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Friday, October 24, 2014
CNS' Starr Gives Platform To Homophobic Minister
Topic: CNSNews.com

Penny Starr writes in an Oct. 24 CNSNews.com article:

Rev. David Welch, one of five pastors who were subpoenaed by the City of Houston to turn over all sermons and other documents and communications related to homosexuality and gender identity, said Wednesday that the move represents a much broader agenda of the city’s lesbian mayor and other gay rights activists.

“This is the result of our allowing these critical institutions to fall into the hands of those who are of an opposite world view who are intentionally and systematically deconstructing God’s created order,” said Welch, executive director of the Texas Pastor Council.

“The ungodly abuse of power and, frankly, just evil abuse of that … steals the freedom and ultimately the moral framework of the culture and ultimately attacks the minds and hearts of our children,” Welch said during a conference call set up by the Family Research Council to encourage pastors across the country to take part in the “I Stand Sunday” rally on Nov. 2 in Houston in support of the Texas clergy, who are fighting the subpoena and an ordinance passed by the city to allow transgender individuals to use any public restroom.

As we've documented, Welch -- a former WorldNetDaily columnist -- is a rabid homophobe who portrayed the elecion of Houston Mayor Annise Parker, a lesbian, as a moral failing of the citizenry, criticized pastor Joel Osteen for offering up a prayer at Parker's inauguration, and has likened the existence of gays to a controlled demolition of church buildings. After complaining that one pastor "made no formal endorsement of either side" on an anti-discrimination ordinance, Welch added: "It sounds like his gender identity may be up for question. If that sounds harsh, so be it."

Yet Starr apparently thinks Welch is a reasonable person to interview.

Incidentially, Starr quotes nobody in her article who supports Houston's non-discrimination ordinance, a seeming violation of CNS' mission statement that it "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story."


Posted by Terry K. at 4:21 PM EDT
David Limbaugh Pushes Factually Deficient Claim About Ministers And Same-Sex Marriage
Topic: WorldNetDaily

David Limbaugh rants in an Oct. Oct. 20 column appearing at WorldNetDailiy and CNSNews.com:

It seems that with each passing month, this senseless tyranny advances. The latest is that two Christian ministers in Idaho, Donald and Evelyn Knapp, have allegedly been ordered to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies at their chapel or face fines or jail sentences.

This nightmare began Oct. 7, when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated Idaho’s marriage laws and legalized same-sex marriage in that state, which allowed Idaho county clerks to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses a week later. On Oct. 17, the Knapps declined a request to perform a same-sex wedding ceremony.

According to a lawsuit filed by the Knapps, the city of Coeur d’Alene is “unconstitutionally coercing” them to perform these weddings at their Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in violation of their religious beliefs, their ordination vows and their consciences. City Ordinance Section 9.56 bars sexual orientation discrimination in public accommodations, which forces the Knapps to choose between betraying their religious convictions and following them and facing up to 180 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. According to their complaint, they arguably commit a separate and distinct misdemeanor each day they refuse to perform such ceremonies, with the potential criminal penalties piling up cumulatively.

Let's count Limbaugh's falsehoods and misdirections, as detailed by Media Matters:

  • The city of Coeur d’Alene has taken no legal action against the Knapps, nor has it threatened any.
  • Limbaugh glosses over the fact that the Knapps' wedding chapel is a for-profit enterprise, not a church.Indeed, the Knapps have performed secular wedding ceremonies in the past.
  • The Knapps hastily rebranded themselves as an explicitly religious corporation with help from the Alliance Defending Freedom, which filed the lawsuit for the Knapps, prior to the ADF filing the lawsuit.
  • If the Knapps are truly now operating as a legitimate religious corporation, they are exempt from being forced to perform same-sex marriages.

In other words, Limbaugh is simply regurgitating the ADF's talking points without bothering to do any actual research. Still, Limbaugh rants about "the left’s militancy."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:36 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, October 24, 2014 12:38 PM EDT
Thursday, October 23, 2014
CNS Bashes Obama For Doing Too Much -- And Too Little -- About Ebola
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey used his Oct. 22 column to mock President Obama for allegedly overreacting to a suspected case of Ebola:

So here we have the opening scene in this drama of Obama Era health care: An American vomits in a parking lot. Pentagon police close in. Someone alleges this American indicated she had visited West Africa. The parking lot is sealed. Traffic stopped. A Hazmat team arrives. A bus the American had boarded before vomiting is quarantined in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol with a contingent of Marines on board. An ambulance brings the American to one of the nation’s finest hospitals—and she is turned away.

