ConWeb Ignores Lawsuit's Withdrawal Topic: WorldNetDaily
Remember that lawsuit last fall claiming that a California teacher was allegedly forbidden to teach about the Declaration of Independence to his students because it mentioned God? Well, never mind.
Via Americans United, we learn that teacher Stephen Williams has withdrawn his lawsuit against the Cupertino, Calif., school district, and both sides have dismissed all claims. Williams resigned from his teaching position a few days later.
Williams was represented by the conservative Alliance Defense Fund, which declared in a press release announcing Williams' lawsuit that it was about "whether it's unconstitutional to read the Declaration of Independence in public school." But, as ConWebWatch has noted, it wasn't about that at all; Williams had a documented history of using his classroom to advance his religious views -- to the point where parents complained and the principal began reviewing Williams' lesson plans and handouts in advance -- and the Declaration of Independence excerpt (not the entire document) was one of several document excerpts Williams was using to demonstrate the Christian origins of the founders of the United States.
WorldNetDaily reprinted the Alliance Defense Fund's press releases without bothering to contact the school district for a response. NewsMax columnists Phil Brennan and Kathleen Antrim repeated the ADF's overblown accusations against the school district.
WND and NewsMax thus far refused to offer any original coverage of the lawsuit's withdrawal, let alone anything equal to their coverage of the ADF's original accusations, even though the ADF has issued another overblown press release on it. The ADF release claims that its agreement with the school district "allows teachers, no matter what their religious beliefs, to use appropriate educational material (including supplemental handouts of historical significance) during instructional time that has religious content," but the San Jose Mercury News points out that "No school policies were altered."
WND has hired ADF general counsel Alan Sears as a columnist. This would seem to guarantee that more overblown ADF allegations will be promulgated by the ConWeb -- and that its failures will be quietly buried.
Massie's Claims Unquestioned by CNS Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Aug. 26 CNSNews.com article by Melanie Hunter does a fine job of reproducing a press release from the black conservative group Project 21. And, being a reproduction of a press release, refuses to question any of the assertions made in it.
The big assertion, of course, is that Project 21 member Mychal Massie likened Supreme Court nominee John Roberts to Martin Luther King Jr. That's not really news, since Massie is prone to bizarrely overheated statements, such as likening House minority leader Harry Reid to segregationists Bull Connor and Orval Faubus.
The purpose of the press release was to rebut another press release criticizing Massie's claim, issued by African American Ministers in Action, which Hunter writes is "described as a front group for People for the American Way" (though she doesn't note who's describing it that way). Hunter, meanwhile, describes Project 21 as a "black conservative group" even though it too is a "front group"; it's an arm of the conservative National Center for Public Policy Research.
Sticking with Project 21's script, the only claims from the African American Ministers in Action press release that appear in Hunter's article are the two short sentences Project 21 put in its press release; it includes the AAMIA claim that "John Roberts is no Martin Luther King, Jr." without any explanation of the reasons why AAMIA believes that.
Hunter also faithfully reproduces the statement that Project 21 "takes no position on the confirmation of any particular judicial nominee," but she fails to explore how likening Roberts to a beloved (except, ironically, by some conservatives) public figure such as King could be construed as anything other than an call to confirm Roberts.
New WND Columnist, Same Old Agenda Topic: WorldNetDaily
Alan Sears, head of the conservative legal group Alliance Defense Fund, has joined WorldNetDaily as a columnist. (And, coincidence of coincidences, Sears has a new book out.) Which undoubtedly means that WND will run even more of ADF's alarmist press releases of how Christianity is allegedly under attack; here's one WND ran a couple days ago.
We won't, however, hear much about the cases ADF doesn't win. More on that here this weekend.
WND Disingenuous Promo Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
Ah, another day, another disingenuous WorldNetDaily promo.
An Aug. 25 promo for the day's Joseph Farah radio show note that his guest is Andrew Breitbart, longtime assistant to gossip Matt Drudge. The article notes that Breitbart's new web site, Breitbart.com, "features Associated Press and Reuters stories, along with the slogan 'Just the news'" and describes Breitbart as "the Internet entrepreneur whose 1-week-old news website is the fastest-growing site in the world."
But nowhere is it explained why Breitbart's site is so popular -- wire articles cited on the Drudge Report now link to Breitbart.com.
Given WND's attacks on the Associated Press and Reuters, why would it promote a web site that has only AP and Reuters copy?
Clinton Equivocation Watch Topic: Newsmax
Does NewsMax employ someone whose full-time job it is to equivocate any bad thing with something a Clinton (or someone close to him) did?
That would explain an Aug. 24 article rather lamely attempting to draw heat away from Pat Robertson's desire to kill Venezuela's Hugo Chavez by dredging up a 1997 call by then-Clinton adviser George Stephanopoulos to kill Saddam Hussein, complaining that "the press voiced no objection at all."
