WorldNetDaily has a long history of taking the side of people who refuse to pay their taxes. Here are a couple recent examples. Read more >>
Thursday, August 18, 2016
CNS In Promo Mode For New 'Ben-Hur' Film
CNSNews.com has moved from being the PR shop for Judicial Watch to movie promotion. Specifically, the upcoming remake of "Ben-Hur."
Now, Newsmax had already been promoting the film (while forgetting that it had been made into movies before the 1959 epic version), while noting that the film's producers "have been screening the movie for influential Christian leaders" to try and counter the negative buzz that had been surrounding the film.
One of those was the Media Rsearch Center's Brent Bozell, who declared in an Aug. 4 tweet: "I've previewed the remake of Ben-Hur. It is AMAZING. August 19. A definite must-see." He followed that with another tweet saying basically the same thing: "Encouraging everyone I know to check out the remake August 19. I went to a screening last week. Fantastic!"
Apparently, those tweets were the marching orders for the MRC to plug the film. On Aug. 8, the Twitter accounts of CNS, NewsBusters, MRCTV, MRC Culture, the MRC's Business and Media account and the main MRC account all sent out the exact same message: "A must see film! Check out the new Ben Hur movie," accompanied by a link to the film's trailer.
CNS, which parades as the "news" division of the MRC, is takingthe whole promo thing to the next level. An Aug. 15 article by Mark Judge dutifully transcribes the producers' praise of their own film:
Judge shills further in an Aug. 17 article, hammering home the film's religious content:
Needless to say, Judge had no interest in doing factual reporting pointing out the film's continued bad buzz. Variety reports that "The $100 million Biblical epic is battling devastating pre-release tracking that suggests the story of a prince who is betrayed by a Roman nobleman may be one of the year’s most painful flops," with a projected opening weekend take between $10 million and $20 million despite a wide release. Variety also noted how the film is being heavily promoted to faith-based audiences and that the makers "believe that the film and its story of redemption will be able to draw faith-based crowds, who may not be getting polled by tracking services."
UPDATE: Looks like the rest of the MRC is in full promotion mode for the film as well. An Aug. 17 item by Katie Yoder is basically an expanded version of Judge's CNS article on how the film's actors were "changed" by the shooting of the crucifixion scene.
Which brings up the question: Is the MRC getting paid for its fawning promotion of the film?
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Cheryl Chumley Quietly Leaves WND
Looks like WorldNetDaily's experiment with employing actual journalists is over.
In 2015, as its credibility lay in tatters, WND hired Cheryl Chumley and Douglas Ernst, who had both previously worked at the Washington Times, which sort of passes for journalistic credentials in the ConWeb. But Ernst left after less than a year to go back to the Times.
And now Chumley has left as well. Her last WND-bylined articles appeared on July 18, and her bio at The Blaze, which publishes some of her op-eds, describes her as "a former news writer with WND.com." Chumley did not announce her departure from WND on her Twitter account, and she appears not to have immediately gone to another full-time position (though her name still appears on WND's masthead).
Despite her reporting credentials, Chumley didn't do much original reporting for WND, instead mostly doing rewrites of stories from other news outlets or being interviewed for other WND articles on matters that touch the subject of her WND-published book "The Devil in D.C." She had a bad habit of latching onto right-wing conspiracy theories, like the idea that last summer's Jade Helm military exercise was some sort of secret conspiracy that was tied to the closing of a few Walmart stores in the states where the exercise took place, or that Justice Antonin Scalia died from other than natural causes. Most recently, Chumley was citing a Scientology front group to attack psychiatric drugs, arguing that it was perfectly fine for whites to keep black people from moving into their suburban neighborhoods and using her WND perch to pursue a weird vendetta against conservative reporter Michelle Fields.
So, with these departures, who's left at WND? It currently has only two listed reporters, Jerome Corsi and Garth Kant, as well as several "news editors," some of whom also write bylined articles. And then there's Paul Bremmer, who also writes bylined articles but has the job title of "marketing associate," which makes sense when you realize most of the articles he writes exist to promote WND's authors. WND has yet to replace Aaron Klein, who departed months ago, and the Jerusalem bureau he headed is dormant, if not entirely closed.
