More MRC Tunnel Vision Topic: Media Research Center
We've previously detailed the Media Research Center's overeagerness to blame "liberal bias" for any and all media ills. Jeff Poor contributes with an August 5 MRC Business & Media Institute article (and NewsBusters post) blaming lower ratings at CNBC on, yes, liberal bias.
Poor's take is all the more interesting because he notes that other analysts have cited the network's "rightward, anti-Obama tilt,"specifically Rick Santeili's rant and Jim Cramer's attacks on Obama. But ignore all of that, Poor asserts:
But, the shift of CNBC has been anything but more to the right. The Cramer/Stewart feud followed Cramer's outspoken criticism of President Barack Obama's economic policies, and CNBC CME floor reporter Rick Santelli's famous outburst about the Obama's administration's mortgage policies. Since then, the network has gone out of its way to appease elements on the left and its ratings have dropped during that period.
Liberal storefronts have set up shop to influence editorial policy of CNBC (albeit without the same fervor they did three months ago). The network has hired former DNC chair and Vermont Gov. Howard Dean as a contributor and brought in Huffington Post liberal co-founder Arianna Huffington as a guest host on multiple occasions.
And according to the April 16 New York Post's gossip page "Page Six," CNBC brass had even instructed by General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt and NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker to back off some of the anti-Obama rhetoric come from the likes of Cramer and Santelli.
But, it was from that point forward that CNBC had seen its ratings show a real decline.
But Poor offers no evidence that CNBC had any liberal-leaning commentators before -- while Cramer had his own daily program and Santelli reported regularly. Rather than portending a shift to the left, the addition of Dean and Huffington appear more to provide a balance to the likes of Cramer and Santelli.
Further, if viewers were genuinely turned off by the purported leftward shift of CNBC, they would have presumably gravitated to the competition, themore reliably right-leaning Fox Business Network. But Poor offers no Fox Business ratings -- perhaps because they are so low the folks at News Corp. won't release them.
This is the kind of tunnel vision that the MRC makes such a poor media watchdog (pun quasi-intended).
Another Evidence-Free Aaron Klein Article Topic: WorldNetDaily
Aaron Klein is hurling more anonymous accusations at President Obama. This time, in an Aug. 5 WorldNetDaily article -- provocatively headlined "Obama's spies monitoring Jews house-to-house" -- Klein asserts: "The Obama administration has set up an apparatus to closely monitor Jewish construction in Jerusalem and the strategic West Bank to the point of watching Israeli moves house-to-house in certain key neighborhoods."
His source? "informed Israeli officials," who "spoke on condition that their names be withheld."
The only person Klein names in relation to the charge is David Ha'ivri, "spokesmen [sic] for the Shomron Regional Council in the West Bank." But Ha'ivri is much more than a "spokesman" -- as we've detailed, he's a follower of Israeli extremist Meir Kahane and sympathizer of the Kahane-inspired (and outlawed) far-right Israeli political party Kach/Kahane Chai.
In other words, Ha'ivri is not exactly an unbiased source, though Klein has repeated featured his comments several times over the years (while hiding his extremist background). And Klein otherwise has no evidence from anyone on the record, which makes his claim meaningless until proven otherwise.
This is just the latestattack by Klein based on ephemeral anonymous sources.
Obama Hate Central: WND Still Pushing Obama-As-Antichrist Meme Topic: WorldNetDaily
How much does WorldNetDaily hate Barack Obama? It has published another article literally portraying him as the Antichrist.
An Aug. 5 WND column by Joel Richardson carries the headline, "What Obama and the Antichrist have in common." Richardson tries to be too clever by half, asserting that "Before I continue, I want to make it very clear that in no way do I believe that President Obama is the Antichrist" -- then outlining all the ways that Obama is like the Antichrist.
Richardson works in the theme of his new WND-published book "The Islamic Antichrist," in which he claims that, yes, the Antichrist is Islamic -- specifically, the messianic figure known as the Mahdi. As blogger Richard Bartholomew has detailed, this view relies on "voodoo scholarship" by reading contemporary events into the Bible's Book of Daniel when "it was written with a contemporary audience [the 2nd Century BCE] in mind; it does not contain secrets that make sense only thousands of years later."
