Newsmax Trots Out Dick Morris to Opine on Christie Scandal Topic: Newsmax
Give Newsmax a little credit: Virtually alone in the ConWeb, it has covered the Chris Christie bridge scandal from all angles over the past few days. That's even more amazing considering that it started out complaining that the scandal was "threatening to go national as Democrats see a possible chink in the armor of the GOP's potential 2016 presidential nominee."
So thorugh is Newsmax's coverage, in fact, that it has trotted out Dick Morris to opine on the scandal:
By declaring that he had no knowledge and nothing to do with the traffic gridlock, he has hunkered down into a position that might be increasingly difficult to defend. The Democrats in the New Jersey Legislature — they're in control of both chambers — are likely to probe deeply into his denials and there may even be a federal investigation by a Senate committee.
It is just too facile to take at face value his claim to absolute innocence.
Given Morris' track record on such predictions, can we assume that Christie is free and clear on this?
Jack Cashill Is A 'Zimmerman Expert' Now? Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Jan. 11 WorldNetDaily article by Scott Greer carries the headline "White House justice 'racial,' Zimmerman expert says." Who is this "Zimmerman expert" WND is talking about? Jack Cashill.
Well, Cashill is certainly an expert at being an apologist for George Zimmerman, insisting that he can't be held responsible for his increasingly violent behavior. Does that, plus his writing a book lionizing Zimmerman as a civil rights martyr and trashing his victim, Trayvon Martin, make Cashill an "expert" on the Zimmerman case? In WND's eyes it does.
The point of Greer's article is to fearmonger about Debo Adegbile, nominted to head the civil rights division at the Department of Justice. Greer dubiously claimed that Adegbile was "heavily involved" in the defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal. In fact, Adegbile was not involved during the prosecution of Abu-Jamal for killing a policeman; through his job at the NAACP legal defense fund, he represented Abu-Jamal during the sentencing phase and was ultimately successful in reducing Abu-Jamal's sentence from the death penalty to life in prison.
This was all that was needed for Greer to give Cashill ample space to rant:
[Cashill] is particularly worried that Adegbile, based on his history of actions and ideological bent, will be the one to go after Zimmerman with federal civil rights charges.
The Justice Department has refused to say it won’t file federal charges against Zimmerman, even though he was acquitted by a jury.
“In this appointment, Obama reaffirms his commitment to a strategy that started when the Comintern engaged themselves in the Sacco and Vanzetti Trial, and that is to racialize and polarize by using the criminal justice system in one way or another,” Cashill said.
“The George Zimmerman case is not a one-off case – it’s a sign of things to come,” he said.
Does this mean we can look forward to more books from Cashill in which he defends and whitewashes killers?
Content Editor Matt Cover‘s last day at Rare was last week. He went to the Alexandria, Va. office for the final time on Friday. He’s one of four editors who have parted ways with the Cox Media Group-owned news outlet since its inception in April. Once billed as red meat for conservative readers, those who’ve worked there have experienced editorial policies that are anything but right-leaning.
Cover went to Rare from CNSNews.com (where the Daily Caller notes he "had a talent for getting Drudge links"). Cover's departure from Rare due to it being insufficiently conservative rings true for anyone familiar with his CNS work.
As we've documented, Cover's CNS tenure involved a lot of dutiful regurgitation of right-wing talking points and shilling for the oil industry. Most notoriously, he misreported that a onetime nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration who had criticized the extremist Christian Identity movement was criticizing those with a "Christian identity."
The Caller article alleges dysfunction and staff turnover at Rare, but one wonders if the departure of Cover and others really has to do with Cox enforcing actual journalism standards there, as opposed to, say, what Cover was able to get away with at CNS.
Meet Marlin Newburn, Colin Flaherty's Race-Baiting Psychologist Topic: WorldNetDaily
In a Jan. 8 WorldNetDaily article, Colin Flaherty quoted "former prison psychologist Marlin Newburn" to attack speeches made at a gathering of black legislators:
“This was one fascinating trip down insane memory lane,” said Newburn. The black “caucus” just voiced re-tread, retro-sixties complaints about the difficult world they live in.
