Friday, July 31, 2009

Archive of false/misleading HuffPost headlines against conservatives, others


This archive is divided into two sections:
(1) Original HUFF-WATCH analyses of false/misleading HuffPost "news" article headlines

(2) Analysis by other critics of false/misleading HuffPost news and blog article headlines (January 2008 - May 2009 only)

Quotes by Arianna Huffington on HuffPost's approach to "news" coverage:

“[T]oo many reporters have forgotten that the highest calling of journalists is to ferret out the truth, consequences be damned...
- July 29, 2008

“[Arianna Huffington] is offended and bewildered by the suggestion that other news outlets think she's getting a free ride. She sees herself as the future of journalism, not the end of it.”
- March 19, 2009

“[W]e are increasingly seen ... as an Internet newspaper, not positioned ideologically in terms of how we cover the news.”
- May 22, 2009

"[At HuffPost] there are guidelines that have to be followed -- and they include a prohibition on... inflammatory claims..."
- Feb. 1, 2010

Read more about HuffPost's stated journalistic principles in Myth #1 here, and in
Articles about & statements by HuffPost re its journalistic and business standards & practices.

Send tips and items that you think should be included here to: huffwatcher1 (at)

Original Huff-Watch analysis of false/misleading HuffPost news article headlines

----- 2011 -----

1/19/11: Arianna continues using a dead 9-year-old girl as political prop
Just when one might have thought Arianna Huffington's ghoulish misrepresentation and exploitation of the Tucson shootings might finally be over, along comes her latest screed --- which shamelessly exhumes 9-year-old Christina Green as a political prop, again. And as you can see via the PBS ad at right, your tax dollars are helping to pay to enable Arianna's latest cruel exploitation.

1/16/11: Arianna's continuing jihad against the reality of the AZ shootings
One might have thought that after we released this comprehensive report on Friday, January 14, Arianna would stop lying about what motivated the Arizona shooter, and begin to deal with the documented reality. One would be very disappointed, because less than 24 hours later, she published an article and appeared on a CNN forum, and demonstrated (a) her continuing denial of the fact that the shooter was not motivated by Sarah Palin, or conservatives, or the Tea Party, or anything having to do with politics --- and (b) her jaw-dropping hypocrisy, in claiming that HuffPost is a "nonpartisan" news entity.

1/14/11: HuffPost uses Rep. Giffords as a political prop to falsely accuse conservatives, Sarah Palin of inciting shooter
Starting a few minutes after the Tucson shootings, HuffPost apparently decided it was going to try to politically lynch Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, etc., by selectively stringing together allegations and innuendo --- while systematically ignoring mountains of exculpatory evidence that emerged within the first three hours. This includes the fact that two days before the shooting, Daily Kos allowed a radical leftist constituent of Giffords to post an article with the title, "My Congresswoman [...] is DEAD to me!!" (right), and the fact that Democrats had been using "targeting maps" like Palin's, but against Republicans, for years.
HuffPost then reviewed, approved and decided to publish tens of thousands of radical leftist hate comments that its "news" story incited, against conservatives, and even open threats of murder against Palin. Yet when conservatives attempted to post the truth that HuffPost was suppressing, it censored, then banned the users (right).
And in the following week, as HuffPost's false narrative was proven wrong, it not only featured no retraction, it dug in its heels and ran more items that could only serve to further distort the issue and incite more leftist hatred, based on lies --- such as RFK Jr's. allegation that "right-wing extremists" were to blame for both the Tucson shootings, and for JFK's assassination.

----- 2010 -----

11/4/10: Nearly all-white HuffPost smears GOP (again) for implied racism --- while ignoring historic black gains in the GOP House
Is the headline true? Are the GOP's projected chairmen "nearly all white," as HuffPost claims in its subhead? Well, in the words of the old Hertz commercials, "Not exactly." The fact is that NO decisions have been made about committee assignments. None. This is pure speculation. It's also worthwhile to note that HuffPost has provided NO coverage of the notable African-American Republicans who've won seats in the House. In fact, the previous day, the AP --- HuffPost's #1 source for news --- provided some good coverage of this issue, which HuffPost has made the conscious decision to ignore.
Addendum 1: In this follow-up piece, we demonstrate with visible facts that HuffPost is far more "racist" than the Tea Party.

