Vadum Swings, Misses Again in Attack on Media Matters Topic: Capital Research Center
We finally got around to reading Matthew Vadum's attack on Media Matters (disclosure: our employer) in the current issue of Townhall magazine. Vadum, of the right-wing Capital Research Center, has a history of putting his hatred of all things non-conservative ahead of the facts in his so-called research, so there was sure to be more whoppers this time around. Let's see what he botches, shall we?
-- Vadum repeats his favoritefalsehood, that George Soros funds Media Matters. This time around, he seems to concede that he knows he's lying by fudging numbers. He states that Media Matters "has received $7 million under the auspices of the Democracy Alliance, a Soros-led consortium of wealthy liberals that matches donors to causes it believes will make a lasting contribution to the success of the so-called progressive movement. The $7 million donation may have come from Soros himself, though Media Matters denies it." In fact, the Democracy Alliance makes no donations in its name; it is, as the Washington Post describes it, "an accreditation agency for political advocacy groups." Donors make contributions in their own names based on Democracy Alliance recommendations.
This is just another way of falsely suggesting that Soros directly donates to Media Matters when Vadum knows very well he hasn't.
-- Vadum states that "in-house columnist" Eric Alterman "writes the 'Altercation' blog that appears on the Media Matters website." In fact, Alterman last wrote Altercation for Media Matters in December; it now appears at The Nation's webiste.
-- Vadum complains that Media Matters "relies heavily on personal attacks rather than substantive or-fact-based arguments" -- then smears Media Matters CEO David Brock as "deeply narcissistic" and Morris Dees, head of the Southern Poverty Law Center, as a "race-baiting ambulance chaser."
-- Vadum falsely defends those he deems to have been unfairly attacked by Media Matters. He asserted that Media Matters "suggested Glenn Beck was deadly serious when he asked a guest whether then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was the biblical Anti-Christ. In reality, Beck was attempting to dispel this notion." In fact, as the Media Matters item in question clearly illustrates, Media Matters did not criticize Beck for asking his guest, Rev. John Hagee, whether Obama was the Antichrist; it criticized him for asking Hagee that question instead of discussing numerous controversial statements Hagee -- who had just endorsed Obama's rival, John McCain -- had made.
Vadum also claimed that Media Matters "claimed to be able to read the mind of White House press secretary Robert Gibbs" when it pointed out that Gibbs was not issuing a threat to CNBC's Rick Santelli over Santelli's rant against mortgage bailouts. Vadum quotes only Gibbs' statement that "I'm not entirely sure where Mr. Santelli lives or in what house he lives," suggesting the statement was "ambiguous," uncritically repeated G. Gordon Liddy's asserting that Gibbs was making a "veiled threat," and insisted that "failed to disclose how exactly it knew what Gibbs was thinking." But Vadum took Gibbs out of context and does not reproduce the entirety of Gibb's statement:
I'm not entirely sure where Mr. Santelli lives or in what house he lives, but the American people are struggling every day to meet their mortgage, stay in their job, pay their bills, to send their kids to school, and to hope that they don't get sick or that somebody they care for gets sick and sends them into bankruptcy. I think we left a few months ago the adage that if it was good for a derivatives trader that it was good for Main Street. I think the verdict is in on that.
From the full context, it is obvious that Gibbs was not "ambiguous" and was not threatening Santelli. It's obvious how Media Matters came to its conclusion: not by reading minds but by reading Gibbs' entire statement.
-- Further, Vadum faslely attacked Media Matters' Jamison Foser for pointing out that government spending "does more to stimulate the economy than anything else you can think of"; Vadum snarked, "This no doubt would be news to economists." Vadum ignores the fact that Foser cited economist Mark Zandi -- adviser to John McCain's presidential campaign -- to support his claim. Vadum provides no contradictory evidence.
If Vadum can't get basic facts correct, there's no reason to take his so-called research seriously.
Still Waiting for Sheppard's Apology Topic: NewsBusters
In a May 1 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard graciously acknowledged Jon Stewart's apology for calling Harry Truman a war criminal for using the atomic bomb on Japan. In a May 2 post, Sheppard demands that Al Gore apologize for using a claim from a New York Times article during his April 24 House testimony on global warming that the Times has since updated.
Sheppard, however, has remained stone silent about when an apology is forthcoming from him to Gore for falsely asserting that Gore is profiting from his global warming work. As he detailed in the very same April 24 House testimony Sheppard attacks elsewhere, Gore clearly stated that all profits from his investments in green-economy initiatives go directly to the nonprofit Alliance for Climate Protection.
