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Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Will WND Disclose Billboard Donors?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A May 19 WorldNetDaily article claims that WND has received "[m]ore than $10,000" in its campaign to erect billboards asking the already-answered question, "Where's the [Obama] Birth Certificate?"

If WND is so obsessive about disclosure, shouldn't it disclose the donors to its billboard fund?

We've asked the question of WND's PR folks via email; we'll let you know if we get a response.

UPDATE: Joseph Farah himself responds:

Our demand on Obama has nothing to do with a "spirit of disclosure," though Obama has pledged to run the most open and transparent administration in American history. The Constitution requires a president to be  a natural born citizen. That same Constitution also provides that ordinary American citizens the right to spend their money any way they want without fear of harassment from government officials.

If you need any more civics lesson, please feel free to call on me.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:21 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 19, 2009 11:00 PM EDT
Simple Answers to Simple Questions
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily is now seeking donations to "defray the costs of a national billboard campaign with the simple message: 'Where's the birth certificate?'"

Right here. And here. And here.

Well, that was easy. WND doesn't need to buy billboards anymore.

(WND doesn't care about the actual facts on the birth certificate, of course, but you already know that. And WND has its own questions to answer about its coverage.)


Posted by Terry K. at 11:02 AM EDT
Meanwhile ...
Topic: Newsmax
Media Matters notes the presence of Newsmax's Christopher Ruddy at the "Monday Meeting," a gathering of "conservative insider[s]," and reminds us of Ruddy's role in spreading conspiracy theories about the death of Vince Foster.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:39 AM EDT
Corsi Botches Another Economic Fact
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Here's another reason why Jerome Corsi sucks as a purportedly "trained economist."

A May 18 WorldNetDaily teaser for Corsi's Red Alert newsletter at WorldNetDaily asserts: "Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced that Medicare would run out of money in 2017 and Social Security would do the same in 2037, both sooner than previously projected." At no point, however, does Corsi explain what that means -- or that it's not as scary as he portrays.

As the annual report of the trustees of Medicare and Social Security states, those programs do not "run out of money" on those dates; it's when, under the current slate of obligations for both systems, their trust funds are depleted. Both Medicare and Social Security would still receive tax revenue after those dates -- just not enough to cover all currently anticipated obligations under the current rate of revenue.

How, again, is Corsi's report worth $99 a year when he can't get basic facts straight?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:52 AM EDT
WND Twitter Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah writes on his Twitter account:

From the declining-standards department: Seems like plagiarists can serve as vice president -- and even as NY Times columnists

Or WorldNetDaily editors.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:03 AM EDT
Monday, May 18, 2009
AIM Columnist Misleads on Obama, Ayers
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Jerome Corsi isn't the only one who has an old case of Obama Derangement Syndrome flaring up again.

In a May 17 Accuracy in Media column, Jim Kouri ("currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a staff writer for the New Media Alliance") fights an old battle by repeatedly mischaracterizing the relationship between Barack Obama and "former terrorist and Marxist university professor William Ayers." Kouri asserts that Obama and Ayers have a "friendship and business relationship," and that "When given the opportunity to serve on boards and appear at press conferences with Ayers, an up-and-coming politician named Barack Obama jumped at the chance."

Kouri is making statements and attributing motives he can't prove. He has no evidence to back up his claim that Obama joined the Chicago Annenberg Challenge or the Woods Fund specifically to have the "chance" to work with Ayers. Indeed, contrary to Kouri's claim that Obama and Ayers have a "friendship and business relationship," FactCheck.org points out that "so far as is known, their relationship was never very close. An Obama spokesman says they last saw each other in a chance encounter on the street more than a year ago."

Kouri also cites Ayers' "reputation as a cop-killer" despite offering no evidence that Ayers killed any cops. Kouri also can't get basic facts right: He writes that "In his 2001 memoir, Ayers wrote, 'I don't regret setting the bombs. I feel we didn't do enough'" ; in fact, he was quoted saying that in a 2001 New York Times article.

Further, Kouri baselessly claims a "suspected quid pro quo arrangement similar to those with Ayers and [Tony] Rezko" between Obama and Rashid Khalidi involving a Woods Fund grant to a Khalidi-operated group and Khalidi holding "a fundraising event in his home for Barack Obama." Kouri fails to mention that, as we've noted, a Khalidi-headed group also received funding from a group headed by Obama's 2008 presidential election opponent, John McCain.

Kouri's article is a muddled mess -- what were the supposed quid pro quos between Obama and Ayers and Rezko? Kouri never says. Further, it carries the headline "Demand President Obama honor fallen cops killed by his friends" without explaining the demand, let alone proving that the people he writes about are either cop-killers or Obama's friends. Kouri's Examiner.com blog sheds a little more light on the headline; its version of the column begins with an introduction noting National Police Memorial Day on May 15.

