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Thursday, October 2, 2008
Kincaid Still Obsessed With Maddow
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Cliff Kincaid apparently can't get over his obsession with Rachel Maddow's sexual orientation. From a Sept. 30 AIM Report:

Meanwhile, the culture war is back, and it is clear that most of the controversy over [Sarah] Palin is being driven largely by feminists in the media. On MSNBC, a lesbian feminist, Rachel Maddow, is leading the assault. She is the latest addition to the far-left lineup at this poor excuse for a cable “news” channel.


THIS REPORT NOTES THE ROLE OF LESBIAN FEMINIST RACHEL MADDOW OF MSNBC IN spearheading the media attack on Palin. According to her website, Maddow is 35 years old and lives in New York City and rural Western Massachusetts with her “partner,” artist Susan Mikula.  She also hosts a show on the Air America network, where she has examined other Palin “scandals” such as Palin’s fondness for hunting. Meanwhile, MSNBC demoted liberals Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann. They were told they couldn’t be “news” anchors anywhere, just hosts of their own shows and commentators. I told Bill Triplett of Variety magazine that the move was evidence that MSNBC is acknowledging a liberal bias that has gone way over the line. He quoted me as saying, “MSNBC is finally waking up to the fact that their credibility has been suffering with those two characters as anchors. Their coverage has become a laughingstock, and they’re going to have to do more (than pulling Olbermann and Matthews) to restore their credibility.” I said that MSNBC had a right to move in a hard-left direction, but that “their actions with Olbermann and Matthews suggest they realize they went too far.” I think they will also eventually realize that giving Maddow a show was a mistake as well.


The AIM Report also rehashes Kincaid's admiration for noted misogynist Marc Rudov.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:12 AM EDT
Palin-Philia Watch
Topic: Newsmax

Doug Wead uses his Oct. 1 Newsmax column to devise a novel excuse for Sarah Palin's dismal performance in her interviews with Katie Couric: Ted Kennedy couldn't handle unscripted questions either.

No, really:

It is stunning to see the emotionally charged hatred of the media toward Sarah Palin. Of course, Wolf [Blitzer] had seen such moments of ditziness. Ted Kennedy cannot do interviews well. His handling of handpicked, family friend, Roger Mudd’s softball question in November 1979 cost him the presidency. It was a moment far more deadly than [CNN's Jack] Cafferty’s desperately hyped vignette of Palin and Couric.

When I interviewed Ted Kennedy several years ago, all my questions had to be submitted in advance. When after the scripted interview he showed me around his office, I asked him something about his children’s drawings on the wall and the whole room froze in horror.

An unscripted question.

I can still see the daggers in the eyes of the staffers. I almost blurted out, “I withdraw the question; I withdraw the question. I didn’t know.” But we all lingered while he painfully groped for an answer. And I felt very, shamefully guilty.

So now we're supposed to believe Palin is like Ted Kennedy, whom Wead goes on to describe as having "of the most stellar careers in the U.S. Senate"?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:15 AM EDT
Aaron Klein Palin-Philia Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In an Oct. 1 WorldNetDaily article uncritically repeating attacks by the McCain campaign on a blogger who mockingly pointed out that Sarah Palin essentially endorsed Hamas by praising its victory in Palestinian elections, Aaron Klein used the kerfuffle to once again reference his own interview (along with fellow right-winger John Batchelor) with Hamas official Ahmed Yousuf (whose spelling he can't get straight -- he also spells it "Yousef"), who said he "hopes" Barack Obama is elected. He added: "Yousef's statements were construed by many U.S. commentators as a Hamas endorsement of Obama."

(Klein, by the way, has yet to answer questions we've raised about that interview -- specifically, the knowledge of and extent of willing participation by Yousef in Klein’s and Batchelor’s right-wing, anti-Obama agenda.)

Klein fails to mention that another Hamas official essentially retracted the "endorsement," according to a June 4 Reuters article:

“Obama’s comments have confirmed that there will be no change in the U.S. administration’s foreign policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict,” Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters in Gaza.

“The Democratic and Republican parties support totally the Israeli occupation at the expense of the interests and rights of Arabs and Palestinians,” he said.

