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Sunday, January 16, 2011
Aaron Klein Anonymous Source Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Jan. 12 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein, which accuses the Obama administration of "selling out Lebanon," is completely devoid of named sources. Klein attributes this claim to "top Christian leaders in Lebanon" who "spoke on the condition their names be withheld," but he did not explain why they requested anonymity or why he granted it (aside from the obvious -- that they give him cover to bash Obama).

Klein has a long history of hiding behind anonymous sources to attack President Obama and his administration, and his history of faulty and slanted reporting should not give readers any confidence that his grants of anonymity can be trusted.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:25 AM EST
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Meanwhile ...
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Brent Bozell was on "Fox & Friends" trying to deflect accusations that vitrolic conservative rhetoric played a part on the Arizona shootings, as he's been wont to do lately. Bozell then said, "Politics had nothing to do with this. This is a man who never even listened to talk radio or watched the news." But if "politics had nothing to do with this," why is Bozell's organization trying to paint the alleged shooter, Jared Loughner, as a liberal?

Media Matters has more.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:10 PM EST
Farah Blames Military Suicides on Gays, Muslims
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his Jan. 14 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah asserts that "I don't want to politicize a tragedy like" the reported spike in suicides at Fort Hood. But politicize it he does by blaming it two of his favorite targets: Muslims and gays.

The first thing Farah notes is that "Nidal Hasan was a psychiatrist at Fort Hood," adding: "The Army has been less than candid about what transpired at Fort Hood when Hasan went off like a time bomb – and every soldier understands why he was left in his position despite all the warning signs. It was a case of political correctness run amok." He then asserts about Hasan: "deeply and obviously deranged psychopathic Islamist killer was promoted to major, assigned duties to counsel soldiers, given access to firearms and allowed to slaughter 13 men and women in cold blood on an Army base." Finally, he says:

The Army has not learned the vital lessons of the Fort Hood massacre, and rank-and-file soldiers are bright enough to realize this. The chain of command hasn't acknowledged what it is doing wrong when it allows the enemy inside the gate and gives that enemy responsibility and power. How would you feel if you were a soldier in this situation?

Farah concludes:

One last hypothetical: I have heard directly from dozens and dozens of servicemen in the last year how angry they are about the impending demise of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on homosexuals in the military. I have personally heard from dozens of enlisted men and women and dozens of officers who are deeply frustrated and determined to leave the service as quickly as they can. They sense this is a policy specifically designed to destroy the effectiveness of the U.S. military.

Should it really be a shock that our soldiers are killing themselves when our elected leaders are clearly attempting to kill the institution to which they volunteered to serve and risk their lives?

Farah makes no apparent consideration of the idea that military members who are unable to deal with fellow soldiers who behave slightly differently in their personal lives have no business being in the military in the first place.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:37 AM EST
AIM's Kincaid Walks Back Insistence American Renaissance Isn't Racist
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Cliff Kincaid's Jan. 12 Accuracy in Media column declares victory over the memo cited by Fox News that claimed links between Arizona shooter Jared Loughner and the publication American Renaissance. But Kincaid backpedals on his previous insistence that AmRen isn't a racist group.

We'll concede that AmRen isn't anti-Semitic, as Kincaid insists -- even the Anti-Defamation League agrees that founder Jared Taylor "personally refrains from anti-Semitism," though the very much anti-Semitic David Duke has appeared at some of AmRen's conventions, inciting debate between the pro-Jewish and anti-Jewish factions of the "racialist" movement of which Taylor is a part.

But Kincaid did dial back his defense of AmRen on the race front:

A controversial right-wing publication, AR publishes articles criticizing racial preference and “diversity” programs that favor minority groups at the expense of majority rights. It also examines racial differences, a taboo subject for much of the media that gives rise to frequent leftist charges of “racism” and “hate.”

Unlike a few days earlier, Kincaid refrained from asserting that "there is no evidence that American Renaissance by any objective standard is a racist organization." Because, as we detailed, that simply is not true. Also, last time Kincaid described AmRen merely as "politically incorrect"; now he admits it's "controversial."

On the other hand, Kincaid complained that the memo's questionable claims "smeared an innocent group in the process." Not quite; on the question of racism, AmRen is guilty as charged.

When will Kincaid admit that unambiguous fact? Don't hold your breath waiting.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:01 AM EST
Friday, January 14, 2011
Farah Doubles Down In Baselessly Defending 'Pink Swastika'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah continues his anti-gay week by devoting his Jan. 13 WorldNetDaily column to reinforcing his endorsement of Scott Lively's anti-gay screed "The Pink Swastika," a book his WorldNetDaily online store is now selling. He writes:

Yes, it is a thoroughly explosive book – so much so that I have been the victim of a malicious smear campaign in the homosexual blogosphere just for including the title in the WND Superstore.

You will hear that this book has been "thoroughly discredited." Yet I have failed to find one jot or tittle that has been undermined by critics. Most of the primary sources cited in the book are respected historians and the works of homosexual activists themselves.

Farah conveniently fails to offers specifics to back up his assertion. In fact, as we detailed the last time Farah defended the book, experts and scholars have demonstrated that Lively and co-author Kevin Abrams selectively cite sources to avoid information that disproves their gay-Nazi theory and take other information out of context.

Farah does much the same thing in his column, copying-and-pasting ellipsis-laden quotes without reference to the original context.

As we also noted, Lively runs the group Abiding Truth Ministries, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as a hate group. Lively is also reportedly one of the inspirations behind the proposed Draconian law in Uganda that would permit the death penalty for mere homosexuality -- a law endorsed by WND's own Molotov Mitchell.

But facts don't matter to  Farah. All that matters to him is that somebody called Nazism "a pagan, homosexual cult," and that's just too good for him to fact-check -- never mind that he operates a "news" website that could very easily do so.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:44 PM EST
Newsmax's Dr. Blaylock: Vaccine/Autism Researcher Victim of Big Pharma Conspiracy
Topic: Newsmax

The last time we checked in with Dr. Russell Blaylock -- whose health newsletter Newsmax publishes -- he was endangering lives by trying to scare people out getting the swine flu vaccine. Blaylock's back on the vaccine-fearmongering front, this time clinging to the idea that vaccines cause autism.

In a Jan. 13 article, Blaylock insists "I am not here to defend" Andrew Wakefield -- whose claim of a vaccine/autism link was retracted by the medical journal that published it and, most recently, discredited as an "elaborate fraud" -- but defend him he does by painting Wakefield as a victim of a Big Pharma conspiracy and dismissing everyone else's research as even more fraudulent:

Virtually every paper published on drugs, such as statins, is authored by individuals having financial links to as many as three to four pharmaceutical companies each. The same is true of papers published by major journals extolling vaccine efficacy and safety. They know these papers violate every ethical principle known, yet they are published in some of the most prestigious journals.

Abundant evidence has shown that these very same people destroy the reputations of anyone producing evidence, no matter how well researched and of the highest ethical standards, if it in any way endangers this vaccine program. It is ironic that these accusers speak of “blatant fraud,” when virtually all of the vaccine safety evidence they use abundantly is fraudulent by careful design.

[...]

So, why is Wakefield being attacked and his reputation ruined — especially for an article written 13 years ago? For several reasons, all of which involved the makers of vaccines. Vaccines generate tens of billions of dollars in revenue for pharmaceutical manufacturers every year.

The H1N1 vaccine alone generated $1.5 billion in addition to the $1 billion generated by the seasonal flu vaccine, neither of which has been shown to be either effective or safe. You have been told this safety and efficacy has been scientifically shown, when this is a shocking, provable lie.

By careful manipulation of the media, the pharmaceutical companies have created the illusion that the entire link between vaccines and neurodevelopmental brain damage is hinged solely on Wakefield’s article, implying there is no other evidence suggesting a powerful link.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I have written seven peer-reviewed articles and co-authored a recent ebook that makes a powerful scientific case for such a link. A growing number of researchers have also supplied hard data from very carefully done research that strongly suggest a link.

The defenders of vaccine policy used in the United States and the UK have used poorly done, obviously manipulated studies to make their case. If we use the same judgmental standards they used against Wakefield, they would be seen to be guilty of gross misconduct and, most importantly, of endangering the public at large.

Now, by destroying Wakefield’s reputation and accusing him of “crimes against humanity,” they hope to silence any further research in this area. It has the ring of old Soviet-style intimidation and the fear tactics the KGB used against dissidents.

Blaylock also launched into his usual anti-vaccine rant:

When I grew up there was no measles vaccine and everyone in my class got the measles and no one died or suffered serious harm. To imply our society is at risk of millions of deaths should vaccine rates drop is a blatant lie used to scare parents into over-vaccinating their children. They use the same scare tactics based on manipulated data to terrify the elderly into getting a flu shot every year.

[...]

The data demonstrates that millions of people are seriously injured and thousands die as a result of vaccine complications every year. In many cases the damage caused by the vaccines exceed the risk of the disease being vaccinated against — such as is the case with the chickenpox, tetanus, measles, mumps, hepatitis B, and HPV vaccines.

