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Wednesday, October 12, 2011
NEW ARTICLE: A Hard Right Turn
Topic: The ConWeb
Tim Groseclose's methodology, which paints pretty much every media out as liberal, is still as flawed as it was six years ago. But now, he's written about book about it -- and the ConWeb loves it. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 3:35 PM EDT
Newsmax Again Bashes Holder -- But Not His GOP Attackers -- As 'Highly Partisan'
Topic: Newsmax

We've detailed how Newsmax's Martin Gould found a letter by Attorney General Eric Holder defending himself and his office in the "Fast and Furious" scandal to be "highly partisan," a description he did not apply to any of the Republican politicians who are making their career these days by repeatedly attacking Holder.

Gould returns with an Oct. 10 Newsmax article on Republican Rep. Darrell Issa's response to Holder's letter. Gould again called Holder's letter "highly partisan" while he touted how Issa "did not mince words in attacking Holder’s comments," while "accusing him of being incompetent, untrustworthy and negligent." Needless to say, Gould found no partisan intent in Issa's response, even though his quick response to Holder would seem to indicate political motivation over legal prudence.

(P.S. We wonder: Is this guy the same Martin Gould who formerly wrote for the supermarket tabloid The Star, where he ran Ted Kennedy's wife off the road and nearly mowed down a landscaper? Newsmax, after all, is located in Palm Beach, Florida, also home to the headquarters of the National Enquirer, the Star, and other tabloids.)


Posted by Terry K. at 10:48 AM EDT
At NewsBusters, Life Continues to Imitate Stephen Colbert
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters has a strange habit of being the embodiment of Stephen Colbert's declaration that reality has a well-known liberal bias. Mark Finkelstein plays into that again in an Oct. 10 NewsBusters post in which he cites Politco's digest of news items to declare the publication to be hopelessly liberal:

To be sure, "Post-recession income falls" is not good for President Obama, reporting as it does that Americans' incomes have fallen faster during his presidency than they did even in the depths of the recession.  But every other story would surely be welcome at the White House.  Here are the stories, in the order they appear in the email:

"Rove vs. the Koch brothers": An "emerging rivalry between the two deepest-pocketed camps in the conservative movement could undercut their party’s chances of taking the Senate and White House in 2012."  Internecine warfare on the right?  Surely something to warm a liberal's heart!

"POLITICO Primary: Time to vote": the story touts the appeal of a third-party presidential candidacy, and urges readers to vote for their favorite third-party candidate.  Yes, Hillary is on the list.  But in an election cycle that would seem to strongly favor the GOP, a third-party candidacy could be the only thing to save President Obama's bacon.

"Mitt's Mormon issue returns": Story summary: "The Values Voter Summit in Washington this weekend left no doubt about it: The issue is back." So, troubles for the Republican front-runner.

"Post-recession income falls": see above.

"Pelosi rebuts Cantor on protests":  Story summary: "She pushes back on criticism of Occupy Wall Street."  You go, Nancy!

"NPR prepares for a new reality": A focus on NPR's survival strategies. 

So there you have it.  Sure, it's just a snapshot in time, one day's headlines.  But also suggestive of Politico's generally center-left line.

Apparenly, Finkelstein thinks that any news article that does not positively portray Republicans is evidence of "liberal bias."Which, of course, is pretty much the modus operandi of its parent, the Media Research Center.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:40 AM EDT
WND Keeps Up Dishonest, Fringe Anti-Gardasil Activism
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Bob Unruh continues WorldNetDaily's activism against the HPV vaccine Gardasil with an Oct. 10 article that features a claim from some obscure magazine in New Zealand that side effects attributed to Gardasil "could be the result of contamination in the vaccine."

Unruh writes that the claimis based on work by "a testing company, S.A.N.E.VAX, Inc." In fact, S.A.N.E.VAX is not "a testing company" -- it's an anti-vaccine activist group. It has repeatedly defended Andrew Wakefield, whose claim that vaccines cause autism have been retracted and discredited by the medical journal that first published his claims. The SANE Vax website features interviews of Wakefield with conspiracy-monger Alex Jones. Another article touts how SANE Vax members traveled to London and "had an opportunity to privately discuss vaccine concerns with Dr. Andrew Wakefield." Yet another post repeats an attack on an Australian news show on vaccines, which includes this irresponsible claim (bolding is theirs):

Not vaccinating a child is playing Russian Roulette with your child’s life. Untrue: Morbidity (chronic illness and disability) is as much an indicator of children’s health as mortality (death). Mainstream science states chemicals have toxic effects on human health and vaccines inject many chemicals into the bloodstream of developing infants. This correlates with the significant increase in chronic illness in this generation of children. The opposite is true – vaccinating children is playing Russian roulette with children’s lives due to individual genetics.

