MRC Attacks Analysis As Liberal -- But Conservative Group Based Its Analysis On It Topic: Media Research Center
A July 15 Media Research Center article gave a "Worst of the Week" award to news organizations that cited an analysis by the Tax Policy Center of John McCain's and Barack Obama's tax proposals, which found that Obama's plan would give a cut of more than a thousand dollars to families making between $37,000 and $66,000 a year, while under McCain's plan, they'd get just $319. Why? Because while the networks said or suggested the group was nonpartisan, "the Tax Policy Center is the product of the left-leaning Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute."
But shouldn't the standard be whether the numbers are accurate? The MRC makes no effort to disprove the TPC's numbers, only asserts that they shouldn't be taken seriously because they came from a "left-leaning" group.
The article also claims: The other side of the story comes from the conservative Tax Foundation, which reported that Obama would shift more of the tax burden to a relative few families. ... That's an aspect of tax fairness that rarely gets mentioned by TV reporters who seek out liberal analysts to prove liberal points." But this claim doesn't disprove the TPC's numbers either -- indeed, the Tax Foundation uses the TPC's analysis as the basis for its own, stating that "The Tax Policy Center has done the public a service by putting hard numbers on the candidates' tax plans and bringing a dose of reality to the political rhetoric."
So, clearly, there's nothing wrong with the numbers. Will the MRC ever admit that?
The article further bashes the media for "citing left-of-center think tanks as 'non-partisan' entities," which would have some credibility if the MRC didn't do the same thing. For instance, in a October 2006 "Media Reality Check," the MRC cites "non-partisan Center for Media and Public Affairs" as claiming that "more than three fourths (77%) of ABC, CBS and NBC evening news references to Democrats this fall have been favorable, while 88% of the coverage given GOP candidates has been negative, an unprecedented disparity." In fact, the CMPA is a conservative-leaning group whose work is the foundation of the MRC. It touts a book by CMPA founder Robert Lichter, "The Media Elite" -- which "demonstrated that journalists and broadcasters hold liberal positions on a wide range of social and political issues" -- at the top of one "Bias Basics" page.
Aaron Klein Anti-Obama Agenda Watch: This Time, A Lie Topic: WorldNetDaily
The lead of Aaron Klein's 41st anti-Obama article (versus just one anti-McCain article), a July 15 WorldNetDaily piece, falsely claims that Barack Obama forwared a "a discredited distortion of the Holocaust." The article carries the headline "New Yorker discredited Obama Holocaust distortion."
In fact, as Klein goes on to report, the "distortion" is actually an alleged misstatement about whether Obama's grandfather helped to liberate the Auschwitz concentration camp in World War II. At no point does Klein accuse Obama of making a "distortion" about the Holocaust that has been "discredited," and stating that he has falsely suggests that Obama is a Holocaust denier.
In short, the lead of Klein's article tells a lie. Klein and WND should apologize to Obama and retract it.
Huston Wrong About AP's Fournier Topic: NewsBusters
Warner Todd Huston uses a July 15 NewsBusters post to take issue with changes made by Ron Fournier, the new Associated Press Washington bureau chief, to more to "a more hard-charging, opinion oriented style of writing," which Huston claims "makes the AP's past bias even more pronounced." Except it's not the bias Huston thinks it is.
Citing an 2007 essay by Fournier claiming his movement toward this style of journalism was caused by Hurricane Katrina, Huston asserts that Fournier's move came because "the media didn't attack Bush enough over the Iraq war and Katrina." That's not what Fournier said. From the essay:
Shortly after Katrina struck, I dutifully reported that President Bush had said nobody anticipated the breach of the levees. In fact, many experts had predicted a major storm would bust New Orleans’ flood-control barriers. In the past, that’s all I would have written; readers would get both sides of the story and then be expected to draw their own conclusion. This time, I went a step further and simply wrote: He was wrong.” Why not? Why force the readers to read between carefully parsed lines when the facts are clear? Why not just get to the point? The president of the United States was wrong.
Huston offers no evidence that Fournier lied when wrote that President Bush was wrong to assert that nobody anticipated the breach of the levees.
