Craig Bannister writes in a Jan. 25 CNSNews.com blog post:
Last night, Pres. Obama reaffirmed his determination to protect our country’s children from the dangers of mercury, despite his vigorous defense of a mandate that all Americans put more of it into their homes.
“I will not back down from protecting our kids from mercury poisoning,” Obama promised in last night’s State Of The Union address.
But, Pres. Obama, apparently, isn’t concerned with the health risk he’s subjecting Americans to by requiring them to put mercury light bulbs in their homes – a risk his own EPA even warns about on its Web site.
First, the light bulb efficiency law did not come from Obama -- it was passed by Congress in 2007 and signed into law by President Bush (a Republican, in case Bannister has forgotten).
Second, the law does "mandate" that "all Americans" use "mercury light bulbs" -- an apparent reference to compact fluorescent lights -- it simply mandates efficient bulbs. LED bulbs and halogen incandescent bulbs are both more efficient and do not contain mercury.
A Jan. 25 CNS "news" article by Elizabeth Harrington takes a similarly false tack, asserting that Obama supports "replacing the mercury-free incandescent light bulb with the Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb (CFL), which, when broken, can emit mercury vapor into the air." Harrington makes no mention of LED or halogen bulbs.
This is nothing but cheap -- and false -- fearmongering by a right-wing propaganda mill that cares nothing about the facts.
In a Jan. 23 NewsBusters post, Hadro cleverly spotted how "CNN's Kareen Wynter aired a gushing portrait of an openly-gay beauty pageant contestant, emphasizing her mission to "make a statement" about her orientation," thus continuing CNN's pattern of being "in the tank for gay rights."
On Jan. 26, Hadro's eagle eye found that CNN "aired a coming-out story that could have doubled as a promotional piece for the GLBT community." This happens to be "the openly-gay grandson of televangelist Oral Roberts." Hadro complained that, according to the grandson, "conservatives are wrong on gay marriage and his goal is to change their minds. And CNN gave him the air time to do exactly that."
Yeah, we wouldn't want people to learn something that may conflict with their beliefs, would we?
And really, Hadro has nothing better to do with his life than complain when gays appear on CNN?
Newsmax is also hammering away at Mitt Romney. A Jan. 27 article by Andrew Henry is a misleading attack on Romney by trying to link him to Goldman Sachs, which "received over $10 billion in emergency lending and bailouts from the Federal Reserve after the 2008 financial meltdown."
Henry wrote that Goldman Sachs is the "top donor" to the campaign, then states: "Goldman doesn’t contribute directly to candidates like Romney, but does so through its employees." Henry offers no evidence that Goldman contributes to Romney or any other candidate "throughs it employees." That used to be illegal, and it may still be. So Henry is accusing Goldman of behavior that may be illegal.
Late on Jan. 27, Newsmax posted an article by Dave Eberhart headlined "Romney Was Manager and Board Member of Corp Guilty of Medicare Fraud," noting that Romney's Bain Capital "purchased and ran the Damon Corporation, which pled guilty to Federal conspiracy charges -- as a result of tens of millions of dollars in systemic Medicare fraud."
This is a disingenuous attack by Newsmax, considering its own hypocritical record. As we detailed, in the 2010 Republican primary for Florida governor, Newsmax supported Bill McCallum against Rick Scott, about whom Newsmax raised the subject of Medicare fraud conducted while Scott headed the hospital firm Columbia/HCA. But when Scott defeated McCallum, Newsmax flip-flopped and endorsed Scott in the general election and was silent about the Medicare fraud stuff.
On The Radio Topic: Media Research Center
ConWebWatch's Terry Krepel will be appearing Saturday morning on Media Matters Radio to talk about the Media Research Center's new anti-media "Tell the Truth" campaign. It's on SiriusXM channel 127, starting at 10 a.m. ET.
WND's Farber Smears Journalists As Nazis, 'Wilders' Topic: WorldNetDaily
Barry Farber is way, way too excited about Newt Gingrich's attack on journalists who dare ask him about his background. From Farber's Jan. 24 WorldNetDaily column:
Just as Russia thought it was going to have an easy conquest of tiny Finland and Italy thought it would have an easy Greece and the assembled Arabs thought they’d have an easy Israel, John King opened the final South Carolina debate by solemnly detonating the Sleaze-Bomb – something like, “Your second wife, in an interview with ABC accused you of wanting an open marriage.” King fully expected Gingrich to fidget uncomfortably and offer a simpering re-affirmation that he’d “made mistakes” and “come to God.” Little did he expect Gingrich to smite him with the hammer of Thor. Newt sprang the length of his chain and sank his fangs into the hapless hide of, not just poor John King, but CNN, ABC and that whole rotten underbelly of the media. And the audience, including Romney supporters, went joyously insane.
