CNS Tries, Fails to Invent a Controversy Topic: CNSNews.com
When CNS reporter Penny Starr isn't writingbiasedarticles about abortion and gays, she's apparently wandering through museum exhibits in Washington ready to pounce on anything that's not conservatively correct. In March, Starr was offended that a Smithsonian exhibit on human origins lacked "references to God, creationism, or pre-natal existence"; even worse,the exhibit "says fossils 'provide evidence that modern humans evolved from earlier humans.'"
In a June 14 CNS article, Starr complains: "A new exhibit at the Library of Congress is dedicated to the memory of entertainer Bob Hope, but it focuses more on politics than it does on the legacy of a movie star who used his talents to support the U.S. military around the world."
But reading further into Starr's article, it's clear that the exhibit, "Hope for America: Performers, Politics and Pop Culture," is not solely about Hope but about the intersection of politics and entertainment. Starr can't quite deny that Hope was one of the pioneers of topical humor that took jabs at politicians, yet she complains that "the overall theme of the exhibit highlights political protest and activism – something that, by all accounts, Hope avoided even as he became a regular at the White House over the course of 11 U.S. presidencies."
Later in the article, Starr is forced to concede that Hope's family approved of the exhibit and that it also includes conservatives such as Lee Greenwood, Pat Boone and Sonny Bono. Starr also conceded that Hope himself became actively political in the Vietnam years.
So, all in all, Starr's attempt to invent a controversy has failed miserably. Then again, it does keep her from writing more hopelessly biased articles about abortion and gays.
Hedgecock Falsely Claims U.S. Not Using Foreign 'Assets' to Clean Oil Spill Topic: WorldNetDaily
In his June 14 WorldNetDaily column, Roger Hedgecock falsely claimed that President Obama said "no thanks" to offers from "13 countries" to help clean up the oil spill, adding that "foreign 'assets' are not being considered."
In fact, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen has stated that the U.S. is making use of foreign technology: "We are dealing with folks like Norway, the Netherlands, Canada and other places. Anyplace that's got skimming capability that's available, we're willing to talk to them, and we actually have, in some cases, actually transferred the equipment down and will continue to do that."
FrontPageMag Selectively Criticizes Candidates' Falsified Military Records Topic: Horowitz
A June 9 FrontPageMag article by Rich Trzupek denounced Democrats who apparently made false claims about their military service, such as Richard Blumenthal and Phil Hare, as "arrogant." But Trzupek curiously looks over another candidate from Hare's state of Illinois accused of falsifying his military credentials: MarkKirk.
Then again, Kirk is a Republican, so that falsification apparently doesn't count in Trzupek's eyes.
WorldNetDaily and Anonymous Sources Topic: WorldNetDaily
What is WorldNetDaily's policy on using anonymous sources? Does it even have a policy at all beyond how such anonymity serves WND's political agenda?
We ask because, as Salon details, ombudsmen both the New York Times and the Washington Post have raised questions about their respective papers' use -- more specifically, the overuse -- of anonymous sources. According to Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander, the paper's guidelines state that anonymity "should not be done casually or automatically," and that "merely asking should not be sufficient to become anonymous in our stories." Salon's Dan Gillmor adds:
Whether the reporters and editors who so casually violate their institutions' rules are simply arrogant and/or lazy, or whether they genuinely believe they're providing information that readers need to know, they're undermining the credibility of their news organizations almost every time they do this. In reality, whether they understand it or not, they betray contempt for their readers, not respect.
As a reader, I've trained myself to treat anonymously sourced stories with the most extreme skepticism. Unless I can infer a truly compelling reason for the anonymity, I now actively disbelieve -- or, at best, assume a sleazy motive on the part of the source -- what I read in these circumstances.
WND, meanwhile, appears to have no apparent policy governing the use of anonymous sources -- none it's bothered to share with readers, anyway. Despite editor Joseph Farah's dismissal of anonymous sources as being used by reporters for "quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better," WND regularly invokes anonymous sources, typically to attack its political enemies.
