Graham Misleadingly Smears Author of Ted Kennedy Profile, Fulfills His Prediction Topic: NewsBusters
In an Aug. 29 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham describes Charles Pierce as "the self-impressed Boston clod who is so deeply a tool of the Kennedys that he infamously wrote in the Boston Globe Magazine in 2004 that 'If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age.'"
As we've detailed, the MRC has long taken that line out of context; in fact, rather than an example of sycophancy, it was part of a larger criticism meant to show that the death of Kopechne kept Ted Kennedy from having the "moral credibility" to be president.
Graham also noted Pierce's statement on Eric Alterman's blog at The Nation that Kennedy "leaves behind a pair of shoes that most of his Senate contemporaries could use for swimming pools." Graham snarkily added: "The swimming metaphors are probably not the best choice." Graham failed to mention that immediately after writing that, Pierce fired a zinger at ... a prominent Democratic senator: "Harry Reid, come on down!"
Pierce also seems to have predicted Graham's smear of him by concluding:
That long, extended, respectful peace beside the dark harbor is going to be a good bulwark of memory to have when the smugness and the vicious ignorance and the nearly bottomless banality that usually encrusts our politics reasserts itself, probably by Sunday. Amen.
Pierce was off by an hour or so: Graham posted his NewsBusters item at 10:50 p.m. on Saturday.
Quantifying Your Religious Worldview Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Aug. 29 WorldNetDaily column by David d'Escoto imploring right-wingers to pull their children out of public schools, citing an alleged "direct link between our country's precipitous slide into socialism and decades of indoctrination in leftist school ideologies," makes a curious claim:
Fact after fact shows that when children are subject to 12 years of liberal ideologies for about 14,000 hours of their lives, the overwhelming majority of them will grow up to think, act and vote like … you guessed it, liberals. We ignore all of that even when studies shows that "83 percent of children from committed Christian families attending public schools adopt a Marxist-Socialist worldview."
How is it possible to even quantify such a thing? We followed the link d'Escoto supplied, which went to a May 2007 CBN on a related subject. It cited the Barna Group, which calls itself "the leading research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture," as the source for that claim. But a search of the firm's website uncovered no such research. (Barna does do research on religious worldviews, which we've previously noted.) But further Googling showed that otherwriters attribute the claim to the Nehemiah Institute.
The Nehemiah Institute is an organization that provides "Christian education programs" with the goal of "restoring our nation to a biblically-based society as it once was." Its main program is called the PEERS [Politics, Economics, Education, Religion, and Social Issues] test. It's described as "a series of statements carefully structured to identify a person's worldview" in those fivecategories, with the goal of "compar[ing] a student's worldview with that of their teachers or parents."
The more direct goal of the PEERS test is detailed on the institute's "about" page: "The purpose of the research is to help individuals and organizations identify key areas where their views of life are contrary to Biblical reasoning. The test serves as a survey of the 'damage to our walls.' "
In other words, it measures right-wing Christian indoctrination and the areas in which it has failed. That's made even more clear with the four worldview categories a student taking the PEERS test can fall under: Biblical Theism, Moderate Christian, Secular Humanist, and Socialist.
Despite the apparently biased nature of the grouping -- who says the polar opposite of "biblical theism" is socialism? -- the institute claims that its method is valid and reliable, adding: "The PEERS Test is accurate, relevant, timely, and the clear downward trend of youth requires immediate action."
For those not falling in the first category, the Nehemiah Institute is happy to sell you a course unsurprisingly called "Developing a Biblical Worldview ," which "is designed to lead an individual into thinking biblically about major areas of life with the goal of building a biblically-based culture. ... DBW includes a lesson on the Christian history of our nation and a lesson on major events of world history from a biblical point of view."
In other words, indoctrination, with a little salesmanship on the side.
Given that the Nehemiah Institute has an interest in portraying anyone who strays even slightly from its brand of "biblical theism" as someone in need of the indoctrination course it sells -- plus, a significant number of people administering such an opt-in test may very well be likely to administer it on students they already suspect of straying from "biblical theism," adding a certain level of confirmation bias and inflating any test result numbers the institute releases -- such an agenda makes its methodology and results somewhat suspect.
Also, World O'Crap did a fine job of deconstructing the PEERS test a few years back.
ConWeb Embaces Attack on Kennedy, Don't Consider the Source Topic: The ConWeb
WorldNetDaily, NewsBusters and NewsReal have all uncritically repeated a claim made by author Edward Klein on a radio show that Ted Kennedy purportedly enjoyed jokes about Chappaquiddick.
