ConWebWatch's Terry Krepel be on Reality Check Radio tonight at 9 p.m. ET to talk about yesterday's WorldNetDaily press conference, among other things. Listen here.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
More Misinformation from WND Columnists
Remember when WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah admitted his columnists publish "misinformation"? Well, here's some more.
Larry Klayman screeches in his June 25 WND column:
First, Klayman is trying to have it both ways -- he attacks Obama for not doing anything to "curb the increase in gasoline prices," and also attacks him for doing something. Klayman also claims that the release will "jeopardize our emergency reserves"; in fact, the release is only 5 percent of the total amount of the reserve.
Meanwhile, Henry Lamb writes in his June 25 column, after first becoming the latest WND columnist to play the Nazi card in recent days by saying that Obama's invoking of the Commerce Clause to require Americans to have health insurance "is the same power exercised by the governments of Hitler, Stalin and all other despots who have denied freedom to their citizens":
In fact, incandescent light bulbs have not been outlawed; they have simply been ordered to be more efficient. The new bulbs, whether they be incandescent or fluorescent, might cost more at the outset, but they pay for themselves in lower energy usage over the life of the bulb, meaning that they cost less in the long run. Apparently, saving money and energy is something Lamb is opposed to.
The Week In CNS Gay-Baiting
Sticking close to its parent organization's anti-gay agenda, CNSNews.com has been making a notable effort in recent days to highlight what it apparently considers excessive gayness in the world.
A June 24 article by Katie Bell highlights how grocery chain Food Lion "is celebrating June as "LGBT Pride Month" by inserting a message championing the 'Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgendered (LGBT) community' in flyers advertising a weekly list of product deals." More importantly, Bell highlights a right-wing organization's efforts to "e-mail Food Lion’s president, Cathy Green, to let her know that they object to the food chain endorsing homosexuality."
A June 27 article by Penny Starr stated that "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday that the State Department played an instrumental role in 'sealing the deal' for pop-rock star Lady Gaga to perform at a gay pride rally in Rome, Italy." Starr goes on to quote lyrics from Lady Gaga's song "Judas," which she said "sparked controversy."
Starr followed that up with an article the next day quoting Clinton as saying that "officials meeting with 'sex workers' in the cause of protecting LGBT rights is an example of 'people-to-people diplomacy at its best.'"
Meanwhile, a June 30 article by Fred Lucas begins: "At the urging of homosexuals gathered at the White House on Wednesday, President Barack Obama praised gay 'spouses' in his speech marking lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender 'Pride Month.'"
These articles were written not because CNS isinterested in celebrating gay rights; rather, it opposes gay rights, and is simply attempting to rile up homophobia in its readers. That's all too clear in the comment threads on the articles. One comment on the Food Lion story reads: "Will they support 'shoplifter pride' next? Kleptomania, as well as LGBT-lifestyles, should be remedied, not celebrated."
Is fomenting hatred something a responsible news organization should do? We don't think so.
The WND Birther Lawsuit Dog and Pony Show (And The Question Joseph Farah Won't Answer)
From left: Larry Klayman, Joseph Farah, Mara Zebest and Jerome Corsi.
We've noticed the increasing irrelevance of WorldNetDaily, due to the overall vengeful yet factually dubious nature of its reporting. We saw firsthand another example in the press conference WND held June 29 to formally announce its defamation lawsuit against Esquire magazine over a piece of satire WND didn't find funny.
To put a patina of credibility on the proceedings, WND rented a small conference room (this one) at the National Press Club in Washington. Pretty much anyone can rent a room there -- remember, the utterly discredited Larry Sinclair discredited himself even more there. WND paid a few hundred bucks for a room with a flat-screen TV in order to make its little dog and pony show look professional.
Indeed, WND tries to ride the supposed credibility of location in its own article on the press conference, with the headline "Eligibility takes center stage at National Press Club." In fact, there were much larger events going on at the NPC at the same time, one of which was using the actual "center stage" of the NPC ballroom.
Inside the Bloomberg Room, members of the press were far outnumbered by people affiliated with WND. In fact, there were only two members of the press there: a writer for AdWeek and myself. (AdWeek's article on the press conference is here.) Another person appearing to be a reporter asked questions, but she was apparently affiliated with WND as well.
