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Thursday, June 17, 2010
CNS Can't Stop Baselessly Claiming Judge Is 'Lenient'
Topic: CNSNews.com

Remember last week, when CNS' Fred Lucas insisted that Obama judicial nominee Robert Chatigny had a "Record of Leniency for Sex Offenders," despite the fact that he offered no evidence of "leniency"? Well, Lucas isn't done baselessly smearing the judge.

In a JUne 15 article headlined "Obama Appellate Court Nominee Gave Lenient Sentences for Sex-Related Crimes," Lucas again tries to promote the idea that Chatigny was "lenient," this time highlighting cases in which Chatigny gave lower sentences than proscribed in federal guidelines. But  as before, Lucas blows it, not only by not explaining how that equaates to "leniency" but by providing Chatigny's explanations for the sentences he gave, which sound reasonable to anyone familiar with the law enforcement system.

Lucas makes no effort to counter Chatigny's arguments -- indeed, the word "lenient" appears nowhere in his article.But slapping a headline with the word "lenient" on a story explains nothing.

This looks like another CNS failure to create a controversy where none exists.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 AM EDT
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
WND Mum on Racist Ties of Its New Birther Hero
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has been reduced to cavorting with people with racist ties in order to further its birther obsession.

As we noted, WorldNetDaily's newest birther star, Tim Adams -- a temporary election worker in Hawaii who claims based on what little he saw as a temp worker that Obama wasn't born in Hawaii -- is claiming that  Obama was not born in Hawaii, based on his purported (and unverified) searches of databases he claims he had access to as a temp. WND claimed that Adams was "briefly interviewed by James Edwards, host of a weekly radio show on WLRM Radio in Memphis, Tenn." In fact, Edwards is the host of a radio show called "The Political Cesspool," which claims as its philosophy: "We represent a philosophy that is pro-White ... We wish to revive the White birthrate above replacement level fertility and beyond to grow the percentage of Whites in the world relative to other races." Further, Edwards taped his interview with Adams at the 2010 National Conference of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a decendent of the openly racist White Citizens Councils of the 1950s and 1960s that the Anti-Defamation League describes as having a "white supremacy, white separatism" ideology.

Now, Media Matters reports that Edwards wrote on his blog that he was "working in cooperation" with WND news editor Joe Kovacs to promote the Allen story, which resulted in "tons of new visitors" and "huge national exposure."

As if that behavior wasn't unsavory enough, Media Matters also notes that the white-nationalist website Stormfront.org have enthusiastically reposted WND's articles on Adams.

If WND is working with sources to create news as opposed to reporting the news, it is no longer a news organization. If WND is working with racists and white supremacists, that raises serious questions about the motivation of WND's incessant opposition to Obama.

Needless to say, Kovacs' latest WND story on Allen doesn't say a thing about his racist connections or Kovac's cooperation with a white supremacist to advance the story.

If WND has to rely on racists to promote the birther story, doesn't that mean there's no reliable evidence to support it? And doesn't that mean that Joseph Farah and his WND crew are more than a bit racist themselves?


Posted by Terry K. at 10:53 PM EDT
The MRC's Lazy, Biased 'Reality Check'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center doesn't really believe in media research; its goal is to track right-wing talking points (or the lack of them) in the media.

An excellent example of how this works is a June 10 "Media Reality Check" by Tim Graham, in which he complains that "the network news bosses at ABC, CBS, and NBC" have not referenced a ginned-up "scandal" in which Obama administration officials allegedly offered Joe Sestak a job as encouragement to quit his challenge of Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic primary.

Graham howled that Graham "kept any mention of this possible quid pro quo off the airwaves of their morning and evening news programs for more than three months." But there's no depth whatsoever to his analysis. There's no mention of the fact that the Bush and Reagan administrations also made offers to prospective candidates to keep them out of races, let alone any examination of how the media covered those accusations.

Graham tries to deflect such criticism by claiming that the Obama administration is unlike other administrations: "The networks cannot plausibly claim that this job-dangling is not a news story because it’s a commonly sleazy practice – not after years of claiming the choice of Obama was so idealistic and inspiring." That's a cop-out -- Graham is not only trying to justify his laziness, he's tacitly admitting the Republican administrations he's so fond of are so corrupt that such actions were not newsworthy when committed by them.

