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Friday, November 9, 2007
NewsBusters Still Shilling for O'Reilly After All
Topic: NewsBusters

Despite its recent shocking correction of claims made by Bill O'Reilly, NewsBusters is still content to pretend that some false claims made by O'Reilly are true. A Nov. 7 post by Justin McCarthy claimed that "O’Reilly also dispelled the false 'New York Times' story that 'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' (O’Reilly only said 'MSNBC' without mentioning Olbermann by name) is competitive with 'The O’Reilly Factor.' In fact, 'The Factor' dominates the 8:00 PM slot dwarfing 'Countdown.' "

In fact, as Media Matters points out, the Times article is correct. Its claim that "Countdown" "has even come tantalizingly close to surpassing the ratings ... at least among viewers ages 25 to 54, which is the demographic cable news advertisers prefer" is absolutely true, and O'Reilly's claim that "In the past five weeks, 'The Factor' has beaten them by 225 percent in total audience and 100 percent in the key demo" is misleading. The article also noted that "Most of the time, though, Mr. O'Reilly outdraws Mr. Olbermann by about 1.5 million viewers over all at the same hour, according to Nielsen Media Research," something O'Reilly and McCarthy failed to mention.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:40 AM EST
CNS Plays Up ENDA Attack, Ignores Provision Contradicting It
A Nov. 8 article by Susan Jones on the passage in the House of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act reported that "House Republican leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the bill would undermine state and federal marriage laws across the country." But Jones didn't mention that, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported, ENDA includes "a reaffirmation that the Defense of Marriage Act banning federal recognition of same-sex marriage remains intact."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:07 AM EST
Updated: Friday, November 9, 2007 9:08 AM EST
Finkelstein Defends His Attack on Obama's Patriotism By Claiming It Wasn't One
Topic: NewsBusters


In response to criticism on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" of his Oct. 20 highlighting of a picture of Barack Obama standing without his hand over his heart at a campaign event during what he first claimed was the Pledge of Allegiance (later corrected to the national anthem), Mark Finkelstein wrote a Nov. 7 NewsBusters post defending his original item.

Fineklstein complained that "the MJ panelists and the Obama campaign have seized on the fact that it was the anthem and not the pledge to excuse Obama's failure to put his hand over his heart. That is a distinction without a difference: the tradition is to place the hand over the heart for the anthem as well as for the pledge." Actually, there is a arguable distinction: it's somewhat more accepted (rightly or not) to not put hand over heart for the national anthem, as the crowd at any given sporting event can attest.

Finkelstein then insisted:

I don't question Barack Obama's patriotism, though it is obvious that he's not enthralled with certain traditional expressions of it that many Americans appreciate.

That's a tad disingenous. By making the effort to highlight this photo on a conservative website, Finkelstein absolutely was questioning Obama's patriotism -- as indicated by the number of comments on the post citing the photo as evidence that Obama is unpatriotic. It's also indicated by his statement that "I found it jarring that Obama, asked about it, went out of his way to state 'I won't wear that pin on my chest' because it was 'a substitute for I think true patriotism.'"

The whole point of conservatives like Finkelstein making a big deal out of Obama not wearing a flag pin or not assuming a specific position during the national anthem is, implicitly or otherwise, to question his patriotism. If not, why bring it up in the first place?

UPDATE: Finkelstein's post has apparently morphed into an anonymous email that (falsely) accuses Obama of not having hand over heart during the Pledge of Allegiance and (presumably) questions his patriotism. In debunking it, the Washington Post has found photos of Obama with his hand over his heart -- which seems to contract Finkelstein's suggestion that Obama hasn't been acting in a patriotic enough manner on the campaign trail. Will he let his NewsBusters readers know about this?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:54 AM EST
Updated: Friday, November 9, 2007 1:44 PM EST
Thursday, November 8, 2007
MRC- Fox News Appearance Watch
Topic: Media Research Center
The MRC Business & Media Institute's Dan Gainor is sure racking up the appearances on Fox Business. His latest, on Nov. 8 -- at least the fourth in the past month -- follows the template: solo, and no acknowledgment that Gainor and the MRC are conservative.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:54 PM EST
Matthews Channels Finkelstein
Topic: NewsBusters

"If she was watching 'Today' this morning, you can imagine Hillary Clinton using her best North-Korean-parliament rhythmical clapping in response to what she saw. It might be 'ronery' in her Georgetown or Chappaqua spreads, but it's always heart-warming to know you've got friends at the highest-rated morning show."

