If liberals haven't been smacked down, they've been schooled -- bits of headline-ese the NewsBusters blogger invokes repeatedly. Read more >>
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Farah Still Attacking Writer Who Pointed Out WND's Lack of Evidence
In his April 13 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah does the only thing he knows how to do when confronted by the fact that his "news" organization has gotten facts wrong: act petulant and attack his accuser.
This time, the person on the receiving end is Salon's Justin Elliott. His offense: asking if Donald Trump was correct to claim that President Obama has spent millions of dollars to fight lawsuits over his birth certificate. As we've noted, WND has proven only that the Obama campaign paid money to a law firm but not that all of the money -- or even any of it -- went toward fighting birther-related lawsuits.
First, Farah claimed that Elliott gave him "all of one hour and 26 minutes to respond" to the query before publishing his article -- an utterly hypocritical assertion given that WND frequently fails to even bother obtaining both sides to many of the "news" articles it runs, let alone give that side sufficient time to respond.
Farah then asserted that "Obama has used the cover of his taxpayer-supported office to devote far more than $2 million in financial resources to cover up whatever he's hiding on his birth certificate" -- but as before, he offers no evidence to back up this claim. Then, after noting that Elliott reported that "this figure is based on shoddy reporting by a discredited birther website and lacks any evidence to back it up," he asserts: "Never once in his article does Elliott explain how WND has been 'discredited' or why reporter Chelsea Schilling's series is 'shoddy.' So much for "backing up the lead," as we say in the news business."
In fact, Elliott did exactly that in his Salon article:
So, having ignored and misrepresented the issue, it was insult time, his usual response to criticism. Farah smeared Elliott as a "sissified, left-wing blogger" who is "pretending to do journalism," published his bio from his previous employer, and compared it to that of Chelsea Schilling, who wrote the original WND articles, laughably embellished by Farah "because she's too modest to tell you herself." Farah writes that Schilling is "one of the most remarkable young women I have ever met" and "is like a daughter to me."
What Farah won't tell you: Schilling has a mile-long rap sheet of falsehoods and misinformation in her work for WND.
What Farah also won't tell you: how pissy he got when Elliott asked why WND made Jack Cashill's false claim about a picture of Obama's grandparents simply disappear instead of publishing a formal correction. Farah called Ellott a "worm" during that exchange.
Farah asked readers to compare the two bios (despite the obvious bias in one of them), adding: "Which one would you rather have dinner with? Which one would you most trust to babysit your kids? Which one would you most likely hire if you had the choice? Which one seems more trustworthy?"
Trustworthy? That pretty much rules out Farah and Schilling, doesn't it?
Farah concludes by stating that "we stand by Schilling's three reports – every word of them." At no point did he or Schilling provide evidence that every cent of the money the Obama campaign paid to a law firm went toward birther claims -- then or now.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch, Supersize WorldNetDaily Edition
-- Erik Rush, March 31 WorldNetDaily column
-- David Solway, March 31 WorldNetDaily column
-- Larry Klayman, April 2 WorldNetDaily column
-- Tom Flannery, April 7 WorldNetDaily column
-- Tom Tancredo, April 9 WorldNetDaily column
-- Craig R. Smith, April 11 WorldNetDaily column
Newsmax's 'Special Article' In Parade Was An Ad
Last week, Newsmax sent to its mailing list a promotion for a Pat Boone-endorsed "heart rate monitor watch" that touted an upcoming appearance in the Parade magazine Sunday newspaper supplement:
Well, the Sunday edition of Parade came, and the "special article" turned out to be ... an ad.
Newsmax presumably knows the difference between a news article and an ad, and it was dishonest of them to portray the Boone ad as a "special article."
Trumps Birtherism Follows In WorldNetDailys Footsteps
If Donald Trump’s litany of discredited birther claims sounds a bit familiar, that’s because they are: WorldNetDaily has been pushing this stuff for years. Indeed, some of the biggest -- and most inaccurate -- birther claims Trump has made have also been promoted at WND.
Newsmax Loves Paul Ryan's Eyes
Yes, Newsmax published this article:
We haven't seen this level of creepy fawning from Newsmax since Ron Kessler met Mitt Romney's wife.
Ellis Washington Thinks He's Socrates (Again)
In his April 9 WorldNetDaily column, Ellis Washington does another one of his dialectic symposiums in which imposes his own viewpoints onto the great philosophers of history. This time around, Washington purports to analyze the allegory of Plato's Cave and the idea of the philosopher king. Washington once again invokes Socrates, as well as Plato, Jesus, "realist" St. Thomas Aquinas and "anti-realist" Immanuel Kant.
