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Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Graham: Focus on Sanford's Disappearance A Media Conspiracy
Topic: NewsBusters

A June 24 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham complained that a Washington Post article on the mysterious disappearance of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford "insist[ed] that Sanford was a laughingstock, a man who went missing because he was strange and unpopular for resisting the appeal of the Obama 'stimulus.'" Graham added: "It’s quite transparent that the Washington Post would like nothing better than to turn the potential Republican field against Obama in 2012 into a pack of laughingstocks and insure that their hero faces only nominal opposition in his bid for re-election."

Really? Does Graham really think that any media criticism of Sanford is part of a conspiracy to dash Sanford's presidential aspirations? Does he not think that a sitting governor who disappears for days without letting anyone know where he went (Argentina?) should be criticized for his actions?Does Graham really think that the media is following the same template as the 1972 Nixon campaign in creating a preferred opponent for Obama, even though the 2012 election is well over three years away? Is Graham really that paranoid?

Would Graham still feel the same way were Sanford not a Republican? We suspect not. Therefore, Graham's complaints can be dismissed as partisan bias and paranoia.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:03 AM EDT
Does WND Have Guts to Tell the Truth About Walpin?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a June 22 WorldNetDaily article, headlined "Does Congress have guts to investigate 'Walpingate'?" Drew Zahn highlights more claims by fired AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin, most taken from a June 22 article. But like CNS, Zahn neglects to mention one key piece of evidence that contradicts Walpin's accusations: a letter by acting U.S. Attorney Lawrence Brown that accused Walpin of withholding exculpatory evidence from in in an investigation of a recipient of AmeriCorps funding , that Walpin made pronouncements to the media before discussing them with the attorney's office, and that Walpin's "actions were hindering our investigation and handling of this matter."

We already know that WND lacks the guts to tell its readers the truth about Orly Taitz. It seems that WND is also incapable of telling the truth about Walpin as well.

In other Walpin-related news, a June 23 NewsBusters post by Mark Finkelstein complained that CBS' Harry Smith, during an interview of Obama, didn't ask about "PBO's firing of the inspector general who was too diligent in his duty of discovering corruption in AmeriCorps, PBO's pet project."Apparently, Finkelstein believes that withholding evidence from prosecutors and grandstanding before the media is the same thing as being "too diligent in his duty." Needless to say, Finkelstein doesn't mention Brown's letter either.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:05 AM EDT
New Article: The Bernard Kerik Rehabilitation Project
Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax is putting a lot of effort into rebuilding the disgraced former New York police chief into a credible spokesman on terrorism issues and whitewashing the corruption charges he still faces.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:23 AM EDT
CNS Complains About Obama's Golf Outings

CNS does seem to be looking for any excuse to attack President Obama these days (as Terry Jeffrey's eaterness to take Obama out of context illustrates all too well). A June 22 CNS article by Penny Starr complains:

Despite ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, ongoing violence in Iran, and an economy that Obama has described as the worst since the Great Depression, the president has golfed multiple times in the past several weeks--on April 26, May 16, May 25, May 31, June 7, June 9, June 14 and June 21.

Obama’s golf outings have generated favorable reports from the media, in contrast to his predecessor, George W. Bush. 

So when can we expect CNS to follow  the right-wing blogs in complaining that Obama took his daughters for ice cream during a time of international turmoil?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:06 AM EDT
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
WND Promotes Taitz Again, Silent On Her Shoddy Legal Record
Topic: WorldNetDaily

For the first time since May 9, a WorldNetDaily article is promoting an initiative by Orly Taitz regarding the dishonest quest for Barack Obama's birth certificate. The June 22 article by Bob Unruh reports on the latest case "challenging Barack Obama's eligibility to be president in which the plaintiffs' attorney, Orly Taitz, says the commander-in-chief is in default." Unruh defines himself here more by what he fails to report.

There's no mention of the complaint filed against her in the California bar citing numerous ethical violations.

There's no mention of the lawsuit filed against her by fellow birther lawyer Philip Berg citing harassment and false accusations -- which has already generated a default judgment against her because of documents she filed improperly and after deadline.

While Unruh is among the defendants Taitz is representing, he fails to mention that Drake is on record as praying for Obama's death.

Unruh does mention, however, that Taitz "was born in the Republic of Moldova which used to be part of the Soviet Union," and as a result of living "life under a communist regime," she "is determined to do her part to stop America from following in the all-too-familiar footsteps of her former homeland." That's straight out of WND's slobbering profile of Taitz.

