Cliff Kincaid's Conspiracy du Jour Topic: Accuracy in Media
The Boston Globe won a 2003 Pulitzer Prize for covering the Catholic Church's decades-long cover-up of priests who sexually abused children. There is a Pulitzer Prize waiting for the reporter who can figure out why the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church, considered by Catholics the personal representative of Jesus Christ, has emerged as an advocate of one of the most corrupt and non-Christian organizations on the face of the earth-the United Nations.
-- Cliff Kincaid, July 14 Accuracy in Media column
New Article: Kessler's Wedge Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax's Ronald Kessler took liberties with a Jewish leader's views on Obama, and got called on it -- so Kessler had to hunt for another Jewish leader to advance his anti-Obama agenda. Read more >>
NewsBusters Still Defending Bush's Firing of Attorneys Topic: NewsBusters
In a July 14 NewsBusters post reporting that the "left-wing blog Talking Points Memo" has received funding from investors to hire additional reporters, Clay Waters notes that TPM "won the media's George Polk Award for legal reporting for his work on the Bush administration firing eight U.S. attorneys under what TPM and other liberals claimed were politically motivated circumstances -- a perfectly legal effort that was nonetheless considered scandalous by mainstream media."
That ignores the controversy over why the attorneys were fired: reportedly for prosecuting too many Republicans and not enough Democrats and to make room for GOP political operatives.
Any chance Waters or his MRC buddies will ever admit that President Clinton's firing of the Travel Office staffers was "a perfectly legal effort that was nonetheless considered scandalous by right-wing media"?
Why Won't MRC Mention McCorvey's Link to Randall Terry? Topic: Media Research Center
When last we saw MRC Culture & Media Institute writer Sarah Knoploh, she was suggesting that George Tiller deserved to be targeted for murder. Now in a July 14 CMI article, Knoploh is complaining that the TV networks failed to mention that one of the anti-abortion protesters who disrupted Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing on July 13 was Norma McCorvey, the "Jane Roe" in the original Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion who is now an anti-abortion activist. "McCorvey’s outburst should have received more attention from the networks," Knoploh insisted.
Knoploh goes on to fawn over McCorvey as someone "passionately working to overturn the ruling" and is "concerned about the lack of clarity on Sotomayor’s positions" on abortion -- though Knoploh doesn't explain how making a spectacle of herself at a congressional hearing is a suitable way to express concern about Sotomayor's "lack of clarity" on abortion.
Speaking of lack of clarity, Knoploh is mum about one aspect of McCorvey's disruption, as well as that of three others who disrupted the hearing with anti-abortion statements. As the Washington Post reported in an article to which Knoploh linked:
All appeared to be players in the shock street-theater troupe of Randall Terry, who founded Operation Rescue 20 years ago and yesterday brought his provocative props to his latest venue. Outside the Hart Building, Terry and his band brandished posters of aborted fetuses and children's coffins holding dolls covered in stage blood. A demonstrator dressed in a judge's robes carried the sickle of the Grim Reaper.
As we've detailed, since Tiller's murder, the MRC and the rest of the ConWeb have been trying to ignore Terry, particularly after he essentially condoned the killing of Tiller. This means that McCorvey is far beyond the merely "concerned" and "passionate" activist Knoploh portrays; she's in thrall to an extremist who condones murder.
We can see why Knoploh wouldn't mention that fact -- it destroys her narrative of McCorvey.
UPDATE: Knoploh's article is posted at NewsBusters as well.
Warner Todd Huston has long been one of NewsBusters' more aggressively clueless writers, and he demonstrates his aggressive cluelessness once again in a July 14 post bashing Sonia Sotomayor.
Attacking a CNN commentary by Jeffrey Toobin calling Sotomayor "a liberal in the cautious and careful mode" of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Huston retorted with a barrage of unsupported and undefined assertions:
Since when is Ginsburg a “cautious and careful liberal”? She was, after all, once the chief litigator for women’s rights for the extremely leftist group the ACLU. The reason she was picked by President Bill Clinton to take a seat on the Court is because she was an activist liberal. Not “cautious” in the least.
Yet, here is Toobin remaking Ginsburg’s story into that of a stolid, “cautious” liberal so that he can give cover to Sotomayor’s activism on behalf of minority set asides. The truth of the matter is, however, there is nothing “cautious” about either Sotomayor’s or Ginsburg’s liberalism. They are both of the extreme variety compared to the average, conservative Democrat’s.
Huston offers no evidence that either Sotomayor or Ginsburg are "extreme," let alone his definiton of "extreme" vis-a-vis his definition of an "average, conservative Democrat."
Huston then takes on the "wise Latina" comment:
Her supporters have said that this quote has been taken out of context and that read in context with the rest of the speech, this single sentence culled from the whole is easily misconstrued. But that is simply not the case. The New York Times helpfully published the entire speech and there is no way, when all is said and done, not to understand that Sotomayor is asserting in a straight forward manner that minorities -- "Latinas" in particular -- are better judges than white men. She further asserts that white men are less likely to have such experiences that will make them a good judge unless they are fortuitous enough to have reached "moments of enlightenment" that will put them on par with minorities.
Put plainly, she is saying "Latinas" make better judges simply by virtue of being Latinas. That is as perfect an example of racist sentiment as can be imagined.
One must admire the chutzpah of Huston acknowledging complaints that Sotomayor's statement was taken out of context -- then going ahead and taking it out of context anyway. The context, of course, is that Sotomayor was referring specifically to "race and sex discrimination cases" -- which Huston mentions nowhere in his screed and conveniently omits from the speech excerpt he included in his post.
Huston then made a big deal about how "five out the six cases that Sotomayor decided in lower courts that appeared before the Supremes were reversed by that court" -- even though he lists seven cases. Huston didn't mention that the Supreme Court typically reverses a large majority of the appeals court cases it considers, nor did he mention that prior to his elevation to the high court, at least four rulings Samuel Alito made as an appellate judge were overturned by the Supreme Court.
If Sotomayor's reversal rate disqualifes her, Alito'sreversal rate should have disqualifed him, right?
Huston can't be bothered by such trivia. He's too busy smearing Sotomayor as "A racist with low grades and a sense of entitlement that has been reversed or scolded in five out of the six cases of hers that have appeared before past Supreme Court sessions."
Yes, it seems Huston really does graduating summa cum laude from Princeton is evidence of "low grades."
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."
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.
CNS, Newsmax Join in Misleading About Ginsburg Topic: CNSNews.com
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 CNSNews.com 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."
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."
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.
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.
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 longhistory of anti-Semitism and questionable behavior.
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:
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.