Gingrich was in no mood to take prisoners. When John King desperately tried to wiggle out by protesting, “It wasn’t our network that did that interview!”, Newt chased him into his spider-hole. “John,” he said, “You CHOSE that to open with.” Two thoughts: Churchill said, “The Germans are always at your throat or at your feet.” Not even the World-War-II Germans could get from throat-to-feet as quickly as CNN’s John King. The other thought was the rampage of the teenage “wilders” in New York’s Central Park who left a fortunately-still-alive-and-recoverable female jogger for dead after a merciless attack. One of those young defendants when caught wailed in tones reminiscent of John King, “I didn’t do anything. I just held her legs!”
The infamy of our leftist media should be jack-hammered into America’s soul. Former presidential candidate John Kerry had a marital upscuddle. Did a major network plot to have that revealed two days before a major primary? Where was the outrage when Dan Rather tried to destroy President George W. Bush with phony documentation? The cessation of pain is a blessing. ABC’s George Stephanopolous should write a thank-you note to Newt Gingrich and John King for taking the spotlight and scorch-light away from his own insipid attempts to turn ABC’s debate into a trap for Mitt Romney.
Americans! Conservatives! Fair-minded folk everywhere. Please, HANG ON TO THIS VICTORY. Don’t let it become “One day on the campaign trail.” Lift it high. Let it be our Lexington-and-Concord, our Guadalcanal, our bust-out from the Bulge, our Mount Surabachi, our Battleship-Missouri-in-Tokyo-Bay.
Will the media elite be deterred by their defeat at Gingrich’s sharpened tongue-point? Farm boys learn not to relieve themselves upon electrified fences.
Farber tried to reel things back in at the end:
I don’t mean to paint my shameful colleagues as Nazis, wartime Japanese or vengeful Jihadists. They’re catastrophically misguided Americans. If elemental fairness can’t make them behave better to conservatives, maybe a few more Gingrich moments can.
Oh, please, Barry -- you absolutely meant to do that. You want the media to be afraid to criticize conservatives, a strategy that's better known as working the refs.
But let's not pretend, Barry, that you're less of a hack than those you criticize. You write for WND, after all, whose factually and ethically challenged policies and agendas you have no courage to criticize -- the very definition of hackery.
Another Year, Another Misleading MRC 'Tell the Truth!' Campaign Topic: Media Research Center
It's another election year, so you know what that means -- time for the Media Research Center to roll out another ineffective anti-media campaign.
As we've documented, previous "Tell the Truth!" campaigns have exempted the MRC itself from that truth-telling stuff. The 2010 campaign was particularly lame, with lots of billboard trucks and a poorly planned protest against the New York Times and NBC in New York.
This time around, the MRC is suggesting things will be different, with even more money thrown at this year's crusade:
Today, the Media Research Center announced the launch of a $5 million campaign to document and expose media bias and its role in the 2012 presidential election, including a $2.5 million advertising budget.
“Tell The Truth! 2012” is the largest effort the MRC has undertaken in its 25-year history. It will also be the largest social media effort ever undertaken by conservatives, via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, the blogosphere and the MRC’s own MRCTV.org.
Yes, there will be billboard trucks:
Billboards and mobile truck billboards planned for Charlotte, NC and Tampa, FL for the week of conventions; Washington DC for a month leading up to the November election
And no MRC press release would be complete without a Brent Bozell rant:
“It’s time for Americans to take a stand, once and for all, against this leftist media,” contends Brent Bozell, MRC President and Founder. “It’s time for Americans to stand up and declare, once and for all, that the leftwing so-called ‘news’ media are no longer going to pick winners and losers. It’s time for Americans to demand of our news media that they return to the business of reporting – accurately, fairly, honestly.”
Bozell cited examples of recent bias against GOP candidates today (Thursday) in a tele-news conference with national media reporters from around the country.
"Who was Michelle Obama sleeping with before Barack Obama? If you think that's an outrageous question -- and I'd agree -- then why did reporters ask it about Mrs. Santorum?"
"Reporters" actually means one reporter at Newsweek, who found out that before she married Rick Santorum, Karen Santorum had a six-year relationship with an abortion provider 40 years older than she was. It appears to have been an accurate, fair and honest report -- Bozell offers no evidence that it wasn't. As with Newt Gingrich's behavior toward his ex-wives, Bozell simply doesn't want the question asked. He wants no criticism whatsoever of conservatives.
