Joseph Farah begins his Aug. 24 WorldNetDaily column with a disingenuous claim: "WND provides what I believe to be the broadest forum of political commentary anywhere – not just on the Internet, but anywhere."
In fact, that's true only if your idea of "broad" is right-wing to far right-wing. As we've noted, nearly all of the three dozen or so regular writers on WND's commentary page are conservative, conservative Christian or libertarian -- in practice, there's little real distinction between them -- with only Ellen Ratner and Bill Press as token liberals.
This was the dishonest pretext for defending WND against Ann Coulter's criticism of WND for its birther obsession, which in Farah's words "included what I consider to be scathing personal indictments of me and the company I direct." The criticism that appears to have hit home for Farah is Coulter's claim that WND is "pushing it to get website hits":
To suggest we did this – that I did this – "to get website hits" and "that no sane person could believe it," is really hitting below the belt. I have grown to expect that sort of insult from the insanely jealous Michael Medved and the delusional Keith Olbermann, but not from Ann Coulter.
Does Ann Coulter think Rush Limbaugh is insane? How about her friend Sean Hannity? While neither has pioneered the story or pursued active investigations, both high-rated talkers, and good friends of Coulter, have skewered Obama about his refusal to release his birth certificate.
But Farah really doesn't respond to Coulter's accusation -- perhaps because it's true.
As we've detailed, WND has positioned itself to profit from the birther story, and getting website hits is a key part of that strategy. That's why WND was so quick to embrace the "Kenyan birth certificate" without bothering to vet it first -- a decision likely driven by a desire to drive traffic as much as Farah's obsessive hatred of Obama. When the certificate was discredited, what little credibilty WND has took a hit as well, and Farah has nobody but himself to blame for that.
Rather than complaining about "below the belt" hits from Coulter -- does she do any other kind? -- Farah needs to apologize for his website's excesses and embrace of false claims and decide whether he wants to be a journalist or an activist.
Geller Accuses Others of Distortion -- But She's Distorting Too Topic: Newsmax
In an Aug. 24 Newsmax column, Pamela Geller accuses the "media shills and Islamic machinery in the United States" of distorting the case of Fathima Rifqa Bary, the Ohio teen who fled to a pastor in Florida claiming her parents want to kill her for converting from Islam to Christianity. But Geller is stillhurling her own distortions.
Geller's main target of ire is Orlando Sentinel columnnist Mike Thomas, whose column on the Bary case Geller immediately distorted: "Thomas got nothing right. Not one detail. Further, at no point did he consider Rifqa’s testimony. At no point did he consider the consequences of Rifqa’s testimony. At no point did he consider the risk to Rifqa’s life."
Actually, Thomas got numerous facts correct -- facts Geller would rather not have get out, such as pointing out that Bary's father is "a middle-class jeweler with no documented history of abuse and no record of radical actions or beliefs" and noting pictures of Bary in a cheerleader outfit: "Somehow I can't imagine a Muslim extremist allowing his daughter to wear short skirts and shake pompoms in front of a crowd of infidels."
Geller responded to that last point with the nonsequitur: "Thomas knows nothing of honor killings in the West."
Geller went on to complain: "The media reported only the parents’ Islamist narrative — giving Rifqa’s story no air time or ink. They repeated the lies over and over again." But Geller does not know that the parents are lying, or that Rifqa is telling the truth. (Nor do we, for that matter.) Yet Geller has already made up her mind to promote her anti-Islam agenda, which of courses he denies she's doing:
Thomas decries an “anti-Muslim” bias in the media coverage of Rifqa’s case. In fact, there was an anti-Christian bias. The mainstream media vilified the good Christians who provided sanctuary to Rifqa, who sought only to escape her father’s threat to kill her.
Those "good Christians who provided sanctuary to Rifqa" also have cult-like tendencies, which Geller has not seen fit to report to her readers.
Further contradicting herself, Geller concludes with an anti-Islamic rant:
Salman Rushdie, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan, Geert Wilders: these truth tellers live under 24-hour guard because of Islamic death threats, which they received because they spoke the truth about Islam. Rifqa Bary has committed a far worse crime from the Islamic perspective: the crime of apostasy. Her testimony is far more dangerous to the stealth jihadists in America.
