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Wednesday, June 5, 2019
AIM Cites Biased Tweets To Attack Article's Alleged 'Biased Framing'
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Carrie Sheffield spends a May 29 Accuracy in Media post complaining that "The Washington Post relied on anonymous sourcing and biased framing in its reporting that “President Trump’s new executive order giving the attorney general broad authority to declassify government secrets threatens to expose U.S. intelligence sources and could distort the FBI and CIA’s roles in investigating Russian interference in the 2016 elections.'" Her idea of rebutting things was to cite a partisan figure's tweets that are, yes, filled with biased framing:

Former George W. Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleischer called out the Post’s Shane Harris for his framing and assertions:

“Flynn was unmasked and the info leaked,” he tweeted. “Hillary’s campaign funded a false dossier that the FBI used to justify a FISA warrant. Comey’s briefing to Trump about the dossier was leaked. But Barr is the problem?!”

[...]

Fleischer called out the unprecedented nature of questionable actions taken by Obama officials.

“The headline on the story should be ‘Obama officials exposed secrets, politicized intelligence with Russia probe,’” Fleischer tweeted. “The subtext here is that if Trump does something, it must be wrong. If Obama does something, it must be right.”

In fact, corrupt Trump official Michael Flynn was "unmasked" -- a revealing of the identity of the person communicating with a foreign entity who intelligence sources were monitoring -- because, according to then-national security adviser Susan Rice, she was trying to understand why the United Arab Emirates was trying to establish a back channel of communication to the incoming Trump administration without alerting U.S. officials of the effort. Despite right-wing insistence to the contrary, there's no evidence the unmasking was done for political purposes. There's no evidence Rice leaked Flynn's identity or that the Obama administration "politicized intelligence."

Of course, Fleischer doesn't explain why Flynn's secret communications with Russian and other officials should have been kept secret -- and Sheffield doesn't either.

Further, while some details of the Steele dossier of raw intellligence remain unproven or have apparently turned out to be false, its overall message -- that Russia worked to help Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election -- is true and was arguably confirmed by the Mueller report. That's far from the "false dossier" claim Fleischer makes.

P.S. Someone at AIM should probably be alerted that the stock photo of the Washington Post building it used to illustrate Sheffield's post is wildly out of date; the Post sold the building and moved its offices elsewhere a few years ago, and the building has since been torn down and replaced.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:35 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 5, 2019 7:42 PM EDT
Monday, June 3, 2019
AIM Stop Talking About The Mueller Report!
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media really, really wants to move on from the Mueller report, if an anonymously written May 30 post (credited only to "AIM Staff") is any indication:

With special counsel Robert Mueller holding a press conference Wednesday to discuss the infamous Mueller Report, expect to see the mainstream media obsessing over every single word Mueller said.

Expect lots of news stories that ignore the facts – especially that after almost two years of investigating, Mueller found no collusion on the part of the President – and instead misrepresented the facts in order to fit their own narrative.

Never mind that the Mueller Report makes it clear there was no collusion. Never mind that Mueller had almost two years to find something and found nothing. Never mind that the Department of Justice has determined this matter has been thoroughly investigated and is now considered closed. 

The media will use this press conference as an excuse to write another series of articles calling into question the investigation – the same investigation they championed when they thought it would hurt President Donald Trump. 

While the national media continues to obsess over Mueller, most are ignoring the real news of the day, including a new poll from Monmouth University showing that public support for tariffs and the trade war are waning.

[...]

Trump’s talk on trade helped him win some of those Midwest states in 2016 like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Gordon’s home state of Wisconsin. But with these new numbers coming out, the Trump campaign will likely be reconsidering whether that same message will work again in 2020.

