ConWebBlog: The Weblog of ConWebWatch

your New Media watchdog

ConWebWatch: home | archive/search | about | primer | shop

Wednesday, December 17, 2008
NewsBusters Ignores That Fitzgerald Asked Obama to Delay Releasing Info
Topic: NewsBusters

A Dec. 16 Newsbusters post by Matthew Balan noted that "New York Daily News columnist Errol Louis and Time magazine editor-at-large Mark Halperin agreed that there was no problem with the transition team of President-Elect Barack Obama delaying the release of their internal findings into their contacts with the office of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich."

But Balan failed to mention that, as Media Matters noted, Obama's delay was requested by prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, as both Obama and Fitzgerald have stated.

Similarly, Mark Finkelstein claimed in a Dec. 17 post that "the president himself attempted to dodge a tough question" on Blagojevich without acknowledging that Obama has put off questions about Blagojevich at Fitzgerald's request. And Ken Shepherd called one reporter the "Obama lap dog du jour" for asking Obama, "How difficult is all this having to wait to release your inquiry business when the American people expect transparency?" also without acknowledging that the wait came at the request of the prosecutor in the case.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:16 PM EST
WND Promotes Meaningless Polls on Obama Birth Certificate
Topic: WorldNetDaily

What do you do when the facts aren't on your side? If you're WorldNetDaily, and you're promoting the fraudulent claim that Barack Obama's birth certificate is fake -- a claim you've already debunked, even though you now pretend you didn't -- you take refuge in meaningless, non-scientific polls.

A Dec. 16 WND article by Chelsea Schilling promotes an America Online poll that claims plurality support for the idea that "people should be concerned about Obama's citizenship." Schilling does state that the poll is "unscientific," but she doesn't explain what that means.

As we explained the last time WND took refuge in such polls, opt-in online polls -- such as the AOL poll -- are meaningless because voters are self-selecting and the polls themselves are prone to being gamed by the likes of Free Republic, so the results are not representative of anything except the people who voted.

In apparent full desperation mode, Schilling doubled down on the bogus-poll stuff by adding: 

On a similar note, today's WND poll asked readers, "Are you satisfied Obama is constitutionally eligible to assume the presidency?" A full 98 percent of 4200 voters said "no."

WND readers are, if anything, even less representative of America. But Schilling failed to accurately label the WND poll as unscientific, let alone meaningless.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:15 PM EST
WND's Private Investigator, and Corsi's Ever-Weaker Obama Attacks
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jerome Corsi's attacks on Barack Obama just keep getting weaker and more desperate.

A Dec. 16 article by Corsi details the results of WND's hiring of a private investigator rooting through Hawaii looking for evidence of Obama's birth there -- a single affadavit from a woman who allegedly lives next door to the house listed as the Obama family's address on newspaper notice of Barack Obama's birth stating that she can't remember Obama's mother living there. This is unsurprising and meaningless, since the person is being put upon by the investigator to remember something that happened nearly 50 years ago.

That's all Corsi has. Really.

WND's investigator is Jorge Baros, "the in-house senior investigator for Elite Legal Services, LLC, in Royal Palm Beach, Fla." Interestingly, he appears to be a director of something called the Association of Christian Investigators. Baro also has apparent ties to a group called Godly Men of Integrity, a Georgia-based men's ministry born out of the Promise Keepers.

It's clear that Baro lacks a notable piece of integrity, because he buys into false right-wing conspiracy theories about the birth certificate:

"This raised the question in my mind as to whether the 'Certification of Live Birth,' which is the only document that has been produced and as previously stated solely handled by the representatives of factcheck.org outside Obama's campaign, is a certification of a live birth or a late birth," Baro stated in his affidavit.

"I am left with the conclusion that a simple request from Senator Barack Obama to produce the 'long form' (redacted if necessary) would end any speculation or question as to his birthplace," Baro's affidavit continued. "His continued denial to do so is suspect, in my professional opinion."

Baro also pointed out that factcheck.org is funded by the Annenberg Foundation, which "is at the center of the ongoing Obama-Bill Ayers controversy – hardly an unbiased source for information in my view."

