Newsmax Columnist: To Be More Inclusive, Chevy Should Exclude Gays Topic: Newsmax
Ronn Torossian uses his Feb. 13 Newsmax column to have a conniption about same-sex couples appearing in a Chevrolet ad:
Sometimes silence really is golden. If there was a list of brands that would be considered the most likely to stay out of the progressive culture war, conventional thinking would argue that Chevrolet would be high on that list.
Chevy is an all-American brand, popular with NASCAR-loving conservative values voters, and demographics that may not think favorably of liberal change in cultural mores. That’s what “conventional wisdom” may argue. But apparently conventional wisdom is wrong.
With its new Chevrolet Traverse commercial, Chevy has jumped feet first into the hornet’s nest of America’s ongoing debate on gay marriage, and made a commercial sure to alienate some — on an issue which no one asked for their opinion. There’s no right or wrong answer — but as a PR agency CEO I ask, why would an iconic brand get involved in this no-win discussion?
How is it strategically advantageous to Chevy to enter any divisive political debate? No one is asking the company to take part in the gay marriage discussion, so why call attention to itself on this issue? It’s unnecessary and could be detrimental. Sometimes less (or none at all) is more. Is this really their issue?
Rather than rushing into a debate which they think the media will appreciate, brands may want to pay more attention to considering potential outcomes and repercussions before getting into any kind of public conversation.
Torissian goes on to contradictorily argue that to be really inclusive, Chevy should exclude gays from its ads:
Chevy wants Republicans and Democrats to buy their brand, those for and opposed to gay marriage — so why touch this discussion? Wouldn’t they want everyone to be loyal Chevy fans, buying Chevys, and cheering for Chevy drivers on the circuit?
Torossian seems to have missed the fact that inclusiveness is part of Chevy's current ad campaign. From the Associated Press:
Chevy, a unit of General Motors Co. that is not an official sponsor, didn't comment on the Russian laws specifically, instead saying in a statement that "these ads ... are not intended as any political commentary."
One ad, called "The New Us," for the Chevrolet Traverse crossover SUV, shows quick shots of many different families, including a gay male couple with a son and a daughter. "While what it means to be a family hasn't changed, what a family looks like has," a voiceover states. "This is the new us."
Another ad, an overall Chevrolet brand spot, features a pastiche of different images of America, including a shot of a gay couple getting married. "Like the old love, the new love starts with a kiss," a voiceover states. "Like the old community, the new community still keeps us connected. ... A whole new lineup for a whole new world."
And Torossian seems also to have missed the fact that numerous major companies have expressed their support for same-sex marriage, which means Chevy isn't exactly ahead of the curve on the issue.
WND Revives Zombie Lie About Jamie Gorelick Topic: WorldNetDaily
Aaron Klein writes in WorldNetDaily's non-bombshell about a business arrangement between the IRS and the Urban Institute that Jamie Gorelick is on the Urban Institute's board of trustees, adding: "Gorelick is also reportedly the official blamed for the pre-Sept. 11 “wall of separation” that prevented the CIA and FBI from comparing investigation notes."
Jack Cashill tries to pile on Gorelick in his Feb. 12 WND column: "In 1995, she went on to pen the infamous 'wall' memo that prevented intelligence agencies from sharing information in the run-up to September 11."
That's nothing but a zombie lie. As we haveamplydocumented, the "wall" was actually created in the late 1970s and was reaffirmed by the George W. Bush administration shortly before 9/11. Gorelick's memo merely detailed procedures that she said permitted a freer exchange of information between criminal and counterterror investigators than had been allowed under the Reagan and first Bush administrations.
WND Promotes Unsubstantiated Claim About IRS Leaking Info About Conservative Groups Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Feb. 10 WorldNetDaily article touts an interview with right-wing lawyer Cleta Mitchell, who is peddling the unsubstantiated claim that the IRS is "improperly sharing sensitive information" about conservative groups "with rival liberal organizations." WND continiues:
Another open question centers on whether the IRS not only overstepped its bounds in demanding sensitive information from conservatives but subsequently colluded with liberal organizations with that same data. One of Mitchell’s clients is the National Organization for Marriage, or NOM, one of the leading defenders of traditional marriage across the country. Multiple reports assert the IRS not only demanded excessive amounts of data regarding the group’s donors but that the information subsequently turned up in the possession of the Human Right Campaign, HRC, the most prominent interest group promoting same-sex marriage and other aspects of the homosexual agenda.
