WND Misleads on Vaccines and Autism Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Feb. 28 WorldNetDaily article reporting on a government agreement to pay compensation to the parents of a child who developed autism after receiving a series of vaccinations distorts the case in question to promote its own anti-vaccine agenda. From the article:
The federal government continues to deny a link between vaccines and autism, but the U.S. Court of Federal Claims has ruled in favor of a child alleged to have regressed into autism as a result of vaccinations.
Several of the vaccinations included the controversial mercury-based preservative thimerosal, points out the National Autism Association, which sees the ruling as confirmation of the claims of many parents.
The NAA criticized the CDC decision, noting thimerosal is still found in flu shots recommended for children and pregnant women.
Thimerosal in vaccines is suspected of causing brain damage and weakening the immune system, making some children susceptible later to infection from measles, mumps and rubella shots.
[Author David] Kirby, writing for the Huffington Post, reported the government's written concession said the child had a pre-existing mitochondrial disorder that was "aggravated" by her shots and ultimately resulted in a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, or ASD.
WND quoted only anti-vaccine activists and ignored other evidence in the case that weakens the argument of those activists.
As a March 7 Associated Press article notes, the child received five simultaneous vaccines as a toddler, after which she regressed into an autistic state. The parents, according to the AP, "were exploring two theories to explain what happened to Hannah. One is that she was born with the mitochondria disorder and the vaccines caused a stress to her body that worsened the condition. The other is that the vaccine ingredient thimerosal caused the mitochondrial dysfunction."
Further, as a March 8 New York Times article reports:
The disease control centers, the Food and Drug Administration, the Institute of Medicine, the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics have all largely dismissed the notion that thimerosal causes or contributes to autism.
Five major studies have found no link, and since thimerosal’s removal from all routinely administered childhood vaccines in 2001, there has been no apparent effect on autism rates.
The Times article also states:
“Let me be very clear that the government has made absolutely no statement indicating that vaccines are a cause of autism,” Dr. Julie L. Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday. “That is a complete mischaracterization of the findings of the case and a complete mischaracterization of any of the science that we have at our disposal today.”
The AP article adds:
“There are no scientific studies documenting that childhood vaccinations cause or worsen mitochondrial diseases, but there is very little scientific research in this area,” said Chuck Mohan, executive director the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, a Pittsburgh-based group that raises money for research.
It's a much more complicated case than the WND article makes it appear. But WND made it appear that way by not reporting the full story.
This is a WND hobbyhorse. In April 2007, an issue of WND's Whistleblower magazine was devoted to "exposing the dark side of vaccines," featuring an article lionizing the conservative-leaning Association of American Physicians and Surgeons for opposing all vaccine mandates. Indeed, WND seems loath to admit that vaccines have done any good for anyone.
Here's the lead of a March 8 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh:
What if homosexuals staged a huge promotion of that sexual lifestyle choice, and no one came to see it? That's exactly what a coalition of organizations is proposing for April 25, this year's "Day of Silence," which is sponsored in public schools across the nation to promote homosexuality.
Unruh makes assumptions for which he offers no supporting evidence -- that homosexuality is a "sexual lifestyle choice," ad that the "Day of Silence" event "promote[s] homosexuality." Unruh is indulging in the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy, assuming that anything that does not criticize homosexuality "promote[s]" it.
The article also presents Unruh's usual lack of balance, quoting only conservative critics of the "Day of Silence" who make similarly unsupported claims:
"'Day of Silence' is about coercing students to repudiate traditional morality."
"[Under such indoctrination,] we are creating barbarians. Parents want something other than barbarians living down the street."
"Our schools are supposed to be places of learning, not places of political indoctrination. It is the height of impropriety and cynicism for 'gay' activists and school officials to use children as pawns in their attempt to further a highly controversial and polarizing political agenda."
Unruh does not offer support for these statments either, nor does he allow anyone to respond to them.
Unruh indulges further in the fallacy -- and heavily distorts the truth -- when he repeats a pair of old distortions:
A parent in Massachusetts was jailed when he objected to his kindergarten son being presented with a public school district book advocating homosexuality, and in California, lawmakers have written a law requiring teachers to present only positive representations of such alternative lifestyle choices.
As we noted, the book in question did not "advocate homosexuality"; it merely noted that homosexuals exist. Further, the father, David Parker, was not "jailed" for objecting to the book; he was arrested and, because he refused to bail himself out, spent one night in jail for trespassing after he refused to leave his child's school until they agreed to his demand that he be allowed to opt out his child from discussions of same-sex marriage.
Also, as we've detailed, the California law does not mandate "only positive representations" of homosexuality; it adds sexual orientation to the state's anti-discrimination laws as they apply to schools and requires that schools don't present material that "promotes a discriminatory bias" against those groups covered under the anti-discrimination clause.
MRC Readers Want It to Turn a Blind Eye to Hagee's Anti-Catholicism Topic: CNSNews.com
There appears to be one reason that the Media Research Center has been loath to address anti-Catholic evangelist John Hagee's endorsement of John McCain, even though it has a history of bashing perceived anti-Catholicism elsewhere -- its target audience either sympathetic to Hagee's views on Catholicism or, like the MRC, is willing to turn a blind eye in order to get McCain elected.
The only description of Hagee's views on Catholicism ("the great whore," "false cult system") appeared in a March 4 CNSNews.com article. On March 6, CNS printed letters from readers upset at ... the Catholic League's Bill Donohue for demanding that McCain renounce Hagee's endorsement:
"It's a sad but true fact that in spite of the millions of followers to the pope the Roman Catholic Church and its kin do not follow the teaching of the Bible. They teach doctrines developed by the church, discourage lay people from reading the Bible, and lead people into faith in the church rather than in Jesus Christ. John Hagee is one of the few Christians in today's politically correct world who has the courage to stand up for Jesus and the truth. Of course no cult or false religion will admit they lie, and instead they condemn the one who exposes him. God bless John Hagee!" ("McCain 'Embraces a Bigot,' Catholic League Says," March 4)
Grant T. Brookfield, WI
"This is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. All religious movements throughout history have supported authoritarian forms of government and restrictions on individual self-determination and liberty. The priests and politicians should know better. No endorsements should be offered by any church. Nor should they be accepted by any candidate for public office."
Brad A. Corvallis, OR
"As a Catholic I disavow Bill Donohue's statement. He does not represent or speak for me. Donahue's characterization of the senator as 'really stupid,' is bloviation of the worse kind from someone who obviously does not personally know the senator nor has ever been in a position to assess the senator's IQ. Additionally, the only person I have seen the senator embracing this past week has been his wife, Cindy, and she is no bigot. I personally and professionally know John McCain.
As a Catholic I endorse John McCain. He may be many things, but he is not 'stupid.' The senator does not agree with all of my positions any more than I agree with all of the senator's positions. Such a state of affairs in a rational world does not preclude my endorsement of the senator (nor the senator endorsing me). Donahue makes all of us Catholics and the Catholic League look stupid. Donahue has every right to disagree and to bloviate but not to gratuitously insult people in my name. Please do not give him any more ink."
Richard S. Atlantic Beach FL
"Ordinarily I would agree with Mr. Donohue, but I would remind him: the consequence of Senator McCain's defeat is Clinton or Obama. Don't tell me to stay home either. That is an equally bad decision. For better or for worse, it has to be Mr. McCain then. My policy in elections is this: no matter how bad the candidates are, there is always one who is better, albeit by a small amount, than the other. Keep voting for the best one. Sooner or later the tide will turn, and a really good candidate will come along. Oh, and of course, do a lot of praying."
Glenn P. Houston, TX
"Shame of the Catholic League. John Hagee is one of the most informed and profound Bible teachers and most knowledgeable on Israel and the Middle East. Sure he doesn't agree with all Catholic doctrine (I don't either), and the Catholic League doesn't agree with all Protestant doctrine. So what? We will all agree in heaven. If John Hagee endorses McCain, great.