-- Mark Finkelstein, June 29, 2006, NewsBusters post

"They love these lunchtime meetings. And they're always at -- [Hillary's]usually standing in front of the camera, and she's clapping, like she's Chinese. I know the Chinese clap at each other, but what is she clapping at?"

-- Chris Matthews, on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Nov. 7

Actually, it turns out that Matthews has a long history of likening Hillary Clinton's clapping to that of Asian communists, which suggests that Finkelstein may be channeling Matthews instead of the other way around.

And all this is especially funny because Finkelstein regularly attacks Matthews for being a horribly biased liberal. And now they sound alike? What's up with that?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 PM EST
NewsBusters Pushes Phelps' 'Democrat Views'
Topic: NewsBusters

A poll currently running on NewsBusters asks: "Does Fred Phelps Get Less Media Coverage Because of His Democrat Views?"

This attempt to hang Phelps around the neck of the Democrats ignores the fact that the two things he and his clan are known for -- anti-gay activism and protesting at military funerals -- are not views held by any Democrat, despite NewsBusters' previous suggestion to the contrary.

Unfortunately, none of the answers to the poll is "No, because Phelps' anti-gay activism is much closer to the mainstream of conservative thought than any Democratic view."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 PM EST
New Article: Once and Future Bias
Topic: took a stab at serving up relatively balanced reporting earlier this year. With the arrival of new management, however, that's all gone. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:38 AM EST
Shocker: NewsBusters Corrects O'Reilly!
Topic: NewsBusters

Given the Media Research Center's historic defense of Fox News (and the MRC's cozy relationship with said channel), it's typically verboten for its writers to point out anything that contradicts Fox News' "fair and balanced" mantra. So it was a shock when NewsBusters posted not one but two items correctly claims made by Bill O'Reilly.

A Nov. 7 post by Kyle Drennen noted an appearance by O'Reilly on CBS' "Early Show," in which he said, "You see, I don't believe anything the press writes about Bill and Hillary Clinton at all...We tracked it yesterday, and we couldn't find any swift boat reference." Drennen responded: "Well, a Fox News article with Associated Press contributors quoted the former president: 'We saw what happened the last seven years when we made decisions in elections based on trivial matter...When that scandalous Swift Boat ad was run against Senator Kerry.'" Gasp!

In another Nov. 7 post, Lynn Davidson is offended the O'Reilly called Rev. Fred Phelps and his rabidly anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church flock "far right":

But Phelps isn't “far right.” According to Wikipedia and Kansas Voter View, he's a registered Democrat who ran in five Kansas Democratic primaries, including governor. He also reportedly campaigned for then-Sen. Al Gore in the 1988 presidential campaign (these photos seem to back this up), culminating in invitations to both Clinton-Gore inaugurations, although that support waned as Clinton-Gore promoted gay rights.

As we pointed out the last time somebody tried to claim this, Phelps' Democratic connections 20 years ago are irrelevant today; Davidson offers no evidence that any Democrat currently supports Phelps' crusade. Further, Phelps' anti-gay campaign is much closer to the conservative mainstream than his picketing at military funerals is to the liberal mainstream (or any other mainstream, for that matter). Phelps promoted a 2005 vote in Topeka, Kan., his hometown, to repeal a city ordinance prohibiting discrimination against homosexuals in city government hiring -- a thoroughly mainstream conservative position -- and Phelps' granddaughter, Jael Phelps, ran against the state's first openly homosexual officeholder for a Topeka City Council seat (and got clobbered), something the conservative Southern Baptist Convention-owned Baptist Press newswire deemed worthy of coverage.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:14 AM EST
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Huston's Rant of the Day
Topic: NewsBusters

It would take a herculean effort for Warner Todd Huston to top his anti-Eagles screed, but he gamely gives it a shot in a Nov. 7 NewsBusters post that appears to have something do with insisting that any declared Republican who supports Barack Obama was never a real Republican in the first place.

