WND Columnist Touts Discredited Anti-Vaccine Film Topic: WorldNetDaily
Barry Farber begins his April 12 WorldNetDaily column by likening what he's about to write to Woodward and Bernstein taking down Nixon and Lech Walesa defeating communism. But then he writes about ... an anti-vaccine film:
Can you believe our beloved America has degenerated into a place where media are perfectly free to write what follows – but nobody does? Or, better said, nobody did until a controversial film implicated Big Pharma and the Centers for Disease Control in lying and falsifying the figures that show shocking connections between the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella) administered to infants as young as 18 months – and autism! The documentary, “Vaxxed: From Coverup to Catastrophe,” was viewed by Robert De Niro, who has an autistic child, praised repeatedly by Robert De Niro, and finally withdrawn from the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival by Robert De Niro under pressure from some very stupid tyrant-types, who are apparently too stupid to realize their censoring days are over thanks to a sleepless Freedom Fighter known as the Internet!
I was taken by my investigative-reporter-daughter Celia Farber to the New York premiere. You will have a chance to see “Vaxxed” despite the frantic efforts by Big Pharma and the Centers for Disease Control to make sure you don’t. Children yet unborn will thank you.
Uh, yeah. Farber continues:
Here’s what’s known, incontrovertible, stomp-down truth beyond contradiction. In the 1950s autism was almost unknown. There was a clinic in California with maybe half-a-dozen cases. Then along came one case of autism for every ten thousand children who’d undergone the MMR vaccine. Then came one such case out of every 250. The latest figure is one out of 50!
And the proud defenders of Big Pharma and the CDC still refuse to yield a centimeter. And that’s what interests so many of us non-doctors and non-scientists. There’s the pungent fragrance of “body-panic” as more and more anguished parents and alarmed Americans ask what’s going on here. The CDC’s cooking of the books has befouled the air thousands of kitchens away. Dr. Andrew Wakefield, distinguished research gastroenterologist, had his license revoked for the high crime of suggesting the MMR vaccine needed more study! CDC internal whistleblower Dr. William Thompson has more and more frightened onlookers hopeful that truth will prevail. The MMR loyalists, however, defend it like the fanatical war-time Japanese defended their Emperor Hirohito. The cause of this skyrocketing surge in autism, Big Pharma and the CDC assure us, “cannot be vaccinations, must not be vaccinations, will not be vaccinations!”
Hoo boy. Where to begin:
First, the reason there were so few autism diagnoses in 1950 is because it wasn't recognized as its own disorder then. The word "autism" itself wasn't coined until 1943, and until the 1970s it was considered a form of schizophrenia.
Second, the autism rate among children is not "one out of 50": it has leveled off at 1 in 68, and increasing diagnosis rates in previous years likely had much to do with a "learning curve" among doctors when it came to properly diagnosing autism spectrum disorders, not necessarily an increase in the disorder itself.
Third, Andrew Wakefield (who made the film Farber watched, though Farber doesn't tell his readers that), is not a "distinguished research gastroenterologist," nor did not have "his license revoked for the high crime of suggesting the MMR vaccine needed more study." He conducted the study published in the medical journal The Lancet claiming that MMR vaccines cause autism -- a study that has never been replicated by other researchers and which the Lancet itself retracted and renounced as a fraud. He lost his medical license in Britain because he behaved unethically in conducting the experiments , testing a vaccine on a child without consulting the child's doctor and bribing children to provide blood samples.
Fourth, as we've noted, Thompson's claims have been discredited. He claimed that the CDC hid and/or destroyed evidence that the MMR vaccine caused increased rates of autism in African-American children; in fact, the data were never destroyed, and they don't show what Thompson claims they do.
Fifth, Farber invokes a weird form of Godwinism by likening vaccine defenders to "the fanatical war-time Japanese defended their Emperor Hirohito." Actually, vaccine defenders are defending science.
Nevertheless, despite the facts being against him, Farber insists they are actually on his side, with a dash of more classic Godwinism:
Big Pharma and the CDC will dismiss all of us who demand truth as “those lunatics who want to stamp out vaccinations altogether!”
Nice try. They’ll claim we’re medical primitives who seek the end of all vaccinations. How about a moratorium on the MMR “triple-header” vaccine and a return to the single “M” injections (measles), followed after a suitable interval by the second “M” (mumps) and later the “R” vaccine (against rubella)? Then let’s have an honest count of autism results.
You’d think after the autism rate soars from virtual zero to one per 250 the Big Pharma and CDC folks themselves would have said, “Come, let us reason together. Something is clearly wrong here!”
That’s a bit like hoping Heinrich Himmler would call upon his aides to improve the menu for the upcoming Jewish High Holy Days at Auschwitz!
