MRC's Lame "Profile in Bias" of Scott Pelley Topic: Media Research Center
When CBS officially named Scott Pelley as Couric's replacement, Geoffrey Dickens declared in a May 3 NewsBusters post that "A review of the MRC's archive reveals Pelley will most likely continue the long tradition of liberal bias advanced by his anchor predecessors Couric, Dan Rather and Walter Cronkite."
The MRC's "Profile of Bias" of Pelley, however, could only come up with a dozen examples of "liberal bias" it deemed worth mentioning over nearly two decades of Pelley's work for CBS -- that's less than one example per year -- and several of those are strecthing things.
For instance, the MRC baselessly treats Pelley's statement by Pelley that "There were many people in this country who felt that the Supreme Court stole that election for President Bush" as Pelley's personal belief about the case.
Similarly, the MRC portrays Pelley's reporting on how President Clinton was, in the words of then-CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather, "singing his own praises" on the state of the economy as Pelley's own views. The MRC claims that Pelley wants to "Carve Bill Clinton into Mt. Rushmore" even though Pelley said no such thing.
The MRC also claimed that Pelley "cover[ed] up for Bill Clinton" by declining to air footage of interviews conducted with "Arkansas state troopers who alleged that a then Governor Bill Clinton used them to procure women for adulterous affairs." In fact, given that the troopers were never able to prove those allegations when placed under deposition, that turned out to be smart journalism.
As Joe Conason and Gene Lyons wrote in their book "The Hunting of the President," when the troopers were deposed by lawyers for Paula Jones, no two of them "appeared capable of agreeing about anything of substance in Jones v. Clinton":
Danny Ferguson and Roger Perry disliked Hillary Clinton and had their suspcions about Bill's friendships with several women, but knew nothing to confirm them. Ferguson claimed that Los Angeles Times reporter William Rempel had badgered them to say that Clinton had promised the trooper a job in return for silence, and that Rempel had put words in his mouth when he refused.
L.D. Brown claimed to have hustled babes for Clinton all over the United States and to have benefited from what he called "residuals" himself. But when it came to particulars, Brown had no names, places, or dates to offer -- only hearsay and rumors.
Buddy Young, a Clinton federal employee, testified that L.D. Brown hated Clinton for refusing him the state crime laboratory job, and had also gotten himself fired as president of the state troopers' association for spending its money partying with lobbyists and state legislators. Young also mentioned taht Larry Patterson was obsessed with getting in women's "britches," to the exclusion of all other topics. [...] Patterson said Clinton had confessed several affairs to him, and claimed to have seen the governor receiving oral endearments in parked cars. Other roopers called that a physical impossibility. The video surveillance camera through which Patterson allegedly monitored those titillating scenes hardly worked at all.
Clinton's attorney Bob Bennett grilled Patterson about Troopergate payola, about his rent-free living arrangements with Cliff Jackson and about his multistate speaking tour with Larry Nichols on The Clinton Chronicles circuit. Specifically, what did Patters, a sworn law enforcement officer, know about the president's involvement in drug smuggling and murder?
"Mr. Bennett," Patterson said, "at no time have I ever said that Bill Clinton's ever involved in any murder, nor at no time have Iever said that Bill Clinton has ever used or abused drugs. . . . I have no reason to believe that."
"Has Mr. Nichols ever said that on those trips?"
"I've heard him on occasion say things like that."
"Did you ever tell him to stop it?"
"Mr. Bennett," the trooper replied, "he's an adult."
Is the MRC still standing by these discredited troopers after all these years? It appears so.
Dickens followed up in a May 5 NewsBusters post asserting that Pelley reacted "defensively" to the MRC's shabby list, claiming that he "seemed to deny the charge of liberal bias as he huffed: 'CBS has been called liberal for a lot of years,' adding, 'It probably harkens all the way back to Edward Murrow.'"
Pelley seems to know the game the MRC is playing -- that it's the MRC's job to portray him as liberal, no matter how thin the evidence.
