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Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Kincaid Gently Pushes Obama-Manchurian Candidate Meme
Topic: Accuracy in Media

In his June 9 column, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Bill Steigerwald interviews Cliff Kincaid about his efforts to portray Barack Obama as a secret commie:

Q: You are not making the claim that Obama is a communist or a “Manchurian Candidate”-type communist or anything else?

A: We are only raising the questions that the media will not look into. We think the media should examine both candidates. But in the case of Obama, who has only been a U.S. senator for a few years, there is more of a responsibility to inform the public about where he had come from. Remember, as president, he will be entitled to see all of our state secrets. And yet, as a candidate, he doesn’t have to undergo a background or security check. That’s why we depend on the media really to vet these candidates, so the American people can know who they are voting for.

So, the answer is yes. It's not like Kincaid hasn't pushed this before.

Interestingly, Steigerwald describes Kincaid only as "president of the conservative group America’s Survival Inc." and didn't mention his employment at Accuracy in Media -- surprising, since much of his America's Survival obsessions (anti-communism, anti-United Nations) show up in his AIM writings. Perhaps Kincaid needs to explain where exactly the line is between America's Survival and AIM.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:24 AM EDT
CNS' Misleading, One-Sided Story on Pill Protest

A June 6 article by Penny Starr offered a one-sided view of the American Life League's "Protest the Pill Day," purportedly designed "to educate women about how birth control pills and other products can cause chemically induced abortion." Starr quotes only ALL representatives and associates, adding only at the end that "Requests made to Planned Parenthood for comment on this story were not returned by press time" while apparently making no other effort to contact anyone else for a contrary view. (Starr has a history of attacking Planned Parenthood.)

Because there is no other view presented, Starr does things like describe the function of the birth control pill as "prevent[ing] ovulation" while failing to explain how a lack of ovulation equals "abortion." Starr also offers no statistics on what percentage of pregnancies prevented by the pill come in the form of blocking a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus -- what the ALL is presumably referring to "chemically induced abortions" caused by the pill -- so that the reader can determine how seriously to take ALL's anti-pill campaign. Neither Starr nor the ALL make no aparent effort to differentiate between that and preventing ovulation.

While Starr describes ALL as "a Roman Catholic pro-life non-profit," she does explain that, as a Roman Catholic group, ALL is opposed to all forms of artificial birth control.

Further, Starr makes no attempt to delve at all into the ALL's ultimate agenda (as hinted at by its absolutist position on birth control), which may actually be to overturn Griswold v. Connecticut, the 1965 Supreme Court decision that overturned a law banning the sale of all forms of birth control (not just the pill) to married couples. Does the ALL want all birth control made illegal once again? That's a relevant question here, but Starr shows no apparent interest in answering it.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:37 AM EDT
Monday, June 9, 2008
NewsBusters' Selective Fixation with Obama's Fist Bump
Topic: NewsBusters

A June 8 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard claimed that "supposedly impartial press members have been sycophantically gushing over the 'fist bump' he and his wife shared that evening just prior to his victory speech"; the headline claimed that this alleged fixation showed that the media is "Obama-fixated and out of touch."

Of course, NewsBusters demonstrated its own fixation over it through two additional posts: one by Kyle Drennen and the other by Ken Shepherd, who asserted without evidence that Time magazine was displaying "Obama boosterism" by doing an article on the "brief history of the fist bump."

But there's one fist-bump media reference the boys at NewsBusters have not seen fit to mention: Fox News host E.D. Hill's claim that the fist bump might be "a terrorist fist jab."

Why is that? Because of the MRC's close relationship with Fox News? Or because Sheppard, et al, agree with (or at least condone) Hill's sentiment? We may never know.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:45 PM EDT
Sheppard's Double Standard on Gaffes
Topic: NewsBusters

A June 7 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard cited "a number of serious gaffes and misstatements by Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama that his adoring fans in the media are diligently keeping from the American people," concluding, "Can you imagine the attention that would be given to such gaffes if made by Sen. McCain?" The logical conclusion, then, is that if John McCain made such gaffes, Sheppard would be all over them, making sure that the public knew about them, right?


Following McCain's erroneous claim that Iran was training Al Qaeda -- a claim McCain made repeatedly -- Sheppard used an April 5 NewsBusters post to denounce the networks for drawing attention to it, claming that McCain had merely "misspoken" and had "acknowledg[ed] that he had misspoken concerning this matter," and that the only purporse in pointing this out was to "discredit those of a sitting member of the Senate" because the media is "always looking to bash on Republicans regardless of the source."