Huston concludes by writing, "With Ron Fournier, we might find that the AP gives us here more fodder to reveal liberal bias in the media than ever before." But the record shows a different kind of bias -- one that Huston would find appealing.
In a March 17 column, Fournier asserted that Barack Obama is "bordering on arrogance" and that "both Obama and his wife, Michelle, ooze a sense of entitlement."
During an AP luncheon, Fournier was pratically begging John McCain to call Obama an "elitist."
A House Oversight Committee report on the death of Pat Tillman in Afghanistan notes that in 2004, Fournier sent Karl Rove a note saying, "The Lord creates men and women like this all over the world. But only the great and free countries allow them to flourish. Keep up the fight."
That's the kind of bias Huston can believe in, isn't it? Then again, since it favors his political agenda, he likely won't see it as bias at all.
Picket of Conservative's Funeral Finally Pushes WND to Reject Fred Phelps Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 15 WorldNetDaily article by Joe Kovacs expresses disdain that members of the "infamous" Westboro Baptist Church plans to picket the funeral of conservative Tony Snow. This is a change of tone for WND, which has no history of criticizing the church when they protested at the funerals of gays.
An October 2000 news article called Westboro and its pastor, Fred Phelps, "a vehemently anti-homosexual pastor" and "anti-homosexual in the extreme" (important for WND to note only because it was trying to tie Al Gore to Phelps), but an October 2002 article by Art Moore held Phelps' activism up as a reason to oppose a proposal in Canada to add "sexual orientation" to a hate-crimes law: Because Phelps "bases his views on religious grounds," the article claimed, a law forbidding him to spew his hate would "shut down religious discussion."
An August 2003 article by Ron Strom noted that a "homosexual webcasting radio station" blamed Phelps' church for getting "struck by lightning, frying critical phone equipment."
Kovacs goes on to note, "Ironically, as WND previously reported, one of the leaders of the church was already condemned to hell on national television by Fox News host Julie Banderas." But as we noted at the time, that article downplayed the church's extremism, portrayed Banderas as the aggressor and the church member, Shirley Phelps-Roper, as the victim, and touted Phelps-Roper's credentials in being "licensed to practice law in Kansas and before the U.S. Supreme Court."
Even the church's protests at funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan haven't moved WND much. A January 2007 article noted that conservative legal group Judicial Watch supported a Missouri law targeted at Phelps' church banning pickets at memorial services, but even then WND didn't paint the church in a critical manner; it benignly states that the church "believes that God is judging America because of the nation's acceptance of homosexuality," suggesting that there is a person or two at WND who sympathizes.
It's not until a prominent conservative is targeted by the church that WND screws up the courage to denouce it as "infamous."
In sum, it would be difficult to imagine a more mediocre record. Most candidates for dog catcher have contributed more to society. Yet with the help of adoring reporters, Obama has managed to parlay extraordinary speaking and political skills into a presidential campaign built on sand.
The idea that America might entrust its security and future to someone who has never demonstrated an ability to get anything of significance done is scary.
FrontPageMag Bashes Incivility, Ignores Its Own Topic: Horowitz
A July 14 FrontPageMag article by Ben Johnson baselessly paints the "hateful comments" of a handful of commenters on the death of Tony Snow as the views of "many on the Left." David Horowitz himself similarly chimes in: "large segments of the left are consumed with hate towards those who disagree with them. ... There is nothing personal in this outpouring of leftist hate. The venom directed against Snow is really a hate directed against America."
This is a frequently used tactic on the right to paint those holding opposite views as extremists. (NewsBusters does the same thing.) But as we've previously noted, these sites turn a blind eye when their fellow conservatives make venomous attacks on ailing or deceased liberals like Ted Kennedy. Shouldn't all hateful speech be condemned, instead of when said condemnation is politically expedient?
