Another Attack on Planned Parenthood from CNS' Starr Topic: CNSNews.com
We've previously documented the efforts of CNSNews.com -- largely by reporter Penny Starr -- to attack Planned Parenthood, usually without fairly presenting their side of the story. Starr tries it again in a July 31 article, purporting to be alarmed by "[a] new Web site launched by the Columbia/Willamette (Ore.) Planned Parenthood affiliate" that "uses a series of video vignettes designed to 'teach' teens about avoiding sexually transmitted diseases, but the videos include two boys purportedly engaging in oral sex, advice to two teens in bed about getting tested after having intercourse and instructions on how to use a condom."
Starr begins her slant right away, engaging in typical CNS labeling bias by describing the American Life League, whose spokesman she quotes attacking the site, as "the pro-life, pro-family." Starr fails to more accurately note that ALL is anti-abortion and anti-contraception.
Indeed, Starr's apparent inspiration for this story is an ALL video attacking the Planned Parenthood group's website. It begins by declaring, "We all know how disgusting Planned Parenthood is," going on to call the website "garbage" and Planned Parenthood itself "vile."
Starr then moves on to Wendy Wright from Concerned Women for America -- unlabeled as a conservative group -- also attacking the site. Later, Starr quotes Katie Collins of the Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute (this one properly labeled as "a conservative women’s advocacy group") making the baseless accusation that "the Web site seems to be aimed at 'tweens' or even younger."
It's not until the 11th paragraph that Starr gets around to quoting someone from the Planned Parenthood chapter defending the website, but Starr does not allow her to respond to Collins' unsubstantiated claim that the site is targeted at "tweens."
While it may be a first for Starr that she includes an actual Planned Parenthood response in one of her attack articles, it's still slanted since Starr rounded up three conservatives -- only one properly labeled as such -- to aid her attack against the lone PP rep.
WND Misleads on Obama, Reparations Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 30 WorldNetDaily article claims the following regarding a speech by Barack Obama to "UNITY '08, an event for journalists who claim membership in various minorities":
"I consistently believe that when it comes to whether it's Native Americans or African-American issues or reparations, the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds," he said.
The issue of reparations to African-Americans for the historic slave trade or Native Americans for the "invasion" by Europeans periodically has been raised. Several years ago a lawsuit was filed claiming damages for labor at a current value of $1.4 trillion.
This was followed by baseless speculation from pair of right-wing columnists (though not identified as such): One asked, "Is 'serious investments' code for 'reparations'? And how expensive and devastating would Obama's income redistribution policy be?" while the other even more baselessly speculated that Obama "even include reparations for al-Qaida soldiers, since, after all, they've been held in violation of their 'rights.'"
Curiously missing from the article was an account of Obama's full remarks in context, which made clear what he meant by "reparations":
QUESTION: When it comes to reparations, would you take it a step further, in terms of apologizing for slavery or offering reparations to various groups?
OBAMA: You know, I have said in the past, and I'll repeat again, that the best reparations we can provide are good schools in the inner city and jobs for people who are unemployed. And I think that strategies that invest in lifting people out of the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, but that have broad applicability and allow us to build coalitions to actually get these things done, that, I think, is the best strategy.
WND's poll of the day misleads further by asking, "What do you think about Obama's promotion of 'reparations' to blacks and Native Americans?" despite the fact that "promotion" is not what he did. Did WND readers leave any more death threats against Obama in the comments? We're looking.
WND is already spreadinglies about Obama, so distorting his words is just child's play to Joseph Farah and crew. They clearly don't care that they're taking a sledgehammer to what little journalistic integrity WND has -- their hatred of Obama is just too strong for them to be concerned about things like truth.
The survival of the free-falling Free World notwithstanding, I relish the prospect of an Obama presidency. He'd be an apt leader for the Freefall World and all the dark comedy that brings with it (no racist pun intended!). Perhaps only when this country hits rock bottom, or as I call it, Barack Bottom, will we release ourselves from our PC prison and the Stockholm Syndrome it brings.
Will Newsmax Update False Obama Prayer Story? Topic: Newsmax
A July 29 Newsmax article by Jim Meyers repeated claims from the Ma'ariv newspaper in Israel that its publication of Barack Obama's prayer left at the Western Wall "was approved ahead of time by the Obama campaign." Meyers also cited the questionable Israel Insider to support his claim.
But as we've detailed, the New Republic reported later on July 29 that not only has no tangible evidence surfaced to support the claim, a Ma'ariv spokesman now says the accustion is "completely false."
Will Meyers update his readers on the apparently false claims in his original article? We shall see.
Graham Finally Reports Debunking of Obama Prayer Story, Blames Obama Anyway Topic: NewsBusters
Apparently, if James Taranto doesn't write about it, Tim Graham doesn't know about it.
We previously noted that Graham wrote about a claim plucked from Taranto's Wall Street Journal column that Barack Obama "authorized" the release of the prayer he left at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, as an Israeli newspaper had claimed -- without bothering to note that several hours before Graham posted his item at NewsBusters, The New Republic was reporting that the paper, Ma'ariv, was now denying it.
Now, more than a day after his original post, Graham finally reports this, citing Taranto once again. Graham sniffed: "Clearly, as a liberal Democratic magazine, the New Republic has its own suspicions about how its hero Obama must be getting railroaded." But Graham also cited a report in Israel Insider without noting that publication's political leaning; in fact, Taranto himself called it "an anti-Obama site" (which we've detailed).
Even though Obama has essentially been vindicated, Graham still finds a way to blame him for all of this:
The candidate himself should be questioned about this on TV to put an end to the "coy" refusals to confirm or deny. It's not that there's anything offensive in the prayer to deny. It's a perfectly good prayer, a credit to whoever prays it -- as long as it's a prayer and not a campaign ploy.
Of course, it's a "campaign ploy" for Graham and Taranto to keep raising questions about this, even as they head into conspiracy-theory territory by doing so. That's where Israel Insider is headed with it; as Taranto noted (but Graham didn't), Israel Insider "has video that it interprets as showing 'that the alleged pilferer' of Obama's prayer note, 'dressed in the garb of a seminary student, may in fact have been a member of Obama's entourage.'"
Corsi Baselessly Suggests Obama Still Using Drugs Topic: WorldNetDaily
The first tidbit from Jerome Corsi's new anti-Obama book is out, and it's ... not much.
A July 30 WorldNetDaily article goes the baseless speculation route by highlighting a suggestion by Corsi -- a WorldNetDaily employee, though the book itself is published under Simon & Schuster imprint Threshold Editions -- that Barack Obama is still using drugs:
Corsi points out Obama has yet to explain whether he ever sold drugs or when he stopped using them.
"Did Obama ever use drugs in his days as a community organizer in Chicago, or when he was a state senator from Illinois?" Corsi asks. "How about in the U.S. Senate? If Obama quit using drugs, the public inquiry certain to occur in a general election campaign for the presidency will most certainly aim at the when, how and why questions George W. Bush successfully avoided."
Despite the seriousness of the revelation by Obama about his college drug use as late as the 1980s, there has been little attention given the issue by the political reporters who cover the candidate. In fact, none have asked the questions Corsi asks in his book – or, at least they have not published or broadcast answers if the questions were asked.
In other words, Corsi has no actual evidence that Obama still uses drugs -- he's just operating on the false-logic supposition that because Obama purportedly never declared that he stopped using drugs, he must still be.
The WND article also takes a stab at reviving Larry Sinclair:
Last year, when a Minnesota man, Larry Sinclair, made startling allegations that he used cocaine and had homosexual sex with Obama nine years earlier, the candidate was able to ignore the charges. Subsequently, Sinclair reportedly failed polygraphs.
WND seems to be suggesting that Sinclair still has some credibility; in fact, Sinclair is a career criminal who has been utterly discredited. As we've noted, WND never bothered to verify Sinclair's claims before repeating them -- the same offense WND and Corsi are accusing "the political reporters who cover the candidate" are doing with Obama.
If this is the most earth-shattering revelation Corsi's book has to offer -- and given that it's the lead claim from it, it must be -- it appears that Simon & Schuster wasted its (presumably not inconsiderable) money on a factually dubious smear piece.
Indeed, Corsi's previous anti-Obama work for WND has been similarly desperate and dubious -- for instance, swallowing Cliff Kincaid's communist obsession, rehashing irrelevant stories about Obama's father, and buying into the talking point that a large crowd that saw Obama speak actually came out to see the marginally popular indie-rock band that opened for him.
P.S. It appears to be baseless-Obama-smear day at WND; Jack Cashill (who has his own problems with factual reporting) is using his WND column to suggest -- again, without actual evidence to back him up -- that Obama didn't write his books. (Coincidentially, Cashill's most recent book was also published by Threshold Editions.)
