NewsBusters Complains 'Nightly Show' Debut On MLK Holiday Is 'Obsessing About Race' Topic: NewsBusters
Jeffrey Meyer had the unenviable task (from a right-wing standpoint) of reviewing the debut episode of "The Nightly Show," Comedy Central's new program starring Larry Wilmore. So we have the only black host currently on late-night TV, with a show debuting on the Martin Luther King holiday, so naturally Wilmore would focus on racial issues.
What do you think Meyer took away from the show? The headline of his Jan. 20 post reveals the answer: "Larry Wilmore Debuts New Comedy Central Show By Obsessing Over Race."
Meyer didn't make a comparison to fill out his definition of obsessive coverage -- after all, NewsBusters has been obsessing about Benghazi much more than Wilmore did in his debut show.
NewsBusters Publishes Tony Perkins' Falsehoods About Fired Atlanta Fire Chief Topic: NewsBusters
The Media Research Center is getting as bad about peddling falsehoods as WorldNetDaily is.
On Jan. 14, the MRC's NewsBusters published a post by Family Research Council chief Tony Perkins on the case of fired Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran. Perkins ranted about a New Yorkk Times editorial about Cochran, which noted that Cochran did not have permission from city authorities to publish his self-published book that includes homophobic rants. RetortsPerkins: "Not only did Cochran have permission from the city’s ethics office to publish his book, but he only distributed it in his personal capacity at church -- where a handful of his coworkers attend."
Perkins is lying. A city investigation into the Cochran case, released five days before Perkin's post was published, confirms that Cochran never had city permission to publish the book:
At the outset of the investigation, Chief Cochran admitted that he did not inform Mayor Reed that he was publishing the book and did not have the Mayor’s permission. The only indication there was any mention of the book to anyone in the Mayor’s Office is the Chief Operating Officer at the time of publication remembering that Chief Cochran had talked about writing a book on leadership.
Chief Cochran insists Ethics Officer Hickson authorized both the publication of the book and the reference in the book to his position as AFRD Chief. His recollection is that he first contacted Ms. Hickson to determine if it was permissible to publish the book and that he later asked if it was appropriate to identify himself in the book as AFRD Chief. Ms. Hickson indicated that she did not approve publication of the book and had no authority to grant such approval. She said she told him that he would need to get the Mayor’s permission as well as a formal opinion from the Board of Ethics.
Further, contrary to Perkins' claim, Cochran did in fact distribute his book at the workplace. From the investigation:
Chief Cochran stated that he provided the book to certain members of his command staff as a personal gift. He originally stated that he did not provide it to anyone who did not request a copy. The investigation disclosed that the book was distributed in the workplace to at least nine (9) individuals. Three (3) of these officers stated that the book was given to them without a request on their part.
Perkins insisted that "At no point did Kelvin Cochran 'foist' his views on anyone." But if Cochran is giving his book to employees who did not request one, he is in fact foisting his views on people.
Perkins asserted that the city of Atlanta, in firing Cochran, is engaging in a "campaign of discrimination against Christians." In fact, Cochran was not fired because of his Christianity but, rather, because of his unprofessional behavior. As the city investigation points out, Cochran was fired because he failed to obtain proper approval for his book and because of his insubordination by speaking publicly about his ordeal.
Does the MRC not vet the blog entries it posts? Apparently not.
NewsBusters' Double Standard on Context Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters has long fretted over conservatives purportedly being taken out of context while having no problem taking statements by liberals out of context.
That double standard shines through again in a Jan. 6 NewsBusters post by Jack Coleman:
Context is all, especially in media, unless you're a liberal intent on smearing the most prominent voice in radio who also happens to be conservative. At that point, context becomes an inconvenience quickly to be jettisoned.
Two days before Christmas, Rush Limbaugh was talking about the leaked Sony emails when he said something that proceeded to make news during the traditionally slow news drought of the holidays.
After referring to a specific email from Sony co-chair Amy Pascal suggesting that black British actor Idris Elba portray James Bond after actor Daniel Craig's contract playing the super-spy ends, Limbaugh dismissed the suggestion by pointing out that Bond was "white and Scottish, period." (audio)
Given the faux outrage to follow, you'd think Limbaugh lit up a huge cross at the entrance to Sony studios.
