MRC Can't Stop Playing Down Anti-Mormonism Among Conservatives Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has long been selectively oblivious to right-wing criticism of Mitt Romney's Mormon religion. In April, for instance, Matt Philbin wrote that "the only ones who believe Romney’s religion worth discussion are liberal reporters themselves" -- conveniently ignoring the numerousevangelicals who raised questions about Romney's Mormonism during the Republican presidential primary.
One of those critics was Robert Jeffress, a prominent evangelical pastor and a supporter of Romney rival Rick Perry. The MRC did its best to ignore Jeffress' anti-Mormon remarks, even blaming the media for reporting them, as in a October 2011 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock. In another October 2011 post, Brad Wilmouth tried to spin it away by parroting a Fox News claim that "self-identified Republican voters are substantially more willing to accept a Mormon President compared to Democrats."
(The MRC has been trying to divert attention from Jeffress for years. In a 2007 post, Ken Shepherd whined that an "anti-Mitt Romney sermon" by Jeffress was reported in a newsapaper "a full 18 days" after the remarks were made, laughably insisting that any controversy in evangelical circles about Romney's religion "might be rather dormant" and blaming the media for "pushing a storyline to influence the presidential election.")
The MRC is at it again. In a June 27 NewsBusters post, Jeffrey Meyer complains that MSNBC's Martin Bashir is "painting Republicans as anti-Mormom bigots who are terrified of their own presumptive presidential nominee's faith." Meyer insisted that "Bashir doesn’t know that anti-Mormonism is more common among Democrats not Republicans" and quoted Southern Baptist leader Richard Land expressed, “most evangelicals already know what Mormonism believes and most of them are prepared to vote for Mitt Romney in a general election against Barack Obama in spite of his Mormonism.”
Not only is Meyer completely silent about Jeffress (who has since grudgingly endorsed Romney), it turns out that another Southern Baptist official, Todd Akin, has said that it would be easier for Christians to vote for Newt Gingrich -- who's on his third marriage and has committed adultery -- than Romney.
This is just another example of the MRC not wanting the truth to be told about something that makes conservatives look bad.
NEW ARTICLE -- Out There, Exhibit 56: Ellis Washington's Imaginary Socrates Topic: WorldNetDaily
The WorldNetDaily columnist loves to present skewed so-called "dialectics" in which he plays the great Greek philosopher as a judgmental, ad hominem-throwing right-wing nutjob -- not unlike Washington himself. Read more >>
Fred Lucas puts words in Obama's mouth in a June 26 CNSNews.com article:
Listing the reasons why Americans should vote for him, President Barack Obama told an audience at a high school in New Hampshire on Monday that failure to subsidize abortions and contraception is the same as “restricting access” to those services.
At no point does Obama say that he supports "subsidized abortions." In fact, the word "abortion" appears nowhere in the Obama speech Lucas is writing about, and it certainly doesn't appear in the speech excerpt Lucas includes in his article.
Lucas is simply making up stuff here, inventing meanings for Obama's reference to "restricting access to birth control or defunding Planned Parenthood." As we've previously detailed, no federal money awarded to Planned Parenthood is spent on abortions, no matter how much CNS falsely implies it.
Why does Lucas think it's OK to lie so blatantly about Obama? Because his boss, Terry Jeffrey, has made Obama-hate a major part of CNS' editorial policy.
Newsmax's Ruddy Lies About Obama's Immigration Policy Topic: Newsmax
Christopher Ruddy writes in his June 26 Newsmax column:
Despite lacking overall public support, President Obama’s recent decision to offer amnesty to the children of illegal aliens who meet certain criteria and are in the country in good standing, which could apply to 800,000 people, is a deft political move that may help him keep the White House — unless his GOP rival Mitt Romney acts decisively.
First, it's not "amnesty." As we've pointed out, the policy change permits prosecutorial discretion in delaying legal action against certain undocumented immigrants -- something that, by definition, is not "amnesty."
Second, this policy does not lack public support -- which Ruddy would know if he had read his own website. A June 19 Newsmax article stated that most voters "agree with President Obama’s decision to allow young people brought here illegally who meet certain criteria to avoid deportation."
The article highlighted a poll by the right-leaning Rasmussen Reports finding that 71 percent of Americans "think someone brought to this country illegally when they were under 16 should be allowed to apply for a work permit rather than be deported if they have no criminal record, have graduated from high school or have served in the military" -- the same group of people affected by Obama's policy change. Further, 58 percent of Republicans support that policy.
Ruddy also encourages Mitt Romney to pick Marco Rubio as his vice president, because he is "a favorite of conservatives and would be a historic choice for Romney, one that would demonstrate in a very powerful way a desire to bring Hispanics into the Republican Party and a future Romney administration."
