A July 14 CNSNews.com article by Penny Starr touted the "300 mostly free-market economists" who signed a statement declaring that they support John McCain's economic plan. While Starr notes that "not all experts in the field are enthusiastic about his proposals," she doesn't note that some of that lack of enthusiasm comes from economists who signed McCain's statement.
As the Politico reported on July 9: "Upon closer inspection, it seems a good many of those economists [who signed McCain's statement] don’t actually support the whole of McCain’s economic agenda. And at least one doesn’t even support McCain for president."
Starr also states that McCain's economic plan includes "Institution of a summer gas holiday," but the Politico notes that "there is no mention of the gas tax holiday" in the statement the economists signed.
This is another early sign -- on top of obscuring McCain's flip-flops on immigration -- that CNS will be treating McCain gingerly in its election coverage while attacking Barack Obama.
WND Readers Can't Tell Difference Between Truth, Satire Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's opt-in poll for July 14 asked readers to "Sound off on the New Yorker's cover with turban-wearing Obama, gun-toting wife." As of this writing, 59 percent of respondents agreed with the statement "The image isn't too far from the dangerous truth about the Obama family," while 13 percent agreed with the statement, "Funny, because there's some truth in it." (Media Matters has also noted this.)
Of course, egged on by the likes of Aaron Klein pretending that what Obama did as an 8-year-old in Indonesia is somehow relevant to the Obama of today, WND has generally refused to acknowlege the fact that Barack Obama is not a Muslim. That's like holding people who dreamed of being, say, cowboys or ballerinas as a child accountable for not being cowboys or ballerinas now.
WND now has a comment section with its polls, and it offers graphic evidence of what the poll results show -- that WND readers can't tell the difference between satire and reality:
"Barack Obama supports women in the military, he wears Islamic garb, he supports gun ownership, and he endorses flag burning. The real satire is that he calls an accurate illustration of his beliefs tasteless and offensive."
"The New Yorker mag, an oh-so-p/c leftist rag if ever there was one, might have considered this cartoon as an attack on people who are concerned about the direction our country is heading; on the other hand, its editor might find himself suddenly "retired" for daring to portray our New Messiah and his adorable Magdelene a little too accurately."
"There is always a little bit of truth in satires, but in this case, there is a LOT of truth. Democrats, remember -the truth will set you free. Try it sometime."
"There comes a time when you've gotta tell it like it is! This man has ambitions you don't know anything about, and you'd better help keep him out of the oval office! GOD only knows what damage he could do. The only one who would follow the Constitution is Ron Paul, write his name in on your ballot!"
"To me this cartoon may have more truth to it then lie and since this is America, you can yell bigot, racist, or whatever you like, but to me, this cartoon brings up questions that even though he claims they are answered, why is there evidence that proves otherwise?"
"Sometimes the Truth hurts. LOL"
"Even though this is most likely the most truthful depiction of both Barak and Michelle the New Yorker is obviously in Obama's corner."
And then there is the seething hatred (also egged on by WND) of Obama:
"Just who is Obama? Does anyone really know? I sure don't, and it scares me to see so many people swooning over him just because he can deliver a good speech and looks like he stepped off the cover of GQ magazine. Hitler could give a good speech, and look where he led the German people."
"We the People in US of America must be blind & deaf. A vote for Obama is counted as one strike towards our country going down the drain. To bad people can not open their eyes & ears. I don't understand when they are told that Obama will raise taxes,spend money like its water & have a bunch of free programs the people will vote for him."
"Anyone voting for this vacillating idiot Obama is in truth casting a vote for national suicide, plain and simple. Can we really afford to have a president who changes his mind on important national issues every hour on the hour???"
"Even if Obama (who was raised in a muslim madrass) is not a muslim, he is a stark raving mad, liberal, and as such is an enemy of the American people. This is not about black vs. white! It is about baby killing, homosexual lifestyle endorsing, God hating, liberals trying to destroy America."
