In a March 6 post Aaron Saltsman -- "intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia" -- wonders why nobody is answering the questions he threw out for discussion in an earlier post. He goes on to list ConWebWatch among the organizations that "spare no time attacking Accuracy in Media whenever they can."
We'll ignore the logical contradiction of what he wrote and focus on he actually meant to say. We don't attack AIM mindlessly; we use our platform responsibly to point out AIM's factualmisrepesentations and paranoid rantings.
Saltzman also describes me as "a professional attack-dog blogger" (Saltzman clearly knows little about the economics of blogging) who "has attacked little ol’ me personally ... and I’m just an intern!" Again, we didn't criticize Saltzman willy-nilly; we merely highlighted Saltzman's baseless rant against a newspaper reporter who wrote something he didn't agree with.
Anyway, Saltzman is pondering why nobody's answering his questions, which are:
How do you justify the left wing media bias conservatives nationwide observe in outlets like CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times?
How do you justify the Democrats' stimulus package, including TARP? How do you see it helping out the country when even the Government Accountability Office (GAO) criticized TARP's effectiveness, and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects the stimulus will generate long term economic losses and reduced wages?
The Republican Party's fiscal platform emphasizes focusing the decision-making on state and local governments, rather than the federal House, Senate and President's office. Do you disagree with that ideology? If so, why?
We don't really do policy, so question two and three are out. That leaves us with question one, and we question the premise.
Even Tim Graham, director of media analysis at AIM rival group the Media Research Center, conceded in 2006 that "the great majority of what we watch and read is not noticeably unfair or inaccurate." And it can be argued that Media Matters has found at least as many examples of conservative misinformation in the "mainstream media" than AIM and the MRC found of "left-wing bias,"which would seem to put the lie to the claim that the mainstream media is "left wing."
The problem with the media is less one of bias and more one of lazy or sloppy reporting. While the personal beliefs of many people in the media may skew liberal, part of journalists' training is the ability to keep personal beliefs out of their reporting. A quick perusal of conservative "news" sites like Newsmax, WorldNetDaily and CNSNews.com would seem to confirm the idea that conservative reporters are less able to keep personal views from coloring their reporting than liberal ones are.
I worked as journalist for 17 years, so I know this firsthand. Saltzman is working for an advocacy organization and reflects that organization's agenda; he does not, as far as we know, have any actual journalistic experience. His idea of journalistic "balance," we suspect, is figuring out ways for conservative messages to prevail.
Yet, has anyone seen any similar scolding of the new "cheerleader" in chief, Obama? Has anyone seen an [Jonathan] Alter sternly scolding Obama for "poor-mouthing" the economy? Has there been any hectoring from CNN over Obama's grave warnings? Where is The New York Times beating up that downcast Obama?
-- Warner Todd Huston, Dec. 8, 2008 NewsBusters post
For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: Great Depression II has been called off!!!
You believe this? For almost exactly six months candidate, president-elect, and President Obama has been telling us the world is coming to an end if we don't do exactly what he tells us to do. Now, after throwing an astounding amount of taxpayer dollars at the problem, things suddenly aren't as bad as he's been saying?
Gainor Repeats Global Warming Fallacy Topic: CNSNews.com
In his March 11 CNSNews.com column, Dan Gainor writes that this past winter's "weather has been inconveniently cold. Thirty-two states have experienced record or near-record lows this winter – poking holes in the predictions of imminent fiery doom."
Actually, no, it doesn't. As we noted when Gainor's MRC Business & Media Institute made the same claim, there's no correlation between isolated "record or near-record lows" and the purported lack of global warming -- something even fellow global warming denier Patrick Michaels concurs with.
Humes Can't Substantiate Obama Quote, Stands By It Anyway Topic: Newsmax
We detailed how James Humes, in his March 12 Newsmax column, purported to quote President Obama saying of a bust of Winston Churchill, "Get that goddamn thing out of here." Humes has now amended his column -- not by deleting a quote for which he has yet to provide a credible source for, but by adding another paragraph:
While the story was never fully substantiated, despite frequent repetition on radio talk shows, the sentiment seems to have been confirmed by Obama's subsequent actions.
Translation: I can't prove Obama said this -- in fact, I can't even name anyone who said he did, despite "frequent repetition on radio talk shows" -- but I'll pretend he did anyway because it meshes so well with my smear of Obama.
Humes also alters another falsehood, substituting the false claim that Obama "grew up in Kenya" with the statement that Obama is "the son of a Kenyan." Humes' ugly smear of Obama plotting tribal revenge, however, remains intact.
Of course, nowhere in Humes' column is it indicated that it has been altered from its original publication, let alone an apology issued for publishing falsehoods and unsubstantiated claims. Fortunately, we saved a copy of Humes' original falsehoods to document Humes' careless, malicious writing.
Indeed, Humes has trouble getting simple facts about Obama correct; as we documented, last September, Humes asserted that Obama "was schooled in Kenya home of his Islam-raised father, who had four wives." Newsmax had to excise that false claim too.
