WorldNetDaily is not exactly known for its insightful coverage of racial issues, and that was never more obvious than in a Feb. 16 article by Joe Kovacs.
In it, Kovacs feigns offense that an NPR article would refer to Washington, D.C., as "Chocolate City," declaring it to be "similar terminology" to how "New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin came under fire for publicly saying he wanted to rebuild his city as a 'Chocolate New Orleans.'"
Contrary to Kovacs' suggestion, the description of Washington as "Chocolate City" was an expression of pride. As a Washington Post columnist wrote in 1998, "Chocolate City was a metaphorical utopia where black folks' majority status was translated into an assertion of self-consciousness, self-determination and self-confidence," going on to quote a black radio DJ who said, "Chocolate City for me was the expression of D.C.'s classy funk and confident blackness." The '70s funk band Parliament even named an album "Chocolate City," complete with images of Washington on the cover.
Kovacs goes on to cite a couple of bloggers complaining about the NPR story -- but about the story's treatment of demographic shifts in Washington, not the "Chocolate City" reference.
Perhaps Kovacs should school himself a bit on such things -- i.e., do a simple Google search -- before he writes about them.
This comes off as a particularly lame attempt to pile on NPR in an effort to support conservative efforts to cut off funding for it, even more so than WND's freakout over NPR doing a story on the existence of gay valentine's cards.
Newsmax Tries To Skew Its Own Meaningless Poll Topic: Newsmax
A few days ago, Newsmax sent out an email exhorting readers to take part in its meaningless "urgent national online poll about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's fight with his state's public employees unions." (A screenshot of the email is below.)
As you might expect, the poll is filled with skewed questions like, "Do you believe public employee unions have become too powerful?" and "Do you believe public employee union members should be paid less, the same or more than employees with similar jobs in the private sector?" Of course, as an Associated Press article published by Newsmax points out, public sector workers make less than private sector workers in comparable jobs.
But skewed questions were enough for Newsmax -- they attempted to skew things more with a note at the end of the email: "The major media claims that Scott Walker is trying to destroy the unions. This is a lie."
In fact, under Walker's plan, unions would be barred from negotiating over anything other than wages, which would not be permitted to grow past the rate of inflation. That -- in addition to making union dues voluntary and requiring a certification vote for the union once a year -- is in effect a destruction of public-sector unions in Wisconsin, whether or not Newsmax wants to admit it.
In his latest WorldNetDaily video, Molotov Mitchell somehow manages to blame President Obama for Christina Aguilera botching the words to the Star-Spangled Banner because Obama is trying to build "Obamaland" a "culture of effete snobs." He also falsely claims that the national anthem is about "Francis Scott Key’s bloody vision of America’s War for Independence"; In fact, the anthem was composed during the War of 1812.
Sheppard Doesn't Understand The Meaning of Collective Bargaining Topic: NewsBusters
Noel Sheppard used a Feb. 22 NewsBusters post to go on an anti-union rant in response to a Washington Post column by Eugene Robinson. After noting Robinson's statement that the contracts Wisconsin public union workers are currently working under "were negotiated, which means that state and local officials agreed to the contract provisions now deemed so excessive," Sheppard howled in response:
Indeed. They were negotiated with collective bargaining, which when it comes to public employee contracts means the union put a gun to the government's head denying much-needed services to the citizenry thereby making what Don Corleone and Luca Brasi would call an offer you can't refuse.
Wisconsin is in financial trouble specifically due to such one-sided negotiations in the past, and the only way to permanently solve the state's long-term budget woes is to prevent this from happening in the future.
Accepting labor's concessions now without preventing subsequent collective bargaining on benefits would be like putting a band-aid on a severed artery: you might temporarily eradicate the symptom while totally ignoring the sure to be fatal cause.
Despite his ranting, Sheppard shows no evidence of actually knowing the circumstances under which the current union contracts were negotiated, which makes his claim that "the union put a gun to the government's head denying much-needed services to the citizenry" in a Mafia-esque fashion dubious at best.
Sheppard is also apparently ignorant of the fact that Wisconsin state employees have not had a raise in two years and were forced to take furlough days last year, when the governor was a Democrat.
