There are times when mocking NewsBusters' ongoing ineptitude feels almost gratuitous. They clearly have no clue what they're doing, and there's no real challenge in it. But if Fox News wants to keep hosting staff members from the Media Research Center to give lectures about journalism, then we'll keep pointing out that they are painfully incompetent.
Today, Tim Graham - the Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center - uncorked a stem-winder aimed at the supposedly "shameless" Jon Stewart for The Daily Show's (hilarious) segment last night railing on conservatives' ridiculous freak-out over the NYC mosque.
Setting aside Graham's heartfelt defense of GOP Lt. Gov Ron Ramsey's supposedly taken-out-of-context comment that "you could argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality way of life, or cult or whatever you call it," he makes a fool of himself by trying to paint Stewart as a hypocrite. According to Graham, Stewart has no standing to attack conservatives over religious freedom because he works for Comedy Central, which censored South Park's attempted illustration of Mohammed:
Jon Stewart landed both his jokey feet on the Ground Zero Mosque controversy on The Daily Show Tuesday night. He mocked conservatives for having no respect for freedom of religion. This, from Comedy Central? The network that mocks Jesus and Christians relentlessly, but censors whenever the radical Muslims threaten them? Yes. Stewart was arguing for the "greatness" of Islam, that it should be accepted with great tolerance as a global religion - regardless of how much tolerance Islam demonstrates for freedom of religion.
But it is Stewart and the Comedy Central crowd that are the shameless hypocrites about religious liberty. If they really believed in free expression, they might dare to mock radical Muslims instead of cower before them.
If this were true, it would have been a great point. Unfortunately for Graham, after Comedy Central censored South Park's attempted portrayal of Mohammed, Stewart led off his show with a long segment addressing the controversy. And Graham could have read all about it on his own website, which praised Stewart for being "one of the few left-leaning media figures to note a glaring double standard: in popular culture, religions of all kind are regularly mocked but Islam mostly gets a free pass."
In an April 23 post, NewsBuster Lachlan Markay wrote about how Stewart "noted the blatant censorship his employer Comedy Central exercised," and added that his "extensive recap of all the religions has made fun of over the years was clearly a critique of Comedy Central's decision."
Take heed, Jon Stewart - you need to redouble your efforts. According to Tim Graham, you need to "mock radical Muslims instead of cower before them." Apparently singing a song to radical Muslims with a refrain of "go fuck yourselves" doesn't count.
As we've noted, NewsBusters is currently celebrating their 5th anniversary, and they are doing their best to start year six the way they spent the previous five: by embarrassing themselves and proving they are uniquely awful media critics.
Today, "Senior Contributor" Mark Finkelstein is upset with MSNBC's Willie Geist (which Finkelstein explains is "a first" for him) for taking issue with an ad an anti-mosque group is running on NYC buses that includes an image of one of the planes flying into the WorldTrade Center on 9-11. Finkelstein's complaint is that Geist said using the image of the plane is "always in bad taste."
Finkelstein then announced that the "ad was illuminating for another, chilling, reason," which I'll let him explain. Take it away, Mark:
Have a look at the screencap below showing the mosque's proposed design [note that the anti-mosque group wasn't misrepresenting the design. See mosque architect's rendering here]. Sure looks a lot like the WTC towers themselves, doesn't it? Hard to imagine that's a coincidence. A certain implicit triumphalism involved?
To save you the click, here's the artist's rendering that Finkelstein links to:
Shocking, right? Look at it just standing there, mocking us with its four sides and rectangular shape - almost like a building.
As a side note, the ad in question, aside from being "in bad taste," is extremely misleading. It repeats the falsehood that the mosque is scheduled to open 9/11/11. Also, Finkelstein's claim that the "anti-mosque group wasn't misrepresenting the design" is false, as the organization clearly added an imaginary star and crescent to the top of the building that isn't on the original artist's rendering.
These are all superfluous details to Finkelstein, though -- he's busy uncovering the "certain implicit triumphalism" in shaping the mosque like a building.
