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Sunday, February 15, 2009
More Ranting From Don Feder
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Don Feder offers yet another reason why his Accuracy In Media-funded New York Times boycott website is a sad joke.

In a Feb. 9 article, Feder rants about a Times article about lessons learned from Japan's economic malaise in the 1990s. According to Feder, the Times "tried to rationalize Japan’s demonstrable failure with government spending to counteract an economic slump."

Feder noted a claim in the article that Japan's spending "managed to forestall a 1930s-style depression" then retorted that it "was never a threat." Feder also references an ad paid for by the Cato Foundation "signed by more that 200 economists, including Nobel laureates" which states that "more government spending did not solve Japan's 'lost decade' in the 1990s." But an ad is not evidence.

AIM pays Feder to not only write stuff like this, but gives him a free website to publish it on. There are no editorial standards, no insistence that Feder back up his hateful rants with anything approaching substantive evidence.

It's interesting that AIM has that kind of money to waste. Where can we get a job like Feder's?

Posted by Terry K. at 5:00 PM EST
Lowell Ponte's Global Warming Fiction
Topic: Newsmax

A Feb. 14 Newsmax article by Lowell Ponte serves up the following premise: Because Energy Secretary Steven Chu cited drought and water shortages as threatening agriculture and city life in California, and rainstorms "across and drenched much of the state" soon after Chu made his statement, that means global warming is a fraud.

As evidence to support his claim, Ponte quotes James Taylor of the conservative global-warming-denying Heartland Insititute as claiming that weather patterns supposedly contradicting statements on global warming "the Gore Effect. ... Almost every time global warming doomsayer Al Gore speaks or his movie is shown, unusual cold or blizzards happen. And now we have the Chu Effect. He warns of global warming-caused drought in California, and the heavens reply with almost nonstop rains. Maybe somebody up there is trying to tell us something."

But Ponte and Taylor are peddling a lie. As we've noted, short-term changes in weather bear no relevance to the global warming debate. Even Patrick Michaels -- a skeptic whom Ponte quotes in his story -- has warned against portraying short-term weather trends as indicative of the existence (or not) of global warming.

Ponte ironically chastises Chu and others for "preaching politicized science" and "[g]iving emotion more credence than concrete evidence"when he is serving as a megaphone for politicized science on the other side and ignoring concrete evidence that contradicts his political opinions.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:30 PM EST
AIM's Revisionist History on Clinton Scandals, Jeff Gannon
Topic: Accuracy in Media

In a Feb. 13 Accuracy in Media attack on Helen Thomas, Wes Vernon not only engages in false rehashes of Clinton scandals, he does a little revisionist history on Jeff Gannon.

In a bullet-point list of supposed Clinton scandals Thomas allegedly didn't investigate, Vernon references "The unresolved questions surrounding the death of Vince Foster," ignoring that numerous investigations into the matter have determined that his death was a suicide. Vernon also cites:

The administration’s persecution of Billy Dale, White House Travel Office Director for three decades, in order to make way for Clinton cronies. Dale was falsely accused of embezzlement (for which he was found not guilty in a court of law). The ruined and disrupted lives of Dale and six other employees were of little concern to the Clintons.

In fact, the final report on "Travelgate" issued by independent counsel Robert Ray concluded not only that Clinton was within his rights to fire the Travel Office employees because the "served at the pleasure of President Bill Clinton, and they were subject to discharge without cause," there was evidence of financial irregularities under Dale's leadership:

Even were cause a prerequisite for the employees’ discharge, there was, at the time the firings occurred, evidence of financial mismanagement in the Travel Office. The audit of Travel Office operations by Peat Marwick KPMG had uncovered evidence relating to the handling of the petty cash account. The auditors had reported their findings to David Watkins. And, based principally upon the Peat Marwick report, the Federal Bureau of Investigation had determined that sufficient evidence existed to provide the requisite predicate for the opening of a criminal investigation.

Vernon further references "Bill Clinton’s rejection of an offer from Sudan to hand the U.S. Osama bin Laden on a platter." That's not true either: the 9/11 Commission found no reliable evidence to support the claim that Sudan made such an offers.

