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Friday, June 25, 2010
Nobody Out-Homophobes WND!
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It's as if, when they saw how anti-gay the Media Research Center was going this week, WorldNetDaily said, "Nobody out-homophobes us!"

And so WND -- with an already prodigious record of gay-bashing -- played catch-up with a vengeance (vengeance being the operative word here). A June 23 article by Chelsea Schilling carried the headline "'Homo Depot'? Chain hosts kiddie crafts at 'gay' fests," and began: "Is Home Depot seeking to introduce children to the homosexual lifestyle?" In it, Schilling plays shill once again, this time for the right-wing American Family Association, who is complaining that Home Depot sponsored a float in a gay-pride parade and offered a children's craft workshop during the event.

Unless Schilling and the AFA proves there's something inherently homosexual in children's crafts, the answer to Schiling's nonsensical question is an unequivocal no.

This story was accompanied by a poll asking about "Home Depot's embrace of alternative sexual lifestyles." The top answer by far: "I'm taking my business elsewhere. Ace is the place for the heterosexual hardware man."

Schilling followed up with another shot of gay-bashing in a June 24 article, serving again as AFA's PR agent by uncritically repeating AFA claims that the 10-year-old boy named grand marshal for a gay pride in Arkanasas (who made headlines by refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance until gays are allowed to marry) is "brain-washed" and a victim of "child abuse."

Schilling put the AFA's attacks on the youth first and foremost; it's not until the 13th paragraph that she gets around to noting why he was named grand marshal.

So, take that, MRC!


Posted by Terry K. at 9:02 AM EDT
CNS Joins in MRC's Anti-Gay Week
Topic: CNSNews.com

NewsBusters is not the only Media Research Center division who's been more anti-gay than usual this week. CNSNews.com has ben making its own contributions:

A June 23 article by Penny Starr headlined, "Hillary Clinton Urges State Department Employees to Let Teens Know It's Okay to Be Homosexual." Starr doesn't explain why she apparently believes this to be a bad thing.

A June 23 article by Fred Lucas headlined "Obama Expands His Pro-Homosexual Agenda by Regulation, ‘Interpretation’." Lucas seeks comment only from anti-gay groups, who predictably "criticized the White House for handing out 'political favors' to the homosexual lobby – and vastly expanding presidential power in the process." He made no apparent effort to obtain reaction from the Obama administration or anyone else in response to the criticism.

Meanwhile, back over at NewsBusters, it was happy that the MRC's Dan Gainor was allowed to spew his anti-gay rhetoric on CNN, but complained that it "presented Gainor’s view as the abnormal one." Well, Dan, paranoiacally claiming that "Hollywood has done a great deal of work causing acceptance in American culture for homosexuality" isn't exactly a mainstream view.

In the unsigned post attributed only to "NB Staff" (afraid to put a name on your hate, boys?), NewsBusters then tries to dehumanize the children of gays through faulty math:

Assume for a moment that a full 250,000 children live with gay parents. They would represent 0.003 percent of the 72.4 million children counted in the 2000 Census. The number itself is extremely small, and it’s not even close to proportionate. Commonly cited estimates guess 10 percent of the population is homosexual.

NewsBusters forgot to move the decimal point over on their calculator: 250,000 is actually 0.3 percent of 72.4 million, not 0.003 percent. And the proportionality argument is utterly irrelevant.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:27 AM EDT
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Aaron Klein’s Latest Shoddy Guilt-By-Association Smear
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Guilt by association is the stock-in-trade of WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein, as we've documented. Since that's what WorldNetDaily is paying him to do despite his shoddy reporting methods being repeatedly exposed, it's no surprise that he goes back to that smear well.

This time, Klein's target is Vartan Gregorian, the head of the Carnegie Corporation whom President Obama appointed in 2009 to the board of the President's Commission on White House Fellowships (he is not a White House Fellow himself, as Klein sloppily suggests).

