NewsBusters, WND Promote Anonymous, Unverified Attack on Obama Topic: NewsBusters
Getting much play in the right-wing blogosphere in recent days is a post at the blog MacsMind citing a message from an anonymous "sergeant that was there" when President Obama visited troops in Iraq that the enthusiastic reception the troops gave Obama was staged because the troops who attended the reception were "pre-screened, asked by officials “Who voted for Obama?”, and then those who raised their hands were shuffled to the front of the receiving line. They even handed out digital cameras and asked them to hold them up." The anonynmous sergeant added, "Take a look at the picture at AP and notice all the cameras are the same models? Coincidence? I think not."
Macsmind -- nor anyone else -- has offered any evidence to substantiate the anonymous sergeant's allegations. But anonymous, unverified claims are good enough for the ConWeb if they can sufficiently smear Obama.
Tom Blumer embraced the claim in an April 14 NewsBusters post ironically carrying the headline, "Too Good to Be True?" and adding, "Indeed, there are an awful lot of cameras that look awfully identical." Alan Keyes similarly repeated it in his April 17 WorldNetDaily column. Neither noted the anonymous, unverified nature of the accusation.
Explanations by a couple of commenters on Blumer's post that any similarity in digital cameras among the troops was likely due to the fact that the post PX carries a very limited selection of them went largely ignored by the right-wing regulars in the thread and unacknowledged by Blumer himself.
Can Joseph Farah even tell the difference between fact and fiction anymore?
He writes in his April 25 WorldNetDaily column: "I have to remind you, because I have an ego, that I was alone in first recognizing the gravity of Obama's first mention of his vaunted 'civilian national security force.' I did so way back in July of 2008 – still early in the presidential campaign."
What Farah doesn't tell you: He lied about Obama's statement then, and he's lying about it now.
Farah goes on to claim, as he did then, that Obama's statement is "something ill-defined, nebulous, yet frightening in the context of our nation's heritage.." As we first detailed at the time Obama made his statement and Farah first lied about it, Obama did, in fact, define what he meant by "civilian national security force" -- not just an expansion of volunteer programs like the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps, but a realignment of the State Department's foreign service to, for example, "deploy teams that combine agricultural specialists and engineers and linguists and cultural specialists who are prepared to go into some of the most dangerous areas alongside our military."
This lie is one of the many falsehoods Farah and WND have told about Obama, and we'll add this column to the list of evidence.
Every time Farah claims there's something sinister about this and that Obama has never defined it, Farah is lying. It's that simple.
But, apparently, Farah thinks it's OK to lie as long as his ego is boosted.
Remember when Noel Sheppard claimed that, unlike liberal media critics who seek "a complete and total elimination of all opinion and viewpoints that are not in complete and total lockstep with their own," right-wing media criticslike himself merely want to "create a fair and balanced media"? Well, forget about that.
An April 23 NewsBusters post by Sheppard happily relates how numerous critics attended the General Electric stockholders meeting to criticize MSNBC for, in Sheppard's words, its "increasing leftward tilt." Nothing else -- just for having a "leftward tilt."
Sounds to us like Sheppard wants a complete and total elimination of all opinion and viewpoints that are not in complete and total lockstep with his own. After all, we don't recall Sheppard being upset about Fox News having an increasingly rightward tilt, which he would be if he was genuinely interested in creating a "a fair and balanced media."
Further, as County Fair's Eric Boehlert notes, these shareholders are arguing against their own financial interests: "[W]hy would GE shareholders, who invest in the global conglomerate to earn back dividends, be upset that the GE-owned cable outlet has practically doubled its ratings in recent years? Why would GE shareholders, who have suffered through dismal earning reports from the business icon recently, be upset that its cable news unit was bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars in ad revenue?"
It seems that Sheppard would rather see NBC censor liberal opinions than make money.
Conflict of Interest: CNS Hides MRC's Link to Conservative Catholic Group Topic: CNSNews.com
An April 24 Washington Independent article describes the Cardinal Newman Society -- a conservative Catholic group that's spearheading opposition to President Obama giving a commencement speech at Notre Dame -- as "loosely affiliated with the conservative Media Research Center, whose president L. Brent Bozell III serves on the Cardinal Newman Society’s board of directors," adding: "CNSNews.com–which, like the Cardinal Newman Center, is directed by L. Brent Bozell–published an enterprise piece asking whether the president would agree to wear the official robes at Notre Dame, since they are threaded with a prayer."