This is who WND considers an authority on vaccination issues.

Unruh then adds another hysterical voice, anti-Kinsey obsessive Judith Reisman, to the anti-vaccine debate:

Dr. Judith Reisman, in residence at Liberty University and the author of multiple books on the issue of sexuality, told WND that STD vaccines are simply "assaults on our humanity, especially that of youth.

"All STD vaccines are grounded in an anti-Judeo-Christian, Kinseyan worldview that claims lust as a driving force that must be accommodated from infancy to old age…"

"This fraud opens the door to unconscionable greed and state tyranny to 'protect' children and keep them 'healthy' while inundating them with promiscuity messages from womb to tomb, school to screen," she said.

"International Planned Parenthood, UNESCO and now schools worldwide have been forcing sexual promiscuity on children for at least five decades," she said.

Unruh even repeats earlier anti-vaccine claims he forwarded from Austrian doctor Christian Fiala, again failing to tell his readers that anti-abortion website LifeSiteNews penned an article in 2008 calling Fiala "Austria’s most notorious abortionist" and accusing Fiala's clinic escorts of having "abused and assaulted both physically and sexually" anti-abortion protesters.

And, as has been a staple of his reporting on the issue, Unruh repeats the claim that "18,000" side effects have been reported from taking HPV vaccines without putting the number in context of doses administered or noting how that number compares with other vaccines or medicines.

The fact that Unruh can cite only fringe "medical" figures and extremely obscure publications that rely on said fringe figures illustrates the shaky foundation of WND's anti-vaccine jihad.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:30 AM EDT
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
CNS Won't Report That Right-Wing Infiltrator Led Museum Protest
Topic: CNSNews.com

In an Oct. 8 CNSNews.com blog post, Craig Bannister writes about how "The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum was abruptly closed today when a mob of approximately 200 protesters armed with prohibited items including large signs and banners tried to push its way past security guards." Bannister then asked, "So, what's next, a protest of the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History because mastodons didn’t recycle?"

But neither Bannister nor CNS has reported on the real story behind that confrontation. Patrick Howley, an assistant editor at the right-wing American Spectator, claims to have helped instigate the events that prompted the museum to close. Detailing his adventure on the Spectator blog, Howley writes that he had "infiltrated" the Occupy DC protesters and escalated the protest at the museum because he wanted a "story."

Telling the whole story of this confrontation, it seems, does not comport with CNS' right-wing agenda of making liberals look bad -- even when they've been duped by a right-wing infiltratorl.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:05 PM EDT
MRC's Latest Attack on Public Broadcasting Proves Absolutely Nothing
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's latest "special report" is a list of "the 20 most obnoxiously biased stories or statements from public broadcasting stars and stories over the last 25 years." The report, by Tim Graham and Geoffrey Dickens, claims that this "underline[s] how dramatically PBS and NPR have tried to shift the American political discussion to the left" and is an argument for cutting off federal funding for public broadcasting.

Such a simplistic, partisan-driven analysis is par for the course at the MRC -- and, of course, absolutely meaningless. Graham and Dickens want you to believe that 20 cherry-picked moments plucked from tens of thousands of hours of broadcasting on both PBS and NPR over 25 years are representative of all programming on those two networks. That makes sense only in the MRC's world, where anything that doesn't promote Republicans is "liberal bias."

This is nothing more than a gussied-up rant designed to rally the MRC's right-wing base around a political attack that had fallen out of the news lately -- and nothing more. Its goal -- defund public broadcasting -- is political, not academic or intellectual. And it proves absolutely nothing beyond the MRC's hatred of opinions they don't agree with, something that was already quite evident before this.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:43 PM EDT
WND's Washington Serves Up Yet Another Right-Wing Rant Masquerading As Socratic Dialogue
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've previously detailed how Ellis Washington's so-called "symposiums" and "dialectics" are nothing more than an excuse for Washington to espouse his view by putting right-wing talking points in the mouths of such unlikely folks as Socrates.

Washington performs this dishonest anti-intellectual exercise again in his Oct. 7 WorldNetDaily column, which begins by having "Socrates" insulting the intelligence of black liberals:

Socrates: We are gathered here today at this symposium to discuss the race question and this enduring paradox. How can tens of millions of otherwise rational, educated and morally conservative people ignore the historical blood and sacrifice the Abolitionist movement and the Republican Party has devoted to black Americans? How can this people for 80 years have increasingly voted for the Democratic Party since the election of FDR in 1932 – the party that enslaved your ancestors, the party of the KKK, eugenics, abortion, exploding ghettoes, exploding prisons, welfare slavery and the death of the black family?