After all, she had vomited near the Pentagon.

[...]

The American who had vomited near the Pentagon did not have Ebola, after all. She did not even need to be tested for it.

But before the government and its health-care system discovered that she did not need to be tested for Ebola, she did need to be approached by a HazMat team, turned away by one of the nation’s top hospitals, and perceived as a reasonable cause for U.S. Marines to be quarantined on Capitol Hill.

[...]

In the Washington suburbs last week, we did not see the government dealing with an isolated case of Ebola. We saw it dealing with an American who did not have Ebola.

If that makes you want to vomit, steer clear of the Pentagon.

Jefrey's mockery might make more sense if the website he runs hadn't played up the Pentagon incident.

Two days earlier, CNS published an article by Brittany Hughes headlined "Obama Repeats: You Can’t Get Ebola on a Bus—Day After Bus Quarantined in D.C.,"in which Obama was mocked for allegedly downplaying the risk of Ebola:

On Saturday--one day after a bus that had departed from the Pentagon was quarantined on Capitol Hill in an Ebola false alarm--President Barack Obama issued a video message to Americans telling them that "you cannot get it [Ebola] from just riding on a plane or a bus."

“Ebola is actually a difficult disease to catch. It's not transmitted through the air like the flu," Obama said in his weekly video message. "You cannot get it from just riding on a plane or a bus."

But on Friday, a bus was quarantined on Virginia Avenue, SE, in the Capitol Hill area of Washington, D.C.--in what turned out to be an Ebola false alarm.

Jeffrey can't have it both ways by simultaneously bashing Obama for overreacting and underreacting to Ebola. But since the goal of his logical contradictions is to bash Obama, he will pretend he can anyway.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:31 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: Editorial Reruns For A Political Rerun
Topic: WorldNetDaily
As long as Art Robinson keeps running for Congress in Oregon, WorldNetDaily's David Kupelian will keep recycling his deceptive, truth-avoiding endorsements of the candidate. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 4:48 PM EDT
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
CNS Pushes Zombie Lie Of 'Failed' Stimulus
Topic: CNSNews.com

Craig Bannister writes in an Oct. 20 CNSNews.com blog post:

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest is selling the idea that Rob Klain will make a good Ebola Czar - even without any Ebola expertise - because of his work on the $830 billion failed Stimulus.

[...]

But, at more than $200,000 spent per job created/saved - $2 million per job in some cases - the $830 billion Stimulus was anything but a success.

Bannister's insistence that the stimulus "failed" is at odds with reality. PolitiFact states that such simplistic per-job calculations -- Bannister's backup for his claim of "more than $200,000 spent per job created/saved" is a 2011 CNS article simply dividing the amount spent on the stimulus by the number of jobs created -- are misleading because the stimulus money went toward a range of projects and programs including tax breaks, not just for salaries.

Futher, the Associated Press points out that Bannister's simplistic calculation ignores the value of the work produced -- "Any cost-per-job figure pays not just for the worker, but for material, supplies and that worker's output - a portion of a road paved, patients treated in a health clinic, goods shipped from a factory floor, railroad tracks laid" -- and also counts only jobs created to date, not those created over the life of the stimulus-funded contract.

Bannister's repeating of a discredited right-wing myth proves that promoting zombie lies isn't just the purpose of WorldNetDaily.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:56 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 22, 2014 8:59 PM EDT
Will WND's Farah Fire His Lie-Peddling Reporter?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In what's becoming a trend at WorldNetDaily, Garth Kant devotes an Oct. 20 WND article to doing his best to clean up after Rep. Michele Bachmann after Politico pointed out her suggestion that she urged the U.S. to declare war on Islam:

From the text of her speech, it appears Bachmann is clearly calling for war on the Islamic State.

She does cajole President Obama to recognize how a “radical ideology” that comes from Islam motivates jihadis such as the Islamic State, also called ISIS.

But she never calls for a war on Islam.

[...]

