We have an answer to the question of Joseph Farah's mysterious poll.
Earlier, we wrote about how Farah used his WorldNetDaily column to promote a poll result claiming that "our greatest hope for the future of this nation" is a "Return to traditional moral values,"but Farah curiously failed to explain where the poll came from, though he insisted on calling it "a scientific public opinion survey."
Alert ConWebWatch readers pointed us in the direction of a new book called "Beyond a House Divided: The Moral Consensus Ignored by Washington, Wall Street and the Media" by Carl Anderson. Indeed, Farah touts the book in his column as something that could set straight "the elitists who report the news, make our movies and TV shows, sell us goods, make our laws and teach our children," and WND's store is selling the book.
Anderson is the supreme knight of the Catholic fraternal group Knights of Columbus, and a series of polls paid for by the K of C and conducted by Marist College apparently forms the basis for the book.
The website for Anderson's book lists several of these polls -- but not the one Farah is referring to. Further, the Marist poll blog of items tagged "Knights of Columbus" makes no reference to this particular poll.
Marist generally has a good reputation for accuracy, but the K of C is an organization with an agenda, which raises concerns about the poll's balance. Since we don't have a copy of Anderson's book -- which apparently is the only place to find this particular poll -- we have to reserve judgment on it until we get more information.
New Article: The ConWeb's Bad Trip Topic: WorldNetDaily
In defiance of the facts, WorldNetDaily and the Media Research Center cling to the repeatedly discredited claim that President Obama spent $200 million a day on his trip to India. Read more >>
WND Again Tries to Cash In on Right-Wing Activism Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has never been shy about trying to fleece its readers for cash in the name of political activism, as exemplified by its numerous campaigns in which readers pay WND for the privilege of sending protest letters to members of Congress.
Well, WND is at it again, launching a similar pay-for-protest campaign against the TSA's new full-body scanners and more invasive security procedures:
The innovative campaign called "STOP AIRPORT HUMILIATION NOW" permits anyone to deliver 537 letters, with delivery guaranteed by Fed Ex, to all those officials – putting them on notice that Americans are angry and will not tolerate these abuses of privacy.
Because of the volume of these messages, WND is able to send them less expensively than American citizens could send them individually. Through this program, you can send the 537 messages for only $29.95. To replicate that feat individually, postage alone would cost more than $236. But the impact of participating in the "STOP AIRPORT HUMILIATION CAMPAIGN" makes your protest much more impressive – being a part of a mass movement, rather than an individual grievance, explained Farah.
WND also touts its previous self-proclaimed successes, such as "the historic 'Send Congress a Pink Slip' campaign that buried Congress in 9 million letters of grievance and another campaign that helped free railroaded Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Campeon."
But if you run the numbers, the factually challenged "pink slip" campaign isn't that impressive. Divide 9 million by the 535 slips sent out as a result of each order, and you get less than 17,000 participants. And if you take that number and multiply it by the $29.95 it charged readers to do this, WND raked in more than $503,000 on that campaign alone -- presumably much more than it cost to print and mail those slips.
Further, Ramos and Compean (WND misspelled his name) were not "railroaded." As we detailed at the time, the two agents, who had fired 15 shots at a fleeing suspect along the border they claimed they believed was armed, covered up their involvement by picking up their shell casings and failed to file an incident report. To our knowledge, WND has never contradicted these facts. Ramos and Compean were ultimately sentenced to prison, and the sentences were commuted by President Bush.
Meanwhile, the ever-shameless Joseph Farah promotes the campaign in his Nov. 16 column, right down to repeating the unsupported claim that a WND campaign helped free the "railroaded" Ramos and Compean.
A Nov. 15 Newsmax article by James Hirsen touts how a new documentary on the downfall of Eliot Spitzer as New York governor in the wake of a prostitution scandal "causing embarrassment to the brass at CNN," where Spitzer co-hosts a show. But Hirsen gets a key fact wrong and ignores a blatant bit of hypocrisy.
