What was NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard desperately tweeting during President Obama's State of the Union address? Media Matters has the screenshots.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Paranoid Farah Whines About LA Times Story on WND
Is there a more thin-skinned and paranoid head of a supposedly major "news" organization right now than Joseph Farah? We don't think so.
A Los Angeles Times profile of Farah and WorldNetDaily revealed that Farah "believes his life is in danger because of his occupation," and that he "agreed to sit down at a Starbucks in northern Virginia" for an interview "as long as the name of the town wasn't given." It accurately points out that he "runs a must-read website for anyone who hates Barack Obama," and notes that Farah claims that "Revenue is on track to hit $10 million annually," adding that this "comes in no small part from the storehouse of 'birther' T-shirts, books, DVDs and postcards for sale in his virtual 'superstore.'" (Which confirms what we suspected.)
The Times piece is a generally balanced account of WND. But Farah doesn't agree -- he spent his Jan. 27 WND column ranting about it.
He asserts that the original version of this article was "fair and unbiased." How would he know? The only way he would is if the original author, Peter Wallsten (whom Farah described as an "honest reporter"), allowed Farah to see it and sign off on it -- which would be a serious violation of journalistic ethics on Wallsten's part. Reporters aren't supposed to submit their stories to their sources for approval. Wallsten presumably knows that -- and Farah, as a self-proclaimed journalist himself, should know too. He should also know better than to not put reporters in the position of showing him what they've written about him so he can sign off on it, since we can't imagine he would let, say, President Obama sign off on WND's anti-Obama screeds.
Farah goes on to claim that "the editors at the L.A. Times looked over the story and determined it made me look responsible, eclectic, maybe even, God forbid, likable. So they turned the story over to another reporter." Again, Farah offers no evidence of this.
Farah then asserts that the reporter who was added to the story after Wallsten left the Times introduced "errors" into the story "with an eye toward making me look like some kind of irresponsible, opportunistic monster." But Farah doth protest too much, as he's prone to do.
At the top of his list: a descripton of WND as "serving up a mix of reporting and wild speculation." Farah complains that no examples are offered. Let's see ... how about the fact-free speculation by Farah and others that Obama's call for a "civilian national security force" refers to the creation of a Nazi/Marxist police force.
Farah is also upset by the article's claim that "The topic it pursues with tireless zeal, though, is the claim that Obama was born not in Honolulu but in Africa, and is therefore ineligible to be president." Farah responds: "Of course, actual readers of WND know that no allegation of an Obama foreign birth has ever been made by me or any other reporter in WND. I'm not even sure if any commentator has ever made that claim." As we've detailed the last time he asserted this, Farah is lying.
Farah also engaged in his usual denigration of his critics, describing THe Next Right's Jon Henke -- who has advocated an advertiser boycott of WND -- as "a little blogger and 'Republican strategist' no one ever heard of until he started criticizing me and WND." Farah has previously denigrated Henke for criticizing WND.
Farah then asserts that the article claims that WND believes "Obama would support concentration-camp-style detention centers for his political opponents" and would "build his own personal authoritarian civilian security force." But those direct quotes aren't in the article, at least how it currently appears on the Times website; rather, it states: "It was WorldNetDaily writers who suggested that congressional Democrats sought to build disaster-relief centers that could be used as Nazi-style concentration camps for political dissidents, and that Obama aims to build his own personal totalitarian civilian security force." Which, as noted above, is absolutely true.
Farah closes by whining that the Times "assigned another reporter to give it the right slant – or should I say the left slant?" Like Farah would know a "fair and unbiased" story if he saw one -- they certainly don't exist in any significant number on his own website.
MRC Contradicts Its Own Fox News Cheerleading
Topic: Media Research Center
Is the Media Research Center on the Fox News payroll? It seems so.
The MRC issued a Jan. 27 press release celebrating a study's determination that "Americans overwhelmingly trust the Fox News Channel more than any other network," featuring this statement by MRC chief Brent Bozell:
But didn't the MRC the other day note another study demonstrating that Fox News is not balanced inits coverage of President Obama? Yes, it did. But the MRC tried to spin that too, claiming that Fox News' obvious anti-Obama bias is nothing more than "historically normal scrutiny" of a president.
