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Tuesday, April 28, 2009
NewsBusters Repeats Dubious KSM Claim
Topic: NewsBusters

An April 27 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd repeats a post by right-wing blogger Patterico criticizing the Los Angeles Times for failing to note that "recently declassified memos confirm that waterboarding [Khalid Shaikh Mohammed] was key to disrupting a plot to fly airplanes into the tallest skyscraper in Los Angeles."

Both Shepherd and Patterico fail to mention that there's significant doubt about that claim. As we've detailed, the Bush administration has claimed that the Los Angeles plot was foiled a year before Mohammed was captured.

It appears that the Times was showing restraint by refusing to report a claim about which reasonable doubt has been raised.

Anyone think Shepherd or Patterico will give the Times credit for that? We thought not.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:24 AM EDT
Examiner's '10 Worst Ideas' Peddle More Misinformation
Topic: Washington Examiner

The Washington Examiner's "10 worst ideas of the week" is proving to be a regular source of right-wing misinformation -- no wonder they won't put it on the website, leaving it only in print editions of the paper. Let's see what they got wrong this week, shall we?

No. 1 in the April 26 edition was a claim that "prominent scientist" Christopher Monckton was "disinvited" from a House committee hearing by Democrats "who don't welcome his doubts about the legitimacy of global warming." As we've noted, Monckton is a not a scientist; he's a journalilst by training. Further, Monckton has peddled dubious claims of his own, making him a less-than-credible witness.

In third place was criticism of Democrats for deciding to use the "reconciliation" process to push health care reform through Congress. The Examiner adds: "But reconciliation is supposed to be for reconciling different dollar amounts, not for major policy changes. In short, it's a major procedural abuse." Nowhere is it noted that when Republicans controlled Congress, they repeatedly used reconciliation to push through numerous initiatives that had nothing to do with "reconciling different dollar amounts," like tax-cut bills.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:57 AM EDT
New Article: Hypocritical Outrage, Anal Sex Division
Topic: Media Research Center
Exhibit 49 in the Out There series: WorldNetDaily and the Media Research Center have bashed references to anal sex in the media -- but not when Rush Limbaugh makes those references. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:38 AM EDT
AIM Promotes Writer's Deeply Personal Grudge
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Should a nonprofit organization really be helping to further people's personal grudges? Accuracy in Media seems to think so.

An April 27 AIM column by Rosamunda Neuharth-Ozgo is nothing more than an attack on Al Neuharth, the former CEO of newspaper chain Gannett, for refusing to acknowledge her as his daughter. Rosamunda claims she was the product of a 1962 affair and that Neuharth did pay child support for her (he claims he did so to avoid publicity).

We aren't taking sides on this case since we do not have all the facts regarding it. We do wonder, however, why AIM decided to publish it since it typically disdains personal attacks -- on conservatives, anyway. Cliff Kincaid once demanded that the media "cease the personal attacks" on the wife of then-Supreme Court nominee John Roberts by highlighting her "pro-life views."

But there seems to be a loophole. Kincaid wrote in a January 2006 column attacking Joe Biden and defending Samuel Alito: "I really want to know why the major media permit these characters to launch personal attacks on Alito when their own personal lives are scarred by scandals."

Thus, the justification for running Neuharth-Ozgo's column: Neuharth is (well, was) a media bigwig, and he has an apparent skeleton in his closet. This means AIM is more than happy to act as a conduit for Neuharth-Ozgo's personal grudge against the man she claims is her father, even though it's clearly being done to guilt Neuharth into acknowledging her as his daughter. This is the very definition of a personal attack -- indeed, what could be more personal than a paternity claim?

Should a nonprofit organization like AIM really be a party to airing dirty laundry with embarrassment of its target as its only goal? AIM has chosen in the affirmative.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:21 AM EDT
Monday, April 27, 2009
CNS Still Hiding Its Ties to Newman Society
Topic: CNSNews.com

The undisclosed conflict of interest continues: An April 27 CNSNews.com article by Michael Chapman referenced the Cardinal Newman Society's online petition opposing President Obama's speech at Notre Dame without mentioning that Brent Bozell, who heads CNS' parent organization, the Media Research Center, is also on the society's board of directors.