Another reason it's a muddled mess is that it's a rehash of a column Kouri wrote last October. At no point in the Examiner or AIM versions of his column is it noted that the column is several months old.

We've previously noted Kouri repeating dubious claims about the efficacy of torture and a bizarre defense of the Branch Davidians.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:09 PM EDT
Jeffrey's Attacks on Obama Presented As CNS 'News'
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com normally does the best job in the ConWeb of at least keeping up the appearance of fairness and balance (even though it really isn't). Editor Terry Jeffrey, though, has tossed all pretense out the window with his "news" articles on President Obama's speech at Notre Dame's graduation.

Jeffrey's bias starts with the headline of his main article: "Obama Legitimizes Killing of Unborn Babies in Speech at Notre Dame's Graduation." Jeffrey continues:

After receiving an honorary doctorate in law at the University of Notre Dame’s graduation ceremony yesterday, President Barack Obama delivered a speech to the school's graduating seniors that sought to legitimize his position in favor of the legal killing of unborn children.

Obama told the graduates of the nation’s most well-known Catholic university that abortion “has both moral and spiritual dimensions”--although he did not explain why he had made this conclusion—and made it quite clear that, even so, he has no intention of moving from his position that it ought to be legal for a pregnant mother to have a doctor kill her unborn child for literally any reason at any stage of pregnancy.

The president also did not take back his declaration made in 2007 to Planned Parenthood that he would sign the Freedom of Choice Act, a bill that would eliminate all the state and federal limitations on abortion that have been achieved by the pro-life movement in the 26 years since the Supreme Court legalized abortion on demand in its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

Nor did Obama rescind his vow to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act that currently protects states that do not recognize same-sex marriages from being compelled by the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in other states.

Nor did he reverse his executive order allowing federal tax dollars to be used for research that kills human embryos in order to extract their stem cells.
 
Nor did he reverse his order to allow U.S. foreign aid dollars to be used to perform and promote abortion in foreign countries.

It's not until the ninth paragraph that Jeffrey gets around to highlighting something Obama did say, as opposed to what he didn't.

Jeffrey's subjective language on abortion-related terminology -- a longtime CNS bias -- permeates the article, rerfusing to use the accepted term "pro-choice" in favor of the misleading term "pro-abortion" as well as the needlessly inflammatory term "people who favor the legal killing of unborn children." Needless to say, he uses the euphemestic term "pro-life" instead of the more accurate "anti-abortion."

What less biased news organizations led with in their reports on Obama's speech -- Obama's call to both sides of the debate to make their case with "Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words" and "without reducing those with differing views to caricature" -- Jeffrey buries in the final paragraph of his article. Jeffrey clearly isn't interested in approaching this issue with "fair-minded words," even though he purports to be a journalist.

A secondary article by Jeffrey also announces its bias in the headline: "At Notre Dame, Pro-Abortion Obama Wears Prayer Symbolizing Dedication of all Notre Dame's Activities to Virgin Mary." Jeffrey doesn't explain his obsession with this -- CNS published an article in April stating the Notre Dame expected Obama to wear the prayer. Given that it's inscribed in the school's traditional doctrinal robe, that fact that Obama not only was expected to wear it but did is not newsworthy.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:45 AM EDT
Newsmax Kerik Rehabilitation Watch
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax takes another step in its attmpts to rehabilitate Bernard Kerik with a May 16 article claiming that Kerik "won another round" in court when a judge ruled that "charges that Kerik lied to the White House during his brief bid to be secretary of homeland security must be tried in Washington, D.C." Newsmax does not explain how this could be considered a "win" for Kerik since he not only still faces those charges, he will be tried for them hundreds of miles from New York.

As we've detailed, Newsmax was an enthusiastic supporter of Kerik during his brief nomination as Homeland Security secretary. Over the past few months, Newsmax has endeavored to rehabilitate Kerik's reputation and even published an op-ed he authored, all the while downplaying the felonies Kerik remains accused of.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:06 AM EDT
A Tale of Two Media Studies
Topic: Media Research Center

Last week, the Media Research Center released a report claiming that network news programs have "failed as watchdogs, raising few doubts about Obama’s agenda and showering every major policy initiative with positive press," asserting that "The networks lavished good press on every major initiative of the early Obama administration, including the massive stimulus package, all of the various bailouts, health care, stem cells, the environment and foreign policy."

That conflicts with the findings of a Center for Media and Public Affairs study stating that while Obama has received "better press than his immediate predecessors," it "hasn’t precluded heavy criticism of his policies" -- "On the broadcast networks fewer than two out of five evaluative soundbites (39%) praised his policies and proposals."

