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Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Feel the Hate
Topic: NewsBusters

A Feb. 3 NewsBusters post by Deborah Corey sneers at the "liberal elitist media."

This is "media research" ... how? And how exactly is Sanjay Gupta a "liberal elitist"?

UPDATE: More sneering: A Feb. 4 post by Tom Blumer calls the New York Times "Manhattan's quaint little alternative daily."

Posted by Terry K. at 6:09 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, February 4, 2009 10:06 AM EST
Obama Hate Central: WND Falsely Claims Obama Will Cut Pentagon Budget
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Feb. 1 WorldNetDaily article by Jerome Corsi asserted that "The Obama administration asked the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff to cut the Pentagon budget for fiscal year 2010 by $55 billion, more than 10 percent of last year's $512 billion defense budget."

That is false. In fact, as Media Matters has detailed, Obama wants to increase the Pentagon's budget from $513 billion this year to $527 billion in the next fiscal year. The so-called "cut" is from the Pentagon's budget proposal of $584 billion.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:11 PM EST
Ruddy Defends Wall Street, Repeats Stimulus Falsehood
Topic: Newsmax

Defending Wall Street is not exactly a popular move these days, but Newsmax's Christopher Ruddy does it in a Feb. 2 column:

I am not going to defend Wall Street excesses. It is unclear to me if these bonuses are excessive. But let’s put all of this into perspective.

America’s economy is the engine of the global economy. We represent less than 5 percent of the world’s population and a disproportionate 25 percent of the world’s GDP. We remain the reserve currency of the world.

Wall Street has played a major role in American capitalism. Its executives should be well compensated.

I am not angry at Wall Street because the current economic crisis was not caused by Wall Street. And Wall Street is not prolonging the pain.

Our economic problems have emanated from Washington and from the Federal Reserve.

Ruddy's Newsmax also operates a financial news website and sells newsletters to investors, which might explain his fealty toward Wall Street.

Ruddy goes on to attack President Obama's stimulus plan, claiming that "Even illegal aliens can collect checks of up to $1,000."

That's false. As we've noted, the Associated Press, which first reported the claim and attributed it to an anonymous " top Republican congressional official," now points out that "the measure indicates that Social Security numbers are needed to claim tax credits of $500 per worker and $1,000 per couple. It also expressly disqualifies nonresident aliens."

Posted by Terry K. at 11:18 AM EST
Another Meaningless Huston Rant
Topic: NewsBusters

Warner Todd Huston thought he had something going in a Feb. 2 NewsBusters post:

Apparently, President Barack Obama thought that Jessica Simpson's weight was something he needed to make fun of during his pre-Super Bowl interview with Matt Lauer on NBC Sunday. Seriously. Obama called Jessica Simpson a fatty on national TV.

Lauer displayed for the audience the cover of a recent issue of the tabloid entertainment magazine US Weekly that featured the President's wife and daughters and also had an insert photo pushing a story about singer Simpson.

As he viewed the cover, Obama decided to smack the singer down for "in a weight battle."


It seems a bit low of the President of the United States to so offhandedly slam a mere entertainer, doesn't it? Is this something that a good politician would do? What did Simpson ever do to Obama?

What Huston neglects to tell his readers: Obama was simply reading what was on the cover of the magazine "Inside Jess' Weight Battle."

Even getting caught not checking the transcript against the video -- it originally falsely claimed that Obama said Simpson was "losing a weight battle" -- didn't curb his indignance in an update at the end of the post: "It does not alter my point, however, that Obama was commenting on Simpson's weight. Saying someone is 'in a weight battle' is not very much different than saying they are fat." Again, Huston failed to acknowledge that Obama was merely reading what the cover said, despite insisting that "we need to have the record correct on what the President said."

