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Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Are You Biased Enough To Work For WND?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A May 5 WorldNetDaily job posting for a "highly motivated editor-writer" begins: "Do you have what it takes to be part of the WND editorial team?"

While the posting lists only "demonstrable experience in reporting and editing" as a requirement, there's another important part of "what it takes" that's not mentioned: a desire to slant the news to the right, unfairly depict those you don't agree with and frame their claims through the eyes of their critics, and to portray conservative and/or right-wing Christians and Jews as positively as possible while refusing to report any criticism of them (or, if it is reported, not treat it as legitimate).

Well, that's obviously how folks like Aaron Klein and Bob Unruh got their WND gigs. Joseph Farah wouldn't have hired them if they didn't.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:12 PM EDT
NewsBusters Puts Words in Reporter's Mouth
Topic: NewsBusters

Asserting that "a liberal print journalist has seen racism behind conservative concerns about Sen. Barack Obama," a May 6 NewsBusters post by Lyndsi Thomas claims that Washington Post writer Shankar Vedantam "asserted" in an article "that it is not Revered Jeremiah Wright’s incendiary comments that have damaged Obama, it is his race, sex and public style. If Wright were a white female who wrote her outlandish ideas in a scholarly journal, Vedantam thinks the effects would not be the same."

But Vedantam didn't "assert" anything. Indeed, there are no unattributed assertions in the article that can be interpreted to represent Vedantam's own view; Vedantam presents the article as a "thought experiment." Vedantam merely reported that "social psychologist Steven Neuberg believes that Wright has damaged the biracial Obama because, in his public persona -- as much as in his views -- he activates unconscious fears and racial stereotypes that many voters have about angry black men." Despite Thomas' suggestion that the article was about "racism behind conservative concerns" about Wright, the word "conservative" appears nowhere in Vedantam's article.

Further, Thomas does not know for a fact that Vedantam is a "liberal print journalist." As fellow MRC'er Tim Graham has a habit of doing, Thomas is conflating the views of those whom the reporter quotes with the (supposed) views of the reporter him/herself.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:08 PM EDT
WND Suddenly Offended by Hitler Comparison
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The headline of a May 5 WorldNetDaily article shouts, "Evolutionist compares rabbi to Hitler!" It's a reference to Richard Dawkins alleging that Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, in a debate of sorts with Dawkins over evolution, delivered "a shrieking rant, delivered with an intemperate stridency of which Hitler himself might have been proud."

Why is WND so shocked? Its writers and columnists have regularly smeared those it doesn't like with Nazi allusions. Among their targets:

Critics of homeschooling/supporters of public schools

Teachers

Al Gore

Bill Clinton

Hillary Clinton

"liberal special-interest groups"

Supporters of evolution

American Civil Liberties Union

And if the bone of contention is that Dawkins likened a Jew to Hitler, remember that WND editor Joseph Farah did essentially the same thing in September 2007, asserting that Israeli leaders Ehud Olmert and Shimon Peres have a "final solution" to the dispute over the Temple Mount.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:58 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 6, 2008 11:40 AM EDT
Waters Joins in Pretending Republicans Aren't Challenging Obama's Patriotism
Topic: NewsBusters

Following Brent Baker's lead, a May 5 NewsBusters post (and TimesWatch item) by Clay Waters complains about a New York Times article that "portrayed Democrats as victims of Republicans challenging their patriotism (without showing any actual examples of such)," later adding again, "Rarely is any actual evidence offered to accompany the accusation."

Um, guys, we offered plenty of evidence to support the accusation, even citing your fellow MRC co-workers (and boss) as examples. How about addressing that, instead of pretending such evidence doesn't exist?


Posted by Terry K. at 1:07 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 6, 2008 1:08 AM EDT
Klein's Latest Desperate Attack on Obama
Topic: WorldNetDaily

How utterly desperate is Aaron Klein to take down Barack Obama by any means possible? Here's how desperate.

A May 4 WorldNetDaily article starts this way:

Otis Moss, the man slated to become the new chief pastor at the Trinity United Church of Christ, referenced a rap song during one of his recent sermons that includes among its lyrics "F--- America" and states the U.S. is "still with triple K" – referring to the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan.

Trinity United, of course, is the church Obama attends. It's not until the 14th paragraph that you get to the nitty-gritty of Klein's attack:

"Do you know who's got our back? If I was Ice Cube, I would say it a little differently – you picked the wrong folk to mess with," Moss exclaimed.

The song Moss was referring to is actually titled "Wrong N-gga to f--- with."  It includes the lyrics "F--- America, still with the triple K" and it uses the spelling "AmeriKKKa."

The full lyrics provided in the album:

"Down wit the niggaz that I bail out
I'm platinum b-tch and I didn't have to sell out
F--- you Ice Cube, that's what the people say
F--- AmeriKKKa, still with the triple K
Cause you know when my nine goes buck
it'll bust your head like a watermelon dropped from 12 stories up
Now let's see who'll drop"

The cover image of Ice Cube's album, titled "Death Certificate," features a dead man identified as "Uncle Sam" who is covered by an American flag.

To sum up: Otis Moss paraphrased a single line from a rap song. That's all he did. He didn't say "F--- America" and "triple K" to his congregation, as the headline and Klein's first paragraph falsely suggests. Moss didn't speak any of the lyrics Klein is trying to tie him to.

The hanging offense Klein is trying to pin on Obama is, again, that Otis Moss paraphrased a single line from a rap song.

That's how desperate Klein is to take down Obama. 

P.S. If Klein is as scandalized by gangsta rap as he suggests, why is he able to quote the lyrics so easily?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:05 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 6, 2008 12:07 AM EDT
Monday, May 5, 2008
What 'Huge Blogswarm'?
Topic: NewsBusters

In a May 5 NewsBusters post, John Stephenson claims: "There is a huge blogswarm going on about this photo, from Chicago Magazine, of Obama's unrepentant terrorist associate, Bill Ayers stomping on the American flag." Stephenson links the words "huge blogswarm" to ... his own blog at Stop the ACLU.

Stephenson goes on to claim that "many political bloggers are saying it long past due for Obama to disown his association with this controversial radical." But of the four blogs to which Stephenson links in his original Stop the ACLU post who have weighed in on the subject, two are operated by Michelle Malkin.

Where, exactly, is this "huge blogswarm" of which Stephenson speaks?


Posted by Terry K. at 3:40 PM EDT
Pat Boone Botches Facts
Topic: Newsmax

A May 5 column by Pat Boone, reprinted at Newsmax and WorldNetDaily, repeats a number of incorrect claims. Boone writes:

Consider: Every year, within our borders, an estimated 14,000 to 15,000 Americans are murdered, an alarming percentage by illegal aliens. That’s more than 15 times the death rate in Iraq!

In fact, murder rates in the U.S. are much lower than the death rate in Iraq. According to the FBI, the state with the highest murder rate is Lousiana, with 12.4 murders per 100,000 residents. As we've noted, the overall death rate in the military is 116.6 per 100,000 military personnel; giving that most of those deaths are occuring in Iraq and Afghanistan, restricting the pool to those military who have served or are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan makes that death rate even higher.

Also note that Boone uses the fuzzy term "an alarming percentage" to describe murders by "illegal aliens." That may be because the "alarming" number Boone likely has in mind is not based in reality.

Boone also writes:

In Lexington, Massachusetts, a dad named David Parker paid a visit to his children’s school, complaining about a book that had been assigned celebrating the “virtues” of gay parenting; when he demanded that the school officials comply with state law and at least inform him before his child was given any more instruction about homosexuality, he was arrested, jailed, and slapped with a restraining order.

In fact, what happened was that Parker's son brought home a book about different kinds of families that, in WorldNetDaily's words, "depicted at least two households led by homosexual partners." In other words, Parker objects to anyone telling his child that homosexuals exist. Does Boone feel gays aren't allowed to exist too?

Boone also misleadingly states the circumstances of Parker's arrest. As we detailed, Parker was arrested 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. He spent one night in jail after the arrest -- but only because he refused to bail himself out.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:12 PM EDT
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Most of the experience [sic] political pundits have been counting out the Lizard Queen for months now. But as with any epic horror star, it's unwise to assume she's done. Those who fail to learn the lessons of "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th" may regret counting out the Lizard Queen too soon.

-- Vox Day, May 5 WorldNetDaily column 


Posted by Terry K. at 9:22 AM EDT
Richard Poe's War on Redesigned Currency
Topic: Horowitz

Richard Poe's reappearance peddling the quite discredited Clinton body count in the Hillary-bashing issue of WorldNetDaily's Whistleblower magazine had us wondering what the guy has been up to these days.

The answer: railing against redesigned currency because it looks postmodernist.

No, really. From an April 2 post on his blog:

HAVE YOU seen the new five-dollar bill? It looks like someone spilled grape juice on it. A violet stain obscures Abraham Lincoln’s face. On the back, an oversized numeral five appears in purple. Enough is enough. We must stop the desecration of our currency.

[...]

