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Tuesday, April 5, 2011
NEW ARTICLE: WorldNetDaily's Favorite African Dictator
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Why is WND backing Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo, who lost an election but won't leave office even as his followers commit human rights violations? Because he claims to be a Christian, and because his opponent is a Muslim. That's it. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 AM EDT
Monday, April 4, 2011
AIM's Kincaid Still Thinks He's A Journalist
Topic: Accuracy in Media

An April 3 Politco article on the inferiority of Republican opposition research quotes Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid denouncing the idea that he's in the opposition research business:

Noting with displeasure that some of the staffers and leaders of Media Matters and CAP have “Democratic affiliations – they just come from the Democratic Party openly,” he said “that bothers me because I am a journalist. I never worked for a political campaign. I make it a policy in what I write at AIM to be critical of, not just the left-leaning media outlets, but also the right.”

False. Kincaid has never worked for a news organization, and AIM -- where Kincaid has spent most, if not all, of his adult career -- is certainly no journalistic enterprise. It has a partisan point of view, and so does Kincaid. As we pointed out the last time Kincaid suggested this, his track record is one of partisan activism, not journalism.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:52 PM EDT
So When DOES The MRC Like Christianity Being Crititized?
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is trying to become enforcers on when the media is permitted to write anything less than flattering about Christianity.

A March 29 MRC Culture & Media Institute article by Matt Philbin complained that Showtime's new miniseries "The Borgias" -- in which family patriarch Rodrigo became pope -- was airing during Lent, complaining that Showtime was "getting into the spirit of Lent and gleefully calling to mind some of the Catholic Church's centuries-old sins," adding that the series is "a thumb in the eye to the Church during holy season."

Philbin doesn't really question the historical accuracy of the content; he concedes that Rodrigo Borgia "bought the papacy, becoming Pope Alexander VI in 1492, and misused his office in a variety of distinctly unholy ways." Instead, he grouses only about the timing of the series (but does not offer an alternative time that the show could air and not draw his criticism) and highlights Bill Donohue's attack on the series, failing to disclose that his boss, Brent Bozell, is on the board of advisors of Donohue's organization, the Catholic League.

In the same spirit, an April 3 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham bashing the Washington Post for running a feature article on the creators of a new Broadway musical about Mormons (emphasis in original):

The Washington Post obviously doesn't observe the idea that Sunday is the Lord's Day. It's apparently the Atheist's Day. The  entire top half of the front page of the April 3 Sunday Arts section is an enormous picture of "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Just below the fold is a huge headline: "No, nothing is sacred." Another huge picture of Parker and Stone is inside, dominating most of E-7. The text around these publicity shots [Jennifer Altman for The Washington Post] is another promotional piece by Post theatre critic Peter Marks. Saying their new play "The Book of Mormon" actually "deserves worship" wasn't enough. A second helping of goo is required.

[...]

Marks and other South Park shoe-shiners don't seem to understand that Parker and Stone toe a hard line. Just because they giggle a lot and make butt jokes doesn't mean they aren't taking a very firm stand on the near-mental illness of religious people. They also fail to note that this pair is picking on people who don't fight back. If they wanted to make fun of a buffoonish religious figure, where is "Al Sharpton: The Musical"? It wouldn't happen because Sharpton would sue, and someone's building might get burned down.

Graham offers no evidence that he would be any less incensed about his article had it run on any other day of the week. He also offers no evidence that he has actually seen the musicial, which hasn't stop him for attacking it before.

Graham also slips in a bit of his omnipresent gay-bashing: "Don't miss that this show has a serious political meaning for the gay lobby. As MTV.com reported last year, "It's a project the duo first announced back in 2008, after the passage of the gay-marriage-banning Proposition 8 in California (for which the Mormon Church campaigned heavily)."

Here's an idea: Why doesn't the MRC issue a calendar detailing excactly which days -- if any exist -- the media is permitted who publish or air things that are less than flattering to Christianity?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:40 PM EDT
Cashill: I Don't Look As Crazy As I Sound
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jack Cashill writes in his March 31 column, "I appear much more sane on TV than I do in the pages of Media Matters. How could I not?"

