I can't get worked up by the specter of Tareq and Michaele Salahi frolicking with Rham, Barack and Biden. Trashy people crashed the White House. So what? The place was packed with nasty, noisome parasites. An extra pair should make no difference. Quite the contrary: There's something apropos about a couple of reality-show exhibitionists, who themselves "have left an extensive paper trail in federal bankruptcy and state court filings," brazenly elbowing their way into a party of ponces. (From the White House are issued shake-down schemes that make Bernie Madoff, much less the Salahis, look like babes in grand-larceny boot camp.)
Besides, the Salahis, like Obama, are of their time and place. Obama was launched by the Queen of Kitsch, day-time talker Oprah Winfrey. He now sits at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It's entirely fitting that a supermarket culture should have representation at the White House.
Meanwhile... Topic: WorldNetDaily Richard Bartholomew looks into the claims of a WorldNetDaily advertiser who promises a "Frightening 150 Page Report on Obama’s New World Order." It's pretty much what you'd expect from a WND advertiser.
Mike Bates uses a Dec. 3 NewsBusters post to crow about how CNN's Rick Sanchez has abandonded a claim that death threats against President Obama have increased 400 percent over threats against President Bush. But Sanchez wasn't the first to make the claim -- a conservative was.
Bates documents Sanchez first making the claim on Aug. 28, which he then lamented "was eagerly picked up by sites like Daily Kos and Racism Review." But more than three weeks earlier, Ronald Kessler -- no Obama fan, as we've detailed -- forwarded the claim in an Aug. 3 Newsmax article promoting Kessler's then-new book on the Secret Service:
A new book by Newsmax Chief Washington Correspondent Ronald Kessler features startling revelations about current and former U.S. presidents, including Barack Obama.
"In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect," released Tuesday, discloses that threats against the president have increased dramatically — by a staggering 400 percent since Obama entered the White House.
Kessler is the first journalist to penetrate the wall of secrecy that surrounds the U.S. Secret Service, and his book is based on interviews with more than 100 current and former agents.
Kessler was still repeating the claim, citing it in columns on Nov. 26 and Nov. 30 criticizing the security lapse that let a pair of gate-crashers into a White House state dinner.
Will the MRC hold Newsmax to the same standard it holds CNN? We'd like to see if it's capable of doing that.
AIM Repeats False Claim About Obama Cabinet Topic: Accuracy in Media
A Dec. 1 Accuracy in Media column, from the "editors of FamilySecurityMatters.org," highlights a "fascinating chart, said to be from a JP Morgan research report," which purports to show that number of Obama cabinet appointees with "experience in the private sector" was less than 10 percent, far less than previous administrations.
Too bad it's not true.
PolitiFact looked into the claim, first reported by Michael Cembalest, the chief investment officer for J.P. Morgan Private Bank, and promoted by Glenn Beck, and found that, in fact, "at least three of the nine posts that Cembalest and Beck cite — a full one-third — are occupied by appointees who, by our reading of their bios, had significant corporate or business experience." Further, "Three other Obama appointees had legal experience in the private sector."
PolitiFact then talked to Cembalest, who admitted his errors, adding that he said "any effort to address the topic is heavily subjective, and he expressed regret that his work had been used for political ends, saying that it was not his intention to provide fodder for bloggers and talk show hosts."
So, will Accuracy in Media live up to its name and issue a correction? We shall see.
Farah: 'Yes, I Do Believe In Conspiracies' Topic: WorldNetDaily
For once, Joseph Farah tells the truth (for the first two paragraphs, anyway) in his Dec. 3 WorldNetDaily column:
I am sometimes accused of believing in and promoting "conspiracy theories."
To this charge, I must plead guilty.
For a long time, I have warned of a massive conspiracy to persuade the American public, in fact the population of the entire world, that life as we know it is threatened by a phantom crisis. This conspiracy is so massive and bold it seeks literally to usher in a new age of global governance, even though there is no evidence to support the claims behind the imminent threat to the planet.
