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Tuesday, July 8, 2008
New Article: A Bad Case of Tunnel Vision
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center blames "liberal media bias" for everything bad in the media -- declining Iraq war coverage, shrinking newspaper circulation -- even when there are other explanations that are more logical and easily demonstrable. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:38 AM EDT
Unruh's Anti-Vaccination Scaremongering
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've noted WorldNetDaily's anti-vaccination scare tactics before -- Joseph Farah has even praised that Texas polygamist cult's refusal to have their children immunized, declaring that "mothers and fathers made conscious and well-informed decisions not to immunize their kids because of the potential for dire health risks." (Farah also appears to believe that these same parents marrying off their teenage daughters into polygamous relationships and kicking teenage sons out of the cult to reduce competition for women does not involve health risks are similarly "conscious and well-informed decisions.")

WNd keeps up the scare tactics in a July 7 article by Bob Unruh in which he asserts, based on the assertions of an unknown blogger with no apparent medical expertise (he describes himself as "retired from corporate"), that the nasal-ingested flu vaccine FluMist poses a great danger to children. While Unruh quotes from some MedImmune press release about expansion of flu vaccination recommendations, he does not give MedImmune any opportunity to respond to the attacks on its vaccine. 

Unruh also quotes Jane Orient of the right-wing physicians group Association of American Physicians and Surgeons -- as is WND's wont, AAPS' political affiliation is unmentioned, let alone its anti-vaccination activism. We've previously noted AAPS' political activism; also the AAPS' journal is the one that published Madeleine Cosman's anti-immigrant screed containing false claims about illegal immigrants and diseases like leprosy. Indeed, that article remains uncorrected on the AAPS website.

It's the kind of substandard journalism we've sadly gotten used to from both Unruh and WND, who clearly don't trust their readers with the facts but intends to mislead them with only a censored version of the truth.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:14 AM EDT
Monday, July 7, 2008
This Is Vile?
Topic: Accuracy in Media

In a July 6 Accuracy in Media blog post, Don Irvine declared a Financial Times obituary on Jesse Helms to be "vile" and asserted that the writer "chose couldn't find an objective way to treat his life and legacy and instead chose to spew venom instead."

But the obituary excerpt that Irvine copied into his post -- coincidentially, the only two paragraphs available without registering at the Financial Times website -- show no particular "venom" and, in fact, offer a truthful account of Helm's political career. It points out that Helms' political enemies thought him "little less than a monster" and describes him as "a man who never bothered to disguise his dislike for his enemies and his determination to frustrate them. They included all liberals, most foreigners, and those whose sexual orientation he considered unnatural."

That's not "vile"; that's accurate. Shouldn't a guy who runs a group called Accuracy in Media be a little more enthustiastic about accuracy?


Posted by Terry K. at 6:57 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 7, 2008 6:59 PM EDT
Communist Endorses McCain -- Where Is WND?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has made a lot of hay of Aaron Klein and John Batchelor's interview of a Hamas official apparently endorsing Barack Obama (without bothering to explain why a Palestinian terrorist would be chatting up two right-wing, pro-Israel, anti-Obama media people). So if, say, a committed communist would endorse John McCain, WND would be all over that, right?

Well, not exactly.

The BBC reported on June 23 that Tran Trong Duyet -- not just any committed communist, the guy who was in charge of the "Hanoi Hilton" where McCain was imprisoned for five years during the Vietnam War -- said of McCain: "McCain is my friend. ... If I was American, I would vote for him."

There's an endorsement at least as damning as the Hamas guy's for Obama. Aaron Klein -- most recently seen playing guilt-by-association in trying to link Barack Obama to communists -- should be falling over himself to breathlessly tell his readers how the Republican presidential candidate is linked to these subversive communist elements -- and from a country that defeated the U.S. in a war, no less.

Except, of course, he's not. Indeed, this story can be found nowhere on WND. As we've detailed, WND is effectively working for John McCain during this presidential election, a point driven home even farther by WND managing editor David Kupelian's endorsement of McCain. 

WND claims to be "credible, fearless, independent." Its kid-glove treatment of McCain is obviously none of these.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:02 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 7, 2008 1:05 PM EDT
Farah Lacks Facts to Back Up His Anti-Gay Agenda
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his July 5 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah declares that his endorsement of the right-wing American Family Association's boycott of McDonald's is "omething you won't see anywhere else in the media" because "McDonald's advertising dollars are coveted by news companies throughout the U.S. and around the world." He then asserts that he doesn't "have the same concerns and fear of loss as the rest of the media crowd" and that "I no more want McDonald's advertising in WND during this boycott than I would solicit advertising from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Don't want it. Don't need it."

But Farah offers no evidence that WND has ever accepted advertising in the past from McDonald's. If, as we suspect, Mickey D's has never advertised on WND, Farah is giving up nothing and taking no financial or personal risk by boycotting the company.

Further, WND has accepted -- and still accepts -- an ad from a company that sells a T-shirt that says, "Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some Assembly Required." So for Farah to declare the moral high ground here -- "I believe in absolute standards of right and wrong as enumerated in the Bible" -- rings hollow. Unless, of course, he believes that lynching journalists is somehow proscribed by the Bible.

Farah also asserts that McDonald's, through its membership in the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce -- over which the AFA called the boycott -- is "promot[ing] of the radical homosexual agenda including same-sex marriage." But neither Farah nor the July 3 WND article announcing the AFA's boycott offers any evidence to support its claim that the NGLCC, in the July 3 article's words, "lobbies Congress on a wide range of issues, including the promotion of same-sex marriage." Further, not even the AFA's boycott website offers evidence that the NGLCC lobbies in favor of same-sex marriage.

Instead, what Farah offers is a lot of scare tactics in place of actual facts. Farah uses the word "radical" four times, three coupled with "agenda."

In an interesting aside, the July 3 article perhaps demonstrates the weakness of the evidence in support of a boycott by beginning two different paragraphs explaining what the AFA isn't boycotting:

"This boycott is not about hiring homosexuals, or homosexuals eating at McDonald's or how homosexual employees are treated. It is about McDonald's, as a corporation, choosing to put the full weight of their organization behind promoting the homosexual agenda, including homosexual marriage," said AFA chairman Donald E. Wildmon.

[...]

"We are not telling McDonald’s who they can hire to work for the company, nor are we demanding that they stop serving Big Macs to homosexual customers," AFA said then. 

So, are gays allow to be McDonald's franchisees, or to operate any business that caters to people other than gays? After all, helping business owners is the prime function of the NGLCC. Wildmon and the AFA folks don't answer that question -- and neither does Farah. 

A friendly piece of advice for Farah: Less hate, more facts. That way, you might attract more mainstream advertisers -- and, thus, demonstrate some actual risk should you decide to boycott them. 


Posted by Terry K. at 8:27 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 7, 2008 8:45 AM EDT
Ellis Washington's Boatload of Silliness
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Ellis Washington serves up a big heap o' silliness in his July 5 column.

The first comes in the second paragraph, in which he describes "Dr. Michael Savage" as "my favorite radio talk show host and a bona fide conservative intellectual." Because nothing says "intellectual" like telling someone to "get AIDS and die" or calling Nancy Pelosi "Mussolini in a skirt."

Washington followed that byrepeating Savage's assertion that "[Alfred] Kinsey was a sexual pervert who made up his own data," adding, "Dr. Savage, as usual, is right on point." The only evidence that Kinsey "made up" anything come mostly from notoriously anti-Kinsey "researcher" Judith Reisman, who has a habit of making up her own claims. Further, as the Kinsey institute points out, Kinsey's statistics largely hold up today.

That leads to the premise of his column, and the silliest claim of them all: that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was channeling Kinsey when he wrote the majority opinion blocking the death penalty for child rapists. He offers no real evidence for it other than citing an attack on Kinsey by Benjamin Wiker from his book "10 Books That Screwed Up the World" (of which Kinsey's "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male" is listed as one), which includes this statement that Washington approvingly quotes:

Kinsey's pseudo-science became foundational for the sexual revolution, used both in courts and classrooms to push a limitless sexual revolution that began in the 1960s and through which we are still living. … It will not be complete until it extinguishes all opposition, the greatest of which is Christianity. Once again, we see atheism at the root of rebellion.

Again, we have to ask about something Washington was involved with: What does that even mean? Wiker seems to be invoking the Butterfly Effect on top of the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy.

Somehow we suspect Wiker has read a lot of Judith Reisman, which makes his rantings inaccurate as well as incomprehensible. And Washington probably has read Reisman as well -- if not directly, than through Wiker, as statements like "Kinsey's evil ideas on human sexuality" suggest.

Washington does invoke the Depiction-Equals-Approval fallacy himself through the statement, "Kinsey's one-man sexual revolution of the late 1940s lobbied and received academic legitimacy to render normal and to promote the vilest sexual ideas imaginable including, pedophilia, child rape, sadomasochism and bestiality." 

Only a person who thinks Michael Savage is a "bona fide conservative intellectual" would be found spewing such stuff.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:02 AM EDT
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Is There A Difference Between AIM, Kincaid Group?
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A July 3 Accuracy in Media article by Cliff Kincaid declared that because the Drudge Report "has just rejected two paid ads submitted by my group America’s Survival, Inc. about the influence that CPUSA member [Frank Marshall] Davis exerted over a young Obama," Matt Drudge is "play[ing the] role of censor." No, Cliff, he's just exercising his perogative as a businessman to do what he wants; censorship is AIM's campaign to intimidate cable systems to not air Al-Jazeera's English-language service.

This item -- which otherwise plays guilt-by-association by ascribing an unknown communist-sympathetic blogger's views to Obama -- raises another interesting question: What is the line between America's Survival and AIM? After all, Kincaid gets paid for doing both, the key components of America's Survival's agenda -- anti-communism and anti-U.N. activism -- are subjects Kincaid frequently addresses in his AIM articles, and like AIM, Ameica's Survival gets a hefty chunk of wingnut welfare from Richard Mellon Scaife -- $375,000 since 1999.

So, there's a lot of overlap -- indeed, Kincaid seems to be using AIM as the PR agent for America's Survival. But is there a wall here? Kincaid might want to explain to his readers what difference, if any, there is between the two groups.

We've previously noted that AIM is loath to discuss Scaife even as it regularly bashes George Soros. Given that Scaife essentially signs Kincaid's paycheck(s), he might want to demonstrate a little honesty about who funds his activism.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:18 PM EDT
Homosexuality = Dementia?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily seems to be trying to tell us something with this strange juxtaposition of stories on its front page July 5.

You'll recall that Jim Rutz's assertion that soy products make you gay was debunked long ago, which WND fails to mention.

 


Posted by Terry K. at 9:30 AM EDT
Saturday, July 5, 2008
WND Obsessed With Democrat Sex
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A July 2 WorldNetDaily article describing a "case of an alleged satanic torture involving a Democratic Party official and her husband" breathlessly reports that the case "has now expanded to include a third suspect, an even higher-ranking Democrat."

Sounds like high-ranking Democratic officials are involved in "satanic torture," right? Er, not so much. As the article goes on to state, the probe focused on the third vice-chairwoman of the Durham County, N.C.,  Democratic Party and has now expanded to the "even higher-ranking" ... first vice-chairwoman of the Durham County Democratic Party.

It's worth noting that while WND is keeping an eagle eye on the sexual proclivities of county-level Democratic officials -- and, one can assume, pruriently enjoying every single moment of doing so -- it didn't run an original news report on Republican Rep. Duke Cunningham's massive corruption until after he resigned.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:16 AM EDT
AIM's War Against Kessler Continues
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media is apparently not done beating up Ronald Kessler for daring to criticize Joe McCarthy.

From a July 2 article by Accuracy in Academia's Malcolm Kline:

More recently, the Wall Street Journal tapped former Washington Post reporter Ron Kessler to write a piece on the McCarthy era. The choice of Kessler was a curious one for a newspaper whose editorial page has historically prided itself on its high standards.

For instance, he is about the only reporter in the country to mangle the story of presidential candidate Barack Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Kessler did so by claiming, without evidence, that Obama was in the church when Wright delivered one of his most incendiary sermons.

In like fashion, Kessler’s take on McCarthy was also journalistically challenged. He reproduces factoids from questionable stated sources that Evans has already proven wrong in his book with primary information.

Then Kessler backs up this data-base with unnamed sources not necessarily alive. It would be comforting to crib from the title of a book from a bygone era and aver that, “None dare call it journalism.” Unfortunately, the Wall Street Journal does.

But Kessler hasn't worked for the Washington Post in years -- not since 1985, according to his personal bio -- so it's highly misleading to for Kline to identify him only as a "former Washington Post reporter." Like Wes Vernon and M. Stanton Evans before him, Kline fails to note that Kessler is a fellow conservative who works for conservative website Newsmax.

It's also curious that Kline also bashes Kessler for his botching the Jeremiah Wright story (while not noting that Newsmax, rightly or wrongly, still stands by the claim that Obama attended the Wright service in question) -- or that he's even attacking Kessler at all. After all, Kessler is among the most obsequious writers in the ConWeb toward all things conservative, with a long track record of fluffing the Bush administration and, in a most creepy manner, Mitt Romney. Plus, Kessler has sold out what principles he has to the greater Repubican cause by flip-flopping from McCain basher to McCain fluffer.

You'd think that such an utterly compliant writer who unquestioningly fluffs conservatives and bashes liberals would be the kind of guy Kline would want to keep in his good graces. But apparently, nothing -- not even an otherwise loyal conservative -- is allowed to stand in the way of McCarthy revisionism.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:05 AM EDT
Friday, July 4, 2008
Drennen: Clark 'Degrad[ed] John McCain's Military Record'
Topic: NewsBusters

A July 3 NewsBusters post by Kyle Drennan asserted that "Obama supporter Wesley Clark" was "degrading John McCain’s military record" in his appearance on "Face the Nation" last Sunday.

Yeah, Clark saying that McCain "was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands of millions of others in the Armed Forces as a prisoner of war" -- that's so totally degrading. 


Posted by Terry K. at 10:17 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 4, 2008 10:18 PM EDT
WND's Washington Still Hurling Klan Smears
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've previously detailed how WorldNetDaily columnist Ellis Washington likes to smear Democrats -- and fellow blacks he disagrees with -- with allusions to the Ku Klux Klan.

He's still at it: In his July 3 column, he calls Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick "KKK," for "King Kwame Kilpatrick." And he adds this:

And what of Sen. B. Hussein Obama, who, though he has the most "audacious" voting record in the history of Congress, is only one step from the U.S. presidency. If you think that is outrageous, KKK is the front runner for a third term! Only in Detroit … only in America!

What does that even mean? 

Indeed, Washington is rather fond of this particular smear. He wrote in an April 3 column:

AMERICA! Get yourself a big bucket of popcorn and a giant Coke, because the show KKK (King Kwame Kilpatrick) is about the give the world will make what the KKK (Ku Klux Klan) did to my people in Birmingham, in Selma, in Atlanta, in Mississippi, look like child's play.

Kilpatrick is going to travel the world lynching people? We're confused.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:56 AM EDT
NewsBusters Obsessed With Obama's Flip-Flops, Mum on McCain's
Topic: NewsBusters

The boys at NewsBusters are way obsessed with Barack Obama's alleged flip-flops. For instance:

  • "How many flip-flops can he get a free pass on?" howls John Stephenson. "Obama has a list of flip-flops that would destroy most candidates."
  • Tom Blumer cites "all of this flipping, flopping, and flailing by Obama." 
  • Noel Sheppard is concerned about "the media's lack of interest in reporting presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama's campaign flip-flops."
  • P.J. Gladnick also cites "Barack Obama's recent flip-flops."

Curiously, none of these writers have acknowledged John McCain's long, long list of flip-flops. By Stephenson's own reckoning, this should destroy McCain's candidacy.

Stephenson keeps it up in a July 3 post asserting an "ever-growing list" of Obama flip-flops. Problem is, one of the things he claims to be a flip-flop -- Obama saying that a withdrawal from Iraq would involve input from "commanders on the ground" -- isn't.

And, of course, not a word about the prodigious number of flip-flops by his boy McCain. 

UPDATE: Tim Graham, in a July 4 post, seems to redefine-flip-flopiing for McCain, calling him merely "not consistently conservative":

Notice how liberals say he’s not on message, which is a nice way to dismiss someone who’s not consistently conservative. If he was pounding away from the right, consistently, liberal reporters would be much harsher[.] 


Posted by Terry K. at 12:14 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 4, 2008 10:41 AM EDT
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Chastain Repeats Misleading CNS Attack on Obama Staff Pay
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a July 3 WorldNetDaily column lashing out at "whiney women" who support Barack Obama, Jane Chastain writes: 

When it comes to his payroll, it's McCain, not Obama, who puts his money where his mouth is. According to an analysis by Cybercast News Service of payroll data from the secretary of the Senate, which covered the six-month period ending Sept. 30, 2007, Barack Obama paid his average woman non-intern staffer about $6,000 less than the average man.

As we noted, the CNS comparison is misleading because it does not make an effort to determine whether pay was equal between the sexes on equivalent jobs, misleadingly computing only average total pay for male staff vs. female staff.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:15 PM EDT
Klein's Reporting on Rampages, Then and Now
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A July 2 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein began this way:

JERUSALEM – In a terrorist attack today, three Israelis were murdered and dozens more wounded when a Palestinian Arab deliberately plowed a bulldozer into pedestrians and drivers in one of Jerusalem's most popular streets.

The terrorist was finally halted by an off-duty teenage Israeli soldier who grabbed the gun of a policeman.

That's a contrast from a few years back, when Klein declared a terrorist the murder victim and the people he shot mere afterthoughts. This is how Klein described the shooting of four Arabs on a bus in Gaza in 2005 by AWOL Israeli soldier Eden Natan-Zada:

A mob of Palestinians tonight murdered a Jewish Israeli man in a police uniform after he opened fire on a bus and killed four Arabs, allegedly in protest of the Gaza withdrawal plan.

Note that the killer is the one who is "murdered" by a "mob," while Klein never described the Arabs Zada killed as having been "murdered." But as we've detailed, Klein is a sympathizer to the cause Zada allegedly went on his killing spree for -- opposition to Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the West Bank. Indeed, Klein sympathetically quotes a fellow anti-disengagement activist, Yekutel Ben Yaacov, calling Zada "the first casualty of the sadistic Gaza plan." Ben Yaacov is better known as Mike Guzovsky, a onetime leader of the violent Kahane Chai movement who expressed his support for bombing the offices of Jewish groups who favored a peace process and the 1994 massacre by Baruch Goldstein of 29 Arabs inside Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs. (By the way, Klein has never told his readers about the violent background of Guzovsky/Ben Yaacov.)

And in contrast to Klein's suggestion that the death of a man who shot and killed four people on a bus in cold blood was somehow a bad thing, the Israeli soldier who killed the Palestinian in the bulldozer is described as "heroic" in the headline of Klein's article. Apparently it wasn't "heroic" of Palestinians to stop Zada from killing more innocent people.

UPDATE: A July 3 article by Klein proclaims that Moshe Klessner, the soldier who shot the bulldozer driver, is a "heroic" man who "was forced to fight in court to get accepted into the military due to his activism against the Gaza evacuation." In other words, Klein's kind of guy. Klein also gushed that "heroism runs close to Klessner." Again, no mention of why the folks who stopped Zada from killing more innocents were not similarly "heroic."


Posted by Terry K. at 2:29 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 3, 2008 6:38 PM EDT

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