Ronald Kessler's Nov. 26 Newsmax column was yetanother slice of Bush-fluffing centered around the idea that "On Thanksgiving, he deserves our appreciation." Among Kessler's claims:
Granted, the economy has taken a tremendous dive, and the stock market is scary, but the truth is, Bush did not have a lot to do with the combination of factors that came together to make the economy implode.
Almost since taking office, Bush did warn about the need to bring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under control. He introduced legislation to do so. Each time, Democrats and Republicans in Congress rejected the measures. Ultimately, he took bold action to help fix the financial meltdown.
The Bush administration backed off proposed crackdowns on no-money-down, interest-only mortgages years before the economy collapsed, buckling to pressure from some of the same banks that have now failed. It ignored remarkably prescient warnings that foretold the financial meltdown, according to an Associated Press review of regulatory documents.
Bowing to aggressive lobbying _ along with assurances from banks that the troubled mortgages were OK _ regulators delayed action for nearly one year. By the time new rules were released late in 2006, the toughest of the proposed provisions were gone and the meltdown was under way.
The administration's blind eye to the impending crisis is emblematic of a philosophy that trusted market forces and discounted the need for government intervention in the economy. Its belief ironically has ushered in the most massive government intervention since the 1930s.
Any chance Kessler will tell his readers about this important information that runs counter to his fawning narrative? Don't count on it.
Sheppard's Double Standard on Obama-Linked Economic News Topic: NewsBusters
As we've noted, NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard was quick to blame Barack Obama's victory for a stock market drop immediately following the Nov. 4 election -- "there's no question this represented Wall Street's vote of no confidence in Obama's economic plans for the future" -- and refusing to acknowledge that there was economic news that even the Fox Business Channel agrees played a decisive factor in the decline.
So when ABC's George Stephanopoulos credited last week's increase in the Dow to Obama's pick of Tim Geithner as treasury secretaryand announcing other members of his economic team, what does Sheppard do? That's right -- spend a Nov. 30 NewsBusters item detailing the economic data that purportedly better explains the increase, something he couldn't be bothered to do in blaming Obama for a market drop:
What also eluded Stephanopoulos were other key events that happened last week which were likely more the cause of the rally continuing. For instance, the announcement Monday morning that ailing Citicorp was going to get more funds from the government as well as guarantees on all their troubled loans sparked a huge rally in financial stocks which provided much-needed confidence that the banking system wasn't in imminent danger of a total collapse.
Beyond this, mortgage rates plummeted last week suggesting that the credit markets are finally beginning to ease, and that financial institutions, after almost three months of inactivity, were more interested in lending. The impact such a thawing could have on all industries is huge, and was a big factor in last week's stock explosion.
Lest we not forget that the shares of GM and Ford more than doubled last week as investors became more confident there would be some federal moneys going to the ailing auto makers.
But the market is still down from where it was on election day, and that, according to Sheppard, can only be Obama's fault:
None of this was addressed by Stephanopoulos Sunday, nor was the fact that the market is still down eleven percent since Election Day. The worst post-presidential election performance (through the end of the same calendar year) since 1900 is down 15.8 percent in 1920; the average since 1900 is a 2.7 percent gain.
Again, Sheppard fails to note the immediate post-election economic data that non-biased economic analysts have acknowledged are responsible for that drop.
Sheppard concludes with his funhouse-mirror interpretation of things:
Sadly, you better get used to this kind of nonsense, for it seems a metaphysical certitude that anything good that happens anywhere in the world once Obama is inaugurated will be somehow connected to him just as anything bad that happened anywhere in the world during the past eight years was blamed on President Bush.
Sheppard, needless to say, will be doing precisely the opposite. Funny how that works, isn't it?
UPDATE: Michael M. Bates follows in Sheppard's footsteps, calling USA Today's noting that Obama's actions perked up the stock market one of the "mainstream media-manufactured verities" and claiming the immediate post-election drop was Obama's fault while not citing the economic data behind that drop.
New Article: WorldNetDaily's Sour (And Immature) Grapes Topic: WorldNetDaily
WND writers take the sore-loser approach to Barack Obama's victory by claiming that those who voted for him are immature. But isn't such petulant whining a sign of a lack of maturity as well? Read more >>
Huston Falsely Accuses Columnist of Lying About Palin Topic: NewsBusters
A Nov. 30 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston accuses syndicated columnist Froma Harrop of writing a column "filled with every lie about Governor [Sarah] Palin she could jam into one column." But the things Harrop wrote that Huston claims are lies ... aren't.
Huston claims, "Harrop starts with the canard that Palin was the one that bought the $150,000 wardrobe during the campaign. This is an outright lie as not one single reputable report laid the spending on Palin herself." But at no point in the column did Harrop claim that Palin "bought the $150,000 wardrobe"; in fact, Harrop specifically writes that "Many Republicans were understandably irked by this use of their campaign contributions."
Then we get the next straight out lie promulgated by Harrop's hate-filled rant.
The depth of that deficit became clear in the "reports" of a John McCain adviser complaining that she didn't know Africa was a continent. Though obviously no Palin fan, even I question such an extraordinary charge, especially attached to unnamed sources.
This fake charge was originally made by one Martin Eisenstadt, a supposed Republican strategist. But by November 12, it was revealed that Martin Eisenstadt doesn't even exist and that it was a made up persona meant to hoax the newsertainment industry.
In fact, as we've noted, Eisenstadt was never credited with making the original Africa claim; rather, he made an appearance on MSNBC to take false credit for it. As the Associated Press has reported: "While Palin has denied that she mistook Africa for a country, the veracity of that report was not put in question by the revelation that Eisenstadt is a phony."
Nevertheless, Huston ranted that "Froma Harrop committed journalistic malpractice of a gross nature with this lie-filled, uniformed rant ... she regurgitates lies here that have been thoroughly debunked weeks ago." He concluded: "Like those of the rest of her profession, Froma Harrop has a visceral hatred of Palin and a nearly pathological need to destroy her. Facts don't matter. Truth is unnecessary. Decorum and objectivity are disdained. They just want Palin destroyed and they will do anything to get that job done."
Substitute "Froma Harrop" for "Warner Todd Huston" and "Palin" for "Froma Harrop and anyone who tells the truth about Palin" in that little rant and you'd be much closer to the truth.
Farah Still Lying About 'Civilian National Security Force' Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah wrote in his Nov. 29 WorldNetDaily column:
Obama never fully explained what he meant by a "civilian national security force" with a budget equaling our current Defense Department. No reporters ever bothered to ask him.
And I'm still wondering what these guys mean when they talk about a "civilian national security force." I have a feeling no matter what it is, I won't like it.
But Farah made no attempt to find out what Obama meant -- or if he did, he didn't tell his readers in order to falsely smear Obama as wanting to create a "domestic Big Brother program."
As we detailed when Farah first latched onto this false meme, Obama has explained what he meant by a "civilian national security force": a restructuring of the State Department as well as "teams that combine agricultural specialists and engineers and linguists and cultural specialists who are prepared to go into some of the most dangerous areas alongside our military."
Is it too much to ask for Farah to stop lying about Obama? It appears so.
CNS: HIV/AIDS Victims Are 'Immoral' Topic: CNSNews.com
A Nov. 26 CNSNews.com article by Pete Winn attacked "AIDS activist groups and representatives of various religious groups" for taking a "nonjudgmental" approach in wanting to deal with victims HIV and the AIDS virus in a "truthful" and "medically accurate way." In doing so, Winn described nearly all HIV and AIDS victims "immoral."
According to the article, here are the questions Winn asked at "a telephone news conference in advance of World AIDS Day":
"Let me ask you this: Outside of medical accidents -- like blood transfusions or children born to HIV-positive mothers -- is it possible for an unmarried person to contract HIV without basically someone committing an immoral act?"
"Isn’t 'having multiple partners' one of the major causes or routes for acquiring HIV, and doesn’t your religion label that as promiscuity or immorality? Shouldn’t religions counsel against sexual immorality?"
Winn didn't address why virtually all HIV/AIDS victims must be labeled as "immoral" or whether the manner in which they contracted the virus should play a role in the quality of the medical treatment they receive.
Bozell's 'War on Christmas' Double Standard Topic: Media Research Center
Brent Bozell's Nov. 26 column takes offense at Stephen Colbert's Christmas special, in which he and country singer Toby Keith take the whole "war on Christmas" thing a little too seriously:
The real agenda emerges when Colbert’s Christmas-cabin set is visited by country singer Toby Keith. There’s a war on Christmas, Keith proclaims, and liberals are going to be dead when it’s over. He sings “Separate church and state, that’s what some lawyer said / I say we separate him from his head.”
Keith also sings, “You can call me un-Christian, but that’s not true. Buddy, I’ve got a present for you.”
Then, the audience sees a house exploding, and Santa and two little kids laughing at the violence implied. After another verse, in which church-state separation is “what some liberal said,” the “present” is getting shot by Keith, who then jokes “Hope it’s the right size.”
He sings about Santa dropping bombs: “Saint Toby’s got one, too, for the ACLU.” The footage turns to mushroom clouds.
The lyrics (written by “Daily Show” executive producer David Javerbaum) are not what you would call subtle (or intelligent) about those bullying Christians. The song jokes that idiotic Colbert-clone conservatives think Santa Claus and Uncle Sam are one and the same, “so boys, take aim.”
But that's just the logical destination of a metaphor Bozell once endorsed. From Bozell's Dec. 22, 2005, column:
The "war on Christmas” centers primarily on the way in which so many schools and businesses are scrubbing the word and the concept of Christmas from the public square to avoid ACLU lawsuits or complaining non-Christians, not a one of them, I might add, I’ve ever met.
Some say it’s not a “war,” that it’s only an outbreak of multicultural sensitivity. No, it’s a war, and it’s being waged by those deliberately attempting to undermine our Judeo-Christian heritage.
So, if "it's a war," as Bozell claims, why wouldn't it ultimately be a shooting war? And why shouldn't Colbert and Keith have a little fun pointing out the absurdity of it?
WND Promotes Blogger's Baseless Claims About Google Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Nov. 28 WorldNetDaily article by Chelsea Schilling uncritically promotes a claim by right-wing blogger Pamela Geller that the posts at her Atlas Shrugs blog are being censored by Google -- that is, they are not showing up in searches. Schilling does not make any apparent effort to contact Google officials for their side of the story; rather, she merely echoes Geller's claims that "her exclusive stories about Obama's birth certificate" are being "intentionally suppressed" by Google, and Geller's baseless claim that " the censorship could have something to do with Google CEO Eric Schmidt's relationship with the president-elect."
Schilling cites a Geller post about "a board-certified forensic expert who declared Obama's online birth certificate a 'forgery' and an 'obvious fake.'" As she has before, Schilling fails to mention that her employer conducted its own investigation of the birth certificate and found it not only to be "authentic" but that "methods used by some of the bloggers to determine the document was fake involved forgeries, in that a few bloggers added text and images to the certificate scan that weren't originally there." Is Geller among those bloggers who added text and images to Obama's birth certificate? Don't count on Schilling for the answer.
Schilling also fails to mention Geller's most notorious claim regarding Obama's parentage: that he is the illegitimate son of Malcolm X. Certainly that counts as an "exclusive story" worth noting, does it not?
But no -- Schilling wants you to think Geller is a credible spokesperson for WND's side of the Obama-birth-certificate case. And if Schilling -- and, by extension, Joseph Farah and David Kupelian -- believe that, doesn't that further demonstrate the quicksand-based foundation and the factual and moral bankruptcy of WND's anti-Obama jihad over the birth certificate?
WND Rehashes Bogus Matthew Shepard Revisionism Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Nov. 28 WorldNetDaily article complains that the Matthew Shepard case "has been used by 'gay' activists ever since as a reason to demand enhanced 'hate' crimes for anyone who perpetrates criminal activity against a homosexual. It goes on to repeat claims made in an Oct. 11 WND column by Coral Ridge Ministries' John Aman purporting to tell "the truth" about Shepard's death -- that Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson killed Shepard over drugs, not "homophobia," as they claimed in an ABC interview.
As we noted at the time Aman's column appeared -- and as we previously reported when right-wingers like WND latched onto the ABC interview -- relying on the ever-shifting stories by convicted killers ignore the actual record of the case: McKinney and Henderson have a long record of lying about Shepard's murder, and that the hate-crime aspect of Shepard's death was corroborated during their trials. As a Wyoming police detective who worked on the Shepard case said: "Only three people know what really happened that night. ... One of them is dead and the other two are known liars and convicted felons -- murderers."
The dubious ABC interview is referenced in an American Family Association of Pennsylvania press release, on which WND based its article. It similarly claims that "interviews with the two murderers revealed that Shepherd’s murder resulted from a botched robbery." As with Aman, there is no mention of the court record; as with the WND article, there is no mention of the fact that McKinney mounted a "gay panic" defense during his murder trial, which undercuts the robbery argument.
Newsmax Touts Simcox and Minutemen, Silent on Their Controversies Topic: Newsmax
A Nov. 24 Newsmax article by Dave Eberhart promotes criticism of Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano's reported nomination to be homeland security secretary by Chris Simcox, president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. But Eberhart fails to mention recent controversies surrounding Simcox.
As we've noted, Simcox's Minuteman faction has split with another faction headed by Jim Gilchrist. Questions have been raised over where the money raised by the Minutemen has gone, and CNN has reported that the border fence the Minutemen are attempting to build in Arizona -- promised to be 14 feet high and topped with razor wire -- is instead a mere 5-foot-high barbed-wire cattle fence.The Simcox faction splintered further in 2007 when a group of state chapter officers were fired by Simcox after they demanded more financial accountability from him.
Eberhart also quotes Brett Farley, executive director of the Minuteman PAC, but similarly fails to note controversies regarding that organization as well. Right Wing Watch reports that little of the Minuteman PAC's money makes it to candidates, with the vast majority tagged for "operating expenses," including ties with groups linked to gadfly Alan Keyes.
Yet Eberhart treats Simcox and Farley as if they are heading legitimate organizations and uncritically passes along their opinions.
We know that WorldNetDaily's writers apparently don't read their own website, as evidenced by theirinsistence that the birth certificate released by Barack Obama's campaign is forged, despite WND's own reporting to the contrary. It seems that WND's readers don't actually read it either.
WND's Nov. 28 "Letter of the Week" is by one Jesse Smith, who begins by claiming, "It really is amazing how many people don't think Barack Obama could've forged his online Certification of Live Birth. Digital forgery is nothing new and has been around for years."
Smith joins those WND employees in failing to acknowledge WND's report on the subject in August:
A separate WND investigation into Obama's birth certificate utilizing forgery experts also found the document to be authentic. The investigation also revealed methods used by some of the bloggers to determine the document was fake involved forgeries, in that a few bloggers added text and images to the certificate scan that weren't originally there.
WND further reported that, as a result, a lawsuit filed against the Obama campaign by Philip J. Berg claiming that Obama is a non-citizen of the U.S. and thus ineligible to run for president "relies on discredited claims."
Smith (not to mention the rest of WND) might want to give that report a look before further buying into their little conspiracy theory.
Feder Still Dishonestly Attacking NYT Topic: Accuracy in Media
We've detailed how Don Feder has offered shoddy and misleading evidence to forward Accuracy in Media's campaign to boycott the New York Times. That continues in a Nov. 24 column Feder wrote for WorldNetDaily.
In portraying the Times' coverage of the presidential campaign as "biased, brutish and business as usual," Feder offers numerous misleading claims and unsupported or hypocritical assertions.
Feder claims "the Times tried to soft-peddle Obama's ties to unrepentant terrorist William Ayers" adding:
An Oct. 17 editorial charged that by bringing up Ayers, McCain and his running mate had moved beyond mere "distortions," driving deep "into the dark territory of race-baiting and xenophobia." Since Ayers is white and native-born, this left many Times-watchers scratching their heads.
In fact, the editorial in question was published on Oct. 8, not Oct. 17, and the remarks about "race-baiting and xenophobia" were not in reference to Ayers. The editorial also stated:
Ms. Palin, in particular, revels in the attack. Her campaign rallies have become spectacles of anger and insult. “This is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America,” Ms. Palin has taken to saying.
Her demagoguery has elicited some frightening, intolerable responses. A recent Washington Post report said at a rally in Florida this week a man yelled “kill him!” as Ms. Palin delivered that line and others shouted epithets at an African-American member of a TV crew.
