Remember Tony Hays, the co-author of the Gore-bashing series of stories WorldNetDaily published in 2000 that drew a lawsuit from Clark Jones and, just before the suit was to go to trial, an admission that the series made false claims 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"?
Well, it turns out that Hays has remade himself into a fiction writer (though one might argue that that's what he was doing in his attacks on Gore for WND). His personal website proclaims that "Tony's short fiction has been published across the United States and Japan. His first two mysteries have attracted the attention of both award panels and literary critics." He also claims to be working on "a new historical mystery series for Tor/Forge." (Hays' contact page lists a post office box in Savannah, Tennessee, where the lawsuit against him and WND was filed, so we're pretty sure this is the guy.)
On his blurb page -- which insists that "Tony has been in frequent demand as a guest on radio and college campuses to talk about writing, the Taliban, and Middle East culture" -- Hays throws in a laudatory quote from ... Charles Thompson II, his co-author on the discredited WND series.
Needless to say, Hays makes no mention of the Gore stories or the lawsuit on the website, let alone any indication of whether he still stands by the claims he and Thompson made in it. After all, it stands to reason that if he (the statement issued by WND was purportedly agreed to by all parties in the lawsuit) was attributing claims about Jones by sources that "either not made by them, were misquoted by the authors, were misconstrued, or the statements were taken out of context," he and Thompson did the same thing regarding other claims made in the articles. Besides, having to admit that you essentially libeled someone tends to make that "frequent demand" for your services slacken off a bit.
Is Hagee Retracting His Apologies for Controversial Remarks? Topic: Accuracy in Media
Bethany Stotts writes in an Aug. 1 Accuracy in Media article:
Pastor John Hagee, the head of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) gave a fiery critique of the media at CUFI’s third annual Summit last week. “For several months we’ve found ourselves in the middle of a vicious national media firestorm,” said Hagee, who has been condemned for calling Hurricane Katrina God’s wrath on homosexuals and for calling the Catholic Church “the great whore.”
Hagee criticized the media for twisting his words and for not being willing to accept the “Bible view.” “The problem is that in the marketplace of ideas, a.k.a the media, they do not understand the Bible view. Many of the attacks on us stem from this unfortunate fact,” he said. “For the moment I am happy to report to you that the storm has passed, but I do emphasize ‘for the moment.’”
Stotts ignores that Hagee's new apparent defense of his inflammatory remarks -- and more specifically, his claim that his critics "do not understand the Bible view" -- seems to contradict his previous retraction of them. Hagee retracted his Katrina remarks by saying, "[U]ltimately neither I nor any other person can know the mind of God concerning Hurricane Katrina. I should not have suggested otherwise. No matter what the cause of the storm, my heart goes out to all who suffered in this terrible tragedy." And in a letter to the Catholic League, Hagee wrote:
I want to express my deep regret for any comments that Catholics have found hurtful. After engaging in constructive dialogue with Catholic friends and leaders, I now have an improved understanding of the Catholic Church, its relation to the Jewish faith, and the history of anti-Catholicism.
AIM also has video of selected remarks by Hagee and Lieberman. In it, Hagee also says:
For several months, we found ourselves in the middle of a vicious national media firestorm. They say the first casulty of war is truth. What is true in a shooting war is also true in a media war.
It is simply surreal to experience turning on the television and her angry talking heads condemn you for saying things you never said. ... It is deeply troubling to pick up a newspaper and read sweeping condemnations of things you did in fact say but which are not new or controversial to those who believe in an all-powerful God who is sovereign and intervenes in human history.
Mark Twain said, and I quote, "The man who does not read a newspaper is uninformed, and the man who does read a newspaper is misinformed." That ought to be in the Bible somewhere.
Is Hagee now un-retracting his retractions and standing by his attacks on Catholics and gays once again? It appears so. Why didn't Stotts notice that?
Perhaps because she was too busy trying to decouple Hagee from McCain, even though prominent McCain supporter Joe Lieberman was a featured speaker at Hagee's CUFI event. Stotts complained that Lieberman's CUFI remarks were reported "as those of a close McCain confidant, even though the speech was advertised as independent from the McCain campaign." Would Stotts let Obama get away with Barack Obama, for instance, claiming that a close adviser who, say, spoke at an event that also featured Rev. Jeremiah Wright was acting "independent" from him? We suspect not.
