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Friday, December 17, 2010
MRC Tries, Fails to Conflate Non-Equivalent Remarks
Topic: Media Research Center

A report that an unidentified Democratic member of Congress saying "f--- the president" has the Media Research Center all a-titter and determined to make false comparisons that even they admit are stretching things.

A Dec. 10 NewsBusters post by MRC researcher Scott Whitlock complained that "morning shows all ignored the report" while "many journalists professed outrage when Congressman Joe Wilson yelled 'You lie' at President Obama in 2009." Of course, the difference is that the Democrat made his remark during a closed-door meeting in which President Obama was not present and, by Whitlock's own admission, "mutter[ed]" it, while Wilson yelled his insult directly at the president during the middle of the State of the Union address.

Whitlock does concede the point, sort of: "Obviously there's a difference between an unidentified representative and a nationally televised embarrassing moment, but what if this mystery representative had been a Republican?"

Clay Waters tries to make the same baseless conflation in a Dec. 14 MRC TimesWatch item, complaining that New York Times reporter Carl Hulse wrote only that "Vulgar words were aimed at President Obama" while Hulse "dropped his previous concern for political decorum regarding attacks by congressmen on President Obama. He took offense when Republican Rep. Joe Miller shouted 'You lie!' during the State of the Union on September 9, 2009, after Obama had made a dubious claim about the status of health coverage for illegals under his health care proposal."

Like Whitlock, Waters concedes the comparison is mostly baseless: 

One could argue that the “You lie!” and “F** the President” incidents aren’t perfectly parallel -- a live presidential address to Congress compared with an unrecorded vulgarity in a less formal setting. Yet a similar exchange between then Vice President Dick Cheney and Democratic Sen. Pat Leahy received wide coverage in the Times and elsewhere.

Waters doesn't mention that the "less formal setting" Cheney chose to insult Leahy was the floor of the Senate.

MRC chief Brent Bozell tried to peddle the false conflation on the Dec. 16 edition of Fox News' Hannity, "All of those networks who went after Joe Wilson for saying simply, 'You lie,' not one of them has reported it, Sean." Neither Bozell nor Sean Hannity noted the difference between a private meeting at which the target was not present and the middle of a nationally televised State of the Union Address -- or that Bozell's own employees ultimately dismissed the idea of a direct comparison.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:42 PM EST
WND Falsely Smears Canadian Lawmakers
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The headline of a Dec. 16 WorldNetDaily article by Michael Carl reads, "Lawmakers OK with forced abortions" [italics theirs]. That, of course, is a complete lie.

Carl's article is about the failure of a bill in the Canadian House of Commons that would "make it illegal to coerce, threaten, or physically force a woman to have an abortion." Carl quotes no politician who said that they agreed with "forced abortions." Indeed, he quotes no Canadian politicians at all aside from the one who introduced the bill.

The headline embraces a logical fallacy: that a lawmaker who does not vote in favor of making something illegal endorses that behavior.

Carl, in a rare WND display of fairly telling both sides of the story, does report the truth behind the vote: He quotes an abortion-rights activist who points out that "the bill isn't necessary as threats and coercion are already illegal under our criminal code. So this bill simply was duplicating something. ... One of the biggest problems with the bill, of course, is that it was focusing on abortion only, when we know that women are also coerced into child birth."

Even more shockingly, Carl quotes no one shooting down this argument -- suggesting that, typical anti-abortion bluster aside, WND agrees that a bill that would make something illegal that was already illegal is redundant.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:13 AM EST
NewsBusters Falsely Suggests FCC Targeted Bristol Palin
Topic: NewsBusters

A Dec. 14 NewsBusters post by Tim Slagle carries the sinister headline, "FCC vs. Bristol Palin: More Proof Free Speech is the Enemy of the Left." Why, you'd think that a federal agency had declared jihad against ann innocent teenager, right?

Well, not so much. Amid all of Slagle's baseless attacks on censorious liberals, the only substance he serves up of any evil government plot is a Smoking Gun article noting that people had written to the FCC to complain about Palin's presence on "Dancing With the Stars," and the FCC ... did nothing.

That's it. That's all Slagle has. And even then he hides the full story.

