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Friday, December 12, 2014
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.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:57 PM EST
Saturday, December 6, 2014
MRC Can't Stop Being Mad That Conservatives Are Labeled As Conservative
Topic: NewsBusters

The Media Research Center's Clay Waters has a weird fixation 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.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:13 PM EST
Monday, December 1, 2014
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. 


Posted by Terry K. at 8:32 PM EST
Sunday, November 30, 2014
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.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:08 PM EST
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
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.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:02 PM EST
Monday, November 10, 2014
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.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:22 PM EST
Thursday, November 6, 2014
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?


Posted by Terry K. at 7:08 PM EST
Sunday, November 2, 2014
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.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:45 PM EDT
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
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.

Remember that Shepherd's Media Research Center collegaues were quite approving of Rush Limbaugh's three-day tirade of misogyny against Sandra Fluke. And his boss, Brent Bozell, expressed only the most tepid criticism of Limbaugh before starting an "I Stand With Rush" website. (The MRC did give Limbaugh its very first "William F. Buckley, Jr. Award for Media Excellence," after all.)

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.

Just ask Sandra Fluke.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:58 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 6:22 PM EDT
Sunday, October 26, 2014
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.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:26 PM EDT
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
NewsBusters' Zinger Fail
Topic: NewsBusters

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.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:26 PM EDT
Monday, October 6, 2014
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]."


Posted by Terry K. at 5:02 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
NewsBusters Thinks WMDs Were Found In Iraq
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters' Tom Blumer desperately wants to cling to the idea that weapons of mass destruction really were found in Iraq.

Blumer rants in a Sept. 29 post:

Apparently, "There were no WMDs in Iraq" is the left's Iraq War equivalent of their false "settled science" on human-caused global warming. Of course, climate science isn't settled at all, given that there hasn't been any warming in almost 19 years.

What is settled is that there really were WMDs in Iraq. The left's, Democrats' and others' claims that there were none — zero, zip, nada — is what is self-evidently false.

Wikileaks documents, purloined by Bradley/Chelsea Manning, considered a folk hero by many, show that there WMDs in Iraq.

Blumer cites as evidence of this a Wired report noting that the WikiLeaks findings show that "Remnants of Saddam’s toxic arsenal, largely destroyed after the Gulf War, remained" and that no "evidence of some massive WMD program by the Saddam Hussein regime — the Bush administration’s most (in)famous rationale for invading Iraq."

Blumer also cites the existence of uranium yellowcake in Iraq as evidence of WMDs.

Blumer huffs that the Wired writer "tries to minimize the impact by overstating the Bush administration’s actual position." But Blumer is also overstating the opposite position. Nobody is claiming that "zero, zip, nada" chemical or nuclear weapons were found in Iraq. The standard as articulated by the Bush administration prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq was that Saddam Hussein was amassing WMDs that posed an "imminent" threat to the U.S.

Degraded, decaying 20-year-old chemical weapons aren't WMDs as defined by the Bush administration. Non-enriched, natural uranium that Iraq had no capability to enrich aren't WMDs either.

Nevertheless, Blumer concludes: "There were WMDs at the time of the Iraq invasion, and it's not arguable." Actually, it is -- just don't expect Blumer to admit it.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:38 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
NewsBusters Misinformation Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

In the midst of a freakout over Salon suggesting that George Wallace was a Republican, P.J. Gladnick goes on a misinformation spree in a Sept. 12 NewsBusters post. In whining that a Salon article on Republican voter suppression "is chock full of blatant attempts to rewrite history," Gladnick engages in his own revisionism.

Gladnick complains that Salon references "the myth of the 'stolen' Florida 2000 election , citing a CNN report that "Bush's margin would have tripled if the 'undercounted' ballots had been checked as Gore wanted." In fact, a news consortium that reviewed all presidential ballots in the 2000 election in Florida found that "Gore might have eked out a victory if he had pursued in court a course like the one he publicly advocated when he called on the state to 'count all the votes.'"

