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Friday, December 14, 2007
WND Explains Away Shooter's Homeschooling History
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Remember when we predicted that WorldNetDaily, having finally conceded the fact that Colorado church shooter Matthew Murray was homeschooled, would endeavor to explain it away to protect homeschoolers? It has begun.

A Dec. 14 WND article plays up the claim that Murray "apparently boasted in an e-mail that he had discovered and practiced the teachings of controversial British occultist Aleister Crowley, called during his lifetime 'the wickedest man in the world.'" WND even tacitly admits its motive in doing this article:

Pastor Joe Schimmel told WND he recalled the October e-mail when he read the postings, included in WND stories, attributed to Murray. He said he thinks it's important for people to know what the attacker himself was feeling and thinking prior to his homicidal attack, especially since he's been described in the media as a homeschooled student from a religious family.

[...]

"What he really is, is a Satanist, subscribing to the teachings of Aleister Crowley," said Schimmel, who told WND other leaders in the Crowley image have included Timothy O'Leary and Alfred Kinsey.

Alfred Kinsey was a Satanist? Look for Judith Reisman to start reciting this as fact soon.

WND ties this story in with today's opt-in poll, which asks, "Who do you think is the 'wickedest man on Earth' today?" Leading the poll at this point are George Soros and Hillary Clinton, who are both far ahead of Osama bin Laden. Insert your own joke about WND's target audience here.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:04 AM EST
Cashill Whitewashes Kline Scandal
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Dec. 13 WorldNetDaily column by Jack Cashill had a goal of whitewashing allegations against Phill Kline, the anti-abortion activist and former Kansas attorney general now working as district attorney in Johnson County, Kansas. If only it weren't for those meddling facts.

Cashill writes of the investigation of Kline done by Kansas City TV station KCTV:

The KCTV-5 staff spent nine months stalking the beleaguered Kline and waited for sweeps week in late November to share its much-anticipated findings.

Except that there was nothing to share. OK, although Kline did have a "residence" in Johnson County, where he spent several nights a week, he and his wife kept a home in Topeka, the state capital, so their daughter did not have to switch high schools. Kline freely admitted as much.

And that was about it. 

Um, no. From KCTV's report:

KCTV5 News caught up with Kline as he was leaving the Johnson County courthouse one afternoon and asked him about where he lived.

He pointed out that he owned a home in Topeka, but that he also had the apartment in Stilwell.

KCTV5 News frequently found his wife's car, which was also registered to the Stilwell address, at the home Phill Kline owns in Topeka.

KCTV5 spent weeks waiting and watching for him to show up there -- more than a dozen times early in the morning and late at night -- but not once did KCTV5 News see Kline in Stilwell.

Stilwell is a town in Johnson County; Topeka is not. Kansas law requires district attorneys to live in the county where they work. 

Cashill ignored completely the other main finding of the KCTV investigation: that Kline spent an average of only 29 hours a week in the office and found 24 weekdays during which Kline never clocked in or out at all. The station cites another district attorney who suggests the job can't be done "in less than roughly 50 to 60 hours a week."

As we've detailed, this is the kind of "reporting" we've come to expect from Cashill.

Cashill also noted in support of his attack that KCTV's investigation of Kline was "– in the words of the dependably anti-Kline alternative newspaper, the Pitch – even 'creepy.'" While the Pitch blog post from which Cashill pulled this word did indeed question the aggressiveness of the investigation and the reliability of the keycard info from which KCTV assembled Kline's at-work time, it also contains this interesting tidbit:

According to Web site Kansas Meadowlark, Kline spoke about the surveillance at a November 14 meeting of the Zenith Boosters Club. Kline complained about a camera crew tailing his daughter and the KCTV helicopter hovering over his property, according to this post. (Zenith head Jack Cashill declined to allow The Pitch to attend that meeting.)

Gee, Cashill didn't mention anything about this. Does the term "conflict of interest" mean anything to him? 


Posted by Terry K. at 10:30 AM EST
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Huston Keeps Up the Wackiness, Sycophancy
Topic: NewsBusters

So, Warner Todd Huston, you've just been the recipient of a highly coveted NewsBusted profile. What do you do now?

Why, more of the same, of course.

