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Thursday, May 12, 2011
AIM Cherry-Picks In Attack On NY Times Reporter
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Moshe Phillips spends his May 9 Accuracy in Media article attacking New York Times reporter Kareem Fahim, claiming that "A quick review of Fahim’s history provides all the evidence needed to prove that he is not an objective journalist but has very radical views on the War on Terror and related issues." But Phillips is cherry-picking Fahim's reporting and misportraying it.

Phillips writes:

Earlier in his career Fahim wrote for The Village Voice weekly tabloid. The Voice’s radical editorial stance on civil liberties, terrorism and Israel related issues is well documented.

So well documented, it seems, that Phillips can't be bothered to back up his claim. He continues:

Just weeks after the 9/11 attacks, in an article titled “The Emir and His Lieutenant” about Al Qaeda, Fahim referred to the terrorist organization simply as an “extremist group.” Fahim’s writings include apologies for the terrorist network, such as the statement that “Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri have seized on the desperation of the Arab world.” He also quoted a New York University professor who stated the following bit of garbage: “The Islamists present a utopian vision.”

In fact, the article in question is an examination of Bin Laden and Zawahiri became Islamist extremists and is in no way an apology. Phillips selectively edited Fahim's statement that "Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri have seized on the desperation of the Arab world" to hide the fact that, far from being an "apology," Fahim warned that bin Laden and Zawahiri wouldn't stop with 9/11. Here's the full Fahim quote:

Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri have seized on the desperation of the Arab world, cloaked their edenic "solution" in faith, and set a massive trap in the wreckage near Wall Street. Bombing Afghanistan to hell might feel like catharsis, but the threat is elsewhere, and it won't go away with the emir and his lieutenant.

Further, the professor who stated that "The Islamists present a utopian vision" is not endorsing that vision, as Phillips suggests. Again, Phillips is cherry-picking. Here's the full statement, which shows the professor going on to point out that utopian visions never work out in real life:

"The Islamists present a utopian vision," Haykel said. No Islamic group has achieved significant power in an Arab country, so their theories on governance remain largely untested. "The only way that it can burst is if they come to power and show that they don't have the answers to the fundamental questions facing society," he said.

Phillips went on to further attack Fahim:

In 2000 Fahim held a position at the Cairo based weekly newspaper Al-Ahram.  Slate.com reported in 2004 that “Egypt’s Al Ahram Weekly (is) the English-language version of the regime’s own media organ.” Fahim also wrote about Mubarak’s downfall for The Times.

Even here, he demonstrated his bias, treating the selection of Dick Cheney as George W. Bush’s running mate as a “summer surprise” that went against “the logic of positive image-making.” Fahim’s biases are transparent.

Phillips is misleading again. Cheney was, in fact, something of a surprise pick, so much so that adviser Karl Rove argued against it. Fahim was pointing out that the selection of Cheney as vice president "seemed to clash with [George W. Bush's] compassionate campaign." Phillips ignores that Fahim went on to explain why the choice was made: "In the political calculation of Republicans, however, Cheney is a perfect choice. Besides appealing to the conservative base of the party, he provides the weight critics have said Governor Bush lacks."

Phillips is portraying legitimate, mainstream observations as "extremism" and "bias." It's certainly red meat for AIM's readers, but not actual media criticism.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:37 PM EDT
Les Kinsolving Whining Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily keeps up the whining in a May 10 article complaining that White House press secretary Jay Carney "has refused to allow two questions to be raised that were caused by concern over the idea of spending tax money to lobby for more tax money for 'liberal' causes" by WND' Les Kinsolving.

As per usual, the article is structured to suggest that Carney had advance knowledge of what Kinsolving was going to ask, which WND offers no evidence to back up.

Besides, as it turns out, Kinsolving's questions are based on a false premise, that NPR is using "taxpayer financing for lobbying." In fact, an NPR spokesperson told Politico that the federal funding it receives through grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting "must be used ONLY for the specific projects covered by each grant. The funds are not used to support NPR’s general operations. So the notion that these grants would be used to pay for advocacy is completely bogus."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:52 AM EDT
CNS Using Alinsky's FBI File to Attack Obama
Topic: CNSNews.com

A May 10 CNSNews.com article by Christopher Neefus states that CNS has obtained "the FBI’s complete file" on "left-wing community organizer Saul Alinsky," detailing how the FBI sent Alinsky's records to the Secret Service "after Alinsky suggested that President Lyndon Johnson would be in danger when visiting Chicago for the 1968 Democratic National Convention."

