Examiner's Demise Shows Even Conservatives Are Tired Of Funding Conservative Journalism Topic: Washington Examiner
NewsBusters' Matthew Sheffield has long been begging right-wing funders to fund right-wing journalism. but even right-wing sugar daddies have limits to how much money they're willing to lose on the perennial money pit that is conservative journalism.
This has been proven again with the Washington Examiner's announcement that it will cease being a daily newspaper and refashion itself into a weekly conservative opinion journal. The Examiner is owned by conservative billionaire Philip Anschutz. While the privately held Examiner has never released its financial numbers, but given the shaky state of the newspaper industry as a whole, it's highly doubtful that the Examiner was a money-maker -- if it was, Anschutz would likely not be pulling the plug.
We detailed in 2009 how the Examiner stacked its opinion pages with conservative commentators that peddled the usual misinformation -- indeed, Anschutz reportedly mandated that the paper carry "nothing but conservative columns and conservative op-ed writers." While Examiner editor Stephen G. Smith insisted that the paper's news reporting was "down the middle," its was bound to be tainted by the opinion pages' right-wing tilt, fairly or not.
Smith's insistence that the Examiner is "not some wild-eyed right-wing Web site" overlooks the fact that extremism has had its moments, which include promoting birtherism and Examiner columnist Tim Carney arguing against anti-discrimination laws.
Even giving the Examiner away -- it's a free paper -- apparently hasn't generated much reader loyalty or created much traction, at least not enough to make it profitable. The paper is typically sparse of advertising, with few display or classified ads, and often more legal notices from local governments (which the Examiner contracts with local governments to print) than either.
The problem with Sheffield's call for conservative journalism outlets ignores the fact that conservatives have demonstrated they don't want journalism, they want opinions that reinforce their views. The Examiner's move from journalism to full-time ideologically driven conservative writing is just the latest example.
UPDATE: Jim Romenesko catches the Examiner making a big front-page boo-boo in today's paper, on top of the news of its imminent dismantling:
With WND-Aping Op-Ed, Wash. Examiner Goes Birther Topic: Washington Examiner
It seems inevitable that every conservative news outlet will, sooner or later, dirty its hands by latching onto the birther issue. The Washington Examiner plunges in by publishing a Nov. 22 op-ed by Diana West promoting one birther's case.
West wrote that Terrence Lakin, an Army lieutenant colonel, "faces an upcoming court-martial at Fort Meade, Md., on Dec. 14 for refusing to follow orders to redeploy to Afghanistan because of his conviction that the president hasn't proven his eligibility to hold office." Lakin is the birthers' latest hope for promoting their case, and West admits she's writing about him in part because "Lakin supporters have dubbed this week Terry Lakin Action Week, urging American citizens to take the occasion to call their congressional representatives about the case."
West highlighted a claim that "unknown, unknowable site authorities ‘took down' a new entry" on Lakin "almost as soon it went up." That claim comes straight from the birther fanatics at WorldNetDaily.
West lionized Lakin as "a senior military officer with an unblemished career" who is committing "what amounts to a historic act of civil disobedience for which he may well serve time in prison." The reality, meanwhile, is that a military judge has already ruled that, according to military law, the personal beliefs or convictions of a soldier are not enough for the soldier to deem an order illegal, that Lakin cannot introduce any evidence related to Obama's citizenship at his court-martial, and that the military court was not the proper venue for determining the eligibility of a president.
West peppered her op-ed with standard birther arguments:
Of course, Obama's failure to release his original 1961 birth certificate (which, contrary to mantralike misperception, has never been released) is just the beginning. There remains a startling dearth of documentation pertaining to Obama's progress through his 49 years of life that only begins with his birth certificate.
A gaping hole -- dare I say "memory hole"? -- seems to have consumed all possible Obama records from his education, health, family records, even his pre-presidential political career. But this subject is never taken seriously by the media or the political establishment, including, most glaringly, erstwhile GOP opponent John McCain, who, on being challenged on the eligibility question himself, should have called on candidate Obama to join him in releasing their bona fides together.
But even to suggest such a thing is to indulge in "conspiracy theories." Not surprisingly, Wikipedia defines this term for us as well, noting that it's "often used dismissively in an attempt to characterize a belief as outlandishly false and held by a person judged to be a crank or a group confined to the lunatic fringe."
Is the birther path really the one that Philip Anschutz's aggressively conservative publication wants to take? It appears so.
