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Thursday, May 7, 2009
Meet Molotov Mitchell
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a May 6 "For the Record" video posted at WorldNetDaily attacking the DHS "right-wing extremism" report, Molotov Michell states: "Did you know that Hilter wasn't right-wing? He was actually a socialist. That's what Nazi means -- national socialist. He had a lot more in common with Obama than he did with Reagan or Bush or Bush Jr."

This is just the latest in a long string of such smears at WND.

Mitchell also includes the following image to accompany his words:

 

Mitchell also repeats the right-wing talking point that "the Ku Klux Klan wasn't a bunch of Republicans in those bedsheet ... the KKK was actually founded by and comprised of racist, inbred Democrats." This falsely implies that the Democratic Party carries the same policies on race it did in the 1800s (or even the 1950s). Surely a "for the record" dude like Michell knows that's false. Perhaps Mitchell can do a video on why white segregationists like Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond switched their affiliation from Democratic to Republican in the 1960s after Democratic leaders expressed support for civil-rights legislation, or why Richard Nixon's "Southern strategy" was so successful in helping Republicans win elections.

In listing a number of people who purportedly fall under the DHS report's description of "right-wing extremist," Mitchell showed a picture of the Dalai Lama, with the caption "Anti-gay bigot":


In fact, here's what the Dalai Lama has had to say on the subject:

In a 1997 interview, the Dalai Lama (the leader of Tibetan Buddhism and a widely-respected spiritual figure) was asked about homosexuality. He did not offer any strong answer either way, but noted that all monks are expected to refrain from sex. For laypeople, he commented that the purpose of sex in general is for procreation, so homosexual acts do seem a bit unnatural. He said that sexual desires in themselves are natural, perhaps including homosexual desires, but that one should not try to increase those desires or indulge them without self-control.

In a 1993 talk given in Seattle, the Dalai Lama said:

nature arranged male and female organs "in such a manner that is very suitable... Same-sex organs cannot manage well." But he stopped short of condemning homosexual relationships altogether, saying if two people agree to enter a relationship that is not sexually abusive, "then I don't know. It's difficult to say." 

The Dalai Lama was more specific in a meeting with Buddhist leaders and human rights activists in San Francisco in 1997, where he commented that all forms of sex other than penile-vaginal sex are prohibited for Buddhists, whether between heterosexuals or homosexuals. At a press conference the day before the meeting, he said, "From a Buddhist point of view, [gay sex] is generally considered sexual misconduct." But he did note that this rule is for Buddhists, and from society's viewpoint, homosexual relationships can be "of mutual benefit, enjoyable, and harmless."

The Dalai Lama is well known for his activism for human rights, and this specifically includes equal rights for gays. According to an Office of Tibet spokeman, "His Holiness opposes violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation. He urges respect, tolerance, compassion, and the full recognition of human rights for all."

If Mitchell really believes in doing stuff "for the record," he should stick that "anti-gay bigot" caption where it much more accurately belongs: under a picture of Joseph Farah.

More about Molotov Mitchell: His real name is Jason, he has produced a number of inaccurate, smear-laden anti-Obama videos (including an embrace of the Obama birth certificate conspiracy), and  he's a part of something called the Zealot Movement, an extremist Christian movement built on the straight-edge punk lifestyle that, according to Mitchell, "avoid[s] the pitfalls of American, effeminised Christianity" and embraces "sexual purity through the practice of abstinence until marriage and the abolition of homosexuality."

"Abolition of homosexuality"? Interesting wording, that.

That would seem to fit in with his declared philosophy of embracing "the lost value of extremism." Too bad he's not all that worried about the lost value of accuracy. Then again, the willingness to smear Obama with extreme prejudice (and extreme inaccuracy) is obviously why Joseph Farah loves him so -- WND has been promoting Mitchell's videos since February.