UPDATE: An April 28 CNS article by Fred Lucas also references the Cardinal Newman Society's petition without mentioning CNS' shared link to the society.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:06 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 28, 2009 9:19 AM EDT
Joseph Farah's Obama Birth Certificate Cover-Up
Topic: WorldNetDaily
In his April 27 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah seems actually proud of the fact that WND "has been virtually alone in covering one of the biggest electoral scandals in American history – maybe the biggest. I'm talking about the question of Barack Obama's constitutional eligibility to serve as president." Because nobody else is as obsessed as WND about this, Farah concludes, there must be a cover-up.

What Farah won't admit, of course, is that WND has been covering up the fact that  much of the evidence it has provided to support the claim that Obama isn't an American citizen are dubious at best and outright lies at worst. Several of them are on our big list of falsehoods WND has told about Obama. WND has never corrected any of these lies.

Farah notes that "a petition I began demanding proof Obama is a "natural-born citizen" has now attracted more than 360,000 signees." But he has offered no evidence that the petition, in fact, contains that many signatures, let alone that many signatures of registered U.S. voters. He has refused this far to make the list publicly available so his claims can be independently verified.

Farah has also failed to publicly discuss the nature of WND's relationship with fellow birth certificate obsessive Orly Taitz, or to report a credible complaint about her making false and misleading claims in court filings, among other things, filed with the California bar.

Further, Farah asserts that Obama won't release the "long-form birth certificate" that will purportedly answer all questions related to his birth -- yet Farah refuses to honestly ackoowledge WND's previous reporting (before it decided to turn the birth-certificate thing into a cudgel to attack Obama) that the birth certificate released by the Obama campaign is "authentic." If it is authentic, then there's no need to release the long-form certificate, right?

Farah claims that the certificate released by Obama "could have been issued to a resident of Hawaii for a foreign birth." But he offers no evidence to back up this claim, and other evidence thus far ignored by Farah and WND suggest that claim is false.

Farah's attempt to cover up facts that would destroy his war on Obama through the birth certificate is not a huge scandal -- rather, it's a petty, partisan one. And it shows yet again why Farah and WND cannot be trusted to report fairly and accurately about much of anything, and especially about Obama.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:35 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, April 27, 2009 3:11 PM EDT
Examiner Columnist Repeats False Attack on Obama
Topic: Washington Examiner

In an April 27 Washington Examiner column (print-only, not online) attempting to prove that President Obama "could very well be one of the worst U.S. presidents in history when it comes to thinking on his feet," Michael Taube repeats a false story:

According to Sky News, the president read Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen's speech -- and thanked himself -- on his teleprompter in March 2009. Cowen followed him to the podium, started repeating the same words, stopped and then said, "That's your speech."

First, Taube gets the order wrong -- Cowen's teleprompter goof came before Obama's turn to speak, not after. Second, the White House press pool report clearly indicates that that Obama was making a joke about Cowen's goof by thanking himself. Which demonstrates that Obama may be better at thinking on his feet than Taube thinks.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:26 PM EDT
Noel Sheppard Owes Al Gore An Apology
Topic: NewsBusters

Last year, we documented how NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard has spread the lie that Al Gore is into global warming activism for the money. Now, during an April 24 House hearing, Gore has responded to those charges after a question from Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn:

BLACKBURN: Now, they [venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, in which Gore is a partner] have invested about a billion dollars in 40 companies that are going to benefit from cap-and-trade legislation. So is the legislation we are discussing here today, is that something that you are going to personally benefit from?

GORE: I believe that the transistion to a green economy is good for our economy and good for all of us, and I have invested in it. But every penny that I have made, I have put right into a nonprofit, the Alliance for Climate Protection, to spread awareness of why we have to take on this challenge.

And Congresswoman, if you're -- if you believe that the reason I have been working on this issue for 30 years is because of greed, you don't know me.

BLACKBURN: Sir, I'm not making accusations, I'm asking questions that have been asked of me -- and individuals -- constituents who were seeking a point of clarity, so I am asking you for that point of -- point of clarity.

GORE: I understand exactly what you're doing, Congresswoman. Everybody here does.

BLACKBURN: And, well -- you know, are you willing to divest yourself of any profit? Does all of it go to a not-for-profit that is an educational not-for-profit --

GORE: Every penny that I have made --

BLACKBURN: Every penny --

GORE: -- has gone to it. Every penny from the movie, from the book, from any investments in renewable energy. I've been willing to put my money where my mouth is. Do you think there's something wrong with being active in business in this country? 

