Tim Graham's Favorite British Newspaper Topic: Media Research Center
A May 8 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham cites not one but two articles in the British newspaper the Daily Mail. To which we ask: Why is Graham so into British newspapers?
Perhaps because British papers have a little lower standard of accuracy than American papers do, and thus, are a convenient way for the American right to attack a Democratic president. This happened during the 1990s, when conservative British papers were used a way to legitimize attacks on Clinton, since they filtered from there into right-wing American papers. This phenomenon is happening all over again with the Obama adminstration, as MediaMattershasdocumented.
While Graham is not citing any Obama-bashing stories from his paper of choice, the Daily Mail, in his post -- his main goal is to take a whack at MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski -- the Mail has a decidedly checkered record of accuracy. It has promoted the idea that Obama has had brain surgery, pushed a discredited story about a purported Sarah Palin stalker, and touted birtherism. Most recently, it was duped into running what it claimed was a picture of the corpse of Osama bin Laden.Given that the main focus of the Daily Mail appears to be celebrity gossip -- it dominates the front page of its website -- it's no wonder that the standards are lower.
Just because the British have low journalistic standards doesn't mean Americans must as well. Graham might do well to remember that.
WND Attacks Snopes for Acting Like WND Topic: WorldNetDaily
A May 8 WorldNetDaily article complains that "The online hoaxbusting website Snopes.com has changed its reference to the purported attending physician at Barack Obama's birth," deleting the name of Dr. Rodney T. West "as the physician at the birth" after the name of Dr. David Sinclair was revealed to be the actual doctor on Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate.
As WND itself explained in a May 3 article by Bob Unruh, the apparent source for the claim about West was an article about a former Hawaii resident who recalled West referencing a baby born to a woman named Stanley but who did not say whether West was actually involved in Obama's birth.
Still, WND complained that "There was no explanation at the Snopes site" regarding the change.
However, that's the exact same way WND rolls. As we've noted, WND refused to issue a formal correction after columnist Jack Cashill got caught pushing the conspiracy theory that Obama was Photoshopped into a photo of his grandparents -- it simply deleted the egregiously wrong section of Cashill's column without notifying readers, followed by editor Joseph Farah throwing a petulant fit when Salon's Justin Elliott asked why he didn't issue a correction.
AIM Ignorantly Gloats Over Wash. Post Losing Money Topic: Accuracy in Media
In a May 9 Accuracy in Media blog post, Don Irvine has a grand time smacking around the Washington Post for losing money:
What Graham is witnessing is the continuing decline of printed newspapers like The Washington Post. But rather than take bold, decisive action to compete in a new environment, he continues to cling to the notion that Washington wants and needs a liberal paper of record. The marketplace seems to be saying otherwise.
Irvine is careful not to mention the fact that of the major Washington newspapers, only the Post is subject to the whims of the marketplace.
As we've documented, conservative newspapers have a long history of being nothing more than money-losing playthings of owners who can afford to lose millions upon millions of dollars every year in order to promulgate their right-wing agenda.
The Washington Times, which has has been subsidized to the tune of billions of dollars since its inception nearly 30 years ago, was recently sold back to its original owner, a branch of Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, for $1. The Washington Examiner, owned by billionaire Philip Anschutz, simply cannot be making money given the unhealthy market for newspapers and its mostly-free distribution model (being privately owned, it doesn't make its finances public). But even it gets touched with a budget squeeze every once in a while -- in an apparently economzing effort, its White House correspondent wasn't replaced with a new person; instead, two reporters on suburban beats will split White House coverage.
Perhaps the reason Irvine is gloating over the Post losing money is because he knows his own preferred newspapers are not subject the same whims of the marketplace.
Newsmax's Hirsen: Obama As Obsessed With Image As Bin Laden Topic: Newsmax
James Hirsen serves up an awkwardly offensive transition in his May 9 Newsmax column:
In a segment of the footage, bin Laden appears seated on the floor, watching himself on the tube. Clips also show him rehearsing for his onscreen moments.