Huston's known for his misleading and ultimately meaningless rants, and this is just another one.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 AM EST
AIM Repeats Discredited Claim on Stimulus Bill
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A Feb. 1 Accuracy in Media column by Pamela Meister repeats the false claim that illegal immigrants are eligible for tax credits in the stimulus bill:

Part of the economic stimulus bill that was just passed by the House (except for House Republicans and 11 Democrats who voted against it), includes “tax credits” of $500 per person and $1,000 per couple. (Note: if the recipients pay no taxes, it’s not a credit, it’s a handout.) Apparently the wording specifically disqualifies “nonresident aliens” – Washington-speak for illegals – people with no Social Security numbers could still get the cashola:

Undocumented immigrants [liberal reporter-speak for illegals] who are not eligible for a Social Security number can file tax returns with an alternative number. A House-passed version of the economic recovery bill and one making its way through the Senate would allow anyone with such a number, called an individual taxpayer identification number, to qualify for the tax credits.

In other words, it doesn’t disqualify illegal aliens. Awesome. Why bother having borders anymore?

In fact, the version of the Associated Press article Meister cites to support her claim has been retracted and corrected. The updated version of the AP article now points out that "in fact the measure indicates that Social Security numbers are needed to claim tax credits of $500 per worker and $1,000 per couple. It also expressly disqualifies nonresident aliens."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:07 AM EST
Monday, February 2, 2009
Meanwhile, Over At HuffPo...
Topic: WorldNetDaily
We have a new article at Huffington Post summarizing the conspiratorial history of WorldNetDaily columnist Jack Cashill, who appeared on Glenn Beck's Fox News show last week.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:06 PM EST
Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

A Feb. 2 NewsBusters post by Kyle Drennen indulges in the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy by writing about a CBS report on the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Iran and headlining it, "CBS 'Early Show' Celebrates Anniversary of Iranian Revolution."

Drennen offers no evidence that there was any "celebrating" on CBS' part going on or that it was anything other than a straightforward report.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:10 PM EST
CNS Repeats Misleading Claim on EFCA

A Feb. 2 article by Pete Winn on the Employee Free Choice Act notes that supporters of the bill have pointed out that it "will not eliminate the ability for workers to choose to have a secret ballot election," which is followed by a paraphrased retort, passed along uncritically, by Michael Eastman, executive director of labor relations at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, that "business has never said that secret ballots would be forbidden."

In fact, numerous opponents of the bill have repeatedly claimed that the EFCA eliminates secret ballots, and worse.

Further, even if one interprets "business" very narrowly as applying only to paid business lobbyists, that's wrong too. Eastman himself asserted in a U.S. Chamber blog post that the EFCA "would effectively do away with secret ballot elections in union organizing." Another Eastman blog post sermonizes about the secret ballot and falsely asserts that "Workers would lose a vital privacy protection - the ability to vote in a secret ballot election - if Card Check became law."

Yet, Winn does not challenge or correct Eastman's statement.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:00 PM EST
NewsBusters Ignores Its Own Abortion Labeling Guidelines
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Jan. 30 NewsBusters post taking offense at a anti-abortion ad being described as "anti-abortion," Ken Shepherd writes that "our very own NewsBusters Style Guide has this mandate for our contributors: 'Refer to both sides [of the abortion debate] using their preferred language, pro-life and pro-choice.'"

NewsBusters has a stylebook? Who knew?

Shepherd then goes on to suggest that the use of "anti-abortion" is "pejorative." He doesn't explain why that is -- he's even called out on it by the target of the post, Christianity Today, an editor of whom responded in a update by declaring himself "Proud to be anti-abortion." But more importantly, does NewsBusters actually follows this style tip? 

We found a few posts that make use of "anti-abortion," and Dave Pierre declares that "The goal of the pro-life movement is to eliminate elective abortions," which certainly sounds anti-abortion to us. We also found a couple more that express similar annoyance with the "anti-abortion" term, like this post from Tim Graham, again without explaining why.

We also found numerous violations of the "pro-choice" edict, in which the inaccurate term "pro-abortion" is used.

As we've detailed, if NewsBusters sister organization uses this same style, they too ignore its edicts on abortion labeling.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:17 AM EST
CNS' Jeffrey Fails to Challenge Stanek

In a Jan. 29 interview, editor in chief fails to challenge claims made by anti-abortion activist Jill Stanek, even though some have been proven false or unsubstantiated.