It seems that state workers are more than willing to work with state officials to help Wisconsin fix its financial situation. Too bad Sheppard is so blinded by his hatred of unions to see that.
WND's Farah Childishly Insists He Won't Call Obama President Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've previously noted how WorldNetDaily columnist Robert Ringer rather pettily refuses to acknowledge that Barack Obama is the president. He's not the only one at WND engaging in such childish behavior -- and it's an attitude that comes straight from the top.
In his Feb. 27 column, WND editor Joseph Farah sneering references "this president, if you want to call him that – which I refuse to do."
This raises an interesting question about Farah's birther obsession. Is it all just a manifestation of a psychological block over his childish refusal to accept the fact that Obama was elected president?
Most people would seek psychiatric help for such a disorder. Farah, meanwhile, runs a media outlet in which he can spew his petulant rage with impunity.
WND's Klein Desperately Tries to Link Obama to Gadhafi Topic: WorldNetDaily
As Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi attempted to violently put down the rebellion in his country, WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein was straining to tie President Obama to Gadhafi.
Klein went his usual guilt-by-association route by touting Obama's "mystery links to Gadhafi" -- though anyone familiar with Klein's dishonest reporting techniques knew there was no mystery about what he was trying to do. All that Klein could come up with was claiming that Obama was being "cautious in his criticism of the dictator" because his former "spiritual adviser," Rev. Jeremiah Wright, went to Libya 25 years ago.
Since that obviously wasn't enough to fill out an article, Klein also threw in Gadhafi's ties to Louis Farrakhan, to whom Klein claimed Obama "has ties to" but served up nothing more substantive beyond their pictures appearing together on a magazine cover. Klein asserts no direct link whatsoever.
Further, in attacking Obama for allegedly not taking a "tougher stand" on Gadhafi, Klein ignored reports that more direct attacks on Gadhafi by the administration could have put in danger the lives of thousands of Americans trapped in Libya, including the possibility of their being taken hostage.
Klein, it seems, cares more about scoring partisan political points than about the safety of his fellow Americans.
Newsmax Channels Drudge in Obama Smear Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax apparently believes that Moammar Gadhafi is a credible spokesman after all.
Two days after Newsmax published an article headlined "Crazed Gadhafi Babbles as Libya Burns," Dan Weil apparently decided that Gadhafi was perfectly sane by authoritatively quoting his opinion on Obama in a Feb. 24 Newsmax article headlined Flashback: Gadhafi Bragged — Obama Is My Friend."
In Weil's sleazy smear, he asserts that Gadhafi "has been happy with Obama," citing statements in a year old interview at the conservative Israeli news website Ynet.
Weil did not think of this on his own, of course; as Michael Scherer points out, Matt Drudge did the exact same thing, citing the exact same article. Unlike Weil, Scherer details the history behind Gadhafi's remarks, noting that they appear to be "a public relations ploy, an attempt by the self-described 'king of kings' to associate himself with the popular American president. According to secret State Department cables, it did not describe a friendship that actually existed."
Such is the state of "reporting" at Newsmax -- Weil can't even come up with his own original Obama smears, and certainly can't be bothered to put them in their accurate historical context.
NEW ARTICLE: Dave Welch, Gay-Basher Topic: WorldNetDaily
Likening the existence of gays to demolishing church buildings pretty much summarizes the WorldNetDaily columnist's wholehearted embrace of homophobia. Read more >>
Keyes Likens Gay Marriage To "Granting Plantation Owners The Right To Own Slaves" Topic: WorldNetDaily
After a little feigned deliberation, Obama has announced his "decision" to withdraw the U.S. government from participation in cases arguing in support of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), legislation passed when Bill Clinton was in the White House. I've received e-mails from several well-known conservative organizations with breathless subject lines like the one that speaks of Obama's "betrayal of the American people." Another announces "Obama comes out of the closet on marriage."
These subject lines make about as much sense as the Obama faction's contention that his decision has something to do with the fact that some federal judges have concluded that the DOMA is unconstitutional. Obama has little or no inclination to respect the Constitution. He has little or no inclination to respect the unalienable right involved in the defense of the natural family. Just as he promotes the physical elimination of the child's life through abortion, he tacitly promotes eliminating the prospect of the child's life from the definition of marriage. That's what's involved in the assertion that as such, homosexual couples can lawfully marry without eviscerating the natural basis for the definition of marriage.
