The CNSnews.com reporter is so biased on the subject that she thinks Harry Reid is a baby-killer, yet she's allowed to report on the subject anyway. Read more >>
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Both WorldNetDaily and CNSNews.com published Pat Buchanan's screed against the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, in which he lashes out at Congress for doing its job, likens gays to child molesters, and proved himself to be outside the American mainstream on the issue. Media Matters' Jamison Foser has more.
Let WND's Loving Portrayal of Terrence Lakin's Martyrdom Begin
A couple days ago, we described how Joseph Farah and WorldNetDaily must be happy would-be birther doctor Terrence Lakin has been convicted and imprisoned by the military for disobeying order, since he feeds WND's birther fanaticism much better in prison than as a free man.
As we predicted, WND is getting serious about portraying Lakin as a martyr.
A Dec. 20 article by Brian Fitzpatrick described how "as Dr. Terrence Lakin was being processed at the Fort Leavenworth military prison Monday morning, well-wishers were bombarding Army authorities with requests for clemency." The article provided an address to send Lakin cards as well as listed the phone number for the Army public affairs officer to "the 'Convening Authority' over the former lieutenant colonel's court martial," whom a Lakin supporter encouraged like-minded birthers to "call, write, email and fax" because he "has the authority to accept or reduce the sentence handed down by Lakin's court martial panel, or to order Lakin released." Of course, Fitzpatrick made sure to include contacts for donating to the "Terry Lakin Action Fund."
Fitzpatrick followed the next day with an article quoting the Army public affairs officer asking people to stop calling him and pointing that out he and the "Convening Authority" are the wrong people to contact. Fitzpatrick includes the email address of the defense counsel the public affairs officer said to contact.
Farah, meanwhile, was burnishing Lakin's martyrdom credential in his Dec. 21 column, complete with biblical imagery and a sneering glance at gays:
Farah leaves out the little matter that Lakin isn't "innocent" -- there's no question Lakin committed the crime of disobeying orders that he was accused of. He was merely prevented from getting into the birther stuff because it's irrelevant to the immediate matter of whether he disobeyed orders. As we noted earlier, it's an issue of maintaining the system of military discipline that Farah has yet to address.
Farah goes on to spew more hatred at the president:
But not before Farah and WND milk Lakin's martyrdom for all it's worth.
Gotcha Fail: Rep. Frank Turns Tables on CNS
CNSNews.com has a habit of springing loaded questions on members of Congress. For example, it asked Obama administration official John Holdren to explain something he wrote in a book published nearly 40 years ago.
(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
NewsBusters Claims 'Errors' In Fox Study, Doesn't Cite Any
a Dec. 20 NewsBusters post by Lachlan Markay carries the headline, "'Study' Claiming Fox News Viewers 'Misinformed' Is Fraught With Errors." But Markay doesn't identify any actual errors.
The study in question is by the University of Maryland's World Public Opinion project, which examines misinformation in the 2010 midterm elections. Among its finding was that, as summarized by the project:
Rather than identify "errors," Markay attacks a couple of the study's premises. First, he's indignant that anyone would trust the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office regarding whether the stimulus created jobs. He insists that "CBO's numbers have no basis in reality, as I have reported a number of times before. They are based on models that assume stimulus spending will create growth and employment, and hence the success of this particular stimulus package is predetermined. The blind faith the study puts in CBO's numbers suggest that it is quite eager to pass them off ipso facto as truth. That says a lot about WPO's perspective on the issue, and their politics generally."
That's not an error.
Markay goes on to quote Baltimore Sun quibbling that the study assumed that an "informed" person "is essentially someone who agrees with the conclusions of experts in government agencies." That's not an error either; that's a question about methodology.
Still, the UMD study's methodology is much more rigid than any given study done by the parent of the blog where Markay posts.
Les Kinsolving's Anti-Gay Derangement
WorldNetDaily's Les Kinsolving has a longstanding obsession with gay sex, and it shows up again in his Dec. 21 column, in which he once again indulges in his paranoiac reasoning that repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell will allow necrophiliacs into the military:
Kinsolving goes on to approvingly quote founder of WND's favorite gay-haters, MassResistance, calling Sen Joe Lieberman a "shameful disgrace and embarrassment to orthodox Jews everywhere" for "desecrat[ing] the holy Sabbath to go to work – the U.S. Senate – and vote to force the U.S. integration of homosexuality into the U.S. military."
