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Thursday, October 29, 2009
Bozell Misleads on Polls Favoring Conservatives
Topic: Media Research Center

In his Oct. 28 column, Brent Bozell uncritically touts polling that claims the existence of more conservatives than liberals:

When asked if their views were liberal, moderate, or conservative, 38 percent said conservative, and only 23 percent said liberal. In January, those numbers were 32 percent and 24 percent, respectively. That’s a net gain of seven points for conservatives since Obama took office. That’s a national headline. Unless you’re a leftist media outlet, in which case you ignored it.

That number is no fluke. Consider Gallup, which conducts thousands of interviews with Americans each year and always asks respondents to describe their political views. So far in 2009, 40 percent of those surveyed call themselves conservative. That's up from 37 percent in 2007 and 2008, the lowest percentage of self-identified conservatives in more than a decade. Movement is coming from independents. In Gallup's 2008 interviews, 29 percent of independents self-described as conservative. This year, it’s 35 percent.

[...]

Conservatism is not dead. It is not only alive, it is growing.

Or perhaps not. Research also shows that a significant number of people who self-identify as "conservatives" don't necessarily hold conservative beliefs.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:24 AM EDT
WND Tells Fewer Lies About Hate-Crimes Law
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Oct. 28 WorldNetDaily article by Chelsea Schilling on President Obama's signing of the hate-crimes bill surprisingly fails to repeat WND's longstanding lie that it protects pedophiles.

But not to worry -- some of that old bias is still there. Schilling allows various right-wingers to baselessly assert that the bill is a "thought-crimes" bill that "threatens free speech and freedom of religion" while failing to report that the bill states that "Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the Constitution," which would include the First Amendment protection for freedom of religion.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:50 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, October 29, 2009 6:51 AM EDT
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Farah Calls Obama's Muslim Adviser 'Toga Head'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

From an Oct. 27 appearance by WorldNetdaily's Joseph Farah on Steve Malzberg's radio show:

MAZLBERG: You talk about the -- and I read this story too and talked about it on the air -- Delia or Dalia Mogahed, the --

FARAH: I call her toga head.

MAZLBERG: Toga head, OK.

Farah does know how to be classy, doesn't he?

WND has been misrepresenting Mogahed, a member of the President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, claiming that she "defended Shariah" on an British TV show and is "a supporter of Islamic Shariah law." In fact, Mogahed was merely repeating polling among Muslims regarding Shariah. Further, Mogahed said on that TV show: "I'm not here to advocate for one point of view or another, I'm simply a researcher who is able to convey accurately and in a representative way the actual views of Muslims so that they're speaking for themselves rather than having others speak for them."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:47 AM EDT
Farah Complains Fox News Isn't Fulfilling Duty to Promote WND Stories
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah uses his Oct. 26 WorldNetDaily column to complain that Fox News won't publicize the WND-published "shocking book ... based in part on a daring six-month undercover operation inside the Council on American-Islamic Relations." Farah sighs: "Fox News blacked out coverage. No interviews with the authors. No interviews with the interns who penetrated the unindicted terrorist front group at great personal risk. No interest."

First, Farah is being a bit disingenous. Fox News did cover the story, albeit from the angle of the four members of Congress who held a press conference to repeat charges made in the book.

Second, Farah doesn't admit his profit motive. Since the book, "Muslim Mafia," is published by WND, he personally and professionally stands to profit from book sales generated by book sales generated by exposure of the book in the media -- such as an appearance by its authors on Fox News.

While Farah is arguing that Fox News won't touch his "Muslim Mafia" story because it's "gun shy after getting smeared by the White House and Democrats" -- even though the real culprit appears to be the anti-Muslim bias of the book's authors -- he's also proving Fox News' critics correct by outlining the place it holds in the transmission belt of right-wing smears and WND's role in feeding such stories to Fox News.

Farah writes: "Those who read WND and watch Fox News know it is not unusual for the TV network to pick up investigative reports that first appear in WND – sometimes with credit, often without."

Farah also promotes the channel's mythology by claiming that "Fox News has built its reputation with its 'fair and balanced' marketing motto." Which, of course, is utter hogwash -- it's hard to be "fair and balanced" when you've declared yourself to be the voice of opposition.

