MRC's Double Standard on Blood on People's Hands Topic: Capital Research Center
Matt Hadro huffed in a Sept. 13 Media Research Center item: "Terrorists murdered an American ambassador in cold blood, and yet CNN shamelessly implied on Thursday that the makers of an anti-Islam movie might have blood on their very hands."
Of course, just a few weeks ago, the MRC was essentially asking that very same question of the Southern Law Poverty Center in the wake of the shooting at the Family Research Council
If you'll recall, MRC chief Brent Bozell used his Aug. 17 column to declare that the SPLC's designation "is obviously now causing real harm" -- despite the fact that nobody, including FRC leader Tony Perkins, has identified any direct link between the SPLC calling the FRC a hate group and the shooting.
As we've noted, Bozell and the MRC were eager to portray the FRC shooting as "liberal violence," while rushing to distance Scott Roeder, murderer of abortion doctor George Tiller, from the mainstream anti-abortion community, even though he had connections to pioneering anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, connections accused FRC shooter Floyd Corkins does not apparently have to the SPLC.
Vadum Tosses Away GAO Report That Proves Him Wrong Topic: Capital Research Center
Media Matters detailed how Fox & Friends promoted a claim that "ACORN" -- which no longer exists -- is still receiving federal money, only to back down after being contacted by a federal spokesman who pointed out that the figure Fox & Friends cited was the amount that was unspent and reclaimed from a 2005 grant. The spokesman's claim is backed up by a Government Accountability Office report issued last month.
Fox & Friends appears to have taken its information from a post by Matthew Vadum at Andrew Breitbart's Big Government website.
If you go to Vadum's personal website, you'll find a copy of his Big Government post. But before you see that, you will see a giant photo of Vadum taken from an appearance from Fox Business. That's taken from his appearance on the June 17 edition of Follow the Money, one of six apperances Vadum has made on that show since early June, according to a Nexis search.
Note that in the picture, Vadum is holding a copy of a GAO report on federal funding of ACORN. During the segment, he attacked the report for not hating ACORN as much as he does, dismissing it as "like teenage interns were researching on Google for a few hours" and accusing it of not detailing as many ACORN-related voter fraud convictions as he found (never mind that doing so was outside of the report's scope). In a dramatic flourish, Vadum declared that "you can just throw it away if you want" as he tossed the report behind him, pages fluttering.
Perhaps Vadum shouldn't have tossed that GAO report away -- it's the very same report that disproves his claim.
The GAO report references the grant Vadum cited at Big Government, a $527,000 grant awarded to ACORN Housing Corp. by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2005. A footnote continues: "The grant was closed with a balance of $461,086 not expended before the expenditure deadline." That's the same $481,086 Vadum claimed in his Big Government post that HUD "gave ACORN ... in January."
Vadum's Big Government post contains no update or correction at this writing, though the version at his own website has an update noting that a HUD spokesman -- the same one who contacted Fox & Friends -- pointed out that the money was "de-obligated and recovered," not awarded and spent.
There's a bit of irony in the fact that Vadum's website features a photo of himself holding a report that, had he actually read it closely instead of theatrically tossing it away, would have saved him some embarrassment.
Well, he was unhappy that we pointed out his false claim that ACORN is continuing to receive money from the federal government -- which is sort of impossible since ACORN has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the kind that results in liquidation of an organization, and that at least two government agencies have determined that the agency receiving the money, while descended from ACORN, "is not an affiliate, subsidiary, or allied organization of ACORN."
Vadum's initial response was to insult me, calling me a "douchebag" over Twitter. When I gave him an opportunity to prove me wrong, he huffed: "Oh do piss off. Facts are in my book & published opeds."
Vadum expanded his attack on me in a post at his personal website, declaring me to be a "useful idiot," a "paid character assassination [sic], professional liar, and all-around scumbag," and, finally, a "thin-skinned worm." Vadum hurls this torrent of insults at me, and I'm thin-skinned? He must be thinking of his publisher, Joseph Farah.