NOM is suing the IRS over the matter, and Mitchell is limited in what she can say as the discovery phase of the case unfolds. She said the lack of transparency from the IRS has been infuriating, but what she has uncovered thus far has been stunning.
“We asked for an Inspector General’s report to find out what happened and why NOM’s donor schedule was released to the HRC. How did that happen? Who did it?” she asked.
“There was an Inspector General’s investigation, which the IRS would then not give to us. They said even though the law is to protect the taxpayer, in this case the National Organization for Marriage, the IRS has construed that to mean that they cannot tell you information about the unlawful inspection or release of your tax return because then that would implicate the perpetrator’s confidential information. Therefore, they have to protect the perpetrator, the IRS employee, and they cannot and will not then tell you anything,” Mitchell said.
In fact, the NOM release has been explained. Former NOM official Maggie Gallagher reported at National Review that "You may recall that a low-level employee also released NOM's private tax-return information to a guy claiming to be a NOM employee, who then posted it on the Internet." Last May, acting IRS Commissioner Steve Miller explained to a House commitee that an investigation had determined that the release of NOM's Form 990 had been "inadvertent."
It's dishonest for Mitchell to perpetuate this myth, and doubly dishonest for WND to uncritically report it.
CNS' Starr Pushes Myth That Plan B Is An Abortifacient Topic: CNSNews.com
In a Feb. 11 CNSNews.com article complaining that CVS pharmacies will stop selling tobacco products but continue to sell morning-after pills, Penny Starr repeatedly identifies one such pill, Plan B, as an "abortifacient" or "abortion-inducing drug." But even Starr admits that's not mainly how Plan B works.
Starr accurately cites Plan B's packaging, which states that it "works mainly by preventing ovulation, but she also asserts that Plan B "can prevent the implantation in the uterus of the developing embryo and thus end a human life."
To understand why scientists believe that the IUD, Plan B and Ella are not abortifacients, it is important first to understand the biology of conception. In order for a woman to become pregnant after sexual intercourse, her ovaries must release an egg (ovulation). Sperm can remain viable inside her reproductive tract for five days. Therefore, if intercourse takes place up to five days before ovulation or within two days after, both sperm and egg are viable and the egg cell can be fertilized.
Now, just because an egg is fertilized doesn't necessarily mean that it will develop into an embryo. For that to happen, the fertilized egg must be implanted into the endometrium that lines the uterus. Implantation happens seven days after fertilization, if it happens at all. Scientists estimate that, at a minimum, two-thirds of fertilized eggs fail to implant. Some scientists estimate that the number may even be as high as 80 percent, according to Discover Magazine.
For this reason, according to the medical definition, a woman is not considered pregnant until the developing embryo successfully implants the lining of the uterus.
Some church officials argue that a woman is pregnant at the moment of fertilization. If that is the case, then it follows that 60 to 80 percent of the time, this natural process results in a massive loss of life.
The Reporter goes on to explain why Plan B is not an abortifacient:
The drug Plan B is also artificial progestin and therefore impedes the sperm from entering the uterus in the same way as the IUD. But the drug can also stop the ovaries from releasing an egg. If an egg has already been released, Plan B can slow down the movement of the egg. By slowing down both the egg and the sperm, it prevents fertilization.
The effectiveness of Plan B drops considerably if given more than two days after intercourse. But even at its peak of effectiveness, it is only works 50 percent to 80 percent of the time. Some have argued that Plan B acts after fertilization by changing the uterine lining is such a way that implantation is impossible.
But according to Dr. Sandra Reznik, who also wrote for the January-February 2010 edition of CHA's Health Progress, if Plan B "involved a change in the endometrium, then one would expect a higher rate of success [in preventing pregnancy]. ... Taken together, there are biological, clinical and epidemiological data clearly indicating that Plan B's mechanism of action involves only pre-fertilization events."
