Mitt Romney got in trouble last week over a Washington Post story reporting that when he was attending an exclusive boarding school in the mid-1960s, he took part in an incident in which he cut the longish hair of a student who was presumed to be gay.
That didn't look good for Romney. That means it was time for Romney fluffer extraordinare Ronald Kessler to do some damage control.And that's exactly what Kessler does in a spin-laden May 11 Newsmax column:
As a high school prankster myself, I know that pranks can get out of hand. Looking back, we can’t believe that we could have been so stupid and wrongheaded.
Romney said he didn’t remember the Lauber incident from almost 50 years ago, but he didn’t dispute that it happened. He stressed that he didn’t know either student was gay.
Indeed, having grown up in the same era in Belmont, Mass., where Romney later lived, I know that we had only the vaguest idea of what being gay meant. Other Romney classmates have said that Romney was not a bully nor homophobic when a student at the private Cranbrook School. Moreover, as governor and as a presidential candidate, Romney has hired individuals who are openly gay.
Of course, having "only the vaguest idea of what being gay meant" was more than enough license to lash out at anyone suspected to be so, especially in the mid-'60s when such things were simply not discussed in public and vagueness ruled the day.
Kessler then segues into a story from a childhood friend of Romney's about what a "master" prankster he was.
Way to furiously spin for your candidate there, Ron.
UPDATE: Kessler does a two-in-one for his May 14 column, which has Romney adviser Bay Buchanan on to not only plug her book for shill for Romney as well.
WND's Kovacs, Corsi Still Pursuing Silly Obama-Breitbart Death Conspiracy Topic: WorldNetDaily
Contrary to what we might have believed, it appears that WorldNetDaily's Joe Kovacs is not done embarrassing himself in trying to forward a conspiracy that President Obama is somehow involved in the death of a medical examiner who he thinks was involved in the autopsy on right-wing activist Andrew Breitbart.
In a May 10 WND article, Kovacs declares that "Law-enforcement officials in California are now speaking out on the mysterious death of one of their own forensic technicians who died the day autopsy results were released for conservative powerhouse Andrew Breitbart." And what are they speaking out about? Kovacs' discredited suggestion that the man played a role in Breitbart's autopsy.
Kovacs doesn't admit that he peddled that claim, of course -- that would be acting like a real journalist, which his involvement in promoting this silly conspiracy demonstrates he is not, despite his claim that he joined WND to report on the "real news."
We apologize for suggesting Kovacs might have a sense of shame about what he "reports" for WND. It's clear he does not. We apologize.
Meanwhile, one person we know has absolutely no sense of shame is Jerome Corsi. After writing a breathless article about how "the only eyewitness to the sudden death of media innovator and conservative activist Andrew Breitbart" had mysteriously disappeared,he followed up with a May 11 article going all conspiratorial about a purported "thick white band around Breitbart’s forehead."
In the same article, Corsi shows off how deficient his reporting skills are. After beginning the article by touting how "On assignment from WND, Los Angeles private investigator Paul Huebl found" that missing witness, Corsi writes later in the article:
Huebl earlier sold a video of his first interview with Lasseter to TMZ.com.
WND asked Casey Carver, a spokesman for TMZ.com, how much TMZ.com paid for the video interview and why it had decided not to air the interview with Lasseter that it purchased from Huebl.
Carver did not respond to WND’s inquiries.
Nowhere is it indicated that Corsi ever asked Huebl how much TMZ paid him -- despite the fact that Huebl is on WND's payroll.
And if Corsi is so interested in disclosure, why doesn't Corsi tell us how much he and WND are paying Huebl? Is the money for hiring sleazy private investigators -- and as the screenshot above from Corsi's video indicates, Huebl certainly does look sleazy -- acoming out of the Super PAC-esque operation Joseph Farah is begging his readers to fund?
NewsBusters Comes to Bill Donohue's Defense, Doesn't Disclose MRC's Link To Him Topic: NewsBusters
In a May 10 NewsBusters post, Brad Wilmouth complained that "CNN host Piers Morgan mocked Catholic League president Bill Donohue's declaration that Catholicism demands that gay children should still be loved by their parents by suggesting in a later segment that he would have more respect for Donohue's opposition to gay marriage if he would just claim to 'hate' homosexuals instead of being 'wishy washy.'"
Wilmouth failed to mention that his boss, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell, is on the board of advisers of Donohue's Catholic League. That seems relevant to Wilmouth's defense of Donohue.