Nevertheless, most of the news media, most government institutions, most politicians of both parties, nearly all schools and universities – even most corporations – promote this conspiracy.
And, later this month, a United Nations global convention in Copenhagen aims to build upon the work of this conspiracy in the hopes of promoting unaccountable global governance – turning people in formerly free countries like the United States into little more than serfs far removed from their masters.
I speak, of course, of the widespread conspiracy and increasingly obvious fraud known as man-made, catastrophic climate change.
Sometimes, even the "paranoid" who claims "they're after me" is right.
The "climate change" crowd really is after you. They're after your money, your freedom and your life.
But how are the Bilderbergers and the Council on Foreign Relations involved? Alas, it seems only the WNDstore can help you with that.
Another Joke Anti-Global Warming Report, Endorsed by Noel Sheppard Topic: NewsBusters
We've previously noted that NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard has no interest in fact-checking conservatives as long as they're spouting conservatively correct anti-global warming talking points. In one of those posts that we cited, Sheppard also wrote this:
The Science and Public Policy Institute issued a report on the money involved in funding the global warming debate in August concluding, "Over the last two decades, US taxpayers have subsidized the American climate change industry to the tune of $79 billion."
By contrast, the same study found that the media bogeyman "Exxon Mobil gave a mere $23 million, spread over ten years, to climate sceptics."
That breakdown sounded familiar to us. Sure enough, Marc Morano was peddling a similar breakdown a couple years ago. As we detailed, it has no basis in reality, making an apples-and-oranges comparison by compiling everything tangentally related to climate change, such as development of alternative fuels, to donations made by a single company.
That seems to be the case with the "study" Sheppard promoted. Sheppard links to what appears to be an op-ed making the claim, but no supporting evidence is offered or even linked to.
A little more digging around the 'Net uncovers the original SPPI report, which states that the $79 billion lumps together all "science and technology research, administration, education campaigns, foreign aid, and tax breaks." As with Morano, there's no detailed breakdown of exactly what programs are being included in the SPPI's count. (The report states that "details and sources" are in "Appendix I," which is not attached to the PDF of the report, and we couldn't find it anywhere else on the SPPI website.)
SPPI also apes Morano and perpetuates the apples-and-oranges distortion by comparing the all-encompassing $79 billion only to the $23 million donated by Exxon Mobil. This ignores donations by other oil companies and funding of anti-global warming groups like SPPI.
In other words, this study is a joke -- which makes it perfect bait for people like Noel Sheppard.
Aaron Klein Mighty Wurlitzer Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
Whenever Aaron Klein has an insufficiently right-wing policy he wants to denounce, he reaches into his Mighty Wurlitzer and digs out the Rabbinical Congress for Peace.
Klein hits that note again in a Dec. 1 article, giving the group space to bash rime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to freeze Jewish West Bank construction as an "irresponsible move that will only cause bloodshed in the region."
Needless to say, at no point does Klein acknowledge that the Rabbinical Congress for Peace is a right-wing group.
Geller Still Fearmongering Over Rifqa Bary Case Topic: Newsmax
Pamela Geller just can'tseemtostop distorting the case of Rifqa Bary, the Ohio teen who converted to Christianity and ran away from home to a creepy pastor in Florida she found on Facebook, claiming that her Islamic parents want to kill her for converting.
Geller's Dec. 2 Newsmax column purports to be outraged that Bary -- who has been returned to Ohio and placed in foster care -- is "in imminent danger of being returned to her family" and is being "deprived of access to the phone and Internet as well as "pastoral guidance," adding, "Convicts, murderers, rapists, and pedophiles all have access to 'pastoral guidance.'"
Given that the pastor to whom Bary fled believes that he receives special personal messages from God about the imminent end of the world, a lack of "pastoral guidance" is probably a good thing. Needless to say, Geller is silenat about the pastor's beliefs.
