Last month, CNSNews.com's Penny Starr was fretting that "American Idol" contestant MK Nobilette was was not only the first openly gay contestant but also "the first contestant to have two lesbian mothers supporting her in the audience." Starr's anti-gay freakout continues with another article about Nobilette, headlined "'American Idol's' MK Nobilette Has 5 Mommies":
MK Nobilette, the 20-year-old semi-finalist and first openly lesbian on "American Idol," announced on Thursday’s show that she has four moms, and if you count Nobilette’s biological mother – she was adopted – she has five moms. On Thursday’s show Nobilette explained that the two lesbians in the audience cheering her on were the women who adopted her. Then the two split up and found new lesbian partners.
No mention was made about Nobilette’s biological mother (or father), but she obviously has one somewhere. Thus, Nobilette has five mommies.
Why is Starr so obsessed with Nobilette? Does she hate gays that much?
Ben Shapiro Attacks Non-Existent Kennedy School Grads Running Obama Foreign Policy Topic: CNSNews.com
Ben Shapiro snarkily writes in his March 6 CNSNews.com column:
In the ivory tower inhabited by the great intellects of the Obama administration, however, no problem is too big to be thought or talked or surrendered away. If Russia won't change its perspective, we will simply cut our military more to convince them we mean well; if the Palestinians or Iranians don't change their perspectives, we will force Israel to negotiate with them in order to prove our goodwill.
Meanwhile, our enemies laugh. And they should. The global battlefield is no place for the Kennedy School political science grad students who inhabit our White House and believe that a well-aimed, snooty barb is a substitute for a muscular foreign policy presence.
But Shapiro names no Kennedy School graduates involved in foreign policy in the White House. Perhaps that's because there aren't any.
Of the named people in his column, national security adviser Susan Rice graduated from Stanford and Oxford, and John Kerry went to Yale and Boston College. Of the Kennedy School grads listed at Wikipedia as members of the Obama administration, none are working in foreign policy.
The Kennedy School is operated by Harvard University -- the the same school from which Shapiro received his law degree. Somehow we don't recall him dissing his law degree the way he disses his fellow Harvard grads.
CNS' Jeffrey: CPAC Must Censor Atheists Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey continues to do his boss' bidding -- specifically, his war on CPAC for inviting an atheist group to take part -- by turning an earlier blog post into a full-fledged column explaining how good an idea is that CPAC (and its operator, the American Conservative Union) censor views it doesn't agree with because Reagan:
Are atheism and promoting atheism consistent with American — let alone conservative — values and principles?
The operational policy of the American Conservative Union now appears to contradict Ronald Reagan's view on this.
Reagan believed atheism was not merely wrong, but the enemy of freedom. The ACU has functionally adopted the position that groups promoting atheism can be featured at its annual Conservative Political Action Conference — so long as they promote godlessness with civility.
Strange to see the head of a so-called "news" organization advocate censorship of viewpoints.
Meanwhile, CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, is launching a new "Tell the Truth!" campaign (which, if history is a guide, will exempt itself and anyone seeking to tell the truth about conservatives from that demand) starting, yes, Mark Levin. It's promoted by the ad image shown at right -- which has appeared on the CNS front page alongside the above Levin articles -- and it links to page that states at the top, "As Heard On Mark Levin."
None of the three CNS articles about Levin mention that he is a paid spokesman for the MRC.
The Society for Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics states that journalists should "Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived" and to "Disclose unavoidable conflicts." But CNS hasregularlyfailed to tell its readers that Levin is a paid spokesman for its parent company.
CNS Ignores Extreme Anti-Gay Nature of Pastors Group It Promotes Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com's Penny Starr manages to get three articles out of a press conference from a group of African-American pastors:
The main story, about how the pastors are calling for the impeachment of Attorney General Eric Holder for allegedly violating his oath of office by trying "to coerce states to fall in line with the same-sex 'marriage' agenda."
A second article featuring group leader Rev. Bill Owens, bashing President Obama by claiming that he "has done more to hurt the American people than any president, as I see it, in my lifetime and in history.”
Three days later, Starr wrote another article from the press conference featuring Owens claiming that the Obama administration’s alleged promotion of abortion “is promoting murder.”
Starr quoted Owens claiming that Planned Parenthood clinics are "all in black neighborhoods" without noting that the claim is false. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the majority of abortion clinics are located in majority-white neighborhoods, while only 9 percent are located in majority-black neighborhoods.
In none of these three articles, however, did Starr explain what Owens' Coalition of African American Pastors is, perpetuating the notion that it is a mainstream group.