On his radio show yesterday, Limbaugh played audio clips of media reaction of his remarks and pointed out what critics neglected to mention that he also said[.]
Actually, it's Coleman who's selectively editing here. The reason why Limbaugh was criticized as racist for his remarks was because Limbaugh himself said it was.
In the original clip, Limbaugh admitted that "it's probably racist to even point this out" about Elba and James Bond. That's context worth mentioning; why didn't Coleman think it was?
Instead, Coleman tried to find a way to bolster one of Limbaugh's weaker arguments:
Undoubtedly not it's safe to say. But isn't Limbaugh muddying the waters by suggesting that outrage would ensue if white actors were cast to portray historical figures who were black, such as Obama and Mandela, whereas Bond is a fictional character, so what difference does it make?
Apparently it meant a great deal in 1990, Limbaugh pointed out, when the Actors' Equity union initially refused to allow white actor Jonathan Pryce to portray a fictional Eurasian pimp in "Miss Saigon" on Broadway, as Pryce already had in London. (audio). The union quickly backed down and reversed its decision.
Does anyone actually believe that Americans have become less politically correct since then?
But ethnicity is arguably a more significant factor in the "Miss Saigon" role than it is in James Bond. And as playwright David Henry Hwang points out, there is a legitimate issue of diversity since 80 percent of the roles on Broadway stages are taken by white actors. Further, the protest had an effect: the producer of "Miss Saigon" on Broadway ensured that all actors who took that role after Pryce left it were of Asian descent.
Coleman didn't mention any of that, of course -- but then, his sense of context is highly selective.
NewsBusters' Pierre Laments That Catholic Abuse Victims Are Being Paid Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters' Dave Pierre is a big fan of the Catholic Church quietly paying clergy accused of sexual abuse to go away quietly as "fast and economical," never mind that such payments conveniently excluded any sort of accountability or justice.
Paying the victims who accused them, well, that's another story.
In a Nov. 27 NewsBusters post, Pierre proclaimed his distress at Boston Cardinal Seán O'Malley appearing on "60 Minutes" to talk about the church's sex abuse crisis:
While the media has showered O'Malley with praise for his management of sex abuse cases, we have actually been troubled with the way he has handled cases in Boston by paying sizable sums to settle questionable claims.
In the spring of 2012, O'Malley's archdiocese paid out large settlements related to accusations of abuse against two priests. However, as we carefully chronicled at the time, there is substantial reason to believe that the payments were not justified.
Both accused priests were long ago dead, neither man had even a hint of impropriety when they were alive, and these were the only claims ever made against them. The archdiocese's payoffs understandably infuriated the friends and families of both tarnished priests.
Pierre's "careful chronicling," it should be noted, lacks any evidence that the abuse didn't occur; he merely rants about "unproven allegations against previously unblemished priests who are now deceased and unable to defend themselves" and insists "our priests deserve much better than this" and wails about what "the families, friends, and colleagues of these accused men now must endure."
By contract, Pierre shows little concern for what the victim deserves and must endure. Instead, he baselessly besmirches them by baselessly suggesting they were only out to scam the church of money.
Pierre then moves on to attack Cardinal O'Malley for something completely unrelated, supposedly excessive "salaries for lay leadership in the Archdiocese of Boston." He concludes: "So the lesson here is that if a Church official is willing to criticize the Church over the topic of sex abuse, the media will fête him as a media darling no matter what he has actually done as a Church official."
The other lesson, it appears, is that Pierre will attack anyone who admits there has been a longstanding problem of abuse in the Catholic Church, and anyone who does so -- even victims -- must be thrown under the bus to save the church.
MRC Can't Stop Being Mad That Conservatives Are Labeled As Conservative Topic: NewsBusters
The Media Research Center's Clay Waters has a weirdfixation on stories about conservatives that label conservatives as conservatives. He's at it again in a Dec. 4 NewsBusters post:
The New York Times' labeling bias isn't just aimed at U.S. conservatives; the Times' global reach and bias extends overseas, as demonstrated in Wednesday's edition, crammed with dangerous and unpleasant right-wingers in Europe, Asia, and of course Israel, both among politicians and the media (who knew the "right-wing media" were so powerful?).
