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Tuesday, March 11, 2008
About Those Credentials ...
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A March 10 WorldNetDaily article expressed outrage that WND's Jerome Corsi was "barred ... from attending a news conference in which Secretary Mary Peters defended the controversial Bush administration program allowing Mexican trucks to travel freely on U.S. roads." The article also included a defense of WND from editor Joseph Farah:

"WND sent a New York-based reporter to Washington to cover an area within his specialization, only to be turned away by bureaucrats for not being 'credentialed,'" said Joseph Farah, WND's founder and editor.

"WorldNetDaily is credentialed by the Senate Press Gallery to cover the Capitol. WorldNetDaily is credentialed to cover the White House. WorldNetDaily is a member in good standing of the Washington Press Club. Our reporter on the scene is a Harvard Ph.D and best-selling author. WorldNetDaily is one of the largest news sources in the world, larger than any newspaper websites except the New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today. If those credentials aren't good enough, I’d sure like to know which journalists were permitted in the Department of Transportation hearing."

It's rather amusing to see Farah tout that it's "credentialed by the Senate Press Gallery to cover the Capitol" as evidence that it's a legitimate news organization. As we noted, back in 2002 when WND was hectoring the Senate Press Gallery into giving WND that credential, one of the arguments it made was that the gallery's standards were so low that credentials had already been given to "official government mouthpieces such as Egypt's Al-Ahram and China's Xinhua News Agency."

Further, as we learned in the Jeff Gannon case -- and as proven by the possessor of WND's White House press credential, Les Kinsolving -- the bar for obtaining White House press credentials is not terribly high.

Maybe Secretary Peters knows all about WND's unfortunate record of false reporting and Corsi's own record of using WND to attack a former friend. Maybe that's why Corsi and WND didn't get in the door.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:00 PM EDT
CNS Writer Misrepresents 'Path to 9/11' Controversy
Topic: NewsBusters

What happens to stories so bad that even CNS won't run them? They apparently end up at NewsBusters.

A March 11 NewsBusters post by CNS reporter Kevin Mooney (which does not appear at CNS) misrepresents the controversy over the ABC miniseries "The Path to 9/11" and leaves out facts about ABC/Disney's purported refusal to market a DVD of the series. Mooney writes:

Disney’s unwillingness to make the film available on DVD suggests Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger is working to advance his own political interests at the expense of shareholders, Tom Borelli, a portfolio manager with the Free Enterprise Action Fund contends. Iger has been a consistent and steady contributor to Sen. Clinton (D-N.Y.), Borelli pointed out. He also asked Disney officials to explain why they have thus refused to sell the film rights to Lionsgate.

1) Mooney never explains what the Free Enterprise Action Fund or why its manager is making a political statement about it. From the fund's website:

Left-wing social and political activists are harnessing the power, resources and influence of publicly-owned corporations to advance their social and political agendas. (1) Frustrated by their failure to advance their agendas in the public political process, these activists use capitalism against capitalism under the guise of “corporate social responsibility” and “socially responsible investing.” (2) Their movement threatens shareholder value and the American system of free enterprise.

Leveraging its status as an institutional shareholder in hundreds of America’s largest companies, the Fund aims to defend free enterprise from the Left’s use of capitalism against capitalism.

2) Mooney and Borelli never explain why Disney should allow Lionsgate to distribute the DVD when Disney has its own distribution arm. Further, Mooney fails to note that the Hollywood Reporter stated: "Contacted after the meeting, Lionsgate insiders said that there is no serious interest in acquiring the DVD rights to 'Path.'"

Mooney goes on to note that "Top Democratic Party officials, including former members of the Clinton administration, claim the film is laced with inaccuracies. Madeline Albright, the secretary of state under President Clinton, Sandy Berger, the former national security advisor and Bruce Lindsey, a Clinton attorney all expressed strong reservations about the film to Disney," but he doesn't mention specific inaccuracies to which they objected.

Meanwhile, Mooney uncritically repeats Borelli's claim that "The film has come under criticism not because Democratic officials are suddenly concerned about objective facts but because they are concerned about safeguarding President Clinton’s legacy particularly as it pertains to the ineffective counter-terrorism practices in the 1990s that are exposed in the film." Mooney also promotes an upcoming film by "former Los Angles radio host" John Ziegler who claims (without evidence, of course) that "The Path to 9/11" "was easy on the Clinton administration."

