Spitzer Nails Bozell On His Hollow Bias Attacks Topic: Media Research Center
Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell appeared on the April 18 edition of CNN's "In The Arena," where host Eliot Spitzer took exception to the MRC accusing him of being biased.
After rebutting the MRC's claim that he didn't press Democratic members of Congress on their failure to pass a budget in a timely fashion by airing a clip from his show earlier this month, Bozell blustered that it was just one example and that if he could "bring in my producer on the show and I would show you about a hundred, maybe a thousand examples in the opposite direction." But Bozell offered not a single example.
Spitzer then pointed out one of the examples of Bozell's complaining that the media was portraying President Obama as an adult, but included an example of CNN's Gloria Borger saying that Obama was "politically what he's trying to do is be the grown-up," which is not the same thing. Bozell retorted with right-wing talking points: "If she were being completely fair and comprehensively honest, she would point out that this man has no currency whatsoever in this debate" because he had previously pledged that he would cut the deficit. When Spitzer noted that Bozell was giving "a partisan, ideological perspective," Bozell huffed that it's not a valid observation that Obama was trying to be the adult in the budget debate.
Finally -- in a section that was cut out of the version of the video on the Bozell-operated NewsBusters -- Spitzer took exception to an April 11 NewsBusters post by Matt Hadro with the headline "Eliot Spitzer Creepily Exploits Military Family's Financial Troubles for Political Gain." Bozell stood by the post, claiming that Spitzer was using a "scare tactic" and that "the Republican leadership said that if the government was closed down, there would be legislation to protect the military." Spitzer reminded Bozell that there was no such legislation pending at the time of the interview. Still, Bozell insisted that Spitzer was "stating something that is fundamentally not true," and that Congress would have protected the troops. Then it gets absurd:
SPITZER: Was there a bill at that time to do it?
BOZELL: There would have been!
You can see why NewsBusters cut out that part of the video. Spitzer 1, Bozell 0.
New MRC Rule: Don't Report Priest Abuse Scandals During Lent Topic: NewsBusters
The Media Research Center has decreed another restriction on coverage of Christians: You can't mention Catholic priest abuse scandals during Lent.
In an April 15 NewsBusters post, Dave Pierre complains, "As Christians observe Holy Week and the anticipation of Easter, PBS' Frontline program will air another investigation into abuse by clergy of the Catholic Church." He does not offer a time when airing the show would be more appropriate.
Perhaps because, to him, there isn't one. He would rather it not air at all -- he complains that the abuse being profiled is "from decades ago" and, besides, abuse of minors by Catholic priests is old news: "Frontline already aired a lengthy episode on the Catholic abuse narrative not that long ago."
Then, of course, Pierre raises the specter of anti-Catholic bias, even as he describes why the priest-abuse story is a compelling one and throwing Jews under the bus through an attempt at misdirection:
Indeed, Catholic priests terribly abused minors, and leaders failed to stop the awful harm. That is an undeniable truth. Nothing justifies such a wretched evil.
We must continue to demand justice and compassion for victims of clergy abuse. There is no doubt that the stories that will be heard on the program will be heart-wrenching and angering to hear.
However, media outlets like PBS have surpassed the point where they are merely reporting a story. They are using the scandals as a tool to single out and further tarnish the Church.
When will PBS’ Frontline investigate the massive child abuse and cover-ups happening today -- not decades ago -- in our nation's public schools? How about the recent cover-ups of abuse by Orthodox rabbis in New York City?
Or is only the Catholic Church a target?
Pierre has a stake in the issue: He's a Catholic apologist who has written a self-published book trying to downplay the scandals and -- in an apparent echo of the dubious assertions of the Catholic League's Bill Donohue --claiming that "the Catholic clergy scandal is not about 'pedophilia.'"
Farah is Standing By His Reporter's False And Misleading Claims Topic: WorldNetDaily
Lost in the pissingmatch between WorldNetDaily and Salon over the claim that President Obama has spent millions of dollars to fight birther lawsuits is exactly what claims were made. WND editor Joseph Farah said "we stand by [reporter Chelsea] Schilling's three reports – every word of them." But what exactly is Farah standing by?
At issue are three articles by Schilling. The first, on April 22, 2009, asserts that "President Obama may be using campaign funds to stomp out eligibility lawsuits brought by Americans, as his campaign has paid more than $1 million to his top lawyer since the election." The only evidence Schilling offers is that Obama's campaign paid that amount to a law firm between October 2008 and March 2009, and that one lawyer in the firm represented Obama in some birther lawsuits. At no point does Schilling prove what she strongly suggested in her lead paragraph -- that all of that million-plus was spent on "eligibility" lawsuits.
The second article, from Aug. 10, 2009, carried a similar lead but a bigger number: "President Obama may be using his political action committee funds to stomp out eligibility lawsuits brought by Americans, as he has paid more than $1.35 million to his top lawyer since the election." But Schilling falsely portrays all of the money as going to a single lawyer; in fact, Schilling offers the exact same evidence as before -- that the Obama campaign paid money to a law firm. Again, Schilling offers no evidence that all of the money went to a single lawyer or that it was all spent on birther lawsuits.
The third article, from Oct. 27, 2009, repeated the false claim with a new number: "President Obama has paid nearly $1.7 million to his top eligibility lawyer since the election." Again, Schilling offers only that the money was paid to a law firm, not to Obama's "top eligibility lawyer," and again, there's no evidence that all of the money went to a single lawyer or that it was all spent on birther lawsuits.
Farah is standing by something the evidence doesn't support. He has nothing to back up the claim that every single penny Obama's campaign paid to a law firm went toward defending birther lawsuits, yet he won't clarify or renounce the claim. Instead, he smeared a Salon writer who challenged what his website reported as a "sissified, left-wing blogger," while he defended the reporter who made misleading and unsupported claims as "one of the most remarkable young women I have ever met" and "like a daughter to me."
That sums up the kind of petty, thin-skinned, misguided person Farah is.
WND's Klein Spreading Falsehoods About Obama Adviser Topic: WorldNetDaily
On his April 17 WABC radio show, a clip of which is posted at WorldNetDaily, Aaron Klein misleadingly asserted that Obama adviser Samantha Power "gave an interview in 2008 where she wanted to bring a mammoth protection force -- pay attention -- to the Palestinian territories." (10:45 in the posted clip.)
First, Klein gets the date completely wrong: the interview was in 2002, not 2008. Second, he falsely portrays the context of Power's statement. Power was not advocating an invasion of Israel, as Kleinn suggested; rather, her reference to a "mammoth protection force" was in response to a hypothetical question about a move toward geoncide by "one party or another" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the size of the peacekeeping force that would be needed to stop a genocide from happening.
MRC's Graham Can't Tell Difference Between Swear Word, Personal Insult Topic: NewsBusters
The Media Research Center's Tim Graham abhors certain F-words. Other ones, not so much.
In an April 15 NewsBusters post, Graham complains that basketball star Kobe Bryant "an amazing $100,000 fine" for uttering the "gay F-bomb" at a referee. Even worse, Graham says, the New York Times "approvingly published gay activist John Amaechi on its Off the Dribble blog begging Bryant not to challenge the fine."
Not only did the Times not "find room to consider that Bryant's fine was excessive," Graham huffed, it "was delighted when the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the TV networks and against FCC fines for fleeting profanities on broadcast TV."
Can Graham really not tell the difference between a swear word and a personal insult? Or is Graham totally down with personally insulting gays? He might want to clear that up.
AIM Still Pushing 'Third Terrorist' Conspiracy Topic: Accuracy in Media
An April 14 Accuracy in Media column by Wes Vernon keeps up his previously conspiracy-mongering over the idea that a third person was involved in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. As we wrote the last time Vernon pushed this at AIM, there's no logical reason for the FBI to ignore the alleged Middle Eastern connection to the bombing that Vernon is pushing.
In his new column, Vernon can't decide whether to trust bombing co-conspirator Terry Nichols. First, Vernon touts how Nichols has claimed that "the Middle Eastern-looking 'John Doe 2' does exist," he dismisses Nichols' claim that there's no reason to read anything into the fact that Nichols and 1993 World Trade Center bombing mastermind Ramzi Yousef are housed in the same prison, claiming: "A stranger landing from Mars could perhaps be excused for asking — given the abundance of maximum security prisons in the U.S. — why it was necessary to incarcerate Nichols and Yousef in the same one — considering the credible information of their collaborative history in the Oklahoma City terrorism."
