02/4/15

Media Bias Rears Ugly Head in Vaccine Controversy

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

The media think they have discovered another issue to beat Republicans over the heads with—vaccines. But the media have no credibility on this, or any other major health issue. They do have, and often demonstrate, a partisan political bias on such controversial matters.

“Vaccination debate flares in GOP presidential race, alarming medical experts,” states The Washington Post in horror.

It’s yet another attempt to portray Republicans as “anti-science.” This follows the “climate change denier” mantra used against conservatives and Republicans for supporting pro-growth economic policies.

In the measles case, NBC news is attacking Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky for “giving credence” to an idea—“disputed by the majority of the scientific community”—that “vaccination can lead to mental disabilities.”

That’s interesting. As we reported back in 2006, NBC was aggressively covering the mercury-autism link involving vaccines. That was because Bob Wright, Vice Chairman and Executive Officer of GE and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NBC Universal, had a grandson who was autistic.

Going further back in time, consider a program on the link between vaccines and mental problems which was aired by NBC in 1994 and featured Katie Couric as a co-host.

If there are no problems associated with vaccines, then why did Congress pass the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, which created a national Vaccine Injury Compensation Program?

Michael Chen of ABC 10 News in San Diego reports on one mother whose son suffered a very serious vaccine reaction and was diagnosed with autism, and later Tourette syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder and mitochondrial dysfunction. She was awarded $55,000 in damages.  Chen reported that since 1988, 15,684 injury and death claims related to vaccines have been submitted to the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, and that among those, nearly 4,000 cases received compensation from a federal fund.

Nearly $2 billion dollars has been paid out to vaccine victims for their injuries.

But in response to New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie supporting parental choice in vaccines, CNN ran a story saying he had sidestepped “vaccine science.”

The Washington Post reported in 2008 that candidate Barack Obama had said, “We’ve seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it’s connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it.”

The phrase “This person included” was apparently a reference to someone in the audience.

Now Obama acts as if all the science is settled. It is total hypocrisy.

But the science is not settled. In regard to the measles outbreak, Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center points out that “there were 644 cases of measles reported in America in 2014, even though 95% of children entering kindergarten have gotten two doses of MMR vaccine, which is also true for 92% of school children ages 13 to 17 years.” She also notes that “less than one percent of children under age three are completely unvaccinated and 92% of them have gotten one or more MMR shots. In some states, the MMR vaccination rate is approaching 100 percent.”

“From January 1 to January 30, 2015, 102 people from 14 states were reported to have measles,” the CDC reports.

Fisher notes that the “measles virus has not been eradicated from the U.S., just like measles has not been eradicated from any other country and emerging scientific evidence suggests it never will be—no matter how many doses of MMR vaccine are mandated for every man, woman and child in the world.”

Could it be possible that the shots aren’t working? What about the fact that millions of Americans took flu shots that don’t work? Did you miss this ABC News story: “Flu vaccine may not be effective for this year’s strains, CDC says.”

Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general and director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, was quoted by CNN as saying, “this is not a problem with the measles vaccine not working. This is a problem of the measles vaccine not being used.”

So why are vaccinated people getting measles? The CDC admits that 12 percent of those with measles associated with Disneyland were vaccinated. What’s more, some of the measles cases may be vaccine reactions. The fact is that the CDC just doesn’t know why or what is happening.

CNN, which is now trying to act “scientific” on the subject of vaccine safety, ran a January 15 column, “The climate is ruined. So can civilization even survive?” It was another effort to scare people over so-called global warming, or climate change.

Here, too, Republicans have been portrayed as “anti-science” for opposing scare mongering over the climate, based on junk science.

In this case, the editor’s note said the author, David Ray Griffin, “is emeritus professor of philosophy of religion at Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University. His most recent book is Unprecedented: Can Civilization Survive the CO2 Crisis? The views expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.”

That sounds impressive.

Yet, his previous book was, The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11. It argues that Flight 77, a Boeing 757 which was seen by dozens of people crashing into the Pentagon, was actually a missile or small aircraft.

He has no explanation for passenger Barbara Olson’s call to her  husband, Ted Olson, in the Justice Department, alerting him to the fact that the flight had been hijacked, other than to suggest that they were both part of a secret plan to conceal the truth and that it is not clear “what became of Barbara Olson.”

Griffin is an advocate of global government that he calls “global democracy” as the solution to the world’s problems.

According to the acknowledgements section of his new book, the “seed” for the book was a series of lectures he gave at the invitation of Zhihe Wang and Meijun Fan of the Communist Chinese Institute for Postmodern Development. Their specialty is “ecological Marxism.”

Not surprisingly, the book, Organic Marxism: An Alternative to Capitalism and Ecological Catastrophe, receives Griffin’s endorsement.

In a hastily added postscript to his own book, Griffin seems ecstatic that President Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping recently made an “executive agreement” about limiting carbon emissions. He says this “undercuts what had become the Republicans’ main argument for doing nothing about climate change…”

Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is not impressed by the deal. He calls it “a non-binding charade” that benefits China.

Griffin calls the GOP “the party of denial”—a charge the media will increasingly use as the presidential campaign moves forward.

The Republicans ought to be getting used to this charge by now.

But using a 9/11 truther to attack Republicans? Don’t the media have any decency?

Will Republicans stand up to the media attack? Or will they wilt in the face of dubious “science” promoted by reporters with no credibility?

01/28/15

Obama’s Economic Shell Game

By: Bethany Stotts
Accuracy in Media

Whether in his State of the Union or his recent campaign-like visits to the states, the President has been touting an economic recovery that his policies have supposedly fostered after he inherited a dire recession from George W. Bush. This narrative, repeated over and over through the years, is filled with half truths and exaggerations. Yet a complicit media is more than willing to look the other way from Americans suffering at the hands of a weak recovery with any numbers it can get its hands on.

To add insult to injury, the President’s proposed $320 billion in new tax increases makes it obvious that he’s “not serious about governing,” according to a Washington Post opinion piece by former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen. But, he argues, this political ploy will only work if the right is distracted by it.

Similarly, John Podhoretz writes for the New York Post that Obama gleefully “trolls,” or enrages his political opponents, to elicit ad hominem, spittle-filled disgust regardless of policy merits and the Democratic Party’s health. So when Americans hear the President proposing new taxes and claiming the country boasts a healthy, recovering economy, they may assume he’s tone deaf. However, he’s deliberately “trolling” for political effect.

The President is also fond of touting that the federal deficit has fallen from 10 percent of GDP to three percent of GDP, but such a claim couldn’t even fool Politifact, which rated the assertion as “half true.” “Obama is laying the blame for the high deficit-to-GDP ratio entirely on Bush, when the figure covers time in office for both presidents,” they say. “The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details, so we rate it Half True.”

From where I come from a “half truth” is really a lie. Add to the list of false assertions the evergreen claims by President Obama that a) he has made the best of a terrible recession, and b) that our economy is now going strong because the unemployment rate is now below six percent.

“The widely publicized unemployment rate, eagerly awaited each month by pundits and policy wonks, has become little more than a shell game in which officials keep the public guessing about the real state of the economy,” pointedly wrote Jay Schalin of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy back in 2012.

Reporting by The New York Times exposed that where once someone would have qualified as officially unemployed, they may now remain uncounted as “out of the labor force.” “In particular, there seems to have been an increase in the number of people who once would have qualified as officially unemployed and today are considered out of the labor force, neither working nor looking for work,” reported David Leonhardt last August.

Yet the Times, after the State of the Union last week, congratulated the President for his efforts to “cement an economic legacy that seemed improbable early in his first term, when the country was in near-economic collapse.” What then, is the President’s economic legacy of recovery to date?

Millions of people are not being counted in the most recent official unemployment rate of 5.6 percent. Schalin pointed his readers to a more accurate barometer—the labor participation rate. It currently sits at a 36-year low.

The falling labor participation rate, reports Jeffrey Scott Shapiro for The Washington Times, “translates to more than 7 million fewer workers in the workforce.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that a “U.S. economy that suddenly looks healthy” isn’t “luring back many of the millions who dropped out of the labor market during the down times.”

The outlook for America’s jobless and uncounted is dismal. “Over the past three months, an average of 6.8% of those outside the labor force either found a job or began looking for one,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “That means people are entering the labor force at the lowest pace in records kept since 1990, down from more than 8% in 2010.”

But the media instead carefully misinform the public to boost presidential credibility. The Washington Post, after the State of the Union address, called our President “cautious over the past two years not to gloat over news of fitful economic growth, mindful that the economy remained tenuous and public confidence uneasy.” Now, however, “with the jobless rate well below 6 percent, the stock market nearing record highs and his job-approval ratings rebounding, Obama on Tuesday night dropped his veneer of reserve and appeared to delight in having proved his critics wrong.”

