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Friday, April 24, 2009
MRC Keeps the Blinders On
Topic: Media Research Center

We've detailed now the Media Research Center is so blinded by their tunnel vision that they blame "liberal bias" for every media woe even though other explanations are much more plausible and demonstrable. But logic isn't a tool in the MRC arsenal, so they have chosen to remain willfully blinded.

In an April 22 NewsBusters post gleefully relating how the New York Times Co. is purportedly "burning full blast towards oblivion," Stephen Gutowski noted the Associated Press' listing of the actual reasons the newspaper industry is in trouble -- the recession, marketing shifts, and "many people are doing without newspaper subscriptions because they can read much of the same information for free on the Web" -- then dismisses them, claiming, "I think those of us here at NewsBusters know better than that." He then quotes another blogger referencing "left wing hack newspapers" and adds, "And bias certainly hurts because, truthfully, if you consistently alienate large swaths of potential customers through undeniable and absolutely despicable bias its bound to affect your bottom line." He concludes that the Times must "incorporate the genuine balance and true professionalism that people want from their news sources. Because if you don't eliminate the hackery, which has become so common and so obvious, soon you won't be around to do so in the future."

Let's take a moment here and see what a real expert has to say on the issue. Donna Barrett is the president and CEO of newspaper chain Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., and we're pretty sure she has significantly more working knowledge about the newspaper industry than Gutowski:

There is no shortage of other theories on why newspapers are hurting. Most come from those without direct responsibility for the financial health of a newspaper. Some popular explanations:

1.) Newspapers are too liberal and drive off readers as a result.
2.) Newspaper publishers are slow to embrace new technology.
3.) Newspapers are losing readers to the Internet.

As my father used to say, they don’t know what they don’t know. In reality, none of these theories is responsible for newspapers' woes.

Overall readership is growing. Most publishers embrace technological advances to serve their audience, but they face a real-world problem that these advances usually provide much less revenue than their core business.

Finally, newspaper companies are losing classified revenue, not readers, to the Internet. In one of life’s ironies, newspapers are growing audience through the very outlet that takes away so much revenue.

Don't look for Gutowski or anyone else at the MRC to acknowledge this -- they're too invested in their blinders.

Speaking of Gutowski's fellow MRCers, Dan Gainor testified in front of a House subcommittee on April 21 in a hearing about newspapers, in which he downplays actual facts and clung to the liberal-bias canard. From Gainor's statement:

While it is fair to blame much of the decline in newspapers to technology, it is not the only factor. The newspaper industry has changed too – for the worse. Standards have slipped or all but disappeared. The concept of a journalist as a neutral party has become a punch line for a joke, not a guideline for an industry.

We all saw how poorly the mainstream press covered the last election. According to the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, voters believed that the media wanted Barack Obama to win the presidential election. “By a margin of 70%-9%, Americans say most journalists want to see Obama, not John McCain, win,” Pew reported. Other surveys confirmed it: According to Rasmussen, "Over half of U.S. voters (51%) think reporters are trying to hurt Sarah Palin."
And while newspaper credibility has taken a hit among both Democrats and Republicans, it is lowest among Republicans with the [New York] Times having just a 10 percent credibility rating in that group. One person in 10? You could write graffiti on a wall and have more people believe you.

In other words: lilberal bias. But citing polling supporting that view ignores the decades of work and millions upon millions of dollars spent by conservative organizations like Gainor's employer to foist that view on the public. Indeed, NewsBusters blogger Tom Blumer let that cat out of the bag last year, proclaiming that such poll findings mean that "twenty or so years of very hard work by the Media Research Center and affiliates, including just over three years at NewsBusters, has paid some dividends." Not that there's any truth to it, mind you, but that sufficient money has been spent to make enough people believe it.

Additionally, The Times has been a major target of the MRC, having devoted an entire website to bashing it.

Gainor also said: "You don’t have to tell me that the newspaper business in changing. Three of those organizations I have worked for are now out of business. Until recently, I wrote a column for the Baltimore Examiner, but it closed putting dozens of friends and fellow journalists out of work."

But the closing of the Baltimore Examiner disproves his assertion that liberal bias is alienating newspaper readers. That paper was a sister paper to the Washington Examiner, which has an unmistakable right-wing bias. We can presume that the Baltimore paper had a similar bias; "liberal bias" could not have been an issue with that paper's demise.

Gainor further ignores the fact that right-wing papers like the Washington Times, the New York Post and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (and, one can assume, the Washington Examiner) are not the dominant publications in their respective markets, have consistently lost money for decades, and remain in business only because of deep-pocketed owners who are willing to absorb the losses (and keep secret just how much money is being lost). By comparison, the losses at mainstream newspapers have occured only within the past couple of years, and most are owned by publicly held companies so revenue is publicly disclosed as well. Thus, the losses at those papers have gotten public attention, while the losses at right-wing papers have not.

