MRC's Hypocrisy on ABC White House Special Topic: Media Research Center
Recent MRC appearances on Fox News bashing ABC over an upcoming broadcast from the White House not only have mostly adhered to the template, they ignored pertinent facts about the news channel on which the MRC reps appeared.
The MRC's Seton Motley appeared on the June 17 edition of "America's Newsroom." He appeared solo, and host Bill Hemmer fed him softball questions and failed to identify Motley as a conservative (though a brief instance of on-screen text stated that the "MRC documents liberal bias in the media").
Later the same day, Fox News correspondent Mike Emanuel aired a clip of Brent Bozell saying, "Just try to imagine a world wherein ABC would give George W. Bush a two-hour opportunity to have a quote-unquote "discussion with the American people" on the war on terror. They didn't even cover some of his press conferences." Emanuel then added, "Bozell saying that a lot of the critics haven't seen any kind of press coverage like this in the past 50 years." Bozell was not identified as a conservative, nor did Emanuel clarify that the "critics" Bozell was talking about can be presumed to be conservative as well.
Further, Bozell has, in fact, seen this sort of coverage in the past 50 years -- the past eight years, to be exact.
As Media Matters has detailed, Fox News was given numerous instances of exclusive access to the Bush White House, during which it tossed softball questions and served as a platform for advancing Bush talking points. Bozell even feebly defended the practice in 2005, insisting against the evidence that an interview of President Bush by Fox's Neil Cavuto "was no puff job," though he made no effort to actually list any of the "challenging questions" Cavuto supposedly asked Bush.
Joseph Farah makes the same false claim for a second time in three days in his June 17 WorldNetDaily column, asserting that Barack Obama's mother "was an 18-year-old American whose own immature citizenship would not confer natural born citizenship upon her son," meaning that Obama "was in fact a Kenyan citizen at birth and a subject of Great Britain at birth – hardly what the founders had in mind for presidential eligibility when they ratified the Constitution."
But as we detailed, federal law that set automatic conferral of citizenship from a parent to a child at the time of Obama's birth to a citizen for five years after age 14 (Obama's mother was three months shy of her 19th birthday when Obama was born) was changed after Obama's birth to two years after age 14 and made retroactive to 1952 -- thus covering Obama. And his he did before, Farah offers no evidence that the Constitution bars an American who once held dual citizenship from becoming president.
Kincaid Ignores Shared Interest of AIM, Von Brunn Topic: Accuracy in Media
A June 15 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid regurgitated the right-wing talking point that Holocaust Museum shooter James von Brunn couldn't have been a right-winger because "Von Brunn's anti-Semitism is shared by Jeremiah Wright, a left-winger who was Obama's pastor for 20 years."
Kincaid, however, curiously fails to mention one area where AIM's and von Brunn's (and WorldNetDaily's) interests overlap: obsession with Obama's birth certificate.
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch Topic: Accuracy in Media
The promise of the Declaration of Independence that everyone has a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness will be rendered meaningless by Obamacare if your life depends on government policies regarding health care.
Remember how CNSNews.com's Terry Jeffrey was all het up because "the media" didn't report a single line from President Obama's speech that he and his fellow right-wingers could take out of context? Here's an example of CNS refusing to report an exculpatory quote.
A June 16 article by Marie Magleby, as WorldNetDaily did, highlights an unverified claim made by Republicans that ABC has "refused to allow Republicans to participate" in a series of broadcasts from the White House. It's not until the 16th paragraph that Magleby gets around to mentioning ABC's response, and while she quotes an ABC spokesman as saying that "ABC News is looking for the most thoughtful and diverse voices on this issue," she fails to report the spokesman's most direct response to the Republicans' accusations of bias: "ABC News announced plans to broadcast a primetime hour from the White House devoted to exploring and probing the President's position and giving voice to questions and criticisms of that position."
Why didn't Magleby report that quote, even though it directly addresses the question she's reporting on?
P.S.: Jeffrey harps on Obama's out-of-context remark in his June 17 column complaining once more that certain newspapers didn't report it -- never mind that one of his own reporters just pulled the same stunt he's criticizing.
WorldNetDaily just can't stop telling lies about Barack Obama's birth certificate, can it?
Molotov Michell's June 17 WorldNetDaily video repeats at least two lies regarding Obama's birth certificate, contradicting his claim that "these are the facts":
"Obama's grandmother says that he was born in Kenya." This false claim is based on an edited transcript and translation issues, as David Wiegel reported at Slate (and we've noted); the full transcript shows that when Sarah Obama was asked the question more directly, "the translators ... tell him repeatedly that the president-elect was born in Hawaii."
"He traveled in and out of Pakistan when American passports were prohibited." In fact, as we've detailed, a June 1981 New York Times article reported that "Tourists can obtain a free, 30-day visa (necessary for Americans) at border crossings and airports," and an August 1981 State Department travel advisory explains how Americans can obtain visas for visiting Pakistan.
Mitchell also channels Holocaust Museum shooter James von Brunn by asserting that Obama has "sealed all records that could indicate his national origin."
Les Kinsolving devotes his June 16 WorldNetDaily column (at least the part that doesn't regurgitate WND's attack on Fox News' Shepard Smith by rehashing a 9-year-old incident that has no bearing on current events) to two letters sent to White House press secretary Robert Gibbs by John Hemenway, whose previous lawsuit regarding Obama's birth certificate resulted in a reprimand from the judge for bring a "legally frivolous suit" to the court.
While Kinsolving describes Hemenway as a "World War II veteran, U.S. Naval Academy graduate, Rhode Scholar and Washington, D.C., attorney," he's too much of a loyal WND employee to deviate from company policy and note the numerous falsehoods in Hemenway's letters:
-- The birth certificate released by Obama's campaign "would not be acceptable to obtain a driver's license in most states in America." According to Andrew Walden at the right-wing FrontPageMag, the certificate is "the same document that anyone born in Hawaii shows when applying for a drivers’ license, social security card, passport, or security clearance. It was also accepted as valid by the election officials of the 50 states."
-- The certificate "was put on a laser printer before laser printers were available. It has been denounced as a forgery by competent authorities from Hawaii's Department of Home Lands." But the Hawaii Department of Home Lands does not issue official birth certificates (the state health department does) and, thus, is in no position to judge a certificate's authenticity. Further, as FactCheck.org notes, the certificate released by the Obama campaign was generated by the Hawaii state health department in June 2007 -- long after the invention of laser printers.
-- The certificate "is a record of birth not even used by the state of Hawaii's Department of Home Lands to establish Hawaiian ethnic identity." That would be relevant if Obama was seeking to establish Hawaiian ethnic identity in order to lease land from the state of Hawaii for homestead purposes. But as we've noted, he's nnot.
-- "Sun Yat-sen, a Chinese national, was issued a COLB ... [Sun] was born on 12 November 1866 in Cuiheng, China, but had a Hawaiian birth certificate and was officially a citizen of the United States." As the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported, Sun was issued a birth certificate in 1904, when Hawaii was a territory -- not a state -- meaning that the certificate made Sun a "citizen of Hawaii," not a United States citizen. Sun's situation is irrelevant to Obama's.
-- "Barack Obama's paternal grandmother, Sarah Hussein Obama, claims he was born in Kenya, that she was present for the birth." That false claim is based on an edited transcript and translation issues, as David Wiegel reported at Slate (and we've noted); the full transcript shows that when Sarah Obama was asked the question more directly, "the translators ... tell him repeatedly that the president-elect was born in Hawaii."
Kinsolving really must stop enabling the lies of others.
WND Repeats False Claim About ABC and Obama Topic: WorldNetDaily
A June 16 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn called ABC an "Obama propaganda machine" for an upcoming series of broadcasts from the Obama White House repeated a claim that "ABC News reportedly rejected a Republican request to be allowed a response," further quoting the Republican National Committee's Ken McKay attacking "ABC's astonishing decision to exclude opposing voices on this critical issue" and right-wing radio host Roger Hedgecock's assertion that "No opposing views are allowed on the program."
That claim appears to be false. From ABC News' response to the Republicans: "ABC News announced plans to broadcast a primetime hour from the White House devoted to exploring and probing the President's position and giving voice to questions and criticisms of that position."
Even though ABC's response to the Republicans was available prior to the publication of the WND article, Zahn failed to mention the statement that ABC plans to give "voice to questions and criticisms" of Obama.
Will WND report the truth about ABC and formally retract this false claim? Naaah -- they're way too invested in lying about Obama.
A June 16 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein begins ominously: "Former President Jimmy Carter passed a message to Hamas from the Obama administration, according to senior sources in the Islamist group."
But the very next paragraph makes it clear there's no there there:
The sources did not disclose the content of the purported message or whether the communication was written or oral. They spoke on condition of anonymity, because they said Hamas had not yet reached a decision on officially releasing the information they were divulging.
