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Sunday, May 2, 2010
NewsBusters Eager to Blame Obama for Oil Spill
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters is suspiciously eager to blame President Obama for the massive oil spill off Louisiana -- as opposed to, say, the oil company that operated the drilling rig that exploded.

In an April 30 post, Noel Sheppard repeated a claim by right-wing radio host Mark Levin that "it took the Obama administration eight days to do anything about this oil spill," adding, "why AREN'T so-called journalists asking WHY it took the Obama administration so long to respond to this environmental crisis?"

But Sheppard and Levin are lying. In fact, not only did federal officials, led by the Coast Guard, take a leading role in the initial emergency response to the explosion, as early as April 23 the Coast Guard was "focused on mitigating the impact of the product currently in the water." Complicating things was the fact that BP, the oil company that operated the rig, underplayed the extent of the spill -- due to "a self-policing system that trusted a commercial operator to take care of its own mishap even as it grew into a menace imperiling Gulf Coast nature and livelihoods from Florida to Texas" -- leading to an initial limited response to it by the government. Once the extent of the spill was clear, the feds moved in with full force.

Nevertheless, Sheppard -- eager to portray this as "Obama's Katrina" -- highlighted a New York Times editorial that was, in Sheppard's words, "pointing a finger straight at Barack Obama." Sheppard overlook the fact that the editorial also stated that BP "seems to have been slow to ask for help." That suggests to us that if the Obama administration had moved swiftly and taken control of the cleanup operation from BP early on, Sheppard would be portraying it as a socialist takeover of the oil company.

Sheppard went on to whine that Obama's weekly media address was about something other than the spill: "Wow! Our nation is facing possibly its worst oil-related disaster in history, and our President is concerned about campaign finances." Sheppard later sneered, 'Obama is currently speaking at a commencement address to the University of Michigan. Is that also more important than dealing with this crisis?"

In none of these posts does Sheppard address the culpability of BP in the spill.

Meanwhile, Rich Noyes also repeated the Times editorial, adding that "The last time a major disaster threatened the U.S. Gulf Coast, journalists dropped any pretense of objectivity and openly scorned what they saw as the ineffective response of the Bush administration to Hurricane Katrina." Noyes ignores that, unlike the oil spill, the impact of Katrina was immediately clear, and there wasn't an oil company trying to hid the full extent of the disaster from the government, hindering a full federal response.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:14 AM EDT
WND Hides Facts on 'Riot Police' Incident
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An April 29 WorldNetDaily article by Chelsea Schilling misleads about an incident in which "riot police" were called in to deal with protesters at a speech by President Obama in Quincy, Ill. Schilling writes:

After Obama's motorcade arrived, a Secret Service agent instructed protesters to move across the street. The crowd began singing "God Bless, America" and the National Anthem. Quincy Deputy Police Chief Ron Dreyer ordered police in full riot gear to march up the street and stand between the tea partiers and the civic center.

Snipers were also spotted on the rooftop of the building.

The tea partiers complied when they were told to move across the street, behind a sidewalk and into a parking lot.

Except that's not quite how it went down. From the local newspaper, the Quincy Herald-Whig, which was in a much better position to know the facts than Schilling (key section emphasized, via Dave Weigel):

There were a few tense moments when the crowd moved west down York toward Third Street after the president's motorcade arrived. A Secret Service agent asked the crowd to move back across the street to the north side.

When the crowd didn't move and began singing "God Bless, America" and the national anthem, Quincy Deputy Police Chief Ron Dreyer called for members of the Mobile Field Force to walk up the street.

The officers, mainly from Metro East departments near St. Louis and dressed in full body armor, marched from the east and stood on the south side of York facing the protesters.

Schilling falsely suggested that the protesters immediately complied with the police to move. In fact, they didn't, thus necessitating the show of force with the police in riot gear.

Of course, any public event involving the president involves a significant presence of law enforcement, whether or not the crowd is made up of, as the headline of Schilling's article states, "tea-party grandmas." After all, the makeup of a crowd can't be completely determined in advance.

Why doesn't WND want the president of the United States to have adequate security?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:41 AM EDT
Saturday, May 1, 2010
NewsBusters Heathering Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

Tim Graham uses an April 30 NewsBusters post to do a little Heathering of not-conservative-enough-for-Graham MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, repeating Don Imus' venomous claims that Scarborough's radio show, currently on an announced hiatus, was actually canceled, and that Scarborough 's MSNBC ratings aren't any better than Imus' ratingss were when he occupied that time slot (though Graham curiously fails to mention why Imus is no longer with MSNBC). Graham also relays an attack on Scarborough by the right-wing blog Radio Equalizer.

