ConWebBlog: The Weblog of ConWebWatch

your New Media watchdog

ConWebWatch: home | archive/search | about | primer | shop

Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Meanwhile ...
Topic: NewsBusters
Media Matters' Jamison Foser catches NewsBusters' Kyle Drennen, in a July 13 post, complaining that Harry Smith dared to challenge a Republican senator's talking points on Sonia Sotomayor -- namely, Sen. Jeff Sessions' assertion that Sotomayor is a "typical liberal activist judge." Drennen also fails to acknowledge that Session's conceded Smith's point that Sotomayor's "record is better than her speeches."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:27 AM EDT
Newsmax Columnist Wants Americans to Sacrifice for Afghan War
Topic: Newsmax

John L. Perry writes in his July 13 Newsmax column:

This may be the first time any country lost a war by legerdemain. Barack the Magic Magician is ignoring the war on terror into non-history.

Like the mesmerizing six-months “phony war” with no serious fighting between the Allies and Germany after the Nazis attacked Poland in September 1939, this current period of suspended animation between the United States and al-Qaeda may go down in history as President Barack Obama’s illusionary war.

Six months into his presidency, you’d never guess the U.S. is at war.

Look around you. Does this resemble a country at war?

There’s no talk about “the war effort.” around the breakfast table, at the workplace, in the streets, as in World War II. Where are the patriotic posters?

Who buys a $25 “war bond” for $18.75 – or even a single 25-cent “war stamp” to paste into a book of 75 stamps to trade in at a bank for a war bond?

Who collects meat drippings to contribute to national supplies of glycerin for conversion into munitions?

Who flattens tin cans to toss in with other scrap metal to drop in the form of bombs upon the enemy?

Enemy … what enemy? This president wants everyone to join him in being best buds with dictators of thug nations that provide sanctuary and sustenance to terrorists. Under Obama’s policies of “change,” even the very word terrorist is fast becoming taboo. Same for victory.

Who speaks of “making sacrifices” to “win” this war? What war is that?

Um, when did any of this take place under the Bush administration's war against Iraq? Oh, that's right -- it didn't. Did Perry make note of this prior to 2009? We suspect not.

It's no surprise to see Perry's column devolve into a fit of Obama Derangement Syndrome:

This president has located, and is lurching down, a road to a Marxist society that Marx, Lenin, and the whole lot never foresaw in their maddest dreams.

Not a shot need be fired, not a barricade left to storm. With avid help from its mass communications lair of leftist elitists, America is rapidly becoming a nation without a spine, devoid of a recognizable culture, robbed of its soul.

Under slick, diversionary, sleight-of-hand feats by Barack the Magic Magician, one moment you see the America you knew … now you don’t.

And, of course, no evidence that Bush sought the sacrifices from American civilians that Perry demands Obama seek. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:52 AM EDT
Monday, July 13, 2009
CNS, Newsmax Join in Misleading About Ginsburg

WorldNetDaily and NewsBusters aren't the only ones misrepresenting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's remarks about abortion in a New York Times interview.

A July 10 article by Christopher Neefus asserted that Ginsburg "said she thought the landmark Roe v. Wade decision on abortion was predicated on the Supreme Court majority's desire to diminish 'populations that we don’t want to have too many of.'" In fact, Ginsburg was not referring to herself regarding that belief, which is clear from the interview transcript Neefus included in his article.

Similarly, a July 12 Newsmax "Insider Report" misleadingly claimed that Ginsburg "says she thought the Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion was intended to aid population control among lower-income Americans."

Posted by Terry K. at 6:23 PM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily
In his July 13 WorldNetDaily column, Craig R. Smith repeatedly refers to President Obama as "Chairman Obama." Smith also throws in a reference to "Commandant Pelosi."

Posted by Terry K. at 4:51 PM EDT
Is WND Editing Obama's Wikipedia Entry Again?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've previously detailed how a person working under the direction of WorldNetDaily reporter Aaron Klein edited Barack Obama's Wikipedia entry so that Klein could write a WND article on how edits adding baseless speculation about Obama's birth were deleted. Is WND trying to manufacture another story like that?

A July 12 WND article by Joe Kovacs details how a Wikipedia page on the "early life and career of Barack Obama" had "changed numerous times" and "displayed at least two countries the commander in chief may have been born in – the United States and Kenya." Kovacs doesn't state how it became aware of the edits or who did the editing. Thus, we don't know whether the editing was done by Kovacs, another WND emoployee or an outside person acting under the direction of WND (as was the case in Klein's article).

(The edit-history section of the Wikipedia page in question shows that the edits Kovacs cited were made by a user posting under the name BenSpecter.)

Kovacs goes on to call the reversion of BenSpecter's edits "blatant scrubbing" (though WND did the same thing to Klein's article after publication in removing all evidence that the person who made the edits to Obama's Wikipedia page for Klein's article did so under Klein's direction).

Kovacs then goes on to add:

The recent revelations have some members of the public fuming.

WND reader Linda Trebe indicates she's "very upset, frustrated, disgusted, scared and amazed that nothing is being done to remove this evil illegal alien who is posing as our 'legal' president, but is a usurper. Why isn't this new information in the mainstream media for all the world and America informed and him asked to step down before our wonderful nation completely destroyed?"

Do Kovacs, Joseph Farah and the rest of the WND agree with  Trebe that Obama is an "evil illegal alien"? Given the prominence to which Kovacs has elevated her remarks, we'd have to say yes -- which, of course, disqualifies Kovacs and WND from reporting anything that can be trusted.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:09 PM EDT
Molotov's Obama-Hating Tea Party Rant
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Molotov Mitchell has posted the video of his speech at the sparsely attended anti-Obama tea party July 4 in Charlottesville, Va., and it's not pretty -- Mitchell lets his Obama-hate shine through in a way that not even his WorldNetDaily videos capture.

He starts his rant by telling the crowd, "I know how you feel -- like the underground." He continues:

You spend your 9-to-5 taunted by the Obama bobblehead on the new guy's desk or that stupid "Hope" poster he just put up by the copy machine. ... You huddle around your radios like refugees, like British families during the Nazi bombing raids. You coming to hope as dispensed by Rush or Sean or Mark -- or Michael Savage if you're really crazy, like me.

Mitchell then engages in his usual denigrating of people he doesn't agree with: "A handful of pencil-necked, metrosexual socialists in Washington can't possibly defeat a nation of red-blooded, God-fearing patriots." He then endorsed a military coup against Obama:

The spirit of Thomas Jefferson is alive and well in Honduras -- especially in Honduras, where their Marxist just tried to tamper with their constitution, andguess what happened? The Honduran military took that soclialist dictator wannabe to the border and said, "Hasta la vista, baby. Better luck in Costa Rica." Sounds nice, doesn't it? Sounds nice to me. Time will tell.

Next, he embraced the birther conspiracy:

I have actually personally interviewed most of the experts involved. I've spent time with Dr. Ron Polarik, who proved conclusively that that image you see on the Web that they claim is his birth certificate is actually fraudulent. This now -- listen, I'm not hearing this secondhand. I interviewed the expert. I interviewed Phil Berg -- we were actully one of the first groups to actually film him and explain the situation at the outset, so I know a little bit of what I'm talking about here. Let me give you a few facts. I think this is worth noting.

Barack Obama's grandmother -- Kenyan grandmother says that he was born in Kenya.  His elementary school records say that he was an Indonesian at a time when they did not allow dual citizenship. He has sealed every record that could indicate his national origin -- his school records, his medical records. He traveled in and out of Pakistan when American passports were not allowed -- how did he do that? How about this -- I've got a new question that I haven't heard asked yet. Why haven't they built a monument to commemorate where he was born? Because no one can prove where he was born.

Now, I know some of you are thinking, this is cracy, this is conpsiracy theory. You're wrong. This is a silver bullet. This is jiujitsu. This is the Achilles' heel of the Democratic Party, who is complicit in this. Now, I'm not trying to give you false hope here -- I'm telling you, if we push this thing, we will win. If we can prove Barack Obama is ineligible to serve, everything his pen has touched will be declared null and void -- everything.

In fact, he's not imparting facts -- as we noted the last time he did this, most of the claims Mitchell makes have been discredited.

Mitchell then lets the Obama-hate loose:

But for now, we have a counterfeit king living in the White House. And I use the word "king" advisedly. Because when you have our leader who's wining and dining Michelle-my-belle in Gay Paree, when you have him taking her to Broadway, when you have Hannah Montana being paid to come into the White House to entertain his kids, when he's flying in pizza chefs for tens of thousands of dollars for one pizza while you and me have double-digit unemployment, while we're up to our necks in recession, we have a king just like our founding fathers faced.