11/3/10: What leftist bias? HuffPost's election night headlines, 2010 vs 2006
Irony alert: When Democrats swept the House and Senate in 2006, HuffPost's screaming front page headline read, "COUNTRY DEMANDS CHANGE IN IRAQ: DEMS WIN HOUSE AND LEAD IN KEY SENATE RACES; 6/10 DISAPPROVE OF BUSH'S JOB HANDLING."
Yet in 2010, when American voters said they'd had enough of Obama's and his liberal allies' brand of "hope and change," and gave the Democrats the worst shellacking any party received since 1922, HuffPost's screaming headline read, "GRIDLOCK IN AMERICA."
Nothing about voters' overwhelming rejection of Obama's or liberals' values, or their efforts to bankrupt the U.S., or the percentage of Americans who are opposed to what they'd done, and were planning to do.
And why does a GOP-controlled House mean "gridlock in America?" HuffPost never explains that, in this nonpartisan, nonbiased, purely objective "news" story.

10/28/10: Five days before the election, HuffPost runs 2nd smear story against Christine O'Donnell --- without a shred of proof --- and positions accuser as victim
Is there any truth to the allegation? Nope. This was discovered by other newspapers about the same time that HuffPost, the self-professed "Internet newspaper," ran with this "news story." Did HuffPost report that its partners in radical leftism --- Media Matters, NOW and others --- condemned this vicious, vile, untrue attack on Ms. O'Donnell? Nope. And why would it imply that her accuser --- not O'Donnell --- is the victim in this situation?
So why would the site named after, and run by the woman who has repeatedly claimed it is nonpartisan, and that its editorial stance "is to debunk the right-left way of thinking, which has become completely obsolete," run such an inflammatory smear against O'Donnell? And how could such a false allegation get through her crack team of 53 "editors"?
Perhaps one day, someone in a position of influence will ask Arianna about all this.

10/15/10: HuffPost goes apoplectic over "anonymous sources" --- except when it relies upon them for its inflammatory, phony headlines
First, HuffPost alleged that anonymous sources are helping the Chamber of Commerce to "potentially steal the election," even though the CoC provided a detailed rebuttal to these source-less allegations (which HuffPost failed to publish).
Then, it ran this smear against Christine O'Donnell --- two weeks before the election. And what was the rock-solid, verifiable source for this smear? Oh, there is none; HuffPost based it entirely and exclusively on an anonymous source, who (supposedly) made a statement to its newly-hired "Washington Political Director," Newsweek retread Howard Fineman.

9/7/10: HuffPost: We prohibit inflammatory claims, but... VIRGINIA TO EXECUTE MENTALLY DISABLED WOMAN!!! SEN. SANTORUM'S GOT AN ANAL SEX PROBLEM!!!
Barely eight months earlier, Arianna lectured Fox News, claiming, "[At HuffPost] there are guidelines that have to be followed -- and they include a prohibition on ... inflammatory claims." Click the above link to see how well HuffPost is living up to the "standard" set by its Editor-In-Chief.

5/15/10: HuffPost smears Sarah Palin and the NRA, again (users erupt in hate-fest; HuffPost: "Approved!!!")
Did Sarah Palin and the NRA really say they want terrorists on the No-Fly List to be able to purchase firearms? No.
In fact, Palin isn't even quoted in this article.
So why did HuffPost claim they said something so inflammatory, in a screaming front page headline --- which it left up, without correction, for more than ten hours? It also never issued a retraction, or apology.

5/4/10: SPECIAL REPORT: HuffPost vs the Tea Party: Which one *really* incites and tolerates hate speech & calls for violence?
Since late 2009, HuffPost has been publishing a steady stream of news stories that accuse Tea Party leaders of inciting and tolerating hate speech, threats and calls for violence; and accuse Tea Party leaders, and attendees of their events, of being "racist" and "anti-immigrant." Tea Party leaders have not responded specifically to HuffPost's accusations, but they have issued blanket denials of similar ones. Clearly, HuffPost and Tea Party leaders cannot both be telling the truth. So where does the truth lie? This report contains the shocking facts that will enable you to decide for yourself.

3/29/10: HuffPost's near-racist smear of RNC Chairman Michael Steele
HuffPost ran a splash headline implying that RNC chairman Michael Steele was in close proximity to two scantily-clad white women in a bondage situation. Yet for at least 16 hours after it acknowledged that this implication was false, it refused to remove the headline photo --- thus providing the grist for a torrent radical leftist hate comments against Steele, which it reviewed, approved and decided to publish.

3/28/10: HuffPost: "Many" Tea Party activists are "on the dole." Really, HuffPost? Of course not. User hate-fest erupts (HuffPost: "Approved!!!")
This HuffPost "news" story was based on an article published by the New York Times. Rather than discussing "many" of the estimated 1.5 million Tea Party activists, the Times article focuses on a few individuals, some of whom have decided to volunteer for the Tea Party while they're out of work. Yet HuffPost crafted a blaring headline that its own source demonstrated was untrue. HuffPost's incitement led to more than 8,000 user comments, many of which were filled with hatred, and some calls for violence, which it reviewed, approved and decided to publish.