Feder Still Hurling Misinformed NYT Smears Topic: Accuracy in Media
We don't watch Don Feder's Boycott NYT website as closely as we perhaps should -- after all, Accuracy in Media, which bankrolls Feder's venture, is apparently so ashamed by its association with Feder's slipshodsmears that it won't even link to the project from the main AIM website.
We may have to rethink that stance, because Feder is still coughing up stunning displays of misinformation.
An April 29 article by Feder asserts that New York Times are "unaware" of the Department of Homeland Security report on right-wing extremism, or criticism of it, because the Times never "covered" it.
The problem, of course, is that the Times did cover it here.
Feder adds: "Imagine The Times’ response if the Bush administration had issued a report saying feminists, environmentalists and multiculturalists were apt to be recruited by potentially violent left-wing extremists."
Ilana Mercer's May 1 WorldNetDaily column rhapsodizes over the late Madeleine Pelner Cosman, the "dazzling Randian" and "quintessential 'Renaissance woman'"whose "study of 'the effects of illegal immigration on the United States health-care system' culminated in the article 'Illegal Aliens and American Medicine,' published, in 2005, by The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. It addressed the effects on the health system of the bleeding Southwestern border." Mercer adds: "That Mexico is Swine Flu Ground Zero has thrown Dr. Cosman's work into sharp relief."
In fact, we we've detailed Cosman's "study" is little more than an anti-immigrant screed in which she rants about "Illegal aliens' stealthy assaults on medicine" and demands that America's borders be sealed with "fences, high-tech security devices and troops."More importantly, Cosman got her facts wrong: As we've also noted, she wrote that "Suddenly, in the past three years America has more than 7,000 cases of leprosy"; in fact, that was the cumulative number of leprosy cases over the past 30 years.
Mercer surely knows Cosman got that figure wrong because she cites a New York Times article detailing just how wrong the figure is, then tries to write around Cosman's falsehood:
Seven thousand cases of leprosy over the last 30 years may seem negligible, but "leprosy, a scourge in biblical days and in medieval Europe," had been eradicated in the U.S. Now it's back. By the reluctant admission of the New York Times, it was brought over from Asia and Latin America.
But Mercer overplays it too: As the Times article details, the number of cases rose from 76 in 2000 to 137 in 2006. The article continues:
What about the increase over the last six years, to 137 cases from 76? Is that significant?
“No,” Mr. Krahenbuhl said. It could be a statistical fluctuation, or it could be a result of better data collection in recent years. In any event, the 137 reported cases last year were fewer than in any year from 1975 to 1996.
That's hardly solid evidence of leprosy being "back." But Mercer wants you to think it is, backed up by a discredited "Renaissance woman" and "dazzling Randian."
WND Promotes Another Bogus Poll Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've previously noted how WorldNetDaily touted a dubious poll taken by an infamous push-polling firm as evidence that Roy Moore (who just happens to be a WND columnist) is a "leading candidate" for Alabama governor.
Now, an April 30 WND article finds an even more dubious poll to promote, insisting that Moore is "building on his lead" in the governor's race (about which, WND finally gets around to noting in the article's very last paragraph, Moore has "not made a formal announcement") by winning a "new unscientific readers' poll in the Birmingham Business Journal."
The word "unscientific" is the first clue to the dubiousness of this poll, though WND never explains what that means. In fact, the Birmingham Business Journal "poll" -- like most online polls -- is an opt-in poll that contains no stated restrictions on how many times a person can vote. WND justloves promoting meaningless polls that advance their agenda while hiding from readers just how meaningless they are.
While WND makes a big deal out of how one of Moore's possible opponents had been "directing supporters who visited his website to the poll," it does not indicate whether Moore's supporters were also promoting the poll -- which would seem to be a certainty if other candidates' supporters were, and would account for the poll's skew.
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch Topic: Media Research Center
The appearance of the MRC's on the April 30 edition of Fox News' "America's Newsroom" follows the template: Noyes appeared solo, and neither he nor the MRC are identified as conservative.
Host Megyn Kelly also baselessly called the MRC "the nation's largest media watchdog group." (Disclosure: I work for a certain other media watchdog group that might want to challenge that distinction.)
WND Treats Baseless Speculation As Fact Topic: WorldNetDaily
An April 30 WorldNetDaily article by Andrea Shea King gives unwarranted credence to speculation over the incident of Air Force One flying over New York for photos by someone who hasn't worked in the White House in more than a decade.
King features the claims of "Buzz" Patterson, who once worked in the Clinton White House, insisting tha t"it's almost certain that the "highest levels" of the Obama administration knew about" the stunt while offering no evidence whatsoever to back it up. Patterson is also "guessing" that President Obama himself knew about it.