UPDATE: Richard Bartholomew delves deeper into Molotov.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:00 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, May 8, 2009 2:49 AM EDT
Kinsolving Repeats Bogus Standing-For-Obama Meme
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A May 5 WorldNetDaily article reports the question he would have asked in the daily White House briefing had he been called on to ask it: "The Drudge Report has shown videos of President George W. Bush entering this press room with none of the press reporters standing up for him, and then President Obama entering this room at which all reporters stood up. Question, was President Obama proud of this? Or did he regret it in consideration of his presidential predecessor?"

But that video is misleading and out of context. As Slate's John Dickerson reported:

It's a distorted picture, though. We stood all the time for President Bush. Reporters customarily do so to show respect for the office of the presidency. In the East Room of the White House, we stood not only when the president came in but to ask questions. Some reporters said thank you to the president even before asking their questions. This practice continues under President Obama.


There are different rules for the briefing room, though, which is the place both events on the video took place. It's more informal. (CBS's Mark Knoller talked to Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, who confirmed that no offense was taken when the press didn't stand in the briefing room.) It's not that there is a no-standing policy, exactly, but more that the question is unresolved. The press didn't stand for Bush in February but did when the president visited the briefing room for the last time. When he held press conferences in the Eisenhower Old Executive Office Building, the press did stand. Same with the Rose Garden.

[...]

Why, then, didn't the members of the press stay in their seats when Obama walked in last Friday? Unlike the Bush planned press conference in February, Obama's visit was a complete surprise (you hear fewer clicks because not every photographer is there), which meant the natural instinct to stand when a president enters the room may have kicked in as it did with Bush's last visit. As you can see from the video, they also ruined the shot, which means standing not only invited grief from conservatives but from their colleagues, too.

CBS reporter Mark Knoller reports further:

When some reporters stood up for President Obama last Friday, they forgot about the needs of their colleagues in the back of the room as well as the less formal atmosphere of the briefing room. Certainly it was a sign of respect for the president, but not one of disrespect for his predecessor.

It was President Obama’s first time at the briefing room lectern since taking office and for some new members of the White House Press, it was their first time seeing a president enter the room as well. 

Tim Graham at NewsBusters also made a big deal about this, but has since failed to tell the full story.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:30 AM EDT
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Farah's Paranoid Defense of Savage
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A dose of paranoia, courtesy of Joseph Farah in his May 6 WorldNetDaily column:

I believe with near 100 percent certainty, though I admit I can't prove it, that the initiative for this symbolic effort to ban Michael Savage from a country he had no intention of visiting came not from London, but from Washington.

Savage commands the third-largest audience of all talk shows in the country. He is also the most critical of Obama and the Democrat-dominated Congress. He is the edgiest. He pushes the envelope. He has been falsely accused of being a "hater" and engaging in "hate speech" plenty of times.

That's why he was the perfect target for a pre-emptive and insidious attack on his character.

Actually, accusations of "hate speech" by Savage are far from false -- they are quite credible, as merely listening to Savage's words amply demonstrates.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:11 PM EDT
WND Still Ignoring Full Story in Gun Case
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A May 4 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh repeats WND's usual bias of telling only one side of the story -- this time in a the case of a man convicted of illegally transferring a machine gun. True to form, Unruh relates only Olofson's side of the story -- that he merely "loaned" a "semi-automatic rifle" to a "prospective buyer," who then "unleashed several bursts of multiple rounds" upon which the gun "jammed."

As it has in previous reports on this case, WND fails to tell the full story, as a real news organization, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, did:

U.S. District Judge Charles Clevert said Olofson knew or should have known the gun in question fired automatically.

"This was a man who has considerable knowledge of weapons, considerable knowledge of machine guns," Clevert said. "Mr. Olofson, in this court's view, has shown he was ignoring the law."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Haanstad noted that Olofson had two previous gun-related convictions, including carrying a concealed weapon with his children trick-or-treating. He also noted that Olofson was reprimanded for corrupting Army computers and perhaps providing militia groups access to sensitive information.

[...]

People can legally own fully automatic, military-type M-16 rifles, but they must have a federal license and cannot transfer it to someone else.

According to court records, Kiernicki turned the rifle's firing selector to the third position, pulled the trigger, and three bullets fired with each pull. Then the weapon jammed. The automatic gunfire was reported to police, who contacted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Kiernicki testified Olofson told him the third position was for automatic firing, but it jammed, court records indicate. He also testified Olofson told him he had fired the weapon on the automatic setting at that same range without a problem, according to the records.

[...]

Clevert said the key was not what parts were in the weapon but whether it operated in automatic mode. He played a video used at trial showing ATF agents firing Olofson's weapon in automatic mode. He also noted that in one ATF test, the rifle didn't fire automatically when military-grade ammunition was used.

Haanstad said Olofson had provided weapons and ammunition to so many people he couldn't keep track. A search of his home turned up books on converting rifles to fully automatic, and e-mail on his computer showed he bought M-16 parts, records show.

Olofson had contact with vigilante groups and professed to be part of the sovereign movement, which doesn't acknowledge federal laws as applying to them, Haanstad said.

Unruh has a bad habit of refusing to tell the full story in gun-related cases.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:03 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 6, 2009 8:10 PM EDT
Kincaid vs. Greenwald
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Journalist I.F. Stone died 20 years ago, yet Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid still feels the need to attack him.

Kincaid is doing this in a convoluted way, by bashing liberal blogger Glenn Greenwald for accepting an "Izzy Award" for his independent journalism. Kincaid wrote Greenwald, stating that "I am preparing a story about Stone and would like your comments and about receiving an award named for a Soviet agent. Are you considering disavowing or giving back the award?"

Greenwald wrote back; in his May 4 AIM column, Kincaid made sure to highlight the insults ("Don't you have Barack Obama's birth certificate to hunt down and Hillary Clinton's sex life to sniff around in?") but obscured what Greenwald wrote about Stone by paraphrasing: "Rather than directly dispute the evidence of Stone's service to the Soviet Union, Greenwald cited some alleged anti-Soviet statements once made by Stone, when he apparently had a falling out with the Communist dictatorship, as well as an article from the Columbia Journalism Review."

Kincaid curiously refused to directly quote what Greenwald actually wrote about accusations of Stone being a Soviet agent:

There is much dispute about what Stone thought in the 1940s and early 1950s, but what is not in dispute is that in one of his earliest newsletters, he wrote: "Whatever the consequences, I have to say what I really feel after seeing the Soviet Union and carefully studying the statements of its leading officials, this is not a good society and it is not led by honest men" and "nothing has happened in Russia to justify cooperation abroad between the independent left and the Communists." Those anti-Soviet statements resulted in the loss of numerous previous supporters, a courageous stance that dishonest propaganda rags like Commentary would never take.

A publication with some actual credibility, Columbia Journalism Review, conducted a comprehensive review of the evidence and thoroughly debunked these falsehoods.

By failing to directly quote Greenwald, Kincaid is doing what he accused Greenwald of -- refusing to directly address his evidence. Kincaid goes on to suggest that Stone was an active Soviet agent for many years.

The truth is somewhere in the middle. Kincaid touts a new Commentary magazine article as containing "additional evidence of Stone's work as a Soviet agent." But the article defines it very narrowly, debunking Kincaid's suggestion:

The documentary record shows that I.F. Stone consciously cooperated with Soviet intelligence from 1936 through 1938. An effort was made by Soviet intelligence to reestablish that relationship in 1944-45; we do not know whether that effort succeeded.

To put it plainly, from 1936 to 1939 I.F. Stone was a Soviet spy.

Kincaid makes no mention of the apparent fact that Stone's alleged work for the Soviets was limited to a relatively brief period of a few years. Nor does he acknowledge Stone's rejection of the Soviet system.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:53 AM EDT
Feulner Misleads on Health Care
Topic: CNSNews.com

In his May 4 CNSNews.com column, Ed Feulner writes:

Alarmingly, Congress is gearing up to “reform” American health care along Canadian lines – and proponents are trying to take a short-cut to get there.

[...]

Americans could be left with a single, government-run health plan à la Canada’s.

[...]

But the answer isn’t to try and cover everyone through a single-payer system. 

In fact, President Obama has explicitly rejected the Canadian model in his plan for health care reform in the U.S.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:56 AM EDT
WND Perpetuates Hate-Crime Bill Lie
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily is now promoting an effort by documented liar Janet Porter to send letters to Congress opposing the hate-crimes bill, which it claims "would provide special protections for pedophiles."

As we've detailed, that is a lie -- pedophilia is not considered a sexual orientation, a disability or a gender identity, and thus is not protected under the bill.

We thought news organizations weren't supposed to lie to their readers. Do Porter and WND have the guts to tell their readers the truth, or would they rather perpetuate hate, lies and fear? So far, it's the latter.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:25 AM EDT
Will Bozell Credit Obama for Dow's Rise?
Topic: Media Research Center

In a March 11 column titled "Obama Sinks the Markets," Brent Bozell blamed the then-plunging stock market on President Obama:

Think about it. Obama’s inauguration speech? The market dropped. Obama’s first State of the Union-style speech to Congress? The market dropped. Obama’s Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner tried to explain their under-baked bank rescue plan in February? The market dropped almost 400 points. Even Obama’s most fervent fans – like Chris Matthews – have put on the tube a chart showing the stock market’s precipitous decline since Obama’s victory. That is a sober political and economic reality for Team Obama, and no happy talk is going to fix it.

Now, the Dow has returned to the level it was at on the day of Obama's inauguration.

Will Bozell credit Obama for the Dow's rise the way he blamed Obama for its fall? If fellow right-winger Sean Hannity is any indication, don't count on it.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:09 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 4, 2009 4:55 PM EDT
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Deep Thought
Topic: Horowitz
If you're going to complain that "the Left rationalizes its positions by demonizing its opponents. Those who disagree with them are not wrong but evil," should you be working for an organization whose editor -- your own boss -- wrote a book demonizing "leftists" by claiming they are sympatico with terrorists and, thus, not just wrong but evil?

Posted by Terry K. at 8:37 PM EDT
UK Bars One-Time Aaron Klein Source From Entering Country
Topic: WorldNetDaily

British media have published a list of people who have been barred from entering the UK because they "promote hatred, terrorist violence or serious criminal activity." Among the Islamic extremists, racist skinheads and neo-Nazis -- as well as anti-gay pastor Fred Phelps and all-around hater Michael Savage -- is another interesting name: Mike Guzovsky.

As we've detailed, Guzovsky -- also known as Yekutiel Ben Yaacov -- is a one-time leader of the now-outlawed far-right Kahane Chai movement in Israel. The Anti-Defamation League has described how, under Guzovsky/Ben Yaccov's leadership, Kahane Chai signaled its support of 1994 incidents in which bombs were placed outside the New York offices of two American Jewish groups that supported the Middle East peace process. Guzovsky/Ben Yaacov also expressed his support for Baruch Goldstein, who in 1994 massacred approximately 30 Arabs at Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs; Goldstein "did what he did out of a love for the Jewish people ... We don't condemn anybody who is targeting the enemies of the Jewish people," the ADL quotes Ben Yaacov as saying.

Guzovsky/Ben Yaacov has been a trusted source for WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein -- so trusted that Klein endeavored to whitewash his extremism. In an  August 2004 WND article, Klein endeavored to show that people like Guzovsky whom Israeli officials were portraying as "dangerous Jewish extremists" were just regular Joes and not prone to violence, and that "Jewish terrorism ... is considered extremely rare" -- even though Guzovsky has a history of supporting such violence.

Klein has quoted the man under both his Guzovsky (Guzofsky) and Ben Yaacov (Yekutel Ben Yaacov) names, failing to explain that they are one in the same. Klein has benignly described him as a "northern Samaria resident" without detailing his history of supporting far-right extremism.

Klein doesn't appear to have used Guzovsky/Ben Yaacov as a source since early 2006, but it's telling that whitewashing right-wingers like him has been a significant part of Klein's journalistic agenda.

A May 5 WND article about the list prominently features Savage -- not a surprise given WND's longtime ties with him -- but mentions Guzovsky only in passing, failing to note that the man has been a trusted source for one of its reporters.

UPDATE: Aaron Klein runs to Guzovsky's defense again:

Making the list was well is Mike Guzofsky, a leader of the ultra-nationalist Kahane movement, which seeks to ensure that Israel retains biblically-rich territories, such as the West Bank and Jerusalem. A BBC profile falsely claims Guzofsky is "actively involved with military training camps." The only camps Guzofsky currently runs are to train dogs to protect Jewish communities in the West Bank. Dogs trained at Guzofky's northern West Bank kennels recently prevented several terrorist attacks. Guzofsky previously was involved in leading workshops to teach self-defense to Jews. He has also pushed for Jews in the West Bank to cede from Israel and create their own state in the event the Israeli government seeks to evacuate that territory in a deal with the Palestinians.

Kahane only "seeks to ensure that Israel retains biblically-rich territories"? Please. It also seeks to expel Arabs from Israel. Why won't Klein mention that? On whose word is Klein asserting that "The only camps Guzofsky currently runs are to train dogs to protect Jewish communities in the West Bank"? And why won't Klein mention Guzovsky's alias, Yekutiel Ben Yaacov, even though he has quoted the man in his articles under both names?

With this continued whitewashing of Guzovsky/Ben Yaacov, Klein is demonstrating himself again to be little more than a far-right apologist.

UPDATE 2: WND unsurprisingly runs to the defense of Savage. Will it also defend Phelps, whose anti-gay crusade WND tiptoed into promoting a couple years back before learning that even WND readers think he's too extreme?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:34 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 5, 2009 3:01 PM EDT
Newsmax Promotes Anti-Obama Financial Webinar
Topic: Newsmax

By repeatedly misleading and lying about President Obama, Newsmax has obliterated any sense of moderation suggested by Christopher Ruddy's rapproachement toward the Clintons. Now Ruddy himself is going all in with his promotion for Newsmax's May 7 "webinar" on -- well, we're not exactly sure what it's about.

One email signed by Ruddy takes a populist tone by being both anti-Obama and anti-corporate:

Dear Newsmax Patriot,

Our country is in dangerous hands. Over the last year and a half you’ve seen your 401k obliterated…your investment portfolio drained and the value of your home demolished. And despite the recent rally, I promise you dark times are ahead.

Instead of helping the 3.3 million people that have lost their jobs over the last 5 months (5.1 million since 2007)…President Obama is taking great effort to grant amnesty to 12 million illegal immigrants.

How can that possibly help your friends, family and neighbors that are getting laid off, forced to leave their homes, or even worse – left homeless altogether.

America has become the land of corporate welfare checks…taking money out of your pocket and handing it to greedy Wall Street crooks who ask for their bailout and then go cash a 7 figure bonus check.

In fact, Obama is not "taking great effort to grant amnesty to 12 million illegal immigrants" -- it's not even on the agenda for this year.

The webinar appears to be offering some sort of financial advice (boldface and red type in original):

You’ve spent your life working and scraping together every penny you could save and now it’s being paid out to these crooks two times. First with their corporate bailouts. And then with the 7 and 8-figure bonuses they have no problem cashing at your expense.

Don’t worry though! Our economy will correct itself because President Obama is going to fix our sweeping unemployment, right?

Well if you are one of the 12 million illegal immigrants he’s looking to find jobs for yes . . . but if you are an Average American . . . sorry you are out of luck.

I’m angry . . . and I’m guessing so are you.

But before today there wasn’t much you could do about it. How could your voice be heard over all of the cheering and celebrity praise for our “Rock Star” president?

