Following a February 13 BBC Q&A with Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, several conservative media outlets have distorted Jones' comments to suggest that they undermine the consensus that human activities are contributing to warming global temperatures. These media outlets have seized on Jones' statement that since 1995, the warming trend "is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level" to falsely suggest that temperatures since the mid 1990s disprove global warming and to falsely claim, in Jim Hoft's words, that Jones "admit[ted] there is no global warming."
Newsbuters associate editor Noel Sheppard blows the lid off ... uh ... something:
President Obama's Official Twitterer Connected To MoveOn.org
Sun, 02/14/2010 - 16:06 ET
The woman that poses as Barack Obama on all his social networking websites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter is connected to the far-left organization MoveOn.org.
See, it seems that Mia Cambronero, a DNC staffer who updates Twitter and Facebook accounts in Barack Obama's name, used to be a fellow at New Organizing Institute, which has ties to Move On. Shocking, isn't it? Sheppard thinks so:
And this is what the person acting as the President's Twitterer used to be affiliated with.
Color me unsurprised not only that this is the case, but that so-called journalists in the mainstream media haven't reported it.
Yeah, I bet Bob Woodward is kicking himself for getting scooped on this one.
Sweetness & Light, the right-wing blog Sheppard cites for this stunning scoop, describes Cambronero as "a NOI Fellow." Apparently that didn't sound damning enough for Sheppard, who embellished it a bit: "Our friends at Sweetness & Light have discovered that she is a senior fellow at the New Organizing Institute." Did Sheppard think that made this incredibly mundane discovering more damning? (It doesn't.) Or did he just misread the blog post? (The Sweetness & Light blog post also insists "Ms. Cambronero's resemblance to Mr. Obama is quite startling," and a previous post snarked "it is quite telling that Mr. Obama hired a girl to sound like him." I have no idea what that hire was supposed to "tell," but this should give you some sense of the kind of people we're dealing with here.)
Another right-wing blog, FireAndreaMitchell.com, then further embellished Sheppard's account in a post titled "Your tax dollars at work - Obama's Official Twitterer is Mia Cambronero who is connected To Soros's MoveOn.org."
Just one problem: Cambronero works for the Democratic National Committee, not the White House. Your tax dollars don't have anything to do with it. (Not that there would be anything wrong with a government employee having a gig working for Move On as a line on her resume.)
Apparently, being a right-wing blogger is easier than reading.
Newsbusters associate editor Noel Sheppard blasts "ignorant" Fareed Zakaria for "the staggering stupidity" of saying the Bush tax cuts are "the single largest part of the black hole that is the federal budget deficit." But when you look past Sheppard's invective, you see that he is comparing current (well, 2007) revenues to 2000 revenues, rather than to what current revenues would be if the Bush tax cuts hadn't happened:
In fiscal 2000 before the Bush tax cuts, our government brought in $2.025 trillion in unified revenues while spending $1.789 trillion. Seven years later, before the recession hit, we received $2.568 trillion, a 27 percent increase. BUT, our expenditures rose to $2.729 trillion, a 53 percent rise.
To further illustrate the stupidity on display, even with tax cuts, receipts grew faster than the rate of inflation. BUT, if our elected officials would have kept spending to the rate of inflation during this period, our outlays in 2007 would have totaled $2.154 trillion resulting in a surplus of $414 billion!
Note also that Sheppard is focusing on 2007 because if he focused on 2009, his numbers would show only a 3.95 percent increase in revenues -- not per year, total. (Sheppard notes "In 2009, we brought in $2.105 trillion in tax receipts. Bear in mind that even with a recession this was still greater than BEFORE the Bush tax cuts were implemented." For some reason, he doesn't tell us what percentage that increase is, or compare it to inflation, as he did with the 2007 figures.)
Note also that Sheppard is completely ignoring the budgetary impact of increased interest payments as a result of debt run up previously -- debt that was run up in part because of the Bush tax cuts. That's a neat little trick -- force the government to spend more money repaying the interest on debt you ran up by cutting taxes, then blame additional spending for growing deficits.
