Friday, February 24, 2006

MMFA, Keith Olbermann, and Personal Attacks

Go look at this post on MMFA. It highlights how Keith Olbermann handed out awards (Worser and Worst Person in the World) to Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly. Here's what is ironic/funny/sad about this post.

It just really proves how MMFA has disintigrated into what supposed to be a reputable website pointing out conservatives misstatements, lies, and distortions into a political attack website. They announce that Keith Olbermann awarded "Worst/Worser People in the World Awards" to BOR and Limbaugh. There's no conservative misinformation in that. They only thing in this post that resembles conservative misinformation are what BOR and Rush said which resulted in the awards and MMFA already did separate articles on each of those remarks here, here, and
here. So why are they wasting time posting Keith Olbermann's personal attack. Speaking of which, Olbermann says that BOR would be a mime without personal attacks. Yet he hands out awards called "Worst/Worse Person in the World". So Bill O'Reilly engages in personal attacks, but Olbermann, who designates someone as the "Worst Person in the World" doesn't?? Regarding MMFA, are there not enough quotes, remarks, or stats for MMFA to analyze anymore that they have to resort to posting personal attacks done by other bombthrowers.

Monday, February 20, 2006

MMFA, BOR, and Christian Amanpour

MMFA has made it a habit to relentlessly pound Bill O'Reilly for the last 18 months on continually taking quotes or statistics out of context and refusing to provide the full transcript of the remarks or quote. That's why I find it funny (and again sad) that they have done the exact same thing.

In the following post MMFA said "Bill O'Reilly claimed that remarks by CNN's Christiane Amanpour show that she has a "rooting interest" in the Iraq war being a disaster, though nothing she said supports O'Reilly's assertion."

Amanpour said the following quote: "And I cannot tell you how awful I feel for Bob and Doug and for their families, their wives, their children who have to put up with them going away and waiting for them just like our families do when we come back. But, as [former CNN correspondent] Peter Arnett said and I think that the others have said, that, number one, it's our responsibility. Number two, if we don't do it, who does it? We have had so -- we have to have an independent eye on these conflicts. The war in Iraq has basically turned out to be a disaster and journalists have paid for it, paid for the privilege of witnessing and reporting that and so have many, many other people who have been there. And I think that's terribly, terribly difficult for us and unfortunately, for some reason which I can't fathom, the kind of awful thing that's going on there now on a daily basis has almost become humdrum. So, when something happens to people that we identify, like Bob and like Doug, we wake up again and realize that, no, this is not acceptable what's going on there and it's a terrible situation.

Parts in bold were the sentences used on the O'Reilly Factor. Bill then had a
discussion with Napoleon Byars from the University of North Carolina School of Journalism. I'm not going to reprint the entire transcript (that can be found
here), but MMFA
took one quote from it and pasted on their website as proof of their assertion.

O'REILLY: No, I know that. But look, you have to look at it, professor -- and I'm sure you know this because you do this every day -- in the sense of how she's now perceived in her coverage on CNN. I mean, she's declared herself to say it's a disaster. So, you can draw by that that she has a rooting interest in it being thus.

But notice O'Reilly never said that she has a rooting interest in the Iraq War being a disaster. He only hypothecized to the Professor that one can come to the conclusion that she has a rooting interest in it being a disaster. He never uttered words "She has a rooting interest in the Iraq War being a disaster". Also, MMFA conveniently does not publish the entire transcript of the interview during which Bill said

"Well, I think she's talking about the chaotic terror bombings that occur on a daily basis with, you know, horrible casualties. I think that's what the woman is talking about, Colonel. And surely, you understand that there are analysts, some of them do work for Fox, who feel that the war is not going that well and that the ultimate outcome is still in doubt."

"Well, Ms. Amanpour clearly feels from her vantage point, and she's been there as well obviously, a brave woman I must say, clearly feels that this is not going well for the USA. How do you see it, Professor Byars?"

"Absolutely. People make mistakes, sir. I make them every night. I make them every night. People make mistakes. We're not trying to condemn anybody here."

As one can clearly see, O'Reilly was not trying to hold up Amanpour and slaughter her for saying that the war has been a disaster so far. He never said that she had a rooting interest in the war; he said that by her (who is supposed to be neutral) saying that it is a disaster, it might give the impression that she is not neutral but is instead rooting for it to turn out one way or the other (i'll let you guess which way)...

