MRC Doesn't Fact-Check, Tries To Create Scandal Where None Exists Topic: Media Research Center
Mike Ciandella does his best to make his Aug. 13 Media Research Center article sound like a real scandal:
A new report suggested that liberal billionaire Tom Steyer’s hedge fund profited from a $1 billion San Francisco light rail project pushed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Steyer was also a big supporter of Pelosi.
Despite being quick to criticize conservative political donors, the morning and evening news shows on ABC, CBS and NBC have all ignored the allegation since the Washington Free Beacon broke the story Aug. 12.
According to Washington Free Beacon, Pelosi “steered more than a billion dollars in federal financing” to a transportation project to provide light rail access to the Mission Bay neighborhood in San Francisco. This access helped cause the property value of land owned by Steyer’s hedge fund, Farallon Capital Management, to spike. Farallon has since sold all but two of those properties. Steyer gave at least $5,000 to Pelosi in 2011 alone.
But a closer look into the facts -- which Ciandella apparently didn't do -- disproves his suggestion of a direct quid pro quo.
The light-rail line began construction in 2002, two years before Steyer’s Farallon hedge fund bought into Mission Bay. The majority of the line -- known as the Third Street Light Rail project -- including the part that goes past Farallon’s property, was completed in 2007, and it benefited an entire section of San Francisco, not just the land Farallon owned. Also, the line in question is pretty long, about 5 miles, and Farallon had 30 acres at most. And the Free Beacon concedes that Pelosi was securing funds for the project before Farallon bought land there, which Ciandella didn't note.
The Free Beacon also notes that the $967 million Pelosi helped obtain for the line -- the vast majority of the money Ciandella is writing about -- came in 2012. But that money is for an extension of the line (called the Central Subway) and would not run past Farallon-owned land.
Then, for some reason, Ciandella starts ranting about George Soros: "Media is home turf for Soros. He has poured more than $65 million into media and journalism groups through his Open Society Foundations since 2000." But as we've noted, that's less than what conservative billionaires Richard Mellon Scaife, Rupert Murdoch and Sun Myung Moon have spent each year over the past couple decades to keep afloat the three right-wing newspapers they respectively control (the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the New York Post and the Washington Times).
WND Can't Stop Trying To Perpetuate Its Birther Delusion Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's increasingly sad and desperate -- and discredited -- birther crusade continues in a Aug. 15 article by Bob Unruh, in which he touts "a friend-of-the-court brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court by the constitutional experts at William J. Olson, P.C. and the United States Justice Foundation" designed to establish legal standing to challenge Obama's "eligibility" by setting up a man who had to pay $90 more in fees at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as the result of an act “purportedly enacted into law in September 2011 by Congress and the president.”
As he has done in the past, Unruh simply rehashed once again all of WND's birther evidence without mentioning that it's all been debunked.
Meanwhile, the evidence against the birthers keeps piling up, and WND continues to pretend it doesn't exist. Another recent piece of birther news WND won't tell its readers about comes from Brian Reilly, who was heavily involved in the Surprise Tea Party group that talked Joe Arpaio into having his Cold Case Posse investigate the birth certificate. Reilly explains his role in the birther scheme and how central to it WND's Jerome Corsi was:
As a Surprise Tea Party Patriots member, in July of 2011, I developed and initiated the plan to petition Sheriff Arpaio to investigate the authenticity of the Barack Obama PDF birth certificate. The plan was mine and mine alone. Dr. Jerome Corsi was just a part of my plan. My wife and I invited Dr. Corsi to present his findings to an August 17, 2011 meeting of the Surprise Tea Party to discuss his newly released book, “Where’s the Birth Certificate?” My wife, Denise and I paid for all of Dr. Corsi’s travel expenses. During our meeting we obtained 242 signatures on a petition that I had written to Sheriff Arpaio.
