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Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Screed of the Day
Topic: Newsmax

Barry Farber's May 29 NewsMax column is an anti-media screed made more entertaining by the fact that he appears to be serious:

I don't know what octane of self-esteem surges within when you become officially an insurance agent, an investment banker, a union painter or an executive in dry-wall hanging or industrial abrasives. I can reliably report, however, that when you land a regular job involving TV cameras, microphones or a job in newspapers or magazines, especially if you re privileged to write under your own byline; you feel exalted. You feel a palpable superiority to most of the rest of mankind.

How, now, do you express that elevation? You don't run around telling plumbers and welders, "Hey. I'm better than you!" Instead, some media stars may take the opinions they associate with those under-classes and flay those opinions with the whiplash of their keenly-felt superiority. The masses are, let's say, rather proud of America.

That's the cue for that certain media lion to growl, "Well, I guess that's about par for ordinary folks like you down there but I'm way up here and it's my duty to tell you a thing or two. This America that you little folks think is so great has a lot of problems, short-comings injustices, and evils. And you'd better be glad people like me are smart enough and brave enough and thoughtful enough to grab you by the collar and beat up on you and your feeble, banal opinions and reach over your head and try to right all those shameful American wrongs."

One man and one woman are the ideal beginning of a family! Illegal aliens are against the law! Beer, OK; pot, no! God Almighty has a role in our lives! Oh, what fun it is to flatten these flowers of orthodoxy under the steamroller of their vastly more valid and sophisticated insights.

Farber goes on to add that "The media hates to report anything from eastern Europe because they love America, George W. Bush and America's pro-liberation policy."


Posted by Terry K. at 4:57 PM EDT
MRC on Fox: Another Challenge-Free Appearance
Topic: Media Research Center

With the May 28 appearance by Dan Gainor, director of the MRC's Business and Media Institute, on "Your World," The Media Research Center chalked up yet another friendly appearance on Fox News.

The segment featured Gainor joined by two other panelists, Fox News reporters Brenda Buttner and Terry Keenan, as well as guest host David Asman. As we've detailed, Fox News hosts tend to avoid asking tough questions of MRC representatives, and Keenan in particular has previously championed the MRC's talking points. Further, BMI was not described as the conservative group it is.

Interestingly, the video of Gainor's appearance posted on NewsBusters is cut off after the first question. Perhaps that's because after the MRC cut off the clip, Asman, Buttner and Keenan went on to reinforce Gainor's talking points regarding alleged hyping of high gas prices:

ASMAN: So, Brenda, is it hype, or is it the real thing?

BUTTNER: Well, I don't think it's hype that we report on gas prices. Nothing affects Americans' bottom line -- more Americans than that. But the real issue is that it's not -- what's not reported is when the gas prices go down. When they go down, do we then say to the oil companies, "Hey, you should get a break"? Or when they go down, do we report how much you're saving? No, it's always the only negative way. And the other thing is that many in the liberal media report that the gas prices are basically because we have a terrible economy, and that's not true at all.

ASMAN: And Terry, they also talk about it all being the price of oil, when so much of has to do with the price of gasoline, which means refined oil. That's a different thing.

KEENAN: Right, and that's what we've seen this year. While oil prices are up 18 percent, the refining costs are up about 35 percent, and that's why we're seeing gasoline prices back to where they were post-Katrina. But I agree with Dan. I mean, the cost of other things, including milk -- a gallon of milk, your education, your insurance costs, your health care costs have gone up far more rapidly than the price of gasoline, but nobody talks about that and, you know, nobody tells the milkman to give back his money.

[...]

ASMAN: And Terry, you know, for all the problem with the refineries, I don't see Democrats talking about deregulation to make it easier for refineries to come on line.

BUTTNER: No. I mean, who in their right mind would build a new refinery these days, with all the problems getting permits, with the refining margins coming down?

