Friday, June 25, 2010

Media FAIL

Turns out “Climategate” was a manufactured controversy and the media regrets the error:
But not only did British investigators clear the East Anglia scientist at the center of it all, Phil Jones, of scientific impropriety and dishonesty in April, an investigation at Penn State cleared PSU climatologist Michael Mann of “falsifying or suppressing data, intending to delete or conceal e-mails and information, and misusing privileged or confidential information” in February. In perhaps the biggest backpedaling, The Sunday Times of London, which led the media pack in charging that IPCC reports were full of egregious (and probably intentional) errors, retracted its central claim—namely, that the IPCC statement that up to 40 percent of the Amazonian rainforest could be vulnerable to climate change was “unsubstantiated.” The Times also admitted that it had totally twisted the remarks of one forest expert to make it sound as if he agreed that the IPCC had screwed up, when he said no such thing.

Of course, we'll still hear about “Climategate” in Bill Kristol columns and Fox News reports for years and years to come. Because the point was to discredit scientists, not get at any truth or fact. That's the point of these smears, isn't it?

Meanwhile, it turns out that ACORN has also been cleared:

A preliminary report from the General Accounting Office has cleared ACORN of allegations that it misused millions of federal dollars over a four-year span.

According to the report, nine federal agencies gave the community group more than $40 million in eight housing-related grants from 2005 to 2009. There were no problems with seven of the eight grants, and ACORN supplied correct documentation for the eighth after it was notified the paperwork was missing. The GAO said it found no evidence of fraud or misuse of federal dollars.

ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis said the report "does nothing more than add to the growing list of government entities who have vindicated us," according to The Hill. ACORN has vigorously disputed charges that surfaced after a video sting by conservative activists showed low-level ACORN staffers giving tax advice regarding a prostitution ring. The group also faced charges from conservative media of voter fraud after the 2008 election.


A December 2009 report commissioned by the House Judiciary Committee found ACORN violated no federal regulations. That study, conducted by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, also found that ACORN correctly used all federal dollars it received and did not improperly register any voters during the 2008 presidential election. An investigation by the California attorney general reached the same conclusion. An independent investigator hired by ACORN also cleared the organization of wrongdoing.

ACORN is now suing to get its federal funding restored. Really, they should sue Andrew Breitbart and his minions for slander. (Incidentally, back in May, the New York Times issued a correction for its erroneous reporting on the James O’Keefe/ACORN affair.)

Again, it doesn't matter: ACORN will forever be synonymous with something unsavory in peoples' minds, and none of our gutless Democrats have the spine to go to bat for a bunch of community organizers who helped a bunch of poor people with their legal troubles. I mean, who gives a shit, right?

So with two right-wing smears down the toilet (and let’s not forget the whole “Saddam had WMDs” thing), all we can hope is that our establishment media has learned a lesson here. It's looking doubtful. Recent events indicate the “liberal” media runs for the fainting couches when the right wing tells them to. (More here.)