Thus, Unruh and WND reward incompetence and hatred in the service of their right-wing anti-Obama agenda.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:09 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 23, 2009 1:39 PM EDT
Topic: NewsBusters

Media Matters' Jamison Foser demolishes Noel Sheppard's June 21 NewsBusters post, in which he claims that because a CBS/New York Times poll sample included 48 percent who said they voted for Obama and 25 percent who said they voted for John McCain, the poll 'WAY oversampled people who voted for Obama," adding, "What this means is this poll surveyed 66 percent Obama supporters versus 34 percent McCain." As Foser put it:

Uh ... no. What this means is that 48 percent of respondents say they voted for Obama, and 25 percent say they voted for McCain, and 27 percent either say they didn't vote, say they voted for someone else, or refuse to say for whom they voted. You can't just wish away those 27 percent and pretend that the poll "surveyed 66 percent Obama supporters versus 34 percent McCain."

Sheppard went on to lament: "Honestly, stuff like this should be illegal and any news organization found doing it should be significantly fined. ... Why are so-called news outlets allowed to get away with such obvious deceit with total impunity?" Foser responds:

Actually, that pretty nicely sums up the conservative media critics' view of journalism: They think it should be illegal for news organizations to do things they don't like (even when their unhappiness is based on a complete lack of understanding of polling and basic math) and the journalists involved should be fined.

In other words, conservative media critics like Sheppard don't believe in independent media. They don't believe in freedom of the press. So why on earth should any journalist ever take anything they say seriously?

Indeed, we've caught Sheppard engaging in numerous acts of bamboozlement and deceit. How much will Sheppard fine himself?

UPDATE: The Western Journalism Center regurgitates the same bogus claim as made by right-wing blogger Gateway Pundit.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:03 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 23, 2009 2:41 PM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

America has, for all intents and purposes, a dictatorship. And when the professional joker Al Franken is seated as the junior senator from Minnesota, the dictatorial powers of this White House will be complete. To hope the blue dog Democrats will keep this power-hungry, arrogant narcissist in check is foolish.

This presidency is no longer about the will of the people. It is clearly the will of Obama. He has made it crystal clear that nothing and nobody is going to stop him. His concepts of spreading the wealth and putting chickens in every pot are right out the Marxist handbook. And given the media nor his own party will challenge any demand Obama makes, he will usher in an age of Marxism that will be the envy of Chavez and Mugabe.

Speaking of Robert Mugabe, he and our fearless leader have a lot in common.

-- Craig R. Smith, June 22 WorldNetDaily column

Maybe Obama's poll numbers will fall even more when doctors see an end to their freedom of conscience as this administration tries to turn them into executioners by forcing them to perform abortions or leave medicine. Maybe they'll drop even further when America waits in long lines for health care like they do government cheese.

-- Janet Porter, June 23 WorldNetDaily column

Posted by Terry K. at 11:28 AM EDT
Pat Boone Lies, Misleads About Obama
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Pat Boone's June 20 column, published by WorldNetDaily and Newsmax, carries the headline, "Washington, Clinton, Obama ... and truth," at WND. But Boone is not showing much interest in telling the "truth" about Obama.

Boone writes:

And the Christian president announced: "Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation," and we could even be deemed "one of the largest Muslim countries in the world." He said America had been "arrogant," and that after 9/11 this country had behaved "contrary to our ideals." 

As we've caught Boone doing previously, these quotes are taken out of context for maximum inflammatory effect.

Boone also writes: 'The president who, as a candidate, promised to veto any and all earmarks signed his first appropriations bill, a $410 billion dollar monstrosity, which contained 8,570 earmarks!" But Obama never promised to eliminate earmarks; he promised to reform the earmark process and cut wasteful spending.

Are such false and misleading assertsions the behavior of someone interested in the "truth"? We would have to say not.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:16 AM EDT
Kessler Finds Backup Jewish Leader to Bash Obama
Topic: Newsmax

We've detailed how Ronald Kessler's attempt last week to portray Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, as claiming that Jewish leaders are "deeply troubled" by President Obama went awry when Hoenlein claimed Kessler took him out of context, and the transcript of the interview Newsmax released in its defense showed that Kessler clearly went into the interview with an agenda of trying to get Hoenlein to say what Kessler portrayed him as saying.

This means that Kessler had to scrounge up a new Jewish leader who could be counted on to more reliably mouth the talking points he wants to get out. Kessler found such a reliable mouthpiece in Morton Klein, head of the right-wing Zionist Organization of America.

With Klein, Kessler didn't have to resort to the inferring he did with Hoenlein. In Kessler's June 22 interview, Klein comes right out and states that Obama "may become the most hostile president to Israel ever"and that "leaders in the organized Jewish world ... are deeply concerned about Obama’s actions and policies toward Israel, and now they’re rethinking their support for Obama during the campaign and the election."

Those were the remarks Kessler was trying to put in Hoenlein's mouth. While Hoenlein didn't say those exact words, he came close enough for Kessler's satisfaction, prompting Hoenlein's backtrack.