Another way to say that is: Cashill is hoping his sane-looking demeanor will sell some very insane stuff, like his new book insisting that Bill Ayers wrote Barack Obama's "Dreams From My Father."

Indeed, in this very column, Cashill touts how he was able to make three very crazy points in his appearanceon Fox News:

In the course of the interview, I was able to assert three points that may not have been voiced before on network TV. The first was, "I have no doubt that Bill Ayers was the primary craftsman behind 'Dreams from My Father.'"

The second was a reaffirmation of Ayers' point that Obama's second opus, "Audacity of Hope," was a "political hack book." As I added, the book "was written by committee."

The third, which no one on the left has dared challenge, was my assertion that "there was no Obama family." I described newborn baby Obama's hegira from Hawaii to Seattle with his mom and their return to Hawaii only after Obama Sr. had left for Harvard.

Cashill then added: "These now-confused souls on the left might just ask themselves, 'Would Simon & Schuster's lawyers green light a book that promotes "insane Obama conspiracy theories"?' I can assure you from experience, they would not.'"

In another column the next day, Cashill tries to read Ayers' mind and decides that Ayers wasn't joking when, in response to a conservative activist, he said he wrote the book and is bitter about not getting any royalties:

Obama's success must chafe Ayers even more. He hoped to mold a mayor of Chicago, and instead he ended up with a president whose ambitions would always corrupt his ideology.

The fact that Ayers went public in the first week of our war on Libya, a use of force almost indistinguishable from the Bush administration's, had to irritate Ayers deeply.

As Ayers suggested at Montclair, one could build a school for the cost of a Tomahawk missile. As he implied, one could build a whole lot of schools with the royalties just from "Dreams."

Cashill also does not take criticism well. In his March 29 column, he dismisses a review of his book in the Washington Post as written by "a left-leaning 20-something with scant credentials." At no point does he respond to anything the reviewer said about his book, much less quote any of it or link to the review.

That's likely because it was pretty much deconstructs Cashill's book for its reliance on circumstantial evidence, factual errors and hypocritial whining:

Cashill’s clues are far from convincing. Cashill believes that the similarity between the two men’s “imagery” and “structure” is by itself “almost enough to convict” Obama of his charges. For example, Ayers writes in his memoir, “Fugitive Days:” “The confrontation in the Fishbowl flowed like a swollen river into the teach-in, carrying me along the cascading waters from room to room, hall to hall, bouncing off boulders.” In “Dreams,” Obama writes the following passage: “I heard all our voices begin to run together, the sound of three generations tumbling over each other like the currents of a slow-moving stream, my questions like rocks roiling the water, the breaks in memory separating the currents.”

“Deconstructing Obama” includes many more flimsy examples of stylistic overlap: Obama and Ayers both misquote a line from Carl Sandburg’s famous poem “Chicago”; they both misspell the name of a city in South Africa (though they misspell it in different ways); they both love the words “flutter” and “ragged.” Cashill bends or invents evidence to fit his theories and further undercuts his argument with errors of fact and interpretation.

He attacks the media for ignoring Andersen’s book, to which Cashill says Obama gave his “tacit blessing.” But the White House, in fact, so disliked the book that it canceled a staffer’s CNN appearance because the network booked Andersen — and then quizzed him about the Ayers connection.

“Deconstructing Obama” is distressing also for what it reveals about the publishing industry. Cashill details how the media, including conservative outlets such as Fox News and the National Review, ignored his research. Yet he has now published a book with the conservative imprint of Simon & Schuster, one of the biggest houses in the country.

Cashill claimed the review was all about the reviewer trying to convince readers "to ignore the awkward amateur writer behind the curtain," but it seems that the same could be said about Cashill himself.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:18 AM EDT
MRC Likes Rebecca Black Because She's Not Singing About Gays
Topic: Media Research Center

An April 1 MRC Culture & Media Institute article by Erin R. Brown comes to the defense of Rebecca Black and her "Friday" video, declaring it "a welcome relief from the relentless sexualization of chidlhood."

