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Monday, August 17, 2009
A Semi-Automatic Contradiction
Topic: NewsBusters

From an Aug. 17 NewsBusters post by Matthew Balan complaining that people on CNN described the AR-15 one man was toting outside of President's Obama speech before the VFW (one of several guns carried outside the speech) as an "automatic weapon" and an "assault rifle":

The civilian AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle, not an “automatic weapon” as Murphy put it. It also cannot be accurately described as an “assault rifle,” as Sanchez labeled it, because an assault rifle, by definition, is a selective-fire weapon, with either fully-automatic or semi-automatic capability. Leave it to three liberals to get it wrong on guns.


So the AR-15 a "semi-automatic rifle," but it's not an "assault rifle" because those have "semi-automatic capability"? We're confused.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:47 PM EDT
WND Slobbers All Over Rep. Bachmann
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In the great tradition of its slobbering profile of Orly Taitz, WorldNetDaily's Drew Zahn has penned a similarly fawning article on right-wing Rep. Michele Bachmann, sycophantically describing her as "one of the leading defenders of liberty and conservative principles on Capitol Hill."

Zahn is certainly not going to bring up any unpleasantness. For instance, he quotes Bachmann as saying:

"After the election of 2006, when I was sworn in in 2007," Bachmann replied, "I was expecting a fairly liberal group of people in Congress. But that's not what I found. I have been pleasantly surprised by a number of my colleagues, who believe in the founding principles we share.["]

Zahn makes no mention of Bachmann's demand (later backed off) that "the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look — I wish they would — take a great look at the views of people in Congress and find out [if] they [are] pro-America or anti-America."

The big news out of  Zahn's fluff piece is her suggestion that she might run for president in 2012 if God calls her to do it. We'll let Wonkette handle that one.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:29 PM EDT
MRC's Poor Shows Double Standard on Presidential Children
Topic: Media Research Center

Jeff Poor writes in an Aug. 13 MRC Culture & Media Institute article:

Remember when the children of public figures were off-limits in the day-to-day hand-to-hand combat of political warfare?
 
It's a rule that didn't just applied to the underage children of politicians, but the adult children. Witness the 2008 suspension of MSNBC’s David Shuster for suggesting then-presidential contender Hillary Clinton’s 28-year-old daughter Chelsea Clinton was being “pimped out” by the campaign.

But maybe that rule only applied to Democrats.

Well, no. As we've detailed, Poor's employer was not particularly offended by Shuster's remark; further, the MRC has not only never made any attempt to criticize Rush Limbaugh for his 1990s likening of a then-teenage Chelsea to theWhite House dog, it has sought to portray it as an innocent mistake without providing any substantive evidence to support it. The MRC has also tried to draw false equivalence between the offenses of the daughers of a sitting president with the offenses of the son of a former vice president.

All of which makes any MRC attempt to manufacture offense that children of a conservative politician disproportionately make the news highly hypocritical.

Yet Poor goes on to do that anyway in defense of right-wing Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, writing that "a hateful anti-Bachmann blog" and MSNBC's Keith Olbermann used her son's enrollment in the Teach for America program, a division of AmeriCorps,  to criticize Bachmann.

But Poor, as the MRC did before, draws another false equivalence. Bachmann's son was not being criticized for his actions as Chelsea Clinton was -- heck, even Poor couldn't be moved to criticize the son's actions beyond sneering that Teach for America is a "government program." Nor does he disagree with the main point of what the blogger and Olbermann highlighted -- that his participation in such a program presumably runs counter to his mother's right-wing beliefs.

Perhaps Poor should think about holding his fellow conservatives accountable for their attacks on presidential children before he criticizes others.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:44 AM EDT
Shocker: WND Contradicts Itself On Birth Certificate Claim
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Has WorldNetDaily decided to stop lying about President Obama? On one minor issue, it has.

WND writers have repeatedly suggested or asserted that President Obama cannot be considered a "natural born citizen" because his father was not a U.S. citizen -- in a June 16 column by Joseph Farah, in several news articles, as well as in a promotional flyer.

