NewsBusters' Double Standard on Undercover Stings Topic: NewsBusters
When video of right-wing activists pretending to be Muslim philanthropists talking to fundraisers at NPR surfaced, NewsBusters was all over it, churning out (as of this writing) 12 posts in three days promoting the allegations, related claims, and the usual Brent Bozell indignance over it.
But a couple weeks earlier, when an audiotape of a blogger pretending to be right-wing moneybags David Koch calling Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to discuss strategy against protesting union workers, NewsBusters wasn't so receptive.
In contrast to NewsBusters' fawning description of NPR punker James O'Keefe as merely a "conservative filmmaker" who "exposed" NPR "as the liberal shills most Americans knew this supposed news organization was," Kyle Drennen dismissed the Walker punker as nothing but a "prank phone call."
This was followed by Lachlan Markay also calling it a "prank" and highlighting the blogger's "more colorful antics,"going on to complainthat "the man is shameless, and an unethical journalist.
Of course, NewsBusters hasn't done any of that regarding O'Keefe, though he indeed has a history of colorful antics, shamelessness, and unethical journalism.
Ah, but O'Keefe's lack of ethics and colorful antics serves NewsBusters' right-wing agenda. And that matters more.
WND's Cowardly Smear of Obama Official Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has unleashed a double-barreled smear of Obama administration deputy national security adviser Denis McDonough for speaking at a Virginia mosque.
A March 7 WND article by Aaron Klein went his usual tired guilt-by-assocation route, claiming that McDonough's speech "was hosted by a radical Muslim group that was designated by the Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme to raise money for Hamas." That's Klein's boilerplate language for the Islamic Society of North America.
Meanwhile, groups that have actually worked with the ISNA -- Klein offers no evidence he has personal knowledge of the attacks he spews beyond what he and researcher Brenda J. Elliot have cribbed from anti-Muslim websites -- have a much different view. Religion Dispatches notes that The Rev. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, which has worked with ISNA, said that "ISNA understands and supports democracy and the freedom with responsibility that beats at the heart of the American experience."
WND followed up the next day with an unbylined article quoting anonymous smears of McDonough. The second paragraph quotes "one FBI veteran" saying of the Obama White House regarding McDonough's speech: "They are so ignorant. ... This is unbelievable bullsh--."
WND offers no explanation for why the "FBI veteran" was granted anonymity or even if he has any relevant experience to be discussing this issue.
Remember that WND editor Joseph Farah has attacked anonymous sources as "quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better." Until WND can offer a moreplausible explanation of its cowardly hiding behind an anonymous source to smear McDonough -- or even why it has compounded its cowardice by letting the article's author remain anonymous as well -- we shall assume that Farah is taking his own advice.
Newsmax Gives Money -- And Fawning Coverage -- To Another Fla. Politician Topic: Newsmax
The headline of Jim Meyers' March 4 Newsmax article reads, "Haridopolos Sets Record Straight on Book Controversy." In fact, all Meyers does is give Florida State Senate President Mike Haridopolos the opportunity to spin away a growing scandal -- and unmentioned completely is the fundraising Newsmax's CEO did on Haridopolos' behalf.
Haridopolos was paid $152,000 by a community college in Florida to write a book about politics -- a book that the college didn't see fit to publish beyond the single 175-page, double-spaced manuscript he submitted, making his per-book payday much greater than J.K. Rowling's for the entire Harry Potter series. When news of Haridopolos' payday broke, the college made an electronic version of the book available through Amazon for $9.99.
With the book suddenly available, people could judge the quality of it -- and learn why it wasn't distributed in the first place. Palm Beach Post columnist Frank Cerebino noted that Haridopolos "somehow managed to write a political history of Florida that completely skips over the Florida recount of the 2000 presidential election," adding that it contains such crucial advice for aspiring politicians like "It is essential to study the issues before deciding to run."
You won't get any of those juicy details from Meyers and Newsmax. After declaring that the scandal was "a non-issue that his political opponents are seeking to take advantage of," adding that Haridopolos is a "viewed as a strong candidate" for a U.S. Senate seat, "which is why he has come under Democratic attack so early in the game." Meyers then proceeds to let Haridopolos spin away:
“I’ve been a teacher and an author since 1993, and prior to this book, I’d written another book,” he says.
“So I was approached by the college to write another book that would be a benefit to all students, not just here at Brevard Community College but potentially around the country.
“They approached me with the idea of writing the book over four years about what it’s like to run for office and be in office.
“Over the course of the four years, I took a pay cut from my old job to do this. And as far as our critics are concerned, welcome to politics. This is just one way they go after us.”
Asked why there is only one copy of the book, Haridopolos responds: “I’m not sure why. But the college, it’s their book. I wrote it and they control the copyright. As far as I understand, right now [an e-book download] is on amazon.com for anyone who wants to purchase it.”
Meyers quotes no one else in the article, and he makes no attempt to tell the full story.But that's not what he's being paid to do.
The previous day, Meyers and Kathleen Walter did another interview with Haridopolos that made no mention whatsoever of the book. And Newsmax has promoted Haridopolos' views severalothertimes.
History tells us that if Newsmax is promoting a candidate -- particularly a Florida Republican like Haridopolos -- it's also raising money for him. Indeed, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy served on the host committee for a Feb. 18 fundraiser for Haridopolos, which reportedly netted him more than $100,000 for his Senate race.
As with Ruddy's support for Bill McCollum in his 2010 race for Florida governor (for whom Ruddy also held a fundraiser) and Rick Scott (to whose 527 committee Newsmax donated $100,000), one has to wonder if slanting Newsmax's "news" coverage in favor of Haridopolos is one of the side benefits of getting money from Ruddy.
Needless to say, as with McCollum and Scott, Newsmax has not disclosed Ruddy's support of Haridopolos to its readers -- a huge violation of journalistic ethics.
P.S. We have an article up at Meda Matters summarizing Newsmax's financial support -- and positive coverage and endorsements -- of Haridopolos, McCollum and Scott.
NEW ARTICLE: What The Huck? Topic: The ConWeb
WorldNetDaily, NewsBusters, and Newsmax take different approaches to Mike Huckabee's remarks on President Obama, from whitewashing them to complaining they didn't go far enough. Read more >>
Les Kinsolving declares in his March 8 WorldNetDaily column that "I strongly disagree with the current campaign of militant homosexuals to promote acceptance of their orientation, and with their creation of the word 'homophobia.'"
Why? Perhaps the word "homophobe" describes Kinsolving to a T, and it's a truth he'd rather not have pointed out.
Kinsolving more than ably proves this in the remainder of his column, which he describes as "my imagination of what just might possibly happen later this year" but is just some bizarre takeoff of the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the right of Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church to protest the funerals of American soldiers:
Since May Day 2011 took place on Sunday, when the U.S. Supreme Court was not in session, the militant homosexual organization No Tolerance of Homophobia, or NTH, planned its day in court for Monday, May 2. On that day, they were able to obtain four seats in the Supreme Court's courtroom, when the nine justices gathered to hear final arguments in a number of cases.
Three male members of NTH and one female member were seated in four different areas of the spectator's gallery.
During a brief pause, when one attorney yielded to another, the first NTH member, a large man with a thunderous voice, stood up and called out: "WHY SHOULD THIS COURTROOM BE MORE SACROSANCT THAN MILITARY FUNERALS?"
As two of the Supreme Court's police officers rushed to this row and had to weave their way around several seated spectators before they could seize him, he kept bellowing the same question as the justices sat, amazed and somewhat shaken at the disruption.
The guards were in the process of dragging out this protester when, from the second row, there came another loudly protesting vocal dissent: "THANK GOD FOR DEAD SUPREME COURT JUSTICES! AS FOR YOU, JUSTICES, YOU'RE GOING TO HELL!"
This attracted the attention and action of the only two additional Supreme Court police officers on hand who raced down the aisle and seized the second protester.
As this second demonstrator was being dragged out – while he kept shouting – yet a third protester cried out from a different location (and with no available police to seize him) the following: "YOUR MAJORITY RULING CITED CONNICK v. MYERS: 'SPEECH ON PUBLIC ISSUES OCCUPIES THE HIGHEST RUNG ON THE HIERARCHY OF FIRST AMENDMENT VALUES AND IS ENTITLED TO SPECIAL PROTECTION.' SO WHY ARE YOUR POLICE SEIZING US WHEN WE ARE EXERCISING OUR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS? WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THIS BUILDING IS ENTITLED TO EXCLUDE CRITICS OF ITS DECISION TO ALLOW CRITICS TO DISRUPT FUNERALS OF THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE OF OUR COUNTRY?"
As some of the justices began rising to leave, their came the shrill voice of a female protester: "YOU WHO HAVE ALLOWED DISTURBERS OF HEROES' FUNERALS OUGHT TO KNOW THAT YOUR POLICE OUTSIDE HAVE NOT ALLOWED ANY PROTESTERS ON THE COURTHOUSE STEPS OR EVEN IN THAT HUGE AREA IN FRONT OF THE COURT. HOW IN THE NAME OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT SHOULD A COURTHOUSE – AND ALL AROUND IT – BE BARRED FROM PROTESTERS, BUT NOT CHURCH AND SYNAGOGUE WORSHIP SERVICES?"
First, who knew that "militant homosexuals" spoke only in all caps?
Second, the irony is that Kinsolving clearly hates fags just as much, if not more, than Fred Phelps does.
Like a true socialist, Obama believes government has the solution to every problem, and that solution is more government and higher taxes, combined with a prescription of social justice and affirmative action.
Based on his lifetime body of work, here is how I predict Obama will settle the NFL labor crisis:
Like cap and trade, Obama will produce scientists to declare that football is a dangerous sport threatening the health and welfare of the players. He'll then pass “helmet and trade” legislation putting government in control of football setting salaries for players, prices for fans, and giving new powers to the NFL players union.
Never letting a serious crisis go to waste, Obama will then pass legislation called "NFLCare" that demands that the NFL pay for the lifetime pension and healthcare of the players, paid for with massive new taxes on the NFL and its fans. The doctors who treat the NFL players will have caps placed on their fees. Of course this will lead to shortages of doctors and rationing, so eventually NFL "limb panels" will be set up to decide who gets a new knee, or shoulder, or hip. These decisions will be based on years of player life expectancy remaining, or the size of contributions to the Obama campaign.
He’ll then decide what income is “fair” and what is “greedy,” placing wage controls on players. Obama will say, “There is no longer a need for million dollar salaries. After all, just like government union employees, I’m going to guarantee NFL players, even the failed ones, pensions of $100,000 per year for life and free healthcare. We’ll call it NFL tenure. It's like a government job — guaranteed for life, without any performance necessary.
Like American businesses, players will react to lower wages and higher taxes by leaving the United States to play football in Canada and Europe, destroying the NFL.
Then, Obama will state proudly, “We’ve got to spread the wealth around” and pass ”NFL financial reform,” requiring 95 percent of revenues be redistributed to employees, vendors, peanut salesmen, ticket takers, security, and parking lot attendants.
MRC Tries Again To Revive Dead Non-Scandal Topic: Media Research Center
Matt Philbin just won't stop beating the dead horse of the Lila Rose Planned Parenthood sting hoax.
In a March 7 MRC Culture & Media Institute article, Philbin and Erin Brown complained that the TV networks "devot[ed] 20 times more broadcast time to Charlie Sheen's porn stars and drug issues than to the Planned Parenthood video scandal and the subsequent vote in the House of Representatives to defund the organization."
But Philbin repeats the mistake he made in his previous attempt to rescusitate the non-scandal by failing to mention that Planned Parenthood reported the "man posing as a pimp about obtaining abortions and birth control for the underage foreign prostitutes he traffics" to the FBI for the acts they were purporting to undertake -- an indisputable fact that completely undercuts Philbin's attempts to portray this as a legitimate "scandal."
WND, Newsmax Won't Fact-Check Bachmann, With Predictable Results Topic: WorldNetDaily
Rep. Michele Bachmann is a ConWeb darling, to the point that they publish her rantings without bothering to fact-check her.
