Scott Whitlock

Tags ››› Scott Whitlock
  • Hidden In Plain Sight: NewsBusters Criticism Disproved By Looking Up

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    NewsBusters' Scott Whitlock has claimed that ABC World News "hid the identity of a global warming activist" whose commentary was played during ABC's newscast on Monday:

    The journalist featured a clip of Heidi Cullen, who ABC simply labeled as a "climatologist." She announced, "When you crank up the heat, when you globally warm the planet, you're going to see more extreme events."

    Yet, Cullen is also the communications director for Climate Central, a group dedicated to "helping mainstream Americans understand how climate change connects to them, and arming our audiences with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their future."

    Avila made no mention of her advocacy on this topic. Yet, on May 23, 2011, in another World News piece by Avila, the network did identify Cullen's connection. (She also touted climate change as host of a now-defunct show on the Weather Channel.)

    But this is how ABC World News identified Heidi Cullen during the report as it was broadcast on DirecTV in Washington, D.C (note the upper left-hand corner of the screen image):

    Heidi Cullen - Climate Central

    Watch the segment from Monday as it aired on New York's WABC:

    UPDATE: NewsBusters subsequently corrected its blog post:

    [08-17-11 Correction: ABC did have the words "Climate Central" in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Though, the network did not offer any explanation of the group's advocacy.]

  • Newsbusters whines that moderate politician is described as moderate

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Lame Newsbusters media criticism of the day:

    USA Today Spins Liberal Lincoln Chafee as a 'Centrist' and a 'Moderate'

    By Scott Whitlock (Bio | Archive)

    Tue, 07/06/2010 - 11:14 ET

    According to USA Today's Susan Page, Lincoln Chafee, a Republican who left the party and voted for Barack Obama in 2008, is simply a "moderate."

    A cover story for Tuesday's print edition of the paper featured the misleading sub-headline: "Centrists Fuel Big Crop of Contenders This Year." Nowhere in the 1800 word piece did Page describe Chafee as a liberal.

    Gee, I wonder why USA Today thinks Lincoln Chafee is a "moderate"? Maybe Lincoln Chafee's voting record had something to do with it? During the 109th Senate -- Chafee's last -- he had the 47th most-liberal voting record, placing him almost precisely at the midpoint of the 100 Senators. In the 108th, he had the 49th most-liberal voting record. And in the 107th, Chafee had the 51st most-liberal voting record.

    But Scott Whitlock thinks that because Lincoln Chafee -- along with more than half the country -- voted for Barack Obama, he can't be a moderate.

    And for some reason, the Washington Post's ombudsman takes these clowns seriously.

  • Suddenly, Newsbusters likes James Carville?

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    When Politico reported last year that longtime friends Rahm Emanuel, Paul Begala, George Stephanopoulos and James Carville frequently talk on the telephone, the folks over at Newsbusters went into a frenzy. The fact that decades-old friendships sometimes involve telephone calls might strike you as mundane, but for some reason it was earth-shattering to the Media Research Center crowd, which leapt to the conclusion that a nefarious conspiracy was underway.

    Since then, countless Newsbusters posts have complained about the phone calls, suggesting that Begala, Carville and Stephanopoulos are mere puppets of the White House by virtue of their phone calls with their friend Emanuel. For committing the sin of friendship, at least one Newsbuster demanded their firing:

    Could it maybe be that these "news" agencies don't care if their news men are being co-opted by the White House because it's THIS White House? One run by a Democrat. And a White House run by The One, at that?

    Well, I for one, am calling for ABC and CNN to fire Carville, Begala and Stephanopoulos as well as for everyone to stop considering [Stan] Greenberg's work worthy of attention.

    Today, however, Newsbuster Scott Whitlock approvingly quoted Carville criticizing the Obama administration's response to the BP oil spill. But even though Carville's comments came in a discussion with Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America, Whitlock somehow forgot to mention those phone calls he and his fellow Newsbusters have been so obsessed with. Maybe this will put an end to the paranoid fantasy that Emanuel enjoys a Svengali-like hold over his friends.

  • Does Newsbusters' Whitlock know the difference between 11 and 17?

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Newsbusters' Scott Whitlock has outdone himself, criticizing MSNBC's David Shuster for a "softball" interview with an 11 year old who is lobbying for health care reform after losing his mother to pulmonary hypertension.