BLACKBURN: I am simply asking for clarification --

GORE: I'm proud of it.

BLACKBURN: -- of the relationship.

GORE: I'm proud of it.

Does Sheppard think there's something wrong with being active in business in this country? And when will he issue that formal apology to Gore for falsely smearing him? Sheppard has been silent on Gore's testimony so far.

UPDATE: Fixed typos in transcript.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:56 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, May 1, 2009 11:16 PM EDT
We're on Facebook!
Topic: The ConWeb

ConWebWatch now has a page on Facebook. If you belong to Facebook, become a fan.

And if you have any ideas about how we can best use our Facebook presence, let us know, because we're not quite sure ourselves.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:09 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, April 27, 2009 1:10 AM EDT
Matt Barber: The Foul Face of Anti-Gay Activism
Topic: CNSNews.com

We already know Matt Barber is a hateful anti-gay activist who makes a lucrative living latching onto right-wing nonprofit groups that will pay him to be a hateful anti-gay activist. Now he feels the need to be more offensive than Perez Hilton -- no mean feat.

Annoyed that Hilton called Carrie Prejean, the Miss California who answered that she opposed gay marriage during the Miss USA pageant for which Hilton was a judge, a "dumb b----" (to use Barber's own self-censorship), Barber lashed outin an April 24 column published at CNSNews.com. Barber called Hilton a "boylover," a "creepy valley girl wannabe with a five o’clock shadow," a "lispy-wispy lil’ cupcake," and "Hollywood’s frothy-potty-mouthed little drama queen."

And he's complaining about Hilton being hateful? Look in the mirror, dude.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:07 AM EDT
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Ellis Washington, Liar
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Having pretty well exhausted his bag of Obama smears -- Nazi, fascist, devil, gangster, etc. -- in the first few months of the Obama presidency, Ellis Washington is forced to scrounge up a more obscure insult in his April 25 WorldNetDaily column:

Returning to Orwell's "1984," which character would Obama be if instead of "1984" Orwell wrote "2009"? While most would probably answer Big Brother, I would disagree, for Big Brother was the omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent machinery of the State. Obama, the transcendent, messianic, FDResque figure is more akin to Goldstein, the minister of propaganda who with the help of his fascist legions spent day and night following one credo: Your liberty, your money, your property, your soul all belong to the State (federal government).

By going obscure, Washington seems to be trying to walk back some of his previous smears. He goes on to insist, "No, Obama is not a Hitler" -- thus contradicting his own previous endorsement of a student who likened Obama to Hitler.

But Washington's still prone to the hyperbolically overblown attack. At one point, he asserts: "Indeed, Obama is a pathological liar. Every speech, every domestic and foreign policy, every executive order, every economic policy, every political appointee and every future Supreme Court nominee … all LIES!" At no point does he even bother to support his claim, which he must surely know is not true.

Ironically, in a column designed to brand Obama as a liar as part of his desperate bid to prove Obama has violated every single one of the Ten Commandments, Washington demonstrates yet again that he himself is a liar. Then again, he works for a liar and is published alongside many more lies, and lying is what WND pays him to do.

And to top it all off -- as well as an apparent effort to suck up to his WND bosses -- Washington officially buys into the Obama birth certificate conspiracy, another thing he must surely know is a lie and a fraud.

Washington needs to look past his near-pathological hatred of Obama to keep in mind another biblical truism: let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

UPDATE: World O'Crap points out that, despite what Washington appears to believe, Goldstein was not the minister of propaganda for Big Brother in "1984":

Goldstein was the ne plus ultra of treachery, Public Enemy Number One, the focus of the Two Minute Hate. Goldstein was to Big Brother as Al Franken is to Bill O’Reilly.

[...]

