Examiner Complains Second City Isn't Anti-Obama Enough Topic: Washington Examiner
In another example of the Washington Examiner's right-wing bias spreading to all areas of the newspaper, a July 20 review by Nancy Dunham of a Washington performance by the comedy group Second City wasn't hateful enough of President Obama and -- perhaps more egregiously -- dared to make fun of conservatives.
Dunham complained that the show, while funny, was "unabashedly pro-Obama" and that it didn't repeat right-wing talking points: "Nope, the 57 states to which Obama referred during the campaign or even his ardent use of a Teleprompter -- which has even prompted Vice President Joe Biden to joke about Obama -- aren't mentioned at all during the almost two-hour show."
Dunham saves her main ire, though, for Second City's lampooning of conservatives:
But the second act is where things get a bit -- let's just say -- ugly, when the troupe takes on ardent Republicans, including radio personality Rush Limbaugh and political commentator Ann Coulter. What makes the sketches troubling is while the other targets were part of good-hearted even if raucous ribbing, Limbaugh, Coulter and former President George W. Bush were portrayed as lone wolf buffoons who want to sabotage the U.S. economy and social policies for their own personal glories.
Whatever your party affiliation, it's tough to swallow some of those arguments. Calling Limbaugh a lone wolf is especially ludicrous when you consider Arbitron notes he has 13.5 million listeners.
Dunham went on to add: "Surely, many will say that this criticism is based on my own political beliefs. That's fine to believe and may well be partially true." The more interesting question, though, is why Dunham's review dovetails so well with the Examiner's editorial policies. Would her review have been published if she wasn't approaching the Second City's performance with a right-wing lens? We have to wonder.
If the Examiner's right-wing bias not only can't be confined to the editorial page but drives things like entertainment reviews, there's little reason to trust anything the Examiner publishes.
Examiner's Health Care Report Biased, Misleading Topic: Washington Examiner
A four-page July 9 Washington Examiner "special report" on health care is devoted solely to attacking President Obama's plans for health care reform. Following the Examiner's dictate eliminating non-conservative opinion from the paper, no supporter of Obama's plans is permitted to respond to any of the claims made. Most people would call that a violation of journalistic ethics.
Not only did the Examiner farm out its criticism to its fellow right-wingers -- at least twoarticles are nothing more than talking points copied from the Heritage Foundation -- the "special report" repeats misleading claims and hides details about critics.
The misleading begins with Mark Tapscott's introductory editorial carrying the headline, "Do we want doctors, nurses to be government employees?" Tapscott offers no evidence that that would in fact happen under Obama's reform proposals. Tapscott also asserts that Obama plans on "nationalizing health care" and cites "fear that a government-run system in the U.S. will ration health care, just as has happened in Canada, Britain, France and other countries with such systems."In fact, Obama has specifically rejected a health care system like Canada's or Britain's.
An article by Joseph R. Antos asserted that -- under the heading of "$1 trillion," what Antos claims "Democrats have decided" health care reform should cost over the next decade -- "according to the CBO ... Sen. Ted Kennedy’s reform proposal would cover only an additional 16 million people. That works out to $62,500 for each newly insured person." In fact, the Congressional Budget Office analysis to which Antos is referring was an incomplete assessment that did not analyze the cost of a public option, considered a key to Democrats' reform plans. Antos made no reference, however, to a more complete July 2 CBO assessment of the current version of Kennedy's bill -- even though it was released a week before this column was published -- found that the bill, including the public option, would cost $611 billion over 10 years and cover 97 percent of Americans.
Further, an article by Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute described the group only as "a nonprofit research organization focusing on patient-centered solutions to health reform." In fact, Galen is funded by the pharmaceutical and medical industries -- information relevant to readers.
Examiner Misleads on Train Station Money Topic: Washington Examiner
A July 10 "Daily Outrage" item (print only) in the Washington Examiner attacked stimulus money going "to refurbish a passenger train station in Elizabethtown, a small town in Lancaster County, Pa." because it "has been abandoned for the past 30 years."
In fact, as Media Matters notes, while the station building is closed for 30 years, the station's platform is open and serving passengers -- more than 80,000 a year. Further, the station has reportedly nearly doubled its number of passengers since 2003-2004 and, according to the Pennsylvania State Department of Transportation, has had the highest increase in ridership in the past two years of any station along the Keystone corridor.
The Examiner failed to mention those facts, which contradict its depiction of the station renovation as a waste of money. The Examiner apparently cribbed its attack from a report issued by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn.
Here's a scan of the item as it appeared in the Examiner:
Examiner Misleads Again on ACORN Topic: Washington Examiner
The Washington Examiner's war against ACORN continues with a July 7 package of stories that leave out certain pertinent information.
One article by Kevin Mooney uncriticially repeats Anita MonCrief's attacks against ACORN without mention that MonCrief was fired by ACORN affiliate Project Vote for, among other things, opening a credit card account in Project Vote's name that she used for personal expenses.
And a section of "sound bites" quotes "blogger Weasel Zipper" -- doesn't that just exude credibility? -- calling Obama judicial appointee David Hamilton "a fundraiser for the liberal activist group ACORN" without noting that Hamilton did so for only one month after graduating from college.
Examiner Columnist: Sanford Just As Patriotic As Fellow Adulterers FDR, JFK Topic: Washington Examiner
The award for the most bizarre defense of Mark Sanford's affair comes from Noemie Emery, who in a July 1 Washington Examiner column declares that Sanford is just like Alexander Hamilton, FDR and JFK in that history shows that leaders who cheat on their wives can still be good Americans:
Another thing to remember in these situations is that snap judgments made at a distance can have little basis in fact. Is it true a man's character is all of a piece, and one who breaks vows to his wife will also break vows to his country? Think again.
Of course, Sanford's patriotism isn't the issue -- it's that he abandoned the state he was supposed to be leading for five days to fly to Argentina to be with his mistress without letting anyone know where he was.
UPDATE: Emery also makes this observation:
Unhappy families are not alike, and neither are those who have made them unhappy: Gary Hart was a flake, Bill Clinton a delayed/prolonged adolescent, Eliot Spitzer a creep; Jim McGreevey and Larry Craig even creepier.
So homosexuality, suspected or actual, is "creepier" than procuring prostitutes?
Examiner Cites Dubious Medical Group Topic: Washington Examiner
A June 28 Washington Examiner editorial cites Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, to support the editorial's claim that "Obamacare will make it even harder to get a doctor's appointment without a lengthy wait." But the Examiner fails to note AAPS and Orient's history of out-of-the-mainstream views.
The editorial states that "Since a third of all Medicare patients already have trouble finding a doctor to treat them, under Obamacare those waiting lines will be very, very long indeed," but it doesn't note that AAPS is actively working to exacerbate that shortage by encouraging doctors to quit Medicare (as we've noted).
Orient and AAPS have a history of aligning with fringe views over the years, from opposing mandatory vaccinations of children to supporting doctors who prescribe obscenely high doses of opiate painkillers to patients to promoting conspiracies over the death of Vince Foster.
Examiner 'Corrects' Something That Wasn't False Topic: Washington Examiner
Via the Fired Up Missouri blog (via Media Matters), we learn that the Washington Examiner did a little scrubbing to an article on Mark Sanford's little marital scandal. In quoting Missouri congressman Roy Blunt opining on the Sanford affair, the Examiner originally noted that Blunt "is no stranger to scandal, having gone through an affair, a public divorce and remarriage under the scrutiny of the press." The Examiner later quietly expunged the reference to a Blunt "affair." When folks asked why, Examiner online community manager Charlie Spiering responded on Twitter: "its called a correction."
But Blunt's affair with the woman he married just six months after jettisoning the previous one is demonstrably true, so removing a reference to it is not "correcting" anything.
Examiner Misleads on LA-Vegas Train Topic: Washington Examiner
A June 18 Washington Examiner column by National Review Online staff reporter Mark Hemingway falsely suggests that Harry Reid earmarked $8 billion in the stimulus bill for "a 300 mph, magnetic levitation (maglev) train between Los Angeles and Las Vegas." In fact, the money is designated for high-speed rail in general and not earmarked toward any one project.
Hemingway also falsely portrays the maglev option as the only possible solution for a high-speed rail line between LA and Vegas and, thus, the project is doomed without it. In fact, as the Los Angeles Times reported, Reid "now favors a conventional high speed train."
it's also worth noting that Hemingway's NRO affiliation is curiously absent from the Examiner's end-of-column bio, which describes him only as "a writer in Washington, D.C."
At the Examiner, The Political Slant That Dare Not Speak Its Name Topic: Washington Examiner
The Washington Examiner announced on June 17 that its owner, Clarity Media Group, had acquired the Weekly Standard. Two words, however, are curiously missing from the Examiner's announcement.
The first missing word: "conservative." As in the Standard's political bent, as well as the Examiner's. Given that the right-wing tilt can be assumed to be a compelling reason for the acquisition of the Standard, the absence of any mention of it is quite strange, especially since the acquisition will likely result in a degree of synergy between the Standard and the Examiner in the further promotion of stories favorable to conservatives and critical of liberals.
