The WND store page for the sticker tries hard to put a positive spin on it: "If you're not convinced McCain is right for the job, but think anyone would be better than Obama , this bumper sticker is perfect for expressing that position." (Bold and underlined type in the original.)
Finkelstein: Obama's 'New Economy' = Commie Central Planning Topic: NewsBusters
Has Mark Finkelstein been reading a little too much Cliff Kincaid?
Seems so. Finkelstein forwards a different take on Kincaid's Barack-Obama-is-a-secret-commie meme in an Aug. 11 NewsBusters post by making the logical leap that a statement in an Obama commercial referencing a "new economy" means that Obama embraces communist-style central planning:
If Barack Obama makes it to the White House, perhaps he should appoint Chris Matthews Commissar of Gosplan, the Commission charged with developing the economy's Five Year Plans. The Hardball host, back from vacation, displayed the enthusiasm of a dutiful apparatchik in praising an Obama ad that in turn amounted to a pitch for central planning.
I find the ad threatening and sinister as hell. "A new vision for our economy"? Thanks, but I like the old vision. You know, the one based on capitalism and free markets in which millions of consumers, through billions of transactions, decide what goods and services are provided and what price they're willing to pay. "America's future is in our hands"? Translation: in big government's hands. What could be less cheerful than that? But Matthews and [Andrea] Mitchell dug it.
All hail the inevitable triumph of the centrally planned economy!
When, exactly, did Obama endorse central planning? Finkelstein doesn't say -- perhaps because Obama never has. Perhaps Finkelstein needs to take his fevered brain on vacation.
But Finkelstein isn't the only person drawing an MRC paycheck currently trying to link Obama to communists. An Aug. 12 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas goes the Aaron Klein guilt-by-association route by playing up praise for Obama in a Communist Party newspaper.
Gainor Misleads on 4-Day Workweek Topic: CNSNews.com
An Aug. 11 CNSNews.com column by Dan Gainor, head of the MRC's Business & Media Institute, falsely claims that a 4-day workweek for governmental employees equals "either ... a 25-percent increase in taxes or a 20-percent cut in services." Gainor doesn't explain how that can be, given that those governmental workers are actually putting in the same number of hours.
Nevertheless, Gainor goes on:
It’s simple math. If you pay to use government services five days a week and you only get four, that’s 20 percent less government for the same amount of money. (Or even more money if they raise your taxes at the same time.) While there is a strong case to cut government by 20 percent, it should include a 20-percent reduction in taxes.
Not likely. Instead, government continues to grow and what we get for our money continues to shrink.
Gainor seems not to have considered the possibility that governmental agencies would stagger those 4-day workweeks so that an office can remain open for a full five workdays.
AIM's Tabloid Double Standard Topic: Accuracy in Media
An Aug. 11 Accuracy in Media blog post by Don Irvine defends the honor of the National Enquirer over the John Edwards affair. After quoting New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt saying that the Enquirer issed "one sensational report after another" and noting that the Times "did not want to regurgitate the Enquirer’s reporting without verifying it," Irvine added: "Note the condescending attitude of Hoyt by equating the Enquirer with the gutter." (He then declares that "I am no fan of the Enquirer.")
But AIM had a much different view when the Enquirer and sister tabloids were repeating a claim that President Bush was having an affair with Condoleezza Rice and "shocking information about how the Bush Administration has failed to respond to terrorist threats." From a June 2006 AIM column by Cliff Kincaid:
While no conclusions can be made at this point about the politics involved with the latest attack on Bush, it should be noted that one of the main financial sponsors of [Enquirer owner] American Media, Inc. is Evercore Partners, an investment firm whose chairman is former Clinton Administration Treasury official Roger C. Altman.
So how does ownership of the Enquirer by a former Clinton crony figure into its reporting on Edwards' affair? Irvine and Kincaid don't say. AIM thus joins the rest of the ConWeb in their selective outrage against supermarket tabloids, denouncing them when they report unflattering things about conservatives and treating them as legitimate when they report unflattering things about liberals.
But if we are now to believe that everything in the Enquirer is unquestionably true, then this must be too:
BUSH'S BOOZE CRISIS
Faced with the biggest crisis of his political life, President Bush has hit the bottle again, The National Enquirer can reveal.
