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  • Newsbusters applauds as Hume & Bush mislead

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Newsbusters' Noel Sheppard gushes over the Presidents Bush:

    "Fox News Sunday" featured a fabulous interview with Presidents George H. W. and George W. Bush today demonstrating that regardless of their political leaning, these are two fine gentlemen who deeply love their country and have the utmost respect for the office they held.

    What was particularly fascinating was how they both had nothing but positive things to say about president-elect Barack Obama, as well as his cabinet picks, and that they refused to say anything negative about him.

    In fact, if you forward to minute 3:00 of the video embedded below the fold, you'll witness an absolutely marvelous discussion about why they believe former presidents should keep their opposing views of the current executive to themselves

    Here's that "absolutely marvelous discussion" in which the Bushes demonstrate that they "are two fine gentlemen who deeply love their country and have the utmost respect for the office they held":

    HUME: Well, what - look, you - this is very like you, and like you, as well, to refrain from comment on the other political figures, the incumbent President and so on. Why?

    FORMER PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, why be out there looking like you're carping and criticizing and know everything? I mean, I've heard what the President said about President Obama, President-Elect Obama. I feel the same way; support him where you can, and don't go out there criticizing and carping. You look small yourself for one thing, but that's not the main reason; the main reason is he needs support. And if it's something you disagree with violently, sit on the sidelines and shut up.

    THE PRESIDENT: There will be plenty of opportunities for people to carp, trust me. I mean, this is a job that -

    FORMER PRESIDENT BUSH: Oh, yes, I know there will.

    Such noble gentlemen!

    But it isn't true. Former President Bush now says that he doesn't criticize his successors because he would "look small" if he did so, and that instead he should "sit on the sidelines and shut up." But, as Media Matters has documented, Bush repeatedly criticized Bill Clinton during Clinton's presidency.

    Media Matters pointed that out after Fox's Brit Hume claimed that former President Bush did not criticize his successor. That resulted in the following correction from Hume:

    Two nights ago on this program, we said that, in attacking President Bush on Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, and the budget, former president Clinton did something that Bush's father did not do, and that is to criticize his successor. That was incorrect. While the first President Bush did so rarely, he did criticize President Clinton and his administration several times, including on his Haiti and Somalia policies. We stand corrected and regret the error.

    And yet there was Brit Hume on Fox yesterday, claiming it is "very like" President Bush to refrain from criticizing Barack Obama. And how does Newsbusters' Noel Sheppard react to Brit Hume repeating a falsehood for which he has previously apologized, and to former President Bush denouncing conduct he himself has engaged in.

    Sheppard praises it as an "absolutely marvelous" discussion.

    And that reveals a great deal about Newsbusters and the Media Research Center: their idea of quality journalism is when a conservative reporter joins a conservative guest in misleading their audience. And "bias" is when a comic book depicts a superhero preventing a criminal from disrupting a presidential inauguration.

  • Power Line and warbloggers continue their serial mendacity

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Right-wing warbloggers are keeping up their attacks on journalism, as well common sense, by insisting that reporters covering the Gaza fighting are concocting tales of violence. Why? Because "the media loves terrorists and their propaganda." We documented the warbloggers' most recent bouts of media-bashing dementia last week.

    This week the trend continues with John Hinderaker. Writing for Power Line, a leading light of the right-wing blogosphere, we discover Hinderaker can miraculously divine the intentions and motivations of children 6,000 miles away in war-torn Gaza. In a post headlined "Manufacturing Disaster" (because the reports of violence in Gaza are invented; keep up people), Hinderaker dissects an Associated Press photo [emphasis added]:

    In this photo, taken during the current conflict in Gaza, the man on the left appears to be injured, but the children on the right do not. They look as though they were told to lie down so they could be photographed with the injured man and described as "children...wounded in an Israeli missile strike:"

    Hinderaker's conclusion: The children are fine.

    Behold the right-wing blogosphere.

    P.S. Did you note that, according to Hinderaker, the man on the left appears to be injured. Can't we create a separate Internet for these wingnuts?

    P.P.S. Is it me, or is Michelle Malkin sitting out the latest press-hating crusade in which warbloggers announce, without any actual proof, which reports and images from Gaza are authentic and which ones are not? Meaning, did Malkin actually learn a painful lesson when she lent her name to previous (laughable) warblogger jihads against the press (paging Jamil Hussein...) and has she decided her reputation could only take so many hits? We'll be interested to see if Malkin backs Hinderaker's hollow claims.

  • Even Sarah Palin can spot awful Politico headlines

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    We've noted them many times in recent months; headlines that often have little connection to the content of the article. We assume this is done by Politico editor to goose the click-through rate by promising readers juicy stories that Politico often cannot deliver. But the practice is wildly misleading and represents bad journalism.

    In a statement following her recent interview with John Ziegler in which she addressed her own press coverage during the campaign, Palin singled out a recent Politico headline as being unfair: "Palin: Media Goes Easy on Kennedy."

    This was Politico's lead [emphasis added]:

    Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) believes Caroline Kennedy is getting softer press treatment in her pursuit of the New York Senate seat than Palin did as the GOP vice presidential nominee because of Kennedy's social class.

    "I've been interested to see how Caroline Kennedy will be handled and if she will be handled with kid gloves or if she will be under such a microscope," Palin told conservative filmmaker John Ziegler during an interview Monday for his upcoming documentary film, "How Obama Got Elected." Excerpts from the interview were posted on YouTube Wednesday evening.

