AIM Runs to Murdoch's Defense Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media has issued a press release quoting Roger Aronoff telling us not to rush to judgment on Rupert Murdoch over the News of the World phone-hacking scandal:
“While clearly some of the practices of News Corp’s News of the World involving hacking into emails and cell phone messages were quite despicable, leading to the paper being shut down, it is premature to assume individual criminal liability, or that Rupert Murdoch media properties in this country engaged in similar practices,” Aronoff said. “We were reminded in the DSK case that the presumption of innocence still matters in this country, despite the charges.”
“The Left smells blood, and would love to see Fox News in particular somehow implicated and weakened by this scandal,” added Aronoff. “But it should be remembered that Murdoch has done much to counter the weight of the liberal influence in the mainstream media by allowing conservative voices a platform, which has helped shape the debate on many issues in this country, and for that he should be applauded. Beyond that, we should reserve judgment until the facts are known.”
Meanwhile, AIM has yet to apologize for its own rush to judgment in uncritically repeating attacks on Leon Panetta by discredited foreigner Trevor Loudon in an attempt to derail Panetta's nomination as secretary of defense. Not only have Loudon's attacks been discredited, they didn't work; the Senate unanimously approved Panetta's nomination.
Kessler Writes About Another Man's Wife (Again) Topic: Newsmax
Ronald Kessler takes interest in the wife of another man in his July 20 Newsmax column, featuring the view of the wife of Juan Williams as part of the publicity campaign for Williams' new book.
Kessler take a straightforward approach to interviewing Williams' wife -- which stands in sharp contrast to his creepily fawning treatment of the wife of Mitt Romney, in which he devoted an entire paragraph to her "truly unbelievable smile."
MRC Has Trouble Admitting Conservative Website Broke Bachmann Story Topic: Media Research Center
The story of Michele Bachmann's migraines has been the sensation of the week in the political world, but the Media Research Center has had trouble dealing with one inconvenient fact: The story was first published by a conservative outlet, the Daily Caller.
A July 20 TimesWatch post by Clay Waters was in straightforward denial mode. While bashing the New York Times for latching onto the story, he acknowledged that the Daily Caller first reported it and denounced it as an "anonymously sourced report," but he failed to note the Caller's conservative ideology.
NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein, meanwhile, sought to distract from that inconvenient fact. Finkelstein conceded that "the story first appeared in the conservative Daily Caller," but he attacked John Heilemann for pointing out that the story was not the product of a "liberal media conspiracy." Finkelstein then declared that the story's origin doesn't matter: "And consider that even if the MSM didn't originate the story, liberal outlets like the New York Times have gleefully sought to exploit it to Bachmann's detriment."
Such wholesale refusal to acknowledge, or insistence on distrcting from, such an obvious fact shows that the MRC is much more interested in being a right-wing political website than a "media research center."
CNS' Starr: DOMA Critics Are 'Supporters of Homosexual Behavior' Topic: CNSNews.com
In a July 19 CNSNews.com article, Penny Starr weirdly describes critics of the Defense of Marriage Act as "supporters of homosexual behavior." No, really:
The Defense of Marriage was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, and it says, in general, that for any federal purposes marriage “means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.” It also says that no state is required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in a different state.
Supporters of homosexual behavior, including same-sex “marriage,” responded positively to Obama’s endorsement of Feinstein’s bill, which would repeal DOMA and also ensure that same-sex married couples are entitled to receive benefits under federal law, such as medical leave and survivors’ benefits. The law would not, however, require states without homosexual marriage laws to accept such couplings.
Starr also puts the word "marriage" in scare quotes when it's being modifed by the term "same-sex."
WND Defends Shoebat Against CNN Trying To Find The Truth Topic: WorldNetDaily
Three years ago, we documented the holes in WorldNetDailiy fave Walid Shoebat's claims to be a former terrorist. It was only after CNN reported them did WND feel moved to action over it.
A July 16 WND article by Bob Unruh dismissed a two-night report on Shoebat on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" -- which went to Israel to find evidence to back up Shoebat's claims that he once firebombed a bank and served time in jail -- and found nothing -- was "gotcha" reporting, uncritically repeating claims by Shoebat's foundation of shoddy work and purported links to frequent WND target CAIR.