Bush, who said he quit drinking the morning after his 40th birthday, has started boozing amid the Katrina catastrophe.
Will Irvine and Kincaid vouch for the Enquirer here as well?
Speaking of Kincaid, he spends his Aug. 11 column trying to steer the conversation his (creepilyobsessed) direction, insisting that Barack Obama being a secret commie is a much bigger deal than Edwards:
The John Edwards affair is a chilling reminder that Democratic cover-ups can succeed, with the help of the media, and that even the most sophisticated “investigative” reporters are prepared to overlook potential Democratic scandals.
The implication of the Edwards scandal is that, if ABC News’s top investigative reporter could take Edwards’ side, without any serious checking of the facts, then other candidates may be concealing scandals and hoping and planning to get away with it.
Not that AIM and Kincaid haved worked all that hard to uncover any Bush administration scandals, mind you.
In writing a fawning Aug. 11 Newsmax profile of Richard Grenell, Bush-appointed spokesman for the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Ronald Kessler wrote that "Grenell has advised four U.S. ambassadors — John D. Negroponte, John C. Danforth, John R. Bolton, and Zalmay Khalilzad the current U.S. ambassador — on the formulation and articulation of U.S. policy at the United Nations."
Does that sound familiar? It should, because that comes almost word-for-word from Grenell's official bio:
Mr. Grenell has advised four U.S. Ambassadors - John D. Negroponte, John C. Danforth, John R. Bolton and Zalmay Khalilzad - on the formulation and articulation of United States policy at the United Nations.
That phrase from his bio also appears on Grenell's Wikipedia page. Apparently, Kessler was so busy fluffing Grenell that he had time only to cut-and-paste Grenell's background.
Curiously, this appears to be the same exact article by Kessler that Newsmax posted five days earlier. The only difference between the two that we noted is that the newer one includes a picture of Grenell. What gives? Is Grenell so nice that Kessler fluffed him twice?
Timmerman Mum on Political Agenda of Vet 'Reporters' Topic: Newsmax
An Aug. 10 Newsmax column by Ken Timmerman highlights a "group of eight citizen-soldier-reporters" who "returned to Iraq last week as civilians to embed as reporters with their former units, to tell the story of recent successes in the war they believe the media is not accurately reporting to the American people."
That's the closest that Timmerman gets to hinting at the agenda of the "citizen-soldier-reporters" he is featuring. The group is associated with Vets for Freedom -- which, as Salon details, not only supports the Iraq war but "has a remarkable number of ties -- some previously unreported -- to Republicans generally and John McCain's campaign specifically. And it has run attack ads against Barack Obama." Timmerman quotes VFF leader Pete Hegseth as part of the group but fails to note, as Salon did, that Hegseth has campaigned for John McCain. Salon adds:
Under the Pentagon's standards for Iraq embeds, the people that Vets for Freedom is sending to Iraq qualify as journalists. Six of them have impeccable military credentials but no reporting experience, with clippings largely limited to Op-Eds. A would-be embed, however, needs only to provide the military's public affairs officers with three samples of published or broadcast work, and proof that he or she is credentialed by a publication. Three conservative media outlets -- the Weekly Standard, National Review Online and BlackFive.net – have provided the eight members of VFF's Iraq team with credentials.
From the mission statement that appears on VFF's Web site, it's also clear that the purpose of what it has dubbed the "Back to Iraq" trip fits within the bounds of journalism, albeit advocacy journalism of the foregone-conclusion variety, strident conservative division. "Its [sic] essential for the American people to know the facts about what is happening in Iraq. Some media outlets, and certain politicians, still fail to assess the situation objectively; so Vets for Freedom is heading Back to Iraq to let them know what has been accomplished, what still needs to be done, and how we should proceed in order to attain sustainable security in Iraq."
But VFF's representatives in Iraq are political activists first, and journalists second. Or third.
VFF's decision to embed reporters does raise concerns for experts in media ethics. Christopher Hanson, an associate professor at the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism who researches media-military relations and who covered the first Gulf War, says that "subsidized journalism" funded by nonprofits "is on the rise across the political spectrum." He doesn't think that's necessarily a bad thing as long as there's full disclosure of the funding. But he also thinks that VFF's case brings with it a different set of issues. "If essentially you have reporters who are the founders and the activists in the organization, then getting credentialed and going with preconceptions ... and then going out and campaigning, that's highly questionable, and that deserves scrutiny. It seems to me that to some extent the question is, Is there any chance that any of them change their views or is it simply a kind of a fraud?" Hanson said, cautioning that he doesn't know the group's intentions and is not accusing them of fraud.
