Mychal Massie digs deep in his thesaurus for a word to bust out in his March 30 WorldNetDaily column: "infectious granuloma."
Massie loves to toss around big words that nobody understands.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
WND's Breast Implant Bomb Story Implodes
Via blogger Richard Bartholomew, we've discovered a tale that plays like a weird wingnut version of the telephone game.
Back in January, there was speculation in the wake of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's attempt to blow up a plane approaching Detroit on Christmas that Al-Qaeda was working on ways to implant an explosive called PETN into the breasts or buttocks of would-be suicide bombers. After the UK's Daily Mail did an article on this at the end of January, and WorldNetDaily followed in a Feb. 1 article, credited to WND's $99-a-year G2 Bulletin newsletter.
Several weeks later, the British tabloid The Sun rehashed the story, not crediting WND yet purporting to quote WND editor Joseph Farah and describing him as a "terrorist expert." The Sun story came back across the pond and was posted on the Fox News website (both are owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.).
Unfortunately for all news organizations involved, the breast-bomb was apparently just too good to check, so it's no surprise to learn that when the claim is examined, it's more than a tad implausible. As Neal Ungerleider at True/Slant writes:
WND weighed in again in a March 27 article telling its version of how the story spread, denying that Farah would ever call himself a "terrorist expert," and disavowing the things The Sun quoted him as saying. However, WND left out the stuff about the breast-bomber stuff being implausible, insisting instead that "it's no joke," then complaining that The Sun didn't credit WND as the source for the story (even though the Daily Mail ran an article before WND did) and using the opportunity to shill for subscriptions to "the real enchilada" G2 Bulletin.
WND also admitted that the source of the breast-bomb item was "one of G2 Bulletin's contributors, Gordon Thomas," who is "a London-based correspondent with deep contacts in British intelligence." But as Bartholomew points out, even right-wingers like Daniel Pipes are less than impressed by Thomas, who apparently believes that Mossad is responsible for the deaths of Princess Diana and publisher Robert Maxwell, and makes even more fantastical claims about Israeli intelligence. Reviewing a book by Thomas, Pipes writes, "In brief, what is reliable in this book is old-hat, while what is new is utterly unreliable, a mishmash of blather and fantasy."
Somehow, it's completely unsurprising that such a person is writing for WorldNetDaily. Or that Fox News would treat a British tabloid that's best known for celebrity gossip and pictures of topless women as a trusted source on issues of national security.
Correlation-Equals-Causation Fallacy Error At CNS
A March 29 CNSNews.com article by Joe Schoffstall asserts that "A new report published by MSNBC.com" -- described as a "liberal cable outlet" in the headline, even though no evidence is offered that the report ever appeared on the air -- "shows that more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens results in fewer deaths from the use of firearms."
In fact, the MSNBC.com report makes no claim to that effect. Quite the contrary, it portrays the the issue as an open question:
Schoffstall is pretending that correlation equals causation, even though the report he cites goes out of its way not to claim that.
The Week in AIM Conspiracy-Mongering
Topic: Accuracy in Media
Most of Accuracy in Media's big articles over the past week or so have been dedicated to promulgating one conspiracy or another.
Cliff Kincaid's March 22 column bashed Catholic bishops for allegedly playing both sides of the fence on health care reform, claiming that this "has proven that the Catholic Church is exercising far too much influence over the national affairs of the United States." As we've detailed, Kincaid has frequently bashed Catholics (despite claiming to be a Catholic himself) while getting a free pass from normally Catholic-sensitive ConWeb outlets.
Kincaid's March 24 column indulges in another recent obsession of his -- that the FBI somehow framed Bruce Ivins as the perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks and that the real perpetrators were Al-Qaeda. A March 26 column by Kenneth J. Dillon trods much the same ground.
Kincaid's March 29 column finds him back in Reefer Madness mode, this time complaining: "The conservative Townhall.com website, owned by the Salem Communications company, a Christian firm, is distributing a column by Steve Chapman claiming that the legalization of marijuana will somehow undermine the power of the Mexican drug trafficking organizations and usher in a new era of peace and tranquility north of the border. The silly column more appropriately belongs on a website associated with George Soros, the moneybags behind the drug legalization movement."