NewsBusters Likens School Obama's Kids Attend to South's Segregation Academies
Private schools that cater to the children of the wealthy and prominent are exactly the same as the Southern private academies founded by whites in order to skirt public school integration? That's what Mark Finkelstein wants you to think.
In a Dec. 21 NewsBusters post, Finkelstein writes of an exchange on "Morning Joe":
Finkelstein is ignoring a whole bunch of inconvenient facts here. First, Sidwell Friends was founded by Quakers -- not known for their virulent racism -- in 1883. There is no evidence whatsoever that it was founded in opposition to any effort to desegregate schools.
By contrast, the history of private academies is very a reaction to integration. According to Derrick Johnson, president of the Mississippi NAACP, responding to Barbour's remarks about how the White Citizens Council in his hometown of Yazoo City, Miss., managed to keep school integration relatively peaceful:
In citing only Democratic politicians, Finkelstein also conveniently igmores that the children of Republican politicians, like Teddy Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, also attended Sidwell.
In playing his elitist card, Finkelstein is also suggesting that the Clintons and Gores -- and, bizarrely, the Obamas -- are racist for sending their children to Sidwell. That's dumb even for Finkelstein, who's best known for speculating that Matt Lauer's checkered scarf was a declaration of support for Palestinians and complaining that a soccer ball looks suspciously like the Obama campaign logo.
Newsmax: Obama Wants START Ratification to Justify Nobel Prize
Beneath the veneer of respectability Newsmax has been trying to build over the past few years is a seething hatred of liberals that has been part of its DNA since its founding by Christopher Ruddy as an outlet dedicated to attacking President Clinton. That hatred pops up every once in a while, such as when columnist John L. Perry advocated for a military coup to solve the "Obama problem."
It has popped up again in a Dec. 20 article by David Patten, which cites "some observers" claiming that Obama's push on the START treaty means he "may be trying to justify the Nobel Peace Prize he was awarded just nine months into his presidency. Patten's apparent inspiration was a New York Times blog post calling the START vote Obama’s "hope of living up to that expectation" of the Nobel.
As is his wont, Patten quotes only right-wing "critics" of Obama speculating on this pressing issue:
In his attack on START -- Newsmax has issued a separate editorial opposing it -- Patten fails to report the fact that the entire U.S. military leadership, led by Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, supports ratification.
Patten also utterly fails to demonstrate that Obama would not be pursuing START ratification if he had not received the Nobel. That idea is belied by the fact that the New York Times blog post Patten cites as justification for his article points out that Obama signaled his pursuit of START ratification well before he received the Nobel:
This is nothing more than a biased hit piece on Obama. But that's what Patten does.
AIM Starting Center for Investigative Journalism
Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media -- known in recent years for little beyond Cliff Kincaid’s homophobic rants -- has launched the “AIM Center for Investigative Journalism,” headed by, you guessed it, Cliff Kincaid.
(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)
Monday, December 20, 2010
Chuck Norris: Obama Wrong About Christmas
If it's Chuck Norris, it's another anti-Obama freak-out. This time, in his Dec. 20 WorldNetDaily column, he's complaining that Obama is not mentioning God nearly enough for his taste and getting Christmas all wrong.
Regarding Obama's remarks at the lighting of the national Christmas tree that the message of Christmas is that "no matter who we are or where we are from, no matter the pain we endure or the wrongs we face, we are called to love one another as brothers and as sisters," Norris huffed, "I don't know what Bible the president is reading, but the Christmas message is not about civil rights or social justice and welfare." And when Obama later said the Christmas message is that "we are called to love each other as we love ourselves. We are our brother's keeper and our sister's keeper," Norris lost it:
Of course, Obama has an entire nation of people of many faiths to speak to. Norris only has a tiny audience of like-minded right-wing Christians. A president needs to be inclusionary; Norris does not. Too bad Norris doesn't see the difference.
MRC, WND Officials Sign On To Anti-Gay Campaign
Topic: Media Research Center
Right Wing Watch has published a list of signatories to the Family Research Council's "Start Debating/Stop Hating" campaign, which puts said signatories in league with groups -- among them the American Family Association and Liberty Counsel -- who support the outlawing of homosexuality, the criminal punishment of gays, and a purging of gays from public office.
The list of signatories reveals some names familiar to ConWebWatch readers. WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah is a given, of course, considering his regular freak-outs over the issue. His birther compatriot Floyd Brown of the Farah-founded Western Journalism Center has signed as well.
