Actual Shocker: WND (Belatedly) Fact-Checks Fox News Topic: WorldNetDaily
In one of its increasing infrequent spasms of actual journalism, WorldNetDaily published a June 17 article by Chelsea Schilling fact-checking a Fox News report falsely claiming that President Obama "is, in effect, giving a major strip of the Southwest back to Mexico." As Schilling writes, "law enforcement officials in the area are saying the state still belongs to the U.S. and is not closed off to Americans."
As can be expected when WND attempts actual journalism, it's behind the curve -- Media Matters was debunking the claim a full 24 hours before Schilling's story was published, and even obtained a statement by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official well before WND did.
This certainly makes Fox News look really bad -- when even theliars at WND are proving them wrong, what does that say about Fox News' brand of journalism?
Newsmax aired its Bill O'Reilly-starring "Economic Crisis Summit" yesterday, and -- surprise! -- it's yet another financial scheme designed to separate Newsmax readers from their money, this time a "hot commodities insider membership" for a mere $1,495 (it's worth $5,681!). The videocast host laughably claimed during the videocast that O'Reilly was not "here to endorse anyone's point of view or to endorse product or financial service," but was "joining us just to give us" his take.
MRC's Waters Tries to Pretend NYT Didn't Unercut His Reason for Existence Topic: Media Research Center
In writing about New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt's final column in a June 16 MRC TimesWatch item, Clay Waters does a poor job of pretending that Hoyt didn't blow Waters' reason for existence -- as stated at the top of the TimesWatch website, "documenting and exposing the liberal political agenda of the New York Times" -- out of the water.
While Hoyt played into Waters' hands by conceding that "the editorial page is liberal and the regular columnists on the Op-Ed page are heavily weighted in that direction," and that the Times "shares the prevailing sensibilities of the city and region where it is published," Hoyt added:
But if The Times were really the Fox News of the left, how could you explain the investigative reporting that brought down Eliot Spitzer, New York’s Democratic governor; derailed the election campaign of his Democratic successor, David Paterson; got Charles Rangel, the Harlem Democrat who was chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, in ethics trouble; and exposed the falsehoods that Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, another Democrat, was telling about his service record in the Vietnam era?
Waters' incredibly lame response: "Of course, as the Times is always reminding us, the Republican Party has been decimated in the Northeast in recent years, meaning the region is dominated by Democrats, meaning most political scandals will involve Democrats."
Waters misses the point. If the Times was "the Fox News of the left," it would have ignored or downplayed these stories, and it certainly wouldn't have broken them.
Waters also seems to be conceding that Fox News is egregiously biased, which the MRC has been loathtoadmit in the past. Yet he's not offering to conduct the one bit of research that would settle the question once and for all -- compare a day's worth of content on Fox News to the content of that day's Times.
Perhaps that's because Waters knows that the bias on Fox News is much more plentiful and egregious than it is in the Times. Or perhaps because Waters' research methods are a tad suspect -- as we've detailed, Waters' measure of bias in the Times' reporting on political scandals is how prominently the politician's political affiliation appears in the article, not the length or placement of the article.
MRC's Baker Launches Personal Attack on Couric Topic: Media Research Center
Media Research Center VP Brent Baker has apparently gotten so lazy he's not even bothering to do actual media research anymore -- he's just launching personal attacks against people.
Take this June 16 NewsBusters post, headlined "Katie Couric Boasts She’ll Be Buying a Prius, the Favorite Car of Obama-Loving Liberals." Baker sneers that Couric will be "confirming her membership in Manhattan’s liberal elite" by buying a Prius, "the favorite of conspicuously superior liberals, or at least a hybrid."
What does this have to do with anything? That's not analysis -- that's hate. Baker is being more elitist than he accuses Couric of being.
And Baker and his fellow travelers wonder why the MRC isn't taken seriously...
The American people – like me and those celebrated analysts – believe that Obama is simply using the Gulf oil spill crisis to further his agenda, that being the comprehensive government takeover of as many areas of the private sector as possible and implementing big-government collectivism. Some call this communism.
Well, I have said it before, but it bears reiteration. Serving the American people is the furthest thing from this administration's collective mind. We're dealing with a bunch that creates crises, exploits crises and has been working toward the fall of the republic since their youth. Discounting their capitalizing on tragic (but timely) occurrences, it's pretty much sabotage.
But guess what? The incompetence and corruption for which Illinois is so famous now has its tentacles in the White House. After all, didn't Illinois send its "best and brightest" to Washington, D.C.? And didn't he assemble a cadre of his corrupt, career cronies to help him rape and pillage the whole of America for the benefit of his friends and the Chicago machine?