The key tenet of Godwin's Law is that you've lost the argument when you invoke Nazis (or, we'd add, the World War II version of Hirohito). Farber apparently doesn't know that.
Oh, and reviews have dismissed Wakefield's film as "a grab-bag of charts, theories and anecdotal evidence that would never pass muster by the editors of any major scientific journal" that "too often resembles the kind of one-sided, paranoia-stoking agitprop that political activists construct to sanctify true believers and assault infidels." Farber has fallen in line with Wakefield's intent.
MRC's Bozell Still Pushing Trump-Media Conspiracy, Still Won't Call Out Conservative Trump Promoters Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's pet conspiracy theory -- that the so-called "liberal media" is deliberately slanting news coverage to make Donald Trump the Republican presidential nominee -- is still alive. Brent Bozell and Tim Graham push it in their April 13 column:
But if democracy was organized to give everyone a fair and equal shot to impress the voters based on their knowledge and experience, then this system has been rigged for Donald Trump for the last nine months. The media – not just the liberal media, but some “conservative” media, too – have been the gale-force wind beneath Trump’s wings.
On the nightly network news on ABC, CBS, and NBC, Trump has far outpaced anyone else for attention.
Note that almost parenthetical admission that conservative media outlets -- which somehow earns scare quotes from Bozell and Graham in a subtle form of Heathering -- are promoting Trump as well, which is undoubtedly a factor in Trump's popularity. But the writers won't call them out by name.
Why? Because the right-wing media leader in creating Trump's presidential campaign is Fox News. Bozell and Co. regularly appear on shows on Fox News and Fox Business -- Bozell has had a weekly spot for years on Sean Hannity's Fox News show -- and holding Fox specifically to account for their Trumpophilia could jeopardize that airtime.
To that end, the MRC focuses only on the broadcast TV networks and exempts Fox News from similar scrutiny.
Bozell and Graham even concede that most of the media coverage of Trump is negative -- which you think would please them, but it doesn't: "Anyone who watches is aware that the network coverage is often negative, but it still denies air time to opponents."
One of those opponents is Ted Cruz, and Bozell and Graham have a vested interest in him, something they wait until the very last paragraph to mention: "Let's have full disclosure here. We have personally endorsed Ted Cruz, which for some might cast doubt on this column. We challenge you to dispute any of what is above."
If Bozell and Graham were truly interested in "full disclosure," wouldn't they have disclosed their endorsement of Cruz at the beginning of their column?
WND (Grudgingly) Reports On Cruz Birther Challenge Topic: WorldNetDaily
It's been a long time, but WorldNetDaily has finally gotten around to assigning its reporters to cover Ted Cruz's eligibility issues again.
An April 11 WND article by Bob Unruh previewed a New Jersey hearing on Cruz's eligibility. In a contrast from WND's usual Obama birtherism coverage, Unruh covers the issue of eligibility with something approaching fairness, admitting that the Vattel standard is the "strictest definition" while the 1790 Naturalization Act is "more flexible." Of course, Unruh loses his fair-and-balanced stance when he starts talking about Obama, touting "The only official law-enforcement review of Obama’s documentation" without mentioning it was a shoddy, unfair joke, and adding: "Obama has yet to release many of the ordinary documents valued by presidential historians, such as his passport records, school records, undergraduate records and thesis, Harvard Law School records, Harvard Law Review articles, University of Chicago articles, Illinois State Bar Association records, Illinois State Senate records and schedules, medical records, parents’ marriage license and adoption records."
The story actually got a follow-up: On April 12, Obama birther extraordinaire (yet loath to touch Cruz birtherism) Jerome Corsi highlights the conclusion of the hearing: Cruz is eligible. Corsi noted that the judge "relied on the 1898 Supreme Court case Wong Kim Ark" to make his decision -- a case WND has largely ignored as governing precedent and which Corsi himself has denied is directly applicable -- as well as the 1790 Naturalization Act, which Corsi asserted in 2012 granted citizenship only to "a child born of two American parents" because that's what lawmakers of the time "regarded" it to be.
Corsi didn't mention his 2012 interpretation in his new article. He too reports the issue as straight as he's apparently capable of, refusing to admit that by his own previous standards, Cruz is even more ineligible than he claimed Obama was.
CNS Unleashes Army of Op-Eds to Defend Right-Wing Think Tank Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com' response to Virgin Islands attorney general Claude Walker subpoenaing the right-wing think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute about its relationship with ExxonMobil, and that company's alleged suppression of evidence that climate change is driven by fossil fuels, was not to do any reporting on it -- surprising, since it claims to be a "news" organization and all.