CAAP's claim that it is "not affiliated with any political party" is undermined by its political stances, such as wanting to impeach Holder and Owens' assertion that the Democratic Party is a "demonic party." Further, according to USA Today, Owens has longstanding ties with Republican politicians, and CAAP has been criticized as a right-wing front group.
CNS' Starr Has Another Anti-Gay Freakout Topic: CNSNews.com
Penny Starr is CNSNews.com's leadhomophobe, and she shows it again in a pair of recent articles.
Starr used a Feb. 24 CNS article to inform us that "Former Olympic figure skating champion Johnny Weir has not tried to hide his homosexuality as NBC’s daytime figure skating analyst. He has worn bright pink and huge, sparkling jewelry as he and former champ Tara Lipinski commentated on this year’s skaters at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia." Because wearing flashy clothing could only mean that Weir is gay.
In another Feb. 24 article, Starr complains that an "American Idol" contestant has two moms:
MK Nobilette is “making history” as the first openly lesbian contestant on "American Idol," but she is also the first contestant to have two lesbian mothers supporting her in the audience.
Nobilette, 20, was selected to go to Hollywood during the San Francisco, Calif., audition, where she lives with her girlfriend. On Thursday, she was named as one of the Top 13 on the show.
A Feb. 19 article on the 429 website noted Nobilette’s “two mothers.”
“Following her first performance of John Legend’s ‘All of Me’ on Tuesday, February 18, the San Francisco-raised Nobilette received a standing ovation from the crowd—which included her two mothers, one of whom was unable to hold in happy tears,” the article stated.
Starr must have had to work hard to find a news article that mentioned Nobilette's parents so she could work up the proper outrage. 429 is not even a news organization per se -- it's a website serving as "a go-to destination for the LGBTA professional set." It probably pained Starr to comb through that website as it did to say something positive about a gay person.
Starr ironically closes the article by quoting Nobilette as saying of her sexuality, "I hope in 10 years we won't even have to talk about this." Not if Starr and CNS have anything to do with it, and continue to feel they can get away with creating opportunities for their right-wing audience to mock and slander gay people -- as the comment thread on both articles indicate.
CNS' Jeffrey Keeps Up His Electricity Freakout, Still Ignores Efficiency Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey is still freaking out about decreased electricity production in a Feb. 21 article:
Historically, in the United States, rising electricity prices have not been inevitable. In the first decades after World War II, the U.S. rapidly increased it electricity production, including on a per capita basis. Since 2007, the U.S. has decreased its electricity production, including on a per capita basis.
Over the last seven years, according to the EIA, the U.S. has actually decreased its total net electricity generation, although not in an unbroken downward line from year to year (generation did increase from 2009 to 2010 before going down again in 2011 and 2012).
The EIA has published historical data going back to 1949 on the nation’s annual total net electricity generation, which EIA measures in million kilowatthours.
In 1949, according to EIA, the U.S. produced 296,124.289 million KWH of electricity. By 1959, it produced 713,378.831—an increase of 417,254.542 million KWH or about 141 percent.
In 1969, the U.S. produced 1,445,458.056 million KWH—an increase of 732,079.225 or about 103 percent from 1959.
In 1979, the U.S. produced 2,250,665.025 million KWH—an increase of 805,206.969 or about 55.7 percent from 1969.
In 1989, the U.S. produced 2,967,146.087 million KWH—an increase of 716,481.062 or about 31.8 percent from 1979.
In 1999, the U.S. produced 3,694,809.810 million KWH—an increase of 727,663.723 or about 24.5 percent from 1989.
In 2009, the U.S. produced 3,950,330.927 million KWH--an increase of 255,521.117 or about 6.9 percent.
In 2007, according to EIA, the U.S. generated a net total of 4,156,744.724 million KWH of electricity, which, so far, is the historical peak. In 2012, the last year for which full data is available, the U.S. generated a net total of 4,047,765.26 million KWH. That represents a drop of 108,979.464 million KWH--or about 2.6 percent--in the nation’s electricity production since 2007.
As before, Jeffrey fails to acknowledge the primary reason why electricity production has dropped: Increased efficiency of appliances and electronics.
Instead, Jeffrey tries to blame the decline on "a decrease in the electricity produced by coal—which has not been replaced by a commensurate increase in the electricity produced by natural gas or the “renewable” sources of wind and solar" -- again, without acknowledging the fact that less demand for electricity has allowed for that reduction.
