Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Glass Houses Watch
Farah Can't Get His Trump Story Straight
As we noted, WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah appeared on the April 22 edition of Fox Business' "America's Nightly Scoreboard." He seems to have bound himself in another lie.
When host David Asman asked Farah if he has talked with Donald Trump and advising him on birther issues, Farah responded, "No, I have never talked to Donald Trump in my life, though I'd be happy to anytime he would like."
That seems to contradict what Politco reported on April 14, that Farah told the publication taht he "has been on the phone with Donald Trump every day this week."
So who got it wrong? Did Politico misinterpret what Farah said, or is Farah telling two different stories depending on who his audience is? The latter is not out of the question, especially given Farah's blatant lie about WND never reporting that Obama has spent $2 million on birther lawsuits (when Farah himself made that exact claim).
That's the kind of shadiness Farah and WND have employed throughout its birther coverage. That makes it difficult for anyone to treat WND as a serious news organization, especially on birther stuff.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Busted! The Truth About MRC's Distortions
Topic: Media Research Center
Media Matters has done some heavy lifting to get the facts about some recent Media Research Center-related distortions.
The April 22 edition of Fox News' "Hannity" was dedicated to telling "the history of liberal media," with a big assist from the MRC, which stated that it "made available to Fox News Channel producers video clips from our archive going back more than 20 years and they are scattered throughout the hour – as are soundbites from MRC President Brent Bozell." As Media Matters details, the Hannity special was littered with distorted, out-of-context quotes that purportedly prove "liberal bias," including Katie Couric's "The Gipper was an airhead" quote we have previously called the MRC out on.
The MRC's Business & Media Institute produced an April 19 report by Julia Seymour complaining that news reports aren't blaming President Obama for higher gas prices. As Media Matters documents, those news reports are telling the truth -- no legitimate energy expert links the moritorium on deep-water oil drilling to higher oil prices.
Undaunted by the facts, Seymour churned out another article saying basically the same thing.
Newsmax Embraces Bitter Ex-CIA Man's Obama-Bashing, Birtherism
Newsmax's favorite bitter ex-CIA agent is back again, this time given a video platform for his bitterness.
An April 22 Newsmax article by Dan Weil and Kathleen Walter features a video interview of Kent Clizbe, in which he not only denounces President Obama's actions in Libya, he goes birther:
The apparent purpose of this interview of Clizbe is to promote his upcoming book, "Willing Accomplices: How KGB Covert Influence Agents Created Political Correctness and Destroyed America." The website for the book -- which appears to be self-published; the listed publisher, Andemca Publishing, lists only his book and Clizbe as the only named contact -- rants about "Progressives' and Obama's Hate-America-First politics" and "Obama's America-Sucks Political Platform."
In the interview but not noted in the accompanying article, Clizbe asserts that "the whole political philosophy of political correctness was created by the KGB, a covert influence campaign that they began in the 1920s under Lenin, and their goal was to destroy American exceptionalism, and they did that very well." Clizbe does add that "there's no evidence that President Obama is controlled by the KGB."
Of course, in the 1920s America was hardly a world power and "American exceptionalism" had not been much of an issue at that time, so it's highly unlikely that Lenin and the KGB (which was not established until the 1950s) would concern themselves with targeting America so soon after the Russian Revolution.
A free excerpt of Clizbe's book suggests more of the Obama-hate he has previously peddled; he has, after all, perviously smeared the president as a Soviet tool. He writes in the book:
It's strange that Newsmax would embrace such a rabidly right-wing book given that it has been trying to moderate itself over the past few years. Is Newsmax backsliding to its Clinton-era-style rage and conspiracy-mongering? Its hearty embrace of Donald Trump's birtherism suggests so.
NewsBusters Pretends Birtherism Is Only A 'Fringe-Right' Issue
An April 21 NewsBusters post by Matt Hadro complains that a CNN contributor didn't state that "the GOP has a problem on its hands with 'birther' rhetoric from the fringe-right." Perhaps that's because birther rhetoric has ceased being a "fringe-right" issue.
