An unsigned Aug. 27 NewsBusters post proudly notes that Bill O'Reilly "cited the Media Research Center's latest special report, 'Obama's Margin of Victory: The Media,' in the midst of the 'Unresolved Problems' segment for his August 26 program." That study claims that broadcast networks are, in O'Reilly's words, "in the tank for Barack Obama."
No doubt the folks at the MRC are equally proud that O'Reilly failed to label the MRC as a conservative group (just one part of Fox News' pro-MRC tilt) and also that he failed to mention a Center for Media and Public Affairs study that -- through its finding that Obama has received more negative broadast network coverage than John McCain -- clashes with the results of the MRC's study.
CNS Repeats Debunked 'Most Liberal Senator' Claim Topic: CNSNews.com
An Aug. 27 CNSNews.com article by Kevin Mooney repeats the misleading claim: "The nonpartisan National Journal ranked the presumed Democratic nominee, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), and his running mate [Joe] Biden as number one and number three respectively under the category of 'Most Liberal Senator in 2007.'"
As we've noted (as has Media Matters), the National Journal ranking is highly subjective, based on 99 votes selected by the magazine's staff -- for instance, a vote to implement the bipartisan 9-11 Commission's homeland security recommendations was considered to be "liberal." By contrast, a separate study based on all 388 non-unanimous Senate votes during 2007 produced a different result, ranking Obama and Biden as tied for the 10th most liberal senator.
If a media person dances to music played at the Democratic National Convention, is that evidence of liberal media bias? Matthew Balan seems to think so.
In an Aug. 26 NewsBusters post, Balan noted a CNN report highlighting how CNN analysts Roland Martin, Donna Brazile and Paul Begala dancing to Earth, Wind & Fire songs played in the background during the convention, adding, "I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that they like to let loose when they’re not attacking conservatives and Republicans."
Then again, the Republicans probably won't be playing and EW&F tunes at their convention. Daddy Yankee, maybe.
Speaking of whom: We couldn't help but notice that while the MRC folks have ratcheted up their blue-nosing over the vulgar lyrics of, say, Ludacris when they can be tied to Obama, they haven't said a word about the vulgarlyrics of McCain endorser Daddy Yankee.
Newsmax Repeats Misleading Claims About Obama, Abortion Topic: Newsmax
An Aug. 26 Newsmax article by Jim Meyers misleadingly asserts that Barack Obama "fought against a bill protecting the right to life of a baby born alive." Citing David Freddoso's Obama-bashing book, Meyers writes:
In March 2001, a bill was introduced in the Illinois Senate, where Obama was then serving, that stated in part: “A live child born as a result of an abortion shall be fully recognized as a human person and accorded immediate protection under the law.”
The bill came following an investigation of a Chicago-area hospital that left babies born alive to die without medical care.
That's an apparent reference to charges first forwarded by anti-abortion activist Jill Stanek -- which, by the way, were never substantiated.
“This bill was not an abortion law,” Freddoso writes. “It did not confer any right or legal status upon any baby not yet born. This bill had no legal conflicts with Roe v. Wade … Born and living survivors of abortion would be unambiguously considered ‘persons.’ Medically, scientifically, empirically, they were no different from the many premature babies who are born in American hospitals each year.”
In fact, as Media Matters details, the bill was superfluous because state law already made illegal the actions Stanek alleged were taking place. At no point does Meyers note this argument in his article. The fact that such behavior was already illegal and, thus, the proposed law would have made nothing additionally illegal makes the headline on Meyers' article -- "Obama OK'd 'Live Born' Abortion' -- utterly false.
Further, in the section of the speech that Meyers reproduces, Obama specifically refers to "pre-viable fetuses" that cannot survive outside the womb and claimed that the bill would effectively make them "persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to … a nine-month-old child that was delivered to term." "Pre-viable" is not the same thing as "premature" -- a distinction Freddoso and Meyers fail to make.
This isn't the only anti-Obama bias Newsmax is peddling these days: An Aug. 25 article by George J. Marlin indulges in some CNS-style labeling bias by repeatedly describing Joe Biden as "pro-abortion."
