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.
The replacement image is one of the top Google Images results for the phrase "obama laughing," as is the original anti-Semitic illustration.
The Media Research Center's NewsBusters blog is using an anti-Semitic image depicting Jewish control and influence over the U.S. government to illustrate one of its posts. The entry, written by NewsBusters associate editor Noel Sheppard, is accompanied by the following Photoshopped image:
In a hard-hitting* interview with Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Newsbusters' Noel Sheppard opened by asking:
Well, I'm sure you saw EPA chief Lisa Jackson was named Energy Policy Maker of the Year by Politico last night. And I quote, "The EPA chief has been a forceful advocate on environmental issues and has held the line against intense Republican attacks on her agency." Is this kind of like Time picking Hitler or Khomeini as Man of the Year - whoever had the most impact whether for good or ill?
Later, Sheppard alleged that Jackson is "trying to set policy without oversight by the legislature" based on the "anthropogenic global warming myth."
In fact, it was the Supreme Court that ruled that the EPA is required to regulate greenhouse gases under the bipartisan Clean Air Act unless it "it determines that greenhouse gases do not contribute to climate change" or "provides some reasonable explanation as to why it cannot or will not exercise its discretion to determine whether they do." Following extensive review of peer-reviewed scientific literature, which overwhelmingly concludes that global warming is caused by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases, the EPA found that greenhouse gases classify as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.
The Washington Post's Richard Cohen recently criticized GOP Presidential candidate Rick Perry for wrongly stating that "there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data" to exaggerate global warming.
Responding to Cohen's piece, NewsBusters, a project of the Media Research Center, defended Perry's remarks, claiming that it has been "clearly proven" that scientists doctored the data:
As for the manipulation of data, 2009's ClimateGate as well as a myriad of recent findings concerning significant errors in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2007 report have clearly proven this.
The only thing that has been "clearly proven" from the overblown "ClimateGate" controversy is that no amount of evidence will disabuse conservative media of the misconception that "ClimateGate" exposed scientists manipulating data to exaggerate global warming. This claim has simply become part of their retelling of history. But it is baseless.
On his radio show yesterday, Rush Limbaugh declared that "almost no temperature records were broken" during the recent heat wave and that media outlets who reported on "record-breaking" heat were telling "a bunch of lies" to "advance a political agenda of liberalism."
Limbaugh's remarks echo a Newsbusters post in which Noel Sheppard claims that "almost no temperature records were actually broken." He came to this conclusion by ignoring most of the temperature records. Nevertheless, Sheppard's claim was picked up not only by Limbaugh but also Fox Nation:
Citing the NOAA database, Sheppard claims "There were only 34 new all-time daily temperature records set during last week's 'record-breaking heat.' This is out of over 6000 records previously set for each day since such things have been reported."
Actually, it's not out of over 6000 records "set for each day," but out of over 6000 records set for all-time at each location. Sheppard is confusing all-time and daily records.
If there is one thing the right-wing media can agree about, it's that they've been treated unfairly following the shooting in Tucson. To push this point, Brent Bozell, the head of the Media Research Center, appeared on Fox & Friends this morning to cry foul. In addition to his normal complaints of left-wing bias in the media, Bozell made one thing patently clear: The shootings in Tucson had nothing to do with politics. He drove this point home over and over again, saying, "Politics had nothing to do with this. This is a man who never even listened to talk radio or watched the news." Watch:
Got that? Jared Loughner's shooting spree had "nothing to do with politics." Seems like Bozell needs to get Media Research Center's blog, NewsBusters, on the same page. Last Sunday, Noel Sheppard wrote a blog, complaining that "[a] friend of the gunman accused of Saturday's tragic shooting spree involving Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was interviewed on Sunday's 'This Week,'" but that "[f]or some reason, her claims posted on Twitter Saturday that Jared Lee Loughner was a liberal went completely ignored."
Sheppard repeatedly participated in the nonsensical right-wing effort to try to label the shooter as "left wing" based on the fact that he listed Mein Kampf as one of his favorite books. On January 8, Sheppard wrote:
A video that he posted at his YouTube channel features a flag burning, certainly not what one would expect from a conservative. Loughner also listed his favorite books including "Mein Kampf" and "The Communist Manifesto."
Liberals love to claim Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist Party were right-wing. However, as Hitler wanted total governmental control of industry and healthcare, his views were quite opposite of what conservatives in America currently stand for, especially Palin, Beck, and members of the Tea Party.
Today, Bozell was so furious that anyone would tie the incident to politics this morning that he shouted "How dare [the far left] turn around and demand civility? They're the ones being uncivil!" Sheppard must not have gotten the memo.