The United States is the most over-vaccinated country in the world and evidence is growing that we are trading an “illusion of protection” by vaccines for a massive increase in vaccine-related chronic diseases.

The entire vaccine program is based on massive fraud. The so-called H1N1 “pandemic” is a case in point. Even the World Health Organization declared there was a “huge amount” of uncertainty in the seriousness of the “pandemic,” which turned out to be far less deadly than initially feared.

Vaccinating people against swine flu was a bad idea because fewer people than expected died from it? Isn't that at least partly a consequence of the fact that people were vaccinated?

Does anybody who rejects accepted science (and, it seems, logic) so completely want this guy as their doctor?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:28 PM EST
Updated: Friday, January 14, 2011 12:30 PM EST
Shapiro Joins ConWeb Shrugging Over Loughner's Book List
Topic: CNSNews.com

Just as we were publishing our analysis of how the ConWeb has declared that the only books Jared Loughner ever read were "Mein Kampf" and "The Communist Manifesto," the Media Research Center supplied another example: a Jan. 13 column by Ben Shapiro declaring that Loughner is "a fan of 'Mein Kampf' and 'The Communist Manifesto.'"

As with his ConWeb fellow travelers, Shapiro gives no indication that there were 19 other books on Loughner's reading list, including some contradicting the notion that he is a commie Nazi, like Ayn Rand's "We the Living."

We've added Shapiro to our analysis, as well as another MRC example we originally overlooked -- a Jan. 8 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard asserting that Loughner "listed his favorite books including 'Mein Kampf' and 'The Communist Manifesto'" and adding that Hitler's "views were quite opposite of what conservatives in America currently stand for, especially Palin, Beck, and members of the Tea Party." 


Posted by Terry K. at 9:59 AM EST
Farah's Hypocrisy on Conservative Purity, Sexual Slurs
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah regularly denies that he's a conservative. So why is he so concerned about the purity of the conservative movement?

Well, it's personal. In apparent retaliation for CPAC refusing to allow him to put on a birther panel at last year's convention, Farah is making good on his declaration that CPAC is "dead" by doing what he can to kill it. He and WND have been laboring to undermine CPAC in recent weeks, touting various organizations that are refusing to take part because it is allowing the "homosexual activist organization" GOProud to participate, as well as highlighting (anonymous, of course) allegations of financial improprieties.

Farah's Jan. 12 column takes things a step further. Asserting that "The corruption of the Conservative Political Action Conference, an important American political institution, is widespread,"he then went off on a weird, sexually charged tangent:

Let me try to frame what is happening inside the conservative movement in a way that might sharpen our focus.

Let's pretend that some free-market-loving adulterers got together and formed an organization called "Swing Right." This group says it supports a strong U.S. defense, but that the military should have no rules against promiscuous sex inside the ranks. The group says it supports free enterprise, but that tax policy should be revamped to create equity for those in the "swinging" lifestyle. The group says it supports limited government, but it approves of the intervention of federal judges in state referenda in which citizens approve of marriage as an institution between one man and one woman. The group also calls for special protections of the "swinging" community that will ensure adulterers will not be fired by their bosses because of their behavior and applauds hate-crimes laws to punish those who don't approve of their lifestyle.

Would it be appropriate for conservatives, who are supposed to be about conserving the vital institutions of self-government, to validate such a group's claims being part of the movement?

Yes, Farah just likened people who refuse to be as intolerant as he is to sexual swingers.

Of course, Farah is being hypocritical about that, too. WND was offended when some commentators called tea party activists "teabaggers," declaring it to be "gutter talk" that is "known in the homosexual subculture."

Apparently, not only does Farah have no problem lecturing about conservatism even though he insists he's not a conservative, sexual insults are OK with him -- but only if he's the one hurling them.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:29 AM EST
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Meanwhile ...
Topic: NewsBusters

CNSNews.com wasn't the only Media Research Center division more interested in making political attacks on President Obama instead of honoring the victims of the Tuscon massacre. A Jan. 12 NewsBusters post by Mark Finkelstein dredges up the discredited claim that Obama refuses to place his hand over his heart during the National Anthem.

Media Matters has more.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:19 PM EST
CNS' Attempt to Discredit Obama Undermined By Facts
Topic: CNSNews.com

Let's count what Susan Jones gets wrong in her Jan. 13 CNSNews.com attempt to discredit President Obama, shall we?

She writes:

At Wednesday's memorial service in Tucson, President Obama announced that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had opened her eyes for the first time since she was shot in the head on Saturday.

