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Thursday, September 4, 2008
Unruh Still Leaving Important Fact Out of His Attack on Pelosi
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 2 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh reprises his attack on Nancy Pelosi for claiming that "the Catholic Church, of which she claims membership, never has been able to define the start of a human life," this time highlighting criticism of a Catholic bishops group. Unruh noted that "19 Catholic members of Congress suggested Pelosi offer a correction," but failed to mention, as before, that all 19 are Republicans.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:33 PM EDT
Quote of the Day
Topic: Newsmax

Welcome back, Dad, even if you’re wearing a dress and bearing children this time around.

-- Michael Reagan, Sept. 4 Newsmax column declaring Sarah Palin the "new Ronald Reagan."

Posted by Terry K. at 6:10 PM EDT
Who Are The New Victorians Again?
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Sept. 3 NewsBusters post, Mark Finkelstein writes: "Be grateful for small things. [NBC's] Ann Curry didn't call Bristol Palin's baby 'illegitimate' or a 'bastard.'  She settled for 'out-of-wedlock.'" He adds: "Out of wedlock?  How ineffably Victorian."

Finkelstein fails to note that there are right-wingers for whom "out of wedlock" is not nearly Victorian enough. As we've noted, Ilana Mercer wrote in a June 27 WorldNetDaily column:  

Resurrect shame – deep, abiding disgrace. While you're at it, whatever became of the shotgun wedding? Bring back the pejorative "bastard." I don't like it; it's hurtful, but it had its uses. So does hurt. With hurt come hard-won insights. The prospect of bearing a bastard once forced a parent to think: Do I want my child to bear this burden? Do I want for myself the status of an unwed, untaught mother? Expel pregnant girls; don't cater to them and kit them out.

Let's not pretend that right-wingers have totally abandoned their pejorative views of teen pregnancy just because they're afraid to criticize their new right-wing star, even as Finkelstein strives to put his best spin on it: "As a technical matter, whenever the baby was conceived, isn't Bristol 'having' the child 'in wedlock'"?

We know Finkelstein won't apply those words to Bristol Palin; how about Ilana Mercer?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:58 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 4, 2008 3:02 PM EDT
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

A Sept. 2 appearance by the MRC Culture & Media Institute's Kristen Fyfe on Fox News' "America's Election HQ" to discuss media coverage of Sarah Palin followed the template: Fyfe appeared solo and is not identified as a conservative.

Fox performs the same favor for Brent Bozell on the Aug. 4 edition of "Fox & Friends." Indeed, co-host Steve Doocy helpfully obscured Bozell's slant in plugging it: "If you want to track the media bias, you can go to, it's for insight, or" As if the only possible media bias out there is liberal.

Bozell also claimed that "they are allowing sleazemeisters at the Huffington Post and the Daily Kos to run the news divisions on the networks by running stuff that they run first and say, well, the bloggers ran this, so we're going to talk about it. No, you're continuing to give airtime to lies when you do something like that." He offered no example of a "lie" reported at Kos or HuffPo that later appeared on a network news broadcast. Remember, MRC employees were demanding that the mainstream media report on the National Enquirer's claims about John Edwards' affair long before the rumors were confirmed.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:29 PM EDT
WND Ignores One GOP Woman's View of Palin Coverage
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 3 WorldNetDaily article by Art Moore states that "six female Republican leaders denounced 'the outrageous smear campaign'" against Sarah Palin, adding that "Carly Fiorina, a top John McCain adviser, said the Republican party 'will not stand by while Governor Palin is subjected to sexist attacks.'"

Moore fails to note that another prominent female McCain supporter, national campaign co-chair and former eBay chairman Meg Whitman, said of the media's coverage of Palin:

"I actually think it's completely fair for the media to vet Sarah Palin," Whitman said, adding that it was "the right thing to do" for the media to dig into the background of someone who is "running for the highest office in the land."

Asked directly whether there had been any media sexism, she replied: "I wouldn't say there really has."

Of course, that would have interfered with Moore's (and WND's) pro-McCain agenda.

UPDATE: A Sept. 3 Washington Examiner article does the same thing.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:06 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 5, 2008 8:10 PM EDT
Caruba Falsely Claims Earth is Cooling

In his Sept. 2 column, Alan Caruba wrote: "The Earth is not warming. It has been cooling for a decade."

