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Friday, June 13, 2008
MRC's Praise of Russert At Odds With Reality
Topic: Media Research Center

A statement by the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell reacting to the death of "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert reads in part:

Whenever I’ve been asked to give examples of a fair, balanced and honest journalist, Tim Russert’s name was the first name that came to mind. This was a view shared by everyone and the ultimate testimony to his professionalism.

Er, not quite everyone at the MRC. From a June 5 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard promoting a rant by right-wing radio host Mark Levin:

Playing audio clips of NBC's Tim Russert and MSNBC's Chris Matthews, Levin accurately demonstrated how the sycophantic adoration exhibited by the press for the junior senator from Illinois during this campaign is a bias and a journalistic disgrace likely worse than anything Americans have ever witnessed concerning a presidential candidate.

A May 28 NewsBusters post by Geoffrey Dickens criticized Russert for having "built up [Scott] McClellan's credibility" regarding McClellan's new book "as he trumpeted, 'This is not'"

A Feb. 28 CyberAlert item suggested Russert was "engaged in a childish game of gotcha" during a Democratic presidential debate by asking Hillary Clinton who the successor to Russian president Vladimir Putin is:

But if the fact that Dmitry Medvedev will assume the Russian presidency is an important fact, Russert and his co-moderator, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, have utterly ignored it as journalists.


Russert may have thought he was exposing the candidates' lack of knowledge, but he also exposed the superficiality of NBC News.

And a Feb. 27 NewsBusters post by Seton Motley ripped "Meet the Press" as an example "of all that is wrong with the Jurassic Press" because Russert had as a guest historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, whom Motley accused of plagiarism.

And that's just this year. There are likely other instances in which the MRC has called Russert something other than a "fair, balanced and honest journalist."

We're all for speaking nice of the dead -- something the MRC learned the hard way -- but such praise should perhaps have at least some basis in reality.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:00 PM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The Barack Obama campaign phenomenon increasingly resembles the 1973 science fiction movie "Soylent Green" more and more with each passing day.


Replace the movie's scenes of huge crowds who desperately gathered for food with the television images of Obama's super-sized campaign rallies, where disaffected voters frantically gather to see the pseudo-messianic figure of Obama deliver vacuous promises of "change" and "hope."

I feel a bit like Charlton Heston's character from the movie, knowing the secret of what was in Soylent Green, but finding it difficult to get people to wake up to the sickening reality.

-- Melanie Morgan, June 13 WorldNetDaily column

Posted by Terry K. at 12:21 PM EDT
Another WND Promo Disguised As 'News'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Apparently learning the WorldNetDaily ropes, Alyssa Farah dips her toe in the promotion-disguised-as-a-"news"-story pool with a June 11 article claiming that "Bookends, a non-profit organization that provides used children's books to LAUSD inner-city schools," rejected the donation of copies of the WND-published children's book "Jose Gonzalez, Great American" -- which purports to impart the lesson that "it is personal pride, self-reliance and a love of learning, not special preferences, that are the keys to becoming not just a good citizen but a great American" -- as "unfit" for the Los Angeles schools.

What's wrong with this article?

  • Farah quotes only the book's author, Tony Robles; she made no apparent attempt to talk to anyone from Bookends.
  • While Farah puts "unfit" in quotes, she never attributes it to anyone.
  • Farah offers no evidence whatsoever that this incident actually happened -- only Robles' one-sided story.

All of which are violations of basic journalistic practice and ethics. This tells us that her dad, WND editor Joseph Farah, is falling down on his homeschooling by failing to properly instruct his daughter in the ways of journalism.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:09 AM EDT
Jeffrey Hates Public Transportation

Terry Jeffrey really, really hates public transportation.

in his June 12 column, the editor claims that "Recent evidence that automobile use is declining in America and that some Americans are making significant -- and in some cases not readily reversible -- changes in their lives because of escalating gas prices should be worrisome signs for those who love liberty."  One of those changes is a move to "socialized transportation" -- better known to the rest of us as public transportation.

Jeffrey does grudgingly admit that "roads generally are constructed by government, albeit with funds extracted from the earnings and gasoline purchases of drivers" -- though he doesn't admit that such a scheme is arguably socialist too -- then goes on to complain that "In a socialist transportation system, the government takes the taxpayers' money and purchases vehicles -- often buses or trains -- for itself or a government-funded agency. Where and when these vehicles go is determined by the government."

