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Friday, September 5, 2008
WND's Mercer Fails to Call Palin Kid 'Bastard'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We pondered the other day whether WorldNetDaily columnist Ilana Mercer would have the courage of her declared convictions of bringing back "shame – deep, abiding disgrace" for pregnant teenagers and to "bring back the pejorative 'bastard'" for their offspring in relation to the case of Bristol Palin.

We have our answer: no.

In her Sept. 5 column, Mercer fails to use the word "bastard," instead referring to Bristol's "out-of-wedlock pregnancy." (Ineffibly Victorian of her, as Mark Finkelstein might say.) That's the extent of Mercer's criticism of Bristol. As for her mother, Mercer complained mildly that Sarah Palin issued an "excessively exuberant press release" about Bristol's pregnancy, then adding, " Last night, Sarah Palin made no unnecessary allusions to her daughter's condition. No unappetizing details were disclosed."

(Then again, Mercer also previously stated her support for shotgun weddings, so she also likely approves of Levi Johnston.)

Indeed, Mercer slavered all over Sarah Palin: "She's a pit-bull with lipstick, all right – lipstick, and sharp stilettos. A potent mix of style and substance." She even approved of Palin's attacks on Obama: "Neither has Sarah any qualms about savaging 'Our Opponent' – first she depersonalized her rival, rendering him nameless, and then moved in for the kill."

Remember, Mercer also defended Michael Vick for dogfighting and thinks the children of those teen girls being married off in that polygamist cult are "frolicking in the open air on a large compound, doing [their] daily chores and feasting on hearty homegrown fare."

Posted by Terry K. at 4:07 PM EDT
The Finkelstein File
Topic: NewsBusters

The Republican National Convention seems to have fired up Mark Finkelstein's propensity for making misleading claims.

In a Sept. 4 NewsBusters post, Finkelstein ridiculed DNC chairman Howard Dean for referencing an "informal focus group" of his wife and "five women [who] work for her and some of them are Republicans" to gauge reaction to Sarah Palin's RNC speech. "Move over, Rasmussen, and let Howard take over!" Finkelstein sneered, adding, "Any polling experts out there?  Wondering what the margin of error might be on a non-anonymous, five-person sample exclusively composed of people who rely on your family for their livelihood."

Of course, Dean never claimed his little group to be an accurate representation of opinion -- his use of the word "informal" might have clued Finkelstein into that. But, via TPM, let's check in with some actual focus groups whose methodology may be a little closer to Finkelstein's liking, for reaction to Palin's speech:

  • The independents in a voter panel assembled by the Detroit Free Press appeared to be less than impressed by Palin's speech.
  • Two different focus groups of Nevada women who had supported Hillary Clinton showed that they "were impressed with Palin's speaking ability and poise. But they were hardly convinced that she was qualified to be vice president, or that she truly represented the 'change' they were looking for, especially in light of what was deemed an overly harsh "sarcasm" pervading her address."

In a Sept. 5 post, Finkelstein played the conservative card of favorably comparing U.S. troop deaths in Iraq to, say, murders in a given American city, citing a report claiming 123 people were murdered in Chicago over the summer, "nearly double the number of soldiers killed in Iraq over the same time period." Finkelstein adds: "Will some enterprising MSM member ask Obama if he'll call for a police surge to protect the lives of his own Illinois constitutents?"

As we and others have noted, such death comparisons are misleading because they don't take into account the population base from which the numbers are taken. In this case, the 123 murders in Chicago took place in a population of 2.8 million; the half-that-number deaths of U.S. soldiers took place in a population of about 150,000 troops stationed there. This means the death rate of the soldiers in Iraq is still several times higher than the murder rate in Chicago.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:33 PM EDT
Aaron Klein Anti-Obama Agenda Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've lost track of exactly how many anti-Obama articles WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein has written -- it's well over 50 by now. Add to the long list a Sept. 4 article playing the guilt-by-association angle, citing praise for Barack Obama and criticism of John McCain in "Iranian state-run media" as indicative of ... something.

Ultimately, of course, it's indicative of nothing but Klein's and WND's obsessive anti-Obama agenda. 

Posted by Terry K. at 9:26 AM EDT
Newsmax Flip-Flops on Prosecuting Ex-Presidents
Topic: Newsmax

A Sept. 4 Newsmax article by Jim Meyers relates the apparently shocking news -- complete with video -- that Joe Biden said that he and Barack Obama "could bring criminal charges against the Bush administration if they are elected in November."

Things used to be different at Newsmax on the subject of a new administration investigating a previous administration. From a dejected-sounding Jan. 10, 2001, article by Wes Vernon:

The damage is done. So there will be no prosecutions.

That is the expected approach of the incoming Bush administration on the Communist Chinese espionage, the stealing of U.S. nuclear weapons secrets, illegal campaign contributions to the Democrats by Chinese operatives, and the allegations of the sharing of secrets with the Chinese government by U.S. defense contractors who were also Democratic contributors.

There's also this from July 1, 2001:

President Bush's poll numbers have begun to slide recently and at least one Democratic-leaning pundit thinks it's because he's let the Clintons off the hook even as new allegations of corruption against Bill, Hillary and Roger Clinton continue to swirl.

And this from March 19, 2002:

Yet despite ample evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Clinton family members, there's been no Andersen-like blanket indictments of the Clinton administration - or, for that matter, of anyone at all.


Employees at Arthur Andersen, not to mention the rest of us, are entitled to know why the Justice Department has come down on the accounting firm like a ton of bricks while ignoring less politically convenient prosecutions.

Or this, from Jan. 13, 2002:

Now that the Washington scandal machine has Bush in its crosshairs, it's time for the president to make sure the rules apply to both sides equally - and if that means prosecuting Bill and Hillary Clinton, so be it.

And here's an Aug. 28, 2002, article by Phil Brennan:

The Bush administration is moving to quash any public airing of such scandalous pardons as that of fugitive Marc Rich, and the sleazy activities of first brother Roger Clinton in trying to arrange pardons-for-a-fee for convicted felons.

And a critic alleges that it is a result of "a tacit agreement between the Clintonites and the Bushites not to probe too deeply into each others affairs.”

Detect a pattern here? Newsmax wanted Clinton to fry, but is recoiling in horror that the Bush administration might be held accountable for its behavior. Double standard much?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 AM EDT
CNS' Jones Shows Her 'Liberal Media' Bias

A Sept. 4 article by Susan Jones carries the headline "Liberal Media Responds to Pitbull Palin." But it's misleading -- the headline is written in a way to suggest the "liberal media" is using "Pitbull Palin" as a pejorative. In fact, in her Sept 3 acceptance speech, self-proclaimed hockey mom Palin described herself that way, noting that "the only difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull is "lipstick."

Further, Jones offers no evidence that the media outlets she lists are "liberal." (Yes we know it's a matter of faith that conservatives like Jones believe there is such a thing as a "liberal media," but we beleive in the journalistic principle of offering actual facts to back up one's words.) She quotes from the New York Times, USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Washington Post and the Boston Globe. But he also cites "one comment on the liberal Daily Kos Web site," as well as the definitely-not-liberal-media New York Post.

P.S. Jones doesn't note it, but the conservative-leaning Boston Herald used "Pit bull Sarah Palin" in the headline of its story on Palin's speech, further undercutting her suggestion that only the "liberal media" is using that term.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:33 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 5, 2008 2:00 AM EDT
Biden Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: Newsmax

One of the innumerable TV talking heads made the prescient observation last week that Sen. Joe Biden “doesn’t have an off button.” He doesn’t have a lot of other buttons, either, like an honesty button, a non-partisan button, or a modesty button.

What he does have is a big ego button, a narcissism button, a windbag button, an arrogance button, a phony button, and a huge B.S. button.

Senator Hairplugs and Capped Teeth — he has more than a shark — has been around Washington longer than anyone can remember, and like his running mate, went right from law school to pursuing a political career, which tells you something about their real experience and motivation.

-- Barrett Kalellis, Sept. 3 Newsmax column

Posted by Terry K. at 1:08 AM EDT
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

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