If Humes keeps making such basic, blatant errors and ugly smears, why does Newsmax continue to publish him? Perhaps they think they need a new Norman Liebmann.
Examiner Hides Funding of Anti-Union Study Topic: Washington Examiner
Numerous Washington Examiner articles -- a March 5 editorial, a March 6 article by Kevin Mooney, a March 6 "Opinion Zone" article, a March 11 editorial, and a March 13 column by Republican Rep. Howard McKeon -- have touted a study by Anne Layne-Farrar claiming that, in the words of one article, "Every three percentage point gain in union membership would be accompanied by a one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate the following year." Most of these articles offer some variation on a neutral description of Layne-Farrar's background -- in Mooney's words, "an economist with LECG, a non-partisan Chicago-based economic consulting group."
None of the articles, however, mention one pertinent fact: As Media Matters detailed, Layne-Farrar's study was funded by anti-union groups. A press release issued by the HR Policy Association announcing the results of Layne-Farrar's study, "Funding for the Study was provided by the Alliance to Save Main Street Jobs." The release further states that the alliance "is chaired by HR Policy Association and includes the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the Associated Builders and Contractors, The International Council of Shopping Centers, the Real Estate Roundtable, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce."
Then again, to have mentioned this would have meant that the Examiner is acknowledging that it's serving as the PR arm of those very same anti-union forces.
Russ Douthat Meets the Heathers Topic: NewsBusters
Newly minted New York Times columnist Ross Douthat doesn't pass NewsBusters chief Heather Tim Graham's purity test:
But is Mr. Douthat (pronounced DOW-thut) really a conservative, or is he the kind of conservative only the New York Times could love? Their own story says pick (B), a sort of kid brother of David Brooks[.]
Would the New York Times announce it’s hired a "liberal writer" for the op-ed page and then declare they "steer away from partisanship or doctrine," are "squishy" on a "woman’s right to choose," and "frequently criticized Democrats"? Why aren’t they honest and report they’ve hired another "Republican moderate columnist"?
Maybe he won't always write something moderate. But Douthat was also hailed by David Frum in his "Limbaugh cult" Newsweek cover story as someone like him, someone who has the courage and wits to tell conservatives the Reagan era is toast:
"We’re at the end of the Reagan era. We’re at a point in time when we’re about to start redefining....the nature of the Republican Party, in response to what the country needs." He’s not a "Reagan Republican," but a "post-Reagan Republican."
Conservatives might suggest that’s about as acceptable to hear as black liberals being told that the Obama era is "post-racial."
Perhaps Graham should convince his MRC colleagues down the hall at CNSNews.com to serve as an example for the Times and hire a liberal as a columnist.
UPDATE: Actually, CNS is engaging in a little Heathering of its own over Douthat. Its headline on a March 12 AP article: "NY Times Hires Its Version of A Conservative to Write Op-Ed Column." That, of course, wasn't the headline the AP sent out the story with; that -- "NY Times Hires Young Conservative Op-Ed Columnist" -- strangely remains here as a subhead.
New Article: WorldNetDaily's War on Wikipedia Topic: WorldNetDaily
A summary of the week's events: In yet another attack on the popular website, WND's Aaron Klein builds a story around a user trying to edit Barack Obama's Wikipedia page, but doesn't disclose that he told that person what to do -- and then WND scrubs all references to that user from Klein's story. Read more >>
Erik Rush: Obama Is Like Prison Rapist Topic: WorldNetDaily
Despite the evidence that Obama was a closet communist, at this point I presumed he'd have settled into being something slightly more to the left than Bill Clinton and work his evil incrementally.
Indeed – like the proverbial cellblock rapist, our president is "ramming" as much of his Marxist agenda down our collective throats as quickly as he can. One would think he fears that someone might come around the corner at any second and catch him.
Did Newsmax Writer Fabricate Obama Quote? Topic: Newsmax
A March 11 Newsmax column by James Humes writes regarding a bust of Winston Churchill loaned to the U.S. government by Great Britain that President Obama had returned to the British Embassy:
That offensive act without explanation gave substance to the reported story that when President Obama walked into the Oval Office for the first time and saw the Churchill piece, he said, “Get that goddam thing out of here.”
Humes doesn't say where this Obama quote was supposedly"reported"; indeed, a search of both Google and Nexis uncovers no evidence of it.
Is Humes making this quote up? We don't put it past him given the smear he unleashes immediately after: "Perhaps Obama, who grew up in Kenya, took umbrage at Prime Minister Churchill’s actions in 1953 of wiping out the Mau-Mau, the Kenyan terrorists who made a specialty of slitting throats of sleeping white and Black Kenyans."
Humes also can't get his facts straight (a problem he has). He states that the bust was "a gift from the British people"; in fact, as Newsweek reports, the bust was " a loaner from former British prime minister Tony Blair following the September 11 attacks."
