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Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Newsmax Blames Liberals For Criticism of Columnist, Ignores His Threats
Topic: Newsmax

In a March 30 Newsmax article, Elliot Jager tries to portray a writer as a victim for daring to criticize global warming:

Statistician Nate Silver, who became a darling of Democrats for his accurate predictions that President Barack Obama would win re-election,  continues to face flack from liberal critics for hiring University of Colorado environmental scholar Roger Pielke to write on science and climate for his new FiveThirtyEight website.

[...]

Michael Mann, writing in The Huffington Post, said he was "crestfallen" and disappointed that Silver "parrots" the "false arguments" of climate skeptics in his own writing on climate change, which Mann characterized as "marred" and "misguided."

The Daily Kos said that Nate Silver was "pushing a new phase of Global Warming denialism."

Dan Satterfield wrote on the American Geophysical Union blog that "shameless self promotion" motivated Silver to hire Pielke. "Look at all the free publicity he got by announcing the hire, and even more after Pielke's first piece on the new website."


Blogger Peter Sinclair described Pielke's essay as so "catastrophic" that it may have undermined the credibility of Silver's site "right at the start."

But Jager didn't mention that Pielke has been accused of threatening his critics with legal action for criticizing his FivethirtyEight piece. Silver has issued an apology to the critics.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:33 PM EDT
Logrolling In Our Time, Jim Fletcher Edition
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily columnist Jim Fletcher has a moderately unethical habit of giving exceedingly postiive reviews of books published by the company that publishes his column, and he does so again with his April 1 review of the newly published WND book, "Blood Moons":

Into these passages stepped a quiet pastor, Mark Biltz. Now, almost to his startled surprise, his new book, “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs,” is shattering sales records as readers can’t get enough of the subject.

[...]

Biltz, founder of El Shaddai Ministries, in Washington state, has lectured all over the world, and one of the more important facts about his story is that he is the first to uncover the blood moons impact. As with most popular subjects, there are other titles on this subject, but it would be hard to find another anywhere near as thorough and absorbing as “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs.”

At no point does Fletcher mention that "Blood Moons" is a WND publication.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:56 PM EDT
MRC Dishonestly Smears La Raza Again
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's MRC Latino project, as we've noted, is undermined by the MRC's reputation for being less than friendly to Hispanics. A March 27 MRC Business & Media Institute item by Sean Long is another example:

Rather than dismissing his contrary views as sour grapes, the media simply ignore César Chávez’s opinions that stray from liberal orthodoxy.

Chávez was a 1960s and 70s union leader who promoted unionization and Californian farm workers’ strikes. The farm workers of the time were predominantly Latino. He is particularly famous for the Delano grape strike: a five-year strike and boycott against Californian grapes. Liberals seized on this boycott, as well as several high profile hunger strikes, to promote Chávez as a symbol of immigrant and Latino rights.

Even today, prominent media outlets often praise Chávez, just as they lauded his movement during the 1960s. With the new biopic, “César Chávez,” being released on March 28 ahead of his March 31 birth date, immigration activists have once again begun invoking his legacy.

However, Chávez reportedly compared La Raza to Hitler and called for increased enforcement against illegal immigration but liberal media outlets ignore these statements while using his legacy to promote their own agenda on immigration and identity politics.

Long's source for the claim about Chavez likening La Raza to Hitler is a 2009 National Review blog post by anti-immigration activist Mark Krikorian about an oblique reference to a “la raza” group Chavez made in 1969.

It’s dishonest for Long to suggest that today’s La Raza is like the “la raza” movement of the late '60s or to portray Chavez’s 1969 criticism as applying to all “Latino advocacy groups.” The fact that the Cesar Chavez Foundation is a La Raza affiliate also undercuts the argument.

Further, whatever differences Chavez had with "la raza" groups disappeared a few years later. A book of essays on Chavez notes that most of those groups were working with Chavez's United Farm Workers, and activists were crediting Chavez with creating ethnic pride among Hispanics.

The MRC has previously falsely attacked La Raza as a "radical" and "separatist" group.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:25 PM EDT
WND, Unsurprisingly, Hates 'Noah' Film
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It was a given that the biblical literalists at WorldNetDaily would despise the film "Noah" -- so much so, in fact, tnat it tried to capitalize on the film's publicity by publishing a book called "Noah: The Real Story." (Hey, just because WND despises the idea of a non-literal Noah doesn't mean they're averse to making a buck off it.)

It was also a given that WND's movie reviewer, Drew Zahn, would also despise the film. But the question was: How would he despise it? He manages to find a somewhat fresh take in his March 30 review, likening it to some game called “Two Truths and a Lie” (spoiler: the movie is the lie):

For the Bible is very clear from the first of Noah’s story that God established a promise (the biblical word is “covenant”) with Noah and his descendants, and even as He commanded the family to leave the Ark, God told the humans to be fruitful and multiply. Scripture says God was grieved with humanity, but Noah found favor in his eyes. The plan all along was for God to show mercy upon Noah and his family, to reveal God’s salvation from his own justice. It’s a story all about God – revealed through Noah, but still all about God.