Gutowski and Gainor are stubbornly putting their employer's talking points above the facts. But then, that's what they get paid to do.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:33 AM EDT
Newsmax Continues Kerik Rehabilitation
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax's rehabilitation of Bernard Kerik continues: He's written an April 23 column for Newsmax bashing President Obama.

Kerik's tagline on his column is laughably vague, stating on that he "retired as the 40th police commissioner of New York City and was in command of the NYPD on and after Sept. 11, 2001." No mention of the fact he's still under indictment on numerous charges of corruption and tax fraud.

But for Newsmax, an indicted felon is perfectly qualified to speak as long as he's attacking Obama.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:11 AM EDT
Thursday, April 23, 2009
What Tea Party Did Erik Rush Go To?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his April 23 WorldNetDaily column, Erik Rush insists that the "tea parties" were "anti-spending ... (as opposed to anti-government or anti-Obama, as characterized in the press)."

Funny, they looked rather anti-Obama (not to mention a bit anti-Semitic) to us.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:12 PM EDT
Newsmax Again Rounds Up Partisan 'Experts' to Attack Obama
Topic: Newsmax

We've noted how Newsmax likes to round up so-called "experts" to attack President Obama's policies without bothering to explain the right-wing agenda of those "experts." It does so in an April 22 article by David A. Patten citing a "growing chorus of experts" to claim that Obama's plans to expand health care "kill hopes for a sustained economic recovery."

And who are Patten's "experts"? Representatives of the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute. At no point does Patten identify the right-wing and libertarian leanings of these think tanks, and Patten does not permit anyone from the Obama administration to respond to the criticism.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:08 PM EDT
Barber Repeats Bogus Matthew Shepard Revisionism

In an April 21 column ranting against covering gays -- oops, "individuals who define their identity based upon aberrant sexual behaviors" -- the ConWeb's favorite gay-basher, Matt Barber, joins other right-wingers in deciding a convicted killer is emininently trustworthy as he regurgitates right-wing revisionism about the murder of Matthew Shepard:

Although the evidence determined that Shepard's murder was not a “hate crime” by definition (a misconception still widely propagated by the homosexual lobby, the media and liberal lawmakers) the two thugs who committed the crime nonetheless received life in prison – and rightfully so. (Shepard's murder turned out to be the end result of a robbery for drug money gone from bad to horrible).

The person Barber is relying on to claim that one of the men who killed Shepard -- who has a history of telling lies about his role in the death of Shepard and who mounted a gay-panic defense during his murder trial -- who has yet again changed his story. By contrast, the former police chief of Laramie, Wyo., where the murder took place, has said about the killer's new story: "Only three people know what really happened that night. ... One of them is dead and the other two are known liars and convicted felons -- murderers."

Barber has chosen to trust the word of a convicted felon and a documented liar over that of law enforcement authorities. Now we know how Barber has chosen to define his identity.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:25 AM EDT
Ponte Peddles Global Warming Bamboozlement
Topic: Newsmax

In an April 22 Newsmax column playing guilt-by-association because Earth Day occurs on the same day as Lenin's birthday, Lowell Ponte writes: "Whatever global warming has happened since the late 1970s halted in 1998. Satellite measurements show that Earth has cooled for the past five years."

As we've previously noted, 2008 was still the 10th warmest year on record. Further, Michel Jarraud, secretary general of the U.N. World Meteorological Organization, points out that the earth is still in a warming trend, and that "The 11 warmest years on record occurred in the past 13 years."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 AM EDT
CNS' Jeffrey Is Conduit for Apparently False CIA Claim
Topic: editor-in-chief Terry Jeffrey got himself a big scoop the other day, claiming in an April 21 CNS article: "The Central Intelligence Agency told today that it stands by the assertion made in a May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that the use of “enhanced techniques” of interrogation on al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) -- including the use of waterboarding -- caused KSM to reveal information that allowed the U.S. government to thwart a planned attack on Los Angeles." Jeffrey liked that scoop so much that rewrote the article and turned it into his April 22 column.

Just one problem with it: It doesn't appear to be true.

As Media Matters and Slate's Timothy Noah point out, the Bush administration has stated that the plot in question, a plan to fly a hijacked airliner into a Los Angeles skyscraper, was broken up in February 2002 -- more than a year before Mohammed's capture in March 2003. That means Mohammed gave information under waterboarding (if indeed he actually did so) about a plot that not only had already been foiled, it appears to have been not much of a plot in the first place.

It also means that Jeffrey has a problem. He has apparently allowed himself to serve as a stooge for the CIA, treating information fed to him as fact that appears not to be true at all. He might want to explain that to his readers.

