With all the companies that have pulled their advertising from Glenn Beck, it's understandable that many of those still advertising with him aren't exactly blue-chip enterprises. Regardless, you've got to give it to the folks at Survival Seed Bank - who advertised on Glenn Beck's March 8 broadcast - for meshing quite nicely with the host's apocalyptic visions of the future.
There's nothing wrong with a business that serves some kind of demand in the marketplace, but it goes without saying that fearmongering about economic collapse followed by food shortages and citing World Net Daily for "strong evidence" is big time black helicopter stuff.
No wonder they're advertising on Glenn Beck.
Living up to its name, HotAir embedded a ridiculous YouTube clip into a March 8 post to falsely claim that the Senate health care bill expands federal coverage of abortion beyond current law. The clip, titled "They Lie," shows an image of subsection 1303(b)(2) -- named "Abortions for Which Public Funding is Allowed" -- to prove that there is public funding for abortions. After all, the very title of the section says so!
However, the sleuths at HotAir (and their "Salem colleague Greg Hengler") neglected to mention that the subsection allowing for public funding of abortions is "based on the law as in effect as of the date that is 6 months before the beginning of the plan year involved." The "law as in effect" is the Hyde Amendment, which currently prohibits federal funding for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest or when the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother. This is not a new revelation; federal funding for these specific cases of abortion has been allowed under the Hyde Amendment consistently since 1993. And as Media Matters for America has noted -- ad nauseam -- neither the Senate nor House health care bills provide federal funding for abortions beyond the Hyde Amendment.
But, to the right-wing noise machine, it seems that every little blatant distortion helps when trying to sabotage the health care debate.
In his new memoir Courage and Consequence, Karl Rove slams President Barack Obama as a hypocritical Chicago politician who "plays fast and loose with the facts" (pg. 514). The accusation is particularly rich coming from Karl Rove -- a man who has made a post-White House career out of launching countless falsehoods and smears against President Obama and his administration. From the archives:
Newsbuster Scott Whitlock offers a lame attack on David Shuster for questioning the NRCC's habit of referring to Charlie Rangel as a "Harlem Democrat":
MSNBC's David Shuster on Monday attacked Republicans as racist for calling embattled Congressman Charlie Rangel a "crooked, Harlem Democrat." Talking to ex-Virginia Governor Doug Wilder, the host complained about a press release by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC): "They could have called him the crooked New York Democrat. They could have called him a crooked Democrat." [Audio available here.]
Shuster continued, "Why crooked Harlem Democrat? And did you see that as being racially tinged?" Clearly, the provocative part of the NRCC's press release was labeling Rangel corrupt. How is it inaccurate to refer to the Representative as a "Harlem Democrat?" Harlem is in his district. [Emphasis added]
Is it even possible that Whitlock doesn't understand that this defense falls apart unless the NRCC regularly refers to members of Congress by towns and neighborhoods in their districts?
This NRCC press release criticizing Rep. Suzanne Kosmas doesn't refer to her as a "New Smyrna Beach Democrat." This one criticizing Rep. Michael McMahon for not calling for Rangel's resignation refers to McMahon as a "New York Democrat" rather than a "Staten Island Democrat" -- even as it calls Rangel a "Harlem Democrat." This release twice calls Rangel a "Harlem Democrat," but this one about Earl Pomeroy doesn't say anything about a "Bismark Democrat," and so on.
None of which proves that the NRCC is "racist," of course. There could be a perfectly good reason why they treat Rangel and McMahon differently. Then again, Shuster didn't call them "racist," despite Whitlock's claims. Shuster asked why the NRCC insists on identifying Rangel as a "Harlem Democrat," and whether doing so was "racially tinged." Whitlock's childishly simplistic response that "Harlem is in his district" doesn't undermine Shuster's question -- not when the NRCC doesn't similarly identify McMahon as a "Staten Island Democrat."
Newsbuster Brent Baker complains:
Not the biggest deal, but emblematic of how the Washington press corps consider anyone to the right of center, no matter if barely so, to be a "conservative," while anyone who strays at all from a perfect liberal line is not worthy of an ideological label.