“The video is a great learning experienced for those who have never witnessed a unique pathological trait of the so-called “black community;” one that has been distorting their thinking for decades, and inhibiting their growth. The sick trait is that they have no problem publicly complaining about life conditions they have created for themselves. Maladapted adolescents do this often.
“As well, they sanctify the most pathological people and conditions, i.e., ‘The Trayvon Martin Foundation.’ That would be like white people setting up a scholarship program in memory of John Dillinger.
“At least they had a few hours to play dress-up, and praise each other as they engaged their fantasies of torment and abuse by the massive white hoards who they imagine seek their destruction.”
Flaherty has quoted Newburn's race-baiting several times in his WND articles:
In a Dec. 12 article, Newburn claimed that a victim of the so-called "knockout game" who in Flaherty's words showed a "willingness to overlook the racial violence perpetrated on him" was suffering from "Masochistic Altruism," and that "What these apologists are doing is enabling and empowering their attackers, and that means there will be more victims. That’s guaranteed."
Newburn asserted in a Dec. 5 article: "“The violence is real and based on hate. ... And the hate is based on race. Almost all of the black inmates I’ve dealt with over the years are raised on a diet of racial resentment and violence. But for some reason, reporters do not know it, or choose to ignore it.”
In an Oct. 13 article, Flaherty quotes Newburn as saying victims who forgive their assailants are suffering from denial: "In the case of black mob assaults, victims often believed the supposed put-upon black race need only to be understood and seen as social victims, and a blanket acceptance of all blacks do in life is part of being a good person."
In an Aug. 27 article, Bob Unruh quotes Newburn as saying of a street gang calling themselves the Obama Boyz that their “pre-adolescent thought processes have also developed a firm belief that regardless of their criminal actions, they’ll get backing from Obama and the black race pimps who never fail to find a media microphone to displace responsibility for them.”
So who is Marlin Newburn, and how did he get so cozy with Flaherty? A web search turns up a report from the Michigan Civil Service Commission, where Newburn had appealed his demotion as a unit chief in the state Department of Corrections after a six-month probationary period. Newburn claimed that his demotion "was the result of harassment in the form of a hostile employment environment created by his former supervisor." The state responded that Newburn's demotion came as the result of a finding of neglect against him, in which a prisoner on a "modified suicidal risk management plan" who should have spent no more than seven days in an observation cell spent at least 17 days there, during which time Newburn should have visited with the prisoner eight times but did not visit under after the prisoner's 17th day in the observation cell. Newburn claimed that he was "overwhelmed by the responsibilities of the new position due in large part to the fact that his predecessor had failed to leave things in any semblance of order for him." The Civil Service Commission ultimately ruled that Newburn's demotion was proper.
The web also yields a review by Newburn on Amazon's page for the self-published version of Flaherty's book "White Girl Bleed A Lot," dated August 2012. He praises the "brutally honest book," going on to rant:
Journalism is pretty much accepted by many people as a now blatantly dishonest profession due to its acceptance as being an organ of the politically correct movement. But the "profession" has gone from being simply dishonest with its blatant promotion of anything Obama, to a form of pathology suitable for listing as a mental illness diagnositic category. Journalism's apparently ego-driven and thus resulting willful blindness to black mob assaults on innocents is now a national phenomenon, a psychological virus that has infected the news media across the country. A majority of inner city blacks will continue their descent into viciousness and barbarism, more people will be traumatized, maimed, or killed, and discussions on race will take a much harder and perhaps violent character, all because a reporter wants to be perceived as "caring" via a sick definition, because a reporter fears the label of "racist", because a reporter fears breaking ranks from the PC party dictates, or because a reporter fears the loss of a job. This is professional cowardism to the highest degree. Journalism's silence or willful blindness also tacitly legtimizes black mob racism. The fact is a large segment of an apparently untouchable racial group, already known for high risk living, violence, chronic failure, and overall dangerousness, is not held accountable for its newest violent activity which includes killing people who are targeted specifically because of their race.
