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Wednesday, September 22, 2010
WND Spins Tea Party Convention's Demise
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 20 WorldNetDaily article by Brian Fitzpatrick on the demise of the Judson Phillips-organized National Tea Party Convention planned for Las Vegas in October gives free rein to spin the heck out of the demise while omitting crucial information and disclosures.

Fitzpatrick notes that "there were insufficient ticket sales to continue plans for the event" but allows Phillips -- the only person Fitzpatrick apparently talked to and the only person quoted -- to blame it on the "Obama economy."

One must go elsewhere for information on the full story behind the demise. Fitzpatrick doesn't see fit to report, as Talking Points Memo did in beating WND to the story by several hours, that  there was opposition to the convention among tea party groups in Nevada, and one even planned to boycott and publicly protest the convention over concerns with the legitimacy of Phillps' organziation, Tea Party Nation.

Fitzpatrick also failed to report that the convention had originally been scheduled for July, and then postponed until October, even though WND reported the schedule change at the time.

Fitzpatrick even omits mention of a couple corportate conflicts of interest: WND editor Joseph Farah was scheduled to speak at the original convention and his bio appeared on the convention's website before it was scrubbed (here it is in Google cache). Also, Phillips has become something of a WND columnist (albeit a factually challenged one) -- he even has a column on today's WND commentary page.

You may recall that WND provided wall-to-wall fawning coverage of Phillips' first Tea Party Nation convention in February, which Farah just happened to speak at.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:21 AM EDT
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
WND, MRC Embrace Silly Obama Attack
Topic: WorldNetDaily

There's no story too silly for some on the right to turn into an attack on President Obama.

From a Sept. 18 WorldNetDaily article:

President Obama removed the reference to the "Creator" from the Declaration of Independence when he quoted a portion at a meeting of the Congressional Hispanic Congress.

Obama said, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, endowed with certain inalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

But the the actual quotation is:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

WND even goes on to cite "outrage" over the omission at some obscure right-wing blog.

This was an attack too stupid not to spread, and spread it did. The MRC Culture & Media Institute's Alana Goodman was suitably indignant, touting how "Conservative bloggers wondered whether the misstatement by President Obama was a mere slip of the tongue or evidence of his true feelings about the origin of unalienable rights."Goodman went onto decry the "silence from the mainstream media, which had so quickly jumped on any verbal errors that President Bush made during his terms in office."

Needless to say, this line of attack is bogus, which Goodman and WND would have known if they had bothered to do even a minimal amount of research. Media Matters points out that Obama has used the entire phrase numerous times, and that inaccurately quoting the Declaration of Independence is common, even among conservatives.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:13 PM EDT
NewsBusters Offended by Moderation
Topic: NewsBusters

The Heatherization of Joe Scarborough at NewsBusters continues with Sept. 20 post by Matt Hadro, in which he expresses a bit of horror that Scarborough is embracing -- gasp! -- moderation:

MSNBC's "Morning Joe" has recently delivered some strange messages of bipartisanship and moderation to its viewers. These included lecturing would-be Koran-burner Florida pastor Terry Jones on loving one's neighbor before cutting him off without opportunity to answer, and showcasing a "Bipartisan Health Challenge" – a group of politicians and journalists walking three kilometers around the National Mall to promote fitness and bipartisanship.

[...]

Later, Scarborough continued to make an active push for a certain type of candidate. "Now we're going to continue like we've done for three years – to encourage viewers and guests to resist the pull of those people on the far Right and the "Professional Left" who seek division."

To be fair, Scarborough has expressed his approval in the past for conservative stars Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, and he is a self-described old-style conservative. He may not have been advocating centrist candidates as much as conservatives and liberals who promise to reach across the aisle.

Even so, Scarborough and company's message seems fuzzy as to who and what exactly they're endorsing – and why they were taking time to endorse them in the first place.

Only the right-wing ideologues at NewsBusters and the MRC would find bipartisanship and moderation to be a "strange" idea.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:27 PM EDT
Newsmax Claims Credit for Insulting Obama Into Going to Church
Topic: Newsmax

In a Sept. 20 article by Jim Meyers, Newsmax takes credit for President Obama's appearance at a church on Sunday. How? Because Mike Huckabee insulted him into doing it.

In a Sept. 17 video posted by Newsmax, Huckabee ranted that "I don’t mind him reaching out to Muslims as long as he’s reaching out to them in the same way that he’s reaching out to Christians or people who are Jewish. But what I’ve seen is that he has chastised the Jewish people for wanting to have neighborhoods for their children to grow up in. He’s certainly not been overwhelmingly kind to Christians who have a real conscience issue with things like abortion."

Embracing the corellation-equals-causation fallacy, Meyers writes:

On Friday, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said in an exclusive Newsmax interview that President Obama could deal with doubts about his faith by “leading the example of attending worship.”

The former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate also slammed President Obama, saying he has been treating Muslims better than Jews and Christians. [See story and video: Huckabee: Obama Treats Muslims Better Than Jew, Christians.]

Huckabee's complaint apparently shook up the White House over the weekend.

On Sunday, Obama attended services at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, just the third time he has worshipped in public since he took office.

Politico.com columnist Ben Smith noted the connection, suggesting that the Newsmax story motivated Obama's sudden interest in church.

Smith quoted from Huckabee’s Newsmax interview and provided a link to a website that excerpted a key portion of the interview.

Newsmax, however, is in competition with others claiming credit for Obama going to church, like Glenn Beck.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:29 AM EDT
Meanwhile ...
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Matters has seen the new Brent Bozell-starring Media Research Center video for its "Tell the Truth" campaign, and found that it ... doesn't. (We're shocked!)

