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Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Irvine Likes Racist Waffles
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A Sept. 15 Accuracy in Media blog post by Don Irvine endorses "Obama Waffles," recently busted at the Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit for using racial stereotypes to depict Barack Obama.

"The FRC should lighten up and quit bowing to the politically correct mainstream media," Irvine wrote. "If this was so offensive to them then why did they let them vemd [sic] in the first place?" Irvine then adds a link to the Obama Waffles website so readers can "support these entrepreneurs."

Posted by Terry K. at 6:52 PM EDT
Newsmax Columnist Hurls False Obama Claims
Topic: Newsmax

A Sept. 16 Newsmax column by James Humes -- "a former presidential speechwriter" who is now "Schuck Fellow and Visiting Historian at the University of Colorado/Colorado Springs" -- wrote of "Barack Hussein Obama, who was schooled in Kenya home of his Islam-raised father, who had four wives."

In fact, Obama did not visit Kenya until he was 26 years old, in 1988.

Humes also falsely claims that "the jailed racketeer Tony Rezko gave [Obama] a sweetheart deal on buying his house." In fact, the sellers of the house Obama have said they did not cut their asking price because Rezko bought the adjacent lot.

We've previously noted Humes' factually challenged writing. And this guy professes to be a historian?

Posted by Terry K. at 3:09 PM EDT
WND, Newsmax Embrace Claim By Documented Liar
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 15 WorldNetDaily article and a Sept. 16 Newsmax article by Phil Brennan repeated a claim --  made in a New York Post column by Amir Taheri -- that Barack Obama purportedly "has tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a draw-down of the American military presence." (Brennan also spells Taheri's name wrong.) But neither WND nor Brennan noted Taheri's history of dubious claims.

As we've detailed, Taheri claimed in May 2006 that the Iranian parliament passed a law "that would require the country's Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims." After that quickly made its way around the right-wing Internet, the story was just as quickly debunked, and the paper where Taheri published the claim, Canada's National Post, issued a retraction. WND had noted the spuriousness of Taheri's claim at the time, and Newsmax noted its retraction -- which makes it strange that they would so unquestioningly embrace Taheri's new claim.

TPM Muckraker also notes a review of 1989 book by Taheri pointing out that it "repeatedly refers us to books where the information cited does not exist," and is "capable of generalizations of breathtaking sweep and inaccuracy."

WND followed up with a Sept. 16 article claiming that the Obama campaign's "angry denial" of Taheri's report "essentially confirmed the story." Well, no.

The Obama campaign said that "Barack Obama has consistently called for any Strategic Framework Agreement to be submitted to the U.S. Congress so that the American people have the same opportunity for review as the Iraqi Parliament," and "has never urged a delay in negotiations, nor has he urged a delay in immediately beginning a responsible drawdown of our combat brigades." Taheri, if you'll recall, specifically accused the Obama campaign of negotiating in private with Iraqi leaders, which -- despite what WND wants you to think -- isn't "confirmed" by the Obama statement.

WND again failed to report Taheri's dubious history, or that the Obama campaign also stated that Taheri confused the Strategic Framework Agreement with a separate Status of Forces agreement.

UPDATE: FrontPageMag reprints Taheri's original piece. There's no mention anywhere else at FrontPageMag of Taheri's fact-challenged record.

UPDATE 2: A Sept. 16 NewsBusters post by John Stephenson also repeats Taheri's claim without noting Taheri's fact-challenged record. NewsBusters, if you'll recall, was among the biggest promoters of Taheri's 2006 claim while burying its retraction in an update to the post five days later.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:26 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 16, 2008 3:27 PM EDT
Kincaid Thinks Corsi Has Noble Motives for Bashing Obama
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Cliff Kincaid declared of Obama attack book author Jerome Corsi in a Sept. 15 Accuracy in Media "AIM Report": "Corsi has written a book on Obama for the obvious reason that there is little evidence that the major media are interested in uncovering or publicizing the hidden facts about him."

