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Monday, October 4, 2010
CNS Columnist Offended Police Dog Treated As Hero
Topic: CNSNews.com

Recently, a police dog in Fort Myers, Florida, was accorded full honors commensurate with a fallen officer. The ceremony was held in a local Baptist Church. The service included speakers, a 21 gun salute, Taps and a presentation of the American flag to the animal’s keeper. Other area police departments joined in the service and formed an honor guard as Rosco, a four-year-old German shepherd was, as the media reported, “laid to rest.”

Rosco was killed by an armed suspect during a shootout with police. The teenage male suspect was also killed.

In former times the loss of a member of the canine corps would perhaps have been mentioned in reporting the incident. It may have even led to a spin off human interest story of how these dogs are chosen for the job and how they are trained. The real story, however, would have been the tragedy of the young man losing his life and how such tragedies could be avoided in the future.

[...]

Dogs, like Rosco, are trained to do certain things to protect humans, because the life of a dog is of limited value compared to the infinite value of the human person. This is due to the fact that humans have reason. This rationality confers on us freedom, as well as rights and responsibilities. A dog can lay claim to none of these.

In light of this, the designation of ‘hero’ can only be applied to a person, since the action applauded by society is one that had been reflected upon and done through free will. A dog like Rosco is not free.  He did not choose his job. He is simply conditioned to react in a certain way. There is no altruism exercised. Animals operate on reward and punishment.

Rosco undoubtedly received treats during his training for good performance, which was his sole source of motivation. In no way could he weigh the consequences of intervening on behalf of his human handler.

[...]

No doubt Rosco was a fine animal, but that is where the accolades should end. The events honoring him were an affront to human dignity. They have cheapened human life and the sacrifices our law enforcement officers make on our behalf. Unless this nonsense stops, one can only say, our society has ‘gone to the dogs.

-- Rev. Michael P. Orsi, Oct. 4 CNSNews.com column


Posted by Terry K. at 8:26 PM EDT
Farah Whines Again About Birther Coverage
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Is it time for Joseph Farah to whine about coverage of the birther movement in news outlets other than his own? Heck, it's always time for that. From Farah's Oct. 1 WorldNetDaily column:

Here's a recent example from the State, a daily in Columbia, S.C.: "The so-called 'birther movement' has questioned the president's citizenship, claiming Obama's birth certificate, issued by the state of Hawaii is a fake."

The paper uses the derisive term "birther movement," the appellation of choice by those who ridicule the curious constitutionalists. The paper suggests the focus of this movement representing 58 percent of the American people, according to the latest CNN poll, is "citizenship," when it is actually "natural born citizenship." The paper suggests a birth certificate has been produced by the state of Hawaii when it hasn't been. And the paper suggests the primary dispute is over whether this unseen document is a fake.

This is but one of hundreds of examples of this kind of distorted press coverage by news agencies big and small all making assertions that are untrue and contemptuous.

This pattern raises two questions in my mind:

  • Why don't any of these news sources – newspapers, wire services and television networks – bother to talk to anyone from this "movement"?
  • From where do they get their information, their impressions, their "facts"?

I have practiced the profession of journalism for 35 years. I've never done anything else since becoming an adult. I have literally done everything you can do in the world of daily journalism, from reporting to running major market newspapers. It was always my impression that we were supposed to interview the people we wrote about. But, in the case of the so-called "birthers," or, as I like to put it, the "curious constitutionalists," it seems to be fair game to stereotype their beliefs with broad brush treatment and, most importantly, never to talk to them.

NEVER!

Farah, as always, is being disingenuous. He knows darn well that one significant component of the birther movement is citizenship; it's only been in recent months that he has changed the focus of his jihad from citizenship to "eligibility."Even Farah isn't so stupid to claim WND has never questioned Obama's citizenship and the authenticity of the birth certificate the Obama campaign released, because it has.

Farah's complaint that birthers like him are never contacted for media interviews is also disingenuous. It's not like anyone is barred from reading WND's articles on the issue -- it even conveniently puts them into one place. Plus, telling both sides of the story is not exactly a journalistic virtue WND is known for.

Nevertheless, Farah trudges on:

One mischaracterization leads to another. One factual error leads to another. One derisive term leads to another.

This is actually counterfeit journalism – with each new story on a subject deriving its assertions of "fact" from another.

Farah and WND know all about publishing factual errors, don't they?


Posted by Terry K. at 7:49 PM EDT
CNS Body Count Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com's obsession with body counts of U.S. troops in Afghanistan continues with a Sept. 30 article by Edwin Mora touting how "September 2010 has been the deadliest September yet for U.S. troops in the 9-year-long war in Afghanistan as U.S. troops continued to be killed at a pace of slightly higher than one a day during the Obama presidency."

