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Thursday, July 24, 2008
How Do You Say 'Decemberists' In German?
Topic: NewsBusters

Remember when NewsBusters tried to absurdly claim that a throng of 70,000 who went to see Barack Obama speak in Portland actually went instead to see local indie-rock band the Decemberists (which hasn't filled up a single venue a tenth of that crowd anywhere, let alone Portland) play? Well, they're at it again. From a July 24 post by Noel Sheppard:

Well, it has been learned that before the presumptive Democrat nominee spoke to a crowd in Berlin Thursday, two popular German acts -- reggae artist Patrice and rock band Reamonn -- entertained the gathering audience.

Will media report this tonight, or just gush and fawn over the huge crowd again?

Would it kill Sheppard to simply admit the undeniable fact that Obama is a popular person and is quite capable of attracting audiences even without opening acts? Apparently so.

And as much as we can safely assume no one at NewsBusters had ever heard of the Decemberists before they opened for Obama, it's an even safer bet that Sheppard has never heard of Patrice or Reamonn before this, let alone possesses any actual knowledge just how popular they are in Germany.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:34 PM EDT
Dear Mr. Farah...
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Dear Mr.Farah:

You write in your July 24 column that the New York Times' rejection of John McCain's op-ed is a "shameless act of political partisanship," "stunning decision to turn down publication of one candidate's opinion while gleefully publishing the other's opinion,"  further calling the Times an "immature and stridently ideological rag." Such words serve the implication that WorldNetDaily is somehow different, even though WND has a long history of telling only one side of many issues -- including numerous attacks on Barack Obama without a meaningful opportunity for response.

Since you want to suggest that WND, unlike the New York Times, is not "immature and stridently ideological," I offer the following opportunity for you to back you your words: If you are truly committed to an open and full range of opinion at WND, publish (or, heck, even link to) my op-ed about WND's coverage of certain religious groups. Every claim in it is substantiated, which equals, if not surpasses, WND's reporting standards, so I don't foresee any problem in that area.

Are you and WND mature and non-ideological? Here's your chance to demonstrate it.


Terry Krepel

Posted by Terry K. at 9:27 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 24, 2008 9:29 AM EDT
Kincaid Still Lying About Poverty Bill Cost
Topic: Accuracy in Media

 A July 22 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid references "Senator Barack Obama’s Global Poverty Act," adding, "This costly $845 billion bill commits the U.S. to spending 0.7 percent of gross national product on foreign aid to meet United Nations objectives."

No, it doesn't. As we've repeatedly noted every time Kincaid makes this false claim, the bill has no funding mechanism, doesn't commit the U.S. to a targeted level of spending, and doesn't give the United Nations the power to impose a tax on the U.S.

Nevertheless, Kincaid repeats the claim in a July 23 AIM Report, falsely stating that the Global Poverty Act "commits the U.S. to spending .7 percent of our gross national product on foreign aid, at a cost over 13 years of $845 billion."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:11 AM EDT
Still No Evidence for Key Claim in McDonald's Boycott
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Bob Unruh writes in a July 22 WorldNetDaily article on the right-wing boycott of McDonald's:

It was because of a decision by the restaurant chain known for Happy Meals and its Golden Arches to deliberately advocate for homosexuality. The company has given $20,000 to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and placed one of its executives on that group's board. The NGLCC, among other things, lobbies for same-sex "marriage" provisions.

As we have previously noted, WND has yet to offer any actual evidence that the NGLCC -- a group that primarily aids gay and lesbian business owners -- "lobbies for same-sex 'marriage' provisions." Nor has the boycott's leading sponsor, the American Family Association; nothing on its boycott website substantiates the claim that the group lobbies for gay marriage.

You'd think a "news" website would point out this gaping hole of evidence in the AFA's boycott. But, of course, WND is no ordinary "news" website.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:55 AM EDT
New Article: Anti-Catholic AND Pro-Cult?
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's ultra-orthodox Christian views seem to have caused it to cater to an old hatred -- and cozy up a little to a polygamist cult. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:02 AM EDT
Bozell Overtaken By Events
Topic: Media Research Center

Brent Bozell's July 23 column starts out by declaring, "John McCain has figured out that one way to build enthusiasm among conservatives is to confront his former best friends in the liberal media," and asserting that "the media glorify Barack Obama."