Following up on its thin-skinned attack on Think Progress for tweeting something snarky about its upcoming cruise, a May 1 WorldNetDaily article states:
It's probably not what the George Soros-backed Think Progress blog had in mind when it dubbed WND’s cruise to Alaska this summer the "worst vacation ever."
The result? More attention and more signups than ever before.
But beyond an anecdote from "one North Carolina woman," WND offers no evidence that it has received "more signups than ever before" for this cruise, nor does it explain the criteria it used to determine this.
Given that lack of evidence, we must assume that WND is making that up in order to portray the cruise as more popular that it is.
Politico Cites ConWebWatch In Article On Newsmax Topic: Newsmax
A May 7 Politico article on Newsmax becoming, according to CEO Christoper Ruddy, "a voice of a Heartland populism that more established conservative publications do not understand" cites a ConWebWatch article describing the "very tough talk on Obama that has appeared" in the magazine version of Newsmax.
Not only that, Politico notes an item we wrote for Media Matters describing how Newsmax has boosted the presidential ambitions of Donald Trump.
As the chief chronicler of the right-wing web media, we're happy to have our reporting validated by what Newsmax hyperbolically describes in a front-page promo of the Politco article as "one of the most influential and widely read media outlets in the United States."
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch, Larry Klayman Edition Topic: WorldNetDaily
In an orchestrated public-relations campaign following the death of Osama bin Laden (OBL), President Barack Hussein Obama, in conjunction with the American Muslim community, sent forth messengers, like the Ground Zero mosque Imam Faisal Rauf, to spew forth an amazing message: The time for "healing" between Muslims, Christians and Jews has come with OBL's demise. In other words, non-Muslims should allegedly stop persecuting and get "off the backs" of Muslims and look the other way regarding their general nonchalance toward terrorism.
Given that Muslims had nothing to with OBL's assassination, the notion that they should profit from and are deserving of so-called healing is not only bizarre, but also outrageous. The hard fact is that most Muslims in the United States have remained silent in the years since 9/11 and have done little to nothing in the way of healing. One of the biggest offenders in this regard is the "mullah in chief" himself, who not only refused last year to have a White House celebration of the National Day of Prayer, but instead feasted the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. Obama used the occasion, not coincidentally, to endorse the Ground Zero mosque.
In the wake of OBL's death, Obama also paid additional homage to his favored Muslims. First, he ordered that OBL receive an immediate Muslim burial at sea, at U.S. taxpayers' expense, incredibly in accordance with Shariah law. Then, in further deference to Muslims, he refused to order the release of the photos proving that OBL indeed was killed, claiming that it would offend and inflame Muslims worldwide – as if they are not inflamed enough against Christians and Jews, by their own accord. (Freedom Watch has filed Freedom of Information and Privacy Act requests to obtain these photos. The effort will undoubtedly require a court suit, as Obama will not give up the evidence willingly.)
Finally, to justify his actions, Obama, in a chorus with Muslim "leaders" like Imam Rauf, who in 2001 told CBS' "60 Minutes" that the United States was an accomplice to 9/11, incredulously argued that OBL was not really a Muslim – since he and al-Qaida have killed fellow Muslims as well. This was offered as a further reason for healing. Never mention the historical fact that Muslims have happily massacred their fellow Muslims for centuries; indeed, the continuing and bloody war between Shiites and Sunnis – who have what they claim are irreconcilable views about their "messiah" – is just one example of how this so-called religion practices what it preaches – that "non-believers," that is infidels, must be "offed," no matter what their origin.
In short, what we saw this week was Obama and his Muslim friends literally "making love" with each other, all made possible thanks to the death of OBL. While it was "theatre of the absurd," there does not seem to be a denouement in sight to Obama and his administration's support of Muslims at our expense.
Newsmax Using Trump Speech To Sell Its Magazine Topic: Newsmax
The close relationship between Donald Trump has reached the next level: Newsmax is using Trump to sell its magazine.
