Topic: The ConWeb
Just as it did when an abortion doctor was murdered in 2009, the ConWeb rushes to spin away a fatal shooting spree inside a Planned Parenthood clinic. Read more >>
Monday, January 18, 2016
WND's Farah Denies It's Promoting Cruz Birther Debate (While Still Promoting Obama Birtherism)
WorldNetDaily has been dragged kicking and screaming into the Cruz birther story. now, it's effectively being forced to take a stand.
Joseph Farah spends his Jan. 15 column ranting about a Daily Beast article linking WND to Cruz birtherism. Farah does have a point for once, despite his notoriously thin skin; the Daily Beast does falsely portray WND's perfunctory reporting on Cruz birtherism as support for it, ignoring that WND has adamantly refused to treat Cruz birther like it did Obama birtherism -- namely, admit that by its own standards Cruz is as ineligible to be president as it claims Obama is.
Then, Farah rants about how far he's running from Cruz birtherism -- and still perpetuates Obama birther lies:
Farah's lying when he claims Obama didn't release his birth certificate while running for president; Obama released a certificate of live birth, which is what Hawaii routinely issued and which is legally binding, no matter how much WND has claimed otherwise. The issue became a "national joke" in part because of WND's obsession with it and refusal to publish any evidence that discredits its birther conspiracies.
Farah, it seems, just can't stop lying about how much of a (Obama) birther he is:
As we point out every time Farah tells this lie, Farah has at least twice promoted a discredited claim that Obama's grandmother said he was born in Kenya -- not to mention WND's embrace of a fake Obama "birth certificate" claiming he was born in Kenya.
Farah also takes offense to something else the Daily Beast suggests, that WND's publication and promotion of a new book by Rafael Cruz, Ted Cruz's father, is an expression of support for Cruz's candidacy; he huffs that "my motives are impugned." Given that Farah's refusal to apply Obama birtherism to Cruz birtherism is a clear indication that his motive in Obama birtherism was to destroy him instead of enforce the Constitution, there's good reason to question, and impugn, Farah's motives.
Finally, Farah's ranting about how unfair the Daily Beast article is -- although he does have a point -- is rather rich considering WND's own abysmal journalistic standards. What goes around comes around.
And throughout all of this, Farah refuses to admit the obvious: that by WND's own Obama birther standards, Cruz is not eligible, or that two years ago he declared that he didn't think Cruz was eligible. Talk about dishonest.
Sunday, January 17, 2016
MRC's Lame Attack On Andrea Mitchell
Topic: Media Research Center
Rich Noyes' Jan. 17 Media Research Center attack, as it were, on Andrea Mitchell starts this way:
There's a couple things wrong with Noyes' approach, however. First, all of his clips of Mitchell are taken out of context, so it's impossible for anyone to tell whether the clips actually say what Noyes says they say.
Second, there's plenty of reason to doubt Noyes' interpretation because he ascribes emotions to Mitchell he cannot possibly know. At various points, according to Noyes, Mitchell "fawned" and "fretted" over, "chirped" and "crowed" about and "salute[d]" Hillary and "felt Hillary's pain."
None of this is "media research," by the way. Noyes is simply making stuff up, allowing his (and his employer's) right-wing bias to color his work. Actual research involves documentable facts; Noyes is simply issuing opinions.
Noyes doesn't mention that Rove didn't just "suggest" that Hillary was "physically unfit," he actively pushed the idea that she has brain damage. He also doesn't mention that Rove's political operative-style smear -- for which Fox News praised him as a "evil genius" -- was denounced by none other than MRC fave right-wing radio host Mark Levin. Which means that Mitchell and Levin are on the same page.
Noyes is so desperate to attack anything remotely resembling "liberal media" that he doesn't care about intellectual or factual consistency. That's "media research" at the MRC these days.
