ConWeb Ignores Reality on Firing Back At Aurora Shooter Topic: The ConWeb
Various ConWeb outlets have been pushing the idea that had someone with a gun been in the audience at the Aurora, Colo., theater where James Holmes allegedly killed 12 people and wounded dozens, they could have stopped Holmes before the carnage became too much:
A WorldNetDaily article by Chelsea Schilling highlights how the company that operates the theater where Holmes allegedly carried out his massacre bans all handguns. She quotes Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert as saying, “Well it does make me wonder, you know with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying that could’ve stopped this guy more quickly?”
Lowell Ponte wrote in a July 19 Newsmax column: "What the mainstream media will not speculate about is that this shooter could have been stopped immediately if most law-abiding Colorado citizens in that movie theater had themselves been armed."
Ron Meyer wrote in a July 21 CNSNews.com blog post (boldface is his): I cannot help but think, if one person in that audience was carrying a gun with them, that person could have saved lives. Unfortunately - despite what some of the Left have said - this tragedy is an example of the importance of our Second Amendment Rights."
All of these people are ignoring the reality of the circumstances of the Aurora shooting. As Slate's David Weigel details:
[Holmes] wore a bulletproof vest, helmet, and gask mask, and entered a movie theater that was playing The Dark Knight Rises—so the room was dark and loud. He tossed a "gas canister" that went off and would have obscured the vision of anyone looking back at him.
You've got dark, panic, an enclosed space, and some kind of painful gas. No one's in any position to get the jump on the shooter. No one has a place to hide from him—he has a perfect vantage point of every seat. And he's wearing protective gear.
So, I think the answer for Gohmert is: No. No one was in an ideal position to pull a Dirty Harry on the man shooting at him/her in a panicked theater.
Any chance the ConWeb will acknowledge these factors in calling for wider firearms availability in theaters? Probably not.
Flashback: When John Derbyshire Advocated Killing Chelsea Clinton Topic: The ConWeb
John Derbyshire's column in which he recommended that parents tell their children to be wary of black people -- which has been universally denounced and resulted in his firing from National Review -- is hardly the first time he's gotten in trouble for his writing.
In 2001, we reported on Derbyshire's National Review column in which he argued that Chelsea Clinton should be killed to remove "the taint" of her father. He later insisted that his column was "partly tongue in cheek."
ConWeb Is OK With Making Fun of Michelle Obama's Looks Topic: The ConWeb
For all the conservative whining about liberal incivility (see Sheppard, Noel), they certainly feel no need to keep their own incivility in check (see Bozell, Brent). Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner's comments about Michelle Obama's "large posterior" set off a whole new round of it on the ConWeb.
Accuracy in Media's Don Irvine tweeted in Sensenbrenner's defense: "Butt she does."
In a later tweet, he linked to a video of the song "Baby Got Back," adding, "All this talk about Michelle Obama's rear has me thinking of this."
NewsBusters, meanwhile, seems a bit put out that it's considered rude to make fun of another's supposed looks. In a Dec. 22 "open thread" post headlined "No Joking About Michelle's 'Posterior,'" the anonymous writer mused, "Would these sites be this solicitious of the FLOTUS when she belongs to the Other Party?" If so, would NewsBusters be as blase about it as it is about Obama's looks?
And then there's Mychal Massie, best known these days for frothing at the mouth over Michelle Obama, a.k.a. "Buttzilla." Massie ranted in twitterese: "cngrsman is spot on moose-chelle does have fat arse she shud keep it in mind whn she tells us wat 2 eat."
Massie followed that up with: "spkg of flotus buttzilla's tractor butt I'm tired of my tax$$ paying $15K a day 2 her makeup person i wud feel same even if makeup helped."
Something tells us that Massie is a lonely single man -- we can't imagine any woman putting up with such misogyny.
