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Thursday, August 20, 2009
WJC Redefines 'Running the Ad'
Topic: Western Journalism Center

The other day, we pointed out that a Western Journalism Center video claiming that Rachel Maddow's statement on "Meet the Press" that MoveOn.org never ran an ad comparing President Bush to Adolf Hitler was a lie because the ad in question was not commissioned by MoveOn but, rather, a submission to a 2004 MoveOn contest that was taken down after controversy arose about it and never ran anywhere as a paid ad.

The WJC has now responded by calling us liars, accusing us of "splitting hairs" and asserting that it "never claimed the ad was run on commercial T.V. We consider posting the ad on its website to constitute 'running the ad.' "

So a submission to a contest that was (briefly) posted on a website is the exact same thing as buying airtime for it on commercial TV? Interesting redefinition of "running the ad."

That's not "splitting hairs" -- that's comparing apples and oranges.

Further, the WJC video remains a work of lying by omission: It presents the Bush-Hitler video but at no point does it explain that the ad was a contest submission, never ran as a paid ad, and that MoveOn itself said that "[w]e do not support the sentiment" in it. The WJC post accusing us of being liars doesn't mention that either.

The WJC should try telling the full truth instead of redefining words to fit previous lies.

(Cross-posted at County Fair.)


Posted by Terry K. at 6:45 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 20, 2009 6:51 PM EDT
NewsReal Condemns One 'Anti-Gay Slur,' Endorses Another
Topic: Horowitz

An Aug. 20 NewsReal post by "FrontPageMgEd" -- presumably, Jacob Laksin -- declared offense at Chris Matthews' comment that Tom DeLay, who was showing Matthews the high-heeled shoe he will wear in his upcoming stint on "Dancing With the Stars," would be "a little light in that shoe," calling it an "anti-gay slur" and "a Fifties-era phrase coined to mock homosexuals." Laksin added: "Had these words been spoken by Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, or any townhall protester in the country, the left-wing blogosphere would be on fire, Media Matters would have sent out a blast FAX, GLAAD would have called a boycott, and it would be the lead story on every program in MSNBC prime time."

But a  day earlier, Limbaugh did make an anti-gay slur -- and NewsReal endorsed it.

In an Aug. 19 post -- more accurately, the post immediately previous to Laksin's -- David Swindle responded to Limbaugh's statement that  gay congressman Barney Frank "spends most of his time living around Uranus":

Confession: I laughed when I heard it. Sure, it’s a cheap shot. Yeah, it’s the kind of thing we learned in third grade. And yes, it’s slightly homophobic. But funny is funny. When it comes to humor I don’t care from which ideology a joke emerges. If it makes me laugh then it’s acceptable.

So an anti-gay slur is OK as long as it makes a conservative laugh?

Also unmentioned by Laksin is that, despite his attack on Matthews as a man of "the Left," Matthews and DeLay are apparently close enough that DeLay will send scoops Matthews' way. That suggests Matthews' remark was more about jesting between friends than the malice endemic in Limbaugh's slur of Frank.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:22 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 20, 2009 1:28 PM EDT
Molotov Rails Against Public Schools
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has long despised public education, and that hate shows up again in Molotov Mitchell's Aug. 19 video.

As per usual, Mitchell is long on hate and short on insight. After declaring that "public school teachers are killing America,"Mitchell notes that Finland is rated at or near the top in math and science while the U.S. isn't in the top 25. The reason for this, he declares, is "vouchers. Finnish parents get tax credits so they get to send their kids to whatever school they want, public or private."

But there are other explanations that Mitchell fails to mention. For instance, the Toronto Globe & Mail reports:

Finnish children do not begin primary school until they are seven years old. But from the age of eight months, all children have access to free, full-day daycare and kindergarten. Finland has had universal access to daycare in place since 1990, and of all preschool since 1996.

Primary-school teachers all have master's degrees, and the profession is one of the most revered in Finnish society.

