NewsBusters' Double Standard on Judicial Conflicts of Interest Topic: NewsBusters
A March 22 NewsBusters post by Tom Blumer joins the right-wing attack on Maryann Sumi, the Wisconsin judge who has blocked implementation of a recently passed state law essentially banning collective bargaining for public employees, repeating complaints that the judge's son is a former union worker as "a pretty clear conflict of interest." Blumer added that if the son lives with his mother, that "would compound the level of conflicted interests."
By contrast, NewsBusters endeavored to excuse similar conflicts of interest regarding another judge -- Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
After it was pointed out that Thomas' wife, Ginni, is a tea party activist whose activism should perhaps cause Thomas to recuse himself from some cases, Noel Sheppard scoffed at the idea in a Feb. 5 post: "So if a judge's wife writes an opinion on a controversial issue coming before his court, he should recuse himself? Doesn't make a lot of sense, does it?"
Referencing Ginni Thomas' previous affiliation with the tea party group Liberty Central in a July 2010 post, Sheppard wrote:
As such, despite Olbermann's blathering, the only potential conflict here would be if the Supreme Court heard a case involving a donor to Liberty Central. At that point, there are procedures in place to deal with it.
After all, in the many centuries we've had a Supreme Court, this isn't the first time a justice's spouse was involved in politics.
But as Sheppard also noted, Liberty Central has refused to make its donor list public, making it impossible to determine if a case Thomas decided involved a Liberty Central donor. Sheppard didn't comment on that contradiction.
In a March 2010 post, Matthew Balan touted legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin's claim that there's nothing illegal about Ginni Thomas' activism, as if that was the central issue.
It appears that the only judicial conflicts of interest that really matter to NewsBusters are those that can be used to attack a supposedly liberal judge.
A March 21 WorldNetDaily article by Joe Kovacs states how "Media giant Glenn Beck is warning that a "perfect storm" of problems in America and the world has begun, and he's urging people to turn to God to deal with it." Kovacs adds that Beck "often invokes God in his commentary."
Wait -- wasn't WND trashing Beck just last week for being a new age Antichrist? Yes, yes it was.
In a March 9 article, Kovacs highlighted a video by "Christian author and national speaker" Brannon House claiming that Beck is "a pagan, New Age 'anti-Christ' who is deluding many believers away from the Bible's teachings and leading them toward Eastern mysticism" whose latest book "is nothing less than a promotion of universalism, postmodernism and pagan spirituality, also known as the New Age movement." Howse continued:
"I hate to say it, but through testing Glenn's doctrinal fruit, he is not a Christian. In fact indeed, he is a false teacher. He is proclaiming another Jesus and another gospel. ... Nowhere in Beck's new book does he mention the biblical Gospel. In fact, what he mentions is anti-Christ. He's denying the exclusivity of Jesus Christ. What Glenn is promoting is the same lie promoted by Satan in Genesis 3, verses 1–5. And I'm fearful that the spiritual poison Beck is promoting is not seven wonders that will change your life, but in fact lies that will condemn the souls of millions for eternity."
This is just another example of WND's growing schizophrenia on Beck. WND editor Joseph Farah has previously lashed out at Beck for rejecting WND's rabid birtherism -- but also invoked Beck's embrace of Joel Richardson's book "The Islamic Antichrist" to promote sales of the WND-published book (as well as another book sold by WND, "The 5000 Year Leap").
If WND really believes Beck is evil, why is it co-opting him as a pitchman? That would seem to be a disincentive to buy the books he endorses.
NewsBusters' Blindered Attack On Biden's New Staffer Topic: NewsBusters
A March 18 NewsBusters post by Lachlan Markay declared that Washington Post reporter Shailagh Murray -- who just accepted a job as communications director for Vice President Joe Biden -- "penn[ed] a number of stories toeing the Democratic line on a variety of issues." Markay went on to assert, "The bias dossier on Murray is thinner than, say, Katie Couric's, but contains a number of telling items."
Markay lists exactly three "telling items." That doesn't exactly make his case.
As one might expect, Markay's treatment of Murray's "bias dossier" is one-sided and assumes that every reporter who doesn't display an obvious right-wing bias is automatically liberal. Thus, he utterly ignores the idea that Media Matters might have a "bias dossier" of its own on her.
And lo and behold, it does. Here's a few examples:
NEW ARTICLE: Newsmax Helps Another Florida Politician Topic: Newsmax
Why is Newsmax and its CEO, Christopher Ruddy, giving money and fawning "news" coverage to its third major Florida candidate in the past year? Read more >>
Bob Unruh writes in a March 20 WorldNetDaily article:
Not even one person in 10 believes Barack Obama has shown that he is eligible to be president of the United States, according to a stunning new scientific poll that also reveals political Independents have less tolerance than even Republicans for his efforts to obfuscate the issue.