No longer will our message fall on deaf ears.

Today I’m calling out for you to join me as I set forth a plan to retake the money and financial opportunities that have been stolen from you.

At noon, on May 7th, I’ll be hosting a National Webcast to reveal a blueprint for how you can save your nest egg and investments from utter oblivion.

I’m gathering the Nation’s best (and unbiased) minds on finance and together we’ll hand you a free roadmap to financial recovery. Former CNN anchor, Bob Losure will join me to help moderate this ground-breaking event.

Even Dick Morris, the famous Fox News analyst and renowned political strategist, will be joining us on air. Dick has some very important things to reveal.

This won’t be some retread of the garbage “solutions” you are fed by the mainstream media . . . I’ll be sharing specific points you can implement into your portfolio immediately to start to gain back everything you’ve lost.

And on this webcast, I will be making an announcement that will absolutely shock you into action . . . I promise it.

We're not sure why Dick Morris is involved, but Ruddy seems to think he's a financial guru (albeit one who doesn't pay his taxes).

So what's the big, shocking announcement? Again, who knows? We'll just have to wait and see.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:02 PM EDT
Apt Pupil Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It seems that after adding Michael Savage and Alan Keyes as regular columnists, WorldNetDaily thinks that its commentary page is still not hateful (or crazy) enough. An you know what that means: Time for another column by Hilmar von Campe!

As we've detailed, von Campe has been one of WND's leadinghurlers of Nazi smears at Barack Obama, using his self-proclaimed background of being a former Hitler Youth as cover. While von Campe may have left the trappings of Nazi Germany behind, he's still using Nazi-esque Big Lie tactics with his smears.

He cranks up the smear machine again in his May 4 WND column, in which he is a year too late to the party by devoting much of it to bashing Jeremiah Wright. 

A lot has been written about Obama and his relationships. Cliff Kincaid asks, "Is he a mole?" My answer to that question can only be "yes, he is." 

[...]

Barack Hussein Obama has been a member of the Trinity Church of Christ church for 20 years. His daughters were baptized, and he got married there. I have seen and read about its liberation fundamentals: hatred and class war. 

And it wouldn't be von Campe if he didn't throw in a Nazi smear:

What kind of Christianity did Wright teach Obama that this man can believe that a politician can be a Christian by tolerating hatred and making abortion part of his political platform? Barack Obama has a hidden agenda. He is closer to the Nazis than to our Founding Fathers[.]

Now you know why WND keeps him around.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:13 AM EDT
WND Lies Repeatedly About Hate-Crimes Bill
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Perhaps it's time to follow up our documenting of WorldNetDaily's lies about Barack Obama with one detailing WND's lies about the federal hate-crimes bill.

A May 4 WND article by Bob Unruh is a good place to start. It leads off with an obviously false claim -- that the bill protects pedophiles.Unruh's source for this is none other than known liar Janet Folger Porter, who in her May 5 column asserts that Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings has "admitted that this bill will protect all 547 forms of sexual deviancy or "Paraphilias" listed by the APA."

That's right -- Porter, Unruh, and WND are taking the word of an impeached judge as the final authority on a legal issue. Porter and Unruh made no apparent effort to search for any other source of legal advice for an alternative (that is, reality-based) view.

In fact, the Minnesota Independent sums up the truth in a way that Porter, Unruh and WND appear incapable of: "pedophilia is not considered a sexual orientation, a disability or a gender identity, and is instead a criminal act."

Unruh goes on to repeat other falsehoods WND has previously "reported" about the hate-crimes bill:

  • He repeats claims that the bill will create "thought crimes," which it doesn't.
  • He repeats a description of Matthew Shepard as "a 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.
  • He asserts that "Similar state laws 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, athe 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 obey police orders and go to an area on the edge of the event. The group was led by a preacher, Michael Marcavage, who has endorsed putting homosexuals to death simply for being homosexual.

At no point does Unruh make any effort to tell the full story, thus depriving his readers of the truth -- he's too invested in his pack of lies.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:06 AM EDT
WND Repeats CRC's Dubious Attack on ProPublica
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A May 3 WorldNetDaily article is a poorly done attack on the nonprofit journalism site ProPublica and its main funders, Herb and Marion Sandler. The article is, in turn, based on an even more poorly done Capital Research Center report on ProPublica.

The report, by  Cheryl K. Chumley, asserts that ProPublica "churns out little more than left-wing hit pieces about Sarah Palin," repeatedly accusing it of having a liberal bias withoutnoting ProPublica's response to the accusation. For instance,editor-in-chief Paul Steiger has stated:

Coming into this, when I talked to Herb and Marion Sandler, one of my concerns was precisely this question of independence and nonpartisanship... My history has been doing 'down the middle' reporting. And so when I talked to Herb and Marion I said 'are you comfortable with that?' They said 'absolutely'. I said 'well suppose we did an expose of some of the left leaning organizations that you have supported or that are friendly to what you've supported in the past'. They said 'no problem'. And when we set up our organizational structure, the board of directors, on which I sit and which Herb is the chairman, does not know in advance what we're going to report on.

Evidence offered by Chumley and the CRC that ProPublica's news coverate is biased are largely limited to complaining that it didn't slavishly repeat right-wing talking points about Sarah Palin, ACORN or Barack Obama. For instance, Chumley writes:

On Oct. 16, ProPublica’s website linked to an ABC News story entitled, “Experts: McCain ACORN Fears Overblown.” The lead sentence of the story began, “Charges of potential voter fraud volleyed by Republicans, including Sen. John McCain himself, are out of proportion to reality, according to election experts.”

On Oct. 29, a ProPublica reporter ignored the ACORN voter fraud reports and wrote a story instead about the background of a public affairs group that had attacked ACORN in a prepared advertisement in the New York Times.

At no point does Chumley accuse ProPublica of not telling the truth -- just of not swallowing right-wing spin in its article (i.e., that the group attacking ACORN was merely a "public affairs group"; in fact, it is run by one of the harshest critics of organized labor, Rick Berman, whose own son has denounced him). The problem for CRC, it seems, is not that ProPublica got the facts wrong but, rather, that it told a side of the story the CRC didn't want told.

Chumley also complained that ProPublica reported on "pork spending by Sarah Palin." Again, Chumley offers no evidence that any of its reporting is factually deficient, only that it was reported at all.

WND, meanwhile, apparently loved this report so much that it couldn't be bothered to do anything beyond mining it for claims to fill out its article.

Chumley then appears to contradict her attacks by noting that "ProPublica reporters should receive high praise for their stories on Obama’s stimulus package and banking bailouts, on recent business and financial scandals, and on other issues related to open records and open government." But this is buried near the end of her article, Chumley refuses to elaborate, and she immediately moves on to yet another complaint that it didn't follow right-wingers by attacking "Barack Obama's personal associations." Can't have inconvenient facts get in the way of the argument she's being paid to make, y'know.

Like its attacks on Media Matters, the CRC's attack on ProPublica is unbalanced, factually deficient and more about advancing a partisan agenda than actual "research." But as we've repeatedly noted, WND doesn't care about facts; they care about destroying their enemies, so such half-assed "research" is plenty good enough for them.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:32 AM EDT
Monday, May 4, 2009
Tapscott Repeats Inflated Tea Party Attendance Figure
Topic: Washington Examiner

In a May 1 Washington Examiner blog post, Mark Tapscott uncritically repeats a claim that the April 15 tea party protests featured "1.2 million patriots."

As we detailed when WorldNetDaily did it, any million-plus figure is highly inflated. Even Americans for Tax Reform counts as of this writing 578,000 participants -- and even thatnumber can be reasonably assured of being inflated since ATR has an interest in a high number as well.

Tapscott pulled his number from the Tea Party Patriots website, which does not substantiate it.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:52 PM EDT

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