But as the so-called investigation ground on, he became disillusioned: "I worked with Dr. Jerome Corsi, Commander Mike Zullo and Sheriff Joe Arpaio until June 30, 2012 at which time I chose to resign and I hung up my spurs." Reilly also dishes on a falling out between Corsi posse leader Mike Zullo:
It was shocking to watch Zullo verbally unload on Corsi in the MCSO conference room in front of Arpaio. Corsi had made a video report from Hawaii on the Internet without Zullo’s knowledge or approval during Zullo’s first Hawaii trip. I’ll never forget Zullo screaming at Corsi, Zullo’s freaky, bulging red eyes, and Arpaio asking me to do something about the conflict. Corsi sat at the conference table looking at his laptop sheepishly saying, “I’m fired…I’m fired.” At one point, Corsi didn’t want to be left alone in the same room with Zullo and Corsi accompanied me out to the parking garage to find his glasses on top of the patrol car. It was a memorable Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde moment in the conference room.
Reilly highlights more erratic behavior by Zullo, but the final straw was Zullo disregarding Hawaii's verification of Obama's birth:
The Hawaii Verification of Birth verifies that Barack Obama was born within the jurisdiction of the United States and, according to Mr. Zullo’s own November 9, 2012 affidavit, Mr. Obama is therefore a “natural born citizen.” Game. Set. Match.
Strangely -- or perhaps not so strangely -- WND has been utterly silent on Reilly's renouncing the birther conspiracy, even though in 2011 WND published a fluff article on a car Reilly owns that was once used in the original "Hawaii Five-O" series. (The article curiously carries no byline or any identifying information about Reilly.)
It appears that WND will never admit it was wrong about its birther obsession -- and that's just one more reason nobody believes WND.
Newsmax Still Portraying Admitted Criminal D'Souza As Victim Of A Conspiracy Topic: Newsmax
An unbylined Aug. 17 Newsmax article pushes the conspiracy that "When they can't beat Republicans at the polls, they try to indict them in criminal court." The star of the article is Rick Perry, of course, but a supporting character is another familiar conservative:
Filmmaker and author Dinesh D'Souza was forced to plead guilty in May to illegally funneling approximately $20,000 through third parties to help a friend running for U.S. Senate in New York.
His plea agreement calls on him not to challenge a prison sentence of 10 to 16 months.
D'Souza has been a frequent critic of Obama, releasing two documentary films on him. The first, "2016: Obama's America," was released in 2012. His film "America: Imagine the World Without Her," was released this summer.
Criminal experts have said that considering the small amount of money involved, the federal government would typically not even investigate the matter.
"This is clearly a case of selective prosecution for one of the most common things done during elections, which is to get people to raise money for you," famed law professor Dershowitz said at the time of the D'Souza indictment.
"If they went after everyone who did this, there would be no room in jails for murderers."
Slate's David Weigel has a response to Dershowitz that Newsmax ignored:
D'Souza, who's been a laughingstock for longer than he's been a rising star, made a huge mistake and turned it into an opportunity to rally conservatives and make accusations about the Obama administration. After all, just because he's pled guilty doesn't disprove the Dershowitz theory that, while a crime, D'Souza's offense might not have attracted the feds had he not been infamous.
Newsmax has served as a home for D'Souza to spin his right-wing conspiracies, and Newsmax columnists are eager to portray D'Souza as a victim despite his obvious guilt.
WND's Vliet Goes Doctor-Shopping To Help Her Fearmonger About Ebola Topic: WorldNetDaily
Elizabeth Lee Vliet's schtick these days is to fearmonger about Ebola, as befits a WorldNetDaily columnist and a doctor affiliated with the far-right-fringe Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Just one problem, though: American public health officials aren't playing along with her fearmongering.
What's a fact-averse doctor to do? Find a country whose health warnings about Ebola are somewhat closer to her own. Thus, an Aug. 8 WND article by Leo Hohmann quotes Vliet bashing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control for not fearmongering and praising Canadian health officials for more closely aligning to her agenda:
[Vliet] also pointed to a 2012 Canadian study in which healthy and infected monkeys were housed side by side in cages but had no physical contact. The healthy monkeys contracted Ebola.
And, according to a Canadian public health advisory, airborne spread of the virus among humans is “strongly suspected, although it has not yet been conclusively demonstrated.”