Earlier today, we pointed out that Andrew Breitbart's Big Government published posts from Dr. Kevin Pezzi smearing Shirley Sherrod as a racist.
Pezzi is rather overtly racist, and has repeatedly used racial epithets like "Japs" and "Chinks," and claimed Native and African Americans should have been grateful for their subjugation by whites. Additionally, Pezzi is a doctor/"sex expert"/author/inventor/huckster, who, among other things, says he has "beaten Bill Gates" on a math aptitude test, is "bigger than some porno stars," and stumbled upon a cure for cancer. Pezzi has also apparently created a series of at least six fake MySpace profiles of women claiming to be big fans of his sex books.
In response to our posts, Big Government has now disappeared Pezzi's articles. If you attempt to visit the pages for his posts and bio, you are greeted with an error. While Big Government has disappeared Pezzi from their website, they posted the following "Editorial Note" from "Publius," which doesn't mention Pezzi by name:
Earlier this week, we read an on-line column which provided one of the most thorough and well-researched examinations of the many controversies surrounding former USDA employee Shirley Sherrod. We asked the author of the column for permission to reprint his article. Since publishing the articles, we have been made aware of other writings from this author which do not reflect the principles and values of this site. Because of this, we have removed the articles from Big Government. While we stand by the information contained in the articles we published, we do not wish to see the underlying issue confused or diminished by other work the author has done. We regret the error.
So, let me get this straight: After Breitbart and his "Big" websites became the focus of well-deserved criticism and national ridicule for posting a misleadingly edited video and smearing Shirley Sherrod as a racist, their defense was that Breitbart merely posted the video he was given, and he didn't bother doing any extra research. (Breitbart later conceded that the video was out of context and that he "should have waited for the full video.")
Yet in the wake of this embarrassment, Big Government sought out posts from a guy smearing Sherrod as a racist without doing any research into his background. Notice a pattern here? Breitbart and co. are so eager to cover their tracks and somehow "prove" that Sherrod is a racist that they have long-since abandoned any pretense of responsible behavior.
Big Government would not have had to do anything more than read the bio he posted on their website to realize something was amiss. Among other claims, Pezzi claimed that he was "making a robotic chef."
In two posts on Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment website, Dr. Kevin Pezzi smears Shirley Sherrod as a racist, claiming that "if someone deserves to be put on a pedestal for overcoming racism, it isn't Sherrod." The racism criticism is ironic coming from Pezzi, who has repeatedly used racial epithets like "Japs" and "Chinks," and claimed Native and African Americans should have been grateful for their subjugation by whites.
Pezzi, who says that "Breitbart asked me to write for BigGovernment.com," has a peculiar self-described history. Pezzi claims to be responsible for "over 850 inventions" and schemes such as a "magic bullet" for cancer, a "robotic chef," and sexual inventions like "penile enlargement techniques" and "ways to tighten the vagina" (because "men like women with tight vaginas"). Pezzi has started multiple websites, from term paper helpers to a sexual help site that answers "your questions about sexual attraction, pleasure, performance, and libido" (Pezzi is qualified to do so because "No doctor in the world knows more about sexual pleasure than I do").
Pezzi also claims to have "beaten Bill Gates" on a math aptitude test, turned down a blind date with Katie Couric, and says he's "bigger than some porno stars."
Earlier today, I pointed out that conservative media figures have recently been ramping up discussion of possible civil war and armed revolt. Conservative blogger Bob "Confederate Yankee" Owens, who was recently hired by the Washington Examiner, stated that nations that have supposedly collapsed as far as ours have the need to either "reform or replace their governments," and "reform increasingly seems to be a fleeting option." Perhaps to prove my point, Owens now says Media Matters should "feel threatened" by him, and even suggests that violence will be necessary.
In a new post titled "Closer to Midnight", Owens responds to my earlier post by writing: "They portray it as a threat when 'Conservative media figures openly discuss armed revolution.' I hope they do feel threatened." He adds that our "feigned ignorance" and "mockery" in the face of "peaceable protests" means that "perhaps it will take a serious review of our capacity for violence to get them to realize we shall not surrender our individual liberties to their lust for power."