Vernon goes on to call President Clinton a " law-license losing perjurer" -- but Clinton was never charged, let alone convicted, of perjury. He also asserts that Clinton was "credibly accused of raping Juanita Broaddrick in Arkansas in 1978," but ignores that Broaddrick's credibility is, in fact, lacking.

That Vernon would cling to bogus Clinton scandals is no surprise -- remember, he used to work for Newsmax. But Vernon veers off into goofy territory when he unfavorably compares Thomas to ... Jeff Gannon. Yes, that Jeff Gannon.

Vernon regurgitates fellow AIM conspiracy theorist Cliff Kincaid's assertion that "left-wing bloggers" had "taken the scalp of an online conservative journalist" because he was deemed "too pro-Republican, attended White House briefings, and asked questions unfair to Democrats." Vernon added: "But Kincaid noted that Helen Thomas had been giving anti-Bush speeches disguised as questions at these briefings for years without any critical comment from the liberals."

Actually, the problem with Gannon is that his "news" reports were little more then rewritten Republican press releases, he served as the go-to guy for then-press secretary Scott McClellan when he needed an easy question to answer, as well as that the only relevant journalistic experience Gannon had was a two-day seminar hosted by the right-wing Leadership Institute.

Vernon also whitewashes Gannon's background, stating only that "was associated with some homosexual-sounding website addresses." It was a tad more than that: they were gay escort websites. Vernon added: "This line of attack was ironic given that Media Matters, which led the attack on Gannon, was founded by David Brock, a one-time closeted homosexual." No, it wasn't ironic, since, as we noted when Kincaid first made that claim, Media Matters was investigating Gannon well before his gay-escort history was uncovered.

Instead, Vernon faults the "left-wing blogosphere" for doing "a massive investigation of Gannon’s personal and family life," which allegedly resulted in "harassing phone calls to his mother who was in her seventies."

Demonstrating his support for a discredited right-wing hack, Vernon uncritically quotes Gannon's smear of Thomas, who likened respect given to a 88-year-old veteran reporter to people "aying respect to a Mafia don."

Of course, this may be a show of semi-professional courtesy as well -- this column unequivocally shows Vernon to be a discredited right-wing hack, too.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:58 AM EST
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Corsi Channels Andy Martin's Crackpot Theories
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Last October, we noted that Jerome Corsi appeared to be following in whackjob Andy Martin's footsteps by traipsing around Hawaii in pursuit of the alleged truth of Barack Obama's birth. Apparently Corsi has a much closer relationship with Martin than we thought.

In an appearance on the Feb. 13 edition of Bill Cunningham's radio show, Corsi demonstreates that he apparently believes Martin's claim that Frank Marshall Davis is Obama's father:

CORSI: Most people's birth certificates are mundane and uninteresting. If a person doesn't want to show it, he's hiding something. Now, it may be -- it may be foreign born. Maybe there's a secret about who the real parents are. Maybe there's something there being hidden.

CUNNINGHAM: You mean Frank Marshall Davis.

CORSI: Well, I mean, I -- you know, I continue to look at Frank Marshall Davis. Frank Marshall Davis wrote two autobiographical sex novels, and he said that he and his wife, you know, had an affair with this couple from Seattle. Well, I mean, OK, is that the -- is that Obama's grandparents?

CUNNINGHAM: I don't know.

CORSI: I don't know.

CUNNINGHAM: They're from Seattle.

CORSI: They're from Seattle. It's in the autobiography of Frank Marshall Davis. I mean, I can -- all the -- there are pieces here that don't fit. Ann Dunham is registered at the University of Washington when she's supposed to be in Hawaii having the baby. What's that all about?

Is this why WND is desperately clinging to this smear? Is this why WND is so desperate to disguise the fact that it found the birth certificate released by Obama's campaign to be authentic?