Neither Corsi nor Baro make mention of the fact that Walter Annenberg, whose money supported the foundation, was a prominent Republican )as we've noted). If Corsi and Baro want a less "unbiased source" for this claim, how about ... WorldNetDaily?

A separate WND investigation into Obama's birth certificate utilizing forgery experts also found the document to be authentic. The investigation also revealed methods used by some of the bloggers to determine the document was fake involved forgeries, in that a few bloggers added text and images to the certificate scan that weren't originally there.

Baro's an private investigator, and he couldn't find this? Maybe WND's paying him to hush it up. That might explain why WND won't talk about now.

Will WND disclose to its readers how much it's paying Baro for such paltry results? If Baro is accepting money to further WND's increasingly dishonest anti-Obama jihad, he can't be much of a "Christian investigator," can he?

P.S. If WND is so eager to hire private eyes to gather negative information on those who it perceives as its enemies -- Corsi wrote that "Baro sent a team of investigators to Honolulu" -- isn't that unseemly for an alleged news organization? And does that mean that we're next


Posted by Terry K. at 9:36 AM EST
New Article -- AIM: What Is It Good For?
Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media forsakes actual media criticism for the hateful, conspiratorial rantings of Cliff Kincaid and Don Feder. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:53 AM EST
Paul Sperry Resurfaces at WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Look who's back at WorldNetDaily -- Paul Sperry.

Sperry -- the former WND Washington bureau chief whom we last saw getting wrong things over at FrontPageMag -- has penned a Dec. 15 WND article based attacking Rahm Emanuel based on anonymous allegations (WND sure does love repeating anonymous allegations, don't they?)

The Sperry bio at the end of the WND article doesn't list him as a full-time employee, noting instead his former WND title and his status as "a Hoover Institution media fellow." As we detailed, Hoover's right-wing media fellow program is a one-week program he went through twice, the last time in 2006. Sperry appears to be way too proud of something that only took up two weeks of his life and seemingly only taught him how to be a right-wing hack.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:27 AM EST
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Meanwhile ...
Topic: Newsmax
The Phoenix's Adam Reilly talks to Newsmax's Ronald Kessler about his uncharacteristic praise and defense of Barack Obama.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:30 PM EST
Joseph Farah vs. Wikipedia, Day 2
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah has dialed things back a bit in his war on Wikipedia. In his Dec. 16 column, Farah praises a Wikipedia editor who removed the offending information on Farah's Wikipedia bio after reading Farah's Dec. 14 screed. Then Farah started hurling rhetorical questions:

Not everyone will go to such lengths to protect their reputation. Not everyone has the clout of a large Internet news forum they can use to address injustices. Not everyone has the resources to take on an Internet giant like Wikipedia.

What about them?

Where is their advocate?

Where is their ombudsman?

Where does someone go on Wikipedia for justice?

Whom does the average person appeal to when he or she has been slimed?

Where's the corrections department?

Where do you go to get your reputation back?

Where is the reparations department?

[...]

I don't want to be a victim of this beast any more.

I don't want others to be victims of it – whether I like them or not.

Of course a lot of these questions also need to be answered by Farah and WorldNetDaily:

Where is WND's ombudsman?

Where is WND's corrections department?

Whom does the average person appeal to when he or she has been slimed by WND? Where does Barack Obama appeal to demand that WND retract the repeated lies it has told about him?

Where does Clark Jones go to get his reputation back after WND spent seven years denying that it libeled him, then abruptly settled Jones' lawsuit against WND by admitting that it published false claims about him that it failed to fact-check before publication?

Will WND inform its readers about the nature of the reparations it made to Clark Jones for sullying his reputation? Will WND fact-check any of the other articles out of that 2000 Al Gore-bashing series and admit and apologize for any other false claims?

How about answering these questions, Mr. Farah, before getting all high and mighty about the behavior of other websites? How about treating the subjects of WND's stories with the same level of honesty you demand from others about yourself?

Or, better yet, try reporting facts instead of hurling smears. 

If Farah does that, maybe he will be regarded as something other than a thin-skinned whiner. 

UPDATE: Right Wing Watch concurs with the idea that Farah is really writing about himself and WND instead of Wikipedia. 


