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Sunday, May 27, 2012
Nexis of Nuttiness: LeBoutillier Interviews Trump for Newsmax
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax's May 23 interview with Donald Trump, in which he revealed "he is seriously considering launching his own super PAC to produce anti-Obama ads showing how Washington is allowing outsiders to 'absolutely suck the blood out of this country,'" was conducted by the one person at Newsmax who could rival Trump for sheer nuttiness: John LeBoutillier.

We've detailed how LeBoutillier -- a Vanderbilt heir and one-term congressman-- was the public face of the failed effort to create a "Counter Clinton Library" to attack President Clinton. As Media Matters notes, LeBoutillier has a long history of extremist political attacks, from making scurrilous, unsupported allegations about Gary Condit's sex life to promoting the so-called "Clinton death list" to writing a self-published birther-y "satirical novel" about Obama (with discredited author Edward Klein).

LeBoutillier began his interview by calling Trump "one of the most famous people on the planet Earth." It doesn't get any better from there.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:29 PM EDT
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Meanwhile ...
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Richard Bartholomew takes apart a May 20 WorldNetDaily article by Steve Peacock on violence in northern Nigeria. Not only does the headline, "Obama: Slaughter of Christians a Misunderstanding," falsely claim that President Obama has spoken out about it -- he hasn't, and the article doesn't even quote him -- Peacock falsely implied that the U.S. Agency for International Development is denying the role of Islamic extremism in Nigeria or portraying the situation as a "misunderstanding."

In fact, Bartholomew points out, the USAID document that Peacock quotes from points out that the Nigeria conflict, "at its root, it is more about the governance of contested resource," not a "religious war."Even though Muslim and Christian communities are in conflict, the motivation is not primarily a religious one. Other experts on the issue agree with this assessment.

This is just another ham-fisted attempt by WND to falsely paint Obama as anti-Christian.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:23 PM EDT
MRC's Graham Throws Jews Under the Bus to Deflect Attention from Catholic Scandals
Topic: NewsBusters

As we've documented, the Media Research Center has been lashing out at the TV networks for failure to "correctly" cover -- by which it means uncritically promoting -- the lawsuit by Catholic groups against the Obama administration regarding the contraception mandate. Now it appears that the MRC will throw other religions under the bus to promote its pro-Catholic agenda.

In a May 24 NewsBusters post, MRC director of media analysis Tim Graham takes offense to covering a Catholic sexual abuse scandal in Philadelphia instead of the lawsuit, adding: "While CBS highlights the Catholic sex-abuse allegations in Philadelphia, it’s ignoring the Jewish sex-abuse story in its own hometown."

Huh? What does that have to do with anything? But Graham has decided that it has. After quoting from a New York Times story about a Brooklyn prosecutor facing "intense scrutiny for his handling of sexual abuse cases in the politically powerful ultra-Orthodox Jewish community," Graham adds: "Sex-abuse charges in the Catholic Church are deadly serious, but aren't they in all religions? Aren't they in public schools? But Pelley was singling out the Catholics, spreading across the nation the prosecutors comparing the Catholic Church in Philadelphia to the Nazis during World War II[.]"

But a national network news program is not supposed to cover "hometown" news -- it's supposed to cover stories of national interest. And since Catholics are 23.9% of the American population,  it's a story that a large number of Americans are interested in. By comparison, only 1.7% of the U.S. population are Jews, and ultra-orthodox Judaism is a small subset of that.

Interestingly, this is not the first time that NewsBusters has invoked the ultra-orthodox sex abuse scandal to deflect attention from Catholic scandals:

  • In April, Dave Pierre complained about a PBS "Frontline" program about the Catholic scandal, retorting: "When will PBS’ Frontline investigate the massive child abuse and cover-ups happening today - not decades ago - in our nation's public schools? How about the recent cover-ups of abuse by Orthodox rabbis in New York City?
  • Pierre returned in December to attack the New York Times for allegedly ignoring how "85 accused child predators have been arrested in Brooklyn's Orthodox Jewish community," while "The Times has never been shy about trumpeting cases involving allegations of abuse by Catholic priests decades ago."

