Topic: Media Research Center
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
MRC Pretends 'Ground Zero Mosque' Debate Isn't About Islamophobia
Topic: Media Research Center
A Sept. 15 Media Research Center "Media Reality Check" by Rich Noyes professes outrage that Americans who oppose the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero are being "smear[ed]" as exhibiting Islamophobia. But it offers no evidence that this isn't the case.
Instead, the MRC tallied up the number of "pro-mosque" and anti-mosque comments on network news (making sure to steer clear of Fox News, which has been relentlessly anti-mosque) but grouping them strangely -- a one week period in August in which anti-mosque sentiment, and a two-week period afterwards in which a "shift in coverage occurred," claiming this happened "after mosque proponents began tarring their opponents as bigots."
Noyes claimed this shift meant "the networks permitted a balanced debate about a proposed real estate project, but allowed mosque supporters to attack the majority of Americans as 'haters' and 'bigots' without adequate debate." He then moves to class-war rhetoric: "That’s yet another sign that the liberal, elite media are hopelessly out of touch with the public they ostensibly serve."
Given that Noyes never proved the underlying thesis of his report -- that opposing the Islamic center has nothing whatsoever to do to Islamophobia -- it appears that he and the MRC are hopelessly out of touch with basic research methods.
Monday, September 20, 2010
NewsBusters Heathering Watch
Speaking of party-line enforcers, NewsBusters seems to be full of them, don't they?
Mark Finkelstein tries his hand in a Sept. 20 post, suggesting that Rahm Emanuel wrote Joe Scarborough's statement on "Morning Joe" condemning "angry voices" and "political extremists" on the far right.Finkelstein asserts that "the manifesto's message suits Dem themes to a 'T', and carries clear echoes of a recent partisan speech by Pres. Obama at a political event" [boldface his]. Finkelstein continues [boldface his]:
Newsmax Touts Dems Critical of Obama
Newsmax goes concern-trolling with a Sept. 19 article by serial misinformer David Patten, touting "the top 10 blue dog Democrats who have stood up to oppose the president's proposals" as exhibiting a relative level of "Democratic courage."
The front-page promo for Patten's article went even further, claiming that those Democrats "demonstrate what one Democratic icon, John F. Kennedy, once described as 'profiles in courage.'"
Vox Day's Anti-Police Tirade
Vox Day's Sept. 20 WorldNetDaily column is an anti-police tirade that would seem to fit better on far-left anarchist sites than reliably right-wing, law-and-order (for liberals and gays, anyway) WND.
Using the shooting death of a man by Las Vegas police in a Costco store as a jumping-off point, Day declared the shooting an "execution" and claimed that the typical policement as "the helpful revolver-carrying policeman of yore has been gradually replaced by a steroid-abusing, paramilitarized bully in black body armor with a bad attitude." he continues:
Day concludes: "Americans, particularly conservatives who consider themselves pro-police, should recall Ronald Reagan's famous maxim, 'trust, but verify.' And they must never forget that the first prerequisite of a police state is the police."
Party-Line Enforcer Upset With Criticism of Party-Line Enforcers
In a Sept. 19 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham takes the Washington Post's Michael Gerson -- a former speechwriter for President Bush to task for noting the "unhinged" reaction among right-wingers to any criticism of Christine O'Donnell and how it shows a "Bolshevik approach" inwhich "Every personal feeling, every independent thought, every inconvenient fact, must be subordinated to the party line -- the Tea Party line" and "deviations from the party line are not permitted."
Graham is one of the chief Heatherers at NewsBusters -- who snipe at anyone deemed insufficiently conservative -- and he goes into full Heathering mode here:
Funny, we thought the MRC's job was, you know, media research, not ideological enforcement.
NewsBusters Pushes False Claim About Protest
A Sept. 18 NewsBusters post by P.J. Gladnick touts a claim that someone "proudly carrying Nazi-esque signs" at a rally against Illinois Republican congressional candidate Adam Kinzinger was somehow linked to his opponent, Democrat Rep. Debbie Halvorson. Gladnick demanded that local media cover "the demonstrators with the Nazi themed signs returning home to the Debbie Halvorson campaign headquarters."