UPDATE: Corsi's not just desperate -- he's wrong. Media Matters points out that Corsi did, in fact, say in his book that he "stopped getting high" shortly after moving to New York City to attend Columbia University.
Aaron Klein Anti-Obama Agenda Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
Aaron Klein's 46th anti-Obama article is nothing new -- it's little more than a rewritten version of an article he and John Batchelor wrote for Human Events way back in March, with an eye toward pumping a hint of scandal that Obama apparently has no actual direct evidence of.
The article carries the leading headline, "Obama tied to Iraqi government fraud?" But Klein offers little beyond implication; given that the "$50 million contact [sic] to train Iraqi security personnel at a site in Chicago" that Obama's Senate office purportedly helped to negotiate with an Iraqi official later accused of corruption was, in Klein's words, "nixed," the answer to the headline's question is "no."
While Klein is grasping at whatever he can find -- even rewriting five-month-old articles -- to make Obama look bad, he's utterly silent on analogous situations involving John McCain. For instance, Klein (nor anone else at WND, for that matter) has reported on the background of Randy Scheunemann, McCain's top foreign policy adviser, who is a longtime ally of Ahmad Chalabi, the Iraqi official who fed bogus intelligence to the U.S. prior to the Iraq war and has since been accused of being a spy for Iran.
Then again, WND readers probably don't know that about Chalabi; he hasn't been mentioned in a WND news article for nearly three years.
Huston Takes Obama Quote Out of Context Topic: NewsBusters
In a July 30 NewsBusters post, Warner Todd Huston asserted that "Jonathan Weisman is reporting on his "The Trail" blog that presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama told House Democrats that he believes himself to be the symbol of all that is good in America. It appears that he is beginning to believe the over-the-top hype that he really is the Obamessiah for America." Huston goes on to rant: "Wow, the arrogance in that. The hubris, the astounding hubris of it all is overwhelming to anyone that knows even a tiny bit of human history. ... Why Obama gets a pass for this sort of messianic rhetoric is amazing to me."
But Huston didn't note the rest of Weisman's post, which puts the quote in its proper context:
But one leadership aide said the full quote put it into a different context. According to that aide, Obama said, "It has become increasingly clear in my travel, the campaign -- that the crowds, the enthusiasm, 200,000 people in Berlin, is not about me at all. It's about America. I have just become a symbol."
Why did Huston refuse to tell his readers about the full context of Obama's statement? Was he just in the mood to rant -- he is prone to those, after all -- and needed a out-of-context claim to set him off?
This, combined with Tim Graham's repeating of another apparently false claim that Obama himself released his prayer at the Western Wall -- which Graham has yet to update or correct as of this writing other than to add "Report:" to the beginning of the headline to make it slightly less declarative of a false claim -- tells us that NewsBusters and the rest of the MRC are descending quickly into Obama Derangement Syndrome territory. The truth, it seems, no longer matters to them.
A July 28 FrontPageMag article is a Q-and-A conducted by Dave Gordon with Meir Weinstein, the the head of the recently reconstituted Canadian branch of the Jewish Defense League. In it, Gordon serves up a softball question that allows Weinstein to whitewash evidence of the JDL's past extremism:
DG: The JDL is thought by many to be a controversial, even extremist group.
MW: I was involved with the Jewish Defense League when the main issue was Soviet Jews. The Soviet policy towards Jews was genocide, through cultural genocide. Jews were sent to Siberia for wanting to go to Israel. When we protested we were told to stay on the other side of the street. But Meir Kahane (JDL founder) would cross over the police barricade and marched right in front. Those activities got front-page news… [however] people would do things in the name of JDL and claim credit for it, but it doesn’t necessarily mean we did it…
This ignores the JDL's history, as even FrontPageMag has reported it. From an August 2005 article by Ben Johnson:
The elder [Meir] Kahane was most notorious in this country for founding the Jewish Defense League (JDL), a group an FBI report classified as a "right-wing terrorist group" that was widely suspected to have bombed the Los Angeles headquarters of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee 20 years ago, a bombing that killed ADC director Alex Odeh. According to the Anti-Defamation league of B'nai B'rith -- hardly an anti-Semitic organizaiton -- the JDL has admitted, been convicted of, or been tied to attempted bombings of multiple foreign embassies, bombing an Iranian bank, attepmting to hijack an Arab airplane, the severe beating and hospitalization of enemies, and the firebombing of a vehicle belonging to the Christian missionaries "Jews for Jesus." Former Kahane Chai leader Binjamin Zev Kahane justified the bombing of the Syrian Embassy to the UN, forwhich a Kahane Chai member initially claimed responsibility. Kahane Chai member Baruch Goldstein committed the last (and deadliest) act of Israeli terrorism, murdering 29 Muslims at prayer in a mosque in 1994.
Have David Horowitz and FrontPageMag changed their position on Kahane and the JDL? If so, that would explain why FrontPageMag would publish JDL/Kahane sympathizer (and, thus, terrorist sympathizer) Cinnamon Stillwell.
In a July 29 WorldNetDaily column, Janet Folger repeats several discredited claims about Barack Obama.
Folger asserted that Obama has "plans for an $845 billion to a taxpayer-supported poverty program" [sic] and a "$439 billion 'civilian national security force.'" But as we've detailed, the poverty bill commits no actual money to it, and the "civilian national security force" is just a false scare tactic peddled by Joseph Farah.
Folger really should know better than to trust WND as a credible news source.
Folger also complained that "every network news anchor – NBC's Brian Williams, CBS' Katie Couric and ABC's Charlie Gibson – followed Obama like lemmings of the left." This ignores the fact that news coverage of Obama is more negative than that of John McCain.
Folger then repeats a claim that Obama canceled a visit to wounded troops in Germany "after it became clear that campaign staff and the traveling press corps would not be allowed to accompany Senator Obama." In fact, there is no evidence that Obama ever planned to bring the press with him on the visit or that he canceled the visit because he couldn't.
And because this is an anti-Obama screed, Folger serves up a big helping of Obama Derangement Syndrome:
But in Berlin, instead of pretending to be president or even a presidential candidate, Obama sounded more like Nicolae Carpathia, of the "Left Behind" series.
He spoke of a "global partnership," "global citizenship" and "global commitment," "global development" and "those left behind in a globalized world." "Left Behind" in a globalized world? Interesting wording.
Someone who portrayed a neo-Nazi racist as a credible source should not be complaining about the "interesting wording" of others.
The publication of Barack Obama’s supposedly secret prayer at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem was a scandal in Israel. James Taranto noted the newspaper Ha’aretz reported calls for police investigations into the removal and publication of the Obama note, published by the newspaper Maariv. But Maariv said it was Obama who authorized the unveiling of his temporarily private message to God.
Maariv's response: "Obama's note was published in Maariv and other international publications following his authorization to make the content of the note public. Obama submitted a copy of the note to media outlets when he left his hotel in Jerusalem. Moreover, since he is not Jewish, there is no violation of privacy as there would be for a Jewish person who places a note in the wall."
Stop right there. First, Taranto also cites as part of his evidence a report from Israel Insider -- as we've detailed, a right-wing, anti-Obama website that is, for all practical purposes, the Israeli WorldNetDaily -- so it really can't be trusted at face value.
Second, The New Republic has been chasing the story as well, and Zvika Krieger has a critical update that undermines Graham's attack on Obama:
Yesterday, I posted an item about an accusation from Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv that the Obama campaign had leaked a copy of his Western Wall note to the foreign press (rather than Ma'ariv having bought it from some yeshiva kid who stole it out of the wall). After some additional reporting last night, I noted that the story sounded a bit fishy--not only has Ma'ariv not offered any tangible evidence to support this claim, but they also have only made the claim via a spokesman to various Israeli papers rather than printing the accusation in their own paper.
I just got off the phone with a Ma'ariv spokesman who says that the accusation is "completely false," and that he has no idea who these papers were quoting from Ma'ariv. "No official spokesman for Ma'ariv told this to any of the papers." I've got some calls in to these papers to find out where they got the quote. (I'll update here when I hear back.) He told me definitively that "the Obama campaign did not give us a copy of the letter or approve it for printing."
UPDATE 1: I just spoke with an editor at one of the four publications who quoted the alleged "Ma'ariv spokesman." This editor broached the possibility that Ma'ariv was trying to deflect criticims of it by releasing these spurious rumors about the Obama campaign, but upon realizing that they'll have to back up those accusations, is now disavowing them. This editor is going to look into this alleged "Ma'ariv spokesman" they quoted in his publication so we can try to ascertain if this is a Ma'ariv cover-up. I'll update here when I hear back from him and if I get anything interesting from the other publications who also quoted this alleged spokesman.
Looks like this Israeli newspaper can't even get its own story straight. Graham should have looked into this further before being so eager to smear Obama that he made assertions that may turn out to be false.
Return of the ConWeb's Tabloid Double Standard Topic: The ConWeb
The ConWeb loves to denounce salacious news about Republicans as worthy of only the supermarket tabloids, if that, while salaccious news about Democrats is always considered to be front-page news in real newspapers.
For instance, earlier this year, the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell denounced New York Times article suggesting that John McCain might have been involved in an extramarital affair as "rumor and gossip, fit to print only for the likes of the National Enquirer." Yet posters at the MRC's NewsBusters blog want the mainstream media to print rumors about an affair involving Democrat John Edwards that surfaced in, yes, the National Enquirer.
Tim Graham, who huffed back in February that "The 'news' alleging adultery against McCain is not 'fit to print,'" now finds in a July 24 post that news alleging adultery against Edwards is quite fit to print:
The double-standard here clearly looks partisan -- Edwards vs [Larry] Craig, or Mark Foley. There's also another standard that strangely kicks in. Trivial sexual matters like toe-tapping and scuzzy Internet messaging are more likely to get coverage than charges that raise more serious questions like cheating on a dying wife (or charges of raping a political supporter, as in the Juanita Broaddrick charges). Reporters laughed and joked about Craig and Foley. They're not laughing when the shoe is on the foot of their favorites.
There is a double standard all right, and it's Graham's. In portraying Edwards and Craig as equivalent scandals, we have rumors that everyone involved is denying vs. an actual guilty plea in court to an actual criminal charge.
Elsewhere at NewsBusters, Dave Pierre howled that "the Los Angeles Times has banned its bloggers from writing about the reported affair between Sen. John Edwards and a blonde named Rielle Hunter. And P.J. Gladnick is concerned that Wikipedia refuses "to allow their John Edwards entry to be updated with mention of the alleged scandal which was reported in the National Enquirer with many of the details confirmed by Fox News." In fact, Fox News confirmed nothing beyond one person making the affair allegations was a hotel guard -- not the purported affair itself.
So far the only cracks in the MSM wall of silence on this matter have come only in the form of opinion columns. However, it will be increasingly difficult in the days to come for the MSM to refrain from reporting on this. Unlike the days before the Web, such a story cannot remain permanently on ice. There are just too many sources already covering it and for the MSM to refrain from reporting on this scandal just makes them look even more foolish than they already are.
Never mind, of course, that there's no actual verification that any of this actually took place.
Meanwhile, over at Newsmax -- with its own history of double standards regarding tabloid-sourced material -- James Hirsen goes into concern-troll mode:
This is a man who ran as a serious candidate for leader of the free world and whose wife is bravely battling cancer. Still, the mainstream media for the most part have remained mum.
Is this the two Americas Edwards was talking about — one whose residents recklessly play around but don’t get busted, another whose residents get pummeled in the media for the same activities but whose reputations are left at death’s door?
Again, there's no actual evidence that Edwards did what he's accused of doing. Hirsen is the one who wants to make sure Edwards' reputation is "left at death’s door."
This is the same Newsmax, by the way, that used to claim that the Enquirer was targeting Republicans because the head of an investment group that owns the tabloid was once an official in the Clinton administration.
It's the same old double standard -- the ConWeb is disturbed by tabloid sleaze only when it's about Republicans.
A surprising poll released Monday confirms Sen. Barack Obama's worst nightmare: he actually lost ground to Sen. John McCain after a global trip meant to buck up his sagging credentials in foreign and military policy.
The USA Today/Gallup poll has McCain leading Obama by four points, 49 percent to Obama's 45 percent, among likely voters.
But the article makes no mention of another Gallup poll that Newsmax was complaining about just the day before -- a tracking poll showing Obama with a 9-point lead and a trend line of increasing support during Obama's foreign trip.
The article also baselessly claims regarding Obama's "callous" canceled visit to wounded soldiers in Germany: "When the Pentagon informed Obama's campaign that the hospital would be closed to the press and campaign staff -- only the senator and his official staff would be allowed in -- Obama decided to cancel the event." In fact, there is no evidence that Obama ever planned to bring the press with him on the visit or that he canceled the visit because he couldn't.