Topic: Washington Examiner
Another Sunday Washington Examiner, another fawning right-wing profile -- this time of libertarian economist Tyler Cowen.
Monday, December 15, 2008
WND Columnist Falsely Claims 'Close' Obama-Blago Relationship
In his Dec. 13 WorldNetDaily column, Ellis Washington asserted that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich "up to a few days ago was a good friend and a close political ally of President-elect Barack Obama."
That contradicts the known and documented history of relations between Blagojevich and Obama. As we've detailed, the Washington Post reported that while Obama worked on Blagojevich's campaign in 2002 and endorsed his re-election in 2006, the two were not close: "They sometimes used each other to propel their own careers but privately acted like rivals." The post also stated: "The two men have not talked for more than a year, colleagues said, save for a requisite handshake at a funeral or public event. Blagojevich rarely campaigned for Obama and never stumped with him. The governor arrived late at the Democratic convention and skipped Obama's victory-night celebration at Chicago's Grant Park."
Does that say "good friend and a close political ally" to anyone? Only, apparently, to Washington.
Washington also asserted that "Obama knows that he is neck-deep into the Blagojevich seat-selling scheme; after all, it is Obama's Senate seat that is for sale." That also contradicts known facts; prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has specifically said that the criminal complaint against Blagojevich "makes no allegations about the president-elect whatsoever -- his conduct."
Would You Take Financial Advice From This Man?
As we've noted, WorldNetDaily in July launched Red Alert, a "global financial strategies newsletter" headed by Jerome Corsi. The newsletter was described as being for "for people of wealth and those who want to be people of wealth," specifically, those with "assets of $1 million or more to protect" or income of "$85,000 a year or more." It proposes to offer "the insights and behind-the-scenes reports and deep analysis of one of America's top political thinkers, journalists, commentators and financial gurus."
More recently, Corsi has predicted that "within one year, even an economic failure like President Herbert Hoover will look like a genius when compared to the failures we are likely to see from a President Obama." Corsi seems to be mixing some of his bogus-document fantasies in with his predictions.
Corsi has also gloated over financial problems faced by media companies: "The only good news this week is that the death throes of the mainstream media have begun in earnest."
It's important to note that Corsi's financial background is not in finance itself but it marketing. Corsi's bio on Red Alert states:
The distinction between finance and financial marketing is important, because Corsi appears to have been less than successful in the former.
As the Boston Globe detailed, Corsi was a principal in a group that launched an investment venture in Poland in 1995 that eventually lost about $1.2 million, much of it raised from a group of about 20 Minnesota investors -- at least two of whom received a court judgment against Corsi and the other principals but had yet to collect any money from Corsi because, according to one investor, Corsi's assets "had been moved into his wife's name . . . There was nothing to get out of him."
Corsi, meanwhile, had little to say beyond "no comment."
Still, the question must be raised given this history: Is Corsi a person from whom one should really be taking financial advice? Then again, he might be a better source on such things than, say, Dick Morris.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Dueling ConWeb Cruises
WorldNetDaily isn't the only ConWeb outlet who's peddling a cruise for its readers to buy.
For the second year in a row, WND is offering a Caribbean cruise; it claims it "has managed to put together an absolutely memorable, first-class Western Caribbean cruise, and yet charge half the cost of some cruises currently being promoted by similar organizations."
Featured guests on the WND cruise include Joseph Farah, Jerome Corsi, Aaron Klein and David Kupelian -- which might explain why WND had to cut the price to get people to join.
This is the cruise Farah has previously promoted as an opportunity to "plot the counterrevolution," adding that the idea "might be considered seditious after Jan. 20." Farah also claims: "And there's nothing like getting together with people who share your dread to kick around ideas not just about survival, but about fighting back, about overcoming, about victory." Yeah, nothing says "counterrevolution" like a Caribbean cruise. Rather Brooks Brothers riot-ish, actually.
Newsmax, meanwhile, has its own cruise from Rome to London planned to mark the website's 10th anniversary. Featured guests include Christopher Ruddy, Dick Morris, Ronald Kessler, and Dr. Russell Blaylock. Ruddy states:
Isn't the whole "off the record" thing a bit odd for something that claims to be a journalistic website? And since when did Ruddy and Morris, et al, become "faculty"?
FrontPageMag Falsely Impugns AP Photographer
The case of Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein was a cause celebre among right-wingers a couple years ago. Some of them still haven't gotten over it.
One of them is David Paulin, who uses a Dec. 12 FrontPageMag article (which also appears at American Thinker and his own blog) to express dismay that Hussein was given an International Press Freedom Award after spending two years detained by the U.S. military in Iraq without ever being charged.In the process, Paulin repeats unsubstantiated claims about Hussein.
Paulin asserted that Hussein "hobnobbed easily with pro-Saddam loyalists and al-Qaida terrorists," which purportedly gave him "the uncanny ability to show up just as an attack occurred." No evidence is offered to support the claim. Paulin added that "To some, Hussein's photos raised troubling questions about the AP's hiring practices and objectivity." Paulin does not say who "some" are.