You know where this is going. Patterson then launches into an anti-Obama screed:
"I think that it shows you… quite clearly the lack of focus or the understanding the Obama White House has toward the military, much like my former boss President Bill Clinton. I think it also shows a kind of arrogance to using toys – I'm sure that would be a phrase President Obama might use, his 'toys' – to get photo op shots around New York City and not recall or remember what happened on 9/11 and the fact that it might have caused some alarm. And I think really, it shows again a hundred days, a hundred mistakes with the Obama administration."
"I think that they are – much like the Clinton administration – incredibly ignorant and devoid of reality when it comes to this country. They didn't even think about the impact this might have, because they don't understand that the war on terror is a real war on terror. They've changed the verbiage. They've changed the terms," he said.
Another reason not to take Patterson seriously: He has a long record of making false and misleadingclaims about Democrats. Most notoriously, he has claimed that then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton "wanted to outlaw uniforms, military uniforms in the White House" -- a never-proven claim whose particulars Patterson changes with each telling.
Our hypothetical terrorist-in-waiting isn’t the head of the Aryan Nation, the Michigan Militia or the Ku Klux Klan. He is President Barack Hussein Obama, whose extremist ties include Bill Ayers, ACORN, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright and Louis Farrakhan. If you see the president acting suspiciously in an airport, please advise law-enforcement personnel.
Instead of smearing Obama’s opponents, perhaps the Department of Homeland Security should be staking out the White House.
NewsBusters Chooses to Trust A Convicted Killer Topic: NewsBusters
An April 30 NewsBusters post by Brad Wilmouth runs to the defense of Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx, who in a speech on the House floor called the claim that the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard was a hate crime (Shepard was gay) a "hoax" and insisting it was merely a robbery gone bad. Wilmouth cited a 2004 segment of ABC's "20/20" which, in Wilmouth's words, "made a credible case that Shepard was targeted by Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson not because of anti-gay sentiment, but because McKinney was high on methamphetamines, giving him unusual violent tendencies as well as a desire for cash to buy more drugs." The main proponents of this claim are the killers themselves.
But Wilmouth overlooks a couple things conflicting with such a conclusion, which, as we've detailed, has been embraced by right-wingers in an effort to oppose giving hate-crime protections to gays.
First, McKinney attempted a "gay panic" defense during his trial. Second, he has given multiple, conflicting accounts of what happened the night of Shepard's murder. Third, he's a convicted felon and a murderer -- not exactly the most trustworthy guy.
As a Wyoming police detective who worked on the Shepard case said: "Only three people know what really happened that night. ... One of them is dead and the other two are known liars and convicted felons -- murderers."
Further, as the Matthew Shepard Foundation has stated, the ABC report omitted the contents of McKinney's in-custody interview a few days after Shepard's death. That transcript shows "an un-rehearsed and unemotional anti-gay account of the events before, during, and after leaving Matt tied to the fence," according to the foundation.
We've detailed how numerousright-wingers have chosen to trust a convicted felon and murderer rather than examine all the facts of the Shepard case. Add Wilmouth to the list.
An April 30 CNSNews.com article by Edwin Mora touts the pending delivery of a Cardinal Newman Society petition opposing a speech by President Obama at Notre Dame to the school without noting that Brent Bozell, head of the Media Research Center, CNS' parent organization, is on the Cardinal Newman Society board of directors.
Similarly, an April 30 CNS column by editor-in-chief Terry Jeffrey references the Cardinal Newman Society petition without noting his boss is on the group's board.
On a related non-disclosure, an April 30 CNS article by Fred Lucas uncritically repeats the claim that waterboarding Khalid Shaikh Mohammed provided the U.S. "with information that allowed the U.S. government to foil a terror cell 'tasked' with flying a jet into a building in Los Angeles" without noting the fact that the Bush administration claimed that the Los Angeles plot was foiled a year before Mohammed was captured.
I mean, General Motors is caving. General Motors has bent over grabbed the ankles. Chrysler has bent over, grabbed the ankles. What are we supposed to do here? Everybody's scared of Obama. Everybody's scared of the government.
Unsurprisingly, NewsBusters and WorldNetDaily are silent, as they have always been.
O'Leary Buys Another Zogby Poll, WND Promotes It Topic: WorldNetDaily
An April 28 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn touts a "new Zogby poll" that was "commissioned by the O'Leary Report" claiming that "no government control of the Internet, no 'Fairness Doctrine' managing talk radio and if newspaper companies fail as a profitable means of disseminating news, then let them die, because Americans will not support a bailout."
What isn't clear from Zahn's article: Brad O'Leary bought himself another poll.
