FrontPageMag Falsely Accuses National Geographic of Anti-Semitism Topic: Horowitz
A May 19 FrontPageMag article by Mike Finch -- the vice president of the David Horowitz Freedom Center -- accuses National Geographic magazine of "Jew-hate" by publishing an "anti-Semitic hate screed." But Finch selectively quotes from the article in question, pulling statements out of context.
We learn of Lisa and Mark, a Palestinian Christian family living on the outskirts of Jerusalem. They are getting ready for the Easter celebration in the city, a time of excitement. However the mood is brought crashing down as we learn of the horrible life they are forced to live. Israeli law, checkpoints, the “Wall”, permit papers, have made their life unbearable. As Mark states, “it’s like a science experiment. If you keep the rats in the enclosed space and make it smaller and smaller every day and introduce new obstacles and constantly change the rules, after a while the rats go crazy and start eating each other. It’s like that.” Huh??
Two long paragraphs are given to repeat this style of Hamas and PLO propaganda on the horrors of the Nazi Apartheid Israeli state. We have all heard this claptrap before of course, but now a great secret is revealed to us. The Christians are leaving because Israel is an anti-Christian tyrannical regime. Why of course, it’s the Jews fault!
But the National Geographic article in question puts the couple's criticism of Israel puts the couple's situation in a context that Finch doesn't provide his readers:
This is the first Easter, ever, that Mark has been allowed to spend with the family in Jerusalem. He is from Bethlehem, in the West Bank, so his identity papers are from the Palestinian Authority; he needs a permit from Israel to visit. Lisa, whose family lives in the Old City, holds an Israeli ID. So although they've been married for five years and rent this apartment in the Jerusalem suburbs, under Israeli law they can't reside under the same roof. Mark lives with his parents in Bethlehem, which is six miles away but might as well be a hundred, lying on the far side of an Israeli checkpoint and the 24-foot-high concrete barrier known as the Wall.
But just so the Jews are not alone in the blame game, there are other culprits. No, again, it is not the area’s suicidal Islamists who view Christians as infidels who need to be subjugated to inferior human status, converted by force or killed. No, further blame falls on the Christians in the West, the United States, George Bush (naturally) and his “regime change” wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And the Crusaders get thrown in again. Amazing what ills of the world those poor Crusaders have been blamed for. Genghis Kahn and Attila the Hun must be jealous.
Again, Finch takes the statement out of context, falsely portraying the Palestinian and Arab Christians as directly blaming America for their plight:
For anyone living in Israel or the Palestinian territories, stress is the norm. But the 196,500 Palestinian and Israeli Arab Christians, who dropped from 13 percent of the population in 1894 to less than 2 percent today, occupy a uniquely oxygen-starved space between traumatized Israeli Jews and traumatized Palestinian Muslims, whose rising militancy is tied to regional Islamist movements that sometimes target Arab Christians. In the past decade, "the situation for Arab Christians has gone rapidly downhill," says Razek Siriani, a frank and lively man in his 40s who works for the Middle East Council of Churches in Aleppo, Syria. "We're completely outnumbered and surrounded by angry voices," he says. Western Christians have made matters worse, he argues, echoing a sentiment expressed by many Arab Christians. "It's because of what Christians in the West, led by the U.S., have been doing in the East," he says, ticking off the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. support for Israel, and the threats of "regime change" by the Bush Administration. "To many Muslims, especially the fanatics, this looks like the Crusades all over again, a war against Islam waged by Christianity. Because we're Christians, they see us as the enemy too. It's guilt by association."
Finch continues his fact-free screed:
When we get back to Lisa and Mark, we learn that the Israeli settlements will mean “no more water for us” and in a moment of candor she states “I hate the Israelis, I really hate them. I think even Nate (their 3 year old son) is starting to hate them.” Maybe Lisa needs to search for a few New Testament passages to read to little Nate instead of spreading this vile anti-Semitic hatred that has so infected her people
But Finch took that out of context too, omitting what the article stated next:
"I hate the Israelis," Lisa says one day, out of the blue. "I really hate them. We all hate them. I think even Nate's starting to hate them."
Is that a sin? I ask.
"Yes, it is," she says. "And that makes me a sinner. But I confess my sins when I go to church, and that helps. I'm learning not to hate. In the meantime, I go to confession."
"Hate destroys the spirit of those who hate," says Father Rafiq Khoury, a soft-spoken Palestinian priest who hears his share of confessions at the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem. "But even in the midst of all these troubles, all this violence and despair driving Christians away, you can see new life in the faces of young people and experience the hope that is God's gift to humanity. That is the message of Easter."
Finch asserts that "National Geographic has forever shamed itself" by publishing this article, but it's Finch who has shamefully taken the article out of context and falsely accused the magazine of being anti-Semitic. We'd demand a retraction if we thought Finch was capable of feeling shame.
WND's Washington Defends Savage Topic: WorldNetDaily
Ellis Washington has long admired Michael Savage, declaring him to be "my favorite radio talk show host and a bona fide conservative intellectual." So it's not surprising to see Washington run to Savage's defense in his May 20 column over the British Home Office banning Savage from entering the country.
It's also not surprising to see Washington resort to odd metaphors, invoking the movie "Silence of the Lambs": Complaining about the lack of "outrage from all the big-named conservative media giants," Washington asserts, "It is the Savage silence of the lambs."
Washington goes on to accuse British home secretary Jacqui Smith of a "naked assault on free speech" and of making "libelous and slanderous attacks on Savage." At no point, however, does Washington detail what Smith said about Savage, let alone how it rises to an "assault on free speech" -- indeed, not only has Smith not restricted Savage's right to free speech, she cannot since Savage is not a British subject.
Similarly, Washington offers no evidence that Smith made "libelous and slanderous attacks on Savage." Washington, of course, has made numerous libelous attacks on Barack Obama.
Bozell Doesn't Disclose Role in Notre Dame Controversy Topic: Media Research Center
Brent Bozell addresses the controversy over President Obama speaking at Notre Dame in his May 20 column, asserting that no one should "give Obama credit for showing his face at Notre Dame, He certainly wasn’t going to stop campaigning for the votes of liberal Catholics" and asserting that Obama "came to Notre Dame not simply to speak, but to attempt to help liberals redefine Catholic teaching and Catholic tradition."
But Bozell failed to disclose not only that he is a Catholic, but he is also on the board of directors of a conservative Catholic group, the Cardinal Newman Society, which launched a petition demanding that Notre Dame withdraw its invitation to Obama.
As we've detailed, Bozell's "news" operation, CNSNews.com, has similarly refused to disclose Bozell's connection to the Cardinal Newman Society in writing about the petition.
In his May 20 CNSNews.com column, Terry Jeffrey asserted that CIA chief Leon Panetta "contradicted" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's claim that the CIA did not brief her on the use of waterboarding against detainees in a 2002 briefing. Jeffrey then went on to quote Panetta:
“Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress,” Panetta said in a statement to CIA employees. “That is against our laws and our values. As the Agency indicated previously in response to congressional inquiries, our contemporaneous records from September 2002 indicate that CIA officers briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing ‘the enhanced techniques that had been employed.’”
But Jeffrey omitted what Panetta said immediately after that: "Ultimately, it is up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened." That's not an affirmative statement that the CIA told the truth about the Pelosi briefing.
Further, as Politico's Josh Gerstein wrote, Panetta's entire statement "says less than people are claiming":
Look carefully at Panetta's statement from Friday, especially the verb tense used. "Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress." First, "let me be clear" always precedes an ambiguous statement. Without fail. Panetta isn't opining on past acts. He's referring to the current policy. He's also not saying it never happens or happened that someone lied to or misled Congress. He's saying the agency as a whole doesn't intend to.
Panetta was at his Monterey, Calif. think tank when this all happened in 2002 and 2003. He doesn't know if Pelosi was lied to. He also doesn't say he talked to the briefers and is convinced they're telling the truth. He just says the paper records say she was briefed about the techniques. We knew that already from agency statements. So he's adding his voice to the mix and sending a signal that he'll stand by his agency, but to say he sided with the briefers on the specifics is just wrong.
In other words, it's not contradictory at all.
UPDATE: A May 20 CNS article by Fred Lucas similarly claims that "Pelosi’s account has been contradicted by CIA Director Leon Panetta" and doesn't quote Panetta's statement that "Ultimately, it is up to Congress to evaluate all the evidence and reach its own conclusions about what happened."
Corsi's Reign of Error Continues Topic: WorldNetDaily
Jerome Corsi has been on quite the falsehoodrampage lately. Now he's added another one.