Mora carefully avoids any mention of the U.S. death toll in Iraq, which dwarfs the current Iraq numbers. The 38 total casualties he tallies in September is less than one-third of the casualties in the deadliest months of the war in Iraq.

And yes, we're still pretty sure that CNS did not have this same body-count obsession when a Republican was president and the main operation was in Iraq.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:09 PM EDT
NewsBusters Keeps Up Defense of Fox News
Topic: NewsBusters

The Media Research Center's last round of defending Fox News was over its corporate parent's $1 million donation to the Republican Governors Association. That line of non-reasoning continues in an Oct. 1 NewsBusters post by Lachlan Markay, who insists that "News Corp's political activities have no demonstrable effect on the company's news subsidiaries - no one has been able to point to any instance of such interplay."

Really? So why did "Fox News Sunday" name the director of the RGA its "Power Player of the Week" last week?

Markay also misses the point by pretending to be shocked that Rep. Maxine Waters, given News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch's support for "comprehensive immigration reform (i.e. amnesty)," "is suggesting that Murdoch discard any appearance of separation between News Corp's political preferences and its media activities, and begin promoting a political cause not only through the activities of the parent company, but by pushing that cause under the guise of news at News Corp's media holdings." After all, that's what Fox News already does, as reflected by its RGA donation and a subsequent $1 million donation to the Republican-supporting U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Markay harrumphs: "Liberals are just fine if Fox pushes its corporate parent's political leanings, so long as those leanings are to the left. They should drop the pretense of concern for the neutrality of News Corp's reporting operations and admit it: their objections are nakedly partisan." When will Markay admit that Fox News is nakedly partisan.

(Oh, and comprehensive immigration reform is not amnesty.)

An Oct. 2 post by Jeff Poor touts how Charles Krauthammer "takes on" a talk-show panel over Fox News, weirdly claiming that the undisputable fact that Fox news is "a political outlet for Republicans" is nothing more than a "left-wing meme." Poor also whines that the panelists on the show were "ganging up on the lone conservative and often attacking the Fox News Channel or other conservative media outlets like talk radio."


Posted by Terry K. at 8:56 AM EDT
Newsmax Tosses Softballs to D'Souza
Topic: Newsmax

An Oct. 1 Newsmax article by David Patten carries the headline 'Author D'Souza Rebuts Critics of His Obama 'Roots' Book." In fact, Dinesh D'Souza does no such rebutting -- he merely rehashes his silly theory that President Obama is motivated by anti-colonialism.

In the accompanying video, interviewer Patten makes no effort to bring up the numerous questions of accuracy that have been raised about D'Souza's book "The Roots of Obama's Rage"; he merely tosses softballs that let D'Souza prattle on about his theory.

Patten even cues up false information, at one point claiming that "almost the first thing" Obama did upon taking office was remove a bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office, which allowed D’Souza to spew his fantasy that Obama returned the bust as revenge for his paternal grandfather being tortured by British soldiers during the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya in the 1950s. This completely ignores the fact that Obama had nothing to do with its return -- it was already scheduled to return to Britain at the end of the Bush administration.

As we've already detailed, Patten is a lousy reporter who is interested only in peddling conservative talking points, so it's no surprise that he would give D'Souza the softball treatment. The sad thing is that Newsmax apparently thinks it can build a journalism brand on such sycophancy.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:44 AM EDT
Sunday, October 3, 2010
WND Gives O'Keefe Benefit of the Doubt
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Pretty much nobody is supporting James O'Keefe in the wake of his weird, creepy attempted stunt against CNN -- even the Media Research Center was quick to bail on him -- but leave it to WorldNetDaily to give him the benefit of the doubt.

A day after the MRC's abandonment, a Sept. 30 WND article parroted O'Keefe's defense, that he found "highly objectionable and inappropriate" the "work product" of his organization, Project Veritas, that would have had him set up a "pleasure palace" on a boat, where he would try to seduce a female CNN producer.

This came a couple days after WND was touting a CNN documentary on O'Keefe and other right-wing filmmakers. WND described one, Ryan Sorba, as someone who "reveals the truth about the homosexual lifestyle"; if expressing unbridled hatred for gays equals "revealing the truth about the homosexual lifestyle" in WND's eyes, then there's something wrong with WND's definition of journalism, as its willingness to soft-pedal O'Keefe's transgressions demonstrates.

