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Media Matters Smears Hot Air

John on September 18, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Media Matters has a new SmearBuster mini-site up. They list Hot Air as a “smearer” for doing two things.

Thing one is calling Van Jones a Truther. Unfortunately for Media Matters, the best they can come up with to refute this charge is a tepid statement byPolitifact.com. They highlight a paragraph which I guess they find exculpatory:

We reviewed the petition, and its most incendiary language is in the form of hanging questions, such as, “How could Flight 77, which reportedly hit the Pentagon, have flown back towards Washington D.C. for 40 minutes without being detected by the FAA’s radar or the even superior radar possessed by the US military?” and “What happened to the over 20 documented warnings given our government by 14 foreign intelligence agencies or heads of state?”

Of course the conclusion of the same article says:

On one level, the petition is just asking for more investigations. But given the pointed questions it asks, it pretty clearly implies that the Bush administration allowed the terrorist attacks to be executed due to indifference or incompetence, at a minimum. It also states that “people within the current administration may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war.” Still, Beck pushes the envelope when he says Jones “thinks the Bush administration blew up the World Trade Center and covered it up.” The petition doesn’t state that definitively. It does ask for investigations. We rate Beck’s statement Half True.

So even Politifact thinks Glenn Beck is half right. That’s Media Matters’ slam dunk defense?

But remember Media Matters is pulling Hot Air into this. In fact, they provide a link to this post, which is Allahpundit’s carefully worded and thoughtful recitation of the possibilities:

One: The Truthers are lying and simply added names of activists like Jones who, um, no one had ever heard of when the petition was circulated in 2004. If that’s true, it’s curious that people like Ed Asner and Janeane Garofalo, whose names are also on there, apparently haven’t objected in the five years since. Two: As I said in the Beck post, maybe Jones doesn’t actually believe the theory but signed on for the sheer romantic rebel pseudo-intellectual glory of it. In that case, we’re in the same situation as we were with Ron Paul when he denied having written the racist crap in those old Ron Paul newsletters: Even if he’s telling the truth, the fact that he approved it proves he’s either too stupid or careless to be trusted with power. Or three: Jones is lying.

Nowhere in this post does Allah recycle Glenn Beck’s statement, the one which Politifact called a half truth. So where is the smear Media Matters. Please point it out.

Bullet point two on MM’s hit list is the claim that Mark Lloyd wants to reinstate the fairness doctrine. Media Matters lists Hot Air as a “source” for this but doesn’t provide a link. Hmmm, I wonder why?

A search of Hot Air reveals that this post from the Green Room is the only one mentioning Mark Lloyd. It says:

Why wait for the liberals to produce a fairness doctrine when you’ve got a Diversity Czar under the White House’s thumb?

In other words, Lloyd’s rural radio initiative isn’t the fairness doctrine, it’s a replacement for it, one that accomplishes the same thing.

Laughably, Media Matters relies on Think Progress to set the record straight, as if Think Progress is any less partisan than Media Matters. In any case, the excerpt they offer is cut off. If you click over you’ll see that they left out the conclusion of the Think Progress post. Here’s what it says:

Approximately 91 percent of weekday talk radio programming is conservative, and just nine percent is progressive. However, “43 percent of regular talk radio listeners identify as conservative, while 23 percent identify as liberal and 30 percent as moderate.” Much of this imbalance was created in the wave of consolidation after the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which “removed the national limit on the number of radio stations that one could own.” What progressives like Lloyd are advocating is not more liberalism, but more localism.

Are you following that logic? Let me spell it out with bullet points:

  • There is an imbalance in talk radio, most of which is conservative.
  • The imbalance was caused by consolidation.
  • Lloyd is only arguing for more localism.

Do you see the jump? The first half of the paragraph is about political imbalance on the airwaves caused by centralization. They then say that Lloyd has no interest in politics, only localism.

Why does he care if not to redress the imbalance he’s pointing out? If localism won’t change the “imbalance” then why bring it up? If it will, then you can’t say Lloyd has no interest in politics.

Media Matters owes Hot Air an apology. They’ve called them “smearers” for two statements, neither of which is refuted by the statements they’ve posted as refutations.

Finally, it’s funny how Barack Obama used to have a Fight the Smears site and now Media Matters has SmearBuster, almost like they’re connected or something. The White House had flag@whitehouse.gov and now — a few weeks after the White House pulled the plug on that — Media Matters has smears@mediamattersaction.org. Again, it’s almost like there was some coordination of effort or something.

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