Fox News has run repeated segments attacking some progressive media figures and politicians for suggesting that political rhetoric from the right inspired the recent tragic shootings in Arizona. In doing so, Fox has whitewashed right-wing media figures who have attempted to describe Loughner as a liberal and pin the shooting on "the left."
As details about the tragic shooting in Arizona came to light, members of the right-wing media quickly used the fact that Hitler's Mein Kampf was listed as one of Jared Loughner's favorite books as evidence that his politics are "left wing." This characterization coincides with years of effort by Fox News personalities to tie the fascist Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler to progressivism.
Over at NewsBusters, Lachlan Markay takes Joy Behar to task for allowing Jesse Ventura on her show to discuss Bill O'Reilly's "Muslims attacked us on 9-11" claim, during which he referenced his truther leanings: "I got a conspiracy theory. So who's to say they actually did or not?" Markay went on to harangue Behar, asking whether she "is in fact a truther herself, or simply so viciously hostile to conservatives that she will dub a center-right position 'hate speech' while overlooking a repugnant, wackjob conspiracy theory simply because the person espousing it agrees that Bill O'Reilly is a 'spineless puke.' "
NewsBusters might have a little more credibility in criticizing anyone who helps Ventura spread his conspiracy theories if one of its editors hadn't himself done exactly that.
Late last year, an episode of Ventura's TruTV show, helpfully named Conspiracy Theory, focused on global warming and asked whether it was "a plot to cheat, extort, and control you and everybody else." Playing a lead role in advancing the conspiracy was none other than NewsBusters associate editor Noel Sheppard.
The conspiracy-lovers at Alex Jones' Prison Planet website loved that show so much they clipped the entire thing (Jones, himself a 9-11 Truther, appears in the show too). Sheppard -- ludicrously identified as an "investigative journalist" -- appears in the opening segment, eagerly playing along to make things sound as spooky and clandestine as possible, declaring that global warming is all about "power and money and control of the population." He goes on to call the idea of carbon credits "one of the biggest Ponzi schemes we've ever seen," then slips Ventura "a list of scientists that I want you to talk to. You will learn a lot from these folks."
Sheppard has regularly used his NewsBusters soapbox to attack the idea of global warming and make distracting claims such as portraying the existence of cold weather during the wintertime as evidence there's no global warming.
It seems NewsBusters' criticism of Ventura's conspiracy theories only applies when it's not promoting the same conspiracy theory.
Conservative media have falsely suggested that Germany's fiscal austerity policies spurred that country's recent economic growth, at times arguing that the United States should therefore have cut spending instead of borrowing to stimulate the economy. In fact, Germany -- which launched stimulus spending and increased the deficit in response to the recession -- has not yet implemented its planned cuts, and economists say Germany's recent improvement is largely due to conditions favorable to its export-based economy.
Newsbusters' Noel Sheppard tries to spin away evidence that Republicans are more likely to falsely believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim, accusing CBS anchor Bob Schieffer of "a nice little sleight of hand" in making that accurate statement. But in doing so, Sheppard himself is guilty of "sleight of hand" -- or of not understanding basic math. Or both. (The smart money is on "both.")
[W]hen [Bob] Schieffer said "a new poll tells us a growing number of Americans, most of them on the right, believe Barack Obama is a Muslim," this was a nice little sleight of hand to disguise the truth.
Here's what the Pew poll really said:
The view that Obama is a Muslim is more widespread among his political opponents than among his backers. Roughly a third of conservative Republicans (34%) say Obama is a Muslim, as do 30% of those who disapprove of Obama's job performance. But even among many of his supporters and allies, less than half now say Obama is a Christian. Among Democrats, for instance, 46% say Obama is a Christian, down from 55% in March 2009.
The belief that Obama is a Muslim has increased most sharply among Republicans (up 14 points since 2009), especially conservative Republicans (up 16 points). But the number of independents who say Obama is a Muslim has also increased significantly (up eight points). There has been little change in the number of Democrats who say Obama is a Muslim, but fewer Democrats today say he is a Christian (down nine points since 2009).
As such, what Schieffer said about "most of them on the right" may have been accurate, but it certainly didn't properly relay the poll's findings.
Sheppard never spells out what he thinks "the truth" really is, which is a pretty good sign that his complaints about Schieffer don't hold water. But based on the portion of the Pew release he chose to include, it seems that Sheppard thinks the finding that "less than half" of Obama's "supporters and allies" say Obama is a Christian undermines the statement that the belief that Obama is a Muslim is mostly found on the right. But it doesn't: that's a bit of "sleight of hand" on Sheppard's part, conflating two different sets of data (those who say Obama is Muslim vs. those who say he is Christian.)
