ConWebBlog: The Weblog of ConWebWatch

your New Media watchdog

ConWebWatch: home | archive/search | about | primer | shop

Sunday, February 8, 2009
NewsBusters: Still Proving Stephen Colbert Right
Topic: NewsBusters

As we've previously noted, the Media Research Center seems determined, in its Javert-like obsession over any perceived slight to conservatives, to be the living embodiment of Stephen Colbert's statement that "Reality has a well-known liberal bias." In that spirit, a couple of NewsBusters posts choose to interpret reality as, yes, liberal bias.

Kyle Drennen, in a Feb. 6 post, has decided that CBS is "defend[ing]" the closing of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Why? Because of a report stating that "President Bush said repeatedly he wanted to close the prison at Guantanamo, where suspected terrorists were being held indefinitely without trial. Turns out it was his own vice president who stood in the way," and because it corrected the claim made by former Vice President Dick Cheney that 61 former Guantanamo detainees have returned to terrorism by pointing out that "only 18 have been confirmed."

At no point does Drennen contradict any of the claims made by the CBS report; rather, he seems to be complaining that CBS is committing bias by reporting the truth.

Scott Whitlock has a similar freak-out over factual reporting in another Feb. 6 post, taking offense at NBC's "Today" for noting the popularity of President Obama as demonstrated by the various Obama tsochkes available, huffing that the show "decided to fawn over the branding of the new President" and was "marveling at the new Obama-related products." Again, no contradiction of the facts, merely offense that the undeniable fact of Obama's popularity was acknowledged in a news report.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:57 AM EST
WND Ignores MRC's Alleged Deception in ABC Attack
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Feb. 6 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn uncritically repeats claims by Brent Bozell and the Media Research Center that "ABC's George Stephanopoulos conducts a teleconference each morning with Democratic strategists," but it ignores the bigger scandal: that ABC accused the MRC of burying ABC's response to a MRC subsidiary answering questions about the issue so that Bozell could claim that ABC refused to respond.

While Zahn cited a letter to Bozell by Kerry Smith, senior vice president of editorial quality at ABC News, and provides an opportunity for Bozell to respond to selected claims raised by Smith, there's no mention of the serious claim Smith makes:

Furthermore, last Friday, a reporter from CNS News, which was founded by you and continues to be directly affiliated with the MRC, contacted our media relations staff for a piece he'd been assigned to write on this very topic. We cooperated immediately and provided him an on the record response. We have since learned from your reporter that his story was killed.  

As we've noted, this raises the question of whether the CNS story was killed so that Bozell could claim that ABC refused to respond -- an accusation the MRC has failed to acknowledge, let alone respond to, on its website or anywhere else.

Wouldn't Bozell and the MRC want to defend their honor in the face of such an accusation if they felt that it was wrong? Yet it has been silent -- and WND's Zahn allowed them to continue their silence.

Regarding Bozell's original assertion that "ABC News must address this publicly and comprehensively": That now applies to Bozell and the accusation that his organization killed a story in order to perpetuate a false attack.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, February 8, 2009 1:08 AM EST
Saturday, February 7, 2009
WND's Washington Seizes on Ginsburg's Illness to Bash Her
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Anyone whose main sources of comfort are "the Bible, WorldNetDaily and the Michael Savage radio show" has problems dealing with reality. And Ellis Washington comes through again with his whacked-out right-wing stylings in his Feb. 7 WND column marking Ruth Bader Ginsburg's recent cancer surgery by spreading lies about her.

Washington cites "an interesting article on Justice Ginsburg by Edward Whelar," and proceeds to repeat alleged "facts" in the article that Washington makes no apparent attempt to fact-check -- even though they have been debunked long ago. Let's examine a few, as quoted by Washington:

1. Protecting prostitution. Citing Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972), and Roe v. Wade (1973) as judicial precedent in support of prostitution, Ginsburg theorized that federal laws against prostitution "are subject to several constitutional and policy objections. Prostitution, as a consensual act between adults, is arguably within the zone of privacy protected by recent constitutional decisions." Ginsburg proposed that the federal laws against prostitution be repealed.