At one point Washington -- er, "Socrates" -- declares:
Given that, as Washington notes, Socrates lived 400 years before Jesus, it's highly unlikely that he would declare Jesus to be "the greatest philosopher of us all!"
Washington also claims Jesus said:
Jesus spoke to the "unbelieving Jewish leaders of my day" in 17th-century Old English pronouns? Really?
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
WND's Simpson Defends Quran-Burning Pastor
-- Barbara Simpson, April 11 WorldNetDaily column
MRC's Philbin Complains That MSNBC Highlighted Right's Confederate-Loving Rhetoric
Matt Philbin uses a very long April 11 NewsBusters post to complain that hosts MSNBC's "liberal hosts and guests never miss an opportunity to associate today’s conservative movement with the Confederacy, secession, slavery and racism."
What seems to have escaped Philbin: Between the suggestions of secession and expressed fondness for the Confederacy through proclamations by Republican politicians that he documents, conservatives are the ones who brought it up in the first place.
Philbin seems to have no problem with conservatives' use of Confederate metaphors. He's really just complaining that MSNBC highlighted them.
WND Won't Tell Readers It Corrected Cashill's Column (And Farah Is A Total Jerk About It)
As we noted, Jack Cashill's April 7 WorldNetDaily column pushed the ludicrous conspiracy theory that a young Barack Obama had been Photoshopped into a picture of his grandparents; in fact, he had been Photoshopped out of the original picture to create a stupid conpsiracy theory that Cashill fell for hook, line and sinker.
Well, references to that photo and the related conspiracy have been excised from Cashill's column -- but WND has posted no notice that the column has been changed and corrected.
Editing of false claims without notice is pretty standard in the ConWeb, unless the error was so egregious that it went public (like when WND treated an April Fool's story about a Terri Schiavo TV movie as real) and/or presumedly brought lawsuit threats (as Aaron Klein knows).
Salon's Justin Elliott made the mistake of innocently asking WND editor Joseph Farah if it would inform readers that Cashill's column was altered, as well as the evidence behind a previous WND claim that Obama has spent $2 million on fighting legal actions over his "eligibilty" to be president (which Elliott had previously debunked). Elliott got a taste of the thin-skinned wrath Farah shells out when he and/or his website is caught violating basic journalistic standards, like scrubbing a story without issuing a formal correction:
Notice that Farah never answer Elliott's question about whether WND has a formal correction policy -- perhaps because it doesn't. Anyone who was "running major metropolitan newspapers" as Farah claims to have done would know that those very same papers have a procedure for correcting false claims and alerting their readers to the correction -- something Farah's current operation does not have.
Further, not only has Elliott more than qualified to carry Schilling's laptop (who, by the way, is still listed on the WND masthead as a "staff writer" even though she hasn't written a bylined article in months), she should probably be carrying his laptop given her long record of false and misleading claims (none of which, of course, have been corrected).
Farah's insulting of Elliott is also par for the course -- remember, Farah denigrated me as a "talent-challenged slug" for writing truths about WND that he would rather not have people know about.
Elliott also notes that he got an email from Cashill telling his side of the deletion:
Of course, actual "responsible journalism" would have involved alerting his readers that the incorrect content was removed, a concept Cashill seems as unfamiliar with as Farah, even though he too has a publishing background -- in Cashill's case, executive editor of a Kansas City business magazine -- that almost assuredly has made use of a corrections policy that requires informing readers of incorrect claims.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Gay Derangement Syndrome Watch
-- Linda Harvey, April 11 WorldNetDaily column
WND's Transgender Freak-Out
Homosexuality is not the only non-heterosexual behavior WorldNetDaily loves to freak out over. It's not terribly fond of transsexuals either.
An April 6 WND article by Bob Unruh misportrays a proposed Maryland law would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity as leading to "coed showers" and "protecting cross-dressing possible sex offenders who gain access to women's locker rooms by alleging they are 'transgendered.'" Unruh generously promotes these misleading claims from right-wing organizations but made no apparent effort to allow anyone to respond to them.
Unruh keeps up the freak-out mode in an April 8 WND article over a new policy at Chicago's Cook County Jail that assigns men and women to cells based on their perceived gender. This story, unlike his other one, is surprisingly balanced; Unruh even talked to a jail official who pointed out that one detainee was a transgendered male who "had been through some surgical procedures already and self-identified as a woman," and that her behavior was improving because she was receiving counseling.
So Unruh is capable of writing a balanced story. Why doesn't he do it more often?
