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Monday, August 18, 2008
Quote of the Day
Topic: WorldNetDaily

I do not know of a single incident where WND "spun," "slanted" or outright falsified news events to fit an agenda, all standard fare for the elite's media.

-- Aug. 16 letter to WorldNetDaily by Tony Patterson.

Patterson has never read ConWebWatch, has he?


Posted by Terry K. at 1:47 PM EDT
Klein Falsely Impugns Obama's 'Loyalty'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Aaron Klein is moving on from guilt-by-association about Barack Obama to libelous innuendo.

Klein's 49th (at least) anti-Obama article for WorldNetDaily speculates on whether Obama was "a citizen of Indonesia" as a child, asserting that this "could raise loyalty concerns."

How? According to who? Klein doesn't say. It's only Klein making this empty accusation against a candidate he viscerally hates, as part of his attempts to smear Obama.

Remember, Klein is a reporter whose biased, shoddy journalism WND boss Joseph Farah unequivocally stands by, just like factually challenged anti-Obama author Jerome Corsi.

UPDATE: One would think the fact that John McCain's chief foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, has been a paid lobbyist for the nation of Georgia raises more "loyalty concerns" than what Obama did as a child, but Klein makes no mention of this in apparent deference to WND's pro-McCain agenda.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:27 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, August 18, 2008 3:00 PM EDT
AIM's Semantic Games
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media loves to play semantic games -- witness its insistence that the CIA was not operating secret prisons, even though they were secret and people were imprisoned.

Now comes an Aug. 14 AIM Report by Jonathon Moseley that runs to the defense of AIM editor Cliff Kincaid over his claims that the Barack Obama-sponsored Global Poverty Act would cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars:

Obama’s Global Poverty Act is in fact a stunning and sweeping step toward socialism and one-world government. When we look beyond the seductive title, and read the actual contents, we discover that Obama and Biden are setting America up for imposition of a global tax, controlled by the United Nations. For the first time, the U.S. could be forced to adopt a global tax at the behest of an international body. The planned amount is 0.7% of America’s Gross National Product (GNP) or $65 billion per year, in addition to America’s current foreign aid budget.

Obama’s legislative record in this regard is so damaging that the left-wing blogosphere has gone into over-drive to muddy the waters. The left-wing “Media Matters” has gone on the attack, and others have taken up the chorus. When Senator Biden’s opponent for election, Christine O’Donnell, revealed Biden’s promotion of Obama’s Global Tax on Fox News, Media Matters attacked within minutes.

Rather than addressing the substance of Kincaid’s revelations, Obama’s defenders invent a straw man to knock down instead. Media Matters argues that S. 2433 does not directly impose any tax. But Kincaid never said that it did. As Kincaid revealed, S. 2433 is clearly intended to engineer, or lay the groundwork for, a global tax. Kincaid never suggested it would happen in a single step. Yet S. 2433 can have no other long-range purpose.

As Kincaid explained, the bill does not attach a dollar figure—and does not need to—because that is contained in the 2002 so-called “Monterrey Consensus,” which grew out of the 2000 Millennium Declaration, which is cited in the bill. Understanding this critical fact is a simple matter of reading the appropriate U.N. documents. The sponsors could count on the major media not to do so.

Yes, even though (as we've noted, along with Media Matters) the Global Poverty Act has no funding mechanism, doesn't commit the U.S. to a targeted level of spending, and doesn't give the United Nations the power to impose a tax on the U.S. -- and, thus, doesn't mandate what critics claim it does -- Moseley thinks it's a "straw man" to point this out.

Further, it's disingenous for Moseley to take refuge in the semantic that Kincaid "never said" that the act "directly impose any tax" since Kincaid has, for all intents and purposes, claimed that it does. From Kincaid's Feb. 12 column:

The legislation would commit the U.S. to spending 0.7 percent of gross national product on foreign aid, which amounts to a phenomenal 13-year total of $845 billion over and above what the U.S. already spends. 

That's a pretty strong suggestion that the bill contains a funding mechanism, is it not? Moseley himself further muddies the waters by doing the exact same thing, referring in the very first paragraph of his article to "Barack Obama’s $65 billion-a-year 'Global Tax' proposal."

Moseley continues:

S. 2433 is clearly setting the stage for a global tax, by backing the U.S. into a corner. Once the U.S. commits through international diplomacy to the goal of contributing 0.7% of its GNP and the Congress enforces this goal through Obama’s legislation, the U.S is on the road to accepting the global tax to pay for it.

This is the critical point: S. 2433 mandates that the president actually implement these goals and not merely discuss them. A future president— possibly a liberal like Obama himself— would be obligated to actually “make it happen.” Obama’s bill does not just declare policy. It mandates actual implementation of the $65 billion-a-year “contribution” to foreign aid by the next president. If the U.S. has already agreed to this through Congress, the final step in international negotiations over implementation of a global tax will become difficult, if not impossible, to resist.

Like Kincaid, Moseley assumes that 1) current U.S. foreign aid would not count toward the U.N. goal, and 2) the only possible way for the U.S. meet the goal is through a "global tax" -- neither of whcih Moseley offers any non-speculative evidence to support.

Just as  the "Monterrey Consensus" that supposedly forces the U.S. to spend $845 billion mandates nothing -- indeed, it calls the 0.7% figure a "target," not a mandate -- the Global Poverty Act mandates nothing other than that the president "develop and implement a comprehensive strategy" on global poverty. After decades of ineffective U.N. leadership on world affairs, do Kincaid and Moseley suddenly think it has the absolute power to force the U.S. to strictly adhere to a "target"?

A target is not a mandate. Do Kincaid and Moseley understand the difference? Maybe not -- they also seem to think that the truth is a straw man.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:49 AM EDT
Sunday, August 17, 2008
WND Distorts Oregon Court Ruling
Topic: WorldNetDaily

From an Aug. 16 WorldNetDaily article:

An appeals court ruling has trashed the right of Oregon residents to vote on issues in their state by affirming the state's refusal to count referendum signatures even when they were verified in person by the voter.

[...]

The ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed an Oregon judge's decision denying state citizens the right to vote on a referendum on a new state law critics contend violates the state's voter-approved definition limiting marriage to one man and one woman.

The appeals court cited the opinion of a handwriting analyst instead of the voters who signed the petition and called the state's "interests" more important than voters' rights.

[...]

The district court at that point simply ruled that Oregon voters have no legal right to have their signatures counted, and the appeals court has upheld the ruling.

The court, of course, denied nobody's rights; it merely affirmed that the method for checking signatures on a conservative-promoted Oregon petition to place on the ballot a reversal of the state's recognition of same-sex couples was valid.

WND quotes only right-wing groups criticizing the ruling, such as Alliance Defense Fund and Restore America, and offers its own creatively biased view of the case:

The state reviewed the tens of thousands of signatures submitted on the referendum issue by a sampling method, ultimately determining there were 55,083 valid signatures, 96 short of what was required. However, a change in just a half a dozen signatures in the sampled portion would have tipped the decision the other way.

At the time the state made that announcement, individual voters checked with their local county officials and found their valid signatures had been arbitrarily disallowed, and state officials had issued orders that county election offices not allow anyone to correct the mistakes.

[...]

The court opinion, instead of citing the voters who signed the petition on the issue of the validity of their signatures, cited a handwriting analysts' opinion on whether the signatures were valid or not.

The San Francisco Chronicle, meanwhile, offers a clearer, more truthful view of what actually happened:

Needing 55,179 valid signatures, sponsors of the referendum turned in 62,000 signatures on petitions to election officials, who followed standard procedures by examining a random sample. After invalidating signatures that didn't match those on registration cards, they concluded that only 55,083 valid signatures had been submitted.

The judge upheld the signature-counting process on Feb. 1 and was affirmed Thursday by a three-judge appeals court panel, which said Oregon took reasonable measures to validate petition signatures.

Sponsors of the referendum argued that election officials should have notified voters whose signatures were rejected and given them a chance to prove their identity. But the court said county registrars are trained in signature verification, allow sponsors of a ballot measure to attend the counting sessions and challenge their decisions, and refer all rejected signatures to a second elections official for added scrutiny.

The question was never about "rights" as WND repeatedly claims. The court did not eliminate or even question the right of voters to intiate ballot referendums -- indeed, WND states "the campaign on the recognition of same-sex relationships now will be restarted with plans for voter decisions on the issues in November 2010." The issue at hand was whether Oregon state law on ballot signature verification was followed and was reasonable. The court ruled that it was.

Given that state law "allow[s] sponsors of a ballot measure to attend the counting sessions and challenge their decisions," WND does not explain why those sponsors did not challenge the disqualification of the signatures at the time.

It's just another example of WND's anti-gay agenda at work.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:09 PM EDT
Anti-Islam Film Debunked; Will WND Report?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The July 10 WorldNetDaily article sure makes things sound dire:

A new documentary reveals the change in two American children sent to study in an Islamic madrassa in Pakistan from "I want to go home" to "Americans are terrorists."

The two children revealed in the documentary called "The Karachi Kids," are Noor Elahi Khan and Mahboob Elahi Khan.

They have been the subject of an international campaign to obtain their freedom from the madrassa, and according to documentary promoters were escorted from the madrassa by American consular officers in Karachi who then dispatched them on the long trip back to the United States.

"I have been working for months to secure their exit from the madrassa and from Pakistan," said Imran Raza, writer and director of the "Karachi Kids" documentary. "This is great news, but we need to get the other American children out of there, now.

"There are nearly 80 other Americans currently at this Jamia Binoria madrassa – that teaches Deobandism – the religion of the Taliban. Our government, and the Pakistani government, has more work to do to get the other American children out of there," he said.

Just one small problem: The madrassa the boys attended wasn't linked to the Taliban, and they weren't brainwashed. From a July 31 CNN.com article:

It's a documentary with an alarming message: Two American boys are held captive in a madrassa, a Pakistani religious school, once visited by Osama bin Laden and with ties to the Taliban.

The film, "Karachi Kids," describes threats to artistic freedom of expression from the teaching of conservative Islam. Early copies of the film prompted outrage after the story of the American boys appeared on Fox News, CBS and other news outlets. It also led to demands from Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, for the boys to be returned home.

But the independent filmmaker may have confused the madrassa with one with a similar name tied to Islamic extremists.

The madrassa the boys attended isn't linked to bin Laden or Muslim radicals; instead, it's one the U.S. State Department says is preferred by Pakistani-Americans for its moderate Islamic teachings and one recently visited by a top U.S. diplomat in Pakistan.

How could the filmmaker have got it so wrong? He blames the error on researchers he says he has since dismissed.

"I do need to take responsibility for these things in terms of these were errors that sort of spun out of control," filmmaker Imran Raza said. "I have to take responsibility for the mistakes. I take responsibility for the error in the allegation that Osama bin Laden was there. I take responsibility for the error that some of the Taliban leaders were there."

[...]

Both teens returned to their suburban Atlanta home in July after completing their studies. But before the boys returned home, CNN visited them at the Jamia Binoria madrassa in Karachi.

The boys appeared proud that they had completed their studies, including the memorization of the Quran. But they also were very glad to be heading home to American food.

"Hot wings," exclaimed Mehboob, giving the CNN reporter a high five. "I feel very happy that after four years, I'm going back."

[...]

CNN was welcomed in the school and spoke to its head, who denied the allegations made in the documentary.

"This is a madrassa, not some jail," said Mohammad Naeem, the head of the school known as a mufti.

Naeem said his school -- one of 13,000 madrassas registered in Pakistan -- never keeps students against their will, adding that the Khan brothers stayed of their own free will. He, too, denied any ties to militant groups, saying that if students or teachers were ever tied to extremists groups, they would be removed from the school immediately.

Back in Atlanta, Noor Khan said the whole experience gave him a better appreciation of America, his family and his faith.

"I am glad I was sent to Pakistan because it taught me to be a better person. It taught me to appreciate what I had before, and I knew when I came back I wasn't going to make the same mistake of not appreciating what I have," he said.

[...]

He says the comments of his talking about September 11 in the documentary were twisted and taken out of context. He said what he meant was that the hijackers weren't "true Muslims."

"If those were Muslims, they weren't true Muslims," he said. "We Muslims, we don't kill people. We're not terrorists. ... We're not violent people. We just want to live a happy life."

He then sought to make clear: "I've never met the Taliban; no one showed me how do any terrorist training or activities. I've never witnessed that with my own eyes, and when the media comes to our madrassa, our principal tells to their face, 'All the classes, all the rooms are open to you. You are free to go wherever you want.' "

Will WND tell its readers about the debunking of a film it promoted? Don't count on it -- it has been more than two weeks since the CNN report.

Nor, by the way, should we count on a correction from Accuracy in Media, where a July 23 article by Robin Beshar also promoted the film.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:12 AM EDT
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Meanwhile ...
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Richard Bartholomew deconstructs an Aug. 14 WorldNetDaily article promoting a book claiming that the relative distances of various cities from the site of Jerusalem's Temple Mount is a key to history. Not only are there historical inconsistencies, it turns out the book's author, David Flynn, believes all sorts of things, such as "biblical ufology," which tries to fit space aliens into God's master plan.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:54 AM EDT
Who Else Does Farah Stand With?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah devoted his Aug. 15 WorldNetDaily column to declaring his man-love for Jerome Corsi and his Barack Obama-bashing book. Early on, Farah endorses literary sloppiness:

Unlike most of the critics of "The Obama Nation," I have actually read the book from cover to cover. It is a thoroughly well-documented piece of first-rate journalism.

Are there mistakes in it?

Show me a first edition that doesn't have some – other than the Bible.

Of course, what has manifested itself in Corsi's book aren't merely"mistakes" but, rather, major errors of fact that would likely have been caught by a more diligent (and less hatred-driven) researcher than Corsi. After all, the very first publicized allegation in Corsi's book, reported by WorldNetDaily -- that Obama "never revealed" when or if he stopped using drugs -- turned out to be demonstrably false. In order to minimize his falsehood, Corsi is now engaged in a disingenous game of catch-22: Yeah, OK, Obama did say when he stopped using drugs, but "self-reporting from people who admit they use drugs is not reliable as to when they quit." In other words, no answer would satisfy Obama.

Further: So it's OK to make mistakes in a book? Does that sloppy standard apply to all of WND's journalistic efforts as well? (Read any random ConWebWatch article about WND for the answer.)

Farah continues with an old chestnut:

WND has been described by many of the Obama apologists as "conservative," as "right-wing," as "Republican leaning." To regular readers of WND who understand our commitment to fierce independence, our willingness to dig deep no matter which politician is exposed, those characterizations will prove laughable.

What's laughable is Farah's oft-repeated insistence that -- contrary to all the available evidence -- WND is not a right-wing site. As far as WND's purported "willingness to dig deep no matter which politician is exposed," that's another laugher. As we've documented, WND's first original article on Republican congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham's corruption didn't appear until five days after he resigned from office in disgrace, and WND has undertaken a kid-glove treatment of John McCain on its news pages despite relentless attacks on Obama.

Farah evnetually goes into full man-love mode:

I stand with Jerry Corsi today as he is viciously maligned by an attack media that would prefer to aim its potent artillery at a man who dared to do their job when they refused, when they laid down, when they sucked up, when they failed to ask the tough questions, when they took sides.

