CNS Just Can't Stop Adding Bias to AP Headlines Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com just keeps racking up the biased rewrites of Associated Press headlines.
An Oct. 29 AP article was sent out with the headline "Need a speaker? President Obama may be available."
Run that through the CNS bias machine, and you get the headline "Obama Making the Dinner-Speaker Rounds Before Leaving Office."
CNS' headline attaches a false narrative to the article that the article itself doesn't make: that Obama will lose the 2012 election and doing as many speaking engagements as he can before "leaving office."
But that's exactly the impression CNS wants you to have -- even if the AP never claimed any such thing.
On Tuesday, four alleged members of a Georgia right-wing militia group were arrested in connection with an alleged plot to kill numerous government officials by attacking federal office buildings and to disperse a deadly biological poison. It turns out they were inspired by a "Second Amendment analyst" who has been approvingly quoted by WorldNetDaily.
As Media Matters reports, the federal criminal complaint against the four men states that one of the accused "intended to model their actions on the plot of an online novel called Absolved," written by Mike Vanderboegh. In the self-published novel, underground militia fighters declare war on the federal government over gun control laws and same-sex marriage, leading to a second American revolution. In the introduction to Absolved, Vanderboegh calls the book "a cautionary tale for the out-of-control gun cops of the ATF" and "a combination field manual, technical manual and call to arms for my beloved gunnies of the armed citizenry."
By contrast, WND has presented Vanderboegh as a "firearms writer and Second Amendment analyst," quoting him several times criticizing federal officials over the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal in articles on July 25, July 28, Aug. 13, Aug. 30, and Sept. 21. All were written by Michael Carl. WND columnist Jeff Knox also cited Vanderboegh regarding Fast and Furious on two occasions, on Jan. 22 and March 31. Like Carl, Knox obscures Vanderboegh's extremist background.
Also, Bob Unruh quoted Vanderboegh in a 2009 article attacking the Southern Poverty Law Center as "conflation experts," going on to portray the far-right group Oath Keepers as "quintessentially America."
In the Aug. 13 article, Carl quotes Vanderboegh as saying of Fast and Furious: "This is proof positive of the banality of evil. These people have so identified with a regime, a way of thinking, that they no longer believe regular morality applies to them." It seems the same thing could be said of Vanderboegh.
Will WND tell its readers that one of its favorite so-called experts inspired a violent right-wing insurrection against the government? Don't count on it.
Bozell No Longer Disclosing His Conflict of Interest With Cain Topic: Media Research Center
We've already noted that Brent Bozell's second ranting Media Research Center press release on the sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain lacked something his first one had: the disclosure that Cain is a "personal friend" of Bozell's as well as the former national chairman for the MRC's Business & Media Institute.
That sudden lack of disclosure, after starting so well, has spread to other venues where Bozell has popped up. In an Oct. 31 interview with Newsmax, Bozell repeated his assertion from his first press release that "The one thing the left cannot bear is an uppity conservative black man leaving the liberal plantation." But there too, Bozell failed to mention his relationship with Cain.
Meanwhile, other items on Cain at MRC websites have continued to not repeat Bozell's disclaimer, even though it appears to be a significant factor behind the MRC's pushback.
NewsBusters Criticizes Politico -- But Not Cain -- About Vagueness of Cain Allegations Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein has been working his little corner of the Media Research Center's defense strategy on behalf of Brent Bozell's personal friend, Herman Cain: monitoring MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and pushing a certain theme in the process.
In an Oct. 31 post, Finkelstein complained that a reporter for Politico, which first published the allegations of sexual harassment against Cain, "was being evasive about the details of the allegations" in his appearance on "Morning Joe," going on to further attack the story's "sketchy generalities." Finkelstein went on to grumble that "as for the details in the Politico story, they are as ambiguous as can be," adding, "Politico is going to have to do better than that. [Jonathan] Martin's evasiveness today was telling."
Finkelstein repeated that theme in a Nov. 1 post on that day's "Morning Joe," which featured another Politico staffer, Mike Allen. Finkelstein huffed that rather than detail the publication's 'vague allegation that Herman Cain had made gestures "that were not overtly sexual but that made women uncomfortable,' Allen's telling first instinct was to point to the story's popularity on a social networking site."
Finkelstein didn't mention that nobody has contradicted Politico's claims about Cain, even as vague as they are. Nor did he mention that many of those details he's seeking are bound by confidentiality clauses in the settlement agreement that Cain's accusers reached with the National Restaurant Association.
