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Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Graham: 'Daily Show' Audience 'News-Challenged'
Topic: NewsBusters

In an Oct. 8 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham referred to the "news-challenged audience" of "The Daily Show."

In fact, according to the Pew Center for the People and the Press, "Daily Show" viewers have the highest level of knowledge of political events of any TV show -- or of any news source, for that matter.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:04 PM EDT
Jeffrey Repeats Dubious Claims About Obama, Abortion

In his Oct. 8 column, Terrence Jeffrey repeated questionable right-wing claims regarding Barack Obama and the issue of abortion.

Jeffrey began by stating the "background" of the fight over the controversial "born alive" act in Illinois: "Eight years ago, nurse Jill Stanek went public about the 'induced-labor abortions' performed at the Illinois hospital where she worked. Often done on Down syndrome babies, the procedure involved medicating the mother to cause premature labor. Babies who survived this, Stanek testified in the U.S. Congress, were brought to a soiled linen room and left alone to die without care or comforting." In fact, Stanek's allegations were never substantiated.

Jeffrey also wrote: "Then-Illinois state Sen. Patrick O’Malley, whom I interviewed this week, contacted the state attorney general’s office to see whether existing laws protected a newborn abortion-survivor’s rights as a U.S. citizen. He was told they did not." But both Obama and other opponents of the bill said that existing law did prohibit it.

Jeffrey then tries to play semantics with Obama's use of the term "pre-viable fetus":

To explain his position, Obama came up with yet another term to describe the human being who would be protected by O’Malley’s bills. The abortion survivor became a “pre-viable fetus.”
By definition, however, a born baby cannot be a “fetus.” Merriam-Webster Online defines “fetus” as an “unborn or unhatched vertebrate” or “a developing human from usually two months after conception to birth.” Obama had already conceded these human beings were “alive outside the womb.”

“No. 1,” said Obama, “whenever we define a pre-viable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or other elements of the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a—a child, a nine-month-old—child that was delivered to term.”
Yes. In other words, a baby born alive at 37 weeks is just as much a human “person” as a baby born alive at 22 weeks.

But Jeffrey fails to explain his, or medical science's, definition of "viable." In fact, 22 weeks is considered to be the absolute lower limit for viability of a fetus outside the womb. Jeffrey does not explain why, say, a 12-week-old fetus who "survives" an abortion should be considered "born" if it cannot survive outside the womb. Nor does Jeffrey mention the fact that third-trimester abortions are relatively rare.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:29 PM EDT
NewsBusters Whitewashing McCain's Role in Keating 5
Topic: NewsBusters

The Media Research Center exerted much effort in minimizing scandals surrounding Sarah Palin. Now it's doing the same for John McCain's role in the Keating Five scandal.

Scott Whitlock complained that an ABC report on McCain and Keating "left out the fact that McCain was exonerated by the Senate Ethics Committee." Whitlock left out the fact that the committee concluded that McCain's conduct "reflected poor judgment" in his dealings with Charles Keating.

Seton Motley highlighted an appearance by "man of integrity" Robert Bennett, special counsel to the House ethics committee on the Keating scandal, on (man of less integrity) Mark Levin's radio show. Bennett claimed, "I saw nothing in my investigation that would call into question John McCain's ethics." Like Whitlock, Motley failed to note the full decision of the committee, nor did he describe what exactly McCain did -- accept free rides on Keating's jet, vacationed with Keating, invested in a shopping mall with him, wrote letters to regulators for him, helped secure the nomination of a Keating associate to a banking regulatory board, and urged regulators to back off Keating.

By contrast, as we've detailed, the MRC insisted that the Clintons were guilty of various deeds even after investigations cleared them.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:13 PM EDT
Farah Strains to Blame Gays, Clinton for Financial Crisis
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah has rather desperately tried to deflect blame for the financial crisis away from conservatives and toward liberals.

His Oct. 6 column blamed Washington Mutual's failure on its efforts to be "recognized as one of the top employers and lenders for Hispanics and sexual deviants," asserting that lending money to them "offend[ed] vast segments of the population" and adding, "I'm not surprised that WaMu was out of business 24 hours after announcing it was catering to sexual deviants at the expense of most of its customers and actively sending profits to corrupt cultural causes." Farah offers no evidence that the default rate of "sexual deviants" -- Farah's word for homosexuals -- was any larger than, say, Hispanics. 

