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Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Baseless 9/12 Protest Attendance Number of the Day
Topic: Horowitz

Estimates vary, as they always do, as to how large the crowds were, but the general consensus seems to have settled at one million, and possibly as high as two million.

-- Tim and Alissa Birkel, Sept. 15 Newsreal post

What is this "consensus" the Birkels are referring to? We have no idea.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:10 PM EDT
NewsBusters Touts Discredited IBD Poll
Topic: NewsBusters

A Sept. 16 NewsBusters post by Rich Noyes touts a "new Investor’s Business Daily poll of more than 1,300 physicians" finding that "nearly two-thirds (65%) don’t back ObamaCare, more than 70% say the government cannot provide insurance coverage for 47 million additional people and save money without harming quality, and 45% of doctors say they 'would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement' if the liberal health care plan passes."

But while Noyes takes National Public Radio to task for citing a poll "funded by a pro-ObamaCare group," he was silent about the methodology or any other relevant information about the IBD poll.

As Nate Silver details: (H/t County Fair):

[T]he Investors' Business Daily poll purporting to show widespread opposition to health care reform among doctors is simply not credible. There are five reasons why:

1. The survey was conducted by mail, which is unusual. The only other mail-based poll that I'm aware of is that conducted by the Columbus Dispatch, which was associated with an average error of about 7 percentage points -- the highest of any pollster that we tested.

2. At least one of the questions is blatantly biased: "Do you believe the government can cover 47 million more people and it will cost less money and th quality of care will be better?". Holy run-on-sentence, Batman? A pollster who asks a question like this one is not intending to be objective.

3. As we learned during the Presidntial campaign -- when, among other things, they had John McCain winning the youth vote 74-22 -- the IBD/TIPP polling operation has literally no idea what they're doing. I mean, literally none. For example, I don't trust IBD/TIPP to have competently selected anything resembling a random panel, which is harder to do than you'd think.

4. They say, somewhat ambiguously: "Responses are still coming in." This is also highly unorthodox. Professional pollsters generally do not report results before the survey period is compete.

5. There is virtually no disclosure about methodology. For example, IBD doesn't bother to define the term "practicing physician", which could mean almost anything. Nor do they explain how their randomization procedure worked, provide the entire question battery, or anything like that.

My advice would be to completely ignore this poll. There are pollsters out there that have an agenda but are highly competent, and there are pollsters that are nonpartisan but not particularly skilled. Rarely, however, do you find the whole package: that special pollster which is both biased and inept. IBD/TIPP is one of the few exceptions. 

Don't expect Noyes to tell his readers about this.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:35 PM EDT
WND Orly Taitz Whitewash Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

What doesn't Bob Unruh report in his Sept. 15 WorldNetDaily article on a case "being handled by attorney Orly Taitz" on Barack Obama's "eligibility under the Constitution's demand for a 'natural born citizen' in the White House"?

He writes that Taitz "joined by Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation," but he doesn't point out that Kreep did so because two of the people Taitz was representing dropped her as a lawyer and sought representation from Kreep because they believed Taitz is "in over her head."

He didn't report that one of those plaintiffs, Wiley Drake, has prayed for Obama's death.

He didn't report that Taitz has refused to sign the change-of-attorney form that would officially let Drake and his fellow plaintiff to change their lawyer from Taitz to Kreep, then filed a motion to dismiss them as plaintiffs, then started bickering with Kreep.

He didn't report whether Taitz, in filing a "Kenyan birth certificate" for Obama that its provider, "under threat of perjury," claims is "the genuine article," also filed evidence reported by WND that the document is a fraud.

He didn't report until the 34th paragraph that WND found the document to be a fraud.

He didn't reporton the possible legal jeopardy Taitz faces for knowingly filing fraudulent documents in court while failing to file known evidence that they are fraudulent.

In other words, the whitewash continues -- WND will not tell the truth about Orly Taitz.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:11 PM EDT
Did WND Get Punk'd on ACORN Attack?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The lead story on WorldNetDaily right now is a Sept. 15 article by Alyssa Farah detailing out "An ACORN worker in San Bernardino, Calif., says she built the groundwork for a case of self-defense, then picked up a gun and shot her former husband," according to "a new video released on Andrew Breitbart's website."