Stotts further complained that "Many columns deliberately connect Pastor Hagee to the McCain campaign" without noting that McCain's campaign specifically sought Hagee's endorsement.
CNS Article on Media Bias Omits Author's Bias Topic: CNSNews.com
An Aug. 1 CNSNews.com article by Julie Stahl highlights a "recent study" of Israeli media finding that "Israel’s own media coverage of the U.S.-backed Israeli-Palestinian peace process over the years has been biased toward the liberal school of thought." But the article never honestly admits the apparent bias of the study's author, Avraham Gur, instead presenting only his academic credentials.
Gur appears to be a conservative; he has written twoarticles for the Israeli journal Nativ, published by the right-leaning Ariel Center for Public Policy Research. Stahl's labeling bias is another clue: While Ehud Barak is described as "leftwing," neither Benjamin Netanyahu nor his Likud party are labeled as right-wing.
Stahl also states that "the so-called 'peace camp' or peace process is generally identified with the leftwing or liberals in Israel," but that "[s]ome Israelis oppose the idea of Israel giving up land to the Palestinians and creating a Palestinian state, a tangible, in exchange for peace, an intangible." Stahl thus implies that the "some" who oppose the peace process are right-wing -- in fact, it's true -- but she did not put an ideological label on them as the did the peace process supporters.
And there's also this curious paragraph about Gur's findings:
On Israel’s public television station, out of 2,717 participants in broadcasts, 1,348 to 3,228 minutes of broadcast time were from the leftwing; 871 to 1,667 minutes of broadcast time from the rightwing; and 498 to 696 minutes of broadcast time were considered non-political.
Why is there a range? Was it not clear whether a participant forwarded a specific political view? If the person's ideology was not clear, shouldn't that have been excluded from the numbers?
Further, Gur is apparently the only person Stahl interviewed for this story. Given that CNS' almost exclusively American audience knows little about the machinations of Israeli politics and even less about Israeli media, more information and analysis from others are needed to put Gur's study (to which CNS provides no link) in a realistic perspective as an apparently partisan document.
Farah Lies About Obama's Energy Policy Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 30 WorldNetDaily article falsely potrays Barack Obama's energy policy as just properly inflating tires and having the car tuned up:
"There are things you can do individually, though, to save energy," Obama said. "Making sure your tires are properly inflated – simple thing. But we could save all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling – if everybody was just inflating their tires? And getting regular tune-ups? You'd actually save just as much!"
That's his energy plan? Inflate your tires? Get more tune-ups?
WND Editor Joseph Farah, organizer of a campaign to step up the pressure on Congress to drop its moratorium on offshore drilling and reverse its decisions to ban exploration for oil in Alaska's ANWR reserves before adjournment at the end of September, says Obama's apparent naiveté illustrates why the country has no time to waste.
"My goodness, it's time to educate America's so-called leaders about the law of supply and demand," he says. "I don't care if they really understand it. But let's make sure Congress acts before it's too late. Energy prices are robbing our country of jobs, seriously hurting real Americans' ability to make ends meet, driving up prices for every other product and service imaginable. This is no time to be talking about tire pressure. Let's put some pressure on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid."
In featuring only that statement and a video of Obama making only that statement, Farah fails to mention that in that same speech, Obama made numerous other proposals. And Obama also has a detailed energy plan on his website.
Hal Lindsey: Obama Preparing World for Antichrist Topic: WorldNetDaily
Here's a thick slice of Obama Derangement Syndrome courtesy of Hal Lindsey in his Aug. 1 WorldNetDaily column:
America has never faced so many different crises at the same time in living memory. The war with al-Qaida and Islamic terror, the Iran crisis, Afghanistan, nuclear proliferation, the rising price of oil, the falling dollar, enemy acronyms like OPEC, NAM, OIC, U.N. ... Obama is correct in saying that the world is ready for someone like him – a messiah-like figure, charismatic and glib and seemingly holding all the answers to all the world's questions.
And the Bible says that such a leader will soon make his appearance on the scene. It won't be Barack Obama, but Obama's world tour provided a foretaste of the reception he can expect to receive.
He will probably also stand in some European capital, addressing the people of the world and telling them that he is the one that they have been waiting for. And he can expect as wildly enthusiastic a greeting as Obama got in Berlin.
The Bible calls that leader the Antichrist. And it seems apparent that the world is now ready to make his acquaintance.
WND's Erik Rush Repeats False Obama Claim Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 31 WorldNetDaily column by Erik Rush repeats the false claim that the Global Poverty Act, a Senate bill sponsored by Barack Obama, is an "$845 billion planet-wide welfare program" that is "a proposed massive money grab being sold on the basis of false compassion and unwarranted guilt."
In fact, as we've repeatedlynoted, the bill has no funding mechanism, doesn't commit the U.S. to a targeted level of spending, and doesn't give the United Nations the power to impose a tax on the U.S.
Another Attack on Planned Parenthood from CNS' Starr Topic: CNSNews.com
We've previously documented the efforts of CNSNews.com -- largely by reporter Penny Starr -- to attack Planned Parenthood, usually without fairly presenting their side of the story. Starr tries it again in a July 31 article, purporting to be alarmed by "[a] new Web site launched by the Columbia/Willamette (Ore.) Planned Parenthood affiliate" that "uses a series of video vignettes designed to 'teach' teens about avoiding sexually transmitted diseases, but the videos include two boys purportedly engaging in oral sex, advice to two teens in bed about getting tested after having intercourse and instructions on how to use a condom."
Starr begins her slant right away, engaging in typical CNS labeling bias by describing the American Life League, whose spokesman she quotes attacking the site, as "the pro-life, pro-family." Starr fails to more accurately note that ALL is anti-abortion and anti-contraception.
Indeed, Starr's apparent inspiration for this story is an ALL video attacking the Planned Parenthood group's website. It begins by declaring, "We all know how disgusting Planned Parenthood is," going on to call the website "garbage" and Planned Parenthood itself "vile."
Starr then moves on to Wendy Wright from Concerned Women for America -- unlabeled as a conservative group -- also attacking the site. Later, Starr quotes Katie Collins of the Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute (this one properly labeled as "a conservative women’s advocacy group") making the baseless accusation that "the Web site seems to be aimed at 'tweens' or even younger."
It's not until the 11th paragraph that Starr gets around to quoting someone from the Planned Parenthood chapter defending the website, but Starr does not allow her to respond to Collins' unsubstantiated claim that the site is targeted at "tweens."
While it may be a first for Starr that she includes an actual Planned Parenthood response in one of her attack articles, it's still slanted since Starr rounded up three conservatives -- only one properly labeled as such -- to aid her attack against the lone PP rep.
WND Misleads on Obama, Reparations Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 30 WorldNetDaily article claims the following regarding a speech by Barack Obama to "UNITY '08, an event for journalists who claim membership in various minorities":
"I consistently believe that when it comes to whether it's Native Americans or African-American issues or reparations, the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds," he said.
The issue of reparations to African-Americans for the historic slave trade or Native Americans for the "invasion" by Europeans periodically has been raised. Several years ago a lawsuit was filed claiming damages for labor at a current value of $1.4 trillion.
This was followed by baseless speculation from pair of right-wing columnists (though not identified as such): One asked, "Is 'serious investments' code for 'reparations'? And how expensive and devastating would Obama's income redistribution policy be?" while the other even more baselessly speculated that Obama "even include reparations for al-Qaida soldiers, since, after all, they've been held in violation of their 'rights.'"
Curiously missing from the article was an account of Obama's full remarks in context, which made clear what he meant by "reparations":
QUESTION: When it comes to reparations, would you take it a step further, in terms of apologizing for slavery or offering reparations to various groups?
OBAMA: You know, I have said in the past, and I'll repeat again, that the best reparations we can provide are good schools in the inner city and jobs for people who are unemployed. And I think that strategies that invest in lifting people out of the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, but that have broad applicability and allow us to build coalitions to actually get these things done, that, I think, is the best strategy.
WND's poll of the day misleads further by asking, "What do you think about Obama's promotion of 'reparations' to blacks and Native Americans?" despite the fact that "promotion" is not what he did. Did WND readers leave any more death threats against Obama in the comments? We're looking.
