'You Can Trust What We Say and Report' Topic: Accuracy in Media
People of a certain age and humor preference will remember the Firesign Theater. On one of its albums, there is a political ad parody in which the candidate offers the following reason to vote for him: "Because I never lie, and I'm always right."
Accuracy in Media must have had that in mind while composing the notes for its June 24 AIM Report. After noting the Barack Obama campaign establishment of a "Fight the Smears" website to counter false attacks such as Michelle Obama's purpoted "whitey" tape, AIM adds: "We never made that claim. You can trust what we say and report."
Can we really trust a writer like Cliff Kincaid, who has repeatedly made the false claim that an anti-global warming bill sponsored by Obama obligates the U.S. to a $845 billion tax and believes that Obama is a Manchurian candidate -- not to mention who also thinks that the beliefs of fictional characters can be scribed to Obama and that lynching is a all-American activity?
AIM has also published columns that falsely claim that Hillary Clinton lied about her daughter's whereabouts on 9/11, misrepresent the past of former Supreme Court justice Hugo Black, mislead about reporting about Democrats, embrace false attacks, repeat bogus statistics, and align AIM with smears by a website operated by the cultlike Moonies. And then there's the AIM study embracing the dubious corellation-equals-causation-fallacy conclusion that the media is liberally biased because people think it is.
Trust what AIM says and reports? Not a chance -- not when it distorts facts and pushes false information.
Farah: Reporters Who Don't Bash Gays Are Arrogant, Fascist Topic: WorldNetDaily
How deep does WorldNetDaily's hatred of gays go? Just read Joseph Farah's June 25 column.
He begins by asking, "Have you ever opened up your local newspaper and wondered why there is so much coverage of homosexuals and issues of concern to homosexuals? Have you ever wondered why coverage of homosexuals and their cause is so universally positive?" He offers no evidence that this is the case; rather, he appears to be engaging in the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy of assuming that any coverage of gays that is not explicitly negative is positive.
He goes on to assert that newsrooms have been "invaded and taken over by radical activists with a perverse and extreme agenda" that supports "homosexuality and other forms of sexual deviancy" -- such as the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association -- and "ensure favorable coverage of homosexuals and their political agenda." Farah adds:
At previous national conferences, it has been suggested by participants that journalists should not even bother seeking other points of view on homosexuals' issues and stories. It has been suggested that differing points of view should not even be permitted to be aired by their news organizations.
In 2000, CBS correspondent and NLJGA member Jeffrey Kofman made the point: "The argument (is): Why do we constantly see in coverage of gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues the homophobes and the fag-haters quoted in stories when, of course, we don't do that with Jews, blacks, et cetera?"
Paula Madison, vice president of diversity at NBC and news director for the NBC New York City affiliate WNBC, added: "I agree with him. I don't see why we would seek out ... the absurd, inane point of view just to get another point of view."
Kofman rejoined: "All of us have seen and continue to see a lot of coverage that includes perspectives on gay issues that include people who just simply are intolerant and perhaps not qualified as well."
But as we've detailed, Farah has no problem with refusing to report "other points of view on homosexuals' issues and stories" his own website. Of course, as we've detailed, it's reversed -- WND repeatedly engages in misleading and even false right-wing attacks on gays while never giving gays and their advocates an opportunity to respond to them. As opposed to Farah's claim that "lamestream media" of gays is "universally positive," WND's coverage of gay issues is universally negative.
And as we've also detailed, Farah is selective about the kind of things that warrant telling both sides of the story. In his book "Stop the Presses!" Farah wrote, "But fundamentally, isn't real journalism about a search for the truth? Isn't that a higher calling than 'fair and balanced'?" Indeed, Farah's "truth" does not compel him to tell his readers all relevant information -- only that which advances his brand of right-wing Christianity.
Farah also rails against journalistic conflicts of interest with the statement, "Hey, I don't care if you sleep with elephants, just don't cover the circus." It should be no surprise that Farah's own website fails that test as well; WND has a long history of refusing to disclose the personal and business interests it has in the people and stories it covers.