Funny -- we thought Corsi wrote his book for the obvious reasons that he hates Obama and wanted to make some coin off said hate.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:25 AM EDT
Newsmax False Headline Watch
Topic: Newsmax
The headline for a Sept. 15 Newsmax article on an ad featuring criticism of John McCain by a fellow prisoner of war falsely states that the organization that put out the ad is an "Obama group." In fact, the article itself doesn't make that claim; it accurately states that "produced by Brave New PAC, a liberal political action committee affiliated with Brave New Films."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:20 AM EDT
Aaron Klein Even-More-Desperate Obama Smear Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 15 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein portrays a claim that in 2000, "Barack Obama cited a job at an organization founded by former Weathermen radical Bill Ayers as evidence of his qualification for public office" as something that "contrasts sharply with multiple interviews as a presidential candidate in which he has sought to downplay his relationship with Ayers."

Completely lacking is any evidence that Obama done anything wrong through his relationship with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, or even that the CAC itself has done anything wrong. Indeed, as we've noted, those CAC papers right-wingers have made a big deal out of after official expressed an initial reluctance to release have uncovered nothing untoward, let alone illegal.

So instead, Klein concocts a conspiracy: Because Obama served a chairman of a group Ayers co-founded, the two have a "relationship."

Klein flogs this dead guilt-by-association horse a bit further by claiming that "While chairing the CAC, Obama approved grants to some controversial figures, including a group founded by Ayers and led by former communist leader Mike Klonsky, WND exposed yesterday." But again, Klein offers no evidence that Klonsky did anything untoward with those grants or even anything other than what the grant was for.

Klein appears to assume that people who once proclaimed to be communists should not be allowed to handle money. How utterly desperate of him is that?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 AM EDT
Monday, September 15, 2008
Newsmax: Telling Truth About Palin = 'Attacks'
Topic: Newsmax

A Sept. 15 Newsmax article by Jim Meyers portrayed anyone who told the truth about Sarah Palin or pointed out her thin records as "gang[ing] up" on her and "unleash[ing] new attacks."

Meyers began by offering up a baseless correlation-equals-causation fallacy: "With the Republican ticket gaining in the polls, guests on the Sunday TV talk shows unleashed new attacks on GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, challenging her qualifications for office and her stand on earmarks." Meyers, of course, has no evidence that the Sunday shows criticized Palin because she was doing well in polls, nor do we recall anyone at Newsmax admitting that their criticism of Obama was based on Obama was "gaining in the polls."

Meyers also fails to acknowledge any of the criticism of Palin he quotes in his article -- such as that Palin "has taken more in federal earmarks per person than any governor in the history of the planet" and that "There are serious questions about the stand that Palin has taken on the 'Bridge to Nowhere,' which she’s always supported" -- as being factual, instead dismissing it as coming from "Obama surrogate[s]."

Posted by Terry K. at 3:19 PM EDT
Joseph Farah vs. WorldNetDaily, Continued
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 14 WorldNetDaily article makes a big deal out of how the photographer of John McCain for a cover of The Atlantic "took the opportunity to purposefully make McCain look bad, including snapping a shot in which the candidate looms like a horror-movie monster."

Why should WND care if McCain looks bad in a photo? After all, its founder, editor and CEO, Joseph Farah, doesn't want McCain to win -- indeed, in his Sept. 15 column, he repeats his claim that McCain "will be a disaster for this country" and that "Most of those who vote for McCain this year will live to regret it."

Oh yeah, we forgot -- Farah's "none of the above" campaign is just meaningless window-dressing, Farah himself is irrelevant to the actual workings of news operations, and WND really does want McCain to win.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:39 PM EDT
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch
Topic: Media Research Center
A Sept. 15 appearance by the Media Research Center's Seton Motley on Fox News' "America's Newsroom" followed the template: Motley appeared solo, and neither he nor the MRC are identified as conservative.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:07 PM EDT
Aaron Klein Desperate Obama Smear Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Aaron Klein cranks up his empty guilt-by-association anti-Obama outrage in a Sept. 14 article about a "former top Communist activist" who "runs an education organization that was founded by Ayers and that received a substantial grant from a group directed by Obama."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:20 AM EDT
FrontPageMag, NewsBusters Promote Dubious 9/11 Doc
Topic: Horowitz

John Zieger, director of a documentary purporting to prove that the ABC miniseries "The Path to 9/11" is being censored by "the left," gets the softball treatment in a Sept. 11 FrontPageMag article. Since it's a softball interview, Ziegler claims without challenge that the miniseries told the "real history" of events leading up to 9/11. Interviewer Jamie Glazov sycophantically plays along: "This censorship on the part of the Left clearly entailed Stalinist-like ingredients. How can this happen in a free country and where is the outcry against this totalitarianism in our country?"