While she does say, “It is about Islam,” she clearly appears to be referring to such statements by Obama as his declaration in his speech to the nation on Sept. 10, that the Islamic State terrorists “are not Islamic,” and for refusing to take radical ideology into account when formulating a response to the threat.

From the context of her speech, Bachmann’s call for war appears to be clearly directed at the Islamic State terrorists, in saying “[T]he Islamic State has declared war on the United States of America. You kill their leader, you kill their council, you kill their army until they wave the white flag of surrender. That’s how you win a war.”

And in saying, “You declare war on it, you don’t dance around it,” the congresswoman appears to be referring to what she and many critics believe to be the president’s tepid response to the great gains the jihadist army has made in Syria and Iraq. Many critics have likened it to the unsuccessful approach of incremental escalation used in Vietnam.

Then, Kant quotes his boss opining on the situation:

WND Editor and CEO Joseph Farah said, “The Politico reporters should be fired immediately for so blatantly misrepresenting Michele Bachmann’s comments – especially given the threats from ISIS.”

If that's the standard that must be followed, then Farah must immediately fire one of his WND reporters, Bob Unruh, for his own blatant misrepresentation of the words of another.

As we've documented, Unruh claimed in at least two WND articles that Houston Mayor Annise Parker said that the city's new non-discrimination ordinance is "all about me" -- a quote Parker is not on record as ever making. Unruh simply made it up.

While Unruh dropped the quotes in later articles, he's still falsely misrepresenting her remarks, portraying them as narcissism instead of the admission it really is that the ordinance directly affects her.

This is Farah's test: Will he apply the standard he wants Politico to follow to his own reporter? We shall see.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:55 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 22, 2014 10:56 AM EDT
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
NewsBusters' Zinger Fail
Topic: NewsBusters

A lot of right-wingers didn't like Jon Stewart's attempt to get Bill O'Reilly to admit that white privilege exists. One of them is NewsBusters' Jack Coleman, who ranted in an Oct. 16 post:

How about that, Stewart got it right. When he claims white privilege still exists, Stewart is correct -- and he doesn't have to look far for evidence. His own cable show, the one that has made him immensely wealthy and influential, provides it. And since liberals see power, wealth, influence, etc., as zero-sum equations, each must have come to Stewart at the expense of other people. Surely some were people of color.

[...]

[Mediaite's Joe] Concha linked to a Reuters story from August on lack of diversity among Stewart's guests -- and the numbers "start to look very grim indeed." Sixty-eight percent were white and the few African-American guests were all entertainers. "Out of 45 guests, just three were women of color," according to Reuters, referring to one of the least covered fronts in the war on women.

Since Stewart is so passionate about the corrosive "residue" of white privilege -- wherever it exists -- he surely won't allow it to persist at a workplace where he's been instrumental in perpetuating it.

Coleman apparently thinks this is some kind of gotcha zinger. But he apparently missed the end of the show on which the Stewart-O'Reilly argument took place, where Stewart said: "Don't think I don't realize that I'm not the ideal advocate for the convesation I was having with Bill O'Reilly."

Coleman also somehow overlooked O'Reilly's own zinger in the extended interview, telling Stewart that "in your case, there is white privilege. The fact that you're here sitting there -- he doesn't even shave."

Coleman also failed with his account of this exchange:

"If there's white privilege then there has to be Asian privilege," O'Reilly countered, citing higher incomes among Asian Americans.

Stewart -- Depends on where they're from.

O'Reilly -- They're from Asia, they're Asian Americans. (Zing! That one must have stung).

Actually, it does depend on which Asians you're talking about. The Chinese experience in America is undeniably different than, say, the Japanese experience or the Vietnamese experience or the Thai experience.

Maybe Coleman needs to have his zinger detector recalibrated.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:26 PM EDT
If You Want To Live, Ignore WND (And The AAPS)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Dr. Richard Amerling writes in an Oct. 18 WorldNetDaily column, hilariously headlined, "If you want to live, ignore the CDC":

I almost feel sorry for Tom Frieden, director of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). So many of his pronouncements have been eviscerated by events within hours or days. He has become a punchline and should resign for the good of the country.

Unfortunately, the Ebola crisis is no joke. Two Dallas nurses (who are special people in my book) have now become infected after taking care of an Ebola-infected patient who illegally flew to the U.S. when he knew he had been heavily exposed to the deadly virus.

To maintain, as does Dr. Frieden, that stopping travel to the U.S. from the few countries where Ebola is running rampant would somehow harm us is illogical to the point of absurdity. And it is now clear to every other sentient being that Ebola is far more contagious, and deadly, than AIDS, to which Dr. Frieden compared Ebola.

[...]

Michelle Malkin describes how the CDC has been diverted from its original role into one of political “transformation.” Rather than fight disease, the CDC now pushes for mandatory motorcycle helmet laws, and studies playground accidents, video games and violence, and “social norming” in schools! No wonder it can’t handle Ebola.

This perversion of an organization is par for the Obama golf course. It resembles the transformation of NASA into a Muslim outreach group, or sending our military men and women to fight Ebola in Liberia. This latter is an outrageous abuse of our already beaten-down military. There should be generals resigning over this suicide mission.

Amerling, by the way, is president-elect of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a fringe right-wing website that opposes mandatory vaccinations and promotes conspiracy theories.

This is the guy who is telling us to ignore medical experts and trust his own dishonest organization? Really?

Given WND's propensity for fearmongering about medical issues, it's the last place anybody should turn for the truth on health matters.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:08 PM EDT
Monday, October 20, 2014
MRC: Criticizing NRA Means You're Not 'Neutral'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center thinks that if you criticize the National Rifle Association, you can't possibly be neutral.

Jeffrey Meyer writes in an Oct. 19 MRC item:

NBC’s Chuck Todd, who on Friday declared that he was “stubbornly neutral”, predictably peddled liberal talking points on Ebola by blaming the National Rifle Association for the country not having a Surgeon General.

Speaking to Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Bob Casey (D-PA) on Sunday, the Meet the Press moderator insisted that “this seems to be politics. The NRA said they were going to score the vote, and suddenly everybody’s frozen. That seems a little petty in hindsight, does it not?” 

[...]

As the discussion continued, the topic of Surgeon General came up with Todd promoting the liberal argument that “this seems to be politics. The NRA said they were going to score the vote, and suddenly everybody’s frozen. That seems a little petty in hindsight, does it not?”

Todd continued to attack the NRA and wondered “should the NRA have a say? I mean, they can have an opinion. But should the NRA have that much influence over a Surgeon General nominee? He's not going to make gun policy.” 

Meyer didn't contradict anything Todd said -- indeed, Todd is correct that the NRA has pressured senators into stalling a vote on Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general nominee, because he has stated that guns are a public health problem (never mind that it's true, and that he couldn't directly influence gun policy if he was confirmed).

Apparently, the NRA is such a sacred cow at the MRC that daring to criticize it is a demonstration of "liberal media bias."


Posted by Terry K. at 8:34 PM EDT
WND Now Baselessly Blaming Undocumented Immigrants For Enterovirus
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Not content with fearmongering about Ebola, WorldNetDaily is branching out to fearmonger about enterovirus -- specifically, trying to blame undocumented immigrants for spreading it.

Aaron Klein writes in an Oct. 13 WND article that enterovirus "could have been carried into the U.S. by illegal-alien minors from Central America." But he offers no evidence to back it up, only speculation from factually challenged right-wingers like Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage.

Klein noted 12 states where "laboratory-confirmed cases of EV-D68 were reported," but he didn't mention that one state not on that list was Texas, where many of those "illegal-alien minors from Central America" entered the country. That would seem to shoot a large hole in his conspiracy theory.

It's not until the very end of his article that he grudgingly admits the Centers for Disease Control reports there is no demonstrated link between the unaccompanied minors and the enterovirus outbreak.

A day later, WND's Jerome Corsi took his own shot at fearmongering, claiming that despite the CDC's statement, the enterovirus outbreak is "widely suspected to have a direct connection to the Obama administration policy of placing across the U.S. tens of thousands of minors who have been allowed to enter without a health screening."

The first source Corsi cites in support of his conspiracy theory is Jane Orient of the fringe Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, who is prone to spreading fear about Ebola.

