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By Ken Shepherd | March 2, 2011 | 11:58 AM EST

Today's Supreme Court ruling in Snyder v. Phelps is proving to be yet another occasion for the media to falsely describe the homosexuality-fixated Westboro Baptist Church as a "fundamentalist" congregation.

The Associated Press, MSNBC and have been among the news outlets using that tag for the Topeka, Kansas, organization that protests funerals of soliders, celebrating their deaths by claiming God killed them because he hates "fags."

But the AP's own style manual strongly cautions against the use of the term "fundamentalist," noting that the term "fundamentalist has to a large extent taken on pejorative connotations except when applied to groups that stress strict, literal interpretations of Scripture and separation from other Christians."

"In general," the AP manual adds, "do not use [the term] fundamentalist unless a group applies the word to itself."

At time of publication, Westboro's website was unavailable, but a cached version of its FAQ page on Google yielded no description of WBC as "fundamentalist." Here's how the church describes itself:

By Tim Graham | March 2, 2011 | 11:13 AM EST

Amy Chua is a Hot Author for writing the book "The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" about how she's raising more successful children by having higher expectations. She stirred up trouble with a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior." A February 20 Washington Post story by Monica Hesse on a Chua appearance at the fashionably "progressive" Politics and Prose bookstore included a weird out-of-place slam on a conservative ad:

If "Tiger Mom" had been written by a woman of a different nationality ("Why French Women's Kids Don't Get Fat"), it might not have raised so many hackles. But this book came on the heels of that weirdly racist Citizens Against Government Waste commercial - the one where the futuristic Chinese professor cackles maniacally over the downfall of America - and at a time of concern about the U.S. economy and American children's ability to compete.

Finally, a book that both permissive lefty parents and frightened righty wing nuts can both get behind hating.

By Kyle Drennen | March 2, 2011 | 11:12 AM EST

On December 18, 2010, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric posted a video on her blog, Couric & Co., calling on Congress to pass tougher legislation to combat underage sex trafficking. However, what she failed to reveal to online viewers was that only two weeks earlier she attended a party at the Manhattan townhouse of Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender accused of trafficking underage girls. (h/t

Couric and other media figures, including ABC Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos, were apparently at the event to speak with Britain's Prince Andrew about the upcoming royal wedding. As the New York Post reported on December 6: "Andrew regaled a bevy of media heavyweights at billionaire Jeffrey Epstein's Upper East Side townhouse the other night when he told of the royal family's joy over Prince William's upcoming wedding to Kate Middleton – and the glamorous guests asked for invitations."

By | March 2, 2011 | 10:42 AM EST

ABC, NBC and CBS news programs have mentioned the Muslim Brotherhood 135 times in 17 years, but only linked them to fundamentalist Islam 37 percent of the time. Just since the unrest in Egypt began in January, they've mentioned the Brotherhood 85 times, and decreased how often they report the nature of the group - just 32 percent of those stories mentioned the group's extremism.

Declaring "jihad" against the United States. Taking credit for deadly bombings in Cairo. Sponsoring Hamas. Assassinating Egyptian leaders. Making common cause with Nazi Germany. Openly calling for shariah law. Spawning prominent al-Qaida leaders.

Only the liberal network news media could paint a group with a resume like that as "peaceful" and "moderate." But that's precisely how the broadcast networks have often portrayed the Muslim Brotherhood.

Video below the fold.

By Noel Sheppard | March 2, 2011 | 9:47 AM EST

UPDATE AT END OF POST: Laura Ingraham interviews Assemblywoman Litjens.

As NewsBusters reported Tuesday, a Wisconsin Democrat Assemblyman vulgarly assaulted a Republican Assemblywoman last week disgracefully saying to her after a procedural on the state's budget, "You are f--king dead!"

Although the story was first broken by a Wisconsin radio station at 12:53 PM Monday, America's supposedly civility-minded media have almost completely boycotted it with the following exceptions:

By NB Staff | March 2, 2011 | 9:16 AM EST

Well, "saved" may be a bit dramatic, since GOP Sen. Glenn Grothman later said that he didn't feel he was in any real danger. But as you can see in the video below the jump Grothman was surrounded by a very loud and angry group of pro-union demonstrators. Democratic Assemblyman Brett Hulsey stepped in at around the 2:50 mark to try to calm the protesters down.

"This guy and I disagree on everything," Hulsey said, "but we're friends."

By Tim Graham | March 2, 2011 | 6:50 AM EST

NBC's Today interviewed Obama U.N. ambassador Susan Rice on Tuesday about Libya. It was dull. It had no crackling opposition. There was one question doubting the effectiveness of sanctions. Despite plenty of conservative criticism about Obama's weak and delayed responses, and Rice's odd downplaying of the Libyan situation by skipping Security Council meetings to go to South Africa, there was no reading angry newspaper editorials or citing criticism from congressional opponents. This is not the way NBC played when John Bolton was U.N. ambassador under Bush -- not to mention that other black female named Rice. Here's the (brief) questions.

Let me start out by - you have called Qaddafi delusional and disconnected from reality. Plain and simple here, are we dealing with a mad man?

By Noel Sheppard | March 2, 2011 | 12:52 AM EST

Four of MSNBC's extended prime time hosts on Tuesday cherry-picked something Mike Huckabee said on Steve Malzberg's radio show in order to depict the possible Republican presidential candidate as a birther.

Before getting to their highly unprofessional snippets, implications, and conclusions, here's what the former Arkansas governor actually said Monday (videos follow with transcripts and commentary):

By Tim Graham | March 1, 2011 | 11:05 PM EST

The media's policy on leaks is obviously "Good for me, but not for thee." It is okay for journalists to score scoops and win Pulitzer Prizes by printing everyone else’s secrets. It's okay for Julian Assange to goad the U.S. "military industrial complex" with WikiLeaks. But leak reporter E-mails, and you have no ethics whatsoever.