The headline to a front-page story by Martin Fackler on a controversy over Japanese "comfort women" from World War II read: "Rewriting War, Japanese Right Goes on Attack." "Ultranationalist" was an apparently insufficient label for the bad guys in the story; Fackler eagerly identified them as "conservative" and "right-wing" at every junction.
Waters doesn't explain why accurately labeling conservatives as conservatives is "labeling bias," let alone why it's not truthful to apply the lable. Most people not obessed with finding bias where none actually exists would call that factual reporting.
NewsBusters Complains GOP Staff Is Being Held Accountable For Her Words Topic: NewsBusters
Melissa Mullins whines in a Nov. 30 NewsBusters post:
This past Thanksgiving weekend, with all the stories going on in the country today, one seems to have topped the list: an unknown GOP staffer decided to voice her negative opinion about the Obama daughters after they were pictured during the White House turkey pardon ceremony…on her Facebook page. Yep. That’s the story.
You could imagine the backlash Lauten got from the online world – and a few “reputable” news organizations. (Start with The Huffington Post.) Apparently, there are even Malia and Sasha partisans that were calling for Lauten to be fired from her job. Really? What if we were to go around inspecting every Democratic communications director for whichever Democrat they work for – are their personal Facebook posts fair game too?
Well, actually, if Mullins had checked the NewsBusters archive, you'd find that it does, in fact, highlight the content of people's and organzations' Facebook pages. And Mullins might want to check her own writing as well: A Nov. 25 post by her highlights a comment Fox News' Geraldo Rivera made on his Facebook page.
So let's not pretend that a publicly accessible Facebook feed is suddenly off limits because the person writing it is a Republcan.
Mullins then lamely tries to equivocate by invoking criticism of the children of Republican presidents:
For those who insist presidential or vice presidential children (or those of potential candidates) are off limits and should oblige by those wishes – does that mean it’s still ok to give them a free pass when they are older or being trotted out for show and tell to help with a candidacy?
In addition to what the Bush twins endured when it came to criticism from the media, who can forget the Palin kids (here, here, here, and here…just to name a few)? Of course, both parties have had their share of mudslinging when it comes to criticizing children of politicians, but more often than not it’s those with an “R” after their name (or like this post proves – any association with the Republican Party) that are often forced into publicly apologizing.
Mullins omits the critical difference that when the Bush twins "endured ... criticism from the media," they were over 18, and one of the things they were criticized for was engaging in criminal behavior -- namely, Jenna Bush attempted to use a fake ID to buy a drink at a bar. By contrast, the Obama daughters -- age 13 and 15 -- did little more than act like bored teenagers, which last we checked isn't criminal behavior.
Mullins also referenced criticism aimed at Chelsea Clinton, but she ignored the most vile example: Rush Limbaugh calling a teenaged Chelsea the White House dog. Not only did NewsBusters not criticize it, the late Noel Sheppard tried to pretend it didn't really happen. As we noted at the time, Sheppard was engaging in lame misdirection when he should have been demanding that Limbaugh release the video of the segment from his 1990s TV show so we can judge for ourselves.
It seems Mullins' real anger is that a Republican was being held accountable for what she wrote.
At NewsBusters, Racially Charged Cartoon Is Legitimate 'Conservative Opinion' Topic: NewsBusters
In a Nov. 25 NewsBusters post, Laura Flint endorses a racially charged cartoon by criticizing the fact that it was denounced as racist:
The liberal thought police have struck again. On Friday, November 21, one day after Obama announced amnesty for five million illegal immigrants, the Indianapolis Star posted a cartoon by Gary Varvel that depicted an American family gathering around the table for Thanksgiving. As the nonplussed father presents the turkey, three people appear to be climbing in the window, and he states, “Thanks to the president’s immigration order, we’ll be having extra guests this Thanksgiving,”
It did not take long for the virulent cry of racism to be heard by Indystar.com. Within one day, executive editor Jeff Taylor published an article admitting the newspaper’s error in featuring the cartoon and removed it from the website altogether.
While Taylor ends his letter by stating that it is “important to encourage a vigorous public debate on issues of this magnitude…with respectful discourse,” the actions of his newspaper have made it clear that no conservative opinion can be viewed as a form of legitimate “discourse.”