But one key Gladnick claim is not true. As Media Matters details, the person with the Nazi signs showed up at the protest on his own and is not associated with the Halvorson campaign or any other organized group. Additionally, he said, the other protesters wouldn't carry his signs and tried to block them with their own signs.
Will Gladnick tell the truth about this to his readers? Somehow we kinda doubt it.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
WND Selling John Hagee's Crazy Prophecy Book
John Hagee is apparently back in the good graces of WorldNetDaily.
WND editor Joseph Farah once described Hagee as "my friend," but after initially failing to report any of Hagee's controversial statements following his endorsement of John McCain in 2008 (a candidate WND managing editor David Kupelian also endorsed), Farah finally bailed on Hagee after his statement that Adolf Hitler was God's instrument to get the Jews back to the Middle East.
But it seems Hagee has done his time in WND's doghouse -- it's now selling Hagee's latest book, "Will America Survive?" The blurb for the book at WND's store states, "Carefully documented facts and powerful biblical teaching are the basis for the provocative claims and predictions outlined in this riveting book."
Hagee's book even got a fawning review from WND columnist Jim Fletcher (no stranger to slavishly parroting the WND corporate line), in which he slobbers that it's "a thoroughly absorbing book that reads almost like an action novel – the San Antonio pastor is clearly concerned for his home country. Hagee today is perhaps the quintessential prophetic pastor in America, a throwback not only to an early Billy Graham, or a Charles Finney, but also going all the way back to the fiery prophets of Judah."
Of course, the view from someone without a financial stake in selling the book has a somewhat different view. Ben Demiero at Media Matters details some of the craziness in Hagee's book that Fletcher and WND won't tell you about, such as:
It was worth Hagee getting back into WND's good graces for this?
MRC Shoots the Messenger
Topic: Media Research Center
A Sept. 18 Media Research Center item (and NewsBusters post) by Brent Baker goes the shoot-the-messenger route in its continued protection of Republican Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell. In it, Baker dismisses Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington -- which has called for an investigation of O'Donnell for alleged "chronic abuse of campaign funds" -- as an "obviously liberal outfit" and "a left-wing organization staffed by veterans of Democratic congressional offices." Baker went on to huff that CREW's "Crooked Candidates 2010” list "features nine Republicans and just three Democrats, which suggests they are cover for the group's real agenda."
At no point does Baker make any effort to counter the charges CREW makes. This suggests once again that the MRC -- contrary to its demand for the media to "tell the truth" -- is much more interested in intimidating people from telling the truth when that truth is unfavorable to conservative candidates like O'Donnell.
AIM Tirade: 'An Ecofascist Crescent Moon Near Ground Zero'
Topic: Accuracy in Media
Now, Musser is back to the same thing to Muslims. In a Sept. 15 AIM column headlined "An Ecofascist Crescent Moon Near Ground Zero," Musser takes the opportunity to riff on a claim that the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero would be a "green mosque" conforming with federal LEED standards to claim that "injecting environmentalism into Islam is hardly uncontroversial" because 'Both Islam and environmentalism loathe western financial institutions, all of which was best represented by the Twin Towers—the bastion of international free trade—before they came crashing down in flames on 9/11." Musser continues:
Musser seems to be trying to make a living smearing environmentalists with the worst smears he can think of. The fact that his most prominent media outlet for such smears is AIM suggets it's not much of a living.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Graham Rushes to D'Souza's Defense
Tim Graham uses a Sept. 17 NewsBusters post to defend Dinesh D'Souza's bizarre, error-ridden attack on President Obama in Forbes magazine, in which D'Souza declares that Obama's policies should be understood as a manifestation of his African father's "hatred of the colonial system." Graham's defense, though, is less about addressing anything D'Souza says and more about attacking the article's critics.
After the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz took D'Souza to task for highlighting Obama's upbringing "off the American mainland, in Hawaii" by noting that Hawaii "may be off the American mainland, but it is hardly out of the American mainstream," Graham huffed:
When Kurtz highlighted the Columbia Journalism Review's criticism of D'Souza's piece, Graham didn't address any of those criticisms but instead retorted, "The Columbia Journalism Review is a left-wing rag." His evidence? The same CJR writer also criticized Rick Santelli's tea party-inspiring rant as, in Graham's word, "comical." No, Graham doesn't address anything the CJR writer actually said there, either.
