Shocker: MRC Writer Throws Off the Blinders Topic: NewsBusters
An Aug. 6 NewsBusters post by Mitchell Blatt commits a grievous offense for a Media Research Center writer: He refuses to blameliberal bias for a media company's problems.
In noting that the company's "operating income dropped by over 30 percent in its latest earning report," Blatt shockingly states that the company's "struggles are due to the recession, but newspapers have been struggling long before the recession. With content available for free online, fewer people are paying to subscribe to newspapers and magazines." Even more shockingly, Blatt predicts that the company's plans to charge for online content will fail not because of the far-left bias of said content but, rather, because "Americans have been reluctant to pay for subscription fees for news content online, especially after having received it for free for fifteen years."
What's that? The company Blatt is writing about is News Corp., owner of conservative outlets like Fox News and the New York Post?
Newsmax Fully On Board With The Birthers Topic: Newsmax
This past week marked Newsmax's official coming out as a member of the birther conspiracy, demanding the release of Barack Obama's "long-form" birth certificate.
While it had published the occasionalarticle touching on it, it was never as obsessed as WorldNetDaily. That shifted in July with a repetition of birther talking points, repeated in an Aug. 3 article claiming that "Lou Dobbs is right" on the issue.
Newsmax editor Christopher Ruddy officially signed on this week -- first in an Aug. 3 appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor" (apparently subbing for WND's Joseph Farah, whose demands O'Reilly decided not to accede to), then in an Aug. 5 column rehashing those old talking points.
While Ruddy asserts that "I believe Obama was born somewhere in the state of Hawaii," he adds that "we have no idea of his birthplace," and concludes with a list of presidential birthplaces, with Obama's listed as "unknown."
Ruddy then tries to refame the issue: "The issue over Obama’s birth certificate is not about President Obama’s citizenship. It is about his honesty and his promise to be the most transparent president ever." Or it could be that the issue is Obama's critics refusing to accept the validity of official state documents in order to de-legitimize him. Ruddy is curiously silent on that possibility.
Your Joseph Farah Birther Lie of the Day Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah just can't stop lying about WorldNetDaily's coverage of the Obama birth certificate, can he?
IN his Aug. 6 column, he asserts: "Once again, I am not making accusations about where Obama was born."
"The only living person who claims publicly to have been present at Obama's birth is his paternal grandmother, Sarah Obama, who says the birth took place in Mombassa, Kenya."-- Farah, July 23
Of course, the only living person in the world who claims to have been present for Obama's birth is his paternal grandmother, Sarah Obama, who says it took place in Mombasa, Kenya. -- Farah, July 15
Further, as we've documented, that claim is false -- a fact Farah and WND have hidden from their readers.
Telling a lie about where someone said Obama was born is, in fact, making an accusation about where Obama was born.
Farah also writes:
His "evidence" is a document that could never and will never suffice. It's called a certification of live birth. It is not a birth certificate. It does not prove even the first question we ask for proof of natural born citizenship: Was the subject born in the United States?
It wasn't just possible to obtain such a document having been born outside the country, it was actually quite easy. All it would take was the word of one parent.
But since certifications of live birth are generated from the original birth certificate, Farah is saying that the original "long-form" birth certificate, because it could have been based on fraudulent information, is not acceptable evidence of Obama's birth -- even though that's what he's been screaming for for months.
In short: There is no evidence Farah will accept as sufficient proof of Obama's birth in Hawaii.
CNS Downplays Evidence of Manufactured Town Hall Outrage Topic: CNSNews.com
An August 6 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas uncritically promotes the claim by "conservative activist" Rick Scott of Conservatives for Patients Rights that "Vocal opposition to the Democrats’ health care overhaul legislation – evident at town hall meetings across the United States -- is genuine, not manufactured." But Lucas downplays evidence that the opposition is at least partly manufactured.
While Lucas notes a statement by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs that Scott's group is among the groups "that have bragged about organizing and manufacturing that anger," and added in the final paragraph of his article that "Conservatives for Patients' Rights’ Web site has posted a list of town hall forums scheduled by members of Congress," Lucas fails to report other evidence of coordination behind protests at town hall meetintgs -- including the fact that Conservatives for Patients' Rights is taking credit for ginning up the town-hall outrage.