Farah Is Still Lying About Legal-Fee Claim
Joseph Farah, it seems, is not done berating his latest critic.
The war of words between him and Salon over WND's claims about how much money President Obama has purportedly spent fighting birther lawsuits gets another go in Farah's April 23 column, which carries the headline "Last word about Salon."
True to petulant form, Farah wastes no time trying to denigrate Salon's Justin Elliott, the target of his ire, as a "George Soros-linked blogger," a "Soros apparatchik," and "the little Soros crony." This apparently refers to Elliott's stint writing for the Campus Progress blog, published by the Soros-funded Center for American Progress; Farah offers no evidence that Elliott's current employer, Salon (or his previous employer, Talking Points Memo), have any Soros links. Following Farah's logic, we should be calling Farah a Richard Mellon Scaife apparatchik.
As he has before, Farah is spreading more birther falsehoods. He concedes what the facts show, stating that "We don't know exactly how much money Obama has spent hiding public documentation about his nativity story," but he also states, "WND never reported that Obama had spent $2 million hiding his birth certificate."
That is a bald-faced lie. Not only has WND, as the blog Barackryphal detailed, repeatedly claimed or suggested that Obama has spent a large amount of money fighting birther lawsuits, Farah himself said so in his Dec. 9, 2010, column, explicitly stating that "Obama has spent at least $2 million fighting efforts to release his birth certificate."
Even when you limit Farah's statement to the three Chelsea Schilling-penned articles in which the claim was promulgated, it's still a lie. As we documented, two of the articles asserted all of the money was paid to Obama's "top eligibility lawyer" -- something Schilling's evidence does not support.
Don't expect Farah to issue a formal correction on this obviously false claim -- you know how he gets about that.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
CNS Misleads On Asthma Risk From Coal
An April 19 CNSNews.com article by Matt Cover highlights a claim by President Obama that coal could create "the kinds of air pollution" that is "creating asthma for kids," retorting:
In fact, as Media Matters details:
Coal-burning plants also produce nitrogen oxides. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, "Nitrogen oxides play a major role in the formation of ground-level ozone (or smog) in the summertime. Smog triggers millions of asthma attacks each year in the U.S., and worsens or causes other respiratory ailments."
Cover did concede that "The NIH did say that respiratory irritants, such as air pollution, can trigger an asthma attack," then added, "but not that air pollution causes the disease."
MRC's Bozell Heathers All Over NYT's Brooks
Topic: Media Research Center
Brent Bozell's April 20 column is one massive Heathering of New York Times columnist David Brooks for not being slavishly devoted to right-wing talking points in his appearances on NPR as a regular segment with liberal Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne.
Bozell claims Brooks' main goal is to "please his bosses at the New York Times – and let’s not forget his check-signers at NPR and PBS." Never mind that Bozell is doing the same thing to his MRC donors by railing against Brooks.
Bozell concludes by huffing:
That's a tactic Bozell himself is not eager to embrace. His regular appearances on Fox News -- particularly his weekly slots on "Hannity" and "Fox & Friends" -- rarely include a liberal counterpoint to his right-wing rantings. When will Bozell allow someone to challenge him in person on Fox, or does his contract forbid such full debate?
AIM Wants Trump To Go Even More Birther
Topic: Accuracy in Media
Carol A. Taber writes in an April 19 Accuracy in Media column about how much she approves of Donald Trump's raging birtherism, and says it's time to take the next step:
Between this and Roger Aronoff's softball interview of Jack Cashill, it appears that AIM is fully aboard the Obama conspiracy crazy train.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
WND Race-Baits Over McDonald's Beating
WorldNetDaily has apparently decided to do a little weekend race-baiting.
WND's front page currently contains a link to a video -- the raw video, not news coverage of it -- of someone being beaten by a group of females. WND's headline: "Black-on-white beating inside McDonald's."