Vernon again promotes the work of Jayna Davis, who wrote a WorldNetDaily-published book on the case and again clings to the idea that the FBI never investigated the "third terrorist" theory, claiming that "If the FBI were doing its job, its agents would be all over the local authorities in Quincy, Massachusetts, demanding that [Hussain] Al-Hussaini not be released from the lock-up on charges stemming from an alleged beer-bottle brawl March 9." Al-Hussaini is the purported "third terrorist" Vernon is obsessing over.
But as Salon reported in 2002, Davis tried to implicate Al-Hussaini in 9/11 because he once worked at Boston's airport, where two of the four hijacked flights originated,. But he worked there four years prior to 9/11, and critics said Davis was using a single quote out of context to make the connection.
Vernon claims that "Twenty-two witnesses had linked Timothy McVey [sic] with Hussain Al-Hussaini, and the FBI authorities did not even try to interview Al-Hussaini." But according to Salon, Davis said she had "22 sworn affidavits from witnesses who link Middle Eastern men collaborating with McVeigh and Nichols during various stages of the bombing plot, including seven witnesses who place al-Hussaini in McVeigh's company before the bombing."
Vernon seems to be inflating Davis' dubious story beyond where even she took it.
Sheppard Pushes Myth That Federal Money To Planned Parenthood Is 'Fungible' Topic: NewsBusters
Noel Sheppard used an April 14 NewsBusters post to fire off a snappy retort at someone who pointed out that federal money paid to PLanned Parenthood doesn't pay for abortions:
It really is funny how liberals don't understand the concept of money being fungible.
Taxpayers opposed to federally funded abortions have absolutely no certainty that money supposedly going to Planned Parenthood for procedures other than abortions don't end up directly or indirectly doing exactly what it's not legally allowed to.
Sheppard offered no evidence to support his claim that federal money paid to Planned Parenthood is "fungible" -- perhaps because there isn't any. As former Planned Parenthood official Clare Coleman wrote:
Opponents of Planned Parenthood insist that giving the organization federal dollars allows it to spend other money in its budget to provide abortions. That is not possible — there is no other money.
Title X is a federal grant program that exists solely to help low-income and uninsured people access contraceptives and sexual health care; 5.2 million people use the program annually. But Congress has never appropriated enough money to take care of the estimated 17 million Americans who need publicly funded family-planning care. There always are more patients than subsidies.
Further, a Title X grant is designed to help with costs, not to fully cover them. So family-planning programs are required to find other money to support the Title X project — not the other way around. For patients who qualify for Medicaid, reimbursement rates for reproductive health services are lower than the cost of the care. A typical family-planning visit might cost upward of $200, including the exam, lab tests and contraceptive method, but the Medicaid reimbursement rate may be as low as $20.
Will Sheppard report these facts to his readers? It can be assumed with a high degree of metaphysical certitude that he won't (to quote yet another of his favorite cliches).
CNS Ignores Walker's Admission on Collective Bargaining Topic: CNSNews.com
An April 14 CNSNews.com article by Christopher, reporting on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's testimony before a congressional committee, highlights Walker's claim that collective bargaining is not a human right.
Missing from Goins' article, however, was a more important admission Walker made in his testimony: that the gutting of collective bargaining and other union rights for Wisconsin state employees that he promoted as a way to, as Goins quoted him saying, "make sure we can balance future budgets," doesn't save any money for the state.
Interestingly, Goins' article (as do all other CNS articles these days) concludes with a plea for donations, claiming, "We at CNSNews.com can only produce hard-hitting stories like these with your support." Ignoring certain facts because they're inconvenient to CNS' right-wing narrative isn't exactly "hard-hitting."
Beck Gets The Coveted Larry Klayman Endorsement Topic: WorldNetDaily
In his April 16 WorldNetDaily column, Larry Klayman gives the thumbs-up to someone almost as conspiratorially minded as he is -- Glenn Beck:
More than any other political commentator and analyst on television – and frankly, I can think of no one else – Glenn speaks intelligently from his heart and does not worry about the consequences of what he "teaches" the American people.
