In a hard-hitting* interview with Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Newsbusters' Noel Sheppard opened by asking:
Well, I'm sure you saw EPA chief Lisa Jackson was named Energy Policy Maker of the Year by Politico last night. And I quote, "The EPA chief has been a forceful advocate on environmental issues and has held the line against intense Republican attacks on her agency." Is this kind of like Time picking Hitler or Khomeini as Man of the Year - whoever had the most impact whether for good or ill?
Later, Sheppard alleged that Jackson is "trying to set policy without oversight by the legislature" based on the "anthropogenic global warming myth."
In fact, it was the Supreme Court that ruled that the EPA is required to regulate greenhouse gases under the bipartisan Clean Air Act unless it "it determines that greenhouse gases do not contribute to climate change" or "provides some reasonable explanation as to why it cannot or will not exercise its discretion to determine whether they do." Following extensive review of peer-reviewed scientific literature, which overwhelmingly concludes that global warming is caused by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases, the EPA found that greenhouse gases classify as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.
Anonymous hackers recently released another batch of emails taken from a climate research group at the University of East Anglia in 2009, along with a document containing numbered excerpts of purportedly incriminating material. Many of these selections have been cropped in a way that completely distorts their meaning, but they were nonetheless repeated by conservative media outlets who believe climate change is a "hoax" and a "conspiracy."
The conservative media is divided on anonymous sources: Some right-wing media figures have been hyping a claim by an anonymous source that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is "likely involved with the sexual harassment" allegations against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. At the same time, however, other conservative media figures have tried to cast doubt on the sexual harassment allegations against Cain by pointing out that they are based on anonymous sources.
Responding to a report that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain allegedly engaged in "sexually suggestive behavior" in the 1990s, right-wing media figures have turned to race-baiting, arguing that Cain is being targeted because he is a "black conservative" and that he is the victim of a "high-tech lynching."
Conservatives are busy spinning the results of a new Pew Research Center study that found among all the candidates running for president, Barack Obama has received, hands down, the least amount of positive coverage (and among the most negative) over the last five months.
The eye-opening conclusion, of course, runs counter to the generations-old mantra that the press has a liberal bias and that reporters and pundits have been on the side of Barack Obama since Inauguration Day.
According to the Pew results, that's just not the case. Not even close.
It's true that some observers (including Media Matters) have in the past questioned the usefulness of similar press coverage studies. But conservatives have cited past Pew reports as a way to portray the rest of the media as biased.
So what's the conservative response to Pew's latest finding? Partisans claim the Pew study is flawed, in part, because it monitored too many media outlets when taking the press' temperature on Obama. It's true that the study cast a very wide net, collecting data not just on the traditional media organizations and how they covered the candidates, but from thousands of sites on the Internet. And that may explain why Obama's coverage as measured by Pew was so downbeat: Because the right-wing blogosphere is built around a very simple formula of hating President Obama.
Wallowing in guttural disdain for the President of the United States, not to mention his wife, is what far-right media outlets do around the clock. That's their business model. So it's not surprising that when a study sets out to measure all of Obama's coverage, the right-wing media's relentlessly negative, and often hateful, attacks on him would help tip the scales in terms of tone.
In other words, it appears conservatives are furious that the Pew study may have accurately captured the insane amount of the scorn and contempt the far right heaps on Obama. Conservatives are indignant that their endless, fact-free hate-fest may have been truthfully measured.
Note to conservatives: Nonstop loathing has its consequences.
The Washington Post's Richard Cohen recently criticized GOP Presidential candidate Rick Perry for wrongly stating that "there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data" to exaggerate global warming.
Responding to Cohen's piece, NewsBusters, a project of the Media Research Center, defended Perry's remarks, claiming that it has been "clearly proven" that scientists doctored the data:
As for the manipulation of data, 2009's ClimateGate as well as a myriad of recent findings concerning significant errors in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2007 report have clearly proven this.
The only thing that has been "clearly proven" from the overblown "ClimateGate" controversy is that no amount of evidence will disabuse conservative media of the misconception that "ClimateGate" exposed scientists manipulating data to exaggerate global warming. This claim has simply become part of their retelling of history. But it is baseless.
You might remember Penny Starr as the CNSNews.com reporter who tried to manufacture outrage over a gay-themed art exhibition at the Smithsonian last year. Now, she's upset by something she found on the Internet:
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is offering advice to parents and teens about sex education, including assurances that teens may "experiment" with homosexuality as part of "exploring their own sexuality," and that masturbation should be of concern only "if a child seems preoccupied with it to the exclusion of other activities."
The information, located on a "Questions and Answers About Sex" link on the "Quick Guide to Healthy Living" portion of the HHS Web site, also describes children and infants as "sexual beings."
Under the question "When Do Kids Start Becoming Curious About Sex?" the answer notes that infants have curiosity about their bodies.
"Children are human beings and therefore sexual beings," the Q&A Web page says. "It's hard for parents to acknowledge this, just as it's hard for kids to think of their parents as sexually active. But even infants have curiosity about their own bodies, which is healthy and normal."
This sort of thing, of course, is catnip for the right-wing media, which have used Starr's article as a way to attack the Obama administration. The headline at Fox Nation blamed "Obama's HHS" for publishing this information; a LifeNews headline stated that "Obama Admin Pushes Sex on Kids." Even the version of Starr's article posted at NewsBusters -- like CNS, a division of the conservative Media Research Center -- carried the headline "Obama's HHS: 'Children Are Sexual Beings.'" The Blaze and Weasel Zippers are among the other right-wing websites that picked up on the story.