Johnson went on to write: "[T]the bloggers spun conspiracy theories about the fallen. One diarist linked [Snow] to a much different minister, accusing him fo being a knowing propagandist for the Rev. Sun Myung Moon." But the post to which Johnson links -- a Daily Kos entry by John Gorenfeld, author of a book on Moon -- does no such thing. Rather, it points out that Snow accepted a job as Washington Times opinion page editor at a time when his predecessors had left the job to protest editorial interference by Moon officials. Nowhere does Gorenfeld call Snow a "knowing propagandist," and Johnson does not offer any evidence that anything Gorenfeld wrote is inaccurate.
Johnson also appears offended that one writer called Snow "Goebbels with better hair," which Johnson baselessly asserted "may be the clearest view of the Left's true regard." We don't know why Johnson would be upset about this; after all, writers and commenters at FrontPageMag liken liberals, or anyone else they disagree with, to Goebbels on a regular basis:
David Meir-Levi: "Goebbels died 60 years ago, but his core propaganda strategy lives on in the Great Arab Lie that there exists a Palestinian people who have suffered great injustices at the hands of Israel, the UK, and the USA."
"US Goebbels Media makes Democrat Pol scum look human."
"A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth. Gorby didn't have the resources to subdue Eastern Europe & accepted the inevitable. Carter did help the Mullahs take over Iran. Both are historical facts that Goebbels Democrats like to ignore."
A July 14 CNSNews.com article by Penny Starr touted the "300 mostly free-market economists" who signed a statement declaring that they support John McCain's economic plan. While Starr notes that "not all experts in the field are enthusiastic about his proposals," she doesn't note that some of that lack of enthusiasm comes from economists who signed McCain's statement.
As the Politico reported on July 9: "Upon closer inspection, it seems a good many of those economists [who signed McCain's statement] don’t actually support the whole of McCain’s economic agenda. And at least one doesn’t even support McCain for president."
Starr also states that McCain's economic plan includes "Institution of a summer gas holiday," but the Politico notes that "there is no mention of the gas tax holiday" in the statement the economists signed.
This is another early sign -- on top of obscuring McCain's flip-flops on immigration -- that CNS will be treating McCain gingerly in its election coverage while attacking Barack Obama.
WND Readers Can't Tell Difference Between Truth, Satire Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's opt-in poll for July 14 asked readers to "Sound off on the New Yorker's cover with turban-wearing Obama, gun-toting wife." As of this writing, 59 percent of respondents agreed with the statement "The image isn't too far from the dangerous truth about the Obama family," while 13 percent agreed with the statement, "Funny, because there's some truth in it." (Media Matters has also noted this.)
Of course, egged on by the likes of Aaron Klein pretending that what Obama did as an 8-year-old in Indonesia is somehow relevant to the Obama of today, WND has generally refused to acknowlege the fact that Barack Obama is not a Muslim. That's like holding people who dreamed of being, say, cowboys or ballerinas as a child accountable for not being cowboys or ballerinas now.
WND now has a comment section with its polls, and it offers graphic evidence of what the poll results show -- that WND readers can't tell the difference between satire and reality:
"Barack Obama supports women in the military, he wears Islamic garb, he supports gun ownership, and he endorses flag burning. The real satire is that he calls an accurate illustration of his beliefs tasteless and offensive."
"The New Yorker mag, an oh-so-p/c leftist rag if ever there was one, might have considered this cartoon as an attack on people who are concerned about the direction our country is heading; on the other hand, its editor might find himself suddenly "retired" for daring to portray our New Messiah and his adorable Magdelene a little too accurately."
"There is always a little bit of truth in satires, but in this case, there is a LOT of truth. Democrats, remember -the truth will set you free. Try it sometime."
"There comes a time when you've gotta tell it like it is! This man has ambitions you don't know anything about, and you'd better help keep him out of the oval office! GOD only knows what damage he could do. The only one who would follow the Constitution is Ron Paul, write his name in on your ballot!"
"To me this cartoon may have more truth to it then lie and since this is America, you can yell bigot, racist, or whatever you like, but to me, this cartoon brings up questions that even though he claims they are answered, why is there evidence that proves otherwise?"
"Sometimes the Truth hurts. LOL"
"Even though this is most likely the most truthful depiction of both Barak and Michelle the New Yorker is obviously in Obama's corner."
