Graham Parrots GOP Talking Point Topic: NewsBusters
In a March 30 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham wrote that, in reponse to Democratic national Committee chairman Howard Dean's statement calling John McCain "a blatant opportunist who doesn’t understand the economy and is promising to keep our troops in Iraq for 100 years," "The GOP seized upon the term "blatant opportunist" to suggest that Dean is implying McCain is an opportunist for including his POW information in his latest TV ad, with the RNC demanding an immediate apology." Graham asserted, "Now it's the liberals who want to mock an 'opportunistic' focus on Vietnam biography."
Note those weasel words "suggest" and "implying." That's because Dean did not, in fact, call McCain a "blatant opportunist" for citing his Vietnam War record, as Media Matters points out.
Graham also misleads about John Kerry's military service, claiming he served only "three months in Vietnam." In fact, Kerry served in his first tour of duty aboard the USS Gridley in the Vietnam theater prior to his second tour of duty as a swift boat commander. That tour lasted 3 1/2 months until Kerry sought and was granted a reassignment, which he was eligible to do after receiving three Purple Hearts.
WND Still Misleads About Terri Schiavo -- Again Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily is still taking sides in the Terri Schiavo case, continuing to repeat dubious accusations that boost the case of the Terri's parents, the Schindlers, and attack her husband, Michael Schiavo, while not giving Michael Schiavo or his attorney an opportunity to respond to them.
A March 31 article repeated a claim from February that "Terri's family ... in 2002 uncovered a report of a full-body bone scan done on Terri that indicated she had sustained several broken bones and led the interpreting radiologist to conclude she was the victim of abuse."
But as we noted, one observer has pointed out that the radiologist's observations are "pure speculation"; indeed, "the radiologist does note this in the report by stating that the abnormal areas could also be caused by cancer, infection, or infarcts."
The article also repeats the assertion that "Michael Schiavo was awarded a judgment of $750,000 for continuing care for his wife, but WND reported court records show he spent $456,816 of the total on lawyers pursuing her death." This ignores what was spent on lawyers on behalf of the Schindlers, which even anti-Michael activist (and former WND reporter on the case) Diana Lynne was forced to admit was in excess of $400,000, after writing disingenuously in her book of the Schindlers' side being only "a grass-roots effort."
WND then falsely claimed that "Terri's death, however, was lauded by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in recent days." Obama absolutely did not "laud" Terri's death; not even WND offers any evidence to support that claim.
Most people would call that such an assertion libel. You'd think, having just admitted publishing false claims (and, presumably, paying a not-insignificant monetary settlement) to settle a libel suit, that WND would be a tad more cautious about such things.
WND Reporter Still Distorting Schiavo Case Topic: WorldNetDaily
Diana Lynne demonstrates herself once again to be what we already knew -- hopelessly biased on the issue of Terri Schiavo.
We'verepeatedlydocumented how Lynne's reporting for WorldNetDaily and in a book about the Schiavo case skewed in favor of Terri's parents and against her husband, Michael Schiavo. She repeats the bias in a March 31 WND column marking the third anniversary of Schiavo's death.
In it, Lynne displays overtly the bias she was somewhat more subtle about in her WND "reporting." (Lynne no longer works for WND.) She once again attacks Michael Schiavo, claiming he "warehoused [Terri] in nursing homes and hospices for the next 12 years while he pursued her death," and lionizes Terri's parents, the Schindlers, promoting the foundation they founded as a "cause ... to help people with disabilities and the incapacitated avoid tragedies that reflect what Terri endured."
The bio at the end of the column touts Lynne's book on the case a "powerful, comprehensive book on Terri Schiavo's life and death." That's false; we've documented numerous facts Lynne chose to ignore in her book.
This is all typical op-ed stuff. The difference is that this is written by a self-proclaimed reporter who skewed her "reporting" into advocacy of an agenda -- a big no-no among real reporters.
'Scores of Obama Advisors' Are 'Anti-Israel'? Topic: WorldNetDaily
A March 30 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein heavily implies -- and outright states -- things that he can't prove.