Longtime Shoebat ally Joel Richardson joined the defense with a July 18 column largely rehashing Shoebat's own defense. Shoebat himself sarcasticlally attacked CNN in a separate WND column.
Richard Bartholomew takes apart Shoebat's refusal to offer details about what his foundation has done for persecuted Christians, calling it an "evasive reply" on a subject other Christian organizations working in the same area are more open about. He continues:
The reply also claims that Shoebat’s name would not appear in Israeli records because he used his mother’s maiden name in his US passport. Shoebat claims that he couldn’t divulge these details to CNN because “CNN refused to offer privacy”; perhaps this is a genuine concern, but based on Shoebat’s statements and a bit of googling I was able to track down the name on the internet quite easily. So, once again, there is no reason why the “proofs” which Shoebat showed Daniel Pipes in 2006 should not be made public.
However, as I’ve written before: Shoebat’s back-story may or may not be true. The question of whether he’s an appropriate speaker at Homeland Security events can be assessed by looking at his statements, which are so excessive as to be absurd.
Shoebat claims that his legal name is his American mother’s maiden name, and that he refused to divulge it to CNN for reasons of privacy. But this is futile: from public statements Shoebat has made I was able to find Shoebat’s mother’s full name within a matter of minutes. There is no reason why Shoebat should not just be straight about it.
Indeed. Why won't Shoebat and his handlers simply offer up the definitive evidence it claims exists to back up his story instead of making others hunt for it and ridicule them when they don't match up with the secret evidence Shoebat has? After all, this story has been brewing for years.
Perhaps WND should use some of those investigative skills honed in hunting down President Obama's birth certificate toward such an endeavor. But they won't -- Shoebat is still useful to WND's agenda.
MRC Treats More Insults As Media Criticism Topic: Media Research Center
We'venoted how NewsBusters and its Media Research Center parent seem to think insulting liberals is the same thing as media criticism. This week has already seen more examples.
The headline of a July 19 MRC item by Scott Whitlock says it all: "Republican Joe Walsh Taunts 'Bully' Chris Matthews: Obama 'Sends a Tingle Up Your Leg.'" It exists for no other reason than to celebrate said taunting.
Meanwhile, a July 20 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard proudly promotes another taunt: "Michael Steele Laughs At Joan Walsh For Calling Obama 'The Reagan Figure.'"
WND Cranks Up the Gay-Bashing Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has ramped up its gay-bashing over the past couple of days.
In her July 18 column, Barbara Simpson went-on an anti-gay freakout over the new California law that requires schools to teach about the contributions of gays and lesbians:
The sexual material will be infiltrated into social studies and wherever else it can be inserted. It essentially requires that homosexuality be shown positively and as an equal and acceptable alternative lifestyle.
Parents will not be able to control content, will not be notified and cannot refuse to have their child participate in such lessons.
Now, with a stroke of his pen, Brown makes California the first state in the union to require students be taught about the history and contributions of homosexuals.
We're told students will be safer and respected, engendering a better understanding of homosexuals and increasing their ability to learn.
But, it's also instigating a social agenda that's a slap in the face of tradition, history, a decent education and the rights of parents to control and protect their children's upbringing.
Any doubts about social agenda? Laws already require teaching about minority groups -- women, blacks, Mexicans Asians, Europeans, American Indians and whatever else the state considers an underrepresented cultural and ethnic group.
Meanwhile, D.J. Dolce's latest WND video begins with her ranting, "Who's crazy this week? Gays are crazy." After referencing the California law adding the LGBT community to the list of those whose contributions must be taught in public schools (which Dolce's fellow WND denizens also don't approve of) and criticism of Michele Bachmann's husband for his controversial gay conversion therapy, Dolce then says of gays: "First you let them do their own thing in a corner -- 'Ah, they'll be OK.' Next thing you know, they're marching in the streets. You keep looking the other way, and then one day, boom, they throw you in an oven." Reacting to canned audience noise, Dolce adds: "You can 'ooh' all you want, but you've obviously not read 'The Pink Swastika.'"