Rifqa Bary is the highest value target in America. She should be under 24-hour guard. And she should be given a fair shake in the media.
And she's accusing other people of distorting the case?
Meanwhile... Topic: Washington Examiner
Media Matters noted that the Washington Examiner published an Aug. 21 op-ed by Newt Gingrich attacking health care reform that identified him as "the founder of the Center for Health Transformation," but did not explain that Gingrich's group receives annual membership fees from several major health insurance companies, which have a financial interest in preventing the implementation of certain aspects of health care reform.
Aaron Klein Guilt-By-Association Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
Aaron Klein is still peddling guilt-by-association Obama smears.
His latest attempt is an Aug. 23 article asserting that Obama "participated in a controversial 1990s political party with a socialist agenda." But Klein's assertion of "particiapation" is way overstated: He reports only that, according to a member of the New Party -- the "political party with a socialist agenda" in question -- Obama met with a party subcommittee "to see if his stand on the living wage and similar reforms was the same as ours," and that Obama was not a member of the New Party "in any practical way."
But Klein insisted there was "qualifying language" involved, because while Obamanever signed a contract to become an official member of the party, the party official said "we simply affirmed there was no need to do so, because on all the key points, the stand of his campaign and the New Party reform planks were practically the same."
Klein has declared seeking the NewParty's endorsement one time equals "participation" in the party, even though he admits Obama was never a member of the party. That's the very definition of guilt by association, which Klein has been engaged in for months even though the 2008 election is long over.
Baker Divines Motives He Can't Possibly Know Topic: NewsBusters
In an Aug. 23 NewsBusters post, Brent Baker asserts that the fact that Seth Rogen, in the film "Funny People," is wearing a T-shirt that reads "Vote Kerry," with an image of John Kerry, means that "Some in Hollywood, it seems, just can't let go of past political hopes – or at least want to use their films to continue pushing their political preferences."
Baker does not know that. He cannot know that, unless he has attempted to contact Rogen or anyone else involved in the film and asked. Therefore, he is engaging in speculation, not imparting fact.
This is emblematic of the core problem with the Media Research Center's "research" -- it starts with a conclusion and finds evidence to support it -- as demonstrated by its insistence on blaming everything on liberal media bias -- and it engages in mind-reading by attributing motives it can't possibly know.
Over the past week, religious blogger Richard Bartholomew has done an outstanding job of shooting down numerous claims published by WorldNetDaily:
He dismantled WND columnist Janet Porter's fearmongering that the government will force all Americans to get swine flu vaccines and will send those who refuse to one of the internment camps the National Guard was seeking employees for (another bogus conspiracy Porter and others at WND bought into).
He called out WND for a misleading headline suggesting that the baptism of Barack Obama's mother was somehow illegitimate when, in fact, the baptism in question is an unauthorized one performed in her name by the Mormon Church long after her death.
He demolished another example of Joel Richardson's questional biblical scholarship. Richardson had claimed that the army that destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem was actually overwhelmingly comprised of Middle Eastern peoples, not Romans or Europeans, insisting that "the historical evidence is overwhelming." As Bartholomew points out, Richardson doesn't do any actual research on the issue but, rather, "guides us through some of the primary sources and recent secondary literature on the subject. And even here Richardson fails to provide page numbers and his quotes are dubious."Bartholomew adds that such a claim "is part of the Christian Zionist fantasy of an essentialised eternal conflict between east and west, which today pits the USA and Israel against Muslims."
Bartholomew has some insightful writing on religious extremism of all stripes.
Sheppard Discredits Himself In Two Paragraphs Topic: NewsBusters
Noel Sheppard writes in an Aug. 23 NewsBusters post:
On August 5, Congressman Brian Baird (D-Wash.) likened recent town hall meeting protesters to Nazis:
"What we're seeing right now is close to Brown Shirt tactics. I mean that very seriously."
In the space of two paragraphs, Sheppard has just discredited his own post. As he proves, Baird did not "liken recent town hall meeting protesters to Nazis"; he likened the protesters' tactics to those of Nazis.