    "It's going to be interesting to see how that plays out and I think that as we watch that we will perhaps be able to prove that there is a class issue here also that was such a factor in the scrutiny of my candidacy versus, say, the scrutiny of what her candidacy may be."

    Did you note the verb tense problem? Politico reported Palin claimed Kennedy "is getting softer press treatment." (Present tense.) But in her comments to Ziegler, Palin was clearly looking forward and wondering whether the press "will" handle Kennedy with kid gloves if she gets appointed to fill Hillary Clinton's senate seat. (Future tense.)

    Politico though, just fudged the facts and reported something more pleasing.

    And Newsbusters please take note, I just defended Sarah Palin from an unfair press report.

  • Olbermann names Beck "Worst Person" for hypocrisy in decrying Communist-name calling

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    On the January 9 edition of MSNBC's Countdown, Keith Olbermann , echoing a recent item by Media Matters for America, highlighted remarks made by Glenn Beck in a promotion for his upcoming Fox News program:

    Promoting upcoming Fox show, Beck -- who has called Obama "a Marxist" and criticized "Comrade Clinton" -- decries communist name-calling

    video: msnbc-20090109-worst
  • NYT reporter already mapping out Obama's failure

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Reports Politico:

    If his stimulus plan "doesn't work out, he may very well be a one-term president," said [the Times'] Jeff Zeleny, who covered Obama's campaign. "It's hard to imagine that he could be reelected if the economy's in the exact same position four years from now."

    Funny, we don't recall any Times reporters suggesting Bush would be a one-term president days before his inauguration. But of course we do remember lots of reporters and pundits announcing that Bill Clinton had failed in his first month in office.

    Note the double standard?

  • The NYT's fond Bush farewell

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    The Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg proves to be a loyal note taker, right to the end [emphasis added]:

    Yet to talk to people still inside the Bush White House is to come away with a sense that they do not feel defeated at all. Rather, having been through the crucible of the worst terrorist attack on American soil, two wars, a hurricane of biblical proportions and the gravest economic crisis since the Great Depression, they describe a sense of achievement and honor in having served the country, and in particular this president.

    As long as they feel good about themselves, right?

  • The mess Little Green Footballs now has to mop up, cont'd

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    CNN stands by the video it aired from Gaza, and which right-wing warbloggers tagged as "obviously fake" because an anonymous reader at Little Green Footballs, claiming to be a doctor, announced a CPR scene at a Gaza hospital looked weird. It's part of the warbloggers' crusade to convince each other that it's untrustworthy journalists who are concocting tales of suffering and violence in Gaza.

    Question: Do warbloggers ever get tired of being wrong?

  • The mess Little Green Footballs now has to mop up

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Because when you unleash the loons, you never know where they're going to run.

    Over the years, the warblogging site LGF has led an online jihad against war zone journalists and specifically Middle Eastern stringers working for wire services, claiming they concoct the news--they fabricate violence--in order to spread terrorist propaganda. That local Arab or Muslim journalists are incapable of telling the truth about breaking news and that every dispatch they write, especially if it's for the AP, and every photo they file, especially if its for Reuters, must be dissected and mulled over and questioned by right-wing bloggers, lots of whom have no expertise in journalism.

    This whole deranged online movement provides all sorts of comfort for war-loving bloggers as it allows them to attack and demean journalists and Muslims/Arabs at the same time.

    The phony crusade has been on display since the launch of the Gaza incursion, as supposedly sharp-eyed bloggers, thousands of miles away from the action, stand vigil, looking to save the world from fabricated reports of violence. This week the swarm descended and casually accused a journalist of photoshopping a picture from Gaza. Of just making stuff up. Of taking photos of explosions and then digitally doctoring them and then sending them out on the wire service.

    Why? Because the media are the enemy. Because that's what Arab/Muslims stringers do. They quote phony Baghdad police chiefs like Jamil Hussein in order to spread insurgent lies. Actually, on second thought, warbloggers would prefer you leave that embarrassing episode alone. (Still waiting for a collective warblogging apology/acknowledgment/retraction on that one.)

    Anyway, here's the Gaza photo that set warbloggers all atwitter:

    The debris is too big! The mountains look out of place. The photo caption seemed weird. Blah, blah, blah.

    Except here's a photo of the exact same explosion from another angle:

    So eventually LGF had to call off the hounds and assure everyone that this photo had not been photoshopped, but that warbloggers still needed to scan wire photos and be on the look up for manufactured images of Middle Eastern violence.

    Because, y'know, there so little actual violence in the region these days, journalists have to stage it and make it up.

    UPDATE: LGF has already launched another media-hating crusade regarding footage aired by CNN from inside Gaza. It was a report featuring a freelance cameraman whose brother and cousin were killed in a rocket attack. The warbloggers are in DEFCON 5 mode because--get this--an anonymous LGF reader, who claimed to be a doctor, announced that a hospital scene from Gaza captured in the report was clearly staged because when a doctor on film performed CPR on a victim, it just looked totally weird.

    Normal people, please take two steps back for context: Nearly 800 people have been killed in Gaza the last two weeks, yet warbloggers are focused on launching a anti-media jihad based on the fact that an anonymous reader announced a single scene from a Gaza hospital looked strange.

    Behold the right-wing blogosphere.

    And just out of curiosity, are there any conservative adults who are the slightest bit concerned about what warbloggers are doing to the online movement? Or are they okay with having these folks running the show?