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Friday, April 17, 2009
MRC Gives Limbaugh's Anal Sex Fixation a Pass
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell is not, to put it succinctly, a fan of anal sex:

  • In 2006, he complained that at a Comedy Central roast for William Shatner, "the audience was buried in man-on-man anal-sex and oral-sex jokes."
  • In 2008, he was offended that "Ugly Betty" includes "catty references" to, among other things, "anal sex."
  • On March 13, he bashed "Family Guy": "This Jesus-bashing is offensive, but it isn’t so surprising – it’s a 'Family Guy' staple. Now add the allusions to anal penetration and we’re on another trip down Grossout Lane."

Bozell has thus clearly established his opposition to references to anal sex in the media. So why does his organization give Rush Limbaugh a pass for making those very same "allusions to anal penetration"?

Limbaugh has a long history of making anal-sex references on his radio program and in interviews. But MRC employees, far from criticizing him for it, have uncritically repeated and even endorsed those references.

In a Jan. 22 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard touts Limbaugh's interview with Sean Hannity, during which he says of Barack Obama: "We are being told that we have to hope he succeeds; that we have to bend over, grab the ankles, bend over forward, backward, whichever; because his father was black, because this is the first black president." Sheppard did not highlight or ciriticize the remark.

In a Jan. 28 NewsBusters post, Jeff Poor noted MSNBC's highlighting of the "grab the ankles" remark, but that's not what offended him. Rather, he complained that the remark was used to ask a Republican congressmanto "denounce the talk radio king."

A Jan. 28 NewsBusters post by Geoffrey Dickens transcribed the remark as it was repeated in a segment of MSNBC's "Hardball," but did not highlight it; instead, he asserted that Chris Matthews  "fell into the same trap many other journalists have in misunderstanding the term 'Dittoheads.'"

And in an April 2 NewsBusters post, Jeff Poor wasn't offended that  Limbaugh said of praise for Obama, "if he keeps this up throughout the G20, Gordon Brown will come down with anal poisoning and may die from it." No, he was offended that CNN's Rick Sanchez was offended by Limbaugh's words:

Throughout George W. Bush's presidency, insults were doled out repeatedly about the commander-in-chief and that was just a fact of life for the highest-ranking public official in the land. However, now there's a new president, there seems to be a different standard on how you talk about a president.

CNN's Rick Sanchez, the host of the 3 p.m. hour of "CNN Newsroom" on April 2 took offense to conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh described a flowery praise of President Barack Obama by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

[...]

The alleged indiscretion: Limbaugh noted on his April 1 broadcast that Brown, who isn't exactly a free-market capitalist that reflects the ideals the United States was founded upon, was kissing up to Obama, in a way that might contaminate his person.

Poor goes on to dismiss the criticism as "an outcry by a lefty" -- even though his own boss has railed against those same terms.

So, apparently, it OK to reference anal sex only if you're trying to forward a right-wing agenda which, as Bozell has demonstrated, traditionally opposes anal sex? We're confused.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:38 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, April 17, 2009 9:55 AM EDT
Thursday, April 16, 2009
CNS Ignores Full Story on DHS Report
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com is following the ConWeb template of criticizing the Department of Homeland Security report on right-wing extremismby not telling the full truth behind the claims made in the report.

An April 15 article by Susan Jones repeats claims that "Veterans and pro-life groups are among those protesting" the report. Jones asserted that the report "label[ed] pro-life supporters as rightwing extremists" without noting the history of violence perpetrated by some anti-abortion extremists.

Jones repeated criticism by the American Legion of the report for noting that Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was a former member of the military without also noting that, as we've mentioned, a 2008 FBI report stated, in the words of the DHS, that "some returning military veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have joined extremist groups," adding: "A review of FBI white supremacist extremist cases from October 2001 to May 2008 identified 203 individuals with confirmed or claimed military service active in the extremist movement at some time during the reporting period." (One abortion clinic bomber, Eric Rudolph, was also a former member of the military.)

Jones also seems to justify Richard Poplawski's killing of three Pittsburgh policemen by writing that  "People who knew the suspect said was worried about his weapons being seized during the anti-gun Obama administration." At no point does Jones offer any evidence that Obama is "anti-gun" -- perhaps because there isn't any.

An April 16 article by Jones claiming that "Many conservative gun owners will feel threatened and insulted by the report" (though quoting only one) basessly suggests that a call for "re-imposing the ban on semi-automatic weapons" by "Obama’s own Justice Department" is a direct contradiction of Obama's statement during the campaign that "he would not take their weapons away." In fact, the weapon ban that the Obama administration has shown interest in re-instituting does not ban all "semi-automatic weapons," as Jones falsely suggests, but only selected types of semi-automatic military-style guns.