No, what CNS did is publish a bunch of op-eds defending climate change denialism in general and CEI in particular. This week alone, CNS has published at least four op-eds.
Hans Bader -- identified only as someone who "practices law in Washington, D.C." -- declared the the subpoena is "raising red flags under the First Amendment" and the investigation of ExxonMobil itself is "a threat to climate science and the First Amendment."
Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation ranted that "a truly outrageous abuse of his authority and a misuse of the law," asserted that "CEI is well-known for its high-quality, objective research on energy and climate issues," went Godwin by calling Walker a part of the "Axis," and declared that " What is happening to ExxonMobil and to the Competitive Enterprise Institute is persecution." Von Spakovsky slobbered over Exxon:
Walker is using a criminal statute designed to go after major drug dealers and mob organizations to go after a company that produces the gasoline and diesel fuel that Americans (and the rest of the world) use in their cars, trucks, boats, lawnmowers, and other equipment of every kind. And ExxonMobil and CEI are being targeted for having taken what these legal barons consider the wrong side of a scientific theory that is being actively debated and questioned.
The fact that ExxonMobil produces a relatively cheap, reliable energy source that helps power our world but is disfavored by Progressives and their political representatives like Walker seems to be what the company is really guilty of.
The Heritage Foundation's Kim Holmes asserted that the subpoena and other actions against Exxon are "blatant attempts to bend the law ... to shut down free and open research. It is but another example of the new illiberal attempt by progressive liberals to use the power of the law to intimidate and coerce those with whom they disagree." Holmes ignores that there's precedent for such action: As Media Matters' Denise Robbins notes, then-Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican, demanded that the University of Virginia provide emails and other documents from climate scientist Michael Mann, which were also sought by the American Tradition Institute, whose senior director of litigation, Chris Horner, was also a senior fellow at CEI.
Holmes also claimed that "It is possible that CEI was being targeted by Walker precisely because one of its attorneys, Hans Bader, had criticized New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who was leading the campaign." Funny, Bader did not disclose his relationship with CEI in his CNS op-ed.
CNS, finally, published an op-ed from a disclosed CEI employee. Kent Lassman, CEI's president, ranted:
It is not and cannot become a crime to disagree with a government official. Somewhere along the line, dissent from orthodoxy has transformed from a uniquely American virtue to a crime. This subpoena is a blatant attack on CEI’s First Amendment rights of free speech and association. It threatens the rights of anyone who holds opinions different from those with the power of the federal or state governments behind them.
What other issues are next on the taboo list? If the attorneys general succeed, we can be assured this list will vary from election to election—something for all people of good conscience to dread.
The audacity of this legal action is profound. George Orwell’s dystopian novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” described “crimethink” as entertaining thoughts unacceptable to the government.
And, of course, Lassman tries to spin away climate change:
While global warming could pose challenges, we do not believe it is a planetary emergency. We are deeply concerned that national and global campaigns to tax, regulate, and ban fossil fuels are an expensive exercise in futility. Our policy work rests on the scientifically supported view that affordable, plentiful, and reliable fossil fuels make the world safer and the environment more livable. Further, we hold the humanitarian view that affordable energy should be accessible to those who most need it, especially in developing economies.
The biggest problem with proposals to address alleged, rapid warming is that there is no realistic implementation plan. Taken out of the context of international meetings and put to the practical tests of real-world economics, they do not work. Coal, oil, and natural gas supply 80 percent of the world's energy. Finding substantial emissions reductions from these three fuels using available technologies, such as wind and solar power, is a very expensive dead end.
As we have seen for hundreds of years, modern societies develop the technologies and resources to address environmental challenges, whatever the cause. Unlike some of our climate-alarmist friends, at CEI we think the record of human ingenuity is pretty strong. Innovation and adaptation can surmount the largest challenges when individuals are provided circumstances to promote human flourishing.
None of these op-eds address the actual reasoning behind the subpoena. As InsideClimate News explained, Exxon had an "emerging understanding of climate change science in the 1970s," but then subsequently worked to "undermine the scientific consensus, in part by financing research organizations including CEI."
Why would CNS do any actual reporting when it can published opinion pieces, two of whom are by interested parties?
WND's Farah Imagines First Amendment Threat From Dems, Ignores Actual Threat From Trump Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah's April 10 WorldNetDaily column is largely a regurgitation of discredited filmmaker Joel Gilbert's cries of persecution -- as told to WND's Jerome Corsi -- for making a lie-filled anti-Obama documentary, despite winning his case before the Federal Election Commission. Needless to say, Farah doesn't admit Gilbert's "Dreams From My Real Father" is filled with lies; he merely calls it "controversial," then includes a link in his column to buy it from the WND online store.