I would rather he had endorsed Huckabee, but so what? Whoever the GOP nominee is, I will vote for him, because I am in agreement with the GOP platform. If the Democrats win, we will have more abortions and infanticide, more same-sex marriages and civil unions further eroding the family, higher taxes, more 9/11s, more erosion of the Judeo/Christian principles that this country was founded on, more of everything most American detest."
Claudia B. Graham, WA
Would these readers (and the MRC) be so sanguine about Hagee's statements if he wasn't a conservative? Probably not.
Like him or loathe him, you get the feeling that you could enjoy having a beer with Bill Clinton, you don't get that feeling that you could enjoy anything with Hillary Clinton — except maybe anesthesia.
-- Brent Bozell, as quoted by Phil Brennan, Feb. 26 Newsmax column
Underneath the veneer of the practiced smile and the strategically used giggle, there is a rage that is always close to the surface. It was on display in the debate.
Hillary Clinton is furious that America has not agreed to her coronation. She doesn’t understand why voters are rejecting her and embracing Barack Obama. She just doesn’t get it.
CNS Ignores Facts Behind California EPA Controversy Topic: CNSNews.com
A March 7 CNSNews.com article by Monisha Bansal reported on legislation introduced by "House Democrats" (even though she notes later that one Republican is a co-sponsor) that would "overturn a Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decison barring California from setting its own emissions standards for automobiles." While Bansal quotes Rep. Brad Sherman stating that "California has applied for a waiver (to the Clean Air Act) 54 times -- 53 have been granted," and she quotes representatives of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers essentially arguing that emissions standards are low enough, Bansal does not mention the core of the controversy.
As the Los Angeles Times reported, EPA administrator Stephen Johnson, in denying California's request, ignored its own staff's recommendation that it be granted, adding that if the waiver was denied, EPA would very likely lose in court to the state:
But if Johnson granted California the waiver and the auto industry sued, "EPA is almost certain to win," said two sources quoting the briefing document. They advised him to either grant the waiver outright or give California a temporary one for three years.
Instead, three sources said, Johnson cut off any consultation with his technical staff for the last month and made his decision before having them write the formal, legal justification for it.
The LA Times article also quoted the same AAM rep Bansal talked to, but on an issue Bansal didn't ask him about:
Charles Territo, spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers in Washington, said there was "absolutely not" any linkage between his trade group's decision to support the final version of the Senate energy bill and the EPA's decision to deny California's request for a waiver. Territo said the industry has always stressed a national mileage standard and opposed the California petition.
Bansal never explicitly states that the AAM opposed the California petition.
If Richard Armitage didn't exist, NewsBusters would have had to invent him -- he serves as such a valuable touchstone of misleading claims for it.
In a March 6 NewsBusters post, Richard Newcomb attacked an article in the Israeli paper Haaretz for coming to the defense of "anti-American" New York Times reporters who committed the offense of, in Newcomb's words, "deciding what information is and is not legal to leak and print- never mind that we elect Presidents, Senators and Representatives to do this." Times reporter james Risen, Newcomb wrote, "exposed classified data with the aid of hidden law-breakers in the government," in this case an alleged "CIA-Mossad operation to destabilize Iran," thus "aiding America's enemies and assisting said enemies to kill American citizens." Newcomb stated regarding the Haaretz article:
Haaretz goes on to bring up the infamous Valerie Plame hoax to support their argument that the Bush Administratioj is 'waging war on journalists', repeating the false claim that Vice-President Richard Cheney's then chief of staff, L. Lewis Libby leaked Plame's name. As a matter of fact, it was State Department hack Richard Armitage who actually first mentioned Plame's name, though I am not sure how much leaking was involved concerning someone who was listed as a CIA employee in Who's Who!
As we have repeatedlynoted every time a NewsBusters writer makes this claim, Armitage was not the only person to leak Plame's name; his leakee, Robert Novak, was merely the first to publish it. Scooter Libby did, in fact, leak Valerie Plame's name, as well as Karl Rove (with whom Novak confirmed Plame's identity).
Further, Plame was not "listed as a CIA employee in Who's Who!" as Newcomb claims; she was listed only as the wife of Joe Wilson with no mention of job title.
Newcomb also personally attacks Risen, baselessly asserting: "Risen strikes me as a person who would rather see Muslim fanatics running the United States than an elected Republican President."
WND Condones Bad Homeschooling, Abusive Parenting Topic: WorldNetDaily
Another WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh on the case of California homeschooling parent Phillip Long, another effort to whitewash the behavior of the parents, and another failure to mention important issues in the case.
Why are Unruh and WND doing this? They're too close to the issue to tell the truth. Unruh and WND editor Joseph Farah have their children homeschooled, and they apparently don't want to admit -- or let anyone else know -- that there are bad apples in homeschooling.
But don't Unruh and Farah realize that by refusing to tell the truth to WND readers, they may actually end up harming homeschooling in the long run?
Unruh and WND have never mentioned the fact that, as courtdocuments have detailed (ashavewe), the Long family was providing a substandard homeschool education to their children:
The court described the education the children received at home as "lousy," "meager," and "bad," and that the supervision by the Christian school with which the family was affiliated was minimal at best.
One child testified that she "was not taught geography or history. Asked if she can add, subtract, multiply and divide, [she] stated she cannot."
WND has also not reported the history of the father. From court documents:
"Father has a long history of physically abusing the children and mother has a long history of not protecting them from father."
"[F]ather dominates mother and dominates the children who live at home. ... He will not permit the children to attend school. He will not permit them to receive childhood vaccinations. He will not permit the girls to wear pants at home. He will not permit birth certificates."
The court found the parents' home to be in "an endangering filthy, unsanitary and unsafe condition, and the minors were chronically filthy, and unsupervised late at night."
There are good homeschoolers -- and there are also bad homeschoolers. The court has found Phillip Long and his wife to be bad homeschoolers and the father to be an abusive parent. WND's failure to tell the truth about the Longs to its readers leads to the inescapable conclusion that it condones such behavior.
Do Unruh and Farah treat their homeschooled children the way Phillip Long is on record as treating his? We hope not. We hope they don't think that such behavior is acceptable. But by staying silent about it, Unruh and Farah leave the impression that they do.
Shielding the Longs' dysfunctional family from public scrutiny in the name of protecting homeschooling, as Unruh and WND have done, will damage homeschooling in the long run because it contributes to an image of homeschooling being the province of extremist wackos.
We can't imagine anyone who truly cares about education and homeschooling would subject their children to the substandard education the Longs are on record as providing to their children. So why won't anyone within the homeschooling community admit that bad education is bad education, even (and, perhaps, especially) when it happens at home?
Through his biased reporting, Unruh is aiding and abetting the further abuse of the Long children by their parents. Is that what he and WND really want to happen to this family -- or any family?
WND needs to decide: Will it shield and whitewash abusive parents so that they may further harm their children, or will it act as "fearless" as it claims to be and tell the truth?
UPDATE: We see that Michelle Malkin has latched onto this issue as well. But, like WND, Malkin fails to note the father's abuse or the "lousy" home education the children have received. You'd think that, with her demonstrated eagerness to attack 12-year-olds, Malkin would be rushing to tell the full story of the Long family. Apparently not.
Ellis Washington Puts Klan Smears in Socrates' Mouth Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've previously noted how WorldNetDaily columnist Ellis Washington made misleading claims about the long-ago ties of some Democrats to the Ku Klux Klan. In his March 6 column, Washington takes things several steps farther: he calls a black man a Klansman.
No, seriously. He repeatedly refers to Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick as "Kwame 'Klan' Kilpatrick." The column is presented as a bizarre dialectic between Kilpatrick, Socrates, and a Klan Grand Dragon. At one point, Washington has the "Grand Dragon" say:
At our height of power in 1925, the KKK had over 4 million members. We proudly marched 40,000 strong down Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House, yet our demonic hatred of blacks, Jews, Catholics and immigrants have no comparison with the pathology, despair, ignorance and black-on-black crime affecting the state of black America today – terrorist tactics done by their own people in complicity with big-city black mayors, the public schools, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Democrat Party ... yet, the KKK is called a racist organization?!
To which "Socrates" responds:
Are black people better off under the openly racist regime of Gov. George Wallace, police Chief Bull Connor and the Grand Dragon of the KKK, or are black people better off under the incompetent, arrogant and pathological black leadership of a Kwame "Klan" Kilpatrick? – KKK or KKK? It is a paradox that may not be able to be answered in this generation; however, posing this question offers the seeds of hope for a new generation of leadership that refuses to be defined by skin color, but will only be judged by the content of their character.
Until that apotheosis occurs there is only a negligible difference between the tyranny of the Ku Klux Klan of 1868-1968 and the tyranny of Kwame "Klan" Kilpatrick in 2008.
Would Socrates really resort to tossing out incendiary ad hominem attacks as Washington portrays him doing? We think not.
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch Topic: Media Research Center
A March 5 appearance by the Media Research Center's Tim Graham on Fox News' "Your World" follows the template: Graham appears solo, neither he nor the MRC are identified as conservative, and guest host Brenda Buttner reinforces Graham's talking points: "I mean, the mainstream media is pretty liberal. Obama is pretty liberal. Do you really expect them to really take him -- to really grill him from the very start?"
Any chance we can expect Fox News to bring on a representative of our employer to join Graham on his next appearance on the channel for something approaching a "fair and balanced" discussion (though even then it would still be two against one)? Don't count on it.
UPDATE: The Business and Media Institute's Dan Gainor appeared on Fox Business on March 6. The video clip supplied via NewsBusters is edited down to footage of only Gainor, but we can surmise that the template was followed here as well.
Unruh Still Whitewashing Homeschooling Family Topic: WorldNetDaily
A March 5 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh continues his dishonestcoverage of the case of a California homeschooling family whose children have been ordered to attend a real school.
As he has before, Unruh focuses on the purported threat to homeschooling made by the ruling against Phillip Long while ignoring one key issue in the case: the quality of the homeschooling provided and the circumstances in which they have been provided.
As we've detailed, courtdocuments have described the education the children received at home as "lousy," "meager," and "bad," and that the supervision by the Christian school with which the family was affiliated was minimal at best. One child testified that she "was not taught geography or history. Asked if she can add, subtract, multiply and divide, Rachel stated she cannot."
Court documents have also noted that the "Father has a long history of physically abusing the children and mother has a long history of not protecting them from father," adding: "father dominates mother and dominates the children who live at home. ... He will not permit the children to attend school. He will not permit them to receive childhood vaccinations. He will not permit the girls to wear pants at home. He will not permit birth certificates." The court further found the parents' home to be in "an endangering filthy, unsanitary and unsafe condition, and the minors were chronically filthy, and unsupervised late at night."
Does Unruh and WND really want to be on record as defending a family that behaves in such a manner? Do Unruh and WND endorse such a poor quality "education"? Or do homeschooling parents Unruh and Joseph Farah treat their family the way Long has been documented as treating his?
A March 5 Newsmax column by Ronald Kessler begins:
It’s one thing for Barack Obama to have a minister, friend, and sounding board who supports and admires Louis Farrakhan and whose church gave him an award.
It’s another thing for Obama to dissemble about it.
Kessler then adds:
If John McCain’s minister, friend, and sounding board gave an award to white nationalist David Duke, would Obama have said the gesture showed “insensitivity” to blacks, or would he have issued a searing condemnation expressing outrage?
Nowhere does Kessler mention that McCain has been endorsed -- with McCain appearing on stage accepting the nomination -- by John Hagee, an evangelist who has made numerous derogatory remarks about Catholics, gays and women that would seem to call out to be denounced -- by both McCain and Kessler -- in the same manner that Obama has denounced Farrakhan.
Shouldn't Kessler hold McCain to the same standard he holds Obama?
Kessler falsely suggested that the only statements Obama has made on the issue of Farrakhan was one in which Obama said the decision by a magazine published by the church he attends to honor Farrakhan was "is not a decision with which I agree" and that it "showed a lack of sensitivity to the Jewish community." But Obama has also said that he has been a "consistent denunciator of Louis Farrakhan, nobody challenges that."
By focusing on the guilt-by-association link of Obama through his pastor, Kessler ignores Obama's clear denunciation of Farrakhan -- which McCain has never done with Hagee.
New Article: The Dishonesty Card Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center and FrontPageMag bash a report on the Bush administration's false statements about war with Iraq by ignoring the evidence and attacking the messenger. Read more >>
MRC Upset That Newsworthy Event Got More Coverage Than Less Newsworthy Event Topic: NewsBusters
From a March 5 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock:
Despite the fact that John McCain officially clinched the GOP nomination on Tuesday, the three network morning shows on Wednesday devoted almost a full hour of air time to covering the Democratic presidential race and barely nine minutes for the Republicans. Additionally, the Arizona senator did not appear on NBC's "Today" show, ABC's "Good Morning America" or the CBS "Early Show." Democratic Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, however, showed up on all three programs.
The network morning shows featured the Democratic presidential candidates for a grand total of 59 minutes and 12 seconds. McCain and his remaining rival, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, received a mere nine minutes and ten seconds of coverage. Now, obviously, the Democratic race is a close, hard fought contest. So, it's natural that it would receive more attention. However, McCain's very act of winning the nomination should be a well covered event, especially considering the candidate's remarkable rise from the political dead. The networks, apparently, saw it a different way.
Hasn't it been all but clear for weeks that McCain would be the Republican nominee? Accordingly, "McCain's very act of winning the nomination" is an anticlimax, and "the candidate's remarkable rise from the political dead" was covered weeks ago.
Curiously, McCain's endorsement by anti-Catholic evangelist John Hagee continues to get even lesscoverage from the MRC than the networks' coverage of McCain's 'very act of winning the nomination." Why is that?
UPDATE: Whitlock's post also appears in the March 6 MRC CyberAlert.
Unruh Tells More About Homeschooling Case, But Still Misleads Topic: WorldNetDaily
Gee, that was quick.
Six hours after we published what WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh wouldn't regarding a California family whose homeschooled students were ordered into a real school by a court, Unruh apparently went into panic mode and penned an article that includes more details of the story. But he still tries to spin the issue and whitewash the family.
Unruh asserts that the ruling "is alarming because of the way the court opted to order those results." But the ruling is merely following the rule of law, that "enrollment and attendance in a public full-time day school is required by California law for minor children," with certain exceptions, none of which the family met in the eyes of the court. We thought conservatives like Unruh favored the rule of law.
Unruh makes a big deal of noting:
Specifically, the appeals court said, the trial court had found that "keeping the children at home deprived them of situations where (1) they could interact with people outside the family, (2) there are people who could provide help if something is amiss in the children's lives, and (3) they could develop emotionally in a broader world than the parents' 'cloistered' setting."
But Unruh did not note what preceded that noation in the ruling: a statement that a previous court found "that the home schooling the children were receiving was 'lousy,' 'meager,' and 'bad.'"
Unruh then delves into details of what he called "unpublished court documents" in "a dependency case stemming from accusations of abuse that resulted from the parents' decision to impose discipline on their children with spankings."
First, the documents in the case have been published, at the AMPS blog, as has the appeals court ruling Unruh writes about. But even though those documents are publcly available, Unruh does not provide a link to them.
Second, while Unruh notes that the "unpublished" documents note "allegations that a family acquaintance molested one of the children as well as claims regarding physical punishment relating to one child's decision to disobey household rules about being out at night," which he declared were "disputed by different people involved," he fails to mention numerous other allegations of physical punishment and emotional abuse by the father detailed in the court documents; indeed, the court stated that "Father has a long history of physically abusing the children and mother has a long history of not protecting them from father." Further, the documents state:
[T]he record contains substantial evidence, both from statements made by the children and from mother's own actions, that father dominates mother and dominates the children who live at home, two of whom have repeatedly run away from home because, in part, of the home rules father imposes. There is also substantial evidence that he has been difficult to work with in dependency matters--evasive, uncooperative, and belligerent. There is evidence that these character traits of father's have been consistent over the years that this family has been in dependency court. He will not permit the children to attend school. He will not permit them to receive childhood vaccinations. He will not permit the girls to wear pants at home. He will not permit birth certificates. There is evidence that mother does not interfere with his discipline of the children and his rules. There is evidence she does not make even tentative decisions in dependency matters but rather defers issues until father can make decisions on them. Several of the children gave answers [*75] to the social worker, forensic evaluator, and the court that have all the appearance of reflecting what the children were told to say or believed father would want them to say or not say.
Additionally, Unruh fails to address one key issue: the atmosphere and quality of the homeschool education.
Unruh also writes that previous court rulings in the case had "affirmed the parents' right to homeschool their children." But Unruh ignores one statement in the dependency court documents, that "The court indicated it believed the parents have the legal right to home school their children assuming the home schooling education is appropriate" [emphasis ours]. Just as Unruh failed to note the court's statement that the education the children received was "lousy," "meager," and "bad," he ignores the description of said education as provided by one of the children:
Asked how much time she spent each day on being school at the parents' home, she stated "sometimes two hours. [*27] Sometimes half an hour. It depended on what homework it was." Only mother taught her, not father. She was provided with books. The books had reviews in them but not tests. Mother helped her with assignments if she needed help. She could not recall mother being unable to help her. She would also ask [her sister] Charity but Charity "doesn't know it so she wasn't much help." Her subjects were citizenship, math, English and science. Once a year she took a test to see if she could pass to another grade. The last test she took was at a church. The test was administered by Sunland Christian School and was a "test for that school." She passed the test but she did not remember her marks. During her schooling at home, her best subject was science and her worst was math. She was not taught geography or history. Asked if she can add, subtract, multiply and divide, Rachel stated she cannot.
Is this the kind of "education" Unruh and WND really want to be defending?
Unruh noted the claim by the father, Phillip Long, that "the youngest children most recently had been working under an independent study program with Sunland Christian Academy," then added, "The court ruling, however, revealed a judicial dislike of that school, since the judges specifically ordered the children would not be allowed to participate in its programs." Unruh fails to mention that Sunland's supervision of the children's education was minimal, since the school's administrator admitted that "he makes visits to the parents' home about four times a year."
Unruh repeats the father's claim that "he objects to the pro-homosexual, pro-bisexual, pro-transgender agenda of California's public schools," even though the court noted that the father has offered varying reasons for keeping his children out of school, including that they "do not believe in the policies of the public school system," "religious beliefs," and because "educating children outside the home exposes them to 'snitches.'"
And, apparently because he can't helphimself, Unruh unloads the Nazi smear once again, claiming the ruling has "echoes of similar ideas expressed by officials from Germany, where homeschooling has been outlawed since 1938 under a law adopted when Adolf Hitler decided he wanted the state, and no one else, to control the minds of the nation's youth."
While Unruh does slightly better this time around, he still offers a biased, whitewashed view of the issue. Will he ever tell the full truth about this case? Don't count on it -- WND is too much of a homeschool cheerleader to ever tell its downside.
A March 4 article by Unruh about a proposed bill, SB 1322, that would overturn laws that ban communist groups from using school property, permit school employees to be fired if "he or she is a knowing member of the Communist Party," and ban public schools from "teaching communism with the intent to indoctrinate or to inculcate in the mind of any pupil a preference for communism" runs the law through his biased funhouse mirror, claiming that the law would all but demand that schools "promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, and let teachers in public district classrooms 'inculcate in the mind of any pupil a preference for communism.' " Unruh, as is his usual reporting M.O., quotes only opponents of the law, who insist the bill is "indoctrination" and that "The socialist members of the legislature are now advocating that communism, one of the most brutal forms of government in history, be taught favorably to government school students. ... California lawmakers are eager to once again begin advancing a political ideology responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent people."
And just to depict his full deliberate ignorance of facts, Unruh repeated his funhouse-mirror depiction of another California law protecting gay students, insisting that it mandates that "public schools in the state teach nothing but positive messages about homosexuality, transsexuality, bisexuality and other alternative lifestyles."