WND Misfires in Attack on Dunn Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein is one of the leading perpetrators of guilt-by-association attacks on Obama administration staffers. As we've detailed, some of his attacks are more specious than others.
Another one of Klein's specious attacks is the subject of an Oct. 18 WND article, headlined "White House boasts: We 'control' news media; Communications chief offers shocking confession to foreign government." But the claim Klein is peddling is much less "shocking," and it certainly doesn't support the headline:
President Obama's presidential campaign focused on "making" the news media cover certain issues while rarely communicating anything to the press unless it was "controlled," White House Communications Director Anita Dunn disclosed to the Dominican government at a videotaped conference.
Dunn is talking about efforts by political campaigns to manage media coverage of their candidate -- which every political campaign of any size tries to do. There's nothing "shocking" about this at all.
Dunn was speaking at a Jan. 12, 2009, event focusing on Obama's media tactics and hosted by the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development, which seeks to promote collaboration between the U.S. and the Dominican Republic.
So the headline is completely wrong -- Dunn could not have been boasting about how the White House controls the media because Obama had not yet been inaugurated at the time she gave her speech.
The errors of omission start at the beginning, with a quote from P.J. O'Rourke that "It’s the twilight of the radio loudmouth, you know? I knew it from the moment the fat guy ... refused to share his drugs." Nowhere is it mentioned that O'Rourke is a libertarian conservative.
Graham goes on to highlight how Limbaugh's statement that "We are being told that we have to hope Obama succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles, bend over forward, backward, whichever, because his father was black, because this was the first black President" caused the "media establishment" to "denounce Limbaugh and demanded that Republicans distance themselves from his claims." As the MRC has before, Graham gives Limbaugh a pass on the sexual crudity of Limbaugh's remark, just one of many references to anal sex by Limbaugh that Graham and his MRC buddies don't find offensive, though references to anal sex by other entertainers are routinely denounced.
Graham complains how Limbaugh has been subject to "vicious personal attacks" by various people in the media. But the MRC has a long history of personal attacks on President Clinton in the form of sex jokes.
Graham also engages in irrelevant evidence on another claim, calling it unfair that Limbaugh was criticized as racist for his 2003 statement regarding Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb that "The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback can do well" and insisting that there was "plenty of evidence of liberal sports columnists 'desirous' of black advancement in the NFL (New York Times columnist Selena Roberts complained the NFL was 'white as baking soda')." But a single example making a general claim about blacks in the NFL -- which, as excerpted, does not demonstrate support for the claim -- doesn't prove Limbaugh's specific assertion regarding McNabb correct. As we detailed back then, the MRC couldn't back up Limbaugh in 2003, either.
Gaham stuck to the Limbaugh party line in defending him over his 2007 statement that he appeared to call soliders who called for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq "phony soldiers." Graham wrote:
Less than two minutes after that exchange, Limbaugh elaborated on what he had meant, explaining exactly who he was thinking about when he offered the term: Jesse Macbeth, a left-wing hero on YouTube for describing the horrors he’d seen American troops commit – but was then charged and convicted of falsifying a military record and falsely applying for veterans’ benefits. He’d never served overseas, and was dismissed from boot camp. ABC’s Brian Ross had done a story several nights earlier, and called Macbeth a “phony soldier.”
The left and Democrats in Congress then mangled Limbaugh’s comments to claim he had said that any servicemen or women who might oppose the war in Iraq in public had been defamed by the talk show host as “phony soldiers.” They typically made no reference to the actual “phony soldiers” Limbaugh was talking about.
In fact, it was not at all clear that Limbaugh was referring to MacBeth at the time he said the remark. As Media Matters documented, Limbaugh had not mentioned MacBeth at all on that day's show before he made the "phony soldiers" remark, and then did not specifically reference MacBeth until 1 minute and 50 seconds later. Limbaugh did not call MacBeth a "phony soldier" at that point either; rather, he berated the media for not checking out his story.
Given that Graham's report came out in the midst of Limbaugh's failed attempt to buy a piece of the St. Louis Rams, Graham complained that some media outlets attributed racially insensitive statements to Limbaugh that have since proven to be unverified or fabricated. Unsurprisingly, Graham didn't mention that there are numerous other examples -- fully documented -- of racially charged statements by Limbaugh.
