NewsBusters Lies About Howard Dean Lying

It may be time to start a regular feature about the recurring episodes of stupidity on the part of NewsBusters’ associate editor, Noel Sheppard. The latest example comes from his analysis of a debate between Liz Cheney (Dick’s spawn) and Gov. Howard Dean.

The NewsBusters column asserts that “Liz Cheney Exposes Howard Dean In Lie About His Connection To George Soros and” Sheppard helpfully provides video of the exchange and a transcript. The only problem is that these documents show that Dean was entirely truthful and that Sheppard and Cheney were the liars. Here is the relevant portion of the debate:

HOWARD DEAN (overlapping): We don’t want anybody buying elections.
LIZ CHENEY (overlapping): I mean George Soros started all of this with–
HOWARD DEAN (overlapping): I know McCain-Feingold, they weren’t able buy elections.
LIZ CHENEY (overlapping): –which was a big backer of yours, Governor Dean. So I think that, you know–
HOWARD DEAN (overlapping): Who was a big backer of mine?
LIZ CHENEY: George Soros,
HOWARD DEAN (overlapping): No he wasn’t. No he wasn’t a big–
LIZ CHENEY: Governor Dean, I think that the notion–
HOWARD DEAN (overlapping): –neither– neither was, as a matter of fact, just to set the record straight.

As we see in this exchange, Cheney asserted that George Soros and MoveOn were “big backers” of Dean. The Governor denies that. And this is where Sheppard barges in to declare that. “This was a flat out lie by Dean on national television.” Sheppard backs up his claim by revealing that Soros had contributed $1,000 to Dean’s presidential campaign in 2004, and that MoveOn had hosted a web page where Dean solicited donations.

Gov. Dean raised about $50 million for his 2004 primary campaign. Soros donated only $1,000 of that (or 0.002%), which is less than half the amount allowable ($2,500). As for MoveOn, Sheppard admits that they donated nothing at all to Dean. They merely permitted him to solicit their members for donations. Those donations would have been made by the individuals choosing to donate, not MoveOn, and there was no accounting for how much the members may have donated, if anything. But MoveOn donated $0.00.

It is on the basis of this that Sheppard asserted that Dean’s contention was “100 percent false.” However, Dean was actually 100 percent truthful because the facts, even as Sheppard told them, show that Soros and MoveOn were not “big backers” of Dean by any stretch of the imagination. Unless you define “big” as infinitesimally small. So, as it turns out, it’s Sheppard who is lying.

The remainder of the Dean/Cheney debate gave Sheppard additional opportunities for him to make a fool of himself. Cheney kept trying to put words in Dean’s mouth, to the effect that he and President Obama were saying that the Chamber of Commerce was paying for domestic campaign ads with foreign money. However, neither of them said that. The issue was whether the Chamber was receiving money from foreign entities (which they admit), and that because there is no disclosure of those receipts or how they are spent, there is no way to know whether the foreign funds were included in the campaign financing. It is a question of disclosure and transparency. There is a big difference between accusing the Chamber of using foreign funds in the election, and merely criticizing them for not disclosing their financing. It was the latter that Dean was asserting.

Sheppard and Cheney are either too dense to grasp that distinction, or too politically dishonest to acknowledge it – or perhaps a little of both. Cheney, of course, is a political operative and can be expected to spin arguments in her favor. But Sheppard fancies himself a media watchdog and, thus, reveals himself to be utterly disreputable and without credibility.

Comparing Sarah Palin To Howard Dean

Yesterday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Time Magazine editor-at-large and senior political analyst, Mark Halperin sought to make a comparison between Sarah Palin and Howard Dean. Commendably, the show’s co-hosts would have none of it. Mika Brzezinski said flatly that it was “not the same.” Joe Scarborough went even further:

Joe Scarborough: “It is such a disservice to compare Sarah Palin, in any aspect to Howard Dean. Yes, because that is an insult to Howard Dean’s intelligence.”

Fox Nation and other rightist webizens are aghast at Scarborough’s slap at Palin. But do you think they ever bothered to actually compare the two?