But as Mediaite's Steve Krakauer reports, Scarborough has responded to Imus, Graham, and Radio Equalizer via Twitter:

Neither @newsbusters nor Imus can change these facts: We’ve already doubled Imus’s best ratings over a decade. Imus never beat CNN. We do.

Morning Joe gets 20 times the audience in the demo as does Imus. Our WABC radio show also beat Glenn Beck every month in every category.

Imus’s bitterness is misplaced. I was one of the few people who stood by him publicly. It’s a shame he’s so bitter about our success.

Krakauer adds that "Scarborough is correct in his breakdown of the ratings (the Beck comment relates only to the New York market)," while the jury is still out on the actual status of the radio show.

Interesting that Graham would uncritically regurgitate Imus' attacks without fact-checking them first. And no, citing another blog repeating the same attacks does not constitute fact-checking.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:11 AM EDT
WND Keeps Up Whining Over WH Correspondents Dinner Snub
Topic: WorldNetDaily

With the imminent arrival of the White House Correspondents Dinner on May 1, it appears that Joseph Farah's attempt to intimidate the White House Correspondents Association into giving it more seats has failed.

While WorldNetDaily's $10 million lawsuit against the WHCA over the snub -- which the WHCA, as a private organization, is well within its rights to do -- apparently continues, it appears to concede it will not get the seats it wanted, so an April 29 WND article is full of whining:

"Gadfly," a biography of WND White House correspondent Les Kinsolving, written by his daughter, Kathleen Kinsolving Willmann, was to debut at the White House Correspondents Dinner featuring Barack Obama May 1.

It still debuts May 1. However, the association sponsoring the dinner rebuffed a request for a table at the event from and Kinsolving, who has covered the White House since the Nixon administration, making him among the most senior correspondents in the association.

Are the three seats WND was granted not enough to launch what to all appearances be a fawning, uncritical bio of Kinsolving? (His daughter wrote the book.) Is WND implying that because it couldn't get more than three seats, it won't launch the book at all at the dinner? Isn't that a little unfair to Kinsolving, regardless of his reputation as the Jeff Gannon before Jeff Gannon?

The article quotes Farah repeating the falsehood that "We believe in the traditional watchdog role of the press" and trashing the White House press corps, which makes Farah's lawsuit look even more like a spiteful suicide mission. He calls them "this group of self-appointed media cops, these lapdogs for Big Government" -- never mind that Farah is a lapdog for the likes of Orly Taitz.

Farah went on to whine, ""This is an illustration of what some call the 'government-media complex' or the 'state-sponsored media.'"  Is being in the thrall of a crappy lawye, as WND is, really an improvement?

UPDATE: Farah confirms his petulance in his May 1 WND column:

No one from WND will be attending this year – not me, not Les Kinsolving, a White House correspondent since the Nixon administration, none of our reporters, none of our guests.

Because the White House Correspondents Association, a group to which we belong as members, decided to shaft us for its own reasons.

That means WND won't be permitted to cover the event like other news organizations, even though we pay our dues like everyone else and had pre-paid for tables at the dinner before anyone else, even though we're the oldest of the Internet news organizations and even though we have never before been denied a table at the dinner.

Farah is lying when he says "WND won't be permitted to cover the event like other news organizations." WND was granted three seats to the dinner and is, in fact, not being blocked from attending. Farah has merely decided to take his ball and go home.

The only thing keeping Farah, Kinsolving and another guest from attending the dinner is Farah's hissy fit.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:09 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, May 1, 2010 1:21 AM EDT
Friday, April 30, 2010
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

I know that some people are accusing Obama of being the anti-Christ, but inasmuch as I'm not a Christian, I wouldn't want to venture an opinion. While it's true I get a whiff of sulfur every time he opens his yap, I'm not sure it means anything. So far as I'm concerned, it's enough that he's an anti-Semite, an anti-capitalist and, judging by the speeches he's delivered when traveling abroad, an anti-American.


So far as I'm concerned, it has always seemed obvious that Obama is a virulent anti-Semite. Before you attack me for attacking him, ask yourself one simple question: Can you imagine sitting in Rev. Wright's church for 20 minutes, let alone 20 years, if you weren't a Jew hater?

-- Burt Prelutsky, April 30 WorldNetDaily column

Posted by Terry K. at 7:11 PM EDT
Newsmax Embraces Questionable, Anonymous Attack on Health Reform
Topic: Newsmax

An April 29 Newsmax article by John Rossomando treats as fact a dubious report that the Obama administration blocked the release of a report claiming that health care reform may increase health costs until after the reform package was voted on by Congress.

