Latest from Lachlan Markay
A former FBI informant who helped foil a bomb plot at the 2008 Republican National Convention has sued the New York Times for libel and defamation.
A Times story from February 22 claimed that Brandon Darby had "encouraged" others to bomb the RNC, when in fact he had been essential to law enforcement efforts that disrupted the plot. Evidence shows that the Times was aware of the error as early as March 3, yet the online version remains uncorrected. Applicable precedent holds that a publisher may be liable for continued publication of defamatory material, even if it was thought to be true when published, if the publisher does not make a sufficient effort to remove that material after being made aware of its inaccuracy.
"Though having to fight a Goliath that buys ink by the barrel is the last thing I wish to do," Darby said in a Thursday letter to the Times, "the New York Times has left me no choice." Darby said that he could not "allow a lie of this seriousness and magnitude about my character and integrity to go unanswered" (h/t Matthew Vadum).
Picture this scenario: hours after the vote on Obamacare a Tea Party protester sent an email to leading congressional Democrats with a detailed description of plans to murder both those legislators and their families. The sender claimed to know where those Democrats lived, and said he had planted bombs in various places, including the capitol building.
What do you suppose the media reaction would be?
Odds are it would be a whole lot louder than the near-total media silence thus far over an email sent to Wisconsin Senate Republicans Wednesday night that states plainly: "You will be killed and your families will also be killed due to your actions." The email goes on to describe in detail how the sender plans on killing Republican members of Wisconsin's State Senate, who voted last night to enact Gov. Scott Walker's proposed reforms to public employee union collective bargaining. Read the full text of the email below the break, via 620 WTMJ's Charlie Sykes.
NOTE: Updates will be posted below the break as they come in. Check in for all the latest developments.
In the wake of a video sting showing NPR executives making disparaging comments towards conservatives, National Public Radio announced Wednesday morning that it had accepted the resignation of its president Vivian Schiller. "The Board accepted Vivian’s resignation with understanding, genuine regret and great respect for her leadership of NPR these past 2 years," said Board Chairman Dave Edwards.
The hidden-camera video, released Tuesday, showed NPR exec Ron Schiller, no relation to Vivian, calling the Tea Party "racist" and "xenophobic" and insisting that NPR would be "better off in the long-run" without the federal dollars that congressional Republicans have been seeking to rescind. A pair of NPR statements disavowed Ron Schiller's comments, and specifically rejected his claims regarding NPR funding.
National Public Radio further distanced itself Tuesday afternoon from embattled outgoing executive Ron Schiller saying that he would be put on "administrative leave" following the release of a video in which he bashed Tea Party activists as "racist" and said that NPR would be "better off" without federal funding.
It was unclear from NPR's first statement, released early in the day, which of Schiller's many comments the radio network had disavowed. The second statement offered some clarification, specifically addressing the claims that the organization would fare better without federal dollars. But it did not highlight or specifically denounce any of Schiller's comments regarding the Tea Party movement, the Republican Party, or the American people generally - though it did broadly condemn his comments.
Schiller's impending departure for a post at the Aspen Institute makes the move to place him on "administrative leave" mostly symbolic.
An admission by a top executive at National Public Radio that the organization would be "better off in the long-run" without federal funding may bolster ongoing efforts to rescind that funding. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., said Tuesday that he was "amazed at the condescension and arrogance" displayed by then-senior NPR executive Ron Schiller in a hidden camera video released by conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe.
The video showed Schiller telling two men posing members of an Islamic advocacy group that Tea Party activists are "racist" and "xenophobic." Schiller also claimed that NPR "would be better off in the long run without federal funding."
Republicans are prepared to oblige NPR on that score. Lamborn told Washington Examiner columnist Byron York on Tuesday that congressional Democrats and other NPR backers should "reconsider their support in light of these appalling attitudes that are displayed in the video."
National Public Radio chief Vivian Schiller issued a flat denial Monday when asked whether NPR consistently puts a liberal spin on the news.
NPR strains to offer "journalism that presents no particular bias," Schiller claimed in a speech at the National Press Club. And far from being the bastion of liberalism its critics insist, Schiller claimed that NPR gets "a tremendous amount of criticism for being too conservative."
To the former claim, one need only look through the NPR archive here at NewsBusters to find a litany of examples undermining Schiller's denial. She says that presented with the accusation of liberal bias, she always asks for examples, so here are just a few from the archives:
In a short video on the New York Times's website, Brian Stelter, the paper's media reporter, comments on the "interesting" trend of cable news reporters "taking sides" in the Wisconsin budget battle - with Fox News on the right and MSNBC on the left, of course - and supposedly twisting facts to fit partisan narratives.
Asked about commentators "looking for a certain narrative on the way in" - even when the facts don't support it - Stelter singled out Bill O'Reilly and Ed Schultz as indicative of the trend. But he needn't look so far from home. The Times's own partisan pugilist, Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, has consistently twisted facts in an effort to fit the Wisconsin debate into a leftist narrative.
It's often said that unpopular speech is the type that needs to be defended, since popular speech will rarely face a meaningful threat. Speech that is disagreeable and persuasive will probably seem less appealing than speech that is disagreeable but unlikely to sway anyone to its cause.
It is telling, then, that the New York Times and Washington Post editorial pages vociferously opposed last year's "Citizens United" Supreme Court ruling, but defended the court's decision on Wednesday to preserve the right of the Westboro Baptist Church to protest the funerals of those who die defending that right.
The far-left Fox-haters are at it again. In just the past couple of days, we've seen multiple instances of leftist pundits dishonestly bashing the Fox News Channel in yet more attempts to slime the cable news channel.
The latest such attempts caught the attention of cable news blogger Johnny Dollar, who consistently documents the left's growing hatred of everything Fox.
The more notable instance of Fox-hating came from former MSNBC host David Shuster. Shuster took to twitter Thursday to celebrate Canada's rejection of Fox News's application for a broadcasting license. Just one problem: Fox's licesnse was approved in 2004. Called out on the mistake, Shuster deleted his tweet, blocked Dollar, and to date has not issued a correction.
Battles over state policies concerning public employee unions in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, New Jersey, and elsewhere have focused some attention on a question some conservatives have been asking for years: should collective bargaining be legal in the public sector?
The Fox News Channel absolutely dominated its cable news competition in February. In terms of overall viewers, the top 11 cable news shows were all on Fox. In the coveted 25-54 demographic - the group that advertisers pay particularly close attention to - Fox took 11 of the top 15 spots.
The Rachel Maddow Show earned the top spot for an MSNBC program. Despite her struggles with factual accuracy of late, it seems Maddow has assumed the role of leading prime time anchor left vacant by Keith Olbermann's departure.
CNN's AC360 led that channel, beating out Maddow in the demo with 304,000 viewers, but trailing MSNBC and Fox leaders in total viewership.
The campaign by pro-union demonstrators in Madison, Wisconsin to silence Fox News and prevent it from reporting continued over the weekend. Protesters did their best to prevent FNC's Mike Tobin from reporting on the protests, all the while shouting - apparently oblivious to the irony - "Fox News lies!"
A few protesters even struck Tobin, though he later downplayed the assault, and said he had declined to press charges. Another protester threatened to break Tobin's neck, he said during one report.
"I find the whole thing a terrific distraction, and terribly frustrating, because I want to cover the story," Tobin told Fox News Radio host Scott Allen Miller on Monday. Tobin brushed off the physical abuse he says he has endured from a few protesters, and insisted that the real frustration was being "harassed with every live shot" (video below the break via J$P).
A group of hackers attacked the website of conservative activist group Americans for Prosperity on Monday. The attack used a simple but effective method known as a distributed denial of service attack.
The group, which calls itself "Anonymous", has attacked a number of websites in recent months that it perceives as political enemies. Those have included the websites of MasterCard and Amazon, apparently targeted for their opposition to the online whistleblower organization WikiLeaks.
Anonymous posted an over-the-top, conspiratorial press release on its website, addressed to the "Citizens of the United States of America". The release stated, in part (no links for cyber-criminals - Google it to find the full statement, if you wish):
For Rachel Maddow, corrections never come easy. But while the MSNBC host has at least offered corrections where she has previously gotten it wrong - granted, with the immense level of sarcasm and snark that is her hallmark - a recent flap with online watchdogs has the indignant Maddow splitting hairs in near-comedic fashion in an effort to avoid admitting she was mistaken.
But the numbers still belie her position.
The exchange began with Maddow's appearance on Leno Tuesday night. She falsely claimed that "of the top ten people donating money in [the 2010 election cycle], seven of them were giving to Republicans." In fact, as NB's Noel Sheppard pointed out, Maddow had it exactly backwards: 7 of the top 10 individual contributors gave more to Democrats than Republicans during the past cycle (and a lot more at that).
Since lefty blogger Ian Murphy prank called Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker on Wednesday, various media outlets have devoted significant coverage to the prankster. None have seen fit to mention some of Murphy's more colorful antics - proclaiming "f**k the troops," for instance, or pretending to be autistic to gain access for a story.
CNN has been out front covering the prank and its perpetrator. The channel named Murphy its "most intriguing person of the day" in one segment, and devoted an article on its website to Murphy's wild claims - that Walker is "delusional," as CNN's headline blared, and that market economics amounts to a "fairy tale."
In reaching out to Murphy for comment, however, CNN did not see fit to ask him - or even mention in its multiple stories about the prank - that he is not just a "liberal website editor," but is in fact a radical, foaming-at-the-mouth leftist whose work includes fantasies about killing prominent Republicans and other far-left memes popular during the Bush years.
A sitting congressman admitted earlier this week to seeking psychiatric treatment after news broke that he had sent bizarre photos of himself in a tiger costume to staff members and taken prescription pain killers given to him by an unnamed campaign donor.
Seven of Oregon Democrat David Wu's staff members reportedly quit after the 2010 campaign due to his bizarre behavior. The second largest newspaper in Wu's state has called for him to resign.
But apparently some of the largest news outlets in the country, including two of the three news networks and two of the three cable news channels, don't think a mentally unstable congressman and all of his bizarre activities merit even an on-air mention. Nearly a week after the story broke, ABC is the only network to give the story on-air coverage, and Fox is the only cable channel to mention it on-air.
Being consistently pro-union puts one in an awkward position when unions start making some very inconvenient demands. The Huffington Post is learning that lesson the hard way.
On the heels of AOL's $315 million HuffPo buyout - the largest such acquisition in the blogosphere's short history - the Newspaper Guild said the following in a letter to Arianna Huffington (h/t Joe Pompeo):
As we look to the future, we look to you, Arianna Huffington, as a leader in web-based news coverage, to demonstrate your commitment to the value of journalism, and to help prevent independent journalists from having to settle for third-world wages.
Just how far left is MSNBC? According to the New York Post, Keith Olbermann's new employer, Current TV, suggested he "veer a little to the middle politically."
That's right: MSNBC's former prime time star was too far left for the writers and producers at Al Gore's television network. Says a lot about the true blue cable channel, doesn't it?
Nothing more cogently demonstrated the left's apparent strategy in Madison, Wisconsin thus far than a group of pro-union demonstrators silencing a Fox News report on a budding scandal there with cries demanding that Fox "tell the truth." Demonstrators, and much of the left over the past week, were unconcerned with the content of Fox's report. The fact that Fox was doing the reporting meant that the truth was not being told.
Fox was attempting to interview the president of the MacIver Institute, a free market think tank based in Wisconsin, which had reported two days earlier that doctors were writing sick notes for union demonstrators in Madison so they could get out of work and attend the protests (check out video of the protesters below the break).
This is going to be messy. Kathy Griffin, Hollywood's favorite D-list vulgarian, will apparently be playing a Tea Party candidate loosely modeled on Sarah Palin in an upcoming episode of Fox's "Glee", according to The Hollywood Reporter.
What could go wrong?
Griffin discovered not so long ago that bashing Palin and her family can help prop up her sagging career - without controversy, Americans might just be asking, "Kathy who?" After this gig, though, it will be sheer comedy simply to see the lengths Griffin will go to mock the former governor.