Graham seems not to understand that ad hominem attacks are not actual media criticism.
Floyd Brown's Impeachment Tirade
A Sept 16 WorldNetDaily article by Joe Kovacs describes in its full glory Western Journalism Center chief Floyd Brown's tirade at WND's "Taking Back America" conference that President Obama should be impeached:
We've picked up a copy of the recently released WJC book "A Case For Impeachment" -- written in the same tone and factual veracity as Brown's tirade -- and we'll be writing about it shortly.
Friday, September 17, 2010
CNS' Gotcha Interview of Holdren
CNSNews.com, on top of their gotcha FOIA requests, has a new gotcha tactic: plucking a random quote of a book by a liberal, then ambushing them with it.
Here's how this worked in a Sept. 16 CNS article by Nicholas Ballasy, in which the victim was longtimeright-wing target John Holdren:
As Media Matters notes, this quote was plucked from a book Holdren co-wrote in 1973 -- nearly 40 years ago -- and was asked apropos of nothing.
NewsBusters Promotes Unsubstantiated Quote
Melissa Clouthier turns NewsBusters into a supermarket tabloid for a Sept. 16 post, pouncing on a claim that Michelle Obama told French first lady Carla Bruni that life in the White House is "hell":
Apparently, this story provided so perfect an opportunity for Clouthier to spew her hate that she couldn't be bothered to check the facts.
And what are those facts? Both Obama and Bruni deny the statement was made, and the claim comes from an unauthorized biography, not from Bruni herself. The report Clouthier is quoting comes from a British tabloid, not from an American publication.
Apparently, the MRC's "Tell the Truth" campaign doesn't apply to itself.
MRC Launches Campaign to Bully Media
Topic: Media Research Center
All week, the Media Research Center had been teasing a "major announcement" by Brent Bozell and the Media Research Center. Well, it finally happened on Sept. 15 via webcast. The MRC has not seen fit to put up the video of the announcement, but we watched it and took notes.
The "major announcement," presented as Bozell was fake-interviewed by CNS' Terry Jeffrey, really isn't all that major: this year's version of the "Tell the Truth" campaign it has previously run.Bozell began by claiming he doesn't want a conservative media, he just wants balance. And toget that, he plans to orchestrate "the most public display of national outrage you've ever seen" over the so-called "liberal media," which includes signs to be given out at tea party rallies as well as moving billboards they plan to drive around the headquarters of the various networks. The Twitter feed of the MRC's Brent Baker has a picture of one of the moving billboards outside MRC headquarters.
The ultimate goal of the campaign, Bozell said, is to have the media make one of two choices -- continue this and go out of business, or go back to real journalism.
We've previously noted the MRC's 2004 campaign, in which the goal wasn't to get the media to "tell the truth" at all but, rather, to bully the media into repeating conservative talking points. Indeed, that appears to be the goal here as well.
A Sept. 16 MRC press release illustrates this bullying approach. It highlights five quotes regarding new Tea Party darling Christine O'Donnell that Bozell portrays as "mudsliging at its ugliest. Pure character assassination." Bozell goes on to harangue: "These networks have never treated a viable Democratic candidate with this level of contempt. How dare they lecture anyone on manners or decency ever again."
Of the five quotes Bozell cites, two are news reports quoting the state Republican chairman in Delaware calling O'Donnell a liar who couldn't get elected dog catcher. A third is a news report stating, "Democratic officials are gleeful and called her an ultra right wing extremist." That is a fact, and the state Republican chairman's statement is a fact. At no point does Bozell dispute the accuracy of this.
What Bozell is doing is relabeling facts as smears in order to intimidate the media into not reporting them.
The other two are statements by Mike Barnicle and Joy Behar -- commentators who expressing opinions, not reporters fowarding news.
It seems that Bozell wants only positive coverage of Tea Party candidates. That's not telling the truth.
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