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Monday, December 7, 2009
Another Newsmax Rehab Fail in the Making?
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax's attempted career rehabilitation of Bernard Kerik didn't turn out so good. Is its other rehab project about to crater as well?

As we've detailed, Ralph Reed -- coming off being tainted in the Jack Abramoff scandal and a huge loss in a race for Georgia lieutenant governor -- has been getting the Newsmax rehab treatment, granted a column and benefiting from fawning articles. 

Meanwhile, Raw Story is reporting that Reed's former spokesperson, is shopping a memoir that appears to promise juicy details about him and other figures on the religious right. 

Sounds entertaining -- and perhaps the catalyst for another failed Newsmax rehab. Stay tuned.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:45 PM EST
NewsBusters Ignores Pinkerton's Conflict of Interest
Topic: NewsBusters

A Dec. 6 NewsBusters post by Brad Wilmouth highlights how, on "Fox News Watch," during a discussion of Mike Huckabee's granting clemency to Maurice Clemmons, who went on to (allegedly) kill four police officers in Washington, "Conservative panelist Jim Pinkerton of New America Foundation had to point out that Huckabee commuted the sentence at a time when Clemmons serving time for the non-violent crime of committing burglary." Wilmouth added that "Pinkerton even had to directly correct liberal FNC analyst Kirsten Powers, who seemed to convey that she thought Huckabee had commuted the sentence after the child rape conviction."

Wilmouth fails to mention Pinkerton's conflict of interest in defending Huckabee -- he was a senior adviser to Huckabee's 2008 presidential campaign.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:12 PM EST
Newsmax Still Running Interference for Huckabee
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax's David Patten keeps up his previous efforts at playing interference for Mike Huckabee with a Dec. 6 article that again seeks to deflect blame from Huckabee for granting clemency to Maurice Clemmons in 2000 by blaming authorites in Arkansas and Washington state for "fail[ing] to keep him incarcerated" after numerous parole violations. Clemmons is accused of killing four police officers in Washington.

Patten features an Arkansas judge, Marion Humphrey, who favored clemency for Clemmons, but Patten fails to note just how close Humphrey is to Clemmons: he officiated at Clemmons' wedding.

Patten also buried criticism of Huckabee. It's not until the 22nd paragraph that Patten gets around to featuring Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley, whom Patten makes sure to note is "a Democrat." Patten waits until the very end of his article to allow Jegley to respond to Huckabee's claims that Jegley's being a Democrat is behind his criticism.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:46 AM EST
Bozell Lifts The Curtain, Peddles Misinformation
Topic: Media Research Center

A Dec. 3 NewsBusters post features a question-and-answer video made by Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell for his MRC Action group. It's an interesting behind-the-scenes glimpse at the partisan right-wing agenda that runs the MRC, as well as Bozell's platform for disseminating misinformation.

Bozell begins by asserting that the so-called "climate-gate" scandal over stolen emails from a major climate research Center is "hugely important to the conservative movement, and it'shugely important to the Media Research Center." That's right -- not important to science, important to right-wing politics. Bozell insists the emails "utterly incriminate the environmental movement" and show that global warming is "a fraud, that in fact they know there's been global cooling, and they have been doing things -- tricks to cover up the fact that their arguments don't work scientifically."

In fact, the emails do not disprove global warming, data was not fudged, and the allegedly incriminating claims in the emails are being cherry-picked and taken out of context.

Bozell then went on to argue against term limits with a dumb analogy:

Think about this. We talk about Cuba and Fidel Castro. We talk about Iraq and Saddam Hussein. When they would -- and the Soviet Union. When they would have their quote-unquote elections, and they would win with 98 percent of the vote or 97 percent of the vote, and we'd all laugh at the proposition, at the idea that they could get 97 percent of the vote. Here's something that's not a laughing matter. If you look at the election returns every single cycle, you will find that members of Congress in the House and the Senate are re-elected approximately 97, 98 percent of the time -- in this country they get re-elected. Why? Because they have voted to themselves so many privileges, so many advantages, that an incumbent [sic] doesn't stand a chance. That's not democracy.

Actually, incumbent advantages in America are quite different from dictatorships in which in which there is no meaningful opposition (or no opposition at all).

Bozell also insists that "there is no public demand" for health care reform,  "but the media are telling us every single day that that's what the public wants."In fact, polls have repeatedly shown that the public option has widespread support.

Bozell curiously takes on birtherism, claiming that they have to "get beyond it. Nothing good will come from this. ... Barack Obama is the president of the United States, and until he is defeated in a re-election campaign, he will remain the president of the United States." Bozell's sincerity on this might be a little easier to believe if his organization wasn't monetarily supporting the biggest media promoter of birtherism by advertising at WorldNetDaily.

Bozell then goes on to explain how "the left controls the media":

So what do you do about it? Well, the first thing you have to do is you have to realize why the Left controls the media. It is not a conspiracy. It's not that there's a cabal of left-wingers that have taken over the news media and they meet at 8 o'clock every morning to say, "what can we do to undermine the conservatives to America?" They don't do it; they don't work that way.

The liberals who are there were hired by fellow liberals because the liberals who were in charge of hiring felt that their liberal friends were the best qualified. And it's a simple formula, that's how it works. And their bias takes over, and sometimes, I don't think they even realize their bias is working.

Funny, that sounds like a conspiracy to us. Apparently, talent and aptitude for journalism has nothing to do with it.Plus, it ignores the fact that even MRC director of media analysis, Tim Graham has admitted that "the great majority of what we watch and read is not noticeably unfair or inaccurate." Which suggests that this is all a bit of a scam on the MRC's part.

He continues:

What has happened is the public is on to these reporters. When we first started in 1987, only 25 percent of the public believed that there was a media bias at all. ... Today, 89 percent of the public believes what they're getting is a reporter's personal opinion. The public now knows the bias that they're getting. It's incumbent on us to continue to expose that bias on a daily basis, because if we don't, then we lose the traction, and those numbers will go back to where they were before.

And the MRC keeps attracting money, and Bozell remains employed. And that's the important thing for the MRC.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:51 AM EST
Updated: Monday, December 7, 2009 12:57 AM EST
Sunday, December 6, 2009
NewsReal: Palin's Not A Birther Because Palin Said So Herself (Eventually)
Topic: Horowitz

It's kinda cute how David Swindle is pretending that Sarah Palin isn't promoting birtherism.

In a Dec. 4 NewsReal post, Swindle bashes "leftist polemicist[s]" for highlighting Palin's statement that "the public, rightfully, is still making" Barack Obama's birth certificate an issue and "I think it’s a fair question" to ask Obama to present further evidence of his birth. Yet Swindle insists that Palin is not "part of the cult of crackpot conspiracists who know for certain that President Obama was born in Kenya or, is at the very least, 'hiding his birth certificate'" becausePalin tried to walk back her statement on her Facebook page.

Based on that statement, Swindle declares: "So, no, Palin is not a birther. She was just caught off guard in an interview and chose her words poorly."

Swindle refuses to acknowledge the possibility that Palin is trying to have it both ways -- pretending she's not a birther (Swindle fell for that -- he has no evidence that she initially "chose her words poorly" on the subject) while also raising questions about Obama's birth certificate.

If birtherism is, as Swindle says, "poisonous crackpot conspiracism" on a par with 9/11 truthers, then why give Palin a pass by taking Palin's walk-back as a denial and ignoring the fact that she played into the hands of birther conspiracists like WorldNetDaily by answering the question as she did?

In an update to his post, Swindle complains about an Alaska blogger who noted that Swindle failed to note that Palin's statement, in the same interview in which she made the statement about Obama's birth certifciate, that she has released Trig Palin's birth certificate is apparently not true -- as Andrew Sullivan points out, no birth certificate or other evidence has been released by Palin. Still, it gives license for Swindle to complain about "crackpot 'Trig Birtherism' conspiracy theories." Never mind that his boss, David Horowitz, has flip-flopped on embracing conspiracy theories like depicting Obama as a "Manchurian candidate."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:55 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, December 6, 2009 10:51 PM EST
Hirsen Hides Right-Wing Views of Pair Demanding Gore's Oscar Be Withdrawn
Topic: Newsmax

A Dec. 4 Newsmax article by James Hirsen notes how "Two members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have called on the group to take back the Oscar awarded to former Vice President Al Gore for the documentary 'An Inconvenient Truth.'" At no point does Hirsen mention the right-wing partisan leanings of those two, Roger L. Simon and Lionel Chetwynd.

Simon is the founder of the right-wing Pajamas Media,  while Chetwynd, writer and producer of a a Citizens United-funded film attacking Michael Moore, "Celsius 41.11," has blogged there.

Then again, Hirsen is not exactly known for reporting the full truth in his articles.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:09 AM EST
Saturday, December 5, 2009
WND Spreads More False Smears About Jennings
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Dec. 4 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh parrots the right wing's latest smear against Obama administration official Kevin Jennings (about whom WND has lied before) -- that the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network, a group founded by Jennings, "is recommending XXX-rated sex writings for children as young as preschoolers."

In fact, none of the books whose "XXX-rated sex writings" Unruh cites is recommended for preschoolers -- indeed, none of them appear on GLSEN's list of recommended books for grades K-6. All of the books cited appear on a list of books recommended for students in graded 7-12.

Unruh also misleadingly crops a disclaimer on the GLSEN site, reporting only the statement that "All BookLink items are reviewed by GLSEN staff for quality and appropriateness of content." Unruh ignored the rest of that statement, even though it's in bright red type:

However, some titles for adolescent readers contain mature themes. We recommend that adults selecting books for youth review content for suitability. The editorial and customer reviews listed at often provide information on mature content.

But Unruh, it seems, is too distracted by hyperbolic descriptions of "stories of public masturbation" and "semen flying through the air" that this undermines his entire attack. Perhaps that's why he deliberately chose not to include it.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:38 AM EST
Is CNS Censoring Words Out of Comments?

At the end of the version of Brent Bozell's latest column (bashing the show "DeGrassi: The Next Generation" for "deliberately pushing its gay agenda to youngsters"), a commenter's post states: "And it's not like it's on Nickelodeon proper. It's on TeenNick. A network for TEENS. Teens with hormones, who are starting to think about *** and sexuality-- whether you like it or not." Later in the post, it states, "Being *** hurts no one."

Confused by the asterisks? It seems the commenter was too. That resulted in another comment by the same person:

For readers, the first *** in my earlier post is s-e-x. and the second *** is g-a-y. It's weird they're blanked out because the original article uses both words. If these words can't be displayed on a NEWS site, then how are our teens supposed to get accurate information, and have frank discussion on anything regarding sexuality. After seeing this unnecessary censorship and nervous tip-toeing around issues of serious importance to today's youth, I think we probably need shows like Degrassi now more than ever. Thank God for Nickelodeon.

The commenter appears to be right -- words like "sex" and "gay" are replaced, automatically or otherwise, by asterisks. Some of the comments in a Dec. 3 article on a California school on "a pro-homosexual workshop given to 8th grade students in a leadership class" replace the words "gay" and "sex" with asterisks, even though those same words appear in the article ("gay" is limited to quotes, since CNS' preferred word is "homosexual"):

  • "At age 13 most of these kids have already been sexualized. These programs start in first grade - I saw a clip where a *** man was singing a song to 6-year-olds praising the "virtues" of being ***." 
  • "Why do we need pro-homosexuality programs? Is the *** community recruiting? Is this a religion now?"
  • "Since the *** Ed classes started in the schools, we not only have more teen crimes like sexual assualt, but more teens having babies, and the dumbing down of teenaged America also started about then."

It's a strange bit of prudery that CNS doesn't appear to trust its commenters to use words like "gay" and "sex" in commenting about articles on gayness and/or sex. Are they really so incendiary that only professional journalists are permitted to use those words? (Again, CNS reporters aren't permitted to use "gay" unless it's in quotes.) CNS' comment threads aren't exactly hotbeds of vulgarity and promiscuity as it is; most readers are well-behaved, if right-wing reactionary.

CNS might want to explain this censorship things to its readers -- as well as why it frowns upon the usage of "gay" in its news stories.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:31 AM EST
Friday, December 4, 2009
NewsBusters Attack on Gore Backfires
Topic: NewsBusters

An earlier version of this blog post incorrectly stated that John Harris and Mike Allen of Politico declined to ask former vice president Al Gore about controversial emails from climate scientists who support the idea of anthropogenic global warming after knowledge of those emails was publicly disclosed.

In fact, the interview with Gore occurred before the emails were public knowledge, therefore Messrs. Harris and Allen could not have asked Gore about them. NewsBusters regrets the error.

-- Lachlan Markay, Dec. 4 NewsBusters post

Posted by Terry K. at 8:06 PM EST
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

I can't get worked up by the specter of Tareq and Michaele Salahi frolicking with Rham, Barack and Biden. Trashy people crashed the White House. So what? The place was packed with nasty, noisome parasites. An extra pair should make no difference. Quite the contrary: There's something apropos about a couple of reality-show exhibitionists, who themselves "have left an extensive paper trail in federal bankruptcy and state court filings," brazenly elbowing their way into a party of ponces. (From the White House are issued shake-down schemes that make Bernie Madoff, much less the Salahis, look like babes in grand-larceny boot camp.)

Besides, the Salahis, like Obama, are of their time and place. Obama was launched by the Queen of Kitsch, day-time talker Oprah Winfrey. He now sits at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It's entirely fitting that a supermarket culture should have representation at the White House.

-- Ilana Mercer, Dec. 4 WorldNetDaily column

Posted by Terry K. at 1:36 PM EST
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Richard Bartholomew looks into the claims of a WorldNetDaily advertiser who promises a "Frightening 150 Page Report on Obama’s New World Order." It's pretty much what you'd expect from a WND advertiser.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:47 AM EST
NewsBusters Misleadingly Blames CNN for Questionable Obama Threat Claim
Topic: NewsBusters

Mike Bates uses a Dec. 3 NewsBusters post to crow about how CNN's Rick Sanchez has abandonded a claim that death threats against President Obama have increased 400 percent over threats against President Bush. But Sanchez wasn't the first to make the claim -- a conservative was.

Bates documents Sanchez first making the claim on Aug. 28, which he then lamented "was eagerly picked up by sites like Daily Kos and Racism Review." But more than three weeks earlier, Ronald Kessler -- no Obama fan, as we've detailed -- forwarded the claim in an Aug. 3 Newsmax article promoting Kessler's then-new book on the Secret Service:

A new book by Newsmax Chief Washington Correspondent Ronald Kessler features startling revelations about current and former U.S. presidents, including Barack Obama.

"In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect," released Tuesday, discloses that threats against the president have increased dramatically — by a staggering 400 percent since Obama entered the White House.

Kessler is the first journalist to penetrate the wall of secrecy that surrounds the U.S. Secret Service, and his book is based on interviews with more than 100 current and former agents.

Kessler was still repeating the claim, citing it in columns on Nov. 26 and Nov. 30 criticizing the security lapse that let a pair of gate-crashers into a White House state dinner.

Will the MRC hold Newsmax to the same standard it holds CNN? We'd like to see if it's capable of doing that.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:02 AM EST
AIM Repeats False Claim About Obama Cabinet
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A Dec. 1 Accuracy in Media column, from the "editors of," highlights a "fascinating chart, said to be from a JP Morgan research report," which purports to show that number of Obama cabinet appointees with "experience in the private sector" was less than 10 percent, far less than previous administrations.

Too bad it's not true.

PolitiFact looked into the claim, first reported by Michael Cembalest, the chief investment officer for J.P. Morgan Private Bank, and promoted by Glenn Beck, and found that, in fact, "at least three of the nine posts that Cembalest and Beck cite — a full one-third — are occupied by appointees who, by our reading of their bios, had significant corporate or business experience." Further, "Three other Obama appointees had legal experience in the private sector."

PolitiFact then talked to Cembalest, who admitted his errors, adding that he said "any effort to address the topic is heavily subjective, and he expressed regret that his work had been used for political ends, saying that it was not his intention to provide fodder for bloggers and talk show hosts."

So, will Accuracy in Media live up to its name and issue a correction? We shall see.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:31 AM EST
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Dueling NewsBusters
Topic: NewsBusters

Jon Stewart Rips Obama's Surge Speech: Sounds Like Bush in 2007

-- Dec. 3 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard

Brian Williams Loves the Lefty Humor of ‘Indispensable’ Jon Stewart: How Did We Live Without Him?

-- Dec. 3 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock

Posted by Terry K. at 10:59 PM EST
Farah: 'Yes, I Do Believe In Conspiracies'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

For once, Joseph Farah tells the truth (for the first two paragraphs, anyway) in his Dec. 3 WorldNetDaily column:

I am sometimes accused of believing in and promoting "conspiracy theories."

To this charge, I must plead guilty.

For a long time, I have warned of a massive conspiracy to persuade the American public, in fact the population of the entire world, that life as we know it is threatened by a phantom crisis. This conspiracy is so massive and bold it seeks literally to usher in a new age of global governance, even though there is no evidence to support the claims behind the imminent threat to the planet.

Nevertheless, most of the news media, most government institutions, most politicians of both parties, nearly all schools and universities – even most corporations – promote this conspiracy.

And, later this month, a United Nations global convention in Copenhagen aims to build upon the work of this conspiracy in the hopes of promoting unaccountable global governance – turning people in formerly free countries like the United States into little more than serfs far removed from their masters.

I speak, of course, of the widespread conspiracy and increasingly obvious fraud known as man-made, catastrophic climate change.



Sometimes, even the "paranoid" who claims "they're after me" is right.

The "climate change" crowd really is after you. They're after your money, your freedom and your life.

But how are the Bilderbergers and the Council on Foreign Relations involved? Alas, it seems only the WND store can help you with that.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:01 PM EST

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