As we've noted, there is one easy solution to all that ambiguity: Cain can ask the National Restaurant Association to unbind everyone involved from the confidentiality clause.
Will Finkelstein make that request of Cain? Then again, he was quick to blame Politico for the vagueness of the allegations while exempting Cain -- the man who can answer all of Finkelstein's questions -- from responsibility for that vagueness.
Finkelstein also played the Clinton equivocation the MRC loves so much -- minimizing the seriousness of the allegations against Cain by comparing them to something Bill Clinton did -- in another Oct. 31 post, this one attacking Democratic strategist Bob Shrum for noting that "if he didn't do anything, why in the world did they pay tens of thousands of dollars to these women?" First he smeared Shrum by claiming he was "suffering from the not-so-early-onset of some dread memory-loss syndrome," adding, "Does the failed presidential campaign consultant's support of Bill Clinton, despite his much larger, $850,000 settlement with Paula Jones while "adamantly denying" her claims, fire any synapses in Shrum's cerebrum?" Finkelstein further minimized the allegations by adding, "And remember that the reported five-figure settlements by the National Restaurant Association represent no more than a long-week's work for a team of big-time defense attorneys."
Well, Finkelstein does have a actual title at NewsBusters -- senior contributor -- which tells us he's on the MRC's payroll. And even if he isn't, he's very much down with the MRC's agenda of protecting Bozell's buddy.
Newsmax, MRC Mix Gay Panic With Their HPV Vaccine Fear-Mongering Topic: Newsmax
WorldNetDaily isn't the only ConWeb entity peddling myths and falsehoods about the human papilloma virus vaccine Gardasil. With federal approval of a recommendation that the HPV vaccine be administered to boys, a new crazy narrative has popped up: that only gay males are susceptible to the types of cancer an HPV vaccine can prevent.
Tammy Bruce summed up that attitude in an Oct. 26 Newsmax column: "After all, I suppose it’s easier to inject a drug into every child than to suggest we guess which ones will become gay."
The Media Research Center's Tim Graham, a longtime gay-basher, copped a similar attitude in an Oct. 26 NewsBusters post with the alarmist headline "Will Your 11-Year-Old Boy Get Cancer from Gay Sex? Networks Avoid Angle As They Push HPV Shots."
Graham grumbled: "An advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that the HPV vaccine be given to boys aged 11 to 12, and not just girls. Why? Boys aren’t at risk of cervical cancer." He noted a New York Times article stating that "many cancers in men result from homosexual sex," then complained that "the gay angle was completely missing from network TV coverage."
Graham's suggestion that he has no problem with gays dying of a preventable cancer is as offensive as it is misleading. CBS offers a more rational approach:
Preventing a cancer that's associated with gay men may not be much of a selling point, said Dr. Ranit Mishori, a family practice doctor in Washington, D.C. and an assistant professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine.
Some parents may say "`Why are you vaccinating my son against anal cancer? He's not gay! He's not ever going to be gay!' I can see that will come up," said Mishori, who supports the panel's recommendation.
Schuchat said the CDC is ready for that argument: "There's no data suggesting that offering a vaccine against HPV will change people's subsequent sexual behavior," she said.
Graham is too committed to gay-bashing to be bothered with such common sense.
MRC Defends Clinton Accusers, Smears Cain Accusers Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has moved onto the next step in playing defense for Brent Bozell's buddy, Herman Cain: the Clinton Equivocation, the right-wing art of minimizing bad news about a conservative by comparing it to something done allegedly first and worse during the Clinton administration.
In the case of allegations that Cain sexually harassed two women while he was head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, the obvious MRC response is to bring up President Clinton's alleged affairs with women. A Nov. 1 MRC "Media Reality Check" by Scott Whitlock and Rich Noyes follow the Clinton Equivocation textbook:
Since the Herman Cain sexual harassment story broke late Sunday night, the broadcast networks have covered it extensively: full stories on Monday's morning news shows (ABC's Good Morning America led off their broadcast); full stories on Monday's evening news shows (the CBS Evening News made it their top item) and ABC's Nightline; and the top story on all three Tuesday morning shows.
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Monday hyped the story as a "bombshell blast" and on Tuesday he derided Cain's "bizarre series of interviews" on the subject. On Tuesday's Early Show, Jan Crawford highlighted how Cain has been "trying to shoot down these allegations." NBC's Matt Lauer gloated that the Republican was "finding out the hard way about the attention that goes along with being a front-runner."
Cain's accusers are still anonymous. Three women publicly accused Bill Clinton of far more serious instances of sexual harassment in the 1990s, but the networks all but ignored them. The coverage that did exist was often skeptical, insulting and hostile, an astonishing double standard.