More importantly, she's not singing about people having inherent value no matter what their sexual orientation, unlike a certain other singer:

For instance, the video for Lady Gaga's chart-topping hit "Born This Way" on YouTube has only garnered a little over 28 million hits, compared to black's 69 million. The 'gay, straight or bi, lesbian, transgendered' anthem from the pop sensation accrued more than 440,000 downloads in its first week. This radio and digital sales record-breaking song has yet to receive even half of the internet hits already obtained by the previously unknown teen.

Because, you know, Internet hits is always an indicator of quality of a video's content.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:09 AM EDT
Sunday, April 3, 2011
WND's Washington Threatens Assault Against Cass Sunstein
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Ellis Washington's weekly WorldNetDaily rant is more demented than usual this week, targeting Obama adviser Cass Sunstein.

First, Washington takes out of context Sunstein's statement "There is no liberty without dependency," declaring it his "fascist motto" and "treachery." In fact, the statement is from a 1999 op-ed Sunstein co-wrote arguing that taxes permit the liberty Americans enjoy because true liberty can't be enjoyed as a society without a government to enforce those rights.

Washington then goes into insult-hurling mode, attacking Sunstein as a "Marxist academic" and Obama's Cesare Mori (we're a little unclear on how this is supposed to be insult since Mori, while an official in Italy's Fascist movement, actually did something worthwile by trying to shut down the Mafia in the country).

This is followed by freak-out mode over some policies Sunstein has promoted. First up was his idea that organ donation should be opt-out rather than opt-in. Washington, as he is wont to do, gets this wrong, describing the policy Sunstein has argued in favor of as "explicit consent" when, in fact, that's the current policy. The formal name of the policy Sunstein favors is "presumed consent."

Still, Washington freaked out anyway: "In America, if a corpse doesn't have the liberty to be buried in peace without legions of ghoulish, body-snatching bureaucrats stealing grandma's liver, kidneys or eyeballs, then what freedom and constitutional rights do you think those of us who are alive will enjoy? … None!" Washington seems to be ignoring the fact that organs are generally not harvested from elderly people like "grandma."

Washington also discussed Sunstein's ideas for adding more rights to the Constitution, denouncing them as a "coup d'état" with the "tyrannous effect" of "remak[ing] the U.S. Constitution into a socialist communist document without having to fire one bullet, or get one vote in Congress." Washington then listed the "diabolical parameters of this new communist bill of rights," which he claimed Sunstein "plagiarized" from Franklin Roosevelt -- thus falsely suggesting that Sunstein gave FDR no credit for the ideas. In fact, the subtitle of Sunstein's book "The Second Bill of Rights" is "FDR's Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need It More than Ever."

(Washington also claims Sunstein stole the idea from "the 1977 Soviet Constitution.")

After calling Sunstein "one of the most despicable academics I've ever studied who is still alive," Washington seems to want to do something about that "alive" part by threatening an act of violence against him and his wife, Obama adviser Samantha Power:

But for the national lobotomy this great country has apparently suffered after 160 years of state propaganda most people know as our public school system, a scoundrel like Sunstein (and his Lady Macbeth wife) would be immediately fired, placed in the stocks in the public square and have rotten fruit and dead animals thrown at his face like in Medieval times … but this is only a personal fantasy.

Why do we think Washington really wants to be wielding a much sturdier weapon than rotten fruit? An assault with rotten fruit is an assault nonetheless.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:07 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, April 3, 2011 11:08 PM EDT
WND Promotes Misleading Attack On Obama, Religious References
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A March 28 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn uncritically repeats frequently inaccurate "Christian historian" David Barton's claim that President Obama is engaged in a pattern of "willfully, deliberately" repudiating America's Christian heritage by occasionally "omitting the phrase 'endowed by their Creator' when quoting the Declaration of Independence and misquoting the national motto 'In God We Trust' in official White House communication."