And then there is the seething hatred (also egged on by WND) of Obama:
"Just who is Obama? Does anyone really know? I sure don't, and it scares me to see so many people swooning over him just because he can deliver a good speech and looks like he stepped off the cover of GQ magazine. Hitler could give a good speech, and look where he led the German people."
"We the People in US of America must be blind & deaf. A vote for Obama is counted as one strike towards our country going down the drain. To bad people can not open their eyes & ears. I don't understand when they are told that Obama will raise taxes,spend money like its water & have a bunch of free programs the people will vote for him."
"Anyone voting for this vacillating idiot Obama is in truth casting a vote for national suicide, plain and simple. Can we really afford to have a president who changes his mind on important national issues every hour on the hour???"
"Even if Obama (who was raised in a muslim madrass) is not a muslim, he is a stark raving mad, liberal, and as such is an enemy of the American people. This is not about black vs. white! It is about baby killing, homosexual lifestyle endorsing, God hating, liberals trying to destroy America."
"If Barack Obama were Muslim (which he is), he wouldn't behead his wife. His wife is down for the Jihad. I almost want to vote for this Muslimist, just to see what he will do to the left wing lunatics. Sharia Law shoved down the throats of the feminazis, yes, yes, yes. Put Farrakhan in charge of the Justice Department. Let Jesse Jackson run the Treasury. Put Al Sharpton in charge of the Defense Department. Cynthia McKinney managing the State Department. And to put the bow on the package, have Marion Barry cracking the whip at the Department of Homeland Security. Can't you just imagine how great America will be!!!"
This is the heart and soul of the WND audience, the people Joseph Farah is building his media empire upon. Is that really a wise thing to do?
Unruh Still Protecting Homeschooling Family Topic: WorldNetDaily
There's a new development in the California homeschooling case -- and, as usual, WorldNetDaily won't tell you the whole story.
A July 12 WND article by Bob Unruh claims that, according to the Home School Legal Defense Association, "the juvenile court judge terminated jurisdiction over the two young L. children in a hearing held on July 10, 2008." This is the case that ultimately resulted in a judge ruling that California law offered no explicit provision for homeschooling, and thus children could be ordered to attend a regular school.
As we reported, WND has hidden much of the pertinent details about the ruling from its readers, particularly the juvenile court proceedings in which evidence of parental abuse, low-quality homeschooling, and a home environment not conducive to education was discovered. By hiding such facts from its readers, WND is effectively condoning child abuse in order to advance its pro-homeschooling agenda.
Given that it's unlikely the juvenile court would completely abandon the two younger children, currently ages 11 and 9, to the parents given the history of abuse that has been documented, we'd like to get a hold of that ruling to find out what exactly happened. The HSLDA press release offers no further details, nor does a Los Angeles Times article on the subject.
Nor does WND: Unruh makes no mention of the abuse allegations and poor quality of homeschool that led to the court action in the first place.
We will contact the HSLDA for a copy of the ruling and related filings so we can make our own judgment.
Dim Bulbs At the Examiner Topic: Washington Examiner
The Washington Examiner's July 14 editorial page called California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger a "dim bulb" for opposing oil drilling off the California coast "to protect our coasts" (item is not online). Why? "Because far more oil is spilled by tankers bringing oil from abroad than is spilled by offshore rigs or by the pipelines from those rigs. Not even Hurricane Katrina caused any spills in the Gulf."
In fact, Katrina caused 70 spills from outer continental shelf structures, including platforms and rigs, resulting in approximately 5,552 barrels of oil and petroleum products spilling into the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Rita that same year caused the spill of 12,200 barrels of oiil and petroleum products in the Gulf.
Somebody's looking dim on this subject, and it's not Schwarzenegger.
WND Lies About 'Honest Journalism' Topic: WorldNetDaily
In his latest periodic appeal for cash from his readers, WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah notes the following: "You may also donate to WND's Legal Defense Fund, to help us battle the lawsuits and threats that always accompany honest journalism."
"Honest journalism"? This from a news organization that finally admitted earliler this year, after seven years of denial, that it published false claims about Al Gore supporter Clark Jones as part of settling a libel and defamation lawsuit.
