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Nobel Prize Nominees for Partisan Hackery

Columnists for WorldNetDaily and NewsMax continue to promote Dr. Hammesfahr's bogus claim. Plus: A sudden bout of kindness for Jesse Jackson, the most uninformed comment about the Schiavo case, and a round of Then and Now.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 3/30/2005
Updated 3/31/2005

Just because ConWebWatch was able to get WorldNetDaily to stop referring to Dr. William Hammesfahr as a "Nobel Prize nominee" in a news story doesn't mean that WND will make its columnists abandon the bogus reference.

In a March 29 column beating up on the legal system for following the law in the Terri Schiavo case, Mychal Massie -- yes, the guy who thinks Democrats are no different than Bull Connor and Orval Faubus -- asks: "Where is the credibility of a jurist who has doubtfully never encountered a criminal he wouldn't shake the doors of hell for, but finds Dr. William Hammesfahr, the 1999 Nobel Prize nominee in this field of medicine, less credible than [Dr. Ronald] Cranford, the right-to-die activist?"

It's exactly where it should be, because the claim that Hammesfahr is "the 1999 Nobel Prize nominee in this field of medicine" is a lie. As ConWebWatch has noted, the claim -- promoted by Hammesfahr himself -- is based on a letter written by a congressman, who aren't eligible to make a valid nomination for Nobel Prizes in medicine. And even if he actually was a Nobel Prize nominee, Hammesfahr presumably would not know because, according to the Nobel Foundation, "[i]nformation about the nominations, investigations, and opinions concerning the award is kept secret for fifty years."

Massie is not the only WND columnist to boost the bogus claim in recent days. Kevin McCullough – whom last we saw asserting that claims taught in abstinence-based sex education classes identified as misinformation in a report by Rep. Henry Waxman are actually true -- calls Hammesfahr "a Nobel Prize nominated medical expert” in a March 25 column. McCullough added: "I admit I'm not a Nobel Prize nominated brain-injury expert. Luckily for Terri, Dr. Hammesfahr is." Um, we hate to break this to you, Kev, but no, he isn't. McCullough also calls Michael Schiavo "that serial adulterer" even though it was Terri's parents who encouraged Michael to start dating again.

And it's not just WND columnists advancing the claim. The Rev. Michael Reilly, in a March 24 NewsMax column, claims that Hammesfahr was "nominated for a Nobel Prize for working with people just like Terri." (Update: Despite Hammesfahr's fraudulent self-promotion, NewsMax has posted his 2002 report on Terri Schiavo, calling him a "world-reknowned [sic] neurologist." NewsMax has not posted any reports by doctors who have concluded that Terri cannot be helped.)

Do they give Nobel Prizes for partisan hackery? We'll write up nominations for each of these gentlemen.

* * *

The ConWeb is suddenly nice to the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Why? Because he came out March 29 in favor of restoring Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. Articles by NewsMax and are quite respectful of Jackson, even though they have spent years denouncing him. NewsMax called him "the man regarded by many as the Democratic Party's conscience." WorldNetDaily provided only an outside link to the Jackson story, apparently fearful of sullying its web site with anything positive about the man.

(Update: We were right. In a March 30 article, WND hauled out the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson for some copious Jackson-bashing, saying the Schindlers were "praying with the devil in their hour of need." The article also calls Jackson a "so-called civil-rights leader." As in many previous articles quoting Peterson, WND fails to disclose its financial relationship with him -- more about that below.)

That's quite a change, since it was just a little more than a month ago that NewsMax was approvingly quoting black conservatives saying that liberal like Jackson "have utterly failed to provide moral leadership in the Black community and have become the tools for extremist political agendas."

This sudden turnabout is typical of the ConWeb; as ConWebWatch has documented, NewsMax dismissed Democratic congresswoman Cynthia McKinney as "loony" -- except when she attacked Al Gore; then it was all nice and respectful to her.

