Shocker: Newsmax Conducts Friendly Interview With Romney Topic: Newsmax
Given Newsmax's repeatedattacks on Mitt Romney -- as part of being in the tank for Newt Gingrich -- you'd think that when it got Romney alone for an interivew, it would go heavy and hostile.
But Newsmax's Feb. 10 interview with Romney is pretty tame. Kathleen Walter tosses mostly softballs; some potentially controversial issues are raised, such as Romney's commitment to conservatism and concerns about negative campaigning, but Walter frames them, as the rest of the questions, in a open-ended, how-do-you-respond format. That allows Romney to give a largely canned answer, and Walter doesn't probe Romney further, simply moving on to the next question.
So, why is Newsmax being nice to Romney all of a sudden? Is it preparing for the apparent inevitability of Romney being the nominee and the shilling it will eventually do for him in the fall campaign? After all, Newsmax quickly flip-flopped in the 2010 Florida governor's race, bashing the Republican who ran against its preferred candidate then, when the preferred candidate lost, supported the winner during the general election and ignored all the nasty things it said about him during the primary.
MRC Complains That NY Times Article On CPAC Uses The Word 'Conservative' Topic: Media Research Center
We are not making this up. From a Feb. 10 NewsBusters post by Clay Waters:
New York Times reporters Michael Shear (pictured) and Erik Eckholm filed an 1,189-word dispatch Friday from the Conservative Political Action Conference, the conservapalooza held annually in Washington, D.C. Perhaps caught up in the excitement, the reporters committed some amusing label overload: “Romney Takes Conservative Leaders’ Questions in Bid to ‘Reconnect’” contains 22 examples of the word “conservative,” the headline making 23.
Fifteen of those 22 incidents are descriptions of groups and individuals by the reporters themselves. By way of comparison, the common conjunction “and” appears 24 times.
That's right -- Waters is complaining that a story on a gathering of conservatives -- which has the word "conservative" in its name -- uses the word "conservative."
The MRC hasmade this sort of nonsensical complaint before.
Birther Diana West Complains About Being Dismissed As A Birther Topic: WorldNetDaily
In her Feb. 10 WorldNetDaily column, Diana West pretends to be shocked that "I can feel the chill hiss of 'birther' at the mere mention of these events" that she writes about. But she's gone birther before, and that's likely the reason WND runs her column.
West is writing about the Georgia court hearing in which the birthers couldn't even win despite the Obama side refusing to put up a defense. She praises how "Orly Taitz – object of an eternity’s worth of “two-minute hates” within the media mob – introduced evidence that the 44th president of the United States has engaged in what appears to be identity fraud." She continues:
Such evidence, as gleaned from a partial list of exhibits introduced in the hearing and published at the American Thinker website, included affidavits from security professionals and other documentation attesting that Obama is using a Connecticut Social Security number (he never lived in Connecticut); that Obama’s purported Social Security number was never issued to him; and that – my favorite – his Social Security number “does not pass E-Verify.” Another affidavit from an Adobe Illustrator expert maintains that Obama’s birth certificate, released last spring to much hype and ballyhoo, is a computer-generated forgery.
West has to ignore a lot of reality to think this stuff is somehow important. This includes the fact that prominent birther lawyer Phil Berg has shot down the idea that Obama is using a fraudulent Social Security number, that being a "Adobe Illustrator expert" is irrelevant when the PDF of Obama's birth certificate the birthers have spent so much time deconstructing was not created in Adobe Illustrator, and that people like Taitz who have made Obama's Social Security number so public are likely violating the law.
Yet, West whines that Obama should be held in "contempt of court" for not participating in the hearing. But West completely ignores the judge's ruling in the case, which found that "The Court finds testimony of the witnesses, as well as the exhibits tendered, to be of little, if any, probative value, and thus wholly insufficient to support Plaintiffs’ allegations."
West also makes this nonsensical statement:
Frankly, I was unimpressed with the presidential defense in pre-hearing arguments. For example, Jablonski tried to deflect the Social Security issue – which, after all, raises serious questions of fraud – by pointing out that “nothing in the Constitution makes … participating in Social Security a prerequisite to serving as president.” (So what’s a little felonious fraud?) On the “citizenship issue,” Jablonski declared the issue was “soundly rejected by 69,456,897 Americans in the 2008 elections, as it has been by every judicial body” since. Is he saying that a lot of votes or previous court actions nullify the legal merits of any new proceeding? I’m no lawyer, but that doesn’t seem like much of a legal argument.
Um, actually, previous court actions can nullify the legal merits of any new proceeding -- like Ankeny v. Daniels, which previously addressed many of the arguments on the Obama birther issue.