So where does the smear come in? According to Klein, Gregorian is "closely tied to the Muslim leaders behind a proposed controversial Islamic cultural center to be built near the site of the 9/11 attacks." How so? Klein's primary piece of evidence is that Gregorian is on the board of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. The museum, according to Klein, is "reportedly working" with the American Society for Muslim Advancement, "whose leaders are behind the mosque, to ensure the future museum will represent the voices of American Muslims."

That's "closely tied"? Really?

Here's a list of some of the other people Klein apparently believes are "closely tied" to the " ‘Ground Zero' imam" through their similar involvement with the 9/11 Memorial and Museum:

  • Michael Bloomberg
  • George Pataki
  • Rudy Giuliani
  • All four living former presidents
  • 9/11 widow Debra Burlingame
  • Billy Crystal
  • Robert De Niro

Does Klein really believe that Republican politicians, actors, former presidents, and a 9/11 widow who works with Liz Cheney are part of some hugely vast Muslim-promoting conspiracy? It would appear so.

But Klein isn't done. He goes on to suggest that Gregorian is some sort of Islamic extremist by highlighting an attack on his 2003 book, "Islam: A Mosaic, Not A Monolith":

According to a book review by the Middle East Forum, Gregorian's book "establishes the Islamist goal of world domination."

A chapter of the book, "Islamism: Liberation Politics," quotes Ayatollah Khomenei: "Islam does not conquer. Islam wants all countries to become Muslim, of themselves." Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, is quoting stating it "is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its laws on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet."

Gregorian himself recommends for Muslims a system he calls "theo-democracy," which he defines as "a divine democratic government" that, according to the book review, "would have a limited popular sovereignty under the suzerainty of Allah."

First, the Middle East Forum is a right-wing group headed by activist Daniel Pipes -- who has tried to spread the falsehood that Obama is a Muslim and seems to like the idea of interning ethnic groups for their alleged danger to national security -- so the review of Gregorian's book is hardly objective. Klein and the review baselessly portray Gregorian's quoting of Khomenei and al-Banna as an endorsement of what they said; in fact, Gregorian is merely recounting the history of the Islamic revolution in Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, respectively -- indeed, Gregorian goes on to note that despite the Muslim Brotherhood's denial of involvement with terrorism and subversion, it has been repeatedly linked to terrorist acts. Also, the term "theo-democracy" is not Gregorian's word, as Klein and the review suggest; he is quoting what one Muslim "traditional political theorist" advocated.

The Middle East Forum's negative attack on Gregorian's book appears to be an anomaly. No less than former Wall Street Journal publisher Karen Elliott House -- who won a Pulitzer Prize for her reporting on the Middle East -- placed it at the top of its list of books that are "essential to understanding Islam," calling it "the perfect primer" on the subject.

Finally, the entire idea that Gregorian is some sort of Islamist extremist, as Klein suggests, is utterly ludicrous. Before heading the Carnegie Corporation, Gregorian was president of Brown University and president of the New York Public Library -- not exactly extremist organizations (except perhaps to people like Klein). And in 2004, President Bush awarded Gregorian the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Here's what Bush said about him:

The life of Dr. Vartan Gregorian began in Iran, in a town called Tabriz. As a boy, he loved books, and was blessed with a wonderful grandmother who encouraged him and inspires him still. His great gift has been to share his love of learning with others, as President of Brown University, President of the New York Public Library, and now as President of the Carnegie Corporation. Along the way, Dr. Gregorian has won the loyal friendship of many students and colleagues, and he has received more than 50 honorary degrees. And today the nation honors one of our most respected academic leaders.

The fact that Klein would try to denigrate such a universally respected scholar as an extremist shows just how desperate and hate-driven he is to attack anyone even remotely connected to Obama. The transparent guilt-by-association smear failed in Klein's anti-Obama attack book (in which he laughably claimed he did not believe in guilt by association), and it fails here.

(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)


Posted by Terry K. at 2:59 PM EDT
Terry Jeffrey's Definition of 'Middle Class'
Topic: CNSNews.com

Terry Jeffrey writes in a June 21 CNSNews.com article:

Middle-class Americans--not the rich or the poor--pay the majority of annual tax revenues taken in by the federal government, according to data released in a new Congressional Budget Office study. Households earning less than $34,300 per year, meanwhile, actually pay a negative average federal income tax rate.

Middle-class households that earned between $34,300 and $141,900 paid 50.5 percent of all federal tax revenues in 2007 (the most recent year analyzed), according to the CBO study released Thursday, and households that earned between $34,300 and $352,900 paid 66.7 percent of all federal taxes.

That's a peculiarly broad definition of "middle class," isn't it? As Jamison Foser points out, 95 percent of U.S. households make less than $141,900 a year, and 90 percent make less than $102,900. Jeffrey is including those in the 90th to 95th percentile of income as "middle class."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:52 PM EDT
Does WND Want Employers to Screw Over Their Workers?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Does WorldNetDaily enjoy seeing workers getting screwed over by their employers? It sure seems that way.

A June 22 WND article by Chelsea Schilling attacking Labor Secretary Hilda Solis for advancing the radical idea that workers should be paid fairly regardless of their legal status in the U.S. puts a decidedly anti-worker spin on things:

The Obama administration is encouraging illegal aliens to call its new hotline and rat out U.S. employers because they "work hard and have the right to be paid fairly."

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis is personally asking illegals to snitch on bosses if their paychecks aren't large enough.

Schilling uncritically quoted right-wing group Judicial Watch as calling the policy "unbelieveable," but if Schilling had bothered to do any researchfor her article -- or even attempted anyone who isn't an anti-immigration activist for a response -- she would know that it isn't.

As Media Matters notes, protection of workers' rights regardless of legal status is a longstanding federal policy enforced by both Republican and Democratic administrations. Further, enforcement of labor laws is arguably a disincentive to hiring illegal workers.

Schilling likely didn't contemplate that -- fairness isn't part of her job description. Her job was to write a smear piece, regardless of the facts -- something she does frequently.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:50 AM EDT
Morris Falsely Claims Obama's Popularity Is 'Hemorrhaging'
Topic: Newsmax

In his June 23 Newsmax column, "Obama's Numbers Plunge as He Drowns in Oil," Dick Morris claims:

Drowning in oil, the Obama administration is pulling out all the stops to halt the hemorrhaging of liberal support which is driving his ratings down to the low 40s — previously unexplored territory.

Obama has already lost all the Republicans and almost all of the independents. But he has kept his head above water with the solid support of liberal Democrats and African-Americans. But now that the Gulf oil spill enters its eighth week, with no sign of abating, he is shedding Democrats.

Rapidly.

Er, not so much. As Jamison Foser details, Obama's overall poll numbers in the past month show neither any "hemmorhaging" nor any significant "shedding" of Democrats.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:17 AM EDT
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
CNS Still Distorting Judicial Nominee
Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com's Fred Lucas already has a stellar record of distorting the record of judicial nominee Robert Chatigny. He does so again in a June 23 article rehashing once again the Michael Ross case -- downplaying once again the fact that Chatigny was cleared of any wrongdoing in the case, including Lucas' newly raised charge that Chatigny had contact with the case as an attorney before he presided over it as a judge.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:29 PM EDT
WND Columnist: Obama Has 'Fealty Toward Islam'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily editor and CEO Joseph Farah devoted his column today to attacking MSNBC, calling its programs "agitprop" and a "bad joke" where there's "no attempt at balance. There's no attempt at fairness. There's no concern for the truth."

What Farah doesn't say: Agitprop that disregards the truth is WND's territory.

Take, for example, this column elsewhere on today's WND commentary page by Pieder Beeli, in which he purports to do "an inferential or forensic analysis" of President Obama by analyzing "what is implied rather than what is explicitly stated." You know, because mind-reading is more important than actual words. Beeli comes to the shocking conclusion that Obama has a "preference of Islam over Christianity," adding that "his fealty toward Islam and multiculturalism far exceed his fealty toward Christianity.

But Beeli -- whose listed qualifications for doing such an analysis are that he "has a Ph.D. in physics and has been previously published in right-to-life newsletters, blogs, online letters to the editor and student newspapers" -- uses a litany of lies and false attacks to reach his conclusion.

