MRC Report on 'The Media' Post-9/11 Curiously Omits Fox News Topic: Media Research Center
Apparently, Fox News is not part of "the media" as far as the Media Research Center is concerned.
In a new MRC "special report," Tim Graham attacked "the media spin in the Bush years" and claims that "the media" was "not objective, and it was certainly not independent of liberal partisans, leftist experts and terrorist defense lawyers." Graham makes many sweeping claims (i.e., "Under Bush, anchors and reporters painted the War on Terror as a dark era in American history where our civil liberties were vanishing"), which he illustrates only with anecdotal examples and not any sort of comprehensive analysis. It's reminiscent of Graham's so-called analysis of Huffington Post, in which he cited a mere 19 examples to draw sweeping conclusions about the content of thousands of HuffPo entries.
Graham clearly can't stop shilling for the Bush adminstration, as he attacks reporters for being insufficiently patriotic (translation: they reported bad news about the Bush administration) and played down the Abu Ghraib scandal by huffing that "he networks displayed much greater outrage for U.S. prisoner abuse than for the enemy’s murders."
As with most MRC reports, the scope is deliberately narrow -- it focuses mostly on the broadcast networks, with the occasional appearance of CNN and MSNBC, and Fox News is almost entirely absent. Graham's only mention of Fox News comes on the third-to-last paragraph of his report, which he touts how Fox reported that Iraq war protester Cindy Sheehan proclaimed herself to be a 9/11 truther.
To sum up: Graham ignores how the highest-rated cable news network covered the last 10 years of war, serves up only anecdotal clips of the rest, but portrays his report as some kind of comprehensive examination instead of the repackaging of right-wing talking points it actually is.
Newsmax Baselessly Raises Specter of Voter Fraud In NY-9 Topic: Newsmax
This Sept. 13 Newsmax article is a regurgitation of a Washington Times blog post repeating unsubstantiated claims by the campaign of Bob Turner, a Republican who's running to fill the congressional seat in New York's 9th District vacated by Anthony Weiner, that there is the possibility of "vote fraud" in the election. Neither Newsmax nor the Times provide any evidence to back up Turner's claim.
Raising the specter of voter fraud by Democrats despite the fact that it is extremely rare is a common tactic of Republicans. Ergo, Newsmax regularly does it.
A Sept. 12 WorldNetDaily article complains that "White House press secretary Jay Carney today at the administration's daily news briefing declined to allow a question about the massive funds paid to the family of Martin Luther King Jr. for the use of his image and his words on a memorial in Washington," a question that was "prepared for the news briefing by Les Kinsolving, WND's correspondent at the White House."
But as before when WND has issued such complaints, WND offers no evidence that Carney knew what Kinsolving was going to ask. Therefore, it can't logically complain that Carney "declined to allow" the question when he apparently had no idea what it would be.
Running yet another story about a question Kinsolving would have asked is simply petulant and unprofessional behavior on WND's part.
MRC's Graham Bashes CNN's Blitzer For Accurately Noting Tea Party Racism Topic: NewsBusters
Tim Graham trots out the tired liberal-bias playbook against CNN's Wolf Blitzer in a Sept. 12 NewsBusters post, complaining that he was going to serve as the host for last night's Republican presidential debate with the group Tea Party Express despite having once said that "Within the larger tea party movement that’s gained steam across the country, a small but passionate minority is also voicing what some see as racist rhetoric."
Graham certainly wasn't going to acknowledge that Blitzer was absolutely correct -- and even more so in the case of the debate co-sponsor.
Mark Williams was the spokesman for the Tea Party Express until his long history of racially charged rhetoric finally went too far when he penned a blog post mocking NAACP Benjamiin Jealous in the form of a letter to Abraham Lincoln asking him to reinstate slavery because all blacks really want are "Three squares, room and board, all our decisions made by the massa in the house." Williams' racist blog post got him and his Tea Party Express kicked out of the National Tea Party Federation.
Interestingly, of the threeNewsBustersposts that reference Williams' rant, none explicitly condemn it. In one of them, Noel Sheppard rants about "disgustingly offensive anti-Tea Party rhetoric" but offers no opinion about Williams' disgustingly offensive rhetoric.
WND Flies Airplane With Birther Banner Over GOP Debate Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily goes for the lamest stunt in the book to fuel its birther obsession: hiring an airplane to fly a banner stating "Where's the Real Birth Certificate?" over the Republican debate in Florida.
Yeah, lame stunts are pretty much all they have at this point.