Bozell's conflating this with looking into Michelle Obama's background is silly -- unlike with Karen Santorum, nobody's ever credibly accused Michelle of sleeping with an abortion doctor old enough to be her father, and if she did, it would certainly be as newsworthy as Karen Santorum's six-year dalliance.
Bozell misled again on purported attacks in a Jan. 26 CNSNews.com article on the crusade:
“It happened with Herman Cain--a hundred stories on the networks about his alleged dalliances, before a single source came forward," he said.
But we didn't need a source to "come forward" because we knew that Cain's then-employer, the National Restaurant Association, considered the accusations serious enough to pay settlements to two women.
Bozell concludes theMRC press release by saying that "the demand to the press is simple: 'Tell the truth. Be fair, honest and honorable.'" He should try that himself sometime.
Newsmax Splits Hairs to Whitewash Gingrich's Ethics Problems Topic: Newsmax
Newtmax -- er, Newsmax's Gingrich hype machine rolls on in a direction few fear to tread: explaining away Gingrich's ethics problems as House speaker.
A Jan. 25 article by local Republican shill David Patten engages in a huge game of hair-splitting:
Associates of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are stepping forward to rebut accusations from Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney that he resigned in “disgrace” and paid an ethics “fine.”
Gingrich insisted during a candidates debate Monday that reports he was fined $300,000 for House ethics violations are inaccurate and records back up his claim the payment was not a fine.
A Newsmax examination of the House Ethics Committee report, and the record of the House debate in January 1997 as recorded in the Congressional Record, supports Gingrich’s contention that the $300,000 he paid was a “reimbursement” or “sanction” related to legal fees, but not a fine or admission of any wrongdoing.
Many media accounts continue to refer to the payment as a fine, although the official Ethics Committee report on the matter, which the House accepted in its sanction of Gingrich, clearly indicated otherwise.
That'sd really what Patten's entire article -- insisting that the $300,000 was not a fine for a violation.
This was followed by a similar, unbylined article:
Despite ongoing allegations to the contrary, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was completely cleared by the Internal Revenue Service in February 1999 of politically driven allegations that he earned money by teaching a college course that was partisan rather than educational.
Newsmax also did another "exclusive interview" with Gingrich largely devoted to Obama-bashing, followed by an article on a "newly surfaced video" showing that 'no less a figure than Nancy Reagan asserted that President Ronald Reagan passed the “torch” of Reagan conservatism to Newt Gingrich — belying efforts by Mitt Romney supporters to cast Gingrich as anti-Reagan."
Newsmax really is completely in the tank for Gingrich, isn't it?
But if somebody holds the right-wing media to those same standards, NewsBusters freaks out.
Case in point: The Washington Post's Erik Wemple had the temerity to point out that conservative media outlets have all but ignored the story of a campaign manager for a Democratic congressional candidate in Arkansas whose cat was killed and the body found with the word "liberal" scrawled on it.
NewsBusters' P.J. Gladnick, in true MRC double standard form, didn't take too kindly to this criticism, even though the website he works for does the very same thing on a regular basis. In a Jan. 25 post, Gladnick quickly played the misdirection card, accusing the media of ignoring some other story convenient to right-wing talking points that is "much too chock full of actual facts," as opposed to "the liberal dead cat story in which the perpetrator (and motive) is still unknown."
Finally, Gladnick whined: "So tell me Mr. Wemple, just how many of those media outlets, including your own Washington Post, have yet to report on the very REAL political scandal in Iowa? When you find that answer, please send us a telegram."
NewsBusters just can't handle their own medicine, can they?
CNS Ratchets Up Its Slobbering Over Mark Levin Topic: CNSNews.com
It actually takes two writers -- Susan Jones and Greg Gwyn-Williams -- to crank out a painfully fluffy Jan. 24 CNSNews.com article carrying the headline "1,500 ‘Very Pleasant’ People Wait in Snow for Mark Levin Book-Signing." And yes, the article is really all about how nice the people waiting in line for a Levin book-signing are.
The article is illustrated with pictures taken from Levin's website, so one has to wonder if Levin paid for this press release-esque placement.
This was followed by a blog post by Craig Bannister touting how Levin leads a group of three right-wing writers topping "the Barnes & Noble adult, nonfiction, hardcover bestseller list." That's right -- Bannister has to wander all the way over to B&N to find a bestseller list that conformed to his ideology.
This, in turn, was followed by a Jan. 26 article by Susan Jones declaring that Levin's book will debut at number one on the New York Times Best Seller list--in four different nonfiction categories."
All of this comes in the wake of CNS editor Terry Jeffrey's fawning interview of Levin last week.