NEW ARTICLE: A Hard Right Turn Topic: The ConWeb
Tim Groseclose's methodology, which paints pretty much every media out as liberal, is still as flawed as it was six years ago. But now, he's written about book about it -- and the ConWeb loves it. Read more >>
Flashback: How The ConWeb Covered 9/11 Topic: The ConWeb
How did the ConWeb initially react to the events of Sept. 11, 2001? Pretty much the way you'd expect them too. Let's take a look back:
The bodies weren't even cold yet before WorldNetDaily and Newsmax were finding ways to blame President Clinton. WND found a convenient anonymous source to blame Clinton (thus demonstrating that Aaron Klein, while Newsmax's Christopher Ruddy attacked "the ever clever bastard" Clinton for seeking to "destroy America's intelligence agencies," like WND citing an anonymous source as backup. Accuracy in Media, meanwhile, used 9/11 to peddle its conspiracy theory regarding the crash fo TWA Flight 800.
Newsmax was particularly offended that President Bush's actions might be implicated as a cause of 9/11. One article ranted: "How depraved can the liberal media be? How despicable? How utterly anti-American?" Then-Newsmax columnist Dan Frisa called the New York Times "despicable traitors" for suggesting such a thing. (Apparently, it wasn't treasonous or un-American to blame Clinton.) Phil Brennan declared that "I have a few suggestions for Mr. Bush about who he ought to put in the nation's cross hairs: Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, Andrea Mitchell, the New York Times, Mary McGrory, The Washington Post and all the other Benedict Arnolds* in the anti-American media rat pack mindlessly attacking President Bush." The asterisk after Arnold keys the reader to a footnote that reads: "I ought to apologize to the memory of Benedict Arnold for lumping him in with this disloyal media scum - he was a genuine American hero before his betrayal - something that can't be said about the president's media critics, the majority of whom never wore a uniform."
Another Newsmax article went into full Bush-worship mode: "The president has been eloquent. He has been confident. Real Americans support him 100 percent."
Then-WND columnist Hugh Hewitt was particularly small-minded in his post-9/11 support for those in high office, writing: "If last November's vote had gone the other way, and vice president Gore had been the man to face this awful challenge, I pray that I would have supported him at this crucial juncture – in my columns and on my radio and television shows." In other words, just a week after 9/11, Hewitt was as eager to use it as a cudgel had those in office been Democrats as he was to use it against critics of President Bush.
The ConWeb also worked to deify Barbara Olson, the right-wing author who was on one of the planes that crashed on 9/11. WND, Newsmax and CNSNews.com all took part in the hagiography, which was mostly about making money on her death by peddling her books to a grieving readership
Newsmax targeted then-ABC host Bill Maher for his statement that "lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away" is cowardly, while "Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly" -- until it figured out that it agreed with him.
Finally, how can we forget Anthony LoBaido's unhinged rant at WND blaming America for 9/11? LoBaido declared that "America has killed over 500,000 Iraqi children under the age of 5 years old with our anti-Saddam sanctions" and tried to make the argument that America deserved to be attacked and suffer massive loss of life:
All that is evil in the world can be found in New York: MTV, the United Nations, the U.N. abortion programs, the Council on Foreign Relations, New Age Church of St. John the Divine, WallStreet greed, Madison Avenue manipulation and of course more confirmed AIDS cases than the rest of America combined. Let's remember the filthy sodomite gay parade last summer in New York.
LoBaido earned extra points for his reference to "the openly Marxist, treasonous and abortion-mongering, occultic Hillary."
This is one of the few times WND eventually decided that something was too crazy for its website. While WND editor Joseph Farah initially defended LoBaido's right to say what he said, the column was quietly deleted from the WND website a few months later without explanation or apology. Of course, nothing ever goes away on the Internet, including LoBaido's screed.
It's that screed that inspired us to name the annual ConWebWatch Slantie Award for most unhinged statement made by a ConWeb writer after LoBaido.
ConWeb Editor Smackdown on Medicare Topic: The ConWeb
CNSNews.com editor Terry Jeffrey mounted a major defense of Rep. Paul Ryan's proposed changes to Medicare in his May 18 column. Insisting that "Ryan's Medicare reform plan is not radical change," Jeffrey wrote:
First, it would not in any way impact Medicare for people 55 or over today. They would keep the current system.
