CNS Misleads on Supposed 'Gag Order' Topic: CNSNews.com
A Sept. 24 CNSNews.com article by Melanie Hunter-Omar misleadingly claims that the Department of Heath and Human Services "told Humana Inc. and other health care companies that contract with Medicare to stop sending information to seniors about how the [health care reform] measure might affect their Medicare benefits - this after Humana Inc. sent a mailer to seniors saying the health care bill could cut their benefits."
In fact, as we detailed, HHS told Humana to stop making misleading claims about health care reform and to not misuse Medicare enrollee mailing lists. Hunter Omar uncritically forwarded the claim that the HHS request is a "gag order" despite the fact that the health insurance companies are not prohibited from providing factual information -- only misleading information and electioneering using Medicare mailing lists.
At no point did Hunter-Omar directly quote any administration official or HHS. Rather, she focuses solely on a letter by Republican leaders stating that they will "block the nominations of President Barack Obama’s health nominees until the Health and Human Services Department drops its 'gag order.' "
Back in April, we noted now WorldNetDaily had promoted an inline-text ad for a seller of homemade solar panels with the tagline "Still paying Obama for electricity?"
Well, HomeMadeEnergy.org is back, and its current WND text ad states: "Don't pay Obama for electricity any longer!"
In addition to engaging in superfluous Obama-bashing -- as before, the ad itself makes no mention whatsoever of Obama -- it's factually inaccurate. The majority of electricity in the U.S. is generated by either private/shareholder-held companies or municipal or regional public utilities. The closest anyone gets to "paying Obama for electricity" are customers of the Tennessee Valley Authority, which is federally owned.
Media Matters' Eric Boehlert, after a bit of complaining, seems to have finally gotten action from the Washington Examiner's Michael Barone, who had claimed in a Sept. 20 column that "a union thug beat up a 65-year-old black conservative in Missouri." The column has now been corrected, with an editor's note at the end: "This post previously incorrectly stated the age of Kenneth Gladney. He is 38 years old." It remains uncorrected, however, in other versions of Barone's column, such as at Real Clear Politics.
Barone doesn't concede that the part about Gladney getting "beat up" is also in contention as well. As Boehlert points out, the video of the incident shows "Gladney walking around after the incident without an obvious scratch on his body, and in no apparent pain," yet shortly afterward, "Gladney showed up in a wheelchair at a right-wing rally thrown on his behalf."
WND Uncritically Repeats Shoebat's Dubious Story Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Sept. 23 WorldNetDaily article touts editor Joseph Farah's appearance at the upcoming Strategic Perspectives Conference in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Also attending the conference is Walid Shoebat, whose supplied biography is uncritically repeated by WND, including claims that "As a young man, he became a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and participated in acts of terror and violence against Israel."
In fact, as we detailed, numerous questions have been raised about the veracity of the claims of "violence against Israel" Shoebat claims he was engaged in before he became an evangelical Chrisitan. There appears to be no evidence of a bombing of a bankthat Shoebat claims to have been involved with. Further, questions have been raised about the transparency of the charitable organization he runs.
WND ignores all of this, instead sticking with the handout bio. Indeed, WND has never reported any of this to its readers. Not only that, WND has added to its online story a book co-authored by Shoebat.
This is at least the second time Farah and Shoebat have shared a stage. No wonder he doesn't want to tell his readers the truth about Shoebat.
WND Tries To Revive Jesse Dirkhising As Cause Celebre Topic: WorldNetDaily
Jesse Dirkhising still has not outlived his usefulness to anti-gay activists.
Dirkhising was a 13-year-old Arkansas boy who died in 1999 while abused during kinky sex. Because the two men currently serving prison sentences in Dirkhising's death are homosexual, right-wingers have long sought to portray him as the anti-Matthew Sheppard, a gay man murdered in 1998.
WorldNetDaily marks the 10th anniversary of Dirkhising's death with a Sept. 25 article by Chelsea Schilling, who complains that unlike Shepard, Dirkhising's "horrific murder continues to be largely ignored – with no plays, books or TV dramas to honor his memory." Schilling went on to note that "the case received a flurry of publicity after first being brought to the attention of the nation in WorldNetDaily."
The reality is a little more complicated -- as we detailed at the time, WND couldn't be bothered to provide original coverage of the trial of one of the alleged killers. Further, the two cases are not equivalent -- Shepard's death was very much a hate crime, WND's attempts at revisionism to the contrary, while Dirkhising's death was a sex crime.
Joseph Farah similarly uses his Sept. 25 column to honor Dirkhising as a useful tool for his anti-gay activism by proudly recounting the gory details of Dirkhising's death. Farah then launches into a predictable anti-gay rant, suggesting that Dirkhising died because homosexuals are allowed to exists -- or, as he put it, "maybe even because a certain politically protected lifestyle has been elevated to virtual sainthood" and because his killers belonged to "a politically protected class of Americans."
Farah then writes: "I don't know how many more Jesse Dirkhisings there have been since 1999, but I do know a day doesn't go by any longer that there isn't news of adults having sex with children." Is Farah really saying that Dirkhising's death made adult-child sex acceptable to society? How ludicrous. Farah can't prove that it's more accepted now than it was then, let alone that a new case of adult-child sex has surfaced every single day for the past 10 years.
Such obviously false hyperbole, it seems, is OK with Farah as long as it advances his anti-gay cause -- which is what resurrecting the Dirkhising case is all about.
Another Empty Aaron Klein Article Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Sept. 22 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein hides behind anonymous sources to accuse the Obama administration of lobbying "to ensure against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu working with pro-Israel members of Congress in an attempt to ease White House pressure against the Jewish state." Klein 's article contains no named sources, referring only to anonymous "senior Palestinian officials."
Klein goes on to identify the group J Street "a far-leftist Mideast activist organization." By contrast, a JUne 2008 WND article by Klein idenitifies J Street's arguable counterpart, the right-leaning American Israel Public Affairs Committee, without an ideological tag, describing it only as "influential."
Klein also claims that J Street "has been accused of anti-Israel activity" but refuses to elaborate. In fact, it's only right-wingers who have made that claim.
MRC Ramps Up Misinformation on HHS Letter Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center continues its misinformation campaign on a letter issued by the Department of Health and Human Services regarding a letter sent by the health provider Humana to its Medicare Advantage enrollees.
In a Sept. 24 press release, the MRC falsely claimed that HHS "demanded all private health insurance companies immediately stop communicating how health care legislation might affect their Medicare Advantage customers' plans and threatened to prosecute them if they refused to comply." In fact, the letter stated that HHS was asking firms to "suspend potentially misleading mailings to beneficiaries about health care and insurance reform." It does not forbid all communication with its clients -- just those that mislead and can be interpreted as representing "official communication about the Medicare Advantage program"and those that misuse "the lists of Medicare enrollees for unauthorized purposes."
The MRC hyperbolically asserted that "This is an abuse of power that would shock even Richard Nixon," and MRC chief followed up by claiming that the Obama administration is mounting "an orchestrated and deliberate attempt to keep American citizens in the dark, particularly vulnerable seniors."
Again, HHS has not forbidden all communication between insurers and their Medicare clients. It has asked -- not ordered -- that insurers stop misleading their Medicare Advantage clinets and not misuse mailing lists for unauthorized purposes. The MRC is lying by claiming otherwise.
MRC Gives Fox A Pass on Orchestrating News Topic: NewsBusters
You'd think that video footage of a network news producer orchestrating crowd reaction off-camera for a news report would get the folks at a media watchog like the Media Research Center all hot and bothered.
But since the network in question is Fox News, the MRC is willing to overlook it.
A Sept. 21 NewsBusters post by MRC researcher Matthew Balan notes that CNN's Rick Sanchez used the footage of the Fox News producer "raise[d] her arms to get the crowd to hoop and howl on command" for coverage of the anti-Obama 9/12 rally -- but Balan said no more about it, choosing instead to attack Sanchez because he "didn’t raise any objections when former CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen lashed out on-camera at Tea Party protesters at an April 15 rally in Chicago."
