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Tuesday, April 26, 2011
WND "Reporting": Still Unfair And Unbalanced
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's idea of "news" typically involves telling only one side of the story, especially if the other side of the story is something it opposes.

And so it is with an April 25 WND article by Bob Unruh on the Independent Payment Advisory Board that's in the health care reform plan. Unruh writes that "critics have described" the board "as the ultimate 'death panel,'" then quotes no less than five of those critics, and even embedded "a video commentary on Obama administration actions." At no point, however, does Unruh make any apparent attempt to permit a representative from the Obama administration -- or anyone, really -- to respond to the criticism.

That may be because much the criticism Unruh uncritically reported is false or misleading. In contrast to claims regurgitated by Unruh that IPAB is "death panels" or "rationing," the truth is that IPAB is specifically prohibited from making "any recommendations to ration health care ... or otherwise restrict benefits." 

A responsible reporter who cares about telling the truth would have reported that. Unruh didn't. But you knew that about Unruh already.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:48 PM EDT
CNS Joins Bogus Right-Wing Freak-Out Over Lack of Easter Proclamation

An April 26 article by Fred Lucas pushes the right-wing meme that President Obama "did not put out a formal proclamation for Easter--after putting out proclamations for Muslim holidays." But Lucas apparently doesn't know the difference between a presidential statement and a presidential proclamation.

Lucas writes that "the White House released proclamations on Muslim holidays Ramadan, Eid-al-Fitr, Hajj, and Eid-al-Adha." That's false: the White House issued informal statements or messages -- not proclamations -- on those holidays.

Lucas does not report that, as Little Green Footballs' Charles Johnson documented, no president since at least 1980 issued an Easter proclamation -- something you'd think would be germane to the discussion.

A formal presidential proclamation is something quite different from an informal statement or message. Lucas' false conflation of the two demonstrates that either he doesn't understand the difference or is deliberately obscuring the difference to further his right-wing hackery. Either way, he's not practicing what most would recognize as journalism.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:54 AM EDT
Glass Houses Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

In an April 25 NewsBusters post, Scott Whitlock scoffs at the idea that, as forwarded in a New York magazine article, we "took the comedy of Brian Williams seriously."

Should an organization that produces the painfully unfunny twice-weekly "NewsBusted" (a name, by the way, we came up with first) really deign to pass judgment on the humor of others?

Posted by Terry K. at 10:13 AM EDT
Farah Can't Get His Trump Story Straight
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As we noted, WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah appeared on the April 22 edition of Fox Business' "America's Nightly Scoreboard." He seems to have bound himself in another lie.

When host David Asman asked Farah if he has talked with Donald Trump and advising him on birther issues, Farah responded, "No, I have never talked to Donald Trump in my life, though I'd be happy to anytime he would like."

That seems to contradict what Politco reported on April 14, that Farah told the publication taht he "has been on the phone with Donald Trump every day this week."

So who got it wrong? Did Politico misinterpret what Farah said, or is Farah telling two different stories depending on who his audience is? The latter is not out of the question, especially given Farah's blatant lie about WND never reporting that Obama has spent $2 million on birther lawsuits (when Farah himself made that exact claim).

That's the kind of shadiness Farah and WND have employed throughout its birther coverage. That makes it difficult for anyone to treat WND as a serious news organization, especially on birther stuff.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:59 AM EDT
Monday, April 25, 2011
Busted! The Truth About MRC's Distortions
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Matters has done some heavy lifting to get the facts about some recent Media Research Center-related distortions.

The April 22 edition of Fox News' "Hannity" was dedicated to telling "the history of liberal media," with a big assist from the MRC, which stated that it "made available to Fox News Channel producers video clips from our archive going back more than 20 years and they are scattered throughout the hour – as are soundbites from MRC President Brent Bozell." As Media Matters details, the Hannity special was littered with distorted, out-of-context quotes that purportedly prove "liberal bias," including Katie Couric's "The Gipper was an airhead" quote we have previously called the MRC out on.

The MRC's Business & Media Institute produced an April 19 report by Julia Seymour complaining that news reports aren't blaming President Obama for higher gas prices. As Media Matters documents, those news reports are telling the truth -- no legitimate energy expert links the moritorium on deep-water oil drilling to higher oil prices.

Undaunted by the facts, Seymour churned out another article saying basically the same thing.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:12 PM EDT
Newsmax Embraces Bitter Ex-CIA Man's Obama-Bashing, Birtherism
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax's favorite bitter ex-CIA agent is back again, this time given a video platform for his bitterness.

An April 22 Newsmax article by Dan Weil and Kathleen Walter features a video interview of Kent Clizbe, in which he not only denounces President Obama's actions in Libya, he goes birther:

On a separate issue, Clizbe says Americans have a right to be concerned about whether Obama was born in the United States.

“There’s a constitutional mandate that lays out exactly the qualifications for any president,” he says. “In the past, the press has served as vetters for these issues.” But this time around, the press hasn’t come through, Clizbe says.

“President Obama needs to be vetted. What exactly is in his background, who knows? But he hasn’t been vetted. The birth certificate is just one tiny issue in a much larger vetting question.”

The apparent purpose of this interview of Clizbe is to promote his upcoming book, "Willing Accomplices: How KGB Covert Influence Agents Created Political Correctness and Destroyed America." The website for the book -- which appears to be self-published; the listed publisher, Andemca Publishing, lists only his book and Clizbe as the only named contact -- rants about "Progressives' and Obama's Hate-America-First politics" and "Obama's America-Sucks Political Platform."

In the interview but not noted in the accompanying article, Clizbe asserts that "the whole political philosophy of political correctness was created by the KGB, a covert influence campaign that they began in the 1920s under Lenin, and their goal was to destroy American exceptionalism, and they did that very well." Clizbe does add that "there's no evidence that President Obama is controlled by the KGB."

Of course, in the 1920s America was hardly a world power and "American exceptionalism" had not been much of an issue at that time, so it's highly unlikely that Lenin and the KGB (which was not established until the 1950s) would concern themselves with targeting America so soon after the Russian Revolution.

A free excerpt of Clizbe's book suggests more of the Obama-hate he has previously peddled; he has, after all, perviously smeared the president as a Soviet tool. He writes in the book:

Obama is the first president to apologize repeatedly for America’s sins against foreign countries, and to speak disparagingly against the country that elected him. Obama’s cool, detached Elite attitude, loathing the “bitter clingers” of the heartland, is a living testament to the power and success    of Muenzenberg’s covert influence operations.

It's strange that Newsmax would embrace such a rabidly right-wing book given that it has been trying to moderate itself over the past few years. Is Newsmax backsliding to its Clinton-era-style rage and conspiracy-mongering? Its hearty embrace of Donald Trump's birtherism suggests so.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:20 AM EDT
NewsBusters Pretends Birtherism Is Only A 'Fringe-Right' Issue
Topic: NewsBusters

An April 21 NewsBusters post by Matt Hadro complains that a CNN contributor didn't state that "the GOP has a problem on its hands with 'birther' rhetoric from the fringe-right." Perhaps that's because birther rhetoric has ceased being a "fringe-right" issue.

Significant numbers of Republicans -- a majority in one recent poll -- hold birther views, and birther obsessive Donald Trump has become a frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination.

Apparently, Hadro thinks half the Republican party is "fringe right." But don't his NewsBusters colleagues love to Heather those who aren't?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:06 AM EDT
Farah Is Still Lying About Legal-Fee Claim
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah, it seems, is not done berating his latest critic.

The war of words between him and Salon over WND's claims about how much money President Obama has purportedly spent fighting birther lawsuits gets another go in Farah's April 23 column, which carries the headline "Last word about Salon."

True to petulant form, Farah wastes no time trying to denigrate Salon's Justin Elliott, the target of his ire, as a "George Soros-linked blogger," a "Soros apparatchik," and "the little Soros crony." This apparently refers to Elliott's stint writing for the Campus Progress blog, published by the Soros-funded Center for American Progress; Farah offers no evidence that Elliott's current employer, Salon (or his previous employer, Talking Points Memo), have any Soros links. Following Farah's logic, we should be calling Farah a Richard Mellon Scaife apparatchik.

As he has before, Farah is spreading more birther falsehoods. He concedes what the facts show, stating that "We don't know exactly how much money Obama has spent hiding public documentation about his nativity story," but he also states, "WND never reported that Obama had spent $2 million hiding his birth certificate."

That is a bald-faced lie. Not only has WND, as the blog Barackryphal detailed, repeatedly claimed or suggested that Obama has spent a large amount of money fighting birther lawsuits, Farah himself said so in his Dec. 9, 2010, column, explicitly stating that "Obama has spent at least $2 million fighting efforts to release his birth certificate."

Even when you limit Farah's statement to the three Chelsea Schilling-penned articles in which the claim was promulgated, it's still a lie. As we documented, two of the articles asserted all of the money was paid to Obama's "top eligibility lawyer" -- something Schilling's evidence does not support.

Don't expect Farah to issue a formal correction on this obviously false claim -- you know how he gets about that.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:03 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, April 25, 2011 12:04 AM EDT
Sunday, April 24, 2011
CNS Misleads On Asthma Risk From Coal

An April 19 article by Matt Cover highlights a claim by President Obama that coal could create "the kinds of air pollution" that is "creating asthma for kids," retorting:

Asthma, however, is not caused by coal, or the emissions from coal-fired power plants, as the president suggested. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) the true cause of asthma is unknown, although scientists believe it is caused by a confluence of genetic and environmental factors or early viral infections.

In fact, as Media Matters details:

A 2001 study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that two coal-powered plants in Chicago were responsible for 2,800 asthma attacks per year. Likewise, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America states that "Substantial scientific evidence" has linked air pollutants like sulfur dioxide -- a compound released when coal is burned -- to respiratory problems. Specifically, the AAFA states that "People prone to allergy, especially those with allergic asthma, can be extremely sensitive to inhaled sulfur dioxide."

Coal-burning plants also produce nitrogen oxides. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, "Nitrogen oxides play a major role in the formation of ground-level ozone (or smog) in the summertime. Smog triggers millions of asthma attacks each year in the U.S., and worsens or causes other respiratory ailments."

Cover did concede that "The NIH did say that respiratory irritants, such as air pollution, can trigger an asthma attack," then added, "but not that air pollution causes the disease."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:05 PM EDT
MRC's Bozell Heathers All Over NYT's Brooks
Topic: Media Research Center

Brent Bozell's April 20 column is one massive Heathering of New York Times columnist David Brooks for not being slavishly devoted to right-wing talking points in his appearances on NPR as a regular segment with liberal Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne.

Bozell claims Brooks' main goal is to "please his bosses at the New York Times – and let’s not forget his check-signers at NPR and PBS." Never mind that Bozell is doing the same thing to his MRC donors by railing against Brooks.

Bozell concludes by huffing:

Anyone who wonders why conservatives and Republicans are so disgusted with the tilt of public broadcasting (and its sedate, self-satisfied civility) should begin with the notion that David Brooks is “balance.” If liberals weren’t cowards who feared losing TV debates, they’d hire a real conservative to engage in some serious Friday night discussions on PBS and NPR.

That's a tactic Bozell himself is not eager to embrace. His regular appearances on Fox News -- particularly his weekly slots on "Hannity" and "Fox & Friends" -- rarely include a liberal counterpoint to his right-wing rantings. When will Bozell allow someone to challenge him in person on Fox, or does his contract forbid such full debate?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:56 PM EDT
AIM Wants Trump To Go Even More Birther
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Carol A. Taber writes in an April 19 Accuracy in Media column about how much she approves of Donald Trump's raging birtherism, and says it's time to take the next step:

Trump has a spine, which is why he is gaining momentum and has pulled way ahead of the pack.  Now we must convert that momentum into action.  Instead of passing judgment about who is crazy or sane on the issues of the birth certificate and the Social Security number, we must ask Obama to show his hand, and we then must forensically test whatever he has, or he must fold.  Forensics testing is not an outlandish idea; as distasteful as this analogy might be — a sordid affair vs. a serious Constitutional issue — forensics testing of a blue dress a few years ago revealed another set of lies of a young U.S. president, also attempting to defraud the public.

Because of the irregularities and unanswered questions outlined above, certainly the American people have a right to know whether the birth record that supposedly establishes the eligibility of their president is un-tampered with.  And they also have a right to know whether the social security number that he has been using is genuinely his or stolen.  Use of another person’s social security number is a felony.

Between this and Roger Aronoff's softball interview of Jack Cashill, it appears that AIM is fully aboard the Obama conspiracy crazy train.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:44 AM EDT
Saturday, April 23, 2011
WND Race-Baits Over McDonald's Beating
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has apparently decided to do a little weekend race-baiting.

WND's front page currently contains a link to a video -- the raw video, not news coverage of it -- of someone being beaten by a group of females. WND's headline: "Black-on-white beating inside McDonald's."

While there have been reports of an investigation of the incident as a hate crime, it turns out the real story may be more complicated. It appears that the beating victim was actually a transgender woman, and the beating was over bathroom use.

Given WND's hostility toward the transgendered, WND should be endorsing this beating, not going the racial route.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:42 AM EDT
Cashill Still Thinks Christopher Andersen Proved Him Right
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his April 21 WorldNetDaily column, Jack Cashill peddles yet again his conspiracy theory that Bill Ayers wrote Barack Obama's first book, calling on his usual source for backup:

The reader need not take my word for this. Christopher Andersen, in his 2009 book, "Barack and Michele: Portrait of an American Marriage," makes the same case based on interviews with Obama's friends in Chicago, quite possibly with Ayers himself.

A celebrity biographer with impeccable mainstream credentials, Andersen argues that, at "Michelle's urging," a "hopelessly blocked" Obama "sought advice from his friend and Hyde Park neighbor Bill Ayers."

What attracted the Obamas were "Ayers' proven abilities as a writer." Noting that Obama had already taped interviews with many of his relatives, Andersen elaborates, "These oral histories, along with his partial manuscript and a trunkload of notes were given to Ayers."

As we've previously detailed, this is circular logic -- Andersen's book on the Obamas cites Cashill as part of his backup for his claims about Obama's "Dreams From My Father." Further, Andersen himself backed away from Cashill's theory in a CNN interview during which he explicitly said, "I definitely do not say he [Ayers] wrote Barack Obama's book."

If Cashill is going to continue to blatantly misrepresent what Andersen has said and wrote, why believe anything else he has to say?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:45 AM EDT
Friday, April 22, 2011
WND's Corsi Lies About Obama's Record on Immigration
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jerome Corsi falsely asserts in an April 17 WorldNetDaily article that President Obama "has resisted any and all measures to secure the U.S. border with Mexico."

That is a complete lie. In fact, the Associated Press has reported that "the U.S.-Mexico border is more fortified now than it was even five years ago. Far more agents patrol it, more fences, barriers and technology protect it and taxpayers are spending billions more to reinforce it." The AP also reported that "Obama's administration has moved immigration investigators to the border and begun inspecting southbound train cargo to help stem cash and weapons flowing to Mexican drug cartels."

Further, USA Today reported that a joint operation between U.S. and Mexican law enforcement agencies that launched in September 2009 "has resulted in the arrest of 270,000 illegal border crossers, the seizure of 1.6 million pounds of marijuana and the recovery of $13 million in cash in the border's Tucson Sector."

Corsi went to claim that Obama's purported lack of border enforcement can be traced to "the Democratic Party's expectation that the surge in Hispanic population will represent an electoral advantage for Democratic candidates seeking public office." Corsi offers no evidence to back up this claim.

If Corsi can lie so casually and blatantly, why trust anything he has to say in his upcoming Obama-bashing birther book?

Posted by Terry K. at 5:55 PM EDT
Farah To Appear On Fox; Lack Of Principles All Around
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah has loved to complain that he can't get on Fox News because of his birther proclivities and other WND escapades -- but he has also complained that one investor in Fox News' owner is a Saudi prince, and he does not take the principled stand of forbidding WND employees from appearing as a protest against such involvement.

Anyway, Farah will appear on Fox Business tonight -- his first appearance on a Fox News network in quite some time and, as Media Matters points out, evidence that Fox News no longer his standards prohibiting birthers on its networks.

So we have a network without principles inviting a guest without principles. Sounds like a match made in heaven.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:57 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, April 22, 2011 3:45 PM EDT

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