The MRC's Sad Little Friday Night Petition Dump
Topic: Media Research Center
You've heard of the Friday night document dump, when politicians release bad news before a weekend begins in the hope that it's overlooked by the media because journalists would rather be doing other things on the weekend.
Well, the Media Research Center managed to create something altogether new: the Friday night petition dump (though the intent probably wasn't to be ignored).
Late on April 8, the MRC's political action division, MRC Action, posted a petition attacking liberal philanthropist George Soros:
And the media should take the word of a niche, small-circulation right-wing publication that has a history of putting bias before facts because ... ?
The petition continues:
No evidence is offered to back up the MRC's claims; rather, it states, "After signing our petition, click submit to go to our special FREE report."
It's not explained why the MRC dumped this petition on a Friday, thus guaranteeing it would be ignored outside of its niche audience. An accompanying NewsBusters post suggests one reason by noting that there are a pair of Soros-related conferences this weekend:
Unmentioned is the fact that the MRC has accepted funding from a certain other billionaire with a radical agenda -- the Koch brothers.
Releasing a petition on Friday night is hardly the best way to generate attention for it. But the MRC has a bad habit of being incompetent with publicity.
(Full disclosure: My day job is with Media Matters, which has received funding from Soros.)
NEW ARTICLE: Les Kinsolving, Homophobe
WorldNetDaily's White House "reporter" so hates gays that he considers them no different than pedophiles and necrophiliacs, and he endorses quarantining AIDS victims. Read more >>
Sunday, April 10, 2011
MRC's Graham Sneers At The Idea of Actual Media Research
Topic: Media Research Center
Tim Graham is clearly unable to figure out what to do when someone does actual media research -- as opposed to what he and the Media Research Center (where he is director of media analysis) does, which is well, not media research.
So, predictably, Graham turned up his nose at NPR's David Folkenflik, who analyzed six months of guest lists for the "All-Star Panel" on Fox News' "Special Report" and found that "the same mix typically prevailed: two clear cut conservatives and one other analyst, sometimes a Democrat or a liberal, but usually a journalist from a non-ideological news outlet." Why? Because his findings run counter to the MRC's talking points.
In an April 9 NewsBusters post, Graham scoffed at the idea that the news outlets like Washington Post would be considered "non-ideological": The Post is a 'non-ideological news outlet'? See the arrogance of media liberals on display." Graham, of course, is proudly displaying the arrogance of media conservatives by portraying any outlet that does not uncritically regurgitate right-wing talking points -- which, of course, Fox News does on a regular basis -- as axiomatically "liberal."
At no point, though, does Graham dispute the basic conclusion of Folkenflik's research -- that even if you assume that "Special Report" host Bret Baier is neutral and every reporter from a "non-ideological news outlet" is a liberal, most "Special Report" panels are unbalanced because the other two participants are conservatives. Even Graham, it seems, is not so foolhardy to even try to counter that.
Instead, Graham responds with a rather desperate misdirection claim in another April 9 NewsBusters post: claiming that the weekly political panel on NPR's "All Things Considered" is not truly balanced because liberal E.J. Dionne is up against David Brooks, who he claims is a "surrogate conservative."
Graham writes that "To use NPR's lingo, it's one clear-cut liberal and one 'non-ideological' journalist." Wrong -- Brooks is an opinion columnist, not a reporter. He's also a conservative Graham and the other Heathers at the MRC have repeatedly attacked for his purported lack of total commitment to hard-core conservatism. Indeed, Graham has sneered at Brooks in the past for being a guy who will "blithely sit around with liberals at pricey restaurants like Le Cirque and complain that those hicks from Texas and Alaska aren’t reading enough Niebuhr."
Meanwhile, this is what passes for "media research" at the MRC: an April 7 NewsBusters post by MRC employee Matthew Balan complaining that an NPR report was "slanted towards President Obama and two of his Democratic allies in Congress on Thursday's Morning Edition on the continuing battle over the federal budget, playing seven sound bites from them versus only three from Republican House Speaker John Boehner."
But as Media Matters pointed out, four of those quotes were from President Obama, while two more were from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Democrats control the White House and the Senate, while the Republicans control the House. Offering a mostly balanced representation of the branches of government involved is not bias, even if it means that more Democrats will be quoted.
So you can see why Graham was upset with Folkenflik's work -- he showed what his own MRC employees ought to be doing.
(Which reminds us -- when is the MRC going to do what NewsBusters associate editor Noel Sheppard requested that somebody do, add up the number of right-wing versus left-leaning guest in a week's worth of NPR programming? Or are Graham and the MRC to do such a simple thing out of fear that it would undercut its NPR talking points?)
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