Sarah Palin: Howard Dean
Attended four universities before attaining a degree in journalism. Earned a BA in political science at Yale and medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Miss Wassila and third runner up in the Miss Alaska pageant. Stock broker on Wall Street.
Brief stint as a sportscaster for local Anchorage TV. Practiced family medicine in Vermont.
Served two-terms as Mayor of Wassila, AK. Elected to the Vermont House of Representatives and later, lieutenant governor.
Quit half way through her first term as Governor of Alaska. Served six terms as Governor of Vermont.
Selected by John McCain as VP candidate. Ran for the nomination of the Democratic Party for President.
Went Rogue. Was elected to chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee.

The similarities are mind-boggling. Scarborough was quite right to admonish Halperin for his simplistic and incorrect analysis. But the bigger issue here is how someone like Halperin can be accorded the respect and authority of an editor’s role at Time Magazine. Exactly how low are their standards?

The Fox Nation Makes (Up) The News

Over at Rupert Murdoch’s Internet propaganda outlet, The Fox Nation, they are stridently pushing forward on their mission to mis- and dis-inform their readers and the world. Here are some examples of this week’s outrageous departures from honesty, decency, and journalistic ethics:

1) The Fox Nationalists see fit to juxtapose an image of the burning World Trade Center towers with that of President Obama, as if he had something to do with it. Apparently they object to September 11 being designated a Day of National Service, because who would ever want our memory of that tragedy being tarnished by Americans coming together to make their country better?

Also note that Sen. Kennedy’s passing was the second most important story according to Fox Nation.

2) This one will piss off Ron Paul supporters. A survey conducted by US News and World Report asked a dozen GOP and conservative leaders to come up with a top 10 list of people who would be the leaders of the “town hallers” (or should that be howlers?). The image posted by the Fox Nationalists shows those who came in second through fifth. Ron Paul came in first, but somehow his photo got lost.

I want to go on record as casting my vote for Sarah Palin – A Howler leader if there ever was one.

3) Here is a revealing graphic that I thought should be noted for the blatant association of Obama with a famous fictional crime family. What provoked this visual editorializing? It was Obama saying that he liked the movie “The Godfather.” If everyone who likes that movie was alleged to be a Goodfellow, it would mean most of the free world are criminals.

4) Another story featured on Fox nation was titled, “Griff Jenkins Confronts Howard Dean at Town Hall.” But if you click on the link you will see a five minute video that contains a ten second exchange with Dr. Dean and four minutes and fifty seconds of tea baggers. Some confrontation.

5) In addition to the Fox Nationalists opposing Americans participating in a Day of Service, they are also opposed to Organizing for America offering internships to young Americans. I wonder if they would also object to these internships offered by Fox News.

6) And just to get that awful taste of patriotism and public service out of our mouths, Fox Nation celebrates Town Howlers who threaten to incite “An Uprising That’s Going to Make the Boston Tea Party Look Like a Picnic!” Now that’s the sort of wholesome activity that Fox can support for America’s youth.

That’s all for today. Stay tuned for more flagrant and asinine propaganda from the Fox Nationalists.

Bill O’Reilly: MoveOn Forced CNBC To Hire Howard Dean

Bill O’Reilly gets funnier by the day (or scarier, depending on your perspective). His latest broadcast falsehood is that has wielded its mighty power to “force” NBC/Universal CEO Jeff Zucker to hire Howard Dean as a contributor to CNBC. This display of domination was allegedly in response to conservative commentaries by CNBC’s Jim Cramer and Mark Haines.

Even if someone was stupid enough to believe that a relatively small political activist group could boss around the chief of a major entertainment and news empire, the accusation is completely without foundation. In fact, Sam Stein of the Huffington Post, who did some actual reporting, unlike O’Reilly, found that:

“…the decision to bring the recently departed DNC Chair on board, the source says, was finalized well before the current wave of CNBC-angst. So while grassroots groups have sprouted up in recent weeks petitioning the network to make wholesale changes, Dean’s hiring can’t be viewed as a direct result of public pressure.”

