Mitt Romney didn't win in South Carolina. Must be time for Newsmax's resident Romney-fluffer Ronald Kessler to issue yet another Romney-fluffing piece!
In his Jan. 21 article, Kessler touts Romney's "new image" as a more expressive candidate, spinning away criticism of his image -- a description of Romney as "cold, plastic, or just too perfect" was countered by the claim that "Romney may have thought it was pandering to show too much emotion" -- and complaing that "the media" focuses on image rather than record.
On cue, Kessler replays his greatest hits: noting that "a Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School graduate" and that he helped find the missing daughter of a business partner. This, naturally, leads Kessler to rehash his McCain-bashing; in contrast with Romney's altruism, he writes, "John McCain has an out-of-control temper and displays nastiness with critics."
This, then, leads to more rehashing of attacks on Barack Obama, insisting that "the media have virtually ignored Barack Obama’s connection with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., his minister, friend, and sounding board for more than two decades, and the fact that Wright’s church magazine gave an award to Louis Farrakhan last month." Of course, Kessler has his own double standard on that issue. In a Jan. 7 article, Kessler asked: "Imagine if Mitt Romney’s church proclaimed on its website that it is 'unashamedly white.' The media would pounce, and Romney’s presidential candidacy would be over." As we've noted, the Mormon Church, for a good part of its history, has arguably been "unabashedly white."
Warner Todd Huston, King of Racial Sensitivity Topic: NewsBusters
First, Warner Todd Huston desperately wanted you to know that Martin Luther King Jr. wasn't a saint. Now, Mr. Warmth himself is offended that anyone would question the wisdom of honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on the same day as King, as three Southern states do.
In a Jan. 22 post, Huston declared that the Associated Press "seemingly meant to stir race hatred by bringing up the fact that in the state of Arkansas the memorial recognition of Confederate General Robert E. Lee's birthday is on the same day as that of King's observance there." He has no evidence of this, of course; the article in question makes no activist claims, as even Huston himself admits. Still, he's desperate to find a conspiracy:
So what could be AP's ultimate reasoning for this piece but to stir outrage about coupling a Confederate general's birthday with that of the "slain civil rights leader"? It seems that the AP is trying to use their pulpit as a national news source to stir other areas of the country against the practice in Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi.
Stirring the pot, it's called.
Or maybe the AP just finds it oddly interesting. When that idea was raised in the comment thread on this post, Huston replied:
Then we certainly disagree because I see no other reason to write this story unless it is to raise outrage that the two famous men share birthday celebrations. It certainly isn't a story in Arkansas. Even the AP couldn't find anyone outraged about it and they tried hard to get people to say they WERE outraged.
So does this mean that Huston didn't actually mean it when he said he was reminding people about King's alleged plagiarism only because "his whole life's record really should be known so that we can take a full measure of the man," and that he was really trying to "raise outrage" instead?
Klein Avoids the C-Word Again, Ignores Other Side of Story Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Jan. 21 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein touts a group called Israeli Academia Monitor, "which has been documenting what it calls the anti-Israel, at times anti-Semitic behavior of the senior staff at major Israeli universities." But nowhere does Klein describe the group's political affiliation: right-wing.
As FrontPageMag noted in 2005, Israeli Academia Monitor goes after "far-left fever swamps found inside Israeli universities" and is a "cousin to the "Campus Watch" web site that operates in the U.S.," a conserative-funded website that attacks liberal college professors.
But while Klein refers to various professors and organizations named in his article as "leftist," "extreme leftist" and "radical leftist," he does not use the term "right-wing" as a descriptor of any critic of the above professors and organizations, and the word "conservative" does not appear at all. We've previously noted Klein's longtimeaversion to labeling right-wingers as such.
And, in keeping with WND's usual lax standards of fairness and balance, Klein makes no apparent attempt to contact the "leftist," "extreme leftist" and "radical leftist" people and groups he names to respond to the charges made by Israeli Academia Monitor.
UPDATE: Campus Watch has taken issue with our description of the group. We respond here.
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch Topic: Horowitz
In New Hampshire, [Chris] Matthews tried desperately to pin down the would-be commander-in-chief on how her Iraq policy differs from that of Barack Obama. She quipped, “You know, I don’t know what to do with men who are obsessed with me.” (True enough; ask Vince Foster.)
-- Ben Johnson, accusing Hillary Clinton of murder in a Jan. 21 FrontPageMag article.
Huston Way Too Eager to Relate That King Wasn't A Saint Topic: NewsBusters
On this Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Warner Todd Huston is a little too eager to proclaim that King wasn't exactly a saint.
In a Jan. 21 NewsBusters post, Huston complains that an Associated Press article stating that King has been "frozen in a moment in time that ignores the full complexity of the man and his message" goes on to "whitewash several aspects of his real life" and that "they only want us to know some of King's real record instead of all of it as they claim."
Of course, Huston is dredging up unsavory aspects of King's past for our own good; as he states, "just as the AP urges, his whole life's record really should be known so that we can take a full measure of the man."
And what is Huston so eager for the unwashed to know? King plagiarized parts of his doctoral disseration, associated with known communists, and "was not a capitalist, free marketeer and he had drifted toward racial quotas as he neared his final years of activism." We're suprised Huston didn't fully embrace his disdain of King and mention the adultery.
The MRC's Double Standard on Polls Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center hates polls when they don't conform to its ideology. In November, for example, Seton Motley offered this theory of polling:
The media, as One, spend days or weeks bashing someone or something they do not like. They then conduct a poll to prove to you that they were right all along. In a campaign season, their one-sided coverage is calculated, then executed to produce a result. It’s not about reporting the events, it’s about changing the prevailing view.
And the polls -- such as the ones by the media, which are not independent surveys like those undertaken by the likes of Rasmussen or Gallup -- aren’t intended as much to gauge the public view of a candidate or events as they are to reinforce that which they have “reported”, or provide the media guidance on how effective their spinning of the news has been.
So, when the MRC praises a poll's results, beware.
Which brings us to a Jan. 21 NewsBusters post and CyberAlert item in which Brent Baker proudly proclaims that "For the sixth time in a year, a national survey has found many more Americans see a media bias to the left than to the right."
Unmentioned by Baker: Groups like his employer have spent millions of dollars over the years to promote and promulgate that very viewpoint, which is then echoed by right-wing radio hosts and TV talking heads who repeat it. It can easily be argued that polls that come to this conclusion, rather than presenting an accurate picture of the media and the public's view of it, reflect, in Motley's words, "one-sided coverage" that is "calculated, then executed to produce a result." Polling that finds the public concurring with the idea of a liberal media bias, thus, gives the MRC "guidance on how effective their spinning of the news has been."
This is a flaw we pointed out last year when Accuracy in Media -- another group that has spent millions of dollars promoting the idea of liberal media bias -- promoted a poll declaring that because there must be liberal media bias because conservatives perceive a liberal bias and liberals don't.
In other words, the MRC has paid good money over the years to get this polling result. Why wouldn't Baker be proud to promote it?
UPDATE: A Jan. 21 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas on the poll likewise ignores the role conservative propaganda has played in the liberal-media meme, but his article raises a point Baker didn't: He quotes Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute noting that "she thought the questions [in the poll] were weighted toward Fox News Channel by using the phrase 'fair and balanced,' the network's marketing logo, in the question. She also thinks Fox News, which respondents in the poll believed leaned to the right, approaches news coverage with a larger political agenda than most other news organizations." McBride added:
"The poll implies the old theory that journalists are biased liberally and that there is a gap between professional journalists and mainstream Americans," McBride said. "Bias seeps into news reports not so much out of an ideological conspiracy as much as other factors. If a newsroom is too thin, and there is no one to screen for bias, of course bias will go through."
Lucas also quotes Jerry Lindsley, director of the Sacred Heart Polling Institute, which conducted the poll, spouting a conservative talking point, which casts more doubt on the poll's veracity: "The news media presents the facts, but they don't present all the facts, such as the lower death toll, the hospitals being built, the soccer clubs and the women in the streets."
Pierre Doesn't Acknowledge Bias in Abortion-Breast Cancer Evidence Topic: NewsBusters
A Jan. 18 NewsBusters post by Dave Pierre asserts that the Los Angeles Times, "despite the loads of evidence contradicting them, continue to deny the numerous studies asserting the link between abortion and an increased risk of breast cancer." But as we noted the last time Pierre did this, that link is being promoted almost exclusively by anti-abortion activists.
Pierre also stated: "In addition, as recently as three months ago (October 2007), a major study conducted out of England concluded that abortion is the "best predictor" for developing breast cancer. But Pierre doesn't acknowledge (as we detailed) that the study was conducted by a murky group funded by anti-abortion groups and published in the right-wing Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.
Newsmax Ignores Bob Grant's Offensive Words Topic: Newsmax
A Jan. 18 Newsmax article by Phil Brennan takes a one-sided view of the controversy over Radio & Records magazine's reversal on honoring radio host Bob Grant, telling only Grant's side of the story, bashing his detractors and refusing to detail the controversial remarks by Grant that led to the reversal.
