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Monday, October 27, 2008
Is Kincaid Blaming Financial Crisis on Soros?
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Cliff Kincaid has a new conspiracy to peddle: that the global financial crisis was engineered by George Soros to get Barack Obama elected. At least, that's what he appears to be hinting at in an Oct. 26 Accuracy in Media column:

Incredibly, we have no definitive explanation of why a global financial crisis suddenly materialized just six weeks before U.S. presidential and congressional elections. Instead, controversial hedge fund operators like George Soros, an Obama backer who was convicted of insider trading in France and was in the news earlier this year for his possible role in betting on a U.S. economic collapse, have largely escaped scrutiny.

“The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is scheduled to hold a hearing about regulation next month with five hedge fund managers,” including Soros, the New York Times reported last Wednesday. Soros is one of several hedge fund operators who reportedly made more than $1 billion last year. But this hearing could occur after the elections and after the Soros-supported Democrats take the White House and increase their numbers in Congress.

Soros is being treated deferentially by such media personalities as Bill Moyers of the Public Broadcasting Service and Fareed Zakaria of CNN.

Further, proving that he won't let go of a lie when it works to his benefit and proclivities, Kincaid yet again falsely claims that the Obama-sponsored Global Poverty Act will cost the U.S. $845 billion over the next 13 years. In fact, as we've pointed out every time Kincaid makes this claim, 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.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 AM EDT
Sunday, October 26, 2008
WND Prints Another Anti-Obama Letter From the Future
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Oct. 22 WorldNetDaily article by Art Moore promoted a hypothetical letter from a "Christian from 2012" -- which predicts that "Many of our freedoms have been taken away by a liberal Supreme Court and a majority of Democrats in both the House and the Senate, and hardly any brave citizen dares to resist the new government policies any more" -- released by James Dobson's Focus on the Family Action.

This is the second report from the future purporting to describe America under a Barack Obama administration that WND has published in the past week. Janet Folger Porter's Oct. 21 WND column took the same approach.

Moore made no apparent effort to gather reaction from anyone to Dobson's letter. But as one blogger points out, Dobson's letter carries the overall structure and tone of "The Turner Diaries," the far-right novel best known these days as the inspiration for Timothy McVeigh to blow up a federal office building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people.

Instead of publishing fiction about the future, WND might consider reporting on what's happening now. Heck, it might even want to try doing something totally nutty like -- oh, I don't know -- telling the truth about current events.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:39 PM EDT
Vadum Falsely Smears ACORN As Linked to Weather Underground
Topic: The ConWeb

The Capital Research Center's Matthew Vadum likens ACORN to terrorists by titling his new CRC report "ACORN: Who Funds the Weather Underground's Little Brother?" Vadum doesn't bother to support his suggestion that ACORN is tied to terrorism -- in fact, he demonstrates it's not true.

(Vadum promoted his report in an Oct. 25 NewsBusters post.) 

The sole piece of evidence Vadum provides that's even related to the claim: ACORN founder Wade Rathke was a member in the 1960s of Sudents for a Democratic Society, a group that later splintered, one faction becoming the Weather Undreground. But Vadum specifically states that Rathke was among "[t]hose who rejected terrorist violence" -- that is, he was not a part of the Weather Underground.

Nevertheless, Vadum goes on to smear ACORN as a "sibling" of the Weather Underground.

Vadum also clings to the discredited idea that the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act -- which he claims "opened up banking to ACORN-style
agitation" -- led to the meltdown of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In fact, only about 20 percent of today's subprime housing loans were made by lending institutions not subject to the CRA.

Vadum again claims that Project Vote was "an ACORN affiliate" in 1992 when Barack Obama directed a Project Vote voter registration drive," adding that "Obama supporters tried to confuse the issue" by claiming otherwise. In his NewsBusters post, he writes that the claim is " fave of Seth Colter Walls at the Huffington Post." That's a reference to Walls ciriticizing and debunking Vadum's previous attacks on ACORN (which, peripherally, resulted in Vadum attempting a lame beatdown on us for agreeing with Walls).

But now, as then, Vadum offers no evidence to support his claim that Project Vote was "part of ACORN" in 1992. As ACORN itself stated, "At that time, Project Vote had no more connection to ACORN than it did with dozens of other national and local organizations with which it partnered on local registration drives. In 1994, over a year after Obama left Project Vote, ACORN and Project Vote began working much more closely together." Vadum neither mentions nor contradicts ACORN's statement; instead, he claims that such factual defenses are an effort "to confuse the issue."