The report, citing anonymous sources at the Department of Health and Human Services, came from the right-wing American Spectator's Washington Prowler blog. But Rossomando failed to note questions about the veracity of the anonymous claim.

First, Richard Foster, the head of HHS' Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which prepared the report, was already on record as saying that CMS would be unable to issue an updated analysis before the final House vote on the bill. Foster has since called the Spectator's report "completely inaccurate" -- which Rossomando curiously fails to tell his readers.

Second, the Prowler has a long history of hiding behind anonymous sources to forward dubious or entirely false claims.

Third, the Spectator has responded to criticism of its report by changing its story; it's now claiming that "The report never stated that it was submitted for approval" even though the original report stated exactly that.

Rossomando failed in his journalistic duty to fully inform his readers about the sketchy nature of the Spectator report. But then, Newsmax appears to have a high tolerance for that sort of thing.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:07 PM EDT
Liberty U. Prez's Disputed Background Was Touted At WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Richard Bartholomew has detailed how questions being raised about the background of Liberty University president Ergun Caner, who has claimed that he was "raised as a devout Sunni Muslim" and, reportedly, that that his first language was Arabic and he was trained in a madrassa in Turkey. It turns out that, apparently, Caner actually arrived in the U.S. at age 4, and custody of him was split between his Muslim father and Swedish mother, raising questions about just how "devout" he was.

It should come as no surprise that -- not unlike Walid Shoebat, a converted Christian whose tales of a previous life as a Palestinian terrorist have been similarly challenged --  Caner's story has been promoted at WorldNetDaily, mostly through columns by Liberty University founder Jerry Falwell and his son, Jonathan.

a February 2005 column by Jerry Falwell announcing Caner's appointment as dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary highlighted how Caner is "a converted Sunni Muslim and son of an ulema (Muslim scholar)" and that he "immigrated with his family to America to build mosques in the Midwest." In an October 2008 column, Jonathan Falwell asserted that "Dr. Caner is a man who has felt the rejection of his family and been the target of ridicule and derision because of his faith in Christ."

Caner has also written op-eds for WND, one of which declared that President Bush "is our Lincoln" because he "has freed our people from oppression, slavery and injustice."

Further, a November 2006 WND article uncritically described Caner as "a Turkish immigrant who was raised as a devout Sunni Muslim."

WND has yet to tell its readers about the questions regarding Shoebat's background. Don't expect WND to tell its readers about Caner, either.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:39 AM EDT
Your CNS Lesson of the Day

Fred Lucas writes in an April 29 article:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has considered introducing a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would establish what proponents call a “pathway to citizenship” for some 12 million illegal aliens. Opponents of the legislation call it “amnesty.”

CNS has repeatedly and uncritically portrayed any form of comprehensive immigration reform as "amnesty."

Therefore, CNS opposes immigration reform.

Just a little something to keep in mind lest anyone think that CNS is a fair and honest arbiter of journalism.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:07 AM EDT
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Meanwhile ...
Topic: Newsmax

Dick Morris uses his April 29 Newsmax column to falsely assert that the financial reform bill "guarantee[s] banks' survival by establishing a $50 billion rescue fund." In fact, the fund is designed to liquidate failing financial institutions, not "rescue" them.

We have more at Media Matters.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:32 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, April 29, 2010 11:32 PM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Our president, Barack Hussein Obama, was bred by Marxists, raised by Marxists, schooled by Marxists and has chosen to associate with Marxists throughout his entire adult life and in his career. He has Marxists in his employ, in the form of Cabinet members and record number of czars – whose salaries are being paid by you and me. From the start, the goal of those who believe as Obama does has been one of tearing America down and rebuilding it in their image; what we see occurring right now is that very demolition.

Yet Americans, even many conservative commentators and politicians, are loath to brand such people, so stigmatized has the concept of making critical, authoritative statements become.

Well, there's too much at stake to play Mr. Nice Guy, so I'll say it: The power brokers in and behind the current administration and the congressional leadership are evil people. These aren't a bunch of stereotypical politicians who want to get rich and spend a few billion more on entitlements so that blacks or old folks will like them. They are a malevolent cabal who have conspired to subvert our laws, neutralize our personal liberties and undermine our economy, for the sole objective of attaining personal power and implementing a political system that has devastated or taken the lives of well over a billion people.