As we've noted, the pizza chef flew coach, his boss at the restaurant paid for his travel he was already making a business trip to Washington, and Obama himself picked up the tab, not the taxpayers.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:30 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 13, 2009 12:37 AM EDT
Sunday, July 12, 2009
WND Still Promoting Anti-Semite's Attacks on Obama
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A July 9 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh keeps up WND's embrace of Andy Martin by uncritically repeating his latest legal action regarding Barack Obama's birth certificate. Unruh describes Martin onlyas a "Chicago activist," Martin's long history of anti-Semitism and questionable behavior.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:14 PM EDT
Examiner Misleads on Train Station Money
Topic: Washington Examiner

A July 10 "Daily Outrage" item (print only) in the Washington Examiner attacked stimulus money going "to refurbish a passenger train station in Elizabethtown, a small town in Lancaster County, Pa." because it "has been abandoned for the past 30 years."

In fact, as Media Matters notes, while the station building is closed for 30 years, the station's platform is open and serving passengers -- more than 80,000 a year. Further, the station has reportedly nearly doubled its number of passengers since 2003-2004 and, according to the Pennsylvania State Department of Transportation, has had the highest increase in ridership in the past two years of any station along the Keystone corridor.

The Examiner failed to mention those facts, which contradict its depiction of the station renovation as a waste of money. The Examiner apparently cribbed its attack from a report issued by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn.

Here's a scan of the item as it appeared in the Examiner:

Posted by Terry K. at 1:09 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, July 12, 2009 1:10 AM EDT
Saturday, July 11, 2009
O'Leary Baselessly Attacks NYT Poll, Puffs His Own
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Brad O'Leary uses his July 10 WorldNetDaily column to attack a New York Times poll he didn't like -- and, of course, to promote his own skewed polls.

O'Leary asserts that the Times"rigged the poll much like the Ayatollah rigged the Iranian election," claiming that it "heavily weighted the poll in favor of Obama, showing the gap between his personal approval rating and the public's approval of his initiatives to be much smaller than it actually is." O'Leary also complained that the poll "surveyed twice as many Obama voters than McCain voters, as well as a significant number of non-voters. ... Sixteen percent of those surveyed by the Times are not even registered to vote."

By comparison, O'Leary asserted, "the O'Leary/Zogby poll used an honest and accurate sampling method by only surveying Americans who voted in the 2008 presidential election, and weighting that sample to reflect the actual outcome of the election."

O'Leary's attack on the Times poll -- portraying it as "rigged" and "portrait of a mythical America that doesn't exist," while puffing up his own as "honest and accurate" -- is without substance. O'Leary doesn't explain why non-voters are somehow less qualifed to offer opinions on presidential policies -- last time we checked, they were American citizens and subject to all the same regulations as voting Americans.

The Times' use of a different methodology than O'Leary doesn't make its results any less valid. As Janet Elder, the Times' editor for news surveys and election analysis, said in a July 24 CNS article, "Although some polling organizations do, The New York Times/CBS News poll does not weight by party ID. ... We weight by characteristics that are known from census data." O'Leary took the cop-out that "the Times failed to disclose the make-up of its sample in the article it published that detailed the poll's results" -- even though it could have been found by simple Googling -- thus avoiding having to respond to the Times poll's methodology.

Further, as Slate points out, it's highly likely that the large disparity between declared Obama voters and declared McCain voters in the Times poll is because people aren't telling the truth to pollsters because they want to be on the side of the winning candidate (and don't want to be associated with a loser like McCain):

What gives? Are people really lying about having voted for Obama?

Yes, they are. It's common for more people to claim they voted for a president than actually did. In the 1930s, George Gallup found that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was more popular in post-election polls than he was on Election Day. The same was true after the 2000 election, in which George W. Bush lost the popular vote. By 2004, polls showed Bush having won in a landslide.


The main explanation for the gap, say pollsters, is people who didn't vote at all saying they did. These people tend to say they picked the winning candidate. Just look at the Times and Journal polls, where about 80 percent of respondents said they voted in the 2008 election. In fact, turnout was about 61 percent. (A 20 percent gap is pretty standard.) Pollsters attribute the disparity to the social discomfort of having to admit, even to a stranger on the phone, that you didn't vote. Exacerbating the discomfort is the fact that the question "Who did you vote for?" usually comes at the end of a survey—after you've just spent 30 minutes telling the pollster what you think of Obama. What are you going to do, admit you never voted?

Another reason is forgetfulness. If you've read this far, you're probably pretty interested in politics, and maybe you have indelible memories of Election Day 2008 seared into your hippocampus for all time. But most Americans don't pay close attention to politics. Plus, people do a poor job of reporting past behaviors. Studies show that patients have a hard time remembering when they visited the doctor, let alone what their doctor told them. Same with voting. Say you normally vote but can't quite remember whether you voted in the most recent election. You might well say you did. And because you like how Obama's doing so far, you figure you probably did vote for him.

Then there's the group of McCain voters that either regrets their pick or would rather not admit it to a pollster. They might feign forgetfulness, which would account for the 7 percent of respondents who say they voted for "someone else" or won't say for whom. Or they might just say they picked Obama. But outright dishonesty probably accounts for little of the gap.

O'Leary then offered "a comparison of both the New York Times' and The O'Leary Report's findings on similarly asked poll questions." But as O'Leary surely knows, "similarly asked" does not mean the same thing as exactly asked; slight changes in wording can produce different responses. As we've detailed, the Zogby polls O'Leary pays for include questions tweaked to obtain the response he wants.

O'Leary largely fails to provide the questions specifically asked by both polls, and the one example he provides shows O'Leary's bias:

Both the Times and O'Leary/Zogby asked Americans similar questions regarding how large a role government should play in society.

The Times asked: "Which comes closer to your view: Government should do more to solve national problems, or Government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals?"

In the Times' manipulated sample, 34 percent think the government should do more, 56 percent think the government is doing too much, and 10 percent are unsure.

O'Leary/Zogby asked Americans whether they prefer "a system in which the public or the state have ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods," or "a system in which wealth, and the means of producing wealth are privately owned and controlled rather than state owned."

In O'Leary/Zogby's accurate sample, 70 percent prefer a private system, 17 percent prefer a state-run system, and 13 percent are unsure.

By using phrases like "means of production" and "state owned" -- phrases long used in reference to socialism and communism -- O'Leary is using language that is clearly designed to strike a negative subliminal response, predisposing respondents to reject that option. Thus, it can be argued that O'Leary's sample is not only not "accurate," it's just as "manipulated" as the Times poll he denigrates.

It's also worth noting that for as much as O'Leary complains about the Times' alleged failure to "disclose the full details behind its sampling method," at no point in his article does O'Leary offer a link to his own Zogby poll so we can examine the methodology and specific questions he asked for ourselves.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:03 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, July 11, 2009 11:07 AM EDT
'Grotesque' But True
Topic: NewsBusters

Mark Finkelstein, in a July 10 NewsBusters post, is upset that Ed Schultz, on his MSNBC show, "offered up an unpaid infomercial for GM's new Camaro.  Most grotesque was Schultz's boast that the Camaro was outselling the Ford Mustang."

Finkelstein failed to mention that Schultz's "boast," however "grotesque" it may be, happens to be true.

UPDATE: Corrected name of NewsBusters writer.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:30 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, July 12, 2009 12:37 AM EDT
Friday, July 10, 2009
Topic: NewsBusters
We have a post up at Media Matters' County Fair blog noting that Tim Graham, in a July 9 NewsBusters post, makes a big deal out of reporters attending an off-the-record Fourth of July gathering at the White House but failing to mention that President Bush held an annual off-the-record barbecue for reporters at his Texas ranch during his presidency.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:45 PM EDT
WND Wants Hospitals to Violate Obama's Privacy
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has been frustrated in its attempts to get a Honolulu hospital to admit that Barack Obama was born there, due to federal privacy regulations prohibiting the release of patient information. So WND has done the next logical (for them) thing: attack the privacy law.

A July 9 WND article by Joe Kovacs declares that "Federal law regarding the release of health records is so restrictive and intimidating, U.S. hospitals could conceivably refuse to confirm or deny if Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler were born in their facility." Kovacs goes on to complain that "the protections remain in effect even after someone is deceased, so hospitals could remain silent about Obama's mother, Ann Dunham."

Why does WND want to violate Obama's rights? Does it hate him that much?

(Answer to that last question: Yes, it does.)

Posted by Terry K. at 4:28 PM EDT
CNS' Lucas Still Taking Walpin's Side
Topic: vowed to "cover stories that are subject to the bias of omission and report on other news subject to bias by commission." CNS reporter Fred Lucas is fulfilling that mission, though perhaps not in the way the mission statement intended.

We've already noted how his report on a congressional committee report glossed over its partisan nature, failed to seek responses to it, and ignored that parts of the report appeared to contradict established facts. That's largely bias by omission.

Lucas' July 9 article on the case of ousted AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin, by contrast, is largely bias by commission:

  • His statement that "Obama fired Walpin in June, after Walpin’s probe showed that Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, an Obama supporter who ran the AmeriCorps-funded, non-profit St. Hope Academy misused more than $800,000 in AmeriCorps grants" falsely suggests a cause-effect relationship that has not beenproven to be factual.
  • Lucas demonstrates whose side he has taken in noting that the AmeriCorps officials "have sent the Senate committee documents intended to discredit Walpin." How does Lucas know that those officials "intend to discredit Walpin"? He doesn't -- he's trying to read minds, divining intent he has no way of actually quantifying.

Lucas engages in bias by omission here as well. He interviews Walpin and a congressman who supports him, but no Walpin critics. He references the Washington Post as his source for the claim about AmeriCorps officials are supplying "documents intended to discredit Walpin," but he doesn't inform his readers that the Post has also posted those documents online.

Further, as he has done before, Lucas failed to reference a letter by acting U.S. Attorney Lawrence Brown that accused Walpin of withholding exculpatory evidence from the attorney's office in the Johnson investigation, 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 thought CNS was supposed to counter the bias of other media, not create bias of its own.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:16 AM EDT
Your Jackie Mason Bile-Filled Rant of the Week
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It's that time again -- time for Jackie Mason to crank up his Two Minutes Hate against Barack Obama.

In the midst of defending Sarah Palin's decision to resign as Alaska governor, Mason launches into yet another factually deficient anti-Obama tirade:

Look how they never picked on Barack Obama. Barack Obama sat in the Senate for two years and never showed up. He took your money, the taxpayers' money, for literally nothing. When he was a state senator, he spent all his time looking for a job as a United States senator. As a United States senator, he spent all his time looking for the job as the presidency. He took your money for nothing, but nobody ever never criticized him. This is totally immoral and indecent. Could this happen in private industry?


He would have been sued, he would have been eliminated, he would have been destroyed if he tried this in private industry. But this immoral person who took a job and never showed up on the job and took everybody's taxpayers' money for nothing, nobody criticized him. They couldn't find the words to criticize, no matter what kind of piece of thievery that actually was. But Sarah Palin, who just did nothing wrong, is now considered the worst criminal of all time. Why? Because they're sick, lowlife, fraudulent people. They're fearful to such an extent that they can't tolerate her. They know she's going to do something that's going to beat them. They don't know how or why, but they can't face it. They fear it, they're panicking over it.They're terrorized by it to such an extent that they sound irrational and insane. And while they're condeming her, they sound nuts themselves. They sound like they belong in a sanitarium. They're irrational and hateful and sick, and you aought to be ashamed of yourself. You have no right to be in politics if you can't face a real opponent. You lowlife --

And the video clip abruptly ends. What insult is WND afraid to share with its readers?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:01 AM EDT
Thursday, July 9, 2009
CNS' Lucas Uncritically Repeats Report's Bogus Claims

A July 8 article by Fred Lucas repeats claims from a "congressional report" that "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were the chief culprits in the housing crisis because they encouraged people who could not afford payments to borrow money," but Lucas waits until the fourth paragraph to reveal that the report came from "Republican members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee." In other words, it's a biased report that committee Democrats did not sign off on. Lucas failed to solicit any reaction to the report, even though its claims appear to contradict established facts.

Lucas states that "claims in the report have long been advanced by conservatives, who argue that the Community Reinvestment Act and other federal programs fed the housing bubble that burst in 2007 and led to the economic downfall in 2008." In fact, housing experts have pointed out that most subprime loans were not made under the CRA.

Lucas also describes Democratic Rep. Barney Frank as having "fought against regulation of the two quasi-public mortgage giants." In fact, Frank made numerous efforts to enhance federal oversight of Fannie and Freddie.

We suspect that Lucas can't be bothered to do a more balanced follow-up, even though prominent conservative David Horowitz has denounced the Republicans' report as "factually wrong-headed" and having "ugly racial overtones."

Posted by Terry K. at 6:44 PM EDT

Newer | Latest | Older

Bookmark and Share

Get the WorldNetDaily Lies sticker!

Find more neat stuff at the ConWebWatch store!

Buy through this Amazon link and support ConWebWatch!

Support This Site

« July 2009 »
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31

Bloggers' Rights at EFF
Support Bloggers' Rights!

News Media Blog Network

Add to Google