We have moved "closer to midnight" not because of any singular act , but because of inertia of a political class that does not respect or enforce the laws, or this nation's sovereignty. We have diametrically opposed views of how our nation can and should be run, and it appears that there is very little room left for negotiation.
Propagandists for the elitists at Media Matters seem troubled by A Nation on the Edge of Revolt. They portray it as a threat when "Conservative media figures openly discuss armed revolution."
I hope they do feel threatened. Attempts at peaceable protests have been met at turns by feigned ignorance, then mockery, then attacks on the character and motives of those would not sit quietly by. Perhaps it will take a serious review of our capacity for violence to get them to realize we shall not surrender our individual liberties to their lust for power.
I have not yet been swayed to the point of view that an armed conflict is inevitable, TN_NamVolunteer. But we are close enough that one would be wise to prepare for a possible conflict, just as one would prepare for any coming storm.
I wonder what the Washington Examiner's policy is for employees who openly speculate on the need for politically motivated violence.
Back in April, responding to Bill Clinton's comments that media figures should be careful not to advocate violence, the Washington Examiner's Byron York said that only the "fringes" of the tea party movement are "people who talk about revolution." In order to make this blanket statement, York conveniently ignored Sarah Palin telling the Tea Party convention that "America is ready for another revolution and you are a part of this" and Glenn Beck asserting that "the second American revolution is being played out right now."
Since then, conservative media figures upset with the Obama administration over health care reform, possible immigration reform, and other legislative items they disagree with have apparently become more comfortable with talk of revolt, openly discussing potential "civil war" or a "Second American Revolution."
Glenn Beck has only amped up his rhetoric, insinuating that the administration is intentionally trying to destroy the country and push us towards "civil war," and has even stated outright that he thinks "we're headed for a civil war."
This week, conservative media figures are seizing on an Investor's Business Daily editorial from the weekend that asked in its headline if "Washington's Failures" will "Lead To Second American Revolution." Limbaugh labeled the editorial "amazing" yesterday, adding: "I would not call it a revolution; I'd call it a restoration."
Conservative blogger Bob "Confederate Yankee" Owens -- who was recently hired by the Washington Examiner -- also weighed in on the IBD editorial. In a post titled "A Nation on the Edge of Revolt," Owens discusses how our current Congress has "won in a bloodless coup" and that nations collapse at this point unless "people reform or replace their governments." Owens adds that "reform increasingly seems to be a fleeting option."
While Owens states early in his post that he is not making these statements as "hyperbole," or to "incite violence," he later discusses how "revolution is a brutish nasty business," in which "innocents will fall along with patriots and the corrupt":
Newsweek's Daniel Stone just posted a very interesting interview with Andrew Breitbart. While the entire thing is well-worth reading, this question and response is particularly notable:
Stone: But do you agree that the edited video took things out of context?
Well, yes. But I put up what I had. It granted a great portion of her redemptive tale, but not all of it. If I could do it all over again, I should have waited for the full video to get to me.
It's interesting that Breitbart not only doesn't object to Stone's characterization of the video as "edited," but also agrees that it "took things out of context." Breitbart's "Big Journalism" website has been using its ridiculous "correction Alpaca" to demand corrections from outlets - including Media Matters - that correctly referred to the video as "edited."
I guess Retracto needs to turn on his owner now.
Second, "I put up what I had" is an absurd defense. Telling people that you were sent a tape, but didn't bother to fact check it before using it to smear someone as a "racist" does not absolve you of wrongdoing. If Media Matters ran a completely misleading story, but our defense was that someone sent us an inaccurate tip, we would be (justly) pilloried.