Meanwhile, Humes wasn't done smearing Obama. He asserted that "President Obama took over a hundred years of diplomatic asset known as the 'special relationship' and smashed it into smithereens," adding, "Barack Hussein Obama (who insisted that his Arabic middle name be included in the inaugural oath) has instructed the State Department to play kissy-face with Syria, Iran, the PLO, and the Taliban."
UPDATE: Oh, and Obama didn't "gr[o]w up in Kenya," either. Another Humes lie (which has repeated before).
The Return of Mark Hyman -- And His False Claims Topic: Washington Examiner
You may remember Mark Hyman from his heyday as a right-wing Sinclair Broadcasting commentator, during which he peddled all sorts of false and misleading claims.
Well, he's back. In a March 10 Washington Examiner column, Hyman served up a laundry list of anti-Obama attacks -- including some false ones.
In recent days, there were attacks against CNBC hosts Rick Santelli and Jim Cramer, a prominent Obama supporter. The pair articulated on-air what millions of Americans are thinking: Obama’s economic policies are seriously damaging America.
Santelli said he understood the threat when White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs publicly stated, “I’m not entirely sure where Mr. Santelli lives or in what house he lives…” What Gibbs may have hoped to instigate is anybody’s guess.
In fact, Santelli himself backed off his false claim that Gibbs "threatened" him when confronted on it by NBC's Matt Lauer.
Hyman also wrote that "Prosecutors and sheriffs in the swing state of Missouri who backed Obama threatened to prosecute anyone behind information they – as a self-appointed 'truth squad' -- judged to be inaccurate." In fact, as we noted at the time, those prosecutors and Sheriffs made no such threat, and the chief promoter of this claim was Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt, a John McCain supporter.
Hyman didn't go only after Obama; he wrote, "The Clinton Administration repeatedly used dirty tricks against 'enemies,'" listing among them "White House Travel Officer [sic] Director Billy Dale." In fact, as we've detailed, independent counsel Robert Ray concluded that because Dale and other employees of the travel office worked at the pleasure of the president, President Clinton had the legal right to fire them without cause. Further, there was indeed evidence of financial mismanagement in the travel office under Dale, though Dale was later found not guilty of criminal charges filed over it.
Even Kessler Agrees Klein's Smear Was Unfair Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've previously noted Aaron Klein's attempt to smear Chas Freeman, the now-former nominee head the National Intelligence Council, by claiming he has "business ties to Osama bin Laden's family." Now we've gotten support for our contention from a most unlikely source.
From Ronald Kessler's March 11 Newsmax column otherwise critical of Freeman:
To be sure, a few of the criticisms leveled against Freeman were unfair.
The fact that Freeman had business dealings with a construction firm owned by Osama bin Laden’s family was a non sequitur. Years before bin Laden began attacking American interests, his family severed ties with him when Saudi Arabia expelled him and confiscated his assets.
Klein, of course, never botherred to report that part of it, all the better to smear Freeman.
A March 11 MRC Culture & Media Institute column by Matt Philbin (excerpted at NewsBusters) -- headlined "How Mainstream Is Porn? Just Ask Body Art Barbie" -- uses the new "Totally Stylin' Tattoos Barbie" doll to make a bizarre, unfounded link between tattoos and porn:
So logically, today we have "Tramp Stamp Barbie," accurately reflecting the aesthetics of our porn-sodden culture. "Sex sells," and it always has. What's fairly new is that it's selling to the grade school set.
From here, the path is clear: next year comes "Urban Ken" with shaved head, baggy pants and barbed wire ink around his neck. Then, "Body Piercing Barbie" and "Pole Dance Barbie." Finally the "Malibu Dream House" will be updated into "Secluded San Fernando Valley Rental Dream House."
Philbin apparently also doesn't like cartoon characters who aren't Barbie-white -- he bashes Dora the Explorer as "the most excruciatingly multicultural cartoon star not under contract to PBS" and as "a repository of feminist ideas about child-rearing. She’s an adventurer in non-gender-specific clothes. No tea parties or doll houses for her!"
In a March 6 WorldNetDaily column, Glenn Sacks and Robert Franklin bashed a poll claiming that a high number of mothers were angry with their spouses:
In the social science field this is known as a "SLOP" – a Self-selected Listener Opinion Poll. Four out of five of those receiving surveys didn't respond. The ones who did are more likely to have an ax to grind or be angry – exactly the response the magazine claims its survey revealed. This data cannot be credibly applied to the average mom or family.
WND reporter Chelsea Schilling apparently doesn't read the website she works for, because she treats the same kind of poll as newsworthy.
In a March 10 WND article, Schilling touts how "an MSNBC unscientific online survey" gave President Obama an "F" for job performance. Calling the poll "unscientific" is the only hint Schilling provides to its bogus, SLOP-like nature. It's an opt-in poll with no apparent evidence that respondents are barred from voting more than once, making it wholly unreliable and, in the words of Sacks and Robinson, cannot be credibly applied to the average American.