Whitlock and Noyes overlook one crucial distinction between the Cain and Clinton cases: The Cain allegations are all on the record and not even Cain has disputed the basic facts, while Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick were all exploited by Clinton-haters as a tool to bring down the president. Further, as we've documented, Broaddrick's claim that Clinton raped her came after years of denying any such thing occurred, and may very well have been motivated by a grudge Broaddrick's family held against Clinton.
“ABC, CBS and NBC pounced on the opportunity to slam GOP hopeful Herman Cain - even with unnamed accusers and sources. It is indefensible how the networks were quick to defend Bill Clinton by not reporting public accusations of rape, inappropriate physical contact, and explicit behavior – and are quick to attack Herman Cain on the basis of weak allegations by anonymous sources.
“While these women received a different kind of ‘Clinton Treatment,’ the media have their own version, and are quick to put it aside when it comes to Herman Cain. They want to see this smart, successful, black man come to ruin – all because he is a conservative. A disgraceful President who faced public accusers and an impeachment trial received better treatment in the so-called ‘news’ than a candidate whose accusers remain unnamed.”
For some reason, Bozell no longer feels the need to disclose, as he did in his previous rant-cum-press release, that Cain is a "personal friend" of his as well as the former national chairman for the MRC's Business & Media Institute -- a connection that is clearly driving the MRC's aggressive response.
Also, there's a simple solution for the "unnamed accusers and sources" behind the allegations: Cain can ask the National Restaurant Association to withdraw the confidentiality clause on the settlement agreements with his victims. Will Bozell publicly demand that Cain do that in order to put this to rest once and for all? We somehow doubt it.
For as much respect Bozell and the MRC demand that Clinton's accusers receive, you'd think they would be just as respectful of Cain's accusers, who are anonymous only because of confidentiality clauses in their settlement agreements with the National Restaurant Association.
But apparently not. MRC vice president Dan Gainor portrayed one accuser as a gold-digger, retweeting a message about a Washington Post article stating that one of the accusers would like to speak publicly about the case; Gainor added: "Or make a book deal?"
By contrast, the MRC was apoplectic over James Carville's criticism of Paula Jones' alleged motivations, infamously stating, "Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find." In 1999, the MRC's annual awards banquet gave out a "Corporal Cueball Carville Cadet Award (for impugning the character of Clinton’s adversaries)."'
The MRC once condemned Carville's tactics; now it's emulating them. Well played, guys.
Two Years Later, WND Still Lying About Obama's 'Civilian National Security Force' Topic: WorldNetDaily
Back in 2008, we identified one of the earliest lies WorldNetDaily told about Barack Obama: that Obama's reference to a "civilian national security force" was a call to create a police-state apparatus. In fact, Obama was referring to an expansion of the foreign service.
More than two years later, WND is still spreading that lie.
An Oct. 27 WND article announcing the latest edition of its Whistleblower magazine begins this way:
While running for the presidency, Barack Obama made a mysterious and bizarre campaign promise.
He said that as president he would create "a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded" as the U.S. military, to advance his "objectives" for America.
The astonishing announcement, made July 2, 2008, to an audience in Colorado Springs, was ignored by virtually the entire media – except WND. Nobody bothered to ask Obama specifically what he meant, or how he could possibly assemble and fund such a massive civilian army, or why – and he never spoke of it again.
WND is still lying. Obama did explain what he meant -- WND simply chose to ignore him.
This time around, WND furthers the lie by claiming that the "civilian army" is a reference to unions:
America's largest labor unions – especially the huge government employee unions like the 3-million-member National Education Association and 2-million-member Service Employees International Union – provide battalions of ground troops in the ongoing war to "fundamentally transform" America into a socialist utopia.
"But wait," you might ask. "I know most unions lean left, some engage in street tactics and their dues strongly support Democrats. But what about Obama's statement that his civilian army would be 'well-funded' by the government?"
As the scathing November 2011 issue of Whistleblower proves, "OBAMA'S ARMY" is very large – and very well-funded.
In fact, from Day One the Obama administration has been generously "funding" the union army. From the General Motors bailout, which blatantly favored union workers, to Obamacare, whose burdensome new regulations don't apply to many unions thanks to special White House waivers exempting them; from Obama's early executive order requiring all federal agencies to accept construction bids only from contractors who agree to use union workers, to packing the D.C. bureaucracy with union officials – the Obama regime has been characterized by non-stop union payoffs, special treatment, insider access and blatant power grabs. All in return for their undying loyalty and service in "OBAMA'S ARMY."