While there have been reports of an investigation of the incident as a hate crime, it turns out the real story may be more complicated. It appears that the beating victim was actually a transgender woman, and the beating was over bathroom use.
Given WND's hostility toward the transgendered, WND should be endorsing this beating, not going the racial route.
Cashill Still Thinks Christopher Andersen Proved Him Right
In his April 21 WorldNetDaily column, Jack Cashill peddles yet again his conspiracy theory that Bill Ayers wrote Barack Obama's first book, calling on his usual source for backup:
As we've previously detailed, this is circular logic -- Andersen's book on the Obamas cites Cashill as part of his backup for his claims about Obama's "Dreams From My Father." Further, Andersen himself backed away from Cashill's theory in a CNN interview during which he explicitly said, "I definitely do not say he [Ayers] wrote Barack Obama's book."
If Cashill is going to continue to blatantly misrepresent what Andersen has said and wrote, why believe anything else he has to say?
Friday, April 22, 2011
WND's Corsi Lies About Obama's Record on Immigration
Jerome Corsi falsely asserts in an April 17 WorldNetDaily article that President Obama "has resisted any and all measures to secure the U.S. border with Mexico."
That is a complete lie. In fact, the Associated Press has reported that "the U.S.-Mexico border is more fortified now than it was even five years ago. Far more agents patrol it, more fences, barriers and technology protect it and taxpayers are spending billions more to reinforce it." The AP also reported that "Obama's administration has moved immigration investigators to the border and begun inspecting southbound train cargo to help stem cash and weapons flowing to Mexican drug cartels."
Further, USA Today reported that a joint operation between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement agencies that launched in September 2009 "has resulted in the arrest of 270,000 illegal border crossers, the seizure of 1.6 million pounds of marijuana and the recovery of $13 million in cash in the border's Tucson Sector."
Corsi went to claim that Obama's purported lack of border enforcement can be traced to "the Democratic Party's expectation that the surge in Hispanic population will represent an electoral advantage for Democratic candidates seeking public office." Corsi offers no evidence to back up this claim.
If Corsi can lie so casually and blatantly, why trust anything he has to say in his upcoming Obama-bashing birther book?
Farah To Appear On Fox; Lack Of Principles All Around
WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah has loved to complain that he can't get on Fox News because of his birther proclivities and other WND escapades -- but he has also complained that one investor in Fox News' owner is a Saudi prince, and he does not take the principled stand of forbidding WND employees from appearing as a protest against such involvement.
Anyway, Farah will appear on Fox Business tonight -- his first appearance on a Fox News network in quite some time and, as Media Matters points out, evidence that Fox News no longer his standards prohibiting birthers on its networks.
So we have a network without principles inviting a guest without principles. Sounds like a match made in heaven.
Newsmax Fawns Even More Over Trump, If That's Possible
Now that Newsmax has finally admitted the obvious-to-everyone fact that it's working with Donald Trump to promote his presidential ambitions, it just keeps sliding further and further into the tank for the guy.
In an April 20 column, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy is a big, slobbering wet kiss to Trump. He complained that it was "unfair" for news organization to examine "every little company that Trump has been associated with that had a lawsuit, bankruptcy, or other problem" because it ignores "Trump’s fantastic business success that has yielded him a multibillion-dollar net worth."
Ruddy then asserts, "Make no mistake about it — Donald Trump is the real McCoy. ... Trump holds a reputation as a pragmatic man who gets things done. He is also politically savvy — as he is demonstrating with a remarkable rise in GOP polls."
Despite his fawning prose, Ruddy insists, "Newsmax has not endorsed any GOP candidate — including Trump — for president. We are giving all of these candidates a platform to talk to our readers about the big issues facing us."
But Newsmax his done much more for Trump than give him a platform: Led by fluffer-in-chief Ronald Kessler, it has actively promoted the idea of him as president.