Flaherty is shown responding to Newburn's review by asking him to repeat the comments on Flaherty's personal website. He apparently obliged.
A year later, Flaherty was quoting Newburn in his WND articles to supplement his race-baiting.
In less than 24 hours, the three networks have devoted 17 times more coverage to a traffic scandal involving Chris Christie than they've allowed in the last six months to Barack Obama's Internal Revenue Service controversy. Since the story broke on Wednesday that aides to the New Jersey governor punished a local mayor's lack of endorsement with a massive traffic jam, ABC, CBS and NBC have responded with 34 minutes and 28 seconds of coverage. Since July 1, these same networks managed a scant two minutes and eight seconds for the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups.
It's only several paragraphs later that Whitlock gets around to parenthetically mentioning one key fact: that the IRS scandal "first broke in May." That's two months before the MRC started its counting of IRS coverage.
That means the MRC is comparing apples and oranges -- breaking news of a scandal vs. story that broke two months before the MRC started counting. It's dishonest and misleading.
Also, Whitlock counts only the broadcast networks -- which devote relatively little airtime to news -- and not the cable news networks. Of course, if he did, he would have to admit that Fox News tried to avoid covering Christie.
Whitlock tries to paper over this dishonest comparison by declaring that "it's not as though there wasn't much happening" during that time on the IRS scandal. But that's dishonest too.
The scandals are not equivalent, and who can explain that better than a Fox News reporter, John Roberts:
During an appearance [Friday] on Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends prior to the press conference, Roberts said that the scandal "has the potential to be very damaging to Gov. Christie because, you know, unlike what's happened with President Obama -- you know, the IRS thing was a woman who was in Cleveland. This is in the governor's living room. This is his deputy chief of staff. And as you mentioned his best friend who he went to high school with. It's difficult for him to be able to fully separate himself from this without at least giving the appearance that he doesn't know what's going on in his own home."
He added that the scandal "reinforces the worst perceptions about Gov. Christie. It makes it look like a Tony Soprano-type of administration. And while people in New Jersey appreciate many of the things that the governor has done, on the national level, if you want to run for president, you can't look like this is the way that your administration would operate."
But the MRC has its dishonest story, and it's sticking to it. Whitlock cranked out a follow-up item whining that the networks were "devoting a staggering 88 minutes" to the Christie story. Unlike his first article, Whitlock completely ignores that he started counting IRS coverage two months after it broke.
MRC chief Brent Bozell also touted Whitlock's dishonest coverage on Fox News, failing to mention that the IRS coverage totals didn't include breaking coverage and trying to dismiss the Christie scandal as nothing but "a lane closure on a highway."
UPDATE: Media Matters points out that the lack of network news coverage of the IRS controversy also meant that they ignored news that the scandal was overblown.
WND's Unruh Can't Stop Distorting Facts To Fit His Right-Wing Agenda Topic: WorldNetDaily
Does Bob Unruh even care about real journalism anymore? Many of his articles of late are one-sidedpressreleases for the right-wing views his employer, WorldNetDaily, favors, and he can't be bothered to tell the other side of the story fairly, when he deigns to mention the other side at all.
Unruh performs his stenography service again in a Jan. 7 article promoting the Alliance Defending Freedom's representaion of a Colorado baker, Jack Phillips, who refused to make a cake to mark a same-sex marriage. Unruh's article is almost entirely devoted to quoting the ADF's defense of the baker, while only one paragraph of the article quotes from the ruling against the baker (which Unruh couldn't be bothered to link to).
