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Sunday, January 12, 2014
WND's Unruh Can't Stop Distorting Facts To Fit His Right-Wing Agenda
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Does Bob Unruh even care about real journalism anymore? Many of his articles of late are one-sided press releases for the right-wing views his employer, WorldNetDaily, favors, and he can't be bothered to tell the other side of the story fairly, when he deigns to mention the other side at all.

Unruh performs his stenography service again in a Jan. 7 article promoting the Alliance Defending Freedom's representaion of a Colorado baker, Jack Phillips, who refused to make a cake to mark a same-sex marriage. Unruh's article is almost entirely devoted to quoting the ADF's defense of the baker, while only one paragraph of the article quotes from the ruling against the baker (which Unruh couldn't be bothered to link to).

What indirect quotes from the ruling Unruh does provide are taken out of context and presented in a highly biased way. He writes that Judge Robert Spencer's ruling "said Phillips’ constitutional rights are secondary, because otherwise the 'cost to society' isn’t considered. He granted homosexuals a special standard." Unrh added:

But the ACLU, which is representing the duo, said the same standard should not be used in other circumstances, such as asking a Muslim baker to make a cake criticizing his faith or asking a black cake maker to make a cake for the KKK.

Those bakers, because of their beliefs, would be allowed to refuse service, Spencer said.

But Spencer made it clear that there was a difference between those hypothetical cases and Phillips' case. From the ruling that Unruh couldn't be bothered to link to:

Finally, Respondents argue that if they are compelled to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, then a black baker could not refuse to make a cake bearing a white-supremacist message for a member of the Aryan Nation; and an Islamic baker could not refuse to make a cake denigrating the Koran for the Westboro Baptist Church. However, neither of these fanciful hypothetical situations proves Respondents’ point. In both cases, it is the explicit, unmistakable, offensive message that the bakers are asked to put on the cake that gives rise to the bakers’ free speech right to refuse. That, however, is not the case here, where Respondents refused to bake any cake for Complainants regardless of what was written on it or what it looked like. Respondents have no free speech right to refuse because they were only asked to bake a cake, not make a speech.

The judge did not, as Unruh asserteed, grant homosexuals "a special standard." Spencer wrote:

At first blush, it may seem reasonable that a private business should be able to refuse service to anyone it chooses. This view, however, fails to take into account the cost to society and the hurt caused to persons who are denied service simply because of who they are. Thus, for well over 100 years, Colorado has prohibited discrimination by businesses that offer goods and services to the public. The most recent version of the public accommodation law, which was amended in 2008 to add sexual orientation as a protected class[.]

[...]

The salient feature distinguishing same-sex weddings from heterosexual ones is the sexual orientation of its participants. Only same-sex couples engage in same-sex weddings. Therefore, it makes little sense to argue that refusal to provide a cake to a same-sex couple for use at their wedding is not “because of” their sexual orientation.

Unruh's refusal to quote the judge's ruling appropriately -- or to even provide a link to the ruling so his readers can make their own decisions -- is journalistic malfeasance, pure and simple.

Unruh knows he could not have gotten away with such shoddy, biased journalism in his previous career with the Associated Press. That, presumably, is why he now works for WND, where putting a political agenda before the truth is not only not frowned upon but actively encouraged.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:50 PM EST

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