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Tuesday, December 19, 2006
WND Columnist Tries to Back His Claim That Soy Makes You Gay
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Jim Rutz has started the defense of his column last week claiming that soy causes homosexuality.

His first attempt, in his Dec. 19 column (he promises more in the future), isn't very coherent. He mainly focuses on disputed health claims about soy, as well as answering the question, "If soy is so harmful as to potentially alter sexual physiology and behavior, why haven't the Chinese and Japanese all died off or become homosexual centuries ago?" And he doesn't even get to the juicy stuff: "What is that doing to their sex organs and their sexual orientation? Tune in next week." Aw, man...

On a separate footnotes page (but not in his main article), Rutz does offer "three links to articles from prestigious sources that will tell you how safe and wonderful soy is." Interestingly, he doesn't link to one study that that appears to undercut one of his main claims, that soy-based infant formula is what's making our kids all femmy and stuff (he calls infants "worst victims of soy"). That 2001 University of Pennsylvania study found that "in terms of sexual development, there is very little difference between children who, as infants, were fed cow milk formula and those fed soy formula." (Hat tip: World O'Crap.)

Posted by Terry K. at 9:07 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, December 19, 2006 9:08 PM EST
Let's Call It Obama's Law
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As we've learned with Kevin McCullough, it's becoming clear that the level of intelligent discourse in a column about Barack Obama is inversely proportional to the number of times the columnist invokes Obama's middle name.

And so it is with Mychal Massie's Dec. 18 WorldNetDaily column. Not only does he use "Barack Hussein Obama" twice, his column is headlined, "Another threat named Hussein." Massie goes on to call Obama "the extreme socialist liberal version of former Vice-President Dan Quayle, but without the substance," further claiming without evidence that he is a "supporter of sex education for grades K-5."

Massie concludes with a defense of negative campaigning against Newt Gingrich's call to anbandon it, stating: "Newt also overlooks the free use of lies when he calls for an end to negative campaigns. Lying is a negative, and few are more accomplished distorters of the truth than Barack Obama." As we've documented, Massie himself is quite the accomplished truth distorter (not to mention a hypocrite).

Posted by Terry K. at 11:24 AM EST
Monday, December 18, 2006
WND Still Riding Sexpidemic! Bandwagon
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Ho-hum -- yet another WorldNetDaily article recounts an alleged case of teacher-student sex, complete with laundry list of alleged offenses.

Why "ho-hum"?

  1. That list offenses that WND repeats in every story on the subject dates back as far as 15 years, but WND leaves the impression that all listed incidents are current.
  2. Beyond the purely anecdotal list, WND has offered no evidence -- none -- that the current level of teacher-student sex is any higher than in the past.

On the other hand, we must give WND props for recognizing the simple truism that even morally upright Christians -- WND's target audience -- like to read about sex.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:29 PM EST
Salvato's Un-Researched Opinion

Frank Salvato's Dec. 15 column claiming that "members of immigrating minority groups are increasingly refusing to assimilate into the cultures of their resident countries" might have made a tad more sense had he bothered to substantiate any of his claims.

Instead of evidence, Salvato instead rants against "the Progress-Left, the one-worlders, the globalists, those who have grown to practice the narcissism of placing oneself before all else" and "the aggressive dogma of 'multiculturalism.'"

Then again, evidence is a bad thing when you're trying to mislead your readers, as Salvato does.

He claims that the "reconquista" movement to reclaim the Southwestern U.S. is "aggressive" and "militant." But he offers no evidence to support it, let alone to prove that a widespread "reconquista" movement is anything more than a figment of the imaginations of conservatives (not to mention white supremacists). 

Salvato further asserts: "Their motto, “Por La Raza todo, Fuera de La Raza nada” – which translated means "For the Race, everything, for those outside the Race, nothing" – encapsulates the dangers multiculturalism poses to a nation’s identity." But Salvato mistranslates that motto -- typically ascribed to a group known as MEChA, which Salvato calls "a radical organization that promotes Latino superiority" -- or, more accurately since we doubt Salvato speaks fluent Spanish, he regurgitates what other right-wingers have written. As David Neiwert points out, it's more of an expression of ethnic pride rather than something aggressively exclusionary.

Salvato is the managing editor of a right-wing site called New Media Journal (formerly The Rant); part of its slogan is "Researched opinion. Cogent headlines." As you can see, Salvato isn't much into "researched opinion." And really, how sorry of a website are you when you're reduced to bragging about how "cogent" your headlines are?

Posted by Terry K. at 3:24 PM EST
Updated: Monday, December 18, 2006 3:29 PM EST
Spin of the Day
Topic: NewsBusters

From the front page of the Media Research Center website:

The MRC's NewsBusters blog came in second of ten blogs nominated for "Best Media Blog" in the 2006 Weblog Awards contest which closed to voting on Friday. But the winner was a far-left site, making NewsBusters the top conservative media blog.

As long as you ignore the fact that there was no "top conservative media blog" category, then yeah...

Posted by Terry K. at 2:36 PM EST
NewsBuster: Jamil Hussein's Existence Isn't the Point
Topic: NewsBusters

You knew this was coming.

After Editor & Publisher reported a blogger's apparent discovery of the existence of Jamil Hussein, an Associated Press source in Iraq whom numerous conservative bloggers declared didn't exist, Warner Todd Huston declared in a Dec. 18 NewsBusters post that Hussein's existence isn't the issue:

However, E&P seems to be missing the real story... as usual.

The fact is, whether this Captain Hussein exists or not, there is still no corroboration for the story of six burned Iraqis.

And, it has always been a staple of journalism that more than one source be required to publish a story reported as "fact". After all, if only ONE source is ever needed for a story, then anyone can publish anything as "fact" merely upon any single person's say so.

I slept with Marilyn Monroe, ya know? Print that as fact, AP... just because I say so. Even though I was but a child when she was found dead. But this one source says it's true, so the AP MUST assume it could be fact!

But as we've noted, the AP has cited other witnesses to the story of the burned Iraqis, so there is more than one source.

While the AP could certainly be more forthcoming on this issue, and while there are legitimate issues to be raised (Bob Bateman offers a less ideologically charged look), Huston and others have an agenda in their criticism: to discredit any war reporting they don't agree with, no matter how true it is.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:34 AM EST
Sunday, December 17, 2006
E&P: Jamil Hussein Exists!
Topic: NewsBusters

More here.

NewsBusters' Al Brown, Robin Boyd and Greg Sheffield are presumably commiserating on how to spin this news so as not to contradict their own writing; they claimed that Hussein didn't exist because the government told them he didn't.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:55 PM EST
Keeping the 'War on Christmas' Alive
Topic: Media Research Center

Via Tim Graham at NewsBusters, we learn that the Media Research Center's Culture & Media Institute is trying to keep the "War on Christmas" flame alive. In a CMI article, Kristen Fyfe asks why people think there is a "war on Christmas": "Because, Tiny Tim, there is." She adds: "The war on Christmas is not a figment of the imaginations of Fox News or conservative Christians, as the liberal media would have you believe."

This largely ignores that conservative groups (and Fox News) have worked hard over the past couple of years into blowing up unrelated, isolated incidents into a "war on Christmas." For instance, as we've detailed, for the last two holiday seasons, WorldNetDaily simply ran nearly verbatim (and occasionally factually challenged) press releases from conservative legal groups like Liberty Counsel and the Alliance Defense Fund promoting their "war on Christmas" legal actions without even bothering to present the other side.

Fyfe touches on this, writing: "Led by Christian organizations like the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, the Catholic League, Liberty Counsel and the Alliance Defense Fund, the push back against Politically Correct Christmas is gaining momentum." But Fyfe erroneously calls this a "grassroots movement"; in fact, these are groups that reel in millions of dollars in donations each year and have public-relations staffs whose job it is to promote their cause -- hardly "grassroots."

We see that fund-raising component in Fyfe's article by her copious use of the ACLU bogeyman; she claims that the "war" is "[l]ed predominantly by the ACLU (they’ll deny it of course, but ask the folks in Wilson County, Tennessee who are currently in court fighting the ACLU over – among other charges -- a kindergarten class singing two Christmas carols)." Indeed, "ACLU" appears eight times in her article.

Along with her copious ACLU references, Fyfe has no problem ascribing the most negative spin to those who dare to say something other than "Merry Christmas." She writes, "It seemed to culminate last year with Wal-Mart’s decision to forbid its employees to greet customers with 'Merry Christmas' " as if it were part of that purported ACLU plot -- and as if no greeting was offered at all. As the Chicago Tribune points out, the truth is much less nefarious: Wal-Mart simply tried out "Happy Holidays" and caved under the boycott threats of those, er, "grassroots" groups.

