MRC Deceptively Defends Limbaugh Topic: Media Research Center
We've detailed how the Media Research Center has led in defending Rush Limbaugh, largely through obfuscation and selective reporting. The MRC cranks up the obfuscation factor with a new report that blurs the distinction between true and apparently false statements attributed to Limbaugh.
After leading with an excerpt from its previous Limbaugh report, the new report singles out sports columnists and bloggers who repeated a pair of statements apparently falsely attributed to Limbaugh: that "Slavery built the South. I'm not saying we should bring it back. I'm just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark," and that Martin Luther King assassin James Earl Ray should receive the Medal of Honor. But in denouncing them, the MRC mixes in racially charged statements by Limbaugh that are undeniably true.
For instance, the MRC highlights this statement by Daily Beast writer Max Blumenthal:
But given Limbaugh’s well-documented history of racial controversy, and Steele’s position as the Republican Party’s first African-American chairman, his apology is more significant than Gingrey’s. Limbaugh has, for example, mocked Obama as a “Halfrican-American” who should “become white“; he has called for a “posthumous Medal of Honor” for the assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr., James Earl Ray, and told an African-American caller, “Take that bone out of your nose and call me back.”
But the "Halfrican-American" remark exists in audio form, and the "Take that bone out of your nose" has not been challenged -- according to Snopes, Limbaugh acknowledges saying it (though he apparently did so in the 1970s prior to his current talk-radio career). Further, the MRC does not acknowledge that Blumenthal's post has since been corrected to remove the James Earl Ray remark, even though it has noted corrections by other writers making the claim.
Similarly, the MRC highlighted a post by San Francisco Chronicle blogger Zennie Abraham, narrowly focusing on one false quote (and noting that it's disputed) but carefully avoiding mention of the eight other Limbaugh quotes Abraham cited.
The MRC also highlighted USA Today blogger Sean Leahy's citing of the purpoted slavery quote -- and also statements that "The NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons" and Limbaugh's statements about Donovan McNabb. The MRC doesn't note that the latter quotes are both true, nor does it mention that the post has been corrected.
And there's the problem. By mixing in the true statements with the false ones, the MRC falsely suggests that all the statements are bogus.
Is that a bit of deliberate deception as part of running defense for Limbaugh? Probably. But it's also dishonest coming from a group that claims to do "research." A more honest approach would be to specifically state which statements it highlights that it's not challenging, or not to excerpt them at all.
For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: The White House visitors list.
Let's dig through this baby and find some of the gems. Clearly, William Ayers HAS to jump out at you...but don't say Obama's been palling around with him!
NewsBusters thus joins other right-wingers in trumpeting how Ayers, Jeremiah Wright and Michael Moore are on the list without noting that, as Think Progress points out, the White House has stated that those people aren't that William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright or Michael Moore.
WND Draws Paranoia-Peddling Advertisers Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've noted how WorldNetDaily's advertisers reflect WND's paranoid anti-Obama agenda. Here's another one:
The link goes to a paranoid screed -- anonymous, of course -- claiming that "bureaucrats in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike" are "carefully maneuvering for an eventual silent coup... one that would never make headlines but would result in the transfer of power from the American people to a secret group of wealthy bankers who already had everything they wanted... except total power."
As part of this conspiracy, the anonymous writer asserts that the U.S. military is being trained to act against American citizens. A central part of this conspiracy are the so-called "FEMA Concentration Camps," a bit of fearmongeringWND has eagerly embraced.
This person a selling a publication called "Understanding and Surviving Martial Law," teasing, "There is no other book like this available anywhere, and if the globalists and their shameless enforcers have their way, it won’t be available for long. They are already attempting to seize control of the Internet and shut sites like this down."
Since WND is already down with this paranoid conspiracy theory, shouldn't its book division be publishing this work?
Even More Biased 'Experts' At Newsmax Topic: Newsmax
An Oct. 29 Newsmax article by David Patten asserts that "Skyrocketing insurance premiums will slam millions of consumers next year because of "indirect taxes" contained in both the House and Senate versions of healthcare reform," a view Patten attributes to "various medical and insurance industry experts." As Pattenhasoftendone, he fails to acknowledge the conservative leanings of his "experts."
For instance, Patten describes Douglas Holtz-Eakin only as "the former director of the Congressional Budget Office," failing to note that he also worked for John McCain's presidential campaign. Patten also cites Dr. Russell Blaylock, who we last saw fearmongering about flu vaccines, a largely right-wing endeavor.
Patten also uncritically repeats claims made by insurance companies, and he quotes a few Republican congressmen without identifying how they can be considered "experts" on health care.