Unfortunately, Bozell's column came out the same day it was revealed that McCain still has BFFs in the "liberal media" -- CBS was caught editing out a false claim McCain made about Iraq during an interview and substituting an answer McCain gave to a different question.

That undercuts the Obama media lovefest meme the MRC has been promoting, to the point that even NewsBusters hasn't mentioned it as of this writing.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:05 AM EDT
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
CNS Hops Aboard MRC's Tunnel Vision Train

A July 23 article by Kevin Mooney pushes the corporate Media Research Center tunnel vision that the only possible reason that coverage of the Iraq war has declined is because they don't want to report that the surge was a success.

Mooney wrote:

The number of reporters embedded with U.S. forces in Iraq declined dramatically after the surge in U.S. troop strength went full force last year and violence in the country, including U.S. casualties, started to decline.

As a consequence, there have been fewer reporters in the field with U.S. troops in Iraq this year to report on the successes those troops have achieved.

But Mooney mentioned none of the reasons offered by media analysts why Iraq war coverage has declined -- tight newsroom budgets, a focus on other news like the presidential election -- thus forwarding the baseless suggestion that the reason "there have been fewer reporters in the field with U.S. troops in Iraq" was to avoid reporting "the successes those troops have achieved." That baseless suggestion is reinforced by the article's headline: "As Surge in Iraq Succeeded, Embedded Reporters Receded."

If the MRC can't come up with actual evidence to back up this claim, they should stop inferring it.

UPDATE: A July 23 NewsBusters post by Craig Bannister repeats Mooney's claims, baseless suggestion and all. Bannister, by the way, is CNS' communications director; his NewsBusters bio is curiously empty.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:23 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 23, 2008 5:14 PM EDT
WND Pro-McCain Agenda Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's stealth pro-McCain agenda is a little less stealth: A July 22 article is little more than a regurgitation of the McCain campign's assertion that the media is, as WND's headline asserts, "twitterpated" over Barack Obama. The article even embeds a McCain campaign video making the same point.

Unsurprisingly, the article makes no mention of any evidence contrary to McCain's talking point -- specifically, CBS' splicing of an interview with McCain to remove a false statement McCain had made.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:00 PM EDT
Hirsen Misleads About Polanski Film
Topic: Newsmax

A July 21 Newsmax article by James Hirsen claims that a new documentary about director Roman Polanski and the circumstances surrounding his conviction for having sex with a 13-year-old girl "attempts to minimize his crime as well as demonize Judge Laurence J. Rittenband, who presided over the case, and has since passed away and is unable to answer charges put forth in the film."

In fact, movie critics generally don't believe the former is true at all. For instance:

  • "The movie never denies or excuses the facts of the case. Zenovich includes lengthy excerpts from depositions, describing how Polanski gave champagne and Quaaludes to a 13-year-old girl before having sex with her." -- Noel Murray, Onion AV Club 
  • "Filmmaker Marina Zenovich combines court transcripts, expertly chosen archival footage (including key scenes from Polanski’s work) and revelatory interviews with the victim, ADA and defense attorney that persuasively demonstrate Polanski was guilty as sin, yet his conviction was still a miscarriage of justice." -- Geoff Berkshire, Metromix
  • "What’s clear is that Polanski and Samantha (Gailey) Geimer did indeed engage in physical contact, forced or otherwise. ... Roman Polanski deserves his badge of dishonor, no question about it. This amazing documentary argues that others need to start sporting one as well." -- Bill Gibron, PopMatters 
  • "Mr. Polanski’s guilt isn’t in doubt, arguments about the age of consent notwithstanding." -- Manohla Dargis, New York Times 