Klein, as we'vedetailed, is the author of a 2005 book on Hillary Clinton filled with errors and distortions -- and whose claims the ConWeb, particularly Newsmax, similarly promoted without acknowledging those errors.
ConWebWatch On the Air (In Germany) Topic: The ConWeb
On Thursday, we did a radio interview with Danny Antonelli, an American expatriate who does a radio show in Hamburg, Germany called "Free Wheel." Click on the media player below to listen (interview begins around 19:37).
The rest of the show is worth a listen as well -- an eclectic mix of music, information, comedy and fiction readings:
Farah's Laughable Attack on Wikipedia Topic: WorldNetDaily
The latest salvo in WorldNetDaily's war against Wikipedia is Joseph Farah's Aug. 28 column complaining about Wikipedia's entry on WND. After noting segements of the entry describing WND as "right-wing" and "conservative," Farah lamented that the entry portrays WND as "a mean, nasty, ugly right-wing website."
Farah didn't offer any evidence to contradict those claims -- indeed, WND is right-wing, and just the day before Farah himself fulfilled the mean-nasty-ugly part. He then complained: "I have taken steps over the years to attempt to edit the site to bring it more in line with objectivity and neutrality to no avail."
Excuse us for a sec -- we seem to have busted a gut from laughing so hard.
Why? Because Farah has explicitly rejected the idea of objectivity and neutrality for his own website. As we've detailed, WND doesn't believe in reporting the full story (or even anythingtrue). Farah himself, in his book "Stop the Presses!" declared that his personal right-wing evangelical Christian version of the "truth" is "a higher calling than 'fair and balanced'."
For Farah to demand "objectivity and neutrality" from others when he has no interest in providing it himself is the height of hypocrisy.
But Farah wasn't done. He then asserted that "if you want to read 100 percent factual information about WND, I suggest you go to my website to find it."
Oops, we seem to have busted another gut.
Farah links to WND's "about" page, where this "100 percent factual information about WND" is supposed to reside. But we found two whoppers right off the bat:
"WorldNetDaily.com's editorial policy reflects the old-fashioned notion that the principal role of the free press in a free society is to serve as a watchdog on government - to expose corruption, fraud, waste and abuse wherever and whenever it is found." That's provided "wherever and whenever it is found" is defined as 1) conducted by liberals and 2) conducted under Democratic administrations. As we've detailed, WND was largely silent about the two most corrupt conservatives during the Bush administration, Jack Abramoff and Duke Cunningaham. In fact, the first WND article to address Cunningham's corruption did not appear until five days after he resigned from office due to said corruption.
"Why is it the fastest-growing news service on the Internet? Founder Joseph Farah believes it is directly due to WorldNetDaily's editorial formula - 'credible, fearless, independent.'" WND is not credible, it's not fearless, and it's certainly not independent the way normal people understand the term as it applies to news organizations -- you know, embracing objectivity and neutrality without fear or favor.
Wikipedia is a joke – a very bad and vicious joke.
Warn your children away from it. It's not a place for serious research. It's not even a place for casual research.
NewsBusters Chooses Tunnel Vision, Beck's Fearmongering Over Facts Topic: NewsBusters
An Aug. 27 NewsBusters post by "Mithridate Ombud" echoes his employer's tunnel vision on blaming "liberal bias" on every media problem by suggesting that newspaper advertising has declined because the publications "have spoon fed the progressive movement to the United States for the last several decades."
"Ombud" adds: "The people have spoken and if newspapers don't want to ask the hard questions we don't want the product. Online or off." That "hard questions" link goes to a FoxNews.com article by Glenn Beck listing questions that need to be asked "with boldness." The most recent entry at the time of "Ombud's" post is "Day 4," taken from his Fox News show that day in which he boldly fearmongers about the "civilian national security force" President Obama wants to create:
• Why do we need a civilian force?
• Who is posing a threat to us?
• Who will this "force" be made up of?
• Who is the real enemy?
• Does the president know of a coming event? If not, who builds an army against an unrecognized enemy?
• Why won't the media get off their butts and look into these radicals in the White House? And into this civilian army?
If "Ombud" had bothered to look outside the right-wing media sphere for his information, he/she would know that Beck's fearmongering about a "civilian army" has been discredited.
WND Dares Not Call It Indoctrination Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Aug. 28 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh takes the side of the right-wing Alliance Defense Fund -- indeed, Unruh's article is in large part a rewrite of an ADF press release -- in telling the story of an ADF client, a homeschooled 11-year-old child who has been ordered to attend public school as part of a family court case involving her divorced parents.