3/24/10: HuffPost triples-down on false smears against Tea Party; user hate-fest erupts (HuffPost: "Approved!!!")
HuffPost published another original "news" story that claimed --- without any proof whatsoever --- that black Democratic Congressmen were called racial slurs by Tea Party activists. It cited in the article the "activist" who wrote the March 7 smear (which it disguised as a news article), asking readers watch a video which (according to HuffPost) "shows Republican lawmakers waving signs from a balcony and applauding the crowd of Tea Party protesters as they shout racial and homophobic slurs." The video showed no such thing --- and HuffPost failed to note its prior relationship with the "activist." Numerous videos (included in our blog article, here) clearly show that none of what HuffPost or its "activist" allies allege occurred; in fact, the evidence shows that even the Congressmen in question and their aides were videotaping the incident, as if they anticipated something would occur. Yet none of their videotapes show anyone called them racial slurs. HuffPost's incitement led to more than 2,000 user comments, many of which were filled with hatred, and some calls for violence, which it reviewed, approved and decided to publish.
Addendum 1: In this follow-up piece, we demonstrate with visible facts that HuffPost is far more "racist" than the Tea Party.
Addendum 2: Also see this comprehensive report --- which documents in detail the fact that HuffPost is far guiltier than the Tea Party of inciting and tolerating hatred and threats.

3/20/10: HuffPost smears Tea Party again, on false charge of racism; user hate-fest erupts (HuffPost: "Approved!!!")
In nonpartisan "newspapers," basic journalistic ethics demand that if one is going to smear an individual or group with a charge as incendiary as having used the "n" word, that the reporter provide one iota, one shred, one kernel of tangible proof. Not so at HuffPost, which allowed one of its Washington "reporters" to make the following claims in this story, as if they were fact: "Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a hero of the civil rights movement, was called a 'ni--er.' And Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was called a "faggot," as protesters shouted at him with deliberately lisp-y screams."
As it turns out, the only physical evidence in existence (video and audio recordings) shows that these incidents never occurred. HuffPost never posted this evidence --- and never issued a retraction or apology for its false allegations.
Addendum 1: In this follow-up piece, we demonstrate with visible facts that HuffPost is far more "racist" than the Tea Party.
Addendum 2: Also see this comprehensive report on HuffPost's "journalistic jihad" against the Tea Party.
Addendum 3: 8/9/10: Will HuffPost follow the New York Times in admitting it falsely accused the Tea Party of racism? How you can help

3/7/10: HuffPost smears Tea Party again: This time as racist and anti-immigrant; users unleash hate (HuffPost: "Approved!!!")
On March 7, HuffPost published in its news section a story with the headline, "The Tea Party's Anti-Immigration Agenda," which linked to a story page entitled:
"Mexicans Are Filthy Stinking Animals - Teabaggers: That's Really Not Racism." This "news" story, written by an anti-Tea Party activist, consisted of a continuous smear, alleging that because one attendee at one Tea Party event was caught on video making an inflammatory statement, the entire Tea Party movement is "racist" and "anti-immigrant." It turns out that the video was produced by the article writer. This inflammatory smear against the Tea Party --- which HuffPost disguised to appear as a "news" article --- incited nearly 1,000 user comments, many of them filled with hate and libels, which it then reviewed, approved and decided to publish.

2/4/10: HuffPost falsely alleges GOP demands Wall St. "Pay us for our services!!!" User hate erupts (HuffPost: "Approved!!!")
The GOP never demanded or implied that Wall St. should pay it for its services --- yet this was HuffPost's splash headline for a good portion of this day. This comes fresh on the heels of Ms. Huffington's hypocritical lecturing of Fox News only four days earlier on responsible journalistic standards. Though we're not sure --- would this fall under the category of "conspiracy theories and inflammatory claims" that she decried, or "angry minds that traffic in heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy"?

----- 2009 -----

12/7/09: Bank of America employee fired for "helping customers"? Really? No. (User outrage erupts; "HuffPost: Approved!!!")
Did Bank of America really fire an employee for "helping customers"? Of course not. But that didn't stop HuffPost from posting such a blaring headline, and from approving and deciding to publish many of the hate comments that were incited by such an inflammatory, misleading smear against BofA. Ironically, BofA paid for display ads to appear on HuffPost this day --- and ironically, they appeared in close proximity to this article. What was it Stalin said? Oh, right: "When we hang the capitalists, they will sell us the rope." And don't miss the Addendum items, which document Ms. Huffington's naked assault on BofA, one of the site's top advertisers --- and HuffPost's collusion with, and shilling for the SEIU political terrorists who stormed the home of a Bank of America executive a few weeks earlier (1, 2, 3, 4).