So depicting stereotypical Mexicans as people who break into people's houses and steal their food is legitimate "conservative opinion"? No wonder conservatives have trouble being taken seriously on immigration.
NewsBusters: Google's Veterans Day Doodle Not White Enough Topic: NewsBusters
In a Nov. 11 NewsBusters post, Mark Finkelstein was heartened that Google marked Veterans Day with one of its special "doodles" in its logo, but he had a sad that there weren't enough white people in it:
So yes, let's take some satisfaction from the fact that Google did depict actual members of the US military on its homepage this morning.
That said, Google couldn't resist inflicting its PC-politics onto the homepage, with wildly unrepresentative demographics. The image shows five military members. Out front is a woman. Of the five, three would appear to be members of minority groups, and two are women. One white guy manages to make it in. Compare and contrast with the military's actual demographics. As of 2012, as per this official report, women comprised only 14% of active-duty military, and minority members 30%. So Google doubled minority representation, and more than doubled the proportion of women. Note: the stats given are for active-duty members. In the Reserve and Guard, the percentage of women is somewhat higher but still less than 20%. And the percentage of minority members is actually lower.
Not to be too bean-counterish about all this, and yes let's be thankful for small favors, but can there be any doubt that Google had its heavy PC-thumb on the scales?
Yes, Finkelstein really is bothered that there are too many minorities in Google's honoring of Veterans Day.
MRC Can't Decide Whether Ben Stein's Obama Smear Is Offensive Or Not Topic: NewsBusters
A Nov. 4 NewsBusters post by Jeffrey Meyer highlighted Ben Stein's comment that President Onbama is “the most racist president there has ever been in America," calling the remark "offensive" and lacking in historical accuracy and noting that the hosts of ABC's "The View" "rightly criticized" Stein for the remark. Meyer then complained that "View" co-host Rosie O'Donnell was "indicting all of Fox News for one man’s offensive comments," as if Meyer's employer, the Media Research Center, has never pulled that same trick.
Meyer's view that Stein's smear of Obama is offensive, however, appears to be held exclusively by him among his Media Research Center cohorts. For thte past few days, the lead item in the NewsBusters "Editor's Picks" box has been, yes, Ben Stein's smear of Obama:
The "Editor's Pick" links to a Conservative Videos item that uncritically promotes Stein's remark.
As we've seen with Rush Limbaugh and Sandra Fluke, the boys at the MRC generally approve of liberals being smeared and denigrated.
MRC Mum on Holes In Attkisson's Claim Of Computer Hacking Topic: NewsBusters
A Nov. 6 NewsBusters post by Melissa Mullins touts a Hollywood Reporter interview in which former CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson discusses the alleged hacking of her computer, and how a "legal and forensics team" supposedly found evidence of “highly sophisticated remote intrusions into my personal and work computers by someone using software proprietary to a government agency…either to the DIA, CIA, FBI or NSA over a period of time.”
Mullins doesn't mention, however, that significant doubts have been raised about Attkisson's claim.
After Attkisson posted an online purporting to show her computer being hacked in real time, Media Matters consulted computer experts who said the apparent culprit was a stuck backspace key.
Attkisson has also changed her story on the alleged hacking. She originally claimed that an anonymous source had given her the identity of the person who had hacked into her computer, but in a later interview, Attkisson said she didn't know who the hacker may have been, but "I just know that there's some government tie."
Mullins doesn't mention she was asked about the video of the supposed hacking video during the Hollywood Reporter interview. Despite originally presenting the video as evidence of hacking, she backed off it in the interview, dismissing her own video as "a video anecdote, something that happened along the way. It has nothing to do with the forensic evidence and the analysis. It’s just something interesting, a punctuation mark of things that were happening."
Mullins also uncritically repeats Attkisson's claim that she's not biased, which ignores the fact that she has worked exclusively for conservative outlets -- and has been championed by conservative groups like the MRC -- since leaving CBS. If she didn't have a right-wing bias, wouild that be happening?
NewsBusters Upset That Pundit Would Question Florida Gov.'s Morality, Forgets About Welfare Fraud Topic: NewsBusters
In an Oct. 28 NewsBusters post, Mark Finkelstein is shocked -- shocked! -- that anyone would suggest that Florida Gov. Rick Scott is anything but morally upright:
If on national TV you pass along from a "friend" an extremely damning charge about someone's morality, do you have an obligation to identify that "friend" or provide some sort of substantiation for the charge? Nicolle Wallace apparently doesn't think so.
