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Sunday, June 5, 2011
AIM Misleads on Medicare Reform, Among Other Things
Topic: Accuracy in Media

James F. Davis writes in a June 3 Accuracy in Media blog post:

As for Congressman Paul Ryan’s health care plan, it keeps all benefits for those already in Medicare. The Obama misnamed ‘Affordable Health Care Act’ passed last year reduces existing benefits to seniors by over $500 billion according to his own Office of Management and Budget!

In fact, not only did Obama not cut "existing benefits by over $500 billion" -- the savings will come from reducing inefficiencies -- Ryan's Medicare plan keeps the exact same $500 billion funding reduction in Medicare approved in Obama's health care plan.

Davis then falsely claims that "there are fewer adults working in this country (58%) than at any time in our history. ... That means 42% of adult Americans do not have paying jobs!" In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the "Employment-Population Ratio" Davis is apparently referring to was below the 58.4 percent rate recorded last month between January 1948 and October 1977.

Davis also claims that there has been a "57% increase in food prices since Obama was elected." Davis cited no evidence to back up his claim, and we could not find any beyond an article noting that eggs have gone up 57 percent. Unless Davis only eats eggs, his number is probably not accurate.

Davis rather hilariously adds: "Facts are facts. Of course if you are uninterested or too philosophically close minded to be intellectually honest, you will continue to be fooled by catchy slogans and fear based demagoguery." You mean like what you're doing?

Davis, by the way, is a director of AIM. That explains a lot.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:29 AM EDT
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Newsmax Lets Ralph Reed (!) Denounce Political Corruption
Topic: Newsmax

A June 3 Newsmax article by David Patten claims that the John Edwards mistress/love child scandal is "igniting a backlash from tea party and social conservatives who say it’s another example of rampant corruption that is spilling across the Potomac and into America’s heartland."

And who does Newsmax talk to denounce said corruption? Ralph Reed.

That's right -- the very same Ralph Reed who received millions of dollars from corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff to mobilize Christian voters against casinos in Mississippi that would compete against casinos operated by Abramoff's clients.

Patten doesn't mention Reed's corrupt past. But he does let Reed pontificate about the corruption of others:

In an exclusive Newsmax interview shortly after the indictments were announced, Reed told Newsmax that the ongoing spate of scandals at the top levels of governance are directly linked to the flood of special-interest money and influence inside the Beltway.

“And frankly, it’s a pox on both parties, it doesn’t matter whether its Republicans or Democrats,” he said. “If government is too big, if it’s out of control, and it’s taking too much of our income, and it’s regulating our lives too much, then people try to influence it and they do so in a corrupt manner.

"What we’re about at the Faith and Freedom Coalition is electing men and women of principle and faith in God and of strong moral beliefs who can get in there and change the system.

“We can’t just put those people in the same system we have,” Reed said. “We have to elect them and appoint them, and then we have to change the system.”

You'd think Reed's experience with being part of the corruption in Washington would be relevant enough for Patten to note.  But as we've detailed, Patten is nothing if not a loyal conservative, and Newsmax has been working to rehabilitate Reed post-Abramoff.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:38 AM EDT
Friday, June 3, 2011
Corsi Baselessly Blames Birth Certificate for WH Counsel Switching Jobs
Topic: WorldNetDaily
In a June 2 WND article, Jerome Corsi pretends to read the mind of Bob Bauer, who is leaving as White House counsel to work for Obama's re-election campaign. Without a shred of evidence for support, Corsi claims that Bauer's change of jobs is "the result of his participation in the release of Barack Obama's "Certificate of Live Birth," which he fears would not stand up to the scrutiny of any serious investigation by the FBI, Congress or the media":

Corsi believes Bauer "felt compelled" to resign because of the growing substance to worries that the eligibility issue will blow up into a full-scale investigation.

"Bauer sent Perkins and Coie attorneys to Honolulu to pick up from the Hawaii Department of Health what he believed would be two certified copies of Obama's 1961 long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate," Corsi said.