What indirect quotes from the ruling Unruh does provide are taken out of context and presented in a highly biased way. He writes that Judge Robert Spencer's ruling "said Phillips’ constitutional rights are secondary, because otherwise the 'cost to society' isn’t considered. He granted homosexuals a special standard." Unrh added:
But the ACLU, which is representing the duo, said the same standard should not be used in other circumstances, such as asking a Muslim baker to make a cake criticizing his faith or asking a black cake maker to make a cake for the KKK.
Those bakers, because of their beliefs, would be allowed to refuse service, Spencer said.
But Spencer made it clear that there was a difference between those hypothetical cases and Phillips' case. From the ruling that Unruh couldn't be bothered to link to:
Finally, Respondents argue that if they are compelled to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, then a black baker could not refuse to make a cake bearing a white-supremacist message for a member of the Aryan Nation; and an Islamic baker could not refuse to make a cake denigrating the Koran for the Westboro Baptist Church. However, neither of these fanciful hypothetical situations proves Respondents’ point. In both cases, it is the explicit, unmistakable, offensive message that the bakers are asked to put on the cake that gives rise to the bakers’ free speech right to refuse. That, however, is not the case here, where Respondents refused to bake any cake for Complainants regardless of what was written on it or what it looked like. Respondents have no free speech right to refuse because they were only asked to bake a cake, not make a speech.
The judge did not, as Unruh asserteed, grant homosexuals "a special standard." Spencer wrote:
At first blush, it may seem reasonable that a private business should be able to refuse service to anyone it chooses. This view, however, fails to take into account the cost to society and the hurt caused to persons who are denied service simply because of who they are. Thus, for well over 100 years, Colorado has prohibited discrimination by businesses that offer goods and services to the public. The most recent version of the public accommodation law, which was amended in 2008 to add sexual orientation as a protected class[.]
The salient feature distinguishing same-sex weddings from heterosexual ones is the sexual orientation of its participants. Only same-sex couples engage in same-sex weddings. Therefore, it makes little sense to argue that refusal to provide a cake to a same-sex couple for use at their wedding is not “because of” their sexual orientation.
Unruh's refusal to quote the judge's ruling appropriately -- or to even provide a link to the ruling so his readers can make their own decisions -- is journalistic malfeasance, pure and simple.
Unruh knows he could not have gotten away with such shoddy, biased journalism in his previous career with the Associated Press. That, presumably, is why he now works for WND, where putting a political agenda before the truth is not only not frowned upon but actively encouraged.
CNSNews.com apparently believes that December's unemployment numbers were sufficiently substandard that it didn't need to do much rooting through them to cherry-pickdata to obscure good news.
CNS devoted only two stories to the December numbers. The first, by Susan Jones, carried the headline "Hiring Slows in December; Only 74,000 Jobs Added, Fewest in 3 Years." This is the first time in recent memory that CNS put the jobs-added number in the headline; normally, it buries that number because it contradicts CNS' narrative of running down the economy under Obama.
Will WND's Flaherty Admit That 'Knockout Game' Incident He Promoted Has Been Discredited? Topic: WorldNetDaily
Colin Flaherty cranked up the race-baiting drama in describing one so-called "Knockout Game" incident in a Dec. 30 WorldNetDaily article:
The most recent example of the Knockout Game involves a couple taking a late-night stroll at the open-air mall in Charlottesville, Va., when they were viciously beaten.
Jeanne Doucette and her boyfriend, Marc Adams, were enjoying the Christmas lights downtown when Adams tripped and was immediately pounced upon by three black men.
They beat him severely, breaking his ankle, cracking ribs and knocking out one of his teeth, reports the Charlottesville Weekly.
While Doucette suffered bruising to her head and tearing of the cartilage in her ear, Adams bore the brunt of the men’s aggression, sustaining broken bones and a concussion that he said has robbed him of any memory of the incident and its immediate aftermath.
According to the victims, the attackers never uttered any racial epithets and, therefore, police are not classifying it as a “hate crime.”
The assault moved up the street as Adams and Doucette tried to escape their attackers. They screamed at passersby for help. They screamed at their attackers to stop. No one listened. The beating continued.