Wash. Examiner's Double Standard on Election Fraud Topic: Washington Examiner
In a Jan. 19 Washington Examiner blog post, David Freddoso highlighted Scott Brown's reaction to accusations of voter fraud by Martha Coakley's campaign, highlighting "Sen. John Kerry's 2004 campaign guidebook in Colorado, which called for a 'pre-emptive strike' with accusations of voting irregularities."
Freddoso might have a point had his employer not published a pre-emptive strike of its own against Coakley the day before in the form of a column by Douglas MacKinnon headlined "How Coakley will steal the election from Brown." In it, MacKinnon speculated that Coakley would "steal the election from Brown and the people of Massachusetts" and referenced "a Massachusetts Democratic operation that clearly has the skill sets necessary to deprive the voters of an honest and unpoliticized outcome."
Examiner Columnist Repeats Wildly Inflated Tea Party Protest Count Topic: Washington Examiner
In her December 8 Washington Examinercolumn, Barbara Hollingsworth writes of the tea party movement:
The growing grass-roots movement will indeed destroy the political careers of many politicians who fail to heed the warning it delivered Sept. 12, when 1.7 million angry voters (according to a crowd estimate by Zac Moilanen of Indiana University) descended on Washington to say they were totally fed up with bailouts and stimulus packages, and want the country to return to its constitutional, limited-government roots.
But as Media Matters has detailed, Moilanen's estimate is somewhat less than authoritative. Moilanen, an undergrad studying East Asian Languages and Cultures at Indiana, cited such not-quite-unimpeachable sources as a Free Republic post and a message board to arrive at his crowd estimate.
In fact, the crowd size was much, much lower. Even Fox News -- a big promoter of the 9/12 rally -- concedes it was only in the "tens of thousands."
The Truth About O'Leary's Misleading Polls Is Too Much For Him to Bear Topic: Washington Examiner
Brad O'Leary spent an entire Nov. 19 Washington Examiner column responding to Media Matters' highlighting of his skewed Zogby polls and, more specifically, his racially charged poll question regarding Mark Lloyd:
The author of this "racially charged" language is none other than Obama's Diversity Czar Mark Lloyd himself. Here is what he said at the 2005 Conference on Media Reform: Racial Justice:
"This - there's nothing more difficult than this. Because we have really, truly good white people in important positions. And the fact of the matter is that there are a limited number of those positions.
"And unless we are conscious of the need to have more people of color, gays, other people in those positions we will not change the problem. We're in a position where you have to say who is going to step down so someone else can have power."
I find it equal parts troubling and incredible that in 21st Century America there could be anyone, much less a high-level federal appointee, who thinks the government should be forcing hirings-and-firings at private companies based solely on race and sexual preference.
Media Matters, evidently, is only outraged that someone would dare report the matter or ask America's opinion about it. Or maybe Media Matters thinks it is unfair to hold a presidential appointee responsible for something he said just four years ago.
O'Leary, however, did not include any of that background -- which the vast majority of respondents would have no knowledge of without it -- in asking his poll question, which was this:
Federal Communications Commission Chief Diversity Czar Mark Lloyd wants the FCC to force good white people in positions of power in the broadcast industry to step down to make room for more African-Americans and gays to fill those positions. Do you agree or disagree that this presents a threat to free speech?
Also problematic for O'Leary is that the question, as asked, is false. At no point does Lloyd advocate using the FCC to "force good white people" in the broadcast industry out.
O'Leary has only himself to blame for his false, out-of-context framing of Lloyd's statement. And he's a veritable laugh riot in coming to Zogby's defense:
I choose to do polling with Zogby because they've been among the most accurate pollsters for the past two decades. I find that Zogby does very well in balancing my questions to remove any conservative or other bias that may exist. When you're searching for the truth, it does no good to rig the outcome.
Meanwhile... Topic: Washington Examiner
Media Matters catches the Washington Examiner embracing misleading math in attacking the amount of money spent per job created under the stimulus package. The Examiner's claim of $230,000 spent per job saved or created ignores the value of the work produced and other ancillary jobs created as a result.
Examiner's West Unclear On the Concept Topic: Washington Examiner
It appears that right-wingers are out for revenge over Rush Limbaugh getting squeezed out of a deal to buy the St. Louis Rams, and they're turning their ire toward (who else) Keith Olbermann.
And that's pretty much the way Diana West put in her Oct. 18 Washington Examiner column:
I will start with two words: Keith Olbermann. In addition to his nightly gig on MSNBC -- a numbing blend of Leftist politics and something approaching Tourette's Syndrome -- Keith Olbermann is a co-host of NBC's "Football Night in America," the pre-game show that leads into "Sunday Night Football." Naturally, that would be Sunday night NFL football.