"When the White House released to the public the birth certificate in the form of a PDF computer file obviously created on Adobe software and a Xerox copy, Bauer realized the Hawaii DOH had participated in the fraud," Corsi charged.

Of course, if there was actual "growing substance" to Corsi's claim that the birth certificate was forged, he wouldn't be pulling stupid stunts like claiming that an OCR scan of the certificate reveals secret "hidden text."

Nevertheless, Corsi has worked up an elaborate conspiracy theory about all of this:

Corsi said he believes the scenario developed this way:

Obama and Valerie Jarrett wanted to continue the stonewalling strategy they had used since 2008, relying on the short-form Certification of Live Birth and having Hawaii DOH claim that long-form birth certificate copies were no longer available, not even to Obama.

Obama and Jarrett had planned to use the forged birth certificate as an October surprise, just prior to the November 2012 election, if the pressure on Obama's eligibility remained an obstacle to his reelection.

But this strategy was overruled by White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley. He determined that a birth certificate, if it existed, had to be released now – to prevent the issue from gaining momentum.

"I believe both Daley and Bauer believed until recently that Obama was telling the truth and that the birth certificate was really there in the Hawaii DOH," Corsi said. "But when they realized that the last-modified date stamp on the computer file of the Obama birth certificate – put up on the White House website on April 27 – was that very same morning, it contradicted the idea the file was an earlier scan of the original Obama birth certificate in the Hawaii vault log book. What modifications to the file were being made at the White House? Was the file originally created at the White House? Why wasn't the file made and closed in Hawaii where the scan of the original document was supposedly made? Bauer realized the White House was lying to say a scan of the original document was being released."

Corsi said he's convinced that now top White House operatives such as Daley and Bauer believe there is no document in the Hawaii Department of Health that can withstand forensic analysis.

Not much of what Corsi has said about the certificate stands up to analysis either -- for instance, his embrace of the dubious claims of Doug Vogt.

By the way, Corsi promised us three articles forwarding Vogt's questionable analysis, but we've only seen one, and that was several days ago. What's up with that?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:27 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, June 4, 2011 12:01 PM EDT
WND Smears Obama Aide As 'Goebbels-Like'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It's old hat for WorldNetDaily's Obama Derangement Syndrome to go Godwin, liken President Obama to Hitler and other Nazis (not to mention the Antichrist), so it's sadly unsurprising for WND to hurl that same smear at Obama's aides.

In her May 30 column, Andrea Shea King slimes Obama staffer Jesse Lee as "Goebbels-like":

Hold on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen! What you're about to read will shock you. The Obama administration doesn't like negative things being written about it on the Internet. So "O" and his thugocrats are doing something about it. They've created yet another czar position, this one intended to "rapidly respond" to any unfavorable stories. First Amendment, meet Pravda.

How will the new "director of progressive media & online response" accomplish this? In Goebbels-like fashion, by reaching out to the progressive media with one hand and with the other, grabbing anti-administration "violators" by their throats, figuratively speaking. The White House is "going aggressive" in the online world, gearing up for the months leading up to the 2012 election.

Apparently, King thinks the White House is not allowed to respond to its critics.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:34 PM EDT
Gainor's Disclaimer Didn't Disclaim Enough
Topic: Media Research Center

The final installment of Dan Gainor's intellectually dishonest series on George Soros alleged influence in the media focuses on how a "George Soros-funded 'echo chamber'" is perpetrating a "war" on Fox News. Gainor concludes it with this disclaimer:

Disclaimer: This writer has been on Fox News numerous times and writes a column that often runs on He has never received any compensation from Fox.

That would seem to undercut Gainor's attack, whether or not Fox has ever compensated him. But his disclaimer isn't nearly long enough. He doesn't mention that his boss, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell, conducts reguiar weekly segments on the MRC's brand of so-called media bias on two Fox News shows, "Hannity" (Thursday) and "Fox & Friends" (Friday). Bozell appears solo in those segments, and no opposing view is allowed.