Unmentioned is the fact that ACORN appears to be pulling a funny on the videographers, who have been on a spree of entrapping ACORN workers while posing as a pimp and prostitute seeking money to fund a prostitution operation.

As an ACORN press release details:

When the actors approached Ms. Kaelke with their provocative costuming and outlandish scenario, she could nottake them seriously. So she met their outrageousness with her own personal style of outrageousness. Shematched their false scenario with her own false scenarios.

"They were not believable", said Ms. Kaelke of the two actors. "Somewhat entertaining, but they weren't evengood actors. I didn't know what to make of them. They were clearly playing with me. I decided to shock them asmuch as they were shocking me. Like Stephan Colbert does – saying the most outrageous things with a straightface." While her sense of humor might not be funny to many people, the fact is that she spun false scenario afterfalse scenario and the videographer ate them up.

For example, in response to the set-up by the filmmakers in which they say they are trying get the young womanaway from her abusive pimp, she responds that she was abused by her former husband as well (true) and that sheshot and killed him (false). He is very much alive and living near Barstow, CA.

However, this is taken as the gospel truth, not just in the film itself, but also by several "news" personalities,indicating that no journalistic standards were applied to making the video or vetting it for broadcast.

It appears WND did no such fact-checking either.

ACORN goes on to point out that edited the video placed on its website to delete exculpatory claims made by ACORN workers. WND makes no mention of that, either, let alone demand that release the unedited video.

Further, at no point does Farah indicate that she contacted ACORN for a response to her story -- even though her father, WND editor Joseph Farah, regularly complains that news organizations that write articles about WND don't contact him for rebuttal.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:35 AM EDT
New Article: The ConWeb's Obama Speech Freak-Out
Topic: The ConWeb
Putting hatred before the facts, ConWeb writers baselessly assumed that President Obama would indoctrinate students -- despite the fact that the speech's theme of encouragement was made clear from the beginning. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:48 AM EDT
MRC Analysis of Protest Coverage Curiously Incomplete
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Rich Noyes has issued a "report card" of how major media outlets covered the 9/12 anti-Obama protests. But Noyes' analysis is curiously incomplete.

For instance, Noyes noted the performance of only one newspaper, the New York Times, which "buried the protests on page A37 of Sunday’s paper." Noyes didn't mention what the Washington Post did -- perhaps because it broke the MRC's liberal-bias template by putting the protest on the front page. (Not that fellow MRC employee Tim Graham was satisfied with it, of course.)

Noyes didn't do any relevent comparison, complaining only that the Times' "932-word story [on the protest] was only slightly longer than the 724-word story the paper granted back in March to an ACORN protest with only 40 participants." But that protest was in the New York metro area and thus more directly relevant to its core readers than a larger protest outside of NYC.

A more direct comparison would to a similarly sized 2002 anti-war protest. As Media Matters noted, while the Times published a photo of the anti-Obama protest in its front page -- something Noyes failed to mention -- it did not do so for the anti-war protest; the articles for both protests were inside the A section.

Noyes also downplayed the extent to which Fox News fawned over the protest. He wrote: "By far, Fox News offered the most detailed coverage, with a two-hour midday program on Saturday plus regular updates throughout the day, and FNC stuck to presenting the protesters’ point of view, not denigrating them."

Noyes fails to note that Fox News did a lot more than present the protesters' point of view -- it promoted the bejeezus out of the protest, to the point where it was an essentially an unofficial sponsor. That's some serious straying over the line from news into advocacy, but it earned Fox News an "A" for coverage from Noyes.

Hiliariously, Noyes downgraded Fox News' rating on tone of coverage to an"A-" apparently for a single comment by Geraldo Rivera that Noyes called a "sour note." After all, balanced coverage of conservatives is not what Noyes and and his MRC buddies want -- nothing less than completely positive, sycophantic coverage will do.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 AM EDT
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Topic: NewsBusters
Jamison Foser appropriately calls "the dumbest media-bias claim of the day" Tim Graham's NewsBusters post complaining that the Washington Post's obit on Patrick Swayze mentioned his "drag-queen turn" in "Too Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar" before his role in "Red Dawn," "a movie about American teens fighting a resistance against a Soviet invasion of the United States." Graham goes on to huff: "There are clearly no fortysomething Reaganites working in the Washington Post newsroom."

Posted by Terry K. at 5:13 PM EDT
WND, CNS Still Can't Get It Right on Crowd Estimates
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Two ConWeb agencies that have published inflated attendance figures for Saturday's anti-Obama tea party protest take another stab at it.

WorldNetDaily -- which previously treated unverified inflated numbers as real -- follows up with a Sept. 14 article by Chelsea Schilling that is little more than a compilation of various claims about attendance without any further investigation into them, or making it clear that the higher numbers are all provided by groups involved in the protest who have an interest in promoting the higher figures.

Schilling wrote that FreedomWorks "is still working on trying to get an estimate," but failed to note that a false claim that ABC had reported that more than 1 million were at the protest was traced to FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe., meanwhile, sent its previous repeating of discredited FreedomWorks numbers down the memory hole for a Sept. 15 article by Penny Starr stating that the attendance figure "is a matter of media speculation because no government agency makes official estimates of crowd sizes for such events." Much of Starr's article is devoted not to examining the protest numbers -- or pointing out that FreedomWorks got it wront -- but to examining crowd estimates for President Obama's inauguration.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 PM EDT
Newsweek Offends Geller By Telling Both Sides of The Story
Topic: Newsmax

Pamela Geller's Sept. 14 Newsmax column is one long screed against Newsweek for doing what Geller won't -- tell both sides of the Rifqa Bary story.

Geller complained that the Newsweek article stated that "Muslim scholars say that in Islam, there’s no such thing as an honor killing for apostasy," asserting that "Newsweek was conflating two distinct Islamic practices: honor killing and the killing of apostates." She doesn't mention that it appears that Bary -- who claims her Muslim parants want to kill her for converting from Islam to Christianity -- is the one conflating the two, as news reports featuring references to "honor killings" indicate. As Richard Bartholomew notes:

The girl gives a rather strange interpretation of what an “honour killing” is for; rather than being the remedy for a perceived dishonour suffered by a family, she tells the journalist that to kill her would be an especially ”great honour” because she is the the first Christian in her family for “150 generations” and it would show her family’s love for Allah (Lorenz concurs with a “yes” at 5:03). This seems to me to be a garbled “Christianized” understanding of the phenomenon, making it into something like a human sacrifice.

Geller has conflated the two as well.

Geller goes on to complain that Newsweek described a "33-page memorandum that Rifqa’s attorney, John Stemberger, filed about the Noor Islamic Center’s connection with Islamic terrorists and radical elements" as being filled with "innuendo and provocative allegations." In fact, Newsweek supports its claims:

Among them: that the center is connected to an FBI terror probe (which the FBI denies) and that its CEO has connections to the Muslim Brotherhood (which, along with every other allegation, the Noor Center denies). The mosque is actually regarded as mainstream and regularly hosts interfaith events.

Has Geller ever reported that the FBI has discredited this report? We suspect not.

Geller's sole source for contradicting the Newsweek article is "Jamal Jivanjee, Rifqa’s friend and confidante." But Geller offers no independent confirmation of these claims; Jivanjee is clearly too close to the situation to be objective. Indeed, Geller has been a mouthpiece for Rifqa and her supporters, taking all of their claims atfact value while making no apparent effort to independently verify them.

Why is Geller so afraid of the other side being told? That she is so intent on trying to discredit an article that commits the apostasy (as far as Geller is concerned) of telling both sides of the story belies a certain insecurity about the side of the story she's on.

Geller declares of Rifqa: "As a high-profile apostate, she is Islamists’ highest value target right now." If she's "high-profile," it's anti-Muslim activists like Geller that made her one. Which means she's partially culpable for any harm that comes Rifqa's way.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:25 AM EDT
WND's Simpson Lies About Obama's Supposed Lies
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Barbara Simpson writes in her Sept. 14 WorldNetDaily column:

Who was most incorrect?

Was it Joe Wilson for having had enough of the outright falsehoods from the lips of the president about the health-care proposal and saying so?

Or was it the Obama teleprompter, which put the words in the mouth of the president?

Or was the president himself for mouthing the words that do not reflect the truth of the plan as it exists today?

I have the full copy of H.R. 3200 at home on my dining room table – all 1,017 pages of it. I've read it all. There's nothing in it that screens out non-residents, much less illegal aliens.

Simpson should try page 143 of the bill, where it says "NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS."

Nevertheless, Simpson continues:

Indeed, two congressional committee attempts to pass legislation to specifically require proof of legality were twice voted down by Democrats.

That speaks volumes; they do not want illegal aliens screened out from receiving benefits. How else do you interpret those votes?

How about that an enforcement mechanism already exists in federal law? As PolitiFact details:

There is explicit language in the House bill that says illegal immigrants should not receive the subsidized benefits. But we find the Republican conference is right that the legislation does not directly mention verification procedures and, for that reason, it's possible that illegal immigrants who are determined to beat the system might be able to get around the ban. But it's likely that the IRS would, at least indirectly, help to police that. And, the health choices commissioner would have the authority to set up a verification system.  On balance, we rate the Republican claim Half True.

having misled on that, Simpson moves on to smear Obama as a secret Muslim-slash-commie:

There are verses in the Quran that say it's permissible to lie to your enemies to get what you want. Perhaps the president remembers those lessons from his schooling in Indonesia during his formative years.

Or perhaps he remembers the teachings of Marx and Lenin, reinforced by Saul Alinsky and supported by his Left-leaning friends from his youth who surround him today.

Or perhaps he's forgotten one of the Ten Commandments.

Or perhaps Simpson is so filled with hate for Obama that she can't be trusted to tell the truth.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:14 AM EDT
Farah Whines About Protest 'Non-Coverage'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah uses his Sept. 14 WorldNetDaily column to rant about "the abysmal, inexcusable non-coverage of the massive rally and march in Washington this weekend to protest government's abusive and unconstitutional excesses and power grabs."

Apparently, Farah didn't notice that his hometown paper, the Washington Post, put the protest, as the MRC's Tim Graham described it, "at the top of the Sunday paper with two color pictures, one of them a wide crowd shot below the Capitol dome."

That's "non-coverage"?

(Of course, as we noted, Graham went on to whine that that was insufficient.)

Posted by Terry K. at 1:12 AM EDT
Newsmax Takes On Another Conservative Rehabilitation Project
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax is already running rehabilitation efforts for Bernard Kerik. Now it's picked up another disgraced conservative to rehabilitate: Ralph Reed.

Reed, the longtime evangelical leader and former executive director of the Christian Coalition, was tarnished by his association with scandal-ridden lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who hired Reed to lobby on behalf of an Indian tribe in Mississippi to stop tribes inneighboring states from opening casinos that would compete with those of the Mississippi tribe. The Washington Post reported that Reed had received at least $4.2 million from Abramoff to mobilize Christian voters against the casinos.

Those revelations played a role in Reed getting crushed in a 2006 Republican primary for Georgia lieutenant governor.

But as with Kerik, Reed's political humilation and links to a corrupt lobbyist are all water under the bridge as far as Newsmax is concerned.

Newsmax's Reed rehabilitation appears to have begun with a June 24 article touting Reed's new advocacy group, the Faith and Freedom Coalition, which is "aimed at using the Web to mobilize a new generation of values voters." This was followed up with a July 20 article (and accompanying interview with Newsmax's video operation) touting Reed's claim that "Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings can actually help Republicans in upcoming elections."

By August, Reed was writing columns for Newsmax and awarded a slot on Newsmax's "blog" page, complete with bio. Needless to say, neither of those previous articles nor Reed's Newsmax bio mention his ties to Abramoff nor his ignominious 2006 defeat in Georgia.

Reed, however, seems eager to use his Newsmax slot to discredit himself. In his Sept. 13 column, Reed claims that President Obama's speech on health care reform contained "falsehood after fib after misrepresentation after distortion about both his plan and his opponents' opposition to it," citing as one instance Obama's claimthat "his plan did not provide care for illegal immigrants," which Reed branded "false," asserting: "By rejecting a Republican amendment requiring proof of legal residence prior to receiving care under the government-run plan, the Democrats have opened the door for non-citizens and non-legal residents to receive care for which they have not paid into the system."

