CNS Still Auditioning Constitutionality Story Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com keeps pushing the idea that requiring Americans to obtain health insurance promoting it in a pair of Nov. 6 articles. The first, by Penny Starr, uncritically qutoes right-wing radio host Mark Levin claiming that those who support the idea "are saying 'the hell with the Constitution.'" The second, by Edwin Mora, uncritically quotes John McCain saying that he expects a challenge to the constitutionality of the provision if passed.
As in previous CNS stories promoting the idea, Starr and Mora fail to report the views of non-conservative legal experts who believe that it is constitutional.
WND Columnist: Anti-Gay Activists Not Anti-Gay Enough Topic: WorldNetDaily
Linda Harvey's Nov. 6 WorldNetDaily column was aghast that anti-gay activists in Maine who favored repealing the gay-marriage law there supported the idea of domestic partnerships:
This is a huge concession to the hopes and aspirations of "gay" activists. Are there indeed "rights" that need to be accorded to the behavior of homosexuality? No self-respecting Christian would take this position. This paves the way for the pseudo-marriage of "domestic partnerships."
Indeed, Harvey's message is that anti-gay people weren't hateful enough. She goes on to take the Catholic Church to task for saying that it "respects and accepts gays":
Really? The Catholic Church accepts homosexual behavior? Two men having sex with one another? Women excluding men from their lives and shacking up as lesbians? This is respectable and acceptable in Catholic teachings? This seems to say there might be truth to the claim of "gay" identity, something homosexualists would love for Christians to embrace.
Harvey's main excuse for being hateful is that God commands her: "God has no tolerance for damaging, destructive homosexual behavior. This kind of short-term thinking may win a few battles, but will guarantee we lose the war."
However, Hasan is being reported as a participant in the GWU Homeland Security Policy Institute's Presidential Transition Task Force, not as a member, noting the group was a university think-tank, not part of the Obama administration official transition team.
Further, the institute's deputy director is quoted saying he is unable to say if Hasan made any input to the group's final recommendations.
Other participants in the task force included many members of congressional staff who work with both the House and Senate homeland security committees, as well as staff from the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice.
This is lame for several reasons. First, it's at the end of the article, not the beginning. Second, WND changed nothing else -- the headline still falsely claims "Shooter advised Obama transition." Third, this editor's note corrects something the Huffington Post wrote, which is outside WND's bailiwick.
Finally, WND is still not admitting Corsi's claim is completely false even as it keeps proving it wrong -- as this editor's note does.
To sum up: The editor's note corrects not something WND wrote that needs a correction but something somebody else wrote about WND, which has no business being in this article.
Is WND so stubborn and/or ethically deficient that it cannot publish a simple, honest correction of an obviously false statement? It appears so.
WND Spreads Lies In Anti-Muslim Freak-Out Topic: WorldNetDaily
Because the alleged shooter in the Fort Hood massacre is apparently a Muslim, this has given WorldNetDaily license to engage in a full-on anti-Muslim freak-out.
WND's initial report on the shootings began: "A Muslim U.S. Army officer opened fire at Fort Hood in Texas today, killing 12 soldiers and wounding 31, before he was shot by a base police officer."
An unbylined Nov. 6 article rehashes claims allegations in its CAIR-bashing, theft-based tome "Muslim Mafia" that alleged shooter Nidal Malik Hasan "is just the tip of a jihadist Fifth Column operating within the ranks of the U.S. military – which is too blinded by political correctness to see the threat." The article also quotes Walid Shoebat, uncritically calling him "a former Islamist terrorist" even though the facts appear to show otherwise.
WND then jumped the shark from alarmist claims to outright falsehoods with a Nov. 6 article by Jerome Corsi -- with the blaring headline "Shooter advised Obama transition" -- asserting that asserting that Hasan "played a homeland security advisory role in President Barack Obama's transition into the White House,"citing Hasan's participation in a George Washington University task force that produced a document on "security priorities for the next administration.
But Corsi contradicts himself later in the article:
While the GWU task force participants included several members of government, including representatives of the Department of Justice and the U.S Department of Homeland Security, there is no indication in the document that the group played any formal role in the official Obama transition, other than to serve in a university-based advisory capacity.
As Media Matters noted, the task force first convened in April 2008 -- well before Obama had even secured the Democratic presidential nomination, let alone won the election. Further, as Gawker reported: "Daniel Kaniewski, the institute's deputy director, confirms that Hasan attended task force meetings as an audience member, and stresses that he was not a member of the task force."
