Journalistic Issues

By Warner Todd Huston | September 21, 2008 | 9:55 AM EDT

NewsBusters is, of course, a site dedicated to exposing liberal bias in the press. But, once in a while the liberal press gets something right and this is one of those cases. On Spetember 20, Newsweek hosted an article by FactCheck.org that exposed the outright lies contained in the claims Barack Obama made against John McCain's record on Social Security in order to scare as many elder citizens as he can. Obama may have expected every Old Media outlet out there to cover for him, but Newsweek didn't oblige this time. So, I thought I'd highlight this piece and give Newsweek the thumbs up for hosting the FactCheck.org article.

Over the weekend, Barack Obama appeared in the battleground state of Florida and made to scare citizens over McCain's votes on Social Security. Obama claimed that McCain voted for a plan that would have seen the Social Security benefits of "elderly women" at risk in the stock market during the recent wildly fluctuating market. Telling his audience, "if my opponent had his way, the millions of Floridians who rely on it would've had their Social Security tied up in the stock market this week," Obama tried to claim that the elderly would have lost their money because of John McCain. FactCheck.org called these claims "not true."

By Warner Todd Huston | September 21, 2008 | 2:06 AM EDT

<p><img height="115" hspace="10" src="http://imgsrv.kcbs.com/image/kcbs/UserFiles/Image/clintonPalin_clo.JPG" width="155" align="right" border="0" /> News has emerged that the organizers of that anti-Iran rally that famously got snarled up in Senator Hillary Clinton's ire at Governor Sarah Palin last week were threatened by New York Democrats with IRS action against their tax-exempt status if they allowed Palin to speak. <a href="http://wcbstv.com/local/clinton.palin.event.2.821565.html">CBS</a> local NY news reported this little fact and so did <a href="http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/09/18/1421633.aspx">NBC</a> but most of the national news has ignored this outrageous threat to use the IRS to silence Governor Palin. </p>

<p>Accusing New York Democrats of using "McCarthyism" to shut Palin down, Democrat Assemblyman Dov Hikind was flabbergasted by the behind the scenes threats against the rally organizers. "It's an absolute shame that this has happened," CBS quoted Hikind as saying. "To threaten organizations … to threaten the Conference of Presidents that if you don't withdraw the invitation to Gov. Palin we're going to look into your tax exempt status … that's McCarthyism." </p>

By Warner Todd Huston | September 21, 2008 | 12:41 AM EDT

<p><b>**Video Below Fold**</p>

<p>A 2005 Video of Fannie Mae CEO Shown Affirming his Connection to Congressional Black Caucus and Barack Obama, Where is the Media?</b></p>

<p><img height="120" hspace="10" src="http://images.publicradio.org/content/2007/09/20/20070920_fannie_mae_bui... width="120" align="right" border="0" />In a 2005 video Daniel Mudd, at the time the interim CEO of the catastrophically failed mortgage lender Fannie Mae, affirmed his fealty and that of Fannie Mae to the Congressional Black Caucus. The top three campaign donation recipients were Democrats, number two of which was Barack Obama, yet the media is laying mum on these facts. One wonders what would be going on in the media if John McCain were a top recipient of campaign donations from a market crashing, government bail-out getting organization like Fannie Mae? </p>

<p>The three top campaign donation recipients from Fannie Mae were all Democrats. Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) got $165,000, Senator <b>Barack Obama</b> (D-IL) was given $126,349, and failed presidential candidate Senator John Kerry (D-MA) took $111,000 from the folks at Fannie Mae. Is this information getting out there? </p>

By Warner Todd Huston | September 20, 2008 | 3:48 AM EDT

Along with the claim that Joe Biden had a "blue-collar" upbringing -- he had a decidedly upper class (though not "rich") childhood -- Joe Biden has for years claimed that his first wife and his daughter were killed by a "drunk driver" in 1972. However, closer examination of the records proves that the man driving the truck that slammed into the Biden family car was never charged with drunken driving. So, why has the media allowed this perception that Biden lost his wife to a drunk driver to persist?

As late as 2007 Biden said that the man who was involved in the fatal crash that killed his wife and daughter was a "guy who allegedly ... drank his lunch" before he got behind the wheel of his truck and in 2001 the TV show Inside Edition aired a tape of Biden saying the truck driver "stopped to drink instead of drive." Additionally, several media outlets have included the drunk driver claim in their bios of the Senator from Delaware.

This drunk driving accusation, though, is simply a Biden creation and every time this claim is uttered it pains the family of the poor, maligned man involved in the tragic accident with Biden's family, truck driver Curtis C. Dunn. Gannett-owned DelawareOnline reports the anguish that Biden's continued lie causes the man's family every time it is uttered.

By Rusty Weiss | September 19, 2008 | 5:11 PM EDT

We've covered it here before.  It's akin to that old child's game where one person whispers something into another's ear, passes it on to several others, until the final statement is no longer vaguely recognizable as being related to the first.

So, here we go again with Anatomy of a Biased Headline...

Let's start with a recent study funded by the National Science Foundation, in which researchers lay claim to this finding: 

Some Political Views May be Related to Physiology

Science Magazine's actual headline was similarly non-insulting:

Political Attitudes Vary with Physiological Traits

Seems pretty neutral right?  Let's see how the media took that headline and ran with it...

By Warner Todd Huston | September 19, 2008 | 11:25 AM EDT

A few weeks ago we wrote about the undue and disingenuous attack led by Barack Obama's Chicago HQ perpetrated against Chicago radio host Dr. Milt Rosenberg. Well, last week they did it again, raising their legions to attack the host and his radio station (WGN) and trying to have the unassuming radio host thrown off the air. And what was his "crime"? Rosenberg had the gall to actually interview two conservative writers who were investigating the life and history of the Obamessiah. I live in Chicago and have listened to Milt Rosenberg many times. His show is one of the most intelligent radio shows in the country, filled with high concepts and serious guests. I also heard both radio shows being protested by Obama's radio brownshirts and there wasn’t a thing wrong with either of the shows. On the first, conservative writer Stanley Kurtz was invited on to speak about his investigation into the ties Obama has with American domestic terrorist William Ayers. In this case, Rosenberg offered airtime to the Obama campaign and it refused the offer. With the second program, Rosenberg had on David Freddoso, author of the recent New York Times best selling book "The Case Against barack Obama." In the later case, Rosenberg even had a lefty Obama apologist on air with Fredoso, there to counter his every anti-Obama comment. Yet, the Obama campaign still tried to destroy Milt Rosenberg’s career by mounting an email attack campaign as well as urging calls to the station.

By Warner Todd Huston | September 19, 2008 | 7:03 AM EDT

A Federal judge from Louisiana is under a cloud of impeachment and if he's convicted it'll be the first federal judge impeached in almost 20 years. The story was covered by the new wire service named ProPublica, a service that claims to be non-partisan. Yet in two stories on this judge there is not one mention of the fact that he was appointed to the bench by President Bill Clinton, nor that his corruption was known by the Department of Justice when Clinton made the appointment. I wonder why ProPublica didn't find that relevant, don't you?

A while back, I wrote of a new wire service that was starting up to be called ProPublica. This new service claimed that it was going to be a non-partisan service but the fact that it was being funded by left-wing billionaires made me wonder about the veracity of that claim. I have to admit that I haven't paid much attention to ProPublica since my first look into it, but this judge story piqued my interest. So, I gave ProPublica a look see.

By Jacob S. Lybbert | September 19, 2008 | 3:12 AM EDT

First NPR and now PBS; the publicly funded media outlets are revealing their respective bias in different ways, but the net result is the same: they favor Barack Obama over John McCain.Now available on PBS's NOW segment webpage (not to be confused with the National Organization for Women, subject of my post yesterday) is a poll about Governor Sarah Palin. It asks:

Do you think Sarah Palin is qualified to serve as Vice President of the United States?
By Warner Todd Huston | September 18, 2008 | 5:21 AM EDT

<p><img vspace="10" hspace="10" border="0" align="right" src="http://conservablogs.com/publiusforum/wp-content/themes/art/rushhunting.... />Yesterday, the <a href="http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/09/17/obama_invokes_rush... Post's Ed O'Keefe</a> reported that the Obama campaign was releasing some new Spanish language campaign ads on TV in Florida and other markets that feature Rush Limbaugh making what appears to be anti-Mexican comments. The ads then link Limbaugh to McCain on immigration attempting to smear them both in the minds of voters. The Limbaugh quotes, however, are so out of context that their use constitutes a lie. Unfortunately, too many media outlets are allowing these lies to stand unchallenged.</p>

<p>As O'Keefe reported on September 17, the ads feature quotes from Rush that display a shocking anti-Mexican immigrant feel. Titled "dos caras" -- or "two faces" -- Rush is quoted as calling Mexicans names and telling them to "shut up and get out."</p>

By Warner Todd Huston | September 18, 2008 | 3:17 AM EDT

Jeffery Goldberg from The Atlantic Magazine is reporting that underhanded, leftist photographer Jill Greenberg has just been let go by her Representing Agency, the Vaughan Hannigan photo agency. This is a perfect example of a lesson of consequences. When Greenberg admitted that she lied and tricked John McCain so that she could manipulate his image to slander him and did so in the employ of The Atlantic Magazine, she lost any future work with that magazine for her unprofessional behavior. And now, more consequences have come her way.

No one is, of course, saying that Jill Greenberg isn't allowed to be as bigoted as she wants to be, but she should be ready to accept the consequences if she does so while acting as a representative for someone else. In this case she was representing The Atlantic Magazine when she was assigned to photograph McCain and then used her position to trick him into a situation where she could use his image for political attacks at a later date.

By Jacob S. Lybbert | September 17, 2008 | 11:22 PM EDT

Lazy journalism at NPR typically causes a return to their default position: liberal bias. Such was the case yesterday. In the morning edition, NPR reported on the recent and unsurprising announcement that NOW--the National Organization For Women, an ideological & partisan group--would endorse Barack Obama.

Rarely does the National Organization For Women endorse a presidential candidate. On Tuesday, the group announced it is endorsing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. Kim Gandy, president of NOW, talks with Renee Montagne about why the organization is endorsing Obama.

By Jacob S. Lybbert | September 17, 2008 | 1:30 PM EDT

John McCain's early love affair with the press has been well-chronicled. He was a "maverick" most loved because he went against his own party--best loved, in fact, when he produced legislation like McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform.

As Rich Lowry points out, they liked him for more than just that, they liked him because he gave them such extensive access.

Since 2000, John McCain had thrived on his irrepressible chattiness with the press, talking about anything reporters wanted for as long as they would listen. The press loved the access and avoided “gotcha” coverage, letting McCain explain any seeming gaffes. The arrangement worked beautifully for both sides — until McCain became the Republican presidential nominee.