While CMPA's study evaluated only the first 50 days of Obama's presidency while the MRC evaluated the first 100 days, it's unlikely that CMPA's 61 percent negative critiques by networks of Obama's policies somehow morphed into the MRC's "lavished good press."

We've detailed how MRC studies tend to be tainted by its right-wing bias, a pattern that appears to be continuing here. Indeed, much of the report appears to be complaining that the networks didn't unquestioning repeat right-wing talking points. From the exexutive summary:

Obama's first 100 days were defined by massive spending, aggressive intervention in the private sector and proposals for a huge expansion of the federal government. Yet none of the networks aired a single story on whether Obama’s policies were pushing the U.S. toward socialism, and no reporter used the term “socialist” to describe Obama.

Not only that, network reporters never used the word “liberal” to describe either Barack Obama or his agenda during the first 100 days.

MRC also claims that "The networks applauded Obama’s decision to use taxpayer money to fund embryo-destroying stem cell research (82% positive coverage)." By contrast, CMPA notes that "praise for his health care proposals and new stem cell research policy brought balanced coverage overall (50% positive)."

Somebody's not correct here -- odds are it's the MRC.

The MRC goes on to criticize the networks for merely reporting facts that it would rather not see reported. For instance, the report notes: "On the February 14 CBS Evening News, correspondent Barry Petersen asserted that the Japanese economy failed to rebound in the 1990s because the Japanese stopped their massive spending program too soon — and that the U.S. should brace for even greater government spending than the $787 billion stimulus bill." The MRC doesn't dispute the claim, which numerous economists agree with; it attacks CBS for reporting it in the first place.

Reporting inconvenient facts and refusing to regurgitate right-wing talking points are not evidence of "bias," something the MRC doesn't seem to understand.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 AM EDT
ConWeb Touts Dubious Abortion Poll
Topic: The ConWeb

The ConWeb is unsurprisingly rushing to embrace a new Gallup poll portraying a major shift on abortion -- those who identified themselves as "pro-life" jumped from 44 percent in 2008 to 51 percent this year, while those who identified themselves as "pro-choice" declined from 50 percent in 2008 to 42 percent this year.

NewsBusters' Tom Blumer declared in a May 15 post, "What a difference a radical, in your face, abortion-promoting president makes," citing examples of "Obama's appalling abortion-supporting record" and asserting that "the ascendance of Dear Leader Barack Obama has unmasked what being 'pro-choice' on abortion is all about."

WorldNetDaily, meanwhile, cited an "analyst" -- in fact, someone from Concerned Women for America, which opposes abortion and thus cannot be counted on to offer anything resembling objective "analysis" -- similarly assertd that the numbers are "a reaction to the realization what a true "pro-choice" position means to President Barack Obama." Newsmax gave lead-story play to an Associated Press article on the poll.

But the sharp year-to-year swing -- particularly on an issue that has seen few sharp swings in Gallup polling -- may indicate a problem with the poll. As Media Matters' Jamison Foser noted:

Gallup says the large swing from a year ago is attributable entirely to a 10-percentage-point increase in Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who call themselves pro-life. But that 10-point increase can only result in the overall swing Gallup claims has occurred if more people are Republican or lean Republican today than a year ago. That's possible, but is inconsistent with other polling that shows fewer Americans than ever consider themselves Republicans. Until Gallup releases the full data, its press release shouldn't be taken particularly seriously.

Meanwhile, Ed Kilgore at FiveThirtyEight.com adds:

After eight years of constant excitement among right-to-lifers about getting that fifth vote on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, that prospect is now pretty distant. And instead, Americans have been exposed to a constant wailing of alarms about Obama being "the most pro-abortion president in history," determined, somehow, to expand abortion rights. That Republicans and Republican-leaning independents might polarize on the subject isn't terribly surprising or necessarily significant.

Of course, since the poll has numbers they can get behind, the ConWeb will continue to take it quite seriously.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:20 AM EDT
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Your WND Obama Lie of the Day
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A May 16 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn begins by stating that "Barack Obama has repeatedly claimed that the U.S. is "no longer a Christian nation," but waits until the 27th paragraph to put Obama's words in context -- that he once said, "Whatever we once were, we're no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers," adding that "We should acknowledge this and realize that when we're formulating policies from the statehouse to the Senate floor to the White House, we've got to work to translate our reasoning into values that are accessible to every one of our citizens, not just members of our own faith community."

By framing the article around a statement taken out of context and burying the proper context, Zahn demonstrates himself to be a liar -- and, thus, an ideal WorldNetDaily employee.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:45 PM EDT
Meanwhile ...
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Richard Bartholomew highlights the latest addition to the WorldNetDaily store, a book claiming that the Beatles' popularity "is at least partly explained ... by a pact John Lennon made with the Devil." The book also claims that "the 'death clues' long associated with Paul McCartney were actually subliminal messages hinting at Lennon's fate."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:29 AM EDT
Corsi Just Can't Stop Lying About Obama
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jerome Corsi, it seems, is incapable of doing basic, complete research.