What exactly is the proof?

“Jobs are up, but wages are down,” noted Politico’s Timothy Noah about December’s job numbers. “In five-and-a-half years of economic recovery, the median income should have increased. Instead, it is lower. … Stagnating wages have displaced unemployment as the nation’s chief economic concern, and wages are becoming a central political concern too.”

Ironically, the Post’s own fact-checkers, after taking apart the President’s speech, found that “it is too early to say that this positive response from small businesses means ‘wages are finally starting to rise again.’” In other words, our President lied—again.

“Politicians can lower the U-3 [unemployment] rate—and make things seem better than they are—by making it easier for people to leave the workforce,” noted Schalin.

At a national level, welfare dependency is at higher levels now than under George W. Bush, millions of Americans are signing up for Obamacare subsidies, the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer, and median income is now comparable to 1995 levels. “Today median income is on par with where it was in 1995, which is one of the reasons many Americans still don’t feel the economy has truly improved,” reported CNN Money in December in the last line of its article.

The first line touted more positive Obama-centric news: “The Obama recovery was looking a lot better on Friday after a particularly strong jobs report made 2014 the best year for hiring since 1999.” CNN must have thought it could put some positive spin on this official numbers game.

In the last year of Bush’s presidency, 17.1 percent of Americans received welfare assistance. That figure now stands at nearly one in four—23 percent—according to Shapiro.

“A 2013 Pew Research study of U.S. Census Bureau data found simply that the rich got richer and the poor got poorer during the Obama economic recovery,” reports Shapiro. The study stated that our recovery boosted the incomes of the upper 7 percent by over a quarter, while the “mean net worth” of households in the remaining 93 percent “dropped by 4%.”

Chuck Todd of NBC News’ deserves a veritable medal for media bias. He opened his co-authored article, “Telling the Recovery Story: Obama Hits the Road to Tout Economy,” by pointing to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s (D) criticism of the President that “one problem I think that the president has is that he doesn’t tell that story [the “explosive growth in corporate profits, in stock market returns, employment that’s come back strong”] very well or very regularly.”

“Well, Obama is now trying to tell that story a bit better,” comment Todd and his co-authors.

“One reason why the White House feels more confident in touting the economy is that the country has seen its longest stretch of good economic news during Obama’s presidency,” he and his co-authors wrote. “And that’s been reflected in a media that usually emphasizes bad news over good news.”

Todd has said in the past that he found his off-the-record conversations with President Obama “very nourishing.”

Simply put, a lot of Americans can’t—and won’t—swallow economic spin of such mammoth proportions, either from the media or from our President.

01/10/15

Paris—The Latest Example of Islamic Jihadist Terrorism

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

While much of the media are doing contortions trying to explain why the latest terrorist attacks are either home grown, lone wolf, or committed by alienated youth, this misses the point. And yes, we realize that most victims of Islamic jihadists are other Muslims. Just look at the massacre in Pakistan last month of 141 individuals, including children and teachers. Or the one this week by Boko Haram in Nigeria that may have led to the death of at least 2,000.

The Islamic terrorists who attacked the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris this week, brutally murdering 12 people, were killed by authorities today. The situation is still fluid, but reports indicate that at least 15 hostages are now free, and one more terrorist may be on the loose following two hostage situations that ensued during the hunt for the terrorists. One might think that Paris—and France—might be able to breathe a sigh of relief. In reality, however, the attack on Charlie Hebdo and the two ensuing hostage situations were merely a continuation of the latest line of Islam-inspired terror attacks worldwide, be it on the Canadian Parliament; in Sydney, Australia; in Pakistan; on two policemen in New York City; or in Moore, Oklahoma.

The problem is not who these attackers are, or whether they are a card-carrying member of al Qaeda, Boko Haram, or the Islamic State—but that they are conducting such atrocious acts. Just in the U.S. and Canada alone in the last couple of months we’ve had a number of attacks occurring in the name of Allah. To the victims, and most of the rest of us, the rest doesn’t matter.

The Washington Post is reporting that Boko Haram may have executed thousands. “A video recently emerged, Genocide Watch reported, that shows gunmen shooting civilians as they lay face down in a dormitory,” reports Terrence McCoy. “A local leader explains they are ‘infidels,’ even though he admits they’re Muslim: ‘We have made sure the floor of this hall is turned red with blood, and this is how it is going to be in all future attacks and arrests of infidels. From now on, killing, slaughtering, destruction and bombings will be our religious duty anywhere we invade.’”

McCoy notes that Boko Haram’s attacks seem more “wanton” than those perpetrated by other terror groups.

These attacks are coming at such an accelerated pace today that any sort of long term solutions, such as being more responsible and not insulting Islam or the prophet Muhammad, seem futile. Do we really think anyone at the school in Pakistan or in Baga, Nigeria had slandered the prophet?

“The Religion of Peace” website has documented the Islam-motivated terrorist attacks of 2014.

The Washington Post reported on January 7th that the “Paris attack lacked hallmarks of Islamist assaults in the West,” highlighting the possibility that this was an unofficial attack “without any direct ties to groups such as al-Qaeda or the Islamic State.”

The next day, The New York Times reported that one of two attackers “suspected of killing 12 people at a satirical newspaper in Paris traveled to Yemen in 2011 and received terrorist training from Al Qaeda’s affiliate there before returning to France.”

However the media decide to parse the latest Paris attacks, these Islamic jihadis clearly have been drinking from the same toxic stream of violent ideology.

As happened with the Moore, Oklahoma beheading by Alton Nolen, the media and liberal pundits were quick to separate the Charlie Hebdo killers from Islamic ideology—going to great lengths to find a parallel with any other case they could fathom.

One guest on MSNBC’s “Now with Alex Wagner” compared Jerry Falwell’s lawsuit against Hustler Magazine to the violent murder of 12 innocent people at Charlie Hebdo, without any rebuttal coming from Wagner. Jonah Goldberg of National Review condemned this as “The Dumbest 57 Seconds Ever on TV.

I would also point to MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry’s characterization of Nolen’s beheading of a co-worker in Oklahoma as supposedly having as little to do with his alleged “workplace violence” as what he ate for breakfast. The FBI, apparently, swallowed the idea that Nolen’s attack was workplace violence, as well.

And recently, after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Howard Dean went on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to condemn the attacks, but asserted, “I stopped calling these people Muslim terrorists. They’re about as Muslim as I am. I mean, they have no respect for anybody else’s life. That’s not what the Koran says. Europe has an enormous radical problem. I think ISIS is a cult. Not an Islamic cult. I think it’s a cult.”

“When I watch Americans use words like cowardly, barbaric, murder, outrageous, shocking, etc., to describe a violent extremist organization’s actions, we are playing right into the enemy’s hands,” said Maj. Gen. Michael K. Nagata, U.S. commander of American Special Operations forces in the Middle East, in December regarding ISIS, according to The New York Times. “They want us to become emotional. They revel in being called murderers when the words are coming from an apostate.”

The Daily Caller cited an example of The New York Times removing a section from a previously posted article that told how one of the terrorists at the Charlie Hebdo offices spared the life of a woman who was there during the attack:

“Instead, she told French news media, the man said, ‘I’m not going to kill you because you’re a woman, we don’t kill women, but you must convert to Islam, read the Quran and cover yourself,’ she recalled.”

Later on the Times altered the article, removing “but you must convert to Islam, read the Quran and cover yourself.” This is the type of political correctness that is commonplace in the media. It is not a matter of cowardice, fearful of being attacked like Charle Hebdo was, but rather an ideological, editorial decision to attempt to minimize the link to Islam.

As I asked in my recent column on the underreported and misreported stories of 2014, “What does it take to spark media outrage?… What is it going to take to end this ongoing slaughter by jihadists, acting in the name of Islam?”

In 2011, when Charlie Hebdo was firebombed for “an edition poking fun at Islam,” according to the UK Telegraph, Time Magazine’s Bruce Crumley blamed the publication for the violence perpetrated against it, writing,

“Not only are such Islamophobic antics [as publishing cartoons] futile and childish… but they also openly beg for the very violent responses from extremists their authors claim to proudly defy in the name of common good. What common good is served by creating more division and anger, and by tempting belligerent reaction?”

By such a measure the media should censor itself from publishing or disseminating the inflammatory Charlie Hebdo materials in any outlet at all. And if The Washington Post is any indication, that’s exactly what happened: it used a photograph that cleverly hides the Charlie Hebdo cover from view while featuring a copy of the publication amidst other magazines.

Ironically, a call to combat terrorism came, not from the media, but from Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al Sisi even before the attack in Paris. He made a speech that hopefully will prove to be a turning point, but don’t count on it. In his New Year’s Day address, he urged the Imams to lead a “religious revolution” against extremism. But he has a huge battle on his own turf, as he gained power after millions of Egyptians called for the removal of Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader who had been elected president of Egypt after the removal of Hosni Mubarak. This is but a small step forward.

As President Al Sisi said, “I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move… because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.”

Why must such bold words come from Egypt’s president, and not our own, and other Western leaders, or from the mainstream media? Steve Emerson, of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, argued that “Indeed, the responses from our own president, French President Hollande and British Prime Minster David Cameron all spouted the same empty pabulum in asserting that the Paris attack had nothing to do with Islam or any religion for that matter. But the hollow comments coming from our own leaders are steeped in the stench of appeasement and cowardice.”

12/23/14

The Obama-Pope Axis of Marxism

By: Cliff Kincaid

The Washington Post is a die-hard Democratic Party newspaper that occasionally recognizes Obama’s drift into Marxism. The December 19th editorial on Cuba is a case in point. Not only does the Post understand the nature of Obama’s betrayal of a free Cuba, it is beginning to wake up to the failures of bipartisan policies that have built communist Chinese economic power in the name of capitalism and reform.

The paper says that Obama “should have learned and applied some of the hard lessons of normalization with China and Vietnam—most notably that engagement doesn’t automatically promote freedom. When the United States debated extending ‘most-favored-nation’ trading status to China, we shared in what was then the conventional wisdom: Economic engagement would inevitably lead, over time, to political reform inside that Communist dictatorship.”

The paper goes on to admit it was duped. But Obama should know better, shouldn’t he?

The Post notes that the Chinese regime has been strengthened, not weakened, by policies of “engagement.” The Chinese communists “were determined to reap the fruits of foreign investment and trade—for themselves and their families, first, but also for their country—without ceding power. So far, confounding expectations, they have succeeded,” the paper commented.

In the case of Cuba, the Post said, Obama could have proposed normalization only after certain freedoms were given to the Cuban people. Instead, Obama “spurned” the “brave freedom fighters” on the island in the form of ordinary citizens risking their lives to protest against the Castro regime and to demand basic rights. Obama simply ignored their struggle.

So what are we to conclude? The Post is the paper which sent a reporter by the name of Dana Milbank to our news conferences over the years to ridicule our warnings of Obama’s Marxism. It looks like the editorial board, at least, is coming around to the realization that Obama is deliberately pursuing a Marxist policy in the case of Cuba. This is a breakthrough.

In a separate editorial, the paper called Obama’s change in Cuba policy a “bailout” of the regime. It said, “Mr. Obama may claim that he has dismantled a 50-year-old failed policy; what he has really done is give a 50-year-old failed regime a new lease on life.”

The editorial fails to take note of the role of Pope Francis in the betrayal. However, a separate article in the paper indirectly took note of the development, highlighting that while Pope John Paul II was “extremely public in his fight against communism,” Francis seems dedicated to being known as a “master builder of bridges” between the communist and free worlds. This is to the advantage of the communists.

The article notes that Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)—who is Catholic—was critical of the pope, saying he should “take up the cause of freedom” rather than facilitate Obama’s deal with the Castro brothers. But we have heard enough from the pope, in terms of his attacks on capitalism, to know where he stands.

Rubio told ABC News, “The pope is a spiritual leader and he always, naturally, is going to want to bring people closer together. And I respect that as a spiritual leader. But I think it’s also important to say that people deserve the right to be free…our nation was founded on that principle.”

The awareness is growing among Catholics that this pope is radically different than Pope John Paul II. Associated Press quotes Efrain Rivas, a 53-year-old maintenance man in Miami who was a political prisoner in Cuba for 16 years as saying, “I’m still Catholic till the day I die. But I am a Catholic without a pope.”

Miguel Saavedra, described as a 57-year-old Miami mechanic who leads an anti-Castro group and wears a Christian cross, told AP, “The church is contaminated.” He was probably referring to contamination by elements of Marxist-oriented liberation theology.

Catholic writer Vic Biorseth concludes, “I’m afraid it is true—Pope Francis is a Marxist. George Soros is probably celebrating. So is Bill Ayers, Frances Fox Piven, and especially, Comrade President Obama, peace be upon him. We will get through this, and we will be stronger for it.”

This may sound harsh, but the evidence is all around for everyone to see. Perhaps the Post will eventually wake up to that reality as well. But how long will it take?