Slagle presents all those who wrote to the FCC regarding Palin as "Leftists" who want the agency "to handle their dirty work against Bristol Palin." But the Smoking Gun notes that people complained that Palin was "encouraging and promoting teen pregnancy"-- which sounds more like a complaint from Slagle's side of the aisle.

Slagle also demonstrates a stunning lack of self-awareness about who he's writing for. He states that "For all the talk about the Right Wing being full of fascists, you never really hear the Right trying to censor the Left," even though his blog post was published by a right-wing organization that just did exactly that.

And who is has been responsible for the vast majority of FCC complaints in recent years? None other than the Parents Television Council, founded by -- you guessed it -- Brent Bozell, publisher of NewsBusters. The PTC has a long list of the FCC complaints it has filed, which arguably dwarf any Palin-related activity from "Leftists."

Such an ill-informed and misleading piece makes one wonder if NewsBusters has any real standards about who they let blog there.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:58 AM EST
Thursday, December 16, 2010
WND's Warped View of DADT: 'Expert Military Advice' vs. Lady Gaga
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Dec. 15 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh begins this way:

During World War II it was Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, El Alamein and Okinawa. Then came Korea's Pusan, Inchon and Chosin. In Vietnam it was the Tet Offensive and Battle of Saigon. Thousands of battles followed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Now members of Congress have the choice of following the expert military advice offered by the U.S. veterans who gave their life's blood, sweat and tears on those far-flung battlefields – or Lady Gaga.

The issue is attempts to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" operating policy for the U.S. military that allows homosexuals to serve if they do not choose to make their sexual lifestyle choices a public issue. Activists want the military to allow members to serve while openly living homosexual lifestyles.

Indeed, Unruh -- true to his biased legacy -- presents only "the expert advice of Lady Gaga, a pop star" as support for repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Unruh, of course, is lying to you. In fact, the "expert military advice" in favor of DADT repeal includes more than 100 retired generals and admirals , Defense SecretaryRobert Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Mike Mullen, and former Vice President Dick Cheney. But Unruh apparently believes that they would lend too much credibility to the pro-repeal argument, so he chose to invoke Lady Gaga instead.

Unruh also uncritically repeats a comment by anti-repeal activist Elaine Donnelly that the repeal effort is ""in blatant disregard of the message that voters sent in November." In fact, poll after poll shows Americans overwhelmingly favor repeal.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:35 PM EST
Newsmax Ignores GOP Hypocrisy on Earmarks
Topic: Newsmax

In a Dec. 15 Newsmax article, David Patten features criticism by Republicans of "a massive spending bill laden with about 6,000 earmarks," quoting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as saying that the bill "repeats all the mistakes voters demanded that we put an end to on Election Day ... bigger government, 2,000-page bills jammed through on Christmas Eve, wasteful spending."

But Patten didn't mention McConnell's hypocrisy: as The Hill reported, the bill includes $109 million in earmarks requested by McConnell.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:27 PM EST
CNS Rewrites AP Headline to Bash College Students

Newsmax has a history of editing the headlines of wire-service articles to reflect its right-wing bias. Now has decided it wants in on some of that biased action.

A Dec. 15 Associated Press article on Tufts University providing therapy dogs to stressed-out students during final exams, was released with the headline "Tufts Uses Dogs To Ease Student Exam Stress." But that's not the headline CNS put on its copy of the article; it went with "Coddled Students Getting Quirky ‘Therapy’ to Ease Stress of Final Exams."

The article itself makes no mention of criticism of the therapy dogs, and nowhere does it attack students as "coddled." CNS has simply chosen to add bias to an article it didn't write by changing the headline to reflect its apparent view that students seeking to relieve stress during finals are worthless and weak.

Oh, and liberal too. Check out the comments left on the article by CNS readers:

  • The weakness exhibited by these students is appalling. I went to college and law school at night while working full time (to pay for it) and with a family to support. What will these poor little children do the first time the rent is due?
  • And just who is going to coddle these students when they get out into the workplace and find even more stress when faced with multiple responsibilities between the job and family?
  • Pressure? Liberal educational institutions do not like to address the pressures of life. They are more interested in promoting thier socialistic agenda. The students will be no more suited to realistic workloads and multitasking than they will be to run for president. Oh wait, never mind.
  • Probably paid by taxpayers money.

