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Accuracy In Media Honors Inaccuracy In Media

03/13/2013 04:12 pm ET | Updated May 13, 2013

According to right-wing media watchdog Accuracy in Media, "The Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Award was established in 2005 to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to the practice of journalism in the tradition of Reed Irvine by independently covering and reporting on news that was misreported or ignored by the mainstream press."

But for many recipients of the award -- handed out at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) -- accuracy in media is way down on their list of accomplishments, especially among the most recent honorees.

2010: Andrew Breitbart and Marc Morano

In 2010, the Reed Irvine Award was given to Andrew Breitbart and Marc Morano "for uncovering two of the most under-reported stories of 2009: corruption at ACORN and the ClimateGate scandal." But neither are known for their veracity.

Morano, a former CNSNews.com reporter now running the anti-global-warming website Climate Depot, has repeatedly lied and misled in his attacks on global warming while at CNS and later as an aide to climate change denier James Inhofe -- a mendacity he brought to Climate Depot, which is sponsored by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, a conservative think tank that has received funding from ExxonMobil and Chevron as well as from Donors Trust, an anonymously funded group that funds right-wing causes, including climate change denial.

In 2012, Media Matters named Morano the Climate Change Misinformer of the Year in 2011 for his steadfast denial of climate science and promotion of wild conspiracy theories about the climate change "hoax." This includes misinforming about "ClimateGate," the theft of emails that were used to accuse scientists of "corruption" and "fraud" on global warming. In fact, multiple investigations cleared scientists of these charges.

Breitbart, meanwhile, forwarded numerous false and misleading claims in pushing what AIM called his "groundbreaking investigation into rampant corruption at the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now." Breitbart's investigator, James O'Keefe -- has used selectively edited videos to promote false attacks on liberals that evaporate when the full video's context is revealed.

2011: Tucker Carlson and Ken Timmerman

In 2011, AIM awarded Tucker Carlson and Ken Timmerman "for their outstanding contributions to journalism." AIM chairman Don Irvine said: "Accuracy in Media could not be more excited for the 2011 Reed Irvine Awards. ...We at AIM have been amazed at Mr. Carlson's rapid success with the Daily Caller. The D.C. has inspired countless grassroots activists to search for and share accurate news. Ken Timmerman is a respected veteran journalist worldwide. We will be proud to honor his three decades of work covering national security issues."

Carlson's Daily Caller has a record of pushing questionable or false claims, as well as numerous conspiracy theories. In fact, the very same day that AIM announced it was giving this award to Carlson, Slate's Dave Weigel reported that one person whom the Daily Caller identified as attending a recent liberal confab had, in fact, died two years earlier.

As for Timmerman, ConWebWatch has detailed how he served as a mouthpiece for former Rep. Curt Weldon's conspiracy theories about national security, failing to fact-check his claims as he was regurgitating them. Timmerman has also promoted the bogus claim that the closings of certain GM and Chrysler dealers while the manufacturers were in bankruptcy were motivated by how much money the dealers gave to Republicans. On top of that, Timmerman promoted birtherism, essentially declaring that the Obama campaign's failure to respond to a birther lawsuit means that everything outlined in the lawsuit is true.

2012: Dana Loesch and Sharyl Attkisson

The winners of AIM's 2012 Reed Irvine Awards were radio host Dana Loesch and CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson:

"Accuracy in Media could not be more excited about the 2012 Reed Irvine Awards," Chairman Don Irvine said. "AIM continues to be impressed with the leadership Dana Loesch has shown to grassroots citizen journalists. Her fearless challenges to biased media narratives are fine examples of citizens rising up in the name of fairness and accuracy. Loesch represents the essence of our Grassroots Journalism Award.

"For much of her 30 year career as a news anchor and reporter, Sharyl Attkisson has offered a clear example of what an investigative journalist should be doing. She has flown in a B-52 on a combat mission over Kosovo, shed light on TARP, dared to report on Operation Fast and Furious and has recently exposed dubious green energy loans from the Obama Administration. We are honored to present her with the Investigative Journalism Award."

As Media Matters detailed, Attkisson has promoted the discredited theory that vaccines cause autism and issued a factually deficient report on purported "New Solyndras" which included green-energy companies that hadn't received federal money or hadn't actually gone bankrupt.

As for Loesch, her "fearless" behavior includes accusing NAACP Ben Jealous of being a drunk, likening Al Gore to Leni Riefenstahl, and wishing she could urinate on dead bodies like Marines do.

Attkisson ultimately did not pick up her award in person, instead sending CBS vice president and Washington bureau chief Christopher Isham to do so.

2013: Catherine Herridge and Jim Hoft

On March 5, AIM announced the recipients of the 2013 Reed Irvine Award:

Accuracy in Media will honor Catherine Herridge of the Fox News Channel for her outstanding achievements in investigative journalism, and Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit for his groundbreaking contributions to New Media in a ceremony taking place at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on March 14th.

Herridge may be the closest thing to an actual reporter AIM has honored. But remember that the main purpose of the Reed Irvine Award is not to honor actual fair and balanced reporting but to reward work that promotes conservatives and bashes liberals, especially that one in the White House. As Fox News' point person on turning the terrorist attack on a diplomatic facility in Benghazi into a cudgel her employer can use to bash the Obama White House, Herridge has certainly fulfilled that latter standard.

But Jim Hoft? Really?

Hoft is known as the Dumbest Man on the Internet, and for good reason. As Media Matters summed it up: "Hoft runs with (or spawns) almost every inane story that bubbles up in the conservative blogosphere, has proven that he has absolutely no vetting process for the sources he cites, and apparently has a hard time with basic reading comprehension."

In fact, a couple days before AIM announced the award, Hoft uncritically repeated a claim from a survivalist blog under the headline "Obama DHS Purchases 2,700 Light-Armored Tanks to Go With Their 1.6 Billion Bullet Stockpile." As Little Green Footballs' Charles Johnson pointed out, they aren't tanks and they aren't being bought by the DHS (they're for the Marine Corps).

This is the guy that AIM is giving an "Accuracy in Media Award" to.

Media Matters also stated: "Hoft's ongoing position of influence in the conservative media is evidence that the entire movement is intellectually bankrupt." That AIM is giving Hoft what passes as its most prestigious award demonstrates the intellectual bankruptcy of AIM.