It turns out that the videos were produced Hollywood-style, with written scripts, takes and retakes, redone until bin Laden was satisfied with the performance and lighting.
The al-Qaida leader even dyed his beard and precision cut it for the lens. Guess it proves that image is everything, even for terrorists.
It seems that President Barack Obama is obsessing over his image, too, and the White House is sparing no expense in trying to improve it. It has hired the best image booster in the biz — on the taxpayer's dime, of course.
Likening the president to the world's most notorious terrorist is hardly the kind of behavior that burnishes Newsmax's newly found reputation, according to Politico, as the voice of the heartland.
WorldNetDaily is desperately trying to keep up its birther campaign despite it being rendered obsolete by President Obama's release of his long-form birth certificate. This time, it's going all in on trying to prove that the certificate is a forgery. Unfortunately for WND, Jerome Corsi has chosen to rely on the expert analysis of such people as a private investigator who said he got involved for the potential "financial windfall" it would provide, as well as "an analysis posted on Facebook by GoodTryBarry." Surely these are credible people.
MRC's Anti-Soros Fund Drive Built Around Out-Of-Context Statement Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has launched a new fundraising campaign built around using "left-wing billionaire" George Soros as a bogeyman, claiming that he has "has undertaken a war on conservative media to make it easier to spread his anti-American views, and the liberal media are his willing accomplices."
Prominently featured in the literature is this Soros quote: "The main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States." This presumably is meant to portray Soros as someone who wants to destroy America -- indeed, a related MRC anti-Soros petition claims Soros has "anti-American plans in bringing our nation down."
In fact, the quote, from Soros' 2006 book "The Age of Fallibility," specifically referred to criticism of the Bush administration, not to a desire to destroy the country:
Writing the book has helped me to establish future priorities. Some of them are quite far removed from our previous activities. I have identified two problems that endanger our survival: the global energy crisis and nuclear proliferation. As regards the former, we are already at the cutting edge of dealing with the resource curse and we are getting engaged in global warming. The Russian policy of using gas contracts both to suborn neighboring countries and to divert what ought to be public revenues for private benefit will be a particular field of interest. Nuclear proliferation, by contrast, has been entirely outside the purview of my foundations. I do not know what we can do about it but we cannot disregard it.
The main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States. This is a harsh -- indeed, for me, painful -- thing to say, but unfortunately I am convinced it is true. The United States continues to set the agenda for the world in spite of its loss of influence since 9/11, and the Bush administration is setting the wrong agenda. The Bush agenda is nationalistic: it emphasizes the use of force and ignores global problems whose solution requires international cooperation. The rest of the world dances to the tune the United States is playing, and if that continues too long we are in danger of destroying our civilization. Changing that attitude and policies of the United States remains my top priority.
The task has become more complicated since the 2004 elections, and that was the source of my confusion when I sat down to write this book. It is no longer a question of removing President Bush from the White House; a more profound rethinking of America's role in the world is needed. It is not enough to revert to the policies of the previous administration; America must undergo a change of heart. The process must begin with recognizing the war on terror as a false metaphor. It is now accepted that the invasion of Iraq was a grievous error but the war on terror remains the generally accepted policy.
The change of heart cannot be accomplished merely by helping the Democratic Party in the 2006 and 2008 elections because Democrats show no sign of engaging in a profound rethinking. On the contrary, Democrats have been so spooked by the Republican charge that they are soft on defense, that they are determined to outdo the Republicans in the war on terror. Nevertheless, I think it is important that the Democratic Party gain control of the House of Representatives in 2006. A Democratic-controlled House could reveal the misdeeds of the Bush administration which are currently kept under wraps. [Pages xvi-xvii]
But then, using the Soros quote in its proper context wouldn't scare as many potential donors out of their money, would it?
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.