Corsi has already peddled bogus documents to falsely smear Obama. So it's not too surprising -- if all too telling -- that Corsi finds a man who once founded an organization called "The Anthony R. Martin-Trigona Congressional Campaign to Exterminate Jew Power in America" to be credible.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:13 PM EST
NewsBusters Double Standard Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

A Feb. 12 NewsBusters post by Jeff Poor criticizes Jonathan Alter for claiming that the Republicans' stance against the stimulus is not principled and is based on "based on an ill-conceived, low-percentage bet that the proposal would fail," countering that "here are reasonable voices without political interests at heart, not facing a primary challenge that is, that oppose the entire concept of this stimulus package."

Poor might have a point if NewsBusters hadn't promoted the opposite point -- that the only possible reason Democrats support a stimulus is to buy votes. Indeed, a Jan. 24 post by Noel Sheppard uncritically repeats Rush Limbaugh's assertion that the stimulus "is aimed at re-establishing 'eternal' power for the Democrat [sic] Party rather than stimulating the economy."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:55 AM EST
Newsmax Reprints Misleading Article
Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax posted on its Moneynews website (and promoted on its main website) a Feb. 13 McClatchy article claiming that "a range of respected economists" have said that the stimulus bill won't work. The problem, as Media Matters detailed: That "range" is pretty narrow. And the only person identified as being associated with Democrats or progressives quoted in the story said that the stimulus bill was "a necessary condition for economic stabilization and recovery."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:59 AM EST
Friday, February 13, 2009
FrontPageMag Misleads On Union Bill
Topic: Horowitz

A Feb. 11 FrontPageMag article by John A. Sparks repeated the false claim that the Employee Free Choice Act would "do away with traditional secret-ballot elections which are now used to determine whether or not employees in an enterprise want to be represented by a union."

In fact, as we've detailed, the EFCA does not eliminate the right to a secret ballot; it adds the option of a "card check" and makes the choice to have an election the employees' instead of the employer's.

Sparks also claims that the current system keeps union-formation issues "free from the pressure of either the employer or the union." In fact, employers regularly pressure employees against union membership under the current system. The number of complaints filed by the National Labor Relations Board against employers for committing unfair labor practices far outweigh those filed by the NLRB against union organizations, and one survey found that found that 25 percent of employers fired at least one worker for union activity and that 51 percent of employers told employees that their plant might close if workers unionized.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:32 PM EST
Examiner Repeats False Pelosi Mouse Claim
Topic: Washington Examiner

A Feb. 13 Washington Examiner "family-friendly news satire" by Scott Ott (not on the Examiner website as far as we could tell) begins with the claim that "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended the inclusion of $30 million in stimulus package money to preserved the habitat of the endangered Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse."

The mouse story is false. There is no money in the stimulus bill dedicated to protecting the salt marsh mouse. Nevertheless, Matt Drudge and Fox News promoted the claim, which is likely where Ott picked it up.

Hint to Ott: Satire works better when it's based on truth. 

Posted by Terry K. at 2:59 PM EST
Time For Another Outraged Letter from Brent Bozell?
Topic: Media Research Center

Another Sunday morning network talking-head show host has been found to be spending quality time with a political operative. Looks like it's time for Brent Bozell to send another outraged letter to a network news president demanding answers, declaring the host to be hopelessly biased and serving as the operative's "in-house spin doctor" in creating media narratives, and insisting that the host not be allowed to report or comment on activities involving the operative and his associates -- just as he did with ABC's George Stephanopoulos.

Oh, wait -- the host is "Fox News Sunday's" Chris Wallace, who went on a hunting trip with Karl Rove.

That means there's no problem at all, as far as Bozell is concerned. Bozell does not hold Fox News to the same standards as ABC.

Never mind, then. As you were...

Posted by Terry K. at 1:12 PM EST
O'Leary's Poll Now Includes Actual Lies
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Brad O'Leary seems not to understand that misleading poll questions make for answers that are not taken seriously by anyone who knows anything about polls. Or maybe he's decided that he can fool enough of the people enough of the time.