WND is already spreadinglies about Obama, so distorting his words is just child's play to Joseph Farah and crew. They clearly don't care that they're taking a sledgehammer to what little journalistic integrity WND has -- their hatred of Obama is just too strong for them to be concerned about things like truth.
The survival of the free-falling Free World notwithstanding, I relish the prospect of an Obama presidency. He'd be an apt leader for the Freefall World and all the dark comedy that brings with it (no racist pun intended!). Perhaps only when this country hits rock bottom, or as I call it, Barack Bottom, will we release ourselves from our PC prison and the Stockholm Syndrome it brings.
Will Newsmax Update False Obama Prayer Story? Topic: Newsmax
A July 29 Newsmax article by Jim Meyers repeated claims from the Ma'ariv newspaper in Israel that its publication of Barack Obama's prayer left at the Western Wall "was approved ahead of time by the Obama campaign." Meyers also cited the questionable Israel Insider to support his claim.
But as we've detailed, the New Republic reported later on July 29 that not only has no tangible evidence surfaced to support the claim, a Ma'ariv spokesman now says the accustion is "completely false."
Will Meyers update his readers on the apparently false claims in his original article? We shall see.
Graham Finally Reports Debunking of Obama Prayer Story, Blames Obama Anyway Topic: NewsBusters
Apparently, if James Taranto doesn't write about it, Tim Graham doesn't know about it.
We previously noted that Graham wrote about a claim plucked from Taranto's Wall Street Journal column that Barack Obama "authorized" the release of the prayer he left at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, as an Israeli newspaper had claimed -- without bothering to note that several hours before Graham posted his item at NewsBusters, The New Republic was reporting that the paper, Ma'ariv, was now denying it.
Now, more than a day after his original post, Graham finally reports this, citing Taranto once again. Graham sniffed: "Clearly, as a liberal Democratic magazine, the New Republic has its own suspicions about how its hero Obama must be getting railroaded." But Graham also cited a report in Israel Insider without noting that publication's political leaning; in fact, Taranto himself called it "an anti-Obama site" (which we've detailed).
Even though Obama has essentially been vindicated, Graham still finds a way to blame him for all of this:
The candidate himself should be questioned about this on TV to put an end to the "coy" refusals to confirm or deny. It's not that there's anything offensive in the prayer to deny. It's a perfectly good prayer, a credit to whoever prays it -- as long as it's a prayer and not a campaign ploy.
Of course, it's a "campaign ploy" for Graham and Taranto to keep raising questions about this, even as they head into conspiracy-theory territory by doing so. That's where Israel Insider is headed with it; as Taranto noted (but Graham didn't), Israel Insider "has video that it interprets as showing 'that the alleged pilferer' of Obama's prayer note, 'dressed in the garb of a seminary student, may in fact have been a member of Obama's entourage.'"
Corsi Baselessly Suggests Obama Still Using Drugs Topic: WorldNetDaily
The first tidbit from Jerome Corsi's new anti-Obama book is out, and it's ... not much.
A July 30 WorldNetDaily article goes the baseless speculation route by highlighting a suggestion by Corsi -- a WorldNetDaily employee, though the book itself is published under Simon & Schuster imprint Threshold Editions -- that Barack Obama is still using drugs:
Corsi points out Obama has yet to explain whether he ever sold drugs or when he stopped using them.
"Did Obama ever use drugs in his days as a community organizer in Chicago, or when he was a state senator from Illinois?" Corsi asks. "How about in the U.S. Senate? If Obama quit using drugs, the public inquiry certain to occur in a general election campaign for the presidency will most certainly aim at the when, how and why questions George W. Bush successfully avoided."
Despite the seriousness of the revelation by Obama about his college drug use as late as the 1980s, there has been little attention given the issue by the political reporters who cover the candidate. In fact, none have asked the questions Corsi asks in his book – or, at least they have not published or broadcast answers if the questions were asked.
In other words, Corsi has no actual evidence that Obama still uses drugs -- he's just operating on the false-logic supposition that because Obama purportedly never declared that he stopped using drugs, he must still be.
