WASHINGTON – Barack Obama, who three times deleted the word "Creator" in quoting the Declaration of Independence recently, made no mention of God in a Thanksgiving message he issued today from the White House Rose Garden.
"This, of course, is what's truly meant by Thanksgiving – a holiday that asks us to be thankful for what we have, and generous to those who have less," said Obama at the annual event in which turkeys are "pardoned" by the president. "It's a time to spend with the ones we love, and a chance to show compassion and concern to people we've never met. It's a tradition that's brought us together as a community since before we were a nation, when the ground we're standing on was nothing but wilderness."
Thanksgiving is an American holiday about giving thanks to God for the blessings He has bestowed on the country and on individuals.
"Back then," Obama said reflecting on the early Thanksgiving tradition in America, "the simple act of survival was often the greatest blessing of all. And later, President Lincoln declared the first national day of Thanksgiving in the midst of the Civil War. During the depths of the Great Depression, local businesses gave donations and charities opened their doors to families who didn't have a place to celebrate Thanksgiving. In times of war, our military has gone through great lengths to give our men and women on the front lines a turkey dinner and a taste of home."
While Obama did not mention God in the context of his Thanksgiving reflections, he did conclude his comments with the following words: "God bless you and God bless the United States of America."
But most of his remarks struck a more secular tone: "So in America, we come together when times are hard. We don't give up. We don't complain. And we don't turn our backs on one another. Instead, we look out for another and we pitch in and we give what we can. And in the process, we reveal to the world what we love so much about this country.
"That's who we are. And that's who Thanksgiving reminds us to be. So I hope everyone takes some time during this holiday season to give back and serve their community in some way. And I also want to take a moment to say how grateful I am to the men and women who are serving this country bravely and selflessly in places far away from home right now. You and your families are in our thoughts and in our prayers, and you make me so very proud to be your commander-in-chief. So on behalf of Michelle, Sasha, Malia and myself, I want to wish everybody a wonderful and happy and safe Thanksgiving."
Why has WND deleted this article? Because it's not true. WND quoted only from Obama's remarks during the annual pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey. But Obama issued a separate Thanksgiving proclamation that mentioned God twice:
In confronting the challenges of our day, we must draw strength from the resolve of previous generations who faced their own struggles and take comfort in knowing a brighter day has always dawned on our great land. As we stand at the close of one year and look to the promise of the next, we lift up our hearts in gratitude to God for our many blessings, for one another, and for our Nation. This Thanksgiving Day, we remember that the freedoms and security we enjoy as Americans are protected by the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces. These patriots are willing to lay down their lives in our defense, and they and their families deserve our profound gratitude for their service and sacrifice.
As Americans gather for the time-honored Thanksgiving Day meal, let us rejoice in the abundance that graces our tables, in the simple gifts that mark our days, in the loved ones who enrich our lives, and in the gifts of a gracious God. Let us recall that our forebears met their challenges with hope and an unfailing spirit, and let us resolve to do the same.
WND merely deleted the story when it proved to be false. It has not publicly corrected the record or issued an apology to the president.
A real news organization would do that. So you know what WND is.
UPDATE: This makes at least the third completely false article WND has either disappeared without explanation or completely rewritten to remove any trace of the false claim. What does it say about the ethics and quality of editing at WND that so many utterly false articles appear? Other news organizations that published many more stories per day than WND does have a much lower total retraction rate -- typically, zero.
Posted by Terry K.
at 10:19 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, November 24, 2010 11:14 PM EST
MRC's Graham Just Can't Stop Hating the Kennedys Topic: Media Research Center
If there's anything Tim Graham and the Media Research Center hate worse than gays, it's Kennedys. Graham and crew, for instance, have yet to retract its multiple false portrayals of writer Charles Pierce's statements regarding Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick as "ludicrous level of veneration" of Kennedy when, in fact, in full context it was a criticism of Kennedy. The MRC's quote of the year wasn't even from a journalist; it was a blog post from a "Discover magazine deputy web editor... who formerly worked on the New York Times’s Freakonomics blog" that said something about Ted Kennedy the MRC didn't like.
