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Sunday, August 8, 2010
NewsBusters Misleads to Paint 9th Circuit As Overly Liberal
Topic: NewsBusters

An Aug. 4 NewsBusters post by Matt Hadro complained that PBS "watered down" the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' "infamous history of liberal rulings, saying that though it may be liberal, it is not more so than any other U.S. Circuit Court." Hadro continues:

The Ninth Circuit has a long history of being stacked with liberal judges since the days of President Carter, and infamously struck down "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance in 2002. The Court has arguably inched to the right with the addition of moderate and conservative judges, but is still widely regarded as the most liberal of the circuit courts.

James Taranto, member of the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, described the court as "notoriously liberal," in his piece about the reversal of Proposition 8. Ashby Jones, writing for the WSJ's law blog, said that the court has a reputation for being "packed with liberal judges."

The sentiment isn't confined to conservative-friendly publications.

The Los Angeles Times reported last year that 15 of the court's 16 cases reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court were reversed. "Judicial analysts attribute the high reversal rate at least partly to the 9th Circuit's reputation as a liberal-dominated bench, even though more recent conservative appointments have diluted that influence," the paper reported.

Indeed, the New York Times reported this past spring that "outside experts who have examined the circuit for quantitative evidence of its leanings say that over all, it is indeed the most liberal circuit – but not by all that much."

But in addition to contradicting history in suggesting that the 9th Circuit's reversal rate is abnormally high, Hadro is selectively quoting from those aforementioned newspaper articles. The Los Angeles Times article he cites puts the reversal rate in context:

Most analysts dismiss statistics on reversal as of little significance, given the small number of cases reviewed from most circuits. The 6th and 8th Circuits, which together comprise 11 states from Tennessee to the Dakotas, saw 100 percent of their cases reversed this term, respectively five and four of the Supreme Court's 83-case docket.

But Mr. Samaha, a former law clerk for Justice John Paul Stevens, said it was common knowledge that decisions made by panels that include certain liberal judges get closer scrutiny than others.

"Is it really a circuit being profiled, in a sense, or really a smaller set of judges who set off alarm bells?" Mr. Samaha pondered. "I would suspect it's the latter."

The New York Times article Hadro cites also adds context to reversal rates that Hadro didn't see fit to include:

Susan B. Haire, an associate professor of political science at the University of Georgia, has done extensive research into the rate of reversal for the various circuits and said that, in fact, the reversal rates for the Ninth are generally higher than for other circuits. However, Ms. Haire noted that the Ninth hears far more cases than any other circuit.

In the context of the total volume of cases, she said reversals are “marginally higher than the other circuits, but such a teeny-tiny difference from a substantive perspective even if it is statistically significant, people might say that’s to be expected when you have such a high volume” of cases.

Tom Goldstein, an expert on the Supreme Court, said there was “no evidence of the Ninth Circuit being out of control or of the Supreme Court thinking it is out of control.” He said that there were “old-school, Carter-era liberal appointees on that court who are out of step with the current Supreme Court and are quite strong willed.” He added that those judges “get a lot of attention from the justices” of a Supreme Court that has itself moved significantly to the right over the years.

The highest court in the land, he suggested, so clearly rankles at the views of Judge Reinhardt that litigators hoping to get his decisions overturned will go out of their way to cite him by name in their briefs.

It seems that mentioning the 9th Circuit's size and the even higher reveral rates of other circuits are relevant to any attack on the court's alleged liberal bias. Too bad Hadro didn't think so.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:34 PM EDT
WND Caught Peddling Birther Falsehood, But Copies of the Lies Persist
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has long pushed falsehoods about Barack Obama, his administration, and his birth certificate, but only rarely does it feel sufficiently chastened to correct the record.

On Aug. 4, WND published an article by Joe Kovacs, headlined "Elena Kagan tied to Obama's birth certificate cases," stating:

Just when you thought there couldn't be any more players in the ongoing soap opera over the hunt for President Obama's original birth certificate and his constitutional eligibility for office, there comes yet another name: Elena Kagan.