But CNS has never told its readers about the ties between it and the Cardinal Newman Society.
A search of the CNS archive reveals that 11 CNS articles or columns (as of this writing) dating back to 2004 promote or reference claims made by the Cardinal Newman Society. None of them, however, mention Bozell's link to both CNS and the society.
Further, none of the CNS articles accurately describe the society's place on the liberal-conservative scale. A March 24 article by Edwin Mora, for example, describes it only as "a group dedicated to promoting fidelity to Catholic teachings at Catholic universities in the United States." Another article notes only that the group "is not an official organ of the Church."
Similarly, a search of the archive at the MRC-operated NewsBusters finds three posts referencing the Cardinal Newman Society -- none of which disclose Bozell's connection to it.
CNS has normally been conscientious in disclosure when promoting ties to the MRC when promoting the causes of other MRC divisions. It's unclear why it has refused to do so regarding the Cardinal Newman Society.
CNS Still Pushing Dubious KSM Claim Topic: CNSNews.com
An April 24 CNSNews.com article by Penny Starr continues CNS' promotion of the claim that information obtained from Khalid Shaikh Mohammed via so-called enhanced interrogation "allowed the U.S. government to stop a planned terrorist attack in Los Angeles," which CNS claims to have verified with the CIA. At no point does Starr acknowledge compelling evidence contradicting it: As we've detailed, the Bush administration has claimed that the Los Angeles plot was foiled a year before Mohammed was captured.
An April 24 CNS article by Fred Lucas similarly repeats the claim while ignoring contradictory evidence.
Meanwhile, the dubious claim continues to spread: Hal Lindsey repeats it in his April 24 WorldNetDaily column.
UPDATE: David Limbaugh's April 24 column, published at Newsmax and WorldNetDaily, repeat it as well.
The United States is actually perfectly poised for such a breakup. An illegal alien was elected president by just over half the nation's population. The elites that allowed him to take office as president know he lacks the necessary citizenship (perhaps the only application of "don't ask, don't tell" they've ever supported). Many of the voters suspect, too. But for the moment they have chosen to remain silent – because of their fear of losing everything in an economic collapse.
AIM Columnist Repeats Dubious KSM Claim Topic: Accuracy in Media
An April 23 Accuracy in Media column by Jim Kohri repeats the assertion, first forwarded by CNSNews.com, that "A source within the Central Intelligence Agency says that a May 30, 2005 U.S. Department of Justice report corroborates the fact that the use of aggressive interrogation techniques on al Qaeda's Khalid Sheik Mohammed 'encouraged' him to reveal useful intelligence that allowed US law enforcement to derail an attack on Los Angeles."
In fact, as we've detailed, the Bush administration has claimed that the Los Angeles plot was foiled a year before Mohammed was captured.
Kouri goes on to defend the Branch Davidians, who were merely a peaceful people (albeit led by a "charismatic, sociopath") who "desired only one thing from society: to be left alone" (albeit while building "an arsenal within their compound"), but were victimized by Janet Reno "and her minions in the Justice Department" on "phony" charges of child abuse and making automatic weapons (which Kouri doesn't support). Kouri claims that they were treated not unlike KSM: "The extreme measures used against American citizens (including sleep deprivation, blasting loud music and noise, etc.) went unchallenged by the news media of the day."
Kouri huffs that Reno and President Clinton faced "absolutely no condemnation" of their actions in the siege (utterly false) and adds, "Apparently, in America, if you're a liberal you can escape punishment for even the most unconscionable behavior."
Nowhere does Kouri mention the fact that the Branch Davidians murdered four federal agents, a not-unimportant factor in creating the siege. Apparently, Kouri doesn't find that unconscionable.
MRC Keeps the Blinders On Topic: Media Research Center
We've detailed now the Media Research Center is so blinded by their tunnel vision that they blame "liberal bias" for every media woe even though other explanations are much more plausible and demonstrable. But logic isn't a tool in the MRC arsenal, so they have chosen to remain willfully blinded.