The Duplicitous Despot and his criminal minions – most notably David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, Anita Dunn, and Mark Lloyd – are out to shut down Fox News. No subtlety about it. They take seriously Mao's belief that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. After all, Anita Bandita looks to Chairman Mao when it comes to her philosophical inspiration.
When the reincarnation of Al Capone, David Axelrod, says of Fox that "It's really not news – it's pushing a point of view," it would be laughable if the stakes weren't so high. But as Tucker Carlson said, it's outrageous for a liar like Axelrod to say that Fox News commentators aren't being truthful.
It's like the schoolyard bully claiming that it was really his victim who bullied him. The bullies at the Kremlin House in Washington, of course, are all too aware that Fox is really the only station that is actually reporting the news, while the fringe media (ABC, CBS and NBC), along with CNBC and MSNBC, are going to great lengths to keep their viewers in the dark about what is really happening – particularly in Washington.
If I ever believe that we're getting close to that point, you'll read about it here first. In the meantime, let's be thankful that our illustrious president was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, because I have heard from a reliable, high-level source that he barely beat out three other equally worthy opponents for this great honor: Bernie Madoff, Charles Manson and Michael Vick.
NewsBusters Is Selectively Offended Topic: NewsBusters
An Oct. 29 NewsBusters post by Tom Blumer purports to take offense that Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson called a female lobbyist a "K Street whore," calling the remark "grievously sexist and offensive" and Grayson himself an "ogre."
By contrast, you might remember, Blumer's Media Research Center colleagues had a lot of trouble finding anything offensive about Ann Coulter calling John Edwards a "faggot" or a statement by MSNBC's David Shuster that Chelsea Clinton was "sort of being pimped out" in her mother's presidential campaign.
Apparently, if a conservative is not being insulted or doing the insulting, such smears are A-OK with Blumer and his MRC co-workers.
Apparently, asking race-baiting poll questions is no impediment to getting promoted on the ConWeb.
Newsmax and the Washington Examiner both published separate columns by Brad O'Leary citing a poll that, in a question curiously omitted from mention in either column, falsely asserted that Obama appointee Mark Lloyd "wants the FCC to force good white people in positions of power in the broadcast industry to step down to make room for more African-Americans and gays to fill those positions" (as we noted).
Not to worry, though -- O'Leary presented lots more biased questions in his poll (as he's prone to do). His Examiner column repeated a question that misleadingly portrayed the conflict between the Obama White House and Fox News, stating only that "The Obama administration recently declared that the White House would treat the Fox News Channel as an 'opponent,' and declared that Fox News is not a 'legitimate news organization,'" failing to mention that Fox News provoked the conflict by declaring itself to be the "voice of the opposition" to Obama's presidency.
O'Leary's Newsmax column repeats the misleading wording of a poll question about the recently signed hate-crimes bill. The question asserts that "Some experts believe this could lead to serious infringements on free speech, as well as the prosecution of religious preachers, talk show hosts or political activists who speak against homosexuality or transsexuals." without also explaining that the bill provides for protecting freedom of speech. The question also complains that the bill would "allow the prosecution of people whose speech allegedly influences others to commit hate crimes," seemingly suggesting that people shouldn't be prosecuted for inciting violence.
WorldNetDaily's efforts to hide Orly Taitz's shoddy lawyering from its readers continues with an Oct. 29 article by Bob Unruh on the dismissal of a lawsuit Taitz filed against Barack Obama on behalf of a few dozen clients (minus two that dropped her in favor of Gary Kreep). As expected, Unruh buries the important stuff -- when he bothers to write about it at all.
The article begins not by detailing the ruling but by rehashing a non-issue -- that "one of the newest law clerks" for the judge in the case, David Carter, formerly worked for what Unruh describes as "the law firm that has been paid nearly $1.7 million to defend Obama from eligibility challenges." At no point does Unruh establish a link between the law clerk and the judge's ruling, making this a distraction and a waste of time.
Unruh follows WND policy by being unwilling to concede that the birth certificate released by Obama's campaign is legitimate. He added that "Taitz earlier submitted to Carter a copy of what purported to be a Kenyan birth certificate for Obama, asking for permission to verify its authenticity." Unruh failed to mention that his employer has found both previouslyreleased "Kenyan birth certificates" to be fake, nor does Unruh explain why Taitz needs a court's permission to verify the certificate's authenticity, or even whether Taitz admitted WND's debunking of the certificates into evidence -- which would presumably preclude the need for any verification efforts Taitz might undertake.
