CNS Ignores Lack of Evidence to Back Up McDonald's Boycott Topic: CNSNews.com
The problem with reporters being sympathetic to one side of the issue they're covering is that they overlook gaping errors in the logic of the side they're sympathetic to.
Which is what we see in a July 18 CNSNews.com article by Pete Winn about the American Family Association's boycott of McDonald's of its support of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and, more specifically, a McDonald's spokesman's statement in reaction to it that "Hatred has no place in our culture." Winn uncritically quotes Matt Barber, now of Liberty Counsel, as saying, "He insulted tens of millions of Americans who believe that the historical definition of marriage between one man and woman is important and crucial to society. He said that we’re haters and we’re motivated by hate. That, on its face, is a bold-face lie." Winn also writes, "Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, said Christians who oppose homosexual marriage do so for moral and practical reasons, not because they 'hate' homosexuals."
What is missing from Winn's article -- as we've previously noted is also missing from other ConWeb accounts of the boycott -- is any evidence that NGLCC is in any way involved with the issue of gay marriage. Given that McDonald's puported "taking sides" on the issue of gay marriage by its support of the NGLCC is the crux of the boycott, no evidence has been advanced to demonstrate that this is, in fact, the case.
The weakness of the fundies' case against McDonald's is (probably inadvertently) summed up by Winn:
LaBarbera took issue with that view, characterizing the NGLCC as “a homosexual group which is working to extend advances made by homosexual activist groups over the last two decades or more.”
He also noted that the organization takes political positions on legislation that involves homosexuality and the homosexual agenda.
“McDonald’s paid $20,000 so that one of its top executives could have a seat on the (NGLCC’s) board of directors,” LaBarbera said. “How is that not an endorsement of the homosexual agenda?"
LaBarbera can be expected to traffic in vague statements that obscure the weakness of his argument -- to him, a mere $20,000 from a multibillion-dollar business given to a business-promotion group (LaBarbera provides no apparent evidence that it's anything other than that) is prima facie "endorsement of the homosexual agenda." A news organization that purports to "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story" should have higher standards.
In fact, WND settled a libel and defamation lawsuit by one person named in those stories, Clark Jones, by admitting that "no witness verifies the truth of what the witnesses are reported by authors to have stated" about Jones and that "the sources named in the publications have stated under oath that statements attributed to them in the articles were either not made by them, were misquoted by the authors, were misconstrued, or the statements were taken out of context." WND, it can be presumed, also paid a cash award to Jones to settle the matter (the settlement terms have not been made public).
If claims about just one person named in the articles can be so egregiously wrong, it's not unreasonable to assume that other sections, if not the entirety, of these articles -- written by Tony Hays and Charles Thompson II -- also contain falsehoods. WND has made no statement either standing by the remainder of the claims in the Hays and Thompson's articles or indicating that it would check the veracity of those claims.
As it stands, the entire series is discredited, and WND discredited itself by printing them out of political animosity without bothering to do even rudimentary verification of what Hays and Thompson had written (as we detailed). WND discredits itself further by continuing to list these articles as "scoops" when they have little apparent basis in fact.
Scott McClellan Is Dead to NewsBusters Topic: NewsBusters
Apparently, NewsBusters believes that the media is never permitted to mention Scott McClellan now that he has decided to criticize the Bush administration. The noting in the 21st paragraph of an Associated Press article on Tony Snow's funeral of McClellan's appearance there caused Tom Blumer to blow a gasket, calling the mention "classless," "execrable," "tabloid trash," "journalistic vandalism," an "inability to stay classy," and "reflective of an organization that ought to consider renaming itself the Arrogant Punks." Not exhausted of venom, Blumer goes on:
So of the three Bush press secretaries who attended (both Ari Fleischer and Dana Perino must have been there, or Feller could not have written "press secretaries"), the AP reporter only deemed McClellan worthy of mention -- apparently, we must conclude, because McClellan is the only one of the lot who has had critical things to say about the President.
As we've previously detailed, NewsBusters' desperate attempt to link Soros to McClellan fails because the publisher of McClellan's has, in addition to publishing books by Soros -- nowhere does NewsBusters offer any evidence whatsoever that Soros has any financial connection with the publisher beyond that -- published numerous books by conservatives like Dinesh D'Souza, Linda Chavez and David Frum.
We won't tell Blumer to stay classy -- if he did, we'd have to stop writing about him.