So AIM wants us to stop focusing on one Trump mess (no, AIM, Mueller never said there was "no collusion," just that it didn't rise to a level of criminality -- even conservative Fox News anchor Bret Baier agrees) and focus on a new Trump mess? Got it.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:10 PM EDT
Thursday, May 30, 2019
AIM Writer Defends Trump's Tariffs As A Good Thing
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media's Brian McNicoll has shown himself to be little more than a Trump shill, defending and promoting him at every opportunity. he did so again in a May 16 column, trying to defend President Trump's trade war with China as a good thing that has "benefits" for the U.S.

"It has become common practice among the mainstream media every time news erupts in the current tariff war with China to produce stories about the negative impact of the moves but ignore the positives," McNicoll wrote in a May 16 column about an Associated Press story pointing out that American soybean farmers are being hurt by Chinese tariffs launched in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods. McNicoll then wrote: "But are the tariffs really the problem in farm country? To some extent yes, which is why Trump is pushing for a cash bailout for some farmers." Then it was time for pro-Trump spin mode:

What [AP reporter David] Pitt or others rarely point out is what the U.S. gets from these trade negotiations. For one example, the U.S. just raised tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. The Chinese retaliated with $60 billion in tariffs on US goods. We simply have much more to place tariffs on that they do.

But tariffs are not "trade negotiations," as McNicoll seems to think. And pretending that farmers won't be hurt by tariffs -- and if they are, that farm subsidies will make it all better -- isn't helping.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:43 PM EDT
Tuesday, May 28, 2019
AIM Tries To Dismiss Prosecutors' Letter As Having 'Far-Left' Motivation
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Brian McNicoll huffs in a May 14 Accuracy in Media post: "Protect Democracy, a far-left activist group, found more than 450 former federal prosecutors and political types to sign a letter that said they would have charged President Donald Trump with obstruction of justice based on actions described in the Mueller report." But McNicoll provides no evidence that Protect Democracy is a "far-left" group.

Protect Democracy states that its mission is "to prevent our democracy from declining into a more authoritarian form of government. We do this by holding the President and the Executive Branch accountable to the laws and longstanding practices that have protected our democracy through both Democratic and Republican administrations." It was founded by "a group of former White House and Administration lawyers and experienced constitutional litigators, all with a deep understanding of how the federal government works." We're not seeing the "far-left" connotation that McNicoll does.

McNicoll also tries to dismiss the signatories as"anti-Trump," also without evidence (unless you assume, as McNicoll apparently does, that taking a legal stance that does not favor Trump equals being "anti-Trump"). The Washington Post article to which McNicoll links notes the bipartisan nature of the signatories:

Among the high-profile signers are Bill Weld, a former U.S. attorney and Justice Department official in the Reagan administration who is running against Trump for the Republican presidential nomination; Donald Ayer, a former deputy attorney general in the George H.W. Bush administration; John S. Martin, a former U.S. attorney and federal judge appointed to his posts by Republican presidents; Paul Rosenzweig, who served as senior counsel to independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr; and Jeffrey Harris, who worked as the principal assistant to Rudolph W. Giuliani when he was at the Justice Department in the Reagan administration.

McNicoll also claimed "political types" signed the petition; in fact, the statement says the signatories "served under both Republican and Democratic administrations at different levels of the federal system: as line attorneys, supervisors, special prosecutors, United States Attorneys, and senior officials at the Department of Justice."

It seems McNicoll is so blinded by his love for all things Trump that he assumes the worst motivation of anyone who dares to criticize him.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:30 PM EDT
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
AIM Does A Lame Resume Defense of Barr
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media's Carrie Sheffield spent a May 2 post being mad that Democrats have criticized Attorney General William Barr, and she defends him by ... copying his resume and repeating nice things people said about him 29 years ago:

The mainstream media has been repeating calls by Democratic lawmakers for Attorney General William Barr to resign, yet they are ignoring Barr’s long career of being esteemed in high regard by both parties – having been confirmed twice as attorney general on bipartisan votes.

Earlier this year, Barr was confirmed by the Senate 54-45, with multiple Democrats voting in his favor, and in 1991, Barr was unanimously confirmed as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush by a Democrat-controlled Senate by voice vote. Barr was also confirmed to the positions of Deputy Attorney General and Assistant Attorney General under Democrat-controlled Senates. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called Barr an “independent voice for all Americans” and then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) referred to Barr a “heck of an honorable guy.”

