ConWeb Offended by 'Teabagging' -- Not Limbaugh's Anal Sex References Topic: Media Research Center
Like Brent Bozell, WorldNetDaily is opposed to media depictions of anal sex:
It has criticized Wikipedia for including a "photo of two nude men having anal sex on a bed," bashed Spencer Gifts for carrying "pornaments" that "graphically depict anal intercourse between a snowman and a bare-breasted 'snowwoman,'" disapproved of the Wal-Mart website selling a book that "gives explicit instructions for engaging in oral or anal sexual acts," and denounced the movie "Brokeback Mountain" for depicting characters who "awkwardly and violently engage in anal sex."
And Joseph Farah asks: "Isn't it time to make anal sex taboo, again?"
Yet WND, like Bozell's Media Research Center, has been silent about Rush Limbaugh's frequent references to anal sex during interviews and on his radio show.
The hypocrisy continues on the part of Bozell and WND, who both take offense at references to the anti-Obama "tea parties" as "teabagging."
Bob Unruh complained of the references in an April 17 WND article: "Perhaps it's a new 'If you can't beat 'em, bad-mouth 'em' strategy on the part of some news anchors to denigrate the grass-roots Tea Parties that blanketed the United States this week." Unruh dramatically began with a parental advisory thathis story makes "explicit references to graphic sex and will be objectionable to readers. It is not suitable for children" and quoted anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera whining about "snotty liberal journalists telling insider sex jokes."
Of course, WND is no stranger to the "If you can't beat 'em, bad-mouth 'em" strategy: It once presented as "news" a picture of a copy of Hillary Clinton's biography in a bookstore's science-fiction section.
An April 17 WND article by Drew Zahn argues that CNN's Anderson Cooper should be fired for making "an openly lecherous comment that mocks protesting Americans with a homosexual term for a sex act." But mocking protesters used to be a good thing as far as WND is concerned -- it bashed those who protested the Iraq war as anything from two-bit agitators to vampires to crazy Froot Loops.
To sum up: Smearing Obama as a Nazi is perfectly legitimate and acceptable discourse at WND (as is, apparently, references to anal sex made by conservatives), but referencing "teabagging" is not. Got it?
Meanwhile, an April 16 MRC press release complained about "woeful bias," "lowly crassness," and "sleaze-riddled condemnation," and featured Bozell thundering that "MSNBC and CNN both allow this vulgar attack-journalism to go out on their airwaves without blinking an eye and without any sign of guilt."
This from the same organization that has regularly indulged in the lowly crassness of Clinton sex jokes, their favorite form of sleaze-riddled condemnation.
The relase also features a quote by Dan Gainor of the MRC's Business & Media Insitute (where he apparently carries the snazzy title of "Vice President of Business and Culture") baselessly claiming that the tea party protests were "grassroots."
WND Promotes Inflated Tea Party Attendance Figures Topic: WorldNetDaily
An April 17 WorldNetDaily article by Jerome Corsi and Chelsea Schilling begins: "An estimated 1 million Americans participated in at least 1,000 tea parties, according to reports by organizers tabulating the nationwide numbers, with documented protests held in 50 states." But nobody they quote in their article offers any solid evidence to back up the numbers.
Corsi and Schilling quote one organizer as saying, "I would estimate it at over 1 million. I'm waiting on more numbers to come in from organizers right now. I can tell you it is absolutely over 750,000 right now." But it's clear that all attendance estimates are coming from the organizers themselves -- who would be prone to inflate their numbers in order to help their cause -- and have not been independently verified.
Indeed, the organizer's claim appears to be contradicted by an Americans for Tax Reform blog entry noted by Corsi and Schilling, which at this writing has counted only 360,495 tea party attendees. Like the organizer's count, these too are self-reported and vulnerable to inflation.
For example, Corsi and Schilling report that "as many as 10,000 protesters" attended a rally in Sacramento, Calif., a number also reported by ATR. But according to the San Francisco Chronicle: "While the California Highway Patrol does not make official crowd estimates, CHP Sgt. Steve Stone said the Sacramento gathering appeared to be around 5,000."