The other day, Newsmax sent out an email that links to an offer to “Join Donald Trump in New Hampshire” for a “Special Online Event”: the webcast of a May 11 speech by Trump to a business expo in New Hampshire. Newsmax asserts, “Uncensored and uninterrupted, we're bringing this hard-hitting media goliath directly to you. Expect to hear BIG things from Donald Trump in this speech.” Then the hard sell begins:
Tickets to the in-person event are completely sold out!
But you can have a seat right at your office or home!
And, no worries if you can't make the live event, you will have special VIP access to rebroadcasts of the Trump speech.
There's no telling what Trump will say.
But you can be among the first to find out with exclusive access to our live feed at the special price of just $2.95!
But that’s not all! It wouldn’t be Newsmax if it weren’t trying to capitalize on the conservative talking heads it hangs out with -- Dick Morris, Sarah Palin -- to sell the various publications and financial products it offers, and so it is with Trump. For that very same $2.95, Newsmax will send you “two great bonuses” (emphasis in original):
Bonus #1: We'll send you Newsmax magazine's special report "Sean Hannity: A Great American." Sean says it's one of the best and most in-depth reports ever written about him.
Bonus #2: We'll send you three more FREE issues of Newsmax magazine.
Newsmax magazine brings you exclusive stories the major media won't report, in addition to our in-depth cover stories and hard-hitting investigative reports.
Even Donald Trump says it's one of his favorite publications!
Therein lies the usual opt-out caveat: One must unsubscribe from the magazine before the free offer ends in order to avoid being billed $39.95 for a full year’s subscription.
Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy has said that “Trump realizes the great potential of Newsmax and has been using it very adroitly. We're well aware he's using it, happy he's using it." Now, Newsmax is using Trump in return.
MRC's Graham Is Not Amused By Bestiality Jokes (Or Facts) Topic: NewsBusters
Tim Graham declares himself to be a bit humor-chllenged in a May 6 NewsBusters post:
Some media liberals today are celebrating NBCMiami.com's Brian Hamacher with the "Best Lede Ever" for this snarky opener mocking Florida's legislature: "Floridians are going to have to start pulling up their pants and stop having sex with animals soon."
That's probably not so funny if you're proud to be a Floridian. And since when is it funny to be against bestiality?
Um, Tim? That's not where the humor is. It's about the -- forget it. Explaining a joke to someone so determined not to get it isn't worth the effort.
Not only is Graham humor-impaired, he's fact-impaired as well. He goes on to write that "Thomas Francis of the Broward County-Palm Beach New Times argued that 'zoophiles' are NOT 'deviants.'" No, he didn't; he wrote an article quoting someone who said that.
Graham is embracing the logical fallacy of assuming that a reporter agress with the opinions he reports. How can someone so willing to mislead be considered a legitimate media researcher?
CNS' Jeffrey Loves Zeros, Not Journalistic Standards Topic: CNSNews.com
Here is the bulk of Terry Jeffrey's May 5 CNSNews.com article:
Uncle Sam’s Latest Line of Credit: $1,888,174,000,000.00 Spent Out of $1,900,000,000,000.00
Of the $1,900,000,000,000.00 increase in federal borrowing authority approved by President Barack Obama and Congress last February, the federal government now has just $11.826 billion left, according to the U.S. Treasury. The other $1,888,174,000,000.00 has been borrowed and spent.
As of the close of business on Wednesday, the federal debt subject to the legal limit equaled $14,282,174,000,000.00. The debt limit--set in a law signed by President Obama on Feb. 12, 2010--is $14,294,000,000,000.00.
The $1,888,174,000,000.00 in new debt the government has accumulated just since Feb. 12, 2010, equals $16,064 for every household in the United States (based on the Census Bureau’s estimate of 117,538,000 households in the country).
There's no journalistic reason to substitute "trillion" for the series of zeroes Jeffrey chooses to use. That's a political judgment done solely to illustrate CNS' right-wing, anti-Obama agenda.
And Lachlan Markay wonders why CNS gets pegged as "conservative activists" instead of journalists. (Hint: It's because that's what they are.)
WND Promotes 'Son of Hamas' As Shoebat Denounces Him Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily loves the heck out of Walid Shoebat, even though numerous questions have been raised about his self-proclaimed background as a purported Palestinian terrorist.
WND also loves the heck out of Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of a Hamas leader who spied for Israel and converted to Christianity. WND has quotedhim in stories and sells his book in its online store. WND recounted Yousef's story in offering his book for a special price in a May 4 article:
It's almost too amazing to be true: A stranger hands a New Testament to a longtime Hamas insider and heir-apparent to the terror organization's power structure, he opens it up, reads it – and is changed forever:
"I thought, 'Wow, this guy Jesus is really impressive! Everything He says is beautiful! … Every verse seemed to touch a deep wound in my life. It was a very simple message, but somehow it had the power to heal my soul and give me hope."
Those are the words of Mosab Hassan Yousef, whose explosive new book just debuted and shot up immediately to the top of the best-seller charts. And today only, WND readers can get "Son of Hamas" for only $4.95 – an incredible $22 discount off the regular $26.99 price!
While WND was publishing that, Yousef was being attacked by, of all people, Walid Shoebat.
In a Pajamas Media article, Shoebat attacks Yousef as a "double agent":
During the initial contact within Israel’s Maskubia (Jerusalem’s central prison), Mosab agreed to collaborate in exchange for Israel not targeting his father. After years of providing valuable intelligence, in 2007 Mosab declared his conversion to Christianity, moved to California, and went public with his story. His tale was a sensation, drawing attention and praise from U.S. pro-Israel organizations. But his tale has since been revealed to be a “long con,” the evidence coming from when he speaks publicly in Arabic.
Mosab did not convert to what the West would recognize as Christianity, but to a fiery, Palestinian brand of the faith that is vehemently anti-Israel. According to Mosab, his main goal in coming to the U.S. is to infiltrate the main source of international support for Israel: the American church.
Mosab is now touring churches to end Israel’s lifeline. Many Jews and Christians in the West are unable to determine friend from foe in the Mideast; they are not able to read what is said in Arabic. They must seek translations, and must be aware of double agents like Mosab.
As Richard Bartholomew notes, however, this may be litle more than professional jealousy: "Mosab is also a professional rival to Shoebat on the church pundit circuit: Shoebat bills himself as an expert on terrorism, based on the fact he once planted a bomb for the PLO in the 1970s – and even that is dubious. Mosab, in contrast, has real inside knowledge of Hamas, and he’s avoided the kind of extravagant pronouncements that make Shoebat look increasingly absurd." Shoebat also provides no original sources for the statements he's accusing Yousef of making.
It seems that WND will have to choose at some point between Yousef and Shoebat. Either choice would not reflect well: Yousef's criticism runs counter to the right-wing Israelophilia WND espouses, and Shoebat has little to offer but hate and venom. That's more in line with WND sensibilities, but it does nothing for WND's credibility problems.
NewsBusters: ProPublica Doesn't Hate Obama Enough Topic: NewsBusters
A May 3 NewsBusters post by Lachlan Markay attacks ProPublica as "a libber non-profit news outlet" ("libber"? Is that some new technical term?) that "has little interest in exerting itself in investigations of liberal politicians - let alone the Obama White House (where there is certainly plenty to investigate)." Markay then cites a Marvin Olasky column that similarly complains that ProPublica applies "almost no pressure on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave." and serves up only "Nerf ball throws."
Here are just a few ProPublica articles critical of the Obama administration that Markay and Olasky have missed:
ProPublica has criticized the Obama administration for not living up to its promises of transparency.
It labeled a claim by Obama on the effects of the stimulus "half true."
It has documented the failure of an Obama administration program to modify mortgages.