Even as MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski questions Attorney General Barr’s physical and mental health (something which senators approving him this year weren’t concerned about), Barr is unquestionably qualified to lead the Department of Justice, having previously serving as attorney general – a qualification above all others. Barr is also a widely respected legal mind with unrivaled experience, having held multiple positions in the Department of Justice and earned the respect of the career attorneys who served with him. During his previous stint leading the Justice Department, Barr was praised for establishing innovative programs to combat violent crime and illegal immigration.

Barr has practiced law at the highest levels, including serving as General Counsel and Executive Vice President for Verizon and its predecessor company for over a decade. The Attorney General has litigated cases before the most influential courts in the world, including the United States Supreme Court and the European Commission.

As mainstream media liberals decry a lack of civility and bipartisan comity, it appears their criticisms are one-directional, choosing to attack the attorney general through the politics of personal destruction.

Actually, the 54-45 vote to confirm Barr was hardly "bipartisan," as Sheffield insists it was; only three Democrats voted to support him. And the same day that Sheffield touted Biden's decades-old praise of Barr, Biden was calling for Barr to resign, accusing Barr of caring more about defending the president than fairly evaluating the Mueller report.

If all Sheffield can do is rehash Barr's resume as a defense, that is very lame indeed.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:53 PM EDT
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
AIM Tries To Brand Synagogue Shooter As A 'Left-Winger'
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media's Brian McNicoll was in spin mode in an April 30 post, asserting that John Earnest -- accused in the shootings at a synagogue in California -- is "a left-winger who despises Trump."

Not so much. Actually, Earnest expressed hatred of Trump only regarding his relationship with Jews, denouncing him as a "Zionist, Jew-loving, anti-White, traitorous c*cksucker." And far from being a "left-winger," he was a devout church-goer associated with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, a right-wing evangelical group founded to counter liberalism in the mainline Prebyterian church.Earnest's manifesto spouted "cogent Christian theology" alongside his virulent anti-Semitism, with one pastor calling it "a frighteningly clear articulation of Christian theology in certain sentences and paragraphs."

But McNicoll didn't mention any of that. The remainder of his column is dedicated to bashing a New York Times article on right-wing extremism in California and complaining that Earnest "did not belong to any of the right-wing hate groups law enforcement officials have identified."


Posted by Terry K. at 8:17 PM EDT
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
AIM Not Accepting That Trump Wasn't Completely Exonerated
Topic: Accuracy in Media

In a March 26 Accuracy in Media post, Brian McNicoll responded to a Washington Post news quiz about the Mueller investigation with the usual pro-Trump talking points. And, like Trump, McNicoll couldn't accept the fact that even Attorney General William Barr's summary concluded that Trump was not exonerated on the question of obstruction:

To the question: “Did Mueller conclude that Trump obstructed justice?” the reply was “Right, but it’s also a bit more complicated …”

To the question: “Did Mueller conclude that Trump DID NOT obstruct justice?” the response was: “Though Trump tweeted ‘Total EXONERATION’ following the release, Mueller did not come to a conclusion on the question and Barr’s summary of Mueller’s report said it ‘did not exonerate’ Trump. Citing ‘the public interest in the matter,’ Barr said he planned to release more of Mueller’s full report, though significant portions may be missing.”

It then supplied a quote from Barr’s summary: “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

It never mentions that Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded Trump did not obstruct justice and would not be charged, or that they were likely on sound legal footing.

McNicoll also complained that the news quiz pointed out that Trump-connected individuals have been found guilty of crimes in the Mueller investigation, grumbing that "none of the crimes for which they were found guilty involved Trump or collusion or obstruction." In fact, at least one was: Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his communications with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition after Trump named him national security adviser.

