Newsmax's Ronald Kessler follows in the footsteps of NewsBusters in bashing the media for fact-checking.
Like NewsBusters, Kessler uses his Oct. 1 column to attack the Washington Post for a fact-checking item on President Obama and daily security briefings:
A stunning example of how journalists cover up for this president appeared last week in Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker column in the Washington Post. Kessler — no relation — gave three pinocchios to an ad from American Crossroads pointing out that President Obama has skipped half of his intelligence briefings.
Kessler did not dispute that that was a fact. Indeed, Kessler wrote, during 2011 and the first half of 2012, Obama’s attendance record fell to just over 38 percent. But Kessler went on to offer excuses: Obama could not “skip” a briefing if he had not scheduled one. He reads the President’s Daily Brief. He meets with his national security advisers and asks questions. And some other former presidents also did not attend the briefings.
In a conclusion that is entirely beside the point, Kessler wrote, “Ultimately, what matters is what a president does with the information he receives from the CIA.”
But since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, what president who cares about the security of the country would risk blowing off the briefings? As noted in my story, "Former CIA Director: Intelligence Briefings Are Valuable," President Bush almost never missed one.
Kessler conveniently omits Kessler's statement that President Reagan attended very few briefings.
The Washington Post pointing out the fact that a lack of in-person briefings doesn't mean the president is not being apprised of national security concerns is presented by kessler as an example of "how journalists cover up for this president."
But Kessler is hardly an impartial judge of journalism. He repeats the right-wing falsehood that Obama "claim[ed] that roads, bridges, and teachers rather than businessmen are responsible for the success of their own companies."
WND Takes Savage's Side In Dispute With Syndicator Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has had a long symbiotic relationship with Talk Radio Network, founded by accused cult leader Roy Masters, whose Oregon ranch was the first home of WND upon its founding in the late 1990s -- and currently operated by his son, Mark Masters. This took its most visible form in WND's close relationship with TRN-syndicated Michael Savage, whose first few books were published by WND.
But now Savage and TRN have broken up, and WND appears to have taken sides -- with Savage.
A Sept. 27 WND article touts how Savage won a "historic" legal battle to get out of his TRN contract -- though entertainers trying to get out of contracts are not that uncommon -- uncritically repeating Savage's claims that TRN used “illegal and unenforceable contract provisions” and “other strong-armed tactics” to intimidate him and force him into accepting a “sub-standard agreement.” The article contains no comment from TRN; it's noted that "WND contacted TRN, but a staffer said no one in a position to comment was available."
That was followed a few days later with an article touting how Savage's show "has been ranked the No. 1 talk show on the Internet for the third quarter" -- a suddenly irrelevant claim considering that, in the wake of his acrimonious breakup with TRN, Savage is off the air until he finds a new syndicator.
Neither article mentioned WND's business relationship with Savage, as host of his website.
Meanwhile, TRN has replaced Savage with Jerry Doyle, taking a few pot shots at Savage along the way. In the press release announcing Doyle's new job, TRN declared that "For too long, we’ve had to choose between ratings and salability, but no longer," adding that with Doyle, "stations will get more light and less heat, a show that they can sell locally with pride, but also a show that will respect its stations, advertisers and audiences with a brilliance that sets great shows apart from good ones." TRN goes on to state that Doyle "understands radio isn’t about host ego, it’s about high levels of performance, and it’s about business. Jerry shows up 5 days a week, 3 full hours a day because his work ethic is second to none."
WND's taking Savage's side raises the question of the state of WND's relationship with TRN and the Masters empire. Has Joseph Farah decided he doesn't need TRN anymore now that Savage has left? Will Aaron Klein continue to make appearances on the show of TRN host Rusty Humphries?
MRC Still Falsely Smearing Rachel Carson Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center is not done smearing Rachel Carson.
Liz Thatcher returns in a Sept. 27 MRC Business & Media Institue column to call Carson a killer of millions simply for writing a book. As she did in a previous column, Thatcher blames Carson's book "Silent Spring" for killing people, asserting that the book "can be linked to a legacy of easily preventable deaths from malaria since the United States banned the use of DDT in 1972."
But as we pointed out the last time Thatcher made these claims, Carson never advocating banning DDT, the U.S. ban on DDT didn't apply to the rest of the world, and DDT had been so overused that mosquitos had developed a resistance to it. Thatcher never mentions these facts in her column.
Thatcher also obsesses over Carson's suggestion that DDT is a cancer-causing carcinogen, a claim that has not yet been definitively proven; Thatcher cites right-wing activist Steven Milloy to claim that "while the link to cancer is based purely on hypothetical assumptions, that even if this link does exist, the risk might actually be worth it when the vast amount of deaths from malaria is considered."
But Thatcher doesn't mention DDT's effects on the environment. Slate's William Souder notes that "The threat of DDT to wildlife—as a deadly neurotoxin in many species and a destroyer of reproductive capabilities in others—has never been in doubt."
WND's Jim Fletcher Ramps Up Anti-Obama Paranoia Topic: WorldNetDaily
Jim Fletcher has emerged as a surprise dark horse in WorldNetDaily's plans to peddle as much anti-Obama paranoia as possible. Last week, for example, Fletcher declared that if President Obama is re-elected, "there will be no more country."
Fletcher is at it again in his Sept. 28 WND column, in which he begins by discussing a New York state proposal to ban anonymous Internet posts, then quickly leaps to the anti-Obama paranoia stuff:
A far more sinister potential involves the possibility that Barack Obama – in a second term – would move to silence his critics, primarily online.
Early in Obama’s rise to the presidency, a Mother Jones article raised the ugly issue: “Should President Obama have the power to shut down domestic Internet traffic during a state of emergency?
“Senators John Rockefeller, D-W.V., and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, think so,” the article reported. “They introduced a bill to establish the Office of the National Cybersecurity Advisor – an arm of the executive branch that would have vast power to monitor and control Internet traffic to protect against threats to critical cyber infrastructure. That broad power is rattling some civil libertarians.”
Now, hold on there, pardner. Since I still live in a free society and have the privilege of writing for a champion of free press, let me be the first to say … I totally believe Obama would love to silence his critics online, and that he’ll do it if given a chance. A second term would be a free ride for him to enact sweeping changes to fundamentally alter America.
There: I said it, and I mean it.
Fletcher declaring that he means what he says doesn't make what he says any less crazy or paranoid. It just makes him the ideal WND employee.
Bozell Defends D'Souza Film, Doesn't Say What It's About Topic: Media Research Center
Brent Bozell pulls off a rare feat in his Sept. 28 column: He defends Dinesh D'Souza's anti-Obama film "2016: Obama's America" without once addressing any of the claims it makes.
Bozell touts the film's "box office gross of more than $32 million," making it "second place on the all-time box-office money list for political documentaries," and laments that "You didn't see D'Souza on CBS or NBC (although he showed up on ABC's "Nightline" in late night). There were no cover stories in Time or Newsweek."
Bozell did single out some negative reviews, one of which noted that "'D'Souza spins out the conspiracy theory' of America in dramatic economic and geopolitical collapse by 2016," but at no point does Bozell respond to the substance of that claim -- he simply paints the reviewas the kind of negative review a conservative can expect from the liberal media.
WND's Unruh Protects Arpaio Yet Again in Homeschoolers' Lawsuit Topic: WorldNetDaily
Earlier this year, WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh wrotearticles about a homeschooling family who filed a lawsuit against a law enforcement agency over a search of their house after an anonymous complaint without mentioning that the law enforcement agency being sued is the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, headed by WND fave Joe Arpaio.
Unruh has done it again in a Sept. 28 WND article, while ramping up the drama in an overheated introduction:
Police cars screech to a halt outside your door, six deputies approach along with two social workers who warn they have information from an anonymous tipster and threaten that unless you allow them to enter RIGHT NOW, the armed officers will take your children away from you.
So your decision to allow the authorities to enter is completely voluntary?
That’s the determination of a federal judge who has relieved two social workers – Rhonda Cash and Jenna Cramer – of liability for their actions in a case brought by homeschooling parents John and Tiffany Loudermilk in Arizona.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals previously ruled that deputies Joshua Ray, Joseph Sousa, Richard Gagnon and Michael Danner had qualified immunity for their role in the 2005 confrontation with the Loudermilks, the parents of five children.
While Unruh names the deputies involved in the incident, he never names their employer or their boss. The words "Arpaio" and "Maricopa County" appear nowhere in Unruh's article.
That sort of serial omission -- coupled with his naming of the officers involved -- tells us that the refusal to mention the fact that Arpaio is involved in this case (he's listed as one of the defendants) is deliberate. WND has been sucking up to Arpaio for months by writing sycophantic articles about him and defending him against criticism.
Now, Unruh and WND are shielding him from more criticism by deliberately refusing to tell their readers that Arpaio is a key figure in an action his deputies committed against a homeschooling family.
That refusal to hold Arpaio accountable for his agency's actions is yet another piece of evidence that WND doesn't care about being a "watchdog on government," as editor Joseph Farah wants you to believe.
For an organization that's running a "Tell the Truth!" campaign, the Media Research Center sure hates it when that actually happens (to conservatives) -- to the point where it's arguing with fact-checkers.
A Sept. 25 NewsBusters post by Matt Vespa illustrates the MRC's war on facts. In it, Vespa complains that the Washington Post's fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, gave three Pinocchios to an American Crossroads television spot claiming that President Obama skipped almost half of his in-person intelligence briefings. Vespa chooses to ignore the larger truth that Kessler was trying to impart -- that the lack of an in-person briefing doesn't mean that Obama didn't get briefed on national security, and that President Reagan got even fewer in-person briefings than Obama has -- in order to keep his blinders on and narrowly insist that the ad's claim was true:
Kessler may think it's "misguided" to argue "process," but the fact remains that Kessler cannot dispute that the gist of the ad is true: President Obama has the opportunity every weekday to receive in-person intelligence briefings, and yet he chooses to, the majority of the time, elect to simply read them rather than avail himself the opportunity to be briefed by an intelligence expert (or experts) in person. Kessler may protest the verb "skips" to describe Obama's relation to his daily briefings, but that reveals more about Kessler's biases than it does the truthfulness of the claim.
That's just desperate nit-picking that serves the larger right-wing narrative that fact-checkers must be discredited because they catch conservative politicians in falsehoods.
We haven't heard a thing from him in a long time -- until now.
Dougherty has penned his first article for WND in five years (according to his WND archive), a Sept. 28 column in which he calls for President Obama to resign over the violence in Libya that killed an ambassador: "What Obama should do now is step down, for he has disgraced his office by surrendering any remaining legitimacy he had left as commander in chief. The memory of Ambassador Stevens, as well as the thousands who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan fighting those who attacked us on 9/11, demand it."
Gee, it's almost like he hasn't left.
A final note: Dougherty's WND bio, for some reasons, lists as his first accomplishment "political science major." Has Dougherty accomplished nothing else in his life more important than his college major?
MRC Repeats Its False Attack on Katie Couric Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center, it seems, will never forgive Katie Couric for exposing Sarah Palin for who she is.
At its annual "DisHonors Banquet," the MRC invented an award to give to Couric, "The Worst Reporter in the History of Man." (Funny, we might have given such an award to Noel Sheppard, who has issued more apologies for false and offensive content this year alone that Couric has in her entire career.)
The CNSNews.com edition of a lightly rewritten MRC press release touting the award includes a video purporting to contain some of the evidence in support of the "award." Among the clips is Couric stating, "Good morning. The Gipper was an airhead!"
This description of Ronald Reagan was Couric's introduction to a 1999 segment on Edmund Morris' just-released Reagan bio -- but as we've detailed, that was the advance word on the book, and even conservatives used the "airhead" phrase when discussing the book. It's dishonest for the MRC to single out Couric for using the word when even Dinesh D'Souza brought it up; the MRC continuing to obsess over it more than a decade after the fact borders on the pathological.
Conspicuous by its absence is any mention of the best piece of reporting Couric did: her interview of Sarah Palin, in which she managed to stump Palin on such innocuous questions like which newspapers she read.
It seems that the MRC has moved beyond mere Heathering and into full-on Mean Girls mode.
Meanwhile, Slate's David Weigel went to the MRC's shindig -- a "black tie appreciated" affair that featured Brent Bozell "wearing the kind of white tuxedo coat that James Bond prefers in Monaco" -- and points out how the MRC's anti-media campaign isn't working: "Barack Obama’s winning. The Huffington Post is providing AOL’s political coverage. MSNBC reverse-engineered Fox News’ approach to proud, ideological news analysis, and it’s beating CNN."
Weigel also noted that the evening's events -- ironically held in a building constructed by the federal government -- were underwritten in part by Republican mega-donor Foster Friess, one of the event's two "diamond" sponsors. The other one? "Anonymous."
It's quite funny that even people who give huge amounts of money to the MRC don't want to be associated publicly with it.
Joseph Farah is pontificating on journalism again, as reported in a Sept. 27 WorldNetDaily article:
Joseph Farah, the co-founder of WND and now its editor and CEO, says the “legacy” media, those old traditional establishments such as newspapers and networks, don’t want to report as much as shape the news these days.
Farah was a guest recently on The Wayne Richard Show, as the host brought up a recent poll showing that the Internet now is considered a better source of news than television or newspapers.
Farah said when he and his wife, Elizabeth Farah, launched WND as WorldNetDaily in 1997, their goal was what used to be standard in the news industry – to be a watchdog on government.
That influence on people today, he said, is “increasingly intrusive” and trying to “grab more and more power.”
“Our central role is to serve as a watchdog on government. But that’s been completely forgotten by my colleagues out there,” he said.
Needless to say, Farah is lying about himself and WND's mission. Does WND's selectively reported birther obsession speak of anorganization that's a "watchdog on government" or one that wants to "shape the news"?
If Farah doesn't want to "shape the news," why did he spend an entire column last week begging Mitt Romney to take his advice is bashing President Obama? He even writes, "I’ve given away far too much free advice to Team Romney, none of which was taken, with the possible exception of his birth certificate remark, from which the candidate quickly distanced himself."
Those aren't the words of someone who merely wants to be a "watchdog on government."
Yet Farah continues to lie to his readers:
“I can actually point to conversations I used to have with old-time grizzled reporters and city editors where we’d talk about what it meant to be a journalist,” he said.
But the new generation is different.
“They didn’t want to report the news, they wanted to shape the news, use the news media to promote a political, philosophical, even spiritual, agenda,” he said.
That's exactly what Farah is doing at WND. He's complaining about himself.
But then, we know he's a liar of a near-pathological level. Which raises the question of why anyone should trust a website run by such a well-documented and shameless liar.
NewsBusters Deletes Post Complaining That 'Totally Biased' Is Totally Biased Topic: NewsBusters
A Sept. 24 NewsBusters post by Ryan Robertson details his shocking discovery that a show on FX called "Totally Biased" is, well, totally biased. Robertson huffed that the show is hosted by "little known comedian W. Kamau Bell," complained that the show's name is a "fitting choice" given itsd "scathing political commentary of the right," and concluded by lamenting that "Despite mediocre ratings and mixed reviews, Totally Biased will reportedly come back from hiatus on Oct. 11 with another 7 episodes -- just as election season is truly heating up." Yeah, we wouldn't want a show featuring political commentary not to run during election season, would we?
Strangely, though, Robertson's post has been deleted from the NewsBusters website. (The Google cache of the post is here for now.) No explanation has been publicly offered by NewsBusters regarding its deletion.
Why was it deleted? It can't be that NewsBusters has suddenly developed standards -- this is, after all, the website that has the error-prone, cliche-ridden Noel Sheppard as an editor.
Or did the NewsBusters powers that be conclude that "Totally Biased" is totally biased was just too obvious an observation, even for the research-challenged MRC? The world may never know.
A U.S. ambassador is dead, and over 30 U.S. embassies across the globe are under violent attack as a direct result of President Obama’s attempted appeasement of radical Islam. How many more Americans will die before that policy can be reversed and Obama removed from office?
Second, Romney must stress the fact that Obama is ineligible to be president because he is likely Kenyan-born and not a natural born citizen – meaning that both of his parents were not U.S. citizens at his birth. The framers put this requirement into the Constitution to avoid the harmful foreign influences we are now living through with Obama. Romney must take the gloves off and pound away at this legitimate eligibility issue, which underscores, reinforces and explains why Obama’s actions have been un-American and severely harmful to the United States.
Webster’s definition of stupid is: acting in a careless and/or unintelligent manner. I submit that they should have Obama’s picture beside the word in their dictionary. Observing the way he has conducted himself and witnessing his lack of leadership ability, calling his actions stupid is the most generous thing I can say about him.
Forgive me, folks; this can be annoying. But I’m trying to save the country. We’ve got to get rid of this president!
One reason sports will always be more popular than politics is that this kind of fraud can’t work in sports. If there were a quarterback or a pitcher who did his job as poorly as Obama does his and yet had the major sportswriters and commentators constantly and lavishly praising him and denigrating his betters, those commentators would get angry letters in New England, lose their jobs in North Carolina and need police protection to leave the studio in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Did the state-run media forget about the landslide that took place in 2010, when the American people’s votes proved they had enough with Obama and his criminal administration?
Did the state-run media forget that the American people just exposed the fact that 70 percent of Obama’s Twitter followers were found out to be fake or inactive?
Did the state-run media forget that just two weeks ago, the American people watched as Obama’s speech at the DNC had to be moved from a 74,000-seat arena to a 20,000-seat arena due to lack of attendees?
Did the state-run media forget that America knows about those in Obama’s own party and support base who are forsaking him in droves, as he is being taken in his own craftiness?
In the cult TV series “Numb3rs,” a professor helps the feds catch criminals by using higher mathematics. In real life, the lack of elementary mathematical knowledge among the nation’s gumshoes is not the least of the reasons why, so far, Black Jesus has gotten away with his Mickey Mouse “birth certificate.”
By allowing Barack Hussein Obama to be elected president and commander in chief, God was reminding us poor deluded mortals that when we choose someone because he looks and sounds like someone born to be the D.J. at a hip-hop club, we’re just asking for trouble.
AIM Pretends Pat Caddell Is A Liberal Topic: Accuracy in Media
In a Sept. 27 Accuracy in Media blog post, Roger Aronoff touts Pat Caddell -- who spoke at AIM's truth-challenged "Day of Truth" and Obama-bashing -- as a "former Democratic pollster." Similarly, in an AIM article the same day, Cliff Kincaid calls Caddell a "longtime Democratic political operative and pollster... who has become critical of the liberal direction of the Democratic Party."
Aronoff and Kincaid are deceiving you. Caddell is not a "Democratic political operative," and he hasn't been a Democrat for years.
If Wikipedia is to be believed, Caddell quit the Democratic Party in 1988; last year, Caddell described the Democratic Party as his "former party." Caddell regularly criticizes Democrats in his numerous appearances on Fox News, and he was a key behind-the-scenes part of the Citizens United anti-Obama film "The Hope and the Change."
If AIM really cared about "accuracy in media," it would tell its readers that Caddell is a right-wing operative, not a "Democrat."
Ronald Kessler keeps up his end of his mutually beneficial relationship with David Keene in a Sept. 26 Newsmax column, in which Kessler gives Keene free rein to spin away criticism of Mitt Romney, such as his "47 percent" comment and the lack of specifics he has offered for his economic policies.
Curiously, Kessler identifies Keene only as "the former chairman of the American Conservative Union," neglecting to mention his current post as president of the National Rifle Association. Kessler did fawningly write about Keene's job change when it happened last year.
NewsBusters' Double Standard on Fluffy Questions Topic: NewsBusters
Ryan Robertson, in a Sept. 26 NewsBusters post, complains of softball questions being tossed to Presdient and Michelle Obama during an appearance on "The View": "In yet another casual interview for the entertainment-focused media, the First Couple responded to a myriad of questions from the hosts of The View that only touched on issues of significance near the end. Did we really need to hear about the Obama marriage and courtship....again?"
But just a couple days before, an unidentified NewsBusters interviewer posted the first part of an interview with right-wing provocateur Ann Coulter. The introduction to the interview states that "She has been a dear friend of the Media Research Center’s for decades and is beloved by NewsBusters readers around the world." And here's the very first question listed:
Before we get to your fabulous new book which I finished yesterday and think might be the most important piece you’ve ever done, you said on ABC's This Week this morning that you don’t watch any of the shows up for Emmys because you’re “busy watching the children’s hour on MSNBC.” Please explain.
Then, our secret interviewer makes this fanboyish statement later in the interview, revealing an unusually cozy relationship that's unbecoming of a journalistic interview:
As I emailed you Friday, I love the way “Mugged” begins: “The Democrats’ slogan during the Bush years was: ‘Dissent is patriotic.’ Under Obama, it’s: ‘Dissent is racist.’”
We could probably talk for hours about what Republicans did for civil rights issues in the '50s versus the Democrats – including LBJ who prior to becoming president was staunchly opposed to black equality. Give us a brief synopsis of the real '50s and '60s civil rights history Americans aren’t taught in schools or in our media.
If NewsBusters is so concerned about softball questions, perhaps it should do something about its own first.