When you're taking credit for manufacturing outrage, it does tend to undercut your claim that the outrage isn't manufactured. Too bad Lucas didn't feel the need to tell his readers that.
I recall an episode of the 1970s documentary "Scared Straight" in which one of the teenage subjects (whom the authorities were attempting to turn from his evil ways via direct exposure to convicts) divulged that it was his intention to enroll in technical school to learn about security systems. That way, he reasoned, he would have carte blanche with respect to any establishment he wished to rob.
So I believe was the objective of one young Barack Hussein Obama when he set about the study of constitutional law. This does make sense; in many ways, President Obama's machinations have been akin to those of a stalker or bullying neighbor who has sufficient knowledge of the law to keep his actions just inside the law, while smugly flouting all notions of morality and ethics.
WND Debunks Kenyan Birth Certificate -- But Raises More Questions Topic: WorldNetDaily
Deviating from established policy in its reporting on President Obama,, WorldNetDaily has surprisingly found a lie it will no longer perpetrate.
An Aug. 6 WND article by Jerome Corsi states, "The Kenyan birth document released by California attorney Orly Taitz is probably not authentic, according to WND's investigative operatives in Africa." Corsi added that "WND obtained several samples of Kenyan birth certificates in use around Aug. 4, 1961, the date of Obama's birth, showing differences from the Taitz document."
This appears to be a direct contradiction of claims in WND articles published Aug. 3 and Aug. 4, which stated: "WND was able to obtain other birth certificates from Kenya for purposes of comparison, and the form of the documents appear to be identical." WND never detailed how "the documents appear to be identical," or published the documents used to make that determination. Further, Corsi does not explain how WND's stance flip-flopped from "identical" to "showing differences."
But as the image of the "authentic 1961-era Kenyan birth certificate obtained by WND" included in Corsi's article demonstrates, it looks completely different from the Orly Taitz-linked "Kenyan birth certificate." There is absolutely no way a reasonable person could claimed that the two "appear to be identical. (Then again, who said that WND employees were reasonable people?)
WND needs to explain the discrepancy. Was WND lying when it claimed the two "appeared to be identical"? Unless WND publishes the documents it used to make that determination, we must assume that it was, in fact, lying in order to perpetuate its editorial policy of smearing Obama (and, of course, to make money).
More MRC Tunnel Vision Topic: Media Research Center
We've previously detailed the Media Research Center's overeagerness to blame "liberal bias" for any and all media ills. Jeff Poor contributes with an August 5 MRC Business & Media Institute article (and NewsBusters post) blaming lower ratings at CNBC on, yes, liberal bias.
Poor's take is all the more interesting because he notes that other analysts have cited the network's "rightward, anti-Obama tilt,"specifically Rick Santeili's rant and Jim Cramer's attacks on Obama. But ignore all of that, Poor asserts:
But, the shift of CNBC has been anything but more to the right. The Cramer/Stewart feud followed Cramer's outspoken criticism of President Barack Obama's economic policies, and CNBC CME floor reporter Rick Santelli's famous outburst about the Obama's administration's mortgage policies. Since then, the network has gone out of its way to appease elements on the left and its ratings have dropped during that period.
Liberal storefronts have set up shop to influence editorial policy of CNBC (albeit without the same fervor they did three months ago). The network has hired former DNC chair and Vermont Gov. Howard Dean as a contributor and brought in Huffington Post liberal co-founder Arianna Huffington as a guest host on multiple occasions.
And according to the April 16 New York Post's gossip page "Page Six," CNBC brass had even instructed by General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt and NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker to back off some of the anti-Obama rhetoric come from the likes of Cramer and Santelli.
But, it was from that point forward that CNBC had seen its ratings show a real decline.
But Poor offers no evidence that CNBC had any liberal-leaning commentators before -- while Cramer had his own daily program and Santelli reported regularly. Rather than portending a shift to the left, the addition of Dean and Huffington appear more to provide a balance to the likes of Cramer and Santelli.