That PR-style promotion appears to be rewarded with closer-than-usual access to Trump. That is obvious in an April 21 article by Jim Meyers that furthers Trump's side of the story in his feud with Karl Rove.
Meyers cites an anonymous "Newsmax source" who attended a meeting Trump had with "about a half-dozen heavyweight Republican donors in Manhattan — largely hedge-fund guys — about his political ambitions," during which he "spent the first 10 minutes talking not about Obama but rather, about Rove, angrily referring to him several times as 'the loser' and the man who’s destroying the Republican Party." Meyers also noted that Trump "donated mega-bucks to Rove’s political committees last year."
So who was that mysterious "Newsmax source"? For all we know, it may be Trump himself. It's clear that this story was written with the aid of Team Trump, and it's unlikely to have run at all if Trump hadn't signed off on it beforehand.
Has Newsmax given this extensive of a "platform" to any other Republican presidential candidate? Not that we've seen. Ruddy -- who has not devoted any significant writing, let alone an entire column, to any other potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate besides Trump -- should stop the pretensse that it hasn't taken sides when it clearly has.
Setting Joseph Farah Straight
Joseph Farah April 18 WorldNetDaily column is a rebuttal to a Media Matters detailing various birther myths and falsehoods. Despite Farah's claim to be "setting Media Matters straight," Farah perpetuates deceptions and misleading claims that hide the actual truth.
Farah asserts that the birth certificate Obama's campaign released "would likely not have been sufficient proof to get the young Obama signed up in Little League, if he had been living in Hawaii rather than Indonesia at the time of his eligibility for competitive sports." In fact, as FactCheck.org points out, that certificate is good enough for the State Department in satisfying legal requirements for proving citizenship and obtaining a passport.
Farah then claims that "This is a document that Hawaii has routinely handed out to register births occurring elsewhere, even out of the country, on the basis of an affidavit filed by a parent or grandparent." In fact, the right-wing organization Farah founded, the Western Journalism Center, reported that Hawaii does not provide birth certificates that say children born out of state were born in Hawaii or at a specific location in Hawaii.
Farah then dissembles on the grandmother stuff:
In fact, people who have listened to the tape issued by Obama-hating pastor Ron McRae, like FactCheck.org, have reported:
Farah rebuts Media Matters' pointing out that WND peddled a fraudulent Kenyan birth certificate as real by asserting, "To the contrary, WND was the first news agency to proclaim the alleged Kenyan birth certificate produced by Orly Taitz as 'probably not authentic.'" Farah is being disingenous; the disavowal came only after several days of presenting it as real, even claiming that "WND was able to obtain other birth certificates from Kenya for purposes of comparison, and the form of the documents appear to be identical" -- which contradicted WND's later claim that "WND obtained several samples of Kenyan birth certificates in use around Aug. 4, 1961, the date of Obama's birth, showing differences" from the certificate it suggested was real. Farah has not explained that contradiction, nor has he explained why he published a "birth certificate" he couldn't bother to authenticate beforehand.
Farah also take refuge in the eligibility argument: "But if his father was a Kenyan visiting student, as Obama claims, and his mother was Stanley Ann Dunham, it's doubtful either of his parents were in a position to confer even run-of-the-mill U.S. citizenship on their son – he because of foreign citizenship and she because of her age." That relies on a definition of "natural born citizen" that requires both parents be citizens -- a definition no modern U.S. court has validated. Further, the idea that Obama's mother could not confer citizenship upon him because of her age at birth is important only if Obama was not born in the United States. There are no age requirements for conferring citizenship on a child born in the U.S. to an American citizen; indeed, current interpretation of the 14th Amendment is that a child born in the U.S. is an American citizen regardless of the citizenship status of his parents.
Farah probably knows all of this. He simply chooses to deceive and mislead about the facts in order to further his anti-Obama agenda. And he thinks he's setting others "straight" on the birther issue?
(Disclaimer: I'm employed by Media Matters, but it has no editorial control over ConWebWatch.)
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