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Friday, May 13, 2011
NewsBusters' Double Standard on Softball Interviews
Topic: NewsBusters

Scott Whitlock picked the wrong day to complain about softball interviews.

A May 11 NewsBusters post by Whitlock grouses that in 2008, ABC conducted a "friendly interview" with Osama bin Laden's son and "tossed softballs" to him. But when it comes to softballs being tossed by NewsBusters' own bloggers, however, that's perfectly fine.

Meanwhile, a few hours earlier, a post by Lachlan Markay features his interview with David Freddoso, author of the Obama-bashing book "Gangster Government." Markay immediately buys into Freddoso's premise, saying of the title of the book, "I don't want to call it hyperbole, obviously it's not." (He does concede that it's "a very inflammatory term, almost.") The rest of the interview as transcribed is Markay teeing up softballs for Freddoso to answer at length with no challenge from his interviewer.

Whitlock's criticism might have come off a little more credible if his own organization could demonstrate that it can conduct interviews other than the softball kind he purports to loathe.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:56 PM EDT
WND Bets It All That Birth Certificate Is A Forgery
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The long-form birth certificate got released, and its definition of "natural born citizen" is questionable, so WorldNetDaily is going all in on the only thing it has left: a conspiracy theory that the long-form birth certificate released by President Obama is a fake.

Jerome Corsi is leading the way by suggesting that the document "is a crude, computer-generated forgery. His evidence? The stamp of certification says "TXE RECORD" instead of "THE RECORD." Of course, the truth is much different: it's clear that overinking of the stamp made the H look like an X.

Despite such desperate stabs, WND is fully on board, led by Joseph Farah himself. He asserted in his May 11 column that "I'm persuaded the birth certificate released by Barack Obama's White House is fake, phony, a fraudulent forgery." He cites as part of his evidence "so-called 'layering' as seen by amateur and professional sleuths who have examined it." But WND itself reported that "the 'layer argument' can be easily explained" as a function of the PDF format in which the document was released.

The next day, Farah declared it to be "at best, an inauthenticatable image of a document" and that Corsi "has returned to Hawaii for more on-the-ground, first-hand investigation." Farah then asserted that "we may be witnessing the final days of the Barack Obama regime."

Funny -- such flailing on Farah's part suggests that we may be witnessing the final days of WorldNetDaily.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:51 AM EDT
NewsBusters Gets It Wrong On Clinton And Perjury
Topic: NewsBusters

Alex Fitzsimmons complains in a May 12 NewsBusters post that MSNBC's Martin Bashir "admonished" Newt Gingrich's "hypocrisy" for "criticizing former President Bill Clinton's adulterous behavior while he was engaging in sexual transgressions of his own," but "failed to mention even once that the Democratic president didn't just cheat on his wife, but committed perjury to cover up the affair."

In fact, as we've previously pointed out, Clinton was never convicted of perjury in either a criminal court or in his Senate impeachment trial. In the civil case Paula Jones filed against Clinton, the judge ruled that Clinton gave "intentionally false" testimony about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky -- which is not perjury.

Not all lying in court is perjury, which has a specific legal definition. It's simply inaccurate for Fitzsimmons to use that term to describe what Clinton did.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:06 AM EDT
Thursday, May 12, 2011
NewsBusters Falsely Calls Immigration Reform 'Amnesty'
Topic: NewsBusters

A May 10 NewsBusters post by Matthew Balan carries the headline "NPR's Liasson Excludes Amnesty Opponents from Immigration Story." But Balan ignores the fact that President Obama comprehensive immigration plan, which NPR was reporting on, is not "amnesty."

As we've pointed out, Obama's plan places numerous conditions on the path to legalization of illegal immigrants, which by defiinition is not "amnesty."

Posted by Terry K. at 2:16 PM EDT
AIM Cherry-Picks In Attack On NY Times Reporter
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Moshe Phillips spends his May 9 Accuracy in Media article attacking New York Times reporter Kareem Fahim, claiming that "A quick review of Fahim’s history provides all the evidence needed to prove that he is not an objective journalist but has very radical views on the War on Terror and related issues." But Phillips is cherry-picking Fahim's reporting and misportraying it.

Phillips writes:

Earlier in his career Fahim wrote for The Village Voice weekly tabloid. The Voice’s radical editorial stance on civil liberties, terrorism and Israel related issues is well documented.

So well documented, it seems, that Phillips can't be bothered to back up his claim. He continues:

Just weeks after the 9/11 attacks, in an article titled “The Emir and His Lieutenant” about Al Qaeda, Fahim referred to the terrorist organization simply as an “extremist group.” Fahim’s writings include apologies for the terrorist network, such as the statement that “Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri have seized on the desperation of the Arab world.” He also quoted a New York University professor who stated the following bit of garbage: “The Islamists present a utopian vision.”

In fact, the article in question is an examination of Bin Laden and Zawahiri became Islamist extremists and is in no way an apology. Phillips selectively edited Fahim's statement that "Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri have seized on the desperation of the Arab world" to hide the fact that, far from being an "apology," Fahim warned that bin Laden and Zawahiri wouldn't stop with 9/11. Here's the full Fahim quote:

Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri have seized on the desperation of the Arab world, cloaked their edenic "solution" in faith, and set a massive trap in the wreckage near Wall Street. Bombing Afghanistan to hell might feel like catharsis, but the threat is elsewhere, and it won't go away with the emir and his lieutenant.

Further, the professor who stated that "The Islamists present a utopian vision" is not endorsing that vision, as Phillips suggests. Again, Phillips is cherry-picking. Here's the full statement, which shows the professor going on to point out that utopian visions never work out in real life:

"The Islamists present a utopian vision," Haykel said. No Islamic group has achieved significant power in an Arab country, so their theories on governance remain largely untested. "The only way that it can burst is if they come to power and show that they don't have the answers to the fundamental questions facing society," he said.

Phillips went on to further attack Fahim:

In 2000 Fahim held a position at the Cairo based weekly newspaper Al-Ahram. reported in 2004 that “Egypt’s Al Ahram Weekly (is) the English-language version of the regime’s own media organ.” Fahim also wrote about Mubarak’s downfall for The Times.

Even here, he demonstrated his bias, treating the selection of Dick Cheney as George W. Bush’s running mate as a “summer surprise” that went against “the logic of positive image-making.” Fahim’s biases are transparent.

Phillips is misleading again. Cheney was, in fact, something of a surprise pick, so much so that adviser Karl Rove argued against it. Fahim was pointing out that the selection of Cheney as vice president "seemed to clash with [George W. Bush's] compassionate campaign." Phillips ignores that Fahim went on to explain why the choice was made: "In the political calculation of Republicans, however, Cheney is a perfect choice. Besides appealing to the conservative base of the party, he provides the weight critics have said Governor Bush lacks."

Phillips is portraying legitimate, mainstream observations as "extremism" and "bias." It's certainly red meat for AIM's readers, but not actual media criticism.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:37 PM EDT
Les Kinsolving Whining Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily keeps up the whining in a May 10 article complaining that White House press secretary Jay Carney "has refused to allow two questions to be raised that were caused by concern over the idea of spending tax money to lobby for more tax money for 'liberal' causes" by WND' Les Kinsolving.

As per usual, the article is structured to suggest that Carney had advance knowledge of what Kinsolving was going to ask, which WND offers no evidence to back up.

Besides, as it turns out, Kinsolving's questions are based on a false premise, that NPR is using "taxpayer financing for lobbying." In fact, an NPR spokesperson told Politico that the federal funding it receives through grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting "must be used ONLY for the specific projects covered by each grant. The funds are not used to support NPR’s general operations. So the notion that these grants would be used to pay for advocacy is completely bogus."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:52 AM EDT
CNS Using Alinsky's FBI File to Attack Obama

A May 10 article by Christopher Neefus states that CNS has obtained "the FBI’s complete file" on "left-wing community organizer Saul Alinsky," detailing how the FBI sent Alinsky's records to the Secret Service "after Alinsky suggested that President Lyndon Johnson would be in danger when visiting Chicago for the 1968 Democratic National Convention."

What's the news value here? None, except for one thing: it allows CNS to portray Alinsky as "one of President Barack Obama’s intellectual forebears." Neefus makes no other reference to Obama in the article, and he offers no evidence to back up this claim.

It seems CNS will continue rooting through Alinsky's FBI file looking for other instances of untoward behavior it can tar Obama with through a politically motivated bit of guilt by association. Since there is no news value here, the only possible reason for CNS to run this and future articles is to advance its right-wing partisan agenda.

Which makes CNS a political organization, not a news organization.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:38 AM EDT
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Newsmax Reports On How Much Trump Loves Newsmax
Topic: Newsmax

The lovefest between Newsmax and Donald Trump continues in a May 9 article by Hiram Reisner, which leads off by quoting Trump on how wonderful Newsmax is:

Billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump says Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy has “really done an outstanding job” and that no one can pick on the media organization for their support of his presidential candidacy.

Trump also said Monday on Steve Malzberg’s WOR radio show that America has become a poor nation, and if he decides to run for president — and the odds are pretty good he might — he would “make the country rich again.”

Malzberg asked Trump whether he thought a story the news service Politico published recently had picked on Newsmax for its support of Trump. Politico said Newsmax has been “dubbed the number one promoter of Trump in 2012.”

Trump dismissed the idea that Politico had dissed Ruddy or Newsmax, adding. “Chris Ruddy is a fantastic guy — he’s built a great organization. . . . I think he can pick on people — he’s got a lot of power,” he continued."

Trump added that he's a big fan of Newsmax too. " . . . I really like Newsmax — I read it, I hear it, I listen to it."

Trump's claim that he "hears" and "listens" to Newsmax is a bit odd, since Newsmax offers no audio-only products; its videos all have visual elements.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:25 PM EDT
Mychal Massie Thesaurus (And Obama Derangement) Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We haven't had the experience of Mychal Massie beating us over the head with his thesaurus in a while, so it was something of a joy to see him bust it out again in his May 10 WorldNetDaily column.

Not only does Massie invoke the old chestnut "Erebusic" -- which no dictionary that we've seen defines as an adjective -- he also uses "sanious" and, in what appears to be a first, "scrofulous." And since Massie is throwing around his five-dollar words in a fit of Obama derangement, it all feels a bit ludicrous:

His pretentiousness has been as scrofulous as he usually is. And, while prancing about with his chest puffed out, giving "ain't I great" speeches, the public is being led away from what is important.


But his is arguably the most Erebusic administration in the history of America. The goodwill being shown him is being used by his handlers to bolster a failing presidency. Unable to fill venues, unable to sell $30,000-per-plate fundraiser tickets, and with increased open belligerence toward the public, he needed help – and bin Laden cooperated.

At the risk of perhaps sounding a bit conspiratorial, I would not be at all surprised to see bin Laden's assassination touted as a "hail to Obama" on Sept. 11, 2012. After all, he got a short-lived bounce in the polls this time, so why not look for this just before the election?

The killing of bin Laden may have rid the world of one bad guy, but it isn't creating jobs and it isn't cleansing us of the sanious agenda of Obama and his administration.

It's hard to make a point when nobody knows what you're talking about.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:51 PM EDT
CNS Falsely Claims Obama Called For 'Amnesty'

A May 10 article by Fred Lucas carries the headline "Obama Claims He’s Done All GOP Wanted on Border Security, Now They Must Pass Amnesty." But as Lucas makes clear, Obama never used the word "amnesty."

Lucas did mislead about what Obama said, claiming that he wants to "grant legal status to the nation’s estimated 12 million illegal aliens." In fact, Obama has stated that his immigration reform plan making illegal immigrants in the country "register and get right with the law, pay their respective taxes and fines, learn English and submit to background checks before they can get in line to apply for a legal status."

Lucas also betrayed CNS' agenda as exhibited by the headline, referencing "plan for comprehensive immigration reform, which proponents generally call a 'pathway to citizenship' and critics call 'amnesty.'" CNS has repeatedly and misleadingly portrayed comprehensive immigration reform as "amnesty," even as it admits the term is used only by critics.

Lucas previews Obama's speech in a May 9 article under the false headline "Obama to Tout Amnesty in Speech Near Mexican City That Had More Casualties Than Afghanistan."

UPDATE: CNS keeps up the falsehood in a May 11 article by Eric Schreiner, which carries the headline "Harry Reid: "‘We Need The People Of America To Rise Up’ in Favor of Amnesty for Illegal Aliens." At no point does Schreiner report that Reid used the term "amnesty."

Posted by Terry K. at 8:40 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 7:23 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: Natural Born Misleaders
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has studiously avoided reporting evidence that contradicts its preferred definition of "natural born citizen," which just so happens to exclude Barack Obama. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 12:06 AM EDT
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Tim Graham's Favorite British Newspaper
Topic: Media Research Center

A May 8 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham cites not one but two articles in the British newspaper the Daily Mail. To which we ask: Why is Graham so into British newspapers?

Perhaps because British papers have a little lower standard of accuracy than American papers do, and thus, are a convenient way for the American right to attack a Democratic president. This happened during the 1990s, when conservative British papers were used a way to legitimize attacks on Clinton, since they filtered from there into right-wing American papers. This phenomenon is happening all over again with the Obama adminstration, as Media Matters has documented.

While Graham is not citing any Obama-bashing stories from his paper of choice, the Daily Mail, in his post -- his main goal is to take a whack at MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski -- the Mail has a decidedly checkered record of accuracy. It has promoted the idea that Obama has had brain surgery, pushed a discredited story about a purported Sarah Palin stalker, and touted birtherism. Most recently, it was duped into running what it claimed was a picture of the corpse of Osama bin Laden.Given that the main focus of the Daily Mail appears to be celebrity gossip -- it dominates the front page of its website -- it's no wonder that the standards are lower.

Just because the British have low journalistic standards doesn't mean Americans must as well. Graham might do well to remember that.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:12 PM EDT
WND Attacks Snopes for Acting Like WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A May 8 WorldNetDaily article complains that "The online hoaxbusting website has changed its reference to the purported attending physician at Barack Obama's birth," deleting the name of Dr. Rodney T. West "as the physician at the birth" after the name of Dr. David Sinclair was revealed to be the actual doctor on Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate.

As WND itself explained in a May 3 article by Bob Unruh, the apparent source for the claim about West was an article about a former Hawaii resident who recalled West referencing a baby born to a woman named Stanley but who did not say whether West was actually involved in Obama's birth.

Still, WND complained that "There was no explanation at the Snopes site" regarding the change.

However, that's the exact same way WND rolls. As we've noted, WND refused to issue a formal correction after columnist Jack Cashill got caught pushing the conspiracy theory that Obama was Photoshopped into a photo of his grandparents -- it simply deleted the egregiously wrong section of Cashill's column without notifying readers, followed by editor Joseph Farah throwing a petulant fit when Salon's Justin Elliott asked why he didn't issue a correction.

In other words: Do as WND says, not as it does.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:01 PM EDT
AIM Ignorantly Gloats Over Wash. Post Losing Money
Topic: Accuracy in Media

In a May 9 Accuracy in Media blog post, Don Irvine has a grand time smacking around the Washington Post for losing money:

What Graham is witnessing is the continuing decline of printed newspapers like The Washington Post. But rather than take bold, decisive action to compete in a new environment, he continues to cling to the notion that Washington wants and needs a liberal paper of record. The marketplace seems to be saying otherwise.

Irvine is careful not to mention the fact that of the major Washington newspapers, only the Post is subject to the whims of the marketplace.

As we've documented, conservative newspapers have a long history of being nothing more than money-losing playthings of owners who can afford to lose millions upon millions of dollars every year in order to promulgate their right-wing agenda.

The Washington Times, which has has been subsidized to the tune of billions of dollars since its inception nearly 30 years ago, was recently sold back to its original owner, a branch of Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, for $1. The Washington Examiner, owned by billionaire Philip Anschutz, simply cannot be making money given the unhealthy market for newspapers and its mostly-free distribution model (being privately owned, it doesn't make its finances public). But even it gets touched with a budget squeeze every once in a while -- in an apparently economzing effort, its White House correspondent wasn't replaced with a new person; instead, two reporters on suburban beats will split White House coverage.

Perhaps the reason Irvine is gloating over the Post losing money is because he knows his own preferred newspapers are not subject the same whims of the marketplace.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:54 AM EDT
Newsmax's Hirsen: Obama As Obsessed With Image As Bin Laden
Topic: Newsmax

James Hirsen serves up an awkwardly offensive transition in his May 9 Newsmax column:

In a segment of the footage, bin Laden appears seated on the floor, watching himself on the tube. Clips also show him rehearsing for his onscreen moments.

It turns out that the videos were produced Hollywood-style, with written scripts, takes and retakes, redone until bin Laden was satisfied with the performance and lighting.

The al-Qaida leader even dyed his beard and precision cut it for the lens. Guess it proves that image is everything, even for terrorists.

It seems that President Barack Obama is obsessing over his image, too, and the White House is sparing no expense in trying to improve it. It has hired the best image booster in the biz — on the taxpayer's dime, of course.

Likening the president to the world's most notorious terrorist is hardly the kind of behavior that burnishes Newsmax's newly found reputation, according to Politico, as the voice of the heartland.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:11 AM EDT

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