That Vadum thinks facts "confuse the issue" -- on top of his headline smear -- says all we need to know about Vadum's partisan agenda.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:16 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, October 26, 2008 12:31 PM EDT
Newsmax Whitewashes von Spakovsky
Topic: Newsmax

An Oct. 24 Newsmax article by Nat Helms featured conservative Heritage Foundation panelists who claimed that "The U.S. election process is under siege from liberal election officials trying to wrestle it away from the electorate," but Helms whitewashed the history of one panel participant, Hans von Spakovsky.

Helms wrote:

Von Spakovsky, an expert on voter integrity issues and the Bush administration’s point man in the Justice Department, drew the ire of Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and CNN political analyst Jeffrey Toobin in 2006 for supporting photo IDs for voters and questioning the validity of felons on Georgia’s voter lists.

Kennedy told the Associated Press that requiring photo ID’s hurt black voters. Toobin accused von Spakovsky in “The New Yorker” magazine of secretly targeting black voters to gain a Republican advantage in Georgia.

The truth is vastly different, said von Spakovsky, who said he was interested only in protecting the system from schemes taking advantage of lax voter registration laws.

Helms makes no effort to present the other side of the story on any of the claims made during the panel, and that includes von Spakovsky's version of the Georgia case.

In fact, as Slate's Dalia Lithwick details, von Spakovsky has a long history of acting in a partisan manner on voting issues, acting against Democratic interests and in favor of Republican ones. Regarding the Georgia law von Spakovsky championed, Lithwick states that "State and federal courts later found that statute unconstitutional."

Helms also writes that "Democrats killed a law this year that would have ensured that all military absentee ballots would be sent home via Express Mail instead of languishing for three weeks via regular mail. The Democrats sided with the postal service union, which opposed the measure," then quoted another panelist, "Virginia lawyer, Republican activist, and party consultant" Roman Buhler, as saying, "They clearly don't want the military to vote." In fact, as the Armed Forces Press Service points out, all properly submitted absentee ballots are counted in every general election, meaning that arrival time is irrelevant.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:50 AM EDT
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Graham Just Can't Quit Tim Mahoney
Topic: NewsBusters

Cover Tim Mahoney's adultery, dammit!

That's the central message of Tim Graham's Oct. 24 post, which, like a previous Graham post, expresses annoyance that Florida congressman Mahoney's adultery isn't on the lips of people the same way the page-buggering of the man Mahoney replaced in Congress, Mark Foley. This time around, he compains that Mahoney was rated by Newsweek as slightly more dignified than the outright lie told by Sarah Palin about the Troopergate scandal.

Graham went on to whine that "Time and Newsweek blatantly enjoyed the Mark Foley scandal two years ago, and Foley’s face "graced" the cover of Newsweek," adding: "Foley wasn't just a massive story, it was also the subject of major media polls. Newsweek assertively polled and found that 52 percent thought House Speaker Dennis Hastert tried to cover it up." Graham fails to note that there was, in fact, actual evidence that Hastert and the Republican House leadership knew about Foley's inappropriate behavior toward pages for years but did little about it.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:56 PM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

I dare not question Obama's messianic status, or I too might become a victim of media assassination (like Joe the Plumber) or Secret Service investigation (like Jessica Hughes). Apparently the most efficient method of establishing the credentials of the Messiah is to beat the holy crap out of any critics. This sends the message to the rest of the world that awkward and unvetted questions are bad, evil and sinful. And if the Messiah blurts out an inconvenient truth, such as telling Joe the Plumber that his modest and hard-earned wealth will be "spread around," then the angels … er, the media, hastily covers up the mistake by assassinating Joe. Clever.

-- Patrice Lewis, Oct. 25 WorldNetDaily column

According to the link Lewis supplied, Hughes did not "question Obama's messianic status"; in fact, she was accused of making a death threat toward Obama and, subsequently, was paid a visit by the Secret Service, which investigates all perceived death threats against presidential candidates.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:23 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, October 25, 2008 12:14 PM EDT
Timmerman Signs On to Obama Birth Certificate Lie
Topic: Newsmax

An Oct. 24 Newsmax article by Kenneth Timmerman promotes Philip Berg's lawsuit over Barack Obama's birth certificate and accepts Berg's argument that the Obama campaign's failure to respond to the lawsuit means that everything Berg accuses is true.

Timmerman does some token reporting of the other side of the story -- citing "respected conservative blogger Ed Morrissey" as calling the Berg lawsuit a "conspiracy theory" and stating at the bottom of the article that Berg's "credibility was tarnished by work he did for the far-left '9/11 for the Truth' campaign"-- but the bulk of the article is dedicted to building Berg's credibility.

Nowhere does Timmerman note that FactCheck.org found that the birth certificate released by the Obama campaign "meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship," or that even his right-wing rivals at WorldNetDaily have declared that "WND investigation into Obama's birth certificate utilizing forgery experts also found the document to be authentic" and that "Berg's lawsuit relies on discredited claims."

That's shoddy reporting on the part of Timmerman, who has clearly decided how he wants this story to turn out, facts be damned.

UPDATE: A Philadelphia judge has dismissed Berg's lawsuit, calling Berg's attempts to use certain laws to gain standing to pursue his claim that Obama was not a natural-born citizen -- favorably portrayed by Timmerman -- "frivolous and not worthy of discussion."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:09 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, October 25, 2008 10:32 AM EDT
Friday, October 24, 2008
Deep Thought
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Does Joseph Farah have Lou Boccardi and Dick Thornburgh on speed dial?

Posted by Terry K. at 4:03 PM EDT
McCain Volunteer Admits Attack Hoax; Will ConWeb Care?
Topic: The ConWeb

On Oct. 23, the ConWeb pounced on a McCain campaign volunteer's claim that she was mugged and attacked, including having a "B" carved onto her cheek, in Pittsburgh because her alleged assailant spotted a McCain bumper sticker on her car. CNSNews.com and Newsmax did articles, while NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard, in a post with the screaming headline "Obama Supporter Maims McCain Volunteer, Will Media Care?" howled: "it's going to be very interesting to see how this disgusting incident gets reported by Obama-loving media."

But with the "victim" now admitting the attack was a hoax, how will the ConWeb react?

CNS posted an updated story, though the original story remains posted and has not been updated to state that the attack in a hoax.

Newsmax and Sheppard are silent thus far.

UPDATE: Sheppard has updated his post to note the hoax, but leaves his original histrionics intact. Will he ever apologize for not applying even a smidge of skepticism to the woman's claims before touting them so enthusiastically?

UPDATE 2: Newsmax has posted an updated article, but the original remains posted without any notice that it's a hoax.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:54 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, October 24, 2008 4:50 PM EDT
'Reality Check' Unreality: MRC Obfuscates McCain Ad Criticism
Topic: Media Research Center

An Oct. 23 Media Research Center "Media Reality Check" by Rich Noyes claims that "from the end of the primaries (June 4) through October 21 ... the networks aired nearly three times as many stories criticizing McCain's ads (84) as hitting Obama's (32)." But by including statistics from as far back as June, Noyes hides the fact that McCain's advertising has been much more negative in recent weeks than Obama's.

Noyes wrote:

Apart from complaints about the accuracy of campaign ads, network reporters often disdained the negative tone of ads. Again, McCain was on the receiving end of nearly three times as many stories scolding his supposed negativity (66) as Obama (26). But according to the Wisconsin Advertising Project's review of ads from June 4 to October 4, and taking into account ads that include both positive and negative messages, "the tone of the McCain and Obama campaigns has been absolutely identical."

But the WAP report Noyes cited also stated: 

Analysis from the Wisconsin Advertising Project of Sen. John McCain’s advertising for the week of September 28 to October 4 shows, in fact, that all McCain campaign advertising did have significant negative content – either spots that were comprised completely of attacks on the Democratic nominee or ones that combined attacks on Sen. Barack Obama with some talk about Sen. McCain’s own plans.

Further, Noyes offers no breakdown of when in the time period examined those stories were aired. But as the WAP demonstrates, McCain has been more harshly negative than Obama in recent weeks, so it can be assumed that most of the coverage of McCain's negative advertising also happened in recent weeks, not in June as Noyes implies. Thus, Noyes distorts reality by falsely portraying McCain's and Obama's ads as equally negative throughout the entire campaign.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:49 AM EDT
WND Still Repeating Corsi's Bogus Claims
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Oct. 23 WorldNetDaily article repeats Jerome Corsi's claims that Barack Obama "raised almost $1 million" for Kenya's Raila Odinga, despite the fact that, as we detailed, the document Corsi offers as the only evidence to support the claim is clearly fake.

Neither WND nor Corsi have responded to ConWebWatch's debunking of Corsi's documents; they have neither retracted the articles nor offered further evidence to support their claims.

In noting that Corsi "has been dispatched to Hawaii to uncover the truth of the senator's Hawaiian birth," the article fails to mention that two months ago, "a WND investigation into Obama's birth certificate utilizing forgery experts also found the document to be authentic."

Why is WorldNetDaily lying to its readers?


