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Sunday, March 30, 2014
Noel Sheppard, R.I.P.
Topic: NewsBusters

The Media Research Center reports that NewsBusters assistant editor Noel Sheppard has died at the age of 53. He had stopped writing for NewsBusters earlier this year while being treated for cancer.

In a tribute, Matthew Sheffield notes that Sheppard actually sold his financial planning business to pursue blogging full-time for us at NewsBusters: "Noel loved attention and NewsBusters readers loved his work, making him by far the blog’s most popular writer. Very frequently, he single-handly brought in half of the site traffic each month."

ConWebWatch has published numerous articles about Sheppard over the years.

Rest in peace, Noel.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:16 PM EDT
Bob Unruh's Double Standard on Domestic Terror (And More Lazy Reporting)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Bob Unruh seemed to be on a scoop in a March 26 WorldNetDaily article:

The FBI has scrubbed its web listing for hate-crime “resources” of a reference to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which was fingered by confessed domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins II as the source of his information when he planned to murder staff members at a Christian organization.

WND reported late last year that the FBI was utilizing the SPLC as a “resource” on its web page regarding hate crimes, but the current page has eliminated the organization that came to the attention of authorities when Corkins attempted a mass murder at the Washington offices of Family Research Council.

Just one problem: the truth was much different. Unruh, being the lazy and biased reporter he is, simply cribbed from a Washington Examiner article and did no actual reporting of his own.

In fact, an FBI spokesperson told the Daily Caller that the relationship between the FBI and the SPLC has not changed, and that it simply removed outside organizations from that list of resources, preferring to focus on resources within the federal government.The FBI continues to list SPLC as a partner in the fight against hate crimes on its website.

So Unruh had to walk it back in a March 27 article, but still tried to frame the removal as meaningful and portrayed the SPLC as claiming it was "no big deal."

The vast majority of both of Unruh's articles were devoted to attacking the SPLC as being "linked to domestic terror" because the shooter in an incident at the Family Research Council headquarters got some of his information from the SPLC's website.

Meanwhile, a March 29 article by Unruh promotes the work of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue while not admiting that, under the definition he used for the SPLC, Operation Rescue had an even greater role in promoting domestic terror. Scott Roeder had numerous contacts with Operation Rescue before he shot and killed abortion doctor George Tiller in a church. Operation Rescue had previously exhorted activists to enter Tiller's church, and Roeder's car contined a Post-It note with a phone number for Operation Rescue official Cheryl Sullenger.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:01 PM EDT
Saturday, March 29, 2014
CNS' Bannister Now Doing PR For Sean Hannity
Topic: CNSNews.com

A March 27 CNSNews.com blog post by Craig Bannister is basically a press release for Sean Hannity's radio show:

"It's puzzling that Michael Savage would want to brag about his listening audience" given that the "numbers show that Savage is losing the audience that he inherited from Sean Hannity in droves," Eric Stanger, Vice President, Operations and Affiliate Marketing: "The Sean Hannity Show" with Premiere Networks said in a statement provided to MRCTV.

Savage had been boasting of beating Hannity in key markets, prompting the response from Hannity's network. "I stomped him. And, it's gratifying to me because Hannity's never had any competition," Savage told Mediaite.

"In New York on WABC-AM as well as on Dallas on WBAP-AM, in the key demo of A25-54, Savage has lost a whopping 49% of the audience that he inherited from Sean Hannity," Stanger says, citing Nielsen Audio data for the period December 2013 through February 2014.

"Meanwhile, Sean Hannity has more than doubled the total audiences where has started on new stations after leaving Cumulus in New York (+108%), Los Angeles (+172%), and Dallas (+128%)," Stanger said.

The Sean Hannity Show airs on more than 500 radio stations nationwide, with an estimated audience of over 11 million listeners, while the Savage Nation airs on around 200 stations with an estimated audience of less than 3 million, Stanger notes.

Did Hannity pay Bannister for performing this valuable PR service for him? Because he might as well have.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:50 PM EDT
WND's Unruh Peddles Discredited Anti-Transgender Propaganda
Topic: WorldNetDaily

For WorldNetDaily, efforts to ban discrimination against transgenders has meant only one thing: co-ed showers and bathrooms (complete with irrelevant images of Ferris Bueller, for some reason).

But that scare tactic has been discredited. Media Matters details how experts in 12 states that have banned discrimination in public accomodations based on gender identity have reported no problems whatsoever with sexual assaults or any other crimes in connection with this accomodation.