Will WND's Kinsolving Stop Touting His Pulitzer Nominations? Topic: WorldNetDaily
Last week, Jonah Goldberg was busted for touting in a book jacket blurb for his new book as having "twice been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize." As MSNBC details, that bit of resume padding is utterly meaningless -- all it takes to be nominated for a is filling out an entry form and paying a $50 fee.
But Goldberg is not the only right-winger who does that. The online bio of WorldNetDaily writer Les Kinsolving touts how he was "twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for his commentary":
These nominations were expanded upon in the fluffy, WND-published Kinsolving bio "Gadfly," authored by his daughter Kathleen. The first was for a religion column he wrote in the late 1960s and was submitted by the newspaper that syndicated it; no specific examples of the nominated commentary are identified in the book.
The second came in 1973 from the newspaper he worked for -- though, ironically, not for the closest thing to real journalism he ever did: Early reporting on the Jim Jones-led People's Temple, a religious cult then based in San Francisco which later relocated to Guyana and years later staged a mass suicide of its members.
Even if one were to take Kinsolving's Pulitzer nominations at face value, this means that he has done nothing Pulitzer-worthy for nearly 40 years. Of course, if you've seen Kinsolving's biasedquestioning, temper tantrums and rampant homophobia at WND, you knew that already.
Will Kinsolving and WND be as chastened as Goldberg and remove that meaningless bit of puffery from Kinsolving's bio? Don't count on it.
CNS Baselessly Calls Federal Funding to Planned Parenthood 'Fungible' Topic: CNSNews.com
In a May 9 CNSNews.com article about federal Title X family planning money going to Planned Parenthood, Elizabeth Harrington writes:
Although the law prevents Title X family planning funds from being used for abortions, money is fungible and, as the latest data show, Planned Parenthood received a reported $79 million in Title X funding in 2010, and a total of approximately $342 million between 2002 and 2008.
Harrington offers no evidence that the Title X money to Planned Parenthood is "fungible." Instead, she is invoking a common right-wing argument against any federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
That makes Harrington an ideologue, not a journalist. Anyone surprised?
WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh, it seems, is incapable of doing any fact-checking on the articles he writes.
In a May 10 WND article that simply parrots the claims of a right-wing student-rights group Foundation For Individual Rights in Education, asserting that Caleb Warner, a former student at the University fo North Dakota, "was found guilty of sexual assault by a campus court." In fact, as the Associated Press reported, Warner was found guilty by a school tribunal -- not a "campus court" -- of violations of the school's code of student life, not of "sexual assault." Warner was then kicked out of school.
In other words, Unruh told two lies in a mere 10 words. That must be close to a record.
To explain: Warner was accused by a fellow student of sexual assault. Warner insisted the sexual encounter with the woman was consensual. He was later cleared of criminal charges, and the is an outstanding warrant out for the woman for lying to the police. Warner tried to get the school to re-open the case, represented by FIRE, claiming that the college tribunal should be subject to the formality and due process a defendant receives in a court a law. The school declined.
While there is clearly an issue here, it doesn't give license to Unruh to embellish things by inventing a "campus court" that could find people "guilty" of criminal acts.
On top of that, it's clear that Unruh talked only to FIRE; no indication is made that he bothered to contact school officials. He's rather prone to that sort of thing.
Newsmax Baselessly Calls Obama Gay Marriage Stance A 'Debacle' Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax is carrying a front page headline that reads "Biden Apologizes to Obama for Gay Marriage Debacle":
But if you look at the Bloomberg article it links to, it carries the headline "Biden Said to Apologize to Obama for Forcing Gay Marriage Issue." And nowhere in the article does the word "debacle" appear, stating only that Biden's remarks "prompted the president to disclose his support for same-sex marriage before he planned to." Not exactly anyone's definition of a "debacle."
Obama's stance on gay marriage can be described many ways, but a "debacle" isn't one of them. That's just wishful thinking on Newsmax's part.
Quid Pro Quo: WND's Corsi Helps Arpaio Deflect Scandal Topic: WorldNetDaily
Jerome Corsi is in bed with Sheriff Joe Arpaio. (Sorry about the mental imagery.) Corsi has special access to the cold case posse "investigation" of President Obama's "eligibility" -- which he played a key role in instigating -- and he apparently has been made a secret "special deputy" by Arpaio. Therefore, anything Corsi says about Arpaio should be seen as one sees a press release: stenography that shold not be mistaken for "news."
