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Sunday, September 14, 2008
Sheppard: Accurate Reporting on Palin = 'Hit Piece'
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Sept. 13 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard declared that a New York Times article on Sarah Palin's years as Wasilla mayor and Alaska governor is a "hit piece" that "attacked Palin early and often." But nowhere does Sheppard dispute any of the information in the article -- specifically, the article's assertion that Palin "pursued vendettas, fired officials who crossed her and sometimes blurred the line between government and personal grievance," as well as hired "at least five schoolmates" to government posts "often at salaries far exceeding their private sector wages."

Therefore, we can conclude hat Sheppard thinks the truth is an "attack" and a "hit piece."

It's worth noting that Sheppard's MRC used to have a different view of government officials hiring friends to fill jobs. For instance, a search for "clinton" and "cronies" in the MRC's search engine returns 59 articles.

Nevertheless, Sheppard went on, in a Sept. 14 post, to bash the Times for devoting "over 6,000 words to attacking anything called Palin in Sunday's edition" -- a number Sheppard came up with by adding two columns by Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich to the above article and a second that, in Sheppard's words, was "questioning Palin's husband's role in their state's government." Sheppard failed to weigh that number against the total number of articles (dozens) and words (tens, if not hundreds, of thousands) found in the typical Sunday Times.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:04 PM EDT
Cashill Video Peddles Discredited al-Mansour Story
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A video by Jack Cashill, posted on YouTube and linked to by WorldNetDaily, features Percy Sutton's claim linking Barack Obama to Khalid al-Mansour. Cashill has disabled comments on the video -- presumably so nobody can point out that there's no evidence to support the claim and that even Sutton's family has retracted it.

The now-disproven claims regarding al-Mansour were also the subject of Cashill WND columns on Aug. 28 and Sept. 4; he had used it as purported evidence that Obama didn't actually write his books. Cashill references al-Mansour again in his Sept. 11 column, failing to note that the link between him and Obama been discredited.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:07 AM EDT
WND Dismisses McCain POW Story It Once Endorsed
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 13 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn reports that "Left-wing radio talk show host Randi Rhodes attacked GOP presidential nominee John McCain's life story, claiming that during his POW captivity in North Vietnam he was 'well-treated, actually' and that despite his claims of suffering brutal torture, his wife 'knows the truth too.'"

The tone of the article is dismissive -- note that Zahn points out Rhodes' "left-wing" orientation; by contrast, a Sept. 11 WND article by Joe Kovacs quoting Rush Limbaugh called him only a "radio host" and applied no ideological label to him (the words "conservative" and "right-wing" are nowhere to be found). Zahn might want to check his employer's archives a little closer, because earlier this year WND printed a similar attack on McCain, and it didn't come from a "left-wing radio talk show host."

A Feb. 4 column by Jack Wheeler -- whom, as we've noted, WND has previously lionized as "The Indiana Jones of the Right" "whose death-defying adventures span the globe and whose achievements have inspired wide-ranging acclaim" -- called McCain "psychologically unstable" and, in claiming that "the Clintons" were "having discussions with a Russian whom we'll call 'T' for translator" in a purported effort to blackmail McCain, recounted a tale of McCain's POW years that's remarkably similar to the one Rhodes was telling:

T's father was the Soviet military intelligence officer who ran the "Hanoi Hilton" prison holding captured Americans during the Vietnam War. One of those prisoners was John McCain.

The GRU – Glavnoje Razvedyvatel'noje Upravlenije or main intelligence directorate of the Soviet (now Russian) Armed Forces – operated the entire North Vietnamese prison system holding American prisoners of war. GRU officers, all of whom were Russians, oversaw the interrogation of every American POW.

The interrogations themselves were conducted by Vietnamese who spoke some English. After each interrogation session, which could often include torturing the prisoners at the direction of the GRU officers, the Vietnamese interrogator would write a report of the session – in Vietnamese.