We've previously noted O'Leary peddling the misleading questions in the Zogby poll he commissioned (through his barely existent "news" organization ATI) as somehow meaningful. He's back in a Feb. 13 WorldNetDaily column peddling more bogus poll questions. Like this one:

"The current stimulus package supported by President Obama contains nearly $4.2 billion for neighborhood stabilization activities that could go to organizations such as ACORN or the League of Women Voters, that would spend it on voter registration activities and other community involvement programs. Do you favor or oppose this spending provision?"

As we've repeatedly detailed, ACORN is not even mentioned in the stimulus bill, let alone allocated any money, and ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis has stated the group isn't even eligible for the money. So O'Leary's assertion that the money "could go to ... ACORN" is a speculative scare tactic that invalidates the response.

O'Leary's bought-and-paid-for poll also asks:

"The stimulus bill would allow undocumented workers, who are also referred to as illegal aliens, who are working and paying taxes to collect a tax rebate check of $500 per person. Do you agree or disagree with this provision?"

That's an outright lie. As we've also repeatedly detailed, Social Security numbers are needed to qualify for the tax credits in the bill, which, by definition, excludes the vast majority of illegal immigrants. Another false scare tactic, another invalidated response.

O'Leary is running out people he can fool with his lies. Then again, he's writing for WND, which seems to count on attracting gullible readers.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:21 AM EST
Examiner Attack on ACORN Built on False Claim
Topic: Washington Examiner

The Feb. 12 Washington Examiner featured a two-page attack on ACORN built around a piece by local opinion editor Barbara Hollingsworth, the premise of which is that the stimulus bill "gives ACORN access to a $4.19 billion pot of money." Hollingsworth further asserts that "the largest radical group in the country ... is on the stimulus list."

As we've repeatedly detailed, that's a lie -- ACORN is not even mentioned in the stimulus bill, let alone allocated any money. Further, as ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis has stated: "ACORN isn't getting any of this money. 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 1:04 AM EST
Michael Reagan, Drama Queen
Topic: Newsmax

It is not true that grown men don’t cry. I’m grown and I’m on the verge of tears. The Republic I have loved all my life is being is being murdered, and the crime is an inside job.

If you hear a whirring sound in the background, it is my dad Ronald Reagan, who loved and served this nation, spinning in his grave as his latest successor plunges a carving knife into America’s vital organs.

-- Michael Reagan, Feb. 12 Newsmax column

Posted by Terry K. at 12:33 AM EST
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Palling-Around-With-Terrorists Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah is once again filling in for G. Gordon Liddy on his radio show.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:11 PM EST
Huston Falsely Suggests Bush Didn't Pre-Pick Questions
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Jan. 12 NewsBusters post, Warner Todd Huston noted a reporter's claim that Barack Obama "has pre-picked those journalists whom he will allow to ask him questions at the conference" and asked: "Would they have allowed George W. Bush to pre-pick journalists like that? Would they meekly sit by and allow themselves to be systematically ignored, their freedom to ask questions silenced by any Republican? Would journalists so eagerly vie with one another for the favor of Bush like they are Obama's?"

Huston repeated his point again in a Feb. 12 post, asking, "I also wondered if this same 'free press' would have meekly allowed president Bush get away with treating the press in such a way? Or would they have raised a hue and cry that would have deafened the world?"

Of course, Huston is wrong. As Glenn Greenwald and Media Matters have pointed out, Bush  regularly conducted press conferences by calling on reporters from a pre-selected list.

Was Huston howling about that at the time? We suspect he wasn't. 

Posted by Terry K. at 11:49 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 4:41 PM EST
P.J. Gladnick's 'Public'
Topic: NewsBusters

A Feb. 11 NewsBusters post by P.J. Gladnick declares, "Julio the McDonald's Guy Panned by Public." He's referring to Julio Asegueda, the overexcited guy asking President Obama a question at a town hall meeting.

And who is this "public" that Gladnick claims has rejected Asegueda? A commenter at Michelle Malkin's website and a handful of commenters at YouTube.

Not exactly a representative sample, is it?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:26 AM EST

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