McNicoll also involed a right-wing conspiracy theory that the Post claimed "without evidence" that "Flynn pleaded guilty to lying about conversations with Russians – although it doesn’t mention even the FBI now doubts he is guilty." But as we've noted, Flynn was being investigated on numrous other charges of making false statements, and in his plea agreement, Flynn pledged to cooperate with Mueller in exchange for the rest of the charges against him being dropped.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:25 PM EDT
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
AIM Justifies Right-Wing Attacks on AOC
Topic: Accuracy in Media

In a March 25 Accuracy in Media post, Brian McNicoll took offense to a writer, Zach Beauchamp, who believes that repeated right-wing media attacks on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are driving down her popularity numbers. McNicoll huffed in response with, yes, right-wing attack lines:

It’s not that she has threatened to recruit primary opponents for Democrats not sufficiently socialist for her taste. It’s not that she has proposed a massive government takeover of the energy and construction industries that could cost as much as $94 trillion in the first decade – the entire U.S. federal budget now is less than $5 trillion – and that could not garner a single vote in the U.S. Senate.

Or that early drafts of the deal called for people to be paid with taxpayer dollars if they are “unable or unwilling to work” and that all jobs should be unionized.

Or another bizarre line of questioning when she tried to get a Wells Fargo Bank executive to admit responsibility for a spill on a pipeline that had not even opened.

When Beauchamp noted that Ocasio-Cortez has gotten "disproportionate attention" for a first-term congresswoman in right-wing media -- and garnering more mentions then Democratic presidentical candidates -- McNicoll insisted right-wingers are just scrutinizing her more closely because she's a "threat":

A more likely explanation is Republicans have paid better attention to her policy proposals and realize the threat they pose to the U.S. economy. Beauchamp points to the fact she has been mentioned more on Fox News than Democrat presidential candidates, such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

But Warren and Sanders largely have stuck to their scripts in terms of policy. It has been Ocasio-Cortez who has proposed measures that pose the most serious threat.

McNicoll conclued by insisting that right-wingers like him attack Ocasio-Cortez not because they "hate and fear her" but because she "has the most disturbing policies."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:15 PM EDT
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
AIM Writer Denounces Armchair Mental Health Judgments, Though AIM Has Published Many
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Carrie Sheffield complained in a March 18 Accuracy in Media item:

CNN allowed George Conway, the husband of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, to accuse President Trump of mental illness, with the network refusing to acknowledge that George Conway is not a mental health professional. Even as liberal outlets like CNN claim to be pro-science, its coverage of George Conway’s tweets failed to provide any credible scientific analysis of the explosive claims.

“His condition is getting worse,” George Conway tweeted Sunday, also attaching screen captures of the medical definitions of narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

First: CNN didn't "allow" Conway to make that claim -- it simply reported on him making them. Second: Sheffield might want to check her employer's archive, since it contains numerous examples of AIM writers -- none of whom, as far as we know, are mental health professionals -- making the same exact claim about president Obama.

  • Spencer Irvine, son of AIM president Don Irvine, wrote two posts counting the number of times Obama allegedly referred to himself in speeches, both of which ended with the statement "Narcissist, much?"
  • A 2016 column by James Zumwalt -- now a WorldNetDaily columnist -- declared that "bama is a grandiose narcissist" who is "self-absorbed with an overwhelming sense of superiority." Zumwalt echoed Conway by linking to an article describing narcissistic personalities.
  • A 2015 column by Lawrence Sellin asserted that "Obama behaves like a dictator not just because he is a narcissist, but because his political beliefs are, at their core, authoritarian."

It pays to check the archives in order not to come off as a hypocrite.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:27 PM EDT
Monday, February 25, 2019
AIM Spins Polls To Make Trump Look Better Than He Is
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Carrie Sheffield writes in a Feb. 14 Accuracy in Media post:

The mainstream media hit President Trump for urging Democrats in Congress not to engage in partisan investigations against his administration, yet their coverage ignores findings from a Gallup poll released yesterday and taken in the wake of the government shutdown showed that the president’s job approval is more than 20 percent higher than the public’s approval of Congress.

