Last December, when a man took hostages at a Hillary Clinton campaign office in New Hampshire, NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard wondered if Hillary "orchestrated this entire crisis to make herself look battle-hardened."
Is Sheppard similarly wondering if the shooting death of the Arkansas Democratic Party chairman was staged by Democratic officials in order to generate a sympathy vote?
WND Still Misleads on Christian Textbook Lawsuit Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Aug. 12 WorldNetDaily article misleadingly claims that a court ruling means that the University of California "discriminate against coursework done by high school students that includes a Christian viewpoint," further claiming that the ruling "concluded the UC system was correct to reject courses from major book publishers, including Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Books, a Florida publishing powerhouse, because they include a Christian perspective."
In fact, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, "U.S. District Judge James Otero of Los Angeles said UC's review committees cited legitimate reasons for rejecting the texts - not because they contained religious viewpoints, but because they omitted important topics in science and history and failed to teach critical thinking."
The unbylined WND article goes on to misleadingly assert: "According to the lawsuit, a variety of textbooks with supplemental perspectives were accepted – just not those with a Christian perspective." In fact, according to the Chronicle (and not mentioned by WND):
[T]he university has approved many courses containing religious material and viewpoints, including some that use such texts as "Chemistry for Christian Schools" and "Biology: God's Living Creation," or that include scientific discussions of creationism as well as evolution.
UC denies credit to courses that rely largely or entirely on material stressing supernatural over historic or scientific explanations, though it has approved such texts as supplemental reading, the judge said.
Another rejected text, "Biology for Christian Schools," declares on the first page that "if (scientific) conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong," Otero said.
He also said the Christian schools presented no evidence that the university's decisions were motivated by hostility to religion.
The WND article also failed, as did a previous article, to explain or justify a biology textbook that does not put science first.
Massie Demands the Right To Be A Gluttonous Pig Topic: WorldNetDaily
In the process of bashing Barack obama's statement that "I don't believe that America is what it could be [or] what it once was" in his Aug. 12 WorldNetDaily column, Mychal Massie writes:
When a presidential candidate says, "[We] Americans can't drive our SUVs and [cannot] eat as much as we want and [cannot] keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to be okay." When he states emphatically that this will not be the case under his leadership – I submit that we can conclude what kind of country he believes America "could be." The problem is, that's not the kind of country our Founding Fathers envisioned nor is it the kind of nation a majority of Americans want to live in.
Really? The Founding Fathers wanted Americans to needlessly waste natural resources and stuff our faces until achieving a Creosote-esque explosion? We don't recall seeing that in the Federalist Papers.
Indeed, Massie's column is filled with ludicrous statements. Like this one: "America today is no longer a nation where her sovereignty is honored. Illegal aliens are not to be called what they are, but rather undocumented immigrants." But if they lack proper documentation and are immigrating, they are, in fact, undocumented immigrants.
Massie also asserts: "Today, businesses like Tyson Foods disallow long-standing national holidays, such as Labor Day – choosing instead to honor Muslim holidays – as if America should be beholding to same." In fact, as even WND reported, a single Tyson plant moved an employee holiday from Labor Day to Eid al-Fitr at the request of the workers there. Are workers not allowed to choose what holiday to have off if the management agrees to it?
And it wouldn't be a Massie column if he didn't throw in some big ol' five-dollar word. Today's word is "picrotoxin":
Obama has absorbed the barbiturates of hatred, class envy, redistribution of wealth and government control. So extreme are the levels of said anti-American toxins in his core being, it's doubtful there exists picrotoxin in sufficient supply to save him and the country from his political poisoning should he win the presidency.
Massie's Obama-hate has been at Derangement Syndrome levels for a while now.
Bozell's Tabloid Double Standard (And A Bunch of Misleading Claims) Topic: Media Research Center
Brent Bozell goes on a remarkable run of misstatements in his Aug. 12 column while ranting against the media for not taking a supermarket tabloid's claims about John Edwards' affair at face value, as well as purported disparate treatment of Republican scandals:
Ask yourself: what did Rev. Ted Haggard's use of drugs and male prostitutes in Colorado have to do with the national Republican Party?
Who says he did? Not the media (in the U.S., anyway). Plug in "ted haggard republican" into Google, and the first hit is an article from the British newspaper the Guardian claiming that "The Republican party today was assessing the potential political fallout" from the Haggard scandal." The second is a satirical article from The Onion claiming that Haggard "revealed Wednesday that he was repeatedly molested by an unnamed Republican congressman in the late 1990s," adding, "Authorities have not acted on Haggard's allegations, saying that Republicans are often accused of wrongdoings simply because so many of them lead secret gay or criminal lifestyles." The only other article from a news organization, real or otherwise, on the first page of Google's results is a Rocky Mountain News article noting that Haggard has "direct access to President Bush," noting that "Republicans - who have leaned enormously on the vote of conservative Christians in recent years - already reeling from a series of congressional scandals." That would seem to answer Bozell's question.
Or Mark Foley's dirty Internet messages to congressional pages?
We'll let the New York Times answer that one: "Top House Republicans knew for months about e-mail traffic between Representative Mark Foley and a former teenage page, but kept the matter secret and allowed Mr. Foley to remain head of a Congressional caucus on children’s issues."
What did Larry Craig's shoe placement in an airport bathroom in 2007 have to do with the Republican Party as a whole? The media treated that story as a much larger scoop than John Edwards cheating on the wife dying of cancer.
Let's see ... one case involved (at the time) unverified rumors promoted by a supermarket tabloid of someone who holds no political office and ceased being a candidate several months ago, the other involved an on-the-record guilty plea of a sitting congressman. Further, Edwards' affair is reported to have occured in 2006; Elizabeth Edwards' recurrence of breast cancer, which she may or may not be "dying" from, was revealed in March 2007.
[T]he very same media that almost immediately spread unproven trash on John McCain's alleged "romantic" relationship with lobbyist Vicki Iseman because the source was the allegedly professional New York Times now remained as quiet as a cabin full of Carthusian monks.
First, the Times never claimed McCain and Iseman had an affair; rather, the article noted that "Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself" and that "to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity."
Second, Bozell was singing a different tune about his new favorite supermarket taboid of choice just a few short months ago. Back in February, Bozell was attacking the Times over the McCain-Iseman story for being -- wait for it -- "fit to print only for the likes of the National Enquirer."
Bozell isn't slagging the "the likes of" the Enquirer now. Double standard much?
The WND store page for the sticker tries hard to put a positive spin on it: "If you're not convinced McCain is right for the job, but think anyone would be better than Obama , this bumper sticker is perfect for expressing that position." (Bold and underlined type in the original.)
Finkelstein: Obama's 'New Economy' = Commie Central Planning Topic: NewsBusters
Has Mark Finkelstein been reading a little too much Cliff Kincaid?
Seems so. Finkelstein forwards a different take on Kincaid's Barack-Obama-is-a-secret-commie meme in an Aug. 11 NewsBusters post by making the logical leap that a statement in an Obama commercial referencing a "new economy" means that Obama embraces communist-style central planning:
If Barack Obama makes it to the White House, perhaps he should appoint Chris Matthews Commissar of Gosplan, the Commission charged with developing the economy's Five Year Plans. The Hardball host, back from vacation, displayed the enthusiasm of a dutiful apparatchik in praising an Obama ad that in turn amounted to a pitch for central planning.
I find the ad threatening and sinister as hell. "A new vision for our economy"? Thanks, but I like the old vision. You know, the one based on capitalism and free markets in which millions of consumers, through billions of transactions, decide what goods and services are provided and what price they're willing to pay. "America's future is in our hands"? Translation: in big government's hands. What could be less cheerful than that? But Matthews and [Andrea] Mitchell dug it.
All hail the inevitable triumph of the centrally planned economy!
When, exactly, did Obama endorse central planning? Finkelstein doesn't say -- perhaps because Obama never has. Perhaps Finkelstein needs to take his fevered brain on vacation.