For instance, Beeli writes, "I have not heard Obama affirm the central Christian tenet, ‘The love of God was revealed to us on the cross of Jesus Christ.'" Here's what Obama said in a January 2008 Christianity Today interview: "I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life."

Beeli went on to complain that Obama has referred to the Quran as "holy," claiming, "one does not expect a Christian to suggest that the Quran is holy, because the Quran and the Bible contradict each other." But as BeliefNet's Steven Waldman noted, President Bush made several references to the "holy Quran" in speeches.

Beeli also asserted that "I have heard Obama forcefully mock the Bible." No, he hasn't. The link he provides to support this claim goes to an article at the right-wing website OneNewsNow quoting right-wing activist Robert Knight complaining that Obama used the term "Holy Quran." That in turn links to a Knight column claiming Obama "mocked the Bible's relevance for politics" in a 2006 speech, in which Obama said:

And moreover, given the increasing diversity of America's populations, the dangers of sectarianism are greater than ever. Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation. At least not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, and a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.

And even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would it be James Dobson's, or Al Sharpton's? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is an abomination? Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith. Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount -- a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? We -- so, before we get carried away, let's read our Bibles now. Folks haven't been reading their Bible.

Of course, Obama was not mocking the Bible; he was pointing out the need for government to respect a diverse society and that even a purely Christian-based society would have trouble deciding which brand of Christianity to enforce. (James Dobson cited the same speech to falsely suggest that Obama wanted to expel Christians from the U.S.)

Beeli claims his little mind-reading analysis is "especially valuable" because Obama has told "over 150 documented lies," and because of "the Islamic sanction of taqiyya, which "has its origins in the prophet of Islam who allowed one of his followers to lie in order to kill someone who mocked the prophet." Unsurprisingly, Beeli is wrong about that too.

Hussein Ibish, senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, points out that the idea promoted by people like Beeli that taqiyya "constitutes a carte blanche for all Muslims to lie to all non-Muslims" is false; rather, it permits Muslims to lie about their faith in order to save themselves from imminent harm or death. "If there is a major religion that does not contain a doctrine that might permit someone to recant at the stake or before the axe, I am not aware of it," Ibish adds.

Beeli also baselessly insists that "Obama shows a deference to align public policy with Islam" and "shows a strong refusal to align public policy with Christian principles." He also cites the hysterically anti-Obama and anti-Muslim Pamela Geller as support and repeats the questionably sourced claim that Obama "confided his Islamic faith to Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit."

But then, when you're reading minds and have decided actual words don't matter, facts really don't matter either.

Meanwhile, blogger Richard Bartholomew has done a little research into Beeli. Turns out he's not only an anti-evolutionist, he had this to say about the head of the Federal Reserve: "Ironically a single unwitting Jew, Bernake [sic], is committing terrorism on the US comparable to all the rest of the 1.2 B Muslims combined." He later repeats this claim: "Unfortunately a Jew, Fed Chairman Bernake, has committed more terrorism on the US in the last 8 years than the entire Muslim population has over the last twenty."

Farah told his WND readers to "sit back and enjoy watching these folks drown in their own incompetence, ignorance and insincerity. It's a sight to behold." Farah was talking about MSNBC, but with Beeli's sleazy, fact-free attack coming on top of WND's embrace of a man with white supremacist connections in a desperate attempt to perpetuate its failing birther crusade -- not to mention WND's lengthy history of factually deficient Obama-bashing -- he may have just as well been talking about his own website.

(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)


Posted by Terry K. at 4:33 PM EDT
It's Gay-Bashing Week At NewsBusters
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters has been on quite the anti-gay tear this week.

First, a June 21 post by Tim Graham bizarrely suggests that a lesbian teen who was barred from attending her prom got into homosexuality for the great perks:

Demanding to wear a tuxedo and bring your lesbian partner to the high school prom has been great for Constance McMillen. Ellen DeGeneres gave her a $30,000 scholarship check. Now she's meeting with Obama and being celebrated at Gay Pride parades and ACLU fundraisers at Woodstock.