That last commenter got it wrong; Tufts is a private university.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:35 AM EST
NewsBusters' Petty Apologizing for Fox News
Topic: NewsBusters

Apparently, the Media Research Center has forbidden all direct references to Media Matters (disclosure: our employer). Indeed, we know of at least NewsBusters criticism of Media Matters that was deleted shortly after posting, presumably because it directly referenced the MRC's most prominent media-watchdog competition.

The MRC also has a mission of defending Fox News wherever and whenever. When these two directives collide, wackiness (or at least awkward writing) ensues.

When Media Matters released a leaked memo last week highlighting how Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon directed Fox News personnel, during the debate over health care reform, to use the Republican-preferred terminology of "government option" to describe what was more commonly referred to as the public option, NewsBusters' Lachlan Markay was eager to serve as a Fox News apologist -- albeit without acknowledging where the story originated.

Markay's Dec. 9 post on the issue makes no mention of Media Matters and doesn't even link to the original Media Matters item. Instead, he huffs that the story is merely "the latest meme among the legions of lefty Fox-haters" and links to the first page of Memeorandum's politics section. Ooh, that'll totally show Media Matters!

After digressing into other ideological debates over terminology, Markay finally gets around to taking Fox News' side, asserting that "while Fox's replacement of the 'public option' label with 'government option' made the proposal sound less appealing, it also presented the issue more accurately and in far less vague (arguably propagandistic) terminology." Of course, Markay doesn't concede that "government option"is "arguably propagandistic" too -- indeed, Republican pollster Frank Luntz appeared on Fox News to advise Republicans to use "government option" because "if you call it a 'public option,' the American people are split," but that "if you call it the 'government option,' the public is overwhelmingly against it." Conservative host Sean Hannity enthusiastically agreed, saying, "it's a great point, and from now on, I'm going to call it the government option."

That's in the original Media Matters article. If Markay had bothered to link to it instead of playing hide-and-seek through Memeorandum, he would know that.

When Media Matters released another memo from Sammon telling Fox Newsers to "refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question," Markay pulled the same stunt -- blindly defended Fox News and studiously avoiding any mention of the source of the memo.

In his Dec. 15 NewsBusters post, Markay rants again about "far-left Fox News haters" and links again to Memeorandum -- the exact same page he linked to before. Markay appears not to understand that the content on Memeorandum pages changes constantly. Markay went on to note that Politico "reported on the leak" but didn't mention who leaked it.

Markay asserted: "So Sammon instructed staff to incorporate the most basic tenets of science and journalism - skepticism and political neutrality, respectively - into their reporting on contentious scientific issues with tremendous political implications. And this is a problem?"

Well, yes -- and, again, if Markay had put in the effort to link to the original Media Matters story, he would know that. The point is that Sammon issued his directive less than 15 minutes after Fox correspondent Wendell Goler accurately reported on-air that the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization announced that 2000-2009 was "on track to be the warmest [decade] on record." That was a demonstrable fact, and the arguments of skeptics served simply to provide an opinion in response to a fact.

So, Markay's defenses of Fox News are both disingenuous and petty. Apparently, that's how you get to be an MRC blogger.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:18 AM EST
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
New Article: Rejecting Journalism -- And Science
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily sides with a "Christian nutrition ministry" that thinks it doesn't have to prove the questionable claims it makes about its products. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 3:32 PM EST
Farah Presents An Unreal Doug McKelway
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah uses his Dec. 14 WorldNetDaily column to defend Doug McKelway, the former local news reporter fired after a biased news report and recently hired by Fox News. Farah's headline for his column is "Meet the real Doug McKelway," but Farah's version of him diverges from reality:

I've been in the news business for more than 30 years. I have quite literally done just about everything one can do in this business – from reporting to running daily newspapers to launching the very first independent online news organization in the world. I have to tell you, this is a straight news report. The only thing unusual about it is that the reporter accurately labels some far-left environmental groups for what they are and then points out the fact that Barack Obama accepted more oil money for his campaign than any other politician in America.