Before anyone could ask any questions about the lawsuit, though, WND felt it had to push its birther agenda in order to provide what WND editor Joseph Farah called "very important background" to the lawsuit. First up was Jerome Corsi, who took credit for forcing President Obama's release of his long-form birth certificate, going on to declare that "a person we've had in the Deartment of Health in Hawaii who has been a mole to us, giving us information, said that the birth certificate had been forged and was now the logbook." Corsi asserted that "with the release of that document, the entire future of the Obama presidency depends on the authenticity of that document."
Corsi went on to declare that the patient records of Obama's mother or the doctor that delivered him because they "remain under seal as part of a continuing cover-up" -- apparently unaware that all American's health records "remain under seal" because of federal privacy laws for health records.
Next up was Mara Zebest, who had produced an analysis of the PDF file of the birth certificate released by the White House that WND had promoted earlier that day. After a bit of fumbling around on the laptop computer for the proper files, Zebest served up examples of why she thinks the certificate was "manufactured digitally." (The Obama Conspiracy blog has a quick overview of why she's wrong.) Zebest was introduced as an expert on Adobe software, but like WND's previous Adobe "expert" Gary Poyssick, the three books listed under her name at Amazon.com (where's she's also listed as Mara Zebest Nathanson) are about Photoshop, not Adobe Acrobat or the PDF format. (Zebest claimed later in the press conference, in answer to a question from me, that she has expertise in Acrobat and PDFs.)
Corsi and Zebest try to solve an computer issue with Zebest's presentation on why the long-form birth certificate Obama released is a fraud.
Later, in an attempt to portray Zebest as something other than politically motivated, Farah said that Zebest "is a lifelong Democrat. In 2008 she was a Hillary supporter." Farah didn't mention that birther lawyer Philip Berg was a Hillary supporter too, which undercuts his argument.
Finally, 21 minutes into the press conference, it was time for the main event. Larry Klayman, WND's lawyer, took the podium to pontificate about the lawsuit. Klayman asserted about the Esquire article: "It was amateur. It was rank. It hurt." Klayman then dramatically read through the entire Esquire post, than asserted that the satire piece "was obviously calculated with malice to destroy not just the book and its sales but to destroy the reputations of Mr. Corsi and Mr. Farah. The stupidity of this is beyond belief. The legal actionability of this is believable." Klayman claimed that the book "hasn't nearly sold as well as it would have soldif the damage had not been done by Esquire and [blog post author Mark] Warren."
Klayman then explained the charges under which he's seeking damages: defamation, invasion of privacy, false light, tortious interference with business, and violation of the Lanham Act for "false advertising." WND is seeking a total of at least $225 million from Esquire for actual and punitive damages on the five counts. (We didn't get a chance to ask how that figure related to the still-secret amount of money WND had to pay Clark Jones in an out-of-court settlement to settle a libel lawsuit, in which WND also admitted it published numerous false claims about Jones.)Klayman also claimed that "neither Mr. Farah or Mr. Corsi or WorldNetDaily Books or WorldNetDaily wished to engage Esquire, Mark Warren, or the Hearst Corporation on any of these issues. They were forced into this." But later in the press conference that he made no effort to contact Esquire or Hearst regarding the issue before filing the lawsuit, stating that Farah's threats to sue Esquire "was an invitation for Mr. Warren, Esquire and Hearst to contact us and say, hey, you know, we did something wrong here."
Finally, it was question time. In addition to claiming that she has experience in Acrobat and PDFs, Zebest claimed in another question from me that she examined the PDF file in the program it was originally created in. But has Obama Conspiracy noted, Zebest stated in her analysis that "she believed that the document was created in Adobe Photoshop, ignoring that the document properties say it was made by Mac OS X Quartz PDFContext, an inexcusable omission and mark of a sloppy analysis."
Farah said that 65,000 copies of Corsi's book were printed and distributed. He claimed that one retail shop returned its copies of the book in response to the Esquire article.
Klayman asserted that the fact the Esquire blog post was tagged as satire was not a mitigating factor in his lawsuit. Farah said the post's reference to "Capricorn One" -- a movie about a faked moon landing -- was not a sufficient clue to the satirical nature of the post because so much of the article was untrue. This led to a mini-rant by Klayman about the falsehoods in his Wikipedia profile "which we have not been able to correct." (Note to Klayman: That's not how Wikipedia works.)
I asked Klayman why he thinks he will do better in this lawsuit than he did in the lawsuit he filed on WND's behalf last year against the White House Correspondents Association over its refusal to sell WND as many tickets as it demanded for the annual correspondents' dinner, a lawsuit that was swiftly tossed out of court. Klayman brusquely replied: "Well, first of all, we decided not to pursue that. But the issue here is this case, not that case, so if you want to relive that case, we'll do that some other time."
I pointed out to Corsi that, his and Farah's assertions to the contrary, there are people who will defend the authenticity of the PDF birth certificate or at least rebut its attackers, such as Dr. Conspiracy's detailed rebuttal of the Ken Vogt analysis that Corsi devoted three WND articles to. Corsi's response was a curious one: After calling Dr. Conspiracy "one of my favorites," Corsi said, 'I'll be writing about Dr. Conspiracy in the next few days. I'll be exposing his background, his entire credentials, his involvement with his company. I've got a detailed -- I just haven't had time to write it up."
When I asked Corsi why he's personally attacking his critics by digging into their backgrounds, Corsi suddenly softened his tone: "I'm sorry, I said I would evaluate his credentials. It's not a personal attack, but we're going to evaluate his credentials in his point-by-point."
Finally, I tried to ask Farah if he could confirm Tim Adams' assertion that the affidavit he signed claiming that he had been told that no copy of Obama's birth certificate existed in state files was created by WND-affiliated lawyers. Here's how that exchange went:
And with that the press conference came to an abrupt end.
Given Farah's abject refusal to answer such a simple question, we suspect Farah really doesn't appreciate the kind of attention from us that forces him and his website to be held accountable for their actions.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Newsmax Columnist Rants: "Every Single Thing' Immigrants Do 'Hurts American Citizens'
Aiming for Walsh's job there, Chris?
WND Flip-Flops On Author's Non-Disclosure Agreement With CAIR
When WorldNetDaily published the anti-CAIR book "Muslim Mafia," one key bone of contention in CAIR's legal actions against WND, book co-author David Gaubatz and his son, Chris -- who went undercover at CAIR and pilfered numerous documents that formed the basis of the book -- was whether Gaubatz's son signed a confidentiality agreement when he became employed at CAIR. As we've documented, the Gaubatz-WND legal team had historically avoided directly answering that question, which suggests that Gaubatz's son did, in fact, sign such an agreement (CAIR says it cannot find a copy of it).
But Gaubatz appears to have changed its tune. A June 12 WND article by Art Moore decides to answer that question:
If Chris Gaubatz never signed the agreement, why has Chris Gaubatz and his legal team spent the past year and a halfrefusing to give a definitive answer to whether he did? And why is it being so definitive now? Is it taking refuge in CAIR's apparent inability to unearth a copy to claim it never existed?
The abrupt switch from refusing to answer the question to definitively answering it is suspicious. Since WND is also a defendant, don't expect Moore to explain it.
MRC's Weiner 'Reality Check' Ignores Breitbart's Lack of Credibility
Topic: Media Research Center
A June 22 Media Research Center "Media Reality Check" by Tim Graham purported to compare coverage of the Anthony Weiner scandal with that of the 2006 scandal involving Republican congressman Mark Foley. Graham declared that "the networks did not attack" the Weiner scandal, while they exhibited "a real feeding frenzy" in the Foley case; Graham asserted that such disparate treatment "underline[s] how politicians know the media is liberal."
As befits the shoddy legacy of the MRC's so-called media analysis, Graham makes no mention of one key factor in the initial lack of coverage of Weiner: the lack of credibility in the outlet breaking the story, Andrew Breitbart's network of websites.
Breitbart's embrace of James O'Keefe's deceptively edited ACORN videos and another deceptively edited video in the Shirley Sherrod case made it clear that Breitbart put partisan hackery ahead of the truth. Given that Breitbart has declared war on the "Democrat-media complex," and Weiner was a forceful advocate for liberal views who appeared frequently on TV, there was no reason not to assume that Breitbart's attacks on Weiner was anything other than politically motivated and, therefore, suspect. Breitbart's later declaration that he "loved every second of" Weiner's downfall negates any credibility he might have gained from getting a story correct for once.
The Foley scandal, by contrast, was broken by a nonideological (to all but the hardcore right-wingers at the MRC) reporter, Brian Ross, at a nonideological (to all but the hardcore right-wingers at the MRC) news outlet, ABC News.
