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Monday, April 7, 2008
Where's WND's Legal Defense Fund Money Going?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An April 4 WorldNetDaily article noting that it has "been three years since WND took the unorthodox step of banning all pop-up and pop-under ads from one of the largest Internet news sites in the world" -- actually, many popular websites don't utilize pop-up and pop-under ads -- cites as one way of "showing support" for WND: "You can also make a special donation to WND's Legal Defense Fund to help the company battle the lawsuits and threats that always accompany honest, muckraking journalism."

Nowhere is it mentioned that WND admitted, as part of settling a libel suit by  Al Gore supporter Clark Jones, printing false claims about him -- which undermines its assertion that its journalism is "honest." And nowhere does WND indicate how much of each donation to its "legal defense fund" goes toward the cost of paying a presumed financial award to Jones as part of that lawsuit settlement.

C'mon, WND, be honest with your readers and potential donors -- you're begging for donations to pay for the settlement to Jones, right? Oh, and while you're at it, how about a little transparency for that legal defense fund, making public its donors and disbursements?


Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 AM EDT
WND Anti-Gay Agenda Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An April 4 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh starts off with two falsehoods right off the bat.

The headline states, "Elementary lesson on 'gay' issues now tied to reading, social studies." Nowhere does Unruh specifically state that reading and social studies are a particular focus of purported " 'gay' studies."

Unruh began his article by referencing "The superintendent of a public school that sparked a federal lawsuit by teaching homosexuality to children as young as kindergarten." But as we detailed the last time Unruh "reported" on this story, the school was not "teaching homosexuality"; rather, his 5-year-old son brought home a book about families that "depicted at least two households led by homosexual partners."

And despite Unruh's sinister warnings of "indoctrination" and "teaching homosexuality" and "promotions of such alternative lifestyles," there's nothing of the sort going on here. Buried in Unruh's article is a mention that the school in question may assign reading to students that includes "stories that show same gender parents."

That's what Unruh's article is about -- fear that a school will show students that gay parents exist. The Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy strikes again!


Posted by Terry K. at 12:25 AM EDT
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Only Democrats Put 'On the Spot'
Topic: CNSNews.com

As we noted last fall, one occasional feature CNSNews.com started under new leadership last year is "On the Spot," in which (mostly Democratic) members of Congress are ambushed with a question reflecting CNS' conservative bias, the apparent point of which is to catch a Democrat making a potentially awkward remark on tape.

The latest edition came in an April 4 article by Pete Winn, in which he asks "several members of Congress" whether they "agreeed with [Martin Luther King's] view that man's laws must comport with the laws of God." But all three listed interviewees are Democrats; Winn offers no evidence he asked the question of a Republican.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:02 PM EDT
Will NewsBusters Report Zeifman's Conflicting Claims?
Topic: NewsBusters

An April 1 NewsBusters post by John Stephenson reported the latest anti-Hillary allegations by Jerry Zeifman -- who, as we've detailed, likes to go on right-wing websites and tout his self-proclaimed status as a "lifelong Democrat" as an excuse to bash other Democrats. Stephenson reprinted excerpts of a North Star Writers article in which Zeifman asserted that he "fired Hillary from the [House Judiciary] committee staff" investigating the Watergate scandal. Stephenson, of course, swallows Zeifman's claims without question; his headline on the post is "Will Media Give Story About Hillary's Unethical Past the Legs It Deserves?"

But as Media Matters details, Zeifman claimed back in a 1998 article that he didn't fire her and didn't have the power to do so.

So either Zeifman lied back then, or he's lying now -- which makes him a liar either way. Will Stephenson or anyone else at NewsBusters hold Zeifman accountable for his conflicting claims? Don't count on it. 


Posted by Terry K. at 12:28 AM EDT
Saturday, April 5, 2008
FrontPageMag Writer Ignores Homeschool Family's Abusive History
Topic: Horowitz

In an April 4 FrontPageMag article, the Ayn Rand Institute's Thomas A. Bowden writes about the California homeschooling case: "Education, like nutrition, should be recognized as the exclusive domain of a child's parents, within legal limits objectively defining child abuse and neglect."