These reports had to be translated into Russian. T, a bright teenager living in the GRU compound in Hanoi, had become fluent in Vietnamese, and ended up translating many of the reports and interrogators' notes.

John McCain, flying his A-4 Skyhawk, was shot down over Hanoi on Oct. 26, 1967. Badly injured from the ejection, he was beaten and abused by his captors. In July, 1968, his father, U.S. Navy Adm. J. S. McCain, was made CINCPAC, commander in chief, Pacific Command, commander of all U.S. military forces in the Vietnam theatre. Upon learning this, the Vietnamese offered – according to McCain – to release him.

McCain claims he refused, because he demanded all American POWs captured before him be released as well. He thus remained a prisoner when he could have gone home, and was subjected to constant brutal beatings and torture for years: that is the source of the "war-hero" saga making McCain a greater war-hero than any other American POW.

Yet the offer of release would had to have been approved by the GRU overseers of the North Vietnamese – and T does not recall any such offer being made. T admits, however, that this took place before McCain was transferred to Hoa Loa prison, nicknamed the "Hanoi Hilton" by the POWs. T had only direct knowledge of what happened at Hoa Loa, and not the other prisons, where T's father was in charge.

McCain was kept at the Hanoi Hilton from December 1969 until his release, along with all the remaining POWs, in March 1973. During this time, T translated all the Vietnamese interrogators' notes and reports regarding John McCain.

According to T, they reveal that McCain had made an "accommodation" with his captors, and in exchange, T's father saw that he was provided with an apartment in Hanoi and the services of two prostitutes. Upon returning to his prison cell, he would say he had been held in solitary confinement. That may be why so many of his fellow prisoners said later they saw so little of him at Hoa Loa.


In other words, the CIA has in its possession the notes and reports of John McCain's interrogators at the Hanoi Hilton, in both the original Vietnamese and translated Russian, showing collaboration with his Communist captors.

Allegations of this nature have been made over the years, many by Vietnam veterans. There is an even an organization, Vietnam Veterans Against McCain. But they are based on suspicions and circumstantial claims. There has never been any hard, direct evidence.

What T says the CIA has is such evidence. Its release would destroy McCain. The threat of its release could force McCain to take a fall, blow the election and lose on purpose.

WND ran Wheeler's article before McCain clinched the Republican presidential nomination; as we'be detailed, since that time, it has done little critical news coverage of McCain despite WND editor Joseph Farah's ever-more-dubious assertion that he doesn't want either McCain or Barack Obama elected.

Zahn fails to note Wheeler's WND piece in his article or the high regard WND has previously exhibited toward Wheeler. Since WND essentially endorsed Wheeler's version of events by publishing it, shouldn't Zahn have reminded WND's readers of it? Or is WND quietly considering making Wheeler's article disappear?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:11 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 14, 2008 12:13 AM EDT
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Sheppard's Double Standard on Partisan Shills
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Sept. 12 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard expresses his annoyance that "Paul Begala is back on the cable network [CNN] echoing Democrat talking points," after being removed earlier in the year by the network in an effort to balance its primary coverage (Begala had declared himself a Hillary Clinton supporter). Sheppard asks, "how does CNN justify bringing Begala back just in time to echo Barack Obama's view that John McCain represents four more years of George W. Bush?"

First, as the article to which Sheppard himself links to back up his claim clearly states, the ban applied only to the primary election, not the general.

Second, if Sheppard is truly interested in getting political shills off cable news, he could start with Alex Castellanos, who was brought aboard last month by CNN as a commentator. Castellanos, it turns out, is a member of John McCain's panel of outside advertising consultants. Does Sheppard think he won't be shilling for his guy?

Sheppard eventually sighs, "Honestly, the hypocrisy on display at CNN concerning this matter is astounding." But not as astounding as Sheppard's own hypocrisy.

(At least Sheppard didn't say he was shocked by it.)

Posted by Terry K. at 10:15 AM EDT
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

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