Geller also repeats unsupported claims of hostile Muslims, alluding to "powerful and influential Islamic supremacists" and "myriad busts for jihad activity in recent weeks." She also again treats "lose friend and fellow ex-Muslim" Jamal Jivanjee as a credible source, even though he's clearly too close to the case to be objective. Indeed, Geller quotes Jivanjee aping her: “If you are incarcerated in an American prison today, you have the right to have a visit from a pastor. Rifqa Bary does not have this most basic right that most criminals have today.”
Geller sums up by claiming that Bary is "isolated, alone, and in danger of being returned to Islamic jihadists who believe apostates from Islam should be killed. What has happened to America?"
The facts, however, are different than what Geller suggests. No credible threats to Bary have been found by authorities in either Florida or Ohio, and Ohio officials are attempting to work out a solution between Bary and her family, as the Columbus Dispatch reports:
Columbus runaway Fathima Rifqa Bary and her parents should talk about their respective religions and work toward living together again, according to a government case plan filed in Franklin County Juvenile Court.
A caseworker developed the plan with Rifqa and her parents, but only Children Services workers signed it. Rifqa and her parents disagree with the plan, and so does the guardian the court appointed for her, according to the paperwork filed with the court on Monday.
The plan reveals that Rifqa does not wish to see her parents, who both want to see her. She also is resisting visiting her brothers. Rifqa's reason for not wanting contact is "healing purposes," it says.
Mohamed Bary and his wife, Aysha, agree with Rifqa's current placement in foster care but would like a relationship with her, the plan says.
They are concerned that Rifqa misunderstands their Islamic faith, and Rifqa feels the same about her parents' understanding of her Christianity.
There are "severe differences between the parents' and Rifqa's perceptions of what has occurred," the caseworker wrote.
The plan lists the strengths of the family as well, saying that Mr. Bary is able to provide for his family and Mrs. Bary appears capable of caring for her children in the home. Rifqa has good communication skills and has been respectful toward adult authority, the plan says. The plan also says that Children Services will assess the homes of relatives and nonrelatives to try to find a suitable place for the teenager.
Geller, meanwhile, seems to think that fearmongering is a suitable substitute for the truth.
AIM Cites WND on Khalidi, Also Ignores His GOP Links Topic: Accuracy in Media
A Nov. 30 Accuracy in Media article by Roger Aronoff links to a WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein trying to link the White House gatecrashers, President Obama, and "a pro-Palestinian professor" Rashid Khalidi.
Aronoff's imitation of Klein, however, goes right down to ignoring the fact that Khalidi has links to prominent Republicans, including John McCain.
Molotov Mitchell is peddling revisionist history on the Matthew Shepard case in his latest WorldNetDaily video:
First of all, like Harvey Milk, Matthew Shepard was not killed for being gay. After being robbed and beaten to death, his killer went on to try the exact same thing only on a straight guy 20 minutes later. The only reason he survived was because he had a bat and a friend with him. The liberals aren't interested in those facts. They didn't even care when Shepard's killers told ABC News that his murder had nothing to do with his lifestyle. And why would the killers lie? They had nothing to gain.
In fact, as we detailed, one of the killers, Aaron McKinney, mounted a "gay panic" defense at his trial -- which would seem to contradict the story Mitchell wants to hear -- and has changed his story multiple times. As the Matthew Shepard Foundation has stated, the ABC report omitted the contents of McKinney's in-custody interview a few days after Shepard's death. That transcript shows "an un-rehearsed and unemotional anti-gay account of the events before, during, and after leaving Matt tied to the fence," according to the foundation.
Further, as retired Laramie Police Chief Dave O'Malley told a Laramie newspaper: "Only three people know what really happened that night ... One of them is dead and the other two are known liars and convicted felons -- murderers."
Why would the killers lie, Mitchell asks? Because they're convicted murderers and known liars. And what do they have to gain? Sympathy from anti-gay activists like Mitchell.