Anti-Gay WND Columnist Misrepresents Court Ruling Against Conversion Therapy
Linda Harvey's Jan. 12 WorldNetDaily column is mostly her usual anti-gay claptrap -- this time her theme is, "When will America stop giving homosexuals everything they demand, even when others are placed at risk?" One part of it is this:
Harvey doesn't explain why JONAH deserves a "First Amendment, religious-freedom defense" for a consumer fraud case -- perhaps because there is no such thing. And defending their conversion-therapy practice as something legitimate and successful was something JONAH did a bad job doing. According to the Jewish news website the Tablet:
And Harvey hides the fact that at least one client did, in fact, claim harm from JONAH's procedures. The Forward reported:
And as Newsweek reported -- but Harvey won't -- Goldberg presented himself as "Dr. Goldberg" though he held no medical degree and his only advanced degree was in law (and he was disbarred after being sentenced to prison for his role in a municipal-bond scandal). JONAH's practices went unnoticed for years because 1) JONAH catered to orthodox and ultra-orthodox Jewish communities where homosexuality is frowned upon, and 2) therapy participants are forced to sign nondisclosure agreements.
So, yeah, more anti-gay claptrap from Harvey. It doesn't really help WND's attempt to be more mainstream (see its tamping down the birtherism and its support for militia takeovers) that Harvey is still a columnist.
Saturday, January 16, 2016
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch, Supersize WorldNetDaily Edition
-- Ted Nugent, Dec. 16 WorldNetDaily column
-- Mychal Massie, Dec. 21 WND column
-- L:arry Klayman, Dec. 25 WND column
-- Burt Prelutsky, Dec. 31 WND column
-- Jack Kerwick, quoted by Ilana Mercer, Dec. 31 WND column
-- Ted Nugent, Jan. 6 WND column
-- Erik Rush, Jan. 6 WND column
-- Bradlee Dean, Jan. 7 WND column
-- Larry Klayman, Jan. 8 WND column
-- Ted Nugent, Jan. 13 WND column
Friday, January 15, 2016
MRC Loves Fox-Hosted Debate, Because Of Course It Would
Topic: Media Research Center
We've documented how the Media Research Center demanded that that Fox News right-wingers host Republican presidential debates and they got their wish -- which meant a lot of tongue-biting when Fox News' Megyn Kelly suddenly started acting like a real journalist and challenged the candidates. But then Fox Business was given a debate and it stuck to the GOP script and Brent Bozell was happy again.
Well, Fox Business got to hold another Republican debate. Since it knows who butters its bread, it again stuck to the GOP script and got its cookie -- er, praise.
Not that there wasn't a tense moment or two. MRC chief Brent Bozell tweeted at one point during the debate, "Again tonight, the Fox anchors are not avoiding the topics the liberal media would pick. Suggesting GOP is extreme, even."
Bozell seems not to understand that if biased right-wingers are bringing up a "liberal media" issue, maybe it's not really a "liberal madia" issue.
But the Fox Business moderators more than made up for it by showing their right-wing bias. NewsBusters' Ken Shepherd cheered Maria Bartiromo's "great question" about Bernie Sanders, in reality a softball to set up right-wing talking points: "So what does it say about our country that a candidate who is a self-avowed socialist and who doesn't think a 90 percent tax rate is too high, could be the Democratic nominee?"
Meanwhile, Bozell and the MRC gave a complete pass to moderator Neil Cavuto bizarrely suggesting that the 2008 financial crisis started under President Obama, not Republican President George W. Bush.
Having thus pandered to the right-wingers, the Fox Business moderators got back into Bozell's good graces, dedicating three full tweets to slobbering over how well it went: "My congratulations to tonight....well done, my friend, well done. Yours was the best of them all tonight. It was riveting."
Bozell would like to keep appearing on Fox News and Fox Business, after all.
UPDATE: Bozell was undoubtedly happy that Ted Cruz went into media-bashing mode, dismissing a New York Times article exposing Ted Cruz's failure to disclose a campaign loan he received through Goldman Sachs as a "hit piece." So much so, we're guessing, that the MRC's Curtis Houck dutifully transcribed it while refusing to dispute any aspect of the Times story.
WND Cheerleads For DDT Return To Kill (DDT-Resistant) Bedbugs
The ConWeb is unduly fond of DDT, thinking that reversing its ban would solve all our problems. WorldNetDaily is part of that DDT mob. In an unbylined Jan. 10 article about how hard it is to kill bedbugs, WND includes this line:
Actually, the "environmental fears" about DDT are very real -- DDT persists in the environment and damages wildlife, particularly fish. Whether it's "relatively safe for humans" is beside the point.
