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Thursday, September 25, 2008
Newsmax Disproves Itself
Topic: Newsmax

A Sept. 25 Newsmax article by David Alliot on a new Zogby poll that "put John McCain squarely ahead of Barack Obama" contradicts itself in the space of a couple of paragraphs.

Alliot asserts that "The polling was conducted after McCain’s announcement that he would suspending [sic] his campaign," but then states: "The survey was conducted on Sept. 23-25, 2008."

McCain's announcement that he would suspend his campaign was made midday Sept. 24. Therefore, people responding to a poll conducted on Sept. 23 and the morning of Sept. 24 could not have taken McCain's announcement into consideration.

Indeed, Zogby's own press release states that the poll was "half conducted before McCain's announcement Wednesday that he would suspend his campaign to concentrate on the financial crisis and half conducted after the announcement."

Posted by Terry K. at 4:59 PM EDT
Bozell Misleads on Enron 'Coverage'
Topic: Media Research Center

In a Sept. 25 appearance on "Fox & Friends" (which follows the template by having Bozell appear solo and not identifying him as a conservative), MRC chief Brent Bozell asserted: "This year -- this year -- there's been more coverage by the networks on Enron, which isn't in the news, than on both of these [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac] calamities combined."

That's highly misleading. What Bozell appears to be referring to is a July 28 report by the MRC's Business & Media institute that claimed:

Even in 2008, as the housing market was grinding to a halt, “Enron” was still the business scandal of the day. In the first six months of the year, ABC, CBS and NBC mentioned Enron 18 times and either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac just seven. [emphasis added]

Mentioning Enron, of course, is not the same thing as "covering" Enron, which Bozell accused the media of doing. And it covers only the first six months of 2008, before Fannie and Freddie officially blew up, not current coverage as Bozell suggests.

That BMI report -- which makes no mention of the context in which Enron was "mentioned" in those news reports -- was something of a pre-emptive strike suggesting that problems at Fannie and Freddie were not be covered by the media because the entities were supported by "high-profile Democrats" and they engaged in "socialism in disguise" by championing home loans for lower-income people -- a claim we see echoed now in the ConWeb and elsewhere.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:14 PM EDT
What 'Civil Rights Leaders'?

A Sept. 24 article by Penny Starr asserts that "A group of civil rights leaders and conservative congressmen held a press conference on Tuesday to announce proposed legislation that would prohibit knowingly performing or financing abortions based on the race or gender of the unborn child." But Starr quotes no "civil rights leaders" in her article.

Starr's use of "civil rights leaders" is a presumed reference to Alveda King, whom she describes as a "niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." But King is not a "civil rights leader"; she is (or was) a senior fellow at the conservative Alexis de Tocqueville Institution and an anti-abortion activist.

Starr also uncritically refers to King as " Dr. Alveda King" and "Dr. King"; in fact, it appears her doctorate from Saint Anselm College is honorary.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:35 AM EDT
New Article -- Experts Agree: WorldNetDaily Sucks
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Don't just take ConWebWatch's word for it -- read what WND's targets and even their fellow conservatives have to say about its brand of journalism. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:16 AM EDT
Antoher NewsBuster Falsely Conflates Media Lockouts
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 24 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston wrote of Andrea Mitchell's assertion that Sarah Palin's banning of media from meetings with foreign leaders is not "standard practice":

I find this whole snit that the press is throwing pretty amazing for its hypocrisy. After all, when Barack Obama went over to Europe this Summer to burnish his non-existent foreign policy credentials, he met behind closed doors with Europe's biggest leaders without the press allowed into the room. I don't recall Andrea Mitchell getting all upset then. Nor did she seem to remember it happened with Barack when she was discussing Palin with Maddow.

As NewsBuster Ken Shepherd reminded us all, when Barack met behind closed doors without reporters the Old Media barely even noticed.

In fact, as we detailed, Shepherd falsely conflated what Palin tried to do -- block reporters from covering her photo ops with foreign leaders at the United Nations out of fear she might be asked a question -- with the actual meetings themselves. And Huston does the exact same thing.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:35 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Prelutsky Repeats False DNC Flag Story
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Burt Prelutsky writes in his Sept. 24 WorldNetDaily column:

I'm certain that by this time most people have seen the photos of the American flags that were left for the trash collector after the Democratic Convention in Denver. 


So, when I see that the Democrats disrespected the flags, I understood that to them the flags were only cheap props like the balloons, the bunting, the confetti and those corny Greek columns. The real problem isn't that the left trashed a few flags, but that they keep trashing the country.