But this is WND we're talking about here, and it loves to hide facts from its readers. A March 25 article by Bob Unruh provided an opportunity to WND to report actual facts on the issue of transgender rights.

Ah, who are we kidding? This is Bob Unruh we're talking about here -- the guy who won't report news that doesn't conform to his and WND's right-wing agenda. 

Indeed, Unruh's article contains a false reference to "coed bathrooms" right in the headline and the first paragraph. Unruh goes on to laughably call the anti-discrimiation law in California a "sex indoctrination law," quotes only opponents of the law, and devotes several paragraphs to a completely unrelated California law honoring Harvey Milk.

Unruh doesn't say a word about how the anti-transgender fearmongering has been utterly discredited. But really, did anyone expect such a lazy, biased reporter to start doing his job now?


Posted by Terry K. at 8:59 PM EDT
Friday, March 28, 2014
MRC Tries, Fails To Blame Defective GM Cars on Federal Ownership
Topic: Media Research Center

Sean Long tries his best to manufacture a controversy in a March 21 Media Research Center Business & Media Institute item:

When lives are lost due to a faulty product the media point fingers all the way up to the top of the company. Just not when the government owns the company.

The broadcast networks have aired 42 reports on the GM safety recall of faulty ignitions; malfunctions that resulted in more than 300 deaths. But in the course of their reporting, ABC, CBS and NBC only once said something that could remind viewers that GM was, for a time, Government Motors. More than half of fatalities occurred during the period of federal ownership of GM.

The networks’ refused to criticise the government in GM stories, yet they insisted on blaming Mitt Romney for Bain Capital’s actions throughout his candidacy. It is particularly egregious in the case of GM because many victims cannot pursue legal action against GM due to the terms of its 2009 bankruptcy.

While running 42 stories between the Feb. 13 recall and March 17, the broadcast networks have ignroed the federal government’s bailout of General Motors 98 percent of the time (41 out of 42 stories), completely ignoring the fact that 176 fatalities occurred during the government’s ownership.

But Long omits the fact that the vehicles that are a focus of the controversy were manufactured between 2003 and 2007 -- and, thus, before the government had any ownership interest in GM.

While there are reports that GM knew of the problem before issuing a recall, that too dates before government ownership of GM. The only thing that GM might be guilty of during government ownership is continued suppression of knowledge about the problem, but Long provides no evidence that any government official knew about it.

Long's attempt to liken the situation to Romney and Bain Capital is similarly misguided. The federal government did not create GM and, again, the defective cars in question were manufactured before the government took an ownership stake. By contrast, Romney was a co-founder of Bain Capital, and he continued to maintain an ownership stake for years after leaving the company's day-to-day management, and he continued to be described in SEC filings as "sole shareholder, sole director, Chief Executive Officer and President."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:27 PM EDT
WND's Diana West Embraces Racist Concepts, Denies It's Racism
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Whenever someone asks whether something is racist, it probably is. Diana West does this is her March 27 WorldNetDaily column:

It may surprise some Americans to learn that almost one-quarter of the people living in Switzerland are foreigners. Even so, just over 50 percent voted last month to cap immigration, which, unchecked, could leave indigenous Swiss a minority in 50 years. Newsweek’s headline over the story was typical: “Switzerland’s Sudden Fear of Immigrants.”

Fear. Immigrants. The German publication Spiegel Online wrote also about “scaremongering.” The enlightened reader’s thought-bubble is now supposed to register the word “racism.” But was it really “fear of immigrants” – read: “racism” – that drove sufficient numbers of Swiss to the polls to check their own demographic extinction as a recognizable culture and nation-state? Or was it a nearly anachronistic instinct to survive as a recognizable culture and nation-state?

I see it as the instinct to survive – and applaud the Swiss for deciding to limit the influx of Europeans, Slavs, Muslims, Africans and others, whose demographic waves are otherwise sure to transform indigenous Swiss culture into a global multiculture. I also envy them for mustering this basic vital sign, this narrow-edged popular will to control their own borders. It is something that has all but flat-lined in America, where capping immigration – let alone halting it to attempt some measure of assimilation and economic resuscitation – is not even a part of the political debate.