Hey, at least this keeps Kincaid from lying about the Uganda anti-gay law.
Monday, March 29, 2010
NewsBusters Concedes '24' Has Nothing to Do With Real Life
After years of conservatives using the show "24" to argue for enhanced interrogation and to serve as a blueprint for how the war on terror should be run, NewsBusters' Lachlan Markay suddenly chimes in by bashing liberal criticism of the show and adding that "the Jack Bauer interrogation methods bear exactly zero resemblance to any actual interrogation techniques used by American military, law enforcement, or intelligence agents."
We have more at Media Matters.
Hirsen: Nickelodeon Promotes 'Political Indoctrination'
Newsmax's James Hirsen appeared on "The O'Reilly Factor" on March 26 and ranted about how Nickelodeon is promoting "political indoctrination," including "global warming science, or maybe not science," and "homosexual parenting." Hirsen is particularly offended by Linda Ellerbee's news segments, which both he and guest host Laura Ingraham call a "disaster."
Media Matters has the video.
While we're on the subject of O'Reilly, Bill O'Reilly himself sat down for a Newsmax interview, in which he snipes at MSNBC and complains that Nancy Pelosi won't appear on his show. Karl Frisch has more.
Is Newsmax Ashamed to Run Geller's Column?
We've previously noted how Newsmax briefly dropped the wildly inflammatory Pamela Geller as a columnist, only to reinstate her but refuse to promote her columns on the Newsmax front page. As a result, we've overlooked her work from the past week.
Geller's March 22 column is a paranoid rant about how Obama is coming for your children:
Geller goes on to lie about the circumstances under which conservative cause celebre Gerald Walpin was fired "in response" to Walpin having "accused a prominent Obama supporter of misusing AmeriCorps grant money." In fact, Walpin was fired because the AmeriCorps board reported concerns over Walpin's conduct, the "lack of candor" during his tenure, a meeting in which "Walpin was confused, disoriented, [and] unable to answer questions," and a complaint filed by acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California Lawrence G. Brown regarding Walpin's actions during his investigation into the misuse of AmeriCorps grants given to a nonprofit organization in Sacramento, California.
Geller's March 25 column is an attack on Michael Moore for canceling an interview with her regarding the video release of his film "Capitalism: A Love Story." "I wasn’t surprised. It’s unlikely that he would have been able to hold up to hard questions about this patently dishonest film," Geller wrote.
It seems that Newsmax is ashamed to publish Geller's column -- an understandable emotion, since Geller has become increasingly unhinged on er own Atlas Shrugs blog, calling him a "racist" who is leading an "intifada" against Israel and "Flying The Gangsta Colors At The White House." She has even claimed he "holds a pen like an illiterate."
If Newsmax is so intent on burying Geller's column, why bother running it at all? If she has a contract with Newsmax to write it, hasn't she put enough hateful things in her column for Newsmax to warrant breaking the contract?
WND Orly Taitz Whitewash Watch
A March 25 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh keeps up WND's whitewash job on birther lawyer Orly Taitz, once again uncritically repeating Taitz's rantings about Barack Obama's eligibility to be president without mentioning that Taitz has been fined $20,000 for her courtroom behavior -- a fine that's been upheld by an appeals court -- and that her shoddy lawyering is being investigated by the California bar. Nor does Unruh mention that even fellow birther lawyers like Gary Kreep have disparaged Taitz's lawyering.
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch, Yet Another Supersize WorldNetDaily Edition
-- Patrice Lewis, March 27 WorldNetDaily column
-- Ellis Washington, March 27 WorldNetDaily column
-- Henry Lamb, March 27 WorldNetDaily column
-- Dave Welch, March 27 WorldNetDaily column
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Newsmax Repeats Falsehood About Doctor Survey
A March 21 Newsmax "Insider Report" item repeats the falsehood that a study claiming that "Nearly one-third of physicians in the U.S. could leave the medical profession after Obama’s healthcare reform plan becomes law" was "published in The New England Journal of Medicine."
As we pointed out when CNSNews.com did this -- Newsmax cribbed from CNS' account -- the survey was not "published in The New England Journal of Medicine"; it appeared in "Recruiting Physicians Today," an employment newsletter produced by Massachusetts Medical Society, "the publishers of the New England Journal of Medicine," as well as on the NEJM's "CareerCenter" website. The NEJM has also told Media Matters that the survey had "nothing to do with the New England Journal of Medicine's original research."
CNS Creates "Taxes" to Smear Obama With
A March 25 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas asserts that "As many as a dozen taxes in the new health care law violate President Barack Obama’s campaign pledge not to raise taxes on families earning less than $250,000 and on individuals earning less than $200,000." But Lucas has an extremely broad definition of constitutes a "tax" -- taking his cue from Republican talking points:
Yes, he's listing the tanning salon tax under this. Never mind that you only pay that tax if use a tanning salon. Tanning outside under the actual sun, meanwhile, is still free.
Even Lucas had to (eventually) admit his attack was specious. Near the end of the article he writes:
Of course, you have to read virtually the whole article before Lucas gets around to undermining it.
Plus, it's not until the final two paragraphs that " the law provides tax credits for four million small businesses," which offsets some of those insurance mandates.
Newsmax Calls Obama's Recess Appointments -- But Not Bush's -- 'Sneaky'
Newsmax continues its tradition of putting biased headlines on non-biased wire articles with a March 27 Associated Press article about President Obama's recess appointments, which carries the Newsmax headline: "Sneaky: Obama Makes 15 Appointments without Senate Approval."
The original AP headline states, "Obama makes 15 recess appointments, scolds GOP."
Newsmax continued the bias in its front-page promotion of the AP article:
By contrast, Newsmax did not use adjectives such as "sneaky" to describe the Bush administration's use of recess appointment. To the contrary, it was portrayed as necessary to go around obstructionist Democrats:
At no point did Newsmax call Bolton's appointment "sneaky." Thus, it has no basis to label Obama's recess appointments as such.
WND Baselessly Scaremongers About 'Emergency Health Army'
A March 25 WorldNetDaily article by Chelsea Schiling does its best to scaremonger aboutwhat it calls "a beefing up of a U.S. Public Health Service reserve force and expectations that it respond on short notice to 'routine public health and emergency response missions,' even involuntarily." The bill adds millions of dollars for recruitment," she writes.
The article carries the headline "Obamacare prescription: 'Emergency health army,'" even though that quoted term appears nowhere in the article -- indeed, the only appearance of the word "army" is in the headline. Schilling also drops references to Obama's call for a "civilian national security force," not mentioning that Obama's intent for such an entity is a restructuring of the foreign service, or that WND has repeatedly lied about that intent.
Schilling concludes by stating that "The blogosphere is buzzing with speculation about the amendment, complete with quotes purportedly taken from other websites, though Schilling does not disclose where these quotes come from -- heck, she may be making them up for all we know. This follows WND's policy of using anonymous quotes when this suits its political agenda.
But as the conservative Hot Air points out, the corps, even under health care reform, is hardly the menace Schilling suggests it is:
What does it say about WND when even its fellow right-wingers are shooting down its scaremongering.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Media Matters' Simon Maloy catches NewsBusters' Brent Baker in a Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy moment: portraying reporting on threats made against most Democratic members of Congress as "legitimizing Democratic talking points."
After Maloy posted his item, Baker did the exact same thing again, portraying reporting of the threats as "advancing the Democratic narrative of violent ObamaCare critics."
Morris: Health Care Reform Vote-Switchers Are 'Traitors'
Dick Morris writes in his March 26 Newsmax column:
Morris also offers a link to the Newsmax page for donations to the League of American Voters (which he coyly describes only as "a fund to bring the voters in their districts the full story"), but fails to disclose that he is the group's chief strategist.
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