This reduction by attrition appears to be a function of WND's financial problems, and no new reporter has been hired since WND editor Joseph Farah declared the immediate "existential threat" to his operation to be over.
MRC Can't Hide Hatred of Muslim Olympian Getting Media Coverage
Topic: Media Research Center
WorldNetDaily's not the only ConWeb outlet that have their issues in recent days with the fact Muslims exist. The Media Research Center has issues as well.
This time, the Muslim in question is Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad. In an Aug. 12 post, Alatheia Nielsen and Katie Yoder demonstrate they don't understand how news works:
Dear Alatheia and Katie: The word "news" is largely composed of the word "new." A Muslim U.S. Olympic athlete is new; Christian and Jewish Olympic athletes are not.
Later, Nielsen and Yoder sorta concede the nature of news, then demonstrate they really don't understand at all:
So it's not only biased but "offensive" that a Muslim gets coverage in the media? Sheesh.
The same day, Nielsen and Yoder's bosses, Tim Graham and Brent Bozell rant about Muhammad, particularly offended at comedian W. Kamau Bell's suggestion that she should have carried the American flag during the opening ceremonies. They declared that she's not a real American because she dared to highlight anti-Muslim discrimination in the U.S.:
Graham and Bozell then quote a hit piece on Muhammad by anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller (whom they benignly describe only as a "columnist") and cited a tweetshe made about Black Lives Matter, then huffing, "But the left thinks she was the perfect candidate to proudly bear the American flag at the Olympic parade."
In an Aug. 16 post, the MRC's Matthew Balan whined that CNN's Chris Cuomo "gave Muhammad the kid glove treatment by failing to ask her about her anti-Israel posts on Twitter and her controversial criticism of the 'climate of anti-Islamic sentiment in the United States.'" Balan didnt explain why it's "controversial" to point out an indisputable fact.
WND Columnist Straight-Up Lies About Margaret Sanger
Far-right writer Devvy Kidd, once a regular WorldNetDaily columnist, pops back up at WND in an Aug. 14 column advising Donald Trump to win black votes from Hillary Clinton by spreading lies about Margaret Sanger. She doesn't think they're lies, of course. Here's what Kidd writes:
So much lie, so much fail. Where to begin?
First, the "exterminate the Negro population" quote is taken out of context to falsely portray Sanger as a racist; in fact, the point of getting black ministers to support her contraception campaign was to dispel the notion that she was, since racists actually did want to exterminate the Negro population in part through sterilization, which is not what Sanger was promoting.
Second, Kidd is maliciously lying when she claims that Sanger called blacks "human weeds." As we've pointed out, the term appears nowhere in Sanger's writings. And it should have raised a red flag to Kidd that the these "quotes" of Sanger filled with parentetical insertions and ellipses are made up.Either she was too lazy to fact-check or she decided they served her agenda to the point that fact-checking was not necessary in her eyes.
Here's the full text of "Woman and the New Race," which is easily available online. None of what Kidd attributes to Sanger from that book is located within. The closest thing is the final sentence, which actually reads (with the missing word from Kidd's version italicized): "The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it." In context, Sanger was noting the research of the time that in large, poor families later children have a higher risk of death.
And here's the article Sanger wrote for the October 1926 issue of Birth Control Review. None -- absolutely none -- of what Kidd claims Sanger said in this article appears there.
In other words, it seems Kidd simply and lazily copied something off the internet from some right-wing anti-Sanger website and never bothered to fact-check it.
Yet Kidd thinks these lies should be the foundation of Trump's outreach to blacks:
Then again, Trump has even more disregard for the facts than Kidd, so the appeal is not out of the question.
If Kidd had any integrity, she would retract her column and apologize for spewing such easily debunked lies. But as far as we know, she doesn't.
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
MRC's Graham Can't Stop Obsessing Over Anita Hill
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Tim Graham has a weird obsession with Anita Hill. Nearly a quarter-century after the fact, he's still trying to insist (without evidence, of course) that Hill lied in making her sexual harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas and/or that she made the allegations solely to advance her career.