Is Sheppard really unable to tell the difference between criticizing a person and criticizing aperson's tactics? Or is he just feigning ignorance in order to throw up a cheap, dirty attack post?
An Aug. 22 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn details how Michael Savage's website "was forced to shut down for nearly an hour" due to a "computer hacker, who had snuck into the webpage's server." Zahn added, "The website's repair crew told WND the hacker had broken in through a feedback portal, requiring the site to be shut down before any further damage was done."
What Zahn doesn't report: Savage's website is hosted by WND. That's a conflict of interest that should have been disclosed, but WND frequentlyviolates journalistic ethics by failing to offer such disclosure.
Zahn also lists a number of people who appear with Savage on a list of people banned from Britain. Conspicuously absent from Zahn's list is Mike Guzovsky, aka Yekutiel Ben Yaacov, a one-time source for WND reporter Aaron Klein who is a sympathizer of the outlawed far-right Kach/Kahane Chai movement in Israel. WND whitewashed Guzovsky's identity, changing the description of him from a "extremist" to a "nationalist," and Klein himself has responded by touting Guzofsky as merely a patriotic Jew who leads "workshops to teach self-defense to Jews" and fails to acknowledge Kahane's violent history or his condoning of fellow Kahanist Baruch Goldstein's 1994 massacre of 29 Arabs at Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs.
Indeed, WND has not mentioned Guzovsky's name, let alone his placement on that list, since May 16, even though WND has done numerous articles on Savage's ban that reference other members of the list.
Mooney Misleads in Bashing Al Gore Topic: NewsBusters
In an Aug. 21 NewsBusters post, Kevin Mooney touts a new "documentary" purporting to claim that "Scientifically unsound claims about global warming are being used to seduce young students and to cajole lawmakers into accepting the legitimacy of regulatory schemes that restrict the use of fossils fuels." Mooney writes:
Although the British High Court recently ruled in favor of parents who objected to the distribution of Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth” in the school system, its message of pending man-made climate catastrophe continues to hold sway with students who are interviewed in“Not Evil, Just Wrong."
John Day, the lawyer for British parents who sued the British Department of Education over Gore’s film, discusses the court ruling in the film and compares actual scientific estimates of climate change contained in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) with the assertions made in “An Inconvenient Truth.”
“The judge identified nine aspects of `An Inconvenient Truth,’ nine core errors, where Al Gore either misstated the IPCC or prejudicially exaggerated what they found,” Day said. “For example in relation to the sea level rises which is perhaps the starkest error in Al Gore's film arguably. Al Gore is giving an impression that the sea level is going to rise by 20 feet in a very near future. The IPCC talks about 20 feet sea level rises over millennia, over thousands of years, thousands and thousands of years. And sea level rises by a matter of inches by the end of the century. Now that is a very disturbing misstatement of the science.”
Mooney fails to mention that, as we've detailed, the judge also said many of the claims made by the film were fully backed up by the weight of science. He identified “four main scientific hypotheses, each of which is very well supported by research published in respected, peer-reviewed journals and accords with the latest conclusions of the IPCC.”
Further, Gore never claimed that "the sea level is going to rise by 20 feet in a very near future." What he did say is that there would be a 20-foot rise in sea levels if the Greenland or West Antarctic ice sheets were to melt completely or collapse at an indefinite point in the future.
Obama-Nazi-Sauron Reference of the Day Topic: WorldNetDaily
For example, take Gandalf's admonition to Frodo: "Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again." Just like Gandalf had to wage constant battles with the forces of evil in his day – Sauron, the equivalent of Satan, Saruman, a corrupt puppet of Sauron, the former mentor of Gandalf, and the legions of Sauron's foot soldiers, useful idiots Tolkien calls Orcs – so do we battle the fascist tactics of President Barack Obama in modern times.
Gandalf just as easily could have been discussing the decline of Western Civilization and America in the Age of Obama.
It amazes me that just 20 years after the great Ronald Reagan brought peace, economic stability and record prosperity to the United States as the tyrannical evil empire of Soviet communism began to crumple throughout the world, this diminutive Marxist professor, Barack Obama, is not only systematically deconstructing the fabled "Reagan Revolution" brick by brick, policy by policy, but he has arrogantly proclaimed FDR's "New Deal Part 2." Recall that it was these unconstitutional programs like Social Security, WPA and AFDC that first addicted Americans to the destructive narcotic of socialism as it plunged the United States, Europe and most of the civilized world into a self-destructive love affair with the welfare state.
Frodo replied to Gandalf: I wish it need not have happened in my time. Frodo is like most Americans today – good, hard-working people who want to believe that their president will not willfully lie to them, yet are they so willfully naïve to believe that a government that will soon control their entire lives from cradle to grave will not decide who lives and who dies? That's delusional thinking.
The Jewish people believed this Big Lie 80 years ago, and Hitler took their gold teeth from their mouths, cut the hair from their heads and made soap and lampshades out of their flesh for profit!
Tapscott Claims Beck Is Being Slandered, But Doesn't Say How Topic: Washington Examiner
Mark Tapscott runs to the defense of Glenn Beck, sort of, in his Aug. 20 Washington Examiner column. While Tapscott says he has "no idea" wether Beck is correct in attacking President Obama as a "racist" with "an abiding hatred of white people," he is nonetheless certain that Beck is the victim of "a vicious, hypocritical campaign to slander him" led by Color of Change, which is leading a advertiser boycott against Beck's Fox News show. Tapscott dismisses Color of Change as "the Potemkin creation of a former MoveOn.org organizer and his three cohorts."
While Tapscott insists that Beck is being slandered, he offers no evidence of what exactly the "slander" is. Yet Tapscott himself is not afraid of slandering people, having once declared that Joe Biden's use of "Jesus Christ" as an expletive was "hate speech" -- despite never providing his readers the full context in which Biden used the exclamation so readers could judge for themselves.
Following in the footsteps of her similarly one-sided article the day before, an Aug. 20 CNSNews.com article by Penny Starr quotes only "conservative analysts" claiming that because an amendment was rejected to the health care reform package that explicitly sets up a "verification provision" to excluse illegal immigrants from taking advantage of public health care, the bill "s and other non-citizens to receive medical services paid for by taxpayers."
As before, no dissenting view is presented. One dissenting view that Starr could have provided but apparently chose not to is that of Rep. Lloyd Doggett, who claims that the amendment is not necessary because the bill prevents anyone in this country illegally from gaining federal help for premiums, just as current law prevents those people from gaining Medicaid and other medical coverage.
CNS, by the way, still claims that it "endeavors to fairly present all legitimate sides of a story." But Starr has failed to do that for the second day in a row.
WND Hiding Facts In Conversion Case Topic: WorldNetDaily
How do we know there's a high likelihood Chelsea Schilling, in an Aug. 20 WorldNetDaily article, is hiding facts in the case of Fathima Rifqa Bary, the 17-year-old who ran away from home claiming her parents plan to kill her because she converted from Islam to Christianity? Schilling cites blogger (and Newsmax columnist) Pamela Geller, who we'vedocumented hiding facts about the case.
And indeed, Schilling does exactly that. She reports that Bary's father called the pastor to whom Bary fled, Blake Lorenze and his Global Revolution Church, "a cult group who kidnapped my daughter and took her away." But she ignores the evidence that suggests cult-likebehavior on the part of Lorenz: his claim, as reported by Richard Bartholomew, that he receives special personal messages from God about the imminent end of the world.
While Schilling reports that an Ohio police officer who investigated the case told the press that Rifqa's father "comes across to me as a loving, caring, worried father about the whereabouts and the health of his daughter," she adds that a group called International Christian Concern (an anti-persecution group) claimed that "a source who spoke with the same investigating officer said the officer indicated earlier that he has spoken with 20 different people who warned him that the girl's life was in danger."
The ICC press release on Bary makes the same anonymous, unsubstantiated claim, citing only an unnamed "ICC source." We're guessing the "source" is taking the officer's comments out of context; ICC must reveal more information in order for its claim to be treated as credible.
Given WND's recent history of embracing anonymous claims, it's no surprise that Schilling would fall in line as well.