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Monday, May 4, 2009
Klein Uses A Liar To Substantiate Obama Lie
Topic: WorldNetDaily

On our massive list of lies WorldNetDaily has told about Barack Obama is the claim that his grandmother, Sarah Obama, has confirmed that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. In a May 3 WND article by Aaron Klein about the shocking fact that Sarah Obama, a Muslim, is planning to do the Hajj pilgrimage -- which, of course, provides an excuse for Klein to yet again rehash Barack's purported ties with Islam -- Klein repeats the lie again: "WND's Jerome Corsi reports in the April issue of Whistleblower that Sarah Obama is also the woman who affirmed her elected grandson was born in Kenya, prompting doubts that Barack Obama is eligible to serve as president of the United States."

Slate has debunked that lie

On Oct. 16 [2008], an Anabaptist minister named Ron McRae called Sarah Hussein Obama, the president-elect's 86-year-old paternal step-grandmother, at her home in Kenya. Two translators were on the line when McRae asked if the elder Obama was "present" when the president-elect was born. One of the translators says "yes." McRae contacted Berg and gave him a partial transcript of the call with a signed affidavit. He opted not to include the rest of the call, in which he asks the question more directly—"Was he born in Mombassa?"—and the translators, finally understanding him, tell him repeatedly that the president-elect was born in Hawaii.

Klein goes on to state that "Obama supporters say Sarah Obama's words were mistranslated" -- but refuses to detail the evidence backing up with those "supporters" say. He then asserts that Corsi claims "eyewitnesses and affadavits from a translator verifying Sarah Obama testified to being present at Barack Obama's birth in Mombasa, Kenya."

Whistleblower, Corsi writes, obtained an affidavit submitted by Rev. Kweli Shuhubia, the official Swahili translator for the Anabaptist Conference held annually in Kenya.

In the affidavit Shuhubia states that he visited Obama's grandmother at her home to conduct a telephone conference interview with Bishop Ron McRae in the United States, in which the bishop asked Sarah Obama if her grandson was born in Kenya.

"Ms. Sarah Hussein Obama was very adamant that her grandson, Senator Barack Hussein Obama, was born in Kenya, and that she was present and witnessed his birth in Kenya, not the United States," Shuhubia states in the affidavit. "During the conversation, Ms. Sarah Hussein Obama never changed her reply that she was indeed present when Senator Barack Obama was born in Kenya."

Corsi's assertions, however, mean nothing because he is a documented liar. Also among the list of WND's Obama lies are claims by Corsi that documents he purported obtained in Kenyaprove that Obama had a close relationship with Kenyan prime minister Raila Odinga. But as we've detailed, those documents are almost assuredly fraudulent.

Klein is using a liar to back up a lie. Not exactly responsible journalism, is it?

Posted by Terry K. at 10:24 AM EDT
Porter Encapsulates WND's False Claims on Hate-Crimes Law
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Janet Folger Porter's April 28 WorldNetDaily column is a perfect storm of false claims and bamboozlement on imagined threats to right-wingers like herself to be as hateful as they wanna be.

First, she claims:

The "hate crimes" bill, H.R. 1913, which passed out of the House Judiciary Committee last week, is aimed at silencing speech. This thought crimes bill is scheduled for a vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives tomorrow, and when you pair it with existing law (found in Title 18 of the U.S. Criminal Code), it will unmistakably criminalize speech.

It specifically targets anyone who dissents to the homosexual agenda as aiding in the commission of a crime, making them "punishable as a principal."

In fact, it does no such thing. The bill specifically states that "Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the Constitution," which would include the First Amendment protection for freedom of religion.Further, the House Judiciary Committee has stated:

The bill is designed only to punish violent acts, not beliefs or thoughts -- even violent thoughts. The legislation does not punish, nor prohibit in any way, name-calling, verbal abuse, or expressions of hatred toward any group, even if such statements are hateful. Moreover, nothing in this legislation prohibits the lawful expression of one's deeply held religious or personal beliefs. The bill only covers violent actions that result in death or bodily injury committed because the victim has one of the specified actual or perceived characteristics.

Porter also falsely asserts that the Department of Homeland Security report on right-wing extremism "call[s] law-abiding American citizens 'the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.' Conservatives are the New Terrorists." Again, false. Here's the relevant claim from the report:

DHS/I&A assesses that lone wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent rightwing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.  Information from law enforcement and nongovernmental organizations indicates lone wolves and small terrorist cells have shown intent—and, in some cases, the capability—to commit violent acts.

Needless to say, Porter refuses to acknowledge that DHS released a report earlier this year about left-wing extremism.

Porter's column is an encapsulation of WND's overall "news" coverage of both issues. An April 30 WND "news" article, for instance, insists that HR 1913 will allow "law enforcement officers to identify and criminally prosecute speech and thought offensive to homosexuals" without bothering to tell the full story.

That article also touches on several right-wing canards as supposed evidence to support their claims. It asserts that Matthew Shepard was "Wyoming homosexual who was killed in a horrific robbery and beating in 1998" -- a bit of revisionism which ignores the fact that one of his killers used a "gay panic" defense during his trial.

It also asserts that state laws that list gays in hate crimes "have resulted in persecution for Christians. In Philadelphia several years ago, a 73-year-old grandmother was jailed for trying to share Christian tracts with people at a homosexual festival." In fact, as we've detailed, the grandmother was part of a group of protesters that tried to interrupt a stage performance at the festival with their preaching, and were arrested only after they refused to go to an area on the edge of the event. The group was led by a preacher who has endorsed putting homosexuals to death simply for being homosexual.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:04 AM EDT
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Vadum Swings, Misses Again in Attack on Media Matters
Topic: Capital Research Center

We finally got around to reading Matthew Vadum's attack on Media Matters (disclosure: our employer) in the current issue of Townhall magazine. Vadum, of the right-wing Capital Research Center, has a history of putting his hatred of all things non-conservative ahead of the facts in his so-called research, so there was sure to be more whoppers this time around. Let's see what he botches, shall we?

-- Vadum repeats his favorite falsehood, that George Soros funds Media Matters. This time around, he seems to concede that he knows he's lying by fudging numbers. He states that Media Matters "has received $7 million under the auspices of the Democracy Alliance, a Soros-led consortium of wealthy liberals that matches donors to causes it believes will make a lasting contribution to the success of the so-called progressive movement. The $7 million donation may have come from Soros himself, though Media Matters denies it." In fact, the Democracy Alliance makes no donations in its name; it is, as the Washington Post describes it, "an accreditation agency for political advocacy groups." Donors make contributions in their own names based on Democracy Alliance recommendations.

This is just another way of falsely suggesting that Soros directly donates to Media Matters when Vadum knows very well he hasn't.

-- Vadum states that "in-house columnist" Eric Alterman "writes the 'Altercation' blog that appears on the Media Matters website." In fact, Alterman last wrote Altercation for Media Matters in December; it now appears at The Nation's webiste.

-- Vadum complains that Media Matters "relies heavily on personal attacks rather than substantive or-fact-based arguments" -- then smears Media Matters CEO David Brock as "deeply narcissistic" and Morris Dees, head of the Southern Poverty Law Center, as a "race-baiting ambulance chaser."

-- Vadum falsely defends those he deems to have been unfairly attacked by Media Matters. He asserted that Media Matters "suggested Glenn Beck was deadly serious when he asked a guest whether then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was the biblical Anti-Christ. In reality, Beck was attempting to dispel this notion." In fact, as the Media Matters item in question clearly illustrates, Media Matters did not criticize Beck for asking his guest, Rev. John Hagee, whether Obama was the Antichrist; it criticized him for asking Hagee that question instead of discussing numerous controversial statements Hagee -- who had just endorsed Obama's rival, John McCain -- had made.

Vadum also claimed that Media Matters "claimed to be able to read the mind of White House press secretary Robert Gibbs" when it pointed out that Gibbs was not issuing a threat to CNBC's Rick Santelli over Santelli's rant against mortgage bailouts. Vadum quotes only Gibbs' statement that "I'm not entirely sure where Mr. Santelli lives or in what house he lives," suggesting the statement was "ambiguous," uncritically repeated G. Gordon Liddy's asserting that Gibbs was making a "veiled threat," and insisted that "failed to disclose how exactly it knew what Gibbs was thinking." But Vadum took Gibbs out of context and does not reproduce the entirety of Gibb's statement:

I'm not entirely sure where Mr. Santelli lives or in what house he lives, but the American people are struggling every day to meet their mortgage, stay in their job, pay their bills, to send their kids to school, and to hope that they don't get sick or that somebody they care for gets sick and sends them into bankruptcy. I think we left a few months ago the adage that if it was good for a derivatives trader that it was good for Main Street. I think the verdict is in on that.

From the full context, it is obvious that Gibbs was not "ambiguous" and was not threatening Santelli. It's obvious how Media Matters came to its conclusion: not by reading minds but by reading Gibbs' entire statement.

-- Further, Vadum faslely attacked Media Matters' Jamison Foser for pointing out that government spending "does more to stimulate the economy than anything else you can think of"; Vadum snarked, "This no doubt would be news to economists." Vadum ignores the fact that Foser cited economist Mark Zandi -- adviser to John McCain's presidential campaign -- to support his claim. Vadum provides no contradictory evidence.

If Vadum can't get basic facts correct, there's no reason to take his so-called research seriously.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:06 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 4, 2009 2:40 PM EDT
Still Waiting for Sheppard's Apology
Topic: NewsBusters

In a May 1 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard graciously acknowledged Jon Stewart's apology for calling Harry Truman a war criminal for using the atomic bomb on Japan. In a May 2 post, Sheppard demands that Al Gore apologize for using a claim from a New York Times article during his April 24 House testimony on global warming that the Times has since updated.

Sheppard, however, has remained stone silent about when an apology is forthcoming from him to Gore for falsely asserting that Gore is profiting from his global warming work. As he detailed in the very same April 24 House testimony Sheppard attacks elsewhere, Gore clearly stated that all profits from his investments in green-economy initiatives go directly to the nonprofit Alliance for Climate Protection.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:16 AM EDT
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Feder Still Hurling Misinformed NYT Smears
Topic: Accuracy in Media

We don't watch Don Feder's Boycott NYT website as closely as we perhaps should -- after all, Accuracy in Media, which bankrolls Feder's venture, is apparently so ashamed by its association with Feder's slipshod smears that it won't even link to the project from the main AIM website.

We may have to rethink that stance, because Feder is still coughing up stunning displays of misinformation.

An April 29 article by Feder asserts that New York Times are "unaware" of the Department of Homeland Security report on right-wing extremism, or criticism of it, because the Times never "covered" it.

The problem, of course, is that the Times did cover it here.

And here.

And here.

Feder adds: "Imagine The Times’ response if the Bush administration had issued a report saying feminists, environmentalists and multiculturalists were apt to be recruited by potentially violent left-wing extremists."

Which, of course, it did.

If I were AIM, I'd be ashamed to promote Feder's drivel as well. Which begs the question: If his work is so embarassing and sloppy, why doesn't AIM fire him?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:09 AM EDT
WND's Mercer Touts Discredited Researcher
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Ilana Mercer's May 1 WorldNetDaily column rhapsodizes over the late Madeleine Pelner Cosman, the "dazzling Randian" and "quintessential 'Renaissance woman'"whose "study of 'the effects of illegal immigration on the United States health-care system' culminated in the article 'Illegal Aliens and American Medicine,' published, in 2005, by The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. It addressed the effects on the health system of the bleeding Southwestern border." Mercer adds: "That Mexico is Swine Flu Ground Zero has thrown Dr. Cosman's work into sharp relief."

In fact, we we've detailed Cosman's "study" is little more than an anti-immigrant screed in which she rants about "Illegal aliens' stealthy assaults on medicine" and demands that America's borders be sealed with "fences, high-tech security devices and troops."More importantly, Cosman got her facts wrong: As we've also noted, she wrote that "Suddenly, in the past three years America has more than 7,000 cases of leprosy"; in fact, that was the cumulative number of leprosy cases over the past 30 years.

Mercer surely knows Cosman got that figure wrong because she cites a New York Times article detailing just how wrong the figure is, then tries to write around Cosman's falsehood:

Seven thousand cases of leprosy over the last 30 years may seem negligible, but "leprosy, a scourge in biblical days and in medieval Europe," had been eradicated in the U.S. Now it's back. By the reluctant admission of the New York Times, it was brought over from Asia and Latin America.

But Mercer overplays it too: As the Times article details, the number of cases rose from 76 in 2000 to 137 in 2006. The article continues:

What about the increase over the last six years, to 137 cases from 76? Is that significant?

“No,” Mr. Krahenbuhl said. It could be a statistical fluctuation, or it could be a result of better data collection in recent years. In any event, the 137 reported cases last year were fewer than in any year from 1975 to 1996.

That's hardly solid evidence of leprosy being "back." But Mercer wants you to think it is, backed up by a discredited "Renaissance woman" and "dazzling Randian."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:03 AM EDT
Friday, May 1, 2009
WND Promotes Another Bogus Poll
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've previously noted how WorldNetDaily touted a dubious poll taken by an infamous push-polling firm as evidence that Roy Moore (who just happens to be a WND columnist) is a "leading candidate" for Alabama governor.

Now, an April 30 WND article finds an even more dubious poll to promote, insisting that Moore is "building on his lead" in the governor's race (about which, WND finally gets around to noting in the article's very last paragraph, Moore has "not made a formal announcement") by winning a "new unscientific readers' poll in the Birmingham Business Journal."

The word "unscientific" is the first clue to the dubiousness of this poll, though WND never explains what that means. In fact, the Birmingham Business Journal "poll" -- like most online polls -- is an opt-in poll that contains no stated restrictions on how many times a person can vote. WND just loves promoting meaningless polls that advance their agenda while hiding from readers just how meaningless they are.

While WND makes a big deal out of how one of Moore's possible opponents had been "directing supporters who visited his website to the poll," it does not indicate whether Moore's supporters were also promoting the poll -- which would seem to be a certainty if other candidates' supporters were, and would account for the poll's skew.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:31 PM EDT
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

The appearance of the MRC's on the April 30 edition of Fox News' "America's Newsroom" follows the template: Noyes appeared solo, and neither he nor the MRC are identified as conservative.

Host Megyn Kelly also baselessly called the MRC "the nation's largest media watchdog group." (Disclosure: I work for a certain other media watchdog group that might want to challenge that distinction.)

Posted by Terry K. at 11:04 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, May 1, 2009 4:07 PM EDT
WND Treats Baseless Speculation As Fact
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An April 30 WorldNetDaily article by Andrea Shea King gives unwarranted credence to speculation over the incident of Air Force One flying over New York for photos by someone who hasn't worked in the White House in more than a decade.

King features the claims of "Buzz" Patterson, who once worked in the Clinton White House, insisting tha t"it's almost certain that the "highest levels" of the Obama administration knew about" the stunt while offering no evidence whatsoever to back it up. Patterson is also "guessing" that President Obama himself knew about it.

You know where this is going. Patterson then launches into an anti-Obama screed:

"I think that it shows you… quite clearly the lack of focus or the understanding the Obama White House has toward the military, much like my former boss President Bill Clinton. I think it also shows a kind of arrogance to using toys – I'm sure that would be a phrase President Obama might use, his 'toys' – to get photo op shots around New York City and not recall or remember what happened on 9/11 and the fact that it might have caused some alarm. And I think really, it shows again a hundred days, a hundred mistakes with the Obama administration."


"I think that they are – much like the Clinton administration – incredibly ignorant and devoid of reality when it comes to this country. They didn't even think about the impact this might have, because they don't understand that the war on terror is a real war on terror. They've changed the verbiage. They've changed the terms," he said.

Another reason not to take Patterson seriously: He has a long record of making false and misleading claims about Democrats. Most notoriously, he has claimed that then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton "wanted to outlaw uniforms, military uniforms in the White House" -- a never-proven claim whose particulars Patterson changes with each telling.

As we've noted, Patterson's dubious work also served as an inspiration to screenwriter Cyrus Nowrasteh for his discredited miniseries, "The Path to 9/11."

Patterson has no credibility -- but he's eager to bash Obama, so King and WND are more than happy to embrace him.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:13 AM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: Horowitz

Our hypothetical terrorist-in-waiting isn’t the head of the Aryan Nation, the Michigan Militia or the Ku Klux Klan. He is President Barack Hussein Obama, whose extremist ties include Bill Ayers, ACORN, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright and Louis Farrakhan. If you see the president acting suspiciously in an airport, please advise law-enforcement personnel.

Instead of smearing Obama’s opponents, perhaps the Department of Homeland Security should be staking out the White House.

-- Don Feder, April 30 column

Posted by Terry K. at 1:56 AM EDT
NewsBusters Chooses to Trust A Convicted Killer
Topic: NewsBusters

An April 30 NewsBusters post by Brad Wilmouth runs to the defense of Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx, who in a speech on the House floor called the claim that the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard was a hate crime (Shepard was gay) a "hoax" and insisting it was merely a robbery gone bad. Wilmouth cited a 2004 segment of ABC's "20/20" which, in Wilmouth's words, "made a credible case that Shepard was targeted by Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson not because of anti-gay sentiment, but because McKinney was high on methamphetamines, giving him unusual violent tendencies as well as a desire for cash to buy more drugs." The main proponents of this claim are the killers themselves.

But Wilmouth overlooks a couple things conflicting with such a conclusion, which, as we've detailed, has been embraced by right-wingers in an effort to oppose giving hate-crime protections to gays.

First, McKinney attempted a "gay panic" defense during his trial. Second, he has given multiple, conflicting accounts of what happened the night of Shepard's murder. Third, he's a convicted felon and a murderer -- not exactly the most trustworthy guy.

As a Wyoming police detective who worked on the Shepard case said: "Only three people know what really happened that night. ... One of them is dead and the other two are known liars and convicted felons -- murderers."

Further, as the Matthew Shepard Foundation has stated, the ABC report omitted the contents of McKinney's in-custody interview a few days after Shepard's death. That transcript shows "an un-rehearsed and unemotional anti-gay account of the events before, during, and after leaving Matt tied to the fence," according to the foundation.

We've detailed how numerous right-wingers have chosen to trust a convicted felon and murderer rather than examine all the facts of the Shepard case. Add Wilmouth to the list.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:09 AM EDT
Thursday, April 30, 2009
CNS Non-Disclosure Watch

An April 30 article by Edwin Mora touts the pending delivery of a Cardinal Newman Society petition opposing a speech by President Obama at Notre Dame to the school without noting that Brent Bozell, head of the Media Research Center, CNS' parent organization, is on the Cardinal Newman Society board of directors.

Similarly, an April 30 CNS column by editor-in-chief Terry Jeffrey references the Cardinal Newman Society petition without noting his boss is on the group's board.

On a related non-disclosure, an April 30 CNS article by Fred Lucas uncritically repeats the claim that waterboarding Khalid Shaikh Mohammed provided the U.S. "with information that allowed the U.S. government to foil a terror cell 'tasked' with flying a jet into a building in Los Angeles" without noting the fact that the Bush administration claimed that the Los Angeles plot was foiled a year before Mohammed was captured.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:26 PM EDT
Rush Limbaugh Anal Sex Watch
Topic: The ConWeb

As if to promote our new article, Rush Limbaugh has graced us with yet another reference to anal sex:

I mean, General Motors is caving. General Motors has bent over grabbed the ankles. Chrysler has bent over, grabbed the ankles. What are we supposed to do here? Everybody's scared of Obama. Everybody's scared of the government.

Unsurprisingly, NewsBusters and WorldNetDaily are silent, as they have always been.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 PM EDT
O'Leary Buys Another Zogby Poll, WND Promotes It
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An April 28 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn touts a "new Zogby poll" that was "commissioned by the O'Leary Report" claiming that "no government control of the Internet, no 'Fairness Doctrine' managing talk radio and if newspaper companies fail as a profitable means of disseminating news, then let them die, because Americans will not support a bailout."

What isn't clear from Zahn's article: Brad O'Leary bought himself another poll. 

What the heck is the O'Leary Report? Apparently, it's a newsletter published by O'Leary that, based on the edition posted on his website, is little more than fits of Obama-bashing designed to promote O'Leary's WND-published books, the most recent one being -- surprise! -- an attack on the possible reintroduction of the Fairness Doctrine (even though nobody's actually planning to do that).

It's not until the 23rd paragraph of Zahn's article that O'Leary is even mentioned, and Zahn makes no effort to point out that O'Leary is, in fact, the guy behind the O'Leary Report.

O'Leary has a long history of buying Zogby polls (previously purchased under the name of ATI-News, O'Leary's barely existent news aggregator) to promote his books and views -- as we've detailed, the poll questions are manipulated to the point of including misleading and even false claims, so that O'Leary gets the responses he wants in order to further his right-wing attacks.

We couldn't find a link to the actual poll data -- which would have the actual questions that were asked -- at either WND or the O'Leary Report. That O'Leary hasn't make the data public suggests he has something to hide here too.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:09 AM EDT
NewsBusters Touts Misguided Anti-Olbermann Petition
Topic: NewsBusters

An April 29 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd touts a right-wing petition demanding that MSNBC host Keith Olbermann give up the raise in his new contract because MSNBC's parent company, General Electric, obtained a "$126 billion taxpayer-funded bailout." Shepard seems unconcerned that the people behind the petition are hiding behind a veil of secrecy.

Nor does Shepherd seem interested in the financial facts of both Olbermann's raise (from $4 million a year to $7.5 million) and the GE bailout.

First, the GE division for which Olbermann works, NBC Universal, is a profitable operation, having made $391 million in the first quarter of 2009 alone with MSNBC in particular credited with "significant profit gains." NBC Universal can very much afford to throw a couple million more at the host of MSNBC's highest-rated program.

Second, the $126 billion figure cited is not a total "bailout" but, rather, more of a credit line. As the Bloomberg article to which the petition links shows, GE has tapped only $41 billion of it. Further, none of that bailout is going to Olbermann or even NBC Universal; it's being used for the company's financial unit, GE Capital which operates independently of NBC Universal.

The petition also ignores the fact that unlike, say, AIG, GE as a whole is a profitable company, having made $2.9 billion in the first quarter even with the problems at GE Capital, which is expected to pass the federal government's "stress test" for financial institutions.

To sum up: GE can afford to pay someone who helps to generate income for his employer in a profitable division even more money, and do so with its own money. Can Shepherd say that about the AIG bonuses?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:22 AM EDT

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