Our colleagues at Media Matters have keeping a sharp eye on NewsBusters lately:
-- Jamison Foser catches Noel Sheppard advancing the false suggestion that a single snowstorm somehow disproves global warming.
-- Simon Maloy notes that Lachlan Markay is defending pollsters for showing Obama's approval ratings dropping, despite NewsBusters' long history of attacking polls because they don't mesh with conservative ideology.
UPDATE: Media Matters also notes that the MRC's Brent Baker, in a Dec. 10 NewsBusters post, is essentially endorsing criminal behavior by pretending that the theft of the East Anglia University Climatic Research Unit's emails was merely "laudatory whistle-blowing" and not a crime.
WorldNetDaily's Jerome Corsi has been pedding a trifecta of guilt-by-association this week, with a three-day series attacking Obama adminsitration "science czar" John Holdren by digging up the views of his "guru," geochemist Harrison Brown, as allegedly expressed in a 1954 book he wrote.
On Dec. 7, Corsi claimed that Brown "called for a global increase in carbon dioxide, precisely because of its perceived greenhouse gas effects." On Dec. 8, Corsi painted Brown as a eugenicist. And on Dec. 9, Corsi asserted that Bron "advocated world government in the 1950s to impose mandatory controls over population growth, carried out, if necessary, through sterilization and forced abortions."
Corsi can't claim that Holdren holds these views, but he sure tries. He complains that Holdren, in a 1986 book honoring Brown that he edited, does not "separate himself from Brown's enthusiastic endorsement of eugenics," and he asserts that Holdren once "argued involuntary birth-control measures, including forced sterilization, may be necessary and morally acceptable under extreme conditions, such as widespread famine brought about by 'climate change.'"
That last claim -- extrapolated from a lie WND previously spread about Holdren -- is misleading; as PolitiFact points out, in the book from which the claim is drawn, Holdren and his co-author "make clear that they did not support coercive means of population control. Certainly, nowhere in the book do the authors advocate for forced abortions." PolitiFact adds: "We think it's irresponsible to pluck a few lines from a 1,000-page, 30-year-old textbook, and then present them out of context."
WND Thugs Attack Jennings Again Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've detailed how WorldNetDaily has told lies and misleading claims about Obama administration official Kevin Jennings. The journalistically shoddy hate-fest conttinues with a Dec. 9 article by Bob Unruh repeating even more false and misleading claims.
Unruh accused Jennings of "knowing in advance the 'gross and disgusting' subjects that would be covered at a seminar on sex for teenagers." Unruh's basis for theclaim is an assertion by the anti-gay group MassResistance. But neither Unruhnor MassResistance offer any solid evidence that Jennings, in fact, knew of the "fisting" subject matter discussed at a 2000 conference sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, which Jennings headed at the time. All that is offered is a vague statement from the person leading the offending presentation (who did not work for GLSEN) claiming that "we were working in an area that in certain places was considered really controversial."
Unruh fails to mention that at the time of the original uproar over the conference, Jennings criticized the content of the offending presentation, and that the seminar's organizers resigned or were fired from their jobs as as result.
Unruh also repeats a previous smear regarding "subject material in books recommended by GLSEN for school children" that purportedly promotes "early sexualization of children." Unruh didn't mention, as he has failed to do before, that GLSEN explicitly states that the recommended books "contain mature themes" and 'We recommend that adults selecting books for youth review content for suitability."
Unruh has been trying to revive old falsehoods as well. A Dec. 7 article asserted that Jennings "failed to protect the 'safety' of a homosexual student he once counseled." As we've detailed, the student in question was above the age of consent at the time of the counseling, and the student has since stated that he had "no sexual contact with anybody at the time."
It's too bad that a reporter and a "news" organization are wortking in concert to hide facts and falsely smear someone merely becasue they don't his views or that of the man he's working for.
Through the WorldNetDaily Looking Glass Topic: WorldNetDaily
A December 4 New York Times article on White House social secretary Desirée Rogers reported that the Obama administration had apparently considered a "non-religious Christmas" celebration in the White House as a way to reach out to other faiths and that, according to the Times, there was a debate about whether to display the traditional nativity scene. In the end, the article added, "tradition won out; the executive mansion is now decorated for the Christmas holiday, and the crèche is in its usual East Room spot."
Run that story through WorldNetDaily's looking glass -- heavily distorted by right-wing partisanship and sheer, near-pathological hatred of Barack Obama -- and you get a December 8 WND article by Chelsea Schilling, headlined "Obama's latest target: Ousting baby Jesus" and carrying this lede:
The Obama administration sought to ban baby Jesus from the executive mansion as part of its plans for a "non-religious Christmas," according to a participant at a White House luncheon.
Briefly considering not erecting a nativity scene means you "sought to ban baby Jesus"? Really?