A March 5 Newsmax article by Jim Meyers and Ashley Martella dutifully repeats Bachmann's claim that "President Barack Obama, Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi should apologize to the American people for the $105 billion appropriation they 'deceitfully' hid in the healthcare reform legislation," adding that the "stunning revelation" of the expenditure points to "one of the biggest lies we have ever seen."
A March 7 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn also parroted Bachmann's claim that the health care reform bill "contains over $105 billion in already-approved spending 'hidden' in it's nearly 1,000 pages."
Newsmax and WND are so sure that Bachmann is telling the truth that neither contact anyone in the Obama administration -- or anyone at all -- to respond to the claim.
Unfortunately for them, it turns out Bachmann is lying about how "hidden" the funding is.
We added up the spending Bachmann was referring to and got $104 billion -- very close to her number. Where our analysis diverges is her claim that the spending was "secret."
We concluded that Bachmann has a point if you look at at the amount of media coverage the appropriations and transfers inspired. There was hardly any. However, she went further than that, charging that the provisions were passed "secretly, unbeknownst to members of Congress." And that was not accurate.
The spending provisions were in the plain language of the bill; they did not vary dramatically from past congressional practice; and the bill was made public for 72 hours before the vote. On balance, we rated Bachmann’s statement Barely True.
Will WND and Newsmax report this truth about a right-wing icon to its readers? Don't count on it.
UPDATE: A March 7 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones blindly joined the parade, uncritically repeating Bachmann's claims without a fact-check and without allowing anyone to respond.
WND Prints Unsubstantiated Attack Before Allowing Other Side To Respond Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily dropped a potentially libelous bomb in the form of a March 7 column by Art Robinson -- the anti-global warming activist and failed congressional candidate perhaps best known for a homeschooling curriculum featuring the outdated racist attitudes of a 19th-century author -- accusing Oregon State University instructors and administrators of "political payback" in the form of allegedly throwing three of his children out of graduate school.
Robinson offers not a shred of substantiation for these claims, nor did WND make any apparent attempt to allow the school to respond to the charges before publishing them. That cavalier approach to journalism potentially opens WND up to libel charges -- something it should be quite familiar with.
Finally, more than 20 hours after publishing Robinson's screed, WND has permitted Oregon State to respond in an article by Art Moore -- who quotes only four sentences from a much longer statement by the school and devotes much of the rest to rehashing Robinson's unsubstantiated claims.
That sort of kneejerk response is typical of WND's so-called journalism. After all, it similarly ran to Robinson's defense when questions were raised about the racist author in his homeschool curriculum, and with similar deflections without actually addressing the charges with anything resembling substance.
Sheppard Returns to Spinning Huckabee Topic: NewsBusters
So, all that stuff about Noel Sheppard conceding that Mike Huckabee screwed up by venturing into birther territory and even being nice to Chris Matthews? Never mind.
Sheppard takes it all back in a March 7 NewsBusters post bashing Matthews for comparing a column by George Will criticizing Huckabee "to William F. Buckley Jr. banning anti-Semitic writers from the National Review in the '50s" -- a column whose sentiments Sheppard ultimately agreed with. Sheppard ridiculed Matthews' comparison, then retreated to spin mode:
No matter what Matthews thinks of the current White House resident, he is indeed one man. Gingrich and Huckabee are entitled to their opinions of this man which, contrary to what Matthews and other pathetic so-called journalists routinely claim, are not borne of racism.
What the "Hardball" host has continually missed in the past five business days as he's focused so much attention on this issue - he once again began and ended his program excoriating Gingrich and Huckabee - is that the concepts they've both addressed regarding Obama's worldview were first offered by Dinesh D'Souza in a Forbes article published last September.
As such, what they are saying is nothing new, and really shouldn't be getting this kind of attention. Matthews likely wouldn't care at all about Gingrich and Huckabee if they weren't amongst the front-runners for the Republican presidential nomination.
For Will's part, if he disagrees with Gingrich and Huckabee, he's entitled to offer his opinion which I myself found enlightening enough to share with my readers.
As I wrote Saturday, I agree with Will that candidates focusing on Obama's upbringing and background rather than his policies not only distracts from the issues, but is also likely to turn off independent voters that are far more concerned with high unemployment, high gas prices, high food prices, exploding debt, and violence spreading throughout Africa and the Middle East threatening our national security.