Farah then takes it one step further:
[Gilbert] predicted a “dire future” for conservatives if a Democrat wins the White House this fall.
I don’t think he is exaggerating one bit. I’ve been making my living as a practitioner of the First Amendment for 40 years. Our free-expression rights are hanging in the balance in 2016. It’s a question of simply how much Americans value free speech and freedom of religion.
“If the make-up of the Federal Election Commission is changed because a Democrat wins the presidency and appoints one more Democrat than Republican to the commission, we face a dire future in which only political speech favorable to far-left agenda will be tolerated in America,” Gilbert said. “All conservative opinion, whether expressed in documentary films, shown on television or the Internet, or broadcast over radio may be subject to criminal penalties.”
Again, I don’t think this is hyperbole. It’s reality.
There’s a complete double-standard in the minds of Democrats and “progressives.” They believe in First Amendment protections for their ideas and viewpoints – just not for those with whom they disagree.
Farah cites no actual, concrete example of how Democrats are actually planning to do this. And he's silent about an actual, concrete example of a threat to the First Amendment from a Republican presidential candidate.
In February, Donald Trump promised that, if elected, he would change libel laws in the United States so that he can have an easier time suing news organizations: "One of the things I'm going to do if I win, and I hope we do and we're certainly leading. I'm going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We're going to open up those libel laws. So when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they're totally protected."
Oddly, WND has largely ignored this statement from Trump -- the only reference to it we could find was an article from The Hill that WND stole a few paragraphs of.
You'd think Farah would be concerned about Trump's proposed change to libel laws because the type of "hit pieces" Trump is denouncing are exactly WND's stock in trade. For instance, if the Trump standard was in effect when WND published a series in 2000 attacking Al Gore by linking him to alleged drug dealers, the guy whom WND falsely identified as a drug dealer (with whom WND settled out of court after fighting his libel and defamation lawsuit for seven years) wouldn't be the only one who could have sued WND over it; Gore could have as well -- and could have won big.
Ironically for Farah's defense of Gilbert, Obama might also have standing under Trump's proposed libel standard to sue Gilbert for his false claims that Frank Marshall Davis is his father and that is mother posed for nude photos.
It seems that Farah and WND have a lot more to fear from Trump's proposed reworking of the First Amendment than from anything he imagines Democrats could do.
The MRC's Anti-Obama Conspiracy Fail Topic: Media Research Center
Occam's Razor tells us, essentially, that the most likely explanation for how something happened is usually the simplest one. The Media Research Center should keep that in mind when it goes conspiracy-mongering.
The MRC gave that a go in an April 1 MRCTV post by Craig Bannister:
The White House website has censored a video of French Pres. Francois Hollande saying that “Islamist terrorism” is at the “roots of terrorism.”
The White House briefly pulled video of a press event on terrorism with Pres. Obama, and when it reappeared on the WhiteHouse.gov website and YouTube, the audio of Hollande’s translator goes silent, beginning with the words “Islamist terrorism,” then begins again at the end of his sentence.
Even the audio of Hollande saying the words “Islamist terrorism” in French have, apparently, been edited from the video.
According to the official White House transcript of Hollande’s remarks, Hollande refers to “Islamist terrorism.”
Of course, if the White House really was trying to "censor" Hollande, it wouldn't have released an uncensored "official White House transcript." But that didn't occur to Bannister, apparently, so dedicated was he to the "censorship" narrative.
A technical issue with the audio during the recording of President Hollande's remarks led to a brief drop in the audio recording of the English interpretation. As soon as this was brought to our attention, we posted an updated video online here with the complete audio, which is consistent with the written transcript we released yesterday.
This acknowledgement raises some interesting questions:
If the audio was, indeed, lost (for just that comment) during recording, how did they resurrect it?
If there were two versions of the video, why did they originally pull the glitch-free version, then post the one with the audio missing, in the first place?
In the version in which the translator’s audio is lost for the “Islamist terror” comment, why is Hollande speaking in French still audible – except for when he mouths the words, “Islamist terrorism”?
Why is audio of Hollande audible for the entire comment, except the words “Islamist terrorism”?
Why is the version of the video with the glitch still on the White House website, right next to the acknowledgement that it has an error?
Three days later, Bannister still wasn't done being conspiratorial, declaring that "the White House’s audio-drop alibi is a sham and they, clearly, didn’t want people to see the 'complete audio' version with Pres. Hollande daring to utter the words, 'Islamist terrorism.'"
At no point does Bannister address the main issue: If the White House truly wanted to "censor" Hollande, why did release a transcript of the video with his full, uncensored remarks?
Sometimes the simplest response -- a technical error -- is the simplest one, Craig.
