MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch Topic: Media Research Center
A May 28 appearance by the MRC's Brent Bozell on "Fox & Friends" gives Bozell an opportunity to spout the conservative line on Scott McClellan's new book ("he's bitter and he's cashing in.") While Bozell appears opposite radio host Mike Papantonio (with whome he has appeared before), the incomplete clip on NewsBusters (which edits out Papantonio) shows that "Fox & Friends" adheres to at least one part of the template: Papantonio is introduced as a "Barack Obama supporter" while Bozell is introduced only as "Media Research Center founder and president" with no mention of his conservative leanings.
Aaron Klein's anti-Obama article tally is up to 30 now (as opposed to just one article critical of John McCain). This time, Klein gleans from right-wing blogs for his attacks.
The first article details how Obama "has been caught in an apparent gaffe" over which relative helped to liberate which Nazi concentration camp; Klein cites three different right-wing blogs to support his claim. Klein did not note that McCain has made verbal gaffes as well -- given that they involve things like foreign policy and defense rather than personal anecdotes, McCain's are arguably more serious.
Klein's second article rehashes an alleged deletion of a sentence of a speech Obama gave from a transcript on Obama's website -- also plucked from a right-wing blog.
Klein's reliance on right-wing blogs for Obama-bashing story ideas is just moreevidence that Klein is a biased writer with an anti-Obama agenda.
UPDATE: Media Matters offers a compedium of McCain's gaffes on foreign policy, which WND has largely ignored.
Huston Rants Against Garrison Keillor Topic: NewsBusters
Warner Todd Huston uses a May 28 NewsBusters post to rant against "A Prairie Home Companion" host Garrison Keillor over his inability, as expressed in a recent newspaper column, to understand what is inherently patriotic about riding a motorcycle. Despite attacking Keillor's column as a "screed," Huston was in full screed mode himself, referencing "Lake Blowbegone" and calling Keillor a "pseudo-intellectual" wfho associates with "tea-drinking, pinky finger lifted, emasculated, lefties." (Of course, a "psudo-intellectual," unlike Huston, would know that putting a comma after "emasculated" is grammatically incorrect.)
If Huston want to do some, you know, actual research into Keillor, he might want to check out last Saturday's edition of "A Praire Home Companion," in which Keillor devotes the "News from Lake Wobegon" to Memorial Day and reads a moving Memorial Day sonnet -- both done in ways that even Huston might approve.
Has Jerome Corsi Ever Actually Listened to the Decemberists? Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily blunders in late to the Obama-Decemberists party, in the form of a May 27 article by Jerome Corsi that begins: "A hip rock band that features the Soviet national anthem and communist-inspired lyrics was on stage to open for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama at his record-breaking Portland, Ore., rally that attracted 75,000."
We suspect that Corsi has never heard of the Decemberists before this mini-controversy erupted and wouldn't know a "hip rock band" if one walked up to him and gave him a Masonic handshake.
Corsi rehashes Robert Knight's errant assertion that people at a Portland rally at which the Decemberists played before an Obama speech were there to see the band, not Obama. Corsi counters the claim that the band is "a relatively unknown independent folk-rock group that plays small clubs at local Portland nightclubs" by noting that "the band has appeared on national television."
Corsi also went on to play WND's favorite game, guilt by association, asserting that "What remains undisputed is the group's pro-communist image" and noting the band's "unfinished song with communist-style lyrics" endorsing Obama (though Corsi never explains what "communist-style lyrics" are supposed to be).
Shouldn't a writer who criticizes a band's music have actually listened to that band before issuing his criticism? Corsi shows no evidence that he has -- or that he has ventured beyond conservative blogs for the information he threw in his article.
Apparently, Joseph Farah and John Hagee are not friends anymore.
In his May 27 WorldNetDaily column, Farah surprisingly throws Hagee -- who, as we noted, Farah has described as "my friend," who has written a column for WND and whose books are available for sale at WND's online store -- under the bus over Hagee's assertion that Hitler was doing God's will to get Jews to move to Palestine. Farah begins his column this way:
John Hagee certainly has some unusual ideas.