So when Arpaio was finally sued by federal officials for allegedly violating the civil rights of Latinos, he knew he could count on Corsi to serve as his stenographer and wingman. And that's exactly what Corsi does. It's a nice quid pro quo.
Corsi's first response to the charges was a May 9 WorldNetDaily article providing Arpaio's response, repeating earlier unsubstantiated claims that there is "White House coordination in an effort to remove from him from office or discredit him before his investigation uncovers more about Obama’s past."
Corsi spins even more furiously for Arpaio in a May 10 article featuring Arpaio in full attack mode, resuming his attack on one Arpaio critic, Randy Parraz, as a "radical agitator with a union-trained background as a Saul Alinsky 'organizer.'"
Corsi tems with Arpaio to try and change the subject from Arpaio's alleged criminality with another May 10 article touting how the cold case posse "has pressed the director of the Selective Service System not to destroy any microfilm records that may yet exist of Obama’s 1980 draft registration form."
Corsi repeats claims that Obama's Selective Service registration was a forgery because of alleged anomalies in the post office stamp that recorded it -- a claim that has largely been discredited.
Expect Corsi to report on that around the time he answers the question of whether he is a "special deputy" of Arpaio.
Shocker: MRC Finally Discovers Media Bias on Fox News! Topic: NewsBusters
Well, here's a rarity: the Media Research Center criticizes Fox News for exhibiting bias. Not the conservative bias for which it's infamous, of course, but for not hating gays enough.
Jeffrey Mayer was indignant in a May 9 NewsBusters post:
On Wednesday’s edition of Studio B w/ Shepard Smith, anchor Smith let slip his personal political views on same-sex marriage with some condescending remarks about how being pro-traditional marriage is an outdated notion. Following the "official" announcement that Barack Obama now supports same-sex marriage, Smith opined that the President of the United States is "now in the 21st century," suggesting of course that the near half of Americans who support traditional marriage are somehow retrograde.
Smith’s true colors became more apparent in the hour during the first of two interviews he conducted with the host of Special Report, Bret Baier:
What I’m curious about whether it’s your belief in this time of rising debts and medical issues and all the rest, if Republicans would go out on a limb and try to make this a campaign issue while sitting very firmly without much question on the wrong side of history on it?
After the interview Smith furthered the liberal talking point with what seems to be a veiled reference comparing same-sex marriage to the 1960s civil rights struggles:
Of course, in reality, what really matters is what governors are saying, this makes no legal changes of any kind, this is a states issue for now, at least, which may sound familiar to a couple of generations ago, but that's where we are.
These two comments helped Smith continue his gay rights crusade later on in the show where he again spoke to Baier and commented again that, "Shades of segregation and states rights and the whole thing [are] playing itself out all over again isn’t it?"
Of course, the MRC has never criticized a Fox host for expressing their personal views when those views are conservative, as its "news" anchors regularlydo.
Mayer followed up with a May 10 post bashing MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell for highlighting Shepard's comments -- or, as Mayer tells is\t, "prais[ing] him for violating FNC's central value of remaining 'fair and balanced.'" Mayer doesn't actually watch Fox News, does he?
Mayer also gave a pass to Fox News-operated website Fox Nation claiming that Obama was "declar[ing] war on marriage" with his support of same-sex marriage. That's apparently the kind of "fair and balanced" Fox coverage Mayer prefers.
WND Denigrates Gay Activist As 'Promo-Homo' Topic: WorldNetDaily
A May 10 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh carries the headline "Promo-homo's case tossed out of court." No, really:
Unruh's article involves a defamation lawsuit filed by gay activist Wayne Besen against Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX). The lawsuit was dismissed because Besen was deemed a “public figure,” which raises the bar on proving malice in defamation lawsuits. But in Unruh's PFOX-friendly version of events, it was dismissed because Besen "admitted to 'self-aggrandizement' in court papers."
Unruh goes on to parrot PFOX's version of the story behind the lawsuit:
PFOX reported that the federal judge tossed out the lawsuit by Besen. The case was prompted by [PFOX president Greg] Quinlan’s statements “that Besen had been fired from the Human Rights Campaign and had uttered hateful rhetoric against Quinlan because he disagreed with Quinlan’s ex-gay sexual orientation.”
In the arguments raised by Besen, PFOX reported that “Besen once told Quinlan in a private conversation that someone should run him over with a bus or inject him with AIDS.”
(That ellipse jumps over an irrelevant five-paragraph digression about Dan Savage, who played no role whatsoever in this lawsuit.)