Beaches, Brothers and Mychal Massie Topic: WorldNetDaily
In his Aug. 26 WorldNetDaily column, Mychal Massie repeats the conservative talking point that Barack obama recently vacationed at "an exclusive, private beach in Hawaii that most of those who support him could not afford."
Massie also attacks Obama for "allow[ing] his half-brother George to live in a mud hut in Nairobi on less than $12 – that's right – less than $12 a year." That claim -- which surfaced in an Italian Vanity Fair article repeated in a Republican smear ad -- has been challenged by none other than George Obama himself: "They say I live on a dollar a month, but this is all lies by people who don't want my brother to win."
Massie does repeat his conservative talking points well -- he even runs to the defense of John McCain over the how-many-houses-does-he-own gaffe, defining the issue as "class envy," asserting that "McCain may not have known at that precise moment the number of homes (or condos) he owns in 'specific legal terms,'" adding that "it is common for upper-income couples, including politicians, to have pre-marriage documents that are unimaginable for most people to comprehend due to their complexity." He also throws in "McCain met and married a woman from a family of means. Unlike some former Democrat presidential nominees, he has not made a career of marrying uber-wealthy widows."
Sheppard Shocked Once More By Non-Shocking Event Topic: NewsBusters
We remain impressed by Noel Sheppard's apparently bottomlessability to be shocked by the non-shocking.
In an Aug. 25 NewsBusters post, Sheppard declared it "astonishing" that CNN's Lou Dobbs would declare that "My colleagues in the national media are absolutely biased, in the tank supporting the Obama candidacy while claiming the mantle of objectivity."
An Aug. 26 Newsmax article by James H. Walsh ("a former federal prosecutor and U.S. German Marshall Fund scholar") falsely claimed that a bill sponsored by Barack Obama, the Global Poverty Act, "would impose a global tax of 0.7 percent of gross national product (GNP) on the United States."
In fact, as we've repeatedlynoted when Accuracy in Media promoted the claim, the Global Poverty Act 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.
In his Aug. 25 WorldNetDaily column, Craig R. Smith envisions Barack Obama as "our first hip-hop president":
I can only imagine how the world will embrace the leader of the free world when he introduces other foreign leaders with, "give it up for my man Vladimir." Giving "props" for joining us in a treaty. Or the first lady Michelle talking about "my man" the "daddy of my babies" when referring to the president. That should go over well everywhere from 10 Downing Street right on down to the streets of the Middle East.
The use of ghetto slang during the primaries and even today may be a clear indication just how the Obamas intend to "roll" if given the privileged seat in the Oval Office.
I can see it now. Air Force One decked out with "22s" and spinners. Maybe even a set of hydraulics. Watching the hip-hop president in the Oval Office with his baseball cap on backwards coping a gansta lean in the big chair. Should be really pimp, don't you think? Cool man, real cool. Instead of giving away presidential cuff links to guests, as is the custom, he will offer "bling bling."
I imagine a whole group of special advisers to the president sitting around the Oval Office discussing policy. Kanye West, 50 Cent and maybe even Eminem (to keep the diversity thing going), all sharing their life experiences with the prez to assist him in understanding his "peeps."
After a few months on the job he can refer to his cabinet members as his "bitches." Hey don't get angry at me. Take a listen to any hip-hop song, and that is the type of endearing language you will hear. A group of playas that have no respect for the country. The same country that affords them a lifestyle most people only dream of, and all they can do is endlessly complain about it. Barack is very good at putting America down. Just like his hipster homeboys.
CNS' Jeffrey Uses the 'Non-Partisan' Labeling Dodge Topic: CNSNews.com
In an Aug. 25 CNSNews.com article on Joe Biden's alleged "pro-tax career," Terry Jeffrey cited "the non-partisan National Taxpayers Union" as a source. In fact, the NTU is a conservative-leaning group that in the past has aligneditself with other conservative groups such as the American Conservative Union, the Center for Individual Freedom and the Capital Research Center.
Ironically, while Jeffrey was doing this, his MRC colleagues at NewsBusters were bashing ABC for "profil[ing] a left leaning organization, but only cit[ing] them as 'non-partisan.'" Seems like Jeffrey and Co. should address this issue in their own house before calling others out on it.