Corsi also wrote:

The link between EV D-68 and Latin American children was established in a peer-reviewed medical article published in Virology Journal on Oct. 11, 2013, titled “Human rhinoviruses and enteroviruses in influenza-like illness in Latin America.” It was co-authored by a team of virologists headed by Josefina Garcia, U.S. Naval Medical Unit 6 in Lima, Peru, who worked with the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

In the 2013 study, Garcia and her medical associates collected 3,375 nose and throat swab samples from subjects under 8 years old, with a median age of 3 years. They found that human enteroviruses (HEV), including EV-D68, was discovered in 3 percent of the samples while the related human rhinoviruses (HRV) was found in 16 percent of the samples.

The study concluded: “In Latin America as in other regions, HRVs and HEVs account for a substantial proportion of viruses identified in young people with ILI (Influenza-like Illness), a finding that provides additional support for the development of pharmaceuticals and vaccines targeting these pathogens.”

But as Snopes points out, that the study did not specifically address a higher prevalence of the illnesses in Latin America, and that many readers of that study have mistakenly conflated the location of the study's participants with a predeliction for contracting and transmitting the virus.

The determined insistence on putting fear before facts is just another reason nobody believes WND.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:27 AM EDT
Sunday, October 19, 2014
MRC Embraces A Logical Fallacy
Topic: Media Research Center

It's one of the most basic logical fallacies: correlation does not necessarily equal causation. Still, the Media Research Center wants you to believe otherwise.

In an Oct. 13 NewsBusters post, MRC analyst Matthew Balan huffed that an Associated Press reporter quoted the "cultural leftist activist" Human Rights Campaign praising what it called a "seismic shift" in the Catholic Church's attitude toward gays during a meeting at the Vatican last week. No, really -- Balan really did complain that the AP "directly lifted the 'seismic shift' term from a press release of the Human Rights Campaign."

Apparently, anyone the MRC deems to be "cultural leftist activists" are not permitted to comment about the Catholic Church.

Balan was so angry about this, in fact, that he ranted the next day that other media outlets were taking their language directly from the HRC:

On Tuesday, the Big Three networks' morning newscasts carried water for the left-wing Human Rights Campaign by adopting their "seismic shift" label about the midterm report from the Catholic bishops' Extraordinary Synod on the Family. On Good Morning America, ABC's Amy Robach trumpeted that "the Catholic Church appears to be making a seismic shift towards gays and divorcees." Norah O'Donnell also used the "seismic" term on CBS This Morning.

NBC's Tamron Hall pointed out on Today that "gay rights groups are hailing what they call a 'seismic shift' by the Catholic Church towards gays," but like her counterparts on ABC and CBS, she didn't disclose that the phrase directly came from the homosexual organization's Monday press release on the synod document [MP3 audio available here; video below].

O'Donnell used the "seismic" label in a teaser for fill-in anchor Jane Pauley's news brief on the Vatican report: "It's being called a seismic move by the Vatican – how the Catholic Church could change its attitude toward gays and the issue of divorce." Pauley herself didn't use the term during the summary:

[...]

During her news brief on Good Morning America, Robach further underlined the Human Rights Campaign's "seismic shift" language by touting the supposed "major shift" in the Church document:

[...]

The previous evening, anchor Brian Williams echoed the Human Rights Campaign's spin on NBC Nightly News, but didn't directly use the "seismic" descriptor:

And here's where we run into the correlation-equals-causation fallacy. At no point does Balan prove that the networks were taking their language directly from the HRC. "Seismic shift" is arguably a cliche, and the interim report being cited could certainly be described as that, even if the meeting's final results ended up being much less so.

Again, Matthew: Correlation does not necessarily equal causation. It's basic logic.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:50 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, October 19, 2014 9:52 PM EDT
WND's Unruh Evolves His Lie about Houston Mayor
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In addition to feeding false hysteria about a request for documents in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Houston pastors over an anti-discrimination law, WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh has perpetuated a lie about Houston Mayor Annise Parker (whom he always makes sure we know is a lesbian). Over the past week, however, he has moderated his attack on Parker to make it slightly less of a lie, though still false.

As we've documented, Unruh has asserted that Parker claims the non-discrimination ordinance is "all about me," with those words in quotes. But Parker has never been quoted saying "all about me." From the Houston Business Journal:

"This is personal. It is not academic. It is my life that is being discussed," said Parker, the first openly gay mayor of a U.S. city. "It applies to the range of protected groups ... but the debate is about me. It is about two gay men at this table. It is very intensely personal."