Mooney adds:

However, the overriding point the filmmaker hopes most to drive home most in this new documentary – tentatively entitled “Blocking the Path” – is how constrained Clinton became in fighting back against terrorism in the midst of impeachment.

“Clinton was relying on his approval ratings to remain in office,” Ziegler said. “So he couldn’t go after Bin Laden and risk disaster and risk losing American operatives”

Does this mean that Ziegler will detail how Republicans share some of the blame for forcing an impeachment action against Clinton that constrained him in fighting terrorism? Don't count on it.

Mooney, by the way, makes no mention of Ziegler's politics; Ziegler's Wikipedia page calls him "a strong supporter of President Bush's policies following 9/11" and notes that Ziegler describes himself as "more libertarian than conservative, more conservative than liberal."


Posted by Terry K. at 3:39 PM EDT
WND's Simpson Whitewashes Homeschooling Case
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A March 10 WorldNetDaily column by Barbara Simpson engages in the expected overheated rhetoric in the Phillip Long homeschooling case -- "Living in this country today is like being stranded in the middle of a hail storm" -- but Simpson also whitewashes the facts behind the Long case. She writes:

This case came about because of a child welfare investigation in Los Angeles County. Mary and Philip Long were homeschooling their eight children. Mrs. Long is the teacher, but she's not credentialed. The children were also enrolled in the Sunland Christian School as part of an independent study program.

Apparently, one of the children complained to someone about "mistreatment." As part of the investigation, a juvenile court judge found the children were being "poorly educated" (because of homeschooling) but made no changes.

However, lawyers appointed for the children after child advocates got involved pursued the issue. The appeals court then ordered the children to state schools, not permitting them to continue with Sunland school because it (Sunland) "was willing to participate in the deprivation of the children's right to a legal education."

Simpson doesn't mention that courts have found that were was, in fact, mistreatment going on by the father against his children and that the house where the family lived was in "an endangering filthy, unsanitary and unsafe condition, and the minors were chronically filthy, and unsupervised late at night."

Further, the judge did not conclude that the children were being "poorly educated" because they were being homeschooled; the judge made no general statement about the overall quality of homeschooled. Rather, the judge stated that, in this case, the education the children received at home as "lousy," "meager," and "bad," and that the supervision by the Christian school with which the family was affiliated was minimal at best. One child testified that she "was not taught geography or history. Asked if she can add, subtract, multiply and divide, [she] stated she cannot."

Does Simpson really consider such meager so-called homeschooling superior to the public schools she attacks? Or such an abusive family to be the ideal place for children to be raised? Let's hope not.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:19 AM EDT
Monday, March 10, 2008
A Free Ride of Another Kind
Topic: NewsBusters

In a March NewsBusters post, Tim Graham trumpets the Washington Post's tweak of the new book by David Brock and Paul Waldman of Media Matters (disclosure: our employer) about fawning media coverage of John McCain, "Free Ride," that "oops, the title doesn’t match the rough reporting coming out from newspapers on McCain’s alleged hypocrisy (and adultery?) with lobbyists."

Graham, of course, co-wrote with Brent Bozell a book about fawning media coverage of Hillary Clinton, "Whitewash." But what's the headline on this NewsBusters post today by Mark Finkelstein?

'Today' Pans Hil's Obama-for-VP Ploy: Ignorant, Arrogant, Illogical, Condescending

Oops, indeed.

Nevertheless, Graham writes that "the MRC will allow that Hillary Clinton hasn't always received a 'free ride'" (while not offering any examples that it has done so without also trying to explain how that doesn't conflict with his book's thesis). But the promotional copy for "Whitewash" tells a different story:

In Whitewash, L. Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham of the Media Research Center, America’s largest and most respected media watchdog organization, expose the unprecedented media favoritism that is the real key to Hillary’s political career. Marshalling stunning evidence compiled exclusively by the Media Research Center, the authors show how the media have relentlessly promoted Hillary from the moment in 1992 when Time magazine introduced her to the country as an “amalgam of Betty Crocker, Mother Teresa, and Oliver Wendell Holmes.”

We're not seeing any equivocating there. (Of course, that description is a bit misleading.)

Graham also purports to elucidate the difference between the MRC and Media Matters (apparently because "Brent would want to avoid having the two groups blurred into identical twins"). Media Matters, Graham writes, "spreads the search for "misinformation" all over radio and the Internet and opinion sections everywhere, trying to make everyone avoid the biased "mainstream" media roaring behind the curtain," while the MRC "tr[ies] to stick to news reporting." That, of course, is why the MRC has studies on Rosie O'Donnell and bloggers at the Huffington Post.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:47 PM EDT
CNS Ignores Full Homeschooling Story
Topic: CNSNews.com

A March 10 CNSNews.com article by Randy Hall weighs on on the Phillip Long homeschooling ruling. Hall does take a stab at balance and reality that WorldNetDaily has thus far refused to do: He admits that it's "religious conservatives" who oppose the California court decision that ordered Long's children to attend a real school, and he actually attempts balance by exerpting an op-ed on the National Education Association website critical of homeschooling (though it apparently predates the Long decision). But Hall allows claims to go unchallenged and ignores the full story behind Long and his family.

Hall writes that "The family came to the attention of Los Angeles County social workers when one of the children claimed the father was physically abusive," adding, "The workers then learned that all eight children in the family were home-schooled, and an attorney representing the two youngest children asked the Juvenile Dependency Court to order that they be enrolled in public or private school to protect their well-being." Hall thus suggests that state officials thought that homeschooling was a form of physical abuse.

Hall leave out the fact (as we've pointed out) that the dependency court did, in fact, find that the father "has a long history of physically abusing the children and mother has a long history of not protecting them from father," adding, "[F]ather dominates mother and dominates the children who live at home. ... He will not permit the children to attend school. He will not permit them to receive childhood vaccinations. He will not permit the girls to wear pants at home. He will not permit birth certificates."

Also unmentioned by Hall was the fact that the court also described the education the children received at home as "lousy," "meager," and "bad," and found that the supervision by the Christian school with which the family was affiliated was minimal at best. The dependency court found the parents' home to be in "an endangering filthy, unsanitary and unsafe condition, and the minors were chronically filthy, and unsupervised late at night." 

Hall uncritically repeated Long's assertion that he has "sincerely held religious beliefs" which compels him to keep his children out of public school, ignoring that the court noted that "Over the years, the parents of the children have given various reasons for not sending the children to school," including that "educating children outside the home exposes them to 'snitches.'" One child testified that she "was not taught geography or history. Asked if she can add, subtract, multiply and divide, [she] stated she cannot."

Hall also mischaracterized the NEA op-ed he excerpted, claiming the author, Dave Arnold, asserted that "many home schools are run by 'well-meaning but gullible parents,' including those who educate their children according to their "religious convictions" and see home-schooling as the best way to combat our nation's 'ungodly' public schools. In fact, Arnold was focusing on organizations catering to homeschooling that are only looking to make a buck and the parents' refusal to do anything to improve public schools:

Another Web site asks for donations and posts newspaper articles pertaining to problems occurring in public schools.

It’s obvious to me that these organizations are in it for the money. They are involved in the education of children mostly in the hope of profiting at the hands of well-meaning but gullible parents.

This includes parents who home-school their children for reasons that may be linked to religious convictions. One Web site that I visited stated that the best way to combat our nation’s “ungodly” public schools was to remove students from them and teach them at home or at a Christian school.

I’m certainly not opposed to religious schools, or to anyone standing up for what they believe in. I admire anyone who has the strength to stand up against the majority. But in this case, pulling children out of a school is not the best way to fight the laws that govern our education system. No battle has ever been won by retreating!

Of course, CNS, being a conservative site that has been critical of public schools has an agenda here as well. This is perfectly illustrated by another March 10 article by Pete Winn, which uncritically repeats conservatives' attacks on a high school in Deerfield, Illinois, for purportedly offering "homosexual porn" by having the play "Angels in America" on a student reading list. The article is an example of CNS' sham balance, featuring only attacks on the school and a note at the end that school officials "did not respond to interview requests prior to press time."

Winn also uncritically repeats a statement by one critic that the school district previous "ordered 14-year-old freshmen to take a seminar that amounted to homosexual indoctrination." No supporting evidence is offered for the claim, and there's no description of what the purported "homosexual indoctrination" entailed.

We noted that when WorldNetDaily repeated this claim last year, it similarly offered no details of the purported "indoctrination" and  took its information only from a Concerned Women for America press release.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:43 PM EDT
WND Misleads on Vaccines and Autism
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Feb. 28 WorldNetDaily article reporting on a government agreement to pay compensation to the parents of a child who developed autism after receiving a series of vaccinations distorts the case in question to promote its own anti-vaccine agenda. From the article:

The federal government continues to deny a link between vaccines and autism, but the U.S. Court of Federal Claims has ruled in favor of a child alleged to have regressed into autism as a result of vaccinations.

Several of the vaccinations included the controversial mercury-based preservative thimerosal, points out the National Autism Association, which sees the ruling as confirmation of the claims of many parents.

[...]

The NAA criticized the CDC decision, noting thimerosal is still found in flu shots recommended for children and pregnant women.

Thimerosal in vaccines is suspected of causing brain damage and weakening the immune system, making some children susceptible later to infection from measles, mumps and rubella shots.

[Author David] Kirby, writing for the Huffington Post, reported the government's written concession said the child had a pre-existing mitochondrial disorder that was "aggravated" by her shots and ultimately resulted in a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, or ASD.

WND quoted only anti-vaccine activists and ignored other evidence in the case that weakens the argument of those activists.

As a March 7 Associated Press article notes, the child received five simultaneous vaccines as a toddler, after which she regressed into an autistic state. The parents, according to the AP, "were exploring two theories to explain what happened to Hannah. One is that she was born with the mitochondria disorder and the vaccines caused a stress to her body that worsened the condition. The other is that the vaccine ingredient thimerosal caused the mitochondrial dysfunction."

Further, as a March 8 New York Times article reports:

The disease control centers, the Food and Drug Administration, the Institute of Medicine, the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics have all largely dismissed the notion that thimerosal causes or contributes to autism.

Five major studies have found no link, and since thimerosal’s removal from all routinely administered childhood vaccines in 2001, there has been no apparent effect on autism rates.

The Times article also states:

“Let me be very clear that the government has made absolutely no statement indicating that vaccines are a cause of autism,” Dr. Julie L. Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday. “That is a complete mischaracterization of the findings of the case and a complete mischaracterization of any of the science that we have at our disposal today.”

The AP article adds:

“There are no scientific studies documenting that childhood vaccinations cause or worsen mitochondrial diseases, but there is very little scientific research in this area,” said Chuck Mohan, executive director the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, a Pittsburgh-based group that raises money for research. 

It's a much more complicated case than the WND article makes it appear. But WND made it appear that way by not reporting the full story.

This is a WND hobbyhorse. In April 2007, an issue of WND's Whistleblower magazine was devoted to "exposing the dark side of vaccines," featuring an article lionizing the conservative-leaning Association of American Physicians and Surgeons for opposing all vaccine mandates. Indeed, WND seems loath to admit that vaccines have done any good for anyone.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:41 AM EDT
Sunday, March 9, 2008
WND Anti-Gay Agenda Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Here's the lead of a March 8 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh:

What if homosexuals staged a huge promotion of that sexual lifestyle choice, and no one came to see it? That's exactly what a coalition of organizations is proposing for April 25, this year's "Day of Silence," which is sponsored in public schools across the nation to promote homosexuality.

Unruh makes assumptions for which he offers no supporting evidence -- that homosexuality is a "sexual lifestyle choice," ad that the "Day of Silence" event "promote[s] homosexuality." Unruh is indulging in the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy, assuming that anything that does not criticize homosexuality "promote[s]" it.

The article also presents Unruh's usual lack of balance, quoting only conservative critics of the "Day of Silence" who make similarly unsupported claims:

  • "'Day of Silence' is about coercing students to repudiate traditional morality."
  • "[Under such indoctrination,] we are creating barbarians. Parents want something other than barbarians living down the street."
  • "Our schools are supposed to be places of learning, not places of political indoctrination. It is the height of impropriety and cynicism for 'gay' activists and school officials to use children as pawns in their attempt to further a highly controversial and polarizing political agenda." 

Unruh does not offer support for these statments either, nor does he allow anyone to respond to them.

Unruh indulges further in the fallacy -- and heavily distorts the truth -- when he repeats a pair of old distortions:

A parent in Massachusetts was jailed when he objected to his kindergarten son being presented with a public school district book advocating homosexuality, and in California, lawmakers have written a law requiring teachers to present only positive representations of such alternative lifestyle choices.

As we noted, the book in question did not "advocate homosexuality"; it merely noted that homosexuals exist. Further, the father, David Parker, was not "jailed" for objecting to the book; he was arrested and, because he refused to bail himself out, spent one night in jail for trespassing after he refused to leave his child's school until they agreed to his demand that he be allowed to opt out his child from discussions of same-sex marriage.

Also, as we've detailed, the California law does not mandate "only positive representations" of homosexuality; it 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.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:32 AM EST
MRC Readers Want It to Turn a Blind Eye to Hagee's Anti-Catholicism
Topic: CNSNews.com

There appears to be one reason that the Media Research Center has been loath to address anti-Catholic evangelist John Hagee's endorsement of John McCain, even though it has a history of bashing perceived anti-Catholicism elsewhere -- its target audience either sympathetic to Hagee's views on Catholicism or, like the MRC, is willing to turn a blind eye in order to get McCain elected.

The only description of Hagee's views on Catholicism ("the great whore," "false cult system") appeared in a March 4 CNSNews.com article. On March 6, CNS printed letters from readers upset at ... the Catholic League's Bill Donohue for demanding that McCain renounce Hagee's endorsement:

"It's a sad but true fact that in spite of the millions of followers to the pope the Roman Catholic Church and its kin do not follow the teaching of the Bible. They teach doctrines developed by the church, discourage lay people from reading the Bible, and lead people into faith in the church rather than in Jesus Christ. John Hagee is one of the few Christians in today's politically correct world who has the courage to stand up for Jesus and the truth. Of course no cult or false religion will admit they lie, and instead they condemn the one who exposes him. God bless John Hagee!" ("McCain 'Embraces a Bigot,' Catholic League Says," March 4)

Grant T.
Brookfield, WI

"This is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. All religious movements throughout history have supported authoritarian forms of government and restrictions on individual self-determination and liberty. The priests and politicians should know better. No endorsements should be offered by any church. Nor should they be accepted by any candidate for public office."

Brad A.
Corvallis, OR

"As a Catholic I disavow Bill Donohue's statement. He does not represent or speak for me. Donahue's characterization of the senator as 'really stupid,' is bloviation of the worse kind from someone who obviously does not personally know the senator nor has ever been in a position to assess the senator's IQ. Additionally, the only person I have seen the senator embracing this past week has been his wife, Cindy, and she is no bigot. I personally and professionally know John McCain.

As a Catholic I endorse John McCain. He may be many things, but he is not 'stupid.' The senator does not agree with all of my positions any more than I agree with all of the senator's positions. Such a state of affairs in a rational world does not preclude my endorsement of the senator (nor the senator endorsing me). Donahue makes all of us Catholics and the Catholic League look stupid. Donahue has every right to disagree and to bloviate but not to gratuitously insult people in my name. Please do not give him any more ink."

Richard S.
Atlantic Beach FL

"Ordinarily I would agree with Mr. Donohue, but I would remind him: the consequence of Senator McCain's defeat is Clinton or Obama. Don't tell me to stay home either. That is an equally bad decision. For better or for worse, it has to be Mr. McCain then. My policy in elections is this: no matter how bad the candidates are, there is always one who is better, albeit by a small amount, than the other. Keep voting for the best one. Sooner or later the tide will turn, and a really good candidate will come along. Oh, and of course, do a lot of praying."

Glenn P.
Houston, TX

"Shame of the Catholic League. John Hagee is one of the most informed and profound Bible teachers and most knowledgeable on Israel and the Middle East. Sure he doesn't agree with all Catholic doctrine (I don't either), and the Catholic League doesn't agree with all Protestant doctrine. So what? We will all agree in heaven. If John Hagee endorses McCain, great.

