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Saturday, October 27, 2012
NewsBusters Upset (Again) That A Republican Got Fact-Checked
Topic: NewsBusters

The Media Research Center has never been a stickler for context -- when it comes to claims about liberals, anyway. By contrast, it demands proper context when it comes to conservatives.

We see that again in an Oct. 19 NewsBusters post by Randy Hall, who's upset that PolitiFact Ohio put a claim made by a Republican candidate in its proper context.

What happened is that PolitiFact Ohio rated as "mostly false" a claim by Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel that his Democratic opponent, incumbent Sherrod Brown, "missed over 350 official votes" as a congressman. PolitiFact points out that the claim ignores the facts that the number of missed votes is a small number compared to the more than 10,000 or so votes Brown did take part in, and that most of those missed votes were due to injuries suffered in a car accident.

But Hall doesn't care about context -- he insists that the claim is "true" and that PolitiFact Ohio is engaging in "media bias" by telling the full truth about Mandel's claim. He goes on to repeat claims by a Mandel spokesman that "Brown's missed-vote ratio is higher than the median rate for all members of Congress, which is 2.5 percent, while Brown's rate is 3 percent."

Hall also ranted that "PolitiFact Ohio has often trumpeted information and statistics that favor Brown over Mandel, such as stating that the Democratic candidate supposedly tells the truth two-thirds of the time while the Republican lies two-thirds of the time," adding that "fact-checking is rapidly becoming just another way for liberals to vent their venom regarding Republican candidates." In reality, right-wingers like Hall and his fellow NewsBusters have engaged in a war on fact-checkers simply for having the audacity to fact-check what Republicans say.

Hall seems rather desperate to take refuge in a misleading claim. It's just another example of how the MRC really doesn't want anyone to tell the truth about Republicans.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:01 AM EDT
Friday, October 26, 2012
NewsBusters' Double Standard on Reporting Insults
Topic: NewsBusters

In an Oct. 25 NewsBusters post, Matt Hadro frets that CNN "still hasn't covered" how "a Democratic Senate candidate insulted CNN's Candy Crowley by joking to a male debate moderator 'You're prettier than her.'"

Funny, we can't seem to find anywhere on NewsBusters -- or any other Media Research Center-operated outlet -- any mention of Ann Coulter viciously insulting President Obama by calling him "the retard."

Coulter's website is linked on NewsBusters' front page, and NewsBusters publishes Coulter's columns.

Coulter's insult is one that even right-wingers like Michelle Malkin (also an MRC-published columnist) have denounced, but the MRC can't be moved to even mention it, let alone criticize it. It's an act of moral cowardice on par with the MRC's refusal to criticize Rush Limbaugh for calling Sandra Fluke a "slut."

Given the Media Research Center's jihad against Crowley and the other debate moderators, you'd think Hadro wouldn't have any problem with her being insulted.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:55 AM EDT
Thursday, October 25, 2012
MRC's Graham Has A 'Gay Agenda' Freakout
Topic: NewsBusters

In an Oct. 21 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham has a fit over a Washington Post "puff piece" about Ellen DeGeneres winning the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain Award. Why? Because it suggested that DeGeneres' talk show doesn't have a "gay agenda." Graham ranted in response:

As usual, you have the distinct impression that liberals have a reaction for the social-conservative viewpoint: they want it punched in the face. The Post certainly won't give it more than two words of insult. Their denial that there's anything called a "gay agenda" is a denial of reality, and a denial of everything lobbies like GLAAD or the Human Rights Campaign are doing in America.

Needless to say, Graham never describes what this "gay agenda" is. The only example of how this supposed "gay agenda" can be found in DeGeneres' talk show is an anecdote about how she" put on a couple of little red-headed boys, and one said he favored the president, because "Barack Obama said that men and men can marry each other and woman and woman can marry each other and I think that’s right." 

That's it. One example out of 11 years of shows. But apparently, according to Graham, the mere fact that DeGeneres is gay is enough evidence of a sinister "gay agenda."

