A July 21 Agence France Presse article, reprinted by Newsmax, stated: "German weekly Der Spiegel said Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki backed Obama's withdrawal timetable, but Baghdad has denied the report."
In fact, as we've noted, while an Iraqi spokesman did claim that Maliki's comments were "misunderstood, mistranslated and not conveyed accurately," that came after Bush administration officials called Maliki's office to complain about Maliki's statement. The New York Times has since verified Der Spiegel's account and the pressure put on Maliki's government by the U.S. to walk back Maliki's comments. And now, the Iraqi official who "denied" Maliki's claim is backing away from that and essentially confirming Maliki's original statement.
Exclusive: WND Now Hosting Michael Savage's Website Topic: WorldNetDaily
In a move as yet unannounced by either WorldNetDaily or radio host Michael Savage, the website michaelsavage.com, now automatically redirects to a subdomain owned by WorldNetDaily, michaelsavage.wnd.com. The wnd.com domain is owned by WND and directs to WND's front page.
The design of Savage's website appears not to have changed with the move.
Savage's radio show is syndicated by Talk Radio Network. As we've detailed, WND has had a synergystic relationship with TRN over the years, promoting its hosts such as Rusty Humphries and Bob Just, as well as publishing Savage's first two books. WND's Oregon offices are located near the headquarters of the Foundation of Human Understanding, a organization (accused of cult-like tendencies) founded by Roy Masters; Masters' son is head of TRN, and Masters himself still does a TRN-syndicated show.
Does WND's takeover of Savage's website portend a larger WND-TRN merger, akin to Salem Communications' purchase of Townhall.com and its subsequent use of the site to promote Salem radio hosts alongside Townhall's regurgitating of columns by conservative writers? We shall see. We'd ask whether TRN wants to be associated with a website with such loose journalistic standards as WND, but then, TRN syndicates Savage, who thinks autism is "a fraud" and merely the result of "a brat who hasn't been told to cut the act out."
Scruples-free WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah uses his July 21 column to expand on his lie that Barack Obama has a secret plan to create his own SS, this time referencing "Barack Obama's secret $439 billion plan for a mysterious initiative called the 'civilian national security force.'" The dollar figure comes from Farah's assumption that Obama's statement that "We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded" means that it would receive exactly the same funding as the Department of Defense. Farah seems to have decided that as long as he was making stuff up about Obama, he might as well go all the way.
Farah goes on to claim, "We don't know any more about this plan than we did when Obama announced it July 2 in a speech," going on to claim that it's "some kind of domestic Big Brother program as the chilling words first suggested to me."
Farah still appears to have done no actual research into what Obama said. As we pointed out when Farah first started spreading this lie, a July 8 interview with Military Times details that Obama was talking about "the way the State Department is structured and [Agency for International Development] and all these various agencies." Farah makes no reference to the Military Times interview; while he notes that "a few have suggested" Obama was talking about "a greatly increased commitment to the Foreign Service," Farah quickly dismisses it in order to launch into his conspiracy theory.
Among the alleged "questions raised by this nebulous proposal," Farah writes: "Why do Obama campaign officials not respond to WND's repeated requests for more information about his initiative?" Um, because WND has a history of tellinglies about Obama and smearinghim at every opportunity while John McCain receives relatively benign treatement? Why would Obama want to cooperate with a news organization that sells "NObama" bumper stickers?
Obama's campaign knows that Farah and WND will not treat him fairly. And Farah's willingness to lie about Obama confirms that all the more.
Aaron Klein's 42nd anti-Obama article (versus just one anti-McCain article) tries once again to link Obama to terrorists. The July 20 article claims that "Members of the most active West Bank terror organization are set to serve in security forces being deployed to protect Sen. Barack Obama during his trip to the West Bank." Klein's source: Members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades who were "speaking to WND on condition of anonymity."
That's right -- Klein is so cozy with terrorists that he protects their identities. Klein has done this before.
UPDATE: Klein's 43rd anti-Obama article is another piece lifted from right-wing bloggers -- in this case, conservative attacks on Obama's 2001 statement that the 9/11 attacks were motivated in part by "a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers." Klein does not identify any of Obama's critics as conservatives.
Klein also writes: "Obama's piece gained little notice outside the Hyde Park Herald, which covered Obama's district as a Chicago state senator. The Hyde Park area is heavily influenced by the Nation of Islam." Klein offers no evidence to back up this claim -- and he also seems to think that Chicago is a state.
NewsBusters Misleads on Maliki Comments Topic: NewsBusters
A July 20 NewsBusters post by Dave Pierre claims that a Los Angeles Times article stating that Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki has endorsed Barack Obama's 16-month timetable for removing U.S. combat troops from Iraq is "dishonest." Why? Because "the Times makes no mention of the fact that a spokesman for the prime minister immediately disputed the story and said comments from Nouri Maliki in a controversial interview in Germany's Der Spiegel magazine 'were misunderstood, mistranslated and not conveyed accurately.'"
We'll take that as a sign that we can call Pierre dishonest in his criticism. Why? Because Pierre didn't mention that -- according to the Washington Post in an article posted two hours before Pierre's -- the spokesman's comments followed a call to the prime minister's office from U.S. government officials in Iraq. Further, the spokesman did not say what specific comments were "misunderstood, mistranslated and not conveyed accurately." In other words, it appears that the "dispute" is actually Bush administration damage control.
Further, according to the New York Times (h/t Talking Points Memo), the interpreter forthe article was Maliki's, not Der Spiegel's, and Der Spiegel provided the Times with a tape recording of the interview, which was then independently translated and confirmed the accuracy of the original Der Spiegel account. The Times also details the White House's pressure on the Iraqi government to walk back Maliki's comments.
Will Pierre (or anyone else at NewsBusters) tell readers about all of this? Somehow we doubt it.
If Joseph Farah was capable of a sense of shame, he would apologize.
In a July 15 WorldNetDaily column, Farah sounded the alarm bells about a statement Barack Obama made in a July 2 speech -- "We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded." Farah went into freak-out mode:
Now, since I've never heard anyone inside or out of government use the phrase "civilian national security force" before, I was more than a little curious about what he has in mind.
If we're going to create some kind of national police force as big, powerful and well-funded as our combined U.S. military forces, isn't this rather a big deal?
I thought Democrats generally believed the U.S. spent too much on the military. How is it possible their candidate is seeking to create some kind of massive but secret national police force that will be even bigger than the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force put together?
Now, maybe he was misquoted by the Congressional Quarterly and the Chicago Tribune. I guess it's possible. If so, you would think he would want to set the record straight. Maybe he misspoke. That has certainly happened before. Again, why wouldn't the rest of my colleagues show some curiosity about such a major and, frankly, bone-chilling proposition?
Are we talking about creating a police state here?
Is Obama serious about creating some kind of domestic security force bigger and more expensive than that?
If not, why did he say it? What did he mean?
So far, despite our attempts to find out, the Obama campaign is not talking.
Who will Obama appoint to administer this new "civilian national security force"? Where will the money come from? Where in the Constitution does he see justification for the federal government creating such a domestic army?
The questions are endless.
Farah clearly didn't look very hard to find an answer, or he's lying about what Obama said. From a July 8 Military Times Q-and-A (h/t Sadly, No!):
I should add, by the way, that part of the change that I want when it comes to Army and Marine structures is the mix of training that we’re providing and mix of personnel that are in these forces. One of the things I have been so impressed with is the heroic job that our men and women in uniform have done basically on the fly having to train themselves on the spot to function as engineers or function as social workers or function as translators or political consultants. There’s just been a whole bunch of work that has been done that we haven’t prepared people for. They learn on the job, but if anything Iraq should have given us a template for the kinds of skill sets that we’re going to have to provide to our military. And that’s true in Iraq. That’s true in Afghanistan. That also means, by the way, that we’re going to have to, I believe, reconfigure our civilian national security force. In a way that just hasn’t been done.
I mean, we still have a national security apparatus on the civilian side in the way the State Department is structured and [Agency for International Development] and all these various agencies. That hearkens back to the Cold War. And we need that wing of our national security apparatus to carry its weight. When we talk about reinventing our military, we should reinvent that apparatus as well. We need to be able to deploy teams that combine agricultural specialists and engineers and linguists and cultural specialists who are prepared to go into some of the most dangerous areas alongside our military.
Q: WHAT SECRETARY GATES HAS CALLED SOFT POWER.
A: Absolutely, but the only problem with soft power is the term itself makes people think it’s not as strong as hard power. And my point is that if we’ve got a State Department or personnel that have been trained just to be behind walls, and they have not been equipped to get out there alongside our military and engage, then we don’t have the kind of national security apparatus that is needed. That has to be planned for; it has to be paid for. Those personnel have to be trained. And they all have to be integrated and that is something that we have not accomplished yet, but that’s going to be what’s increasingly important in our future to make sure that our military has the support that it needs to do what it does the best, which is fight wars.
Given that this Q-and-A was posted a full week before Farah wrote his false accusations, it would seem that Farah is either incompetent or lazy.
Will Farah tell his readers the truth behind Obama's statements, or is Farah too committed to the lie to ever be honest with his readers and retract his baseless speculation? We suspect, sadly, that the latter is true. After all, WND has already demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that it will spreadlies about Obama, so what's one more on the pile of deceit?
As we said, if Farah was capable of a sense of shame, he would apologize. But he's not, so he won't. Perhaps another libel lawsuit that puts him on the losing side might get his attention.
WND Misleads Again on Philadelphia Anti-Gay Protesters Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 18 WorldNetDaily article begins by asserting that "A federal appeals court dismissed a civil rights complaint by 11 Philadelphia Christians, ruling their First Amendment rights were trumped by the First Amendment rights of homosexuals at the city's taxpayer-funded 'Outfest' celebration in 2004."
Of course, the appeals court did no such thing; as the article's second paragraph details, it favored the right of holders of a city permit to hold an event "for the purpose for which it was obtained," overthe right of "counter-protestors" whose goal is "disrupting or interfering with the message of the permit-holder."
As per usual, WND benignly describes what the protesters -- led by anti-gay activist Michael Marcavage -- did, claiming only that they were "quoting the Bible and expressing their views against homosexual behavior on a public street during 'OutFest,' a publicly funded celebration of homosexuality." As we detailed at the time, a prosecutor said that Marcavage and his crew tried to demonstrate in front of a stage performance at Outfest and were arrested only after they refused to go to an area on the edge of the block party and went instead in the opposite direction.
That's a side of the story WND has never seen fit to tell its readers, instead presenting Marcavage's version of events as the undisputed truth.
WND also repeats the distortion that Marcavage and his protesters "faced criminal counts that could have resulted in prison terms of 47 years." In fact, the legal representative for Outfest speculated that "They might get six to 12 months probation. ... Nobody's going to jail for 47 years."
Surprisingly, WND makes no mention of any grandmothers who were protesting. As we documented, the grandmothers involved in the protest have a long history of such activism.
Al's crushing defeat in 2000 left him rudderless for a few years, but he re-emerged with his "An Inconvenient Truth." This spectacular movie won an Academy Award. Gore received the Nobel Peace Prize. Once again, Prince Albert ascended to the global warming throne, despite the fact that the film's assertions were not supported by science, according to more than 31,000 scientists.
Yeah, winning the popular vote by 600,000 votes was a "crushing defeat." And as we've detailed, the petition Lamb references, from the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, is little more than a publicity stunt, with little evidence that the signatories' scientific experience involve disciplines related to global warming. Indeed, one blogger found that of a selection of 60 petition signers, there were a grand total of zero publications behind the sampled signatories that were relevant to climate or climate change. (h/t Sadly, No!)
WND Misleads on College Admission Lawsuit Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 19 unbylined WorldNetDaily article details one side of a lawsuit filed by a Christian school in California, Calvary Chapel Christian School, against the University of California system over UC's rejection of some Christian textbooks in courses used qualify for admission to UC. There's no indication that the anonymous author made any attempt to contact UC officials for their side of the story.
In fact, the issue at hand is much narrower than the article portrays. According to a Jan. 12, 2006, USA Today article on the case:
Christopher Patti, a lawyer for the university, says UC isn't stopping Calvary Chapel or its students "from teaching or studying anything." He says students are free to take courses uncertified by UC, and there are alternative paths to admission — including taking extra SAT tests in specific subjects.
UC has certified 43 Calvary Chapel courses and has admitted 24 of the 32 applicants from the high school in the past four years, Patti says.
WND makes no mention of the Calvary Chapel courses UC has approved or the number of Calvary Chapel students UC has admitted. The USA Today article also notes:
A biology book from Bob Jones University presents creationism and intelligent design alongside evolution. The introduction says, "The people who have prepared this book have tried consistently to put the Word of God first and science second."
UC says such books would be acceptable as supplementary reading but not as the main textbook.
WND does not quote anyone justifying a biology book that declares it does not put science first.
A May 2 WND article by Bob Unruh also reported on the lawsuit, but he failed to mention Calvary Chapel's role in it; he also failed to note the the Bob Jones University biology textbook proclaiming that it "put[s] the Word of God first and science second."
CNS Ignores Lack of Evidence to Back Up McDonald's Boycott Topic: CNSNews.com
The problem with reporters being sympathetic to one side of the issue they're covering is that they overlook gaping errors in the logic of the side they're sympathetic to.
Which is what we see in a July 18 CNSNews.com article by Pete Winn about the American Family Association's boycott of McDonald's of its support of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and, more specifically, a McDonald's spokesman's statement in reaction to it that "Hatred has no place in our culture." Winn uncritically quotes Matt Barber, now of Liberty Counsel, as saying, "He insulted tens of millions of Americans who believe that the historical definition of marriage between one man and woman is important and crucial to society. He said that we’re haters and we’re motivated by hate. That, on its face, is a bold-face lie." Winn also writes, "Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, said Christians who oppose homosexual marriage do so for moral and practical reasons, not because they 'hate' homosexuals."
What is missing from Winn's article -- as we've previously noted is also missing from other ConWeb accounts of the boycott -- is any evidence that NGLCC is in any way involved with the issue of gay marriage. Given that McDonald's puported "taking sides" on the issue of gay marriage by its support of the NGLCC is the crux of the boycott, no evidence has been advanced to demonstrate that this is, in fact, the case.
The weakness of the fundies' case against McDonald's is (probably inadvertently) summed up by Winn:
LaBarbera took issue with that view, characterizing the NGLCC as “a homosexual group which is working to extend advances made by homosexual activist groups over the last two decades or more.”
He also noted that the organization takes political positions on legislation that involves homosexuality and the homosexual agenda.
“McDonald’s paid $20,000 so that one of its top executives could have a seat on the (NGLCC’s) board of directors,” LaBarbera said. “How is that not an endorsement of the homosexual agenda?"
LaBarbera can be expected to traffic in vague statements that obscure the weakness of his argument -- to him, a mere $20,000 from a multibillion-dollar business given to a business-promotion group (LaBarbera provides no apparent evidence that it's anything other than that) is prima facie "endorsement of the homosexual agenda." A news organization that purports to "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story" should have higher standards.
In fact, WND settled a libel and defamation lawsuit by one person named in those stories, Clark Jones, by admitting that "no witness verifies the truth of what the witnesses are reported by authors to have stated" about Jones and that "the sources named in the publications have stated under oath that statements attributed to them in the articles were either not made by them, were misquoted by the authors, were misconstrued, or the statements were taken out of context." WND, it can be presumed, also paid a cash award to Jones to settle the matter (the settlement terms have not been made public).
If claims about just one person named in the articles can be so egregiously wrong, it's not unreasonable to assume that other sections, if not the entirety, of these articles -- written by Tony Hays and Charles Thompson II -- also contain falsehoods. WND has made no statement either standing by the remainder of the claims in the Hays and Thompson's articles or indicating that it would check the veracity of those claims.
As it stands, the entire series is discredited, and WND discredited itself by printing them out of political animosity without bothering to do even rudimentary verification of what Hays and Thompson had written (as we detailed). WND discredits itself further by continuing to list these articles as "scoops" when they have little apparent basis in fact.
Scott McClellan Is Dead to NewsBusters Topic: NewsBusters
Apparently, NewsBusters believes that the media is never permitted to mention Scott McClellan now that he has decided to criticize the Bush administration. The noting in the 21st paragraph of an Associated Press article on Tony Snow's funeral of McClellan's appearance there caused Tom Blumer to blow a gasket, calling the mention "classless," "execrable," "tabloid trash," "journalistic vandalism," an "inability to stay classy," and "reflective of an organization that ought to consider renaming itself the Arrogant Punks." Not exhausted of venom, Blumer goes on:
So of the three Bush press secretaries who attended (both Ari Fleischer and Dana Perino must have been there, or Feller could not have written "press secretaries"), the AP reporter only deemed McClellan worthy of mention -- apparently, we must conclude, because McClellan is the only one of the lot who has had critical things to say about the President.
As we've previously detailed, NewsBusters' desperate attempt to link Soros to McClellan fails because the publisher of McClellan's has, in addition to publishing books by Soros -- nowhere does NewsBusters offer any evidence whatsoever that Soros has any financial connection with the publisher beyond that -- published numerous books by conservatives like Dinesh D'Souza, Linda Chavez and David Frum.
We won't tell Blumer to stay classy -- if he did, we'd have to stop writing about him.
Brennan Peddles More Global Warming Bamboozlement Topic: Newsmax
Phil Brennan's July 17 Newsmax column begins by asserting:
Fact: All history reveals that time after time this planet of ours has experienced periods of warming and periods of cooling. A century of slight global warming, about half a degree, ended in 1998.
Fact: In this century a global cooling has set in.
Er, not so much. As the United Kingdom's Met (Meteorological) Office Hadley Centre and the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia report, annual global mean temperatures have, in fact, increased in the past decade. The UK Met office adds that "[a] simple mathematical calculation of the temperature change over the latest decade (1998-2007) alone shows a continued warming of 0.1° C per decade."
Despite his apparent aversion to simple mathematical calculations, Brennan nevertheless goes on to assert, "Global warming is clearly over, yet Al Gore and his acolytes keep warning us that the planet is heating up even as it continues to get colder."
Klein's Lie Still Live on WND Topic: WorldNetDaily
We previously detailed how a July 15 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein falsely claimed that Barack Obama made a "discredited distortion of the Holocaust." In fact, as Klein himself notes, the dispute in question is whether Obama's grandfather helped to liberate Auschwitz -- not the Holocaust. Thus, Klein is lying when he claims that Obama distorted the Holocaust.
We just checked, and it's still posted as originally written without change or apology.
We plan to continue highlighting Klein's lie until he retracts and apologizes for it.
A July 16 Accuracy in Media blog entry by Don Irvine noted that "A New York Times story that analyzes their poll on the racial dimensions in this election was disputed by the Obama campaign." After reprinting seven points (copied from an ABC News blog post) that the Obama campaign says were "omitted from the story," Irvine adds: "Barack Obama was hoping for a free ride in the liberal press but even they can suppress the facts for only so long."
Wait -- didn't Irvine just show that, through repeating claims from the Obama campaign that he doesn't dispute, that the Times was, in fact, suppressing facts about Obama? We're confused.