What the heck is the O'Leary Report? Apparently, it's a newsletter published by O'Leary that, based on the edition posted on his website, is little more than fits of Obama-bashing designed to promote O'Leary's WND-published books, the most recent one being -- surprise! -- an attack on the possible reintroduction of the Fairness Doctrine (even though nobody's actually planning to do that).
It's not until the 23rd paragraph of Zahn's article that O'Leary is even mentioned, and Zahn makes no effort to point out that O'Leary is, in fact, the guy behind the O'Leary Report.
O'Leary has a long history of buying Zogby polls (previously purchased under the name of ATI-News, O'Leary's barely existent news aggregator) to promote his books and views -- as we'vedetailed, the poll questions are manipulated to the point of including misleading and even false claims, so that O'Leary gets the responses he wants in order to further his right-wing attacks.
We couldn't find a link to the actual poll data -- which would have the actual questions that were asked -- at either WND or the O'Leary Report. That O'Leary hasn't make the data public suggests he has something to hide here too.
An April 29 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd touts a right-wing petition demanding that MSNBC host Keith Olbermann give up the raise in his new contract because MSNBC's parent company, General Electric, obtained a "$126 billion taxpayer-funded bailout." Shepard seems unconcerned that the people behind the petition are hiding behind a veil of secrecy.
Nor does Shepherd seem interested in the financial facts of both Olbermann's raise (from $4 million a year to $7.5 million) and the GE bailout.
First, the GE division for which Olbermann works, NBC Universal, is a profitable operation, having made $391 million in the first quarter of 2009 alone with MSNBC in particular credited with "significant profit gains." NBC Universal can very much afford to throw a couple million more at the host of MSNBC's highest-rated program.
Second, the $126 billion figure cited is not a total "bailout" but, rather, more of a credit line. As the Bloomberg article to which the petition links shows, GE has tapped only $41 billion of it. Further, none of that bailout is going to Olbermann or even NBC Universal; it's being used for the company's financial unit, GE Capital which operates independently of NBC Universal.
The petition also ignores the fact that unlike, say, AIG, GE as a whole is a profitable company, having made $2.9 billion in the first quarter even with the problems at GE Capital, which is expected to pass the federal government's "stress test" for financial institutions.
To sum up: GE can afford to pay someone who helps to generate income for his employer in a profitable division even more money, and do so with its own money. Can Shepherd say that about the AIG bonuses?
We know WorldNetDaily doesn't care much for such niceties as basic journalistic ethics, with its repeated failures to disclose personal or business interests in the subjects it covers.
Thus, you will not be surprised that a fluffy April 28 WND profile by Alyssa Farah of homeschooling activist Michael Farris fails to disclose that Farah is a student at Patrick Henry College, of which Farris is founding president and chancellor.
Farah also serves up the following quote by E. Ray Moore Jr., founder of the anti-public-school group Exodus Mandate:
"As recently as June 2008 I was present in the Los Angeles Court of Appeals courtroom when Michael Farris wrapped up the defense case for rights of homeschooling in California and uttered these simple but immortal words, to the court, 'Your honor, you can't stop parents from doing good to their children,'" Moore recalled.
Farah didn't mention the particulars of that case, better known as the Rachel L. case. As we've detailed, the father was a control freak who regularly physically abused his children, didn't want his children to have birth certificates and believed that educating children outside the home exposes them to "snitches." Further, the homeschool education the children did receive was found to be highly deficient, and the girl at the center of the case had reportedly been sexually abused by a friend of the family. Unsurprisingly, WND hid much of this from its readers as it championed the family as a model for homeschooling. (And WND's support of a father who would deny his children birth certificates is rather ironic given its obsession with Barack Obama's birth certificate.)
Yet somehow, Farris apparently believed these parents were "doing good to their children." And Farah apparently didn't feel the need to round out her fluffy profile with incovenient facts proving otherwise.
Newsmax Misleads Again on Obama Inauguration Costs Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax has found a new way to mislead about the cost of Barack Obama's inauguration.
In the very first item detailing Obama's alleged "gaffes and gimmicks" during his first 100 days in office, Newsmax claims: "In his inaugural address, Obama calls on Americans to adopt a spirit of sacrifice, which apparently doesn’t include his own coronation. The $49 million cost of his swearing-in ceremony is triple the cost of Bush’s first inaugural."
In fact, Bush's first inauguration cost $40 million. Last time we checked, $49 million is not triple $40 million.
As we noted, Newsmax used to claim that Obama's inauguration cost "early four times what George Bush’s inauguration cost four years ago" -- or did until people figured out the 2005 inauguration figure didn't include security costs that were in Obama's number.