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Sunday, February 28, 2010
Graham Not Big on Having an Informed Electorate
Topic: NewsBusters

Tim Graham seems to prefer his voters to be stupid and uninformed.

In a Feb. 22 NewsBusters post, Graham complains about a Newsweek poll that asked about Obama's health care reform plan without describing its contents, and found that a near-majority was opposed to it. Then, when respondents were informed about the contents of the plan, more supported the plan than opposed it.

This was a "push poll," Graham huffed: "It’s just like Newsweek calling up people and insisting they should really support ObamaCare, because it embraces abstract liberal principles like requiring insurance companies to insure everyone."

Why does Graham prefer to scaremonger about health care reform? Because people actually like what's in it once you tell them.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:46 PM EST
Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

Sarah Knoploh embraces the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy in a Feb. 26 MRC Culture and Media Institute item, claiming that a Washington Post article on a Minnesota abortion provider who travels to South Dakota to perform abortions "not only turned Ball into a hero, but sympathized with her 'difficult' situation." Knoploh also stated that the Post "quoted the clinic director, sympathizing further with the pro-abortion side of South Dakota’s controversy."

That's right -- Knoploh is asserting that a news outlet merely quoting someone means that said outlet endorses whatever that person has to say.

Knoploh insisted the article shows that "Pushing a liberal pro-abortion agenda is nothing new for the Post"; one of the examples she provides is of the post "featur[ing] a medical student’s opinions about why she supported abortion in June 2009." A total of three stories over two years were cited, but Knoploh offers no explanation of how three stories over two years equate to compelling evidence of a "pro-abortion agenda."

Knoploh also demonstrated the right wing's continuing obsession with slain abortion doctor George Tiller, complaining that, in insisting ath that "Other mainstream media outlets have pushed the same ["pro-abortion"] agenda," that TV networks "only referred to Tiller’s death as deadly, while ignoring the violent nature of abortions." You may recall that Knoploh and her fellow CMI writer Colleen Raezler effectively condoned Tiller's murder by complaining that news outlets failed to "help their audience understand why this man was targeted."

Posted by Terry K. at 11:07 AM EST
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Farah Endorses His Corrupt Buddy for Congress
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his Feb. 27 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah touts is friend Richard Pombo for a congressional seat in California:

I know Pombo well.

There is no one who stands taller for liberty and the Constitution than him.

He cannot be bought. He cannot be co-opted. He is not capable of falling under the spell of the Beltway insiders.

He's just the real deal – a Portuguese cowboy, fifth-generation California rancher who learned about federal attacks on property rights firsthand.

For a guy who supposedly  "cannot be bought ... cannot be co-opted" and "is not capable of falling under the spell of the Beltway insiders," Pombo spent a lot of time hanging around bribers and Beltway insiders -- not to mention more than a little self-dealing.

As Talking Points Memo detailed:

  • Pombo was videotaped claiming that disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff "never once lobbied me on anything." The AP promptly discovered in billing records that Abramoff had contacted Pombo personally twice, and his associates many more times.
  • Pombo's staff appeared frequently in Team Abramoff e-mails discussing free seats at sporting and entertainment events. For example, two tickets to WWF Backlash Live went to Pombo's press secretary in April 2000. Pombo was an important target of Abramoff because of his seat on -- and eventual chairmanship of, thanks to Tom DeLay -- the House Committee on Natural Resources.
  • Watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington in 2006 prepared an epic thirteen-count ethics complaint against Pombo, for among, other charges, potentially violating "federal bribery laws by providing legislative assistance to Indian tribes in exchange for contributions to his campaign and political action committee, RICH PAC."
  • He was criticized for taking a two-week RV tour of the national parks in 2003 -- and billing the taxpayer for rental fees. Even though his family came along for the ride, Pombo maintained, "It was not a personal trip."
  • Also in the good-to-be-related-to-the-congressman file: Pombo paid his wife and brother $357,325 over four years from his campaign fund for fundraising, consulting, and other unspecified services. The Los Angeles Times reported in 2005 that his impressive total put him in league with Tom DeLay.
  • In 2004, he sent over 100,000 fliers touting President Bush's environmental agenda -- and that of Resources committee members facing tough reelection bids. One recipient described the letters, which were paid for by the government, as "veiled campaign literature."
  • After leaving Congress, Pombo, long the archenemy of the environmentalist movement, got a gig with PR firm Pac/West Communications, which had worked with the congressman over the years on efforts like loosening restrictions on logging in national forests.

