Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center defines any depiction of gays or gay-related issues as "liberal bias" if they aren't denigrated in the process. Read more >>
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Ellis Washington Serves Up Another Right-Wing Rant Masquerading As Socratic Dialogue
Ellis Washington's stacked "dialectics" -- in which he pretends to be Socrates -- typically violates the spirit of a real dialectic by putting words, in the form of Washington's personal views or caricatures, into the mouths of those he purports to be speaking for, thus creating straw men for Washington, as the self-proclaimed Socrates, to knock down.
Washington blows it even more egregiously than usual in his May 28 WorldNetDaily column, which presents itself as a "dialectic" over a Supreme Court decision upholding a California ruling to release thousands of prison inmates to relieve overcrowding. Washington makes it clear he will stack thedeck early on by presenting a gross caricature of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who he claims is saying in an "arrogant tone":
Not only does Washington baselessly portray Kennedy as a raging egomaniac -- he presents no evidence that this caricature has any basis in reality -- he similarly baselessly frames the argument as "the Framers' original intent" versus "socialism, communism, anarchy and genocide."
Washington goes on to misinterpret President Obama's 2001 statements about the Warren Court's failure to "break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution" as a "socialist judicial philosophy" rather than what it actually is: an explanation that the Warren Court wasn't as radical as right-wingers like Washington like to believe it is. Washington then throws in Cloward and Piven for no apparent reason other than claim (again, baselessly) that they support the prison release because, somehow, "Total annihilation of all wealth is the final phase of the Cloward Piven strategy."
Washington also largely ignores the root cause of the release -- overcrowding. As the Los Angeles Times article Washington links to points out, California's prison population is 32,000 people over its authorized capacity limit, with prisoners being bunked in gymnasiums. Washington's only reference to it is more non-realistic words he puts into Kennedy's mouth: "History won't blame me for the mayhem and murder my opinion will surely unleash upon my own country, for I insisted that for the state to make 54 prisoners use one toilet amounts to an Eighth Amendment prohibition against 'cruel and unusual punishment.'"
Further, Washington needlessly inflames the argument by claiming the prisoners to be released are "hardcore" (in the purported words of Justice Antonin Scalia) and "thousands of murderous criminals" (in the purported words of Socrates). But as he himself noted, the Supreme Court granted more time to California officials to implement the release, so since nobody has actually been released yet, Washington has no way of knowing if they are "murderous criminals" or not.
Besides, does Washington really think that the state will release convicted killers over, say, someone in jail on a low-level drug offense? That defies the logic that Washington presents himself as an advocate of. (Of course, Washington's fellow WND columnist Jack Cashill has a convicted killer he'd like to see roaming the streets.)
In between all of this laughably illogical "dialectic," Washington feels the need to attack legendary Supreme Court Justice John Marshall as a "radical judge" who "tried to usurp powers not expressly enumerated to the judicial branch by the Constitution." Washington cited just two cases for this view, decisions in Cherokee Nations v. Georgia (1831) and Worcester v. Georgia (1832) in which "Marshall upheld the Cherokee Indians' rights to lands within Georgia." Washington's two excerpts explaining the rulings, by the way, appear to have been taken from a Yahoo Answers page.
Washington doesn't explain how Marshall's rulings in those cases -- which upheld, respectively, that Indian tribes had the right to the land they occupied until they voluntarily ceded it to the federal government and that Indian tribes are not subject to state governance of the use of their land -- were a usurpation of powers. Nor does he mention why it's a bad thing to let Indian control their own destiny and not be forcibly removed from their lands by the federal government without a treaty.
This all culminates in a decidedly non-Socratic rant coming from the mouth of Washington -- er, Socrates:
Actually, historians believe Jackson never actually said that about Marshall. Presumably, the real Socrates would be more careful about his facts -- since they form the foundation of logic -- than Washington is.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Who Is WND's Supposedly 'Reliable' Birther Source?
A May 26 WorldNetDaily article declares:
The article then quotes WND editor Joseph Farah as saying that this source "had provided reliable information in the past about the controversy over Obama's eligibility."
if this anonymous "intelligence source" -- the latest in a long parade of anonymous sources WND relies on, despite Farah's own admonition that anonymous sources offer up only "quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better" -- was so reliable, why couldn't WND corroborate his claim? (WND's suggestion that Obama has released a fraudulent certificate is largely based on really stupid evidence.)
Further, WND should be able to detail the "reliable information in the past about the controversy over Obama's eligibility" this source has provided, so that its readers can judge his or her reliability for themselves.
Also, at no point does WND explain why this supposedly reliable source -- who, again, made claims WND couldn't independently corroborate -- was granted anonymity. That raises red flags and suggests that, like Farah warned us, this anonymous source is only serving up "quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better."
WND has given its readers little reason to trust it in the past. Why start now?
ConWeb Editor Smackdown on Medicare
Topic: The ConWeb
CNSNews.com editor Terry Jeffrey mounted a major defense of Rep. Paul Ryan's proposed changes to Medicare in his May 18 column. Insisting that "Ryan's Medicare reform plan is not radical change," Jeffrey wrote:
Not so eager to defend Ryan's Medicare plan, however, is Newsmax editor Christopher Ruddy, who in his May 26 column certainly does not agree with Jeffrey that this is "not radical change":
Ruddy goes on to assert that "Congressional Republicans should take a common-sense approach to reform," adding: "In my view, rampant fraud, abuse, and waste have been the hallmarks of the Medicare system. It is poorly administered. If Congress and the states worked diligently in reducing these excesses, the program would work effectively."
Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell, meanwhile, is just making stuff up. In a May 27 appearance on "Fox & Friends," Bozell claimed that Ryan's plan provides "a 70 percent increase in Medicare," while "Obama is taking $500 billion out of Medicare." In fact, Ryan's plan keeps Obama's cuts and increases out-of-pocket costs for seniors.
WND's Vox Day Warns Men Not To Marry 'Career' Women
He doesn't like that women can vote. He considers women's rights "a disease that should be eradicated." So it's no surprise that Vox Day would turn in yet another misogynistic WorldNetDaily column, this time warning young men not to marry "career" women because they have a bad habit of having their own thoughts:
Day laughably adds: "Although it may appear to be disturbingly like one, this column is not intended as an indictment of career women or working mothers. The facts are what they are, and my only objective is to point out to men that it is a mistake to conclude the societal changes of the last 40 years have rendered all American women equally unsuited for marriage." Then he even more laughably likens career women to drug addics:
The only suitable woman for Day, apparently, is one who lives only through her children and husband and has no independent thoughts of her own.
We'd ask whether Day's anger toward women who think for themselves has an inverse relationship to his sex life, but that would be a cheap shot.
Meet Michael Maloof, WND's Newest Reporter, And His Sketchy Past
A May 22 WorldNetDaily article announced that F. Michael Maloof will be "a senior reporter in WND's Washington bureau." WND calls Maloof "a former senior security-policy analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense with almost 30 years of federal service in the U.S. Defense Department and as a specialized trainer for border guards and Special Forces in select countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia," while WND editor Joseph Farah calls him "a veteran journalist and national security expert."
Those "veteran journalist" credentials, however, seem a little sketchy -- as do other things.
WND claims he was "a special correspondent for the Detroit News," but searches of Google and Nexis turn up no Detroit News articles under his name. WND also notes that Maloof was "Washington correspondent for the Union Leader in Manchester, N.H.," but that appears to have been three decades ago; a Decemter 1981 UPI article (found via Nexis) states that at the time he was working as a part-time correspondent for the Union Leader, Maloof was also on the payroll of the Commerce Department writing "issue papers" in the office of assistant commerce secretary Lawrence J. Brady. Maloof ultimately quit the government job to avoid a conflict of interest. An October 1983 UPI article (via Nexis) noted that Maloof "praised Brady in his articles," and at the time of the article had apparently left the newspaper and was working for Richard Perle, then an assistant defense secretary in the Reagan administration.