But puffing up Trump's popularity rating by comparing it to that of Congress is irrelevant. Gallup's own polling shows that Congress rates perpetually low -- generally fluctuating between 10 and 20 percent since 2012. Further, President Obama's second-term approval average, covering the first few years of that congressional polling, was 46.7 percent -- meaning that he too scored "more than 20 percent higher than the public’s approval of Congress."

We suspect AIM would never have made such a claim about Obama's popularity.

Sheffield went even further in the poll-spinning route, claiming that Trump's numbers were up -- in this case, at 44 percent in the first poll after the shutdown ended -- because "Gallup found that Americans credited the president with ending the shutdown" while also claiming that only "the mainstream media blamed Trump for the shutdown." But Sheffield ignored another Gallup poll finding that 50 percent of Americans believed that Democratic leaders in Congress acted more responsibly during the shutdown, while ly 39 percent believed Trump did.

Sheffield also ignores that Trump remains generally unpopular, having never received more than 50 percent approval in any Gallup poll -- the only president with that distinction.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:08 PM EST
Monday, February 11, 2019
AIM Thinks Repeating Pro-Trump Talking Points Is 'Fact-Checking'
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Brian McNicoll spends his Feb. 6 Accuracy in Media article rebutting Washington Post fact-checkers writing about claims in President Trump's State of the Union address by ... repeating pro-rump talking points and being mad that the Post won't give Trump credit for anything that happened between the 2016 election and his inauguration:

The Washington Post took issue with Trump’s economic successes in its “Fact Checking President Trump’s 2019 State of the Union address” by Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly.

To Trump’s claim that “We have created 5.3 million new jobs and importantly added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs,” it wrote: “Trump often inflates the number of jogs created under his presidency by counting Election Day, rather than when he took the oath of office.”

But the economy began to recover from its eight moribund years under President Obama immediately upon Trump winning the election. On the day after he won in 2016, the Dow soared 257 points and neared lifetime highs. Business investment began almost immediately. Banks began to lend again. Defense contractors ramped up for increased orders. Trump did start making a difference from the day he was elected.

Since he took office – the only measure the Post will accept – it says 436,000 manufacturing jobs were created. But that compares to 900,000 created by Obama – over seven years, compared to barely two for Trump – and “the number of manufacturing jobs is still nearly 1 million below the level at the start of the Great Recession in 2007.”

McNicoll offers no proof that "Business investment began almost immediately. Banks began to lend again. Defense contractors ramped up for increased orders" immediately after the 2016 election solely because Trump was elected. Actually, it can be easily argued that Trump is simply continuing Obama's economy, since major economic trend lines are simply continuing their Obama-era trajectory.

McNicoll is also disingenously comparing job creation during Obama's entire presidency -- which started with a major recession -- with the two years of Trump's presidency. As the Post has also reported, average monthly job growth in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 under Obama outpaced that of 2017 under Trump, and 2018's figure through October matched 2015 but fell short of 2014.

So much for accuracy in media at AIM.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:06 PM EST
Monday, December 3, 2018
AIM's Double Standard On How Botched Facts Are Treated
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Brian McNicoll complains in a Nov. 19 Accuracy in Media post:

TMZ got one fact wrong in its original rush story on Michael Avenatti being arrested for felony domestic violence – and quickly corrected it.

But that gave the rest of the mainstream media enough room to discount the allegations against the attorney.

In “Michael Avenatti Arrested for Felony Domestic Violence … I’LL BE ‘FULLY EXONERATED,’ the celebrity/show-biz-focused outlet originally reported the woman Avenatti allegedly struck was his former wife.

“We were initially told by our sources the alleged victim was Avenatti’s estranged wife,” TMZ wrote atop an updated piece. “We now know it was not. The incident involved a different woman.”