Posted by Terry K. at 2:58 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 10:41 PM EST
MRC Falsely Portrays Coverage of Shoe-Thrower
Topic: Media Research Center

A Dec. 16 MRC CyberAlert item (and NewsBusters post) by Brent Baker, under the headline "CBS and ABC Tout Shoe-Thrower as 'Celebrity' and 'Folk Hero,'" confuses reporting facts with taking sides by falsely framing the the TV networks as celebrating the guy who threw his shoes at President Bush. But it's clear from the reports Baker excerpts that the networks are reporting on the thrower's popularity in Iraq, which even Baker tacitly admits between the lines.

Usually rude protesters who disrupt events by throwing objects at state leaders don't earn media celebrations, but instead of being embarrassed by their Iraqi media colleague who, as he spewed venomous hatreds, dangerously threw his shoes at President Bush on Sunday in Baghdad, ABC and CBS on Monday night championed his popularity amongst Iraqis. ABC put "Folk Hero?" on screen as fill-in anchor Elizabeth Vargas trumpeted how Muntathar al-Zaidi has "become an instant celebrity to many of his countrymen" while CBS anchor Katie Couric hailed how "many Iraqis are calling him a hero" before reporter Elizabeth Palmer snidely concluded: "Al-Zaidi should do jail time, said the Iraqi bloggers, because he missed." 

From London, ABC's Jim Sciutto maintained: "Shoes have become a new symbol of anti-Americanism in the Arab world. And the Iraqi reporter who threw them, Muntathar al-Zaidi, a folk hero." Sciutto touted how "more than 100 lawyers volunteered to defend him. It was a heroic way to say goodbye to Bush, said one Iraqi." Though Sciutto at least noted how "some Iraqis are embarrassed," he countered: "Still, in news coverage, on new fan Web sites, in Arabic text messages, the overwhelming sentiment: giddy satisfaction."

CBS Palmer, also from afar in London, asserted "al-Zaidi's become an instant hero. Today, thousands demonstrated for his release."

Once more, to make it clear to Baker: The networks are reporting what happened in Iraq. Baker's the one spinning facts into bias -- but that's the skewed tunnel vision through which the MRC views everything.

Indeed, the MRC is quite put on that the media is even reporting this at all. Posts on NewsBusters highlight the coverage without pointing out any factual errors -- which tells us that they object to any coverage of it.

 


Posted by Terry K. at 1:34 PM EST
Caruba: Get Off My Lawn, Damn Kids!
Topic: CNSNews.com

In his Dec. 15 CNSNews.com column, Alan Caruba takes time out from lying about global warming to complain about kids today, with their computers and their casual sexes and their voting for Obama:

While growing up, the Millennials led a busy, structured life in the 90s and this first decade of a new century. Their parents were devoted to them and the feeling was returned. They were told they were smart and to be inclusive and tolerant of all races, religions and sexual orientations. They were accustomed to being team players and they took being connected 24/7 for granted via cell phones and the Internet. This was a generation that was thoroughly nurtured.

It was and is a generation that was deep-fried in every environmental notion, no matter that its science was lacking or deliberately false. Surrounded by the benefits of technology, they have been told that much of it threatens the future of the planet. 

[...]

As their parents came of age in the Reagan era of the 1980s, they grew up during the feckless years of the Clinton administration, questioning their parents about the sexual dalliance of the President while deluged with cultural messages that casual sex called “hooking up” was acceptable.
 
When George W. Bush became President, they would witness, not only 9/11, but the governmental debacle in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the torment of a strange “war against terror” being waged in Iraq and Afghanistan. At home, there was no terror, but few would or could make any connection between those active conflicts and the steady degrading of the threat al Qaeda represents.
 
It is, therefore, no surprise that the Millennials were entranced by the message of “change” offered by President-elect Obama, excited by the prospect of electing the first Afro-American President, and expecting, as my New Orleans friends like to say, to let the good times roll on.

[...]

Norman Thomas, a former U.S. Socialist Party candidate for President in the 1940s, predicted that, “The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism’, they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”
 
That day has arrived. Barack Obama is its standard-bearer.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:23 AM EST
Aaron Klein Anti-Obama Agenda Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Just how desperate is Aaron Klein to make guilt-by-association smears on Barack Obama?