It's the ultimate double standard -- actions deemed scandalous when conducted by a Democrat are not worthy of mention when conducted by Republicans.

That shallow and craven commentary is what passes for "media criticism" at the MRC.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:30 AM EDT
Non-Shocker: WND Treats Unverified Claim As Real
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Facts, schmacts -- WorldNetDaily don't need no stinkin' facts to do a story. (See Sinclair, Larry, and birth certificate, Kenyan.)

So WND was incredibly eager to jump on a claim that some Egyptian official is claiming that President Obama told him that he is a Muslim, with Bob Unruh -- WND's king of biased reporting -- pounding out a story treating the claim as if it was real.

It's not until the 15th paragraph that Unruh hints there may be a problem: "There was no independent verification of the statement."

Even the right-wing Hot Air proceded with caution on the story, pointing out that the video supplied "will not confirm that Barack Obama made the statements claimed."

WND and Unruh don't need no stinkin' verification. They hate Obama so much, they no longer care about the truth (if they ever did).They will spread every smear and lie about him because they can.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:43 AM EDT
Another Right-Wing Zombie Lie in the Making?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We’ve previously written about zombie lies in the right-wing media -- claims long ago disproven yet still cited as fact. It seems there’s a new zombie lie in the making: the claim that the cap-and-trade bill was written by BP.

Several days after PolitiFact declared Sen. Mitch McConnell’s claim that BP wrote the energy bill sponsored by Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman to be false, Janet Porter was repeating it in her June 15 WorldNetDaily column:

What you may not know is that the BP candidate [Obama] will address the BP spill with a bill written by … BP!

No kidding. According to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., "a major part" of the Kerry-Lieberman cap-and-trade/global-warming bill was "essentially written by BP."

What to do about the BP oil spill? Let's pound on the podium about it. Let's take some pictures about it. And let's … pass the BP-drafted tax bill for government control!

In fact, as PolitiFact explained, while BP was one of many parties who floated ideas for the bill, “saying that the senators listened to BP's case is not the same as saying that ‘a major part’ of the bill ‘was essentially written by BP.’ " Further, three major initiatives pushed by BP do not even appear in the current version of the bill.

Porter went on to quote from a June 9 CNSNews.com article that quoted McConnell claiming “BP actually helped write” the cap-and-trade bill. But that was merely a report on McConnell’s remarks, and no apparent attempt was made to verify what he said. To the contrary: CNS quoted Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe endorsing McConnell’s claim.

A search of CNS’ archives indicates that CNS has yet to report the fact that McConnell’s claim has been shown to be false.

Between right-wing columnists’ embrace of this false claim and the right-wing media’s apparent disinterest in correcting the record, we may have ourselves a new zombie lie in the making.

(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)


Posted by Terry K. at 12:13 AM EDT
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
CNS Tries, Fails to Invent a Controversy
Topic: CNSNews.com

When CNS reporter Penny Starr isn't writing biased articles about abortion and gays, she's apparently wandering through museum exhibits in Washington ready to pounce on anything that's not conservatively correct. In March, Starr was offended that a Smithsonian exhibit on human origins lacked "references to God, creationism, or pre-natal existence"; even worse,the exhibit "says fossils 'provide evidence that modern humans evolved from earlier humans.'"

In a June 14 CNS article, Starr complains: "A new exhibit at the Library of Congress is dedicated to the memory of entertainer Bob Hope, but it focuses more on politics than it does on the legacy of a movie star who used his talents to support the U.S. military around the world."

But reading further into Starr's article, it's clear that the exhibit, "Hope for America: Performers, Politics and Pop Culture," is not solely about Hope but about the intersection of politics and entertainment. Starr can't quite deny that Hope was one of the pioneers of topical humor that took jabs at politicians, yet she complains that "the overall theme of the exhibit highlights political protest and activism – something that, by all accounts, Hope avoided even as he became a regular at the White House over the course of 11 U.S. presidencies."

Later in the article, Starr is forced to concede that Hope's family approved of the exhibit and that it also includes conservatives such as Lee Greenwood, Pat Boone and Sonny Bono. Starr also conceded that Hope himself became actively political in the Vietnam years.

So, all in all, Starr's attempt to invent a controversy has failed miserably. Then again, it does keep her from writing more hopelessly biased articles about abortion and gays.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:57 PM EDT
Hedgecock Falsely Claims U.S. Not Using Foreign 'Assets' to Clean Oil Spill
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his June 14 WorldNetDaily column, Roger Hedgecock falsely claimed that President Obama said "no thanks" to offers from "13 countries" to help clean up the oil spill, adding that "foreign 'assets' are not being considered."