Jeffrey allows Stanek to repeat her story of how she "held a premature baby" that had allegedly survived an abortion "in her arms for forty-five minutes as the child struggled for life and then died." In fact, the Illinois Department of Public Health investigated Stanek's claims but could not substantiate them.

Jeffrey and Stanek also have the following exchange:

Jeffrey: So what did you do?
Stanek: First of all, I asked the hospital privately to stop, and when it wouldn’t then asked the attorney general of Illinois to get involved, who was a pro-life Republican—no pro-abort agenda.  After an investigation, he determined that there was no law being violated.  Meanwhile, on the federal level--
Jeffrey: Let’s focus on that point for a minute.  The pro-life Republican attorney general of Illinois--
Stanek: Jim Ryan.
Jeffrey:  He researched this. They looked into this. They didn’t just like casually dismiss this.
Stanek: It took them eight months.
Jeffrey: Eight months they looked into this?
Stanek: It was not just a casual decision.
Jeffrey: So the question was: Do we have a law that we can enforce to stop this hospital  from taking a baby who may have been 22 weeks old who was delivered through an induced labor and tossing them in a soiled linen room to die.
Stanek:  Right, there was none.
Jeffrey: The law of Illinois did not protect this child.

In fact, state law did already mandate lifesaving measures for premature babies. The July 2000 letter from Ryan's office on the investigation does not claim what Stanek purportedly witnessed was legal; it claimed that it could find no evidence to substantiate it.

Later, both Jeffrey and Stanek push the point that a proposed "born alive" law in Illinois was opposed by then-Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama even though it "essentially identical to the federal bill" in that it declared that it did not impinge on Roe v. Wade. In fact, according to abortion-rights advocates, because federal law does not regulate abortion, being merely "idential" to the federal "born alive" law was not enough to fully ensure that a state law would not impinge on Roe; it would also have to make explicit reference to Illinois law and make clear that it would not affect access to abortion under Illinois law.

Stanek then claimed that this "was a totally new argument that had never come up before--and was bogus." That's debatable, given that, as Planned Parenthood of Illinois points out, the Illinois "born alive" law didn't pass until 2005, when it specifically addressed both federal and state law.

A good reporter would have challenged Stanek on her claims -- after all, she has a history of peddling dubious or false clames, as well as making inflammatory attacks. But Jeffrey -- because he apparently shares Stanek's views on both abortion and Obama -- lets them pass unimpeded by reality.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 AM EST
AIM Intern Rage Watch
Topic: Accuracy in Media

You how just pointing out a simple fact will set some people off? Aaron Saltzman ("an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia") is the set-offee in a Jan. 29 Accuracy in Media blog post.

Saltzman declares that a Los Angeles Times writer, Janet Hook, is "using literary spin to bolster her personal political message" by noting that the House vote on the stiumulus package "passed on a strict party-line vote" and that President Obama "had worked hard to gain bipartisan support" for the package. Let the intern explosion begin:

So poor President Obama, despite valiant efforts to convince Republicans to abandon the fiscal policies that brought an extraordinarily low 4% unemployment rate through the Bush-43 years, was unable to re-educate a single member of the House minority. What a bummer. 

Saltzman also seems to forget that those same policies have resulted in the current economic situation. Nevertheless, he goes on to personally attack the reporter:

Janet Hook is entitled to her opinions. She can talk about her assessment of HR 1 all she wants with her friends, her family, on a blog, etc. If she was an editorialist, or a columnist, or worked for an analytical magazine like Newsweek or Time she would have every right to preach away about her partisan perceptions of Republican ignorance and the Democrat godliness.

But she’s not an editorialist. She is not writing to her friends and family, or on a blog. And she does not work for Newsweek, Time, or any similar publication. She is a reporter—a reporter for the second largest, and fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country. She has a responsibility to give an objective report—not assessment or analysis—of the facts as they happened. It is not in her job description to flower up her phrasing with buzzwords or strategic phrasing, nor should it ever be.

Hook is an irresponsible reporter, and should be called out early and often for her transgressions. 

Remember, this is all because Hook told the truth -- that the House stimulus package split down party lines, and Obama tried to recruit Republicans to vote for it.

