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Thursday, September 25, 2008
Antoher NewsBuster Falsely Conflates Media Lockouts
In fact, as we detailed, Shepherd falsely conflated what Palin tried to do -- block reporters from covering her photo ops with foreign leaders at the United Nations out of fear she might be asked a question -- with the actual meetings themselves. And Huston does the exact same thing.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Prelutsky Repeats False DNC Flag Story
Burt Prelutsky writes in his Sept. 24 WorldNetDaily column:
In fact, the flags weren't "trashed." As we detailed, DNC officials stated that the flags were placed in bags so that they could be put into storage but were stolen and turned over to the McCain campaign under the bogus story that they were to be thrown out.
Aaron Klein Anti-Obama Agenda Watch
A Sept. 23 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein regurgitates a Wall Street Journal column by Stanley Kurtz purporting to detail a relationship between Barack Obama and William Ayers through the Ayers-founded Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Klein has interpreted Kurtz's article to assert that Obama "had a close working relationship" with Ayers.
But Kurtz never uses the word "close" in his WSJ article, and the evidence Klein presents doesn't exactly support the claim of closeness.
The closest Klein gets to smoking gun on closeness is an assertion that "It would have been unusual for Ayers not to have been involved in the selection of Obama" due to "Ayers' extensive work to secure the original grant for the CAC from a national education initiative by Ambassador Walter Annenberg, as well as Ayers' molding of the CAC guidelines." Most evidence Klein presents is circumstantial, such as asserting that "Ayers made presentations to board meetings chaired by Obama. Ayers also spoke for the Chicago School Reform Collaborative before Obama's board, while Obama periodically spoke for the board at meetings of the collaborative, the CAC documents reviewed by Kurtz show."
Klein does repeat a statement from the Obama campaign that Ayers was not involved with Obama's recruitment to the CAC board, but again, none of the circumstantial evidence Klein offers as rebuttal disproves that claim.
Newsmax Misleads on Cartoon
A Sept. 23 Newsmax article by Jim Meyers about a "cartoon in the Washington Post that mocked Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin" ignores or misstates key facts regarding it.
Meyers states that the cartoon appeared "in the Washington Post" but also stated that it was "posted online." In fact, it appeared only online and was never published in the print version of the newspaper.
Meyers also fails to note the cartoonist's name -- Pat Oliphant -- or mention that Oliphant is a syndicated cartoonist, not an employee of the Post (as NewsBusters' Warner Todd Huston claimed), or that, as Post ombudsman Deborah Howell pointed out, such syndicated content on the Post's website is automatically posted, or that Oliphant's cartoons appear in other online venues, such as Yahoo!.
Instead, Meyers has written an misleading, ill-informed piece with no reason for existing other than to bash the Post.
NewsBusters Falsely Conflates Media Lockouts
A Sept. 23 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd appears to misleadingly cite news accounts to claim that Sarah Palin's intial refusal to allow reporters to cover meetings with foreign leaders at the United Nations is equivalent to Barack Obama's closed-door meetings with leaders on his European trip earlier this year.
Shepherd cited "a 7-paragraph article" by the Associated Press about how Palin "[Banned] reporters from meetings with leaders," adding that "A review of media coverage from Obama's behind-closed-doors chats with European heads of state, however, shows no such complaint by the media about a lack of access." But the article to which Shepherd linked now goes to a longer AP article that, if it didn't tell the full story, it does now:
So the problem was not that Palin banned coverage of the entire meeting; it's that she banned coverage of the beginning photo op. Shepherd offers no evidence (at least not in the AP article he cites) that Obama banned reporters from any opening photo op.
Meanwhile, a Sept. 23 post by Brent Baker baselessly accused NBC of being "jealous" that it's "the only broadcast network evening newscast snubbed so far by Palin," thus purportedly motivating it to "devote a full story to how reporters were initially barred from her photo-ops with foreign leaders and her general lack of availability to the press."
Cashill's Latest Conspiracy
Conspiracy-monger extrordinaire Jack Cashill has a new conspiracy to peddle: William Ayers, whom he calls "the radical leftist who has made 'unrepentant' a household word," ghost-wrote Obama's book "Dreams From My Father."
Cashill lays it out in a three-part series published at WND Sept. 18-20. He has no actual evidence to back this up, of course -- just a claim to have "developed an eye for literary humbug." Cashill claims a purported similarity between "Dreams" and Ayers' 2001 memoir, "Fugitive Days." Cashill also asserts the two have a similar background: "Ayers and Obama both grew up in comfortable white households and have struggled to find an identity as righteous black men ever since." And Cashill demonstrates a need to belittle Obama as nothing more than an Ayers mouthpiece, something else he has no actual evidence to support: "In Obama, alas, Ayers may have found a much more a lethal weapon to use against the 'marauding monster' called America than any pipe bomb he could have ever built."
Cashill also writes: "For Ayers, like so many on the left, hard and soft, facts are whatever he can get away with." Given that Cashill is peddling conjecture as fact, he might as well be writing about himself.
Remember, Cashill is the guy who wrote a seven-part WND series claiming that anti-abortion extremist didn't murder abortion doctor Barnett Slepian -- only to have Kopp confess to the killing a few months later. That makes it difficult to take anything he writes seriously.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch
Topic: Media Research Center
A Sept. 23 appearance on Fox News' "America's Newsroom" by TimesWatch's Clay Waters followed the template by having him appear solo, but the host surprisingly asked Waters to describe what he does, and Waters even more surprisingly answers by saying his mission is to find "liberal bias" in the New York Times.
Waters makes the occasional overbroad claim, such as claiming that the Times is "always accusing McCain of playing the race card."
MRC's Double Standard on Partisan Prosecutors
Topic: Media Research Center
A lengthy Sept. 23 NewsBusters post by Jason Aslinger defends Sarah Palin's decision to stonewall the "so-called" Troopergate investigation, citing "the obvious bias underlying the entire investigation" and "a series of biased statements" made by "[t]he democrat legislator in charge of the probe, Hollis French." That's a big flip-flop on the part of the Media Research Center, which a decade ago defended Clinton-era independent counsel Kenneth Starr from accusations that he was acting in a partisan manner -- and seem to indicate a partisan prosecutor was a good thing (at least, if that partisanship benefited conservatives).
A January 1998 CyberAlert, for example, complained that "Dan Rather has spent four years incessantly tagging Starr as 'the Republican special prosecutor.'" A September 1998 CyberAlert asserted that raising questions about Starr's conduct as a "White House diversionary strategy."
An April 1998 column by Brent Bozell was annoyed that "For years, liberal media figures have drubbed independent counsel Kenneth Starr as a partisan, carrying every James Carville attack, pointing fingers at Starr's speect as Pat Robertson's Regent University, his thoughts of filing an amicus brief in the Paula Jones case, his legal representation of tobacco companies and school choice advocates." He then jumped to Starr's defense by painting him as, if nothing else, less partisan than special prosecutors investigating Republicans:
So, it appears that the MRC believes it was a bad thing for the Clinton administration to cite Starr's partisanship as a reason to be less than cooperative with his investigation because of his partisanship, it's a good thing for Palin to stonewall Hollis French. That just pretty much screams "double standard," doesn't it?
CNS Misleads Again About Obama's Position on Abortion Law
A Sept. 22 CNSNews.com article by Penny Starr on Obama campaign criticism of an ad attacking him as a "despicable lie" fails to completely report Obama's history on the issue at hand.
Starr repeated claims that "the Illinois version of the Born Alive Infant Act, along with a Roe-v-Wade shield amendment identical to the language added to the federal version of the bill" without noting that, as we've detailed, a state law containing the same language as the federal law would not have offered the same protection because federal laws do not regulate abortion as state laws do. Thus, a state law that declared it was not undermining Roe v. Wade -- the provison cited by anti-abortion activists as the identical clause in both the state and federal laws in question -- would also need to specifically state it was also not undermining relevant state abortion regulations as well.
Starr also failed to mention Obama's other defense for not supporting a "born alive" law -- that it was unnecessary because the behavior it banned was already illegal, meaning that such a law would be a political statement instead of a new prohibition. She further fails to note that in 2005, a "born alive" law did pass in Illinois that specifically stated that it would not affect "existing federal or state law regarding abortion," a clause missing from earlier versions of the bill.
Corsi Still Hiding Raines' Denial of Obama Link
We've previously asked whether Jerome Corsi would back off the disputed claim that former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines is an adviser to Barack Obama. We have our answer: nope.
A Sept. 22 WorldNetDaily article by Corsi repeats that claim that Raines is an Obama adviser in the midst of accusing him of "receiv[ing] preferential home loans as industry favors." Again, nowhere does Corsi note that both Raines and the Obama campaign have denied that Raines is an Obama adviser.
Wouldn't that be an important thing to report? Corsi doesn't think so. Which is why we've pointed out how closely Corsi's shoddy reporting tracks that of his employer.
By contrast, a Sept. 23 CNSNews.com article by Matt Cover and Matt Hadro on Raines notes the denial -- in fact, it's noted twice. But it also claims that "Raines reportedly earned $90 billion during his time as Fannie Mae’s CEO," which we're pretty sure is wrong.
(UPDATE: CNS has now corrected that to a more logical "$90 million.l")
Kincaid Defends McCain by Smearing WaPo
Topic: Accuracy in Media
A Sept. 22 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid is a mess of wild attacks against the Washington Post, accusing it of telling "whoppers." But Kincaid himself is engaged in his own tall-tale telling.
Noting that a John McCain attacking Barack Obama claiming that former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines is "advis[ing]" Obama is based on a statement in a Post article, Kincaid then attacks a Post fact-check that told the full story:
But that's not what the fact-check said:
Kincaid has no evidence that Dobbs somehow coerced Huslin and "got her to say" something different than what she reported and "change her story," as he suggests, let alone that anything was done specifically to "prote t Obama." Kincaid also offers no evidence, other than Huslin's apparently somewhat overstated claim, that taking a couple calls from someone in the Obama campaign makes Raines an "adviser" on the level the McCain portrays it.
Rather than demonstrating how "embarrassing the lengths to which the paper will go to protect Obama," Kincaid has instead demonstrated the embarrassing lengths he will go to smear anyone who gets in his way of promoting hard-right conservatives like Sarah Palin (and, thus, John McCain).
Monday, September 22, 2008
Who Said Palin Wanted to 'Burn' Books?
Topic: Media Research Center
In a Sept. 22 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham claimed that "Brent Bozell's latest culture column explored how liberal nitpickers landed in Alaska and quickly jumped to conclusions that any right-wing, Jesus-loving politician must be a book-burner." But despite Bozell's mention of "'anti-censorship' activists, perpetually filled with visions of a trash can full of burning books" and an "imaginary book-burning torch," there's no evidence whatsoever that anyone accused Sarah Palin wanted to "burn" books.
Further, in his column, Bozell misleads on the question from Palin that led to the book-banning (not "burning") criticism of her. Bozell writes that "Palin dared to ask the town librarian what would happen if anyone objected to an inappropriate book. She merely inquired," but that's not how the librarian, Mary Ellen Eammons, and others in Wasilla, Alaska, put it:
Bozell doesn't mention that the church Palin attended at the time she was mayor, the Wasilla Assembly of God, did show interest in censoring books, particularly one written by a local minister called "Pastor, I Am Gay."
Bozell also misleads a bit on the fight in Nampa, Idaho, about whether the books "The Joy of Sex" and "The Joy of Gay Sex" should be generally available in the library or hidden in an office and released only to those specifically requesting them. Bozell wrote that "parent activist, Randy Jackson, was stunned to hear in 2005 that these books were lying around on the library tables for any child to page through." We've highlighted the word "hear" to point out that the evidence against the book is hearsay: As the Idaho Statesman reported, "Randy Jackson began campaigning to remove the two books from Nampa's library after a friend's teenager saw the book 'The Joy of Gay Sex' on a library table in late 2005."
Nevertheless, Bozell huffed: "Immediately, one wonders: Who were the two who felt it appropriate to display this garbage in a public library, in front of children?" But Bozell offers no evidence that the library itself displayed the book.
Corsi Pushes Discredited Claim About Obama, Fannie Mae
We've previously noted that Jerome Corsi's reporting on alleged connections between Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac and Barack Obama's campaign ignores the fact that John McCain's campaign also has Fannie/Freddie connections. It looks like Corsi may have gotten something else wrong as well.
Corsi's Sept. 17 WorldNetDaily article asserted that former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines has "close ties to Obama" and "currently advises Obama on housing policy." Well, not so much, it appears: According to Politico's Ben Smith in a Sept. 18 post, Raines issued a statement saying, "I am not an advisor to Barack Obama, nor have I provided his campaign with advice on housing or economic matters." Obama's campaign also denied a link.
Still, Corsi wrote a Sept. 20 WND article portraying Raines as having "perpetrated an Enron-like accounting scandal as chief executive officer of Fannie Mae." Corsi repeated his claim that Raines is a "current Obama housing adviser," citing as apparent evidence a Washington Post article claiming that Raines takes "calls from Barack Obama's presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters."
But as Smith pointed out, that claim is not specifically attributed to anyone, "the kind of blind sourcing that suggests the source was Raines." And nowhere does Corsi note the denials of Raines and the Obama campaign that Raines is a "current Obama housing adviser," even though they appeared two days before Corsi's article was published.
Remember WND editor Joseph Farah was whining that a small newspaper in Kansas wouldn't print a full retraction of an incorrect claim about WND in a letter to the editor? Here's a chance to demonstrate that he and WND take all false claims seriously, and that he's a better and more responsive editor than that guy in Kansas, by fulling retracting and apologizing for Corsi's article.
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