Of course, such a conspiracy -- no matter how much of a sham it is -- can't be wasted just at MRCTV. Tim Graham complained in an April 6 NewsBusters post that "the liberal media" didn't report on the faux conspiracy.
But he touts the outlets that did -- "This story was a staple of weekend news coverage on the Fox News Channel, and Rush Limbaugh shared the MRCTV scoop on Monday. ... Liberal newspapers haven't yet noticed the Hollande-scrubbing story, unlike the New York Post, The Washington Times, and Investor’s Business Daily" -- failing to mention that those are all right-wing outlets that would jump on any anti-Obama conspiracy.
Graham also notes that the video of the purported "censorship" came "Via MRCTV's Ben Graham," failing to disclose that Ben is his son.
The MRC attempt to delve into anti-Obama conspiracy-mongering -- something it wouldn't do not that long ago -- is just another way it's slowly turning into WorldNetDaily.
UPDATE: Bannister is still at it, whining in an April 13 MRCTV post that "nobody is willing to challenge White House Press Sec. Josh Earnest about the White House’s self-contradicting explanation of how the audio of French Pres. Hollande’s 'Islamist terrorism' disappeared – and then reappeared – from the White House’s video." BAnnister adds: "The censorship of a foreign head of state is a big deal, especially when it comes to the matter of terrorism. These questions need to be asked." Again, Bannister doesn't mention that the transcript has been available the entire time, undermining the whole "censorship" narrative.
NEW ARTICLE: WorldNetDaily's Credibility Crisis Topic: WorldNetDaily
Having destroyed any chance of being taken seriously as a news organization with its rampant birtherism, WND is finding that regaining credibility is very hard. Read more >>
Media Research Center (MRC) President Brent Bozell issued the following statement praising CNN and MSNBC for their decisions to ban Roger Stone, a close associate of presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has called for intimidation of delegates at this summer’s Republican Convention.
A report by Politico on CNN’s decision to ban Stone cited his attacks on Ana Navarro (a Jeb Bush supporter and CNN analyst) in which he called her an “Entitled Diva Bitch,” “Borderline retarded,” and “dumber than dog s---.” Stone has also referred to Roland Martin and Ana Navarro as “quota hires” by CNN.
Media Research Center President Brent Bozell:
“CNN and MSNBC should be applauded for banning Roger Stone from their airwaves. Stone’s recent threats to intimidate delegates at the Republican Convention by broadcasting their hotel rooms and his long history of incendiary and offensive rhetoric add no value to the national discourse. Agree with them or not, Trump's surrogates are fine people. But Stone is a thug who relishes personal insults, character assassination, and offensive gestapo-like tactics that should be unequivocally dismissed by civil society, most especially those who might give him a platform from which to spew his hatred.
“The news media have for far too long ignored Stone’s inflammatory words. I hope all media outlets that lament the debasement of political dialogue and the gutter politics for which Stone is infamous follow the lead of CNN and MSNBC. The media should shun him. He is the David Duke of politics. Those with whom he is affiliated should denounce him in no uncertain terms.”
Good on Bozell for doing that, but he's sadly late to the party. That Politico story on CNN banning Stone is dated Feb. 23, a full month and a half before Bozell's statement. NewsBusters made no mention of the ban at the time, according to a search of its archive.
Bozell is (perhaps understandably) silent on another thing noted in the Politico story: Stone's nasty remarks about Ana Navarro were first flagged by the MRC's liberal-leaning counterpart, Media Matters (disclosure: my former employer). There's no contemporaneous record of Stone's remarks about Navarro in NewsBusters, either.
It's only when MSNBC followed in banning Stone on April 5 that Bozell was moved to make his statement. It seems Bozell was waiting for enough stars to align agenda-wise to say something nice in public about CNN and MSNBC.
The 'Obamaphone' Myth Lives On At WND Topic: WorldNetDaily
President Obama has nothing to do with "Obama phones" -- it's a program that not only started before Obama came into office but is not federally funded -- but don't tell WorldNetDaily's Cheryl Chumley that. She writes in an April 1 article:
The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to expand its long-running telephone subsidy program, dubbed the Obamaphone, to include Internet access for lower-income earners.
The vote was along party lines, with the majority in the Democratic camp.
The new program basically allows those who receive these federal entitlements the option to use their $9.25 per month Lifeline phone subsidy for stand-alone broadband service.
But who dubnbed the program the "Obamaphone"? People like Chumley, right-wingers who were eager to smear the president with giving handouts to poor people even though, again, the program predates Obama.
And to drive the fallacious point home, the headline on Chumley's article reads; Obamaphone? Try ObamaInternet: Feds expand subsidy."
At no point does Chumley explain that the program does not use federal tax money but is instead funded through a fee on phone service.
It's not until the final paragraph of her araticle that Chumley gets around to admitting the truth, that Obama had nothing to do with the program -- then blames Obama for the program's "financial irresponsibility":
The Lifeline subsidy was actually started before Obama’s presidency, as a means of ensuring low-income Americans had access to emergency response services in a timely manner. But it’s expanded greatly under this current White House, and critics have charged that financial irresponsibility has plagued the program for years.
Actually, the "expansion" Chumley talks about -- permitting the Lifeline program, previously limited to landline phones, to be used on cell phones -- occurred in 2005. The Obama administration did nothing to "greatly expand" the program; that happened when cell phone providers started aggressively signing up customers without demanding proof of eligibility, exploiting a loophole in the program. The Lifeline program now has instituted some reforms and is cracking down on providers who abuse the program.
But, hey, it's easier to perpetuate a right-wing myth than to tell the truth at WND.
CNS Mocks Report On Climate Change With The Day's (Completely Unrelated) Weather Topic: CNSNews.com
Climate change deniers tend to believe that any bit of cold weather somehow debunks the reality of climate change. Itdoesn't, but it's gotten to the point that Fox News only discusses climate change when it's cold.
The fact that weather is not climate isn't going to stop CNSNews.com from suggesting otherwise. For instance, this April 4 article by Barbara Hollingsworth:
The White House published a report Monday warning that “extreme heat can be expected to cause an increase in the number of premature deaths”--the same day the National Weather Service issued winter weather advisories for April snowstorms.
“From children to the elderly, every American is vulnerable to the health impacts associated with climate change, now and in the future,” said administration's report.
It was released by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and John Holdren, head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the same day the National Weather Service predicted “another round of wintry precipitation” for the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes region that could dump up to 10 inches of snow on upstate New York.
Southern New England also remained under a Winter Weather Advisory until 8 pm on Monday with sub-freezing temperatures and up to six inches of snow predicted for some areas.
Another April snowstorm with 60 mph winds slammed into Massachusetts on Sunday, killing two people and downing power lines for tens of thousands of residents.
See what she did there? Juxtaposing a discussion of a heating climate with the day's weather in southern New England, a very tiny area of the earth.
In February, the Federal Election Commission deadlocked on taking action against right-wing filmmaker Joel Gilbert for refusing to disclose how much he spent manufacturing and mailing what he claimed was millions of DVD copies of his anti-Obama documentary "Dreams From My Real Father" to voters in several swing states before the 2012 presidential election, meaning that no action would take place. An FEC general counsel's report declared that Gilbert's film qualifed as a legitimate media action and was not an independent political expenditure subject to financial disclosure.
Despite winning his case, Gilbert knew exactly what to do to capitalize on it: run to the ConWeb and cry persecution.
WorldNetDaily's Jerome Corsi -- a longtime promoter of Gilbert who really should know better, given how he repeatd a separate Gilbert claim about Obama's wedding ring that was so wrong even Corsi's fellow birthers felt obliged to debunk it -- was more than happy to oblige Gilbert's persecution complex, and he plays it up in an April 7 WND article:
The Federal Election Commission complaint against the free distribution of his 2012 anti-Obama film was a “dangerous development” threatening free speech, filmmaker Joel Gilbert told WND after the three Democrats on the six-member panel were prevented from punishing him.
In a case spotlighting regulation of conservative media, the three Democrats on the FEC alleged Gilbert violated reporting rules when he mailed out DVDs of his movie, “Dreams from My Real Father: A Story of Reds and Deception,” during the 2012 election campaign.
“This is a dangerous development; free speech is literally hanging in the balance,” Gilbert said of the Democrats’ attempt to punish him. “It’s a harbinger of the intolerant suppression of First Amendment rights we should fear if Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders should win the White House.”
Gilbert said the punishments could have included heavy fines, restrictions on his speech and even referral to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution.
He predicted a “dire future” for conservatives if a Democrat wins the White House this fall.
“If the make-up of the Federal Election Commission is changed because a Democrat wins the presidency and appoints one more Democrat than Republican to the commission, we face a dire future in which only political speech favorable to far-left agenda will be tolerated in America,” Gilbert said.
“All conservative opinion, whether expressed in documentary films, shown on television or the Internet, or broadcast over radio may be subject to criminal penalties,” he said.
The Washington Examiner's Paul Bedard joined in with a piece that also dutifully repeats Gilbert's persecution narrative. Bedard's article was reprinted on the Fox News website.
Actually, the only real "punishment" Gilbert would have faced is having to disclose how much he spent to promote his film and possibly where that money came from, and having to any fines for not filing the paperwork originally. And it's clear Gilbert wants to keep that information a secret.