Richardson then ties it all together by making the long-discredited suggestion that Obama is a secret Muslim:
We have just watched as a man lacking virtually any proper qualifications rose to become the most powerful man in the world, almost solely on his charisma and his shallow appeal to class envy. Today, throughout the Islamic world, the masses are yearning for and longing for a populist messiah figure known as the Mahdi who, according to their very own prophecies, will employ precisely the same methods as Obama.
So, yeah, despite what Richardson deceptively claims, he is portraying Obama as the Antichrist. What a sleaze.
UPDATE: Last August, WND columnist Hal Lindsey claimed that Obama was preparing the world for the Antichrist.
Double Standard Fail At the MRC Topic: Media Research Center
In an Aug. 3 MRC TimesWatch post, Clay Waters accuses the New York Times of employing a "double standard" on reporting on the economy. His evidence? A recent article noting that the rate of contraction in the economy has slowed, "crystallizing expectations of a turnaround in the second half of the year." Waters complained that this "portrayed it in positive terms," while an August 2008 Times story carried the headline "More Arrows Seen Pointing to a Recession" despite slight growth in the GDP.
Waters somehow missed the fact that the 2008 article noted "arrows pointing to a recession" because that's what was, in fact, happening -- even though his excerpt of the article also noted "a surge in claims for unemployment benefits" and that a previous quarter's GDP numbers "were revised downward to show a contraction -- the first official slide backward since the last recession in 2001."
The article also noted that the growth in that particular quarter was due to increased exports, a decrease in imports, and consumer spending spurred by a federal tax rebate: "Without that contribution, the economy would have contracted."
While Waters makes a big deal out of how the recent numbers "mark the first time in years the economy has contracted for four straight quarters," at no point does Waters dispute that a slowing of contraction could be described, as the Times' headline stated, a "hopeful sign" -- just that the Times portrayed it as such.
Schilling Buries the Lede, Smears Michelle Obama Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Aug. 4 WorldNetdaily article by Chelsea Schilling began in a quite sinister manner:
Why did Michelle Obama give up her license to practice law in 1993?
Records at the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois list her status as "voluntarily inactive and not authorized to practice law."
It further states that Michelle license is "on court ordered inactive status."
The statement has many bloggers wondering why a court would issue an order to stop Michelle Obama from practicing law, and some have even suggested the first lady may have been facing allegations of misconduct.
Then, Schilling decides not to answer that question for a while, preferring instead to engage in an irrelevant, Investor's Business Daily-sourced screed about Obama's decision to abandon work in a law firm for a job in public service that committed the offense of "staffing AIDS clinics."
It's not until the 23rd paragraph of her article that Schilling gets around to the declared point of her article -- what happened to Obama's law license: the only way for a lawyer to go on inactive status is to file a court order to do so.
And it's not until paragraph 37 that Schilling writes:
"There's absolutely no indication of any disciplinary proceeding ever lodged against Michelle Obama," he said.
Why is that information at paragraphs 23 and 37 instead of paragraphs 4 and 5?
Because Schilling and WND want to smear Michelle Obama.
Because Schilling and WND love conspiracies, and they want to create the illusion of one over Michelle Obama's law license -- even though they are forced to admit one doesn't exist.
Because they Schilling and WND viscerally hate Michelle Obama.
In an Aug. 4 Newsmax column, Pamela Geller goes deep into birther territory, rehashing discredited and irrelevant conspiracies regarding Barack Obama's birth certificate.
Geller spends a needlessly large amount of space on the case of Jay McKinnon, who in July 2008 posted what he claimed to be Obama's birth certificate on the Daily Kos website that, according to Geller, "even to the layman’s eye, it was obvious that the Kos COLB had been altered." Geller touted how the Israel Insider website broke the news that McKinnon "implicated himself in the production of palpably fake Hawaii birth certificate images."
Missing from Geller's account is McKinnon's side of the story. In an interview posted on Daily Kos, McKinnon said that he posted the fake certificate to serve as a magnet for conspiracy theorists (like Geller). McKinnon also discussed Israel Insider, a right-wing, anti-Obama blog with ties to WorldNetDaily's similarly right-wing, anti-Obama reporter Aaron Klein:
Opendna: Reuven Koret, publisher of Isreal Insider, has written that you admitted to forgery.