"If Barack Obama were Muslim (which he is), he wouldn't behead his wife. His wife is down for the Jihad. I almost want to vote for this Muslimist, just to see what he will do to the left wing lunatics. Sharia Law shoved down the throats of the feminazis, yes, yes, yes. Put Farrakhan in charge of the Justice Department. Let Jesse Jackson run the Treasury. Put Al Sharpton in charge of the Defense Department. Cynthia McKinney managing the State Department. And to put the bow on the package, have Marion Barry cracking the whip at the Department of Homeland Security. Can't you just imagine how great America will be!!!"
This is the heart and soul of the WND audience, the people Joseph Farah is building his media empire upon. Is that really a wise thing to do?
Unruh Still Protecting Homeschooling Family Topic: WorldNetDaily
There's a new development in the California homeschooling case -- and, as usual, WorldNetDaily won't tell you the whole story.
A July 12 WND article by Bob Unruh claims that, according to the Home School Legal Defense Association, "the juvenile court judge terminated jurisdiction over the two young L. children in a hearing held on July 10, 2008." This is the case that ultimately resulted in a judge ruling that California law offered no explicit provision for homeschooling, and thus children could be ordered to attend a regular school.
As we reported, WND has hidden much of the pertinent details about the ruling from its readers, particularly the juvenile court proceedings in which evidence of parental abuse, low-quality homeschooling, and a home environment not conducive to education was discovered. By hiding such facts from its readers, WND is effectively condoning child abuse in order to advance its pro-homeschooling agenda.
Given that it's unlikely the juvenile court would completely abandon the two younger children, currently ages 11 and 9, to the parents given the history of abuse that has been documented, we'd like to get a hold of that ruling to find out what exactly happened. The HSLDA press release offers no further details, nor does a Los Angeles Times article on the subject.
Nor does WND: Unruh makes no mention of the abuse allegations and poor quality of homeschool that led to the court action in the first place.
We will contact the HSLDA for a copy of the ruling and related filings so we can make our own judgment.
Dim Bulbs At the Examiner Topic: Washington Examiner
The Washington Examiner's July 14 editorial page called California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger a "dim bulb" for opposing oil drilling off the California coast "to protect our coasts" (item is not online). Why? "Because far more oil is spilled by tankers bringing oil from abroad than is spilled by offshore rigs or by the pipelines from those rigs. Not even Hurricane Katrina caused any spills in the Gulf."
In fact, Katrina caused 70 spills from outer continental shelf structures, including platforms and rigs, resulting in approximately 5,552 barrels of oil and petroleum products spilling into the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Rita that same year caused the spill of 12,200 barrels of oiil and petroleum products in the Gulf.
Somebody's looking dim on this subject, and it's not Schwarzenegger.
WND Lies About 'Honest Journalism' Topic: WorldNetDaily
In his latest periodic appeal for cash from his readers, WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah notes the following: "You may also donate to WND's Legal Defense Fund, to help us battle the lawsuits and threats that always accompany honest journalism."
"Honest journalism"? This from a news organization that finally admitted earliler this year, after seven years of denial, that it published false claims about Al Gore supporter Clark Jones as part of settling a libel and defamation lawsuit.
Would a news organization that was actually committed to "honest journalism" have spent seven years denying the truth? Nope.
The legal fund donation page also misleadingly claims that "WND has never lost such a lawsuit." That's technically true; WND did not "lose" the Jones lawsuit because it settled before going to trial because it was clear that WND would lose. Given that Jones got most of what he wanted -- an admission from WND that it "has no verified information by which to question Mr. Jones' honesty and integrity" -- that's a loss by most definitions of the word, especially given that WND fought making such an admission for seven years.
Farah, unsurprisingly, makes no mention of the Jones lawsuit -- let alone how much money WND spent fighting it for seven years and, presumably, paid Jones to settle it -- since the truth of that counters his assertion that WND is "constantly challenging ... lies." (WND won't make the terms of the settlement public, but we can safely assume that WND paid some amount of cash to Jones, given that he sued WND for $165 million in actual and punitive damages.)
WND has never responded to our challenge to add transparency to its legal defense fund by making public its donors and disbursements.
The bitterly ironic headline for Farah's cash appeal? "While WND fights for truth, will you watch our back?" How can WND fight for truth when it regularlygetscaught in the act of telling lies?
Sheppard Shocked Yet Again By Non-Shocking Event Topic: NewsBusters
Once again, Noel Sheppard demonstrates his apparently limitless ability to be shocked by non-shocking events as he points out in a July 13 NewsBusters post that the Washington Post published an op-ed by conservative economist Amity Shlaes: "As a sidebar, clearly the Post doesn't agree with every op-ed it publishes. I just find it interesting the Post's opinion editor would publish this one that goes so counter to leftwing economic dogma."
Actually, it's not so "interesting"; The Post shares numerous editorial positions with the conservative Wall Street Journal.
WND Suddenly Changes Tune on Catholics Topic: WorldNetDaily
It seems like just a few days ago that WorldNetDaily was very concerned that a college student who took a communion wafer outside of a Catholic Mass was receiving death threats and portraying the Catholic League's Bill Donohue as an extremist for saying that "For a student to disrupt Mass by taking the Body of Christ hostage – regardless of the alleged nature of his grievance – is beyond hate speech" -- all in tune with a latent anti-Catholic streak WND has exhibited over the years.
Curiously, WND has served up a follow-up article with a completely different tone. The July 12 article promotes Donohue's campaign against blogger PZ Myers for dismissing the communion wafer as just a "cracker" -- essentially the same thing WND did in its July 9 article.
But this time, instead of portraying Catholics as violence-prone ranters, they are the victims of the "card-carrying atheist" Myers. WND, after all, loves the idea of Christian persecution, even though it's on record as doubting whether Catholics are Christians.
Also, instead of falsely claiming that a consecrated communion wafer is merely "representing the 'Body of Christ'" (and putting the "Body of Christ" in scare quotes), WND correctly notes that "Catholics believe" a consecrated communion wafer "becomes the body of Christ."
A July 11 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones uncritically repeats a claim by House Minority Leader John Boehner: "Why can’t we have a vote right here in the House on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a 19 million-acre plot of ground and where we would use about 2,000 acres to actually do the drilling?" In fact, as we've previously noted, opponents of drilling in ANWR have pointed out that far more than 2,000 acres would be affected by roads and pipelines connecting drilling pads as part of the drilling operation.
Indeed, Jones offers no challenges to any of the Republicans' claims she cites from their "American Energy Tour." By contrast, Jones twice interrupts a section on Democrats' stands on energy to insert parenthetical claims about what "critics" say about those stands.
Richard Bartholomew deconstructs a July 12 WorldNetDaily article claiming death threats against Brad Thor, author of a book WND describes as the "Islamic Da Vinci Code," in that it fabricates a conspriacy based on the discovery of manuscripts alleged to be part of the Quran.
Turns out Thor and WND not only get the date of the discovery wrong, they mislead about the actual content of those manuscripts upon which Thor based his book. The death threat is unsubstantiated as well; as Bartholomew points out, "it is clear that Thor is revelling in creating a possible controversy to rival the Dutch Muhammad cartoons."
Which, of course, made her a natural choice to write a "news" article for WorldNetDaily.
King's July 12 WND article is a puff piece for Will Bower, who heads a group of anti-Obama activists who claim to be Hillary Clinton supporters. Because King is not a journalist, she does nothing of the things a real journalist would do:
She interviews only Bower, making no attempt to talk to others to put Bower's activism in perspective of the larger Democratic political situation.
She makes no apparent attempt to verify Bower's claims that he has 2 million supporters that have raised $10 million to retire Clinton's campaign debt; she merely regurgitates what Bowers says as the undisuputed truth, even dubious, unsubstantiated assertions like "Eight super-delegates left Obama this week."
She does not disclose her own pimping of Bower's group on her webcast and blog, in which she calld it "a tsunami-like movement determined to topple the Democrat leadership's well laid plans to crown Obama at their National Convention in September."
Indeed, some cursory Googling would raise a couple red flags (for real journalists, at least):
In short, King offers no evidence whatsoever that Bower is anything more than a guy with a website, an ax to grind against Obama, and a knack for publicity. That hardly makes him a credible spokesman for anything, much less the unassailable movement leader King portrays him as.
Then again, King does point out that most of Bower's supporters (if they do indeed exist) will be supporting John McCain -- which means this whole thing ist just a part of WND's stealth pro-McCain agenda.