Yes, the same Elena Kagan nominated by the commander in chief to be the next justice on the U.S. Supreme Court has actually been playing a role for some time in the dispute over whether Obama is legally qualified to be in the White House.

Here's the connection. Kagan served as solicitor general of the United States from March 2009 until May of this year.

In that role, she legally represented the U.S. government in numerous cases coming before the Supreme Court.

A simple search of the high court's own website reveals Kagan's name coming up at least nine times on dockets involving Obama eligibility issues.

Searching the dockets at the U.S. Supreme Court's website reveals Elena Kagan's name coming up numerous times on cases challenging  President Obama's constitutional eligibility for office. (Supreme Court screenshot with name highlighted by WND, Aug. 4, 2010)

Docket No, 09-724, for instance, comes up with this in the search result:

Title: The Real Truth About Obama, Inc., Petitioner v. Federal Election Commission, et al. Reply of petitioner The Real Truth About Obama, Inc. filed. The Real Truth About Obama, Inc. Elena Kagan

Clicking on any of the dockets reveals who the original petitioners were, as well as what proceedings and orders were issued in each case. Here's another docket, with Jamal Kiyemba v. Barack H. Obama.

Elena Kagan's name is noted as solicitor general for cases involving Obama's consdtitutional eligibility. (Supreme Court screenshot with name highlighted by WND, Aug. 4, 2010)

The fact Kagan handled these cases and is now Obama's first choice for the high court is raising some eyebrows.

"She was the solicitor general for all the suits against him filed with the Supreme Court to show proof of natural-born citizenship," notes WND reader Carl Jorgensen of Farmingdale, N.J. "He owes her big time."

"All of the requests were denied of course," Jorgensen continued. "They were never heard. It just keeps getting deeper and deeper, doesn't it? The American people mean nothing any longer. It's all about payback time for those that compromised themselves to elect someone that really has no true right to even be there. We should be getting so sick of all of this nonsense. The USA has finally become the laughing stock of the world. God help and deliver us."

But Kovacs is completely wrong. As Snopes details, none of those docket items has anything to do with "eligibility issues." The Kiyemba case involves a Ugandan who was incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay for four years beginning in 2002, and the suit originally named President Bush as the defendant. Even the one involving "The Real Truth About Obama, Inc." is centered on an allegation that the Obama administration "chilled its right to disseminate information about presidential candidate Senator Obama's position on abortion."

Snopes goes on to note that WND scrubbed the heck out of Kovacs' article after its debunking appeared. Indeed, the article has been completely rewritten and Kovacs' name removed from it. It now begins with a correction (though it's not called that):

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described a series of cases for which Elena Kagan represented the government as eligibility cases. Those cases, in fact, were a series of unrelated disputes pending before the Supreme Court and the references have been removed from this report.

The article now lamely focuses on the "Real Truth About Obama, Inc." case.

Will Kovacs face any sanctions at work for his egregious error? Probably not -- he did what he gets paid to do in floating his attack on Obama, no matter how false. Copies of Kovacs' lies remain all over the Internet. The damage has been done.

Rewriting the story is not enough. WND needs to act in a responsible manner and alert the websites that have copied the article to the fact that it's been utterly discredited.

Then again, other WND liars have not noticably suffered for their falsehoods -- heck, WND had to officially retract an Aaron Klein article because he had so falsely smeared an Islamic charity, and he's now WND's star reporter, spreading more lies and conspiracies with impunity.

There are far more uncorrected falsehoods at WND than corrected ones. What's the official ratio? 10-to-1? 20-to-1? What is WND's corrections policy? There is none stated on its website. Shouldn't this correction be more prominently placed?