Graham does so again in an Aug. 10 NewsBusters post complaining that NPR had on Hill to talk about sexual harassment allegations against now-former Fox News chief Roger Ailes (a story the MRC's many tentacles have largely ignored, by the way). Graham shows us where this is going by grumbling, "Hill is treated as a kind of feminist saint, and no one brings up how she came to Bill Clinton’s defense in the adultery-slash-sexual harassment fight before he was impeached in 1998."
Then Graham plays his usual game by adding, "A Thomas fan would laugh as NPR explains that Hill says she was 'ostracized,' which is an odd word for a six-figure book deal and a very secure professor’s job in New England."Again, he offers no proof for his suggestion that Hill was driven by visions of dollar signs.
Graham also complains, "Justice Thomas is always presumed guilty of harassing Hill." And Graham presumes Hill is lying simply because she had the temerity to make her accusation against a sainted conservative -- just like he presumes that every single accuser of a sexual fling against Bill Clinton is telling the indisputable truth because Clinton is a political enemy.
Indeed, Graham for some reason goes back a couple decades to discuss a 1998 New York Times op-ed by Hill pointing out that unwanted sexual harassment is different than the consensual affair between Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Graham misrepresented what Hill wrote, falsely framing it as about earlier Clinton flings, which Hill did not discuss:
Graham then huffed: "Hill offered a feminist fundamentalism: Support abortion rights, and your sexual accusers can be ignored." And if the alleged perpetrator is a prominent conservative like Ailes or Thomas, Graham will indulge in a right-wing fundamentalism by happily ignoring their accusers or dismissing them as money-grubbing liars.
A Muslim Wins An Election, And WND Freaks Out
The victory of Ilhan Omar in a Minnesota state legislative primary, in a Democratic stronghold that virtually seals her victory in November, got a sloppy, biased, fearmongering treatment from WorldNetDaily.
Let the fearmongering and Muslim-bashing begin, WND reporter Leo Hohmann:
In fact, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "Omar built a vast coalition of support beyond East African citizens and tried to connect with many new voters, winning a three-way battle in what emerged as the most wild and unpredictable legislative primary in the state," which means it wasn't just "college students and immigrants" as Hohmann claims.
While Hohmann includes a couple of quotes from Omar he gleaned from other sites -- he couldn't be bothered to actually talk to her in person for his story -- his article is mostly packed with the rantings of anti-Muslim activists and his own anti-Muslim attacks:
Hohmann gave free rein to anti-Muslim right-wingers like Debra Anderson to spew their hate: “Their extensive co-opting of American ideas and words overwhelm me. I don’t know where to even begin to counter their lies.” Hohmann permits nobody to respond to the anti-Muslim hate he pushes.
And Hohmann's article is so poorly edited that Phyllis Kahn's last name is misspelled several times in the article and in captions as "Khan."
Is it any surprise that WND lacks credibility?
MRC Blames Media for Building Up Trump, Then Trying to Destroy Him
Topic: Media Research Center
For the Media Research Center, it's always the media's fault. Exactly what the media did, however, changes and is even contradictory -- like how it blames the media for both creating donald Trump's presidential candidate and for trying to destroy it.
The MRC has long whined that "NBC has spent more than a decade building [Trump's] brand as a successful businessman of almost mythic proportion," even after Trump clinched the Republican nomination and the MRC was supposed to be fully supportive of the campaign as a good right-wing outlet should. It was still doing so in an Aug. 3 post by Sam Dorman, who disapproved of NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt disputing the notion that his network was responsible for Trump.
Dorman grumbled that "Starting in 2004, NBC’s Today show acted as a de facto PR outlet for The Donald and gave regular interviews to him and his Apprentice contestants," adding, "NBC imprinted a mythic persona of Trump onto its broadcasts by hyping his business success, and at times, describing him with messianic language."
Three days later, Trump sycophant Jeffrey Lord took to the MRC's NewsBusters blog to whine that the media is reporting on the crazy things his boy Trump says, and insisted that this somehow proves that the media is biased against Trump:
Lord forgot to mention, let alone offer thanks for, the fact that according to the right-wing outlet that publishes his column, that very same media is reponsible for Trump being a presidential contender in the first place.
Monday, August 15, 2016
WND Does Damage Control For An Anti-Clinton Author
WorldNetDaily's Art Moore was doing so well, engaging in actual journalism at the Republican National Convention. When he got back, though, he reverted to WND form with July 31 article that played damage control for a Clinton-hating author.