Here are the details.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:34 AM EDT
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.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:36 AM EDT
Monday, September 20, 2010
NewsBusters Heathering Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

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]:

But at this juncture in American political history, the anger is understandably more present on the right. The Dems, after all, control both houses of Congress and the White House, and have used their power to promote a big-government agenda on everything from health care to trillion dollar spending schemes to higher taxes.  You're darn right we're angry!  In instructing us to calm down, Joe and Mika are really seeking to sap the vitality from the political movement that threatens to sweep Dems from office.

[...]

Let's recapitulate: Obama says anger bad, not a vision for the future.  Scarborough says anger bad, not a way to govern.

I'm sure the folks at the White House and the DNC will be delighted by Morning Joe's manifesto.  They couldn't have said it better themselves.

Scarborough, of course, has been a longtime target for Heathering by the boys at NewsBusters. And Finkelstein might want to consult a dictionary to figure out why he misused the word "recapitulate."


Posted by Terry K. at 2:31 PM EDT
Newsmax Touts Dems Critical of Obama
Topic: Newsmax

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.'"


Posted by Terry K. at 2:21 PM EDT
Vox Day's Anti-Police Tirade
Topic: Newsmax

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:

For decades, conservatives have attempted to excuse even lethal police abuses by arguing that the dangerous nature of the job and the stresses it entails somehow justify widespread criminal activity on the part of law enforcement officers. But this is a logically incoherent argument. Police work isn't even among the 10 most dangerous occupations; it is 13 times less dangerous than working as a professional fisherman. And the wide rate at which police commit suicide, become alcoholics and get divorced is less indicative of a terribly stressful job than a sign that the job tends to attract psychologically troubled individuals.

In much the same way that those with mental problems are disproportionately attracted to the mental health fields, those who have problems with authority are disproportionately attracted to a profession that allows them to exert it over others.

This is not to say that all police are psychologically weak individuals predisposed to criminality. Anyone who lifts weights at a gym regularly is likely to know a few good men that serve the community well. The problem is that the fraternal code of silence corrupts those good men and prevents them from exercising the criminal cancers from their midst.

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."


Posted by Terry K. at 11:05 AM EDT
Party-Line Enforcer Upset With Criticism of Party-Line Enforcers
Topic: NewsBusters

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:

Gerson didn't explain in this short blog how it was "unhinged" to see Karl Rove's fierce attack on O'Donnell as like an Olbermann moment. (In fact, it was: Olbermann reran large chunks of it on MSNBC.) He didn't explain how it was "unhinged" to say Rove was at war with the Tea Party when they won a surprise victory, and he denounced the winner in the strongest terms.

[...]

Gerson wants to suggest that the Tea Party people are unhinged in their rhetoric, and then he compares them to murderous Russian communists. Remember this the next time Gerson agrees with a liberal that Obama shouldn't be smeared with foreign associations.

[...]

Here is Gerson's arrogance on display, for it's very easy to remind the Bush people that "winning" wasn't what happened in 2006 and 2008. Rove and Gerson and their team drove the GOP into a deep hole. This is the spot where the liberals secretly point fingers and laugh -- before they invite these Bushies in front of the cameras to denounce the conservatives.

Funny, we thought the MRC's job was, you know, media research, not ideological enforcement.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:01 AM EDT
NewsBusters Pushes False Claim About Protest
Topic: NewsBusters

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.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:20 AM EDT
Sunday, September 19, 2010
WND Selling John Hagee's Crazy Prophecy Book
Topic: WorldNetDaily

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:

  • Declaring "the very real fact that in the near future planet Earth is going to experience, on a specific day, global ecological disaster in which one-third of humanity will die."
  • Asserting that he on good authority from a "confidential source" that Al-Qaeda, working with Iran, is going to detonate nuclear weapons in seven American cities.
  • Stating as fact that "World War III is about to begin."
  • Insisting that anyone who criticizes his apocalyptic theories is simply more evidence that he is right.

It was worth Hagee getting back into WND's good graces for this?


Posted by Terry K. at 10:57 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 19, 2010 10:57 PM EDT
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.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:33 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 20, 2010 1:21 AM EDT
AIM Tirade: 'An Ecofascist Crescent Moon Near Ground Zero'
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Last year, we noted an Accuracy in Media column by Mark Musser likening environmentalists to Nazis because, hey, Hitler was an environmentalist too.

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:

That environmental regulations have already played a large role in stalling the rebuilding of Ground Zero is not something that should go unnoticed, especially now with a green mosque going up nearby.

Blending environmentalism with Islam can only serve to strengthen the totalitarian ideals of the green movement. With modern environmentalism’s fixation on ecological holism that strictly views people and their economic activities as expendable, unbalanced, unsustainable and cancerous—this will only be greatly bolstered and strengthened by the totalitarian will of Allah. If modern western man is way out of line with regard to the environmental movement, just think what it will mean when Allah enters into the equation.

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.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:00 AM EDT
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Graham Rushes to D'Souza's Defense
Topic: NewsBusters

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:

This is again, not a "fact," but a spin. Hawaii is clearly more than 2500 miles form the mainland. As much fun as reporters make of hicks in Kentucky or Alabama, suggesting they are out of the mainstream, it's just as fair game to question the "mainstream" cultural viewpoint of Hawaii. If the red states are "less than cosmopolitan," the blue states are "less than nationalistic."

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.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:23 AM EDT

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