In fact, McKelway made a specific claim -- that "the one man who has more campaign contributions from BP than anybody else in history is now sitting in the Oval Office -- President Barack Obama -- who accepted $77,051 in campaign contributions from BP" -- that was factually inaccurate. As we've previously noted, Obama received only $1,000 from BP's PAC in 2004, less than what 21 other Senate candidates received from the BP PAC that year. The figure McKelway used in his report was the amount of money Obama received from employees of the company, not the company itself.

Because McKelway's factual error makes Obama look bad -- just like WND's factual errors do -- Farah has found a kinship:

Fox isn't just hiring controversial newsmen to boost ratings. After all, how many people ever heard of McKelway before Fox hired him?

What Fox is doing is more akin to what I have been doing at WND for the past 14 years – picking up the courageous, fallen news warriors off the media battlefield and restoring them to a place of honor, a place where they can practice their craft, a place where they can do their job.

And lie about the president. Farah surely meant to say that, but he didn't.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:45 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, December 15, 2010 1:53 PM EST
MRC's Double Standard on Entertainers' Political Opinions
Topic: Media Research Center

Matt Philbin, managing editor at the Media Research Center's Culture & Media Institute, tweets: "Doesn't matter that Kelsey Grammer is on our side, he's an actor and his political opinion means nothing."

Well, Philbin might want to impart that message regarding the political views of entertainers to his MRC colleagues at NewsBusters, which just published the latest column by Charlie Daniels.

Then again, Daniels is a close personal friend of MRC chief Brent Bozell.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:53 AM EST
WND's Kinsolving Whines About Missing WH Party Invite
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Les Kinsolving has quite the sense of entitlement, it seems. Why else would he devote his Dec. 14 WorldNetDaily column to complaining that he wasn't invited to the White House Christmas party?

I also learned when I went to the White House press room before this surprise press conference that on that night the president and Mrs. Obama were hosting annual Christmas receptions for the media – from which I have been barred for the second year by the Obamaites.

My primary regret about this exclusion is the fact that my wife, Sylvia, known as "the Berkley Democrat," has very much enjoyed attending these events. I am sad, indeed, that the exclusion of me also applies to her – when so many other presidents of both parties never did this – except Jimmy Carter around Christmastime after he lost to Ronald Reagan.

I am sorry that the spirit of "Peace on Earth, good will toward men" has – by either the president or one of his minions – been denied to the two of us.

Kinsolving, naturally, has a theory about this:

I continue proud and grateful to be White House correspondent and columnist for WorldNetDaily, which continues to raise the still-unanswered questions engendered by the (alleged) Obama birth certificate.

This document has neither the name of the purported hospital in Hawaii, nor the attending physician. Could WND's justified curiosity and unrelenting determination to uncover the details of the president's birth have anything to do with the snubbing of the news site's White House correspondent?

Or is it because nobody takes Kinsolving seriously as a reporter since he's all about irrelevant gotcha questions like the birther stuff?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:10 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, December 15, 2010 10:54 AM EST
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
NewsBusters Thinks Bare Majority = 'Massively Unpopular'
Topic: NewsBusters

The headlineon a Dec. 14 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock reads, "ABC Poll Finds Health Care Law Is Massively Unpopular, Network Offers Scant Coverage."

And what does this ABC poll say? That 52 percent oppose the health care reform law.

Thats right -- Whitlock is portraying a bare majority of opposition as the same thing as being "massively unpopular."

Posted by Terry K. at 3:16 PM EST
AIM Columnist Smears Obama Officials As Terrorists
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Alan Caruba went on an anti-Muslim tear in his Dec. 13 column, published at Accuracy in Media -- so anti-Muslim that he suggests two Obama administration officials are terrorists because they are "devout Muslims."

After ranting about how "Islam’s holy warriors continue to kill Muslims and Christians," Caruba writes:

Incredibly, Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security recently announced that Ari Alikhan, who DHS identified as “a devout Muslim”, as the Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and swore in Kareem Shora, another “devout Muslim” born in Damascus, Syria, as a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council.

How crazed is this? Or are we meant to wait until President Obama is voted out of office until we can begin to feel safe anywhere in America?

Caruba gets Alikhan's name wrong -- it's Arif, not Ari. He's a lawyer who has worked for the Department of Justice as a prosecutor. Shora, meanwhile, is the national executive director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee who has been published by prominent law journals.

