WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah takes broad exception to our Huffington Post history of WND. We're working on a response.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Another WND Reporter Covers for McCain on Fannie, Freddie
Good news: A WorldNetDaily news article finally mentions for the first time connections between the McCain campaign and the Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac meltdown.
Bad news: It's mentioned only in passing, gets it wrong, and heaps most of the guilt-by-association on Obama.
A Sept. 25 article by Chelsea Schilling discussing the problems at Fannie and Freddie noted that "Both Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama have come under fire for allegedly having donors and campaign advisers tied to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," then added:
Unlike fellow WND reporter Jerome Corsi, Schilling actually makes note of this. But not only does she grossly understate the extent of Davis' connection, Schilling gets the amount of time involved wrong. In fact -- as the New York Times reported, Davis was paid that amount -- acting as president of the Homeownership Alliance, an advocacy group funded by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that tried to fend off regulation sought by large private banks and mortgage lenders -- through 2005, not 2002 as Schilling claimed. The Times quoted a former Fannie Mae official stating that "The value that [Davis] brought to the relationship was the closeness to Senator McCain and the possibility that Senator McCain was going to run for president again."
Schilling also failed to note another connection: Freddie Mac paid the lobbying firm Davis founded $15,000 a month from the end of 2005 through August 2008. While campaign officials insist that Davis has had no involvement with his firm while working for the McCain campaign, he's still listed as an officer of the company.
That single paragraph, by the way, is Schilling's only attempt to detail the ties between McCain's campaign. By contrast, Schilling devotes several paragraphs to detailing the Obama campaign's alleged links to Fannie and Freddie.
Schilling leaves out certain important details of the story. For instance, in citing "A Washington Post profile published July 17 said [Franklin] Raines was then playing a role advising the Obama presidential campaign on mortgage and housing policy," Schilling fails to mention -- llike Corsi before her -- that both Raines and the Obama campaign have denied that Raines is an adviser.
Schilling also asserts, "In 2005, McCain warned of the coming mortgage crisis and pressed for regulatory reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," but she fails to point out that McCain has introduced no bills related to banking or housing in the current session of Congress.
If WND boss Joseph Farah doesn't want McCain elected, why are his reporters continuing to cover for McCain?
Witch-Huting and Theology
In a Sept. 25 NewsBusters post, Ken Shepherd criticizes an Associated Press article on "a newly surfaced YouTube video purportedly showing Palin being prayed over by a Kenyan preacher who asked God to protect Palin from all manner of evil, including witchcraft," complainign that the articleshowed a lack of knowledge about Christianity because it "characterize[d] the Pentecostal church Palin used to attend as simultaneously 'conservative' in biblical teaching and yet outside orthodox Christian belief":
In downplaying the witchcraft aspect of the blessing the Kenyan preacher, Thomas Muthee, offered for Palin, Shepherd ignores how Muthee himself has "defined" it. As David Neiwert details, a Times of London article demonstrates that Muthee works on a Salem-like level, in one case declaring a woman to be responsible for one town's ills, thus causing her to be the target of violence and forcing her to flee the town.
Does Shepherd really think Muthee's embrace of full-on witch-hunting is merely a "secondary issue of theology"?
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Newsmax Disproves Itself
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."
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:
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.
What 'Civil Rights Leaders'?
A Sept. 24 CNSNews.com 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.
Antoher NewsBuster Falsely Conflates Media Lockouts
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.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Prelutsky Repeats False DNC Flag Story
Burt Prelutsky writes in his Sept. 24 WorldNetDaily column:
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.
Aaron Klein Anti-Obama Agenda Watch
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.
Newsmax Misleads on Cartoon
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.
NewsBusters Falsely Conflates Media Lockouts
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:
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."
Cashill's Latest Conspiracy
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.
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."
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:
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?
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