This job makes Olbermann a public face of the NFL. And a public face of the NFL with many filthy things coming out of it. These include his recent pronouncement that Limbaugh claiming his own success paved the way for Glenn Beck is "is like congratulating yourself for spreading syphilis."
We could slap a headline on that -- "NFL talker compares star radio and TV conservatives to venereal disease" -- only trash talk against conservatives doesn't generate mainstream outrage.
Take Olbermann's noxious attack this week on Michelle Malkin for what he characterized as her "total mindless, morally bankrupt, knee-jerk, fascistic hatred without which Michelle Malkin would just be a big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it."
Get that? Olbermann calls an accomplished and best-selling conservative author, commentator, blogger, wife and mother (who also happens to be beautiful) a "big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick," but such dehumanizing venom doesn't count as controversial, or even lightly strain his NBC-NFL connection.
First, West overlooks the obvious point that Olbermann's harsh words weren't directed to anyone in the NFL -- unlike Limbaugh, who infamously complained that Donovan McNabb was overrated as a quarterback because the media wanted a black QB to succeed. That claim has largely gone unsupported, and West curiously fails to reference it.
Second, West falsely suggests that Olbermann bashed Malkin apropos of noting, omitting what it was Malkin did to provoke it. As the Washington Post describes it, Malkin sicced her readers on author Charisse Carney-Nunes regarding a YouTube video of children singing the praises of Barack Obama, even though she had nothing to do with the song:
She knew Malkin had driven criticism of President Obama's back-to-school speech, streamed nationwide, as an attempt to indoctrinate students. Now Malkin was asking about a YouTube video of New Jersey public school children singing and enthusiastically chanting about Obama from a Black History Month presentation.
By nightfall, Carney-Nunes's name was playing on Fox News and voice mails on her home phone and cellphone were clogged with the furious voices of strangers. The e-mails kept pouring in, by the hundreds, crammed with words spam filters try to catch: She was a "nappy-headed" traitor; she would lose her job and go to jail; she was Leni Riefenstahl, the filmmaker who glorified Hitler.
Carney-Nunes, swept up in a viral tornado of vitriol, had nothing to do with the children's song. She was doing an author's reading in the school that day.
Olbermann may have been over the top, but doesn't inciting people against an innocent person deserve some kind of response? West apparently doesn't think so, at least as long as the inciting is done in the service of bashing Obama.
Media Matters' Eric Boehlert, after a bit of complaining, seems to have finally gotten action from the Washington Examiner's Michael Barone, who had claimed in a Sept. 20 column that "a union thug beat up a 65-year-old black conservative in Missouri." The column has now been corrected, with an editor's note at the end: "This post previously incorrectly stated the age of Kenneth Gladney. He is 38 years old." It remains uncorrected, however, in other versions of Barone's column, such as at Real Clear Politics.
Barone doesn't concede that the part about Gladney getting "beat up" is also in contention as well. As Boehlert points out, the video of the incident shows "Gladney walking around after the incident without an obvious scratch on his body, and in no apparent pain," yet shortly afterward, "Gladney showed up in a wheelchair at a right-wing rally thrown on his behalf."
Examiner News Article Reflects Editorial Topic: Washington Examiner
The Washington Examiner unsurprisingly joins the right-wingfreak-out over President Obama's speech to students, using a Sept. 4 editorial to call it a "Dear Leader" speech and asserting, "providing mass life-counseling to school kids is not what presidents are elected to do."
Also unsurprisingly, the Examiner fails to mention that Republican presidents have engaged in the same kind of "mass life-counseling to school kids."
Perhaps unsurprising as well is that an Examiner news article directly reflects the editorial's agenda. The Sept. 4 article by Leah Fabel touts out one school district is refusing to show Obama's speech to its studentsand highlights how "conservatives blasted it as an attempt to indoctrinate young minds." Fabel gives space to the Cato Institute's Neal McCluskey to claim that the White House sent "detailed instructions to schools nationwide on how to glorify the president and the presidency, and push them to drive social change" but doesn't give similar space to anyone who sees no partisan, megalomanical agenda. Fabel also follows in the editorial's footsteps by failing to note that Republican presidents have also given speeches to students.
With such biased reporting, the Examiner runs the risk that its news content is portrayed as anti-liberal and pro-conservative as its news content.
West Laments Immigration by Non-Whites to U.S. Topic: Washington Examiner
Add Diana West to the list of people who blame Ted Kennedy for letting non-white people into the country.