CNS has yet to address the DHS report on left-wing extremism, which was obtained by WhoRunsGov's Greg Sargent.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:09 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, April 16, 2009 1:23 PM EDT
MRC's Baker: Telling Full Truth About Tea Parties = Discrediting It
Topic: NewsBusters

An April 16 NewsBusters post by Brent Baker carries the headline, "ABC, CBS and NBC Try to Discredit 'Tea Party' Protests." How did those networks "discredit" the "tea parties"? Judging from Baker's evidence, by telling the full truth.

ABC offended Baker by noting that the rallies were "Cheered on by Fox News and talk radio"and that "critics on the left say this is not a real grassroots phenomenon at all, that it's actually largely orchestrated by people fronting for corporate interests." CBS' offense was noting that "a fistful of rightward leaning Web sites and commentators embraced the cause."NBC is in Baker's doghouse by similarly noting that "some observers suggest not all of it was as home-grown as it may seem."

At no point does Baker dispute the accuracy of those claims -- perhaps because he knows they are accurate. Rather, he plays an equivalence game, claiming that the networks lacked this same "concern for motives and hidden agendas the same programs ... when championing the 2006 pro-illegal immigrant marches."

One of the links Baker offers to support his claim is an April 2006 post on network coverage of the marches in which he complained that "Not one syllable from any protest podium was shown by ABC, CBS or NBC -- likely because of the radical messages delivered by speakers and organizers." Baker offered no examples of these purportedly "radical messages."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:32 AM EDT
What WND Won't Report About Tea Parties
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An April 15 WorldNetDaily article by Chelsea Schilling and Alyssa Farah provided fawning coverage of one of the anti-Obama tea parties in Sacramento, Calif., treating organizer Mark Meckler with the reverence normally provided by state-run media to socialist dictators:

"It's unreal. It's beyond my imagination," Meckler told WND with a dazed look. "I can't imagine anything better than this."

Some protesters shouted at the Capitol building with megaphones: "Hey, tell Gov. Schwarzenegger to come out here!"

"We are leading a revolution, and this is the first day of that revolution," Meckler said. "Politicians will no longer be able to divide our nation. They are taking our money, and we aren't going to stand here and take it anymore."

With booming enthusiasm, the crowd recited the Pledge of Allegiance and began wildly chanting, "USA, USA, USA!"

What you won't get from WND, of course, is the full truth about the Sacramento rally and the kind of people it attracted. For that, we must turn to Salon.com:

Tea bags dotted the ground and dangled from ears, protest signs and baby strollers, but the real star of Wednesday's tea party at California's State Capitol building was Fox News. The network's live broadcasting tent threatened to steal the thunder of the main stage, the news event it was covering, as "Your World" host Neil Cavuto waved to excited fans. A group of middle-aged women with a taste for American flag accessories gushed over photos they had taken of Cavuto getting his makeup done. At one point, there was a gasp from the crowd: Someone had caught an in-person glimpse of one of Cavuto's on-air guests, conservative blogger/Fox contributor Michelle Malkin. "Well, that little lady is brilliant," a gray-haired man enthused to his wife. "She and Ann Coulter."

On the steps of the Capitol building, the Fox News fan fest gave way to angry fist-pumping. A wholesome family of eight, ranging from infancy to middle-age, took turns shouting. Kim, a 43-year-old homemaker, bellowed: "You hurt my family!" She argued that, thank to taxes and the stimulus package, "We've had to cut our long distance and caller ID." Her 22-year-old daughter, Ashley, with her baby sister strapped to her chest, cut in: "We even got rid of Netflix!" Nearby lurked a man wearing sunglasses, a baseball cap with the brim pulled low and a fake black goatee and elaborately curled mustache. It was a disguise, he explained. "There's radicals on my job," said the 50-year-old, who declined to give his name. "If they see me on TV we could get in a fist fight."

The San Francisco Chronicle, meanwhile, noted the anti-Obama tenor of the rally, complete with a sign that read, "Obama: Hitler gave good speeches, too." (Of course, smearing Obama as a Nazi is something WND is very much down with.) The Chronicle added:

Jim and Suzanne DuMolin of Tiburon were equally passionate, jointly holding a sign calling for Obama's impeachment. That move, said Jim DuMolin, was justified - despite Obama's current popularity and his democratic election by U.S. voters. "It does not give him the right to transcend" the boundaries of presidential powers, DuMolin said. "He has promised a socialistic approach to government. That's really very little difference from Hugo Chavez in Venezuela."