Aaron Klein is perhaps WND's most flagrant abuser of anonymous sources. In the past month, Klein haswrittenfourarticles whose primary claims are based on anonymous sources. At no point in any of those articles did he explain why anonymity was granted. Given that each of those articles advances WND's agenda of promoting Israel and attackingPalestinians and the Obama administration, the "sleazy motive" Gillmor spoke of can be assumed here as well. Heck, Klein has even granted anonymity to terrorists, which makes it all the more sleazy.
Klein is not the only WND writer to use anonymous sources for political purposes, however -- Jerome Corsi used on in a June 5 WND article to attack the Obama administration. Given Corsi's less-than-stellar record of accuracy and more-than-ample record of political attacks, it can be assumed Corsi was operating from a "sleazy motive" as well.
If Klein, Corsi, and the rest of WND can't be bothered to explain why they hide behind anonymous sources to launch their political attacks -- and if WND can't even articulate a policy on their use -- it shouldn't be taken seriously as a news organization. Fortunately, that's far from the only factor keeping intelligent people from doing that.
Sheppard Baselessly Scoffs At Idea Global Warming Tied to National Security Topic: NewsBusters
In a June 12 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard placed under the "Saturday Night Funnies" Nancy Pelosi's statement that "carbon pollution leading to climate change will be over the next 20 years the leading cause of conflict, putting our troops in harm's way."
In fact, numerous national security experts -- including those in the Bush administration -- have highlighted the "significant geopolitical consequences" of climate change.
WND Touts Birther Claim First Made on Supremacist Radio Program Topic: WorldNetDaily
Media Matters details how WorldNetDaily's newest birther star, Tim Adams -- a temporary election worker in Hawaii who claims based on what little he saw as a temp worker that Obama wasn't born in Hawaii -- first made his accusations on a "pro-white" radio program at a conference of "white supremacist[s]."
In a June 10 article, Joe Kovacs states only that Adams was "briefly interviewed by James Edwards, host of a weekly radio show on WLRM Radio in Memphis, Tenn." In fact, Edwards is the host of a radio show called "The Political Cesspool," which claims as its philosophy: "We represent a philosophy that is pro-White ... We wish to revive the White birthrate above replacement level fertility and beyond to grow the percentage of Whites in the world relative to other races."
As Media Matters noted in 2008, WND writer Jerome Corsi had been scheduled to appear on Edwards' show to plug his anti-Obama -- where he had appeared before -- but he apparently canceled due to the negative publicity.
Why is WND hobnobbing with a "pro-White" radio host?
UPDATE: Oh For Goodness Sake has more on Adams. Apparently, he's threatened to kill Obama (and McCain) supporters and expressed sympathies for the haters at Westboro Baptist Church. He also appears to be not telling the truth about just how much database access he had as an election temp in Hawaii.
MRC Upset That Far-Right Extremist Identified As Far-Right Extremist Topic: Media Research Center
The MRC does not like accurate descriptions of Repubican candidates, it seems.
A June 12 MRC TimesWatch post by Clay Waters complained that the New York Times called Sharron Angle, who won the Republican primary for the Nevada Senate seat currently held by Harry Reid, a "far-right conservative" and "extreme."Waters called this a "smear" but offered no evidence the descriptor is inaccurate.
After all, Angle has claimed to be a member of the Oath Keepers, a right-wing group that advocates law enforcement and military types disobey orders they feel are unconstitutional. She has also promoted a Scientology-backed drug rehab program for prisoners and holds a plethora of other extreme views.
But according to Waters, telling the truth about Angle is a "smear."
Elsewhere in the MRC empire, NewsBusters' Brad Wilmouth was upset that some person on TV called Angle "on the fringe, almost wacky." Like Waters, Wilmouth offered no evidence that this is not the case.
Obama-Hater Erik Rush, In Convenient Book Form Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily is rolling out Erik Rush's new book, "Negrophila," this week with appearances on Fox News (big surprise). The book is supposedly about "the mindset that he says is behind a pervasive manipulation expertly employed and exploited to divide and destroy American society."