That would be former Secret Service officer Gary Byrne, whose book "Crisis of Character" WND surprisingly did not publish or even carries in its online store; links top the book in Moore's article direct you to Amazon. His claim to fame is that, as Moore states, he was "posted outside the Oval Office door for three years" during the Clinton administration and has some sordid tales to tell.
Unfortunately for Byrne, the Association of Former Agents of the United States Secret Service has denounced the book as eroding the trust between the Secret Service and those it protects, and Politico has reported that critics of the book point out that Byrne, as a low-level agent, could not have firsthand knowledge of some of the things he claims in his book.
Thus, Moore's damage control efforts. Moore mentions the Politico article but refused to provide a link to it so readers can see for themselves. Instead, he gave Byrne a space to respond vaguely to critics: "I’m telling you what I saw personally, what I know is true. ... If it wasn’t true, who would put themselves at this risk and this exposure?"
Byrne also faces the accusation that some of the sordid stories he tells are different from what he testified to before independent counsel Kenneth Starr. When Buzzfeed tried to ask Byrne for an explanation of his changing stories, he hung up on them.
By the time Moore came calling, Byrne had invented an excuse for the discrepancies:
Note that Byrne is once again speaking vaguely about a specific allegation -- in this case, Byrne claims in his book he disposed of a stained towel, something he told Starr he didn't do.That's not a place where narrowly answering a question to prosecutors is a sufficient defense for changing one's story. Then again, Byrne claimed in a radio interview that somehow both stories were true.
Moore, however, didn't address another Byrne discrepancy that he had previously. In a June 20 WND article, Moore touted Byrne's claim to have walked in on a tryst between Bill Clinton and Eleanor Mondale, then an E! Network correspondent. But Buzzfeed noted that Byrne told Starr that he had merely heard rumors about the tryst.
Moore has apparently given up on his brief journalism career and is back to peddling dressed-up falsehoods like a good WND reporter should.
CNS Becomes the PR Division of Judicial Watch
One way you know a news organization isn't really into news is its willingness to serve as a platform for the views of an ideological group.
CNSNews.com has chosen to do that for the right-wing legal group Judicial Watch. An Aug. 10 CNS article by Rachel Hoover is about how "The U.S. Department of Justice gave $342,168,401 in grant money to 10 “sanctuary” states and cities that shield illegal aliens, even violent ones, from deportation by refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials, according to a Judicial Watch report."
It's effectively a rewrite of a Judicial Watch blog post issued several days earlier. Nothing appears in Hoover's article that wasn't in the Judicial Watch post, and Hoover makes no apparent attempt to contact anyone to respond to Judicial Watch's accusations, which would seem to be a violation of the edict by her boss, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell, that "The first rule of journalism is that if you don’t have two independent sources, you don’t have a news story." (She's done this before.)
Then, interestingly, just three hours after Hoover's article was published, CNS posted a column by Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton on the very same subject, ranting that "You and I are less safe on the streets these days because President Barack Obama and his Justice Department reward localities that openly break the law." Fitton actually reprints word-for-word much of the earlier blog post -- which, of course, was rewritten by Hoover for a "news" story.
The near-simultaneous timing of Hoover's "news" story and Fitton's column raises some questions. It certainly appears that CNS worked with Judicial Watch to coordinate its editorial content -- a collaboration with an outside organization that is usually frowned upon from an ethical standpoint.
Also curious is that Judicial Watch lists CNS on its list of apparently approved "sources." Granted, numerous other news organizations are also on the list, most of which are right-leaning like CNS, and there may not be any quid pro quo going on, But it's still brings up the seeming appearance of impropriety and the definite appearance of bias, which CNS doesn't admit it engages in, still insisting in its mission statement that it "endeavors to fairly present all legitimate sides of a story."
Then, on Aug. 12, CNS' Barbara Hollingsworth devoted an article to Fitton complaining that Congress won't investigate its politically motivated attacks on the Obama administration. Like Hoover, Hollingsworth doesn't bother to seek comment from anyone else about Fitton's work; indeed, she's so content to serve as a stenographer for Fitton that she devotes fully half her article to "a list of its major court filings" that "Judicial Watch provided CNSNews."