Again, Vadum punts on offering evidence to disprove my claim:
In fact, ACORN still exists, as I have documented in my acclaimed new book, Subversion Inc.: How Obama's ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers, and it is gearing up to resurface under a new name in time to help re-elect President Obama, a former ACORN employee.
If Vadum is so hot for me to read his book, perhaps he could send me a review copy so I can examine his claims. Somehow I suspect it's as fact-free as his insult-laden tirades.
Oh, and we're not done with Vadum just yet. Stay tuned...
Matthew Vadum Strikes Again Topic: Capital Research Center
We've had our encounters with the dickish Matthew Vadum (who, if you'll recall, thinks we're "largely responsible for the civil unrest that is growing across America"); now our Media Matters colleague Simon Maloy gets a taste.
After Vadum embraced Glenn Beck's conspiracy theory that Venezuela's Hugo Chavez is secretly sending in special teams to "nudge" the U.S. toward "collapse" (while conceding he has "no proof" this is actually occurring), Maloy highlighted it. This drew an indignant response from Vadum, who proudly declared, "My work on the Left is cited repeatedly in the new Aaron Klein book, The Manchurian President. Eat shit, Media Matters."
We, along with Maloy, are reading Klein's book, and Maloy accurately describes it as "a sloppy, guilt-by-association smear job." Further, one of the Vadum works cited in the book is his false claim that White House staffer Patrick Gaspard worked for ACORN.
Congratulations, Matt. Not only do you look bad, you're making Aaron Klein look bad too.
We're Inciting Civil Unrest! Topic: Capital Research Center
The Capital Research Center's Matthew Vadum takes to NewsReal to drop this bit of BREAKING NEWS:
Of course, the left, and in particular the George Soros-led character assassins at Media Matters for America (I mean you, Jamison Foser, Eric Boehlert, and Terry Krepel) are largely responsible for the civil unrest that is growing across America. Anyone who supported ObamaCare is responsible for the tide of discontent that now threatens to tear the nation apart.
And take notice, MoveOn, Jamison, Eric, and Terry, that the American people will not silenced.
This was posted March 31, so Vadum apparently does not mean this as an April fool.
Before we take credit for being "largely responsible for the civil unrest that is growing across America," it's worth noting that I have one other thing in common with Messrs. Foser and Boehlert besides being Media Matters employees: We have all calledVadumout on his embarrassing, falsehood-laden rants.
Isn't it interesting that Vadum thinks people who have caught him saying stupid things are somehow more dangerous to the country than people who are, you know, actually committing civil unrest?
Vadum Tries to Smear Us Topic: Capital Research Center
In an Oct. 20 ACORN-bashing piece at the American Spectator, the Capital Research Center's Matthew Vadum curiously links to this very blog as an example of "so-called fact-checking operations that follow ACORN" who allegedly "a more much flexible definition for 'lie.'" No specific item, mind you -- just the blog itself, thus making this a dubious smear against us.
Why? We're not sure -- we haven't written all that much about ACORN. Perhaps Vadum is ticked off at use because we've repeatedly caught him in his own fair share of lies:
We've corrected Vadum's frequent false assertion that ACORN operated Project Vote in 1992 when Barack Obama was affiliated with Project Vote.
We've busted Vadum for playing fast and loose with ACORN numbers, insisting that the group is "eligible" to receive billions from the stimulus bill while burying the fact that ACORN would likely receive only a small fraction, if any, of it.
We've documented Vadum peddling falsehoods and distortions about Media Matters.
Sadly, No! catches Matthew Vadum, in a July 21 NewsBusters post (a version of which is also at his Capital Research Center blog), touting the case of a person allegedly denied timely treatment in Canada for a "brain tumor" because of purported "rationing" there that would come to the U.S. if health care reform occurs. The problem: what the patient had was a non-fatal cyst, not a tumor that would have meant, as Vadum quoted the patient as saying, "In six months I would have died."