"The shocking result in this survey is that just 9 percent said they believe Obama has met the requirements to prove he was born in the United States and is therefore qualified to be president," said Fritz Wenzel, chief of Wenzel Strategies, which conducted the assessment.
The problem with this "scientific poll"? Wenzel did not ask whether people "believe Obama has met the requirements to prove he was born in the United States and is therefore qualified to be president." Wenzel is extracting his claim from one response to the question, "What is your view of lingering questions about Obama's eligibility to be president?" and he is ignoring the 32 percent who said that the questions are not valid.
Here are the questions Wenzel did ask:
Are you aware of questions raised about Barack Obama's constitutional eligibility for the office of president?
What is your view of lingering questions about Obama's eligibility to be president?
President Obama has refused to release his educational records, which could prove or disprove whether or not he was born in the United States as required by the Constitution. What is your opinion of the fact Obama has not released his educational records?
Some states have drafted legislation requiring candidates for president to prove that they were born in the United States and also meet all other constitutional requirements to be qualified to serve as president of the United States. Do you support or oppose such state legislation?
By throwing in the claim that "President Obama has refused to release his educational records, which could prove or disprove whether or not he was born in the United States as required by the Constitution," Wenzel has arguably skewed his poll.
Tim Graham Anti-Gay Freakout Watch Topic: NewsBusters
Tim Graham's eagle eye for people insufficiently hateful of gays finds a new target in Chris Matthews. Graham writes in a March 18 NewsBusters post that Matthews "stepped away from any sense of neutrality by serving as Master of Ceremonies at the 19th Annual Dinner of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which has long agitated for a repeal of any limitations on open homosexuality in the U.S. military."
Because the presence of the right's chief bogeyman can't be ignored, Graham conspiratorially adds: "Naturally, sponsors include the Open Society Institute of George Soros." What does that have to do with anything? Nothing, of course.
Larry Klayman Derangement Syndrome Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
On top of his current Obama derangement, Larry Klayman is a Clinton Derangement Syndrome sufferer from way back. That flared up again in his March 19 WorldNetDaily column, in which he rehashes the goofy yet hoary claim that the Clintons had dozens of people killed:
During the so-called "Clinton years," when I took the testimony of nearly everyone in the White House, it became well-known that Hillary Rodham Clinton was in effect the operational chief of the administration and its "hit man" – the evil point person for destroying adversaries – and head of the "War Room," which also comprised James Carville and George Stephanopoulos. Hubbie Bill was the "creative genius," not only with regard to foreign policy, but literally with regard to "domestic affairs." Just ask Monica Lewinsky and the cigar industry. But there is one statement I will always remember: "Hillary rules the school," testified to by Linda Tripp, the former assistant to mysteriously deceased Hillary law-firm partner and Clinton Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster – giving a new meaning to the French expression "femme fatale." As also suggested during the testimony, Vince was the "love slave" who "watered Hillary's office plants" and may have died for being honest and not wanting to go along any longer in helping her execute evil deeds. Over 80 material witnesses and others "died" during the Clinton years, and poor Vince was only one of them.
This, of course, is followed by a bit of Obama derangement:
With this resumé, it's no wonder Barack Hussein Obama was fearful to have Clinton nominated as his vice presidential candidate in 2008. Hillary would only have been a stone's throw away from the Oval Office, and the "mullah in chief" obviously did not want to encourage his own "unfortunate accident." Instead, knowing that Hillary would always covet the presidency, Obama sought, European style, to co-opt her – that is, draw her into his inner circle to contain her by naming her secretary of state.
It seems Klayman actually believes Obama was born in Kenya, and he's counting on Hillary to prove it:
In 2011, it may be passé for Hillary to get rid of people by having them disappear. But with Obama there is an easier way that I suspect may, in this age of "civility," be the femme fatale's new modus operandi. I have come to conclude, through sources close to Hillary, that she herself may again be working on the so-called "birther" issue, which she first raised during her 2008 presidential campaign. For if Hillary can finally obtain proof positive that President Obama was born in Kenya, and not in Hawaii as he claims, then she will not have to send him on a day trip to Fort Marcy Park to retire him as president. What could be cleaner?
That's right -- Klayman just said that Hillary will try to prove Obama isn't constitutionally qualified to be president so she doesn't have to kill him.
Though Beck is a multi-faceted individual, his greatest talent is that he's a master teacher. His Fox News shows are like going to college, but learning things they don't teach at the most expensive campuses in the country.
And therein, I believe, lies the crux of the problem. Beck is too good of a teacher, something Will Durant warned about when he said, "Woe to him who teaches men faster than they can learn." Most Americans are not yet ready to accept the truths Beck teaches, so they find it easier to dismiss him as a doomsayer or conspiracy nut.
The bottom line for me is that Glenn Beck is still the most remarkable person on television, and I'm hoping he stays with Fox. But if the powers that be ever did insist that he put a more positive spin on his show (i.e., that he lie to his viewers), I believe his sense of honor would compel him to leave Fox. Beck is on a mission, and I think purity in thought, speech and action are nonnegotiable with him.
Newsmax Baselessly Takes Credit for NY Times Bestseller List Change Topic: Newsmax
A March 17 Newsmax article by Chris Gonslaves details Dick Morris' allegation that "The New York Times is politicizing its powerful best-sellers rankings to keep conservative authors who contribute to Fox News off of the most influential part of the list." It's a powerful allegation, but it lacks substance.
Morris' specific complaint is that new books by himself, Mike Huckabee, and Frank Luntz -- "all Fox News contributors," he points out -- appear on the Times' how-to book list instead of the main nonfiction list. Not only does he offer no evidence of liberal books appearing on the nonfiction list instead of the how-to list, he ignores the fact that the subtitle of his new book is "How to Defeat Obama and Repeal His Socialist Programs," which sure sounds like a how-to title. He also fails to offer sales figures that would prove his point.
It's also undermined by the fact that, as Gonslaves points out, 'The Times doesn't seem to have a problem with conservative authors in general," as evidenced by the presence of books by George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Scott Brown on the nonfiction list. Of course, those, unlike Morris' book, are narratives, not how-to books.
When Huckabee's book popped up on the nonfiction list the next day, Newsmax immediately took credit for it, with Gonslaves touting the change in a March 18 article and how it came "one day after Newsmax detailed complaints that the paper was politicizing its best-sellers rankings to the detriment of Fox News contributors." Needless to say, Gonslaves offered no evidence of any link, merely embracing the correlation-equals-causation fallacy.
In a separate article, Gonslaves trotted out Morris' reaction to the change, in which he insisted that "the New York Times is playing favorites, which is almost worse than consigning all of the conservative books to the How To list in the first place." Again, Morris offers no actual evidence to prove his point.
For to grasp the reason this homogenous society's culture has endured, one would have to juxtapose it with balkanized America, a country riven by feuds and factions courtesy of state-imposed tribalism (multiculturalism and mass immigration). Far better to crank things up by pursuing the partial meltdown, full meltdown or core meltdown angles.
Most members of the meltdown media have been schooled in activism, not in journalism. To them, every news story becomes, reflexively, a cause – a reason to "educate" and promote "awareness," rather than to report the facts. That so many of our news outlets settled on identical front-page, or pixelated, leads is unsettling.
As a consequence of this pervading groupthink, we have not seen nearly enough of how impressively the Japanese people are coping, how calm and courageous they appear in interviews. When CNN's international correspondent alluded to "scenes of hardship," the camera cut to a shelter. The images were heartbreaking, to be sure. But, unlike those taken during Katrina, there was much to inspire in Japan. One saw rows of neatly laid-out mats. The elderly had been snugly tucked in clean blankets. Kids, faces covered with masks, were sweeping the floors industriously.
In other footage, lines of people snaked around the neighborhood, waiting patiently, sometimes for days, to purchase food and water. The individuals interviewed were grief-struck, but they held it together. Nobody was screaming for government aid. There has been no menace or murder on what remains of the streets of Sendai city.
Accustomed as I am to seeing abreacting Americans or unhinged Haitians, these sights astounded me. My heroes have always been in the Greek tradition. This makes the silent, stoic, refined Japanese my heroes.
Will Bozell Denounce Hannity For Hosting Shock Jock? Topic: Media Research Center
High on the list of radio shock jocks that MRC chief Brent Bozell despises are Opie and Anthony. Bozell attacked the duo in a 2002 column after one particularly egregious stunt:
Now here's something that doesn't happen every day: radio shock jocks are having to absorb some shock of their own. Greg Hughes and Anthony Cumia, known in 18 markets as the envelope-pushing "Opie and Anthony," were fired by Infinity Broadcasting for encouraging a Virginia couple to have sex inside St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City while producer Paul Mercurio gave listeners the pew-rocking play-by-play on his cell phone.