Graham went on to defend the school's cancellation of the prom as "hardly an educational necessity" and purported to be offended that a USA Today story on the girl "left out the $30,000 scholarship check, and ignored gay Congressman Jared Polis's bill to ban all kinds of anti-gay discrimination in public schools and force high schools to accept gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students at proms."

Next, Matthew Balan scowled at CNN's "two softball interviews with the subjects of their upcoming slanted documentary, 'Gary and Tony Have a Baby,'" complaining that the interviews "sympathized with the same-sex couple, hinting they were 'role models' for the homosexual community, and made little effort to hide that they were advancing the agenda of homosexual activists." Balan continued his outrage at CNN:

Earlier in June, Soledad O'Brien herself helped promote her upcoming documentary by presenting a one-sided report about a lesbian teenager in Mississippi whose senior portrait was left out of her school's yearbook because she defied her school's rules by having it taken in a tux. CNN also aired a glowing two-part report from senior political analyst Gloria Borger on June 16 about Ted Olson and David Boies, the former rivals in Bush v. Gore who are now fighting to overturn California's Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex "marriage."

Graham followed up by bashing a Washington Post review of the CNN special, which Graham called "a thoroughly biased ode to the gay agenda." Graham harumphed: "If this documentary is carefully constructed to send the message that all opposition to homosexuality and "gay marriage" should cease, then it is the opposite of objectivity: it is meant to shut down a debate and declare the liberal side the winner for all eternity."

Noel Sheppard joined in the gay-bashing by asking if ABC News is "trying to position itself as the go to place for gay rights advocacy amongst the broadcast network websites." Why? "Ten days after featuring a video of a gay prom king and queen, the website prominently displayed a gay-themed McDonald's ad." Despite the fact that two stories among dozens of stories over 10 days hardly constitutes advocacy (unlike, say, four or five blog posts in a two-day span), Sheppard demanded to know, "What is ABCNews.com telling us with all this gay rights activism?"

Balan returned to attacking CNN for having on "another teenaged homosexual activist for a sympathetic interview to help promote their upcoming one-sided documentary," the Mississippi teen banned from her prom. Balan scolded CNN for not pressing the teen "on how she might have inconvenienced her classmates." Balan did not explain how wanting to do the very same thing her classmates were doing -- going to prom with the date of her choice -- represented an "inconvenience" to them.

Meanwhile, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell was in full Heathering mode, berating longtime conservative activist Grover Norquist for joining the board of the gay-conservative group GOProud. "It’s a gay group," Bozell howled. "And Norquist thinks social conservatives are going to accept this absolute abandonment?" Bozell added: 'Norquist has declared open war on social conservatives. Note to Chairman Steele: If he succeeds, and they leave the party, the GOP is ruined."

Why does it matter to Bozell if the GOP is "ruined" by the flight of social conservatives? It shouldn't -- but Bozell is apparently owned by the Republican Party. And apparently, he's upset his Republican buddies don't hate gay people as much as he and his employees do.

UPDATE: Media Matters' Eric Hananoki has more on the MRC's decades-long fight against gays.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:59 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 4:37 PM EDT
New Article -- Flashback: Patten vs. Franken
Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax's David Patten churned out numerous reports on the 2008 Minnesota Senate race -- but he was a cheerleader for Norm Coleman and falsely accused Al Franken of stealing the election. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 12:35 AM EDT
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Farah Spreads Lies About Kagan (And Has Something to Sell You)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

What does it say about a news organization when its leader tells easily disproven lies?

WorldNetDaily editor and CEO Joseph Farah does exactly that in a June 21 WND article attacking Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. The article is headlined “Anti-military zealot on Supreme Court?” and quotes Farah as saying that "Kagan is a radical anti-military and pro-abortion zealot."

