NewsBusters Shifts Into Equivocate-And-Denounce Mode On News of the World Scandal Topic: NewsBusters
Now that the Media Research Center has decided to weigh on the Rupert Murdoch-News of the World scandal (after trying to dismiss it a few months ago), it has fallen into its usual pattern of dealing with such things: equivocate and denounce.
Aubrey Vaughan writes on the former in a July 13 NewsBusters post:
For the past few days, everyone has relished the opportunity to pounce on the lack of media ethics by Rupert Murdoch affiliated tabloid News of the World, but are neglecting to recognize the lack of media ethics by much more mainstream media outlets on this side of the Atlantic.
Over the past three years, often to the chagrin of TV news audiences, Casey Anthony has been the star of the airwaves. Casey, a resident of Orlando, Florida, was indicted on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter, and aggravated child abuse following the death of her daughter, Caylee. Last week, Casey was found not guilty of these charges, and thanks to her previous good behavior in prison, is scheduled to go home Sunday. With her imminent release, brazen media outlets will soon begin duking it out to land the coveted first interview with the newly free Casey. Thanks to the thousands of dollars they put towards helping her throughout the trial, though, it seems that ABC News might already have a head start in the competition.
To help pay the bills, defense attorney Jose Baez revealed last March that Casey's team had accepted $200,000 from ABC News to help pay off her legal bills in exchange for exclusive pictures and videos. A spokesperson for ABC News told Mediabistro, "In August 2008 we licensed exclusive rights to an extensive library of photos and home video for use by our broadcasts, platforms, affiliates and international partners. No use of the material was tied to any interview."
It reportedly wasn't the first time ABC helped the Anthony family, either. Mediabistro reported that "[n]ewly released court documents reveal[ed] ABC News paid for a three-night hotel stay at a Central Florida Ritz-Carlton for the grandparents of murdered toddler Caylee Anthony," only days after Caylee's remains were found.
ABC also paid $15,000 to meter reader Roy Kronk, the man who originally found Caylee's decaying remains. He was paid for a picture he took of a rattlesnake in the woods taken in the same vicinity where he found a mysterious object that later turned out to be Caylee's decomposed body. Of course, with a payment that large, Kronk figured an interview was in the works as well, and within days, he appeared on Good Morning America.
Yes, Vaughan really thinks paying sources for scoops is no different than breaking the law by hacking into people's voice mail for story ideas. We don't dispute that paying sources is a serious ethical issue in journalism. But it's at least a few orders of magnitude smaller than the News of the World's phone-hacking.
Demonstrating the latter is Tim Graham, who attacked NPR for covering it at all:
Unsurprisingly, Fox-hating National Public Radio has eagerly embraced the nasty scandal of phone-hacking at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid, which included dastardly deeds like hacking into the phone messages of abducted 13-year-old Milly Dowler, whose parents thought she might be alive because a tabloid reporter was messing with her phone.
NPR was so excited by this scandal that they sent media reporter David Folkenflik to London, and he’s filed eight reports in the last week – and starred in a one-hour Diane Rehm Show devoted to the “Murdoch Tabloid Scandal” on Tuesday, in which the name “Murdoch” was used 70 times.
As he has before, Graham whined that NPR "the million-dollar grant NPR received from George Soros at almost the same time that Soros gave a million-plus to Media Matters for America to get cable operators to 'Drop Fox.' NPR should really try a fuller disclosure when it dives into scandals that please its liberal sugar daddies." Graham, of course, makes no mention of the conservative sugar daddies he must please by writing such things.
Meanwhile, Matthew Balan was upset that NPR reported on a self-described "geek socialist" who is leading a fledging boycott against Murdoch's News Corp. Apropos of nothing but the MRC anti-gay agenda, Balan concluded by noting that earlier in the year NPR had "spotlighted a homosexual activist's income tax protest."
CNS Falsely Portrays DREAM Act As Amnesty Topic: CNSNews.com
A July 12 CNSNews.com article by Penny Starr carries the headline "Durbin Characterizes DREAM Act as ‘Starting Point’ in Amnesty for All Illegal Aliens." But nowhere does Starr quote Sen. Dick Durbin using the word "amnesty" to describe the DREAM Act or any other immigration reform.