UPDATE: An April 23 CNS article by Josiah Ryan repeats the claim without noting the evidence contradicting it.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:53 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, April 23, 2009 9:09 AM EDT
Contextual Advertising Fail
Topic: NewsBusters

The screenshot below shows the ad we found at the end of an April 22 NewsBusters post by Colleen Raezler bashing the "mainstream news media" for covering "in a positive manner" the Day of Silence, "an indoctrination tool pushed on students by gay activists":


Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 AM EDT
Examiner Loves Ideologically Based Dishonesty
Topic: Washington Examiner

In naming yet another liberal its "dim bulb of the week" for the crime of doing something non-conservative, the Washington Examiner, in its April 19 print edition, accused him of "ideologically based dishonesty." But that's exactly what the Examiner engages in in the rest of that paper:

The main editorial blamed Congress in general and Barney Frank in particular for ignoring warning signs aboutproblems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. While the Examiner cites quotes from Frank maked in 2003 and 2004, nowhere does it single out any Republican for criticism, even though Republicans were in charge of Congress until 2006 and, thus, it was Republicans -- and not Frank -- who controlled the agenda of the House Financial Services Committee until 2007, when Frank introduced legislation creating an agency with "general supervisory and regulatory authority over" Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Examiner doesn't mention that, either.

The Examiner ran a column by Michael Reagan (which also ran at Newsmax) in which he smeared President Obama as a Nazi.

The print-only, liberal-bashing "10 worst ideas of the week" was rife with false and misleading claims: It falsely called right-wing documentarian John Ziegler a "journalist" (he's a foul-mouthed bully), and it falsely claimed that "the White House demanded that a pernament IHS insignia ... be covered" during a speech at Georgetown (the White House made no such specific demand).

Posted by Terry K. at 12:30 AM EDT
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

How desperate is WorldNetDaily to smear and denigrate Barack Obama at every possible opportunity? Take this headline from an April 21 article by Drew Zahn:

Will she be biggest YouTube hit ever?
Boyle's stunning song 5 times as popular as Obama, and growing

The wisp of a hook upon which WND hangs this smear is that videos of Susan Boyle's inspiring performance have "topped 100 million hits in two weeks" while "Barack Obama's election victory speech" has "mustered a mere 18.5 million views."

As one would expect from WND, Zahn lowballs Obama's popularity by cherry-picking only a single speech. It's been noted that Obama's YouTube channel had generated 11.5 million views by January 2008 -- and there were still 10 months of campaigning to go, so that number should be much higher.

WND has thus cynically appropriated a singer who has absolutely nothing to do with American politics as a tool to make a political attack against its declared enemy. That's how craven and petty and desperate WND is.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:01 PM EDT
People of the Lie: WND Perpetuates One Of Its Many Obama Falsehoods
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Among the multitude of lies about Barack Obama we've documented WorldNetDaily of promoting is that Obama has never explained his call for a "civilian national security force" refers to the creation of a Nazi/Marxist police force, and that Obama has refused to elaborate on what his plan means. This one is particularly odious because the main perpetrator WND editor Joseph Farah -- who presumably has been in the news business long enough to know he's committing libel every time he does so.

Bob Unruh uncritically repeats Farah's lie in an April 21 WND article on the passage of a bill to expand AmeriCorps:

"If we're going to create some kind of national police force as big, powerful and well-funded as our combined U.S. military forces, isn't this rather a big deal?" Farah wrote. "I thought Democrats generally believed the U.S. spent too much on the military. How is it possible their candidate is seeking to create some kind of massive but secret national police force that will be even bigger than the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force put together?

"Is Obama serious about creating some kind of domestic security force bigger and more expensive than that? If not, why did he say it? What did he mean?" Farah wrote.

WND has never told its readers that Obama has specifically described his idea of a "civilian national security force" as a restructuring of the State Department and foreign service so that it can "deploy teams that combine agricultural specialists and engineers and linguists and cultural specialists who are prepared to go into some of the most dangerous areas alongside our military." Obama has also applied the term to an expansion of the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps.

This is just another reason why WND can't be trusted.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:31 AM EDT
Newsmax Also Smears Former Columnist
Topic: Newsmax

We've previously noted the misleading claims WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein made about former Los Angeles Times columnist Rosa Brooks, who recently took a job as an adviser to an undersecretary of defense. Now, Newsmax's Dave Eberhart repeats those same misleading claims.

Eberhart's April 21 article falsely calls Brooks an "Al-Qaida Apologist." In fact, she has done no such thing, and Eberhart offers no evidence to support the claim.