In fact, the flags weren't "trashed." As we detailed, DNC officials stated that the flags were placed in bags so that they could be put into storage but were stolen and turned over to the McCain campaign under the bogus story that they were to be thrown out.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:13 PM EDT
Aaron Klein Anti-Obama Agenda Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 23 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein regurgitates a Wall Street Journal column by Stanley Kurtz purporting to detail a relationship between Barack Obama and William Ayers through the Ayers-founded Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Klein has interpreted Kurtz's article to assert that Obama "had a close working relationship" with Ayers.

But Kurtz never uses the word "close" in his WSJ article, and the evidence Klein presents doesn't exactly support the claim of closeness.

The closest Klein gets to smoking gun on closeness is an assertion that "It would have been unusual for Ayers not to have been involved in the selection of Obama" due to "Ayers' extensive work to secure the original grant for the CAC from a national education initiative by Ambassador Walter Annenberg, as well as Ayers' molding of the CAC guidelines." Most evidence Klein presents is circumstantial, such as asserting that "Ayers made presentations to board meetings chaired by Obama. Ayers also spoke for the Chicago School Reform Collaborative before Obama's board, while Obama periodically spoke for the board at meetings of the collaborative, the CAC documents reviewed by Kurtz show."

Klein does repeat a statement from the Obama campaign that Ayers was not involved with Obama's recruitment to the CAC board, but again, none of the circumstantial evidence Klein offers as rebuttal disproves that claim.

Remember that Klein hates Obama and has a personal and professional interest in making him look as bad as possible.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:11 AM EDT
Newsmax Misleads on Cartoon
Topic: Newsmax

A Sept. 23 Newsmax article by Jim Meyers about a "cartoon in the Washington Post that mocked Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin" ignores or misstates key facts regarding it.

Meyers states that the cartoon appeared "in the Washington Post" but also stated that it was "posted online." In fact, it appeared only online and was never published in the print version of the newspaper.

Meyers also fails to note the cartoonist's name -- Pat Oliphant -- or mention that Oliphant is a syndicated cartoonist, not an employee of the Post (as NewsBusters' Warner Todd Huston claimed), or that, as Post ombudsman Deborah Howell pointed out, such syndicated content on the Post's website is automatically posted, or that Oliphant's cartoons appear in other online venues, such as Yahoo!.

Instead, Meyers has written an misleading, ill-informed piece with no reason for existing other than to bash the Post.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:31 AM EDT
NewsBusters Falsely Conflates Media Lockouts
Topic: NewsBusters

A Sept. 23 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd appears to misleadingly cite news accounts to claim that Sarah Palin's intial refusal to allow reporters to cover meetings with foreign leaders at the United Nations is equivalent to Barack Obama's closed-door meetings with leaders on his European trip earlier this year.

Shepherd cited "a 7-paragraph article" by the Associated Press about how Palin "[Banned] reporters from meetings with leaders," adding that "A review of media coverage from Obama's behind-closed-doors chats with European heads of state, however, shows no such complaint by the media about a lack of access." But the article to which Shepherd linked now goes to a longer AP article that, if it didn't tell the full story, it does now:

The GOP campaign, applying more restrictive rules on access than even President Bush uses in the White House, banned reporters from the start of the meetings, so as not to risk a question being asked of Palin. [emphasis added]

McCain aides relented after news organizations objected and CNN, which was supplying TV footage to a variety of networks, decided to pull its TV crew from Palin's meeting with Karzai.


Bush and members of Congress routinely allow reporters to attend photo opportunities along with photographers, and the reporters sometimes are able to ask questions at the beginning of private meetings before they are ushered out.

At least two news organizations, including AP, objected to the exclusion of reporters and were told that the decision to have a "photo spray" only was not subject to discussion. After aides backed away from that, campaign spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt said the reporter ban was a "miscommunication."

So the problem was not that Palin banned coverage of the entire meeting; it's that she banned coverage of the beginning photo op. Shepherd offers no evidence (at least not in the AP article he cites) that Obama banned reporters from any opening photo op.

Meanwhile, a Sept. 23 post by Brent Baker baselessly accused NBC of being "jealous" that it's "the only broadcast network evening newscast snubbed so far by Palin," thus purportedly motivating it to "devote[] a full story to how reporters were initially barred from her photo-ops with foreign leaders and her general lack of availability to the press."

Posted by Terry K. at 2:22 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 2:35 AM EDT
Cashill's Latest Conspiracy
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Conspiracy-monger extrordinaire Jack Cashill has a new conspiracy to peddle: William Ayers, whom he calls "the radical leftist who has made 'unrepentant' a household word," ghost-wrote Obama's book "Dreams From My Father."