According to a February 11 NewsBusters post, Rush Limbaugh responded to an email requesting his reaction to being placed at number three on a Daily Beast list of the right's top 25 journalists with the following comment:
I don't deserve to be on the list. I'm not a journalist. I value my reputation much more than to agree to being a journo.
Newsbusters Associate Editor Noel Sheppard takes aim at the Associated Press for doing the "inexcusable" -- the wire service "attached to its Sunday piece a tremendously unflattering photo of the former Alaska governor."
Sheppard might want to have a word with his Newsbusters colleagues, who have a habit of using what they clearly think is a "tremendously unflattering photo" of CBS anchor Katie Couric at every opportunity:
Sheppard concludes his post by whining about the AP mentioning that Palin was paid for her speech:
But even worse, the piece concluded, "Her fee was $100,000 for the appearance at the for-profit event."
Amazing. Could you imagine the AP mentioning how much Nobel Laureate Al Gore or former President Bill Clinton was paid in an article about one of their many speeches?
Is this what the AP sees as fair and balanced?
Tell you what, Noel. You seem busy accidentally attacking your colleagues, so let me Google that for you.
From NewsBusters associate editor Noel Sheppard's Twitter feed:
Right-wing media outlets have used a National Science Foundation grant awarded to Pennsylvania State University scientist Michael Mann to study the effects of climate change as an excuse to revive debunked claims about emails that were stolen from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, some of which were written by Mann. Those debunked claims include: that Mann used "'tricks' to finesse his data"; that scientists including Mann discussed "efforts to interfere with the peer review process to stifle opposing views"; and that climate scientists like Mann have "knowingly perpetrated a fraud on the global community" with regard to climate change.
Let's take a look at the Right's idea of media criticism, shall we? Here's Media Research Center Senior Fellow and Vice President for Research and Publications Brent Baker:
At the end of Sunday's This Week this morning, George Stephanopoulos announced it was his last broadcast as the host ... and an item in Sunday's Boston Herald revealed that ABC had to purchase a special chair for Stephanopoulos, in his new job as co-host of Good Morning America, so Robin Roberts would no longer "tower over" the "diminutive talking head."
The accompanying top screen shot is from December 14, Stephanopoulos's first day as the new permanent co-host and the image below is from this past Thursday's program. Judge for yourself, but Stephanopoulos is certainly lower in both.
Well, George Stephanopoulos is a media figure, and making fun of his height is criticism, so I guess this qualifies as "media criticism." Certainly more so than this entry from Baker's colleague Noel Sheppard yesterday: "Schwarzenegger On Ben Nelson's Kickback: 'It's Illegal to Buy Votes'"
On the extraordinarily unlikely chance that anyone out there takes Newsbusters' Noel Sheppard seriously, his latest offering should put an end to that:
Later, Sheppard declared Chetry's mention of a snowstorm "absolutely delicious."
Whenever you see someone suggesting that a December snowstorm in New England undermines the scientific consensus behind global warming, you know one of two things is true: Either they are a fool, or they think you are.
It's basically the equivalent of saying "The economy is fine: Bill Gates still has a lot of money." And yet it is one of the central talking points of the right-wing media's assault on global warming science.
CNN on Monday featured a fifth grade student who is refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance in his classroom until gays and lesbians have equal rights.
Despite all its pretense of being an impartial, neutral network compared to MSNBC, the advocacy of CNN comes through in almost every story it does.
"Tea Party" protests featured people with tea bags dangling from their hats and the frames of their glasses, people who had no coherent explanation of what they were protesting, who were misusing the iconography of the American Revolution-era tea parties that were protests against taxation without representation, and involved crazy comparisons of Barack Obama to Mao and Hitler, claims that Obama has a "Marxist agenda," allegations of fascism and socialism, references to Nancy Pelosi being a witch, .
By comparison, Arkansas fifth-grader Will Phillips offers a clear and straightforward explanation of his position, without resorting to silly props or name-calling:
Well, I looked at the end and it said "with liberty and justice for all." And there really isn't liberty and justice for all. There's -- gays and lesbians can't marry. There's still a lot of racism and sexism in the world, yes.
Yeah, it's really hard to see why CNN would treat this fifth grader "with far greater respect" than they treated a bunch of screaming nut-cases with tea bags dangling from their hats and signs comparing the President of the United States to Adolf Hitler. It must be liberal bias!
Newsbusters associate editor Noel Sheppard is outraged that CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Lou Dobbs know what marijuana looks and smells like:
There were some potentially interesting and concerning admissions on CNN Monday night when Wolf Blitzer said he thought he could identify a marijuana plant by its smell, and Lou Dobbs followed by saying he could recognize it "rather readily" by sight.
Granted, this exchange might seem trivial.
However, there is a push towards illicit drug legalization in America. Many believe California will legalize marijuana in short order.
With this is mind, a couple of middle-aged, high-profile CNN anchors matter-of-factly discussing what marijuana plants look and smell like adds to the ongoing desensitization of the public towards "casual" drug use.
Those against legalization should find such casual discussions by prominent media figures concerning.
Notice that Sheppard's complaint isn't that Blitzer and Dobbs advocated the use of marijuana; they didn't. Nor is his complaint that they advocated the legalization of marijuana -- they didn't do that, either. His complaint isn't even that they acknowledged having used marijuana, for they didn't do that either. No, Noel Sheppard thinks it is "concerning" that Blitzer and Dobbs know what marijuana looks and smells like. Apparently he won't be happy unless reporters respond to mention of marijuana by claiming never to have heard of the plant.
A new poll from NBC and the Wall Street Journal indicates that there has been an uptick in support for the public option in upcoming health care reform legislation. As Media Matters has shown, support for the public option has always been pretty high despite the media's ignorance. But what's great is how Noel Sheppard of Newsbusters has created a conspiracy theory that this poll result has been timed out between NBC/WSJ and Senator Reid. Here is Sheppard's evidence:
Isn't THAT convenient?!?
See? He used two question marks. And an exclamation point. No actual evidence of any sort, but why do you need that for a pretty incendiary accusation when you have two question marks? I'm convinced.
Newsbusters' Noel Sheppard:
In another example of Barack Obama's appeal diminishing with the public, the White House was forced to reschedule Wednesday's press conference to 8PM from 9PM as NBC didn't want its summer hit "America's Got Talent" to be pre-empted.
Do you think Sheppard really doesn't understand that NBC sells ads during "America's Got Talent," but not during presidential press conferences? Do you think he really doesn't understand that this isn't an "example of Barack Obama's appeal diminishing with the public," but rather an example of NBC preferring to make a bunch of money rather than not make any money?
Terry Krepel over at ConWebWatch (he's also a Media Matters senior editor) destroys a Fox News Forum post by Noel Sheppard, NewsBusters associate editor, in which Shepard attacks Sen. John Kerry for calling Media Matters and ThinkProgress "good folks" while writing about the George Will global warming controversy on Huffington Post.
What Kerry chose to hide from readers was his wife's connection to these so-called "good folks."
ThinkProgress is the blog of the far-left leaning Center for American Progress. Contribution records show CAP having taken funds from the Tides Foundation, an organization that's received a great deal of money from the Howard Heinz Endowment chaired by -- wait for it! -- the junior senator from Massachusetts' wife Teresa Heinz Kerry.
2008 grantees of Tides' included the Center for American Progress Action Fund — a partner of CAP's — AND the Media Matters Action Network — a partner of MMA's.
Well, as Krepel points out:
There's just little one problem with Sheppard's conspiracy theory: it's not true.
As we and others have detailed, Heinz Kerry's donations to the Tides Foundation have been explicitly earmarked toward specific projects in Pennsylvania, making it impossible for that money to have gone toward CAP or Media Matters. Thus, the entire premise of Sheppard's article is false.
Curiously, at no point does Sheppard address the actual claims CAP and Media Matters have made about Will's false statements on global warming, nor does he mention that Washington Post ombudsman Andy Alexander has raised questions about the claims and the editing process that allowed them into Will's column.