If NewsMax had been around in 1997, however, it undoubtedly would have opposed the idea because simply it came from someone in the Clinton administration.
The Evil Marketing of 'The Marketing of Evil' Topic: WorldNetDaily
Well, not really evil; just dishonest.
We've already detailed how the effusive praise WorldNetDaily has forwarded regarding WND managing editor David Kupelian's WND-published book "The Marketing of Evil" appears to be little more than WND founder Joseph Farah calling in favors from his conservative buddies.
Now, an Aug. 24 article pimping the book performs a similar act of dishonesty. The article claims that the book "being met with both rave reviews and occasional fierce condemnation from readers," and examples of both are provided. The "rave reviews" are as rave as billed, but the "occasional fierce condemnation" are extremist rants.
It's a common (but slimy) rhetorical trick to portray the most extreme examples of criticism of what you do as representative of all criticism. It's the same reason why WND's preferred choice to fill its token "Out of Left Field" slot on its commentary page tends to be hard leftists like Robert Scheer and gay-friendly columnists like Deb Price.
No More Conflict-of-Interest Disclosures? Topic: CNSNews.com
Is CNSNews.com backing away from the one journalistic thing it did consistently and well?
On the front of today's CNS front page is the headline "Media Watchdog Report Finds CNN Anchor Has 'Negative View' of Free Market, followed by the promo line: "A report by a watchdog group finds that CNN's Lou Dobbs has a 'negative view' of the free market."
But the following hyperlink, instead of normal text like "Full Story" or "Read News on the Web," reads, "Read the Report." Clicking on it takes you to the Free Market Project -- like CNS, run by the Media Research Center.
Heretofore, CNS has generally done a good job of disclosing conflicts of interest; when it has felt the need to report on the doings of the MRC, it has regularly noted that it too is an MRC division. Is CNS dispensing with that journalistic pretense?
(A side note: CNS describes the decidedly conservative Free Market Project as a "media watchdog" and a "watchdog group," while in two recent articles referencing Media Matters for America (full disclosure: my employer), it adds qualifiers, describing it as a "liberal media watchdog group." But CNS has always had that labeling bias.)
Jefferson Smeared? Topic: Accuracy in Media
In an Aug. 24 Accuracy in Media article, Roger Aronoff seems to be protesting a bit too much about the idea that Thomas Jefferson may have fathered a child with black slave Sally Hemings.
Aronoff correctly notes that other Jefferson relatives could have been involved with Hemings -- but then insists that any claim that Thomas Jefferson hooked up with Hemings is "fake" and a "myth" without offering definitive evidence that he didn't.
And then there the headline on Aronoff's article: "Another Smear of Thomas Jefferson." Why is the suggestion that Jefferson had sex with a black woman considered a "smear"?
Be A Border Patrol Wannabe Topic: Newsmax
"Join the U.S. Border Patrol!" reads the link on NewsMax's front page today. Huh? The Border Patrol is trolling for recruits on a conservative web site?
Well, no. Click the link, and it takes you to NewsMax's store, where you can buy a Border Patrol cap. "Now you can stand on the frontlines of America's battle with illegal immigrants by wearing the US Border Patrol cap," the ad copy states. "Wear the cap everywhere ... and if illegals start running when they see you ... you'll have the last laugh."
Then again, the (actual) Border Patrol may not want recruits who succumb to ad copy like this.
WND's Kerry Hatefest Lingers Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily just can't stop hating John Kerry.
It was a veritable Kerry-hating machine during the 2004 presidential campaign, spewing distortions and lies at every opportunity. The tradition continues with an Aug. 22 article on gonzo writer Hunter Thompson's funeral. The headline:
WND Hearts Convicted Felons Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Aug. 22 WorldNetDaily article by Art Moore continues WND's policy of whitewashing the felonious past of Clinton-basher Peter Paul and includes a serious factual error in the process.
Moore follows the standard ConWeb blueprint of playing down Paul's crimes, as it does for his buddy and fellow felon, Aaron Tonken. The factual error comes as Moore plays down Paul's guilty plea for his role in a $25 million stock manipulation scheme involving a company he co-founded with comic-book legend Stan Lee. Moore wrote:
The Clinton Justice Department had him jailed while he was in Brazil and then extradicted to the United States.
In fact, the original indictment against Paul was not issued until June 2001, and he was arrested in Brazil in August 2001 -- months after the Clinton administration left office and, thus, no longer ran the Justice Department.
Moore also wrote that "Paul insists he was doing business in South America, not fleeing justice as some contended," but includes no explanation of why Paul fought extradition from Brazil for two years.
Moore's article is mostly based on an interview with Paul; near as we can tell, Moore made little or no attempt to fact-check Paul's statements.
Look for a full ConWebWatch article later this week on this subject.