This is apparently the kind of "fair and balanced" coverage the MRC loves to see -- in which the "journalists" agree with them.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:52 PM EDT
NewsBusters' Flexible Standards
Topic: NewsBusters

Does NewsBusters hold its fellow conservatives to the same standard it holds the rest of the media?

Generally, no. We've already documented how it promoted a false report, then buried the fact that it was false, and how a NewsBusters blogger falsely smeared someone but couldn't be bothered to apologize for them. Now, there's another example of how conservatives who make errors are treated with kid gloves.

A May 27 NewsBusters post by Lynn Davidson played up claims by right-wing bloggers Little Green Footballs and Ace of Spades, who "questioned its veracity" of a memo used by the Washington Post and "harsh anti-war critic and former CIA and State Department employee Larry Johnson" in raising questions about distribution of food for U.S. troops in Iraq because the memo "used a Lenox china flag-cluthing eagle collectible figurine  on tan emblem for the header's graphics." An update on May 28 noted that another conservative blogger received "confirmation from the Baghdad Embassy ... that the content of the memo is real."

But Davidson fails to mention what in between the accusations of fakery and confirmation of authenticity. As Glenn Greenwald details, the right-wing bloggers loudly insisted that the memo was fake; one blog, Flopping Aces -- which provided Davidson with the evidence of confirmation that she accepted -- asserted that "Larry Johnson, that ViPer with a serious case of the BDS, is at it again peddling a forged document." And Ace of Spades insulted another blogger who refused to retract his memo-based claim, calling him a "fucking idiot." And upon the realization that the memo in question was, in fact, authentic, Greenwald writes that there have been "no apologies to Johnson or The Washington Post for impugning their integrity, from what I have seen." Greenwald adds:

And so we have but the latest in an endless series of right-wing-blogger outbursts of accusatory bile and claimed discoveries of wrongdoing and fraud where the only fraud and wrongdoing is from the blogger-accusers themselves.

So, we wonder: Shouldn't NewsBusters demand that its fellow conservative bloggers adhere to the same standards of accuracy as the "formerly mainstream media" it loves to criticize, especially after promoting a claim originated by those bloggers that turned out to be false? If it's going to denounce, say, Rosie O'Donnell for uncivil behavior, shouldn't it similarly denounce Ace of Spades for his personal attacks and profanity, especially over a charge that proved to be utterly false?

So, NewsBusters: Where are your standards? And will you admit to having more than one set?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:06 AM EDT
Monday, May 28, 2007
Power Line = 'Center Right'
Topic: NewsBusters

This tells you a good chunk about what you need to know about where NewsBusters (and the Media Research Center) is coming from and how seriously their media criticism should be taken:

In a May 27 NewsBusters post, Tom Blumer described the notoriously hard-right, Bush-lovin' blog Power Line as "center-right." 


Posted by Terry K. at 1:23 AM EDT
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Kuiper Omits Motivation for Anti-Media Matters Column
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Tom Kuiper spends his May 25 WorldNetDaily column attacking Media Matters (my employer). Not once does he mention what is presumably the real reason for his tirade: Media Matters busted Kuiper, pointing out that his compilation of Hillary Clinton quotes, "I've Always Been a Yankees Fan," used quotes that even Kuiper himself can't verify are factual, and that the assertion that Kuiper built his book around -- that Hillary was pandering to New York voters when she claimed to be a Yankees fan -- is in fact true; her Yankees fandom has been documented long before she ran for Senate in New York.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:07 PM EDT
Saturday, May 26, 2007
MRC Still Won't Criticize Imus, Misleadingly Attacks Maher
Topic: Media Research Center

We've previously noted that the Media Research Center has a lot of trouble bringing themselves to criticize the racist remarks that got Don Imus fired.