In other words, it's not the narcissistic statement Unruh's fraudulent misquote of Parker suggests it is, but an admission of how the non-discrimination ordinance directly affects her.

Unruh repeated the false "all about me" quote in his Oct. 13 article, but two days later he adjusted it slightly, stating that "Parker, a lesbian, has admitted the anti-discrimination ordinance is 'all about' her and her lifestyle." The quote is still wrong -- she never said "all about."

On Oct. 16, Unruh dropped the fraudulent quotes altogether, claiming that Parker "has said the issue is all about her own lifestyle choice." But that's a lie too -- Unruh offers no evidence that Parker has ever referred to homosexuality as a "lifestyle choice."

Unruh reverted to his previous lie in an Oct. 18 article, claiming Parker "admitted" the ordinance "was all about her."

Perhaps instead of making up quotes and falsely paraphrasing Parker, Unruh could try something journalistic and, you know, quote what she actually said. But then, Unruh isn't really a journalist, is he?


Posted by Terry K. at 7:02 PM EDT
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Yes, Patrice Lewis, Some People Are Too Stupid To Roast Marshmallows Without Instructions

Patrice Lewis is outraged -- outraged, I tell ya! -- in her Oct. 17 WorldNetDaily column:

 America, it seems, has turned a corner. Its citizens are now officially stupid.

It’s unbelievable that a nation that became the powerhouse of the planet, that set the standard for freedom, that churned out manufactured goods that made us the envy of the globe, that enabled its people to make that famous 5,000-year leap … now cannot be trusted to roast our own marshmallows without government guidance.

It seems the U.S. Forest Service recently published a 700-word guide on how to safely roast marshmallows. (The publication was released in time for Aug.30, which was officially, I kid you not, “National Roasted Marshmallow Day.” Your tax dollars at work.)

This comprehensive article suggests that a 10-foot buffer between children and a fire is a good rule of thumb. Roasting sticks should be at least 30 inches in length. (Do the math for how long a kid’s arm will have to be to roast marshmallows from 10 feet away with a 30-inch stick.) Oh, and don’t eat too many marshmallows, since a lot of sugar may prevent children from sleeping well. And be careful of all those nasty calories and unhealthy ingredients in s’mores. Instead, we can roast thin slices of fruit and angel food cake for a “healthier” snack. “You’re still having campfire fun, but the focus is on a healthier evening snack,” the guide gravely informs us.

[...]

This marshmallow guidance is not just a dumb, useless government tract. It’s also a subtle reinforcement that the American people are now too stupid to do much of anything. After all, can you imagine a government public service announcement which says, “Buy a bag of marshmallows. Sharpen some long sticks. Start a campfire. Have fun” …? Of course not.

The government now considers Americans too stupid to do any of that without getting the marshmallows in their hair, poking their eyes out with the sharp sticks and setting the forest on fire. Man, how on earth did our nation ever survive this long when it’s so full of stupid, incompetent people?

Lewis seems to have forgotten about that time the hosts of "Fox & Friends" tried to roast marshmallows with their hands. Even fellow Fox Newser Chris Wallace thought they were idiots:

People like these -- and, mind you, they are the hosts of a nationally televised weekday program -- are why the government must issue such instructions, Patrice.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 PM EDT
Friday, October 17, 2014
MRC Joins Houston Pastor Subpoena Controversy Bandwagon
Topic: Media Research Center

The ginned-up outrage over a subpoena for sermons by Houston ministers opposed to a non-discrimination ordinance is such that the Media Research Center is following in WorldNetDaily's footsteps by seeing political advantage in promoting it.

An Oct. 15 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd cranks up the outrage meter:

The Houston Chronicle reported yesterday that the city's liberal Democratic mayor has subpoenaed local churches whose ministers have been critical of the city's new "equal rights" ordinance. That law requires private businesses to permit transgendered persons to use the bathroom of the gender of their self-identity as opposed to their biological sex. Depending on how the law is interpreted and enforced, it could likely also apply to houses of worship.

[...]

