NewsBusters' Graham Asks: 'Is Justice Breyer Really Dumb About Tools?' Topic: NewsBusters
Yes, Tim Graham devoted an entire NewsBusters post to suggesting that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is "really dumb about tools" because he said that if a certain course of reasoning were to be adopted, "we are not just throwing a monkey wrench into the gears of government contracting; we're throwing the whole monkey."
Graham concedes that "It's quite possible that Breyer was trying to be a Supreme Court cutup," but he fretted whether "a Palin get the chance to be a wise-cracker," and he's more interested in portraying Breyer's quip as, in the words of someone he quoted, "more disturbing than funny."
This is the state of "media research" at the Media Research Center.
We Get Results: Kessler Writes About CPAC Topic: Newsmax
A few days ago, we wondered when Newsmax's Ronald Kessler would write about the controversies at the gay conservative group GOProud at CPAC, given that CPAC gave Kessler its inaugural "Robert Novak Journalist of the Year Award" last year.
Kessler has finally come through -- he has written a Jan. 24 column on the issue, and he predictably allows his buddy David Keeneof the American Conservative Union, which runs CPAC, to dismiss it all:
Some say CPAC should exclude GOProud, a gay conservative group. Others say it should emphasize national security issues more. Conspiracy theorists hint darkly that CPAC has been overtaken by Muslim extremists. And some insist that any group that has chosen not to participate this year must not approve of CPAC policies or speakers.
Rubbish, says Dave Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, whose foundation runs CPAC. Having been chairman since 1984, Keene has seen it all. He bears the brunt of lobbying by those who want to be speakers or want to ban others from speaking.
To Keene, those who try to define what conservatives should think and try to exclude those who don’t agree don’t understand what the movement is all about and why it has been so successful.
“CPAC does not attempt to define the movement,” Keene says. “In the past, you had people say that anybody who is for free trade should be thrown out, or anybody that is not for total restrictionist immigration policies should be thrown out, or groups that are not religious should be thrown out.”
In addition, says Keene, “We’ve had groups that are on one side or the other which never participated because they don’t feel they want to be identified with anybody else. Some economic groups don’t want to be associated with social conservatives. Some of the social conservatives don’t want to be associated with economic groups.”
Over the years, CPAC has excluded only one group, a Citizens Council in Mississippi, which Keene says was racist.
Keene goes on to defend GOProud, and Kessler points out that CPAC has more organizations taking part this year over last.
All in all, it's the fawning whitewash job we knew Kessler would do when properly motiviated.
WND Sides With Ivory Coast Leader, Against Rest of World Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has taken sides on the election controversy in the Ivory Coast, delaring in a Jan. 22 article that "Laurent Gbagbo, a Christian, legitimately was re-elected president" and that the country "is facing the forced Islamist takeover of its government" from "outside influences" who "seek to force the installment of Alassane Ouattara, a Muslim who, like Gbagbo, claims the presidency following a recent contested election." WND continues:
The forced selection of Ouattara by outside influences runs contrary to constitutionally established procedures in the Ivory Coast regarding such determinations, critics contend.
In this case, the issue centers on whether the United States and U.N. will select the next Ivory Coast president or allow the decision by the country's constitutional council to prevail.
The constitutional council had determined that there was sufficient evidence of vote-rigging in the northern part of the country controlled by Islamists to make the final determination that Gbagbo, the incumbent president, had won the hotly contested election last November.
The constitutional council under the Ivory Coast constitution has the last word on election results.
But the U.S., U.N. and African Union are pushing for the recognition of Ouattara and are demanding that Gbagbo step down and "respect democracy."
As we've detailed over at Media Matters, the United Nations and the European Union have certified that the vote in which Gbagbo lost to rival Ouattara was free and fair, despite some isolated incidents of violence, and National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer stated that the provisional results were in favor of Ouattara, adding, “Credible, accredited electoral observers have characterized the balloting as free and fair, and no party should be allowed to obstruct further the electoral process.” The constitutional council WND relies on as having certified the results of the election is, in fact, controlled by Gbagbo loyalists.
In short, there is near-unanimous international opinion that Gbagbo is causing the crisis in the Ivory Coast by manipulating the election results and refusing to leave office, and U.S. actions on the Ivory Coast are in line with that international opinion.
WND also repeats the discredited claim that President Obama "barnstormed on behalf of" Kenyan leader Raila Odinga during a 2007 visit to the country and that Obama was "appearing with Odinga at campaign stops." In fact, as PolitiFact.com reported, Obama "remained neutral in Kenyan politics, and did not support Odinga during his trip," and it was Odinga who was seeking to align himself with Obama, not the other way around.
WND portrayed the Kenya situation as "the second Muslim-Christian battle in Africa recently," but the opposing candidate in the Kenyan presidential controversy, Mwai Kibaki -- who professes to be a Chtristian -- has two wives, something generally frowned upon in Christianity.
This is the second time this month that WND has sided with Gbagbo and pushed discredited lies about Obama and Odinga.
Loughner's Favorite Film Shares Obsessions With WND Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has been eager to tag accused Arizona shooter Jared Loughner as being influence by Marx and Hitler, as well as music lyrics. It has shown no enthusiasm for exploring another apparent influence on Loughner -- a conspiracy-mongering film called "Zeitgeist."
Perhaps that's because "Zeitgeist" has some common obsessions with WND.
Both Zeitgeist and Alex Jones promote the idea that world events are controlled by a secretive banking cabal that is using debt to enslave us all. Zeitgeist echoes Alex Jones in warning that the United States is about to be merged with Canada and Mexico into a "North American Union" that will use a new currency, the "Amero." "When the time is right," Zeitgeist informs us, "the North American Union, The European Union, the African Union and the Asian Union will be merged together, forming the final stages of the plan these men have been working on for over 60 years: a one world government." This government will implant microchips in all of our arms. "In the end, everybody will be locked into a monitored control grid, where every single action you perform is documented," it says.
The North American Union is one of the chief obsessions of WND writer Jerome Corsi -- he even wrote a book about it. For instance, in a Dec. 20 WND article, Corsi portrayed a meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the foreign ministers of Canada and Mexico as a part of moving toward creation of the NAU. Corsi has alsoscaremongered about the amero as well.
The idea of control and manipulation is the movie's real theme, knitting together its disparate parts. Zeitgeist's second-third rehashes classic 9/11 Truth theories that purport to show that the attacks were actually an inside job. This was done, the final section argues, at the behest of a banking cabal that has repeatedly goaded the United States into war in order to solidify its wealth and power. Chip Berlet, a senior analyst at the think tank Political Research Associates and one of the country's foremost experts on right-wing movements, points out that Zeitgeist borrows liberally from the G. Edward Griffin's The Creature from Jekyll Island, an "expose" of the Federal Reserve System popular with the John Birch Society, Alex Jones, and some Tea Party groups. It also draws on ideas from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, though it never mentions Jews.
While WND has generally stayed away from 9/11 trutherism, it is obsessed with the idea of secret societies like the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations, and it sells Stanley Monteith's "Brotherhood of Darkness" -- which claims to expose "secret societies, how they have directed the course of civilization, and how they influence your life today" -- in is online store, as well as a book called "Hope of the Wicked," which purports to show "what the Masters of the Universe are planning for the New World Order." WND editor Joseph Farah is fully on board with this; in a 2009 column, he ranted about how "What Kissinger and his friends in the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission and Bilderberg Group want to see and construct is a "permanent" form of global governance. They seek to serve as the architects of a new empire."
Despite having a lot in common with "Zeitgeist," WND has largely ignored its connection to Loughner. It has mentioned the film in only two articles, and only in passing: once in quoting Rush Limbaugh calling it a film claiming "your government was behind the downing of the [World] Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11," and once in quoting someone else; WND claimed that the film "alleges that Jesus Christ is merely another name for non-existent pagan sun gods and rails against currency-based economics."
Which it does, but much more too -- but WND doesn't want to tell you that because they would discredit themselves by doing so.
For instance, in a Nov. 22 post, Lachlan Markay played the equivocation card, declaring NPR's suggestion that Fox News is "uniquely disposed to Nazi comparisons" as "absurd claim on its face":
Of course anyone with a memory span longer than two years remembers a host of such Nazi comparisons that did not emanate from Fox News. In fact, while MSNBC and New York Times commentators were certainly fond of painting the George W. Bush administration as frighteningly fascistic or Nazi-esque, those sorts of statements did not stop once Bush left office - there were still conservatives to smear, after all.
At no point does Markay condemn Nazi comparisons by either side.
WND's Washington: 'We MUST Invade Their Countries, Kill Their Leaders And Convert Them To Christianity' Topic: WorldNetDaily
It's been a while since we heard anythingreallycrazy from Ellis Washington, and we were starting to get concerned. Fortunately, Washington has heard our silent plea for more insanity and wrote this in his Jan. 22 WorldNetDaily column:
If America is really serious about combating worldwide Islamic terrorism and the increasing reports of Christian genocide among the 44 Muslim nations, then let us take up the battle cry of Ann Coulter and the Muslim author who converted to Christianity and train our military not only to kill and destroy our enemies but to convert them to Christianity.
What good is it to a nation to fight perpetual wars against Muslims and Islamic terrorism and spend over a trillion dollars in war costs and nation-building if the day we leave Iraq and Afghanistan the murderous thugs of al-Qaida and the Taliban not only seize hegemony, but become emboldened and metastasize into an even greater menace against neighboring Muslim countries who utterly hate Christianity, America, democracy, Israel and Western civilization?
My one revision of Coulter is not that we should invade their countries: "We must invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. PC (perversity correctness) means keeping Christianity, America and the West on the road to dhimmitude.
Six million Muslims convert to Christianity per year. Thank God Christian missionaries are still devoted to Christ's mandate: Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Thank you, Ellis Washington, for coming to the rescue and dragging the level of debate down to where we would expect you to. We knew you would come through.
NewsBusters' Sheppard Thinks Liberal Opinions On TV Are 'Disgraceful' Topic: NewsBusters
In gloating over Keith Olbermann's departure from MSNBC during a Jan. 22 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard wondered if the network's new owners, Comcast, will "be far more concerned about the political image of MSNBC than GE was" and not "jeopardize its vast customer base with hyper-partisan rhetoric on its new news network."
Funny, we haven't heard Sheppard complain about the "hyper-partisan rhetoric" on Fox News.
Sheppard then speculates that if, Olberman's deprature, "more changes are made to MSNBC's prime time lineup in the coming months further diminishing the network's hyper-partisanship, we may look upon January 21, 2011, as the beginning of the end of a totally disgraceful period in television journalism."
Given that MSNBC's evening lineup is largely liberal, Sheppard appears to be describing an expression of liberal opinion as "disgraceful."
Just a reminder that Sheppard's employer, the Media Research Center, really doesn't want "balance"; it wants elimination of liberal viewpoints from the media.
Another ConWeb Writer Blames Music Lyrics for AZ Massacre Topic: CNSNews.com
Interesting how right-wingers are desperate to shoot down any suggestion that political rhetoric played a role in influencing Arizona shooter Jared Loughner, but they're all too eager to blame it on music lyrics.
Following in the footsteps of WorldNetDaily's Jerome Corsi (who blamed the punk band Anti-Flag) and the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell (who blamed the metal band Drowning Pool), Bozell underling Terry Jeffrey plays the blame game in his Jan. 19 CNSNews.com column, this time singling out the band Slipknot.
Jeffrey is shocked that the band "calls its fans 'maggots'" -- even though it's really no different from, say, Glenn Beck calling his audience "sick, twisted freaks," and we don't recall Jeffrey being terribly bothered by that (his fans certainly aren't). Jeffrey also quotes from an article describing the band's appeal: "Slipknot's lyrics articulate isolation and frustration. Mostly, though, they articulate rage." Which makes it just like anyother aggressive metal band.
Jeffrey curiously singled out Slipknot, even though he named another band Jeffrey allegedly listened to, the Mars Volta. He doesn't explain why; perhaps he decided that a band employing disturbing imagery and wearing grotesque masks is much more easily demonized than a progressive-rock band who wrote an entire album about an adoptee's search for his biological parents.
WND Complains Again That Gibbs Didn't Answer Question That Wasn't Asked Topic: WorldNetDaily
Les Kinsolving must have quite the sense of entitlement. Not only did he and WorldNetDaily take their ball and go home rather than be given a number of seats at last year's White House correspondents dinner they deemed insufficient, he seems to believe he has a right to be called on during White House press briefings.
For at least thefourthtime in recent months, WND has published an article complaining that White House press secretary Robert Gibbs didn't answer a question Kinsolving didn't ask. The article drips with entitlement, making sure to describe Kinsolving as "the second-most senior member of the White House press corps."
And true to form, Kinsolving's unasked question was designed only to insult rather than enlighten: "Do you have any idea just when the president will announce who will be your successor; and will he or she receive more than what the president reportedly described as your 'relatively modest pay' of $172,000 a year?" Kinsolving is merely regurgitating a right-wing talking point scoffing at how President Obama had described Gibbs' salary as "relatively modest" -- which flies in the face of conservatives' earlier assertions that the $250,000 income at which Obama originally intended to eliminate the Bush tax cuts was not "wealthy."
As we've pointed out before, Kinsolving's reliance on talking points over intellect demonstrates that, seniority aside, he has not earned the entitlement he and WND so insistently claim.
CNS Gets Scooped On A Video On Its Own Website Topic: CNSNews.com
The Media Research Center, it appears, has no idea what to do with breaking news it generates.
As we've noted, the MRC let WorldNetDaily scoop it on the news that it is refusing to participate in this year's CPAC because it's not anti-gay enough. (We still haven't seen it reported on any MRC website.) Now, CNSNews.com -- which is supposed to be the MRC's "news" division -- is getting scooped on the contents of a video CNS made.
On Jan. 19, CNS posted a nearly two-hour-long video interview editor-in-chief Terry Jeffrey did with potential 2012 Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum. The same day, Right Wing Watch highlighted a statement Santorum made regarding President Obama and abortion: that "I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say, 'Now we are going to decide who are people and who are not people.'" Right Wing Watch also made a much shorter video clip of the remark, taken from the CNS video.
On Jan. 20, the clip spread across the Web, with a focus on how Santorum injected race into the abortion issue. Strangely, CNS had done nothing with the Santorum beyond posting the mega-huge clip.
It was only after Santorum issued a statement defending his earlier claim that the MRC snapped into action. CNS belatedly put up an overly long, transcript-heavy article by Jeffrey putting his own spin on Santorum's words, and MRC chief Brent Bozell cranked out a press release in which he yet again plays the victim of a liberal conspiracy:
This has nothing to do with a supposed "race card." This isn’t even just about Rick Santorum. The media whirlwind whipped up on these accusations are nothing more than the continuation of an ugly and dishonest attempt to distort, delegitimize and damn conservative principles and conservative leaders.
Anyone who actually watched this interview can see that Santorum paralleled what many pro-life leaders have compared in the past. Just ask Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Day Gardner, Rev. Childress or any number of other black leaders who have also called abortion the civil rights issue of our day.
It’s sad that many of these same outlets also failed to report news yesterday of the Philadelphia abortionist charged with the murder of 1 woman and 7 babies born alive and then killed with scissors. It doesn't get more gruesome than that. But that story doesn’t threaten liberal ideology, so I guess it’s just not news.
Santorum does threaten liberal ideology, so they create a false controversy -- and call it news.
One: Alveda King's doctorate is honorary, therefore she has not earned the "Dr." title Bozell places in front of her name.
Two: Bozell's complaining about a "false controversy" turned into news is particularly rich given that the MRC created its own false controversy last month over a gay-themed art exhibit at a Smithsonian museum.
Three: Instead of ranting about being a victim, shouldn't Bozell be having a conversation with Jeffrey about how he got so far behind the curve on a story he generated?
Finally, Bozell refused to give credit where it's due, name-checking "numerous major news outlets including Politico, National Journal, the Wall Street Journal, and the Daily Beast" that reported the story but ignoring the originator, Right Wing Watch. Just because the MRC couldn't be bothered to report on its own story doesn't mean it should deny credit to the outlet that did.
Jack Cashill's New Obama Conspiracy: Barack Sr. Isnt His Father Topic: WorldNetDaily
Remember the nutty theory going around a while back that President Obama’s book "Dreams From My Father" was actually written by Bill Ayers? That was the work of WorldNetDaily columnist and conspiracy-monger extrordinaire Jack Cashill. Well, Cashill has a new conspiracy theory to peddle: Barack Obama Sr. isn’t really the father of President Obama. No, really.
Cashill lays out his claim in his January 20 WND column, replete with secret sources, muumuus, and the declaration that in a photograph, the father of Obama’s mother looked a little too happy to be “standing right next to the African guy who allegedly knocked up his 17-year-old daughter.”
From Cashill’s column:
Then, too, those who have read "Dreams" are almost invariably surprised by the fond memories Ann's father, Stanley Dunham, has of his putative son-in-law. These memories do not deceive.
A photo taken on the occasion of Obama Sr.'s celebratory departure from Hawaii shows a smiling Stanley Dunham -- looking all the world like a young Barack Obama Jr. -- standing right next to the African guy who allegedly knocked up his 17-year-old daughter and is now abandoning them. As the father of two daughters, this doesn't smell right at all.
One of my correspondents -- let's call him Frank Hardy -- is convinced that the Dunham family left for Hawaii abruptly right after Ann's graduation in June 1960 because Ann was pregnant. He makes a good case.
If a black guy had impregnated Ann, this would explain the family's abrupt departure to Hawaii, the one state in the union where a mixed-race baby could grow up almost unnoticed. It certainly explains the move to Hawaii better than the dreamy rationale Stanley Dunham offers in "Dreams."
This scenario makes sense of any number of other details as well, like Ann's angry resistance to the move, her mother's willingness to quit her job as an escrow officer in nearby Bellevue, Wash., Ann's poor performance in her limited first-semester courses at the University of Hawaii, her failure to enroll for the second semester and, most of all, her otherwise inexplicable return to Seattle in August 1961 -- if not earlier.
True, to make this scenario work, which we have to add one major variable, but it is a credible one. Imagine Ann coming home from class one day in Hawaii in fall 1960 in one of her all-concealing muumuus -- she had written friends that muumuus were worn on campus -- and telling her father about a charming, larger-than-life Kenyan in her class.
The scheming Stanley befriends Barack Sr. and enlists him in his plot. He explains that a boy named Barack, the legitimate son of a Kenyan, could move through American life more seamlessly than a boy named, say, Stanley, the illegitimate son of an American black.
Stanley tells Barack Sr. that he can make it worth his while. Ann understands. As to Barack Sr., he has to contribute nothing to the proceedings but his name -- with his "son" born in February 1961, not August.
A marriage license from Maui -- the county specified in the divorce papers -- assures that no marriage announcement will appear in the Honolulu papers. Ann will leave in time for the 1961 fall semester at the University of Washington -- perhaps months before -- and she will not return until Obama Sr. leaves for Harvard.
In addition to this latest theory, Cashill is sticking with the idea that Ayers wrote "Dreams" (Cashill has credited Obama biographer Christopher Andersen as vindicating his claim, even though Andersen was merely repeating what Cashill had claimed, and Andersen has said that "I definitely do not say [Ayers] wrote Barack Obama's book.") Heck, he's now claiming that the girlfriends Obama referenced in the book were an invention of Ayers.
Needless to say, Cashill has a book coming out detailing all of his crazy Obama conspiracy-mongering.
P.S. One interesting side note: Cashill's theory that Obama is "the illegitimate son of an American black," if true, pretty much destroys the "eligibility" narrative WND has been pushing, since it hinges on Barack Sr. not being an American citizen.
Newsmax Hypocritically Bashes Obama's 'Coddling' of China Topic: Newsmax
In a Jan. 19 Newsmax article, David Patten asserted that President Obama engaged in "over-the-top coddling" of China, citing as evidence that during Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the U.S., "Hu was greeting [sic] at the White House by Vice President Biden and treated to the honor of a 21-gun salute on the White House South Lawn."
What Patten doesn't mention: Hu got the exact same treatment when he visited President Bush in the White House in 2006.
The Associated Press reported that during his 2006 visit, "Hu was welcomed with a pomp-filled arrival ceremony on the South Lawn, including a military honor guard and a 21-gun salute." Bush did not prove Hu with a state dinner, instead giving him a working lunch.
Obama, meanwhile, did provide Hu with a state dinner, the one significant difference between Obama and Bush. But it hardly makes Obama significantly more "coddling" of Hu than Bush was.
A search of Newsmax's archive found no reference to any attack on Bush's treatment of Hu as "coddling" or "appeasement." Instead, there is only a AP article reporting on the visit and noting the "South Lawn welcoming ceremony" for Hu.
Why the disparate treatment of similar behavior? Patten doesn't say.
NewsBusters Tries to Liken Blogs to Bullets Topic: NewsBusters
Responding to a claim by Newsweek's Ben Adler that high-capacity magazines like the ones Jared Loughner used in his Arizona shooting spree could be regulated without violating the Second Amendment, Ken Shepherd offers a curious analogy in a Jan. 19 NewsBusters post:
Adler would probably be the first to scream censorship, and rightly so, if there was an analogous push by anyone in Congress for legislation restricting say the number of blogs a person could write in a given day. After all, why would anyone in their right mind need to blog more than two or three times a day or tweet more than 10?
Apparently realizing the ridiculousness of his argument, Shepherd added:
Of course, blogs don't kill, bullets do, a liberal would argue in reply, their arguments that harsh political rhetoric led to the Tucson shooting notwithstanding.
But the fact remains that its perfectly legitimate for conservatives to expect governments to have to meet a stringent test for gun control legislation to pass constitutional muster.
Unmentioned in Shepherd's silly analogy: High-capacity blogging doesn't endanger the lives of other people (and if it does, there are laws on the books that are court-approved remedies that yes, restrict First Amendment rights), but as we learned in Tuscon, high-capacity magazines do. If opponents of such regulation can't offer anything beyond constitutional absolutism in support, maybe it's not that strong of a claim.
Newsmax' Hirsen Misleads About Soros, Ignores Right-Wing Entertainment Mogul Topic: Newsmax
In his Jan. 19 "Left Coast Report," Newsmax's James Hirsen makes a big deal out of how a Jewish group critical of Glenn Beck "gets its money from [George] Soros’ Open Society Institute." Hirsen added that "Soros is increasingly becoming a player in the media, particularly within the film industry," citing as evidence that "In 2006 Soros shelled out $900 million for 59 films that constitute the DreamWorks SKG library, obtaining a valuable set of film rights while gaining a power position as an entertainment media mogul."
What Hirsen forgot to mention: About a year ago, Soros sold its majority interest in the DreamWorks library to Viacom, from which it purchased the stake in 2006. So that wipes out that talking point.
In touting how Soros "can pull a lot of strings" through his stakes in entertainment ventures, Hirsen failed to mention the political moneybags with the biggest entertainment industry stake: Right-wing billionaire Philip Anschutz. His company, Walden Media, is the producer of films such as the "Chronicles of Narnia" series, his Anschutz Entertainment Group owns numerous sports teams and arenas, and his Regal Entertainment Group is the largest theater chain in the country. Nothing Soros has done in the entertainment sphere approaches Anschutz.