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Saturday, December 6, 2008
Examiner Misleads on Autoworker Pay
Topic: Washington Examiner

A Dec. 5 Washington Examiner editorial rehashes a misleading right-wing talking point in attacking autoworkers, claiming that they receive "wages and benefits at least $25 an hour higher on average than those paid workers at the U.S. plants of Toyota, Honda and Nissan."

That notion appears to be cut-and-pasted straight out of a Nov. 19 Heritage Foundation "WebMemo" by James Sherk:

The typical UAW worker at the Big Three earned between $71 and $76 an hour in 2006. This amount is triple the earnings of the typical worker in the private sector and $25 to $30 an hour more than American workers at Japanese auto plants.

But that's false --  that figure includes the cost of providing pensions and health care to retirees. There's no evidence that, as Sherk goes on to claim, "The average unionized worker at the Big Three earns over $130,000 a year in wages and benefits."

Posted by Terry K. at 6:02 PM EST
Kincaid's Newest Anti-Obama Rant
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Cliff Kincaid is still desperately seeking ways to attack Barack Obama, this time taking an opportunity to invoke his ultra-anti-communism in the process.

In his Dec. 2 Accuracy in Media column, Kincaid criticizes Obama for even appointing anyone, let alone Susan Rice, to be U.N. ambassador. Why? Because it was created in part by Alger Hiss (and thus, he writes, not "truly 'American'"), because it was allegedly "a major base of espionage operations for Russia in the U.S.," and because "it is still infested with anti-American intelligence agents and foreign spies."

Kincaid then goes off on a tangent, ranting against the idea that Obama adviser Anthony Lake might be appointed to a position in the Obama administration -- which has not actully been seriously discussed anywhere that we've seen -- because he once "expressed doubt as to whether Alger Hiss was really guilty" when asked about it during a 1997 congressional hearing on his nomination to be CIA director (from which he eventually withdrew). Kincaid adds that last year "we urged AIM members to send him a postcard" asking, "Do you still doubt that Alger Hiss was a Soviet spy?"

Kincaid fails to note that, according to a 1997 PBS report, Lake retracted the statement. Further, that Lake was asked about Hiss at all shows the hyperpartisan nature of the confirmation hearing; a March 19, 1997, New York Daily News editorial noted, "That the process was a dressed-up witch hunt was sealed when Lake was asked his opinion of Alger Hiss the bogeyman of the McCarthy years." A Newark Star-Ledger editorial the same day noted that the Hiss question was part of "an endless game of gotcha" by Lake's main inquisitor, Republican Sen. Richard Shelby.

Further, as Lake himself pointed out during his hearing, "The Hiss case is not something, frankly, that the national security adviser deals with every day." 

Nevertheless, Kincaid uses Lake (and Hiss) as a cudgel to bash Obama. That AIM postcard also included the question,"What Is Senator Obama’s position on the question of Hiss’s guilt?" and Kincaid concludes his column by writing, "Obama already has special access to America’s national security secrets. Has he shared any of them with his 'intimate' friend Anthony Lake?" That's apparently an allusion to a pre-election Kincaid scare tactic, that Obama's purported "30-year association with people who hate the United States" meant that "it is highly doubtful that Obama could get a security clearance in the U.S. government he wants to lead."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:58 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, December 6, 2008 11:00 AM EST
Friday, December 5, 2008
WND Repeats Previous Lies About Obama
Topic: WorldNetDaily

From a Dec. 5 WorldNetDaily article on Barack Obama's purported views on the court system:


Obama said in a 2001 radio interview said the Constitution is flawed in that it does not mandate or allow for redistribution of wealth.

Obama told Chicago's public station WBEZ-FM that "redistributive change" is needed, pointing to what he regarded as a failure of the U.S. Supreme Court under Chief Justice Earl Warren in its rulings on civil rights issues in the 1960s.

In fact, as the excerpt from the radio interview WND included in the article clearly indicates, Obama said no such thing. Obama never "said the Constitution is flawed in that it does not mandate or allow for redistribution of wealth," nor did Obama describe the Warren court's refusal to address the issue of "redistributive change" as a "failure."

WND cited as a source for its interpretation an Oct. 27 WND article making the same false claims (as we've noted).

None of this is a surprise, given that WND and its employees lack the moral compass that would stop most normal people from spreading lies.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:02 PM EST
Huston Makes False Claim About Obama, Oprah
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Dec. 5 NewsBusters post, Warner Todd Huston stated that Oprah Winfrey "made some vague claim that she had "decided" not to open her show for political candidates despite the fact that she was an open participant in Barack Obama's campaign and had the now president elect and his wife on her show several times during the campaigns."