This is not a fluff column, and there is no ulterior motive for my observations about Glenn's departure from Fox News. But for those of you who watch Fox News, as I also do from time to time, there was a world of difference between Glenn's show and the other prime-time shows. He is a pure ideologue, in the best sense of the word. If he sometimes was perceived as going over the top, it was obvious that it was because he believes in his own words. And his words were unique among Fox News' hosts, and certainly even more so from other cable hosts on other networks.
Like me, Glenn believes not only that President Barack Hussein Obama is anti-white, anti-Christian and anti-Semitic, but that he is part of a broader conspiracy – the "great left-wing" conspiracy – to reduce our nation to ashes, only to refashion it and have it rise up as a great socialist state, which has ceded its sovereignty to the "New World Order." George Soros, the tycoon ultra-leftist philanthropist, is part of this conspiracy, which is evil in Glenn's and my estimations. Soros is a Jew, and he and his father did sell out their own people to the Nazis during World War II – and regrettably continue to do so with Israel. That Glenn would say this straight up is more than brave given the leftist Jewish domination and bent in the mainstream media; it is necessary to understand the mentality and goals of those who support Obama and leftist Democrats these days. Soros goes hand in hand with the other subversive ultra-leftists, domestic terrorists and black Muslims that Obama has associated with over the years, and with whom he still associates – people like Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Rev. Louis Farrakhan and Bill Ayers.
In short, Glenn honestly believes that Obama and his friends intend to destroy the United States of America as we know it! I do too!
Klayman proves to be at least as factually challenged as Beck, invoking the same false slur that Soros was a Nazi collaborator.
Klayman also displays his petty side by claiming that Fox News and Andrew Napolitano stole his act:
Recently, Fox News has "taken" the name Freedom Watch to benefit itself and trade on my supporters and followers. Judge Anthony Napolitano's show borrows much from the themes of my Freedom Watch, whose name originally was conceived of by the executive producer of "West Wing," Aaron Sorkin, who a created the semi-fictitious character Harry Klaypool after me during the 2000 maiden television season. While imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, unfortunately the image of Judge Napolitano spewing my themes and ideas is not comforting, particularly since I candidly don't think he truly knows what he is talking about much of the time, even if his coif is "unique."
Back in February of 2010 it became rumored that retired federal Judge Vaughn Walker – who presided over the case at the District level – was a practitioner of the homosexual lifestyle. It was further reported that he had a longtime male lover. Judge Walker refused to confirm or deny the rumors. At the time I was one of the few people to publicly call for his recusal. It’s inexplicable that attorneys defending Prop 8 didn’t make such a motion.
With Judge Walker’s recent admission that he does in fact practice homosexuality, the case for recusal has been proven. His ruling on the Prop 8 case should be immediately vacated as he possessed both an incontrovertible and disqualifying conflict of interest.
A few proponents of so-called “gay marriage” have slapped me in the face with the following red herring: “Why, using your logic a heterosexual judge would also have to recuse himself. No judge could ever preside over a case involving same-sex ‘marriage.’”
This is apples-to-oranges nonsense. On a case concerning the novel question of radically redefining marriage to include same-sex pairs, a heterosexual judge, by definition, would not possess a personal “interest that could be affected substantially by the outcome of the proceeding.” A heterosexual judge is precisely what federal law requires under such circumstances.
Aaron Klein's Conpsiracy Theory: Obama Will Add No-Fly Zone Over Gaza Topic: WorldNetDaily
An April 11 WorldNetDaily article invents out of whole cloth a conspiracy theory: that President Obama will impose a no-fly zone over the Gaza Strip.
What evidence does Klein have for this? None. All he offers is is usual guilt by association:
Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa served on the committee that invented the military doctrine used by President Obama as the main justification for U.S. and international airstrikes against Libya, WND has learned.
The discovery is particularly pertinent because on Sunday Moussa announced during a special meeting in Cairo that the Arab League plans to press the U.N. to impose a no-fly zone over the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip similar to the one imposed now on Libya.
That's it. That's all he has. Yet the headline on Klein's article reads, "Is this Obama's next target after Libya?"
And some people wonder why WND should be taken seriously.
