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Sunday, August 24, 2008
The Media Lack-Of-Research Center
Topic: NewsBusters

An Aug. 23 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard declared an analysis of Barack Obama's pick of Joe Biden as vice president, written by the Associated Press' Ron Fournier, to be "urprisingly accurate." On what basis did Sheppard make this assessment? His own post earlier in the day -- which said noting about the accuracy of Fournier's analysis but cheerfully pointed out that it said "something negative about a Democrat."

The new Sheppard post goes on to note that "the far-left organization MoveOn" has criticized Fournier's analysis, noting that "Media watchdog group Media Matters wrote a report showing that Fournier's presidential coverage has consistently smeared Democrats and favored John McCain." Sheppard's response:

The posting cited ultra-left leaning shill Media Matters for America, which as readers know isn't interested in exposing what it believes to be conservative bias in the press, but instead wants to eliminate all right-leaning opinions available in print and across the airwaves.

Of course, why shouldn't MoveOn use MM as a reference given both organization's ties to George Soros?

Nowhere does Sheppard cite any actual facts to support his claims about Media Matters (disclosure: our employer) -- perhaps because there aren't any. There's no evidence that Media Matters "wants to eliminate all right-leaning opinions available in print and across the airwaves," and Soros has never given money to Media Matters, either directly or through another organization, so we're not sure what "ties" Sheppard is referring to.

Further, Sheppard offers no evidence he has even examined the Media Matters analysis of Fouriner that noted. Perhaps that's because Sheppard doesn't want any pesky facts to interfere with the false impression he apparently shares with his fellow NewsBusters that Fournier is a liberal. Indeed, if Fournier is such a liberal, why was John McCain's campaign trying to hire him last year?

(And if Media Matters is an "ultra-left leaning shill," doesn't that make Sheppard's employer, the Media Research Center, an "ultra-right leaning shill"? Think Sheppard will ever acknowledge that?)

Sheppard might do well to remember to remember that the organization he works for has "research" in its name, not "baseless assertion" -- not that the MRC's "research" is worth writing home about, of course.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:00 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, August 24, 2008 1:07 PM EDT
CNS Labeling Bias Watch
An Aug. 23 article by Terry Jeffrey repeatedly describes Joe Biden as "pro-abortion." As we've detailed, "pro-abortion" is an inaccurate term CNS frequently uses to describe supporters of abortion rights.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:44 AM EDT
Saturday, August 23, 2008
NewsBusters Disses George Clooney's Dad
Topic: NewsBusters

An Aug. 22 NewsBusters post by Jacob S. Lybbert falsely portrayed Nick Clooney, father of movie star George Clooney, as a lightweight who received his new job as a "distinguished journalist in residence" at a college only because his son's a celebrity.

Lybbert begins by writing that "Democrats love their celebrities, and academia, well, they'll settle for celebrities' fathers," adding, "If George Clooney's dad, Nick Clooney, can be a professor of journalism, maybe I gave George's foreign policy chops short shrift." Noting the elder Clooney's book "The Movies That Changed Us," Lybbert added, "Doesn't that sound like just the title you'd expect for a book written by the father of a movie star?"

But the article Lybbert cited that reported Clooney's new position offers plenty of evidence of Clooney's qualifications for the new job and for writing a book about the movies:

Seemingly nothing fazed him in anchoring TV news in Los Angeles, Cincinnati and other cities; hosting national TV shows for ABC, AMC and the American Life TV channels; doing a movie screen test for legendary director Cecil B. DeMille; starring in two live weekday Cincinnati TV variety shows; writing a newspaper column for 18 years; running for Congress; or touring war-torn Darfur with his Oscar-winning son, George. 

Instead, Lybbert highlighted the part stating that "Nick Clooney has practically no formal education since graduating from St. Patrick High School in Maysville in 1952." 