False. In fact, while Obama appeared on Oprah's show in 2005 and 2006, he did not appear after he declared as a candidate or during the presidential campaign, fulfilling her goal "not to use my show as a platform for any of the candidates."

Further, Huston repeats a claim reported by Matt Drudge that "Oprah had been heard to say that she would never interview Sarah Palin" as if it were true; he offers no evidence that it is. Needless to say, Huston makes no mention of Drudge's history of making false claims.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:49 PM EST
CNS Headline Doesn't Support Article

A Dec. 3 article by Penny Starr on the appointment on Cecilia Muñoz, "[a]n 18-year veteran of the National Council of La Raza," to President-elect Barack Obama's White House staff carries the headline, "Pro-Amnesty Activist Joins Obama White House Staff." But at no point in the article does Starr describe Muñoz as supporting "amnesty" -- indeed, the word "amnesty" appears nowhere in the article itself.

Starr does write that Muñoz "advocated for federal legislation to give the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States a path to citizenship," further desscribing her position as supporting "comprehensive immigration reform that required people who are in the United States illegally to come forward, prove they have no criminal record and are paying taxes, pay a fine, start to learn English, and then be put on a path to citizenship that would take about 10 years to complete." No effort is made to explain how this position equals "amnesty," or even to reconcile this position with Starr's quoting of an attack on Muñoz by FAIR's Bob Dane, who claimed "La Raza exists as a way to systematically dismantle enforcement and any semblance of discipline in the immigration system."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:20 AM EST
Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

A pair of NewsBusters writers engage in the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy:

A Dec. 4 post by Terry Trippany baselessly imputes political motives to the Associated Press for reporting on a county in rural Alabama that has decided to create "Barack Obama Day."Trippany claims that for the AP, the article is "one of those pivotal occasions where they can pursue what should be an obvious national event while at the same time implying the obvious racism of the rest of the state that supported John McCain 'largely on strong support from White voters.'" Trippany doesn't explain why noting the racial makeup of McCain's victory in Alabama constitutes racism.

Nevertheless, Trippany continues:

This wink and a nod style journalism has aspects of McCarthyism. Only now the media has new villains, white people that don't support Barack Obama, heterosexuals that don't support gay marriage, parents that propose abstinence as the best way to prevent pregnancy and global warming "deniers" that separate the politics of global warming from the science behind the cyclical nature to the planet's climate. This is just to name a few of the villains, usually Republican, religious and/or southern white Democrat.

Meanwhile, Clay Waters, in a Dec. 4 post purporting to express surprise that a New York Times writer would express criticism of Che Guevara, cited as an example of "the paper's long-time favorable treatment of Guevara the 'revolutionary icon'" an October 2007 post he did about an article on the reaction of Cubans to "Che Guevara chic," in which he took offense at a Times reporter's description of Guevara as a "revolutionary icon." But Waters missed the point of the reporter's duty -- to describe the feelings of Cubans about Che, who for better or worse feel that way about him. Waters does not contradict that.

That article leads to another Waters attack on the Times over Che from 2004, baselessly claiming that a Times reporter was "gush[ing]" over Che when, in fact, he was writing about attitudes toward Che in his home country of Argentina.

The MRC's Tim Graham has a similar problem in assuming that the only possible reason reporters would write about Che is because they are secret communists and think he's as a deity.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:15 AM EST
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Hostetter Misleads on Autoworker Pay
Topic: Newsmax

From a Dec. 3 Newsmax column by E. Ralph Hostetter:

Auto execs’ agreeing to nominal pay and forgoing perks won’t translate until much long term unless they address their main systemic problem: labor unions.

Using GM as an example, labor costs, including wages and benefits, have been $73.26 an hour, so a 40-hour week paid the GM worker $2,938 a week, including all benefits.

In fact, autoworkers do not make "$73.26 an hour" or "$2,938 a week," as Hostetter claims. That figure includes not only future retirement benefits for current workers, but also benefits paid to current retirees.

Hostetter has a history of making false and misleading claims. 

Posted by Terry K. at 2:37 PM EST
CNS Labeling Bias Watch

The headline of a Dec. 3 article by Tiffany Bell describes newly appointed Obama White House communications director Ellan Moran as a "pro-abortion activist," and the article references "pro-abortion women candidates" and "other pro-abortion activists." The term "pro-choice" is used only once, in a quote. By contrast, those on the other side of the issue are described as "pro-life groups," and the "activist" label is not applied to them.

This follows CNS' longtime labeling bias on the issue of abortion.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:16 AM EST
New Article: WorldNetDaily's Birth Certificate Fraud
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WND is still raising questions about Barack Obama's birth certificate, even though it determined months ago that the certificate is "authentic" -- a report it has refused to acknowledge (or retract) since. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:51 AM EST
Klein Repeats Biased Attack on Kurtzer
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Dec. 2 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein uses the occasion of a -- what else? -- anonymously sourced claim that Obama adviser Daniel Kurtzer would be named U.S. envoy to the Middle East as yet another opportunity to rehash previous attacks on Kurtzer that Klein fails to label as coming from right-wingers.