11/17/09: "Peace" activists physically assault peaceful Tea Partiers; how did HuffPost play it?
Since the "Tea Party" movement emerged, HuffPost has disparaged them through a variety of means. On this day, members of a Stalinist, revolutionary communist organization disguised as a "peace" group physically attacked peaceful "Tea Party" demonstrators, without provocation --- and it was all caught on video. So how did HuffPost "play" the story? With a headline reading "Tea Party Protest Turns Violent (VIDEO)." It then went on to review, approve and decide to publish a slew of hateful user comments, based on this gross misperception.

10/27/09: HuffPost publishes false, inflammatory story about Justice Scalia; user hate-fest erupts (HuffPost: "Approved!!!")
Did Justice Scalia really say that he would have voted against Brown v. Board of Education? No. Then why was this headline on HuffPost's front page? Because it apparently didn't do the most basic of fact-checking. It did, however, review, approve and decide to publish a slew of user comments containing scorching libels against Scalia (and even Justice Clarence Thomas), based on this false headline --- many of which were in violation of its comment policy.

8/23/09: Grossly misleading headline about Sen. Lieberman, incites user hate comments (HuffPost: "Approved!!!")
Sen. Joe Lieberman said that given the conflict in the Senate over healthcare reform proposals, it would probably be better to pass legislation that accomplishes 75% of its stated goals, leaving the rest until after the recession eases. Another Senator said it would be better to scrap the whole thing until then. So how did HuffPost "play" the story? With a top-line splash headline, "Lieberman: Uninsured Can Wait Until Recession Is Over." Predictably, this headline incited a slew of radical leftist hate comments against Sen. Lieberman, including anti-Semitic libels and conspiracy theories --- which HuffPost reviewed, approved and decided to publish.

6/12/09: "Neocons Root For Ahmadinejad" --- NOT; users espouse hate based on lie (HuffPost: "Approved!!!")
Amidst the tumult of Iran's election disputes, HuffPost claimed in its splash headlines that "neocons" were rooting for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Of course, this is not true --- but that didn't stop HuffPost users from submitting hateful comments based on this false headline --- or the site from approving and publishing them.

5/4/09: The HuffPost-alJazeera alliance: Fomenting (and approving) anti-U.S. military, anti-Christian propaganda, hate and libels
HuffPost put up a splash headline entitled, "Soldiers In Afghanistan Given Bibles, Told To 'Hunt People For Jesus'." The "story" was sourced directly through the terrorist-friendly al Jazeera network --- and was false and misleading on numerous fundamental accounts. HuffPost's users clearly accepted the core, misleading premise of the headline, however, and did not do any independent research into the matter --- as was evidenced by the hateful anti-Christian, anti-U.S. military comments many submitted, and HuffPost approved.

----- 2008 -----

5/17/08: False headline re NRA convention foments user hatred (HuffPost: "Approved!!!")
HuffPost put up a headline that read, "NRA Bans Guns At Their Own Convention." The story it linked to, however, described the fact that the U.S. Secret Service --- not the NRA --- prohibited firearms in the NRA convention hall where presidential candidate John McCain was to speak. HuffPost's users clearly did not read the article to glean this fact, and it went on to approve many of their hateful comments, based on this false headline.

4/7/08: A "report" that McCain called wife a
c*nt turns out to be nothing more than a vicious rumor --- at best
HuffPost put up a top headline entitled, "McCain Temper Flare-Up; Called Wife A C*nt." Turns out this "report" was nothing more than a salacious rumor, without a single verifiable fact to back it up. (Further, when McCain and his staff vehemently denied this "report", HuffPost failed to put up any headline reflecting this fact.) HuffPost's users submitted extensive hateful comments based on this headline, many of which it approved and published. Also, in Addendum: HuffPost calls Cindy McCain "a dick."

4/6/08: False headline, copy claim McCain wrong on Iran - al Qaeda connection; foments misconception-based hate comments (HuffPost: "Approved!!!")
HuffPost allowed one of its "reporters" to claim, in a very sarcastic way, that McCain was wrong when he claimed Iran has any connection to Al Qaeda. Turns out that the documented links between them go back for years --- and this has been widely reported among mainstream newspapers and top-level terror analysts. HuffPost ran no retraction, but allowed users to pummel McCain with hate comments.