For five years, staff at CHA collected, reviewed and summarized the great majority of articles on Plan B's mechanism of action, Ron Hamel explains in his article: "Virtually all of the evidence in the scientific literature indicates Plan B has little or no post-fertilization effect ... on the endometrium that would make it inhospitable to implantation."
Starr's boss, Terry Jeffrey, has also pushed the myth that Plan B is an "abortion-inducing drug."
WorldNetDaily's resident Steve Stockman fanboy, Garth Kant, still wants to perpetuate the myth that Steve Stockman's libel lawsuit against opponent John Cornyn -- which Stockman gave him the scoop on -- has merit.
In a Feb. 11 article on Stockman filing a nuisance ethics complaint aghainst a Cornyn-linked super PAC, Kant recounts the libel lawsuit and the “numerous false statements” that were allegedly made. A Feb. 13 article by Kant also notes the lawsuit; neither article lists the specific allegations outlined in the original article.
Perhaps because the claims that Stockman made -- that he “jailed more than once,” was “charged with a felony” and “violated federal ethics laws" -- are indisputably true. Kant almost certainly knows that, but because he is such a PR agent for Stockman that he really should be on the campaign's payroll, he isn't going to tell his readers that inconvenient fact.
Meanwhile, even more evidence has surfaced to discredit Stockman. The Texas Tribune uncovered Stockman's mugshot from his 1977 arrest for felony possession of diazepam (Valium). Stockman ultimately pleaded no contest to “use of a controlled substance” – a misdemeanor – with the understanding that it would be dropped after a short period of “unofficial” probation.
Kant performed even more Stockman-fluffing in his Feb. 13 article:
And, he added, they didn’t like that he killed the amnesty bill (Sen. Majority Leader) Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had sent to the House.
“We did what’s called a ‘blue-slip.’ We declared it a tax, which it is because the Supreme Court ruled the fees in the health care bill are taxes. The Senate cannot create or generate any revenue. The Constitution gives that power strictly to the House. The House creates what’s called a blue slip, in that event, and I did that to both the immigration and the gun bills.”
Turns out that's not true either, according to the Texas Tribune:
Marc Rosenblum, a senior policy analyst at the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, followed the immigration debate in Congress closely last year. When asked about Stockman’s “blue slip,” he said he didn’t remember it. After researching it, he said Stockman did indeed request in June that House Speaker John Boehner use a “blue slip” resolution to kill Senate Bill 744. Yet the provision was never employed because the bill never made it to the House. Moreover, there are methods for the Senate to get around a blue slip, he said.
“It’s not accurate to say he issued the blue slip because he’s not in the position to issue a blue slip,” Rosenblum said. “He raised this issue that might have been a procedural hurdle for 744 to overcome, but it’s not accurate to say that he prevented 744 from passing.”
Reporters are supposed to tell the truth about the people they cover. Kant is clearly not a reporter, and we hope Stockman is paying him well for his PR services.
Busted! MRC's Graham Revealed As Brent Bozell's Long-Suffering Ghostwriter Topic: Media Research Center
Last year, we noted that the latest book by the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell and Tim Graham carried only Bozell's name on the copyright despite Graham being listed as a full-fledged co-author (and the MRC claiming that it gets all proceeds from the book), and mused that Graham was getting screwed out of the book's proceeds.
Turns out Bozell has been screwing Graham out of a lot more than that.
Jim Romenesko reports that according to former MRC employees, Graham writes “almost everything published under [Bozell's] name,” including Bozell's twice-weekly column. Further, Graham isn't happy aboaut it at all:
“Tim just resents having to do it,” says a former employee.
Graham’s wife, too, is so angry about the arrangement that she refuses to attend Media Research Center events.
“She hates Bozell,” I’m told. “The forced ghostwriting is the issue,” says an ex-employee.
One loyal MRC employee tried to spin this, according to Romenesko:
I was advised to contact a third MRC employee who, I was told, would confirm Graham’s ghostwriting duties. He did that, but defended the practice of “people signing off on agreeable words written for them.” He asked me: “How many speeches has Obama written the last ten years? Should he have prefaced the State of the Union with ‘My fellow Americans – I didn’t write this?’”