Jeffrey went on to express shock that one change people have made in reaction to record-high gas prices is that "8 percent have taken public transportation"; he responds that "Hopefully, the 8 percent who have taken to socialized transportation represents a trend that can be reversed."

The hilarious thing about Jeffrey's column is that his place of employement, aka the Media Research Center headquarters, is located within walking distance of a stop on one of the better public transportation systems in the world (the Washington Metro), as well as an stop for Amtrak and a regional passenger railroad. Further, several bus lines run within a few blocks of MRC HQ.

Somehow, we suspect that Jeffrey doesn't take the Metro to work (and we're almost certain he doesn't take the bus). But we also suspect that a number of MRC employees do. Does the MRC provide free parking? And are there enough parking spaces at MRC world headquarters for all of them?

Seems like Jeffrey and the MRC should be putting their money where his mouth is. 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:23 AM EDT
Aaron Klein Anti-Obama Agenda Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Aaron Klein's 37th anti-Obama article for WorldNetDaily (versus just one attacking John McCain) is a June 12 piece essentially claiming that Obama is lying when he says he "has never been a Muslim" because he purportedly was "quite religious in Islam" as a child.

As we pointed out the last time Klein tried to bring this desperate smear up, Klein wants you to believe that what Obama did as an 8-year-old has direct bearing on him now -- that's like holding people who dreamed of being, say, cowboys or ballerinas as a child accountable for not being cowboys or ballerinas now.

As he failed to do then, Klein offers no evidence now why this should be the standard to which anyone should be held, let alone Obama.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:29 AM EDT
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Noel Sheppard Double Standard Watch (Again)
Topic: NewsBusters

One favorite NewsBusters trope is to cherry-pick a generally obscure pro-Republican, andi-Democratic factoid and dare the "liberal media" to report it -- while, of course, itself engaging in the double standard of refusing to note corresponding factoids that make Democrats look good/Republicans look bad.

Noel Sheppard -- who did this very thing a few days ago -- does it again in a June 11 post, this time about a Democratic senator who won't endorse Obama (but will still vote for him).

But lookie here:

At least 14 Republican members of Congress have refused to endorse or publicly support Sen. John McCain for president, and more than a dozen others declined to answer whether they back the Arizona senator.

Do you think that Sheppard or any other MRC employee will make note of this? Highly unlikely (though a commenter on Sheppard's post does).

Posted by Terry K. at 2:02 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 12, 2008 2:03 PM EDT
Ponte: Webb Not Racist Enough for Democrats
Topic: Newsmax

In a June 11 Newsmax column, Lowell Ponte asserted that "liberal press began a furious attack on one of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama’s most likely vice-presidential picks, Virginia Sen. Jim Webb." The only examples Ponte provides, though, are from Slate's Timothy Noah and a writer for the Politico -- and Ponte offers no evidence that either of them are "liberal."

Ponte claimed that "The current senior Democrat in the U.S. Senate, Robert Byrd of West Virginia, is a former Grand Kleagle in the Ku Klux Klan. Both Clinton and Obama have knelt to kiss his ring." He then went on to suggest a reason why Democrats purportedly don't like Webb:

Is Webb’s sin that he is not racist enough to be trusted to stay in the political party of the slave owners, that once backed the Klan, Jim Crow, Bull Connor, and racial preferences?

Ponte, by the way, has done his own bit of ring-kissing for racists in the form of approvingly quoting Strom Thurmond in a 2004 column.

Ponte also claimed that Obama has "a voting record the impartial National Journal called the 'most liberal' in the U.S. Senate" without mentioning the subjective nature of NJ's scorecard; for instance, a vote to implement the bipartisan 9-11 Commission's homeland security recommendations was considered to be "liberal."

Ponte's weird gushing over Webb (Ponte says he and Webb "were both in the Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of Southern California at the same time during the early 1960s") ignores the fact that Republicans mounted a desperate campaign against him in the 2006 Virginia Senate race against George Allen, to the point that apparently worked in concert with Allen's campaign to smear Webb by portraying what he wrote in his novels as the views of Webb himself.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:23 AM EDT
More Catholic-Bashing Coverage At WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has some problems with Catholicism -- it has suggested that the Catholics who run Georgetown University aren't even Christian, it quoted anti-Catholic comments after the pope decreed that Protestants did not belong to the "true church" (remember, WND editor Joseph Farah is an evangelical Protestant), and it has virtually ignored anti-Catholic comments by Rev. John Hagee (whom Farah considers a "friend").