But three days earlier, the Tucson Sentinel reported that Giffords had opened her eyes on Sunday:

"Giffords is in a drug-induced coma in intensive care," the newspaper reported on Jan. 9. "Doctors frequently awaken her to check her responsiveness, and she could open her eyes and respond to simple commands Sunday -- an encouraging sign, said [Dr. Peter] Rhee."

First, the TusconSentinel article is contradictory on the subject of whether Giffords' eyes were open; it goes on to state that "Giffords cannot speak because she is on a ventilator, and cannot see because of the area of her injury and the surgery requires her eyes be kept closed, the doctors said."

Second, Rhee specifically said in a Jan. 9 press conference:  "No, we can't get into too much more detail than what we already have. But I can tell you right now with the type of surgery, her eyes, she can't open her eyes at this point, mechanical standpoints, and she's also on the ventilator, so she can't speak at this time."

Third, the Tuscon Sentinel is not a "newspaper"; it's "an online-only nonprofit that is attempting to fill the space left by the closing of the Tuscon Citizen."

So, to sum up: Jones relied on a paraphrase from an online publication it mistakenly thinks is a real newspaper in order to attack the president, ignoring the actual words of the doctor being paraphrased. Just another day at work for CNS, it appears.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:30 PM EST
Corsi Sorts (Some) Fact From Fiction (That He Helped Spread) About Loughner
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The headline on Jerome Corsi's Jan. 11 WorldNetDaily article reads, "Sorting fact from fiction about Jared Loughner." But Corsi himself is responsible for some of the fiction he's aiming to correct, and he doesn't touch the biggest myth about Loughner promoted by his employer.

One piece of fiction Corsi labored to correct was the relationship between Loughner and his apparent intended victim, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, prior to the shooting. He noted "numerous reports that Giffords and Loughner had encountered each other before Saturday's attempted assassination," he declared that "So far, no evidence has established that Loughner ever served as a formal volunteer to a Giffords' election campaign, or that Giffords knew Loughner well, even though she wrote him what appears to have been a typical congressional letter to a constituent."

Corsi didn't mention that two days earlier, he had falsely claimed that Giffords and Loughner had a much closer relationship, when he asserted that "it is now known that Loughner worked for Gifford's election campaign in 2007." Interestingly, that falsehood remains live and uncorrected on WND.

Corsi also touched on the issue that "that Rep. Giffords had subscribed her YouTube website to Jared Loughner's YouTube channel" without mentioning his own muddled reporting. In the same article containing the above-noted falsehood, Corsi stated that "Gifford subscribed to Loughner's website since Oct. 25, 2010." He may have meant to write that differently, but he's suggesting here that Gifford subscribed to Loughner's YouTube channel the day it was created -- something Corsi's own screenshots disprove. Again, this messed-up claim remains live and uncorrected on WND.

For all this concern about getting facts straight, Corsi avoided address perhaps the biggest myth being perpetrated in the media about Loughner -- that he was clearly influenced by Karl Marx and Adolf Hitler, as evidenced by the presence of "The Communist Manifesto" and "Mein Kampf" in a book list on his YouTube profile. In fact, as we detailed, there are 19 other books on Loughner's list that WND (as well as Newsmax and the Media Research Center) never saw fit to tell their readers about, including anti-totalitarian books by Ayn Rand and others that would seem to contradict the idea that he was some sort of commie Nazi.

But that's Corsi and WorldNetDaily -- where they can't be trusted to tell the truth, even when they insist that's what they're doing.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:32 PM EST
New Article: The ConWeb Shrugged
Topic: The ConWeb
WorldNetDaily, Newsmax, and the Media Research Center want you to know that Marx and Hitler were on Jared Loughner's reading list -- but not that Ayn Rand is too. Plus: More ConWeb falsehoods, silliness and crassness about the Arizona shooting. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 8:34 AM EST
NewsBusters Likens NY Times’ Krugman to Fred Phelps
Topic: NewsBusters

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman takes a lot of abuse from right-wingers for his liberal political views and his economic theories that contradict the right-wing way of doing things (never mind that Krugman did receive a Nobel Prize in economics). But did you know that Krugman is just like Fred Phelps, pastor of Kansas’ Westboro Baptist Church and best known for leading his tiny flock in odious protests of funerals of fallen soldiers?

That’s what NewsBusters’ Matthew Sheffield wants you to think. In a January 12 post (cross-posted at the Washington Examiner, where he works as an online media consultant), Sheffield asserts that any liberal who suggests that extreme right-wing rhetoric might be contributing to an environment that may have played a role in the Arizona shooting is acting just like Rev. Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church brood because, as Sheffield explained, liberals think “Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and anyone else who dares to resist the march of history are heretics. That's why they need to shut up, or in the event that they choose not to, have someone else shut them up.”