In short: Ross is a trustworthy reporter, Breitbart is not. That Graham refused to acknowledge this confirms that the MRC's media analysis is no more trustworthy than Breitbart's reporting.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
WND Anti-Gay Freakout Watch, New York Gay Marriage Edition
-- Linda Harvey June 27 WorldNetDaily column
-- Ted Baehr, June 27 WorldNetDaily column
Sheppard Buries Context Of Michelle Obama's Media Remark
Noel Sheppard put out a June 25 NewsBusters post with the headline "Michelle Obama Tells CNN 'Fortunately We Have Help From The Media'." Sheppard's first paragraph reads: "In today's "Truer Words Might Never Have Been Spoken" segment, Michelle Obama told CNN's Robyn Curnow Friday, 'Fortunately we have help from the media.'"
It's not until the ninth paragraph, after a transcript of the interview, that Sheppard admits the uncontroversial truth, which he still tries to portray as controversial:
You don't, however, have to wonder why Sheppard chose to bury the full context of Obama's statement and begin his post by making readers think it meant something different -- it gives him another reason to bash the media, no matter how specious.
CNS' Jeffrey Discusses Presidential War Powers, Ignores Bush
A June 24 CNSNews.com article by Terry Jeffrey highlights an interview Jeffrey did with constitutional scholar Louis Fisher, in which he claimed that there is "a concentration of power in the president which is not constitutional." Focusing on President Obama's launching of military action in Libya without obtaining congressional approval first, Fisher said: "I’m not going to recommend that the House Judiciary Committee hold impeachment hearings. But I would like members of Congress and the public to say that nothing would be more impeachable than a president who takes the country to war without coming to Congress, who does it unilaterally."
Curiously omitted from Jeffrey's article on the Fisher interview was any mention of President Bush. Why is that curious? Because Fisher has written an entire book focused on expansion of presidenial power under Bush.
From the description of Fisher's book "The Constitution and 9/11: Recurring Threats to America’s Freedoms" by its publisher the University of Kansas Press:
Further, the Fisher book discussed during the interview, "Presidential War Power," also addresses the subject of Bush. From a review of Fisher's book at the Law & Politics Book Review:
In the 33-minute video of Jeffrey's interview with Fisher, the majority is spent discussing the historical background of presidential war powers. Jeffrey then said, making a 200-year leap over Bush: "Let me kind of make a jump from John Adams and the Congress of the late 1790s to today. If Congress in -- if the president of the United States and Congress in the late 1790s, a decade after the Constitution was written and ratified, believed that the Congress must authorize the president even to allow action against a French ship on the high seas, is that analogous to the president needing an authorization of Congress now to take action against Moammar Gadhafi in Libya?"
Even Fisher himself seems to consciously skip over Bush, at one point stating that "after World War II we had moved to a situation of Truman going to war on his own, never coming to Congress, Clinton repeatedly using military force, and we are to me acting unconstitutionally."
It's not until nearly 30 minutes into the 33-minute video that Jeffrey asked Fisher about Bush. Jeffrey said that Bush went to Congress for authorization for war in both Afghanistan and Iraq, then added, "Do you believe that the genie was being put back in the bottle at that point, that whether or not George W. Bush wanted to go to Congress, the fact that he did and he got the authorization was starting to recontstruct an original understanding of the Constitution?" Fisher responding that while Bush "did a lot of things unilaterally," he did indeed go to Congress regarding Iraq and Afghanistan. And then they moved on to whether Obama's actions were impeachable.
Even that little snippet of discussion didn't make Jeffrey's article.
It's absurd for Jeffrey and Fisher to discuss alleged abuses of presidential war powers by Obama without having anything beyond a perfunctory conversation about the actions of Obama's immediate predecessor.
WND's Mercer, Condescending Apartheid Apologist
It seems Ilana Mercer is still pining for the good old days of apartheid in her native South Africa.
Mercer's June 24 WorldNetDaily column attacks Michelle Obama and her daughters for visiting the Apartheid Museum during their visit to South Africa. Mercer writes that "Apartheid was a contemptible caste system," but then she shifts into full condescending apologist mode (italics hers):
Mercer never criticizes apartheid as racist, which it most certainly was. Indeed, she makes it clear that she thinks blacks in Africa are too stupid and/or corrupt to govern themselves:
Mercer concludes by noting something she claims is "air brushed out of a slanted historical presentation": "By staving off crime and communism, the apartheid regime, a vast repressive apparatus though it was, saved black South Africans from an even worse moral and material fate."
For Mercer, it seems, the end justified the means. And it appears she doesn't want to concede that apartheid was racist because she harbors the same racism that fed the regime.