WND Tries to Distract From Author's Anti-Muslim Sentiments Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Oct. 18 WorldNetDaily article by Art Moore attempts to defend against allegations that David Gaubatz, co-author of the new WND-published anti-CAIR tome "Muslim Mafia," is a "an anti-Muslim bigot associated with a racist organization" by focusing narrowly on a CAIR statement and and painting Gaubatz as a friend to all Muslims while ignoring actual evidence to the contrary.
For instance, at no point does Moore make no mention of the following about Gaubatz, as documented by Talking Points Memo:
He referred to "our Muslim leader" Barack Obama on his blog last year.
He has claimed that he personally found sites with Iraqi weapons of mass destruction when he was an agent with the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations in 2003. But the Syrians beat us to the punch on excavating the sites, Gaubatz claims, and the U.S. government suppressed the information to avoid the "explosive revelation of their own lethal incompetence."
Just yesterday he wondered about Congress' two Muslim representatives, "How much information do we have on Carson and Congressman Keith Ellison?"
According to Glenn Greenwald, Gaubatz in 2007 was focusing his time on creating "a comprehensive map of every mosque and Islamic school in the U.S" in order to determine which ones were preaching "Islamic law." The Web site that explained that project has since been made private.
He said in September 2008 on a now scrubbed blog post at www.jihadishere.blogspot.com that: "We are now on the verge of allowing a self admitted 'crack-head' to have his finger on every nuclear weapon in America."
He apparently has a history of faking conversions to Islam as part of his investigations.
Moore also ran to the defense of the Society of Americans for National Existence, which operates a project called Mapping Shariah that Gaubatz has been involved with. AFter noting that CAIR stated that SANE "offered a policy proposal that would make it illegal to be a Muslim." Moore featured SAND director David Yerushalmi responding:
Yerushalmi said SANE's "overall response to CAIR's and the Left's cybervandalism of taking complex matters out of context and turning them into trite dribble" is laid out in a piece he published titled "The Truth and Nothing but the Truth."
"The approach used in these attacks is to quote literally a word or phrase or in some cases a provocative query in a long analytical piece that examines the hard reality of facts" but casts it "in such a way as to suggest some demonic (i.e., racist) agenda on the part of SANE and its participants," Yerushalmi said.
But the Yerushalmi piece Moore links to does, in fact, admit that SANE did, in fact, "call for outlawing Islam" because it "defined Islam as synonymous with Shariah." SANE has since more narrowly defined its calls for imprisonment and deportation to those who advocate Sharia in the U.S. (which it still calls "A SANE Act to Deal with the Islamic Threat to America’s National Existence").
A pair of NewsBusters attempts to sniff out liberal bias have gone, shall we say, awry.
An Oct. 16 post by Ken Shepherd purports to finda hidden agenda in the fact that a voiceover announcer for MSNBC also supplies the voiceover for an ad by "a pro-ObamaCare group."As County Fair's Matt Gertz points out, Shepherd persists with this conspiracy even after pointing out that MSNBC told him that the announcer is a freelancer who isn't prohibited from taking on other work.
Meanwhile, Noel Sheppard tried in an Oct. 15 post to find something sinister in Al Gore advising Google about "aspects of search quality," citing alleged "ongoing concerns about Google's political leanings and how its search algorithms might be manipulated to favor liberal news outlets over conservative points of view." As Sadly, No! noted, Sheppard failed to mention that Gore was acting on behalf of Apple, where he's on the board of directors.
Farah Insults Yet Another WND Critic Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah continues to be as thin-skinned as he ever was.
Farah used his Oct. 15 WorldNetDaily column to rant against a Roanoke Times columnist, Dan Casey, who criticized WND for endorsing censorship over a book lent by a high school teacher to a student, who lent the book to another student, whose father purported offense and ran to WND to complain. Casey's main offense, in Farah's eyes, was describing WND as a "California-based conspiracy-theory laden 'news' website." Farah retorted:
First of all, WND didn't "pick up the story." It broke it – a full four days before Dan Casey's local fish wrapper ever once mentioned it.
Second of all, WND is not based in California and neither is it "conspiracy-theory laden." (He must be getting his "facts" from Wikipedia.)
Apparently, the WND piece hit its mark. According to Casey, if he can be trusted in relating any truth, "Calls flooded the office of William Byrd, Principal Richard Turner and the Roanoke County schools administrative offices."
Of course, Farah is lying -- WND is very much "conspiracy-laden." As MSNBC's Rachel Maddow nicely summed up, WND is "a clearinghouse for most of the wackiest conspiracy theories on the right: President Obama is secretly foreign! Health reform is a secret plot to kill old people! The president's speech to school kids is a secret plan to form a new Hitler Youth! FEMA is really a secret plan to put conservatives in concentration camps!"
But, Farah being Farah, he had to insult Casey and his newspaper as well. On top of calling his paper a "fish wrapper," Farah smears Casey as a "twisted individual" and "the kind of creature I can't stand" who writes his column "thankfully in virtual obscurity."
Farah, meanwhile, shows no evidence of having read the book himself -- he recites the laundry list of offensive descriptions in the book without explaining their context, yet he repeats without comment Casey's noting that the Bible contains "passages about sex, and homosexuality, adultery, sodomy and incest. Plus murder, fratricide and idolatry" and pointing out those incidents have a "larger context."
Given Farah's eagerness to smear any critic of his work (as we know all too well), of course, there's no admission by Farah that WND libeled the teacher at the center of the manufactured controversy by suggesting that she wants to have sex with her students.
Herbert London Whitewashes His Own History Topic: Newsmax
Prefacing his Oct. 13 Newsmax column's straw-man attack on the claim that "criticism of the president’s healthcare proposal is based on race" -- no evidence is provided that anyone has actually made that assertion, only a nebulous assertion that "some have argued" it -- Herbert London wrote:
In 1994, during my campaign for New York state comptroller against Carl McCall, the race card was played persistently by members of the press and by my opponent.
Since I had been active in civil rights causes, opened a headquarters in Harlem, was a sponsor of CORE events and had two men of color as my campaign chairmen, Reuben Diaz and Roy Innis, I was perplexed and disappointed. It became exceedingly ugly when Bob Herbert in a New York Times column called me a “racist,” a claim that was made without the slightest effort to speak to me directly or examine my record.
Even though I thought I was emotionally calloused, the charge hurt. Most significantly, it had a chastening influence on my campaign.
Even though I felt Mr. McCall made mistakes in our debates and had adopted positions that made him vulnerable to criticism, I was reluctant to challenge him. It was restraint borne of a false, but effective charge.
London fails to detail the circumstances that resulted in Bob Herbert making that claim about London, which puts the lie to any claim that he was "reluctant to challenge" McCall. From Herbert's Nov. 2, 1994, column:
Mr. London, who is Jewish, has run a bizarre and racist campaign against H. Carl McCall, a Democrat who is black. The campaign has been as subtle as a mugging.
"Kill the Jews?"
That's the way a London television ad opens, with the deliberately inflammatory words emblazoned in huge white letters on a black background. It's a sick ad, part of a relentless attempt by the London campaign to falsely portray Mr. McCall as an anti-Semite and to create in the minds of voters a phony link between him and the riots in Crown Heights.
The ad's script goes out of its way to tell viewers that Mr. London is "a Jewish candidate." A grainy, speeded-up black-and-white clip of Mr. McCall suffices to make the point that he is not.
The ad has not yet appeared on television, but Mr. London has released it to news organizations and a portion of it was played on WNBC-TV.
In another ad, this one printed in The Jewish Press, a smiling photo of Mr. London appears beneath the heading "Kosher," while an unsmiling Mr. McCall is labeled "Non-Kosher." The ad says, "On Nov. 8 You Decide Who Is Kosher for Our Community!"
That ad achieves a spectacular low in dirty politics by listing a series of quotes that were designed to upset Jewish voters and were attributed to Jesse Jackson, Sonny Carson (his first name was misspelled), Herbert Daughtry, Karen Burstein (her last name was misspelled), David Dinkins and others. At the bottom of the ad, in the tiniest print you can imagine, is a disclaimer that admits the quotes are "fictitious." They were made up by London supporters.