In an April 22 NewsBusters post gleefully relating how the New York Times Co. is purportedly "burning full blast towards oblivion," Stephen Gutowski noted the Associated Press' listing of the actual reasons the newspaper industry is in trouble -- the recession, marketing shifts, and "many people are doing without newspaper subscriptions because they can read much of the same information for free on the Web" -- then dismisses them, claiming, "I think those of us here at NewsBusters know better than that." He then quotes another blogger referencing "left wing hack newspapers" and adds, "And bias certainly hurts because, truthfully, if you consistently alienate large swaths of potential customers through undeniable and absolutely despicable bias its bound to affect your bottom line." He concludes that the Times must "incorporate the genuine balance and true professionalism that people want from their news sources. Because if you don't eliminate the hackery, which has become so common and so obvious, soon you won't be around to do so in the future."
Let's take a moment here and see what a real expert has to say on the issue. Donna Barrett is the president and CEO of newspaper chain Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., and we're pretty sure she has significantly more working knowledge about the newspaper industry than Gutowski:
There is no shortage of other theories on why newspapers are hurting. Most come from those without direct responsibility for the financial health of a newspaper. Some popular explanations:
1.) Newspapers are too liberal and drive off readers as a result. 2.) Newspaper publishers are slow to embrace new technology. 3.) Newspapers are losing readers to the Internet.
As my father used to say, they don’t know what they don’t know. In reality, none of these theories is responsible for newspapers' woes.
Overall readership is growing. Most publishers embrace technological advances to serve their audience, but they face a real-world problem that these advances usually provide much less revenue than their core business.
Finally, newspaper companies are losing classified revenue, not readers, to the Internet. In one of life’s ironies, newspapers are growing audience through the very outlet that takes away so much revenue.
Don't look for Gutowski or anyone else at the MRC to acknowledge this -- they're too invested in their blinders.
Speaking of Gutowski's fellow MRCers, Dan Gainor testified in front of a House subcommittee on April 21 in a hearing about newspapers, in which he downplays actual facts and clung to the liberal-bias canard. From Gainor's statement:
While it is fair to blame much of the decline in newspapers to technology, it is not the only factor. The newspaper industry has changed too – for the worse. Standards have slipped or all but disappeared. The concept of a journalist as a neutral party has become a punch line for a joke, not a guideline for an industry.
We all saw how poorly the mainstream press covered the last election. According to the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, voters believed that the media wanted Barack Obama to win the presidential election. “By a margin of 70%-9%, Americans say most journalists want to see Obama, not John McCain, win,” Pew reported. Other surveys confirmed it: According to Rasmussen, "Over half of U.S. voters (51%) think reporters are trying to hurt Sarah Palin."
And while newspaper credibility has taken a hit among both Democrats and Republicans, it is lowest among Republicans with the [New York] Times having just a 10 percent credibility rating in that group. One person in 10? You could write graffiti on a wall and have more people believe you.
In other words: lilberal bias. But citing polling supporting that view ignores the decades of work and millions upon millions of dollars spent by conservative organizations like Gainor's employer to foist that view on the public. Indeed, NewsBusters blogger Tom Blumer let that cat out of the bag last year, proclaiming that such poll findings mean that "twenty or so years of very hard work by the Media Research Center and affiliates, including just over three years at NewsBusters, has paid some dividends." Not that there's any truth to it, mind you, but that sufficient money has been spent to make enough people believe it.
Additionally, The Times has been a major target of the MRC, having devoted an entire website to bashing it.
Gainor also said: "You don’t have to tell me that the newspaper business in changing. Three of those organizations I have worked for are now out of business. Until recently, I wrote a column for the Baltimore Examiner, but it closed putting dozens of friends and fellow journalists out of work."
But the closing of the Baltimore Examiner disproves his assertion that liberal bias is alienating newspaper readers. That paper was a sister paper to the Washington Examiner, which has an unmistakable right-wing bias. We can presume that the Baltimore paper had a similar bias; "liberal bias" could not have been an issue with that paper's demise.
Gainor further ignores the fact that right-wing papers like the Washington Times, the New York Post and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (and, one can assume, the Washington Examiner) are not the dominant publications in their respective markets, have consistently lost money for decades, and remain in business only because of deep-pocketed owners who are willing to absorb the losses (and keep secret just how much money is being lost). By comparison, the losses at mainstream newspapers have occured only within the past couple of years, and most are owned by publicly held companies so revenue is publicly disclosed as well. Thus, the losses at those papers have gotten public attention, while the losses at right-wing papers have not.
Gutowski and Gainor are stubbornly putting their employer's talking points above the facts. But then, that's what they get paid to do.