The fact is, we are being hoodwinked. The redesign of our currency has nothing to do with fighting counterfeiters or helping people with weak eyesight. It has everything to do with catering to the perverse canons of postmodernist art. The U.S. Treasury has allowed a cabal of avant-garde designers to pull off one of the most audacious practical jokes in art history; the “subversion” and “deconstruction” of the U.S. dollar. We the taxpayers must demand an end to this cultural vandalism.

More than 2,300 years ago, Aristotle opined that art should be wondrous and beautiful. It should instruct and elevate the masses, he said, giving pleasure and catharsis or emotional release.

Today’s hipster intellectuals reject Aristotle. Instead, they embrace a philosophy variously called “poststructuralism“, “postmodernism” or just plain PoMo. For PoMo’s apostles, art is a weapon of revolution. Its purpose is to mock, degrade and undermine the cherished beliefs of Western civilization. PoMo theorists call this process “deconstruction” or “subversion“.

Photographer Andres Serrano famously deconstructed Christianity in 1989 by snapping a picture of a crucifix submerged in Serrano’s own urine. In 1999, the Brooklyn Museum showcased an image of the Virgin Mary which artist Chris Ofili had splattered with elephant dung.

Meanwhile PoMo designers have been doing to national currencies what Serrano and Ofili did to Christianity.

We really can't add anything to this.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:50 AM EDT
Yes, They Are Questioning Obama's Patriotism
Topic: NewsBusters

In attacking a CBS News story that "suggest[ed] Democrats are well-justified in fearing Republicans will succeed in portraying Obama as 'out of the mainstream,' which Reynolds described as 'code for "unpatriotic"'" over things like not wearing a flag pin, Brent Baker used a May 4 NewsBusters post to claim that this "demonstrat[es] how the mainstream media will view criticism of Barack Obama through the prism of past attacks on Democrats they consider illegitimate," then asked: "Which legitimate, significant political figure on the right has accused Barack Obama of being unpatriotic?"

Baker might want to check down the hall at MRC headquarters. From the April 22 column by Baker's boss, Brent Bozell:

ABC disgusted the Obama-ogling bloggers by dwelling on Obama’s developing vulnerabilities. Gibson questioned Obama’s remarks about the bitterness of poorer voters to cling to their guns and their religion and their antipathy to immigrants (instead of voting for liberals). They asked several questions about Obama’s long-time minister, the inflammatory Rev. Jeremiah Wright. And they asked if it wasn’t a “major vulnerability” that he won’t wear a flag pin.

 (This last issue is a bit comical, coming from ABC News, whose president, David Westin, banned all ABC News employees from wearing a flag pin on the air, so they could remain “independent and objective.” Westin also resembled Obama’s mysterious sense of patriotism in suggesting he didn’t think it was his role to decide whether the Pentagon was a legitimate target for terrorists. The candidate could have proclaimed that he has demonstrated all the patriotism of your average ABC News reporter.)

While Bozell doesn't explicitly say it, the implication is undeniably there. 

We don't know if Baker considers his fellow NewsBusters bloggers as "legitimate, significant political figures on the right," but there's plenty of fodder to be found there. For instance, Mark Finkelstein wrote regarding the flag pin stuff and his catching Obama failing to put his hand over his heart during the national anthem once (which, by the way, isn't a requirement), "Meanwhile, does Obama have some third act or omission planned to demonstrate that he's not falling for those corny, old-fashioned displays of patriotism?"

And Warner Todd Huston explicitly states that "Barack Obama isn't patriotic enough to wear an American flag lapel pin!" 

As for "legitimate, significant political figures on the right," there's Roger Stone ("Many Americans will find the three things [including the flag pin] offensive. Barack Obama is out of the McGovern wing of the party, and he is part of the blame America first crowd") and Mark Williams ("He felt it OK to come out of the closet as the domestic insurgent he is"). (OK, Baker may not consider Williams "legitimate.")

And a Washington Post article reports:

Karl Rove, President Bush's former chief strategist, recently chided Obama for his flag-pin decision, accusing him of declaring that if you do wear one, "you're not a true patriot." Republican pollster Whit Ayres called Obama "George McGovern without the military experience." Setting up a contrast, a recent McCain ad declared the Republican candidate "the American president America has been waiting for." 

So Baker's question has been amply answered. We have a question in return: Will Baker throw his inoperative question into tomorrow's CyberAlert with the rest of his post? 