Then came the laughter, one of the identifying aspects of the Knockout Game.
“They were laughing, high-fiving, hugging, and then returning to kick him,” said Doucette. “There was some kind of camaraderie to it.”
Doucette managed to take photos that appear to show the assailants as they kicked and pummeled her boyfriend into unconsciousness.
Nearly two weeks after the attack, the physical wounds are healing, but both Doucette and Adams are troubled by what they see as a lack of response from the Charlottesville Police Department. Doucette said police refused to release her photos to the public.
“I don’t understand why they couldn’t even have the courtesy to call and say we’re not even going to look for them,” she told the newspaper.
On Dec. 29, Doucette posted the pictures she’d taken to her Facebook page and said she quickly received several tips she has passed on to police.
Her frustration at the lack of an investigation is palpable.
“I feel forgotten about,” Doucette said. “I feel like I’m not safe.”
WND liked Flaherty's race-baiting prose so much that Drew Zahn copied it nearly word-for-word in another article published the same day.Flaherty also posted the incident on his personal blog.
Just one little problem: That is apparently not what happened at all.
A Charlottesville blogger dug into the inicident and found things to be quite different than what Flaherty described:
As previously reported by the DTM, two separate sources, who wished to remain anonymous, but who were questioned by detectives in the investigation, said that Doucette told people that Adams had “said something that provoked the men.” Longo did not offer any specifics on what might have been said, saying it was “not really clear what the exchange had been.” As previously reported, sources the DTM spoke to said the attackers were known to be gay, and that they may have been angered by specific comments uttered by Adams and/or Doucette. Indeed, [suspect James] Stevenson, who delivered the majority blows to Adams, has a profile on a social media website called spring.me, under the handle “luverangel,” on which he reveals that he knew he was gay when he was 12-years old. Stevenson also appears in a video of the former Hook Newspaper’s “Question of the Week” feature, answering a question in May, 2011 about what he was going to do for the summer.
While Longo has admitted that a communication “breakdown” caused the case not to be assigned to investigators as soon as it could have, during and interview with the DTM, he bristled at the suggestion that his police force had acted negligently, or that they weren’t concerned about solving the case. As detailed previously in the DTM, the behavior of the victims had as much to do with the progress of the case as the internal communication breakdown. As Longo reiterated at the press conference, Adams refused to file a report with an officer at the scene, refused even to provide his name or have his injuries photographed, and refused medical attention, as did Doucette. It wasn’t until 24 hours later that Adams, after posting on Facebook about the incident, decided to call police. And, of course, as stories in the DTM suggest, and the police investigation seems to confirm, both Adams and Doucette may have been less than forthcoming about the circumstances surrounding the incident when they first posted on Facebook and spoke to the press, choosing instead to characterize the incident in a way that avoided revealing their involvement in the confrontation.
The blog's author told Gawker that "At this point, I have a number of good sources telling me that Stevenson and Spears are gay, and that they believe that they were reacting to racist and/or homophobic comments made by the victims, and my gut tells me that is true." He added that the men "were originally portrayed and perceived as gangsta thugs," and their gayness is "something I imagine will screw with the minds of all the people who went ahead and assumed that."
Like the rest of WND, Flaherty is not big on issuing corrections -- even when he's included non-blacks (and non-humans) in his scary "black mobs." So look for this to go straight down the memory hole.
CNS Passes Off Press Releases As 'News' Topic: CNSNews.com
Apparently, CNSNews.com is now in the right-wing press release business.
A Jan. 9 CNS article by Barbara Hollingsworth is, for all intents and purposes, a press release for the right-wing American Action Forum:
Regulations that went into effect in 2013 cost Americans $112 billion – or $447 million for each of the 251 days the federal government was open - according to a study by the American Action Forum (AAF), which predicts that the regulatory burden will increase to $143 billion in 2014.
