Last Sunday, NewsBusters introduced readers to Media Matters for America, the left-wing organization behind the recent smear campaigns against conservative personalities Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly.
In the days that followed, although news outlets and leading Democrats continued to reference articles written by this shadowy group, few details were offered about the organization behind them, and virtually nothing was shared concerning its founder, David Brock, who in a short period of time a decade ago remarkably went from a staunch enemy of the Clintons to one of their strongest supporters.
As National Review's Jonah Goldberg wrote in Sunday's New York Post, "Brock was once a right-wing hatchet man, penning a book, ‘The Real Anita Hill,' and some articles in the American Spectator on the Clintons that for a time earned him considerable notoriety on the right and hatred on the left."
Despite the influence Media Matters currently has with the mainstream media, Brock's extraordinary political metamorphosis ten years ago, though obviously a journalist's dream, has received little recent attention from press representatives typically clamoring for such juicy dish (emphasis added throughout):
If this exclusive is completely accurate then it is a bombshell story that the media completely ignored or overlooked. It probably didn’t line up with their narrative for the war. According to the report, the Time reporter that broke this story played the fool to an al Qaeda operative and the actual attacks were done by militant operatives led by Al Qaeda. Others were quick to echo the propaganda , overlooking key facts and evidence as the MSM does so well, from the New York Times to Congressman John Murtha.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) took to a popular conservative blog today to issue a defense of radio host Rush Limbaugh against left-wing smear attacks. As NewsBusters has reported, Blackburn herself was the target of a "gotcha" game by MSNBC's David Shuster.
In "Why let the truth get in the way of a good story," Blackburn expressed to Red State readers her support for Limbaugh and noted her resolution before the House of Representatives to commend Rush for this dedication to America's men and women in uniform:
Oh sure, sometimes they love to hate us, but one thing is clear: NewsBusters is must reading for MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.
As I noted here, Scarborough and panelist Willie Geist blasted Media Matters on today's "Morning Joe" for using a "phony story" to go after Rush for his "phony soldiers" comment. Joe and Willie recognized the truth of the matter: that Rush had been speaking of one phony soldier indeed, Jesse Macbeth, and not of anti-war soldiers in general.
Later, at 8:03 A.M. EDT, in the context of the Media Matters-inspired attack on Rush, Joe and Mika made clear that they have NewsBusters on the noggin.
On August 26 and September 2, the Washington Post refused to run the weekly "Opus" comic strip by cartoonist Berkeley Breathed out of concerns of insensitivity to Muslims. NewsBusters associate editor wrote about the controversy here and here, and MRC president and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell discussed the Post's double standard on religious sensibilities on Glenn Beck's CNN Headline News program.
Weeks after the controversy has subsided, NewsBusters reader Rusty Weiss shot me a message informing me that a classic "Bloom County" strip from Breathed in the September 28 edition of Yahoo Comics is quite appropriate coming on the heels of the controversy (see below fold for the comic strip). Writes Weiss:
MRC director of research and NewsBusters senior editor Rich Noyes appeared on Friday's "Fox & Friends" to discuss the MRC's statement calling on CBS and CNN to apologize to Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly.
Appearing in the 7:00 a.m. half-hour of Thursday's "Fox & Friends," Media Research Center president and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell noted that former "CBS Evening News" anchor Dan Rather is in utter "meltdown" over the National Guard hoax "although it's been proven documentably, no pun intended, to be false."
In the wake of the recent media-created scandal concerning statements made by Fox News host Bill O'Reilly on his radio show, a rather enlightening discussion has ensued regarding the existence of a well-organized campaign to demonize every television and radio personality whose political opinions don't march in lock-step with the left.
A rather frank and candid conversation concerning this matter occurred on Wednesday's "The O'Reilly Factor" between the host and outspoken radio talk show personality Tammy Bruce.
The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that Telemundo reporter and mayoral mistress Mirthala Salinas is heading back at work after a two-month suspension, albeit demoted to a less prominent job within the network:
Television newscaster Mirthala Salinas, who was suspended without pay for two months in August after her affair with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa became public, is scheduled to return to work Monday. But she won't be taking up her old job as a fill-in anchor on evening newscasts for KVEA-TV Channel 52.
Instead, executives with the Spanish-language Telemundo network confirmed Monday that Salinas would be sent to the station's Inland Empire bureau in Riverside as a general assignment reporter, a notable fall for a one-time rising star who has become one of the most recognizable faces in local Spanish-language television.
