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Sunday, September 25, 2011
WND Falsely Claims Jobs Money Going to Group That Doesn't Exist
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 19 WorldNetDaily article promoting Matthew Vadum's ACORN-bashing book begins: "President Obama's new economic stimulus package contains as much as $15 billion in payoffs for radical left-wing groups such as ACORN, his former employer."

Just one little problem: ACORN no longer exists. It filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last December.

WND offers no evidence that the money is specifically earmarked for ACORN (which, again, does not exist). It merely claims that the $15 billion earmarked for "Project Rebuild." would "go to state and local governments and to 'qualified nonprofit organizations' to redevelop abandoned and foreclosed properties." It's not explained how that equals ACORN (which does not exist), or how that means that ACORN (which does not exist) would receive all $15 billion.

Further, no evidence is offered that "qualified nonprofit organizations" with a conservative viewpoint are automatically disqualifed from receiving money.

Later in the article, WND walks that back a little:

Contrary to mainstream media reports, ACORN is very much alive, though in a changed form.

Although the shell corporation that ran the ACORN network filed for bankruptcy in November 2010, ACORN continues to operate. Project Vote and ACORN Housing, renamed Affordable Housing Centers of America, are still is business.

But that's still misleading. In fact, the Government Accountability Office has determined that AHCOA "is not an affiliate, subsidiary, or allied organization of ACORN."

Vadum and WND are misleading readers to prop up a defunct talking point.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:27 AM EDT
Saturday, September 24, 2011
CNS Declares U.N. Bashers To Be 'Stellar'
Topic: CNSNews.com

The headline on a Sept. 23 CNSNews.com article by Patrick Goodenough on a conference that "raised the issue of ending monetary contributions to the U.N. as long as its actions continue to 'delegitimize' Israel" reads, "Stellar Cast of Critics Slam U.N. As Anti-American, Anti-Israel."

And who is the first person in this "stellar cast" that Goodenough deemed worthy of quoting? Jon Voight. No, really. Indeed, Goodenough didn't explain why any of the critics should be described as "stellar."

Goodenough noted that Voight is an "Academy Award-winning actor," but he didn't describe how that qualifed Voight to be a "stellar" critic of the United Nations.

Of course, had Voight not been spouting conservative talking points, CNS and its parent organization, the Media Research Center, would be attacking him for speaking out.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:56 PM EDT
Meanwhile ...
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Aaron Klein churns out yet another guilt-by-association special in a Sept. 22 WorldNetDaily article on Jonathan Greenblatt, head of President Obama's Social Innovation and Civic Participation Council.

As Media Matters details, Klein attacks Greenblatt for having ties to the Aspen Institute, which "works closely with" George Soros, while not mentioning that one member of Aspen's board of truestees is right-wing billionaire activist David Koch. Klein claims that one of those links to Soros is that its conference facilities were "used by" Soros at one time.

Klein also repeatedly attacks Greenblatt for having "several ties to Google," even though WND has a formal business relationship with Google through participation in its AdSense program.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:16 AM EDT
Friday, September 23, 2011
Tim Graham Gives The MRC's Game Away
Topic: NewsBusters

Tim Graham probably didn't mean to admit that his employer, the Media Research Center, cares more about political hack work than "media research," but that's what he does in a Sept. 22 NewsBusters post.

Responding to a claim by the Wall Street Journal's James Taranto that it's "dog bites man to complain about "hostile liberal questions" aimed at Republican presidential candidates, and that such questions are "doing the ultimate nominee a favor" by "toughening" them up for the election, Graham asserted:

Groups like the MRC are not around to chronicle "dog bites man, yadda yadda yadda." We are around to underline the point that our "objective" national media cannot be trusted to offer honest information and balanced analysis. They fail easy tests of journalistic professionalism because they want to "make history." See the entire knee-quivering, leg-thrilling, "God Damn America"-excusing 2008 Obama campaign.

Graham has essentially admitted what we've already deduced: that the MRC cares only about pushing the "liberal media" trope and has no interest in things (like Fox News) that don't conform to its hypothesis.

And if Graham cares so much about an "objective" media that provides "honest information and balanced analysis," he and his employer should try operating one sometime, because the MRC-owned CNSNews.com certainly isn't it. Graham has no moral standing to criticize other media outlets for bias when his employer's media outlet is far more riddled with bias.

Thanks, Mr. Graham, for giving the MRC's game away. Now explain why the MRC should be taken seriously amid such blatant hypocrisy.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:12 PM EDT
Joseph Farah Thin Skin Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his Sept. 21 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah again responds to criticism in his usual thin-skinned way: lots of name-calling refusing to address the actual criticism.