Besen's organization, Truth Wins Out, tells a much different version of events, pointing out that Quinlan had originally claimed that Besen said "statements to other people" about Quinlan, then changed his story "when confronted with TWO’s threat of a lawsuit." Quinlan never disclosed the date and location where the supposed "private conversation" between he and Besen occured, according to Truth Wins Out.
Regarding Quinlan's claimed that Besen was "fired from the Human Rights Campaign," TWO supplied a letter from the group refuting the claim. Quinlan's repeat of the false claim in a press release, TWO states, "set[s] the stage for another potential lawsuit." Unruh's uncritical cribbing from that press release may expose WND to legal action as well.
CNS' Jeffrey Misleads on Women in Workforce Topic: CNSNews.com
Terry Jeffrey declares in a May 9 CNSNews.com article:
324,000 women dropped out of the nation’s civilian labor force in March and April as the number of women not in the labor force hit an all-time historical high of 53,321,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What Jeffrey doesn't tell you: According to the BLS statistics he cites -- which he links to in the first paragraph of his article -- the nmber of women not in the labor force has been on a steady increase since 1999.
Further, Jeffrey concedes later in his article that the number of women in the workforce is near historic highs, and it hit a historic high in February.
While Jeffrey does not mention Obama in his article, it's clear that's who he wants to blame for this, given the prominent picture of Obama at the top of his article:
So, what we have here is Jeffrey once again using his purported "news" website to indulge his personal hatred of Obama. Talk about unprofessional behavior.
Did Minister Sabotage His YouTube Account To Promote His WND Book? Topic: WorldNetDaily
Last week, we detailed how WorldNetDaily promoted the story of YouTube suspending the channel of "ministry" PPSimmons -- which once claimed that President Obama is the Antichrist and has made numerous birther videos -- while failing to disclose that WND is publishing a book by PPSimmons' leader, Carl Gallups, later this month. That got us to wondering if the shutdown was provoked in order to promote the book.
Now, a May 8 WND article by Michael Thompson informs us that YouTube has restored the PPSimmons channel after "a firestorm of protest from the more than 21,000 subscribers to the PPSimmons YouTube Channel." Thompson includes this interesting tidbit:
“After the outrage created by the WND story, my ministry was bombarded with emails and requests for me to appear on radio programs to discuss what happened and the outpouring of support was just tremendous,” said Gallups.
“Well, one of the emails we got was from a fan of the PPSimmons YouTube Channel who knew someone that worked at Google’s headquarters in Silicon Valley. That person investigated why our channel was taken down and found out that we were targeted in a mass ‘flagging’ campaign,” Gallups said.
All videos that are posted on YouTube can be rated by those who view it; an individual can click the “like” button (a “thumbs up” icon); or they can click the dislike button (a “thumbs down” icon); they can click an icon a “flag” to alert YouTube that the video they just viewed needs to be “flagged as inappropriate.”
The source inside Google, who must remain anonymous, told Gallups that a “coordinated flagging” campaign had occurred, which triggered the channel to be pulled.
That tells us how easy it is to provoke YouTube into suspending the account. That "coordinated flagging" campaign -- neither Gallups nor Thompson offer any evidence that anyone actually called for one -- could just as easily been conducted by Gallups and WND, with the explicit intent of exploting the controversy in order to promote Gallups' book "The Magic Man in the Sky." Thompson makes sure to prominently plug the book in the second paragraph of his article and, again, fails to disclose that it's published by WND.
If you think WND is not capable of such underhanded tactics to promote something, you haven't been observing WND. In 2008, for example, WND was practically begging for Muslims to riot over its placing of an image of Muhammad on the cover of its 2008 book "Why We Left Islam." But even Muslim extremists don't care what WND does.
Underhanded tactics are practically WND's modus operandi. There's no reason not to assume that this is yet another one.
NewsBusters Hates It When Conservatives Get Fact-Checked Topic: NewsBusters
We've documented how the Media Research Center's "Tell the Truth!" campaign really means it doesn't want the truth told about conservatives. We see that again in a May 9 NewsBusters post, in which Matthew Sheffield claims that fact-checking has a liberal bias.
Sheffield rails against the Washington Post's fact-check of an Americans for Prosperity attacking the stimulus bill for allegedly giving more than $2 billion to "foreign companies," forwhich the Post gave the ad four Pinnochios. Sheffield claimed the Post fact-check was "a pro-Obama puff piece" with the goal of "protect[ing] the Obama legacy," adding:
The “fact-checking” label they slapped onto their article was itself a lie, but these days the liberal media uses the “fact-check” label as a fig leaf to cover its partisan biases and mislead readers and viewers into thinking they are getting an unbiased, factual investigation of the truthfulness of political ads.