Generally, it takes far more than one to 10 organisms to transmit a virus.
“That’s one reason the virus is so out of control, is it takes so few particles,” Vliet said. “Dr. Hatfill, and the Canadian public health advisory, which is more detailed than the CDC, they talk about airborne transmission in much more specific terms than the CDC does.”
Ebola virus also stays active longer in body fluids such as blood and semen than most other viruses.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada fact sheet on Ebola, the virus remains communicable “as long as blood, secretions, organs, or semen contain the virus.”
The Canadian alert also states that Ebola virus can remain active in a man’s semen 61 days after the onset of illness, and transmission of the disease through semen has occurred up to seven weeks after a man has recovered from the illness.
“This is why I’m concerned, as a physician, that perhaps our hospitals are not as well prepared as we would like to think. Because if other doctors don’t know this and if the CDC is not saying anything, if somebody recovers from Ebola and 60 days later the man ejaculates, he could infect his partner,” Vliet said. “I just think it’s huge. I think they are really underestimating the risk. I understand they are not wanting to create panic, but if doctors are not used to treating Ebola and they’re not getting the same information from the CDC as the Canadian doctors are getting … I’m not trying to create a panic. I’m just saying let’s get the information out.”
Hohmann also quotes Dr. Jane Orient doing more fearmongering, but he fails to identify how both Vliet and Orient are associated with AAPS and its politics-driven medicine.
CNS, Where Speculation Is 'News' Topic: CNSNews.com
This is the main substance of an Aug. 14 CNSNews.com article by Brittany M. Hughes:
Reports show thousands of unaccompanied illegal alien minors, some of them identified as obvious gang members by U.S. Border Patrol agents, have been transferred to several of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States, including Baltimore, Los Angeles, New York City, Houston and the Washington, D.C. area – cities that all rank among the top strongholds of the Latin American gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13.
A 2008 report by the Congressional Research Service lists several major U.S. cities as having some of the heaviest MS-13 presence in the nation. These cities include Washington, D.C. and the surrounding area in Northern Virginia, Los Angeles, Houston, New York City, Baltimore and Nashville.
Since October of last year, more than 57,000 unaccompanied minors have flooded across the Southwest U.S. border illegally, with most of them having come from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, all countries with strong ties to MS-13 and various other Latin American gangs and drug operations.
Completely lacking in Hughes' article: any actual evidence that unaccompanied minor gang members are actually being sent to cities with an MS-13 presence.
In other words, this article is nothing but speculation and guessing. That is apparently what passes for "news" at CNS these days.
Obama himself supped with and strongly supported Kenya’s Raila Odinga, whose partisans went on a rampage of atrocity in Kenya in order to force Odinga’s savage ambitions on those who opposed him.
As we wrote in 2012, there's no evidence Obama supported Odinga -- PolitiFact pointed out that Obama remained neutral in Kenyan politics during his 2006 visit to the country. While Odinga attended some of Obama's events while Obama was in Kenya and clearly wanted to associate himself with Obama, there's simply no evidence that Obama "strongly supported" Odinga.
Ann-Marie Murrell took her own stab at perpetuating a zombie lie in her Aug. 15 WND column, claiming that "Obama sent billions of taxpayer dollars to Brazil to fund Evil Big Oil and ultra-deepwater drilling."
As FactCheck.org and Media Matters detailed, the loan to Brazil was made by the Export-Import Bank, not by the Obama administration, and it was made at a time when the Ex-Im Bank was controlled by Bush appointees and when none of Obama's appointees to the bank had taken office.
Joseph Farah almost proudly claims that WND publishes misinformation, which pretty much guarantees that Keyes and Murrell will not be held accountable for publishing lies.
NewsBusters Ignores Simple Facts, Fails At Being A Limbaugh Apologist Topic: NewsBusters
The folks at the Media Research Center are seemingly contractually obligated to defend whatever Rush Limbaugh says, no matter how offensive -- which would explain why so many MRC employees endorsed his disgusting attacks on Sandra Fluke.
Lesser Limbaugh offenses, meanwhile, get a more full-throated defense. Witness Randy Hall's Aug. 14 NewsBusters post (emphasis is his):
It's always interesting when liberals and members of the mainstream media think they've caught conservative icon Rush Limbaugh making an inappropriate comment during his three-hour weekday radio program. Even though almost none of them bother to actually listen to his remarks, the outrage flies from online posters and news outlets across the country.
This was the case on Tuesday, when Limbaugh's discussion of the suicide by beloved comedian Robin Williams was misquoted to say that the iconic actor killed himself because of a leftist worldview.
Curiously missing from Hall's post, however, is any direct quote of Limbaugh's original remarks on Williams. Hall is simply regurgitating Limbaugh's complaint -- as so often happens when he gets called out for saying something he shouldn't have -- that he was misquoted and/or taken out of context by the liberal media.
Thus, Hall's readers will never know that Limbaugh did, in fact, link Williams' suicide to a "leftist worldview," claiming that Williams' alleged survivor's guilt over several of his friends who died young "is a constant measurement that is made by political leftists in judging the country."
Hall concludes that claiming that "liberals fail to understand the bond between Limbaugh and his listeners, who have remained loyal during the radio host's ups and downs since 1988." Given that Hall took Limbaugh's defensive remarks at face value rather than bothering to examine what Limbaugh actually said, that bond apparently includes ignoring clear facts in order to maintain a cult of personality.
WND Publishing Book By Contributors To Abortion Doctor's Murder Topic: WorldNetDaily
Scheduled to be published on Oct. 2 by WorldNetDaily's WND Books subsidiary is "Abortion Free" by Operation Rescue's Troy Newman and Cheryl Sullenger, which claims to be a "practical manual" that teaches people "what you can do to help close your local abortion clinic and make America abortion free."
WND won't tell you, however, Operation Rescue's role in the murder of an abortion doctor.
As we've previously noted, Scott Roeder -- who murdered Kansas abortion doctor George Tiller in 2009 -- had contacted Sullenger and Operation Rescue several times seeking information about court hearings involving Tiller, and Sullenger's phone number was found on a note inside Roeder's car when he was arrested. Roeder has also claimed he ate lunch with Newman and Sullenger several years before he murdered Tiller.
Sullenger has been linked to anti-abortion violence before. In 1988, she was sentenced to three years in prison for conspiring to bomb a California abortion clinic. The indictment says she procured gunpowder and other material for the bomb, then gave another conspirator a wig to wear as a disguise in the plot.
Newman has denounced violence and claimed no association with Roeder. But before Tiller's death, the Operation Rescue website featured a graphic showing Tiller surrounded by fire with the words "America's Doctor of Death."The button linked to Operation Rescue's archive of stories on Tiller. The graphic was removed after Tiller's murder.
Why is WND publishing a book by anti-abortion extremists -- one of whom has an existing criminal record -- who appear to have played a role as accessories in a murder? Perhaps they would like to explain.
Media Matters catches WorldNetDaily promoting an tasteless article in the wake of Robin Williams' death claiming that Williams used the help of "demonic powers" that "aided him on stage" and these "insidious forces" eventually "drove him to suicide."
Richard Bartholomew has been on the WND Gaza prophecy beat, noting that WND has touted dubious self-proclaimed prophet Joel Richardson's claim that the current Israel-Gaza conflict somehow ponts to the return of Jesus, and that WND repeated a dubious claim from the Christian Zionist publication Israel Today that the hand of God was sending Hamas missiles into the sea.
Finally, Bartholomew highlighted the special guest on Joesph Farah's latest tour of Israel: disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker.
NewsBusters Endorses Attack On Sharpton Featuring Vile Racial Slur Topic: NewsBusters
A former basketball player hurled a vile racial slur at Al Sharpton, and NewsBusters has no problem with it.
NewsBusters' Randy Hall was so unbothered by it, in fact, that he put it right in the headline of his Aug. 14 post: "Sharpton Hits Back at Critic Who Called Him 'Coon' for Seeking Publicity After Ferguson Shooting."
So unbothered was Hall by this racial slur that he went on to endorse the message of the critic -- onetime NBA star Gilbert Arenas, best known for the gun obsession that got him suspended from the Washington Wizards --that Sharpton is "a publicity-seeking 'coon'" and even bolded the word in his excerpt of Arenas' rant:
That initial reaction came from Gilbert Arenas, a former guard for the Washington Wizards National Basketball Association team, who begged Brown's family to leave Sharpton out of the situation because “Caesar the monkey” or a character from the Planet of the Apes series “could get them better justice.”
Arenas then continued his race-tainted rant by stating that “the stats also show Al 'coon' sharpton has not helped one situation he has protested at; he actually made it worst [sic] and because of him, the jury goes the other way (think about it).”
He also pointed to other situations in which Sharpton's involvement had a negative impact, including the Jena Six -- black teenagers convicted in the 2006 beating of a white student at Jena High School in Louisiana -- whom Sharpton defended even after they were found guilty.
The athlete also discussed the minister's involvement in the Trayvon Martin case, when the teenager was shot by George Zimmerman, a Hispanic man who was later acquitted of any crimes in the incident.
“The list goes way back,” Arenas added, because Sharpton is “lookn for attention; what u said at trayvon's rally, #enoughisenough; ur right, we're tired of u PRETENDING.”
So unbothered was Hall by Arenas' vile racial slur that the only criticism he could muster was that Arenas' rant was "race-tainted." At no point did he mention the fact that "coon" is a vile slur that has no place in civilized debate.
Such insensitivity is part for the course at the Media Research Center, which has also found nothing wrong with Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a "slut" or Mark Levin calling Mary Landrieu a "whore."
CNS' Starr Is Still Cranking Out Propaganda For Corporate And Oil Interests Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com's Penny Starr has long been a propagandist for fossil-fuel interests, uncritically repeating the claims of industry lobbyists as though they were the gospel (as befits an organization that has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding from oil interests).
Starr phones it in again in an Aug. 8 article in which she dutifully regurgitates the latest corporate claim:
A study commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) on the impact of a proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation shows that it could be the costliest federal rule by reducing the Gross National Product by $270 billion per year and $3.4 trillion from 2017 to 2040 and adds $2.2 trillion in compliance costs for the same time period.
Starr didn't bother to mention that NAM's official position is opposing EPA regulations, so it's not a surprise that it would commission a study that backs up its claims.
Starr's old friend, the American Petroleum Institute, also makes an appearance:
At an event for reporters on Friday, the American Petroleum Institute introduced a map it has produced showing how the new regulation would harm the economy in states across the country.
API also claims that the nation’s air quality is improving and health benefits from the lower ozone standards are not backed by the science.
As you would expect from such a dutiful stenographer, Starr made no apparent effort to talk to any actual environmentalists about the claims made by NAM and API.
Ferguson Tension Gives WND Opportunity To Bash Black Mobs And Police Topic: WorldNetDaily
The tension in Ferguson, Mo., following the shooting of an unarmed black teen by police has proved to be a boon for WorldNetDaily. Since two of the things it hates most are blackmobs and overactive police, it has been attacking both sides.
An August 13 WND article by Bob Unruh was quick to race-bait, repeating a claim that "a New Black Panther Party member is advocating violence against law enforcement in response to the shooting of Michael Brown." Unruh also claimed that "Multiple Twitter posts said the looting was a negative for the community and should have been done in 'white' neighborhoods."
Jerome Corsi tried to join the race-baiting parade with an Aug. 14 article attacking the Justice Department for having "dispatched its Community Relations Service to the scene of racially charged unrest in Ferguson, Missouri." Corsi uncritically quoted Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton claiming that the CRS "intervened in the Trayvon Martin case in Florida, helping organize protests that pressed for the prosecution of George Zimmerman, who later was acquitted by a jury of murder."
In fact, PolitiFact found that the CRS went to Florida "with the idea of keeping the situation peaceful and calm, not to instigate or condone protests or violence."
