Friday, April 27, 2007

Media Matters for America summary, April 27, 2007

O'Reilly falsely accused Media Matters of lying about Soros funding

On the April 26 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly attacked Media Matters for America, saying that "the vile Media Matters outfit is denying receiving funding from any of [progressive financier] George Soros' outfits," and claiming, "Well, that is a total lie." As evidence, O'Reilly noted that the Tides Foundation donated over $1 million to Media Matters in 2005, "[a]nd just by coincidence Soros' Open Society Institute [OSI] donated more than a million dollars to Tides in 2005." He added: "Figure it out." But O'Reilly's conclusion that Soros donated $1 million to Media Matters through the Tides Foundation is false. OSI's donations to Tides were earmarked for several specific programs, and Media Matters was not included on this list. Read more

Boortz continued to attack "Media Myrmidons"

On the April 26 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Neal Boortz complained that Media Matters for America -- which he referred to as "Media Myrmidons" -- had "picked up on" an April 20 New York Times article which reported that he aired an instrumental of the Pat Benatar song 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot' on his April 18 program while discussing the April 16 shooting at Virginia Tech. Boortz claimed that the song "was not chosen by me ... It was chosen by a computer," and said of Media Matters: "Let's see if they correct this one." In fact, in the March 20 item to which Boortz referred, all Media Matters "picked up on" was Boortz's false assertion on the April 20 broadcast of his show that Media Matters had been the source of the Times' claim regarding the Benatar song. Indeed, the item simply noted that Media Matters did not document Boortz's comments -- or the music that was aired -- on the April 18 broadcast of The Neal Boortz Show. Moreover, the item noted Boortz's claim that the music for each segment is "completely and totally random" and selected by a "computer." Read more

Limbaugh on Media Matters: "[Y]ou're going to have to learn not to be baited when I'm baiting you"

On the April 25 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, host Rush Limbaugh again claimed that the "Media Matters people fell for it, and the drive-by media fell for it, and this is a perfect illustration of what I was talking about on that day," referring to his recent statement that Cho Seung-Hui, the Virginia Tech gunman, "had to be a liberal." Media Matters documented both Limbaugh's April 19 statement that Cho "had to be a liberal" and his subsequent observation that "[n]ow the drive-bys will read on a website that I'm attacking liberalism by comparing this guy to them" (Limbaugh regularly refers to mainstream media outlets as "the drive-by media"). On April 23, Limbaugh similarly claimed that "Media Matters fell for it hook, line, and sinker. They had it up all over the place," adding: "I was making a joke. ... Although I do believe that it was liberalism that got a hold of this guy and made him hate things, professors and this sort of thing." Read more

O'Reilly falsely claimed he "went on facts and facts alone" in his statements supporting Iraq war

On the April 24 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly denied the assertion by Marvin Kalb, lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and a senior fellow at the school's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, that prior to, and during, "the first year or even two after the [Iraq] war got started, Fox and many other people associated with Fox ... said all kinds of things in support of the war, which were not being borne out by the facts." O'Reilly replied: "No, I didn't. I went on facts and facts alone." In fact, in the lead-up to, and following, the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, O'Reilly made several false claims and misleading suggestions regarding the threat posed by Iraq. Notably, O'Reilly repeatedly suggested a link between Iraq and Al Qaeda, despite numerous reports undermining this claim. Read more

NY Times largely mum on Moyers special about media's role in spreading prewar falsehoods

On the April 25 edition of the Public Broadcasting Service's Bill Moyers Journal, host Bill Moyers presented a 90-minute-long documentary special, Buying the War," that examined how the media "largely surrendered its independence and skepticism to join with our government in marching to war" in Iraq. The film extensively reported on the role New York Times reporters and columnists played in contributing to the "drumbeat" of war. However, the documentary has not been either reviewed or mentioned in the Times itself, aside from a two-sentence blurb that appeared in the print newspaper's television listings. Read more

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