Newsmax's rehabilitation of Bernard Kerik continues: He's written an April 23 column for Newsmax bashing President Obama.
Kerik's tagline on his column is laughably vague, stating on that he "retired as the 40th police commissioner of New York City and was in command of the NYPD on and after Sept. 11, 2001." No mention of the fact he's still under indictment on numerous charges of corruption and tax fraud.
But for Newsmax, an indicted felon is perfectly qualified to speak as long as he's attacking Obama.
Newsmax Again Rounds Up Partisan 'Experts' to Attack Obama Topic: Newsmax
We've noted how Newsmax likes to round up so-called "experts" to attack President Obama's policies without bothering to explain the right-wing agenda of those "experts." It does so in an April 22 article by David A. Patten citing a "growing chorus of experts" to claim that Obama's plans to expand health care "kill hopes for a sustained economic recovery."
And who are Patten's "experts"? Representatives of the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute. At no point does Patten identify the right-wing and libertarian leanings of these think tanks, and Patten does not permit anyone from the Obama administration to respond to the criticism.
Barber Repeats Bogus Matthew Shepard Revisionism Topic: CNSNews.com
In an April 21 CNSNews.com column ranting against covering gays -- oops, "individuals who define their identity based upon aberrant sexual behaviors" -- the ConWeb's favorite gay-basher, Matt Barber, joins otherright-wingers in deciding a convicted killer is emininently trustworthy as he regurgitates right-wing revisionism about the murder of Matthew Shepard:
Although the evidence determined that Shepard's murder was not a “hate crime” by definition (a misconception still widely propagated by the homosexual lobby, the media and liberal lawmakers) the two thugs who committed the crime nonetheless received life in prison – and rightfully so. (Shepard's murder turned out to be the end result of a robbery for drug money gone from bad to horrible).
The person Barber is relying on to claim that one of the men who killed Shepard -- who has a history of telling lies about his role in the death of Shepard and who mounted a gay-panic defense during his murder trial -- who has yet again changed his story. By contrast, the former police chief of Laramie, Wyo., where the murder took place, has said about the killer's new story: "Only three people know what really happened that night. ... One of them is dead and the other two are known liars and convicted felons -- murderers."
Barber has chosen to trust the word of a convicted felon and a documented liar over that of law enforcement authorities. Now we know how Barber has chosen to define his identity.
Ponte Peddles Global Warming Bamboozlement Topic: Newsmax
In an April 22 Newsmax column playing guilt-by-association because Earth Day occurs on the same day as Lenin's birthday, Lowell Ponte writes: "Whatever global warming has happened since the late 1970s halted in 1998. Satellite measurements show that Earth has cooled for the past five years."
As we've previously noted, 2008 was still the 10th warmest year on record. Further, Michel Jarraud, secretary general of the U.N. World Meteorological Organization, points out that the earth is still in a warming trend, and that "The 11 warmest years on record occurred in the past 13 years."
CNS' Jeffrey Is Conduit for Apparently False CIA Claim Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com editor-in-chief Terry Jeffrey got himself a big scoop the other day, claiming in an April 21 CNS article: "The Central Intelligence Agency told CNSNews.com today that it stands by the assertion made in a May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that the use of “enhanced techniques” of interrogation on al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) -- including the use of waterboarding -- caused KSM to reveal information that allowed the U.S. government to thwart a planned attack on Los Angeles." Jeffrey liked that scoop so much that rewrote the article and turned it into his April 22 column.
Just one problem with it: It doesn't appear to be true.
As Media Matters and Slate's Timothy Noah point out, the Bush administration hasstated that the plot in question, a plan to fly a hijacked airliner into a Los Angeles skyscraper, was broken up in February 2002 -- more than a year before Mohammed's capture in March 2003. That means Mohammed gave information under waterboarding (if indeed he actually did so) about a plot that not only had already been foiled, it appears to have been not much of a plot in the first place.
It also means that Jeffrey has a problem. He has apparently allowed himself to serve as a stooge for the CIA, treating information fed to him as fact that appears not to be true at all. He might want to explain that to his readers.
UPDATE: An April 23 CNS article by Josiah Ryan repeats the claim without noting the evidence contradicting it.
The screenshot below shows the ad we found at the end of an April 22 NewsBusters post by Colleen Raezler bashing the "mainstream news media" for covering "in a positive manner" the Day of Silence, "an indoctrination tool pushed on students by gay activists":