Also, the last time we checked, falsehoods are not protected by the First Amendment, and those are found in abundance in "Dreams From My Real Father."
The headline claim of Gilbert's film is that Barack Obama's real father is, in Corsi's words, "the late Communist Party USA propagandist Frank Marshall Davis." That's an argument so fallacious that even the far-right website American Thinker shot that down, dismissing Gilbert as a "hoaxster."
Gilbert also asserted in the film that Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, posed in nude photos taken by Davis and published in erotic magazines of the time. Attorney Loren Collins (who filed the FEC complaint against Gilbert) demonstrated that the photos Gilbert claimed were of Dunham could not possibly have been her.
Gilbert has never publicly denied the falsehoods in his film. In one response to the FEC investigation, his lawyers complained that Collins questioned the film's accuracy but do not defend it.
Gilbert is nobody's definition of a journalist -- in fact, he's a charlatan and a propagandist. As Collins has also noted, Gilbert has made other so-called documentaries -- claiming, among other things, that Paul McCartney is dead and Elvis is alive -- that he once promoted as legitimate, serious efforts but now calls "mockumentaries." That seems to be the path "Dreams From My Real Father" is headed.
Curiously, Gilbert or his financial backers were able to marshal some high-powered legal help to battle the FEC. Gilbert's original response to the complaint was submitted by Cleta Mitchell, a conservative activist and election law specialist. Another response was submited by Eric Lycan, whose record includes serving as counsel for Mitch McConnell’s last re-election campaign and is current treasurer for a pro-Ted Cruz super PAC. Neither Mitchell nor Lycan, we can assume, come cheap.
Interesting that a purported documentarian claiming to work independently of any political campaign was able to come up with such heavy hitters in the mainstream conservative movement to defend him.
Of course, if we were financing such a sleazy and lie-filled propaganda piece like "Dreams From My Real Father," we'd be paying big money to keep people from finding that out as well.
CNS Gives Right-Wing Architecture Critic A Platform Topic: CNSNews.com
Did you know there's a right-wing political movement in architecture? We didn't either until we came across an April 4 CNSNews.com article by Barbara Hollingsworth.
The article stars Justin Shubow of something called the National Civic Art Society ranting over the idea that a government office building in Washington, D.C., is being considered for the National Register of Historic Places because it's among the first such modernist-style buildings in the city. Shubow declares that he "would like to see the building torn down and replaced" because it's "unpleasant and unliked," like apparently all modern architecture is:
Shubow pointed out that a National Register listing “makes it more difficult to make alterations to it and also affects development in the neighborhood.
“So one of the results could be the encouragement of building other Modernist buildings around it, as opposed to beautiful, inspiring classical buildings - the sorts of buildings we all associate with Washington, D.C.,” he said.
That seems like a lot of energy and hate to waste over a government building, which suggests there's something deeper happening.
Indeed, there is. The National Civic Art Society is apparently some sort of right-wing group; two of its leaders are officials with the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (a rather plain rendition of the Goddess of Democracy created by the Tiananmen Square protesters), and only about half have any sort of stated art or architecture background. (Shubow himself is a lawyer by training.) Its advisers include representatives of right-wing think tanks such as the Ethics and Public Policy Center, the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.
The society's main job right now is hating the proposed Eisenhower Memorial for being designed by modernist architect Frank Gehry and not being being part of the "classical tradition" in Washington. Shubow demands that the design competition for the memorial be reopened and that it be dominated by "a classical design, one that comports with the best of our memorial tradition."
The society's "about us" page includees even more ranting against modern architecture. Just as right-wing jurists think the only good Constitution is a dead one, the society believes the only good architectural style is the dead, rigid form that was good enough for Rome, Athens and the Founders:
George Washington and Thomas Jefferson consciously chose the classical style to physically embody the new nation's form of government and political aspirations--architecture they intended to be a model for the entire country. The Founders understood that the classical tradition, harkening back to democratic Athens and republican Rome, is time-honored and timeless. It is unparalleled in its dignity, beauty, and harmony, not to mention its legibility to the common man.
Needless to say, Hollingsworth made no effort whatsoever to seek out the view of any other architect to counter Shubow's anti-modernist rantings, making this yet another unbalanced work from the decidedly unbalanced reporter.
WND Treats Disgraced, Philandering Adulterer As A Credible Expert on Islam Topic: WorldNetDaily
You might remember John Guandolo as the former FBI agent who's better known as a serial philanderer and adulterer who jeopardized a federal investigation by having sex with a witness and trying to get her to donate money to a right-wing "anti-terrorism" organization. But according to WorldNetDaily, he's a steller expert on Islam whose past transgressions are not to bespoken of.
Well, Guandolo is back, and WND is still censoring his past.
In a March 24 WND article, Leo Hohmann touts Guandolo as "a former Marine and instructor at the U.S. Army War College who now provides training to law enforcement agencies that want to learn more about the jihadist network in the U.S." Not only does Hohmann fail to make an effort to provide an alternative viewpoint -- thus violating WND editor Joseph Farah's purported insistence that his reporters are "required to seek out multiple sources and contrary viewpoints in news articles" -- he doesn't disclose Guandolo's disgraceful past,. After all, that clearly runs counter to anything a "former Marine" would do and would undermine Guandolo's already shaky credibility.
Hohmann followed up with an April 3 article in which he again features Guandolo, describing him this time as "a former FBI counter-terrorism agent specializing in Quranic-inspired violence," adding that "After leaving the FBI Guandolo formed Understanding the Threat, an organization that teaches the tenets of Islam to law enforcement agencies." Hohmann doesn't mention that Guandolo left the FBI in disgrace after jeopardizing an investigation with his sleazy behavior.
(Oh, and as Right Wing Watch notes, the study Hohmann and Guandolo promote claiming that 80 percent of mosques in the U.S. promote radical beliefs is completely bogus.)
So, it seems that not only does WND not enforce its claimed standards on reporters, it has no standards whatsoever for the ethical behavior of its sources.
Does MRC's Use Of 'Protesters' Violate Its Nonprofit Tax Status? Topic: Media Research Center
In an April 7 NewsBusters post, the Media Research Center's Kyle Drennen whines that "security for NBC’s Today expelled a conservative protester on the plaza outside the morning show’s New York City studio for holding up a 'Don’t Believe the Liberal Media' sign." But he waits until the final paragraph of the four-paragraph post for an important disclosure: "The protesters were part of the Media Research Center’s Tell the Truth 2016 campaign to 'stop the liberal media from rigging the 2016 elections.'"
So the MRC is hiring protesters to photobomb TV shows now? How does that fulfill its purported mission to be "a research and education organization"? More importantly, does that violate the MRC's nonprofit tax status?
The IRS states that 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations like the MRC are "absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office." The MRC's anti-media campaign is effectively that -- its thwarted protest is arguably an intervention against Hillary Clinton and in favor of Republican presidential candidates, given how much it attacks the show for failing to uncritically repeat right-wing talking points.
Staging political protests -- which is what the MRC's protesters were doing -- doesn't seem to be part of the purview of an organization under the MRC's tax status. Of course, we're not lawyers, so an actual attorney may differ.
AIM's Kincaid Promotes Discredited Vaccine-Autism Link Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid has been an anti-vaxxer for a while, pushing the discredited idea that vaccines cause autism. He has insisted that "the science is not settled" on the subject, and he's touted the anti-vaxxers at the National Vaccine Information Center as credible spokespeople when they simply want to fearmonger.
Kincaid begins his April 4 column by needlessly making things political, ranting that "liberals and the left-wingers who come down on the side of the drug companies, known as Big Pharma. They want government to force parents to have their infants injected with potentially dangerous vaccines that may be linked to the developmental disorder known as autism."
Kincaid then promotes former NBC executive Bob Wright, who has a new book out that touches on the subject. Kincaid notes that Wright founded the autism advocacy group Autism Speaks, but not that the group has taken the position that "Vaccines do not cause autism" (though that position statement is accompanied by a more ambiguous one by Wright insisting that "Scientific research has not directly connected autism to vaccines").
Kincaid then opromoted the film "VAXXED: From Cover-up to Catastrophe," which he benignly called "a documentary about the possible link between vaccines and autism that is based largely on the work of a CDC whistleblower." Actually, the film is made by Andrew Wakefield, a now-defrocked doctor whose 1998 study claiming to link vaccines to autism has been retracted by the medical journal that published it and has been called a fraud.
Kincaid then credulously writes this:
Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), says in the trailer for the film that if present trends continue, by 2032 half of the children—and 80 percent of the boys—will be autistic. She says, “This will be a complete catastrophe if we just let it happen.”
That's complete and utter bull. In fact, the autism rate among children has leveled off at 1 in 68, and increasing diagnosis rates in previous years likely had much to do with a "learning curve" among doctors when it came to properly diagnosing autism spectrum disorders.
Meanwhile, Kincaid howls that "vaccines have led to the dramatic increase in autism" and rants that vaccines "have become a cash cow for Big Pharma. There is a vested financial interest in increasing the number of vaccines, and making them mandatory at earlier ages." Perhaps Kincaid should disclose what his vested financial interests are in perpetuating a falsehood.