NewsBusters Ignores The Kind of Bias It Likes Topic: NewsBusters
In a May 20 NewsBusters post, Ken Shepherd runs to the defense of a Twitter user who accused MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer of attacking Republicans "but [has] nothing else to talk about." Brewer had responded via Twitter that she "criticize[s] anyone who I think isn't making sense." Shepherd then claimed that NewsBusters' "archive of Brewer bias shows plenty of doozies."
Unmentioned by Shepherd is the fact that Media Matters also has an "archive of Brewer bias" -- the kind of bias that Shepherd and his Twitter friend would like to see.
WND's Unruh Hauls Out the Nazi Smear Again Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh has a long history of likening anyone who can be potrayed as opposing homeschooling to Nazis. He does so again in a May 19 WND article by repeatedly noting that restrictions on homeschooling in Germany is "a leftover from its Nazi era" -- even though it's irrelevent to the subject at hand, in this case criticism of mandatory attendance for a "state-run sex education program" for 9- and 10-year-olds. Unruh goes on to refer to the German government's "totalitarian-type ban on homeschooling."
Unruh goes on to attack the sex-ed classes as "indoctrination" and baselessly asserted that the classes taught "that if something feels good sexually, then it is acceptable to do it." Unruh cites an action filed by the right-wing (though of course he doesn't call it that) Alliance Defense Fund as support for the claim -- but that claim comes straight from an ADF press release. Unruh demonstrates no evidence that he contacted German school officials for their views on the case, let alone details about the curriculum in question.
Unruh also fails to mention the efficacy of sex education in Germany, which most other reporters would consider to be relevant to the issue at hand. In the 1990s, the rate of both birth and abortion for girls age 15-19 was much lower than that of the United States. It seems that the ADF is opposing a program that works quite well -- something Unruh fails to relate to his readers.
Another Newsmax Columnist Invents A Quote Topic: Newsmax
What is it with Newsmax columnists inventing quotes?
In March, we had James Humes putting words into President Obama's mouththat he never substantiated. Now, a May 21 column by James H. Walsh begins by quoting Obama adviser David Axelrod as saying, "The 'TEA Party' movement is an unhealthy mutation from public dissatisfaction with the Obama administration’s economic policies."
But Axelrod didn't say that -- that quote doesn't exist. A Google search uncovered no evidence of Axelrod saying this exact quote.
What Walsh appears to be referring to is an appearance by Axelrod on the April 19 edition of CBS' "Face the Nation," in which Axelrod does use the word "unhealthy" and "mutate." But the full context is something other than the quote Walsh made up:
HARRY SMITH (guest host): What do you make of this spreading and very public disaffection with, not only the government, but especially the Obama administration -- the tea parties this week? You even have the governor of Texas even using the word secession? What -- should Texas be allowed to secede?
AXELROD: Well, I don't think that really warrants a serious response. I don't think most Texans were all that enthused by the governor's --
SMITH: But what about the first part of the question. This building disaffection --
AXELROD: -- by the governor's suggestion. Look, I think any time -- I think any time that you have severe economic conditions, there is always an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that's unhealthy.
SMITH: Is this unhealthy?
AXELROD: Well, we're in a -- this is a country where we value our liberties and our ability to express ourselves, and so far, these are expressions. Now, one thing I would say is, the thing that bewilders me is this president just cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people. So, I think the tea bags should be directed elsewhere, because he certainly understands the burden that people face.
Axelrod is not talking specifically about the tea parties; he's also addressing the idea of secession -- and Axelrod is specifically responding to the secession issue when he refers to "an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that's unhealthy." Axelrod never called the tea parties an "unhealthy mutation."
Nevertheless, Walsh asserts: "Since when is free speech, as personified by the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party grass-roots citizens movement, 'unhealthy'?" -- even though Axelrod specifically says that "this is a country where we value our liberties and our ability to express ourselves."
Apparently, it's easier for Newsmax to make up stuff about the Obama administration than report facts.
Feder Misleads on Times, Nuclear Power Topic: Accuracy in Media
In a May 20 BoycottNYT.com screed bashing the New York Times for supporting the raising of average fuel economy of vehicles to "a brutal 39 miles per gallon," Don Feder asserts that America could "limit our dependence on foreign oil" by "building nuclear power plants again,' which "The Times opposes."
In fact, the construction of nuclear power plants would have a negligible impact on importation of oil -- as of 2006, only 1.6 percent of power plants in the U.S. were fueled by petroleum.
Further, the Times does not oppose nuclear power. A May 2005 Times editorial stated that it is "critical to keep nuclear power as part of the nation's energy mix."
WND's 'Truth and Transparency Campaign" Topic: WorldNetDaily
So WND editor Joseph Farah has declded to call his "Where's the Birth Certificate?" billboard campaign -- the first one appearing in the major media center of Ball, Louisiana -- "the truth and transparency campaign."
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.