Hirsen writes that "Robert Stone, a GOP consultant, reveals in the film how he, via a letter, informed the FBI of Spitzer’s unusual affinity for the world’s oldest profession." But Hirsen gets the name wrong -- it's Roger Stone. And Hirsen doesn't tell you anything about why Stone might know such a thing about Spitzer.
Well, Stone reportedly calls himself the sleaziest man in American politics. Indeed, as we noted the last time Newsmax referenced him, Stone has a decidedly outside-the-GOP lifestyle, most recently marching in the New York gay pride and exchanging licks with a fellow participant.
It seems Hirsen may be as embarrassed by having to tout Stone as he claims CNN is over Spitzer.
Joseph Farah's Mysterious Poll Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah writes in his Nov. 15 WorldNetDaily column:
"What is our greatest hope for the future of this nation?"
That was a question put to Americans in a scientific public opinion survey last July.
What do you suppose was the No. 1 answer?
Was it Barack Obama?
Was it a Republican Congress?
Was it a better business environment?
Was it lower taxes and less regulation?
Was it smaller government?
No, it was not Barack Obama. And it wasn't any of the other answers as well. That might shock those trying to push the tea-party movement to promote an exclusively – and I do mean exclusively – economic or materialistic agenda.
The No. 1 answer was, instead, "Return to traditional moral values."
That answer was chosen by 49 percent of Americans in the poll, over the following:
Technological innovation – 16 percent
A better business environment – 13 percent
The next generation – 12 percent
The next election – 10 percent
So, who conducted this "scientific public opinion survey" that Farah is referring to? How was it conducted? Who paid them to conduct it? What was the margin of error?
We don't know the answers to any of these questions. Farah doesn't tell us, and a Google search turned up no details whatsoever about this poll. Besides, "What is our greatest hope for the future of this nation?" is hardly the kind of question that a legitimately objective pollster would ask.
The fact that Farah is being intentionally vague about the poll to which he's referring says a lot about the veracity of the poll. If he can't do something so simple as tell us where to find this poll, perhaps it shouldn't be trusted.
Which, of course, undermines the entire premise of Farah's column, which is yet another attempt to inject a social agenda into the tea party. No wonder he's being so vague about this poll.
Pat Boone Pushes False Claim About Federal Pay Topic: Newsmax
In his Nov. 13 column, published by Newsmax and WorldNetDaily, Pat Boone writes:
I propose the reduction of all government salaries to the average income of most Americans. The sad facts are that not only does the government employ, full-time or in part, almost 40 percent of all workers, but while the average non-government worker makes $65,000 a year, the average federal employee makes $130,000! And with amazing retirement benefits that combine to cost the taxpayers billions – billions they can't afford for themselves. So obviously, we can, and must, cut big government by half, at least.
(WND curiously lops off "by half, at least.")
As he has been about so many other things, Boone is wrong about federal salaries. PolitiFact.com reported on a similar claim made by Rand Paul, used a smaller set of numbers, $60,000 for private workers and $120,000 for government employees (Boone mysteriously inflated the numbers) and declared it to be false:
However, that figure includes both salary and benefits. This is a legitimate number to raise, but using it requires more explanation than Paul gave it. Since most people usually think about how much they, their spouses and their colleagues get paid in salary alone -- not salary plus benefits -- we think most people hearing this statement would assume that Paul means that the average federal employee gets paid a salary of $120,000. That's simply not true.
That said, there's still a gap between federal and private-sector pay if you strip out the portion that's in the form of benefits. BEA found that federal civilian employees earned $81,258 in salary, compared to $50,464 for private-sector workers. That cuts the federal pay advantage almost exactly in half, to nearly $31,000.
Case closed? Not at all. Several additional caveats are required.
The first is that there's an imbalance in the types of jobs that make up the federal workforce compared to the private-sector workforce. The federal workforce is disproportionately composed of employees with higher educational attainment. Think of all the low-wage burger-flippers, gas station attendants and domestic workers in the private-sector economy. The federal government has some of these types of employees but proportionately far fewer -- especially after nearly two decades of aggressive contracting-out of duties that need not be handled by salaried federal employees. This has further expanded the federal government's disproportionately large numbers of lawyers, scientists and other highly skilled professionals.
