The New York Times classless liberal columnist Paul Krugman has a reputation for exploiting tragedy for partisan gain, and did so again in a Sunday afternoon blog post about former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who is accused of using hush money to cover up sexual misconduct with a former student.
Waters is not lamenting the aformentioned "tragedy" for Hastert's victims -- he's lamenting it for Hastert. How dare Krugman write about a Republican congressman's alleged crimes?
By the way, the word "crime" appears nowhere in Waters' post in relation to Hastert's alleged actions. But he knows it's somehow a "tragedy" -- but, apparently, not a crime -- for Hastert for such behavior to be revealed.
In an April 17 NewsBusters post, Mark Finkelstein grouses that "volatile former Vermont governor" Howard Dean questioned the accuracy of a Hillary clinton story on the website of the Daily Mail, countering that "if the story were inaccurate, don't you think Hillary's minions would be screaming bloody murder and trotting the attendees to refute the claims? Crickets, anyone?"
Fibnkelstein doesn't mention the fact that the Daily Mail has a lengthy track record of publishing false and inaccurate stories. One writer notes that in its home country of Britain, the Daily Mail has seen 687 complaints filed against it to the country's Press Complaints Commission -- far more than any other British newspaper -- that led either to a PCC adjudication or to a negotiated resolution. The writer adds: "The paper gets away with publishing libels and falsehoods and with invasions of privacy because the penalties are insignificant."
Additionally, a former writer has discussed the Mail's shoddy journalistic standards, explaining how "the Mail's editorial model depends on little more than dishonesty, theft of copyrighted material, and sensationalism so absurd that it crosses into fabrication."
Finkelstein also fails to mention that the Daily Mail's U.S. political editor is David Martosko, the former editor of the conservative Daily Caller who's best known for standing by a false claim about Sen. Robert Menendez and prostitutes.
Making up stuff is clearly within the realm of the Daily Mail, and there is good reason not to trust what appears there. Instead of telling his readers that, however, he huffs, "If attacking the media messenger is the best the Hillary camp can do, it is in serious trouble." But isn't attacking the messenger the entire reason NewsBusters and its parent, the Media Research Center, exist?
NewsBusters Runs Hoax Picture of Smoking Obama Topic: NewsBusters
Tom Blumer uses an April 12 NewsBusters post to promote a USA Today columnist's claim that President Obama's daughter faces more of an asthma risk from his smoking than from global warming. The image used to promote the post on NewsBusters' front page is one of Obama with a cigarette in his mouth (shown at right). The image appears again inside the post.
But that image is a fake. As the Museum of Hoaxes details, a cigarette was Photoshopped into a reversed 2004 photo of Obama.
Nowhere in the post does NewsBusters identify the photo as a faked image.
It seems that running hoax photos would keep NewsBusters from being taken seriously as a media watchdog, but apparently being taken seriously is not an issue.
'Quote Mark Bias' Makes NewsBusters Angry Topic: NewsBusters
The Media Research Center appears to be running out of things to be offended about. Thus, we have an April 4 NewsBusters item by Quin Hillyer complaining about, yes, "quote mark bias":
Media watchers in the past week rightly have criticized multiple media outlets for suddenly deciding that religious freedom needs quotation marks, as in “religious freedom.” Leave it to the news pages of The Wall Street Journal, though, to use those quotation marks, which by their nature indicate that the very concept is in dispute, in the same story with the term gay rights published without the same punctuation.
So we have a situation where the notion of religious freedom, the very bedrock of America’s settlement in the 1600s and its founding as a nation in the late 1700s, is seen as such a questionable idea that it merits quotation marks. But “gay rights,” a concept only invented in the past 30 years or so, and one not even enshrined in federal law or recognized by federal courts as involving a “protected class,” nonetheless is expressed straightforwardly, unambiguously, as so uncontroversial that it can stand on its own without being set off by special punctuation or other emphasis.
Similarly, no quotation marks or other indicators of controversy attend the passage in paragraph five discussing “the rights of gay and lesbian couples to wed.” But the very next sentence – and this is where the editorializing becomes even more explicit than mere punctuation differences – says that the “political response” of religious people “has been to promote the so-called religious-freedom legislation at the state level.”