In fact, Ginsburg merely stated that an argument could be made that the act of prostitution is constitutionally protected. When the issue arose during Ginsburg's 1993 confirmation hearings, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch agreed that the sentence could not be construed as a stated position, much less a belief: "You were making an academic point. I understand. I'm not trying to indicate that you were justifying prostitution."

Certainly, as a law professor, Washington understands what an academic legal point is. Uh, right?

2. Protecting bigamy. Throughout her long legal career, Ginsburg has considered laws prohibiting the rights of bigamists "of questionable constitutionality since it appears to encroach impermissibly upon private relationships."

In fact, Ginsburg questioned the constitutionality of legislation that restricted the right to vote or hold office of bigamists or "persons cohabiting with more than one person." Ginsburg wrote that the provision "appears to encroach impermissibly upon private relationships" and recommended that it "be narrowed to avoid conflict with constitutionally protected privacy interests."

6. Reducing the age of consent to 12. Ginsburg had recommended legislative changes that would reduce the age of consent for statutory rape under federal law from 16 to 12.

In fact, Ginsburg advocated no such thing. Ginsburg's report noted a 1973 Senate bill as an example of legislation that rejected the "traditional sex discriminatory fashion" in which the United States Code defined rape. The bill laid out three circumstances as constituting rape, including that "the other person is, in fact, less than twelve years old." But Ginsburg cited the bill only for the purposes of noting its gender-neutral language and did not address the merits of the clause regarding "age of consent."

As we noted above, Washington does indeed claim to be a law professor. Anyone unfortunate enough to have to learn law from him has our sympathies.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:36 AM EST
Aaron Klein Carries Water for Netanyahu
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein has long been a hater of outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert -- even trying to destabilize him during an Israeli military action -- and a promoter of right-wing Israeli politician Benjamin Netanyahu.

So it's no surprise that Klein would be touting Netanyahu less than a week before Israeli national elections. In a Feb. 5 WND article, Klein highlights how Netanyahu allegedly "secretly issued a stern warning to Hamas that if its rocket campaign continues once he's in power, he will not hesitate to eliminate the terror group's leadership in both the Gaza Strip and Syria." Klein offers no on-the-record confirmation of this story.

Also unsurprisingly, Klein fails to identify the right-wing political leanings of Netanyahu and his Likud party, describing Netanyahu only as a "opposition leader."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:53 AM EST
Meanwhile ...
Pandagon dismantles Matt Barber's Feb. 4 column about, er, Big Homo (no, really).

Posted by Terry K. at 1:28 AM EST
Friday, February 6, 2009
Newsmax Headline Watch
Topic: Newsmax

The headline the Associated Press put on a Feb. 5 article: "Obama orders energy-efficient standards."

Newsmax's headline on the same article: "Obama Orders Costly Energy Standards on Appliances."

The article, however, mentions nothing about the alleged cost of the standards, making Newsmax's assertion that the standards are "costly" completely baseless. Further, the article points out that Obama is not ordering new standards, just that previously established standards be followed:

Laws on the books already require new efficiency standards for household and commercial appliances. But they have been backlogged in a tangle of missed deadlines, bureaucratic disputes and litigation. In essence, Obama's intent is to say that legal deadlines must be met, with priority being given to those standards that are likely to yield the best pocketbook savings for consumers.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:30 PM EST
Updated: Friday, February 6, 2009 12:32 PM EST
Newsmax Baselessly Attacks Obama's Ice Storm Response
Topic: Newsmax

Apparently cribbing from the same Republican talking points, two Newsmax columnists have attacked President Obama's response to deadly ice storms in Kentucky. From a Feb. 5 column by Brad Blakeman:

Devastating ice storms have rocked Kentucky, prompting Gov. Steve Beshear to seek disaster aid, USAToday reports. And yet the Obama administration has remained silent on the issue.

This marks Kentucky’s largest and most extensive natural disaster in history: 25 are dead, 600,000 are without power, and people by scores are holed up in shelters.

Yet, in spite of the suffering of hundreds of thousands of our fellow Americans, Obama hasn’t said a word.

To be fair, he did sign disaster declarations; but these are pro forma and done by staff at the request of the states affected. The situation warrants much more.