Of course he did! So here's a prediction. For his next miracle, after calming the water and walking on the oil in the Gulf while planting windmill seeds, Illinois' anointed one will find a way to cover the pensions of state workers in distressed states (that will be almost all of them, soon) under federal guarantees. For which you will pay. And pay. And pay.
This will, of course, cause the public-employee unions to resume kissing the appropriate cheeks of the anointed one, come this fall's elections. And you thought what happened in Chicago, stayed in Chicago!
Why Is Environmental Group 'Left-Wing'? MRC, WND Won't Tell You Topic: Media Research Center
A June 15 Media Research Center item by Brent Baker stated that Ed Chen, current president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, "is leaving Bloomberg News to lend his shallow liberal advocacy to the left-wing Natural Resources Defense Council."
How does Baker know that the NRDC is "left-wing"? He doesn't say -- no evidence is offered to support the claim. Baker has simply engaged in lazy name-calling, which, sadly, is the kind of thing that passes for "research" at the MRC.
Following in Baker's lazy footsteps is WorldNetDaily's Chelsea Schilling, who repeats Baker's claims in her June 15 article asserting that Chen is going to engage in "leftist environmental advocacy." Like Baker, Schilling can't be bothered to identifiy exactly what NRDC policies are "leftist."
Since Chen, as head of the the WHCA, refused to allow WND to take over the White House Correspondents' Association banquet, Schilling rehashes all that whining and self-victimization -- and tells a lie in the process.
As WND reported, Chen was at the center of a WND complaint against the White House Correspondents' Association following the association's rejection this year of WND's request for three tables at the annual dinner, a news event as well as a social event in Washington. WND requested and submitted payment for three tables, but the association allocated only a couple of seats, cashing the check for one table.
However, the two seats were unusable because WND had planned to invite personnel and guests to honor Les Kinsolving's tenure as a distinguished White House correspondent and announce the publication of a book, "Gadlfy," about his career, written by his daughter, Kathleen Kinsolving Willmann.
In fact, WND claimed in an April 13 article that it was offered three seats, not two. In Schilling's defense, she's merely copy-and-pasting from a later WND article falsely claiming only two seats were offered.
Further, at no point does Schilling explain how two (or three) seats were "unsuable" for the banquet's primary purpose of eating a meal and enjoying the evening's entertainment. The seatscould easily have been occupied by Kinsolving, Joseph Farah and either Kinsolving's wife or daughter, which would have also sufficiently served the purpose of honoring Kinsolving.
CNS Can't Stop Baselessly Claiming Judge Is 'Lenient' Topic: CNSNews.com
Remember last week, when CNS' Fred Lucas insisted that Obama judicial nominee Robert Chatigny had a "Record of Leniency for Sex Offenders," despite the fact that he offered no evidence of "leniency"? Well, Lucas isn't done baselessly smearing the judge.
In a JUne 15 article headlined "Obama Appellate Court Nominee Gave Lenient Sentences for Sex-Related Crimes," Lucas again tries to promote the idea that Chatigny was "lenient," this time highlighting cases in which Chatigny gave lower sentences than proscribed in federal guidelines. But as before, Lucas blows it, not only by not explaining how that equaates to "leniency" but by providing Chatigny's explanations for the sentences he gave, which sound reasonable to anyone familiar with the law enforcement system.
Lucas makes no effort to counter Chatigny's arguments -- indeed, the word "lenient" appears nowhere in his article.But slapping a headline with the word "lenient" on a story explains nothing.
WND Mum on Racist Ties of Its New Birther Hero Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has been reduced to cavorting with people with racist ties in order to further its birther obsession.
As we noted, WorldNetDaily's newest birther star, Tim Adams -- a temporary election worker in Hawaii who claims based on what little he saw as a temp worker that Obama wasn't born in Hawaii -- is claiming that Obama was not born in Hawaii, based on his purported (and unverified) searches of databases he claims he had access to as a temp. WND claimed that Adams was "briefly interviewed by James Edwards, host of a weekly radio show on WLRM Radio in Memphis, Tenn." In fact, Edwards is the host of a radio show called "The Political Cesspool," which claims as its philosophy: "We represent a philosophy that is pro-White ... We wish to revive the White birthrate above replacement level fertility and beyond to grow the percentage of Whites in the world relative to other races." Further, Edwards taped his interview with Adams at the 2010 National Conference of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a decendent of the openly racist White Citizens Councils of the 1950s and 1960s that the Anti-Defamation League describes as having a "white supremacy, white separatism" ideology.
Now, Media Matters reports that Edwards wrote on his blog that he was "working in cooperation" with WND news editor Joe Kovacs to promote the Allen story, which resulted in "tons of new visitors" and "huge national exposure."
As if that behavior wasn't unsavory enough, Media Matters also notes that the white-nationalist website Stormfront.org have enthusiastically reposted WND's articles on Adams.
If WND is working with sources to create news as opposed to reporting the news, it is no longer a news organization. If WND is working with racists and white supremacists, that raises serious questions about the motivation of WND's incessant opposition to Obama.
Needless to say, Kovacs' latest WND story on Allen doesn't say a thing about his racist connections or Kovac's cooperation with a white supremacist to advance the story.
If WND has to rely on racists to promote the birther story, doesn't that mean there's no reliable evidence to support it? And doesn't that mean that Joseph Farah and his WND crew are more than a bit racist themselves?
The MRC's Lazy, Biased 'Reality Check' Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center doesn't really believe in media research; its goal is to track right-wing talking points (or the lack of them) in the media.
An excellent example of how this works is a June 10 "Media Reality Check" by Tim Graham, in which he complains that "the network news bosses at ABC, CBS, and NBC" have not referenced a ginned-up "scandal" in which Obama administration officials allegedly offered Joe Sestak a job as encouragement to quit his challenge of Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic primary.
Graham howled that Graham "kept any mention of this possible quid pro quo off the airwaves of their morning and evening news programs for more than three months." But there's no depth whatsoever to his analysis. There's no mention of the fact that the Bush and Reagan administrations also made offers to prospective candidates to keep them out of races, let alone any examination of how the media covered those accusations.
Graham tries to deflect such criticism by claiming that the Obama administration is unlike other administrations: "The networks cannot plausibly claim that this job-dangling is not a news story because it’s a commonly sleazy practice – not after years of claiming the choice of Obama was so idealistic and inspiring." That's a cop-out -- Graham is not only trying to justify his laziness, he's tacitly admitting the Republican administrations he's so fond of are so corrupt that such actions were not newsworthy when committed by them.
It's the ultimate double standard -- actions deemed scandalous when conducted by a Democrat are not worthy of mention when conducted by Republicans.
That shallow and craven commentary is what passes for "media criticism" at the MRC.
So WND was incredibly eager to jump on a claim that some Egyptian official is claiming that President Obama told him that he is a Muslim, with Bob Unruh -- WND's king of biased reporting -- pounding out a story treating the claim as if it was real.
It's not until the 15th paragraph that Unruh hints there may be a problem: "There was no independent verification of the statement."
Even the right-wing Hot Air proceded with caution on the story, pointing out that the video supplied "will not confirm that Barack Obama made the statements claimed."
WND and Unruh don't need no stinkin' verification. They hate Obama so much, they no longer care about the truth (if they ever did).They will spread every smear and lie about him because they can.
Another Right-Wing Zombie Lie in the Making? Topic: WorldNetDaily
We’ve previously written about zombie lies in the right-wing media -- claims long ago disproven yet still cited as fact. It seems there’s a new zombie lie in the making: the claim that the cap-and-trade bill was written by BP.
Several days after PolitiFact declared Sen. Mitch McConnell’s claim that BP wrote the energy bill sponsored by Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman to be false, Janet Porter was repeating it in her June 15 WorldNetDaily column:
What you may not know is that the BP candidate [Obama] will address the BP spill with a bill written by … BP!
No kidding. According to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., "a major part" of the Kerry-Lieberman cap-and-trade/global-warming bill was "essentially written by BP."
What to do about the BP oil spill? Let's pound on the podium about it. Let's take some pictures about it. And let's … pass the BP-drafted tax bill for government control!
In fact, as PolitiFact explained, while BP was one of many parties who floated ideas for the bill, “saying that the senators listened to BP's case is not the same as saying that ‘a major part’ of the bill ‘was essentially written by BP.’ " Further, three major initiatives pushed by BP do not even appear in the current version of the bill.
Porter went on to quote from a June 9 CNSNews.com article that quoted McConnell claiming “BP actually helped write” the cap-and-trade bill. But that was merely a report on McConnell’s remarks, and no apparent attempt was made to verify what he said. To the contrary: CNS quoted Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe endorsing McConnell’s claim.
A search of CNS’ archives indicates that CNS has yet to report the fact that McConnell’s claim has been shown to be false.
Between right-wing columnists’ embrace of this false claim and the right-wing media’s apparent disinterest in correcting the record, we may have ourselves a new zombie lie in the making.
CNS Tries, Fails to Invent a Controversy Topic: CNSNews.com
When CNS reporter Penny Starr isn't writingbiasedarticles about abortion and gays, she's apparently wandering through museum exhibits in Washington ready to pounce on anything that's not conservatively correct. In March, Starr was offended that a Smithsonian exhibit on human origins lacked "references to God, creationism, or pre-natal existence"; even worse,the exhibit "says fossils 'provide evidence that modern humans evolved from earlier humans.'"