What's the news value here? None, except for one thing: it allows CNS to portray Alinsky as "one of President Barack Obama’s intellectual forebears." Neefus makes no other reference to Obama in the article, and he offers no evidence to back up this claim.

It seems CNS will continue rooting through Alinsky's FBI file looking for other instances of untoward behavior it can tar Obama with through a politically motivated bit of guilt by association. Since there is no news value here, the only possible reason for CNS to run this and future articles is to advance its right-wing partisan agenda.

Which makes CNS a political organization, not a news organization.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:38 AM EDT
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Newsmax Reports On How Much Trump Loves Newsmax
Topic: Newsmax

The lovefest between Newsmax and Donald Trump continues in a May 9 article by Hiram Reisner, which leads off by quoting Trump on how wonderful Newsmax is:

Billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump says Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy has “really done an outstanding job” and that no one can pick on the media organization for their support of his presidential candidacy.

Trump also said Monday on Steve Malzberg’s WOR radio show that America has become a poor nation, and if he decides to run for president — and the odds are pretty good he might — he would “make the country rich again.”

Malzberg asked Trump whether he thought a story the news service Politico published recently had picked on Newsmax for its support of Trump. Politico said Newsmax has been “dubbed the number one promoter of Trump in 2012.”

Trump dismissed the idea that Politico had dissed Ruddy or Newsmax, adding. “Chris Ruddy is a fantastic guy — he’s built a great organization. . . . I think he can pick on people — he’s got a lot of power,” he continued."

Trump added that he's a big fan of Newsmax too. " . . . I really like Newsmax — I read it, I hear it, I listen to it."

Trump's claim that he "hears" and "listens" to Newsmax is a bit odd, since Newsmax offers no audio-only products; its Newsmax.tv videos all have visual elements.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:25 PM EDT
Mychal Massie Thesaurus (And Obama Derangement) Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We haven't had the experience of Mychal Massie beating us over the head with his thesaurus in a while, so it was something of a joy to see him bust it out again in his May 10 WorldNetDaily column.

Not only does Massie invoke the old chestnut "Erebusic" -- which no dictionary that we've seen defines as an adjective -- he also uses "sanious" and, in what appears to be a first, "scrofulous." And since Massie is throwing around his five-dollar words in a fit of Obama derangement, it all feels a bit ludicrous:

His pretentiousness has been as scrofulous as he usually is. And, while prancing about with his chest puffed out, giving "ain't I great" speeches, the public is being led away from what is important.

[...]

But his is arguably the most Erebusic administration in the history of America. The goodwill being shown him is being used by his handlers to bolster a failing presidency. Unable to fill venues, unable to sell $30,000-per-plate fundraiser tickets, and with increased open belligerence toward the public, he needed help – and bin Laden cooperated.

At the risk of perhaps sounding a bit conspiratorial, I would not be at all surprised to see bin Laden's assassination touted as a "hail to Obama" on Sept. 11, 2012. After all, he got a short-lived bounce in the polls this time, so why not look for this just before the election?

The killing of bin Laden may have rid the world of one bad guy, but it isn't creating jobs and it isn't cleansing us of the sanious agenda of Obama and his administration.

It's hard to make a point when nobody knows what you're talking about.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:51 PM EDT
CNS Falsely Claims Obama Called For 'Amnesty'
Topic: CNSNews.com

A May 10 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas carries the headline "Obama Claims He’s Done All GOP Wanted on Border Security, Now They Must Pass Amnesty." But as Lucas makes clear, Obama never used the word "amnesty."

Lucas did mislead about what Obama said, claiming that he wants to "grant legal status to the nation’s estimated 12 million illegal aliens." In fact, Obama has stated that his immigration reform plan making illegal immigrants in the country "register and get right with the law, pay their respective taxes and fines, learn English and submit to background checks before they can get in line to apply for a legal status."

Lucas also betrayed CNS' agenda as exhibited by the headline, referencing "plan for comprehensive immigration reform, which proponents generally call a 'pathway to citizenship' and critics call 'amnesty.'" CNS has repeatedly and misleadingly portrayed comprehensive immigration reform as "amnesty," even as it admits the term is used only by critics.

Lucas previews Obama's speech in a May 9 article under the false headline "Obama to Tout Amnesty in Speech Near Mexican City That Had More Casualties Than Afghanistan."