In an Oct. 3 story on the vice-presidential debate, the Times characteristically reported that the governor "used a steady grin, folksy manner and carefully scripted talking points." In other words, Palin is a hick, a rube – a political Stepford wife who would have been lost without her script (doubtless written by the RNC). In a companion editorial, the paper charged that Palin "never got beyond talking points in 90 minutes, mostly repeating clichés and tired attack lines and energetically refusing to answer far too many questions."
Feder offers no evidence that Palin did, in fact, venture beyond Republican talking points during the debate or that she did not refuse to answer all the questions she was asked.
Feder referred to the Times "coverage of Palin's daughter's unwed pregnancy" as "sleaze." In fact, the Times did not first report this; the McCain campaign announced it.
Feder claimed that the Times "studiously ignored" alleged statements in support of Obama by terrorists and dictators, including Fidel Castro's statement that Obama is "the most progressive candidate to the U.S. presidency." As we noted the last time he did this, Feder took Castro's words out of context; Castro was giving Obama a compliment that was backhanded at best and that Castro also called the U.S. embargo against Cuba that Obama pledged to maintain "an act of genocide." As PolitiFact also noted, Castro did not actually endorse either Obama or John McCain.
Feder also noted that "Ahmed Yousef (a top Hamas adviser) compared Obama to John F. Kennedy," which came from an interview Yousef did with WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein and right-wing radio host John Batchelor. As we've detailed, there are numerous questions about the interview regarding the nature of Yousef's participation in it that Klein has yet to answer.
Matching Feder's dishonesty in attacking the Times is AIM's promotion of Feder's column. A Nov. 25 AIM press release states:
Boycott The New York Times editor Don Feder said today that “palpable bias” at the paper has contributed to steep declines in The Times’ readership, advertising revenue, and stock value. The New York Times Company dramatically slashed its quarterly dividend last week, and its shares have lost 66.8% of their value this year.
But Feder did not mention the Times Company stock price in his column. And like the MRC, Feder and AIM ignore other more logical and plausible reasons for the decline, such as the paradigm shift from print to online and the growing commoditization of news.
As we foundout, Joseph Farah is desperate to disparage and discredit any and all criticism of WorldNetDaily.
Farah's latest target, as detailed in his Nov. 25 column: Kevin Hulten, a blogger for a weekly newspaper in Wisconsin. Writing about someone who forwarded a Nov. 11 WND article by Bob Unruh about how "members of a pro-homosexual, pro-anarchy organization" interrupted a church service in Michigan, Hulten stated: "The mere fact that you reference a 'story' from a site that purports to be 'A free press for a free people' and then in the next breath complains that no news outlets have covered the purported attack should tell you that upon deeper examination that even you know that the old WorldNetDaily is not an acceptable source of information."
Of course, as we've repeatedlydetailed, Hulten's basic premise is correct. But that didn't stop Farah from going off the handle. Farah called Hulten's paper (as he did with the Huffington Post, where our article on WND that incured Farah's wrath appeared) "insignificant," a "pathetic journalistic institution" and "that rag," and denigrated Hulten (as he did with us) by calling him a "simpleton" and someone "who pontificates on things he doesn't understand in between blogging about high school football games." He engaged in his usual manhood-measuring game (as he did with us), complaining that the paper's website "provides no place on its website where readers can evaluate the relative experience of its top management and staff." And he engages in his usual disingenuous defense of WND.
Farah wrote that "WND based its Nov. 11 story, written by a 30-year veteran of the Associated Press, by the way, on five separate sources and has yet to be questioned by anyone with any knowledge of the report." In fact, Unruh's account of the church protest is based solely on one person, a right-wing blogger, Nick DeLeeuw. The other sources Unruh cites -- a press release from the church, and right-wing activsts Randy Thomasson, Gary Glenn, and the Catholic League's Bill Donohue (the church in question is not Catholic) -- are commenting on the incident, not corroborating DeLeeuw's acount. Further, as we've detailed, Unruh's work for WND has produced articles so deficient in journalistic balance and ethics that they would never pass muster at his old employer, the AP.