If the federal sector today is hiring a lot of people with specialized expertise and the private sector is hiring a lot of people with skills that don't require a college, or even a high school, degree, then it's no surprise that the average salary levels in each sector are going to be at odds.
Gary Burtless, a labor economist with the centrist-to-liberal Brookings Institution, said that "there are certainly many positions where the federal job is compensated less generously than comparable positions in the private sector. These tend to be the most demanding jobs in the federal service -- doctors, attorneys, scientists and senior executives. The U.S. Secretary of Education, for example, is paid far less than the presidents of major public and private universities, even though he has far greater responsibility."
In short, federal workers make more in large part because they're more highly skilled as a whole than private employees. Boone didn't see fit to tell his readers that.
MRC's Graham: Eeeek! Gay People on the Radio! Topic: NewsBusters
The Media Research Center doesn't like it when gay people appear in the media. Tim Graham made it clear again in a Nov. 15 post:
On Sunday night's All Things Considered newscast, NPR anchor Guy Raz celebrated “Protestant royalty” coming out of the closet. Bishop Jim Swilley of a megachurch appropriately called The Church in the Now decided to reveal his sexual orientation because of the burst of gay-bullying publicity. Former CNN reporter Raz welcomed the change and how it must have been “incredibly liberating” to be openly gay.
NPR lavished 12 minutes of air time on the interview -- currently a hot and very recommended item on NPR.org -- and they also offered a more extended interview online, complete with the minister's coming-out speech to his church.
If that wasn't bad enough, Graham added that "NPR also celebrated gay Episcopalian bishop Gene Robinson on Wednesday night's All Things Considered."
Neither story, Graham asserted, "offered a single, solitary second of time for conservative critics to speak out." The greater offense to Graham, though, appears to be that gays were allowed to speak out in the first place.
WorldNetDaily has long been committed to hating gays. The latest issue of its Whistleblower magazine affirms that hatred.
The theme is "AMERICA'S 'GAY' OBSESSION," though the cover breaks with WND's style of putting the word "gay" in scare quotes. The hatred is clear in WND's Nov. 1 promotion of the issue, in which gays are likened to foreign enemies waging war on the U.S.:
It's a classic, war-time sneak attack.
While Americans' attention is riveted on fierce midterm battles and the subsequent power struggle in response to Barack Obama's attempted socialist revolution, a second stunning coup – one every bit as dangerous to the nation – is rapidly progressing toward victory with almost no notice or publicity.
For the past two decades, the powerful "gay rights" lobby has been crusading tirelessly to promote special legal rights for homosexuals, indoctrinate the nation's schoolchildren with their worldview, radically redefine the institution of marriage, repeal the U.S. military's time-tested rules of conduct, intimidate and discredit any and all critics, and – perhaps worst of all – criminalize and punish the open expression of Judeo-Christian moral beliefs.
This highly coordinated effort, once extremely controversial but today basically greenlighted by politicians and the press – including key conservatives – is rapidly advancing toward total victory, after which any return to Christian morality in American law and culture will become almost impossible.
This extraordinary under-the-radar blitzkrieg is the focus of the November issue of WND's monthly Whistleblower magazine, titled "AMERICA'S 'GAY' OBSESSION."
WND Managing Editor David Kupelian asks the obvious question: "With the nation trying to counter a maniacal socialist coup in Washington, an economy in dire freefall and a wholesale invasion of the U.S. across our southern border, why should anyone care about same-sex marriage at all?"
The answer, says Kupelian: "We all better care, because once gay marriage is legalized in America – something for which there's no precedent in 5,000 years of Western Civilization – schools will be required to indoctrinate children that homosexuality is perfectly normal and healthy, pastors and rabbis will fear preaching their faith's core moral values, gender confusion and gross immorality will dominate our culture, polygamy and other bizarre 'marriage' arrangements will be legalized, and much more – in short, America will become unrecognizable, regardless of who's president and which party is in power."
A Nov. 9 promotion took a slightly different but equally scaremongering approach, blaming acceptance of homosexuality for the impending death of America:
For a long time it was an article of faith among Christians, conservatives and other traditionalists: They believed that when homosexuality becomes widely accepted and even celebrated in a society, that society starts to die.