I'm glad he no longer writes for WND, as he once did regularly, because upon learning he believes Adolph Hitler was God's instrument to get the Jews back to the Middle East, I would be sorely tempted to discontinue his column.
For once, I can't fault John McCain for rejecting his endorsement.
Farah then quickly moves on to defend another evangelical pastor whose endorsement McCain has flip-flopped on -- Rod Parsley:
Parsley, pastor of the World Harvest Church of Columbus, stands accused of calling Islam an "anti-Christ religion." He is also quoted as saying he would like to see "this false religion [Islam] destroyed." He also described Islam's prophet Muhammad as "the mouthpiece of a conspiracy of spiritual evil."
To which I say: "Yeah, where's the controversy?"
Look, I know WND has Muslim readers around the world. I hear from many of them who agree with me on many of my positions. But, when you get right down to basics, I am a Christian who believes in the Bible. And the Bible tells me that all religions not biblically based are false religions and anti-Christ religions that need to be destroyed.
That's not to say we believe in destroying the human beings. Christians seek to convert Muslims to Christianity by sharing the Gospel of love and forgiveness.
As to Muhammad being "the mouthpiece of a conspiracy of spiritual evil," I would have to agree, again. All false religions, by definition, are evil to biblical Christians. That's what the Bible says.
Farah also says, "In fact, the only disagreement I would have with Parsley is in his endorsement of McCain!"
Farah goes to great pains to differentiate Hagee and Parsley:
It's one thing to reject and marginalize Hagee for what he said, which startled me in its crude insensitivity and questionable biblical analysis. It's another thing to take the same approach to Parsley, whom, I believe is expressing the spiritual convictions of the vast majority of evangelical and fundamentalist Christians in America – as well as the Bible they revere.
While Farah fulminates about McCain in his column, it's important to remember that WND has never done a news article about the controversial statements made by either Hagee or Parsley -- which plays into WND's de facto pro-McCain agenda, however much Farah disingenuously denies he's helping McCain.
Even though Farah appears to be throwing Hagee under the bus here, WND's virtual blackout on the controversy over Hagee's words demonstrate that Farah and Hagee may still be at least somewhat buddy-buddy after all -- enough to work parallel on a shared anti-Obama agenda, anyway.
WND Repeats False Attacks on Day of Silence Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's habit of repeating claims without bothering to verify them for accuracy frequently comes back to bite it (see Jones, Clark, and Sinclair, Larry).
A May 19 WND article by Chelsea Schilling unquestioningly repeated anti-gay group Mission America's claims about its attempts to, as the headline asserts, "squash" the Day of Silence event designed to show support for gay students victimized by violence and bullying (we've previously noted that Schilling asserted without evidence that the event is "pro-homosexual"). Schilling went on to detail "some incidents that took place during the silent protests and were reported by Mission America," making no apparent attempt to fact-check Mission America's claims.
Well, somebody did fact-check those a couple of those claims -- Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor popular in conservative circles whom WND approvingly quoted earlier this month in the midst of attacking gay activist Wayne Besen. Throckmorton didn't like what he found.
Schilling wrote, apparently cribbing straight from Mission America:
Kirksville, Mo.: A parent told Mission America that the Kirksville High School principal and superintendent laughed when she asked if her child could be excused from participating in the school's Day of Silence. According to the organization, she said, "They called me a narrow-minded bigot and refused to give excused absences."
Curious, I called the Kirksville High School Superintendent of schools, Pat Williams about the allegation of name-calling. When I read the account to him, he said, “That’s absolutely false. I did not use that language with any parent or in response to any inquiry.”
He told me that a couple of parents called to express disagreement with the Day of Silence and one mother met in person with him but he did not express any judgment about the mother’s views. He further explained that the matter of an excused absence would be at the discretion of the building principal.
Randy Michael, principal of Kirksville High School also took strong exception to the Mission America source. He said flatly, “That’s not true” when I read the allegation to him. He said he received “two or three” complaints about the event and at least one request for an excused absence which was denied. He explained that there was no basis for an excused absence since no student was compelled to participate in the Day of Silence.
He said both the Day of Silence and Day of Truth [a conservative Christian response to the Day of Silence organized by the consdervative Alliance Defense Fund] were observed in accord with the same standards. Students were required to speak if called on by a teacher. Also, no student could force their materials on others, but could give cards or information out if asked. “Neither day disrupted education,” Mr. Michael said.
I emailed Linda Harvey at Mission America to see if I could interview the parent involved but she declined to provide more information or contact the person who made the allegation. The Kirksville administrators were not aware of any allegations surrounding the Day of Silence until I called. In my opinion, the the information provided by Mr. Williams and Mr. Michael and the fact that the school district also allowed the Day of Truth detract from the credibility of the anonymous allegation.
Schilling also wrote:
Also in Phoenix, at Desert Ridge High School, Arizona Republic reported that between 200 and 250 students stayed home. A parent who objected to the observance hosted a pool party for students who refused to participate. The father, Randy Bellino, told a Phoenix television station that someone sent a text message threatening to shoot his son, and police questioned a group of homosexual students who silently sat across the street from his home.
I talked to Detective Steve Berry at the Mesa Police Department who said the Mesa Police received a call from a student who heard a rumor that someone was planning a shooting on the Day of Silence. No targets were identified. The text message was not a threat but rather a report of the rumored planned shooting. Essentially, Det. Berry said the threat was a rumor that was passed through the grapevine, but there was no text threat directly made toward anyone. Thus, the KPHO.com report is misleading in that no student group was ever identified as responsible. The WND report is misleading in that the boy in question did not actually receive a text message with a threat, according to Det. Berry, who read the police report to me.
Throckmorton concludes: "And those were just the first two bulletpoints. I guess you can’t believe everything you read." That same warning applies to a lot of things one reads at WorldNetDaily.
UPDATE: Tweaked description of Throckmorton; he doesn't specifically advocate gay conversion therapy (but defends the right of those to seek it out).
Aaron Klein Anti-Obama Agenda Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
Aaron Klein's 28th anti-Obama article for WorldNetDaily is a May 26 piece claiming that "The Israeli government estimates Sen. Barack Obama will win the presidential elections and is rushing to finalize a deal with the Palestinians and possibly Syria before President Bush leaves office." Klein's source: "two top Israeli diplomats ... speaking on condition of anonymity." Yep, yetanother anonymous attack.
Keep in mind that Klein's boss, Joseph Farah, calls claims made by anonymous sources "usually quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better."
Klein uses the article to rehash his previous guilt-by-association attacks on Obama, ascribing the views of alleged Obama associates to Obama himself, without once noting what Obama has said about the U.S. relationship with Israel -- an omission one has to assume is a delibarate attempt to falsely portray Obama as anti-Israel.
Klein also references yet again his interview (with radio host John Batchelor) of Hamas official Ahmed Yousef, in which Yousef expressed support for Obama's candidacy. Klein proudly calls it a "now notorious interview" -- just another piece of evidence to support the claim that the interview was a calculated political hit job by Klein and Batchelor on Obama, with them either collaborating with Yousef or playing him for a fool. Klein has yet to publicly respond to questions we have raised about the interview.
Kincaid Hearts WND's Stenography Topic: Accuracy in Media
We've previously described how two different news organizations treated Cliff Kincaid's attempts to portray Barack Obama as a secret commie: WorldNetDaily's Jerome Corsi swallowed Kincaid's assertions without question, while the Washington Post's Dana Milbank applied the skepticism such claims deserve.
Guess which version Kincaid prefers? From his May 25 AIM column:
Thanks to Joseph Farah’s WorldNetDaily and his excellent reporter, Jerome R. Corsi, many people are learning the basic facts about these relationships. Corsi covered the release of two reports on the subject through my America’s Survival, Inc. organization.