(Brent Baker similarly complained that this was reported at all.) 

Sheppard also railed against Keith Olbermann for having "quoted al Qaeda's second in command Ayman al-Zawahiri" to contradict McCain, adding, "Honestly, the good folks at General Electric and NBC must be so proud when their employees cite Public Enemy #2 to discredit Americans." Funny, Sheppard hasn't said a thing about WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein doing pretty much the exact same thing.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 AM EDT
MRC Attack on Pelosi Countered by the Truth
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center tried to gin up some controversy last week by making a big deal out of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's statement that Iranians "decided in Basra when the fighting would end, they negotiated that cessation of hostilities."

A June 2 MRC press release called the statement a "vicious slander." further quoting MRC chief Brent Bozell as saying, "The Speaker of the House of Representatives slanders our troops in Iraq, whose blood, toil and tremendous sacrifice have led to the great and growing success we have seen there, and the liberal media are silent." A June 2 NewsBusters post by Seton Motley (a version of which was posted at Human Events) insisted that Pelosi engaged in "a clear and willful defamation of our soldiers in Iraq, and a diminution of the great and growing success we have seen there, paid for with their blood, toil and tremendous sacrifice."

But there's one thing Motley and the MRC failed to mention in all their histrionics: What Pelosi said was true.

As Media Matters detailed, major media outlets like CNN, the Washington Post and USA Today reported a couple months back that Iran did, in fact, help broker a cease-fire agreement Sunday between Iraq's government and radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. We don't recall anyone at the MRC complaining about it at the time.

Meanwhile, Motley went on to reference Rush Limbaugh "phony soldiers" comment, claiming that the media was "twisting and contorting the specificity of Limbaugh’s comment into a bogus broad-based slur of any American combatant opposed to the war." That's not exactly true; Limbaugh himself has offered inconsistent explanations for his statement, and in context it can indeed be interpreted as applying to "any American combatant opposed to the war."

The funny thing, of course, is that Motley is complaining about Limbaugh being out of context and "contorted by the media into journalistic libel" when he and the MRC are doing the exact same thing to Pelosi.

Their smear of Pelosi appears to have fizzled -- that's what happens when one is faced with the truth. 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:21 AM EDT
WND Anti-Gay Agenda Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A June 5 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh reinforces WND's anti-gay agenda by continuing to distort facts regarding the case of anti-gay activist David Parker. The article uncritically repeats claims by Parker and the anti-gay group acting on his behalf, MassResistance, in demanding that that any reference to homosexuality, including the fact that homosexuals exist, must have an opt-out provision. Unruh quotes only Parker and a legal brief fild by MassResistance; no one is permitted to respond to their claims.

For instance, Unruh uncritically repeats MassResistance's assertion that Parker "told the principal and the city's director of education that he would not leave until the school agreed to negotiate some agreement on the matter [of 'teaching homosexual issues to his son in kindergarten without parental consent']. Rather than negotiate, the officials had Parker arrested and brought to jail, where he spent the night. The next morning he was led into Concord District court in handcuffs," without mentioning that Parker spent the night in jail only because he refused to bail himself out. Nor does Unruh bother to state that the example of "teaching homosexual issues" that was at issue was a book that included gay couples among different types of families -- a book that made no endorsement of gay couples but, rather, simply noted that they exist.

Unruh also baselessly asserts that a judge in the case "had ordered that school officials' work to undermine Christian beliefs is needed to prepare children for citizenship." That's a gross distortion; the judge merely disimissed Parker's lawsuit claiming that the school system violated their constitutional rights by teaching his child that homosexuals exist. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:08 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, June 9, 2008 12:09 AM EDT
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Will Newsmax, WND Tell Full Story of Baseless Obama Rumors?
Topic: Newsmax

Both Newsmax and WorldNetDaily have reported on rumors of the purported existence of a video of Michelle Obama using a, in WND's words, "derogatory term for white people ... and went further to criticize a reporter for even asking about it." Newsmax cited GOP prankster Roger Stone, while WND cites a report from Politico blogger Ben Smith on the rumors (but doesn't mention Smith's statement that there's "zero credible evidence" to support the rumor).