Unsurpringly, since it would contradict their agenda, neither ATR or Corsi and Schilling acknowledge the existence of the lower number.
CNS Still Pushing IHS Cover-up Non-Story; NewsBusters Joins In Topic: CNSNews.com
Undeterred by previous attempts to baselessly attack President Obama, CNSNews.com is trying to create another Obama controversy where there isn't one.
We noted an April 15 CNS article by Edwin Mora suggesting that the Obama administration demanded that Georgetown University cover up the monogram "IHS," a symbol for the name of Jesus Christ, during an appearance by Obama there, even though he offered no evidence of it -- indeed, Mora admitted that the administration asked only that the university cover up "all of the Georgetown University signage and symbols" behind Obama's stage, not the IHS symbol specifically.
End of story, right? Wrong.
An April 16 article by Matt Cover noted that "Laura Bush spoke at Georgetown University in front of the same 'IHS'" -- falsely suggesting that Obama administration demanded that it be covered. As with Mora, Cover's suggestion is contradicted by his own reporting, in which he quotes an Obama White House statement that "Any suggestions to the contrary are simply false."
Mora, meanwhile, makes the false suggestion once more in an April 16 article, calling it "the unintended consequence of the White House’s desire to have a backdrop of flags behind the president." Despite all the denials issued by the university and the administration, Mora still treats the claim as legitimate, further falsely suggesting that there's a "contradiction" between those denials.
Other branches of the Media Research Center are now jumping on the non-story. An April 17 NewsBusters post by Mark Finkelstein breathlessly asserted that Obama's "hand-picked DNC Chairman [Tim Kaine] just went on national TV and denied that the Obama administration requested Georgetown University to cover up the IHS monogram representing the name of Christ" -- which, of course, is absolutely true -- further asserting that CNS "flatly report[ed] that such a request had indeed been made."
Wrong, Mark. CNS never claimed that the Obama administration demanded that Georgetown cover up the IHS -- which is exactly what Kaine said. Nevertheless, Finkelstein called Kaine's claim "credulity-busting."
No, what's credulity-busting is that CNS and Finkelstein are trying to build this molehill of a non-story into a fraudulent mountain of an attack on Obama.
Michael Reagan ups the paranoia factor by ranting against the Department of Homeland Security report on right-wing extremism in his April 16 Newsmax column:
Are you a veteran returning from Iraq or Afghanistan after risking life and limb to protect your fellow Americans? If so, you are a ticking time bomb likely to be recruited by those dangerous right-wing extremists.
After all, the vaunted Extremism and Radicalization Branch of the Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division, Department of Homeland Security, warns that you “possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to rightwing extremists,” and these Obama-ite loons are concerned that right-wing extremists “will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities.”
Have we really come to this? Has Adolf Hitler’s propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels been reborn and recruited by the Obama administration to scare the heck out of the American people with absurdities such as this whacked-out document?
Because there's no better way to respond to a fully supported claim that extremist groups will attempt to radicalize veterans than by baselessly likening Obama to a Nazi (as right-wingers are wont to do). Reagan keeps the smear going by calling the report "something out of a Gestapo directive."
Reagan, tellingly, makes no mention of the DHS report on left-wing extremism. But then, he would have to criticize that, too.
Media Matters notes an April 15 CNSNews.com article by Edwin Mora carrying the misleading headline, "Georgetown Says it Covered Over Name of Jesus to Comply With White House Request." In fact, as the article itself points out, the White House requested that Georgetown "cover up all signs and symbols" on the stage -- not solely the name of Jesus.
Newsmax peddled the same distortion: An April 16 article by Dan Weil asserted that "The White House had a monogram that symbolizes the name of Jesus hidden from the backdrop of a speech President Obama gave at Georgetown University Tuesday," even though he offers no evidence that the White House specifically asked for that symbol to be covered and he even states that "The White House requested that all university signs and symbols behind the stage be concealed" -- and therefore contradicts Weil's lead paragraph.
MRC Gives Limbaugh's Anal Sex Fixation a Pass Topic: Media Research Center
Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell is not, to put it succinctly, a fan of anal sex:
In 2006, he complained that at a Comedy Central roast for William Shatner, "the audience was buried in man-on-man anal-sex and oral-sex jokes."
In 2008, he was offended that "Ugly Betty" includes "catty references" to, among other things, "anal sex."
On March 13, he bashed "Family Guy": "This Jesus-bashing is offensive, but it isn’t so surprising – it’s a 'Family Guy' staple. Now add the allusions to anal penetration and we’re on another trip down Grossout Lane."
Bozell has thus clearly established his opposition to references to anal sex in the media. So why does his organization give Rush Limbaugh a pass for making those very same "allusions to anal penetration"?
Limbaughhasalonghistory of making anal-sex references on his radio program and in interviews. But MRC employees, far from criticizing him for it, have uncritically repeated and even endorsed those references.
In a Jan. 22 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard touts Limbaugh's interview with Sean Hannity, during which he says of Barack Obama: "We are being told that we have to hope he succeeds; that we have to bend over, grab the ankles, bend over forward, backward, whichever; because his father was black, because this is the first black president." Sheppard did not highlight or ciriticize the remark.
In a Jan. 28 NewsBusters post, Jeff Poor noted MSNBC's highlighting of the "grab the ankles" remark, but that's not what offended him. Rather, he complained that the remark was used to ask a Republican congressmanto "denounce the talk radio king."
A Jan. 28 NewsBusters post by Geoffrey Dickens transcribed the remark as it was repeated in a segment of MSNBC's "Hardball," but did not highlight it; instead, he asserted that Chris Matthews "fell into the same trap many other journalists have in misunderstanding the term 'Dittoheads.'"
And in an April 2 NewsBusters post, Jeff Poor wasn't offended that Limbaugh said of praise for Obama, "if he keeps this up throughout the G20, Gordon Brown will come down with anal poisoning and may die from it." No, he was offended that CNN's Rick Sanchez was offended by Limbaugh's words:
Throughout George W. Bush's presidency, insults were doled out repeatedly about the commander-in-chief and that was just a fact of life for the highest-ranking public official in the land. However, now there's a new president, there seems to be a different standard on how you talk about a president.
CNN's Rick Sanchez, the host of the 3 p.m. hour of "CNN Newsroom" on April 2 took offense to conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh described a flowery praise of President Barack Obama by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
The alleged indiscretion: Limbaugh noted on his April 1 broadcast that Brown, who isn't exactly a free-market capitalist that reflects the ideals the United States was founded upon, was kissing up to Obama, in a way that might contaminate his person.
Poor goes on to dismiss the criticism as "an outcry by a lefty" -- even though his own boss has railed against those same terms.
So, apparently, it OK to reference anal sex only if you're trying to forward a right-wing agenda which, as Bozell has demonstrated, traditionally opposes anal sex? We're confused.
CNS Ignores Full Story on DHS Report Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com is following the ConWebtemplate of criticizing the Department of Homeland Security report on right-wing extremismby not telling the full truth behind the claims made in the report.
An April 15 article by Susan Jones repeats claims that "Veterans and pro-life groups are among those protesting" the report. Jones asserted that the report "label[ed] pro-life supporters as rightwing extremists" without noting the history of violence perpetrated by some anti-abortion extremists.
Jones repeated criticism by the American Legion of the report for noting that Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was a former member of the military without also noting that, as we've mentioned, a 2008 FBI report stated, in the words of the DHS, that "some returning military veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have joined extremist groups," adding: "A review of FBI white supremacist extremist cases from October 2001 to May 2008 identified 203 individuals with confirmed or claimed military service active in the extremist movement at some time during the reporting period." (One abortion clinic bomber, Eric Rudolph, was also a former member of the military.)
Jones also seems to justify Richard Poplawski's killing of three Pittsburgh policemen by writing that "People who knew the suspect said was worried about his weapons being seized during the anti-gun Obama administration." At no point does Jones offer any evidence that Obama is "anti-gun" -- perhaps because there isn't any.
An April 16 article by Jones claiming that "Many conservative gun owners will feel threatened and insulted by the report" (though quoting only one) basessly suggests that a call for "re-imposing the ban on semi-automatic weapons" by "Obama’s own Justice Department" is a direct contradiction of Obama's statement during the campaign that "he would not take their weapons away." In fact, the weapon ban that the Obama administration has shown interest in re-instituting does not ban all "semi-automatic weapons," as Jones falsely suggests, but only selected types of semi-automatic military-style guns.
CNS has yet to address the DHS report on left-wing extremism, which was obtained by WhoRunsGov's Greg Sargent.
MRC's Baker: Telling Full Truth About Tea Parties = Discrediting It Topic: NewsBusters
An April 16 NewsBusters post by Brent Baker carries the headline, "ABC, CBS and NBC Try to Discredit 'Tea Party' Protests." How did those networks "discredit" the "tea parties"? Judging from Baker's evidence, by telling the full truth.
ABC offended Baker by noting that the rallies were "Cheered on by Fox News and talk radio"and that "critics on the left say this is not a real grassroots phenomenon at all, that it's actually largely orchestrated by people fronting for corporate interests." CBS' offense was noting that "a fistful of rightward leaning Web sites and commentators embraced the cause."NBC is in Baker's doghouse by similarly noting that "some observers suggest not all of it was as home-grown as it may seem."
At no point does Baker dispute the accuracy of those claims -- perhaps because he knows they are accurate. Rather, he plays an equivalence game, claiming that the networks lacked this same "concern for motives and hidden agendas the same programs ... when championing the 2006 pro-illegal immigrant marches."
One of the links Baker offers to support his claim is an April 2006 post on network coverage of the marches in which he complained that "Not one syllable from any protest podium was shown by ABC, CBS or NBC -- likely because of the radical messages delivered by speakers and organizers." Baker offered no examples of these purportedly "radical messages."
What WND Won't Report About Tea Parties Topic: WorldNetDaily
An April 15 WorldNetDaily article by Chelsea Schilling and Alyssa Farah provided fawning coverage of one of the anti-Obama tea parties in Sacramento, Calif., treating organizer Mark Meckler with the reverence normally provided by state-run media to socialist dictators:
"It's unreal. It's beyond my imagination," Meckler told WND with a dazed look. "I can't imagine anything better than this."
Some protesters shouted at the Capitol building with megaphones: "Hey, tell Gov. Schwarzenegger to come out here!"
"We are leading a revolution, and this is the first day of that revolution," Meckler said. "Politicians will no longer be able to divide our nation. They are taking our money, and we aren't going to stand here and take it anymore."
With booming enthusiasm, the crowd recited the Pledge of Allegiance and began wildly chanting, "USA, USA, USA!"
What you won't get from WND, of course, is the full truth about the Sacramento rally and the kind of people it attracted. For that, we must turn to Salon.com:
Tea bags dotted the ground and dangled from ears, protest signs and baby strollers, but the real star of Wednesday's tea party at California's State Capitol building was Fox News. The network's live broadcasting tent threatened to steal the thunder of the main stage, the news event it was covering, as "Your World" host Neil Cavuto waved to excited fans. A group of middle-aged women with a taste for American flag accessories gushed over photos they had taken of Cavuto getting his makeup done. At one point, there was a gasp from the crowd: Someone had caught an in-person glimpse of one of Cavuto's on-air guests, conservative blogger/Fox contributor Michelle Malkin. "Well, that little lady is brilliant," a gray-haired man enthused to his wife. "She and Ann Coulter."
On the steps of the Capitol building, the Fox News fan fest gave way to angry fist-pumping. A wholesome family of eight, ranging from infancy to middle-age, took turns shouting. Kim, a 43-year-old homemaker, bellowed: "You hurt my family!" She argued that, thank to taxes and the stimulus package, "We've had to cut our long distance and caller ID." Her 22-year-old daughter, Ashley, with her baby sister strapped to her chest, cut in: "We even got rid of Netflix!" Nearby lurked a man wearing sunglasses, a baseball cap with the brim pulled low and a fake black goatee and elaborately curled mustache. It was a disguise, he explained. "There's radicals on my job," said the 50-year-old, who declined to give his name. "If they see me on TV we could get in a fist fight."
The San Francisco Chronicle, meanwhile, noted the anti-Obama tenor of the rally, complete with a sign that read, "Obama: Hitler gave good speeches, too." (Of course, smearing Obama as a Nazi is something WND is very much down with.) The Chronicle added:
Jim and Suzanne DuMolin of Tiburon were equally passionate, jointly holding a sign calling for Obama's impeachment. That move, said Jim DuMolin, was justified - despite Obama's current popularity and his democratic election by U.S. voters. "It does not give him the right to transcend" the boundaries of presidential powers, DuMolin said. "He has promised a socialistic approach to government. That's really very little difference from Hugo Chavez in Venezuela."
The Obama-hate at the Sacramento rally is something Farah and Schilling didn't touch on at all -- in fact, nowhere in the article is Obama even mentioned, even though Obama-bashing was a major component of these rallies. WND has proudly displayed its obsessivehatred of Obama in the past; why hide it now?
Perhaps because there was a ConWeb meeting somewhere, and it was decided that it would discredit the rallies among the mainstream if it was perceived as anti-Obama -- after all, Obama remains popular with Americans as a whole -- so the word went out to downplay anything that might be considered too extreme.
WND's tea party-related Obama-bashing coverage is largely confined to a separate article by Joe Kovacs, who highlights a banner at a Palm Beach rally "with President Obama's logo stating, 'Chains we can believe in'" and "a simple cardboard sign equating Obama, socialism and evil." Now, that's the WND Obama-hate we all know and love.
CMI's Hypocrisy: Silence on Right-Wing Sexism Toward Liberal Women Topic: Media Research Center
An April 15 MRC Culture & Media Institute article by Jeff Poor and Colleen Raezler (also posted at NewsBusters) criticizes the "liberal media’s disdain for conservative women," specifically attacking MSNBC for apologizing over slights toward Hillary Clinton and other liberal women but claims it has a "strategy" of "insult, insult, insult" toward conservative women and hurling "belittling, degrading, sexist comments" toward them. Raezler's evidence is a little thin -- they have decided, for instance, that Chris Matthews' description of Sarah Palin as a "fire breather" meant that he was calling her a dragon (even though the dictionary definition of the word says nothing about dragons).Further, Poor and Raezler baselessly suggested that political criticism of Palin is equivalent to sexist remarks; they write that "Following the vice-presidential debate on MSNBC’s Oct. 2, Matthews referred to Palin’s camera demeanor as a 'dolt,'" but as the NewsBusters item to which Raezler links makes clear, Matthews was referring to Palin's habit of addressing the camera instead of the audience or the interviewer, which is in no way a "sexist" criticism.
Poor and Raezler's outrage over sexist remarks, however, end when conservatives are making them and liberal women are the targets.
A search of the CMI database found no examples whatsoever by Raezler, Poor, or any other CMI employee expressing criticism of sexist remarks made by Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage-- two conservatives withlonghistoriesofmaking "belittling, degrading, sexist comments" toward liberal women.
Raezler and Poor complained that MSNBC made "cartoonish characterizations of courageous, intelligent and strong women," but it's clear that they don't consider liberal women to be courageous, intelligent or strong. Raezler quotes "Colleen Holmes, executive director of the conservative Eagle Forum," as saying, "Michelle Malkin summarized it perfectly when she noted that the liberals have a tendency to infantilize, sexualize, demonize and dehumanize conservative women." Apparently, calling Nancy Pelosi "mussolini in a skirt," as Savage has done, is not demonizing or dehumanizing.
Raezler and Poor need to hold their own side accountable for its sexist rhetoric before they have any credibility with which to criticize the rhetoric of others.