The second missing word: "Anschutz." As in Philip Anschutz, the conservative billionaire who owns Clarity Media Group.
By contrast, the Los Angeles Times reported that Anschutz is a "conservative media mogul" and that the Standard is a "right-wing political magazine." The LA Times has further reported that Anschutz "has long been an advocate of conservative causes, and owning the Weekly Standard could boost his political influence even further."
Why doesn't the Examiner want its readers to know about its owner's political leanings? Why is it afraid to use the word that most accurately describes its own editorial slant?
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.
Examiner Ignores Full Story of IG Firing Topic: Washington Examiner
A June 15 Washington Examiner editorial attacked the Obama administration for firing Americorps inspector general Gerald Walpin over an investigation of Kevin Johnson, "a high-profile Obama political supporter and a friend of First Lady Michelle Obama" who is now mayor of Sacramento, in alleged misuse of AmeriCorps funds as an example of Obama's "gangster government." But the Examiner fails to tell the full story.
As we've detailed, the U.S. Attorney in the case accused Walpin of hiding evidence in the Johnson investigation and making pronouncements in the media before discussing them with the attorney, and the punishment Walpin sought against Johnson -- which ultimately may have kept Sacramento from receiving federal stimulus money -- was out of proportion to previous sanctions for similar offenses. The Examiner also fails to mention an additional factor it no doubt likes due to its right-wing leanings: Walpin is a right-wing Republican and member of the right-wing Federalist Society who once introduced Mitt Romney at a Federalist Society meeting by saying that Romney served as governor of a state, Massachusetts, run by the "modern-day KKK ... the Kennedy-Kerry Klan."
The Examiner's editorial was based on reporting by the Examiner's Byron York, who has similarly played down the U.S. attorney's criticism of Walpin. It's only in a web-only update to his June 12 column that York mentions the criticism, but only in a single paragraph, followed by several paragraphs of Walpin's response to it. A June 14 blog post by York completely ignores the U.S. attorney's criticism of Walpin.
So York has clearly taken sides here and, like Walpin, is hiding exculpatory information -- which further highlights the Examiner's hard-right shift.
Examiner Doubles Down on Right-Wing Bias Topic: Washington Examiner
Media Bistro reports that the Washington Examiner is adding even more conservative activists to its staff.
David Freddoso -- who penned a misinformation-riddled attack book on Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign -- will be an investigative writer for the commentary section. Apparently he can't be trusted to report fairly, which means his work is banned from appearing in the regular news section.
Also joining as commentary managing editor is J.P. Freire, who formerly worked for the American Spectator. Last year, Freire was caught in a bit of hypocrisy, railing against the New York Times report that stafferson John McCain's campaign were concerned that the candidate was too close to lobbyist Vicki Iseman when the Spectator has a long history of reporting salacious rumors about Bill Clinton.
As we've detailed, the Examiner has pretty much outlawed non-conservative opinion on its editorial pages, a hardline stance that appears to be bleeding over into its news copy.
Examiner's Tapscott Joins the Conspiracy Topic: Washington Examiner
With Mark Tapscott's May 28 column, the Washington Examiner is the latest ConWeb outlet to promote the right-wing conspiracy that the Obama administration is deliberately targeting Republican-owned Chrysler dealers for closure.
While Tapscott claimed that the assertions that bubbled up from the right-wing blogosphere "were all couched with important qualifiers," he quickly dismisses them: "That said, when multiple dealers who have been closed are found to have contributed millions to Republicans and mere hundreds to Obama, the serious number-crunching cannot be completed too soon."
But as we've detailed, auto dealers are disproportionately owned by Republicans, so it's utterly unsurprising that many closing Chrysler dealers are also owned by Republicans.
Tapscott did add an update to the online version of his column citing someone claiming that "more Chrysler dealers in general are likely to be Republican contributors, which would mean more of the closed dealers would be seen to be GOP supporters than Democrat supporters." But he still wants to cling to the conspiracy even as it's discredited before his eyes:
But two points should be noted here. First, even if we accept the proposition that most car dealers are more likely to be Republican than Democratic donors, there would still be a "disparate impact" from closings on one class of dealers, compared to the other. When the federal courts see a disparate impact on racial groups, the policy or action in question is typically held to be inappropriate.