WND's anti-Catholic bias shows up again in a June 11 article reporting that "A Catholic priest has been sentenced to three years of probation after he pleaded no contest to groping an undercover male sheriff deputy at a nude beach in California." Why do we consider this anti-Catholic? We had a difficult time finding an example of WND reporting on any Protestant minister involved in sexual proclivities, even though there are many to choose from.

Further, as we've noted, WND was all too eager to report on claims made by anti-Clinton activist Matthew Glavin, head of the conservative Southeastern Legal Foundation, while Bill Clinton was in office -- but WND devoted no original coverage to Glavin's arrest for public indecency in 2000 after being caught fondling himself (and an undercover officer) in a Georgia park.

It's interesting that of all the people to whom WND could have devoted original coverage regarding sexual proclivities and the law, it chose to focus on a Catholic priest.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:32 AM EDT
New MRC Report Can't Back Up Its Claims
Topic: Media Research Center

A new report by the Media Research Center and the MRC's Culture and Media Institute purports to argue against a return of the Fairness Doctrine by claiming it's a myth that, among other things, "major corporations are muzzling liberal opinion on the radio, so Americans are not hearing both sides of issues." But this argument lacks any real evidence to support it.

The report counters claims about the dominance of conservatives on talk radio by asserting that "Public radio offers consistently liberal news/talk programming produced by four separate networks." The report offers no evidence that public radio is "consistently liberal," even though it's not shy about end-noting things (there are 54).

These kinds of baseless claims permeate the report. It similarly insists that "every major broadcasting network leans to the left," and that "No major conservative-leaning broadcast television network exists," without offering any evidence to back it up. It also claims that CNN, CNN Headline News and MSNBC are "liberal-leaning"; supririsingly, it does state that Fox News is "conservative-leaning," contrary to the MRC's longtime efforts to pretend otherwise.

It further claims that the "weekly news magazine medium," as represented by Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report, "is composed exclusively of liberal-leaning sources." That's unsupported as well -- in fact, it's wrong. U.S. News has historically tilted conservative, and doesn't George Will have a column at Newsweek?

Regarding newspapers, the report claims:

America’s leading newspapers overwhelmingly tilt to the left. Twenty-one of the 25 newspapers with the highest daily circulation lean liberal, three lean conservative, and one paper fits in neither category.  The paper with the second greatest circulation, The Wall Street Journal, has a famously conservative editorial page, but the Journal’s news pages are among the nation’s most liberal, so we list the WSJ as “mixed.”

Again, no evidence is provided to back up these assertions of newspapers' political "tilt." Indeed, evidence shows the report's classifications of the "tilt" of the top 25 papers is not accurate at all:

  • The Washington Post is described as "liberal" even though it shares numerous editorial positions with the admittedly conservative Wall Street Journal.
  • The Orange County Register is described as "conservative" even though it considers itself to be libertarian
  • The San Diego Union-Tribune is described as "conservative" for reasons known only to the report's authors. The Union-Tribune was the paper that broke the story of the corruption scandal involving Republican congressman Duke Cunningham.

It's not a report, it's a polemic with a hole at the center of it -- claims about political slant it can't factually back up. Which makes it par for the course of overall MRC "research."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:02 AM EDT
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Noel Sheppard Double Standard Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

Noel Sheppard asked in a June 8 NewsBusters post: "Will Media Report Anti-Semitic Article at Obama's Website?"

The more important question: Will Sheppard report anti-Semitic comments at John McCain's website? (Not to mention derogatory slurs on Obama and Hillary Clinton.)

I think we know what the answer to the latter question is.

Sheppard, by the way, has a long history of engaging in double standards.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:22 PM EDT
WND's 'News' Standard On Obama: Baseless Speculation
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've previously detailed how WorldNetDaily's coverage of Barack Obama involves reporting things it hasn't bothered to verify are even true -- the normal, one might even say essential, function of a news organization. Part of that is reporting baseless speculation, as it did here and here.

WND does so again in a June 10 article that rehashes speculation by National Review blogger Jim Geraghty that there are questions about Obama's status of a legal resident of the United States that can only be answered by Obama releasing a copy of his birth certificate.