As we've documented, "The Pink Swastika" promote the discredited view that, to use WND's words, "the Nazi Party is best understood as a neo-pagan, homosexual cult." Its co-author, Scott Lively, runs a ministry that the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as a hate group for Lively's anti-gay rhetoric. Lively is also reportedly one of the inspirations behind the proposed Draconian law in Uganda that would permit the death penalty for mere homosexuality -- a law endorsed by Dolce's partner, WND's own Molotov Mitchell.
WND, of course, sells the discredited screed in its online store. WND editor Joseph Farah has defended it, insisting that "I have failed to find one jot or tittle that has been undermined by critics" and whining that "I have been the victim of a malicious smear campaign in the homosexual blogosphere just for including the title in the WND Superstore."
Numbers Do Lie: MRC Cherry-Picks To Attack 'Daily Show' Topic: Media Research Center
"Numbers Don't Lie," states the headline on Erin R. Brown's July 18 MRC Culture & Media Institute article purporting to examine the political bias of "The Daily Show." Actually, they do, and Brown's article demonstrates it.
It was contentious and dramatic. On Sunday, June 19, "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace grilled funnyman Jon Stewart on his obvious liberal bias and Stewart replied, "… there is not a designed ideological agenda on my part to affect partisan change ..."
The exchange got heated when Stewart held that line, telling Wallace, "You can't understand, because of the world you live in, that there is not a designed, ideological agenda on my part to affect partisan change, because that's the soup you swim in."
Well, "designed" or not, Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" mocks the right far more than it does the left, and a survey of the 16 broadcasts since the Wallace-Stewart run-in proves it.
CMI found that Stewart went after Republicans and Fox News (which he labels "conservative") almost four times as often as liberals and Democrats in just three weeks of shows. However the next eight broadcasts proved that Stewart just couldn't help but show his true, partisan colors.
Note the small, selective sample size -- just 16 shows in a particular three-week span. Brown's cherry-picked sample excludes the shows in the three weeks running up to Stewart's "Fox News Sunday" -- which just happen to feature numerous attacks on former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner.
Funny how Brown chose not to include those shows in her analysis, isn't it? You'd think that the MRC was interested more in partisan politics than "media research" or something. But such shoddy "research" is all too emblematic of the MRC's approach.
Aaron Klein's Desperate Attack On Obama Nominee Topic: WorldNetDaily
Aaron Klein is pushing some pretty thin gruel in his July 18 WorldNetDaily attack on Richard Cordray, whom President Obama nominated to head what Klein sneeringly described as "a new agency purportedly charged with protecting consumers from financial fraud."
Klein's killer evidence? The AFL-CIO expressed support for Cordray's nomination, and he followed the law while Ohio attorney general in providing state-paid legal support for three state employees accused of accessing personal information about Samuel Wurzelbacher, aka "Joe the Plumber."
Klein insisted on calling the state employees' actions "illegal" even though he also admits that the lawsuit Wurzelbacher filed against state officials was dismissed -- meaning no illegality was found.
Klein portrayed the state-paid defense of the employees as a misuse of funds by Cordray by citing numerous critics, but Klein failed to identify the partisan nature of those critics. He identifies the right-wing Judicial Watch only as a "group," he fails to identify Mike DeWine as a Republican who defeated Cordray in the 2010 attorney general race, and he failed to mention that David Yost is a Republican who was expected to run against Cordray in that same race until he decided to run for state auditor instead.
Earlier this year, we detailed how Newsmax gave fawning news coverage to Florida Senate candidate Mike Haridopolos without disclosing that Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy served on the host committee for a Haridopolos fundraiser that reportedly netted him more than $100,000 for his Senate race.
Ruddy's investment seems to have gone for naught: Haridopolos has pulled out of the race. A July 18 Newsmax article puts the best possible spin on it, claiming that Haridopolos quit "to focus on his current job as president of Florida's senate" and embedding a YouTube video in which he announced his withdrawal.