Second, younger Americans would have more than a decade to get ready for the new system.
This does not get America back to 1965, when seniors were not dependent on the government for health care. They will still be dependent.
But it will introduce a little market discipline into the system, where instead of having the government ration care -- like they do in completely socialistic systems -- people will have some latitude to pick and choose what type of plan they want to purchase.
Not so eager to defend Ryan's Medicare plan, however, is Newsmax editor Christopher Ruddy, who in his May 26 column certainly does not agree with Jeffrey that this is "not radical change":
Unfortunately, not only does the Ryan Medicare reform package fail to provide the safeguards that, to my mind, are essential if we are to fulfill our nation’s commitment to seniors, but also it actually proposes that the current Medicare program be replaced with a new “premium support” voucher system for all those currently under age 55.
Today, Americans in the Medicare program are able to get basic coverage, which they can supplement with Medicare Advantage or private health insurance if they choose. But under the Ryan plan, this system will end in 2021 and all Americans who turn 65 that year and after will be given vouchers to purchase health insurance on their own.
If this plan is enacted into law, Medicare eventually will become fully privatized after the current program, which will remain in place for all those age 55 and over, is phased out.
An obvious question immediately arises when considering Ryan’s plan: Will the dollar amount of the vouchers enable the seniors of tomorrow to buy a level of health care that today’s Medicare beneficiaries enjoy? The answer to that is no.
According to the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the Ryan plan, “Beneficiaries would . . . face higher premiums in the private market for a package of benefits similar to that currently provided by Medicare. Moreover, the value of the voucher would grow significantly more slowly than CBO expects that Medicare spending per enrollee would grow under current law.”
Simply put, the Ryan plan will cut Medicare spending dramatically by reducing the level of care that the program provides to current beneficiaries. It effectively shifts more of the financial burden onto the shoulders of the private sector and forces individual seniors to pay more out of pocket for their healthcare than they do today.
Ruddy goes on to assert that "Congressional Republicans should take a common-sense approach to reform," adding: "In my view, rampant fraud, abuse, and waste have been the hallmarks of the Medicare system. It is poorly administered. If Congress and the states worked diligently in reducing these excesses, the program would work effectively."
Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell, meanwhile, is just making stuff up. In a May 27 appearance on "Fox & Friends," Bozell claimed that Ryan's plan provides "a 70 percent increase in Medicare," while "Obama is taking $500 billion out of Medicare." In fact, Ryan's plan keeps Obama's cuts and increases out-of-pocket costs for seniors.
NEW ARTICLE: What The Huck? Topic: The ConWeb
WorldNetDaily, NewsBusters, and Newsmax take different approaches to Mike Huckabee's remarks on President Obama, from whitewashing them to complaining they didn't go far enough. Read more >>
David Limbaugh vs. David Limbaugh Topic: The ConWeb
David Limbaugh wrote in his Feb. 25 column (published at WorldNetDaily):
President Obama's brazenly calculated move to unilaterally abandon the federal Defense of Marriage Act showcases his attitude that he is above the law.
So now we have an imperial president who is refusing to enforce a law passed by powerful congressional majorities while persisting in enforcing a law (Obamacare) that two federal courts have already invalidated. The only common denominator is that Obama believes he is the law.
Limbaugh's opinion appears to conflict with ... David Limbaugh. Here he is in an Aug. 3, 2007, column on the subject of claims of a different president declaring himself to be above the law:
Sen. Patrick Leahy has mounted his high horse again and is on the warpath against all things Bush and all things Republican. It might be instructive to examine certain statements in his tirade disguised as an interview with Politico.
Leahy said, "The president, with others, has stated in effect that he is a law unto himself and the president can overrule the law, the courts and congressional actions. We have seen this with regards to torture, signing statements and the president determining who will be prosecuted."
