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Thursday, August 20, 2015
WND Runs to Defense of Jim Bakker's Jade Helm Conspiracy Theories
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Cheryl Chumley was an early and enthusiastic promoter of right-wing conspiracy theories surrounding the Jade Helm 15 military exercise -- promotion that may have helped spark plots to murder soldiers taking part in it. Unsurprisingly, Chumley is sad that some of these conspiracy theorists are being called out.

Chumley writes in an Aug. 22 WND article:

Just a few days ago, Dallas pastor Rick Wiles and and televangelist Jim Bakker discussed the operation in a series of broadcast programs, saying the mission may be rounding the curve toward completion, but in their minds, Americans should remain skeptical of the military's actions.

[...]

It wasn't long after that discussion many in the media shot out some mocking pieces, slamming not just Wiles and Bakker but pretty much all Americans who expressed doubt in their government over Jade Helm.

Writing for the Dallas Observer, Stephen Young waxed sarcastically about the fears surrounding Jade Helm and said: "Congrats to everyone reading this outside of a FEMA camp based in an abandoned Wal-Mart for making it through the first month of Jade Helm 15 unscathed. For those of you who've been interned, and yet still inexplicably have web access, our prayers are with you. Thanks to the brave actions of Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the members of the Texas Guard he deployed to watch the not-at-all routine military takeover exercises enveloping the rest of the American South and Southwest, our fine state has remained largely unscathed."

He then jabbed at Wiles and Bakker, referring to the latter as a "disgraced televangelist ... who's previously claimed that Miley Cyrus has sex with demons."

Ring of Fire Radio picked up on the theme, blogging: "Televangelist Jim Bakker wants Americans to know that it's right to be skeptical of Jade helm 15. After serving time in prison for fraud in the 90's, Bakker returned to the airwaves to spread his message of doubt and deception. In a discussion with Rick Wiles, the pair ventured an idea (read: conspiracy theory) that the real purpose of Jade Helm 15 is to instill social distrust and unrest in communities. Thus preparing the country for another civil war."

Chumley, however, didn't mention a significant conflict of interest that would explain why WND would run to the defense of a charlatan like Bakker: He appears to be a personal buddy of WND editor Joseph Farah.

Bakker was a "special guest" on last year's WND-sponsored tour of Israel. Another Farah buddy, Jonathan Cahn, oozed over Bakker in a promotional article (captured by Richard Bartholomew) and downplayed the massive sex-and-money scandal that brought down his 1980s ministry as nothing more than a "humbling":

Jim and Lori Bakker are not coming as celebrities or guest speakers, but as spiritual pilgrims. Jim Bakker hasn’t been to Israel in decades, and Lori Bakker has never been there.

They got the idea to come when Cahn, author of “The Harbinger” and the inspiration behind “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment,” made a guest appearance on the Bakkers’ daily TV show.

“Jim Bakker is one of the giants and pioneers of Christian television,” said Cahn. “He helped found TBN and PTL and worked with Pat Robertson in the early years of ‘The 700 Club.’ He sat with world leaders and presidents in the White House. And yet the most powerful part of his story is what happened after being humbled under God’s hand, a humbling from which he emerged a changed man, a man of profound humility, compassion and grace – and with even more zeal for the Lord.”

Farah said the Bakkers recognize something he has seen himself as someone who has traveled to Israel frequently over the last 35 years – “there’s no better way to see Israel than with Jonathan Cahn.”

WND later touted how Bakker devoted "special shows" of his daily broadcast "recorded during that excursion."


Posted by Terry K. at 11:17 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
MRC Censors Complain About Censorship (And Deny Anti-PP Videos Were Heavily Edited)
Topic: Media Research Center

There's some serious denial going on in Brent Bozell and Tim Graham's Aug. 19 column:

After six devastating hidden-camera interviews, the best Planned Parenthood and its top-dollar crisis managers can muster in their defense is to protest that they were "heavily edited."

Of course they were. All video is edited. It's why they call it "produced." Without offering evidence of exculpatory evidence withheld, the charge is as meaningless as Planned Parenthood is evil.

Actually, exculpatory evidence highlighting the information the Center for Medical Progress' undeniably heavily edited videos has been repeatedly offered. And that goes for the seventh video that was released the same day as the Bozell-Graham column.

Surely Graham and Bozell cannot be unaware of criticism that the CMP videos are heavily and dishonestly edited. For them to deny that the evidence exists is truly bizarre.

The rest of their column is dedicated to whining that the big, bad liberal media is "censor[ing]" the story of the (again, heavily edited) CMP videos. That's rich, given that the organization Bozell and Graham run, the Media Research Center, is conducting a major censorship campaign of its own.

As we've noted, no MRC website has reported on Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson's apparent use of fetal tissue in his medical research. The blackout has continued: It's been nearly a week since the story broke, and the MRC still hasn't told its readers about it.