But Finkelstein isn't the only person drawing an MRC paycheck currently trying to link Obama to communists. An Aug. 12 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas goes the Aaron Klein guilt-by-association route by playing up praise for Obama in a Communist Party newspaper.
Gainor Misleads on 4-Day Workweek Topic: CNSNews.com
An Aug. 11 CNSNews.com column by Dan Gainor, head of the MRC's Business & Media Institute, falsely claims that a 4-day workweek for governmental employees equals "either ... a 25-percent increase in taxes or a 20-percent cut in services." Gainor doesn't explain how that can be, given that those governmental workers are actually putting in the same number of hours.
Nevertheless, Gainor goes on:
It’s simple math. If you pay to use government services five days a week and you only get four, that’s 20 percent less government for the same amount of money. (Or even more money if they raise your taxes at the same time.) While there is a strong case to cut government by 20 percent, it should include a 20-percent reduction in taxes.
Not likely. Instead, government continues to grow and what we get for our money continues to shrink.
Gainor seems not to have considered the possibility that governmental agencies would stagger those 4-day workweeks so that an office can remain open for a full five workdays.
AIM's Tabloid Double Standard Topic: Accuracy in Media
An Aug. 11 Accuracy in Media blog post by Don Irvine defends the honor of the National Enquirer over the John Edwards affair. After quoting New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt saying that the Enquirer issed "one sensational report after another" and noting that the Times "did not want to regurgitate the Enquirer’s reporting without verifying it," Irvine added: "Note the condescending attitude of Hoyt by equating the Enquirer with the gutter." (He then declares that "I am no fan of the Enquirer.")
But AIM had a much different view when the Enquirer and sister tabloids were repeating a claim that President Bush was having an affair with Condoleezza Rice and "shocking information about how the Bush Administration has failed to respond to terrorist threats." From a June 2006 AIM column by Cliff Kincaid:
While no conclusions can be made at this point about the politics involved with the latest attack on Bush, it should be noted that one of the main financial sponsors of [Enquirer owner] American Media, Inc. is Evercore Partners, an investment firm whose chairman is former Clinton Administration Treasury official Roger C. Altman.
So how does ownership of the Enquirer by a former Clinton crony figure into its reporting on Edwards' affair? Irvine and Kincaid don't say. AIM thus joins the rest of the ConWeb in their selective outrage against supermarket tabloids, denouncing them when they report unflattering things about conservatives and treating them as legitimate when they report unflattering things about liberals.
But if we are now to believe that everything in the Enquirer is unquestionably true, then this must be too:
BUSH'S BOOZE CRISIS
Faced with the biggest crisis of his political life, President Bush has hit the bottle again, The National Enquirer can reveal.
Bush, who said he quit drinking the morning after his 40th birthday, has started boozing amid the Katrina catastrophe.
Will Irvine and Kincaid vouch for the Enquirer here as well?
Speaking of Kincaid, he spends his Aug. 11 column trying to steer the conversation his (creepilyobsessed) direction, insisting that Barack Obama being a secret commie is a much bigger deal than Edwards:
The John Edwards affair is a chilling reminder that Democratic cover-ups can succeed, with the help of the media, and that even the most sophisticated “investigative” reporters are prepared to overlook potential Democratic scandals.
The implication of the Edwards scandal is that, if ABC News’s top investigative reporter could take Edwards’ side, without any serious checking of the facts, then other candidates may be concealing scandals and hoping and planning to get away with it.
Not that AIM and Kincaid haved worked all that hard to uncover any Bush administration scandals, mind you.
In writing a fawning Aug. 11 Newsmax profile of Richard Grenell, Bush-appointed spokesman for the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Ronald Kessler wrote that "Grenell has advised four U.S. ambassadors — John D. Negroponte, John C. Danforth, John R. Bolton, and Zalmay Khalilzad the current U.S. ambassador — on the formulation and articulation of U.S. policy at the United Nations."