More Birther Stuff WND Won't Report Topic: WorldNetDaily
We already know that WorldNetDaily won't tell its readers about any inconvenient facts that disrupt its birther narrative. Here are a couple more.
On June 22, Salon's Irin Carmon reported that during a recent visit to Kenya, she paid a visit to Barack Obama's step-grandmother, Sarah. After asking a certain question in a straightforward manner -- unlike, say, a certain Anabaptist minister -- and got a straightforward answer:
I said, “Some people want to believe that the president was born in Kenya. Have these people ever bothered you or asked for his birth certificate?”
Mrs. Obama looked concerned, started to protest. But it turned out it was because the rabbits, post-coitus, had started to run away via a security guard’s carelessly ajar gate.
I repeated my question and it was translated. Mrs. Obama wrinkled up her face. Then the interpreter jumped in: “She says, ‘But Barack Obama wasn’t born in Kenya.’” That should settle it.
It won't settle things for WND, which has repeatedly pushed the claim that Sarah Obama said Barack was born in Kenya.
Also, the Obama Conspiracy blog notes that a complaint has been filed with the Internal Revenue Service challenging the Cold Case Posse's 501(c)3 status because of its alleged political activity in its "investigation" of Obama's "eligibility" -- posse leader Mike Zullo has indicated that the investigation has a goal of affecting the 2012 election -- as well as members of the posse using it for personal gain in the form of Zullo and Jerome Corsi keeping the profits from their e-book on the investigation.
You won't hear about any of this unless WND figures out a way to spin it.
CNSNews.com, as we've detailed, is rapidly turning itself into a flytrap for racists, misogynists and homophobes -- something editor in chief Terry Jeffrey seems to be actively trying to make happen.
We see this again in a June 24 article by Jeffrey on President Obama marking the 40th anniversary fo Title IX , a federal law barring discrimination in education. The headline on Jeffrey's article indicates the Obama-hate he brings to it: 25% Fewer Men Than Women Graduate College; Obama: It's ‘A Great Accomplishment ... For America'."
Jeffrey's readers respond to his hatred -- oh boy, do they respond. The comment threads contain the usual misogynism one can expect in an article about giving women equal rights, with a bit of conspiracy theorizing blaming the Rockefellers for feminism:
Jeffrey also managed attract a couple of outright racists to his thread, who call Obama an "African chimp" and a "dark-skinned baboon":
The fact that such offensive statements have remained posted in the thread for at least a day after they were posted -- not to mention the number of "likes" those comments received -- shows that CNS doesn't care about the kind of readers it attracts. It certainly doesn't mind that such hateful people like its website.
Aaron Klein Guilt-By-Association Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
Aaron Klein loves to hurl specious guilt-by-association attacks against the Obama administration. He tries again with this June 25 article:
Saleha Mahmood Abedin, the mother of Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff, reportedly served in the women’s division of the Muslim Brotherhood alongside the wife of Egypt’s new president, the Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi.
That's right -- Hillary Clinton is somehow "tied" to the Muslim Brotherhood because of the mother of her chief of staff.
But that's not the best part. Guess who the source for this information is?
Now, author Walid Shoebat is reporting that while she acted as one of 63 leaders of the Muslim Sisterhood, the de facto female version of the Muslim Brotherhood, Saleha Abedin served alongside Najla Ali Mahmoud, the wife of Mursi. Both were members of the Sisterhood’s Guidance Bureau, found Shoebat.
That would be the same Walid Shoebat who has been credibly accused of embellishing, if not outright lying about, his alleged background as a former terrorist. Klein, of course, mentions nothing about Shoebat's lack of credibility.
The fact that Klein thinks Shoebat is credible speaks volumes about the credibility of Klein and WND.
AIM: Putting Obama's Words In Proper Context Is 'Spin' Topic: Accuracy in Media
The idea that it's "spin" to accurately report what President Obama says in its proper context is spreading from the Media Research Center to Accuracy in Media.
In a June 22 AIM post -- also, fittingly, posted at the MRC's NewsBusters -- Republican Rep. Lamar Smith complains that the media is telling the truth about Obama's remark that "the private sector is doing fine" by pointing out the fact that he was speaking about job growth in the private sector vs. job losses in the public sector. But Smith -- who leads something called the Media Fairness Caucus in the House -- does not believe in fairness and accuracy when it comes to Obama :
Americans’ economic situations are not “fine.” Shortly after President Obama’s address on the economy, the Federal Reserve issued a new report that found Americans’ average net worth dropped by nearly 40% from 2007 to 2010. It is common sense that this new report would be highlighted by the media in contrast to President Obama’s claim a couple days earlier that the “private sector is doing fine.”
Americans deserve true objective reports from the media instead of biased reports to protect the President. Americans are concerned about the economy as many are unemployed or underemployed. The liberal national media owe it to the American public to provide objective coverage when discussing this and other issues.