It's the height of hypocrisy to accuse someone of engaging in the same exact behavior you are. But hypocrisy, it seems, is part of Bozell and Graham's job description.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:12 PM EDT
Another Epic Fail by WND's Monckton
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Christopher Monckton serves up another epic fail in his Aug. 16 WorldNetDaily column, this time ranting about DDT:

This year, as I pack my bags for Sicily, professor Larry Gould of the University of Hartford has sent me a chilling documentary about the consequences of the ban on DDT. The title of the video says it all: “Three Billion and Counting.” The estimate of the number of people killed by the environmentalist left’s ban on DDT may be somewhat on the high side, but there is a statable case that the left’s ban on DDT has killed more people than any war, any pogrom, any policy ever.

Some lessons must now be drawn from the left’s poisonous, racialistic hatred of black children in Africa.

Lesson 1: The mass-murder-by-banning-DDT policy did not occur by accident. It was, and remains, the worst genocide the world has ever seen. The left’s intention in banning DDT was to destroy Africa’s population.

Lesson 2: The left always goes to elaborate lengths to conceal its true, murderous intent by finding and promulgating some half-baked, pietistic, pseudo-scientific justification. The left’s pretext for banning DDT was that it was harming large birds by making their eggshells thinner, and that it caused cancer in humans. Subsequent studies showed that the “thinner-eggshells” story was fiction and that DDT, which humans can eat by the tablespoonful without coming to any harm, is about as carcinogenic as coffee.

Lesson 3: Even when science belatedly catches up with the left’s lies and exposes the baselessness of its cruel policies, those policies remain in place. Just about everyone now knows perfectly well that the benefits of using DDT overwhelmingly outweigh its few and relentlessly overstated disadvantages, but no one dares to reverse the insane policy on which the left sourly continues to insist. At least half-a-million children a year continue to be killed quite unnecessarily by malaria as a direct result.

Well, no. As we've documented, the main issue with DDT was that its overuse created DDT-resistant mosquitoes.

Further, as one writer notes in pointing out the errors of the “Three Billion and Counting” video Monckton was given, DDT was never banned in Africa, which puts a hole in Monckton's conspiracy theory that "The left’s intention in banning DDT was to destroy Africa’s population." In reality, the people who ended up "destroying African's population" were the people who overused DDT.

Further, as the Worldwatch Institute details, bednets are currently a more effective way to stop the spread of mosquito-borne malaria than DDT is because the main malaria-spreading mosquitoes are DDT-resistant, but the nets are subject to taxes or tarriffs in 28 African countries making them even less affordable for poor Africans. The institute adds:

We now have half a century of evidence that routine use of DDT simply will not prevail against the mosquitoes. Most countries have already absorbed this lesson, and banned the chemical or relegated it to emergency only status. Now the [Roll Back Malaria] campaign and associated efforts are showing that the frequency and intensity of those emergencies can be reduced through systematic attention to the chronic aspects of the disease. There is less and less justification for DDT, and the futility of using it as a matter of routine is becoming increasingly apparent: in order to control a disease, why should we poison our soils, our waters, and ourselves?

The institute also shoots down Monckton's contention that DDT is so safe that "humans can eat by the tablespoonful without coming to any harm":

Like other organochlorine pesticides, DDT bioaccumulates. It's fat soluble, so when an animal ingests it-by browsing contaminated vegetation, for example-the chemical tends to concentrate in its fat, instead of being excreted. When another animal eats that animal, it is likely to absorb the prey's burden of DDT. This process leads to an increasing concentration of DDT in the higher links of the food chain. And since DDT has a high chronic toxicity -- that is, long-term exposure is likely to cause various physiological abnormalities -- this bioaccumulation has profound implications for both ecological and human health.

That's "Lord" Monckton for you -- wrong every time, even as he rants that "the left" is "wrong about everything."


Posted by Terry K. at 8:53 AM EDT
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Non-Stunner: WND Pushes Discredited Anti-Vaxxer Nonsense Again
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily loves its anti-vaxxer fearmongering, so it's no surprise that it hasn't given up the battle despite it being repeatedly discredited. From an unbylined Aug. 16 WorldNetDaily article:

U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., created a firestorm on Capitol Hill recently when he presented evidence the Centers for Disease Control destroyed data linking the MMR vaccine, (measles, mumps and Rubella) and autism.

Posey based his indictment on the allegations of Dr. William Thompson, a 17-year veteran of the CDC, who became a whistleblower and charged in a report by Robert E. Kennedy Jr. that was published on WND his superiors pressured him to manipulate data in order to conceal possibly harmful side effects of the MMR vaccine.

It was in August 2014, Thompson alleged, the CDC hid data which revealed the MMR vaccine caused an increased risk of autism when administered to children younger than three years old, with an even greater risk for African-American children.

Thompson stated he led or co-led three major vaccine safety studies while working for the CDC. After finding the risks for autism and the disproportionate impact on black children, Thompson charged:

"All the authors and I met and decided sometime between August and September 2002 not to report any race effects from the paper. Sometime soon after the meeting, we decided to exclude reporting any race effects. The co-authors scheduled a meeting to destroy documents related to the study.

"The remaining four co-authors all met and brought a big garbage can into the meeting room, and reviewed and went through all the hardcopy documents that we had thought we should discard, and put them into a huge garbage can.