Interestingly, Kessler makes no reference to his Hoenlein interview in his article on Klein.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:58 AM EDT
Monday, June 22, 2009
CNS Reports on Walpin's Firing, Ignores U.S. Attorney's Report

A June 22 article by Fred Lucas fawns over Gerald Walpin, recently ousted as AmeriCorps inspector general, but Lucas fails to offer a complete accounting of evidence that lead to Walpin's firing.

After allowing Walpin to spin his version of the story, it's not until a short 22nd paragraph that Lucas gets around to mentioning one reason that Walpin was dismissed -- which Lucas then permits Walpin to respond to.

Nowhere in the article does Lucas mention, nor does he indicate he asked Walpin about, a letter by acting U.S. Attorney Lawrence Brown that accused Walpin of withholding exculpatory evidence from in in an investigation of a recipient of AmeriCorps funding , that Walpin made pronouncements to the media before discussing them with the attorney's office, and that Walpin's "actions were hindering our investigation and handling of this matter."

Shouldn't a discussion of the Walpin case address the full spectrum of allegations against him? Lucas and CNS apparently don't think so.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:00 PM EDT
Klein Still Making Claim He Can't Prove
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Does Aaron Klein think repeating a claim he can't prove will somehow make it true?

Last week, we detailed how Klein claimed that Jimmy Carter "passed a message to Hamas from the Obama administration," though he provides no evidence that the message even exists, let alone any details of its contents or even "whether the communication was written or oral."

Klein repeats the claim in a June 20 article. Again, he makes no effort to demonstrate the existence of any message.

Such is "journalism" at WorldNetDaily.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:07 PM EDT
Ruddy Misleads on Obama and Iran
Topic: Newsmax

A June 20 Newsmax column by Christopher Ruddy attacks President Obama for offering "very shallow support for democracy" in Iran for allegedly "tepid" original remarks regarding the situation there. Ruddy asserted: "Given the opportunity to simply support democracy, Obama decided to take a pass. The unanswered question is why Barack Obama has been determined to coddle this crazed regime in Tehran."

But Ruddy failed to mention Obama's June 20 statement on Iran, even though it appeared several hours before Ruddy's column was published. In it, Obama said: "We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights."

By ignoring Obama's more forceful statement, Ruddy is attacking Obama under false pretenses.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:07 AM EDT
Who Is WND's New Pollster?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Alex Koppleman at Salon delves into the WorldNetDaily poll asserting that Americans "are not only aware of questions about Barack Obama's constitutional eligibility for office, but almmost half are either 'troubled' by the questions or believe he should release all relevant documents including his long-form birth certificate." Koppleman notes:

Getting a result that favored WND's position on the issue of whether Obama should release a long-form birth certificate (despite the fact that he's already released a copy of his birth certificate and Hawaiian officials have said he was born there) involved a little sleight of hand.

The result trumpeted by WND is that 41.5 percent of respondents said "Obama should release all records, including long-form birth certificate," essentially the "yes" answer WND was looking for. An additional 7.8 percent said they "are troubled by these questions," which the site has been lumping in with the yes answer. The "no" answer, though, they split up into five different responses -- "I am not concerned," "questions not valid," "Obama has met requirements," "Obama has answered all questions" and "requirements outdated -- should be ignored."

It's a neat trick, and a fairly common one; by doing that, you can avoid providing a real reflection of the size of your opposition. In this case, the total of those five answers adds up to a majority of respondents, 50.6 percent.

It's also worth noting that WND's pollster, Wenzel Strategies, appears to have a bit of a bias.WND quotes company chief Fritz Wenzel as saying, "Our polling shows that the questions surrounding Barack Obama's eligibility to serve as president clearly strike a nerve across America, probably because it is a problem that everybody understands. Every American citizen has a birth certificate, and once in a while we all have to produce them to get a drivers license or gain entrance to school .... And while Obama did get in to the White House, nearly half the country's adults -- 49 percent -- are troubled by this issue and still want him to produce his official long-form birth certificate." Such a statement furthers Koppelman's suggestion that Wenzel, like Zogby, likes to adjust questions to get the answers their clients are seeking.

There's more evidence of Wenzel's bias. He is a former political columnist for the Toledo Blade who quit his job to work as a paid media consultant for Ohio Republican congresswoman Jean Schmidt; he was accused of working for Schmidt while still at the Blade, a clear conflict of interest (not that WND thinks there's anything wrong with that). Some have also accused Wenzel of keeping quiet on evidence of alleged financial misdeeds involving involving Tom Noe, a Republican activist in Ohio with whom Wenzel had a personal relationship. The Blade eventually did break the story of Noe's investment of $50 million in state money in coin speculation and how he could not account for a significant portion of that money (speculated to have been laundered into political donations to Republicans, including the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign), though without Wenzel's help.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:13 AM EDT
Newsmax Embraces Unverified Claim
Topic: Newsmax

A June 21 Newsmax article repeats a claim from "foreign policy expert" Michael Ledeen about "a letter reportedly from the office of Mir Hossein Mousavi, in which the Iranian opposition leader criticizes President Barack Obama for saying Mousavi and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadenijad are 'two of a kind.'"

That "reportedly" is the only word of caution that Newsmax offers; in fact, Ledeen himself is refusing to vouch for the authenticity of the letter. While Ledeen writes that "the person who sent this to me is undoubtedly in touch with the Mousavi people on the ground, that much is certain. His information has been proven reliable throughout this period," he also states: "Like everyone else covering the revolution, I get a lot of material that can’t be authenticated, and one must always take such material with a healthy dose of skepticism."

Newsmax fails to note that Ledeen has a dubious history on such matters; he has been accused of involvement in Italian documents purporting to document that Iraq attempted to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger, documents later found to be forgeries. 

Further, though there's no on-the-record verification whatsoever of the "two of a kind" remark attributed to Obama, Newsmax treats it as authentic. Then again, it wouldn't be the first time that Newsmax has put words in Obama's mouth.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:18 AM EDT
WND Columnist Is Smear-Tastic
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Dr. Frank Rosenbloom ("board-certified in internal medicine and practices general internal and hospital medicine in Portland, Ore.") begins his June 19 WorldNetDaily column by stating, "I am awed by the power of words and how, when properly utilized, a minimal number of words can convey great ideas and have lasting effects." He then abuses and debases the power of words through smears and out-of-context quotes.

First, Rosenbloom engages in the WND tradition of likening President Obama to Nazis:

A now well-known political figure ran a campaign promising change. His success was largely due to his skill as an orator, his use of words. He used many words to assuage his detractors, claiming that capitalism and the church were in no danger from him and he was no threat to those who had worked hard and succeeded. He was fortunate to be conducting his campaign during a severe economic downturn. The stock market had fallen, banks had failed, businesses were closing, and unemployment was increasing.

As we know, this politician was elected to the highest office in the land. His programs promoted redistribution of income, government control of large industries, nationalization of trusts and banks, and the suppression of religious conscience. He derided the people he felt were in control of the monetary system and complained that negative elements in society were trying to hold back the progress that he was going to ensure with his new programs. From the beginning he supported abortion and euthanasia – for certain groups of people. This politician's name, of course, was Adolf Hitler. 

Rosenbloom then upped the smear ante by likening Hillary Clinton to Chairman Mao:

Consider the quotations below:

"Genuine equality between the sexes can only be realized in the process of the social(ist) transformation of society as a whole."

"Women's empowerment is always, always about more than bettering the lives of individual women. It is part of a movement."

The first is by Chairman Mao, the second is by Hillary Clinton. Yet, they are of similar form and speak from similar ideology.

Finally, Rosenbloom takes Obama out of context to falsely claim that he was bashing Abraham Lincoln:

Barack Obama said: "I cannot swallow whole the view of Lincoln as the Great Emancipator." President Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address to commemorate the dead, to consecrate a cemetery and to inspire our country to continue on in its valiant struggle. A mere 278 beautiful words written on the back of an envelope, it is widely considered the most inspirational speech ever given. 

First, Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and his Gettysburg Address are two separate speeches. Second, when placed in its proper context -- a 2005 essay on Lincoln Obama wrote for Time magazine, which does not mention the Gettysburg Address -- it's clear that Obama was, in fact, praising Lincoln:

Still, as I look at his picture, it is the man and not the icon that speaks to me. I cannot swallow whole the view of Lincoln as the Great Emancipator. As a law professor and civil rights lawyer and as an African American, I am fully aware of his limited views on race. Anyone who actually reads the Emancipation Proclamation knows it was more a military document than a clarion call for justice. Scholars tell us too that Lincoln wasn't immune from political considerations and that his temperament could be indecisive and morose.

But it is precisely those imperfections--and the painful self-awareness of those failings etched in every crease of his face and reflected in those haunted eyes--that make him so compelling. For when the time came to confront the greatest moral challenge this nation has ever faced, this all too human man did not pass the challenge on to future generations. He neither demonized the fathers and sons who did battle on the other side nor sought to diminish the terrible costs of his war. In the midst of slavery's dark storm and the complexities of governing a house divided, he somehow kept his moral compass pointed firm and true.

Rosenbloom also wrote: "Gifted speakers and writers often use a select few words to maximum effect. As evidenced by the length of this article, I am not one so gifted." Nor, apparently, is he gifted in making a reasoned argument that doesn't devolve into hateful smears and selective quoting.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:06 AM EDT

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