Of course, that's not the case -- the show contined numerous factual errors and fabricated scenes that made the Clinton administration look worse than reality and the Bush administration look better than reality. reporter Kevin Mooney also promoted Ziegler's film in a Sept. 11 NewsBusters post. It rehashes in part a March 11 post Mooney did on the film (as we've noted). Like FrontPageMag, Mooney uncritically reports Ziegler's point of view; both also fail to note that the film's producer is David Bossie's hard-right outfit Citizens United.

Mooney repeats an point from his March post that Ziegler's film claims "President Clinton failed to move aggressively against Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists in 1990s because he needed to keep his approval ratings high to avoid impeachment." As before, there's no acknowledgement that, therefore, right-wingers who obsessively pursued bogus Clinton scandals and forced the Clinton impeachment bear some responsibility for 9/11.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:51 AM EDT
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Sheppard: Accurate Reporting on Palin = 'Hit Piece'
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Sept. 13 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard declared that a New York Times article on Sarah Palin's years as Wasilla mayor and Alaska governor is a "hit piece" that "attacked Palin early and often." But nowhere does Sheppard dispute any of the information in the article -- specifically, the article's assertion that Palin "pursued vendettas, fired officials who crossed her and sometimes blurred the line between government and personal grievance," as well as hired "at least five schoolmates" to government posts "often at salaries far exceeding their private sector wages."

Therefore, we can conclude hat Sheppard thinks the truth is an "attack" and a "hit piece."

It's worth noting that Sheppard's MRC used to have a different view of government officials hiring friends to fill jobs. For instance, a search for "clinton" and "cronies" in the MRC's search engine returns 59 articles.

Nevertheless, Sheppard went on, in a Sept. 14 post, to bash the Times for devoting "over 6,000 words to attacking anything called Palin in Sunday's edition" -- a number Sheppard came up with by adding two columns by Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich to the above article and a second that, in Sheppard's words, was "questioning Palin's husband's role in their state's government." Sheppard failed to weigh that number against the total number of articles (dozens) and words (tens, if not hundreds, of thousands) found in the typical Sunday Times.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:04 PM EDT
Cashill Video Peddles Discredited al-Mansour Story
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A video by Jack Cashill, posted on YouTube and linked to by WorldNetDaily, features Percy Sutton's claim linking Barack Obama to Khalid al-Mansour. Cashill has disabled comments on the video -- presumably so nobody can point out that there's no evidence to support the claim and that even Sutton's family has retracted it.

The now-disproven claims regarding al-Mansour were also the subject of Cashill WND columns on Aug. 28 and Sept. 4; he had used it as purported evidence that Obama didn't actually write his books. Cashill references al-Mansour again in his Sept. 11 column, failing to note that the link between him and Obama been discredited.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:07 AM EDT
WND Dismisses McCain POW Story It Once Endorsed
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 13 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn reports that "Left-wing radio talk show host Randi Rhodes attacked GOP presidential nominee John McCain's life story, claiming that during his POW captivity in North Vietnam he was 'well-treated, actually' and that despite his claims of suffering brutal torture, his wife 'knows the truth too.'"

The tone of the article is dismissive -- note that Zahn points out Rhodes' "left-wing" orientation; by contrast, a Sept. 11 WND article by Joe Kovacs quoting Rush Limbaugh called him only a "radio host" and applied no ideological label to him (the words "conservative" and "right-wing" are nowhere to be found). Zahn might want to check his employer's archives a little closer, because earlier this year WND printed a similar attack on McCain, and it didn't come from a "left-wing radio talk show host."

A Feb. 4 column by Jack Wheeler -- whom, as we've noted, WND has previously lionized as "The Indiana Jones of the Right" "whose death-defying adventures span the globe and whose achievements have inspired wide-ranging acclaim" -- called McCain "psychologically unstable" and, in claiming that "the Clintons" were "having discussions with a Russian whom we'll call 'T' for translator" in a purported effort to blackmail McCain, recounted a tale of McCain's POW years that's remarkably similar to the one Rhodes was telling:

T's father was the Soviet military intelligence officer who ran the "Hanoi Hilton" prison holding captured Americans during the Vietnam War. One of those prisoners was John McCain.