This has been the tone of the London campaign since the beginning. Many scurrilous lies have been told about Mr. McCall and nearly all have been related, directly or indirectly, to his race. He's also been compared to the Nazis and accused -- falsely -- of promising Nelson Mandela that he would invest New York State funds in South Africa.
It's obvious that by the time Herbert's column appeared, London had been campaigning in anything but a chastened manner. Further, the election was held on Nov. 8, 1994; Herbert's column appeared just six days earlier, making it unlikely that London's assertion he was "reluctant to challenge" McCall as a result of the column has any basis in fact.
Herbert was far from the only person to complain about London's campaign tactics. Even some of London's fellow Republicans distanced themselves from him, stating that "unfounded allegations or sneering hints of anti-Semitism are the most disgusting campaign tactics that exist."
Any claims of hurt by London at being labeled as engaging in racially charged tactics are nothing more than crocodile tears designed to distract from the fact that that's exactly what he was doing.
Talking Points Memo details the rabidly anti-Muslim motivations of David Gaubatz, co-author with Paul Sperry of the WND-published anti-CAIR screed, "Muslim Mafia."
And MSNBC's Rachel Maddow points out that WND is "the pulsing, throbbing cuckoo core" of various right-wing conspiracy theories, which, she adds, "would just make them inadvertantly hilarious, if the Republican Party wasn't paying WorldNetDaily for their email lists. And now, congressional Republicans are doing the book publicity tour for the latest WorldNetDaily blockbuster cuckoo conspiracy book."
Republican Rep. Sue Myrick wrote the foreword to the book.
Ronald Kessler, for all hishatred of Barack Obama, occasionally finds a way to beat it back.
In his Oct. 15 Newsmax column, Kessler comes to Obama's defense from the likes of Jack Cashill by asserting that Obama did indeed write his own books:
The latest viral rumor on the Internet is that former Weatherman William Ayers wrote President Obama’s best-selling book “Dreams From My Father.”
The story has its origin on Anne Leary’s blog Backyard Conservative. She recounted running into Ayers at Reagan National Airport. After she introduced herself, Ayers supposedly blurted out that he wrote Obama’s book.
You don’t have to be an FBI agent to recognize that even if true, no one would make such an admission in those circumstances. Moreover, having read the book and Obama’s more recent “The Audacity of Hope,” I can say that the writing in both books is so exceptional that very few authors — and certainly not Ayers — could have written them.
Kessler curiously traces the rumor back only to the Ayers airport encounter, completely ignoring Cashill's obsessive conspiracy surrounding it.
Unfortunately, Kessler spoils the mood by giving in to the urge to smack around somebody. That would be John Kennedy, for not writing "Profiles in Courage."
WND: Obama Born In Kenya -- The Internet Says So! Topic: WorldNetDaily
If it's on the Internet, it must be true -- that appears to be WorldNetDaily's philosophy of fact-checking.
An Oct. 15 WND article by Bob Unruh touts how an "archived article" from a 2004 Kenyan newspaper calling Barack Obama "Kenyan-born." This, Unruh asserts "is significant."
Um, no, it's not. Well, it is, but only to people like Unruh and his fellow birther obsessives at WND. Given that the newspaper article also misspells Obama's name, it's a sure bet that standards of accuracy are not the highest -- that is to say, they are a lot like thoseatWND.
But spreading yet another lie is not enough for Unruh -- he has to gin up a conspiracy as well:
The article is credited to the wire service Associated Press through an attribution at the bottom of the page. However, the article could not be found either in the AP archives available to the public online or the archive on the newspaper's website. WND telephone calls and e-mails to the newspaper did not generate a response.
At the Post & Email blog, writer John Charlton raised several explanations, including the suggestion references to Obama's birth have been scrubbed.
He wrote that a search of Google for the issue produced unusual results.
"When you attempt to search for 'Kenyan-born Obama'; results are missing; years prior to 2004 seem scrubbed; and when you click a link to an article in 2000, you get an article in 2004.
"Deliberate sabotage of their own news archive?" he wondered.
If a blogger couldn't find evidence of a false claim anywhere else, then it must be true!