Politico broke the story that Kurt Bardella, a spokesman for House Government Oversighty Committee chairman Darrell Issa, may have shared reporter E-mails with New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich, who's writing a book on Washington's "culture of self-love.' Issa fired Bardella for upsetting the reporters.

The story included high dudgeon from Politico editor-in-chief John F. Harris, in a letter sent to Issa: “The practice of sharing reporter e-mails with another journalist on a clandestine basis would be egregiously unprofessional under any circumstances,” Harris wrote. “As the editor-in-chief of POLITICO, my concern is heightened by information suggesting that POLITICO journalists may have had their reporting compromised by this activity.”

By Mark Finkelstein | March 1, 2011 | 8:42 PM EST

Nice house there, rich guy.  Wouldn't wanna see nuthin' happen to it . . .

Robert Reich has actually argued that the rich should welcome redistributing more of their income to prevent an angry American populace from turning on them.

Clinton's former Labor Secretary made his astounding assertion on Cenk Uygur's MSNBC show this evening.   View video after the jump.


By Matthew Balan | March 1, 2011 | 7:41 PM EST

CNN's Ed Hornick apparently couldn't find anyone who disagreed with the notion that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker "overreached" in his push to eliminate collective bargaining for public sector unions. He couldn't even quote Walker himself. Hornick's Tuesday article quoted from two political science professors, a "progressive" editorial writer, and a former United States comptroller general, who helped forward this liberal-pleasing hypothesis.

The writer all but gave the answer to the question proposed in the title of his article ("Did Wisconsin governor overreach in union battle?") in his lead sentence: "Some political experts have said that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, in a battle with public employee unions over the right to collective bargaining, has overreached in his attempts to shore up the state's budget shortfall." The graphic accompanying the article featured a pro-union protestor's sign that labeled Governor Walker a "dope," in a parody of Shepard Fairey's red, white, and blue depiction of President Obama (see below).

By | March 1, 2011 | 7:07 PM EST

The Fox News Channel absolutely dominated its cable news competition in February. In terms of overall viewers, the top 11 cable news shows were all on Fox. In the coveted 25-54 demographic - the group that advertisers pay particularly close attention to - Fox took 11 of the top 15 spots.

The Rachel Maddow Show earned the top spot for an MSNBC program. Despite her struggles with factual accuracy of late, it seems Maddow has assumed the role of leading prime time anchor left vacant by Keith Olbermann's departure.

CNN's AC360 led that channel, beating out Maddow in the demo with 304,000 viewers, but trailing MSNBC and Fox leaders in total viewership.

By Geoffrey Dickens | March 1, 2011 | 6:49 PM EST

Chris Matthews has yet to condemn Democratic Wisconsin State Representative Gordon Hintz for yelling "You're f–ing dead!" at Republican State Representative Michelle Litjens during a legislative session on Friday, but the Hardball host did find the time, on Tuesday's show, to slam Speaker of the House John Boehner for engaging in "Glenn Beck talk" about guns.

Matthews, initially teasing a guest for using the word "lethal" in a discussion about recent poll numbers on the Wisconsin budget battle, chided: "In the media world, I think we all agreed...after the horror in Arizona that we weren't gonna...use ballistic terms." The MSNBC host then segued into a clip of Boehner making a gun reference, after which he railed: "What is this Glenn Beck talk?...That's how Glenn talks. 'I'm gonna put a gun to your head' and all this!" This led Huffington Post's Howard Fineman to tag in: "Well when John Boehner back slides, he really back slides."

However, according to Newbusters' own Noel Sheppard, Matthews, Fineman and most mainstream media outlets, other than Fox News, have been largely silent about the Hintz threat.

To review, a Democrat man cursing at a Republican woman "You're f--ing dead" isn't worth mentioning in Matthews' mind, but if you dare make a political metaphor referring to weapons (something Matthews himself has done) that's objectionable.

(video, audio and transcript after the jump)

By Ken Shepherd | March 1, 2011 | 6:08 PM EST

"President Obama has been taking a truckload of flak from the right for his measured response to the crises embroiling the Middle East," MSNBC's Martin Bashir harumphed as he opened his "Clear the Air" commentary on the March 1 program.

"Measured is my word because it's certainly not one that right-wing pundits have been using," Bashir complained.

Of course the term "measured" implies deliberate calculation and an overarching strategy, whereas the timeline of the Obama administration response to Libya suggests there has been, objectively speaking, some amount of "dithering" by team Obama.

Indeed, even liberal observers such as MSNBC's Chris Matthews and Washington Post's Eugene Robinson have been critical of Obama's approach to Libya.

By Matt Hadro | March 1, 2011 | 3:46 PM EST

Jon Stewart's latest anti-conservative screed included a satirical defense of top income earners and a tongue-in-cheek plea for teachers to pay their fair share, in the wake of the Wisconsin protests. On Monday's "Daily Show," the Comedy Central host offered a shallow assessment of the entire Wisconsin situation with not a single critical look at the state's public sector unions.

Stewart's simplistic take on events is that teachers are being unduly bullied by Republicans and the wealthy to help solve the budget crisis in this country. What could help, he opined, would be boosting taxes on the "top two percent" of income earners.

"Hey you know, one thing we could do – not extend the Bush tax cuts to the top two percent of the country. That would earn us $700 billion over the next ten years," Stewart remarked to applause. "Oh, oh, and maybe also we could close some corporate tax loopholes."