The Media Research Center has been screeching for a while now about a Politico report that ABC host George Stephanopoulos engages in daily round-robin calls with former colleagues James Carville, Paul Begala and Rahm Emanuel, as they have since the Clinton administration. The MRC has decided that this means Stephanopoulos is a shill for the Obama administration, and has been on the attack ever since.
A Jan. 29 press release featuring MRC honcho Brent Bozell demanding that Stephanopoulos "must from this point forward recuse himself from any reporting involving the Obama Administration" was followed by a Feb. 4 open letter to ABC News president David Westin demanding that "ABC News must address this publicly and comprehensively" (bold underline in original), adding the not-so-subtle threat:
ABC News may decide that silence is the best policy. I assure you that will be a mistake. We will not stop this discussion. If you think you are bleeding audience numbers now, what do you suppose will be your audience’s reaction when it is established that your Chief Washington Correspondent continues to be a key strategist for the Democratic Party?
ABC has now responded in a letter by Kerry Smith, senior vice president of editorial quality at ABC News, posted by Politico's Michael Calderone, and he attacks right back, accusing Bozell and the MRC of deception:
In your letter and public utterances you falsely assert that ABC News has been silent on this matter. That is simply untrue. Upon reading your press release last week, we reached out to the MRC to make it abundantly clear that you had totally mischaracterized the Politico story written by John Harris last Tuesday. Indeed, Politico posted a story last Friday by Ben Smith pointing out exactly how badly you had mangled the facts.
Oh, but it gets better:
Furthermore, last Friday, a reporter from CNS News, which was founded by you and continues to be directly affiliated with the MRC, contacted our media relations staff for a piece he'd been assigned to write on this very topic. We cooperated immediately and provided him an on the record response. We have since learned from your reporter that his story was killed.
As County Fair's Jamison Foser points out, the question now is whether the CNS story was killed so that Bozell could claim that ABC refused to talk about it. Refusing to tell the other side of the story is certainly of a piece with CNS' new aggressiveanti-Obamaagenda.
How will Bozell -- not to mention CNS' Terry Jeffrey -- respond to being called on their BS? We can't wait to find out.
A Feb. 4 CNSNews.com article by Ryan Byrnes uncritically stated that Republican Sen. James Inhofe, ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, "issued a minority report last month that quoted 650 top scientists who challenge the claim that global warming is man-made."
Byrnes failed to note legitimate concerns raised about the report -- as we've noted, it's been pointed out that the vast majority of the people in the report were recycled from a similar previous report, which included people with no demonstrated expertise in climate science (or science, period). That would seem to contradict the assertion that the report includes only "top scientists."
A Feb. 5 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston sneered that a reporter jumped a rope line seeking Barack Obama's autograph, "like a star struck 15-year old at a Hannah Montana concert" who "apparently couldn't resist the siren call of The One." Huston's sneering dragged on:
Gosh, it's always great to hear of these types of stories of the hard-nosed press corps that is so cynical as to scoff at anyone that might be a tad awed by a mere politician isn't it? We all know that reporters are way too nonchalant about the lure of The One to be all taken with his presence so, right? His autograph? Pshaw. That is absurd. Why, WHO would want the autograph of a politician? Heck, reporters see politicians everyday, so it's just old hat, part of the job, uninteresting. Yep, good thing they are above hero worship!
But wait, this is The Obammessiah we are talking about. He's no normal politician! He's the man that can decide how much you are allowed to make as a head of industry. A man who can lay hands upon you and make all your tax cheating disappear. The man that can claim the moral high ground against lobbyists, yet hire over a dozen lobbyists anyway. He's the man that can control even other nations with but the gesture of a finger, he's so loved across the world.
No wonder the press acts like autograph hounds at a Hollywood premiere every time they see him. It's a wonder that the press doesn't mob him every time he appears! One wonders how many room keys and thrown underwear the White House cleaning staff finds on the floor every time the press and Obama leave the room?
The star struck press. I wonder how many of them that have had the good fortune to have shook The One's hand told their significant others that they'll never wash that hand again?
But who was that reporter? As Politico reports, it's Robert Feuereisen of Jewish World Review -- a conservative website that Huston's colleagues think so highly of, it's on the NewsBusters blogroll. (Then again, NewsBusters also has Ace of Spades on its blogroll, so maybe that's not as prestigious as it seems.)
We'd complain about Huston engaging his brain before opening his mouth, but that would rob us of a lot of prime material.
Moore Takes Obama's Words Out of Context Topic: WorldNetDaily
While CNSNews.com has been obsessed with singling out Barack Obama's mention of "nonbelievers" in an inclusive description of Americans, WorldNetDaily has been nearly as bothered by by his mention of Muslims.
We've previously noted Aaron Klein taking "Muslim" out of its context as describing America as "no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation and a nation of nonbelievers." Now lawbreaking judge Roy Moore purports to take offense in his Feb. 4 WND column.