Vadum updated his post to concede that the patient didn't actually have a brain tumor, then insisted that it "is an arguable technical point for scientists to debate and therefore there is no reason to change the description in this post."
Further, Vadum asserts in his post that the Mayo Clinic, where the Canadian patient eventually got treated, is "fiercely critical of ObamaCare," citing a Washington Times article as evidence. In fact, the Mayo Clinic's statement didn't criticize "ObamaCare"; it criticized a recent version of the House reform bill for "fail[ing] to use a fundamental lever -- a change in Medicare payment policy -- to help drive necessary improvements in American health care." The Obama administration has, in fact, proposed reforms to Medicare payment policy.
Further, the Mayo Clinic signed onto an open letter from several medical organizations that begins, "We wholeheartedly support President Obama’s call for healthcare reform." Not exactly what one would call "fiercely critical."
Vadum Concedes His Error Topic: Capital Research Center
Remember that whole pissing match between us and the Capital Research Center's Matthew Vadum about whether the Center for Independent Media shares office space with Media Matters? We just noticed it, but a few days later, Vadum conceded that we were telling the truth (though not to us, since we just noticed the thing) when we said they didn't.
Not that Vadum's feeling any way chastened by his error,mind you; he goes on to call Media Matters "the journalistic equivalent of a roving, extremely well-funded death squad." And somehow we suspect we won't be seeing an corrections on the numerousother errors and misleading claims CRC has promulgated.
If he had bothered to check, you know, the organizations' respective websites and not relied on old information that hasn't been updated in a good two years, he would learn that CIM and Media Matters reside at completely different locations.
Oh, and George Soros has not donated to Media Matters -- a lie that Vadum just can'tstoptelling.
UPDATE: Vadum's claim is similarly smacked down at the Minnesota Independent, a CIM operation whose temerity to take on Vadum earlier in that thread prompted Vadum to do his sad little bit of research.
UPDATE 2: Vadum appears to have spent his Friday trying to prove us wrong by citing a lot of old information to claim that CIM and Media Matters still share office space. There's a clue in that previous sentence if Vadum is bright enough to figure it out.
We have a suggestion for ol' Matt: Give the CIM folks a jingle on Monday morning and ask 'em where they're located. Or bstter yet, since it doesn't appear to be too far from the CRC offices, just walk down there and check, just to see what happens. He just might learn something.
Vadum Distorts ACORN, Unhappy About Getting Busted For It Topic: Capital Research Center
Matthew Vadum got caught hurling a load of BS, and now he's complaining that he got caught.
PolitiFact.com wrote a fact-checking item about the distortion inherent in a claim, originated by Vadum's work at the Capital Research Center, that ACORN is eligible to receive $8.5 billion under the economic stimulus bill, which it describes as "false." How does Vadum respond? By going after PolitiFact, of course in a June 2 NewsBusters post. (In NewsBusters, Vadum has found bretheren with a similar fondness for shooting the messenger.)
Vadum kicks off by asserting that PolitiFact is "carrying water for the radical left-wing activist group ACORN and attacking Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) for trying to warn the public about the group." He also asserts that PolitiFact has a "liberal bias," but could only come up with three alleged examples (to which he fails to link so that readers could judge for themselves):
"On Oct. 24, PolitiFact gave then-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's statement that Obama would 'experiment with socialism' a 'Pants on Fire' ruling." In fact, PolitiFact backed up its ruling. Palin's claim centered on Obama's plan to increase income taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year; as PolitiFact pointed out, "His desire to 'spread the wealth' through progressive taxation makes him no less a capitalist than McCain, or Lincoln."
"On Sept. 14, an editorial attacked Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign. 'McCain's straight talk has become a toxic mix of lies and double-speak,' it said." This is actually an editorial in the St. Petersburg Times, which operates PolitiFact. Vadum does not contradict any of the claims in it.