But the media Smith cited were reporting accurately about Obama's remarks. The fact that the truth is inconvenient to Smith's right-wing agenda doesn't change that.
John Rocker Is Now A WND Columnist Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has announced that it has hired former baseball player John Rocker as an "exclusive weekly columnist." If that name sounds familiar, WND is eager to explain it away:
A fierce defender of conservative values, Rocker says his book, “Scars and Strikes,”is a wake-up call to those who base their perception of him on the Sports Illustrated article that led to a 14-game suspension from baseball in 2000. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig assigned Rocker to mandatory “sensitivity” training as part of his “sentence.”
Jeff Pearlman was the Sports Illustrated writer whose report sparked a media firestorm aimed at Rocker.
Commenting on ever playing for a New York team, Rocker told Pearlman: “I would retire first. It’s the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the [Number] 7 train to the ballpark, looking like you’re [riding through] Beirut next to some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It’s depressing.”
Rocker’s teammates and friends in Major League Baseball rushed to defend him, but the damage was done.
That's right -- a guy best known for making numerous insensitive racial remarks now writes for WND.
WND softened up its readers toward Rocker in a May 29 profile by Michael Thompson, who described Rocker's racially charged rhetoric as merely "politically incorrect" and claimed that "Rocker was the first victim of many shots in the politically correct war waged against patriotic Americans."
Thompson also helped Rocker get back at Pearlman, calling him "notorious" and claiming without evidence that Pearlman "goaded" Rocker "into saying controversial things." Thompson uncritically quoted Rocker saying that Pearlman penned "eerily similar hatchet jobs to dozens of other subjects during his 20 year career."
Thompson made no apparent effort to contact Pearlman for his response to Rocker's attacks.
Thompson did further sucking up to Rocker in an accompanying article recounting how Rocker once went "an incredible 21-and-a-half innings without giving up a run in the playoffs."
After getting such fawning, uncritical treatment in which his every personal attack on Pearlman is treated as the gospel truth, why wouldn't Rocker want to write for WND?
Joseph Farah's Myopic Support of Syrian Dictator Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've detailed how WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein is taking the side of murderous Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Now his boss is doing the same thing:
In his June 22 WND column, Joseph Farah at least concedes, unlike Klein, that Assad is a bad person. But that's OK because the other side is worse:
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have always been a staunch critic of Bashar al-Assad and his tyrant father before him. But, in the Middle East, the choice is often between bad and worse. And, predictably, Barack Obama has chosen worse by siding with Islamists over the authoritarian dictator with plenty of faults of his own.
For Americans, our prime concern should be humanitarian in a conflict like this. While Syria is an anti-Semitic and anti-Israel police state, what will inevitably follow the fall of Assad will make the current regime look like a benevolent picture of stability by comparison.
Syria is the home of one of the largest Christian populations in the Middle East. That is largely due to the Christian refugee crisis that was brought about largely due to the turmoil in Iraq since the U.S. intervention there. While Assad is a bad actor, he has been tolerant of religious minorities, including Christians. In fact, Assad, an Alawite, is part of a religious minority himself.
But if the Assad regime falls, it will mean genocide for the Christian community. In fact, the escalating rebellion is already taking its toll on Syrian Christians.
Farah is engaging in the worst kind of myopia here: Muslims bad, Christians good. Sure, Assad is a dictator who is killing his own people and destroying his country to stay in power, but hey, he's not targeting Christians!
In short: As long as the non-Christians are only attacking and killing themselves, the violence in Syria doesn't matter.
AIM Columnist Ignores Facts in Defending DDT Topic: Accuracy in Media
Alan Caruba devotes his June 18 Accuracy in Media column to ranting about Rachel Carson and her book "Silent Spring," the 50 anniversary of whose publication is this year. To hear Caruba tell it, Carson helped foment America's "unfounded fears of pesticides" and is just like Hitler:
There are books that have doomed millions to death. “Das Capital” by Karl Marx kicked off the worst economic system of the modern era, claiming the lives of millions of Russians and Chinese, along with others in the process.
Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” mobilized Nazi Germany, led to World War Two in Europe, and was responsible for the deliberate killing of six million Jews and another five million Christians in its concentration camps, not counting the millions more in war dead. The Nazi leaders were ardent environmentalists.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson; a book that is credited with giving rise to the environmental movement in general and, in particular, America’s unfounded fears of pesticides, especially DDT.
Caruba goes on to rail about the DDT ban, claiming that "Malaria, once on the brink of being eliminated, has long since made resurgence since the ban of DDT, although some nations most affected by the disease have received permission to use it. That is Rachel Carson’s true and lethal legacy."