His Oct. 7 column blamed the crisis on President Clinton because of his efforts "to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough for conventional loans." In fact, the vast majority of subprime loans in recent years were made outside of the Community Reinvestment Act that Farah is implicitly criticizing. Further, according to Robert Gordon at the American Prospect, "In late 2004, the Bush administration announced plans to sharply weaken CRA regulations, pulling small and mid-sized banks out from under the law's toughest standards. Yet sub-prime lending continued, and even intensified -- at the very time when activity under CRA had slowed and the law had weakened."

Farah also falsely attacks the Obama campaign for allowing ex-Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines to be "flirting with a Cabinet post in a Barack Obama administration" when he "should be breaking rocks at Sing Sing," further claiming that the campaign "continues to find a special advisory role for Franklin Raines." In fact, Raines has done nothing beyond taking a couple phone calls from the Obama campaign, and there's no evidence that he serves as any sort of "special adviser."

But then, when it comes to Obama, when have the facts ever mattered to Farah?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 AM EDT
Graham: Couric's Newspaper Question to Palin Was 'Gotcha'

Looks like Tim Graham has sipped a little too much of that right-wing Kool-Aid.

In an Oct. 7 NewsBusters post, Graham declared that Katie Couric's question to Sarah Palin about what newspapers and magazines she read "was designed as a "gotcha" question to underline Palin's lack of worldly sophistication":

Think of the pitfalls of the various answers. Say you read the New York Times and the Washington Post, and you disappoint the base. Say you read the Washington Times and watch Fox News, and the media treats you like a right-wing leper. Say you read the Anchorage Daily News, and they treat you like a hick.

Wait -- isn't Palin supposed to be all mavericky and stuff? Shouldn't she be above caring whether she "disappoints the base" or if that darn mainstream media "treats you like a right-wing leper" or she looks like a hick? If it's a gotcha question, why does it matter to Graham what the answer is?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:51 AM EDT
CNS: Don't Trust 'Daily Show' Because It's Liberal

Nicholas Ballasy sledgehammers home a talking point in the lead of his Oct. 7 article:

Young people should not rely on “The Daily Show” for news, according to Rob Riggle, a correspondent for the popular comedy show, which is hosted by liberal Jon Stewart. According to polls, the politically liberal “Daily Show” is the main source of news for many young people.

So, don't rely on "The Daily Show" because it's liberal, then?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EDT
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Graham Ignores Brokaw's Conflict of Interest With McCain
Topic: NewsBusters

In an Oct. 7 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham insists that Tom Brokaw, moderator for tonight's presidential debate, is a "strongly biased moderator" who is "part of the liberal media" and chock-full of "liberal utterances."

Graham curiously fails to mention Brokaw's role as a liaison between NBC and the McCain campaign. That would seem to demonstrate some sort of bias, perhaps even a strong one -- just not the one Graham wants to think Brokaw has.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:05 PM EDT
WND Obfuscates on Corsi Detention
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Oct. 7 article on WND writer Jerome Corsi being detained in Kenya obfuscates the apparent fact that Corsi is violating his declared purpose for going there.

As we pointed out, the Oct. 2 WND article announcing Corsi's trip claimed that Corsi was going "at the invitation of Christian missionaries who contend the rise of Islam in the African nation has been spurred by an agreement Odinga signed with Muslim leaders in an effort to win the presidency last December." But the article also announced various anti-Obama activities,such as bringing money to Obama's half-brother, George Obama, while repeating the false claim that George Obama "lives on $12 a year."

Neither Corsi nor WND have publicly identified the "Christian missionaries" at whose purported behest Corsi is visiting Kenya, nor have they explained how these mysterious "missionaries" are linked to Corsi's Obama-smearing activities there.

While the Oct. 7 article insists that "His visit and his activities during his stay have been well-known to authorities at the highest levels," there is no mention of those "Christian missionaries" and Corsi's apparent deviation from their agenda by attacking Obama.

UPDATE: WND also fails to note George Obama's response to Joseph Farah's cash gimmick, according to the UK Telegraph: "I have not heard from this man, but even if he came here with that money, I would not take it from him. ...  He is no friend of me or my family, and if the police want to send him out of Kenya, that would be better."