Not that he has any personal knowledge of that, of course. Yet Huston bravely searches campaign donor records for proof that two Obama supporters in Nebraska, a Mr. Filipi and a Mr. Kleinsmith -- described in a Time article as "a Republican" and "a lifelong Republican," respectively -- are genuine Republicans:

A campaign donor search of Mr. Filipi shows no financial activity thus far reported. That doesn't make the lie to his claim of being a Republican, but it does say he wasn't so active as to have donated his money. For a Doctor, that says a lot. There is also no donor activity for Mr. Kleinsmith, but his Barack Obama group page shows a photo of quite a young man, he can't be even into his thirties, so it's a bit hard to take the "lifelong" claim too seriously. At his age how much time could he really have vested in that "lifelong" Republican claim, anyway? The average person rarely pays much attention to politics before their thirties, for instance.

Huston offers no evidence to support his suggestion that Filipi and Kleinsmith are somehow not authentic Republicans because they did not donate to Repubican candidates.

Then, having bashed Filipi for being an insufficiently loyal Republican, he strangely bashes Mr. Filipi for not doing enough for Obama, accusing him of doing nothing more than creating a web page:

OK, either Time writer Jay Newton-Small is Internet illeterate, or he is trying to make Mr. Filipi's Internet venture sound bigger than it is. Because the "Nebraskans for Obama" thing that Mr. Filipi supposedly "founded" is just another group page on the Obama website. So, far from "founding" anything, Mr. Filipi just opened an easily created page within Barack Obama's campaign website. Mr. Newton-Small's description makes Filipi's web effort seem herculean in contrast to what it really is.

Huston give no indication that he tried to talk to Mr. Filipi, so, in fact, he has no idea whether the only thing Filipi did for Obama is "open an easily created page within Barack Obama's campaign website" and, thus, is baselessly attacking Filipi because -- well, we don't know why. Jealousy? Hatred? Hard to tell. After all, as we've documented, Huston is a sycophant for Fred Thompson, and he may be feeling a bit put out that his candidate hasn't exactly caught the imagination of the electorate the way Obama has.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:42 PM EST
Moy's Readers Bust Her on Misleading Reporting
Topic: The ConWeb

It seems that Catherine Moy's history of shabby and misleading "reporting" continues: A Nov. 4 column by Ray Duke in the Vacaville (Calif.) Reporter, where Moy pens a weekly column, details how Moy stated in a Reporter column and elsewhere that "A Code Pink supporter wearing an orange mask charged at some veterans with a knife" during a "pro-troop" rally and counterprotest. This purported incident was mysteriously never reported to police -- perhaps, Duke writes, because the protester wasn't trying to knife veterans at all but, rather, trying to cut down a Marine flag, something much different than what Moy described. (That, of course, is its own punishment for hacking off a group of Marines.)

Duke also notes that Moy never disclosed in her Reporter column that she is acting executive director of Move America Forward, the organization that sponsored the "pro-troop" rally -- a clear conflict of interest.

It seems that Moy is getting busted on a regular basis by her own readers: A Nov. 4 letter to the Reporter notes that Moy "was revealed in these pages to have relied for 'facts' on an obscure, ultra-conservative Christian Internet site to support her pro-Bush notions. Mostly her columns amount to venting, and her observations both locally and nationally, smack of vindictiveness." Ouch.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:58 AM EST
WND Ignores Willey's Lack of Credibility
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As part of its bid to solidify its position as the leading Clinton-hating news organization on the Web, WorldNetDaily has been promoting the new book by discredited Kathleen Willey, best known for claiming that President Clinton groped her. But in none of its main reporting thus far related to Willey's book -- articles on Sept. 5, Nov. 5 and Nov. 7 -- has WND noted Willey's history of false and contradictory testimony.

As Media Matters details, the Nov. 5 article by Art Moore (best known around these parts for his virtual fellating -- and efforts to hide the criminal record -- of Peter Paul) reports that Willey claims that she "[m]ost definitely" suspects that her husband was murdered and that she "ha[s] suspicions" the Clintons were involved. In suggesting parallels between the deaths of Foster and her husband, Willey repeats the false claim advanced by then-Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Christopher Ruddy -- now of Newsmax, last seen trying to distance himself from his history of Clinton-hating -- that Foster was left-handed, while the gun was found in his right hand. Willey refers in the book to "the left-handed Vince Foster," but Moore doesn't note that Ruddy has acknowledged that the claim that Foster was left-handed was a "factual error."