But such a notion, at least according to today's secular progressive culture, is worse than a bad joke. It's bigoted. It's paranoid. It's insane.
Or is it?
The November issue of WND's monthly Whistleblower magazine, titled "AMERICA'S GAY OBSESSION," says it's not only not bigoted, paranoid or insane, but it's absolutely historically true – and moreover, is where America is rapidly heading unless it reverses course.
The promotion quotes an article by Brian Fitzpatrick claiming that those who support homosexuality are "in thrall to irrational socialistic and atheistic philosophies," while the anti-gay folks are "lined up perfectly with those of the Bible."
The magazine is chock-full of rabidly anti-gay writers, including Kupelian, Matt Barber and Peter LaBarbera. Also included is a piece by right-winger Linda Harvey previously published at WND, in which we noted that she deflects any responsibility for gay teen suicides and instead bizarrely blames gays for creating the situation through "the bad example of a homosexual school club" and pushing "the sad belief that homosexuality was an inevitable destiny, instead of a wayward yet changeable sexual inclination."
When you depict gays as foreign invaders bent on destroying the country, such hateful rhetoric is par for the course.
David Neiwert at Crooks and Liars finds a bit of hypocrisy from the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell. He commiserated with Sean Hannity on his Fox News show about how liberals allegedly agitating for violence, telling Hannity, "Would you last -- if you had that kind of a guest on, that your show wouldn't be over before Roger Ailes fired you?" Turns out Hannity has made not-so-veiled references to armed revolution as a response to Obama's election.
On a related subject, Media Matters' Karl Frisch notes how conservatives like to complain that the right doesn't have a media-criticism operation equivalent to Media Matters -- ignoring, inadvertently or otherwise, the existence of the MRC.And for all we know, the ignorance may be deliberate, given the general crappiness of the MRC's research and the rampant goofiness and illogic at its NewsBusters blog.
WND Columnists vs. The 17th Amendment Topic: WorldNetDaily
On Nov. 13, WorldNetDaily published not one but two columns calling for the repeal of the 17th amendment, which provides for the direct election of senator.
Henry Lamb asserted that the amendment's existence led to the passage of Obamacare:
Had this system been in place when Obamacare was presented, the bill would likely have failed. The bill passed the House with only a two-vote margin. Had the Senate been composed of individuals chosen by the states, the bill would have never seen the light of day. At least 14 states immediately filed lawsuits to have the new law declared unconstitutional. Had the senators from these 14 states been chosen by the state legislatures – according to the original design – there would be no Obamacare now.
Lamb justified taking voting powers away from the people, in contradition to right-wingers' traditional advocacy of putting pretty much everything else to a vote, by asserting that the original arrangement, in which senators were chosen by each state's legislature, "provided the balance needed to protect the interest of the states, while providing equal representation for the individuals. The tension created by the competition among the House of Representatives, the Senate and the Executive offered the best system of checks and balances the founders could create." Lamb added that "Enactment of the 17th Amendment expanded the power of political parties and opened a whole new avenue of influence for well-funded special-interest groups."
Former regular WND columnist Devvy Kidd makes a similar argument for taking your voting rights away in her first WND piece in more than four years:
The framers of the Constitution wisely understood the absolute necessity of ensuring we the people would have the right to vote for our representative in Congress, and at the same time because they all jealously guarded freedom and liberty, the states must also have equal representation. We the people would have the ability to remove via the ballot box miscreants and scoundrels, while the state legislatures could recall their U.S. senators who acted against the best interests of their states.
The Senate was supposed to be a sort of check and balance, but that disappeared when U.S. senators began to be voted into office by special interests and mobs demanding more from the people's treasury. The absolute right of the states to equal representation was wiped out when the 17th Amendment was declared ratified April 8, 1913.