Race and car dealer closings, of course, aren't analogous. But the lesson remains that when government makes economic decisions that ought to be left to the private market, it is impossible to avoid disparate impacts. And there is always the question of would the Obama White House be so quick to close hundreds of dealerships if the owners of those dealerships were predominantly Democratic donors?
Second, since neither Chrysler, nor the White House have made public the criteria used to select dealers for elimination - and because a significant number of those being closed were profitable - the only way to resolve the inevitable controversy about political considerations in political decisions is to make the criteria public and allow independent outside observers to assess how those criteria were applied.
Tapscott isn't content with echoing one baseless right-wing smear in his column, however -- he also adheres to the dictates of the noise machine in claiming that Obama is acting like a mobster:
In other words, companies that want to prosper in the anti-capitalist world Obama is creating in America will first have to make their peace with Big Labor before heading to Washington hat-and-checkbooks-in-hand to seek favor from the strong men in the White House and their enforcers in the Treasury Department and elsewhere in the executive branch.
Obama calls it “change we can believe in.” Vito Corleone called it “making them an offer they can’t refuse.”
UPDATE: Nate Silver details just how disproportionately car dealers are Repubican. Will Tapscott get around to telling his readers about that anytime soon?
UPDATE 2: In a later update, Tapscott acknowledges Silver's analysis, but he's not willing to loosen his grip on the conspiracy:
That's true, of course, but I'm not sure that it ends the discussion. In fact, it may even make the discussion of possible partisan considerations behind the closings even more relevant. Think of it this way: If 88 percent of all car dealers were Democratic contributors, rather than GOPers, how likely is it that the Obama folks would be delivering such an egregious economic blow to the group, a blow that put thousands of people out of work and deprives hundreds of Democratic donors of their means of making contributions?
Examiner Columnist Bashes Obama's Lack of Military Service Topic: Washington Examiner
Gregory Kane's May 26 Washington Examiner column is a weird rant against President Obama for never having served in the military:
If the military is indeed our most trusted institution, then why did one Barack Hussein Obama pass on serving in it?
After college Obama enrolled in Harvard Law School. Later, he became a community organizer in Chicago. I have no problem with either of those callings. Thousands have gone to Harvard Law, and tens of thousands to other law schools across the nation. And being a community organizer is a noble calling.
But for those who opt for the career path that leads from Harvard Law to community organizing to state senator to U.S. senator, I expect one thing: Don’t come before me years later running for president, in essence asking to be commander-in-chief of a military force you didn’t think was worthy of your commitment.
Maybe I’m just funny this way, but I would never, under any circumstances, vote for a presidential candidate who had no military experience, either as an officer or an enlisted man or woman. I have a laundry list of reasons why I didn’t vote for Obama; his passing on military service is in the top three.
Obama promised the graduates that he’d only “send them into harm’s way when it is absolutely necessary.” That promise would mean a lot more coming from a president who’d experienced at least some of the rigors of basic training.
But military service is not a constitutional requirement for being president. Indeed, a significant number of presidents never served in the military.
Kane is also curiously silent about whether he himself has "experienced at least some of the rigors of basic training."
First, it is no longer possible to doubt that [Nancy] Pelosi knew as of September 4, 2002 that the CIA included water-boarding among its tools for interrogating high-value terrorists like al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah. She knew this because, according to then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss, R-FL, he and Pelosi received a detailed classified briefing from the agency.
In view of these facts, Pelosi’s April 23, 2009, claim that “we were not - I repeat - were not told that water-boarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used” was untrue and she knew it to be untrue.
In fact, the CIA document to which the Examiner is referring does not prove that Pelosi was briefed on the use of waterboarding against Zubaydah, only stating that she was briefed on "use of EITs [enhanced interrogation techniques] on Abu Zubaydah."
Further, the Examiner fails to note that, as we've detailed, the CIA report was accompanied by a letter from CIA chief Leon Panetta stating that the report is, in part, based on "notes that summarized the best recollections of those individuals" who did the briefings, and that the committee to which the report was submitted "will have to determine whether this information is an accurate summary of what actually happened." In other words, the CIA isn't vouching for the accuracy of the claims in the report.
The editorial also states that waterboarding of detainees such as Zubaydah and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed "further deadly terrorist attacks were thereby prevented from taking place in this country. A CIA spokesman confirmed to CNSnews.com, for example, the May 30, 2005, Justice Department memo describing how the 'second wave' attack on Los Angeles was unraveled." But as we've also detailed, CNS has failed to report that the Bush administration has claimed that the Los Angeles plot was foiled a year before Mohammed was captured, which would mean that his waterboarding could not have "unraveled" the plot.