Farah is most disingenuous in his bashing of "activists masquerading as journalists" -- as if WND is not an advocacy journalism site. Farah concludes that "activists within the media" are "mapping a route to their own self-destruction and disfranchisement," adding, "In my humble opinion, it couldn't happen to a more arrogant bunch of fascist mind-control freaks." Is he saying that journalists who don't attack gays are arrogant and fascist? It appears so.
But Farah is also an "activist within the media" who thinks certain points of view should not be reported. Guess that makes him an arrogant, fascist mind-control freak too.
AJune 23 CNSNews.com article by Pete Winn downplaying the influence of independent conservative 527 groups as "raised far less money than such groups affiliated with Democrats" failed to note that such independent groups aren't limited to being registered under Section 527 of the tax code.
Indeed, the same day Winn's article appeared, CNS ran an Associated Press article noting ads from independent groups attacking Obama:
Shortly before North Carolina's May 6 primary, the state Republican Party aired a TV ad linking Democratic candidates to Obama, who was described as "too extreme" because of his ties to the retired Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.
In South Dakota, a TV station briefly aired an ad that was edited to show Obama saying, "we are no longer a Christian nation, we are also a Muslim nation." It omitted his saying, in the same speech, that the United States is not solely a Christian nation.
The ad, which included a photo of Obama wearing a turban as part of a traditional outfit given to him in Africa, concluded with a man saying: "It's time for people of faith to stand against Barack Hussein Obama." A group called the Coalition Against Anti-Christian Rhetoric paid for the ad, which stations quickly dropped after the Obama campaign complained.
Winn also singled out MoveOn.org for co-producing an anti-McCain ad and "hosting its own pro-Obama campaign events," but failed to mention that MoveOn has decided to shut down its 527 operation, in part because Obama's campaign has expressed its displeasure over such operations. Another liberal-leaning group, Progressive Media USA, abandoned its efforts for the same reason, which Winn also failed to mention.
Ponte Smears Dems, Lies About Obama Topic: Newsmax
In a June 23 Newsmax column, Lowell Ponte purported to describe the appeal to Democrats of the anti-McCain "Baby Alex" TV ad -- that Democrats are idiots:
But the political left has an advantage here. The majority of those who vote for Democrats come from that half of our population that has an IQ of 100 or lower.
These sheep neither notice nor care about the irrationality and cynically manipulative nature of this dishonest all-feelings, no-brain ad. It’s no accident that the actress performing this ad spoke her lines like a dimwit, all the better to bamboozle its target audience.
Ponte, you may remember, still thinks Barack Obama attended a madrassa, so he has little room to complain about others being "cynically manipulative" or having a deficit of functioning brain cells.
Ponte then tells a lie in the form of a proposed response ad:
“Hi, Barack Obama. This is Alex. He’s my first. But if you expect him to pay off the $4 trillion in tax increases and extreme government spending you advocate — and to spend most of his working life paying an 83 percent tax rate to fund your socialist schemes — you can’t have him.”
Ponte offers no evidence that Obama wants to raisse tax rates to 83 percent -- perhaps because there isn't any. And we don't know where Ponte got his claim that Obama is planning "$4 trillion in tax increases"; in fact, the only reference to that number we've seen in relation to the federal budget is that $4 trillion is the size of the budget hole that will exist if the Bush tax cuts are allowed to stand past 2010 and if the alternative minimum tax is repealed -- both of which are not only not "socialist schemes" but favored by conservatives like Ponte.
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch Topic: Media Research Center
An appearance by Amy Menefee of the MRC's Business and Media Institute on the June 21 edition of "Fox & Friends Weekend" followed the template in that she appeared solo. The video supplied by NewsBusters includes only statements by Menefee and edits out everything else, making it impossible to determine how closely the rest of the template -- Fox News hosts tossing softball questions to cue up the MRC rep's talking points -- is being followed.