CNS' Jeffrey Undermines His Argument Against Raising Minimum Wage Topic: CNSNews.com
Terry Jeffrey writes in a Feb. 17 CNSNews.com article:
Sixty-four percent of Americans who earned the minimum wage or less in 2013 were 29 years old or younger, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and 63 percent worked in restaurants, bars or retail.
People 30 years or older equaled only about 36 percent of those who earned the minimum wage or less in 2013--and only 0.8 percent of the people employed in the United States.
Of the 75,948,000 who were paid an hourly wage in 2013, 3,300,000 earned at or below the minimum wage.
That means only about 4.4 percent (3,300,000) of hourly wage earners (75,948,000) earned the minimum wage or less in 2013--or only about 2.3 percent (3,300,000) of all U.S. employees (143,929,000).
Jeffrey thus takes the latest line of attack peddled by other minimum-wage-raise opponents like Fox News -- so few people minimum wage, so there's no need to raise it.
But as Media Matters' Eric Boehlert points out, that argument shoots down the normal conservative opposition to raising the minimum wage: "Because if hardly anyone makes minimum wage, than why the movement-wide opposition to changing it? If so few people earn minimum wage, why demagogue the issue and stand in the way of an increase?"
CNS Joins Right-Wing Government Ammunition Conspiracy Theory Topic: CNSNews.com
A right-wing staple over the past couple of years is fearmongering about the government buying ammunition. CNSNews.com apparently felt left out, because it decided to hop on the bandwagon with a Feb. 19 article by Ali Meyer:
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is contracted to purchase 704,390,250 rounds of ammunition over the next four years, which is equal to a total of about 2,500 rounds per DHS agent per year, according to a January 2014 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report entitled Ammunition Purchases Have Declined Since 2009.
Much of the article is devoted to explaining how the DHS says that really isn't that much ammo for training purposes. But Meyer leads with the sensational and out-of-context claim and doesn't bother to explain the whole right-wing conspiracy thing.
That makes this a lazy and uninformative article. But have we come to expect anything less from CNS?
CNS' Starr Tries To Manufacture Outrage Over Public Radio Story She Doesn't Like Topic: CNSNews.com
Yes, CNSNews.com's Penny Starr devoted an entire "news" article to someone else's news article:
On its “All Things Considered” news program Monday, National Public Radio (NPR) aired a story that included a reporter attending a “live porn shoot.”
The “porn shoot” took place at the headquarters of Kink.com where the reporter interviewed “internet porn mogul” Peter Acworth.
The story, entitled “Hurting for Cash, Online Porn Tries New Tricks,” was produced by KQED public television and radio station in San Francisco, Calif.
The NPR story, posted on its All Tech Considered website pages, portrays the story as a business piece and Acworth as a victim.
"We're suffering what happened to the music industry a while back,” Acworth stated. “It's becoming much more easy to get content for free and people are less apt to want to pay for it.”
Describing how it's harder to make money on pornography hardly equates to portraying someone as a "victim."
Also: Why does Starr care what another news outlet reported? Why did she cherry-pick this story out of the hundreds and thousands of stories reported in the news each day? Because she thinks there's tax money involved, and she wants to destroy public radio:
KQED, which is affiliated with NPR and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), did not respond to an inquiry from CNSNews.com asking if reporting on pornography helped the media outlet meet its mission and whether or not they believe the reporting is beneficial to taxpayers, who help fund public broadcasting.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting – the congressionally created funding arm for public radio and television – was appropriated $445,000,000 for fiscal year 2014, according to its financial records.
Given that KQED was reporting on a local business and did not include any pornographic content in its news report, it's entirely likely that the story fits within the station's mission statement.
Starr is simply trying to impose her right-wing morality on others, like she did when she manufactured outrage over a National Portrait Gallery exhibit because she doesn't like gay stuff.
CNS Swings, Misses At Kerry For Pointing 'Shoddy' Climate Change Denialism Topic: CNSNews.com
Patrick Goodenough takes a rather sad whack at Secretary of State John Kerry for criticizing "shoddy scientists" who dispute climage change and pointing out that “97 percent of climate scientists have confirmed that climate change is happening and that human activity is responsible.” In his Feb. 16 CNSNews.com article on Kerry, Goodenough offers this rebuttal:
Last year a peer-reviewed academic journal published the results of a survey of more than 1,000 professional engineers’ and geoscientists’ views on climate change. It found that only 36 percent fitted into a group that “express[ed] the strong belief that climate change is happening, that it is not a normal cycle of nature, and humans are the main or central cause.”