Where is the outrage? The president should have at least dispatched the vice president to the region if he himself could not make it.

As the president was at his Super Bowl party at the White House, thousands of Kentucky residents sat in darkness waiting for help, as power had yet to be restored to many parts of the area.

From a Feb. 5 column by Michael Reagan:

When somebody asks why Barack Obama isn’t flying over storm-ravaged Kentucky the way they asked why George Bush why he didn’t fly over New Orleans after Katrina, you can bet his flunkies will say it was a mistake.

Here’s a tragedy where hundreds of thousands of people are shivering in frigid weather without electricity, and Barack Obama is hosting Super Bowl parties in the warm and comfy White House.

When George Bush didn’t go the New Orleans, it was seen as a crime of enormous proportions. When Barack Obama gives a party instead of giving aid and comfort to ice-stricken Kentuckians, it must be an oversight — a mistake.

The problem with Reagan's and Blakeman's anti-Obama rants? They doesn't reflect reality. From a Feb. 2 Associated Press article:

In the first real test of the Obama administration's ability to respond to a disaster, Kentucky officials are giving the federal government good marks for its response to a deadly ice storm.


[Kentucky Gov. Steve] Beshear asked Obama for a disaster declaration to free up federal assistance Thursday, two days after the storm hit, and Obama issued it hours later. Trucks loaded with supplies began arriving at a staging area at Fort Campbell, Ky., on Friday morning, said Mary Hudak, a spokeswoman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

On Saturday, Beshear ordered all of the state's Army National Guardsmen into action to distribute supplies, many of which came from FEMA.

Beshear has consistently praised Obama, a fellow Democrat, for the attention he's devoted to what Beshear calls the biggest natural disaster to hit his state.

"We have had tremendous and quick response from President Obama and his administration," Beshear said Monday. "I don't think any of our folks that have dealt with disasters before ever recall as quick a response as we got last Wednesday."

Trina Sheets, executive director of the National Emergency Management Association, based in Lexington, Ky., said that from what she's heard, FEMA's response has been very good so far. Her group represents emergency management directors from all 50 states.

"The governor's declaration request for an emergency was turned around very, very quickly by FEMA and the White House," said Sheets, who just had her power restored Monday after four days without it. "And President Obama has spoken with the governor of Kentucky on several occasions throughout the event."

Sheets said she hadn't heard any complaints so far about the federal response.

"FEMA and the Kentucky National Guard are doing everything they can to get things back up and running," Sen. Jim Bunning said.

If the governor of Kentucky and state emergency officials don't have a problem with the Obama administration's response, why should Blakeman and Reagan?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:33 AM EST
Angry Right-Wingers At WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Reb Bradley writes in a Feb. 5 WorldNetDaily column:

Democrats have won the presidency and both houses of Congress. Should we expect that their reputation as angry liberals will change? Don't count on it. It has been my observation that liberals are angry whether they are in power or not.


In case you have never read the research, conservatives do tend to be happier in life than both liberals and independents. According to a series of Gallup polls over the years, Republicans consistently rate happier than Democrats – as much as 12 percent higher, even when liberals are in power.

Bradley is clearly not reading WND's commentary page. From a Feb. 5 WND column by Erik Rush:

Having Barack Obama as our first black president is analogous to Dennis Rodman having been America's first black basketball player. No one can deny Mr. Rodman's credentials as an outstanding basketball player, unless one is a mental deficient. However, no one can deny that he is also a skanky creep, unless one is a mental deficient bereft of any character whatsoever.


Then, this pretentious clown (and I mean that in the most Ringling Brothers sort of way) publicly ripped into corporate executives for the economic problems the world is facing to perpetuate the myth that they are responsible, when he knows – he knows – that the Barney Frank and Chris Dodd (the only senator to take more from Fannie Mae than Obama himself) contingent in Congress actually brought it all about. It is his own party that gingerly and eagerly flicked the first domino with its augmentation of the Community Reinvestment Act.

To the informed, this is not a matter of giving a new president the benefit of the doubt to see if he'll "make good" and "do what's right" for America. The informed have known since 2007 (if not earlier) that Barack Obama is the worst of the Democratic left, a practiced liar and a Marxist. 