“Hamas does not differentiate between the two presidential candidates, Obama and McCain, because their policies regarding the Arab-Israel conflict are the same and are hostile to us, therefore we do have no preference and are not wishing for either of them to win,” Zuhri said.

Klein has previously tried to play down Zuhri's remarks, asserting that Zuhri "clarified" in a later interview with him that "he was specifically referring to the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee's pro-Israel speech" at AIPAC on June 4. Klein baselessly portrayed the statement as not contradicting Yousef’s "endorsement."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:34 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, October 2, 2008 2:13 AM EDT
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Fighting Media Bias, Or Reciting McCain Talking Points?
Topic: Accuracy in Media

In a Sept. 30 Accuracy in Media blog post claiming that the New York Times fired a "partisan shot aimed at hurting the McCain campaign," Rep. Lamar Smith wrote:

In an article from September 24, the Times alleged that embattled mortgage company Freddie Mac paid McCain campaign manager Rick Davis for consulting services through last month.  Citing unnamed sources, the article clearly suggested wrongdoing on the part of Davis and, by extension, Sen. McCain. 

First, the Times’ insinuations are false. Davis separated from his consulting firm in 2006 and has not received a salary there since that time. 

Second, the Times omitted key facts from their reporting. Davis was never a lobbyist for Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae and, in fact, has not served as a registered lobbyist in several years. 

In fact, the Times never claimed Davis himself was paid by Freddie Mac; rather, the article stated that Davis' firm was contracted to receive the money, adding that "took a leave from Davis & Manafort for the presidential campaign, but as a partner and equity-holder continues to benefit from its income." In claiming that "Davis was never a lobbyist for Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae," Smith ignores the fact that Davis was, as the Times article noted, the head of an advocacy group funded by Fannie and Freddie with the purpose of opposing regulation of the entities, which Smith seems to think is not "lobbying."

Smith is merely regurgitating the McCain campaign's denials of the Times article, not to mention uncritically mouthing the campaign's claims that the Times is a "partisan" publication. Further, by focusing only on this single article, Smith ignores the evidence revealed since then that suggest Davis continues to have ties to his firm -- namely that Davis is still listed as an officer of the company and has maintained other financial connections to it.

Smith claims to be battling "the problem of media bias," but all he's really doing is reciting McCain talking points.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:49 PM EDT
Kessler Hauls Out the Scaremongering
Topic: Newsmax

Ronald Kessler is up to his old scare tactic of baselessly portraying Democrats as the preferred candidate of terrorists in his Sept. 30 Newsmax column.

Kessler quotes "former top FBI counterterrorism analyst" Frederick Stremmel as claiming that "Al-Qaida or affiliated groups probably will attack the United States in the months after the election to 'welcome' the new president," adding:

Al-Qaida knows that an attack before the election would help elect Republican Sen. John McCain, Stremmel says. The terrorists would prefer Democratic Sen. Barack Obama because they believe he would “swing the pendulum back” to more lenient anti-terrorism policies, Stremmel says.

“The months following the election or inauguration of the new administration is prime time for an attack,” he says. “They will want to impact the new administration and its policies. There is a history of Islamic terrorists wanting to make life miserable for successive administrations.”

That is why al-Qaida attacked the U.S. less than eight months after President Bush took office.

Kessler added a similar claim by "former FBI profiler" James R. Fitzgerald:

Al-Qaida knows that, if it attacked before the election, “It would get McCain elected,” Fitzgerald says. “For obvious reasons, they would much prefer Obama.”

Kessler, Stremmel and Fitzgerald offer no actual evidence that Al-Qaeda "prefers Obama" or that Obama favors "more lenient anti-terrorism policies." Indeed, one major piece of evidence Kessler fails to cite demonstrates the opposite. As we've noted, author Ron Suskind in his book "The One Percent Doctrine," reported that CIA analysts agreed that a videotaped message by Osama bin Laden's that surfaced just before the 2004 presidential election "was clearly designed to assist the President's reelection." Conservatives promoted the video as bin Laden's expression of support for John Kerry -- and, thus, played into bin Laden's hands.

