CNS Attack on Planned Parenthood Continues Topic: CNSNews.com
A March 13 CNSNews.com article by Penny Starr continues her war on a Planned Parenthood-operated website offering sex-related information to teens. Starr features a a director of porn movies praising the website -- and, of course, someone criticizing the "endorsement."
Missing from Starr's article -- and from all of Starr'sarticles regarding the Planned Parenthood website to date -- is any comment from Planned Parenthood. Starr doesn't even bother to note whether she contacted PP for a response. Sham balance lives!
It's an interesting bit of timing that on the same day we lay out our argument that WorldNetDaily is effectively condoning child abuse by refusing to report on the abusive history of the family at the center of the California homeschooling ruling, WND editor Joseph Farah pens a column arguing that the rise in S&M fetishes has a correlation to the decline in corporal punishment for children.
Let's see, tens of millions of children are spanked in the U.S. and maybe a few thousand people in San Francisco like whips and chains. I'm willing to bet it's the latter who were not spanked. And that's why they want it.
In fact, I can prove that spanking doesn't lead to S&M.
Is spanking on the decline in our society? Yes.
Is S&M on the increase? Yes.
It used to be that practically everyone spanked their kids. That's the way it was 40 years ago. It was normal and healthy. "Spare the rod, spoil the child," was the conventional wisdom of the day, and there were precious few S&M bars around in those days. In fact, no one even knew what S&M was.
But with the popularity of Benjamin Spock's child-rearing tips came a decline in spanking. Within a decade, came the rise of sexual deviancy in all forms.
Farah concludes by declaring, "God says parents should spank their children and be firm disciplinarians."
It sounds like Farah would be proud of Phillip Long's brand of discipline and that WND ought to be proud to report it in detail. So why won't it?
In a shocking turn of events, a March 12 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard -- who has a long history of not disclosing the conservative, energy industry-funded nature of groups who oppose action on global warming -- made a small concession to the idea of full disclosure by describing the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is buying attack ads on Al Gore, as "conservative."
Bravo, Mr. Sheppard! Maybe next time you can deign to tell your readers that CEI has accepted funding from energy companies like ExxonMobil. We know full disclosure is a painful thing for someone not used to offering it, but you'll feel much better once you do.
Further, while Sheppard attacks "the dangers inherent in policies advocated by Nobel Laureate Al Gore," nowhere does Sheppard baselessly accuse Gore of being a global warming activist just for the money. Does this mean that Sheppard has accepted the latter half of our put-up-or-shut-up challenge to him to offer actual evidence for his claim about Gore?
New Article: WorldNetDaily's Downward Spiral Topic: WorldNetDaily
First was the libel lawsuit. Then there was the embrace of never-verified claims about Barack Obama. Now WND is effectively condoning child abuse by whitewashing a California family's dysfunctional home life in order to advance its pro-homeschooling agenda. Read more >>
In a March 12 WorldNetDaily article headlined "Israeli media whitewashing 'peace partner'?" Aaron Klein writes:
The Israeli media today portrayed the assassinated planner of last week's Jerusalem shooting massacre as a member of the Islamic Jihad terror group even though he is a well-known activist from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization, WND has learned.
The U.S. considers Fatah to be moderate. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government has been holding regular negotiations with Abbas' officials in line with last November's U.S.-backed Annapolis Summit, which seeks to create a Fatah-led Palestinian state by the end of the year.
How, exactly, is that "whitewashing"? After all, Islamic Jihad sounds much more sinister than Fatah.
There's another issue with Klein's article, as well as a March 7 article in which he first claimed that the alleged planner of the attack, Muhammad Shehadi, as belonging to Fatah: He doesn't quote anyone on the record saying it.
The March 7 article cites only anonymous "senior Israeli and Palestinian security officials" as making the claim, adding that "According to Palestinian security officials familiar with Shehadi, after losing the 2006 election as a Fatah leader, Jihadi worked for about six months for the Islamic Jihad terror group but then switched back to Fatah." Klein's March 12 article repeats a claim that "Shehadi is a well-known Fatah activist who ran unsuccessfully in the 2006 Palestinian elections as a local Fatah legislator from Bethlehem," but he offers no attribution for the claim.
In a March 12 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham writes: "Geraldo Rivera of Fox News keeps proving the ideological diversity of the FNC staff on his book tour attacking opponents of illegal immigration."
Funny, we don't recall anyone at the MRC saying that Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs keep proving the ideological diversity of the CNN staff.
Elsewhere on NewsBusters, Ken Shepherd is put out that a picture of Tucker Carlson in a Washington, D.C., commuter paper carried the caption "Go ahead: Slap him in your imagination." Does this mean Shepherd now denounces (and rejects) the Slap Hillary website?
A March 12 WorldNetDaily article on the lawsuit filed by former Ohio college librarian Scott Savage against the school and faculty members who criticized him repeats the misleading claim that Savage was accused of "sexual harrassment" for recommending that students read right-wing books such as WND managing editor David Kupelian's "The Marketing of Evil."
As we detailed at the time, Savage was accused of "harassment based on sexual orientation," not "sexual harassment." The "sexual harassment" claim came from misleading press releases by the Alliance Defense Fund, which defended Savage then.
If you'll remember, WND and the ADF had an apparently cozy relationship which WND milked to promote Kupelian's book. So it's not surprising that at the end of the March 12 article is a promo for the book, which is "available, autographed and personalized, from WorldNetDaily's online store."
WND also curiously offers no background of Savage's currrent attorney, Tom Condit, who appears to be a right-wing activist attorney in the tradition of the ADF. An article at the anti-abortion group Operation Save America website describes Condit as "a pro-life lawyer from Cincinnati, Ohio." He is a graduate of the ADF's National Litigation Academy, which "provides volunteer and allied attorneys with intensive training to effectively battle the ACLU and serve the Body of Christ." He has also represented parents "who claim their daughter was coerced into an abortion by an adult boyfriend with the connivance of Planned Parenthood employees."
WND Doesn't Tell Other Side of Savage's Lawsuit Topic: WorldNetDaily
A March 11 WorldNetDaily article on a judge's dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Michael Savage against the Council on Islamic-American RelationsCouncil on Islamic-American Relations -- as did a March 7 article on the subject -- didn't report CAIR's arguments for dismissal, even though it went into lengthy detail about Savage's accusations against CAIR.
Both articles stated that "The San Francisco-based talker originally accused the organization of copyright violations, but later amended the action to include allegations the group 'has consistently sought to silence opponents of violent terror through economic blackmail, frivolous but costly lawsuits, threats of lawsuits and abuses of the legal system' " and offered a point-by-point detailing of Savage's claims. But WND reported only that the judge in the case "was 'leaning toward tossing out' the action" without explaining why beyond stating that "she found free speech arguments persuasive."
According to the Associated Press article on which WND claimed its March 7 article was based:
But the judge said she found "persuasive" CAIR's arguments that free speech protections allowed the organization to use the clip to criticize and comment on Savage's views even if the content is used for fundraising purposes.
CAIR's attorney Thomas Burke argued that a federal appeals court validated that position in 1986 when it said the Moral Majority could use Hustler Magazine's unflattering parody of the religious group's founder Rev. Jerry Falwell to raise money for a legal fund.
"Michael Savage is just unwilling to accept criticism going the other way," Burke said outside court. "This lawsuit is about punishing CAIR for criticizing him."
None of this found its way into WND's articles. Similarly, as we've noted, WND has never mentioned Savage's history of suing his critics, nor has it disclosed its previous business relationship with Savage, which included publishing his early books under the WND Books imprint.
Given WND's unfortunatehistory of trusting people who sling mud at their favorite targets, it would behoove WND to try a little actual journalism for once and not blindly accept smears as fact -- especially from the likes of Michael Savage.
Ted Baehr Misleads About Anti-Evolution Film Criticism Topic: WorldNetDaily
Richard Bartholomew reports that Ted Baehr is engaging in a bit of hypocrisy in his March 10 WorldNetDaily column, in which he expressed upset that "A reporter even posed as a minister to sneak into a church screening" of Ben Stein's new anti-evolution, pro-creationism film, "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed." In fact, the reporter in question, the Orlando Sentinel's Roger Moore, received a legitimate invitation to the screening from the film's marketers, which the issuer then tried to revoke. Further, there's no evidence that Moore misrepresented himself as a minister to get into the film.
Bartholomew points out that back in 2004, Baehr was upset that anti-Kinsey activist Judith Reisman was kept out of screening of the film "Kinsey."
Moore himself has noted that the movie's makers "didn't want non-Christian opinion-makers" to attend pre-release screenings because they only want "lots of like-minded preachers and lay-people 'reviewing' it before I do, aka The Passion of the Christ."
WorldNetDaily is parroting the producers' line perfectly: Joseph Farah dutifully puffed the movie in his March 4 column, declaring Stein "my old friend and colleague" and proclaiming his film "exposé-tainment at its best."
Farah also goes on to note that Stein interviews "the scientists who are dogmatic about evolution"; similarly, Baehr writes that "Ben Stein takes on atheists and Darwinian evolutionists like Richard Dawkins and exposes the fact that they are logically challenged." But both Farah and Baehr fail to note that Stein obtained those interviews under false pretenses.
A March 10 WorldNetDaily article expressed outrage that WND's Jerome Corsi was "barred ... from attending a news conference in which Secretary Mary Peters defended the controversial Bush administration program allowing Mexican trucks to travel freely on U.S. roads." The article also included a defense of WND from editor Joseph Farah:
"WND sent a New York-based reporter to Washington to cover an area within his specialization, only to be turned away by bureaucrats for not being 'credentialed,'" said Joseph Farah, WND's founder and editor.
"WorldNetDaily is credentialed by the Senate Press Gallery to cover the Capitol. WorldNetDaily is credentialed to cover the White House. WorldNetDaily is a member in good standing of the Washington Press Club. Our reporter on the scene is a Harvard Ph.D and best-selling author. WorldNetDaily is one of the largest news sources in the world, larger than any newspaper websites except the New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today. If those credentials aren't good enough, I’d sure like to know which journalists were permitted in the Department of Transportation hearing."
It's rather amusing to see Farah tout that it's "credentialed by the Senate Press Gallery to cover the Capitol" as evidence that it's a legitimate news organization. As we noted, back in 2002 when WND was hectoring the Senate Press Gallery into giving WND that credential, one of the arguments it made was that the gallery's standards were so low that credentials had already been given to "official government mouthpieces such as Egypt's Al-Ahram and China's Xinhua News Agency."
Further, as we learned in the Jeff Gannon case -- and as proven by the possessor of WND's White House press credential, LesKinsolving -- the bar for obtaining White House press credentials is not terribly high.
Maybe Secretary Peters knows all about WND's unfortunate record of falsereporting and Corsi's own record of using WND to attack a former friend. Maybe that's why Corsi and WND didn't get in the door.
CNS Writer Misrepresents 'Path to 9/11' Controversy Topic: NewsBusters
What happens to stories so bad that even CNS won't run them? They apparently end up at NewsBusters.
A March 11 NewsBusters post by CNS reporter Kevin Mooney (which does not appear at CNS) misrepresents the controversy over the ABC miniseries "The Path to 9/11" and leaves out facts about ABC/Disney's purported refusal to market a DVD of the series. Mooney writes:
Disney’s unwillingness to make the film available on DVD suggests Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger is working to advance his own political interests at the expense of shareholders, Tom Borelli, a portfolio manager with the Free Enterprise Action Fund contends. Iger has been a consistent and steady contributor to Sen. Clinton (D-N.Y.), Borelli pointed out. He also asked Disney officials to explain why they have thus refused to sell the film rights to Lionsgate.
1) Mooney never explains what the Free Enterprise Action Fund or why its manager is making a political statement about it. From the fund's website:
Left-wing social and political activists are harnessing the power, resources and influence of publicly-owned corporations to advance their social and political agendas. (1) Frustrated by their failure to advance their agendas in the public political process, these activists use capitalism against capitalism under the guise of “corporate social responsibility” and “socially responsible investing.” (2) Their movement threatens shareholder value and the American system of free enterprise.
Leveraging its status as an institutional shareholder in hundreds of America’s largest companies, the Fund aims to defend free enterprise from the Left’s use of capitalism against capitalism.
2) Mooney and Borelli never explain why Disney should allow Lionsgate to distribute the DVD when Disney has its own distribution arm. Further, Mooney fails to note that the Hollywood Reporter stated: "Contacted after the meeting, Lionsgate insiders said that there is no serious interest in acquiring the DVD rights to 'Path.'"
Mooney goes on to note that "Top Democratic Party officials, including former members of the Clinton administration, claim the film is laced with inaccuracies. Madeline Albright, the secretary of state under President Clinton, Sandy Berger, the former national security advisor and Bruce Lindsey, a Clinton attorney all expressed strong reservations about the film to Disney," but he doesn't mention specificinaccuracies to which they objected.
Meanwhile, Mooney uncritically repeats Borelli's claim that "The film has come under criticism not because Democratic officials are suddenly concerned about objective facts but because they are concerned about safeguarding President Clinton’s legacy particularly as it pertains to the ineffective counter-terrorism practices in the 1990s that are exposed in the film." Mooney also promotes an upcoming film by "former Los Angles radio host" John Ziegler who claims (without evidence, of course) that "The Path to 9/11" "was easy on the Clinton administration."
However, the overriding point the filmmaker hopes most to drive home most in this new documentary – tentatively entitled “Blocking the Path” – is how constrained Clinton became in fighting back against terrorism in the midst of impeachment.
“Clinton was relying on his approval ratings to remain in office,” Ziegler said. “So he couldn’t go after Bin Laden and risk disaster and risk losing American operatives”
Does this mean that Ziegler will detail how Republicans share some of the blame for forcing an impeachment action against Clinton that constrained him in fighting terrorism? Don't count on it.
Mooney, by the way, makes no mention of Ziegler's politics; Ziegler's Wikipedia page calls him "a strong supporter of President Bush's policies following 9/11" and notes that Ziegler describes himself as "more libertarian than conservative, more conservative than liberal."
WND's Simpson Whitewashes Homeschooling Case Topic: WorldNetDaily
A March 10 WorldNetDaily column by Barbara Simpson engages in the expected overheated rhetoric in the Phillip Long homeschooling case -- "Living in this country today is like being stranded in the middle of a hail storm" -- but Simpson also whitewashes the facts behind the Long case. She writes:
This case came about because of a child welfare investigation in Los Angeles County. Mary and Philip Long were homeschooling their eight children. Mrs. Long is the teacher, but she's not credentialed. The children were also enrolled in the Sunland Christian School as part of an independent study program.
Apparently, one of the children complained to someone about "mistreatment." As part of the investigation, a juvenile court judge found the children were being "poorly educated" (because of homeschooling) but made no changes.
However, lawyers appointed for the children after child advocates got involved pursued the issue. The appeals court then ordered the children to state schools, not permitting them to continue with Sunland school because it (Sunland) "was willing to participate in the deprivation of the children's right to a legal education."
Simpson doesn't mention that courts have found that were was, in fact, mistreatment going on by the father against his children and that the house where the family lived was in "an endangering filthy, unsanitary and unsafe condition, and the minors were chronically filthy, and unsupervised late at night."
Further, the judge did not conclude that the children were being "poorly educated" because they were being homeschooled; the judge made no general statement about the overall quality of homeschooled. Rather, the judge stated that, in this case, 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."
Does Simpson really consider such meager so-called homeschooling superior to the public schools she attacks? Or such an abusive family to be the ideal place for children to be raised? Let's hope not.
In a March NewsBusters post, Tim Graham trumpets the Washington Post's tweak of the new book by David Brock and Paul Waldman of Media Matters (disclosure: our employer) about fawning media coverage of John McCain, "Free Ride," that "oops, the title doesn’t match the rough reporting coming out from newspapers on McCain’s alleged hypocrisy (and adultery?) with lobbyists."
Graham, of course, co-wrote with Brent Bozell a book about fawning media coverage of Hillary Clinton, "Whitewash." But what's the headline on this NewsBusters post today by Mark Finkelstein?
Nevertheless, Graham writes that "the MRC will allow that Hillary Clinton hasn't always received a 'free ride'" (while not offering any examples that it has done so without also trying to explain how that doesn't conflict with his book's thesis). But the promotional copy for "Whitewash" tells a different story:
In Whitewash, L. Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham of the Media Research Center, America’s largest and most respected media watchdog organization, expose the unprecedented media favoritism that is the real key to Hillary’s political career. Marshalling stunning evidence compiled exclusively by the Media Research Center, the authors show how the media have relentlessly promoted Hillary from the moment in 1992 when Time magazine introduced her to the country as an “amalgam of Betty Crocker, Mother Teresa, and Oliver Wendell Holmes.”
We're not seeing any equivocating there. (Of course, that description is a bit misleading.)
Graham also purports to elucidate the difference between the MRC and Media Matters (apparently because "Brent would want to avoid having the two groups blurred into identical twins"). Media Matters, Graham writes, "spreads the search for "misinformation" all over radio and the Internet and opinion sections everywhere, trying to make everyone avoid the biased "mainstream" media roaring behind the curtain," while the MRC "tr[ies] to stick to news reporting." That, of course, is why the MRC has studies on Rosie O'Donnell and bloggers at the Huffington Post.
CNS Ignores Full Homeschooling Story Topic: CNSNews.com
A March 10 CNSNews.com article by Randy Hall weighs on on the Phillip Long homeschooling ruling. Hall does take a stab at balance and reality that WorldNetDaily has thusfarrefused to do: He admits that it's "religious conservatives" who oppose the California court decision that ordered Long's children to attend a real school, and he actually attempts balance by exerpting an op-ed on the National Education Association website critical of homeschooling (though it apparently predates the Long decision). But Hall allows claims to go unchallenged and ignores the full story behind Long and his family.
Hall writes that "The family came to the attention of Los Angeles County social workers when one of the children claimed the father was physically abusive," adding, "The workers then learned that all eight children in the family were home-schooled, and an attorney representing the two youngest children asked the Juvenile Dependency Court to order that they be enrolled in public or private school to protect their well-being." Hall thus suggests that state officials thought that homeschooling was a form of physical abuse.
Hall leave out the fact (as we've pointed out) that the dependency court did, in fact, find 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, "[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."
Also unmentioned by Hall was the fact that the court also described the education the children received at home as "lousy," "meager," and "bad," and found that the supervision by the Christian school with which the family was affiliated was minimal at best. The dependency 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."
Hall uncritically repeated Long's assertion that he has "sincerely held religious beliefs" which compels him to keep his children out of public school, ignoring that the court noted that "Over the years, the parents of the children have given various reasons for not sending the children to school," including that "educating children outside the home exposes them to 'snitches.'" One child testified that she "was not taught geography or history. Asked if she can add, subtract, multiply and divide, [she] stated she cannot."
Hall also mischaracterized the NEA op-ed he excerpted, claiming the author, Dave Arnold, asserted that "many home schools are run by 'well-meaning but gullible parents,' including those who educate their children according to their "religious convictions" and see home-schooling as the best way to combat our nation's 'ungodly' public schools. In fact, Arnold was focusing on organizations catering to homeschooling that are only looking to make a buck and the parents' refusal to do anything to improve public schools:
Another Web site asks for donations and posts newspaper articles pertaining to problems occurring in public schools.
It’s obvious to me that these organizations are in it for the money. They are involved in the education of children mostly in the hope of profiting at the hands of well-meaning but gullible parents.
This includes parents who home-school their children for reasons that may be linked to religious convictions. One Web site that I visited stated that the best way to combat our nation’s “ungodly” public schools was to remove students from them and teach them at home or at a Christian school.
I’m certainly not opposed to religious schools, or to anyone standing up for what they believe in. I admire anyone who has the strength to stand up against the majority. But in this case, pulling children out of a school is not the best way to fight the laws that govern our education system. No battle has ever been won by retreating!
Of course, CNS, being a conservative site that has been critical of public schools has an agenda here as well. This is perfectly illustrated by another March 10 article by Pete Winn, which uncritically repeats conservatives' attacks on a high school in Deerfield, Illinois, for purportedly offering "homosexual porn" by having the play "Angels in America" on a student reading list. The article is an example of CNS' sham balance, featuring only attacks on the school and a note at the end that school officials "did not respond to interview requests prior to press time."
Winn also uncritically repeats a statement by one critic that the school district previous "ordered 14-year-old freshmen to take a seminar that amounted to homosexual indoctrination." No supporting evidence is offered for the claim, and there's no description of what the purported "homosexual indoctrination" entailed.
We noted that when WorldNetDaily repeated this claim last year, it similarly offered no details of the purported "indoctrination" and took its information only from a Concerned Women for America press release.
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.