does not meet the required security standards, and was recently forced to make an emergency landing." In fact, "required security standards" were not the problem; rather, there was an apparent mechanical problem, and there is no evidence whatsoever that Obama deliberately uses planes lacking in safety or "required security standards."
Cavalho enters the territory of far-right conspiracy-mongers by asserting that Obama's "dedication to covering up his past prompts him to hide his own birth certificate." Even conspiracy-happy AIM tried to distance itself from that claim, adding an "editor's note" stating, "The Obama campaign has released an alleged copy of the candidate's birth certificate, showing that he was born in Hawaii. However, some have questioned its authenticity."
Indeed, Carvalho is a font of smears in this piece. He baselessly asserts, "In the Democratic Party and U.S. big media, nobody seems to find anything strange about Obama. Even among supporters of John McCain there is some sort of tacit agreement not to hurt the opponent's feelings with demands beyond his capacity." He also asserts that Obama "listens to the Star-Spangled Banner with his hands on his genitals, and not on his heart" -- making us wonder what kind of things they teach in Brazil -- and claimed that "the candidate displays the kind of absolute trust in his own invulnerability that is so typical of revolutionary sociopaths."
Apparently, standards of journalistic accuracy in Brazil are even lower than they are at AIM.
AIM tried to distance itself further from Carvalho with the disclaimer, "Guest columns do not necessarily reflect the views of Accuracy in Media or its staff." But AIM does not have any auto-generated content and is under no obligation to publish views it disagrees with; all copy is, as far as we know, put through some kind of approval process before being placed on the AIM website. IN other words, somebody at AIM thought this article reflected their views to the point that it was deemed worthy to post. To pretend otherwise through a disclaimer is disingenuous.
Perhaps AIM could share with its readers the rationale for putting such a hateful, inaccurate, genital-obsessed piece of crap on its website.
WND 'Letter of the Week' Is From Terrorist Sympathizer Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's July 25 "Letter of the Week" is from David Ha'ivri, who begins bitterly: "Barack Obama, your visit here is just a waste of time; you're not wanted or needed here. We'll do just fine without you, and you'll probably do better with out us, too. Don't come around here acting as if you're looking out for the good of Israel. We know who you are and who your friends are." Ha'ivri makes repeated references to "Barack Hussein."
What WND doesn't tell you: Ha'ivri is a terrorist sympathizer.
As we've previously noted, Ha'ivri is a sympathizer of extremist rabbi Meir Kahane, who led the Kach movement in Israel (which became Kahane Chai after Kahane's death). In a CNN documentary last year, Ha'ivri refused to condemn a plot by Jewish extremists to detonate a bomb outside a Palestinian girls' school, saying only, "I make no judgment. I think that war is an ugly thing." Ha'ivri's MySpace page even lists Kahane as a friend.
Given WND reporter Aaron Klein's own sympathies toward right-wing Israeli extremism, it's no surprise that Klein has featured -- and whitewashed -- Ha'ivri. In articles about the 2005 march Ha'ivri and other right-wing Jews led to the Temple Mount "in hopes of reclaiming the site from its Islamic custodians," Klein depicted him as simply a pious Jew and didn't mention his Kahane ties.
(WND also doesn't tell you that Ha'ivri's "letter" previously appeared elsewhere; it was also posted on the Israeli National News (Arutz Sheva) website.)
In a 1997 column, WND editor Joseph Farah listed the Kach movement as one of the "terror-supporting groups" that he claimed to "have no use for." But if a Kahane/Kach sympathizer is willing to bash Obama, Farah apparently does have a use for it after all.
In a July 25 WorldNetDaily article, Bob Unruh writes:
The U.S. Senate soon could debate whether you, your spouse and each of your children – as well as your in-laws, parents, grandparents, neighbors and everyone else in America – each will spend $2,500 or more to reduce poverty around the world.
The plan sponsored by Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, is estimated to cost the U.S. some $845 billion over the coming few years in an effort to raise the standard of living around the globe.
Cliff Kincaid at Accuracy in Media has published a critique asserting that while the Global Poverty Act sounds nice, the adoption could "result in the imposition of a global tax on the United States" and would make levels of U.S. foreign aid spending "subservient to the dictates of the United Nations."
He said the legislation, if approved, dedicates 0.7 percent of the U.S. gross national product to foreign aid, which over 13 years, he said, would amount to $845 billion "over and above what the U.S. already spends."
In fact, as we'venoted, contrary to Unruh's and Kincaid's assertions, the bill has no funding mechanism, doesn't commit the U.S. to a targeted level of spending, and doesn't give the United Nations the power to impose a tax on the U.S.
What NewsBusters Writers Don't Post At NewsBusters Topic: NewsBusters
Many NewsBusters bloggers have their own blogs, and it's interesting to see what appears there that doesn't make the NewsBusters cut.
Over at the National Center for Public Policy Research, Amy Ridenour does the unusual for a "name" conservative: defend Michael Savage. In making "an appeal for calm" over Savage's trashing of people with autism, Ridenour merely regurgitates Savage's spin:
In response, Savage says his comments were taken out of context by Media Matters. ... He added that his comments were actually in support of truly autistic children, who, he said, lose out on services and funding they need because money is "pilfered by those who are not autistic." "The truly autistic child needs as much help as he or she can get," he said; what he opposes is "fakery."
Except that's not true at all. Savage has falsely recast his original remarks to claim they were taken out of context, and he's also on the record calling autism a "phony disease." Nevertheless, Ridenour continued:
My sense of this is that those who are calling for Savage's firing should calm down. Savage clearly has sympathy for children disabled by autism. His greatest offense was that his disgust over what he believes is people using autism for financial gain encouraged him to exaggerate the extent to which autism is overdiagnosed and the ease with which genuine autism (which presently is incurable) can be cured. The hyperbole was not helpful, but it should not be confused with an attack on the genuinely disabled.
Except Savage has never offered any evidence (that we've seen, anyway) of anyone "using autism for financial gain." Giving Savage a pass for mere "hyperbole" runs counter to the evidence, as opposed to what Savage wants people like Ridenour to think.
Meanwhile, at Stop the ACLU, NewsBusters' John "Jay" Stephenson is singing the praises of the upcoming book by Walid Shoebat and Joel Richardson (who helped gather stories from Shoebat and others for the WorldNetDaily-published book "Why We Left Islam"), which purports that "the Anti-Christ of Christianity is the Mahdi of Islam." Unsurprisingly, there's no mention of Shoebat's credibility problems.
Meanwhile, the the entire basis of Shoebat and Richardson's book is fundamentally flawed. As Richard Bartholomew details:
[P]art of their thesis is the claim that the Greek letters for “666″ in the Bible are actually the Arabic for “In the name of Allah”. To reach this conclusion, they point to the Codex Vaticanus manuscript of the Bible, which was written in th Fourth Century. Unfortunately for them, they failed to understand that the original Codex does not contain the Book of Revelation; it was added centuries later using a different script which didn’t exist in the Fourth Century, and the nineteenth-century facsimile edition they consulted replaced this with a typeset version (there are also other objections, but this one highlights their incompetence the most dramatically).
It's usually a good idea to see if a book is based in fact before one endorses it.
Obama would do well to forget, for the moment, his contempt for America and her traditions, and realize that many in the Middle East hate America even more than he, his wife and his self-professed closest advisers do.