NewsBusters Baselessly Defends Reporter's Attack on Obama Topic: NewsBusters
In writing about how "Fox News has given a reporting gig to Doug McKelway, a former ABC anchor for the network's D.C. affiliate," Lachlan Markay asserts in a Dec. 1 NewsBusters post that McKelway "took heat from higher-ups after accurately reporting on President Obama's ties to oil giant BP," insisting that McKelway was "reporting the truth" when he stated that "the one man who has more campaign contributions from BP than anybody else in history is now sitting in the Oval Office, President Barack Obama."
In fact, McKelway got it wrong. As Media Matters details, Obama received only $1,000 from BP's PAC in 2004, less than what 21 other Senate candidates received from the BP PAC that year. The figure McKelway used in his report was the amount of money Obama received from employees of the company, which is not the same thing as receiving it from the company, unless McKelway was claiming that BP was directing its employees to make political contributions, which we think is illegal.
Anyway, McKelway seems to have found the right place to be -- his former colleagues say it's a "perfect fit" due to his penchant for co-minging news and opinion.
Farah Almost Admits WND Got Birther Claim Wrong Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah's Dec. 2 WorldNetDaily column was dedicated to ranting about the "hostile interrogation" CNN's Anderson Cooper did of a birther, Texas state Rep. Leo Berman, much of it focused on the difference between a birth certificate and a certification of live birth. Farah did concede one little point, though: "Berman did get off track on Obama's travels to Pakistan."
The problem here is that Berman's "off track" point on that issue -- that Obama visited Pakistan "when no U.S. citizen could get to Pakistan at all" -- is the exact same track WND has repeatedly traveled, including in WND's birther video. As Cooper points out, that's "factually incorrect" because "Americans could travel to Pakistan" in 1981, when Obama visited.
Farah, of course, is much less interested in admitting a falsehood on his website and work product than he is in keeping the birther myth alive. Indeed, he declares that "I, for one, have grave doubts that Obama's biological father was a Kenyan."
If Berman is an "off track" birther, so is Farah. Not that he'll admit it.
Erik Rush Wants to See Some People Die Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily columnist Erik Rush has been wishing death on some people on his Twitter account.
In a Nov. 30 tweet, the targets are George Soros and Julian Assange: "If we had the right people in government, garbage like Assange and Soros would keep their ideas to themselves - or they'd be DEAD."
In a Dec. 2 tweet, the target is Rep. Bobby Scott, who he says is "is among those vermin the Founders (and I) would hang." Note the weird stylized middle finger/phallic symbol at the end:
Rush doesn't clarify why he wants Scott dead; it might be because he supports expanding the Pigford settlement. It's bad timing for a death threat, though: Scott's mother died last week.
MRC Manufactured Outrage Update Topic: Media Research Center
TPM serves up its anatomy of the Media Research Center's manufactured outrage over the Smithsonian art exhibition, complete with a copy of the email CNSNews.com's Penny Starr sent to congressional leaders trolling for a response to the ants-on-Jesus stuff.
Media Matters' Todd Gregory points out how Brent Bozell's appearance on CNN to discuss the controversy he created exposed what he's all about. Hint: it doesn't involve "media research." Here too.
As we note at Media Matters, the Catholic League's Bill Donohue has emerged as a go-to person for comment on the controversy, even though he's a rabid homophobe. Guess who's on the Catholic League's board of advisers? Brent Bozell.
The headline of a Dec. 2 WorldNetDaily article by Brian Fitzpatrick declares: "WND accused of 'violent rhetoric'; Southern Poverty Law Center offers no evidence to back the claim."
Just one little problem: the SPLC made no such accusation. In fact, it did the exact opposite.
From the SPLC article to which WND links (emphasis added):
A month after the Valley Forge conclave, a different group of Patriots met in a far different setting. The three-day “Taking America Back” conference at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami was organized by the right-wing WorldNetDaily (WND) and its co-founder, Joseph Farah. The numerous speakers and other conference attendees didn’t voice the violent rhetoric of those at the Valley Forge event, but their fury and disgust with the Obama Administration and the general direction of the country were no less fervent.
Fitzpatrick doesn't make that direct claim in his article; instead, he complains that the SPLC "has attempted to discredit WND by associating the organization with a group that indulged in a negligible amount of over-the-top rhetoric." He went on to complain that the SPLC "was able to point at only three speakers who arguably advocated violence" at the event it focused on -- a "Freedom Action National Conference" by the right-wing American Policy Center -- "and none of these issued any specific calls to arms."
Fitzpatrick then huffed that "SPLC proceeded to associate WND with APC, which it had just accused of using violent rhetoric." But WND has demonstrated a sympathy toward the APC's agenda -- the name of APC director Tom DeWeese comes up 37 times in WND's archive, most recently in September when DeWeese declared that focusing the federal government on "livable communities" is a "socialist trap."
Meanwhile, the outrage by WND's Joseph Farah and the Western Journalism Center's Floyd Brown at being linked to violence is disingenuous at best. Just a few weeks ago, we detailed how WND's Molotov Mitchell appeared to be advocating violence against gays. And in May, WND columnist Robert Ringer certainly seemed to be advocating "insurrection" against the "criminal government in Washington," and insurrections are not known for being peaceful.
NewsBusters Ratchets Up Heathering of Palin Critics Topic: NewsBusters
Mark Finkelstein is emerging as the chief Heatherer of any conservative who commits the offense of criticizing Sarah Palin.
On Nov. 30, Finkelstein took offense to Joe Scarborough's "astonishing" claim that "all" conservative leaders and talk radio hosts with whom he's spoken agree with his criticism of Palin. And he's been playing block-watcher on Scarborough over this:
This is far from the first time that Joe has taken shots at Palin. As I've reported, he has blamed the former Alaska governor for the GOP's failure to win the Senate, and claimed that Palin knows she can't win the presidency but is in it for the money.
Then, on Dec. 1, Finkelstein cast his eye on conservative strategist Nicolle Wallace:
It's no secret that Wallace is no fan of Sarah Palin. But the former Bush communications director and McCain campaign aide perhaps took things to another level with her attack on Palin on today's Morning Joe. Wallace was on to comment on Joe Scarborough's astonishing claim of yesterday, noted here, that "all" conservatives and talk radio hosts with whom he's spoken are harshly critical of Palin off the record, but are afraid to express their views publicly.
Wallace opined that if it ever looked as if Palin were close to copping the Republican presidential nomination, many GOP leaders who have to date been too timid to criticize her would step forward to expose Palin's putative shortcomings. In the course of propounding her theory, Wallace unleashed a hail of criticism of her own:
"Mistakes were made [by McCain in choosing Palin]."
"Her troubling deficiencies."
"Her incredible cynicism, her bitterness, her aggressive attempts to claw [makes clawing hand-gesture] anyone" who criticizes her.
"Very prickly, very cynical."
"Heaven forbid, the leader of the free world."
Wallace asserted that Republicans hesitate to criticize Palin publicly for fear of angering Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, whom Nicolle claimed to admire. Watch Wallace go after Palin. She who is not bitter, cast the first claw?
At no point does Finkelstein refute any of the criticism -- he's merely attacking anyone who dares to speak out. Telling the truth is not permitted at NewsBusters, it seems.
Corsi Thinks Social Security Number Policy Change Aims to Hide Obama's Past Topic: WorldNetDaily
Birther obsessive Jerome Corsi writes in a Nov. 30 WorldNetDaily article:
Without addressing questions regarding the apparent assignment of a Connecticut-based Social Security number to President Barack Obama, who reportedly spent his growing-up years in Hawaii and Indonesia, the federal agency now is moving quickly to make certain such questions never come up again about political figures.
The administration is starting down a path that is intended to randomize all future Social Security numbers – a move critics allege is designed to make it impossible to tell where any future Social Security number is issued.
In a notice currently published on the Social Security Administration website, the SSA announces Social Security numbers issued in the future will be randomized starting on or about June 25, 2011.
And why is this an birther issue?
WND previously reported that Obama currently is using a Social Security number that was issued in Connecticut sometime between 1977 to 1979, even though Obama's earliest employment reportedly was in 1975 at a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop in Oahu, Hawaii.
And there is no evidence Obama, his father or his mother ever had a mailing address in Connecticut.