Caruba offers no evidence whatsoever that they are terrorists or in any other way anti-American -- because there is no evidence. Caruba is apparently just copy-and-pasting his hate from email chains; notes that Alikhan and Shora were cited in a email, complete with reference to being a "devout Muslim."

If Caruba cannot prove his sleazy smear -- and he can't -- he must retract his sleaze and apologize to Alikhan and Shora.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:19 PM EST
NOrris Baselessly Attacks PolitiFact As 'Pro-Obama'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In attacking President Obama for "arrogance, defiance, charismatic charade and inability to lead in conflict," Chuck Norris, in his Dec. 13 WorldNetDaily column, refers to fact-checking site PolitiFact as "pro-Obama." He offers no evidence to back up the claim.

Perhaps because there isn't any. Even Norris himself seems to concede this by relying on PolitiFact's "Obameter" of the status of Obama's promises to back up his attack on Obama.

If PolitiFact is trustworthy enough for Norris to base his column on, it can hardly be "pro-Obama," can it?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:54 PM EST
Farah Embraces Beck's Soros Falsehoods
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah starts off his Dec. 11 WorldNetDaily column by displaying his infamous thin skin about criticism of him and WND.

He attacks Jonathan Kay, opinion page editor at Canada's National Post, as someone "pretending to be a 'conservative' who loves trashing conservatives and defending socialists." Responding to a column by Kay pointing out that WND "defines the exact inflection point on the spectrum of right-wing punditry where legitimate journalism ends and out-and-out conspiracism begins," Farah writes that he "didn't even respond" when it came out, going on to belittle Kay: "Who would care enough to read what would have to be a lengthy column pointing out numerous falsehoods, ad hominem attacks, mischaracterizations and religious bigotry he displayed in the piece? After all, who was Jonathan Kay?" Farah later denounces Kay as "a second-rate columnist pretending to be something he's not."

Of course, Farah doesn't contradict anything Kay wrote in that column. Instead, he takes offense at another Kay column, this time criticizing Glenn Beck's false claims about George Soros:

Kay doesn't actually counter a single accusation Beck made in his thorough and well-researched profile of Soros. Instead, he attacks the messenger by all but accusing him of anti-Semitism.

"According to Beck's conspiracist (Kay's favorite word) narrative, there seems to be no sin that cannot be laid at Soros' feet – even "the crimes of the Nazis," writes Kay. "Soros is Jewish. When the Nazis occupied his native Hungary, Soros, like some other Jewish children, was recruited to help deliver deportation notices to Jewish families. Out of this fact has grown a mythology that paints Soros (who was 14 at the time) as a full-blown Nazi collaborator. Beck wallowed in this material during his Fox broadcast."

Beck did no such thing. He didn't wallow in this material. In fact, he simply recounted Soros' own description of this period in his young life – pointing out that he "enjoyed" working for the Nazis and victimizing his fellow Jews.

First, spending the better part of three days attacking Soros, which Beck did onhis Fox News show, is arguably "wallowing." Second, Soros has never claimed he "'enjoyed' working for the Nazis and victimizing his fellow Jews." Heck, even Beck didn't say that, at least not in so many words. Beck said that "I am certainly not saying that George Soros enjoyed that," but attacking Soros for allegedly not showing remorse for "helping send the Jews to the death -- death camps."

Of course, that's not what Soros did. He sent nobody to death camps; Soros biographer Michael T. Kaufman points out that the school-age Soros had been selected by the local Nazi-operated Jewish Council as a courier to deliver letters to Jewish residents that, as his father correctly suspected, would eventually result in the deportation of those residents. Soros said that his father "told me to deliver the notices, but to tell the people if they reported they would be deported," and after that instance, he stopped being a courier. 

Farah has a vested interest in keeping Beck's Soros falsehoods alive -- there are likely more than a few of them in WND Whistleblower magazine's issue dedicated to Soros. It'spromoted with a quote from WND managing editor David Kupelian screeching that Soros "opposes free-market capitalism" -- laughable when you consider that Soros has made his billions through free-market capitalism andhelped to overthrow communist and totalitarian regimes.

But, as Kay utterly correctly demonstrated, the truth is less important to WND than pushing its far-right agenda. No wonder Farah is mad at Kay -- he told the truth about Farah and WND.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:21 AM EST

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