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Tuesday, March 25, 2008
WND Still Not Telling the Truth About Elmira Prayer Protest
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A March 24 WorldNetDaily article stated that an appeal "has been filed on behalf of four Christians who were fined for praying in a public park in Elmira, N.Y." The article continues:

The case stems from a visit by seven Christians to a homosexual festival in a public park in Elmira last year. They were convicted of "disorderly conduct" even though the police officer who arrested them testified their actions were peaceful.

[...]

The Christians were arrested June 23 after they entered Elmira's Wisner Park with their heads bowed to pray for the participants of the homosexual festival going on. Materials advertising the event stated it was open to the public and all were invited to attend.

[...]

The Elmira Star-Gazette reported police Sgt. Sharon Moyer told the court she warned Julian Raven that his rights at the event were limited..

"He said he was there to preach the word of God," Moyer told the court, the newspaper reported. "I explained he was welcome to be there (at the festival), but he would not be allowed to confront the participants."

The officer accused the street preacher of being antagonistic.

[Street preacher Julian] Raven, however, said it was Moyer who was "aggressive from the get-go" and said her orders amounted to a deprivation of his rights.

WND, as it has previously done, fails to tell the full truth about the incident. Merely "praying," as WND repeatedly asserts, was not the issue here; nowhere does it describe the specific circumstances in which the group did so. According to the Elmira Star-Gazette: "The four protesters claimed their right to free speech was violated when they were arrested June 23 after laying prostrate on the lawn in front of a temporary stage in the park."

The article also repeated WND's previous false claim that "A local newspaper reported the judge determined Raven was reckless for going to the park." In fact, what the Star-Gazette stated that Elmira City Judge Thomas Ramich "said in his decision that Julian M. Raven, the leader of the protest group, was being reckless when he inserted the four into the midst of the event participants" -- that is, having them lay prostrate on the lawn in front of a temporary stage in the park, not simply the act of "going to the park."


Posted by Terry K. at 3:28 PM EDT
St. John Cherry-Picks Stats to Attack Gays
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a March 25 column warning that homosexuals are "using the public airwaves, public parks and public schools to push deviant sexual practices into the faces of our innocent children," Olivia St. John writes:

Dr. Gene Abel, medical director of the Behavioral Medicine Institute of Atlanta, compared groups of self-confessed homosexual and heterosexual molesters. A sampling of molestation rates indicated that the homosexuals averaged molesting 150 children each, while the heterosexuals molested 19.8 victims each. 

St. John falsely assumes that all same-sex pedophiles are homosexual. In fact, as Mark E. Pietrzyk points out, Abel has written:

[M]ost men who molest little boys are not gay.  Only 21 percent of the child molesters we studied who assault little boys were exclusively homosexual.  Nearly 80 percent of the men who molested little boys were heterosexual or bisexual, and most of these men were married and had children of their own. 

This is a distortion of Abel's work that WND has propagated as far back as 2000. David Bresnahan wrote in an article "excerpted from an in-depth exploration of pedophilia, homosexuality and the Boy Scouts of America in the October edition of WND's sister publication, the monthly WorldNet Magazine [now Whistleblower]": "Based on data from a study of non-incarcerated child sex offenders, Gene G. Abel, M.D., has found that homosexuals 'sexually molest young boys with an incidence that is occurring five times greater than the molestation of girls.'" But Abel did not label all same-sex pedophiles as homosexuals.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:33 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 25, 2008 12:29 PM EDT
MRC Pastor Equivocation Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

The MRC's efforts to downplay inflammatory statements by right-wing preachers continues apace: A March 24 NewsBusters post by Justin McCarthy states:

['The View" co-hosts Joy] Behar and Whoopi Goldberg justified Barack Obama’s connection to Jeremiah Wright by pointing to Bush’s association with Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and their many controversial remarks. It could be a valid point if Falwell or Robertson were Bush’s pastor for 20 years. Neither of them ever were.

As we've noted, the MRC has been apologists for Falwell's history of statements -- as well as those made by John McCain endorsers John Hagee and Rod Parsley, calling them insignificant (when they mention them at all) compared to those made by Wright.

On a related front, a March 24 NewsBusters post by Seton Motley (reprinted at Human Events) accuses the media of engaging in a "Plan to Protect Obama" without noting the MRC's own Plan to Protect McCain by downplaying remarks by the pastors who have endorsed him. In fact, Motley doesn't mention Hagee, Parsley or any other right-wing pastor at all. And Tim Graham complained that, during an interview with Obama, CNN's Larry King "didn’t ask a single question about [Wright] until 32 minutes had elapsed on the show, and then devoted just 20 minutes to it." Which, of course, is 20 minutes more than Graham has spent on Hagee and Parsley.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 AM EDT
WND Adds Reporter Who Shares Its Bias
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A March 23 WorldNetDaily article announced that it has added Chelsea Schilling, a former WND reporting intern and current (apparent part-time) assistant commentary editor, "as a full-time general assignment reporter upon her graduation from college in May." The article touts her "perfect 4.0 grade point average in pursuit of her journalism degree."

So, what can we expect from Schilling? Will her work be any more fair and balanced and accurate than that of, say, Bob Unruh? A perusal through the ConWebWatch archives during the time of Schilling's WND reporting internship suggests not:

  • Schilling has unquestioningly parroted Alliance Defense Fund press releases without making an effort to gather the full story.
  • Schilling called Hillary Clinton a "clown" for having purportedly "cried three times to gain voter sympathy." Schilling claimed Hillary answered one questioner with "a pathetically contrived tremble" and anonther with "crocodile tears," as if she could divine Hillary's true emotions. Schilling also tossed out a casual smear of John Edwards as "Miss Sunshine Breck."

Further, the other two news outlets with which Schilling has claimed professional experience -- USA Radio Network and the Sacramento Union -- are both conservative (the latter with its own bias problems).

That's what you have to look forward to when Schilling goes full-time -- in other words, exactly what we've come to expect from WND. A perfect GPA doesn't make you less biased.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:01 AM EDT
Monday, March 24, 2008
AIM Tries Playing the Manchurian Card on Obama
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A March 18 AIM Report tries to play the Manchurian Candidate card against Barack Obama. It carries the headline, "Is Barack Obama A Marxist Mole?" and claims there is "mounting public concern about a candidate who has come out of virtually nowhere" that he's, well, a commie.

It's largely a rehash of a Feb. 18 column by Cliff Kincaid making a big deal out of the claim that an Obama mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, was purportedly an unrepentant commie. The AIM Report builds on that by ramping up the anti-communist paranoia with subheads like "Fellow Travelers" and "The Nature Of The Threat" and, most ominously, "OBAMA’S SECRET SOCIALIST CONNECTIONS."

Kincaid and AIM seem a tad desperate to portray Obama as a secret commie, since portraying him as a secret Muslim didn't work out so well.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 PM EDT
WND Repeats Personal Smear of Schaeffer
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A March 21 WorldNetDaily article by Art Moore is aimed at attacking Frank Schaeffer, son of late "evangelical thinker" Francis Schaeffer, and Moore is not afraid to throw a personal smear or two in the mix.

Moore was responding to an article by Frank Schaeffer "in the Baltimore Community Times" -- in fact, it first appeared at the Huffington Post -- stating that the controversial statements made by Barack Obama's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, are no different from those made by "thousands of right-wing white preachers," who say, "as my dad often did, that we are, 'under the judgment of God.' They call America evil and warn of imminent destruction. By comparison Obama's minister's shouted 'controversial' comments were mild."

Moore makes no apparent attempt to contact Frank Schaeffer to explain himself or respond to criticism -- a practice familiar those who have observed his whitewashing of professional Clinton-bashers Peter Paul and Kathleen Willey. Indeed, Schaeffer's basic point is never rebutted. Rather, he cites a personal attack "evangelical writer and social critic Os Guinness," who panned Frank Schaeffer's book on his break with the evangelical movement in a Christianity Today article:

Guinness says the "real truth is that Franky, as he then called himself, was spoiled. He was more like a poster child for Benjamin Spock than the son of 'fundamentalist missionaries.'"

"Having been born well after his sisters, and having survived polio as a child, he was rarely challenged, disciplined, or denied," he writes. "As a result, he grew up a 'little Napoleon,' as some of the L'Abri students called him. He would boast that he could twist his parents around his little finger, and time and again he proved it."

