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Tuesday, February 5, 2008
WND Still Misleads on Lawsuit
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Feb. 5 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh about the libel lawsuit against it by Tennessee businessman Clark Jones repeats (without credit, of course) some of the news we first reported months ago, then goes downhill and self-serving from there.

Unruh notes that the lawsuit is scheduled for trial in March and concedes that the articles by Charles C. Thompson II and Tony Hays that drew the lawsuit were "researched and [written] under the sponsorship of the Center for Public Integrity" -- things we first reported last November, and which WND has never reported until now.

Unruh then turns the article into a self-serving exercise -- telling only WND's side of the story, painting WND as a First Amendment martyr and focusing narrowly on the side issue of identifying confidential sources when the main claim of Jones' lawsuit is libel. Indeed, Unruh recites the claims WND made against Jones -- that he was a "suspected drug dealer" who "reportedly intervened in a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation probe into narcotics trafficking" -- without even bothering to note, as it has previously, that Jones has denied the claim.

Further, Jones does not mention, as we detailed, the claims of shoddy journalism against Thompson and Hays -- that the reporters declined Jones' request to have a court reporter present during their interview and that Jones has submitted expert testimony that claimed the articles, in the words of one expert, "grossly violated the basic standards of care advocated by professional journalism organizations and practice in reputable newsrooms."

Unruh is equally uncurious about what he does report as well; he noted that WND "does not even know the identity of confidential sources used by the reporters" without offering an explanation why that is the case. Indeed, as we noted, court documents show that WND apparently did no fact-checking on Thompson and Hays' articles -- which makes it difficult for WND to claim the truth as a defense when it can't say with any certainty what the truth is.

This article would seem to demostrate that WND remains tolerant of the type of biased, shoddy reporting that resulted in Jones' lawsuit in the first place.

It's also worth noting that WND has never posted any legal documents on its website or any other evidence that would support claims made in its articles about the lawsuit. However, we have, so judge for yourself.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:03 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2008 3:12 PM EST
Kinsolving Compares Newspaper Apples, Oranges
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Feb. 5 WorldNetDaily column by Les Kinsolving takes a certain amount of glee in the fact that the "strongly liberal" Washington Post is losing circulation:

So what is the Post doing about this precipitous loss in circulation and income?

Are you sitting down?

They are raising this price of each copy of the paper from 35 to 50 cents.

This despite the fact that a new daily newspaper competitor. the Examiner, is delivered at homes and available in street boxes – for free.

The Post in this story, "Post newsstand price going up to 50 cents," did not mention this free competing daily – or the fact that the Washington Times still retains its 25 cent price – as well as a smaller but hardly sinking number of avid readers, particularly on Capitol Hill.

Kinsolving adds: "I would suggest that both of these Old Big Media giants [the Post and the New York Times] might, before they lose a quarter million more in circulation, consider some ideological emulation of the conservative New York Post – one of the very very few daily newspapers that recently reported an increase in circulation."

But Kinsolving ignores the fact that the Washington Times and the New York Post are working off of a different economic model than the Washington Post and the New York Times. As we've noted, the WashTimes and the NY Post are perennial money-losers kept in business only by the deep pockets of their conservative billionaire owners. They are not competing in an open business market, while the WaPo and the NYT are -- which tells us that conservative newspaper journalism is not a smart business move. If the Washington Times were actually in the newspaper business to make a profit, it would not still be 25 cents a copy.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:11 PM EST
Will WND Get Its Facts Right on Leprosy?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The new issue of WorldNetDaily's Whistleblower magazine has the theme, "The New Plagues," in which "self-destructive 'alternative lifestyles'" and "out-of-control immigration" are blamed for "long-'vanquished' illnesses [that] are once again ravaging the U.S., puzzling scientists and terrifying millions of victims and their loved ones." Will WND get its facts straight on the issue?