Lybbert is a newcomer to NewsBusters, the writer of a blog that calls itself "maybe the 4th best conservative college blog in America" and where he describes himself as a "historian-in-training." Sounds like a little more training is needed to teach Lybbert how not to falsely smear someone.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:30 AM EDT
WND Distorts Planned Parenthood Website
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An August 21 WorldNetDaily article follows rather belatedly in's footsteps in reporting on a Planned Parenthood website aimed at teaching teens about sexually transmitted diseases. But WND manages to pull off the feat of being even more egregiously biased against Planned Parenthood than CNS was three weeks earlier -- no mean feat, given CNS' jihad against the group.

WND starts off by asserting that "critics say" that "A website sponsored by Planned Parenthood, the biggest player in America's billion dollar abortion industry, is promoting oral sex and casual encounters in the name of encouraging the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases." The article makes no attempt to obtain a response and quotes only critics like professional gay-basher Matt Barber. It even repeats the old right-wing-approved eugenics attack on Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, even though it's completely irrelevant to the subject at hand.

Further, one video on the Planned Parenthood website is described in the article thusly:

A white youth appears only from the waist up, then a black youth suddenly stands up in front of him, and the white youth says, "I didn't spew."

Is WND objecting to the content of the video, or the fact that the two characters in it are of different races? Hmmmm... 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:16 AM EDT
Friday, August 22, 2008
Obama Wants to Send Infants to Preschool?

An Aug. 21 article by Penny Starr responded to a claim by "national law enforcement leaders" that "they said offers evidence that government-funded preschool can help prevent children from dropping out of high school and turning to a life of crime" by stating that "some experts questioned whether a new and costly federal program is the best way to keep all American kids in school and instill values that will lead them to become successful and productive citizens." But Starr quotes only one "expert," Don soifer of "the Lexington Institute, a conservative group," who "co-wrote a 27-page report released in March on the economic and sociological impact of a federally funded and operated universal pre-kindergarten program."

Starr provides no evidence that either Soifer or the Lexington Institute are education "experts" or why their anti-mandatory pre-K analysis should be seriously considered.

Starr also writes: "Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) calls his [pre-K] plan 'Zero to Five,' which promotes placing infants in government-run preschools." Why would an infant go to preschool? Unless Starr thinks 4-year-olds are "infants."

Obama's "Zero to Five" plan, by the way, says nothing about sending infants to preschool: "Obama's plan places key emphasis at early care and education for infants, which is essential for children to be ready to enter kindergarten."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:18 AM EDT
Aaron Klein Labeling Aversion Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've previously noted that Aaron Klein's latest anti-Obama article, detailing a visit by Obama adviser Daniel Kurtzer to Syria, excludes Kurtzer's Orthodox Jewish credentials in order to paint him as "one of Israel's greatest foes in Washington." But a closer look at the article shows that Klein is indulging in his favorite aversion: refusing to label right-wingers as right-wingers. 

Klein attributes his assertion that Kurtzer is "one of Israel's greatest foes in Washington" to "Israeli leaders speaking on the record." But nearly all of the "leaders" he names reside on the right side of the political spectrum:

  • Morton Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America. Klein and ZOA have been described as "the voice of right-wing American Jewry."
  • The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which Aaron Klein portrayed as a "mainstream Jewish organization." But the Conference is headed by Malcolm Hoenlein, whom the Nation noted likes to refer to the West Bank as "Judea and Samaria" -- an affectation shared by Klein. Hoenlein has also suggested that Obama is anti-Israel, another Klein hobbyhorse.
  • Morris Amitay, former executive director of the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee. Amitay is associated with a long list of neoconservative-led or hardline pro-Israel groups and policy organizations, and AIPAC itself is arguably a right-leaning group, perhaps most notorious for being tied to the Lawrence Franklin espionage scandal, in which classified information regarding U.S. policy toward Iran was passed from Franklin to Israel via AIPAC staffers.
  • Yitzhak Shamir and Benjamin Nentanyahu. Both members of Israel's Likud party, which Klein doesn't even mention, let alone the fact that Likud is right-wing.