The headline of his column asks, "Is America really a 'Muslim nation'?" But Obama never claimed it was. Moore goes on to insist that, Obama's recognition of all Americans aside, the only religion that should matter is Christianity:
I recognize that many cultures have influenced America. But those who settled this country and shaped its laws and governments were overwhelmingly Christians, from Christian countries, who believed in Christian values. Obama is like many other secularists who believe that religious freedom is a gift from man.
To state that this is a Muslim nation, a Hindu nation, or a nation of nonbelievers is to deny that God is the grantor of religious freedom. It is also a denigration of the Christian faith to just another religion.
I thank God that we are not a Muslim nation, but a Christian nation that acknowledges the God Who gives religious freedom to all people according to the dictates of their conscience. That is why Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews and non-believers can practice what they choose in America.
Moore ignores the fact that Christians have a long history of persecuting Jews and Muslims, among others, which has happened to some extent in America, and that it's the secularism of the past half-century which Moore disdains that created the current situation in which "Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews and non-believers can practice what they choose in America" (though maybe not Muslims) without a fear of persecution. If Moore had his way, that would not be occuring.
Kinsolving Throws Another Temper Tantrum Topic: WorldNetDaily
In 2007, when WorldNetDaily's Les Kinsolving declared that he wasn't getting the respect he thought he deserved from then-White House press secretary Tony Snow, he threw a temper tantrum and declared he wouldn't attend White House press briefings, staging a passive-aggressive protest in which WND published "the questions that WND would have asked." That lasted for about a week, after Snow and Kinsolving held a mysterious "one-on-one conference."
Kinsolving's at it again, throwing another tantrum.
Kinsolving hinted at it in his Feb. 3 WND column, complaining that the press conferences held by President Obama "are 'fixed' in advance with some reporters selected for questions and others left out, that it raises the serious question as to whether such reportorial selectees by Obama may not have supplied him with their questions in advance."
In other words: Kinsolving was being ignored.
That apparently resulted in WND announcing later on Feb. 3 that "
WND is announcing a plan starting immediately to submit questions to President Obama's press secretary, Robert Gibbs, via the technology of the Internet and e-mail, since his news briefings at the White House so far have been dominated by a select few reporters to the exclusion of the majority." Again, it's a complain that Kinsolving is being ignored: "Les Kinsolving, WND's correspondent at the White House and one of the more senior journalists in the White House press corps, was not allowed to voice his questions on issues on which millions of WND readers have expressed an interest." Kinsolving then tries to spin it:
Kinsolving said the fact that he cannot ask a question every briefing is not the point; but the fact that some reporters are given four or five opportunities is.
"Why are so many of us not recognized for even a single question," he wondered.
Ah, but Kinsolving being ignored is exactly the point. Why go through this charade of a stunt if he wasn't out to get attention?
Further, the preonderance of evidence demonstrates why Kinsolving has earned the right to be ignored by presidential press secretaries: As we'vedocumented, he asks loaded, right-wing-leaning questions that swing from Jeff Gannon-esque sycophancy to stunning irrelevence.
Plus, let's not forget the utterhostility Kinsolving's employer has demonstrated toward Obama. Why would the Obama administration want to deal with a "news" organization that spreadslies about the president?
And if Kinsolving's first response to perceived slights is to throw a temper tantrum, why should anyone take him seriously as a journalist at all?
NewsBusters Heathering Watch Topic: NewsBusters
Tim Graham gets all Heather-y again on Kathleen Parker in a Feb. 4 NewsBusters post. Graham dismisses parker -- a frequent victim of Heathering by Graham and his NewsBusters buddies whenever she dares to deviate from right-wing dogma -- as a "[p]seudo-conservative columnist" writing a "a provocative 'Look at Me!' column trashing social conservatism," going on to suggest that the only possible reason Parker "has been published in The Washington Post" is said pseudo-conservatism (ignoring the fact that the Washington Post Writers Group has syndicated Parker's column since 2006).
CNS Labeling Bias Watch Topic: CNSNews.com
A Feb. 4 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones demonstrates the author's bias by incorrectly labeling the Democratic Party "the Democrat Party" -- a misleading construct promoted by right-wingers.
Obama Hate Central: WND Can't Stop Lying About Obama, Constitution Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've repeatedlydocumented how WorldNetDaily has deliberately misquoted Barack Obama to portray him saying things about the Constitution that he clearly did not say. The sleazy tradition continues in a Feb. 3 article by Bob Unruh:
Obama believes the Constitution is flawed because it does not mandate redistribution of wealth and he says the Supreme Court should have intervened years ago to accomplish that.
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.
Obama said no such thing. As the transcript Unruh includes in his article makes abundantly clear, Obama never said that "the Supreme Court should have intervened" to "mandate redistribution of wealth," or that the Warren Court was a "failure" for not doing so. Rather, Obama was saying that the civil rights movement relied too much on the court system to advance its agenda instead of promoting change from the bottom up, i.e., legislatively, and that the Warren Court did not address it was a sign that it was not as radical as right-wingers have claimed it to be.