The MRC keeps up the trend with a May 24 press release delcaring that Bill Maher's remarks about religion make Imus "look like a saint." In addition to the MRC's tacit approval of Imus calling women's basketball players "nappy-headed hos," it eliminates the context in which Maher made his remarks. The press release reprinted only the salacious stuff:

“‘We weren’t having sex, officer, I was performing a very private Mass, here in my car. I was letting my rod and staff comfort him. Take this and eat of it, for this is my roommate Barry. … And for all those who believe there is a special place for you in Kevin.”

But it made no mention of the context. As the clip shows, Maher was criticizing the late Jerry Falwell's hateful rhetoric toward gays:

MAHER: Jerry Falwell found out that you could launder your hate through the cover of God's will. He didn't hate gays; God did. All Jerry Falwell's power came from name-dropping God, and gay people should steal that trick. You know what? Don't say you want something because it's your right as a human being. Say you want it because it's your religion. Gay men have been going at things backward. Forget civil rights and just make gayness a religion. I mean, you're kneeling anyway.

The press release also quotes Robert Knight, director of the MRC’s Culture and Media Institute, as saying: "Maher is entitled to his vile views, but he’s not entitled to an endless ride on the airwaves courtesy of Time-Warner. ... If Don Imus’s offensive racial joke was too much for the public to bear, certainly Maher’s sickening description of the Mass and Communion as graphic homosexual sex acts is beyond the pale." But Maher's show doesn't appear on "the airwaves"; it appears on pay cable late at night. Imus' radio show, by contrast, appeared on public airwaves during the morning hours.

WorldNetDaily, meanwhile, recycled the MRC's press release into a May 25 article that, of course, made no effort to contact Maher or HBO for a response. WND added to its article by noting that "Maher stirred controversy two years ago when he said Christians suffer from a neurological disorder that 'stops people from thinking.' " But the quote of Maher that followed did not single out Christians:

"We are a nation that is unenlightened because of religion. I do believe that. I think that religion stops people from thinking. I think it justifies crazies. I think flying planes into a building was a faith-based initiative. I think religion is a neurological disorder. If you look at it logically, it's something that was drilled into your head when you were a small child. It certainly was drilled into mine at that age. And you really can't be responsible when you are a kid for what adults put into your head."

So, WND: Any Christians "flying planes into a building" lately?

The 2005 WND article from which that quote was taken actually broadened it somewhat, claiming Maher targeted "Christians and others who are religious," but it also stated, "Maher explained that he was not singling out evangelicals, but was targeting all 'religious' people."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:49 AM EDT
Friday, May 25, 2007
Save the Country, Buy A Cheap Flag Pin From WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily

From a May 25 WorldNetDaily article:

America is under attack like never before, from terrorists abroad to moral relativists within, but WND readers are grabbing an opportunity to say it still is the last, best hope for living in freedom, making WND's new United States National Flag Lapel Pin a runaway bestseller at Shop.WND.com.

[...]

The United States, now in its third century, faces the hate of international terrorists bent on imposing their lifestyle on freedom-lovers worldwide, the attacks from its own citizens who want to denigrate or destroy its Christian foundations, and an invasion by millions who have crossed its border illegally.

But WND readers are jumping at the chance to wear the faithful depiction of the America flag, a die-struck jewelry piece that tells family, friends and even strangers, of their loyalty.

Given the fact that the pin costs just $2, it's highly likely that the pin is not American-made -- something that would presumably play a factor in the "patriotism" of owning such a pin. The article does not disclose the pin's country of origin, nor does it say exactly how many pins WND is selling that would cause it to describe the pin as a "runaway bestseller."

Further, the article fails to explain how buying a flag pin from WND (or anywhere else, for that matter) is any sort of antidote for the woes it describes. After all, one can be a loyal, patriotic American and not be a fundamentalist Christian, the only kind of Christianity WND recognizes as real.