Nope, not a lot of balanced or independent reporting that fairly presents all legitimate sides of a story going on here.
WND Asks: 'Is Zika A Sign It's Time, Again, for DDT?' (No, But They'll Never Admit it.)
WorldNetDaily is just asking, in an anonymously written Aug. 8 article headlined "Is Zika a sign it's time, again, for DDT?" It includes the usual bias: that DDT isn't harmful to humans, that Rachel Carson falsely "convinced the public that DDT represented a threat to bald eagles," that Jane Orient of the far-right Association of American Physicians and Surgeons says to bring it back.
What you won't see, however, is the main reason not to bring it back: that, as we've documented, most mosquitoes are immune to DDT's effects due to past overuse and, thus, it wouldn't be effective.
That's one reason the WND reporter may have decided to remain anonymous. Another one: he or she stole a quote she didn't cite. That would be this:
That's actually from a Time magazine article, but the article does not credit Time. That article also notes another reason not to use DDT: The current way it is mostly used -- on the walls of indoor dwellings, mostly in Africa -- may not be effective in other application methods or for the specific type of Zika-carrying mosquito (in addition to the resistence factor).
The anonymous WND article also quotes the Jillian Kay Melchior of the right-wing Independent Women's Forum asserting that DDT is "reasonably safe" and that Rachel Carson peddled "junk science."
But as the Time article also notes: "Research has suggested that DDT has the potential to disrupt the human nervous system in the same way it does to insects. That may mean cancer, infertility and other long-term health effects including developmental problems in young children. DDT remains in the environment where it’s sprayed for years, potentially affecting multiple generations."
So WND wants to bring back a chemical for political reasons, a chemical whose full effects are still not completely known. We're not surprised.
Sunday, August 14, 2016
MRC Tries to Raise Money Off Our Blog Post
Topic: Media Research Center
This may be a first for us -- the Media Research Center is using something we wrote to raise money.
On Aug. 12 MRC Action's David Martin sent out a email complaining that "Huffington Post is now attacking the Media Research Center's yet-to-be-released documentary film, which details the disastrous effects of President Obama's War on Coal." The email links to the anonymous NewsBusters post criticizing the Huffington Post version of our post on the MRC's crowdfunding campaign for its upcoming Obama-bashing film on the coal industry. It makes sure to call HuffPo a "well-known leftist news outlet."
Martin largely rehashes that anonymous NewsBusters post, which was so poorly written that it failed to include our name or link to the offending post, dishonestly attributed our view as being the same as that of HuffPo (in fact, we're just one of the hundreds of bloggers who get paid nothing to post there, so we're not even a HuffPo employee), and igores the main points of our post: why an organization that raised $15 million last year can't come up with the $15,000 it's trying to crowdfund on its own, and that the trailer misrepresented President Obama's views on the coal industry and falsyly portraying him as the sole cause of the current collapse in coal-mining jobs (which are still higher than they were under much of the Bush administration).
But why let a lack of facts get in the way of fundraising? Martin proceeds:
No, Mr. Martin, neither we nor HuffPo (who I don't speak for, let alone dictate its entire editorial agenda, as Martin and the MRC seem to think) are "trying to prevent this important MRC project from happening." At no point did we do anything even so benign as tell anyone not to fund your little crowdfunding effort. We simply told the truth about it.
And if Martin wants to talk about "reckless policies," will the MRC's film mention that fracking has impacted the coal industry by sharply reducing natural gas prices that make gas a better, lower-polluting option than coal?
If the film turns out to be a reflection of the MRC's attacks on a single critic, it will be a very dishonest one indeed.
What Is WND's Farah Lying About Today?
In the midst of an Aug. 9 rant against Chelsea Clinton and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky -- unsubtly headlined "The Clinton crime family -- the 2nd generation" -- Farah huffed: "Marc and Chelsea represent the second generation of royal privilege. They’re in their 30s and own a $10.5 million apartment in New York City. They got married in George Soros’ mansion."
Nope: As Snopes points out, Clinton and Mezvinsky were married "at the Astor Courts in Rhinebeck, New York, an historic property owned by Kathleen Hammer and Arthur Seelbinder."