[...]

He is simply a courageous, dedicated journalist – an intrepid investigator, a two-time No. 1 best-selling author, a Harvard Ph.D and a man of principle.

I am proud to have him working for WND.

[...]

I stand with Corsi.

Having Joseph Farah stand with you is not quite the ringing endorsement he makes it out to be. Let's look at other people Farah "stands with," either through statement or continued employment by WND:

Tony Hays and Charles Thompson II. When Tennessee car dealer Clark Jones sued WND in 2001 over a series of articles by Hays and Thompson that Jones said made false claims about him, an April 2001 WND article stated that "WND has consistently stood by the stories and their authors," and Farah himself is quoted as saying, "WorldNetDaily has made every effort to ensure that its reporting in this series –- and in everything it has covered -– was fair, honest, truthful, balanced and accurate." Of course, we know that's true, not just in general but in this specific case -- as we documented, WND admitted in lawsuit documents that it did not fact-check Hays and Thompson's articles before publishing them. Seven years later, WND abruptly settled Jones' lawsuit just before it was to go to trial, admitting not only that Hays and Thompson's claims about Jones were false, but also that "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."

Had Farah done any actual fact-checking, he would have known that he was standing with a pair of fabricators -- yet since the settlement of Jones' lawsuit, WND has made no apparent effort to fact-check other claims in the Hays-Thompson articles for further false claims. What does that tell you about Farah's judgment?

Aaron Klein: WND's Jerusalem bureau chief believes a murderer was a victim. He tried to undermine the Israeli government during a time of war. He was forced to retract an article after getting caught in the act of lying about an Islamic charity. He hates Obama so much that he may have collaborated with a terrorist to try and sabotage Obama's candidacy.

Bob Unruh: This WND news editor rejected what he learned at the Associated Press, where he worked before joining WND, by routinely writing one-sided articles that deliberately distort the side he's not telling. He's also not shy about smearing those he disagrees with by likening them to Nazis.

David Kupelian: WND's managing editor has no problem skewing WND's "news" coverage to promote a book he wrote. He also presents long-debunked claims as fact and rewrites history to shift blame for societal ills toward his enemies (liberals, the Clintons) and away from his friends (fundamentalist evangelical Christians).

These are the kind of people Farah "stands with." Which pretty much explains all you need to know about Farah -- and Corsi.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:43 AM EDT
Friday, August 15, 2008
Why You Can't Trust WorldNetDaily, Example No. 8,573
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Talk-radio host Michael Savage has announced he will bring his recently dismissed copyright infringement lawsuit against the Council on American-Islamic Relations to the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes of making public the Islamic group's sources of funding.

-- Aaron Klein, WorldNetDaily, Aug. 10

Conservative talk show host Michael Savage has changed his mind and is reluctantly dropping his lawsuit against an Islamic rights group that launched an advertisers' boycott after he attacked Islam and the Quran on the air, his lawyer said Thursday.

-- San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 14

(We've previously noted WND's failure to disclose its business relationship with Savage.)


Posted by Terry K. at 8:20 PM EDT
CNS Repeats Falsehood About Casey
Topic: CNSNews.com

An Aug. 14 CNSNews.com article by Pete Winn asserted that former Pennsylvania Gov. Bob Casey "was barred from speaking at the 1992 Democratic National Convention because he was a pro-life Catholic."

In fact, as Media Matters points out, others who opposed abortion rights were given speaking roles at the convention, so Casey's opposition to abortion rights alone could not have been the deciding factor in the decision not to give him a speaking role. Indeed, The New Republic reported that Casey was denied a speaking slot because he refused to endorse the Clinton-Gore ticket.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 AM EDT
A ConWebWatch Corsi Compendium
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As Jerome Corsi and his anti-Obama book slowly disintegrate, it seems like a good time to highlight ConWebWatch's coverage of Corsi over the years, which further supports the theory that his work is egregiously agenda-driven and less than trustworthy:

-- WorldNetDaily, where Corsi has served as a staff writer and columnist, hid Corsi's history of bigoted remarks -- made public during the 2004 election shortly after the Corsi-penned John Kerry attack book -- refused to note Corsi's remarks until well after the election, when it could give Corsi a forum in which to explain them away.

-- Corsi hid information that called into question the veracity of President Bush's claim that no one pulled strings for him to get into the National Guard until after the 2004 election.

-- Corsi served up a handy how-to guide for terrorists looking to plant a nuclear device in New York City.

-- In 2006, Corsi co-wrote a WND-published book with conservative Ken Blackwell, then a candidate for Ohio governor -- then used his perch at WND to repeatedly hurl spurious attacks at Blackwell's opponent, Ted Strickland (at first not disclosing that he co-authored a book with Blackwell). Corsi denied any connection between his work and Blackwell's campaign. Nevertheless, Strickland crushed Blackwell in the election.

-- Corsi also wrote a book with Minuteman Project co-founder Jim Gilchrist. But when Gilchrist endorsed Mike Huckabee for president -- whom Corsi viewed as insufficiently anti-immigrant -- Corsi wrote several WND articles with the apparent purpose of badgering Gilchrist into withdrawing his endorsement.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:26 AM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Indeed, Mr. Obama is the Paris Hilton of politics. Neither one of them had basically accomplished much after they obtained a certain pinnacle – Paris Hilton's nightclubbing and subsequent imprisonment and Barack Obama being elected to the U.S. Senate.

-- Jackie Mason and Raoul Felder, Aug. 14 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 AM EDT
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Aaron Klein Labeling Aversion Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Keeping up his longtime aversion to specifically stating the ideological orientation of right-wing Israeli politicians, an Aug. 13 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein noted that two members of the Knesset who allegedly attempted to claim "ownership of a Jewish-owned Jerusalem property that had been illegally settled by local Arabs" were members of the National Union party, but not that the party is, as Wikipedia states, a right-wing party.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:08 PM EDT
Speaking of Apologies ...
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has ratcheted up a little outrage against Newsday columnist Jenna Kern-Rugile, who suggested that conservative radio hosts played a role in the shooting deaths of two people at a Unitarian Universalist church in Tennessee. An Aug. 14 MRC press release quotes Brent Bozell howling:

"Yesterday's Newsday column was absolutely despicable, and they should be ashamed and embarrassed for having printed it.

"Jenna Kern-Rugile's wretched words were nothing more than an in-print character assassination of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, a foray into absurd Leftist delusions of links between them and the vile murderer in a Tennessee church this past July 27.

"This is not a freedom of speech issue. This is Newsday giving this woman a license to assault these fine men in print, accusing them of complicity in murder.

"Newsday should immediately publish a full retraction, and an abject and absolute apology to those defamed by this woman's wretched words. And Ms. Rugile should never again appear in their pages."

We have an idea: Before demanding an apology from others who tie conservative rhetoric to violence, the MRC should apologize for accepting ads over the past year on its NewsBusters website from ThoseShirts.com, which sells a shirt that reads, "Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some Assembly Required." Only then will the MRC have any moral authority to address this issue.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:35 PM EDT
CNS Labeling Bias Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

An Aug. 14 CNSNews.com article by Penny Starr on a ballot measure in South Dakota to ban abortions uses the inaccurate descriptor "pro-abortion" for a group opposed to the measure and the euphemistic descriptor "pro-life" for the anti-abortion groups supporting it.

This follows CNS' longtime labeling bias on the issue.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:22 AM EDT
New Article: The Newsmax Democrat
Topic: Newsmax
For a self-proclaimed "lifelong Democrat," Jerry Zeifman sure spends a good chunk of his time bashing his alleged fellow Dems on the ConWeb. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:27 AM EDT

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