Further, if viewers were genuinely turned off by the purported leftward shift of CNBC, they would have presumably gravitated to the competition, themore reliably right-leaning Fox Business Network. But Poor offers no Fox Business ratings -- perhaps because they are so low the folks at News Corp. won't release them.
This is the kind of tunnel vision that the MRC makes such a poor media watchdog (pun quasi-intended).
Another Evidence-Free Aaron Klein Article Topic: WorldNetDaily
Aaron Klein is hurling more anonymous accusations at President Obama. This time, in an Aug. 5 WorldNetDaily article -- provocatively headlined "Obama's spies monitoring Jews house-to-house" -- Klein asserts: "The Obama administration has set up an apparatus to closely monitor Jewish construction in Jerusalem and the strategic West Bank to the point of watching Israeli moves house-to-house in certain key neighborhoods."
His source? "informed Israeli officials," who "spoke on condition that their names be withheld."
The only person Klein names in relation to the charge is David Ha'ivri, "spokesmen [sic] for the Shomron Regional Council in the West Bank." But Ha'ivri is much more than a "spokesman" -- as we've detailed, he's a follower of Israeli extremist Meir Kahane and sympathizer of the Kahane-inspired (and outlawed) far-right Israeli political party Kach/Kahane Chai.
In other words, Ha'ivri is not exactly an unbiased source, though Klein has repeated featured his comments several times over the years (while hiding his extremist background). And Klein otherwise has no evidence from anyone on the record, which makes his claim meaningless until proven otherwise.
This is just the latestattack by Klein based on ephemeral anonymous sources.
Obama Hate Central: WND Still Pushing Obama-As-Antichrist Meme Topic: WorldNetDaily
How much does WorldNetDaily hate Barack Obama? It has published another article literally portraying him as the Antichrist.
An Aug. 5 WND column by Joel Richardson carries the headline, "What Obama and the Antichrist have in common." Richardson tries to be too clever by half, asserting that "Before I continue, I want to make it very clear that in no way do I believe that President Obama is the Antichrist" -- then outlining all the ways that Obama is like the Antichrist.
Richardson works in the theme of his new WND-published book "The Islamic Antichrist," in which he claims that, yes, the Antichrist is Islamic -- specifically, the messianic figure known as the Mahdi. As blogger Richard Bartholomew has detailed, this view relies on "voodoo scholarship" by reading contemporary events into the Bible's Book of Daniel when "it was written with a contemporary audience [the 2nd Century BCE] in mind; it does not contain secrets that make sense only thousands of years later."
Richardson then ties it all together by making the long-discredited suggestion that Obama is a secret Muslim:
We have just watched as a man lacking virtually any proper qualifications rose to become the most powerful man in the world, almost solely on his charisma and his shallow appeal to class envy. Today, throughout the Islamic world, the masses are yearning for and longing for a populist messiah figure known as the Mahdi who, according to their very own prophecies, will employ precisely the same methods as Obama.
So, yeah, despite what Richardson deceptively claims, he is portraying Obama as the Antichrist. What a sleaze.
UPDATE: Last August, WND columnist Hal Lindsey claimed that Obama was preparing the world for the Antichrist.
Double Standard Fail At the MRC Topic: Media Research Center
In an Aug. 3 MRC TimesWatch post, Clay Waters accuses the New York Times of employing a "double standard" on reporting on the economy. His evidence? A recent article noting that the rate of contraction in the economy has slowed, "crystallizing expectations of a turnaround in the second half of the year." Waters complained that this "portrayed it in positive terms," while an August 2008 Times story carried the headline "More Arrows Seen Pointing to a Recession" despite slight growth in the GDP.
Waters somehow missed the fact that the 2008 article noted "arrows pointing to a recession" because that's what was, in fact, happening -- even though his excerpt of the article also noted "a surge in claims for unemployment benefits" and that a previous quarter's GDP numbers "were revised downward to show a contraction -- the first official slide backward since the last recession in 2001."