We suspect not. Among the topics covered:

Leprosy, the contagious skin disease evoking thoughts of biblical and medieval times, is now making its mark in the United States, and many believe the influx of illegal aliens is the main factor.

As we detailed, in 2005 WND repeated the false claim -- first made by Madeleine Cosman in an anti-immigrant screed masquerading as a "scientific" article in the conservative Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons -- that more than 7,000 cases of leprosy were reported in the United States in "the previous three years"; in fact, that number is for the past 30 years. WND rehashed the claim in another 2005 article. Given that WND has never bothered to correct that information, it's likely that it has seeped into Whistleblower as well.

The magazine also lists the following article:

 "Chicken-plant workers test 'positive' for TB" – revealing that while 212 out of 765 processing employees were infected, the company said HIV-privacy laws prohibit screening

This is apparently a rehash of a November 2007 WND article. Despite its suggestion that illegal immigrants are responsible for the outbreak -- as we noted wen David Horowitz's Discover the Networks used this article to make that claim -- buried far down is the note that, according to a spokesman for the plant, "despite the large number of foreign-born Hispanic employees working at the Decatur facility, all have been verified as legally working in the U.S."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:52 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2008 1:00 AM EST
Monday, February 4, 2008
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

Noel Sheppard outright lies about Hillary Clinton in a Feb. 4 NewsBusters post: "Remember at the beginning of January, just hours before the New Hampshire primary, and days after a devastating loss to Sen. Barack Obama in the Iowa caucuses, Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton teared-up in front of the camera, and a sycophantic media fell for it hook, line, and sinker?"

Actually, Noel, she didn't "tear up" and she didn't cry; she just expressed a little emotion.

While we're on the subject, in the same WorldNetDaily column in which he smears John McCain as a communist collaborator (as noted below), Jack Wheeler writes: "Maybe McCain will try to fight back by confirming Hillary's well-known bisexuality and her lesbian affair with her beautiful assistant, Huma Abedin."


Posted by Terry K. at 5:25 PM EST
Updated: Monday, February 4, 2008 5:29 PM EST
The ConWeb Hates McCain
Topic: Newsmax

The ConWeb is getting in a last bit of John McCain-bashing before Super Tuesday:

-- Ronald Kessler, apparently bitter that his favorite candidate, Mitt Romney, is going down in flames, lashes out in a Feb. 3 Newsmax column. Kessler uses David Keene of the American Conservative Union to complain that "John McCain is largely a creation of the media," then adds: "In contrast to the glowing coverage of McCain and his Straight Talk Express, the media have largely ignored a telling clue to Romney’s character. As first fully reported by Newsmax, when told in July 1996 that the 14-year-old daughter of one of his partners at Bain Capital had been missing in New York for three days, Romney closed down the firm. He asked its 30 partners and employees to fly to New York to try to find her." Kessler desperately adds: " While Romney changed some of his positions while he was Massachusetts governor or later, he has changed his position on fewer issues than did McCain."

-- In a Feb. 4 column, Jack Wheeler calls McCain "psychologically unstable" and a "nutcase wack job," then -- echoing the "Manchurian candidate" smear -- uses anonymous sources to claim that McCain "collaborat[ed] with his Communist captors" while a POW in the Vietnam War. (UPDATE: We've previously noted that WND has engaged in some ethical-boundary-blurring advertising-disguised-as-news on Wheeler's behalf.)

-- The headline of a Feb. 4 CNSNews.com column by Chuck Muth sums up the general conservative dilemma: "Slit a Vein or Vote for McCain?" Muth writes of the idea that Newt Gingrich or South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford would ride in as a "dark-horse savior" at a brokered convention: "Do it! Do it! Do it!"

-- Mark Finkelstein touches on a host of conervative bogeymen in a Feb. 2 NewsBusters post, noting that "the liberal [Los Angeles Times] likes McCain because he's weak on border fences and strong on global warming." 


