How anti-gay is WorldNetDaily? It distorts the facts about laws intended to protect gays to the point where it is essentially telling a lie.
A Feb. 1 article by Bob Unruh starts off by referencing "a plan generated by California's legislature created a ban on the use of 'mom' and 'dad' in public schools." This links to an October 2007 WND article stating that a new California law means that "'Mom and Dad' as well as 'husband and wife' effectively have been banned from California schools" [emphasis ours]. Unruh goes on to repeat a previous false description of the California law as "mandat[ing] a positive – and no other – portrayal of bisexuals, homosexuals, transgenders and others choosing alternative sexual lifestyles in public schools."
As we've detailed when WND previously falsely described this law, SB 777 adds sexual orientation to the state's anti-discrimination laws as they apply to schools and requires that schools don't present material that "promotes a discriminatory bias" against those groups covered under the anti-discrimination clause. Unruh and WND are merely taking refuge in the Depiction-Equals-Endorsement Fallacy.
The October article goes on to state:
[Karen] England [of the conservative Capitol Resource Institute] told WND that the law is not a list of banned words, including "mom" and "dad." But she said the requirement is that the law bans discriminatory bias.
"Having 'mom' and 'dad' promotes a discriminatory bias. You have to either get rid of 'mom' and 'dad' or include everything when talking about [parental issues]," she said. "They [promoters of sexual alternative lifestyles] do consider that discriminatory."
So, in fact -- by WND's own admission -- the law does not ban "mom" and "dad"; it "is not a list of banned words" at all. It is only speculation by conservative opponents of this law that are speculating -- no actual evidence, mind you, just speculation -- that "mom" and "dad" are banned.
Unruh, then, is portraying speculation as fact.
This man worked for the Associated Press for nearly 30 years and presumably knows better -- but as we've documented, it appears he learned nothing from the AP.
Meanwhile, another Feb. 1 WND article stated that a Massachusetts court ruled that "there is an obligation for public schools to teach young children to accept and endorse homosexuality." This claim links to a February 2007 WND article by Unruh that makes the same claim -- and then went further, asserting the judge "ordered the 'gay' agenda taught to Christians who attend a public school in Massachusetts."
But that's not true either; as the judge's ruling stated according to the brief excerpt, buried amid a pile of ranting about "pro-homosexuality indoctrination," Unruh included in his article:
"Under the Constitution public schools are entitled to teach anything that is reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens in our democracy," the judge wrote. "Diversity is a hallmark of our nation. It is increasingly evident that our diversity includes differences in sexual orientation."
And, he said, since history "includes instances of … official discrimination against gays and lesbians … it is reasonable for public educators to teach elementary school students … different sexual orientations."
In other words, the judge approved teaching that homosexuality exists. Unruh invokes the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy again!
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch Topic: Media Research Center
The MRC Business & Media Institute's Dan Gainor appeared on the Fox Business channel to discuss the finances of the New York Times Co. The supplied clip is edited, but if history is any indicator, Gainor appeared solo and was not identified as a conservative.
Gainor said: "People have lost confidence in the media, according to most studies. People -- most Americans understand that the media are -- the mainstream media are overwhelmingly liberal, overwhelmingly out of touch with a lot of their issues." But Gainor does not appear to address the fact that all newspaper-dominated companies have financial concerns as the news paradigm shifts from print to online, where advertising is not as lucrative. Nor does Gainor appear to note the fact that the three major conservative-leaning newspapers in the U.S. -- the Washington Times, the New York Post and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review -- have been consistent money-losers still in business only through the generosity of the deep pockets of their respective billionaire owners.
Gainor also doesn't mention the fact that the reason that "most Americans" purportedly think that "the mainstream media are overwhelmingly liberal" is because conservative groups like Gainor's employer have spent millions of dollars to spread that meme.
FrontPageMag's Lazy Attack on Study Topic: Horowitz
A Feb. 1 FrontPageMag article by John Perazzo goes after the Center for Public Integrity study finding that the Bush administration made numerous false statements regarding Iraq, but he -- like the Media Research Center before him -- never addresses any actual evidence in the study and misleads on CPI's purported liberal leanings.
Perazzo makes blanket statements that "prior to the March, 2003, U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, there was not a single country whose intelligence agency doubted that Saddam was in the process of developing Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), and/or that he already possessed them," and that "the most prominent members of the Democratic Party were uniformly confident in that same assessment." He then states that the study's conclusion that Bush lied about the Iraq threat "utterly unfounded." But the CPI study cites evidence -- which Perazzo doesn't acknowledge -- suggesting that Bush administration officials should have known that Saddam didn't possess WMD at the time Bush officials was claiming he did. Perazzo further offers no evidence that "most prominent members of the Democratic Party" and foreign intelligence officials had access to this same information.
The bulk of Perazzo's article is dedicated to playing guilt by association, suggesting that because CPI has received money from George Soros' Open Society Institute, which "donates millions of dollars to a host of leftist organizations," that CPI is therefore "leftist" as well. This ignores the fact that, as we detailed, CPI funded an investigation of Al Gore before the 2000 election that was ultimately published by WorldNetDaily, which WND brags led to his election loss.
CPI also uncovered one of conservatives' favorite Clinton scandals, his alleged use of the Lincoln bedroom to reward his campaign contributors. Funny that Perazzo, like the MRC before him, never mentions that.
Tim Graham wrote in a Jan. 31 NewsBusters post: "On Wednesday's Rush Limbaugh show, the host spotted the first 'Drive-By tentacle' reaching into the John-McCain's-too-old bin." But Graham is ignoring the real news here: Limbaugh is now defending someone whose views he has been attacking for weeks.
The refusal to highlight the flip-flop is puzzling since the MRC hasemphasized Limbaugh's opposition to McCain and tried to shootdown the idea that McCain's ascent is reflective of Limbaugh's lessening influence.
Are both the MRC and Limbaugh now so resigned to the idea of McCain being the GOP nominee (and rather abruptly so, dontcha think?) that they are now willing to hold their noses and defend the guy?
But how did John McCain win, especially with so many conservatives against him?
Dick Morris suggested on Bill O’Reilly’s show Wednesday night that the GOP is just more liberal than we thought.
Dick is usually on target, but on this point, I respectfully disagree. The GOP is still very much the party of conservative Ronald Reagan.
McCain is not a liberal. He is a conservative. As such, he was the least offensive of the GOP candidates who ran in the Florida primary.
I think Florida voters saw it that way when they went to the polls and gave McCain a plurality (not a majority) in a very crowded field.
McCain is a maverick. McCain’s lifetime American Conservative Union voting record is 83 percent. Not bad! He is also pro-life, pro-gun, for limited government, and a strong national defense. He passes a certain acceptability level using the typical litmus tests for most Republicans.
At the same time, his own Newsmax writers weren't having any talk of moderation about McCain. Diane Alden compared supporters of McCain to the lotus-eaters in Homer's Odyssey: "The inhabitants of the United States have partaken of the fruit that has made them blind, deaf, dumb, forgetful, and self-satisfied. Why else would people vote for Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Bill Bradley, John McCain and the others who promise more laws and expanding government?" Alden adds: "The Lotus-Eaters among American voters who prefer McCain are doing us a disservice and may have to be dragged kicking and screaming back to reality lest this nation sink deeper into a stupor and dissolution."
John LeBoutillier, who hates McCain almost as much as he hates the Clintons, counters his boss as well: "Conservatives hate McCain and that antipathy will only increase the more they are exposed to him."
Will the likes of LeBoutillier, Alden and Ronald Kessler fall back into GOP lockstep if McCain eventually becomes the nominee? Probably -- grudgingly so, because ultimately, they all hate Democrats too much to split the Republicans.