Cashill lays it out in a three-part series published at WND Sept. 18-20. He has no actual evidence to back this up, of course -- just a claim to have "developed an eye for literary humbug." Cashill claims a purported similarity between "Dreams" and Ayers' 2001 memoir, "Fugitive Days." Cashill also asserts the two have a similar background: "Ayers and Obama both grew up in comfortable white households and have struggled to find an identity as righteous black men ever since." And Cashill demonstrates a need to belittle Obama as nothing more than an Ayers mouthpiece, something else he has no actual evidence to support: "In Obama, alas, Ayers may have found a much more a lethal weapon to use against the 'marauding monster' called America than any pipe bomb he could have ever built."

Cashill also writes: "For Ayers, like so many on the left, hard and soft, facts are whatever he can get away with." Given that Cashill is peddling conjecture as fact, he might as well be writing about himself.

Remember, Cashill is the guy who wrote a seven-part WND series claiming that anti-abortion extremist didn't murder abortion doctor Barnett Slepian -- only to have Kopp confess to the killing a few months later. That makes it difficult to take anything he writes seriously.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:37 AM EDT
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

A Sept. 23 appearance on Fox News' "America's Newsroom" by TimesWatch's Clay Waters followed the template by having him appear solo, but the host surprisingly asked Waters to describe what he does, and Waters even more surprisingly answers by saying his mission is to find "liberal bias" in the New York Times.

Waters makes the occasional overbroad claim, such as claiming that the Times is "always accusing McCain of playing the race card."

Posted by Terry K. at 5:59 PM EDT
MRC's Double Standard on Partisan Prosecutors
Topic: Media Research Center

A lengthy Sept. 23 NewsBusters post by Jason Aslinger defends Sarah Palin's decision to stonewall the "so-called" Troopergate investigation, citing "the obvious bias underlying the entire investigation" and "a series of biased statements" made by "[t]he democrat legislator in charge of the probe, Hollis French." That's a big flip-flop on the part of the Media Research Center, which a decade ago defended Clinton-era independent counsel Kenneth Starr from accusations that he was acting in a partisan manner -- and seem to indicate a partisan prosecutor was a good thing (at least, if that partisanship benefited conservatives).

A January 1998 CyberAlert, for example, complained that "Dan Rather has spent four years incessantly tagging Starr as 'the Republican special prosecutor.'" A September 1998 CyberAlert asserted that raising questions about Starr's conduct as a "White House diversionary strategy."

An April 1998 column by Brent Bozell was annoyed that "For years, liberal media figures have drubbed independent counsel Kenneth Starr as a partisan, carrying every James Carville attack, pointing fingers at Starr's speect as Pat Robertson's Regent University, his thoughts of filing an amicus brief in the Paula Jones case, his legal representation of tobacco companies and school choice advocates." He then jumped to Starr's defense by painting him as, if nothing else, less partisan than special prosecutors investigating Republicans:

But if the public doesn't know all the facts about Bill Clinton, how can they know all the facts about Ken Starr? How can a polling sample of 1,000 average Americans judge the fine legal points of the Starr team's (unknown) case?


Who do the people in these polling samples have to compare Kenneth Starr to? The media never asked about partisanship by Lawrence Walsh who indicted Caspar Weinberger four days before the 1992 election.


Nor was this a tactic whe media used for Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox, who invited Ted and Ethel Kennedy to witness his swearing-in ceremony in 1973, and loaded his staff with former aides of Robert Kennedy's Justice Department and people who ran for office as Democrats and served as chairmen of Robert Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign. In all their stories questioning Starr, the networks have never once explored the partisanship of Starr's predecessors, whose partisanship was demonstrably more pronounced.

So, it appears that the MRC believes it was a bad thing for the Clinton administration to cite Starr's partisanship as a reason to be less than cooperative with his investigation because of his partisanship, it's a good thing for Palin to stonewall Hollis French. That just pretty much screams "double standard," doesn't it?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:25 PM EDT
CNS Misleads Again About Obama's Position on Abortion Law

A Sept. 22 article by Penny Starr on Obama campaign criticism of an ad attacking him as a "despicable lie" fails to completely report Obama's history on the issue at hand.

Starr repeated claims that "the Illinois version of the Born Alive Infant Act, along with a Roe-v-Wade shield amendment identical to the language added to the federal version of the bill" without noting that, as we've detailed, a state law containing the same language as the federal law would not have offered the same protection because federal laws do not regulate abortion as state laws do. Thus, a state law that declared it was not undermining Roe v. Wade -- the provison cited by anti-abortion activists as the identical clause in both the state and federal laws in question -- would also need to specifically state it was also not undermining relevant state abortion regulations as well.