It's in that context that Graham's Nov. 23 NewsBusters post should be viewed. The post is all about Graham's whining that the NBC Nightly News, on the occasion of the 47th anniversaryof John F. Kennedy's death, noted the existence "of yet another book of Kennedy family photos of the 'Camelot' era." Graham was particularly upset that anchor Brian Williams noted that there was a picture of the "incredibly cute John Jr. on a boat in August of ‘63." Graham continued to grouse:
The photos can be very similar to everyone else's family photos, which would hardly be Nightly News material. But the Kennedy family pictures are endlessly fascinating to some people. This adoration of the Kennedys isn't as obviously biased as NBC actually employing a Kennedy as an "objective" reporter for 16 years. Can we plan for Williams showing pictures from the Reagan family when the country celebrates the 100th anniversary of his birth next February 6? Or is Williams just not in as much awe of Reagan? Is he just still the kid who wrote adoring fan mail to LBJ?
John Kennedy died 47 years ago. Ted Kennedy died more than a year ago. Graham seriously needs to get over it.
A Nov. 22 Newsmax article by Brad O'Leary touted his own poll, claiming that "More voters listened for the message of the tea party than any other group leading up to the recent midterm elections."
We've documented O'Leary's history of skewed polls by the firm he pays to conduct them, Zogby International -- a pollster with a reputation for inaccuracy. And needless to say, this Zogby poll has a problem too.
According to the poll's crosstabs, only one question was asked: "For the following groups, please tell us if you listened to their messages before the election all of the time, most of the time, some of the time or never." Only two groups were identified -- the tea party and the National Rifle Association.
Because Zogby polled about only two groups, O'Leary's statement that the poll showed that "More voters listened for the message of the tea party than any other group" is not supported by the scant data.
Les Kinsolving writes in his Nov. 23 WorldNetDaily column:
Since 2007, we U.S. taxpayers have paid $2,100,745 for now-outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to make 85 flights aboard a 42-seat Air Force C-32 – which is the size of a Boeing 757.
These Pelosi flights took her back and forth from Washington to her home district in San Francisco in one of the most infuriating of Democratic financial abuses.
In fact, the dollar figure Kinsolving cites is for Pelosi-led congressional delegations -- i.e., the congressional delegations set up through the Speaker's office, many of which included other members of Congress as well -- not her personal travel. Further, a number of those delegations included Republicans.
Wouldn't it be fun if the new House, as one of its first orders of business, asked for legislation to compel the enormously wealthy Pelosi to pay for the cost differential between those Air Force C-32 flights of hers and former Speaker Dennis Hastert's use of a 12-seat Gulfstream III passenger jet?
But the reason Pelosi had access to such a jet is for security purposes, as confirmed by the House Sergeant at Arms. The reason the larger jet was used is because the smaller jet Hastert used cannot make it non-stop from Washington, D.C., to California -- again, for security purposes. (Hastert needed to travel only to Illinois to visit his district.)
But we can't expect Kinsolving to care about something as basic as reporting the facts when he apparently spends his time thinking up biasedquestions to ask during White House press briefings.
Dick Morris writes in his Nov. 23 Newsmax column that President Obama "is moving to implement, through executive action, two of the most controversial items in his 2010 agenda — a carbon tax and pollution permit system and a ban on the use of secret ballots in union elections." But the latter case Morris is referring wouldn't ban secret ballots.
Morris is referring to a 2007 case involving the Dana Corp., which Morris misleadingly claims "mandates secret ballots in unionization elections." That's false. As the Society for Human Resource Management details, the National Labor Relations Board's decision in the Dana case created a provision that allowed workers to call for a secret-ballot election to decertify a union whose bargaining unit was established through the card-check process within 45 days of that establishment. The NLRB has agreed to review the ruling. The SHRM continues:
Dana overturned almost 40 years of precedent, Waxman remarked, noting that one of the dissenters to Dana, Wilma Liebman, now is chairwoman of the Board.