As we pointed out when Newsmax peddled this story, Thompson's claims have been discredited. As Forbes notes, reanalysis of the data Thompson claims was thrown away -- Thompson claims to have made his own copies, and the CDC kept it as well -- does not draw the same conclusion Thompson did, undermining his conspiracy theory.

Unlike WND -- whose editor, Joseph Farah, nevertheless delusionally insists his "reporters and editors are always encouraged and required to seek out multiple sources and contrary viewpoints in news articles" -- Forbes reached out to the main figures in the story for comment: Thompson, Posey and the CDC. Thompson refused to comment,  the CDC says it's reviewing Thompson's claims, and Posey's office insisted it was directly quoting Thompson.

Instead, WND reached out of one its favorite anti-vaxxers, the right-wing-fringe-associated Dr. Lee Hieb. And she doesn't disappoint, calling everyone who opposes exemptions for children to receive vaccines Nazis. No, really:

"Look, there is no reason to give an infant a hepatitis B vaccine, for example. This is the government imposing an unneeded medical procedure, one that has risks, unnecessarily, on small children whose bodies may not be ready for it. And then they tell us we are not even allowed to discuss the data surrounding these issues. Indeed, the CDC may have actually destroyed the data.

Hieb is lying. The data were never destroyed -- the CDC always had a copy of it outside of Thompson's possession. As Forbes points out:

The events described in that quote occurred between “August and September ’02.” In 2002—and well before that time—data and analyses weren’t retained only in hard copy versions. Indeed, hard copies of anything were and are fairly irrelevant for record-keeping, and scientists tend to rely on well-backed-up digital versions for archiving.

The idea that a group of scientists working for the US government in 2002 would somehow think that they could conceal data by discarding hard copies of anything defies belief and makes no sense given that the data were still available from the CDC. This isn’t fiction film noir–it’s a multilevel bureaucracy with multiple levels of data backup, archiving, and storage. Digital copies of data are absolutely critical for protecting data integrity, per the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Research Integrity.

But WND's not interested in the truth if there's a conspiracy that can be perpetuated.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:04 PM EDT
CNS Reporter Again Falsely Claims Obama Won't Compromise
Topic: CNSNews.com

In her Aug. 12 CNSNews.com article noting former White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee's statement that Donald Trump is too "thin-skinned" tobe president, Susan Jones makes sure to include this sneering editorial comment:

President Obama has been described as thin-skinned by people, including former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who have opposed his my-way-or-the-highway approach to governing.

As we noted the last time Jones claimed Obama was not interested in compromise, his record is excatly the opposite -- the PolitiFact website has a full seven pages of examples of Obama compromising to achieve his policy goals. And Jones omits the fact that Republicans have refused to compromise with Obama.

The sole evidence Jones offers of Obama being "thin-skinned" is of the Arizona governor, a Republican, saying that on Fox News, so she's hardly an objective source. Jones does serve up other purported examples, but they are responses to criticism, not necessarily actual "thin-skinned" behavior.

By contrast, Jones seems a little thin-skinned herself in an Aug. 12 CNS blog post in which she seemed to be weirdly offended by a pharmacy chain in Sweden -- whose policies have no effect on her whatsoever as an American -- planning to offer adhesive bandages for darker skin. Jones does note that "Adhesive bandages come in many colors and patterns in the United States; those designed for darker skin tones are also available online," though she didn't explicitly say whether that offended her as well.

Apparently, thin-skinnedness is bad only if you're a Democrat.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:51 AM EDT
Monday, August 17, 2015
WND Lets Gallups Deceive About Likening Obama to Antichrist
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Aug. 13 WorldNetDaily article by Cheryl Chumley promotes WND's favorite conspiracy theory -- that President Obama is the Antichrist -- by altering it a bit. It's now citing random evangelists who say "President Obama isn’t the Antichrist – but he sure is 'paving the way' for him."

Note this bit of slippery wording from Chumley on the part of WND author Carl Gallups:

As Carl Gallups, author of the newly released “Final Warning: Understanding the Trumpet Days of Revelation,” and co-author with Charl Van Wyk of the upcoming “Be Thou Prepared: Equipping the Church for the Persecution and Times of Trouble,” told Fox News Radio host Alan Colmes in a past interview: An antichrist spirit can be present in many.

He told Colmes: “I have never claimed to believe that Obama is the antichrist. However, I have said that Obama certainly displays an alarmingly powerful antichrist spirit.”

But in the December 2013 interview with Colmes in which Gallups made that claim, he was more emphatic, asserting that "I have never proclaimed that Obama's the antichrist." And that is simply a lie.

A July 2009 WND article by Joe Kovacs promoted a YouTube video by someone using the name "ppsimmons" who claimed that an interpretation of various Bible verses by plucking out words and translating back into Hebrew indicates that Obama is the Antichrist. 

As we now know, "ppsimmons" is a pseudonym for Gallups, though he was anonymous in that WND article. In it, the then-anonymous Gallups tried to create some plausible deniability for being linked to the video: “I’m not proclaiming he is the antichrist, or that I’m some kind of a Hebrew expert, but the word associations are indisputable. The Hebrew word for lightning is ‘Baraq’ and the word for heights or high places is ‘Bamah.’”