This time, the target is MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, who aired a segment centered on WND's promotion of a self-proclaimed counterterrorism expert who is apparently little more than a Muslim-basher. Farah starts off your basic ad hominem attack, declaring that only watches MSNBC "when it focuses on me" because the alternative is to "suffer through the tedium and infuriation of actually watching a cable network at which the inmates are quite literally running the asylum." He went on to claim that MSNBC "has more in common with the old Soviet-era, official state press organs Izvestia or Pravda than what we once knew, a generation ago, as American-style, professional journalism. He then claimed that "Maddow has a big mouth but very little courage" because she didn't invite him on her show to respond in person. (This from the operator of a website that regularly publishes only one side of a story.)

As he did last week when he bashed Michael Medved for saying mean things about him, Farah uses no direct quotes  of what Maddow said, speaking only in generalities. Farah claimed that the author of the article on the counterterrorism expert Maddow featured, Wired's Spencer Ackerman, "defam[ed] a very serious and highly credentialed counter-terrorism expert by the name of William Gawthrop – turning him unfairly into a bigoted cartoon character for his efforts to protect America from future terrorist attacks. There's no scandal in Gawthrop's work or his opinions."

Farah is being disingenous, since he never bothers to explain the source of the controversy over Gawthrop. As Ackerman wrote (in an article Farah failed to link to), Gawthrop was the author of several tracts used in FBI counterterrorism training baselessly claiming that, among other things, the more “devout” a Muslim, the more likely he is to be “violent” and that a “moderating process cannot happen if the Koran continues to be regarded as the unalterable word of Allah.”

Then, as you'd expect, Farah bashes Ackerman:

The focus, rather, should be on the stone-thrower – Ackerman. He should have been fired from Wired a long time ago – or, at the very least, disqualified from covering politics for the magazine. Why? He's most famous not for anything he has ever published, but for things he wrote that he never intended to be published – namely his candid and inflammatory scribblings on the notorious JournoList.

At no point does Farah prove anything Ackerman wrote to be wrong. It's just another rant by a man too thin-skinned to take criticism.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:47 AM EDT
Newsmax Twists Clinton Comments To Portray Him As Opposing Obama
Topic: Newsmax

Is Bill Clinton perhaps regretting chumming up to Newsmax's Christopher Ruddy, his former tormenter?

We've documented the Ruddy-Clinton rapprochement when it began in 2007 (even though the rest of Newsmax was not that eager to change its Clinton-bashing stripes). Even though Ruddy had continued to say nice things about Clinton, one had to wonder if it would last, if Ruddy was setting Clinton up.

We have have gotten our answer with a Sept. 20 Newsmax interview of Clinton by Ruddy and Jim Meyers. The headline claim: "Ex-President Clinton to Newsmax: Raising Taxes Won't Work." The lede: "Former President Bill Clinton tells Newsmax that Washington should not raise taxes until the slumping economy is turned around — and says President Obama’s plan to increase taxes on the wealthy won’t solve the debt problem." That got lots of play in the right-wing media, including Fox News.

But as Media Matters points out, 1) Obama never claimed he would solve "the debt problem" by raising taxes alone, as Newsmax suggests, and 2) Newsmax selectively quoted Clinton's response to Ruddy's question to obscure the fact that the full Clinton statement (in the video attached to the Newsmax article) was much more nuanced than Newsmax's screaming headline suggested.

Further, as Media Matters also noted, Clinton gave another interview around the same time as the Newsmax interview in which he expresses support for Obama's plan and points out that it "would not kick in until the economy has growth well under way."

Salon's Steve Kornacki elaborates on Newsmax's deception:

It seems clear that Clinton was talking about the jobs plan, and the issue of what America should be doing right now to stimulate the economy. This isn't in conflict with what Obama is calling for, which is a tax hike-free jobs plan to get the economy moving now and higher taxes on the rich two years from now, in order to reduce long-term deficits.

Newsmax probably knows this, but the headline it has chosen fits perfectly with the message the right is now pushing, and there's no attempt in the article to explain the difference between Obama's jobs plan and his tax plan. Not surprisingly, conservative opinion-shapers are already tweeting out the news that Bill Clinton said something that sounds an awful lot like what Republicans are now saying, and the Republican Party has apparently distributed his quote to the press.