"Every army has its generals, its politicians, its propagandists and its behind-the-scenes chess-masters," said WND Managing Editor David Kupelian. "But in Obama's army, who are the ground troops? This issue of Whistleblower dramatically and definitively answers that question."
Kupelian is lying. WND is lying. There's no reason to take WND's word for anything.
To paraphrase an old journalistic saying: If WND tells you your mother loves you, check it out.
Still Waiting: When Will NewsBusters Correct $16 Muffin Claim? Topic: NewsBusters
Back in September, NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard pounded out a post criticizing Jon Stewart for not being aware of the controversy over alleged $16 muffins paid for by the Department of Justice, as revealed in a report by the department's inspector general. As we noted at the time, both DOJ officials and the hotel that hosted the DOJ conference where the muffins were served disputed the claim, asserting that the amount covered much more than muffins. Even the DOJ inspector general started backing away for its claim.
A few days later, NewsBusters highlighted a Washington Post article refuting the $16 muffin claim -- but Sheppard's erroneous post was not corrected.
Now, the DOJ inspector general has officially retracted the claim, admitting in a revised version of its report that "the Department did not pay $16 per muffin."
Will NewsBusters now finally issue a correction to Sheppard's erroneous muffin claim? Or will it be content to let a false claim stand on its website?
Pat Boone writes in an Oct. 28 WorldNetDaily column ranting about Occupy Wall Street:
This should not surprise us. Our community organizer in chief learned his techniques from Saul Alinsky in Chicago. In the "Rules for Radicals" playbook, the organizer creates or greatly exacerbates a crisis, fans it into rabid, angry, violent protests – and then presents himself as the one who can resolve it, often accusing the ones who helped him aggravate the crisis.
In fact, Alinsky died in 1972, when Obama was 11 years old and living in Hawaii.
CNS Defends Cain, Doesn't Disclose Major Conflict of Interest Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com was swift to defend Herman Cain against allegations reported in Politico that, while head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, he was accused of sexual harassment by two women, which resulted in confidential settlements with them.
CNS kicked things off by pulling one of its favorite stunts, rewriting the headline of an Associated Press article to add right-wing bias. The article the AP sent out with the headline "Cain denies report of sexual harassment"...
... came out of the CNS bias machine with the headline "Politics of Personal Destruction? Cain Denies Liberal Media Report of Sexual Harassment."
At no point does the article mention either "politics of personal destruction" or the "liberal media." Indeed, given how much of Politico's early promotion strategy was based on getting its articles linked at the Drudge Report, a much more plausible case can be made that it has a conservative bias.
CNS followed up with even more kneejerk liberal-bashing in an article by Susan Jones that uncritically repeated Ann Coulter's assertion that this revelation about Cain shows that “Liberals are terrified of Herman Cain.” At no point was it demonstrated that either Politico or the source of its story is "liberal."
Jones penned another article repeating Cain's defense that "I have never sexually harassed anyone -- anyone. And absolutely, these are false accusations."
Meanwhile, CNS was touting Cain's statement attacking Planned Parenthood as "planned genocide." Terry Jeffrey promoted Cain's attack in an Oct. 30 article published before the sexual harassment allegations were made public, and Michael Chapman followed up the next day that Cain's assertion that Planned Parenthood wants to prevent "black babies from being born" was "indirectly confirmed by data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."
Missing from all of these articles, though, was a crucial bit of disclosure.
Brent Bozell, head of the Media Research Center and publisher of CNS, ranted in an Oct. 31 press release that the Politico article was "unsubstantiated and thoroughly hypocritical" and showed that “In the eyes of the liberal media, Herman Cain is just another uppity black American who has had the audacity to leave the liberal plantation. So they must destroy him, just as they tried destroying Clarence Thomas." As with CNS, Bozell offered no proof that Politico is part of the "liberal media."
He did, however, include a statement at the end of his press release:
Note: Herman Cain is both the former National Chairman for the Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute, and a personal friend of Brent Bozell.
It's relevant that the person who is ultimately in charge of CNS has a close personal relationship with the person that CNS is trying to defend. As such, CNS should be disclosing that relationship to its readers. After all, the Society of Professional Journalists' code of ethics states that journalists should "Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived" and "Disclose unavoidable conflicts."
Then again, just the other day, the MRC seemed to absolve conservative journalists from doing actual journalism. Does the MRC also believe that its so-called journalists at CNS are exempt from ethics codes as well?