The MRC routinelygives Fox News a pass for behavior it would criticize had it taken place on another network.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Newsmax's Ronald Kessler made his mark by being a sycophantic supporter of Mitt Romney and saying creepily fawning things about Romney's wife.
Kessler's still at it. His Sept. 21 column touts the public health insurance plan Romney introduced as governor of Massachusetts, writing that it "has managed to cover nearly all residents at minimal additional cost to the state and could be a model for national healthcare reform." Kessler's source for that claim? Romney himself.
Kessler goes on to allow Romney to claim without challenge that any problems with the Massachusetts plan are not his fault: The state legislature "decided to add some features, which are ones that I did not support," and its coverage of abortions is "the product of a liberal court."
NewsBusters' Sheppard Endorses Likening Obama to Hitler Topic: NewsBusters
Godwin's Law? What Godwin's Law?
Noel Sheppard uses a Sept. 23 NewsBusters post to endorse smearing President Obama as Hitler, decreeing it acceptable political discourse apparently because nobody killed President Bush aafter some critics likened him to Hitler. Sheppard highlighted a video that mashed up the audio of a "Rachel Maddow Show" segment asking whether "calling the president Hitler is an implicit call for politically motivated violence" with, according to sheppard, "an overlay of pictures and footage of demonstrations when George W. Bush was president." Sheppard called the video "an extraordinarily powerful demonstration of how hypocritical the current liberal media position is concerning this matter."
Actually, the hypocrite here is Sheppard. Here's what his boss, Brent Bozell, wrote in a Jan. 7, 2004, column:
Comparing an American President to the fiendish fascist architect of death camps used to be seen as beyond the pale ... Comparing American political figures or policies to Nazi Germany – unless it’s the actions of the American Nazi Party or their ilk – is the first mark of a reckless kook.
Indeed, the same ConWeb folks currently condoning or promulgating Obama-Nazi comparisons -- or in a previous administration, Clinton-Nazi comparisons -- were utterly offended by a submission to a MoveOn.org ad contest made a Bush-Hitler comparison.
Accuracy in Media's K. Daniel Glover highlighted the same video in a Sept. 23 blog post, though he attempted to obscure things by stating that "People who resort to such analogies on either side of the political spectrum are ignorant of Godwin's Law and should be condemned." Will Glover condemn his employer, which just two months ago handed over its AIM Report to Hilmar von Campe, a Nazi-smearer extrordinaire who, in his AIM column, likened the Obama administration to "Hitler's policy to get total power"? Indeed, an editor's note at the top of von Campe's column specifically states how he "offers comparisons between Nazi Germany and America today."
Perhaps Sheppard and Glover can explain why what was so offensive to them and their fellow travelers in 2004 is perfectly acceptable now.
WorldNetDaily is touting -- and Jack Cashill is gloating about -- how celebrity author Christopher Andersen is claiming that William Ayers helped to write Barack Obama's book "Dreams From My Father." But there's circular logic going on here: Andersen's main source for this claim appears to be ... Jack Cashill.
As we've detailed, Cashill has spent much time and energy promoting the discredited theory that Ayers ghost-wrote "Dreams From My Father."
The Sept. 23 WND article by Art Moore notes that "Andersen cites Cashill as a source" for the claim, but tries to obscure that by claiming that "Andersen relied on inside sources, quite possibly Michelle Obama, to describe how 'Dreams' was published." Cashill similarly tries to obscure things as well, writing that "Andersen cites my contribution to his research, but he clearly has access to inside information that I did not have."
But we don't know if Andersen is basing his claim on anyone other than Cashill -- it's certainly not clear from Moore's and Cashill's accounts.
Moore goes on to tout how "Cashill commissioned an independent scientific comparative analysis of writings by Obama and Ayers to determine whether Ayers had a significant role in the writing of 'Dreams.'" But he doesn't mention that at least one of those experts utterly discredited Cashill's conpsiracy theory.
MRC Ignores Full Story on Criticism of Medicare Letter Topic: Media Research Center
A Sept. 23 MRC item (and NewsBusters post) by Brent Baker accuses the Obama administration of "using the full power of a federal regulatory agency to suppress free speech -- specifically, to silence Humana's predictions about the impact of proposed ObamaCare cuts to the Medicare Advantage program." But Baker hides the full nature of the criticism of Humana.
At issue is a mailer Humana sent to its clients in the Medicare Advantage program, which claimed that the Obama adminisration wants to cut "important benefits and services" of Medicare -- essentially electioneering on an issue it has a major interest in. This resulted in a letter from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services asking Humana to stop such mailings, claiming that "the information in the letter is misleading and confusing to beneficiaries, who may believe that it represents official communication about the Medicare Advantage program." CMS is also investigating whether Humana inappropriately used the lists of Medicare enrollees for unauthorized purposes.
By not mentioning the possibility that Humana may have misused mailing lists for political purposes -- and not bothering to fact-check the mailing to see if it actually is as "misleading" as the government claims -- Baker falsely portrays the issue as one of free speech.
Baker further misleadingly repeats an ABC report calling the CMS letter a "gag order." Humana has not been "gagged" on this issue; rather, it is been asked to stop making misleading claims and misusing mailing list for unauthorized purposes.
Drennan Can't Tell Difference Between Celebrity Writer, Ex-Administration Official Topic: NewsBusters
A Sept. 22 NewsBusters post highlights the skepticism of CBS' Harry Smith toward a new book by Christopher Anderson about the Obamas' marriage, then complained that "Smith was not at all skeptical when discussing a tell-all book about President George W. Bush by former press secretary Scott McClellan."
Of course, there's a difference between a celebrity author like Andersen writing about something he is, never was, and can never be part of -- the Obamas' marriage -- and someone like McClellan, who was very much a part of the administration he wrote about. Too bad Drennen can't see the difference.
New Article: WorldNetDaily Red-Baits Obama Topic: WorldNetDaily
Led by Aaron Klein, WND has repeatedly attempted to tie the president -- however desperately and tangentally -- to communism and socialism. Read more >>
Obama-Nazi Reference of the Day Topic: WorldNetDaily
But someone who'll be there that you didn't hear about is Kitty Werthmann. Kitty was 12 years old when Adolf Hitler took over Austria.
She is 83 with a "vivid memory" of what happened in her homeland next. She witnessed the government take over the banks and the auto industry. Sound familiar? In the last nine months, Obama and the Democrats in Congress have successfully orchestrated the government takeover of Chrysler and General Motors along with countless banks.
She witnessed the "compulsory youth" service and indoctrination. That sounds a little like Obama's call for "mandatory volunteerism" for America's youth.
The government takeover of the schools immediately replaced crucifixes with pictures of Hitler and Nazi flags. "All religious instruction was replaced with physical education," said Werthmann. No prayer was allowed. That all happened here decades ago. It is interesting, however, that Obama's speech to the captive audience in the government schools – complete with the essay assignment about how students could help him achieve his political goals – was replaced once the American people got wind of it. And speaking of government control of education, if the Senate agrees, all student loans will be government issued, according to a bill that passed the House last week.
Werthmann saw what happened next when the government took over the health-care system. Her brother-in-law was a physician, and by the time he got to his office, 40 patients were already waiting in line. And if the medicine they needed wasn't on the "government-approved list," the cost came out of his own salary – "which dwindled down to almost nothing," Werthmann recalled. Sounds like H.R. 3200.
They had Joseph Goebbels; we have Mark Lloyd, the diversity czar, who is already poised to shut down private radio stations like his hero Hugo Chavez did – threatening licenses and waging outrageous fines on stations (up to $25 million dollars) who say things he doesn't like.
Werthmann said it took five years for Hitler to rise to a dictatorship, and is amazed at how fast history is repeating itself here. "It has to be done fast," she added, "so people won't catch on."