This national Obamagasm is like an episode of "The Twilight Zone" or "Star Trek" (the original): Only one, or perhaps a select few, recognize the monster for what it is; everyone else is either oblivious, or somehow paying slavish deference to it. By the time it is unmasked, the damage it has done is incalculable.

Does a man who likens the president of the United States to a "skanky creep" sound like a happy conservative to you?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:32 AM EST
Examiner Misleads on Obama Defense Budget
Topic: Washington Examiner

A Feb. 5 Washington Examiner editorial forwards a version of the false meme that President Obama wants to cut the defense budget, asserting that "Obama has demanded that the Pentagon trim its budget request by an astonishing 10 percent."

While what the Examiner wrote is technically true, at no point does the Examiner bother to put it into context -- as we've noted, Obama's budget target for the Pentagon is still $14 billion higher than the current budget, so there's no cut at all.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:24 AM EST
ABC 1, MRC 0
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has been screeching for a while now about a Politico report that ABC host George Stephanopoulos engages in daily round-robin calls with former colleagues James Carville, Paul Begala and Rahm Emanuel, as they have since the Clinton administration. The MRC has decided that this means Stephanopoulos is a shill for the Obama administration, and has been on the attack ever since.

A Jan. 29 press release featuring MRC honcho Brent Bozell demanding that Stephanopoulos "must from this point forward recuse himself from any reporting involving the Obama Administration" was followed by a Feb. 4 open letter to ABC News president David Westin demanding that "ABC News must address this publicly and comprehensively" (bold underline in original), adding the not-so-subtle threat:

ABC News may decide that silence is the best policy. I assure you that will be a mistake. We will not stop this discussion. If you think you are bleeding audience numbers now, what do you suppose will be your audience’s reaction when it is established that your Chief Washington Correspondent continues to be a key strategist for the Democratic Party?

ABC has now responded in a letter by Kerry Smith, senior vice president of editorial quality at ABC News, posted by Politico's Michael Calderone, and he attacks right back, accusing Bozell and the MRC of deception:

In your letter and public utterances you falsely assert that ABC News has been silent on this matter. That is simply untrue. Upon reading your press release last week, we reached out to the MRC to make it abundantly clear that you had totally mischaracterized the Politico story written by John Harris last Tuesday.  Indeed, Politico posted a story last Friday by Ben Smith pointing out exactly how badly you had mangled the facts.

Oh, but it gets better:

Furthermore, last Friday, a reporter from CNS News, which was founded by you and continues to be directly affiliated with the MRC, contacted our media relations staff for a piece he'd been assigned to write on this very topic. We cooperated immediately and provided him an on the record response. We have since learned from your reporter that his story was killed. 

As County Fair's Jamison Foser points out, the question now is whether the CNS story was killed so that Bozell could claim that ABC refused to talk about it. Refusing to tell the other side of the story is certainly of a piece with CNS' new aggressive anti-Obama agenda.

How will Bozell -- not to mention CNS' Terry Jeffrey -- respond to being called on their BS? We can't wait to find out. 

UPDATE: Corrected author of ABC letter.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:07 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, February 8, 2009 1:11 AM EST
Thursday, February 5, 2009
CNS Touts Misleading Inhofe Report

A Feb. 4 article by Ryan Byrnes uncritically stated that Republican Sen. James Inhofe, ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, "issued a minority report last month that quoted 650 top scientists who challenge the claim that global warming is man-made."

Byrnes failed to note legitimate concerns raised about the report -- as we've noted, it's been pointed out that the vast majority of the people in the report were recycled from a similar previous report, which included people with no demonstrated expertise in climate science (or science, period). That would seem to contradict the assertion that the report includes only "top scientists."

Posted by Terry K. at 7:12 PM EST
Huston Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot
Topic: NewsBusters

A Feb. 5 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston sneered that a reporter jumped a rope line seeking Barack Obama's autograph, "like a star struck 15-year old at a Hannah Montana concert" who "apparently couldn't resist the siren call of The One." Huston's sneering dragged on:

Gosh, it's always great to hear of these types of stories of the hard-nosed press corps that is so cynical as to scoff at anyone that might be a tad awed by a mere politician isn't it? We all know that reporters are way too nonchalant about the lure of The One to be all taken with his presence so, right? His autograph? Pshaw. That is absurd. Why, WHO would want the autograph of a politician? Heck, reporters see politicians everyday, so it's just old hat, part of the job, uninteresting. Yep, good thing they are above hero worship!