Is the media hypocritical on censorship when conducted by Democrats versus Republicans? It would seem that this may indeed be the case. The media likes to claim that President George Bush's Administration is clamping down on civil rights, although they have a difficult time citing any actual examples of such. However, when the Clinton campaign really does exercise press censorship, the media is largely silent. According to the Politico online magazine, GQ magazine was poised to run a story that would have been critical of the Hillary Clinton campaign. This in itself is a relative rarity in the current media. However, by threatening to withold access to former President Bill Clinton, the campaign managed to force GQ to pull the planned story. Editor Jim Nelson then tried to claim that this was normal procedure,
“I don’t really get into the inner workings of the magazine, but I can tell you that yes, we did kill a Hillary piece. We kill pieces all the time for a variety of reasons,” Nelson said in an e-mail to Politico. He did not respond to follow-up questions. A Clinton campaign spokesman declined to comment.
Over at Times Watch, I've been pretty hard on New York Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt -- finding most of the biweekly columns from the paper's inside watchdog to suffer from either an excess of corporate loyalty or to be simply pointless (when he's not sniping at the paper from the left).
So it was particularly surprising when Hoyt actually unbuckled his company badge to tackle an issue raised by conservatives -- the inflammatory MoveOn.org ad -- in his Sunday Week in Review column. Hoyt did some actual reporting and got a belated admission of error that the paper's actual news reporters were unable to uncover: It was a mistake to grant MoveOn.org a deep discount for its infantile attack ad against Gen. David Petraeus that appeared the very day he testified before Congress.
"For nearly two weeks, The New York Times has been defending a political advertisement that critics say was an unfair shot at the American commander in Iraq.
On Yom Kippur, which ended just last evening, Jews quite literally beat their breasts while asking forgiveness for all the sins committed during the previous year. The confessional prayer enumerates literally dozens of different transgressions. But while the syllabus of sin is seemingly comprehensive, there would appear to be one lacuna. Nowhere in the menu of misdeeds does "schadenfreude" appear.
We might just have to petition to have it added in time for next year. Because Jonah Goldberg's I’m Rather Grateful is such a delightful dose of schadenfreude-on-steroids as to be as irresistible. Go ahead: read it and enjoy. There should be plenty of time to repent.
As characteristically strange and bizarre as Dan Rather's lawsuit against CBS is, chances are high that CBS is going to give him some kind of concession, monetary and otherwise.
Neil Cavuto, host of FNC's "Your World" made this point earlier this week stating that CBS has no real alternative other than a long, dragged out court case that will rehash its worst corporate moment. He's right:
Dan Rather is going to win.
I don't know if he's going to get the 70 million bucks he's demanding from CBS.
On CNN’s Larry King Live Thursday night, Dan Rather insisted that his $70 million lawsuit against CBS was an attempt to save “our democracy” from “big government interference and intimidation in news;” claimed once again that his 2004 60 Minutes story on President Bush’s National Guard service was correct “and I think most people know by now that it was correct;” and charged that CBS’s investigation was “a fraud. It was a setup.”
And when Larry King asked him about Peter Arnett — whose career at CNN ended over a fraudulent 1998 report alleging the U.S. murdered defectors and used nerve gas in Vietnam, and who was last seen making propaganda films for Saddam Hussein during the 2003 invasion of Iraq — Rather embraced him: “Peter Arnett is a great reporter. He was then and he is now.”
Earlier today I noted that in her HuffPo column, ex-CBS producer Mary Mapes continues to cling to the delusion that the Memogate documents were authentic. In an inteview on "Morning Joe," Dan Rather has now made a comparable reality-defying claim.
Mika Brzezinski, who, as was repeatedly pointed out, used to work at CBS and has friends on both sides of the issue, conducted the interview. Bubbles didn't have the gumption to challenge Rather regarding the forged documents at the heart of the story. Interestingly, Rather chose to raise the issue himself, and in doing so demonstrated his tenuous grip on reality and some twisted journalistic standards.
How can I put this nicely? Mary Mapes [file photo] has reality "issues." Three years after the Memogate producer was exposed for having perpetrated one of the worst frauds in the history of presidential-campaign journalism, she continues to paint herself as the victim of a right-wing conspiracy. And incredibly, despite a mountain of incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, she clings to the notion that the blatantly forged documents at the heart of Memogate were authentic.
Mapes's meltdown-in-the-guise-of-a-column appeared in yesterday's Huffington Post. Excerpts from the metaphor-gone-wild "Courage for Dan Rather" [emphasis added]:
"I'm a Dan Man myself, so I tend to look at this from his viewpoints [sic]." -- WaPo media critic Tom Shales, on today's "Morning Joe."
It's a morning for candor on "Morning Joe." Earlier, Mika "Bubbles" Brzezinski had admitted that "the SATs were not my strong suit." Later in the show, the notoriously tough-on-conservatives [see, e.g., MRC item #3 here] Tom Shales acknowledged that he has a soft spot for Dan Rather, calling himself a "Dan Man."
I'll say. Despite the overwhelming mountain of uncontroverted and incontrovertible evidence, Shales refuses to admit the obvious: that the documents at the heart of Memogate were the most transparent [literally] and amateurish of forgeries.
Substitute anchor Willie Geist interviewed Shales at 8:30 A.M. EDT this morning.
In an August 19 post at PajamasMedia, journalist and bestselling author Richard Miniter delved into the question of "How the New Republic Got Suckered" in the case of the fabricated stories of military blogger Scott Thomas Beauchamp. Among the questions Miniter raised was if TNR's fact-checking operation is "structurally flawed":
Let’s go into the fact-checking department. Elspeth Reeve was one of three fact-checkers at the magazine.
Did she fact-check her husband’s articles? While it is hard to believe that an established magazine would make such an elementary error, so far no one at the magazine has bothered to address the question. That’s an interesting omission.
Randall Hoven at American Thinker has a catalog of over 60 instances of journalistic malfeasance and takes to task journalist Marvin Kalb's famous lament from 1998 that the Internet would usher in an era of damage to the media's ability to put forward "reliable, substantiated information." Below are 10 of the 62 Hoven cites:
Offenses include lying and fabricating, doctoring photos, plagiarism, conflicts of interest, falling for hoaxes, and overt bias. Some are hilarious, such as an action figure doll being mistaken for a real soldier. Some are silly, such as reporting on a baseball game watched on TV. Some are more serious. I leave it to you to judge whether the internet damaged "journalism's ability to do its job professionally", as Marvin Kalb accuses, or if the internet has in fact helped expose an already damaged "profession".
Bryan at Hot Air lets loose on the New Republic's Peter Beinart for his magazine's silence on the Scott Thomas Beauchamp scandal, even as Beinart appeared on an National Review Online vlog to defend the leftist fabulist.
I’ve tried to keep all emotion out of the TNR’s Scott Thomas Beauchamp scandal, but frankly, Peter Beinart’s defense of TNR in today’s What’s Your Problem (on NRO) made my blood boil a bit.
He professes shock, shock that anyone on the right would seek ideological causes for the scandal in an ideological magazine such as The New Republic.
He calls Beauchamp a “good writer,” which is obviously untrue. The man writes with more purple than Prince.
In an e-mail message, Mr. Foer said, "Thus far, we've been provided no evidence that contradicts our original statement, despite directly asking the military for any such evidence it might have," adding, "We hope the military will share what it has learned so that we can resolve this discrepancy."
The Los Angeles Times reports in the August 3 paper that "Los Angeles television newscaster Mirthala Salinas was suspended without pay for two months — but not dismissed — Thursday from KVEA-TV Channel 52 for covering Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa while they were romantically involved, a relationship that journalism experts said damaged the station's credibility."
But wait, there's more. The Telemundo reporter (pictured at right with Villaraigosa*) apparently has a history of dating Southern California Democratic politicians:
Her affair with Villaraigosa was an open secret in KVEA's Burbank newsroom and in the mayor's office at City Hall. Salinas also had dated Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles) when he was divorced — and before he remarried his wife — as well as former Los Angeles City Council President Alex Padilla, now a state senator.
It appears the BBC condones faking...audience phone calls, that is.
In a not so stunning revelation, the BBC admitted to allowing employees to call in to shows either asking for audience involvement, or offering prizes, when the network wasn't receiving enough real feedback.
Gotta love it.
One truly delicious example occurred during Comic Relief back in March (emphasis added, h/t Tim Graham):
Michael Yon doesn't have an answer (HT to NewsBuster reader "acumen") as to why Old Media won't cover the Al Qaeda massacre of a small village near Baqubah, Iraq that he reported earlier this week (related NewsBusters posts are here and here):
Coordinates to the area of the gravesites are MC 679 381.