The GRU – Glavnoje Razvedyvatel'noje Upravlenije or main intelligence directorate of the Soviet (now Russian) Armed Forces – operated the entire North Vietnamese prison system holding American prisoners of war. GRU officers, all of whom were Russians, oversaw the interrogation of every American POW.

The interrogations themselves were conducted by Vietnamese who spoke some English. After each interrogation session, which could often include torturing the prisoners at the direction of the GRU officers, the Vietnamese interrogator would write a report of the session – in Vietnamese.

These reports had to be translated into Russian. T, a bright teenager living in the GRU compound in Hanoi, had become fluent in Vietnamese, and ended up translating many of the reports and interrogators' notes.

John McCain, flying his A-4 Skyhawk, was shot down over Hanoi on Oct. 26, 1967. Badly injured from the ejection, he was beaten and abused by his captors. In July, 1968, his father, U.S. Navy Adm. J. S. McCain, was made CINCPAC, commander in chief, Pacific Command, commander of all U.S. military forces in the Vietnam theatre. Upon learning this, the Vietnamese offered – according to McCain – to release him.

McCain claims he refused, because he demanded all American POWs captured before him be released as well. He thus remained a prisoner when he could have gone home, and was subjected to constant brutal beatings and torture for years: that is the source of the "war-hero" saga making McCain a greater war-hero than any other American POW.

Yet the offer of release would had to have been approved by the GRU overseers of the North Vietnamese – and T does not recall any such offer being made. T admits, however, that this took place before McCain was transferred to Hoa Loa prison, nicknamed the "Hanoi Hilton" by the POWs. T had only direct knowledge of what happened at Hoa Loa, and not the other prisons, where T's father was in charge.

McCain was kept at the Hanoi Hilton from December 1969 until his release, along with all the remaining POWs, in March 1973. During this time, T translated all the Vietnamese interrogators' notes and reports regarding John McCain.

According to T, they reveal that McCain had made an "accommodation" with his captors, and in exchange, T's father saw that he was provided with an apartment in Hanoi and the services of two prostitutes. Upon returning to his prison cell, he would say he had been held in solitary confinement. That may be why so many of his fellow prisoners said later they saw so little of him at Hoa Loa.


In other words, the CIA has in its possession the notes and reports of John McCain's interrogators at the Hanoi Hilton, in both the original Vietnamese and translated Russian, showing collaboration with his Communist captors.

Allegations of this nature have been made over the years, many by Vietnam veterans. There is an even an organization, Vietnam Veterans Against McCain. But they are based on suspicions and circumstantial claims. There has never been any hard, direct evidence.

What T says the CIA has is such evidence. Its release would destroy McCain. The threat of its release could force McCain to take a fall, blow the election and lose on purpose.

WND ran Wheeler's article before McCain clinched the Republican presidential nomination; as we'be detailed, since that time, it has done little critical news coverage of McCain despite WND editor Joseph Farah's ever-more-dubious assertion that he doesn't want either McCain or Barack Obama elected.

Zahn fails to note Wheeler's WND piece in his article or the high regard WND has previously exhibited toward Wheeler. Since WND essentially endorsed Wheeler's version of events by publishing it, shouldn't Zahn have reminded WND's readers of it? Or is WND quietly considering making Wheeler's article disappear?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:11 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 14, 2008 12:13 AM EDT
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Sheppard's Double Standard on Partisan Shills
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Sept. 12 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard expresses his annoyance that "Paul Begala is back on the cable network [CNN] echoing Democrat talking points," after being removed earlier in the year by the network in an effort to balance its primary coverage (Begala had declared himself a Hillary Clinton supporter). Sheppard asks, "how does CNN justify bringing Begala back just in time to echo Barack Obama's view that John McCain represents four more years of George W. Bush?"

First, as the article to which Sheppard himself links to back up his claim clearly states, the ban applied only to the primary election, not the general.

Second, if Sheppard is truly interested in getting political shills off cable news, he could start with Alex Castellanos, who was brought aboard last month by CNN as a commentator. Castellanos, it turns out, is a member of John McCain's panel of outside advertising consultants. Does Sheppard think he won't be shilling for his guy?

Sheppard eventually sighs, "Honestly, the hypocrisy on display at CNN concerning this matter is astounding." But not as astounding as Sheppard's own hypocrisy.

(At least Sheppard didn't say he was shocked by it.)

Posted by Terry K. at 10:15 AM EDT

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