Does the WorldNetDaily store sell these looking glasses so the rest of us can take part in this same mind-bending distortion? Or is the experience open only to those who hate Obama with a burning passion like Joseph Farah and Co. do?
Porter Misleads in Attack on Gore Topic: WorldNetDaily
In her Dec. 8 WorldNetDaily column, serialhater Janet Porter asserts that Al Gore said in his documentary "An Inconvenient Truth that "The polar ice caps will melt sending 20-plus-foot flood waves into coastal cities worldwide." Porter added: "The problem with Gore's theory, as explained by another guest on my F2A program yesterday, is something called the 'Archimedes Principle: when a less dense solid like ice melts in a liquid like water, the liquid level drops.'"
But Gore didn't claim what Porter claims he did. He was speaking specifically about ice shelfs in Antarctica and Greenland, which sit on land. If they were to melt or slide off the land into the sea, they would indeed contribute to rising sea levels since they would be an addition to the sea and not merely displacing ice with water.
All of which makes Porter's "little science experiment" regarding melting ice cubes in a water glass rather meaningless since, to replicate what Gore was actually talking about, she would have to add more ice cubes to her glass.
MRC's Double Standard on Conspiracy Theories Topic: Media Research Center
The MRC's Culture & Media Institute has as its motto "Advancing Truth and Virtue in the Public Square." But it's now saying that truth and virtue can be ignored if you have a decent conspiracy.
A Dec. 2 CMI article by Jeff Poor defends Glenn Beck's frequent spinning of conspiracy theories, in this case about the breach of security that let a couple into a White House state dinner without an invitation:
The problem, Beck warned, is that if the media fail to do their job, it could lead to the start of a conspiracy theory – which some on the left loathe, like the whole Obama/birth certificate conspiracy theory.
“But this is how a conspiracy theory grows, because we're not – we don't have honesty, we don't have facts,” Beck said. “The situation doesn't – where is the common sense in this? How do we stop conspiracy theories? We do not bury our heads in the sand, and the media demands answers. It's called the Internet. People will come up with these if you in the media don't do your job. I mean, it can all go away if you're honest, you give us answers and facts and it makes common sense.”
Beck offered up his own theory behind what happened – that someone got the couple into the event and didn’t own up to the responsibility for it.
“I mean, here's what I think happened. These two guys were in line, they were having problems getting in, they weren't on anybody's list. And somebody walked by, I don't know who, and they said, ‘Oh, no, let me in. They're with me.’ The Secret Service – knowing the Secret Service – they went, ‘Oh, no, I don't think so.’ [But the other person said] ‘I've got responsibility and authority, let them in.’ It turned out bad. It's now a big deal. And that person didn't take responsibility. That seems most likely to me.”
So, it appears that Poor agrees with Beck's theory that if information about something (involving Democrats, anyway) is not forth coming to your satisfaction, it's perfectly OK to simply make up stuff about it and present it as a grand, evil conspiracy.
That, of course, conflicts with the MRC's previous criticism of conspiracy theories, at least when they're promoted by people they don't agree with. For instance:
Both the 2006 and 2007 MRC Best of Notable Quotables contain a "Tin Foil Hat Award for Crazy Conspiracy Theories" category.
A 2006 MRC press release bashed MRC's "Today" for "floating a conspiracy theory that the GOP is manipulating gas prices to influence the election -- a ludicrous idea for which NBC has no evidence and no facts and yet makes the theory into 'news' in its Oct. 25 broadcast."
A Sept. 21 TimesWatch item by Clay Waters claimed that New York Times book editor Sam Tanenhus, "who decries conspiracism on the right, indulged in his own when he declared of the 2000 election between Bush and Al Gore: '... the conservatives on the Supreme Court stopped the democratic process, put their guy into office.'"
No concern was expressed that these conspiracy theories were popping up because the media didn't do its job.
The MRC will occasionally be moved to shoot down a conspiracy theory -- or promote its own -- when doing so suits its interests. An example of it doing both is a 1998 report by Tim Graham defending the honor of right-wing moneybags Richard Mellon Scaife over his role in the "vast right-wing conspiracy" against the Clinton administration. It wasn't a conspiracy, Graham asserted, because the "Scaife foundations’ donations are hardly secret, with their IRS forms posted on the Internet." Further, Graham complained, "investigative journalism (much of it wildly incorrect) charging some highly implausible and terrible conspiracies committed by Republican Presidents was funded by liberal foundations without those elements ever being lumped into a 'vast left-wing conspiracy' by national media outlets." Though we suspect the MRC would have been happy to do so.
What Graham didn't disclose: The MRC was (and is) being funded by Scaife foundations. One of them, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, donated $150,000 to the MRC in 1998, and another, the Carthage Foundation, donated $10,000 to the MRC in 1997.