Needless to say, Newsmax didn't mention Ruddy's contributions to Haridopolos' campaign. They also didn't mention the scandals that have been dogging Haridopolos and undoubtedly contributed to his withdrawal. Fortunately, more honest and less partisan news outlets did, like the St. Petersburg Times:
In August, he could be deposed in the criminal case against former Republican Party of Florida chairman Jim Greer, who alleges the state fraud charges against him were part of a conspiracy by top Republicans, including Haridopolos. Greer says his fellow Republicans wanted to avoid paying him $124,000 in consulting fees.
Prior to the criminal complaint against Greer, Haridopolos and House Speaker Dean Cannon had signed a secret severance contract with Greer that promised him the fees. During the secret talks, Greer's lawyers say, the legislative leaders used go-betweens — including Bainter. Greer's go-between, Seminole County Republican Jim Stelling, said in a recent deposition that Bainter offered a $200,000 payment to make Greer go away.
"It's the right thing to do," Bainter said, according to Stelling. Bainter would not return calls.
Greer's lawyer, Cheney Mason, suggested that Bainter's departure from Haridopolos' campaign was tied to the criminal case.
"Some of the rats are leaving the ship because they won't lie under oath," Mason said. "I'm going to depose these political leaders involved in the conspiracy against Greer and give them an opportunity to perjure themselves."
The Greer situation was an embarrassment for Haridopolos, who denied signing the contract until Greer released it publicly in March 2010.
Later that year, as Haridopolos took over the reins of the Senate, he ran into a buzzsaw of controversy as he began laying off longtime staffers and hiring his friends and political acquaintances onto the Senate payroll, including future campaign adviser Arlene DiBenigno.
Before the 2011 session started, Haridopolos spent time defending an unusual $152,000 book deal with his former employer, Brevard Community College. Major universities, let alone community colleges, seldom pay professors to write books.
The book, Florida Legislative History and Processes, was full of such common-sense advice that Democrats mocked it by producing a coloring book — a maneuver that bothered Haridopolos, who warns candidates in his book about the challenges of running for higher office.
Newsmax previously gave Haridopolos a platform to explain away the book deal controversy.
UPDATE: And that's not all. Human Events notes an appearance on a right-wing radio show in which the host got so frustrated with Haridopolos' non-answers that the host kicked him off the show.
We are not making up Joseph Farah's July 19 WorldNetDaily column:
Hey, does anyone know who the real Donald Trump is? Does anyone understand the game he is playing right now?
I think I have insight.
Don't listen to a thing he says.
He has no problem with Barack Obama.
In fact, I believe with absolute conviction that he is doing Obama's bidding.
"But that's crazy," you might say. "Trump was all over Obama about that birth certificate thingie. Wasn't he giving Obama fits over that?"
Sometimes things are not the way they seem.
In fact, in politics, I find, things are often not what they seem.
Here's my theory: Trump is a very successful businessman for whom there's never enough money. I don't think he has any interest in politics beyond what it can do for his enterprises. I actually think he may have been involved in shaking Obama down for something he wanted with that birth certificate charade. Because he got cold feet when Obama released the phony birth certificate, now Obama is shaking him down.
To get whatever it is he wants from Obama and company, he may be asked to throw the 2012 election into chaos by running as an independent.
Evidently the stakes are very high.
What are the possibilities?
Apparently Trump wants to build the world's tallest building in Chicago.
Getting things done in Chicago means payoffs.
Those payoffs don't always come just in the form of money.
What else would we expect from the king of the birthers?
This indoctrination of children is one of the latest of a series of attempts to push homosexuality and transgender issues to children. California passed a 'gay history' bill on July 14, requiring public schools to teach students about gay figures in history. Another California school brought transgender clownfish into school to teach children that gender bending is okay during a two day "Gender Spectrum Diversity Training" session.
The media encourages this homosexual and gender-shifting behavior. A video featured on CBSnews.com approvingly highlighted a video of a boy "understanding" same-sex marriage in less than a minute. Pieces favorably profiling transgender prom queens and a 'Princess Boy' also appeared on the networks within the past year.
The message that gender and sexual orientation don't matter is being broadcast to children at full volume. As Raghava KK stated in his promotional video: "Children's books are full of propaganda."
He and the media just want to make sure it's liberal propaganda.
-- Paul Wilson, July 15 NewsBusters post ranting about an iPad application aimed at children that "shows a child interacting with two parents" but "shaking the iPad transforms the parents from male homosexuals to heterosexuals to lesbians."