"It's not independent journalism," says Kelly McBride, ethics group leader at the Poynter Institute. "If I were [VFF], I'd be saying, 'Gosh, the Army should be paying me PR fees.'"
Timmerman reports none of this about the VFF "citizen-soldier-reporters" he features in his article.
An Aug. 11 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones reports on Barack Obama's plan to announce his vice presidential choice via email to supporters.
But what does the headline say? "Obmaa Trolling for Email Addresses." Jones ominously adds: "The Obama campaign is eager to gather as many email addresses as possible for get-out-the-vote and fund-raising purposes."
Aside from not explaining why gathering email addresses from supporters is hardly an unorthodox campaign procedure -- indeed, John McCain's campaign is also trolling for email addresses, though Jones would likely never call it that -- Jones ignores the actual news here: Obama will also utilize text messaging to announce his VP pick, not just email.
The media, as One, spend days or weeks bashing someone or something they do not like. They then conduct a poll to prove to you that they were right all along. In a campaign season, their one-sided coverage is calculated, then executed to produce a result. It’s not about reporting the events, it’s about changing the prevailing view.
And the polls -- such as the ones by the media, which are not independent surveys like those undertaken by the likes of Rasmussen or Gallup -- aren’t intended as much to gauge the public view of a candidate or events as they are to reinforce that which they have “reported”, or provide the media guidance on how effective their spinning of the news has been.
Despite the years of hype over how money is the root of all campaigning evil by the press, the respected polling organization reports voters' belief that there is a bigger problem in political campaigns: media bias.
Klein Whitewashes Savage, Lacks Disclosure Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Aug. 10 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein on Michael Savage's once and future legal actions against the Council of American-Islamic Relations is largely a whitewash piece, treating Savage's accusations against CAIR as fact and making no apparent attempt to contact CAIR for a response (though he pulled a few previous quotes by CAIR from some source that Klein doesn't bother to identify).
While Klein does note that Savage's claim that CAIR violated his copyright by repeating excerpts from his show was tossed out of court because the judge "ruled it is legal to use excerpts of a public broadcast for purposes of comment and criticism," Klein fails to mention that Savage has previously tried (and failed) to sue his critics over purported copyright violations.
Further, Klein fails to disclose WND's business relationship with Savage, which in the past has included publishing his books and currently includes hosting his website. The Society of Professional Journalists' ethics code states that journalists have an obligation to "disclose unavoidable conflicts."
The problem? It's taken out of context. As Pierce wrote in an October 2004 American Prospect article:
In January of 2003, I wrote a piece for The Boston Globe Magazine ruminating on the 40 years that Edward Kennedy has been in the United States Senate. At one point early on, I decided to deal with The Great Unmentionable at the heart of that career, so I wrote:
And what of the dead woman? On July 18, 1969, on the weekend that man first walked on the moon, a 28-year-old named Mary Jo Kopechne drowned in his automobile. Plutocrats' justice and an implausible (but effective) coverup ensued. And, ever since, she's always been there: during Watergate, when Barry Goldwater told Kennedy that even Richard Nixon didn't need lectures from him; in 1980, when his presidential campaign was shot down virtually at its launch; during the hearings into the confirmation of Clarence Thomas, when Kennedy's transgressions gagged him and made him the butt of all the jokes. She's always there. Even if she doesn't fit in the narrative line, she is so much of the dark energy behind it. She denies to him forever the moral credibility that lay behind not merely all those rhetorical thunderclaps that came so easily in the New Frontier but also Robert Kennedy's anguished appeals to the country's better angels.
And then, a few paragraphs later, I concluded the passage with the following:
If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age.
Now, I thought that was a tough, but fair, shot. Some people disagreed. The following Saturday, some veteran liberals chided me over the hors d'oeuvres at a dinner party. Some other people agreed. James Taranto of OpinionJournal cited it as evidence that I didn't like the senior senator very much. And my friend Dan Kennedy called it a "paragraph of pure poison." I didn't necessarily agree with them, but they rather obviously got my point -- which is about as good as a writer can hope for these days from the public discourse.