A Dec. 14 WorldNetDaily article by Klein is the second to be scraped from posters at a "far-left leaning" blog urging Obama to be "more socialist."

As we noted the last time he did this, it's something of a cry for help -- Klein apparently hasn't figured out that the election is over and he's still in pre-election smear mode.

It's quite sad to see Klein descend to such a base level, where conspiracy-theory ranter Cliff Kincaid is gleaning column ideas from him.

This is not journalism. Klein is merely prostituting himself as a far-right polemicist.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:38 AM EST
Newsmax Ignores GOP Filibuster Flip-Flop
Topic: Newsmax

A Dec. 15 Newsmax article by Tim Collie examining whether Senate Republicans will "filibuster on controversial [judicial] nominees" from Barack Obama fails to note that Republicans leaning toward filibustering opposed the practice when Democrats used the strategy for a few of President Bush's nominees.

Collie writes:

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., has been more blunt, promising to “lead a filibuster if the nominee is the kind of radical leftist who decides cases based on empathy rather than the Constitution or the law. And if that’s what he intends to do, then I’ll try to get my colleagues to join in that as well,” Kyle said in a speech to the Federalist Society in November.

But as Right Wing Watch notes, in 2005 Kyl supported the "nuclear option," which would have wiped out the right to filibuster judicial nominees.

Collie also cites statements made by Curt Levey, an attorney executive director of the conservative Committee for Justice, in a Washington Post article. But as Media Matters notes, Levey also told the Post (though Collie doesn't quote it) that Republican senators should "play hardball" on Obama's judicial nominees. Nowhere does Collie mention that the CFJ previously called filibusters by a minority of senators to block judicial nominations "unconstitutional."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:29 AM EST
Monday, December 15, 2008
Joseph Farah vs. Wikipedia
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Could Joseph Farah be the most thin-skinned journalist on the planet? We've recently noted Farah's freak-out over a blogger for a weekly newspaper in Wisconsin making the (entirely accurate) observation that WND "is not an acceptable source of information."

Farah let loose another freak-out in a Dec. 14 column (note that it was posted on the evening of Nov. 14; Farah couldn't wait until the usual 1 a.m. ET posting time for new commentary secton items). The target of Farah's ire this time: Wikipedia. Why? Someone had changed the Wikipedia page on Farah to call him a "noted homosexual."

That's actually rather hilarious, given Farah's previous freak-outs about gay people and his website's anti-gay agenda. But Farah was too far gone in freak-out mode to see the humor.

Thus, all Farah has to offer instead is an screed calling Wikipedia a "wholesale purveyor of lies and slander unlike any other the world has ever known," a "vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit," a "wholly unreliable website run by political and social activists promoting their own agenda" and a "a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution," not to mention pushers of "pseudo-journalistic terrorism and character assassination."

That's even more hilarious, because those same things can be said about WND. 

"Wholesale purveyor of lies and slander"? "Vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit"? Just ask Barack Obama. WND has promoted numerous lies about Obama, and WND's Jerome Corsi used bogus documents to falsely impugn him. WND enlisted former Nazis to smear Obama as a Nazi. And Farah and his website are engaging in journlaistic fraud by pimping claims that Obama wasn't born in America when it declared months ago that the birth certificate submitted by Obama's campaign is "authentic."

All of which make it, yes, a "wholly unreliable website run by political and social activists promoting their own agenda" (as we've detailed).

Farah even claims, "I actually had to threaten a libel suit against Wikipedia to get the site to remove the previous attempt at defamation." Farah clearly doesn't understand how Wikipedia works. According to a Wikipedia comment thread on Farah's complaints, a Wikipedia editor noticed Farah's screed and made corrections accordingly. Farah does not state whether he made any attempt to correct or complain (or threaten a libel suit) prior to grinding out his currrent column.

(Given Farah's record on libel lawsuits, he might not want to actually go there. And no, Farah has never threatened us with a libel lawsuit nor otherwise contradicted anything we've wrote, which hopefully speaks to our accuracy in reporting on WND.)

Considering that Farah once called us a "talent-challenged slug," the man definitely knows his way around "pseudo-journalistic terrorism and character assassination." It appears that while Farah loves to dish out the insults, he can't take them in return.