Once he finally gets around to discussing Carter's actual ruling -- to which he does not link, though he could have easily done so -- Unruh focuses narrowly on the procedural arguments Carter makes, completely ignoring Carter's statements about Taitz. As the Washington Independent points out, Carter highlights the usual issues with Taitz's lawyering:
Interpreting the Constitution is a serious and crucial task with which the federal courts of this nation have been entrusted under Article III. However, that very same Constitution puts limits on the reach of the federal courts. One of those limits is that the Constitution defines processes through which the President can be removed from office. The Constitution does not include a role for the Court in that process. Plaintiffs have encouraged the Court to ignore these mandates of the Constitution; to disregard the limits on its power put in place by the Constitution; and to effectively overthrow a sitting president who was popularly elected by We the People‚ sixty-nine million of the people. Plaintiffs have attacked the judiciary, including every prior court that has dismissed their claim, as unpatriotic and even treasonous for refusing to grant their requests and for adhering to the terms of the Constitution which set forth its jurisdiction. Respecting the constitutional role and jurisdiction of this Court is not unpatriotic. Quite the contrary, this Court considers commitment to that constitutional role to be the ultimate reflection of patriotism.
More significantly, Carter is taking seriously the accusations that Taitz suborned perjury:
[T]he Court has received several sworn affidavits that Taitz asked potential witnesses that she planned to call before this Court to perjure themselves. This Court is deeply concerned that Taitz may have suborned perjury through witnesses she intended to bring before this Court. While the Court seeks to ensure that all interested parties have had the opportunity to be heard, the Court cannot condone the conduct of Plaintiffs’ counsel in her efforts to influence this Court.
That's the story: Carter considers Taitz's alleged suborning of perjury to be a legitimate issue -- yet WND won't report it this newsworthy statement.
That's how morally and ethically bankrupt WND is. Orly Taitz must be protected at all costs -- even lying by omission.
Jack Cashill's Shepard (And Nary) Revisionism Topic: WorldNetDaily
Jack Cashill writes of the recently passed hate-crimes bill in his Oct. 29 WorldNetDaily column:
Consider the case of the bill's namesake, Matthew Shepard. As the media told and retold the story, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, two "homophobic" desperados, killed the helpless gay Wyoming University student in a fit of "gay panic."
Although Hollywood would turn out at least three TV movies about the "crucifixion" of Shepard, two of which premiered in the week before Easter 2002, the homophobic story line did not match the Wyoming reality.
Best evidence now suggests that McKinney, the actual killer, had previously expressed no homophobic sentiments.
Actually, the reason why the media reported that Shepard was killed in a "gay panic" is because, as we detailed, McKinney used the "gay panic" defense at his trial. And, according to the Matthew Shepard Foundation, during his in-custody interview after his arrest, McKinney gave "an un-rehearsed and unemotional anti-gay account of the events before, during, and after leaving Matt tied to the fence."
We're not sure what "best evidence" Cashill is relying on -- perhaps McKinney's revisionist account from 2004. But by trusting McKinney, Cashill is trusting a documented liar and convicted killer.
Cashill then sought to excuse the killers' actions:
Of course, McKinney and Henderson were not products of Christian culture, but of its antithesis: a crude, soulless, fatherless, sexually libertine, drug-addled, pop culture.
Henderson was born to a teenage alcoholic mother and grew up without a father. McKinney's parents were divorced. Both were beaten by the "boyfriends" who inhabited their mothers' lives.
On the night in question, McKinney pistol-whipped Henderson when he tried to intervene in the beating of Shepard.
Had Shepard not emerged as gay poster child, Henderson would likely have served a few years for manslaughter or as accessory to murder.
Instead, he had to plead to two consecutive life sentences to avoid the death penalty, a sentence to which the anti-death penalty crowd raised no known objection.
Cashill seems to be giving Henderson a pass because he (feebly) tried to stop McKinney. But Cashill ignores the full details of what Henderson did. From a 1999 New York Times account of Henderson's guilty plea:
''Aaron McKinney, he pulled out a gun and told Matthew Shepard to give him his wallet,'' continued Mr. Henderson, who said that while he drove, his friend beat Mr. Shepard. After parking in a field near a subdivision where Mr. Henderson had once lived, Mr. McKinney ''pulled Matthew out of the truck and continued to hit him'' with the pistol, he said.
''Aaron told me to go get a rope out of the truck,'' Mr. Henderson said as the Shepards stared grimly ahead. ''Aaron told me to tie his hands'' to a fence pole.
''Matthew looked really bad, I told him to stop,'' Mr. Henderson said. ''Mr. McKinney hit me above the mouth. I returned to the pickup truck.''