To delve a bit more into the ConWeb's Jackson-hating history: A January NewsMax story calls Jackson a "one-time civil rights leader"; the headline of a 2002 article reads "Jesse Jackson: Friend of Terrorists, Communist Stooge"; A 2003 story called him "The garbler from Chicago"; A 2002 column by Christopher Ruddy promoted an anti-Jackson book; and a 2000 NewsMax article by Neal Boortz calls Jackson a "desperate, dangerous demagogue" and a "pathetic cretin."

NewsMax and WND have long been promoters of another Jesse -- the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, a longtime critic of Jackson. NewsMax ran an "urgent letter" from Peterson in 2003 claiming: "More and more Americans are catching on to Jesse Jackson and his phony 'civil rights' struggle. Americans are seeing that Jackson is nothing more than a slimy shakedown artist." Another "urgent letter" by Peterson calls Jackson "the adulterer minister, the lover of Palestine and hater of Israel."

WND has promoted Peterson's annual "National Day of Repudiation of Jesse Jackson," even as it fails to tell its readers that it makes money off Peterson through the WND speakers bureau and its publication of the anti-Jackson book he wrote. WND's promotion for Peterson's book claimed that "increasing numbers of Americans have come to regard Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and other establishment 'black leaders' as con artists, gaining money and power by promoting racial tension and class warfare."

WND columnist Mychal Massie called Jackson a peddler of "hatred, debauchery and heathenism" in a December 2004 column. WND White House correspondent Les Kinsolving called Jackson "the reverend adulterer" in a 2003 question to White House press secretary Scott McClellan. A 2003 article from Insight magazine reprinted by WND blames Jackson for problems in Liberia.

A 2004 story promoted a shareholder resolution submitted by a conservative group, the National Legal and Policy Center, which claims that it "promotes ethics in public life" (but whose president has previously expressed its support for the ethically challenged Tom DeLay) that would eliminate corporate funding for any "nonprofit organization founded, headed or primarily identified with Jesse Jackson."

Articles in June 2003 and June 2004 promoted a protest against Jackson, with one protester claiming that Jackson is "our worst nightmare in the black community," as did a 2003 story. CNS has also promoted Peterson's anti-Jackson rally. A November 2004 commentary by -- well, we're not sure who it's by, actually; the byline says Charles Colson, but the tagline says Christopher Adamo -- puts "Reverend" in quotes before Jackson’s name.

In other words, whatever kind words the ConWeb is saying right now about Jackson, they don't really mean it.

* * *

And the winner of the uninformed comment about the Schiavo case thus far is ... NewsMax's Rev. Michael Reilly, in a March 26 column. (No, it's not for the above-cited claim of Hammesfahr's Nobel studliness.) Reilly implies that Michael Schiavo is the same as "Robert Blake and O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson" and other "wealthy celebrities" who "can afford attorneys who know what kind of tie the judge likes, etc.," ignoring the army of activists keeping the Schindlers' side alive in the courts. Reilly then makes the following claim: "What's really sad is that average Americans like Bob and Mary Schindler -- and you and I -- have no access to justice in the American judiciary."

The only way to rebut that is with a column by the Wall Street Journal's Daniel Henninger, who counts in a March 25 column the number of times in the past five years the Schiavo case has gone before judges:

Florida's appeals court: eight times; the Florida Supreme Court: five times; U.S. federal courts: five times; the U.S. Supreme Court: three times.

Sounds like the Schindlers got much more "access to justice" than most folks.

* * *

Then and Now, Schiavo Edition:

"Like Jesus, Terri was betrayed. She has her Judas. His name is Michael Schiavo."

-- Joseph Farah, WorldNetDaily, March 25

"Judis or Judas?"

-- Headline on April 16, 2001, WorldNetDaily story accusing New Republic writer John B. Judis of taking information from WND articles without proper credit (as ConWebWatch has previously noted)

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