In fact, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen has stated that the U.S. is making use of foreign technology: "We are dealing with folks like Norway, the Netherlands, Canada and other places. Anyplace that's got skimming capability that's available, we're willing to talk to them, and we actually have, in some cases, actually transferred the equipment down and will continue to do that."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:59 AM EDT
FrontPageMag Selectively Criticizes Candidates' Falsified Military Records
Topic: Horowitz

A June 9 FrontPageMag article by Rich Trzupek denounced Democrats who apparently made false claims about their military service, such as Richard Blumenthal and Phil Hare, as "arrogant." But Trzupek curiously looks over another candidate from Hare's state of Illinois accused of falsifying his military credentials: Mark Kirk.

Then again, Kirk is a Republican, so that falsification apparently doesn't count in Trzupek's eyes.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:01 AM EDT
WorldNetDaily and Anonymous Sources
Topic: WorldNetDaily

What is WorldNetDaily's policy on using anonymous sources? Does it even have a policy at all beyond how such anonymity serves WND's political agenda?

We ask because, as Salon details, ombudsmen both the New York Times and the Washington Post have raised questions about their respective papers' use -- more specifically, the overuse -- of anonymous sources. According to Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander, the paper's guidelines state that anonymity "should not be done casually or automatically," and that "merely asking should not be sufficient to become anonymous in our stories." Salon's Dan Gillmor adds:

Whether the reporters and editors who so casually violate their institutions' rules are simply arrogant and/or lazy, or whether they genuinely believe they're providing information that readers need to know, they're undermining the credibility of their news organizations almost every time they do this. In reality, whether they understand it or not, they betray contempt for their readers, not respect.

As a reader, I've trained myself to treat anonymously sourced stories with the most extreme skepticism. Unless I can infer a truly compelling reason for the anonymity, I now actively disbelieve -- or, at best, assume a sleazy motive on the part of the source -- what I read in these circumstances.

WND, meanwhile, appears to have no apparent policy governing the use of anonymous sources -- none it's bothered to share with readers, anyway. Despite editor Joseph Farah's dismissal of anonymous sources as being used by reporters for "quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better," WND regularly invokes anonymous sources, typically to attack its political enemies.

Aaron Klein is perhaps WND's most flagrant abuser of anonymous sources. In the past month, Klein has written four articles whose primary claims are based on anonymous sources. At no point in any of those articles did he explain why anonymity was granted. Given that each of those articles advances WND's agenda of promoting Israel and attackingPalestinians and the Obama administration, the "sleazy motive" Gillmor spoke of can be assumed here as well. Heck, Klein has even granted anonymity to terrorists, which makes it all the more sleazy.

Klein is not the only WND writer to use anonymous sources for political purposes, however -- Jerome Corsi used on in a June 5 WND article to attack the Obama administration. Given Corsi's less-than-stellar record of accuracy and more-than-ample record of political attacks, it can be assumed Corsi was operating from a "sleazy motive" as well.

If Klein, Corsi, and the rest of WND can't be bothered to explain why they hide behind anonymous sources to launch their political attacks -- and if WND can't even articulate a policy on their use -- it shouldn't be taken seriously as a news organization. Fortunately, that's far from the only factor keeping intelligent people from doing that.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:19 AM EDT
Monday, June 14, 2010
Sheppard Baselessly Scoffs At Idea Global Warming Tied to National Security
Topic: NewsBusters

In a June 12 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard placed under the "Saturday Night Funnies" Nancy Pelosi's statement that "carbon pollution leading to climate change will be over the next 20 years the leading cause of conflict, putting our troops in harm's way."

In fact, numerous national security experts -- including those in the Bush administration -- have highlighted the "significant geopolitical consequences" of climate change. 


Posted by Terry K. at 10:49 PM EDT
WND Touts Birther Claim First Made on Supremacist Radio Program
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Media Matters details how WorldNetDaily's newest birther star, Tim Adams -- a temporary election worker in Hawaii who claims based on what little he saw as a temp worker that Obama wasn't born in Hawaii -- first made his accusations on a "pro-white" radio program at a conference of "white supremacist[s]."