NewsBusters: Criticizing Bush Makes You A Sociopath Topic: NewsBusters
Sure, the conservative outrage about Paul Krugman's New York Times blog post stating how "Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in" on the 9/11 attacks to "justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons" was completely predictable. But Matthew Sheffield takes it to the next level in a Sept. 11 NewsBusters post, issuing a highly personal attack on Krugman:
On this solemn commemorative day, we at NewsBusters have made a point of holding our rhetorical fire against liberals as a gesture of respect to those who lost their lives that day and subsequently. There is much we could say and, starting tomorrow, will say.
An exception has to be made for one Paul Krugman, who seems, earlier life, to have been a decent and civilized person. Since he began writing a column for the New York Times, however, Krugman has experienced a veritable descent into madness, principally due to Bush Derangement Syndrome.
Having no respect for the dead—all 2,977 of them—is hardly the only sin evinced by Krugman today, though. His posting makes no attempt to make an argument and he didn't seem to even bother spell-checking it.
Cowardice is another. It takes a special kind of sociopath to make a hateful remark and then run away when sane people choose to make a response. Why else would he have disabled comments on his post?
It’s possible that Krugman’s rant was prompted purely by a venal desire to gin up hits for the pitiful collection of ravings otherwise known as his blog, “The Conscience of a Liberal.” Such types of shameless sociopaths do exist after all.
Of course, if Krugman is a sociopath for making supposedly inappropriate 9/11-related remarks, then so is conservative columnist Hugh Hewitt, who just a week after 9/11 doubted that he could have offered any support to the president had that president been Al Gore.
Sheffield provides no evidence that Krugman's assessment is wrong -- meaning that his real complaint is that Krugman said it at all, and that anyone who criticizes Bush and other Republicans is a sociopath. Really, Matthew?
Ellis Washington Is Still Fighting Evolution Topic: WorldNetDaily
Ellis Washington devotes his Sept. 9 WorldNetDaily column to ranting about evolution with all the unseriousness we've come to expect from him. To wit:
What of derivative theories of evolution like the Big Bang theory – that all matter and living things in the universe, including mankind, came about 13.7 billion years ago from an explosion? I'm not a scientist, but I was taught in elementary school that explosions destroy things, not create them.
Uh, yeah. Washington continues:
These are exceedingly important questions not only because for over 150 years evolution has indoctrinated and perverted science virtually beyond redemption, but because Darwinian philosophy and its speculative suppositions have totally dominated the entire academy including: law, religion, philosophy, politics, economics, education, culture and society under the ancillary philosophy of Social Darwinism created by Herbert Spencer who also coined the phrase, "Survival of the fittest" – the totalitarian motto 20th-century dictators, including Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot and many other tyrants, used as a pretext for control, domination, suppression of liberty and the genocide of hundreds of millions of people.
As we've repeatedly pointed out every time Washington does this, social Darwinism is not an "ancillary philosophy" to Darwinism -- the idea of survival of the fittest existed long before Darwin. And if Wikipedia is to be believed, Herbert Spencer didn't believe in the kind of social Darwinism Washington is accusing him of.
Washington went on to complain of a law review article he wrote: "after being accepted then rejected by an American law journal for no rational reason, I was forced to publish this work in a Romanian journal – the former communist country of the murderous dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. How's that for irony?" Of course, the unnamed law journal that supposedly accepted his article, on the subject of juvenile justice, likely had a good reason for rejecting it: it's a political screed.
We'll spare you the substance, if you can call it that, of the 26-page article and quote from its conclusion, which reads suspciously like one of his WND columns:
The existence of a separate juvenile justice system that functions outside of legitimate constitutional jurisprudence should be viewed by anyone with a rudimentary understanding of Constitutional law, as a monumental fraud. The philosophy underlying juvenile law in America is based primarily in relativism and a radical egalitarian worldview. The juvenile justice system is a direct outgrowth of the Progressive movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Beneath the jurisprudence of the juvenile justice system facade lies a spurious intellectual foundation whereby the requirements of the state are conjoined by Austinian jurisprudence—He who is sovereign rules, Kantian empiricism, Darwinian evolution, progressivism, Freudian psychoanalysis, and Marxist socialism. Thus, the philosophical assumptions of juvenile law are well received in the academy of modern times while the implementation of more child autonomy and less parental control over the child so trumpeted by the academic class since the 1960s, has only driven a wedge between the parent and child thus eroding substantive familial bonds, despite the fact that previous generations treated the family as a sacred relationship ordained by God. Now, due in large part to culturally denigrating philosophies intellectual suppositions by Darwin, Marx, Freud, Dewey, Wilson, FDR, LBJ, Obama and others, these ideas have been codified into juvenile law statues and given the imprimatur stamp of “law” by judicial mandates, the fallout is that the family is becoming less and less a spiritual, cohesive unit and the primary building block of society, and more and more an impersonal tool of a secular humanist, leviathan state to be manipulated, controlled and used for its own diabolical ends. Let us never forget that the entire juvenile justice system in America was created in the name of the children. May Congress have the political will to dismantle the juvenile justice system in the name of the children.
Washington thinks this is a law review-caliber article? No wonder he couldn't get it published in this country.
CNS Praises Media For Rallying Around Bush After 9/11 Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com director of communications Craig Bannister touts the media's initial response to 9/11 in a Sept. 9 CNS item:
The television media’s coverage of the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks showed us what the news media could, and should, be.
From ABC to MSNBC, from Fox News and CNN to the History Channel, the media’s solemn, respectful, patriotic coverage consoled, inspired, and united an embattled nation in shock.
Accounts of selfless acts of heroism punctuated the coverage of the chaos, devastation, and destruction. Hosts proclaimed their patriotism and rallied the nation around President Bush as he promised a swift and appropriate response to the attacks.
One gets the feeling that the important part to Bannister is the "rallied the nation around President Bush" stuff. We suspect he would not be so solicitous of the media had they behaved the same way toward a President Gore.
WND Marks 9/11 By Peddling Islamophobia Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily is marking the 10th anniversary of 9/11 in exactly the way you thought it would: by ramping up Islamophobia.
Joseph Farah used his Sept. 8 column to declare that 9/11 was a disaster in part "because American leadership misused the attack to expand government, misidentified the enemy and failed to recognize that our nation was at war." He wrote that "the exact moment U.S. policy went off the rails" was when "President Bush told Americans to carry on as if there were no war. He told them to go shopping – to go on vacation, to spend money. That was the 'sacrifice' they were asked to make for the cause."
After that odd bit of Bush-bashing (remember, Farah endorsed Bush's re-election in 2004), Farah returned to form by bashing Muslims and selling a book he published:
Americans need to understand what we are up against – the greatest threat since the Soviet Union, an international conspiracy of Islamists who have identified us as "the Great Satan."
Thankfully, an American woman, a blogger, an activist, has stepped forward to provide the real blueprint for victory in this continuing war.
Her name is Pamela Geller and her book is called "Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance."
It's more than an exposé of the threat. It's a battle plan for victory – the only kind that will actually prove effective.
Every American needs this book to prepare for this fight, to get mobilized and to understand how we can fight back in the streets, in the fields, in the cities and the countryside. This war is not being fought only in faraway lands. It is being waged right here – but, so far, only one side is fighting.
The Muslim-bashing is really cranked up in a Sept 10 WND article by Michael Carl mocking a Gallup poll of Muslim Americans, complete with sneering headline "Guess who thinks they are the victims."
Carl attacked Gallup official Dalia Mogahed by claiming that she "has been identified by Muslim reformer Tarek Fatah during a recent speech in Toronto as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in a position to influence President Barack Obama's policy." But the WND article in which Fatah makes this allegation -- the same one that serves up an adulterous philanderer as an expert on Islam -- offers no evidence to back it up.
Carl then cites anti-Muslim activist Robert Spencer -- recently identified as a major promoter of Islamophobia -- to attack the poll as biased:
"They asked questions Muslims are sure to understand what they need to give as the answer to present the best front possible," Spencer said. "But they don't get to the heart of the matter on whether they want Shariah in the United States ultimately. That's not to say they would get honest answers if they did ask those questions.
"In any case, they're not asking the right questions to start with. They're asking questions that are tailored to give the picture of a Muslim community that is much more moderate than it really is," Spencer said.
WND attacking a poll for asking biased questions in laughable considering the biased questions of its own ethically challenged pollster, Fritz Wenzel.
In a fit of laziness endemic to WND, Carl makes little apparent effort to contact Mogahed or any other Gallup officials to respond to Spencer's attacks; he waits until the very last paragraph of his 59-paragraph article tio note that "The Abu Dhabi Gallup Center did not respond to WND's request for comment on the study."
Flashback: How The ConWeb Covered 9/11 Topic: The ConWeb
How did the ConWeb initially react to the events of Sept. 11, 2001? Pretty much the way you'd expect them too. Let's take a look back:
The bodies weren't even cold yet before WorldNetDaily and Newsmax were finding ways to blame President Clinton. WND found a convenient anonymous source to blame Clinton (thus demonstrating that Aaron Klein, while Newsmax's Christopher Ruddy attacked "the ever clever bastard" Clinton for seeking to "destroy America's intelligence agencies," like WND citing an anonymous source as backup. Accuracy in Media, meanwhile, used 9/11 to peddle its conspiracy theory regarding the crash fo TWA Flight 800.
Newsmax was particularly offended that President Bush's actions might be implicated as a cause of 9/11. One article ranted: "How depraved can the liberal media be? How despicable? How utterly anti-American?" Then-Newsmax columnist Dan Frisa called the New York Times "despicable traitors" for suggesting such a thing. (Apparently, it wasn't treasonous or un-American to blame Clinton.) Phil Brennan declared that "I have a few suggestions for Mr. Bush about who he ought to put in the nation's cross hairs: Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, Andrea Mitchell, the New York Times, Mary McGrory, The Washington Post and all the other Benedict Arnolds* in the anti-American media rat pack mindlessly attacking President Bush." The asterisk after Arnold keys the reader to a footnote that reads: "I ought to apologize to the memory of Benedict Arnold for lumping him in with this disloyal media scum - he was a genuine American hero before his betrayal - something that can't be said about the president's media critics, the majority of whom never wore a uniform."
Another Newsmax article went into full Bush-worship mode: "The president has been eloquent. He has been confident. Real Americans support him 100 percent."
Then-WND columnist Hugh Hewitt was particularly small-minded in his post-9/11 support for those in high office, writing: "If last November's vote had gone the other way, and vice president Gore had been the man to face this awful challenge, I pray that I would have supported him at this crucial juncture – in my columns and on my radio and television shows." In other words, just a week after 9/11, Hewitt was as eager to use it as a cudgel had those in office been Democrats as he was to use it against critics of President Bush.
The ConWeb also worked to deify Barbara Olson, the right-wing author who was on one of the planes that crashed on 9/11. WND, Newsmax and CNSNews.com all took part in the hagiography, which was mostly about making money on her death by peddling her books to a grieving readership
Newsmax targeted then-ABC host Bill Maher for his statement that "lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away" is cowardly, while "Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly" -- until it figured out that it agreed with him.
Finally, how can we forget Anthony LoBaido's unhinged rant at WND blaming America for 9/11? LoBaido declared that "America has killed over 500,000 Iraqi children under the age of 5 years old with our anti-Saddam sanctions" and tried to make the argument that America deserved to be attacked and suffer massive loss of life:
All that is evil in the world can be found in New York: MTV, the United Nations, the U.N. abortion programs, the Council on Foreign Relations, New Age Church of St. John the Divine, WallStreet greed, Madison Avenue manipulation and of course more confirmed AIDS cases than the rest of America combined. Let's remember the filthy sodomite gay parade last summer in New York.
LoBaido earned extra points for his reference to "the openly Marxist, treasonous and abortion-mongering, occultic Hillary."
This is one of the few times WND eventually decided that something was too crazy for its website. While WND editor Joseph Farah initially defended LoBaido's right to say what he said, the column was quietly deleted from the WND website a few months later without explanation or apology. Of course, nothing ever goes away on the Internet, including LoBaido's screed.
It's that screed that inspired us to name the annual ConWebWatch Slantie Award for most unhinged statement made by a ConWeb writer after LoBaido.
Newsmax Still Trying To Make Kerik Look Good Topic: Newsmax
A Sept. 9 Newsmax article contains former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik's "first-person account of the events of Sept. 11, 2001 for Newsmax magazine's 10th anniversary commemorative edition."
Going unmentioned is Kerik's current residence: prison, following his guilty plea on corruption charges. That may be because Newsmax laboredmightily to rehabilitate Kerik's image amid his corruption scandal.
Even prison, apparently, is not going to stop Newsmax from buffing Kerik's image.
Add Robert Ringer to the list of birthers at WorldNetDaily (while, of course, denying that he's not). From his Sept. 7 column:
For a long time, I rated it about 75-25 percent that Obama was born in Kenya, for one reason and one reason only: If his citizenship was such an issue, there was no plausible reason for him not to do everything possible to make certain that representatives of all media outlets had access to his original long-form birth certificate. Instead, he stonewalled – hard – for nearly three years.
If you or I were president of the United States and millions of people were questioning our birth status, is there any doubt in your mind that we would demand that our birth certificate be made available for everyone to see in order to put the issue to rest once and for all?
But it got worse. When Obama suddenly decided, just a few weeks before Jerome Corsi's book "Where's the Birth Certificate?" was due out, to publish his long-form birth certificate on the Internet, my 75-25 odds shot up to 95-5.