The girl's mother homeschools the child, and the father believes that homeschooling "prevented adequate socialization for [the child] with other children of her age." But what the ADF and Unruh -- who, as we've noted, homeschools his children and has demonstrated such pro-homeschool, anti-public education bias that he portrays any critic of homeschooling as Nazis -- are really interested in is the father's belief that "exposure to other points ot view will decrease [the child's] rigid adherence to her mother's religious beliefs, and increase her ability to get along with others and to function in a world which requires some element of independent thinking and tolerance for different points of view."
ALso of interest to Unruh and the ADF is the finding of the child's guardian ad litem that the child "appeared to reflect her mother's rigidity on questions of faith" and that the child "would be best served by exposure to different points of view at a time in her lift when she must begin to critically evaluate multiple systems of belief and behavior and cooperation in order to select, as a young adult, which of those systems will best suit her own needs."
What's so objectionable to exposing children to different points of view? As Unruh quotes the ADF as saying, "It is a parent's constitutionally protected right to train up their children in the religious beliefs that they hold. It is not up to the court to suggest that a 10-year-old should be 'exposed' to other religious views contrary to the faith traditions of her parents."
But there's another issue here. WND has long railed against what it calls "indoctrination" in public schools -- for instance, in a 2006 article, WND described as "sexual indoctrination" a plan in California that would prevented any school teaching materials or activities from "reflecting adversely" upon homosexuals, bisexuals or transgenders.
And what is a child who rigidly adheres to a parent's religious beliefs but an indoctrinated child? Isn't all indoctrination bad, wherever it happens?
As this case illustrates, indoctrination goes on all the time in homeschooling -- but WND will never call it that, because its employees would have to admit that this what they are doing to their own children.
For WND, apparently, identifying "indoctrination" depends on who's doing the indoctrinating.
Wash. Post Scooped Both Goldberg And Kincaid Topic: Accuracy in Media
The other day, Bernard Goldberg made a big deal about discovering that former "60 Minutes" producer Mary Mapes, who was in charge of the notorious 2004 report on President Bush's National Guard service that eventually got her fired and forced Dan Rather to retire from CBS, knew that Bush had volunteered to serve as a pilot in Vietnam but did not put that in her report.
Cliff Kincaid is not happy about this. He writes in an Aug. 26 Accuracy in Media column:
Sorry Bernie. Your "scoop" is old news. It's no "exclusive." Your Deep Throat is pulling your leg. AIM had the story four years and seven months ago and everyone knows it.
Indeed, it looks suspiciously like Goldberg's secret "source" simply had access to the AIM archives, even if Goldberg did not. It's too bad that Goldberg failed to acknowledge on the air that we had the story four years and seven months before he did. Of course, to make such an admission would make Goldberg look like a Johnny-come-lately-more than four years after the fact-to an important story.
Well, it seems Kincaid is taking a little too much credit. As David Neiwert at Crooks and Liars details, the fact that Bush had volunteered to serve in Vietnam was reported by the Washington Post as early as 1999. While this may be, as Goldberg said, a "crucial fact," it isn't the way Goldberg and Kincaid think it is. Neiwert points out that the 1999 Post report notes that "there was no chance Bush's unit would be ordered overseas" because the plane Bush was trained to fly was being retired by the military:
In other words, if Bush actually did volunteer for Vietnam duty, he did so secure in the knowledge there was no chance he'd actually be called upon. That is, he was talking big talk, once again, knowing full well he'd never have to back it up.
This is especially so considering what followed -- namely, that Bush wound up failing to fulfill his obligations to the Texas Air National Guard, precisely because he failed to maintain even the most basic, fundamental components if his TANG pilot's status beginning in the summer of 1972.
Indeed, there is a set of facts about Bush's service that is irrefutable: Lt. Bush did refuse an order to take a required physical, and he was suspended for "failing to perform up to standards". Moreover, the sequence of events that failure set in motion eventually ensured that Bush did not fulfill the entirety of his military obligation.
Somehow, we don't see Goldberg or Kincaid falling over themselves to address that.
On signing the 1965 Civil Rights Law, Lyndon Johnson lamented, “We [Democrats] have lost the South for a generation.” This moved Kennedy to commit perhaps his most egregious acts when he sponsored two Immigration reform bills that slammed the door on Europeans who had traditionally brought industriousness and honor to America. Instead they cleared the way for millions and millions of legal and illegal aliens from elsewhere who often bring no skills but palpable contempt for America. Kennedy is responsible for the damage they have done.
In other words: White people ("Europeans") are hard working and love America, non-white people ("from elsewhere") are lazy and hate America. That smacks of racism, does it not?
We've detailed how some conservatives seek a return to immigration laws of the early 20th century, which were largely driven by racism and eugenics. Columnist E. Ralph Hostetter, writing for CNSNews.com, has even specifically blamed Asian immigrants for "threatening America's cultural and ethnic future" because the 1965 immigration law "gave 60 percent of the newly established quota -- 170,000 new openings -- to Asians, who bring a different culture to America."
Farah Spews Hate At Ted Kennedy Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah lets his hate flag fly in his Aug. 27 WorldNetDaily column, spewing bile at Ted Kennedy:
I know there's an old adage that one shouldn't speak ill of the dead.
But I don't subscribe to the idea that when evil and foolish people die we should pretend they were something other than evil and foolish.
And Ted Kennedy was evil and foolish.
He wasn't just a politician with whom I disagreed.
He was a rotten man – a wicked man.
I know you're not hearing this from the rest of the press. I know you're not even hearing this from his worst critics. But if we can't call Ted Kennedy wicked and immoral, those terms have lost all meaning.
Farah goes on to reference "is alcohol-addled brain" and "his unfulfilled ego," and declares, "I'm not going to forget the idiotic way he characterized Ronald Reagan's brilliant initiative for strategic missile defense as 'Star Wars.'"
Richard Bartholomew details the backstory on Ron McRae, the Anabaptist minister whose questionable affidavit Jerome Corsi is relying on to support his claim that Barack Obama's grandmother claimed that he was born in Kenya. Turns out McRae is founder of something called the Street Preachers' Fellowship -- remember, WorldNetDaily justloves street preachers.
Bartholomew notes that McRae also appears to believe that the Bible endorses separation of the races and, perhaps not coincidentially, expresses even more hatred for Obama than he did in his affidavit.
An Aug. 25 NewsReal post by David Forsmark touts Jim Towey's misleading claims about a Veterans Health Administration booklet advising veterans on end-of-life care. Forsmark uncritically repeats Towey's description of the booklet as an attempt to "steer vulnerable individuals to conclude for themselves that life is not worth living."
In fact, the booklet emphasizes that "your wishes will direct future health care decisions" and presents preserving one's life "using any means possible" as an option to consider.
Forsmark also includes a transcript of Towey's appearance in which he and host Chris Wallace discuss the appearance in the VA booklet of the statement "If I'm a vegetable, pull the plug" without noting that Towey and Wallace failed to explain the full context in which the phrase appears.
Forsmark goes on to criticize VA spokesperson Tammy Duckworth for pointing out that Towey is selling his own end-of-life-choices book, thus "cast[ing] doubt on Towey’s motives and to confuse the issue about who is responsible for the work sheet being available currently."
In fact, given that Towey has attempted to get the VA to buy his booklet, Towey's motives are a legitimate issue, on top of the fact that he's misrepresenting the VA's booklet. Further, Forsmark downplays the fact that the VA booklet was available and promoted throughout President Bush's presidency.
MRC Can't Stop Misleading About Ted Kennedy Profile Topic: NewsBusters
In an Aug. 26 NewsBusters post reviewing how "journalists admired [Ted Kennedy's] policy efforts and treated him as their hero," Brent Baker writes: "Back in 2003, a Boston Globe profile forwarded: 'If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age.'"
In fact, as we've detailed, the MRC has long taken the statement, from an article written by Charles Pierce, out of context. Pierce has written that he considered the statement "a tough, but fair, shot" pointing out that the death of Kopechne "denies to him forever the moral credibility" to be president.
Baker referenced the quote again later in his post, linking to a July 18 NewsBusters post by Rich Noyes on the quote and the article from which it came. As we noted, Noyes failed to address Pierce's criticism of the MRC for taking the quote out of context.
Newsmax's Kennedy Obit Leads With Chappaquiddick Topic: Newsmax
An Aug. 26 Newsmax article by David Patten on the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy begins by stating that "retrieved the fallen banner of Camelot progressivism when assassins' bullets struck down older brothers John F. and Robert F. Kennedy in the 1960s" -- but then immediately follows with four paragraphs detailing the Chappaquiddick.
Patten was also quick to reference "Kennedy's well-earned reputation for licentious behavior" and sneered that Kennedy "passed the torch of noblesse-oblige liberalism to Barack Obama."
While the rest of Patten eventually turns somewhat balanced -- though with an emphasis on negative events in Kennedy's life -- and he even writes a few nice things about Kennedy, the factthat Patten views Chappaquiddick as the way to lead Kennedy's obit demonstrates his, and Newsmax's, bias.