Farah concludes by calling Wikipedia "an electronic graffiti board under the control of high-tech Crips and Bloods." If so,  then WND is run by the same gang, with Farah as its chief thug.

Remember, this is all about some anonymous prankster calling Farah a "known homosexual." How thin-skinned is that?


Posted by Terry K. at 4:08 PM EST
Another Fawning Examiner Right-Wing Profile
Topic: Washington Examiner
Another Sunday Washington Examiner, another fawning right-wing profile -- this time of libertarian economist Tyler Cowen.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:36 AM EST
WND Columnist Falsely Claims 'Close' Obama-Blago Relationship
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his Dec. 13 WorldNetDaily column, Ellis Washington asserted that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich "up to a few days ago was a good friend and a close political ally of President-elect Barack Obama."

That contradicts the known and documented history of relations between Blagojevich and Obama. As we've detailed, the Washington Post reported that while Obama worked on Blagojevich's campaign in 2002 and endorsed his re-election in 2006, the two were not close: "They sometimes used each other to propel their own careers but privately acted like rivals." The post also stated: "The two men have not talked for more than a year, colleagues said, save for a requisite handshake at a funeral or public event. Blagojevich rarely campaigned for Obama and never stumped with him. The governor arrived late at the Democratic convention and skipped Obama's victory-night celebration at Chicago's Grant Park."

Does that say "good friend and a close political ally" to anyone? Only, apparently, to Washington.

Washington also asserted that "Obama knows that he is neck-deep into the Blagojevich seat-selling scheme; after all, it is Obama's Senate seat that is for sale." That also contradicts known facts; prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has specifically said that the criminal complaint against Blagojevich "makes no allegations about the president-elect whatsoever -- his conduct."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:08 AM EST
Would You Take Financial Advice From This Man?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As we've noted, WorldNetDaily in July launched Red Alert, a "global financial strategies newsletter" headed by Jerome Corsi. The newsletter was described as being for "for people of wealth and those who want to be people of wealth," specifically, those with "assets of $1 million or more to protect" or income of "$85,000 a year or more." It proposes to offer "the insights and behind-the-scenes reports and deep analysis of one of America's top political thinkers, journalists, commentators and financial gurus."

More recently, Corsi has predicted that "within one year, even an economic failure like President Herbert Hoover will look like a genius when compared to the failures we are likely to see from a President Obama." Corsi seems to be mixing some of his bogus-document fantasies in with his predictions.

Corsi has also gloated over financial problems faced by media companies: "The only good news this week is that the death throes of the mainstream media have begun in earnest."

It's important to note that Corsi's financial background is not in finance itself but it marketing. Corsi's bio on Red Alert states:

For 25 years, Corsi worked with banks throughout the U.S. and the world developing financial services marketing companies to assist banks in establishing broker/dealers and insurance subsidiaries to provide financial planning products and services to their retail customers. Corsi developed three third-party financial services marketing firms that reached annual gross sales levels of $1 billion in annuities and equal volume in mutual funds.

The distinction between finance and financial marketing is important, because Corsi appears to have been less than successful in the former.

As the Boston Globe detailed, Corsi was a principal in a group that launched an investment venture in Poland in 1995 that eventually lost about $1.2 million, much of it raised from a group of about 20 Minnesota investors -- at least two of whom received a court judgment against Corsi and the other principals but had yet to collect any money from Corsi because, according to one investor, Corsi's assets "had been moved into his wife's name . . . There was nothing to get out of him."

Corsi, meanwhile, had little to say beyond "no comment."

Still, the question must be raised given this history: Is Corsi a person from whom one should really be taking financial advice? Then again, he might be a better source on such things than, say, Dick Morris.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:43 AM EST

Newer | Latest | Older

Bookmark and Share

Get the WorldNetDaily Lies sticker!

Find more neat stuff at the ConWebWatch store!

Read my blog on Kindle

Support This Site

« December 2008 »
S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31

Bloggers' Rights at EFF
Support Bloggers' Rights!

News Media Blog Network

Add to Technorati Favorites

Add to Google

Subscribe in Bloglines

Add to My AOL

Add ConWebBlog: The Weblog of ConWebWatch to Newsburst from CNET News.com