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Friday, November 14, 2008
NewsBusters Bashes Reporter for Following AP Style
Topic: NewsBusters

A Nov. 14 NewsBusters post by Tom Blumer bashes a Greenville (South Carolina) News reporter for referring to Catholic priest Jay Scott Newman -- who has declared that parishoners who voted for Barack Obama should not accept Communion until they have done penance -- as "the Rev. Jay Scott Newman":

Note to Greenville News reporter Ben Szobody: It's "Father Newman" or "Fr. Newman" every time his name appears, not "The Rev" when you feel like it. This should not be "controversial" (a favorite media word for "majority or accepted opinion we journalists don't like"), but it almost surely will be. 

In fact, it appears that Szobody has correctly followed longstanding AP reporting style, which is to use "the Rev." for all ministers and priests -- including Catholic priests -- on first reference and the last name only on subsequent references.

There's noting "controversial" about what the reporter did here. Blumer shouldn't pretend that there is. 

Posted by Terry K. at 5:53 PM EST
The Atlantic Is 'Mainstream Media'?
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Nov. 13 NewsBusters post, Robert Bluey declared the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz "guilty" of "institutional bias against conservatives" for writing that "no mainstream outlet" published rumors regarding Sarah Palin's pregnancy "until the McCain campaign issued a statement, during the GOP convention, that Palin's teenage daughter Bristol was pregnant." Bluey adds:

I don't know what Kurtz considers a "mainstream outlet," but let's just assume we include the 151-year-old Atlantic, which Kurtz wrote about with great fanfare in August 2007. The magazine's most prominent contributor, Andrew Sullivan, was among the most rapid rumormongers about Trig Palin.


Has Andrew Sullivan done so much damage to The Atlantic's journalistic standards that's it's no longer considered a "mainstream outlet"? Please tell us, Howie.

So, uh, tell us, Bob: How exactly is Sullivan and The Atlantic "mainstream"? The Atlantic has a fraction of the circulation of, say, that "mainstream media" stalwart Time magazine -- where, by the way, Sullivan used to blog. Since the Atlantic is smaller than Time, that means it's less "mainstream," does it not? And isn't Sullivan also less "mainstream" for moving from Time to the Atlantic?

Indeed, the Atlantic archive at NewsBusters contains a mere 17 items -- and none before January of this year, even though NewsBusters was founded in 2005 -- which tells us that Bluey's own colleagues don't consider it very "mainstream," either. 

Yet Bluey "assume[d]" that The Atlantic is "mainstream." You know what they say about people who assume ... 

Posted by Terry K. at 2:44 PM EST
WND's Schilling Still Has Amnesia About Obama's Birth Certificate
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Chelsea Schilling still hasn't apparently read the website she works for.

A Nov. 13 WorldNetDaily article by Schilling on lawsuits claiming that Barack Obama has never proved his citizenship -- like an Oct. 16 Schilling article -- failed to note that in August, WND debunked the claim that the birth certificate released by Obama's campaign was fake -- a "WND investigation into Obama's birth certificate utilizing forgery experts also found the document to be authentic" -- and that the first lawsuit this kind, by Philip Berg, "relies on discredited claims."

We've previously detailed Schilling's and WND's amnesia about its own reporting. 

UPDATE: A Nov. 14 article by Bob Unruh on another lawsuit (by Alan Keyes) also fails to mention WND's previous debunking.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:12 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, November 15, 2008 1:09 AM EST
FrontPageMag Falsely Claims Palin Africa Story Is 'Hoax'
Topic: Horowitz

In a Nov. 13 FrontPageMag article discussing criticism of Sarah Palin, Jacob Laksin noted the claim that Palin "did not know that Africa is a continent and not a country" and writes: "Palin has said that her comments about NATO and Africa were quoted out of context. The Africa charge turns out to be a hoax."

Wrong. In fact, the "hoax" in question was the assertion that purported McCain policy adviser "Martin Eisenstadt" made in an appearance on MSNBC that he was the person who first leaked the Africa claim. "Eisenstadt" and the related "Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy" are the creations of a pair of hoaxsters who have taken in MSNBC, among others, over the years.

Indeed, the AP article Laksin cited to back up his claim specifically contradicts him: "While Palin has denied that she mistook Africa for a country, the veracity of that report was not put in question by the revelation that Eisenstadt is a phony."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:24 AM EST
Klein Still Clinging to Unverified Story
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've previously noted Aaron Klein's embrace of the unverified claim in the Arab-language newspaper Al-Hayat that "aides" to Barack Obama met with representatives of Hamas. Well, Klein is still clinging to it -- and he still hasn't verified it.

A Nov. 13 WorldNetDaily article by Klein repeats the claim by framing it around Hamas' statement that "The report in Al-Hayat was not accurate," which Klein parses by claiming it was "carefully worded" and "did not deny the terror group met with Obama aides."