"Last month it praised President Obama's selection of radical jurist Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court because she was someone with a 'powerful intellect who demonstrates compassion and a common touch.'"Again, this is an St. Petersburg Times editorial, not a PolitiFact item.
So Vadum has demonstrated himself to be disingenous by misleadingly conflating a research group with newspaper editorials -- indeed, Vadum has found only one item at PolitiFact with which he disagrees, and he provides no evidence that anything in it is wrong. He's similarly disingenuous when criticizing PolifiFact's ACORN findings, selectively quoting from it and failing to provide the full context (and, as with his other attacks, refusing to directly link to the PolitiFact so that readers can judge for themselves).
There is no legal impediment of which I am aware that would prevent ACORN taking in the whole $3 billion sum from the stimulus package, which has already been enacted. There is also no bar to ACORN taking in the entire $5.5 billion from the HUD budget, which is pending before Congress.
In other words, ACORN is indeed eligible for the whole $8.5 billion, as Bachmann said.
Bachmann never said ACORN alone was going to receive $8.5 billion, but [PolitiFact's Robert] Farley then proceeds as if she had, writing a news article that depicts something quite different from what actually transpired.
But Vadum fails to acknowledge his deliberate use of the overbroad word "eligible," which he's a little more candid about to PolitiFact:
"The key word here is eligible," Vadum said. "Eligible is a pretty expansive word. I made it clear they are not going to get that full amount."
Yes, he made that point in the Washington Examiner. But when Bachmann says ACORN could get that amount, it assumes the group would get every single dime in the stimulus for fixing up abandoned homes. And remember, they said they don't even have plans to apply for any of it.
Vadum tries to discount that denial, calling it a "dubious statement." He then suggests that restrictions on federal housing funds that bar them from being used for political purposes are meaningless because of purportedly "suspicious transactions" made by ACORN's housing division to other affiliates in " the nebulous ACORN network."
PolitiFact points out, meanwhile, that "if ACORN Housing was to apply for and receive CDBG money, it would be for a very specific project. And legally, it could not be transferred to other ACORN affiliates to perform political activities like voter registration," though Vadum offers no evidence that federal grant money specifically designated for housing-related purposes was ever shifted to another "nebulous" ACORN affiliate for forbidden purposes. Vadum's main response is that "neither Bachmann nor I actually said ACORN Housing was necessarily going to be the protagonist in this publicly funded drama."
Vadum also fails to mention that the federal grants for which ACORN is eligible are up for competitive bid, which meanst that, if it was indeed seeking those grants, it would be competing with other organizations to receive them.
Vadum ultimately complains that PolitiFact is trying "to depict her as a shameless liar. That's reprehensible." Here's how PolitiFact summed up its piece:
Charges of voter registration fraud by members of ACORN during the 2008 elections are a serious matter. Investigators allege ACORN employees tried to fraudulently register thousands of ineligible voters. Among them, one Mickey Mouse.
But Bachmann's statement is irresponsibly misleading on several levels. She says the group under indictment for voter registration fraud could tap into billions of federal dollars. In fact, none of the federal money can be used for voter registration activities.
An affiliate like ACORN Housing could conceivably apply for a grant to build an affordable housing project, or to buy, fix and sell abandoned homes, but that's exactly what the money would have to be used for. Suggestions that one of the affiliates might funnel money to ACORN for political activity is, so far, unsubstantiated conjecture. And then there's the matter of trying to make a splash by throwing out the massive $8.5 billion number, suggesting ACORN "could get" it, as in all of it. That's absurd. We rule Bachmann's statement False.
Vadum is basically taking refuge in deliberately overbroad statements like "eligible" as a way to portray his attack on ACORN as somewhat true. By that same overbroad standard, both Vadum and us are "eligible" to receive that money too.
Now you see why Vadum had to resort to shooting the messenger -- he got called out on his BS and now has to cover for it.