It comes complete with silly Joseph Farah statements like, "Very few people have the chutzpah to mutter the powerful points that Erik so eloquently makes here." In the past, as we've detailed, Rush's idea of "eloquent" statements has been to liken Barack Obama to a prison rapist, as well as all manner of hateful invective against the president.
Do these examples of Rush's "eloquence" make it into his book? Somehow, we suspect the PR folks at WND Books will not be so kind as to grace us with a review copy.
WND's Washington Still Falsely Conflating Social Darwinism, Evolution Topic: WorldNetDaily
As he has before, Ellis Washington uses his June 12 WorldNetDaily column to falsely conflate social Darwinism with evolution, listing "Social Darwinism (evolution)" as part of "the five-headed monster of the Liberal-Muslim Axis."
As we pointed out the last time Washington did this, anti-evolutionists have long conflated social Darwinism with evolution, even though Charles Darwin himself never advocated such a thing. Indeed, the racism and ethnic cleansing pejoratively associated with social Darwinism existed long before Darwin.
While that's objectively false, Washington also delves into the completely incomprehensible:
Throughout history, liberalism, totalitarianism, terrorism, anarchy and fascism have been bedfellows – during the Age of Enlightenment (Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, Jefferson), through its systemic corruption during the French Revolution (the Jacobins, Robespierre) and later during 19th-century German Romanticism (Schopenhauer, Wagner, Kaiser Wilhelm, Darwin, Nietzsche). The 20th century saw liberalism morph into the progressive movement and the modern welfare state (Lippmann, Croly, John Dewey, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, LBJ, Obama) where the apotheosis of the State has essentially replaced God, reason, constitutionalism and Natural Law.
Liberal fascism is exhibited today in policies like Obamacare, TARP, Obama's takeover of the banking and auto industries, exploiting the Gulf oil leak to destroy the oil industry through federal takeover while forcing Americans into unsustainable alternative energy uses, thus further decimating our economy.
Is Washington really calling Thomas Jefferson a liberal/totalitarian/terrorist/anarchist/fascist? And when, exactly, did Obama take over the oil industry? Washington, if nothing else, is flamboyantly wrong.
WorldNetDaily has been taking whacks about a book called "The Shack" for months now, culminating in a WND-published book purporting to offer a "gripping counter-balance" to it.
So what's the big deal?
"The Shack" is a self-published novel that, as Slate describes it, occupies a middle ground between religious and secular fiction, casting God as a path to happiness without serving up dogma. The book has sold more 10 million copies despite, or because of, the book's quirky prose and "too-weird-for-the-pulpit thoughts" that give it a "rough-hewn, handmade quality" but also succeed at "connecting recondite doctrine to the tastes, rhythms, and mores of modern life."
Such success breeds coattail riders, as well as detractors. Enter WorldNetDaily.
WND columnist Jim Fletcher has been denouncing "The Shack" for quite some time:
In a July 2009 column, he cited the book as central to the problem of Christian bookstores' pursuit of profit, complaining that "you see 'The Shack' in virtually every Christian store, even though many ministries and individuals have objections to author Paul Young's worldview." Fletcher made the same complaint in an August 2009 column.
A November 2009 column noted "the controversy surrounding Young's theology" and lamented that "Young's success has further cemented the marriage between the evangelical world and the larger world."
A December 2009 column claimed that "the readers/authors of such books [as "The Shack"] are not necessarily "committed to the full teaching of the Scriptures" though they insist that they are."
In a Feb. 26 review of "The Shack," Fletcher asserts that there are "both subtle and overt challenges to orthodoxy" in the book, and that "There seems to be a free-wheeling emphasis in 'The Shack' on personal experience and feelings, something the Bible warns against." Fletcher also notes that "One of the problems conservative Christians have with "The Shack" is the portrayal of God" as a black woman or, more to the point, an "Oprah-esque figure," adding, "That kind of dialogue and imagery just doesn't square with our understanding of God from Scripture."
WND's promotion for its attack book "Burning Down 'The Shack': How the 'Christian' Best-seller is Deceiving Millions," portrays the book as "blasphemous" and filled with "counterfeit Christianity," not to mention "more than 15 heresies":
Worse, says author James De Young, its depiction of God as an African woman who suffered Christ's crucifixion – and the book's exclusion of any existence of Satan and hell – represent just some of its many dangerous deceptions.
If such deceptions, which upend biblical teachings on sin, redemption, salvation and damnation, go unchallenged, says De Young, this "feel-good novel" could prove terribly divisive and destructive to millions of Christians.
The WND book also appears to be a weird sort of revenge on the author; De Young is described as "a former longtime colleague of Paul Young, and was his Portland-area neighbor when Young wrote 'The Shack.'" The article adds: "He also takes unique creative license and shows readers stories and instruction in Scripture that would have helped Paul Young's fictional character, Mack, find the forgiveness and restoration he so desperately sought – but was not offered."
Meanwhile, WND editor (and WND Books operator) went on a May 31 tirade against "The Shack," calling it "dangerous and spiritually subversive" and claiming it "represents unmitigated heresy in its view of salvation, an anti-biblical portrait of the Creator of the universe as our buddy and a thoroughly paganistic message that there really are no consequences for sin." (As blogger Richard Bartholomew points out, "if Farah is believed in 'consequences for sin', surely he’d be terrified of how he’s going to explain to God why WND publishes so many lies?") Nevertheless, Farah continues:
Why is it important to dissect the theology behind "The Shack"?
Because it has indeed deceived millions – and continues to mislead more every day.
It embraces a universalist creed that suggests everyone is saved. It rejects the clear biblical condemnations of sinful behavior. It preaches the false "I'm OK, you're OK" gospel and rejects the reality of eternal damnation.
The wholesale acceptance of this book by the Christian establishment – radio networks, publishing houses, churches, bookstores and clergy – is alarming to say the least.
Nowhere in the WND's attacks does it mention that the publisher of "The Shack" has addressed many of the questions raised by its critics, including whether the book promotes easy salvation and a God that is "too nice."
Farah doesn't quite admit that he wants to sell books and make money. Nor does he explain how apparently only he knows the One True Way and that everyone else is a blasphemer and heretic.
CNS Baselessly Claims Judicial Nominee Has 'Record of Leniency' Topic: CNSNews.com
A June 11 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas carries the headline "Obama’s Appeals Court Nominee Sent to Full Senate with Record of Leniency for Sex Offenders, Serial Killer." Lucas himself writes that the judge in question, Robert Chatigny -- whose nomination to be a federal appeals judge was recently advanced by the Senate Judiciary Committee -- "has a record of lenient sentencing for sex offenders." But none of the evidence Lucas provides offers any evidence of "leniency."
Lucas recounts an incident in which Chatigny "took what many considered extraordinary judicial actions in 2005 to prevent the execution of a serial killer," which amounted to making sure the killer was not mentally incompetent. While Lucas provides a mostly balanced detailing of Chatigny's actions, he does not explain how that equates to "leniency."
Lucas also stated that Chatigny "ruled as unconstitutional Connecticut’s Megan’s Law because it supposedly violates due process rights," which was upheld by an appeals court but overturned by the Supreme Court. Again, Lucas did not explain how this equates to "leniency."
Lucas' MRC bretheren have previously promoted a factually misleading attack on Chatigny that selectively cites facts.
Geller hasn't written a column since April 26, and sometime in the past couple of weeks, her name disappeared off Newsmax's "blog" list. That seems to be more than enough evidence that Geller is done at Newsmax -- after all, it's probably best that Newsmax not look too extreme while it's in the hunt to buy Newsweek.
This, of course, opens up Geller to get a column where her Obama derangement has a more comfortable fit: WorldNetDaily.
Robert Ringer Derangement Syndrome Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
Today, the Komarovsky mindset is a serious problem in the United States. I keep saying that Obama and Co. know they are going down to massive defeats if there are elections in 2010, but maybe I'm wrong. Perhaps I've underestimated their determination to get enough people on the government dole and government payroll to mathematically assure victory.
