NewsBusters Hops Aboard the Conspiracy Bandwagon Topic: NewsBusters
The group of ConWebbers embracing the unproven GOP Chrysler dealer conspiracy continues to grow.
The Media Research Center endorses it with a May 28 NewsBusters post by Mike Sargent, who rants about how the media won't address right-wing blogosphere claims that "many of the Chrysler dealers that have been chosen for closing have made a habit of donating money to Republicans. The blogosphere, asserts Sargent, "has, once again, proven itself a worthy investigator."
Sargent comes close to stumbling over the truth at one point, noting that "One might assume that, since they are small-business owners, they are overwhelmingly supportive of the GOP." But he quickly adds: "But assumption is not the job of a vigilant press." Of course, Sargent is assuming all of this is true and avoiding an investigation of his own, which would reveal that, yes, car dealers are indeed overwhelmingly supportive of the GOP, thus it is not surprising that a large number of Chrysler dealers would be as well.
But hey, why report facts when you're getting paid to smear Obama and the "liberal media"?
Most hilariously, though, Sargent concludes by likening this partisan witch hunt to Watergate: "The Times is already accused of letting the Watergate scoop slide to the Washington Post. One would hope that they will not repeat their mistake."
Examiner's Tapscott Joins the Conspiracy Topic: Washington Examiner
With Mark Tapscott's May 28 column, the Washington Examiner is the latest ConWeb outlet to promote the right-wing conspiracy that the Obama administration is deliberately targeting Republican-owned Chrysler dealers for closure.
While Tapscott claimed that the assertions that bubbled up from the right-wing blogosphere "were all couched with important qualifiers," he quickly dismisses them: "That said, when multiple dealers who have been closed are found to have contributed millions to Republicans and mere hundreds to Obama, the serious number-crunching cannot be completed too soon."
But as we've detailed, auto dealers are disproportionately owned by Republicans, so it's utterly unsurprising that many closing Chrysler dealers are also owned by Republicans.
Tapscott did add an update to the online version of his column citing someone claiming that "more Chrysler dealers in general are likely to be Republican contributors, which would mean more of the closed dealers would be seen to be GOP supporters than Democrat supporters." But he still wants to cling to the conspiracy even as it's discredited before his eyes:
But two points should be noted here. First, even if we accept the proposition that most car dealers are more likely to be Republican than Democratic donors, there would still be a "disparate impact" from closings on one class of dealers, compared to the other. When the federal courts see a disparate impact on racial groups, the policy or action in question is typically held to be inappropriate.
Race and car dealer closings, of course, aren't analogous. But the lesson remains that when government makes economic decisions that ought to be left to the private market, it is impossible to avoid disparate impacts. And there is always the question of would the Obama White House be so quick to close hundreds of dealerships if the owners of those dealerships were predominantly Democratic donors?
Second, since neither Chrysler, nor the White House have made public the criteria used to select dealers for elimination - and because a significant number of those being closed were profitable - the only way to resolve the inevitable controversy about political considerations in political decisions is to make the criteria public and allow independent outside observers to assess how those criteria were applied.
Tapscott isn't content with echoing one baseless right-wing smear in his column, however -- he also adheres to the dictates of the noise machine in claiming that Obama is acting like a mobster:
In other words, companies that want to prosper in the anti-capitalist world Obama is creating in America will first have to make their peace with Big Labor before heading to Washington hat-and-checkbooks-in-hand to seek favor from the strong men in the White House and their enforcers in the Treasury Department and elsewhere in the executive branch.
Obama calls it “change we can believe in.” Vito Corleone called it “making them an offer they can’t refuse.”
UPDATE: Nate Silver details just how disproportionately car dealers are Repubican. Will Tapscott get around to telling his readers about that anytime soon?
UPDATE 2: In a later update, Tapscott acknowledges Silver's analysis, but he's not willing to loosen his grip on the conspiracy:
That's true, of course, but I'm not sure that it ends the discussion. In fact, it may even make the discussion of possible partisan considerations behind the closings even more relevant. Think of it this way: If 88 percent of all car dealers were Democratic contributors, rather than GOPers, how likely is it that the Obama folks would be delivering such an egregious economic blow to the group, a blow that put thousands of people out of work and deprives hundreds of Democratic donors of their means of making contributions?