AIM Wants You To Buy News Corp. Stock Topic: Accuracy in Media
Don Irvine uses a July 16 Accuracy in Media post to try to make lemonade of the lemon of the News of the World scandal, as well has offering some of the most ludicrous right-wing spin so far: Buy News Corp. stock!
The storm over the scandal that has enveloped Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is probably far from over, but in the meantime it has created a possible window of opportunity to pick up stock in the company at a substantial discount.
Thanks to this week’s sell-off, the stock is now trading at a 40% discount compared to its peers, Walt Disney and Time Warner, which is double the typical gap seen since 2002.
Just how undervalued are News Corp shares at this time. Citing a valuation from Barclays Capital, the Times reports that the cable news networks and the movie studio are worth $42 billion, which is equivalent to the company’s entire market capitalization.
Even liberals should be able to recognize a deal when they see one, especially one that they helped create.
Yes, Irvine really thinks the scandal-driven devaluation of News Corp. stock is a good thing.
MRC Downplaying Phone-Hacking Scandal to Protect Fox News Topic: Media Research Center
Months ago, the Media Research Center tried to downplay the importance of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal. Now that the scandal has proven to be even worse than imagined, the MRC is trying to mitigate damage by trying to separate Rupert Murdoch's U.S. operations -- like Fox News -- from his scandal-tarred British operations.
A July 15 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd gleefully reprints a blogger who "pours cold water" on the idea that there's something to the claim that News of the World hacked the phones of 9/11 victims. Shepherd added, without providing supporting evidence: "It's politics that accounts for the probe being initiated, not rational detective work. And it's politics that has and will account for liberal Foxophobes cynically using the development to openly fantasize about a media environment devoid of Fox News."
Meanwhile, Tim Graham went ballistic after the Washington Post published an op-ed by pornographer Larry Flynt criticizing News Corp. over the scandal, sneering, "After all, to the WashPost elite, pornography is just harmless fun, while Fox News is ruining democracy and civil discourse."
Graham made a big deal out of one of the phone-hacking claims Flynt cited against News of the World (which he misleadingly portrays as "some") being "debunked." Actually, what happened is that the British newspaper the Guardian had reported that Murdoch paper The Sun had hacked the medical records of then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown's infant son and discovered he had cystic fibrosis; The Sun claimed that it learned that information from "a member of the public whose son also suffered from the condition" and then discussed the matter with Brown before publishing a story on it. The Sun claimed that "Mr Brown was very co-operative at the time of the original story and was keen to be a friend of The Sun," but the Guardian stated that "their decision to publish the story clearly caused Gordon Brown and his family considerable distress."
Graham went on to complain that the correction in the Guardian "ran on page 36 – not exactly where the original story ran," but the Guardian noted that the correction appeared where corrections always appear. Funny, we don'trecall NewsBusters publishing a front-page correction to a false post, even though every post starts out there.
Graham even got himself quoted in Fox News protection mode in a Washington Post article examining coverage of the scandal:
“The radicals at the Guardian have clearly salivated to ruin Old Man Rupert,” said Tim Graham, director of media analysis at the Media Research Center, a conservative watchdog group based in Alexandria. The American media, he said, have joined in: “It’s blatantly obvious that this pile-on . . . is all about Murdoch and his perceived noxious effect on American politics and media.”
Graham singles out NPR, which has received funding from “Murdoch-hating” billionaire financier George Soros, as having “a special financial interest in going after Murdoch’s media properties.”
“We’re making decisions about the coverage of the News Corp. story, as we do with all stories, based on its importance and news value,” said Dana Davis Rehm, NPR’s head of communications. “This is very big news with global impact, and we’re really proud of our coverage.”
The non-Murdoch media’s larger goal, Graham said, is “to rid America of the Fox News Channel,” which has provided a prominent platform for conservatives.
NewsBusters also published a column by R. Emmett Tyrrell claiming that Murdoch is a victim of the "Kultursmog," which he defines as "that set of ideas and tastes that are utterly polluted by left-wing values and carried by the liberal news media to pollute people's minds." Newsmax published this same column.