UPDATE: CNS keeps up the falsehood in a May 11 article by Eric Schreiner, which carries the headline "Harry Reid: "‘We Need The People Of America To Rise Up’ in Favor of Amnesty for Illegal Aliens." At no point does Schreiner report that Reid used the term "amnesty."


Posted by Terry K. at 8:40 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 7:23 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: Natural Born Misleaders
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has studiously avoided reporting evidence that contradicts its preferred definition of "natural born citizen," which just so happens to exclude Barack Obama. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 12:06 AM EDT
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Tim Graham's Favorite British Newspaper
Topic: Media Research Center

A May 8 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham cites not one but two articles in the British newspaper the Daily Mail. To which we ask: Why is Graham so into British newspapers?

Perhaps because British papers have a little lower standard of accuracy than American papers do, and thus, are a convenient way for the American right to attack a Democratic president. This happened during the 1990s, when conservative British papers were used a way to legitimize attacks on Clinton, since they filtered from there into right-wing American papers. This phenomenon is happening all over again with the Obama adminstration, as Media Matters has documented.

While Graham is not citing any Obama-bashing stories from his paper of choice, the Daily Mail, in his post -- his main goal is to take a whack at MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski -- the Mail has a decidedly checkered record of accuracy. It has promoted the idea that Obama has had brain surgery, pushed a discredited story about a purported Sarah Palin stalker, and touted birtherism. Most recently, it was duped into running what it claimed was a picture of the corpse of Osama bin Laden.Given that the main focus of the Daily Mail appears to be celebrity gossip -- it dominates the front page of its website -- it's no wonder that the standards are lower.

Just because the British have low journalistic standards doesn't mean Americans must as well. Graham might do well to remember that.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:12 PM EDT
WND Attacks Snopes for Acting Like WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A May 8 WorldNetDaily article complains that "The online hoaxbusting website Snopes.com has changed its reference to the purported attending physician at Barack Obama's birth," deleting the name of Dr. Rodney T. West "as the physician at the birth" after the name of Dr. David Sinclair was revealed to be the actual doctor on Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate.

As WND itself explained in a May 3 article by Bob Unruh, the apparent source for the claim about West was an article about a former Hawaii resident who recalled West referencing a baby born to a woman named Stanley but who did not say whether West was actually involved in Obama's birth.

Still, WND complained that "There was no explanation at the Snopes site" regarding the change.

However, that's the exact same way WND rolls. As we've noted, WND refused to issue a formal correction after columnist Jack Cashill got caught pushing the conspiracy theory that Obama was Photoshopped into a photo of his grandparents -- it simply deleted the egregiously wrong section of Cashill's column without notifying readers, followed by editor Joseph Farah throwing a petulant fit when Salon's Justin Elliott asked why he didn't issue a correction.

In other words: Do as WND says, not as it does.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:01 PM EDT
AIM Ignorantly Gloats Over Wash. Post Losing Money
Topic: Accuracy in Media

In a May 9 Accuracy in Media blog post, Don Irvine has a grand time smacking around the Washington Post for losing money:

What Graham is witnessing is the continuing decline of printed newspapers like The Washington Post. But rather than take bold, decisive action to compete in a new environment, he continues to cling to the notion that Washington wants and needs a liberal paper of record. The marketplace seems to be saying otherwise.

Irvine is careful not to mention the fact that of the major Washington newspapers, only the Post is subject to the whims of the marketplace.

As we've documented, conservative newspapers have a long history of being nothing more than money-losing playthings of owners who can afford to lose millions upon millions of dollars every year in order to promulgate their right-wing agenda.

The Washington Times, which has has been subsidized to the tune of billions of dollars since its inception nearly 30 years ago, was recently sold back to its original owner, a branch of Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, for $1. The Washington Examiner, owned by billionaire Philip Anschutz, simply cannot be making money given the unhealthy market for newspapers and its mostly-free distribution model (being privately owned, it doesn't make its finances public). But even it gets touched with a budget squeeze every once in a while -- in an apparently economzing effort, its White House correspondent wasn't replaced with a new person; instead, two reporters on suburban beats will split White House coverage.