Does that sound familiar? It should, because that comes almost word-for-word from Grenell's official bio:
Mr. Grenell has advised four U.S. Ambassadors - John D. Negroponte, John C. Danforth, John R. Bolton and Zalmay Khalilzad - on the formulation and articulation of United States policy at the United Nations.
That phrase from his bio also appears on Grenell's Wikipedia page. Apparently, Kessler was so busy fluffing Grenell that he had time only to cut-and-paste Grenell's background.
Curiously, this appears to be the same exact article by Kessler that Newsmax posted five days earlier. The only difference between the two that we noted is that the newer one includes a picture of Grenell. What gives? Is Grenell so nice that Kessler fluffed him twice?
Timmerman Mum on Political Agenda of Vet 'Reporters' Topic: Newsmax
An Aug. 10 Newsmax column by Ken Timmerman highlights a "group of eight citizen-soldier-reporters" who "returned to Iraq last week as civilians to embed as reporters with their former units, to tell the story of recent successes in the war they believe the media is not accurately reporting to the American people."
That's the closest that Timmerman gets to hinting at the agenda of the "citizen-soldier-reporters" he is featuring. The group is associated with Vets for Freedom -- which, as Salon details, not only supports the Iraq war but "has a remarkable number of ties -- some previously unreported -- to Republicans generally and John McCain's campaign specifically. And it has run attack ads against Barack Obama." Timmerman quotes VFF leader Pete Hegseth as part of the group but fails to note, as Salon did, that Hegseth has campaigned for John McCain. Salon adds:
Under the Pentagon's standards for Iraq embeds, the people that Vets for Freedom is sending to Iraq qualify as journalists. Six of them have impeccable military credentials but no reporting experience, with clippings largely limited to Op-Eds. A would-be embed, however, needs only to provide the military's public affairs officers with three samples of published or broadcast work, and proof that he or she is credentialed by a publication. Three conservative media outlets -- the Weekly Standard, National Review Online and BlackFive.net – have provided the eight members of VFF's Iraq team with credentials.
From the mission statement that appears on VFF's Web site, it's also clear that the purpose of what it has dubbed the "Back to Iraq" trip fits within the bounds of journalism, albeit advocacy journalism of the foregone-conclusion variety, strident conservative division. "Its [sic] essential for the American people to know the facts about what is happening in Iraq. Some media outlets, and certain politicians, still fail to assess the situation objectively; so Vets for Freedom is heading Back to Iraq to let them know what has been accomplished, what still needs to be done, and how we should proceed in order to attain sustainable security in Iraq."
But VFF's representatives in Iraq are political activists first, and journalists second. Or third.
VFF's decision to embed reporters does raise concerns for experts in media ethics. Christopher Hanson, an associate professor at the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism who researches media-military relations and who covered the first Gulf War, says that "subsidized journalism" funded by nonprofits "is on the rise across the political spectrum." He doesn't think that's necessarily a bad thing as long as there's full disclosure of the funding. But he also thinks that VFF's case brings with it a different set of issues. "If essentially you have reporters who are the founders and the activists in the organization, then getting credentialed and going with preconceptions ... and then going out and campaigning, that's highly questionable, and that deserves scrutiny. It seems to me that to some extent the question is, Is there any chance that any of them change their views or is it simply a kind of a fraud?" Hanson said, cautioning that he doesn't know the group's intentions and is not accusing them of fraud.
"It's not independent journalism," says Kelly McBride, ethics group leader at the Poynter Institute. "If I were [VFF], I'd be saying, 'Gosh, the Army should be paying me PR fees.'"
Timmerman reports none of this about the VFF "citizen-soldier-reporters" he features in his article.
An Aug. 11 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones reports on Barack Obama's plan to announce his vice presidential choice via email to supporters.
But what does the headline say? "Obmaa Trolling for Email Addresses." Jones ominously adds: "The Obama campaign is eager to gather as many email addresses as possible for get-out-the-vote and fund-raising purposes."
Aside from not explaining why gathering email addresses from supporters is hardly an unorthodox campaign procedure -- indeed, John McCain's campaign is also trolling for email addresses, though Jones would likely never call it that -- Jones ignores the actual news here: Obama will also utilize text messaging to announce his VP pick, not just email.