He claims that the "anti-white and virulently anti-Semitic" New Black Panther Party has reposted an endorsement of Barack Obama on Obama's website, thus once again implying that Obama has accepted the endorsement. Even Klein offrs no evidence of that, just as he offers no evidence that the NBPP itself put the endorsement (or a previous one Klein wrote about) on the site.
As we've noted, it's not that difficult for anyone to post an endorsement page on Obama's website; for all we know, Klein himself posted the page in order to write yet another Obama-hating article.
Klein then states that comments by an NBPP national chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz critical of Israel "follow recent reports highlighting the anti-Israel views of scores of Obama advisors."
What? Klein apparently thinks Shabazz is an "Obama advisor." There's absolutely no evidence of that.
Klein also provided no evidence that there are "scores of Obama advisors" who are "anti-Israel" -- he lists only four, and most of those are tenuous at best. Among them is Robert Malley, "who has advocated negotiations with Hamas." Klein doesn't explain how urging negotiation with Hamas is "anti-Israel."
As we've documented, Klein hates Obama so much that he's eager to lie about and distort and smear Obama's record, and this article is just another example.
ConWeb Silent on Questions About Its Favorite Ex-Terrorist Topic: The ConWeb
The ConWeb loved Walid Shoebat when he surfaced in right-wing circles a few years back.
WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah featured him on his radio show (more than once) and wrote a fawning profile of him, a story that dovetails nicely with the typical conservative view of the Middle East:
Walid Shoebat, born in Bethlehem, began attacking Israelis when he was 8 years old, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails.
He was, Shoebat says now, an Islamic terrorist in the making – a product of his environment, including schools, media and mosques that preached hatred of Jews.
"I never actually met any Jews," he said. "But in school we were taught from the Quran that they were pigs and monkeys.''
By 15, he had already served time in a Jerusalem prison for participating in an anti-Israel riot. While there, he was recruited into the Palestine Liberation Organization.
At 16, he was chosen to take a loaf of bread, packed with explosives, to blow up the Bethlehem Bank Leumi. His instructions were to place it in a garbage can near the door of the building. But seeing Arab children playing nearby, he decided to throw the bread on the roof where it did little damage.
He once blinded a man during a fight and was "so happy" to learn he was a Jew.
He was also involved in the near-lynching of an Israeli soldier. Though Shoebat and his friends took the soldier's gun and beat him, he managed to escape.
"I wanted to die as a martyr," said. "We were indoctrinated to look forward to heaven.''
Now Shoebat has turned his activism in a completely different direction. He calls himself a Christian Zionist, giving speeches around the country and in Canada, where he made an appearance this week. His ultimate dream, he says, is to go to Israeli prisons to teach Palestinian youngsters Jewish history – a dream he understands is fraught with danger from the people who think as he once did.
But WND isn't the only ones in the ConWeb to have promoted Shoebat:
Newsmax, in a lengthy July 2006 profile, declared him a "terror expert" and "a man with a tough message" -- "a former fundamentalist Islamic terrorist who, incredibly, reformed." It printed an interview with Glenn Beck touting that Shoebat would appear in a segement of his TV show called "Exposed: The Extremist Agenda."
An October 2006 CNSNews.com article touted a speech by Shoebat and another former terrorist. A CNS "Fact-O-Rama" repeated highlights from Shoebat's bio.
But was Shoebat really the badass terrorist he claims to have been? The New York Times writes of Shoebat and two other purported ex-terrorists with whom Shoebat has done speaking tours:
Academic professors and others who have heard the three men speak in the United States and Canada said some of their stories border on the fantastic, like Mr. [Kamal] Saleem’s account of how, as a child, he infiltrated Israel to plant bombs via a network of tunnels underneath the Golan Heights. No such incidents have been reported, the academic experts said. They also question how three middle-aged men who claim they were recruited as teenagers or younger could have been steeped in the violent religious ideology that only became prevalent in the late 1980s.
Arab-American civil rights organizations question why, at a time when the United States government has vigorously moved to jail or at least deport anyone with a known terrorist connection, the three men, if they are telling the truth, are allowed to circulate freely. A spokesman for the F.B.I. said there were no warrants for their arrest.
The Times article also notes that the speeches by Shoebat and the others are little more than Muslim bashing and Christian prostletyzing; according to one critic, "It was just an old time gospel hour — 'Jesus can change your life, he changed mine.' ... That is mixed in with 'Watch out America, wake up America, the danger of Islam is here.' "
In response, the men have spent significant time trying to prove that they actually did kill people, and that they used to hate Jews as much as the next Muslim extremist. "I planted a bomb in a bank!" insists Shoebat, whose handler, Keith Davies, has threatened a libel suit against The Times over the article that questioned his claims.
That's right: Shoebat is claiming libel against anyone who says he wasn't a terrorist -- as Richard Bartholomew notes, the most absurd libel threat ever. Bartholomew noted that Shoebat has issued a similar libel threat against a blogger who claimed to have talked to a relative of Shoebat, who called his terrorist story "a manufactured fabrication," adding that "The biggest act of 'terror' he ever committed was to glue Palestinian flag on street posts."
It should be no surprise that the controversy over Shoebat's veracity can be found nowhere on the ConWeb. It's mentioned nowhere on the websites that have touted him -- WorldNetDaily, Newsmax or CNS -- even though the story first surfaced two months ago.
A March 30 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh makes a big deal out of McDonald's "sign[ing] onto a nationwide effort to promote 'gay' and 'lesbian' business ventures" without explaining what, exactly, is so offensive about it.
Sure, Unruh does a lot of dog-whistle implying regarding McDonald's being a "corporate partner and organization ally" with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce -- Unruh calls the group a "special interest chamber" and "the 'gay' advocacy organization" which is "promoting the LGBT community first and always" and accused McDonald's of supporting "the agenda of the homosexual business lobby."
Unruh even offers a list of what the NGLCC does, including "disseminate news and information central to the success of LGBT businesses, … ensure increased opportunity and equality for LGBT professionals, … help LBGT businesses gain more procurement opportunities, …. provide strong lobbying efforts for LBGT business causes." But where's the problem? Unruh never says, beyond the article's overall tone of hatred of gays as a whole.
Unruh makes a logical leap when he states, "Other corporate sponsors of the NGLCC include expected names such as Coors Light and Kodak, who have been leaders in advocating homosexuality." Again, he never explains how supporting gay-owned businesses equals "advocating homosexuality."
Unruh also stated: "WND reported earlier when Wal-Mart joined the NGLCC, and how the corporation's income later started declining as Christian organizations reacted to the news." In fact, in the December 2006 WND article to which Unruh links, the cause-and-effect is rather tenuous. In it, anti-abortion activist Flip Benham takes credit for Wal-Mart's post-Thanksgiving sales coming in "0.1 percent below expectations." The article describes Wal-Mart's tie to the NGLCC as an example of its "developing support for the 'gay' agenda" as well as that it has "not fired a homosexual marketing agency."
What it appears that Unruh and WND, as well as activists like Benham, want to do is blacklist gay businesses. Is that really a responsible or moral thing to do?
Newsmax Flip-Flops on Media Ownership Conflicts Topic: Newsmax
In a March 27 Newsmax column, Lowell Ponte notes that one of the private equity firms that has been negotiating a deal to buy radio giant Clear Channel Communications -- which also owns Premiere Radio Networks, syndicator of such consrevative hosts as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh -- is Bain Capital, co-founded by former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Ponte writes:
These hosts never told listeners that a company Romney co-founded, and with which he was still involved, was signatory to a 2006 agreement to buy Clear Channel and that completion of this deal was in process during Romney’s presidential run.
Should these hosts tell their listeners about Romney’s tangential connection to the purchase of Clear Channel if bank funding is resolved and this buyout of the broadcast giant gets back on track — and if Gov. Romney becomes Senator McCain’s running mate?
Nothing in Mitt Romney’s potential involvement in this buyout is in any way whatsoever illegal or unethical. The same can be said for honorable Clear Channel hosts who spoke favorably of Gov. Romney.
But in our age of highly charged, hotly polarized partisanship, leftists have demonstrated an eagerness to turn even the tiniest molehill into a mountain of accusation against Republicans, and even against one another.
Caesar’s wife must be above even the slightest suspicion in our era of undue influence and strange political bedfellows.
By bringing light and ventilation to Bain Capital’s and Mr. Romney’s role (if any) in the Clear Channel buyout, we can give McCain more freedom to consider Gov. Romney as a potentially excellent running mate.
Newsmax wasn't so magnanimous when faced with the opposite situation.
As we've noted, back in 2000 Newsmax was absolutely offended that one investor in the company that owns the National Enquirer is "Clinton confidant and one-time Whitewater figure Roger Altman." Citing stories that made Republicans look bad whose facts it didn't dispute, Newsmax huffed: "Watch for the liberal media food chain at work. ... Smear stories in tabloids that bounce up to the networks."
Of course, Newsmax has some tabloid-esque tendencies -- witness Ronald Kessler's endless Obama attacks -- and serves that exact role in the conservative media food chain, promoting "smear stories" that "bounce up" to talk radio and Fox News. And it considered those very same tabloids a reliable source of information when they reported scandalous information about Democrats.
Newsmax in 2000 wasn't calling anyone at the National Enquirer "honorable" or pointing out that their ownership by a former politician was not "illegal or unethical." And it most definitely was trying to turn "the tiniest molehill into a mountain of accusation."
Back then, Newsmax wanted to highlight a media ownership issue to attack it. Now, a Newsmax columnist wants to highlight the issue in order to whitewash it.
In a March 28 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham makes a big deal out of liberal blog Think Progress correcting an "inaccurate smear" of John McCain. If Graham and NewsBusters are so big on accuracy, let's see NewsBusters correct the record on the following:
-- Writing about controverisal remarks made by Barack Obama's pastor, John Stevenson wrote, "Don't expect Obama to repudiate these remarks." In fact, Obama already had.
-- NumerousNewsBusterswritershaveclaimed that, in the words of Richard Newcomb on March 6, "it was State Department hack Richard Armitage who actually first mentioned [Valerie] Plame's name." In fact, Karl Rove and Scooter Libby also leaked Plame's identity to reporters; Armitage's leakee, Robert Novak, was merely the first to go public with it.
-- Sheppard's false claim that "at the beginning of January, just hours before the New Hampshire primary, and days after a devastating loss to Sen. Barack Obama in the Iowa caucuses, Democrat [sic] presidential candidate Hillary Clinton teared-up in front of the camera." She didn't.
-- Scott Whitlock falsely claimed that author Steven Dubner "Touts Abortion as a Way to Reduce Crime." In fact, his research has merely noted that the legalization of abortion reduced overall crime rates.
-- Kyle Drennen accused CBS' Harry Smith of "sounding like a liberal conspiracy theorist" and "reminiscent of left-winger Rosie O’Donnell" for "question[ing] the authenticity of an audio tape of the confrontation between U.S. and Iranian ships on January 6," even though the Pentagon itself has backed away from the implication that the voice on the tape unquestionably came from an Iranian ship.
That's just this year. We're still waiting for NewsBusters sister site CNSNews.com to apologize to Paul Begala for falsely claiming in 2005 that he said Republicans were trying to kill him and his family.
Navrozov Misstates NY Times Circulation Topic: Newsmax
In a March 27 Newsmax column, Lev Navrozov stated: "In 1993, The New York Times had 757,000 readers, and by 2006, the number fell to 529,000."
That's misleading; those numbers are the Times' daily circulation only in the New York metropolitian area. The Times' total circulation has changed relatively little (not for Navrozov's purpose of attacking them the Times as a dying newspaper, anyway), hovering around 1.1 million during that same time period, as the Times shifted to more of a national focus. Circulation of the Sunday Times declined from 1.7 million to 1.6 million.
Even More Stuff Wrong With Klein's Reporting Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've found yet another thing wrong with Aaron Klein's attack reporting on Barack Obama.
Klein's March 20 WorldNetDaily article claimed that Obama's church "reprinted a manifesto by Hamas [actually, just a Los Angeles Times op-ed] that defended terrorism as legitimate resistance, refused to recognize the right of Israel to exist and compared the terror group's official charter – which calls for the murder of Jews – to America's Declaration of Independence." While Klein claims that "Obama's campaign also did not reply to phone and e-mail requests today for comment," Media Matters notes that a March 20 Jewish Telegraphic Agency article quotes Obama as saying: "I have already condemned my former pastor's views on Israel in the strongest possible terms, and I certainly wasn't in church when that outrageously wrong Los Angeles Times piece was re-printed in the bulletin."
Obama is further quoted as saying, "Hamas is a terrorist organization, responsible for the deaths of many innocents, and dedicated to Israel's destruction, as evidenced by their bombarding of Sderot in recent months. I support requiring Hamas to meet the international community's conditions of recognizing Israel, renouncing violence, and abiding by past agreements before they are treated as a legitimate actor."
Klein doesn't get around to mentioning this until a March 22 article, claiming that the statement was made "following WND's story." He offers no evidence to support the assertion.
Klein also referenced the Hamas "manifesto" in the church bulletin in a March 23 article -- but not Obama's condemnation.
We've added this to our ConWebWatch article on Klein.
Meanwhile ... Topic: Newsmax Media Matters details how Dick Morris, in his March 25 Newsmax column, yet again repeats the false claim that Hillary Clinton "said that Chelsea [Clinton] was jogging around the World Trade Center on 9/11 and happened to duck into a coffee shop when the airplanes hit. She said that this move saved Chelsea's life." In fact, she didn't say that at all; rather, Clinton said that her daughter had "gone, what she thought would be just a great jog. She was going to go down to Battery Park, she was going to go around the towers. She went to get a cup of coffee and -- and that's when the plane hit."
Barber Misleads on Gays, Blood and South Africa Topic: CNSNews.com
In a March 27 CNSNews.com column, Matt Barber essentially claims that gays are filthy, disease-ridden scum who are plotting to kill straight people by donating blood. On top of that, he misleads about a few things. One claim in particular is of note:
In South Africa, militant homosexual activists have been "protesting" by deliberately and surreptitiously violating that nation's blood ban, aiming to flood blood banks with 70,000 units. Who knows how much blood has been contaminated or how many innocent people have been infected. This isn't a protest; it's an act of violence.
Barber treats this as if it was a current story; in fact, the BBC first reported on it in January 2006. The BBC goes on to note that at the same time, the South African National Blood Services also banned blood donations from blacks, noting that "President Thabo Mbeki's blood was destroyed because he was black and because his doctor had refused to complete the personal history questionnaire used to screen donors." Does Barber approve of that ban as well?
Barber doesn't mention that South Africa has since lifted the blanket ban on gay men donating blood, allowing those who have been celibate for six months to donate.
While Barber makes a big deal in his column about HIV and AIDS being a "gay disease," that's not the case in South Africa. It's estimated that as many as one in five South African adults -- and nearly 30 percent of pregnant women -- have HIV.
Barber also doesn't mention that most countries test donated blood for HIV, making the actual threat much smaller than he purports it to be.
New Articles -- Anti-Obama Frenzy: Ronald Kessler and Aaron Klein Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax's Kessler peddles the inflammatory statements by Barack Obama's pastor while he downplays or hides Obama's criticism of them. WorldNetDaily's Klein hurls guilt-by-association attacks as he admits his hatred of Obama.
Unruh's New False Claim in Homeschooling Case Topic: WorldNetDaily
Bob Unruh -- still condoning child abuse by not reporting the truth about the dysfunctional family at the center of a homeschooling case in California -- is making a newly minted false claim about the case in a March 26 article:
The Longs say they have homeschooled because of an anti-Christian bias in public schools. The ruling stemmed from a juvenile proceeding that already had been closed by the court when court-appointed attorneys for their children appealed, specifically attempting to ban homeschooling. The ruling from Appeals Court Judge H. Walt Croskey granted the attorneys' wishes.
Unruh offers no evidence that the court-appointed attorneys for the children "specifically attempt[ed] to ban homeschooling" in their appeal. Indeed, the ruling mentions nothing beyond trying to get the Long children out of their homeschooling situation, which even the juvenile court admitted was “lousy,” “meager,” and “bad.” Croskey merely recited state law in "grant[ing] the attorneys' wishes" -- that there is no provision for homeschooling in state law and no expressed "right" to it in either the California or U.S. constitutions.
And again, Unruh fails to note that the court ruling stated that the Longs have made multiple claims regarding why they homeschool, including that "educating children outside the home exposes them to 'snitches.'"