Posted by Terry K. at 9:29 AM EST
Updated: Monday, February 4, 2008 5:30 PM EST
Kincaid Mum on Savage's Racist Rant, Paul's Bigotry
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid has been a notable defender of Michael Savage and Ron Paul in recent weeks.

Kincaid ran to Savage's defense after he was the target of an advertiser boycott by the Council on American-Islamic Relation, claiming that CAIR is trying to "muzzle its talk radio critics" and calling the group "radical Muslims." Kincaid has even appeared on Savage's show.

But Kincaid has yet to weigh in on a recent statement by Savage on his radio show, in which he said to a caller he presumed was black:

SAVAGE: If you study the science [of AIDS] -- but I don't think you have the capacity to understand science, my dear friend Kojo. 

[...]

SAVAGE: See, we don't live in Africa where people settle arguments with machetes. We live in a country where we settle it with arguments. Something you apparently don't know anything about.

[...]

See, there you go. Couldn't use the machete so his mind went blank. There, that's what we got. There's multiculturalism for you. There's immigration for you. There's the new America for you. Bring them in by the millions. Bring in 10 million more from Africa. Bring them in with AIDS. Show how multicultural you are. They can't reason, but bring them in with a machete in their head. Go ahead. Bring them in with machetes in their mind.

Kincaid similarly ran to the defense of Ron Paul in a Feb. 1 column, insisting that "the media are notoriously biased against him" and adding, "Whatever they may think of his views on this or that issue, Ron Paul's success can be traced to the grass-roots."

And, just as similarly, Kincaid makes no mention of a New Republic article last month detailing the bigoted sentiments -- racist and anti-gay -- issued over the years in newsletters published by Paul. Certainly such views are one reason why Paul is not taken seriously as a candidate, by the media and most everyone else (except Kincaid).

Kincaid needs to account for Savage's and Paul's racist leanings and how that factors in his vocal support for them.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:44 AM EST
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Star Parker's Still On the Plantation
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Star Parker apparently still thinks only conservatives can use the "plantation" analogy.

We've noted that Parker was upset two years ago when Hillary Clinton used the analogy to describe the treatment of Democrats in the Republican-controlled Congress -- after all, Parker wrote a book called "Uncle Sam's Plantation," and she considers the analogy to be her personal territory. Parker is still trying to beat Clinton with the analogy in a Feb. 2 WorldNetDaily column:

Nothing can be more threatening to these politics than a successful, talented black man like Obama running as an American candidate rather than as a black candidate.

But a black off the plantation is the last thing Sen. Clinton wants. She wants blacks to feel impotent and vulnerable and in need of a political patron to hand them the goodies they need. 

Chalk Parker up as another conservative hypocritically condemning Clinton for using the "plantation" metaphor while freely using it herself. 


Posted by Terry K. at 12:26 PM EST
Saturday, February 2, 2008
WND Tells More Anti-Gay Lies
Topic: WorldNetDaily

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!


Posted by Terry K. at 12:19 AM EST
Friday, February 1, 2008
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.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:33 PM EST
Updated: Friday, February 1, 2008 2:05 PM EST
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.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:35 PM EST
Updated: Friday, February 1, 2008 12:44 PM EST
NewsBusters Ignores Rush's Flip-Flop
Topic: NewsBusters

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 has emphasized Limbaugh's opposition to McCain and tried to shoot down 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?


Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 AM EST
The McCain Split at Newsmax
Topic: Newsmax

As we've noted, some of the most virulent anti-John McCain rhetoric on the ConWeb is popping up at Newsmax. Now the boss is trying to put a different spin on things.

In a Jan. 31 column, Christopher Ruddy declares:

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."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:59 AM EST
Updated: Friday, February 1, 2008 2:20 PM EST
Thursday, January 31, 2008
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.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:13 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, January 31, 2008 7:04 PM EST
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 >>

Posted by Terry K. at 12:49 AM EST
We've Been Corrected!
Topic: The ConWeb

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?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:13 AM EST
Updated: Friday, February 1, 2008 1:40 AM EST

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