ConWebBlog: The Weblog of ConWebWatch

your New Media watchdog

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

Sunday, October 25, 2009
Will MRC Retract False Claim About Feinberg Interview?
Topic: Media Research Center

So the Media Research Center's Tim Graham is trying to make a big deal of claiming that Media Matters (disclosure: our employer) promoted purported inflammatory quotes by Rush Limbaugh that turned out to be unsourced, if not fake. Actually, as Media Matters' Eric Boehlert pointed out, a blog post merely quoted a columnist who cited the statements, then updated it to note that the quotes were in question.

Now, it's the MRC's turn to retract a false claim -- an actual one this time.

An Oct. 23 MRC press release "applauded ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN for uniting with competitor news network Fox News in response to the Obama White House excluding Fox from an interview with “pay czar” Kenneth Feinberg." The release went on to quote MRC chief Brent Bozell as saying:

“Not even Richard Nixon would have dared try this.  This was a White House attempt at censorship and brass knuckle intimidation.  But it backfired. 

“This was more than a strike at Fox News. It was a calculated and frightening declaration of war on our First Amendment right to a free and unfettered press.  And it might have been successful had ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC caved to the pressures of the White House.  

“But they did not yield and for that, they should be commended. These networks recognized this as a direct assault on free speech.  I applaud their dedication to operating on the vital truth that freedom of the press trumps everything, including ratings and market share.  

The problem? Bozell's version of events -- that Fox News suffered a violation of its First Amendment rights by being deliberately excluded from the Feinberg interview until other journalists stood up for it -- appears to be completely false.

As Talking Points Memo detailed, the facts are much less sinister:

Feinberg did a pen and pad with reporters to brief them on cutting executive compensation. TV correspondents, as they do with everything, asked to get the comments on camera. Treasury officials agreed and made a list of the networks who asked (Fox was not among them).

But logistically, all of the cameras could not get set up in time or with ease for the Feinberg interview, so they opted for a round robin where the networks use one pool camera. Treasury called the White House pool crew and gave them the list of the networks who'd asked for the interview.

The network pool crew noticed Fox wasn't on the list, was told that they hadn't asked and the crew said they needed to be included. Treasury called the White House and asked top Obama adviser Anita Dunn. Dunn said yes and Fox's Major Garrett was among the correspondents to interview Feinberg last night.

Simple as that, we're told, and the networks don't want to be seen as heroes for Fox.

Further, pretty much everyone involved is shocked that Fox News (along with its MRC fellow travelers) is blowing this up into a First Amendment issue:

TPMDC spoke with a network bureau chief this afternoon familiar with the situation who was surprised that Fox was portraying the news as networks coming to its rescue.

"If any member had been excluded it would have been the same thing, it has nothing to do with Fox or the White House or the substance of the issues," the bureau chief said. "It's all for one and one for all."

A Treasury spokesperson added: "There was no plot to exclude Fox News, and they had the same interview that their competitors did. Much ado about absolutely nothing."

So, when can we expect that retraction from Bozell, Graham and Co.? We'll be watching.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:17 AM EDT
WND Scaremongers About Swine Flu Emergency Order
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As expected given its previous freak-outs on the subject, WorldNetDaily's first instinct after President Obama's declaration of a national emergency over the H1N1 flu virus was to fearmonger.

The subhead of WND's Oct. 24 article by Drew Zahn reads, "Is president's proclamation formality, or institution of Obama martial law?" Zahn then offered the possibility that "the Obama administration might use the declared emergency to suddenly expand government power," citing a writer for InfoWars -- not explaining that InfoWars is affiliated with conspiracy-monger extrordinare Alex Jones. Zahn also cited "a WND reader in an e-mail" who allegedly wrote, "Here we go with martial law" (remember, WND loves anonymous sources). Zahn framed these as "rumors" that were "quick to flame" because the news media offered "little explanation" about what the emergency declaration meant.