Klein wants to portray the Kurtzer controversy as an anti-Israel issue when, in fact, it's a liberal-vs.-conservative issue.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:43 AM EDT
Meanwhile ...
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Media Matters explains why people should not take WorldNetDaily columnist and anti-abortion/anti-Obama activist Jill Stanek seriously. Not only does she have a history of inflammatory, extremist statements, the central claim on which she has built her activism -- that aborted fetuses that were born alive were abandoned at the hospital where she worked -- has never been substantiated.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:44 AM EDT
Thursday, August 21, 2008
ConWeb Repeats Dubious MRC Study
Topic: The ConWeb

Both WorldNetDaily (in an Aug. 20 article by Bob Unruh) and Newsmax (in an Aug. 20 article by Jim Meyers) uncriticially repeat the Media Research Center's assertion in a study that Barack Obama received unduly positive coverage from the broadcast media before winning the Democratic presidential nomination. Unruh and Meyers praised the MRC study as "comprehensive" and "exhaustive," respectively, but both refused to note contradictory views -- specifically, a Center for Media and Public Affairs study finding that Obama has received overwhelmingly negative network news coverage since winning the nomination.

As we've noted, both studies can't be right, since the likelihood of network coverage of Obama shifting from highly positive to highly negative in a day's time is virtually nil. Since the CMPA is a historically conservative-leaning organization, and the MRC has not challenged the findings of the CMPA study to our knowledge, one can deduce which study must be the flawed one.

UPDATE: An Aug. 22 article by Fred Lucas does the same thing. 

Posted by Terry K. at 4:29 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, August 22, 2008 9:13 AM EDT
Aaron Klein Anti-Obama Agenda Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Aaron Klein's 50th (at least) anti-Obama article for WorldNetDaily notes that "A key foreign policy adviser to Sen. Barack Obama has traveled to Damascus where he reportedly urged Syrian officials to fast-track negotiations with Israel." Nowhere does Klein note the McCain campaign's own freelance diplomacy, including McCain chief foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann's work as a paid lobbyist for the nation of Georgia.

UPDATE: Heather Hurlburt notes that the adviser to which Klein is referring, Daniel Kurtzer, is an Orthodox Jew, the former dean of Yeshiva University, and has been caricatured in anti-Semitic cartoons in the Egyptian press during his tenure as U.S. ambassador to Egypt -- all things Klein curiously fails to tell his readers, perhaps because it conflicts with Klein's portrayal of Kurtzer as "one of Israel's greatest foes in Washington."

Posted by Terry K. at 2:48 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 21, 2008 8:26 PM EDT
New Article: The Tabloid Double Standard
Topic: The ConWeb
The ConWeb bashes the National Enquirer when it reports salacious claims against conservatives, but treats it as gospel when it reports salacious claims against liberals. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:26 AM EDT
MRC Study of Obama Clashes With CMPA Study
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has released a study claiming that the broadcast networks' coverage of Barack Obama "bordered on giddy celebration of a political 'rock star' rather than objective newsgathering," based on an "exhaustive analysis of ABC, CBS and NBC evening news coverage of Barack Obama — every story, every soundbite, every mention — from his first appearance on a network broadcast in May 2000 through the end of the Democratic primaries in June 2008." No big surprise there, though not necessarily because it's true -- it's the MRC's raison d'etre to make those claims, after all.

But there's a problem: it appears to clash with reality. As we've noted, a study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs, a conservative-leaning group whose work is the foundation of the MRC, found that broadcast network news evaluations of Obama in the six weeks after he clinched the Democratic nomination were overwhelmingly negative -- 72 percent negative vs. 28 percent positive. John McCain's coverage, meanwhile, was much better, 43 percent positive and 57 percent negative.

The MRC has not, to our knowledge, mentioned the study in any way, approvingly or otherwise. That silence can be interpreted as a tacit acceptance of the study's findings.

But to treat both the MRC and CMPA studies as accurate, one must accept the proposition that media coverage of Obama whipsawed from overwhelmingly positive to overwhelmingly negative in a day's time. We can't imagine how that would be possible.

Perhaps the MRC could devise a model a scenario of how both studies could be accurate. Or perhaps the MRC could just admit the bias and faulty analysis in its study -- a longtime problem

Posted by Terry K. at 12:44 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Maddow Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

Excuse me, because I have to throw up, wash my hands, and disinfect my keyboard -- not necessarily in that order.