UPDATE: Yep.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:46 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 5, 2008 1:54 PM EDT
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Huston Attacks Evangelical Manifesto
Topic: NewsBusters

A May 3 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston attacks the Associated Press for reporting that an upcoming manifesto claiming that "faith is now too political" is being released by "conservative Christian leaders." Writes Huston: "But a little investigation proves that 'conservative leaders' is not a very good description of those who have signed onto this 'manifesto.' In fact, many of the most well-known conservative Christian leaders in the country have decided not to sign onto the "manifesto" and many more weren't even consulted or included in the creation of this highly political document that pretends it stands against politics."

But Huston never details how those evangelical leaders whose names have thus far been linked to the manifesto don't quailfy as "conservative" even though they are named in the AP article he criticizes; in fact, he never names them at all, even as he quotes an article listing those evangelicals (who all appear to be mixing faith with politics) who said they didn't sign or weren't involved in the drafting of the document. Indeed, a little investigation -- the kind which Huston shows no evidence of actually having done -- shows those linked thus far to the manifesto have at least some conservative cred.

Chief among them is Os Guinness, described by the AP as "a well-known evangelical author and speaker." Guinness is conservative enough for WorldNetDaily to have quoted him personally smearing Frank Schaeffer for being critical of right-wing evangelicals.

Another is Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary. Wikipedia describes Fuller as progressive-leaning yet "welcoming both to the evangelical conservative and the theologically liberal," adding: "Fuller instructors have been cited as seeking ways out of the conservative/liberal debate: 'We need to be the voice of a third way that flows out of biblical values, instead of buying into the political ideology of either the right or the left.'"

We can cite WND here too; not only has it never forwarded attacks on Fuller for being too liberal, it anecdotally noted that one favorite WND conservative "grew up without religion, but during seven years of academic study at Bethany University and Fuller Theological Seminary accepted that the claims of Christianity are true."

Despite this, Huston goes on to write:

This project is beginning to look more like a group of Christians with anti-conservative views attempting to steal the mantle of leadership away from those who are now associated with Christianity in America. But to what end? We know that over the last year the political left has made major attempts to claim Christianity for themselves.

The left has made a concerted campaign to take over Christianity and use it for the purposes of the Democrat Party and the cultural left in America today. 

[...]

Is this "Evangelical Manifesto" just another attempt by the far left in America to co-opt Christianity in America? It's a bit hard to believe otherwise since the people that put this project together studiously excluded so many prominent conservative Christians.

But one thing is for sure, the MSM will present them as "conservative Christian leaders" even as hardly any known and real conservative leaders are involved in this project.

But haven't right-wingers already co-opted Christianity in America and used it for the purposes of the Republican Party and the cultural left in America? And, again, Huston never demonstrates that any of those linked thus far to the manifesto are not "real conservative leaders."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:34 AM EDT
ConWeb Doesn't Find Judicial Watch Complaint Against McCain Newsworthy
Topic: The ConWeb

We've previously reported that WorldNetDaily, CNSNews.com and Newsmax all regurgitated a claim by Judicial Watch that a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton at which Elton John performed was illegal because John is a foreign national and prohibited from contributing to a U.S. presidential campaign -- while failing to even mention that John McCain held a fundraiser in London a couple weeks earlier. We also noted that Judicial Watch itself hadn't expressed any concern about McCain's foreign fundraiser either.

Judicial Watch has now turned its attention to McCain. From its April 24 press release:

“Recent news reports suggest that Sen. John McCain and John McCain for President may have accepted an in-kind contribution from foreign nationals Lord Rothschild OM GBE and the Hon. Nathaniel Rothschild of Great Britain in contravention of federal election laws,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton wrote in a complaint letter dated April 22, 2008.  “On behalf of Judicial Watch and its supporters, I hereby request that the FEC investigate the matter.”

Now that Judicial Watch has given its imprimatur to possible campaign law violations involving McCain, the ConWeb is all over that like they are all over JW's allegations against Hillary, right?

Er, no. More than a week has passed since JW released its complaint against McCain, and WND, CNS and Newsmax have all failed to even mention it, let alone devote an entire article to it as they did for JW's Clinton complaint.

We've previously detailed how the ConWeb -- a major promoter of JW's numerous complaints against the Clinton administration in the late 1990s -- has a history of generally refusing to report on JW's complaints against Republicans.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, May 4, 2008 1:07 AM EDT
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Kupelian's 'Bug-Chasing' Falsehood
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his May 2 screed, WorldNetDaily managing editor David Kupelian lists among the things we "could expect" in the "toxic cultural/governmental environment" that would flourish should Hillary Clinton -- "the queen of darkness" -- be elected president: "Or maybe more 'bug-chasing' – that's where people actively try to get infected with AIDS."