That's right -- personal attacks, not intellectual arguments, are an acceptable form of rebuttal in a WND "news" article.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:24 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, March 24, 2008 9:28 AM EDT
Sheppard Ignores Poll's Bias
Topic: NewsBusters

A March 23 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard cited a poll by InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion Research claiming that a majority of people poll said that Barack Obama's speech on race and the controversial  statements made by his pastor made them "less likely" to vote for him. This, Sheppard said, contradicts "media member after media member" who "gushed over Barack Obama's performance in Philadelphia on Tuesday."

But what the heck is InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion Research, and what is the Southern Political Report, which first reported the poll? We've never heard of 'em.

Turns out that InsiderAdvantage and the Southern Political Report are both divisions of a company called Internet News Agency, the chairman and CEO of which is Matt Towery. Towery is -- according to his bio at the conservative Townhall.com, where he writes a weekly column -- is a former "campaign chairman for Newt Gingrich and chief strategist for numerous national political campaigns." He is also a "former National Republican legislator of the year."

In other words, he appears to be exactly the kind of guy who has an interest in advancing the idea that Obama's speech hurt him.

Indeed, the poll has a major hole in it: While it accounts for those who were aware of Obama's speech and the situation regarding his pastor, it does not further break down responses for those to actually watched the speech. The press release on the poll does sort of acknowledge this:

Barack Obama’s speech about race on Tuesday impressed many who witnessed it or read it. But most of America did neither, and many of them  -- white and black -- were less persuaded of the speech’s capacity to heal racial wounds, or to put the issue of race behind Obama as he continues his quest for the White House. 

The release goes on to add: "It’s easy to read too much into this poll." Yet that's what Sheppard seems to be trying to do. 

Why didn't Sheppard mention any of this? Perhaps because it would undermine his own argument against liberal media bias.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:19 AM EDT
WND Lets Its Bias Hang Out
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's regular denials that it's a conservative website have always been laughable, as its pro-conservative, anti-liberal bias has always been self-evident.

WND has apparently decided to abandon even the pretense now: It's now selling a bumper sticker (below) that reads, "Defeat Obama, Osama and Chelsea's Mama."

 Presumably WND understands that by taking explicit sides in a political race -- not to mention equating political candidates to terrorists in a manner more suited to partisan hacks than a "news" organization -- it gives up any remaining credibility as a news source, that its news reports on said race will be forever seen as trafficking in bias. Of course, WND has always done this, as its repeated, factually dubious (if not outright false) attacks on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama attest.

Needless to say, a real news organization would never sell such a bumper sticker. 

Apparently, with the admission that it published false information about Al Gore, Joseph Farah and Co. have stopped caring about the issue of bias, or even the truth. It's a site that peddles lies, distortions and hate, and damn proud of it.

Just don't call it journalism.

 


Posted by Terry K. at 12:49 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, March 24, 2008 12:54 AM EDT
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Slantie Bob Strikes Again
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A March 21 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh claiming that "The Canadian government has ordered a Christian ministry that teaches doctrine and the differences between Christians and cults shut down because its reference materials were 'critical' of the beliefs of those who are not Christian" is curiously vague on some details.

Unruh talks only to Lorri MacGregor, head of MM Outreach Media Ministries, formerly MacGregor Ministries, who claims she was forced to move her operation to the United States as a result of the alleged problems in Canada. Unruh does not talk to any representative of the Canadian government; heck, there's not even a mention of which specific government agency purportedly had a problem with MacGregor's ministry.

Would Unruh have been able to get away with such a one-sided, one-source article if he had still been working for the Associated Press? Absolutely not.

Unruh also whitewashes MacGregor's group, painting it as a benign group that criticizes, among other things, "fads" in church worship, "including a 'creeping Eastern mysticism' appearing in some churches," with a particular focus on Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. But Unruh doesn't mention the numerous other groups MacGregor objects to -- such as Catholics. One article on MacGregor's website calls the Catholic Church an "idolatrous Harlot" and "deceivers." Another denounced the Catholic veneration of Mary.

Does this mean that, by giving MacGregor such fawning coverage, that Unruh is anti-Catholic too? After all, we've seen evidence of WND's anti-Catholicism before, most recently in its silence on John McCain endorser John Hagee's Catholic-bashing, so it wouldn't be surprising.

MacGregor's ministry has also attacked Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church -- of particular issue for WND since it has had relationships with some of the church's operations in the past, relationships it has never quite renounced -- indeed, last year WND uncritically praised the Washington Times without mentioning anything about Moon.

Unruh has a history of telling only one side of the story; add this one to the list. 


Posted by Terry K. at 10:36 AM EDT
MRC's Knight Joins the Equivocation Party
Topic: Media Research Center

We've noted that even as writers at the Media Research Center demanded that Barack Obama break off all ties with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, they refused to distance themselves from Jerry Falwell over his numerous controversial statements.

That equivocation continues in a March 20 piece (published at CNSNews.com and Townhall.com) by Robert Knight, director of the MRC's Culture and Media Institute. Responding to a Washington Post column by Michael Gerson in which he likened Wright to "my friend Jerry Falwell," which Knight called "scurrilous" and "vile." Knight claimed:

First, unlike Wright, Jerry Falwell was no hater. After his most controversial moment, when he blamed pro-abortion and pro-homosexual groups for 9-11 as God’s punishment on America for abandoning moral standards, he apologized. In his many years of opposing abortion and homosexual activism, he also offered the good news that Christ died for everyone and that no one is beyond the possibility of grace. He did not use profanity, nor did he repeatedly degrade any group of people the way Wright routinely castigated white people. He did not spin wild conspiracy theories, such as Wright’s conjecture that the U.S. government created AIDS to wipe out black people.

So all's forgiven because Falwell "apologized"? In fact, Falwell's "apology" was a rather tepid one:

"I do believe, as a theologian, based upon many Scriptures and particularly Proverbs 14:23, which says 'living by God's principles promotes a nation to greatness, violating those principles brings a nation to shame,'" he said.

Falwell said he believes the ACLU and other organizations "which have attempted to secularize America, have removed our nation from its relationship with Christ on which it was founded."

"I therefore believe that that created an environment which possibly has caused God to lift the veil of protection which has allowed no one to attack America on our soil since 1812," he said.

[...]

Falwell told CNN: "I would never blame any human being except the terrorists, and if I left that impression with gays or lesbians or anyone else, I apologize."

In other words, it's more of a non-apology apology, since he didn't retract the basic claim, only the "impression" he left.

And wasn't the "Clinton Chronicles" video, which Falwell hawked in late-night infomercials, a bunch of "wild conspiracy theories"?

Like his boss Brent Bozell, Knight is a longtime apologist for Falwell. In a May 2007 CMI column eulogizing Falwell, Knight proclaimed that "The Rev. Falwell did a lot of things well, ticking off liberals right up to the end" and asserted that Falwell's critics were "utterly distorting his Christian message into a caricature of hate."

As near as we can tell, neither Knight nor anyone else at CMI has mentioned the anti-Catholic rantings of John McCain endorser John Hagee -- thus fitting in with the rest of the MRC.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:52 AM EDT
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

At least Eliot Whoremonger paid for his adulterous sex. Bill Clinton, in only one of reportedly hundreds of extra-marital affairs, paid nothing to a White House intern whom he had perform oral sex on him while he was telephoning a congressman in the Oval Office.

And, in one of the most unbelievably stupid and morally bankrupt actions ever undertaken by any serious candidate for the White House, Hillary actually invited this enormously oversexed rogue to campaign for her – until what surely have been his predictable antics caused another Bill Clinton national sensation. Reportedly, Hillary's desperate campaign advisers finally persuaded her to rein him in.

But, if Hillary possibly wins both the nomination and the presidency, is there any reasonable person willing to predict that the Hillary Clinton administration will never, ever have any sex scandals (I mean from anybody else except heavily Secret-Serviced Slick Willie)?

All this is why Mrs. Clinton should now withdraw her candidacy. I say this out of concern for her insurmountable problem, since she has stayed married to Slick through so much of his serial adulteries.

-- Les Kinsolving, March 18 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 9:55 AM EDT
Klein's Weasel Words on Malley
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Here's a bit of biased weasel-wording we haven't yet covered regarding Aaron Klein's attacks on Robert Malley. Klein also claims, in both his original Malley-bashing WorldNetDaily article in January and the March 20 rehashing:

In an op-ed in the Washington Post in January coauthored by Arafat adviser Hussein Agha, Malley – using what could be perceived as anti-Israel language – urged Israel's negotiating partner, [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas, to reunite with Hamas.

"A renewed national compact and the return of Hamas to the political fold would upset Israel's strategy of perpetuating Palestinian geographic and political division," wrote Malley.