If there's no indication the task force -- which Hasan merely attended and was not actually a member -- actually played an advisory role to the Obama transition, Corsi and WND are lying when they claim it did.
Cashill's Favorite Murderer Plays the Victim Topic: WorldNetDaily
Jack Cashill's Nov. 5 WorldNetDaily column is in large part a letter by Steven Nary, convicted of killing a gay man in San Francisco in 1996 and Cashill's latest cause celebre. As we've detailed, Cashill has been portraying Nary as a victim of politically correct prosecutors for killing a gay man and peddling a revisionist history of Nary's case to paint Nary's actions as self-defense.
Nary's letter embraces that same kind of victimhood, despite starting out by stating that "I have never been able to fully express to others what happened to me. The obvious reasons are my fear of judgment and my desire to not be labeled a victim."
Nary does allow that he's sorry for killing the guy, but adds, "However, I am frustrated that I have to keep saying that I am sorry because it takes away from what happened to me." Nary blames his victim for provoking him into a murderous rage, seemingly justifying his own actions: "Why is it so hard to understand the violation of one's body is enough to see the deepest of emotions come out?"
Finally, he laments: "I may end up spending the rest of my life in prison because I have trouble articulating this to a parole board that somehow came up with the conclusion that I wanted this to happen."
Nary doesn't seem to see that his repeated deflection of blame may be one reason he's still in prison. And Cashill seems all to happy to perpetuate Nary's victimhood.
A Nov. 5 WorldNetDaily article touted how Joseph Farah, filling in as guest host on (domestic terrorist) G. Gordon Liddy's radio show on Nov. 5, interviewed anti-abortion extremist Randall Terry, where he "reported live from the Capitol Hill protest where opponents of President Obama's health care takeover plan rallied."
Interestingly, this is the first mention of Terry at WND since before the murder of Kansas abortion doctor George Tiller. As we've noted, WND declined to report Terry's antics in the wake of Tiller's death, such as asserting that "left this life with his hands drenched with the innocent blood of tens of thousands of babies that he murdered" and that "I believe George Tiller was one of the most evil men on the planet; every bit as vile as the Nazi war criminals who were hunted down, tried, and sentenced after they participated in the 'legal' murder of the Jews that fell into their hands."
WND also failed to report on Terry's plan to burn people like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in effigy, calling it a "proud American tradition."
In his interview (about 47:00 in the audio linked to the article), Farah chucked as Terry described the stunts he had planned during his protest, saying at one point, "Am I going to have to bail you out, Randy?" Farah further slobbered over Terry: "Randy, you've devoted -- your life's work, really, is preserving life, protecting life."
Does this mean that Terry is out of the doghouse at WND, where he had been kept in order to keep the anti-abortion movement from looking a little less nutty and extreme in the wake of Tiller's death? It would appear so.
CNS Puts 'Public Option' in Scare Quotes Topic: CNSNews.com
A Nov. 5 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas makes an interesting editorial decision by referencing "the government-run plan, which Democrats call 'the public option.'"
Yes, Lucas is putting scare quotes around "public option" (much like WorldNetDaily does with the word "gay"). And he fails to explain that "government-run" to describe the public option is phraseology that Republican pollster Frank Luntz urges Republicans to use as a way to fight reform.
Further, Lucas' misleads on the level of support New York 23rd District special election winner Bill Owens, a Democrat, has for health care reform. The headline of Lucas' article states, "N.Y. Democrat Wins House Seat on Opposition to Democrats' 'Public Option'."
The article itself is slightly more ambiguous, stating that "Owens at best has hedged on whether he supports a government-run health insurance plan" and quoting a New York Observer article claiming that Owens "does not support a public option available to anyone."
In fact, Owens' position appears to have evolved on the public option; as Media Matters noted, in October Owens said the public option in the Democratic reform bill was "reasonable."
Newsmax Unable to Spin Kerik Plea Deal Topic: Newsmax
What's this -- an original Newsmax article reporting on Bernard Kerik without injecting its slobbering pro-Kerik bias into it?
That's right. A Nov. 4 Newsmax article by Jim Meyers states that "is expected to accept a plea bargain agreement on federal corruption charges that would put him behind bars for at least 27 months, according to published reports."