McNicoll is actually complaining that others do what AIM does. Compare McNicoll's tone with Carrie Sheffield's tone in a Dec. 3 AIM post on a different media outlet and a different fact that had to be fixed:

NPR was forced to correction append its report titled “Trump Jr.’s 2017 Testimony Conflicts with Cohen’s Account of Russian Talks.”

NPR reporter Philip Ewing claimed that Donald Trump Jr.’s testimony conflicted with attorney Michael Cohen’s testimony about the timeline of possible real estate deals that were in tentative talks among some Russians and the Trump Organization. NPR had conflated two separate real estate negotiations with two separate parties, one that included “the Agalarov family, Emin and his father Aras,” that ended prior to President Trump launching his presidential campaign.

The NPR correction came after online pressure from conservatives, including Andrew Surabian, who tweeted: “Will @nprpolitics retract this blatantly false story and apologize to @DonaldJTrumpJr? Or are they ok with misleading their audience and spreading verified #FakeNews all over social media?”

So TMZ merely "got one fact wrong" in a story on a person conservatives hate -- and merely a "misleading" graphic from its apparently subjective rating system -- while NPR got accused of #FakeNews for getting a fact wrong in a story about a conservative darling and the full "fake news" rating, despite also correcting the record. Funny how that works.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:38 PM EST
Updated: Monday, December 3, 2018 9:46 PM EST
Wednesday, November 28, 2018
AIM Serves Up Revisionist History on Lewandowski Incident To Attack Acosta
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media's Carrie Sheffield is trying to use the Jim Acosta-White House controversy to relitigate the 2016 incident in which then-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski manhandled conservative reporter Michelle Fields at a Trump campaign event. From her Nov. 15 AIM post:

The mainstream media has shown a double standard in how it has rallied behind CNN’s Jim Acosta and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, even though both men were accused of physically brushing off young women in the workplace.

[...]

In March 2016, former Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields accused Lewandowski of grabbing her arm during a campaign event, yet authorities in April declined to formally prosecute Lewandowski on a charge of simple battery. Lewandowski’s lawyer submitted a draft of a short apology from Lewandowski, according to Palm Beach County state attorney David Aronberg, and Palm Beach County assistant prosecutor Adrienne Ellis told reporters that the charges against Lewandowski, according to New York Magazine “were undermined by the fact that, in the moments before the infamous arm-grab, Fields had entered a “protective bubble” maintained by Secret Service agents, and made incidental contact with the candidate himself.

Sheffield ignored that the two incidents are not equivalent. Fields released a photo of bruises on her arm where she said Lewandowski grabbed her, while Acosta had no such contact with the White House intern trying to take his microphone while asking Trump a question. Sheffield curiously doesn't mention the video tweeted out by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders that was doctored to present the Acosta incident as more violent than it was.

Further, while Sheffield claims there was a draft of an apology made, the fact is that Lewandowski ultimately refused to apologize to Fields.

Sheffield complained again in a Nov. 26 post by repeating her false equivalence:

Acosta’s physical aggression — swatting away a young woman, an intern who was doing her job — indicated his total disrespect for her. Where is the feminist media outcry, like the 16 conservative female journalists who called for Lewandowski’s firing?

The way Acosta diminished her humanity was evidenced by her subsequent humiliated crouching on the ground. Saturday Night Live might mock this young woman, but in the age of #MeToo, SNL and the mainstream media are missing the power play Acosta pulled here.

Sheffield again falsely claimed that "Lewandowski apologized." She then displayed her anti-Acosta bias: "Though today a federal judge ordered the White House to reinstate CNN correspondent Acosta’s press pass, case law clearly indicates there is no absolute First Amendment right for a specific journalist to access the White House. As was the case with other rulings in favor of the White House, I believe this case will be successfully appealed by the president’s team."