“That’s in part because they’re going to finalize a lot of the big proposals that they had this year and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is going to regulate existing greenhouse gases from stationary sources for the first time, and we recognize there’ll be a big price tag for that,” Sam Batkins, AAF’s research director, told CNSNews.com.
“And in January, they are going to finalize new rules for cooling water intake structures for power plants to preserve aquatic wildlife, and we’re also going to see the final push of Dodd-Frank and Affordable Care Act implementation. There are two notable Affordable Care Act rules that will be finalized.”
Not only does Hollingsworth fail to mention the AAF's political bias -- it's headed by right-leaning economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin -- she also can't be bothered to solicit reaction to the study from anyone who might have a different view. AAF's Batkin is the only person quoted in the story.
CNS' Penny Starr performs the same service for the American Petroleum Institute, using a Jan. 10 article to tout that " A new report commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute stated that the United States, in partnership with Canada, has the energy resources to make the country completely independent of outside sources for liquid fuel supplies by 2024." Like Hollingsworth, Starr makes no effort to seek out other points of view, quoting only API sources.
CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, receives funding from ExxonMobil and pro-fossil fuel philanthropists like T. Boone Pickens, and Starr's article is in line with CNS' previous shilling for the oil and gas industry.
WND's Cashill Now Claims Obama Didn't Go To Kenya To Research Book He Supposedly Didn't Write Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Jack Cashill has been trying (and failing) for years to prove that Barack Obama didn't write his book "Dreams From My Father." He's taking a different tack in his Jan. 8 WND column, this time claiming that Obama didn't go to Kenya to research the book he supposedly didn't write:
Instead of going to Africa, Obama may have contented himself with going to the local library and pillaging the memoirs of longtime Kenya resident Kuki Gallmann.
This is the theory proposed by Shawn Glasco, the tireless researcher I refer to in my book “Deconstructing Obama” as “Mr. Southwest.” Obama’s evasions about his research trip make Glasco’s theory all the more credible.
Glasco was intrigued by the title of Gallmann’s 1991 memoir, “I Dreamed of Africa” – later made into a film with Kim Basinger – given the similarity between her title and Obama’s.
Glasco was intrigued even more by the many words and phrases in “Dreams” that also appeared in Gallmann’s book, “African Nights,” which was published in 1994.
These include words like Baobab [a tree], bhang [cannabis], boma [an enclosure], samosa [a fried snack], shamba [a farm field], liana [a vine], tilapia [a fish], kanga [a sheet of fabric] and shuka [decorative sashes].
It is possible that Obama remembered these phrases – and many more – from his two previous short trips to Kenya, but it is not at all likely. More likely is that he swiped them from Gallman.
“Nothing is so tempting for conspiracy theorists as what appears to be a hole in a life,” sneers Maraniss.
In leaving this hole so conspicuously unfilled, it falls to us conspiracy theorists to do the job real biographers used to do.
As Peter Millican -- the Oxford scholar whom Cashill and others tried to recruit into substantiating his theory that Bill Ayers wrote Obama's book -- pointed out in eviscerating Cashill's Ayers analysis:
The trouble with these sorts of claims is that they are far too easy to make: take any two substantial memoirs from the same era and you are likely to be able to pick out a fair number of passages that have some similarities. Unless the similarities are really close (and they weren’t), just listing them makes no case at all, even if it might be enough to persuade some readers.
At least Cashill admits he's nothing more than a conspiracy theorist, so we can safely ignore him.
MRC's Graham Bashes Author Of New Roger Ailes Bio Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center proved it's a loyal soldier for Fox News by working to protect the channel from a phone-hacking scandal taking place in other News Corp. operations. Now, it's attacking a new biography of Fox News chief Roger Ailes as insufficiently fawning.
In a Jan. 8 NewsBusters post, the MRC's Tim Graham goes on the warpath against Gabriel Sherman's new Ailes bio, calling it an "anti-Roger Ailes book" and railing against its use of anonymous sources -- as if the MRC has never touted anonymous claims before. Graham then contradicts himself and attacks onr on-the-record claim, involving an alleged instance of sexual harrassment by Ailes, because he doesn't like it.