Interesting that the MRC's activist wing would make such a disclosure while its "news" wing has so far refused.
UPDATE: CNS has posted Bozell's press-release rant, including the disclosure of his relationship with Cain. But that disclosure still appears on no other CNS article.
WND Shows Some Love to Santorum Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily took a break over the weekend from its Cain-gasm to show alittle love to fellow right-wing presidential candidate Rick Santorum.
An Oct. 29 article by Drew Zahn uncritically repeats Santorum's remarks at a right-wing Republican gathering in Iowa. This was followed by another article by Zahn on the same gathering, which endorsed Santorum for president.
Terry Jeffrey concludes an Oct. 30 CNSNews.com article touting Herman Cain's hatred of Planned Parenthood by writing:
According to a fact sheet Planned Parenthood has posted on its website, the group did 332,278 abortions in 2009. That same year, according to Planned Parenthood’s latest annual report, it also received $363.2 million in government grants and contracts.
As we've documented whenever Jeffrey dishonestly juxtaposes these two numbers, the two have nothing to do with each other. The federal money Planned Parenthood receives cannot and does not pay for abortion services.
Jeffrey has shown himself to be just as willing to deceive about Planned Parenthood as he has about President Obama, with the goal of advancing a right-wing agenda over the truth.
WND Publishes Doubly Anonymous Attack on Obama Adviser Topic: WorldNetDaily
An unbylined Oct. 29 WorldNetDaily article begins:
An influential Muslim adviser to the White House who has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood has succeeded in canceling a meeting between President Obama and the leader of the persecuted Maronite church in Lebanon, according to the Beirut news agency el Nashra
The Arabic-language report cited an unnamed U.S. source who said Dahlia Mogahed, "the highest adviser on Arab and Islamic Affairs in the State Department," sought to block a White House meeting with Patriarch Beshara Rahi, according to a translation by blogger El Cid at BigPeace.com.
Let's unpack this. We have an anonymous source telling an Arabic-language news organization for which virtually nobody in the West, including WND, can vouch for its veracity or lack thereof. This article is then translatedby an anonymous blogger at a right-wing website, whose veracity is as unknown as his credentials for analysis and translation.
On top of that, WND spells Dalia Mogahed's name wrong, and the first paragraph is missing a period at the end.
So, to sum up: We have a doubly anonymous claim that WND is simply regurgitating and has made no apparent effort to verify. And its copy editing sucks too.
MRC Absolves Conservative Journalists From Doing Actual Journalism Topic: Media Research Center
In an Oct. 27 Media Research Center item, Matt Hadro writes about a CNN interview with ambush journalist Jason Mattera. After noting CNN interviewer Carol Costello's question to Mattera -- "So you're tough with Joe Biden. So why not be a bit tougher with Republican candidates, even though you work for a conservative web site?" -- Hadro responded that Costello was "apparently unaware that since Human Events is a conservative publication it markets itself to a more conservative Republican audience."
So there are different journalistic standards for conservative journalists? They aren't required to be tough on their fellow conservatives, only on their ideological opposites?
Hadro continues by noting that "Mattera affirmed that Human Events has a conservative worldview and does hit Republicans, but from the right." Still, Hadro's presumption that conservative journalists aren't being held to the same standards as non-conservative ones is a bit odd.
WND's Farah Keeps Up Anti-Gardasil Paranoia Topic: WorldNetDaily
In keeping with the fearmongering, science-denying tone of his website's so-called reporting, Joseph Farah's Oct. 27 WorldNetDaily column is all about attacking Gardasil.
Farah complains that GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann "in the unfavorable light of the anti-science zealot" for raising questions about Gardasil. He then joins Bachmann in anti-science zealot land by repeating unverified claims of "adverse reactions" to the vaccine and asserting that "no one is even sure whether the drug, peddled by Merck, is even effective at preventing HPV and, thus, reducing cervical cancer."
Later, Farah asserted again that "some doctors have even challenge the link between HPV and cervical cancer." But the only doctor WND has cited as making that claim is Christian Fiala, whom anti-abortion websites have denounced as "Austria’s most notorious abortionist," which makes WND's embrace of him rather curious.
Farah also takes a unrealistic view of adolescence by claiming, "HPV, like all other sexually transmitted diseases, can be prevented 100 percent of the time simply through abstinence from promiscuous sex by teenage girls." That fixation on female behavior -- Farah makes no mention of the role teenage boys play in spreading HPV -- is reminiscent of WND's obsession with female teachers who have sex with their students, which similarly ignores the behavior of male teachers.