“Noah,” however, cuts out the most important part of the story. In “Noah,” God announces not mercy, but judgment and judgment alone. Then He goes silent. He abandons Noah to decide whether humanity will live or not.

That’s great drama, but demonic theology.

SPOILER ALERT: Then, in the critical moment, it’s not God who chooses love and mercy, but Noah. God is the bad guy in this movie, and Noah is the good guy. That’s just a wicked lie coated in the disguise of other truths.

And even though Emma Watson delivers a speech in the end that makes it appear as though God might be merciful in having chosen Noah for this task, she still reasserts it is not God who chose to save humanity, but Noah. As though God just abdicated his throne and delegated that critical call to Noah.

Look, I don’t really mind fictionalizing the story and embellishing it with rock monsters and all kinds of other glitz. I’ll forgive straying from the details of the story to spice up the drama. But when Darren Aronofsky took a story about God’s mercy and instead made it about his wrath, when it substitutes God’s indifference for God’s intimate love, when it makes God out to be the villain of the film … that’s not just fiction; it’s evil.

Presumably the millions of human and animal souls who perished in the flood, not all of whom guilty of anything in particular, felt somewhat different about the nature of God's mercy.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:41 AM EDT
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
MRC, Not A Fan of Hispanics, Launches Effort to Monitor Hispanic Media
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has launched MRC Latino, described as an attempt to subject Spanish-language media to "consistent conservative engagement and scrutiny for fairness, accuracy and journalistic integrity."

Of course, the MRC's "research" is hardly anyone's guide for how to monitor for "fairness, accuracy and journalistic integrity" since it is so skewed and unscientific. That would seem to undermine the entire premise of the enterprise.

So would another salient point: the MRC has long been hostile to Hispanics and their causes, like immigration reform.

Right Wing Watch notes that MRC chief Brent Bozell has called for the expulsion of Republican leadership if it moved ahead with immigration reform, and he complained that the media was "pandering to minority voters as the most crucial, special voters of all," Latinos in particular.

A look through ConWebWatch's archives reveals more MRC hostility to Hispanics:

MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, repeatedly portrays any form of immigration reform as "amnesty," despite the inaccuracy of the term.

The MRC has complained that the media won't uncritically parrot right-wing attacks on immigration reform (like calling it amnesty) and that it dares to present undocumented immigrants as human.

CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey has a laughably simplistic view of illegal immigration, suggesting that illegal immigrants are all uneducated liberals who refuse to attend church (though the opposite is true).

The MRC has falsely attacked La Raza as a "radical" and "separatist" group.

As Right Wing Watch states, Bozell -- who once compared President Obama to "skinny ghetto crackhead" -- may want to consider if he himself is playing a role in damaging the GOP brand by attacking Hispanic media.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:27 PM EDT
WND's Klein Again Champions His Favorite Traitor, Jonathan Pollard
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Talk of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard being released by the United States as a bargaining chip in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is having one completely expected result: WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein once again coming to the defense of his favorite traitor.

Klein whitewashes Pollard's deeds yet again in a March 31 WND article:

Pollard worked as a U.S. Navy intelligence analyst and was indicted in 1985 on one count of passing classified information to an ally, Israel, and sentenced to life imprisonment in spite of a plea agreement that was to spare him a life sentence.

Pollard’s sentence is considered by many to be disproportionate to the crime for which he was convicted. He is the only person in U.S. history to receive a life sentence for spying for an ally. The median sentence for the offense is two to four years.

The unprecedented sentence was largely thought to have been driven by a last-minute secret memorandum from Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger, in which he accused Pollard of treason – a crime for which he was never indicted – and claimed Pollard harmed America’s national security.

But Pollard did, in fact, harm national security. As we documented, prosecutor John L. Martin has said that the classified documents Pollard gave Israel access to would fill a space 10 feet by 6 feet by 6 feet, and the law makes no distinction between spying for an ally or an enemy. Former prosecutor Joe diGenova pointed out that Pollard received about $500,000 a year plus expenses for giving intelligence documents to Israeli agents, and that it "cost between $3 billion and $5 billion to fix because of what he compromised."

Yet Klein still thinks Pollard caused no damage and was punished unfairly.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:07 PM EDT
NewsBusters Justifies Unnecessary Voter-ID Laws
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters' Ken Shepherd devotes a March 25 post to laboriously explaining why voter ID laws are needed even if the voter fraud such laws would prevent doesn't really exist.

