MRC Deflects '50 Shades' By Bring Up 'Passion of the Christ' Topic: Media Research Center
While WorldNetDaily went into full freakout mode over the "50 Shades of Grey" film, the Media Research Center took a different appoach: unfavorably comparing it to the film "The Passion of the Christ."
A Feb. 16 CNSNews.com article by Brittany Hughes tried to spin hard against "50 Shades'" huge opening weekend:
During its opening weekend at the box office, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ came close to being the top grossing R-rated movie with a February opening in history, raking in $81.67 million during its first weekend in theaters – Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Feb. 13-15 -- but it still fell short of the $83.85 million record set by ‘The Passion of the Christ’ in 2004.
According to a weekend box office report from Universal Pictures, ‘Fifty Shades” easily dominated movie theaters on Valentine’s Day weekend, but failed to top Mel Gibson’s hit depicting the death of Christ released more than a decade ago on Feb. 25, 2004, the Ash Wednesday of that year.
Hughes was apparently citing an estimate of "50 Shades'" weekend take; the link she provides as evidence currently shows that "50 Shades" took in $85.1 million that weekend, topping "Passion" for best February opening.
MRC officials Brent Bozell and Tim Graham spent their Feb. 21 column harrumphing that "50 Shades" "debuted to far less controversy than The Passion of the Christ in 2004." They continued:
Before and after The Passion's release, there was great derision about its supposed anti-Semitism. CBS called it an "ecumenical suicide bomb." The New York Daily News ridiculously claimed it was "the most virulently anti-Semitic movie made since the German propaganda films of World War II."
Actually, far from "ridiculous," there is a very solid case to be made for "Passion" containing anti-Semitism. As the National Catholic Reporter notes:
[Director Mel] Gibson made a film that confirmed many stereotypes of the Jews, such as depicting the moment when the bag of silver was tossed to Judas in slow motion and Judas looked at it lovingly; the "bad" Jewish men with fang-like teeth and the "good guys" with nice teeth; the sneering hatred from the high priest when he questions Jesus; and Pilate calling the Jews "filthy rabble." Certainly not the first to do so, Gibson uses stereotypes, some more subtle than others, to create a group of "bad" Jews to confront the "good" Jews consisting of Jesus, Mary and their followers who would be thought of as aligned with Christians today.
That Gibson was making a conscious choice to reject and negate Judaism is indisputable when we see the sign on the cross. "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews" is written only in ecclesial Latin and Aramaic. He rejects the Greek as detailed in John 19:20, and Greek was the common language of the Roman Empire at that time. Thus, according to Adlerstein, Gibson creates "a tension between Aramaic/Hebrew; he does not create a bond but severs it."
Further, the fact that Gibson has since revealed himself to hold anti-Semitic sentiments would seem to bolster the case that "Passion" includes anti-Semitism.
Perhaps Bozell and Graham might want to find a better example to counter "50 Shades."
NEW ARTICLE -- Out There, Exhibit 62: WorldNetDaily Wants To Run Bruce Jenner's Life Topic: WorldNetDaily
Anti-gay WND columnists who despise the transgendered think they know better about Jenner than he himself does. Read more >>
The Washington Post's Erik Wemple interviews Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy about his $1 million donation to the Clinton Foundation that Fox News attacked him for. Ruddy points out something that Fox News didn't: another Clinton Foundation donor is James Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch and chief of Fox News owner 21st Century Fox.
WND's Unruh Misrepresents More Facts, Remains Employed At WND Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily news editor Bob Unruh's sorry record of dishonest reporting continues in a Feb. 21 article in which he once again serves as stenographer for right-wing legal groups trying to eliminate yoga classes from a California school district.
Unruh uncritically repeats what these right-wingh legal groups -- the Pacific Justice Institute and the National Center for Law & Policy -- claim a lower court said about the classes:
At the district court level, the judge ruled that yoga is “religious” and that the school’s practices are “identical” to the faith-based practices in yoga. For example, part of what students do is to take various “praying hands” positions and bow down “to the Hindu solar god Surya,” but the lower court ruled the district could do it anyway.
But that description dishonestly leaves out one important aspect of the judge's ruling: It did not find that the school district's implementation of yoga was religious.
A local newspaper reported at the time of the July 2013 ruling:
A San Diego Superior Court judge ruled Monday that the Encinitas Union School District can continue a yoga program for students because it is not religious, as some parents have contended.
While Judge John Meyer acknowledged that yoga can be religious, he also said "EUSD Yoga" passed muster because it appears secular and thus does not violate the constitutional separation of church and state.
Meyer said he focused on testimony from people with firsthand knowledge about yoga in the classroom.
The judge also disregarded much of the testimony of religious expert Candy Brown, who described Ashtanga as the most religious form of yoga. Brown also said yoga leads practitioners to gain interest in Hinduism or other religions.
"There's a point where you have to separate theory and shadow from reality," Meyer said in reference to Browns' remarks.
The judge said he based his decision in part on the 1971 ruling Lemon vs. Kurtzman, which prohibits school districts from reimbursing Catholic school instructors who teach secular subjects.
The ruling resulted in the three-pronged "Lemon test" for determining violations of the church and state separation. Using the test, Meyer said he judged the yoga program on whether it had a secular purpose, whether it advanced or inhibited religion, and whether it fostered an excessive government entanglement with religion.
The answer was "no" in each case, the judge determined.
Why would Unruh omit this critical information from his article? If history is a guide, it's because he sides with the right-wing legal groups' case and has no interest in fairly telling the school district's side of the story.
WND editor Joseph Farah has called for the firing of reporters in other media organizations who he has accused of misrepresenting facts. Yet for all of his blatant misrepresentation, Unruh still has a job. Go figure.
Shocker: CNS' Hunter Writes Article That Doesn't Focus On LGBT-Related Federal Spending Topic: CNSNews.com
The subject matter of Melanie Hunter's Feb. 17 CNSNews.com article isn't all that interesting by itself --about a federal grant to study “models and control methods to coordinate fleets of self-driving vehicles in future transportation networks.”
What is interesting, however, is the fact that this is the first time in more than two months that Hunter has written an article about federal spending that didn't touch on LGBT-related issues. The implication of Hunter's hyper-focus on LGBT-related federal spending is that she believes it's a waste of money.
On Dec. 10, Hunter wrote an article detailing how "The National Institutes of Health has awarded $212,549 in taxpayer dollars to the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill to study how movies influence childhood obesity." In betrween that and her Feb. 17 article, Hunter wrote eight articles focusing on LGBT-related spending -- the onlyarticles focusing on federal spending she wrote during that time.
Hunter has not explained her disproportionate focus on suggesting that federal spending on LGBT issues is a waste of money.
'50 Shades' of Freakout At WND Topic: WorldNetDaily
It was a given that WorldNetDaily would not like the "50 Shades of Grey" movie. But the extent of WND's freakout has taken it into areas as weird as the film itself.
The headline of an unbylined Feb. 14 WND article calls the "50 Shades" film "torture porn." Well, no. The S&M games in "50 Shades" involve consenting adults, as opposed to actual "torture porn" (for example, the "Saw" films) or actual torture, like the extraordinary rendition techniques right-wingers like to pretend isn't torture.
The rest of the article goes on to equate "50 Shades" to "pornography" even though the film isn't that by definition -- it's rated R, not X or NC-17.
WND also published a column whose content -- pornography is bad, "50 Shades" is bad, women want to be cherished -- is less remarkable than its author. Donna Rice Hughes' bio describes her as "the CEO and president of the nonprofit Enough Is Enough. She is an Internet safety expert, speaker, author and the Emmy Award-winning producer of the "Internet Safety 101" PBS television series." But it omits the thing she's best known for: having an affair with 1988 presidential candidate Gary Hart, which ultimately sank his campaign.
And anything as sexual as "50 Shades" would not be completely attacked by WND if it didn't drag out the discredited Judith Reisman to somehow blame it all on Alfred Kinsey. And Bob Unruh does just that in a Feb. 21 article:
Researcher Judith Reisman, author of multiple books about sex activist Alfred Kinsey, including “The Kinsey Corruption,” “Kinsey: Crime & Consequences” and “Sexual Sabotage,” says America can blame the “father of the sexual revolution” for the current “Fifty Shades of Grey” mania.
The explicit sex movie, which set a record by collecting nearly $95 million from audiences over the Valentine’s Day weekend, is a direct result of the degradation of values that started with Kinsey’s claim that nearly every member of the “Greatest Generation” engaged in sexual hijinks, she said.
And it now is time, she told WND in an interview, for Congress to begin an investigation of Kinsey, his research methods, his results and his impact on the nation’s morality.
Unruh being a lazy stenographer, he didn't bother to note that numerous questions have been raised about Reisman's so-called research on Kinsey.
NewsBusters' Double Standard on Celebrities' Political Commentary Topic: NewsBusters
Clay Waters -- he of the perennial Media Research Center complaint that it's somehow "liberal bias" for the media to identify conservatives as conservatives -- takes another lame whack at the New York Times in a Feb. 20 NewsBusters post by complaining that it's repeating celebrity criticisms of Rudy Giuliani's smear of President Obama:
Times reporter Damien Cave followed up Friday in a story about anti-Giuliani Twitter commentary from renowned political thinkers: "Giuliani Comments Draw Tweets From Martina Navratilova, Judd Apatow and Others." ("Others" including esteemed former talk show host Larry King, who was "saddened by the news." And if you've lost Larry King...)
Charles Barkley Wishes Obama Was Tough On ISIS Like the King of Jordan
Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are all basketball legends in their own right, but it’s not what they’ve done on the court that’s earning them headlines these days, it’s what they’ve said off the courts that’s getting all the attention.
Barkley told Sports Ilustrated if he could meet anyone today, it would be Jordan’s King Abdullah II because of his response to ISIS burning alive the captured Jordanian pilot, Muath Al-Kaseasbeh, on video. He said he wished Obama was like that:
If NewsBusters is willing to treat Barkley's political opinions seriously, why is Waters bashing the New York Times for doing the exact same thing?
It seems that every time a governmental report comes out detailing the threat that violent right-wing extremists can pose to Americans, WorldNetDaily distorts the research and misleads its readers about what is actually being said.
Well, another report is coming out, and WND is ready to distort and mislead once again. Chelsea Schilling's Feb. 17 WND article starts things off with a band by putting a lie right in the headline: Obama DHS: 'Right-wing extremists' greater threat than ISIS."
Schilling herself -- one of WND's leaders in getting things wrong -- repeats the lie in her opening paragraph: "The Obama administration has named a national security threat it believes is more dangerous than even the Islamic State terrorists beheading, crucifying and burning innocent human beings: Right-wing extremists."
But a couple paragraphs later, Schilling reports that it isn't the DHS making that assertion, it's other law enforcement officials:
CNN doesn’t cite specific sources, but it says the new intelligence report references “24 violent sovereign citizen-related attacks across the U.S. since 2010.”
“Some federal and local law enforcement groups view the domestic terror threat from sovereign citizen groups as equal to – and in some cases greater than – the threat from foreign Islamic terror groups, such as ISIS, that garner more public attention.”
Schilling apparently made no effort to verify the fact that "sovereign citizens" like to kill people. One incident about a father-and-son pair of "sovereign citizens" killing two police officers in Louisiana is treated by Schilling with "reportedly" and "allegedly" disclaimers. In fact, it's all true.
Rather than doing any sort of actual research a reporter would do, Schilling instead rehashes a rote right-wing atatck on the Southern Poverty Law Center.
WND's columnist are even less bound by the facts than WND reporters, which is something that WND editor Joseph Farah is bizarrely proud of. Pamela Geller screeches in her Feb. 19 WND column:
Obama’s war on “countering violent extremism” turns inward – on Americans. CNN reported Thursday that “a new intelligence assessment, circulated by the Department of Homeland Security this month and reviewed by CNN, focuses on the domestic terror threat from right-wing sovereign citizen extremists and comes as the Obama administration holds a White House conference to focus efforts to fight violent extremism.”
The DHS report unveils the Obama doctrine – ignoring the jihad and targeting the right – in a deliberate demonization of an increasing number of Americans who understand that our rights are being usurped and that the U.S. government has been hijacked by a collective of destroyers and anti-American operatives. This is not new. Obama made these same vicious accusations in a similar DHS report in early 2009. It is a strategy.
This DHS report is a covert declaration of war. America is “a government of the people, by the people, for the people.” This is a declaration of war on that very principle. America was founded on an anti-government idea of freedom and individual rights. Ayn Rand said, “The source of the government’s authority is ‘the consent of the governed.’ This means that the government is not the ruler, but the servant or agent of the citizens; it means that the government as such has no rights except the rights delegated to it by the citizens for a specific purpose.” Further, “a dictatorship is a country that does not recognize individual rights, whose government holds total, unlimited power over men.”
We are approaching that level of control.
Obama and his appointed thugs have made the good guys the enemy.
So a man who murders a cop for doing his job, as has happened in Lousiana and elsewhere -- indeed, anti-government extremists are considered to be the top threat to law enforcement -- is a "good guy"?
Geller then falsely smears the SPLC as "members-turned-assassins" who "have been involved in a number of shootings." She harrumphs, "Obama refuses to call Islamic terror Islamic, but will designate Americanism a terror threat."
Perhaps Geller would like to explain to the widows of the two police officers shot and killed by "sovereign citizen" Jerry Kane and his son simply for pulling them over in a traffic stop how the Kanes were "good guys" and real Americans and the police officers were not.
Geller's Obama derangement has reached sickening levels.
WND columnist and foreigner Christopher Monckton also apparently thinks these cop-killers are good guys as well:
Now, as anyone who has worked in government will know perfectly well, it is a central principle of national security that the intelligence services must not – repeat not – allow the political propensities and proclivities of the current administration to sway their judgment or derail their impartiality.
For there is no surer way to encourage domestic terrorism than to give the impression that the intelligence services have ceased to defend all citizens and have instead taken partisan sides with the administration to act selectively against those citizens whom it regards as its political opponents.
Mr. Obama is already in quite enough trouble for bowing to Saudi royalty, calling himself a Muslim, and disingenuously pretending that various Muslim terrorist factions are nothing to do with Islam.
Now his administration has foolishly given the appearance of actively siding with the Islamic terrorists by circulating its heroically daft assessment that “right-wing sovereign citizen extremists” who kill by the twos and threes are more of a threat to the security of the United States than the terrorists who shriek Allahu akhbar as they kill U.S. citizens by the thousands.
Of course, cop-killing extremists are not merely "political opponents" -- they are murderers.
Since he does not even live in America, Monckton is apparently unaware of the sovereign citizen movement's violence. Or perhaps he is aware and is hoping they get close enough to Obama to kill him.
The Ruddy-Clinton partnership has reached a new level -- and Newsmax's competitors are taking notice.
Au unbylined Feb. 19 FoxNews.com article notes what it calls Ruddy's "strange philanthropy" in pledging $1 million to the Clinton Foundation, adding that Bill Clinton gave a eulogy at the memorial service for Richard Mellon Scaife, funder of Ruddy's early anti-Clinton efforts and co-founder of Newsmax with Ruddy. Scaife underwent a similar rapproachement with the Clintons.
The real reason this article exists comes in one brief paragraph: "Last year, Ruddy launched 'NewsmaxTV,' a 24-hour cable news channel that had previously streamed online." It seems that Fox News doesn't like the competition -- with it now apparently sees as a threat -- and wants to undermine Newsmax's conservative credentials in order to keep the right-wing TV audience for itself.
The Fox attack on Ruddy got some traction in the right-wing media. For instance, WorldNetDaily -- who was once a direct competitor of Newsmax but has since descended into conspiracy theories and mindless Obama-hate while Newsmax has moderated its views and jettisoned most of its extreme writers to become more popular -- picked up the Fox story. WND editor JOseph Farah has long been insanely jealous of the success of Ruddy, whose anti-Clinton attacks Farah promoted in the 1990s through his Western Journalism Center.
WND Is Back In The Race-Baiting Business Topic: WorldNetDaily
Apparently, whatever moratorium WorldNetDaily had on race-baiting on its website has been lifted.
In the wake of an incident about teens storming a theater in Florida, WND has done an article of its own on the incident -- making sure to tell us that the teens involved were black black black-- and perverted, too given the movie they purportedly wanted to see:
A mall in Ocoee, Florida, has been forced to impose a curfew after as many as 900 black teenagers, mostly girls, stormed a theater inside the mall so they could see the sexual bondage-themed film, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” on Valentine’s Day.
But the article to which WND links to back up its claim never states the race of the teens involved, and WND never states how it determined that every single one of the teens involved were black.
As we've previously documented, law enforcement has reduced earlier estimates of the number of teens involved -- something the WND article doesn't reflect. The current accurate estimate is around 200 teens were involved, not the 900 WND continues to claim.
Despite no actual evidence the incident could be based on black people, WND calls in its race-baiter in chief, who goes so far as to blame the decline of malls in America on blacks:
Colin Flaherty, author of “White Girl Bleed A Lot: The Return of Racial Violence to America and How the Media Ignore It,” said it’s just the latest example of mob violence hitting shopping malls all around the country, and the chaos is overwhelmingly perpetuated by black teenagers.
According to Flaherty, “This is similar to what happened in Jacksonville in Christmas 2013: 750 black people rushed a theater, then created havoc and violence in and out of the theater. The same kind of violence occurred in a mall in Salisbury, Maryland, not long ago. And there are so many more cases that I’ve documented again and again.”
“This kind of violence is why you see so many ‘struggling’ malls and why people are withdrawing from public spaces. Ordinary families simply don’t feel safe. And they probably shouldn’t feel safe, because the police seem more interested in shoving incidents like this under the rug than stopping them.”
We've previously noted that WND had dramatically reduced its race-baiting articles (and dropped Flaherty as a writer) around the time that Google AdSense threatened to cut off advertising revenue to WND because of all the race-baiting about "black mob violence." Given that three ad spaces on the page this article appears are controlled by Google AdSense, WND has apparently decided it doesn't need the ad revenue after all and intends to race-bait to bankruptcy.
MRC, Which Hammered Brian Williams, Brushes Aside O'Reilly's Falsehoods Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center went ballistic on Brian Williams' exaggerations -- not because it cares about journalistic integrity so much, but because it saw an opportunity to futher the personal destruction of a despised target.
But now that questions have been raised about beloved conservative-leaning personality Bill O'Reilly's exaggerations about being in a war zone during the Falklands conflict, what do we hear from the MRC now?
The story has been out for a good three days now, and the the only thing to appear on any MRC outlet about O'Reilly is a Feb. 20 NewsBusters post by Matthew Balan promoting former CNN newsman Frank Sesno's claim that O'Reilly's exaggerations aren't as severe as Williams'.
Well, right-wing liars have to stick together -- after all, MRC chief Brent Bozell spent 15 years lying that he wrote his syndicated column.
WND Is Sad New Church Pastor Doesn't Hate Gays Enough Topic: WorldNetDaily
John Aman is very concerned in a Feb. 15 WorldNetDaily article:
When D. James Kennedy was preaching at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church – the fastest growing Presbyterian church in the nation for much of his tenure – his sermons and comments to media sometimes sparked fireworks.
One time he said: “We hear today that this is a pluralistic nation and that it is not a Christian nation. But Christianity itself, general Christianity, was conceived as the support of all our government.”
Kennedy, who died in 2007 after 47 years of ministry at the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, church, preached that Jesus is the only way to God, urged Christians to discern between good and evil, pointed out the failings of the theory of evolution, affirmed the resurrection of Jesus and believed the church should be a social force in society, defending traditional marriage and opposing abortion. He named one of his efforts “Reclaiming America for Christ.”
When it comes to faith in the public square, Coral Ridge is now moving in a new direction.
Pastor and popular evangelical author Tullian Tchividjian is in the pulpit and has made it, for the most part, a no-comment zone when it comes to matters such as the sanctity of human life and the sin of Sodom.
In short, Aman is unhappy that Tchividjian doesn't take the bully-pulpit approach of his predecessor and, more importantly, doesn't hate gays like Kennedy did:
Paul, the author of Romans, comes down hard in his first chapter against “men committing shameless acts with men,” but Tchividjian doesn’t address Paul’s harsh indictment.
Instead, he asserts Paul’s larger point in his catalog of sins – ranging from ingratitude to gossip, with two verses devoted to homosexual conduct – was to reveal the self-righteousness of his readers and to show that “inside the church people are just as guilty as outside the church people.”
“Religious people are just as guilty as non-religious people,” he said.
It's not until the bio line at the end of his lengthy 71-paragraph article that it's revealed why Aman is so concerned about this: He "served for two decades as a writer and communications director at Coral Ridge Ministries, the media ministry of D. James Kennedy."
In other words, it appears Aman has an axe to grind against his former employer for not continuing to act like his former boss.