R&R decided not to honor Grant with a planned lifetime achievement award after, according to a Washington Post article, activist Scott Pellegrino emailed the magazine's employees with some of Grant's more notorious rantings over the years, such as calling blacks "screaming savages" and "sub-humanoids" and saying in 1996 that then-Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, also an African American, had survived a plane crash, adding "because at heart, I'm a pessimist."
But Brennan doesn't even mention Pellegrino -- noting only that Grant had called the person who emailed R&R a "stalker" -- instead attacking Fairness and Accuracy in Media, which had apparently compiled the Grant remarks Pellegrino sent to the magazine, as "deceptively named" and repeated Grant's attacks on FAIR. Brennan then noted that FAIR "transcribed the e-mailed comments from tapes of Grant's show, whom he says has obsessively harassed him for years." Of course, transcription of comments is a universally accepted form of media watchdogging; we suspect that Brennan and Grant wouldn't describe, say, the Media Research Center as obsessive harrassers.
Nowhere does Brennan detail the offensive remarks attributed to Grant, even though they are central to the controversy, describing them only as "remarks he made back in the 1990s and allowing Grant to complain, "He keeps regurgitating the same things I said back in the early '90s. There’s no statute of limitations." Brennan offers no evidence that Grant has offered others a similar "statute of limitations" on remarks he considers offensive.
Newsmax has long been a defender and supporter of Grant -- indeed, Newsmax chief Christopher Ruddy was among Grant's final guests before his retirement in 2006, after which "NewsMax feted the radio trailblazer at Gallagher's restaurant in Manhattan, where luminaries from former Congressmen John LeBoutillier and Dan Frisa, to Grant's former WABC colleagues Barry Farber and Lynn Samuels, paid tribute." In 2005, it declared Grant the victim of "the forces of political correctness" over his Brown remark, which got him fired from New York's WABC. In a 2006 article, Newsmax insisted Grant's comment on Brown "prompted no outrage at the time" and it was only after "Grant enemies" former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and Rev. Jesse Jackson got involved that he was fired.
MRC Hearts Hillary Smears, Hates Nice Things Said About her Topic: Media Research Center
Yet another difference between my employer and those other guys: Media Matters gets upset when Chris Matthews makes sexistremarks about Hillary Clinton; the MRC gets upset when Matthews makes complementary remarks about her.
No, really. The folks at MRC clearly don't mind sexist remarks when made against liberals in general and Hillary in particular, to the point that they ridiculed Media Matters' highlighting of them. Tim Graham noted in a Jan. 17 NewsBusters post that Matthews "a few minutes trying to dig out with Media Matters and Hillary fans for saying she got where she is through her husband's wild sex life."
When Matthews finally did apologize, the MRC ridiculed that too. Geoffrey Dickens declared in a Jan. 17 NewsBusters post and Jan. 18 MRC CyberAlert item that Matthews was "bowing to pressure from liberal blogs, feminist groups and upper management" (shortened in the CyberAlert version to "left-wing groups") in "personally apologizing to Hillary Clinton."
Mark Finkelstein added: "Unlike the sensitive folks over at Media Matters, we NewsBusters are a relatively thick-skinned lot. And no one's ever confused me with Gloria Steinem. So we're not going to overreact to Willie Geist's comment this morning and demand a Matthewsesque mea culpa."
But say something nice about Hillary, and boy howdy! Scott Whitlock was offended in a Jan. 16 NewsBusters post (and Jan. 17 CyberAlert) that Matthews called a remark Hillary made "very Thatcher-ite."
Even though Brent Bozell and Co. presumably concur with Matthews' original sentiments -- as evidenced by its unbalanced hatred of Hillary and its attacks on everyone who says anything remotely nice about her -- they didn't run to his defense from the "pressure from left-wing groups." Perhaps that's because they have decided they have too much invested in branding Matthews as an unrepentant liberal (which itself contradicts its previous praise of Matthews for bashing the Clintons in the 1990s).
In a Jan. 18 FrontPageMag article, Joseph Puder states:
There is little difference between the rhetoric of Obama and the white candidates.They all speak of hope and change. Why should Obama’s words be more believable, legitimate or acceptable? The answer is white guilt.