Read that again. It’s the so-called religious-freedom legislation. Really? Gay rights is stated as a given, but First Amendment rights are merely “so-called”???
Twice more the news article uses the term “gay rights” without quotation marks.
Hillyer ignores the idea that perhaps "religious freedom" deserves scare quotes if its enforcement restricts the rights of others. Observers have noted that the Indiana religious freedom law, as originally passed, was conceived tas a means of excluding gays and same-sex couples from accessing employment, housing, and public accommodations on the same terms as other people.
And why does Hillyer think "gay rights" is so controversial that it needs scare quote? Does he not think such a thing should exist at all and that gays must be discriminated against simply for existing? Judging by Hillyer's annoyance with gays being so darn public with their gayness -- he literally says they're "frightening the horses" -- apparently so.
Hillyer concluded by sneering, "All in all, a more biased 'news article' could hardly be imagined. Please note the quotation marks." Apparently, if a news article says something Hillyer doesn't like, it isn't "news."
NewsBusters Writer Graduates To Obama Conspiracy Theories Topic: NewsBusters
Last week, NewsBusters' P.J. Gladnick peddled conspiracy theories about Harry Reid. Now, in an April 5 post, he's latched onto old conspiracy theories about President Obama:
Does anybody know what Barack Obama was doing during his college years? We know that he was the president of the Harvard Law Review but do we even know what articles, if any, he wrote for it? Beyond that his college years are almost completely blank as to his grades or activitivies to the extent that his time at Columbia University has been completely erased from memory. No professor nor student from that time even remembers him attending classes at Columbia. Compare that big MSM yawn to the recent mainstream media frenzy which included a 2223 word front page Washington Post story devoted to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's college career which ended before graduation. And now we have something of an MSM Crime Scene Investigation carried out by Politifact Wisconsin about Scott Walker's claim that he recently purchased a sweater at Kohl's department store for only a dollar.
Of course, it's been well documented that Obama attended Columbia, and that Columbia considers him a graduate -- after all, he couldn't havegotten into Harvard Law School if he hadn't graduated from Columbia.
But as with many conspiracy theorists, such evidence isn't good enough. In a Twitter exchange we had with Gladnick, he demanded information about "Classes? Grades? Profs?" When we asked Gladnick if he was a birther -- since, after all, believing the conspiracy theory that Obama didn't actually attend Columbia is not that far from believing he wasn't born in the U.S., he freaked out and refused to answer the question (while also refusing to deny that he was) and hurled personal insults at us.
NewsBusters and its parent, the Media Research Center, used to consider themselves above such conspiracy-mongering. Not anymore, apparently. And, thus, the creeping WorldNetDaily-ization of the MRC continues.
Charles Barkley and NewsBusters: The End of the Affair Topic: NewsBusters
After less than two months, NewsBusters has ended its brief infatuation with Charles Barkley.
In a Feb. 20 post, Melissa Mullins praised Barkley for saying that he admired Jordan’s King Abdullah II for being "heroic" by personally going after those who had kidnapped and killed a Jordanian pilot and that his reaction to Hillary Clinton was to think about voting Republican.
That one-sided lovefest, alas, has come to a screeching halt. An April 3 post by Scott Whitlock lashes out at Barkley for having "sneered" that those who support "religious freedom" laws in Indiana are "religious nuts" who "hide behind the Bible." This was a "hateful attack" by Barkley,Whitlock assured us.
Whitlock didn't mention that NewsBusters had praised Barkley's opinions just a few weeks earlier; instead, he complained that "In 2008, CNN brought on Barkley to rail against 'fake Christians.'"
Whatever will Barkley do now that NewsBusters doesn't like him anymore? He'll probably figure out something.
NewsBusters Promotes Harry Reid Conspiracy Theory Topic: NewsBusters
We've noted NewsBusters' step toward WorldNetDaily territory by freaking out over yoga. Now it's picking up WND's penchant for conspiracy theories.