Government doesn't endow people with the ability to procreate the species. The Creator takes care of that. Like all unalienable rights, those associated with the natural family exist in consequence of this endowment. A couple that cannot, by nature, procreate has no claim to those rights. Nor can government grant them a semblance of it without impairing the claims of one or both of the parents biologically implicated in the physical conception of the child. The DOMA simply makes more explicit the government's obligation to secure the Creator-endowed unalienable rights of the natural family. This obligation precludes government from fabricating other rights that impair them. In this respect, granting homosexuals the right to marry is like granting plantation owners the right to own slaves.
Newsmax's Ponte Pushes Unsubstantiated Attack On Union Topic: Newsmax
Discussing the Wisconsin union controversy in his Feb. 22 Newsmax column, Lowell Ponte writes, "The head of the teacher union in Wisconsin reportedly is paid around $450,000 a year."
Ponte offers no evidence to back up this claim or where he "reportedly" got it. Why? Perhaps because there isn't any.
The only reference to this claim we could find was in the middle of a Free Republic post, in which a commenter claims he "learned on Rush over the noon hour" that "the head of AFSCME (the public sector union) makes $450,000 per year."
As for where Limbaugh got the evidence for that claim -- or even whether Limbaugh actually said such a thing -- we couldn't find that either. The only reference to Limbaugh and $450,000 we could find was a reference to the Maybach he owns.
Ponte should either back up his claim or apologize for making it.
Bozell's In A Denigrating Mood Topic: Media Research Center
Brent Bozell has always portrayed his political enemies in the harshest tones he can think of (i.e., "Christiane Amanpour needs lithium badly"), and this week he has stepped up his attacks.
In his Feb. 23 column, Bozell dropped a reference to "public-sector union hacks." That's right -- according to Bozell, every one of the millions of members of public-sector unions, no matter what they do for a living, is a "hack."
Bozell went on to dismiss as "politically perverse" the idea that the protests in Wisconsin over a Republican governor stripping public unions of collective bargaining rights could be likened to Egypt's recent revolution. Bozell pushed this theme during his weekly appearance on Fox News' "Hannity," citing ABC's Diane Sawyer as an offender.
One problem with that: As Media Matters points out, Sawyer was quoting Republican Rep. Paul Ryan at the time.
Bozell wasn't done denigrating, though. In his Feb. 25 column, he defended the male high school wrestler who refused to wrestle a female opponent by attacking the girl's parents, complaining that no one is asking why they are "encouraging their teenaged daughter for years to wrestle competitively with males – with every implication, physical and sexual."
Does that mean same-sex wrestling has a sexual component too? Bozell doesn't answer that question.
Cashill Complains He's Being Ignored By Fox Topic: WorldNetDaily
Jack Cashill serves up a special Feb. 21 WorldNetDaily column dedicated to complaining that his conspiracy theory that William Ayers ghost-wrote Barack Obama's book "Dreams From My Father" is being ignored. That's nothing new, of course, but this time he seems to be claiming some sort of right to appear on Fox News to spew his conspiracy theory.
Cashill is angry that "several of Murdoch's most prominent hosts on Fox News have made a point of shunning" birther-related issues as well as Cashill's authorship conspiracy.
Cashill insists that there is a "conservative media firewall around the White House" and that "no one is more capable of tearing it down" than Murdoch. Cashill concludes:
The David Gergorys [sic] of the world have an excuse: They have an agenda and a president to protect.
For our guys, "being thought a kook at a Georgetown cocktail party" is not excuse enough.
Note that he calls Fox News "our guys." So much for all that "fair and balanced" stuff.
UPDATE: On a related note, Media Matters takes a look at Cashill's new book "Deconstructing Obama" and finds it, well, stupid.
Newsmax Scaremongers About Oil Price Spike Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax takes the early lead in fearmongering about the effect of Middle East turmoil on oil prices with a Feb. 22 interview with former Washington Times editor Arnaud de Borchgrave, which featured the screaming front-page-worthy headline "$400 Oil Imminent with Mideast Upheaval."
De Borchgrave was actually a little more circumspect than Newsmax's screaming headline suggests, tying that dire price spike to the unlikely event of a nuclear attack on Iran:
Events in Iran, which has also recently been rocked by popular unrest, could in fact “drive oil up to $300 or $400 a barrel very quickly because we’re dealing with the Straits of Hormuz through which about 28 percent of the world’s oil passes every day,” de Borchgrave tells Newsmax.
If the United States or Israel launched an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, he adds, “it wouldn’t be difficult for the Iranians to sow a few mines, and the Iranians today have the capability of landing a missile on the deck of an aircraft carrier.”
According to the Newsmax article accompanying the interview, de Borchgrave falsely claimed that "Libya supplies around 74 percent of Europe’s oil." In fact, while most of Libya's oil goes to Europe, no single European country's percentage of oil from Libya tops 23 percent, with several countries below 10 percent.
CNS' Jeffrey Dishonestly Reports on Wis. School Achievement Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey -- in an apparent attempt to denigrate Wisconsin teachers currently battling a Republican governor who wants to eliminate the right to collective bargaining for most public employees in the state -- penned a pair of articles that dishonestly portray the level of student achievement in Wisconsin.
Two-thirds of the eighth graders in Wisconsin public schools cannot read proficiently according to the U.S. Department of Education, despite the fact that Wisconsin spends more per pupil in its public schools than any other state in the Midwest.
It's not until the ninth paragraph that Jeffrey notes this:
Nationwide, only 30 percent of public school eighth graders earned a rating of “proficient” or better in reading, and the average reading score on the NAEP test was 262 out of 500.
In other words, the level of eighth-graders reading proficiently in Wisconsin is actually above the national average -- not that Jeffrey ever explicitly states that, of course.
Only 39 percent of the eighth graders in Wisconsin public schools are proficient or better in mathematics, according to the U.S. Department of Education, despite the fact that Wisconsin spends more per pupil in its public schools than any other state in the Midwest.
This time, Jeffrey waits until the seventh paragraph that he tells the full story:
Nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Education, public schools are not doing a good job teaching children to be proficient in math. The average American eighth-grade public school student scored 282 out of 500 on the NAEP mathematics test in 2009, with only 25 percent earning a “proficient” rating and only 7 percent earning an “advanced rating.” The other 68 percent of American eighth grader were rated less than proficient in math.
Again, Wisconsin achievement is above the national average -- this time significantly above it. Again, Jeffrey fails to explicitly state that.
There is no reason for writing these stories in this fashion unless Jeffrey was trying to falsely distort the record of teachers in Wisconsin. And there is no reason to think that Jeffrey had any other goal in mind.
UPDATE: Jeffrey repeats the teacher-bashing statistics in his Feb. 23 column, though that he surprisingly concedes that the numbers are "are slightly better than the national average for public-school students."
Jeffrey also portrays students at Catholic schools as doing better on tests, plus Catholic and private schools "can also teach students that there is a God, that the Ten Commandments are true and must be followed, that the Founding Fathers believed in both and that, ultimately, American freedom depends on fidelity to our Judeo-Christian heritage even more than it depends on proficiency in reading and math."
Jeffrey, of course, doesn't mention the fact that private schools, by their selective nature due to their tuition fees, tend to attract a more affluent and arguably better student than public schools, and that students who fail in private schools typically end up in public schools, thus skewing achievement figures.
WND's Farah Applies Coulter's Islam Solution to Gays Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah concluded his Feb. 22 WorldNetDaily column -- spent ranting against the idea that gays could be conservatives -- this way:
Ann Coulter once famously suggested the best way for Americans to battle radical Islam is to convert them all to Christianity. I agree.
And the best way to win over homosexuals to conservative politics is to do the same.
Of course, that's not all Coulter said about Islam. The full quote, taken from Coulter's post-9/11 column, was that we should "invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." To which she added: "And this is war."
Does Farah endorse the full application of Coulter's advice by invading homosexual strongholds -- bars, musicals, etc. -- and kill their leaders as part of converting gays to Christianity? He might want to elaborate.