That's right, while many Americans embraced a "See, I told you so" attitude, I became more suspicious rather than less, because I asked myself, "Why the sudden urgency? Why did Obama choose this moment in time to make available what millions of people had been asking to see for three years?"
As to the dispute about whether the PDF image of Obama's purported birth certificate is layered or was in any other way tampered with, I'm not high-tech enough to opine on that issue. I'd prefer to just stick with the most obvious question: Why would Barack Obama not be anxious to make a hard copy of his birth certificate available for all to see?
For whatever it's worth, in April of this year, Barack Obama actually requested, and received, two certified copies of his original certificate of live birth from the Hawaii Health Department. I won't speculate on the reason for this … just calling it to your attention.
Look, I'm neither a birther nor a believer, but I am a skeptic whenever I smell smoke – and smoke is something that perpetually comes out of Obama's mouth. Based on his track record of telling the biggest whoppers this side of Indonesia with a completely straight face, why should I believe anything he says?
The specter of Marco Rubio as a viable candidate for president or vice president -- who, in the eyes of the birther fanatics aty WND, is just as ineligible to hold the office as Obama is -- prompted Ringer to add:
All this reminds me again why I believe the Constitution needs to be redrafted, for clarification purposes only, by constitutional scholars, preferably strict-constructionist constitutional scholars.
Among the items that need clarification are the general-welfare clause (Article I, Section 8, not to mention the use of the term "general welfare" in the Preamble to the Constitution), the Second Amendment (needs an "and" before "the right of the people to keep and bear arms"), and the 14th Amendment (clarifying that it was intended to cover the children of former slaves, not illegal immigrants).
Ringer concludes: "Hmm … why do I have this feeling that if Jimmy Hoffa were to read this article, he might want to have me "taken out"? Probably just a bit of paranoia on my part."
Yes, Ringer is paranoid. Why bother "taking out" a thuggish writer for a website that no thinking person takes seriously?
WorldNetDaily uses a Sept. 7 article to tout how Michael Savage's new novel, "Abuse of Power" moved up quickly on the Amazon sales charts after Savage begged his listeners to buy it. (Curously, it's not available at WND's own online store.) As WND summarizes the totally awesome plot:
The novel features Jack Hatfield, a freelance TV producer who loses his top-rated opinion show because of a liberal media smear campaign by a group that resembles Media Matters. While filming a piece on the San Francisco Police Department's bomb squad, he discovers the mayor and the FBI are covering up a possible Arab link to a bomb. Hatfield's pursuit of the truth takes him to Israel, Paris and London while Islamic agents prepare a major terrorist attack.
Unless Savage has been leading a rather impressive double-life, Hatfield represents a fantasy version of Savage. Jack Hatfield is basically the Most Interesting Man in the World. An incomplete list of his various talents includes: master interviewer and editor, Krav Maga martial arts expert, sex god, weapons expert, and the kind of guy who can disassemble a Glock and use "the gun parts as a lock pick."
After much globetrotting, terrorist-punching, and love-making, it is revealed that the mastermind (and money) behind the whole plan is none other than the obvious George Soros stand-in, Lawrence Soren.
Soren, whom Jack always thought "looked like a former SS officer," is presented as a raging anti-Semite who wants to help Hand of Allah detonate a nuclear weapon in the U.S. in order to enact a regime change and put "an end to this Zionist stranglehold." Soren works in coordination with a few American politicians, a former chairman of the Federal Reserve, and an undersecretary at the British Home Office, among others.
In one of the book's many mindless nods to cliché, Soren reveals the entire evil plot to Jack in a gloating, long-winded speech, and asks Jack to join his cause because he's just so damn talented: "You're a wonderful communicator, Jack. You have a friendly, trustworthy manner about you, but you can be a bulldog when you need to and people respond to it."
Jack declines, and Soren orders him tortured for information and then killed. Thanks to Jack's incredible Krav Maga martial arts maneuvers (and use of a laser pointer to blind assailants), he manages to escape a compound filled with heavily armed men (for at least the third time in the book).
Working with several retired military men, Jack is able to stop the evil plot, which culminates in a fistfight (to stop the lead terrorist from detonating the nuke) at the top of the Golden Gate Bridge. Jack pummels the Muslim terrorist savagely (or Savagely?), and then delivers the requisite action-hero catchphrase, "Enjoy the virgins, asshole"[.]
Savage told WND that his goal with the book is to "send a message to the media moguls that conservatives read books and conservatives go to movies. ... More importantly, conservatives read novels. That's not just a realm of the elite liberal."
Savage also seems to be counting on his readers having less tasted in literature than elite liberals.