Remember how Cliff Kincaid and Jerome Corsi were ranting about "Obamatons"? It seems Unruh is the polar opposite -- let's call him a Farahbot -- programmed to destroy Obama or whatever else Joseph Farah tells him to do, no matter how implausible the lies he must peddle and how egregious the dishonesty he must perpetuate in doing so.
It's a sad comedown for someone whose WND calling card was that he worked for the Associated Press.
Newsmax Doesn't Challenge False Claim on Stimulus Topic: Newsmax
A Feb. 3 Newsmax article by Jim Meyers uncritically repeats a claim by South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford that the stimulus bill is, "according to the Congressional Budget Office itself, about money that in many cases will not get to be spent for another two years or so."
In fact, a new CBO analysis of the stimulus concludes that 78 percent of it will be paid out over the first two fiscal years.
False Equivalence at NewsBusters Topic: NewsBusters
In a Feb. 3 NewsBustsers post, Kyle Drennen suggested hypocrisy on the part of Citizens for Reponsiblity and Ethics in Washington (whose name Drennen gets wrong, calling it "Citizens for Responsibilities and Ethics") spokesman Melanie Sloan. Sloan had said regarding Tom Daschle that he engages in "the more sophisicated kind of lobbying we have in Washington, where he's a consultant. ... Maybe the truth of the matter is, you need some of those Washington insiders to make your new government work." Drennen then pointed out that in 2005, Sloan was quoted as saying that the indictment of Tom DeLay "demonstrates the culture of corruption among the congressional leadership that has become a cancer on our country."
Drennen conveniently ignores two major differences between DeLay and Daschle. First, Daschle was not a sitting senator, having lost re-election in 2004; DeLay was a sitting congressman. Second, Daschle was not accused of any crime regarding his lobbying activities -- though Drennan suggests that both DeLay and Daschle were engaged in "ethics scandals" of similar magnitude -- while DeLay faces criminal charges over his alleged behavior. As the 2005 column Drennen cited described the charges against DeLay:
DeLay's indictment comes on the heels of charges that top political aide Jim Ellis and veteran fundraiser John Colyandro illegally funneled $190,000 in corporate contributions to candidates for the Texas legislature in 2002 through the national Republican Party. "The indictment charges DeLay with conspiring with Ellis and Colyandro to violate the Texas Election Code by contributing corporate money to certain candidates for the Texas Legislature," said the statement from DA Ronnie Earle. "It describes a scheme whereby corporate, or 'soft,' money was sent to the Republican National Committee where it was exchanged for 'hard' money, or money raised from individuals, and sent to those candidates." The probe initially focused on violations of Texas election law but was recently broadened to include conspiracy charges. DeLay's modus operandi — the ruthless accumulation of money and favors to benefit corporate interests and far-right Republicans — may ultimately secure his demise.
Questions about unpaid taxes, which Daschle faced, are several orders of magnitude lower than a criminal indictment regarding illegal money-laundering. Drennen appears not to know the difference.
An annual subscription to Jerome Corsi's Red Alert "premium online newsletter" costs $99. And what do you get for that premium sum? Apparently, the rantings of Cliff Kincaid, which is offered for free elsewhere.
A Feb. 2 WorldNetDaily preview of this week's Red Alert brings us the shocking news that Obama wants to build support for his economic stimulus plan among his fellow Democrats. Not that shocking, you say? It is when the rhetorical stylings of Corsi and Kincaid are applied:
President Obama has been using persuasive public relations techniques to sell his economic stimulus plan to hard-core supporters, Jerome Corsi's Red Alert reports.
The administration is attempting to influence public opinion using media-management techniques geared toward a YouTube and iPod generation.
"Obama's television and radio addresses are designed to maintain and manipulate a hard-core group of people who can be called upon to support his policies no matter how unpopular he becomes," Cliff Kincaid, editor of Accuracy in Media, told Red Alert.
"These are the Obamatons of the Obama nation," Kincaid said. "Like the media, they are gripped with Obamamania, a psychological state of mind that views the new U.S. president as not only a national but a global savior."
Janet Folger Porter is not known for her ability to tell the truth, and she proves it again in her Feb. 3 WorldNetDaily column in which she repeats discredited claims about the proposed stimulus package.
Porter asserted that "President Obama's plan set aside over $4 billion in his stimulus package for controversial community groups such as ACORN." That's false -- as we've repeatedlynoted, the stimulus package doesn't even mention ACORN by name, let alone "set aside" any money to it. Further, ACORN officials have pointed out that it's not even eligible for that money.
Porter also asserts that the stimulus will mean "Millions for illegal aliens since no proof of citizenship is required to get it." That's false too -- as we've also repeatedlynoted, Social Security numbers are needed to qualify for the tax credits in the bill.