That is demonstrably false. Kagan is on the record as repeatedly praising the military for its "courage," "dedication" and "great service," and she has called military service “the greatest service a person can give for their country." And if Kagan is such a “zealot,” would she be receiving the support of solicitors general from across the political spectrum, such as Democratic appointees Walter Dellinger, Drew Days, and Seth Waxman and Republican appointees Charles Fried, Kenneth Starr, and Theodore Olson?

This isn’t the only lie Farah tells. He’s also quoted as saying: "This woman, as president of her university, banned the U.S. military from recruiting on campus. … Just contemplate rewarding that kind of vehemently anti-American action with a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. Elena Kagan must be stopped."

First, Kagan is not “president of her university”; she is dean of her university’s law school. Second, she did not “ban the U.S. military from recruiting on campus”; law school students had access to military recruiters during her entire tenure as dean, and she prohibited military recruiters from using the school’s career services office for only a single semester.

The short answer to why a journalist would tell so many lies to his readers is that Farah is not a journalist -- he is an activist. And his WorldNetDaily is not a news organization; it is, for all practical purposes, a for-profit activist group.

Speaking of profit, there is a reason Farah is telling you these lies -- he has something to sell you. Farah would like to join his “Stop Kagan Campaign,” in which you send him $24.95 to deliver “personalized, individually addressed, anti-Kagan letters to all 100 U.S. senators by Fed Ex.” Farah adds: "It's a phenomenal bargain. … It makes it easy for you to sound off on this historically bad nomination. It's a small investment. And I am convinced that if enough Americans take advantage of it, Kagan will be stopped -- even by this Senate."

Ultimately, this isn’t a “news” article at all -- it’s an ad. It seems that Farah wants to make money so bad he’s willing to tell blatant lies. And that tells you all you need to know about WorldNetDaily.

(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)


Posted by Terry K. at 8:32 PM EDT
Kessler's Unverifiable Attack
Topic: Newsmax

Ronald Kessler's June 21 Newsmax column channels John M. Palatiello, president of the Business Coalition for Fair Competition, to attack the Obama administration for allegedly "changing government rules to prevent agencies from using private firms in order to reduce costs. Typically, that raises costs to taxpayers by as much as 30 percent." But Kessler and Palatiello provide no verifiable examples of it actually occurring, let alone any evidence of the cost increase.

Kessler and Palatiello offer vague purported examples of businessmen who lost government contracts when government officials decided to do the work in-house -- but there are not enough details offered that, say, a media critic can independently verify the claim. For instance, Kessler quoted Palatiello as saying, "I know a small business man up in Peekskill, New York, who is a food service catering company. ... And he had a contract pulled from him and brought in-house. I know of mapping firms that have had contracts with the government where they have been canceled and brought in-house." But that's all the information offered, and it's not enough to go on.

Do Kessler and Palatiello have something to hide? The lack of details they offer to support their argument certainly begs the question.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:59 PM EDT
WND Author: 'Shack' Devotees Exhibit 'Cult-Like' Tendencies, Author Is Like Jim Jones
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's war on the Christian novel "The Shack" continues with a June 20 column by James B. De Young, author of the WND-published anti-"Shack" book. In his column, De Young portrays fans of "The Shack" as exhibiting "cult-like" tendencies and "Shack" author Paul Young as -- we are not making this up -- akin to Jim Jones:

There are certain characteristics of the people who love "The Shack" that suggest cultic-like devotion. Why would I suggest such a thing? Because the word "cult" suggests certain behavior and domineering personalities that have often arisen among Christians in the past. Remember Jim Jones and his People's Temple cult in the 1970s? More than 800 adults and children committed suicide in blind devotion to their leader who could do no wrong and whose teaching was beyond questioning.

But how do I know a cult when I see it? The dictionary says that a cult is 1) a system of religious worship or ritual; or 2) a quasi-religious group, often living in a colony, with a charismatic leader who indoctrinates members with unorthodox or extremist views, practices or beliefs and 3) a group of followers.

Some of these words do not characterize the readers of the novel by Paul Young. But Paul Young is certainly a charismatic leader who is gathering a significant following. He certainly propagates unorthodox or extremist views and religious beliefs (as I will show). And since he comes under no local church, he himself decides what is orthodox.