But Sheffield's attack on the fact-check is deceptive. He insists that the claim of $2 billion in stimulus money going to "foreign companies" is a "fact," and that the Post "neither fact-checked the ad nor debunked it." Sheffield never directly quotes from the fact-check, which means he's hiding the fact that it did address the ad's claims, including that one:
First of all, we live in a globalized world. American companies make products overseas; foreign companies make products in the United States. Sometimes parts are made in a variety of places overseas and then assembled in the United States. That’s a fact of life, and these ads frequently confuse the difference, so that any hint of foreign involvement is depicted as a bad thing.
Both ads cite the same source — a Washington Times article from Sept. 9, 2010 — for the claim that “jobs were sent overseas” (American Future Fund, which displays a Chinese flag when those words are said) or that “$2.3 billion of taxpayer credits went overseas while millions of Americans can’t find a job” (Americans for Prosperity).
The article actually said that the tax credits “went to foreign firms that employed workers primarily in countries including China, South Korea and Spain, rather than in the United States.”
That’s different from saying the money went overseas; it is talking about companies based overseas. Indeed, the original source for that information was American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop, and its reporting was much more nuanced. Its reports noted, for instance, that foreign-owned firms already dominate the market for wind turbines. In some cases, the firms have U.S. facilities or U.S. subsidiaries, which then assemble the turbines with foreign-made parts. So most of the jobs are in the United States, not overseas.
Indeed, the Post went on to specifically address other claims in the ad, contrary to Sheffield's assertion:
Similar faulty reasoning extends to other claims in the ads. Americans for Prosperity says that “$1.2 billion [went] to a solar company building a plant in Mexico.” So what? The stimulus money went to a solar plant in California; the Mexican plant is simply another investment.
Another claim — “half a billion to a car company that created hundreds of jobs in Finland” — cites ABC News. That report focused on the fact that engineering and tooling work for a new electric vehicle — funded through the Energy Department — was being done in the United States, but that the vehicles are being assembled at a plant in Finland because the United States did not have right facilities. But ABC noted that Fisker will “ultimately produce 2,500 more jobs when Fisker builds a lower-priced version of the car in Delaware.”
Americans for Prosperity also asserts that the stimulus bill sent “tens of millions of dollars to build traffic lights in China.” The source is the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, but again, the article was much more nuanced. The traffic lights are for the United States market, but the article noted that there is a shortage of American-made light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, so parts are sourced overseas while the lights were assembled in the United States.
One can certainly raise questions about how stimulus funding was used and whether it was effective. But there is no excuse for these kinds of ads, which take facts out of context or simply invent them. These groups should be especially ashamed, given that these claims have been previously debunked, or, in the case of the erroneous ABC report, withdrawn.
Sheffield is simply lying about the Post fact-check. Yet he asserts that "the verdicts of the 'fact-checkers' must be fact-checked, too."
Presumably, Sheffield thinks he is the exception to that rule.
WND's Farah Laments He Can't 'String Up' Alinsky For Not Thinking Like He Does Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah uses his May 7 WorldNetDailiy column to argue that Satan was the first leftist, citing as evidence Saul Alinsky's "over-the-shoulder acknowledgment" to Lucifer as "the very first radical" in his book "Rules for Radicals." Farah then laments that he can't "string up" Alinsky:
Lucifer was the first radical, the first rebel, the first opponent of God’s order. And even a pedigreed lefty like Alinsky agreed they were kindred spirits.
It may be too late to string up Alinsky. It may be too late to string up the agitators of the French Revolution. It may be too late to string up Karl Marx or Josef Stalin or Adolf Hitler (another lefty, by the way) or V.I. Lenin or Mao.
Farah doesn't identify any offense Alinsky committed that would require him to be "strung up." Organizing powerless people to work in their best interests? That's not a crime, let along anything akin to what Hitler or Stalin did.
Which means Farah wants to "string up" Alinsky for disagreeing with him. That's not a crime either, however much Farah might want it to be.
NEW ARTICLE: CNS Goes Bottom-Feeding for Readers Topic: CNSNews.com
Under Terry Jeffrey, CNSNews.com is becoming a propaganda mill that attracts racist, misogynistic and homophobic readers to its comment threads. Read more >>