Can you say "cheap stunt to cash in on patriotism"? We knew you could.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:33 PM EDT
Meanwhile ...
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Media Matters notes that Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid is back to obsessing about lesbians, this time claiming in a May "Cliff's Notes" column that "the sex scandal the media won't touch involves Senator Hillary Clinton's alleged lesbianism."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:51 PM EDT
Bozell on Fox News: One Friendly, One Not, Both Solo
Topic: Media Research Center
Brent Bozell got in a pair of appearances on Fox News on Thursday. The first, on "America's Newsroom," was a solo appearance with the host serving up softball questions and the MRC not identified as a conservative group -- a friendly situation MRC representatives often receive on Fox News. The second, on "Hannity & Colmes," was also solo, but at least he did face some challenging questions from Alan Colmes to balance Sean Hannity's sycophancy.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:54 AM EDT
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Meanwhile ...
Topic: Newsmax

The Carpetbagger Report's Steve Benen details how NewsMax edited down (without telling its readers of the edit) Ronald Kessler's creepily obsequious description of Ann Romney, in an already massively obsequious, mega-fluffy profile of Mitt Romney:

“Ann is warm and very natural. She has the look of an outdoors woman bred to be an equestrian, which she is — good carriage, rosy complexion, square jaw, and blond mane.

“When she is not flashing her truly unbelievable smile, she may lower her eyes demurely. But Ann Romney is not demure — she may be modest, but she isn’t meek. She is unpretentious, but she isn’t shy. She lowers her eyes, thinking, and then looks up directly at her interviewer and dazzles him with that smile.”

As Benen writes: "There’s flattery, there’s sycophancy, and then there’s this." The Politico's Ben Smith adds that "I think I've never seen writing, in a publication apparently written by and for grown-ups," than Kessler's fluff job.

We've previously noted Kessler's fluffery of Romney (and check out Kessler's similar fluffery of Dana Perino, as well as his Bush fluffery), as well as NewsMax's tendency to make changes to articles without notifying readers.

UPDATE: Here's a copy of Kessler's original article we pulled out of Google cache. 


Posted by Terry K. at 6:04 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, May 25, 2007 1:09 AM EDT
Xenophone Complains of Being Called a Xenophobe
Topic: Newsmax

In a May 23 NewsMax column, E. Ralph Hostetter claims that the proposed compromise immigration bill "could very well take the United States from daylight into darkness." Why? We'll let him explain:

America's greatness and its continuing power were derived from the Anglo-European heritage and genius of the Founding Fathers. The Anglo-European heritage encompassed the concept of democracy from Greece, the rule of law from Rome and liberty under law (the Magna Carta) from England. The Founding Fathers wrote what has become known as "the greatest work of the mind of man" — the U.S. Constitution. For the first time in the history of mankind, a covenant was written to guarantee man's God-given rights of life, property, and liberty. That document created a democratic republic that has functioned well for more than 200 years.

[...]

America's Founding Fathers were undeniably Judeo-Christian and both the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution reflect this. In addition, they provided freedom for the practice of all other religions within the United States.

[...]

What is at stake is the very embodiment of Western civilization itself, based on its 2,000 years of distilled wisdom with respect to the concepts of democracy, rule of law and liberty under law.

The Immigration Act of 1965, sponsored by Sen. Ted Kennedy and his late brother Robert, turned America's immigration policies upside down. Since 1970, the number of legal immigrants from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Central America, and South America has risen to 85.6 percent while the Anglo-European nation immigrants have been reduced to 14.4 percent, a reverse of previous years.

Of the nearly half million legal immigrants admitted to the United States from the top 10 countries in a given year, only 71,000 represent the Anglo-European heritage of America. In the year 2000, of the 10 leading countries of birth of the foreign-born population, Mexico is No. 1, followed by China, Phillipines, India, Cuba, Vietnam, El Salvador, Korea, Dominican Republic.

The 10th is Canada, the remaining one nation of the Anglo-European heritage.

So what Hostetter appears to be saying is that only "Anglo-Europeans" (read: white people) can handle living -- or, perhaps more accurately, deserve to live -- under "Western civilization," as opposed to all those brown and yellow folks.