Well, no. As Media Matters noted, British meterological experts and researchers point out that "[t]emperatures are continuing to rise" and states that "[a] simple mathematical calculation of the temperature change over the latest decade (1998-2007) alone shows a continued warming of 0.1° C per decade." Further, NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies reports that "[t]he eight warmest years in the [global] GISS record have all occurred since 1998, and the 14 warmest years in the record have all occurred since 1990."

Posted by Terry K. at 7:31 AM EDT
Yet Another NewsBusters Double Standard
Topic: NewsBusters

From a Sept. 3 NewsBusters post by Matthew Balan:

Less than two hours after Peggy Noonan and former McCain advisor Mike Murphy appeared on MSNBC Wednesday afternoon, a YouTube video appeared of their candid exchange in which they dismissed Sarah Palin’s viability as a VP pick. The speed at which the video appeared indicated that it almost certainly originated from someone inside MSNBC, another favor for the Democrats this election year.


Due to this expedited nature, it indicates that someone at MSNBC leaked the exchange so it could be posted on YouTube and so it could be commented upon by bloggers and talking heads.

There was no similar hand-wringing and brow-furrowing at NewsBusters a couple months ago when another recorded off-air conversation came to light. While Balan noted that "which is reminiscent of Jesse Jackson being caught by a hot mike making a vulgar comment about Barack Obama," the NewsBusters folks were more than happy to have that go live and barely questioned the propriety of Fox News for leaking it:

  • A July 10 post by Kyle Drennen reported reaction to Jackson's statement without noting (beyond the transcript he includes) it was recorded off-air.
  • A July 10 post by Scott Whitlock similarly finds it unworthy of note that Jackson's remarks were recorded off-air.
  • A July 10 post by Ken Shepherd reported on "the media's varying levels of squeamishness in reporting Rev. Jesse Jackson's desire to castrate the presumptive Democratic nominee."
  • A July 10 post by Noel Sheppard found it "hysterical" that newscasters reporting on Jackson's remarks had a problem saying "nuts." Another Sheppard post cited Jackson's "indelicate remarks."
  • A July 11 post by Whitlock pointed out that the Jackson sound bite had been "widely reported" and "repeatedly replayed."
  • A July 14 post by Seton Motley referenced Jackson's "moment of hot microphone pre-interview candor" and complained that the Washington Post gave prominent play to Jackson's subsequent apology because "they are neck-deep in the tank for Obama, and wish to minimize anything that may damage their Boy Wonder."
  • A poll asked, "How Much Coverage Will Jackson's Anti-Obama Slurs Get?"

There's no mention in any of these post that they were recorded off-air, let alone any note of concern that Fox News "leaked the exchange so it could be posted on YouTube and so it could be commented upon by bloggers and talking heads."

The lone exception is Amy Ridenour, who wrote in a July 10 post:

I suggest that the public benefited very little from knowing Jackson's personal feelings on this matter, and that Fox was doing little more than spreading gossip.


I'm no Jackson fan, to say the least, and this Jackson issue is far less significant than the Reagan issue, but I think broadcasting Jackson's private comments was a bit rude of Fox. Jackson was a guest in the Fox studio, he said something that obviously was not meant to go out on the air, and Fox put it on the air anyway.

It isn't as though Jackson is running for office himself, and we already know Jackson has an inclination toward blunt talk. Fox told us nothing new and nothing important.

If Jackson had said the same thing by the sink in the men's room and a Fox employee overheard him, would the comment still be fair game? Does a live mic make all the difference? Would it matter if Jackson didn't realize his was on, or that it was sensitive enough to pick up whispers?

Are there any rules, or is it fair for journalists to print anything they overhear?


As I said earlier, I'm no Jackson fan, and as it happens, I generally like Fox and watch it often. But I don't think journalists should do to others what they would never do to themselves.

Ridenour gets a gold star for properly raising the ethical question that applies regardless of ideology -- indeed, the same question applies to the MSNBC leak as well. The rest of NewsBusters receives no stars. For NewsBusters to suddenly raise ethics questions about the MSNBC leak when it mostly couldn't be bothered to do so with the Fox News-Jackson leak is highly disingenuous and hypocritical.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:22 AM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome, Cliff Kincaid Division
Topic: Accuracy in Media

In his Sept. 3 Accuracy in Media column, Cliff Kincaid sets his Obama Derangement phasers to goofy:

Barack Obama, who has not been “vetted” by the FBI for the position of president of the United States, received his “first high level briefing” on Tuesday from the office of the Director of National Intelligence, CNN has reported. “Obama was given the briefing at the FBI field office in Chicago,” the cable channel said, from a “team of intelligence experts.” But why should Obama, with a documented history of contacts with communists and terrorists, be trusted with this information?