Baker's original 2003 item doesn't mention that Pierce's statement came in the context of a larger statement about how the Chappaquiddick incident effectively keeps him from having the "moral credibility" to be president -- indeed, a search of the MRC archive indicates that it has never placed the Pierce quote in its proper context, nor has it apparently responded to Pierce's criticism.
And, to cap things off, the MRC didn't even invite Pierce to their little shindig to pick up that award personally:
I was crushed. This is a big event in Washington every year. Hundreds of sweaty fat guys in tuxedos lust across the ballroom at Laura Ingraham and my gal, Annie Coulter. A hip evening for people who haven't been hip since the night they quoted Ayn Rand to their dates at the Junior Prom. A night of lechery and drunkenness among people who should confine their involvement with the seven deadly sins to Envy, Gluttony, and Rage. I was owed this spectacle.
Hey, I was an award-winner here. I know where to get a tux in D.C. I even had a speech prepared. This is how it started:
"Thank you all. It's nice to be here and to see everyone in such a fine mood. I've never seen Bill Bennett this happy with anything that didn't have a handle on its side.
"Oh, come on, Rush. Twenty more milligrams and that would've been damn funny."
I would have killed, I tell you.
Instead, accepting in my place was ... Mohair Sam Donaldson.
Sam Freaking Donaldson?
Apparently, Sam was gracious. He said one day he hoped to write as well as I do, which apparently got a big laugh. But Sam's no Sacheen Littlefeather, I'll tell you that.
Not only do Baker and the MRC continue to distort Pierce's words years after they have been proven to be something other than what the MRC claims them to be, the MRC won't even pony up for dinner.
UPDATE: Baker's post also apepars in the Aug. 11 MRC CyberAlert.
WND Still Whitewashing Abuse in Calif. Homeschooling Case Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetdaily just can't stop whitewashing child abuse allegations in homeschooling families.
An Aug. 8 WND article by Bob Unruh on a new California court ruling regarding homeschooling does a lot of writing around the fact that -- as we've detailed -- the parents in the family at the center of the case were implicated in abusive behavior toward two of their children. Unruh writes that the new ruling permits homeschooling but that permission to do so could be "overridden in order to protect the safety of a child who has been declared dependent." He further notes that regarding the particular case at hand (he has stopped naming the family involved in the case, though he did so in earlier stories), "the restriction on homeschooling would arise in a proceeding in which the children have already been found dependent due to abuse and neglect of a sibling." But then, he states only that the earlier opinion "had ruled in the case the family failed to demonstrate 'that mother has a teaching credential such that the children can be said to be receiving an education from a credentialed tutor," and that their involvement and supervision by Sunland Christian School's independent study programs was of no value'" -- suggesting that this was the only "abuse and neglect" the court was referring to.
In fact, here is what the state dependency court had to say about the family in question:
Before we begin with our analysis of this issue, it is helpful to note the following. First, in two prior dependency matters, father was found to have inappropriately physically disciplined two of his children, Cam and Elizabeth. Indeed, in at least Cam's case, father's treatment of her was brutal. Both Cam and Elizabeth were children who challenged father's rules at home. Thus, there was proof of his willingness to physically abuse his children when they did not tow the mark.
Father has a long history of physically abusing the children and mother has a long history of not protecting them from father, with Rachel being the most recent victim.
Likewise, we find substantial evidence to support the subdivision b-3 allegation that Rachel and her older siblings are former dependent children of the juvenile court, prior dependency involvement failed to resolve the family's problems in that Rachel has been physically and emotionally abused by father and mother did not take steps to protect her, Rachel was sexually abused by [a friend of the family] and the parents did not protect her from him, and such conduct by the parents places the three minor children at risk of future serious harm.