But wait, this is The Obammessiah we are talking about. He's no normal politician! He's the man that can decide how much you are allowed to make as a head of industry. A man who can lay hands upon you and make all your tax cheating disappear. The man that can claim the moral high ground against lobbyists, yet hire over a dozen lobbyists anyway. He's the man that can control even other nations with but the gesture of a finger, he's so loved across the world.

No wonder the press acts like autograph hounds at a Hollywood premiere every time they see him. It's a wonder that the press doesn't mob him every time he appears! One wonders how many room keys and thrown underwear the White House cleaning staff finds on the floor every time the press and Obama leave the room?

The star struck press. I wonder how many of them that have had the good fortune to have shook The One's hand told their significant others that they'll never wash that hand again?

But who was that reporter? As Politico reports, it's Robert Feuereisen of Jewish World Review -- a conservative website that Huston's colleagues think so highly of, it's on the NewsBusters blogroll. (Then again, NewsBusters also has Ace of Spades on its blogroll, so maybe that's not as prestigious as it seems.)

We'd complain about Huston engaging his brain before opening his mouth, but that would rob us of a lot of prime material

Posted by Terry K. at 4:35 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, February 5, 2009 4:37 PM EST
CNS' Attack Mode
Topic: has descended into full Obama attack mode. Today's slate of articles demonstrate CNS' heavy bias by touting Republican criticism and providing no opportunity for anyone to respond to it:

By contrast, the one story that begins with a Democratic claim -- "Pelosi: ‘I Can’t Think in Terms of Stimulus Failing in Senate’" by Ryan -- permits a Republican congressman and a spokesman for the conservative Heritage Foundation to respond to the claim.

So much for CNS' declared mission of "fairly present[ing] all legitimate sides of a story."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:27 PM EST
Moore Takes Obama's Words Out of Context
Topic: WorldNetDaily

While has been obsessed with singling out Barack Obama's mention of "nonbelievers" in an inclusive description of Americans, WorldNetDaily has been nearly as bothered by by his mention of Muslims.

We've previously noted Aaron Klein taking "Muslim" out of its context as describing America as "no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation and a nation of nonbelievers." Now lawbreaking judge Roy Moore purports to take offense in his Feb. 4 WND column.

The headline of his column asks, "Is America really a 'Muslim nation'?" But Obama never claimed it was. Moore goes on to insist that, Obama's recognition of all Americans aside, the only religion that should matter is Christianity:

I recognize that many cultures have influenced America. But those who settled this country and shaped its laws and governments were overwhelmingly Christians, from Christian countries, who believed in Christian values. Obama is like many other secularists who believe that religious freedom is a gift from man.


To state that this is a Muslim nation, a Hindu nation, or a nation of nonbelievers is to deny that God is the grantor of religious freedom. It is also a denigration of the Christian faith to just another religion. 


I thank God that we are not a Muslim nation, but a Christian nation that acknowledges the God Who gives religious freedom to all people according to the dictates of their conscience. That is why Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews and non-believers can practice what they choose in America.

Moore ignores the fact that Christians have a long history of persecuting Jews and Muslims, among others, which has happened to some extent in America, and that it's the secularism of the past half-century which Moore disdains that created the current situation in which "Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews and non-believers can practice what they choose in America" (though maybe not Muslims) without a fear of persecution. If Moore had his way, that would not be occuring.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:50 AM EST
New Article: Failing the Audition
CNSNews tries -- and fails -- to create an Obama controversy where there isn't one. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:32 AM EST

Newer | Latest | Older

Bookmark and Share

Get the WorldNetDaily Lies sticker!

Find more neat stuff at the ConWebWatch store!

Buy through this Amazon link and support ConWebWatch!

Support This Site

« February 2009 »
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28

Bloggers' Rights at EFF
Support Bloggers' Rights!

News Media Blog Network

Add to Google