The WND article also takes a stab at reviving Larry Sinclair:
Last year, when a Minnesota man, Larry Sinclair, made startling allegations that he used cocaine and had homosexual sex with Obama nine years earlier, the candidate was able to ignore the charges. Subsequently, Sinclair reportedly failed polygraphs.
WND seems to be suggesting that Sinclair still has some credibility; in fact, Sinclair is a career criminal who has been utterly discredited. As we've noted, WND never bothered to verify Sinclair's claims before repeating them -- the same offense WND and Corsi are accusing "the political reporters who cover the candidate" are doing with Obama.
If this is the most earth-shattering revelation Corsi's book has to offer -- and given that it's the lead claim from it, it must be -- it appears that Simon & Schuster wasted its (presumably not inconsiderable) money on a factually dubious smear piece.
Indeed, Corsi's previous anti-Obama work for WND has been similarly desperate and dubious -- for instance, swallowing Cliff Kincaid's communist obsession, rehashing irrelevant stories about Obama's father, and buying into the talking point that a large crowd that saw Obama speak actually came out to see the marginally popular indie-rock band that opened for him.
P.S. It appears to be baseless-Obama-smear day at WND; Jack Cashill (who has his own problems with factual reporting) is using his WND column to suggest -- again, without actual evidence to back him up -- that Obama didn't write his books. (Coincidentially, Cashill's most recent book was also published by Threshold Editions.)
UPDATE: Corsi's not just desperate -- he's wrong. Media Matters points out that Corsi did, in fact, say in his book that he "stopped getting high" shortly after moving to New York City to attend Columbia University.
Aaron Klein Anti-Obama Agenda Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
Aaron Klein's 46th anti-Obama article is nothing new -- it's little more than a rewritten version of an article he and John Batchelor wrote for Human Events way back in March, with an eye toward pumping a hint of scandal that Obama apparently has no actual direct evidence of.
The article carries the leading headline, "Obama tied to Iraqi government fraud?" But Klein offers little beyond implication; given that the "$50 million contact [sic] to train Iraqi security personnel at a site in Chicago" that Obama's Senate office purportedly helped to negotiate with an Iraqi official later accused of corruption was, in Klein's words, "nixed," the answer to the headline's question is "no."
While Klein is grasping at whatever he can find -- even rewriting five-month-old articles -- to make Obama look bad, he's utterly silent on analogous situations involving John McCain. For instance, Klein (nor anone else at WND, for that matter) has reported on the background of Randy Scheunemann, McCain's top foreign policy adviser, who is a longtime ally of Ahmad Chalabi, the Iraqi official who fed bogus intelligence to the U.S. prior to the Iraq war and has since been accused of being a spy for Iran.
Then again, WND readers probably don't know that about Chalabi; he hasn't been mentioned in a WND news article for nearly three years.
Huston Takes Obama Quote Out of Context Topic: NewsBusters
In a July 30 NewsBusters post, Warner Todd Huston asserted that "Jonathan Weisman is reporting on his "The Trail" blog that presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama told House Democrats that he believes himself to be the symbol of all that is good in America. It appears that he is beginning to believe the over-the-top hype that he really is the Obamessiah for America." Huston goes on to rant: "Wow, the arrogance in that. The hubris, the astounding hubris of it all is overwhelming to anyone that knows even a tiny bit of human history. ... Why Obama gets a pass for this sort of messianic rhetoric is amazing to me."
But Huston didn't note the rest of Weisman's post, which puts the quote in its proper context:
But one leadership aide said the full quote put it into a different context. According to that aide, Obama said, "It has become increasingly clear in my travel, the campaign -- that the crowds, the enthusiasm, 200,000 people in Berlin, is not about me at all. It's about America. I have just become a symbol."
Why did Huston refuse to tell his readers about the full context of Obama's statement? Was he just in the mood to rant -- he is prone to those, after all -- and needed a out-of-context claim to set him off?
This, combined with Tim Graham's repeating of another apparently false claim that Obama himself released his prayer at the Western Wall -- which Graham has yet to update or correct as of this writing other than to add "Report:" to the beginning of the headline to make it slightly less declarative of a false claim -- tells us that NewsBusters and the rest of the MRC are descending quickly into Obama Derangement Syndrome territory. The truth, it seems, no longer matters to them.