As far as Hirsen's latter claim -- that the film "demonize[s]" the judge in the case -- that's where the minimizing is taking place. Hirsen makes no mention, let alone a defense, of what caused Judge Rittenbrand to be shown as "demonized" in the film. As Murray wrote, "the judge on the case had proven to be a showboat when TV cameras were around, and neither the defense team nor the prosecutors were sure that he'd hand down a sentence in accord with what they'd negotiated." Gibron added: "It is clear that the judge wanted nothing more than to maintain a certain reputation with the press. He felt pressure to make sure Polanksi merely didn’t 'walk'. Of course, this meant violating every code of judicial ethics that there were by manipulating lawyers into doing what he wanted and reneging on deals that were sealed behind closed courthouse doors."

Without telling the whole story, Hirsen's complaint that "It’s hard to have sympathy for someone who would commit the alleged offenses and then jump bail" apepars more than a little disingenuous.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:15 AM EDT
Another Narrow MRC 'Study'
Topic: Media Research Center

A July 21 Media Research Center "Media Reality Check" by Rich Noyes asserts: "A new study by the Media Research Center finds that network evening news coverage of Iraq has fallen 65 percent in the past twelve months — a mere 429 stories so far this year, compared to 1,227 on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening news shows during the first six and a half months of 2007." But like previous MRC "studies" on Iraq war coverage, it's too narrowly focused and based on assumptions it doesn't support.

Noyes asserts that "as the troop surge has dramatically succeeded, the Big Three broadcast networks have shown little interest in documenting how the U.S. military is saving Iraq and achieving a signal victory in the war against terrorism." This baselessly suggests that the only reason media coverage of Iraq decreased was because "the troop surge has dramatically succeeded." In fact, as we've documented, there are numerous other reasons for the decrease in coverage -- tight newsroom budgets, a focus on the election -- that Noyes does not mention.

The MRC once again frames its study narrowly, focusing only on the evening news shows on ABC, CBS and NBC and ignoring cable news coverage. As we've also noted, most similar MRC studies do the same thing in an apparent attempt to shield Fox News from scrutiny -- indeed, as the Pew Research Center has detailed, Fox News in 2007 "spent less time on the war in Iraq" than CNN and MSNBC, and it was "more oriented to crime, celebrity and the media than its rivals."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:39 AM EDT
WND Doesn't Disclose Ties to Savage
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A July 22 WorldNetDaily article featured Michael Savage's spin of his assault on those with autism: that "In 99 percent of the cases, it's a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out." WND repeated without challenge that "his assertion autism is a 'fraud' and 'a racket' was 'meant to boldly awaken parents and children to the medical community's attempt to label too many children or adults as "autistic"'" -- neither Savage nor WND offer any evidence that this is the case -- as well as his claim that he was "attack[ing] falsely diagnosed cases, the misdiagnosed and the outright fraud artists through a bold parody, and Media Matters rips the parody out of context, stirs up the autism community against me, and here we are!"

In fact, Savage's comments were not taken out of context by Media Matters (disclosure: our employer).

While WND noted that Savaged issued "statement on his website" regarding the controversy, it did not disclose -- as first reported here -- that WND hosts Savage's website, nor was it disclosed that WND published two of Savage's books. WND has a long history of failing to disclose the business and personal interests it has in the subjects of its news articles.

P.S. Speaking of our employer, we have an item up over there featuring WND's quote of Savage likening Media Matters to HIV. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:13 AM EDT
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Aaron Klein Anti-Obama Agenda Watch (Plus, Obama Death Threats At WND)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Aaron Klein's 44th anti-Obama article versus just one anti-McCain article) obsesses over the alleged replacement of an American flag on Barack Obama's campaign plane with the Obama logo. Klein offers no evidence to support his suggestion that this is a big deal.