In a June 14 CNS article, Starr complains: "A new exhibit at the Library of Congress is dedicated to the memory of entertainer Bob Hope, but it focuses more on politics than it does on the legacy of a movie star who used his talents to support the U.S. military around the world."
But reading further into Starr's article, it's clear that the exhibit, "Hope for America: Performers, Politics and Pop Culture," is not solely about Hope but about the intersection of politics and entertainment. Starr can't quite deny that Hope was one of the pioneers of topical humor that took jabs at politicians, yet she complains that "the overall theme of the exhibit highlights political protest and activism – something that, by all accounts, Hope avoided even as he became a regular at the White House over the course of 11 U.S. presidencies."
Later in the article, Starr is forced to concede that Hope's family approved of the exhibit and that it also includes conservatives such as Lee Greenwood, Pat Boone and Sonny Bono. Starr also conceded that Hope himself became actively political in the Vietnam years.
So, all in all, Starr's attempt to invent a controversy has failed miserably. Then again, it does keep her from writing more hopelessly biased articles about abortion and gays.
Hedgecock Falsely Claims U.S. Not Using Foreign 'Assets' to Clean Oil Spill Topic: WorldNetDaily
In his June 14 WorldNetDaily column, Roger Hedgecock falsely claimed that President Obama said "no thanks" to offers from "13 countries" to help clean up the oil spill, adding that "foreign 'assets' are not being considered."
In fact, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen has stated that the U.S. is making use of foreign technology: "We are dealing with folks like Norway, the Netherlands, Canada and other places. Anyplace that's got skimming capability that's available, we're willing to talk to them, and we actually have, in some cases, actually transferred the equipment down and will continue to do that."
FrontPageMag Selectively Criticizes Candidates' Falsified Military Records Topic: Horowitz
A June 9 FrontPageMag article by Rich Trzupek denounced Democrats who apparently made false claims about their military service, such as Richard Blumenthal and Phil Hare, as "arrogant." But Trzupek curiously looks over another candidate from Hare's state of Illinois accused of falsifying his military credentials: MarkKirk.
Then again, Kirk is a Republican, so that falsification apparently doesn't count in Trzupek's eyes.
WorldNetDaily and Anonymous Sources Topic: WorldNetDaily
What is WorldNetDaily's policy on using anonymous sources? Does it even have a policy at all beyond how such anonymity serves WND's political agenda?
We ask because, as Salon details, ombudsmen both the New York Times and the Washington Post have raised questions about their respective papers' use -- more specifically, the overuse -- of anonymous sources. According to Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander, the paper's guidelines state that anonymity "should not be done casually or automatically," and that "merely asking should not be sufficient to become anonymous in our stories." Salon's Dan Gillmor adds:
Whether the reporters and editors who so casually violate their institutions' rules are simply arrogant and/or lazy, or whether they genuinely believe they're providing information that readers need to know, they're undermining the credibility of their news organizations almost every time they do this. In reality, whether they understand it or not, they betray contempt for their readers, not respect.
As a reader, I've trained myself to treat anonymously sourced stories with the most extreme skepticism. Unless I can infer a truly compelling reason for the anonymity, I now actively disbelieve -- or, at best, assume a sleazy motive on the part of the source -- what I read in these circumstances.
WND, meanwhile, appears to have no apparent policy governing the use of anonymous sources -- none it's bothered to share with readers, anyway. Despite editor Joseph Farah's dismissal of anonymous sources as being used by reporters for "quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better," WND regularly invokes anonymous sources, typically to attack its political enemies.
Aaron Klein is perhaps WND's most flagrant abuser of anonymous sources. In the past month, Klein haswrittenfourarticles whose primary claims are based on anonymous sources. At no point in any of those articles did he explain why anonymity was granted. Given that each of those articles advances WND's agenda of promoting Israel and attackingPalestinians and the Obama administration, the "sleazy motive" Gillmor spoke of can be assumed here as well. Heck, Klein has even granted anonymity to terrorists, which makes it all the more sleazy.
Klein is not the only WND writer to use anonymous sources for political purposes, however -- Jerome Corsi used on in a June 5 WND article to attack the Obama administration. Given Corsi's less-than-stellar record of accuracy and more-than-ample record of political attacks, it can be assumed Corsi was operating from a "sleazy motive" as well.
If Klein, Corsi, and the rest of WND can't be bothered to explain why they hide behind anonymous sources to launch their political attacks -- and if WND can't even articulate a policy on their use -- it shouldn't be taken seriously as a news organization. Fortunately, that's far from the only factor keeping intelligent people from doing that.