[T]he record contains substantial evidence, both from statements made by the children and from mother's own actions, that father dominates mother and dominates the children who live at home, two of whom have repeatedly run away from home because, in part, of the home rules father imposes. There is also substantial evidence that he has been difficult to work with in dependency matters--evasive, uncooperative, and belligerent. There is evidence that these character traits of father's have been consistent over the years that this family has been in dependency court. He will not permit the children to attend school. He will not permit them to receive childhood vaccinations. He will not permit the girls to wear pants at home. He will not permit birth certificates. There is evidence that mother does not interfere with his discipline of the children and his rules. There is evidence she does not make even tentative decisions in dependency matters but rather defers issues until father can make decisions on them. Several of the children gave answers [*75] to the social worker, forensic evaluator, and the court that have all the appearance of reflecting what the children were told to say or believed father would want them to say or not say.
Why is Unruh so afraid to tell the full truth to his readers? Perhaps because the family makes a much better homeschooling martyr if nobody knows what the real story is.
Matthew Sheffield pats himself on the back in an Aug. 9 post marking NewsBusters' third anniversary, bragging that "we've been featured in every major American newspaper, launched a number of stories into the national news cycle, and had a lot of fun doing it." Seems like a good time to remind folks that NewsBusters, like the rest of the MRC, has so bought into the notion of the "liberal media" that it ignores more plausible explanations of media foibles and just gets stuff wrong.
There she stands like a queen looking down on her subjects from the steps of her summer palace in San Francisco wearing designer suits and her $300 haircut. Her aging skin is pulled tight from the latest nip and tuck from the royal cosmetic surgeon. If you look closely, that plastic smile has a hint of a sneer.
I couldn't applaud when Nancy Pelosi became the first woman Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Just knowing that she is now third in line to the presidency makes my blood run cold.
Los Angeles Times's Tim Rutten is at it again. In an op-ed in today's paper (Wed. 8/6/08), Rutten buttresses a new book by author Ron Suskind and asserts that "Vice President Dick Cheney and his inner circle long have insisted" that Iraq was directly connected to the September 11 attacks.
Rutten's claim is an easy one to debunk. Here's Vice President Cheney in a Meet the Press interview with Tim Russert a mere five days after the September 11 attacks:
RUSSERT: Do we have any evidence linking Saddam Hussein or Iraqis to this operation? [Sept. 11 attacks]
VICE PRES. CHENEY: No.
Does it get any simpler than "No"?
Only if it were accurate. Here's Cheney just two months later on the November 14, 2001, edition of CBS's "60 Minutes II":
GLORIA BORGER (CBS News contributor): Well, you know that Mohammed Atta, the ringleader of the hijackers, actually met with Iraqi intelligence.
CHENEY: I know this. In Prague, in April of this year, as well as earlier. And that information has been made public. The Czechs made that public. Obviously, that's an interesting piece of information.
And here's Cheney just a month after that, on the Dec. 9, 2001, edition of "Meet the Press":
RUSSERT: Do you still believe there is no evidence that Iraq was involved in September 11?
CHENEY: Well, what we now have that's developed since you and I last talked, Tim, of course, was that report that's been pretty well confirmed, that he [Mohammed Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack.
While Pierre noted in a September 2006 post that Cheney later backed away somewhat from asserting the Atta-Prague claim was unquestionably true, that doesn't, as Pierre suggests, prove that Cheney stopped trying to link Iraq to al-Qaeda -- in fact, he kept trying, which would seem to prove Rutten right.
WND Doubles Down on Obama Birth Certificate Obsession Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily loves any good, dubiously sourced smear about Barack Obama (see Sinclair, Larry), so it's no surprise that WND has latchedonto the Obama brith certificate conspiracy.
An Aug. 7 article tries to punt that thing a little further down the road, asserting that "analysts working separately have determined the birth certificate posted on the Daily Kos website and later on Sen. Barack Obama's "Fight the Smears" campaign website is fraudulent, and now two different actions have been launched to try and obtain the truth about the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee's birth." WND cites as its source the website Israel Insider, without noting its status, with its right-wing, anti-Obama agenda, as the Israeli WorldNetDaily -- which makes Israel Insider's claims as suspect as those made by the website it appears to be modeling itself after.
Not that the target WND readership appears able to make the distinction between truth and lies, mind you. The WND opt-in poll of the day asks, "What do you make of the controversy over Barack Obama's birth certificate?" The top response as of this writing: "Obama's refusal to produce his birth certificate, perhaps triggering a future constitutional crisis, is just another example of his arrogance." Sounds like the situation is ripe for WND readers to issue a few more death threats.