He further petitioned Israel to hold talks with Hamas.

"An arrangement between Israel and Hamas could advance both sides' interests," Malley wrote. 

Klein does not explain why this -- especially the claim that "An arrangement between Israel and Hamas could advance both sides' interests" -- "could be perceived as anti-Israel language" or who, exactly, perceives its to be so. Nowhere does Klein offer any evidence to contradict Malley's claim that Israel has a "strategy of perpetuating Palestinian geographic and political division" or that "An arrangement between Israel and Hamas could advance both sides' interests."

In fact, in the Washington Post op-ed, Malley explains his reasons why a peace agreement must involve Hamas as well as Israel and the Palestian Authority -- none of which Klein offers any response to, let alone explain why it "could be perceived as anti-Israel language."

Klein's weasel phrase is so amorphous to be meaningless, yet smear-worthy -- which seems to be Klein's objective in saying it.

UPDATE: Sadly, No! has more on Klein. Quote of note: "We note as though in passing that the person in this equation with the strongest avowed array of friendly and productive business relations with Islamic terrorists is, you know, Klein."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:11 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, March 22, 2008 11:43 AM EDT
Friday, March 21, 2008
Pierre Keeps His Anti-Catholic Outrage Blinders On
Topic: NewsBusters

We've noted that Dave Pierre is among the Media Research Center writers who gets himself all worked up about perceived anti-Catholic bigotry -- except when it comes from a right-wing evangelist who endorses a Republican presidential nominee.

Pierre does it again in a March 20 NewsBusters post, in which he bashes a Los Angeles Times writer who allegedly " mocked Catholic belief, ridiculed the sacraments, and derided the Church." There's no mention of John McCain endorser John Hagee, who arguably did the same thing when he called the Catholic Church "the Great Whore" and a "false cult system."


Posted by Terry K. at 2:08 PM EDT
MRC Defends Obama Attack Video As 'Accurate'
Topic: Media Research Center

A March 21 MRC CyberAlert item by Brent Baker (taken from a NewsBusters post) is headlined, "CBS Castigates McCain Staffer for Accurate Obama/Wright Video." Baker claims that the video in question "simply intersperses clips of Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright," then bashes CBS for "twist[ing] Obama into a victim, a task made easier by the feckless McCain campaign."

In fact, as TPM describes it, the video -- created by an official at the Salem Radio Network, syndicator of such conservative hosts as Bill Bennett, Hugh Hewitt and Michael Medved -- "incendiary" and "racially-charged" and "uses the controversial words of Barack Obama's pastor to tar Obama as unpatriotic." The video also contains footage of Malcolm X, who has nothing to do with this presidential campaign.

How is that "accurate"? Baker doesn't say.

And what is the "feckless" thing McCain's did that Baker is fretting about? It suspended the staffer who promoted the video on a Twitter feed; according to a McCain official, "We have been very clear on the type of campaign we intend to run and this staffer acted in violation of our policy."

Why is Baker ashamed of a Republican trying to hold his campaign to a higher standard? He doesn't explain that, either.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:20 PM EDT
Unruh Uncritically Repeats More Anti-Gay Claims
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Bob Unruh has a bad habit of uncritically repeating stories that mesh well with his agenda and, in his eyes, are just too good to fact-check.

A March 19 WND article by Unruh, reporting on the stridently anti-gay comments made by Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern, follows in this pattern. Unruh repeats a claim by Kern and her legal representative, the right-wing Thomas More Law Center, that her comments were "taped secretly." In fact, as Pandagon points out, the meeting at which she made those remarks was a public meeting, and as an elected official, Kern should have reasonably expected that any remarks she makes in such a setting would be made public.

In fact, everything in Unruh's article that came from Kern or the Thomas More Law Center is repeated uncritically -- Unruh talks to no critic of Kern's remarks for a response. (Didn't want to get any gay cooties, apparently.) Which is ironic because Unruh quotes WND managing editor David Kupelian as claiming that gays are engaging in an intimidation strategy against Kern, which features as a tactic "No dialogue, no debate."

As we've noted, lack of dialogue and debate is a tactic Unruh and WND have engaged in when writing about gay and homeschooling issues -- regularly refusing to interview anyone holding opposite views from them or allow them to rebut claims made by their preferred side.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:52 AM EDT

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