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Saturday, October 22, 2011
Jeffrey: Kagan Should Recuse Because She Appointed Someone Else To Handle Health Care Reform

With editor in chief Terry Jeffrey's recent attempt to revive the Elena-Kagan-should-recuse bandwagon, you had to know that a column restating it would soon follow. And it did. Let's just skip to the summary of Jeffrey's Oct. 19 column:

Five months before Obama nominated Kagan to the Court, Kagan assigned her top deputy to do work that made him a "legal adviser" on the anticipated Obamacare cases. That deputy went on to argue some of those cases in federal court.

Can Kagan's impartiality in these cases be reasonable [sic] questioned? It would be unreasonable not to.

That's all Jeffrey has -- that then-solicitor general Kagan appointed someone else to handle health care reform. After all, those emails Jeffrey has been obsessing over for months offer no evidence whatsoever that Kagan was otherwise involved in forming a legal strategy over challenges to health care reform. So Jeffrey must invent a conflict.

Needless to say, Jeffrey does not mention the much more obvious conflict-of-interest issues regarding Clarence Thomas, whose wife is a a right-wing activist who has attacked health care reform as unconstitutional. Thomas also failed to disclose his wife's income from activist groups for several years.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:30 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 11:55 PM EDT
WND Defames Arab Journalist Who Has Denounced Bin Laden As 'Bin Laden's Second in Command'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Oct. 21 WorldNetDaily article is nothing but a borderline-libelous smear job against an journalist involved in a joint venture with Bloomberg.

The curiously unbylined article (we're guessing F. Michael Maloof was involved somewhere) begins:

"I met Osama in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), and ever since, I developed a close relationship with him."

Who said this? Bin Laden's second in command? No, it's New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's new business partner.

His name is Jamal A. Khashoggi, and he's heading the recently announced joint media venture between Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and Bloomberg News.

That's right -- WND is portraying Khashoggi as "Bin Laden's second in command."

In a recent Arab press interview, Khashoggi revealed he grew up in Saudi Arabia with the late al-Qaida leader inside the radical Muslim Brotherhood, a secretive movement whose credo is "Jihad is our way; Death in the cause of Allah our highest ambition."

He says he spent time with bin Laden in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and later in Sudan. The close friends shared a dream of a pan-Islamic nation.

"We were young Muslim activists who believed in our responsibility to support Islam and create an Islamic state," said Khashoggi, who previously worked for Saudi's intelligence minister (who also met with bin Laden in Afghanistan before 9/11).

"I was a Muslim Brotherhood type (and believed that by) establishing the Islamic system throughout, it will lead to the (return of the) caliphate," explained Khashoggi, who now calls himself a "neo-Islamist." "Now, I believe this is the work of God. If God wants (the caliphate) to happen, he will make it happen."

Note the vague reference to "a recent Arab press interview." That refusal to specify where the interview came from (or a link to it) is a clear indication that WND has something to hide.

And what is WND hiding? The fact that Khashoggi stopped being a "Muslim activist" long ago, has had no contact with bin Laden for years, and has denounced bin Laden's extremism. From the interivew, conducted in January with a magazine called Majalla:

Q: When did you last see or speak with [bin Laden]?

It was in 1995 in Khartoum. In that time, he was in the opposition. He had turned against his country. And I went with coordination with his family in order for him to denounce violence in Saudi Arabia. So we could break the ice and start a reconciliation which could lead him to come back to Saudi Arabia.

And he did denounce the terrorist acts in the discussion I had with him. But he would not let me have it on the record … and I flew back to Jeddah. That was the last time I saw him or spoke to him.

Q: What did you believe in when you were active in the Islamic movement?

I was a Muslim Brotherhood type [and believed that by] establishing the Islamic system throughout, it will lead to the [return of the] caliphate.

Now, I believe this is the work of God. If God wants [the caliphate] to happen, He will make it happen. But it is not really my work.

Why did I come to this conclusion? I saw how Muslim activists and Muslim leaders, how they fight, they assassinate, they lie, just like any other politicians. The other conclusion I came up with [is that] creating an Islamic state will lead to forcing people into accepting God, accepting a certain role, certain practices. And that defies the freedom which God wants us to enjoy. I will never enjoy my prayer if I am forced to go to the mosque to pray.

Q: Was this a gradual change in your ideas?

It was a gradual process…in my 30s. I would say it started after 1992 when the Afghans began killing each other in a very brutal way. [Then came] the events of Algeria, the failure in Sudan.

I still have a great respect and I think there should be always a role for religion in our life. And a role for Islam in our life. But I will never work for a state run by clerics and religious people.

I think most Islamic movements see the Turkish [Islamic] movement as the example because it is a success story. And the Turkish model is the model which will allow the Egyptian [Islamic] movement, for example, to claim victory. Let’s assume that one day the Ikhwan won in Egypt. They will have a serious problem with the economy, what to do with the tourist industry. The Turkish model has the solution.

Look, we cannot reverse history. The women in Syria 60 years ago were under the veil. No way are they going to go back there. That tradition of the past which some Islamists have nostalgic views of, when women were totally separated from the men and men were dominant, this will never come back again. This is a different time. If anybody of the Islamic movement anywhere will try to do that he will start immediately an opposition among the people and he will have to subject the people by force and by jail, like what the Iranians are doing.

Khashoggi is repeatedly on record as denouncing bin Laden. Froma May 2 Arab News article:

Khashoggi said he felt sorry that Bin Laden chose the wrong path when he was at the crossroads of history. “He hijacked our religion and chose the path of violence. I remember how we were all in the grip of violence in the early and mid-2000s, here in Saudi Arabia, Algeria … there were suicide bombings, bomb blasts, killings. His ideology did not conform with my understanding of Islam,” he said.

Khashoggi said had Bin Laden been a good reader of history and if he had had a chance to go on air he would have definitely admitted defeat after the people’s revolution in Tunisia and Egypt. “The Arab youth took the path of nonviolence to effect change in their countries. Nonviolence is in total variance with the Al-Qaeda ideology … Osama and his men believed in violence … nothing but violence — no reconciliation — no dialogue.”

In an interview on CNN after bin Laden's death, Khashoggi said that bin Laden "did a damaging effect to Islam, two important things. The indiscriminate killing of innocent people, which is a big taboo, a big mistake in Islam, and the other thing is suicidal attacks. Suicidal attacks, suicidal bombings is killing us, we the Muslims, damaging us the Muslims. And I just don't understand how he could tolerate sitting in his house in Islamabad and hear about a young Muslim entering a mosque in Peshawar and blowing up himself. That is totally absurd in Islam, it is totally absurd. By killing the innocent Muslims at the mosque and killing yourself, it's just -- I would never imagine sitting with Osama bin Laden in 1985 or up to '95 that he would allow or justify something as ugly, as horrific as that."

At no point does WND report any of this about Khashoggi.

Khashoggi was fired last year as editor of Saudi Arabia's leading newspaper reportedly for criticising Saudi Arabia's conservative application of Islam and the religious police who enforce adherence to it -- which further undermines WND's smear job.

WND also plucked out of context Khashoggi's praise of Wahhabism; in fact, he was demonstrating how his own Wahhabi beliefs differ from the more extreme version Saudi Arabia is notorious for, and how they played a role in his firing from the newspaper:

Q: What led to your second departure from Al-Watan?

[There was an] article which was addressing the concept of sufism and salafism and respecting shrines. It dealt with a sensitive issue in relation to our salafi indoctrination background. I wasn’t in the paper that day, and if I saw that article, I would have stopped it from publishing, even though I still say it is some writer’s reflection on the issue. He wasn’t calling for respecting shrines.

Why would I not have published it? Because it’s not crucial to the debate. It’s not crucial to the development of Saudi Arabia. I’m willing to stick my neck out for an issue like women’s driving or women’s empowerment or reforming the [school] curriculum because that will have a positive impact on Saudi life. But really, what we think about shrines has no positive impact. In fact I am against shrines. I don’t believe in shrines. What I admire the most in Wahhabism is that it empowers me to reach God directly without the need of anybody else. And I like that and I call that positive Wahhabism.

