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Thursday, May 8, 2008
New Article: Schmoozing With Smearmongers
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Why is a member of Hamas chatting up -- and endorsing Barack Obama with -- conservative radio host John Batchelor and right-wing WorldNetDaily writer Aaron Klein, who are pro-Israel and anti-Hamas? Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:42 AM EDT
Wikipedophilia!
Topic: WorldNetDaily

(Updated)

In a May 7 WorldNetDaily article, Chelsea Schilling follows up on her alarmist "Wikipornia" article accusing Wikipedia of peddling "sexually explicit images and content" but failing to explain that they appear in the context of an encyclopedia.

This time, Schilling focuses on a single image, the non-U.S. cover of the Scorpions' 1976 album "Virgin Killer," calling it a "photo of a nude adolescent that could violate federal child-pornography laws."

But Schilling does not explain that child nudity is not the same as child pornography, as some parents can attest. Pornography, child or adult, involves "sexually explicit conduct" or images on websites that "exist[] for the sexual stimulation of viewers." Given that Wikipedia is not a porn site (no matter how much Schilling and Matt Barber want to potray it as one), and given that the picture's primary use in Wikipedia is for illustrative purposes, not for "the sexual stimulation of viewers," Schilling would have a hard time pressing a federal child-porn investigation.

Of course, Schilling never explains any of this -- she's too busy trying to manufacture controversy and distort facts by smearing Wikipedia as a porn merchant. 

UPDATE: A couple other things worth noting about Schilling's article:

-- She claims "the FBI is now reviewing" the photo, but she offers no evidence -- i.e., a quote from an FBI spokesman -- that this is, in fact, the case. Schilling's previous article stated, though, that Matt Barber "said he will be contacting the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney's office to determine whether Wikipedia may be engaging in the dissemination of illegal obscenity." Is that what she's going by?

-- She concludes: "In a WND poll related to that story, the No. 1 response at more than 47 percent had readers saying Wikipedia is clearly violating U.S. obscenity laws and should face prosecution." As we've detailed, since WND polls are opt-in, the results have no basis in reality and are not a reliable indicator of anyone's opinion on anything.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:16 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, May 8, 2008 9:22 AM EDT
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Newsmax Columnist Demostrates Lack of Self-Awareness
Topic: Newsmax

From a May 7 Newsmax column by John L. Perry:

It wasn’t enough that journalists’ opinions (just forget the facts, ma’am) were choking out the sunlight in journalism like kudzu vine. Those opinions not only had to be seen and heard, they also had to be followed by the folks who make things happen.

The next leap, from influencers of action to takers of actions, was a short hop.

Today, the goal of insatiable pseudo-journalists has metastasized from being among the elite to being an equal of the elite who not only decide what’s to be done but actual do the doing.

Put more clearly, the accepted standard for failure among today’s aspiring, and aspired, pseudo-journalists is to become ineffectual, or, God forbid, irrelevant.

Assisting them in those pursuits, it became acceptable to write the news as those manipulators wished the world to appear, to make the soil of society more fertile for the seed of their ideological agenda.

Wearing self-deceiving blinkers like that, it’s no wonder today’s pseudo-journalists don’t get it, don’t get it why they, and the politicians cozying up to them, are the only ones left who have much respect for them or even take them seriously anymore.

What’s happened is that these pseudo-journalists have sucked the life’s blood out of journalism, and turned what was once a noble and respected profession into an empty husk.

Does that sound like a certain news organization we know?

Not to Perry. Instead, he concludes that "It is the leftists who are robbing this country of its genuine journalism," offering no evidence to back it up and refusing to examine the role his employer has played in debasing "genuine journalism" (something Perry has a habit of doing).


Posted by Terry K. at 4:17 PM EDT
Wikipornia!
Topic: WorldNetDaily

New WorldNetDaily hire Chelsea Schilling demonstrates that she's on board with WND's slanted agenda in a May 6 article that begins:

Wikipedia, the online "free encyclopedia" written and edited by its users that contains 9 million articles in 253 languages, now includes detailed photos of nude homosexual men engaging in sex acts and a variety of other sexually explicit images and content.

While Schilling actually talks to Wikipedia officials -- an relatively rare instance of WND actually making an effort to report both sides of the story -- she gives bigger prominence to attacks on Wikipedia by, you guessed it, Matt Barber.

While Schilling offers vivid descriptions of the Wikipedia images that offend her, nowhere does she describe the context in which those images appear -- which, given that we're talking about an encyclopedia that, in the words of a Wikipedia rep Schilling quoted, "contains the sum of all human knowledge," is an important element of the story. Nor does she note how many pages of those 9 million contain such images; her use of Barber's calling Wikipedia "a bunch of hard-core pornographers," without giving anyone from Wikipedia any apparent opportunity to respond to Barber, suggests that WND's ultimate goal is to discredit Wikipedia. (In that case, it had better tell Aaron Klein to delete his puffery-laden Wikipedia page so he doesn't spend so much time scrubbing criticism of him from it.)

Further, while offering a sole heavily censored image of "one of the more mild photos featured on Wikipedia in the 'striptease' entry," she does not provide links so that readers can judge for themselves the content and context (which, sadly, runs against WND's history of illustrating the things that offend it so).

And yes, the headline blurb for this article on WND's front page reads, "Wikipedia or Wikipornia?"


Posted by Terry K. at 2:27 PM EDT
WND Anti-Gay Agenda Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily keeps up its anti-gay agenda in a May 6 article headlined "'Gay' indoctrination starts in Minneapolis."

Of course, there is no "indoctrination" going on; the Minneapolis school district is merely instituting an anti-bullying program, "Welcoming Schools," that covers homosexual issues. But WND asserts without evidence that it is a "special interest program" that "promote[s] homosexuality," put together by the Human Rights Campaign, "which advocates for and promotes homosexuality."

The article uncritically repeats claims (pulled from a press release) by the conservative, anti-gay Alliance Defense Fund that the Minnapolis program "further[s]" and "promote[s] the homosexual agenda" and is designed to "indoctrinate young children." Like WND, the ADF offers no evidence to back that up, let alone how any mention of homosexuality specifically "promote[s] the homosexual agenda."

The article also references WND's previous anti-gay reporting, noting "the pro-homosexual 'Day of Silence'" and adding: "The advanced state of California's homosexual indoctrination program for public school students also has been documented." As we've documented, there's no "indoctrination" going on there, either; California merely added "sexual orientation" to a list of characteristics California schools are not allowed to "promote[] a discriminatory bias" against.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:22 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 7, 2008 9:28 AM EDT
AIM Attacks Kessler Again Over McCarthy
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media has launched its second attack on Ronald Kessler's Wall Street Journal article countering Joe McCarthy revisionism. This time, a May 6 piece by the chief McCarthy revisionist himself, M. Stanton Evans, goes after Kessler's article by calling it "an odd amalgam of unverifiable hearsay and a handful of items checkable from the record. It's noteworthy that, on the checkable matters, Kessler is repeatedly, and egregiously, in error." Evans added: "Like many other critics of Joe McCarthy, Ronald Kessler would be more persuasive if he knew something of the subject."

But, like Wes Vernon before him, Evans fails to note that Kessler is a fellow conservative who works for conservative website Newsmax. 

So Kessler has been on the receiving end of two smackdowns by McCarthy apologists. How will Kessler respond?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:34 AM EDT
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Are You Biased Enough To Work For WND?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A May 5 WorldNetDaily job posting for a "highly motivated editor-writer" begins: "Do you have what it takes to be part of the WND editorial team?"

While the posting lists only "demonstrable experience in reporting and editing" as a requirement, there's another important part of "what it takes" that's not mentioned: a desire to slant the news to the right, unfairly depict those you don't agree with and frame their claims through the eyes of their critics, and to portray conservative and/or right-wing Christians and Jews as positively as possible while refusing to report any criticism of them (or, if it is reported, not treat it as legitimate).

Well, that's obviously how folks like Aaron Klein and Bob Unruh got their WND gigs. Joseph Farah wouldn't have hired them if they didn't.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:12 PM EDT
NewsBusters Puts Words in Reporter's Mouth
Topic: NewsBusters

Asserting that "a liberal print journalist has seen racism behind conservative concerns about Sen. Barack Obama," a May 6 NewsBusters post by Lyndsi Thomas claims that Washington Post writer Shankar Vedantam "asserted" in an article "that it is not Revered Jeremiah Wright’s incendiary comments that have damaged Obama, it is his race, sex and public style. If Wright were a white female who wrote her outlandish ideas in a scholarly journal, Vedantam thinks the effects would not be the same."

But Vedantam didn't "assert" anything. Indeed, there are no unattributed assertions in the article that can be interpreted to represent Vedantam's own view; Vedantam presents the article as a "thought experiment." Vedantam merely reported that "social psychologist Steven Neuberg believes that Wright has damaged the biracial Obama because, in his public persona -- as much as in his views -- he activates unconscious fears and racial stereotypes that many voters have about angry black men." Despite Thomas' suggestion that the article was about "racism behind conservative concerns" about Wright, the word "conservative" appears nowhere in Vedantam's article.

Further, Thomas does not know for a fact that Vedantam is a "liberal print journalist." As fellow MRC'er Tim Graham has a habit of doing, Thomas is conflating the views of those whom the reporter quotes with the (supposed) views of the reporter him/herself.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:08 PM EDT
WND Suddenly Offended by Hitler Comparison
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The headline of a May 5 WorldNetDaily article shouts, "Evolutionist compares rabbi to Hitler!" It's a reference to Richard Dawkins alleging that Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, in a debate of sorts with Dawkins over evolution, delivered "a shrieking rant, delivered with an intemperate stridency of which Hitler himself might have been proud."

Why is WND so shocked? Its writers and columnists have regularly smeared those it doesn't like with Nazi allusions. Among their targets:

Critics of homeschooling/supporters of public schools

Teachers

Al Gore

Bill Clinton

Hillary Clinton

"liberal special-interest groups"

Supporters of evolution

American Civil Liberties Union

And if the bone of contention is that Dawkins likened a Jew to Hitler, remember that WND editor Joseph Farah did essentially the same thing in September 2007, asserting that Israeli leaders Ehud Olmert and Shimon Peres have a "final solution" to the dispute over the Temple Mount.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:58 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 6, 2008 11:40 AM EDT
Waters Joins in Pretending Republicans Aren't Challenging Obama's Patriotism
Topic: NewsBusters

Following Brent Baker's lead, a May 5 NewsBusters post (and TimesWatch item) by Clay Waters complains about a New York Times article that "portrayed Democrats as victims of Republicans challenging their patriotism (without showing any actual examples of such)," later adding again, "Rarely is any actual evidence offered to accompany the accusation."

Um, guys, we offered plenty of evidence to support the accusation, even citing your fellow MRC co-workers (and boss) as examples. How about addressing that, instead of pretending such evidence doesn't exist?


Posted by Terry K. at 1:07 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 6, 2008 1:08 AM EDT
Klein's Latest Desperate Attack on Obama
Topic: WorldNetDaily

How utterly desperate is Aaron Klein to take down Barack Obama by any means possible? Here's how desperate.

A May 4 WorldNetDaily article starts this way:

Otis Moss, the man slated to become the new chief pastor at the Trinity United Church of Christ, referenced a rap song during one of his recent sermons that includes among its lyrics "F--- America" and states the U.S. is "still with triple K" – referring to the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan.

Trinity United, of course, is the church Obama attends. It's not until the 14th paragraph that you get to the nitty-gritty of Klein's attack:

"Do you know who's got our back? If I was Ice Cube, I would say it a little differently – you picked the wrong folk to mess with," Moss exclaimed.

The song Moss was referring to is actually titled "Wrong N-gga to f--- with."  It includes the lyrics "F--- America, still with the triple K" and it uses the spelling "AmeriKKKa."

The full lyrics provided in the album:

"Down wit the niggaz that I bail out
I'm platinum b-tch and I didn't have to sell out
F--- you Ice Cube, that's what the people say
F--- AmeriKKKa, still with the triple K
Cause you know when my nine goes buck
it'll bust your head like a watermelon dropped from 12 stories up
Now let's see who'll drop"

The cover image of Ice Cube's album, titled "Death Certificate," features a dead man identified as "Uncle Sam" who is covered by an American flag.

To sum up: Otis Moss paraphrased a single line from a rap song. That's all he did. He didn't say "F--- America" and "triple K" to his congregation, as the headline and Klein's first paragraph falsely suggests. Moss didn't speak any of the lyrics Klein is trying to tie him to.

The hanging offense Klein is trying to pin on Obama is, again, that Otis Moss paraphrased a single line from a rap song.

That's how desperate Klein is to take down Obama. 

P.S. If Klein is as scandalized by gangsta rap as he suggests, why is he able to quote the lyrics so easily?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:05 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 6, 2008 12:07 AM EDT
Monday, May 5, 2008
What 'Huge Blogswarm'?
Topic: NewsBusters

In a May 5 NewsBusters post, John Stephenson claims: "There is a huge blogswarm going on about this photo, from Chicago Magazine, of Obama's unrepentant terrorist associate, Bill Ayers stomping on the American flag." Stephenson links the words "huge blogswarm" to ... his own blog at Stop the ACLU.

Stephenson goes on to claim that "many political bloggers are saying it long past due for Obama to disown his association with this controversial radical." But of the four blogs to which Stephenson links in his original Stop the ACLU post who have weighed in on the subject, two are operated by Michelle Malkin.

Where, exactly, is this "huge blogswarm" of which Stephenson speaks?


Posted by Terry K. at 3:40 PM EDT
Pat Boone Botches Facts
Topic: Newsmax

A May 5 column by Pat Boone, reprinted at Newsmax and WorldNetDaily, repeats a number of incorrect claims. Boone writes:

Consider: Every year, within our borders, an estimated 14,000 to 15,000 Americans are murdered, an alarming percentage by illegal aliens. That’s more than 15 times the death rate in Iraq!

In fact, murder rates in the U.S. are much lower than the death rate in Iraq. According to the FBI, the state with the highest murder rate is Lousiana, with 12.4 murders per 100,000 residents. As we've noted, the overall death rate in the military is 116.6 per 100,000 military personnel; giving that most of those deaths are occuring in Iraq and Afghanistan, restricting the pool to those military who have served or are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan makes that death rate even higher.

Also note that Boone uses the fuzzy term "an alarming percentage" to describe murders by "illegal aliens." That may be because the "alarming" number Boone likely has in mind is not based in reality.

Boone also writes:

In Lexington, Massachusetts, a dad named David Parker paid a visit to his children’s school, complaining about a book that had been assigned celebrating the “virtues” of gay parenting; when he demanded that the school officials comply with state law and at least inform him before his child was given any more instruction about homosexuality, he was arrested, jailed, and slapped with a restraining order.

In fact, what happened was that Parker's son brought home a book about different kinds of families that, in WorldNetDaily's words, "depicted at least two households led by homosexual partners." In other words, Parker objects to anyone telling his child that homosexuals exist. Does Boone feel gays aren't allowed to exist too?

Boone also misleadingly states the circumstances of Parker's arrest. As we detailed, Parker was arrested 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. He spent one night in jail after the arrest -- but only because he refused to bail himself out.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:12 PM EDT
Clinton Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Most of the experience [sic] political pundits have been counting out the Lizard Queen for months now. But as with any epic horror star, it's unwise to assume she's done. Those who fail to learn the lessons of "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th" may regret counting out the Lizard Queen too soon.

-- Vox Day, May 5 WorldNetDaily column 


Posted by Terry K. at 9:22 AM EDT
Richard Poe's War on Redesigned Currency
Topic: Horowitz

Richard Poe's reappearance peddling the quite discredited Clinton body count in the Hillary-bashing issue of WorldNetDaily's Whistleblower magazine had us wondering what the guy has been up to these days.

The answer: railing against redesigned currency because it looks postmodernist.

No, really. From an April 2 post on his blog:

HAVE YOU seen the new five-dollar bill? It looks like someone spilled grape juice on it. A violet stain obscures Abraham Lincoln’s face. On the back, an oversized numeral five appears in purple. Enough is enough. We must stop the desecration of our currency.

[...]

The fact is, we are being hoodwinked. The redesign of our currency has nothing to do with fighting counterfeiters or helping people with weak eyesight. It has everything to do with catering to the perverse canons of postmodernist art. The U.S. Treasury has allowed a cabal of avant-garde designers to pull off one of the most audacious practical jokes in art history; the “subversion” and “deconstruction” of the U.S. dollar. We the taxpayers must demand an end to this cultural vandalism.

More than 2,300 years ago, Aristotle opined that art should be wondrous and beautiful. It should instruct and elevate the masses, he said, giving pleasure and catharsis or emotional release.

Today’s hipster intellectuals reject Aristotle. Instead, they embrace a philosophy variously called “poststructuralism“, “postmodernism” or just plain PoMo. For PoMo’s apostles, art is a weapon of revolution. Its purpose is to mock, degrade and undermine the cherished beliefs of Western civilization. PoMo theorists call this process “deconstruction” or “subversion“.

Photographer Andres Serrano famously deconstructed Christianity in 1989 by snapping a picture of a crucifix submerged in Serrano’s own urine. In 1999, the Brooklyn Museum showcased an image of the Virgin Mary which artist Chris Ofili had splattered with elephant dung.

Meanwhile PoMo designers have been doing to national currencies what Serrano and Ofili did to Christianity.

We really can't add anything to this.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:50 AM EDT

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