Markay's main complaint, though, is that the Pulitzer-winning ProPublicais not described as liberal, while NewsBusters' sister organization, CNSNews.com, is identified as "conservative activists." But Markay seems not to understand that CNS has amply demonstrated itself to be little more than an ideological organization masquerading as a "news" outlet and that its reporters are, in fact, conservative activists.
Is ProPublica ambushing politicians with loaded gotcha questions like CNS does? No. Is ProPublica attacking the content of museum exhibits, like CNS does? No. Is ProPublica redefining words to fit its agenda, like CNS does? No.
Markay's real complaint, it seems, is that ProPublica doesn't hate Obama as much as he does. That's hardly a basis for legitimate media criticism.
WND Censors Criticism Of It From Bill Press Column Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily is incrediblyintolerant of any criticism of it, no matter how factual and legitimate. That intolerance also applies to syndicated columnists.
One of WND's token liberal voices (whose presence at WND appears to be for the sole purpose of allowing Joseph Farah to misleadingly claim that his website carries "widest ideological spectrum of political commentary anywhere on the Internet") is the syndicated column of Bill Press. In his column last week, he wrote:
Barack Obama was born at 7:24 p.m. on Aug. 4, 1961, at Kapiolani Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is an American citizen. He is the legitimate president of the United States.
Of course, even production of this long form, which they’ve been demanding, will still not satisfy Donald Trump, Joseph Farah, Orly Taitz, or other members of the Obama Hate Machine, because they don’t care about the truth. They’re just out to destroy Barack Obama.
But when that column was posted at WND, the references to Farah and Taitz were deleted, and the sentence rewritten to reference only "Donald Trump and other members of the Obama Hate Machine."
Yes, WND is so thin-skinned that it will censor and rewrite the words of others to keep that criticism from spreading. We learned that first-hand a couple of years ago, when the column we submitted in response to Joseph Farah's attack on us was stripped of links to ConWebWatch and a reference to rival Newsmax.
MRC Reacts To Couric Departure With Immaturity Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has reacted to the departure of Katie Couric as CBS Evening News anchor with a very special fit of immaturity.
After Couric's departure was announced, the MRC issued a petulant press release quoting MRC chief Brent Bozell saying he "has launched a national search committee and is soliciting recommendations for the next CBS Evening News anchor," going on to sneer:
"CBS likes people with charisma – like Charlie Sheen, maybe? He too is looking for work. Or someone with "CBS depth" – so how about Britney Spears? Or maybe someone who is sweet, perky and – oh wait a minute, you tried that already.
"Instead of making any rash decisions, we urge you to postpone your decision and give us a chance to weigh in. And after the committee convenes, I will return to announce our recommendation.
"Let the search begin! But don't wait too, too long. The ratings footsteps you hear are Al Gore's Current TV gaining."
By "search committee," Bozell actually meant he would post it on the MRC's Facebook page and let readers hurl insults. And that they did. An April 28 NewsBusters post provided the top 10 choices, all of whom are right-wing radio hosts or people associated with Fox News, very few of whom could plausibly be considered journalists. Listed under "entertaining suggestions" were:
“Casper the Ghost … nobody saw Katie anyhow.”
“Trump’s hairpiece would make a better journalist than Katie.”
“Well if you are talking about a replacement on the same level as Couric, a microwave should do just fine.”
“The Teleprompter of the United States of America (TOTUS). Since CBS pretty much just repeats what is read off the Teleprompter, I say make it a news anchor.”
“The Geico Cave Man … it’s so easy, a cave man could do it.”
“A pet rock … it’s twice as intelligent, more entertaining, and you don’t’ have to pay it.”
“It doesn’t matter cause if you want true reporting, you will be watching Fox News anyways.”
Way to privilege the hatred of your followers, MRC.
WND Reduced To Insulting Obama's Father Topic: WorldNetDaily
Now that WorldNetDaily's main objective of getting President Obama to release his long-form birth certificate has been achieved, it's been scrambling to fill the Obama-hate vacuum. Its latest strategy on that front: smear Obama's father.