While Aman does actually interview Tchividjian to obtain his views -- WND usually doesn't bother with such trivialities as allowing its target to rebut its attacks -- he also called in a reinforcement to back up his attack: So-called "historian" David Barton. Needless to say, Aman doesn't mention how Barton is utterly discredited as a historian, to the point that other Christian scholars have called him out.
Aman's buried disclosure, coupled with reliance on a discredited activist, offers more proof why nobody believes WND.
MRC Promotes Discredited Study Smearing Same-Sex Parents Topic: Media Research Center
Kristine Marsh is very excited to use a Feb. 12 Media Research Center item to promote a study that conforms with the anti-gay agenda of her and her employer (boldface is hers):
Now a new larger-scale and more scientific study in the U.S. has been published with contrary results, and all we get from the media is embarrassed silence.
The study titled "Emotional Problems among Children with Same-Sex Parents: Difference by Definition," was conducted by sociologist and priest Donald Sullins of the Catholic University of America and published in “The British Journal of Education, Society & Behavioral Science” this month.
Sullins set out to discover whether the Australian study’s findings could be replicated using more reliable methodology. So he took a larger representative sample from the general population: 207,007 children, including 512 with same-sex parents, from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey.
The results of the study were not good for children of same-sex parents:
Eight of 12 psychometric measures used in the study showed that children with same-sex parents experienced more distress than children of opposite-sex parents. The results were "clear, statistically significant," and "of substantial magnitude," after controlling for age, sex, race, education and income. For four of the measures of emotional and behavioral problems, children raised by same-sex parents were at least twice as likely to experience difficulties compared to children raised by opposite-sex parents.
While Marsh was quick to attack as "flawed" an earlier study showing that children of gay parents, in her words, "were healthier and happier than children of hetero parents" (parroting the anti-gay Family Research Center) she exhibited no interest in hesitating to promote Sullins' study before others whose political agenda is less invested in its results could take a look at it.
And it appears to be even more flawed than Marsh claims the earlier study is. Steve Williams at Care2 outlines the numerous problems with the study, starting with the fact that Sullins has conducted research for the FRC's Marriage and Religion Research Institute and, thus, his objectivity on the issue is in question.
Williams points out that the "207,007 children" Marsh touts as being studied by Sullins as lacking significant research controls:
If we are studying same-sex parents and comparing them to opposite-sex parents, it logically follows that, given marriage offers a raft of benefits that support child-rearing, we should control for whether the same-sex parents were married like (presumably) most of the heterosexuals in this study were, or at least inquire as to the marriage status of all involved. This is not controlled for in the study.
Secondly, we would also take into account one key fact: if the same-sex attracted parents had a child as the result of a previous heterosexual relationship, this obviously will have a bearing on the child’s emotional well being because they will most probably have had to endure a break-up and divorce. The study does not adequately account for this fact either.
Third, the study should also have controlled for whether the same-sex parents were in stable longterm relationships that specifically included the cohabiting partners each taking on a parenting role. By the study’s own admission, same-sex parents were classed only as “those persons whose reported spouse or cohabiting partner was of the same sex as themselves.” Again, there appears to be no adjustment for this meaningful variable.
Williams also notes that Sullins' framework is designed to produce unfavorable results for same-sex parents, he makes assertions that his own study doesn't support, and that the study's results appear to have been rushed with an eye toward influencing court cases on same-sex marriage.
Don't expect Marsh to go back and update her article with Sullins' flaws -- after all, only his initial conclusions matter. Such further research at the MRC is only for studies that don't advance the MRC's agenda.
Will WND Correct Or Retract Its False Anti-Gay Story? Topic: WorldNetDaily
Bob Unruh amped up the incident as much as he could in a Feb. 6 WorldNetDaily article, under a headline pronouncing it a "shock claim":
A legal team already challenging a Lafayette, California, high school over its use of Planned Parenthood personnel – including a self-described “pleasure activist” and another who led demonstrations at a “sex toy porn shop” – to teach public school sex-education classes now is accusing school officials of allowing a “Queer Straight Alliance” to bully students.
The Pacific Justice Institute dispatched a letter to officials at Acalanes High School in Lafayette asking for documents that would show what happened.
Pacific Justice said “students were singled out and ostracized for their beliefs.”
This being the lazy ideologue Unruh, the sole source of his information is a press release from the anti-gay PJI. Unusual for him, Unruh claims he contacted the school for a response but that it "declined to respond"; he provides no evidence he actually did so or who at the school he allegedly tried to contact.
Considering the people and groups involved, it should come as no surprise that the story has turned out to be bogus. Media Matters contacted the school district superintendent, and he pointed out the way in which right-wing reporting on the alleged incident "does not reflect what actually took place":
Did not happen [quoted directly from PJI's press release]: ridiculed and humiliated / intimidation and interrogation / also had students line up. The peer led classroom activity was a carried out in a respectful environment and under the supervision of the classroom teacher. The activity focused on tolerance and acceptance, with an emphasis on anti-queer harassment and homophobia. It was intended to help students better understand the LGBTQ student experience.
The program is in its 15th year at Acalanes High School and his been a model program and replicated throughout the region.
The onus is now on Unruh and WND: Will Unruh correct or retract his false article? Will he report the school superintendent's statement debunking PJI's false, overheated take? Will he tell WND readers that PJI has a history of fabricating incidents to promote its anti-gay agenda? Or will WND simply let Unruh's false story stand as is, furthering its reputation for publishing false articles and refusing to correct them?
Given WND's history on such things, we're betting on the latter.
A new poll commissioned by the Media Research Center reveals that the tales Brian Williams told – which led to his eventual suspension without pay – have severely undermined his credibility with the American people. In a survey of 1,007 respondents: -
- 66.1 percent said Brian Williams should have been fired after he was caught in numerous lies. Williams famously lied about being in a helicopter that was shot down over Iraq and seeing a dead body float by his New Orleans hotel during Hurricane Katrina.
-- An overwhelming 71.6 percent of respondents said that despite the anchorman's apology and suspension, he should still resign.
-- In the same poll, 61.6 percent said they are less likely to trust NBC News if Brian Williams is allowed to return as anchor of NBC Nightly News.
But the post omitted a couple of important things: the full results of the poll -- which most pollsters provide -- and the specific wording of the questions (which would be stated in the full poll results). That raises questions about exactly how fair the poll was.
One bit of information was noted that points us toward the answer: the poll was conducted by McLaughlin & Associates. NewsBusters doesn't disclose it, but McLaughlin & Associates primarily works for Republican and conservative causesand candidates, which tells us that McLaughlin likely crafted the poll's questions to get the result the MRC wanted.
The article on the poll by Barbara Hollingsworth at CNSNews.com also failed to provide the full poll results or disclose that the MRC's pollster is a conservative operation, but she did include the wording of questions:
“NBC suspended ‘Nightly News’ anchor Brian Williams for six months after he was caught in numerous lies, including fabricating a story about being shot down in a helicopter over Iraq and seeing a dead body float by his hotel in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. In your opinion, should he have been fired?” pollsters asked.
“[If] Brian Williams is allowed to return as NBC’s anchor, reporting the nightly news after being caught in numerous lies, are you more or less likely to trust NBC News?” respondents were asked.
The MRC and McLaughlin are overstating the facts -- deliberately so, one must assume. It hasn't been definitively proven that Williams "lied" about what he saw in New Orleans; others in New Orleans have expressed doubt that Williams could have seen what he claim he did.
And even Williams' story of "being shot down in a helicopter over Iraq" is not the "fabrication" the MRC wants you to believe it is. The pilot of Williams' helicopter admits that it was struck by small-arms fire during the incident in question (but not the rocket-propelled grenade that actually struck another copter in the convoy in which Williams was embedded).
The fact that the questions emphasize the "numerous lies" Williams allegedly told demonstrates the slanted nature of the poll. The MRC must be pleased that it got the results it paid for.
Of course, the MRC presentation of its slanted poll would not be complete without MRC chief Brent Bozell ranting against Williams:
“This poll confirms that the American people no longer trust Brian Williams to report the news. When the American people believe by such wide margins that your lead anchor is a liar, you have no other option but to fire him if he will not do the honorable thing and resign. Any effort by NBC News to rehabilitate its tarnished brand can only begin under new leadership for its flagship nightly news program. This is no longer about Brian Williams’ reputation. This is about NBC News having any chance of being a credible source of news.”
We can probably assume that the poll never asked a question about whether a syndicated columnist who passed off the work of others as his own -- as Bozell did for 15 years -- should also be fired. But since the MRC has refused to make the full results of the poll public, we may never know.