On today's Morning Joe, speaking of Rick Scott and Charlie Crist, Wallace blithely passed along the charge from an unnamed "friend" from Tallahassee that "these are two guys who are the least tethered to any sort of moral compass that have ever run against each other."
Wallace provided nothing in support of the harsh assessment. But she made it in the context of a discussion of a new ad by Scott attacking Crist for taking big campaign contributions from strip club owners. At the center of the ad was a clip from a TV interview in which Crist said he would not return the contributions.
Actually, evidence of Scott's apparent moral turpitude is easy to find, if Finkelstein had bothered to look. Scott was the head of a for-profit hospital corporation when it was fined $1.7 billion for welfare fraud.
It's been called "the largest ripoff of taxpayers in the history of Medicare and Medicaid." Not by any liberal -- by right-wing outlet Newsmax, before it flushed any suggestion of corruption by Scott down the memory hole.
The welfare fraud committed under Scott's watch is common enough knowledge that it's not necessary for Wallace to outline it. Finkelstein, it seems, would rather feign ignorance.
NewsBusters: Cyberbullying Of Model Not That Bad Because She's A Model Topic: NewsBusters
Ken Shepherd declares in an Oct. 28 NewsBusters post that he's not that terribly bothered by the cyberbullying of Chrissy Teigen over an "anti-gun" tweet because, well, she's a model -- well, a "public figure" -- and kinda has it coming to her:
While ad hominem attacks, hateful comments, and threats of violence are unacceptable and worthy of condemnation, it seems a bit melodramatic to argue that Ms. Teigen, a very public figure, is a victim of cyberbullying. Teigen simply held forth on Twitter to make a political comment and got pushback for it. That is the nature of political discourse in social media, and far different from some anonymous kid in a high school somewhere in America being persistently and mercilessly harassed and bullied online by classmates.
So he knows how acceptable ad hominem attacks, hateful comments, and threats of violence are without having to leave his place of employment. Indeed, his employer considers such attacks to be "media excellence," so maybe he's not the best judge of who deserves to be bullied.
Curiously, Shepherd was silent about the content of her supposedly "anti-gun" tweet, which simply stated, "active shooting in Canada, or as we call it in america, wednesday."
Shepherd concludes by huffing: "Of course, if this is the standard MSNBC wishes to have, we eagerly await its complaints of cyberbullying the next time a conservative celebrity receives wave after wave of social media vitriol for expressing an opinion that is anathema to the Left." Somehow, Meanwhile, a non-conservative who ran afoul of the right's PC police deserves what they have coming to them.
NewsBusters Pushes Bogus Wedding Chapel Discrimination Story Topic: NewsBusters
Ken Shepherd uses an Oct. 23 NewsBusters post to take exception to a CNN op-ed pointing out the fact that wedding chapels are for-profit businesses and are not necessarily religious operations:
Of course it's common sense that, in the strictest religious sense, wedding chapels are not, well, actual chapels. After all, they do exist as moneymaking ventures, albeit moneymaking ventures catering to a religious audience, kind of like religious bookstores or sellers of religious art. That said, it is supremely dangerous for government to be in the position to decide questions that are essentially theological and ecclesial in nature.
Moving on to the specific manufactured controversy at hand, a wedding chapel in Idaho that falsely claims it's being forced to marry same-sex partners, Shepherd writes:
"We strive to make your wedding experience memorable and personal for you" with "ordained ministers [who] will marry you using a traditional, religious ceremony," the Hitching Post notes in an FAQ section response to the question, "What is the difference between marrying at the Hitching Post vs. the Courthouse?"
Because the Hitching Post promises a traditional, religious ceremony in the Christian tradition that is officiated "by our Licensed or Ordained Hitching Post ministers," it is most certainly understood by potential clients that the proprietors would accordingly wish to reserve the right to not do business with those who demand a wedding experience that contradicts the fundamental understanding of the Christian faith of the Hitching Post's owner/operators.
