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Saturday, January 31, 2009
Gainor Repeats Global Warming Denier Fallacy

In a Jan. 29 column, the MRC's Dan Gainor writes:

[Al] Gore is scheduled to nuzzle his way into a hearing for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday to warn of a warming planet. Temperatures are near freezing. It may even snow.
Gore’s appearance in the dead of bone-chilling winter is almost five years to the day since he came out of hibernation in New York and called President Bush a "moral coward" for his climate change policies. That day was the coldest the Big Apple had seen in 47 years.
Not much has changed – in the weather or Gore’s message. This time around, it might not be so bone-shatteringly cold, but it certainly has been this winter. ABC’s weather man Sam Champion told viewers this season’s weather “feels like the coldest winter in years.” He added, “and a report from NASA climate scientists says 2008 was the coolest year since 2000.”

Gainor is perpetuating the fallacy that short-term changes in weather, let alone an individual winter storm in January, bear any relevance to the global warming debate. Even Patrick Michaels -- a global warming denier like Gainor who is authoritatively quoted as contradicting Gore in another Jan. 29 CNS article -- has warned against portraying short-term extreme weather as indicative of the existence (or not) of global warming.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:49 AM EST
Sheppard Desperately Spins GDP Drop, Concocts Conspiracy
Topic: NewsBusters

In one of the more shameless attempts to spin away bad news for conservatives, Noel Sheppard uses a Jan. 30 NewsBusters post to claim that because the gross domestic product declined slightly less than what was predicted, media reports of a severe recession are overblown.

No, really:

The Gross Domestic Product declined by 3.8 percent in the final quarter of 2008.

It was bad, but nowhere near as bad as expected.

Is it possible that all the hysterical gloom and doom emanating from the media is way overdone, and that things are not close to as apocalyptic as we've been told the past five months?


After all, this 3.8 percent decline is only the 13th worst since the Commerce Department began doing quarterly reports in 1947. This means that there's been twelve worse quarters since 1946, and none of them signalled the end of the world nor required the kind of government spending now being discussed in Washington.

Sheppard also baselessly asserts that this may very well be the bottom of the recession: "To be sure, the fourth quarter of 2008 might not be the worst of this recession. Nobody knows. However, isn't it just as possible that this will be the low point?"

Um, has Sheppard not been paying attention to the news? Has he not noticed the wholesale slashing of jobs and retail failures in the past couple of weeks alone? Indeed, actual economists not wedded to tarting up right-wing doctrine have pointed out:

Although analysts initially anticipated the economy would take its worst hits in the fourth quarter, they are now predicting the economy will contract even more in the first half of 2009 as the few remaining pillars of growth give way. Exports are expected to remain weak and commercial construction activity, which had been growing until earlier this year, is sputtering and likely to grind to a near halt this year as financing for new projects dries up.

How can Sheppard be so oblivious to such unavoidable warning signs about the economy? It's because he thinks it's a big conspiracy to help Obama, that's how:

Isn't it also possible that Obama-loving media are hyping the hysteria because they want his stimulus package to be passed?

After all, it was indeed the economic gloom and doom that began in September which basically handed this election to Obama as McCain-Palin had briefly taken a lead in the polls after the Republican National Convention and just before Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy on September 15.

Yes, Sheppard is channeling hateful conspiracy-monger Cliff Kincaid. Is channeling Kincaid really how NewsBusters wants to move forward in the Obama era?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:11 AM EST
Friday, January 30, 2009
WND Columnist Repeats False Terrorist Claim
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Shira Drissman asserted in a Jan. 29 WorldNetDaily column:

It seems that these terrorists we picked up on the battlefield must have missed the action and excitement of shooting at American troops. Sixty-one of those released found a way back to the field of battle in order to pick up where they left off.

That is false. As we've noted, the Pentagon has confirmed that only 18 -- not 61 -- have "returned to the fight." The remainer are merely suspected of having done so.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:14 PM EST
CNS Changes Tune on Stimulus Spending

A Jan. 30 article by Matt Cover, in attacking a claim by House Majority Speaker Nancy Pelosi that 75 percent of the stimulus "would be doled out in the first 18 months after it becomes law," states that "only about 64 percent of the money in the bill will be spent by the end of fiscal year 2010."