In my dispatch, I reported that six people were killed, but mentioned that Iraqi soldiers were still digging out bodies when I left. A few hours ago, Colonel Hiduit put the number at 10-14, and said the search for bodies had ended. I made video of the graves, bodies and of interviews with Iraqi and American soldiers while we still were at the scene and have been working to make material from this available on this website.
..... But for those publications who actually had people embedded in Baqubah when the story first broke and still failed to cover it, their malaise is inexplicable. I do not know why all failed to report the murders and booby-trapped village: apparently no reporters bothered to go out there, even though it’s only about 3.5 miles from this base. Any one of the reporters currently in Baqubah could still go to these coordinates and follow his or her nose and find the gravesites.
NB contributor Bob Owens has a great piece over at Pajamas Media on how he helped spot yet another instance of the Western press getting snookered by a fake news story promulgated by terrorists in Iraq. Once again, the media's desire to portray Iraq as a total disaster let them get tricked:
On Thursday, June 28, The Associated Press—and to a lesser extent,
Reuters, and a small independent Iraqi news agency—ran stories claiming
that 20 decapitated bodies had been found on or near the banks of the
Tigris River in Um al-Abeed, a village near Salman Pak, southeast of
By 8:10, Thursday morning, I’d fired off the first of a series of
queries to Multi-National Forces-Iraq (MNF-I) Public Affairs and
current and former liaisons with the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior
Civilian Police Assistance Training Team (CPATT) Public Affairs Office,
asking what they knew of this claim. I was immediately suspect because
of the dubious sourcing prominently noted in one version of the
original Associated Press story:
Tim Graham appeared on "Live Desk w/Martha MacCallum" today to discuss what appears to be NBC paying for a post-incarceration interview with hotel heiress Paris Hilton. He joked: "It just sounds like a bad MTV reality show called Pimp My News."
As we've documented at NewsBusters, last year the media, particularly the Washington Post, raked then-Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) over the coals for his infamous "macaca" insult, and his ensuing profuse apologies for same. We've also documented that Democratic politicians' jokes about India and Indian-Americans have been largely ignored (see below the jump).
The latest racial incident kicking up dust on the 2008 campaign trail is yet another Democratic gaffe, dubbed by some, "Punjab-gate," after an Obama presidential campaign research memo cheekily described rival Hillary Clinton as a Democrat from Punjab, a province in India.
Of course, as the oppo memo itself notes, and as John McCormick of the Chicago Tribune reported in the Trib's "The Swamp" blog, Obama's staff were referring to another "lame attempt at humor" (my emphasis, see below jump) by the junior senator from the Empire State about her electoral chances were she to decide to relocate to India:
Al Roker was one of the villagers with torches who stormed the castle demanding that Don Imus be fired, but now the foot is in the other mouth. On the June 7 edition of the “Today” show, during a segment discussing London's truly horrible 2012 Olympic logo, which was said to have driven people into epileptic seizures upon viewing, Roker cracked a joke about the disorder. Without turning inflecting a politically correct tone or blowing the situation out of proportion, the New York Post reported his comments and next-day apology (hat tip: Insignificant Thoughts):
"Remember that controversial Olympic logo for the 2012 Olympics in London? Some folks have complained that the campaign actually sent them into epileptic seizures," Roker said on Thursday's show.
"Well, we asked you to weigh in on our Web site in an informal poll; those of you who could get up off the floor after shaking around were able to actually log in…"
I guess things have changed since Roker wrote in his blog that he was sick of the “ 'humor' at others expense” and “the cruelty that passes for funny” (bold mine throughout):
THIS is CNN in 1998; the link is to a story debunking the network's Peter Arnett and April Oliver, who accused Vietnam soldiers of war crimes in Operation Tailwind.
This is from 2003. The network's Eason Jordan confessed that the network twisted the news out of Saddam Hussein's Iraq, thereby giving false impressions of the regime to the world so that it could maintain its access to the country (the article is posted at the author's web host for fair use and discussion purposes).
Then there's this from 2005. Eason Jordan accused the US military in Iraq of targeting journalists, and ultimately resigned in the wake of the outcry. "Somehow" the actual video footage of Jordan's accusations, made at the World Economic Forum in Davos, never surfaced.