Further, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Pombo to its list of most corrupt members of Congress in 2005.

But you've never read about any of this at WND -- as we pointed out, Farah and Co. hid Pombo's misdeeds from its readers. All the better for Farah to construct a revisionist history of Pombo's 2006 loss:

Maybe, you say, "Farah, if Pombo is that good, how did he get beat in 2006?"

The answer is simple: Pombo was targeted by millions of dollars from environmental extremist groups who wanted to rid Washington of their No. 1 enemy. Pombo spent most of his time in Washington trying to overhaul one of the most dangerous pieces of legislation in the history of our country – the Endangered Species Act.

Nah, Pombo's ethical problems had nothing to do with it.  And if Joseph Farah had his way, you'd never hear about them.

UPDATE: Farah also attempts to fleece his readers by plugging autographed copies of the book he wrote with Pombo, "This Land Is Your Land," for a whopping $99, adding: "Sorry, it's now a limited collector's item." Actually, it's not that limited -- you can buy a good used copy through for as little as 75 cents. And ifyou simply must have it autographed, there's one for $1.09.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:37 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, February 27, 2010 10:59 PM EST
Meanwhile ...
Topic: Western Journalism Center

Think Progress caught up with the Western Journalism Center's Caleb Heimlich at CPAC, where he was doing the bidding of his boss, Floyd Brown, by promoting Brown's campaign to impeach President Obama. Heimlich couldn't come up with any imeachable offenses specifically identified in the Constitution, instead essentially admitting that the effort is rooted in little more than policy differences.

We've already detailed the lies and distortions in Brown's impeachment drive.

Meanwhile, the WJC, far from doing anything involving actual journalism, is mostly content to rehash attacks on the media from other right-wing websites, combined with the occasional smear job, like one asserting that Obama is "stupid and lazy."

And lest anyone think this is about anything other than the aggrandizement of its leader, a graphic onthe WJC front page plugs Floyd Brown's availability for speaking gigs:

If you're curious, Brown's fee ranges between $1,000 and $5,000 depending on the location of the speech, and he "requires reimbursement for transportation and lodging."

Posted by Terry K. at 11:41 AM EST
Friday, February 26, 2010
AIM Ignores Money-Losing Right-Wing Papers
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A Feb. 25 Accuracy in Media blog post by Don Irvine highlights how the Washington Post Co. is seeing increased profits even though the Washington Post itself is losing money. Irvine adds, "Unlike other large city newspapers where decisions have been made to shutter the print version and move online, the Post will continue as long as the other operations can subsidize the paper even if it's not a good business decision."

Irvine doesn't mention the fact that there are several papers that continue to operate even though they have lost money for years. Perhaps because the prime examples of such -- the New York Post, the Washington Times and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review -- are all conservative-leaning, kept in business only because of the grace of their deep-pocketed, conservative-leaning owners.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:05 PM EST
WND Falsely Claims NY Times Called CPAC Speaker 'Racist'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Feb. 25 WorldNetDaily article by Alyssa Farah falsely claimed that a New York Times article about CPAC stated "that one of the addresses there turned racist."

In fact, the Times article in question, on Jason Mattera's speech, does not contain the word "racist." Rather, it states that Mattera used "racial stereotypes" in his speech. Farah gave Mattera ample space to bash the Times, but made no apparent attempt to seek out a response from the Times.

Farah goes on to do her father's duty in echoing his criticism of allowing a group of gay conservatives to co-sponsor CPAC, even quoting gay-hater extrordinaire Cliff Kincaid.Farah also repeats her father's lament that he wasn't allowed to bring his birther rant to CPAC.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:43 PM EST
Newsmax Columnist Likens Obama to Glenn Close in 'Fatal Attraction'
Topic: Newsmax

"Fatal Attraction," the Washington version is playing on a television near you as Obama's bipartisan summit on healthcare approaches. Like a possessed, rejected maniac the president refuses to allow the idea of a massive restructuring of our healthcare system to fade.

You're just not that into his healthcare bill? Too bad. He won't be ignored.

Obama is hoping that by rebranding and reworking the old, rejected versions of the House and Senate bill into an even scarier narrative coupled with a televised meeting, the pressure will be so intense that he can kidnap the handful of Republican votes he needs to catapult this monstrosity over the finish line.

To get our attention, Democrats attempted legislative suicide. After laying low, they're back again, and like any prey dealing with a psycho, Republicans are nervous.

They understand that this is a carefully calculated public relations gimmick designed to force their hand. They know that if they don't show up, the images of empty chairs across the table from their caucus will be used, repeatedly, to paint them as unwilling to govern and to target them in campaign ads as obstructionists. Forget alerting the wife, the White House is going to out your bad behavior on C-SPAN. In other words: this is blackmail, Beltway style.

Like any concerned observer frightened for my friend's life, as well as my own, I urged Republicans to set some terms and not accept the invitation to the president's gathering unless he agreed to start over. Apparently, Mr. Obama was in favor of a second chance for the relationship and demonstrated his willingness by crafting a more expensive and politically explosive version of the first health care bill -- just on his own terms (so much for bipartisanship).


With each passing week that the president ignores jobs, choosing to focus on his obsession and an unprecedented legislative trick to stalk the public into a submitting to a relationship they don't want, the more he looks like a lunatic who has escaped the asylum, just waiting to surprise you outside your window, in the rain on your fire escape until you relent.

What has become evident to everyone except the Democratic leadership is that the American majority has no interest in a relationship so dysfunctional, so unstable, so completely unhealthy.

Obama has stumbled many times trying to get his way. Act Two of heath care reform might be his biggest mistake on the issue yet. In an effort to hit a button to reset the process, he might have hit the one that just blew it up. Like any good horror film, the element that's most despised just won't die. Let's hope we can finish health care off before anyone gets hurt.

-- Andreea Tantaros, Feb. 24 Newsmax column (full version at

Posted by Terry K. at 11:53 AM EST
Updated: Friday, February 26, 2010 11:56 AM EST
NewsBusters Touts Fear-Mongering Doctor
Topic: NewsBusters

A Feb. 25 MRC Business & Media Institute article by Jeff Poor uncritically repeats claims by Fox News' Marc Siegel alleging "unintended consequences" to health care reform. Unfortunately for Poor, Siegel is hardly a reliable source for claims on health care reform.

Media Matters has documented Siegel's history of false claims and fear-mongering on health care reform -- for instance, repeating false claims about the end-of-life counseling that had been in the bill at one point.Siegel is not a dispassionate analyst on the issue but a full-fledged activist, having encouraged doctors to quit the American Medical Association over reform.

Poor makes no effort to analyze what Siegel says, instead suggesting that Siegel's presentation of "some of the myths surrounding the proposed political solutions for health care in the United States" is correct and authoritative -- for which there is no evidence presented to support. Poor repeats Siegel's agitation for tort reform without mentioning that, as the Washington Post's Ezra Klein has noted, there is already some tort reform in the bill.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:13 AM EST
Has Newsmax Dumped Pam Geller?
Topic: Newsmax

Earlier this week, Media Matters detailed the virulent Muslim-bashing at CPAC's "Jihad: The Political Third Rail" event, co-hosted by Pamela Geller and featuring one speaker's assertion that "[r]ape is also a part of" Muslims' efforts to convert non-Muslims in Europe and that and that "[d]emocracy is being deliberately removed" from the European Union by "incorporating Muslim countries of North Africa and the Middle East in the European Union." (Not to mention Geller's own charming description of Umar Abdulmutallab as "the Christmas balls bomber.")

Geller, of course, has been a columnist at Newsmax for the past several months, where she regularly spewed her anti-Muslim and anti-Obama venom. Newsmax, you may recall, has had some issues in recent months with columnists going a bit over the top -- advocating a military coup against Obama, calling for a allegedly figurative "tenting" of the White House to kill the "varmints" inside, etc. -- prompting some hasty column deletions.

We were going to ask if Geller's CPAC hate-fest was acceptable to Newsmax, but it seems that question has already been answered. The latest Geller column in the Newsmax archive is from February 10 -- which means it removed a February 16 column in which Geller smeared Obama as a "weakling," "jihad-enabling," and, finally, "President L-dopa" because "Obama is to American people what L-Dopa was to Oliver Sacks' patients." (Here's the Newsmax column in Google cache, and here's a version of it at Big Government, which apparently has no problem with Geller's vicious insults.)

Geller's name has also been removed from Newsmax's blog page, which is another clue that she's been terminated. Newsmax, of course, has not said a word about either the retraction or the termination to its readers.

Anyone familiar with Geller's long record of inflammatory comments could have seen this outcome as inevitable -- indeed, that's what we predicted would happen. The question is why Newsmax believed that such hatred deserved to be enshrined in a column on its website in the first place.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:08 AM EST
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Farah: CPAC Doesn't Hate Gays Enough
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah takes the Cliff Kincaid route by endorsing Ryan Sorba's anti-gay rant at CPAC in his Feb. 25 WorldNetDaily column: "Sorba rightfully condemned the conference for accepting sponsorship from a group promoting an agenda totally at odds with conservatism – and, more importantly, at odds with Judeo-Christian morality and Western civilization." Farah continued:

Let me remind you what Sorba was condemning – the notion of same-sex marriage.

Same-sex marriage has been overwhelmingly rejected by popular vote everywhere it has been put to the test.

Barack Obama cannot even say he supports same-sex marriage, not because he doesn't, but because it is so politically unpopular.

I would suggest to you that at least 90 percent of Americans reject same-sex marriage.

But "conservatives" don't?

That's just the practical politics side of the equation. Listen to those booing Ryan Sorba and you are headed for political disaster.


There is nothing "conservative" or even libertarian about permitting government to rewrite a 6,000-year-old God-given institution.

It's very disturbing that CPAC leadership would not see that, and equally disturbing that so many young attendees would not understand how they are compromising with the eternal truths "conservatives" should be "conserving."

Farah, of course, is a virulent gay-hater. But there's more going on as well -- remember that Farah was blocked from pushing his birther agenda at CPAC.

So it seems that Farah's real problem is that CPAC hates birthers more than it hates gays.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:03 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, February 25, 2010 6:23 PM EST
'Deep' and 'Extensive' Ties? Not So Much
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Aaron Klein strains mightily in a Feb. 24 WorldNetDaily article to portray the Islamic Society of North America, which he describes as a "radical Muslim group," as having "an extensive relationship with the Obama administration," adding that "The Obama White House has deep ties to ISNA."

The evidence Klein offers to support his claim, however, is less than compelling. He offers only a handful of alleged "ties," one of which is that "the Justice Department sponsored an information booth at an ISNA bazaar in Washington, D.C." An information booth is an example of "deep ties"?

Three of the other instances involve ISNA president Ingrid Mattson attending non-exclusive gatherings at the White House.

Klein has much deeper ties to right-wing Israeli extremists than the ISNA has to the White House.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:15 PM EST
Meanwhile ...
Topic: NewsBusters

Media Matters highlights a couple recent NewsBusters posts of note:

Jack Coleman's defense of the John Birch Society over its longtime opposition to fluoridation of drinking water, even going so far as to liken it to adding iodine to salt. Coleman then took a swipe at Rachel maddow, who raised the fluoridation issue with the Birthers at CPAC, calling Maddow's use of a swear word "a cheap tactic borrowed from Jon Stewart by way of Abbie Hoffman, and the sign of a weak argument."

Candance Moore's attempt to claim that the press ignored the "left-wing tone of Netroots Nation in 2009." As Karl Frisch points out, "Moore's framing of these discussions don't appear to bear any resemblance to what actually transpired because -- I assume from reading her post -- she didn't actually attend Netroots Nation."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:32 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, February 25, 2010 12:33 PM EST
WND Labeling Aversion Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Feb. 24 WorldnetDaily article by Chelsea Schilling tackles the tough issues -- whether a new logo for the Department of Defense's Missile Defense Agency was inspired by the Obama campaign logo or is s"uggestive of an Islamic crescent moon and star." Schilling writes that "some" are making this claim, but names only a "Washington Times blog" and the Drudge Report.

Those are both conservative, as are the "several bloggers" also mentions. Yet Schilling did not see fit to identify the accusers as conservative.

Further, Schilling waits until the ninth paragraph -- well after she rehashes the conspiracy theories over it -- to reveal the truth about the logo: it was designed three years ago.

Sadly, that's the kind of shoddy reporting we've come to expect from Schilling.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:10 AM EST
NewsBusters Misleads on Reconciliation
Topic: NewsBusters

A Feb. 24 NewsBusters post by Lachlan Markay asserts that "the liberal media attempts to downplay Democratic double standards and highlight Republican ones," stating:

In numerous reports on the status of health care negotiations in the Senate, prominent media outlets made sure to mention that Republicans used the so-called "nuclear option"--known in parliamentary terms as the budget reconciliation process--to overcome Democratic filibusters. But conspicuously absent are mentions of Democrats' unequivocal condemnations of reconciliation.

First, reconciliation is not the "nuclear option," despite attempts by Republicans to portray it as such.

Second, despite citing "Democrats' unequivocal condemnations of reconciliation," Markay provides no examples of such. The video he links to, which he claims shows how Democrats "were ardent advocates of majoritarianism in the Senate only a few years ago" shows no such thing. The video, compiled by right-wing website Naked Emperor News, obscures the fact that what the Democrats were criticizing was a 2005 Republican plan to change Senate rules and ban filibusters on judicial nominees -- which is what the "nuclear option" is -- and not reconciliation.

Reconciliation, by contrast, is a existing Senate procedure, which Markay seems to concede. But he conflates filibusters with reconciliation, failing to understand between an existing Senate procedure and an attempt to change Senate rules, which is what Republicans tried to do in 2005, Thus, Markay's complaint that CBS "not[ed] that Republicans have purportedly used reconciliation more often then Democrats--without mentioning the majority leader's about face" is meaningless; there is no "about face" because Reid was talking about two different things.

Markay concludes by complaining that the media, "far from serving as watchdogs, simply regurgitated Democratic talking points without a hint of criticism or analysis." That from someone who's regurgitating right-wing talking points without a hint of criticism or analysis.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:15 AM EST
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
WND Columnist Repeats Misleading Attack on Pelosi
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Feb. 23 WorldNetDaily column by Chrissy Satterfield takes as her inspiration (aside from "my favorite talk radio host, the 'Titan of Truth,' Michael Savage") Judicial Watch's attack on Nancy Pelosi use of military aircraft in her role as House speaker. Her main complaint is that Pelosi's family members have "hitched a ride or two on congressional flights."

Of course, as we've detailed, Judicial Watch's attack on Pelosi is highly misleading, ignoring the fact that the vast majority of flights arranged through Pelosi's office were congressional delegations that more often than not included Republican members of Congress -- something Pelosi's Republican predecessor, Dennis Hastert, also did.

But Satterfield is less interested in telling the truth than insulting Pelosi, with references to face lifts and Botox. Not terribly surprising, is it?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:39 PM EST

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