At the very, very least, this is the work of an overly aggressive attorney who has little regard for the bad politics and bad PR involved. At the worst, it's a craven abuse of power by Mayor Parker which may be animated by hatred for conservative ministers who are critical not only of her policies but of her being a lesbian.

Shepherd didn't mention the salient fact that this subpoena request did not come out of nowhere, as he suggests, but is a discovery request in a lawsuit over the non-discrimination ordinance filed by the ministers and their right-wing representatives.

Shepherd even cites an opinion by conservative legal blogger Eugene Volokh stating that the subpoena is probably permissible, then dismisses it by declaring the request is "a fishing expedition."

MRC chief Brent Bozell then horned in on the discussion with a typically hyperbolic rant divorced from reality:

“When the government mandates what a pastor can or cannot say, and criminalizes preaching the Bible, we’re no different than Red China. How in the name of God is that not national news?

“The freedom of religion, expressed at the pulpit, is a sacred right in this country. If you lose that, then religion itself is outlawed unless expressly approved by the state. This is unheard of in America. It is unconscionable that the ‘news’ media are suppressing this from the public.”

We have no idea what Bozell is talking about. No pastor's speech is being censored and freedom of religion is not being threatened; what's being sought are statements that have already been made.

MRC apparatchik Dan Gainor also joined in the politically motivated fun:

“There was a time where journalists considered faith sacred. Now the LGBT community gets that treatment and Christians are ignored or abused by the press. A radical, left-wing mayor aims the full force of a major city on five pastors and demands 16 different types of information from them and … nothing. The networks spent more than 4 minutes on a movie about male strippers and a ‘Hunks and Hounds’ calendar instead.

“That’s garbage journalism, designed so it doesn’t offend the left-wing sensibilities of the so-called ‘journalists’ at the major networks.”

Again, freedom of religion is not threatened. But Gainor is too invested in ratcheting up the controversy; his Oct. 16 column accuses Houston Mayor Annise Parker of engaging in an "anti-Christian jihad" and falsely insisted this is about "the religious liberty of five pastors" despite not offering any evidence that the pastors' "religious liberty" has, in fact, actually been violated.

The MRC's freedom to try and make hay off of ginned-up controversies, meanwhile, is unhindered.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:46 PM EDT
WND's Unruh Can't Stop Misleading About Houston Non-Discrimination Lawsuit
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Because WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh has an anti-gay agenda, he has no interest whatsoever in accurately or fairly reporting on LGBT issues (which is just the way his employer likes it). Unruh keeps up that un-journalistic tradition in his coverage of a lawsuit over a Houston non-discrimination ordinance -- something he has spread lies about in the past.

In an Oct. 13 WND article, Unruh dishonestly portrays a city request for copies of sermons delivered by pastors who oppose the ordinance -- which Unruh maliciously describes as "allow[ing] 'gender-confused' people to use public restrooms designated for the opposite sex" and portrays as part of "the transsexual agenda" -- as a threat to religious freedom. Unruh quotes only pastors and their legal representatives fearmongering about the action and misleading about the ordinance, and he made no apparent effort to contact city officials for their side of the story. Unruh also repeats his lie that Houston Mayor Annise Parker "has acknowledged the ordinance is 'all about me.'" As we've documented, Parker said no such thing.

But as Media Matters points out, the request is part of a normal discovery phase in response to a lawsuit filed by ordinance opponents and are meant to gather information about possibly improper church behavior.

Had Unruh bothered to contact Houston officials about the controversy, he wold have found that they concede the documents request may be overbroad.

But, again, the facts don't matter to Unruh. His Oct. 15 follow-up article repeats all the one-sided smears and Unruh's refusal to tell the other side of the story. And in an Oct. 16 article kept up Unruh's lazy reporting: He fails yet again to contact Houston city officials for their side of the story, instead noting an article from the right-wing Washington Times about the city narrowing the scope of their demands.

Most real journalists would be ashamed to write such ridiculously biased and misleading -- if not outright false -- screeds and passing them off as "journalism." Unruh clearly has no shame about this, which is just another reason why nobody believes WND.

UPDATE: Unruh's Oct. 17 article on the issue, like the others, ignores the other side of the story. Despite writing four articles about this, Unruh has never reached out to Houston city officials for their response. Talk about lazy reporting.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:59 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, October 17, 2014 4:07 PM EDT

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