The WND article also has a misleading headline: 'Invasion of the KILLER bedbugs." But bedbugs don't kill -- though, as the article notes, people have been killed in attempting to eradicate the pesky bugs.
Thursday, January 14, 2016
The Hateful Gainor: MRC Official Pens Anti-Tarantino Screed
Topic: Media Research Center
Roger Ebert he ain't.
Media Research Center official Dan Gainor begins his Jan. 13 purported review of the new Quentin Tarantino film "The Hateful Eight" in mean-spirited style: "Spoiler Warning: If your life is so dull that you want to waste three hours of it watching this awful movie, this article reveals some key details."
Gainor does indeed spoil the film's ending for no good reason. Rather than serving up an actual review, he looks at the film as a right-wing apparatchik would, documented all the instances of violence in it (as if Tarantino didn't have a sufficient enough track record that this would surprise people), sniffing, "It’s 'Ten Little Indians' for sociopaths and sadists. A snuff film with big name stars."
Gainor spends a good part of his so-called review attacking Tatantino personally for committing the one thing that's even more offensive to Gainor than making violent movies: supporting gun control.
Gainor concludes: "Tarantino clearly aimed for shock, but settled on schlock. And the only people he seems really hateful toward, other than police and conservatives, are his viewers." Well, Gainor certainly does know hate, having spewed it throughout his so-called review.
WND Grows Bored With Oregon Rancher Militia Standoff
In 2014, WorldNetDaily was all over the Cliven Bundy ranch standoff and stood by him even after he proved to be kind of a racist and his standoff attracted thuggish militia members, one of whom was plotting to use women as human shields for the militia thugs.
Fast forward to this month, where a new standoff involving ranchers agitating against the federal government -- and led by one of Bundy's sons -- is taking place with the illegal occupation of a wildlife refuge office. And WND doesn't seem that interested in it.
Oh, it was at first, pounding out a bunch of articles about it. An unbylined article purported to recount "the story behind the Oregon armed standoff," whitewashing the deeds of the ranchers purportedly being defended by the militia in Oregon, Dwight and Steven Hammond, whose resentencing on arson charges to follow mandatory minimum sentences as at the center of the dispute. WND uncritically repeated spin that a 2001 fire started by the Hammonds was started "on their property" and merely "ran off the Hammond land." In fact, as prosecutors pointed out:
Bob Unruh followed with an article with a skewed view of the situation as told by the only person he apparently interviewed, a representative of the right-wing Pacific Legal Foundation, who sneered that those critical of the ranchers were merely "sipping lattes" and those who support the government's ownership interests in the land are "green groupies."
There were a couple other stories as well, one touting a "case for civil disobedience in Oregon" and, perhaps more tellingly, an article highlighting that the Hammonds do not support the armed standoff and the head of another militia group declining to join in the standoff because of it.
And then, not much else. Near as we can tell, the last original article WND dedicated to the standoff was on Jan. 5. It published an article from the right-wing Daily Signal on the standoff on Jan. 9 (making sure to note that it was "with permission," because we know WND's record on content theft), and a Jan. 7 column by Ilana Mercer touted the ranchers' purported heroic qualities, but that's been pretty much it.
Why the change? Perhaps because WND is trying to promote itself as "the largest Chrtistian website in the world" and the armed takeover of someone else's property (even if it is the government's) is not exactly in keeping with Christian principles.
WND is also trying to get politicians to advertise on its website -- it even did an article earlier this week begging for ads and insisting that "you can’t afford to ignore the WND audience that can give you the edge over your opponent. Endorsing an takeover by armed terrorists is not something most politicians aren't down with.
These are also arguably the reasons WND is downplaying the Cruz birther case, even though it was a little over two years ago that WND editor Joseph Farah declared that he didn't think Cruz was eligible to be president (or Marco Rubio, for that matter).
It appears that WND is trying to tamp down its conspiratorial tendencies in order to attract (slightly) more mainstream advertisers. But given how throughly WND destroyed any shred of credibility it might have had trying to ruin Barack Obama, that's a tough task.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
CNS' Laughably Twisted Coverage of Obama's State of the Union Address
In a year-end fundraising email, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell declared that his "news" division, CNSNews.com "exist[s] to lead by example." It's setting an example, all right -- of how to twist and distort a story for maximum right-wing bias.
Take a look at the two original articles CNS generated on President Obama's State of the Union speech. The first, credited anonymously to "CNSNews.com Staff," requires a full three ellipses to cobble together a supposedly inflammatory quote: "Obama Applauds: ‘Voices That Help Us See Ourselves…Not as Gay or Straight…But…Bound by a Common Creed’."
The apparent point of the article is outrage that Obama would describe gays as anything remotely equal to conservatives, since that's a violation of CNS' anti-gay agenda.
This anonymous writer -- why would CNS hide who the person is, since the entire staff seems to be quite proud of its hatred for gays -- is joined by an on-the-record writer, morning managing editor Susan Jones, who serves up a blog post that portrays things she thinks she heard in Obama's speech -- but weren't actually said -- as fact:
Reminder: Jones, as a managing editor, handles actual news copy. Thus, she is leading by example -- though not the one boss Bozell wants to think she's setting.
WND Author Pens Another Anti-Education Screed
Newman rants against the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act, but he never says exactly what he objects to,other than a kneejerk assumption that beausae it comes from the Obama administration, it must be bad.Despite his utter lack of evidence, Newman insists that the law is "yet another 1,061-page reason to yank their children out of government schools immediately. As if more reasons were really needed." Newman goes on to twist the most innocent statements into something out of context and, thus nefarious. For instance:
Newman goes on to rhapsodize about homeschooling: "From much better academics and socialization to better college and employment prospects, homeschoolers literally have all of the advantages." Well, not necessarily; WND has defended many terrible homeschoolers over the years.
Newman concludes: "In short: Homeschool or die!" He makes sure not to mention that sometimes you get both.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
CNS' Starr Keeps On Shilling For The Oil Industry
We've detailed how fossil-fuel purveyors like ExxonMobil and T. Boone Pickens have donated generously to the Media Research Center, and how Penny Starr, reporter for MRC division CNSNews.com, has served as a loyal stenographer for those interests, paraticularly the American Petroleum Institute.
Starr performs her API stenography duty again in a Jan. 5 article uncritically promoting how, at a press conference, "American Petroleum Institute president and CEO Jack Gerard said Tuesday that federal government data show the United States will continue to rely on fossil fuels as its main source of energy for decades to come, despite efforts by environmentalists to work toward a goal of banning them." Starr went on to highlight how "Gerard said the U.S. was the world’s leader in gas and oil production while also leading the world in carbon reductions – thanks, in part, to increased production of fossil fuels, specifically liquefied natural gas (LNG)."
Despite the fact that the CNS mission statement claims that it "endeavors to fairly present all legitimate sides of a story," Starr quotes nobody else in her article except Gerard.
In other words, Starr's "news" article is no different in content and tone than an API press release. Given how often she fawningly writes about the lobbying organization, Starr may actually be on the API payroll for all we (and her readers) know.
WND's Birthers Mostly AWOL On Cruz Birther Case
For the past couple of years, WorldNetDaily -- the go-to outlet for Obama birthers needing a job -- has been aggressively avoiding talking about the eligibility of Ted Cruz for president. WND supports Cruz's campaign, after all; its refusal to apply to Cruz the constitutional principles it claimed it was applying to Obama demonstrates that the Obama birther campaign was all about personal destruction.
Now that the Cruz birther issue has blown up thanks to Donald Trump (WND's man of the year) pushing it, WND is far behind the curve.
A Jan. 7 WND article by Bob Unruh features John McCain throwing Cruz under the bus by perpetuating the issue, but he very carefully avoids mentioning the fact that the extremely narrow definition of "natural born citizen" WND has applied to Obama for years to prove Obama isn't eligible would render Cruz ineligible as well.
No mention of Vattel or Minor v. Happersett, the authorities WND previoiusly relied on for its "natural born citizen" definition. Instead, Unruh lamented thatthe Constitution "doesn't define 'natural born citizen,' and the Supreme Court has never clarified it," and asserted that "most modern-day legal analysts" say Cruz is eligible (but didn't mention that, by definition, Obama is also eligible).