This unusually offensive prank – carried on as worshipers came to this hallowed house of God to celebrate the holy day of obligation marking Mary's assumption into Heaven – prodded even the usually comatose Federal Communications Commission to announce it would move swiftly to investigate whether it violated federal rules against broadcasting "indecent" material.
Before this pratfall, Opie and Anthony were best known for encouraging women to show their breasts in public on "Whip ‘Em Out Wednesday." Their last straw came as part of a promotion listing 54 risky locations for couples to have sex, offering the winners a trip to the Samuel Adams brewery for pitching woo in public. Isn't that a nice commercial tie-in? "Have our nice premium-brewed Sam Adams. Drink enough of these beauties and you too might have your judgment so impaired you try to get in on at a church – with our compliments."
The transcript of the 14-minute stunt has the cackling co-hosts claiming that "obviously everybody knows...they're just simulating the acts...right?...They wouldn't be stupid enough to actually have [inaudible] sex in a church? Right?" How pathetic that these drive-time dimwits would bail out on the people they encouraged into this shameful behavior by lamely insisting they didn't really mean to encourage cathedral copulation. And how pathetic then that Infinity's action – dead-right as it was for one day after years of profiting from wrong – somehow tries to flush out the labor without taking any blame as management.
This only underlines everything that's wrong with this brand of autoerotic audio. These stations pile up millions of listeners – ten million for Opie and Anthony – by pushing every sexual button. Then they hide behind the teasing fakery of it all – you weren't really scandalized, because it's only radio, and you can't see if we're making it up or not.
Bozell railed against Opie and Anthony again in 2007:
If you thought the radio airwaves would suddenly turn nicer in the wake of the Don Imus firing, think again. The shameless shock jocks Opie and Anthony have succeeded in ramming through whatever wall of post-Imus politeness was constructed with a grotesque routine on XM Satellite Radio that played – for laughs – the idea of raping the Secretary of State.
On a satellite-only segment promoted on the Opie and Anthony website as “uncut, uncensored, and totally filthy,” this duo laughed as a character named “Homeless Charlie” described how he would like to “[F-word] that [B-word].” The hosts giggled and said “I just imagine the horror in Condoleezza Rice's face.... as she realizes what's going on...as you were just holding her down and [F-word] her." They continued to laugh as “Charlie” sickly imagined punching Rice in the face and raping Laura Bush “to death.” Opie and Anthony then suggested he add Queen Elizabeth to his list of victims.
Ask yourself this very simple question: How does the Imus “ho” comment match on the horror scale with this rape-and-murder gag?
So it was with no small degree of surprise to us that on last night's edition of Fox News' "Hannity" -- in the segment immediately after Bozell did his usual liberal-media-bias schtick -- Sean Hannity brought on his "Great American Panel" which included ... Anthony Cumia.
Will Bozell publicly criticize Hannity for giving this offensive shock jock a forum on a highly rated cable TV show? We'd be shocked if he did.
Why? First, Hannity and Bozell are buddies, and any criticism would likely jeopardize Bozell's weekly slot on his show. Second, Cumia used his appearance to spout right-wing talking points, attacking President Obama for purportedly not acting presidential enough. Asked by Hannity if Obama will be re-elected, Cumia responded, "I sure hope not."
This, by the way, is not the first time Cumia has appeared on the "Hannity" panel; he's been on at least once before. And in 2004, Hannity had Opie and Anthony on his radio show to tell their side of the story on the cathedral sex incident.
Bozell is simply too gutless and too beholden to his right-wing agenda that he will toss away his claimed principles on radio decency to tolerate a serial violator of those principles as long as he's parroting the right talking points and he gets to be TV every week.
WND's Farah Shills for Radiation Detector Topic: WorldNetDaily
Is there no news story or disaster WorldNetDaily is too shameless to try and cash in on? Apparently not.
A March 17 WND article proudly announces that "the WND Superstore has committed to holding steady on the price of the RADSticker, even though demand, literally, has exploded." As the name suggests, the RADSticker is a sticker that detects radiation levels. The article goes on: "During times of catastrophe, the smallest act of preparation could make all the difference for you and your loved ones."
WND editor Joseph Farah, that shameless huckster himself, is even trotted out for an endorsement:
"Why resign yourself to the notion that in the event of a nuclear disaster – accidental or intentional – you and your family must perish?" asks Joseph Farah, founder and CEO of WND. "As I've written before, as devastating as radiation is, it actually dissipates quickly, often within the first 24 hours. Beyond the blast, essential to survival is being able to immediately ascertain the radiation risk levels and determine what medical treatment – if any – you would need. There's nothing that you can carry on your person that accomplishes this feat quite like this amazing little device."