Kincaid Way Too Excited to Mix Sex Into His Obama-Hate Topic: Accuracy in Media
Cliff Kincaid has latched onto an old perversion to take his Obama-bashing excitement to a whole new level: lurid sex.
No doubt panting hard as he wrote it, an Aug. 24 Accuracy in Media column by Kincaid repeats claims that alleged Barack Obama "mentor" Frank Marshall Davis "was a bisexual engaged in 'sordid' sexual activities and had repeated sexual encounters with a 13-year-old girl." His source: an article in the conservative UK newspaper the Telegraph stating that Davis wrote a pornographic novel under a pseudonym that included those activities. It doesn't matter if what Davis wrote was fiction, Kincaid declares: "Whether the book Sex Rebel is entirely based on Davis or not, the controversy certainly demonstrates that Davis had a perverted sexual interest and should not have been trusted as a mentor for any young person."
Kincaid is essentially playing the same card Republicans tried to play against congressional candidate Jim Webb in 2006, by portraying sexually explicit scenes in Webb's works of fiction as reflective of Webb himself. (CNSNews.com bought heavily into this meme, if you'll recall.) Kincaid cannot prove Davis actually did any of the stuff he wrote about.
How obsessed is Kincaid about incorporating kinky sex into his Obama-hate? he complains that Obama's "40-page so-called rebuttal" to Jerome Corsi's factually challenged anti-Obama book "makes no mention of Davis’s Sex Rebel book and his interest in pornography."
Wow, Kincaid seems unsually interested in this newfound sex aspect. Does that raise questions about Kincaid's own private life?
Kincaid also whines that David Maraniss, who wrote a Washington Post profile of Obama's years in Hawaii, "completely ignores the fact that Davis was Obama’s mentor and adviser for a significant number of those years." Kincaid adds:
Asked about this striking omission in his Post article, Maraniss told AIM that “My reporting conclusion was the role of ‘Frank’ had been hyped out of all proportion, both by Obama himself in his book and some others later. He did not play a role in really shaping Obama.”
This “conclusion,” of course, fails to let the readers decide, based on what Obama and others have reported. And he does not explain how he came to this conclusion.
If Maraniss "told AIM" about this, why didn't Kincaid or anyone else at AIM ask him to explain? Apparently Kincaid and his crew couldn't tear themselves away from the lurid sex long enough to ask.
Shocker: WND Debunks False Obama Rumors -- And Aaron Klein Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Aug. 23 WorldNetDaily article by news editor Drew Zahn about a lawsuit by Hillary Clinton supporter Philip Berg attempting to stop Barack Obama's candidacy does something unthinkable for WND It not only debunks myths about Obama's citizenship, it debunks WND's own reporting furthering those myths.
Zahn writes that "the suit claims Obama was not born an American citizen; lost any hypothetical American citizenship he had as a child ... may not now be an American citizen and even if he is, may hold dual citizenships with other countries." Where we've stuck that ellipsis resides the statement, in italics no less: "Editor's note: This point is not supported by U.S. citizenship law."
That arguably discredits Aaron Klein's suggestion in an Aug. 17 WND article that Obama was, and may still be, a citizen of Indonesia. In that article, Klein also falsely impugned Obama's patriotism, claiming that Obama's alleged dual citizenship "could raise loyalty concerns." Zahn also wrote:
Berg explained in a radio interview with Roger Hedgecock of KOGO in San Diego that Internet reports had been persistent over the last several months that Obama's birth certificate was a forgery and that he may not be an eligible, natural-born citizen. After doing his own careful research, Berg explained, he came to the conclusion the reports were more fact than rumor and that he needed to act quickly, before the election process proceeded.
"I filed this action at this time," said Berg in a press release, "to avoid the obvious problems that will occur when the Republican Party raises these issues after Obama is nominated."
However, FactChecker.org says it obtained Obama's actual birth certificate and that the document was indeed real. The site discredited some of the claims of Internet bloggers, such as that the certificate as viewed in a scanned copy released by Obama's campaign lacked a raised seal. FactChecker.org also established that many of the alleged flaws in the document noted by bloggers were caused by the scanning of the document.
A separate WND investigation into Obama's birth certificate utilizing forgery experts also found the document to be authentic.
This also contradicts recent WND reporting, which -- after first reporting in June that National Review blogger Jim Geraghty declared himself satisfied that Obama was born in Hawaii as he has claimed -- claimed in an Aug. 8 article that the right-wing anti-Obama site Israel Insider "is reporting that analysts working separately have determined the birth certificate posted on the Daily Kos website and later on Sen. Barack Obama's 'Fight the Smears' campaign website is fraudulent."
We can't recall a previous situation in which WND has so definitively shot down its own previous reporting -- and especially on a subject like Obama, whom WND has sworn to attack regardless of the truth of its accusations. Given Zahn's allegiance to actually living up to WND's claim of reporting the truth without sacred cows -- which runs counter to WND's reality of denigrating liberals and fluffing conservatives -- we can't imagine much of a future for Zahn at WND.
So, will WND do the right thing and publicly apologize to Obama for forwarding those false claims about him in the first place? Don't count on it -- WND has its own anti-Obama screed to peddle, and it wouldn't want to reduce sales for that.
(UPDATE: While Klein eventually concluded that "If Obama indeed possessed Indonesian citizenship as a child, it is unlikely he retains such citizenship," he didn't bother to reveal that until the second-to-last paragraph of his 24-paragraph article, which was written to negatively highlight the citizenship question and unsubstantiated "loyalty" concerns.)
An Aug. 22 WorldNetDaily article on a presidential "report card" issued by the right-wing Campaign for Children and Families engages in dishonesty by not only refusing to put an accurate "right-wing" or even "conservative" label on the group -- it instead uses the conservative-correctness term "pro-family" -- but also repeats the laughable claim that the group "isn't taking a position on the political candidates." Yeah, right -- given the slanted, inaccurate language that CCF uses (and WND repeats), it's clear at least who CCF doesn't want as president.
WND quotes CCF president Randy Thomasson as calling the report card "carefully researched," which is true only if one defines the term as making liberal use of slanted language and cherry-picked quotes and even ignoring the findings of said research. For instance, in support of its claim that "Barack Obama has pledged to increase taxes and to eliminate existing tax cuts," the CCF report card lists a statement by Obama in which he says, "I will institute a middle-class tax cut. So, if you're making $75,000, if you're making $50,000 a year, you will see an extra $1,000 a year offsetting on your payroll tax." It also lists a statement that Obama will "eliminate the Bush tax cuts" without noting that he has also said he would eliminate them only for the richest Americans.
The "report card" lists as one category "Require Schoolchildren to Think Favorably About Homosexuality" with Obama listed as a "Yes." But as support, it lists only a quote from Obama saying, "the fact is my nine year old and my six year olds, I think, are already aware that there are same-sex couples. And my wife and I have already talked about it." There's no mention of discussing same-sex couples "favorably," or even that he would "require" anyone else to do so. CCF appears to be invoking the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy, in which there is no such thing as as neutral depiction of homosexuality and that any non-negative depiction must be positive.
WND uncritically repeated CCF's claims without pointing out the flaws in its "research" or interviewing anyone else with a differing view.
Not-So-Colluding Commie Strikes Back Against Kincaid (And Us) Topic: Accuracy in Media
We noted that back in July, Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid was touting the word of a self-proclaimed communist named Alan Maki as "deadly confirmation that a hard-core CPUSA member [Frank Marshall Davis] played a key role in helping raise [Barack] Obama," further describing Maki as a "friendly fellow." Turns out Maki isn't eager about the connection.
In the midst of a lengthy screed attacking us for being "a Democratic Party hack" and suggesting that we would be joining Conrad Black in jail -- we're not sure exactly what brought this on since all we did was note Kincaid's approving cite of him and criticism of Maki and Kincaid by Frank Marshall Davis, who claims to be Frank Marshall Davis' son -- Maki made the following declaration:
In fact, the “collusion” to which Krepel refers--- between me and Cliff Kincaid--- is me telling Mr. Kincaid in no uncertain terms--- using language I am sure Mr. Krepel would object to--- to never call me again, and my reporting his calls to me to the United States Department of Justice, the Minnesota Attorney General, Lori Swanson, and the Minnesota Commissioner of Public Safety, Michael Campion because I consider Kincaid’s call to me to be part of the vicious right-wing hate campaign against me initially instigated by Brian Melendez in his attempt to silence me from bringing forward working class issues involving the rights of casino workers; public ownership as a means to save the closing St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant; bringing forward the issue of single-payer universal health care as the MN DFL Party leadership was trying to betray the wishes of Minnesotans on this issue; and my persistent opposition to this dirty imperialist war for oil in Iraq predicated upon lies and deceit which the Democrats acquiesced to and went right along with--- including funding the carnage in Iraq when that money is needed right here at home for education, health care and housing.