WND did report Geraghty's statement that it's "unlikely" the rumors are true, which raises the question: Why is WND reporting things it doesn't know are true? After all, WND has not applied this level of reporting -- the repeating of baseless speculation and rumors -- to its "news" coverage of John McCain.

The only possible reason is to smear Obama, just as it has done with previous Democratic candidates. Remember, WND sells a bumper sticker that reads, "Defeat Osama, Obama and Chelsea's Mama" -- note that McCain is not on it, which tells you not only that WND has a de facto pro-McCain agenda, but that WND is not a news organization at all but an advocacy group. After all, real news organizations don't engage in such biased and fact-free coverage of a candidate.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:30 AM EDT
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

A June 10 appearance on "Fox & Friends" by the MRC's Brent Bozell follows the template by (at least in the edited clip posted on NewsBusters) never being identified as a conservative, though his interview counterpart, liberal radio host Ed Schultz, was described as being "oddly on the right" side of the TV split screen.

Guys, you have your own (macaca-inspired) video website. You have all the bandwidth you need. Instead of selectively editing the segment to reduce exposure of any liberals, why not post the entire segment? What are you afraid of? 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:37 AM EDT
Traitor! Judas! The ConWeb's Anti-McClellan Frenzy
Topic: The ConWeb

The ConWeb is reaching new heights of frenzied hate toward Scott McClellan for daring to criticize President Bush.

In a column published June 9 at Newsmax and June 7 at WorldNetDaily, Pat Boone denounced McClellan as a Judas:

The last thing an honorable man, a patriot, would do is publicly undermine the character and leadership of our nation’s commander in chief while we’re at war. No patriot would knowingly aid and abet our enemies, the ones who’ve killed over 4000 of our fellow citizens and are determined to kill more of us, by proclaiming to the world that our president is a liar, a fraud, incompetent, and willing to send those under his command into futile, unjustified danger.

But a dishonest, unpatriotic man might do all that, especially if he could find some of his chief’s domestic enemies who would pay him a lot of money to do it.


Go on all the talk shows, Scott, and try to convince everybody you acted out of conscience and duty and greater loyalty; exult over the 30 pieces of silver as they pour in; and dream about getting a good job from someone who might still trust you.

I’m not suggesting you, like the other Judas, just go out and hang yourself. You’ve already done that.

Meanwhile, in a June 10 Accuracy in Media column, Jerry Zeifman asserted that coverage of McClellan permitted him to indulge in "some painful remembrances of past treasons. Zeifman claimed without evidence that McClellan's book "gives aid and comfort to the enemy" but lamented that "it is unlikely that a jury would find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the felony defined in the U.S. Criminal Code."

Zeifman cited Joe Kennedy as one of those "past treasons" for opposing U.S. entry into World War II and seeking "to obtain an audience with Adolf Hitler" in 1938, he doesn't mention as similarly treasonous Prescott Bush, the grandfather of the current President Bush, who did business with the Nazis.

Zeifman, you may recall, is the guy who claimed that he fired Hillary Clinton from a House Judiciary Committee post investigating Watergate, despite having insisting a decade earlier that he didn't have the authority to fire her. As we've noted, Zeifman is a self-proclaimed "lifelong Democrat" who likes to bash Democrats on right-wing websites.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:03 AM EDT
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Wash. Examiner Adds Another Conservative
Topic: Washington Examiner

While the Washington Times is trying to distance itself from its reputation of being a slavishly conservative newspaper, the Washington Examiner appears to be determined to bolster its already notable conservative pedigree.

Via NewsBusters, we learn that Mary Katherine Ham, managing editor for the conservative, is joining the Examiner as online editor, where she "will be responsible for overall management of the site's news and editorial content and staff, as well as working with Examiner and outside resources on creative development of new features and functionality."

NewsBusters' Ken Shepherd gave Ham a fond farewell, calling her "a friend and fan of NewsBusters and the Media Research Center." No mention of concern that her political slant will translate into biased journalism at the paper.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:18 PM EDT
Meanwhile ...
Topic: WorldNetDaily
RezkoWatch defends WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein from Debbie Schlussel's claim that Klein plagiarized her work on an conveniently anonymous Obama-basher.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:51 PM EDT

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