UPDATE: More McCain animus from Michael Reagan, in a Feb. 1 Newsmax column: "I know in my heart he hates me, and every conservative. If he gets the nomination, the only way he could win against Hillary or Barack Obama would be to be part of a McCain-Limbaugh ticket."
That Word Does Not Mean What They Think It Means Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Jan. 31 WorldNetDaily article by Perry Atkinson and Bob Just is headlined, "A bipartisan call to draft Newt Gingrich." The front-page promo takes it further: "Can you feel a draft? Both parties call on Newt Gingrich!"
But Atkinson and Just are not ideological opposites; in fact, neither appear to be actual Democrats. From the bio at the end of the article:
Perry Atkinson and Bob Just are daily radio co-hosts at thedove.us serving Southern Oregon. Atkinson is a former chairman of the GOP in Oregon and a board member of United Christian Broadcasters International. Just is a longtime Reagan Democrat and a WorldNetDaily columnist who worked on Sean Hannity's book, "Deliver Us From Evil."
The only thing that's happening here is that Atkinson and Just are purporting to speak for "Republicans and Reagan Democrats," later called "Traditional Democrats" -- not actual Democrats. Indeed, the authors bash Democrats throughout the piece, claiming they "have little to contribute other than their usual 1960s 'cultural revolution' and 'old government' top-down dictates," and that if you "listen past the warm and fuzzy rhetoric" of Democratic candidates, "you'll hear the words, 'government rule and regulation.'"
In other words, there is nothing "bipartsan" about this; Atkinson and Just merely want a different Republican to vote for.
New Article -- Out There, Exhibit 44: Life on the Double-Standard Plantation Topic: The ConWeb
Two years ago, Hillary Clinton was blasted by conservatives for using the "plantation" metaphor. Has it stopped the ConWeb's own use of it? Nope. Read more >>
A post at Campus Watch states thusly about an earlier post of ours:
This blog post incorrectly describes Campus Watch as a "conservative-funded website that attacks liberal college professors."
In fact, Campus Watch's funding is not tied to any particular political ideology, nor do we critique (not "attack") academics on the basis of political proclivity.
Rather, Campus Watch critiques Middle East studies academics where, as indicated in our mission statement, one of the following five issues come into play: analytical failures, the mixing of politics with scholarship, intolerance of alternative views, apologetics, and the abuse of power over students.
Media Transparency lists only two major conservative foundations as donating to Campus Watch's parent, the Middle East Forum, so we're willing to concede the assertion on funding -- that is, pending further information on the Middle East Forum's funding sources, about which the Campus Watch post curiously fails to offer any detail.
The post's suggestion that "political proclivity" does not play a part in Campus Watch is a tad disingenuous. Campus Watch's general agenda -- aggressively pro-Israel, anti-Palestinian, and arguably anti-Muslim -- parallels that of conservatives. If Campus Watch doesn't attack liberals, why does a search for the word "liberal" on its website reveal the following, for example:
Further, note who wrote that Campus Watch "correction" on us: Cinnamon Stillwell. That's right -- the person we outed a couple years back as a terrorist sympathizer (or, in Campus Watch jargon, an "apologetic"). If Campus Watch truly has no political agenda, shouldn't it be watching her instead of letting her write for it?
Gore Derangement Syndrome Watch Topic: NewsBusters
A Jan. 30 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd notes that Current Media, the company co-founded by Al Gore that operates the Current cable channel, has filed for an initial public stock offering, then adds: "Of course, it’s never made a profit and the vast majority of its revenue comes from cable companies paying it for the privilege of carrying Current. ... Paying up the nose with no return on investment to appease the green movement. Sounds a lot like carbon credits."
Funny, when Newsmax filed for an IPO back in 2002, we don't recall anyone at the MRC expressing concern that it had "never made a profit," as we detailed. Further, all cable channels receive those "affiliate fees" that cable companies pay; Shepherd offers no evidence that Current's business model is any different from any other cable channel.
Gore doesn't seem to be doing anything out of the ordinary. So why is Shepherd so desperate to ridicule and smear him?