Meanwhile, the WND poll of the day asks, "What do you think of Obama's removal of the American flag from his aircraft?" The lead answer as of this writing, with 45 percent of the vote, is: "Obama is an anti-American fraud, and this is the proof." Here are some choice comments on the poll thread:

  • "Obama is a Judas like. leader. ... America as a Nation is too far gone and God is about to turn us over to Obama and those who will lead the nation into perdition. The time is short keep warning others and look for the rapture."
  • "Well, it seems one more time our so-called change oriented candidate has done exactly that, change. He nor his wife, who I would hate to have as First Lady is AMERICAN. They are here to destroy America and everything it stands for. He no longer bears allegiance to this country, but instead to the Islamic States of the Mideast. He hates the Constitution and will destroy it if, god forbid, he becomes president. The terrorist do not have to take over the country it will happen from within. Obama is the within. He will raise taxes to help HIS people not the American people. He does not care about AMERICANS."
  • "I don't believe we should be suprised at all that Obama is not flying the Flag anymore. The people of this country, if they elect Obama, will be getting what they ask for."
  • "I have to agree with all of the anti Obama sentiment posted here today and with the Born Again Christian perspective. I was planning a long post. But no need to. Obama does not have the best interest of the United States in his heart or plans. Obama is a globalist need I say a One World proponent. He has more love and regard for The Interationalle Anthem (Communist Socialist Workers) then he has for The Star Spangled Banner for which he has none. "
  • "Obama's removal of the flag from his lapel and now from his plane shows clearly that if elected President he will not be able to swear allegiance to this country and its Constitution. He is without a doubt unfit for any office in this country."
  • "Alibama's logo is representative of the new age, the 'change' he has been vomiting forth. The new world order is reflective of that insipid circle emblem. The US flag is reflective the old order for these marxist puppets."
  • "Simple logic should tell us that Obama is making every effort to pacify the Muslims of whom he is one. It is strongly suspected that middle eastern muslims have poured millions into his campaign."
  • "Obama's promise of "hope and change" can only be compared to the mantra used by Hitler. It's also the same sales pitch Obama used when campaigning for his murdering Muslim cousin Raila Odingo in Kenya. And the ONLY people in this country that would benefit from his becoming President are the same kind of people that benefited from Hitler's rise to power and would have benefited if Odingo had been able to conquer Kenya. That is NOT better, it's beyond disgusting."
  • "This Guy is a racist joke, Him, his wife and friends all haste the USA. Why is he running. It makes me sick that people would consider him for janitor. He is a disservice to all black Americans!!!"
  • "Quite frankly, anyone who votes for Obama will likely join him in the lake of fire."
  • "Certainly, the absences of the American Flag indicates Obama's desire to bring about America's decline and his desire to make a one world government."
  • "The grand 'O' is just a brush stroke away from the hammer & sickle - which is what Barack Obama is really all about anyway."
  • "Perhaps it's because I'm just finishing a re-reading of the "Left Behind" series, but the description of Sen. Obama's plane truly reminds me of the description of the plane used by the AntiChrist in the series."
  • "I wonder if some Islamic group has paid his campaign a huge amount of money for him to remove the American flag from his plane. Whoever is in charge of his security detail must have the easiest job in the world. I can't imagine any Muslim extremist who would even think of harming B. Hussein. Osama bin Laden probably has a picture of B. Hussein on the wall of his cave. We need to pray for our country. I believe the Antichrist may be an election away."
  • "You left out arrogant, conceited and reprobate in your colorful words to describe B. HUSSEIN Obama. I would rather have an hour in the boxing ring with him than a debate."

The thread also includes a couple of death threats against Obama that WND is apparently not bothered enough by to remove:

  • "Well the OsamaBama logo looks a lot like a stylized target. Hopefully someone will interpret it as one soon."
  • "I say if the plane does not have a countries identification marking on it, consider it a terriorest aircraft and have a f-16 shoot that sucker down. If we let this slid, the terriorests will have a upper handd, so we cannot tell who is flying that plane, and it should be shot down before it reaches the U.S, coast line."

Does Joseph Farah and the rest of WND endorse these death threats on its website? Do they understand that WND's vehemently anti-Obama reporting policy helps to incite such death threats? Will they ever denounce such threats?

