An Oct. 19 CNSNews.com article by Matt Cover highlights how "Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), who are seeking the Republican presidential nomination, said at Tuesday night's CNN-Western Republican Leadership Conference debate in Las Vegas that the religious faith of a candidate matters."
Both Santorum and Gingrich are Catholic; Cover identifies Santorum as such, but not Gingrich.
For an article that purports to discuss how a candidate's faith matters, Cover curiously made no mention of the biggest currently controversy regarding a candidate's faith: A supporter of Rick Perry, Rev. Robert Jeffress, delcared that Mitt Romney is "not a Christian" because "Mormonism is not Christianity. It has always been considered a cult by the mainstream of Christianity."
Indeed, a search of the CNS archive indicates that only one original CNS article has mentioned the Jeffress-Romney controversy, an Oct. 10 article that was focused on Santorum.
CNS has been carrying water lately for both Catholics and Santorum. Makes sense since Jeffrey (near as we can tell) and his boss, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell, are Catholic.
So much for its purported mission to "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story."
NEW ARTICLE: WorldNetDaily's Disappearing Act Topic: WorldNetDaily
WND doesn't apologize for getting facts wrong or even issue corrections over it -- rather, it tries to make embarrassing mistakes go away as quietly as possible. Read more >>
Cain Campaign Corrects Tim Graham's Attack on Criticism of Godfather's Pizza Topic: NewsBusters
In an Oct. 19 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham took issue with Washington Post writer Tim Carman's critique of Herman Cain based on his experience eating Godfather's Pizza. After noting that Carman wrote that Cain was campaigning "as if America were a midgrade Midwestern chain whose many problems could be solved with a few deaths in the family (read: store closings) and a tough-talking thug in a pin-stripe suit and fedora," Graham huffed: "Can’t a Post editor see that it might be impolite to equate closing unprofitable stores with Mob assassinations? Would they tolerate Barack Obama in the role of 'gangsta,' just let that be published?"
But Carman was doing no such thing; he was referring to Godfather's longtime mascot. Carman even said so later in his article, noting that Cain "brought back the original godfather character from the chain’s early years in the 1970s — a rubbery-mouthed Mafioso who loved to claim that Godfather’s was a 'pizza you can’t refuse.'" (You can see the original actor in the role in this vintage TV ad.)
Carman was also referring to the fact that "Cain’s primary weapon for reviving the brand was marketing" rather than any dramatic sort of innovation, as well as "Cain’s decision to downsize the chain’s ambitions" by locating outlets in "gas stations, convenience stores and the like."
Even Cain's campaign felt compelled to respond to Graham's misrepresentation. Graham added an update that acknowledged his error but still tried to salvage it anyway:
UPDATE: MRC's Matthew Balan notified me that former Cain communications director Ellen Carmichael thought my inference that the Post was referring to Cain as a tough-talking thug was wrong. She wrote on Twitter: "I love the MRC, but this piece is wrong. The pin-stripe suit & fedora 'tough-talking thug' is mascot of Godfather's."
It's certainly true that a reader might think the Post is referring to a Godfather's mascot...but does a mascot solve the chain's problems and execute store closings? I think the sentence is meant at least in part to tweak Cain as an "economic hit man," not refer solely to the mascot (and the mascot comes in later). But Tim Carman's phrase was the chain's "problems could be solved with a few deaths in the family (read: store closings) and a tough-talking thug in a pin-stripe suit and fedora." I'd say the Post should have more sensitivity toward a black Republican -- at least as much as they would have for Obama.
Graham also took an anti-elitist swipe at Carman, mocking him as "all grown up and writing articles about fine food" for his dismissal of Godfather's as "pies of no great distinction." Graham offers no opinion of his own on the taste of Godfather's -- he gives no indication he has ever tried it -- nor did he note a blind taste test conducted by Politico involving Democratic and Republican consultants as well as a local "foodie," in which Godfather's was universally panned.