In a June 10 article, Joe Kovacs states only that Adams was "briefly interviewed by James Edwards, host of a weekly radio show on WLRM Radio in Memphis, Tenn."  In fact, Edwards is the host of a radio show called "The Political Cesspool," which claims as its philosophy: "We represent a philosophy that is pro-White ... We wish to revive the White birthrate above replacement level fertility and beyond to grow the percentage of Whites in the world relative to other races."

As Media Matters noted in 2008, WND writer Jerome Corsi had been scheduled to appear on Edwards' show to plug his anti-Obama -- where he had appeared before -- but he apparently canceled due to the negative publicity.

Why is WND hobnobbing with a "pro-White" radio host?

UPDATE: Oh For Goodness Sake has more on Adams. Apparently, he's threatened to kill Obama (and McCain) supporters and expressed sympathies for the haters at Westboro Baptist Church. He also appears to be not telling the truth about just how much database access he had as an election temp in Hawaii.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:38 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, June 14, 2010 10:15 PM EDT
MRC Upset That Far-Right Extremist Identified As Far-Right Extremist
Topic: Media Research Center

The MRC does not like accurate descriptions of Repubican candidates, it seems.

A June 12 MRC TimesWatch post by Clay Waters complained that the New York Times called Sharron Angle, who won the Republican  primary for the Nevada Senate seat currently held by Harry Reid, a "far-right conservative" and "extreme."Waters called this a "smear" but offered no evidence the descriptor is inaccurate.

After all, Angle has claimed to be a member of the Oath Keepers, a right-wing group that advocates law enforcement and military types disobey orders they feel are unconstitutional. She has also promoted a Scientology-backed drug rehab program for prisoners and holds a plethora of other extreme views.

But according to Waters, telling the truth about Angle is a "smear."

Elsewhere in the MRC empire, NewsBusters' Brad Wilmouth was upset that some person on TV called Angle "on the fringe, almost wacky." Like Waters, Wilmouth offered no evidence that this is not the case.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:17 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, June 14, 2010 11:42 AM EDT
Obama-Hater Erik Rush, In Convenient Book Form
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily is rolling out Erik Rush's new book, "Negrophila," this week with appearances on Fox News (big surprise). The book is supposedly about "the mindset that he says is behind a pervasive manipulation expertly employed and exploited to divide and destroy American society."

It comes complete with silly Joseph Farah statements like, "Very few people have the chutzpah to mutter the powerful points that Erik so eloquently makes here." In the past, as we've detailed, Rush's idea of "eloquent" statements has been to liken Barack Obama to a prison rapist, as well as all manner of hateful invective against the president.

Do these examples of Rush's "eloquence" make it into his book? Somehow, we suspect the PR folks at WND Books will not be so kind as to grace us with a review copy.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:48 AM EDT
Sunday, June 13, 2010
WND's Washington Still Falsely Conflating Social Darwinism, Evolution
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As he has before, Ellis Washington uses his June 12 WorldNetDaily column to falsely conflate social Darwinism with evolution, listing "Social Darwinism (evolution)" as part of "the five-headed monster of the Liberal-Muslim Axis."

As we pointed out the last time Washington did this, anti-evolutionists have long conflated social Darwinism with evolution, even though Charles Darwin himself never advocated such a thing. Indeed, the racism and ethnic cleansing pejoratively associated with social Darwinism existed long before Darwin.

While that's objectively false, Washington also delves into the completely incomprehensible:

Throughout history, liberalism, totalitarianism, terrorism, anarchy and fascism have been bedfellows – during the Age of Enlightenment (Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, Jefferson), through its systemic corruption during the French Revolution (the Jacobins, Robespierre) and later during 19th-century German Romanticism (Schopenhauer, Wagner, Kaiser Wilhelm, Darwin, Nietzsche). The 20th century saw liberalism morph into the progressive movement and the modern welfare state (Lippmann, Croly, John Dewey, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, LBJ, Obama) where the apotheosis of the State has essentially replaced God, reason, constitutionalism and Natural Law.

[...]

Liberal fascism is exhibited today in policies like Obamacare, TARP, Obama's takeover of the banking and auto industries, exploiting the Gulf oil leak to destroy the oil industry through federal takeover while forcing Americans into unsustainable alternative energy uses, thus further decimating our economy.

Is Washington really calling Thomas Jefferson a liberal/totalitarian/terrorist/anarchist/fascist? And when, exactly, did Obama take over the oil industry? Washington, if nothing else, is flamboyantly wrong.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:03 PM EDT
WND's 'Shack' Attack
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has been taking whacks about a book called "The Shack" for months now, culminating in a WND-published book purporting to offer a "gripping counter-balance" to it.

So what's the big deal?

"The Shack" is a self-published novel that, as Slate describes it, occupies a middle ground between religious and secular fiction, casting God as a path to happiness without serving up dogma. The book has sold more 10 million copies despite, or because of, the book's quirky prose and "too-weird-for-the-pulpit thoughts" that give it a "rough-hewn, handmade quality" but also succeed at "connecting recondite doctrine to the tastes, rhythms, and mores of modern life."

Such success breeds coattail riders, as well as detractors. Enter WorldNetDaily.

WND columnist Jim Fletcher has been denouncing "The Shack" for quite some time:

  • In a July 2009 column, he cited the book as central to the problem of Christian bookstores' pursuit of profit, complaining that "you see 'The Shack' in virtually every Christian store, even though many ministries and individuals have objections to author Paul Young's worldview." Fletcher made the same complaint in an August 2009 column.
  • A November 2009 column noted "the controversy surrounding Young's theology" and lamented that "Young's success has further cemented the marriage between the evangelical world and the larger world."
  • A December 2009 column claimed that "the readers/authors of such books [as "The Shack"] are not necessarily "committed to the full teaching of the Scriptures" though they insist that they are."

In a Feb. 26 review of "The Shack," Fletcher asserts that there are "both subtle and overt challenges to orthodoxy" in the book, and that "There seems to be a free-wheeling emphasis in 'The Shack' on personal experience and feelings, something the Bible warns against." Fletcher also notes that "One of the problems conservative Christians have with "The Shack" is the portrayal of God" as a black woman or, more to the point, an "Oprah-esque figure," adding, "That kind of dialogue and imagery just doesn't square with our understanding of God from Scripture."

WND's promotion for its attack book "Burning Down 'The Shack': How the 'Christian' Best-seller is Deceiving Millions," portrays the book as "blasphemous" and filled with "counterfeit Christianity," not to mention "more than 15 heresies":

Worse, says author James De Young, its depiction of God as an African woman who suffered Christ's crucifixion – and the book's exclusion of any existence of Satan and hell – represent just some of its many dangerous deceptions.

If such deceptions, which upend biblical teachings on sin, redemption, salvation and damnation, go unchallenged, says De Young, this "feel-good novel" could prove terribly divisive and destructive to millions of Christians.

The WND book also appears to be a weird sort of revenge on the author; De Young is described as "a former longtime colleague of Paul Young, and was his Portland-area neighbor when Young wrote 'The Shack.'" The article adds: "He also takes unique creative license and shows readers stories and instruction in Scripture that would have helped Paul Young's fictional character, Mack, find the forgiveness and restoration he so desperately sought – but was not offered."

Meanwhile, WND editor (and WND Books operator) went on a May 31 tirade against "The Shack," calling it "dangerous and spiritually subversive" and claiming it "represents unmitigated heresy in its view of salvation, an anti-biblical portrait of the Creator of the universe as our buddy and a thoroughly paganistic message that there really are no consequences for sin." (As blogger Richard Bartholomew points out, "if Farah is believed in 'consequences for sin', surely he’d be terrified of how he’s going to explain to God why WND publishes so many lies?") Nevertheless, Farah continues:

Why is it important to dissect the theology behind "The Shack"?

Because it has indeed deceived millions – and continues to mislead more every day.

It embraces a universalist creed that suggests everyone is saved. It rejects the clear biblical condemnations of sinful behavior. It preaches the false "I'm OK, you're OK" gospel and rejects the reality of eternal damnation.

The wholesale acceptance of this book by the Christian establishment – radio networks, publishing houses, churches, bookstores and clergy – is alarming to say the least.

Nowhere in the WND's attacks does it mention that the publisher of "The Shack" has addressed many of the questions raised by its critics, including whether the book promotes easy salvation and a God that is "too nice."

Farah doesn't quite admit that he wants to sell books and make money. Nor does he explain how apparently only he knows the One True Way and that everyone else is a blasphemer and heretic.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:11 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, June 13, 2010 10:17 AM EDT

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