What procedures are in place to make sure that Obama and/or his aides do not disclose any of this information to foreign or hostile interests? Will somebody in the media stop digging into Sarah Palin’s family life long enough to look into this?

Because of his 30-year association with people who hate the United States, including communist Frank Marshall Davis., anti-American preacher Jeremiah Wright, and communist terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, it is highly doubtful that Obama could get a security clearance in the U.S. government he wants to lead.

Kincaid later adds the desperate piece d'resistance smear: "Ayers, now a professor and specialist in education matters, could be the Secretary of Education in an Obama Administration if a Democratic Senate confirms him."

And AIM celebrates Kincaid's borderline delusional wackiness with a press release!

It appears Kincaid is tired of readers calling him on his BS -- as with his previous anti-Obama rant, the comment section for this column is turned off. What's he afraid of?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:13 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Then and Now
Topic: NewsBusters

Now that the National Enquirer has been vindicated for revealing John Edwards' affair last October, liberals in the media are having to explain why they ignored this story for many months.

-- Noel Sheppard, Aug. 10 NewsBusters post

Tabloids Gone Wild: Palin in the Checkout Counter Crosshairs


Take your change and sexist attacks on a woman we'd be heaping praise upon if she was a Democrat.

-- Noel Sheppard, Sept. 3 NewsBusters post

Note that in the tabloid-cover montage that accompanies Sheppard's post, the name of the publication with the headline "Sarah Palin's DARK SECRETS!" has been cropped out. That's the National Enqurier, Sheppard's favorite publication just a few short weeks ago. It's the ConWeb's tabloid double standard at work.

UPDATE: Warner Todd Huston grumbles: "And the smear train rolls onward... now the National Enquirer is set to publish a front-pager claiming that Governor Sarah Palin has had a sexual affair outside of her marriage to husband Todd Palin." But less than a month ago, Huston was defending the honor of the Enquirer and its "basically true" reporting on Edwards against "the Old Media deciding when something is officially 'news.'"

Posted by Terry K. at 8:15 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 3, 2008 9:00 PM EDT
NewsBusters Rushes to Palin's Defense
Topic: NewsBusters

The folks at NewsBusters have their ration of Sarah Palin Kool-Aid, and they're drinking deeply.

-- A Sept. 3 post by Matthew Sheffield suggested that CNN's Campbell Brown will "go down as the next Dan Rather in the halls of liberal bias infamy" because of an interview with McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds in which he repeatedly refused to give a straight answer to Brown's question of what kind of foreign-policy experience or even "one decision that she made as commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard." Sheffield put his own spin on it, of course, asserting that Brown "repeatedly attacked Bounds over Sarah Palin's supposed lack of qualifications" and failing to note that Bounds never bother to actually answer the question he was asked. Sheffield also portrayed it as some kind of vindication that in a later segment on CNN, "Brown admitted that Palin had, in fact, deployed the Alaska National Guard to fight forest fires."

-- A Sept. 3 post by Kerry Picket complained that Chris Matthews portrayed Palin was "a member of Alaska’s Independence party," even after "Howard Fineman mentioned he received documentation from the McCain campaign showing Palin had been a registered Republican since 1982 and never a member of the Alaskan Independence party," finally declaring, "The connection to Palin still remains weak." Picket doesn't mention that Palin's husband was an actual member in the party or that Palin apparently attended the party's convention with her husband in 1994. (UPDATE: And also sent video messages to the party's 2006 and 2008 conventions and "visited" the 2000 convention.)

Picket added: "If the media is so interested in fringe movements candidates were actually involved in, the currently ignored Annenberg papers provide all the information needed." But they're not being ignored; they're being sifted through right now -- and it's all boring:

There are boxes and boxes of documents on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a multi-million dollar non-profit project designed to improve public education in Chicago. Much of the paper in the CAC collection released Tuesday [August 26] and reviewed thus far appears to be routine correspondence.


Most of the documents that journalists have reviewed thus far deal with correspondence and budget issues.

That report adds: "The Chicago Annenberg Challenge was set up to support school reform, promote literacy, teacher training and community involvement in Chicago Public Schools." Picket seems to think such things are "fringe."