Zahn curiously doesn't completely dismiss the InfoWars assertion that "we may witness a move toward martial law, forced vaccination and internment of those who refuse," and indeed suggests that it's a realistic possiblity. It's not until the seventh paragraph that Zahn finally breaks away from the fearmongering:

But even if there really is a plot to manipulate the H1N1 virus scare into enforcing a sweeping expansion of federal power, today's "national emergency" falls far short of martial law.

In fact, the laws enacted by the president's proclamation do little more than clear administrative hurdles for quicker processing of Medicare payments, and the very provisions of the National Emergencies Act that the president cited in his proclamation actually limit the power his administration can take.

Why didn't Zahn lead with that instead of indulging in fearmongering and media-bashing accusations? Because fearmongering is what WND has historically done on the swine flu.

WND has embraced the views of muckraking writer Wayne Madsen on the subject, even though has a historty of making wild, discredited claims. WND has also accused Obama of "trying to cause a panic over a possible H1N1 virus" in order to "create enough fear that the American public will acquiesce to the passage of Obamacare."

That little conspiracy theory went unmentioned in Zahn's article, but don't doubt that it will resurface with Obama's emergency declaration. After all, WND readers eat that stuff up -- WND's poll of the day on the declaration features 25 percent of respondents saying, "I don't care what anyone says, I'm concerned this is the beginning of martial law."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:14 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, October 25, 2009 12:18 AM EDT
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Floyd Brown Still Lying to Promote Obama Impeachment
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Anti-Obama activist (and Western Journalism Center chief) Floyd Brown recently took his call to impeach President Obama -- which we've previously detailed is littered with lies and distortions -- to the Western CPAC conference. It didn't go over too well; as HotAir's Ed Morrissey pointed out, Brown's presentation was "[o]ne of the worst – and worst defended – ideas at WCPAC," adding that "Brown misstates history, draws ridiculous parallels to the Nazi era, and takes the wrong lessons from the Clinton impeachment, which at least had the virtue of coming from an actual impeachable offense."

Needless to say, Brown didn't take this well, so he ran to (where else?) WorldNetDaily, which had previously embraced his impeachement call, to defend himsel. Citing Morrissey's criticism, Brown wrote in an Oct. 23 column:

The most disappointing part of the Morrissey comments is his lack of interest in the driving issues. Instead of tackling the real issues that are compelling activists to call for impeachment, he tried to dispute peripheral issues of the process.

Apparently, getting his facts straight is a mere "peripheral issue" to Brown (as is lack of an actual impeachable offense), for he launches into another falsehood-laden bill of particulars against Obama.

Brown repeats his previous claims that Obama "vindictively fired" Gerald Walpin as AmeriCorps inspector general without Obama was acting on a unanimous request from the AmeriCorps board of directors that Walpin be fired due to questions about "his capacity to serve."

Brown also claimed: "Barack Hussein Obama appointed countless "czars" to oversee everything from the closing of Guantanamo to the food we eat. These czars don't have to be approved by the Senate." In fact, one-third of the "czars" tallied by Fox News were confirmed by the Senate or are in positions created by statute, and many of those positions had counterparts in the Bush administration, which we don't remember Brown complaining about.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:35 AM EDT
Meanwhile ...
Topic: Accuracy in Media

The Washington Independent's David Weigel details how attendees at Accuracy in media's 40th anniversary conference wanted speakers to delve into birtherism -- and not to debunk it.

We've previously noted how AIM's Cliff Kincaid has apparently bought into the birther stuff.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:59 AM EDT
Friday, October 23, 2009
WND's Unruh Repeats Hate-Crime Bill Lies
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Bob Unruh just can't stop lying about the hate-crimes bill.