While that's correct (as we've noted), it appears to contradict what Cover was reporting just the day before -- that "only 52 percent of the money in the stimulus bill devoted to new government spending will actually be spent by 2010." In his Jan. 30 article, Cover is too busy shooting down Pelosi's claim to square it with his own previous reporting.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:45 PM EST
CNS Repeats Bogus Obama Pay Smear

a Jan. 30 article by Fred Lucas repeats a campaign smear against Barack Obama. In writing about Obama's signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, Lucas adds: "Women who worked on Obama’s Senate staff last year, however, were themselves paid on average 78 cents for every dollar a man was paid, according to data last year from the Report of the Secretary of the Senate."

As we detailed when Lucas first peddled this smear last June (and again in September), there's no evidence provided that women in Obama's Senate office were paid less than men for the exact same job with equivalent experience -- which is what the issue of equal pay, as well as the Ledbetter act, is all about.

Lucas does appear to concede that point this time, adding that the data "are based on gender without regard to job position, experience, or education that could be factors in pay." But of course, that's not in the headline -- nor did he directly make that point in his previous articles.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:23 PM EST
WND Promotes Mancow, Ignores His Offensive History
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Jan. 29 WorldNetDaily article touts a re-feed of Mancow's morning radio show "for radio stations wanting to fill the time slot being abandoned by Fox News host Bill O'Reilly."

It contains the usual puffery of the guy from his syndicator, Talk Radio Network -- who, as we've detailed, has a synergistic relationship with WND -- and, perhaps in deference to that synergy, fails to to mention details in Mancow's history that would normally be unpalatable to WND readers.

We've noted how how, among other things, Mancow racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in FCC fines over indecency on his radio show (then tried to sue a man who made some of those indecency complaints), regularly makes defamatory remarks about others, and had excerpts from his autobiography published in Hustler.

That fleshes out his syndicator's claim that "Mancow offers the full spectrum of entertainment," doesn't it? And just as with its hire of Matt Sanchez, WND looks like it is once again trampling over the prinicples it claims to hold, ignoring history in the service of today's expedience.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:21 AM EST
Newsmax's Patten Still Peddling ACORN Falsehood
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax's David Patten has penned yet another article falsely claiming that ACORN is a direct beneficiary of billions of dollars in the stimulus bill. He does make it slightly less of a lie this time around, referring to "the $5.2 billion slated for organizations such as ACORN," though the article's headline falsely refers to "ACORN Money."

As we've repeatedly documented regarding Patten's reporting on this issue, the stimulus plan does not even mention ACORN by name, let alone allocate money to the group. Further, according to ACORN's Bertha Lewis, "Since it is set aside for non-profit housing developers to help purchase, rehab, and resell foreclosed properties, we aren't eligible for it in the first place."

When will Patten act like a real reporter and tell the truth instead of being a stenographer for the Republican Party?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:39 AM EST
CNS Still Pushing 'Nonbeliever' Non-Story
Topic: still can't let go of trying to build a mountain out of the molehill of President Obama daring to mention "nonbelievers."

Unsuccessful in his previous attempt to find someone critical  of Obama's mention of "nonbelievers" in his inaugural speech, Pete Winn finally hits paydirt. In a Jan. 29 article noting Obama's use of the word in an interview with an Arab TV network, Winn digs up right-wing "expert on Islamism" Walid Phares, who claims that "the typical word Arabic translators would use for the term 'non-believer' is 'kaffir' – a word which means 'atheist' or 'infidel.'" Phares then undercut his own argument by noting that the network did not use the word "kaffir" in its translation. Phares then tried to recover by calling that decision "politically correct."

Winn fails to note Phares' background, which includes penning articles for right-wing publications like American Thinker and FrontPageMag, as well as defending President Bush's actions to fight terrorism. Winn does note that Phares is a "senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies," but not that the group is also right-leaning.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Newsmax Again Promoting Minutemen, Hiding Controversies
Topic: Newsmax

Dave Eberhart is apparently the appointed press agent for the Minuteman anti-immigration group at Newsmax.

A Jan. 29 Newsmax article by Eberhart touts how "The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps is getting ready to again battle against amnesty for illegal aliens." As he did in a previous Minuteman-promoting article, Eberhart fails to note that his primary Minuteman source, Chris Simcox, has faced questions about the money he raised ostensibly to build a private border fence, and the group's PAC has been criticized for having much of the money it has raised go toward "operating expenses" and not toward Minuteman activities.

Nor does Eberhart make any apparent effort to allow anyone to respond to Simcox's claims. 

Posted by Terry K. at 4:15 PM EST
CNS Misinterprets CBO Analysis of Stimulus?