UPDATE: Fixed name of newspaper.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:44 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, October 26, 2012 5:59 PM EDT
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Fact-Checking the Fact-Challenged Seton Motley
Topic: NewsBusters

Seton Motley has a growing reputation for falsely smearing General Motors in his NewsBusters post, and he continues to live up to it.

In an Oct. 18 NewsBusters post, Motley ironically attacks former auto czar Steven Rattner for allegeldy having "a bit of a problem telling the truth." Of course, it's Motley who actually has that problem.

He attacks GM for selling the electric Chevy Volt at discount prices -- even though that's standard business practice for dealing with slow-selling inventory.

Motley goes on to attack Rattner for wanting to eliminate previous practice of maintaining "over-bloated inventories on dealers’ lots," then links to newspaper articles citing high inventories of GM pickup trucks.

But Motley fails to explain why pickup inventories are elevated: As these industry websites note, the GM plants that make trucks are being shut down for several weeks in order to retool the assembly lines for a redesigned model, and production was increased prior to the shutdown in order to make sure dealers didn't run out of trucks while the plants were shut down.

Motley serves up even more huffy disingenuousness in an Oct. 23 post, in which he ranted: "Good thing President Obama separated us from our $85 billion - allegedly to “create or save” jobs.  Mostly foreign jobs, but.... And as we’ve seen with Ford, no government bailout money was necessary to preserve a gi-normous member of the American auto industry."

Actually, that $85 billion wasn't given to GM alone -- it was also given to Chrysler and other auto parts suppliers. Much of that money has been paid back, and how much the bailout ultimately costs -- probably less than $25 billion -- depends on how much the government can get for its remaining stake in GM.

And while Ford did not take any bailout money, the company benefited from it. Ford CEO Alan Mulally told Fox News last month that without the bailout, a failed GM and Chrysler "could have taken down the industry and th U.S. economy from a recession to a depression," and that the entire auto industry "would have been in real trouble."

So: More dishonesty from Seton Motley. Anyone surprised?


Posted by Terry K. at 6:08 PM EDT
Noel Sheppard Whiffs on Conspiracy Theory Over Libya Attack
Topic: NewsBusters

The increasingly discredited NewsBusters associate editor Noel Sheppard decided to go conpsiratorial in an Oct. 20 NewsBusters post, Sheppard rants about NPR's Nina Totenberg saying that "There'd be no reason to send [United Nations Ambassador] Susan Rice out to lie if she was going to get exposed immediately" regarding the the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya:

Actually, I can think of numerous reasons.

First, the Obama administration believed – rightfully so! - that their media would take what Rice said hook, line, and sinker, especially weeks away from Election Day.

If this were to happen, the White House could create the illusion that this attack was all about protests associated with an anti-Muslim movie trailer and therefore deflect all blame and scrutiny.

The upside is that Obama's foreign policy credentials due to the assassination of bin Laden would remain intact, and he could continue saying on the campaign trail that al Qaeda has been decimated.

This is exactly why Rice, Obama, and other White House officials stuck to this “the movie caused it all” story for as long as they did.

Regardless of the number of holes that are now being revealed in this canard, so-called journalists like Totenberg aren't quite ready to give up the ghost.

They're probably hoping just as the administration is that they can hold this fallacy in place for another sixteen days and not have to really come clean to the American people until after the election.

As such, journalism really is dead, isn't it?

Actually, the only thing that's dead is Sheppard's ability to keep up with the news and examine things fairly. As he was writing that screed, his little conspiracy was getting blown up.

As first reported by the Washington Post's David Ignatius and confirmed by the Wall Street Journal, talking points prepared by the CIA on Sept. 15, the day that Rice did the rounds of Sunday morning talk shows, stated that the attack wasthe result of a spontaneous protest, and the CIA continued to push that view internally until Sept. 22.