Given that it's almost always white people like West who talk about limits on immigration and that the targets of such limits are almost always white people, then yes, it is a bit racist. West goes on to make her racial concerns clear:

Such population replacement is under way everywhere non-assimilable blocs become entrenched – with or without “amnesty.” But We, the People, have never voted for it. It just happens, forced or enabled from above. It could be that a majority of us want to disappear in a global multiculture – or, in the case of states like California, into an enclave-pocked Mexican monoculture. But that’s not why we have borders and immigration laws. Tragically, we also have a political class and presidents who lawlessly refuse to enforce these laws, making a mockery of our borders, not to mention the democratic process. This makes a mockery of our nationhood, too. It looks like a means to an end – the end of that nationhood.

West then embraces a right-wing activist who's also largely racially driven:

The demographics of The Hague, Netherlands, for example, are not too dissimilar from those in California. As in other major Dutch cities, about half of the people living there are from another country, with non-Western immigrants, mainly Muslim and often Moroccan, making up over one-third of the population. That non-Western figure approaches the halfway mark in the under-21 demographic. Short of a sharp reversal and coupled with high rates of Dutch out-migration, it becomes highly unlikely that the future of the Dutch seat of government will be Dutch.

Is it “fear” and “scaremongering” to point this out? Is it “racism” to oppose the demographic obliteration of a nation clearly under way? According to what is aptly described as the Dutch establishment – from the prime minister, leading mayors, Dutch media, plus, quite shockingly, the U.S. ambassador, who, in a break with diplomatic etiquette, has publicly commented on Dutch affairs – the answer to both questions is yes. This past week has seen yet another public hate campaign by this establishment to smear, demonize and thus neutralize the one Dutch party that opposes the nation’s suicide – the Party for Freedom led by Geert Wilders.

I’ve written more on these events at my blog, www.dianawest.net. For now, it’s worth noting that the Dutch are lucky. With the steadfast and brilliant Wilders leading a popular movement, at least they have a chance to survive.

Wilders is an anti-Islam extremist who has equated "less Moroccans" with "less problems" in the Netherlands. Perhaps West doesn't see such statements as racist, but most sentient beings do.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:50 PM EDT
Overkill: CNS' Starr Has A Massive Margaret Sanger Freakout
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com's Penny Starr has long been guilty of using her so-called reporting to further her right-wing anti-abortion agenda. She has taken her political activism to absurd lengths this week.

The news that Planned Parenthood was planning to give Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi its Margaret Sanger Award prompted the expected reaction: a March 21 hatchet job headlined "Pelosi to Receive Planned Parenthood Award Honoring Eugenicist." Needless to say, Starr ignores the historical context of Sanger's views -- while eugenics is correctly considered reprehensible today, it was a mainstream view during much of Sanger's lifetime.

But for some reason, one attack on a woman who has been dead nearly 50 years was not enough for Starr. She followed that up with three additional articles cherry-picking Sanger's writings.

In a March 26 article, Starr highlights a claim that Sanger "wrote that large families would be doing what was 'most merciful' if they killed one of their infants." But Starr takes that statement out of context. As Planned Parenthood points out, "Sanger was making an ironic comment — not a prescriptive one — about the horrifying rate of infant mortality among large families of early 20th-century urban America."

Starr flip-flops in another March 26 article, suddenly portraying Sanger as a virtuous woman who opposed abortion, despite her two previous articles implying otherwise.

Starr goes back to implying Sanger supported abortion in a March 27 article, citing a statement calling some children "human weed," further implying the statement was racially motivated. In fact, as Planned Parenthood notes, Sanger never described any ethnic community as "human weeds."

It's this kind of sloppy, hate-motivated reporting -- writing four articles when no more than one was needed -- that's putting CNS on the path to WorldNetDaily-like irrelevance.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:25 PM EDT
WND's Unruh Revives A Zombie Lie
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh keeps reaching new heights of hackishness. In a March 25 WND article designed to fearmonger about military training exercises by baselessly portraying them as an effort to create "a centralized federal military authority," Unruh throws in this:

The DHS could be carrying out Obama’s call for a civilian national security force, warn Klein and Elliott.

In his July 2, 2008, “New Era of Service” address delivered at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, presidential candidate Obama said: “We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. … We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded.”

As we first documented nearly six years ago, Obama was referring to an expansion of the foreign service, not military capability.

But why tell the truth when a discredited lie is so much more effective in justifying hatred of Obama?


Posted by Terry K. at 10:30 AM EDT
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Newsmax's Fleitz Denounces Investigation Into CIA Abuses As "Unnecessary"
Topic: Newsmax

In a March 21 Newsmax column, Fred Fleitz is unhappy that Senate Democrats are still investigating CIA abuse allegations the Bush administration:

First, why in 2014 is Congress still investigating the Bush administration and preparing a $50 million, 4,200-page report on the enhanced interrogation program?