Indeed, not only is there "zero credible evidence," Talking Points Memo Election Central notes (citing the conservative National Review) that the rumors may, in fact, be based on a novel about a black presidential candidate.

Will Newsmax and WND tell their readers the full story about these baseless rumors? Don't count on it.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:33 PM EDT
Now He Tells Us
Topic: NewsBusters

Now that it doesn't matter all that much, Tim Graham uses a June 7 NewsBusters post to raise questions about John McCain (now-rejected) endorser Rev. John Hagee's sincerity in retracting his anti-Catholic comments:

Hagee had made viciously anti-Catholic comments, which he retracted completely (and sort of mysteriously) in a dialogue with the Catholic League. It's mysterious that a minister could hold the classic fundamentalist view that the Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon in the Book of Revelation, and then say, oops, I misspoke a little.

As we detailed, Graham and the rest of the MRC were loath to denounce Hagee in early March when his comments became public; he was more concerned about downplaying the similarities between Hagee and former Barack Obama pastor Jeremiah Wright by claiming "there’s a huge difference between someone’s selected pastor of two decades and a new endorser." He does that here too, of course, claming a difference between "Obama’s problem with Jeremiah Wright, his own minister of 20 years, with John McCain’s problem with two evangelical preachers who he sought out for an endorsement, but have never been his pastor." But doesn't the fact that McCain specifically sought out the endorsements of Hagee and Rod Parsley (whose anti-Islam rantings Graham doesn't specifically address) in fact show a problem with the kind of people McCain chooses to surround himself with and actively seeks endorsements from?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:24 AM EDT
WND's Baseless Conspiratorial Speculation
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A June 7 WorldNetDaily article by Alyssa Farah engages in baseless speculation about whether a "secretive meeting" between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama took place at "the secretive Bilderberg conference in Chantilly, Va." Farah attributes this speculation to no one, as one would expect a "news" article to do; instead, she lamely plays a game of guilt by association in claiming that "Hillary Clinton is no stranger to Bilderberg" because her husband has attended previous meetings and she "may have attended the 2006 meeting." Indeed, it seems Alyssa Farah is just channeling the conspiratorial leanings of her father, WND editor Joseph Farah.

WND's obsession with organizations like the Bilderberg Group -- it even sells a book claiming that it, along with other groups like the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations, have a goal "to erase the sovereignty of all nation-states and supplant them with global corporate control of their economies under the surveillance of 'an electronic global police state'" -- is particularly ironic since, as we've detailed, Joseph Farah belongs to his own secret organization, the right-wing Council for National Policy.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:07 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 11, 2008 9:31 AM EDT
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Eyeblast: Macaca's Revenge
Topic: Media Research Center

The MRC's macaca complex is even worse than we thought: they built an entire video-oriented website as a reaction.

From an article in the May edition of the Watchdog, the MRC's print newsletter sent to donors, by Eyeblast executive producer Danny Glover:

In 2006, Democrat James Webb paid less than $1,000 to have a young volunteer track Republican Sen. George Allen of Virginia with a video camera. It was the best money Webb ever spent.

The volunteer was named S.R. Sidharth [sic], but he will forever be remembered as “Macaca,” the mocking nickname that Allen gave him in an unguarded moment. Sidharth captured that moment on film, the Webb campaign blasted it over the Internet, and Allen’s popularity collapsed. His once-unimaginable loss to Webb shifted control of the Senate to Democrats.

Look no further than the “Macaca” incident to understand why the Media Research Center launched in April 2008.

Eyeblast is an online community built in part to capture the unguarded moments of liberals on film and blast them over the Internet. The liberal media won’t cover the politically correct confrontations on college campuses, and they suppress stories of liberals behaving badly. Going forward, conservatives will be able to tell the truth about those encounters on Eyeblast.

Yet another reason to doubt the MRC's previous claim that "Eyeblast does not discriminate based upon political view." That, and the headline on Glover's article: "MRC Launches to Battle Liberal Video Presence on Internet."

No mention, of course, of the false smears of S.R. Sidarth by Dan Riehl that the MRC published on NewsBusters.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:42 PM EDT
Friday, June 6, 2008
Newsmax Mag Misleads on Obama, Taxes
Topic: Newsmax

A promo for the June issue of Newsmax magazine describes its lead story as an alarmist attack piece essentially predicting -- if the headline "President Obama and the Stock Market Crash" is any indication -- that electing Barack Obama will ruin the stock market. We haven't seen the actual article yet, written by conservative John Fund, but the promo distorts Obama's views on taxes.

The promo states: 

Indeed, Obama makes no bones about his plans to go on a tax rampage. Not only would he increase the capital-gains tax rate from 15 percent to as much as 28 percent, he wants to allow the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts to expire in 2010, which effectively raises taxes on Americans by tens of billions of dollars.

This ignores that Obama has said he plans to cut taxes for those making $75,000 a year or less. It also ignores that 28 percent was the capital-gains tax rate throughout the 1990s, which wedon't recall was a horrible time for the economy.

The promo also states:

He also wants to do away with the $102,000 FICA payroll tax cap, which means anyone making over $102,000 would pay an additional 7 percent in taxes on earned income.

In fact, Obama has never said he would "do away" with the current FICA (Social Security) cap. He has suggested raising the current limit and has also suggested he would consider a "donut hole" that would exempt income immediately above the current $102,000 cap from Social Security taxes, then resume taxes above a higher amount, such as $200,000 or $250,000.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:33 PM EDT
Aaron Klein Anti-Obama Agenda Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Aaron Klein's 36th anti-Obama article (versus just one attacking John McCain) is a July 5 piece purporting to "clarify" that a Hamas official's criticism of Barack Obama's AIPAC speech "was specifically referring" only to the speech. This gives Klein an opportunity to once again reference his and John Batchelor's interview with a Hamas spokesman, Ahmed Yousef, who "endorsed" Obama. We've raised questions about the obvious partisan motivations of Batchelor and Klein and the extent to which the interview and the circumstances surrounding it were manufactured, as well as how much Yousef actively participated in forwarding Klein and Batchelor's anti-Obama agenda -- questions Klein has thus far failed to publicly address.

Curiously, Klein offers only two very brief paragraphs directly quoting Obama's AIPAC speech, and WND did no other original article on it. Why won't they report the speech in full? What are Klein and WND trying to hide?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:50 AM EDT
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: Newsmax

As she exits stage left, we hear the haunting melody of Hillita’s fading farewell:

Please weep for me, Clintonistas.
The truth is I never left you.
Through each primary
I changed my image
To what the polls said
You wanted from me.

Don’t gloat at me, Barackistas.
The truth is you came from nowhere.
When it was my next
You took it from me.
Why do this to me?
I barely knew you.

Don’t trash-talk me, Obamistas.
|The truth is I’m just one of you.
I always have been.
Now that you’ve ruined me,
I’ll need some new perch
To keep on cackling.
Help rehab me, all you lefties.
The truth is you owe it to me.

You mainstream newsies,
It’s you who made me
In your own image.
Now don’t forsake me.

Say what you will, vast right-wingers.
The sad truth, I still have Bubba.
Or did the last time
I thought I saw him.
He owes me big-time,
That big-mouth loser.

-- John L. Perry, June 4 Newsmax column

Posted by Terry K. at 1:08 PM EDT
New Article -- Out There, Exhibit 46: Mychal Massie's Thesaurus
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Why does the WorldNetDaily columnist use so many big, obscure words? Perhaps to mask his numerous false and misleading assertions -- not to mention that he's spouting claims that originated with a "white nationalist" group. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:32 AM EDT
WND Falsely Claims Klein 'Exclusive'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A June 4 WorldNetDaily press release promoting Aaron Klein's attack on Barack Obama's purported Nation of Islam ties starts by declaring:



Except that it's not. As Klein himself admitted in his article, it originated from a five-month-old post by right-wing blogger Debbie Schlussel (who is none too happy about it).

As we've detailed, Klein offers no evidence that the anonymous (and apparent mole) "former key Obama insider" who is making the claims Klein is parroting can be trusted -- indeed, the fact that the mole is running to right-wingers like Schlussel and Klein is evidence that he/she can't be trusted. Klein's WND boss, Joseph Farah, has said that claims made by anonymous sources are "usually quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better."

Klein's demonstrated hatred of Obama -- which includes apparently conspiring a political hit job with right-wing radio host John Batchelor through their interview of a Hamas official who "endorsed" Obama -- coupled with his recent propensity for rummaging through right-wing blogs for any tidbit of anti-Obama sleaze, demonstrates that Klein can't be trusted any more than his anonymous mole source.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:58 AM EDT

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