Klein repeats his previous claim that Kurtzer "long has been seen in Jerusalem as one of the Jewish state's greatest foes in Washington" as claimed by Zionist Organization of America's Morton Klein, former AIPAC executive director Morris Amitay, and former Jewish leaders Benjamin Netanyahu and Yitzhak Shamir. As we detailed when Klein first forwarded their attacks on Kurtzer, Klein and Amitay are right-wingers, and Netanyahu and Shamir are members of the right-wing Likud party.

Further, Klein once again fails to mention, as we've also detailed, that Kurtzer is an Orthodox Jew, is the former dean of Yeshiva University and was caricatured in the Egyptian press during his tenure as U.S. ambasssador to Egypt -- all relevant information to readers. Yet Klein refused to tell his readers that.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:40 AM EST
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Newsmax Promotes Another Skewed Anti-Labor Poll
Topic: Newsmax

For the second time in a week, Newsmax has published the results of a poll opposing the Employee Free Choice Act without describing the political agenda behind the group promoting it.

A Dec. 2 Newsmax article states that "A majority of both Republican and Democratic voters oppose The Employee Free Choice Act, according to a new poll by Public Opinion Strategies of 800 general election voters," a poll conducted by the Workforce Fairness Institute. But, as with a Nov. 25 article on a similar poll, Newsmax failed to tell its readers about the political agenda of the groups involved.

The Workforce Fairness Institute has a pro-business agenda (though it claims not to be "anti-union"). It states that it is "funded by and advocates on behalf of business owners who enjoy good working relationships with their employees, and would like to maintain those good relationships without the unfair interference of government bureaucrats, union organizers and special interests."

WFI's polling firm, Public Opinion Strategies, has a political client list that is almost exclusively Republican; it highlights a quote on its website calling it "Republican polling firm."

The article also claimed that poll respondents were "presented with neutral language describing the key provisions of the bill." But according to the poll, the supposedly "neutral language" falsely suggested that secret ballots on union representation were being eliminated entirely:

Instead of holding a federally supervised secret ballot election to decide whether to unionize, union organizers would be allowed to ask employees to sign a card saying they support forming a union.

In fact, according to the House Education and Labor Committee:

The Employee Free Choice Act does not abolish the National Labor Relations Board election process. That process would still be available under the Employee Free Choice Act. The legislation simply enables workers to also form a union through majority sign-up if a majority prefers that method to the NLRB election process. Under current law, workers may only use the majority sign-up process if their employer agrees. The Employee Free Choice Act would make that choice – whether to use the NLRB election process or majority sign-up – a majority choice of the employees, not the employer.

The poll also asked, "If this proposal passes and becomes law, how worried are you that LABOR UNION ORGANIZERS would use deception, harassment, and even coercion to get employees to sign a pro-union card?" It did not mention "deception, harassment, and even coercion" by business owners fighting union representation; for instance, the House committee noted that "in 2005 alone, over 30,000 workers received back pay from employers that illegally fired or otherwise discriminated against them for their union activities."

A truly unbiased poll with "neutral language" would have noted both, or neither. By painting unions, but not businesses, as engaging in "deception, harassment, and even coercion," WFI exposes its agenda, as well as contradicts its claim that it's not "anti-union."

Posted by Terry K. at 6:22 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, December 3, 2008 6:23 PM EST
Quote of the Day
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Critics who denounce and slander their colleagues for comparing Barack Obama's meteoric rise to power with that of Hitler's are out of ideas or have too much time on their hands.

-- Jerry Kane, Dec. 3 column. Yes, Kane is defending those Obama-Hitler comparisons that WND loves to publish.

Right Wing Watch has more

Posted by Terry K. at 3:33 PM EST
Newsmax Promotes Anonymous Attacks on Rice
Topic: Newsmax

A Dec. 3 Newsmax article promotes attacks on Susan Rice, Barack Obama's nominee as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations -- but the article is completely anonymous. It cites only two sources, "a Washington insider who has worked with Rice" who spoke to Newsmax and "one Africa expert who worked with Rice" who spoke to Newsweek.

That anonymity extends to the author of the article: Newsmax put no byline on it.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:45 PM EST
Corsi Still Peddling Discredited Claims Based on Fake Documents
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Dec. 1 WorldNetDaily article offering an update on Jerome Corsi's health repeats the claim that Corsi "reported Obama allegedly raised nearly $1 million for Odinga to run for president in Kenya in December 2007." In fact, as we've detailed, the only evidence Corsi has forwarded to support this claim are documents that are clearly fake.