Further, the MRC is a reliable defender of Fox News, and its NewsBusters blog links to Johnny Dollar's Place, a right-wing blog whose main mission is to serve as a Fox News apologist.

Gainor's disclaimer was a good start, but it didn't come close to fully explaining the relationship between his employer and Fox News.

(And now, for my own disclaimer: I'm employed by Media Matters, one of the organizations Gainor cites in his article, but Media Matters has no editorial control over ConWebWatch.)

Posted by Terry K. at 12:02 PM EDT
Fact-Challenged Corsi, O'Leary Team Up for Obama-Hating Book
Topic: WorldNetDaily

If there was anyone who believed Jerome Corsi was acting out of anything but hatred of President Obama when he wrote his dubious birther book, those illusions should be completely dismantled by Corsi's newest work.

Yes, less than two weeks after "Where's the Birth Certificate" was released, WorldNetDaily is publishing another book by Corsi: "How Obama Can Be Defeated in 2012: A Battle Plan Based on Political Statistical Realities," co-authored with Brad O'Leary.

WND is even promoting it as "a kind of sequel to" Corsi's birther book, and it quotes Corsi as saying, "This may be the last best hope for ensuring Obama is not back in Washington in 2013," so they're not even bothering to keep up any pretense that Corsi doesn't have an biased anti-Obama agenda.

The book supposedly contains "the most extensive polling of likely voters conducted by anyone," which supposedly proves that "Obama is very beatable in 2012 – if Republican candidates and strategists follow some simple cues":

Polling for this mammoth research project was commissioned by "The O'Leary Report" and conducted by IBOPE Zogby International. It surveyed 10,000 likely voters – a massive sample size that you simply will not find in other polls due the high cost and sophistication required to pull it off. In contrast, your typical New York Times poll, which serves as fodder for daily talk shows and opinion columnists, has a sample size of fewer than 1,000 people and frequently surveys adults as opposed to "likely voters."

As we've detailed, however, Zogby has a lengthy history of inaccurate polling, and the Zogby polling O'Leary has previously paid for is filled with slanted questions and misleading premises designed to provide the results he's paying Zogby to produce. There's no reason not to think this polling is any different.

WND's suggestion that O'Leary spent a large amount of money to obtain a sample size of 10,000 for his presumably skewed questions is likely not true. As Zogby itself states:

Zogby has amassed a database of respondents that numbers in the hundreds of thousands and is growing by the day. These people have agreed to take online surveys from time to time, for no compensation whatsoever. They never know when they will be invited to take a survey, nor do they know the subject. This database is constantly expanding, and Zogby technicians are constantly cleaning the database of obsolete entries and updating data points on respondents.

When a survey is initiated, a random sample is drawn from this pool of potential respondents, and Zogby sends them an invitation to participate in a survey via email, which includes a link that will take them to the survey on Zogby's own secure servers. The link expires after one use, which is just one of many security measures Zogby has in place to guarantee the veracity of the polling methodology.

One can probably assume that Zogby's method of gathering a database of "hundreds of thousands" predisposed to answer polling (as opposed to the time-honored method of a random sample from a cross-section) does not generate costs exponentially more than a typical sample size. And as analyst Nate Silver points out, Zogby's online method has generated results more inaccurate than even other interactive online polling.