Brennan Peddles More Global Warming Bamboozlement Topic: Newsmax
Phil Brennan's July 17 Newsmax column begins by asserting:
Fact: All history reveals that time after time this planet of ours has experienced periods of warming and periods of cooling. A century of slight global warming, about half a degree, ended in 1998.
Fact: In this century a global cooling has set in.
Er, not so much. As the United Kingdom's Met (Meteorological) Office Hadley Centre and the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia report, annual global mean temperatures have, in fact, increased in the past decade. The UK Met office adds that "[a] simple mathematical calculation of the temperature change over the latest decade (1998-2007) alone shows a continued warming of 0.1° C per decade."
Despite his apparent aversion to simple mathematical calculations, Brennan nevertheless goes on to assert, "Global warming is clearly over, yet Al Gore and his acolytes keep warning us that the planet is heating up even as it continues to get colder."
Klein's Lie Still Live on WND Topic: WorldNetDaily
We previously detailed how a July 15 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein falsely claimed that Barack Obama made a "discredited distortion of the Holocaust." In fact, as Klein himself notes, the dispute in question is whether Obama's grandfather helped to liberate Auschwitz -- not the Holocaust. Thus, Klein is lying when he claims that Obama distorted the Holocaust.
We just checked, and it's still posted as originally written without change or apology.
We plan to continue highlighting Klein's lie until he retracts and apologizes for it.
A July 16 Accuracy in Media blog entry by Don Irvine noted that "A New York Times story that analyzes their poll on the racial dimensions in this election was disputed by the Obama campaign." After reprinting seven points (copied from an ABC News blog post) that the Obama campaign says were "omitted from the story," Irvine adds: "Barack Obama was hoping for a free ride in the liberal press but even they can suppress the facts for only so long."
Wait -- didn't Irvine just show that, through repeating claims from the Obama campaign that he doesn't dispute, that the Times was, in fact, suppressing facts about Obama? We're confused.
The quintessential political prostitute, Obama marches to the tune of the far left fundraising machine put together by a kitchen cabinet (that includes billionaire financier George Soros); he is interested in the greater glory of Barack Obama – period. While his evil-eyed wife, Michelle, may have visions of crushing "white America" underfoot, it is likely that Obama is far more color-blind in this regard. Like most of the black activists this columnist has criticized, "black America" exists for his benefit, and crushing underfoot knows no race.
A July 17 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston is a long harangue of a writer of Larry Hunger, a "lifelong Republican" who wrote a New York Daily News op-ed explaining why he's voting for Barack Obama. Huston declared that Hunter is "dangerously wrong" and engaging in "apostasy," his arguments are "ill considered, filled with petulance, and self-defeating to the ideology to which he insists he hews" (you sure you're not talking about yourself there, Warner?) and, last but not least, his criticism of the Iraq war shows him to be "a complete traitor to all other conservative causes on nearly every level."
Aside from the usual unsupported Obama-bashing one expects from such right-wingers ("to actually and purposefully vote for Barack Obama is a direct stab in the heart to supposed conservative principles"), Huston had this curious response to Hunter's claim that America has "suffered the last eight years":
In this I have to say that Larry Hunter has no clue what the word "suffered" means. Our economy has not "suffered" too badly from the expenditures in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, this country has scarcely "suffered" at all from the war. Obviously, the war has touched only a small portion of our people and few Americans have been much put out by it. Even the battle deaths are miniscule compared to any of our past wars. (And YES, speaking as a father of one of our soldiers, it is heartrending to lose even one soldier)[.]
"Few Americans have been much put out by it"? Sure, if you don't count things like, say, deficit spending to fund the war and the Middle East turmoil that fuels specuators to raise oil prices to $140 a barrel and gas prices over $4 a gallon.
'Obama's $50 Billion AIDS Bill' ... Isn't Topic: Accuracy in Media
Writing in a July 13 Accuracy in Media article about "the irresponsible and budget-busting $50 billion global AIDS bill" -- carrying a headline calling it "Obama's $50 Billion AIDS Bill" -- Cliff Kincaid asserted that "Senator Barack Obama was one of the original sponsors of the bill." That's false; according to the link supplied by Kincaid detailing congressional action on the bill, it was introduced in March 7 by Sen. Joe Biden. Obama did not sign on as a co-sponsor until June 18.
Kincaid's main problem with the bill is that he apparently doesn't want any money spent to prevent AIDS, downplaying the fact that the bill would also cover tuberculosis and malaria. The particular bee in Kincaid's bonnet is that "the federal government has already spent $200 billion on HIV/AIDS. No cure or vaccine has been discovered and there are increasing doubts about the effectiveness of anti-AIDS drugs," while "other diseases ... don't benefit from such attention and interest."
As we've previously noted, Kincaid's crusade against money for AIDS research is little more than anti-gay activism.
Despite getting Obama's link to the bill wrong, Kincaid does it again in a July 15 column, which again refers in the headline to "Obama's AIDS bill." While Kincaid notes that John McCain is also also a co-sponsor of the bill (he signed on the same day Obama did), nowhere does he refer to "McCain's AIDS bill."
Kincaid also takes a swipe at blogger Andrew Sullivan, who "is advertised as a 'gay conservative' but was exposed for soliciting so-called 'bareback' or unprotected anal sex on the Internet." Kincaid does not explain why such behavior disqualifies a person from being a conservative; in fact, it could be argued that it's a requirement.
Noting Sullivan's support for a repeal of a ban on HIV-positive people from entering the U.S., Kincaid writes: "It seems clear that some of these aliens could function as new sexual partners for those demanding their entry, increasing the number of AIDS cases in the U.S." Stay classy, Cliff.
UPDATE: A July 17 article by Kincaid again falsely calls it "Obama’s AIDS Bill," rants about "the $200 billion already spent by U.S. taxpayers on HIV/AIDS here and around the world has not resulted in any cures or a vaccine," and complains about "spending $50 billion at a time of growing economic difficulties in the U.S."
WorldNetDaily has a notable history of anti-Catholic sentiment, which it abruptly flip-flopped on last week when it went from painting Catholics as violent death-threat issuers over a student who took a communion wafer from a Sunday Mass to attacking a college professor who referred to the communion wafer as a "cracker."
That abrupt change of heart continues in a July 15 article that labeled a San Francisco resolution critical of the Catholic Church's position on homosexuality an "anti-Catholic diatribe" that it claims is "violating the Constitution's prohibition of government hostility toward religion."
Shocking. Will WND take the ultimate step and reverse its previous stand that Catholics aren't real Christians?
MRC Attacks Analysis As Liberal -- But Conservative Group Based Its Analysis On It Topic: Media Research Center
A July 15 Media Research Center article gave a "Worst of the Week" award to news organizations that cited an analysis by the Tax Policy Center of John McCain's and Barack Obama's tax proposals, which found that Obama's plan would give a cut of more than a thousand dollars to families making between $37,000 and $66,000 a year, while under McCain's plan, they'd get just $319. Why? Because while the networks said or suggested the group was nonpartisan, "the Tax Policy Center is the product of the left-leaning Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute."
But shouldn't the standard be whether the numbers are accurate? The MRC makes no effort to disprove the TPC's numbers, only asserts that they shouldn't be taken seriously because they came from a "left-leaning" group.
The article also claims: The other side of the story comes from the conservative Tax Foundation, which reported that Obama would shift more of the tax burden to a relative few families. ... That's an aspect of tax fairness that rarely gets mentioned by TV reporters who seek out liberal analysts to prove liberal points." But this claim doesn't disprove the TPC's numbers either -- indeed, the Tax Foundation uses the TPC's analysis as the basis for its own, stating that "The Tax Policy Center has done the public a service by putting hard numbers on the candidates' tax plans and bringing a dose of reality to the political rhetoric."
So, clearly, there's nothing wrong with the numbers. Will the MRC ever admit that?
The article further bashes the media for "citing left-of-center think tanks as 'non-partisan' entities," which would have some credibility if the MRC didn't do the same thing. For instance, in a October 2006 "Media Reality Check," the MRC cites "non-partisan Center for Media and Public Affairs" as claiming that "more than three fourths (77%) of ABC, CBS and NBC evening news references to Democrats this fall have been favorable, while 88% of the coverage given GOP candidates has been negative, an unprecedented disparity." In fact, the CMPA is a conservative-leaning group whose work is the foundation of the MRC. It touts a book by CMPA founder Robert Lichter, "The Media Elite" -- which "demonstrated that journalists and broadcasters hold liberal positions on a wide range of social and political issues" -- at the top of one "Bias Basics" page.
Aaron Klein Anti-Obama Agenda Watch: This Time, A Lie Topic: WorldNetDaily
The lead of Aaron Klein's 41st anti-Obama article (versus just one anti-McCain article), a July 15 WorldNetDaily piece, falsely claims that Barack Obama forwared a "a discredited distortion of the Holocaust." The article carries the headline "New Yorker discredited Obama Holocaust distortion."