But that claim has been debunked ... by WorldNetDaily. In an Aug. 10 WND article, Drew Zahn writes that there are "arguments over just exactly what is a 'natural born' citizen" and that "a consensus on the correct definition of 'natural born citizen' has eluded lawyers and scholars for more than 200 years."

WND was scooped on this claim by, among others, Salon.com, which similarly reported this on Aug. 5. Salon cited the case of U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, in which the Supreme Court "looked into the meaning of 'natural born' in the common law and concluded that a non-citizen's mere presence in the U.S. is enough to make their child, if born here, a natural-born citizen."

Zahn curiously makes no mention of the Wong case in his article -- perhaps it would have undercut previous reporting too much. Zahn also made no mention of WND's previous assertions and suggestions that it was fact that both parents must be citizens to give birth to a "natural born citizen," let alone issue corrections for the false claim.

We've updated our compilation of WND's lies about Obama's birth certificate to detail this false claim as well as WND's refutation of it.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:16 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, August 17, 2009 9:18 AM EDT
Geller Promotes Dubious 'Honor Killing' Story
Topic: Newsmax

In her Aug. 13 Newsmax column, right-wing blogger Pamela Geller touts the story of Fathima Rifqa Bary, an Ohio teenager who ran away from home to a Florida pastor claiming that her parents planned to kill her for converting from Islam to Christianity:

Rifqa Bary is alive. She ran to Florida and escaped the fate her father had in mind for her — unlike Amina and Sarah Said, two Muslim teens in Texas who ran away but returned home at the insistence of their mother, Tissie Said, only to be brutally murdered by their father, Yaser Said, on New Year’s Day 2008.

[...]

Americans don’t understand because the “experts” aren’t telling them. I pray that Rifqa’s defenders bring to the court experts who know about honor killings. Family members who have lost their relatives to honor killings (for less) should be giving testimony. 

[...]

Rifqa’s testimony is a plea to the free world to stand for its values and its principles. How far we have fallen when a young woman is pleading to be free in the land of the free, home of the brave.

Rifqa Bary’s life hangs in the balance. The West should do everything in its power to save her.

But Geller is not telling the whole story. As Christianity Today reports (via Richard Bartholomew),  Bary's story is being promoted by the pastor who whom she fled, Blake Lorenz, whom the girl found through Facebook, and the parents are telling a much different story:

The attorney representing Bary's mother told Orlando-based 10TV News that they were "allowing [Bary] to explore her Christianity," and that Bary wasn't fearful until she met Pastor Lorenz, who holds Bary tightly throughout the video.

Meanwhile, Sgt. Jerry Cupp with the Columbus missing persons bureau disputes Bary's claims, telling The Columbus Dispatch that Mohamed Bary has known about his daughter's conversion for months and appears to be caring. And today, the attorney for Bary's parents issued a statement that they have never threatened Bary: "If this case is perceived as a clash of religions, it is because Mr. Lorenz recklessly and without authorization put someone else's child in front of television cameras to publicly renounce her previous faith," McCarthy said in the statement. "The parents who love Rifqa are in the best position now to protect her from the mess that Mr. Lorenz has made."

Further, as Bartholomew adds, Lorenz "believes that he receives special personal messages from God about the imminent end of the world," which raises questions about whether he's exploiting Bary to promote his own ministry.

Christianity Today concludes:

Of course, believers can rejoice that this teenager has come to Christ in a cultural context in which it would be difficult to betray her parents' teaching. And if Bary's claims are true, we can also hope that her legal case is handled fairly and wisely, and that she finds support from Christian mentors and friends. But none of this requires that Christians be quick to use Bary's claims to prove that Muslims — in this case, her parents and mosque leaders — are intent on killing Bary because their beliefs make them inherently violent.

That last point is exactly what Geller appears to want to push by ignoring the full story.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:14 AM EDT
Sunday, August 16, 2009
WND Anti-Gay Agenda Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It's been a while since we checked in on how WorldNetDaily's anti-gay agenda is doing. Let's have a look, shall we?

An Aug. 14 article asserts that children in a California school district "will be required to undergo a controversial homosexual instruction program," which it calls "indoctrination." And what is in this so-called "mandatory homosexual curriculum for children as young as 5"?

In kindergarten, the schools plan to introduce children to "The New Girl … And Me" by Jacqui Robins. The book is about a young girl who is new at a school and strikes up a friendship with another girl after a popular boy refuses to play with her.

In first grade, students will read "Who is in a Family?" By Robert Skutch. It explores different types of families. One page states, "Robin's family is made up of her dad, Clifford, her dad's partner, Henry, and Robin's cat, Sassy."

Second grade students will read about two homosexual penguins that raise a young chick in the book "And Tango Makes Three" by J. Richardson and P. Parnell.

So WND doesn't want kindergarteners to learn how to make friends with people who aren't popular? We don't get it.

Unlike most previous WND articles on gay issues, this article actually quotes a person defending the program (though not until the 23rd paragraph): "We are not telling anyone what to think. ... We are letting children know that gay people exist and they deserve to be treated with respect, regardless of whether or not you believe that homosexuality is acceptable."

WND does not explain why it's opposed to teaching children that gay people exist and should be treated with the respect given to non-gay people.

Meanwhile, in an Aug. 14 column, Linda Harvey lies about the expansion of federal hate crimes protection to gays, baselessly asserting that it "may lead to prosecution of pastors, Christian leaders and even' Joe-Christian-on-the-street' for having the wrong opinion about homosexuality or cross-dressing."

Harvey also objects to federal funding being used to "train local law enforcement officers in identifying, investigating, prosecuting, and preventing hate crimes," calling them "indoctrination" (there's that word again) and "fascist programs."

This evolves into a rant against "lifeless, effeminate Christianity," "the growing number of paperbacks that feature 'gay' characters who dismantle traditional faith," and Obama administration education official Kevin Jennings, who, according to harvey, thinks "his version of a 'safe school'" in "one free of opposition to sexual perversion."

And in an Aug. 12 column, Peter Sprigg complains about the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded posthumously to Harvey Milk, calling it "the first time in history that the nation's highest civilian award has been granted primarily on the basis of someone's sex life." Sprigg concludes:

Since Harvey Milk died from an assassin's bullet, over a quarter million American men have died of AIDS, which they contracted because they had sex with other men. What's truly "madness" is that someone whose only claim to fame is that they promoted such deadly behavior should be honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Every man who died of AIDS "had sex with other men"? Tell that to Ryan White.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:55 PM EDT
Newsmax Obfuscates on Health Reform Criticism
Topic: Newsmax

An Aug. 14 Newsmax article by David Patten recounts claims by "analysts" that President Obama is unleasing a "litany of misstatements and dubious assertions" regarding health care reform without making clear that those "analysts" are all conservatives who oppose health care reform. Suggesting that partisan conservatives are nonpartisan "experts" and "analysts" is a longtime trope at Newsmax.

Patten also obfuscates on at least one claim, writing:

The president promised no policyholder will lose his or her current coverage. But a study commissioned by the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank concluded that more than 88 million individuals would have to shift to a new plan, if the current proposals on the table are adopted. Other estimates issued by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Urban Institute estimate the number will be lower, but still in the millions.

The CBO estimate is, in fact, dramatically different from the Heritage-commissioned study (done by the insurer-owned Lewin Group): 2 million would switch from private coverage to a public plan. By saying only that the CBO's estimate was "lower ... but still in the millions," Patten hides the huge disparity.

Needless to say, Patten makes no mention of the "litany of misstatements and dubious assertions" made by health reform critics, i.e., "death panels."


Posted by Terry K. at 11:20 AM EDT
WND's Washington Gets A Tad Misogynistic
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In the midst of cribbing from the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy in trying to "draw an analogy or two about lessons we might learn as Americans as we struggle through our own battles with forces of evil: Sauron, Saruman and the ever-present Orcs in the Age of Obama," Ellis Washington drops this hateful little bomb in his Aug. 15 WorldNetDaily column:

First allow me to state emphatically that all lovers of literature should thank God that Tolkien wrote this great epic, "Lord of the Rings," in the 1950s before the miserable, anti-intellectual hags of the feminist movement got their claws into this literary genius. Eowyn isn't some myopic, shrill, angry caricature of a woman like Hillary Rodham Clinton, Michelle Obama, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, Rep. Maxine Waters, or Bella Abzug.

Shockingly, for all of the deranged insults Washington has reguularly hurled President Obama's way, he manages to restrain himself from specifically likening Obama to a Tolkien creature.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:06 AM EDT
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Newsmax Embraces Vadum's Empty Obama Smear
Topic: Newsmax

One almost has to admire the Capital Research Center's Matthew Vadum for the sheer audacity of admitting that he doesn't have the facts to support his smear of President Obama, yet going ahead with the smear anyway.

In an Aug. 13 Newsmax article suggesting that an advertiser boycott campaign of Glenn Beck's Fox News show spearheaded by the group Color for Change, co-founded by current Obama administration official Van Jones, is "being orchestrated with some high level help from the Obama White House," David Patten quotes Vadum as saying, "I don’t have proof that the White House asked Color of Change to help it fight back against Glenn Beck ... But I wouldn’t be surprised to learn it had. Van Jones has the president’s ear. It’s a few hundred feet from his office at the Council on Environmental Quality to the Oval Office."

Patten, for his part, was presumably more than pleased to have Vadum provide him with such an unsubstantiated smear to report. That, and the relative proximity of Jones' and Obama's office -- a mere football field length away from each other! -- is all the evidence Patten and Vadum offer of this purported scheme.

Patten went on to repeat more dubious claims: a mention of "the recent labeling of town hall protesters as 'un-American'" (false) and an assertion that "the leftwing blogosphere" served as "apologists for the Rev. Wright’s statements of hate against whites and Jews" (unsubstantiated). Patten also dismissed outrage at Beck's assertion that President Obama "is a racist," calling the remark "off hand."


Posted by Terry K. at 8:48 AM EDT
Obama-Nazi Reference of the Day
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Even when my wife and I lived in Germany for five years, I thought I would never be able to experience what the ordinary, moral German felt in the mid-1930s. In those times, the savior was a former smooth-talking demagogue rabble-rouser from the streets of Munich, not too unlike the man from Chicago at the helm of our country today. The average German knew next to nothing about him. What they did know was that he was associated with groups that shouted, shoved and pushed around people with whom they disagreed; he edged his way onto the political stage through great oratory and without a teleprompter. Economic times were tough, people were losing jobs, and he was a great speaker. And he smiled and waved a lot. People, even newspapers, were afraid to speak out for fear that his "brown shirts" would bully them into submission.


Then when he was duly elected to office, with a full-throttled economic crisis at hand (the Great Depression). Slowly but surely he seized the controls of German state power, department by department, person by person, bureaucracy by bureaucracy. The kids were forced to join a Youth Movement in his name, where they were taught what to think and how to behave. How did he get the people on his side? He did it promising jobs to the jobless, money to the moneyless and goodies for the military-industrial complex. He did it by indoctrinating the children, advocating and installing gun control to disarm the folks, health care for all, better wages, better jobs and promising to re-instill pride once again in the country, across Europe and across the world – none of which he could have done with out compliant media, just like what we are suffering through now! Did you know that? And he did this all in the name of justice and change. And the people surely got what they voted for.

-- Bill Rouchell, Aug. 14 WorldNetDaily "letter of the week"


Posted by Terry K. at 12:03 AM EDT
Friday, August 14, 2009
NewsBusters Ignores Full Truth Behind Lewin Group
Topic: NewsBusters

In the midst of complaining in an Aug. 13 NewsBusters post that CBS had on Jonathan Cohn, "senior editor of the left-wing magazine, The New Republic," to fact-check claims about health care reform plans (TNR's publisher, Iraq war supporter Martin Peretz, would be surprised to see his magazine described as "left-wing," given that he has been denounced by actual left-wingers), Kyle Drennen writes in response to the claim that people will be able to maintain their current health insurance under reform:

Despite Cohn’s assertions that glossed over the concern, a study by The Lewin Group found that the health care plan: "If fully implemented in 2011, we estimate that about 103.9 million people would become covered under the newly established public plan. Coverage under private insurance would decline by 83.4 million people. This is a 48.4 percent reduction in the number of people with private insurance (currently 172.5 million people)."

Drennen failed to note that the Lewin Group study was commissioned by the anti-reform Heritage Foundation, or that the Lewin Group is owned by an insurance company, UnitedHealth Group, which has a stake in not wanting people to switch from private insurance.

Further, Drennen made no mention of a Congressional Budget Office study, which found that only 2 million people would switch from employer coverage to the public plan.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:12 PM EDT
CNS' Jeffrey Puts Words In Obama's Mouth
Topic: CNSNews.com

In an Aug. 14 CNSNews.com article, Terry Jeffrey asserted that President Obama "referred to American opponents of amnesty for illegal aliens as 'demagogues.'"

But Obama said nothing about "amnesty." Answering a question about "comprehensive immigration reform," Obama said, "There are going to be demagogues out there who try to suggest that any form of pathway for legalization for those who are already in the United States is unacceptable."

Jeffrey provides no evidence that the proposed "pathway for legalization" is "amnesty," or even that only "pathway" critics (like Jeffrey) refer to any legalization pathway as "amnesty."

Jeffrey has previously baselessly conflated comprehensive immigration reform with undefined "amnesty."


Posted by Terry K. at 11:08 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, August 14, 2009 11:10 AM EDT
The Audacity of Hate
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah runs a news organization, WorldNetDaily, that has told repeated lies about Barack Obama. It has preached hatred of the president, likening him to Nazis and even the Antichrist. It employs reporters seemingly unable to tell a factual, unbiased story.

And somehow Farah has the sheer audacity to attack other news organizations for being "debauched, faithless, nefarious, reprobate and unprincipled"? And then to claim that "my little Internet-based news organization provides something of an antidote to this mind-control, liberty-denying poison all around us"?

We don't know what to say, except that Farah is apparently incapable of self-reflection. Or is so far down the rabbit hole that he no longer cares about the facts (or has decided that cashing in on his hate is more important).


Posted by Terry K. at 10:21 AM EDT
Examiner Columnist Hides Full Story of Man With Gun At Obama Rally
Topic: Washington Examiner

An Aug. 13 Washington Examiner column by Gregory Kane noted that "Someone at a New Hampshire rally President Obama attended to promote health-care legislation was carrying a handgun," then dismissed the threat because "the man with the gun was nowhere near Obama."

Kane doesn't define "nowhere near Obama," nor does he say how close a man with a gun must get to the president of the United States to be considered a threat. Kane also failed to note that the man with the gun was also carrying a sign reading, "It is time to water the tree of liberty," an apparent reference to the Thomas Jefferson quote, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants."


Posted by Terry K. at 8:43 AM EDT
CNS Misleads on 2000 Florida Recount
Topic: CNSNews.com

From an Aug. 13 CNSNews.com article by Patrick Goodenough:

The claim that Bush won unfairly still has its supporters despite the fact that a comprehensive review carried out by a consortium of eight news organizations concluded the following year that Bush would have won even if the U.S. Supreme Court had not ruled as it did.
 
“Contrary to what many partisans of former Vice President Al Gore have charged, the United States Supreme Court did not award an election to Mr. Bush that otherwise would have been won by Mr. Gore,” the New York Times reported in November 2001.
 
“A close examination of the ballots found that Mr. Bush would have retained a slender margin over Mr. Gore if the Florida court’s order to recount more than 43,000 ballots had not been reversed by the United States Supreme Court.”

That's an incomplete reading of the Times article, which went on to state:

But the consortium, looking at a broader group of rejected ballots than those covered in the court decisions, 175,010 in all, found that Mr. Gore might have won if the courts had ordered a full statewide recount of all the rejected ballots. This also assumes that county canvassing boards would have reached the same conclusions about the disputed ballots that the consortium's independent observers did. The findings indicate that Mr. Gore might have eked out a victory if he had pursued in court a course like the one he publicly advocated when he called on the state to "count all the votes."

For Goodenough to complain that the idea that "Bush won unfairly still has its supporters" overlooks not only that there were scenarios in which Gore could have won in Florida but also the fact that the Supreme Court halted a recount that would have helped to put the idea to rest.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:47 AM EDT

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