In a March 30 post, P.J. Gladnick suggests there's more to Harry Reid's injury than has been reported, and that the media is somehow covering it up:
It has been three months since Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's exercise equipment accident story and he remains blind in his injured eye. So when will Reid sue the exercise equipment company or even mention the brand name? So far nothing solid on this from Reid and the mainstream media continues to remain on incurious mode.
This was particularly noticebable last week when Reid announced that he won't be seeking re-relection. Speculation again heated up on talk radio and in the blogosphere about this accident but from the MSM.....the sounds of silence. Among those taking note of the strange circumstances of Reid's accident were Rush Limbaugh and John Hinderaker of Powerline who wrote two articles on this subject.
Gladnick avoids mentioning the gist of Hinderaker's conspiracy theory -- that Reid was beaten up by mobsters -- but he wants an "MSM reporter" to delve into it.
Of course, Gladnick and Hinderaker ignore the fact that there's absolutely no evidence to back up the conspiracy theory, as Bloomberg's David Weigel details, quoting the top political reporter in Nevada who would presumably know a thing or two about Reid:
There is, indeed, no evidence that mobsters actually broke through Reid's security detail and worked him over. But there is evidence that reporters were asking questions.
"Here's what I was able to piece together from people who should know," says Jon Ralston, a Nevada reporter who has covered Reid for years. "Reid is a fitness nut. He had just moved into his new Vegas house, and didn't have a place to do his band routine. So he attached it to something in his bathroom, which was a very dumb thing to do, it turns out. The whole mobster thing is just insane. Not just because there is no evidence, but it makes no sense."
Why, for Limbaugh et al, is the cover-up story believable? It's because they assume the media might prefer to cover a ridiculous story than to expose the corruption they're sure Harry Reid is guilty of. The problem: They haven't done as much work to prove that as reporters did to verify what actually happened to Reid—or as much work as reporters have done, over the years, to vet Reid's finances and associations.
In other words, Gladnick is engaging in what could be called Harry Reid Derangement Syndrome.
People magazine exploited the “transgender journey” of 65-year-old Olympic legend Bruce Jenner, exaggerating a family split that seems to be more about his divorce than his gender confusion (although they’re quite related, surely). This family is in television, so they can’t afford to look “transphobic.”
People felt compelled to announce it would acknowledge physical reality, but bow to political correctness: "In keeping with advice from experts, PEOPLE is taking its cues from Jenner's family in regard to the use of male pronouns." No one skeptical of “gender journeys” is allowed to speak.
Graham didn't explain why any article about Jenner's transgender journey must include someone trashing him. The haters can easily to to right-wing outlets like WorldNetDaily to get their fill of hate.
Later that day, Graham cranked out another transgender freakout:
Following in the footsteps of The New York Times Magazine in 2012 and Slate.com in 2013, the March 30 edition of Time is promoting the photographs of Lindsay Morris. The headline was "Happy Campers: Documenting a rural retreat for gender-creative kids.” As opposed to most children, who are apparently “gender-stodgy.”
Morris is coming out with a book titled You Are You in which they call these children “gender-unique.” The book blurb says through “sensitive images the viewer will experience an important moment in history where the first gender-creative childhood is being openly expressed with the support of friends and family. Morris reaches beyond the confines of the camp to contribute to a dialog about the crucial role that support plays in the lives of gender unique children.”
Of course, applying the "gender-stodgy" label to Graham would be redundant since he more accurately fits under a different one: transphobic.
In an apparent bid to balance his hate, Graham engaged in a Twitter hissy fit over Expedia featuring a same-sex couple in a promotion giving away a "romantic getaway to Great Britain." Graham sneered, "Gay romance 'promoted by Expedia,' all right."
The anti-gayagenda of Graham and the MRC is so kneejerk that they run the risk of nobody paying attention as they slide further to the wrong side of history.
NewsBusters' Blumer Don't Need No Stinkin' Facts, Context Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters blogger Tom Blumer has had a very bad past couple of days.
First, in a March 20 post, he threw a fit over PolitiFact rating Ted Cruz's assertion (echoing right-wing climate deniers) that there has been no global warming for 17 years "mostly false." Blumer is very upset that PolitiFact put the claim in context, noting that it "contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression." PolitiFact also points out that deniers who make the claim are "cherry-picking a timeframe that starts at an extremely warm year and ignores that the first decade of the 21st century."