Mitchell then goes into full anti-gay freak-out mode that the name of lynching victim James Byrd joined Shepard's in the name of the bill that added federal hate-crime protection to gays. The crimes that resulted in Byrd's death was "for real," Mitchell insists, "not some made-up Laramie Project stunt for political gain." Crank up that faux outrage, Molotov:
To exploit a modern-day lynching to score points with the gay lobby, to equate the true horror of Byrd's murder to their phony gay passion play, is unforgivable. Gay activists, how dare you cheapen his sacrifice? For that alone, you are unnatural. For that alone, you are deviant. For James Byrd alone, you are an abomination.
Oh, and he also sneeringly refers to President Obama as a "weak-kneed metrosexual."
This is merely the first of a two-part video, by the way. Can't wait 'til next week...
Conservatives Aren't Fact-Checked At the MRC Topic: NewsBusters
One thing conservative media figures can count on: The Media Research Center will never hold them accountable for their factual errors or misrepresentations. Agenda, after all, comes before accuracy.
Noel Sheppard, in a Nov. 29 NewsBusters post, highlighted an appearance by George Will on ABC's "This Week" in which he promoted the so-called "Climategate" kerfuffle over stolen emails, regurgitating Will's claim that "the release of these e-mail messages raises a serious question about why America should 'wager trillions of dollars and substantially curtail freedom on climate models that are imperfect and unproven.'" Sheppard failed to mention Will's false distortions of the purloined emails.
Sheppard struck again in a Nov. 30 post touting how Fox News' Brit Hume "said the growing ClimateGate scandal suggests manmade global warming may be a fraud." That was good enough for Sheppard, giving him license to ignore Hume's falsehoods -- not only did Hume falsely claim that "[t]here's been no apparent increase in global temperatures over the past 11 years," he repeated the misleading claim that "the original raw data used to create these models has been destroyed or otherwise disposed of." In fact, most of the raw data still exists, and only the data that had become unreliable due to discontinuities or urbanization at the monitoring stations was thrown out.
The important thing, as far as Sheppard is concerned, is that Will and Hume parroted the conservatively correct talking points. The truth is secondary.
WND Wants You (And the U.N.) To Think It's Not An Advocacy Organization Topic: WorldNetDaily
Round two of WorldNetDaily's press credential battle with the United Nations is highlighted in a Nov. 30 article, which states that the U.N. has turned down WND application to cover the climate-change convention in Copenhagen. Of course, WND fudges facts along the way.
In response to the U.N.'s statement that "advocacy publications of nongovernmental or nonprofit organizations do not qualify for media accreditation," WND chief Joseph Farah starts off by being petulant (big surprise there), with the article paraphrasing him as saying that "the U.N. is grasping at straws for grounds to deny the news organization admittance to the convention – including completely bogus information about WND's structure":
In a personal response to Wuestenhagen, Farah wrote: "Time is short, so I am responding directly as the founder and chief executive officer of WorldNetDaily to your complete misrepresentations as to WorldNetDaily's structure and independence as a news organization.
"WorldNetDaily is NOT, as you mistakenly assert, a for-profit subsidiary of the Western Journalism Center. Neither is it an advocacy organization, though, like all news organizations, it does publish a broad spectrum of opinion – we believe, in fact, the broadest ideological spectrum of any news organization in the world," he continued. "Neither has WorldNetDaily ever been a subsidiary of Western Journalism Center or any other organization."
Farah continued: "The website WorldNetDaily.com began as a project of the Western Journalism Center in 1997. In 1999, the website was spun off as a completely independent for-profit corporation with no legal connection to its former parent. That was 10 years ago. I speak authoritatively on this subject as the founder of BOTH organizations, though I, like my company, WorldNetDaily, have no connection to the Western Journalism Center today."
It's unclear to us how something that started as "a project of the Western Journalism Center" could not be considered a "subsidiary" of it. And since Farah is so secretive about WND's finances and ownership structure, it's impossible to know how much to trust Farah when he says the WJC and WND are no longer connected. Back in 2002, we did manage to badger Farah into admitting that the WJC did own part of WND at the time of the spinoff, though he refuses to name the other investors in WND (we figured out a few of them).
Farah's claim that WND is not an "advocacy organization," however, is just laughable. Just because WND is a for-profit operation doesn't mean it doesn't advocate -- it does. More to the point, WND advocates against the very organization from which it demands press credentials. Death to the U.N., anyone?
At no point does Farah explain why he wants press credentials from a organization whose legitimacy he questions and which he wants to see destroyed. Instead, he descends into smears and crazy talk:
"I vow that we will pursue all legal options to ensure that the free press is respected by these unaccountable global institutions," said Farah.
Farah said WND is the largest independent English-language Internet news organization in the world.
"If WND is not permitted to cover a global event of this magnitude, the rights of all news organizations are threatened in the New World Order organizers hope to establish in Copenhagen," Farah said.
Apparently, Farah doesn't want the U.N. to die just yet -- at least not until he can browbeat and threaten them into giving him a press credential.
UPDATE: Farah repeats many of the same claims in his Dec. 2 column, but he again fails to explain why he's demanding press credentials from an organization he wants to destroy. He also laughably suggests that WND is an "impartial witness" to the U.N.'s "shenannigans."
Newsmax Flip-Flops Once More on Huckabee and Clemency Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax just can't figure out where it stands on Mike Huckabee's use of clemency while governor of Arkansas.
As we detailed, Newsmax ran to Huckabee's defense in 2002 regarding his efforts to give clemency to Wayne Dumond, who was later arrested and convicted of murder. But in 2007, Newsmax citedthe Dumond case in discussing Huckabee's "liberal policy of criminal pardons." Then, a week later, Newsmax published an fawning article about Huckabee that failed to address the question of Huckabee's clemency record in general or Dumond in particular.
Now, the question arises again with the case of Maurice Clemmons, who earlier this week shot and killed four police officers in Washington state. Clemmons was granted clemency by Huckabee in 2000.
Newsmax's response to the Clemmons case is to provide a forum for Huckabee to spin the story. And spin he does in a Nov. 30 column, claiming to "take full responsibility for my actions of nine years ago" yet blaming the Arkansas Post Prison Transfer Board for actually setting the guy free.
Huckabee also misleads by claiming that Clemmons "was 16 years old when he was charged with burglary and robbery. He was sentenced to a total of 108 years based on the way in which the sentences were stacked." But it wasn't a first-time case for a youthful offender, as Huckabee seems to suggest; the sentence total is the result of five separate sentencings in 1989 and 1990, not just for "burglary and robbery" but also aggravated robbery, theft of property, probation revocation and firearms possession.
Huckabee is also disingenous about other efforts to keep Clemmons in prison: "When he violated terms of his parole by participating in additional crimes, he was returned to prison and should have stayed there. For reasons only the prosecutor can explain, charges were not brought forth in a timely way and the prosecutor ended up dropping the charges, allowing him to leave prison and return to supervised parole."
In fact, the prosecutor in question, Larry Jegley, said the charges were dropped because the warrant wasn't served in a timely manner and because there was trouble locating witnesses to the 2001 robbery. Further, Jegley's office opposed Clemmons' parole in 2000 and 2004, adding that Huckabee created a flaw in the Arkansas justice system by freeing the number of prisoners he did. "My word to Mr. Huckabee is man up and own what you did," Jegley said.
A Dec. 1 follow-up Newsmax article by David Patten starts off by continuing to be kind to Huckabee, giving him the opportunity to address "the many incorrect reports and rumors swirling around his decision to reduce Clemmons' sentence."
But then, later in the article, Patten references not only Dumond but also states that "Huckabee's critics have compared the incident to the controversial Willie Horton furlough that derailed the 1988 candidacy of Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, the Democratic presidential nominee." Patten does try to spin that away, however, claiming that "Political historians say, however, that what actually torpedoed Dukakis wasn't the clemency issue, but rather his dispassionate response during a debate to a hypothetical question about whether he would favor capital punishment if his wife were raped."