Because Corsi can't be bothered with basic fact-checking, he privileged Fitton's falsehood.
Meanwhile, an unbylined Aug. 13 article (though a tag at the end of the article credits it to an intern) claimed the situation in Ferguson "has put on display the country’s increasingly militarized local police force." WND quoted WND-published author Cheryl Chumley saying, "Armored vehicles on patrol, Kevlar-wearing, camouflage dressed officials carting high-powered rifles, tear gas wafting through the air – sounds like something right off the streets of Iraq. But it’s not. It’s actually the scene that’s playing out in Ferguson right now, with SWAT-type police taking to the residential streets for crowd control duties."
This was followed by a column by Chumley in which she denounces police tactics in Ferguson:
The camouflage battle-dress uniforms are simply part and parcel of the intimidation factor that’s trending among local law enforcers. Police are with ever-increasing frequency dressing and behaving more like battlefield soldiers.
What ever happened to the old “serve and protect” model and mantra of civilian policing?
More than lives are being lost from this alarming police militarization trend. Our Constitution, and its specific rights to be safe and secure in one’s home and possessions, and to be considered innocent until proven guilty – two ideals that a shoot-first policy doesn’t uphold – are being rapidly scratched from our legal process. The spotlight of SWAT-type tactics may now be on Ferguson. But it really belongs on the backyards and residential streets around our nation – on the thousands of communities that serve as home to these same type of police agencies that are currently commandeering St. Louis.
WND seems to have found itself on the horns of a dilemma. It's bashing both sides, and it can't back off either one lest it be accused of condoning either black mob violence or heavy-handed police tactics.
NEW ARTICLE: Fluffing -- And Protecting -- The Great One Topic: Media Research Center
Not only does the Media Research Center play stenographer for the pearls of wisdom that pour from the mouth of right-wing radio host Mark Levin, it hides his offensive remarks from its readers. Read more >>
WND's Massie Blames Clinton For 9/11, Thinks Dick Morris Is A Foreign Policy Adviser Topic: WorldNetDaily
Mychal Massie writes in his Aug. 11 WorldNetDaily column:
In factuality, the blood of the Americans who were murdered Sept. 11, 2001, is on the head and hands of Clinton. Clinton was offered bin Laden on a silver platter, but he refused the Sudanese President Bashir’s offer to arrest, detain and hand over Osama bin Laden to the United States. The Bashir government had intelligence of OBL’s daily activities and detailed intelligence concerning his finances; but, as Steven Simon, then-director of counter-terrorism on Clinton’s National Security Council, told the Washington Post: “I [we] really only cared about one thing, that was getting [OBL] out of Sudan, not the accepting of responsibility for taking him into custody.” Former Clinton adviser Dick Morris said, “[Clinton] didn’t do a single thing of the stuff that I recommended on terror” (“Hannity & Colmes,” Dec. 20, 2001). Had Morris’ suggestions been heeded, Mohamed Atta would have been deported before 9/11. As Morris put it, “In each of these areas he [Clinton] fell asleep at the switch.”
Newsmax Pretends Ed Klein Is Credible Topic: Newsmax
Back in 2005, Newsmax enthusiatsticallyembraced Ed Klein's anonymously sourced hatchet job on Hillary Clinton. Klein has a new book out -- similarly dubiously and anonymously sourced, this time about the supposed bad blood between the Obamas and the Clintons -- and Newsmax is credulously promoting that one too, treating every dubious claim he makes as a pearl of wisdom.
An Aug. 5 article by Bill Hoffmann describes a Newsmax TV appearance in which Klein claimed that "The Kennedy family is sharply divided on whether to support former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016." Hoffmann offered no indication Klein provided any kind of credible source to back up his claim.
Two days later, an article by Courtney Coren detailed another Newsmax TV appearance by Klein, this time claiming that "President Barack Obama's senior adviser has been meeting with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to encourage her to run against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, at the president's request." Again, no evidence is provided that Klein supplies credible sources to back up the claim.