P.S. As a Nebraska native like Carman -- my hometown is the home of the first Godfather's outside of Omaha -- who happened to eat at Godfather's on a recent trip back to the state, we can second Carman's analysis. The pizza I had was adequate but undistinguished, and eating there felt like a nostalgia trip. Even Godfather's founder, Willy Thiesen, has moved on to an upgraded experience: He now operates a restaurant that makes pizza in a coal-fired oven and offers wine paired with each pie.
Maybe today's Godfather's (and Graham) could take a little advice from its founder: "You've got to reinvent yourself. If you keep doing the same things you were doing, we've always heard, you get the same results. You've got to change yourself. Reinvent."
"U.S. Girls Just Dropping Dead"? No, WND Is Still Fearmongering About Gardasil Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily keeps up its dishonest and dangerous fringe anti-vaccine campaign against Gardasil with an Oct. 19 article by Joe Kovacs which carries the headline "U.S. girls just dropping dead." It repeats WND's previous scare tactics of highlighting adverse reactions to the Gardasil vaccine without offering any context of how they compare with other vaccines.
Kovacs claims that "26 additional deaths" were "caused by the shot" when, in fact, no such judgment has definitively been made -- he's merely regurgitating Judicial Watch's attacks. In fact, Kovacs concedes later in the article that the Centers for Disease Control -- an actual medical authority, unlike WND or Judicial Watch -- has found no "no unusual pattern or clustering to the deaths" to suggest they were caused by the vaccine.
Kovacs also repeats the claim that one so-called "expert on Gardasil," Christian Fiala, "claims the drug is not only dangerous, but actually useless in fighting cervical cancer" without mentioning that Fiala has been called "Austria’s most notorious abortionist" by one anti-abortion website.
WND is simply engaged in some very desperate fearmongering -- and it's veering far away from the facts with the intent to destroy a business. Maybe Merck should sue WND for defamation; if WND's own lawsuit against Esquire magazine is a guide, Merck might win.
Newsmax Slobbers All Over Roger Ailes Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax has posted a sneak peek of the upcoming edition of its magazine, featuring a lengthy, fawning profile of Fox News' Roger Ailes. Written by Deroy Murdock, a right-wing columnist whom Newsmax publishes, the profile is a predictably slobbering hagiography that attempts to whitewash Ailes' more dubious personality traits, copiously documented in other, less biased media, and minimizes Fox News' well-established right-wing bias.
Some examples of Murdock's fawning:
Media sketches frequently portray Ailes as a paranoid, bombastic bully. But it is difficult to match those caricatures with the man in person, who comes across as congenial and humble, in part due to a self-effacing humor consistent with his working-class roots. Try though liberals might, Roger Ailes is a hard guy to hate.
Other adjectives emanating from establishment wisdom are more brutal, labeling him “Crazy . . . evil . . . paranoid.”
The firestorm of controversy that surrounds Ailes was recently re-ignited by a Rolling Stone article titled, “How Roger Ailes Built the Fox News Fear Factory.”
The piece described Ailes in the most bilious terms possible, calling him “the classic figure of a cinematic villain: bald and obese, with dainty hands, Hitchcockian jowls and a lumbering gait.”
Despite the invective Ailes faces daily, he says he never will stop defending American values in order to gain elite approbation. “We’re losing our freedom of speech, we are losing freedom of religion, we are losing freedom of the press,” Ailes warns.
Despite Rolling Stone’s attempt to brand him as a raging homophobe, Fox News supports the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. “They come and meet with me every year,” Ailes says, “and Fox contributes to their dinner. We have our gay employees. I don’t have any problem. It’s not my business.”
Another common claim that Ailes tries to swat away is that his network echoes Republican talking points. The real focus of Fox News, he says, transcends politics in favor of traditional American values. “I program for working people who work hard, who want information to lead their lives, who believe in America, who believe in tradition, and are basically optimistic about this country,” he says.
Ailes practically pleads, hoping perhaps that someone, at last, will listen: “I know this drives everybody crazy, but they can’t disprove it because it’s true — we are fair and balanced. We let everybody come on this network, anybody who wants to come on with any point of view, and I think that’s what America needs.”
He adds this pivotal point: “Bias is not only what you put into a news story; bias is often what you leave out. And the other networks simply leave that position out. So we put it in.” Despite 15 years of continuous press scrutiny, no one has yet proven there is a vast right-wing conspiracy at Fox News to manipulate the news. “People think that Roger programs us and tells us what to say and what to do,” Greta Van Susteren tells Newsmax, also confirming Ailes’ generally hands-off management approach toward his talent. “In 9 1/2 years, I heard from him only once. In 2004, a Democratic presidential candidate’s underage son had a run-in with the police. Roger said, ‘Do not report that the son was arrested for stealing beer. That would spoil the kid’s life.’”
Remember, Newsmax attempted to buy Newsweek. Articles like this is what a Christopher Ruddy-led Newsweek would presumably look like.
NewsBusters' Double Standard on Nazi References Topic: NewsBusters
An Oct. 18 NewsBusters post by Paul Wilson expresses outrage that actress Susan SArandon referred to Pope Benedict XVI as a "Nazi." Of course, he was, a fact Wilson tried to downplay as much as he could: "The future Pope was forced to serve in the Hitler Youth at 14. But he was an unwilling participant, who deserted the German army before the war’s end."
Funny, we don't recall any similar outrage from Wilson -- or anyone else at NewsBusters -- at Glenn Beck portraying George Soros as a Nazi collaborator. Nor do we recall NewsBusters declaring all the right-wing attacks on President Obama as a Nazi to be out of bounds.
Aaron Klein's Anonymous Sources Get Another Story Wrong Topic: WorldNetDaily
Another anonymously sourced article by WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein has bitten the dust.
Last week, Klein granted anonymity to terrorists by quoting anonymous "Hamas leaders" as denying that an agreement has been reached for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was captured in 2006 by Palestinian militants during a raid on his military outpost.
Any chance Klein will issue a printed correction for the false claims of his anonymous and unverifiable sources? Don't count on it.
This is at least the second time this year that an anonymously sourced Klein article has been proven false. In January, Klein cited a senior PA official" to claim that "The Obama administration told the Palestinian Authority it will not veto an upcoming United Nations resolution condemning all Jewish construction in the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem." In fact, the U.S. did veto that resolution.
Don’t look for champagne, party horns, and confetti to mark President Barack Obama’s 1,000th day in the White House today.
Indeed, some might be forgiven for feeling that these thousand days of “hope and change” seem more like a thousand years.
Partisan discord — fueled by a president who seems unable to find any common ground with the opposition party — is rife and rancorous.
The economy is seeing its worst times since the Great Depression. Internationally, the country is bogged down in two major wars, while competitors such as China and Brazil take advantage of the mayhem to seize crucial economic terrain and key industries.
The president whose approval rating stood at a stellar 69 percent on Inauguration Day has seen his popularity dip deep into the cellar on several occasions, dropping below 40 percent. Independents have left him in droves, contributing to a midterm drubbing for Democrats that was among the worst in political history.
Patten cribs without credit from a Republican National Committee-inspired Fox Nation item on purported "facts" about Obama's first 1,000 days in office -- and even then, he can't keep from embellishing them into fiction. He writes: "Healthcare: Obamacare did not reduce healthcare costs as promised and is in fact responsible for increasing costs in 2011. Health insurance premiums are up 13 percent." First, Obamacare has not fully gone into effect yet so it's disingenous for Patten to blame it for cost increases; second, even if you do accept that disingenuous premise, experts have found that only a small part of the increase can be attributed to health care reform.
Patten includes the usual Obama-bashers in his article, such as Doug Schoen and serial misleader Betsy McCaughey. He makes no effort whatsoever to provide a balanced view.
In other words, just more hack work from a conservative shill.
WND Mad Kinsolving Didn't Get To Ask His Gotcha Question Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has yet another whining fit in an Oct. 13 article, asserting that Jay Carney "avoided" a question WND White House correspondent Les Kinsolving, once again baselessly suggesting that Carney knew the question Kinsolving was going to ask.
Even if Carney had known of the question -- which, again, WND presents no evidence to back up -- it's best that he did. WND reports that it was a gotcha question: "South Africa was boycotted [years ago] because of apartheid. If a Palestinian state is born that bans Jews, does the president believe that this administration should boycott it as the U.S. boycotted South Africa?" This was intended to build on an earlier gotcha question Kinsolving asked Carney on whether claims that a Palestinian state would be free of Jews was "Judenrein."