Sheppard needs to do better research if he's going to peddle conspiracy theories like that. He's such an amateur -- yet he hold an editor's title at NewsBusters.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:35 AM EDT
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Tim Graham Still Hates Daniel Ellsberg, For Some Reason
Topic: NewsBusters

Tim Graham was in the mddile of an Oct. 19 NewsBusters rant about the Washington Post review of the the documentary "Hating Breitbart" and its pointing out that "Breitbart's Web sites specialized in showing people behaving stupidly, which is (or should be) a relatively small part of what professional journalists do" -- something Graham doesn't contradict beyond whining about it -- when he added: "The Post's movie reviewers prefer radical-left rabble-rousers -- like Daniel Ellsberg. Forty years after his heyday, Ellsberg was still 'astonishingly germane.'"

Huh? What does Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, have to do with any of this?

Graham links to a 2010 post he wrote about a Post review of a documentary about Ellsburg, in which he calls Ellsberg a "America-bashing radical leftist whistleblower,' going on to rant: "Ellsberg isn’t a leftist to the Post. He’s a 'consciousness-raiser.' He’s one of those leftists who thinks the public is largely un-conscious."

Graham's dragging Ellsberg into the conversation actually ends up demostrating how correct the Post review is about the Breitbart film. Leaking the Pentagon Papers -- which demonstrated how government officials deceived the public about U.S. involvement in Vietnam -- had an impact on the public discussion about the war, and resulted in a lawsuit that went all the way to the Supreme Court and resulted in a ruling that stood up for First Amendment rights.

The Breitbart sites, meanwhile, have little to point to in the way of accomplishment besides falsely smearing Shirley Sherrod and being so slavishly pro-Romney that not even Graham could have failed to notice the the bias, since it's so much greater than anything he's ever found on the TV networks.

Not that Graham will ever admit any of this, of course.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:42 PM EDT
Thursday, October 18, 2012
NewsBusters Still Shocked That Star of 'Totally Biased' Is Totally Biased (Plus: Mysteriously Deleted Post Found!)
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters is still shocked -- shocked! -- that a guy who hosts a show called "Totally Biased" is, uh, totally biased.

In an Oct. 15 post, Matt Vespa complains that W. Kamau Bell of FX’s "Totally Biased" appeared on CNN "to discuss politics and comedy in today’s discourse. However, this self-avowed 'lefty' pulled no punches in slamming Mitt Romney as a candidate whose robotic tendencies forced him 'to act like a human.'"

What, exactly, did Vespa expect from Bell? Or is only allowed to be totally biased only if you're a conservative?

Vespa, meanwhile, did manage to inadvertently solve in part a mystery we found a couple weeks ago. We had noticed that Ryan Robertson's post on "Totally Biased" -- which he also was shocked to discover was totally biased -- had disappeared from NewsBusters without explanation. Vespa links to Robertson's post, which turns out to be currently residing at the Media Research Center's video site, MRCtv.

It still doesn't explain why Robertson's post was retroactively judged to be not ready for prime time -- well, for NewsBusters. But it does live.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:00 PM EDT
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
NewsBusters' Sheffield Parses, Mind-Reads To Defend Romney, Attack Candy Crowley
Topic: NewsBusters

In an Oct. 16 NewsBusters post, Matthew Sheffield ranted that presidential debate moderator Candy Crowley "disgraced herself" by her "incorrect seconding of Obama's statement that he declared the Libya terrorist attacks to be 'terror.'"

Sheffield then asserted: "While Obama did indeed use the word, this is not what he meant by it. Instead, he was simply referring to 'acts of terror.' There was no mention of Al Qaeda or any of its affiliates with respect to the actual attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi."

Sheffield is not only parsing words, he's reading minds. How does he know what Obama "meant" by his reference to "acts of terror" in his Rose Garden speech? He doesn't. Nor can he prove has later assertion that Obama was "willing to deliberately misquote himself."

Sheffield also doesn't provide any evidence that it was known by anyone in the immediate aftermath of the attack that Al Qaeda was involved. If it wasn't, there would have been no reason for Obama to mention "Al Qaeda or any of its affiliates."

If Sheffield is going to play this sort of word-splicing game, he should also acknowledge that Obama did not specifically exclude the Benghazi attack from his references to "acts of terror," and that one can reasonably conclude that because he did not, Obama considered the Benghazi attack to be a terrorist act. 