I continue to say that most of the big stories in the news are nothing more than distractions – distractions that take people's focus off the biggest problem Americans are facing: an irreversible loss of their liberty. That includes the BP oil spill, illegal immigration and even Obama's attempt – repeat, Obama's attempt – to buy off Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff in their Senate races with Arlen Specter and Michael Bennet.
Worst of all, the Republican Party itself has a whole army of Viktor Komarovskys in its ranks, ready to support the Obamaviks at the drop of a vote. Names like Mitt Romney (the de facto architect of Obamacare), John McCain ("I was in favor of illegal immigration before I was against it."), Lindsey Graham (an unabashed hard-core progressive), Mike Huckabee (the slickest politician in America), Orrin Hatch (a deeply entrenched member of the go-along-to-get-along club) and Mitch McConnell (another deeply entrenched member of the same club) come quickly to mind.
These men have conclusively demonstrated that they are more than willing to support the progressives' notion of "social justice" if that's what it takes to get elected and re-elected. Their greatest threat comes from people with names like Bachmann, Ryan, DeMint, Rubio, and Paul & Paul.
Over the next five months, you can be sure that a lot of Republican blood will be spilled in the war between the Viktor Komarovskys of the Republican Party and those who refuse to go along with the business-as-usual Dr. Zhivago Option. And you can guess which side the socialists in the Democratic People's Party will be cheering for.
WND Still Ignoring Full Story on Sestak Topic: WorldNetDaily
Following in the footsteps of CNSNews.com, a June 10 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh repeated claims by Rep. Darrell Issa that the Obama administration committed a "prima facie" violation of the Hatch Act regarding alleged job offers to Joe Sestak and Andrewswithout telling readers that legal experts have disputed Issa's claim that ther Hatch Act was violated.
Unruh's article is part of a pattern of WND ignoring the other side of the story on the Sestak controversy.
The MRC's War Against Soccer Topic: Media Research Center
Why does the Media Research Center hate soccer so much?
A June 9 MRC Culture & Media Institute article by Sarah Knoploh and Matt Philbin is an extremely long, World Cup-inspired anti-soccer screed, raging against the "mainstream media" that try to "to force soccer’s square peg in the round hole of American culture." Knoploh and Philbin declare that soccer is "A Game of the Left,"especially on the youth level:
And to conservatives, the troubling aspects of the game aren’t confined to the pros. Soccer requires comparatively little from children but the ability to run after the ball – the risk of failure for anyone except maybe the goal keeper is zero. Even the strong chance that any given game will end in a tie makes it attractive for parents reluctant to impart life’s difficult lessons to young kids.
[Stephen H.] Webb wrote in First Things that, “Sporting should be about breaking kids down before you start building them up. Take baseball, for example. When I was a kid, baseball was the most popular sport precisely because it was so demanding … you had to face the fear of disfigurement as well as the statistical probability of striking out. The spectacle of your failure was so public that it was like having all of your friends invited to your home to watch your dad forcing you to eat your vegetables.”
In short, a powerful component of character building is missing from youth soccer, an important component of character is missing from pro soccer, and a sense of purposefulness is missing from the entire sport.
Knoploh and Philbin even try to explain away the fact that soccer outdraws baseball in Seattle: The baseball Mariners are "a horrible team," and the soccer Souncers "play in a very liberal city, are currently benefiting from World Cup year interest in their sport, and they play a schedule that allows far fewer opportunities for fans to attend."
As if the point that soccer is a wussy liberal sport and not a manly American sport wasn't driven home enough, Knoploh and Philbin add: "As healthcare reform and stimulus spending have underscored, if Europe jumped off a cliff, the American left would be right behind it. So it makes sense that the media’s main argument for accepting soccer is that 'everybody’s doing it.'" And they approvingly quote a writer who says that football "requires American characteristics in order to succeed."
Interestingly, CMI is not the only MRC division on an anti-soccer kick (pardon the pun). A June 10 CNSNews.com article by Terry Jeffrey repeats a Zogby poll finding that "63 percent of American men say that soccer is not likely to ever be as popular as football, baseball, basketball or hockey in the United States."
The MRC's hostility toward soccer in strange given that its employees are not exactly known for any demonstrated athletic prowess. Perhaps they protest too much.