We suspect that Socrates' views on race were not as enlightened as the words Washington are putting into his mouth make him out to be, nor do we suspect that the real Socrates would willingly spout such mindless rhetorical claptrap. And then there's the space-time continuum problem in which someone who died more than 2,000 years ago is speaking about today's events...

Washington brings in "Allan West" and "Herman Cain" to bolster his side, and Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Maxine Waters to serve as prefab enemies. Also brought in as a straw man is President Obama:

President Obama: Uuuhhh, Socrates, when Rev. Wright made those hateful, anti-American, anti-Christian rants, I wasn't there in church those Sundays. It was like when I was in the Illinois Senate, I voted "Present." I wasn't there. I'm not a socialist. I love Ronald Reagan, and my policies are just like his. Change! Change! Change! ¡Sí, se puede! Yes we can! … (ad infinitum).

Finally, Washington gets (mostly) honest and plays the role of "Publius," which he parenthetically explains is "pseudonym for author." And he rants in a most un-dialectic manner:

What is wrong with you people [black America]?! How long will you allow your minds to be shackled by Big Government liberalism and the Democratic Party? In the early 1930s, Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised you a "New Deal" and with the help of W.E.B. Dubois, the NAACP and thousands of black preachers, got your forefathers hooked on the deadly narcotic of the welfare state and "free" government handouts.

In the 1960s, LBJ, an openly racist demagogue who hated black people, co-opted MLK and the civil rights movement, gave you phony Civil Rights Acts and Voting Rights Acts, gave you the "Great Society" programs, incarcerated your generations in voluntary prisons called "projects" and wasted more than $5 trillion in new welfare spending to fight what LBJ called his "War on Poverty," yet poverty over the past 40 years has grown exponentially. Even worse, there is an existential poverty of the spirit that is particularly acute in the black community that remains undiagnosed, unacknowledged and uncured – even to this day.

Washington -- er, "Publius" -- also invokes his "intellectual mentor, Dr. Levon Yuille." As we've previously noted, Yuille opposes hate crimes protections for gays because he finds it "demeaning [to] the black community." He's also spoken at tea party events.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:48 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 6:21 PM EDT
MRC's Gainor Notes 'Big Name Lefty Media Help' For Wall St. Protests, Ignores Righty Media Help for Tea Party
Topic: Media Research Center

The headline on Dan Gainor's Oct. 7 NewsBusters post reads, "Is Occupy Wall St. Getting Big Name Lefty Media Help?" He claims that a woman "who worked for decades handling lefty PR at Fenton Communications" is helping protesters how to deal with the media, asserting that if this woman "aiding the so-called grassroots movement of Occupy Wall Street, then it’s just the latest example that the professional, hardcore left is taking over where the amateurs began."

We don't recall Gainor engaging in such hand-wringing when the so-called grassroots movement of the tea party got big-name righty media help in the form of Fox News relenetlessly promoting tea party events. The tea party also got righty media help in the form of the MRC.

So to Gainor, a single liberal PR rep's alleged work for a liberal cause is much more worthy of mention than wall-to-wall coverage on a major cable networkof a conservative cause. Willful blindness is entertaining to watch, isn't it?

Gainor also echoes his earlier penetrating insight on the issue by writing, "Occupy Wall Street might not just be for smelly hippies any more." Willful blindness and moronic stereotypes!


Posted by Terry K. at 9:37 AM EDT
Newsmax's Hirsen Blames 'Political Correctness' for Williams Jr. Controversy
Topic: Newsmax

James Hirsen -- best known as an longstanding apologist for Mel Gibson -- does his best to perform the same service for Hank Williams Jr.

In his Oct. 7 Newsmax column, Hirsen fretted that "The long-running "Monday Night Football" theme song written by Hank Williams Jr. has been permanently cut by ESPN over Williams' comments that purportedly compared President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler." Purportedly? That's exactly what Williams did.

After rehashing Williams' comments on "Fox & Friends" in which he made the remark in question, Hirsen claimed that Williams' later statement attempting to tamp down the controversy "suggest[ed] that he was misunderstood." No, it didn't; it suggested that he was trying to defuse what he had said earlier in order to save a lucrative gig.

Hirsen went on to complain:

It should be noted that the Hitler comparison is the very same one that the left routinely used with impunity against President George W. Bush throughout his eight years in office.