But as Right Wing Watch notes, Zahn references a Chuck Norris column on the alleged lapses that includes examples in which Obama was paraphrasing the Declaraction, not directly quoting it. Zahn and Barton also ignore the numerous instances in which Obama correctly used the phrases.

Zahn also quotes Barton saying, "You remember when he spoke at Georgetown, he had them cover the Christian symbols [behind him on the stage]?" As we've detailed when CNSNews.com promoted this claim, there's no evidence that the Obama White House specifically demanded that "Christian symbols" be covered at the event; even CNS conceded that the White House requested only that Georgetown "cover up all signs and symbols" on the stage.

Zahn made no apparent effort to obtain any sort of response to Barton's accusations.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:04 AM EDT
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Bozell Buys Into Bogus Planned Parenthood Attack
Topic: Media Research Center

Brent Bozell fully buys into Lila Rose's latest non-scandal involving Planned Parenthood with a March 30 press release demanding that Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards be banned from CNN:

“Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards appeared on CNN's Headline News channel claiming that de-funding Planned Parenthood would prevent it from providing women with mammogram services. This has been proven absolutely false. A group called Live Action has released an audio investigation with proof from numerous Planned Parenthood clinics whose staff clearly state they do not provide mammograms, yet the President of the organization went on national television and stated the exact opposite.

“The evidence has been presented, and CNN’s Headline News (HLN) has the opportunity here to display true journalistic integrity.  How will Headline News respond to the evidence of Cecile Richards’ lie on its network? We call on CNN’s HLN to correct the record, and it should be done by Joy Behar to her viewers.  There should be consequences to lying on national television, and if CNN wants to maintain the respect and trust of their viewers, they should ban Cecile Richards and her lies from appearing again.”

As Media Matters points out, Richards' statement is not a lie -- the Planned Parenthood clinics Rose's Live Action contacted do, in fact, provide mammograms by partnering with outside organizations that conduct them. Rose and Bozell appear to be baselessly assuming that the only way an organization can "provide" abortions is to conduct them on premesis -- the sole basis of Rose's so-called "exposé."

If Bozell and Rose are still unclear on the meaning of "provide," Media Matters offers further help.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:38 AM EDT
WND's Chief Schiavo Distorter Returns For More Bias
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Diana Lynne -- the WorldNetDaily reporter who turned in highly biased accounts of the Terri Schiavo case -- returns to WND to pen a follow-up story.

In her March 31 article, Lynne frames the Schiavo case around "the recent clamor over imminent Obamacare 'death panels'" -- never mind the fact that the "death panels" claim has been declared the lie of the year.

Lynne goes on to invoke the case of Baby Joseph" Maraachli, writing:

Meanwhile, in the case of "Baby Joseph," Ontario, Canada's top court sided with the hospital's desire to hasten death, ruling it could pull the 13-month-old's life-sustaining breathing tube over the objections of his parents.

The infant suffers from a progressive neurodegenerative disease that is fatal. The family sought a tracheotomy in order to care for their son at home while likely extending his life by weeks or months.

In fact, nobody has claimed that the tracheotomy would extend Joseph's life; the claim centered on the family's desire to have the child die at home versus the hospital's contention that a tracheotomy would increase discomfort and risk of infection -- not about rationing medical care or "death panels" as Lynne suggests.

The tagline for Lynne at the end of the article calls the WND-published quickie book she wrote on the Schiavo case "powerful" and "comprehensive." In fact, as we documented, the book was as biased as her reporting, heavily favoring Terri Schiavo's family and demoninzing her husband, Michael Schiavo, who had initiated the legal battle to withdraw life support from Terri, who was a persistent vegetative state.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:23 AM EDT
Friday, April 1, 2011
Meanwhile ...
Topic: Media Research Center

How does the Media Research Center's Tim Graham respond to Media Matters' report that Fox News' Bill Sammon admitted lying on-air about Obama advocating "socialism"? By tossing around the word "Soros" a lot. Oh, and not questioning the factual accuracy of the report.

Media Matters has more.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:12 AM EDT
WND Checks In With Its Birther Martyr
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily presumably remains happy that Terrence Lakin destroyed his life and miliary career to further WND's birther agenda, because it now has another opportunity to portray him as a martyr.

A March 31 WND article by Bob Unruh fawningly reports on how Lakin "is more than halfway through his sentence" for disobeying orders. He repeats "private communications to the Terry Lakin Action Fund" in which Lakin "commented on the physical workouts he's enjoyed, his work, his cell and other issues," as well as his reading material, "including Mark Levin's 'Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto.'"

As is WND operating procedure, Unruh obscures the fact that Lakin's offense was his refusal to obey orders, not his "questioning Barack Obama's eligibility to be president." All the better to keep up the pretense of Lakin's martyrdom.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:40 AM EDT
WND Still Standing By Ivory Coast Leader Despite Violence
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Back in January, we detailed how WorldNetDaily threw its support to Laurent Gbagbo, the "Christian" leader of Ivory Coast who's fighting to stay in office despite international consensus that his Muslim opponent, Alassane Ouattara, won the election.

WND is standing by its man. A March 31 WND article, taken from WND editor Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin, declares that Ivory Coast "is being plunged into civil war by rebel Muslims who want to get rid of a Christian president," going on to complain: "They are being supported by United Nations and U.S. efforts, even though the nation's own constitutional process affirmed Christian President Laurent Gbagbo's election victory."

In fact, the reason the U.S., the U.N., and even the European Union declared Ouatarra the winner is because there is a problem with the "constitutional process" WND touts. The constitutional council WND relies on as having certified the results of the election is, in fact, controlled by Gbagbo loyalists who reversed previous results declaring Ouattara the winner.

WND also conveniently ignores that Gbagbo's "Christian" regime has been accused of human rights abuses. Human Rights Watch states that "pro-Gbagbo forces are increasingly targeting immigrants from neighboring West African countries in their relentless attacks against real and perceived supporters of Alassane Ouattara." It continues:

Residents from Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, and Niger gave detailed accounts of daily attacks by pro-Gbagbo security forces and armed militias, who beat foreign residents to death with bricks, clubs, and sticks, or doused them with gas and burned them alive. A Malian man interviewed by Human Rights Watch described how he and six other West Africans were forced into two vehicles by armed militiamen and taken into the basement of an abandoned building. More youths were waiting, who then executed five of the captured West Africans at point-blank range. The homes, stores, and mosques of hundreds of other West Africans have been burned, or they have been chased out of their neighborhoods en masse under threat of death at the hands of pro-Gbagbo militias.

The brunt of these attacks came immediately after Gbagbo's "youth minister," Charles Blé Goudé, called publicly on February 25 for "real" Ivoirians to set up roadblocks in their neighborhoods and "denounce" foreigners. The situation threatens to worsen further, as a March 7 letter addressed to the Burkina Faso ambassador by a militant pro-Gbagbo group warned. The letter threatened to "cut the umbilical cord" of the Burkina Faso nationals in Côte d'Ivoire unless they left the country by March 22.

Human Rights Watch also documented the recent enforced disappearances of at least seven active members of Ouattara's party, as well as the February 25 rape of nine politically active women - the day after fighting between armed forces loyal to Gbagbo and Ouattara broke out in the Abobo area of Abidjan. Pro-Gbagbo forces are using excessive force in response to largely peaceful demonstrations, resulting in at least 25 deaths since February 21 - including seven women killed on March 3 when security forces opened fire with a mounted machine gun and a larger unidentified weapon against thousands of women demonstrators.

The abuses by pro-Gbagbo forces against real and perceived Ouattara supporters have escalated since mid-February.

Human Rights Watch also notes that pro-Ouattara forces have engaged in abuses as well. But it states that, since Gbagbo still controls the state apparatus, "pro-Gbagbo forces engage in these frequent acts of deadly abuse, apparently with absolutely no fear of being investigated or held accountable."

WND also repeats the discredited lie that Barack Obama, during a 2006 visit to Kenya, was "appearing ... at campaign stops" with Raila Odinga, who was campaigning for president at the time, where "Obama gave speeches accusing the sitting Kenyan president of being corrupt and oppressive." As we've detailed, PolitiFact.com found "no evidence to indicate that Obama 'openly supported' Odinga" during his 2006 trip to Kenya.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:41 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, April 1, 2011 12:42 AM EDT
Thursday, March 31, 2011
AIM Ignores Debunkings of Cashill's Conspiracies
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A March 28 interview of conspiracy theorist extrordinaire Jack Cashill by Accuracy in Media's Roger Aronoff is all about giving Cashill a platorm to spin his latest theory that Bill Ayers wrote Obama's book "Dreams From My Father." Aronoff makes no attempt to question any claim Cashill makes.

Therefore, there's no mention of the Oxford don who found that Cashill's analysis of Obama's book to be "very implausible" and and that his research methods "seem badly flawed." There's also no mention of the fact that Cashill's invoking of celebrity biographer Christopher Andersen as backup for his conspiracy ignores the fact that Andersen was citing Cashill's previous work as part of his evidence, or that Andersen has specifically said that "I definitely do not say he wrote Barack Obama's book."

Instead, Aronoff helps him shoot down any criticism, saying at one point, "I know the mainstream media, the liberal media, of course, is going to shun this or use ad hominem attacks. They’ll never go in and try to address your issues one by one and refute them, so they just call you names and all that."

Accuracy in media? Not so much.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:14 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, March 31, 2011 11:35 PM EDT
WND's Farah Wants To Impeach Obama (Again)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah has another impeachment flare-up, calling once more for President Obama's impeachment in his March 30 column, pretending that no one, including him, has ever called for Obama's impeachment until now:

Never before in the history of the United States has an occupant of the White House displayed less concern for the Constitution and the rule of law than Barack Obama.

It's about time somebody said it: It's time to impeach Obama.

Of course, Farah already said it last November. And as far back as October 2009, WND was promoting far-right hack Floyd Brown's call to impeach.

Farah continues his particular bit of impefachment agitation. But does it really matter why he wants Obama impeached since any excuse would be sufficient to feed his Obama-hate?


Posted by Terry K. at 11:30 AM EDT
Newsmax's Kessler Fluffs David Keene In His New Job
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax's Ronald Kessler has been a longtime fluffer of former American Conservative Union president David Keene, giving him a platform to spout conservative talking points and even to spin away controversies at the ACU-operated CPAC conference (after first ignoring said controversies, of course).

With Keene moving on from the ACU to become president of the National Rifle Association, it's completely unsurprising that Kessler would fluff him in that new position:

You might expect that the man who is incoming president of the National Rifle Association and was chairman of the American Conservative Union would be a double-barrel ideologue.

Not quite.

David Keene’s friends include liberal-leaning types like Al Hunt of Bloomberg News, former ABC correspondent Sam Donaldson, former New York Times reporter Adam Clymer, and former Democratic presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy.

Keene never hesitates to mention that his mother and father were labor union organizers in Wisconsin or that, as a teenager, he passed out literature for John F. Kennedy during the presidential primary.

Moreover, Keene has stood firm against attacks from within the conservative movement over his decision to keep the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) open to participation by such groups as GOProud, an organization of conservative gays.

At the same time, few have had as much impact on the conservative movement and been so successful over the years at promoting Republican candidates at the national level as Dave Keene.

The rest is a fawning biography, complete with his-and-hers stories about how Keene met his current wife (the previous one is alleged to have embezzled from the ACU, something Kessler apparently thinks is too gauche to mention), how he "hunted cape buffalo in Zambia," and his favorite brand of whisky.

Ah, the fluffing never stops...


Posted by Terry K. at 8:53 AM EDT

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