In fact, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting notes that DDT-resistant mosquitoes -- which carry the malaria virus -- had begun to appear well before the DDT ban due to overuse of the pesticide. Further, FAIR reports, there was never a global ban on DDT, and 10 out of the 17 African nations that currently conduct indoor spraying use DDT.
Caruba also claims that "The coast-to-coast plague of bedbugs that has occurred in the past decade and continues today could have been eliminated if DDT were still in use." In fact, Newsweek reports that, as with mosquitoes, bedbugs had developed resistance to DDT by the time of the DDT ban; besides, "In the 1960s and 1970s, most of the bedbugs that had survived the onslaught of DDT were wiped out by malathion, until it, too, stopped working."
We've previouslynoted other right-wing writers dubiously coming to the defense of DDT.
MRC's Graham Keeps Up His Employer's Obsession With Afghan Body Count Topic: NewsBusters
Earlier this year, we detailed CNSNews.com's obsession with the number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan under President Obama, which runs counter to its interest in touting decreases in troop deaths in Iraq when George W. Bush was president. Now other parts of the Media Research Center are picking up this body-count obsession.
Tim Graham complains in a June 21 NewsBusters post that only one TV network highlighted the milestone of 2,000 troop deaths in Afghanistan:
On June 13, the CBS Evening News devoted a story by David Martin to the Afghanistan death count reaching 2,000, as Martin interviewed a mother of a fallen Marine. CBS was alone. There was no story last week on the Afghanistan death “milestone” on ABC, NBC, the PBS NewsHour – or even on the MSNBC programs found in Nexis, including Rachel “Our Military’s In a Perilous Drift” Maddow.
Unmentioned by Graham: Fox News. A Nexis search of Fox News transcripts (which covers most prime-time shows; most daytime shows do not appear in Nexis) shows that it appears to have failed to mention this milestone.
If not mentioning this is evidence of "liberal bias," why won't Graham call out Fox News on it, since the MRC purports to attack all instances of "liberal bias" in the media?
That's just cowardice on Graham's part -- it seems he doesn't want to be caught attacking a channel he regularlyappearson. Can't bite the hand that feed you, y'know.
WND's Klein Defending Another Middle East Dictator Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've noted how WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein seems to have found another Middle Eastern dictator to suck up to, Syria's Bashar al-Assad. It seems Klein is still trying to cozy up to Assad like he did with Egypt's Hosni Mubarak in the dying days of his regime.
As he did with Mubarak, Klein devotes considerable effort to painting the opposition to Assad only as jihadists. Indeed, Klein seems unusually desperate to prove that a massacre of civilians in the Syrian town of Houla was committed by opposition forces rather than the Assad regime.
In a May 29 article, Klein touted how "Syria presented the United Nations and the U.S. with information that indicates it was a group affiliated with al-Qaida, armed by Turkey, that slaughtered more than 100 civilians in their homes in Houla last week, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials," complaining that "Much of the Western news media blamed Assad’s troops for the massacre."
In a June 5 article, Klein highlights how "Jordan stated its security officials arrested two jihadists affiliated with al-Qaida on their way to Syria to fight against President Bashar Assad," insisting that "The information about al-Qaida among the opposition is significant." Klein also takes Assad's word at face value regarding "foreign terrorists" among his opposition:
Assad’s regime several times has claimed al-Qaida was behind a series of attacks blamed on Syrian forces.
Last month, Syria said it arrested 26 al-Qaida “foreign terrorists,” including one Jordanian.
Last Sunday, Assad used a rare national address to blame “terrorists” and foreign elements for the Houla massacre.
Klein also once again defends Assad from accusations that his troops committed a massacre of civilians in the Syrian town of Houla, again taking a dictator at his word:
Largely unreported is Syria’s claim that an armed terrorism element is behind the massacre.
Middle East security officials told WND Syria has sent information to the U.S., U.N. and other international bodies indicating the house-to-house slaughter was carried out by a group affiliated with al-Qaida that came from North Africa.
According to Syria, the jihad organization entered Syria via Turkey, where the militants were first armed. Syria did not blame Turkey directly for the massacre, the security officials said. The Syrian report stated Turkey likely believes the al-Qaida elements were going to fight Assad’s regime.
In neither of these articles does Klein offer any reason why we should take the Assad regime's claims as truth.
In a June 14 article, Klein cites "an informed Syrian government source" to claim that Assad "is preparing a major offensive in the coming days against the opposition targeting his regime." Klein also once again defends Assad from accusations that his troops committed the Houla massacre, citing how "Germany’s leading daily, the Frankfurter 'Allgemeine Zeitung,' quoted sources claiming the Houla massacre was actually committed by anti-Assad Sunni militants."
As Richard Bartholomew points out, claims that anti-Assad forces committed the Houla massacre come from people citing anonymous sources, while numerous named eyewitnesses have confirmed that the massacre was the work of the regime.