Dear Ms. West: There's a reason people dismiss you as a birther -- because you are.
Petulant Bozell, Denied Speaking Slot, Pulls MRC Out of CPAC Topic: Media Research Center
We already know that Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell is a petulant jerk. How petulant? He just withdrew the MRC from the Conservative Political Action Conference because he wasn't granted a prominent speaking slot.
Sources tell The Daily Caller that the Media Research Center, a conservative media watchdog located in a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C., withdrew from the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday because its president, Brent Bozell, was not offered a “prominent” speaking slot at the annual conference.
MRC political director Christian Robey sent a staff-wide email Friday to employees making the announcement, and instructing staff not to attend any of the conference’s events. (RELATED: Full coverage of CPAC)
We have pulled out of CPAC. Please adjust your schedules accordingly and do not attend any CPAC events.
Kristi Campbell, a CPAC spokeswoman, confirmed that the MRC had withdrawn over the speaking slot.
“We offered Brent Bozell the opportunity to participate as a moderator and speaker of one of our events,” she said. “He chose not to accept that opportunity.”
No MRC website has reported this news, even though it occured several hours ago. Still, there is a sideshow over this going on in the form of a low-level Twitter fight between Jeff Poor, the Daily Caller writer who wrote the above report, and MRC researcher Matthew Balan, seemingly centered on Poor not disclosing that he formerly worked for the MRC.
If you'll recall, the MRC refused to participate in CPAC last year over its inclusion of a gay-conservative group (which was banned from this year's festivities). As we detailed, the MRC let WorldNetDaily break that news while not acknowledging it on its own websites until after CPAC was over.
MRC Suddenly Hates Leno, For Some Reason Topic: Media Research Center
We're not sure what triggered this, exactly, but the Media Research Center has suddenly decided that it hates Jay Leno.
In a Feb. 9 NewsBusters post, the MRC's Brad Wilmouth was offended that Leno "wondered why the Republican Party became so interested in social issues and theorized that a moderate Republican should be able to get elected President, as he suggested that a Republican who is liberal on social issues might appeal to someone like himself who 'couldn't care less about social issues.'" Oh, and "Leno made a crack about Republicans being afraid of condoms."
Meanwhile, over at the MRC's Culture & Media Institute, Paul Wilson went on a tirade about how "Leno declared that those who wish to defend the sanctity of marriage" -- which is right-wing-speak for opposing same-sex marriage -- "should 'ban Kardashian weddings.'" Wilson went on to assert that Leno was "mocking the sanctity of marriage" -- which, of course, he wasn't.
The bigger problem is that Wilson apparently believes that Kardashian-style blink-and-you'll-miss-it marriage is somehow more sacred than any relationship that involves a same-sex couple. That's the "sanctity" Wilson believes in?
Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House, had been prepared to ask two questions, but was not allowed.
He had wanted to ask: “On Sunday, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni wrote that Mormonism has jettisoned ‘a ban on black clergy members that was in place until 1978.’ Question. Does the White House believe this is an accurate report?”
He also wanted to ask, “Does the White House believe that Wikipedia is wrong in reporting that Elijah Able, a black Mormon, received the LDS priesthood in the 19th century, as did his son in 1900 and grandson in 1935.”
Yes, Kinsolving really was planning to ask about this.
As perusual, WND dubiously framed this as White House press secretary Jay Carney deliberately "declin[ing] to allow a question about issues that could play a role, even if subconsciously, in the 2012 election – that of being black and Mormon." As per usual, WND offers no evidence whatsoever that Carney knew the question Kinsolving was going to ask (let alone any evidence that the history of blacks in Mormonism "could play a role, even if subconsciously, in the 2012 election").
Perhaps Kinsolving should be thankful to Carney -- after all, by not taking this question, Carney saved him from yet another bout of embarrassing public behaviorl
NewsBusters' Sheppard Gets It Wrong in Attacking Maddow Topic: NewsBusters
In a Feb. 5 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard asserts that Rachel Maddow "falsely claimed" that Rick Santorum says that he would like states to be able to make contraception illegal." But the truth is more complicated -- and Maddow is less false -- than Sheppard portrays it.
Sheppard concedes that Santorum is opposed to Griswold v. Connecticut, the 1965 Supreme Court decision that struck down a ban on contraception. That alone confirms Maddow's statement, since repeal of Griswold would, in fact, allow states to make contraception illegal.
Sheppard, however, takes refuge in Santorum's subsequent statements that he would be opposed to states actually outlawing contraception as the basis for claiming that Maddow is wrong. But that's irrelevant to the claim at hand. Santorum has, by opposing Griswold, stated that he wants states to have the right to ban contraception; whether he wants states to actually exercise such a right is immaterial.