The apparently random nature of its corrections -- which seem to come only when there is sufficient public notice of the error, or when a lawsuit is filed or threatened (Clark Jones, anyone?) -- and the apparent lack of any formalized procedure for handling them (WND simply deleted another false birther-related attack without explanation or apology) is yet more evidence that WND should not be taken seriously as anything except a propaganda mill.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:34 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, August 8, 2010 2:36 AM EDT
Saturday, August 7, 2010
AIM Repeats Bogus Claim on DOJ, Military Votes
Topic: Accuracy in Media

An Aug. 4 Accuracy in Media column by Paul R. Hollrah regurgitates the baseless claim that "the Obama Justice Department is now urging the states to use waivers to avoid having to abide by provisions of the MOVE Act," which sets standards for state and local officials to get absentee ballots to members of the military in time to be counted in elections.

In fact, there is no evidence that DOJ is "urging" states to apply for waivers; even the article Hollrah cites to support his claim offers no direct evidence of DOJ officials doing anything beyond instructing officials about the law, which includes a waiver process that must be signed off on by both DOJ and Department of Defense officials.

Further, the two former litigators in the Voting Rights Section pushing this accusation are both conservative activists, and one, J. Christian Adams, has been a key figure in pushing bogus allegations regarding the DOJ's investigation of the New Black Panther Party. Adams has since walked back the allegation, now claiming that he didn't say DOJ was deliberately suppressing military votes.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:26 AM EDT
NewsBusters Upset That Historic Event Is Described As Historic
Topic: Media Research Center

MRC VP Brent Baker was channeling Stephen Colbert -- for him, the facts really do have a liberal bias.

In an Aug. 6 MRC item, Baker portrayed the evening news programs' noting the historic nature of Elena Kagan being confirmed to the Supreme Court -- making the first time in American history that three women have sat on the high court -- as making them, in the words of Baker's headine, "as Giddy as Liberal Democrats":

“The number that really excited Democrats is three: Think Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan,” NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell excitedly announced Thursday night while leading into a clip of Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, who exclaimed as he bounced on his heels on the Senate floor: “Three women will serve together on the United States Supreme Court for the first time in our nation's history!”

The news equally excited the TV network journalists. “History was made in this country today when the Senate confirmed Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court,” declared fill-in NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt as viewers were treated to a “Making History” on-screen graphic.

“Tonight on World News, a day of high court history. Elena Kagan confirmed. For the first time ever, three women will be part of deciding the law of the land,” spouted a giddy Diane Sawyer in matching NBC by making Kagan her lead story. Sawyer could hardly contain her excitement[.]

Baker, it seems, has a little trouble letting his partisan hate blind him to history.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:52 AM EDT
Friday, August 6, 2010
Shocker: WND Debunks Crazy Right-Wing Talking Point
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Surprisingly, it appears there are things too crazy for even WorldNetDaily to promote.

Right Wing Watch notes that an Aug. 3 WND article shoots down the idea that right-wingers don't have to recognize court decisions they didn't like by claiming that the Supreme Court has "original jurisdiction" in "all which a State shall be Party." WND cites not one but two "constitutional experts" pointing out that the "original jurisdiction" is not exclusive.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:29 PM EDT
Bozell's Newsweek Tunnel Vision
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's notorious tunnel vision surfaces yet again in Brent Bozell's Aug. 4 column, which begins:

There’s something oddly funny about the cluelessness of liberal media companies when their ratings fall or their subscriptions collapse. They just refuse to admit, or even consider that the business problem could be (at least in part) their own incessant liberal agitating. Instead, they seem to double down and make things even worse.


Here’s another case in point: Newsweek’s subscriptions collapsed a couple of years back. How could it not be (at least in part) the umpteen Obama-worshipping cover stories that caused some subscribers to cancel. Then they really abandoned the “News” half of their title and wrote cover stories like “We’re All Socialists Now” and “Is Your Baby Racist?”
Newsweek was put on the market, and the market has spoken: a $1 sale.

By the same logic, the fact that conservative newspapers like the Washington Times, the Pitsburgh Tribune-Review and the New York Post do not make enough money to be viable, and remain in operation only through the good graces of their billionaire owners, must mean that their conservative-leaning content does not sell. Of course, Bozell will never admit such a thing, even though it's more true than his rantings about Newsweek.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:24 AM EDT
CNS' Self-Refuting Article

An Aug. 4 article by Matt Cover carries the headline, "Republicans Blast ‘Livable Communities’ Bill As Washington-Based Central Planning for Cities and Towns," and the second paragraph states that "Similar legislation in the House has been criticized by Republicans on the House Budget Committee, who charge that 'the program’s aim is to impose a Washington-based, central planning model on localities across the country.'"

That paragraph (which links to a Republican press release) is the only evidence provided to support the headline's claim; Cover strangely doesn't write further about what's in the press release. The rest of Cover's article is devoted to a mostly straightforward explanation of what the bill actually includes, as well as Sen. Chris Dodd pointing out that -- in contradition to the headline and Cover's inintial framing -- the program is voluntary.

If the central premise of Cover's article is disproved by Cover himself, why does this article exist?

Posted by Terry K. at 10:46 AM EDT
Coulter Quotes From Discredited Author
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Ann Coulter writes in her Aug. 4 syndicated column:

Consider the story of one family of illegal immigrants described in the Spring 2005 Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons:

"Cristobal Silverio came illegally from Oxtotilan, Mexico, in 1997 and brought his wife Felipa, plus three children aged 19, 12 and 8. Felipa ... gave birth to a new daughter, her anchor baby, named Flor. Flor was premature, spent three months in the neonatal incubator, and cost San Joaquin Hospital more than $300,000. Meanwhile, (Felipa's 19-year-old daughter) Lourdes plus her illegal alien husband produced their own anchor baby, Esmeralda. Grandma Felipa created a second anchor baby, Cristian. ... The two Silverio anchor babies generate $1,000 per month in public welfare funding. Flor gets $600 per month for asthma. Healthy Cristian gets $400. Cristobal and Felipa last year earned $18,000 picking fruit. Flor and Cristian were paid $12,000 for being anchor babies."

In the Silverios' munificent new hometown of Stockton, Calif., 70 percent of the 2,300 babies born in 2003 in the San Joaquin General Hospital were anchor babies. As of this month, Stockton is $23 million in the hole.

This anecdote comes from an article in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons by Madeleine Cosman, which is little more than a anti-immigrant screed. In the same article, Cosman forwarded the completely false claim that "in 40 years only 900 people were afflicted" by leprosy, but that there had been "more than 7,000 cases of leprosy" in "the past three years."

The anecdote quoted by Coulter and Cosman came from a Wall Street Journal article making the case that stricter border enforcement is causing the counterintuitive effect of more illegal immigrants choosing to stay in the U.S. rather than migrating back to Mexico. There's a lot of selective quoting going on to hide that aspect of the article, which, of course, isn't as pejorative as Cosman and Coulter make it out to be.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:34 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, August 6, 2010 2:35 AM EDT
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Lazy Corsi Copy-And-Pastes Obama Falsehoods
Topic: WorldNetDaily

For Jerome Corsi, copying-and-pasting is easier than telling the truth.

A few weeks back, we noted that Corsi, in an article on the vote for a new Kenyan constitution, repeated falsehoods that Obama campaigned for Raila Odinga during a visit to Kenya in 2006 and "raised almost $1 million for Odinga during the run-up to Kenya's 2007 presidential election."

Corsi has written an Aug. 4 article on the results of the election -- and he copy-and-pastes the exact same falsehood-ridden passage about Obama and Kenya into it.

Corsi is not just a hack, he's a lazy hack.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:20 PM EDT
CNS Ignores Evidence Of Tea Party Group's Racism

An Aug. 5 article by Penny Starr reports that "Black conservative leaders from around the country gathered in Washington on Wednesday to denounce the NAACP for its resolution charging that elements of the Tea Party movement are racist," at an event "organized by the Tea Party Express." But Starr is silent on the reason the Tea Party Express held this event -- an effort to counter racially inflammatory remarks by own of its own former officials.

Mark Williams is the Tea Party Express spokesman (and former vice chairman of the PAC that operates the group) who wrote a blog post mocking NAACP president Ben Jealous and portraying blacks as wanting the return of slavery so whites will take care of them. Tea Party Federation publicly repudiated Williams and kicked the Tea Party Express out of the movement. As TPM points out, Williams was unmistakably the reason for the Tea Party Express event, even though nobody on the podium would admit it.

Even though this history is key to the event in question, Starr doesn't mention any of it.

In a related article interviewing event attendee Alan Keyes -- in which he asserts that "President Barack Obama and liberals in Congress are promoting a dependence on government that mirrors slavery" -- Starr also fails to mention the Williams incident, even though he was not afraid to talk about it and even criticized Williams over it, and even though Starr describes Keyes as among "more than a dozen other black conservative leaders at a gathering in Washington to condemn accusations by the NAACP that the Tea Party movement has a racist faction."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:48 PM EDT
Hirsen Falsely Claims Obama 'Stiffed the Scouts'
Topic: Newsmax

James Hirsen writes in his Aug. 3 Newsmax "Left Coast Report":

President Barack Obama’s appearance last week on “The View” was his third time on the show.

He was scheduled to speak to the Boy Scouts of America on the same day that he taped “The View.” Obama is the honorary chairman of the organization, but he stiffed the scouts to go on a daytime TV talk show, and followed that up with fundraising events in hopes of fattening coffers for upcoming midterm elections.

In fact, Obama was never scheduled to appear in person at the Boy Scout Jamboree. As Fox News reported, the Boy Scouts knew two months prior to the Jamboree that Obama would not be able to attend.

Hirsen also fails to mention that Obama has welcomed Boy Scouts into the Oval Office twice during his presidency, most recently on July 12, or that Obama supplied a videotaped message to the Jamboree. He also fails to mention that Ronald Reagan also failed to attend a Boy Scout Jamboree during his presidency.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:11 AM EDT
Graham Defends Ingraham's Stereotypical Attack on Obama
Topic: NewsBusters

Tim Graham took offense when Stephen Colbert highlighted a passage in Laura Ingraham's parody book "The Obama Diaries," in which she depicts Michelle Obama as repeatedly eating ribs, as being among "the most hideous, hackneyed racial stereotypes." Not because Ingraham did anything wrong, but because Colbert pointed it out. 

What? All those Chili’s 'I want my baby back, baby back, baby back' ads were only designed for black customers?" Graham wrote in an Aug. 4 NewsBusters post. "Obviously, there are more hackneyed culinary stereotypes than that."

Really? A TV ad with a catchy tune is more offensive than depicting a black woman as obsessed with eating ribs? Is Graham so on-message with the right-wing agenda that he is unable to criticize conservatives for doing something that is obviously questionable?

Graham concludes his post by spinning a conspiracy: "Since these shows are pre-taped and edited, do you ever wonder whether conservatives get some of their slams edited out before the show is aired? Have you ever seen Stewart or Colbert successfully swatted by a conservative? Ingraham's interview had some slice-and-dice in it, I think."

Because, you know, conservatives would never do that.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:48 AM EDT
WND Columnist: More Gay-Haters Needed
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Telling lies isn't frowned upon at WorldNetDaily -- at least, it isn't when those lies are about President Obama.

So when Pieder Beeli's first WND column in June proved to be not only extrordinarily hateful of Obama (Beeli declared that, based on what Obama purportedly "implied" as opposed to what he "explicitly stated," Obama has a "fealty toward Islam") but also wildly inaccurate, you knew he was guaranteed a return appearance.

And return he does in a Aug. 4 column, in which Beeli manages to stay away from Obama smears and falsehoods. He does, however, list "nine examples of hate groups that can enrich any neighborhood," with the intent of illustrating how "we can only truly love someone to the extent that we hate the bad and evil turns by which human nature may entreat him." Among the benign hatreds (drunk driving, crime) and the predictably right-wing ones ("the deflating of economic dreams," "a political culture that opposes individual wealth creation") is this:

Hatred for unnatural and perverse sexualities. What if the average shortening of one's life due to homosexual behavior was four times greater than that due to obesity and poor diet, or three times greater than that due to heavy smoking? Would that be grounds to attach the "perverse" or "unnatural" label to some sort of consensual adult sexual activity? Further, what if the pathological demographic indices – violent crime, suicide, depression, pedophilia – further correlated with increased acceptance of homosexuality? Would it be love toward the individual considering such a lifestyle, or would it be hate? Wouldn't it be necessary to hate sexual perversity in order to truly love people considering it?

Beeli thinks not enough people hate gays, a hate he claims is "consistent with a loving American citizen." Of course, WND hates gays too, so Beeli continues to fit right in.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:04 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 5, 2010 10:54 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
CNS Plays Gotcha With Pelosi
Topic: actually asked this of Nancy Pelosi:

“You said at a recent Catholic Community Conference that your favorite word was ‘The Word, as in the word made flesh,’ and that we need to quote, ‘give voice to what that means in terms of public policy that would be in keeping with the Word.’ So, when was the Word made flesh? Was it at the Annunciation, when Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Sprit, as the Creed says, or was it at the Nativity when he was born of the Virgin Mary? And when did the Word get the right to life?”

When the answer Pelosi provided was deemed insufficient, CNS decided to press the issue: then sent an e-mail to the speaker’s press secretary, Nadeam Elshami, seeking to clarify the speaker’s answer. The e-mail said:
“Speaker Pelosi said at a Catholic Community Conference that her favorite word was ‘the Word’ as in ‘the Word made flesh’ and that we ‘need to [give] voice to what that means in terms of public policy.’ We’d like to clarify the speaker’s position on this: Did Jesus have the right to life from the moment of conception?”
In an e-mailed response, the press secretary wrote:  “The speaker answered the question. Thanks.”

CNS doesn't seem to care about actual news, only in attacking the Obama administration with gotchas. As we've noted, CNS even engages in gotcha Freedom of Information Act requests.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:31 PM EDT
Chuck Norris Revives Discredited Obama-Interpol Conspiracy
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Chuck Norris writes in his Aug. 2 WorldNetDaily column:

Now, it finally is coming to light why back on Dec. 16, 2009, Obama signed an executive order "designating Interpol [International Criminal Police Organization] as a public international organization entitled to enjoy certain privileges, exemptions and immunities."

Glenn Beck spoke for a host of other government watchdogs back then, when he asked on the air on his Jan. 7 show, "We've been asking ever since it was signed: Why? Who can tell me what special-interest group asked for this? If it were about terror, why not tell us that when he signed it? This Congress attacks our CIA and FBI, but Interpol gets immunity? Why? It makes no sense."

It all comes down to one basic verb. Can you find it in the following paragraph?

Obama's executive order reads, "By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 1 of the International Organizations Immunities Act (22 U.S.C. 288), and in order to extend the appropriate privileges, exemptions and immunities to the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) ..."

There's the magic verb: "to extend"!

As I wrote in an earlier column on Interpol, is it also just coincidental that Interpol is exempt from typical American search-and-seizure laws?

Anyone still not connecting the dots?

In fact, as was detailed when Glenn Beck first pushed the claim, the executive order does not give Interpol the power to arrest U.S. citizens, and Interpol already had immunity from lawsuits in the U.S. -- granted by President Reagan! Further, Interpol is not a traditional police force that his officers who arrest people; its functions are mostly investigative and record-keeping, and local law enforcement is used to conduct any actual arrests.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:57 PM EDT

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