It is rather difficult to put a positive spin on that. And Meyers isn't as honest as he should have been, failing to note that Kerik is a Newsmax columnist or that Newsmax has been running a months-long rehabilitation campaign on his behalf. Meyers also doesn't note, as the New York Post did, that his prison time under the reported plea bargain is "more than double the time he would have faced if he'd done the same thing two years ago."
UPDATE: Remember what Newsmax said about Kerik in its fawning magazine profile just two months ago -- portraying him as the innocent victim of "overzealous federal prosecutors" who is "fighting for his innocence with a criminal guillotine hanging over his head."
MRC Ignores Holes in Anti-Abortion Convert's Story Topic: Media Research Center
A Nov. 2 MRC Culture & Media Institute article by Carolyn Plocher claims that the media is ignoring the story of Abby Johnson, a Planned Parenthood official in Texas who resigned her post after, she claims, watching an ultrasound of an abortion procedure. But Plocher is ignoring a few things too -- like questions about the veracity of her story.
Johnson seems to be selling a story that's a tad too pat, too close to what anti-choicers want to hear.
Johnson worked at a clinic that provides abortion, amongst other things. Therefore, she's probably seen a whole lot of ultrasound-enabled abortions. Providing ultrasound is standard part of an abortion, because gestational age determines the exact procedure, and whether or not the clinic can even do it. Anyone who has worked in or even spoken to someone about working in a clinic knows that there's not a lot of mystery around the procedure, and so Johnson's story of a sudden revelation about the nature of abortion simply doesn't seem possible. Indeed, I should remind you that 99.9 percent of clinic workers who see ultrasounds and provide abortions don't have sudden, suspicious religious conversions. Most of them feel pretty damn good about giving women the freedom to choose.
Plocher also writes about the restraining order Planned Parenthood is seeking against Johnson and the Coalition for Life, the anti-abortion group she's affiliated with now: "What could the organization possibly have to hide? Maybe racists trying to kill black babies or employees advising girls to deny statutory rape." In fact, Salon.com reports:
A copy of Planned Parenthood's petition for the restraining order obtained by Salon suggests it might not be as simple as these commentators claim. The document says that Johnson was put on a performance improvement plan on Oct. 2 of this year. That same day, she was allegedly seen "removing items from the Health Center." Days later, Johnson was allegedly seen copying "confidential files." Some time later, a physician from another city who occasionally works for Planned Parenthood's Bryan clinic reported that a protester from 40 Days for Life, a campaign that aims for a constant, around-the-clock presence in front of targeted clinics and is also linked to Coalition for Life, said that they "knew that the physician worked for [Planned Parenthood] in Bryan."
The petition additionally claims that Johnson told a nurse practitioner who works for Planned Parenthood that she had passed along the provider's résumé, home address and phone number to Coalition for Life. Johnson also reportedly told a clinic employee that "something big" was going to take place this past weekend during the finale of the organization's latest 40-day protest, although the big something apparently never materialized.
There's a lot more going on here than Plocher reports. So what does Plocher have to hide?
NewsBusters Offended That Newspaper Covers Local News Topic: NewsBusters
Matthew Sheffield notes in a Nov. 4 NewsBusters post that the Los Angeles Times was "downplaying two Republican gubernatorial victories (state-wide) and playing up two House races won by Democrats," adding, "Sometimes spotting liberal bias is like shooting fish in a barrel."
One of those races was in California. Los Angeles is in California. So, basically, Sheffield is criticizing the Los Angeles Times for covering local news.
Meanwhile ... Topic: Media Research Center
Media Matters' Simon Maloy points out that the Media Research Center's press release giving "The 'Dewey Defeats Truman Awards' for the Most Incompetent Political Reporting of This Year's Election" to various "journalists who insisted that the only recipe for Republican success was to run away from the conservative agenda" in the New York 23rd District congressional race would have made more sense had the conservative candidate actually won.
New Article: The MRC's Deceptive Defense of Limbaugh Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center blurs the line between apparently false racially charged statements attributed to Rush Limbaugh and undeniably true ones to falsely suggest that Limbaugh has never made any such statements. Read more >>
NewsBusters Complains CNN Cites Liberal Group's Numbers -- But Doesn't Challenge Them Topic: NewsBusters
A Nov. 3 NewsBusters post by Matthew Balan complains that CNN's Rick Sanchez "cited the National Priorities Project’s figures" on the amount of money the U.S. has spent on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, "but did not mention their left-wing ideology."