Posted by Terry K. at 9:13 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, October 24, 2008 10:53 AM EDT
WND Again Forgets It Discredited Philip Berg
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Another WorldNetDaily article promotes the lawsuit filed by Philip J. Berg against Barack Obama regarding Obama's birth certificate while failing to mention that two months earlier, WND declared that Berg's lawsuit "relies on discredited claims" and that a "WND investigation into Obama's birth certificate utilizing forgery experts also found the document to be authentic."

Will no one free WND from its amnesia?


Posted by Terry K. at 1:52 AM EDT
Will Bozell Apologize to CNN for Assuming Malicious Intent?
Topic: Media Research Center

As we detailed, the fluff-laden interview of Sarah Palin by CNN's Drew Griffin was not fluffy enough for Brent Bozell and the Media Research Center. Taking issue with Griffin's taking a National Review article out of context, Bozell unleashed a tirade, claiming that Griffin and CNN "are out to destroy Sarah Palin" and accused them of "journalistic malpractice," further demanding an apology.

An Oct. 23 NewsBusters post by Matthew Balan details Griffin's response -- that he didn't not intentionally take the National Review article out of context, but that "I wanted to keep the interview moving. So, I got to the heart...of York’s article...which is -- you’re a successful governor. Why aren't you getting that message out, which she answered."

This leaves two questions:

1) Will Bozell and the MRC accept Griffin's explanation?

2) More importantly, will Bozell apologize to Griffin and CNN for presuming malicious, anti-Palin intent for the way Griffin phrased the question? Bozell has been silent about the rest of the interview, which has been described as "McCain-friendly" to the point that Griffin asked few challenging questions and essentially apologized for asking Palin about Troopergate.

If Bozell would like to look a little less thuggish, an apology is in order.

UPDATE: Bozell sort of apologizes, but still finds a way to play the victim:

"To its credit, CNN has gone out of its way to address and clarify the error on two separate occasions. We acknowledge this effort and are confident that the network has given proper gravity to the mischaracterization and taken proactive steps to correct it.

"We also take Drew Griffin and CNN at their word - that this mistake was not intended to mislead viewers to think a conservative magazine had trashed Gov. Palin.  Conservatives have endured hundreds - even thousands - of examples of the media deliberately distorting our words and positions. In this case, there was not a deliberate attempt. 

"As far as the Media Research Center is concerned, this case is closed."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:55 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, October 24, 2008 10:31 AM EDT
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Craige McMillan's Amnesia
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Craige McMillan dedicates his Oct. 23 WorldNetDaily column to promoting Philip Berg's lawsuit over Barack Obama's birth certificate, apparently oblivious -- intentionally or otherwise -- to the fact that his employer declared that Berg's lawsuit " relies on discredited claims."

In addition to smearing Obama supporters as "inbred East Coast fools" and treating baseless speculation as something that is "probably very close to the mark," McMillan channels Hal Lindsey in claiming a conspiracy behind FactCheck.org's debunking of the fake-birth-certificate claim:

As for factcheck.org and it's assurances that the short form "certification" of birth is real, that organization is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Obama's former sugar daddy, the Annenberg Foundation. Come to think of it, isn't the Annenberg Foundation the same organization that unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers used to "spread the wealth around"?

Wowser. 


Posted by Terry K. at 7:00 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, October 23, 2008 7:30 PM EDT
NewsBusters on Palin's $150,000 Wardrobe: Dismiss, Attack
Topic: NewsBusters

The boys at NewsBusters are eager to change the subject away from Sarah Palin's $150,000 wardrobe -- at least, when they're not attacking anyone who brings it up.

Kyle Drennen tried to do the former: "What exactly is the difference between Sarah Palin getting her clothes at Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus and Obama getting his clothes at Nordstrom’s and Bloomingdale’s?" Well, Obama didn't have the DNC pay for his clothes, and there's no evidence he's spending $150,000 a month on them.

Matthew Balan chose the latter route, declaring that CNN's Jack Cafferty was suffering from "Palin Derangement Syndrome" after he brought it up: "Jack, you’ve had a tough time recently, between your wife’s recent death and the unscheduled surgery. Isn’t about time that you just let the subject of Sarah Palin go?"

And Brent Baker sniffed that it's all "another media-generated controversy."

By contrast, here are the search results on NewsBusters for "john edwards haircut." No concern that we could find about it being a "media-generated controversy."

UPDATE: Clay Waters added that the New York Times "compiled an online slide show featuring Palin in various outfits, with photos accompanied by catty commentary." By contrast, Waters happily pointed out that Times columnist Maureen Dowd "grabbed hold of Edwards' hair and yanked on it" in a 2007 column.

Waters then went the distraction route: "Also at NRO, Lisa Schiffren explains why this was money well spent for the GOP."


Posted by Terry K. at 3:09 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, October 23, 2008 7:26 PM EDT

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