There are many in the liberal and conservative media who want desperately to avoid this subject. The liberals want to protect Obama. The “conservatives” avoiding the subject don’t want to be accused of “McCarthyism” if they mention it. But thanks to Farah’s WorldNetDaily and other new media outlets, the story is coming out and won’t be ignored.
That's not a surprise -- of course Kincaid would prefer a news organization that swallowed everything he said hook, line and sinker, not asking any pesky questions about his partisan motivations or even bothering to verify his claims. And Corsi and WND are all too happy to oblige -- after all, they didn't ask any questions when Larry Sinclair made his false claims against Obama, either.
WND Uncritically Quotes Writer Who Likens Homosexuality to Incest, Polygamy Topic: WorldNetDaily
A May 7 WorldNetDaily article uncritically repeated claims by an author who likens homsexuality to incest and polygamy -- a claim repeated in a May 13 WND article.
The May 7 article was devoted entirely to summarizing a "open letter" by Robert A.J. Gagnon reacting to a controversy over University of Toledo associate vice president for human resources Crystal Dixon, who was fired allegedly over an article she wrote taking "great umbrage at the notion that those choosing the homosexual lifestyle are 'civil rights victims'" because "thousands of homosexuals make a life decision to leave the gay lifestyle" and because gays are well-educated and have higher-than-average incomes; she went on to call homosexuality a "revolt" against "God's divine order."
The unbylined May 7 article described Gagnon as "[a]n author who wrote two books about homosexuality," adding" "He holds degrees from Princeton, Harvard and Dartmouth and wrote the 'Sexuality' entry for the 'New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics,' the same entry for the 'Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of Scripture,' and dozens of other such articles. He's written for 'Theology Matters,' 'Catholic Biblical Quarterly' and 'Journal of Biblical Literature.'" From the article:
Gagnon said the closer parallels to adult-committed homosexual relations are not ethnicity or gender but, rather, adult-committed incestuous unions and adult-committed polysexual unions.
"Given your full affirmation of homosexual activity, you are left with Oprah Winfrey's conclusion after meeting some economically upscale, adult-committed polygamists for a 2007 show: 'The best part of doing this job … [is that] I come in with one idea and then I leave a little more open about the whole idea. And what I realize … is that in every situation there are people who give things a bad name," Gagnon wrote.
"Give America more exposure to upscale, adult-committed polygamous bonds (and adult-committed incestuous bonds) and American will learn to be more tolerant of such bonds, as Oprah has," he wrote. "Those who dismiss a polygamy analogy and an incest analogy on the grounds that polygamy and incest always produce 'demonstrable harm' are simply responding out of their 'polyphobia' and 'incest-phobia.' And then you can suspend peole who say critical things about such relationships, once you overcome your own prejudices," he said.
"An environment that provides increased opportunities for and fewer negative sanctions against same-gender sexuality may both allow and even elicit expression of same-gender interest and sexual behavior. ... There is evidence for the effect of the degree of urbanization of residence while growing up on reported homosexuality. This effect is quite marked and strong for men," the study said.
Gagnon warned, too, of results indicating that when homosexuality is supported, homosexuality increases. He said that should be a warning to voters in the U.S.
If either Democrat candidate gains the White House, he said, "They're going to run down the homosexual agenda: Hate crimes, employment non-discrimination, remove the federal marriage [act], gay marriage will be instituted."
"Then anyone who disagrees or has reservations … will be regarded legally as the equivalent of a virulent racist," he said.
As befits WND's anti-gay agenda, no apparent effort is made to allow anyone to respond to Gagnon's claims.
Gagnon's "open letter" goes even farther than what WND quoted. In it, he calls homosexuality "an impulse-related condition" and titles one section, "Why is homosexual practice wrong?" He concluded: "My point is that if you find adult-committed incest and adult-committed polyamory offensive on formal or structural grounds, you should find adult-committed homosexual practice even more offensive."
For all of the theological credentials WND cited, questions have been raised about his conclusions (which, of course, WND fails to acknowledge). For instance, as one Amazon.com reviewer writes regarding the Gagnon co-authored book "Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views": "Technically he's telling the truth, but to those of us with linguistic training and training in the Biblical languages, he's being intellectually dishonest or he didn't check an important claim in a source he didn't cite." And a blogger writes of Gagnon's argument that the book of Genesis explains why homosexuality is wrong:
Unfortunately, Dr. Gagnon's argument is built on sand, namely the unstated assumption that the author(s) of the Book of Genesis got the history right (to say nothing of the biology). From everything I've ever learned in school and elsewhere, we have no reason to regard the scriptural tales of Adam and Eve as anything more than speculation. And yet, on the basis of this ahistorical, pre-scientific speculation of 3,000 years ago, we have the effrontery to direct present-day gay and lesbian adults to remain alone and celibate throughout their lives.
As one might expect, Gagnon also hangs around in right-wing anti-gay circles. He served as a speaker for the Illinois Family Institute's "Love and Truth" campaign (alongside presentations titled "How the gay movement endangers and corrupts children" and "The severe health risks of homosexual behavior"). And a 2004 WND article featured criticism from Gagnon of an "annual convention of American religion scholars" that featured "sessions favorable toward sadomasochism, transvestism, transsexualism and polyamory":
"One wonders what is next for the Gay Men's group at AAR – the promotion of incest, 'pedosexuality' and bestiality?" Gagnon asked in a written critique. "There is certainly little or nothing in the presenters' theology that would lead away from such ultimate absurdities."
Farah praised Gagnon as a "courageous whistleblower" for exposing the meeting, describing it as an example of "just how low our culture has plummeted, just how completely our institutions have been subverted, just how evil men's hearts are and just how blind we as a society have become to the depravity that surrounds us."
P.S. In an weird little sidelight, Gagnon on his website defends use of the term "homosex" in his writing:
I prefer to use it such expressions as pro- or anti-homosex rather than to make use of pro- or anti-homosexual. The latter expressions are open to abuse because the term homosexual can refer to a homosexual person. The present debate about homosexual practice is not a debate about whether one should be pro- or anti-homosexual persons. All believers are called on to love persons with a homoerotic proclivity or, for that matter, any other sexual "orientations" that are at variance with Scripture. To oppose a person's self-destructive behavior is not the smae thing as opposing the person. Indeed, to support a person's self-destructive and other-destructive behavior is, in effect, to oppose the person, albeit unwittingly. True love works in the best interests of those who experience homoerotic desires.
Matt Sanchez spends his May 24 WorldNetDaily column pointing out Barack Obama's "gay problem" -- that is, he opposes a ban on gay marriage and supports, in Sanchez's words, "mainstreaming the marginal" (you know, treating gays like everyone else). Sanchez further claims that "Eliminating 'don't ask, don't tell' [in the military] is an invitation to give priority to the self-serving activism of 'out and proud' over the self-sacrificing commitment of 'just doing my job'" (without citing any evidence to support the claim, of course).
Needless to say, nowhere is it mentioned -- nor, indeed, has it ever been mentioned on WND -- that Sanchez used to work in gay porn.
Doesn't that history make Sanchez's attack a little, you know, hypocritical? And don't both Sanchez and WND look more than a bit dishonest for failing to disclose a relevant piece of factual information?
Graham Misleads on 2000 Recount Topic: NewsBusters
In a May 25 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham asserts that the upcoming HBO movie "Recount" "aims to mislead the public into believing Al Gore won the presidency in 2000, when every recount (even the liberal media’s) found otherwise."
In fact, as we've previously noted, the National Opinion Research Center recount, funded by a consortium of news organizations including the Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, found that Gore won Florida in four different counting scenarios.
Graham also suggests that the "Recount" movie has a liberal slant because "liberal media consultants" were hired for their help with the script, among them Jake Tapper, who wrote a book on the 2000 Florida turmoil. But a July 2003 MRC CyberAlert said of the book: "To be fair, Tapper’s book was supposedly also pretty tough on Al Gore." (We've previously noted the MRC's attempts to dismiss Tapper as a liberal.)
UPDATE: Brent Baker gets in on the misleading fun, insisting that "both recounts conducted by major media outlets in 2001 determined George W. Bush would have won anyway" and that anyone who claims otherwise is "re-writing ... history." Baker, unlike Graham, does try to quantify things, claiming that "George W. Bush still would have won under either legally possible recount scenario which could have occurred" and citing a Gore win under "a scenario which never could have occurred." But Baker, like the November 2001 CyberAlert item from which he cribs, never explains how he concluded that the two recount scenarios he cites in which Bush won are the only "legally possible" ones.
Aaron Klein's 27th Obama-bashing article (versus just one critical of John McCain) is a May 23 piece accusing Barack Obama of "misrepresenting" his relationship with "pro-Palestinian activist and harsh critic of Israel" Rashid Khalidi. In rebutting Obama's claim that he has "had conversations" with Obama and little more, Klein claims that "Obama's relationship with Khalidi goes beyond conversation." His lead piece of evidence: "Sources at the university told WND that Khalidi and Obama lived in nearby faculty residential zones and that the two families dined together a number of times. The sources said the Obamas even babysat the Khalidi children."
Yep, it's anonymously sourced. And remember what Klein's boss, Joseph Farah, said about claims made by anonymous sources: that they're "usually quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better." Still, Klein does make regular use of anonymous sources -- even granting anonymity to terrorists.
Klein's article also contains the subhead "Israel a 'constant sore'" -- referring to WND's false claim that Obama made such a assertion in an interview.The article itself, meanwhile, correctly states that "Obama termed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a 'constant sore'" (while also referencing a previous desperate attempt by Klein to smear Obama by claiming he stole the term from Khalidi). By clearly asserting its willingness to repeatedly smear Obama with a false claim, WND demonstrates it clearly has no intention of reporting actual facts to its readers.
Wonkette notes that conservative bloggers such as Michelle Malkin are insisting that what TV cook Rachael Ray is wearing around her neck in a Dunkin' Donuts commercial is a Palestinian kaffiyeh scarf.
Believe it or not, this has happened before: As we noted, NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein has accused accused "Today" host Matt Lauer of expressing support for the Palestinians by wearing a black-and-white-checked scarf, and has also accused a random civilian on TV of the same.
WND vs. Real Journalists, Part 2 Topic: WorldNetDaily
Nowhere is the distinction between WorldNetDaily and real news organizations clearer when both cover the same story.
A May 22 WND article by Jerome Corsi claimed that Barack Obama purportedly has "extensive ties with extreme anti-American elements, including agents of the Moscow-controlled Communist Party USA, in Hawaii and Chicago," citing a report by "two experienced internal security investigators." One of those is Cliff Kincaid, whom Corsi calls an "investigative journalist."
We'll pause while you laugh.
Kincaid, of course, is the Accuracy in Media writer who is in the midst of a full-froth anti-Obama frenzy, making false claims and ascribing opinions made by fictional characters to Obama himself. While Corsi does note Kincaid's ties to AIM and his own little anti-United Nations group, America's Survival Inc., nowhere does he point out Kincaid's obvious partisan agenda.
(The cover of Kincaid's report rather laughably insists, presumably in a window-dressing effort to hide political advocacy behind its nonprofit tax status, that "nothing in this report shall be construed as an attempt to influence any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office or any political party." Why else would Kincaid be doing this report if he wasn't trying to influence a political campaign?)
The other "experienced internal security investigator" on the case is Herbert Romerstein, whom Corsi describes as "a former investigator with the U.S. House Committee on Un-American Activities." A 1999 New York Times profile, meanwhile, depicts Romerstein as something more than that: an obessed anti-communist, so much so that he informed on his high school teachers and classmates who were Communists and worked for a notorious blacklisting publication. Romerstein has been accused by the son of muckraking journalist I.F. Stone of hurling tainted and distorted evidence in portraying Stone as a Soviet spy.
Corsi treats Kincaid and Romerstein's claims as serious, uncontested fact, refusing to apply skepticism where it is necessary, nor does Corsi apply an ideologicial label either even though there is clear ideological motivation. Corsi also fails to make any apparent effort to gather any response from anyone to their charges.
For a more realistic treatment of the Washington event at which Kincaid and Romerstein released their report, we must turn to The Washington Post, where Dana Milbank wrote in a May 23 article:
These and many other implausible accusations were offered by a group of conservatives yesterday -- including a living relic from the House Committee on Un-American Activities -- in a Capitol Hill basement. The charges ranged from the absurd to the merely questionable, but anybody who watched the Swift Boat campaign of 2004 make John Kerry look like a war criminal knows that's not the point.
The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy took a blow with Hillary Clinton's collapse. But it is regrouping, and finding plenty of sinister things to say about Obama -- even if he didn't trade cattle futures.
The group, assembled by something called America's Survival Inc., gathered in the basement of Ebenezer Coffee House at Second and F streets NE. They shared the stage with a big drum set, and posters documenting items they would seek to tie to Obama: an SDS newsletter from 1969 (when he was 7), and a police killing from 1970 (when he was 8).
"We believe that any public figure with links to foreign and hostile interests should be asked to explain those associations," the organizer, Cliff Kincaid, told about two dozen conservatives and a few reporters. "In the case of Obama, a relatively new figure on the national scene, we submit the facts suggest that he would have serious difficulty getting a security clearance in the United States government. An FBI background check was once used to examine one's character, loyalty to the United States, and associations."
But the star of the show was the ancient Herbert Romerstein, who once plied his trade for the Un-American Activities committee. "We decided to start going back and seeing what things influenced him even before he was born," Romerstein announced without a trace of irony, before tying Obama to the Communist Party of the 1930s in Hawaii and Soviet spies on the island. "This is the atmosphere that young Barack Obama grew up in."
The smoking gun? Obama's "mentor" during his teens, according to Kincaid, was "a key member of a Soviet-controlled network that was sponsored by Moscow and active in Hawaii."
These accusations fall somewhere between guilt by association and guilt by invention, but the accusers were just getting started.
"It's clear that the communists and the socialists are backing him," Kincaid confirmed.
The questions continued: "The Obama-Muslim connection . . . the background of Michelle Obama . . . How he gave $23,000 to this church . . . Was it connected with Tony Rezko . . . the results from Gary, Indiana, which were so late in being released."
It was beginning to sound like a UFO convention. But the panelists took it seriously, firing questions back at the audience. "Was Barack Obama working for Bill Ayers?" Kincaid wondered aloud. Romerstein demanded: "How come for 20 years he sat in the pews and listened to a raving anti-American racist? How did he bring his two young children to this church to hear Wright rave on?"
A responsible journalist would have taken the history of political smears and the history of the accusers into account as an indicator of how serious to take said accusers' claims. Milbank did; Corsi didn't. To this, of course, we can also take into account the reporters' reputations as well. Milbank is a somewhat snarky writer; Corsi turns his personal grudges into "news" articles.
And that's the difference (well, one, anyway) between a real news organization and WND.
As we've noted, WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein has denied that he has an anti-Obama agenda, despite the crushingweight of evidence to the contrary (indeed, Klein's anti-Obama-article-to-anti-McCain-article ratio has just increased to 27-to-1).
If Klein really wants to demonstrate that he will attack John McCain with the fervor (and questionable sourcing) he has unleashed upon Obama, here's an assignment for him, provided he's not too afraid to take it: Interview right-wing Israelis (his kind of people) -- or any Israelis, for that matter -- to get their reaction to now-denounced McCain supporter Rev. John Hagee's claim that Adolf Hitler was a "hunter" sent by God and tasked with expediting God's will of having the Jews re-establish a state of Israel. Ask them what McCain's pursuit of an endorsement by someone who makes such a claim portends for U.S.-Israeli relations if McCain is elected president. Heck, Klein even might want to get his terrorist buddies to opine on Hagee's statement.
Waddaya say, Aaron -- will you do it, or are too biased (or afraid) to bother? Or is your boss too close to Hagee to ever publish criticism of him?