The Obama-hate at the Sacramento rally is something Farah and Schilling didn't touch on at all -- in fact, nowhere in the article is Obama even mentioned, even though Obama-bashing was a major component of these rallies. WND has proudly displayed its obsessive hatred of Obama in the past; why hide it now?

Perhaps because there was a ConWeb meeting somewhere, and it was decided that it would discredit the rallies among the mainstream if it was perceived as anti-Obama -- after all, Obama remains popular with Americans as a whole -- so the word went out to downplay anything that might be considered too extreme.

WND's tea party-related Obama-bashing coverage is largely confined to a separate article by Joe Kovacs, who highlights a banner at a Palm Beach rally "with President Obama's logo stating, 'Chains we can believe in'" and "a simple cardboard sign equating Obama, socialism and evil." Now, that's the WND Obama-hate we all know and love.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:50 AM EDT
CMI's Hypocrisy: Silence on Right-Wing Sexism Toward Liberal Women
Topic: Media Research Center

An April 15 MRC Culture & Media Institute article by Jeff Poor and Colleen Raezler (also posted at NewsBusters) criticizes the "liberal media’s disdain for conservative women," specifically attacking MSNBC for apologizing over slights toward Hillary Clinton and other liberal women but claims it has a "strategy" of "insult, insult, insult" toward conservative women and hurling "belittling, degrading, sexist comments" toward them. Raezler's evidence is a little thin -- they have decided, for instance, that Chris Matthews' description of Sarah Palin as a "fire breather" meant that he was calling her a dragon (even though the dictionary definition of the word says nothing about dragons).Further, Poor and Raezler baselessly suggested that political criticism of Palin is equivalent to sexist remarks; they write that "Following the vice-presidential debate on MSNBC’s Oct. 2, Matthews referred to Palin’s camera demeanor as a 'dolt,'" but as the NewsBusters item to which Raezler links makes clear, Matthews was referring to Palin's habit of addressing the camera instead of the audience or the interviewer, which is in no way a "sexist" criticism.

Poor and Raezler's outrage over sexist remarks, however, end when conservatives are making them and liberal women are the targets.

A search of the CMI database found no examples whatsoever by Raezler, Poor, or any other CMI employee expressing criticism of sexist remarks made by Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage-- two conservatives with long histories of making "belittling, degrading, sexist comments" toward liberal women.

Raezler and Poor complained that MSNBC made "cartoonish characterizations of courageous, intelligent and strong women," but it's clear that they don't consider liberal women to be courageous, intelligent or strong. Raezler quotes "Colleen Holmes, executive director of the conservative Eagle Forum," as saying, "Michelle Malkin summarized it perfectly when she noted that the liberals have a tendency to infantilize, sexualize, demonize and dehumanize conservative women." Apparently, calling Nancy Pelosi "mussolini in a skirt," as Savage has done, is not demonizing or dehumanizing.

Raezler and Poor need to hold their own side accountable for its sexist rhetoric before they have any credibility with which to criticize the rhetoric of others. 

UPDATE: Savage calls a CNN female reporter "a self-hating white woman, who couldn't get a job as a hooker." Is that demonizing and dehumanizing enough to move Poor and Raezler to criticism, or do they think such criticism is justibiable because the reporter can be dismissed as a liberal?

UPDATE 2: Raezler and Poor also referenced a previous CMI report on coverage of Sarah Palin -- also co-written by Raezler -- to claim that "it's not just MSNBC who has treated conservative women in this manner." As we detailed at the time of that report's release, its main complaint was that news reports on Palin didn't uncritically repeat McCain campaign talking points.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:57 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, April 16, 2009 12:33 PM EDT
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Newsmax Again Promotes 'Grassroots' Tea Parties
Topic: Newsmax
An April 15 Newsmax article asserted and uncritically repeated claims that the anti-Obama "tea parties" are a "grass-roots movement" despite the evidence that they're not. The article even quoted Dick Armey of FreedomWorks without noting that Armey's group has been promoting tea party events for months.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:48 PM EDT
Sheppard's Conspiratorial Freakout
Topic: NewsBusters

An April 15 NewsBsuters post by Noel Sheppard asserted that the Department of Homeland Security report on right-wing extremism " enraged conservatives questioning not only the timing of this report's release within days of liberal media representatives blaming the shootings on rightwing talkers, but also just before Wednesday's tax protesting Tea Parties." Sheppard later expresses concern that the report "conspicuously coincident with high-profile cop killings as well as protests against the current administration's fiscal policies" and demands to know "how it got leaked to the press."

In fact, right-wing radio host Roger Hedgecock is taking credit for revealing the report in his WorldNetDaily column.

Unless Sheppard can prove Hedgecock and WND are part of the vast left-wing conspiracy -- let alone that anything in the report is false -- he perhaps needs to chill out for a bit.

Sheppard also repeats his deflection of responsibility from right-wing media personalities for their extremist rhetoric, insisting that in the DHS report "the Pittsburgh cop killings were used as an example of a potential rise in violence associated with rightwing extremism when it was a domestic dispute between a mother and son which flared out of control." Sheppard curiously ignores all the evidence linking the alleged shooter, Richard Poplawski, to right-wing extremism, as well as the likely possibility that it was Poplawski's embrace of that extremism that made it more likely that an argument with his mother would "flare out of control."

UPDATE: Jamison Foser weighs in as well.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:54 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 2:21 PM EDT
Blumer Still Clueless About the Media
Topic: NewsBusters

Tom Blumer puts his cluelessness about the media to work yet again in an April 14 NewsBusters post about declining ratings for network evening news broadcasts, writing: "I could of course be commenting on the poor quality of the alleged journalism. But in this case I'm talking about their ratings, which is of course largely caused by said poor journalism."

But Blumer offers no evidence that the networks engage in "poor journalism" -- read: overly pro-Obama journalism -- let alone that there is a direct relationship between it and declining ratings.

Blumer referenced a March 25 post, in which he claimed that the network newscasts were "heavy on fawning favoritism towards Barack Obama and Joe Biden combined with all-out attacks on John McCain and Sarah Palin" and that the networks believed that "an Obama presidency might revive interest in their declining evening newscasts." But he offers no evidence to back that up, either.

Asserting something doesn't make it so, Tom.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:18 AM EDT
WND Ignores Full Story of Ex-Soldiers, Right-Wing Extremism
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An unbylined April 14 WorldNetDaily article featured criticism by the American Legion of a Department of Homeland Security report on "dangers associated with "right-wing extremists" – and singles out returning war veterans as particular threats." The WND article stated that the American Legion "strongly objects to the report linking veterans to the Oklahoma City tragedy simply because bomber Timothy McVeigh had served in the military."

In fact, as Media Matters details, a 2008 FBI report (issued, by the way, under the Bush administration) stated, in the words of the DHS, that "some returning military veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have joined extremist groups," adding: "A review of FBI white supremacist extremist cases from October 2001 to May 2008 identified 203 individuals with confirmed or claimed military service active in the extremist movement at some time during the reporting period."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:11 AM EDT
ConWeb Baselessly Calls Tea Parties 'Grassroots'
Topic: The ConWeb

The following ConWeb articles, columns and blog posts baselessly asserted or uncritically repeated claims that the anti-Obama tea parties happening today are "grassroots" or "bottom up" despite growing evidence to the contrary:

WorldNetDaily:

  • March 15 article by Chelsea Schilling
  • March 23 article by Andrea Shea King

Newsmax:

CNSNews.com:

  • Feb. 20 column by Michelle Malkin
  • March 4 column by Michelle Malkin

NewsBusters:

  • March 23 item by Clay Waters
  • April 7 item by Jeff Poor
  • April 7 item by Clay Waters
  • April 9 item by Jeff Poor
  • April 11 item by Jeff Poor

Accuracy in Media

Only one ConWeb article uncritically acknowledges claims that the tea parties aren't "grassroots": an April 13 WND article by Chelsea Schilling.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:26 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 12:35 AM EDT
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Deep Thought
Topic: NewsBusters

Noel Sheppard might have a credible case for criticizing government warnings about possible violence from "domestic rightwing terrorists" if the acronym for his so-called "War Against Conservative Opinion" idea didn't invoke images of gun-toting, child-molesting extremist cult members who murdered federal agents.

UPDATE: Jamison Foser adds: "So it is at least creepy, if not dangerous, for Sheppard to run around shouting 'Waco!' over and over, all the while promoting the fiction that the Obama administration has a secret plan to seize guns."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:59 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 2:35 PM EDT
WND Repeats False Claim About Obama's Pizza
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An April 13 WorldNetDaily article by Andrea Shea King falsely claims that President Obama "actually flew" pizza chef Chris Sommers in from St. Louis to make a pizza for him, further snarking that the pizza contains "a heaping helping of environmental hypocrisy."

But as blogger Tommy Christopher writes, he contacted the restaurant in St. Louis and got the truth (h/t Sadly, No!):

  • In fact, Chris Sommers flew commercial.
  • Not only that, he flew coach.
  • Not only that, he had already planned a business trip to DC, so the restaurant paid for his travel!

[...]

Finally, Barack Obama isn't saddling the American taxpayer with the tab for this feast. He's picking up the tab, for local ingredients, out of his own pocket.

Too bad King couldn't be bothered to investigate the story before latching onto a lie. But that's what makes her such an ideal WND employee.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:26 PM EDT
Kessler Fluffs Bush Again
Topic: Newsmax

Just because George W. Bush is out of office doesn't mean that Ronald Kessler can't fluff the guy.

A longtime Bush fluffer, Kessler takes the opportunity to fawn over him once more in an April 13 Newsmax column ostensibly about a meeting of former Bush administration officials "to map plans for the George W. Bush Presidential Center." He writes: "In contrast to President Obama, who takes swipes at Bush at every turn, they will have much to be proud of."

And the parade of fluffing begins, combined with potshots at the usual suspects. Kessler insists that Bush's achievements "have been largely ignored by a press determined to bash Bush whenever it can" and asserting without evidence that the New York Times "never misses a chance to portray Bush as an intolerant bigot."

Kessler devotes the latter part of his column to an attack on President Obama, including the misleading claim that "Obama has 'the most polarized early job approval of any president,' according to the Pew Research Center." He also claims that "Vice President Joe Biden has been busy making up stories about how he allegedly chastised Bush in the Oval Office" without offering any proof that Biden lied.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:30 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 12:11 PM EDT
AIM Baselessly Claims Critics of Lack of Degree for Obama Allege Racism
Topic: Accuracy in Media

An April 13 Accuracy in Media blog post by Don Irvine baseless asserted taht "Obama supporters and others on the left" are "mercilessly attacking" Arizona State University and "accusing the school of racism for their decision" not to award President Obama an honorary degree when he visits in May to deliver a commencement speech. Irvine offers no evidence that any notable person on "the left" has invoked racism in their criticism of the school. Indeed, it appears that the opposite is true.

For instance, John Aravosis at the liberal AmericaBlog wrote: "Now, before anyone thinks this is about racism or anything, it should be noted that Arizona State is happy to bestow honorary degrees on other people of color (or at least non-white color) who have accomplished great things in their lives, like the vice minister of education of communist China." (One would think that would set off the anti-communist obsessives at AIM more than a degree for Obama; instead, Irvine's offended that ASU will instead rename a scholarship for Obama, which means "his name will live on in perpetuity at a school where he has zero relationship and all because of the desire to be politically correct.")

At the Huffington Post, Earl Ofari Hutchinson stated that allegations that ASU president Michael Crow is a "closet bigot" are "mostly hearsay and does not tag Crow as a president with a vendetta against women and minorities."

Even a blog at the website for the black-oriented cable channel BET did not reference race issues in reporting the story.

Irvine might want to try backing up his claims once in a while.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:47 AM EDT
Monday, April 13, 2009
For WND, Fawning Profiles More Newsworthy Than Navy's Pirate Rescue
Topic: WorldNetDaily

How pathologically does WorldNetDaily hate Barack Obama? For much of the day today, its coverage of the rescue of a cargo ship captain kidnapped by Somali pirates starts at the 30th item on its front page.

The lead story? A fawning profile of Obama birth certificate obsessive Orly Taitz by Chelsea Schilling (who is apparently WND's go-to gal for slobbering profiles; she did one a couple weeks ago on movie-purity obsessive Ted Baehr).

Since Schilling is all about the slobbering and fawning -- indeed, she describes Taitz as a "fierce blonde" with "a vibrant smile and an ebullient personality" -- she's not going to tell you about WND's overly close relationship with Taitz -- as we've detailed, WND apparently has a role in facilitating Taitz's publicity stunts. Nor will she mention questions that have been raised about Taitz's legal qualifications and her methods of attacking Obama. (She's not a member of the American Bar Association, nor does the school from which Taitz received her law degree have ABA accreditation.)

Schilling will, however, indulge in casual slurs of Obama, quoting Taitz as saying that "much like President Obama's proposed brigade of youth organizers, the Soviet Union used children for slave labor."


Posted by Terry K. at 5:06 PM EDT

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