For reasons unbenownst to us, Corsi has decided to revisit Barack Obama's relationship with ACORN, even though it's irrelevant to anything going on now and arguably wasn't all that relevant during last year's election. In a May 13 WorldNetDaily article dedicated to portraying ACORN as originating in "a revolutionary strategy developed by two Columbia University sociologists in the 1960s," Corsi writes: "In 1992, while he was working as a community organizer in Chicago, Obama headed the Chicago operations of Project Vote!, an ACORN effort to register voters nationally."

As we've repeatedly pointed out, Project Vote was a separate entity from ACORN in 1992; as ACORN itself stated, "Project Vote had no more connection to ACORN than it did with dozens of other national and local organizations with which it partnered on local registration drives." Project Vote has since become a part of ACORN.

Corsi also asserts that ACORN is "funded heavily by George Soros through his Open Society Institute." That's not exactly true either; as NPR has noted, other organizations and even the federal government are on record as providing more money to ACORN than the Open Society Institute.

In an April 14 follow-up article, Corsi repeats the false claim that Project Vote was "an ACORN effort to register voters nationally" in 1992. He also engages in another misleading claim:

While the Obama administration's $787 economic stimulus package did not funnel federal funds to ACORN by name, the bill signed by the president included some $2 billion for non-profit "neighborhood stabilization" non-governmental organizations. Some of those funds could be allocated to ACORN to buy abandoned or foreclosed homes in impoverished neighborhoods, with the intent to rehabilitate them for resale or rental.

WhileCorsi surprisingly admits that the stimulus package "did not funnel federal funds to ACORN by name" -- as some of Corsi's ConWeb-ites have falsely asserted -- his claim that some of the stimulus funds "could be allocated to ACORN" is highly misleading. As the PolitiFact.com article to which Corsi links as support for his claim details, that claim is listed as "barely true":

If Democrats were trying to steer money to ACORN, say ACORN leaders, they sure picked an odd way to do it. ACORN has never done this type of foreclosure work, and according to ACORN's chief organizer, they don't plan to.

In response to Boehner's statement, ACORN chief organizer Bertha Lewis stated: "We watch with bemusement as he tries to gin up opposition to progressive solutions to America's deep economic crisis by accusing ACORN of doing something we have never done. We have not received neighborhood stabilization funds, have no plans to apply for such funds, and didn't weigh in on the pending rule changes."

Sister organization ACORN Housing Corp. has developed some housing in several cities, but it also has never done any foreclosure work.

"We theoretically could apply," said Richard Hayes, director of strategic projects for ACORN Housing. "But we would have to compete like everyone else. There is no guarantee we would be chosen."

Corsi fails to acknowledge ACORN's statements on the issue in his article. Because Corsi can't be bothered to tell the full truth about this issue, there's no reason to trust his reporting on it -- remember, we've documented him telling numerous lies about Obama. We do wonder, however, to what end Corsi is rehashing this -- for another Whistleblower magazine article, perhaps?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:10 AM EDT
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Shorter Matthew Balan
Topic: NewsBusters
Al Gore said he waited two years to criticize the Bush administration when, in fact, he waited only a year and eight months. Liar! Gore is just like Dick Cheney!

Posted by Terry K. at 9:48 AM EDT
Humes, Newsmax Still Won't Apologize for False Obama Quote
Topic: Newsmax

In March, we reported how Newsmax columnist James Humes asserted -- without any substantiation whatsoever -- that President Obama said of a bust of Winston Churchill on the Oval Office, "Get that goddam thing out of here."Humes was eventually forced to walk it back and admit it "was never fully substantiated, despite frequent repetition on radio talk shows," though he named no radio host who had advanced the claim -- but not before Newsmax itself approvingly cited it, correction-less, in a March 15 "Insider Report."

Now, Humes has penned his first Newsmax column since then, a May 15 piece on how George Washington was a cooler guy than Abraham Lincoln. While Humes references Obama's reverence for Lincoln, at no point does Humes apologizes for falsely smearing Obama over the purported Churchill quote, let alone offer any substantiation for even the walked-back claim that he heard it frequently repeated on talk radio.

You'd think that person who holds the titles of historian and scholar that he claims to have would care enough about factual accuracy to correct the record and apologize for repeating a false claim -- or would have refrained from reporting it in the first place without more solid documentation than the word of mysterious radio hosts. Humes, apparently, is not that kind of historian and scholar.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:34 AM EDT

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