An Oct. 22 WorldNetDaily article by Unruh about the bill's passage in Congress repeats many of the same falsehoods we've previously documented Unruh making:

  • Failure to define "sexual orientation" in the bill means that the bill "will give pedophiles, voyeurs, and exhibitionists special protections." In fact, "sexual orientation" is defined elsewhere in federal law as applying only to consensual homosexuality or heterosexuality, so there is no need to do so again.
  • Failure to state that pedophilia is not protected means that pedophilia is protected. In fact, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 specifically excludes pedophilia, thus precluding protection for pedophiles from the hate crimes bill.
  • "Politically incorrect thoughts about homosexual behavior will result in enhanced criminal sanctions under this law." In fact, the bill states that "Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the Constitution," which would include the First Amendment protection for freedom of religion.

Unruh even repeats his falsehood about Gordon Klingenschmitt, asserting again that he "was involuntarily removed from the U.S. military after he prayed 'in Jesus name.'" In fact, Klingenschmitt was removed for disobeying an order that he not appear in uniform at media events or political protests.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:20 AM EDT
Another Empty Article from Aaron Klein
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've detailed how WorldNetDaily relies on anonymous claims to attack the Obama administration -- even granting anonymity to terrorists. He does so again in an Oct. 21 article claiming that "some Mideast leaders are considering hardening their positions against the U.S., believing they may extract more concessions from a conciliatory Obama administration."

There is not a single named, on-the-record source in Klein's article. He cites:

  • "a Palestinian Authority official"
  • 'Egyptian and Palestinian diplomatic sources"
  • "A top official from Syria's Ministry of Information"

This runs counter to WND editor Joseph Farah's assertion that "Aaron Klein doesn't use anonymous sources" and Farah's own dismissal of anonymous sources as "usually quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better."


Posted by Terry K. at 8:33 AM EDT
Newsmax Runs to Kerik's Defense -- Again
Topic: Newsmax

You had to figure with as much work Newsmax has put in to rehabilitating the reputation of Bernard Kerik that it would try to figure out a way to spin the revocation of Kerik's bail on the corruption charges he faces.

We get exactly that in an Oct. 22 article by John Noble playing up Geraldo Rivera's assertion that Kerik "is a 'patriot' whose civil rights, including the right to a fair trial, are being trampled upon by an overzealous federal prosecutor and federal judge." (It was only a few months ago that Newsmax was happily repeating Lou Dobb's description of Rivera as "intellectually challenged.")

Noble is in full protection mode on Kerik, even blaming the reporter to whom a Kerik associate leaked confidential court papers for reporting the leak to prosecutors:

The brouhaha that landed Kerik in prison began in September, when one of his attorneys, Anthony Modafferi, who headed up Kerik’s legal defense fund and advised him on an unpaid basis, sent an email to reporter Jerry Seper at The Washington Times.

Though the email was clearly marked confidential, Seper, according to a letter from the federal prosecutor, forwarded the verbatim email he received from Modafferi to the New York City Department of Investigation.

The city department, in turn, turned over the email to the federal prosecutor, suggesting it detailed privileged information that should not have been released publicly.

Is Noble really saying that Seper should not have reported the violation that Modafferi's apparently illegal release of court-sealed information represents? We thought the boys at Newsmax were all law-and-order types.

Noble goes on to editorialize that Kerik faces "a laundry list of charges, many trivial," which are based on "flimsy evidence." As we've detailed, Newsmax has a long history of whitewashing the corruption charges against Kerik, even doing so in a Newsmax magazine piece.

Is Kerik really worth this much rehabilitation effort, considering the magitude of the charges against him and his latest antics? Newsmax apparently thinks so. 


Posted by Terry K. at 6:24 AM EDT
WND Just Can't Stop Lying About Obama Appointees
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has a long history of making false and distorted claims about Obama administration officials.

Media Matters documents the latest example -- three articles, two by Bob Unruh, falsely claiming that Education Department official Kevin Jennings "counseled a 15-year-old student to keep quiet about being seduced by an older man." In fact, not only was the student in question 16 (and thus of legal age) at the time of his counseling by Jennings, there's no evidence whatsoever that that Jennings told the student to "keep quiet."