WND also takes a couple low blows at New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and the joint venture, which is being funded in part by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who is also a major shareholder in Fox News parent News Corp.The article asserts that "Critics fear the venture could serve as a platform for bin Talal's notoriously anti-Israel agenda" and that "Critics say the mayor is chasing Arab petrodollars as his own business empire struggles amid the U.S. recession" -- but nowhere are the "critics" named. Indeed, there isn't a named source for any of the article's major claims, just reference to anonymous "critics" and "sources."

WND's reckless and dishonest attack has all the trappings of a defamation lawsuit in the making -- and possibly even a libel lawsuit.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:50 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, October 22, 2011 2:59 AM EDT
Friday, October 21, 2011
WND Seeks (Biased, Obama-Hating) Washington Reporters
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Do you know how to inject right-wing bias into a "news" story? Do you hate President Obama with the burning passion of a thousand suns? Are you a birther? Then you too can be a reporter for WorldNetDaily!

From an Oct. 21 WND article:

WASHINGTON – WND is looking for a few good men and women, preferably with reporting experience, to cover major events, hearings, protests and meetings in the nation's capital.

The positions are part-time, contractor positions, but can expand into full-time staff reporting jobs based on a track record of success.

Those interested in applying their skills and talents in this area are encouraged to send their resumes and cover letters to Sheila Ryan – at

The bias and Obama-hating is not specified in the job requirements, of course, but it's hard to imagine that anyone who's not fully on board with that agenda would be hired, since the rest of WND's staff already conforms.

On top of that, WND won't even consider you a real employee. The "part-time, contractor positions" being offered -- and the presumably paltry pay commensurate with such glorified-temp status -- are hardly inducements into the wonderful world of journalism, especially the highly defective version of it that WND offers.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:16 PM EDT
MRC Absurdly Likens Solyndra to Enron
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center complained in an Oct. 11 "Media Reality Check":

A study by the Media Research Center finds that the three broadcast networks are providing virtually no coverage of the Solyndra scandal, a solar energy firm that went bankrupt after getting more than $500 million in taxpayer money from the Obama administration. This is not the approach the networks took after the collapse of Enron, an energy company with Republican ties. In just the first two months of 2002, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts cranked out 198 stories on the Enron debacle, compared to just eight so far on Solyndra, a 24-to-1 disparity.

That's an absurd comparison -- the two companies are nothing alike.

Solyndra is a small company making solar panels that fell victim to a change in the market -- a rival method of building the panels suddenly became much cheaper than Solyndra's. Enron was a huge company using impenetrable and deceptive accounting methods to obscure massive corruption and market manipulation. As Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, authors of "The Smartest Guys in the Room," wrote: "Enron’s wash swamped the entire U.S. energy industry, wiping out hundreds of billions in stock value. It destroyed the nation’s most venerable accounting firm, Arthur Andersen. And it exposed holes in our patchwork system of business oversight—shocking lapses by government regulators, auditors, banks, lawyers, Wall Street analysts, and credit agencies—shaking faith in U.S. financial markets." Numerous Enron officials pleaded guilty to corruption charges. No one has alleged similar corruption in Solyndra's business dealings.

While both Enron and Solyndra filed for bankruptcy, Enron's was the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history at the time.

Such patent aburdity, though, didn't keep MRC chief Brent Bozell from repeating it in his Oct. 19 column:

Most Americans could still be fooled into thinking Solyndra is a new laundry detergent, not a failed solar energy company that took a half-billion dollars in Obama "green job" loans and went belly up. It's another Enron.

No, it's not. Stop lying, Brent.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:02 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, October 21, 2011 1:03 PM EDT
Yet Another WND Columnist Likens Obama to Hitler
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily loves to liken Obama to Hitler and the Nazis, and it happens again in an Oct. 19 column by Craige McMillan:

There is a widespread misconception that the German people elected the Nazi government.

They didn't.

The German's elected a man who – during troubled economic times that followed a flawed peace settlement at the end of World War I – told ordinary German's it wasn't their fault. The reason that worked is that Hitler found somebody else to blame.

That "somebody" turned out to be Jewish shopkeepers and small-businessmen. They were the ones who raised prices for consumers as the government printing presses gathered steam and inflation took hold. To most German's the Jews were "the rich."

Once the guilty were identified, the solution to Germany's economic woes became clear. The Jews were forced to turn over more and more of their money, property and businesses to the state, or place them under state control. The state would allocate resources to those who needed them. These people on the receiving end became the Nazi's strongest supporters.

Sound familiar?


German's did elect a talented orator to fix their problems. Hitler was quite fond of ejecting hecklers from his speeches, which were then devoted to "firing up the base," in today's vernacular. His propaganda outlets demonized the opposition. He seized on the violence the communists stirred up to consolidate his power. One by one he brought the various elements of German culture under his control, including the schools and the churches.

And the Germans, who had elected an orator to solve their problems, ended up with a god in human form at the helm of the state. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Of course, this is America. And such things could never happen here. The estimated 60,000 TSA employees are not an illegal federal police force that can set up at train stations and bus stations as well as airports. Secret lists and secret kill orders for American citizens don't exist. Constitutional protections still apply. Congress doesn't fund undeclared wars. Government gunrunning operations found selling weapons to Mexican drug gangs never happen. The federal government doesn't use the EPA to control business, or the taxpayer golden goose to pick winners and losers in auto manufacturing and solar panels. Unions and other supporters haven't gotten waivers from Obamacare's rationing and death panels. And Harry Reid really does understand the economy.

But I digress. We don't teach history anymore. After all, how can what happened so many years ago really matter today?

McMillan doesn't use the word "Obama," but the inference is unmistakable.

In case you're wondering, WND devoted almost no original coverage to the story of Hank Williams Jr. likening Obama to Hitler -- the only mention is in a column by Kathy Shaidle repeating Sean Hannity's hypocritical whining about "the liberal media's double standard."

Posted by Terry K. at 11:50 AM EDT
CNS: GOP Candidates' Faith Matters (If You're Catholic)

An Oct. 19 article by Matt Cover highlights how "Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), who are seeking the Republican presidential nomination, said at Tuesday night's CNN-Western Republican Leadership Conference debate in Las Vegas that the religious faith of a candidate matters."

Both Santorum and Gingrich are Catholic; Cover identifies Santorum as such, but not Gingrich.

For an article that purports to discuss how a candidate's faith matters, Cover curiously made no mention of the biggest currently controversy regarding a candidate's faith: A supporter of Rick Perry, Rev. Robert Jeffress, delcared that Mitt Romney is "not a Christian" because "Mormonism is not Christianity. It has always been considered a cult by the mainstream of Christianity."

Indeed, a search of the CNS archive indicates that only one original CNS article has mentioned the Jeffress-Romney controversy, an Oct. 10 article that was focused on Santorum.

CNS has been carrying water lately for both Catholics and Santorum. Makes sense since Jeffrey (near as we can tell) and his boss, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell, are Catholic.

So much for its purported mission to "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story."

Posted by Terry K. at 2:07 AM EDT
Thursday, October 20, 2011
NEW ARTICLE: WorldNetDaily's Disappearing Act
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WND doesn't apologize for getting facts wrong or even issue corrections over it -- rather, it tries to make embarrassing mistakes go away as quietly as possible. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 3:14 PM EDT
Cain Campaign Corrects Tim Graham's Attack on Criticism of Godfather's Pizza
Topic: NewsBusters

In an Oct. 19 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham took issue with Washington Post writer Tim Carman's critique of Herman Cain based on his experience eating Godfather's Pizza. After noting that Carman wrote that Cain was campaigning "as if America were a midgrade Midwestern chain whose many problems could be solved with a few deaths in the family (read: store closings) and a tough-talking thug in a pin-stripe suit and fedora," Graham huffed: "Can’t a Post editor see that it might be impolite to equate closing unprofitable stores with Mob assassinations? Would they tolerate Barack Obama in the role of 'gangsta,' just let that be published?"

But Carman was doing no such thing; he was referring to Godfather's longtime mascot. Carman even said so later in his article, noting that Cain "brought back the original godfather character from the chain’s early years in the 1970s — a rubbery-mouthed Mafioso who loved to claim that Godfather’s was a 'pizza you can’t refuse.'" (You can see the original actor in the role in this vintage TV ad.)

Carman was also referring to the fact that "Cain’s primary weapon for reviving the brand was marketing" rather than any dramatic sort of innovation, as well as "Cain’s decision to downsize the chain’s ambitions" by locating outlets in "gas stations, convenience stores and the like."

Even Cain's campaign felt compelled to respond to Graham's misrepresentation. Graham added an update that acknowledged his error but still tried to salvage it anyway:

UPDATE: MRC's Matthew Balan notified me that former Cain communications director Ellen Carmichael thought my inference that the Post was referring to Cain as a tough-talking thug was wrong. She wrote on Twitter: "I love the MRC, but this piece is wrong. The pin-stripe suit & fedora 'tough-talking thug' is mascot of Godfather's."

It's certainly true that a reader might think the Post is referring to a Godfather's mascot...but does a mascot solve the chain's problems and execute store closings? I think the sentence is meant at least in part to tweak Cain as an "economic hit man," not refer solely to the mascot (and the mascot comes in later). But Tim Carman's phrase was the chain's "problems could be solved with a few deaths in the family (read: store closings) and a tough-talking thug in a pin-stripe suit and fedora." I'd say the Post should have more sensitivity toward a black Republican -- at least as much as they would have for Obama.

Graham also took an anti-elitist swipe at Carman, mocking him as "all grown up and writing articles about fine food" for his dismissal of Godfather's as "pies of no great distinction." Graham offers no opinion of his own on the taste of Godfather's -- he gives no indication he has ever tried it -- nor did he note a blind taste test conducted by Politico involving Democratic and Republican consultants as well as a local "foodie," in which Godfather's was universally panned.

P.S. As a Nebraska native like Carman -- my hometown is the home of the first Godfather's outside of Omaha -- who happened to eat at Godfather's on a recent trip back to the state, we can second Carman's analysis. The pizza I had was adequate but undistinguished, and eating there felt like a nostalgia trip. Even Godfather's founder, Willy Thiesen, has moved on to an upgraded experience: He now operates a restaurant that makes pizza in a coal-fired oven and offers wine paired with each pie.

Maybe today's Godfather's (and Graham) could take a little advice from its founder: "You've got to reinvent yourself. If you keep doing the same things you were doing, we've always heard, you get the same results. You've got to change yourself. Reinvent."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:03 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2011 1:34 PM EDT
"U.S. Girls Just Dropping Dead"? No, WND Is Still Fearmongering About Gardasil
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily keeps up its dishonest and dangerous fringe anti-vaccine campaign against Gardasil with an Oct. 19 article by Joe Kovacs which carries the headline "U.S. girls just dropping dead." It repeats WND's previous scare tactics of highlighting adverse reactions to the Gardasil vaccine without offering any context of how they compare with other vaccines.

Kovacs claims that "26 additional deaths" were "caused by the shot" when, in fact, no such judgment has definitively been made -- he's merely regurgitating Judicial Watch's attacks. In fact, Kovacs concedes later in the article that the Centers for Disease Control -- an actual medical authority, unlike WND or Judicial Watch -- has found no "no unusual pattern or clustering to the deaths" to suggest they were caused by the vaccine.

Kovacs also repeats the claim that one so-called "expert on Gardasil," Christian Fiala, "claims the drug is not only dangerous, but actually useless in fighting cervical cancer" without mentioning that Fiala has been called "Austria’s most notorious abortionist" by one anti-abortion website.

WND is simply engaged in some very desperate fearmongering -- and it's veering far away from the facts with the intent to destroy a business. Maybe Merck should sue WND for defamation; if WND's own lawsuit against Esquire magazine is a guide, Merck might win.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:56 AM EDT
Newsmax Slobbers All Over Roger Ailes
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax has posted a sneak peek of the upcoming edition of its magazine, featuring a lengthy, fawning profile of Fox News' Roger Ailes. Written by Deroy Murdock, a right-wing columnist whom Newsmax publishes, the profile is a predictably slobbering hagiography that attempts to whitewash Ailes' more dubious personality traits, copiously documented in other, less biased media, and minimizes Fox News' well-established right-wing bias.

Some examples of Murdock's fawning:

Media sketches frequently portray Ailes as a paranoid, bombastic bully. But it is difficult to match those caricatures with the man in person, who comes across as congenial and humble, in part due to a self-effacing humor consistent with his working-class roots. Try though liberals might, Roger Ailes is a hard guy to hate.


Other adjectives emanating from establishment wisdom are more brutal, labeling him “Crazy . . . evil . . . paranoid.”

The firestorm of controversy that surrounds Ailes was recently re-ignited by a Rolling Stone article titled, “How Roger Ailes Built the Fox News Fear Factory.”

The piece described Ailes in the most bilious terms possible, calling him “the classic figure of a cinematic villain: bald and obese, with dainty hands, Hitchcockian jowls and a lumbering gait.”

Despite the invective Ailes faces daily, he says he never will stop defending American values in order to gain elite approbation. “We’re losing our freedom of speech, we are losing freedom of religion, we are losing freedom of the press,” Ailes warns.


Despite Rolling Stone’s attempt to brand him as a raging homophobe, Fox News supports the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. “They come and meet with me every year,” Ailes says, “and Fox contributes to their dinner. We have our gay employees. I don’t have any problem. It’s not my business.”

Another common claim that Ailes tries to swat away is that his network echoes Republican talking points. The real focus of Fox News, he says, transcends politics in favor of traditional American values. “I program for working people who work hard, who want information to lead their lives, who believe in America, who believe in tradition, and are basically optimistic about this country,” he says.

Ailes practically pleads, hoping perhaps that someone, at last, will listen: “I know this drives everybody crazy, but they can’t disprove it because it’s true — we are fair and balanced. We let everybody come on this network, anybody who wants to come on with any point of view, and I think that’s what America needs.”

He adds this pivotal point: “Bias is not only what you put into a news story; bias is often what you leave out. And the other networks simply leave that position out. So we put it in.” Despite 15 years of continuous press scrutiny, no one has yet proven there is a vast right-wing conspiracy at Fox News to manipulate the news. “People think that Roger programs us and tells us what to say and what to do,” Greta Van Susteren tells Newsmax, also confirming Ailes’ generally hands-off management approach toward his talent. “In 9 1/2 years, I heard from him only once. In 2004, a Democratic presidential candidate’s underage son had a run-in with the police. Roger said, ‘Do not report that the son was arrested for stealing beer. That would spoil the kid’s life.’”

Remember, Newsmax attempted to buy Newsweek. Articles like this is what a Christopher Ruddy-led Newsweek would presumably look like.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:21 AM EDT
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
NewsBusters' Double Standard on Nazi References
Topic: NewsBusters

An Oct. 18 NewsBusters post by Paul Wilson expresses outrage that actress Susan SArandon referred to Pope Benedict XVI as a "Nazi." Of course, he was, a fact Wilson tried to downplay as much as he could: "The future Pope was forced to serve in the Hitler Youth at 14. But he was an unwilling participant, who deserted the German army before the war’s end."

Funny, we don't recall any similar outrage from Wilson -- or anyone else at NewsBusters -- at Glenn Beck portraying George Soros as a Nazi collaborator. Nor do we recall NewsBusters declaring all the right-wing attacks on President Obama as a Nazi to be out of bounds.

But, hey, what's another double standard to NewsBusters?

Posted by Terry K. at 3:37 PM EDT
Aaron Klein's Anonymous Sources Get Another Story Wrong
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Another anonymously sourced article by WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein has bitten the dust.

Last week, Klein granted anonymity to terrorists by quoting anonymous "Hamas leaders" as denying that an agreement has been reached for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was captured in 2006 by Palestinian militants during a raid on his military outpost.

Guess what: There was a deal to release Shalit, and he has been released.

Any chance Klein will issue a printed correction for the false claims of his anonymous and unverifiable sources? Don't count on it.

This is at least the second time this year that an anonymously sourced Klein article has been proven false. In January, Klein cited a senior PA official" to claim that "The Obama administration told the Palestinian Authority it will not veto an upcoming United Nations resolution condemning all Jewish construction in the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem." In fact, the U.S. did veto that resolution.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:42 PM EDT
Newsmax's Patten Grinds Out More Obama-Bashing Hack Work
Topic: Newsmax

We've detailed David Patten's right-wing hack work for Newsmax, and he turns in another biased "news" article that may as well be a Wayne Allyn Root column for its slavish devotion to Obama-bashing.

Patten kicks off  his Oct. 17 article by writing:

Don’t look for champagne, party horns, and confetti to mark President Barack Obama’s 1,000th day in the White House today.

Indeed, some might be forgiven for feeling that these thousand days of “hope and change” seem more like a thousand years.

Partisan discord — fueled by a president who seems unable to find any common ground with the opposition party — is rife and rancorous.

The economy is seeing its worst times since the Great Depression. Internationally, the country is bogged down in two major wars, while competitors such as China and Brazil take advantage of the mayhem to seize crucial economic terrain and key industries.

The president whose approval rating stood at a stellar 69 percent on Inauguration Day has seen his popularity dip deep into the cellar on several occasions, dropping below 40 percent. Independents have left him in droves, contributing to a midterm drubbing for Democrats that was among the worst in political history.

Patten cribs without credit from a Republican National Committee-inspired Fox Nation item on purported "facts" about Obama's first 1,000 days in office -- and even then, he can't keep from embellishing them into fiction. He writes: "Healthcare: Obamacare did not reduce healthcare costs as promised and is in fact responsible for increasing costs in 2011. Health insurance premiums are up 13 percent." First, Obamacare has not fully gone into effect yet so it's disingenous for Patten to blame it for cost increases; second, even if you do accept that disingenuous premise, experts have found that only a small part of the increase can be attributed to health care reform.

Patten includes the usual Obama-bashers in his article, such as Doug Schoen and serial misleader Betsy McCaughey. He makes no effort whatsoever to provide a balanced view.

In other words, just more hack work from a conservative shill.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:36 AM EDT
WND Mad Kinsolving Didn't Get To Ask His Gotcha Question
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has yet another whining fit in an Oct. 13 article, asserting that Jay Carney "avoided" a question WND White House correspondent Les Kinsolving, once again baselessly suggesting that Carney knew the question Kinsolving was going to ask.

Even if Carney had known of the question -- which, again, WND presents no evidence to back up -- it's best that he did. WND reports that it was a gotcha question: "South Africa was boycotted [years ago] because of apartheid. If a Palestinian state is born that bans Jews, does the president believe that this administration should boycott it as the U.S. boycotted South Africa?" This was intended to build on an earlier gotcha question Kinsolving asked Carney on whether claims that a Palestinian state would be free of Jews was "Judenrein."

That's nothing but lazy speculation, but unfortunately it's the kind of laziness we've come to expect from the hack journalist Kinsolving has become.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:57 AM EDT
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
MRC, AIM Try to Discredit Media Bias Survey They Don't Agree With
Topic: Media Research Center

A Oct. 17 survey by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism found that in September, negative assessments of President Obama in the media "outweighed positive by a ratio of almost 4-1." That finding runs counter ro the right-wing meme that the "liberal media" is in the tank for Obama. So the top right-wing media watchdogs have tried to discredit it.

The Media Research Center's Rich Noyes devoted a lengthy article to countering Pew's claims, asserting there are "three major problems":

First, they didn’t study what most people would consider “the media.” Second, their definition of “positive” and “negative” press doesn’t match what media experts consider “favorable” or “unfavorable” coverage.

And, third, the researchers didn’t really even look at the stories — they let a computer (using an algorithm dubbed “Crimson Hexagon”) churn through the words and determine whether an assertion was pro- or anti-Obama (or Perry, or Romney, etc.).

Noyes complains that the Pew survey, which examined "coverage and commentary on more than 11,500 news outlets. This is a bad thing, apparently:

So for a study to include 11,500 news outlets (English-language only, the report says), the researchers have cast their net so widely that their study necessarily includes a huge number of insignificant or derivative news outlets — hundreds of iterations of the same AP story on the Web sites of local TV stations, for example. Such a study design makes it impossible to discover how the candidates were covered by the relatively small number of news media outlets that reach hundreds of thousands or millions of people each day.

[Pew also separately looked at “hundreds of thousands” of blogs, which again means that the few dozen top-ranked influential blogs are buried in a mass of data that includes vast numbers of low-trafficked and irrelevant sites.]

To study the news media’s effect on the campaign, researchers need to isolate the news media sources that are having the most profound effect — either at reaching the most viewers (like the big networks) or most influential at establishing a national narrative (like the New York Times or Politico). Throwing thousands of sources into one big pot — some with audiences in the millions, others reaching only a few hundred a day — just confuses the role that journalists actually have in setting the agenda and crafting a candidate’s image.

Of course, this runs counter to the MRC's "research" methods, which focus almost exclusively on the three major broadcast networks and  deliberately precludes any examination of Fox News, even though it's the highest-rated cable news network. But then, the MRC doesn't really care about research; it cares only about advancing a political agenda.

Noyes then complains about Pew's methodology of identifying stories as "“positive,” “negative,” or “neutral” because they include "horse race" assessments:

Careful researchers would avoid blurring such “horse race” statements into an overall measure of good press/bad press. Back in August, both Rick Perry’s strongest supporters and his staunchest foes would agree that he was on top of the GOP preference polls — it’s not “the media” pushing a biased editorial line to say so. Standard measures of “good” and “bad” press include: assessments of a candidate’s personal integrity, ethics and job competence; evaluations of their policy proposals; and their capabilities as a candidate — in other words, those attributes that can make someone more or less likely to support their candidacy.

Including “horse race” assessments undoubtedly skewed the numbers in favor of Perry (who led most surveys until late September) and hurt President Obama, whose job approval ratings were on the decline. Plus, tallying overt “assertions” would also minimize the effect of daily news coverage (where the bias is usually more subtle), while boosting the effect of editorials and commentary with obvious opinions.

Our own work this campaign season shows that the national media consistently framed the debt story in a way that played to Obama’s agenda, and hit Republican candidates with mainly hostile questions premised on liberal policy assumptions. In an election context, those are big favors to the Democrats that cannot be tallied on a simple “positive” or “negative” scorecard.

Again, the MRC's "research" pales in comparison to Pew's. As we've noted, the MRC's attempt to judge questions at Republican presidential debates as "conservative" or "liberal" included no definition of what those words meant in terms of methodology, no complete list of the questions and how they were categorized, and deliberately excluded questions atdebates sponsored by Fox News.

Finally, Noyes complains that Pew used a computer algorithm because "it’s impossible that human researchers could cross-check even a tiny fraction of the coverage. Nearly all of the “anti-Obama” or “pro-Perry” stories were never reviewed by an actual researcher to check the context and meaning of the keywords the computer was trained to spot."

But mostly, Noyes is angry that Pew is trying to detroy the MRC's reason for existence:

The point of studying the media for potential bias is to make sure that journalists are not skewing the news before it reaches voters, so that the real decisions are in the hands of the people, not the media elites. For liberal journalists to hear that their profession is somehow skewed against President Obama can only encourage them to attempt to tilt the scales in the other direction. That’s a step away from the fair and balanced journalism that we need.

Actually, the MRC cares nothing about "fair and balanced journalism"; if it did, wouldn't have such a pronounced right-wing bias. Its real goal is to try and discredit the media and create openings for organizations that will uncritically promote a right-wing agenda, like Fox News.

Accuracy in Media didn't like Pew's survey either. In an Oct. 18 blog post, AIM chief Don Irvine rehashed the same objections Noyes did -- too many media outlets examined, faulty computer algorithm. Irvine concluded:

If Pew was really looking for an accurate study of how the media have covered the presidential candidates then they should have used a more focused group of the top newspapers based on circulation, news sites based on web visitors and the broadcast and cable networks, which combined are far more representative of the mainstream media than the extremely broad definition they used. But that probably would have given them far different results and defeated their intended goal of making it look like the media have been far more favorable to Republicans – even to the point of being anti-Obama — which would only serve to help the President explain his low poll numbers and other struggles as he seeks reelection.

Nice try Pew, but this report smells of liberal bias.

Of course. If Irvine doesn't agree, it must be liberal bias, right?

Posted by Terry K. at 3:03 PM EDT

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