But Blumer don't need no stinkin' context:
Ocean temperatures aren't rising, and there is some evidence of serious data manipulation issues in the ocean-related data (and elsewhere). Antarctic sea ice has recently reached record levels.
Cruz's statement to Meyers was and remains absolutely true.
As a result, I rate [PolitiFact writer] Lauren Carroll's work "Completely Lame."
How very mature of Blumer to do that.
Blumer followed up this performance with a March 22 rant headlined "Not News: Obama Admin's 'Lying Weasels' Delisted Iran and Hezbollah As Terror Threats." He begins by ranting:
From all appearances, only Fox News, CNS News, and a few Israel-based outlets and U.S.-based center-right blogs care about the fact, acknowledged by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, that Iran and Hezbollah, in the words of Fox's Greta Van Susteren, "are suddenly MIA from the U.S. terror threat list."
Just one problem with that for Blumer: It didn't happen.
As PunditFact points out, the only U.S. government list of terrorist organizations that counts is from the State Department, and that list still has Iran and Hezbollah on it. The DNI assessment being referred to by Blumer is not an official list of terrorist organizations but is, as its title states, a "Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community."
Blumer does note that DNI told CNS the purported downplaying of Iran and Hezbollah was due to a "format change" in the report, but he doesn't mention that State, not DNI, keeps the official terrorist list. CNS, in the March 18 article by Patrick Goodenough Blumer is referencing, also fails to report that DNI does not keep the official terrorist list.
But as with context, Blumer don't need no stinkin' facts. He concludes his post by ranting, "There is no defensible reason why these disturbing developments have not received wider media visibility."
Um, how about because it's not true? That seems like an entirely defensible reason.
NewsBusters' Shepherd Shows Why He Was Named Top Blogger At CPAC Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters managing editor Ken Shepherd received an award for “Nonprofit Blogger of the Year” at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference. One apparent reason is that he dutifully promotes right-wing talking points.
A Feb. 25 NewsBusters post further demonstrates the technique that won Shepherd his award. In it, he complains about MSNBC host Chris Matthews' criticism that John Boehner's invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress two weeks before an Israeli election was "purely partisan":
As I've documented previously here at NewsBusters, Boehner's invitation to Netanyahu -- which noted that the invitation was on "behalf of the bipartisan leadership" of both houses of Congress -- was initially for him to speak on February 11.
The president was notified by Boehner about the February 11 invite AFTER it was sent to Netanyahu but prior to Netanyahu's response, which turned down February 11 but offered March 3 as an alternate date, which Boehner readily agreed to.
Again, Mr. Boehner noted bipartisan consensus in extending the invite to Prime Minister Netanyahu. Either that is true and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D) and Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have some explaining to do, or Boehner is lying or at best misrepresenting the bipartisan "OK" he got from his colleagues. Rather than presenting this as nefarious partisan conspiracy, Matthews would do better to attempt to get to the bottom of that question.
But we could find no evidence Boehner consulted any Democratic congressional leaders before inviting Netanyahu. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has stated she was not consulted. Politico reports that "Boehner’s office coordinated with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S." The response from Boehner quoted by Politico did not contradict Pelosi's claim.
Politco also reports that Boehner didn't even invite Pelosi to Netanyahu's speech, though he invited other Democratic officials.
So it appears Matthews has done his research. So why is Shepherd still giving Boehner the benefit of the doubt? Instead of pussyfooting around it, Shepherd should simply state what is apparently obvious: that Boehner lied when he portrayed Netanyahu's speech invitation as bipartisan.
But then, that's not the kind of truth in blogging that earns you the "Nonprofit Blogger of the Year" designation at CPAC.
NewsBusters' Double Standard on Celebrities' Political Commentary Topic: NewsBusters
Clay Waters -- he of the perennial Media Research Center complaint that it's somehow "liberal bias" for the media to identify conservatives as conservatives -- takes another lame whack at the New York Times in a Feb. 20 NewsBusters post by complaining that it's repeating celebrity criticisms of Rudy Giuliani's smear of President Obama:
Times reporter Damien Cave followed up Friday in a story about anti-Giuliani Twitter commentary from renowned political thinkers: "Giuliani Comments Draw Tweets From Martina Navratilova, Judd Apatow and Others." ("Others" including esteemed former talk show host Larry King, who was "saddened by the news." And if you've lost Larry King...)