But does that make Will's column as historic as Buckley banning anti-Semitic writers from his magazine which I myself have had the great honor of contributing to?
Hardly, and the mere suggestion is offensive.
If Sheppard agrees with Will, why is he working to dismiss what Huckabee said as old news and yet valid opinions (if not ultimately helpful to the GOP in regaining the White House)?
Shepperd then snifffed: "I'd say that Matthews and his bosses should be ashamed of themselves for making such a comparison, but that seems futile." The same thing could be said about Sheppard's partisan shamelessness.
CNS Ignores Actual Controversy At 'Islamist' Non-Rally Topic: CNSNews.com
A March 4 CNSNews.com article by Patrick Goodenough details how "Islamic radical" Anjem Choudary "called off a pro-shari’a (Islamic law) demonstration at the White House on Thursday, saying he did not want it to divert attention from the 'urgent' situation in Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East." But Goodenough completely ignores what did happen at the site of the planned rally.
As Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall tells it, anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney and his group planned a counter-rally to Choudary's planned demonstration:
And as Gaffney's protest is breaking up, they see this Muslim guy praying. So folks from the Gaffney protest and other protestors drift over to where he is and start yelling at him and one of the protestors starts throwing crosses at his feet.
Marshall then heard from Glenn Beck's website The Blaze, which denied that anyone from Gaffney's grouptook part in the cross throwing and that it was instigated by a group linked to Terry Jones, the fundamentalist pastor who wanted to burn Qurans until he was talked out of it.
However, Marshall writes, "Our reporter was in the crowd and observed numerous folks from Gaffney's protest surrounding the praying guy. In fact, one of the people surrounding the praying Muslim man was one of Gaffney's speakers."
You'd think that Goodenough and CNS would be more interested in actual news than a phone interview with a guy who canceled a rally. Apparently not.
Larry Klayman Derangement Syndrome Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
The entirety of Larry Klayman's March 5 WorldNetDaily column is worthy of clipping, but here are a few choice bits of his high-grade, Obama-hating rant:
Ironically, while I was perhaps the Clintons' biggest nemesis during their administration and thereafter, looking back I have to concede that compared to "W" and Obama, he was, however dishonest, an amateur at destroying our country. But Bill Clinton's wife, the "evil Hillary," and many of the criminals in his administration have now been resurrected thanks to the Republican failure to "put them away" during the late '90s and have re-infested our government under the Obama administration.
While I firmly believe that Obama, Hillary Clinton and many Democrats around them have been, as in Chinagate more than a decade earlier, bribed by foreign regimes – such as the radical Islamic regime in Iran – I cannot prove it at this time. However, from what has already occurred, the offenses of the "mullah in chief" are "already" so compelling as to warrant immediate impeachment and conviction for his high crimes and misdemeanors, before the United States is totally destroyed by him.
Here is just a partial list of the most impeachable and convictable of President Obama's offenses:
Third, there is Obama's visceral hatred and subversion of the state of Israel, whose national security interests are so closely tied to our own. His recent invitation to the Muslim Brotherhood, the grand daddy of terrorist groups bent on destroying the Jewish state, to join the new Egyptian government not only amounts to a dagger in the side of Israeli security, but American security as well. Without a strong and secure Israel, American strategic interests, particularly in the Middle East, will be significantly harmed.
It's against the law to not support Israel? Curious legal reasoning there, Larry.
Sheppard Gives Up On Spinning For Huckabee Topic: NewsBusters
Noel Sheppard's first attempt to spin away Mike Huckabee's remarks about President Obama's past was to portray it as merely misspeaking. His second attempt to ignore the illogic of that spin. Now, Sheppard seems to have conceded that Huckabee said something stupid.
Sheppard starts off his March 5 NewsBusters post by trying to go after George Will's Washington Post column criticizing Huckabee and pointing out the dearth of plausible Republican presidential candidates. Sheppard first attempts to dismiss Will as someone who is "no stranger to leaving the reservation," but then finds himself approvingly quoting Chris Matthews -- who just a few days earlier Sheppard was bashing as a "shill" and a "so-called journalist" for his "multiple Obamagasms" -- saying that people care more about the economy than fabulism about Obama's background. Sheppard continued:
This battle over Obama's background may have had its place in 2008 despite many on the right believing the fight never occurred because the junior senator from Illinois and his devotees in the media didn't let it happen.