I'm amongst yourselves.

-- Noel Sheppard, in an Aug. 19 NewsBusters post reacting to news that Rachel Maddow has been given her own show on MSNBC. Sheppard further called the news an "abomination" and described Keith Olbermann as "the most hateful and biased person on the airwaves today." (Apparently, Sheppard has never heard of Michael Savage.)

Posted by Terry K. at 4:41 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 20, 2008 4:47 PM EDT
Is AIM Blaming Tubbs-Jones' Aneurysm On Obama?
Topic: Accuracy in Media

In an Aug. 20 Accuracy in Media blog post, headlined "Clinton Supporters Dropping Like Flies," Don Irvine writes that "It looks like Hillary Clinton may be without a couple of her top supporters at the Democratic National Convention next week," noting that "Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH) has been hospitalized after police found her unconscious behind the wheel of a moving car." Irvine added: "Will there be any more 'accidents' before the convention?"

Tubbs-Jones suffered an aneurysm and is in critical condition.

Is Irvine suggesting that Obama killed Tubbs-Jones to spite Hillary? Does he really want to go there?

Such crassness is normally beyond AIM (though it's not above calling Obama a "revolutionary sociopath"). Irvine might want to explain himself -- and apologize.

UPDATE: Removed reference to news report erroneously claiming Tubbs-Jones had died.

UPDATE 2: She has now died. Is Irvine still looking to be crass and insensitive and do the Obama version of the discredited Clinton body count?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:19 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 20, 2008 10:52 PM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

Obama is ostensibly explaining to a crowd what he is looking for in a vice-president [Dick Cheney need not apply.]  But tell me if you don't get the feeling that it was at least as much about Obama on an ego trip, fantasizing about occupying the Oval Office, right down to his imagining the veep addressing him as "Mr. President."

Note also Obama mentioning that he wants "somebody who in their gut knows where they came from."  The kind of person who wouldn't need to write two autobiographies to figure that out, maybe?

And—sorry Hillary—as Kiran Chetry pointed out, Obama repeatedly refers to his fantasy veep as "he."

Note also Obama's down-home pronunciation of "country."  Was it in Hawaii or at Harvard that he picked that up?  Couldn't be an affectation, could it?

-- Mark Finkelstein, Aug. 20 NewsBusters post

Posted by Terry K. at 11:23 AM EDT
'Karachi Kids' Defender Ignores Facts
Topic: Horowitz

An Aug. 18 FrontPageMag article by Alex Alexiev attacks CNN for debunking the film "Karachi Kids," which focused on the wrong Pakistani madrassa in portraying children as being brainwashed by al-Qaeda and Taliban sympathizers (as we've noted). "What is certain is that the network, not the kids’ champions, is in the wrong," Alexiev claims, adding, "For anybody familiar with Pakistan’s madrassas, the CNN ‘gotcha’ not only serves to undo their entire argument,  it proves beyond much doubt that in attacking “Karachi Kids” and Congressman McCaul, the network engaged in disinformation."

Well, not quite. In trying to split hairs about just how extremist a particular madrassa is, Alexiev fails to contradict, or even acknowledge, a couple important points CNN made.

First, director Imran Raza conceded the error. CNN quotes him as saying, "I do need to take responsibility for these things in terms of these were errors that sort of spun out of control. ... I have to take responsibility for the mistakes. I take responsibility for the error in the allegation that Osama bin Laden was there. I take responsibility for the error that some of the Taliban leaders were there."

Second, the teenage "kids" that are the focus of the film -- whom Alexiev makes no mention of whatsoever -- denied that they were taught extremism or saw any al-Qaeda or Taliban members. They also say the filmmaker took their comments out of context.

Alexiev -- vice president for research at the conservative Center for Security Policy -- concluded by claiming, "CNN has with its attack on 'Karachi Kids' earned yet another distinction in journalistic malfeasance: proud purveyor of jihadist disinformation." But by ignoring pertinent facts, Alexiev is running his own disinformation campaign.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 AM EDT

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