The other respondents to varying degrees expressed skepticism about the causes of climate change, the extent of risk it poses, and the accuracy of IPCC modeling.
But that survey is largely meaningless, even if it did appear in a "peer-reviewed academic journal."
The survey Goodenough is citing was conducted by Lianne M. Lefsrud and Renate E. Meyer, and it appeared in the journal Organization Studies. As the Scholars & Rogues blog pointed out:
The vast majority of survey respondents were engineers, not climate scientists.
All respondents were members of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta, which is predominantly employed by the Alberta petroleum industry and its regulators.
The authors themselves has repeatedly stated that the survey's results are not representative of scientists in general.
The study is not about the beliefs of the respondents; it's about their worldviews, the tactics and strategies they use when arguing with others, and how they justify their own claims to have expert opinions on climate science.
In other words, the study is meaningless to the issue of climate change. But Goodenough cited it anyway.
CNS' Starr Pushes Myth That Plan B Is An Abortifacient Topic: CNSNews.com
In a Feb. 11 CNSNews.com article complaining that CVS pharmacies will stop selling tobacco products but continue to sell morning-after pills, Penny Starr repeatedly identifies one such pill, Plan B, as an "abortifacient" or "abortion-inducing drug." But even Starr admits that's not mainly how Plan B works.
Starr accurately cites Plan B's packaging, which states that it "works mainly by preventing ovulation, but she also asserts that Plan B "can prevent the implantation in the uterus of the developing embryo and thus end a human life."
To understand why scientists believe that the IUD, Plan B and Ella are not abortifacients, it is important first to understand the biology of conception. In order for a woman to become pregnant after sexual intercourse, her ovaries must release an egg (ovulation). Sperm can remain viable inside her reproductive tract for five days. Therefore, if intercourse takes place up to five days before ovulation or within two days after, both sperm and egg are viable and the egg cell can be fertilized.
Now, just because an egg is fertilized doesn't necessarily mean that it will develop into an embryo. For that to happen, the fertilized egg must be implanted into the endometrium that lines the uterus. Implantation happens seven days after fertilization, if it happens at all. Scientists estimate that, at a minimum, two-thirds of fertilized eggs fail to implant. Some scientists estimate that the number may even be as high as 80 percent, according to Discover Magazine.
For this reason, according to the medical definition, a woman is not considered pregnant until the developing embryo successfully implants the lining of the uterus.
Some church officials argue that a woman is pregnant at the moment of fertilization. If that is the case, then it follows that 60 to 80 percent of the time, this natural process results in a massive loss of life.
The Reporter goes on to explain why Plan B is not an abortifacient:
The drug Plan B is also artificial progestin and therefore impedes the sperm from entering the uterus in the same way as the IUD. But the drug can also stop the ovaries from releasing an egg. If an egg has already been released, Plan B can slow down the movement of the egg. By slowing down both the egg and the sperm, it prevents fertilization.
The effectiveness of Plan B drops considerably if given more than two days after intercourse. But even at its peak of effectiveness, it is only works 50 percent to 80 percent of the time. Some have argued that Plan B acts after fertilization by changing the uterine lining is such a way that implantation is impossible.
But according to Dr. Sandra Reznik, who also wrote for the January-February 2010 edition of CHA's Health Progress, if Plan B "involved a change in the endometrium, then one would expect a higher rate of success [in preventing pregnancy]. ... Taken together, there are biological, clinical and epidemiological data clearly indicating that Plan B's mechanism of action involves only pre-fertilization events."
For five years, staff at CHA collected, reviewed and summarized the great majority of articles on Plan B's mechanism of action, Ron Hamel explains in his article: "Virtually all of the evidence in the scientific literature indicates Plan B has little or no post-fertilization effect ... on the endometrium that would make it inhospitable to implantation."
Starr's boss, Terry Jeffrey, has also pushed the myth that Plan B is an "abortion-inducing drug."
CNS' Starr Can't Be Bothered To Tell A Balanced Story Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com's tradition of one-sided reporting continues in a Feb. 11 article by Penny Starr, in which she details how "A coalition of pro-family and traditional values groups sent a letter yesterday to Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director James Comey asking that the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigations to stop using the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a resource and authority on hate crimes."
Missing from Starr's article: Any reaction from the SPLC to the letter. There's no evidence Starr even bothered to contact them for a response. Thus, conservative smears of the SPLC as "anti-Christian" stand unchallenged, despite CNS' mission statement to "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story."