But don't look for Farah to be honest about that -- after all, he has his place in the right-wing transmission belt to maintain, and he would like to get more stories placed at Fox News in the future.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:39 AM EDT
Pam Geller's Fake-But-Accurate Defense
Topic: Newsmax

Pam Geller has decided to go the Rush Limbaugh route in defending her embrace of the bogus Barack Obama college thesis: fake but accurate.

In her Oct. 27 Newsmax column, Geller not only embraces the fake-but-accurate defense but also invents a way to blame Obama for the whole thing:

If Barack Obama would release his Columbia thesis, this latest media pseudo-controversy would never have happened. But now the tittering hyenas on the left are howling at the moon over the satire of Obama’s thesis that was taken for the real thing by Rush Limbaugh, as well as by Denis Keohane at The American Thinker and Michael Ledeen at Pajamas Media.

The fake thesis has Obama criticizing the Constitution, saying that “the so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom. While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document, the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned. While many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty, it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy.”

That sounded to me like something Obama would have said, so I cited it and ran it with it at my blog AtlasShrugs.com. But when I couldn’t find the actual link to what purported to be the “first ten pages” of Obama’s thesis, I took it down.

But bear in mind one thing: as Michael Ledeen says, “it worked because it’s plausible.”

Funny how the same defense right-wingers hated when CBS employed it in the case of the Bush National Guard papers is embraced by them when they're caught repeating bogus information.

Geller went on to falsely portray Obama's statements in a 2001 radio interview in order to fit her preconceived script that Obama wants to redistribute the nation's wealth:

He said that it was a tragedy that the Constitution wasn’t radically reinterpreted to force redistribution of the wealth: “I am not optimistic,” he said, “about bringing about redistributive change through the courts. The institution just isn’t structured that way.” He praised the civil rights movement and its “litigation strategy in the court” for succeeding in vesting “formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples.”

In fact, as we've previously documented when other right-wingers did the same thing, Obama never claimed it was a "tragedy that the Constitution wasn’t radically reinterpreted to force redistribution of the wealth." What Obama called a tragedy was the civil rights movement's reliance on the court system to bring about change instead of more grassroots work.

Geller went on to write:

This was the fault of the Supreme Court and the Constitution itself: “But the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society. And to that extent as radical as people tried to characterize the Warren court, it wasn’t that radical.”

And that was because of the constraints of the Constitution: “It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as it’s been interpreted, and the Warren court interpreted it in the same way that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties.

“It says what the states can’t do to you, it says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf. And that hasn’t shifted.”

That's a false interpretation as well. At no point did Obama express a desire for the court to "break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution" as Geller claims; he was merely pointing out that it didn't.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:54 AM EDT
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
WND Author Asks Racially Charged Poll Question
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've previously detailed how WorldNetDaily author Brad O'Leary uses slanted polling by Zogby to peddle his right-wing attacks on President Obama. Well, O'Leary has outdone himself.

As Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting noted, the latest Zogby-O'Leary poll includes the following question:

Federal Communications Commission Chief Diversity Czar Mark Lloyd wants the FCC to force good white people in positions of power in the broadcast industry to step down to make room for more African-Americans and gays to fill those positions.  Do you agree or disagree that this presents a threat to free speech?

(It's question 4 in the full results.)

O'Leary's Zogby poll also misrepresents the hate-crimes bill recently passed by Congress. Question 3:

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a 'Hate Crimes' bill that would make assault based on sexual orientation or perceived gender identity a felony. As it is currently the written, the bill would also allow the prosecution of people whose speech allegedly influences others to commit hate crimes. Some experts believe this could lead to serious infringements on free speech, as well as the prosecution of religious preachers, talk show hosts or political activists who speak against homosexuality or transsexuals. Others say the bill  is an effort to try and stop people from committing such crimes in the future. Do you agree or disagree with the Hate Crimes bill?

As we've detailed, the hate-crimes bill specifically states that "Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the Constitution," which would include the First Amendment protection for freedom of religion -- and which O'Leary and Zogby failed to tell poll respondents.

Further, it seems O'Leary is suggesting that incitement to violence should not be punished if a homosexual is a victim. He might want to explain that.

UPDATE: An Oct. 27 WND article by Bob Unruh uncritically promotes O'Leary's poll -- racially charged question and all. It even invites you to contact WND's PR folks if "you are a member of the media and would like to interview Brad O'Leary about this story."