For Leahy this is nothing new. Like a spoiled kid who can't always have his way, he has been blowing things out of proportion for some time now — turning every political frustration into a supposed constitutional crisis. In early 2006, he betrayed his true colors when he said the constitutional "checks and balances that have served to constrain abuses of power for more than two centuries in this country" are at risk when Republicans control the legislative and executive branches.
To Leahy it was a constitutional crisis for voters to elect Republicans to power in the executive and legislative branches. But what's his excuse now, with Democrats in control of the legislative branch? Instead of admitting he has policy differences with President Bush, he says Bush is abusing the Constitution.
In other words, Limbaugh is acting exactly like the spoiled kid he accused Leahy of being.
That of course, depends on Limbaugh's selective view of constitutional issues, which is skewed to benefit Republican presidents. Limbaugh misleadingly defended Bush’s signing statements in his book “Crimes Against Liberty” by claiming that they were “simply to express objections to bills or parts of bills he was signing” (p. 174).
That contradicts what Bush actually did with the signing statements. From The Boston Globe:
President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.
Funny, we don't recall Limbaugh denouncing Bush as an "imperial president."
New Article: The ConWeb Shrugged Topic: The ConWeb
WorldNetDaily, Newsmax, and the Media Research Center want you to know that Marx and Hitler were on Jared Loughner's reading list -- but not that Ayn Rand is too. Plus: More ConWeb falsehoods, silliness and crassness about the Arizona shooting. Read more >>
We've been perusing the tweets of ConWeb folks reacting to the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others in Arizona, and we noticed a couple things.
First, the Media Research Center's Kevin Eder tweets of the alleged shooter, Jared Loughner: "Nobody on the right is saying ths guy is a liberal or progressive - if only our leftist friends had the same level of respect, or restraint."
That, of course, is a lie. All he needed to do was check the Twitter feed of his MRC colleague, Noel Sheppard: "Jared Lee Loughner's fav books include Mein Kampf & the Communist Manifesto. Some right-winger, huh?"
Sheppard's not the only one: Pam Geller asserted that Loughner is a "total lefty loon." And Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft is screaming, "AZ SHOOTER: LEFT_WINGER!!"
So much for "media research" at the Media Research Center.
Meanwhile, WorldNetDaily columnist Erik Rush decided to be bizarrely conspiratorial: "As cynical as it sounds, this could have been orchestrated in order to justify crack security for all of Congress for a number of reasons."
Yeah, we wouldn't want to protect elected officials from threats of violence, would we?
UPDATE: Proving Eder even more wrong, WorldNetDaily has an article by Aaron Klein headlined, "Assassin's politics lean 'left wing, quite liberal'."
Intra-ConWeb War Over TSA Scaremongering Topic: The ConWeb
WorldNetDaily has been perhaps the leader of any news outlet, ConWeb or otherwise, in spewing hatred over the TSA's stepped-up passenger screening procedures. From rehashing alleged "horrors" to shrieking about perversion and "gate rape" and radiation and germs and prison camps to the expected anti-gay freak-out, no attack has been out of bounds for WND. (Andthen there's WND's attempt to cash in on said screeching.)
Even Newsmax got into the scaremongering act, enlisting Dr. Russell Blaylock -- if you'll recall, he has also fearmongered over flu vaccine -- to suggest that the scanners "increase your risk of cancer or other diseases."
Now comes the arrival of a voice of reason on overblown coverage of the airport security issue, and that voice is from an unexpected place: Accuracy in Media.
In a Nov. 25 blog post, Don Irvine writes about how "The media has become obsessed with the number of TSA pat-down stories and in at least one case are now asking that travelers send them their screening experiences in hopes of getting that next big horror story":
We have already been subjected to numerous stories and video of passengers who have been subjected to the new TSA pat-down procedure for reasons that are often baffling to say the least. And the outrage has also spawned a new round of somewhat voyeuristic videos from people who seem to be more interested in stripping down to their skivvies and creating a scene rather than out of any concern about the new procedures.