Charles Barkley Wishes Obama Was Tough On ISIS Like the King of Jordan
Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are all basketball legends in their own right, but it’s not what they’ve done on the court that’s earning them headlines these days, it’s what they’ve said off the courts that’s getting all the attention.
Barkley told Sports Ilustrated if he could meet anyone today, it would be Jordan’s King Abdullah II because of his response to ISIS burning alive the captured Jordanian pilot, Muath Al-Kaseasbeh, on video. He said he wished Obama was like that:
If NewsBusters is willing to treat Barkley's political opinions seriously, why is Waters bashing the New York Times for doing the exact same thing?
NewsBusters Whines: Evolution Question To Walker Was Off-Topic! Topic: NewsBusters
Tom Blumer uses a Feb. 15 NewsBusters post to posit that Scott Walker was right to "punt" on a question about evolution he was asked because it should never have been asked in the first place because it was "brazenly off-topic":
In London, England earlier this week, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker delivered a speech about global trade at the Chatham House think tank. Given that the group's mission is "to help build a sustainably secure, prosperous and just world," and that it encourages "open debate and confidential discussion on the most significant developments in international affairs," it seemed a reasonable expectation that those present would ask questions relevant to those matters.
Instead, Scott Walker was asked several brazenly off-topic questions, including if he believed in evolution. He refused to answer them. In the case of evolution, he said, "I’m going to punt on that one ... That’s a question that a politician shouldn’t be involved in one way or another," while reminding the audience that "I'm here to talk about trade and not pontificate on other issues."
The smug establishment press apparently wants to believe that Walker's refusal has created a political crisis of epic proportions which they contend (translation: hope) may harm his presidential aspirations.
Blumer gets even more conspiratorial after that, speculating that an Associated Press reporter who covered the Walker incident is biased because he is "likely a member of the far-left, Occupy Movement-supporting News Media Guild" and that the AP itself is "likely inspired by leftist hacks who thought they had an issue they could flog." Needless to say, Blumer offers no evidence of this.
Blumer ultimately whines about "amateur-hour smear-driven journalism" -- as if that isn't what he contributes at NewsBusters, though without the "journalism" part.
Why Is MRC's Graham Putting 'Reverend' In Scare Quotes for Sharpton? Topic: NewsBusters
Tim Graham does a curious thing in his Feb. 14 NewsBusters post attacking Al Sharpton: When referring to Sharpton, he puts "Reverend" in scare quotes. Those scare quotes, though, create the impression that Graham believes Sharpton isn't a real reverend -- even though he's an ordained minister -- because he believes evolution exists:
“Reverend” Al Sharpton isn’t too big on the Bible, certainly not on the tale that God created the world and everything in it. MSNBC tweeted out Sharpton’s Thursday night segment where he wished his viewers and guests “Happy Darwin Day” three times, and mocked Gov. Scott Walker for skipping an evolution question in a London interview.
A snarky commenter on MSNBC.com noted that Sharpton was pushing Darwin, whose book The Origin of Species was also titled The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Uh-oh, Rev.
As explained on Wikipedia, Darwin's use of "race" is a synonym for "varieties," not the modern connotation of human races; the first use of the word in the book refers to "the several races, for instance, of the cabbage" and proceeds to a discussion of "the hereditary varieties or races of our domestic animals and plants." Graham might want to vet the random "snarky commenters" from whom he gets his inspiration a little more closely.
Nevertheless, Graham then goes on to claim, "Apparently, in other books, Darwin expressed the thought the 'Negro' was inferior, and 'the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world.' That might be worth a segment." Interestingly, the link Graham provides as evidence of this -- from a blog by John S. Wilkins focused on evolution -- points out that Darwin's clinging to the racial stereotypes pervasive in his era actually contradict his theory of evolution:
Why does Darwin do this? In the early days of a theory or new view, it is hard to puzzle out all the ramifications of the idea, and to isolate it from superficially similar ideas already in the air. Darwin’s notion of evolution does not require progress, or inferior versus superior races, but he’s being led down that path by the culture around him, and the fact, after all, that he is a member of a privileged class (historically fairly recently so) of an imperial society, with a history of devaluing those who were not in control. It turns out, Darwin is human after all.