Traditionally, even ministers at non-profit churches receive a gratuity for officiating a wedding, and often houses of worship lease out fellowship halls, kitchens, and even sanctuaries for couples getting married, including couples who are NOT members of the church in question. This might strike some as fundamentally commercial activity, not religious in nature, and ergo worthy of anti-discrimination protection and public accommodation regulations.
But as we pointed out, the Hitching Post is not a church, used to regularly conduct secular wedding ceremonies (that presumably did not necessarily conform to "the Christian faith of the Hitching Post's owner/operators"), and was not an exclusively religious wedding chapel until hooking up with a right-wing legal group and scrubbing its website of references to the civil ceremonies it used to perform. Further, no legal action has been taken against the wedding chapel, and if it is now operating as a legitimate religious corporation, they are exempt from being forced to perform same-sex marriages.
Shepherd even quotes from the wedding chapel's website claiming its ministers will "will marry you using a traditional, religious ceremony," ignoring the fact that as recently as two weeks ago, that very same page stated that its ministers "will marry you using a traditional or civil ceremony." That sudden conversion would seem to undermine the chapel's case that it's a strictly religious operation.
A lot of right-wingers didn't like Jon Stewart's attempt to get Bill O'Reilly to admit that white privilege exists. One of them is NewsBusters' Jack Coleman, who ranted in an Oct. 16 post:
How about that, Stewart got it right. When he claims white privilege still exists, Stewart is correct -- and he doesn't have to look far for evidence. His own cable show, the one that has made him immensely wealthy and influential, provides it. And since liberals see power, wealth, influence, etc., as zero-sum equations, each must have come to Stewart at the expense of other people. Surely some were people of color.
[Mediaite's Joe] Concha linked to a Reuters story from August on lack of diversity among Stewart's guests -- and the numbers "start to look very grim indeed." Sixty-eight percent were white and the few African-American guests were all entertainers. "Out of 45 guests, just three were women of color," according to Reuters, referring to one of the least covered fronts in the war on women.
Since Stewart is so passionate about the corrosive "residue" of white privilege -- wherever it exists -- he surely won't allow it to persist at a workplace where he's been instrumental in perpetuating it.
Coleman apparently thinks this is some kind of gotcha zinger. But he apparently missed the end of the show on which the Stewart-O'Reilly argument took place, where Stewart said: "Don't think I don't realize that I'm not the ideal advocate for the convesation I was having with Bill O'Reilly."
Coleman also somehow overlooked O'Reilly's own zinger in the extended interview, telling Stewart that "in your case, there is white privilege. The fact that you're here sitting there -- he doesn't even shave."
Coleman also failed with his account of this exchange:
"If there's white privilege then there has to be Asian privilege," O'Reilly countered, citing higher incomes among Asian Americans.
Stewart -- Depends on where they're from.
O'Reilly -- They're from Asia, they're Asian Americans. (Zing! That one must have stung).
Actually, it does depend on which Asians you're talking about. The Chinese experience in America is undeniably different than, say, the Japanese experience or the Vietnamese experience or the Thai experience.
Maybe Coleman needs to have his zinger detector recalibrated.
NewsBusters' Blumer: It's 'Too Easy' To Vote Topic: NewsBusters
In the midst of using a Sept. 29 NewsBusters post to whine about coverage of the upholding of an Ohio early-voting law, Tom Blumer demonstrates his hostility to early voting:
Ohio had no early voting of any kind until 2006. The system was simple: Vote on Election Day or vote absentee if you had a valid excuse out of a list about ten possible reasons for doing so. No one complained until a George Soros-backed group attempted to impose an early-voting and redisctricting regime on the state through the initiative process. The "Reform Ohio Now" initiatives went down by 2-1 margins.
Nevertheless, Ohio's current voting regime is about as easy as can be — too easy, in yours truly's opinion[.]
Blumer does not expaned on how difficult he thinks voting should be.
Blumer also complains about an "activist judge" who supported "having 28 days of early voting instead of 35." But he doesn't explain that, according to the Associated Press article he's complaining about, there was 35 days of early voting until the Republican-controlled Ohio legislature reduced it to 28. The court ruling in question denied an attempt to restore the original early-voting schedule; Blumer sneered that the civil rights groups who supported the restoration were "misnamed" and that "During the 41 years after the Voting Rights Act's passage, no court ruled that Ohio's election system violated [it]."