Fox News is not "balanced news," and Bozell knows it. So why did he issue a statement saying otherwise? Perhaps because Fox News told/paid him to?
UPDATE: We've expanded on this post at Media Matters.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Corsi's Lame, Mendacious Defense
Last week, the Cato Institute's Daniel Griswold penned an attack at NRO on Jerome Corsi's latest anti-globalism book "America for Sale," assailing its conclusions (claiming Corsi's protectionism makes him sound like Dennis Kucinich) and his factual errors. After an initial response at WND that included no actual rebuttal of any of the claims Griswold made, choosing to instead bash "free-trade Republicans" for daring to criticize him. As we noted, Corsi forwarded an initial response at WorldNetDaily that included no actual rebuttal of any of the claims Griswold made, choosing to instead bash "free-trade Republicans" for daring to criticize him.
Corsi has followed up with a lengthier, if only slightly more detailed, Jan. 26 WND column. Kicking off with attacks on Griswold, defending his own credentials, and highlighting what Griswold didn't write -- mendacious tactics repeated during his defense of his error-laden anti-Obama book -- it's not until the 24th paragraph that Corsi gets around to rebutting something Griswold actually did write, and a healthy chunk of that is defending his definition of when the current recession started because it conveniently absolves President Bush of most responsibility for it:
Just as convenient as Corsi's use of the Shiskin recession definition is Corsi's overlooking criticism of Shiskin's definition as simplistic and outmoded:
That's why Corsi has so little respect among actual economists -- politics is more important to him than facts.
New Article: Mistaken Identity
CNSNews.com thinks an official's reference to "Christian Identity" refers generically to Christianity, even though context makes clear he's talking about the extremist group. Is CNS getting this wrong on purpose? Read more >>
What Was Once Bias Is Now 'Historically Normal Scrutiny'
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has historically presented overly negative news coverage of Republicans presidents and their causes, like the Iraq war, as evidence of liberal bias. But what happens when the MRC's favorite news channel, Fox News, is accused of overly negative news coverage of President Obama? Why, that's just "historically normal."
A Jan. 26 MRC item by Rich Noyes highlights a study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs (which he describes as "non-partisan" despite admitting that he's a former employee) noting Fox News' highly negative coverage of President Obama. But rather than admitting that Fox News has a bias, Noyes framed it as, according to the headline, "historically normal scrutiny," claiming that Fox News merely offered "scrutiny roughly equal to that provided by the old networks in the past."
Indeed, the word "bias" appears nowhere in Noyes' item. Nor does Noyes use the word "balance," even though the CMPA found that overall coverage of Obama was almost evenly split between positive and negative coverage, demonstrating further how far out of the mainstream Fox News' coverage of Obama is.
Morris' 'Secret Plot' Not So Secret
A Jan. 24 Newsmax column by Dick Morris carries the headline "Pelosi and Reid Plot Secret Plan for Obamacare." In it, Morris claimed that "Highly informed sources on Capitol Hill have revealed to me details of the Democratic plan to sneak Obamacare through Congress."
But as Media Matters points out, this "secret plan" is not "secret" at all -- the plan Morris describes has been reported in the media since the Democrats lost their Senate supermajority with the victory of Scott Brown.
WND, Klein Falsely Impugn J Street Again
The headline of Aaron Klein's Jan. 26 WorldNetDaily article reads, "'Anti-Israel' group recruiting across nation." But at no point does Klein quote anyone saying, or does Klein himself assert, that the group in question, J Street is "anti-Israel."
The closest Klein gets is his longtime, one-sided smear that J Street has been "accused of working against Israel," again failing to note that the charge comes from right-wingers like himself who have an agenda of marginalizing any perceived critics of Israel.
As per usual, Klein refuses to allow J Street to rebut the charge.
WND Gives Conservative Propagandists A Pass
A Jan. 25 WorldNetDaily column by Andrea Shea King carried the headline "Feds controlling media? It's been done before." King highlighted a claim that "the Department of Justice has hired bloggers as propagandists and sock puppets," likening it to the 1940s "Operation Mockingbird" as an example of "behind-the-scenes media manipulation."