Which, after all, is probably the reason WND had a biased anti-Obama activist write this article in the first place.
NewsBusters Runs to Gramm's Defense Topic: NewsBusters
The boys at NewsBusters are tearing themselves away from their obsessionoverJesseJackson's "nuts" comment to run to the defense of Phil Gramm's seemingly indefensible claim that America is in a "mental recession" and America is a "nation of whiners."
How so? By trying to prove that Gramm is right and blame -- you guessed it -- the liberal media for anyone thinking that there's a recession:
A July 10 post by Brent Baker (also an MRC CyberAlert item) claimed that ABC's Charles Gibson "conceded 'the fundamentals of the economy may be sound, as Gramm argues." Huh? Housing and oil aren't economic fundamentals? Baker also asserted that "ABC's World News has delighted in highlighting silly whining from hapless Americans."
Scott Whitlock insisted that "when discussing former Senator Gramm's comment about whining, media outlets should examine their own role in this debate."
Ken Shepherd cited an unreliable opt-in poll to assert that "61 percent of respondents think that, yes, America is a nation of whiners" and lamented how "the media refuse to take responsibility for their role in hyping doom and gloom to make America's economic woes seem worse than they objectively are."
Kyle Drennen resorted to the narrowly technical: "In reality, Gramm’s assertion that America is not in a real recession is completely accurate, as a recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth and there has yet to be even one quarter of negative growth."
Justin McCarthy similarly insisted that "remark that we are not in a recession is a fact."
Nathan Burchfiel echoed Whitlock, claiming that "the media have played a big role in drumming up negativity and pessimism about the economy. Gramm criticized the media for ignoring positive things that are happening with the economy."
Lyndsi Thomas cited a MRC Business & Media Institute report to claim that "print media coverage at the actual beginning of the Great Depression was more balanced and less hyperbolic than current reporting about the economy, which has been cooling, but not yet entered a recession." But that report compared apples to oranges --"daily news reports from Oct. 28 to Nov. 3, 1929, in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post ... were compared to daily reports on ABC, CBS and NBC from March 13 to March 19, 2008."
Kneejerk defense is an amazing thing, isn't it? We can't wait to see how NewsBusters spins McCain's statement that the funding mechanism used by Social Security since its inception is an "absolute disgrace."
McCain's defenders – in the McCainian spirit of chilling political speech – forbid us from criticizing him because he is a war hero. That's irresponsible nonsense. Voters and analysts have an obligation to assess McCain's suitability for the presidency. To consider and verbalize the negatives is not to demean his service or sacrifice.
We can recognize and honor McCain's indescribably grueling POW experiences without taking the leap of arguing they automatically qualify him as an ideal commander in chief. His qualifications should be evaluated on the merits, not on sentimental appeals to his service.
Understandably, I suppose, pundits often glibly assert that one of McCain's many advantages is his character – a character that was molded by the hardships he endured. McCain's captivity undeniably involved more character building than anything most of us will ever experience. But to say he is a rugged, battle-tested hero does not mean he is incapable of prevarication, opportunism, demagoguery or other mischief. Nor does it immunize him from scrutiny concerning the credible claim that he lacks the temperament to be president.
Wesley Clark? Code Pink? Some other Obama-loving liberal?
Nope -- conservative David Limbaugh, in a Jan. 25 syndicated column. Funny, we don't recall hearing anyone complain then that Limbaugh was "degrading" McCain's service.
Farah Still Wants You To Think He Wants McCain to Lose Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah is still pretending he doesn't want John McCain to win the presidency. In a July 11 WorldNetDaily column, he writes:
Don't vote for either John McCain or Barack Obama. Make your vote really count this year by voting for none of the above for president. Choose your favorite third party candidate, or write in Mickey Mouse, but, for heaven's sake, do not participate in this presidential electoral charade by voting for the lesser of two genuine evils.
That proclaimed agenda is not what is happening at Farah's WND. As we've detailed, while WND's news pages have continued to attack Obama, they have not only held back on criticizing McCain, they have also held back on promoting third-party candidates. Further, WND managing editor David Kupelian has endorsed the supposedly "genuine evil" McCain.