Of course, a legitimate news outlet would have made an effort to verify the claim before publishing it. But that's not how WND rolls -- remember, it published the Orly Taitz-supplied "Kenyan birth certificate" without bothering to investigate its veracity beforehand. It was only several days after publication that WND conceded that the "certificate" was a forgery, citing "several samples of Kenyan birth certificates" it obtained -- even though it cited "other birth certificates from Kenya" to claim that they "appear to be identical" to the forgery.
But that appears to have been the point of publishing something it couldn't be bothered to verify beforehand -- to rope in the suckers who believe that if it's on the Internet, it must be true.
The year is 1988. Obama is a community organizer in Chicago. He tells us he is making $13,000 a year. Although Iran guards its nuclear secrets less zealously than the Obama camp guards their man's grades and LSAT scores, we do know that Obama did not graduate with honors from Columbia University.
That much said, he tells his street friend "Johnnie" that he has decided to go to law school: "The minute I told him the schools to which I'd applied – Harvard, Yale, Stanford – he had grinned and slapped me on the back."
Harvard, Yale, Stanford? Oh, to be Obama!
When affirmative action quietly morphed into "diversity," and the rationale for unearned glory shifted from compensation to cultural variety, Obama could not provide that either.
Growing up in a white family in the least black state of America without "Dakota" in its name, he contributed less "blackness" to the cultural stew than I would have growing up in Newark.
Still, Obama looked sort of black, even as he lived white, and that proved enough for the easily satisfied. "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," said the inimitable Joe Biden.
And yet, none of this would have gotten Obama elected president, if he had taken his wisdom from, say, a Clarence Thomas and not a Bill Ayers.
Is New Book WND's Revenge Against CAIR? Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've already noted how the new WorldNetDaily-published book, "Muslim Mafia," attacking the Council on American-Islamic Relations is short on earth-shattering revelations (CAIR lobbies Congress! It has an intern program!). But is it part of a WND act of revenge against CAIR?
As we've detailed, in 2008 CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper criticized the WND-published book "Why We Left Islam," which included testimony by the dubious (and WND-promoted) Walid Shoebat. Among Hooper's complaints was that "The editor is a guy who suggested air-dropping pig's blood over Afghanistan." WND editor Joseph Farah largely played dumb, stating that he has never made the claim (true) but took pains to avoid admitting the claim does exist at WND.
A Sept. 27, 2001, column by Paul Sperry -- then a WND reporter -- did in fact make that suggestion, as well as several other pig-centric claims, because "pigs are to Islamic terrorists – such as Osama bin Laden and his henchmen – what kryptonite is to Superman, or what garlic is to Dracula" and "we'll have to use their religion against them to win."
Sperry, as it happens, is co-author of "Muslim Mafia."
Is Sperry's book nothing more than a big snit getting back at CAIR for criticizing his Muslim-bashing writing? It may very well be.
UPDATE: Sperry has long been a right-wing writer; before joining WND, he worked for Investor's Business Daily. His most notable achievement there was breaking protocol by asking President Clinton about "Chinagate" during a White House social event, setting Clinton off on a rant and making himself into a hero to right-wingers like Michelle Malkin.
Andy Williams Walks Back Obama Criticism; NewsBusters Saddened Topic: NewsBusters
There is sadness in the ConWeb today -- Andy Williams is walking back his criticism of Obama.
After years of mocking celebrities for expressing their liberal political beliefs, conservatives rallied behind singer Williams' assertion that President Obama "wants the country to fail." The MRC's Brent Baker highlighted Williams' quote, and WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah dedicated an entire column to it, writing, It's funny where you have to search for truth these days. Who would have thought we'd hear it from 81-year-old singer Andy Williams, best known for his rendition of 'Moon River'? "
Now, however, you can almost feel the regret as Baker writes in an Oct. 13 NewsBusters post that Williams "has backed off the sharp edge of his criticism of President Obama." Williams is now saying, " I have nothing absolutely against a liberal Democrat. ... I just think sometimes, like a lot of Americans, that he might be guiding us in the wrong direction."
Perhaps even more painful to Baker, Williams "concluded by dismissing the relevance of his opinion: 'But that's just from a singer. It really doesn't mean much.'"
Of course, Baker needed to find a sinister motive for Williams' walkback, pointing out that Williams has a new book out and that he wants "to get back in the good graces of liberals and Obama fans."
New Article: Anonymously Yours, WorldNetDaily Topic: WorldNetDaily
Despite Joseph Farah's professed hatred of anonymous sources, his website has no problem making use of them to attack its enemies -- particularly Barack Obama. Heck, WND is even willing to grant anonymity to terrorists. Read more >>
WND's New Anti-CAIR Book Not That Compelling Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has been making a big deal out of its new WND-published book, "Muslim Mafia," which editor Joseph Farah claims documents the Council of American-Islamic Relations' "associations and support for known terrorists and its relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood – the same organization that spawned al-Qaida, Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hezbollah."
The heart of the book is, in Farah's words, "12,000 pages of compelling internal documents gathered in the daring covert penetration of CAIR." Another WND article goes on to describe the plan to get those documents as "a real-life, heart-pounding thriller."
Only, it's not really that compelling.
As Talking Points Memo details, the key takeaway from the book is a claim that "is infiltrating Capitol Hill with undercover interns" -- particularly ironic when you consider those "12,000 pages of compelling internal documents" were obtained by an "intern" infiltrating CAIR.
And those documents ultimately didn't reveal all that much. As CAIR president Ibrahim Hooper told TPM, "This guy spied on us for months, and the most they can come up with is that we're doing ordinary lobbying work on Capitol Hill?"
CAIR is accusing the "intern" of stealing property. Farah's response is that the documents were legally obtained because the intern "was asked to shred documents he believed might be criminal evidence … and involve matters of national security. On advice from counsel, he collected those documents and preserved them. None of the documents were 'stolen.' ... They were, in fact, handed to him by CAIR employees for destruction."
WND also appears to be taking refuge in the claim that "it is a federal and state crime to participate in the destruction of evidence of a crime if reasonable suspicion exists the documents are evidence of criminal activity." But lobbying activities of the kind the documents show CAIR was involved with are not "criminal activity."
Health Insurance Study Not As Thorough As Blumer Thinks Topic: NewsBusters
In an Oct. 13 NewsBusters post about the newly released PricewaterhouseCoopers study, paid for the the insurance lobby America's Health Insurance Plans, claiming that health care reform will result in higher health care costs. Tom Blumer asserts:
Understand this: When PwC prepares a report for the health insurance industry projecting, in the Wall Street Journal's words, that "the Senate Finance Committee’s big health-care bill would raise health insurance premiums by thousands of dollars a year," one can be confident that it is based on exhaustively researched and thoroughly reviewed work.
Actually, not so much.
the PwC study itself states that "[t]he reform packages under consideration have other provisions that we have not included in this analysis. We have not estimated the impact of the new subsidies on the net insurance cost to households." And as Len Nichols of the New America Foundation details, the study contains questionable assumptions -- that all Medicare savings will be converted into private sector cost shifts, and that premium growth in the absence of reform will be the same as per capita health care cost growth.
Further, the thoroughness of the PwC study was debunked by, er, PwC:
America's Health Insurance Plans engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers to prepare a report that focused on four components of the Senate Finance Committee proposal:
-- Insurance market reforms and consumer protections that would raise health insurance premiums for individuals and families if the reforms are not coupled with an effective coverage requirement.
-- An excise tax on employer-sponsored high value health plans.
-- Cuts in payment rates in public programs that could increase cost shifting to private sector businesses and consumers.
-- New taxes on health sector entities.
The analysis concluded that collectively the four provisions would raise premiums for private health insurance coverage. As the report itself acknowledges, other provisions that are part of health reform proposals were not included in the PwC analysis. The report stated on page 1:
"The reform packages under consideration have other provisions that we have not included in this analysis. We have not estimated the impact of the new subsidies on the net insurance cost to households. Also, if other provisions in health care reform are successful in lowering costs over the long term, those improvements would offset some of the impacts we have estimated."
As the Washington Post's Ezra Klein summed up: "In other words, PWC is saying that AHIP paid it to focus on four parts that AHIP didn't like and ignore everything else in the bill. On Page 1, PWC embedded a disclaimer essentially admitting that their report was woefully inadequate."