Jay McKinnon: Reuven Koret wrote me a number of emails before he published his article. Using a kind of Good Cop/Bad Cop style he alternatively offered to keep my statements off the record, and threatened to report me to DHS and CSIS and reveal my identity before an audience larger than DailyKos. When I asked for his questions, he sent me five which required that I both admit to a crime and suggested I implicate other innocent people (including Markos Moulitsas and unidentified members of the Obama Campaign staff) in a conspiracy. I regarded his overtures as a form of journalistic blackmail, in which I either told him what he wanted to hear or he would libel me on his website.
I informed him that I believed his article was based on libel and provided him with this statement: "I believe there is overwhelming evidence that Senator Obama is a natural born US Citizen, and I have no evidence to contradict that belief."
Evidently that wasn’t what he wanted to hear because a few days he published his article omitting that quote.
Opendna: What do you think of Reuven Koret?
Jay McKinnon: He appears to write under his own name and is skillful at his craft: smearing his ideological opponents. I would not call him a journalist, investigative or otherwise. An internet pundit, maybe. Probably just a blogger who thinks writing scurrilous things about Senator Obama is good for site traffic.
Geller then went on to claim that the birth certificate posted on Obama's campaign websiteis a "horrible forgery," according to the analysis of "Techdude."Geller summarized "Techdude's" credentials:
He is an active member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the American College of Forensic Examiners, the International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners, the International Information Systems Forensics Association — the list goes on.
He is also board certified as a forensic computer examiner, a certificated legal investigator, and a licensed private investigator. He has been performing computer based forensic investigations since 1993 (although back then it did not even have a formal name yet) and he has performed countless investigations since then.
Only, not so much. Not only has "Techdude's" analysis of the birth certificate been discredited, his credentials apparently have been as well.
Geller also references other baseless Obama conspiracies, such as "the passport on which he traveled to Pakistan in 1981." To her credit, though, she does dismiss the Kenyan birth certificate that WorldNetDaily desperately wants to believe is real as an "obvious forgery."
Geller then complains about the "veritable birth certificate circus" for distracting right-wingers and blames not ringleaders like herself for this situation but ... Obama:
Let’s not cloud the issue. Obama’s COLB was altered. He should produce the vault copy. Then the opposition can get on with the business of stopping his destruction of the economy and his weakening of American hegemony as he pursues his disastrous foreign policy.
Geller never seems to comprehend the possibility that the "circus" could easily end when circus clowns like herself choosing to stop telling lies.
Newsmax's Walsh Repeats Health Reform Falsehoods Topic: Newsmax
An August 4 Newsmax column by James Walsh repeats discredited falsehoods about health care reform.
Walsh writes that the reform bills "include provisions for mandatory 'end-of-life counseling' or 'advanced care planning consultation' for all seniors (defined as anyone 65 years of age or older) to be scheduled every five years." In fact, such consultation is not mandatory.
Walsh also claims that "The proposed legislation would require all hospitals, health clinics, and medical staff to provide for abortions." In fact, as the Washington Post reported, abortion is not explicitly mentioned in any of the major health-care bills under consideration in Congress; therefore, there cannot be an abortion mandate of the kind Walsh claims exists.
Walsh also engages in a host of smears of immigrants (for wanting an American lifestyle) and of Obama for purportedly favoring eugenics:
Immigrants, legal and illegal, need to realize that the U.S. lifestyle that attracted them may not survive in the new Obama America. Immigrants could find themselves in a totalitarian nation. Globalist Democrats see abortion as a population-control measure, and leftist “progressives” ensconced in the Obama administration see it as a tool in social engineering, adopting the disgraced eugenics of the past.
WND Still Defending Keynan Birth Certificate Topic: WorldNetDaily
In the face of mounting evidence that the "Kenyan birth certificate" it published is a fraud, WorldNetDaily is placing much more effort on defending its authenticity.
While an Aug. 4 article notes the Washington Independent's detailing of how the document is apparently a altered version of an Australian birth certificate, WND quickly sets that aside, devoting more text to detail how a website linked to lawyer Orly Taitz "provided replies to the point-by-point criticisms."
Except that it didn't. That particular website's responses are largely unsupported or speculative, it does not address the Australian certificate, and it makes a previously discredited claim even more false by asserting that Obama's grandmother made a "sworn statement that she was present at Obama's birth in Kenya." As we've detailed, she did no such thing, let alone make a "sworn statement" to that effect.