If you look at the Pew data and actually compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges, you see that Schieffer's statement was both "accurate" and "properly relay[ed] the poll's findings."
Pew found that 31 percent of Republicans think Obama is a Muslim, up from 17 percent in March of 2009. That's an increase of a whopping 82 percent. (I'll save Sheppard the embarrassment of trying to correct me on this point by reminding him now of the difference between "percent" and "percentage points.")
Meanwhile, 10 percent of Democrats think Obama is a Muslim, up from 7 percent in March 2009 -- an increase of 43 percent, about half as much as the increase among Republicans.
So Schieffer's statement that the false belief that Obama is a Muslim tends to be found on the political Right is justified by both the percentages in each party who believe that, and by the rate of growth in that belief among members of each party.
Now, for the other data Sheppard referenced: those who (correctly) think Obama is a Christian.
Pew found that only 27 percent of Republicans say Obama is Christian, down from 47 percent last year -- a 43 percent decrease. Meanwhile, 46 percent of Democrats say Obama is Christian, down from 55 percent last year -- a 16 percent decrease, a bit more than a third of the decrease among Republicans.
Again, the data supports the validity of Schieffer's statement. Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to correctly say Obama is a Christian, and the gap is widening rapidly.
So, basically, Sheppard has no idea what he's talking about. Again.
Newsbusters' attempts to explain away Fox News parent News Corp's $1 million contribution to the GOP would be funny if they weren't so pathetic.
Earlier this week, Tim Graham offered the utterly inane defense that "Democrats are having a fit over the RGA donation, even if the overall donation levels are about even." By "overall donation levels are about even," Graham was referring to the fact that, according to the Washington Post, prior to the $1 million contribution, "the News Corp./Fox political action committee had given 54 percent of its donations to Democrats and 46 percent to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics … News Corp. also gave $45,000 each to GOP and Democratic campaign committees on Capitol Hill."
Now, that 54/46 split obscures the dollar amounts in question, which is roughly $78,000 to Democrats and $66,500 to Republicans. Add in the $45,000 each to the GOP and Democratic campaign committees and we're talking about $123,000 to Democrats and $111,500 to Republicans -- which is, indeed, "about even." But wait! We can't just ignore that $1 million contribution in assessing "overall donation levels." It is, after all, an actual contribution of actual money that can be spent on actual political activities. When you add it to the mix, Fox has given the GOP about $1.1 million, and Democrats about $123,000 -- that's nearly ten times as much to the GOP. And yet Graham claimed that "overall donation levels are about even"! That's just incredibly false. In doing so, he conveniently omitted any mention of the actual dollar amounts referred to by the 54/46 split, which would have given away his little ruse. That's just incredibly dishonest.
Comedian Jon Stewart on Wednesday bashed Fox News for parent company News Corporation's $1 million donation to the Republican Governors Association.
Unfortunately, Stewart failed to inform his viewers that Viacom, the parent company of Comedy Central, has so far given disproportionately to Democrats this year.
according to Open Secrets, Viacom's Political Action Committee has so far this year contributed 62 percent of its money to Democrats and only 38 percent to Republicans
In 2008, this ratio was 58 percent Democrats, 42 percent Republicans
Sheppard stopped there, not telling readers what the numbers were for 2006, or 2004, or 2002, or 2000, or 1998. Call me a cynic, but I suspect that's because Viacom gave more than 60 percent of its PAC contributions to Republicans in 2006 and 2004, and a majority to Republicans in 2002 and 1998 (Viacom's PAC contributions were split between the parties 50/50 in 2000.)
See, PAC contributions tend to flow to the party in power, as corporate PACs tend to give money to incumbents. Given that, Viacom's contribution pattern isn't particularly noteworthy. Not to mention the fact that Sheppard has a problem of scale that he isn't addressing: According to the data Sheppard cited, Viacom's PAC has given a total of $176,700 to politicians of both parties this year, so that 62/38 split in favor of the Democrats results in about a $42,000 advantage. Now, remember, Fox/News Corp have given about one million dollars more to the GOP than the Dems this cycle. So responding by pointing to the $42,000 advantage Democrats have in Viacom contributions is pretty silly. Maybe that's why Sheppard used percentages rather than raw numbers? Nah, he wouldn't be that dishonest … would he?
Sheppard then repeats Graham's absurd argument:
Beyond this, as NewsBusters reported hours before Stewart made his comments, prior to this $1 million donation, News Corp. had actually given 54 percent of its donations to Democrats and 46 percent to Republicans.
