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Thursday, February 19, 2009
New Article: Newsmax's Stimulus Falsehoods
Topic: Newsmax
The Clinton-bashing glory days of the 1990s are reprised at Newsmax, where the same treatment -- and lack of adherence to facts -- is now applied to President Obama. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:41 AM EST
Jerome Corsi, Badly Trained Economist
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah touts Jerome Corsi as a "trained economist" -- never mind that it's not true, like a lot of things one reads at WorldNetDaily. Let's take a look at one example why.

A Feb. 13 WND article by Corsi states:

The Obama administration economic stimulus package is going to force the Treasury to borrow approximately $2.5 trillion in 2009 and another $4 trillion in 2010, with the result of increasing the current $10 trillion national debt by 65 percent in just two years.

If the Obama administration increases the national debt by 65 percent every two years, the debt will be $16.5 trillion in 2010 and $27.225 trillion by 2012, the year of the next presidential election. 

According to who? Corsi doesn't say.

If Corsi derived these numbers on his own, how did come to this conclusion? Corsi doesn't show his work.

For all we know, Corsi pulled them out of a certain bodily orifice.

But who cares about facts and documentation when Corsi's actual purpose in writing this article is to throw out bizarre, scary analogies:

Earth's home galaxy, the Milky Way, is estimated to contain about 200 billion stars. So, if each star cost one dollar, one trillion dollars would buy five Milky Way galaxies full of stars.

One trillion seconds of ordinary clock time equals 31,546 years. So, spending money at the rate of one dollar every second, or $86,400 every day, would still take nearly 32,000 years to spend $1 trillion.

If someone were to build city blocks that contained 10 homes valued at $100,000 per home, you would end up with ten houses to a block, ten blocks to a mile and a hundred blocks per square mile. It would take 10,000 square miles to reach $1 trillion in value.

Why would a "trained economist" indulge himself in peddling such trivial crap? Again, no answer is forthcoming beyond Corsi's own amply demonstrated Obama Derangement Syndrome.

Yet, WND treats Corsi's article as "news," not the unsubstantiated opinion it is. And Farah apparently defers to Corsi on all things economic -- which tells you much of what you need to know about WND.

This is not the first time Corsi has told lies about the stimulus -- he's already on record as making the false claim that Obama wants "cut the Pentagon budget for fiscal year 2010 by $55 billion, more than 10 percent of last year's $512 billion defense budget." In fact, Obama wants to increase the Pentagon's budget by $14 billion; the reported cut is from a budget proposal.

Further, Corsi's Feb. 13 article references "Craig Smith, founder and CEO of Swiss America" without disclosing that Smith is a WND columnist and that Swiss America is a longtime WND advertiser -- a disclosure problem WND has long had.

If Corsi is a "trained economist" -- and as we've noted, the evidence is that he's not -- you wouldn't know it from reading this. A trained right-wing smear artist, perhaps.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:38 AM EST
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Another Lie From David Patten
Topic: Newsmax

Remember David Patten's parade of right-wing lies in his Feb. 14 Newsmax article about the stimulus bill? There's one more we overlooked.

Patten asserted that the "actual figure" the bill will cost "is now closer to $3.27 trillion." Patten added: "That stems from the $744 billion it will take to pay for the additional debt the legislation will create, and $2.527 trillion in increased spending from the new and expanded programs the bill will spawn over the next decade."

That's wrong too. As Media Matters details, more than half of that $3.2 trillion figure comes from the cost of permanently extending more than 20 provisions in the recovery bill -- which the bill does not do.

Patten is discrediting himself by the day -- and Newsmax is apparently happy with that.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:12 PM EST
Blumer Falsely Suggests Bush Didn't Pre-Pick Questions
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Feb. 17 NewsBusters post, Tom Blumer purports to be offended that President Obama's "team" was preselecting who "be allowed to submit a question to His Excellency," adding: "What would the press be saying if Bush had employed these crutches?"

As we pointed out when fellow NewsBuster Warner Todd Huston made the same claim, Bush did, in fact, employ that cruch, relying on lists of pre-selected reporters during press conferences.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:40 PM EST
Farah vs. Schlussel
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah spends his Feb. 18 column bashing "an Internet pundit out there in the blogosphere whose name I will not utter" over her attacks on WND's Aaron Klein, accusing him of stealing story ideas from her blog.

Since Farah won't utter her name, we will: Debbie Schlussel, who is, ironically, a former WND columnist -- which Farah curiously fails to mention. We've detailed Schlussel's special brand of crazy in her work for WND in the early 2000s.

We're not going to get into the particulars of Schlussel's accusations against Klein or Farah's response to them (other than to note that Klein has a history of gleaning anti-Obama story ideas from right-wing blogs, including Schlussel's). Some of Farah's peripheral claims defending Klein, however, deserve attention. For instance, Farah wrote:


She attempted to defame Klein by alleging that he "had to retract a story he made up, claiming that Fox News paid ransom to Palestinian terrorists for Fox News personnel's release."

This statement is a total fabrication. The article was never retracted! Actually we defended it! And it remains posted permanently in the WND archives for anyone to view – even an investigative sleuth like the blogger in question.

The truth is somewhere in the middle. While Klein did not explicitly claim that Fox News "paid ransom to Palestinian terrorists for Fox News personnel's release," the tone of Klein's article heavily implied that it did. It was only afterwards that Klein and WND walked things back a bit and definitively stated that Fox News didn't pay the ransom (but also misleadingly insisting that the article did as well).

Farah also wrote:

But even those lies were not sufficient for said blogger. She continued to target the Middle East's most courageous reporter, Aaron Klein, who risks his life interviewing some of the most dangerous people in the world, by writing: "Muslims in Gaza he claims to have interviewed never heard of the guy."

It must be easy hurling those kinds of libelous insults from the safe confines of her easy chair in the United States. However, Aaron Klein doesn't use anonymous sources when he quotes senior terrorist leaders in Gaza and many of the most prominent Islamists in the world. He names names. He records many of his interviews.

That's not exactly true either. We've noted numerous instances of Klein attributing claims to anonymous sources, including terrorist leaders in Gaza. Indeed, a Feb. 16 article by Klein quotes "a top PA [Palestinian Authority] negotiator" who was "speaking on condition of anonymity" making a claim about Obamathat is not subtantiated anywhere in the article. A Feb. 2 article by Klein similarly quotes "top PA officials... speaking on condition their names be withheld" making similar unsubstantiated claims about Obama. That's part and parcel of Klein's guilt-by-association smear campaign against Obama.

The topper, though, is Farah's claim that the unnamed Schlussel is making "reckless, irresponsible accusations."That's WND's job -- from publishing false claims about a supporter of Al Gore to peddling bogus documents and repeated lies about Obama, WND is the very definition of reckless and irresponsible.

Will Farah ever hold his own website to the same standards he hold Schlussel? Don't count on it.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:21 PM EST
Moore Repeats Stimulus Lies
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Roy Moore writes of the stimulus plan in his Feb. 18 WorldNetDaily column:

More than $3 billion goes to ACORN, a community organization already under federal investigation for voter registration practices. Thirty million dollars goes to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's district in the San Francisco area to restore wetlands and in part to protect the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse.

False, and false.

There seems to be a pattern developing here of Moore believing that he can lie and mislead about Obama with impunity. Given that he's a lawbreaker himself -- and lost his position as Alabama Supreme Court chief justice because of it -- it's not that surprising, and he counters the suggestion forwarded in the name of his column that he's genuinely interested in a "moral foundation."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:33 AM EST
Poetry Corner
Topic: NewsBusters

Of all the things we've written about NewsBusters' P.J. Gladnick, the only one that motivated a response was ... when we questioned his taste in poetry.

Three weeks after the fact, Gladnick responded in a Feb. 17 post -- which, for some strange reason, was removed shortly after its posting.

We read it before it went off into the ether. If we remember correctly, Gladnick provided an (lengthy) example of a poet he did like (whose name we do not remember). It wasn't our cup of tea, but we're not going to ridicule Gladnick's choice because we understand the whole different-strokes-for-sifferent-folks thing, but also because ridicule is exactly the same treatment Gladnick dished out to President Obama's choice of a poet, Elizabeth Alexander, by likening her work to that of a crazy woman.

Which is why we highlighted Gladnick's post in the first place. Gladnick (and Brent Bozell, who similary ridiculed Alexander's poetry) was interested only in scoring a cheap shot against Obama, both arguably could care less about poetry. Alexander's not exactly our cup of tea either, but there's no need to bash Obama over it. It certainly has nothing to do with the "liberal bias" they are supposed to be going after.

(P.S. We're rather fond of Yeats and Kenji Miyazawa.)

Posted by Terry K. at 12:49 AM EST
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Aaron Klein's Obama-Smear Food Chain
Topic: Horowitz

Last May, we noted one particularly desperate guilt-by-association attack on Barack Obama by WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein -- a claim that the new pastor at Obama's former church in Chicago paraphrased a line from a rap song that also included explicit lyrics, which the pastor did not reference.

You'd think that such a obviously desperate smear would disappear into the ether, right? Wrong.

The Discover the Networks profile of that pastor, Otis Moss, approvingly cites Klein's attack:

In another sermon, Moss quoted a song -- titled "Wrong N-gga to F--k With" -- by the rap artist Ice Cube. ("If I was Ice Cube," said Moss, "I would say it a little differently -- 'you picked the wrong folk to mess with.'") This song contains the following lyrics:

"Down wit the niggaz that I bail out
I'm platinum b-tch and I didn't have to sell out
F--- you Ice Cube, that's what the people say
F--- AmeriKKKa, still with the triple K
Cause you know when my nine goes buck
it'll bust your head like a watermelon dropped from 12 stories up
Now let's see who'll drop"

LIke Klein, at no point does Discover the Networks offer evidence that Moss citted the offensive lyrics.

Apparently, David Horowitz is just as desperate to smear Obama as Klein is.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:41 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 3:43 PM EST
Kengor Regurgitates Misleading Obama Attack
Topic: Horowitz

In a Feb. 17 FrontPageMag column, Paul Kengor writes: "Before he was elected president, Senator Barack Obama was ranked the most liberal member of a very liberal U.S. Senate by the respected, non-partisan National Journal, which is famous for its rankings of members of Congress."

Kengor fails to mention that National Journal considered just 99 votes in its survey and that the publication admitted that its previous surveys' methodologies had been flawed. Moreover, a separate study that used all 388 non-unanimous Senate votes during 2007 produced a different result, placing Obama in a tie for the ranking of 10th most liberal senator. Further, National Journal similarly declared John Kerry the "most liberal senator" before the 2004 presidential election, only to acknowledge later that its methodology in doing so was flawed.

Kengor has also apparently decided that the election of Obama is evidence that Americans are stupid:

Can we trust the American public to vote rationally? That may seem harsh, even condescending, but it is an inescapable consideration given the data.

The data is particularly a jolt to Reagan Republicans. Ronald Reagan frequently declared that you can always trust the American people to make the right decisions. Of course, that assumes a knowledgeable, well-informed public—educated by schools and media that are genuinely balanced in exposing a wide variety of points of view. It also assumes a citizenry that votes according to ideas or ideology.

Apparently, for many Americans, those things did not happen on November 4, 2008.

That sounds a lot like how WorldNetDaily reacted to Obama's election, by declaring Obama voters to be immature. 

Posted by Terry K. at 2:20 PM EST
Corsi's A 'Trained Economist'?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Feb. 16 WorldNetDaily column by Joseph Farah cited purportedly alarming statistics about the stimulus plan, then added:

Let's consider the real meaning of these numbers, courtesy of WND senior staff reporter Jerome Corsi, a trained economist:

  • If you had gone into business on the day Jesus was born, and your business lost a million dollars a day, 365 days a year, it would take you until October 2737 to lose $1 trillion.
  • $1 trillion dollars divided by 300 million Americans comes out to $3,333 per person.
  • One trillion $1 bills stacked one on top of the other would reach nearly 68,000 miles into the sky, about a third of the way from the Earth to the moon.
  • Earth's home galaxy, the Milky Way, is estimated to contain about 200 billion stars. So, if each star cost $1, $1 trillion would buy five Milky Way galaxies full of stars.

First, Corsi is not a "trained economist" in any normal sense. As we've noted, Corsi's financial background is primarily in marketing, and he was a principal in a group that launched an investment venture in Poland in 1995 that eventually lost about $1.2 million (which Corsi won't talk about). Corsi's practical experience in dealing with matters of the economy is lacking, to say the least.

Second, would a genuine "trained economist" bother with such trivia as making analogies about dollar and stars and stacks of bill reaching to the moon? Indeed, that's the sign of someone who's not serious about the economy.

Third: Remember that Corsi is the guy who's following in Andy Martin's footsteps -- yet another reason to not take anything he says seriously. It's too bad that Farah does, because it means we shouldn't take seriously anything he says, either.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EST
Monday, February 16, 2009
Meanwhile ...
Topic: NewsBusters
County Fair's Jamison Foser points out how little NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard knows about media criticism; in a Feb. 15 post, Sheppard equates fact-checking with being "defamatory."

Posted by Terry K. at 4:10 PM EST
FrontPageMag Still Falsely Attacking Teresa Heinz Kerry
Topic: Horowitz

During the 2004 election, FrontPageMag managing editor Ben Johnson issued an attack booklet, "57 Varieties of Radical Causes: Teresa Heinz Kerry’s Charitable Giving," which contained numerous false claims: It linked her to causes to which she has not donated money, ascribed donations to her personally when she was merely one of several trustees of the donating group, and insinuated that she bought the endorsement of a major environmental group for her husband, Sen. John Kerry.

Even though the 2004 election is long over, Johnson felt the need to make more baseless allegations against her. He's coming out with a new booklet, "Teresa Heinz Kerry’s Radical Gifts."In a Feb. 12 interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Bill Steigerwald (reprinted Feb. 13 at FrontPageMag), Johnson rehashes old smears and creates new ones.

Johnson repeats his attack on the Tides Center, suggesting that Heinz Kerry's donations to it went to "radical causes." As we pointed out back then, the Heinz-linked donations were earmarked to specific environmental causes in Western Pennsylvania, and none were donated to "radical causes."

Johnson follows up with another distortion: that Heinz Kerry "brought a wing of the Tides Center to Western Pennsylvania specifically to fund projects in the area, but they give 10 percent of their income to local radical organizations." As we also detailed, that 10 percent is actually an administrative and overhead fee, not a donation to "radical causes."

Johnson also came up with some new smears as well. He described the Three Rivers Community Foundation as a nest of "far-left radicals – not simply liberals or liberal Democrats, but, in fact, many of them are socialists or explicitly communist anti-Americans." In fact, among the causes the Three Rivers Community Foundation supports include:

  • The Latin American Cultural Union a project that "encouraged and supported youth and family responsibility and leadership."
  • YouthPlaces, "a youth and community-driven program designed to serve minority, low-income 12-18 year old at-risk youth in public housing communities."
  • Chain of Hope, "a self-help group for the mentally ill."
  • The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburg, which "received a grant in 2001 to increase the center's ability to communicate with sight- and hearing-disabled members of the GLBT community."

Yeah, real anti-American. Nevertheless, Johnson adds that "Among those grass-roots organizations" that the Three Rivers Community Foundation supports "is ACORN, the voter-fraud organization."

Needless to say, Steigerwald was merely serving up softballs and had no intention of holding Johnson accountable for his false claims.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:33 AM EST
Shocker: WND Debunks Another False Obama Rumor
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Is WorldNetDaily trying to restore its credibility by debunking some of the more outre false claims against Barack Obama?