Perhaps the reason Irvine is gloating over the Post losing money is because he knows his own preferred newspapers are not subject the same whims of the marketplace.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:54 AM EDT
Newsmax's Hirsen: Obama As Obsessed With Image As Bin Laden
Topic: Newsmax

James Hirsen serves up an awkwardly offensive transition in his May 9 Newsmax column:

In a segment of the footage, bin Laden appears seated on the floor, watching himself on the tube. Clips also show him rehearsing for his onscreen moments.

It turns out that the videos were produced Hollywood-style, with written scripts, takes and retakes, redone until bin Laden was satisfied with the performance and lighting.

The al-Qaida leader even dyed his beard and precision cut it for the lens. Guess it proves that image is everything, even for terrorists.

It seems that President Barack Obama is obsessing over his image, too, and the White House is sparing no expense in trying to improve it. It has hired the best image booster in the biz — on the taxpayer's dime, of course.

Likening the president to the world's most notorious terrorist is hardly the kind of behavior that burnishes Newsmax's newly found reputation, according to Politico, as the voice of the heartland.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:11 AM EDT
Monday, May 9, 2011
WND's Birthers Get Desperate
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily is desperately trying to keep up its birther campaign despite it being rendered obsolete by President Obama's release of his long-form birth certificate. This time, it's going all in on trying to prove that the certificate is a forgery. Unfortunately for WND, Jerome Corsi has chosen to rely on the expert analysis of such people as a private investigator who said he got involved for the potential "financial windfall" it would provide, as well as "an analysis posted on Facebook by GoodTryBarry." Surely these are credible people.

Media Matters has more.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:05 PM EDT
MRC's Anti-Soros Fund Drive Built Around Out-Of-Context Statement
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has launched a new fundraising campaign built around using "left-wing billionaire" George Soros as a bogeyman, claiming that he has "has undertaken a war on conservative media to make it easier to spread his anti-American views, and the liberal media are his willing accomplices."

Prominently featured in the literature is this Soros quote: "The main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States." This presumably is meant to portray Soros as someone who wants to destroy America -- indeed, a related MRC anti-Soros petition claims Soros has "anti-American plans in bringing our nation down."

In fact,  the quote, from Soros' 2006 book "The Age of Fallibility," specifically referred to criticism of the Bush administration, not to a desire to destroy the country:

Writing the book has helped me to establish future priorities. Some of them are quite far removed from our previous activities. I have identified two problems that endanger our survival: the global energy crisis and nuclear proliferation. As regards the former, we are already at the cutting edge of dealing with the resource curse and we are getting engaged in global warming. The Russian policy of using gas contracts both to suborn neighboring countries and to divert what ought to be public revenues for private benefit will be a particular field of interest. Nuclear proliferation, by contrast, has been entirely outside the purview of my foundations. I do not know what we can do about it but we cannot disregard it.

The main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States. This is a harsh -- indeed, for me, painful -- thing to say, but unfortunately I am convinced it is true. The United States continues to set the agenda for the world in spite of its loss of influence since 9/11, and the Bush administration is setting the wrong agenda. The Bush agenda is nationalistic: it emphasizes the use of force and ignores global problems whose solution requires international cooperation. The rest of the world dances to the tune the United States is playing, and if that continues too long we are in danger of destroying our civilization. Changing that attitude and policies of the United States remains my top priority.

The task has become more complicated since the 2004 elections, and that was the source of my confusion when I sat down to write this book. It is no longer a question of removing President Bush from the White House; a more profound rethinking of America's role in the world is needed. It is not enough to revert to the policies of the previous administration; America must undergo a change of heart. The process must begin with recognizing the war on terror as a false metaphor. It is now accepted that the invasion of Iraq was a grievous error but the war on terror remains the generally accepted policy.

The change of heart cannot be accomplished merely by helping the Democratic Party in the 2006 and 2008 elections because Democrats show no sign of engaging in a profound rethinking. On the contrary, Democrats have been so spooked by the Republican charge that they are soft on defense, that they are determined to outdo the Republicans in the war on terror. Nevertheless, I think it is important that the Democratic Party gain control of the House of Representatives in 2006. A Democratic-controlled House could reveal the misdeeds of the Bush administration which are currently kept under wraps. [Pages xvi-xvii]

But then, using the Soros quote in its proper context wouldn't scare as many potential donors out of their money, would it?


Posted by Terry K. at 3:35 PM EDT
MRC's Lame "Profile in Bias" of Scott Pelley
Topic: Media Research Center

When CBS officially named Scott Pelley as Couric's replacement, Geoffrey Dickens declared in a May 3 NewsBusters post that "A review of the MRC's archive reveals Pelley will most likely continue the long tradition of liberal bias advanced by his anchor predecessors Couric, Dan Rather and Walter Cronkite."