Posted by Terry K. at 4:45 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 22, 2008 4:50 PM EDT
Newsmax Falsely Claims NYT Censored McCain
Topic: Newsmax

A July 21 Newsmax article by Jim Meyers about the controversy between John McCain and the New York Times over an opinion piece by McCain carries the false headline: "NY Times Censors McCain Op-Ed."

Even Meyers didn't make that claim; he correctly notes that "The Times’ Op-Ed page editor David Shipley explained that he spurned the McCain piece largely because he wanted to hear more detail on the Republican candidate’s plan for Iraq." But Meyers didn't note -- as did an Associated Press article published by Newsmax a little more than an hour after posting Meyers' article -- that the Times also said in a statement: "It is standard procedure on our op-ed page, and that of other newspapers, to go back and forth with an author on his or her submission. We look forward to publishing Sen. McCain's views in our paper just as we have in the past."

The AP article also noted that "The newspaper said it has published at least seven of McCain's op-ed pieces since 1996"; Meyers made no mention of that.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:47 PM EDT
CNS' Jones Keeps Up Pro-Republican Bias

Susan Jones keeps up her pro-Republican bias in a July 21 article that uncritically repeats Republicans' claims about oil drilling in Alaska without rebuttal from Democrats.

As we previously noted, a July 11 article by Jones not only uncritically repeated Republican claims, she twice interrupted a section on Democrats' stands on energy to insert parenthetical claims about what "critics" say about those stands.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:09 AM EDT
Klein Depends on the Stupidity of Terrorists
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a July 16 Q-and-A with the Jerusalem Post, WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein outlines why he thinks he can continue to get away with using the words of the terrorists he interviews against them -- they're desperate for publicity and too stupid to figure out what he's doing:

How is it they're willing to talk to you if what you're doing is exposing them? Aren't you killing their lobby, in effect?

Maybe that's the way you see it, but they think I'm doing them a favor - and perhaps I am - by giving them a platform from which to explain themselves. I don't analyze what they say; I quote them, and they are very thankful for this.

You say that you might be doing them a favor. In what way? By getting their message out to like-minded brethren?

I don't think that I'm doing them any favor. I'm saying that they want to get their ideology out there, and so maybe they believe that the best way to do it is to have an open microphone.

So, basically, Klein is counting on terrorists being too stupid to figure out what he's doing. Case in point: Klein and John Batchelor's use of a (possibly unwitting) Hamas spokesman to link Barack Obama to a Hamas "endrosement." Klein has never publicly discussed why a Hamas spokesman would 1) talk to American right-wingers who despise Hamas and 2) endorse Obama before a pair of anti-Obama activists who would promote that endorsement as an attack on Obama.

Klein also paints himself as something of an anointed one who must educate people about terrorists:

From my perspective, what I'm doing is trying to educate people on what the war on terrorism is really about. We often embolden terrorists without even realizing it, through policies of evacuation, withdrawal, dialogue and negotiations. The terrorists are very open about the fact that if you evacuate territory, they are going to use that territory to stage further attacks toward your annihilation.

Klein also continues to demonstrate that he has never considered the possibility that he's being spun by the terrorists. After all, as we've previously noted, Osama bin Laden's so-called endorsement of John Kerry in 2004 was actually designed to keep Bush in office. It may even be that the terrorists are using Klein, and the animosity they can count on from him, for their own purposes.

Klein, of course, continues to paint himself as a daring reporter for chatting up terrorists:

Are you not afraid that these terrorists you interview will kidnap or kill you?

I understand that there's danger in what I'm doing. At the same time, if you look at the kidnappings of journalists in the Palestinian areas, you'll note that they were carried out by masked gunmen - not by a particular terrorist interviewed by a reporter. Believe it or not, when you go in, they protect you.

There's a lot more going on here than what Klein has made public -- for instance, how does Klein's willingness to give terrorists anonymity factor in this little game he's playing?

Klein seems content to play this game -- gaining the confidence of terrorists (that's the only reason to give a terrorist anonymity, right?) yet slagging them at every opportunity when they're not watching. It's a game that can last for only so long.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:01 AM EDT

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