In fact, Mr. Krepel, had you bothered to pick up the phone and make two-calls… you would have found that I forced Cliff Kincaid to recant his vicious and malicious postings about me because had he not, I intended to sue him for libel and defamation of character. I wouldn’t walk across the street to vote for your dear Barack Obama; and Cliff Kincaid tried to use me to demonstrate Communist Party USA support for Barack Obama. As a proud long-time member of the CPUSA it would be a cold day in hell before I ever voted for a capitalist politician no matter what their name… I have stated my intent to vote for Cynthia McKinney--- a real progressive and the best Democrat in the race. My one and only interest in the Obama Campaign is to try to make sure working peoples’ voices are heard loud and clear by the incoming Obama Administration and my blog postings make this crystal clear… unlike you, I state where I stand and what motivates me right up front…
Well, all righty, then.
Maki then goes off and makes numerous false about us, which leads to the aforementioned linking of us with Conrad Black over our original cheekily alliterative headline, "Is Kincaid Colluding With a Commie?"
Your headline reminds me of what Conrad Black wrote about me: “Commie, Go Home.”
Mr. Krepel, you might want to take note of where Mr. Black currently makes his home.
Which begs the question: Why did Kincaid, initially at least, treat Maki as a credible source? That raises some questions about Kincaid's judgment. Is Kincaid so desperate to smear Obama that he'll take the word of just anyone? If Maki sent the same kind of screeds Kincaid's way as he did ours, does Kincaid still think he's a "friendly fellow" whose word can be trusted?
The Media Lack-Of-Research Center Topic: NewsBusters
An Aug. 23 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard declared an analysis of Barack Obama's pick of Joe Biden as vice president, written by the Associated Press' Ron Fournier, to be "urprisingly accurate." On what basis did Sheppard make this assessment? His own post earlier in the day -- which said noting about the accuracy of Fournier's analysis but cheerfully pointed out that it said "something negative about a Democrat."
The new Sheppard post goes on to note that "the far-left organization MoveOn" has criticized Fournier's analysis, noting that "Media watchdog group Media Matters wrote a report showing that Fournier's presidential coverage has consistently smeared Democrats and favored John McCain." Sheppard's response:
The posting cited ultra-left leaning shill Media Matters for America, which as readers know isn't interested in exposing what it believes to be conservative bias in the press, but instead wants to eliminate all right-leaning opinions available in print and across the airwaves.
Of course, why shouldn't MoveOn use MM as a reference given both organization's ties to George Soros?
Nowhere does Sheppard cite any actual facts to support his claims about Media Matters (disclosure: our employer) -- perhaps because there aren't any. There's no evidence that Media Matters "wants to eliminate all right-leaning opinions available in print and across the airwaves," and Soros has never given money to Media Matters, either directly or through another organization, so we're not sure what "ties" Sheppard is referring to.
Further, Sheppard offers no evidence he has even examined the Media Matters analysis of Fouriner that MoveOn.org noted. Perhaps that's because Sheppard doesn't want any pesky facts to interfere with the false impression he apparently shares with his fellow NewsBusters that Fournier is a liberal. Indeed, if Fournier is such a liberal, why was John McCain's campaign trying to hire him last year?
(And if Media Matters is an "ultra-left leaning shill," doesn't that make Sheppard's employer, the Media Research Center, an "ultra-right leaning shill"? Think Sheppard will ever acknowledge that?)
Sheppard might do well to remember to remember that the organization he works for has "research" in its name, not "baseless assertion" -- not that the MRC's "research" is worth writing home about, of course.