Given that neither Corsi nor O'Leary are known for their scrupulous factual accuracy, this joint effort is probably twice as inaccurate than either man working separately.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:33 AM EDT
Detecting A Theme
Topic: Newsmax

The following Newsmax headlines were taken from stories and columns appearing on the front page on June 2:

Obama Dragging Economy Toward a Great Depression

Obama's Policies Causing the Economy to Sink

Norquist: Obama Taking Country 'Right Off' Financial Cliff

Economic Downturn Could Doom Obama Re-election Hopes

Public’s Fear of Economic Meltdown Could Propel Romney Into White House

And Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy: The Great Meltdown

Anyone detect a theme here?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 AM EDT
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Les Kinsolving Whining Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The whining continues in a May 31 WorldNetDaily article complaining that White House press secretary Jay Carney didn't answer a question that WND White House correspondent Les Kinsolving didn't ask, once again dishonestly framing it by baselessly suggesting Carney knew what Kinsolving's question was.

The article notes that "A second question prepared by Kinsolving involved an evaluation of Carney's performance by former White House correspondents."  Yeah, displaying utter contempt for the press secretary is an excellent way to get him to call on you, Lester.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:00 PM EDT
Corsi's 'Expert' Birth Certificate Complaint Is Demolished
Topic: WorldNetDaily

This week, Jerome Corsi promised a three-part WorldNetDaily series on a claim by "international expert on scanners and document-imaging software" Doug Vogt that "the long-form birth certificate released by the White House is criminally fraudulent" in the form of a 22-page document Vogt claims to have filed with the FBI.

Obama Conspiracy, meanwhile, pretty much demolishes Vogt's assertions, not to mention his claimed credentials.

Don't look for Corsi to write about that, since telling the truth isn't part of his agenda.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 PM EDT
CNS Body Count Watch

Memorial Day has given an additional reason to rush out its monthly body-count tally of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan. Not only does Edwin Mora begin by highlighting that "The Defense Department announced 8 new U.S. casualties in Afghanistan over the Memorial Day weekend," he blames Obama for "62 percent of the total" casualties in Afghanistan.

As per usual, the word "Iraq" is nowhere to be found in Mora's article, thus hiding from his readers the fact that the troop casualty rate in Afghanistan is far outpaced by the peak casualty rate during the Iraq war. 

Posted by Terry K. at 8:45 AM EDT
Farah Reassures His Gullible Readers They're Not Gullible
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah spent his May 30 WorldNetDaily column being offended that the author of the Esquire satire post Farah plans to sue over "terribly gullible." Farah quickly reassured his readers that they are not gullible, that they are, in fact, "anything but gullible."

Then he begged them for money. We'll let World O'Crap handle the rest.

As for more emperical  evidence of WND readers' gullibility, we need only go to a WND reader poll from earlier this week asking the question, "At this point in time, where do you think Barack Obama was born?" A whopping 67 percent say Kenya, even though WND itself has conceded there's "no proof" to support the claim. Of course, lack of proof hasn't stopped WND from suggesting it's so.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:10 AM EDT
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Barabara Simpson Feeds WND's Misinformation Machine
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah admitted his opinion columnists put misinformation in their columns, and we see it yet again in a May 30 column by Barbara Simpson.

Simpson rehashes the hoary falsehood that returned a bust of Winston Churchill to England, but that's just the start of her parade of misinformation. She goes on to write:

Even his condolences after natural disasters sound robotic. His words are predictable after the floods and the tornadoes. Expected words, yes, but he hasn't said a word about Texans who are enduring fires which have blackened millions of acres destroying agriculture, burned thousands of homes, businesses and uncounted out-buildings and fences, killed thousands of farm animals and left at least two firefighters dead.

Gov. Rick Perry requested a disaster declaration but got no response at all.

Since Texas is a GOP state, it's clear why Obama ignored Perry. But in doing that, he also ignored every Texan, regardless of party.

Then, Houston was ignored as a permanent location for a retired space shuttle. Since Houston has been the heart of the space program, Obama's refusal to honor it is another act of petulant retribution more fitting for an adolescent who didn't get his way rather than the president of the United States.

Simpson is lying when she claims that Texas "got no response at all" to the wildfires there. In fact, the federal government, through FEMA, has provided the state with Texas with 22 Fire Management Assistant Grant declarations, which reimburses much of the state's costs in fighting the fires.

Simpson offers no evidence whatsoever that Houston was denied a space shuttle because Obama is engaging in "petulant retribution" against a "GOP state." NASA, not the White House, was in charge of deciding who got space shuttles, and NASA officials have insisted that they "completely followed" congressional directives in awarding them.

Speaking of petulant retribution, Simpson engages in that herself with more than a little Obama derangement:

Some call Obama the "man-child" in the White House. They're right. He's in over his head. He's so unequipped to do the job the presidency demands that the rest of the world laughs at him, and he's an embarrassment for all Americans and certainly, those we honor on Memorial Day.

As we've noted, that's the Obama-hating red meat Farah wants from his columnists -- not facts.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:07 PM EDT
WND's Massie Revives Bogus “Whitey” Tape Claim
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Much of Mychal Massie’s May 31 WorldNetDaily column is your typical right-wing rant that Michelle Obama is a “bitter harridan” who “has a deep contempt for white people in America.” But Massie also tries to revive one of the more discredited myths about her:

A tape that was reportedly filmed in 2004 during the Rainbow/Push Coalition Conference at Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church has mysteriously disappeared from public view. The tape allegedly showed Michelle Obama hysterically ranting about "Whiteys" and savagely attacking Bill Clinton as responsible for African genocide. The wife of Louis Farrakhan was one of the honored guests.

Massie seems not to have considered the possibility that the purported tape has “mysteriously disappeared” because it never existed in the first place. Obama’s campaign has stated that “No such tape exists. Michelle Obama has not spoken from the pulpit at Trinity and has not used that word.” Even conservative blogger Michelle Malkin noted that the purported tape was being hyped by “buffoons” whose claims about it were constantly shifting.

If Massie is going to embrace the idea of something that has shown no evidence of ever existing, it’s also likely that he’s not going to be too concerned about getting actual, provable facts straight. Indeed, Massie falsely claims that Michelle Obama’s Princeton thesis “was made unavailable until Nov. 5, 2008 (interestingly the day after the election).” In fact, Politico published it in February 2008 after receiving it from the Obama campaign  -- which Massie should know since he cited the Politico article in his column.

Massie, however, appears to be too busy bashing Michelle Obama as a would-be “hybrid Leninist” and President Obama himself as having “genetic predisposition to embrace Leninism” to get his facts straight.

(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)

Posted by Terry K. at 11:30 AM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC's Anti-Gay Agenda
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 >>

Posted by Terry K. at 7:31 AM EDT
Ellis Washington Serves Up Another Right-Wing Rant Masquerading As Socratic Dialogue
Topic: WorldNetDaily

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":

As the moderate, or "swing vote," on this court of last appeal, I am in essence a one-man dictatorship. If I choose to vote with the conservatives, then the Framers' original intent will be the law. If I choose to vote with the socialist wing of the court, then socialism, communism, anarchy and genocide will be the law of the land.

The law, the Constitution, is what I, Justice Anthony Kennedy, say it is!

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:

Just as my people, the ancient Greeks allowed systemic moral, religious and political perversions to rot the city-states from the inside out, so likewise has America allowed a small, cloistered, treasonous oligarchy to pass insanely pathological laws like freeing thousands of murderous criminals upon society. To add injury to insult, the justices fear no retribution upon their heads by the people. This criminal judicial decree violates every natural law in that the intended effect is to collapse American society in socialism, anarchy, nihilism and national suicide.

We Greeks called the release of such gargantuan wickedness upon society opening Pandora's box.

During this decadent age of effeminate, cowardly and ignorant men whose principles shift with the winds, what man, what heroic figure will stand tall, strong and true and say without equivocation like Achilles, like Hercules, like Prometheus … like President Andrew Jackson, who said in 1832 what needs to be said this day regarding the naked judicial activism of Chief Justice John Marshall? – "[Justice Anthony Kennedy] has made his decision; now let him enforce it!"

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.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:29 AM EDT

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