And the imbalance continues: A July 11 WND article rehashes a Judicial Watch complaint against Obama regarding the mortgage on his house (even though there's no evidence that any wrongdoing occurred). WND has yet to report on Judicial Watch's complaint against McCain regarding an overseas fundraiser.
'Name That Party' Goes the Other Way, Too Topic: NewsBusters
One of NewsBusters' favorite games is to profess outrage that the media doesn't identify Democratic politicians in trouble as Democrats. As Tom Blumer wrote on July 3: "Yes, the 'Name That Party' exercise is getting old. But somebody has to do it, or 10-20 years from now we'll have people searching the web and concluding that only Republicans had ethical problems during the 21st Century's first decade.
Reading stuff like that, why, you'd think that the media is so biased that it always label Republicans in trouble and never Democrats.
Of course, that's not true at all. Colorado Media Matters has detailed how a major Colorado paper, the Rocky Mountain News, has a habit of labeling only Democratic politicans in trouble and not Republicans.
Shock! Will NewsBusters express concern about this as well? Don't count on it.
Lil' Wayne and Cliff Kincaid, Together At Last Topic: Accuracy in Media
A July 10 Accuracy in Media blog post by Don Irvine falsely asserted that Barack Obama "praised" rapper Lil' Wayne, citing a post at Time's Swampland blog. But Swampland's Michael Scherer got it wrong too; he claimed that Obama was "praising Lil' Wayne's rhyming ability at a campaign event in Powder Springs, Georgia."
In fact, according to his source -- a Swampland post by Karen Tumulty -- Obama did no such thing. Tumulty quoted an ABC post headlined "Obama Slams Hoop Dreams for High School Students":
"You are probably not that good a rapper. Maybe you are the next Lil' Wayne, but probably not, in which case you need to stay in school," Obama, D-Ill., told a cheering crowd, brought to a standing ovation at a town hall meeting in Powder Springs, Georgia.
The presumptive Democratic nominee was speaking about high school drop out rates and the need for people to be committed to working hard in school so they can get a job after school.
Obama said nothing about Lil' Wayne's "rhyming ability," let alone offer any praise for him; Obama cited Lil' Wayne as a example of success that can't be duplicated unless one stays in school.
Irvine also pulled from Scherer's post an example of Lil' Wayne's "foul-mouthed" lyrics, but he curiously overlooks another example Scherer cited that would comport closer to sensibilities of Irvine and his fellow AIM acolytes:
For the same reason, the pop culture stature of Rev. Al Sharpton, another former Democratic candidate for president, has been directly challenged by another track from Lil' Wayne's latest album. At the end of the song Misunderstood, the rapper goes into an extended rumination on race, crime and politics in America. It ends with a blistering appraisal of Sharpton:
Mr. Al Sharpton, here’s why I don’t respect you, and nobody like you. You’re the type that gets off on getting on other people. That’s not good. . . . And rather unhuman, I should say. I mean, given the fact that humanity - well, good humanity, rather - to me is helping one another no matter your color or race. But this guy and people like him, they’d rather speculate before they informate, if that’s a word.
It turns out informate is a word, at least in one dictionary. Lil' Wayne goes on to call Sharpton "just another Don King, with a perm, hahah, just a little more political, and that just means you're a little unhuman."
Meanwhile, a July 10 AIM article by Cliff Kincaid, which -- in addition to whining again that Fox News still won't use his commie-conspiracy smears of Obama, as well as suggesting a new conspiracy, that Fox News is working in concert with Obama to out Jesse Jackson's crude comments about Obama in order to enable Obama "to rise above Jesse Jackson-style politics" -- smacks around Al Sharpton:
Into the mix comes another discredited and disgraced black politician, Al Sharpton, who has been all over Fox News commenting on the “controversy.” Sharpton was on Fox News this morning and on Hannity & Colmes last night. He might as well sleep in the “green room” where guests get ready to go on the air. He was also on Bill O’Reilly’s show last week talking about something else. That’s three times in about a week and a half. Remember that Sharpton is the “Reverend” who hyped black woman Tawana Brawley’s hoax about being raped by white men. Why is he even on the air?