WND's Corsi Curiously Silent About His Birther Debate Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've previously noted how WorldNetDaily is trying to ignore the existence of John Woodman's book debunking birther conspiracies, and that WND's Jerome Corsi has refused to debate Woodman over birther claims. The former remains true, but Corsi pulled an about-face on the latter.
Woodman reported that Corsi changed his mind and would debate Woodman on a radio show. That show aired Jan. 21, and audio is available here.
Corsi has curiously continued to refuse to acknowledge Woodman's existence at WND -- even though Corsi now obviously knows about Woodman and his book. He's not the only one: Woodman has reported that most birther outlets faild to report on the debate.
Why would Corsi keep up the act? Are he and WND really that afraid to let their readers that their views have been credibly rebutted? It certainly undermines any claim they have made that they are only interested in the truth -- it appears they're really only interested in attacking Obama.
One could assume that had Corsi found a way to discredit Woodman, he would have told us by now. But he didn't -- which is probably why Corsi has stayed silent.
Trump-Fluffer Kessler Attacks Obama As 'Elitist' Topic: Newsmax
What is Ronald Kessler's big takeaway from Jodi Kantor's book on the Obamas, as expressed in his Jan. 23 Newsmax column?
"The book confirms that Obama is an elitist."
Really? The guy who's so enamored of the Palm Beach social scene he wrote an entire book about it, and who serves as the fawning press agent for Donald Trump's presidential ambitions, is complaining that Obama is an "elitist"?
You know, the guy on the left in this photo?
Yep, that's our elitist-basher, believe it or not.
CNS Promotes Dubious Claim That AL Immigration Law Lowered Unemployment Topic: CNSNews.com
A Jan. 23 CNSNews.com article by Bill Hobbs carries the headline "Alabama's Unemployment Rate Plummets In Wake Of Tougher Illegal Immigration Laws."
Just one problem: Despite Hobbs' repeated suggestion that there is an "intriguing possibility" that the Draconian law is causing Alabama's unemployment rate to decline faster than surrounding states, there's no actual evidence to back it up.
In fact, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, who supports the immigration law, says there's no evidence to support any effect the law has had on the unemployment rate. Hobbs also ignores the fact that one documented factor in the lower unemployment rate is that the labor force has declined at a faster rate than jobs have been created.
Is NewsBusters Writer Auditioning For WND? Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters' Rusty Weiss embraced his inner WorldNetDaily and cranked out a Jan. 22 screed headlined "Yes, Liberalism IS a Mental Disorder." In the process he name-checks right-wing ranter amd WND fave Michael Savage and "board-certified clinical psychologist" Lyle Rossiter, who "diagnosed the ideology of the left as a tangible mental illness" (which WND has heavily promoted).
Weiss then declares that liberals suffer from "narcissistic personality disorder," “a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration.” Weiss adds: "This seems in tune with the fact that liberals, along with their degenerate offspring, the Occupy Wall Street movement, believe their policies and platforms fall in the majority - or the 99% if you will - despite being outnumbered by conservatives at a 2-1 clip."
This is all right-wing catnip, of course. But what does any of this have to do with the Media Research Center's purported mission of being a media watchdog? Nothing that we can see.
Somehow, we suspect that Weiss will be getting a very complementary outreach from Joseph Farah and Co. in the very near future. After all, WND has had the longtime corner on unhinged liberal-bashing, and Weiss' column is little more than a WND audition.
WND Doesn't Want to Tout Farah's Endorsement of Santorum Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Jan. 20 WorldNetDaily article touts how Rick Santorum has "earned the support of dozens of key conservative leaders around the nation, from Family Talk radio founder James Dobson to Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Preparedness."
Missing from that paragraph: WND editor Joseph Farah.
In fact, you don't learn of Farah's endorsement of Santorum until his designated place in the alphabetical list of endorsers at the end of the article. That's an unusual show of restraint on the part of WND, which normally loves to proclaim when any remotely mainstream group takes it remotely seriously.
Of course, if you've been reading Farah's column, you already had a pretty good idea about this.
In his Jan. 15 column, Farah praised the group of evangelicals who met in that secret confab outside of Houston, claiming that "they came together in the spirit of seeking God’s direction – and I think most believe they found it." Farah's column carried a Houston dateline, the biggest giveaway that he was a part of this group.
The next day, Farah penned another column bearing a Houston dateline, again portraying the evangelicals' meeting as "inspiring," this time providing advice to Santorum on how to attract Ron Paul's supporters (embrace his anti-government domestic policy, ignore his statements on foreign policy and his "nonsensical, ostrich-like positions on same-sex marriage").