O’Reilly’s stupidity, however, extends even further. The source he quotes for his baseless and false allegation is Noel Sheppard. O’Reilly identifies him as the author of a column in the Washington Examiner. What O’Reilly doesn’t tell you is that Sheppard also happens to be the Associate Editor of NewsBusters, an arm of the uber-conservative Media Research Center. The MRC was just revealed to be the source for many ideologically twisted stories on Fox News, a fact that former anchor Brit Hume confessed just last week. Now O’Reilly has admitted that he too is disseminating MRC propaganda as if it were news. It should be noted that neither O’Reilly nor Sheppard produced any evidence that either MoveOn or Zucker played any role in Dean’s employment.

As if that were not enough, O’Reilly went on to disparage Dean saying that he “know[s] little about economics.” Where O’Reilly gets the gumption to knock Dean’s credentials is beyond me. Dean served as governor of the state of Vermont for twelve years. For a portion of time he was Chairman of the National Governor’s Association. Prior to that he was a Wall Street stock broker. And his father was a top executive at Dean Witter Reynolds. But O’Reilly, who expounds on economics every day is a former tabloid TV news reader. So on whose advice would you prefer to rely?

On the comedy tip, O’Reilly is even having trouble organizing his outrage. For years he has been hammering NBC and its cable units as being irredeemably compromised by wicked leftists. He reveled in characterizing them as despicable purveyors of group-think. The following quotation, however, reveals a psyche that is sorely starving for air.

“Now many on Wall Street believe Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric which owns NBC, has completely lost control of his company, including the actions of Mr. Zucker. The evidence of that is that MSNBC is supporting and promoting the same far-left loons that are hammering the sister outfit CNBC. I mean, how rich is this?”

First of all, the “many on Wall Street believe” canard is an example of a lazy intellect. O’Reilly won’t, and can’t identify these imaginary critics. Secondly, his complaint that MSNBC is critical of CNBC contradicts his contention that all NBC units think alike. Even worse, by mocking this diversity of opinion, he is implying that he would prefer it if they did think alike. Of course, he would prefer no such thing. He would simply go back to accusing them of being blindly and uniformly liberal. It’s the O’Reilly way

John Edwards Takes On The Media

Now he’s done it. John Edwards has unleashed the hounds of hell and will face certain and swift punishment for his petulance. By daring to tell the truth about the risks posed by runaway media consolidation, Edwards now must keep an alert eye over both shoulders. From his web site:

“News Corp’s purchase of the Dow Jones Co. and The Wall Street Journal should be the last straw when it comes to media consolidation. The basis of a strong democracy begins and ends with a strong, unbiased and fair media – all qualities which are pretty hard to subscribe to Fox News and News Corp.”

He goes on to call on all candidates to refuse contributions from the Dark Empire of Lord Murdoch, and to return any donations already received. For the most part, that call is directed straight at Hillary Clinton, who counts Murdoch as a supporter and fund-raiser.

But rather than become defensive, Clinton and the other candidates should stake out their own positions on media reform. To date, Edwards is the only candidate to take a position on the excessive powers that the media have assembled. By overtly challenging the media’s ravenous appetite for consolidation, Edwards is demonstrating a rare courage to seek reforms that are truly in the public interest. But he is also painting a target on his back.

The media are a formidable foe and they don’t like to be challenged. Witness the campaign of Gov. Howard Dean. Early in his campaign for the 2004 nomination, he appeared on Hardball where Chris Matthews asked if he would break up the powerful media conglomerates:

Dean: “The answer to that is yes. I would say there is too much penetration by single corporations in media markets all over this country.”

Dean went on to say that he would appoint commissioners to the FCC that:

“…believe democracy depends on getting information from all portions of the political spectrum, not just one.”

We all saw what happened to Gov. Dean. His fall from being the front-runner in the Democratic Party to an object of ridicule almost overnight, was entirely the work of a frightened and panicked media. This may be a forecast of what awaits Edwards as he steps into the most shark-infested waters of politics. However, it is exactly this kind of commitment to the principles of freedom that we must demand of our representatives.

Edwards has been more successful in guiding the public debate than in raising his chances for the nomination. He has maneuvered the issues of health care and poverty into the spotlight when no one else was talking about them. One can only hope that he will have the same effect bringing the media’s malignancies into view. He had better, for his own sake. Without widespread support for this issue and/or his candidacy, the media will grind him up and spit him out. Or worse, from a political perspective…they will ignore him.