Starr also failed to mention Obama's other defense for not supporting a "born alive" law -- that it was unnecessary because the behavior it banned was already illegal, meaning that such a law would be a political statement instead of a new prohibition. She further fails to note that in 2005, a "born alive" law did pass in Illinois that specifically stated that it would not affect "existing federal or state law regarding abortion," a clause missing from earlier versions of the bill.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:32 AM EDT
Corsi Still Hiding Raines' Denial of Obama Link
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've previously asked whether Jerome Corsi would back off the disputed claim that former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines is an adviser to Barack Obama. We have our answer: nope.

A Sept. 22 WorldNetDaily article by Corsi repeats that claim that Raines is an Obama adviser in the midst of accusing him of "receiv[ing] preferential home loans as industry favors." Again, nowhere does Corsi note that both Raines and the Obama campaign have denied that Raines is an Obama adviser.

Wouldn't that be an important thing to report? Corsi doesn't think so. Which is why we've pointed out how closely Corsi's shoddy reporting tracks that of his employer.

By contrast, a Sept. 23 article by Matt Cover and Matt Hadro on Raines notes the denial -- in fact, it's noted twice. But it also claims that "Raines reportedly earned $90 billion during his time as Fannie Mae’s CEO," which we're pretty sure is wrong.

(UPDATE: CNS has now corrected that to a more logical "$90 million.l")

Posted by Terry K. at 9:03 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 23, 2008 5:14 PM EDT
Kincaid Defends McCain by Smearing WaPo
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A Sept. 22 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid is a mess of wild attacks against the Washington Post, accusing it of telling "whoppers." But Kincaid himself is engaged in his own tall-tale telling.

Noting that a John McCain attacking Barack Obama claiming that former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines is "advis[ing]" Obama is based on a statement in a Post article, Kincaid then attacks a Post fact-check that told the full story:

It seems that the Post “fact-checker,” Michael Dobbs, realized that her story was extremely damaging to Obama. So he went back to [Anita] Huslin [author of the Post profile of Raines where this claim originated] for a different version of the conversation and got her to say that Raines’s advice to Obama was about “general housing, economy issues.”

But wait. Didn’t Huslin report that Raines said that he was advising Obama on “mortgage” issues? Remember that her story said that Raines had “taken calls from Barack Obama’s presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters.”

Isn’t this as plain as the nose your face? Do words mean what they say?

But this would mean that the McCain ad against Obama was true. And the Post couldn’t permit itself to come to this conclusion.

Having gotten Huslin to somewhat change her story about what she had previously reported, Dobbs reported that Huslin also now believed that Raines’s advice was “Not mortgage/foreclosure meltdown or Fannie-specific” and, therefore, the McCain ad was misleading.

Please understand what is happening here. Dobbs was so determined to find McCain guilty of airing an inaccurate ad that he had to take issue with the reporting of his own paper that was the basis of the ad. The only way he could find McCain guilty of running a misleading ad was to find his own paper guilty of running a misleading story. This was the price that had to be paid to save Obama from a messy situation.

Huslin got the message and changed her story so that Dobbs could bash McCain. This is how bad the bias has become at the Post. It is embarrassing the lengths to which the paper will go to protect Obama.

But that's not what the fact-check said:

Since this has now become a campaign issue, I asked Huslin to provide the exact circumstances of the quote. She explained that she was chatting with Raines during the photo shoot, and asked "if he was engaged at all with the Democrats' quest for the White House. He said that he had gotten a couple of calls from the Obama campaign. I asked him about what, and he said 'oh, general housing, economy issues.' ('Not mortgage/foreclosure meltdown or Fannie-specific,' I asked, and he said 'no.')"

By Raines's own account, he took a couple of calls from someone on the Obama campaign, and they had some general discussions about economic issues. I have asked both Raines and the Obama people for more details on these calls and will let you know if I receive a reply.

Kincaid has no evidence that Dobbs somehow coerced Huslin and "got her to say" something different than what she reported and "change her story," as he suggests, let alone that anything was done specifically to "prote t Obama." Kincaid also offers no evidence, other than Huslin's apparently somewhat overstated claim, that taking a couple calls from someone in the Obama campaign makes Raines an "adviser" on the level the McCain portrays it.

Rather than demonstrating how "embarrassing the lengths to which the paper will go to protect Obama," Kincaid has instead demonstrated the embarrassing lengths he will go to smear anyone who gets in his way of promoting hard-right conservatives like Sarah Palin (and, thus, John McCain).

Posted by Terry K. at 1:22 AM EDT

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