Responding to an MSNBC article pointing out that voter-fraud allegations are overblown, Shepherd writes:

Granted, it is fair to highlight and criticize a politician for exuberant rhetoric, but that alone does not seem to be MSNBC's aim. Regardless of how prevalent voter fraud is, prophylactic measures to prevent FUTURE fraud are legitimate policy measures for state governments to pursue. What's more, while there may be only a handful of cases in the past 13 years that progressed far enough in an investigation to strongly suggest if not prove voter fraud, that by no means suggests that every instance of voter fraud in the past few years has in fact gone detected and documented. There are plenty of crimes which occur on a daily basis a large number of which are never reported, much less investigated.

What's more, in instances where an election was not substantially close but the losing party has suspicions of voter fraud, investigations into the same would not have generated a change in the electoral outcome and, accordingly, may not have been pursued.

Shepherd is really stretching things here by going into purely speculative mode. It demonstrates the weakness of his argument.

Nevertheless, he goes on, responding to a claim that voter-ID laws are ineffective against the most common form of voter fraud, misuse of absentee ballots:

Of course, in-person balloting is similarly done via secret ballot, which is all the more reason why it's important to prevent someone fraudulently voting in person when claiming to be another individual.

Suppose it's 7:30 a.m. on election day and a Joe Jones fraudulently obtains a ballot intended for a Sam Smith, who has not yet voted. The precinct worker crosses Sam Smith off the rolls as having voted, and Joe Jones votes a secret ballot which, of course, cannot be un-voted. Later in the day, Sam Smith comes in to vote after work only to find his name has already been crossed off the voter roll. The best case scenario is that Mr. Smith will get and mark up a provisional ballot, which may not be counted when all is said and done, while Jones's fraudulently-cast ballot will most certainly be counted.

In the final analysis, this may not swing the election held that day, but in a real sense, Smith was disenfranchised and Jones was able to cast a vote which he was not entitled by law to cast.

That argument might have some weight if he hadn't conceded earlier in the post that there is no widespread voter fraud of that type.

Shepherd concludes:

If the MSNBC network really cared about the public policy issues in play, they could give viewers and website readers a thorough exploration of the pros and cons of voter ID laws. But alas, the aim is not illumination but excitation: whipping up the Democratic Party base in an election year to fear and loathe the GOP, all in service of protecting Democrats from an electoral bloodletting.

Shepherd, on the other hand, is trying to whip up the Republican base to fear and loathe Democrats by fearmongering about voter fraud he can't prove exists.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:30 AM EDT
Knowing Joseph Farah By His Fruits
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah writes in his March 27 WorldNetDaily column:

I was harshly criticized when I questioned Barack Obama’s claim to be a Christian back in 2008 when he was running for president.

It’s not an easy thing to do to dispute what someone else says he believes. For most people, faith is a private matter. Americans are often uncomfortable talking about religion. It’s considered taboo to scratch beneath the surface of spiritual claims and assertions by politicians. It’s considered bigoted, closed-minded, gauche.

From the reaction, I must have been the first who dared point out the contradictions in Obama’s own description of his brand of Christianity in which many roads lead to the Kingdom of God.

I can’t tell you how many times I was instructed and admonished about Jesus’ words from Matthew 7, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

But, as a Christian, scripture informs me that we will know people by their fruits. Obama’s fruits were well-known and well-documented by the time he first ran for president. Any true believer in the One True God would have had the discernment to view what he had sown and reaped.

Today it’s growing increasingly clear that far from being a believer, as Obama claimed in 2008, he is an enemy of believers – a tormenter of Christians, a persecutor.

By that same measure, we can say that we know Farah by his fruits, as demonstrated later in his column:

Obama has placed his ideological passion for abortion and homosexuality above freedom of religion.

But it’s more than that.

I believe Obama and the agenda he personifies have used abortion and homosexuality as battering rams against the Christian faith.

For the proponent of unlimited government, God is truly the enemy because He is the author of liberty. He is the enemy because no one must serve a higher god than government. Men have been placing themselves in God’s place, divining right from wrong, since the Garden of Eden. There’s nothing new under the sun. It always leads to one end – disaster, catastrophe, death, destruction, misery, hopelessness.

That is the fruit we know Farah by -- hate, lies and deception, all in the service of making money (i.e., keeping right-wing extremists reading WND).

Farah knows what he needs to do about his history of hate and deception, for he identifies it in his column: "It’s up to His people who are called by His name to humble themselves and pray and seek His face and turn from their wicked ways. Only then will this judgment on us be lifted, for He will hear our prayers, forgive our sin and heal our land."

Farah's career in the past couple of decades has been defined by wicked ways. But Farah made no apparent attempt to repent for his misdeeds during the "National Day of Prayer and Fasting" he promoted, and there's no evidence he has an interest in doing so now.

We're pretty sure the Bible has something to say about those who preach piety and repentence but have no interest in doing so themselves. Perhaps Farah can enlighten us.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:34 AM EDT
Monday, March 31, 2014
NewsBusters Has Difficulty Describing Who State Senator Insulted
Topic: NewsBusters

In a March 26 NewsBusters post, P.J. Gladnick mocks the Providence Journal for a story on Rhode Island state senator Joshua Miller directing an insult at someone, adding that "There was just no easy way to describe exactly what Miller was "apologizing" for but staff reporter tried his best without being explicit.

But Gladnick describes the target of the insult only as a "radio host," then attacks Miller's apology as insincere because it was "chock full of excuses can't really be sincere." But it no point does Gladnick fully describe who the guy was that Miller insulted.

His name is Dan Bidondi, and he works for the Alex Jones conspiracy website Infowars.com. In the apology that Gladnick deemed insufficiently sincere, Miller noted that Bidondi was "interrupting legitimate members of the media who were attempting to conduct interviews" and had "antagonize[d] an elderly veteran."

That wasn't so hard. Why couldn't Gladnick do it?


Posted by Terry K. at 3:32 PM EDT
No, Gina Loudon, Obama Is Not Giving Away The Internet
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Gina Loudon rants in a March 30 WorldNetDaily column:

President Obama is selling out American sovereignty at every turn. He did it with unilateral missile disarmament and his constant bent to fix our Constitution, which he believes is the problem. He does it with the constant reverence for international law, of himself, and all his judicial appointees. He did it when he canceled the space shuttle program and made America dependent on Russia for trip to the American … err International Space Station. His most glaring violation of American sovereignty may be his agreement to simply give away American control of the Internet to the “global community.”

[...]

The travesty is that we Americans actually did build the Internet! (No, not you, Al! You only built the fraudulent green movement hysteria.) Even Bill Clinton said giving away control of the Internet was idiotic. We have the strongest tradition of free speech in the world. You can kiss that goodbye, Internet lovers!

As we've pointed out when others made this misleading claim, the plan to transfer ICANN, the body that manages Internet names and addresses, to international control has been in the works since 1998, and it was always the plan that the U.S. would eventually relinquish control over ICANN.

But Loudon is in full frothing mode, and the facts don't matter to her:

So now Obama is handing the global community the ability to control our speech, and our technological advances. The international body will have the ability to control us by controlling our speech, and we handed it to them. What are we getting in return?

This may be the most historic outrage in the history of this country, if not the world, and it happened while they entertained us with bread and circuses.

If the country doesn’t wake up and find a way to throw these colluders with terrorists – these traitors – out of office, it will be too late. It may be time for us to seriously consider our options, very seriously.

History will record the truth. The next entity to control the Internet, space and nuclear technology will not be so good as the Americans, who have controlled it since its birth. It cannot be, because no republic shares our bedrock foundations of free speech and individual liberty. America is founded on principles that are reverent, grace-filled and believe the best in people, and for people. What will the Internet look like when it is controlled by people who believe the state comes first?


Posted by Terry K. at 2:30 PM EDT
CNS' Chapman Race-Baits On Apparent Illegal Immigrant's Crime
Topic: CNSNews.com

A March 28 CNSNews.com article by Michael Chapman has a weird tone:

Luis Enrique Marin Noyola, a 20-year-old Hispanic man, was arrested by Winston-Salem police officers and charged with raping a 3-year-old, and a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer has been put in place in the case.

According to the Winston-Salem Police Department, Noyola entered an apartment on Bruce Street in Winston-Salem, N.C., early on Sunday morning, Mar. 9, and raped the 3-year-old and then fled the scene. After further investigation, police arrested Noyola on Mar. 11.

First, why does Chapman put Noyola's ethnicity in the first paragraph? What does that add to the story? Given that the man is in custody, identifying his race is completely irrelevant.

Second, why is CNS even doing this story? It's a local crime story. Even Noyola's status as an apparent illegal immigrant doesn't raise its news value.

It seems that Chapman, CNS' managing editor, is looking to bring an element of race-baiting to his "news" organization, a la WorldNetDaily's Colin Flaherty.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:38 PM EDT
WND's Chastain Forgot About Poland
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jane Chastain writes in her March 26 WorldNetDaily column:

In 2008, as Putin was peeling off two provinces in Georgia, Bush sent warships to the Black Sea, shelved a nuclear agreement and isolated Russia politically. Yes, he could have done more, but he did prevent a complete takeover of the region.

Meanwhile, when Obama took office, he forgave Russia’s transgression in the infamous “reset.” Worst of all, as a gift to Russia, he pulled the rug out from under Poland and the Czech Republic by canceling our agreement to provide those countries with missile-defense.

Chastain failed to mention that the Obama administration has replaced the planned Bush-era missile defense program with a more efficient and similarly effective program that, yes, includes a site in Poland.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:49 AM EDT
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

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