Nowhere, however, did Farah respond to this statement by Hulten:
This is another important sign to note when evaluating your potential media gathering sites: if investigative articles are followed by attempts to propagandize the conclusions reached in said article with the profits headed directly towards the authors, then this is not a good sign. Not good at all.
The beauty of today’s electronic age is that we all have the ability to evaluate the worth of any given form of media, and to discard it if it doesn’t live up to certain standards.
It has become extremely popular in some circles to blame the media for all the ills that society faces, especially in the political realm. I often wonder if this media spite is a backlash from partisans who are just a little pissed that certain media members uncovered a little too much dirt about their party favorites.
That said, in today’s media world, if you don’t like the point of view provided by the source you’re evaluating, then you are free to navigate your way to a provider that lines up with the way that you see the world.
But therein lies the rub: if we all surrender the middle ground in attempt to find “media” sources that line up with a certain ideology, how will we ever know what is true anymore?
That, dear reader, is why you get the Lake Stevens Journal in your mailbox every Wednesday.
Further, contrary to Farah's claim that "I still care about truth – and fighting for it everywhere," WND has a long history of lying to and misleading its readers.
We, by the way, are linked to in Farah's column as an example of the "medium-size venues" that have criticized WND. Though WND graciously published our response to Farah at WND, he has yet to comment further on it or actually substantively rebut any specific claim we've made about WND.
Instead, Farah has apparently decided that all criticism of him and WND is not legitimate; he laments in this column that "it seems like everyone wants to take a shot at me and my news agency." Of course, Farah is not shy about passing judgment on other news organizations -- usually for daring to express an opinion about WND that is insufficiently praiseworthy.
If you dish it out, shouldn't you be able to take it? Farah demonstrates that he can't.
A Nov. 25 Newsmax article is a repeat of a press release on "an exclusive post-election poll conducted by ATI-News and Zogby International" claiming that "A majority of American voters say they would have been less likely to vote for President-elect Barack Obama if they had known he supported controversial legislation that would eliminate workers’ right to a secret ballot in union elections." But that poll is based on a misleading question.
According to the press release, the question asked by pollsters was whether they had known "about Barack Obama’s support for a congressional bill to outlaw workers' rights to a secret ballot in union elections." But that's a false portrayal of the Employee Free Choice Act, which the press release called "misleadingly dubbed."
The Employee Free Choice Act does not abolish the National Labor Relations Board election process. That process would still be available under the Employee Free Choice Act. The legislation simply enables workers to also form a union through majority sign-up if a majority prefers that method to the NLRB election process. Under current law, workers may only use the majority sign-up process if their employer agrees. The Employee Free Choice Act would make that choice – whether to use the NLRB election process or majority sign-up – a majority choice of the employees, not the employer.
Since the poll question is based on a false premise, the poll is meaningless -- and Zogby's poll partner has no credibility.
What is ATI News, the organization that paid for the Zogby poll? Its website shows it to be merely an aggregator of other news websites; it generates no original reporting. It is operated by Brad O'Leary, who wrote the WorldNetDaily-published anti-Obama book "The Audacity of Deceit" earlier this fall. As we've noted, the book -- which is a bit of speculative scaremongering about "what can be surmised from his record about Obama's domestic policy prescriptions as president" -- contains numerous misleading or false claims about Obama.
As a promotion for his book during the presidential campaign, O'Leary enlisted Zogby to do a series of polls purporting to show that Obama is out of the mainstream, using similarly skewed questions.
So, it appears that not only is the bankroller of the poll discredited, Zogby is as well for accepting O'Leary's money to regurgitate his skewed, inaccurate questions and give O'Leary false legitimacy.
Shapiro Falsely Claims Autoworkers Make $75 an Hour Topic: CNSNews.com
In his Nov. 26 syndicated column, published by CNSNews.com and WorldNetDaily, Ben Shapiro falsely asserted, "The average UAW worker makes $75 per hour in salary and benefits, as compared to $42-$48 per hour for workers in Japanese plants in the United States."
In fact, that figure includes not only future retirement benefits for current workers, but also benefits paid to current retirees; actual hourly pay and benefits. Further, in the contract the UAW negotiated with General Motors in 2007, new hires make as little as $14 an hour.