A Jan. 29 article by Matt Cover states that the Congressional Budget Office analysis of the economic stimulus bill "found that only 52 percent of the money in the stimulus bill devoted to new government spending will actually be spent by 2010."

By contrast, Media Matters reports that the CBO "concluded that 64 percent of the package would be spent by the end of the fiscal year 2010."

CNS might want to show its work and demonstrate how it came up with its lowball number, given that others have reported much different numbers.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:30 PM EST
Newsmax Repeats False ACORN Stimulus Claim
Topic: Newsmax

A Jan. 29 Newsmax article repeats the false claim that President Obama's stimulus plan includes a "proposal to give $4.2 billion to ACORN."

As we detailed the last time Newsmax made this claim, the stimulus plan does not even mention ACORN by name, let alone allocate money to the group. 

UPDATE: David Patten dials back the lie a bit in another Jan. 29 Newsmax article, claiming that the $4.19 billion "allows nonprofits to compete with cities and states for $3.44 billion of the money, which means a substantial amount of it will be captured by ACORN, the controversial activist group the FBI is investigating for vote fraud." But that appears to be a lie as well: According to ACORN's Bertha Lewis, "Since it is set aside for non-profit housing developers to help purchase, rehab, and resell foreclosed properties, we aren't eligible for it in the first place."

Patten appears to be too content regurgitating Republican talking points that he won't do any actual reporting. 

Posted by Terry K. at 11:19 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, January 29, 2009 1:45 PM EST
Ellis Washington Bashes Alinsky Tactic -- But Uses It Anyway
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his Jan. 28 WorldNetDaily column, Ellis Washington accuses Barack Obama of using a Saul Alinsky tactic -- "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it" -- against Rush Limbaugh. Washington's complaint might be noteworthy if he wasn't using the same tactic against liberals in general and Obama in particular.

Indeed, Washington begins his column by claiming, "We have all heard about how crazy liberals are." then pretending it's not an attack: "I am not being personal. I'm not contending that all liberals are crazy." Then his attacks resumed, asserting that "When President Obama promised America "FDR, part II," few of the political pundits took notice because ideologically they are elitists, liberals and socialists like Obama," and claiming that Obama's legislative plans aim to "secure Democrat Party votes in perpetuity. It's legalized thievery. It is Mafia tactics on a grand scale." He continues:

Liberal Democrats create policies not to solve problems, but to win elections and make more and more people dependent on the government welfare programs they provide. Since FDR, liberals have used every Machiavellian tactic to create a Leninist groupthink mentality; a slavish and addictive dependence on government that Democrats hope will keep them in power in perpetuity.

Washington offers no evidence to back up his claim, other than claiming he was inspired by Limbaugh to write it. 

Remember too that Washington has a long history of smearing Obama by likening him to Nazis and fascists. If that isn't an example of Alinsky-esque "personalizing" and "polarizing," we don't know what is.

If Washington finds the tactic so odious, why does he engage in it?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:20 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, January 29, 2009 11:15 AM EST
New Article: Spiking Reality
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's annual "Operation Spike" list of purportedly underreported stories reflect right-wingers' obsessions -- but WND underreports the facts that demonstrate why the stories were rightly ignored in the first place. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:50 AM EST
MRC's Double Standard on Personal Insults
Topic: NewsBusters

A Jan. 27 NewsBusters post (and Jan. 28 MRC CyberAlert item) by Brad Wilmouth takes a disapproving look at an appearance by Newsweek's Jonathan Alter on Keith Olbermann's MSNBC show, in which "Alter’s opening act was to take a jab at [Rush] Limbaugh’s past addiction to Oxycontin in distinguishing him from the Islamic mullahs" and "Olbermann made another one of his infamous jabs at the physical appearance of conservatives, which at times have come in the form of fat jokes." Another Jan. 27 post (and CyberAlert item) by Matthew Balan similarly disapproved of CNN's Jack Cafferty describing Limbaugh as "that corpulent Oxycontin aficionado of right-wing talk radio."

Missing from Wilmouth's and Balan's post is that the MRC has engaged in the exact same behavior, with its long history of making sex jokes about President Clinton.