Corsi also made this claim at WND's Taking America Back 2010 convention in September.
Is there an explanation? in 1975, Obama was too young to work legally, Carole Bengele Gilbert at Associated Content points out. She speculates he might have been paid "under the table" for his Baskin Robbins labors. In this scenario, he might not have been given a Social Security number until he was 16 or 17.
What about the Connecticut number? Numbers are assigned based on the return address on the request envelope, not residency. And Gilbert notes that Obama's father, also named Barack Hussein Obama, lived in Connecticut for several years. "Dr. Conspiracy" at the site Obama Conspiracy Theories hazards the guess that — assuming the 042-xx-xxxx number really is Obama's — the president "got his SSN as a child living in Indonesia and the application was just processed in Connecticut."
As far as we know, Corsi has never responded to these claims.
UPDATE: An alert ConWebWatch reader let us know about one more flaw in Corsi's theory: The Social Security Administration has been planning to randomize Social Security numbers since at least 2007.
New Article: The MRC Doubles Down on Double Standards Topic: Media Research Center
It seems that if the Media Research Center didn't engage in double standards at seemingly every turn, it wouldn't have any standards at all. Read more >>
Meanwhile ... Topic: WorldNetDaily
Media Matters points out that Les Kinsolving's claim in his Nov. 30 column that repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell will "almost certainly put an end to our all-volunteer armed forces" and "compel reinstitution of the draft" because "a large number of long-serving personnel who would retire as soon as possible - rather than submitting to such a horrendous invasion of privacy as being lusted after by the numerous lobbies of militant homosexuality" is contradicted by the experiences of pretty much every other country that implemented inclusive policies.
WND Asks: 'Is Harry Potter In Cahoots With Hell?' Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has attacked Harry Potter off and on over the years for its supposedly evil witchcraft, usually whenever a new book or movie came out. Well, a new movie is out, so it must be time for some more Harry-bashing. Which WND does, in spades.
"Is Harry Potter in cahoots with hell?" is the headline on a Nov. 29 article by Drew Zahn, who claims that "the wild success of 'Pottermania' has also brought back critics of the franchise who question – or even outright condemn – the movies' spiritual ramifications."
This time around, Zahn brings in "practicing exorcist" Thomas J. Euteneuers, who asserts that "the wild popularity of the Potter films encourages children and teens to be curious, even to dabble in occult activity, trying their own hands at magic spells, tarot cards, Ouji [sic] boards and the like. And once kids start 'playing around' with the occult, he says, it 'opens a window' for Satan and his minions."
Zahn goes on to tout the Harry-bashing opinions of "filmmaker and occult expert Caryl Matrisciana," who just happens to have made a video on the subject that WND sells.
With only one movie left to be released in the 8-film franchise, a movie in which – spoiler alert! – young Harry will follow a path very similar to the one followed by Jesus of Nazareth nearly 2,000 years ago, the debate over Harry Potter's religious ramifications is apparently far from over.
If the Harry Potter series turns into the Chronicles of Narnia, why all the faux outrage?
AIM, WND Use Manning to Claim Gays Shouldn't Be In Military Topic: Accuracy in Media
With the latest WikiLeaks release comes a renewal of the homophobic argument -- led, as it was last time, but Accuracy in Media's Clliff Kincaid -- that because suspected leaker Bradley Manning is gay, gays cannot be trusted to serve in the military.
Kincaid reiterates his argument in his Nov. 29 AIM column, complaining that media coverage "ignored the homosexual orientation and anti-American motivation of" Manning, huffing that "Manning was an open homosexual who flaunted the Pentagon’s homosexual exclusion policy without being punished for his behavior and conduct." Kincaid went on to cite the pseudonymous coward Jonah Knox as evidence that "rather than repeal the Pentagon’s homosexual exclusion policy, the WikiLeaks scandal demonstrates that the policy and regulations need to be tightened up."
AIM also gave space to Alan Caruba to claim that Manning is "a sexually confused young man drawn to the Lesbian Bisexual Gay and Transgender movement and yet granted a security status sufficient to have given him access to secret information."