I asked Pittsburgh Tribune-Review colunnist and National Society of Newspaper Columnists president Eric Heyl about this remark. He said:
“The argument that the columnist should be allowed to use a ghostwriter because the president has speechwriters is as limp as pasta left overnight in boiling water. The comparison is ludicrous. The columnist doesn’t have to spend much of his time dealing with a dysfunctional Congress or fretting over Iran’s nuclear program.”
As a result, Bozell's syndicator, Creators Syndicate, will add Graham as a co-author on the columns.
Bozell and Graham have refused to comment to Romenesko, and there is nothing about the controversy on any MRC website, so we don't know things like if Bozell will retroactively credit Graham for his work.
Romekesko also notices the ultimate irony of the situation: The organization that demands media outlets "Tell the Truth!" can't even tell the truth about itself.
WND: Jury Nullification for Right-Wingers Good, Jury Nullification For Blacks Not So Much Topic: WorldNetDaily
Race-baiting writer Colin Flaherty complains in a Feb. 11 WorldNetDaily article:
One of the reasons police do not arrest more black people in the Baltimore area is because black juries are often reluctant convict black defendants. This observation of racial jury tampering comes from academic and legal studies such as “Jury Nullification, Race, and The Wire.” And from David Simon, creator of the Baltimore crime drama, The Wire, a veteran of 13 years on the cop beat for the Baltimore Sun.
But WND used to love jury nullification -- at least when it benefited right-wingers and not black people.
For inatance, Joel Miller touted jury nullification in a 2003 WND column, citing no less than the Founding Fathers to bolster his view:
In other words, the people are deemed sensible enough to decide when one of their fellows is getting the shaft from an unjust law. This only makes sense. The people are judged sensible enough to elect legislators in the first place. If things go awry after the ballot box, the jury box provides one more place to check and stop the progress of tyranny by nullifying bad laws passed by those legislators.
Far from viewing nullification as a gateway to random enforcement of law and anarchy, the founders viewed it as an essential tool for combating despotism and preserving liberty – one more method of denying absolute power to any single man or governing body.
Former WND columnist Vox Day wrote a 2003 column headlined "3 cheers for jury nullification," declaring that "if any juror believes that the law is unjust, he has power and the duty to ignore it and make his decision according to his conscience alone."
A 1999 WND article quotes one anti-tax activist advocating "widespread use of 'jury nullification' to defeat tax prosecutions." And a 2012 WND article by Bob Unruh touted how a supporter of a defendant in a case regarding a private milk-buyers club said that the jury should "return a verdict of not guilty on the charges no matter what the facts and the law of the case are."
And we're not even counting all the times that WND has advocated a larger level of legal nullification by encouraging states to reject federal laws they don't agree with.
But when jury nullification benefits black people, that's apparently where WND draws the line -- and Flaherty is not the first to do so. In a 2007 column, Ann Coulter cited as a case of nullificaiton "a jury composed of nine blacks and three Puerto Ricans acquitted Lemrick Nelson Jr. of the murder [of rabbinical student Yankel Rosenbaum] – despite the fact that the police found the bloody murder weapon in his pocket and Rosenbaum’s blood on his clothes, and that Rosenbaum, as he lay dying, had identified Nelson as his assailant."
What Passes For 'Research' At The MRC Topic: Media Research Center
A Feb. 6 Media Research Center item by Kristine Marsh and Matt Philbin promotes the claim that NBC covered the Russian law banning gay "propaganda" much more than "the plight of Christians in war-torn Syria." But despite the MRC's insistence that it engages in "scientific" research, there's nothing scientific about this screed.
Marsh and Philbin provide no methodology for how they counted their references, nor do they even provide the timeline in which they searched; they discuss only "the run up to the Sochi Winter Olympics." But the references they cite go back to last June -- a six-month-old story can hardly be considered a "run up" to Olympic coverage. Additionally, there's a mention of MSNBC's website, so it isn't even clear if Marsh and Philbin limited their so-called research to NBC.