Setting up Sunday's Face the Nation, CBS's Bob Schieffer described guest Evan Bayh simply as "the Indiana Democrat" while tagging Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is every bit, if not more, off the conservative reservation as Bayh is off the liberal one, as a "conservative Republican."
Baker didn't provide a shred of evidence for his claim that Graham and Bayh are equally divergent from their parties' ideological mainstream. Turns out there's good reason to describe Graham as a "conservative Republican" and Bayh merely as a "Democrat": Evan Bayh is not particularly liberal, while Lindsay Graham is a conservative Republican.
Political scientists Jeff Lewis and Keith Poole rank each member of Congress in order from most liberal to least liberal based on the votes they cast. For the 111th Senate, Lewis and Poole find that Bayh has the 59th most liberal voting record, while Graham's is tied for 83rd. For the 110th Senate, Bayh was the 51st most liberal, while Graham was 88th. For the 109th, Bayh was 28th most liberal, while Graham was 94th. For the 108th, Bayh was 42nd most liberal and Graham was 92nd.
So for every Senate in which they both served, Evan Bayh's voting record placed him far closer to the center of the Senate than Lindsay Graham. Bayh's voting record has never placed him among the most most liberal Senators; Graham's has typically placed him among the most conservative.
Maybe Baker is confused about this because Graham is often -- and inaccurately -- described by the media as "moderate"?
The headline on Porter Stansberry's March 5 WorldNetDaily "Investor Insights" column reads: "Stocking up on meds and ammo, NOW!" The actual article manages to be even crazier than that.
Stansberry kicks off with a bit of fear-mongering:
Show me the example in history where a nation survives without a violent revolution after adopting paper money as its only standard, ringing up enormous foreign debts while fighting multiple wars, and relying on a tiny fraction of its population as its revenue base. Or ... simply show me any democracy in history that survived after more than 50 percent of its population stopped paying taxes.
Actually, from payroll taxes to state sales taxes, pretty much everyone pays taxes. But Stansberry isn't done fear-mongering yet:
Over the next 10 years (if not much sooner), the reality of our fiscal situation will become impossible to hide. And whom will the masses blame for the resulting chaos? What would happen, for example, if inflation went to 20 percent annually and interest rates soared to 30 percent to 40 percent annually? What would happen in that situation if someone blew up a bomb in the capital?
I don't know if any of these things will happen, of course.
Then why bring them up in the first place?
Stansberry then gets around to the point raised in the headline, an idea he has apparently endorsed in his newsletter (which is sold through WND). He adds, "If I'm wrong and there is no crisis, doing these things won't hurt you. There's no downside to owning foreign real estate, saving gold, or having an emergency stockpile of food, ammunition, and medicine."
Here's where it gets even crazier:
As for me, I'm not buying ammunition. I'm built for pleasure, not for fighting. So I've simply designed an "escape pod." I have a nice boat on the dock right behind my house in Miami. I can safely leave the country -- at any time -- with most of my wealth, within 24 hours. I'm building a house on the water in a safe foreign country that doesn't have any ties to America (Nicaragua). I've moved a significant amount of my savings out of the country -- legally. I'm pursuing a diplomatic passport to ensure any attempt to restrict travel out of the country won't stop me.
Lots of folks might be critical of these steps. Believe me, I could not care less about what they think. It's not my job to save the U.S. from its own folly. It's my job to make sure that my family is safe. Only an ignorant fool would look at what's happening with our finances, our military, and our government and not realize we're moving in a dangerous direction that's not likely to have a happy ending.
So we have a financial adviser who has already moved "a significant amount" of money out of the United States and is prepared to flee the country at a moment's notice to a locale "that doesn't have any ties to America." This is the person WorldNetDaily promotes as someone whose "insight" is worth publishing.
Last week, right-wing bloggers were frantically trying to claim that John Patrick Bedell, who was killed after he opened fired on Pentagon security officers, was a loony liberal and that Bedell's attacks had nothing to do with the increasing bouts of anti-government violence spreading on the far-ring end of the political spectrum.
The supposed proof of Bedell's liberal leanings seemed pretty thin. But this one concocted by Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit was almost comical in the sheer dishonesty of the charge [emphasis added]:
UPDATE: So... Will the state-run media report this?
The Pentagon shooter is linked to several gay rights groups along with PETA, NPR, various drug legalization orgs, Greenpeace and Al Franken.
Oh my, Bedell was linked to lots of liberal groups and even a lib senator. But when readers clicked on the Gateway Pundit link, they ended up at Left Coast Rebel, which tried to deduce all kinds of information about Bedell from his Facebook page:
I don't have access or visibility to Bedell's profile or friends. What I do have though is a list of the friends that his profile is linked to. Right off the bat I see several middle eastern sounding names many students. A large number of Bedell's friends seem to be of Indian descent - not surprising considering John Bedell's tech/science background. I even see actress Mary Bradley on here as well.
I found friends of Bedell were linked to several gay rights activist groups along with PETA, NPR, various drug legalization organizations, Greenpeace, Al Franken and a whole bunch of other stuff.
The right-wing blogger didn't have access to Bedell's FB profile, but the blogger did get to poke around Bedell's friends and found out Bedell's FB friends linked to some liberal orgs and pols. So what does Gateway Pundit do? He announces that Bedell was "linked" to the liberals outposts and politicians. Why? Because Bedell's FB friends had associations with them.
That's right, according to Hoft's fool-proof logic, every Facebook user is now "linked to" every group and interest that their hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of FB friends connect to.
Nifty trick, eh?
Behold "conservative journalism."
From a Media Matters news release:
Today, Media Matters for America announced the hiring of Joe Strupp as Investigative Reporter and Senior Editor. Strupp comes to Media Matters after 10 years as a senior editor at Editor & Publisher magazine. He will be the organization's first Investigative Reporter, and his original work will appear on his new Media Matters blog "Strupp," also launching today.
"Hiring an investigative reporter is a new step for Media Matters, but it is one we're confident will pay off," said Eric Burns, President of Media Matters. "Joe has more than 20 years of reporting experience and is an expert on the media industry. I am thrilled he is leading us in this new endeavor."
"I am excited about joining Media Matters, which I believe does a wonderful service for press coverage and balanced reporting," said Strupp. "I believe my work will be a great addition to an already valuable and remarkable team. I can't wait to provide daily media information along with original reporting of the ups and downs of the media industry."
Strupp is up with his first report which opens:
Did Newsday reassign two reporters after receiving complaints from Steve Levy, the county executive of Suffolk County, New York?
Significant evidence suggests that the newspaper -- the largest daily on Long Island -- did, including Levy's own admission that he urged the paper to reassign one of the reporters.
This raises serious concerns for the paper's readers and local community leaders, who must be able to trust Newsday's coverage of politics and government.
More about Joe Strupp:
Joe Strupp comes to Media Matters as an investigative reporter and senior editor with 21 years of news experience across newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and the Internet. Most recently, he was a senior editor at Editor & Publisher magazine, from 1999 to late 2009, writing for its print edition, website, and blog.
Strupp, 44, started his career at The Daily Journal in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He has also worked at The Argus in Fremont, California; The San Francisco Independent; and The Press-Enterprise of Riverside, California.
He has appeared on Fox News, MSNBC, National Public Radio, and Air America Radio, among other local broadcast outlets. He also spent time as a reporter and anchor at Pacifica Radio in Berkeley, California.
Strupp has earned awards from the New Jersey Press Association, Society of Professional Journalists, Jesse H. Neal Business Journalism Awards, and Folio. He lives with his wife, Claire, and their two children in Northern New Jersey.
Celebrity photographer Kimberly Butler is up on Huffington Post with an interesting video looking at "new media watchdogs" like Jon Stewart of Comedy Central's Daily Show. The video includes interviews with folks like Geraldo Rivera, John Ziegler, Juan Williams, Rachel Sklar and others.
Aside from the typical right-wing talking points from people like Ziegler (Fox News is popular because the other networks are sooo left-wing!), the piece is a pretty good look at how we've ended up where we are and why someone like Stewart wields such influence.
Over the weekend, Politico published a profile of Media Matters by Michael Calderone.
From a glitzy new office in downtown Washington, the ideological war over the media is fully engaged.
Six years after its founding to counter what it said was "conservative misinformation," Media Matters for America employs a staff of 70 that spends 19 hours a day monitoring newspapers, magazines, broadcast and cable television, talk radio, and the Internet to counter reporting or commentary it deems to be inaccurate or biased.
One of the bloodiest battles in that war occurred last fall, when Kevin Jennings, an openly-gay educator hired by the Department of Education to run an anti-bullying campaign, became a conservative cause.
Jennings was under fire from critics because he once described how as, a 24-year-old teacher, he counseled a student having a sexual relationship with an "older man." Several conservative outlets and commentators said that by law Jennings had to report the incident, claiming the student was only 15 years old at the time, and the relationship thus constituted statutory rape.
Media Matters obtained the student's driver's license and proved he was 16 at the time, the age of consent in Massachusetts. While some may still question Jennings' judgment, he didn't break any law.
"This should put to rest claims made by Fox News and other conservatives that Jennings covered up 'statutory rape' or 'molestation,'" wrote Media Matters senior fellow Karl Frisch. "To continue reporting such reckless speculation is at best willful disregard for the facts and at worst journalistic malpractice."
The battle over Jennings convinced Media Matters that it needed to not only monitor other media but to do its own original reporting. On Monday, Joe Strupp, who covered the press for 11 years with Editor & Publisher magazine, will launch a new media blog after signing on as the group's first investigative reporter.
Joining a partisan organization is a change for Strupp, given that his press coverage with E&P, or in appearances on "Fox News Watch," was solidly non-partisan. However, Media Matters, he says, didn't ask about his political beliefs when it hired him, and his goal remains to do "straight-ahead reporting." Still, Strupp acknowledges that he represents a "new sort of wing for their organization."
So while Media Matters may increasingly hire journalists with more traditional news backgrounds, the reporting and writing still fits in with the organization's goals. Unlike a newspaper, Media Matters is not in the business of selling advertising, subscriptions or competing on a variety of beats. It also has a clear political agenda.
For instance, Media Matters hired Will Bunch, a veteran Philadelphia Daily News reporter and blogger, as a senior fellow last month. Bunch plans on remaining at the Daily News while also working on a book that seems well-suited for the Media Matters audience: "The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, Hi-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama."
While Media Matters president Eric Burns and senior fellow Eric Boehlert are more visible presences on cable news and talk radio, founder David Brock remains chief executive and a major presence in the organization.
He plays a key role in strategy and fundraising, which supports the entire non-profit apparatus, and is typically at the office each day. "He guides us, gives vision," Rabin-Havt said.
That Brock has anything to do with the organization at all is more than a little ironic given his own role as part of the right-wing conspiracy. Two of Brock's notable contributions were his book "The Real Anita Hill," and a 1994 American Spectator article that spawned "Troopergate," leading to allegations that Bill Clinton, while Governor of Arkansas, used state troopers to arrange liaisons with women.
Brock later confessed that much of the Anita Hill book was false, apologized to the Clintons for the Troopergate article, broke with the right officially in a 1997 Esquire piece, and four years later explained his conversion in greater detail with his memoir, "Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative."
At the time Brock started Media Matters, the main counter to conservative media groups such as MRC and the even more established Accuracy in Media, founded in 1969, was Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), a liberal watchdog group that launched in 1986 to target media bias and censorship. While FAIR offers some analysis online each day, it doesn't do so as comprehensively as the better-funded Media Matters, which has researchers posting clips of video and audio throughout the day along with frequently updated online content.
Rabin-Havt, who like other Media Matters executives, arrived at the organization after working for a number of groups affiliated with liberal advocacy and the Democratic Party, said he thinks Media Matters has been somewhat misunderstood by mainstream reporters.
"The culture here, in this office, and I think reporters would be surprised by this, isn't one of sniping or disrespect towards the media," Rabin Havt said, adding that "being a reporter is such an incredibly honored profession, and plays such a role in our society and our debate, and we want people to do the best job they can."
Be sure to check out the profile in its entirety.
Other Profiles of Media Matters: