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Saturday, July 16, 2011
Vadum Tosses Away GAO Report That Proves Him Wrong
Topic: Capital Research Center

Media Matters detailed how Fox & Friends promoted a claim that "ACORN" -- which no longer exists -- is still receiving federal money, only to back down after being contacted by a federal spokesman who pointed out that the figure Fox & Friends cited was the amount that was unspent and reclaimed from a 2005 grant. The spokesman's claim is backed up by a Government Accountability Office report issued last month.

Fox & Friends appears to have taken its information from a post by Matthew Vadum at Andrew Breitbart's Big Government website.

If you go to Vadum's personal website, you'll find a copy of his Big Government post. But before you see that, you will see a giant photo of Vadum taken from an appearance from Fox Business. That's taken from his appearance on the June 17 edition of Follow the Money, one of six apperances Vadum has made on that show since early June, according to a Nexis search.

Note that in the picture, Vadum is holding a copy of a GAO report on federal funding of ACORN. During the segment, he attacked the report for not hating ACORN as much as he does, dismissing it as "like teenage interns were researching on Google for a few hours" and accusing it of not detailing as many ACORN-related voter fraud convictions as he found (never mind that doing so was outside of the report's scope). In a dramatic flourish, Vadum declared that "you can just throw it away if you want" as he tossed the report behind him, pages fluttering.

Perhaps Vadum shouldn't have tossed that GAO report away -- it's the very same report that disproves his claim.

The GAO report references the grant Vadum cited at Big Government, a $527,000 grant awarded to ACORN Housing Corp. by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2005. A footnote continues: "The grant was closed with a balance of $461,086 not expended before the expenditure deadline." That's the same $481,086 Vadum claimed in his Big Government post that HUD "gave ACORN ... in January."

Vadum's Big Government post contains no update or correction at this writing, though the version at his own website has an update noting that a HUD spokesman -- the same one who contacted Fox & Friends -- pointed out that the money was "de-obligated and recovered," not awarded and spent.

There's a bit of irony in the fact that Vadum's website features a photo of himself holding a report that, had he actually read it closely instead of theatrically tossing it away, would have saved him some embarrassment.

(Adapted from a post at Media Matters.)

Posted by Terry K. at 9:21 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, July 17, 2011 10:52 AM EDT
Friday, July 15, 2011
Victoria Jackson: Like Hitler, Obama Has A Private Army (And A White Mother)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

1. private army (like Hitler)

2. socialist (like Hitler)

3. media control (like Hitler)

A clause hidden in the Obamacare bill, which is now law, gives Obama the right to form a private army.

Why isn't anyone freaking out?

Hitler did this.

Hitler, like Obama, was a "socialist" who came from a dysfunctional family, had a communist father who abused alcohol, womanized and sired several children from different mothers, had a white mother, suffered child abuse and neglect, moved often, lied about his birth and heritage, changed his name, was a narcissist, rose to power with the help of disreputable men, had the Rothschilds as financial backers, stirred up racial conflict and class warfare, wrote a biography about race at age 35, followed up with another book used to launch a political career, supported infanticide (partial-birth abortion), gave big speeches in stadiums, promised change and a new social order, had youth groups singing his praises, used propaganda, used voter fraud and intimidation, controlled the media, created "crises," used a poor economy, hated Jews (Israel), pretended to be "Christian," advocated population control and euthanasia, socialized medicine, formed a private army and then ... killed his political opposition with his private army.

Well, I am Obama's political opposition. That's why I am concerned.

-- Victoria Jackson, July 15 WorldNetDaily column

The reason nobody is "freaking out" about the "private army" stuff is because it's not true.

UPDATE: We were so taken by Jackson's full Godwin that we missed her boner at the end:

Remember, Cuba voted in Castro, and Germany voted in Hitler. If America votes in Obama for the second time,we deserve a dictator.

Actually, neither Castro nor Hitler were "voted in." Castro assumed power after the Cuban revolution, and Hitler was appointed German chancellor and later assumed presidential powers. (WND's Joseph Farah got that wrong as well.)

Posted by Terry K. at 5:04 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 15, 2011 8:48 PM EDT
Newsmax's Ruddy Defends Murdoch
Topic: Newsmax

Christopher Ruddy uses a July 12 Newsmax column to defend his former boss, Rupert Murdoch:

This news hurricane currently overtaking the media should really be re-titled “Time to Beat Up on Rupert Murdoch.”


Missing from all the sensational reporting is the fact that Murdoch is not well liked by the liberal establishment in Britain or in the United States. But this bias against Murdoch cannot deny the fact that Murdoch has played a key role in shaping our world today, including helping the West to defeat communism.