Posted by Terry K. at 3:21 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 7, 2008 3:43 PM EDT
Ponte Misleads About Obama, ACORN
Topic: Newsmax

An Oct. 6 Newsmax article by Lowell Ponte asserts that Barack Obama "can’t hide from the facts of his close relationship" with "the radical group ACORN," but Ponte appears to overstate his case and misleads about other details.

Ponte claims that Obama was "a key operative for the organization" and "was its lawyer in several pivotal ACORN cases" -- claims he doesn't really substantiate. He further claimed that "In 1992, Obama took time off as a lawyer to direct Project Vote, ACORN’s voter mobilization entity, statewide in Illinois." But as Obama's "Fight the Smears" website points out, Project Vote was not affiliated with ACORN in 1992.

Ponte also writes:

In Washington state, five ACORN employees were convicted in 2007 in what its Secretary of State Sam Reed called “the worst case of election fraud in our state’s history. It was an outrage.”

In this state the current Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire was elected literally by a handful of votes, but 450 apparently fictitious names were found registered to vote as Democrats at a single address. At least 1,700 ACORN voter registrations — using the names of Harry Reid, Dennis Hastert, and movie and sports stars — were later revoked in just one county of the state.

Ponte is conflating two separate incidents, and misleading about both. The governor's race to which he refers occurred in 2004, and then-U.S. Attorney John McKay said no charges of voter fraud were filed because "there was no evidence of voter fraud or election fraud." Regarding the 2007 case of apparently fraudulent voter registrations, Ponte fails to note that no votes were cast under those registrations.

Ponte even bizarrely tries to tie Obama to 9/11 because Obama worked as one of several lawyers for ACORN in a lawsuit to force the state of Illinois to enforce the "motor voter" law:

Motor Voter was the Clinton administration’s attempt permanently to tilt voter rolls in favor of the Democratic Party. And Obama, working for ACORN, played a key role in imposing this law.

Perhaps thanks to ACORN’s and Motor Voter’s influence, of the 19 foreign terrorists who attacked America on 9/11, at least six were registered to vote.

Then again, Ponte is no stranger to bizarre, baseless claims.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:14 PM EDT
CNS Won't Concede Obama Is A Christian

An Oct. 6 article by Julie Stahl -- which seems to have disappeared from the CNS site; a copy is here -- refuses to state as fact that Barack Obama is a Christian.

In claiming that "many" Israelis "have apparently been dissuaded by various fears about Obama among the concerns "some analysts" cited "are the fact that Obama’s middle name is 'Hussein,' which some say indicate he is a Muslim, although he says he is a Christian." In fact, Obama doesn't just "say" he's a Christian; he is one, and Stahl offers no evidence to the contrary -- Obama's middle name is irrelevant to the question. Stahl also fails to name any of the "some" are who "say" this about Obama.

Stahl doesn't even bother to back up her base claim, that "many" Israelis "have apparently been dissuaded by various fears about Obama."

Stahl further listed among these alleged concerns Obama's "willingness to negotiate without preconditions with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad [sic], who openly calls for the destruction of Israel." In fact, Obama never said he would "negotiate" with Ahmadinejad; he said that he would meet with Iranian leaders and that such a meeting "could include" Ahmadinejad.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 7, 2008 10:19 AM EDT
IBD Isn't Right-Wing Enough for Kincaid
Topic: Accuracy in Media

How far to the right is Cliff Kincaid? He's bashing Investor's Business Daily for not being conservative enough.

In an Oct. 5 Accuracy in Media column bashing "many of the 'conservatives' in the media" for being "not so conservative after all" because they supported the financial bailout even though it's a "socialist-style bailout scheme," Kincaid went after everyone from Fox News to the Weekly Standard, adding:

The situation is similar over at Investor’s Business Daily (IBD), whose conservative editorial page writers were pressured to endorse a swift federal takeover of the financial sector. As some observers noted, IBD’s “Time to Act” editorial, which backed the socialist-style Paulson plan, severely undercut the credibility of its own editorial series highlighting and criticizing the socialist proposals of Barack Obama. IBD forgot a basic lesson―that socialism is wrong, even when a few corporate Republicans support it for the benefit of Wall Street.

Funny, we figured that the basic lesson here is that Kincaid is so far to the right that he makes the hard-right IBD look liberal by comparison.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:38 AM EDT
Jack Cashill Conspiracy Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Jack Cashill is still hustling for his latest conspiracy, that William Ayers ghost-wrote Obama's book "Dreams From My Father."

His Sept. 25 column came these odd claims presented as evidence: "both [Ayers] and Obama are obsessed with memory and its instability," and both have used "nautical language," noting that Ayers once worked as a merchant seaman. Cashill concluded: "As a writer, especially in the pre-Google era of 'Dreams,' I would never have used a metaphor as specific as 'ballast' unless I knew exactly what I was talking about," suggesting without evidence that Obama would not have used it on his own, as if he had never seen ships while growing up in Indonesia and Hawaii.

In his Oct. 2 column, Cashill sounds disappointed that "the technology is not currently available to do a fully reliable authorship analysis," so again, he peddles his conspiracy, repeating once more the purported shared affininty for nautical references. He even ends his column the same way as the last one but this time stating directly what he had only implied previously: "As a writer, especially in the pre-Google era of 'Dreams,' I would never have used an image as specific as 'ballast' unless I knew exactly what I was talking about. Ayers knew. Obama did not."

He does note: "In Obama's defense, he did grow up in Hawaii. Still, he gives little hint of having spent time at the beach or on any kind of real ship, and yet his memoir is awash in aquatic imagery," adding:

Not everyone writes this way. For instance, my book "Sucker Punch," which is no small part a memoir about race, is silent on the subject of the sea.

"Sucker Punch" makes no reference at all, metaphorical or otherwise, to ships, seas, oceans, calms, storms, wind, waves, horizons, panoramas, or of things howling, fluttering, knotted, ragged, tangled, or murky. None.

This despite the fact that I have likely a deeper relationship with the sea than Obama, having spent a good chunk of every summer of my life at the ocean, and having a summer home on the boundless Lake Erie for the last 20 years.

But again, he has no evidence that Obama couldn't know any aquatic terms with enough familiarity to use them in his writing.

Which tells us where Cashill is at in peddling his little conspiracy -- and how seriously we should (not) take him.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:07 AM EDT
The MRC Still Hatin' On Dead Non-Conservative Journalists
Topic: Media Research Center

Back when NewsBusters first started up in 2005, we noticed the MRC's antipathy for deceased journalists who didn't toe the conservative line, refusing to give them an "RIP" designation, while conservative-friendly writers received such consideration.

The practice continues. An Oct. 4 NewsBusters post by Brent Baker on the recently deceased Osborn Elliott, former editor of Newsweek, bashes Elliott as "a reminder that the Angry Left populated the highest levels of the mainstream news media long before the blogosphere gave them new venues."

As Eric Boehlert at County Fair put it: stay classy, NewsBusters.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:42 AM EDT
Monday, October 6, 2008
HuffPo Volleys Back to MRC's Motley
Topic: Media Research Center

Huffington Post's Seth Colter Walls serves up the next chapter of the Seton Motley saga in a Oct. 5 article. Walls points out that evidence that undergirded the claim, advanced by both Motley and the Capital Research Center's Matthew Vadum, that Barack Obama was a lawyer for ACORN, is false because the Project Vote organization for which Obama did serve as a lawyer was not associated with ACORN until two years after Obama's work for the troup ended.

Walls also agrees with us that Motley's refusal to answer questions because they came from Obama's campaign -- which Motley claims is prohibited under the Media Research Center's  501(c)(3) tax status -- is bogus. The IRS states that a 501(c)(3) group "may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates; we fail to see where answering questions raised by a political campaign falls under that restriction.

Your move, Seton... 

Posted by Terry K. at 6:37 PM EDT
Topic: Newsmax

The Palm Beach Post profiles Newsmax in an Oct. 6 article. One of the interesting tidbits is that it confirms what we had heard but weren't able to document -- that Christopher Ruddy and Richard Mellon Scaife have bought out all other investors and are now the sole owners, with Ruddy as majority owner. (We were the first to report the details of Scaife's involvement in Newsmax back in 2002.)

Ruddy states that Newsmax and related ventures will produce about $25 million in revenue this year. Ruddy is also rather hyperbolically quoted as calling Newsmax "the Fox News of online."

Posted by Terry K. at 3:51 PM EDT

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