Kidd then goes way down the rabbit hole by asserting that the amendment is illegitimate because not enough states ratified it. She claimed that she "personally went to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., joined by two colleagues ... to obtain, which we did, court-certified documents regarding the ratification of that amendment. Having obtained them, there is no doubt the amendment was not ratified by enough states at the time. Five states allegedly didn't ratify until months after then-Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan declared it ratified! All of the historical documents, court-certified, are available." She continues:
I am not a lawyer and have no legal training. However, one thing I do believe: It's absolutely wrong to correct a legal fiction using a method which would give legitimacy to that fiction. The same constitutional crisis exists over Obama/Soetoro and the growing call for impeachment. He is without question a usurper. You cannot impeach someone who has legally never held that office. Giving legitimacy to fraud demeans our Constitution and takes away honor and integrity for our system of government purchased with rivers of blood.
So she's a birther too. She fits right in at WND. If this a trial balloon for reinstating her as a columnist, she passed with flying colors.
Noel Sheppard: Bogus Obama Trip Figure Must Be True -- 'SNL' Said It! Topic: NewsBusters
Noel Sheppard uses a Nov. 14 NewsBusters post to explain how a "Saturday Live Skit" proves Glenn Beck right:
This sequence was surprising on a number of levels. First, Obama's defenders in the media aggressively attacked Fox News and conservative radio hosts for reporting this $200 million a day figure that came from an Indian website.
Although no specific numbers were released by the administration concerning the real cost, the press were very quick to dismiss the $200 million a day estimate.
This is why when SNL sourced it to Beck, viewers probably thought the joke would end there.
Oddly, that wasn't the case as Hader then made the point that maybe Beck shouldn't be dismissed so quickly as a result of his correct advice on gold.
So who are you going to believe on the issue of the cost of Obama's trip -- every legitimate news orgaization and fact-checking agency, or an "SNL" skit? Sheppard has chosen the latter.
What do these seemingly disconnected events tell us about President Obama?
First, they tell us that he always had—and still has—a tremendous love for Islam and radical Muslims. Obama famously described the Islamic call to prayer as “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.” Traveling to an Islamist country would scare most people—for Obama, it was like traveling back to his childhood. It’s no wonder that Obama took the opportunity to bash Israel while in Jakarta, Indonesia, this week—that, too, must have brought back nostalgic memories.
Second, Obama’s childhood shows us that he was comfortable with militant homosexuals, black racists and communists/socialists, along with radical Islamists. That’s an odd combination for a child, but Obama had an odd childhood. And that conglomeration of interests—gay rights militants, black racists, socialists and radical Muslims—now form the core of Obama’s idealistic base.
Third, Obama’s childhood shows us that he was always a narcissist concerned with his own power. Not only did he want to be president, he thought the presidency was all about him. Soldiers were there for defending him; businessmen were there for supporting him. Presidents were kings. That’s why he wanted to be president.
Obama’s perspective on the presidency hasn’t changed. Soldiers are “photo ops.” The media is there to praise him. Businessmen are there to be taxed, so he can name bridges and schools after himself and take credit for a phantom recovery.
People don’t change. Obama hasn’t since childhood. And the more we learn about President Obama’s childhood, the scarier he becomes.
-- Ben Shapiro, Nov. 11 WorldNetDaily column, published by CNSNews.com
MRC's Tally of CNN Guests Has A Flaw Topic: Media Research Center
We've noted that the Media Research Center released a report claming that guest on CNN programs skewed liberal, but didn't release the list it compiled to support the claim.
Well, Politico managed to shake the list loose, and it reveals some flaws -- namely, that it tallied the political ideology of guest who were not talking about politics. From Politico:
CNN took issue with MRC’s methodology.
“Simply using partisan labels on guests who are not even talking about politics is not helpful to the national discourse,” said Barbara Levin, vice president of media relations at CNN. “And counting a newsmaker/headliner guest who gets twice the airtime as a roundtable guest, distorts the true overall picture. As our promo says, CNN doesn’t play favorites and is proud to be the only cable news network without partisan primetime programs.”
Several of the people listed as “Democrat/liberal” in study, such a Wanda Sykes, Kathy Griffin and Sean Penn, were on the air talking about non-political topics, such as bullying and the disaster in Haiti.