Klein can't prove there's a message or even corroborate it with a source who is willing to go on the record. He then demolishes the rest of the big assertion, that Jimmy Carter passed the seemingly imaginary message along:
Separately, in an interview with WND today, Ahmed Yousef, Hamas' chief political adviser in Gaza, refused to confirm or deny that any message was passed to his group from the White House.
Youssef said, however, Carter is the "right person" to serve as a middle man between Hamas and the Obama administration.
To sum up: Klein can't demonstrate that a message even exists, let alone that Jimmy Carter passed one along. But, if there were a message, Carter is the kind of guy who might have had it.
In other words, there is no reason for this story's existence other than to falsely smear President Obama -- something Klein lovestodo.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how "journalism" works at WorldNetDaily.
CNS' Jeffrey Wants Media to Take Obama Out of Context Topic: CNSNews.com
In a June 16 CNSNews.com article, Terry Jeffrey complains that "no major U.S. newspaper available in the Nexis database reported" that President Obama said in a speech before the American Medical Association "there are countries where a single-payer system works pretty well."
But Jeffrey then goes on to report that Obama's statement is immediately followed by Obama's explicit rejection of a single-payer system. Therefore, reporting that statement alone serves no purpose, and Jeffrey seems to be demanding that the media publish the statement so that right-wing activists like him can take it out of context, as he attempts to do here by making such a big deal out of it.
Jeffrey also seems to suggest that his own news organization would never leave out necessary context. But CNS has never told its readers that the Bush administration claims it foiled the Los Angeles terror plot before Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was captured and gave up info on the plot after being waterboarded, or that Jeffrey's boss is on the board of directors of the Cardinal Newman Society that CNS loves to quote.
Byron York Still Hiding Full Story About Walpin Topic: Washington Examiner
Byron York's June 16 Washington Examiner column again takes the side of fired AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin, demanding that Republicans in Congress "get to the bottom of President Obama's sudden -- and suspicious -- decision" to fire Walpin. As he has before, York hides the fact that a U.S. attorney accused Walpin of misconduct in the investigation of alleged misuse of AmeriCorps funding by an Obama supporter who is now the mayor of Sacramento.
York also curiously likens the situation to "the suspicious firings of the White House Travel Office staff" by President Clinton in 1993. That may not be the best analogy York could have made; independent counsel Robert Ray concluded that the travel office employees "served at the pleasure of President Bill Clinton, and they were subject to discharge without cause."
It seems that York is saying that he will make a mountain out of a molehill with the Walpin firing just like his fellow right-wingers did with the travel office firings. It also seems that, by admitting he's doing that, York has just discredited his own reporting on Walpin.
“When Barack Obama Jr. was born on Aug. 4,1961, in Honolulu, Kenya was a British colony, still part of the United Kingdom’s dwindling empire. As a Kenyan native, Barack Obama Sr. was a British subject whose citizenship status was governed by The British Nationality Act of 1948. That same act governed the status of Obama Sr.‘s children.
Since Sen. Obama has neither renounced his U.S. citizenship nor sworn an oath of allegiance to Kenya, his Kenyan citizenship automatically expired on Aug. 4,1982.”
Note that it specifically states Obama held U.S. citizenship at the time he held Kenyan citizenship as a child -- something Farah fails to acknowledge, since that inconvenient fact would destroy the argument he's trying to make.
Note also that Farah doesn't bother to link to the original FactCheck article from which the excerpt was taken -- which would have destroyed Farah's argument further. At no point does it dispute the fact that Obama is, and always has been, a U.S. citizen.
Further, at no point does Farah offer evidence to prove his larger argument --that Obama holding dual citizenship as a child, or having one parent who was not an American citizen, fails to fulfill the "natural born citizen" requirement of the Constitution for presidential eligibility.
Farah also asserts that Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, "was too young to have qualified under the law for bestowing that privilege on her son, even if the father had been a citizen and even in the unlikely event Obama was actually born in Hawaii!" But that claim has been discredited. From the Tribune Co. Washington Bureau blog The Swamp:
Hawaii was a state in 1961, when Obama was born. Any person born in the U.S. automatically is a "natural born citizen," said University of California Los Angeles law professor Eugene Volokh.
Even if a person is born outside the United States, courts have ruled any child born to at least one U.S. citizen is a U.S. citizen, Volokh said. Stanley Ann Dunham would have counted even if Obama's Kenyan father did not.