The Media Reseach Center has a large contingent as well, and not just chief Brent Bozell: news analysts Kyle Drennen, Matthew Balan and Matt Hadro have also signed on.
Also signing is Washington Examiner editorial page editor Mark Tapscott.
Perhaps all of these signatories should be quizzed as to whether they endorse all of the Draconian anti-gay actions endorsed by the "pro-family" organizations they claim to supportby signing onto the "Start Debating/Stop Hating" campaign.
Is WND Happy Terrence Lakin's Life Is Ruined?
In Terrence Lakin, Joseph Farah and WorldNetDaily now have their birther martyr.
Lakin's perceived martyrdom -- and that's exactly how Farah perceives it; as far as he's concerned, Lakin is "upholding the oath he took as a commissioned officer to support and defend the Constitution" -- is the inevitable result of WND's birther obsession, a falsehood-laden obsession that in all likelihood led Lakin on his odyssey.
Once Lakin signed onto the birther agenda, he became part of WND's machine -- a WND search turns up 55 articles referencing him. Farah was not shy about incorporating Lakin into his agenda; his status as, in Farah's words, "an Army doctor and Bronze Star recipient" served as a golden opportunity to bring some respectability to WND's obsessive cause.
WND was even setting Lakin up to be the birther martyr. WND managing editor David Kupelian wrote in October:
Of course, the inevitable happened: Lakin pleaded or was found guilty on all charges. He was sentenced to six months in military prision, will be dismissed from the Army, and will miss out on the full military pension he was two years away from earning.
In short, Lakin has ruined his life.
In the end, though, Lakin ultimately backed away from his view, admitting that "I chose the wrong path," adding, "I am extremely sorry for everything that has come of this. ... As a military member, I was wrong."
Will Farah and WND view this as cowardice or a deathbed conversion upon realizing the enormity of the extent his buying into the birther obsession has destroyed his life? That remains to be seen.
WND is also hiding the true nature of how things went down for Lakin. For example, the Associated Press noted that Lakin's defense attorney, Neal Puckett, called Lakin the "victim of an obsession," and that he was naive in trusting the poor advice of a previous civilian lawyer.
You won't find that in WND's account of Lakin's sentencing, though. Instead, Brian Fitzpatrick reported that "Many observers were disappointed by the defense strategy of portraying Lakin as a victim of the so-called 'Birther' movement." Fitzpatrick did not explain what he defined as "many."
Meanwhile, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said:
WND has never addressed this question.
Nevertheless, Farah and WND now have their birther martyr. Of course, he's really a victim whose life has been ruined due to their obsessive hatred of President Obama.
Will Farah apologize to Lakin for destroying his life? Don't count on it -- he's too busy projecting.
As far as Farah is concerned, it's all Obama's fault. On Dec. 9, Farah wrote that Lakin could be a free man if only Obama would be a"compassionate humanitarian" and release his birth certificate. Of course, Farah embraces the conspiracies his website has promoted in doing so:
In reality, Farah is the one who's not compassionate. Why would he want Lakin to be free? Lakin is worth more to him as a prisoner. After all, it feeds the birther conspiracy, and Farah makes more money.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
WND Publishes Falsehood-Ridden Anti-Gay Screed
WorldNetDaily is calling in the big guns to bolster its anti-gay agenda -- the notorious gay-hater Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association. WND published a Dec. 18 column by Fischer full of false and misleading claims.
Fischer's column is an attack on the Southern Poverty Law Center for listing the AFA as a "hate group" for its anti-gay activism The column was originally published in a longer form elsewhere, and the WND version contains the same falsehoods as the longer version, which the SPLC has already debunked.
Fischer's column focuses on the SPLC's 10 myths about homosexuality spread by anti-gay organizations like the AFA and his shoddy attempts to debunk them. For instance:
In fact, as the SPLC notes, the Journal of Sex Research article to which Fischer is referring actually concludes that homosexuals were not any more disposed to pedophilia than heterosexuals. Fischer presumes that every case of men molesting boys is committed by a "homosexual" man, even though most pedophiles have no sexual interest in adults of either gender, meaning that terms like "homosexual" and "heterosexual" don’t apply at all.
Fischer then writes:
In fact, according to the SPLC, the Australian study Fischer is citing was described by one official as "a perfect example of almost everything that you can do wrong with methodology."