Then two big birther stories broke over the weekend -- it was reported that Cruz's mother appeared on a list of Canadian citizens eligible to vote in the country four years after Cruz's birth, followed by the Cruz campaign releasing the birth certificate of the mother. These would be huge stories at WND had they involved Obama; instead, WND published only a brief summary about the birth certificate it stole from Breitbart, and it censored the voter-list story completely.
The only birther-related thing WND did all weekend was a column by Larry Klayman declaring that neither Cruz nor Marco Rubio are eligible (and, yes he does invoke Vattel and Minor v. Happersett). But he also declared that "Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim under Shariah law thanks to his Muslim father" and called Cruz and Rubio "Cuban-American pale faces." WND has not promoted Klayman's declaration anywhere else on its website.
A Jan. 11 WND article by Douglas Ernst took a weird tangent, featuring aconstitutional law professor questioning Cruz's eligibility followed by Rush Limbaugh deffending Cruz: "It’s settled. Cruz’s mother was a citizen. Therefore, he is. Deal with it!" Again, no mention of the precedents WND cited to declare Obama ineligible, or the fact that WND had previously proudly proclaimed that Limbaugh is a birther -- which would seem to run counter to his current insistence that Cruz is eligible.
WND is still clearly afraid to do much with the Cruz birther story, lest its blatant hypocrisy on the issue be further exposed. A sad state for a "news" organization that purports to be "dedicated to uncompromising journalism" and proclaims itself as "the new American gold standard for news."
UPDATE: One more thing we forgot to note. Unruh wrote that "Trump also had supported questions into Obama’s eligibility back in the day, even opennig the door to the idea Obama was born in Kenya and his birth registered in Hawaii to allow him the advantages of American citizenship." But he didn't mention that WND was advising Trump on birther issues at the time.
Unruh doesn't mention what contact WND has had with Trump regarding Cruz birther issues.
Monday, January 11, 2016
NEW ARTICLE -- Slanties 2016: The Slant Awakens
Topic: The ConWeb
There aren't many stars, but there's definitely a war going on in the ConWeb, with the usual misinformation and wackiness that entails. It's time once again to recognize their efforts. Read more >>
WND Quietly Deletes Article Falsely Claiming Hillary Says She Hates Israel
WorldNetDaily is the worst "news" organization in America, and its abysmal editing standards are just one reason.
On Jan. 10, WND posted an article with the provocative headline "New Hillary email dump: 'I hate Israel'."WND's implication -- that Hillary Clinton is on record as saying she hates Israel -- would be news if not true. But it's not. The article, poorly written as it is, doesn't even support the headline.
The unbylined article tries to desperately to claim that it's "an explosive development" that Clinton received emails from adviser and friend Sidney Blumenthal. The lead paragraph asserts that "Hillary Clinton’s emails reveal the front-running Democrat for president received communications that say 'I hate Israel' from the son of her most trusted adviser," but that's not true either.
WND eventually explains that Blumenthal had emailed copies of articles written by his son, Max Blumenthal, that came from a book he wrote that, in WND's words, was "a widely criticized and rabidly anti-Semitic volume that castigated Israeli policies." WND offers no evidence to back up its claim beyond noting that "The Nation’s media editor Eric Alterman referred to it as the 'I Hate Israel handbook.'"
And that's where the "I hate Israel" quote comes from -- not from Clinton, not even from Blumenthal or his son, but from a critic of Max Blumenthal that may or may not have applied to the specific pieces sent Clinton's way.
WND loves to play fast and loose with the facts, but any student editor would have done a much better job handling this piece than WND did.
WND seems to have recognized this, if only after the fact -- the article was quietly deleted from WND not long after it was posted (though it was live long enough to accumulate at least 23 reader comments). It's still available in Google cache. WND has not offered a public explanation of why, let alone who wrote and edited the article or whether it will publicly apologize to Clinton for putting words into her mouth.
Here's the entire content of WND's deleted article:
We've asked WND editor Joseph Farah for an explanation of the editing process that allowed such a flawed, poorly written article to be published. We'll print his response if he chooses to provide one.
Buy through this Amazon link and support ConWebWatch!
Accuracy in Media
Capital Research Center
Free Congress Foundation
Media Research Center
The Daily Les
Western Journalism Center
Support Bloggers' Rights!