Continuing the utterly predictable conservative freak-out over the news that President Obama will be addressing the Boy Scouts' 100th anniversary jamboree via taped message rather than in person, Rush Limbaugh used the occasion to take a shot at Obama's past experience as a community organizer:
According to Limbaugh, Obama "stiff[ed]" the Boy Scouts, even though they visited the oval office two weeks ago, he's addressing the gathering via video, and several past presidents (including Limbaugh hero Ronald Reagan) did not attend jamborees. Rush purports to explain this imagined snub of the Scouts by saying it is "probably because there isn't a merit badge for community organizing."
As usual, he has no idea what he's talking about.
Seizing on a report from CNS News' Penny Starr, several conservative blogs are attacking President Obama for not speaking in person at the Boy Scouts' upcoming 100th anniversary jamboree because he will be in New Jersey to speak about the economy before heading to New York City to film an upcoming appearance on ABC's The View.
The CNS article includes several points that should (in a sane media world) mitigate the inevitable freak-out from conservative media figures:
Here's an image of an allegedly Boy Scout-hating Obama on July 12, during a visit in which the White House described Obama as "eager to hear from the extraordinary scouts who spoke with smiles and enthusiasm about the organization's 100 year anniversary.":
Though conservative blogs are in high dudgeon over this story, one group that does not seem bothered by Obama's plans is...The Boy Scouts. Here's the statement from the Scouts -- which, to their credit, CNS News includes in their article -- but bloggers like Jim Hoft and Weasel Zippers conveniently leave out of their posts:
"Due to his schedule, President Obama will not be able to attend the 2010 National Scout Jamboree," the statement reads. "In February, the President sent a letter honoring the BSA's 100th Anniversary and his signature appears on Eagle Scout cards."
"Also, he has welcomed Boy Scouts contingents in the Oval Office twice since taking office," the statement reads. "President Obama serves as the Honorary President of the BSA, as has every President since Howard Taft. While each President is traditionally invited to attend the Jamboree, not every President has been able to attend the event."
"We thank the President for his effort to recognize Scouting and look forward to working with his administration as we work toward accomplishing our mission of preparing young people to become exceptional adults," the statement concludes.
Can't you just feel the outrage?
Like clockwork, Beck is running with the lame attack.
Well, that was predictable -- this has slowly turned into Fox's favorite attack of the week. Laura Ingraham on The O'Reilly Factor, Dana Perino on Hannity, and Bret Baier on Fox's flagship "news" program, Special Report, have all advanced this inane attack.
Yesterday, the noise machine's nonsense scandal du jour was that the Obama administration supposedly "supported" the release of the Lockerbie bomber. Fox News' Dana Perino, FoxNews.com, Drudge, and several conservative bloggers hyped the story, with the always-unhinged Pam Geller going so far as to call for a "special investigation" and a "charge of treason." Rush Limbaugh claimed that Obama "backed the release," because he "wanted to make nice with the Muslim world." As we pointed out at the time, reports indicated that the administration opposed the release of the Lockerbie bomber on compassionate grounds, but stipulated that if he were to be released, he should go to Scotland, and not to Libya.
Predictably, the story has continued to disintegrate. Yesterday, The State Department released its correspondence with the Scottish Ministry of Justice, which states in no uncertain terms that the administration "is not prepared to support Megrahi's release on compassionate release or bail," and that "it would be most appropriate for Megrahi to remain imprisoned for the entirety of his sentence."
Responding to the release of the letter in a post headlined "Two Cheers For The Administration On Megrahi," PowerLine's John Hinderaker states that this story is a "non-controversy in which the State Department and the Obama administration acted honorably and appropriately."
Despite the letter from the State Department clearly demolishing this non-scandal, some conservative bloggers just won't give up the ghost. Undeterred (as usual) by reality, Jim Hoft responded to the letter by announcing in a headline that the administration "Preferred [Lockerbie Bomber's] Release." This serves as more evidence that Hoft either does not bother to read the things he links to, or that his deranged hatred of the administration is such that it leads him state with a straight face that up is down.
Even more embarrassing than Hoft's post was this inane screed by RedState's Lori Ziganto about how Obama "can't seem to man up." This was posted after the release of the letter, yet completely ignored its existence: