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Monday, February 22, 2010
Newsmax Ramps Up Kerik Defense
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax is back in the Bernard Kerik defense business.

After months of attempting to rehabilitate Kerik's repuatation after being charged with corruption, then going silent upon Kerik's guilty plea to several of those charges, Kerik's sentencing to four years in prison on the charges has ignited a new attempt to rehabilitate Kerik's reputation.

As we noted, Newsmax's new rehab effort began by highlighting a Huffington Post article claiming that Kerik was the victim of overzealous prosecutors. This is followed up by none other than Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy in a Feb. 21 column.

Ruddy curiously complains that "Justice is often unfair and excessive toward the famous." Coming from a guy who ranted about Bill Clinton's ties to the "Dixie Mafia" and promoted the discredited likes of Linda Tripp, that's rich.

Ruddy also promotes a previous Newsmax article lionizing Kerik as something at helps to explain the "complicate" Kerik case. But as we detailed, that article is little more than a fluff piece in which authors Dave Eberhart and Jim Meyers hide facts in order to make Kerik look good.

Ruddy does some of his own whitewashing here, complaining that the judge in the case "threw [Kerik] in jail" prior to his scheduled trial. "The reason? One of Kerik’s attorneys had sent an e-mail to a Washington Times reporter on the case."

Ruddy doesn't mention that it wasn't just any ordinary email. As the New York Times details, the email -- sent by a lawyer who ran Kerik's legal defense fund - contained "information that indicated he was privy to sealed court papers." Further, it appeared the lawyer was forwarding an email sent by Kerik himself -- a violation in a consent decree in the case prohibiting Kerik from revealing confidential information."

In his lengthy defense, Ruddy fails to disclose that he was close enough to Kerik to give him space on Newsmax for a regular column.

Ruddy's defense is joined at Newsmax by a Feb. 22 article highlighting Geraldo Rivera's defense of Kerik and description of the judge that sentenced him as a "hanging judge."

Interesting how some people are for law and order -- unless one of their buddies is on the receiving end.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:23 PM EST
WND's Unruh Misleads About Nutritional Supplement Case
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've previously detailed how WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh has a bad habit of telling only one side of the story, despite his touted previous experience as a reporter for the Associated Press, which typically does not tolerate such bias.

Unruh exhibits that bias again in a Feb. 21 WND article on a "Christian nutrition ministry" called Daniel Chapter One, which has faced sanctions from the Federal Trade Commissionfor making unsupported claims about the nutritional supplements it sells. Unruh quotes only attorneys for Daniel Chapter One who, according to Unruh, "responded to a series of written questions submitted by WND." Unruh doesn't quote any FTC official in the article or even substantively directly quote any FTC documents on the case, even though the FTC has posted numerous documents regarding the DanielChapter One case on its website. Further, Unruh made no apparent attempt to contact the FTC for a response to the charges made in the article.

Unruh misleadingly asserts that it's not until "after the full penalties of being found guilty are scheduled to apply" that "the principals will be able to present their first defense to the charges." In fact, the FTC record contains several documents by Daniel Chapter One's attorneys responding to the FTC that include what most people would call a defense.

Unruh also curiously fails to offer specifics about the claims Daniel Chapter One made that drew the FTC complaint, framing the issue as about "how the federal government demands studies of nutritional products such as vitamins be done before the products are advertised to consumers." In fact, in a September 2008 FTC press release summing up its case, the FTCstated that Daniel Chapter One has made "deceptive and false claims that these products effectively prevent, treat, and cure cancer" and that "one of their herbal formulations mitigates the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy."

The original FTC administrative complaint goes on to state that Daniel Chapter One claimed one product "inhibits angiogenesis ­ -- the formation of new blood vessels" which "can stop tumor growth," that another product "battles cancer," and that yet another product can serve "as an adjunct to cancer therapy." Even though Daniel Chapter One's claims that its products treat cancer is central to the FTC's actions, the word "cancer" appears nowhere in Unruh's article -- nor did it appear in an August 2008 WND article Unruh wrote on the case.

Unruh features "Herb Titus, a key constitutional expert working on the Daniel Chapter One case," complaining that the FTC wants "someone marketing dietary supplements must substantiate any health-related claim with 'scientific evidence' – forcing the company to affirmatively prove its statements instead of defending any statements suspected of being incorrect." Neither Unruh nor Titus explain why scientific evidence of efficacy is a bad thing.

Indeed, it seems that Daniel Chapter One has an aversion to "scientific evidence." In an answering brief, the FTC states:

Respondents did not conduct or direct others to conduct any scientific testing of the effects of the Challenged Products, and offered no evidence of any such testing having been performed by others. F.308. Instead of relying upon scientific testing to substantiate their advertising claims, Respondents claimed that they relied on personal observations, customer testimonials, and a variety of books, magazines, and aricles about how certain substances in the Challenged Products could be utilized. F. 316-18. Their proffered experts were not medical doctors and had no specialized training or experience regarding cancer or cancer treatment. F. 335-337. Even Respondents' purorted experts admitted, however, that because the Challenged Products have not been tested, their effectiveness in the prevention, treatment, or cure of cancer is not known.

Rather than tell the truth, Unruh misleadingly portrays the case as one of the "Goliath-sized" FTC unfairly targeting a "small Christian nutrition ministry" and obscures the actual issues involved. It's this kind of biased, misleading reporting that seems to indicate why Unruh is working for WND instead of the Associated Press.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:37 PM EST
NewsBusters Won't Admit Biden Has Catholic 'Faith'
Topic: NewsBusters

A Feb. 18 NewsBusters post on "befuddled reactions from the mainstream media" over the ashes on Vice President Joe Biden's forehead on Ash Wednesday carried the curious headline, "Media Confused By Biden's Ashes, Omits His Catholic Heterodoxy."

Balan seems to not want to grant the fact that Biden is, in fact, a Catholic. Indeed, he's offended that "ABC News's Karen Travers omitted the past controversy over his support for legalized abortion, and portrayed him as a devout Catholic."

While Balan referenced Ted Turner's long-ago statement on the subject -- which Balan delcared "the most egregious statements made on the topic of Ash Wednesday" -- he was silent about Dennis Miller's equally egregious, if not more so, statement on Fox News that the ashes on Biden's forehead show where President Obama "puts his smokes out."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:41 AM EST
Ellis Washington Gets It Wrong -- Again
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Ellis Washington has not been one to let the facts get in the way of a good rant, and he keeps that up in his Feb. 20 WorldNetDaily column, in which he attempts to portray evolution as equally unproven as global warming:

I cannot help to see this manmade climate change scam being our modern-day equivalent to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution 150 years ago, which I consider scientific mythology or fairy tales for adults.

[...]

One hundred fifty years ago, Charles Darwin, an unremarkable British naturalist, was able to beguile the entire education, political, scientific and intellectual world with his sophistic and unscientific theories of the origin of man as chronicled in his two famous books: "The Origin of Species" (1859) and "The Descent of Man" (1871). As it was then so it is now; Darwin and his zealous legions of followers had not one shred of verifiable evidence for their theory. Truth and logic are not required to join the cult of Darwin or global warming; complete religious devotion is.

[...]

One man, Charles Darwin, 150 years ago through his diabolical theory of evolution has done what the Goths, the Visigoths, the Saxons, the Vandals and Attila the Hun could not do – destroy Western civilization by marginalizing objective truth. Before Darwin, Western civilization was based on logic, symmetry and the Judeo-Christian traditions of intellectual thought.

Darwinism is a radical, evolutionary worldview that systematically denigrated Christianity, the Constitution and the academy and has tried to destroy objective truth. Now most politicians, judges, academics, theologians and intellectuals believe that truth is relative; morality is in the eye of the beholder. Every man does what is right in his own eyes.

Show me a monopoly and I'll show you a tyranny.

Actually, there's plenty of evidence of the existence of evolution.

And it wouldn't be Ellis Washington if he wasn't lying about global warming as well. He claims that the stolen emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit -- which he baselessly attributes to "some Chinese hackers" -- prove that "all of their data on climate change was counterfeit and contrived; but more importantly, that the entire theory of manmade global warming was a willful scientific fraud from its beginning."

In fact, the emails prove no such thing.

Washington claims that former CRU chief Phil Jones "conceded the existence of the Medieval Warming Period, which occurred from approximately A.D. 800 to 1300" without offering evidence that he denied its existence. Washington alsofalsely claims that "Jones was forced to admit" that warming cycles "from 1975 to 1998" had "nothing to do with man causation." In fact, he said the opposite -- that "we can't explain the warming from the 1950s by solar and volcanic forcing," and that it would not be reasonable to conclude that "recent warming is not predominately manmade."


Posted by Terry K. at 8:44 AM EST
Brent Bozell's Heathering Fail
Topic: Media Research Center

Brent Bozell tried his hand at the Heathering his employees regularly engage in, writing a Feb. 16 column in which he berates Joe Scarborough for not being sufficiently conservative and for daring to criticize Republicans.

Even more offensive to Bozell: Scarborough responded to criticisms of him by the MRC and its NewsBusters blog:

I don’t know when or where or even if Joe Scarborough’s radio show airs in my area, nor do I care. The other night a friend caught this clip from his radio show and sent it to me. It’s about a blog which is published by the organization I head.

"NewsBusters, which just loves writing negative articles about me, I don’t know why, a lot of really false ones and I don’t know what’s actually gotten into Brent Bozell, but he actually goes out of his way to write false articles about me now…They just distort the news for their own purposes."

Now I know why MSNBC hired Joe Scarborough. He’s about as accurate and honest as everyone else there.

False articles? Here’s something Joe knows, because he and I have had this conversation privately already: I’ve never written a bloody article about him. Ever.

As for conservative bloggers at NewsBusters writing false articles about him, that is equally untrue. Have they sometimes been negative? Guilty as charged – and for good reason. Increasingly he’s making statements that are stupid, or reckless, or provocative, or insulting, or a combination of all the above.

Scarborough regularly blasts the Republican Party as having betrayed its commitment to fiscal responsibility, limited government and anti-Wilsonian foreign policy. I can and do applaud him for that. But why go on a non-stop rant against George W. Bush for the audacity to launch the military surge in Iraq (yup, the one that won the war) and conclude it by declaring, "Is it not a stretch to say that many Republicans would have considered impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton if this situation were identical?"

Scarborough responded with a column at Townhall rebutting Bozell's complaints:

Brent Bozell thinks I have fallen from the ranks of true conservatives and wrote a scathing blog on his website listing my offenses against Republicanism. Judging from the harshness of his tone, you would think that I threw my lot in with a pack of pot smoking Greenwich Village Marxists or, at the very least, lent grudging support to the public option.

But no. My crimes against conservatism were much worse. Brent Bozell has accused me of committing the unpardonable sins of saying unflattering things about George W. Bush, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

The truth is that while I campaigned for President Bush and supported him in both of his runs for president, I became disillusioned with his presidency earlier than most.

[...]

Brent was greatly offended when I suggested that Rush should not be telling America that he was rooting against the President of the United States. Call me old fashioned, but I believe you pray for the President and the United States of America without ceasing. As Jesus taught us, it is easy to pray for our friends. But it is more important to pray for those with whom we deeply disagree.

If my grandmother could pray for Jimmy Carter, I can pray for Barack Obama. Besides, I know he can only succeed if he turns away from his ruinous economic policies that will explode the deficit and destroy our economy.

As for Brent Bozell, I have been an admirer of his from afar since the early 90s when a friend started bringing Media Research Center reports to Sunday School at First Baptist Church in Pensacola. Brent exposed media bias when it was at his worst and I will always be grateful for that. Unfortunately, his website has been posting items that pull a statement out of my three hour newscasts and painting me as an evil liberal in the MSM.

These posts ignore the reality of the show's format, which is one conservative debating a cast of liberals more often than not. I usually walk off set with thousands of angry emails hurled my way from far left extremists. Mixed in with all those slanderous emails that call me everything from a fascist to a white supremacist, I usually find one email from Newsbusters asking why I hate conservatives.

It's all very predictable by now, but last summer there was one especially misleading post that suggested I was a failure in the media because I was a "liberal." The Newsbusters item said my new radio show was gaining no traction, that my book was languishing in the 300s, and that my TV show was attracting no viewers.

I called Brent to helpfully explain that my new radio show outrated Glenn Beck's every month head-to-head in America's top market (which is also both of our home markets.)

I also politely explained to Brent at the time of the conversation that my book was in the Top 10 on the New York Times list, in Barnes and Noble, and in Borders.

And I also let him know that Morning Joe was doubling the ratings Imus brought in over his ten years at MSNBC, despite the fact that our show was relatively new.Brent was unbowed by facts and let me know that I would be doing even better if I was still a conservative.

At that point, I asked Brent to name one issue where I had changed since the first day I entered Congress in 1994. He could not. I then asked how he could no longer consider me a conservative if, in fact, I had remained more consistent over the past 15 years in my views than the entire Republican Party.

Brent sputtered a while and then finally spit my crime against humanity out."You attacked Rush!!!"

Hmm. Very interesting.

The response from the MRC? None on the substance of what Scarborough said, but a Feb. 19 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham complained that the comments weren't activated on Scarborough's column, nefariously suggesting that it was done deliberately. He later updated to quote someone at Townhall denying any deliberate attempt to block commenters (comments are now permitted).

Graham went on to complain that Mediaite "has picked up the controversy, but pitched it as a battle over how conservative Scarborough is -- not over his reckless radio-show charges of 'false articles' from Bozell." But Scarborough did provide specific examples of how Bozell's organization did "false articles" by taking his words out of context.

And Mediaite is correct to frame it as a purity issue, since that's what it is. After all, Bozell and Co. don't complain about Rush Limbaugh, even when he regularly violates the standards of decency they claim to uphold.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:12 AM EST
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Kupelian: Obama Voters Are Immoral
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a Feb. 19 audio interview with Greg Corombos, WorldNetDaily managing editor David Kupelian discussed "sexual anarchy," to which he devotes one chapter of his new book "How Evil Works." He cites "the epidemic of teacher-student sex that we've reported on a lot at WorldNetDaily" -- as well as "the whole panoply of manifestations of sexual anarchy in our society -- you know, women surgically morphing into men and men into women, and the huge growth of gay rights and the transgenders and all the rest of it." These, he says, contradict "traditional American values, aka Judeo-Christian values," which he said are "like gravity. ... There is a God, and there are moral laws, and we get into real trouble if we violate those laws, and we used to recognize this pretty much as a society."

Kupelian then impugns everyone who voted for Obama as a supporter of "sexual anarchy":

And so basically, the bottom line is we're paying a huge price right now for throwing away these Judeo-Christian values a couple generations ago, and I don't mean just in terms of the usual things like, you know, out-of-wedlock pregnancies and abortions and venereal disease. That's the usual litany of -- when we talk about, you know, sexual anarchy. But I'm telling you, it actually affects our state of mind, our cohesiveness as a country, our values in every area. It has to do with why we are -- why 69 million people could vote for a person like Barack Obama for president. It's really undermined our whole integrity of our value system as a society.

Kupelian goes to claim that "radical feminist" is "a euphemism for people that just hated men, OK? I mean, this is not even a controversial statement. They said that marriage has legalized rape and that marriage is a form of slavery for women and that women should not get married." He then attacked the "educational establishment," which he said "was created by and for women," and that "typical boy behaviors" are "listed as clinical symptoms of a mental illness requiring drugs."


Posted by Terry K. at 2:42 PM EST
Clinton-Bashing on Clearance At AIM
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Acuracy in Media's store is currently having a clearance sale, and on the block is a good chunk of the Clinton-bashing that sustained AIM through the '90s and beyond.

Clinton-related books have their own category in the store; all are on sale, and some are priced to move. AIM is especially eager to unload Gary Aldrich's notorious "Unlimited Access" -- the hardback version is $1.95, and the paperback version is a mere 95 cents.

AIM section on cover-up books is also Clinton-heavy. There are two books promoting Vince Foster conspiracy theories, two of them by Christopher Ruddy. All are heavily discounted.

You can also get the "Clinton Chronicles" book, the companion to the discredited video. Both are highly discounted. Pick up a copy of "The Mena Cover-Up" video while you're at it.

Even a T-shirt stating "Charter Member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy -- Dedicated to Making Hillary’s Life Miserable" is on sale.

It can be presumed that AIM is making room for the inevitable Obama conspiracy books and videos to come in the near future.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:25 PM EST
Ringer: Abolish Unemployment Benefits, Minimum Wage
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Even though Social Security and Medicare guarantee to bankrupt America, we should not lose sight of the fact that there are scores of other government programs that are both immoral and costly – and that need to be abolished.

Take unemployment benefits, for example. If Obama and progressives on both sides of the aisle continue with their never-ending extensions of unemployment benefits, we will look back on 2009 as the good old days, a time when we had only a 10-20 percent unemployment rate (depending on how one wants to calculate it). That's right, unemployment benefits make the average worker worse off, not better, because, like minimum-wage laws, they cause unemployment.

The fact is that when people say they can't find a job, what they often mean is they can't find the job they want, at the wage they want, under the working conditions they want – which means that high unemployment is, to a great extent, a result of workers simply refusing to accept low-paying jobs, preferring instead to live off of government largesse.

[...]

If compassionate politicians are really serious about lowering unemployment, the first two things they should do is eliminate unemployment benefits and abolish minimum-wage laws. Follow that with slashing the corporate tax rate to 10 percent (for starters), and unemployment would very quickly become an anachronism.

The free market really does work. It's just not the way progressives would like it to work.

-- Robert Ringer, Feb. 19 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 9:08 AM EST
Noel Sheppard, Self-Appointed Arbiter of Decency
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Feb. 19 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard arrogantly appoints himself the arbiter of what is decent and what is not regarding references to Sarah Palin. Reacting to statements by Andrea Fay Friedman, the actress who voiced a woman with Down Syndrome who made a crack about Palin on an episode of "Family Guy" -- she found it funny -- Sheppard responded:

Of course, Friedman is entitled to her opinion, and is to be commended for responding to the Palins' concerns.
 
However, as neither she nor her family were the target of this joke, she is not the arbiter of decency; as much as she had the right to participate in this farce as an actress, the Palins have the right to be offended by it.

It's not until an update to his post that Sheppard notes that Friedman has Down Syndrome.

Sheppard's role as self-appointed moral arbiter is a bit hazy -- as we noted, he found nothing with Rush Limbaugh's use of "retard" (or any of the many other vulgarisms Limbaugh has engaged in).Meanwhile, Sheppard's fellow NewsBusters are fallingover themselves trying to ignore Palin's hypocrisy on the issue; Kyle Drennen brushed off calls for Palin to resign from Fox News in protest of "Family Guy," which airs on Fox Broadcasting, by asserting that 'Fox News has no connection" to Fox Broadcasting -- ignoring that the two are owned by the same company (as the mutual use of "Fox" would seem to imply).


Posted by Terry K. at 1:46 AM EST
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

But, then, who are regular, run-of-the-mill, taxpaying Americans to question Obama? He's brilliant, after all. It's not just liberals who say so, either. I keep hearing people like Bill O'Reilly saying so day after day. The problem is that I keep looking for signs of his brilliance, and looking and looking. It doesn't help that the O'Reillys of the world never point out any examples.

Still, if Obama is so brilliant, why does he parrot the words and thoughts of a bunch of schmucks like Karl Marx, Saul Alinsky, Al Gore and Michael Moore? Why does he insist that the trouble with the Constitution and the civil-rights movement is that they didn't focus on the redistribution of wealth? Why would he hand over the federal budget to a couple of morons like Pelosi and Reid? And why on earth would he put Henry Waxman in charge of his energy program? A brilliant person wouldn't trust Waxman to bring baked beans to a picnic.