A Jan. 29 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard touts a WorldNetDaily column by Kathleen Willey, which he calls a "public warning" to Obama "outlin[ing] some of the tactics Willey believes the Clintons might use against Obama to thwart his presidential candidacy." (Willey's bio at the end of the article rather hilariously calls her a "popular commentator on current events.") Sheppard then writes: "Think Willey will be Harry Smith's guest on the "Early Show" some time soon? No, I don't either."
Most news organizations, when they outline criticism against someone, give that person an fair opportunity to respond. Not WorldNetDaily; as we've detailed, WND has a problem telling both sides of the story.
That tradition continues in a Jan. 29 article by Aaron Klein, in which he claims that Robert Malley, a foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama, "has penned numerous opinion articles ... petitioning for dialogue with Hamas and blasting Israel for numerous policies he says harm the Palestinian cause." Klein quoted one "israeli security official" -- anonymous, of course -- saying that Malley "expressed sympathy to Hamas and Hezbollah and offered accounts of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that don't jibe with the facts." Klein made no apparent attempt to contact Malley for a response.
Klein also wrote:
Malley also previously penned a well-circulated New York Review of Books piece largely blaming Israel for the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at Camp David in 2000 when Arafat turned down a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and eastern sections of Jerusalem and instead returned to the Middle East to launch an intifada, or terrorist campaign, against the Jewish state.
But nowhere does Klein actually quote from Malley's piece to support his contention or to contradict anything Malley wrote.
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch Topic: Newsmax
A Jan. 29 Newsmax column by Lowell Ponte describes the Clintons as "a demented and devious duo of egomaniacs who will go down in history alongside the crazed Emperors Caligula and Nero of the late Roman Empire."
Another reminder that the MRC's mission is less about "balance" and more about being offended that positive things are being said about liberals at all comes from Tim Graham in a Jan. 29 NewsBusters post, in which he rails against "at least two completely sickening moments for conservatives" -- as his headline puts it, "puke points."
The first is calling the Kennedys "American royalty," which Graham claims "conservatives would like ... to be a trap-door phrase or a Nerf ball-pasting phrase." The second was "Paul Begala with his usual embarrassing over-praise of Bill Clinton," to which Graham responds: "Let's hope Begala has been well-paid for making statements that are so fawning they make Bambi blush."
Graham added that "Begala then turned even more desperate in tone, suggesting that some in the media hate Clinton so much, it's like mental illness." Graham doesn't comment on that, perhaps because it hits a little too close to home.
Sheffield Still Flailing Away at NYT Stock Structure Topic: NewsBusters
A Jan. 28 NewsBusters post by Matthew Sheffield continues his flailing away at the New York Times Co.'s stock structure, in particular praising "Morgan Stanley's audacious attempt to end the Times's dual-class share system which enables the radical leftist Sulzberger family to continue running the paper into the ground by giving it almost-exclusive control of the NYT Co.'s board of directors."
As we've noted, Sheffield never criticized the pre-Rupert Murdoch structure of the Dow Jones Co., owner of the Wall Street Journal -- which had the same type of dual-tier stock -- all but admitting his double standard that his NYT criticism is based on what he thinks are its "radical leftist" policies, while Dow Jones while not taking the Journal's right-wing editorial pages into consideration.
A Jan. 28 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston ascribes the views of a single article to that of the entire New York Times: "Through the pessimistically, penumbrous pen of Parag Khanna, the New York Times has declared that the U.S.A. is finished. Yes, we have lost our 'global hegemony' and we will find that by 2016, 'America’s standing in the world remains in steady decline.' "
But the Times didn't just run a single article by neoconservative William Kristol; it hired him as a regular columnist. Shouldn't that mean, using Huston's logic, that the Times is a hotbed of neoconservatism?
Or is it just that Huston is utterly obtuse on the concept of a newspaper permitting the airing of diverse views? He is obtuse is so many other areas...