Corsi has never addressed the issue of the fake documents he used to back up this claim -- yet he still treats the claim as if it were true. Nor has he officially retracted his other fake-document-based claim: the obviously forged emails purportedly from Obama to Odinga setting up Obama aide Mark Lippert as a liaison between the two.

Before Corsi returns from his convalescence to "investigate key issues regarding the president-elect," he might want to correct the record about his fake documents.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:08 AM EST
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Don Feder Unleashes Yet Another Uninformed Anti-NYT Rant
Topic: Accuracy in Media

As we've detailed, Accuracy in Media's founding of a website to promote a New York Times boycott appears to have been motivated by little more than a desire to serve as an arm of John McCain's presidential campaign than of any desire to seriously address questions of media bias. With the election over, Boycott NYT is looking more and more like a joke.

In a Dec. 1 article, Don Feder writes: "In a series of six alleged 'news' stories on the Mumbai massacre, from November 27 to December 1, The New York Times (America’s newspaper which sounds like a broken record) refused to call the terrorists Muslims or Islamic extremists." But Feder is cherry-picking; according to the Times' archive on the subject, The Times published 25 articles related to the attacks between Nov. 27 and Dec. 1. Further, Feder does not state which six articles he plucked out as a purportedly representative sample of the Times' coverage.

Feder then asserted that "The Times adamantly refuses to recognize a connection between Islam and worldwide terrorism, even though most terrorist acts are committed by Muslims, terrorist groups have names like jihad-this and Islamic-that, and terrorists regularly quote the Koran’s kill-the-infidels verses." Using technical terms like "jihad-this and Islamic-that" is apparently what passes for research as far as Feder is concerned.

By cherry-picking those six stories -- which he does not identify -- Feder carefully avoids Times articles that did, in fact, mention Islamic links to the incident:

  • A Nov. 28 article noted that an Indian official "suggested the foot-soldiers in the attack might have emerged from an outlawed militant group of Islamic students, while also quoting RAND Corporation analyst Christine Fair as saying, "There are a lot of very, very angry Muslims in India. ... "The economic disparities are startling and India has been very slow to publicly embrace its rising Muslim problem."
  • A Nov. 28 article stated, "The Hindustan Times, an influential Indian newspaper, reported Thursday that India’s security agencies believed that the multiple attacks in Mumbai were by an Islamic militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, operating out of Pakistan."
  • A Dec. 1 editorial noted that perpetrators of the violence appear to be linked to "Islamist group from the disputed region of Kashmir that is increasingly collaborating with the Taliban and Al Qaeda."

Feder goes on to write:

That aside, The Times frequently got the facts wrong or omitted important details. In a November 30 story, the paper described the murders as “indiscriminate.”

Hardly. When a Turkish couple told their captors they were Muslims, they were immediately released. The terrorists targeted Mumbai’s Chabad House (a center of Jewish activity in the city) for one reason and one reason only - they wanted to kill Jews.

The only terrorist captured by Indian commandos said he and his comrades were told to target foreigners (particularly Americans and Brits) and Jews. Indiscriminate, did you say?

Feder apparently never bothered to read the rest of the article to which he linked:

Contrary to earlier reports, it appeared that Westerners were not the gunmen’s main targets: they killed whomever they could. By Saturday evening, 18 of the dead were confirmed as foreigners; an additional 22 foreigners were wounded, said Vilasrao Deshmukh, the chief minister of Maharashtra State, where Mumbai is located.

Rattan Keswani, the president of Trident Hotels, said he had found no basis for reports that gunmen had rounded up holders of American and British passports at the Oberoi and herded them upstairs. “Nothing seems to suggest that,” he said, noting that a range of nationalities was represented among the 22 hotel guests who died, in addition to the 10 staff members, all Indian.

If the terrorists were "told to target foreigners" and Jews, why were so many Indians killed? Feder doesn't answer that question.

Feder also writes: "In thousands of words of coverage, The New York Times never mentioned that victims’ bodies frequently bore the marks of torture. One of the doctors who performed post-mortems was quoted on the Indian news website as saying 'of all the bodies, the Israeli victims bore the maximum torture marks.'" But the Rediff article to which Feder is referring contains only one named source; the rest, including the doctors purportedly being quoted, are anonymous. That's not to say it isn't true; it's just unverified with no reason given to protect the identities of those being quoted. 

It's telling that Feder would blindly take the word of anonymous sources at a website he knows nothing about and the veracity of which he has presumably not investigated. It's also telling that AIM has given Feder his own website to peddle such easily disproven lies and distortions.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:14 PM EST

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