----- 2007 -----

"Bush Almost Blows Himself Up"

According to HuffPost, President Bush almost blew himself up when he attempted to plug an electrical cable into a prototype Ford vehicle's hydrogen fuel tank. Turns out that the error was not on Bush's part, but on Ford's --- yet HuffPost "framed" this story to make it appear as if it was Bush's fault. Predictably, HuffPost's readers didn't investigate this claim further, and accepted it as written --- and it went on to approve many of their hateful comments. Note: This occurred five weeks after HuffPost was humiliated in the national media when it permitted its users to express their regrets that Vice President Cheney had survived a Taliban assassination attempt.

3/16/07: False headline re McCain quote on contraceptives incites torrent of hate comments

HuffPost ran a giant headline claiming McCain said he didn't know if condoms help stop the spread of STDs and AIDS. But that was not the question that he was asked; in reality, he was asked whether contraceptives serve this purpose --- which they do not. HuffPost never ran a retraction --- but did allow users to unleash a torrent of hate comments against McCain.

Analysis by other critics of false/misleading HuffPost news and blog article headline (Jan. 2008 - May 2009 only):

5/13/09: Lies, Damned Lies, and Military Sexual Assault Statistics
By Jenn Q. Public
A scathing examination of the reality behind an inflammatory blog headline at HuffPost, which insinuated that the Pentagon is lying about supposed epidemic-level sexual assault statistics in the U.S. military. The author takes the reader step-by-step through what she alleges was the hysterical misrepresentations that the HuffPost blogger put forth, and which HuffPost didn't check for veracity --- including the blogger's assertion in an essay a year earlier "in which she suggests that soldiers rape because Bush lied to justify the illegal occupation of Iraq."

2/20/09: HuffPo Writer Alex Leo Used Doctored Video to Attack FNC's John Gibson
By Kerry Pickett, Newsbusters
HuffPost published another one of its screaming headlines, this time alleging that John Gibson used a racially inflammatory insult against Attorney General Eric Holder. Pickett shows that the video that HuffPost uncritically relied upon was a fake. After putting up an initial fight, HuffPost finally removed the video and issued a retraction.
Note: Johnny Dollar's Place did an extensive follow-up here.

2/18/09: Defending Michelle Bachmann or Huffpo: Purveyor of Lies
Evil Conservative
Evil Conservative parses the statements and sources that he alleges led to another inflammatory HuffPost headline, which turned out to be extremely misleading, at best.

12/4/08: Huffington Post Lies. Again. And They Know It
Erick Ericson,
A good catch regarding how HuffPost once again distorted Sen. McCain's actual words to make it appear that he is clueless about vital matters (earlier examples documented on Huff-Watch here, here). Soon after, HuffPost changed its headline to something that resembles the truth --- but not before Erick obtained a screen capture to prove his points.

9/13/08: Desperate Times For Democrats - The Huffington Post Lies Again!
The Political Republican Opinion
The PRO demolishes HuffPost for allegedly picking up and uncritically running with an untrue, libelous assault on Sarah Palin, under one of its screaming headlines, alleging that she "had a direct role in charging rape victims for exams."

9/8/08: Huffing HuffPo Desperate For A GOP Gaffe
By Michelle Malkin
Malkin documented a HuffPost headline that falsely insinuated Sarah Palin made an incorrect statement on where Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac obtain their capital and funding. Malkin claimed that as well-known data demonstrates, "The only ones without a clue here are the HuffPo’s Obama water-carriers."

9/6/08: Move On Huffington Post: Lies, Lying and Liars
By Chris Navarro, American Presidential Politics
Navarro challenges what he alleges are HuffPost's repeated assaults on Sarah Palin based on false claims --- as always, fashioned into its screaming headlines --- and MoveOn's role in propagating these libels.

6/23/08: HuffingtonPost Exposed: The Truth - O’Reilly Trounces Olbermann in Ratings
By Audacity of Hypocrisy
AoH documents how HuffPost used a headline to push the notion that Keith Olbermann had beaten Bill O'Reilly --- when in fact there was only one of these two men in this "race."

1/10/08: HuffPo Effrontery: U.S. Fabricated Iranian Boat Incident
By Warner Todd Huston, NewsBusters
Huston dissects another HuffPost headline that, as has been documented here at Huff-Watch, reflects its continuing pattern of its assaults on the U.S. military. Huston concludes: "[I]t was the Iranians who perpetrated this incident, not the U.S.Navy. Only an apologist for the enemy could construe this matter in any other way. So, the HufPo is going from mere looniness to traitorous support of the enemy by sponsoring this sort of anti-American tripe."


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