The MRC's "Profile of Bias" of Pelley, however, could only come up with a dozen examples of "liberal bias" it deemed worth mentioning over nearly two decades of Pelley's work for CBS -- that's less than one example per year -- and several of those are strecthing things.

For instance, the MRC baselessly treats Pelley's statement by Pelley that "There were many people in this country who felt that the Supreme Court stole that election for President Bush" as Pelley's personal belief about the case.

Similarly, the MRC portrays Pelley's reporting on how President Clinton was, in the words of then-CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather, "singing his own praises" on the state of the economy as Pelley's own views. The MRC claims that Pelley wants to "Carve Bill Clinton into Mt. Rushmore" even though Pelley said no such thing.

The MRC also claimed that Pelley "cover[ed] up for Bill Clinton" by declining to air footage of interviews conducted with "Arkansas state troopers who alleged that a then Governor Bill Clinton used them to procure women for adulterous affairs." In fact, given that the troopers were never able to prove those allegations when placed under deposition, that turned out to be smart journalism.

As Joe Conason and Gene Lyons wrote in their book "The Hunting of the President," when the troopers were deposed by lawyers for Paula Jones, no two of them "appeared capable of agreeing about anything of substance in Jones v. Clinton":

Danny Ferguson and Roger Perry disliked Hillary Clinton and had their suspcions about Bill's friendships with several women, but knew nothing to confirm them. Ferguson claimed that Los Angeles Times reporter William Rempel had badgered them to say that Clinton had promised the trooper a job in return for silence, and that Rempel had put words in his mouth when he refused.

L.D. Brown claimed to have hustled babes for Clinton all over the United States and to have benefited from what he called "residuals" himself. But when it came to particulars, Brown had no names, places, or dates to offer -- only hearsay and rumors.

Buddy Young, a Clinton federal employee, testified that L.D. Brown hated Clinton for refusing him the state crime laboratory job, and had also gotten himself fired as president of the state troopers' association for spending its money partying with lobbyists and state legislators. Young also mentioned taht Larry Patterson was obsessed with getting in women's "britches," to the exclusion of all other topics. [...] Patterson said Clinton had confessed several affairs to him, and claimed to have seen the governor receiving oral endearments in parked cars. Other roopers called that a physical impossibility. The video surveillance camera through which Patterson allegedly monitored those titillating scenes hardly worked at all.

Clinton's attorney Bob Bennett grilled Patterson about Troopergate payola, about his rent-free living arrangements with Cliff Jackson and about his multistate speaking tour with Larry Nichols on The Clinton Chronicles circuit. Specifically, what did Patters, a sworn law enforcement officer, know about the president's involvement in drug smuggling and murder?

"Mr. Bennett," Patterson said, "at no time have I ever said that Bill Clinton's ever involved in any murder, nor at no time have Iever said that Bill Clinton has ever used or abused drugs. . . . I have no reason to believe that."

"Has Mr. Nichols ever said that on those trips?"

"I've heard him on occasion say things like that."

"Did you ever tell him to stop it?"

"Mr. Bennett," the trooper replied, "he's an adult."

Is the MRC still standing by these discredited troopers after all these years? It appears so.

Dickens followed up in a May 5 NewsBusters post asserting that Pelley reacted "defensively" to the MRC's shabby list, claiming that he "seemed to deny the charge of liberal bias as he huffed: 'CBS has been called liberal for a lot of years,' adding, 'It probably harkens all the way back to Edward Murrow.'"

Pelley seems to know the game the MRC is playing -- that it's the MRC's job to portray him as liberal, no matter how thin the evidence.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:59 AM EDT
Prove It, WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Following up on its thin-skinned attack on Think Progress for tweeting something snarky about its upcoming cruise, a May 1 WorldNetDaily article states:

It's probably not what the George Soros-backed Think Progress blog had in mind when it dubbed WND’s cruise to Alaska this summer the "worst vacation ever."

The result? More attention and more signups than ever before.

But beyond an anecdote from "one North Carolina woman," WND offers no evidence that it has received "more signups than ever before" for this cruise, nor does it explain the criteria it used to determine this.

Given that lack of evidence, we must assume that WND is making that up in order to portray the cruise as more popular that it is.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:09 AM EDT

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