-- A Sept. 3 post by Terry Trippany desperately tries to spin Palin's laughing along with a radio host's depiction of another Alaska politician, Lyda Green, as a "cancer" (Green is a cancer survivor) and a "bitch." Trippany insists that things are "woefully out of context" and that "Palin appeared to be caught off guard and gave a short laugh while [radio host Bob] Lester continued to criticize Green." Trippany then tries to make the case that Green really is a bitch:

The interview focused around Lyda Green's attempt to delay the start of the Senate's legislative session to coincide with the start time of Sarah Palin's state of the state address. A month earlier Palin had requested and received approval from the House for a special 6:00 p.m. start time so that she could attend her son Track's Army boot camp graduation to the infantry. Green was well aware of this fact and appeared to be stonewalling as some sort of plan to make life difficult for Governor Palin. This became evident as the excuses for not being able to make the 1:00 p.m. scheduled start of the Senate legislative session began to fall apart. All of this was explained by Palin in the full uneditied clip of her radio interview.

Nice one. Trippany fails to mention the bio of Palin's radio buddy, Bob Lester:

Today I find myself working the morning shift on 106.5 K-Whale. It has been the best radio job I have ever had, unless you count that one gig where I was the intern for an all-lesbian station in Switzerland I worked at as a lotion applicator. No, wait a minute…that’s my favorite masturbation fantasy….never mind.

Food: Anything raw or cooked,
Drink: Milk. (Honestly…especially breast milk…I miss mom.)
TV show: Deadliest Catch.
Movie: Asian prison sluts in heat part 4. (Although part 3 is a close second.)

Wouldn't professional prude Brent Bozell be going after this guy if he wasn't so hypocritical about such things?

-- A Sept. 3 post by Warner Todd Huston uncritically repeated McCain operative Steve Schmidt's assertion that "the media has deluged the campaign with demands that it provide DNA samples to 'prove' that baby Trig is the true offspring of vice presidential candidate Governor Sarah Palin." As TPM notes, quoting a political "insider":

First of all, that's the first time I've heard anyone in the campaign/political press throw out the notion of paternity tests. So Schmidt is to blame for bringing that issue into the mainstream. If anyone is smearing the candidate, it's Schmidt. This is as cynical a tactic as I've ever seen in politics.

Secondly, how can it be a "smear" if it was during an off the record lunch with McCain campaign aides?

Thirdly, hey, colleagues, you're on notice: Steve Schmidt does not respect "off the record." Watch your backs, my friends.

Wasn't NewsBusters a few days ago touting how keeping conservative secrets is the epitome of journalistic integrity?

Posted by Terry K. at 3:34 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 4, 2008 1:35 AM EDT
Ponte: Media Is Racist for Noting Palin Hubby's DUI
Topic: Newsmax

Lowell Ponte takes a massive leap of logic, not to mention common sense, in his Sept. 2 Newsmax column:

[Sarah Palin's] husband, the liberal media reported, back in the 1980s got a ticket for driving “under the influence.”

This seemingly trivial story is actually the opening wedge of a multi-pronged orchestrated left-wing attack designed to appeal to the racism that has always been at the heart of the Democratic Party.

Palin’s husband, you see, is part Native American. His ancestors include Inuits, i.e., Eskimos. But if this fact enters the news untinted by left-wing bias, it would show Gov. Palin to be inclusive, non-racist, and noble — qualities the media intends to prevent voters from seeing.

The liberal media is therefore falsely implying that Palin’s husband is alcoholic, and from there it will echo those left-wing blogs who paint him with the “drunken Indian” racist stereotype long promoted by Democrats.

Huh? When has any major media figure -- or even a minor one -- claimed that Todd Palin's DUI was a direct result of being of Eskimo descent? And when have Democrats ever described Native Americans as "drunken Indians"? We challenge Ponte to substantiate his claims.

Ponte also drops a reference to "honest watchdog group[s] such as the Media Research Center" -- even though, you know, they're not -- which tells you just how much of the right-wing Kool-Aid Ponte has been swilling these past few days.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:54 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 3, 2008 12:57 PM EDT
NewsBusters' Double Standard on AP Candidate Advice
Topic: NewsBusters

In an Aug. 27 NewsBusters post, P.J. Gladnick was complaining that the Associated Press "flat out offered helpful campaign tips to Barack Obama," to which Gladnick added, "I don't know why these AP writers don't just go on the Obama campaign payroll."

Well, there's a new AP article out, and it's offering helpful campaign tips to ...  John McCain.

Will Gladnick urge the writer of this article to join the McCain campaign payroll? Don't count on it. 