It is unfortunate to say the least that a great song, one that millions of folks have come to associate with an American institution, will no longer be played because of an inappropriate and ill-considered analogy.

However clumsy Williams' comment was, though, it was not born of malice.

In my opinion, benefit of the doubt should be offered as freely as an apology and should not be doled out according to political correctness or ideology.

Presumably, Newsmax columnist Phil Brennan got that same benefit of the doubt when he pulled his own Obama-hitler comparison, writing in 2008 that "Like the German people of 1932, many Americans seem to be willing to put our future in the hands of a messianic leader with abundant oratorical gifts, a questionable and largely unknown past and a unshakable conviction born of a socialistic background that America can spend its way out of a debacle initially caused by trying to spend our way into prosperity."

As the links supplied above note, Hirsen is generally blind to controversial statements made by conservatives in general and conservative friends in particular, like Gibson. It took Hirsen two weeks to report on the scandal of Gibson's hateful comments made during a split with his ex-girlfriend -- and only then did Hirsen disclose that Gibson is " business associate and friend," something he hadn't done previously despite writing about Gibson at Newsmax for years.And even then, Hirsen took pains to insist that Gibson "has a long history of being a tremendous family man, a good father, a generous person, easy to work with, just all kinds of positive attributes."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:36 AM EDT
Monday, October 10, 2011
MRC's Graham Baselessly Portrays Anita Hill As a Liar
Topic: NewsBusters

In an Oct. 7 NewsBusters post, the Media Research Center's Tim Graham repeatedly portrayed Anita Hill as a liar during her 1991 testimony about Clarence Thomas. Graham claimed that Hill was " part of a lie-manufacturing left-wing conspiracy," further asserting that a Washington Post article about Hill "completely sidestepped whether she was lying her face off."

Just one problem: Graham offers no evidence Hill lied about anything.

At best, it's a he-said, she-said situation, and it's likely nobody will know the real truth outside of the two parties involved. Tellingly, Graham does not consider the possiblity that Thomas is the one who's lying. He also doesn't mention that Hill reportedly passed a polygraph test telling her version of events.

Graham goes on to whine about "Hill's millionaire payday," a reference to "million-dollar-plus book deal with Doubleday." Graham does mention that this book deal was made in 1993, a full two years after her testimony, but he's too invested in the smear to notice that the two-year lag pretty much shoots down the quid-pro-quo argument he's trying to make.

Plus, as the Washington Post article that set of Graham's tirade points out, Hill's book under that book deal wasn't published until 1998, which destroys Graham's cashing-in meme even more.

Funny, we don't recall Graham dismissing Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey for being in it for the money, even though they certainly tried to cash in on their Clinton-era infamy.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:22 PM EDT
CNS Adds Bias To Yet Another AP Headline
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com's tradition of rewriting Associated Press headlines to add bias continues. An Oct. 6 AP article was sent out with the headline "Unions lend muscle, resources to Wall St. protests."

Run that AP story through CNS' bias machine, and it now carries the headline "Labor Unions Join Rabble in Wall Street Protests: 'We're in It Together'." The word "rabble" does not appear in the original AP article.

 

We'll be adding this to our item of last week.

 


Posted by Terry K. at 1:27 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, October 10, 2011 1:30 PM EDT
Newsmax Attacks Holder -- But Not His GOP Critics -- For Being 'Highly Partisan'
Topic: Newsmax

In an Oct. 7 Newsmax article, Martin Gould writes that a letter sent by Attorney General Eric Holder to Republican congressmen was "highly partisan" and "attacked Republican members of Congress for anything from criticism of him to their defense of gun rights."

But Gould never describes the Republican congressmen as acting in a "highly partisan" manner, even though they are attacking a Democratic official over the "Fast & Furious" scandal. Gould does not that "Holder had particularly harsh words for GOP Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona for saying that administration officials may be 'accessories to murder' for their role in the project," but doesn't describe Gosar as acting "highly partisan" and doesn't describe why Holder's response to Gosar's attack -- "Such irresponsible and inflammatory rhetoric must be repudiated in the strongest possible terms" -- is "highly partisan."

Gould's description of Holder attacking congressmen's "defense of gun rights" turns out to be a misnomer. As Gould writes later, Holder was actually criticizing those who oppose a plan to "report large gun purchases near the border." Gould doesn't explain how support of that plan equals an attack on "gun rights."

Of course, Gould appears to be the one acting "highly partisan" here, to please his highly partisan employer.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:12 AM EDT
WND's Klayman Libels Obama Again
Topic: WorldNetDaily

For a guy who has a habit of suing others for defamation, Larry Klayman sure likes to defame people.

Klayman has used his WorldNetDaily column to repeatedly libel President Obama by calling him a Muslim or the "mullah in chief." He takes it one step further in his Oct. 7 column, saying of Obama, "it is indeed more than likely that he pledges his allegiance to Allah."

Klayman, of course, offers no evidence to back this up, only generally citing "the behavior of President Barack Hussein Obama, chronicled many times in this weekly column."

If Klayman keeps this sort of unethical behavior up, the sue-happy defamer will be on the receiving end of a defamation suit before long.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:17 AM EDT
Bozell Endorses Discredited Media-Bias Book
Topic: Media Research Center

In a Sept. 12 Washington Times book review (reposted at NewsBusters), Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell praises Tim Groseclose's book "Left Turn," which purports to claim a new measure of liberal media bias:

Mr. Groseclose argues that one can measure liberal media bias through objective and quantitative statistical analysis, that “every [emphasis his] mainstream national news outlet in the United States has a liberal bias,” that out of more than 100 major news outlets studied, only a handful lean to the right and none of the supposedly conservative news outlets is far right.

Bozell doesn't comment on the absurdity of such a claim -- after all, Bozell has a vested interest in portraying the media as having a liberal bias, which makes him a less-than-objective reviewer. Indeed, Grosclose's methodology was discredited when he first wrote about it in 2006.

Bozell wasn't done gushing, though:

There’s much to like about this book. There is Mr. Groseclose’s fierce intellectual honesty: He makes no bones about his own political biases. There is a certain modesty in his work: He continuously submits his theories to peer review, even when his peers’ politics veer sharply from his own. Finally, when his conclusions generally track so neatly with those arrived at through the use of more traditional methodologies, who can argue?

Bozell wasn't completely laudatory of Groseclose's book, though. His first complaint is self-aggrandizing and petty:

I confess that at the outset I wasn’t too keen about doing this review. The Media Research Center, which I head, has conducted more studies on this subject than any other institution on the planet over the past quarter-century, so I turned to the “Left Turn” index out of curiosity to see which ones were chosen for citation. (Clear throat here: Ahem.) Not a one. Worse, where the index cites the MRC, in one instance it misidentifies the group; and in the other, allegedly over three pages, it’s a phantom citation - the MRC isn’t there at all.

People who aren't Bozell would reach two other conclusions: 1) the MRC's research sucks (as we've copiously documented), and 2) there's a lack of attention to detail in Groseclose's book that raises questions about his larger conclusions. Of course, since Groseclose's larger conclusions are the same as Bozell's, he won't be raising those questions, even as he finds more things wrong with it:

A conservative also will find faults. Mr. Groseclose labels Mr. DeMint “far right.” It can be argued that Ronald Reagan’s positions were even more conservative than Mr. DeMint‘s. What would that make the Gipper? The author cites ABC’s Charles Gibson as “nothing but fair and centrist in my judgment ABC’s Good Morning America, during his tenure, was approximately the most unbiased of all U.S. media outlets.”

Mr. Gibson was no Keith Olbermann, to be sure; but I can provide dozens of examples documenting that he was no centrist, either. In perhaps the biggest head-scratcher, Mr. Groseclose declares that the conservative bias of Fox News’ “Special Report” is equal to the liberal bias of ABC’s “World News Tonight” or NBC’s “Nightly News.” That is simply untrue across the board, be it a measurement based on story selection, labeling, placement, sourcing, spokesmen or time.

In fact, one study found that the "All-Star Panels" on "Special Report" are consistently stacked in favor of conservatives. The MRC, of course, tried to dismiss this actual piece of media research.

Yet Bozell concludes: "Still, I like the book and recommend it." Go figure.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:08 AM EDT
Sunday, October 9, 2011
MRC's Dan Gainor: Hippies Are Smelly!
Topic: Media Research Center

Can you guess the theme as articulated in the opening of Media Research Center VP Dan Gainor's Oct. 4 CNSNews.com column?

It would be easy to dismiss the Occupy Wall Street protests as another disorganized and pungent liberal whinefest … because that’s basically true. The demonstrations, taking place in New York and now other cities and other nations, have a classic lefty feel and scent. But there’s more to this, if you dig deep enough. These protests do reflect the genuine economic fears that many Americans feel.

The few thousand that have turned out to occupy Wall Street 24-7 are mostly young, rarely bathe and chant a lot.

Penetrating insights such as this are the reason why the MRC has become such a thought leader on the right.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:22 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, October 9, 2011 6:23 PM EDT

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