Not that Clinton is blameless here. In the interview, he seemed to be trying to play the statesman/above-the-day-to-day-fray role -- maybe because that's the role he tries to play through CGI, or maybe because he was just happy to have a right-wing media outlet treating him with such respect.

If Ruddy is so eager to twist Clinton's words make a political point, maybe Ruddy is not really the friend to Clinton he claims to be -- and perhaps Clinton will try to make sure he's not taken in next time.

UPDATE: Newsmax columnist Matt Towery buys into the spin, echoing Newsmax's selective quoting by claiming that Clinton "blew off Obama's obsession with tax increases." Towery also declared: "This Newsmax interview can be looked upon as a gentle settling of many scores by Clinton with his fellow Democrats, who have led his party into the land of left-wing loons."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:11 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 23, 2011 7:40 AM EDT
Thursday, September 22, 2011
CNS 'News' Reporter Pens Anti-Gay Screed
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com, it seems, is giving up on the pretense of acting like a unbiased news site. Now CNS reporters are penning opinion pieces -- something parent Media Research Center abhors when it happens in other media outlets.

CNS' recent website redesign reimagined the commentary section in blog format, newly named "The Right Views, Right Now -- Conservative Opinion And Analysis."  Popping up there is none other than CNS reporter Pete Winn with a Sept. 21 anti-gay screed:

Yes, Virginia, there is a gay agenda, and a playbook being used to fulfill it.

This week’s change in the law that homosexuality is incompatible with military service – the repeal of the so-called “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy – is not the “triumph for America” that homosexual activists and their supporters in the Senate seemed to say it is.

It represents the "overhauling" of America – by a homosexual activist movement that has been pushing its agenda on the nation for the last 25 years or so.

Since 1987, gay activists have basically been following a playbook.

It first came out in the form of an article in a homosexual magazine called, “The Overhauling of Straight America” – and was later turned into a book called “After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the ’90s."

The article was written by Marshall Kirk and “Erastes Pill.” The book was written by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen (the real name of "Erastes Pill").

That playbook utilizes the power of the media and advertising strategy to advance the gay agenda.

[...]

Consider yourself “overhauled,” America.

You've been played, in favor of a behavior that was once criminalized; one that most world religions – which have been around for far longer than this country -- still condemn.

And just think, it has all been done in the name of politically correct "anti-discrimination" law -- which is itself a relatively recent phenomenon -- and allows gay activism to trump anything else, even truth, morality or facts.

Wow! What a winning combination – for homosexual activists, that is.

But what a losing combination for America.

Of course, as we've noted, Winn is a right-wing activist at heart, having been formerly employed by CitizenLink, the political action arm of the right-wing Focus on the Family.

The line between news and opinion at CNS was always blurry -- fellow "news" reporter Penny Starr used a similar opinion piece to smear Harry Reid as a baby-killer. Now it seems CNS, under editor Terry Jeffrey, will no longer bother with the pretense of objectivity and become a partisan right-wing organization fully integrated with its partisan right-wing MRC parent -- just in time for the 2012 presidential election.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:43 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 22, 2011 10:01 PM EDT
WND Hides Activist's Anti-Gay Slurs To Portray Him As A Victim
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 21 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh makes a big deal out of how PayPal has suspended the account of "Christian activist" Julio Severo -- but Unruh doesn't want to tell anyone exactly why.

Unruh writes only in generalities about why Severo's PayPal account was suspended, euphemistically claiming that it was because he "teach[es] the biblical perspective that homosexuality is not acceptable for Christians and is a sin." Unruh asserts that it the suspension came as a part of "an online campaign by homosexuals demanding that Christians such as Severo be denied the use of the PayPal system."

In fact, the campaign by AllOut.org targets only "anti-LGBT extremists," and Severo certainly qualifies. From the group's website.

Julio Severo's Last Days Watchman Site (US/Brazil)
Brazilian anti-LGBT leader and writer/ideologue who fled Brazil after LGBT activists brought a lawsuit against him for incitement of hatred. Julio regularly repeats the lie that 10% of gay people are pedophiles, and goes further to say that most gay men “drink urine, swallow feces and experience rectal traumas on a regular basis”, while they are “drunk, stoned or in orgies.” 

Severo goes on to rant on his website about the AllOut campaign:

Differently from gay activists that receive huge government grants, I receive no government penny. Besides, they have many wealthy foundations supporting them. But there is no organization supporting me. What I receive is used to support my family, with our four little children. But if gay activists, who do not have a natural family whom to support, need resources, what about me?