But that story isn't even true. As we detailed the last time Kupelian threw this out as a scare tactic, the bug-chasing story originated in a 2003 Rolling Stone article on the subject that has been debunked; its central claim that 25 percent of new gay male HIV infections are due to bug-chasing merely one doctor's estimate and not substantiated by research. Further, the Rolling Stone article quotes only "a grand total of two" self-proclaimed bug-chasers, "one of who is undeniably mentally disturbed and quoted under a pseudonym -- hardly representative of a trend."

Kupelian has never been one to let the facts get in the way of a good story -- odd behavior for someone claiming to manage a "news" organization. He has blamed Andrea Yates' killing of her children on the antidepressant she was taking, ignoring her history of mental illness that predates her use of the drug and the extremist fundamentalist preacher that she and her husband followed whose precepts may have exacerbated her illness. He has also, among other things, repeated dubious statistics about teacher-student sex and a discredited attack on sex researcher Alfred Kinsey.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, May 4, 2008 1:06 AM EDT
Ponte: Strikes = Terrorism
Topic: Newsmax

Did you know that exercising your constitutional rights to take part in a strike is the same thing as terrorism?

That's what Lowell Ponte thinks. From his May 2 Newsmax column:

On May 1 a little-reported act of domestic terrorism struck the United States.

It cost our economy between $1 and $2 billion, equivalent to the theft of up to $26.66 from every American family of four – money you and your family will be paying in higher prices.

Even more troubling is that those who conspired to assault us have not been arrested, jailed, or even removed from their high-security-risk positions.

[...]

What happened along the West Coast on Thursday was sabotage designed to send an ideological message – and to intimidate both companies and politicians with a display of disruptive union power.

Two years ago Americans were concerned that the Persian Gulf nation Dubai was acquiring facilities in American ports, and that this might somehow open us to an increased risk of Islamist terrorism. These are not the only potential terrorists.

What terrorist event is he frothing over? The one-day May 1 work stoppage by dock workers on West Coast ports in protest of the Iraq war. Ponte offers no evidence to back up his assertion that the strike "cost our economy between $1 and $2 billion." Indeed, a 2002 report on the possible effects of a port strike projected a $4.7 billion impact in lost wages over a four-week strike, going on to note:

[A]ttempts to track down the source of the $1 billion a day and $2 billion a day figures widely quoted, which in each case turned out to be inaccurate reporting. To actually lose a billion dollars a day for two weeks, "we'd have to sink the ships," said [report author Patrick L.] Anderson, "the impact here is large enough to be reported without exaggeration."

Nevertheless, Ponte went on to claim that "In October 2002, the ILWU flexed its muscle through a work slowdown that cost shippers up to a billion dollars a day."

The rest of Ponte's column is largely guilt by association, attacking the alleged "radical leftist ideology" of the founder of the longshoreman's union. Ponte concluded: "We should remove security risks and saboteurs from America’s ports, starting with the 6,000 longshoremen who conspired to cause May Day’s shutdown."

Ponte isn't the only conservative to have recently expressed unorthodox views about constitutional rights. Last week, the Media Research Center's Brent Baker declared that "the First Amendment doesn't apply in North Carolina" because a couple of TV stations there decided not to air an inflammatory anti-Obama ad.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:05 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, May 3, 2008 12:06 AM EDT
Friday, May 2, 2008
Even More Dishonesty From Matt Barber
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters catches Matt Barber telling even more lies and distortions -- this time regarding the Day of Silence, as made in a May 2 column published by WorldNetDaily. Barber wrote:

Take the Seattle area's Mount Si High School for instance. Out of 1,410 students, nearly half (638) reportedly walked out of school on DOS with a unified voice saying, "No! We're here to learn. We refuse to be subject to radical homosexual indoctrination at school or anywhere else!"

From the Seattle Times:

Principal Randy Taylor said 495 out of 1,410 students weren't at school, including 85 athletes whose parents had asked that they be excused for their personal beliefs.

Barber:

The Rev. Ken Hutcherson, a former pro-football player, current pro-family champion and pastor of Antioch Bible Church, led the charge in defense of God's moral standard at Mount Si. He organized a prayer rally outside the school – which his daughter attends – and was joined by hundreds of parents, children and community members.

Seattle Times:

About 100 people joined the Rev. Ken Hutcherson, a prominent anti-gay-rights activist, in prayer and song that questioned the dedication of a school day to what they said was a controversial political cause.

We suspect that Barber is even less likely than WorldNetDaily to apologize for his factual errors.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:29 PM EDT

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