I would rather he had endorsed Huckabee, but so what? Whoever the GOP nominee is, I will vote for him, because I am in agreement with the GOP platform. If the Democrats win, we will have more abortions and infanticide, more same-sex marriages and civil unions further eroding the family, higher taxes, more 9/11s, more erosion of the Judeo/Christian principles that this country was founded on, more of everything most American detest."

Claudia B.
Graham, WA

Would these readers (and the MRC) be so sanguine about Hagee's statements if he wasn't a conservative? Probably not. 


Posted by Terry K. at 12:18 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, March 9, 2008 12:20 AM EST
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: Newsmax

If Ms. Clinton is both resignedly sweet and explosively sour, we need to ask hard, harsh questions.

Can America risk having a president with mood swings with her finger on the nuclear button?

-- Lowell Ponte, Feb. 26 Newsmax column

Like him or loathe him, you get the feeling that you could enjoy having a beer with Bill Clinton, you don't get that feeling that you could enjoy anything with Hillary Clinton — except maybe anesthesia.

-- Brent Bozell, as quoted by Phil Brennan, Feb. 26 Newsmax column

Underneath the veneer of the practiced smile and the strategically used giggle, there is a rage that is always close to the surface. It was on display in the debate.

Hillary Clinton is furious that America has not agreed to her coronation. She doesn’t understand why voters are rejecting her and embracing Barack Obama. She just doesn’t get it.

-- Dick Morris, Feb. 29 Newsmax column

So the questions for Ohioans who vote Tuesday for Clinton will be a choice of three alternatives:

Did you vote for Ms. Clinton because you hate capitalism and international trade?

Did you vote for her because you are a racist who would not vote for any black candidate for president?

Or did you vote for Hillary Clinton simply because you are stupid and gullible enough to believe anti-NAFTA words and promises from the former ruling family that created NAFTA?

Note that an affirmative answer to any one of these three questions gives intelligent business people good reason never to invest another penny in Ohio.

-- Lowell Ponte, March 3 Newsmax column


Posted by Terry K. at 11:28 AM EST
Friday, March 7, 2008
CNS Ignores Facts Behind California EPA Controversy
Topic: CNSNews.com

A March 7 CNSNews.com article by Monisha Bansal reported on legislation introduced by "House Democrats" (even though she notes later that one Republican is a co-sponsor) that would "overturn a Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decison barring California from setting its own emissions standards for automobiles." While Bansal quotes Rep. Brad Sherman stating that "California has applied for a waiver (to the Clean Air Act) 54 times  -- 53 have been granted," and she quotes representatives of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers essentially arguing that emissions standards are low enough, Bansal does not mention the core of the controversy.

As the Los Angeles Times reported, EPA administrator Stephen Johnson, in denying California's request, ignored its own staff's recommendation that it be granted, adding that if the waiver was denied, EPA would very likely lose in court to the state:

But if Johnson granted California the waiver and the auto industry sued, "EPA is almost certain to win," said two sources quoting the briefing document. They advised him to either grant the waiver outright or give California a temporary one for three years.

Instead, three sources said, Johnson cut off any consultation with his technical staff for the last month and made his decision before having them write the formal, legal justification for it.

The LA Times article also quoted the same AAM rep Bansal talked to, but on an issue Bansal didn't ask him about:

Charles Territo, spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers in Washington, said there was "absolutely not" any linkage between his trade group's decision to support the final version of the Senate energy bill and the EPA's decision to deny California's request for a waiver. Territo said the industry has always stressed a national mileage standard and opposed the California petition.

Bansal never explicitly states that the AAM opposed the California petition.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:04 PM EST
Armitage-O-Philia Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

If Richard Armitage didn't exist, NewsBusters would have had to invent him -- he serves as such a valuable touchstone of misleading claims for it.

In a March 6 NewsBusters post, Richard Newcomb attacked an article in the Israeli paper Haaretz for coming to the defense of "anti-American" New York Times reporters who committed the offense of, in Newcomb's words, "deciding what information is and is not legal to leak and print- never mind that we elect Presidents, Senators and Representatives to do this." Times reporter james Risen, Newcomb wrote, "exposed classified data with the aid of hidden law-breakers in the government," in this case an alleged "CIA-Mossad operation to destabilize Iran," thus "aiding America's enemies and assisting said enemies to kill American citizens." Newcomb stated regarding the Haaretz article:

Haaretz goes on to bring up the infamous Valerie Plame hoax to support their argument that the Bush Administratioj is 'waging war on journalists', repeating the false claim that Vice-President Richard Cheney's then chief of staff, L. Lewis Libby leaked Plame's name. As a matter of fact, it was State Department hack Richard Armitage who actually first mentioned Plame's name, though I am not sure how much leaking was involved concerning someone who was listed as a CIA employee in Who's Who!

As we have repeatedly noted every time a NewsBusters writer makes this claim, Armitage was not the only person to leak Plame's name; his leakee, Robert Novak, was merely the first to publish it. Scooter Libby did, in fact, leak Valerie Plame's name, as well as Karl Rove (with whom Novak confirmed Plame's identity).

Further, Plame was not "listed as a CIA employee in Who's Who!" as Newcomb claims; she was listed only as the wife of Joe Wilson with no mention of job title.

Newcomb also personally attacks Risen, baselessly asserting: "Risen strikes me as a person who would rather see Muslim fanatics running the United States than an elected Republican President."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:21 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, March 9, 2008 10:33 AM EST
WND Condones Bad Homeschooling, Abusive Parenting
Topic: WorldNetDaily

(Updated)

Another WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh on the case of California homeschooling parent Phillip Long, another effort to whitewash the behavior of the parents, and another failure to mention important issues in the case.

Why are Unruh and WND doing this? They're too close to the issue to tell the truth. Unruh and WND editor Joseph Farah have their children homeschooled, and they apparently don't want to admit -- or let anyone else know -- that there are bad apples in homeschooling.

But don't Unruh and Farah realize that by refusing to tell the truth to WND readers, they may actually end up harming homeschooling in the long run?

Unruh and WND have never mentioned the fact that, as court documents have detailed (as have we), the Long family was providing a substandard homeschool education to their children:

  • The court described the education the children received at home as "lousy," "meager," and "bad," and that the supervision by the Christian school with which the family was affiliated was minimal at best.
  • One child testified that she "was not taught geography or history. Asked if she can add, subtract, multiply and divide, [she] stated she cannot."

WND has also not reported the history of the father. From court documents:

  • "Father has a long history of physically abusing the children and mother has a long history of not protecting them from father."
  • "[F]ather dominates mother and dominates the children who live at home. ... He will not permit the children to attend school. He will not permit them to receive childhood vaccinations. He will not permit the girls to wear pants at home. He will not permit birth certificates."
  • The court found the parents' home to be in "an endangering filthy, unsanitary and unsafe condition, and the minors were chronically filthy, and unsupervised late at night." 

There are good homeschoolers -- and there are also bad homeschoolers. The court has found Phillip Long and his wife to be bad homeschoolers and the father to be an abusive parent. WND's failure to tell the truth about the Longs to its readers leads to the inescapable conclusion that it condones such behavior.

Do Unruh and Farah treat their homeschooled children the way Phillip Long is on record as treating his? We hope not. We hope they don't think that such behavior is acceptable. But by staying silent about it, Unruh and Farah leave the impression that they do.

Shielding the Longs' dysfunctional family from public scrutiny in the name of protecting homeschooling, as Unruh and WND have done, will damage homeschooling in the long run because it contributes to an image of homeschooling being the province of extremist wackos.

We can't imagine anyone who truly cares about education and homeschooling would subject their children to the substandard education the Longs are on record as providing to their children. So why won't anyone within the homeschooling community admit that bad education is bad education, even (and, perhaps, especially) when it happens at home?

Through his biased reporting, Unruh is aiding and abetting the further abuse of the Long children by their parents. Is that what he and WND really want to happen to this family -- or any family? 

WND needs to decide: Will it shield and whitewash abusive parents so that they may further harm their children, or will it act as "fearless" as it claims to be and tell the truth? 