The allegations coming out of Britain are serious and should be investigated by the authorities, though I don’t believe Murdoch himself would ever have sanctioned criminal activities. During the mid 1990s, I worked briefly for the Murdoch empire at the New York Post. Such practices that have surfaced in Britain simply would never have happened at the Post.

Murdoch has, justifiably, moved to close his newspaper, The News of the World, and taken other serious actions to address these abuses.

In fact, many of the recent sensational press disclosures were actually provided to the official investigators by Murdoch’s own media company, which has been working closely with the police since the hacking allegations first arose two years ago.

Ruddy doesn't mention that one of the problems was that Murdoch papers were working a little too closely with police, as in bribing them to track cell phone signals of celebrities and others.

Murdoch as a victim of the left is a theme he repeats later in the column:

nd this really gets me to the guts of my story, the real backdrop: The left hates Rupert Murdoch.

Most Americans don’t know that it was Rupert Murdoch, an Australian and “outsider,” who came to Britain in the late 1960s and began shaking up the media establishment.

It was Murdoch and his newspapers that elected Margaret Thatcher, taking Britain out of its socialist coma. Were it not for Murdoch, it is doubtful the Iron Lady would have ever emerged.

Thatcher, with Murdoch’s support, broke the power of the labor unions and their lock grip over the British economy. Without Murdoch, there would never have been a Reagan-Thatcher alliance defeating the Evil Empire. And Britain would not be today a first-rate European power.

Murdoch was not just a player in this. He was the key player.


Murdoch and his paper saved our greatest city, New York. Back in the ’70s, the Big Apple was on the brink of insolvency.

Indeed, New York was on the path to become another Detroit; that is, until Murdoch decided to use the Post, then the third-most-read daily, to endorse Ed Koch, a dark-horse candidate and Democratic congressman in the 1977 mayoral election. Murdoch cleverly used a lottery style marketing program called Wingo, which, in the months leading up to the mayoral election, caused the Post’s circulation to mushroom.

Koch won that election handily, thanks to Murdoch. In my book, Koch saved New York by rolling back the power of the municipal unions that were a key factor in leading the city toward bankruptcy.

We suspect Ruddy wouldn't be so eager to paper over this scandal if Murdoch wasn't so conservative-friendly.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:09 PM EDT
Farah: Approving HPV Vaccination Was A 'Mistake' For Perry
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a July 11 column explaining why Rick Perry can beat President Obama in the 2012 election, Joseph Farah also takes time to list a few of Perry's "mistakes":

One of the biggest came in 2007 when he signed an executive order that required every sixth-grade girl in Texas to be vaccinated for the HPV virus – a sexually transmitted disease. He needs to explain clearly why this was a mistake he will never make as governor again, nor as president.

Nor did he mention why Perry issued the order: because HPV is a major cause of cervical cancer and, according to Perry, "The HPV vaccine provides us with an incredible opportunity to effectively target and prevent cervical cancer."

Farah does not explain why trying to prevent cervical cancer is a "mistake."

WND has long fearmongered about vaccines, even promoting the discredited link between vaccines and autism, but Farah does none of that here; instead, he suggests that the HPV vaccination is somehow icky because it's a "sexually transmitted disease." Farah also ignores the reason sixth-grade girls are being targeted -- because the vaccine being used, Gardasil, works best before a person has contact with HPV.

You'd think that Farah would have been chastened about its promotion of the vaccine-autism link -- the first report of its discrediting in an original WND article occured in a column, not a "news" item -- but he apparently cares more about fearmongering than the truth.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:55 AM EDT
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."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:03 AM EDT
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Palling-Around-With-Terrorists Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah is once again guest-hosting the radio show of G. Gordon Liddy.



Posted by Terry K. at 10:04 PM EDT
CNS Falsely Portrays DREAM Act As Amnesty

A July 12 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."

Posted by Terry K. at 3:02 PM EDT
Vadum Strikes Back (And Whiffs)
Topic: Capital Research Center

Remember Matthew Vadum? You know, the guy who thinks we're inciting civil unrest and can't research his way out of a wet paper bag?

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...

Posted by Terry K. at 11:54 AM EDT
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.

-- James Walsh, July 11 Newsmax column

Posted by Terry K. at 9:14 AM EDT
Les Kinsolving Whining Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The whining continues 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.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:31 AM EDT
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
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.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:35 PM EDT
CNS Selectively Edits Obama Remark

In an apparent attempt to make President Obama look out of touch and elitist, a July 11 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.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:42 PM EDT
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?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:06 AM EDT
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.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:42 AM EDT
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
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.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:59 PM EDT

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