After driving away, leaving Mr. Shepard tied to a fence in temperatures that dropped below freezing, Mr. Henderson said, he and his friend got in another fight. When caught by a Laramie police officer, Mr. Henderson said, he lied about what he had been doing that evening.
Instead of calling for medical help for Mr. Shepard the next day, Mr. Henderson said, he and his girlfriend, Chasity Pasley, and Mr. McKinney's girlfriend, Kristen LeAnn Price, drove 50 miles east to a truck stop in Cheyenne with his bloody clothing ''and put it in a dumpster to cover up that I was out there when Matthew was beaten.''
Cashill didn't mention the part about lying to the police and trying to cover up the crime. Cashill also doesn't explain why the "anti-death penalty crowd" would object to someone not receiving the death penalty.
That bit of bamboozlement out of the way, Cashill moves on to even more whitewashing, this thime of his current cause celebre, Steven Nary. Cashill repeats his sympathetic, selectively edited account of how Nary is rotting in prison afterbeing sentenced by a "kangaroo ... court" for the politically incorrect crime of killing a gay man. As he has before, Cashill tries to justify the crime by making Nary's victim look bad -- describing him at one point as "chunky" and "coked-up" -- ignoring Nary's own statements to police that he allowed the victim to perform oral sex on him for $40, and in the morning choked the victim for five minutes.
Cashill's claim that after returning to the Navy ship where he was stationed, "Nary told the chaplain and then turned himself in" is belied by the fact that Nary originally denied any sexual contact with the victim and lied to the Navy medic about how he sustained the hand injury he got in struggling with his victim.
Cashill concludes by writing that Nary "will be excited to hear that justice San Francisco style can now be enjoyed by everyone across the [expletive-deleted] plain." Just as we're excited that WorldNetDaily gives Cashill a forum to lie with impunity.
Walsh Still Doesn't Like Those Filthy Immigrants Topic: Newsmax
James Walsh keeps up his disdain for immigrants in his Oct. 28 Newsmax column, where he once again plays fast and loose with immigrant numbers.
Walsh once again insists that "estimates of illegal aliens in the United States range from 20 million to upwards of 36 million men, women, and children." Walsh doesn't offer evidence to back up these figures -- probably because most reputable researchers put the number at around 12 million.
And it wouldn't be a Walsh column without a swipe at those filthy immigrants:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health institutions have traced ground zero for the H1N1-swine flu to Mexico, and illegal aliens coming across the border probably are bringing the virus with them. Illegal entry into the United States is not only an economic burden on U.S. taxpayers but also has been a public health issue all along.
Walsh concludes by insisting that because of said filthy immigrants, "Obamacare could contribute to the financial ruin of the Republic."
Bozell Misleads on Polls Favoring Conservatives Topic: Media Research Center
In his Oct. 28 column, Brent Bozell uncritically touts polling that claims the existence of more conservatives than liberals:
When asked if their views were liberal, moderate, or conservative, 38 percent said conservative, and only 23 percent said liberal. In January, those numbers were 32 percent and 24 percent, respectively. That’s a net gain of seven points for conservatives since Obama took office. That’s a national headline. Unless you’re a leftist media outlet, in which case you ignored it.
That number is no fluke. Consider Gallup, which conducts thousands of interviews with Americans each year and always asks respondents to describe their political views. So far in 2009, 40 percent of those surveyed call themselves conservative. That's up from 37 percent in 2007 and 2008, the lowest percentage of self-identified conservatives in more than a decade. Movement is coming from independents. In Gallup's 2008 interviews, 29 percent of independents self-described as conservative. This year, it’s 35 percent.
Conservatism is not dead. It is not only alive, it is growing.
Or perhaps not. Research also shows that a significant number of people who self-identify as "conservatives" don't necessarily hold conservative beliefs.
WND Tells Fewer Lies About Hate-Crimes Law Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Oct. 28 WorldNetDaily article by Chelsea Schilling on President Obama's signing of the hate-crimes bill surprisingly fails to repeat WND's longstanding lie that it protects pedophiles.
But not to worry -- some of that old bias is still there. Schilling allows various right-wingers to baselessly assert that the bill is a "thought-crimes" bill that "threatens free speech and freedom of religion" while failing to report that 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.
Farah Calls Obama's Muslim Adviser 'Toga Head' Topic: WorldNetDaily
From an Oct. 27 appearance by WorldNetdaily's Joseph Farah on Steve Malzberg's radio show:
MAZLBERG: You talk about the -- and I read this story too and talked about it on the air -- Delia or Dalia Mogahed, the --
FARAH: I call her toga head.