And Graham is really, really upset that the New York Times did an article on Sherman's book, and for the Times pointing out that Zev Chafets' fawning Ailes bio -- done with the full cooperation of Ailes -- served as "a plastic funnel for Mr. Ailes's observations" and avoided "tough questions about Fox News's incestuous relationship with the Republican Party, its role in accelerating partisanship in our increasingly polarized society or the consequences of its often tabloidy blurring of the lines between news and entertainment":
Obviously, Gabe Sherman can expect a much more favorable Times reception. It's already begun. But all this demonstrates the liberal media elite's ongoing lack of self-awareness. They've never worked to elect a president.They've never had an "incestuous" relationship with a Democratic administration. They've never been responsible for "accelerating partisanship" or a "polarized society." They've never acted as a "plastic funnel" for the observations of their leaders. It's warm and comfortable inside their bubble.
Graham doesn't mention the conflicts of interest that would explain why he would be so harsh on a perceived Ailes critic like Sherman:
His boss, Brent Bozell, has a weekly segment on Sean Hannity's Fox News show.
A few days earlier, Graham himself appeared on Fox News' sister business channel to engage in a little Times-bashing.
WND Wants to Ensure The Mentally Ill Remain Armed Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily does not consider itself to be constrained by facts, as its coverage of Barack Obama amplydemonstrates. That's demonstrated once again in a Jan. 8 article by Bob Unruh that puts fear ahead of facts in writing about guns.
Here's Unruh's overly dramatic and fearmongering opening:
In an end-of-week “information dump” often resorted to by political leaders to publicly release information they would like overlooked, President Obama formally has launched his much-feared expansion of the use of mental health diagnoses to crack down on gun ownership.
The Obama Department of Homeland Security already is on record casting aspersions on the mental ability of returning veterans, third-party candidate supporters and people with pro-life bumper stickers – calling them potential “right-wing extremists.” It was also caught, through the IRS, targeting conservative organizations that might be critical of Obama.
So critics of the administration long have warned the move would come. On Friday, it did.
Obama announced that his Department of Justice is proposing a rule change that would “clarify” that being committed to a mental institution – a key red flag under gun ownership rules – would include receiving nebulous “outpatient” services from a professional, such as a psychiatrist.
The president said his Health and Human Services agency is issuing a rule to pierce the privacy protections of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act so there would be “express permission” for “entities” to hand over to the federal government certain medical records – that is, “information necessary to help keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands.”
Notably, Unruh can't be bothered to link to the proposal in question -- that would have kept him trying to support the article's headline "See a shrink, lose your gun":
Some states have reported that certain barriers under current law make it difficult for them to identify and submit appropriate information to the federal background check system regarding individuals prohibited under federal law from having a gun for mental health reasons. Today, DOJ and HHS are taking steps that will help address these barriers.
Some states have noted that the terminology used by federal law to prohibit people from purchasing a firearm for certain mental health reasons is ambiguous. Today, DOJ is issuing a proposed rule to make several clarifications. For example, DOJ is proposing to clarify that the statutory term “committed to a mental institution” includes involuntary inpatient as well as outpatient commitments. In addition to providing general guidance on federal law, these clarifications will help states determine what information should be made accessible to the federal background check system, which will, in turn, strengthen the system’s reliability and effectiveness.
Some states have also said that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s (HIPAA) privacy provisions may be preventing them from making relevant information available to the background check system regarding individuals prohibited from purchasing a firearm for mental health reasons. In April 2013, HHS began to identify the scope and extent of the problem, and based on public comments is now issuing a proposed rule to eliminate this barrier by giving certain HIPAA covered entities an express permission to submit to the background check system the limited information necessary to help keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands. The proposed rule will not change the fact that seeking help for mental health problems or getting treatment does not make someone legally prohibited from having a firearm. Furthermore, nothing in the proposed rule would require reporting on general mental health visits or other routine mental health care, or would exempt providers solely performing these treatment services from existing privacy rules.