Waterboarding, the controversial technique of this program that led to numerous calls to end it, was last used in 2003. President Barack Obama shut down the enhanced interrogation program shortly after he was inaugurated. House Intelligence Committee Democrats completed their report on the enhanced interrogation program in 2010.

Shouldn't the Senate Intelligence Committee be using its resources to address the challenges of today and not alleged misdeeds by the Bush administration that took place 10 years ago? To borrow a Democratic phrase from the Clinton era, it's time to move on.

[...]

The fight over the Senate Intelligence Committee's report of the $50 million Bush-era enhanced interrogation report is distracting the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee from their work and recently caused the committee to cancel hearings on Syria and Iran.

It is imperative that Feinstein and the CIA quickly put this unnecessary partisan report behind them so they can focus on the serious security threats facing this country today instead of the problems and misdeeds of the last administration.

Fleitz did not say whether he considers current ongoing Republican investigations of the Obama administration to be "partisan" and "unnecessary."


Posted by Terry K. at 3:34 PM EDT
WND's Unruh Censors Parents' Behavior In Child-Custody Case
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Reporter-turned-stenographer Bob Unruh strikes again in a March 25 WorldNetDaily article citing only "a report from officials with Liberty Counsel" to relay a decision in a child custody battle involved a 15-year-old girl with medical problems, Justina Pelletier.

By "report," Unruh actually means "press release." That's right -- Unruh simply rewrote a press release. Unruh was so lazy on this story, in fact, that he couldn't even be bothered to obtain a copy of the judge's ruling.

Because Unruh simply rewrote a press release, many relevant details were omitted. Meanwhile, an actual news organization, the Boston Globe, reports what Unruh won't -- specifically, the abusive and counterproductive behavior of Pelletier's parents:

he judge’s four-page decision, which was provided to the Globe, was remarkable for its detail and forcefulness. Johnston faulted Connecticut’s child protection agency for its failure to get involved in a case involving a child from its state, and faulted Pelletier’s parents for their verbally abusive manner and haphazard decision-making that he says has sabotaged plans to move their daughter closer to home.

Johnston wrote that the parents called Boston Children’s Hospital personnel Nazis “and claimed the hospital was punishing and killing Justina. Efforts by hospital clinicians to work with the parents were futile and never went anywhere.”

More recently, he wrote, “there has not been any progress by the parents. Rather, the parents . . . continue to engage in very concerning conduct that does not give this court any confidence they will comply with conditions of custody.” He noted that because of allegations that Justina’s father, Lou Pelletier, threatened a state social worker assigned to the case, the worker had to be reassigned.

[...]

Johnston wrote that the parents had repeatedly “impeded progress” in resolving the case. “Instead of engaging in quality visits with Justina, the parents use profanity directed at MA DCF personnel in Justina’s presence,” he said. “There is absolutely no meaningful dialogue by the parents to work towards reunification.”

Back in December, the judge suspended a decision over permanent custody while hoping to broker a compromise. He appointed a court investigator to advise him and come up with possible solutions.

At a hearing in February, the judge wrote, the parents agreed to a deal where Justina would be moved to a Connecticut program under the temporary custody of that state’s child-protection agency. But a month later, through Staver, they informed another lawyer in the case that they would accept no state oversight and would agree only to their daughter’s returning home.

Previous efforts to find a residential treatment center for Justina in Connecticut have failed, largely due to the reluctance of many providers to get involved in a high-profile controversy. One facility in Connecticut that had tentatively agreed to accept Justina last year balked after her father threatened to sue it.

Why didn't Unruh tell his readers the rest of the story? Probably because of something else the Globe reported: "several conservative Christian organizations" have become involved in the issue, "seeing the case as an example of government interference in the sanctity of parental rights, and have instigated massive phone and letter-writing campaigns to the judge and other state officials."

Putting a political agenda before the truth is just another reason why nobody believes WND.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:59 PM EDT
CNS' Starr Still Pushing Myth That Plan B Causes Abortions
Topic: CNSNews.com

Penny Starr writes in a March 25 CNSNews.com article:

In a conference call last week ahead of the Supreme Court hearing oral arguments on the lawsuits challenging the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that employers provide contraceptives to employees, including abortifacients, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said the owners of the corporations suing the government “wrongly believe that some birth control methods are a form of abortion.”

[...]

However, according to the packaging on Plan B “emergency contraceptive,” the information states: “This product works mainly by preventing ovulation (egg release). It may also prevent fertilization of a released egg (joining of sperm and egg) or attachment of a fertilized egg to the uterus (implantation).”

But as we documented the last time Starr claimed this, preventing implantation -- which, despite the package information, has not been documented that Plan B actually does -- does not equal abortion, which is medically defined as taking place after implantation. In fact, most fertilized eggs fail to implant, which means that most women have committed abortions by Starr's definition -- perhaps even Starr herself.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:03 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: The Putin-Lovers At WorldNetDaily
Topic: WorldNetDaily
From crackdowns on gays and dissent to invading Ukraine, WND's writers have found themselves a new favorite authoritarian dictator. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:10 AM EDT
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
MRC Channels Limbaugh, Goes Slut-Shaming On Birth Control
Topic: Media Research Center

For a March 25 Media Research Center Culture & Media Insititute piece, Kristine Marsh channels the MRC's favorite slut-shamer, Rush Limbaugh:

Out: First Amendment protections guaranteeing religious liberty. Oh, and the right to free association. In: The inalienable right to have strangers pony up for your sex life.

Welcome to our new constitutional order, if some major American newspapers and left-leaning sites have their way.

If you'll recall, the MRC effectively endorsed Limbaugh's three-day tirade of misoygyny against Sandra Fluke -- in which he, among many other vile things, claimed that because Fluke argued for coverage of contraception, she "wants to be paid to have sex"-- to the point where it started an "I Stand With Rush" website.

Marsh seems to be unaware that there are legitimate medical reasons to take contraceptives that have nothing to do with birth control.

Marsh also invokes the ad populum fallacy at the end of her column:

Not everyone agrees with the left-wing media, however. The Becket Fund, who’s representing The Greens, the owners of Hobby Lobby in their case against the Obama Administration, have argued:

“In Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, 84 amicus briefs were filed – among the largest amicus efforts ever. By an almost three- to-one margin, these briefs favored Hobby Lobby, demonstrating the breadth and depth of support for the Green family, Hobby Lobby, and religious freedom.”

The number of amicus briefs has no relation whatsoever to the legal legitimacy of the views argued in them.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:33 PM EDT
Colin Flaherty Race-Baiting Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

America's favorite race-baiter, Colin Flaherty of WorldNetDaily, checks in:

Just when the Knockout Game is declared dead, a week of heightened bloodshed proves reports of its demise to be greatly exaggerated.

Five months after the New York Times said this spontaneous racial violence was an urban myth; four months after NPR admitted it happened once in a while but race had nothing to do with it; three months after CBS News said maybe it was happening after all; two months after a Philadelphia family court judge said racial violence exists because white people deserve it; and one month after CNN said the Knockout Game fad was over, victims and videos and witnesses and suspects just keep piling up.

Just in the last 10 days, there have been several reports, but many in the media still refuse to connect the dots and report the central organizing feature of the Knockout Game: The perpetrators are black. The victims are not.

Got that, folks? Black people are violent! They engage in "spontaneous racial violence"! They don't need any provocation whatsoever to be violent! And blacks are the only people ever to have perpetrated the knockout game!

No wonder nobody believes WND.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:39 PM EDT
MRC's Graham Resurrects Old Bashing of Iran-Contra Prosecutor
Topic: NewsBusters

It's apparently "I Hate The '90s" week at the Media Research Center.

On the heels of baselessly attacking Anita Hill, Tim Graham uses a March 21 NewsBusters post to unleash a tirade against Iran-contra special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh, who died last week:

Iran-Contra special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh died Thursday at the age of 102. A quick quiz of the millennials around our office showed no one had the slightest idea who he was. A search of our network news/cable news database also turned up nothing in the last news cycle.

Here's how middle-aged conservative media critics remember Walsh: On the last Friday night before the 1992 election, Walsh indicted Reagan defense secretary Caspar Weinberger. President Bush was scheduled that night for a live sit-down on Larry King Live. CNN allowed then-Clinton campaign staffer George Stephanopoulos called in to fight with him about his alleged lying on Iran-Contra. That was dirty trick piled on dirty trick, as I wrote in my book Pattern of Deception.

Graham can sure hold a grudge, can't he? And this is from the same guy who was outraged that the media would dare examine what Mitt Romney did in high school.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:59 AM EDT

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