Sheffield transcribed a Phelps sermon asserting that, in Sheffield’s words, “Innocent people were killed because American and its leaders have sinned against the higher light.” He then claimed that this "is effectively what New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said in a column printed Monday.” This is followed by a lengthy section of Sheffield juxtaposing excerpts of Phelps’ sermon with Krugman’s column.

But Sheffield’s little experiment discredits his argument. For instance, Krugman’s statement that he was “expecting something like this atrocity to happen” is juxtaposed by Phelps’ statement “God appointed the Afghanistan veteran to avenge himself on this evil nation.” How are those statements any way analogous? We have no idea.

Krugman has never claimed he wanted to silence all views he opposes, nor does he claim divine approbation for his views; rather, he spoke in his column specifically of “eliminationist rhetoric” that he identified as “coming, overwhelmingly, from the right.” Krugman has not called for his opponents to be struck down from above, nor is he running around the country picketing the funerals of those he disagreed with.

Americans may not be able to agree on much these days, but one thing both left and right do agree on is that the funeral protests held by Phelps and his fringe congregation are hateful and despicable. What purpose could Sheffield have in likening Krugman to Phelps other than revel in the vitriolic rhetoric Krugman is trying to tone down?

(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)


Posted by Terry K. at 12:08 AM EST
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
NewsBusters Misleads About Attacks on 'Right-Wing Extremism' Report
Topic: NewsBusters

Ken Shepherd gets a number of things wrong in his Jan. 11 NewsBusters post on a Newsweek article related to the Arizona shooting. he starts off:

Jared Loughner, the suspect arrested in Saturday's shooting death of a federal judge and critical wounding of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona), is no right-winger and certainly not a military veteran.

All the same, Newsweek published an article today suggesting that Loughner's deadly rampage on Saturday was the consequence of conservative politicians dismissing the warnings of a Homeland Security report from 2009 warning about "lone wolf" attacks by right-wingers, particularly those who are armed forces veterans.

In "The Missed Warning Signs," Aaron Mehta, a reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, sought to lay the blame for the shooting at the feet of Rep. John Boehner and other conservatives.

First, the article does not "lay the blame for the shooting at the feet of Rep. John Boehner and other conservatives"; it re-examined the controversy over the DHS report in light of the shootings. At no point does Mehta call Loughner a "right-wing extremist," and he states that DHS "have not established any such possible link" between Loughner and right-wing extremism.

Second, Shepherd presumably had to fight off the MRC kneejerk urge to dismiss the CPI as liberal, made even more implausible by the fact that it's now run by John Solomon, former editor of the conservative Washington Times.

Then, after quoting Mehta stating that the DHS report "was overwhelmingly criticized by conservative commentators and lawmakers, who derided it as political propaganda from the Obama administration. Some experts worry that its findings were ignored due to political blowback," Shepherd writes: "The political blowback centered on findings in the report that some military veterans were likely to radicalize and be lone-wolf terrorists."

In fact, conservatives used the report as a cudgel to advance paranoia against the Obama administration, deliberately misconstruing to claim, in the words of one Fox News host, that the administration "basically is labeling anyone who disagrees with the agenda of the administration should be watched by the law enforcement agencies in this country, because they could be possible domestic terrorists."

Further, Shepherd failed to concede that the DHS report cited an FBI report authored during the Bush administration as as evidence that "some returning military veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have joined extremist groups."

Shepherd huffed that Mehta suggested that "it's Republicans like Boehner and conservative bloggers like Michelle Malkin who are to blame for pooh-poohing a real threat." But Shepherd doesn't disprove the notion.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:43 PM EST
NewsBusters Goes Mind-Reading
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Jan. 11 NewsBusters post, Geoffrey Dickens purported to know the contents of the minds of Chris Matthews and his guests on "Hardball."

Dickens titled his post, "Jealous Liberal Radio Hosts Join Chris Matthews in Blaming Conservative Talkers for Giffords Shooting." He then asserted that Matthews was "envious" of conservative radio hosts, presumably because of his noting that the "have big audiences." 

At no point does Dickens explain why Matthews and his guests are "jealous" and "envious" -- indeed, in the transcript he supplies, there's no talk whatsoever of jealousy or envy. 

In other words, Dickens is just making stuff up -- par for the course of MRC "research." The MRC does this regularly.

UPDATE: Matthews' larger point -- that right-wing radio hosts with a large audience like Michael Savage and Mark Levin -- who are "furious at the left with anger" and engage in "ugly talk" -- is correct. Dickens seems uninterested in talking about that.

 


Posted by Terry K. at 1:55 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, January 12, 2011 6:47 PM EST

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