We've previously noted one attempt at debunking. Now, a Feb. 15 WND article by Aaron Klein states: "Contrary to some news media reports, President Obama did not authorize Palestinian "refugees" to migrate to the U.S. as part of emergency assistance following Israel's 22-day war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip."

It's nice that WND has discovered that telling the truth is a good thing, and not only for business -- after all, it's hard to call yourself a "news" organization when you're telling one lie after another about Obama.

Now, will WND turn that critical eye on its own reporting?

Until WND tells the truth to its readers about these and other lies and misrepresentations it has spread about Obama -- not to mention other journalistic deficiencies, such as the 2000 Hays-Thompson anti-Al Gore series that drew a libel lawsuit and, seven long years later, an admission by WND that the article contained numerous false claims -- these minor debunkings should be treated as the window-dressing they are.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:33 AM EST
Patten Can't Stop Lying About Stimulus
Topic: Newsmax

We've repeatedly noted the false claims Newsmax's David Patten has made about the economic recovery bill. He adds to the pile of lies in a Feb. 14 article.

Patten states that"The plan has more than $3 billion in “neighborhood stabilization” and Community Development Block Grant funding, much of which may go to benefit ACORN, a low-income housing and voter registration “community” organization that is under federal investigation for its suspicious voter registration practices." In fact, no money is earmarked for ACORN, and ACORN officials have said not only that they are not seeking the money that that they are also not eligible to receive it -- an important fact Patten has yet to tell his readers.

Patten also adds a new lie to his repertoire this time around: that the bill includes "$30 million for restoration of wetlands to be spent in the San Francisco Bay Area – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district. The money will go in part to protect the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse." In fact, the bill designates no money for either San Francisco wetlands or for mice.

Why should anyone trust Patten's reporting -- or, really, anything Newsmax publishes -- when he peddles such obvious and discredited lies?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:51 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 12:25 AM EST
NewsBusters Falsely Plays Up Census Issue
Topic: NewsBusters

A Feb. 12 NewsBusters post (and MRC CyberAlert item) by Brent Baker asserted that the evening network newscasts reported on Judd Gregg's withdrawal as commerce secretary nominee "only passing mention, if any, of the administration's wish to move the 2010 census count from Commerce to the White House." Similarly, a Feb. 13 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock complained the morning shows failed to make "any mention of Senator Gregg's opposition to the Obama administration's goal of moving the 2010 census count from the Commerce Department to the White House."

Unmentioned by either Baker or Whitlock: The idea that a conflict over the census was a major reason for Gregg's departure was downplayed by none other than Gregg himself.

In a press conference announcing his withdrawal, Gregg was asked what role the alleged census issue played; Gregg responded, "The census was only a slight catalyzing issue. It was not a major issue." Subsequently, a reporter asked Gregg, "[C]an you just elaborate on the census as being an issue?" Gregg responded: "Well, I don't need to elaborate. I know it was a slight issue." A reporter then asked: "Well, what was the issue, from your perspective?" Gregg responded: "It wasn't a big enough issue for me to even discuss what the issue was."

NewsBusters has misleadingly portrayed an CQ Politics report that an unnamed "senior White House official" said that the Census Bureau director "will have a direct line to the White House" and "work closely with" -- but not report to -- Obama administration senior staff as a takeover of the census. Noel Sheppard called it a "coup," and Rich Noyes called it a "grab"; Noyes' post was repeated as a CyberAlert item.

None of these NewsBusters/MRC reports noted that, as the Chicago Sun-Times did, a bill to make the Census Bureau an independent agency failed to attract any Republican co-sponsors. They also fail to note evidence of politics-playing on the part of Republicans in the census:

  • CNN's Bill Schneider has noted that "Gregg in the past has been very critical of the census and, in fact, voted to cut its funding in the 1990s."
  • George W. Bush appointed his 2000 campaign manager, Donald Evans, as his first commerce secretary. 

Obama appears to be doing nothing different than Republicans have in the past. Don't expect the MRC to acknowledge that, of course.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:19 AM EST

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