WND curiously fails to obtain an updated response from Taitz regarding the certificate, or to report statements she has made in other venues. Salon.com reports that on her blog, Taitz asserted that the "Bomford report" -- the Australian birth certificate -- "was created to try to discredit my efforts." As the Washington Independent pointed out, "The Bomford birth certificate, not 'report,' was created in 1964 and posted online several years ago."
(WND also fails to alert its readers that, according to Salon, "both Google and Firefox identify Taitz's site as an attack site that contains malware.")
The article also repeats a previous claim that "WND was able to obtain other birth certificates from Kenya for purposes of comparison, and the form of the documents appear to be identical." But WND has yet to post any of those "birth certificates from Kenya" it claims to have obtained so that its readers may compare for themselves.
New Article: The Birther Factory Topic: WorldNetDaily
To WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah, the Obama birth certificate is the new Vince Foster. Is Farah trying to keep the birther story alive so he can make money on it? Read more >>
Barack Obama hates white people – especially white men. Sorry folks, but the truth will set you free!
Barack Obama is Jeremiah Wright Jr. He is the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus! He embodies the aspirations of every left-wing black group that wants to tear down this country and take power away from the "oppressive" white man. He's not an obvious race hustler like Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson; but Obama is a smooth pathological liar – with a wicked heart.
Both Obama and his friend Henry Louis Gates are racist. Keep in mind also that Gates' attorney, Charles Ogletree, was Barack Obama's law professor at Harvard. We're dealing with liberal-elite, cunning black intellectuals.
-- Jesse Lee Peterson, August 4 WorldNetDaily column
Who Cares About Cliff Kincaid's Birth Certificate? Topic: Accuracy in Media
An August 4 Accuracy in Media press release announced that AIM's Cliff Kincaid "has released a copy of his own birth certificate, in order to demonstrate what needs to be done to resolve the growing controversy over the alleged birth certificate of President Barack Obama."
Ummm ... so what? Did Kincaid or AIM similarly demand that Sarah Palin release Trig's birth certificate to prove that she was Trig's mother? Not that we could find.
Even Farah Thinks Kenyan Certificate Is Bogus -- So Why Did WND Publish It? Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah, in his August 4 WorldNetDaily column, is hurling more deceptions over WND's publishing of a purported Kenyan birth certificate for Barack Obama.
No one at WND – not me, not Jerome Corsi, not any columnists, not any reporters – have defended the authenticity of the Kenyan birth certificate. No one here has made a judgment that it is real. What we did was report a fact – that California attorney Orly Taitz has filed a motion in federal court to determine its authenticity.
Farah is being highly disingenuous. By publishing the certificate, WND confers a certain level of legitimacy on something that he cannot (and does not) claim to be factual. There are enough people in the world who will believe -- any WND caveat aside -- that if it's on the Internet, it must be true. WND's sluggish efforts in revealing facts discrediting the certificate don't help.
Farah goes on to assert: "It did occur to me that the fastest and most efficient way to determine authenticity was to show it publicly – and let the scrutiny begin." That, of course, runs counter to most news organizations that try to determine authenticity before publication.
Farah then claims: "The first I saw of this document was Sunday night when Orly Taitz put it on her website." That's impossible, since WND published it Sunday morning. Further, Farah asserted in a tweet the previous Friday: "Trust me for now: More coming next week on Birth-gate. You will be stunned. No more will anyone say there's 'no evidence.'" That's presumably a reference to the "Kenyan birth certificate." Which means Farah certainly had knowledge, if not actual pictures, of the certificate nearly two days before WND published it. That should have given it more than enough time to try and authenticate it -- that is, if WND actually cared about the truth.
Farah then misleadingly casts doubt on the authenticity of Obama's Hawaiian birth certificate: "the people who claim it is won't get any help from the state of Hawaii, which has steadfastly refused to confirm it is official Hawaiian issuance." Farah links to an August 2 WND article by Jerome Corsi which, as we've noted, contains no supporting evidence for the claim that Hawaii officials "refused to authenticate" the certificate -- only Corsi's assertion to that effect.
Most interesting, however is this claim by Farah: "The Kenyan document could be real. I haven't seen a single disqualifying error pointed out in the last 24 hours. But I still strongly suspect it is not."