A Dec. 12 NewsBusters post accused the Chicago Sun-Times of endangering the life of the  son of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley by reporting that he is being deployed to Afghanistan: "Has this somewhat specific news endangered his life and/or that of his fellow soldiers now that the enemy has been told that the son of a famous politician is on his way to a specific theater of action as well as being told a targeted window of departure?" Huston does not mention whether he also thinks the son of Republican congressman and presidential candidate Duncan Hunter (who is also named Duncan Hunter, and who is also running for his dad's congressional seat) endangered himself and his fellow soldiers by announcing on his campaign website that he's been deployed to Afghanistan, just like Daley's son.

A Dec. 13 post keeps up Huston's Fred Thompson sycophancy by lashing out at ABC for characterizing Thompson's refusal to raise his hand in answer to a question on whether he supported the idea of man-made global warming as a "tantrum", insisting that Thompson was trying "to improve the depth of debate held that day" and expressing a "sensible and adult desire to engage in real debate." Huston added: "These are substantive and serious points made by candidate Thompson and his principled refusal to play the moderator's empty headed game deserves applause in stead of derision."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:06 PM EST
WND Already Back to Bashing Warren
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Wow, that was quick.

We predicted that after WorldNetDaily finished its mostly deferential three-part interview with Rick Warren, the "Purpose Driven Liffe" guy whom WND has repeated attacked, WND would revert to Warren-bashing as soon as the opportunity arose. That opportunity, it turns out, turns out to the same day it published the final part of the Warren interview.

That part, in which Art Moore -- not exactly known for his fair reporting -- fairly depicts Warren's pragmatic approach to fighting AIDS in Africa (though he does try to sneak a couple of digs in, vaguely disapproving of Warren's participation in a United Nations program that hands out condoms and making sure to point out that President Bush's AIDS coordinator "has been public about his homosexuality"), was accompanied by a column in which Joseph Farah yet again lashes out at Warren for his visit to Syria, asserting that Warren "gave aid and comfort to a diabolical enemy of freedom and Christianity."

If Farah hates Warren so much, why did WND give so much positive copy to him? It's not a service WND normally provides to its enemies, so the idea that WND was merely trying to act like a real news source doesn't quite wash. As we said earlier, it was likely a sop to get Warren and his supporters off WND's back -- at least temporarily, since Farah seems to have mostly undid what good it did by not even waiting until the digital ink was dry on Moore's positive article before attacking Warren yet again.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:11 AM EST
New Article: Whitewashing Willey
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily writer Art Moore plugs Kathleen Willey's book while ignoring her history of lies and contradictory stories -- the same service he provides for convicted felon Peter Paul. Read more.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:37 AM EST
Timmerman Gets Softball FrontPageMag Interview
Topic: Horowitz

Newsmax's Ken Timmerman is the latest beneficiary of a softball FrontPageMag interview. In it, Jamie Glazov permits him to peddle unchallenged his conspiracy theories about intelligence, demonstrate his sycophancy toward ex-CIA chief Porter Goss and rehash his Michael Sulick story (ignoring that fellow Newsmaxer Ronald Kessler has a different story to tell). Timmerman's declaration that "It’s always a pleasure to appear alongside other founding members of the Vast Right-wing Conspiracy" and a reference to "the NY Times and in other leftist media" leaves no doubt that he has an agenda.

Timmerman also complains:

Google the name Ahmed Chalabi and “fraud,” and you get more than 55,000 hits. Google his name plus the word “crook” and you will get more than 12,000 hits. This gives a measure of how successful the effort to smear Ahmad Chalabi’s reputation has been.

Of course, this has nothing at all to do with the fact that Chalabi is more than a little bit of a fraud and a crook.

Timmerman further peddles the conservative canard that Valerie Plame is a liar:

Valerie Plame has got some explaining to do. In March, she testified under oath before Congress and swore she had “nothing” to do with sending her husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson, to Niger to investigate claims that Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy uranium there.

In fact, Val sent an email to her bosses recommending that they send him on this mission because he “has good relationships with both the [Prime Minster] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity.”

As we noted the last time Timmerman made this claim, the CIA approached Plame with the idea of sending Wilson to Niger, and the "recommendation" memo Timmerman touts is merely a listing of Wilson's qualifications to go to Niger, and Plame was tepid at best about the idea of actually sending Wilson, specifically saying that "I was somewhat embarrassed by the agency’s sloppy work last go-round, and I am hesitant to suggest anything again."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:35 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, December 13, 2007 12:36 AM EST
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Klein Avoids the C-Word Again
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Dec. 12 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein focuses on the resignation of a mayor of an Israeli border town; Eli Moyal, the mayor of Sderot, claims that the Israeli government isn't doing enough to protect his town from rockets fired at it from Gaza.

Klein leaves out a couple pertinent pieces of information: the mayor of Sderot, Eli Moyal, is a member of the conservative Likud party -- Klein has a longtime aversion to describing Israeli conservatives as conservatives. One blogger called Moyal "Israel's Rudy Giuliani."

Klein also fails to mention that Moyal was a leader in Klein's beloved fight against Israel withdrawing from Gaza and the West Bank; Klein himself reported in August 2005 that Moyal spoke at an anti-disengagement rally in Sderot, which the UK Guardian described as "the nearest town in Israel to the Gaza Strip." Curiously, the dateline on the article reads "Sderot, Gaza" even though Sderot is in Israel proper.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:42 PM EST
Bozell Can't Stop Lying About Hillary, Part XXVII
Topic: Media Research Center

Brent Bozell relives the glory days of Clinton-hating in his Dec. 12 column by reciting yet again a laundry list of alleged scandals from the '90s. Since Bozell is merely regurgitating here, things like, oh, the facts aren't involved, as evidenced by the first thing on Bozell's list:

1. Hillary ordering around the White House staff to fire seven workers in the White House Travel Office for financial mismanagement, with Billy Dale accused of embezzlement. Hillary then lied to a grand jury about how she was not really involved in the firing scheme, even though staffers were writing there would be “hell to pay” if they didn’t do Hillary’s bidding. Billy Dale’s life was ruined. Two years later, it took a jury two hours to acquit him of all charges. Why did she do that? What would voters think, Mr. President? 

As we previously noted, President Clinton had the legal right to dismiss the travel office employees for any reason since they serve at the pleasure of the president, and independent counsel Robert Ray's report on the firings found that there was indeed "improper fiscal conduct" in the travel office -- two little facts that people like Bozell who trash Clinton over the travel office firings tend to ignore.

Further, Ray did not conclude that Hillary "lied" about her role in "Travelgate," as Bozell asserts. Rather, Ray states that Hillary made a statement that was "factually false" but "there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mrs. Clinton's statements to this Office or to Congress were  knowingly false." There is more evidence to support the claim that Bozell is a liar on this issue than Hillary -- after all, Bozell has repeatedly demonstrated his malicious intent to perpetuate falsehoods despite awareness of the truth.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:08 PM EST
AIM Cites Only Examples of Democratic Nepotism
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A Dec. 10 Accuracy in Media article by Bethany Stotts promotes a article by Americans for Tax Reform's Grover Norquist claiming that "American political nepotism extends not just through the executive branch, but throughout Congress." While Stotts leads off with the example of George W. Bush following in the presidential footsteps of his father and notes that "The ATR report identified 15 members, 13 from the House and 2 from the Senate, who gained their seats immediately following their relatives’ resignation, retirement, or death. Of these 'legacy' Congressional seats," the seven members of Congress she then cites as participating in nepotism are all Democrats.

This ignores a particularly egregious example of nepotism currently under way on the GOP side of things: California Republican congressman and presidential candidate Duncan Hunter is retiring from Congress at the end of his term, and running for election to his seat is his son, also named Duncan Hunter.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:10 AM EST
MRC Slobbers All Over Newsmax's Positive Review of Bozell Book
Topic: NewsBusters

MRC director of communications Seton Motley continues his campaign for a highly coveted ConWebWatch profile by drooling all over Newsmax's Phil Brennan for penning an unsurprisingly positive review of Brent Bozell's anti-Hillary book, "Whitewash" -- as if Brennan would have dared to say anything negative about a conservative book.

In the headline of his Dec. 11 NewsBusters post, Motley wrote that the book was "reviewed expertly by Newsmax"; he reiterated the point in the first paragraph, stating that the book "was reviewed most excellently by Phil Brennan of and for the most excellent publication NewsMax." Motley copied-and-pasted a long excerpt of Brennan's review -- introduced as "some of the many extraordinary excerpts therefrom" -- then concluded: "It is always nice to have eminence acknowledged by and with eminence."

One has to wonder: Was Motley's shameless slobbering a condition of getting a positive review from Brennan? It's difficult to imagine a purported communications professional publicly embarassing himself in such a fashion except under coercion.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:43 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 1:44 AM EST
WND Suddenly Nice to Rick Warren
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Dec. 11 WorldNetDaily article by Art Moore stated that it was the first of a three-part interview with Rick Warren, the "Purpose-Driven Life" guy; the second part was posted Dec. 12. Moore takes a weird way of countering Warren's statements -- by attributing the other point of view to unnamed "critics":

  • "Many of his critics take exception to that inference about Islam and further argue that agreeing to "excesses" in the war on terror and apologizing for the Crusades actually reinforces al-Qaida and other movements that use the claims as pretexts for their global jihad."
  • "Critics also argue the Crusades were a defensive response to Islamic jihad, and today Muslims are the aggressors in most of the world's hot spots. Muslims aren't apologizing for this, yet the letter to the Islamic leaders essentially puts Christians in the position of taking the blame."
  • "But Warren's critics say, regardless of whether the state Syrian report was true, he was captured on a 50-second home video walking down a Damascus road mentioned in the book of Acts, Straight Street, saying Syria is 'a moderate country, and the official government rule and position is to not allow any extremism of any kind.'"

Moore makes no effort to corroborate in detail the claims by these "critics," let alone cite anyone specifically making these criticisms. That is likely because one of Warren's leading critics is, in fact, WorldNetDaily.

WND editor Joseph Farah has bashed Warren for traveling to Syria, then taunting Warren for not immediately responding to his attack: "Is the strategy now to ignore Farah? Is the strategy to pretend WND doesn't exist?" Farah then got into a name-calling war with Warren, as he detailed in a Dec. 26, 2006, column:

Warren falsely accuses me of caring more about politics than winning people to Christ. This is a malicious lie. It is because I care about evangelism, real evangelism – not selling books, not expanding my "ministry," not having my sermons broadcast on television – that I criticize those who edify hateful, anti-Christian, anti-Jewish politicians like [Syrian leader] Assad.

[...]

My criticism of Warren has been focused like a laser beam on an inexcusable, immoral action he took in Syria. Since calling him on it, he has lied repeatedly, told different audiences what they want to hear, made excuses, uttered virtually unintelligible gibberish about his experiences in the Middle East. 

WND has also run articles heavy on criticism of Warren for allowing Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to speak at his church, as well as featuring someone calling Warren"an enabler and defender of evil" for his visit to Syria. (Moore finally names a critic at the very end of his Dec. 12 article, quoting Farah as saying he stands "by every word I wrote in those columns.")

Why is WND suddenly being nice to Warren now (even if Moore is dishonestly trying to undermine him with anonymous "critics")? Hard to say; perhaps WND got enough letters from Warren supporters that it realized that it needed to treat him fairly -- sadly, WND generally has to be cajoled into providing something approaching fair and balanced coverage -- or perhaps it was Warren himself who pointed out that WND has not given him a fair opportunity to respond to its criticism.

'Tis the season for giving, after all, and this is likely just a sop to get Warren and his supporters off WND's back for a while. Watch for WND to resume bashing Warren -- pretending it was never nice to him -- at the next available opportunity.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:14 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 1:29 AM EST
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
'Long-Popular'? Not So Much
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The WorldNetDaily "This Day in History" page marking WND's 10th anniversary listed the 1999 creation of WorldNet magazine in its Dec. 10 entry:

WorldNet evolved from the long-popular monthly magazine published by WorldNetDaily called Dispatches. 

The magazine kept its name WorldNet until August 2001, when it was renamed to the current and popular title of Whistleblower. 

Is this magazine, in whatever it is called, really all that popular? Actually, no.

In a July 2004 affadavit it filed in the lawsuit against it by Clark Jones, WND stated (paragraph 15) that in 2000 -- the first full year of the magazine's existence under the WorldNet name -- that the magazine's circulation began the year at 1,171 and ended the year at 1,209. That's an increase of only 38 subscribers over an entire year.

We suspect that the magazine's circulation today is not much bigger than that, especially given its limited distribution by mail order only, high price, and lack of newsstand sales. The affadavit is the only instance we know of in which WND has publicly stated the circulation figures of the magazine.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:49 PM EST
Kessler Still Hearts Waterboarding
Topic: Newsmax

The headline of a Dec. 10 Newsmax articles read, "Waterboarding Is Not Torture." The former article cites; The latter article rehashes Newsmax's Ronald Kessler's claims that "Torture is normally defined as the infliction of severe pain, and while waterboarding induces fear because it simulates drowning, it does not inflict pain" -- a claim that has been debunked -- and that "Waterboarding was used only when the CIA believed a second wave of terrorist attacks was imminent" and "the information they ultimately provided helped stave off attacks that could have resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people" -- a questionable claim, as we also noted.

This article was juxtaposed in Newsmax's "Inside Cover" section by a wire article in which an interrogator of a suspect who was waterboarded called the technique torture.

So, who are you going to believe? A Bush fluffer who has an interest in downplaying waterboarding, or the guy who actually did the deed? 


Posted by Terry K. at 10:51 AM EST
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

A Dec. 10 appearance by the MRC's Rich Noyes on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" followed the template in that Noyes appeared solo, though O'Reilly did note that the MRC is conservative.

O'Reilly, in his "Talking Points Memo" section, mentioned the MRC's Dec. 4 "Media Reality Check" claiming that the networks have reduced their coverage of Iraq because the U.S. is doing better there, but he did not mention the Project for Excellence in Journalism study finding that Fox News' coverage of the Iraq war was much less than other cable networks at a time when the U.S. was doing badly there -- and, in fact, had covered Anna Nicole Smith more intensely than the war during that time. The MRC similarly makes no mention of the PEJ study in its report.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:27 AM EST
Timmerman Peddles Neocons' CIA Conspiracy Theory
Topic: Newsmax

With the revelation that the recently released National Intelligence Estimate concluded that Iran stopped developing nuclear weapons in 2003, conservatives have been frantically spinning those results. Chief among the spinners is Newsmax's Kenneth Timmerman, who has dragged a conspiracy theory into the mix.

In a Dec. 4 article, Timmerman claimed that the report "was coordinated and written by former State Department political and intelligence analysts — not by more seasoned members of the U.S. intelligence community" and that the claim that Iran suspended its nuclear weapons program "is based on a single, unvetted source who provided information to a foreign intelligence service and has not been interviewed directly by the United States." Timmerman then goes on to bash each of the analysts he claims were responsible for the NIE.

Timmerman builds on the conspiracy in a Dec. 6 article, in which he claims that Republicans "suspect that 'shadow warriors' opposed to the president are skewing the intelligence for political ends." Gee, what a coincidence -- Timmerman just happens to have published a book called "Shadow Warriors" in he makes that very same claim. 

Timmerman goes on to quote an anonymous (of course) source as saying, "This is CIA pay-back to the president for having made them, not FBI, take the rap for the failures that led up to 9/11." 

The idea that doves in the intelligence community are deliberately undermining the Bush administration for political purposes underpins not only Timmerman's book but also Rowan Scarborough's book "Sabotage: America's Enemies in the CIA." Funny, we don't recall them considering the idea that the Bush aministration is acting with political motives as well. Noted neocon John Podhoretz has made a similar claim.

Timmerman and Scarborough, if you'll recall, teamed up to bash Michael Sulick, a longtime CIA official who fell out of favor under CIA director Porter Goss and returned to the agency after Goss left. Both Timmerman and Scarborough remain big supporters of Goss. (Scarborough, a reporter for the Washington Examiner at the time, wrote a less inflammatory article a few days later, then "retired" from the Examiner shortly afterwards.)

The funny thing about that is that Newsmax's Ronald Kessler -- himself no slouch in the Bush-fluffing and CIA-lionizing department -- has his own version of the Sulick episode that doesn't quite jibe with that of fellow Newsmaxer Timmerman. In a Dec. 8 article claiming that the person responsible for destroying CIA tapes of coercive interrogation of terrorism suspects was Jose Rodriguez Jr., the head of the CIA’s Directorate of Operations under Goss, Kessler wrote:

At the same time, some CIA operatives suggest that Rodriguez felt he could get away with ordering the destruction on his own because CIA management was so dysfunctional under Goss. Goss surrounded himself with a tight circle of former Capitol Hill aides who engaged in ego battles with widely admired and successful CIA officers.

 One example was Stephen R. Kappes, a former Moscow and Kuwait Station chief who played a pivotal role in secret talks that led Muammar al-Qaddafi of Libya to give up his program to develop weapons of mass destruction. Kappes resigned from the CIA when Patrick Murray, who was chief of staff to Goss, ordered Kappes to fire his deputy, Michael Sulick, after Sulick criticized Murray over the nasty way he had treated another CIA officer. [Goss replacement Michael] Hayden has since brought Kappes back to the agency, promoting him to deputy director.

Hmmm. That's not the story Timmerman and Scarborough told. Will we see an intra-Newsmax war over just how much Goss sucked as DNI?


Posted by Terry K. at 1:24 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, December 13, 2007 12:35 AM EST

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