Bowden fails to note that there was an issue of "child abuse and neglect" in the "Rachel L." case he cites. As we detailed, the California Dependency Court found that Rachel "has been physically and emotionally abused by father and mother did not take steps to protect her, Rachel was sexually abused by [a friend of the family] and the parents did not protect her from him." Further, the court found -- corroborated by Rachel's own testimony -- that the quality of the homeschooling Rachel was receiving was abysmal.

Is this enough "child abuse and neglect" for Bowden to intervene? Or does objectivist philosophy forbid that?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:53 AM EDT
Friday, April 4, 2008
Huston Parrots Murdoch's False Attack on CNN
Topic: NewsBusters

In an April 4 NewsBusters post, Warner Todd Huston uncritically repeated News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch's claim that CNN has "always been extremely liberal, never had a Republican or conservative voice on it." Huston adds: "One wonders what CNN will be saying about this? It isn't like it's a secret, though."

But as Eric Alterman has pointed out, this ignores regular CNN appearances by Tucker Carlson and Bill Bennett, not to mention Terry Jeffrey, Bay Buchanan, Amy Holmes, J.C. Watts and Glenn Beck.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:01 PM EDT
Morris Hypes Non-Existent Clinton Scandal
Topic: Newsmax

In an April 4 Newsmax column detailing how "Hillary Clinton has manifested a consistently low opinion of the intelligence of voters," Dick Morris lists among alleged Clinton scandals "the theft of White House gifts." Only that really didn't happen.

Morris has been making this less-than-substantiated allegation as far back as February 2001, as noted in a UPI article reprinted by Newsmax:

Sen. Hillary Clinton denied a report by former White House pollster Dick Morris that she kept gifts given to her during her eight years as first lady.

"There is a very specific system. You don't keep something; you don't disclose it," New York's junior senator told reporters Sunday after she attended three black churches in New York City. "It goes to the National Archives, and if it is below a certain value, you don't disclose it."

Her staff provided an accounting of at least 10 gifts mentioned in Morris' op-ed piece in Sunday's New York Post. "Hillary Clinton got many expensive and personal gifts during her eight years as first lady and never disclosed them, as required by law," Morris said.

[...]

According to Clinton's New York press secretary, Peter Kauffmann, the gifts described by Morris were returned to the giver, received before the Clintons entered the White House, sent to the National Archives or listed on a disclosure form.

"It's really regrettable that the people writing and publishing the story didn't call to get the facts," Clinton said. "It is a very unfortunate commentary on the way that these things are handled."

Further, a months-long investigation by congressional Republicans resulted in a 319-page report that found no apparent illegality, according to the New York Times:

The gifts were not disclosed by the Clintons because the couple turned them over to Bill Clinton's presidential library, the investigators said. Under federal law, gifts that the first family do not keep for themselves are exempt from the public disclosure requirement on presidential gifts, the investigators said.

All of this goes unmentioned by Morris -- perhaps because it shoots down the idea that this was an actual scandal.

Morris' column carries the headline "Hillary Counting on Gullible Voters." Sounds like Morris is counting on gullible readers.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:08 PM EDT
NewsBusters Misleads on al-Qaeda in Iraq
Topic: NewsBusters

An April 3 NewsBusters post by Kyle Drennen insisted that John McCain's claim that "Al Qaeda in Iraq" would be "taking" Iraq if the U.S. withdrew from the country was, contrary to what a CBS report claimed, not an exaggeration. Another NewsBusters post by Brian Fitzpatrick called the CBS assertion about the McCain's statement a "smear" and a "whopper" and that Katie Couric "told a lie" in "lump[ing] John McCain in with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as liars." Fitzpatrick added: "Apparently Katie Couric cannot distinguish between a prediction about a policy issue and a lie deliberately crafted to gain advantage in a campaign."

But neither Drennen nor Fitzpatrick explain the thing that made McCain's statement an exaggeration, if not a lie: McCain's conflation of Al Qaeda in Iraq with Al Qaeda. 