Jack Cashill dedicated his May 4 column to bashing Barack Obama Sr. by sifting through his immigration documents, prompting this nasty bit of dehumanizing the president:
As the immigration documents confirm, Obama Sr.'s coupling with Stanley Ann Dunham, the mom, was no Kumbaya moment.
If the relationship symbolized anything, it symbolized third-world eagerness to exploit mindless liberal idealism, and that was not the kind of story line that would get a president elected.
Cashill later describes Obama Sr.'s relationship with Dunham as "statutory rape."
As disgusting as that is, Pamela Geller manages to go even further in her May 5 WND column, bashing Obama Sr. as "a con man from Kenya" and declaring that, because Obama Sr. apparently had a wife in Kenya at the time he married Dunham, Barack Obama is "illegitimate," adding, "There is no way the founders of this great nation intended for an illegitimate child of a foreign bigamist to attain the highest, most powerful position in the new land." Geller then segues into the factually deficient WND argument that Obama is not a "natural born citizen."
Geller also touted how she "broke the story of how the first birth document Obama produced, the Certification of Live Birth that he posted to his farcically titled blog, 'Fight the Smears,' was an altered document." In fact, as we detailed, the source Geller cited as the basis for this claim, "Techdude," has had his credentials and analysis called into question.
It's a new month, and that means a new body-count tally from CNSNews.com's Edwin Mora. This month's report declares that U.S. military fatalities in Afghanistan "are currently on a pace to make 2011 the deadliest year of the war."
As per usual, Mora refuses to utter the word "Iraq," thus hiding from his readers the fact that the troop casualty rate in Afghanistan is far outpaced by the peak casualty rate during the Iraq war.
Farah Still Dubiously Claiming WND Is Bigger Than MSNBC Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily marked its 14th anniverary in a self-congratulatory May 3 article in which Editor Joseph Farah makes this boast:
"WND burst onto the Internet scene in 1997 – a completely different environment that it is today," said Joseph Farah. "Back then there were no bloggers – the word was unknown. MSNBC was the largest website in the world. Today it ranks well below WND in traffic."
As we pointed out the last time Farah claimed this, the available evidence shows quite the opposite. A September 2010 report by Hitwise places MSNBC third among news sites and makes no mention of WND. eBizMBA also ranks MSNBC third among news sites, while WND did not make the top 15. On the eBizMBA list of political websites, Newsmax is ranked fifth but, again, WND did not make the top 15.
Any chance Farah will inform his readers of the basis for his claim and publish the data to back it up? Don't count on it.
Farah is also quoted as saying:
WND had almost no detractors for the first couple of years of its existence. Today there are websites solely devoted to attacking and criticizing virtually everything WND publishes. It's a completely different world.
That's presumably a reference to us -- we are, after all, the first and largest website dedicated to critiquing right-wing news websites. But Farah couldn't even get that right: We are not "solely devoted" to WND. There's lots of stuff about Newsmax and the Media Research Center here too.
Still, we appreciate the stealth mention. This means Farah knows we exist and that he reads us (or, at least, pays someone to read us).
MRC: "J. Crew Goes Gay Crew" Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center is not done slapping around clothing retailer J. Crew for not being heterosexual enough.
In a May 3 MRC Culture & Media Institute article, Matt Philbin declared that CMI 'was onto something" with its ranting last month about how a picture of a boy with pink toenails in a J. Crew ad was "transgendered child propaganda." How so? Because J. Crew has used an actual gay person in an ad!
A May 2, 2011, online story places 'J. Crew at Center of Gay Economics With Openly Gay Model.' The company's May 2011 catalog 'features employees as models, including a gay designer with his boyfriend, who are described as 'Happy Together.''
Although J. Crew didn't comment, ABC's report noted that 'gay advocates applaud what they say is a strong message.'
Philbin concluded: "So J. Crew is consciously angling for the 'LGBT' market, but there's no agenda behind marketing materials featuring a little boy with hot pink toenails?"
Philbin doesn't explain why gay people, perceived or otherwise, are not allowed to be depicted in advertising.