UPDATE: We see that Michelle Malkin has latched onto this issue as well. But, like WND, Malkin fails to note the father's abuse or the "lousy" home education the children have received. You'd think that, with her demonstrated eagerness to attack 12-year-olds, Malkin would be rushing to tell the full story of the Long family. Apparently not.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:31 AM EST
Updated: Friday, March 7, 2008 1:20 PM EST
Ellis Washington Puts Klan Smears in Socrates' Mouth
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've previously noted how WorldNetDaily columnist Ellis Washington made misleading claims about the long-ago ties of some Democrats to the Ku Klux Klan. In his March 6 column, Washington takes things several steps farther: he calls a black man a Klansman.

No, seriously. He repeatedly refers to Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick as "Kwame 'Klan' Kilpatrick." The column is presented as a bizarre dialectic between Kilpatrick, Socrates, and a Klan Grand Dragon. At one point, Washington has the "Grand Dragon" say:

At our height of power in 1925, the KKK had over 4 million members. We proudly marched 40,000 strong down Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House, yet our demonic hatred of blacks, Jews, Catholics and immigrants have no comparison with the pathology, despair, ignorance and black-on-black crime affecting the state of black America today – terrorist tactics done by their own people in complicity with big-city black mayors, the public schools, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Democrat Party ... yet, the KKK is called a racist organization?!

To which "Socrates" responds:

Are black people better off under the openly racist regime of Gov. George Wallace, police Chief Bull Connor and the Grand Dragon of the KKK, or are black people better off under the incompetent, arrogant and pathological black leadership of a Kwame "Klan" Kilpatrick? – KKK or KKK? It is a paradox that may not be able to be answered in this generation; however, posing this question offers the seeds of hope for a new generation of leadership that refuses to be defined by skin color, but will only be judged by the content of their character.

Until that apotheosis occurs there is only a negligible difference between the tyranny of the Ku Klux Klan of 1868-1968 and the tyranny of Kwame "Klan" Kilpatrick in 2008.

Would Socrates really resort to tossing out incendiary ad hominem attacks as Washington portrays him doing? We think not.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:14 AM EST
Thursday, March 6, 2008
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

A March 5 appearance by the Media Research Center's Tim Graham on Fox News' "Your World" follows the template: Graham appears solo, neither he nor the MRC are identified as conservative, and guest host Brenda Buttner reinforces Graham's talking points: "I mean, the mainstream media is pretty liberal. Obama is pretty liberal. Do you really expect them to really take him -- to really grill him from the very start?"

Any chance we can expect Fox News to bring on a representative of our employer to join Graham on his next appearance on the channel for something approaching a "fair and balanced" discussion (though even then it would still be two against one)? Don't count on it.

UPDATE: The Business and Media Institute's Dan Gainor appeared on Fox Business on March 6. The video clip supplied via NewsBusters is edited down to footage of only Gainor, but we can surmise that the template was followed here as well. 


Posted by Terry K. at 1:35 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, March 6, 2008 10:47 PM EST
Unruh Still Whitewashing Homeschooling Family
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A March 5 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh continues his dishonest coverage of the case of a California homeschooling family whose children have been ordered to attend a real school.

As he has before, Unruh focuses on the purported threat to homeschooling made by the ruling against Phillip Long while ignoring one key issue in the case: the quality of the homeschooling provided and the circumstances in which they have been provided.

As we've detailed, court documents have described the education the children received at home as "lousy," "meager," and "bad," and that the supervision by the Christian school with which the family was affiliated was minimal at best. One child testified that she "was not taught geography or history. Asked if she can add, subtract, multiply and divide, Rachel stated she cannot."

Court documents have also noted that the "Father has a long history of physically abusing the children and mother has a long history of not protecting them from father," adding: "father dominates mother and dominates the children who live at home. ... He will not permit the children to attend school. He will not permit them to receive childhood vaccinations. He will not permit the girls to wear pants at home. He will not permit birth certificates." The court further found the parents' home to be in "an endangering filthy, unsanitary and unsafe condition, and the minors were chronically filthy, and unsupervised late at night."

Does Unruh and WND really want to be on record as defending a family that behaves in such a manner? Do Unruh and WND endorse such a poor quality "education"? Or do homeschooling parents Unruh and Joseph Farah treat their family the way Long has been documented as treating his?


Posted by Terry K. at 9:33 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, March 6, 2008 9:40 AM EST

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