And nowhere does Klein offer any additional verification for it -- he's still claiming that Ahmed Yousef, the Hamas spokesman who made the claim to Al-Hayat, has not called him back. And even if Yousef did, why would Klein (or anyone else, for that matter) trust a member of what he has repeatedly called a terrorist organization?

Given that everyone involved in the story is denying it -- Hamas is, despite Klein's parsing, as is the Obama campaign -- why is Klein still clinging to it? Simple -- because he's trying to bring down Obama's presidency the way he tried to damage his presidential campaign. He's just doing Joseph Farah's bidding.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:17 AM EST
Newsmax Repeats Bogus Story About Minn. Ballots in Car
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax is in the tank for Republican Norm Coleman in the Minnesota Senate post-election battle against Democrat Al Franken, and as we've noted, it's been peddling baseless accusations of voter fraud against Franken.

One claim peddled was that, as stated in a Nov. 9 article by Phil Brennan, "one election judge who recalled that because of a communications snafu, the vote tallies could not be transmitted to the state electronically and that the top official in his voting district, a Democrat, simply took the results and carried them to the state in her car -- with no one to keep an eye on her."

A Nov. 12 article by Jim Meyers, summarizing a Wall Street Journal editorial, repeated the claim: "In one case, Minnesota’s director of elections announced on Friday, three days after the election, that she had forgotten to count 32 absentee ballots in her car."

Just one problem: The story isn't true. As Media Matters details, real media outlets have told the full story: The ballots were kept in a secure location and were never left in anyone's car. Further, even a lawyer for Coleman, Fritz Knaak, has said of the claim that "we've heard enough from the city attorney to let go of this. It does not appear that there was any ballot-tampering, and that was our concern."

It appears the only people who believe there was vote-tampering in this case are those in the right-wing media -- like Newsmax.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:43 AM EST
Thursday, November 13, 2008
NewsBusters Tweaks MSNBC for Falling for Hoax -- But NewsBusters Did Too
Topic: NewsBusters

A Nov. 13 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard begins: "MSNBC's David Shuster was duped Monday by someone erroneously claiming to be the McCain campaign adviser who leaked derogatory information to the press about Sarah Palin." Sheppard concludes: "The folks at NBC and General Electric must be so proud."

But NewsBusters' P.J. Gladnick spent a Nov. 10 post issuing a detailed response to "Martin Eisenstadt," the hoaxster who claimed he was the one who leaked the Palin info in that MSNBC interview. Only later did Gladnick update the post to report the hoax nature of it.

Sheppard does not mention Gladnick's post. 

Posted by Terry K. at 5:40 PM EST
Kessler Smears Obama on Judges
Topic: Newsmax

A Nov. 12 Newsmax column by Ronald Kessler is one long hit piece on Barack Obama, an attempt to play scare tactics by making a big deal about "how quickly" Obama could change courts to "a liberal judicial outlook."

kessler writes that Obama has said that, in selecting judges, he would look for candidates who show "empathy" for the weak and underprivileged, then bizarrely twists Obama's words: "Obama wants judges to have a bias in favor of an entire class of individuals. Imagine the outcry if Bush had said he wants courts to side with the privileged."

Does Kessler really think that empathy is the same thing as bias? Kessler adds:

But what really sends chills up conservatives’ spines is the president-elect’s statement on a Chicago radio station that he is “not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts,” implying that he would like to change the courts so that they construct their own laws. 

In fact, Obama made no such implication. As the full context of Obama's statement demonstrates, he said the courts were not the ideal venue to bring about "redistributive change," but that it should come up on the political side instead:

I think the tragedies of the civil rights movement was, because the civil rights movements became so court-focused, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing, and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change. And, in some ways, we still suffer from that. 


You know, maybe I'm showing my bias here as a legislator as well as a law professor, but, you know, I'm not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. You know, the institution just isn't structured that way.

Kessler is just handing red meat to the Obama-haters at Newsmax (of which he is one). Too bad he isn't terribly interested in relating facts.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:52 PM EST
The Tabloid Double Standard Continues
Topic: NewsBusters

A Nov. 12 NewsBusters post by P.J. Gladnick once again bashes the Los Angeles Times for not immediately jumping on the National Enquirer's reports that John Edwards had an affair. Gladnick adds: "Of course, the real reason that the Times avoided the topic of the Edwards scandal was that they were worried that publicity about this would embarrass the Democrats since it still seemed that John Edwards would make an appearance at the Democrat convention in Denver."

Curiously, Gladnick is not demanding that the Times immediately report the Enquirer's newest claim -- that Cindy McCain had an affair. Nor do we recall Gladnick or anyone else at NewsBusters demanding that the media report the Enquirer's claims of a Sarah Palin affair.

