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  • WaPo goes all in

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    The Washington Post lost $192 million last year. This is not a newspaper that can afford to alienate its readership.

    And yet, the Post is going all-in on George Will's credibility.

    For the past week, Will and the Post have faced sustained criticism over dubious claims Will made about global warming - and over a pattern of such claims from both Will and the Post.

    Earlier today, Media Matters obtained an advance copy of Will's next column, in which Will doubles-down on his previous global warming misinformation. As Media Matters explained:

    In his new column, Will falsely claims that in his February 15 column, he "accurately reported" on the contents of an Arctic Climate Research Center (ACRC) document when, in fact, the document he cited rebutted the very argument he was making. The ACRC document that Will relied on actually stated that the sea ice data are consistent with the outcomes projected by climate-change models. In the words of TPM Muckraker's Zachary Roth, Will's new column "amounts to a stubborn defense of the amazing global warming denialist column he published earlier this month, that was ripped apart by just about everyone and their mother."

    Then Columbia Journalism Review weighed in with a piece posted this evening, featuring quotes from Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt. Hiatt defends Will's previous column:

    "If you want to start telling me that columnists can't make inferences which you disagree with-and, you know, they want to run a campaign online to pressure newspapers into suppressing minority views on this subject-I think that's really inappropriate. It may well be that he is drawing inferences from data that most scientists reject - so, you know, fine, I welcome anyone to make that point. But don't make it by suggesting that George Will shouldn't be allowed to make the contrary point. Debate him."

    But this controversy is not about "inferences" by Will with which others "disagree." It is about Will spreading falsehoods. And it is about the Washington Post standing by those falsehoods - a rather large gamble for a newspaper that cannot afford to lose readers or credibility.

    That's a lot riding on someone with Will's track record.

  • Conservative media attack anti-crime program

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Greg Sargent busts right-wing media pushing another lie about government spending:

    Conservatives are hammering the House's new $410 billion spending bill because it contains $200,000 for what they're derisively referring to as "tattoo removal." Fox News' Sean Hannity, Drudge, and at least one GOP official on MSNBC, among others, have been all over this today.

    But a little reporting reveals that that this "tattoo removal" program is an anti-crime program in the San Fernando Valley that re-integrates reformed gang members and makes it easier for them to find jobs. Two Los Angeles law enforcement officials I just spoke to - one who identified himself as a "conservative Republican" - swore by the program for reducing crime and saving lives.

    Check out Sargent's post on his new(ish) blog, The Plum Line, for more details.

  • What is wrong with these people?

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    At some point, you have to wonder if there is something in the drinking water over at Newsbusters.

    Here's Warner Todd Huston today:

    Remember how during the run up to the election, all the left pundits and talking heads and their compatriots in the Old Media said that no white person would vote for Barack Obama?

    Ah, no, Warner, I don't. Because it didn't happen.

    the Old Media is still insisting that all southerners are slavery-loving, neo-confederates that are no different than they were in 1860.

    Again: that simply isn't true.

    For the Sunday Outlook section of The Washington Post, liberal Millsaps College professor Robert S. McElvaine announced in "The Red, the Blue and the Gray" that Barack Obama is "just like Lincoln" in the same way that Lincoln didn't get the south's vote in 1860.

    The phrase "just like Lincoln" does not appear in the linked source. Nothing remotely like the phrase "just like Lincoln" appears in the linked source. Huston made it up.

    Professor McElvaine also intimates that this is because the south is little different than it was in 1860.

    Actually, McElvaine wrote "the legacy of slavery and the Civil War continue to cast a heavy shadow over the South." That isn't quite the same thing, but at least this time Huston is exaggerating McElvaine's point rather than making things up entirely. Progress!

    But then he backslides:

    Bet you southerners didn't know that you are all still slavers and racists, eh?

    Nobody, except perhaps the voices in Warner Todd Huston's head, says "all" southerners are "still slavers and racists."

    This is typical of Newsbusters - a lot of gnashing of teeth over things that just don't exist.

  • Kathleen Parker plays dumb about the NYPost monkey cartoon

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    In her latest column she suggests debates about cartoons are "tedious," and acknowledges that yes, the Post's monkey cartoon was poorly done. But it wasn't really worth all the fuss. She writes:

    Cartoonists make artistic and editorial judgments every day, though some cartoonists have better judgment than others. Even so, outrage is out of proportion to the offense, and demands for retributive justice are more dangerous than a lousy cartoon...The freedom to offend is the very same freedom that allows them to protest when their feelings are hurt.

    What salient fact did Parker leave out? Oh yeah, the Post's owner, Rupert Murdoch apologized in print for the cartoon and suggested it never should have been published.

  • Getting the band back together at CPAC

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Continuing the Right's ongoing efforts to relive the 1990s, David Bossie will introduce Newt Gingrich at the Conservative Political Action Conference tomorrow.