By contrast, Equality Matters has served up a much more detailed analysis of NBC's coverage of the Russian anti-gay law:
There was only one mention of the law on NBC in the month after it was approved. Unlike the MRC, a methodology is provided.
NBC has made no mention of the role American conservatives played in the shaping of the law.
Further, comparing NBC's coverage of Russian anti-gay laws to the plight of Christians in Syria is merely the latest MRC's tradition of comparing things to random other things. Marsh and Philbin even admit that alleged persecution of Christians, which involve "tens of thousands," is a minor issue in the overall Syrian civil war, which has "displaced millions of Syrians."
Since the MRC has an anti-gay agenda, Marsh and Philbin don't have much to say about the Russian law itself beyond conceding it is "distasteful legislation to be sure, and enforcement could be dangerous in the hands of Putin’s thugocracy." They then defend it by playing the equivocation game, declaring that "it doesn’t call for prison or violent punishments (like the toppling of stone walls on gays – an execution favored by Islamists and something you won’t find NBC talking much about)." Marsh and Philbin also minimize anti-gay violence in Russia, claiming without evidence it's only "of the street-thug variety."
The MRC's reserach has always been shoddy. Philbin and Marsh prove that the MRC has learned nothing and is more interested in advancing an agenda than telling the truth.
WND Columnist Upset At CVS For Ending Tobacco Sales, And She Doesn't Even Smoke Topic: WorldNetDaily
Add WorldNetDaily's Barbara Simpson to the list of right-wingers upset that CVS Pharmacy exercising its perogative as business owners in a free market by deciding to stop selling tobacco products, despite admitting that she's not a smoker and "hate[s] the smell of cigarette smoke":
If you thought the idea of making people stop smoking reached its zenith when hideous pictures were suggested to be put on packs to frighten smokers and when taxes were raised to the point of insult, now we have a major corporation deciding to stop selling a legal product under the guise of “doing the right thing for the good of our customers and our company.”
To be honest about this, I smoked for a short time years ago and haven’t since. I hate the smell of cigarette smoke, but I do not favor the rampant anti-smoking laws. A neighboring city is passing laws forbidding smoking in private homes! That sounds unconstitutional and needs testing in court.
I enjoy a variety of alcoholic beverages and I’m not in favor of prohibition. We tried that, and it didn’t work.
I resent the moves to eliminate tobacco from our society. To have a carton of cigarettes cost $30-$40 and more, because of taxation, is obscene and only drives the black market. It’s simply done to punish smokers and make money for the state.
For CVS to ban tobacco from its stores smacks of currying favor from Washington in hopes of getting federal money to establish those health clinics in their facilities.
As Larry Merlo said, “This is the right thing to do.”
Newsmax's Ruddy Bashes less-Than-Fawning Ailes Bio Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax's Christopher Ruddy has his phases of reasonableness -- i.e., his rapproachement with Bill Clinton -- but he's still prone to to falling into spouting knee-jerk right-wing talking points.
In a Feb. 10 column, Ruddy includes as an example of alleged liberal intolerance ... the new biography of Roger Ailes?
I thought a new book about Roger Ailes, the founder of Fox News and its longtime chairman -- "The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News — and Divided a Country," might shed some light on Fox's success.
But author Gabe Sherman, who has done some solid reporting at New York magazine, seems to have fallen into the same intolerant trap regarding Roger Ailes. I was hoping this book would give us a "fair and balanced" perspective on Ailes.
Instead, it reads as though Sherman interviewed every disgruntled person who ever worked with Ailes during his more than four decades in media.
Sherman thematically offers Ailes as a man who is dominating (is that unusual for a CEO?), a bully (because he fights back?), and paranoid (perhaps the Sherman book justifies that!).
There is so much I wanted to know about Ailes.
This is a man who took Rupert Murdoch's vision and became the architect of the biggest force in news today, creating an asset worth $10 billion or more. Yet the portrait Sherman paints is a fairly negative picture of Ailes that tells little about the real man.
Sherman does note that when Ailes left NBC to start Fox News, 89 employees at NBC quit their jobs to join him. Yes, 89 people left high-paying jobs with all the security NBC offered to go work on a start-up.
This passing reference screamed out to me: Tell me more!