Under the old rule before Dana, if there was voluntary recognition, that was the end of it and there would be no election, Leslie Silverman, an attorney at Proskauer Rose in Washington, D.C., and a member of the SHRM Labor Relations Special Expertise Panel, added.
“The grant of review is a clear signal of the Board’s interest in reversing precedent,” said John Raudabaugh, an attorney with Nixon Peabody in Washington, D.C., and a member of the SHRM Labor Relations Special Expertise Panel.
Writing a concurrence to the grant of review, Liebman responded that “the decision to revisit long-established legal rules in Dana itself was premised on the Dana majority’s belief that ‘changing conditions in the labor relations environment can sometimes warrant a renewed scrutiny of extant doctrine.’ That belief is surely correct. Whether the Dana Board’s ultimate policy choice was correct or not, the decision, by its own terms, cannot stand for the proposition that the Board rules are meant to last forever.”
What Morris appears to be describing is the Employee Free Choice Act, but he's wrong about that too. That proposed law would not ban the use of secret ballots in union elections; it would give workers, instead of employers, the right to demand a secret ballot.
NewsBusters' False Equivalence on Nazi Smears Topic: NewsBusters
Lachlan Markay goes the false-equivalence route in a Nov. 22 NewsBusters post responding to NPR's noting that "Fox News does stand out amid mainstream media outlets for its ferocity and frequency" in hurling Nazi smears.
Markay asserted that "NPR invoked vague claims by far-left Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank ... to paint FNC as unique in its invocation of Nazism." In fact, Milbank was quite specific in his claims, even if NPR wasn't in citing him. From Milbank's Oct. 3 column:
At the heart of Beck's technique of amplifying fringe theories is his obsession with Nazism. For much of the past 70 years, there has been an unwritten rule in U.S. political debate: Avoid Hitler accusations. Once you liken your opponent to the Nazis, any form of rational discussion becomes impossible. But Beck, it seems, has a Nazi fetish. In his first 18 months on Fox News, from early 2009 through the middle of this year, he and his guests invoked Hitler 147 times. Nazis, an additional 202 times. Fascism or fascists, 193 times. The Holocaust got 76 mentions, and Joseph Goebbels got 24.
In his recitation of liberals who "routinely prove Godwin right," Markay cites only a handful of isolated instances -- far short of the hundreds of references by Beck alone and none of which were made by the president of a news operation, lilke Nazi smear-hurler Roger Ailes.
Markay also incorrectly labels Garrison Keillor as "NPR's own." While Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" typically airs on NPR-affiliated radio stations, it is not an NPR production; it's produced by Keillor's own production company and distributed by American Public Media.
In a Nov. 21 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard touts how Newt Gingrich said he would not participate in a debate that had MSNBC's Chris Matthews or Keith Olbermann moderating, claiming they would be "relentlessly hostile." But Sheppard conveniently omitted a statement by Olbermann in the Mediaite article he links to as a source for the Gingrich comment that he has never moderated a GOP debate.
Sheppard updated his post to link to a NewsBusters post about a May 2007 GOP presidential debate in which Matthews served as a moderator, claiming that he "asking really silly questions." Asking silly questions, however, is not the same as asking "relentlessly hostile" questions, which Gingrich seemed to accuse Matthews of doing. Even Brent Baker, who wrote the 2007 post, couldn't come up with any genuinely hostile questions from Matthews, instead complaining that he was "bizarrely attacking White House aide Karl Rove and favorite target Scooter Libby."
Indeed, as Media Matters' Jamison Foser points out (and Baker doesn't), Matthews did lob the softball questions Gingrich seems to prefer during that 2007 debate.
But where's the hypocrisy, you ask? Well, back in 2007, Sheppard was uncritically repeating how Bill O'Reilly "was none too pleased" about how Democratic presidentical candidates pulled out of a planned presidential debate sponsored by Fox News, an action that came after Fox News chief Roger Ailes (supposedly jokingly) compared Barack Obama to Osama bin Laden. Sheppard asserted that "Democrats succumbing to this pressure does not serve their interests of taking over the White House in 2008."
So, according to Sheppard, Democratic presidential candidates avoiding an allegedly biased news outlet is the result of succumbing to pressure, while a Republican avoiding an allegedly biased news outlet is a principled stand. Got that?
New Article -- Out There, Exhibit 52: CNS' Obama Word Obsession Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com, led by editor in chief Terry Jeffrey, is fixated on every single word the president says -- or doesn't say. Read more >>
WND's Washington Gulps Down Beck's Soros Smears Topic: WorldNetDaily
Ellis Washington wouldn't know the truth if it bit him, so it's no surprise that Washington has swallowed every false and misleading bit of Glenn Beck's smears of George Soros, declaring in his Nov. 20 WorldNetDaily column that "Beck has been doing a masterful job over the past few weeks in his series exposing the man that gave America President Barack Obama, the radical socialist billionaire George Soros."
Washington dutifully repeated Beck's smear that "Soros worked for the Jewish Council, which had been established during the Nazi occupation of Hungary to forcibly carry out Nazi and Hungarian government anti-Jewish measures." In fact, Soros played no role in taking the property of Jews.
After regurgitating Beck's propaganda regarding the methods Soros plans to use to control the world, Washington writes:
George Soros is a very evil man and has perfected the economic deconstruction of nations, which he learned firsthand as a child in Nazi-controlled Hungary and later throughout Communist-controlled Eastern Europe – except Soros needs no bullets for his revolution; he has a much more treacherous and inconspicuous weapon: money and propaganda.
Because George Soros is an atheist, he has no allusions about a heaven beyond the grave. Therefore, like most socialists, progressives, Darwinists and atheists, he is trying to establish a utopian society here on earth – a one-world centralized government without borders, religion or culture, one currency, one language and one puppet master to pull the strings of the useful idiots in power … while controlling the world from beyond the shadows.
Washington cares only about shadowy conspiracies. He cares nothing about the truth. No wonder he can't seem to keep a full-time job.
With WND-Aping Op-Ed, Wash. Examiner Goes Birther Topic: Washington Examiner
It seems inevitable that every conservative news outlet will, sooner or later, dirty its hands by latching onto the birther issue. The Washington Examiner plunges in by publishing a Nov. 22 op-ed by Diana West promoting one birther's case.
West wrote that Terrence Lakin, an Army lieutenant colonel, "faces an upcoming court-martial at Fort Meade, Md., on Dec. 14 for refusing to follow orders to redeploy to Afghanistan because of his conviction that the president hasn't proven his eligibility to hold office." Lakin is the birthers' latest hope for promoting their case, and West admits she's writing about him in part because "Lakin supporters have dubbed this week Terry Lakin Action Week, urging American citizens to take the occasion to call their congressional representatives about the case."
West highlighted a claim that "unknown, unknowable site authorities ‘took down' a new entry" on Lakin "almost as soon it went up." That claim comes straight from the birther fanatics at WorldNetDaily.
West lionized Lakin as "a senior military officer with an unblemished career" who is committing "what amounts to a historic act of civil disobedience for which he may well serve time in prison." The reality, meanwhile, is that a military judge has already ruled that, according to military law, the personal beliefs or convictions of a soldier are not enough for the soldier to deem an order illegal, that Lakin cannot introduce any evidence related to Obama's citizenship at his court-martial, and that the military court was not the proper venue for determining the eligibility of a president.
