A July 23 article by Edwin Mora attempted to put Sen. Christopher Dodd on the spot by asking him whether money in the health care reform package would go to ACORN. But Mora offered no evidence that ACORN engages in health care-related activities.
An Aug. 3 article by Penny Starr did the same sort of ambush on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, asking her whether "a section of the Senate health-care reform bill that requires her to 'develop standards for the measurement of gender'—as opposed to simply relying on 'male' and 'female'—for use in a new federal database that will collect information about all beneficiaries of government-run or government-supported health care programs." Sebelius replied that she had "no idea" what Starr was talking about.
Turns out, neither did Starr. As Media Matters noted when Rush Limbaugh picked up on the story:
To us, it appears that CNS News and Rush are trying really hard to see things that aren't there. It seems pretty clear that the bill is simply mandating that HHS develop standards for collecting data on gender, geography, socioeconomic status, etc. That's why the language appears under a section titled: "Collection Standards." (Page 411) It's likely the case that the authors of the bill simply used "collection" and "measurement" interchangeably in a way that couldn't possibly be considered controversial unless taken completely out of context -- which is exactly what Rush and CNS News did to roguishly imply that the government is establishing new gender categories.
Starr followed up the next day with Sebelius claiming that the database "will only use the categories 'male' and 'female'—not lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender--when making entries for a person’s gender."
Another nonexistent "controversy" from which CNS managed to extract two stories. The only place there was a controversy about this was in Starr's fevered brain.
But if one molehill can't be built into a mountain, there are other molehills. Starr tried again in an Aug. 6 article, trying to whip up outragge that a city in Virginia was using stimulus money to train staff in dealing with gay and lesbian domestic violence. Starr's problem with this? "Marriage is not legal" in Virginia. Or maybe that public money should not be spent on anything regarding gay people, even (or, perhaps, especially) if it's to prevent violence against them.