Moore also doesn't tell his readers that the report from independent counsel Robert Ray found that "Willey's Testimony to the Grand Jury About the Alleged Incident Differed Materially from Her Deposition Testimony Given in Jones v. Clinton," noting that Willey "said at her deposition ... that [Clinton] did not fondle her." Ray also found that Willey contradicted herself on whether she had told others about the alleged incident, and asserted that Willey gave false information to the FBI. All of this casts a pall over any claim Willey makes.

WND editor Joseph Farah once claimed that "everything" WND has covered has been "fair, honest, truthful, balanced and accurate." Wouldn't a news organization genuinely committed to being "fair, honest, truthful, balanced and accurate" -- as opposed to pushing a one-sided agenda -- have told its readers the full story of Kathleen Willey?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:30 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, November 7, 2007 12:37 PM EST
WND Attacks Editor's Own 'Fatcat' Home County
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Nov. 4 WorldNetDaily article states that because of "high-paying government jobs and billions in defense and homeland security contracts" -- which  the article attacks as "Beltway bandits" -- "11 of the 25 wealthiest counties in America – including the Top 3 – are now in the Washington area." At the top of the list is "Fairfax County, Va., which last year topped $100,000 in median household income – the first U.S. county to do so – thanks to Uncle Sam awarding employers there an astonishing $13 billion in new federal contracts."

Unmentioned is the fact that WND editor Joseph Farah lives in Centreville, Va., which is located in ... Fairfax County. And we would be shocked if he wasn't beating the average county income.

(What is it about the ConWeb and high-rent areas? In addition to Farah's "fatcat" Fairfax County lifestyle, NewsMax and Christopher Ruddy are kickin' it in West Palm Beach.)

The article serves up a muddled message. It's eager to tsk-tsk that "Virginia, Maryland and D.C. grabbed a whopping 40% of the total $10.2 billion in contracts DHS awarded that year" -- a misleadingly worded claim, since it's actually companies located in those jurisdictions and not the jurisdiction itself that receives that money. Underlying all of this is the unspoken suggestion that companies who seek government business shouldn't be located near the seat of federal government -- a strange thing to suggest.

Again, the poster child for this is Farah. When he moved from Oregon to Washington in 2002, he stated his reason for doing so: "Now, as our business grows, we feel the time is right to become more visible – to take advantage of the opportunities to appear on television, to network with other like-minded colleagues, to make travel more feasible." 

In other words, he's no different from the companies seeking government contracts who have located in the Washington area to take advantage of opportunities, to network with other like-minded colleagues, to make travel more feasible. We thought that was a good thing for Americans to aspire to do.

If it's good enough for Farah, why isn't it good enough for the so-called "Beltway bandits"?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:55 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, November 7, 2007 12:59 AM EST
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Massie Cites Discredited Book as Evidence of Voter Fraud
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his Nov. 6 WorldNetDaily column arguing in favor of a law requiring photo IDs to vote in federal elections, Mychal Massie repeated cites John Fund's 2004 book "Stealing Elections" as evidence that Democrats have "has a long and distinguished history of" voter fraud.

But as Media Matters points out, Fund's book uses distortions and half-truths to impugn Democrats and distort events in the 2000 presidential election in Florida, as well as other cases in which he described alleged fraud that was never proven in a court of law (and, in one case, dismissed as "flat-out false" by a Republican state attorney general).

Massie also opens up his thesaurus again, calling an effort to oppose voter ID laws "nothing more than a transpicuous attempt to abrogate voting regulations by a radical liberal of the Democrat Party." Sadly, he doesn't trot out "Erebusic" this time.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:57 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, November 7, 2007 1:19 AM EST
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch
Topic: Media Research Center
A Nov. 5 appearance by the Business & Media Institute's Dan Gainor on the Fox Business channel appears to follow part of the template for MRC appearances on Fox News and Fox Business by not identifying Gainor or BMI as conservative (only the first part of the interview is posted). Gainor did, however, appear opposite a liberal counterpart, a relative rarity for MRC appearances on Fox.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:20 PM EST
Meanwhile ...
Topic: NewsBusters

Sadly, No! tells the story of how P.J. Gladnick, NewsBusters poster and operator of the DUmmie FUnnies blog (NewsBusters is currently encouraging its readers to vote for DUmmie FUnnies for "funniest blog" in the Weblog Awards) took part in an orchestrated campaign to interfere with fundraising for a liberal activist who was dying of cancer.

Is this more or less shameful than NewsBusters' association with terrorist sympathizer Cinnamon Stillwell? We report, you decide.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:05 PM EST

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