MMFA and Impeachment

My first post on how MMFA doesn't really compare to some of the more significant moments in life--graduating from college, getting your first job, getting married, buying a house, etc...but it still may have some significance. We'll have to see what the site looks like in a year to determine that I suppose. In any case, although MMFA mission claims to be monitoring conservative misinformation, it seems greatly in favor of impeachment charges against President Bush (or King George as Katrina VH likes to call him). Thus, we will be looking at one part of the following MMFA post

From that post: "As Media Matters also noted, in that same column, Milbank depicted advocates of impeachment as a fringe element of the Democratic Party -- which he said is in one of its "periodic splits between pragmatism and symbolism" -- while ignoring polling that has shown that a majority of respondents believes Congress should consider impeaching Bush over his authorization of warrantless domestic surveillance. Moreover, as Media Matters previously noted, a poll from November 2005 found that 53 percent of Americans thought that Congress should consider impeachment "[i]f President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq."

1) Advocates of impeachment do not equal Considerers of impeachment. People who agreed with the statement "If President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment." do not necessarily believe that Bush should be impeached. They only think it should be considered. That might be why when a more direct question is asked "Should President Bush be Impeached and Removed from Office?" only 32% say Yes as compared to 58% No link here. So I would say Milbank was correct when he depicted impeachment advocates as a fringe element (although 32% is still a very high fringe)..

2) That statement is a conditional probability statement which beings "If President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons...." Thus, for the conclusion to be reached (impeachment considered...NOT impeachment definitely happening), the first part of that statement must be true. As of yet, I have not seen any evidence which showed that Bush definitively knew beyond a reasonable doubt beforehand that Iraq did not possess any WMD's or did not have the intent to acquire WMD's.

3) Regarding the poll for considering impeachment regarding warrantless wiretaps on Americans, re-read #1. The poll has the same faulty wording "consider impeachment" and gives the impression of wiretapping between two average American citizens, whereas most (if not all) wiretapping was done with 1 American citizen and 1 Al-Qaeda representative (assuming 2 people on the phone call).

Eric Alterman tees one up-Part 2

***Continuation from last post***

3) "When spokespeople for the shows were contacted to explain the disparity, they claimed that they go where the action is, and today the action is Republican/conservative......But of course, were that true, then the Clinton years would have been just as tilted in favor of Democrats/progressives as the Bush years have been toward Republicans/conservatives."

This should be true during the first 2 years of the Clinton administration when the Democrats controlled the House, Senate, and Presidency. But after Republicans gain control of the House + Senate for the first time in 40 years (during Clinton's last 6 years in office), why would the action be in the Democrats corner?? It would seem to be in both corners, which, suprisingly (actually not), is what the study reflected 52%-48%.

4) "deeply right-wing George Will, and the "neutral" (though personally conservative) Fareed Zakaria, with no balance whatsoever."

Perhaps you want to edit this comment after yesterday's This Week. Katrina Vanden Heuvel was in full liberal attack mode and was a panelist along with Cokie Roberts, and George Will. Yes, no balance whatsoever. I'm sure she will never be invited back on after her disgraceful performance (how many times do someone need to say lied and WMD in the same sentence 3 years after the fact??), but for that show it was balanced. Also, George Will might be "deeply right-wing" compared to you and Katrina, but he is not compared to most American people (i.e. people outside of NY & LA).

5) "...Mrs. Alan Greenspan, Andrea Mitchell--were classified as "neutral." (Remember how quick Mitchell was during the 2004 debates to accuse Kerry of "demagoguery" for daring to criticize her husband?) "

Seriously, how many examples do you need that Andrea Mitchell is not conservative (which you are claiming). I'm not trying to prove that she is liberal (despite many liberal episodes), but she is by no means a "conservative".

example 1) From Hardball 2/6/2006:

Mitchell: "Well, I think they’re trying to demonize her. I think they are trying to take advantage of the fact that she can sometimes sound shrill, as she did in front of that audience in Harlem on Martin Luther King Day and try to make her seem more extreme than I think she really is, because I think, look at what she’s just done recently, she took some PAC money from her own political action committee and gave it to Bob Casey in Pennsylvania who is an anti-choice nominee in the Democratic race there."

What conservative uses the term "anti-choice" instead of "pro-life"

example 2) Feb 8, 2006 NBC Nightly News

Mitchell: "It was an in-your-face rebuke rare for any President, especially one who doesn't often surround himself with critics...After five years in office, deep cuts in social programs, and searing criticism of the response to Hurricane Katrina, George W. Bush is still struggling to explain himself to African-Americans....critics, often Democrats, remember that he has not attended an NAACP convention since taking office."

First, there have not been deep cuts or any cuts in social programs since George W Bush took office. Anti-poverty programs have increased 39% from $285 billion to $396 billion from 2001 to 2005. Second, the reason he hasn't attended an NAACP convention is because they put a disgusting ad about him up during the 2000 election, and the Chairman Julian Bond has said the following things about Bush/Republicans "idea of equal rights is the American flag and the Confederate swastika flying side-by-side" and "Republicans draw their most rabid supporters from the Taliban wing of American politics." Granted, I don't think Mitchell is advocating the critics positions that he has not attended a convention, but she doesn't mention any reasons why he hasn't (which are obvious). **** the next 2 sentences were not in the original email, but were added to post to make the preceeding paragraph clearer Here she shows that is willing to use false and misleading Democratic arguments in a position where she is supposed to be neutral. Is that what a Conservative usually does?

6) Tune in to every show every week for a year, and you are unlikely to see Frank Rich, Paul Krugman, Rick Hertzberg, Harold Meyerson or anyone associated with The Nation, The American Prospect, The Washington Monthly, The New York Review of Books, Salon, In These Times, Mother Jones or even the liberal remnant inside The New Republic.

Katrina Vanden Heuvel was on This Week yesterday so there is someone from The Nation. Krugman was on MTP once in 2005, Maureen Dowd was on twice in 2005 and once in 2006, Frank Rich was on once in 2005. As for the other guys, no one has ever heard of them, that's why they aren't invited on. Also, Frank Rich isn't even a political columnist, he's an art & culture columnist. Why should he be on political talk shows frequently or at all?

***name ommitted in post****

P.S. Do you support the requirement of address/phone # for letter to the editor publication?

The Nation & Hypocrisy

Regarding the Eric Alterman article which I will talk about below, I wanted to send a letter to the editor to The Nation magazine. If you would like to do that, one goes to the form. They require your address, and phone number. Interesting...I thought these were the people who complained about the Patriot Act being too intrusive and about Civil Liberties being infringed upon. They don't want the government to be able to see what books you are checking out from government funded libraries (Hey Katrina & Eric, you guys should actually be in support of this---then you'll know someone might actually be reading your pathetic attack books), but they have no problem asking for enough information to positively identify you and find out where you live in order for you to submit a letter to the editor (not even guaranteeing it will be published). Can you say H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y?

Katrina VH on This Week-2.19.06

In case you haven't seen a rabid dog thirsty for blood lately, I suggest you check our yesterday's This Week with George Stephanopolous. Check out the audio file and go in 24:30 and listen to the roundtable discussion. Katrina Vanden Heuvel comes out swinging from the start and the only thing missing by the end of the interview is the frothing at her mouth (well I imagined it was there as I listed to the audio file). More to be posted later on her exact comments and a dissection of them.

Eric Alterman tees one up

It's not supposed to be this easy, but Eric Alterman just set it up perfectly for us with his latest column. Yea, Yea, I know, it's not a MMFA piece, but he was writing about one of their studies and he falls under the moonbat category so I decided to respond to his article. Below is a copy of the email I sent to him regarding his article about this MMFA study I will break it into two parts because it is so long...but it was sent as 1 email.

Part 1:

I just read your article (yes I know it doesn't come out in print for another 2 weeks)...but I just had to respond to a couple of points made in it. ***in here, I had 5-6 lines about the Nation's address/phone number requirement, etc...removed from this post because addressed in another post***

1) "The balance between Democrats/progressives and Republicans/conservatives was roughly equal during Clinton's second term, with a slight edge toward Republicans/conservatives: 52 percent of the ideologically identifiable guests were from the right, and 48 percent were from the left."

Would seem to make sense. Republicans controlled both the Senate and the House but a Democrat controlled the White House. Thus, it would seem logical that guests were pretty much split 50-50 between the two groups. Agree?

2) "But in Bush's first term, Republicans/conservatives held a dramatic advantage, outnumbering Democrats/progressives by 58 percent to 42 percent. In 2005 the figures were an identical 58 percent to 42 percent."

Hmm...maybe that was because Republicans controlled all three branches of government (except for the time from May 2001 to Jan 2003--when new members were sworn in after Nov 2002 elections). During that time period Democrats held a slim margin in the Senate but Republicans had the other two brances. So wouldn't it make sense that there would be more Republicans interviewed because they are the people in power proposing and passing legislation?? Secondly, the reason there aren't that many progressives/Democrats invited on the Sunday shosws is because when they are they refuse to present their own ideas to change America. All they do is attack Bush/Republicans. See the following examples

example 1----Howard Dean on MTP 11/13/2005

DR. DEAN: We have an alternative agenda. We made it very clear. We want a strong national security based on telling the truth to our people at home, our soldiers and our allies. We want jobs in America that'll stay in America, and we believe that renewable energy is one of the areas where we can do that. We want a health-care system that covers everybody, just like 36 other countries in the world. We want a strong public education system. And most of all, we want honesty back in government. I think that's a pretty good agenda.

MR. RUSSERT: But those are words that will appeal to people. But when you go behind them, for example, what is the Democratic position on Iraq? Should we withdraw troops now? What do the Democrats stand for?

DR. DEAN: Tim, first of all, we don't control the House, the Senate or the White House. We have plenty of time to show Americans what our agenda is and we will long before the '06 elections.

MR. RUSSERT: But there's no Democratic plan on Social Security. There's no Democratic plan on the deficit problem. There's no specifics. They say, "Well, we want a strong Social Security. We want to reduce the deficit. We want health care for everyone," but there's no plan how to pay for it.

DR. DEAN: Right now it's not our job to give out specifics. We have no control in the House. We have no control in the Senate. It's our job is to stop this administration, this corrupt and incompetent administration, from doing more damage to America. And that's what we're going to do. We're doing our best. Look at the trouble they're having putting together a budget. Why is that? Because there's still a few moderate Republicans left who don't think it's OK to cut school lunch programs, who don't think it's OK to do some of the appalling things that they're doing in their budget. I saw a show last night which showed a young African-American man in California at the UC of Davis who hoped to go to law school. The Republicans want to cut $14 billion out of higher education so this kid can't go to law school. We're going to do better than that, and together, America can do better than that.

MR. RUSSERT: But is it enough for you to say to the country, "Trust us, the other guy's no good. We'll do better, but we're not going to tell you specifically how we're going to deal with Iraq."

DR. DEAN: We will. When the time comes, we will do that.

MR. RUSSERT: When's the time going to come?

DR. DEAN: The time is fast-approaching. And I outlined the broad outlines of our agenda. We're going to have specific plans in all of these areas.

MR. RUSSERT: This year?

DR. DEAN: In 2006.

example 2) Rahm Emanuel on MTP Jan 16, 2005

MR. RUSSERT: We do know that life expectancy has gone from 65 to 80, so that 80 million people will be on Social Security for 15 to 20 years. Will the Democrats come forward with a specific plan to save Social Security and what will it encompass?

REP. EMANUEL: Yeah. What the Democrats will do is we stand ready to work on the retirement security. I've laid out here just briefly some of the things we are going to deal with helping people establish a retirement plan for themselves in addition to Social Security.

MR. RUSSERT: No, but specifics.

REP. EMANUEL: All right.

MR. RUSSERT: Let me go through a checklist.

REP. EMANUEL: All right.

MR. RUSSERT: Would you consider raising the retirement age?

REP. EMANUEL: Tim, I'm not going to sit here and negotiate it. To quote...

MR. RUSSERT: But why won't the Democrats or the Republicans level with the American people?

REP. EMANUEL: Well, no, we will. Well, first of all, Tim, you talk about leveling with the American people, as you just said, Social Security right now is--in 2042 we face the challenge. He wants to use the word crisis. I think when 80 percent of the workers who work at small businesses have no retirement plan, that to me has an immediacy that uses the word "crisis." When literally nearly 40 percent of the households, 27 million households, have no retirement plan outside of Social Security, that has an immediacy to me. We stand ready to work on that. On the notion of Social Security, on the notion that when you blow all the smoke away, we're talking about raising--borrowing another $2 trillion, cutting benefits up to 40 percent...

MR. RUSSERT: What is your alternative?

REP. EMANUEL: Well, the alternative, as you well know, is we work here, we have an alternative as it relates to retirement plans and helping people develop retirement plans on top of Social Security. I will not tell you what we don't do, and as you know on this show, Tim, and you're smart to what happens in this town, the president proposes and Congress disposes, he'll come forward with his plan. We'll work from there. We stand ready to help strengthen people's retirement security...

So to return to my original question? Why should progressives/Democrats be invited on political talkshows when they refuse to give specific ideas about what they would do differently???

***Read on for Part 2

From the Beginning

Somehow you have found this webpage and if you couldn't figure out what the purpose of it is from the mission statement above, I will explain it a little bit further. Media Matters For America (MMFA) is an organization run by admitted liar David Brock which purports to expose conservative lies, misinformation, and propaganda. In the beginning MMFA played it fairly straight generally only dealing with facts (both numerical and historical). However, as the months progressed they began to delve more into attacking opinions and people personally. As the progression continued, the attacks became more dishonest and misleading. Finally, the other day I got annoyed enough to go about creating a website to document their half-truths, misleading arguments, distortions, and lies. While this will be the main subject of this site, there will also be posts regarding other Democratic (or Republican) pundits/politicians/journalists, and eventually a small section explaining what exactly I stand for and believe in. Because let's face it, one of the major criticism of the Democrats is their inability to state what they believe in as compared to saying what they are opposed to. And this site runs the risk of falling into the same trap as I am constantly dissecting and attacking MMFA's false analyses. The site will be slowly updated at first since school is still in session until the end of May, but postings should pick up over the summer. So if you're ready to join me on this wild ride...give me a loud, rousing, YYYAAAAAAHHHHHHHH