Paulin does not mention why "due process" was a "common complaint": Hussein was never charged with a crime during his time in custody. Nor does Paulin explain why he apparently believes Hussein should have been denied "due process" and why he thinks it's acceptable to imprison a journalist without charges for two years.
Paulin also writes: "After two years in prison, he escaped the possibility of a criminal trial when he was freed under a general amnesty that took effect seven months ago." That's misleading; according to Hussein's attorney, Scott Horton: "When we say 'amnesty,' it’s usually an executive act. This was a judicial amnesty based on a review of the complete court record."
Horton also stated:
Paulin then snarked:
Again, Paulin offers no evidence that Hussein faced no risks in his photography, or that his relationship to terrorists is any more chummy that that of, say, Aaron Klein (whom we don't see Paulin ranting about).
Oddly enough, Paulin claims to be a journalist. You wouldn't know it from this little factually deficient attack.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
NewsBusters Misleads on WaPo Article on Obama, Blago
A Dec. 12 NewsBusters post by Michael M. Bates objects to the premise of a Washington Post article, as stated by its headline: "Obama Worked to Distance Self From Blagojevich Early On." Bates counters that "Obama - far from distancing himself early on - played a key role in electing the now disgraced governor," falsely suggesting that the Post didn't report in detail on the history between Barack Obama and Rod Blagojevich.
In fact, the Post article did give a substantive account of their shared history, including the fact that Obama worked on Blagojevich's 2002 campaign:
Now, why wouldn't Bates acknowledge this simple fact? Perhaps because he wouldn't have an item otherwise.
Your Bob Unruh Bad Journalism Alert
Joseph Farah likes to tout his WorldNetDaily reporter Bob Unruh as "a 30-year veteran of the Associated Press." That overlooks the fact that his WND work would never pass muster if he had turned it in to the AP, as we've detailed.
Case in point: We've repeatedly debunked WND's assertion that Barack Obama, in a 2001 radio interview, said that the Constitution is "flawed in that it does not mandate or allow for redistribution of wealth" and that the Supreme Court's failure to address "redistributive change" is a failure of that court. In fact, Obama never said either thing.
Yet, what do we find in a Dec. 12 article by Unruh?
Unruh merely copied and pasted this false assertion from the October WND article where it was first made.
It is false. Unruh knows (or ought to) that it is false. Yet there it is, in an article under his name.
That Unruh permits this to happen, or does it himself, demonstrates that he learned nothing in those 30 years at the AP that his boss loves to tout as evidence of his credibility. As long as Unruh continues to peddle such falsehoods, he has no credibility.
And as long as it continues to repeat such easily debunked falsehoods without bothering to correct the record, neither does WorldNetDaily.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Examiner Misleads on Clinton, Travel Office
Topic: Washington Examiner
Conservatives just can't let go of the Clinton Travel Office non-scandal.
In an effort to claim that a quick confirmation of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state would be a"gross dereliction of duty," a Dec. 12 Washington Examiner editorial states: "And let’s not forget that she was cited by the Independent Counsel for giving false testimony in her role as First Lady in the infamous White House travel office firings."
But it's the Examiner that has forgotten a few important things. As we've detailed, independent counsel Robert Ray also stated:
The evidence, however, is insufficient to show that Mrs. Clinton knowingly intended to influence the Travel Office decision or was aware that she had such influence at this early stage of the Administration. To a real degree, her interest in the matter was first generated by [Harry] Thomason's intervention, and then overstated by him to others. Thus, absent persuasive, corroborated, and admissible evidence to the contrary, there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mrs. Clinton's statements to this Office or to Congress were knowingly false.Further, the Examiner fails to note another important conclusion of Ray's report: "The decision to fire the Travel Office employees was a lawful one. The Travel Office employees served at the pleasure of President Bill Clinton, and they were subject to discharge without cause."
Can't the Examiner invent some new Clinton non-scandals to repeat ad nauseam?
Shocker: Kessler Defends -- And Praises! -- Obama
After his months-long smear campaign during the presidential race, the last thing we thought we'd see was Newsmax's Ronald Kessler coming to Barack Obama's defense -- and even praising the guy. But Kessler has done just that, albeit in something of a backhanded way.
In a Dec. 8 column, Kessler shoots down the conspiratorial assertion from the likes of WorldNetDaily that Obama is not a native-born American:
Kessler adds regarding lawsuits on the issue from folks like Philip Berg:
Instead, Berg has stayed within the comfy confines of WND and right-wing readio for his interviews, where he knows he won't face any tough -- or even mildly skeptical -- questions.
Of course, that's just common sense. The real shocker is Kessler's Dec. 11 column, in which he states that "Barack Obama is getting high marks from the intelligence community for the way he responds to daily intelligence briefings." He adds:
This appears to contradict Kessler's own pre-election assertions, in which he promoted claims (albeit by someone whom Kessler fails to identify as a McCain campaign official) that Obama's election "will endanger the country by making us more vulnerable to terrorist attacks."
On the other hand, Kessler manages to work in his love of waterboarding once more:
In fact, as we noted the last time Kessler made this claim, the waterboarding of Zubaydah reportedly produced a stream of statements of such dubious quality, according to journalist Ron Suskind, that intelligence officials now believe any evidence gleaned from Zubaydah to be worthless. Further, waterboarding produced "debatable results" from Mohammed.
Still, Kessler laments: "Since terrorists are now aware that they will not be drowned, the technique has become useless."
Graham's Lame Evidence of David Gregory's Bias
Topic: Media Research Center
In the tradition of its attacks on Katie Couric, the Media Research Center has greeted David Gregory's appointment as host of NBC's "Meet the Press" with dubious claims of liberal bias.
A Dec. 8 "Media Reality Check" by Tim Graham features as its key piece of evidence that Gregory was "an arrogant question-yeller at Bush White House press conferences" the following:
Graham doesn't bother to tell his reader the context of that conversation. Gregory had earlier noted that, in contrast to McClellan's 2003 statement that Karl Rove had assured McClellan that he was not involved in leaking Valerie Plame's identity to reporters. Rove had in fact done so, and McClellan was evading giving a direct answer about whether he still stood by his 2003 statements.Immediately prior to the "This is ridiculous" statement Graham exerpted, Gregory had asked McClellan:
And immediately after Gregory said, "“No, you're not finishing! You're not saying anything!” the questioning continued:
Rather than expressing arrogance, Gregory was simply pointing out the fact when he accused McClellan of not answering the question at hand. Yet to Graham, to do that is to express liberal bias.
And because there isn't a whole lot of diversity of thought at the MRC, Seton Motley copies-and-pastes Graham's claim in a Dec. 9 Human Events article (reprinted at NewsBusters) as among the purported "examples aplenty" of Graham's liberal bias.
Sadly, this is apparently the best Graham and Motley can come up with.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Media Matters points out that Dick Morris, in his Dec. 11 Newsmax column, repeats the discredited claim that Bill Clinton fired all the U.S. attorneys upon taking office in 1993 to cover that he was targeting one specific attorney who was investigation the Whitewater. In fact, that attorney resisted investigating the Whitewater matter in 1992, in defiance of pressure from officials in then-President George H.W. Bush's administration, who was apparently trying to find a way to bash Clinton during the campaign.
Horowitz Debunks Blaming CRA for Crisis, But His Writers Promoted It
We've previously noted David Horowitz's attempt to talk some sense into conservatives by pointing out the unassailable fact that the Community Reinvestment Act did not cause the current financial crisis. So why did Horowitz's FrontPageMag publish writers who claimed it was?
-- Jacob Laksin, Oct. 17
-- Thomas Sowell, Nov. 7
-- Interview of Thomas Sowell by Bill Steigerwald, Feb. 4
Meanwhile, Horowitz is still strugging mightily to impose reason on those birth-certificate-obsessed right-wingers:
And judging by the comments, it's going about as well as his previous attempts.
Aaron Klein Anti-Obama Agenda Watch
What does a report about Barack Obama's plans to give a speech in an Islamic capital have to do with an Egyptian Islamic cleric's purported exhortation for Obama to convert to Islam?
Nothing -- except in Aaron Klein's fevered brain.
In a Dec. 10 WorldNetDaily article, Klein reports on Obama's interest in giving that speech, then adds: "Obama's comments come days after WND reported an Egyptian cleric broadcast on state-funded television a plea urging Obama to convert to Islam while claiming the president-elect has roots in Islam."
Apparently oblivious to the fact that one has nothing to do with the other, Klein spends the next 35 paragraphs rehashing yet again Obama's purported dalliances with Islam as a child, presumably just copied-and-pasted from previous articles.
The stench of Obama-hate emanating from Klein's articles is well nigh suffocating.
Newsmax Flip-Flops on Patrick Fitzgerald
A Nov. 10 Newsmax article by David A. Patten claimed that "Barack Obama will face a severe 'trial by fire' over whether to fire U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald and other U.S. attorneys, following Democratic Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s arrest Tuesday for allegedly offering to sell Obama’s vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder," adding that "any move to fire Fitzgerald would be highly controversial as a possible conflict of interest." Patten goes on to note that "That Fitzgerald suddenly sees Republicans lining up to defend him is profoundly ironic, given that both prominent Republicans and Democrats have found themselves in his investigatory crosshairs over the years," adding:
Patten fails to mention that Newsmax has a prominent role in that twist of irony, having felt less than "delicious" about Fitzgerald's prosecution of of the Plame leak.
As we detailed at the time, Newsmax didn't even wait until Fitzgerald's October 2005 indictment of Libby before smearing him as a partisan, nitpicking crony:
After Fitzgerald issued his indictment, Newsmax followed up by putting words in Fitzgerald's mouth and misstating what he had said about the Plame case to make it appear that he said that Plame was not covert.
Isn't it ironic, doncha think?
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