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Saturday, September 13, 2008
ConWeb Gives Palin A Pass on 'Bridge to Nowhere' Lie
Topic: The ConWeb

It's no surprise that the ConWeb would be in the tank for John McCain and Sarah Palin. It lives up to that reputation by generally failing to hold Palin accountable for a lie she told.

Palin has repeatedly claimed that she opposed the proposed "bridge to nowhere" from Ketichian to Gravina Island in Alaska, adding that she "told Congress, 'Thanks but no thanks' for that bridge to nowhere." In fact, Palin told Congress no such thing; Congress deleted the earmark for the bridge a year before Palin became Alaska governor (but allowed Alaska to keep the money for other projects, and Palin made no effort to return that money to the feds), Palin supported the bridge as a gubernatorial candidate and as governor, and she "killed" the bridge in 2007 only after it was abundantly clear that it would never receive federal funding.

The main ConWeb news outlets --, Newsmax and WorldNetDaily -- have made little effort to to tell its readers the truth about Palin's lie:

  • CNS has not referenced the claim at all.
  • WorldNetDaily uncritically reported in an Aug. 29 article by Art Moore that Palin "notably killed the infamous 'Bridge to Nowhere' project, but has otherwise avoided mentioning it on its news pages; a Sept. 5 column by token liberal Bill Press points out that "she was for 'The Bridge to Nowhere' until last week, when she suddenly came out against it."
  • Newsmax has run wire articles pointing the bogus nature of Palin's claim, but original Newsmax article have sought to obscure the facts. An Aug. 31 column by Ronald Kessler claimed that "As governor, she opposed a federal earmark for the $400 million so-called bridge to nowhere," followed by a Sept. 7 column claiming that "she ultimately opposed a federal earmark for the $400 million so-called "bridge to nowhere." A Sept. 10 article by Phil Brennan uncritically repeated a claim by Republican Rep. Jim DeMint that "Although Palin once supported the bridge, she killed the project in her own state." And a Sept. 8 "analysis" dismissed an Obama commercial's claim that "was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it" as a "political attack," without bothering to note that it's true.

Remember: The ConWeb really is in the tank for McCain and Palin to a greater extent than they accuse the "liberal media" of being in the tank for Obama. Which makes their political reporting suspect at best and, at worst, untrustworthy.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:40 AM EDT
Friday, September 12, 2008
WND Tries to Start Bogus Dump-Biden Meme
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 11 WorldNetDaily article by Chelsea Schilling starts:

Will Sen. Joe Biden be dropped from the Democratic Party ticket before Election Day?

Television pundits, talk radio personalities and blogs have been buzzing with speculation about a last-minute VP switch for the party.

But Schilling quotes nobody who isn't a McCain-Palin supporter making this claim, which makes her article rather bogus.

Schilling, sadly, has a bad habit of writing bogus articles.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:07 PM EDT
The Palin Revisionism Brigade
Topic: NewsBusters

As we've noted, NewsBusters is defending Sarah Palin at all costs, even pretending her lies aren't lies. That continues in a Sept. 12 post by Tom Blumer, who explains away Palin's tying the 9/11 attacks to Saddam Hussein when she said her Iraq-bound son would "defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans."

Blumer declared: "Saddam Hussein, who was in power in Iraq on 9/11, is not only not in power, but also quite dead -- executed by the current, totally unrelated Iraqi government. 'The war in Iraq' morphed from an operation to overthrow Hussein and capture or neutralize his lieutenants to a war against an Al Qaeda insurgency at least four years ago." But the "al-Qaeda insurgency" in Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, either. The Zarqawi-led group that became al-Qaeda in Iraq did not align itself with al-Qaeda until 2003 at the earliest.

WorldNetDaily, meanwhile, cites Blumer's post in its revisionist take on all criticism Palin has received.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:37 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 12, 2008 5:00 PM EDT
Lowell Ponte, Mind-Reader
Topic: Newsmax

From Lowell Ponte's Sept. 11 Newsmax column:

Obama’s excuse-makers flooded the media on Wednesday, frantically trying to deflect America’s reaction to his words, arguing: “Do you really think Senator Obama was trying to call [Republican vice presidential candidate Alaska Governor] Sarah Palin a pig?”

Yes, Mr. Obama was doing precisely this, and he deserves the backlash he is receiving from women and men across the political spectrum.


When you smear people’s trademarks, you smear them. Obama obviously did this deliberately — but clumsily.

Ponte, of course, has no idea whether Obama's comment was deliberate. of course, that's never stopped him from making baseless assertions before.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:29 AM EDT
Correlation-Equals-Causation Fallacy Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

A Sept. 10 Media Research Center CyberAlert item by Brent Baker begins: "With fresh media polls showing Sarah Palin causing a sizable percent of women to shift to support John McCain from Barack Obama, CBS and NBC on Tuesday night devoted full stories to fact check examinations to discredit her, specifically on the so-called 'Bridge to Nowhere,' even though all the newscasts have already run stories on how she was for the bridge earmark during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign."