As we detailed when WND's Molotov Mitchell cited it, the study published by the International Journal of Epidemiology is irrelevant to today; it examined data "obtained for a large Canadian urban centre from 1987 to 1992," and the life expectancy differential was specifically attributed to losses "due to HIV/AIDS," for which treatments were in their infancy and not widely available. The SPLC notes that the authors of the study updated it in 2001, pointing out that advances in treatment of HIV-AIDS even at that point had significantly improved the expected longevity of those infected, which would inevitably narrow any gap between gay and straight life spans caused by the disease. The authors also rejected the attempts of anti-gay organizations to construe the 1997 observations to justify denigration of gays.
In fact, the idea that Nazis promoted homosexuality is discredited by the fact that gays were sent to concentration camps and Nazi Germany instituted a death penalty for homosexuality. Fischer convienently fails to mention that Hitler had Ernst Roehm and other members of the SA executed in part because of their homosexuality, during what is known as the Night of the Long Knives.
As we've detailed, Arlene Elshinnawy, the "grandmother in Philadelphia" Fischer is referring to, never seriously faced "47 years in prison" -- even the prosecutor said they most they would get was a year's probation, and the charges were ultimately dropped. Further, Elshinnawy did much more than "stand on a public sidewalk"; she and the street preacher she was in thrall to, Michael Marcavage, tried to demonstrate in front of a stage performance at a gay festival and were arrested only after they refused to go to an area on the edge of the event.
We could go on, but Fischer has so utterly discredited himself we don't need to. WND has also disgraced itself -- and demonstrated just how anti-gay it is -- by publishing it.
Will WND let the SPLC respond to the column on its commentary pages so its readers know the truth? We shall see.
CNS' Misleading Anti-Gay Gotcha
The overly long headline pretty much says it all on the Dec. 17 CNSNews.com article by Dan Joseph: "Sen. Durbin Ducks Question of Whether He Accepts Judgment of Marine Commandant That Lifting the Ban on Homosexuals in Military Will Cost Marines' Lives."
Yep, it's another CNS gotcha question.
The question regards repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, and CNS is referring to comments by Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos that “Mistakes and inattention or distractions cost Marines lives. That’s the currency of this fight. I don’t want to lose any Marines to the distraction. I don’t want to have any Marines that I’m visiting at Bethesda [National Naval Medical Center] with no legs be the result of any type of distraction."
In focusing only on Amos' comments, CNS takes it out of the context of the hundreds of other military and Pentagon officials that have endorsed repeal of DADT.
Plus, as Salon.com's Alex Pareene points out, Amos is likely speaking more from his views as an evangelical Christian than his military experience in opposing gays in the military, plus the idea that Marines will lose legs as a result of DADT repeal is nonsensical: "That's what he thinks is going to happen, right? A Marine will just be so inattentive that he'll forget to keep his legs attached to himself? Because that interpretation is actually less insulting to the Marines than thinking that gay people will make them less effective in actual combat situations."
A Republican senator, meanwhile, gave the CNS-acceptable answer and got better treatment than Democrat Durbin.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
CNS Ignores Controversy Surrounding Ariz. Sheriff
Susan Jones devoted a Dec. 16 CNSNews.com article to opining by Pinal County, Ariz., Sheriff Paul Babeu over the shooting death of a Border Patrol agent in Arizona and his complaining that federal officials are ignoring him. But Jones ignores that Babeu has faced criticism over his actions regarding one of his deputies who claims he was shot by drug smugglers.
As TPM documented, many questions have been raised about what happened to the deputy, Louie Puroll. While the case helped launched Babeu into national prominence, he has made questionable and exaggerated claims about the case, only some of which have been walked back.
Babeu had previously cleared Puroll after an internal investigation, but after Puroll allegedly threatened a reporter who has been looking into the shooting incident, Babeu suspended him earlier this month.
No original CNS article addresses the controversy surrounding the Puroll shooting. CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey wrote a column in May portraying the Puroll shooting as an example of how "President Obama and Congress are failing in their most fundamental duties." (He spells Babeu's name wrong in the process, but this was before Babeu became a favored CNS source). An Oct. 15 article by Penny Starr reference the shooting but not the controversy that had been raging over it. CNS did publish an Associated Press article on the reopening of the case in October, but it has yet to acknowledge the most recent twists in the case regarding Puroll's suspension.
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