Newsmax Cant Quite Nail Down What Trump Will Be Announcing Topic: Newsmax
We've documented how Newsmax's Ronald Kessler has been one of the chief promoters of Donald Trump's presidential aspirations. Kessler's flattering treatment of Trump and his family appears to be part of a mutually beneficial relationship between the two -- Kessler has detailed a weekend spent at Trump's Palm Beach estate. But Kessler has had a problem nailing down exactly what step Trump will take next and where he got it.
A Newsmax column by Kessler, with the timestamp of 9:51 a.m. on April 13, asserted that Trump "plans to say" on the May 15 season finale of his show The Celebrity Apprentice that "he will be holding a press conference in the next few days. At that press conference in the Trump Tower in New York, Trump will be announcing his candidacy for the presidency."
That column disappeared a few hours later. Then, a column with a 7:45 p.m. timestamp appeared, slightly altering Kessler's claim to read that "Trump will be announcing whether he will run for the presidency." This version changed the date of the Celebrity Apprentice finale to May 22 and altered the headline to pronounce the claim an "exclusive":
Even though that column remained live as of this writing, a new Kessler column appeared, with the timestamp of 9:24 a.m. on April 14. This version deleted "Exclusive" from the headline and more extensively edited Kessler's claim about the Trump Tower press conference: "Although Trump refuses to confirm what he will announce, sources close to the real estate titan tell me that at that press conference Trump will be announcing his candidacy for the presidency."
The sourcing is new; Kessler had previously asserted it without stating where it came from.
Kessler's claim that Trump would announce something on The Celebrity Apprentice finale remained constant throughout all three versions, but statements from Trump and his camp -- as opposed to the anonymous sources Kessler is citing -- have been less than definitive. Mediaite reported that Trump said on a radio show that he's not actually allowed to announce such a thing on The Celebrity Apprentice, and he doesn't know from where rumors to the contrary came. Meanwhile, Trump aide Michael Cohen told Bloomberg that Trump "may" announce something.
To recap: It took Kessler three tries to nail down his claim, and there are still questions about what Trump will do. It looks like there's no love lost; Trump is still tight enough with Newsmax to invoke its meaningless opt-in poll promoting his presidential prospects in an interview with Time magazine (which Newsmax is promoting in turn under the headline "Trump: Newsmax Poll Proves I'm Legit for 2012").
My colleague Kendra Marr reports that WorldNetDaily's birth certificate aficionado Joseph Farah has been on the phone with Donald Trump every day this week.
"We've have been speaking quite a bit,” he said.
Farah is enthused that the mainstream media is finally listening. “"It's irresistible theater, but he's actually winning support,"” he said.
WorldNetDaily first reached out to Trump as soon as he started publicaly talking about the conspiracy, offering to give him a birther primer and answer any questions about the topic. “"His people were very quick to respond,"” he said.
Farah has advised Trump to simply ask, “"Where is the birth certificate?"” The Donald's recent claim that Obama’s grandma in Kenya is on record saying he was born in Kenya is just troublesome, Farah said.
"When you start making assertions and ‘grandma said,’” you start getting yourself in a bind," Farah said. "I'm not sure that's what grandma said. That’s fuzzy."
WND has made numerousfalse claims on the birther issue -- including that Obama's grandmother said Obama was born in Kenya and that Obama's campaign has spent $2 million to defend the president from birther lawsuits -- so Farah may not be the most trustworthy source for Trump to be cribbing from.
CNS' Jeffrey Falsely Assigns Deficit Blame -- Again Topic: CNSNews.com
Terry Jeffrey writes in an April 13 CNSNews.com article, under the headline "Obama's Increasing Federal Debt $1,148 Per Month Per Household—Enough to Buy a Car or Pay Tuition at State College":
Under President Barack Obama, the federal debt has been increasing at a rate of $1,148 per month per American household.
Overall, according to the U.S. Treasury, the federal debt increased by $3,646,116,554,704.36 between Jan. 20, 2009, when Obama was inaugurated, and April 13, 2011, when he gave a major speech announcing a plan to deal with the debt.
Jeffrey, as we pointed out the last time he did this, is falsely attributing responsibility for all deficits since Obama took office to the Obama adeministration. In fact, much of the fiscal year 2009 deficit was driven by actions (like TARP and the Bush tax cuts) that occurred under the Bush administration.