Call us crazy -- or just adherents to longstanding, sound journalistic practice -- but if Farah could not authenticate the document he doubts is authentic (and, indeed, made no apparent effort to do so), WND had no business publishing it. Farah and WND acted irresponsibly in doing so.
Yet, as we've longdocumented, when it when it comes to Obama and WND, gross irresponsibility is Job 1. Farah is using WND to try and destroy Obama, and if it takes some dubious documents (which even he refuses to vouch for) to cast doubt on the legitimacy of a duly elected president whom he hates with a burning passion, so be it.
This is just another in the parade of lies WND has trotted out to smear Obama and delegitimize an elected president. And Farah wouldn't have it any other way.
Examiner Columnist Embraces Baseless Birther Claim Topic: Washington Examiner
Diana West writes in an August 2 Washinton Examiner column:
Unheeded, the "natural born" controversy will roil indefinitely, further fired by the vagaries of Hawaiian law -- specifically, Section 338-17.8, titled "Certificates for children born out of State" - which makes state birth documentation available to children born out of state, even born out of the country.
Read it for yourself. I found it through a recent article at WorldNetDaily.com, the Internet publication following this story like Woodward on Watergate, which linked to the Hawaiian state statute itself - a point that the MSM will no doubt bat down as just another "Internet rumor."
In fact, as we've noted, the Western Journalism Center-- founded by WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah -- has discredited that claim, pointing out that while Hawaii law does indeed provide for birth certificate for children not born in Hawaii, it does not provide them with birth certificates that say that these children were born in Hawaii.
Will West bat that down as just another "Internet rumor"?
An August 3 WorldNetDaily article on reaction to WND's previous release of a document purporting to be a Kenyan birth certificate for Barack Obama concedes apparent problems with the certificate's authenticity but misleadingly defends it in other areas.
Responding to claims that the document is inauthentic because it purports to have been issued by the "Republic of Kenya" at a time when Kenya was not officially a republic, the article responds: "Kenya's official independence was in 1963, and any number of labels could have been applied to government documents during that time period," adding, "The 1963 independence is corroborated by several other information sources."
That's a disingenous defense. Nobody disputes that Kenya gained its independence in 1963. WND offers no specific evidence that Kenya was issuing documents describing Kenya as a republic between the time of its independence in December 1963 and official declaration as a "republic" in December 1964. WND cites only murky claims from a state-run Chinese news agency, the "African history" page on About.com, and "an online source" that is actually an online dictionary whose sourcing is unclear.
Further, as Media Matters points out, Kenya had an official status between December 1963 and December 1964: the Dominion of Kenya.
Further, WND's noting that Kenya's constitution was "adopted in 1963, amended in 1999" ignores the fact that it was also amended in 1964 -- the CIA's World Factbook specifically states that the constitution was "amended as a republic 1964."
Still, the article repeats the claim that the document "bears none of the obvious traits of a hoax."
The article goes on to state that Orly Taitz, who is introducing the purported certificate as evidence in one of her birther cases, "told WND she's been discussing the document with several individuals who apparently 'are willing to investigate.'"
But as we've previously noted, WND claimed in a press release that "WorldNetDaily.com is working with document experts in the U.S. and with sources in Kenya to determine its validity." So who's doing the investigating, Taitz or WND? Or are they working together?
This raises further questions about the apparently close, symbiotic relationship between WND and Taitz -- one that WND has failed to fully disclose to its readers.
NewsBusters Promotes Misleading Anti-Obama Video Topic: NewsBusters
An August 2 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard touts a video compilation of President Obama purportedly claiming that he supports, in Sheppard's words, "the elimination of private health insurance." Sheppard added: "Will these new revelations about what Obama really wants make it to a news outlet near you?"
But the video Sheppard touts is misleading because it leave out the full context of what Obama said. In fact, Obama never claimed he wanted to "eliminate private health insurance." Obama was speaking about transitioning the country away from a system of primarily "employer coverage" in favor of "a much more portable system."
Sheppard seems to concede the misleading nature of the video in an update that provides "a more complete transcript of Obama's relevant statement." But Sheppard refused to explicitly tell his readers that the video is misleading.
UPDATE: In an August 4 post, Sheppard touted the misleading video again, refusing to admit that it's misleading, even though the "more complete transcript" he again adds clearly contradicts the video's claim that Obama wants to, in Sheppard's words, "eliminate private health insurance."