At no point did Unruh explain that the proposed rule change "not change the fact that seeking help for mental health problems or getting treatment does not make someone legally prohibited from having a firearm" or that "othing in the proposed rule would require reporting on general mental health visits or other routine mental health care, or would exempt providers solely performing these treatment services from existing privacy rules." Instead, he quotes gun activists as claiming “The real agenda of the gun-hating Obama administration is to strip gun rights from law-abiding Americans, even if the result is to discourage people from seeking counseling" -- even though Unruh knows that's not the case.
Unruh then tosses in unrelated items that purport to support his contention, such as claiming that government will "crack down on gun ownership." He claims that "the government has been using its interaction with veterans to designate many of them – by the tens of thousands – incapable of handling their own financial affairs and, therefore, banned from having guns."
Unruh is comically exaggerating his numbers. The article to which he links to support his claim states only that "hundreds, perhaps thousands, of veterans" have allegedly been affected -- a far cry from the "tens of thousands" he's now claiming.
Remember, this is the kind of stuff Unruh left the Associated Press to join WND to write. His former employer would never have published something so fact-free. And his pathetically misleading reporting has the effect of ensuring that the mentally ill remain armed -- and possibly harm themselves or others.
WND Still Trying to Prove Corsi's Oil Theory Is True Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Jan. 3 WorldNetDaily article tries to take a victory lap on Jerome Corsi's 2005 WND-published book "Black Gold Stranglehold," which promoted the fringe theory that oil is continuously generated from within the Earth, or abiotic, rather than a finite biomass. WND's big claim is that Corsi's book accurately predicted rising crude oil prices:
The book, which was ridiculed by many industry analysts, argues against the “peak-oil theory” that predicted peak oil production had already been reached as the world was facing a diminishing quantity of oil available in the earth.
Corsi and Smith also predicted that oil, then trading below $50 a barrel, would trade at $100 a barrel, which has become an industry standard in recent years.
Oil expert Darren Wolfberg of BNP Paribas projected on Thursday that oil will trade in the $93 to $100 a barrel range in 2014.
Given the fact of continual instability in the Middle East, including an Iraq war that was going on at the time Corsi's book was published, that was hardly a risky prediction. WND then tries to give Corsi credit for shale oil:
Despite strong pushback from oil industry analysts, Corsi followed up the publication of “Black Gold Stranglehold” with a series of WND stories based on data predicting shale oil could be at the heart of a U.S. oil boom.
At the time, oil experts were going the opposite direction, predicting U.S. oil depletion was proceeding at an irreversible pace.
But the article to which WND links to prove this contains no mention of shale oil. And WND fails to mention that shale oil production is feasible only because of higher oil prices -- shale oil costs more to extract than crude, and Forbes reports that crude oil needs to be at least $80 a barrel in order for shale production to be profitable.
And late last year, Royal Dutch Shell took a $2.1 billion writedown on its $24 billion investment in shale in the U.S. because it has not generated a profit.
Of course, shale oil has nothing whatsoever to do with Corsi's abiotic oil theory since, like crude oil, it's already in the ground.
Newsmax Concedes Christie Bridge Scandal Is a Real Story Topic: Newsmax
Last month, Newsmax published an article by Melanie Batley complaining that "The bridge closure controversy that has dogged New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for weeks is threatening to go national as Democrats see a possible chink in the armor of the GOP's potential 2016 presidential nominee." Batley further complained that "Democrats have also created a politically-charged YouTube video with a narrative designed to raise the profile of the issue and link it to questions about Christie's character and integrity."
Now, with the release of emails showing that Christie aides directly ordered the bridge lane closure, Newsmax is essentially flip-flopping by devoting the top of its front page to the scandal:
That's better than WorldNetDaily and CNSNews.com, each of which are mostly downplaying the Christie scandal.