Goldstein was not a member of the Inner Party; in fact, it’s possible his existence was a government hoax.  And anyway, if Orwell based him on anyone, it was most likely Leon Trotsky, so unless Obama went into exile during his recent trip to Mexico City and was killed by a blow to the skull with an ice axe and no one in the media’s thought to mention it until now, I’m thinking your parallel may be a little shaky.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:45 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, April 27, 2009 12:36 PM EDT
Huston Defends Cheney, Misses the Point
Topic: NewsBusters

In an April 25 NewsBusters post, Warner Todd Huston defends Dick Cheney for bashing President Obama, claiming that Cheney just wants to "get the truth to the people, and that it's a "false meme" that "ex-presidents and ex-vice presidents have some sort of 'tradition of silence' where it concerns commenting on those that take residence in the White House after they leave." Huston adds:

Think about it. Can you remember any report by any Old Media outlet that excoriated Al Gore for his constant, wild-eyed, screaming fits against the Bush administration for the last 8 years? Where was the Old Media tsk tsking Gore for, say, his 2004 appearance where he screamed at the top of his lungs that Bush "betrayed this country," and the "he played on our fears"? (Audio here) Why is Cheney a big meanie as far as the media is concerned for commenting on Obama, yet Al Gore was never reproached even once for attacking Bush and Cheney?

Note the date: Gore criticized Bush four years after leaving office. And, thus, Huston ignores the nature of the criticism: It's not that ex-presidents and vice presidents have never criticized their successors, it's that they've never done so immediately after leaving office. As the New York Times notes: "Other former vice presidents have kept a much lower profile, at least this early after leaving office. Al Gore was supportive of Mr. Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but in September 2002 delivered a speech critical of Mr. Bush’s plans for the Iraq war. "

Huston also cites historical examples (without supporting documentation) of former presidents or vice presidents criticizing the succeeding administration, but he blows that too by adding:

We might even say that Franklin Roosevelt himself fits this bill. He ran for vice president in 1920 with James Cox of Ohio and lost. FDR certainly didn't remain quiet about all the administrations that came after 1920!

But Roosevelt lost that election, which makes this particular example irrelevant to this discussion.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:13 AM EDT
Meanwhile, Over At HuffPo...
Topic: Washington Examiner
We've got a new column up at Huffington Post detailing the right-wing tilt of the Washington Examiner.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:18 AM EDT
NewsBusters, WND Promote Anonymous, Unverified Attack on Obama
Topic: NewsBusters

Getting much play in the right-wing blogosphere in recent days is a post at the blog MacsMind citing a message from an anonymous "sergeant that was there" when President Obama visited troops in Iraq that the enthusiastic reception the troops gave Obama was staged because the troops who attended the reception were "pre-screened, asked by officials “Who voted for Obama?”, and then those who raised their hands were shuffled to the front of the receiving line. They even handed out digital cameras and asked them to hold them up." The anonynmous sergeant added, "Take a look at the picture at AP and notice all the cameras are the same models? Coincidence? I think not."

Macsmind -- nor anyone else -- has offered any evidence to substantiate the anonymous sergeant's allegations. But anonymous, unverified claims are good enough for the ConWeb if they can sufficiently smear Obama.

Tom Blumer embraced the claim in an April 14 NewsBusters post ironically carrying the headline, "Too Good to Be True?" and adding, "Indeed, there are an awful lot of cameras that look awfully identical." Alan Keyes similarly repeated it in his April 17 WorldNetDaily column. Neither noted the anonymous, unverified nature of the accusation.

Explanations by a couple of commenters on Blumer's post that any similarity in digital cameras among the troops was likely due to the fact that the post PX carries a very limited selection of them went largely ignored by the right-wing regulars in the thread and unacknowledged by Blumer himself.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EDT
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Farah's Ego Trumps the Truth
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Can Joseph Farah even tell the difference between fact and fiction anymore?

He writes in his April 25 WorldNetDaily column: "I have to remind you, because I have an ego, that I was alone in first recognizing the gravity of Obama's first mention of his vaunted 'civilian national security force.' I did so way back in July of 2008 – still early in the presidential campaign."

What Farah doesn't tell you: He lied about Obama's statement then, and he's lying about it now.

Farah goes on to claim, as he did then, that Obama's statement is "something ill-defined, nebulous, yet frightening in the context of our nation's heritage.." As we first detailed at the time Obama made his statement and Farah first lied about it, Obama did, in fact, define what he meant by "civilian national security force" -- not just an expansion of volunteer programs like the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps, but a realignment of the State Department's foreign service to, for example, "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."

This lie is one of the many falsehoods Farah and WND have told about Obama, and we'll add this column to the list of evidence.

Every time Farah claims there's something sinister about this and that Obama has never defined it, Farah is lying. It's that simple.

But, apparently, Farah thinks it's OK to lie as long as his ego is boosted.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:11 AM EDT

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