On Jan. 18, Farah again defended the confab, responding to aWashington Times article suggesting that the meeting "was 'manipulated' to result in an endorsement of Rick Santorum, perhaps to the point of permitting ballot stuffing":
I’m here to tell you the meeting was not manipulated to favor Santorum.
I was invited to participate like anyone else. I had not decided to endorse Rick Santorum to get such an invitation. In fact, I went with a different agenda entirely – deeply skeptical that any consensus for one candidate could be found in a two-day meeting.
I know most of the people who participated. They are honorable people who conducted themselves in an honorable fashion. I don’t know anyone at that meeting who would even think of stuffing ballots. It wouldn’t even be a temptation for them.
It is an insult to everyone present at that meeting to make such a suggestion.
For two days, the gathering on the ranch of Judge Paul Pressler talked about nothing else but religion and politics. Some obviously left the meeting disappointed in the result. But no one should be disappointed in the process – and no dissatisfaction with the process was expressed by any participant.
My congratulations to the organizers of the meeting for calling it and conducting it so honorably. My congratulations also to Rick Santorum for winning the hearts of minds of a group of opinionated people – many of whom did not attend planning to offer him their support.
What does Farah's embrace of Santorum mean for WND? Well, obviously, since Farah believes he's now on a mission from God, we now have the new candidate WND will be biased for.
In WND's case, that means slagging Santorum's opponents. A Jan. 19 article recounts the allegations of Gingrich's second ex-wife, and a Jan. 21 article by Michael Carl claims that "political analysts from at least three think tanks" think Romney is a tax-and-spend liberal.
Still, WND has been strangely low-key about Farah's endorsement. Perhaps they realize that if they say too loudly that the head of a conspiracy-obsessed, birther-driven website chosen a candidate, it wouldn't make that candidate look very good.
Bozell And His MRC Try to Undermine Marianne Gingrich's Credibility (Unlike With Paula Jones) Topic: Media Research Center
In addition to glomming on to Newt Gingrich's anti-media crusade to the point of condoning adultery by declaring Gingrich's past off-limits, Brent Bozell and his Mecdia Research Center has moved onto the next step of defending Gingrich: attacking Marianne Gingrich for making inconvenient and unflattering allegations about her ex-husband.
Appearing on the Jan. 20 edition of CNBC's "Kudlow Report," Bozell questioned whether Marianne's allegations were "newsworthy." Then insisting he wasn't "passing any aspersions on the former Mrs. Gingrich," he said "How do we know? ... This is one woman's opinion, and there's no quantifying evidence on this on the other end. How do we know that her statement is true?"
Then, on the same day's edition of Fox News' Hannity, Bozell again asserted the story wasn't "newsworthy," declaring, ""there's nothing -- let me underscore, nothing -- in the story last night that wasn't in that interview."
NewsBusters associate editor Noel Sheppard followed his boss' lead in a Jan. 23 NewsBusters post, denouncing "decades old charges by a bitter ex-wife."
This raises the question: Did Bozell or the MRC raise similar red flags about sexual allegations made against liberal politicians? Not that we're aware of.
Take the example of Paula Jones, who accused Bill Clinton of sexual allegations. Unlike Marianne Gingrich, who made her comments from the point of view of an 18-year marriage, Jones was speaking about an alleged proposition. There was "no quantifying evidence on this on the other end," as Bozell demanded in the Gingrich story, and Jones was clearly acting as a front for enemies of Clinton.
Yet Bozell -- like Jones' backers, an enemy of Clinton -- insisted on vouching for Jones' veracity. In a 1997 column, Bozell complained that Jones was being discredited, and dismissed the idea that she was fronting for Clinton-haters:
What's most striking about the Paula Jones story is how uncomplicated it is for a reporter. ... So it's one of two things: either Jones and her six confederates hatched a massive conspiracy designed to get Clinton to apologize (and nothing else), or she's telling the truth. That the media would not explore and report this simple reality shows they were active participants in Clinton damage control.
Similarly, the MRC teased Tim Graham's 1996 book "Pattern of Deception" as demonstrating "How the media campaigned to discredit Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, and Troopergate."
As with defending an adulterous candidate, this is all a massive flip-flop -- Bozell is once again throwing away principles he once claimed to have in order to make a political argument. He gave Paula Jones the benefit of the doubt; why not Marianne Gingrich? If she's "bitter" over her treatment by Newt, as Sheppard claims, doesn't she have a right to be?
By embracing Newt Gingrich and trying to smear his critics no matter how credible they appear to be, Bozell is throwing away any moral grounds he has to make an argument.