If history is any indication, look for much more scaremongering by Kessler as we get closer to the election.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:31 PM EDT
CNS Still Treating Alveda King's Honorary Doctorate As Real

A Sept. 30 article by Mary Jane O'Brien about an interview by CNS editor-in-chief Terry Jeffrey of anti-abortion activist Alveda King repeatedly refers to her as "Dr. Alveda King" and "Dr. King." The problem, as we pointed out last time CNS did this: King has apparently not earned any doctorate degree.

As biographies of King on several websites state, King "received her honorary Doctorate of Laws from Saint Anselm College."As a Saint Anselm publication details, in 2001 she "was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree for her extraordinary efforts as an advocate for education reform and improvement of race relations and for her passionate participation in the political and academic arena following the great challenges of her young life." While it's an honor, it's not a real doctorate.

King does not hold a doctorate she has earned, as far as we can determine; even if she had, Associated Press journalistic style dictates that the "Dr." honorific is given only to medical doctors.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:25 AM EDT
Newsmax Promotes John Fund's Dubious Book
Topic: Newsmax

John Fund has released an "revised and updated" version of his factually challenged 2004 book "Stealing Elections" in time for the 2008 election, publicized in a Sept. 28 Newsmax article by Dave Eberhart.

And promote he does, regurgitating Fund's claim that "miscounts and voter fraud scandals everywhere from Seattle to Miami have rocked elections during the past several years — and, in very bad news for the election next month — many of the problems have not been resolved."

Eberhart claims that "Fund details Obama’s involvement with ACORN throughout his career," but there are questions about Fund's veracity. As Media Matters details, Fund claims that "ACORN also runs something called "Camp Obama," which trains campaign volunteers in the same tactics that Obama honed as a community organizer" -- but the newspaper article Fund cites as evidence of his claim makes no mention of ACORN. In fact, Camp Obama is run by the Obama campaign to train volunteers how to recruit voters for Obama.

Eberhart also states that Fund's book addresses "how ACORN led 'the worst case of voter-registration fraud' in Washington State’s history." This appears to be a reference to a 2007 case of seven ACORN workers who were indicted in Seattle in 2007 for submitting more than 1,700 voter registration forms that were found to be fraudulent, many of which bore the names of celebrities or "nonexistent people." But as Media Matters also points out, no votes were cast under those fradulent voter registrations.

Despite Fund's additional dubious reporting, Eberhart's article serves up several points at which one can buy the book from Newsmax's store.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:10 AM EDT
Huston Misleads on Obama's Soldier Bracelet
Topic: NewsBusters

A Sept. 28 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston was less than eager to tell the full story about the bracelet carrying the name of deceased soldier Ryan Jopek that Barack Obama said he was wearing as a counter to the soldier bracelet John McCain's bragged about wearing. Huston promoted a claim by Jopek's father that "his family had asked Barack Obama to stop wearing the bracelet with his son's name on it. Yet Obama continues to do so despite the wishes of the family."

It's not until Huston updated his post later in the day that he takes a stab at telling the other side of the story, citing an Associated Press article in which Jopek's mother weighs in, quoting only her statements that she "asked Obama not to mention the bracelet on the campaign trail" and that she was "satisfied" with how Obama discussed the bracelet in the presidential debate.

Ignoring the fact that the mother's claim that she "asked Obama not to mention the bracelet" is substantively different from the father's claim that he asked Obama "to stop wearing the bracelet," Huston asserted: "The fact remains, the woman has repeated that she asked Obama not to mention her son on the campaign trail and this AP report confirms that." But he ignored the AP article's claim that while she "never got a reply" to her request for Obama not to mention the bracelet, she "said she didn't hear of him mentioning it after that" until the debate.

Sounds to us like Obama kept his word until McCain felt the need to play up his dead-soldier credentials at the debate.

Over at Newsmax, Phil Brennan cited Huston's post for a Sept. 28 article claiming that Jopek's father said "his ex-wife [Jopek's mother] had asked Obama to stop using the bracelet as a publicity stunt." He makes no mention of the AP article Newsmax published the same day repeating the mother's claim that she approved of the mention.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EDT
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
WND Finally Tells The Other Side of Obama 'Truth Squad' Story
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 29 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn finally gets around to reporting the other side of the story regarding membership by Missouri law enforcement officials in an Obama "truth squad" that previous WND articles baselessly suggested would use the power of their office to legally harrass anyone running ads critical of Obama. But Zahn baselessly frames it as the officials "back[ing] off the intimidating implications," even though there's no evidence they made any such claim in the first place that needed to be "backed off."

Zahn further fails to note that John McCain's campaign also utilizes law enforcement officials on its "truth squads," let alone question the propriety of that in the same way it attacked those on the Obama side.

Zahn ends by quoting one county sheriff who is a "truth squad" member noting, "I came into my office Monday morning, and I've got 500 emails and 19 nasty phone calls calling me a communist pig!" Is WND proud of its readers doing that sort of thing?

Posted by Terry K. at 3:18 PM EDT
CNS Article's Claim Lacks Evidence

A Sept. 30 article by Susan Jones promotes the claim by conservative activist Richard Viguerie that the defeat of the Wall Street bailout package "shows the power of the New and Alternative Media." But Jones doesn't cite any specific examples of how the "New and Alternative Media" -- in context, the conservatively correct term for right-wing blogs, websites and talk radio -- caused the bill to fail, beyond a claim that "Even the Associated Press noted the power of the Internet in torpedoing the bill." The AP quote that Jones serves up -- "furious pressure built up against the bill in e-mail campaigns and on Internet Web sites" -- also offers no specific examples.

Further, since a significant minority of House Democrats also voted against the bill, credit for defeating the bill cannot go to right-wing media alone.

Nevertheless, Jones uncritically repeated Viguerie's assertion that the bailout bill "the support of the mainstream media, who told us ad nauseam that everyone -- everyone! -- supported a bailout." No evidence is offered to support Viguerie's claim.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:28 PM EDT
Where Was Huston When ...
Topic: NewsBusters

A Sept. 29 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston bashed the Obama campaign for violating "the right of free political speech" by banning signs at a rally, further bashing "weak-spined school officials" at the Virginia college where the rally was held because they "bent over and meekly accepted the rules derived from the fascistic penchant of the Obama campaign with its anti-first amendment proclivities."

Funny, we don't recall Huston exhibiting similar outrage when, for instance, a woman was arrested outside a John McCain "town hall meeting" purportedly open to the public for carrying a sign. Or when the Bush administration engaged in a policy of expelling possible critics from Bush's public appearances.

Tell you what, Warner: Try getting a little mad about that, and then you might have a right to indulge your Obama Derangement Syndrome.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:04 PM EDT
Yet Another WND Double Standard
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Back in 2005, WorldNetDaily began promoting a book called "Sex Appealed" by Janice Law, which attacked the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas that overturned state sodomy laws by claiming that "the events of September 17, 1998, [upon which the case was based] were a prearranged, orchestrated set-up designed to test Texas Penal Statute 21.06 – a too-perfect case."

In an Oct. 25, 2005, column, Joseph Farah similarly attacked "the pre-meditated nature of the Lawrence case setup," adding, "It was quite simply the misdemeanor dream case homosexual activists in Texas and nationwide had been dreaming about. Or had they done more than dream about it? Had they schemed about it, too?" He further asserted: "If the Lawrence case were known to be a setup during the five years following the arrests, then the defendants would not have a right-to-privacy claim, and the U.S. Supreme Court probably would never hear the case."

An Oct. 27, 2005, WND "news" article repeated Law's claim that the Lawrence case "was based on a pre-arranged 'setup' of police, state judicial authorities and, ultimately, the highest court in the land." The same day, a WND column by Law bashed the case as "a set-up case of invited arrests," further exclaiming, "Isn't the U.S. Constitution good enough anymore?"

But there's a new case brewing that is a similarly pre-arranged setup. But instead of being horrified by it, WND has promoted it.

A Sept. 26 WND article by Drew Zahn touted plans by the conservative Alliance Defense Fund to use "a select team of 33 pastors in 22 states" who "will be preaching on politics in a direct challenge to a federal tax statute that forbids churches from interfering with political campaigns." Zahn added:

The ADF has promised it is ready to equip and defend the pastors selected for "Pulpit Freedom Sunday," even if that means going to court and challenging the tax code.

"We're reminding them that they have the right to openly discuss the positions of political candidates," ADF counsel Mike Johnson told WND, "and we're going to be there for them if there's a challenge."

Doesn't the fact that the ADF is specifically enlisting people to break the law wiht the express purpose of creating the basis of a court case in which the law can be challenged make their action the exact same type of pre-arranged "set-up case of invited arrests" WND condemned when it involved homosexuals? It certainly appears that way.

Yet Zahn offers no substantial criticism of the initiative -- only one paragraph in his 21-paragraph article.

Just another chunk of hypocrisy in a "news" organization already laden with it.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:33 AM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The 2008 presidential election in America is the most crucial election in this country's history, not because the issues are that critical but because of Sen. Barack Obama. The Democratic presidential candidate's language, posture and demeanor suggest that he may suffer from narcissistic personality disorder, or NPD.


NPD is the prime disorder experienced by all the madmen of history – from Hitler to Stalin, Mao, Kim, Pol Pot, Osama, Khomeini, Saddam and Idi Amin. These men wreaked havoc and killed millions. They looked normal. Few suspected their insanity until it was too late.

Ali Sina, Sept. 30 WorldNetDaily column. Hilariously -- though perhaps not so much for someone in the grip of ODS as this person is -- Sina concludes by stating, "There is no basis upon which to assume Obama would become a murderous tyrant." So why devote the rest of the column to claiming there is one?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:54 AM EDT
Kincaid Once Again Repeats False Claim About Global Poverty Act
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Cliff Kincaid once again claims, in a Sept. 28 Accuracy in Media article, that the Barack Obama-sponsored Global Poverty Act "cost an estimated $845 billion" -- a claim we've debunked every time Kincaid makes it. The bill has no funding mechanism, doesn't commit the U.S. to a targeted level of spending, and doesn't give the United Nations the power to impose a tax on the U.S.

Nevertheless, Kincaid went on to claim: "Commentators such as Andrew C. McCarthy have pointed out that Obama’s Global Poverty Act (S. 2433) would cost even more than the $700 billion that is being proposed as part of a socialist takeover of the U.S. financial sector."

But the McCarthy article to which Kincaid links -- a Sept. 19 piece at National Review -- offers no evidence of it either. In fact, McCarthy does nothing but repeat Kincaid's own false claims about it:

The GPA is a monstrosity. Thanks to Obama’s praetorian guards in the mainstream media, it is a better kept secret than most covert intelligence programs. But Accuracy in Media’s Cliff Kincaid has been digging (see here). If the GPA became law, the United States would be required to fork up for foreign aid 0.7 percent of its gross national product through 2015. That is, Obama would skyrocket U.S. largesse from its current annual level of about $21 billion (the world’s most generous) to — you’ll want to be sitting down for this — $85 billion per year.

It's logrolling in our time -- Kincaid cites McCarthy, who cites Kincaid.

Kincaid also complains about something called the Jubilee Act, a debt-forgiveness bill to which Obama has signed on as a co-sponsor, because it "would cancel the debts of 26 foreign countries even while the U.S. suffers through its own financial crisis and Americans are losing their homes and savings."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 AM EDT
Monday, September 29, 2008
Sheffield Baselessly Claims Most Top Papers Are Liberal
Topic: NewsBusters

In making a big deal out of Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell's claim that most editorial cartoonists are liberal, Matthew Sheffield claimed in a Sept. 28 NewsBusters post that "Just two of the top twenty editorial pages in the U.S. lean conservative," and offered a list. Sheffield offered no evidence to back up his assertion -- and indeed, there are problems with his list. For instance:

  • He claims the Chicago Tribune is "liberal," even though it has endorsed only Republican presidential candidates for the past 130 years or so.
  • He claims the Washington Post is "liberal" even though it has often shared editorial positions with the "conservative" Wall Street Journal.

While it may be treated as a given inside the MRC offices that everyone in the media is liberal, out here in the real world, we require evidence, and not the circumstantial kind.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:05 PM EDT

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