Gladnick then has a fit over Salon's claimthat "the parties switched places over civil rights," citing a random guy at an obscure history bulletin board to claim that "With only one exception [Strom Thurmond], all of the Democrat segregationists remained Democrats when that [civil rights] era ended."

But that's miseading -- because the Southern shift from Democrat to Republican didn't happen immediately doesn't mean that there was never a shift. Jody Seaborn points out

The party shift was underway. It was multilayered and would take decades to complete, but Johnson was right. The South was a conservative stronghold in 1964. It remains so. What has changed over the past 50 years is the region that was once solidly Democratic, with only a handful of Republican representatives and senators scattered here and there, is now solidly Republican. And the passage of the Civil Rights Act is a big reason why.

Jamelle Bouie wrote at the American Prospect:

White Southerners jumped ship from Democratic presidential candidates in the 1960s, and this was followed by a similar shift on the congressional level, and eventually, the state legislative level. That the former two took time doesn’t discount the first.

Gladnick also complained that Salon cited an alleged voter fraud complaint in Georgia but "very conveniently did not mention that Kemp's investigation was initiated by complaints at the local county level by election officials of registration irregularities." But Gladnick conveniently didn't mention that the group conducting the voter registration drive at the heart of the complaint, by state law, must turn in all voter registration forms even if they are incomplete. The Washington Post also reported that the group "reached out to the secretary of state’s office proactively in June to ensure they complied with state law."

If Gladnick couldn't manufacture the kind of outrage he cobbled together for his post, would he still be a NewsBusters blogger?


Posted by Terry K. at 10:03 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
NewsBusters' Blumer Repeats Misleading Claim About Arctic Ice
Topic: NewsBusters

Tom Blumer is very excited in an Aug. 30 NewsBusters post:

Ice, ice baby. That's what they have a lot more of in the Arctic.

The UK Daily Mail, one of those British tabloids the left has despised going back to the Clinton administration and its paranoia about a right-wing media conspiracy, reports from authoritative sources — the kind the U.S. establishment press uses when it seems to support the hoax known as human-caused global warming — that the Arctic ice cap has expanded rapidly in the past two years. In doing so, it has made up all of what was lost between 2009 and 2012 with a slight margin to spare. Seven years ago, former Vice President and leading global warming false alarmist Al Gore predicted that "It could be completely gone."

Because this makes Al Gore look bad, the story is too good for Blumer to fact-check. Maybe he thinks he doesn't need to because the Mail's sources are so "authoritative" that they don't need fact-checking. Slate's Phil Plait does a fact-slap on the Daily Mail, which he points out is "to scientific accuracy what a sledgehammer is to an egg":

This claim is a humdinger, and typical denial double-speak. It’s technically true, but also really wrong. It’s like examining someone who has a 106° fever and saying it’s really made their skin glow. 

[...]

Mentioning Gore is at best a distraction, red meat to the deniers. Gore isn’t a climate scientist, and as we well know actual climate scientists overwhelmingly agree that the world is warming. One of the outcomes of this is the decline of Arctic sea ice.

Briefly: Arctic sea ice reaches a minimum in late September every year. The overall trend for the amount of ice at that time is decreasing; in other words, there is less ice all the time. Some years there is more than others, some less. But the trend is down, down, down.

In 2012, a mix of unusual causes created conditions where the minimum reached a record low, far below normal. The next year, in 2013, the ice didn’t reach quite so low a minimum extent, and this year looks very much the same as 2013. But saying the ice is “recovering” is, to put it delicately, what comes out the south end of a north-facing bull. You can’t compare two years with a record low the year before that was due to unusual circumstances; you have to look at the average over time.

Of course, if you do, your claims that global warming isn’t real melt away.

Plait cites actual authoritative sources, unlike the Daily Mail sources Blumer places his faith in, and even supplies a chart demonstrating the trend of declining Arctic ice over time and, thus what a bunch of bull the Daily Mail article is:

Since Blumer claims to know his authoritative sourcees, perhaps he can explain why "authoritative sources" that conform to his right-wing agenda are so much better than actual authoritative sources who don't.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:07 PM EDT

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