Farah also uses his column to push lies by proxy, writing:
As we first documented back in 2008, when Zeifman first surfaced to oppose Hillary's presidential bid, he's on record as saying he didn't have the power to fire Hillary from the impeachment inquiry, which makes anything else he has to say highly dubious. That also includes the fact that fact-checkers have found no evidence Hillary was fired from that inquiry -- she apparently remained on the inquiry panel until Nixon resigned from office.
Zeifman's lack of truthfulness also applies to his claim of being a "lifelong Democrat," which he appears to be trading on solely to get published on right-wing websites as a "Democrat" who bashes other Democrats. Plus, the fact that Farah is declaring that Zeifman is "a friend of mine" is a dead giveaway that he's not a real Democrat, or even a Democrat at all.
Saturday, August 13, 2016
CNS Concedes (Sorta) That Labor Participation Rate Is Meaningless As Unemployment Measure
A few days ago, we published an article detailing how CNSNews.com is weirdly obsessed with presenting the labor force participation rate as a meaningful measure of unemployment, regularly refusing to admit the fact that the number covers millions of retirees and students who are not seeking employment and are thus not "unemployed" by any stretch of the imagination.
How conveniently coincidental, then, that the very next day after our article was published, CNS published an article by Susan Jones -- the author of many of those unemployment articles pushing the labor force participation rate -- admitting the rate includes mostly students and retirees who aren't looking for work.
But this being CNS, the article had to be written from an angle that echoes its right-wing agenda (which admitting it's wrong about treating the labor force participation rate as a meaningful measure of unemployment does not do). So Jones seizes on Bureau of Labor Statistics commissioner Erica Groshen noting that the country's "safety net" plays a role in the labor force participation rate to highlight numbers of people on food stamps and Social Security disability.
Will Jones admit these facts about the labor force participation rate when she writes future articles obsessing about the number for new unemployment numbers? Or will she just push the "safety net" aspect of it? We shall see.
So even when it's reporting things accurately, CNS must put a right-wing spin on things. That's the very defintion of media bias, and it's sadly hilarious seeing it from the "news" division of a organization that purports to fight such bias.
WND Getting Desperate for Travelers On Its Holy Land Trip
For months, WorldNetDaily has been heavily promoting a trip to the Holy Land in November, to be hosted by WND editor Joseph Farah and WND fave author, messianic rabbi and Obama-basher Jonathan Cahn. But in an apparent reflection of its financial problems, WND is having trouble getting enough people to sign up.
In a June 5 article, WND declared that "Registration and deposits must be completed by June 10," adding that "your opportunity is fading fast. The final deadline for the 2016 WND Israel Tour is almost here." The article also asserted, "The window of opportunity to join in this extraordinary quest is almost closed. Travelers need to register now or it will be gone for good. And an experience which even the first man on the moon called the highlight of his life will be lost to you forever."
Well, not so much. Just a week later, WND announced that the "final deadline" had been extended month, which it furiously spun by asserting there was so much demand it had no choice but to extend it:
An article on June 26 pushed the July 9 deadline, but a July 3 article made no mention of it, claiming vaguely that "The window of opportunity ... is closing quickly" and adding that "Cahn pleaded with believers not to wait, as reservations and openings may be limited."
A July 10 article -- a day after the previous deadline expired -- pushed the tour again without imposing a new deadline, repeating the exhortion that "Cahn pleaded with believers not to wait." A July 17 article was effectively a repeat, again with no deadline.
Nearly two months after the original "final deadline," WND was still promoting the tour. A July 31 article stated this:
But if "hundreds of people already have signed up," there wouldn't need to be such a heavy push nearly two months after its initial deadline to add more. And we thought that in tours that include air travel, the price for the flight is negotiated beforehand as part of the total tour package and not subject to change afterwards barring unusual circumstances (of which there are currently none; prices for flights have been trending downward this summer).
An Aug. 7 article, however, pretty much eliminates all deadline urgency, beyond copying-and-pasting the claim that "Cahn pleaded with believers not to wait, as reservations and openings may be limited."
It seems that even WND is giving up on the possibility of a successfully filled package tour.
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