West peppered her op-ed with standard birther arguments:
Of course, Obama's failure to release his original 1961 birth certificate (which, contrary to mantralike misperception, has never been released) is just the beginning. There remains a startling dearth of documentation pertaining to Obama's progress through his 49 years of life that only begins with his birth certificate.
A gaping hole -- dare I say "memory hole"? -- seems to have consumed all possible Obama records from his education, health, family records, even his pre-presidential political career. But this subject is never taken seriously by the media or the political establishment, including, most glaringly, erstwhile GOP opponent John McCain, who, on being challenged on the eligibility question himself, should have called on candidate Obama to join him in releasing their bona fides together.
But even to suggest such a thing is to indulge in "conspiracy theories." Not surprisingly, Wikipedia defines this term for us as well, noting that it's "often used dismissively in an attempt to characterize a belief as outlandishly false and held by a person judged to be a crank or a group confined to the lunatic fringe."
Is the birther path really the one that Philip Anschutz's aggressively conservative publication wants to take? It appears so.
WND Misleads to Push Contrail Conspiracy Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Nov. 19 WorldNetDaily article, citing Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin cites "governmental military experts with extensive experience working with missiles and computer security systems" to claim that the mystery contrail caputred on film off the California coast "emanated from a single source nozzle of a missile, probably made in China." But WND makes an apparently false claim and relies on conspiracy theorists in the process.
WND states that "the Federal Aviation Administration documents that there were no aircraft flying in the area at that time, the night of Nov. 8." But we could find no evidence that the FAA made such a claim.
What FAA spokesman Ian Gregor did say is that "The FAA ran radar replays of a large area west of Los Angeles based on media reports of the possible missile launch at approximately 5 p.m. (PT) on Monday. The radar replays did not reveal any fast moving, unidentified targets in that area," and that "The FAA did not approve any commercial space launches around the area Monday."
WND also cites "Wayne Madsen, a former naval officer who has worked at the National Security Agency and the Naval Data Automation Command," and "Dr. Lyle J. Rapacki of Sentinel Intelligence Services, LLC" to back up the claim that the contrail came from a Chinese missile.
As we've noted, Madsen is a well-known conspiracy theorist with a long record of making dubious claims -- including claims about Barack Obama's birth certificate that apparently even WND didn't find credible enough to embrace. And Rapacki is a birther whom WND has credibly cited in an April 2009 article by Bob Unruh, touting Rapacki's claim that issue of Obama's eligibility to be president could become a "flashpoint" in the United States. Rapacki has also ranted about "the malice aforethought intent to ruin our Nation by radical Marxists, especially you Mr. Obama, who despise everything about America."
At $9.95 a month or $99 a year, G2 Bulletin is the remaining subscrption-based publication WND publishes. Yes, WND is charging for the rantings of conspiracy theorists.
MRC's Graham Has Another Anti-Gay Freakout Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Tim Graham has beenwatchinglikeahawk for any evidence of gayness in the media. Why? Because to him, gay = liberal, and neither can really be allowed to exist in the media.
Which makes Graham's freakout in a Nov. 20 NewsBusters post over the Washington Post helping to sponsor a National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce conference in Washington and sending an employee to speak so utterly predictable: "The Post didn't just fund it. They participated. On Friday afternoon, the program touted their Communities of Color Business Initiative, with speaker Jonathan Capehart."
Graham went on to declare that "There's no question that what the Post is funding here is a socially liberal advocacy group."
Is it the liberalness or the gayness that offends Graham more? Or is the combination that pegs his squick meter?
WND Adds Obama-Hater Victoria Jackson As Columnist Topic: WorldNetDaily
In a Nov. 19 WorldNetDaily article announcing that right-wing actress Victoria Jackson has become a regular WND columnist, WND editor Joseph Farah is quoted as saying, "Victoria is a hoot. ... But she also really cares about her country – I mean deep, down in her heart and soul."
But Jackson's presence as a WND columnist likely has more to do with the fact that she hates President Obama almost as much as Farah does. She has called for Obama's impeachment, and in a previous WND appearance, she described Obama as "a Marxist, progressive, leftist, radical, socialist, communist dictator drunk with power" who has put America "under seige."