MAZLBERG: Toga head, OK.
Farah does know how to be classy, doesn't he?
WND has been misrepresenting Mogahed, a member of the President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, claiming that she "defended Shariah" on an British TV show and is "a supporter of Islamic Shariah law." In fact, Mogahed was merely repeating polling among Muslims regarding Shariah. Further, Mogahed said on that TV show: "I'm not here to advocate for one point of view or another, I'm simply a researcher who is able to convey accurately and in a representative way the actual views of Muslims so that they're speaking for themselves rather than having others speak for them."
Farah Complains Fox News Isn't Fulfilling Duty to Promote WND Stories Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah uses his Oct. 26 WorldNetDaily column to complain that Fox News won't publicize the WND-published "shocking book ... based in part on a daring six-month undercover operation inside the Council on American-Islamic Relations." Farah sighs: "Fox News blacked out coverage. No interviews with the authors. No interviews with the interns who penetrated the unindicted terrorist front group at great personal risk. No interest."
First, Farah is being a bit disingenous. Fox News didcover the story, albeit from the angle of the four members of Congress who held a press conference to repeat charges made in the book.
Second, Farah doesn't admit his profit motive. Since the book, "Muslim Mafia," is published by WND, he personally and professionally stands to profit from book sales generated by book sales generated by exposure of the book in the media -- such as an appearance by its authors on Fox News.
While Farah is arguing that Fox News won't touch his "Muslim Mafia" story because it's "gun shy after getting smeared by the White House and Democrats" -- even though the real culprit appears to be the anti-Muslim bias of the book's authors -- he's also proving Fox News' critics correct by outlining the place it holds in the transmission belt of right-wing smears and WND's role in feeding such stories to Fox News.
Farah writes: "Those who read WND and watch Fox News know it is not unusual for the TV network to pick up investigative reports that first appear in WND – sometimes with credit, often without."
Farah also promotes the channel's mythology by claiming that "Fox News has built its reputation with its 'fair and balanced' marketing motto." Which, of course, is utter hogwash -- it's hard to be "fair and balanced" when you've declared yourself to be the voice of opposition.
But don't look for Farah to be honest about that -- after all, he has his place in the right-wing transmission belt to maintain, and he would like to get more stories placed at Fox News in the future.
In her Oct. 27 Newsmax column, Geller not only embraces the fake-but-accurate defense but also invents a way to blame Obama for the whole thing:
If Barack Obama would release his Columbia thesis, this latest media pseudo-controversy would never have happened. But now the tittering hyenas on the left are howling at the moon over the satire of Obama’s thesis that was taken for the real thing by Rush Limbaugh, as well as by Denis Keohane at The American Thinker and Michael Ledeen at Pajamas Media.
The fake thesis has Obama criticizing the Constitution, saying that “the so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom. While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document, the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned. While many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty, it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy.”
That sounded to me like something Obama would have said, so I cited it and ran it with it at my blog AtlasShrugs.com. But when I couldn’t find the actual link to what purported to be the “first ten pages” of Obama’s thesis, I took it down.
But bear in mind one thing: as Michael Ledeen says, “it worked because it’s plausible.”
Funny how the same defense right-wingershated when CBS employed it in the case of the Bush National Guard papers is embraced by them when they're caught repeating bogus information.
Geller went on to falsely portray Obama's statements in a 2001 radio interview in order to fit her preconceived script that Obama wants to redistribute the nation's wealth:
He said that it was a tragedy that the Constitution wasn’t radically reinterpreted to force redistribution of the wealth: “I am not optimistic,” he said, “about bringing about redistributive change through the courts. The institution just isn’t structured that way.” He praised the civil rights movement and its “litigation strategy in the court” for succeeding in vesting “formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples.”
In fact, as we've previously documented when other right-wingers did the same thing, Obama never claimed it was a "tragedy that the Constitution wasn’t radically reinterpreted to force redistribution of the wealth." What Obama called a tragedy was the civil rights movement's reliance on the court system to bring about change instead of more grassroots work.
Geller went on to write:
This was the fault of the Supreme Court and the Constitution itself: “But the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society. And to that extent as radical as people tried to characterize the Warren court, it wasn’t that radical.”
And that was because of the constraints of the Constitution: “It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as it’s been interpreted, and the Warren court interpreted it in the same way that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties.
“It says what the states can’t do to you, it says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf. And that hasn’t shifted.”
That's a false interpretation as well. At no point did Obama express a desire for the court to "break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution" as Geller claims; he was merely pointing out that it didn't.