If this becomes an issue in a post-election eligibility challenge, expect a likely sticking point to be the legal definition in 1961 of how parents could be called U.S. citizens for this purpose, Volokh said. At the time Obama was born, the law stated that a person would be considered a "natural born citizen" if either parent was a citizen who had lived at least 10 years in the U.S., including five years after the age of 14--in other words, 19.
Dunham was three months shy of her 19th birthday when Obama was born. But subsequent acts of Congress relaxed the requirement to five years in the U.S., including just two years after the age of 14, meaning Dunham could have been 16 and still qualified even if Obama was born in another country, Volokh said. Congress made the law retroactive to 1952, doubly covering Obama.
And, of course, Farah is still refusing to acknowledge that his own website delcared that the birth certificate released by Obama's campaign is "authentic" and that a lawsuit challenging Obama's citizenship in part "relies on discredited claims."
Farah really seems to think that if he tells lies about Obama long enough and loudly enough, they might become true. Sad, isn't it?
New Article: Feeding the Extremists Topic: WorldNetDaily
Not only does WorldNetDaily have a soft spot for anti-abortion radicals of the type that killed George Tiller, it has common interests with the man who allegedly shot a guard at the Holocaust Museum. Read more >>
MRC Wins the Perception War Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's war against David Letterman over a joke he told was based on a deliberately misleading bit of framing: that Letterman was deliberately referring to Sarah Palin's 14-year-old daughter in a quip about Palin’s daughter getting "knocked up" by baseball star Alex Rodriguez, when Letterman has made clear that he was referring to Palin's 18-year-old daughter.
Brent Bozell blurred the distinction in his June 12 demand for an apology like a "real man" (Bozell, if you'll recall, had to be taken into court and forced to pay $3.5 million to World Wresting Entertainment before he apologized like a real man for telling lies). The MRC's Seton Motley joined Fox News in ignoring the distinction completely in a June 14 appearance, portraying Letterman's joke as specifically referring to the 14-year-old though Letterman has specifically said that wasn't the case. (Motley's Fox News appearance, by the way, follows the template -- Motley appeared solo was not identified as a conservative.)
Motley also said of comparisons of the Letterman situation with that of Don Imus' offensive remark about the Rutgers women's basketball team: "None of this is defending Don Imus. For me, the MRC -- none of it. He was obnoxious, he was offensive." In fact, as we detailed at the time, the MRC was loath to directly criticize Imus over the remarks, reserving its wrath for people like Al Sharpton who highlighted the remarks, with Bozell himself calling them "the usual cast of professional victims."
But the MRC, in declaring victory by getting Letterman to issue a more formal apology, gives away their game. Brent Baker wrtes in a June 15 MRC item that "Palin and conservatives were outraged and demanded an apology and retraction for a 'joke' seemed aimed at the 14-year-old daughter though Letterman said he was referring to the 18-year-old daughter."
And who made Letterman's joke seem "aimed at the 14-year-old daughter"? Palin and conservatives.
Baker quotes Letterman as saying, "It doesn't make any difference what my intent was, it's the perception." Again, who created the perception that Letterman said something so offensive that he must formally apologize? Palin and conservatives led by the MRC. Thus, the MRC wins the perception war against Letterman.
Motley complained during his Fox News appearance that "It's just a matter of if you get into a grievance group situation ... there is no grievance group for conservatives, for conservative women." But the MRC is, in fact, one of many grievance groups on the right -- a fact Motley downplayed on Fox News.
If the MRC didn't have a grievance to peddle, there was no reason for Motley to go on TV and Bozell to issue press releases.
UPDATE: Letterman's more abject apology still isn't good enough for Bozell, who dismissed it as "slippery and Clintonian." And Bozell still wants to fight the perception war -- even though he already won -- by insisting there was "no perception, no misunderstanding" about Letterman's original joke.
A June 15 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein carries the headline: " 'U.S. told us don't take Netanyahu seriously,' " presented as a direct quote ascribed to a "senior Palestinian official."
But the headline is a lie. Nowhere in Klein's article does that direct quote appear. Indeed, nowhere does Klein report that the Obama administration "told" the Palestinians anything, let alone to ignore statements by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. While Klein does quote a statement from a Palestinian official -- "We received encouraging signs from the Americans that we should not take seriously into consideration Netanyahu's speech"-- its meaning is different; a "sign" is not the same thing as being "told" something.