In short: Maddow is right and Sheppard is wrong.
Wouldn't it be nice if people like Sheppard would tell the truth when they're on a popular blog, or is that asking too much?
Newsmax Repeats Falsehoods To Claim Jobless Numbers Are 'Manipulated' Topic: Newsmax
A Feb. 7 Newsmax article by Andrew Henry repeats a discredited falsehood to claim that recently released jobless numbers have been "manipulated."
The same Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report that showed unemployment dropping to 8.3 percent showed total workforce participation — the number of people either working or looking for work — declining by 1.2 million people in one month.
Tyler Durden of Zerohedge.com writes: “It appears that the people not in the labor force exploded by an unprecedented record 1.2 million.”
In fact, as we pointed out the last time Newsmax did this, the Bureau of Labor Statistics adjusted its methodology in January to incorporate demographic data gathered in the 2010 census, causing that statistical anomaly. Time further explains:
The January unemployment report, I had been forewarned by BLS, was the first to be based on models using 2010 census figures. (All these numbers are guestimations based on surveys of smaller samples taken around the country). A big shift up or down in the unemployment rate, I thought, could be explained by the change in the overall population of the country, reflected in the census numbers.
But the census adjustments actually work against my theory and that of the Obama-detractors. The demographic adjustments had no effect on the unemployment rate, says Mary Bowler, the resident expert in these matters at the BLS. And when it comes to labor force estimates, the steep jump in the number of those not seeking work came entirely from the census adjustment, which added 1.25 million people to that group. If you take out the census adjustment, the labor force numbers stayed essentially the same, as reflected by the labor force participation rate of 63.7%. In other words, the spike in the number of people no longer looking for work is entirely the result of some people at the Labor Department adding numbers to their spread sheets rather than an actual observed shift anywhere in the real economy.
That explanation puts the lie to another assertion Henry made, quoting someone as claiming that "there has been no major change in how the rate is calculated in over a decade."
Henry also rather stupidly throws in this quote:
“If you hold the workforce participation rate constant over the past year, unemployment would be about 8.9 percent instead of 8.3 percent,” GOP economist Matt McDonald of Hamilton Place Strategies said Monday on CNBC’s Squawk Box. "So it is a weird number that is out there, and I think people have to be looking at that carefully.”
But constant workforce participation rates are not how unemployment rates are calculated; they are calculated using the participation rate for the month in question.
Henry's inclusion of this statement shows that Newsmax is more interested in a partisan attack on Obama than fairly reporting the news.
Joseph Farah (!) Complains About Plagiarism Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Feb. 7 WorldNetDaily article attacks the British newspaper the Daily Mail for "publishing a copycat version" of Reza Kahlili's fearmongering attack on Iran without giving WND credit. The article includes this quote from WND editor Joseph Farah: "I have been working in daily newspapers and journalism for more than 35 years, yet I have rarely witnessed such shameless and blatant plagiarism in my life."
The MRC's Media-Hating Thugs Topic: Media Research Center
Los Angeles Times reporter Ashley Powers tells of her experience of being kicked out of a Nevada presidential caucus meeting simply for being a reporter, even though she had the right to be there:
After about 10 speakers touted their presidential favorites – most of them backed Mitt Romney – the caucus chairwoman, whose name I didn’t catch, announced that no reporters were allowed in the room. The voters sitting near me, who knew I was a reporter, called out that I was taking notes.
The caucus chair, who was standing at the front of the room, repeated: No. Press. Allowed. I said that wasn’t true and held up my press pass.
The chair asked who I was.
“Ashley Powers from the Los Angeles Times.”
To understand what happened next, some context is in order. There is a wing of the Nevada GOP that is very concerned – critics would say paranoid – about outside forces messing with the balloting process.
Awhile back, state party officials suggested registering voters on caucus day. The same tactic handed Democrats 30,000 new voters in 2008, and helped pave the way for President Obama’s commanding victory in the state. But some members of the Nevada Republican Party, convinced same-day registration would lead to voter fraud, protested furiously enough to kill the proposal.
So the verdict on my presence was loud, and near-unanimous.
“You’re a bunch of liars!” someone shouted.
“Spy! She’s a spy!” someone else said.
A woman waved a button at me, which said: DON’T BELIEVE THE LIBERAL MEDIA.
Tough crowd, I thought.
Then a man walked over to me and said if I didn’t leave, he’d call security. So I left the room while voters cast their ballots.
"Don't Believe the Liberal Media" is, of course, the mantra of the Media Research Center, and that button the caucus-goer menacingly waved at the reporter presumably came from the MRC.