The article is an echo of a June 29 article by Starr with a headline that falsely suggested that Durbin called for "amnesty" when Starr quoted him saying no such thing. As we've documented, CNS repeatedly portrays the DREAM Act and other comprehensive immigration reform propsals as "amnesty" when, due to the numerous conditions imposed on illegal immigrants before citizenship may be granted, it is not by definition "amnesty."
Nevertheless, Starr follows up in a July 14 CNS article by falsely claiming that the DREAM Act was an attempt at "granting amnesty for illegal aliens."
Well, he was unhappy that we pointed out his false claim that ACORN is continuing to receive money from the federal government -- which is sort of impossible since ACORN has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the kind that results in liquidation of an organization, and that at least two government agencies have determined that the agency receiving the money, while descended from ACORN, "is not an affiliate, subsidiary, or allied organization of ACORN."
Vadum's initial response was to insult me, calling me a "douchebag" over Twitter. When I gave him an opportunity to prove me wrong, he huffed: "Oh do piss off. Facts are in my book & published opeds."
Vadum expanded his attack on me in a post at his personal website, declaring me to be a "useful idiot," a "paid character assassination [sic], professional liar, and all-around scumbag," and, finally, a "thin-skinned worm." Vadum hurls this torrent of insults at me, and I'm thin-skinned? He must be thinking of his publisher, Joseph Farah.
Again, Vadum punts on offering evidence to disprove my claim:
In fact, ACORN still exists, as I have documented in my acclaimed new book, Subversion Inc.: How Obama's ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers, and it is gearing up to resurface under a new name in time to help re-elect President Obama, a former ACORN employee.
If Vadum is so hot for me to read his book, perhaps he could send me a review copy so I can examine his claims. Somehow I suspect it's as fact-free as his insult-laden tirades.
Oh, and we're not done with Vadum just yet. Stay tuned...
Newsmax's Walsh: Illegal Immigrants Part of Obama 'Class Warfare' Topic: Newsmax
A 2011 poll indicates that people are losing faith in the public education system. As Andrew Coulson of the Cato Institute observed, “People will see the president’s budget as a definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over that has failed, and $2 trillion of federal spending has failed America’s children.”
The reason could be that the influx of undocumented foreign nationals is integral to the re-distribution of wealth by means of class warfare permeating the Obama re-election rhetoric.
Thewhiningcontinues in a July 8 WorldNetDaily article in which it is yet again suggests without evidence that White House press secretary Jay Carney did not call on Les Kinsolving because he knew what Kinsolving was going to ask and did not want to answer it:
The $37.1 million that White House aides make in salary apparently is off-limits to questions, as Press Secretary Jay Carney declined to allow WND White House Correspondent Les Kinsolving, the second-most senior reporter on the White House beat, to inquire about the benefits.
Kinsolving came to today's White House press briefing prepared to ask about the issue.
WND's suggestion that Carney is avoiding calling on Kinsolving because he doesn't want to answer tough questions is utterly dishonest. The more likely explanation is that Carney knows very well what a mendacious hack (and virulent homophobe) Kinsolving is.
As he is wont to do, Kinsolving uses his July 12 column to exact a little revenge for being ignored, making sure to note Carney's salary as he bashes the White House for giving raises, asking: "Have the number – and costs to the taxpayers – of the staffers of the president and the first lady shown either restraint or compassion for the millions of Americans unemployed?"
Is such pettiness the sign of a journalist who has earned the privilege of being taken seriously? Common sense says no.
Another Fluffing Nexus for Newsmax's Kessler Topic: Newsmax
It appears that Ronald Kessler's infatuation with Donald Trump's presidential ambitions is over for good.
Kessler's July 11 Newsmax column returns to fluffing his first presidential love, Mitt Romney:
In the stock market, it’s known as the whisper number. It’s the stock market analysts’ consensus on what earnings a company will report. Because they give their forecasts anonymously, the analysts tend to be more honest. Over time, the whisper number has proven to be more accurate than the figure analysts cite on the record.
In politics, it works the same way. When speaking publicly, conservative leaders usually hedge their bets. They don’t want to be seen as favoring one candidate over another.
In private, it’s a different matter. In those off-the-record conversations, a range of conservative leaders I have chatted with favor Mitt Romney for president.
Kessler does cite one conservative on the record -- his old buddy David Keene. This is the second column in the past month in which Kessler worked in both Romney and Keene.
In an apparent attempt to make President Obama look out of touch and elitist, a July 11 CNSNews.com article by Eric Scheiner truncates a remark made by Obama at a press conference:
At a White House press conference today, President Barack Obama said that "professional politicians" understand the debt crisis better than "the public."
Obama was responding to a question from CBS News Reporter Chip Reid. “The latest CBS News poll showed that only 24 percent of Americans said that you should raise the debt limit to avoid an economic catastrophe," said Reid. "There’s still 69 percent who oppose raising the debt limit. So, is it the problem that you and others have failed to convince the American people that we have a crisis here and how are you going to change that?”
Obama responded: “Let me distinguish between professional politicians and the public at large. You know, the public is not paying close attention to the ins and outs of how a Treasury auction goes. They shouldn’t. They’re worrying about their family, they’re worrying about their jobs. They’re worrying about their neighborhood. They have got a lot of other things on their plate. We’re paid to worry about it.”
In fact, the full context of the remark shows that Obama was pointing out that Americans could be shown to support an increase in the debt ceiling if they were fully and accurately informed about the consequences of not doing so by the very "professional politicians" who have been tasked with solving the crisis:
Well, let me distinguish between professional politicians and the public at large. The public is not paying close attention to the ins and outs of how a Treasury option goes. They shouldn’t. They're worrying about their family; they're worrying about their jobs; they're worrying about their neighborhood. They've got a lot of other things on their plate. We're paid to worry about it.
I think, depending on how you phrase the question, if you said to the American people, is it a good idea for the United States not to pay its bills and potentially create another recession that could throw millions of more people out of work, I feel pretty confident I can get a majority on my side on that one.
And that's the fact. If we don't raise the debt ceiling and we see a crisis of confidence in the markets, and suddenly interest rates are going up significantly, and everybody is paying higher interest rates on their car loans, on their mortgages, on their credit cards, and that's sucking up a whole bunch of additional money out of the pockets of the American people, I promise you they won’t like that.
Now, I will say that some of the professional politicians know better. And for them to say that we shouldn’t be raising the debt ceiling is irresponsible. They know better.
And this is not something that I am making up. This is not something that Tim Geithner is making up. We’re not out here trying to use this as a means of doing all these really tough political things. I'd rather be talking about stuff that everybody welcomes -- like new programs or the NFL season getting resolved. Unfortunately, this is what's on our plate. It’s before us right now. And we’ve got to deal with it.
So what you’re right about, I think, is, is that the leaders in the room here at a certain point have to step up and do the right thing, regardless of the voices in our respective parties that are trying to undermine that effort.
I have a stake in John Boehner successfully persuading his caucus that this is the right thing to do, just like he has a stake in seeing me successfully persuading the Democratic Party that we should take on these problems that we’ve been talking about for too long but haven’t been doing anything about.
The video clip accompanying Scheiner's article similarly truncates Obama's remark, leaving out the full context.
Newsmax Declares Latest Financial Scheme 'The Ultimate Act of Patriotism!' Topic: Newsmax
Uh-oh -- it looks like Newsmax is brewing up another financial scheme. But not just any financial scheme, to be announced in a July 14 webcast: it's "The Ultimate Act of Patriotism!"
I'm calling on all Americans to come together on July 14 at noon (Eastern Time) for a very important online event led by famed economist Robert Wiedemer.
This powerful Internet meeting is called The Aftershock Survival Summit.
And, it's critical you attend because we will be discussing:
The total scope of the inflation nightmare. And why, regardless of how bad it gets, the early stages will be the most destructive to your wealth.
Why esteemed housing expert Robert Shiller underestimated his prediction that home prices could drop another 25%. And, you'll discover when the next big plunge is going to occur.
The date the stock and bond markets could collapse. And how this could impact your seemingly “safe” investments like life insurance and mutual funds.