Cliff Kincaid Anti-Obama Frenzy Watch Topic: Accuracy in Media
Cliff Kincaid's latest bit of commie-obsessed anti-Obama frenzy is a June 22 Accuracy in Media column in which he insists that a "patriotic" Barack Obama ad is "false advertising" because it doesn't mention "his childhood mentor, Communist Frank Marshall Davis."
Kincaid repeats his assertion that Davis' "'poetry' is viciously anti-American," citing an April 30 column he wrote. But the only evidence Kincaid provided that Davis' poetry was "anti-American" was a piece in which Davis railed against "sniping Dixie lynchers/In the jungles of Texas and Florida." So it's anti-American to oppose lynching? Does Kincaid think there's not enough lynching these days?
Kincaid also repeats his previous false claim that an Obama-sponsored "extreme pro-U.N." bill in the Senate commits the U.S. to spending $845 billion to fight global poverty, adding, "Obama and his media backers have been whining for months that I have somehow misinterpreted the provisions of his bill. But they have failed to produce a serious rebuttal of the facts I have presented." In fact, as Media Matters detailed -- and to which Kincaid has not specifically responded that we've seen -- the Global Poverty Act would establish no specific funding source, would not commit the United States to any targeted level of spending, nor would it give the U.N. the power to impose a tax on the U.S.
WND vs. Real Journalists, Part 3 Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've noted how WorldNetDaily gave the whitewash treatment to right-wing activist Floyd Brown, failing to mention said right-wing activism and fawningly calling him and his wife "accomplished authors and speakers."
The New York Times, meanwhile, offered a much more honest account of Brown in a June 21 article, noting "his trade of bludgeoning a Democratic candidate for president" and pointing out that he "says it is his calling to tread where the campaign is unwilling to tread in finding malicious gossip on a Democratic nominee."
While WND did a second article on Brown on June 20 noting his gimmicky offer "to stop his political advertising campaign if the Democrat agrees to put himself under the rules of the nation's public finance rules this year," the Times offered hard numbers, noting that Brown's organization, ExposeObama.org, was "showing $40,000 in the bank between two committees at the end of March for its first-quarter filing with the Federal Election Commission," adding, "With most big-money conservative donors remaining cautious, Mr. Brown is focusing more on his political action committees. That could limit his ability to raise large sums. The maximum donation to such entities is $5,000."
A real news organization would tell the full story of Floyd Brown and not just reprint his press releases. WND is not that news organization, for this and otherreasons we've documented.
Aaron Klein Anti-Obama Agenda Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
Aaron Klein's 38th anti-Obama article for WorldNetDaily is a bit of a muddle. He appears desperate to paint as negatively as possible Barack Obama's statement that America is "no longer just a Christian nation," but he offers no evidence that there's anything incorrect or offensive about the statement, beyond various right-wing critics purporting to be offended by it who also don't say exactly what's supposedly incorrect or offensive about it.
Klein went on to claim that Obama statement "echoed similar statements made by Merrill A. McPeak, Obama's military adviser and national campaign co-chairman. As WND reported, in a 2003 interview with The Oregonian newspaper, McPeak seemed to compare evangelical Christians to the terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah."
Note the weasel word "seemed to." Klein offers no evidence McPeak actually did make such a comparison, only that he seemed to make it.
Klein also curiously fails to mention a relevant fact about Obama's opponent, John McCain: that he did in fact call certain right-wing evangelical preachers "agents of intolerance." Why won't Klein hold McCain responsible for that statement, but is trying to gin up a controversy about remarks that he can't back up as being the offensive claim he asserts them to be?
After all, Klein is the guy who absurdly claimed he doesn't have an anti-Obama agenda. Why doesn't he demonstrate it?