But do we really need videos of women wearing lingerie or bikini’s or men in speedo’s (spare me please) at security checkpoints? No, but the media is playing along and PBS’ Newshour isn’t helping the public gain an unbiased view by asking for screening experiences. They don’t want to hear from you if you sailed through without a hitch, they want another story of a TSA agent patting down a small screaming child or a veteran with artificial joints being subjected to an embarrassing and invasive search.
Once again the notion of fair and accurate reporting has gone out the window in the name of pursuing the sensationalistic headline grabbing stories no matter what the facts may be. There is so much me-too journalism on this story that it is like a television show that has jumped the shark which portends it’s eventual demise. That’s what’s happened here with the coverage going so far over the top that it is now impossible to return to the story’s salient points and separate fact from fiction.
The TSA certainly isn’t blameless but like most government agencies they are terrible when it comes to public relations. As a result of not having an effective p.r. strategy they have let the media get away with focusing on a few horror stories and whip up more anger and anxiety from the flying public whose nerves are already frayed by high air fares , crowded planes and a laundry list of rules unevenly enforced about what is and isn’t permissible on a flight.
After having flown over a million miles in the last 20 years I have seen the changes in security first hand and while I’m no fan of the current procedures I consider it part of the price I have to pay for the convenience of flying.
I even went through the full body scanner this summer and frankly it was just another blip on my radar.
Who would've thought that a website that employs a writer who really wants to see gays dead would generate an actual cogent, reasonable analysis? You probably won't see WND or Newsmax touching this at all.
AFA's News Operation A Hellish Place to Work Topic: The ConWeb
We generally don't monitor OneNewsNow, the American Family Association's "news" operation, because it makes no pretense to be a fair news website, as the ConWeb components like Newsmax, CNS, WorldNetDaily, et al., do. Plus, there isn't enough time in the day to take down all the bias and falsehoods there.
It turns out things there are worse than even we imagined. Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches has an article detailing the hellish work envionment at the AFA that also confirms everything we presumed about OneNewsNow:
The AFA's radio and news division, in particular, said Martin, had become a place where authority could not be questioned, and where the "news" was nothing more than a mouthpiece for conservative "sources" whose views were portrayed as fact. (The Values Voter Summit award citation to Wildmon described One News Now as a "respected online news service.")
And those views were extreme, even by Martin’s standards of conservative evangelicalism. He said that the director of the news service, Fred Jackson, had a "hateful, hateful attitude" that "carried over" into stories. Martin described editorial meetings in which "liberals were accused of hating their kids," while Chad Groening, who covers immigration, described gay people as "degenerates" and "reprobates."
In the newsroom, said [former AFA news reporter Allie] Martin, "I saw the tone of stories develop in a way I thought was disturbing."
"They get people as news sources to say what they want to say but can't say," he added.
After Obama got elected, said Martin, "this went up to a whole new level, we have to vilify this man."
Questioning Authority="Attitude Problems"
In 2008, Jackson sent Martin an email with the subject line "attitude problems," citing scripture he said governed "a worker's attitude toward their [sic] superiors." The verses he cited included Ephesians 6:5-8 ("Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, singleness of your heart, as unto Christ") and Colossians 3:22-25 ("Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.") He closed the email with a "final warning" that "any further breaches in this area will be turned over to Brother Don."
Among the topics about which Martin had raised concerns was the news room's approach to immigration. Martin said that Groening has, for example, called undocumented immigrants "stupid," "scumbag lawbreakers" and "freeloaders." Groening believed that illegal immigration would "destroy" the country, and that "we have the best way of life, and if our borders aren't secured, this country would be destroyed."
Martin also noted that Groening had referred to Muslims as "raghead scumbag terrorists" and referred to Allah as "Satan."
According to him, Groening received a subscription to American Renaissance magazine at the office. American Renaissance is published by white nationalist Jared Taylor, and, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the magazine and website "regularly feature proponents of eugenics and blatant anti-black racists." Taylor's New Century Foundation, which runs the magazine, "also sponsors American Renaissance conferences every other year where racist 'intellectuals' rub shoulders with Klansmen, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists."