NewsBusters' Blumer Still Doesn't Understand How Journalism Works Topic: NewsBusters
For a guy who purports to be a media critic, NewsBusters' Tom Blumer is remarkably clueless about how the media works.
Blumer demonstrates this again in an April 9 post with the headline "AP Keeps Lois Lerner's Name Out of Headline and Opening Paragraph in Two Reports."
Yes, that really is Blumer's complaint:
I suspect that many readers who do their best to keep up with the news at a detailed level have a hard time understanding how many of their friends, acquaintances and neighbors — even many who they know put some effort into keeping up with current events — can be so unaware of many objectively important news developments.
There are two answers to that question. One is that the establishment press very often doesn't cover important matters at all; all one has to do is recall the empty media chairs at the trial of pre-born and newborn baby butcher Kermit Gosnell. The other is that when they do cover a story, journalists and their news outlets often do all they can to keep key names and facts out of their headlines and opening paragraph. Thanks to the fact that many people now consume news using computers, tablets, and smartphones, this stalling tactic may be even more effective now than it was in the print-only days.
Both stories avoid mentioning Lerner's name. That takes a lot of work, given that she is the object of potential criminal charges. Additionally, Ohlemacher's stories also could and should have been more precise in describing the issue as the "tea party targeting controversy."
The chances of clickthroughs on the headlines seen above on electronic devices are far lower than they would have been if Lerner's name had been added to the headlines. Many electronic news digests also include the first sentence or so of the reports themselves. In each case above, the text is less interesting than it would be if Lerner's name had been included.
As someone who -- unlike Blumer and the vast majority of Media Research Center writers -- actually worked in journalism for years, let me clue Blumer in on how journalism works. While Lois Lerner might be a household name in the right-wing media bubble Blumer resides in, she isn't in the wider world in which the vast majority of Americans live and which is AP's primary audience.
Because Lerner's name means nothing to the vast majority of Americans who aren't obsessed with this right-wing scandal, there is no need to put her name in the headline or lead paragraph of general-interest AP articles. "IRS official" means much more to the American public as a whole than Lerner's name does.
Blumer does go on to question the efficacy of AP's approach in a digital environment where news consumers made "judgments based on top-level headlines and opening paragraphs, often looking no further," but he's still insisting that Lerner's name is significant enough to make a difference in such decisions -- a supposition he doesn't prove.
WND Proclaims Militia Thugs The Winner In Rancher Standoff Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily took the side of scofflaw Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the militia thugs who helped escalate a standoff with federal officials over a longstanding grazing dispute, rooting for the situationto become another Ruby Ridge.
Now that the feds have backed off out of fear the militias would get violent, WND's Drew Zahn has declared a winner -- the militia thugs:
After hundreds of federal agents and allies surrounding Clive Bundy’s ranch in Clark County, Nev., were faced with citizen resistance – both armed and unarmed – it proved the feds who blinked first.
According to an Associated Press report, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, or BLM, officials say “escalating tensions” led them to not only stop rounding up approximately 900 of Bundy’s cattle, but also release all 400 or so head already seized on public land the feds say Bundy can no longer use for grazing his herd.
“Based on information about conditions on the ground and in consultation with law enforcement,” BLM Chief Neil Kornze said in a statement, “we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concerns about the safety of employees and members of the public.”
Zahn lionizes the militia thugs:
A Montana militia member, Jim Lardy, told KLAS-TV in Las Vegas his group, Operation Mutual Aid, was prepared to “provide armed response.”
He said he’s not afraid to shoot, if necessary.
“They have guns. We need guns to protect ourselves from the tyrannical government,” Lardy said.
Other militia members are joining him, he said: “There is many more coming.”
A group called the Nevada Militia issued an alert on the Bundy Ranch’s Facebook page calling for supporters to mobilize in the area.
“Nevada Militia is mobilizing and requesting mutual aid if any Winter Soldier wishes to go, no further permission is needed – you may do as you wish. We will be monitoring the situation at this time as a group,” the alert said.
The alert concluded: “If things escalate we will mobilize as a group.”
Yet Zahn blames the feds for escalating the situation, even though the dispute has been going on for two decades due to Bundy's continued violations of law. Zahn waits until the 19th paragraph to mention that Bundy has been trespassing on federal land for 20 years.
CNS' Double Standard On Racial Insults Topic: CNSNews.com
In an April 10 CNSNews.com blog post, Matt Vespa huffed that "An Illinois State Representative engaged in a shameful game of racial politics" by referring to a biracial politician as a "half." Of course, the only reason Vespa cares about this is that the politician who made the remark is a Democrat and the apparent target is a Republican. Vespa adds that the Democratic politician "has a world-famous Democrat colleague currently living in the White House who, as CNN explains, has a 'white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya.'"
We wonder where Vespa was when conservatives engaged in similarly shameful games of racial politics regarding Barack Obama:
Radio host Brian Sussman called Obama a "Halfrican."
WND Makes It Clear: It's Promoting Birtherism Out of Hatred for Obama Topic: WorldNetDaily
Bob Unruh inadvertently gives away the game in an April 11 WorldNetDaily article, in which he notes that President Obama's birth certificate is "an issue that remains unresolved for some of his harshest critics."
What Unruh doesn't say: In order for Obama's "harshest critics" to consider the birth certificate "issue" to remain "unresolved," those critics must deny reality by pretending their concerns have never been addressed, though they have.
Unruh is apparently among those reality deniers, because he spends much of his article rehashing -- well, copying-and-pasting from earlier articles -- evidence purporting to call into question Obama's eligibility to be president without acknowledging those concerns have been discredited.
Thus, by deliberately ignoring reality, Unruh and WND are essentially admitting that they are perpetuating the birther conspiracy solely out of spite afor a president they hate.
Unruh also repeats his earlier dishonesty on the subject by relaying an Alabama Supreme Court ruling shooting down yet another birther lawsuit by quoting only the opinion of birther justices who dissented and completely ignoring the prevailing opinion that Alabama state officials were under no legal obligation to verify the eligibility of a presidential candidate.
On top of all that, Unruh served up this sneering derision of the president:
“And just to be clear I know where my birth certificate is,” he said. “But a lot of people don’t. A lot of people don’t.”
He was smirking, “Ha, ha.”
“I think it’s still up on a website somewhere,” he said. “Ha, ha, ha, ha.”
Then he took a long pause.
“You remember that? That was crazy,” he said. “That was some crazy stuff. Ha, ha, ha.
“I hadn’t thought about that in awhile,” he said, shaking his head. “Ha, ha, ha. Ha, ha.”
Perhaps if right-wing activists like Unruh were to acknowledge reality by reporting actual facts about Obama's birth certificate instead of rehashing discredited attacks,
MRC Takes Colbert Out of Context To Attack Him For Replacing Letterman Topic: Media Research Center
Needless to say, the Media Research Center is not taking the choice of Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman well.
Geoffrey Dickens kicks things off in an April 10 NewsBusters post by declaring that Colbert "call[ed] Sarah Palin 'a f**king retard'" -- which is dishonestly taken out of context. Dickens did attempt that missing context later in his post:
After playing a clip of Sarah Palin telling Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that Rush Limbaugh’s use of the word was acceptable because it was satire, Stephen Colbert, on his February 8, 2010 show concluded, “It is okay to call someone a retard if like Rush you clearly don’t mean it...And Sarah Palin knows that it is okay to call someone a retard if like Rush you clearly don’t mean it. Which is why we should all come to her defense and say, ‘Sarah Palin is a f**king retard.’ Get it.”
But Dickens is still omitting crucial context -- Palin had demanded the resignation of then-White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel for using the term “[bleeping] retards,” and Colbert was pointing out her hypocrisy in giving Limbaugh a pass.
Dickens also harrumphed, "On his March 15, 2012 show Colbert joked that the Taliban had 'a better track record on women’s issues' than Rush Limbaugh." Again, Dickens omits context here -- as the accompanying video makes clear, Colbert was noting that the Army had decided to stop advertising on Limbaugh's radio show in the wake of his misogynistic tirade against Sandra Fluke, while continuing to negotiate with the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Dickens then complained that NBC's "Today" show "played a clip of a mock political ad by Colbert that likened Mitt Romney to a serial killer." Dickens ignores the context here too -- Colbert was simply taking Romney's statement that "corporations are people" to its logical extension, that dismantling corporations, as Romney's Bain Capital does, is tantamount to murder.
