Farah Still Quasi-Defending Polygamist Cult Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah keeps up his quasi-defense of polygamist cultists in his May 16 WorldNetDaily column. This time around, he's defending the idea that refusing to immunize one's children is a good thing. This is a major WND hobbyhorse; it has long engaged in anti-immunization scaretactics.
In railing against an apparent decision by Texas officials to have the children of the cultists that they have taken into custody vaccinated against the usual diseases, Farah asserted that the parents are "mothers and fathers made conscious and well-informed decisions not to immunize their kids because of the potential for dire health risks." Really? How does Farah know this? Indeed, he offers no evidence that the parents "made conscious and well-informed decisions not to immunize their kids"; in fact, one can plausibly argue that, given that they are members of a polygamist cult, they have a demonstrated history of not making "well-informed decisions."
And, like before, Farah refuses to offer any meaningful criticism of the cult, even though they have acted in ways he purports not to like: "Again, I don't like some of the things that went on in that community. I don't approve of them. There may even have been some laws broken. But there is no evidence being made public to suggest every single mother in the compound abused or neglected her children – or to suggest these poor kids would be better off with the state of Texas as their parent."
Again, as we've noted, it's more important to Farah that parents have the right to do what they want to with their children -- including pawning them off into an illegal polygamist relationship -- than actually punishing said illegal behavior. Farah is willing to condone the abuse of the cult's children to make an anti-government argument, just as he ignores the abuse of children in the Phillip Long homeschooling case in order to make Long a martyr to the homeschooling cause.
NewsBusters Spins Bush 'Appeasement' Attack Topic: NewsBusters
The folks at NewsBusters are doing their best to try and pretend that President Bush wasn't referring to Barack Obama when he raised the subject of "appeasement" in a speech to the Israeli Knesset.
Yet, as the Boston Globe reported, "White House officials indicated that the criticism applied to Obama, who has said that as president he would rely on greater diplomacy to improve relations with unfriendly nations." A May 15 NewsBusters post by Matthew Balan acknowledged that CNN also reported this in claiming that Democrats were being "hypersensitive" to the remark.
But when White House press secretary Dana Perino asserted that Bush was not referring to Obama, certain NewsBusters quickly glommed onto that as the gospel truth. Noel Sheppard, in trumpeting Perino's assertion without offering a reason to believe her at face value, huffed that CNN's sources claiming that Bush was referring to Obama were merely "unnamed 'White House aides.'"
This allowed NewsBusters and the MRC to move onto its next talking point -- that any news report mentioning the controversy was taking "cues from the Obama campaign," as Brent Baker put in a May 15 NewsBusters post (and May 16 CyberAlert item, in which he also, as we noted, tried to spin away an analogy between negotiating with Iran and Reagan's negotiations with the Soviet Union).
Baker's post made reference -- the only one we can find -- to the fact that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has also advocated negotiation with Iran, but only in a transcript; he never addressed it directly.
A post by Justin McCarthy, meanwhile, claimed that a report on NBC's "Today" "sounded almost like an Obama campaign press release" and that NBC's Andrea Mitchell was acting as a "mind reader" by claiming that Bush's speech "could hardly have been an accident"; he insisted that Mitchell showed "journalistic irresponsibility" for not noting "the White House’s denial that President Bush referred to Senator Obama." Of course, McCarthy is similarly irresponsible by not noting that sources claiming that Bush was.
In a May 16 post, Balan complained again that "CNN carried the water for the Democrats and portayed President Bush’s 'appeasement' remarks before the Knesset in Israel as an attack on Barack Obama."
A post by Lyndsi Thomas, meanwhile, asserted that any claim that "Bush’s statements were an attack on Obama" was "Democratic spin."
In the midst of all this, Noel Sheppard tossed out a big, steaming chunk of Bush sycophancy that would not being out of praise coming from Ronald Kessler's pen. Sheppard praised Bush's Knesset speech as "stirring and emotional" and "one of the greatest speeches of his career," while attacking the media for "exclusively report[ing] 83 words they felt insulted the candidate for president they have been unashamedly supporting for over a year." Sheppard then posted the entire Bush speech, complained yet again that only the "appeasement" attack "got through" the media's "bias filters", then declared:
The rest they stole from us, and for this we are owed an apology that certainly will never come, for instead of Americans being proud of the job our President did representing our nation on this historic visit, this day will live in infamy rather than immortality.
How much did Dana Perino pay you for that post, Noel?
P.S. For all of the MRC's obsession with making sure that Democratic politicians caught in wrongdoing are properly identifed as such, there is no mention whatsoever that the 1930s-era senator whom Bush quoted in his speech as saying, "Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided," was Sen. William Borah -- a Republican.
A May 15 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd whack's CNN's Ed Henry for "hack[ing] out 29 paragraphs on his network's Web site dedicated to the proposition that 'President Bush launched a sharp but veiled attack Thursday on Sen. Barack Obama and other Democrats.'" by suggesting that some Democrats were acting in the same way some Western leaders did when they appeased Hitler in the runup to World War II. Why? "Obama's presidential campaign Web site itself lays out in pretty simple terms the Illinois Democrat's view about engaging the Iranian regime in "direct" negotiations with no preconditions," Shepherd writes.
But the statements Shepherd quotes don't say anything about appeasement. Heck, they don't even say "negotiations." Here are the statements Shepherd highlighted:
"tough, direct presidential diplomacy"
"willing to meet separately, without precondition"
"the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them - which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration - is ridiculous."
None say anything about appeasement or negotiation. Diplomacy is not appeasement or even negotiation.
Meanwhile, on the same subject, a May 15 NewsBusters post (and May 16 MRC CyberAlert item) by Brent Baker responded to Obama's statement that "Presidents Kennedy, Nixon, and even Reagan also negotiated directly with America's enemies" by saying, "But Mikhail Gorbachev hadn't promised to nuke Israel."
Um, didn't Gorbachev's Soviet Union have thousands of nuclear weapons pointed at the U.S., which trumps the crap out of a threat from a country that has no nuclear weapons at all?
CNS: 'California Court Strips Children of Right to Mother and Father' Topic: WorldNetDaily
Like WorldNetDaily, CNSNews.com offers a creative, misleading interpretation of the California Supreme Court ruling overturning a ban on same-sex marriage. In a May 16 article headlined "California Court Strips Children of Right to Mother and Father," Terry Jeffrey writes:
In Thursday's 4-3 decision legalizing same-sex marriage, the California Supreme Court stripped children of the right to be raised by a mother and a father.
Most of the media coverage of the California Supreme Court's decision has focused on the court's declaration that there is a right to same-sex marriage. The ruling invalidated California's Proposition 22, a state ballot initiative that passed with 61 percent of the vote in 2000, and which banned same-sex marriage in the state.
But the California Supreme Court decision goes beyond simply giving same-sex couples the right to call their unions a "marriage." It also strips children of the right not to be artificially conceived or adopted by people other than a mother and a father.
Indeed, the court does not recognize that children have any right whatsoever to a mother and a father.
Jeffrey offers no evidence beyond this interpretation of the ruling, such as quoting legal experts, that this is the case. Jeffrey's CNS bio indicates no evidence of legal expertise; he holds a bachelor's degree in English literature and has studied toward a master's in Arab studies.
This article is, essentially, Jeffrey's own personal opinion. Yet it is presented as a "news" article.
UPDATE: The CNS front page now describes Jeffrey's article as a "News Analysis." But the article itself is not labeled as such.
In a May 14 column, published at Newsmax, E. Ralph Hostetter made the following claim about drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge:
No recognition is given to how little of the ANWR reserve is brought into play for the entire development of the oil drilling site that would yield 1 million barrels of oil a day from its billions of barrels in reserve.
The footprint, so to speak, that is necessary for full development of a drilling operation to deliver the 1 million barrels is a mere 2,000 acres.
This tiny footprint represents one one-hundred thousandths (0.0001) of the total area of ANWR's 19 million acres. This is equivalent to one large farm in a state about the size of South Carolina.
[T]he Seattle Post-Intelligencernoted on February 28  that while drilling supporters have pushed the 2,000-acre figure in an effort to minimize the potential environmental impact, "[o]pponents counter that far more area would be affected by roads and pipelines connecting drilling pads." The Los Angeles Times reported on March 30, 2002, that "the Sierra Club says a 2,000-acre footprint could still support a broad level of development," and Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope noted that "one scenario that was consistent with the 2,000-acre footprint ... would sustain 53 drilling pads and 250 miles of roads and pipelines." These roads and pipelines would extend well outside the 2,000 acres[.]
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.