The media, as One, spend days or weeks bashing someone or something they do not like. They then conduct a poll to prove to you that they were right all along. In a campaign season, their one-sided coverage is calculated, then executed to produce a result. It’s not about reporting the events, it’s about changing the prevailing view.
And the polls -- such as the ones by the media, which are not independent surveys like those undertaken by the likes of Rasmussen or Gallup -- aren’t intended as much to gauge the public view of a candidate or events as they are to reinforce that which they have “reported”, or provide the media guidance on how effective their spinning of the news has been.
Despite the years of hype over how money is the root of all campaigning evil by the press, the respected polling organization reports voters' belief that there is a bigger problem in political campaigns: media bias.
Klein Whitewashes Savage, Lacks Disclosure Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Aug. 10 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein on Michael Savage's once and future legal actions against the Council of American-Islamic Relations is largely a whitewash piece, treating Savage's accusations against CAIR as fact and making no apparent attempt to contact CAIR for a response (though he pulled a few previous quotes by CAIR from some source that Klein doesn't bother to identify).
While Klein does note that Savage's claim that CAIR violated his copyright by repeating excerpts from his show was tossed out of court because the judge "ruled it is legal to use excerpts of a public broadcast for purposes of comment and criticism," Klein fails to mention that Savage has previously tried (and failed) to sue his critics over purported copyright violations.
Further, Klein fails to disclose WND's business relationship with Savage, which in the past has included publishing his books and currently includes hosting his website. The Society of Professional Journalists' ethics code states that journalists have an obligation to "disclose unavoidable conflicts."
The problem? It's taken out of context. As Pierce wrote in an October 2004 American Prospect article:
In January of 2003, I wrote a piece for The Boston Globe Magazine ruminating on the 40 years that Edward Kennedy has been in the United States Senate. At one point early on, I decided to deal with The Great Unmentionable at the heart of that career, so I wrote:
And what of the dead woman? On July 18, 1969, on the weekend that man first walked on the moon, a 28-year-old named Mary Jo Kopechne drowned in his automobile. Plutocrats' justice and an implausible (but effective) coverup ensued. And, ever since, she's always been there: during Watergate, when Barry Goldwater told Kennedy that even Richard Nixon didn't need lectures from him; in 1980, when his presidential campaign was shot down virtually at its launch; during the hearings into the confirmation of Clarence Thomas, when Kennedy's transgressions gagged him and made him the butt of all the jokes. She's always there. Even if she doesn't fit in the narrative line, she is so much of the dark energy behind it. She denies to him forever the moral credibility that lay behind not merely all those rhetorical thunderclaps that came so easily in the New Frontier but also Robert Kennedy's anguished appeals to the country's better angels.
And then, a few paragraphs later, I concluded the passage with the following:
If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age.
Now, I thought that was a tough, but fair, shot. Some people disagreed. The following Saturday, some veteran liberals chided me over the hors d'oeuvres at a dinner party. Some other people agreed. James Taranto of OpinionJournal cited it as evidence that I didn't like the senior senator very much. And my friend Dan Kennedy called it a "paragraph of pure poison." I didn't necessarily agree with them, but they rather obviously got my point -- which is about as good as a writer can hope for these days from the public discourse.
Baker's original 2003 item doesn't mention that Pierce's statement came in the context of a larger statement about how the Chappaquiddick incident effectively keeps him from having the "moral credibility" to be president -- indeed, a search of the MRC archive indicates that it has never placed the Pierce quote in its proper context, nor has it apparently responded to Pierce's criticism.
And, to cap things off, the MRC didn't even invite Pierce to their little shindig to pick up that award personally:
I was crushed. This is a big event in Washington every year. Hundreds of sweaty fat guys in tuxedos lust across the ballroom at Laura Ingraham and my gal, Annie Coulter. A hip evening for people who haven't been hip since the night they quoted Ayn Rand to their dates at the Junior Prom. A night of lechery and drunkenness among people who should confine their involvement with the seven deadly sins to Envy, Gluttony, and Rage. I was owed this spectacle.