But Sheffield doesn't care about facts, he cares about trying to score political points and cares even more about Obama being defeated. He goes on to rant: "If Obama truly believed it was terrorism, he likely would have inserted this. He also wouldn't have gone on multiple fund-raising trips after the incident happened nor would he (and his underlings) have repeatedly blamed an internet video for the attacks for 2 solid weeks."

In fact, the video did play a role in the attack. The New York Times reported:

To Libyans who witnessed the assault and know the attackers, there is little doubt what occurred: a well-known group of local Islamist militants struck without any warning or protest, and they did it in retaliation for the video. That is what the fighters said at the time, speaking emotionally of their anger at the video without mentioning Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or the terrorist strikes of 11 years earlier. And it is an explanation that tracks with their history as a local militant group determined to protect Libya from Western influence.

Sheffield wasn't done screeching about Crowley, though -- he called her essentially accurate claim "offensive," hyperbolically asserting that "America had just witnessed one of the most outrageous acts of liberal bias in history."

Sheffield isn't engaging in media analysis -- he's trying desperately to spin for Mitt Romney, repeating conservative talking points without regard for their accuracy. That's the mark of partisan activist, not a media analyst.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:49 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 10:00 AM EDT
Sunday, October 14, 2012
MRC Intern Learns To Shout 'Media Bias!' When A Reporter Asks A Republican A Question He Doesn't Like
Topic: NewsBusters

Matt Vespa is an intern at the Media Research Center, and he seems to be learning the MRC's tactics well, all the way down to declaring that any questioning of Republican politicians that isn't completely friendly is obviously "liberal bias."

In an Oct. 10 NewsBusters post, Vespa goes on a tirade against CNN's Soledad O'Brien over her interview of Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz over alleged security lapses:

With a House Oversight committee slated to hold a hearing on the deadly Benghazi consulate terrorist attack at noon today, there was really no excuse for CNN's Starting Point to not cover the story. But alas, anchor Soledad O'Brien checked her journalistic credibility at the dressing room door, going on air with Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) sounding more like an Obama apologist than a hard-nosed reporter.

O'Brien questioned Rep. Chaffetz -- who chairs the House Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations -- on his claim that this administration hasn’t been forthcoming with the facts surrounding the attack.  O’Brien countered by admonishing the congressman for suggesting “collusion” between the Obama White House and the State Department.  O’Brien’s hackery became overt when she indirectly blamed Congressman Chaffetz for being complicit to the lack of security at our embassies by voting to cut off their defense funding, attempting to dilute any blame the administration has for lax security by trying to lay blame on Republicans in Congress:

Why shouldn't O'Brien have asked Chaffetz about his vote on State Department security funding? Vespa never really explains. Indeed, he goes on to insist that "the story centers on the state of our security concerning our embassy in Libya.  It’s not whether Rep. Chaffetz’s vote to cut off embassy security funding had a hand in the death of Ambassador Stevens."

It seems that, in addition to sounding like he works for Mitt Romney's campaign, Vespa simply did not want the question asked at all. It's another example of how the MRC doesn't want anyone to tell the truth about Republicans and conservatives.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:47 PM EDT
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Noel Sheppard Still Pushing Global Warming Bamboozlement
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters has long been a source of global warming bamboozlement. Why would he stop now?

And stop he doesn't in an Oct. 10 NewsBusters post mocking an Associated Press article carrying the headline Experts: Global Warming Means More Antarctic Ice." Sheppard huffed that climate scientists (of which Sheppard is not) "this truly amazing concept that anthropogenic global warming can melt ice in one hemisphere while creating it in another," going on to sneer that this was "unbelievable."

If it's amazing, that's because it's supported by science -- something neither Sheppard nor the deniers he calls upon to back him up, Christopher Horner and Steve Goddard, want to admit.

As Media Matters points out, the AP article accurately explained that Antarctic sea ice growth is consistent with climate scientists' projections for a warming planet, even as Arctic ice decreases.