Of course, in the case of homosexual militants, their money in fact does come from government, because no government has its own money. Their money comes from you. It comes from your pocket. Government takes away (steals through wicked tax laws) your money to deliver it to activists. So, whether we like or not, we are forced to contribute for the homosexual movement. Government forces its people to support gay parades and the homosexual indoctrination of school children.

Yet, thank God my blog is not a part of this exploiters’ network that lives at the expense of a population that is plundered through taxes.

The hateful, false content in Severo's words would seem to be germane to the discussion over why his PayPal was suspended, but Unruh obviously doesn't think so.

That may be because Severo is one of WND's favorite self-proclaimed victims. An April 2009 article by none other the founder's daughter, Alyssa Farah, detailed how Severo, whom she claims is "a prominent Brazilian pro-family activist," was "forced into exile because of the "hate crimes" laws that are being implemented in his native land, perhaps providing a preview of what Christians can expect in the United States should similar 'hate crimes' proposals be implemented." LIke Unruh, Farah failed to directly quote any of the words by Severo that purportedly forced him into "exile."

And in July, Unruh uncritically repeated Severo's claim that "The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has begun watching" his blog.

WND clearly has an interest in making sure Severo looks persecuted -- it suits WND's far-right agenda. That's why it won't report the truth about how hateful his words really are.

You may remember that WND did a similar thing a couple years ago, turning an controlling, abusive father who allowed his children to live in squalor into a poster boy for homeschooling.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:14 PM EDT
MRC Judges Debate Questions -- But Not The One Sponsored By Fox
Topic: Media Research Center

A Sept. 13 Media Research Center "Media Reality Check" by Geoffrey Dickens determined that "there were far more liberal questions (13) to the GOP candidates" at the recent CNN-sponsored Republican presidential debate "than there were conservative-oriented questions at the NBC News debate." As per usual for MRC "research," Dickens did not explain how he determined what a "liberal" question was as opposed to a "conservative" question; no indication is given that a objective research metric was determined, leading one to believe that any such judgment was entirely subjective.

But there were three major GOP presidential candidate debates in the past month or so, not two. What about the third one? Dickens says nothing about it.

Well, that Aug. 11 debate was sponsored by two right-wing media entities, Fox News and the Washington Examiner. Perhaps the MRC doesn't want to concede that these conservative outlets asked questions that, had they been asked by employees of CNN or NBC, would get immediately pegged as "liberal."

For instance, the indisputably conservative Byron York asked Michele Bachmann about her previous statements that wives should be "submissive" to their husbands --something that Dickens and any other MRC employee would be screaming "liberal" over had it come out of the mouth of, say, Wolf Blitzer or Brian Williams (both of whom Dickens took to task for their supposedly "liberal" lines of questioning). And Newt Gingrich got all huffy and accused Fox News host Chris Wallace -- who knows how to toe the Fox corporate line, as his interview with Jon Stewart demonstrated -- of asking "gotcha questions."

When NewsBusters "creator" Matthew Sheffield highlighted how Gingrich attacked one of his inqusitors for biased question sduring the NBC debate, he inexplicably failed to mention that Gingrich did the very same thing to Wallace in the Fox-Examiner debate. The only reference in a NewsBusters itemto York's question to Bachmann is a passing one in a post by Tim Graham bashing Frank Shaffer for using it to foment "panic and paranoia about the Fundamentalist Menace."

You'd think that the MRC would be rushing to highlight such questions as a way to prove that Fox isn't a monolithically right-wing outlet. Then again, the Fox debate was the only one that MRC chief Brent Bozell felt compelled to judge; he offered no similar grading of the NBC- and CNN-sponsored debates.

The MRC has a history of going out of its way not to judge Fox by the same standards it applies to the other networks it attacks, presumably because it would prove that Fox is at least as conservative as those other networks, in its mind, are "liberal."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:34 AM EDT
Janet Porter Isn't Far-Right Enough For WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As we've documented, Joseph Farah's frequent claim that WorldNetDaily "carries the widest ideological spectrum of political commentary anywhere on the Internet" is largely a sham, since the token liberal opinion is far outweighed by the sheer number of right-wing opinions. If there is any "spectrum" of opinion, it ranges from right to far right.

Here's an example.

A Sept. 20 WND column by Dr. Patrick Johnston is a response to a Sept. 12 WND column by right-wing extremist and prodigious liar Janet Porter touting the "heartbeat bill " she's pushing in Ohio, which would forbid abortion of a fetus if its heartbeat can be detected. Porter has all but admitted that the bill is part of her broader goal to outlaw all abortion, even though she inadvertently demonstrated that the heartbeat of a 9-week-old fetus is virtually undetectable.

And what is Johnson's rebuttal to Porter? That her bill is too liberal because it allows exceptions for the life of the mother and doesn't prosecute the mother for having an abortion:

First, let us examine the bill's exceptions. Abortions are permitted for the health and life of the mother.

Is it ever right to intentionally kill an innocent child? Consenting to the intentional killing of one innocent person to save another is never justified. It is not right or necessary to kill the baby to save the mother. A premature delivery may be necessary to save the mother's life, but every care should be taken to ensure the health and life of both patients.

[...]

Furthermore, this bill specifically exempts the mother from prosecution. Why does the bill exempt accomplices? In Justice Blackmun's Roe v. Wade decision, he criticizes such hypocrisy. Read his comment on the hypocrisy of Texas' anti-abortion law: "It has already been pointed out ... that in Texas the woman is not a principal or an accomplice with respect to an abortion upon her. If the fetus is a person, why is the woman not a principal or an accomplice? Further, the penalty for criminal abortion specified ... is significantly less than the maximum penalty for murder prescribed by ... the Texas Penal Code. If the fetus is a person, may the penalties be different?"

Good questions, Justice Blackmun. The Roe v. Wade Supreme Court may be blind to justice, but it certainly wasn't blind to hypocrisy. The Heartbeat Bill hypocritically denies some preborn children their constitutional, God-given right to life.

[...]

Even if the Heartbeat Bill did overturn Roe v. Wade and return the issue back to the states, it would not protect preborn children in Ohio. It is our hope that the Ohio Personhood Amendment to the Ohio Constitution would protect the God-given rights of every Ohioan. Please visit PersonhoodOhio.com to learn more.

Only at WorldNetDaily would the views of Janet Porter not be right-wing enough.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:14 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Tim Graham Joins The MRC's Transgender Freakout
Topic: NewsBusters

Apparently, it's official Media Research Center policy to attack Chaz Bono for existing.

Joining in the growing parade of MRC figures bashing Bono's appearance on this season's "Dancing With the Stars" is Tim Graham, who used a Sept. 16 NewsBusters post to express his displeasure that a Fox News host, Megyn Kelly, committed the offense of defending "'transgender' activist" Bono from the attacks of another Fox News figure, Dr. Ketih Ablow. Graham added, "Who said Fox News was the right-wing channel?"

Of course, if Graham really believes that, he also has to admit that ABC is not the "liberal media" outlet he and his employer portray it as because the MRC's Dan Gainor made an appearance on ABC's "Nightline" to peddle his employer's talking points on Bono.

Graham has decided that anyone who doesn't despise transgenders as much as he does is some kind of "activist." In addition to Bono, Graham described Kelly as "a 'special guest' at a Manhattan fundraiser for the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association" (and someone who "is going to earn an award from LGBT activists for getting vein-popping angry" at Ablow), and an article by a psychiatrist who rebutted Ablow "was borrowed from the blog of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBT lobby  -- which might make one think there's more than 'science' here in the mix." As if Graham's Bono-bashing was free from the taint of pushing an agenda.

After noting Kelly's response to Ablow's silly contention that young children might get confused about their gender by  watching Bono on "Dancing with the Stars" by noting that "our children are no more likely to turn transgender from watching Chaz Bono on this show than they are likely to turn gay from watching 'Will and Grace,'" Graham huffed: "Kelly did not admit that gay-left advocates often cite pro-LGBT shows on the major networks as proof that 'tolerance' is on the march and conservatives should stop opposing them in public."

Well, Graham did not admit that the psychiatrist he attacked as purportedly being too close to "the nation's largest LGBT lobby," Jack Drescher, stated that Ablow made his claims "without much scientific evidence,' and that Ablow's "views on gender confusion mix apples with oranges and have little basis in current clinical practices." Nor did Graham mention that the writer, according to his FoxNews.com bio, is "a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a member of the DSM-5 Workgroup on Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders."

We'd trust Drescher on this stuff much more than we would Graham, Ablow, or anyone else at the MRC.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:20 PM EDT
WND Republishes Obama-Bashing Falsehoods
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Right-wing activist Robert Knight penned a column for the Washington Times headlined "Obama tears up the Constitution," in which he accused President Obama of having "compiled a spectacular record of noncompliance with the Constitution" and "failed to execute the laws while using raw, unauthorized power." But as Media Matters detailed, Knight misleads or is completely wrong on everything from the Defense of Marriage Act to the New Black Panthers to immigration.

