Bozell: Gay Art Isn't Art Topic: Media Research Center
Brent Bozell outlines his definition of art in his Dec. 3 column -- if he doesn't like it, or if it involves gays, it isn't art.
Bozell repeatedly puts "art" in scare quotes when discussing the works targeted by his organization's manufactured outrage over an exhibition at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery:
But apparently this gay and lesbian “art” needs to push more, more, evermore. So we have depictions of homoeroticism, including images of male genitalia on display; pinups of naked men, and paintings of two brothers, buck naked, making out. Still there must be more, so we have sadomasochistic themes, like imagery of mummified human remains and a portrait of a man devouring himself. Each has a “deep” meaning, see. Each is “art.”
Bozell also falsely portrays the exhibition as being funded by taxpayers:
And you, American taxpayer, you are making it possible. Your $761 million annually to the Smithsonian, and $5.8 million annually to the National Portrait Gallery makes it possible for these gay activists to pitch their tents inside, put up their displays, call it “art,” invite the world – even children on “Family and Friends Day” on November 21 – and then scream bloody murder when someone complains.
In fact, the exhibition was created by private funds. And he didn't mention that the person who first complained about the exhibit -- CNS' Penny Starr -- is on his payroll.
A Dec. 3 WorldNetDaily article touts its newest columnist, Diana West, for "her boldness and penchant for eliciting dropped jaws from opposing pundits." It also helps that she's a birther.
WND notes that West has discussed "the constitutional eligibility of Barack Obama to serve as president of the United States." Indeed, West wrote a Nov. 22 op-ed promoting the case of WND birther poster child Terrence Lakin, whom she sympathetically portrayed 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 she failed to meniton 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.
Farah again repeats his disingenous claim that WND has "the broadest spectrum of political opinion found anywhere." But West does not widen that supposed "spectrum" -- she's another right-wing columnist at a website already lousy with them. Indeed, WND highlights her advice to Republcans "not to compromise with Democrats."
West is not bold. She's a standard-issue right-wing columnist, and a birther to boot. That latter is what likely sealed the deal for WND, given the speed at which she was added following her birther column.
Ben Shapiro's Budget-Cutting Fail Topic: CNSNews.com
Ben Shapiro uses his Dec. 2 column, pulished by CNSNews.com, to invoke the manufactured outrage du jour as a way to cut the federal budget:
This week alone, for example, the federally-funded Smithsonian Institution spent cash stocking its National Portrait Gallery with pictures of Ellen DeGeneres clutching her naked bosom, penises, and nude brothers making out—all of this in order to show America how gays and lesbians “struggle for justice ... [attempting to] claim their full inheritance in America’s promise of equality, inclusion and social dignity.”
But the federal government paid nothing to obtain the exhibit -- that cost was borne by private sponsors. The Smithsonian would still spend the same amount of money maintaining an exhibition space no matter what was exhibited there, so banning this particular exhibit saves no money.
Shapiro also suggests that "$1.25 billion in funding for black farmers who were supposedly discriminated against by the Department of Agriculture" could be cut. As Media Matters points out, that money is not an earmark but part of a lawsuit settlement, so paying it isn't optional.
The Miseducation of Victoria Jackson Topic: WorldNetDaily
In her latest WorldNetDaily column, Victoria Jackson writes, "Liberals teach, but it's mostly lies. ... Why would I want to be a liberal? I love truth not deception." Well, not so much.
Jackson lists in her column what she has learned "this week in my self-education." Among those items: "There is a two-page section in the 2,700-page Obamacare law that no one read that gives Obama a private army of 6,000 or more that answer only to him."
As Media Matters documented when Fox News' Andrew Napolitano tried to peddle this same claim, the idea that the bill creates a "private army" for Obama is an utter fabrication. What the health care reform bill does is establish a "ready reserve corps" of medical personnel inside the Public Health Service to respond to medical emergencies. The corps would be an adjunct of the Commissioned Corps, which has been around for more than 200 years. FactCheck.org also shot down this conspiracy theory.
If Jackson really cared about "truth not deception," she could have easily found this information by Googling "Obama private army." The FactCheck.org debunking is the first result. Jackson is apparently a very lazy self-educator.
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?