The article also noted that the growth in that particular quarter was due to increased exports, a decrease in imports, and consumer spending spurred by a federal tax rebate: "Without that contribution, the economy would have contracted."
While Waters makes a big deal out of how the recent numbers "mark the first time in years the economy has contracted for four straight quarters," at no point does Waters dispute that a slowing of contraction could be described, as the Times' headline stated, a "hopeful sign" -- just that the Times portrayed it as such.
Schilling Buries the Lede, Smears Michelle Obama Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Aug. 4 WorldNetdaily article by Chelsea Schilling began in a quite sinister manner:
Why did Michelle Obama give up her license to practice law in 1993?
Records at the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois list her status as "voluntarily inactive and not authorized to practice law."
It further states that Michelle license is "on court ordered inactive status."
The statement has many bloggers wondering why a court would issue an order to stop Michelle Obama from practicing law, and some have even suggested the first lady may have been facing allegations of misconduct.
Then, Schilling decides not to answer that question for a while, preferring instead to engage in an irrelevant, Investor's Business Daily-sourced screed about Obama's decision to abandon work in a law firm for a job in public service that committed the offense of "staffing AIDS clinics."
It's not until the 23rd paragraph of her article that Schilling gets around to the declared point of her article -- what happened to Obama's law license: the only way for a lawyer to go on inactive status is to file a court order to do so.
And it's not until paragraph 37 that Schilling writes:
"There's absolutely no indication of any disciplinary proceeding ever lodged against Michelle Obama," he said.
Why is that information at paragraphs 23 and 37 instead of paragraphs 4 and 5?
Because Schilling and WND want to smear Michelle Obama.
Because Schilling and WND love conspiracies, and they want to create the illusion of one over Michelle Obama's law license -- even though they are forced to admit one doesn't exist.
Because they Schilling and WND viscerally hate Michelle Obama.
In an Aug. 4 Newsmax column, Pamela Geller goes deep into birther territory, rehashing discredited and irrelevant conspiracies regarding Barack Obama's birth certificate.
Geller spends a needlessly large amount of space on the case of Jay McKinnon, who in July 2008 posted what he claimed to be Obama's birth certificate on the Daily Kos website that, according to Geller, "even to the layman’s eye, it was obvious that the Kos COLB had been altered." Geller touted how the Israel Insider website broke the news that McKinnon "implicated himself in the production of palpably fake Hawaii birth certificate images."
Missing from Geller's account is McKinnon's side of the story. In an interview posted on Daily Kos, McKinnon said that he posted the fake certificate to serve as a magnet for conspiracy theorists (like Geller). McKinnon also discussed Israel Insider, a right-wing, anti-Obama blog with ties to WorldNetDaily's similarly right-wing, anti-Obama reporter Aaron Klein:
Opendna: Reuven Koret, publisher of Isreal Insider, has written that you admitted to forgery.
Jay McKinnon: Reuven Koret wrote me a number of emails before he published his article. Using a kind of Good Cop/Bad Cop style he alternatively offered to keep my statements off the record, and threatened to report me to DHS and CSIS and reveal my identity before an audience larger than DailyKos. When I asked for his questions, he sent me five which required that I both admit to a crime and suggested I implicate other innocent people (including Markos Moulitsas and unidentified members of the Obama Campaign staff) in a conspiracy. I regarded his overtures as a form of journalistic blackmail, in which I either told him what he wanted to hear or he would libel me on his website.
I informed him that I believed his article was based on libel and provided him with this statement: "I believe there is overwhelming evidence that Senator Obama is a natural born US Citizen, and I have no evidence to contradict that belief."
Evidently that wasn’t what he wanted to hear because a few days he published his article omitting that quote.
Opendna: What do you think of Reuven Koret?
Jay McKinnon: He appears to write under his own name and is skillful at his craft: smearing his ideological opponents. I would not call him a journalist, investigative or otherwise. An internet pundit, maybe. Probably just a blogger who thinks writing scurrilous things about Senator Obama is good for site traffic.
Geller then went on to claim that the birth certificate posted on Obama's campaign websiteis a "horrible forgery," according to the analysis of "Techdude."Geller summarized "Techdude's" credentials:
He is an active member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the American College of Forensic Examiners, the International Society of Forensic Computer Examiners, the International Information Systems Forensics Association — the list goes on.
He is also board certified as a forensic computer examiner, a certificated legal investigator, and a licensed private investigator. He has been performing computer based forensic investigations since 1993 (although back then it did not even have a formal name yet) and he has performed countless investigations since then.
Only, not so much. Not only has "Techdude's" analysis of the birth certificate been discredited, his credentials apparently have been as well.
Geller also references other baseless Obama conspiracies, such as "the passport on which he traveled to Pakistan in 1981." To her credit, though, she does dismiss the Kenyan birth certificate that WorldNetDaily desperately wants to believe is real as an "obvious forgery."
Geller then complains about the "veritable birth certificate circus" for distracting right-wingers and blames not ringleaders like herself for this situation but ... Obama:
Let’s not cloud the issue. Obama’s COLB was altered. He should produce the vault copy. Then the opposition can get on with the business of stopping his destruction of the economy and his weakening of American hegemony as he pursues his disastrous foreign policy.
Geller never seems to comprehend the possibility that the "circus" could easily end when circus clowns like herself choosing to stop telling lies.
Newsmax's Walsh Repeats Health Reform Falsehoods Topic: Newsmax
An August 4 Newsmax column by James Walsh repeats discredited falsehoods about health care reform.
Walsh writes that the reform bills "include provisions for mandatory 'end-of-life counseling' or 'advanced care planning consultation' for all seniors (defined as anyone 65 years of age or older) to be scheduled every five years." In fact, such consultation is not mandatory.
Walsh also claims that "The proposed legislation would require all hospitals, health clinics, and medical staff to provide for abortions." In fact, as the Washington Post reported, abortion is not explicitly mentioned in any of the major health-care bills under consideration in Congress; therefore, there cannot be an abortion mandate of the kind Walsh claims exists.
Walsh also engages in a host of smears of immigrants (for wanting an American lifestyle) and of Obama for purportedly favoring eugenics:
Immigrants, legal and illegal, need to realize that the U.S. lifestyle that attracted them may not survive in the new Obama America. Immigrants could find themselves in a totalitarian nation. Globalist Democrats see abortion as a population-control measure, and leftist “progressives” ensconced in the Obama administration see it as a tool in social engineering, adopting the disgraced eugenics of the past.
WND Still Defending Keynan Birth Certificate Topic: WorldNetDaily
In the face of mounting evidence that the "Kenyan birth certificate" it published is a fraud, WorldNetDaily is placing much more effort on defending its authenticity.
While an Aug. 4 article notes the Washington Independent's detailing of how the document is apparently a altered version of an Australian birth certificate, WND quickly sets that aside, devoting more text to detail how a website linked to lawyer Orly Taitz "provided replies to the point-by-point criticisms."
Except that it didn't. That particular website's responses are largely unsupported or speculative, it does not address the Australian certificate, and it makes a previously discredited claim even more false by asserting that Obama's grandmother made a "sworn statement that she was present at Obama's birth in Kenya." As we've detailed, she did no such thing, let alone make a "sworn statement" to that effect.
WND curiously fails to obtain an updated response from Taitz regarding the certificate, or to report statements she has made in other venues. Salon.com reports that on her blog, Taitz asserted that the "Bomford report" -- the Australian birth certificate -- "was created to try to discredit my efforts." As the Washington Independent pointed out, "The Bomford birth certificate, not 'report,' was created in 1964 and posted online several years ago."
(WND also fails to alert its readers that, according to Salon, "both Google and Firefox identify Taitz's site as an attack site that contains malware.")
The article also repeats a previous claim that "WND was able to obtain other birth certificates from Kenya for purposes of comparison, and the form of the documents appear to be identical." But WND has yet to post any of those "birth certificates from Kenya" it claims to have obtained so that its readers may compare for themselves.