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Monday, March 16, 2009
WND, Newsmax Do PR for Judicial Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily and Newsmax served as public-relations agents for Judicial Watch by uncritically repeating their allegations of abuse of military plane privileges by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi without making any effort whatsoever to tell the other side of the story.

WND's Chelsea Schilling hewed the closest to Judicial Watch's press release in a March 10 article, regurgitating Judicial Watch's description of itself as "the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption" and failing to note its history of disproportionate attacks against Democrats.

David Pattten was similarly acquiescent to Judicial Watch in a March 11 Newsmax article, describing it as as "the nonprofit organization that exposes government waste and corruption" and saying nothing about its anti-liberal bias.

Not only did Schilling and Patten both fail to seek comment from Pelosi or anyone else, they both repeated the same anecdotes from Judicial Watch's press release without telling the full story. For instance, both cited a email from from one Pelosi staffer, as described by Patten:

In one instance, a House staffer shot off an e-mail to Air Force officials stating: "It is my understanding there are no G5s available for the House during the Memorial Day recess. This is totally unacceptable...The speaker will want to know where the planes are."

In fact, as Media Matters and ABC News detail, that particular email came in reference to planes available for bipartisan trips by congressional delegations -- not the speaker's personal travel. Further, many of those congressional delegations included Republicans, which Schilling and Patten also fail to mention.

Meanwhile, Schilling botches the background of the plane issue, writing: "Since Sept. 11, Pelosi has received what the Air Force refers to as 'shuttle service,' allegedly due to concerns for security." False; in fact, the speaker of the House, not Pelosi personally -- who has been speaker only since 2007 -- has received that service since the 9/11 terror attacks. It means that Pelosi's predecessor, Republican Dennis Hastert, took advantage of that privilege as well.

Schilling also uncritically repeats Judicial Watch's claim that "In recent years, Pelosi has reportedly requested a C-32 plane for her travels. The aircraft is a luxurious version of the Boeing 757-200 commercial intercontinental airliner and costs $22,000 an hour to operate." In fact, according to

She does not routinely fly about in a 757-size jet that she demanded from the Air Force. She normally flies on the same type of executive jet as her Republican predecessor.


Pelosi has used the Air Force equivalent of a Boeing 757 to fly between Washington, D.C., and her San Francisco district. But she has done so exactly once, when no smaller aircraft was available, according to Air Force spokesman Eric Sharman. At other times she flies in a much smaller, 12-seat executive jet, the same type used by her Republican predecessor, Dennis Hastert.

Telling the full story, it seems, is beyond the journalistic capabilities of both Schilling and Patten.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:22 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, March 16, 2009 9:22 AM EDT
Tim Graham Is Not A Journalist
Topic: NewsBusters

Tim Graham's on the Heathering trail again, using a March 15 NewsBusters post to once more bash columnist Kathleen Parker for insufficient adherence to conservative dogma. Parker's offense this time is a column suggesting that the decline of newspapers is linked to demonizing of them by conservative "non-journalists."

In the middle of his anti-Parker rant, Graham drops a curious parenthetical aside: "I’m not a 'non-journalist.' I’m a journalist who writes about journalism. Just because the Washington Post wouldn’t hire me doesn’t mean I’m not a journalist."

Actually, the reason Graham is not a journalist has a lot more to do with the fact that he hasn't had anything to do with actual journalism for decades.

Yes, Graham actually worked in journalism at one time -- according to his MRC bio, he "served as a news reporter for the La Crosse (WI) Tribune and local radio stations in Wisconsin."

But he abandoned journalism for right-wing advocacy in 1986, when he became the editor of a newsletter issued by the right-wing Capital Research Center. And no, his short stint as White House correspondent for Marvin Olasky's World magazine doesn't count since that's an advocacy publication too.