It's more than a little unbecoming for Graham and Pierre to invoke Jewish scandals to deflect from Catholic scandals.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:15 AM EDT
Friday, May 25, 2012
Irony: AIM's Kincaid Complains About 'Inflammatory' Writer
Topic: Accuracy in Media

In his May 23 Accuracy in Media column promoting a claim that "the Obama Administration is rapidly revising federal counter-terrorism training materials in order to eliminate references to Jihad and Islam," Cliff Kincaid complains about "an inflammatory headline about 'Islamophobia' supposedly characterizing the federal government’s response to global Islamic terrorism." He continues:

[Ryan] Mauro told Accuracy in Media that another factor behind the ongoing review, in addition to the inflammatory reporting of Wired blogger Ackerman, is the influence of the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress (CAP), which issued a “Fear, Inc.” report attacking critics of radical Islam as bigots involved in “Islamophobia.”

Kincaid is referencing Ackerman's report on FBI instructional materials about Muslims, some of which characterized them as prone to violence or terrorism. Kincaid never actually counters what Ackerman wrote, just dismissed it as "inflammatory."

That's right -- the writer who condones the killing of gays and who apparently thinks Frank Marshall Davis is Barack Obama's father is complaining that some other writer's work is "inflammatory."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:03 PM EDT
MRC's Catholic Lawsuit Freakout Nothing More Than Conservative Correctness
Topic: Media Research Center

The MRC has dutifully been trying to manufacture a controversy over certain news outlets not reporting on a lawsuit filed by various Catholic entities against the federal government over its contraception coverage mandate. Its latest press release, however, gives the game away.

A May 24 MRC press release makes this statement: "For the third night in a row the broadcast networks have refused to cover this correctly."

The MRC's use of the word "correctly" tells us the real agenda here. If there is a "correct" way to report on this -- which, in the MRC's view, is to report it the way the MRC wants it, without any questioning about the political agenda involved -- there is also an "incorrect" way, which is anything that fails to adequately promote the MRC's right-wing agenda.

In short, it's about conservative correctness. We saw this in the ConWeb's war on Christmas, and we see it every time NewsBusters unleashes a round of Heathering on any conservative who falls short of total fealty to right-wing talking points.

The MRC doesn't care about media fairness, and it never has. It has only two purposes -- to advance an political agenda, and to denigrate any media outlet that doesn't do so to the MRC's satisfaction.

That's all that's happening here.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:40 PM EDT
WND Plays the Restroom Card to Fearmonger About Transgenders
Topic: WorldNetDaily

One of WorldNetDaily's favorite ways to fearmonger about transgenders is to raise the specter of men using women's locker rooms -- which, of course, ignores the fact that the "man" in question is in all likelihood self-identifying as a female, dressing as a female and may be even be taking hormone treatments as part of his gender transition.

And that's what WND does in an unbylined May 23 article in full transgender freak-out mode:

On orders from Barack Obama’s Department of Justice, officials with the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith have given permission for a 38-year-old man to use the women’s restrooms on campus.

In its usual style, WND doesn't tell the full story. As the Arkansas Times reports, the person in question, Jennifer Braly, has had her name and gender changed on legal documents and is taking hormone treatments. WND notes only that Braly is "living as a female," leaving a mention about hormone treatments until the final paragraph of the 28-paragraph article.

The Times also ignores the fact that the school abruptly forbade Braly from giving lectures on her transgender experience without explanation. 

The article relies mostly on a biased report from the right-wing group Campus Reform, quoting also from Braly's website raising money for sex-reassignment surgery.

And if the overall tone of the story isn't sufficiently fearmongering, it's illustrated not with a photo of Braly but what appears to be a scene from the film "Psycho":

WND played the "co-ed shower" anti-transgender card in January by illustrating it with a shot from "Ferris Bueller's DayOff."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:27 AM EDT
Noel Sheppard Caught Using Anti-Semitic Image In NewsBusters Post
Topic: NewsBusters

Media Matters caught Noel Sheppard inserting into a May 24 NewsBusters post a Photoshopped image of President Obama that turns out to be a tad anti-Semitic:

The image is the work of The Dees Illustration Studio, operated by David Dees, which has several images with anti-Semitic and conspiratorial themes on its website and whose work has been highlighted by the Anti-Defamation League. One clue that it's a tad anti-Semetic is that the pattern of Sen. Joe Lieberman's tie has been replaced with an Israeli flag, Obama's tie has a Star of David pattern, and his lapel has an Israeli flag pin.

After getting called out on it, Sheppard removed the image and added an editor's note:

Readers are advised that the original article included a doctored picture of Obama and others that turned out to have anti-Semitic imagery that I didn't notice when I incorporated it into the piece. Those familiar with my work know that's not something I would intentionally do. I apologize to anyone with better eyes than I have that noticed the imagery and was in any way offended.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:12 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, May 25, 2012 8:28 AM EDT
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch, Wayne Allyn Root Edition
Topic: Newsmax

Some people play golf, others tennis, chess, or poker. But Obama’s hobby is raising taxes. He talks about them so often, he must dream of them at night.

He doesn’t have visions of fairies and sugar plums dancing in his head. Obama smiles as he dreams of IRS auditors and tax liens. Never underestimate a man who brought us the “tanning bed tax.”

Obama’s buddies in the looting business — i.e. Democratic politicians from coast to coast — are now licking their lips as they propose a fat tax instead of a flat tax.

There won’t be any flat tax with Obama and his socialist cabal in charge. They don’t want simplicity. They want complexity. They don’t want subtraction (tax cuts). They only desire addition (new taxes to add to your burden). They don’t want to inspire you to create jobs. They want to punish you, so that only government can create jobs.

-- Wayne Allyn Root, May 22 Newsmax column

Posted by Terry K. at 9:37 PM EDT
NewsBusters Complains Media Ignoring Obama-Bashing Author -- Who It Admits Lacks Credibility
Topic: Media Research Center

In a May 22 NewsBusters post, Randy Hall complains that Obama-bashing author Edward Klein "is being almost totally ignored by the elite media" -- yet he inadvertently explains why.

Hall admits that Klein's book, "The Amateur," is "a biography of President Obama which relies heavily (although not entirely) on anonymous sources to paint a highly unflattering picture of its subject." Hall adds: "Given that we don’t know who Klein’s sources were on some of his more sensational accusations, it’s tough to vouch for his credibility."

Indeed, one of Hall's fellow NewsBusters bloggers, the rabidly anti-abortion Jill Stanek, has criticized Klein for getting things "pretty much all wrong" on the subject of abortion, going on to say that "Klein’s portrayal of events was wrong on just about every point. I expected more from the former editor-in-chief of The New York Times Magazine, who has also had many books on the NYT bestseller’s list."

Yes, Klein's book is a major hack job filled with distortions and falsehoods -- so much so that Hall can't deny it.

Because the Media Research Center can't let go of the Clinton years, Hall also complains that the media ignored Gary Aldrich's Clinton-bashing book:

Stephanopoulos’s parading of the slime against [Nikki] Haley is particularly egregious given that he played a significant role in suppressing another book making accusations against his boss Bill Clinton. That book, Unlimited Access: An FBI Agent Inside the Clinton White House, was similarly blackballed by America’s media elite.

At the time, Stephanopoulos argued that salacious accusations deserved no place in the mass media:

"Someone should have to pass a bare threshold of credibility before they're put on the air to millions of viewers. You know, his [Gary Aldrich's] story couldn't get past the fact-checker at the National Enquirer....A 30-year record in the FBI in and of itself is no proof of credibility."

Note that Hall makes no attempt to vouch for Aldrich's credibility either -- perhaps because he can't. As CNN reported, Aldrich's book is filled with "second-hand, unsubstantiated sexual rumors about and bitter attacks against President and Mrs. Clinton."

Even Tim Graham concedes Klein's lack of credibility in a May 23 NewsBusters post: "Journalists would suggest that Klein is not a credible author, with a habit of making wild charges with anonymous sources."

Graham makes no effort to counter this claim, instead changing the subject by baselessly imputing a political motive to the Klein blackout: "Liberals like the outraged activists at The New York Times want to make sure no one is allowed to bring up Reverend Wright again."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:31 PM EDT
WND's Farber: Gays Are 'Overreaching,' Just Like The Nazis
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Yes, Barry Farber uses his May 22 WorldNetDaily column to accuse gays of "overreaching" ... just like the Nazis and imperial Japan:

“We Shall Overcome!”

Various groups of Americans say it, shout it, sing it and, when they score a victory, they think they’ve “overcome.” No harm done, but it’s often incorrect. A more precise slogan than “We Shall Overcome!” is “They Shall Overreach!” Enemy overreaching has done as much or more to rescue America than our own overcoming. If Adolf Hitler had not insisted on invading the Soviet Union in June, 1941 but, as his generals pleaded, waited until March of 1942 – virtually assuring the taking of Moscow before the Russian winter set in – the Germans could have conquered the Soviet Union and harvested vast armies of volunteers who hated Stalin and Communism, not to mention staggering stockpiles of natural resources including oil. Hitler was impatient and self-impressed. Look how easy Poland was! And France! He bawled out his “cowardly” generals and gave the attack order. The Russian winter, not the Red Army, stopped Hitler at the Moscow city limits. The German troops had only summer clothing.

Meanwhile, Japan, handily having its way with a hapless Chinese giant, was ready to swallow Thailand, Burma, Malaya. Adm. Yamamoto wisely said after the successful Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, “I fear we have awakened a sleeping giant!”

Exactly! Two mushroom clouds later the Japanese officers who’d counseled less-ambitious aggression appeared less-cowardly and more wise.

Overreaching is understandable. If you’re achieving your goals without major exertion, why not go for higher, greater, grander, more? And there’s no flashing yellow light suggesting “This may be a good place to stop.”

It will be fascinating to see if the gay community can discipline its present overreaching and, if not, how much the gay agenda will suffer.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:45 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, May 24, 2012 10:20 AM EDT
Bozell, MRC Try To Gin Up 'Censorship' Controversy Over Catholic Lawsuit
Topic: Media Research Center

Brent Bozell and the Media Research Center are in full hair-on-fire mode, trying to manufacture a controversy out of the TV networks not covering something that appeals to its right-wing readership and donors.

That would be the lawsuit filed by various Catholic entities against the federal government over its contraception coverage mandate. A May 22 MRC press release declared this "the largest legal action in history to defend our Constitutionally-protected religious freedom," without providing any evidence to back up this claim.

But never mind that -- Bozell's frothing at the mouth:

This is the worst bias by omission I have seen in the quarter century history of the Media Research Center. Every American knows about the Chinese communists withholding for 20 years the news that the US had landed on the moon, because it reflected poorly on the government. Our US media today are no different. They are now withholding news from the American people if it is harmful to the re-election of Barack Obama.

“This is not a mistake, nor is it an editorial oversight by the broadcast networks. This is a deliberate and insidious withholding of national news to protect the ‘Chosen One’ who ABC, CBS and NBC have worked so hard to elect and are now abusing their journalistic influence to reelect. And when a network like CBS mentions the suit ever-so-briefly, they deliberately distort the issue by framing it as a contraception lawsuit instead of what they know it to be: a religious freedom issue. It’s bogus, dishonest – a flat out lie.

“The fact is that the Catholic Church has unleashed legal Armageddon on the administration, promising ‘we will not comply’ with a health law that strips Catholics of their religious liberty.  If this isn't 'news' then there's no such thing as news. This should be leading newscasts and the subject of special, in-depth reports. Instead, these networks are sending a clear message to all Americans that the networks will go to any lengths – even censoring from the public an event of this historic magnitude – to prevent the release of any information that will hurt Obama’s chances of re-election.

"The so-called 'news' media have sunk to a new low. This is despicable." 

The MRC followed that up the next day with another press release proclaiming that "Nine prominent Catholic leaders have joined the Media Research Center to voice outrage over the broadcast networks deliberately withholding news of the momentous 43 Catholic entities suing the Obama administration for violating their religious freedoms."

Curiously buried among the groups is the Catholic League -- it's not mentioned in the opening paragraph, and Bill Donohue's quote is the final one in the release. Completely unmentioned, meanwhile, is the fact that Bozell is on the Catholic League's board of advisers.

It seems that what we have here is not any sort of spontaneous outcry over this -- it's a completely manufactured issue by Bozell and the MRC, which has a vested interest in defeating Obama. Bozell is trying to pass off a partisan political issue as a journalistic one. A lot of people have sued the Obama administration over various aspects of health care reform, so why is this lawsuit any more special? Aside from his unsupported claim that it's "the largest legal action in history," he doesn't explain.

In other words: This is news because Bozell, a partisan political activist, has declared it to be. No other reason.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:11 AM EDT
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
NEW ARTICLE -- Kessler and Keene: Logrolling In Our Time
Topic: Newsmax
Ronald Kessler lovingly quotes David Keene at Newsmax, and Keene presents an award to Kessler at CPAC. It's a beautiful relationship. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 10:10 PM EDT
CNS' Jeffrey Lets Foreign Actor Channel His Smear Of Obama

Terry Jeffrey writes in a May 22 article:

Eduardo Verastegui, who plays the Catholic martyr Anacleto Gonzalez Flores in the soon to be released film For Greater Glory, says that Mexican President Plutarco Calles, whose government was responsible for Flores’s martyrdom in 1927, and President Barack Obama, who is moving forward in 2012 with a health-insurance regulation that will force Catholics in the United States to act against their faith, are both like Henry VIII, who martyred St. Thomas More in 1535 when More refused to act against his faith and take an oath affirming that Henry was the supreme authority over the church in England.

What? You've never heard of Eduardo Verastegui? Nobody else has either. On top of that, it appears that Verastegui isn't even an American -- his bio suggests he's a Mexican citizen. Would Jeffrey tolerate a foreign actor who bad-mouthed a Republican politician? Probably not.

In short, there is no "news" value to this story -- Jeffrey is simply forwarding Verastegui as a vessel for his anti-Obama agenda ... in more ways than one.

If Verastegui's ludicrous likening of Obama to Henry VIII sounds familiar, it's because Jeffrey himself made the exact same comparison in a column last September.

To make this parroting of right-wing talking points complete, Jeffrey repeats his earlier contention that the Obama administration's contraception mandate covers "sterilizations and artificial contraceptives, including those that cause abortions." As we detailed the last time Jeffrey did this, morning-after pills and contraception are not abortifacients under the medical definition.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:17 PM EDT
Kessler Ratchets Up the Romney-Fluffing
Topic: Newsmax

Mitt Romney surrogate Ronald Kessler lays his trademark Romney-fluffing on thick in his May 21 Newsmax column, in which he enists Romney's siblings to spin away the idea that Romney is a "spoiled rich kid" and vouch for the good character of their parents:

Democrats are portraying Mitt Romney as a spoiled rich kid. But the Republican presidential candidate’s upbringing was not much different from that of any middle-class kid.

To be sure, his father George W. Romney was CEO of American Motors. The Romneys lived in the tony suburb of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. where Romney attended the private Cranbrook School.

But if the family was well off, it had little impact on Romney’s upbringing. Like most other kids, Romney worked summer jobs. His sister Jane Romney, an actress in Beverly Hills, remembers that she was only allowed to buy one new dress a year.

“I always hated the word privileged, and I never thought we were,” Jane Romney tells me. “My dad grew up with nothing. His father went bankrupt twice when my father was a kid. I walked from my own house to school from the time I was little, in winter as well.”


Even though Mitt was the youngest of his parents’ four children, he was their dad’s most able questioner, says his brother G. Scott Romney, a Michigan lawyer. When their father held family meetings to tell them he was thinking of running for office, Scott recalls, “My sisters and I would say, ‘Gee, that sounds fabulous,’ while Mitt would say, ‘Well, have you thought about this?’”

Mitt’s disposition was like his mother’s.

“My mother was a great diplomat,” Jane says. “My dad was not known for his diplomacy. He was more of a hothead and spoke from the gut. But my mother had been an actor, and she had a lot of grace.”

If Kessler is being this embarassing now, imagine how he'll be this fall.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:26 AM EDT
Noel Sheppard Ignores That Anti-Obama Op-Ed Was Written By Wife of Romney Adviser
Topic: NewsBusters
Noel Sheppard, the man who's easily shocked by non-shocking things, devoted a May 20 NewsBusters post to taking great joy in a New York Times op-ed by failed CNN anchor Campbell Brown, delcaring that she "surprisingly took a shot at Obama's 'silly and embarrassing' new ad targeting women." Sheppard proclaimed the op-ed as evidence that "the White House's dishonest, media-assisted plan to concoct a Republican 'War on Women' has failed and failed miserably," adding: "

This entire stunt by the White House that began in January appears to have failed miserably, and if the media hadn't gone along with it, we wouldn't have wasted almost five months talking about things America doesn't care about at the moment.

Brava, Campbell! Brava!

There's one thing that Sheppard fails to highlight about Brown, however: She discloses in her column that her husband (Dan Senor) is an adviser to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. Sheppard quotes the disclosure but does not comment on it.

By contrast, the MRC's Tim Graham complained that NPR's Michele Norris didn't immediately disclose that she stepped down as "All Things Considered" co-anchor for the duration of the 2012 presidential campaign because her husband is an Obama campaign adviser. Not that she didn't step down, mind you -- because she didn't immediately disclose why.

If such drastic measures were necessary for Norris, why not point out that Brown is writing a piece that bashes the opponent of the candidate her husband is working for?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:38 AM EDT

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