But Balan did not challenge the National Priorities Project’s figures. So if its numbers are accurate -- as Balan suggests by his silence on the issue -- why does the group's political leanings matter?
WND Solicits for Legal Defense Fund -- But Won't Come Clean About Book Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Nov. 3 WorldNetDaily article by David Kupelian is a solicitation for WND's legal defense fund regarding claims over its CAIR-bashing "Muslim Mafia" book. But Kupelian has not been forthcoming about it, which should give pause to any potential donor.
"Muslim Mafia" is built around interns working undercover and CAIR and stealing documents. Kupelian writes:
Although CAIR contends Chris Gaubatz stole the documents, WND founder and CEO Joseph Farah has previously explained in a letter to Congress that the CAIR material was legally obtained by the young investigator, who had been asked by CAIR officials "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,'" Farah said. "They were, in fact, handed to him by CAIR employees for destruction. All of the documents are available for review by appropriate law-enforcement authorities and, in fact, some have already been provided to them."
Farah concluded by saying Gaubatz's "patriotic activities within CAIR, an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator, were done on advice of counsel at every step, and were in accordance with District of Columbia and Virginia state law."
But WND thus far has not named the attorneys who advised it regarding "Muslim Mafia,' nor has it publicly detailed the legal precedents upon which WND's claim that the documents are not stolen rests.
There are other things going on behind the scenes as well that Kupelian has thus far failed to disclose. A Nov. 2 WND article by Art Moore reveals that another organization funded the "research" that resulted in "Muslim Mafia":
[Co-author] Dave Gaubatz told WND the "research project pertaining to CAIR was conducted in a professional and legal manner."
He said it was "funded by a high profile U.S. organization with very close ties to senior law enforcement and U.S. government officials."
Gaubatz said he cannot name the group now, but noted it is not SANE, the Society of Americans for National Existence, as widely believed.
"This organization is very professional, and every step of the research was coordinated with their legal team and senior personnel," he said. "From the very onset of the research, our researchers observed intelligence in CAIR documents which appeared to be national security concerns."
Moore, bizarrely, doesn't ask his boss, Joseph Farah, about this mysterious funder, even though he, as the publisher of the book, must know who it is. Such is the self-serving nature of reporting on yourself. Moore also doesn't admit the obvious: This is all a promotional strategy for the book.
There's another hole in the case that's not being publicly addressed. Moore writes:
CAIR claims that as "David Marshall," Chris Gaubatz signed a confidentiality and nondisclosure agreement in which he agreed he would not divulge to others any trade secrets, confidential information or other proprietary data. Politico reported, however, CAIR officials say they can't find the agreement Gaubatz allegedly signed.
But at no point has Chris Gaubatz denied signing a confidentiality agreement. And given the clandestine nature of the operation, one can easily speculate that Gaubatz, in his document-stealing frenzy, made the confidentiality agreement he signed disappear somehow. Moore curiously didn't pursue that.
People should refrain from donating to WND's legal defense fund until they know who funded the undercover operation that resulted in the book -- and whether they will be contributing to legal defense efforts as well.
They should also refrain from donating until they are aware of all the facts in the case. Precedent calls for such prudence.
WND similarly solicited legal defense donations regarding the libel lawsuit filed against it by Clark Jones, a Tennessee car dealer and supporter of Al Gore, regarding articles WND published before the 2000 presidential election that made claims about him he asserted were false. WND fought the lawsuit for seven years, even though -- as we detailed -- WND made no effort to fact-check the articles before publishing them. (They were written by outside writers, not WND employees, and were purchased from the authors for publication.)
Then, shortly before the case was to go to trial in March 2008, WND abruptly settled the lawsuit, in part by admitting that "no witness verifies the truth of what the witnesses are reported by authors to have stated. Additionally, no document has been discovered that provides any verification that the statements written were true." WND also stated: "Discovery has also revealed that the sources named in the publications have stated under oath that statements attributed to them in the articles were either not made by them, were misquoted by the authors, were misconstrued, or the statements were taken out of context."
WND admitted publishing false claims about Jones, something it could have avoided by fact-checking before publication instead of years after the fact. This means WND has a history of failing to perform due diligence, resulting in serious financial and reputational costs to the organization.
WND has never provided a public explanation of why it fought Jones' lawsuit for seven years -- using defense fund money to do so -- when it knew or should have known he was right all along.
Such lack of accountability should be a red flag to any potential contributor to WND's legal defense fund.