The Perle connection will come up again. WND vaguely describes Maloof's later work this way:
Specifically, Maloof was a member of the "B Team" unit commissioned by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and set up by Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz, to re-examine intelligence on terrorism. According to History Commons, the unit was hostile to the CIA and pushed the discredited idea that Iraq's Saddam Hussein was linked to the 9/11 attacks. Maloof's former boss, Perle, supported the operation.
Maloof was stripped of his security clearance in December 2001 (and upheld on appeal in 2003, despite letters of support from Perle and Feith) after being accused of associating with Imad El Haje, a Lebanese-American businessman who was under federal investigation for possible involvement in a gun-running scheme to Liberia, then involved in a civil war. Maloof's supporters contended his clearances were pulled in retaliation for challenging the official assessment that there were no operational terrorist links between al-Qaida and Iraq. Newsweek reported in 2004 (found via Nexis) that Maloof "was investigated for years for security leaks."
Unsurprisingly, Maloof was, and remains, a neocon darling. Washington Times reporter Rowan Scarborough's book "Sabotage" painted Maloof as a victim of political revenge, although he notes that Maloof was involved in a romantic relationship with a woman from the Republic of Georgia whom intelligence agencies were trying to recruit as a asset.
Those neocon credentials, it seems, are more important to WND than Maloof's dubious, long-ago journalism experience. Maloof is described as "a frequent ... contributor" to Farah's subscription-only G2 Bulletin "intelligence news" website.Could it be that Maloof was leaking things to Farah while he was working in the government? Those two might want to explain that.
Maloof appears to have the same Obama-hating credentials Farah wants in his so-called reporters. A June 2010 WND article by Maloof touts the then-upcoming Rolling Stone article featuring candid comments by then-Afghanistan commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal. And in June 2009, Maloof made a big deal out of the Obama administration's filing to "protect Saudi Arabia and four of its princes from being held accountable for their alleged role in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the United States" from a lawsuit seeking damages from Saudi Arabia over the 9/11 attacks, failing to explain that the stance was a continuation of Bush administration policy on the issue and that no judge had ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.
So, to sum up: WND has hired as a reporter someone who lost their federal security clearance, who has been accused of leaking information and working outside official channels to peddle dubious intelligence, and whose only relevant recent "journalism" experience is working for another WND division.
And Farah wonders why WND isn't taken seriously.
Monday, May 30, 2011
Farah: Global Warming's A 'Phantom,' But Obama Speech On Israel Caused Joplin Tornado
In his May 18 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah declared global warming to be a "phantom crisis," and that Newt Gingrich's endorsement of it "demonstrated that he had gone over to the politically correct dark side. That was a disqualifier for me."
No, it seems Farah doesn't believe that global warming affects weather, but he thinks that the level of perceived U.S. support for Israel does. From Farah's May 28 column:
In short: Farah puts alleged Bible prophecy over science.
NewsBusters Invents A Nazi Smear
NewsBusters' Alex Fitzsimmons devises a new way to invoke Godwin's law: declare there's a Nazi link to a common phrase.
In a May 26 post, Fitzsimmons declares that an NBC correspondent's description of the disputed Arizona immigration law, SB 1070, as the "show us your papers law" is "Nazi terminology." He doesn't explain why this is so.
Fitzsimmons didn't mention that since the law does, in one provision that has since been suspended, require that legal immigrants carry their citizenship papers at all times, calling it the "show us your papers law" is an entirely accurate description.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
CNS Adds Bias to AP Headline
The original headline the Associated Press supplied for a May 29 article reads "Obama travels to Missouri to view tornado damage." But when CNSNews.com put the article on its website, it made that headline a subhead and gave it a new, more subjective headline: "Obama Will Visit Joplin, Missouri Today to Belatedly View Tornado Damage."
The AP article mentions nothing about Obama visiting "belatedly," only that it comes "comes a day after he returned to Washington from a four-country tour of Europe." CNS is simply adding anti-Obama bias where none existed -- and, presumably, where AP would not approve.
CNS has done this before: It changed another AP headline to denigrate students at a colleges who had available therapy dogs to alleviate stress during final exams as "coddled."
WND's Misinformation Machine Rolls On
We couldn't find any USA Today article that made the claim Master asserts. The closest we found was a May 20 article stating that the auto industry lost 332,000 jobs in the recession, followed by 42,000 rehires, and it didn't mention the cost of the bailout (which CNN pegs at $80 billion, meaning Master got that number wrong too).
Also, measuring the money spent on the auto industry bailout by the number of people rehired is a meaningless metric given that the point of the bailout was to save hundreds of thousands of other jobs by keeping GM and Chrysler (as well as their suppliers) in business.
Master also ignores that the federal government will recoup much of the money it spent saving GM and Chrysler. Indeed, the same day Master's column appeared, Chrysler repaid $7.6 billion in loans, with interest, to the U.S. and Canadian governments, and Fiat agreed to buy the federal government's ownership stake in Chrysler, giving Fiat a 46 percent stake in the company.
But factual accuracy isn't Master's bag. he just wants to bash Obama:
No wonder Farah doesn't bother to fact-check his columnists. As long as they pump out the Obama-hating screeds, that's good enough for him.
MRC: No One May Praise Obama (Or His Wife)
Topic: Media Research Center
Brent Bozell's May 25 column carries the headline "No One May Lecture Obama." He, like most conservatives, misled by claiming that President Obama claimed that he wants Israel to "retreat behind pre-1967 borders." In response to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's criticism of that misinterpreted stance, Bozell huffed that "Our media feel President Obama's pain so intensely that they can't bear the thought that someone would say an unkind word to him, especially with their cameras rolling."
The official MRC policy, of course, is that no one is allowed to say anything nice about Obama and to attack anyone who does -- and that goes double for his wife.
This was illustrated in a May 25 NewsBusters post by Mike Bates aghast that people would say something nice about Michelle:
Bates' gratuitous use of middle names is indicative of his hatred for the couple. Another is his nitpicking of one AP article's statement that Michelle Obama "gained more fans during her state visit to the U.K.": "How does the AP know that Mrs. Obama gained fans? Did they take a survey pre- and post-warm handshake?"
Bates is even shocked that that avatar of journalistic objectivity, Access Hollywood, said nice things about her.
This isn't media criticism; it's just hate.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
WND Labeling Bias Watch
A May 25 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein is quick to label Media Matters (disclosure: our employer) as a "liberal advocacy group funded by philanthropist George Soros," but none of the conservative organizations Klein cites to attack Soros and other related groups -- such as the Media Research Center, the Capital Research Center, and FrontPageMag -- are identified as conservative. Even UndueInfluence.com, which bills itself as "Ron Arnold's Left Tracking Library ...because something just doesn't feel RIGHT," gets no ideological label.
Klein cites a Capital Research Center report on ProPublica claiming that it "churns out little more than left-wing hit pieces about Sarah Palin and blames the U.S. government for giving out too little foreign aid," laughably ignoring the fact that the CRC report is itself a right-wing hit piece -- it largely complains that ProPublica doesn't uncritically push right-wing talking points -- and ignoring that ProPublica has won two Pulitzer Prizes on subjects other than Palin and foreign aid.
Klein's attack on the Center for Public Integrity is even more laughable:
Klein seems to have forgotten that WND published a lengthy series of articles attacking Al Gore before the 2000 election that began life as a CPI project (CPI ultimately parted ways with the authors). Of course, this was the same series that drew a libel lawsuit against WND by Gore associate Clark Jones, which WND ultimately settled out of court just before it was to go to trial by, in part, admitting that it made false claims about Jones. There was presumably also a financial consideration paid to Jones as part of the settlement, but that has been kept secret.
Klein also offers no evidence to back up his claim that the CPI report on the Bush administration's false statements about Iraq was "widely debunked"; the only purported debunking we could find was focused on semantics, claiming that "Being proven wrong is not 'lying.'" Maybe Klein's researcher, Brenda J. Elliott -- who helped put together Klein's factually deficient smear piece -- could enlighten us.
CNS' Starr Shills for Oil Industry
The Media Research Center has received $412,500 in funding from ExxonMobil since 1998. This money presumably manifests itself in things like CNSNews.com reporter Penny Starr essentially doing PR work for the oil industry through "news" articles.
Take, for example, a May 26 article by Starr that uncritically reports on a PowerPoint presentation given by the John Felmy, chief economist at the American Petroleum Institute, the lobbying and promotion arm of the oil industry:
Starr makes no effort to seek out anyone who might be critical of the API's claims. Failure to pursue such an journalistic effort, one can easily assume, is why ExxonMobil is giving the MRC all that money.
Starr also shilled for the oil industry in a May 20 CNS article, in which she also repeated the API line about ownership and taxes. Starr also tried to play gotcha with Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill -- who has been leading a call to investigate possible price-fixing of gasoline by U.S. refineries -- by asking her if she knew how many oil refineries were owned by the top five oil companies. She didn't know, which caused Starr to gloat that "the five largest oil companies own 23 percent, or less than one quarter, of the 141 oil refineries operating in September 2010."
A more meaningful figure than the number of oil refineries owned, however, is the amount of refinery capacity controlled. According to Public Citizen, the five largest oil companies control 56.3% of domestic oil refinery capacity; the top ten refiners control 83%.Starr does seem to be relying on the API as her main source on oil-related issues. A March 17 article featured "reaction from the oil and natural gas industry on both sides of the U.S. and Canadian border," including the API, on federal delays in approving a new oil pipeline between the two countries. Starr touted how "pipeline advocates" claim the pipeline will bring "economic growth and revenue growth through taxes on the project."
Starr plugged the API again in a January 5 article, in which she touted API president Jack Gerard's claim that "if the Obama administration and Congress would allow the industry access to domestic oil and natural gas reserves, the United States would get the energy it needs, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and the government would add more than $1.7 trillion to its coffers." Like the earlier article featuring the API's Felmy, Starr sought no dissenting views.
By contrast, a May 12 article by Starr which began by stating that "Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), a great-grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller who once controlled 90 percent of U.S. oil production, criticized the CEOs of the top U.S. oil corporations for being “out of touch” and compared their business practices to Saudi Arabia at a hearing on Thursday of the Senate Finance Committee," made sure to include Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch's statement that Democrats were trying to “exploit high gas prices for political gain” and that they have “no energy policy whatsoever.”
With Starr serving as the oil industry's shill, it seems ExxonMobil is getting its money's worth.
Friday, May 27, 2011
Is WND Conceding Mike Guzofsky Is A Terrorist?
A May 24 WorldNetDaily article boosts Michael Savage's continuing crusade against the United Kingdom's ban on his entering the country, repeating a claim by Republican Rep. Allen West that "Savage was put on the U.K.'s banned-entry list with 'ruthless criminals,' including a Hamas terrorist and Russian skinhead" and Savage's own statement that the list includes "actual murderers and terrorists."
It can be argued that WND is now implicitly conceding that far-right Israel extremist Mike Guzofsky is a terrorist.
As we've detailed, when the banned-entry list first came out, WND originally described Guzofsky (aka Yekutel Ben Yaacov) as a "Jewish extremist," but then retroactively changed it to "Jewish nationalist." WND's Aaron Klein -- who has previously whitewashed Guzofsky's connections to the banned far-right movement Kahane Chai and has admitted that he "agree[s] with some of the sentiments of Rabbi Meir Kahane" -- ran to Guzofsky's defense, claiming that he's merely a dog trainer, ignoring the Kahane movement's history of violence.
Oh, and about Guzofsky's dogs? He told the New Yorker in 2004 that they're for scaring Arabs:
WND, as has become regular procedure, didn't name Guzofsky among the people on the UK's banned list. But the fact that it's willing to call the non-Savage people on the list terrorists suggests that it may be getting tired of defending Guzofsky.
Ben Shapiro: Jews Who Vote for Obama are 'Jews In Name Only'
-- Ben Shapiro, May 26 column, published at CNSNews.com
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