Specifically, the two groups are not one in the same. As the Council on Foreign Relations points out (h/t Media Matters), "Established by the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, an Arab of Jordanian descent, AQI rose to prominence after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. ... a number of experts say it wasn’t until 2004, when Zarqawi vowed obedience to the al-Qaeda leader, that the groups became linked."

Both Drennan and Fitzpatrick are silent on the difference between Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda in Iraq, which means they really don't have a basis upon which to defend the purported truth of McCain's statement.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:10 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, April 4, 2008 3:47 PM EDT
EyeBlasted
Topic: Media Research Center

An April 2 Media Research Center press release announces the official launch of Eyeblast, "a groundbreaking, interactive news and entertainment platform designed to transform the world of online video-sharing and networking – without the censorship or political agenda of YouTube." It's been in beta mode the past couple of months.

Um, wait. Doesn't the MRC's very own NewsBusted "comedy" webcast have its own YouTube channel? Why, yes, it does. And lookie here: an interview with Eyeblast executive producer K. Daniel Glover, also on YouTube

That kinda destroys the argument that YouTube "censors" conservatives, does it not?

Nevertheless, the press release presses on:

“Eyeblast is a leapfrog in technology for the conservative movement,” stated Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center. “We have harnessed the capabilities of various online networks into one place that is free of censorship. Google, YouTube and the liberal media have squashed certain information due to its conservative bent. Eyeblast does not discriminate based upon political view. It is an online location where all sides are welcome to share. We especially hope to capture the attention of conservative college students and those under 30 who are longing for a place to connect with other conservatives.”

Strangely, this ulterior motive of targeting conservatives is nowhere to be found on Eyeblast's "about" page. But oops, it slips out big-time on the "be a contributor" page:

Have you grown weary of liberal bias in the mainstream media? Are you sick of the censorship and political correctness that attack conservative principles? So are we -- and you can help us combat liberal media bias and promote conservatism here at Eyeblast.tv.

You can be the media at Eyeblast. You can be a watchdog. You can be an activist. You can even be a star. We are recruiting an army of citizen video journalists to cover conservative events on campuses across America, to catch mischief-making liberals on film, to feed us video for special reports and to profile up-and-coming young conservatives. We're also looking for entertaining, video-savvy young conservatives to create mash-ups or even their own online shows.

How can Eyeblast "not discriminate based upon political view" yet also claim it's all about promoting conservatives and attacking liberals, thus suggesting that one particular political view is, at the very least, more equal than the others? We don't understand.

Similarly, the "about" page is coy about Glover's conservative bona fides, but they (along with his dislike for Barack Obama) are pretty clear in this interview with conservative blogger (and ex-CNSNews.com reporter) Robert Bluey.

We'll see how long that tissue of a non-discrimination vow lasts -- or, more to the point, how long the MRC's conservative funders tolerate paying the huge bandwidth costs of a video-heavy site with content that isn't exclusively conservative.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:12 AM EDT
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Kessler Back to Bush-Fluffing
Topic: Newsmax

In an April 2 Newsmax column, Ronald Kessler takes a break from bashing Barack Obama and returns to his Bush-fluffing roots, lovingly portraying how Laura Bush "bridged a segregated past" through a high school reunion.

To the dismay of many who think it would improve their image, the Bushes refuse to use such personal events and friendships for political advantage. Thus, the press was never told the details of the reunion and how it bridged a segregated past.

By the same token, when Bush held his 35th Yale University reunion at the White House, friends he invited to stay overnight at the White House included Donald Etra, an orthodox Jew; Lois Betts, a black woman; and Muhammed Saleh, a Muslim born in Jordan.

The Clinton White House would have held a press conference to highlight the diversity of the president’s friends. Reflecting Midland values, Bush never told the press.

But he did tell Kessler, didn't he?

Kessler also serves up updates on Jenna Bush's wedding plans, as well as  how President Bush is "is loved by Africans largely because his AIDS initiative has resulted in a significant decline in infections and deaths from those public health threats." But the Washington Post reports:

But in the worst-hit areas, clustered mainly on Africa's southern tip, the tide has decidedly not turned. The epidemic continues to spread at a torrid pace that shows little sign of easing, with people contracting HIV much faster than sick ones can be put on crucial antiretroviral drugs, research shows.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:12 PM EDT
Klein's Desperate Obama Muslim Smear
Topic: WorldNetDaily

How desperate is WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein to smear Barack Obama?

Pretty darn desperate, as we've documented. An April 3 WND article ups the ante by essentially calling him one because he was enrolled as a Muslim at a school in Indonesia as a child. Indeed, all anecdotes Klein cites about Obama's purported dalliances with Islam occurred in his childhood.

Klein's article is all guilt by association -- despite being headlined, "Is Obama a Muslim?" Klein offers no evidence whatsoever that he is one now.

The article is accompanied by a cover shot of WND Whistleblower magazine's issue blaring, "THE SECRET LIFE OF BARACK OBAMA." But as we detailed, it's full of smears and distortions too. 

What this comes down to is that Klein really wants you to believe that what Obama did as an 8-year-old has direct bearing on him now. That's like insisting that people who dreamed of being, say, cowboys or ballerinas as a child are cowboys or ballerinas now, regardless of whether they actually are.

Like we said: desperate.

UPDATE: WND has now changed the headline to read: "Obama was 'quite religious in Islam.'" It doesn't mention that this purported occured as a child.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:29 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, April 3, 2008 6:15 PM EDT
New Article: The ConWeb's Favorite Gay-Basher
Topic: The ConWeb
Matt Barber has good friends in WorldNetDaily and CNSNews.com, which approvingly quote him and reprint his attacks on homosexuals while never allowing anyone to challenge his claims. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:17 AM EDT
Unruh Condones Church Desecration
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We already know that WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh condones child abuse in the service of homeschooling. Apparently, Unruh now has no problem with defacing a church that's too friendly to gays for his liking.

An April 1 WND article by Unruh begins: "A United Church of Christ congregation in upstate New York is pursuing a felony criminal mischief charge against a Christian who allegedly protested a homosexual festival by anointing its church building with cooking or baking oil." Unruh goes on to write that at the Park Church of Elmira, N.Y., the woman, Holly Somers, caused an estimated "$2,875 in damages to the windows and window frames, doors and door frames 'as well as the stone and masonry work' at the church by allegedly anointing those points with oil."

But, it appears this desecration of church property is all peachy with Unruh because the Park Church is way too gay-friendly:

The Park Church lists its affiliation with the UCC [United Church of Christ] and provides a link to the denomination, which has pages of Web information on its programs on behalf of homosexuals.

It specifically provides information about its advocacy for "marriage equality" as well as "hate crimes" legislation. One of its promotions is for the "Day of Silence," a nationwide event held in public schools in which students and faculty are encouraged to protest society's unwillingness to endorse homosexual behavior.

That's an, er, unique interpretation of the "Day of Silence"; among the "4 truths" the Day of Silence website lists about the event, the word "endorse" appears nowhere. Unruh appears to be invoking a version of the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy; he apparently feels that his apparent inability to harrass gays into silence translates into endorsing their existence -- a situation it seems he can't bear.

While he's hanging out in Elmira, Unruh can't resist yet another repetition of his previous distortions of an anti-gay protest he obviously sympathizes with:

WND previously reported a case against four Christians fined for praying in Wisner Park, the public park adjacent to Park Church, during the pride festival.

[...]

That month the [Julian] Ravens and others were arrested after they entered Elmira's Wisner Park with their heads bowed to pray for the participants of the homosexual festival going on at the time.. Advertising for the event stated it was open to the public.

The defendants had been told by a police sergeant they were not allowed to "cross the street, enter the park, or share their religion with anyone in the park."

As we detail whenever Unruh distorts the facts about this case, he neglects to mention what exactly street preacher Julian Raven and his followers did to draw the arrests: they lay prostrate on the lawn in front of a stage at the gay festival.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:33 AM EDT
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
CNS' One-Sided Attack on Critics of Anti-Evolution Film
Topic: CNSNews.com

An April 2 CNSNews.com article by Kevin Mooney and Josiah Ryan is an attack on noted evolutionists Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers because of their criticism of the new anti-evolution film "Expelled."

Note the slanted language: Mooney and Ryan state that Dawkins and Myers "have managed to infiltrate private screenings" of the film and that Myers "managed to intrude upon a telephone press conference call the next day that included Ben Stein, the film's narrator, and the film's producers." Indeed, the article is told from the point of associate producer Mark Mathis; there's no evidence Mooney and Ryan made any attempt to contact Dawkins and Myers to get their side of the story.

Thus, the reporters give Mathis a forum to spin away criticism of his heavy-handedness in refusing to allow critics into pre-release screenings -- they uncritically repeat Mathis' unsupported claim that "for months Myers has been disseminating information through his blog about the film that is not accurate -- claims by Dawkins and Myers that, as Mooney and Myers write, "the film is edited and crafted in a duplicitous and misleading manner that misrepresents their views" and that the film's central thesis that pro-creationist viewpoints are being squelched conflicts with their refusal to allow critics to see the film.

Not only did Mooney and Ryan not bother to talk with Dawkins or Myers, they didn't even go the lazy route of pulling their version of events regarding the screening off their respective websites.

The reporters also serve up detailed conversation from the aforementioned "telephone press conference call" without explaining where they got it. Were they on the call too? Did Mathis give them a transcript? Of course, unmentioned by Mooney and Ryan is that Myers has told his side of the story for this as well, in which he points out that the "press conference call" was "carefully controlled" and questions were taken only by email, which arguably makes it not a "press conference" at all.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:32 PM EDT
WND's Magazine In Full Anti-Obama Frenzy
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The theme of the current issue of WorldNetDaily's Whistleblower magazine is (per its all-caps style) "THE SECRET LIFE OF BARACK OBAMA."  The introduction of a March 31 article plugging the magazine shows the hateful tone of it:

In a few short months, the young and relatively unknown politician Barack Hussein Obama may very well be elevated to the presidency of the United States and command the mightiest military in world history.

Would the eloquent and charismatic Obama unite, inspire and renew a troubled nation, as tens of millions of voters passionately believe? Or is it possible he's a Manchurian candidate – harboring an ominous secret agenda few understand, a man destined to wreak havoc on America should he become president?

Yes, WND came right out and said what Accuracy in Media only quasi-hinted at -- Obama's a Manchurian candidate. It further calls him "one of the most dangerous men ever to be considered for the presidency of the United States of America" and even suggests that he's a "closet Muslim." WND managing editor David Kupelian is quoted as saying:

Obama is a man who reflexively, instinctively, will side with what's wrong and harmful for America, and will oppose what's right and good and wholesome for America. It's uncanny. But this profoundly negative orientation is sugar-coated with a charismatic 'positive' persona and beguiling rhetoric. 

The contents of the magazine feature WND writers who have previously misled about and distorted Obama's record:

  • Obsessive Obama-hater Aaron Klein repeats his claim that the church Obama attends republished a "Hamas terror manifesto"; in fact, it was a Los Angeles Times op-ed.
  • Jane Chastain has previously claimed that Obama "received a suspiciously good deal on the home he bought – around $300,000 less than the asking price." In fact, the sellers of the house said Obama's bid "was the best offer" and that they didn't cut their asking price because a campaign donor bought their adjacent land.
  • An article suggesting that the Obama campaign is staging fainting events at Obama rallies -- a dubious assertion even NewsBusters has distanced itself from -- likens Obama to cult leader Jim Jones.

Remember, WND sells a bumper sticker that reads "Defeat Obama, Osama and Chelsea's Mama," so there should be no confusion about WND's agenda and eagerness to distort the facts in order to make the bumper sticker come true.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:40 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 2, 2008 11:36 AM EDT

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