De Young  goes on to complain about "The Shack's" definition of God as someone who would rather "cure" sin than "punish it, insisting that "the vast majority of the teaching of Scripture attests that God does indeed punish sin." De Young concludes with more cultic smears:

If you believe "The Shack's" pronouncements about judgment and sin instead of the Bible's, then you are in danger of being swept up into a cultic allegiance to a charismatic leader! And isn't this just the nub of what makes many people uncomfortable about "The Shack"? The novel projects "novel" views of a lot of the Bible's teaching that at least distort the truth and at the most slander God and Jesus Christ (as I show in my "Burning Down the Shack").

And in line with the novel's opposition to the local church, this charismatic leader refuses to come under the leadership and authority of any local church and decides for himself what is true. This is cult-like!

If "The Shack" is not yet a cult, it may be on the way to becoming one.

With smears like these, De Young is quickly building a case to be sued for libel.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:18 AM EDT
Does Cliff Kincaid Want to Bar Blacks From Donating Blood?
Topic: Accuracy in Media

As Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid continues to foam at the mouth about evil "gay blood" -- his latest screed asserts that "the homosexual rights movement is quietly acknowledging that decades of 'safe sex' education have failed and that cases of HIV/AIDS and illegal drug use are on the rise among gay males" -- Slate's William Saletan points out the illogic of group-based blood screening.

While the prevalance of HIV in "men having sex with men" -- who are currently prohibited as a group from donating blood -- is "over 15 fold higher than the general population," Shafer writes, HIV prevalence is eight to nine times higher among blacks than among whites, and HIV prevalence for black women is 18 times higher than for white women. But blacks are not prohibited as a group from giving blood.

This begs the question: Shouldn't Kincaid be as concenred about blacks -- and particularly black women -- donating blood as he is gays? We can't wait to hear the answer.

UPDATE: Corrected name of Slate writer.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:25 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 11:52 PM EDT
Finkelstein Attacks Verification of Facts, Not Falsehoods
Topic: NewsBusters

Funny, we thought NewsBusters cared about getting the facts straight. Apparently not.

A June 20 NewsBusters post by Mark Finkelstein -- instead of praising "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski for talking to the White House to get the facts on exactly what President Obama has done on the Gulf oil spill, the subject of numerous false claims made by Rudy Giuliani a few days earlier on the show -- attacks Brzezinski for contacting the White House in the first place:

Cut out the middle-woman and install Obama's teleprompter on the Morning Joe set . . .

Give her high marks for candor: on today's show, Mika Brzezinski admitted that she has been "working with the White House" on oil spill talking points.  But that still leaves the issue of the journalistic propriety of someone in Brzezinski's position serving as such a blatant shill for the president.

[...]

If Brzezinski believes Giuliani had his facts wrong, have her book a White House official to straighten things out.

Has Finkelstein never heard of the concept of reporting? You know, when you contact a source for information? That's what Brzezinski did. Why is that a bad thing?

Finkelstein is not unfamiliar with such a thing -- only he didn't call it working with the White House on talking points. No, Finkelstein's little 2006 junket to Iraq was called getting the "real news" -- yes, the bug accompanying his NewsBusters posts on the subject read, "The real news from Iraq." The "real news"didn't involve him writing anything criticial about the Iraq war -- indeed, Finkelstein likely wouldn't be going on the trip if there was even the slightest possibility he might. And indeed he didn't -- each blog post was a fluffy profile of what he encountered.

In other words, in doing his fluffy little reports, Finkelstein was doing the White House's bidding, whether he admits it or not. By contrast, Brzezinski merely obtained information from the White House to counter false claims made by Rudy Giuliani -- claims neither Finkelstein nor any other MRC employee have admitted are false. Further, neither Finkelstein nor any other MRC employee have contradicted the information Brzezinski obtained from the White House.

So, Mr. Finkelstein, which is worse -- obtaining information from the Obama White House to counter false claims, or going on a junket in order to serve as a PR agent for the Bush administration? You tell us.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EDT

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