If they sound like comic-book villains, there's a good reason: That's the level at which they operate. All I can offer is, if the shoe fits …

-- Erik Rush, April 29 WorldNetDaily column

Posted by Terry K. at 10:02 PM EDT
WND Still Waging War on Soldier in Afghanistan
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In reporting on the controversy over Franklin Graham being disinvited from the Pentagon's National Day of Prayer observance -- failing to tell his readers that the National Day of Prayer Task Force that Graham represents has grown increasing evangelical and intolerant of other religions and even other Christians who don't precisely share their right-wing views -- Bob Unruh used an April 27 WorldNetDaily article to revive a previous attack on an Army major serving in Afghanistan.

As we detailed at the time, Unruh falsely asserted in December that a research paper written by Maj. Brian L. Stuckert, a student at the School of Advanced Military Studies in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., "calls for Americans to lose the evangelical Christian belief of pre-millennialism because of the damage it does to the nation's foreign interests." In fact, Stuckert -- who was serving in Afghanistan when WND published Unruh's attack -- said no such thing. He examined how the hardline evangelical Christian belief of dispensational pre-millennialism has influenced American military policy, concluding that "millennialism has predisposed us toward stark absolutes, overly simplified dichotomies and a preference for revolutionary or cataclysmic change as opposed to gradual processes. In other words, American strategists tend to rely too much on broad generalizations, often incorrectly cast in terms of ‘good’ and ‘evil,’ and seek the fastest resolution to any conflict rather than the most thoughtful or patient one."

In his April 27 article, Unruh cites Stuckert's paper as alleged evidence of the military's hostility toward Christianity. Unruh misleads here too, asserting that Stuckert's paper "suggested Army officers should lose their evangelical Christian beliefs." Again, that's not what Stuckert wrote. Unruh then repeated his previous, utterly false statement that Stuckert "calls for Americans to lose the Christian belief of pre-millennialism."

Unruh later accurately quoted Stuckert's statement that "A proclivity for clear differentiations between good, evil, right, and wrong do not always serve us well in foreign relations or security policy," but he followed it with the misleading assertion that Stuckert "warned against the Christian beliefs espoused by many that the end times will involve Israel as God's chosen nation, a final 1,000-year conflict between good and evil and an ultimate victory for God."

Why is Unruh still waging war on an American soldier -- and still lying about him as well?

Posted by Terry K. at 5:32 PM EDT
Kessler Takes Obama Out of Context
Topic: Newsmax

Ronald Kessler channeled the great political love of his life, Mitt Romney, in his April 26 Newsmax column.

Riffing on the title of Romney's book "No Apology," Kessler asserts that "Mitt Romney put his finger on the single most important reason Barack Obama will be a one-term president" -- "his habit of apologizing for America’s imagined sins, signaling that he really does not believe in the greatness of this country." In fact, the "apology tour" meme is a manufactured right-wing talking point promoted by the likes of Fox News.

Kessler provided as an example of such purported "apologizing" Obama’s comment that "whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower." But Kessler is taking that statement out of context. Far from being an apology, it was part of an answer to a question about U.S. involvement in the world's "trouble spots"; Obama was pointing out that because America is the "dominant military superpower," it gets pulled into world conflicts that are "costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure."

Nevertheless, Kessler rants that "no president in American history has been so out of step with the most basic American values, reluctant to see this country as 'America the Beautiful.'"

Stop misrepresenting Obama, Mr. Kessler.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:24 AM EDT
New Article: Professional Prudes
Topic: Media Research Center
The Culture & Media Institute serves as the Media Research Center's base of supporting "traditional values" -- which typically translates into anti-gay rants, defending Sarah Palin, and tacitly condoning the deaths of abortion doctors. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 AM EDT
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
WND Columnist Makes Baseless Assumption in Rancher's Death
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Chrissy Satterfield asserts in her April 28 WorldNetDaily column that Robert Krentz, an Arizona rancher, "was slain by an illegal alien in March."

In fact, no suspects in Krentz's death have been arrested, so Satterfield's assertion that he was "slain by an illegal alien" is presumptous at best, let alone Satterfield's implication that the typical illegal immigrant who is working long hours for low wages is the same person who killed Krentz. The New York Times reported that "investigators are working on the assumption that he encountered a smuggler, possibly heading back to Mexico."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:43 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 11:21 PM EDT
Newsmax's Selling of Hyperinflation Faces Scrutiny
Topic: Newsmax

Alex Jones, director of the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University, has harshly criticized the Newsmax practice of attacking the Obama administration's policies to stoke readers' fears about the economic outlook, and then urge those readers to purchase Newsmax's financial schemes, with the help of the likes of Dick Morris. Jones calls it "quasi-journalism mixed with promotion."

Media Matters' Joe Strupp has more critiques of Newsmax's practices.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:26 PM EDT

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