Examiner Columnist Repeats Wildly Inflated Tea Party Protest Count Topic: Washington Examiner
In her December 8 Washington Examinercolumn, Barbara Hollingsworth writes of the tea party movement:
The growing grass-roots movement will indeed destroy the political careers of many politicians who fail to heed the warning it delivered Sept. 12, when 1.7 million angry voters (according to a crowd estimate by Zac Moilanen of Indiana University) descended on Washington to say they were totally fed up with bailouts and stimulus packages, and want the country to return to its constitutional, limited-government roots.
But as Media Matters has detailed, Moilanen's estimate is somewhat less than authoritative. Moilanen, an undergrad studying East Asian Languages and Cultures at Indiana, cited such not-quite-unimpeachable sources as a Free Republic post and a message board to arrive at his crowd estimate.
In fact, the crowd size was much, much lower. Even Fox News -- a big promoter of the 9/12 rally -- concedes it was only in the "tens of thousands."
Bozell Lifts the Curtain, Spreads Misinformation (Part 2) Topic: Media Research Center
We hadn't finished going through Brent Bozell's video to MRC Action Team members -- it's 43 minutes long, after all -- so here's even more misinformation he spread during it.
In attempting to distinguish between news an opinion websites, Bozell insists that there's no such thing as objectivity and all news has a bias. He complains that editors decide what goes on the front page of the newspaper, and that's bias too. "What you have to have is journalism that strives for objectivity, and that begins with recognizing the biases you have." Bozell's tone is that he thinks liberal journalists don't recognize their biases -- which he has absolutely no knowledge of. He states that NewsBusters is not a news site, then adds, "If you want to get strict news, you go to [MRC-owned] CNSNews. Go to Newsmax -- there's another one. Some people like WorldNetDaily."
Really? As we've documented, CNS has a definite bias -- even if Bozell will not forthrightly admit it -- and it hasaproblem following Bozell's dicatate of striving for objectivity.
Bozell goes on to baselessly bash the media for being "far left": "This media, news media we have today is far left, and it loves Barack Obama because he's far left. But just as they don't see themselves as far left, neither do they see Barack Obama as far left. They really do see themselves in the mainstream."
Of course, when you're on the far right like Bozell is, everything that isn't far right looks "far left." After all, this is a man who thinks far-right media like CNS, Newsmax and WND are "strict news."
New Article: Pamela Geller's Pretty Hate Machine Topic: Newsmax
The far-right, anti-Islam, anti-Obama blogger brings her outrage to Newsmax -- thus making her the odds-on favorite to become the next Newsmax columnist to go too far. Read more >>
As we've detailed, Ralph Reed -- coming off being tainted in the Jack Abramoff scandal and a huge loss in a race for Georgia lieutenant governor -- has been getting the Newsmax rehab treatment, granted a column and benefiting from fawning articles.
Meanwhile, Raw Story is reporting that Reed's former spokesperson, is shopping a memoir that appears to promise juicy details about him and other figures on the religious right.
Sounds entertaining -- and perhaps the catalyst for another failed Newsmax rehab. Stay tuned.
NewsBusters Ignores Pinkerton's Conflict of Interest Topic: NewsBusters
A Dec. 6 NewsBusters post by Brad Wilmouth highlights how, on "Fox News Watch," during a discussion of Mike Huckabee's granting clemency to Maurice Clemmons, who went on to (allegedly) kill four police officers in Washington, "Conservative panelist Jim Pinkerton of New America Foundation had to point out that Huckabee commuted the sentence at a time when Clemmons serving time for the non-violent crime of committing burglary." Wilmouth added that "Pinkerton even had to directly correct liberal FNC analyst Kirsten Powers, who seemed to convey that she thought Huckabee had commuted the sentence after the child rape conviction."
Wilmouth fails to mention Pinkerton's conflict of interest in defending Huckabee -- he was a senior adviser to Huckabee's 2008 presidential campaign.
Newsmax Still Running Interference for Huckabee Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax's David Patten keeps up his previous efforts at playing interference for Mike Huckabee with a Dec. 6 article that again seeks to deflect blame from Huckabee for granting clemency to Maurice Clemmons in 2000 by blaming authorites in Arkansas and Washington state for "fail[ing] to keep him incarcerated" after numerous parole violations. Clemmons is accused of killing four police officers in Washington.
Patten features an Arkansas judge, Marion Humphrey, who favored clemency for Clemmons, but Patten fails to note just how close Humphrey is to Clemmons: he officiated at Clemmons' wedding.
Patten also buried criticism of Huckabee. It's not until the 22nd paragraph that Patten gets around to featuring Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley, whom Patten makes sure to note is "a Democrat." Patten waits until the very end of his article to allow Jegley to respond to Huckabee's claims that Jegley's being a Democrat is behind his criticism.