MRC Tries Again To Revive Dead Non-Scandal Topic: Media Research Center
Matt Philbin just won't stop beating the dead horse of the Lila Rose Planned Parenthood sting hoax.
In a March 7 MRC Culture & Media Institute article, Philbin and Erin Brown complained that the TV networks "devot[ed] 20 times more broadcast time to Charlie Sheen's porn stars and drug issues than to the Planned Parenthood video scandal and the subsequent vote in the House of Representatives to defund the organization."
But Philbin repeats the mistake he made in his previous attempt to rescusitate the non-scandal by failing to mention that Planned Parenthood reported the "man posing as a pimp about obtaining abortions and birth control for the underage foreign prostitutes he traffics" to the FBI for the acts they were purporting to undertake -- an indisputable fact that completely undercuts Philbin's attempts to portray this as a legitimate "scandal."
WND, Newsmax Won't Fact-Check Bachmann, With Predictable Results Topic: WorldNetDaily
Rep. Michele Bachmann is a ConWeb darling, to the point that they publish her rantings without bothering to fact-check her.
A March 5 Newsmax article by Jim Meyers and Ashley Martella dutifully repeats Bachmann's claim that "President Barack Obama, Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi should apologize to the American people for the $105 billion appropriation they 'deceitfully' hid in the healthcare reform legislation," adding that the "stunning revelation" of the expenditure points to "one of the biggest lies we have ever seen."
A March 7 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn also parroted Bachmann's claim that the health care reform bill "contains over $105 billion in already-approved spending 'hidden' in it's nearly 1,000 pages."
Newsmax and WND are so sure that Bachmann is telling the truth that neither contact anyone in the Obama administration -- or anyone at all -- to respond to the claim.
Unfortunately for them, it turns out Bachmann is lying about how "hidden" the funding is.
We added up the spending Bachmann was referring to and got $104 billion -- very close to her number. Where our analysis diverges is her claim that the spending was "secret."
We concluded that Bachmann has a point if you look at at the amount of media coverage the appropriations and transfers inspired. There was hardly any. However, she went further than that, charging that the provisions were passed "secretly, unbeknownst to members of Congress." And that was not accurate.
The spending provisions were in the plain language of the bill; they did not vary dramatically from past congressional practice; and the bill was made public for 72 hours before the vote. On balance, we rated Bachmann’s statement Barely True.
Will WND and Newsmax report this truth about a right-wing icon to its readers? Don't count on it.
UPDATE: A March 7 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones blindly joined the parade, uncritically repeating Bachmann's claims without a fact-check and without allowing anyone to respond.
WND Prints Unsubstantiated Attack Before Allowing Other Side To Respond Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily dropped a potentially libelous bomb in the form of a March 7 column by Art Robinson -- the anti-global warming activist and failed congressional candidate perhaps best known for a homeschooling curriculum featuring the outdated racist attitudes of a 19th-century author -- accusing Oregon State University instructors and administrators of "political payback" in the form of allegedly throwing three of his children out of graduate school.
Robinson offers not a shred of substantiation for these claims, nor did WND make any apparent attempt to allow the school to respond to the charges before publishing them. That cavalier approach to journalism potentially opens WND up to libel charges -- something it should be quite familiar with.
Finally, more than 20 hours after publishing Robinson's screed, WND has permitted Oregon State to respond in an article by Art Moore -- who quotes only four sentences from a much longer statement by the school and devotes much of the rest to rehashing Robinson's unsubstantiated claims.
That sort of kneejerk response is typical of WND's so-called journalism. After all, it similarly ran to Robinson's defense when questions were raised about the racist author in his homeschool curriculum, and with similar deflections without actually addressing the charges with anything resembling substance.
Sheppard Returns to Spinning Huckabee Topic: NewsBusters
So, all that stuff about Noel Sheppard conceding that Mike Huckabee screwed up by venturing into birther territory and even being nice to Chris Matthews? Never mind.
Sheppard takes it all back in a March 7 NewsBusters post bashing Matthews for comparing a column by George Will criticizing Huckabee "to William F. Buckley Jr. banning anti-Semitic writers from the National Review in the '50s" -- a column whose sentiments Sheppard ultimately agreed with. Sheppard ridiculed Matthews' comparison, then retreated to spin mode:
No matter what Matthews thinks of the current White House resident, he is indeed one man. Gingrich and Huckabee are entitled to their opinions of this man which, contrary to what Matthews and other pathetic so-called journalists routinely claim, are not borne of racism.
What the "Hardball" host has continually missed in the past five business days as he's focused so much attention on this issue - he once again began and ended his program excoriating Gingrich and Huckabee - is that the concepts they've both addressed regarding Obama's worldview were first offered by Dinesh D'Souza in a Forbes article published last September.
As such, what they are saying is nothing new, and really shouldn't be getting this kind of attention. Matthews likely wouldn't care at all about Gingrich and Huckabee if they weren't amongst the front-runners for the Republican presidential nomination.
For Will's part, if he disagrees with Gingrich and Huckabee, he's entitled to offer his opinion which I myself found enlightening enough to share with my readers.
As I wrote Saturday, I agree with Will that candidates focusing on Obama's upbringing and background rather than his policies not only distracts from the issues, but is also likely to turn off independent voters that are far more concerned with high unemployment, high gas prices, high food prices, exploding debt, and violence spreading throughout Africa and the Middle East threatening our national security.
But does that make Will's column as historic as Buckley banning anti-Semitic writers from his magazine which I myself have had the great honor of contributing to?
Hardly, and the mere suggestion is offensive.
If Sheppard agrees with Will, why is he working to dismiss what Huckabee said as old news and yet valid opinions (if not ultimately helpful to the GOP in regaining the White House)?
Shepperd then snifffed: "I'd say that Matthews and his bosses should be ashamed of themselves for making such a comparison, but that seems futile." The same thing could be said about Sheppard's partisan shamelessness.
CNS Ignores Actual Controversy At 'Islamist' Non-Rally Topic: CNSNews.com
A March 4 CNSNews.com article by Patrick Goodenough details how "Islamic radical" Anjem Choudary "called off a pro-shari’a (Islamic law) demonstration at the White House on Thursday, saying he did not want it to divert attention from the 'urgent' situation in Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East." But Goodenough completely ignores what did happen at the site of the planned rally.
As Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall tells it, anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney and his group planned a counter-rally to Choudary's planned demonstration:
And as Gaffney's protest is breaking up, they see this Muslim guy praying. So folks from the Gaffney protest and other protestors drift over to where he is and start yelling at him and one of the protestors starts throwing crosses at his feet.
Marshall then heard from Glenn Beck's website The Blaze, which denied that anyone from Gaffney's grouptook part in the cross throwing and that it was instigated by a group linked to Terry Jones, the fundamentalist pastor who wanted to burn Qurans until he was talked out of it.
However, Marshall writes, "Our reporter was in the crowd and observed numerous folks from Gaffney's protest surrounding the praying guy. In fact, one of the people surrounding the praying Muslim man was one of Gaffney's speakers."
You'd think that Goodenough and CNS would be more interested in actual news than a phone interview with a guy who canceled a rally. Apparently not.
Larry Klayman Derangement Syndrome Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
The entirety of Larry Klayman's March 5 WorldNetDaily column is worthy of clipping, but here are a few choice bits of his high-grade, Obama-hating rant:
Ironically, while I was perhaps the Clintons' biggest nemesis during their administration and thereafter, looking back I have to concede that compared to "W" and Obama, he was, however dishonest, an amateur at destroying our country. But Bill Clinton's wife, the "evil Hillary," and many of the criminals in his administration have now been resurrected thanks to the Republican failure to "put them away" during the late '90s and have re-infested our government under the Obama administration.
While I firmly believe that Obama, Hillary Clinton and many Democrats around them have been, as in Chinagate more than a decade earlier, bribed by foreign regimes – such as the radical Islamic regime in Iran – I cannot prove it at this time. However, from what has already occurred, the offenses of the "mullah in chief" are "already" so compelling as to warrant immediate impeachment and conviction for his high crimes and misdemeanors, before the United States is totally destroyed by him.
Here is just a partial list of the most impeachable and convictable of President Obama's offenses:
Third, there is Obama's visceral hatred and subversion of the state of Israel, whose national security interests are so closely tied to our own. His recent invitation to the Muslim Brotherhood, the grand daddy of terrorist groups bent on destroying the Jewish state, to join the new Egyptian government not only amounts to a dagger in the side of Israeli security, but American security as well. Without a strong and secure Israel, American strategic interests, particularly in the Middle East, will be significantly harmed.
It's against the law to not support Israel? Curious legal reasoning there, Larry.
Sheppard Gives Up On Spinning For Huckabee Topic: NewsBusters
Noel Sheppard's first attempt to spin away Mike Huckabee's remarks about President Obama's past was to portray it as merely misspeaking. His second attempt to ignore the illogic of that spin. Now, Sheppard seems to have conceded that Huckabee said something stupid.
Sheppard starts off his March 5 NewsBusters post by trying to go after George Will's Washington Post column criticizing Huckabee and pointing out the dearth of plausible Republican presidential candidates. Sheppard first attempts to dismiss Will as someone who is "no stranger to leaving the reservation," but then finds himself approvingly quoting Chris Matthews -- who just a few days earlier Sheppard was bashing as a "shill" and a "so-called journalist" for his "multiple Obamagasms" -- saying that people care more about the economy than fabulism about Obama's background. Sheppard continued:
This battle over Obama's background may have had its place in 2008 despite many on the right believing the fight never occurred because the junior senator from Illinois and his devotees in the media didn't let it happen.
Maybe that's so, but do most Americans, in particular independent voters, want to discuss the President's upbringing instead of issues that we're facing right here at home such as high unemployment, high gas prices, high food prices, low housing prices, and burgeoning revolutions in Africa and the Middle East that could quickly threaten our national security?
Don't we have far bigger fish to fry in 2011 than where the President was born and what influenced his worldview as a child? If he couldn't be beaten with such tactics in 2008 when he was just a totally unqualified junior senator, how can that possibly be a winning strategy now that he's got over two years presidential experience under his belt?
That could be seen as more spinning for Huckabee by trying to portray the questions Huckabee raised as not worthy of coverage. But later, Sheppard is fully agreeing with Will:
Sitting presidents are difficult to beat. Despite the ongoing housing crisis and high unemployment, Obama's favorability rating has remained quite high, making defeating him even tougher.
Will like most conservatives desperately wants this to happen sending the current White House resident packing, and therefore most certainly wants what he believes is best for the Republican Party to accomplish this.
What he's saying is that some potential presidential candidates are focusing on extraneous issues that not only don't resonate with the majority of the public but also detract from the stronger message.
"[T]he nominee may emerge much diminished by involvement in a process cluttered with careless, delusional, egomaniacal, spotlight-chasing candidates to whom the sensible American majority would never entrust a lemonade stand, much less nuclear weapons."
In sum, the vast majority of Americans don't care where Obama was born, and care even less about his father and his grandfather. The more Republicans talk about such things rather than jobs, gas and housing prices, exploding deficits and debt, and a totally unstable Middle East and African continent, the less the public cares what such they have to say.
Bill Clinton's motto in 1992 was, "It's the economy, stupid!"
To a certain extent, Will is saying the same should be true for Republicans 20 years later.
Sheppard is throwing Huckabee under the bus, even if he won't come right out and admit that's what he's doing.
Pat Boone Falsely Bashes Sex Education, School Official Topic: WorldNetDaily
Serial misleader Pat Boone was in freak-out in his March 5 WorldNetDaily column, in which he engages in false and misleading claims regarding sex education. He writes:
[Right-wing activist James] Dobson reported last July that the Helena School District considered a proposal to extend sex education to children as young as kindergarten age! Fox News reported that the 62-page draft proposed that 3-to-6-year-olds be taught proper terms like "nipple, breast, penis, scrotum and uterus." Then in first grade, they should learn that sexual relations could happen between two men or two women, and by the time they're 10, instruction should include various ways people can have intercourse, be it vaginally, orally or through anal penetration.
In fact, that's not exactly what Fox News reported; a July 2010 article stated that "According to the 62-page draft proposal, beginning in kindergarten, school nurses will teach students proper terms such as 'nipple, breast, penis, scrotum and uterus." [emphasis added]. Unless the age for kindergarden has somehow been lowered to three, Boone is lying.
Boone wasn't done with the smears:
Are you ready for this to be national policy? Well, this administration and most of the teachers unions are. President Obama personally appointed Kevin Jennings to a constitutionally unauthorized position as "safe schools czar". He's not only a longtime homosexual activist who has worked for just such "instruction" in our schools as that described above, but who wrote a very complimentary foreword to his friend's book on pedophilia, the sexual seduction of children. This is the president's idea of a "safe school czar"!
Boone appears to be referring to a foreword Jennings wrote to a book called "Queering Elementary Education." But it's not about "pedophilia, the sexual seduction of children"; it is about, in the words of the book's co-author, "creating classroms that challenge categorical thinking, promote interpersonal intelligence, and foster critical consciousness. Queer elementary classrooms are those where parents and educators care enough about their children to trust the human capacity for understanding, and their educative abilities to foster insight intyo the human condition."
Boone might want to try the novel approach of knowing what a book is actually about before he falsely attacks it.
CNS Falsely Claims Immigration Reform Is 'Deeply Unpopular' Topic: CNSNews.com
Fred Lucas writes in a March 4 CNSNews.com article:
Obama has long supported a “comprehensive immigration reform” that supporters call a “pathway to citizenship” for illegal aliens and opponents call “amnesty.” But such legislation--backed by the immigration lobby and some pro-business organizations--was defeated in Congress during 2005 and 2007, and was deeply unpopular with the public.
Of course, as we've documented, CNS is one of those opponents who insist on (falsely) describing immigration reform as "amnesty." But Lucas is lying when he says that comprehensive immigration reform is "deeply unpopular with the public."
A November 2009 Pew Research poll found that 63 percent of the general public supported a bill to provide a "path to citizenship" for undocumented immigrants -- and that 54 percent still supported it when the same bill was described as "amnesty."
That's not the only one: An August 2010 Politico poll found that 61 percent of Democrats and independents, as well as 59 percent of Republicans, belive that Congress should “pass comprehensive immigration law guidelines now.”
Meanwhile, a July 2010 Gallup poll found that Americans are about equally divided -- 50 percent to 45 percent -- over whether the government's main focus should be on halting the flow of illegal immigrants coming into the U.S., or on developing a plan to deal with those already here. That might offer some backup for Lucas' position, but even then, you have to seriously spin things to portray comprehensive reform as "deeply unpopular."
NewsBusters Has Double Dose of Lack of Koch Disclosure Topic: NewsBusters
In a March 3 NewsBusters post, Matthew Sheffield highlights how right-wing blogger John Hinderaker "has engaged in some industrial-strength deconstruction to debunk two hit-pieces against the Kochs and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker put out by Think Progress blogger Lee Fang."
Sheffield neglects to mention one little thing: As Fang points out, the law firm Hinderaker works for counts Koch Industries as a major client. Then again, Hinderaker didn't disclose that either.
As we've also noted, NewsBusters parent and the organization that pays Sheffield, the Media Research Center, has also taken Koch money.
Farah To Huckabee: Come To The Birther Dark Side Topic: WorldNetDaily
While NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard has been trying to deny the evidence of Mike Huckabee's birther tendencies, WorldNetDaily would like Huckabee to embrace it.
Joseph Farah's March 5 column is an open letter to Huckabee challenging his claim that if there was really some dirt in Barack Obama's past, Hillary Clinton would have used it against him during the 2008 presidential primary:
First of all, you seem to have a very high regard for the Clintons. That worries me. Should we just have the Clintons determine for the nation who is qualified to serve as president – instead of some legitimate controlling legal authority according to the specific constitutional criteria? Do you really believe the Clintons are infallible – even with regard to political campaigning?
Has it ever occurred to you the Clintons might have been just as suspicious about Obama's eligibility as most Americans are but didn't have sufficient documentation to make the case?
Did it occur to you that Hillary was the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination when the primaries began and, as the front-runner, made a calculated decision not to raise that divisive issue because she had more to lose than gain?
Is it possible that, when she found herself in a close race, raising the questions might have made her look desperate and mean?
Has it escaped your notice that Hillary got a plum job in the Obama administration?
Quite honestly, it sounds like a cop-out to me.
Or perhaps you just haven't familiarized yourself with the central issues of this controversy.
Farah and WND, of course, have repeatedly misled and lied about those "central issues." Nevertheless, Farah takes a whack at Huckabee for falsely claiming that Obama grew up in Kenya:
Could it be, at this late date, you are still so woefully ill-informed about Obama's actual story?
And since you were mistaken about where Obama grew up, is it possible that you might also be mistaken in your unwavering confidence in the Clintons?
Is this really the way we should select presidents in America in the 21st century – on the basis of a tacit blessing from Bill and Hillary?
Farah, it seems, would rather base it on the hateful rantings from a fringe website. That's not an improvement.
Self-proclaimed prophet Joel Richardson uses a March 4 WorldNetDaily column to proclaim that his prediction of a resurgent Islamic caliphate -- touted with the help of Glenn Beck -- has been proven right. His proof? An anonymously sourced article on a website run as a side project of a Washington Times employee.
Fellow Conservatives Call Out NewsBusters For False Claim Topic: NewsBusters
It's rare for conservative websites to point out another website's errors, but that's what NewsBusters is currently on the receiving end of.
A Feb. 25 NewsReal post by David Forsmark points out that a NewsBusters post by Brent Baker falsely attacks the TV show "The Good Wife" for a character who tries to link tea party activists to racism. In fact, Forsmark, writes, it is a "rather slimy Leftist lawyer pressing the bogus race-baiting lawsuit," adding that "the whole thrust of the episode tore a new one in the idea of race-based lawsuits based purely on numbers and quotas, and gave those who bring them an, excuse the expression, a black eye."
Forsmark followed up on March 1, noting not only that Baker and NewsBusters have done nothing about the false claim, but that "The Good Wife" writer Robert King even posted on the comment thread of Baker's post explaining the reference:
The episode didn't impugn the Tea Party. A character in the episode (in fact, an opposition lawyer and a bad guy) impugned the Tea Party, and he did it for a reason (defending a cop-killer) that was clearly unsympathetic. In fact, the Tea Party was strongly defended by the sympathetic characters on the show. This was in a section of the episode you didn't include (except in an edited transcript).
And I should just add: the point of this episode was not to defend the Tea Party. The point of the episode was to show how two people who come from the exact opposite end of the political spectrum could look past that and come to respect and love each other.
No one at the MRC responded to King, and Baker's post remains uncorrected.
It's the start of a new month, and you know what that means: a new Afghanistan body-count report from CNSNews.com's Edwin Mora. As usual, Mora doesn't utter the word "Iraq" -- that, of course, is because the casualty rates for U.S. troops in Iraq under a Republican president was much higher than it currently is in Afghanistan under President Obama.
It's not that Mora is incapable of comparaing Afghanistan deaths to something; it just has to be politically advantageous for him and his employer to do so.
That seems to explain a Feb. 25 article by Mora noting that "More civilians were killed last year in Ciudad Juarez, the Mexican city across the border from El Paso, Texas, than were killed in all of Afghanistan." CNS liked this comparison so much, in fact, that it ran the story again on March 3.