UPDATE: It's worth noting that the only way Obama's statement could be even remotely controversial is if it's misquoted to claim that Obama said that America isn't a Christian nation, rather that America isn't just a Christian nation. That's exactly what the headline for Klein's article does -- "Obama: America is 'no longer Christian." Thus, the headline misrepresents Klein (who quoted Obama correctly) to twist his muddled attack even further into an absolutely false claim.
UPDATE 2: WND perpetuates the false claim with its daily poll question: "Is the United States a Christian nation?"
Farah: Durbin 'Anti-Semitic' for Citing Dante's Inferno Topic: WorldNetDaily
In a June 20 column titled "Dick Durbin's anti-Semitic rant," WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah had a most bizarre reaction to the Illinois senator defending Michelle Obama by noting that "The hottest ring in hell is reserved for those in politics who attack their opponents' families":
Since writing that column, it has come to my attention the phrase Durbin used has long and strong anti-Semitic connotations and roots.
The phrases "hottest ring in hell" and "the deepest ring of hell" and "the fourth circle of the ninth ring of hell" were 14th century literary inventions by Dante, author of "The Inferno" and "The Divine Comedy."
In the latter work, Dante reserves that deepest ring of hell for Judecca or la Giudecca – or, in plain English, the Jews.
In Dante's native Italian, the name was "Judecca" or "la Giudecca," the common name for the Jewish quarter of European cities from which they were forbidden to leave. Even the word "ghetto" is believed to be a derivation of this word for Jewish quarter.
Did Dick Durbin know this?
Has he used this phrase in the past?
Is it part of his lexicon?
Is Dick Durbin conducting a subtle form of Jew-baiting here?
Farah gets his Dante wrong in a couple major ways. First, he suggests that "The Inferno" and "The Divine Comedy" are separate works; in fact, "The Inferno" is the first section of "The Divine Comedy."
Second, Farah rather bizarrely ascribes anti-Semitic motives to citing "The Inferno." In fact, the ninth circle of hell is reserved for traitors, and scholars (here, here and here) have interpreted "Judecca," the fourth section of the ninth circle as derivative of Judas, not Jews -- other sections are named after Cain, Antenor and Ptolemy -- and is for those who betray their lords and benefactors. There's a hint of Jewish criticism in Dante's use of the name that arguably would not be out of character for a 14th century Christian; author Stephen Haynes writes that Dante portrays Jews as "a people comprised exclusively of saints and traitors" though there is an "absence of explicit anti-Judaism" in "The Inferno."
For Farah to claim or even suggest that Durbin hates Jews because he cited Dante's Inferno is offensive in the extreme, not to mention libelous. You'd think Farah would be sensitive to such things by now.
Kincaid Complains Fox News Isn't Using His Obama Smears Topic: Accuracy in Media
Cliff Kincaid's June 19 Accuracy in Media column is headlined, "Why is Fox News Protecting Obama?" It would more accurately be headlined, "Why Isn't Fox News Using My Obama Smears?"
In it, Kincaid complains that, yes, various Fox News personalities" have "deliberately ignored" his guilt-by-association smears of Barack Obama as a secret communist via his alleged link to purported "Stalinist agent" Frank Marshall Davis. He further complains that "even one prominent 'conservative' news service" won't use his stuff either.
But as we detailed, Kincaid paints only a one-dimensional negative portrait of Davis as a raging commie; as Mike Chasar wrote, Davis was not the card-carrying Communist Kincaid portrays him as and spent the 1930s as an anti-Roosevelt Republican -- presumably a position even Kincaid could sympathize with.
Remember, Kincaid is a guy who lied about the provisions of a bill Obama sponsored to fight global poverty and thinks that views held by fictional characters are the same as views held by Obama. Such anti-Obama monomania makes Kincaid a less-than-reliable source -- which may the answer to Kincaid's question about why Fox News won't use his stuff.
Henry Lamb Needs To Acquaint Himself With TurboTax Topic: WorldNetDaily
In a June 21 WorldNetDaily column arguing against "progressive" taxation, Henry Lamb offers up the following hypothetical:
Here is Mr. Ten-Forty. On the first day of April, he began collecting his bank statements, receipts and his IRS forms. The instruction book is at least four times longer than the U.S. Constitution. Aside from the several pages of forms in the package, he has to download half-a-dozen additional forms. After investing at least 15 hours of frustrating effort, looking for every possible deduction, he discovers that he must pay 28 percent of his income to the government. Had he earned more income, he would have been punished by having to pay an even higher rate.
1) Why is Mr. Ten-Forty waiting until two weeks before taxes are due before starting work on his taxes? Sounds like he's a horrible procrastinator.
2) Has this fellow never heard of TurboTax? Such tax programs automatically search for possible deducations, meaning that the guy doesn't have to expend "at least 15 hours of frustrating effort" doing so.
3) Lamb fails to tell us that if Mr. Ten-Forty is getting taxed at the 28 pecent level, his net taxable income falls between $78,850 and $164,550 (for 2008). In other words, he's not exactly poor, and his actual income is even more than that since he has taken "every possible deduction."
If a guy with that much income insists on doing his taxes by hand and refuses to make use of either an accountant, a tax service like H&R Block or a program like TurboTax -- all of which can advise him on further deductions he can take or other ways he can shield his income from taxation -- he's got worse problems than Lamb presenting him as someone we should feel sorry for.
WND Does Bidding of Anti-Global Warming Group Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh repeats his advocacy for the the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine with a June 19 article that once again touts the OISM's anti-global warming petition it claims was "officially endorsed by tens of thousands of other scientists."
As we detailed, the OISM petition collected its signatures over a period of more than a decade and counts signatories with degrees in "sicence" -- Unruh makes sure to quote OISM chief Art Robinson adding that the number also includes "more than 9,000 Americans with Ph.D.s in science and therefore professional educational credentials" -- without making distinctions as to whether those degrees are actually relevant to disciplines related to global warming.
Unruh quotes only Robinson in his article and presents his claims at face value, adding only that "A spokeswoman for the United Nation's Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon declined to respond to WND questions" as if the U.N. chief was the only person qualified to answer Robinson's claims.
Waters Repeats Debunked 'Most Liberal Senator' Claim Topic: Media Research Center
In a June 20 TimesWatch item and NewsBusters post, Clay Waters reacts to a claim in a New York Times article claiming that an Obama campaign is designed to "addresses the problems Mr. Obama needs to address and tacks him back to the center": "'Back to the center?' Was Obama, the most liberal Senator, ever in the center?" Waters adds a link to the National Journal's 2007 vote rankings, which called Obama "most liberal."
In fact, as Media Matters points out (and as we've previously noted), the National Journal ranking is highly subjective, based on 99 votes selected by the magazine's staff -- for instance, a vote to implement the bipartisan 9-11 Commission's homeland security recommendations was considered to be "liberal." By contrast, a separate study based on all 388 non-unanimous Senate votes during 2007 produced a different result, ranking Obama as tied for the 10th most liberal senator.
WND Invokes Godwin's Law Again Topic: WorldNetDaily
It's been a while since WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh likened likened critics of homeschooling to Nazis. He returns to form in a June 19 WND article in which he points out in the lead paragraph that homeschooling in Germany "has been illegal since Hitler's golden days in 1938."
The ostensible purpose of Unruh's article (beyond throwing the Nazi smear, anyway) is to relay a purported quote of a German judge who allegedly described homeschooling as "comparable to a trucker who repeatedly gets behind the wheel drunk." But Unruh doesn't quote the judge directly; he quotes a German homeschooling advocate as saying that the judge said that. Unruh offers no evidence that he made any attempt to independently verify what the judge actually said.
That also comports with Unruh's and WND's history of one-sided reporting on the issue -- quoting only homeschooling advocates and framing issues to their benefit. Remember, as we've detailed, WND has chosen to condone a family's documented history of child abuse in order to paint them as martyrs to the homeschooling cause.