Unmentioned by King were examples of "media manipulation" under the Bush administration:
Interesting how conservatives get a pass for disseminating propaganda from King and WND, while others don't.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Yes, Newsmax Paid Zogby To Poll This Question
Yes, there is an actual article at Newsmax with this actual headline:
Even more hilariously, Zogby picked Brown to lose his Massachusetts Senate race against Martha Coakley. Now all of a sudden it thinks Brown could beat Obama?
NewsBusters Thinks Scott Brown Posed Only 'Semi-Nude'
A Jan. 19 NewsBusters post by Lachlan Markay referenced the "semi-nude photo shoot" Sen.-elect Scott Brown did for Cosmopolitan magazine in the early '80s. A Jan. 23 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham similarly noted the "semi-nude picture from 1982."
In fact, as one can see, Brown is completely nude in the photo in question, with only a strategically placed forearm to keep it from being toally NSFW (at the MRC world headquaters, anyway).
Or are Markay and Graham including the accompanying clothed photos to declare that the photo spread, as an aggregate, is "semi-nude"?
Hirsen Launches Baseless Attack on Conan O'Brien Buyout
James Hirsen baselessly asserted in a Jan. 22 Newsmax column that Conan O'Brien was getting federal bailout money to leave NBC:
In fact, as we pointed out the last time someone (NewsBusters' Ken Shepherd) tried to make a similar argument, the bailout money went only to one GE subsidiary, GE Capital, not the corporation as a whole. And NBC Universal remains profitable, so there's no need for it to dip into corporate funds to pay off O'Brien.
Geller Lies About ADL, Armenian Genocide
We previously noted Pamela Geller's screed against Anti-Defamation League Abe Foxman, smearing him as a "terrible Jew" and liberal Jews as having a "sickness of the soul." Turns out she can't get her facts right, either.
In fact, while there was a controversy over whether ADL should recognize it as a genocide and Tarsy was indeed fired for contradicting the ADL’s then-stand of taking no official position, the ADL did ultimately release a (albeit carefully worded) statement calling it "tantamount to a genocide" two years ago:
There is no cover-up -- Geller is lying about Foxman and ADL. Why does that not surprise us?
Monday, January 25, 2010
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
-- Craig R. Smith, Jan. 25 WorldNetDaily column
Global Warming Deniers Go Conspiratorial
Topic: The ConWeb
It's never a good sign for the credibility of a movement when its supporters start crying conspiracy. But that's exactly what's happening with global warming deniers.
In December, Jesse Ventura’s “Conspiracy Theory” show on TruTV aired an episode on the idea that global warming is a conspiracy promoted by the United Nations and bankers. Ventura gets gets help in promulgating the conspiracy from prominent deniers Richard Lindzen, Lord Monckton and even serial global warming bamboozler Noel Sheppard, who repeated his previous assertion that the only reason Al Gore is a global warming activist is so he can make money off it. The conspiracy nuts with the Alex Jones empire loved it.
Curiously, Sheppard has never promoted his starring role on Ventura's show at his NewsBusters blog. Perhaps that's because his fellow NewsBuster P.J. Gladnick denounced Ventura for giving a platform to 9/11 truthers.
Nevertheless, this conspiracy theory is making its way up the right-wing media food chain.
In a Jan. 21 NewsReal post, F. Swemson endorsed the Ventura show, asserting that "the conclusions of this show seem solid" and that Lindzen and Monckton "also lends substantial credibility." Swemson adds: "Its premise, that the entire Global Warming scam is the product of a conspiracy in pursuit of money and power, is not at all outrageous when you stop to consider the fact that world leaders, in cahoots with the UN, have indeed been working hard to sell the public on a totally phony theory, based on a political rather than a scientific agenda."
Meanwhile, over at Newsmax, another prominent denier joined the conspiracy bandwagon. A Jan. 22 article by Jim Meyers reports that "Renowned meteorologist Dr. William Gray tells Newsmax that a possible new conspiracy regarding global warming has been uncovered in the U.S.," adding that "environmentalists, socialists, governments and businessmen are trying to take advantage of climate change concerns for their own benefit, and declared that cap-and-trade legislation would do 'very little' to improve the climate."
How does the denier movement remain credible when its most prominent members are making conspiratorial accusations? We shall see.
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