The boys at AIM were joined by WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah, who wrote:
One of those facing charges is Pfc. Bradley Manning – a young man who should not have been in the Army because he was a homosexual. Yet, he was not only permitted to serve, he was provided access to top national-security secrets, hundreds of thousands of classified documents, which he released to WikiLeaks.org.
This was a kid who, according to the New York Times, was defined by his homosexuality from a young age. His friends in the Army knew he was a homosexual. But nobody asked and nobody told.
They aren't exactly subtle, are they?
UPDATE: Kincaid piles on in a Dec. 1 AIM column, claiming that because Defense Secretary Robert Gates didn't "enforce the law" and kick out Manning who had "flaunt[ed] his homosexuality in the military," Gates had "given Manning the opportunity to spend his time downloading sensitive documents and passing them on to Julian Assange at WikiLeaks."
CNS Gets Its Pound of Gay-Bashing Flesh; Jeffrey Plays Art Critic Topic: CNSNews.com
Penny Starr's fit of manufactured outrage over gay-related art at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery has had its desired effect: She reports that the gallery "will remove from one of its exhibitions a video that includes images of ants swarming over Jesus Christ on a crucifix."
But not as much effect as she wanted; she laments that the gallery "will keep in place images of naked brothers kissing, men in chains, Ellen DeGeneres grabbing her breasts, a painting of a male nude that the Smithsonian itelf describes as "homoerotic," and a painting made with nail polish and the cremated ashes of a man with AIDS who committed suicide."
Meanwhile, hammering home the anti-gay agenda behind Starr's attack is her immediate supervisor, CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey, who confirms the anti-gay motivation behind Starr's crusade in his Dec. 1 column, in which he plays art critic by insisting that the art Starr targeted can't possibly be good because it doesn't look anything at all like Michelangelo:
The National Portrait Gallery, part of the federally funded Smithsonian Institution, is presenting an exhibition that does exactly the opposite of what true art does.
When I studied English at Princeton, I had the good fortune to be taught by a series of scholars who in their lectures and precepts drove home the point that art, whether it be in literary or other form, must ultimately be measured by its capacity to make better human beings.
A work of art—or alleged work of art—can do only one of three things to a person’s character: It can hurt it, improve it or have no impact at all.
Is the Smithsonian Institution trying to move Americans to virtue through this exhibit? No. It is trying to mainstream vice and perversion. The National Portrait Gallery’s “Hide/Seek” exhibition does not celebrate art, it murders it.
Jeffrey somehow manages to avoid using the term "degenerate art," though it appears that's what he was thinking.
In his Nov. 30 column, WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah writes:
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., calls the so-called WikiLeaks scandal "worse than a military attack."
If that's true, it has given us an idea of how Barack Obama's administration might respond in the event of an actual military attack.
Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered a criminal investigation.
That's just what Bill Clinton did when Muslim terrorists first attacked the World Trade Center in 1993. He treated it like it was a random street crime. And the result of that massive error was the destruction of the World Trade Center and 3,000 lives eight years later in the worst attack ever perpetrated on the U.S.
But this mistake is bigger and in many ways worse that Clinton's. Because these leaks are a symptom of a national-security nightmare of Obama's own making.
Farah might have come off more sincere in denouncing the WikiLeaks leak if he wasn't paying his reporters to come through the leaked documents.
Instead of cynically bashing Obama -- after all, if he was really opposed to the release of the WikiLeaks docs, Klein wouldn't be pawing through them for the benefit of WND -- Farah should be jumping for joy. Otherwise, Klein would be sitting in Jerusalem twiddling his thumbs and dreaming up new ways to falsely smear the president.
AIM Ignores Own Advice on Dumping Expired Political Titles Topic: Accuracy in Media
In a Nov. 27 Accuracy in Media post, Don Irvine repeats an item in The Hill retiring or losing politicians for needing new Twitter handles to reflect a status that doesn't include their former titles.
That rule doesn't seem to apply to the bylines of AIM writers, though. As we've noted, newly minted columnist and former Sen. Bob Smith includes "Senator Bob" in his byline, even though he hasn't been a senator for years. Indeed, a column by Smith published by AIM two days before Irvine's post carries the "Senator Bob" byline.