UPDATE: Savage calls a CNN female reporter "a self-hating white woman, who couldn't get a job as a hooker." Is that demonizing and dehumanizing enough to move Poor and Raezler to criticism, or do they think such criticism is justibiable because the reporter can be dismissed as a liberal?
UPDATE 2: Raezler and Poor also referenced a previous CMI report on coverage of Sarah Palin -- also co-written by Raezler -- to claim that "it's not just MSNBC who has treated conservative women in this manner." As we detailed at the time of that report's release, its main complaint was that news reports on Palin didn't uncritically repeat McCain campaign talking points.
Newsmax Again Promotes 'Grassroots' Tea Parties Topic: Newsmax
An April 15 Newsmax article asserted and uncritically repeated claims that the anti-Obama "tea parties" are a "grass-roots movement" despite the evidence that they're not. The article even quoted Dick Armey of FreedomWorks without noting that Armey's group has been promoting tea party events for months.
An April 15 NewsBsuters post by Noel Sheppard asserted that the Department of Homeland Security report on right-wing extremism " enraged conservatives questioning not only the timing of this report's release within days of liberal media representatives blaming the shootings on rightwing talkers, but also just before Wednesday's tax protesting Tea Parties." Sheppard later expresses concern that the report "conspicuously coincident with high-profile cop killings as well as protests against the current administration's fiscal policies" and demands to know "how it got leaked to the press."
In fact, right-wing radio host Roger Hedgecock is taking credit for revealing the report in his WorldNetDaily column.
Unless Sheppard can prove Hedgecock and WND are part of the vast left-wing conspiracy -- let alone that anything in the report is false -- he perhaps needs to chill out for a bit.
Sheppard also repeats his deflection of responsibility from right-wing media personalities for their extremist rhetoric, insisting that in the DHS report "the Pittsburgh cop killings were used as an example of a potential rise in violence associated with rightwing extremism when it was a domestic dispute between a mother and son which flared out of control." Sheppard curiously ignores all the evidence linking the alleged shooter, Richard Poplawski, to right-wing extremism, as well as the likely possibility that it was Poplawski's embrace of that extremism that made it more likely that an argument with his mother would "flare out of control."
Blumer Still Clueless About the Media Topic: NewsBusters
Tom Blumer puts his cluelessness about the media to work yet again in an April 14 NewsBusters post about declining ratings for network evening news broadcasts, writing: "I could of course be commenting on the poor quality of the alleged journalism. But in this case I'm talking about their ratings, which is of course largely caused by said poor journalism."
But Blumer offers no evidence that the networks engage in "poor journalism" -- read: overly pro-Obama journalism -- let alone that there is a direct relationship between it and declining ratings.
Blumer referenced a March 25 post, in which he claimed that the network newscasts were "heavy on fawning favoritism towards Barack Obama and Joe Biden combined with all-out attacks on John McCain and Sarah Palin" and that the networks believed that "an Obama presidency might revive interest in their declining evening newscasts." But he offers no evidence to back that up, either.
WND Ignores Full Story of Ex-Soldiers, Right-Wing Extremism Topic: WorldNetDaily
An unbylined April 14 WorldNetDaily article featured criticism by the American Legion of a Department of Homeland Security report on "dangers associated with "right-wing extremists" – and singles out returning war veterans as particular threats." The WND article stated that the American Legion "strongly objects to the report linking veterans to the Oklahoma City tragedy simply because bomber Timothy McVeigh had served in the military."
In fact, as Media Matters details, a 2008 FBI report (issued, by the way, under the Bush administration) stated, in the words of the DHS, that "some returning military veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have joined extremist groups," adding: "A review of FBI white supremacist extremist cases from October 2001 to May 2008 identified 203 individuals with confirmed or claimed military service active in the extremist movement at some time during the reporting period."
ConWeb Baselessly Calls Tea Parties 'Grassroots' Topic: The ConWeb
The following ConWeb articles, columns and blog posts baselessly asserted or uncritically repeated claims that the anti-Obama tea parties happening today are "grassroots" or "bottom up" despite growingevidence to the contrary: