It's apparently obtuseness weekend at NewsBusters.
First we had Tim Graham unable to properly identify what remark Rush Limbaugh that many found offensive. Now we have Noel Sheppard writing about White House press secretary Robert Gibbs' sparring with critics, then adding, "Anything to distract the nation from a deteriorating economy and the obvious lack of a plan to do anything about it I guess."
Apparently, that stimulus bill was not a plan to do something about the economy.
MRC Branch Advances Anti-Global Warming Fallacies Topic: Media Research Center
A March 4 MRC Business & Media Institute article by Julia Seymour complains about the "media myth" of global warming, but Seymour's article perpetuates a different set of myths.
Seymour cites how "Temperatures have plummeted to record or near-record lows in 32 states this winter" and "a global warming protest in Washington, D.C. was buried by nearly a foot of snow" as evidence that "the Earth is cooling," adding, "Even record low temperatures, record snowfalls and snow in odd places didn’t stop the network media from worrying about the threat of global warming."
In fact, as we've noted, there's no correlation between briefly cold temperatures or snowy weather in isolated parts of the country and long-term climate trends. Even global warming denier Patrick Michaels agrees with that.
Seymour also suggested that temperaures in 2008, which she wrote was "the coldest year since 2000," was further evidence that the earth is cooling. Seymour fails to note that 2008 was the 10th warmest year on record or that, in fact, the earth has not cooled over the past decade.
Tim Graham devotes two NewsBusters posts to misplaced outrage. Can you find it?
"On Friday night's Hardball, Chris Matthews showed how willing he was to carry Democrat water on their manufactured outrage at Rush Limbaugh for mentioning 'that great liberal lion' Ted Kennedy."
"What? Most of the news media call Ted Kennedy a 'liberal lion.' How is this some sort of deep, dark personal insult?"
Uh, Tim? The "liberal lion" statement isn't the problem. It's Limbaugh's crack that President Obama's health care reform will be "called the Ted Kennedy Memorial Health Care bill," suggesting that he's rooting for Ted Kennedy's death.
How obtuse can Graham be to not figure out the insult Limbaugh dished out?
UPDATE: Graham's MRC colleague Brent Baker, at least, gets the insult correct, though he unsurprisingly dismisses it as "supposedly outrageous" and "Phony Soldiers II" and plays the equivocation game by listing "recent personal attacks against Limbaugh from media and left-wing political figures."
Noel Sheppard is joining the right-wing crowd eager to baselessly blame President Obama for the stock market downturn.
In a March 6 NewsBusters post, Sheppard touts Bloomberg and Wall Street Journal articles detailing the decline of the Dow Jones Industrial Average since Obama was inaugurated, asking: "will media ever blame current economic conditions on Obama, or will they continue to point fingers at George W. Bush despite his residence being in Texas?"
But as Media Matters details, Bloomberg and the Journal (not to mention Sheppard) ignored long-term trends -- specifically, that the Dow was on a downward trajectory months before the election and inauguration. Further, Sheppard, like Newsmax and CNSNews.com before him, ignore events not related to Obama that have driven the market lower.
Indeed, Sheppard seems quite desperate to blame the recession on anyone but President Bush; he starts by stating that "Obama was inheriting a recession that some believe began as far back as December 2007." Sheppard neglects to mention that among those "some people" placing the recession's start at that particular point are the committee of economists responsible for dating the nation's business cycles.
All of which, unsurprisingly, runs counter to what NewsBusters have written. For instance:
A Jan. 14 post by Jack Coleman was offended by the idea that President Bush, "who served in neither the presidential administration before his, nor the Congress, had anything to do with creating the 'mild economic downturn' that began weeks after he took office."
A July 2008 post by Tom Blumer was even more offended that Obama said at the time the U.S. was in a recession: "Of course, we're not in a recession yet, because there hasn't even been one official quarter of negative growth, let alone two." Blumer might want to revisit that post.
But NewsBusters embraces such double standards. Don't expect Sheppard to act any differently.
NewsBusters Gives CNBC Anchor's Stupidity A Pass Topic: NewsBusters
In a March 5 NewsBusters post, Jeff Poor approving cites CNBC anchor Jeff Macke's claim that the Obama administration "has created a country full of 330 million people who all want to make $249,000 a year, lest they want to become one of the ‘wealthy,' who apparently the government hates." Poor curiously fails to note the stupidity of Macke's statement.
As Slate's Daniel Gross points out, the U.S. tax structure is marginal. Because Obama has not proposed a tax increase on the first $250,000 of income, and Obama's proposed tax increases apply to amounts past $250,000, the tax liability on that first $250,000 is not affected by the tax increases. Thus, Macke's claim that we "all want to make $249,000 a year" is stupid because the tax liability on that amount is not affected by having income over that amount.
As Gross summed it up: "That dentist eager to slash her income from $320,000 to $250,000 would avoid the pain of paying an extra $2,100 in federal taxes. But she'd also deprive herself of an additional $70,000 in income!"
Examiner Mindlessly Repeats Discredited Obama Attack Topic: Washington Examiner
A March 5 Washington Examiner editorial asserts that as senator, "Barack Obama was compiling a voting record described by the National Journal – not exactly a charter member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy – as 'the most liberal' in the U.S. Senate."