The blind support and almost universal cheering of college students for Obama is a by-product of years of indoctrination on college campuses (especially Ivy League universities) under the stern eyes of faculty and administrative “political correctors,” who bar the teaching of Western Civilization and bash Europeans as imperialists, oppressors and racists.It seems as if American college students have been groomed to cheer a black presidential candidate thereby providing them with a small measure of ablution from their "racist sins."
In the final analysis one must ask the simple question: In a color-blind society, devoid of white guilt, does an inexperienced, untried, albeit bright contender like Obama, deserve to be president in contrast to Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Rudi Giuliani – candidates who are equally as bright and have far greater experience? To vote on any other basis would be racist.
Farah: 'Isn't It Time to Make Anal Sex Taboo, Again?' Topic: WorldNetDaily
After noting in his Jan. 18 WorldNetDaily column that "A drug-resistant strain of potentially deadly bacteria has moved beyond the borders of U.S. hospitals and is being transmitted among homosexual men during sex," Joseph Farah asks: "I have a profound question to ask: Isn't it time to make anal sex taboo, again?"
Yes, it appears Farah would like to regulate your sex life, at least if you're gay -- since by "anal sex" Farah means homosexualty. Indeed, channeling Cliff Kincaid, Farah's just not down with the whole gay thing, and that's what he wants to make taboo:
Let's face it. It's cool to be "gay" on television, in the movies, in public schools and in America's newsrooms. It is not nearly as cool to smoke. Why? Because people recognize smoking is a health threat. But they don't recognize that sodomy is a much more serious health threat.
Farah then adds: "Simply for writing this column, I will be subjected to the most vicious hate speech imaginable. I will be called a bigot, a Nazi, a homophobe and worse." Now, the Nazi thing is a bit over the top, though we don't recall him stopping his reporter Bob Unruh from likening homeschooling opponents to Nazis, demonstrating that in reality he's not all that bothered by the word. (And indeed, the Nazis liked to persecute gays, which seems to be the direction Farah is heading, so the comparison isn't totally out of line.) Bigot? Well, that's a term traditionally used regarding ethnic bias, so it doesn't really apply here. Homophobe? Definitely, though it's an interesting glimpse into Farah's psyche that he appears to equate being called a Nazi with being called a homophobe.
Farah has long had a seething hatred for gays and anything related to gayness (though that didn't stop him from hiring Matt Sanchez as an Iraq correspondent). Perhaps Farah should explain to his readers what his (final) solution for homosexuality is. Quarantine? Forced re-education? Execution? Do tell.
NewsBusters Falsely Claims Author 'Touts Abortion as a Way to Reduce Crime' Topic: NewsBusters
The headline of a Jan. 17 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock falsely proclaims, "ABC Promotes Author Who Touts Abortion as a Way to Reduce Crime." This is the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy in action: In fact, all Steven Dubner did in his book "Freakonomics" is detail a study that advances the theory that legalized abortions have reduced overall crime rates by reducing the number of children growing up in poor, single-parent, or teenage-parent households and, therefore, those who would have been more likely to commit crimes. Whitlock offers no evidence that Dubner is "tout[ing] abortion as a way to reduce crime" or doing anything other than reporting the study's findings.
Whitlock also calls Dubner's claim "unsubstantiated"; in fact, an early version of the study contains numerous references, and the chapter in "Freakonomics" in which Dubner and co-author Steven D. Levitt discuss the study has several pages of endnotes.
Whitlock then tries to read Dubner's mind. Noting a quote from Dubner that "It's good to know what forces work in society, if for no other reason than to keep doing the right thing," Whitlock adds: "The right thing, one presumes he means, is to keep aborting children." In fact, as the transcript Whitlock attached to his post demonstrates, Dubner was not talking about the abortion-crime study when he made that remark; rather, he was talking about gun laws (which he said don't work, a stance even Whitlock admitted "could be described as conservative and rarely seen on network television") and turf wars over crack cocaine.
Whitlock further claims that it was not mentioned that Dubner's finding "has been repeatedly challenged since Dubner and his economist co-author Steven Levitt made it in their book. In fact, a study by another economist, John Lott,found that legalized abortion actually increased the murder rate by seven percent." Since we're going to play that game, Whitlock doesn't mention Lott's history of dubious research, which would seem to make Lott less than credible on the issue.
For support, Whitlock cited an August 2007 CNSNews.com article promoting Lott's finding; as we noted at the time, the article took unsupported swipes at all researchers to defend Lott's dubious work, claming without evidence that blogging "under a different name to defend his work," as Lott was found to have done, is "a practice that many academics engage in."
UPDATE: Whitlock's post is repeated in the Jan. 18 MRC CyberAlert.