Baker baselessly assumes that one led to the other -- something he has absolutely no evidence for. And only at the MRC, it seems, can telling the truth be seen as a way to "discredit" someone. Baker would rather the truth not be told about Palin, perhaps?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:15 AM EDT
CNS Weirdly Bashes Interviewee Who Gave Answer It Sought

The goal of Pete Winn's Sept. 10 article was to spin away questions about Sarah Palin's use of state per-diem payments for travel expenditures by claiming that what she did was standard practice. Winn found a willing participant in Gerald McBeath, professor of political science at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and, according to Winn, "an expert on Alaska government and politics."

So why did Winn feel a need to attack McBeath when he dared to question CNS' motivations? From the article:

Like the legendary Alaskan grizzly bear, McBeath became testy when asked about the travel reimbursements. He told that he’s had over 100 phone calls from journalists trying to get dirt on Palin.
“I have to be suspicious about your questions,” McBeath said. “What are you looking for? Are you implying that the governor has been unethical in her travel and not followed procedures?”
When replied that the intent was simply to find out if such reimbursements were normal practice, McBeath’s response was matter-of-fact.
“The state’s practices are like that of most states,” McBeath said. “People are compensated for their travel costs. That includes the airfare or car fare, and (the state) pays them whatever it costs to keep them alive on the days that they are away from their official station. That’s normal.”

Winn got the answer he was looking for. Why smear the guy as "testy" like a "grizzly bear"?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:28 AM EDT
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Bozell Misinforms on 'Fox & Friends'
Topic: Media Research Center

Brent Bozell was a veritable font of misinformation in a Sept. 11 appearance on "Fox & Friends":

  • He baselessly claimed that "If you go to America and visit America, there are women all over America who are outraged" by Barack Obama's "lipstick comment. In fact, there's little actual evidence that the purported outrage extends past anyone who's not on the McCain campaign payroll (and their media apologists, like Bozell).
  • He called Chris Matthews "left-wing" when he knows that's not the case.
  • He called Rachel Maddow "Rachel Mandow," apparently sharing colleague Tim Graham's skeeviness toward non-heterosexuals.

And, of course, Bozell's appearance follows the template: he appeared solo and isn't identified as a conservative.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:12 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 11, 2008 7:20 PM EDT
Brennan Ignores Facts on Bridge to Nowhere, Palin Earmarks
Topic: Newsmax

Phil Brennan uses a Sept. 10 Newsmax article to regurgitate a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Republican Rep. Jim DeMint's claims that Sarah Palin "killed" the "bridge to nowhere" project in Alaska. In fact, the project was dead as a federally funded enterprise long before Palin "killed" it.

Brennan fails to note that, as Media Matters notes, Congress eliminated the specific earmark for the bridge in November 2005, a year before Palin became governor  -- though it allowed Alaska to keep the money from the earmark to spend on other projects, money Palin has made no effort to pay back).

While Brennan repeats DeMint's statement that Barack Obama "voted for numerous wasteful earmarks" and that Palin has "buck[ed] Alaska's decades-long earmark addiction," he and DeMint fail to note that under Palin, Alaska still far outstrips all other states in earmark money per capita. While the national per-capita earmark average is $51, Alaska's per-capita average is $506.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:59 PM EDT
WND Headline Lies about Illegal Immmigrants
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The headline on a Sept. 9 WorldNetDaily article reads, "Study proves illegals likely to commit crimes." Not only is that a false statement, it doesn't even reflect what the article actually says (emphasis ours):

A new study reveals 75 percent of illegal aliens who have been deported will commit another crime within a year of returning to the U.S.

The nonprofit Rand Corporation study followed inmates released from Los Angeles County jail in 2002, according to a Los Angeles Times report. The report revealed aliens who have been deported are far more likely to commit a crime – with 28 percent likely to be arrested three or more times after their release.

Thirty-two percent of illegal aliens who had never been deported were arrested within a year, and 7 percent were arrested more than three times.

The study did not examine all illegal immigrants -- only those who already have a history of crime. WND is lying by conflating a criminal population with a general population. The article fails to compare the illegals' recidivism rate what that of native criminals.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:14 AM EDT
Finkelstein's Double Standard on Mind-Reading
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Sept. 10 NewsBusters post, Mark Finkelstein took a whack at Howard Fineman for claiming that "Barack Obama was not making fun of Sarah Palin when he talked about some Republican putting 'lipstick on a pig,'" asserting: "Short of sodium pentathol, or Carnac-like gifts, how can Howard possibly know what was in Obama's mind when he uttered his lipstick line?"

But earlier in the day, Finkelstein was doing his own share of mind-reading, declaring, "Obama knew darn well what he was saying."