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):
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.]
Right-wing media figures are using Standard & Poor's decision to "downgrade" the U.S. credit rating to rehabilitate former President Bush's economic record. However, the economy inherited from Bush was hemorrhaging jobs and contracting at a rate not seen in more than 50 years.
After relentlessly pushing the false claim that the so-called "Climategate" controversy showed climate scientists deceitfully manipulating data, conservative media are celebrating a Rasmussen Reports poll finding that a majority of Americans believe "some scientists" have likely "falsified research data" to support "their own theories and beliefs about global warming."
On his radio show yesterday, Rush Limbaugh declared that "almost no temperature records were broken" during the recent heat wave and that media outlets who reported on "record-breaking" heat were telling "a bunch of lies" to "advance a political agenda of liberalism."
Limbaugh's remarks echo a Newsbusters post in which Noel Sheppard claims that "almost no temperature records were actually broken." He came to this conclusion by ignoring most of the temperature records. Nevertheless, Sheppard's claim was picked up not only by Limbaugh but also Fox Nation:
Citing the NOAA database, Sheppard claims "There were only 34 new all-time daily temperature records set during last week's 'record-breaking heat.' This is out of over 6000 records previously set for each day since such things have been reported."
Actually, it's not out of over 6000 records "set for each day," but out of over 6000 records set for all-time at each location. Sheppard is confusing all-time and daily records.
Yesterday afternoon, in an article apparently titled "Feds: Prison Converts to Extremist Islam Planned Ft. Hood Style Assault in Seattle," ABC News reported that "two men who converted to Islam in prison have been arrested and charged by federal authorities with plotting a Ft. Hood-style assault on a Seattle military installation." Citing anonymous "officials," ABC claimed that the two men, Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif and Walli Mujahidh, "met while in prison for earlier offenses" and that both "converted to Islam while incarcerated."
Right-wing bloggers jumped on the story to condemn those who criticized Rep. Peter King (R-NY) for his hearing last week on Islamic radicalization in U.S. prisons. According to Pam Geller, "Anyone who questions the necessity of Rep Peter King's hearings on Islamic extremism in the prison system is playing for the other team." NewsBusters' Ken Shepherd wrote:
Last Wednesday as Rep. Peter King conducted hearings on Muslim inmate radicalization in America's prisons, MSNBC was busy attacking the proceeding as unnecessary and/or unfairly targeted to unfairly single out the Islamic faith.
Well, eight days later comes this development as reported by ABCNews.com in a June 23 article entitled, "Feds: Prison Converts to Extremist Islam Planned Ft. Hood-Style Assault in Seattle."
But the link to prison conversion is extremely tenuous, and ABC is already backing away from its original claims.
Last night, ABC updated their report, removing references to prison radicalization from the headline and first paragraph and instead burrying at the end the following statement: "According to officials, both suspects were believed to have met in prison and to have converted to Islam in prison. Court documents, however, show no record of felony convictions for Mujahihd [sic] and do not specify where the men met or when they converted."
Further, the Associated Press reported that according to a spokesman for the California Corrections Department, "There is nothing in [Abdul-Latif's] records that indicates that he converted to Islam while in prison."
As of yet, neither Sheperd nor Geller have updated their posts to note this new information. We won't hold our breath.
Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, recently revealed that he is an undocumented immigrant. Right-wing media responded with virulent anti-immigrant attacks, with Don Surber of the Charleston Daily Mail writing: "kick the lying, illegal alien Jose Antonio Vargas out."
From IBD [emphasis added]:
In a record year for natural disasters, the Mississippi's worst flooding since 1927 may be the year's most consequential. It ought to lead the news. But the Beltway media-political complex is more interested in press games.
Coming on the heels of the worst tornadoes in a century, the stealthy, silent destructive spread of floods through the heart of one of America's most populous and economically productive centers ought to be cause for national, if not global, attention.
But it's not, and to be fair, it's not because the local press in affected areas haven't done decent reporting.
The problem lies in Washington. The White House has made no declarations, showed no leadership, and done all it can to keep the issue off the front page.
IBD's explanation for why White House would scramble to try keep a natural disaster story off America's front pages makes no sense. (It has to do with Osama bin Laden.) But the larger critique that the mainstream media are taking their cues from the White House and allegedly downplaying the flood story is, obviously, false.
In fact, that conservatives would even make the allegation simply highlights how un-serious they are in their so-called media critiques.
The facts: According to Nexis, a search for Mississippi news reports retrieves more than 2,000 hits in the last week alone. Among those mainstream outlets supposedly not giving the story enough attention are Chicago Tribune with 13 matches, New York Times (10), Washington Post (10), and USA Today (7). Those newspapers alone have devoted thousands of words within the last week to covering the Mississippi flood story.
As for network news, Nexis finds more than 100 flood reports that have aired in the last seven days on ABC, CBS and NBC. More than 100. Oh, and CNN alone has aired more than 100 flood stories in the last week.
But yes, other than that the press is definitely downplaying the story.
In the wake of President Obama's release of his long-form birth certificate, which further debunks the claims of those who have been saying Obama was not born in Hawaii, some in the conservative media are now trying to pretend they never questioned Obama's citizenship in the first place.