As Media Matters details, Corsi asserts in a May 18 WorldNetDaily article that FiveThirtyEight.com's Nate Silver claimed that President Obama "will need to sustain a 65-percent approval rating to avoid losing the House of Representatives in the 2010 elections." In fact, Silver wrote that Obama would need to maintain that rating "to avoid losing any ground in the House," not lose control of the House.
New Article -- People of the Lie: Hate Crimes Edition Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has found a whole new set of falsehoods to tell about covering "sexual orientation" under a hate-crimes law. Read more >>
John L. Perry's May 18 Newsmax column thunders about how President Obama is a "truth contortionist" who thinks, "Got away with a whopper last time out. How about a bigger one today?" Perry suggests the president is all about "narcissistic self-aggrandizement" and warns him: "Time is not with Barack Obama. Even for him, there’s a limit of available fools."
Missing from Perry's column: Any evidence whatsoever to back up his claims. Not a single statement of Obama's is cited to prove he is a "fool" or a "truth contortionist."
It's just as empty (though less crazy) of a claim as Ellis Washington's evidence-free assertion that "Obama is a pathological liar. Every speech, every domestic and foreign policy, every executive order, every economic policy, every political appointee and every future Supreme Court nominee … all LIES!"
Will WND Disclose Billboard Donors? Topic: WorldNetDaily
A May 19 WorldNetDaily article claims that WND has received "[m]ore than $10,000" in its campaign to erect billboards asking the already-answered question, "Where's the [Obama] Birth Certificate?"
If WND is so obsessive about disclosure, shouldn't it disclose the donors to its billboard fund?
We've asked the question of WND's PR folks via email; we'll let you know if we get a response.
UPDATE: Joseph Farah himself responds:
Our demand on Obama has nothing to do with a "spirit of disclosure," though Obama has pledged to run the most open and transparent administration in American history. The Constitution requires a president to be a natural born citizen. That same Constitution also provides that ordinary American citizens the right to spend their money any way they want without fear of harassment from government officials.
If you need any more civics lesson, please feel free to call on me.
Meanwhile ... Topic: Newsmax Media Matters notes the presence of Newsmax's Christopher Ruddy at the "Monday Meeting," a gathering of "conservative insider[s]," and reminds us of Ruddy's role in spreading conspiracy theories about the death of Vince Foster.
Corsi Botches Another Economic Fact Topic: WorldNetDaily
Here's another reason why Jerome Corsi sucks as a purportedly "trained economist."
A May 18 WorldNetDaily teaser for Corsi's Red Alert newsletter at WorldNetDaily asserts: "Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced that Medicare would run out of money in 2017 and Social Security would do the same in 2037, both sooner than previously projected." At no point, however, does Corsi explain what that means -- or that it's not as scary as he portrays.
As the annual report of the trustees of Medicare and Social Security states, those programs do not "run out of money" on those dates; it's when, under the current slate of obligations for both systems, their trust funds are depleted. Both Medicare and Social Security would still receive tax revenue after those dates -- just not enough to cover all currently anticipated obligations under the current rate of revenue.
How, again, is Corsi's report worth $99 a year when he can't get basic facts straight?
AIM Columnist Misleads on Obama, Ayers Topic: Accuracy in Media
Jerome Corsi isn't the only one who has an old case of Obama Derangement Syndrome flaring up again.
In a May 17 Accuracy in Media column, Jim Kouri ("currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a staff writer for the New Media Alliance") fights an old battle by repeatedly mischaracterizing the relationship between Barack Obama and "former terrorist and Marxist university professor William Ayers." Kouri asserts that Obama and Ayers have a "friendship and business relationship," and that "When given the opportunity to serve on boards and appear at press conferences with Ayers, an up-and-coming politician named Barack Obama jumped at the chance."
Kouri is making statements and attributing motives he can't prove. He has no evidence to back up his claim that Obama joined the Chicago Annenberg Challenge or the Woods Fund specifically to have the "chance" to work with Ayers. Indeed, contrary to Kouri's claim that Obama and Ayers have a "friendship and business relationship," FactCheck.org points out that "so far as is known, their relationship was never very close. An Obama spokesman says they last saw each other in a chance encounter on the street more than a year ago."
Kouri also cites Ayers' "reputation as a cop-killer" despite offering no evidence that Ayers killed any cops. Kouri also can't get basic facts right: He writes that "In his 2001 memoir, Ayers wrote, 'I don't regret setting the bombs. I feel we didn't do enough'" ; in fact, he was quoted saying that in a 2001 New York Times article.
Further, Kouri baselessly claims a "suspected quid pro quo arrangement similar to those with Ayers and [Tony] Rezko" between Obama and Rashid Khalidi involving a Woods Fund grant to a Khalidi-operated group and Khalidi holding "a fundraising event in his home for Barack Obama." Kouri fails to mention that, as we've noted, a Khalidi-headed group also received funding from a group headed by Obama's 2008 presidential election opponent, John McCain.
Kouri's article is a muddled mess -- what were the supposed quid pro quos between Obama and Ayers and Rezko? Kouri never says. Further, it carries the headline "Demand President Obama honor fallen cops killed by his friends" without explaining the demand, let alone proving that the people he writes about are either cop-killers or Obama's friends. Kouri's Examiner.com blog sheds a little more light on the headline; its version of the column begins with an introduction noting National Police Memorial Day on May 15.
Another reason it's a muddled mess is that it's a rehash of a column Kouri wrote last October. At no point in the Examiner or AIM versions of his column is it noted that the column is several months old.
We've previously noted Kouri repeating dubious claims about the efficacy of torture and a bizarre defense of the Branch Davidians.
Jeffrey's Attacks on Obama Presented As CNS 'News' Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com normally does the best job in the ConWeb of at least keeping up the appearance of fairness and balance (even though it reallyisn't). Editor Terry Jeffrey, though, has tossed all pretense out the window with his "news" articles on President Obama's speech at Notre Dame's graduation.
Jeffrey's bias starts with the headline of his main article: "Obama Legitimizes Killing of Unborn Babies in Speech at Notre Dame's Graduation." Jeffrey continues:
After receiving an honorary doctorate in law at the University of Notre Dame’s graduation ceremony yesterday, President Barack Obama delivered a speech to the school's graduating seniors that sought to legitimize his position in favor of the legal killing of unborn children.
Obama told the graduates of the nation’s most well-known Catholic university that abortion “has both moral and spiritual dimensions”--although he did not explain why he had made this conclusion—and made it quite clear that, even so, he has no intention of moving from his position that it ought to be legal for a pregnant mother to have a doctor kill her unborn child for literally any reason at any stage of pregnancy.
The president also did not take back his declaration made in 2007 to Planned Parenthood that he would sign the Freedom of Choice Act, a bill that would eliminate all the state and federal limitations on abortion that have been achieved by the pro-life movement in the 26 years since the Supreme Court legalized abortion on demand in its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
Nor did Obama rescind his vow to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act that currently protects states that do not recognize same-sex marriages from being compelled by the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in other states.
Nor did he reverse his executive order allowing federal tax dollars to be used for research that kills human embryos in order to extract their stem cells.
Nor did he reverse his order to allow U.S. foreign aid dollars to be used to perform and promote abortion in foreign countries.
It's not until the ninth paragraph that Jeffrey gets around to highlighting something Obama did say, as opposed to what he didn't.
Jeffrey's subjective language on abortion-related terminology -- a longtime CNS bias -- permeates the article, rerfusing to use the accepted term "pro-choice" in favor of the misleading term "pro-abortion" as well as the needlessly inflammatory term "people who favor the legal killing of unborn children." Needless to say, he uses the euphemestic term "pro-life" instead of the more accurate "anti-abortion."
What less biased news organizations led with in their reports on Obama's speech -- Obama's call to both sides of the debate to make their case with "Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words" and "without reducing those with differing views to caricature" -- Jeffrey buries in the final paragraph of his article. Jeffrey clearly isn't interested in approaching this issue with "fair-minded words," even though he purports to be a journalist.
A secondary article by Jeffrey also announces its bias in the headline: "At Notre Dame, Pro-Abortion Obama Wears Prayer Symbolizing Dedication of all Notre Dame's Activities to Virgin Mary." Jeffrey doesn't explain his obsession with this -- CNS published an article in April stating the Notre Dame expected Obama to wear the prayer. Given that it's inscribed in the school's traditional doctrinal robe, that fact that Obama not only was expected to wear it but did is not newsworthy.