When someone decides to model a health-care plan after such dismal failures as England, Canada and Cuba, while exhuming the failed economic policies of FDR, why would anyone suggest he is anything but a left-wing ignoramus?

This is an American president, for heaven's sake, who has more in common with Noam Chomsky, Hugo Chavez and some Berkeley hippie than he has with Washington, Jefferson and Adams. Except that he is now 30 years older, Obama seems to think exactly the same way he was thinking back in college, when he was a pot-smoking idiot who sought out students who were self-professed revolutionaries and professors who were communists.

-- Burt Prelutsky, Feb. 19 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 11:27 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, February 20, 2010 11:29 PM EST
Newsmax Defends Kerik One Last Time
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax's Bernard Kerik rehabilitation program ended abruptly when Kerik pleaded guilty to eight counts, including tax fraud and lying to White House officials during his ill-fated 2004 nomination to be Homeland Security secretary. Now that Kerik has been sentenced to four years in prison on those counts, Newsmax is giving Kerik a fond, if low-key, farewell.

Newsmax ran a Feb. 18 wire story on Kerik's sentencing, but it did something else on Feb. 19. It put a specially colored link in its "Inside Story" section to a Huffington Post blog post defending Kerik:

The lengthy post, by Andrew Kreig, repeats some of Newsmax's previous defenses of Kerik in claiming that he is a victim of overzealous prosecution. Kreig even cites Newsmax as a source of "positive coverage long after his state plea," and links to an item on Kerik and Newsmax we wrote for Media Matters as an example of how "some on the left have been eager to scorn the defense and its supporters, such as Newsmax."


Posted by Terry K. at 11:15 AM EST
Ilana Mercer Hates Meghan McCain (And Your Kids)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Millennials are a generation of youngsters that reveres only itself for no good reason. They have been unleashed on America by progressive families and educators (Democrat and Republican alike) who've deified their off-putting offspring and charges, and instilled in them a sense of self-worth disproportionate to their actual worth.

[...]

Even more illuminating for longstanding advocates of a traditional schooling such as this writer is how uncreative this generation of youngsters truly is.

Meghan and her peers are everywhere, loudly dispensing mind-numbing clichés as though they were Socratic sayings. The uniformity of opinion among these mediocre and frightfully monolithic minds is scarier than its uninformed nature.

Still scarier are their dangerously elevated self-esteems. Drumming up ignorance can be risky business. In a 1997 monograph (which I reviewed in 2000), Marilyn Bowman, a Canadian professor, forewarned that "there is a dark side to self-esteem. The prototype aggressor is an individual whose self-appraisal is unrealistically positive."

Needy and narcissistic, these dullards were nurtured by pedagogues, parents and politicians (again, Democrat and Republican; liberal and "conservative" alike) who were convinced that loosey-goosey schools would produce free thinkers and geniuses.

Instead, attests Alsop, the "high-maintenance rookies," dreaded by human-resource executives across America, "flounder without precise guidelines." Millennials "want loads of attention and guidance from employers," and they "break down in tears after a negative performance review."

[...]

My source in the industry tells me that the Millennial generation will be another nail in the coffin of flailing American productivity. I am told, too, that for every useless, self-important Millennial, a respectful, bright, industrious (East) Asian, with a wicked work ethic, waits in the wings.

Let the lazy American youngster look down at his superiors, and live-off his delusions and his parents. His young Asian counterpart harbors a different sensibility and skill; he is hungrily learning from his higher-ups with a view to displacing artificially fattened geese like Meghan McCain.

-- Ilana Mercer, Feb. 19 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 8:15 AM EST
Friday, February 19, 2010
WND Promotes Dubious Story
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Feb. 18 WorldNetDaily article repeated the claim reported by CBN News that "Five Muslim soldiers were arrested for allegedly trying to poison the food supply at Fort Jackson in South Carolina."

While WND noted an Army official stating that "there is no credible information to support the allegations," it has not yet noted other denials by military officials, as highlighted by Media Matters: form another Army spokesman and from Fort Jackson itself. Further, Fox News has since reported that "it doesn't appear there was ever any actual danger to the food supply at Fort Jackson, but there was talk about such a threat, and that's what the Criminal Investigation Division in the Army is looking into."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:29 PM EST
Kincaid Omits Parts of Study That Undermine His Support for Uganda Law
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Cliff Kincaid has another anti-gay screed up at Accuracy in Media endorsing the proposed anti-gay law in Uganda, this time going after Kathleen Parker's recent Washington Post column for daring to criticize a law Kincaid has aggressively defended. Kincaid denigrates Parker by claiming she is "[l]osing complete control of her senses," doing "her best imitation of lesbian MSNBC-TV commentator Rachel Maddow " and suggests she wrote her column out of "her eagerness to please those who syndicate her column and quote her approvingly in the liberal press."

Kincaid has added more misleading claims to his arsenal. He asserts that "[t]here is a myth that AIDS in Africa has been spread exclusively through heterosexual conduct." That's a red herring - he offers no examples of anyone making the claim that HIV has been spread "exclusively through heterosexual conduct." What has been claimed (as we recently did) is the documented fact that, historically, HIV transmission in Uganda and much of Africa has been spread mostly through heterosexual and mother-to-child conduct. Kincaid offers no evidence that this has significantly changed.

Kincaid then writes:

But the internationally acclaimed medical journal The Lancet last August published the first scientific study showing that male homosexuals are more often than not infected with HIV than the general adult population in sub-Saharan Africa. The study is titled, "Men who have sex with men and HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa."

But the Lancet study is about a lot more than how many homosexuals in Africa have AIDS, which Kincaid curiously fails to mention -- perhaps because it undermines his anti-gay crusade. First of all, it further debunks Kincaid's suggestion that heterosexual HIV transmission is a "myth," stating: "Notwithstanding the lack of reliable population data about African MSM [men who have sex with men], the proportion of current HIV incidence attributable to MSM is estimated to be as high as 20% in some west African countries." That leaves 80 percent that is attributable to something else -- in other words, heterosexual and mother-to-child transmission.

The Lancet then points to reasons why there is a high incidence of HIV among gays in Africa:

Most African states have yet to allocate any national HIV/AIDS resource for HIV/AIDS prevention or care for MSM.

The effectiveness of national HIV prevention programmes on HIV risk behaviour in MSM is not known but is likely to be low. Safe sex for MSM implies access to condoms and lubricants that are rarely available or are prohibitively expensive. Messages about prevention targeted to heterosexual populations might seem irrelevant to MSM; African MSM might not consider same-sex encounters to be sex at all because this word can also infer reproduction. Perceptions that anal sex or sex between men pose no risk of HIV transmission, even that such behaviours might be actively sought because of this misconception, have been reported repeatedly. How widespread such misconceptions are is unclear, yet the almost complete absence of African media, health education, and counselling to challenge these beliefs is self-evident.

Important conclusions from behavioural studies of African MSM are that unprotected anal sex is commonplace, knowledge and access to appropriate risk prevention measures are inadequate, and that, in some contexts, many MSM engage in transactional sex. Stigma, violence, detention, and lack of safe social and health resources are widely reported.

[...]

The neglect of research, surveillance and HIV prevention, and treatment and care programmes for MSM cannot be separated from the influence of general, largely hostile attitudes toward homosexuality in Africa. Male-to-male sex is illegal in sub-Saharan African countries, potentially attracting the death penalty in four. In recent years, governments of several countries have strengthened laws against homosexuality, and political and religious leaders have publicly denounced MSM as immoral and not deserving attention from the state. In the most recent Pew Global Attitudes Project survey, most respondents sampled from ten sub-Saharan African countries stated that society should reject homosexuality.

MSM who disclose their orientation, through choice or necessity, report family rejection, public humiliation, harassment by authorities, and ridicule by health-care workers. The consequences of stigma on HIV risk, and access to prevention and care for African MSM are unknown. Elsewhere, low self-esteem, and loss of family and community cohesion are thought to mediate an association between social oppression and sexual risk-taking behaviour. African MSM might also be stigmatised in ways that differ from those elsewhere: Murray and Roscoe draw attention to the expectation of the production of children as a predominant social pressure on homosexual men in some African contexts.

Political, cultural, and religious hostility towards MSM thus presents the main barrier to implementing effective HIV research, policy, and health programmes for African MSM. Successes in engagement with and delivery of the few interventions to known MSM are tempered with the recognition that many, probably most, MSM conceal their behaviour for fear of repercussion and remain beyond the reach of such interventions. Although since repealed, the widely condemned sentencing and imprisonment of nine activists involved in providing HIV prevention, care, and treatment services to MSM in Senegal (one of few African countries with a national HIV programme targeting MSM) show the potential for political and religious sentiments to compete with HIV/AIDS control efforts. [footnote numbers deleted]

The study concludes that "the continued denial of MSM from effective HIV/AIDS prevention and care is harmful to national HIV/AIDS responses, the consequence of which is borne not only by MSM, but by everyone. The challenge now is to break that silence, recognise the problem, and begin to move forward in the development and implementation of the prevention and care programmes that are so urgently needed."

How does further stigmatizing homosexuality through the anti-gay law in Uganda -- where it is already highly stigmatized and illegal -- address the problem of HIV transmission via homosexual contact, especially given that the Lancet study he selectively quotes advocates outreach and not further stigma? Kincaid doesn't say.

Instead, he proudly declares, "The purpose of the Ugandan bill, quite clearly, is to keep homosexuality in the closet, where it used to be in this country." He also repeats his discredited talking point that "the death penalty in the bill is only one provision and is for 'aggravated homosexuality' or serious crimes mostly involving homosexual behavior targeting children and spreading disease and death." In fact, as we detailed, it also provides for the death penalty for merely engaging in homosexual acts, if the accused is a "serial offender."

Kincaid went on a tirade against pretty much everything gay in his column. He further attacked Maddow, asserting that her TV show "is an extension of her lesbian lifestyle. She is gay and proud and given free rein at MSNBC because of her role as the first 'out' lesbian to host a show on a national cable news network." (Kincaid has long despised Maddow.) He also lashed out at this weekend's Conservative Political Action Conference for allowing the gay-conservative group GOProud to have a table there.

Kincaid closed out his column by spewing even more hate, claiming that ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell in the military "would not only make the Armed Forces a laughingstock but would end its value as a fighting force capable of defending us against foreign threats. Indeed, a homosexualized military could itself become a threat, just like it was in the Nazi period."

Yes, Kincaid is suggesting that gays are Nazis. Bravo, Cliff.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:44 PM EST
Joseph Farah Still Doesn't Get It
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah's Feb. 18 WorldNetDaily column is yet another round of fraudulent self-aggrandizement designed to obscure the truth about him and WND. He writes:

When I started WND back in 1997, I had hoped that it would lead to a renaissance of good journalism on and off the Net. Just the opposite has happened. Traditional American journalism has all but collapsed. What stands in its place today, whether it's the New York Times, MSNBC or the Huffington Puffington Post, quite resembles the institutions known as Pravda and Izvestia back in the Cold War days – without the official government control.

Unstated by Farah: That's pretty much how WND operates. One need only go back as far as its fawning tea party convention coverage that ignored or whitewashed actual news about the convention -- after all, Farah was speaking at it and didn't want any reality to intrude.

Farah continues:

Yet today there is still nothing like WND anywhere else – on the Internet, on TV, in print or in any other venue.

[...]

WND really is different from any other website out there. Yes, there are other news-oriented imitators. But they don't have the reporters and the editors and the professional experience and the standards WND has. That's a plain fact. Nobody, but nobody, does what we do.

He is correct there, though not for the reasons he imagines. There are indeed no other "news" outlets with the toxic brew of determination to slant the news, lie to its readers, libeling those it disagrees with, and embrace hate and far-right extremism that WND embodies.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 PM EST

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