Posted by Terry K. at 11:09 AM EDT
Newsmax's Hirsen Puffs Up Palin's 'Sports Reporter' Experience
Topic: Newsmax

Here's a fun piece of desperate Palin puffery, courtesy of James Hirsen in his Sept. 2 Newsmax column:

Sarah Palin's Reporter Experience Gives Mainstream Media the Jitters

Prior to serving in elective office, Sarah Palin, John McCain's pick for his running mate, was a sports reporter.

Known by her maiden name, Sarah Heath, she worked for KTUU, an affiliate of NBC in Anchorage, Alaska.

Having been a point guard in high school basketball, Palin was able to handle play-by-play analysis of college basketball games. She also reported on other sports including the Iditarod dog sled race.

According to People magazine, she once admonished former L.A. Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda to relax more.

Palin's experience as a journalist should really come in handy when the mainstream press start brandishing their long knives, hoping for the Alaska governor to make a geographic error or mispronounce the name of an obscure world leader.

So, Palin's couple years of work 20 years back as a sports reader for a local TV station in Alaska is supposed to give "the mainstream press" and longtime reporters for national news organizations the "jitters" ... how, exactly?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:12 AM EDT
New Article: Joseph Farah vs. WorldNetDaily
Topic: WorldNetDaily
If the WND founder is so committed to his "None of the Above" campaign opposing both Barack Obama and John McCain, why is his website's news coverage attacking only Obama while promoting McCain's campaign talking points? Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:30 AM EDT
Kincaid Peddles False Obama Birth Certificate Claim, Misleads on Palin 'Troopergate'
Topic: Accuracy in Media

From Cliff Kincaid's Sept. 2 Accuracy in Media column:

DailyKos got the leak from the Obama campaign of the candidate’s alleged birth certificate, an announcement intended to put to rest all of the questions about whether Obama is a natural-born citizen and passes the basic constitutional requirement to be president. Is the document real? I have not seen any investigative reporters from the major media assigned to this story. Instead, they’re sniffing around Palin’s family, which is something they had no desire to do while John Edwards was cheating on his cancer-stricken wife. 

In contrast to the Palin story, which will probably continue for weeks, the Obama birth certificate controversy has been left alone by the major media. They have simply assumed¯because they favor his candidacy¯that Obama, with a history of being moved from country to country under different names, is a legitimate U.S. citizen. A lawsuit has been filed challenging Obama’s qualifications to be president and some bloggers say the birth certificate is a fraud. But it’s not an issue for the major media. They would rather examine photos of Bristol Palin’s tummy.

In fact, the Obama birth certificate has been investigated and declared authentic by sources ranging from to WorldNetDaily. It's only far-right nutters like Kincaid and Israel Insider that are still pedding this soundly discredited claim.

Kincaid also misleadingly oversimplifies Palin's "troopergate" controversy, claiming it is only about Palin being "under investigation for trying to fire a state trooper who threatened members of her family," adding, " trying to fire a trooper who threatened your family doesn’t strike most people as improper or illegal." Josh Marshall provides the full context, pointing out that the trooper in question is Palin's ex-brother-in-law "who's embroiled in a bitter custody and divorce battle with Palin's sister":

Most people who are familiar with the ugliness that often spills out of custody and divorce cases know to take accusations arising out of the course of them with a grain of salt unless you know a lot about the people involved. And if you look closely at the case there are numerous reasons to question the picture drawn by the Palin family.


The Palin family had a feud with Wooten prior to her becoming governor. They put together a list of 14 accusations which they took to the state police to investigate -- a list that ranged from the quite serious to the truly absurd. The state police did an investigation, decided that 5 of the charges had some merit and suspended Wooten for ten days -- a suspension later reduced to five days. The Palin's weren't satisfied but there wasn't much they could do.

When Palin became governor they went for another bite at the apple.


The available evidence now suggests that she 1) tried to have an ex-relative fired from his job for personal reasons, something that was clearly inappropriate, and perhaps illegal, though possibly understandable in human terms, 2) fired a state official for not himself acting inappropriately by firing the relative, 3) lied to the public about what happened and 4) continues to lie about what happened.

Will Kincaid tell his readers the full truth about Palin's "troopergate"? We'd do it ourselves, but AIM has shut off the comment thread for Kincaid's column. Why? Perhaps because Kincaid's tired of AIM commenters confronting him with actual facts (as the lengthy comment thread on this Aug. 27 Kincaid column illustrates).

Posted by Terry K. at 12:13 AM EDT

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