It's too bad that the Examiner's editorial writers don't venture outside their conservative bubble. If they did, they would know that the National Journal's ranking has been discredited -- and methodology, not ideology, is to blame. The National Journal's ranking was based only on a subjectively chosen select number of votes, not all relevant votes. In contrast, a separate study by political science professors Keith Poole and Jeff Lewis, using every non-unanimous vote cast in the Senate in 2007 to determine relative ideology, placed Obama in a tie for the ranking of 10th most liberal senator.
I am not ready to surrender the greatest nation in the history of the world to a tin horn tyrant who never outgrew his adolescent communist stage.
Obama is fine with burning the bridge of prosperity behind him because he has his wealth, but he didn’t earn it the “old way” — he got his the easy way, by trading favors from his public office for private ones and using his elected office to sell books about himself.
If he had gotten it the hard way, like many of the people he plans to take from, he would have too much respect for their work ethic to take from them their resources to buy votes that increase his power and his lot.
A March 5 CNSNews.com article by Matt Cover is based around the implication that Barack Obama is responsible for the tanking economy: "In fact, Obama’s rise has seemed to accompany the economy’s fall." But Cover never offers any direct evidence that the two are related, nor does he acknowledge events outside of Obama's control that are much more likely factors.
For instance, Cover wrote:
On Feb. 9, the president made two campaign-style stops in South Bend and Elkhart, Ind. Obama made the case for government stimulus in his first national news conference, saying that only government could save the economy.
The following day, the NYSE lost 210 and the NASDAQ lost 51 points, with the NYSE shedding $400 billion the next day.
In fact, stock analysts did not tie those market declines to Obama's comments. A Feb. 10 New York Times article stated: "Investors had been expecting the Obama administration to unveil a shock and awe solution on Tuesday for the nation’s hobbled banking system. But the main reaction was disappointment as the new plan raised more questions than it answered, sending stock markets and the shares of banks assumed to be holding toxic assets sharply lower."
Meanwhile, Newsmax follows in these same footsteps with a March 5 article by Greg Brown on its MoneyNews website suggesting a similar correlation: "Since Barack Obama was sworn in as president on Jan. 20, stocks have tumbled to record lows — with investors losing an estimated $2.5 trillion in market value." But like Cover, Brown offers little evidence to back up his suggestion.
The Newsmax headline repeats a false Republican talking point. In fact, the White House is not "controlling" the census; the article itself states that the Obama administration has said "the Census Bureau would not be removed from the Commerce Department."
In a March 4 NewsBusters post, Matthew Balan complains that during an appearance by Eric Burns, president of "the left-wing organization Media Matters for America" (disclosure: my boss) on CNN, anchor Rick Sanchez "failed to mention the political leanings of Media Matters."
This complaint might have some validity if Media Research Center everbotheredtoinsist that Fox News identify it as a conservative group when MRC representatives appear on the channel.
UPDATE: Balan's post appears in the March 5 MRC CyberAlert.
In a March 4 Newsmax column agitating against the Employee Free Choice Act, Ronald Kessler writes: "Under labor relations laws, workers for the past 75 years have had the right to choose by secret ballot whether to sign up to join a union."
In fact, workers do not "the right to choose by secret ballot whether to sign up to join a union"; that choice is made by the employer. As Media Matters summarizes, under current law, a union that shows it has the support of a majority of workers can represent the workers if their employer voluntarily agrees to recognize the union, without holding such an election. The choice to have a secret-ballot election is the employer's, not the workers'.
Kessler also falsely states that the EFCA "would deprive workers of the right to a secret ballot." In fact, it would merely move the choice to have a secret-ballot election from the employer to the workers.
Further, Kessler uncritically states that "When given the right to choose by secret ballot, employees generally reject unions" without also noting why that might be. Employers regularly use anti-union tactics such as intimidating workers, firing workers, and threatening to shut down factories and businesses. Kessler also uncritically writes that the EFCA "subjects the employee to possible intimidation and retaliation if he does not go along and sign up to join the union" without mentioning that, according to the National Labor Relations Board, the vast majority of complaints over alleged unfair labor practices are filed against employers, not unions.
Blumer Repeats Dubious 'Debunking' of Biden Topic: CNSNews.com
In a March 3 NewsBusters post, Tom Blumer asserts that Vice President Joe Biden made a "false claim" that Louisiana is losing 400 jobs a day. Blumer cited a "fact check" by a Louisiana TV station claiming that, in Blumer's words, "Biden isn't merely wrong; the Bayou State actually gained seasonally adjusted jobs in December."
But that "fact check" appears to have problems of its own. As the Wonk Room details (h/t County Fair), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of unemployed people in Louisiana spiked from 109,000 in November to 122,000 in December -- which works out to 430 a day, which would seem to prove Biden right.
So, at best, there's some confusion over different sets of numbers being used. At worst, Blumer is mindlessly repeating a false right-wing talking point.
From a sycophantic March 2 FrontPageMag Q&A with Jamie Glazov, FrontPageMag editor, about Glazov's new book, "United in Hate: The Left's Romance With Tyranny and Terror":
Q: Did the content of the book present challenges in finding a publisher?
A: Yes. It is a hard-hitting book against the liberal-left, which makes it difficult to find a publisher. And it says many things that the boundaries of discourse, which are molded by the Left, do not allow.
Oh, we suspect it wasn't that hard for Glazov to find a publisher -- after all, right-wing publishing houses would slather over the opportunity to publish someone like Glazov who is likening liberals to terrorists. And that's exactly the kind of publisher Glazov found: the book division of WorldNetDaily.