Well, actually, by making the video, Mr. Gallups, you are in fact proclaiming that Obama is the antichrist.

In his Colmes interview, Gallups tried to distance himself further from that video he made, declaring that "All I did was made the video presentation of that linguistic presentation that other people had discovered because it's thought-provoking, that's all." When Colmes called Gallups out on spreading the idea of Obama as the Antichrist, Gallups again insisted that he never claimed Obama is the Antichrist, only an antichrist, and he again refused to apologize for making the video.

Given that Gallups is also a birther and buddy of cold case posse chief Mike Zullo, it's in his interest to denigrate the president at every opportunity.

Gallups is a dishonest man who has no problem decieving and lying to promote his particular brand of hate. No wonder WND loves him.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:10 PM EDT
MRC Censors Ben Carson's Fetal Research
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is all over the secret, deceptively edited videos by anti-abortion activists regarding Planned Parenthood's use of fetal remains for research. The news that a Republican presidential candidate used fetal tissue in his research? Not so much.

In fact, the MRC has effectively censored the news that a medical study conducted in part by Ben Carson used fetal tissue. Further, Carson has defended his fetal-tissue research even as he has hypocritically joined in right-wing attacks on Planned Parenthood for providing fetal tissue for the kind of research he conducted.

You won't read about any of that at any MRC website, though. For instance, CNSNews.com prominently placed on its front page two articles attacking abortion and Planned Parenthood:

Neither article mentions Carson's fetal tissue research, even though that story broke the very same day those articles appeared. Nor has it reported on Carson's research in another article. It's as if CNS is trying to cover up the story.

Indeed, an Aug. 17 CNS article by Patrick Goodenough highlights how Carson "made an fervent case for talking about God" -- but, again, made no mention of Carson's fetal research.

Meanwhile, an Aug. 14 NewsBusters post by Claire Chretien complains that the Associated Press did an article noting that scientists have called fetal tissue essential for research, whining that the AP "promoted what might cure ailments, not what has." Chretien made no reference to Carson's fetal-tissue research -- nor has any other NewsBusters post.

The fact that the MRC is censoring the Carson fetal-research story tells us that the whole Planned Parenthood is not about fetal tissue used for research -- as the right-wing media keeps telling us -- but solely about trying to destroy a political enemy.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:03 AM EDT
Sunday, August 16, 2015
Clay Waters' NY Times Derangement Syndrome
Topic: Media Research Center

Oh, Clay Waters. What would we do without you? Have fewer posts, for one.

Waters spends a July 28 NewsBusters post doing what he strangely likes to do, complain that the New York Times labels conservatives as conservatives:

Jackie Calmes, one of the New York Times' most reliably pro-Democratic, Obama-supporting reporters, lit into the "conservative media" as leading the Republican Party to perdition in her Tuesday "Political Memo," "As the G.O.P. Base Clamors for Confrontation, Candidates Oblige."

Calmes' story was packed with labeling bias and dismissive, hostile portrayals of conservatives as angry, robotic followers of Rush Limbaugh and the like. There were an impressive 24 "conservative" labels in her 1,167-word story (almost beating the common conjunction "and," which appeared 29 times).

Wait -- it's "labeling bias" to accurate describe conservatives as conservatives? That's a new one.

This being the MRC, Waters doesn't actually bother to counter anything Calmes writes; he just complains that the mere fact it was written is an act of bias in itself. Check out this rant:

Calmes forwarded the liberal talking point of the conservative "echo chamber," though such a concept might apply more to liberals who get their news solely from the New York Times, MSNBC, or Comedy Central:

But spreading that notion is the conservative media, which has expanded in recent years, on air and online, to become many conservatives’ sole source of news, according to the Pew Research Center.

As opposed to liberals, who would never get their political talking points solely from Jon Stewart or MSNBC hosts like Rachel Maddow or Chris Hayes?

Of course, the goal of Calmes' article was not to make such a comparison -- it was to outline how the conservative media works. But Waters wants to district you from Calmes' valid observation -- and at no point does he deny that the conservative media echo chamber exists.

Waters' post is headlined "Anti-Conservative Hostility of the New York Times's Jackie Calmes Edges Toward Parody." Actually, it's Waters' hostility to the Times that has ventured well into parody territory.

Waters makes his Times derangement even more clear in a July 30 post railing at Calmes' report on the right-wing media for the Shorenstein Center at Harvard's Kennedy School, which Waters sneered was an "exhaustive 16,000-word report with the oh-so-objective title, ''They Don't Give a Damn about Governing' -- Conservative Media’s Influence on the Republican Party,' blaming the 'far right' for killing the moderate, pragmatic GOP, while dismissing the very idea of a liberal mainstream media."

In none of Waters' railing, however, does he attempt to contradict anything Calmes wrote, let alone her central thesis that the conservative media (of which Waters is a part), not the Republican Party, is driving the Republican agenda and pulling it rightward.

Waters was so incensed by Calmes' report that he devoted a second post to it, this time huffing that "Calmes offered a skewed history of talk radio, and saw the dark shadow of right-wing hate hovering over its birth."But beyond offering a more nuanced version of Father Charles Coughlin than Calmes did, Waters again never contradicts her central thesis or main conclusions.

The only message we can gather from all of Waters' ranting is that he thinks only conservatives should be allowed to analyze conservative media. Of course, his ranting shows he doesn't believe in the full logic of that stance: that conservatives have no business analyzing "liberal media." Such logic would put the MRC out of business, after all.

This is what the state of "media research" has become at the MRC these days.

P.S. Fun fact about Waters: Since losing his full-time gig as the MRC's professional Times-basher (he's now freelancing this stuff for NewsBusters), Waters has been writing Agatha Christie-inspired mysteries. Curiously, the list of other writing he does on his personal website makes no mention of his MRC work, though it links to his work at right-wing websites like PJ Media and National Review.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:29 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, August 16, 2015 7:55 PM EDT
Saturday, August 15, 2015
Bozell's Laughable Claim: Clinton Email Kerfuffle Is '100 Times More Serious' Than Watergate
Topic: Media Research Center

In an Aug. 12 NewsBusters post, Melissa Mullins mocked the Washington Post for reporting a poll finding that "Apparently, parenthood is so devastating that it’s even 'worse than divorce, worse than unemployment, and worse even than the death of a partner,'" calling it little more than "clickbait." But when the Media Research Center has a hyperbolic claim to make, clickbait is just fine.

The same day as Mullins' post, NewsBusters posted a clip of MRC chief Brent Bozell laughably asserting that the manufactured "scandal" over Hillary Clinton's private email server is "100 times more serious" than Watergate.

According to who? Based on what? Bozell never says what his metrics are or how he came up with the "100 times more serious" formulation. Here's the full quote from Bozell:

I go back to Nixon and the Watergate tape is 17 and a half minutes log long. His entire presidency was destroyed because of this. Now, compare that to what we're learning about Hillary Clinton. Which is 100 times more serious. And yet it was fixation on Nixon and no coverage of this woman and the great irony of course is that she was on the Watergate judiciary committee investigation of Richard Nixon.

So Bozell thinks Watergate was only about the erased tape? Really? Apparently he forgot all about the rest of the scandal -- attempted bugging of Democratic headquarters by Nixon's re-election campaign (starring Bozell buddy and domestic terrorist G. Gordon Liddy) and Nixon's direct knowledge of, and involvement in, covering up its involvement in that and other clandestine operations. While there was an 18 1/2-minute gap in the Nixon White House tapes (Bozell can't even get the number correct) later found to have been deliberately erased, the tapes also revealed Nixon helping to orchestrate a coverup of the Watergate break-in by having the CIA block the FBI from investigating it.

By contrast, Clinton has not been accused  of committing a criminal offense, let alone of covering one up. The only thing Bozell cites is alleged handling of classified documents on an allegedly insufficiently secure server; he rants that "the intelligence communities inspector general says that she's holding onto classified material." In fact, it's unclear whether that material was classified at the time it was being circulated, and that the IG is effectively calling for retroactive classification.

Yet somehow, in Bozell's Clinton Derangement Syndrome-infected mind, this is "100 times more serious" than Watergate.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:15 AM EDT
Friday, August 14, 2015
WND's Cashill Punts on Birtherism (When Applied to People Not Named Barack Obama)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Funny how the existence of Ted Cruz as a viable presidential candidate is making the most vocal Obama birthers -- like much of the staff at WorldNetDaily, from Joseph Farah on down -- incredibly eager to give up on birtherism entirely.

WND columnist Jack Cashill wasn't much of a birther -- choosing instead to concoct a conspiracy theory that Bill Ayers ghost-wrote Obama's first book -- but he was a birther. In a 2011 column, for instance, Cashill notes the alleged "technical anomalies" in Obama's then-newly released longform birth certificate, adding that "the sequence of events surrounding the abrupt and dramatic release of the document raises serious questions." He has also defended discredited birther Tim Adams, and he co-wrote a book by Terry Lakin, who carelessly threw his military career away in order to stand by his misguided birther beliefs.

In his Aug. 12 WND column, though, Cashill is showing an air of resignation about the whole birther thing because he knows he has to apply the same standard to Cruz, bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio --  who fail the birther definition of "natual born citizen," which applies only to children with two citizen parents -- and he certainly doesn't want to do that to the same level it has been applied to Obama.

Cashill laments that "even if Barack Obama had been born in Hawaii his status as a 'natural born citizen' is not a given," but he can't be bothered to make an argument either way anymore. Instead, he keeps throwing around the suggestion that Obama was not born in the U.S., even though he knows he can't prove it (and not mentioning that, as former cold case posse member Brian Reilly has noted, the state of Hawaii has issued a certified verification that Obama was born in Hawaii, which makes Cashill's questioning unnecessary):

In other words, if Obama were born in the United States, the courts would have had to determine if he was natural born, and they probably would have.

If he were born outside the United States, the courts would almost certainly have ruled against him.