Heck, even O'Keefe's patron, Andrew Breitbart, has (belatedly) turned his back on him, saying O'Keefe owes an explanation for the stunt to his supporters.

Will WND demand an explanation too, or will it continue to blindly defend him?


Posted by Terry K. at 11:12 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, October 3, 2010 11:22 PM EDT
WND Columnist Defends the Confederacy
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A few years back, Newsmax was serving as the (occasional) defender of the great lost cause of the Confederacy. Has that baton now passed to WorldNetDaily?

A Sept. 30 WND column by Franklin Raff gives it a shot by defending the honor not only of the Confederate battle flag but the Ole Miss antebellum mascot Colonel Reb as legitimate symbols as "sacred and most benign symbols of Southern heritage" that are being abandoned by Southerners who "admit a deeper commitment to ignore and let others define, their past."

Raff feels he needs to gloss over the whole slavery thing:

All Americans understand that scores of Union soldiers fought proudly and honorably "to free the slaves," but now Southerners seem to have started to believe, en masse, that their Confederate ancestors raised their battle flag "to defend the institution of slavery." In fact only a miniscule percentage – I have seen estimates lower than 2 percent – of Confederate soldiers were members of slave-owning families, lived or worked on plantations, or were otherwise part of the "antebellum" life painted by Hollywood. Anyone who knows their history knows exactly what most Confederate officers would have told you in the field: "We have no desire for conquest and, as clearly stated by our political leaders, every wish for national reconciliation. The Confederate battle flag represents the fighting spirit of the citizens of these states who are proudly and patriotically rebelling against a central government which has become tyrannical."

Raff complains further how Southerners are running away from their own heritage:

The long, arduous road toward national reconciliation and equal rights need never have included cultural annihilation: historical, symbolic or otherwise. Yet that is what Southerners face today, and it is their own fault.

By failing to educate their children, or by allowing others to mis-educate their children, and as evidenced by their willingness to repeatedly allow the definition of their cultural symbols – from the Confederate battle flag down to a bow-tied, fancified Southern colonel in a funny suit – as symbols of "hate," they are ultimately, finally, characterizing their forebears – soldiers, yes, along with doctors, lawyers, philosophers, scientists, and farmers, free blacks (including slave-owners), businessmen and politicians (many of whom were abolitionists) – universally, as the simple, hateful hicks federal propagandists once made them out to be.

Raff concludes by claiming the ancestors of modern-day Southerners will confront them and whine much like he is about how they have "willingly disgraced not just this cause – which might have been understandable given the terrible complexity of the time – but you have also disgraced almost every vestige of our memory, corrupting even the flags on our graves."

Raff's end-of-column tagline curiously describes him only as "a Virginian" who "lives in Mount Vernon, Va., and Jerusalem, Israel." In fact, Raff is the producer of convicted felon and domestic terrorist G. Gordon Liddy's radio show (where WND editor Joseph Farah occasionally serves as a guest host) and runs a radio marketing and production operation.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:16 PM EDT
CMI Now Upset That TV Shows Contain Gay Characters
Topic: Media Research Center

The MRC's Culture & Media Institute is seriously offended by the mere existence of gay characters in fiction.

Earlier this week, we noted how CMI was annoyed that books contained gay characters. This was followed up with a Sept. 29 article by Krista West making the same complaint about television, apparently disturbed by GLAAD's noting that a mere 3.9 percent of characters on scripted TV shows are gay.

That's apparently 3.9 percent too many for West, who immediately howled about the "gay agenda" and portray that paltry number of gay characters as an attempt by Hollywood to "force widespread homosexual acceptance." West added, "It sounds more like the pro-gay voice in Hollywood is simply getting louder."

It sounds like the anti-gay voice of the MRC is trying to get louder as well.

UPDATE: WorldNetDaily also reports on this, and reporter Brian Fitzpatrick quotes only anti-gay activists in response. Fitzpatrick qutoes Robert Knight saying that if "a Martian sat down and watched TV for a week during this new season, he would conclude that ... a large segment of the population is homosexual," which runs counter to the paltry 3.9 percent of characters that are.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:30 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, October 3, 2010 3:15 PM EDT
Saturday, October 2, 2010
WND's Mercer Nostalgic for Racist Immigration Policy
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In her Oct. 1 WorldNetDaily column, Ilana Mercer waxes nostalgic for the days when only white Europeans were allowed to immigrate to the United States:

What Americans ought to be discussing, and are not, is mass immigration (which subsumes illegal immigration) and, in particular, the radical transforming of America through state-engineered immigration policies.