Monday, June 27, 2011
NewsBusters: Believe Anonymous Person, Not The Victim
NewsBusters' Tom Blumer has been quick to run to the defense of Wisconsin Supreme Court Judge David Prosser, who has been accused of attempting to choke another Supreme Court justice, Ann Walsh Bradley. He devoted a June 26 post to complaining that the Associated Press was reporting "only one side of the story."
The side of the story the AP is telling is Bradley's first-person account of the alleged attack. The side Blumer wants told is that of some anonymous source who was defending Prosser. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel described this anonymous person as "a source who spoke to several justices present during the incident."
Let's see ... we have a first-person account fromthe alleged victim vs. a secondhand account from an anonymous who was apparently not present during the alleged attack. Which one of those is more credible?
Blumer apparently believes it's the anonymous guy. He doesn't explain why the anonymous source should be trusted over the alleged victim's own account -- or why it should be trusted at all.
Blumer does love his anonymous sources, though. In 2009, he touted an anonymous, unverified attack on President Obama.
WND's Unruh Launches Anti-Gay Attack: Cubs 'Encouraging Homosexuality In Kids'
A June 24 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh keeps up its gay-hating agenda at the very top: the headline reads, "Chicago Cubs go to bat for kids' homosexuality," and the opening paragraph asserts that the Cubs are "encouraging homosexuality in kids."
How is it doing such a thing? By making a video for the "It Gets Better" series. That's it. Unruh, of course, sees only horrible things, making sure to note that team co-owner Laura Ricketts is "a lesbian."
Unruh quotes notorious gay-hater Peter LaBarbera attacking the "It Gets Better" campaign, but makes no apparent effort to contact anyone with the Cubs organization to respond to the criticism. Unruh also uses the pejorative term "homosexual lifestyle" twice in his article.
Adding insult to injury, Unruh identifies the Cubs as a "perennial also-ran."
Unruh even rehashes "information from the International Journal of Epidemiology that estimated from a review of the 'gay' population of Vancouver, B.C., that HIV/AIDS costs homosexuals up to 20 years of their lives on average." (Yes, WND insists on putting scare quotes around "gay.") As we pointed out the last time when Unruh brought up this study earlier this month, its findings are irrelevant to today; it examined data from more than 20 years ago, before anti-AIDS drugs were developed. Fhe authors of the study have since said that the longevity gap between gays and straights has since narrowed, and that they also rejected attempts of anti-gay organizations to construe its earlier study to justify denigration of gays -- which, of course, is exactly what Unruh is doing.
Unruh, it seems, wants gay teens to kill themselves. That's the only conclusion that can reasonably be drawn from his willingness to launch such a unfair attack on the "It Gets Better" campaign.
CNS' Jeffrey Ignores Religious Exemptions In NY Gay Marriage Law
A June 25 CNSNews.com article by editor-in-chief Terry Jeffrey uncritically reports a claim by New York's Catholic bishops that in the wake of the passage of a gay marriage law in New York, "they now expect efforts to enact laws that go after churches that insist on teaching the 'timeless truths' about marriage and family."
Jeffrey did not mention that the New York gay marriage law contains numerous exemptions for religious organizations. From The Advocate:
Jeffrey also failed to cite any existing examples of states that have passed "laws that go after churches that insist on teaching the 'timeless truths' about marriage and family" in the wake of approving gay marriage -- perhaps because no such examples exist.
Ellis Washington's Sleazy (And False) Obama-Hitler Comparison
Not only is Washington's attack sleazy, it's also completely false. As we've repeatedly pointed out, Obama was talking about increasing the size of the Peace Corps and the foreign service, not creating "his own personal police force."
Washington can't leave the lie alone, however; he has to embellish it by claiming that all government workers are "brownshirts" who are "sworn to his allegiance." He offers no evidence of this, of course -- there isn't any. How about producing a copy of that nonexistent oath of allegiance, Ellis?
What else can we expect from someone who not only gets things not just wrong but flamboyantly wrong? This particular lie is no less flamboyant, but it is much more sleazy.
UPDATE: Washington's so-called evidence that Obama "fulfilled that campaign promise" of creating "his own personal police force" is a blog post fearmongering about the Ready Reserve Corps clause in the health care reform bill. In fact, the Ready Reserve Corps is a group of health professionals that can be call upon in times of national emergency, and has existed in various forms for more than 200 years. So Washington is even more wrong than usual.
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