"I am not an expert on polls," Terry Trippany writes in a Sept. 27 NewsBusters post -- a claim she then proves by touting the results of an opt-in poll as meaningful.
Trippany makes note of an "AOL straw poll that shows John McCain solidly beating Barack Obama in a random sample of hundreds of thousands of readers," adding: "[I]t seems to me that the AOL poll is without the kind of bias that can be injected by pollster samples and then touted by the media as an advantage for Obama. The AOL straw poll has been relatively low profile and you must use a captcha to vote. It has been running for a while now and the results have been fairly consistent. The bias it does have would likely come from the demographics of AOL readers. The poll appears to be an outlier and I have no clue how closely a poll of this type tracks real votes. AOL states that it is not a scientific poll. In other words it just captures the votes that readers put in. Simple."
As we pointed out in 2004 when WorldNetDaily was promoting the AOL poll (which also similarly had the Republican candidate in the lead), opt-in polls are inherently unreliable because the sample is self-selecting and can be easily skewed by activists -- such as the right-wingers at Free Republic, which regularly encourages its readers to vote in opt-in online polls ... like the AOL poll.
Another WND Reporter Covers for McCain on Fannie, Freddie Topic: WorldNetDaily
Good news: A WorldNetDaily news article finally mentions for the first time connections between the McCain campaign and the Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac meltdown.
Bad news: It's mentioned only in passing, gets it wrong, and heaps most of the guilt-by-association on Obama.
A Sept. 25 article by Chelsea Schilling discussing the problems at Fannie and Freddie noted that "Both Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama have come under fire for allegedly having donors and campaign advisers tied to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," then added:
McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, was reportedly paid a total of $35,000 a month from 2000 to 2002 by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. McCain told the Times Davis no longer works for the mortgage giants and has had "nothing to do with it" since he left the payrolls.
Unlike fellow WND reporter Jerome Corsi, Schilling actually makes note of this. But not only does she grossly understate the extent of Davis' connection, Schilling gets the amount of time involved wrong. In fact -- as the New York Times reported, Davis was paid that amount -- acting as president of the Homeownership Alliance, an advocacy group funded by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that tried to fend off regulation sought by large private banks and mortgage lenders -- through 2005, not 2002 as Schilling claimed. The Times quoted a former Fannie Mae official stating that "The value that [Davis] brought to the relationship was the closeness to Senator McCain and the possibility that Senator McCain was going to run for president again."
Schilling also failed to note another connection: Freddie Mac paid the lobbying firm Davis founded $15,000 a month from the end of 2005 through August 2008. While campaign officials insist that Davis has had no involvement with his firm while working for the McCain campaign, he's still listed as an officer of the company.
That single paragraph, by the way, is Schilling's only attempt to detail the ties between McCain's campaign. By contrast, Schilling devotes several paragraphs to detailing the Obama campaign's alleged links to Fannie and Freddie.
Schilling leaves out certain important details of the story. For instance, in citing "A Washington Post profile published July 17 said [Franklin] Raines was then playing a role advising the Obama presidential campaign on mortgage and housing policy," Schilling fails to mention -- llike Corsi before her -- that both Raines and the Obama campaign have denied that Raines is an adviser.
Schilling also asserts, "In 2005, McCain warned of the coming mortgage crisis and pressed for regulatory reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," but she fails to point out that McCain has introduced no bills related to banking or housing in the current session of Congress.
If WND boss Joseph Farah doesn't want McCain elected, why are his reporters continuing to cover for McCain?
In a Sept. 25 NewsBusters post, Ken Shepherd criticizes an Associated Press article on "a newly surfaced YouTube video purportedly showing Palin being prayed over by a Kenyan preacher who asked God to protect Palin from all manner of evil, including witchcraft," complainign that the articleshowed a lack of knowledge about Christianity because it "characterize[d] the Pentecostal church Palin used to attend as simultaneously 'conservative' in biblical teaching and yet outside orthodox Christian belief":
While not all Christians believe in the continuation of spiritual gifts such as prophesy or speaking in tongues, all Christians believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit -- all four gospel accounts describe Jesus as the one who baptizes believers with the Holy Spirit -- it's just a question of how that baptism is defined.
[AP reporter Garance] Burke need only check Amazon.com for a book giving five different perspectives -- including Pentecostal, Catholic, and Reformed/Presbyterian traditions -- on what baptism in the Holy Spirit entails and how it applies to Christians today.
To be sure there are secondary issues of theology on which Pentecostals and non-Pentecostal Christians disagree, but the Associated Press seems unable or unwilling to distinguish those matters from the common ground of orthodox Christian belief that Pentecostals share with other Bible-believing Christians.
In downplaying the witchcraft aspect of the blessing the Kenyan preacher, Thomas Muthee, offered for Palin, Shepherd ignores how Muthee himself has "defined" it. As David Neiwert details, a Times of London article demonstrates that Muthee works on a Salem-like level, in one case declaring a woman to be responsible for one town's ills, thus causing her to be the target of violence and forcing her to flee the town.
Does Shepherd really think Muthee's embrace of full-on witch-hunting is merely a "secondary issue of theology"?
A Sept. 25 Newsmax article by David Alliot on a new Zogby poll that "put John McCain squarely ahead of Barack Obama" contradicts itself in the space of a couple of paragraphs.
Alliot asserts that "The polling was conducted after McCain’s announcement that he would suspending [sic] his campaign," but then states: "The survey was conducted on Sept. 23-25, 2008."
McCain's announcement that he would suspend his campaign was made midday Sept. 24. Therefore, people responding to a poll conducted on Sept. 23 and the morning of Sept. 24 could not have taken McCain's announcement into consideration.
Indeed, Zogby's own press release states that the poll was "half conducted before McCain's announcement Wednesday that he would suspend his campaign to concentrate on the financial crisis and half conducted after the announcement."
Bozell Misleads on Enron 'Coverage' Topic: Media Research Center
In a Sept. 25 appearance on "Fox & Friends" (which follows the template by having Bozell appear solo and not identifying him as a conservative), MRC chief Brent Bozell asserted: "This year -- this year -- there's been more coverage by the networks on Enron, which isn't in the news, than on both of these [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac] calamities combined."
That's highly misleading. What Bozell appears to be referring to is a July 28 report by the MRC's Business & Media institute that claimed:
Even in 2008, as the housing market was grinding to a halt, “Enron” was still the business scandal of the day. In the first six months of the year, ABC, CBS and NBC mentioned Enron 18 times and either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac just seven. [emphasis added]
Mentioning Enron, of course, is not the same thing as "covering" Enron, which Bozell accused the media of doing. And it covers only the first six months of 2008, before Fannie and Freddie officially blew up, not current coverage as Bozell suggests.
That BMI report -- which makes no mention of the context in which Enron was "mentioned" in those news reports -- was something of a pre-emptive strike suggesting that problems at Fannie and Freddie were not be covered by the media because the entities were supported by "high-profile Democrats" and they engaged in "socialism in disguise" by championing home loans for lower-income people -- a claim we see echoed now in the ConWeb and elsewhere.
A Sept. 24 CNSNews.com article by Penny Starr asserts that "A group of civil rights leaders and conservative congressmen held a press conference on Tuesday to announce proposed legislation that would prohibit knowingly performing or financing abortions based on the race or gender of the unborn child." But Starr quotes no "civil rights leaders" in her article.
Starr's use of "civil rights leaders" is a presumed reference to Alveda King, whom she describes as a "niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." But King is not a "civil rights leader"; she is (or was) a senior fellow at the conservative Alexis de Tocqueville Institution and an anti-abortion activist.
Starr also uncritically refers to King as " Dr. Alveda King" and "Dr. King"; in fact, it appears her doctorate from Saint Anselm College is honorary.
New Article -- Experts Agree: WorldNetDaily Sucks Topic: WorldNetDaily
Don't just take ConWebWatch's word for it -- read what WND's targets and even their fellow conservatives have to say about its brand of journalism. Read more >>
Antoher NewsBuster Falsely Conflates Media Lockouts Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Sept. 24 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston wrote of Andrea Mitchell's assertion that Sarah Palin's banning of media from meetings with foreign leaders is not "standard practice":
I find this whole snit that the press is throwing pretty amazing for its hypocrisy. After all, when Barack Obama went over to Europe this Summer to burnish his non-existent foreign policy credentials, he met behind closed doors with Europe's biggest leaders without the press allowed into the room. I don't recall Andrea Mitchell getting all upset then. Nor did she seem to remember it happened with Barack when she was discussing Palin with Maddow.
As NewsBuster Ken Shepherd reminded us all, when Barack met behind closed doors without reporters the Old Media barely even noticed.
In fact, as we detailed, Shepherd falsely conflated what Palin tried to do -- block reporters from covering her photo ops with foreign leaders at the United Nations out of fear she might be asked a question -- with the actual meetings themselves. And Huston does the exact same thing.
Prelutsky Repeats False DNC Flag Story Topic: WorldNetDaily
Burt Prelutsky writes in his Sept. 24 WorldNetDaily column:
I'm certain that by this time most people have seen the photos of the American flags that were left for the trash collector after the Democratic Convention in Denver.
So, when I see that the Democrats disrespected the flags, I understood that to them the flags were only cheap props like the balloons, the bunting, the confetti and those corny Greek columns. The real problem isn't that the left trashed a few flags, but that they keep trashing the country.
In fact, the flags weren't "trashed." As we detailed, DNC officials stated that the flags were placed in bags so that they could be put into storage but were stolen and turned over to the McCain campaign under the bogus story that they were to be thrown out.
Aaron Klein Anti-Obama Agenda Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Sept. 23 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein regurgitates a Wall Street Journal column by Stanley Kurtz purporting to detail a relationship between Barack Obama and William Ayers through the Ayers-founded Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Klein has interpreted Kurtz's article to assert that Obama "had a close working relationship" with Ayers.
But Kurtz never uses the word "close" in his WSJ article, and the evidence Klein presents doesn't exactly support the claim of closeness.
The closest Klein gets to smoking gun on closeness is an assertion that "It would have been unusual for Ayers not to have been involved in the selection of Obama" due to "Ayers' extensive work to secure the original grant for the CAC from a national education initiative by Ambassador Walter Annenberg, as well as Ayers' molding of the CAC guidelines." Most evidence Klein presents is circumstantial, such as asserting that "Ayers made presentations to board meetings chaired by Obama. Ayers also spoke for the Chicago School Reform Collaborative before Obama's board, while Obama periodically spoke for the board at meetings of the collaborative, the CAC documents reviewed by Kurtz show."
Klein does repeat a statement from the Obama campaign that Ayers was not involved with Obama's recruitment to the CAC board, but again, none of the circumstantial evidence Klein offers as rebuttal disproves that claim.
Remember that Klein hatesObama and has a personal and professional interest in making him look as bad as possible.
A Sept. 23 Newsmax article by Jim Meyers about a "cartoon in the Washington Post that mocked Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin" ignores or misstates key facts regarding it.
Meyers states that the cartoon appeared "in the Washington Post" but also stated that it was "posted online." In fact, it appeared only online and was never published in the print version of the newspaper.
Meyers also fails to note the cartoonist's name -- Pat Oliphant -- or mention that Oliphant is a syndicated cartoonist, not an employee of the Post (as NewsBusters' Warner Todd Huston claimed), or that, as Post ombudsman Deborah Howell pointed out, such syndicated content on the Post's website is automatically posted, or that Oliphant's cartoons appear in other online venues, such as Yahoo!.
Instead, Meyers has written an misleading, ill-informed piece with no reason for existing other than to bash the Post.
NewsBusters Falsely Conflates Media Lockouts Topic: NewsBusters
A Sept. 23 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd appears to misleadingly cite news accounts to claim that Sarah Palin's intial refusal to allow reporters to cover meetings with foreign leaders at the United Nations is equivalent to Barack Obama's closed-door meetings with leaders on his European trip earlier this year.
Shepherd cited "a 7-paragraph article" by the Associated Press about how Palin "[Banned] reporters from meetings with leaders," adding that "A review of media coverage from Obama's behind-closed-doors chats with European heads of state, however, shows no such complaint by the media about a lack of access." But the article to which Shepherd linked now goes to a longer AP article that, if it didn't tell the full story, it does now:
The GOP campaign, applying more restrictive rules on access than even President Bush uses in the White House, banned reporters from the start of the meetings, so as not to risk a question being asked of Palin. [emphasis added]
McCain aides relented after news organizations objected and CNN, which was supplying TV footage to a variety of networks, decided to pull its TV crew from Palin's meeting with Karzai.
Bush and members of Congress routinely allow reporters to attend photo opportunities along with photographers, and the reporters sometimes are able to ask questions at the beginning of private meetings before they are ushered out.
At least two news organizations, including AP, objected to the exclusion of reporters and were told that the decision to have a "photo spray" only was not subject to discussion. After aides backed away from that, campaign spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt said the reporter ban was a "miscommunication."
So the problem was not that Palin banned coverage of the entire meeting; it's that she banned coverage of the beginning photo op. Shepherd offers no evidence (at least not in the AP article he cites) that Obama banned reporters from any opening photo op.
Meanwhile, a Sept. 23 post by Brent Baker baselessly accused NBC of being "jealous" that it's "the only broadcast network evening newscast snubbed so far by Palin," thus purportedly motivating it to "devote a full story to how reporters were initially barred from her photo-ops with foreign leaders and her general lack of availability to the press."
Posted by Terry K.
at 2:22 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 2:35 AM EDT
Conspiracy-monger extrordinaire Jack Cashill has a new conspiracy to peddle: William Ayers, whom he calls "the radical leftist who has made 'unrepentant' a household word," ghost-wrote Obama's book "Dreams From My Father."
Cashill lays it out in a three-partseries published at WND Sept. 18-20. He has no actual evidence to back this up, of course -- just a claim to have "developed an eye for literary humbug." Cashill claims a purported similarity between "Dreams" and Ayers' 2001 memoir, "Fugitive Days." Cashill also asserts the two have a similar background: "Ayers and Obama both grew up in comfortable white households and have struggled to find an identity as righteous black men ever since." And Cashill demonstrates a need to belittle Obama as nothing more than an Ayers mouthpiece, something else he has no actual evidence to support: "In Obama, alas, Ayers may have found a much more a lethal weapon to use against the 'marauding monster' called America than any pipe bomb he could have ever built."
Cashill also writes: "For Ayers, like so many on the left, hard and soft, facts are whatever he can get away with." Given that Cashill is peddling conjecture as fact, he might as well be writing about himself.
Remember, Cashill is the guy who wrote a seven-part WND series claiming that anti-abortion extremist didn't murder abortion doctor Barnett Slepian -- only to have Kopp confess to the killing a few months later. That makes it difficult to take anything he writes seriously.