Hostetter goes on to complain that "I have already been labeled a xenophobe," calling the name "the evil fashion house of political correctness." But he doesn't deny that the term applies to him. (Indeed, he may be referring to us: We've previously called him a xenophobe because, well, he is.)

If Hostetter finds the term "xenophobe" so offensive, how about "white supremacist"? That may actually be a little closer to what the guy is getting at.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:12 PM EDT
New Article: Aaron Klein's Mighty Wurlitzer
Topic: WorldNetDaily
In order to pursue his anti-Olmert, pro-right-wing agenda, the WorldNetDaily Jerusalem reporter consorts with terrorists and hides the unappealing backgrounds of some of his favorite sources. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:16 AM EDT
Biased NewsMax Poll in Progress
Topic: Newsmax

Something to keep in mind when NewsMax starts touting the results of its meaningless online poll on the compromise immigration bill:

-- NewsMax is promoting it on its website with the following line: "Back McCain-Kennedy Amnesty? Vote!" 

-- It has sent out the following email to its mailing list:

Dear NewsMax Reader:

The Senate led by Senators Ted Kennedy and John McCain has proposed an immigration deal that will give 12 million illegal aliens amnesty and eventual citizenship.

This bill will soon go to the House.

It is urgent you let the media and Congress know your opinion about the amnesty deal.

Vote today in NewsMax's online poll — Go Here Now.

Also please forward this email to as many friends and family as you can.

Thank you.

NewsMax.com

In other words, by waving McCain and Kennedy -- two people NewsMax hates -- as the masterminds of the bill and repeatedly invoking "amnesty," this poll will be even more biased and meaningless than usual. 


Posted by Terry K. at 12:19 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, May 24, 2007 12:24 AM EDT
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
NewsMax Headline Replacement Watch
Topic: Newsmax

Somebody over at NewsMax is having quite a time of late stripping the supplied headlines off wire articles and replacing them with biased ones. The latest:

Associated Press: "Al Franken's worth nothing to laugh at."
NewsMax: "Al Franken a Multimillionaire Liberal."

* * *

Associated Press: "Gore kicks off book tour in Calif."
NewsMax: "Al Gore Assaults Reason on Book Tour."

* * *

The folks at the AP can't be too happy about this. And Christopher Ruddy shouldn't be either, if he cares about whether NewsMax is seen as a legitimate, fair news source and not just a conservative hatchet-wielder.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:35 PM EDT
Sheppard Bashes Edwards' Commencement Speech Fee -- But Giuliani Charges More
Topic: NewsBusters

In a May 22 NewsBusters post on John Edwards receiving a $55,000 fee to give a college commencement speech, Noel Sheppard writes, "If a Republican presidential candidate like Rudy Giuliani or John McCain charged a $55,000 fee to speak at a major university about poverty, would the media be all over it like white on rice?"

The answer is no. As Media Matters notes, Giuliani received nearly double that to give a commencement speech: He reportedly charged Oklahoma State University $100,000 for a speech he delivered in 2006 and an additional $47,000 for the use of a private Gulfstream jet. The Chicago Tribune adds that his visit "essentially wiped out the student speakers annual fund." The Tribune also reports:

Like other high-priced speakers in the private sector, Giuliani routinely travels in style. Besides the Gulfstream, which is a standard perk on the big-time speakers circuit, his contract calls for up to five hotel rooms for his entourage, including his own two-bedroom suite with a preferred balcony view and king-size bed, in the event of an overnight stay.

The Oklahoma contract also required a sedan and an SUV, restrictions on news coverage and control over whom Giuliani would meet, how he would be photographed and what questions he might be asked.

We're shocked -- shocked! -- that Sheppard finds Edwards' comparatively small speaking fee newsworthy but says not a thing about Giuliani's sky-high fee and patrician perks that bankrupt college students.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:22 AM EDT

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