This mass movement of employees, to me, is unprecedented. What type of man engenders such loyalty and support from his colleagues? I can’t believe that a controlling, paranoid bully would cause 89 people to so dramatically change their lives and risk their livelihoods. Sherman's book falls far short in telling that story about Roger Ailes and much more.
If it's a fawning bio of Ailes Ruddy wants, one exists -- the Zev Chafets book, which Ailes fully cooperated with.
Newsmax also attacked Sherman's book last month by complaining that he didn't submit it to "Fox's press department" for fact-checking, even though Sherman repeatedly tried (and failed) to talk with Ailes himself.
Flashback: WND Ignored IRS Abuse Allegations Under Bush Topic: WorldNetDaily
Chelsea Schilling writes in a Feb. 10 WorldNetDaily article:
Few federal agencies are more feared and loathed by Americans than the Internal Revenue Service – especially when corrupt presidents abuse the power of the IRS to harass and exact revenge on political enemies.
Several administrations have purportedly used the IRS to attack their foes, including those of Presidents Calvin Coolidge, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon and George W. Bush.
But despite WND's mission statement to expose "wrongdoing, corruption and abuse of power," it couldn't be bothered to look into allegations that the IRS under the Bush administration targeted political enemies.
We noted back in 2005 that the Bush IRS was being accused of conducting politically motivated audits -- allegations ignored by WND. Finally, in 2006, WND editor Joseph Farah took notice of one example, declaring that "It is no more justifiable for a Republican administration to use the IRS as a political attack dog than it is for a Democratic White House." But we didn't really hear anything more about it from WND -- certainly not to the extent that it howls about claims of targeting under the Obama administration.
Think of this as just another reminder that WND doesn't practice what it preaches -- and how it's so ethically, morally and journalistically compromised that nobody believes it.
MRC Keeps Up Bozell's Misguided Attack on 'Philomena' Film Topic: Media Research Center
One way Brent Bozell has been expressing his uber-Catholic identity is by attacking the film "Philomena," about a young, unmarried Irish woman who became pregnant in the early 1950s and was sent off to a convent, where she worked as a servant in the laundry and raised her child until he was three, at which point he was taken from her and adopted away by an American family.
In a December column, Bozell denounced it as an "anti-Catholic attack film," praising how New York Post movie critic Kyle Smith called it a "hateful attack on Catholics." Bozell didn't mention that the real Philomena Lee, whose story the film is based on, responded to Smith's review and called it "incorrect." Lee praised the film as "a testament to good things, not an attack" and pointing out that "despite some of the troubles that befell me as a young girl, I have always maintained a very strong hold on my faith."
In a January radio appearance, Bozell reinterpreted the film to better suit his agenda. In Bozell's world, the child really wasn't taken from her since he was "adopted by loving parents," and the girl "obviously" did "something wrong" for the nuns to take the child from her.
Despite Bozell's view of "Philomena" clashing with reality, his Media Research Center still pushes it. In a Feb. 5 MRC item, Matthew Balan complains that "Wednesday's Good Morning America on ABC ballyhooed the 'breaking news' that Pope Francis shook hands with the real-life inspiration for the anti-Catholic movie "Philiomena" at the Vatican." Balan's only evidence that the film is "anti-Catholic is a link to Bozell's column.
NEW ARTICLE: What If Mychal Massie Were White? Topic: WorldNetDaily
The WorldNetDaily columnist invokes his black-conservative privilege to say things he could not get away with if he was not a black conservative -- like calling a black woman a "Negress" or telling blacks to go back to Africa. Read more >>
CNS' Starr Can't Be Bothered To Tell A Balanced Story Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com's tradition of one-sided reporting continues in a Feb. 11 article by Penny Starr, in which she details how "A coalition of pro-family and traditional values groups sent a letter yesterday to Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director James Comey asking that the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigations to stop using the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a resource and authority on hate crimes."
Missing from Starr's article: Any reaction from the SPLC to the letter. There's no evidence Starr even bothered to contact them for a response. Thus, conservative smears of the SPLC as "anti-Christian" stand unchallenged, despite CNS' mission statement to "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story."