That's not comedy, that's hate. But Farah and WND don't appear to know the difference.
Parents and school officials who want to convey timeless values such as commitment, sexual responsibility, and physical and psychological well-being are wise to form a shield between kids and the LGBT lobby.
That lobby is telling kids that if only the American public would embrace homosexuality as normal, natural and healthy, children would feel free to "come out of the closet" and be comfortable with their same-sex attractions without fear of condemnation from their families, friends and, dare we say, religion.
Then, they reason, sexually confused youth would never contemplate suicide, experience higher-than-average psychological disorders, abuse illegal substances at alarming rates and take part in dangerous sexual practices, exposing themselves to violence and sexually transmitted diseases.
It's all too typical for homosexual activists to justify their behavior by claiming "we're born that way" and then blame the tragic consequences of their actions on an intolerant society. But pushing this lie to young people is the ultimate death sentence for those who do not want to live a homosexual life. It offers no hope to youth who are struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions, and it's unconscionable to lure young people into behavior that has so many serious risks, and then deny them the opportunity for change.
The facts reveal that even in the most gay-friendly cultures, it's not society that is responsible for the consequences of homosexuality; it's the behavior. It really makes one ask the question, just what about the homosexual life gets better?
-- Christopher Doyle, Nov. 20 WorldNetDaily column
CNS Give Boehner's False GM Claim A Free Pass Topic: CNSNews.com
A Nov. 19 CNSNews.com article by Dan Joseph uncritically repeats a claim by House Minority Leader John Boehner regarding "the government’s reaction to General Motors and the bailout from the government" that "we’re talking about tens of thousands of Americans who were punished as a result of the government’s action." Joseph went on to quote a Boehner spokesman saying that Boehner was talking about "both the bondholders and the employees at the dealerships that were arbitrarily closed by the White House."
But fewer GM dealers have closed than originally announced, and many of those that did close were connected to brands that GM discontinued, while others merely lost the ability to sell certain GM brands while continuing to sell others.
Edmunds.com reports that effective Nov. 1, GM has a network of about 4,500 dealers, compared with 6,049 dealerships in June 2009. This represents four brand combinations in 15 brand combinations, compared to the previous setup that represented eight brands via 87 brand combinations.
Edmunds also reported that "GM recently reinstated many dealerships that were previously notified of franchise agreement terminations. On March 8, 2010, GM contacted 661 dealerships to negotiate terms of retaining the franchises. Other dealers contested the franchise agreement terminations through an arbitration process that ended on August 5, 2010." And the final closure list includes dealers of the discontinued Hummer and Pontiac brands.
Boehner's complaint about "dealerships that were arbitrarily closed" is a misnomer on two fronts. First, GM did not and cannot close dealerships -- it grants franchises to sell its cars, and what it did was seek to cancel or decline to renew franchises with individual dealers, which may or may not result in the closing of the dealer. That dealer also has the option of trying to obtain another new-car franchise, or to sell only used cars.
Second, GM and Chrysler did not act in an arbitrary manner in withdrawing franchises. As The Truth About Cars writes:
Over at GM, the problem is more complicated given that the Pontiac brand is being eliminated after GM’s recent efforts to build its Buick-GMC-Pontiac sales channel, and that GM is in the process of selling its Hummer, Saturn, and Saab brands. GM dealers will be evaluated based on four criteria to judge their viability. These criteria include:
To be part of the new, post-bankruptcy GM, these dealers have to perform well in all four categories.
For those dealers being eliminated, GM is offering some dealerships from $20,000 to $1 million to wind down their businesses over the next 17 months, the payment based on factors such as brands carried, regional sales rank, and current inventory.
That's hardly arbitrary. But Joseph didn't see fit to question a Republican making such a claim, which presumably is CNS editorial policy.