UPDATE: An Oct. 23 article by Unruh repeats the lie as well.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:58 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, October 23, 2009 9:02 AM EDT
Note to Brennan: Lord Monckton Is Not A Scientist
Topic: Newsmax

Phil Brennan's Oct. 21 Newsmax column is one big slobbering over Lord Monckton, Viscount of Brenchley, for peddling the usual anti-global warming propaganda that Brennan loves so much. Brennan calls Monckton "an experienced statesman, once an adviser to Britain's Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and brilliant scientist."

In fact, Monckton is not a scientist. As we've previously detailed, Monckton has no scientific credentials, holding degrees only in classics and journalism.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:07 AM EDT
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Jerome Corsi and the 'Bigot' Charge
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Oct. 20 WorldNetDaily column by Jerome Corsi takes umbrage at being labeled a "bigot," focusing on a column by Slate's Jacob Weisberg critiquing a single instance lifted from his anti-Obama book in which he noted that Obama's mother married "a second man of color" after after divorcing Barack Obama Sr.:

On page 43 of "The Obama Nation," I commented on the indisputable fact that President Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, married Indonesian Loro Soetoro "a second man of color" after she divorced the Kenyan Barack Obama Sr.

Weisberg pointed out that he had previously published this same accusation in a column he wrote during the campaign that Weisberg suggested I could "look up" if I were interested.

There, in an article published in Slate on Aug. 23, 2008, and in Newsweek Sept. 1, 2008, Weisberg editorialized inaccurately that I had "leeringly noted that Obama's white mother always preferred her 'mate' be 'a man of color.'"

By transforming what I wrote as an accurate observation into a characterization that Ann Dunham "always preferred her 'mate' to be 'a man of color,'" the racial innuendo appears to have been added by Weisberg himself.

In "The Obama Nation," I made no observation whatsoever about what Ann Dunham "always preferred" in any category.

Here's the full passage from Corsi's "The Obama Nation":

One fact that remails undisputed in the narrative is that Obama's mother chose another third world prospect for her second husband, deciding to follow Obama's Kenyan-born Muslim-raised father with an Indonesian-born Muslim, a second man of color to be her mate, this one destined to be Obama's stepfather.

Corsi describes Soetoro as "another third world prospect" in a tone that is arguably disparaging -- a logical conclusion given the biased attack nature of Corsi's book. Also note that Corsi emphasizes that both Soetoro and Obama's father are Muslim,which comports with Corsi's documented history of anti-Muslim bigotry, of which there is plenty of evidence.

Indeed, Corsi seems to be obsessed with the race and religion of Stanley Ann Dunham's husbands; on page 45-46, he engages in a bit of amateur psychology:

The parallels between how Stanley Ann met and fell in love with Obama Senior and Lolo Soetoro are too striking to ignore. Stanley Ann may have sought a relationship with a foreigner or a Muslim, or a man of color. She may have wanted to protest the conventional idea of her parents of the comfortable conformity of the Eisenhower years. Clearly even after she and her small son had been abandoned by her first husband, Stanley Ann was willing to try virgually the same relationship all over again, only with a different man.

It certainly looks to us like Corsi is trying to make a judgment about the kind of men Dunham preferred.

Corsi concludes with a hefty bit of sucking up:

Truly, I would be honored if Mr. Ailes could spare time from managing Fox News to share lunch with me so I could personally thank him and Fox News for the journalistic courage to stand up repeatedly to a White House that seems to believe news coverage should be directed by its communications director.

If Mr. Ailes will accept my invitation for lunch, I believe we could get Joseph Farah, the founder and editor of World Net Daily to join us.

I work as a staff reporter for WorldNetDaily for the same reason I am honored to appear on Fox News.

Joseph Farah, like Rupert Murdoch, has built a career on the principle that journalistic excellence demands not only the determination to publish the truth, but also the resolve to take the criticism from the highest circles in government that results when leaders do not appreciate the truth being told.

Farah publishes the truth? Don't make us laugh.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:23 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, October 22, 2009 7:29 PM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As big media well knows, Obama's records have been "sealed" for a reason. Otherwise, they would be filing freedom of information requests, fighting the blackouts in court, doing front-page news updates on a daily basis and endlessly editorializing over their efforts.

Instead, they've taken to ridiculing those asking for the evidence the Constitution demands of anyone assuming the presidency. When Obama's student records finally show up listing him as a foreign citizen applying for college, the ruse is over. The laws he signed – including those funding programs and authorizing borrowing – are not worth the paper or electrons they're printed on. It's going to be quite a show. But then, who knew?

-- Craige McMillan, Oct. 22 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 12:32 PM EDT
CNS Baselessly Tosses Out 'Amnesty' Attack
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com has frequently labeled supporters of comprehensive immigration reform as supporting "amnesty" without bothering to explain what that means. CNS has now taken that a step farther by tossing around the amnesty label without even bothering to link it to immigration reform.

An Oct. 21 CNS article by Penny Starr asserted that "Liberal, pro-amnesty advocates" oppose a Republican proposal to "ask all individuals whether they are citizens or lawful residents of the United States" and exclude illegal immigrants from being counted for purposes of congressional reapportionment.

While Starr lists several groups as being opposed to the amendment, at no point does she establish that the groups are "pro-amnesty" -- let alone liberal. Indeed, there's no mention of immigration reform, the usual conservative euphemism for "amnesty," anywhere in Starr's article.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:15 AM EDT
Meanwhile ...
Topic: NewsBusters

Simon Maloy at Media Matters does a fine job of demolishing Tim Graham's insistence in an Oct. 21 NewsBusters post that a Washington Post poll showing majority support for a public option is biased or otherwise "stuffing its poll sample" because more respondents identified themselves as Democrats than Republicans. Graham, it seems, is unaware of the concept of random sampling, or the recent documented decline in people identifying themselves as Republicans.

Indeed, the poll's Repubican/Demmocrat split is not out of line with contemporaneus polling based on random sampling.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:22 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, October 22, 2009 1:25 AM EDT
Dick Morris' Mysterious Polling Firm
Topic: Newsmax

In his Oct. 19 Newsmax column, Dick Morris proclaimed that a "national survey conducted for the League of American Voters by the Global Marketing Research Center during last week shows that 46 percent of those who watch Fox News 'just about every day' are Democrats or independents as are 50 percent of those who watch it 'several times each week' or more."

Morris' numbers are dubious at best, falling well outside of what most other polls have found about Fox News viewers -- namely, that they skew heavily Republican. But what's more interesting is the polling firm Morris cites.

The Global Marketing Research Center has no website of its own that we could find, and Google comes up with nothing -- indeed, the only references to this firm come from websites referencing Morris' study.

Further, neither the League of American Voters nor Newsmax have posted the full poll results, including the questions asked, so it's impossible to tell just how legitimate Morris' little poll is.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:04 AM EDT
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Corsi's Grand Unification Obama Theory
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've noted Aaron Klein's attempt to develop a grand unification theory of purported Obama scandals. Now fellow WorldNetDaily writer Jerome Corsi is developing his own as well. From Corsi's Oct. 20 WND article:

Attacking Fox News and defending President Obama is a family affair for Anita Dunn, the White House communications director who has blasted Fox as an arm of the Republican Party and talked about "controlling" the news media.

She's married to Robert Bauer, the chief of the political law group at Perkins Coie, the Seattle law firm hired by the White House to defend Obama in court cases challenging his "natural born" citizenship status and thus, his eligibility under the U.S. Constitution to be president.

Yes, they're that desperate over at WND. Remember, WND and Joseph Farah ran this same playbook against Bill Clinton.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:23 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

« October 2009 »
S M T W T F S
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