Since the 1965 amendments to the Immigration and Nationality Act took effect – with no real debate or voter participation – immigration to the U.S. has been predicated on a multicultural, egalitarian quota system. The result of this system in practice has been an emphasis on mass importation of people from the Third World. Family reunification supersedes America's economic or cultural interests.

At the time, Congress was more circumspect about the pitfalls of this plan than it is today. Members of the Senate openly conceded in their debates that America had a distinct and undeniable identity, which previous immigration – being mostly from the traditional northern and western European sources – had not altered. The representatives promised (falsely) that the radical new amendments would generally preserve the country's historical and cultural complexion.

So eager was one senator to pass the act – which was to herald the age of mass, indiscriminate immigration – that he vowed: "[O]ur cities will not be flooded with millions of immigrants annually … under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration [will remain] substantially the same," and "the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset." These pre-PC assurances came not from a "nativist" or a member of the Know-Nothing Party, but from no other than then-Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Edward Kennedy.

This was all before it became taboo to discuss openly, as the late senator did on that occasion, the reshaping of America by means of central planning. (Such discussion is now regularly squelched with accusations of racism or via totemic, robotic incantations of "We are a multicultural nation of immigrants.")

In 1965, when Edward Kennedy was promoting his "vision" for America, he candidly acknowledged that (for better or for worse) the country had not always been a mess of multicultural pottage, and that an adventurous immigration policy had the potential to render the place unrecognizable.

The 1965 act has produced a torrential influx of immigrants. Every qualified immigrant holds an entry ticket for his extended family. 

Mercer doesn't acknowledge that the immigration policy before 1965 was largely driven by racism and eugenics.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:56 AM EDT
Ronald Kessler Logrolling Watch
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax's Ronald Kessler has devoted yet another column to the musings of American Conservative Union chief David Keene.

And why wouldn't he? At the ACU-operated CPAC earlier this year, Keene gave Kessler the inaugural Robert Novak Journalist of the Year Award.

It's a perfect bit of logrolling that Kessler sees no need to disclose to his readers.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:57 AM EDT
Friday, October 1, 2010
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Less than two years into Barack Obama's presidency, America is on fire.

In November 2008, more than half of American voters were hypnotized by this mysterious, messianic figure on whom they pinned all their hopes and dreams. But since then, many have gradually realized their shining savior was really an incompetent, deceptive, pathologically narcissistic man entranced by an evil ideology that has left a trail of unprecedented misery and death for 100 years.

"Change" has indeed come to America, but not the kind most people had "hoped" for.

Moreover, as the stunning October issue of Whistleblower magazine – titled "FUTURE SHOCK" – proves beyond doubt, things are about to become immeasurably worse if Obama's maniacal leftist juggernaut isn't immediately halted and reversed.

-- Sept. 30 WorldNetDaily promotion for latest edition of WND's Whistleblower magazine.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:43 PM EDT
CNS Baselessly Claims Murdoch 'Supports Amnesty'
Topic: CNSNews.com

A Sept. 30 CNSNews.com article by Edwin Mora asserts that News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch "supports amnesty for 'law abiding' illegal immigrants." But Mora never quotes Murdoch using the word "amnesty."

In fact, Murdoch said he supports "a path to citizenship for responsible, law-abiding immigrants" that includes "requiring unauthorized immigrants to register, undergo a security check, pay taxes and learn English." That, by definition, is not "amnesty," which CNS has previously defined as a term used only by "critics" and "opponents" of comprehensive immigration reform. 

Because CNS is itself an opponent of immigration reform, it is falsely conflating any proposed reform with "amnesty."

UPDATE: The false claim spreads elsewhere in the MRC empire, as NewsBusters' Lachlan Markay claims that Murdoch testified "in support of amnesty for illegal immigrants."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:49 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, October 1, 2010 1:36 PM EDT
NewsBusters' Baseless Polling Bias Claim
Topic: NewsBusters

A Sept. 30 NewsBusters post by Lachlan Markay highlights a Weekly Standard item claiming that a Time/CNN poll on the California Senate race showing Democrat Barbara Boxer with a large lead over Republican Carly Fiorina oversampled Democrats. The Weekly Standard recalculated the numbers through "turnout numbers from the past three election cycles" to reach that conclusion. The Standard concluded: "The only way to get a nine-point Democratic lead is to sample a more Democratic electorate than even 2008."

Neither Markay nor the Standard seem to have contemplated the possibility that the percentage of Democrats in California has been increasing. As the Public Policy Institute of California notes, the percentage of Democrats in the California electorate has increase by three points since 2006, and the percentage of Republicans has decreased by 3.5 points.