But as we've noted, FactCheck and PolitiFact have refuted the claim that a lack of enforcement enforcement provisions in the bill itself doesn't mean that no enforcement of a ban on illegal immigrants making use of government health care will take place.

Reed also writes:

Obama said — falsely — that [Sarah] Palin and others have claimed that “we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens.” This is totally false, and Obama knows it. What critics have pointed out is that seniors will be required to submit regularly to “end of life” counseling sessions (detailed on page 425 of H.B. 3200) that, combined with cost controls and rationing of care, could lead to them being denied life-saving treatment.

But FactCheck and PolitiFact have refuted Palin's "death panel" claim as well. And Reed's the one who's telling a lie here: No one is "required to submit regularly" to end-of-life counseling.

Reed is also lying when he says Palin never claimed that Obama "plan[s] to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens." Palin said exactly that when she wrote that the elderly and disabled "will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care."

All in all, not an auspicious debut as a rehabilitation subject. Reed better hopes he quickly gets the full whitewash treatment Newsmax just gave Kerik.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:31 AM EDT
Monday, September 14, 2009
Newsmax Touts Horowitz 'Manchurian' Article, Ignores Flip-Flop
Topic: Newsmax

A Sept. 14 Newsmax article touts how "conservative thinker and best-selling author David Horowitz likens President Barack Obama to the 'Manchurian Candidate' — a tool of the far left fostering the implementation of its radical agenda."

Newsmax didn't mention that Horowitz's position is a flip-flop from just a few months ago, when he was denouncing inflammatory rhetoric like "Manchurian candidate."

Posted by Terry K. at 2:13 PM EDT
CNS Touts Inflated Protest Numbers From Group That Has Lied About It

A Sept. 14 article by Fred Lucas repeated baseless crowd estimates for Saturday's anti-Obama protest without reporting more credible numbers, or that the group he's quoting as reporting those numbers has been caught in a lie about them.

Lucas wrote that "Adam Brandon, spokesman for Freedom Works Foundation, one of the main sponsors of the event, estimated the crowd at 150,000" and that "the group’s Web site estimated that hundreds of thousands of people turned out." Lucas later uncritically noted that "High Caliber, a conservative rapper," said, "I’ve done tea parties for 500 people. But not 500,000 or whatever it is we’ve got here."

In fact, the closest thing to an official estimate comes from the Washington, D.C., fire department, which reported a turnout of 60,000 to 70,000. But Lucas didn't report that, or the fact that FreedomWorks already has a record of lying about turnout numbers. ABC traced a claim that it had reported that more than 1 million attended the rally -- in fact, ABC reported no such thing -- to FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:40 AM EDT
WJC Spreading More Birther Conspiracies
Topic: Western Journalism Center

A new Western Journalism Center report by Steve Baldwin purports to explore "the mystery of Barack Obama" but Baldwin is much more interested in spreading baseless conspiracy theories about Obama.

Baldwin asserts that "at least three document authentication experts have declared the scanned 'Certificate of Live Birth' Obama’s campaign team gave to a pro-Obama website to be an obvious phony." In fact, at least two of the people whose claims Baldwin is presumably referring to -- "Techdude" and "Ron Polarik" -- have been discredited.

Baldwin then promotes some new, novel conspiracies -- such as "it was discovered that Obama’s Selective Service card may have been doctored." His source for this? Far-right blogger Debbie Schlussel, who's known much more for her screeching rants than any sort of legitimate research. Nevertheless, Baldwin buys in: "The real reason why Obama probably did not submit this form as a teenager is that he assumed his Kenyan or Indonesian citizenship exempted him from this requirement."

Baldwin goes on to assert that "Obama has multiple identities in term of possessing numerous social security numbers." His source for this? The increasingly self-discrediting Orly Taitz.

How crazy are those conspiracies? Even WorldNetDaily is largely staying away from them.

The WJC is already on record spreading discredited claims about Obama. If the WJC wants to be taken seriously as a legitimate critic of Obama, it should probably stay away from fringe-of-the-fringe conspiracy theories.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:19 AM EDT

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