So, are only conservatives allowed to read minds, or what?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:16 AM EDT
New Article -- Out There, Exhibit 47: Shocked By the Non-Shocking
Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard has an uncanny ability to be surprised by things that aren't very surprising at all. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:30 AM EDT
Aaron Klein Desperate Obama Smear Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Aaron Klein does a fine job of shilling for the McCain campaign in a Sept. 10 article desperately trying to keep the "lipstick on a pig" non-controversy alive by trying to suggest that a blog post on the Democratic Party website headlined "McCain's Selection of Palin is Lipstick on a Pig" somehow inspired Barack Obama's statement.

Klein fails to see that the post in question is the exact opposite of what Republicans have accused Obama of doing -- the post states that Sarah Palin "is a red herring, lipstick on the Republican pig," while Obama was baselessly accused of calling Palin the pig.

Klein credits "talk radio host John Batchelor" for this discovery but fails to disclose that he and Bachelor have frequently collaborated in the past (including that dubious interview trying to tie a Hamas endorsement around Obama's neck), or that Batchelor, like Klein, is an Obama-hater.

Not only does Klein baselessly claim that "Some say Obama's 'lipstick' comment was aimed at Palin in response to her joke at the Republican National Convention," he adds, "Others suggested Obama's second quip, regarding 'old fish,' may have been aimed at McCain's age." Who are "some" and "others"? Klein doesn't really say. 

WND was quick -- if not eager -- to do the McCain campaign's duty with an earlier story on the "lipstick" remark. 

We'll ask again: If Joseph Farah doesn't want John McCain to get elected, why are his WorldNetDaily employees working so hard to get McCain elected? Does Farah have some sort of wink-wink, nudge-nudge deal with McCain, or what?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:02 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 11, 2008 1:18 AM EDT
Weyrich Falsely Suggests Catholic Criticism of Pelosi Isn't Partisan
Topic: Free Congress Foundation

In a Sept. 9 column printed at, Paul Weyrich stated that "a group of [Nancy] Pelosi’s fellow House Members" wrote a letter criticizing her claim that "the Catholic Church has not been able to agree when life begins." Weyrich added: "While partisan differences are typical of doing business in the House, it is highly unusual for Members to deliver such a pointed attack on another Member’s version of her religion."

Nowhere does Weyrich note that all 19 House members who signed the letter to Pelosi are Republicans, which undercuts Weyrich's suggestion that the letter wasn't borne of "partisan differences."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:13 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
NewsBusters' New Motto: Lies Are Truth
Topic: NewsBusters

We've already noted that NewsBusters is spinning away Sarah Palin's lies. It's also performing the same service for John McCain.

A Sept. 10 post by Michael M. Bates defends as an "accurate assertion" a McCain ad falsely claiming that Barack Obama's support for a comprehensive sex education law means he supports "'comprehensive sex education' to kindergartners" and, thus, "Learning about sex before learning to read." After engaging in the apparent scare tactic of describing a sex ed curriculum for kindergarteners that includes "proper anatomical names" for body parts, Bates howled: "Do parents want government schools providing proper anatomical names to their 5-year-olds?"

Similarly, Ken Shepherd, in a Sept. 10 post, claims that Time's Joe Klein is "just plain wrong" to criticize the McCain ad "because the legislation Obama voted for would have authorized kindergarteners to be taught about STDs." Shepherd fails to note that the law in question also stated that "course material and instruction shall be age and developmentally appropriate." Does Shepherd really think that teachers are going to teach kindergarteners about STDs?

Hey, NewsBusters: Clinging to slivers of semi-truth in a sea of lies doesn't make those lies suddenly true.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:24 PM EDT
Speaking of Sticking to the Script ...
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Sept. 10 NewsBusters post, P.J. Gladnick complains about an Associated Press article that accuses Sarah Palin of a sticking to a "basic script" on the campaign trail. In response to the article's pointing out that she decided to sell a state plane by "put[ting] it on eBay" is misleading because the plane didn't actually sell on eBay, Gladnick responded: "Palin never claimed the jet sold on eBay. However she did list it on the auction site just as she stated."

Gladnick is not the only NewsBusters writer sticking to the script on that claim:

  • "Lastly, let us dispense with the meme from the left that Palin 'lied' about selling the jet on ebay. Governor Palin never said she SOLD the plane on ebay. She said she PUT the plane on ebay." -- Warner Todd Huston, Sept. 10
  • "Palin, in fact, did not lie or mislead about anything.  She simply said she put the plane up on eBay." -- Kerry Picket, Sept. 7
  • "Palin never said she sold the jet on ebay. She says she put it up to sell on ebay. And she did. But it didn't sell there." -- Warner Todd Huston, Sept. 6

Conservatives do know how to stick to a script, don't they? And at NewsBusters, the script is to spin away every false and misleading statement Palin makes.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:51 PM EDT

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