The MRC loves it when its signs carrying the phrase pop up in the media it hates. Is the MRC proud that is slogan was used to intimidate a reporter? We suspect they are, though this instance probably won't be touted at NewsBusters.
Engendering hatred of the media, after all, is what the MRC is all about.
WND Promotes Anti-Obama Banner Flown Over Enclosed Stadium Topic: WorldNetDaily
Remember when WorldNetDaily was so proud of flying a birther banner that few people would see because the flyover took place above an enclosed stadium (and then so proud of the ridicule WND generated for this failure of logic that it was desperately spun as meaning that the stunt worked)?
Well, they're at it again.
A Feb. 6 WND article by Bob Unruh touts how an "Imeach Obama Now" banner "was in the sky over the Super Bowl, in a banner sponsored by a couple of dozen individuals who gathered under the Stop Obama Now slogan." Unruh doesn't mention the inconvenient fact that Lucas Oil Stadium is enclosed; he tries to spin away this failure by emphasizing that the banner was flown around "for several hours in view of tailgate parties, downtown Indianapolis and along freeways before the game started."
Unruh ups the ludicrousness factor by portraying this meaningless, wasteful stunt as having the same value as the ads that ran on TV during the game, which were seen by millions:
Sometimes as much hype is created over the advertisements during the Super Bowl as the game itself, and this year it was Ferris Bueller and Honda, Audi and its vampires, Coke, Pepsi, Clint Eastwood and Chrysler, Donald Trump and Century 21, Skechers, Best Buy and impeachment.
Sorry, Bob, but that's a desperate reach even by WND standards.
NEW ARTICLE -- The Great Gingrich Hype Machine, Part 2: Newtmax! Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax ramped up the Gingrich-fluffing in the runup to the Republican presidential primary in its home state of Florida -- to little effect. Plus: Donald Trump heaps one final indignity on Newsmax. Read more >>
WND Publishes Activist's Fearmongering About Iran As 'News' Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily published a Feb. 5 "news" article by Reza Kahlili claiming that "The Iranian government, through a website proxy, has laid out the legal and religious justification for the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of its people." Unmentioned by WND: Kahlili is a fearmongerer people usually laugh at.
According to the Washington Post (h/t Media Matters), Kahlili is actually a pseudonym -- WND declares him to be "a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. He has a history of making wild claims involving Iran:
Reza Kahlili, a self-proclaimed former CIA "double agent" inside Iran's Revolutionary Guards, appeared in disguise at a Washington think tank Friday claiming that Iran has developed weapons-grade uranium and missiles ready to carry nuclear warheads.
The pseudonymous Kahlili, whose previous accounts have been greeted with widespread skepticism, also said Iran was planning nuclear suicide bombings with "a thousand suitcase bombs spread around Europe and the U.S."
Several current and former U.S. intelligence officials in the audience "rolled their eyes" at Kahlili's claims, said one observer who was present.
Some in attendance compared Kahlili with Ahmed Chalabi, the former Iraqi exile who helped convince the George W. Bush administration that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. After the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the claims were proved false.
CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano, who was not present, challenged the some of Kahlili's implications.
"As our government as a whole has made clear, Iran's nuclear program is a high-priority security issue. It would be wrong for anyone to suggest that the United States doesn't recognize that."
There's no indication that WND made any effort to verify Kahlili's claims.
Accuracy in Media will honor Dana Loesch and Sharyl Attkisson for their outstanding contributions to journalism in a ceremony taking place at the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference. The Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Award is named for AIM’s founder, who was America’s original media watchdog.
“Accuracy in Media could not be more excited about the 2012 Reed Irvine Awards,” Chairman Don Irvine said. “AIM continues to be impressed with the leadership Dana Loesch has shown to grassroots citizen journalists. Her fearless challenges to biased media narratives are fine examples of citizens rising up in the name of fairness and accuracy. Loesch represents the essence of our Grassroots Journalism Award.
“For much of her 30 year career as a news anchor and reporter, Sharyl Attkisson has offered a clear example of what an investigative journalist should be doing. She has flown in a B-52 on a combat mission over Kosovo, shed light on TARP, dared to report on Operation Fast and Furious and has recently exposed dubious green energy loans from the Obama Administration. We are honored to present her with the Investigative Journalism Award.”
In the tradition of such previous recipients as Tucker Carlson and Ken Timmerman and Andrew Breitbart and Marc Morano, AIM has picked another set of real winners for its most prestigious (if you can call it that) award. As Media Matters details, Attkisson has promoted the discredited theory that vaccines cause autism and issued a factually deficient report on purported "New Solyndras" which included companies that hadn't received federal money and companies that hadn't actually gone bankrupt.