Maybe that's so, but do most Americans, in particular independent voters, want to discuss the President's upbringing instead of issues that we're facing right here at home such as high unemployment, high gas prices, high food prices, low housing prices, and burgeoning revolutions in Africa and the Middle East that could quickly threaten our national security?
Don't we have far bigger fish to fry in 2011 than where the President was born and what influenced his worldview as a child? If he couldn't be beaten with such tactics in 2008 when he was just a totally unqualified junior senator, how can that possibly be a winning strategy now that he's got over two years presidential experience under his belt?
That could be seen as more spinning for Huckabee by trying to portray the questions Huckabee raised as not worthy of coverage. But later, Sheppard is fully agreeing with Will:
Sitting presidents are difficult to beat. Despite the ongoing housing crisis and high unemployment, Obama's favorability rating has remained quite high, making defeating him even tougher.
Will like most conservatives desperately wants this to happen sending the current White House resident packing, and therefore most certainly wants what he believes is best for the Republican Party to accomplish this.
What he's saying is that some potential presidential candidates are focusing on extraneous issues that not only don't resonate with the majority of the public but also detract from the stronger message.
"[T]he nominee may emerge much diminished by involvement in a process cluttered with careless, delusional, egomaniacal, spotlight-chasing candidates to whom the sensible American majority would never entrust a lemonade stand, much less nuclear weapons."
In sum, the vast majority of Americans don't care where Obama was born, and care even less about his father and his grandfather. The more Republicans talk about such things rather than jobs, gas and housing prices, exploding deficits and debt, and a totally unstable Middle East and African continent, the less the public cares what such they have to say.
Bill Clinton's motto in 1992 was, "It's the economy, stupid!"
To a certain extent, Will is saying the same should be true for Republicans 20 years later.
Sheppard is throwing Huckabee under the bus, even if he won't come right out and admit that's what he's doing.
Pat Boone Falsely Bashes Sex Education, School Official Topic: WorldNetDaily
Serial misleader Pat Boone was in freak-out in his March 5 WorldNetDaily column, in which he engages in false and misleading claims regarding sex education. He writes:
[Right-wing activist James] Dobson reported last July that the Helena School District considered a proposal to extend sex education to children as young as kindergarten age! Fox News reported that the 62-page draft proposed that 3-to-6-year-olds be taught proper terms like "nipple, breast, penis, scrotum and uterus." Then in first grade, they should learn that sexual relations could happen between two men or two women, and by the time they're 10, instruction should include various ways people can have intercourse, be it vaginally, orally or through anal penetration.
In fact, that's not exactly what Fox News reported; a July 2010 article stated that "According to the 62-page draft proposal, beginning in kindergarten, school nurses will teach students proper terms such as 'nipple, breast, penis, scrotum and uterus." [emphasis added]. Unless the age for kindergarden has somehow been lowered to three, Boone is lying.
Boone wasn't done with the smears:
Are you ready for this to be national policy? Well, this administration and most of the teachers unions are. President Obama personally appointed Kevin Jennings to a constitutionally unauthorized position as "safe schools czar". He's not only a longtime homosexual activist who has worked for just such "instruction" in our schools as that described above, but who wrote a very complimentary foreword to his friend's book on pedophilia, the sexual seduction of children. This is the president's idea of a "safe school czar"!
Boone appears to be referring to a foreword Jennings wrote to a book called "Queering Elementary Education." But it's not about "pedophilia, the sexual seduction of children"; it is about, in the words of the book's co-author, "creating classroms that challenge categorical thinking, promote interpersonal intelligence, and foster critical consciousness. Queer elementary classrooms are those where parents and educators care enough about their children to trust the human capacity for understanding, and their educative abilities to foster insight intyo the human condition."
Boone might want to try the novel approach of knowing what a book is actually about before he falsely attacks it.