A May 13 item on the Columbia Journalism Review's website described how ABC's Jake Tapper handled the out-of-context twisting of Obama's "constant sore" comment:
Given the mainstream media’s tendency toward false even-handedness, we might have expected this to be reported neutrally, under a headline like: “Boehner Attacks Obama Over Israel Comments.”
Instead, Tapper posted an item on his ABC News blog last night under the admirably straightforward headline: “House Republican Leader Twists Obama Statement on Israel.” His post begins:
In an interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., talked a great deal about Israel. He was rather effusive in his support for the Jewish state. Apparently given nothing of substance to criticize, House Republican leaders then took a statement Obama made and twisted it to act as if the Democrat had insulted the Jewish state. Which he had not.
Tapper then went on to lay out the facts of the case, concluding:
When Obama twisted Sen. John McCain’s “100 Years” comment, it was pretty dishonest as well. [We agree.] But this may be worse, because Boehner et al are falsely accusing Obama of besmirching a nation and a people. They are accusing him of being anti-Israel, even anti-Semitic. It is false.
Tapper’s post serves as a model for how the media should handle these efforts by both parties to generate phony controversies. Here’s hoping it starts a trend.
Of course, WorldNetDaily did none of this -- as we detailed, it devoted an entire article portraying the false assertion as true and the phony controversy as legitimate. It remains on the WND site with nary a retraction or apology to be found.
Tapper's behavior here demostrates how real journalists behave. WND's behavior, by contrast, demonstrates that he is not a source of real journalism -- after all, it has hired Aaron Klein, a partisanhack whose repeated smears of Obama demonstrate that he may as well be on John McCain's payroll (if he isn't already) -- And it's another reason that WorldNetDaily cannot be taken seriously as a news organization.
UPDATE: The WND article in question is unbylined, and was apparently not written by Aaron Klein. This item has been updated to reflect that.
MRC: Don't Call John McCain Old! Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has decided: The media is not allowed to reference John McCain's age, or even to say something that might possibly obliquely refer to it.
A May 8 NewsBusters post by Geoffrey Dickens (and a May 9 MRC CyberAlert item) declared that NBC's Ann Curry has an "obsession" with McCain's age -- all she did was ask Cindy McCain whether her husband can handle the job of president at his age -- and that Curry is part of a "not-so-quiet, whisper campaign against the Arizona Senator this fall: that too he's old to be President."
And in a May 13 NewsBusters post, Mark Finkelstein has decided that Obama's statement that "We're not going to let John McCain wander around in those states unchallenged anymore" is playing the age card:
Wander around? Like the nice ol' feller found ambling down the street in his bathrobe who has to be gently led back home?
Will the MSM take note? Not that McCain would, but imagine if he were to invoke Obama's race in similarly subtle terms. I'd say the liberal media would be in an uproar.
That's right -- things that might be interpreted by conservatives to refer to McCain's age are verboten.
WND: 'Black Robes Trash Traditional Marriage' Topic: WorldNetDaily
The headline of WorldNetDaily's May 15 article by Bob Unruh on the California Supreme Court's overturning of a same-sex marriage ban is predictably bitter and biased: "Black robes trash traditional marriage." The first paragraph of Unruh's article follows in that same vein:
The California Supreme Court today trashed society's traditional institution of marriage, opening it up for same-sex duos because retaining the historic definition "cannot properly be viewed as a compelling state interest."
Of course, nowhere does Unruh offer any factual evidence that same-sex marriages "trash traditional marriage."
Unruh quotes only right-wing groups criticizing the ruling; it's as if people who support the ruling don't exist to him. Unsurprisingly, Unruh gives prime space to anti-gay activist Matt Barber, who referenced "radical San Francisco-style social experimentation" and declared, "So-called 'same-sex marriage' is a ridiculous and oxymoronic notion that has been forced into popular lexicon by homosexual activists and their extremist left-wing allies."
Bozell Nabbed for Quote-Lifting Topic: Media Research Center
Offsprung (via Sadly, No!) reports that Brent Bozell, in his May 9 column, describes a book called "Uncle Bobby’s Wedding" in language suspciously similar to that of a review of the book in a gay newspaper.
Sadly, No! also does a nice job of summarizing Bozell's column:
What censorship IS: not stocking every book that has ever been written.
What censorship IS NOT: demanding that books of which someone might disapprove are expunged from the library.
New Article -- Anti-Obama Frenzy: The Case of Cliff Kincaid Topic: Accuracy in Media
The Accuracy in Media writer's attacks on Barack Obama include calling him a secret communist, making false claims, citing fictional characters, and essentially defending lynching as an all-American activity. Read more >>
MRC Still Won't Criticize McCain-Hagee Link Topic: NewsBusters
When Rev. John Hagee endorsed John McCain, we noted that the Media Research Center refused to criticize Hagee's anti-Catholic attacks (even though it has highlighted perceived anti-Catholicism in the media) or McCain's refusal to reject the endorsement (even though it was quick to pounce on controversial statements by Rev. Jeremiah Wright). Now that Hagee has apologized for his anti-Catholic statements, the MRC still won't criticize him or McCain.
The only mention of it at the MRC so far is a May 14 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd, which refers to Hagee's "controversial anti-Catholic comments" in passing without listing or criticizing them -- but is more concerned that a Washington Post article on it quoted someone who "used to work for the DNC during the Kerry campaign as Director of Religious Outreach." Shepherd added: "Catholic or no, it's not all that surprising that the former liberal Democratic Party staffer would refuse to let the Hagee matter drop in a tense election year when presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has his own share of problems, to say the least, with loopy clergymen in his corner."
It's also not at all surprising that the MRC has a double standard on religious bigotry.
Farah Misleads on Gore, Myanmar Cyclone Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah's May 14 WorldNetDaily column began: "Al Gore has made the pronouncement: Tens of thousands were killed by a cyclone in Myanmar because of 'global warming.'"
Actually, no, he didn't. As Farah himself states in the following paragraph, Gore said that the cyclone is one example of "consequences that scientists have long predicted might be associated with continued global warming" (emphasis ours). In other words, that's not a "pronouncement," as Farah claimed; it's merely a suggestion.
Further, Farah curiously failed to mention Gore's statement from that same interivew that "any individual storm can't be linked singularly to global warming – we've always had hurricanes." As we noted, the MRC's Business & Media Institute similarly downplayed this statement.
Apparently still bitter about having to tell the truth and admit that WND published false claims about Gore supporter Clark Jones, Farah went on to liken Gore to the repressive Myanmar military junta (while, of course, denying that he was):
Al Gore is promoting solutions to this phantom problem of "global warming" that will, ultimately, reduce all of us to the kind of helpless, landless serfs who lost their lives in Myanmar. Gore and his friends want more government control over the population, less industry, controls on private property, regulations on communication and rule by an elite socialist clique.
Am I comparing Gore with the ruling junta of Myanmar?
No. I'm sure the kind of ruling socialist junta imposed by Gore and his friends would be much more enlightened, sophisticated, cosmopolitan. But it would ultimately result in even greater death and destruction on a worldwide scale.
If Gore and his global-warming deceivers ever have their way with us, we, too, will have nowhere to flee.
For years America has drifted away from assimilation, which has become an unspeakable word among the cultural elite. Instead, we are told that we must recognize and celebrate the diversity of various groups without demanding any compromise from them. This has hurt immigrants more than anyone else because many have become isolated in cultural ghettos without a proper command of English, the American political and legal systems or American history and culture.
What we need to do is return the debate to the topic of assimilation, of learning to speak English, of the value of becoming a citizen, and of pride in a country that provides immigrants from around the world with more opportunities for success than any other country on earth.
A return to assimilation and a coherent culture will not begin until we put our own house in order. We cannot expect others to respect us when many Americans themselves are ashamed of their country.
Weyrich's column was immediately proven to be a sham by a May 13 Washington Post article:
Immigrants of the past quarter-century have been assimilating in the United States at a notably faster rate than did previous generations, according to a study released today.
In general, the longer an immigrant lives in the United States, the more characteristics of native citizens he or she tends to take on, said Jacob L. Vigdor, a professor at Duke University and author of the study. During periods of intense immigration, such as from 1870 to 1920, or during the immigration wave that began in the 1970s, new arrivals tend to drag down the average assimilation index of the foreign-born population as a whole.
The report found, however, that the speed with which new arrivals take on native-born traits has increased since the 1990s. As a result, even though the foreign population doubled during that period, the newcomers did not drive down the overall assimilation index of the foreign-born population. Instead, it held relatively steady from 1990 to 2006.
"This is something unprecedented in U.S. history," Vigdor said. "It shows that the nation's capacity to assimilate new immigrants is strong."
A possible explanation, Vigdor said, was that the economic expansion of the 1990s created more job opportunities at all levels, speeding the economic integration of immigrants. It could also be that because today's immigrants begin at such a low starting point, "it's easier to make progress to the next level up" of integration than it would be if the immigrant had to improve on an already high level of integration.
Oops! Will Weyrich respond to this study or retract his now-proven-wrong column? We shall see.
WND Takes Obama Out of Context Topic: WorldNetDaily
(Updated)(and updated again)(and once more)
Another Obama-bashing May 13 WorldNetDaily article taken from an interview Barack Obama did with the Atlantic magazine misleadingly claims that Obama "says Israel is a 'constant wound' and a 'constant sore' that infects 'all of our foreign policy.'"
In fact, the Atlantic interview -- which WND offers no link to, so that his readers can judge for themselves -- shows that, in context, Obama was "this constant wound" and "this constant sore" does not specifically refer to Israel alone, even though the interviewer asked, "Do you think that Israel is a drag on America’s reputation overseas?" Immediately preceding the question, Obama was discussing Israeli settlements on the West Bank and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in general:
[BO:] Israel is a vibrant democracy, the only one in the Middle East, and there’s no doubt that Israel and the Palestinians have tough issues to work out to get to the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security, but injecting a term like apartheid into the discussion doesn’t advance that goal. It’s emotionally loaded, historically inaccurate, and it’s not what I believe.
JG: If you become President, will you denounce settlements publicly?
BO: What I will say is what I’ve said previously. Settlements at this juncture are not helpful. Look, my interest is in solving this problem not only for Israel but for the United States.
But the article offers none of this context. Further, , Klein makes not mention of the expansive statements Obama made in support of Israel, as chief Obama-basher Aaron Klein has done before.
Remember: Aaron Klein and WND have an agenda to smearObama however he can. Taking this comment out of context is just one more example of this facts-be-damned agenda in action.
UPDATE: A new Klein article quotes anonymous (of course) Hamas officials as saying that "remarks made by an official supportive of Sen. Barack Obama were 'misunderstood.'"
Isn't the real problem here that Hamas continues to speak to Klein, someone who's committed to using Hamas to further his anti-Obama agenda? If Klein is so opposed to Hamas and willing to twist its words to further his own personal agenda, why is Hamas even deigning to speak to him?
And while we're at it, why is Klein so cozy with terrorists that he's willing to grant them anonymity? After all, remember what Klein's boss, Joseph Farah, said about anonymous sources: "usually quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better."
UPDATE 2: It turns out that all Klein did is rehash a Republican talking point. Are we sure Klein isn't on the McCain campaign payroll?
UPDATE 3: Jeffrey Goldberg, who interviewed Obama for the Atlantic, points out that "Obama expressed -- in twelve different ways -- his support for Israel to me," and that taking "constant sore" out of context is a "flat-out lie" as well as "mendacious, duplicitous, gross, and comically refutable." Will WND retract this article like it has had to do before regarding Klein's faulty reporting?
UPDATE 4: The article is unbylined, not apparently written by Klein. This item has been updated to reflect that.
'Take Back Web 2.0 for Conservatism' Topic: NewsBusters
We noticed this paragraph in NewsBusters' promotion for the latest edition of its "NewsBusted" comedy video:
If you're a Myspace user, be sure to visit our MySpace page and add NewsBusted as a friend. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel and help take back Web 2.0 for conservatism by giving us positive ratings and smacking down left-wingers who can't stand that the joke's on them for a change.
How, exactly, does subscribing to a YouTube channel "take back Web 2.0 for conservatism"? And doesn't this emphasis on YouTube as a delivery vehicle put the lie to the MRC's rationale for creating its Eyeblast video site -- that YouTube censors conservatives?
What Aaron Klein Didn't Report Topic: WorldNetDaily
A May 13 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein played up Barack Obama's response to Klein's manufactured controversy over a Hamas spokesman offering support for Obama's campaign, negatively framing it as Obama saying that "he understands why the terrorist group supports his presidential bid."
Obama's statements came in an interview with the Atlantic magazine. Klein focused narrowly on Obama's reaction to the Hamas "endorsement" and "former President Jimmy Carter's suggestion that Israel resembles an apartheid state." Klein curiously doesn't link to the Atlantic interview, even though it's online. Why? Perhaps because it portrays Obama as a big supporter of Israel, which conflicts with Klein's misleading efforts to portray Obama as the terrorists' choice.
While Klein does reproduce a few of Obama's statements supportive of Israel, most of those are buried under a rehashing of the controversy. Here's some of what Obama said that Klein didn't report:
You know, when I think about the Zionist idea, I think about how my feelings about Israel were shaped as a young man -- as a child, in fact. I had a camp counselor when I was in sixth grade who was Jewish-American but who had spent time in Israel, and during the course of this two-week camp he shared with me the idea of returning to a homeland and what that meant for people who had suffered from the Holocaust, and he talked about the idea of preserving a culture when a people had been uprooted with the view of eventually returning home. There was something so powerful and compelling for me, maybe because I was a kid who never entirely felt like he was rooted. That was part of my upbringing, to be traveling and always having a sense of values and culture but wanting a place. So that is my first memory of thinking about Israel.
And then that mixed with a great affinity for the idea of social justice that was embodied in the early Zionist movement and the kibbutz, and the notion that not only do you find a place but you also have this opportunity to start over and to repair the breaches of the past. I found this very appealing.
I think that the idea of a secure Jewish state is a fundamentally just idea, and a necessary idea, given not only world history but the active existence of anti-Semitism, the potential vulnerability that the Jewish people could still experience. I know that that there are those who would argue that in some ways America has become a safe refuge for the Jewish people, but if you’ve gone through the Holocaust, then that does not offer the same sense of confidence and security as the idea that the Jewish people can take care of themselves no matter what happens. That makes it a fundamentally just idea.
The point is, if you look at my writings and my history, my commitment to Israel and the Jewish people is more than skin-deep and it’s more than political expediency. When it comes to the gut issue, I have such ardent defenders among my Jewish friends in Chicago. I don’t think people have noticed how fiercely they defend me, and how central they are to my success, because they’ve interacted with me long enough to know that I've got it in my gut.
When Israel invaded Lebanon two summers ago, I was in South Africa, a place where, obviously, when you get outside the United States, you can hear much more critical commentary about Israel’s actions, and I was asked about this in a press conference, and that time, and for the entire summer, I was very adamant about Israel’s right to defend itself. I said that there’s not a nation-state on Earth that would tolerate having two of its soldiers kidnapped and just let it go.
Why didn't Klein tell his readers about this? Like we said, it conflicts with Klein's own efforts to smear Obama. In other words, the truth is in the way of Klein's reporting, and we know what side Klein is on -- and it ain't the truth.
A ConWebWatch reader notes regarding Joseph Farah's May 12 screed against La Raza:
I might just be seeing something that isn't really there, but doesn't the line of Farah's "...victimize Jews and others they detest in trying to lift themselves up from the gutter" imply that 'Jews and others' regularly lift themselves up from the gutter? That, in fact, Jews and other are normally in the gutter?
I might just be picking a nit here, but I think Farah's outlook might be a bit screwy.
Or Farah might be saying that Latinos are "in the gutter," which is arguably just as offensive. Nevertheless, we concur with that final conclusion.
Newsmax Still Hates Clinton, Loves Republicans Topic: Newsmax
Remember: Despite all its recent moderation and moves toward the mainstream, Newsmax still hates the Clintons (and all Democrats) and will always give Republicans positive, preferential coverage.
Exhibit 1: a May 11 piece by Joseph F. Connor making numerous guilt-by-association attacks on both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama:
Obama, through his relationship with Weather Underground member William Ayers and the United Church of Christ, also connects to the FALN and via this intricate web of radicals to groups such as the May 19th Communist Organization (formed from splintered Weather Underground members; named for the May 19 birthdates of both Ho Chi Minh and Malcolm X).
Clinton has direct connections to FALN, the most prolific terrorist group in U.S. history; Weather Underground, the same group connected to Obama; and the Black Panthers, as well as indirect connections to others.
Exhibit 2: the cover of the new issue of Newsmax magazine:
MRC Caught Pushing Distorted Attack on Gore Topic: Media Research Center
The Wonk Room details how a May 6 item by Jeff Poor at the MRC's Business & Media Institute misleadingly asserted that Al Gore claimed on NPR's "Fresh Air" that the cyclone in Myanmar/Burma was a "consequence" of global warming:
The audio clip included with the online story includes two segments that have been spliced together, out of order, to mislead the listener as to Gore’s actual meaning. The actual transcript (see below) makes it clear Gore was saying that the “consequences” of global warming we’re seeing was the melting of the polar ice cap, which is unequivocally due to anthropogenic climate change.
In fact, Gore said in the "Fresh Air" interview that "any individual storm can’t be linked singularly to global warming – we’ve always had hurricanes." Poor notes it in his BMI article but doesn't see it as contradicting his assertion that Gore is "[u]sing tragedy to advance an agenda."
Poor's BMI article now notes a "clarification" that "The original audio for this story included two accurate audio clips but placed in the incorrect order. They are now included on this story as separate clips." Poor posted a version of his article at NewsBusters, but it doesn't mention that Gore said that "any individual storm can’t be linked singularly to global warming," it contains the original misleading out-of-order audio clip, and it contains no "clarification."