    Bossie and Gingrich were key players in the right-wing's efforts to undermine the last Democratic president. Gingrich was, of course, Speaker of the House; Bossie was a key staffer for Rep. Dan Burton's unintentionally-hilarious investigations of the White House.

    While many conservatives seem to think that duplicating their conduct during the 1990s is the best way to deal with a new Democratic president, Gingrich and Bossie should serve as a cautionary tale - both men lost their jobs due in large part to their overzealous attacks on President Clinton.

    Gingrich resigned his Speakership (and seat in congress) in disgrace after Republicans lost seats in the 1998 elections in large part because of public disgust at the GOP's obsession with the Lewinsky matter. Earlier that year, Gingrich had vowed to never again give a speech as Speaker without bringing up Lewinksy.

    Bossie's obsession with attacking Clinton cost him his job, too. Bossie and Burton's investigation was a bumbling Keystone Cops routine that involved investigating Socks the White House cat, subpoenaing the wrong people (they kept getting confused by Asian-American surnames) and shooting up Burton's vegetable garden in an effort to prove that Vince Foster was murdered.

    Bossie finally went too far even for House Republicans when he released doctored transcripts of Web Hubbell's prison conversations, falsely making it appear that Hubbell was implicating Hillary Clinton in wrongdoing. That led Gingrich to order Burton to fire Bossie, telling Burton: "I'm embarrassed for you, I'm embarrassed for myself, and I'm embarrassed for the [House Republican] conference at the circus that went on at your committee."

    UPDATE: In case you're wondering what they're up to now, David Bossie is an author and "documentary" producer, among other things, and Gingrich is a Fox News contributor.

  • US News' new poll: "Daddy Daycare"

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    On Saturday, I noted that US News & World Report's "Washington Whispers" page featured a poll asking who would make the best day-car provider: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama, or Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

    After receiving blistering criticism from across the blogosphere for running such an offensive poll, US News appears to be trying to make amends - or cover for their earlier mistake. Here's the poll currently featured at Washington Whispers:

    The new poll doesn't really undo the offensiveness of the first one; it just highlights it. A simple apology probably would have been better.

  • The ghost of CPAC past... and soon to be present

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    With right-wing media fractured, conservatives are descending once again upon Washington this week for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

    This year's conference that will include remarks from such GOP luminaries as Joe the Plumber, Roger Simon, Karl Rove, Joe Scarborough, Tucker Carlson, Rep. Michelle Bachman (R-MN), Newt Gingrich, Ann Coulter, and Pat Buchanan among others. The conference will come to a close with a speech by Rush "I hope he fails" Limbaugh.

    Never heard of CPAC?

    Here's a flashback to some of Media Matters' items about the 2007 conference in which right-wing scribe Ann Coulter called former North Carolina Senator John Edwards a "faggot" and the controversy that followed:

    I wonder what the gathering's tone will be like this year.

  • WashPost, please define "many Democrats"

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    The Post is quite clear today [emphasis]:

    Many Democrats have expressed trepidation about the lofty expectations that Obama has set and are keenly aware that the party could pay a steep price in the 2010 midterm elections if the promises are not fulfilled.

    Number of Democrats quoted in the Post article expressing trepidation? Zero.

  • Right-wing media fracture over Jindal

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Raise your hand if you ever thought the topic of Gov. Bobby Jindal was going to cause a break within the Republican Noise Machine. Yeah, me neither. But in the wake of Jindal's widely panned--and widely mocked--Tuesday night address to the nation, the right-wing media are at odds over the Louisiana governor.

    Even before Rush Limbaugh announced his unwavering support for Jindal Wednesday afternoon, lots of far right were furious with Jindal's performance. From Ace of Spades HQ:

    Awful. He walked out like an earnest dork and has a weird inflection, trying to sound upbeat and sunny when it's clearly not his natural metier. It sounds false, and he looks false. I don't care how much of a star Jindal is, America doesn't elect somewhat-off dorks as president.

    But then Limbaugh announced that kind of talk was off limits for conservatives:

    Because if you think people on our side, I'm talking to you, those of you who think Jindal was horrible, in fact, I don't want to hear from you ever again if you think that what Bobby Jindal said was bad or what he said was wrong or not said well, because, folks, style is not going to take our country back.

    GOP bloggers didn't take too kindly to those marching orders. Hot Air thought it was obvious Jindal blew his big night, and wondered what was wrong with admitting that. Over at Riehl World Review, came this:

    At only fifty-eight, hopefully [Limbaugh] still has a long way to go. But many of the battles conservatives have to fight and win need to be engaged at age levels that could prove to be beyond Rush's professional reach.

    The headline for the Riehl World post: "Is The Limbaugh Era Nearing An End?"

    We can dream, can't we?

    P.S. South Carolina's GOP governor, Mark Sanford, thinks Limbaugh's an "idiot."