We've previously written about the ConWeb's double standard regarding tabloid rumors -- trustworthy when they're about liberals, but trashy when they're about conservatives.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:22 AM EST
New Article: The Year WorldNetDaily Died
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WND began the year by admitting in court that it published false information and ended it by recklessly spreading lies about Barack Obama. Why should anyone take it seriously as a source of news? Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:47 AM EST
AIM's Feder Gets It Wrong Again
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A Nov. 10 Accuracy in Media "Boycott the New York Times" article by Don Feder notes a Times article on the reaction of some Middle East terrorists to the election of Barack Obama, adding, "why didn’t The Times report on Obama’s support from communists and Islamacists before the election?" Feder then adds alleged examples of such:

In May, Fidel Castro wrote in Granma that he believed Obama was “doubtless, from the social and human points of view, the most progressive candidate to the U.S. presidency.” 


In April, top Hamas political advisor Ahmed Yousef compared Obama to John F. Kennedy, and lauded the Democrat as a “great man, with great principle” and “a vision to change.”

In the case of Castro, Feder fails to note that, according to PolitiFact, Castro was giving Obama a compliment that was backhanded at best and that Castro also called the U.S. embargo against Cuba that Obama pledged to maintain "an act of genocide." As PolitiFact also noted, Castro did not actually endorse either Obama or John McCain.

In the case of Hamas, that statement came from an interview Yousef did with WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein and right-wing radio host John Batchelor. As we've detailed, there are numerous questions about the interview regarding the nature of Yousef's participation in it that Klein has yet to answer.

Nowhere does Feder mention that an al-Qaeda linked website endorsed McCain.

Feder further fails to mention that a 2004 videotape by Osama bin Laden -- which conservatives portrayed as an endorsement of John Kerry -- was, according to CIA analysts as reported in Ron Suskind's book "The One Percent Doctrine," intended to assist President Bush's re-election.

As we've noted, Feder's work for AIM's Times boycott has been marked by his ideological agenda trumping the facts and shilling for McCain.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:14 AM EST
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
NewsBusters Misleadingly Defends Limbaugh
Topic: NewsBusters

A Nov. 9 NewsBusters post by Rusty Weiss bashing the Los Angeles Times' James Rainey for an article that, in Weiss' words, "attempted to castigate the right wing media as a bitter and resentful group of shameless journalists" -- so Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are "journalists" now? -- misleadingly defends Limbaugh. He writes:

Questioning our under-experienced President-elect isn't being fair?  Is it truly unfair to question the effect that a potential Obama victory had on our markets, and what an actual victory has done to send the stock market into the tank? 

Rainey is referring to Limbaugh's commentary that with the two day post-election stock market plunge, the Obama recession is in full swing.  Rush isn't the first, or only one raising such a point.  Investor's Business Daily ran an editorial on October 10th, regarding the link between a market dive and the election of America's first socialist President.  Our President-elect will make a dramatic shift away from capitalism, and will raise income, capital gains, dividend and payroll taxes, but it is simply unfair to assume any relationship between that knowledge and the biggest two day market loss since 1987?  Rainey wishes only to indulge in mindless Limbaugh bashing.

In fact, even the Fox Business Channel and the Wall Street Journal dispute the idea that Obama's election was the sole and direct cause of the stock market's drop in the two days following the election, citing unfavorable reports on employment and retail sales that came out at the same time.

Weiss then cites Limbaugh's assertion that Democrats are "going to take your 401(k), put it in the Social Security trust fund" and Rainey's correction that "Obama and the Democrats have proposed no such thing. The proposal, in fact, emanated from a single economist, one of many experts testifying to a congressional committee":

Not to mention, the phrase ‘plotting a government takeover' is quite misleading, when Limbaugh actually had stated that Obama's party ‘is talking about a government takeover of 401(k) plans.' 

Talking and plotting are two very different things.  Talking and proposing - also two very different things.  Rush never claimed they were plotting or proposing anything.  He said the Democrats were talking about such things. Rainey skillfully has taken Limbaugh's comments out of context, a staple for an LA Times writer.

But Weiss is taking Limbaugh out of context to minimize his remarks and hide the fact that Limbaugh accused Obama and Democrats of doing a lot more than "talking" about taking over 401(k) plans:

He wants to bankrupt the coal industry.  His party is now talking about a government takeover of 401(k)s.  In addition to you losing your 401(k), can I make a point to you about this?  Imagine every 401(k) and SEP/Keogh Plan in the country, and the government takes 'em over.  They're going to pull 'em out of the stock market.  Your investments are in the markets or wherever else you have them. They're going to take your 401(k). The way they're going to "sweeten" this for you is to take your 401(k) back to its August levels before the market decline. They're going to say to you, "We're going to restore the full value of your 401(k)," and you're supposed to have your tongue on the floor panting going (panting), "Really? Really?  Oh, wow! I love Obama! I love the Democrats."