Graham went on to further demonstrate he's not a journalist by asserting "overwhelming evidence of liberal media bias" -- despite the fact that he has previously conceded in 2006 that "the great majority of what we watch and read is not noticeably unfair or inaccurate."  Graham further rants:

Parker’s not a conservative. Because a conservative would argue the opposite: that liberal newspapers are a threat to a free society, not conservative media critics. Liberal newspapers are the ones who wanted to make America safe for terrorist suspects. Liberal newspapers are the ones whose coverage of Iraq screamed that they wanted America to fail. Liberal newspapers are fully behind turning America into just another European-style no-growth socialist republic.

If Graham was actually a journalist, he would have offered evidence to back this up. He doesn't. Apparently, he thinks that asserting that there's "overwhelming evidence of liberal media bias" makes it so. It doesn't.

Of course, a real journalist would know that. We know that Graham isn't, and all his assertions to the contrary won't change that.

Besides, would a real journalist be obsessing so much about the ideological purity of others? We're pretty sure the answer is no.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:59 AM EDT
WND Shoots Down Porter's Column
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Richard Bartholomew notes that WorldNetDaily has essentially retracted Janet Folger Porter's March 10 column, in which she claims that pastor David Wilkerson -- whose prediction of the imminent destruction of New York City WND has been promoting despite the fact that Wilkerson has been making such predictions for a good 35 years now -- was "was warned by God that a calamity was coming," which moved he and others to make thousands of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the night before the 9/11 terror attacks. WND has now appended an editor's note at the start of Porter's column:

Editor's note: The story in this column about Times Square Church making thousands of sandwiches just prior to 9/11 is false. Janet Porter confirmed the story with a church staff member as she wrote the column, but was given incorrect information. WorldNetDaily regrets the error.

This isn't the first time Porter has made dubiously sourced claims. As we've detailed, she uncritically repeated anti-gay claims made by a neo-Nazi racist.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:06 AM EDT
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Sheppard Likens Obama to Soviets, Nazis
Topic: Washington Examiner
Noel Sheppard has another too-hot-for-NewsBusters column up at the Washington Examiner, and this time he's in a mood to smear:
Seems like our new president is using unreasoning, unjustified terror to paralyze the petrified masses into unconditionally surrendering to a proposal that is either totally unnecessary or based on rose-colored assumptions that can’t possibly pan out.
Whichever the case, it is no basis for America throwing away liberty and our very way of life.
Discarding centuries of freedom and capitalism to save some people from hard financial times must be avoided like a bank stock for it is precisely such myopia that led to the Red Revolution in Russia in the early 1900’s. Did that succeed, or was it a huge mistake?

Or how about National Socialism in Germany? Wasn’t that an atrocious decision made by a seemingly desperate people scared enough by horrid economic conditions to elect an inhumane dictator in return for financial security?
Huh? Does Sheppard really think that Russia under the czarist system was all about "freedom and capitalism"?
Sheppard is turning more WorldNetDaily-esque every day.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:31 AM EDT
Us. vs. The AIM Intern
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Uh-oh -- we've been called out by the AIM intern.

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 factual misrepesentations 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 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.

There's your answer, Aaron.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:23 AM EDT
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Then And Now
Topic: NewsBusters

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?

-- March 13 NewsBusters post

So Obama gets criticized by NewsBusters for being downbeat about the economy -- and for being upbeat about the economy. Can the guy ever get a break?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:13 AM EDT
Gainor Repeats Global Warming Fallacy

In his March 11 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.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:52 AM EDT
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.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:05 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, March 14, 2009 3:35 PM EDT
Friday, March 13, 2009
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.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:43 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, March 13, 2009 2:26 PM EDT
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 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.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:24 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, March 13, 2009 9:35 AM EDT
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 >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:43 AM EDT
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.

-- Erik Rush, March 12 WorldNetDaily column

Posted by Terry K. at 12:10 AM EDT
Thursday, March 12, 2009
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).

Posted by Terry K. at 5:16 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, March 12, 2009 5:55 PM EDT
Quote of the Day

It is now clear to me - although I have absolutely no reason to know this to be true - that Hillary agreed not to blow up the Democratic convention in Denver if she became Secretary of State.

-- Rich Galen, March 11 column

Posted by Terry K. at 3:18 PM EDT
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.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:43 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, March 12, 2009 1:43 PM EDT

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