[...]

Students and teachers receive a free hot meal daily. Classrooms and hallways are so clean many students walk around in their stocking feet. There is only a minimal amount of homework, and students call teachers by their first names, says George Malaty, a professor of education at the University of Joensuu in Finland.

"There is a very informal relationship between teachers and students," Prof. Malaty says. "The children enjoy the socializing, the hot meal, it's a rich experience for them. School isn't only to prepare for the future. It's their life and they must have a good day every day."

By contrast, Mitchell is content, and indeed eager, to further denigrate public school teachers. To them, he claims, "unless you're talking about teen abortions without "parental consent, choice is a dirty word."

Finally, Michell asserts that "the public education system cannot be reformed" because "the goal was never education, it was always about indoctrination. And that's why our kids know everything about sex and nothing about history."

But isn't homeschooling a form of indoctrnation and inculcation as well? Mitchell doesn't seem offended by that.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:29 AM EDT
A CNS Double Standard
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've previously noted that a Aug. 19 CNSNews.com article by Christopher Neefus failed to note the Lewin Group's links to a private insurer, throwing doubt on the article's claim that the organziation is "independent." But there's something else worth noting about the article as well.

The article was ostensibly about a "liberal Yale scholar" claiming that "he does not see the public option as a 'Trojan Horse' that could lead the United States to single-payer, government-run health insurance." Neefus permitted a representative of an anti-reform group to rebut the claim.

Meanwhile, another Aug. 19 CNS article by Penny Starr promoted the idea that sentencing teenagers to life without parole is not "cruel and unusual punishment." By contrast to Neefus, Starr at no point quotes anyone who objects to that idea.

Interesting that CNS presents a conservative claim unchallenged but decides that a liberal claim must contain a conservative response.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:18 AM EDT
NewsBusters Perpetuates Health Reform Falsehoods
Topic: NewsBusters

Rusty Weiss tries to perform debunking of claims about health care reform by attempted ridicule -- instead of, you know, using facts -- in an Aug. 19 NewsBusters post.

Citing a columnist who claimed that right-wing assertions that "the plans would give health insurance coverage to illegal immigrants; would lead to a government takeover of the health system; and would use taxpayer dollars to pay for women to have abortions" are "all claims that nonpartisan fact-checkers say are untrue," responds, essentially, that they are true because right-winger said they were.

Weiss makes no attempt to actually examine the claims in question -- if, say, Michelle Malkin said it's true, then by golly it's true.

Weiss then claimed that the columnist "goes on to rip Sarah Palin as ignorant, calling her death panel comment as ‘inane' and ‘absurd'.  Therefore, if you too, believe the health care plan will lead to death panels, then you are not only as inane as Sarah Palin, but you're [sic] argument is as absurd as Rush Limbaugh's." Again, Weiss makes no effort to point out that the "death panels" claim has been repeatedly discredited, instead relying on an appeal to authority by assuming that anything Palin and Limbaugh say must be true, even though they have no demonstrated expertise on health-care issues.

Weiss went on to complain that "the liberal mainstream ‘fact-checking' media" reports that such arguments have been debunked by "fact-checking Web sites," then asks, "who is fact-checking the fact-checkers?  They have been refuted before; here, here, and here."

Weiss then attacks FactCheck.org -- even though the link under his first "here" in the previous paragraph is a NewsBusters piece that defends FactCheck's research debunking various claims about Sarah Palin. Citing a FactCheck piece he fails to link to, Weiss writes:

In regards to the illegal immigrant aspect of the poll, FactCheck.org claims this to be a false argument because ‘the House bill specifically says that no federal money would be spent on giving illegal immigrants health coverage'.  This completely ignores the amendment voted on and shot down by Democrats in the House Ways and Means Committee in July, which would have prevented illegal aliens from accessing taxpayer-funded health care benefits.  The measure would have enforced income, eligibility, and immigration verification screening on an estimated 9.6 million illegal immigrants. 

Why doesn't Weiss link to that FactCheck report: because it appears to debunk his final claim:

Of interest: About half of illegal immigrants have health insurance now, according to the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center, which says those who lack insurance do so principally because their employers don’t offer it.

Further, Weiss is nitpicking. The question was whether the bill "would give health insurance coverage to illegal immigrants" -- which it doesn't. Further, as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported:

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, said Heller’s measure wasn’t needed because the bill prevents anyone in this country illegally from gaining federal help for premiums, just as current law prevents those people from gaining Medicaid and other medical coverage.

"The rejected amendment would have for the first time allowed insurance companies to access sensitive personal information to shop for customers and for other commercial purposes, while avoiding any responsibility to protect individual privacy or provide redress for errors as currently required of government agencies," said Doggett, the only Texas Democrat on the committee.

Weiss doesn't explain why such a violation of privacy -- which conservatives normally oppose -- is permissible in the pursuit of keeping illegal immigrants from getting public health insurance.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:29 AM EDT
Even More on Racial Profiling
Topic: Horowitz

Our dialogue with David Swindle at David Horowitz's Newsreal blog continues in an Aug. 13 post by Swindle, who reports Horowitz's response to us:

Treating all black people like potential predators is racist and we’re opposed to that. First look at the statistics of how many traffic stops for broken tail lights turn up criminals and then ask yourself whether the inconvenience isn’t worth it. Because I have an artificial hip I get searched every time I take a flight (which is often). That’s a greater inconvenience than having your car searched because you didn’t bother to fix your tail light. Now consider how many black citizens have been robbed, raped, murdered and become addicted to drugs because of leftists who oppose these simple and reasonable measures the police use to stop crime.

Horowitz is making some baseless blanket assertions there. First, why the assumption that any vehicle with a non-functional taillight is that way because the driver "didn't bother" to fix it? Second, why the assumption that "leftists who oppose ... simple and reasonable measures" are to blame for crime? Third, where is it written that getting stopped for a broken tail light equals automatically "having your car searched"?

Swindle continues:

First, of course, the crew member from Glenn Beck’s show who relayed the alleged incident of racial profiling isn’t going to mention if there was anything else about him that might make him fit the profile of a potential drug dealer. What does he know about offender profiling? Certainly not as much as the cop who stopped him, who assessed the situation and saw clues of possible criminal wrongdoing beyond a busted tail light.

But the fact of the matter is that in this case, neither Krepel nor Horowitz and myself know what happened. We weren’t there, we can only guess. And it’s here where the subject of ideology emerges. How do we make our guess at what happened? Why do Horowitz and I tend to lean more heavily toward the idea that the cop was just doing his job? Why does Krepel see a potential racist?

True, we are arguing about a incident about which we know very little, only the limited information the Beck crew member related during the Horowitz interview. But Swindle leaves out one important component: the crew member thought that the search was unwarranted. 

And this is where Horowitz's analogy about getting extra attention from airport security because of his artificial hip breaks down. Horowitz's inconvenience mainly applies in one specific situation: when he's boarding a plane. He can prepare for that eventuality and build time into his schedule to allow for it. The crew member, on the other hand, does not know what made the police officer search his car, and thus does not know what, if anything, he can do to lessen the suspicion. Indeed, the only possible contributing factor we're aware of is that he's black.

Further, I find it interesting that Horowitz publications such as NewsReal and FrontPageMag are so dedicated these days to denigrating the authority of elected officials whose politics they don't disagree with, yet offer deference to certain other authoritarian figures even if their motivation is in question, becuase they are "just doing their job." That's not a excuse Horowitz and Swindle would likely let any Obama administration official get away with.

Finally, Swindle writes:

So I return to Krepel with the question posed in my headline, which seems to be our primary fundamental disagreement: Is your average cop society’s sentinel or is he a racist authoritarian? Is racism within the law-enforcement community a systematic problem, or are there just a few bad apples? And if your answer is the latter, then why would you make the assumption that Beck’s crew member was likely the victim of one of those few?

In other words, which ideological approach is ultimately more accurate and more useful in 2009?

Why must it be either/or? I believe that the vast majority of police are doing the best job they can. I suspect that overt racism does not exist and is frowned upon within the ranks, and that any racism that does exist is by and large not consciously done and limited to situations such as what could be described as racial profiling.

I do, however, reserve the right to question the authority of anyone, law enforcement included, who hasn't earned it. And I don't have to resort to political ideology in the process.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:25 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
CNS Falsely Calls Lewin Group 'Independent'
Topic: CNSNews.com

In an Aug. 19 CNSNews.com article, Christpher Neefus referenced a study "conducted by an independent group--the Lewin Group--which showed that more and more people would end up in the new public insurance exchange over time."

In fact, as we've noted, the Lewin Group is not "independent" -- it is owned by a private insurer, UnitedHealth Group, which has a stake in opposing the creation of a public option for health insurance.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:23 PM EDT
Tracking the Lie
Topic: The ConWeb

Who are the latest to falsely claim that Nancy Pelosi called protesters against health care reform "un-American"?

Henry Lamb at WorldNetDaily.

Gregory Gethard at FrontPageMag.

Ilana Mercer at WorldNetDaily.

Phil Elmore at WorldNetDaily.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:33 PM EDT
Brennan Falsely Claims 'Demonstrable Existence of Death Panels'
Topic: Newsmax

In his Aug. 18 Newsmax column insisting that "Barack Obama has been revealed for what he is: a con man who managed to fool some of the people all of the time but has failed to fool most of the people all, or even some, of the time," Phil Brennan referenced "the demonstrable existence of death panels buried with the 1,000-plus pages of the House bill."

Actually, not so much. The "death panels" claim has been repeatedly discredited.

But then, Brennan is on his own quest to fool as many people as he can for as long as possible.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:27 AM EDT
CNS Still Trying to Create Baseless ACORN Controversy
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com is not giving up on trying to create a controversy where there isn't one.

As we've previously noted, CNS' Edwin Mora attempted on July 23 to put Sen. Christopher Dodd on the spot by asking him whether money in the health care reform package would go to ACORN without offering evidence that ACORN engages in health care-related activities.

Mora gave that nonexistent controversy another try in an Aug. 18 article by again baselessly pondering whether ACORN would receive money in the health care reform package set aside for "national network of community-based organizations" to "promote healthy living and reduce disparities."

Again, Mora fails to offer any evidence whatsoever that ACORN is involved in health care, though he quoted an employee of a right-wing think tank similarly engaging in empty thinking by speculating that health reform money "could be misused by organizations that do not promote healthy living."

Also missing from both of these articles is any evidence that Mora asked ACORN itself whether it is even interested in making use of such money. Wouldn't that have been the first thing a reporter should have done, rather than engage in speculation?


Posted by Terry K. at 9:13 AM EDT
New Article: WorldNetDaily Wants You To Think Obama Is the Antichrist
Topic: WorldNetDaily
What do you do after you've repeatedly likened President Obama to Nazis? If you're WND, you turn "The Daily Show" into reality and go the Antichrist route. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:44 AM EDT
Farah: Judas Was A Socialist
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah offers up one of the more creative interpretations of the Bible in his Aug. 18 WorldNetDaily column:

It wasn't Jesus who was the socialist, it was the man who betrayed him – Judas Iscariot. And I will prove it to you.

Read John 12:1-8:

"Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

"Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.

"Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always."

Note that Jesus was not a proponent of "the Great Society" or the "War on Poverty." He preached to individuals to heal the sick, feed the hungry and help the poor. But he never suggested in any way, shape or form that this was the proper role of government. This was the role of the church – the duty of the individual believer.

Jesus said: "For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always."

And note Judas' phony, non-righteous indignation about the wastefulness of pouring the expensive ointment on Jesus' feet: "Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?"

Does this sound familiar? Doesn't it sound remarkably like Ed Schultz's whining?

But Judas didn't care about the poor, John tells us. He was a thief. He was the guy who held the moneybag. He wanted to see his own power increased by the sale of someone else's private property – just like the modern-day socialists who don't care about the poor and sick, but use them to increase their own standing.

No, Ed Schultz, Jesus was not a socialist. He was not a proponent of socialized medicine. He was certainly not in favor of people trusting in government. He was a proponent of people putting their faith in God and acting responsibly.

Um ... sure, whatever.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:42 AM EDT
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
WJC Lies About MoveOn and Bush-Hitler Video
Topic: Western Journalism Center

The Western Journalism Center has posted a video titled "Rachel Maddow Lies about MoveON.org," which purports to debunk Rachel Maddow's claim during the Aug. 16 edition of "Meet the Press" that MoveOn never ran an ad comparing President Bush to Adolf Hitler.

But the WJC is the liar. While the video includes a clip of something that appears to be a MoveOn ad comparing Bush to Hitler, at no point does the WJC mention that it was submitted as part of a contest MoveOn ran in 2004 and never ran as a paid ad by MoveOn. Indeed, MoveOn specifically stated of that submission and a second similar one, "They will not appear on TV. We do not support the sentiment expressed in the two Hitler submissions." MoveOn later removed the ad from its website.

How is it that Floyd Brown and the WJC think it can get away with telling such a blatant lie?


Posted by Terry K. at 1:53 PM EDT
WND's Birth Certificate Conspiracy Gets Even More Desperate
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The efforts of WorldNetDaily to seize on any inconsistency, real or imagined, to smear President Obama and cast down on his citizenship are getting increasingly desperate.

An Aug. 17 article tries to make a big deal out of Obama's "official MySpace page" containing an older age than his official age, "which would mean he would have been born during the archipelago's time as a territory of the U.S.,  the islands' status from about 1900 until statehood in 1959." The article does not explain that a MySpace is not an official form of identification.

Meanwhile, an Aug. 17 article by Drew Zahn tries to make the case that Obama's parents (or someone else) made "a simple payoff" to Hawaii state officials to falsify Obama's birth date in 1961 because ... well, because birth certificates were falsified in New Jersey in 2004. Zahn did not provide evidence of falsification occurring in Hawaii in 1961 -- let alone any evidence of falsification involving Obama's birth certificate.It's a very crude attempt at guilt-by-association, even though the case Zahn cites is 40 years and half a hemisphere away from Obama's birth.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:16 PM EDT
Geller Still Hiding Facts in 'Honor Killing' Runaway Case
Topic: Newsmax

Pamela Geller has devoted another Newsmax column to 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. And again, Geller is hiding facts about the case.

Geller defends the pastor to whom Bary fled, Blake Lorenz, from accusations of being a cult leader by misdirection, not denying the accusing but asserting instead that Islam, "the group that silently approves of the murder of a daughter who shames her family by not wearing the proper head dress ... or by choosing another religion (like Rifqa Bary)," is the real cult and nto "the group that offers sanctuary to a poor threatened girl."

Geller, as she did before, fails to mention that, as we've detailed, Lorenz claims to receive "special personal messages from God about the imminent end of the world." Isn't the claim of receiving personal messages directly from God de facto evidence of a cult leader?

Geller also fails to note that Ohio police have said that Bary's parents have known about Bary's conversion for months and "appear to be caring."

Instead, Geller offers anonymous messages from "someone saying she was a friend of Rifqa."

Geller has done little but exploit this case for her own anti-Islam crusade. She's certainly not interested in the facts.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:29 AM EDT

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