So what does WorldNetDaily -- which admits that it publishes misinformation -- do? It republishes Knight's column, falsehoods and all.

Then again, WND founder and editor Joseph Farah has admitted that his website publishes misinformation, so it's really no surprise that it would so blatantly hide the truth in order to advance its right-wing political agenda.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:45 AM EDT
NewsBusters Complains That Media Describes Historic Event As Historic
Topic: NewsBusters

A Sept. 20 NewsBusters post by Matthew Balan complained that "The Big Three networks unequivocally celebrated the end of the military's 'don't ask, don't tell' policy as a 'historic moment' on their Tuesday morning programs."

That's right -- Balan is complaining that a historic event is being described in the media as historic.

The MRC has an issue with conceding that historical events are historic when they involve arguably liberal causes. Earlier this year, Balan cited as an example of John Roberts' "reputation for liberal bias" his description of America's first presidential primary between a black and a woman as "historic."


Posted by Terry K. at 8:52 AM EDT
CNS Runs Another AP Headline Through The Bias Machine
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com adds yet another entry to its growing list of Associated Press headlines it has rewritten to add right-wing bias.

Here's how the AP headlined an Sept. 20 article on the season debut of "Dancing With the Stars," which includes transgendered Chaz Bono: "New 'Dancing' cast makes its ballroom debut."

Run that same story through the bias machine at CNS, and it magically has a new headline: "'Dancing With the Stars' Rolls Out Its Transgender-Acceptance Season."


Never mind that the word "transgender" never appears in the article, nor does it discuss the issue of "acceptance." The MRC clearly has an agenda to push, and its marching orders are to freak out over the existence of Bono.

Between the rampant headline-rewriting and its bashing of AP as a "liberal media outlet," one has to wonder why CNS even bothers to pay it money for the privilege of publishing its stories on the CNS website (beyond trying to create the illusion that CNS is a real "news" organization, that is).


Posted by Terry K. at 12:35 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 12:41 AM EDT
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Kessler Fluffs Bush Through Plagiarism-Prone Ex-Aide
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax's Ronald Kessler has been a longtime fluffer of George W. Bush and his presidency. A new book by a former Bush aide gives him the opportunity to fluff once again.

Kessler's Sept. 15 column downplays the rampant plagiarism former Bush aide Tim Goeglein committed -- it's not mentioned until the fifth paragraph of his column, and well after he calls Goeglein "the conservative voice of the White House" who "acted as liaison with conservatives, taking Bush’s message to them and bringing back their concerns and suggestions" -- and quickly turns the story to the saintly actions of Bush:

“I departed the White House that Friday shattered and fearful, exiting the White House gates as I had done a thousand times before and vowing to myself that, even as I returned to work to foster a smooth transition for my successor, I would never again darken the doorstep of the West Wing,” Goeglein writes.

The following week, Josh Bolten, Bush’s chief of staff, told Goeglein that Bush wanted to see him. A few days later, Goeglein walked into the Oval Office and began by offering an apology; Bush cut him off.

“Tim,” he said, “I want you to know I forgive you.”

“But Mr. President, I owe you . . .”

“Tim,” he said, “I have known mercy and grace in my own life, and I am offering it to you now. You are forgiven,” he said firmly.

Then Bush stunned Goeglein even more. Bush said he wanted him to bring in his wife Jenny and two sons. The following week, they all met with Bush in the Oval Office.

“He gave each boy presidential gifts; photos were snapped; hugs all around and handshakes; we departed in a daze of gratitude,” Goeglein says.

“I was stunned not only that he offered his sense of forgiveness to me but also that he wanted to extend that grace and mercy to my family,” Goeglein says.

Kessler lets Goeglein explain away his plagiarism as "an extension of my horrid pride," as he also downplayed the extent of it. Kessler wrote that according to the Fort Wayne, Ind., newspaper that published Goeglein, "20 of 38 Goeglein columns between 2000 and 2008 contained 'portions copied from other sources without attribution.'" In fact, the paper found a total of 27 Goeglein columns dating to 1995 containing some form of plagiarism. Kessler also denies credit to the blogger who first discovered the plagiarism.

Kessler does, however, make sure offer a weird endorsement of Goeglein's book: "In his book, he presents a thoughtful critique of conservatism and what it means today. Ironically, in view of his plagiarism, the book is a breezy read, impressively researched, and full of thoughtful insights."

Kessler does not indicate whether he did any spot-checking to see if Goeglein plagiarized any part of his book.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:54 PM EDT

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