Right. Then they take your 401(k) away from you after they "restore the value," and they put it in your so-called Social Security fund, which is bankrupt, and they're going to grow it by 3% each year with government bonds, and they're going to adjust that for inflation.  Well, whoopee-doo.  If we enter a deflationary period, which a lot of people think we might now -- which is not good, by the way. Deflation is bad for producers because they can't sell the things they produce for a profit.  It can drive businesses out of business if we go deflationary.  Inflation is bad, too.  But deflationary is a horribly bad cycle.  They're going to take your 401(k), put it in the Social Security trust fund, whatever the hell that is. Trust fund, my rear end.  Whatever they're calling it, going to put it there, guaranteeing you 3% interest a year, and the most that you're going to be able to contribute to it, Rachel, every year is 5%.


So, in addition to you losing your 401(k) to the government at 3% a year for the rest of your life, adjusted for inflation, all that money comes out of the stock market.  Okay.  So let me start at the top here, connecting the dots.  On Tuesday we elect a new president. The new president promised -- even before the election, by the way, when we had a 4,000-point drop. The president promised to increase corporate taxes, capital gains taxes, the top marginal income tax rate, a massive new energy tax that will bankrupt coal, and his party is talking about a government takeover of 401(k) plans.  So on Wednesday the Dow drops about 486 points.  It's down 346 points today, but of course, according to the Drive-Bys, these two events have nothing to do with each other. It's just a coincidence.

The full context shows that Limbaugh potrayed it as an actual proposal, not something one guy mentioned in a hearing. Despite Weiss' assertion that "Research into the issue seems to contradict the assertion that the idea is relegated solely to one radical economist spouting off ideas," he offers no evidence to support the claim.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:46 PM EST
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It was the Sunday after the election, and everywhere I looked I could only see impending doom.

There is no way God would have allowed Barack Obama to become president were He not finally turning America over to judgment, to whatever great or lesser extent that will be.

I sat in my mother's church and was surprised to feel anger when the worship leader smiled and sang the same songs as ever, as if life hadn't drastically changed the week before, as if the Church itself wasn't indicted by Obama's election.

-- Jill Stanek, Nov. 12 WorldNetDaily column

There is no question that the Barack Obama Movement was led not by elder statesman, but by college students and twentysomethings. This election cycle provided Generation Y a chance to assume unearned moral superiority over their elders by promoting a black president. It also provided Generation Y a chance to live out the precepts of their public school educations, which focused on "changing the world," as well as "diversity" and "tolerance."

Here's the big question: Why in the world should we be excited about young Americans defining our politics?

No political mass movement led by young people has ever resulted in good. In fact, the most murderous mass movements in history have been led by young people. Nazism became popular among the youth before it became the German national theology; Hitler, of course, cultivated young people by targeting them for service in his SA, or Sturm Abteilung, and later, his Hitler Youth. The movement for Soviet Communism was led by young devotees of Lenin, who swallowed his sadistic ideology wholesale; later, the Soviet system would ask children to spy on their parents in service of the state. Similarly, the Chinese Maoists were largely composed of young people; so were the Vietnamese Viet Cong. It is no coincidence that the current Islamo-fascist movement is dominated by militant young Muslims.

-- Ben Shapiro, Nov. 12 syndicated column, reprinted at WorldNetDaily and 

Posted by Terry K. at 11:41 AM EST
CNS Baselessly Claims 'Many Democrats' Back Fairness Doctrine

A Nov. 11 article by Nicholas Ballasy states that "many Democrats in Congress have said the Fairness Doctrine should be re-imposed to counter the influence of conservative talk radio, which dominates the marketplace with shows hosted by people such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Neal Boortz and Mark Levin."

Not only does Ballasy offer no evidence to support the claim (citing one supporter is not "many"), his article features the statements of two Democratic congressmen who don't support reinstating the Fairness Doctrine, which would seem to undermine the claim.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:26 AM EST
Newsmax Takes Refuge In Irrelevant Land Mass Vote
Topic: Newsmax

We've previously noted that after the 2004 presidential election, Newsmax was selling a U.S. map depicting the presidential vote by county, which showed an overwhelming red color for President Bush -- which is misleading and irrelevant because land masses don't vote for president, people do.

In an apparent attempt to make itself feel better about John McCain's loss, Newsmax is repeating the tactic. A Nov. 11 article by Kenneth D. Williams, carrying the headline "America Is Still a 'Red' Nation," states:

A county by county breakdown of the 2008 presidential elections show that once again most counties went Republican (red counties voted for McCain, blue for Obama).

Now in its third iteration since the 2000 Bush-Gore election battle, the map has changed only slightly.

Nowhere does Williams note that this is irrelevant because, again, land masses don't get to vote for president.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:55 AM EST

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