WND Wants To Turn Rancher Dispute Into Another Ruby Ridge Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily sure does love to hook up with right-wing poster boys with unsavory backgrounds that must be whitewashed. They've found another one in a Nevada rancher with a propensity for violent rhetoric -- and they're ready to escalate things.
An April 9 WND article by Jack Minor sets things up in a WND-friendly way:
Federal officials have now taken to killing the calves and cattle of a Nevada rancher as part of a standoff that his family says has the potential to become another Ruby Ridge, where, in 1992, federal agents shot an unarmed Idaho woman holding a newborn infant in her arms.
“We have seen cows with tight bags but no calves on them, who are being moved by the BLM,” Ammon Bundy told WND. “This means they have separated the newborn calves from their mothers and they will eventually die.”
Ammon, 38, is the son of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher whose ties to the area go back to the 1880s and who has been engaged in a land dispute since 1993 with the Bureau of Land Management over long-established cattle-grazing rights.
Minor gives the other side of the story short shrift, making no effort to interview federal officials and blaming the federal government for "taking steps to escalate the situation" while ignoring the fact that Bundy is the one who has made sure the situation escalated by violating the law for two decades.
An April 11 WND article by Art Moore touts how Bundy is drawing support from "private armed militias," which have "made the confrontation over Bundy’s use of federal land for grazing a rally cry." Moore waiyts until the 44th paragraph to mention a statement from federal officials that Bundy has been breaking the law for 20 years. Like Minor, Moore made no apparent effort to contact federal officials.
If the Bundy situation does escalate, WND's biased reporting will have done its part in making sure that happens.
CNS' Chapman Shocked To Discover U2's Bono Is A Christian Topic: CNSNews.com
Last year, WorldNetDaily treated as news something music fans have known for decades -- U2 lead singer Bono is a Christian. Now it's CNSNews.com's turn to discover this. Michael Chapman relays this startling revelation in an April 10 CNS article:
Bono, frontman for the Irish band U2, investor, and philanthropist, said he believes Jesus Christ was divine, that he arose from the dead, and that he made promises to the world that will come true.
Bono, who has an estimated worth of $600 million, also said he prays “to Christ” in order “to know the will of God,” adding that he and his family pray together and sometimes go to church to pray for others who are suffering.
“I pray to get to know the will of God, because then the prayers have more chance of coming true -- I mean, that’s the thing about prayer,” said Bono in an interview with Ireland’s RTE One last year. “We don't do it in a very lofty way in our family. It’s just a bunch of us on the bed, usually, we’ve a very big bed in our house. We pray with all our kids, we read the Scriptures, we pray. It’s not even regular.”
This is apparently such stunning news to Chapman that he has to take this revelation from a year-old interview.
Just wait until Chapman finds out that U2 recorded a version of the 40th Psalm ... 30 years ago.
WND's Cashill: Hate Mail to Hank Aaron Was Written By The KGB Topic: WorldNetDaily
It's been a while since we've gotten a good conspiracy theory out of Jack Cashill, so it was nice to see him make the effort again in his April 9 WorldNetDaily column.
Cashill takes issue with Hank Aaron talking about the racist hate mail he received as he approached Babe Ruth's home run record in 1974, asserting without any real evidence that it was generated by Soviet KGB agents in an effort to stir racial tension in the U.S.:
Before slandering his fellow Americans any further, Aaron needs to review the work of Vasili Mitrokhin, for many years the senior archivist for the KGB.
Although Mitrokhin died 10 years ago, the book he co-authored with Christopher Andrew, “The Sword and the Shield,” might possibly open Aaron’s eyes.
For years, a disillusioned Mitrokhin made detailed copies of many of the KGB files. One KGB strategy he exposed was the effort “to weaken the internal cohesion of the United States and undermine its international reputation by inciting race hatred.”
Aaron claims to have received thousands of such letters, most of them with northern postmarks. It is possible, I suppose, that these letters came from homegrown racists.
The evidence, however, suggests another possibility. By 1974 racial tensions had defused. Hank Aaron had few enemies. Babe Ruth had few diehard fans. And the number “714″ lacked the iconic power of the number “60.”