Saltzman concludes by urging readers to send an email to Hook "and tell her to stop the spin." How about sending an email to Saltzman and tell him to cut back on the caffeine and temper his right-wing rage?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:02 AM EST
Sunday, February 1, 2009
MRC's Noyes Repeats Misleading Goldberg Claim
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Jan. 31 NewsBusters post touting Bernard Goldberg's new anti-liberal, anti-Obama book "A Slobbering Love Affair," Rich Noyes includes a lengthy excerpt from the book -- one that contains a misleading claim.

As Media Matters points out, in the section of the book Noyes excerpted, Goldberg made a big deal that CBS' "The Early Show" aired a segment on "Five Things You Should Know About Barack Obama," but he failed to note that five days later, the show aired a segment listing "Five Things You Should Know" about John McCain.

Noyes fails to note Goldberg's misleading claim, perhaps too enraptured in how "fun" the book is. Indeed, Noyes revels in Goldberg's statement that "you can't make this crap up" while ignoring the fact that Goldberg did actually make up some of that crap. As Media Matters also details, Goldberg included a doctored conversation between Charlie Rose and Tom Brokaw that falsely portrays them asserting that "there's a lot about him [Obama] we don't know."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:56 PM EST
Obama Hate Central: Farah Peddles ACORN Lie
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah is well-versed in telling lies about Barack Obama, so it's no shock to learn that the lies have continued.

In his Jan. 31 column, Farah asserts that "there are plans to redistribute up to $5.2 billion of taxpayer money – that's your money – to ACORN."

As we've repeatedly noted, the stimulus package doesn't even mention ACORN by name, let alone allocate money to the group. Further, according to ACORN's Bertha Lewis, "Since it is set aside for non-profit housing developers to help purchase, rehab, and resell foreclosed properties, we aren't eligible for it in the first place."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:25 AM EST
NewsBusters Ignores Republican Ties of Philly Papers' Owner
Topic: NewsBusters

A Jan. 28 NewsBusters post by Stephen Gutowski is alarmed that the owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News has asked the state of Pennsylvania for a $10 million bailout. In a Jan. 30 follow-up post, Gutowski declared he "was dismayed and angry to learn" about the bailout and repeated criticism of it, including from Media Research Center head Brent Bozell.

Missing from both posts: Any mention of the political leanings of the papers' owner, Brian Tierney.

As a  2007 American Journalism Review profile details, Tierney is a "Republican activist" who has "worked for the Republican National Committee" and was "a Reagan appointee in the U.S. Small Business Administration's public affairs office." He later "anded a regular spot as the conservative voice on 'Inside Story,' a weekly public affairs show on WPVI-TV, the local ABC affiliate," and "chaired the third unsuccessful mayoral bid of local Republican businessman Sam Katz."

If the owner of a newspaper had these kind of liberal ties, the boys at NewsBusters would be howling about liberal bias and socialism. Yet Gutowski appears oblivious to Tierney's political leanings; indeed, he claims that "the bailout request has some pointing out that liberal bias is how the Inquirer got itself into this situation in the first place."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:08 AM EST
Saturday, January 31, 2009
CNS' 'Nonbeliever' Obsession Continues

Despite the fact that it has been repeatedly demonstrated to be a non-story, is still clinging to the notion that there's something controversial about Barack Obama making a reference to "nonbelievers."

CNS' latest stab at beating this dead horse is a Jan. 30 article by Penny Starr in which she asks Sen. Joe Lieberman "how Obama’s reference to non-believers might be perceived by Islamic extremists who espouse the belief that killing non-believers is justified." Like pretty much everyone else CNS has pushed this story on, Lieberman didn't bite either:

I think what the president was saying is we are a very religious nation,” said Lieberman, who spoke at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. “We have Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and we have people who don’t believe in anything. They are part of us too.
“Maybe that’s what he was saying,” Lieberman said. “Not to the extremists, but to the people in the Muslim countries that may not be believers themselves, that we represent a totally inclusive form of government.”

Earth to Terry Jeffrey and CNS: This story is dead, in a Monty Python parrot kind of way. Can you please stop wasting your (and your interviewees') time by pretending it isn't?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:45 PM EST

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