That's nothing but lazy speculation, but unfortunately it's the kind of laziness we've come to expect from the hack journalist Kinsolving has become.
MRC, AIM Try to Discredit Media Bias Survey They Don't Agree With Topic: Media Research Center
A Oct. 17 survey by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism found that in September, negative assessments of President Obama in the media "outweighed positive by a ratio of almost 4-1." That finding runs counter ro the right-wing meme that the "liberal media" is in the tank for Obama. So the top right-wing media watchdogs have tried to discredit it.
The Media Research Center's Rich Noyes devoted a lengthy article to countering Pew's claims, asserting there are "three major problems":
First, they didn’t study what most people would consider “the media.” Second, their definition of “positive” and “negative” press doesn’t match what media experts consider “favorable” or “unfavorable” coverage.
And, third, the researchers didn’t really even look at the stories — they let a computer (using an algorithm dubbed “Crimson Hexagon”) churn through the words and determine whether an assertion was pro- or anti-Obama (or Perry, or Romney, etc.).
Noyes complains that the Pew survey, which examined "coverage and commentary on more than 11,500 news outlets. This is a bad thing, apparently:
So for a study to include 11,500 news outlets (English-language only, the report says), the researchers have cast their net so widely that their study necessarily includes a huge number of insignificant or derivative news outlets — hundreds of iterations of the same AP story on the Web sites of local TV stations, for example. Such a study design makes it impossible to discover how the candidates were covered by the relatively small number of news media outlets that reach hundreds of thousands or millions of people each day.
[Pew also separately looked at “hundreds of thousands” of blogs, which again means that the few dozen top-ranked influential blogs are buried in a mass of data that includes vast numbers of low-trafficked and irrelevant sites.]
To study the news media’s effect on the campaign, researchers need to isolate the news media sources that are having the most profound effect — either at reaching the most viewers (like the big networks) or most influential at establishing a national narrative (like the New York Times or Politico). Throwing thousands of sources into one big pot — some with audiences in the millions, others reaching only a few hundred a day — just confuses the role that journalists actually have in setting the agenda and crafting a candidate’s image.
Of course, this runs counter to the MRC's "research" methods, which focus almost exclusively on the three major broadcast networks and deliberately precludes any examination of Fox News, even though it's the highest-rated cable news network. But then, the MRC doesn't really care about research; it cares only about advancing a political agenda.
Noyes then complains about Pew's methodology of identifying stories as "“positive,” “negative,” or “neutral” because they include "horse race" assessments:
Careful researchers would avoid blurring such “horse race” statements into an overall measure of good press/bad press. Back in August, both Rick Perry’s strongest supporters and his staunchest foes would agree that he was on top of the GOP preference polls — it’s not “the media” pushing a biased editorial line to say so. Standard measures of “good” and “bad” press include: assessments of a candidate’s personal integrity, ethics and job competence; evaluations of their policy proposals; and their capabilities as a candidate — in other words, those attributes that can make someone more or less likely to support their candidacy.
Including “horse race” assessments undoubtedly skewed the numbers in favor of Perry (who led most surveys until late September) and hurt President Obama, whose job approval ratings were on the decline. Plus, tallying overt “assertions” would also minimize the effect of daily news coverage (where the bias is usually more subtle), while boosting the effect of editorials and commentary with obvious opinions.
Our own work this campaign season shows that the national media consistently framed the debt story in a way that played to Obama’s agenda, and hit Republican candidates with mainly hostile questions premised on liberal policy assumptions. In an election context, those are big favors to the Democrats that cannot be tallied on a simple “positive” or “negative” scorecard.
Again, the MRC's "research" pales in comparison to Pew's. As we've noted, the MRC's attempt to judge questions at Republican presidential debates as "conservative" or "liberal" included no definition of what those words meant in terms of methodology, no complete list of the questions and how they were categorized, and deliberately excluded questions atdebates sponsored by Fox News.
Finally, Noyes complains that Pew used a computer algorithm because "it’s impossible that human researchers could cross-check even a tiny fraction of the coverage. Nearly all of the “anti-Obama” or “pro-Perry” stories were never reviewed by an actual researcher to check the context and meaning of the keywords the computer was trained to spot."
But mostly, Noyes is angry that Pew is trying to detroy the MRC's reason for existence:
The point of studying the media for potential bias is to make sure that journalists are not skewing the news before it reaches voters, so that the real decisions are in the hands of the people, not the media elites. For liberal journalists to hear that their profession is somehow skewed against President Obama can only encourage them to attempt to tilt the scales in the other direction. That’s a step away from the fair and balanced journalism that we need.
Actually, the MRC cares nothing about "fair and balanced journalism"; if it did, CNSNews.com wouldn't have such a pronounced right-wing bias. Its real goal is to try and discredit the media and create openings for organizations that will uncritically promote a right-wing agenda, like Fox News.
Accuracy in Media didn't like Pew's survey either. In an Oct. 18 blog post, AIM chief Don Irvine rehashed the same objections Noyes did -- too many media outlets examined, faulty computer algorithm. Irvine concluded:
If Pew was really looking for an accurate study of how the media have covered the presidential candidates then they should have used a more focused group of the top newspapers based on circulation, news sites based on web visitors and the broadcast and cable networks, which combined are far more representative of the mainstream media than the extremely broad definition they used. But that probably would have given them far different results and defeated their intended goal of making it look like the media have been far more favorable to Republicans – even to the point of being anti-Obama — which would only serve to help the President explain his low poll numbers and other struggles as he seeks reelection.
Nice try Pew, but this report smells of liberal bias.
Of course. If Irvine doesn't agree, it must be liberal bias, right?
WND's Klein: We're Invading Uganda Because George Soros Wants Us To Topic: WorldNetDaily
Aaron Klein's is obsessed with linking George Soros to anything and everything on the non-conservative side through tenuous fits of guilt-by-association.
Klein takes this to absurd heights in an Oct. 15 WorldNetDaily article, in which he asserts that President Obama's action of sending "American troops" into Uganda was motivated by "billionaire activist George Soros' ties both to the political pressure behind the decision and to the African nation's fledgling oil industry."
Yes, Klein really is saying that we're sending troops to Uganda to protect Soros' oil interests:
Soros also maintains close ties to oil interests in Uganda. His organizations have been leading efforts purportedly to facilitate more transparency in Uganda's oil industry, which is being tightly controlled by the country's leadership.
Soros himself has been closely tied to oil and other interests in Uganda.
In 2008, the Soros-funded Revenue Watch Institute brought together stakeholders from Uganda and other East African countries to discuss critical governance issues, including the formation of what became Uganda's national oil and gas policy.
Also in 2008, the Africa Institute for Energy Governance, a grantee of the Soros-funded Revenue Watch, helped established the Publish What You Pay Coalition of Uganda, or PWYP, which was purportedly launched to coordinate and streamline the efforts of the government in promoting transparency and accountability in the oil sector.
Also, a steering committee was formed for PWYP Uganda to develop an agenda for implementing the oil advocacy initiatives and a constitution to guide PWYP's oil work.
PWYP has since 2006 hosted a number of training workshops in Uganda purportedly to promote contract transparency in Uganda's oil sector.
PWYP is directly funded by Soros' Open Society as well as the the Soros-funded Revenue Watch Institute. PWYP international is actually hosted by the Open Society Foundation in London.
The billionaire's Open Society Institute, meanwhile, runs numerous offices in Uganda. It maintains a country manager in Uganda, as well as the Open Society Initiative for East Africa, which supports work in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
The Open Society Institute runs a Ugandan Youth Action Fund, which states its mission is to "identify, inspire, and support small groups of dedicated young people who can mobilize and influence large numbers of their peers to promote open society ideals."
It's not until the 19th paragraph that he gets around to hinting at the actual reason for intervention: to target the Lord's Resistance Army. Surprisingly, Klein does concede (unlike Rush Limbaugh) that the LRA's leader, Joseph Kony, is a very bad man: "Kony is accused of major human rights atrocities. He is on the U.S. terrorist list and is wanted by the International Criminal Court."
Then, it's back to guilt-by-association. Klein also rehashes his usual attacks on Obama advier Samantha Power, smearing her as an "Arafat deputy" (in fact, that's just more guilt-by-association -- she once served on a committee with an Arafat deputy). Power is an advocate of the idea that U.S. foreign policy should be guided by the principle of the "responsibility to protect" -- which Klein despises because Soros has a guilt-by-association link to it, not out of any philosophical differences with it.
CNS' Jeffrey Still Pushing Kagan Recusal (And Ignoring Thomas' Conflict of Interest) Topic: CNSNews.com
Terry Jeffrey is still trying to force Elena Kagan to recuse herself from ruling on the constitutionality of health care reform.
An Oct. 14 CNSNews.com article by Jeffrey details CNS' latest attempt to obtain internal documents from Kagan's tenure as solicitor general in an attempt to demonstrate that Kagan played some role in defending the Obama administration's position on health care reform. All Jeffrey can come up with, however, is that Kagan named a deputy to handle the issue, and that efforts were made to wall off Kagan from handling the case in anticipation of a Supreme Court nomination.
This time around, a judge ruled that CNS and the right-wing group Judicial Watch could not obtain emails Kagan "sent from her DOJ email account to people in the White House—in which she discussed her recusal decisions as solicitor general—because the emails were 'used for a purely personal objective.'"
As per usual, Jeffrey does not mention conflict-of-interest issues regarding a conservative Supreme Court justice. Clarence Thomas' wife is a a right-wing activist who has attacked health care reform as unconstitutional. Thomas also failed to disclose his wife's income from activist groups for several years.
Indeed, a search of the CNS archives indicates that it has never reported on Thomas' conflict of interest.
WND's Erik Rush Goes Conspiracy-Happy Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily columnist Erik Rush manages to squeeze two unproven conspiracies into one blog post.
Writing at something called Terrible Truth, Rush spins a conspiracy theory around the claim that "One of Barack Obama’s first official acts upon being sworn in as President of the United States was to return a bust of British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill to Britain." In fact, the bust was on loan to the United States, not a gift, and was scheduled to be returned at the end of the Bush presidency.
Despite that non-factual basis of his assertion about the bust, Rush goes on to blather that "many observers surmised that this was a symbolic slight meant to punish the British government’s imperialistic policies of the past – in particular, those which had detrimentally affected the people of Kenya, from whence Barack Obama Sr., had come."
But that's not to be the craziest thing Rush writes. This is (emphasis is Rush's):
There is a more likely explanation, if one understands that the President’s biological father was in fact Malcolm X, rather than Barack Obama Sr. The slight against the Obama’s sensibilities was far more painful.
Just three days before his father’s assassination, England had considered banning Malcolm forever from its soil.
I suppose Obama figured that since England dissed his daddy, it was his duty to pay them back. So, he kicked England out of America the way they tried to kick Malcolm out of England.
So Rush is a birther too. He is a WND columnist, after all.
Tom Blumer devotes an entire Oct. 14 NewsBusters post to the supposition that coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests is driving down the ratings of network evening news programs. Blumer has no proof of that, of course, which he eventually admits: "It's a little early to ascribe the ratings drop to Occupy Wall Street. Another reported drop next week would be more definitive. It certinaly bears watching."
Blumer surely knows that correlation does not equal causation. Doesn't he?
Does Larry Klayman Want Obama Killed? Topic: WorldNetDaily
Larry Klayman's Oct. 14 WorldNetDaily column is a long screed against Iran , with the typical swipesat President Obama and Hillary Clinton. He concludes it by writing, "The bottom line is this, my friends. It's time to take the mullahs out, whatever the cost."
Now, Klayman has repeatedly libeled Obama by calling him a Muslim, and, morespecifically, the "mullah-in-chief." Klayman has also called for an "Assault on Washington," though he claims he does not advocate "violent revolt."
Has Klayman changed his mind about violence? Is Obama is among the "mullahs" Klayman wants to take out, whatever the cost? Obama is the "mullah in chief," after all, so Klayman likely wants him taken out even more.