In fact, as Klein goes on to report, the "distortion" is actually an alleged misstatement about whether Obama's grandfather helped to liberate the Auschwitz concentration camp in World War II. At no point does Klein accuse Obama of making a "distortion" about the Holocaust that has been "discredited," and stating that he has falsely suggests that Obama is a Holocaust denier.
In short, the lead of Klein's article tells a lie. Klein and WND should apologize to Obama and retract it.
Huston Wrong About AP's Fournier Topic: NewsBusters
Warner Todd Huston uses a July 15 NewsBusters post to take issue with changes made by Ron Fournier, the new Associated Press Washington bureau chief, to more to "a more hard-charging, opinion oriented style of writing," which Huston claims "makes the AP's past bias even more pronounced." Except it's not the bias Huston thinks it is.
Citing an 2007 essay by Fournier claiming his movement toward this style of journalism was caused by Hurricane Katrina, Huston asserts that Fournier's move came because "the media didn't attack Bush enough over the Iraq war and Katrina." That's not what Fournier said. From the essay:
Shortly after Katrina struck, I dutifully reported that President Bush had said nobody anticipated the breach of the levees. In fact, many experts had predicted a major storm would bust New Orleans’ flood-control barriers. In the past, that’s all I would have written; readers would get both sides of the story and then be expected to draw their own conclusion. This time, I went a step further and simply wrote: He was wrong.” Why not? Why force the readers to read between carefully parsed lines when the facts are clear? Why not just get to the point? The president of the United States was wrong.
Huston offers no evidence that Fournier lied when wrote that President Bush was wrong to assert that nobody anticipated the breach of the levees.
Huston concludes by writing, "With Ron Fournier, we might find that the AP gives us here more fodder to reveal liberal bias in the media than ever before." But the record shows a different kind of bias -- one that Huston would find appealing.
In a March 17 column, Fournier asserted that Barack Obama is "bordering on arrogance" and that "both Obama and his wife, Michelle, ooze a sense of entitlement."
During an AP luncheon, Fournier was pratically begging John McCain to call Obama an "elitist."
A House Oversight Committee report on the death of Pat Tillman in Afghanistan notes that in 2004, Fournier sent Karl Rove a note saying, "The Lord creates men and women like this all over the world. But only the great and free countries allow them to flourish. Keep up the fight."
That's the kind of bias Huston can believe in, isn't it? Then again, since it favors his political agenda, he likely won't see it as bias at all.
Picket of Conservative's Funeral Finally Pushes WND to Reject Fred Phelps Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 15 WorldNetDaily article by Joe Kovacs expresses disdain that members of the "infamous" Westboro Baptist Church plans to picket the funeral of conservative Tony Snow. This is a change of tone for WND, which has no history of criticizing the church when they protested at the funerals of gays.
An October 2000 news article called Westboro and its pastor, Fred Phelps, "a vehemently anti-homosexual pastor" and "anti-homosexual in the extreme" (important for WND to note only because it was trying to tie Al Gore to Phelps), but an October 2002 article by Art Moore held Phelps' activism up as a reason to oppose a proposal in Canada to add "sexual orientation" to a hate-crimes law: Because Phelps "bases his views on religious grounds," the article claimed, a law forbidding him to spew his hate would "shut down religious discussion."
An August 2003 article by Ron Strom noted that a "homosexual webcasting radio station" blamed Phelps' church for getting "struck by lightning, frying critical phone equipment."
Kovacs goes on to note, "Ironically, as WND previously reported, one of the leaders of the church was already condemned to hell on national television by Fox News host Julie Banderas." But as we noted at the time, that article downplayed the church's extremism, portrayed Banderas as the aggressor and the church member, Shirley Phelps-Roper, as the victim, and touted Phelps-Roper's credentials in being "licensed to practice law in Kansas and before the U.S. Supreme Court."
Even the church's protests at funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan haven't moved WND much. A January 2007 article noted that conservative legal group Judicial Watch supported a Missouri law targeted at Phelps' church banning pickets at memorial services, but even then WND didn't paint the church in a critical manner; it benignly states that the church "believes that God is judging America because of the nation's acceptance of homosexuality," suggesting that there is a person or two at WND who sympathizes.
It's not until a prominent conservative is targeted by the church that WND screws up the courage to denouce it as "infamous."