Huh? Ruth's home run record did not have "iconic power"? Really? And the man who trashed Travon Martin and exhalted his killer as a civil-rights hero lectures us on the supposed lack of racial tensions in the 1970s? But Cashill's not done yet:
I knew some rough characters back then, but I did not know the person whose animus toward Aaron or love for Ruth would have moved him to go to the trouble of getting Aaron’s address and sending him hate mail.
We do know, however, that American communists like Jim Jones, the leader of the People’s Temple, had his minions doing exactly what Mitrokhin described during this same time period.
Hoping to subvert race relations in America, not strengthen them as he claimed, Jones ordered his people to write hateful, racist letters and attribute them to white people he hoped to embarrass.
We know, too, that in 1969 Charles Manson tried to stoke a race war by blaming the murders his people committed on black radicals – in a phrase, “Helter Skelter.”
If Cashill really believes any of that, he might want to have a chat with his fellow WND conspiracy-monger Colin Flaherty about his race-baiting.
MRC Doesn't Understand How Calling Criticism 'Emotional' Could Be Considered Sexist Topic: Media Research Center
Kyle Drennen misses the point to an almost comic extent in an April 7 Media Research Center item:
On her 12 p.m. ET hour show on MSNBC Monday, host Andrea Mitchell accused former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden of being sexist simply for criticizing Senator Dianne Feinstein's slanted Intelligence Committee report condemning the interrogation of terror suspects under the Bush administration.
Mitchell played a clip of Hayden questioning the credibility of the report on Fox News Sunday, where he cited Washington Post columnist David Ignatius: "He said that Senator Feinstein wanted a report so scathing that it would 'ensure that an un-American brutal program of detention and interrogation would never again be considered or permitted.' Now that sentence, that motivation for the report...may show deep emotional feeling on the part of the Senator, but I don't think it leads you to an objective report."
After the sound bite, Mitchell hyped the supposedly offensive portion of the legitimate criticism: "So was the Senate Intelligence chair just too emotional in the way she wrote that report?" Talking to left-wing New York Times columnist Gail Collins, she further asked: "What about the way men of a different opinion – and there are lots of opinions on this issue – how men criticize women in power?"
Collins joined in Mitchell's rant: "But when, you know, John McCain talks about waterboarding and the terrible, you know, moral consequences and practical consequence that kind of thing has, that's foreign policy. Clearly when Dianne Feinstein does it, it's emotional."
Either Drennen is so evolved as a human being that he doesn't see how dismissing Feinstein's criticism as "emotional" could possibly be considered sexist, or he's so retrograde that he doesn't think it's a big deal.
Meanwhile ... Topic: WorldNetDaily
Richard Bartholomew catches WorldNetDaily convicting a Muslim professor of harrassment before a trial has been held in the case, by removing the word "alleged" from the claims of harrassment.
NEW ARTICLE: Good News For American Workers Is Bad News For CNS Topic: CNSNews.com
Terry Jeffrey and CNSNews.com don't believe that positive news about dropping unemployment rates and more jobs created should be reported when the president is a Democrat. Read more >>
WND's John Rocker Can't Stop Whining About Being Accurately Quoted Topic: WorldNetDaily
It seems that one reason John Rocker has a WorldNetDaily column is so he can continue to whine about being accurately quoted in a 2000 Sports Illustrated profile of him and bash its author, Jeff Pearlman. Rocker does this again in his April 8 column, though this time he decides to own his bigotry:
The benefits I’ve gained far outweigh the detriments. There truly is no such thing as bad publicity. The things I’ve been able to do; the doors that have opened; the places I’ve been able to go and the famous/influential people I now consider friends in large part stem from the notoriety created by that SI piece. I know that was not Pearlman’s intent, but that’s how it’s turned out as I look back over the last 14 years from a bird’s eye view.
Most individuals who only played six years in the Major Leagues would not have the ability to pull off some of the things I have simply on name recognition. Most players who possess a similar resume in professional baseball would not have had the material to write an autobiography and then use that as a platform to aid many adolescents during their difficult maturation process. And many players who boast my mediocre level of success in sports could not have started an organization for homeless veterans and accomplished all that we have in just two short years.
But because of Sports Illustrated and the recognition that has come along with it, I still have a voice that people listen to 14 years later. I still get interview requests from names like Geraldo Rivera, Neil Cavuto and Michael Savage where I proudly spread the word about Save Homeless Veterans. I don’t know too many Big Leaguers who haven’t seen action in 11 years that can still do that.
Rocker takes his usual pot shots at Pearlman, calling him "a belligerent, vindictive individual" and mocking him for now writing for a "glorified 'blog' site," gloating that "he’s not employed by any reputable news outlet." Given that Rocker's column is published by an outlet no sentient human being would describe as reputable, he might want to rethink that insult.
P.S. For all of his whining about SI and attacks on Pearlman, not once does Rocker claim, let alone prove, that he was misquoted.
MRC's Double Standard on Misleading Information About Climate Change, Redux Topic: Media Research Center
In an April 8 Media Research Center Business & Media Institute article, Sean Long fights an old battle over global warming numbers.
First, he's offended that an NBC special on climate change mentioned that there is "a 97 percent 'consensus' on the issue of climate change," calling the number "misleading":
The most recent origin of that claim is from geologist James Powell, who presented it in a study in January 2014, but even he admitted that his methods were subjective. Marc Morano of the website Climate Depot criticized Powell for failing to define what “accepts man-made global warming” meant, making his characterizations of scientific studies meaningless.
But then Long cited his own meaningless number: "In 2010, Marc Morano released a collection of more than 1000 scientists who 'challenged man-made global warming claims.'"
As we pointed out the last time the MRC cited Morano's number, many of the scientists who "challenged man-made global warming claims" on Morano's list have no formal training in climate science. Additionally, there are millions of people in the world who could be considered scientists, and Morano never provided any evidence that his list of 1,000 is statistically significant.
WND Hides The Likely Reason Limbaugh Lost His Hearing Topic: WorldNetDaily
Kathy Shaidle's April 8 WorldNetDaily article contains all they fawning you'd expect in a story about Rush Limbaugh, even when it's bad news:
He’s finally doing it: Thirteen years after Rush Limbaugh received his first cochlear implant, he will undergo surgery next week to receive one in his other ear.
In 2001, Limbaugh noticed his hearing was rapidly growing worse – a shocking discovery for anyone, but particularly tragic for a man who makes his living engaging with callers on talk radio.
But Shaidle doesn't mention the likely reason Limbaugh lost his hearing -- his addiction to painkillers.
As Salon documented, news of Limbaugh's hearing loss in 2003 coincided with news that Limbaugh was abusing painkillers. One of the painkillers Limbaugh reportedly used has been linked to sudden and profound hearing loss in patients who misuse or abuse the drug.
Given the links between the two and how both were big news at the time, you'd think Shaidle would have mentioned it.
Newsmax's Hirsen Tries To Portray 'Noah' As A Failure Topic: Newsmax
"Noah" was the biggest-grossing movie in the country on its opening weekend, so Newsmax's James Hirsen had to figure out a different way to attack it. His answer in his March 31 column: Market research!
The much-talked about, biblically questionable big-screen release “Noah” finished its debut weekend with a better than expected $44 million in box-office take. But when it comes to the movie’s long-term success, there are some dark clouds lurking on the horizon.
CinemaScore is a highly regarded market research firm that polls film audiences and rates their viewing experiences with letter grades. The firm reports its results and forecasts box-office receipts based on data collected.
CinemaScore’s representatives routinely survey opening-day audiences in 25 of the largest movie markets in North America to determine a grade ranging from A+ to F for the respective film. Most movies receive a minimum of “B+” as a CinemaScore grade, with anything less being cause for concern for the studio and filmmakers involved.
The controversial “Noah,” which was delivered to the screen by Paramount and director Darren Aronofsky, received a dismal CinemaScore of “C” from moviegoers.
Despite the buoyant box-office showing, the “C” CinemaScore rating seriously jeopardizes the movie’s chances in the all-important weeks to come.
If “Noah” should take a precipitous fall in the weeks to come, it may turn out to be an unprofitable venture for Paramount. According to the studio, the budget for the movie was $125 million, a relatively modest number for a current studio blockbuster.
However, several reports indicate that a significant additional sum was spent on marketing and distribution, so it remains to be seen whether the movie will be in the black months from now.
Well, perhaps not. Box Office Mojo notes that "Noah" is very popular outside the U.S. -- as of this writing, it has taken in $73.6 million in the U.S. but more than $106 million overseas for a total gross of $179.8 million. That means the film has made back its production costs and at least a part of its marketing in less than two weeks of release.