Multiple indictments are a problem for most people. Not for Newsmax -- at least as far as Bernard Kerik is concerned.
As part of Newsmax continuingrehabiltation of Kerik, a May 26 article by Dave Eberhart aims to spin the most recent indictment of Kerik, for making false statements to White House officials, by painting Kerik as the innocent victim of overzealous prosecutors who "appear to be indictment shopping." In his spinning, Eberhart engages in numerous misleading claims.
He asserts that the most recent indictments, filed in Washington, D.C., were filed "after similar indictments had failed to stick in New York," asserting that the dismissal "apparently angered the federal prosecutors who decided to open up a new indictment against Kerik in Washington, including charging him with crimes already dismissed by Judge Robinson." But as we've noted, the charges dropped in New York by Robinson were done so specifically so they could be filed in Washington -- as other news outlets have reported. Eberhart describes this as "apparent federal forum shopping," even though the judge essentially told prosecutors to do exactly what they did -- as Newsmax itself reported on May 16.
Eberhart also asserts that "the judge overseeing the case has dismissed key charges and questioned the handling of the case by the Justice Department’s Southern District of New York office." But he makes things look better than they actually are by obfuscating the actual numbers involved. As we've noted, Kerik was originally indicted on 15 counts, of which one count and part of another have been dismissed by the judge. Plus, charges dropped earlier in May in New York were refiled in Washington, so that's not a net reduction of indictments.
Eberhart then claims that "the unusual handling of Kerik’s case by federal prosecutors has drawn parallels to the recent acquittal of Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. Stevens had been charged for not properly reporting renovations to his home residence." But contrary to the Stevens case, which was dismissed due to prosecutorial misconduct (not because he wasn't guilty), Eberhart has offered no evidence of prosecutorial misconduct in the Kerik case beyond comments from Kerik's attorney, and he's not exactly objective on the issue.
Waters Misleads on Alito, Princeton Topic: Media Research Center
In a May 27 TimesWatch post, Clay Waters noted a New York Times article stated that Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito graduated from Princeton "just a few months before" Sonia Sotomayor arrived there, and that Alito "belonged to one of the groups that protested" the "increasing ranks" of women at the university. Waters then parenthetically adds: "Hmm. Did Alito protest against more women at Princeton? He was a nominal member of a conservative student group, Concerned Alumni of Princeton, which protested affirmative action, but that's not quite the same thing, except perhaps among ultraliberals."
In fact, as Media Matters has detailed, there's plenty of evidence that Concerned Alumni of Princeton did oppose coeducation. And Alito thought enough of his association with the group that he included it in his 1985 application for the position of deputy assistant attorney general with the Reagan administration -- which would seem to belie Waters' claim that his membership was "nominal."
WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah began an email sent May 27 to WND's mailing list by asking, "Is Barack Obama Crazy?" He continues:
"Is Barack Obama Crazy?" is a pretty provocative subject for an email.
I admit, I don't know the answer to the question.
But, given Barack Obama's actions in the first few months of his administration, it's a valid question.
And so, the May issue of WorldNetDaily's acclaimed monthly Whistleblower magazine takes it on.
Yes, it's a plug for the Whistleblower magazine claiming that Obama's a narcissist -- which, as we've detailed, is just another slab of Obama-hate.
But really, the question is how much of a crazy narcissist Farah is.
Narcissist, yes -- he has made himself the personification of WND's hate campaign against Obama and enjoys silly stunts like the "Where's the Birth Certificate?" billboard campaign.
Crazy, a little less so -- after all, he's not putting any of his own cash into buying those billboards, relying on other suckers to pony up. And he's certainly not going to provide the transparency he demands from Obama and disclose those donors to the public. So, really, he's more cowardly than crazy, afraid to put his money where his mouth is.
Newsmax's Ken Timmerman takes a bite on the right-wing conspiracydujour -- that the Obama administration is deliberately targeting Chrysler dealers for closure whose owners have donated to Republican candidates.
Timmerman appears to embrace the conspiracy in this May 27 article, but it's not until the latter half of his article that he divulges a major debunking fact:
Auto-dealers as an industry tend to give more to Republican causes than to Democrats, according to an analysis done by Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit organization that compiles FEC data and operates the Open Secrets Web site.
During the 2008 election cycle, the center found that auto dealers and their associated political action committees made a total of $9 million in campaign contributions, giving by a 3-to-1 margin to Republicans.
The automobile industry as a whole made $18.5 million in donations in 2008, also breaking roughly 3-to-1 in favor of Republican candidates and causes.
That's right -- the reason it seems that more Republican-supporting Chrysler dealers are losing their franchises is because car dealers tend to support Republicans. Timmerman (or any of the other conspiracy-mongers) offer no evidence that Chrysler dealers losing their franchises are any more or less Republican than that of auto dealers as a whole.
Then, Timmerman pretends he didn't just debunk the central point of his article and launched back into conspiracy territory:
One company that stands to benefit in a major way from the Chrysler restructuring is called RLJ-McLarty-Landers, a start-up owned by Democratic Party insiders that operates six Chrysler dealerships throughout the South.
Co-owners Robert L. Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television, and Mack McLarty, chief of staff to president Bill Clinton, provided capital and political clout to the partnership, which they formed in September 2007.
Johnson is a major donor to Democrat party causes but sharply criticized Obama during the primaries for his admitted drug use as a young man. He later apologized to Obama for the personal attack.
Timmerman neglects to mention that McLarty didn't stumble into selling cars a couple years ago. His family's connection to auto dealerships dates back to 1921 and had grown into a group of 19 dealers by 1998, when an ownership interest was sold to New York-based Asbury Automotive Group; McLarty was later named Asbury vice chairman and, then chairman and CEO.
Timmerman made no mention at all of the other partner in the group, Steve Landers, yet his presence may very well be the key to why, as he noted, "RLJ-McCarty-Landers will retain all of its six dealerships." Landers was the owner of a Chrysler dealer in Benton, Ark., that was the world's largest Chrysler dealer for several years. Why would Chrysler sever its relationship with one of its best dealers?
WorldNetDaily -- not wanting to be left out of an Obama conspiracy -- jumped on this bandwagon as well. A May 27 article by Chelsea Schilling breathlessly taouts the conspiracy while failing to note the fact, as reported by Timmerman, that car dealers as a whole overwhelmingly support Republicans.
MRC: Legal Experts Aren't Qualifed to Label Sotomayor's Views, But We Are Topic: Media Research Center
In a May 26 MRC item, Matthew Balan asserts that since CNN legal expert Jeffrey Toobin has admitted "there is a 'real unknown' about how [Sonia] Sotomayor would rule if she is confirmed," therefore he cannot accurately label Sotomayor as "moderate liberal." The MRC, however, is not applying that same labeling rule to itself.
Another May 26 MRC item by Brent Baker complained that network evening newscasts "applied more 'conservative' tags to Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's critics than 'liberal' labels to her, as the coverage suggested calling her a liberal was a hasty judgment from accusatory partisans." And a May 27 TimesWatch item by Clay Waters similarly complained that a New York Times article "never directly acknowledged Sotomayor's liberal outlook."
So legal analysts are not permitted to label a judge as "liberal" but teh MRC is, even though it, like Toobin, can't know how Sotomayor will rule if she's confirmed? We're confused.
UPDATE: A May 27 "Media Reality Check" asserts that Sotomayor is "a liberal judge with an activist approach" while failing to note Balan's item accepting Toobin's view that "there is a 'real unknown' about how Sotomayor would rule if she is confirmed," which would seem to undermine that assertion.
WND's Washington: Michael Savage = Jesus Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've noted how WorldNetDaily columnist Ellis Washington worships at the altar of hate-filled radio host Michael Savage. Washington deposits his biggest offering yet (well, it's a big pile of something, anyway) at Savage's feet in his May 27 column, in which he defends Savage's smears of his fellow right-wing radio hosts and revels in a near-orgasmic fit of exultation by likening Savage to, yes, Jesus Christ:
These conservative commentators realize that Savage is head and shoulders above them intellectually, philosophically and spiritually. Because of their lack of inner truth and intellectual honesty, rather than learning from Dr. Savage or taking his criticisms of them to heart, they take the intellectually dishonest approach, put on their hypocrite's hat and do the very things against Savage that they for 20 years have so incessantly and bitterly complained that the Democratic Party and the liberal mainstream media did to them – ignoring them, slandering them, libeling them, mocking them. It is shameless hypocrisy writ large!
Savage was specifically chosen for crucifixion over Rush, Hannity and O'Reilly because he, more than any other philosopher, politician, intellectual or media figure, gives America the brutal truth about the hijacking of their country by the fascist Manchurian Candidate, President B. Hussein Obama. Furthermore Savage, more effectively than anyone else I know passionately delineates what America must do to regain her "borders, language and culture."
Like it was with the iconoclast Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago, so it is with the iconoclast Dr. Michael Savage in modern times; Savage lives by Veritas (truth) and he will die by Veritas. Yes, Jesus called names and wrecked the Temple to purify it. Yes, Savage oftentimes uses ad hominem attacks against other conservative radio hosts, against his ideological detractors and against the mainstream media and the political powerbrokers in Washington, D.C. In my book, that makes him a truly heroic figure in the tradition of an Elijah, Socrates, Richard the Lionhearted, Ronald Reagan or a Sen. Joseph McCarthy, not merely a bomb thrower.
I believe that history will one day judge this man, Michael Savage, and his entire oeuvre over the past 30 years, to be the singular genius that he is.
My suggestion to the GOP, the RNC, Fox News, Rush, Hannity, O'Reilly, Beck, Scarborough, conservative think tanks and any member of the mainstream media that has a beef against Savage is to contact him, set up a time to appear on his show and air out your grievances – man to man, point by point, line by line, precept by precept. If you are able to prove Savage's ad hominem attacks against you to be spurious or wrong, I assure you that Dr. Savage is a big enough man to apologize to your face and to his 10 million listeners.
In conclusion, regarding Savage's ad hominem attacks, the great Greek philosopher Socrates would perhaps ask this dialectical question: Do these people or media entities have the courage and intellectual honesty to enter the crucible of the Savage Nation? I answer with the ancient legal rule of law – Res Ipsa Loquitur, the thing speaks for itself.
Examiner Columnist Bashes Obama's Lack of Military Service Topic: Washington Examiner
Gregory Kane's May 26 Washington Examiner column is a weird rant against President Obama for never having served in the military:
If the military is indeed our most trusted institution, then why did one Barack Hussein Obama pass on serving in it?
After college Obama enrolled in Harvard Law School. Later, he became a community organizer in Chicago. I have no problem with either of those callings. Thousands have gone to Harvard Law, and tens of thousands to other law schools across the nation. And being a community organizer is a noble calling.
But for those who opt for the career path that leads from Harvard Law to community organizing to state senator to U.S. senator, I expect one thing: Don’t come before me years later running for president, in essence asking to be commander-in-chief of a military force you didn’t think was worthy of your commitment.
Maybe I’m just funny this way, but I would never, under any circumstances, vote for a presidential candidate who had no military experience, either as an officer or an enlisted man or woman. I have a laundry list of reasons why I didn’t vote for Obama; his passing on military service is in the top three.
Obama promised the graduates that he’d only “send them into harm’s way when it is absolutely necessary.” That promise would mean a lot more coming from a president who’d experienced at least some of the rigors of basic training.
But military service is not a constitutional requirement for being president. Indeed, a significant number of presidents never served in the military.
Kane is also curiously silent about whether he himself has "experienced at least some of the rigors of basic training."
WND Takes Sotomayor Out of Context Topic: WorldNetDaily
A May 26 WorldNetDaily article misleadingly asserted that Sonia Sotomayor "once boasted during a conference that it is at that level in the court system where 'policy is made.'" But WND took Sotomayor's statement out of context: As we've previously noted when Newsmax similarly took the statement out of contest, she made the statement as part of a much longer answer to a question from a law student about the merits of a circuit court clerkship versus a district court clerkship. There was no "boasting" by Sotomayor.
Further, as Media Matters has pointed out, Sotomayor's statement is not a controversial one. No less an authority than the "Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States" (2005 edition) notes that federal appellate courts do in fact have a "policy making" role.
Bob Unruh repeats the out-of-context claim in another May 26 WND article. Both articles quote numerous conservatives (not identifed as such, of course) criticizing Sotomayor's nomination while failing to offer the view of supporters.
New Article: Phil Brennan, Conservative Lackey Topic: Newsmax
The longtime Newsmax columnist has demonstrated himself to be a reliable shill for conservative causes and basher of liberal ones. Read more >>
CNS Touts Skewed Poll on Abortion Topic: CNSNews.com
A May 26 CNSNews.com article by Penny Starr uncritically repeated results of a poll bought by Americans United for Life claming that, in Starr's words, "Americans care about what kind of Supreme Court justice that President Barack Obama will nominate, including how they would rule in cases involving abortion." Starr noted that the poll was conducted by The Polling Company without further explaining that, as we've detailed, the firm's owner, Kellyanne Conway, is a partisan Republican activist.
The poll itself provides further clues to its efforts to skew questions in order to get the answers that AUL wanted. For instance, it references "partial-birth abortion," even though it's a political term coined by anti-abortion activists.
Starr's article was later updated to add the AUL's statement on Sonia Sotomayor, newly nominated to the Surpeme Court. AUL unsurprisingly attacks Sotomayor as "an avowed judicial activist" without providing evidence to back up the claim.
Starr makes no apparent effort to obtain any response to the claims in the article -- the only people she quotes are the head of AUL and Kellyanne Conway.
Pat Boone Calls ACLU 'American Taliban' Topic: Newsmax
In his weekly column published at WorldNetDaily and Newsmax, Pat Boone smears the American Civil Liberties Union as an "American Taliban":
It’s become starkly obvious that the elitist, leftist, and subversive organization with the ironic name of the American Civil Liberties Union has abandoned any pretense that it is committed to protecting the civil liberties of Americans.
Exactly like the Taliban in the Middle Eastern nations where it germinated (and in which it has wreaked mindless havoc), the ACLU is not content to “coexist.” It will not terminated its efforts until it has usurped and overturned the expressed will of the majority and gained absolute sway over the state and all its citizens.
Do you not see the stark comparison between the Taliban and the ACLU? Each seeks to disrupt the traditions and guidelines that identify and protect society — and to impose its own perverted will and ideology on a bewildered people.
And the ACLU has gone the Taliban one better! It is getting the courts (other lawyers, not legislators) to award it millions and millions of taxpayer dollars to pay for its intimidation, litigation, and corruption.
Now is the time for all of us to come to the aid of our country. The ACLU is an American Taliban that cannot be allowed to take over our republic.
As one blogger has pointed out, Boone's column can be reasonably interpreted as an incitement to violence against the ACLU.
Porter Still Lying About Hate-Crimes Bill Topic: WorldNetDaily
Janet Porter asserts in her May 26 WorldNetDaily column: "Right now the Senate has a bill that would jail pastors and protect pedophiles."
As we've detailed, both claims are lies.
The more important question: How big a cut is Porter and her organization, Faith2Action, getting from the $10.95 WND is charging people to send a letter to each member of Congress spreading the lie that the bill gives "special legal protections for pedophiles and other sexual offenders"? As WND has stated, the campaign was Porter's idea, so it would not be surprising if she got a cut.
Given that Porter has maintained her silence on how much of Faith2Action's resources have been used to promote her personal anti-Obama crusade, don't look for her to be honest about answering this question anytime soon either.
Newsmax is leading the way on the ConWeb in issuing misleading attacks on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.
An article by Kenneth D. Williams chooses to misinterpret a statement by Sotomayor that "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life" means that Sotomayor thinks Latinas are "better than whites." Williams also plucks a 2005 Sotomayor statement that the federal court of appeals "is where policy is made" -- illustrated by a scant 26-second video clip -- out of the context in which it was made, a much longer answer to a question from a law student about the merits of a circuit court clerkship versus a district court clerkship.
An article by Jim Meyers repeats anonymous claims attacking Sotomayor that first appeared in a New Republic article by Jeffrey Rosen. While Meyers claims that Rosen had "had spoken to a range of people who have worked with Sotomayor," Rosen actually stated: "I haven't read enough of Sotomayor's opinions to have a confident sense of them, nor have I talked to enough of Sotomayor's detractors and supporters, to get a fully balanced picture of her strengths." Rosen also misrepresented a footnote in a ruling to falsely claim that it criticized a Sotomayor opinion.
Meanwhile, Christopher Ruddy has decided he can read President Obama's mind, claiming that his pick of Sotomayor "underscores his full-court-press 'Latino strategy'" to increase Hispanic support of him, a supposed strategy that also includes "moving aggressively on issues such as giving amnesty to illegal aliens."