    Whitlock is miffed that Shuster "failed to mention that Owens' entire family have been members of the liberal Washington Community Action Network." And he thinks he has caught MSNBC in a double-standard:

    In contrast, on November 19, 2009, O'Donnell interrogated Jackie Seal, a conservative, Michigan teen who was waiting in line to see Sarah Palin at a book signing. The MSNBC host challenged this particular young person on her political beliefs: "Did you know that Sarah Palin supported the bailout?" O'Donnell berated, "Does that change your view?"

    Now, certainly, Owens has lost his mother and no one would grill an 11-year-old who suffered such a tragedy. But, the network's reporters clearly have different standards for different young people.

    Whitlock didn't mention that Seals was 17 years old, not 11 -- probably because he knows even Newsbusters readers would laugh at him if he wrote that 11 year olds and 17 year olds should be treated exactly the same. Just take a look at how absurd that last complaint would look if Whitlock was transparent about the age difference: "But, the network's reporters clearly have different standards for 11 year olds and 17 year olds." Yeah, that would be a devastating critique. There's a simple word for Whitlock's failure to reveal Seal's actual age: Dishonest.

    Whitlock also didn't mention that the reason why O'Donnell asked Seal whether she knew Palin supported the bailout is that Seal was wearing a T-shirt critical of the bailout, while standing in line to see Sarah Palin. The question didn't come out of the blue, and it wasn't hostile -- it was straightforward and perfectly legitimate. Asking someone if additional information causes them to change their view isn't "berating," it's a simple question. In an accompanying video, Newsbusters claims O'Donnell "sounds angry." That's a subjective assessment, but one that seems ludicrous to me; I would invite you to watch the video of O'Donnell and decide for yourself.

    So, basically, Whitlock is angry that an MSNBC reporter asked a 17 year old a straightforward question, and miffed that a different MSNBC reporter "tosses softballs" to an 11 year old. But give him some credit: he's realistic enough to know that if he spells that out, he'll get laughed at, so he pretends the 17 year old and the 11 year old are of similar ages.

  • Newsbusters' Whitlock still attacking Shuster, still not making sense

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Newsbusters' Scott Whitlock is rapidly emerging as a remarkably unimpressive media critic, even by the bottom-of-the-barrel standards of the Media Research Center.

    Yesterday, Whitlock criticized MSNBC's David Shuster for asking whether the NRCC's reference to Charlie Rangel as a "Harlem Democrat" was "racially tinged." Whitlock cluelessly responded: "How is it inaccurate to refer to the Representative as a 'Harlem Democrat?' Harlem is in his district" -- ignoring the obvious question of whether the NRCC routinely refers to Members of Congress by naming a town or neighborhood in their district, or whether it reserves such treatment for towns and neighborhoods that they think can be used as pejoratives.

    Well, it turns out the NRCC doesn't regularly refer to members of Congress that way. In fact, an NRCC release that referred to Rangel as a "Harlem Democrat" didn't use that construct when discussing another New York City congressman, Michael McMahon, who was labeled a "New York Congressman" rather than a "Staten Island Congressman."

    So David Shuster defended himself, and now Scott Whitlock is back, making a fool of himself once again. Whitlock completely ignores Shuster's point that the NRCC doesn't routinely refer to members of Congress this way -- just pretends it never happened. That's a pretty good indication that Whitlock secretly knows his argument doesn't hold much water. Then, hilariously, Whitlock complains that Shuster didn't rebuke his MSNBC colleague for doing "the same thing" the NRCC did:

    Shuster, however, was silent on the fact that MSNBC reporter Luke Russert basically did the same thing. Appearing on the March 3 edition of the Ed Show, he commented on Democrats who wanted to strip the controversial Rangel of his chairmanship.

    Russert explained that these politicians are in "conservative districts, who really saw problems back home in their rural districts in the mountains being associated with a Harlem Democrat who writes the nation's tax laws who a lot of folks say is not paying their taxes." Does this mean that Luke Russert is using "racially tinged" language? Will Shuster call on his colleague to apologize?

    What's hilarious about that? Well, Russert didn't do "the same thing" the NRCC did. The NRCC repeatedly drew attention to Rangel's ties to Harlem. Russert, on the other hand, reported that some members of congress in conservative districts fear "being associated with a Harlem Democrat." Russert's reporting suggests that, to some people "Harlem" is a pejorative. Russert's report, in other words, reinforces Shuster's point -- that the NRCC appears to be using "Harlem" because it believes the word has negative connotations, at least to some people.

    Stop digging, Whitlock.

  • In nonsensical criticism of ABC, Newsbusters' Whitlock touts poll he mocked just a month ago

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Newsbusters' Scott Whitlock is really grasping at straws in an attempt to criticize an ABC report for failing to mention that some 9/11 Truthers are liberal.