Would a news organization that was actually committed to "honest journalism" have spent seven years denying the truth? Nope.
The legal fund donation page also misleadingly claims that "WND has never lost such a lawsuit." That's technically true; WND did not "lose" the Jones lawsuit because it settled before going to trial because it was clear that WND would lose. Given that Jones got most of what he wanted -- an admission from WND that it "has no verified information by which to question Mr. Jones' honesty and integrity" -- that's a loss by most definitions of the word, especially given that WND fought making such an admission for seven years.
Farah, unsurprisingly, makes no mention of the Jones lawsuit -- let alone how much money WND spent fighting it for seven years and, presumably, paid Jones to settle it -- since the truth of that counters his assertion that WND is "constantly challenging ... lies." (WND won't make the terms of the settlement public, but we can safely assume that WND paid some amount of cash to Jones, given that he sued WND for $165 million in actual and punitive damages.)
WND has never responded to our challenge to add transparency to its legal defense fund by making public its donors and disbursements.
The bitterly ironic headline for Farah's cash appeal? "While WND fights for truth, will you watch our back?" How can WND fight for truth when it regularlygetscaught in the act of telling lies?
Sheppard Shocked Yet Again By Non-Shocking Event Topic: NewsBusters
Once again, Noel Sheppard demonstrates his apparently limitless ability to be shocked by non-shocking events as he points out in a July 13 NewsBusters post that the Washington Post published an op-ed by conservative economist Amity Shlaes: "As a sidebar, clearly the Post doesn't agree with every op-ed it publishes. I just find it interesting the Post's opinion editor would publish this one that goes so counter to leftwing economic dogma."
Actually, it's not so "interesting"; The Post shares numerous editorial positions with the conservative Wall Street Journal.
WND Suddenly Changes Tune on Catholics Topic: WorldNetDaily
It seems like just a few days ago that WorldNetDaily was very concerned that a college student who took a communion wafer outside of a Catholic Mass was receiving death threats and portraying the Catholic League's Bill Donohue as an extremist for saying that "For a student to disrupt Mass by taking the Body of Christ hostage – regardless of the alleged nature of his grievance – is beyond hate speech" -- all in tune with a latent anti-Catholic streak WND has exhibited over the years.
Curiously, WND has served up a follow-up article with a completely different tone. The July 12 article promotes Donohue's campaign against blogger PZ Myers for dismissing the communion wafer as just a "cracker" -- essentially the same thing WND did in its July 9 article.
But this time, instead of portraying Catholics as violence-prone ranters, they are the victims of the "card-carrying atheist" Myers. WND, after all, loves the idea of Christian persecution, even though it's on record as doubting whether Catholics are Christians.
Also, instead of falsely claiming that a consecrated communion wafer is merely "representing the 'Body of Christ'" (and putting the "Body of Christ" in scare quotes), WND correctly notes that "Catholics believe" a consecrated communion wafer "becomes the body of Christ."
A July 11 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones uncritically repeats a claim by House Minority Leader John Boehner: "Why can’t we have a vote right here in the House on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a 19 million-acre plot of ground and where we would use about 2,000 acres to actually do the drilling?" In fact, as we've previously noted, opponents of drilling in ANWR have pointed out that far more than 2,000 acres would be affected by roads and pipelines connecting drilling pads as part of the drilling operation.
Indeed, Jones offers no challenges to any of the Republicans' claims she cites from their "American Energy Tour." By contrast, Jones twice interrupts a section on Democrats' stands on energy to insert parenthetical claims about what "critics" say about those stands.
Richard Bartholomew deconstructs a July 12 WorldNetDaily article claiming death threats against Brad Thor, author of a book WND describes as the "Islamic Da Vinci Code," in that it fabricates a conspriacy based on the discovery of manuscripts alleged to be part of the Quran.
Turns out Thor and WND not only get the date of the discovery wrong, they mislead about the actual content of those manuscripts upon which Thor based his book. The death threat is unsubstantiated as well; as Bartholomew points out, "it is clear that Thor is revelling in creating a possible controversy to rival the Dutch Muhammad cartoons."