UPDATE: Vadum takes his fight to the comments section of the Minnesota Independent, which cited the PolitiFact article in criticizing Bachmann.
Vadum Swings, Misses Again in Attack on Media Matters Topic: Capital Research Center
We finally got around to reading Matthew Vadum's attack on Media Matters (disclosure: our employer) in the current issue of Townhall magazine. Vadum, of the right-wing Capital Research Center, has a history of putting his hatred of all things non-conservative ahead of the facts in his so-called research, so there was sure to be more whoppers this time around. Let's see what he botches, shall we?
-- Vadum repeats his favoritefalsehood, that George Soros funds Media Matters. This time around, he seems to concede that he knows he's lying by fudging numbers. He states that Media Matters "has received $7 million under the auspices of the Democracy Alliance, a Soros-led consortium of wealthy liberals that matches donors to causes it believes will make a lasting contribution to the success of the so-called progressive movement. The $7 million donation may have come from Soros himself, though Media Matters denies it." In fact, the Democracy Alliance makes no donations in its name; it is, as the Washington Post describes it, "an accreditation agency for political advocacy groups." Donors make contributions in their own names based on Democracy Alliance recommendations.
This is just another way of falsely suggesting that Soros directly donates to Media Matters when Vadum knows very well he hasn't.
-- Vadum states that "in-house columnist" Eric Alterman "writes the 'Altercation' blog that appears on the Media Matters website." In fact, Alterman last wrote Altercation for Media Matters in December; it now appears at The Nation's webiste.
-- Vadum complains that Media Matters "relies heavily on personal attacks rather than substantive or-fact-based arguments" -- then smears Media Matters CEO David Brock as "deeply narcissistic" and Morris Dees, head of the Southern Poverty Law Center, as a "race-baiting ambulance chaser."
-- Vadum falsely defends those he deems to have been unfairly attacked by Media Matters. He asserted that Media Matters "suggested Glenn Beck was deadly serious when he asked a guest whether then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was the biblical Anti-Christ. In reality, Beck was attempting to dispel this notion." In fact, as the Media Matters item in question clearly illustrates, Media Matters did not criticize Beck for asking his guest, Rev. John Hagee, whether Obama was the Antichrist; it criticized him for asking Hagee that question instead of discussing numerous controversial statements Hagee -- who had just endorsed Obama's rival, John McCain -- had made.
Vadum also claimed that Media Matters "claimed to be able to read the mind of White House press secretary Robert Gibbs" when it pointed out that Gibbs was not issuing a threat to CNBC's Rick Santelli over Santelli's rant against mortgage bailouts. Vadum quotes only Gibbs' statement that "I'm not entirely sure where Mr. Santelli lives or in what house he lives," suggesting the statement was "ambiguous," uncritically repeated G. Gordon Liddy's asserting that Gibbs was making a "veiled threat," and insisted that "failed to disclose how exactly it knew what Gibbs was thinking." But Vadum took Gibbs out of context and does not reproduce the entirety of Gibb's statement:
I'm not entirely sure where Mr. Santelli lives or in what house he lives, but the American people are struggling every day to meet their mortgage, stay in their job, pay their bills, to send their kids to school, and to hope that they don't get sick or that somebody they care for gets sick and sends them into bankruptcy. I think we left a few months ago the adage that if it was good for a derivatives trader that it was good for Main Street. I think the verdict is in on that.
From the full context, it is obvious that Gibbs was not "ambiguous" and was not threatening Santelli. It's obvious how Media Matters came to its conclusion: not by reading minds but by reading Gibbs' entire statement.
-- Further, Vadum faslely attacked Media Matters' Jamison Foser for pointing out that government spending "does more to stimulate the economy than anything else you can think of"; Vadum snarked, "This no doubt would be news to economists." Vadum ignores the fact that Foser cited economist Mark Zandi -- adviser to John McCain's presidential campaign -- to support his claim. Vadum provides no contradictory evidence.