Yes, it's true: if you don't count News Corp's $1 million contribution to the GOP, it has given Democrats slightly more than it has given Republicans! And if you don't count everything Noel Sheppard has ever written, he rarely makes a fool of himself in public.
UPDATE: Graham has appended a correction to his post, acknowledging: "Adding $1 million to the GOP side shows a more dramatic tilt to the GOP than my faulty original assumption."
The right-wing media have mocked Sen. Barbara Boxer's comments about the threat of global warming to national security. However, national security experts -- including those in the Bush administration -- have highlighted the "significant geopolitical consequences" of climate change.
For another edition of Conservative Media Criticism Is A Crock, here's Newsbuster Noel Sheppard:
Nobel Laureate Al Gore purchased a $9 million mansion in the luxurious hills of Montecito, California, recently, and with the exception of the Los Angeles Times and Fox News, America's media couldn't care less.
Don't you think SOMEBODY should have reported it other than Fox News, the LA Times, and conservative bloggers?
Where'd the money come from? Was this purchased by his non-profit corporation, and if so, how does he get away with that?
So, Sheppard is suggesting -- with absolutely no evidence whatsoever -- that Gore inappropriately used a non-profit corporation to buy himself a house. That isn't media criticism, it's a smear campaign. It's no different than asking if Noel Sheppard stole the computer he used to write that post from a local church. Hey, I'm just asking!
He buys a STUNNING villa as the unemployment rate stands at almost 10 percent and Americans are struggling to regain their footing after 2008's financial crisis, and the media are suddenly disinterested in him?
Newsflash, Noel: If people refrain from buying things while other people are unemployed, the economy isn't going to get any better.
UPDATE: Sheppard's excuse for suggesting Gore may have used "his non-profit corporation" to buy the house is that in 2000, Gore was "was worth between one and two million dollars in 2000" -- far less than the purchase price of the house. But in the very same article Sheppard linked to as evidence of Gore's (relatively) low net worth in 2000, we see this passage:
In addition to the steady flow of six-figure speaking gigs, he has become an insider at two of the hottest companies on the planet: at Google, where he signed on as an adviser in 2001, pre-IPO (and received stock options now reportedly worth north of $30 million), and at Apple, where he joined the board in 2003 (and got stock options now valued at about $6 million). He enjoyed a big payday as vice chairman of an investment firm in L.A., and, more recently, started a cable-television company and an asset-management firm, both of which are becoming quiet forces in their fields.
So, according to an article Sheppard linked to, Gore has Google stock options worth more than $30 million -- stock options Gore received in 2001. Sheppard leaves that part out of his little write-up, points out Gore's (relatively) low net worth in 2000, and suggests that Gore must have bought the house using his "non-profit corporation" or by "lining his wallet" via his global warming "scam." That's just completely dishonest and sleazy.
If ever I begin to doubt my proficiency at critiquing the media, all I have to do is head over to NewsBusters to see what Noel Sheppard is up to, and I immediately feel better.
Today, Sheppard is upset at Bono for writing "a love letter" to Bill Clinton as part of the "Time 100," Time's annual list of the world's most influential people, and is particularly piqued that Bono credited Clinton for having "a huge hand in slashing the price of AIDS drugs for people who couldn't afford them." The problem, according to Sheppard, is that George W. Bush did that too, and Bono didn't mention it:
Slashing the price of AIDS drugs in Africa. Hmm. Who did that?
Oh. That's right. It was former President George W. Bush.
This program was so successful that CBS's "60 Minutes" did a piece earlier this month calling it "something so momentous that it is saving millions of lives and generating goodwill for America around the world." An AIDS doctor in Uganda was quoted as saying, "There has never been a rescue mission, a mission of mercy of this magnitude that has produced such magnanimous results."
Yet, roughly three weeks later, Bono is praising Clinton for slashing the price of AIDS drugs in Africa?
To be sure, the rock star did mention Bush's name in his Time love letter -- "That's why he was a brilliant choice to coordinate U.S. support earlier this year, along with President George W. Bush" -- but Clinton got all the AIDS relief credit.
Unfortunately, despite Bush's fabulous work on a cause Bono himself championed, this wasn't the first time the rock star snubbed the 43rd President.
So Noel Sheppard thinks that Bono, when tasked with writing a short piece recognizing the influence of Bill Clinton, should have spent more time talking about George W. Bush.
Hot Air's Ed Morrissey mischaracterized a recent hurricane study in Nature Geoscience in order to claim the study shows that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) 2007 report was not "reliable" and should be "dismiss[ed]."