The MRC has long quibbled over purported poll bias through oversampling of Democrats, even when the electorate being sample includes more Democrats.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:48 AM EDT
The Horowitz Cult of Personality Strikes Again
Topic: Horowitz

As yet another reminder that NewsReal is, at its core, designed to cultivate and maintain a cult of personality around David Horowitz, we bring you a Sept. 20 post by Donald Douglas, who gets into a comment-thread slapfight with a blogger who committed the impeachable offense of criticizing Horowitz.

After the blogger also took issue with Douglas' use of the “the freakish nihilism of the radical left” in praising one of Horowitz's books, Douglas responded:

Two things of interest right away: (1) The complete dismissal of David Horowitz’s ideals as sheer lunacy, and (2) the rejection of my use of the phrase “freakish nihilism” to describe the ideological agenda of the left. There’s a word for this: Anti-intellectualism. And that stance marinates in a devilish sauce of hard left-wing hubris and deceit. It’s further soaked in hatred, for to hate one’s enemies is to categorize them as beyond the pale of reason and civilization.

Perhaps there’s some psychology at work for Brendan. Someone as esteemed as David Horowitz, who lived through — in direct participation — all the cultural revolts of the last couple of generations, is ridiculed as a crazed milk crate screamer? Brendan certainly thinks he’s got it all figured out. But I doubt he’s actually read the book in question, Horowitz’s The Politics of Bad Faith.

After the blogger responds back that Douglas' sole argument this far is "Let’s talk about David Horowitz and how great he is!" Douglas takes further umbrage:

And so, David Horowitz, and myself, apparently, are out standing on a corner, on milk boxes, raving like alleged lunatics? This is what Brendan calls debate. As I said, concepts are in play here. Ideas have consequences. Why is it that Democrats utter nary a peep when declared Stalinist ideologues wind up gaining access to the top levels of the Obama administration? These same folks, including many Democrats in Congress — including dozens who have open affiliations with the Democratic Socialist Party of America — call for and implement a Castro-style healthcare regime in the U.S. Of course, these people blow off the mass murder and desolation of the such communist thugs.

The blogger then complains that Douglas has no interest in anything other than "howling how everything Left is irredeemably evil," Douglas goes off on a logic-free tangent:

What you see here is the notion that leftist ideology is UNCHALLENGEABLE. There’s nothing that can penetrate the hard-shell of neo-communist ideology. Anyone with a different idea is literally a “Flat Earther.”

Truly amazing. Meanwhile, these people and their grand schemes for a nationalization of the U.S. health delivery system under ObamaCare socialism are running for the hills. It’s not working. Costs are not going down. Firms are responding by not hiring, precisely at the same time that unemployment keeps rising. It’s statism that’s failing, and the idea that state planning — THE CENTRAL COMPONENT OF ALL SOCIALIST IDEOLOGY — is proving just one more disaster rammed down American throats by the mandarins of the Democrat-Socialist Party in Washington.

I don’t know how old Brendan is. He is idealistic. Perhaps the real world will intrude sometime in his life, and he’ll learn to appreciate an actual argument for what it is an not the twisting evasion of some wingnut hokus pokus.

Douglas concludes by quoting the Scriptures -- er, David Horowitz. Just like a True Believer.

(h/t Wonkette)


Posted by Terry K. at 11:10 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, October 1, 2010 11:51 AM EDT
WND Scaremongers About Gardasil
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 28 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh uncriticially repeats claims by right-wing group Judicial Watch regarding deaths purportedly linked to the vaccine Gardasil, which aims to guard against a form of cervical cancer.

Unruh failed to report that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, no direct link has ever been established between Gardasil and patient deaths:

As of May 31, 2010, there have been 53 U.S. reports of death among females who have received Gardasil. Twenty nine of these reports have been confirmed and 24 remain unconfirmed due to no identifiable patient information in the report such as a name and contact information to confirm the report. Confirmed reports are those that scientists have followed up on and have verified the claim. In the 29 reports confirmed, there was no unusual pattern or clustering to the deaths that would suggest that they were caused by the vaccine.

Since he's slavishly cribbing from a Judicial Watch press release, Unruh also fails to offer any context to the purported death link. One study claims that serious adverse events linked to Gardasil occur at a rate of 3.4 per 100,000 doses; by contrast, gastrointestinal bleeding in children taking ibuprofen occurs at a rate of 17 per 100,000 doses.

Unruh also branches out into WND's usual anti-vaccination scaremongering by citing groups that "have come out publicly against mandatory vaccination."


Posted by Terry K. at 2:29 AM EDT

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