And CNN’s booking a liberal guest did not always pan out well for liberals. NAACP President Ben Jealous, for example, showed up on the “Democrat/liberal” side of MRC’s list, but the interview he did with Anderson Cooper – in which Cooper challenged the NAACP’s report pointing to racism within the tea party – ended up being celebrated in the conservative blogosphere the next day.
The MRC's Rich Noyes responded to Politico, admitting that the MRC focused only on perceived ideology, not the content of the appearance:
“If a guest (such as The Nation's Ari Melber) comes from a strong ideological perspective, we did not parse each interview,” he said. “National Review's Will Cain sometimes talked about non-political issues on Parker Spitzer, but he was consistently labeled as "conservative/Republican."
He also responded to the charge that weighing each guest equally, regardless of how long they were on, distorts the picture.
“We did not weigh interview length, but just tallied guests," he said. "Given the lengthy amount of time given to liberals like Michael Moore on Larry King Live (October 13), it is our belief that timing each interview would have exacerbated the disparity, not reduced it.”
Noyes also added a comment to the Politco article:
FYI, the guests CNN claims were really nonpartisan made liberal points. For example, Kathy Griffin on LKL, talking about bullying, unleashed against conservatives: I think that the way that we had trickle-down economics in the 80s, this is trickle down homophobia. And I really want people to connect the dots. And that's why I believe there's a connection between Prop 8, Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and now the string of teen suicides. It's almost sanctioned to bully gay people and treat them as second-class citizens. That's why we classified her as a liberal.
Because only liberals oppose bullying of gay teens, apparently.
UPDATE: Looking over the list, we see that the MRC has labeled Jesse Ventura a "Democrat/Liberal." Really? the guy who thinks (along with NewsBusters' very own Noel Sheppard) that global warming is a conspiracy is a "liberal"?
WND's Klayman: Obama Is 'Mullah In Chief' Topic: WorldNetDaily
As if President Barack Hussein Obama had not yet learned his "lesson" from a week ago Tuesday's mid-term election results, our fearless leader has unabashedly pressed ahead with his public-relations "jihad" to further Islamic interests, both at home and abroad, with his pilgrimage last Wednesday to the Istiquil Mosque in Indonesia.
Gushing over his protracted stay in Indonesia during his boyhood – as Obama's stepdad was Indonesian – the president used the occasion to profusely praise Islam and take yet another swipe at what many Americans believe is his adopted country, the United States. Here are the latest words of wisdom from regrettably a president who has become seen as our "mullah in chief":
"If you ask me – or any of my schoolmates who knew me back then – I don't think any of us could have anticipated that I would one day come back to Jakarta as president of the United States."
Then, vowing a "new beginning" with Islam in the most populous Muslim country in the world, and proclaiming years of distrust created by the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama then praised the "great world religion (of) Islam."
We then have to ask ourselves: Was our president paid off by Islamic foes to bow down and pander to them and their professed radical religion? Only time will tell, but I for one am not going to rock back in my easy chair and not try to get to the bottom of this outrage.
The future of our nation, Israel and our other Western allies and is at stake!
No, it is not time, even as we celebrate Veterans Day, to allow our mullah in chief to do as he pleases.
CNS' Starr Falsely Suggests Federal Money Pays For Abortions Topic: CNSNews.com
A Nov. 11 CNSNews.com article by Penny Starr plays a disingenuous bit of guilt by association. Under the healdine "Planned Parenthood Got $349.6 Million in Tax Dollars, Performed 324,008 Abortions, Paid Its President $385,163," Starr writes:
Planned Parenthood received $349.6 million in tax dollars in the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2008, and it paid its president, Cecile Richards, $385,163, plus another $11,876 in benefits and deferred compensation.
According to a “fact sheet” published by the organization, Planned Parenthood Affiliate Health Centers performed 324,008 abortions in 2008.
Starr never comes right out and says it, but the implication is clear: federal tax money goes toward abortion.
That, of course, is false. The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funds from paying for abortions.
But the point of Starr's article is not to inform, it is to inflame -- by her own admission. Starr concludes her article by noting efforts in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood, and, on her Twitter account, Starr linked to her article with the message, "Let the de-funding begin!"