Posted by Terry K. at 3:56 PM EST
Monday, October 15, 2018
AIM: It Must Be True That Trump Has Accomplished So Much -- Trump Said So!
Topic: Accuracy in Media

In a Sept. 26 Accuracy in Media post, Brian McNicoll declared that the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler engaged in "partisan bias" when he called President Trump's assertion that "In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country" to be less than accurate. McNicoll rebutted:

But Trump has rolled back the Waters of the United States rule – a massive incursion on property rights – and the Clean Power Plan, and he has signed legislation to remove requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act.

He has remade American trade, moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to the capital of Jerusalem – a promise the last five presidents made but did not deliver on – and has made historic inroads with North Korea.

Trump said at the UN that “America’s economy is booming like never before.”

Those two links in McNicoll's rebuttal are to the same place: a document from the Trump White House titled "President Donald J. Trump’s 500 Days of American Greatness." Combined with that final statement, McNicoll is asserting that whatever Trump says must be true because it comes from Trump.

McNicoll later complained:

Kessler again incorrectly savaged Trump over the American Jobs and Tax Cuts Act.

“We have passed the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history,” Trump said at the U.N.

“Trump loves this line so much he has said it more than 100 times,” Kessler wrote. “But it’s not true. His tax cut ranks eighth when measured as a percentage of the size of the economy.”

But when measured in whole dollars returned to the people from Washington, it is the largest cut ever – and whole dollars is at least as legitimate a statistic for this as percentage of the size of the economy. The Post simply refuses to acknowledge Trump’s success in this matter.

But is it, Brian? It seems you want to cling to the whole-dollars statistic only because it makes Trump look good. In other words, Nicoll is the one who's engaging in partisan bias by cherry-picking statistics.

That's hardly the way to claim that someone else is engaging in "clear bias," as the graphic from AIM's new rating system insists Kessler did.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:58 PM EDT
Monday, July 2, 2018
AIM Devolves Into Just Another Pro-Trump Website
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media has been doing a major reboot of itself over the past year. Conspiracy-happy right-wing ranter Cliff Kincaid disappeared for reasons neither he nor AIM have have yet to explain publicly, and after months of relying on freelancers and anonymous writers of dubious accuracy and Kincaid-esque conspiracy-mongering, it has settled on a new staff led by Carrie Sheffield, who has the title of "national editor." Sheffield's AIM bio leads with her TV and media hits, which probably tells us something about the direction Don Irvine is looking to take AIM -- more media-savvy, less nutball.

In practice, though, AIM is showing itself to be just another pro-Trump website. For instance, a June 22 piece by Sheffield, which takes the Trump White House line that it's the media's fault for noticing Melania Trump's jacket:

Even as mainstream media reporters portray the Trump administration as lacking substance and a substantive policy focus, the New York Times chose to give Page A1 placement of a speculative story by Vanessa Friedman, its fashion director and chief fashion critic, criticizing the jacket that first lady Melania Trump wore before and after a tour of a children’s shelter in Texas.

[...]

Mrs. Trump’s spokeswoman said that “There was no hidden message,” yet Friedman wrote that the First Lady’s fashion choice “may have backfired,” an analysis displaying the most common response among the mainstream media: to project sinister motives despite no evidence.

It's telling that Sheffield never outright states the message that was emblazoned across the back of Melania's jacket -- "I don't really care, do U?" -- that is, in fact, the hard-to-miss "evidence" upon which things were projected; she only offers a partial quote in the final paragraph buried in a quote from the article she's attacking.

Sheffield also makes the partisan mistake of treating whatever Melania's office says as the final word on the subject, as if we should ascribe only pure motives to, and accurate statements from, an office whose function is to protect the first lady. We suspect AIM never took anything that came out of the Obama White House as the final word on anything.

Sheffield's approach is little different from what AIM's better-funded (and even more pro-Trump) rival, the Media Research Center, did.

In trading Kincaid's craziness for a somewhat more professional, highly Trump-protective approach from Sheffield and Brian McNicoll, AIM turns down the heat but doesn't add light. It has gone from lacking credibility to being merely boring, which may not be an impovement.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:27 PM EDT

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