Hey, I was an award-winner here. I know where to get a tux in D.C. I even had a speech prepared. This is how it started:
"Thank you all. It's nice to be here and to see everyone in such a fine mood. I've never seen Bill Bennett this happy with anything that didn't have a handle on its side.
"Oh, come on, Rush. Twenty more milligrams and that would've been damn funny."
I would have killed, I tell you.
Instead, accepting in my place was ... Mohair Sam Donaldson.
Sam Freaking Donaldson?
Apparently, Sam was gracious. He said one day he hoped to write as well as I do, which apparently got a big laugh. But Sam's no Sacheen Littlefeather, I'll tell you that.
Not only do Baker and the MRC continue to distort Pierce's words years after they have been proven to be something other than what the MRC claims them to be, the MRC won't even pony up for dinner.
UPDATE: Baker's post also apepars in the Aug. 11 MRC CyberAlert.
WND Still Whitewashing Abuse in Calif. Homeschooling Case Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetdaily just can't stop whitewashing child abuse allegations in homeschooling families.
An Aug. 8 WND article by Bob Unruh on a new California court ruling regarding homeschooling does a lot of writing around the fact that -- as we've detailed -- the parents in the family at the center of the case were implicated in abusive behavior toward two of their children. Unruh writes that the new ruling permits homeschooling but that permission to do so could be "overridden in order to protect the safety of a child who has been declared dependent." He further notes that regarding the particular case at hand (he has stopped naming the family involved in the case, though he did so in earlier stories), "the restriction on homeschooling would arise in a proceeding in which the children have already been found dependent due to abuse and neglect of a sibling." But then, he states only that the earlier opinion "had ruled in the case the family failed to demonstrate 'that mother has a teaching credential such that the children can be said to be receiving an education from a credentialed tutor," and that their involvement and supervision by Sunland Christian School's independent study programs was of no value'" -- suggesting that this was the only "abuse and neglect" the court was referring to.
In fact, here is what the state dependency court had to say about the family in question:
Before we begin with our analysis of this issue, it is helpful to note the following. First, in two prior dependency matters, father was found to have inappropriately physically disciplined two of his children, Cam and Elizabeth. Indeed, in at least Cam's case, father's treatment of her was brutal. Both Cam and Elizabeth were children who challenged father's rules at home. Thus, there was proof of his willingness to physically abuse his children when they did not tow the mark.
Father has a long history of physically abusing the children and mother has a long history of not protecting them from father, with Rachel being the most recent victim.
Likewise, we find substantial evidence to support the subdivision b-3 allegation that Rachel and her older siblings are former dependent children of the juvenile court, prior dependency involvement failed to resolve the family's problems in that Rachel has been physically and emotionally abused by father and mother did not take steps to protect her, Rachel was sexually abused by [a friend of the family] and the parents did not protect her from him, and such conduct by the parents places the three minor children at risk of future serious harm.
[T]he record contains substantial evidence, both from statements made by the children and from mother's own actions, that father dominates mother and dominates the children who live at home, two of whom have repeatedly run away from home because, in part, of the home rules father imposes. There is also substantial evidence that he has been difficult to work with in dependency matters--evasive, uncooperative, and belligerent. There is evidence that these character traits of father's have been consistent over the years that this family has been in dependency court. He will not permit the children to attend school. He will not permit them to receive childhood vaccinations. He will not permit the girls to wear pants at home. He will not permit birth certificates. There is evidence that mother does not interfere with his discipline of the children and his rules. There is evidence she does not make even tentative decisions in dependency matters but rather defers issues until father can make decisions on them. Several of the children gave answers [*75] to the social worker, forensic evaluator, and the court that have all the appearance of reflecting what the children were told to say or believed father would want them to say or not say.
Why is Unruh so afraid to tell the full truth to his readers? Perhaps because the family makes a much better homeschooling martyr if nobody knows what the real story is.