By contrast, Republican Dick Armey's retort to Salon editor-in-chief Joan Walsh that "I'm so damn glad that you could never be my wife, cause I surely wouldn't have to listen to that prattle from you every day" drew a tepid rebuke from NewsBusters. Mark Finkelstein, in a Jan. 28 post, noted only that "things got out of hand" and mentioned "the political becoming personal." NewsBusters readers, meanwhile, were a little more approving of Armey's cheap shot, as the comment thread on Finkelstein's post demonstrates:

  • This just once again proves what I have always said. Women shouldn't be allowed to vote. Sure, it would mean that some of us that aren't insane witches couldn't vote, but to get rid of these harpies? It has got to be worth the trade-off. I actually did laugh out loud! She was spewing talking points, just like all the Obamatrons. It's pretty bad when Dick Armey makes you look like a d.a.
  • The reason I don't want women to vote? I say it all the time. If women had not voted, Republicans would have won every election for the last 50 years, excepting 1964. So, yeah, I think it is worth it. I also have said that I would give up my vote, which is very important to me, if we made a system that only the military could vote. I figure they are the ones putting their lives on the line for us, daily. Plus, I know they will vote more conservatively than most Americans. I do have a method to the madness. ; )
  • And I saw more than just this clip. She was being an A #1 bee-yotch. I thought he was restrained. I personally wanted to pop her in the yap. I am sick to death of seeing these righteous feminazis who want to talk about saving people and all this "social issues" bull crap.
  • These left-wing extremists are as hard headed and as dumb as the mule they have for a mascot. Just like the mule you have to smack them between the eyes with a 2x4 now and then to get their attention. They think they can call us anything and say anything and we are not to respond. I like Army because he isn't going to bend over for anyone. She had it coming big time.
  • Frankly, I don't see the diff, I don't even think of her as being much of a woman. Barney [Frank] seems more feminine to me. And she is by no means a shrinking violet. I guess I just look at it as "Alls fair in love and war," and I consider this a war.
  • Joan Walsh has got away with murder forever, along with msnbc...she is a regular leftist talking head... I loved every danged minute of it....too bad Armey didn't get much more time in after she started getting her feathers ruffled (as phony as it was), as a woman, if I was sitting against her on a show I would of plucked those feathers of hers off one by one long ago. Talk about torture....she is.
  • She wants to speak in rhetoric and ignore the specifics of the debate.She feels that just because the "economy is a wreck and "Obama has a mandate" that any piece of cow poo that he serves up is not to be questioned. Dick Armey was raining on her new utopia and she did not like it.Ha Ha!
  • Anyway, I said I wasn't going to watch this segment earlier, but I did....and I LOVED what Armey told is about time someone told one of those NAGS OFF...I am so sick of her, yet they act so miffed, well yeah, they are, because rarely does anyone dare to fight back or criticize....about time too!
  • Joan Walsh was patronizing him, and he stomped on her. In my opinion, she deserved it.
  • And Dick...Don't you DARE apologize to her for your comments!

Remember, these are the same folks that NewsBusters thinks are "a class above the competition."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:43 AM EST
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Newsmax Falsely Claims Stimulus Gives '$5.2 Billion for ACORN'
Topic: Newsmax

A Jan. 27 Newsmax article by David Patten falsely asserts that "the blockbuster Democratic stimulus package would provide up to a whopping $5.2 billion for ACORN, the left-leaning nonprofit group under federal investigation for massive voter fraud."

In fact, the Democratic stimulus plan does not even mention ACORN by name, let alone specifically allocate any money to it. Further, the plan requires that the money be distributed through competitive processes, which means that no one group, including ACORN, has a lock on the money, or that conservative groups who do the same things can make a play for that money too.

Patten gets slightly closer to the truth later in the article by hinting that the money is not specifically allocated to ACORN. he cites our old friend Matthew Vadum in claiming that the money is variously "money that ACORN often vies for successfully," part of a program that is "a specialty of ACORN’s," and "reserved for nonprofits such as ACORN." But at no point does Patten explicitly state that ACORN is not allocated the money or that it is in fact allocated via a competitive process.

Meanwhile, the American Spectator article by Vadum that Patten references shades the truth as well. Vadum avoids the explictly false claim, instead throwing in enough qualifiers to make his claims merely true enough: that the money will go to "left-of-center political advocacy groups such as ACORN" and that "Probably chief among the groups to benefit from stimulus spending will be ACORN."

Both Patten and Vadum repeat the misleading claim that Obama "led a voter drive for ACORN affiliate Project Vote." In fact, as we've noted, Project Vote wasn't an ACORN affiliate at the time Obama took part in the voter drive.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:03 PM EST

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