In her Aug. 30 Washington Examiner column, West cites as an example of "the rest of the Kennedy legacy": "The first legislation he managed as a U.S. Senator, the 1965 Immigration Act, effectively tipped the immigrant pool of this nation from Europe to the Third World."
As we've detailed, pre-1965 immigration law was largely driven by racism and eugenics, effectively limiting immigration to only those from northern Europe. Some conservatives seek a return to that restrictive pre-1965 immigration law. Is West one of them?
Examiner Touts Bilderberg Conspiracy Book Topic: Washington Examiner
The Aug. 26 print edition of the Washington Examiner promoted as that day's "Evening Read" the book "The Bilderberg Conspiracy" by H. Paul Jeffers (scan of paper below).
The copy -- taken directly from promotional copy and identical to that appearing on the page for the book at Barnes & Noble's website, reads:
Hidden behind many of today's major news stories, the Bilderberg Group is an elite clique of the most powerful names in politics, media, business, and finance, who want to impose a one-world government on the rest of us. Led by such iconic members as Henry Kissinger, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Richard Perle, Melinda Gates (wife of Bill Gates), David Rockefeller, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Tony Blair, and Margaret Thatcher, their secret conferences (where press has long been banned) are rumored to have engineered many of today's monumental global events.
The Examiner apparently ran out of copy to actually list those "monumental global events," but they appear on the B&N page:
The September 2008 collapse of worldwide banking.
Bill Clinton's presidency and the passage of NAFTA.
The loss of America's jobs to foreign nations.
The toppling of Margaret Thatcher for trying to keep the U.K. out of the E.U.
Bildergerger conspiracies are typically fodder for the likes of WorldNetDaily, not a publication like the Examiner that's trying to pass itself off as a mainstream newspaper. But perhaps the fact that it's promoting this book is just more evidence that it's far out of the mainstream.
Meanwhile... Topic: Washington Examiner
Media Matters noted that the Washington Examiner published an Aug. 21 op-ed by Newt Gingrich attacking health care reform that identified him as "the founder of the Center for Health Transformation," but did not explain that Gingrich's group receives annual membership fees from several major health insurance companies, which have a financial interest in preventing the implementation of certain aspects of health care reform.
Tapscott Claims Beck Is Being Slandered, But Doesn't Say How Topic: Washington Examiner
Mark Tapscott runs to the defense of Glenn Beck, sort of, in his Aug. 20 Washington Examiner column. While Tapscott says he has "no idea" wether Beck is correct in attacking President Obama as a "racist" with "an abiding hatred of white people," he is nonetheless certain that Beck is the victim of "a vicious, hypocritical campaign to slander him" led by Color of Change, which is leading a advertiser boycott against Beck's Fox News show. Tapscott dismisses Color of Change as "the Potemkin creation of a former MoveOn.org organizer and his three cohorts."
While Tapscott insists that Beck is being slandered, he offers no evidence of what exactly the "slander" is. Yet Tapscott himself is not afraid of slandering people, having once declared that Joe Biden's use of "Jesus Christ" as an expletive was "hate speech" -- despite never providing his readers the full context in which Biden used the exclamation so readers could judge for themselves.
Examiner Columnist Hides Full Story of Man With Gun At Obama Rally Topic: Washington Examiner
An Aug. 13 Washington Examiner column by Gregory Kane noted that "Someone at a New Hampshire rally President Obama attended to promote health-care legislation was carrying a handgun," then dismissed the threat because "the man with the gun was nowhere near Obama."
Kane doesn't define "nowhere near Obama," nor does he say how close a man with a gun must get to the president of the United States to be considered a threat. Kane also failed to note that the man with the gun was also carrying a sign reading, "It is time to water the tree of liberty," an apparent reference to the Thomas Jefferson quote, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
Examiner Columnist Embraces Baseless Birther Claim Topic: Washington Examiner
Diana West writes in an August 2 Washinton Examiner column:
Unheeded, the "natural born" controversy will roil indefinitely, further fired by the vagaries of Hawaiian law -- specifically, Section 338-17.8, titled "Certificates for children born out of State" - which makes state birth documentation available to children born out of state, even born out of the country.
Read it for yourself. I found it through a recent article at WorldNetDaily.com, the Internet publication following this story like Woodward on Watergate, which linked to the Hawaiian state statute itself - a point that the MSM will no doubt bat down as just another "Internet rumor."
In fact, as we've noted, the Western Journalism Center-- founded by WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah -- has discredited that claim, pointing out that while Hawaii law does indeed provide for birth certificate for children not born in Hawaii, it does not provide them with birth certificates that say that these children were born in Hawaii.
Will West bat that down as just another "Internet rumor"?