Anyway, the implication remains that Graham appears to believe Sharpton isn't a real reverend because he acknowledges evolution. So we asked him via Twitter:
Graham's first response: "He's a RINO. Reverend In Name Only. Starts with refusing for decades to acknowledge his sin in the Brawley hoax."
Fair enough; it's a legitimate criticism. Then he added: "And it's funny he's channeling the Darwinists and science against Christian conservatives, like he's Ricky Gervais."
That seems to confirm that, in Graham's view, evolution is incompatible with being a "real" Christian, and definitely not compatible with being a Christian minister.
Then we asked Graham if the MRC would start putting scare quotes around "Dr." when referring to anti-abortion activist Alveda King -- after all, unlike Sharpton's title, King didn't earn hers; the doctorate is honorary. Graham didn't respond.
P.J. Gladnick writes in a Jan. 29 NewsBusters post:
Is Newsweek contributing editor Catherine Ostler winking at us?
One has to ask that question because of the way she speculates as to what Bill Clinton could have possibly been doing at the Sex Fiend Island luxury home of registered pedophiliac sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Among the observations she makes about Jeffrey Epstein who comes off as very creepy in the extreme, Ostler, with what must have a twinkle in her eye as she eye makes this rather narrow list of activities that Clinton could have participated in at Sex Fiend Island, discussing theoretical physics or getting massages from pretty girls [.]
Gladnick is being rather selective in his reporting on "Sex Fiend Island." He doesn't mention it, but another prominent figure who has been linked to alleged activities there -- as stated in the Newsweek article on which Gladnick based his post -- is lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
Gladnick is thus following in the footsteps of WorldNetDaily, which has also failed to mention Dershowitz while reporting the allegations involving Epstein. As with WND, the reason for Gladnick's silence is likely because Dershowitz has voiced some conservative-friendly opinions.
For instance, NewsBusters repeatedlytouted how the "liberal" Dershowitz defended Texas Gov. Rick Perry against a supposedly "politically motivated" indictment, and Gladnick even took perverse delight in the idea that Dershowitz may have made a panelist cry during a TV debate.
While Dershowitz has vehemently denied any involvement, a newly released court document by one of the woman linked to the alleged Epstein scandal claims to detail sexual encounters with Dershowitz and others.
Interesting that Gladnick pounces on the Clinton allegations for salacious value -- even though he has yet to be implicated in any bad behavior on "Sex Fiend Island" -- but censors Dershowitz's alleged involvement even though his name has explicitly come up regarding bad behavior.
It seems Dershowitz is feeling the Sharyl Attkisson effect -- if you say things conservatives like, the Media Research Center has your back no matter how horrible you are.
NewsBusters Endorses Intimidation of Abortion Doctors Topic: NewsBusters
Anti-abortion activist Jill Stanek is a regular NewsBusters blogger, and her Jan. 31 post gave her -- and, thus, NewsBusters' -- enthusiastic approval to a scheme designed to intimidate abortion doctors.
Stanek's post touted the intimidation scheme of fellow anti-abortion activist Eric Scheidler, who mailed a set of plastic handcuffs to every abortion provider in the U.S., suggesting they will eventyually be arrested simply for providing abortion (which, of course, is the goal of Stanek and Scheidler).
As befits someone with a dubious history of anti-abortion activism -- her career-making claim of allegedly having seen fetuses who survived an abortion left to dies was never substantiated -- Stanek saw nothing wrong with this, stating that it's a "stretch" to call Scheidler's scheme indimidation. Stanek then claimed that anti-abortion activists who cross the line into actual harrassment of abortion providers aren't "real harassers."
It appears that Stanek -- and, thus, NewsBusters -- have a double standard of what constitutes initmidation and harrassment depending upon who's doing it.