UPDATE 2: Media Matters points out that the phrase "good white people" comes from a statement by FCC official (and right-wing witch hunt target) Mark Lloyd. But the poll's claim that Lloyd "wants the FCC to force good white people in positions of power in the broadcast industry to step down to make room for more African-Americans and gays to fill those positions" is completely false.

And Nate Silver weighs in:

It seems clear, however, in light of this new poll, that Zogby has made a decision to become the bottom-feeders of the polling marketplace, a one-stop-shop for wingnuts of all stripes, who will make no particular distinction between fact and innuendo in the questions they poll. To be clear about the issue at hand, there is a distinction between a merely leading question -- merely couching a statement of fact in favorable terminology -- and a misleading one -- reporting a highly questionable statement as fact to the respondent. To imply from Lloyd's statements that the FCC is considering pursing a policy of forced resignation for white broadcast personalities seems pretty far over the line. That the question as posed is highly racially charged is somewhat tangential to the ethical issue at hand, although it arguably raises the stakes and may certainly further indict John Zogby's judgement.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:44 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 28, 2009 4:00 PM EDT
WND Still Spinning Revisionist History of Anti-Gay Protesters
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has long been misrepresenting the facts surrounding the 2004 arrests of anti-gay protesters at a gay festival in Philadelphia as Christian persecution.

That revisionist history continues in an Oct. 26 WND article by Bob Unruh:

It was in five years ago when [Michael] Marcavage and 10 others were charged for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the public streets of Philadelphia during an annual taxpayer-funded celebration of homosexuality called "Outfest."

He describes how by preaching the Word of God, singing songs of praise and carrying banners with Bible verses, the Christians were perceived by law enforcement officers as a "threat" and were arrested.

[...]

"After being jailed for 21 hours, each member of Repent America was charged under Pennsylvania's 'hate crimes' law called 'ethnic intimidation.' They were also charged with a host of other bogus felony and misdemeanor charges, including 'criminal conspiracy' and 'possession of an instrument of crime,' and each faced a possible sentence of up to 47 years in prison along with a $90,000 fine," he said.

Marcavage and Unruh conveniently omit unflattering facts, as we've detailed:

  • Marcavage was also wielding a bullhorn, contrary to his suggestion that his group was merely peacefully "preaching the Word of God, singing songs of praise and carrying banners with Bible verses."
  • Marcavage's group tried to demonstrate in front of a stage performance at the festival, thus provoking a confrontation.
  • Marcavage's group never actually faced "up to 47 years in prison"; even the lawyer for the group that ran the festival said, "They might get six to 12 months probation. ... Nobody's going to jail for 47 years." (The charges were later dropped.)

Unruh did not tell his readers that Marcavage's version of the story is at variance with the facts.

This also being an article about the hate-crimes bill recently passed by Congress, Unruh repeats all of his old lies about the law, led by the false claim that it protects pedophiles.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:09 PM EDT
Ponte: Blame Sick Immigrants For Low U.S. Life Expectancy
Topic: Newsmax

From Lowell Ponte's Oct. 26 Newsmax column:

[Andy] Rooney also complained that our medical care is the most expensive in the world, yet America ranks 50th in the world in life expectancy. He never mentioned that we take in emigrants from every nation, ethnicity, and climate, along with their various health vulnerabilities and genetic susceptibilities.

Why is he surprised that some therefore die younger in our diverse population than in a frozen Scandinavian genetic monoculture?

So the U.S. needs more of those long-living (blond and blue-eyed) Scandinavian immigrants to balance out the (not blond and blue-eyed) unhealthy ones?


Posted by Terry K. at 10:38 AM EDT
Kerik's Character Witness at Newsmax: Bo Dietl
Topic: Newsmax

Does Newsmax really think that someone accused by a mob informant of taking bribes from the Gotti crime family is really the best character witness for jailed former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik? It appears so.

An unbylined Oct. 25 Newsmax article featuring more ranting from Geraldo Rivera that Kerik -- whose bail was revoked last week after allegedly trying to taint the jury pool in his upcoming corruption trial -- is the victim of a "cynical ploy by a runaway judge" also noted:

Joining Rivera was famed security expert Richard “Bo” Dietl, a former NYPD detective who said that revoking Kerik’s bail was a “travesty” of justice.

“They should do the right thing – let the man go home, let the man go to trial,’’ said Dietl. “If he’s guilty, then they should prove that he’s guilty. Don’t do this to this man. You’re destroying this man and his family. He was an American hero.”

But, as the New York Post reported last month:

More than a dozen corrupt cops – allegedly including celebrity detective Bo Dietl and a former NYPD detective-driver for Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau — fed information to the mob and took part in crimes including drug dealing, armed robbery and murder, according to a blockbuster FBI report obtained by The Post.

The stunning allegations come from Gambino crime family rat John Alite, who’s expected to be the prosecution’s star witness at the upcoming racketeering and murder trial of mob scion John "Junior" Gotti.

[...]

In a series of sit-downs between June 2007 and last August, Alite told the feds he personally witnessed Dietl, a fixture on cable television, take cash payoffs from Richie Gotti, brother of the late "Dapper Don" John Gotti.

Alite "had several conversations with Richie Gotti regarding Dietl, during the course of which Gotti told [Alite] Dietl was ‘with them’ meaning the Gambino family and was available to do what the Family asked of him," according to the report.

Dietl vehemently denied the allegations.

"For this punk to say I took a penny from Richard Gotti, he’s a f---- liar," Dietl told The Post by phone from Venice, Italy. "I want to be put on the stand. I want to tell the guy to his face he’s a f--- liar. My reputation is on the line."

Let's see -- a former cop accused of being on the take defending a former cop accused of corruption. That doesn't really help Newsmax's Kerik rehabilitation project, does it?


Posted by Terry K. at 8:59 AM EDT
New Article: WorldNetDaily Can't Stop Whitewashing Orly Taitz
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Why is WND afraid to tell the full truth about the birther attorney's questionable lawyering work to its readers? Perhaps because her credibility reflects that of the birther movement WND leads. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 12:36 AM EDT
The Right Wing-PayPal Connection
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A few weeks back, it was revealed that James O'Keefe -- who has gained right-wing fame for his clandestine videos of ACORN -- received thousands of dollars for a previous stunt from Peter Thiel, a co-founder of the online payment site PayPal with major conservative credentials (despite being gay).

Interestingly, Thiel is not the only PayPal alum with their toes in right-wing activism.

Eric Jackson is the former marketing director for PayPal, and Norman Book is its former financial systems manager. After leaving the company following its acquisition by eBay, the pair in 2004 founded World Ahead Publishing, with the goal to publish conservative-oriented books.

In 2006, WorldNetDaily selected World Ahead to be its latest partner in its WND Books imprint. And in 2008, WND purchased World Ahead outright. As part of the deal, Jackson was named executive vice president of strategy of WND (he has since left that position; he currently "advises startups and non-profits on their business and product strategies"), while Book was named (and remains) executive vice president of operations.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:10 AM EDT
Monday, October 26, 2009
CNS, Baehr Mislead on 'Antichrist'
Topic: CNSNews.com

As we've detailed, the provocative and gruesome Lars von Trier film "Antichrist" is the right wing's new obsession. Now CNSNews.com has jumped aboard the outrage bandwagon with an Oct. 26 article by Pete Winn.

Winn misleads from the beginning, asserting that "Antichrist" "opened nationwide on Friday." Winn didn't mention that it opened on only six screens.

Winn then wrote that Ted Baehr of Movieguide -- not identifying Movieguide as a right-wing group -- "has launched a campaign to get the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to alter its rating" to NC-17, adding that "Baehr said the MPAA does sometimes change its ratings, and it does sometimes change them under public pressure." In fact, the MPAA cannot "alter its rating" of "Antichrist" because it was never submitted to the MPAA for a rating in the first place.

The movie was released in theaters unrated, as are many foreign films in limited release in the U.S.

Baehr's petition demanding that the MPAA rate the film NC-17 is similarly clueless, calling the film "Hollywood’s latest assault on our tender and impressionable children." But "Antichrist" is not a Hollywood production; it was made by a Danish director with a mostly Danish crew and entirely foreign money.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:02 PM EDT
Newsmax Repeats False Claim About Fox News, Feinberg
Topic: Newsmax

As evidence of "President Obama's decision to employ bare-knuckled Chicago tactics in his street fight with Fox News," David Patten cites the following in an Oct. 25 Newsmax article:

On Thursday, the administration suffered an embarrassing setback in its campaign to cast Fox News Channel as a media pariah. The Treasury Department arranged interviews for "pay czar" Kenneth Feinberg, but directed that Fox News would not be included.

According to FoxNews.com, the Washington bureau chiefs of the other networks conferred and informed Treasury officials that Fox could not be excluded because it is a member of the network pool.

Either Fox would be permitted to participate, they said, or none of the networks would provide coverage.

The administration quickly backed down from its plan to exclude Fox.

But that storyline has been discredited. As we've noted, Talking Points Memo uncovered what actually happened, and there's no evidence that anyone in the administration "directed that Fox News would not be included":

Feinberg did a pen and pad with reporters to brief them on cutting executive compensation. TV correspondents, as they do with everything, asked to get the comments on camera. Treasury officials agreed and made a list of the networks who asked (Fox was not among them).

But logistically, all of the cameras could not get set up in time or with ease for the Feinberg interview, so they opted for a round robin where the networks use one pool camera. Treasury called the White House pool crew and gave them the list of the networks who'd asked for the interview.

The network pool crew noticed Fox wasn't on the list, was told that they hadn't asked and the crew said they needed to be included. Treasury called the White House and asked top Obama adviser Anita Dunn. Dunn said yes and Fox's Major Garrett was among the correspondents to interview Feinberg last night.

Simple as that, we're told, and the networks don't want to be seen as heroes for Fox.

Will Patten correct his article? Don't count on it.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:45 AM EDT
Another Unbalanced Anti-Abortion Article From CNS
Topic: CNSNews.com

An Oct. 23 CNSNews.com article by Karen Schuberg -- which claims that "Abortion kills more black Americans than the seven leading causes of death combined" -- is a highly biased affair.

Most notably, conservative anti-abortion activists are not identified as such.  While Rev. Clenard H. Childress Jr.'s identification as "founder of BlackGenocide.org" is arguably self-explanatory, Schuberg identifies Freda Bush only as "an obstetrician and gynecologist in private practice in Jackson, Miss." In fact, Bush is affiliated with the Medical Institute for Sexual Health, which is a conservative group that argues for abstinence-only sex education, even to the point of arguing against condom use as ineffective against sexually transmitted diseases even though, as Slate reports, teaching people to protect themselves by using condoms can successfully reduce the spread of disease.

Only one person on the conservative side quoted by Schuberg, "Dr. Alveda King, niece of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.," is labeled as a "pro-life activist." In fact, as we've noted the last time CNS granted Alveda King the "Dr." honorific, her doctorate is not in medicine and appears to bemerely honorary.

By contrast, Schuberg cites only one source on the pro-choice side, from the Guttmacher Institute, which she describes as "a pro-abortion group." And the Guttmacher Institute was not permitted to respond to the more inflammatory claims the anti-abortion activists made, such as King's assertion that "abortion has done what the Klan only dreamed of" and Bush's reference to Margaret Sanger being "a known eugenist, also had a Negro project" (without explaining that the Guttmacher Institute is an outgrowth of Planned Parenthood, which was founded by Sanger).

CNS has a long history of labeling bias and unbalanced reporting on abortion.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:18 AM EDT
Compare and Contrast, NewsReal Division
Topic: Horowitz

Any comments that fall within the following categories will most likely be deleted:

[...]

1. Abusive, Ad Hominem, Overly Mean-Spirited. Attack arguments and ideas, not people.

[...]

2. Hyperbolic Nazi References. Try not to compare people to Hitler and the Nazis unless they’re actually advocating anti-Semitism, racism, or genocide. See Godwin’s Law. These references usually poison debate and are indicative of intellectual laziness. 

-- David Swindle, Oct. 24 NewsReal post

Editor's Note: This is the first in an ongoing series in which NewsReal’s Paul Cooper focuses on the exploits of CNN’s Jon Stewart-wannabe, the clownish embarrassment Rick Sanchez.

-- Paul Cooper, Oct. 24 NewsReal post

Last night, Brit Hume and Bill O’Reilly informed their audience, in a discussion about recent White House attacks on Fox News, that partisan comparisons to Nazi Germany in today’s political world are verboten. Apparently it rebounds negatively back onto the writer or speaker. However, sometimes the shoe fits so well, it must be worn. White House interim communications director Anita Dunn is desperately trying to avoid the fate of her historical doppelganger sister in arms, Leni Riefenstahl.

-- Michael Rulle, Oct. 21  NewsReal post


Posted by Terry K. at 12:07 AM EDT

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