Topic: Western Journalism Center
WorldNetDaily and the Western Journalism Center team up to publish an error-ridden, lie-filled anti-Obama screed. Read more >>
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
MRC's Noyes Inadvertently Undermines Anti-CNN Narrative
Topic: Media Research Center
A Sept. 28 Media Research Center item (and NewsBusters item) by Rich Noyes depicts Eliot Spitzer's presence as a co-host of a new CNN show as "CNN’s effort to rehabilitate this scandal-scarred liberal," and he "pulled together quotes from CNN’s coverage of Spitzer’s scandal back in March 2008. MRC video editor Bob Parks turned the clips we found into a polished video presentation documenting how the infamous “Client #9” was mocked and derided by the anchors and correspondents who are now his colleagues."
As Media Matters pointed out when Fox News' Bret Baier repeated the clips pulled by Noyes, this shows that "CNN seems to have an atmosphere where criticisms can be made of politicians from both sides of the aisle." That seems to be the opposite of what Noyes intended, and it runs counter to the MRC's entire narrative that CNN is unrepentantly liberal.
Further, Media Matters goes on to note that one would have a hard time assembling a similar montage of criticism by Fox News personalities of the Republican presidential candidates-in-waiting on the Fox News payroll.
Here's an idea for Noyes: Try running that same clip search on Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and/or Rick Santorum to find Fox News personalities criticizing them in any given one-week period (the same length of time from which the CNN Spitzer-bashing comments were pulled). We'd be shocked if he could find the same number of critical comments. Which is why we don't expect Noyes to do it.
CMI Still Upset That Books Contain Gay Characters
Topic: Media Research Center
Matt Philbin seems to think not enough books are banned.
In a Sept. 27 MRC Culture & Media Institute article, Philbin complains about "Banned Books Week" being championed by Huffington Post, "The house organ for the self-important Hollywood left." Philbin tries to parse banning:
As we've detailed, CMI has long been offended that books for teen readers include gay characters who aren't punished for being gay. Philbin links to another example, a July 19 CMI column by Melissa Afable expressing anger that books were "offering gay role models to teens" and providing "mainstreaming of homosexuality through teen literature."
It seems Philbin and his CMI cohorts want to ban all homosexual characters in literature if said characters aren't depicted as depraved and evil -- doing otherwise would "push the gay agenda," and Philbin apparently can't handle the idea of gays who function normally in society.
WND Thinks Anonymous Commenters Are Newsworthy
WorldNetDaily is now basing entire stories around clipping anonymous commenters on others' websites.
A Sept. 27 article by Brian Fitzpatrick is about how a comment thread on Beck's new website The Blaze has been overrun by birthers. Of course, that's now how Fitzpatrick puts it, saying instead that "those concerned about Obama's unwillingness to document that he is a 'natural-born' citizen, as the Constitution requires, running 9-to-1 over those who believe it's a non-issue." Fitzpatrick goes on to quote apparently authoritative commenters like "TR68GT" and "Burnthills," presumably for their ability to regurgitate WND's own talking points on the issue.
This was followed by a Sept. 28 WND article by Bob Unruh quoting anonymous commenters at a newspaper website to support his assertion that Obama's claiming to be a Christian "doesn't necessarily make him one." Unruh treats us to comments from folks like "griffin 76" and "ceegee."
This is the epitome of laziness. Anonymous commenters are hardly newsworthy, they're more likely to contain vitriolic opinions since they're hiding behind a cloak of anonymity -- indeed, such angry comments are what WND seems to be looking for -- and all that's required on WND's part is little more than copying and pasting.
The irony is that WND doesn't allow such anonymous comments to appear on its own "news" articles -- they're confined to the daily poll question and to separate forums.
Newsmax Fearmongers About 'Palestinian Activist' At 'Obama's Church'
A September 26 Newsmax “Insider Report” item, headlined “Palestinian Activist Speaks at Obama’s Church,” makes a big deal out of how, “immediately following Obama and his family’s attendance at St. John’s Episcopal Church, a pro-Palestinian activist delivered an address at the same church.” According to Newsmax, the activist used his speech to deliver “a demand for Israel ‘to surrender its biblical heartland.’” But the church is hardly “Obama’s church,” and the “pro-Palestinian activist” who spoke was repeatedly courted by the Bush administration.
Newsmax’s claim that St. John’s is “Obama’s church” is presumptuous and absurd. First, as Newsmax also noted, it was “only the third time he has worshipped publicly since taking office.” Second, as the church’s website states, “every person who has held the office of President of the United States has attended a regular or occasional service at St. John's” since the church’s founding in 1815. That means it’s just as much George W. Bush’s church or Ronald Reagan’s church (or even Grover Cleveland’s church) as it is “Obama’s church.”
Newsmax then went on to attack the “Palestinian activist,” Ziad Asali, founder and president of the American Task Force on Palestine, citing a post at a website called Israel Today that drew from dubious right-wing sources like Discover the Networks and Gateway Pundit to back up its claims. Newsmax stated that Asali’s “message, according to Israel Today, amounted to a demand for Israel ‘to surrender its biblical heartland for a phony “peace." ' " But Israel Today’s claim appears to be nothing more than a paraphrase of what it thinks Asali’s agenda is; at no point does Israel Today assert it actually listened to Asali’s remarks.
Newsmax uncritically quoted Israel Today’s claim that “Asali and the ATFP pretend to want a lasting two-state solution to the conflict,” even though that “pretend” claim is right there on its website. Newsmax also accepted Israel Today’s assertion that ATFP’s support for a “right to return” for Palestinians means that the group “advocate[s] the demographic destruction of the Jewish state”; in fact, Asali has signed onto a New America Foundation letter supporting Israel’s right to exist.
In fact, Asali is much more mainstream than Newsmax and Israel Today would have you believe.
In 2004, he was a member of the official U.S. delegation to the funeral of Yasser Arafat, and in 2005 he was a member of the official U.S. delegation observing Palestinian elections. Both of those, of course, took place under the Bush administration.
Further, The Forward has noted that Asali attended three Ramadan dinners in 2008, sponsored by the White House, the State Department and the Department of the Treasury respectively, and that the year before he “had to choose between two government Iftar events taking place at the same time.” That was also under the Bush administration.
But conservatives think all Muslims are scary, so Newsmax endorses Israel Today’s conspiracy-mongering over Obama’s church visit -- even though he didn’t even see Asali speak -- by uncritically quoting Israel Today’s claim that “Perhaps unsurprisingly, the U.S. mainstream media ignored the fact that a Muslim with a thinly-veiled anti-Israel message was preaching on the day that the Obama family attended church for only the third time in the past year. ... Presidents and their staffs don’t schedule things on a whim, and they don’t show up at the same place as someone like Asali by mere coincidence.”
Indeed. Why bother with facts when you can push baseless speculation instead?
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Sheppard Upset That Truth Undermines His Attack
Noel Sheppard went into freak-out mode in a Sept. 26 NewsBusters post, complaining that CNN's Howard Kurtz pointed out that the description of Delaware Senate candidate Chris Coons as a "bearded Marxist" was, in fact, a "clear and obvious joke" and not to be taken seriously. Sheppard's response was to reprint the entire article Coons wrote for his college newspaper in 1985, then huffing:
It seems Sheppard didn't bother tor read the entire piece, because not only did Coons not refer to himself as a "bearded Marxist," he makes clear the reference is a joke:
Farah: Gays Are Worse Than KKK
Joseph Farah spends his Sept. 28 WorldNetDaily column gloating about how he was right about Ann Coulter's appearance at GOProud's Homocon "inherently offered affirmation of GOProud, which is exactly what it was seeking." But gloating is not enough for Farah, who goes on to portray gays as worse than even the Ku Klux Klan:
Farah then insisted he didn't attack Coulter and dump her from his own conference "because I'm a 'publicity whore' or a 'swine.'": "I say it because someone must say it. Even conservative celebrities need to be accountable to the truth."
If WND wasn't seeking publicity from this, why did it publish an article announcing the decision, which set off a public war of words with Coulter? And Farah's portrayal of himself as the only person with the One True Way of Christianity is the height of arrogance.
Newsmax Scaremongers About Health Care (And Wants to Sell You Something)
ewsmax has decided it wants to scare its readers about health care reform, and it has enlisted perhaps the biggest scaremonger on the issue to do it -- all in the service of selling stuff.
Newsmax has already added the discredited McCaughey as a columnist.
Among those joining McCaughey in the fearmongering, according to Davis, are Dr. Russell Blaylock, author of a Newsmax-distributed “wellness report” who in a 2009 Newsmax email advised people to not get swine flu vaccinations because they “contain a full dose of mercury, the most toxic substance known to man,” not to mention that the vaccination will “Damage Your Brain!” In fact, as Newsweek detailed, some versions of swine flu vaccine didn’t contain thimerosal, a preservative that contains mercury, and the Centers for Disease Control states that even vaccines with thimerosal pose no danger to children.
Later on, another headline announces the purported existence of “Obama's Iron Curtain . . . The Creation of Two Americas -- Which Side Are You On?”
Davis also laughably insists that his band of serial misleaders are “unbiased experts,” concluding, “It's never been more important to get the real story on Obamacare.” That may be true, but it’s not what anyone will be getting from Newsmax.
(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)
Tell the Truth? NewsBusters Gives Krauthammer's Falsehood A Pass
In a Sept. 25 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard touted the "weekly smackdown" issued by Charles Krauthammer over the effectiveness of President Obama's stimulus plan. But Sheppard is curiously silent about Krauthammer's false claim that there has been "a half a million increase" in government jobs under Obama.
In fact, only 46,000 federal workers appear to have been added on Obama's watch. The remainder were temporary census jobs that no longer exist.
Ironically, the video clip accompanying Sheppard's post begins with the logo from the MRC's dubious "Tell the Truth" campaign. Apparently, Sheppard and the MRC won't be holding the likes of Krauthammer to such standards -- if they're smacking down people, the truth doesn't matter.
Then again, bullying its political enemies is what the MRC's campaign is all about.
Monday, September 27, 2010
CNS Starts 'Golden Hookah' Award
Near as we can tell, the Media Research Center does not receive funding from tobacco interests. So why has the MRC's CNSNews.com established a "Golden Hookah" award?
We'll let CNS explain:
Funny, we don't recall CNS being interested in this sort of thing when a Republican was president. And we suspect it will disappear if Republicans return to power.
Newsmax Adds Discredited Activist As Columnist
Newsmax's newest columnist is a right-wing activist with a long trail of false and misleading claims.
McCaughey's record is so bad on the issue -- from lying about proposed end-of-life provisions to failing to disclose conflicts of interest -- that Media Matters named her Health Care Misinformer of the Year in 2009. Her record of misinformation has continued this year, most recently falsely smearing Donald Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Adding such a discredited activist doesn't exactly help boost Newsmax's reputation.
Obama (And Clinton) Derangement Watch
With all the Obama derangement to be found on WorldNetDaily, it was inevitable that one of its writers would have a flare-up of Clinton derangement as well. Which brings us to Craig R. Smith's Sept. 27 WND column:
Smith doesn't forget to throw in a healthy dose of Obama derangement as well:
NewsBusters Upset That Truth Is Told About Fox News
It seems the Media Research Center and NewsBusters are still exempting themselves from their "Tell the Truth" campaign -- and getting upset when others do. This time the subject is Fox News.
A Sept. 21 post by Matthew Balan complains that CNN's Rick Sanchez called Fox News "essentially the voice of the Republican Party, whose job it is to make this man [Obama] look bad no matter what he does." Which, of course, is clear to any casual viewer of the channel even without knowledge of News Corp.'s $1 million donation to a Republican activist group (which the MRC has been desperately trying to spin away).
Then, in a Sept. 23 post, Noel Sheppard took offense to Jon Stewart telling Bill O'Reilly that "on this network you are left-wing." Sheppard insisted that MSNBC is "much further to the left than FNC is to the right." How does he know? No actual evidence, of course, just assertions that in comparison to MSNBC's prime-time lineup, which is all "far to the left," O'Reilly, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity are merely "right of center," while Shepard Smith is "liberal" and Greta van Susteren "appears straight down the middle in her reporting," which is not exactly true. Sheppard then whines:
Meanwhile, actual media research is not and has never been a strong suit for conservative media researchers.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
MRC Defends Beck, Goldline
Topic: Media Research Center
Jeff Poor uses a Sept. 24 MRC Business & Media Institute article to run to the defense of Glenn Beck and Goldline from criticism by Rep. Anthony Weiner, but he leaves out a few inconvenient details in the process.
Poor only mentions in passing Goldline's "unfair business practices" as "deemed" by Weiner, but he carefully avoids going into detail about them. Poor then touts how "even media financial experts advise people to have [gold] in their portfolio," which misses the point of Weiner's criticism, which is focused on the "unfair business practices" Poor doesn't want to talk about.
Poor goes on to quote "a spokesman from Goldline" claiming something so important that Poor put it in boldface: that "out of the 30 to 40 television advertisements the company runs on a daily basis, only one runs during Glenn Beck’s Fox News Channel programming." Actually, on the Sept. 24 edition of Beck's Fox News show, Goldline ran two ads.
Poor also omits mention of the "live read" Goldline ads Beck does on his radio show, which have turned into shameless defenses of the company, mixed with shameless scaremongering. Nevertheless, Poor insists that "Beck was conveying a perfectly legitimate view and speaking on the behalf of a legitimate sponsor."
WND Columnist Repeats False Job Claim
In his Sept. 20 WorldNetDaily column, Christopher Grey repeats a claim that "Los Angeles spent $111 million of stimulus money to save only 55 jobs. That is $2 million per job." Grey continued:
In fact, as Media Matters documented, Los Angeles did not spent "$2 million per job" to create 55 jobs; the city expects to create 264 jobs from the $111 million they have received once all the money has been spent, and neither job estimates for "contracted-out projects" nor indirect effects on the economy are not included in the total.
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