Media Matters also reminds us that Sheppard's fellow bamboozlers are suspect -- Horner works at the Competitive Enterprise Institute is funded in part by the oil and tobacco industries, and Goddard is a birther as well as a global warming denier.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:03 AM EDT
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
NEW ARTICLE: Noel Sheppard vs. The Truth
Topic: NewsBusters
The NewsBusters associate editor just can't stand it when people report the facts about conservatives. As a bonus, Sheppard really doesn't critics of conservatives to say anything at all. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 12:30 AM EDT
Monday, October 8, 2012
NewsBusters Embraces Unemployment Trutherism
Topic: NewsBusters

In an Oct. 5 NewsBusters post, Mark Finkelstein approvingly quotes CNBC's Rick Santelli casting doubt on newly released unemployment numbers, adding: "The Obama campaign is sure to jump on the news today--but Santelli has put a big question mark over the validity of the data."

Finkelstein and Santelli are  buying into the right-wing conspiracy theory that the Obama administration somehow tinkered with unemployment data in order to make it look good before the November election. In fact, actual experts agree that the numbers have not been manipulated.

Embracing conspiracy theories is hardly telling the truth, is it?


Posted by Terry K. at 7:21 PM EDT
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
MRC's Graham Launches Pre-Emptive Attack on Debate Moderator
Topic: NewsBusters

Tim Graham does his thing in an Oct. 3 NewsBusters post, doing a pre-emptive attack on debate moderator Jim Lehrer, with the headline "Can Jim Lehrer Moderate Debate Fairly Given Romney's Desire To Cut Subsidy For PBS?"

Of course, professional journalists put aside their biases in an attempt to be as fair as possible. Such professionalism, meanwhile, is not practiced -- and certainly not encouraged -- on the right, which is why Graham appears to be unfamiliar with the concept.

Graham also bizarrely takes Lehrer to task for cheering that the wildly corrupt President Nixon was taken down. We didn't know that Graham was a secret Nixon-lover.

All of Graham's ranting about Lehrer's supposed liberal bias ignores the fact that liberals have complaints about Lehrer's previous debate performances as well. Which seems to suggest that Lehrer plays things more down the middle that Graham will ever admit.

Then again, Brent Bozell is paying Graham to make such a reasonable analysis.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:17 PM EDT
NewsBusters Falsely Calls Pat Caddell A 'Democrat'
Topic: NewsBusters

Noel Sheppard used a Sept. 30 NewsBusters post to repost an Accuracy in Media rant by Pat Caddell. In doing so, Sheppard called Caddell a "Democratic strategist."

But as we've pointed out, Caddell reportedly quit the Democratic Party in the late 1980s, making Sheppard a liar.

Sheppard has published numerous falsehoods at NewsBusters, only some of which he has corrected.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:12 AM EDT
Monday, October 1, 2012
NewsBusters vs. Fact-Checkers
Topic: NewsBusters

For an organization that's running a "Tell the Truth!" campaign, the Media Research Center sure hates it when that actually happens (to conservatives) -- to the point where it's arguing with fact-checkers.

A Sept. 25 NewsBusters post by Matt Vespa illustrates the MRC's war on facts. In it, Vespa complains that the Washington Post's fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, gave three Pinocchios to an American Crossroads television spot claiming that President Obama skipped almost half of his in-person intelligence briefings. Vespa chooses to ignore the larger truth that Kessler was trying to impart -- that the lack of an in-person briefing doesn't mean that Obama didn't get briefed on national security, and that President Reagan got even fewer in-person briefings than Obama has -- in order to keep his blinders on and narrowly insist that the ad's claim was true:

Kessler may think it's "misguided" to argue "process," but the fact remains that Kessler cannot dispute that the gist of the ad is true: President Obama has the opportunity every weekday to receive in-person intelligence briefings, and yet he chooses to, the majority of the time, elect to simply read them rather than avail himself the opportunity to be briefed by an intelligence expert (or experts) in person. Kessler may protest the verb "skips" to describe Obama's relation to his daily briefings, but that reveals more about Kessler's biases than it does the truthfulness of the claim.

That's just desperate nit-picking that serves the larger right-wing narrative that fact-checkers must be discredited because they catch conservative politicians in falsehoods.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:54 AM EDT

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