We've detailed how WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah got all pissy with Salon's Justin Elliott for 1) pointing out that WND has supplied no evidence to support its claim that the entirety of the $2 million or so the Obama campaign has spent on lawyers since the 2008 election has gone toward fighting birther lawsuits, and 2) making a reasonable request that WND issue a formal correction to Jack Cashill's false claim that Obama was Photoshopped into a picture of his grandparents. The war of words between WND and Salon has dramatically escalated in the past 24 hours.
WND sent smearmongers Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliott to go spelunking into Justin Elliott's past to try and dig up some dirt. All they could come up with was that he "has been a contributor to a think tank deeply tied to the White House that is funded by billionaire philanthropist George Soros." Read: He once wrote for the Center for American Progress' Campus Progress blog. They even perused Elliott's college newspaper work for evidence of ... something, apparently shocked to discover that he once argued that there are too many "white" editors on the staffs of college newspapers.
Salon responded to the invasion of privacy in kind by letting Alex Pareene take a whack at WND's petulant behavior:
WND was, I guess, not happy with my colleague's coverage of its unhappiness, because today it attempted to smear him in two separate but equally amusing articles. The first, by Farah himself, is just a lot of words calling Elliott a punk while never once actually acknowledging that WND's "$2 million" figure is false. No, WND is right because its "investigation" into the matter is a three-part series, and no one can possibly be wrong at such great length.
The best part of Farah's commentary is when he argues that Elliott is wrong and WND's reporter is right because of their respective bios. While Elliott has merely written for various places, WND's reporter was in the Army and is "one of the most remarkable young women I have ever met." Take that, Justin: Joseph Farah doesn't think you're remarkable!
The real meat of WND's response, though, is in this post that "reveals" Justin Elliott's ties to ... George Soros. See, Elliott contributed to CampusProgress.org, which is published by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank founded with money from George Soros. So ... Soros! Ooga booga!
This investigation was written by Aaron Klein, who is WND's Jerusalem Bureau Chief. Oh, and: "With research by Brenda J. Elliott." It took two people, one of them a foreign correspondent, to Google Justin. Just like how it took two people to edit Barack Obama's Wikipedia page to include birther conspiracy theories and then write a story accusing Wikipedia of bias after people removed those edits, which is something Mr. Klein and a "researcher" did in 2009.
Pareene then dismantled WND's history of self-discrediting behavior:
WorldNetDaily is a magnet for the dumbest, dullest wingnuts in America. Even its lawyer is a buffoon. Last year, WND sued the White House Correspondents' Association because WND's disreputable conspiracy website was only given one table at the Correspondents Dinner. (They do have a White House correspondent, actually. It's Les Kinsolving, a tragicomedy of a man who is invited to briefings solely to be called on when the press secretary wants to answer a stupid question about who wrote the president's memoir instead of a serious question about reality.) Anyway, their lawyer was Larry Klayman, who is not allowed to appear before courts in much of the United States because of his "total disregard for the judicial process."
Here is a story from WorldNetDaily: "Soy is making kids 'gay.'" It is in six parts. The original headline was "A devil food is turning our kids into homosexuals." WorldNetDaily demands your respect! It is a serious news organization!
There is no end to the idiotic things printed at WorldNetDaily. Here's Obama's Kenyan birth certificate. Here's a piece on how al-Qaida is sneaking nukes into the U.S. through the unsecured Mexican border in tandem with street gangs. Here's white supremacist Vox Day asking why the media refuses to report that a mentally ill person claims to have had gay sex with Barack Obama.
WorldNetDaily knows its (large!) audience of halfwits will eat up any garbage it's served, and, better yet, the rubes will buy any trash that's for sale. (Tea-stained flags, anyone?)
Thanks to that substantial audience of the nation's stupidest and most fearful elderly people, WND is actually an influential member in good standing of the conservative movement; the RNC rents its massive email list. Because of that usefulness to the party, Farah and his buddies are allowed to persist in the delusion that they are sane and perhaps even respectable. But everyone knows they're frauds and crackpots. It takes five minutes of reading that bottomless repository of feverish bullshit to figure that out.
How will Farah react to someone who reflects his own behavior back at him? We can hardly wait to see.