Eberhart also echoes Klein's complaint that Brooks "compared the Bush administration’s legal arguments on the war on terror with Adolf Hitler’s use of political propaganda." But Newsmax columnist Phil Brennan has likened President Obama to Hitler to no complaint from Eberhart, making his attack on Brooks as hypocritical as Klein's (who similarly failed to acknowledge, let alone criticize, his employer's history of publishing Obama-Nazi smears).

Posted by Terry K. at 9:21 AM EDT
CNS Promotes Simcox, Ignores Controversy Surrounding Him

An April 21 article by Fred Lucas touted the plans of "pro-border enforcement group" Minuteman Civil Defense Corps founder Chris Simcox to challenge John McCain in the 2010 Arizona Senate primary. In promoting Simcox's hardline stance on immigration, Lucas failed to note any of the controversies Simcox has been involved with over the years.

As we've noted, Simcox's group has been attempting to build its own border fence, promising to its funders that it would be 14 feet high, wired with monitors and sensors, and topped with razor wire. The fence the group has built, however, is a mere five-strand barbed-wire cattle fence. Simcox is now saying that he never promised to build the high-tech security fence and insists the barbed-wire fence really does protect the country. Simcox also fired Minuteman Civil Defense Corps members who demanded an accounting of the money raised for the fence.

Wouldn't alleged improprieties be an issue for Simcox in his campaign? Lucas shows no apparent interest in asking that question.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:05 AM EDT
Complaint Filed Against Taitz -- Will WND Report?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has amply demonstrated that it will throw away what little integrity it has to serve as a shill for Orly Taitz -- it not only uncritically repeats every utterance of hers no matter how false or vindictive, it has rewarded her with a sycophantic profile, and WND editor Joseph Farah has slobbered all over her.

Taitz, in other words, is She Who Must Not Be Criticized at WND. So don't expect WND to come running to cover  a report detailing accusations of shoddy legal work and ethical violations.

A complaint has been filed with the California bar (h/t Natural Born Citizen blog) regarding Taitz's behavior in her obsessive pursuit of the Obama birth certificate conspiracy. Among the allegations in the complaint:

  • Taitz is indiscriminately hurled charges of treason and called for an armed revolt against the federal government.
  • She actively recruited clients in a state where she is not licensed to practice law.
  • She has repeatedly disrespected judges and officers of the court.
  • She has made false and misleading claims in court filings.
  • She has not properly accounted for money she has raised to further her crusade.

The complaint has been filed anonymously, the author claims, due to Taitz's history of retaliating against her critics.

Given that WND allowed Taitz to hurl numerous accusations against a former colleague -- as we noted, WND's Chelsea Schilling (who wrote the sycophantic profile of Taitz) claimed that the colleague didn't return her phone calls asking for a response but ignored the fact that responses were posted on the colleague's blog -- WND will try to ignore this complaint as long as it can, or at least until it gives Taitz a full opportunity to respond, a courtesy it refuses to extend to those Taitz attacks.

After all, Schilling thinks Taitz is just dreamy, a "fierce blond attorney" with "a vibrant smile and an ebullient personality," and Farah thinks she's a "constitutional heroine."

What we said about WND managing editor David Kupelian applies to Farah and Schilling as well: They care nothing about the truth or the Constitution or even ethical legal behavior -- only about destroying Obama. And like Kupelian, they don't seem to realize what they are actually destroying is WorldNetDaily.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:55 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 9:06 AM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Barbara Simpson has decided that President Obama hates Catholics. How? Simpson provides the less-than-compelling evidence in her April 20 WorldNetDaily column.

First, Simpson asserts that for a speech at Georgetown University, Obama "had the audacity to request that when you spoke, the podium and area in Gaston Hall could have no visible religious images; everything had to be covered." In fact, as we've noted, the Obama administration asked only that the university cover up "all of the Georgetown University signage and symbols" behind Obama's stage -- no specific demand to cover religious symbols was made.

Obama's second offense, according to Simpson, was accepting an invitation to speak at Notre Dame's commencement. How does that demonstrate Obama's hatred of Catholicism? Heck if we know, but Simpson goes on to make her own demand of Obama regarding the right-wing-generated controversy surrounding the speech: "A cultured and refined man, knowing this is causing more division than is necessary, would – no, should – graciously decline the invitation. You are silent."

So Obama is showing his hatred for Catholicism by not giving in to the lynch mob Simpson is a part of? That sounds about right.

Expanding on her lynch-mob mentality, Simpson hurls smears at Obama, falsely asserting that he "support[s] abortion at any time in a nine-month pregnancy, to the point of allowing babies who survive the ordeal to be put aside to die" and suggesting he's not a real Christian because he "honored Islam by removing [his] shoes."

Since when does removing shoes indicate a hatred of Catholicism? We're confused.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 AM EDT

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