If Vadum can't get basic facts correct, there's no reason to take his so-called research seriously.
Matthew Vadum's Idea of A Beatdown Topic: Capital Research Center
The Capital Research Center's Matthew Vadum has attacked us in an Oct. 15 post, calling us "mendacious masochists" and a smear site" for pointing out a false claim he made regarding Barack Obama's relationship with ACORN and goes on to say we "should do some research for a change."
Actually, we did do our research. But Vadum didn't address what we actually said.
If you'll recall, we were pointing out that Newsmax's Lowell Ponte cited Vadum as his source for claiming that Project Vote was "ACORN’s voter mobilization entity" at the time Obama worked for the group in 1992 -- language lifted almost verbatim from Vadum's CRC report on the subject -- when in fact Project Vote was not a part of ACORN in 1992.
In his blog post, Vadum cites another report that he says "makes it abundantly clear that ACORN and Project Vote were partners in the voter registration drive led by Obama." But that's a different claim than the one we were addressing.
We never claimed that ACORN didn't play a role in the Project Vote operation Obama was a part of in 1992. We are taking issue with Vadum's claim that Project Vote was "ACORN's voter mobilization arm" in 1992. As ACORN itself stated, "At that time, Project Vote had no more connection to ACORN than it did with dozens of other national and local organizations with which it partnered on local registration drives."
Where's Vadum's evidence contradicting that? We see none. And his insistence that it's an "invented claim" doesn't count because he doesn't back that up either.
Vadum thinks he issued "another good beating" upon us. That presumes he did so the first time (which he didn't).
If this is Vadum's idea of a beatdown, about all we can say in response is: Thank you, sir, may we have another?
However, for reasons known only to Gore and his handlers, he is now denying the obvious, namely, that he stands to profit from the expansion of carbon trading.
But Vadum offers no evidence that, denials aside, Gore will profit from this, nor does Vadum contradict Gore's denial.
Vadum, meanwhile, misses our point: he never proves his implication that the only reason Gore is a global warming activist, as previously articulated by NewsBusters stablemate Noel Sheppard, is to make a killing.
Ultimately, Vadum states more than he can actually prove. His repeated stating of Gore's current wealth suggests he doesn't think Gore deserves it or any future earnings, which indicates his own hidden agenda.
Vadum goes on to note that we "are affiliated with Media Matters for America, an in-your-face group headed by admitted liar David Brock, and known for its hyperbolic hairsplitting, half truths, and somewhat entertaining sophistry." At the risk of further hair-splitting, we repeat: We just work there, and ConWebWatch is entirely separate from Media Matters.
Vadum then invites us to read the CRC's profile of Media Matters. Let's count the false and misleading statements in the profile's summary:
Media Matters for America is an aggressively liberal nonprofit that claims the mainstream media deliberately promotes “conservative disinformation” and must be exposed in order to protect a gullible public. The group is headed by David Brock, a former conservative journalist who switched sides and now targets his former allies using donations from George Soros and other wealthy liberal activists and foundations.
1) It's "conservative misinformation," not "conservative disinformation."
2) The assertion that Media Matters "claims the mainstream media deliberately promotes 'conservative disinformation'" is itself hyperbolic (which Vadum professes to hate). Substitute "conservative" for liberal," and the statement "claims the mainstream media deliberately promotes liberal disinformation' and must be exposed in order to protect a gullible public" more precisely describes the mission of the Media Research Center.
3) Media Matters has not received "donations from George Soros," directly or through another group. (Of course, CRC has little room to talk, having received millions from the usual conservative foundations and donors, including Mr. Moneybags himself, Richard Mellon Scaife.
The report itself -- a large chunk of which is a hyperbolic attack on David Brock, not Media Matters itself -- is similarly slippery with the facts, so yeah, we did "enjoy" reading it ... for the entertainment value. It's too biased and pejorative to be of real use to anyone who is not a right-wing fellow traveler. "Somewhat entertaining sophistry" indeed.