As to Cruz, Rubio and Jindal, the courts would likely rule in favor of all three of them, Jindal’s case being the weakest and Cruz’s, despite his Canadian birth, quite possibly the strongest.

To insist at this stage that none of them is eligible is pure supposition, but one that has the full blessing of the Democratic National Committee.

Of course, Cashill offers no evidence that there is any major movement, let alone one promoted by the DNC, to have Cruz, Jindal or Rubio declared ineligible, let alone anything close to the WND-led anti-Obama birther campaign.

So, in the end, Cashill is just another cowardly birther jumping ship in order to avoid having to apply the same standard to Republican presidential candidates with the same fervor it was applied to Obama, proving yet again that birtherism was never about the Constitution and was only about hatred of Obama.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:46 AM EDT
Thursday, August 13, 2015
WND Perpetuates More Lies About Margaret Sanger
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The ConWeb's lies about Margaret Sanger keep piling up. An Aug. 10 WorldNetDaily article approving quotes WND author Paul Kengor pushing the latest smear:

It may be uncomfortable for fans of Planned Parenthood, but it’s true – Margaret Sanger, the legendary birth control activist, was a racial eugenicist who once spoke before the Ku Klux Klan.

The evidence is right there in her own memoir, according to Paul Kengor.

“These are the kind of great lengths to which liberals go to ignore the writings of their own icons,” said Kengor, a professor and author of “Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage.” “Pages 366 and 367 of her memoirs, published by a top New York publishing house, she talks about her 1926 speech to the Silver Lake, New Jersey, women’s chapter of the KKK. That’s right – Margaret Sanger spoke to the KKK.”

In an interview with WND, Kengor recounted Sanger’s KKK experience as documented in her memoir.

“She describes the white hoods that come through, the flaming crosses that come through,” Kengor recalled. “Then she gets up and speaks, and she spoke for so long and was such a hit that she didn’t get finished until late at night. She also said a whole bunch of additional offers to speak were proffered by her enthusiastic audience, and she finished so late that she missed the train to go back to New York. She had to spend the night there.

“And people might wonder, why would the KKK invite Margaret Sanger? Because Margaret Sanger was a racial eugenicist. She spoke openly of race improvement.”

Actually, Sanger's autobiography says something much different about that KKK speech than Kengor does. She called it "one of the weirdest experiences I had in lecturing" and -- contrary to Kengor's claim that her audience was "enthusiastic," Sanger wrote that she feared if she "uttered one word, such as abortion, outside the usual vocabulary of these women they would go off into hysteria." Sanger suggests it was conversations after the speech, not the speech itself, that kept her from making the last train to New York, and that was because a local curfew "everything" in the town "shut at nine o'click."

From pages 366 and 367 of Sanger's autobiography:

All the world over, in Penang and Skagway, in El Paso and Helsingfors, I have found women's psychology in the matter of child-bearing essentially the same, no matter what the class, religion, or economic status. Always to me any aroused group was a good group, and therefore I accepted an invitation to talk to the women's branch of the Ku Klux Klan at Silver Lake, New Jersey, one of the weirdest experiences I had in lecturing.

My letter of instruction told me what train to take, to walk from the station two blocks straight ahead, then two to the left. I would see a sedan parked in front of a restaurant. If I wished I could have ten minutes for a cup of coffee or bite to eat, because no supper would be served later.

I obeyed orders implicitly, walked the blocks, saw the car, found the restaurant, went in and ordered some cocoa, stayed my allotted ten minutes, then approached the car hesitatingly and spoke to the driver. I received no reply. She might have been totally deaf as far as I was concerned. Mustering up my courage, I climbed in and settled back. Without a turn of the head, a smile, or a word to let me know I was right, she stepped on the self-starter. For fifteen minutes we wound around the streets. It must have been towards six in the afternoon. We took this lonely lane and that through the woods, and an hour later pulled up in a vacant space near a body of water beside a large,
unpainted, barnish building.

My driver got out, talked with several other women, then said to me severely, "Wait here. We will come for you." She disappeared. More cars buzzed up the dusty road into the parking place. Occasionally men dropped wives who walked hurriedly and silently within. This went on mystically until night closed down and I was alone in the dark. A few gleams came through chinks in the window curtains. Even though it was May, I grew chillier and chillier.

After three hours I was summoned at last and entered a bright corridor filled with wraps. As someone came out of the hall I saw through the door dim figures parading with banners and illuminated crosses. I waited another twenty minutes. It was warmer and I did not mind so much. Eventually the lights were switched on, the audience seated itself, and I was escorted to the platform, was introduced, and began to speak.

Never before had I looked into a sea of faces like these. I was sure that if I uttered one word, such as abortion, outside the usual vocabulary of these women they would go off into hysteria. And so my address that night had to be in the most elementary terms, as though I were trying to make children understand.

In the end, through simple illustrations I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered. The conversation went on and on, and when we were finally through it was too late to return to New York. Under a curfew law everything in Silver Lake shut at nine o'clock. I could not even send a telegram to let my family know whether I had been thrown in the river or was being held incommunicado. It was nearly one before I reached Trenton, and I spent the night in a hotel.

Further, as PolitiFact points out, the women's division of the KKK was not the KKK itself, and biographers note that Sanger was never a supporter of the KKK or even a racist. PolitiFact mentions a writer critical of the eugenics movement Sanger was involved in in the 1920s admits that Sanger was not racist or anti-Semitic.

In addition to their false framing of Sanger as a Klan sympathizer, Kengor's and WND's obsession with smearing Sanger by linking her to the KKK ignores a major bit of historical context: the KKK was a pretty mainstream organization in the 1920s, if still clandestine. One might even call it a conservative group, to hear one description of the Klan at that time:

The Klan promoted fundamentalism and devout patriotism along with advocating white supremacy. They blasted bootleggers, motion pictures and espoused a return to "clean" living. Appealing to folks uncomfortable with the shifting nature of America from a rural agricultural society to an urban industrial nation, the Klan attacked the elite, urbanites and intellectuals.

Their message struck a cord, and membership in the Klan ballooned in the 1920s. By the middle of the decade, estimates for national membership in this secret organization ranged from three million to as high as eight million Klansmen. And membership was not limited to the poor and uneducated on society's fringes. Mainstream, middle-class Americans donned the white robes of the Klan too. Doctors, lawyers and ministers became loyal supporters of the KKK. In Ohio alone their ranks surged to 300,000. Even northeastern states were not immune. In Pennsylvania, membership reached 200,000. The Klan remained a clandestine society, but it was by no means isolated or marginalized.

But you can't libel the dead, so WND lets the smears continue. The article goes on to quote WND columnist Jesse Lee Peterson falsely claiming that Sanger "was a hardcore racist who hated black Americans."


Posted by Terry K. at 8:47 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
NewsBusters Blogger, Newly Hired CNN Commentator Goes Godwin
Topic: NewsBusters

Jeffrey Lord spent his Aug. 8 NewsBusters post bragging about how CNN just hired him as an analyst and that is happy to promote his "legitimate conservative" views on the network.

Apparently, it's a "legitimate conservative" view to smear people as Nazis.

As Media Matters notes, Lord used a column at the right-wing American Spectator to go Godwin big time, claiming that Donald Trump's critics are engaging in a "Goebbelsesque Big Lie technique" by criticizing Trump's recent "blood" remarks about Fox News debate moderator Megyn Kelly. He calls it "a plu-perfect example of the insight of Hitler's Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels" and adds in case anyone missed the point, "This is -- there is no other word for it -- a Goebbels-esque lie."

Lord has a history of dubious ranting, whether it be getting fooled by a fake Twitter account for Seth Rogen or making false claims about an Obama adminstraton appointee or insisting (then doubling down on his insistence) that a black man beaten to death in segregation-era Georgia wasn't technically "lynched" because his assailants didn't hang him and there weren't enough of them to form a proper mob.

This is who CNN hired as a commentator. And this is who NewsBusters has hired as one of its "star" bloggers.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:50 PM EDT
Newsmax Is Still Giving A Forum to Anti-Vaxxers
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax has long been a promoter of the anti-vaccine movement. And despite the fact that anti-vaxxers have been discredited, that promotion will continue.

An Aug. 4 Newsmax Health article by Sylvia Booth Hubbard touts Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s conspiratorial claim that "money is the reason Congress is delaying hearings on accusations that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hid a link between the mumps, measles, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism," because the pharmceutial industry's lobbying dollars "buys a lot of influence." Hubbard continues:

Republican Florida Rep. Bill Posey has called on his colleagues to investigate charges that the CDC covered up data that showing a strong link between autism and the MMR vaccine.

Rep. Posey referred to last summer's admission by Dr. William Thompson, a senior epidemiologist at the CDC, that he helped the CDC hide data that showed giving a child the vaccine before the age of 36 months increased the risk of autism by 69 percent, and giving it to an African-American child increased the risk of autism by 240 percent. So far, Congress has refused to hold hearings.

"The CDC scheduled meetings to try to destroy the documents that demonstrated children were getting autism from the vaccine by literally dumping them in a trashcan," Kennedy charged."Congress only seems to act when a congress person has been affected directly by vaccine injury."

In fact, there is no such conspiracy (which Newsmax doesn't even get correct -- the claim was that there was a 340 percent increased risk of autism among African-American boys). As ScienceBlogs details about the purportedly suppressed data promoted by Thompson and fellow anti-vaxxer Brian Hooker:

[T]here’s no biologically plausible reason why there would be an effect observed in African-Americans but no other race and, more specifically than that, in African-American males. In the discussion, Hooker does a bunch of handwaving about lower vitamin D levels and the like in African American boys, but there really isn’t a biologically plausible mechanism to account for his observation, suggesting that it’s probably spurious. Finally, even if Destefano et al is thrown out, it’s just one study. There are multiple other studies, many much larger than this one, that failed to find a correlation between MMR and autism.

[...]

Even if Hooker is “right,” he has just undermined the MMR-autism hypothesis and proven Wakefield wrong, with the possible (and unlikely) exception of a single group, African American males. Given the dubiousness of his analysis and background, he hasn’t even demonstrated it for them, either, particularly given the copious other studies that have failed to find a correlation between MMR and autism. What he has done, apparently, is found grist for a perfect conspiracy theory to demonize the CDC, play the race card in a truly despicable fashion, and cast fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the CDC vaccination program, knowing that most of the white antivaccine activists who support hate the CDC so much that they won’t notice that even Hooker’s reanalysis doesn’t support their belief that vaccines caused the autism in their children.

Hubbard makes sure to note that "Kennedy says he isn't anti-vaccine," but the fact that he's promoting a discredited anti-vaccine conspiracy theory suggests otherwise.

(h/t Dr. Lee Hieb, an anti-vaxxer who thought we wouldn't write about this because Newsmax featured RFK Jr.)

(Image: UC-Berkeley)


Posted by Terry K. at 8:49 AM EDT
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Did Right-Wing Filmmakers Buy Favorable Coverage From MRC? It Appears So
Topic: Media Research Center

Last year, we highlighted how the Media Research Center was effectively serving as a public relations agent for right-wing filmmaker Phelim McAleer, not only promoting a campaign to raise money for McAleer's proposed film about rogue abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell but also promoting a costly billboard McAleer petulantly bought to bash a crowdfunding site that kicking him off while not asking the question of why he needs funding for his film when he is apparently not hurting for funds.

Turns out we were more right than we knew.

An Aug. 8 MRC email touts McAleer and his wife, Ann McElhinney, as the latest "fantastic speakers" added to next year's MRC junket -- er, Caribbean cruise. The email notes what "Ann and Phelim said about the upcoming MRC cruise": 

“We’ve had the privilege of working with Brent Bozell and his team to promote our movie about the crimes of Dr. Gosnell. We’ve never been around a more dedicated team of professionals. When they commit to something, they do it right. So we expect nothing but the best on this cruise.”

Here's a screenshot of the statement from the email:

That looks to us like an admission that those MRC posts on McAleer's fundraising campaign were at least done on McAleer's request, if not actually paid for by McAleer -- something that the MRC never disclosed to its readers.

And that's not all: At the same time the MRC was publishing those articles last year at McAleer's behest if not his subsidy, Terry Jeffrey, editor in chief of the MRC's "news" division, CNS News.com, conducted a 13-minute video interview with McAleer that was set up to promote his Gosnell crowdfunding project. As one might expect inan interview where the subject is paying for the microphone, Jeffrey tosses softball after softball and doesn't challenge anything McAleer says. Jeffrey laughably asks how McAleer's funding his film when, as we now know, he knows perfectly well how it's being done and he's being paid to help raise that money.

Jeffrey also emphasized that McAleer will be making a "factually accurate, true-to-life dramatization" of the Gosnell case, even though McAleer has a history of distorting facts in their previous work.

Demonstrating that all of CNS' "news" managers were in on the deal, managing editor Michael W. Chapman wrote an article touting how a couple of has-been right-wing actors "call upon viewers to donate to gosnellmovie.com, a proposed documentary on Gosnell by filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney."

Neither Jeffrey nor Chapman disclose that their promotions were done with the full cooperation, and possibly the money, of McAleer.

If a "liberal media" outlet had committed this severe breach of journliastic ethics, the MRC would be screaming bloody murder. But the MRC has never been interested in holding itself to the standards it demands that others follow.

Combined with recent allegations that Donald Trump is paying Breitbart.com for favorable coverage, this sort of apparent pay-for-play isn't making the right-wing media look good.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:00 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, August 11, 2015 9:21 PM EDT
Newsmax Attacks Fox Anchor on Trump's Behalf, Finds Haters To Back It Up
Topic: Newsmax

Already heavily in the tank for Donald Trump, Newsmax does the billionaire's bidding once again with a smear piece on Trump's new bete noire, Fox News' Megyn Kelly.

Reading like something sent straight from Trump oppo research, an Aug. 9 article by Greg Richter recounts a 2010 interview Kelly did in which she was "rollicking with Howard Stern, discussing her breasts and her husband's penis size and engaging in some graphic sex talk." This, Richter posits, makes Kelly a hypocrite for being "turned off by Donald Trump’s sexist remarks."

Richter then digs up, of all people, Walid Shoebat to pile on Kelly for talking to Stern, highlighting a blog post in which Shoebat and his son Theodore highlight the Stern interview and declare that "Meghan [sic] Kelly is a wretch and a vulgar low life."

Walid Shoebat, as we know, has made a career out of claiming to be a reformed Palestinian terrorist-turned-far-right Christian, though evidence of any actual terrorist acts committed by Shoebat is scant at best. WorldNetDaily has allowed Shoebat to peddle dubious and false anti-Muslim claims.

Theodore Shoebat, meanwhile, is a rabid homophobe who advocates executing gays as well as anyone who issues "opinions expressed in favor for homosexuality."

This is who Newsmax thinks is a good character reference for Trump and a credible critic of Kelly. That's how far in the tank Newsmax is for Trump.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:53 AM EDT

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