The time period when we could see a historic surge in unemployment.
The uncomfortable truth that America may now be past the point of no return. And, our economy has gotten so bad that even actions like those President Reagan took in the 1980s may not be able to save us today.
What life in America will be like in the days of the “Aftershock.”
Most importantly, the investment, retirement, and personal finance guidance you NEED to protect you and your family.
Because, really, what could be more patriotic than taking part in a Newsmax financial scheme -- and throwing your fellow Americans under the bus in an attempt to cash in on said scam?
Did WND Create Another Birther Affidavit? Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 11 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh touts an affidavit, "a copy of which was obtained by WND," by so-called document expert Doug Vogt "there was a plan to mislead the American public" about President Obama's birth certificate, "and it went as high as the Oval Office."
So how did WND obtain a copy of this affidavit? Did it create this affidavit for Vogt to sign?
Remember, birther Tim Adams told a radio show that WND-affiliated lawyers created an affidavit for him to sign in which he claimed that he was told there was no copy of Obama's birth certificate in Hawaii state archives -- a claim seemingly disproven by Obama's release of said certificate in April. Also remember that WND editor Joseph Farah shut down a press conference rather than answer a question about the affidavit.
Well, whoever created this affidavit for Vogt did a horrible job, to the point where it may very well not be considered legally valid. The first page carries a date of July 4, but the notary public's signature carries a date of May 10 -- nearly two months earlier. This strongly suggests that Vogt's affidavit was altered after the notary signed it, which we can't imagine is legal.
Further, the final page of the affidavit on which the notary's signature appears is noticably different in appearance than the previous five pages -- it looks like a faded photocopy, while the other five pages appear to be a direct export into a PDF file.
We're not lawyers, but we suspect such obvious discrepancies -- which you wouldn't expect to see coming from a self-proclaimed "expert in documents, typesetting, imaging, scanners and document imaging programs" who is trying to disprove the authenticity of another digital document -- invalidate Vogt's affidavit.
Meanwhile, WND's omerta on anything that contradicts its birther agenda continues as Unruh fails to mention the existence of a detailed analysis that disproves Vogt's analysis.WND has repeatedly failed to tell its readers of this analysis even as it touts Vogt.
So we have a highly questionable affidavit from a so-called "expert" that WND itself may have created for the sole purpose of doing a story on it, just like it did with the Adams affidavit. It seems that neither Vogt nor WND can be trusted.
Flashback: When The MRC Whitewashed News of the World Scandal Topic: Media Research Center
Over the past week, the Media Research Center has been utterly silent about the planet's biggest journalism scandal: the widespread phone-hacking conducted by the British newspaper News of the World, a scandal so severe that owner Rupert Murdoch felt he had to shut down the 168-year-old paper to stave off criticism.
Why the blackout? Perhaps because it, like Fox News, is a Murdoch property, and we know how much the MRC looooves Fox News. But there's also the inconvenient fact that the last time the MRC addressed News of the World's phone-hacking, it was the purpose of trying to discredit the investigation into it.
Tim Graham used an April 13 NewsBusters post to attack NPR for reporting on the phone-hacking. While Graham called it "disreputable media conduct," he also sought to minimize the scandal by claiming that "the socialist newspaper The Guardian has been all over this story." In case Graham's ideological bias wasn't clear enough, he emphasized the point later on by complaining that one person NPR interviewed writes "for that socialist newspaper The Guardian -- where he presently has a blog on media."
Graham even ran to the defense of former News of the World editor Andrew Coulson, asserting that there was a slant to NPR's story "Wouldn't the average listener conclude that NPR was saying Coulson was culpable in the scandal?" Given that Coulson has since been arrested on charges related to the phone-hacking, it appears that NPR has been vindicated.
Graham was also hacked off that NPR wasn't shilling for his preferred right-wing causes: "Not being investigated by NPR: close ties between international financier George Soros and NPR -- not to mention NPR's intense ties to the Obama political establishment."