    Take, for example, the fact that Whitlock's headline undermines his central complaint: "ABC Leaves Ideology Out of Investigation Into 9/11 Truthers: 'They Come From All Over the Political Spectrum.'" Seems pretty obvious that if ABC noted the Truthers "come from all over the political spectrum," they didn't actually "leave[] ideology out" of their report, doesn't it?

    Later in the post, Whitlock wrote "Now, Truthers don't reside only on the left, but why ignore the fact that many do?" What? Does Whitlock know what "ignore" means? If ABC -- by Whitlock's own admission -- acknowledged that Truthers "come from all over the political spectrum," they clearly didn't "ignore" the fact that some are liberals. (Whitlock also acknowledged that the ABC report indicated that "Former Obama environmental czar Van Jones forced out after signing an online petition for 9/11 truth that he later repudiated.")

    So, if ABC didn't actually ignore the fact that some Truthers are liberals, what is Whitlock so upset about? Seems what really bothers him is that ABC didn't mention a 2007 Rasmussen poll of dubious merit:

    However, according to a 2007 poll by Rasmussen, 35 percent of Democrats believed that President Bush knew about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in advance. Yet, Bury blandly explained, "They are an eclectic group with widely different agenda, including war protestors, first responders who feel neglected and families of some 9/11 victims."

    Bury did highlight one attendee, Sander Hicks, noting, that he "want[s] treason charges brought against members of the Bush administration." However, there is no mention of the Rasmussen poll about Democrats. Now, Truthers don't reside only on the left, but why ignore the fact that many do?

    Now, that Rasmussen poll isn't particularly significant, as the question asked was too broad to yield meaningful results -- as even conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg concedes. But what's really hilarious about Whitlock touting the poll is that it has barely been a month since he used it as an example of poll results that aren't credible. Here's Whitlock's February 2 post about an MSNBC report:

    So, one poll, by a left-wing website (in conjunction with the firm Research 2000), is enough for MSNBC to assert that 58 percent of GOPers subscribe to a bizarre conspiracy? A Rasmussen poll from May of 2007 found that 61 percent of Democrats either believed that George Bush knew about the 9/11 terror attack in advance or aren't sure. Does that mean that "most Democrats" are Truthers?

    See what Whitlock did there? He dismissed the validity of "one poll" finding he didn't like -- and, in an effort to demonstrate how crazy it would be to take it seriously, he compared it to the Rasmussen finding about Democrats and 9/11.

    But now, just over a month after comparing a Research 2000 poll to the Rasmussen poll in order to discredit the Research 2000 poll, Whitlock is complaining that ABC didn't mention the Rasmussen poll.

    So Scott Whitlock's view of the credibility of the Rasmussen finding is variable, dependent on who he wants to criticize and why.

  • Deliberately Obtuse?

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    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."

  • Newsbusters catches Stephanopoulos committing journalism

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Newsbuster Scott Whitlock reminds us once again that the reason conservatives don't like the media is simply that reporters aren't on the payroll of the Republican Party:

    ABC's George Stephanopoulos Frets to McCain: Tax Cuts Will 'Increase the Deficit'

    By Scott Whitlock (Bio | Archive)

    Tue, 01/26/2010 - 11:00 ET

    Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos played defense for the White House on Tuesday. While talking with John McCain about Obama's 2010 proposals, he sounded annoyed that the Senator's ideas for job creation would include tax cuts: "But, those tax cuts are going to increase the deficit, aren't they, sir?"

    Now, here's the actual exchange in question:

    MCCAIN: Tax cuts. Payroll tax cuts. Giving more tax incentives and breaks to small businesses. Making sure that we do not raise taxes, which may happen if the present tax cuts lapse. There's a lot of things that we can do to- including, by the way, a path to some kind of fiscal sanity. Another $1.4 trillion-

    STEPHANOPOULOS: But, those tax cuts are going to increase the deficit, aren't they, sir?

    So, in a span of three sentences, John McCain called for both "tax cuts" and "fiscal sanity." Stephanopoulos asked the most obvious follow-up question in the world -- won't those tax cuts increase the deficit? And Newsbuster Scott Whitlock thinks this is Stephanopoulos "fret[ting]" and "play[ing] defense for the White House."

    In response to McCain making two seemingly contradictory statements, Stephanopoulos did the only responsible thing a journalist could do -- he pressed his guest to reconcile those statements. And that bothers the Newsbusters crew. This is what they mean when they rant about the "liberal media": Journalists sometimes fail to ask "how high" when told by Republicans to jump.