Finally, Graham drew a false equivalence between the News of the World phone-hacking and a late-1990s case in which someone "hacked" a phone call by then-House Republican Leader Newt Gingrich. Of course, that's not exactly what happened; it was recorded over a legally purchased police scanner that could pick up the frequency Gingrich's cell phone was using. News of the World, by contrast, was actively obtaining passwords to the voice mail of their targets and, in the case of missing British girl Milly Dowler, was actively deleting messages, thus giving her parents and authorities hope that she was still alive (she was later found dead).
That's why you haven't heard anything about this at the MRC for a while. In fact, it wasn't until today that it has mentioned News of the World since Graham's post three months ago.
A NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock laughably tries to suggest that actions by editor Tina Brown were just as "amoral" as those done by News of the World. Whitlock's evidence? Brown saying on "Morning Joe" that Republicans who oppose raising the debt limit were acting like "suicide bombers" and ... the Newsweek cover with Princess Diana added to a picture of Kate Middleton.
Yeah, Photoshopping someone into a picture is just as bad as hacking the voice mail of a missing child.
Meanwhile, an MRC TimesWatch post by Clay Waters tries to equivocate the scandal away, huffing that the New York Times was "piling on" the News of the World scandal by "featur[ing] various angles of the story on its front page for 5 out of the last 7 days, plus multiple stories in the International News section on every aspect of the sleazy saga," while it "was far less aggressive in its coverage of an American media scandal, the September 2004 attempt by the CBS News show '60 Minutes' to bring down George W. Bush with forged documents."
At least Waters conceded the the News of the World scandal is "sleazy," which is more than we've seen from the rest of the MRC. But will any MRC denounce the scandal unequivocally, without comparing it to older controversies? Don't count on it.
Sheppard followed that one up with his adamant approval of Coulter's insult of someone who not only wasn't even on the show but is a private citizen, declaring that guest Chris Hayes' mother is 'a drain on society" because she works for the government. The vast majority of people would consider such an attack on a private citizen to be unwarranted and excessively mean -- especially since Coulter can't possibly know Hayes' mom and is in no position to judge her -- but Sheppard loves it anyway, concluding by shorting, "Game, set match."
So the MRC has gone from mere hostility to expression of liberal views to cheering on insults of anyone who is not conservative. Of course, if it wasn't for this sort of thing, the MRC would have no "media criticism" at all.
WND Baselessly Claims Stimulus Money Went to ATF's 'Fast and Furious' Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 9 WorldNetDaily article by Michael Carl forwards the idea that a $10 million earmark in the stimulus bill for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' Project Gunrunner means that a program known as "Fast and Furious" in which Mexican drug runners were allowed to buy weapons in the U.S. "originated at the highest levels of the Obama administration" and that, according to Gun Owners of America President Larry Pratt, "stimulus money was given to a drug dealer to buy guns."
In fact, Media Matters points out that none of the stimulus money earmarked for Project Gunrunner went to Arizona, where the "Fast and Furious" operation took place; that money was used establish field offices in California, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico, hire employees (none of whom worked in Arizona), and purchase armored vehicles.
Carl is also falsely conflating "Fast and Furious" with the much larger Gunrunner program. Even right-wing blogger Bob Owens notes that "Gunrunner is a long-term cartel weapons interdiction program that kicked off during the previous administration," and "there is no indication that Gunrunner has ever been anything but above-board."
MRC's Strange Idea of MSNBC's 'Journalism' Topic: Media Research Center
A July 7 Media Research Center item by Geoffrey Dickens marks MSNBC's 15th anniversary by highlighting a cliip from each year to prove "the Lean Forward network's decade-and-a-half long devotion to advancing the cause of liberalism under the guise of journalism."
Just one little problem: At least 10 of those clips appear to be from opinion shows, not news segments. We're treating "Internight," which aired in the late 1990s, as "news," but we haven't seen the show enough to say for sure whether it is.
In other words, Dickens and the MRC aren't really criticizing liberal journalism -- they're criticizing the fact that liberal opinions were uttered. Is that "media research"? Not really. Is that partisan bashing due to disagreement with the point of view being expressed? Absolutely.
On the heels of a new economic forecast showing that the domestic and international economy is tanking, and with new turmoil in the oil-dependent Middle East, both President Barack Hussein Obama and the minions of Democrats and Republicans who spend their time feathering their own nest continued to dis-serve the American people with gamesmanship, intellectual dishonesty and outright treasonous behavior – all designed to further their re-election efforts.
Then there was President Obama's decision to "cleverly" force an end to the budget talks with Republicans – talks obviously designed to reduce the huge and life-threatening federal deficit. Obama and his socialist allies in Congress demanded huge tax increases as a quid pro quo to deficit reduction. This tact, taken to again appease Obama and his fellow Democrats' left-wing base, necessary for their re-election in 2012, would further damage the economy, stifle job growth and put a bigger dent in family incomes during what is in effect an economic depression. And, Republicans reacted quickly to take the bait for political ends, calling off any further talks to make them look strong to tea-party voters who had forecast correctly that the GOP would overly compromise during the talks. Tea-party votes are necessary for the Republicans to win control of the White House and total control of Congress in 2012.
Last but not least, President Obama ordered last Thursday that the nation's strategic petroleum reserves be drawn down to put more oil on the market, just temporarily lowering the price of gasoline for the summer months. Americans are overwhelmingly upset with Obama at his failure to curb the increase in gasoline prices. This executive order would jeopardize our emergency reserves at a crucial time when the Middle East is in turmoil, Libyan oil has stopped flowing to world markets, and the region may explode in war – cutting off oil supplies almost totally. While most Republicans objected, none to date has taken a strong stand against this reckless outrage. Obama's executive order was designed, again, to boost his chances of re-election.
Yes, Norman Mailer, a leftist, was "right" almost 40 years ago. That it took this long for the corrupt political pygmies of Washington, D.C., to bring the nation to the brink of disaster is the only miracle that is apparent.
Before my book "Whores" was published, I tried to contact Mailer to ask him to proudly write its foreword. Sadly, Mailer had died, just a few years before we Americans may soon experience the death of our nation.
When Constitutional scholar Barack Hussein Obama and the assortment legal advisers that surrounds him decided that the Commerce Clause authorized the federal government to force private citizens to purchase a product, freedom vanished from America.
With this newly declared authority, the federal government can force its citizens to do anything the government wishes. This omnipotent power is the same power exercised by the governments of Hitler, Stalin and all other despots who have denied freedom to their citizens.
I always find it amusing when Americans look down their noses at the English royals, as so many did on the occasion of Prince William's recent marriage to Kate Middleton.
We Yanks can trumpet our democratic ways all we like, but at the end of the day it's all so much idle chatter. We have our own form of royalty, but unlike England's, where the lineage goes back centuries and where they usually know how to carry it off with some dignity and panache, we're stuck with brain-addled actors, brain-fried rock stars, felonious athletes and the Obamas.
Even to the casual onlooker, it's obvious that Barack and Michelle have confused an election victory with winning the super grand prize on "American Idol."
It defies reason that elected officials should be arguing about whether or not to raise the debt ceiling, given where their borrowing has brought us. (This line of reasoning does not factor in the intentional economic sabotage of uber-radicals in the Obama administration, so bear with me.) Common sense would dictate that advocates of raising the debt ceiling would be too ashamed to admit it and that those in opposition would summarily refuse even to hear arguments in its favor, let alone negotiate the point.
As we celebrate Independence Day, the nation's birthday, a day marked by fireworks, flags, patriotic speeches, parades and reflections about a document that gives it all legitimacy and purpose, I can't help contrast our past traditions with our present attitudes.
The man occupying the highest office in the land has never been required to prove his constitutional eligibility to serve there. And recently, in a desperate bid to quell the growing controversy about that failure, he released a fake birth certificate – an obvious fraud.
We obviously have a different attitude about historical documents today than we once did. I can't understand why more Americans – especially the so-called watchdogs in the media – aren't curious about all this. I can only imagine some are afraid of what they might find.
But what bothers me most about our attitude toward historical documents today is our disrespect for the most important one for all for Americans – the Constitution, which set three simple eligibility requirements for presidents of the United States, one of which has never been proven in the case of the current occupant of the White House. In fact, as of now, all available evidence strongly suggests he is not.