The "war on Christmas" may or may not be, in Fyfe's words, "a figment of the imaginations of Fox News or conservative Christians," but it is most definitely their creation -- and Fyfe should honestly acknowledge that.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:52 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, December 17, 2006 11:54 AM EST
Saturday, December 16, 2006
McCullough Riding Obama's Coattails?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It appears that Kevin McCullough is trying to turn Barack Obama's metoric political rise into his meal ticket into the next level of conservative prominence, a la Christopher Ruddy, Joseph Farah, et al, with President Clinton.

McCullough has written several WorldNetDaily columns attacking Obama, such as a notorious one this one that Obama "represents the views of Satan." His latest column on Obama continues that overheated tone, referring to "Barack Hussein Obama" no less than three times -- thus buying into a weird little right-wing talking point.

Of course, by buying into that talking point an hurling words like "evil" at Obama, McCullough demonstrates that really has nothing thoughtful to say on the subject. Not that it will stop McCullough from clinging to Obama's coattails, mind you.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:09 PM EST
Friday, December 15, 2006
Speaking of Gracious ...
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Dec. 15 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard declared White House press secretary Tony Snow to have "class, integrity and decency" for apologizing to NBC's David Gregory for calling him a "partisan" because he read statements from the Iraq Study Group report. Sheppard concluded: "How refreshing. Now, try to imagine a member of the press being as gracious."

Better yet, try to imagine a NewsBusters poster being as gracious. In a Dec. 8 post on the original Snow-Gregory exchange, Matthew Sheffield called Gregory "petulant" and his ISG quotes "out of context," then bashed Gregory and other reporters for "asking captious, leading questions that no public spokesperson is ever going to answer."

Will Sheppard gently prod his NewsBusters bud to serve up a similarly "gracious" apology?

Posted by Terry K. at 8:16 PM EST
CNS Overlooks Conservativism of Israeli Pols

Two Dec. 15 articles ignore or inadequately explain the conservative political affiliations of the Israeli politicans they quote.

An article by Kevin Mooney quoting "senior Israeli politician" Uzi Landau does note that Landau is "a member of the opposition Likud Party," but Mooney doesn't explain that Likud is conservative or what it is in "opposition" to -- the center-left Kadima party headed by Ehud Olmert. (Nor, interestingly, does Mooney identify the political persuasion of The Century Foundation, which appears to be a liberal-leaning group; as we've noted, CNS is typically more diligent about identifying liberal groups as such.)

Julie Stahl, meanwhile, offered no political affiliation for Israeli lawmaker Yuval Steinitz in an article featuring his call to dissolve the Palestinian Authority and ship its leaders to the Gaza strip. Turns out he's in Likud, too.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:40 PM EST
NewsBusters: Proving Stephen Colbert Right
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Dec. 13 NewsBusters post, Terry Trippany tells the Associated Press how to write a news story: Don't include anything that makes the Bush administration sound bad.

Trippany decided to deconstruct an AP report on military recruiting, declaring, "One can’t help but note how the AP reporter spins the good news story of recruitment success into a negative screed about American pessimism over the war in Iraq and dissatisfaction with the way President Bush is handling the effort." So she turned it into two articles, one a "biased screed," the other the real story.

But Trippany's good-news version of the story conveniently omits certain realities that would be germane, if not essential, to an article about military recruiting, namely 1) the U.S. is fighting a war; 2) that war is unpopular with the majority of Americans; and 3) most Americans disapprove of Bush's handling of the war. Too negative, you see. Makes Repubicans look bad. Can't have that.

Trippany thus proves Stephen Colbert right: reality really does have a liberal bias. And that's what our friends at the MRC are fighting to save us from.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:14 AM EST
Thursday, December 14, 2006
AIM Likens French News Channel to Al-Jazeera
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A Dec. 13 Accuracy in Media column by Andy Selepak felt the need to liken the new French news channel, France 24, to al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based channel AIM is seeking to censor. Selepak writes that "it appears that the new channel is designed, like Al-Jazeera, to counter American influence in the world. It also seems designed to give us a more sympathetic view of those behind international terrorism," concluding that "Like Al-Jazeera, France 24 looks like another government-funded propaganda operation of dubious value." Selepak seems to show disdain for the fact that "France 24 is available in Washington D.C. to Comcast cable subscribers"; is AIM looking to censor that, too?

Selepak also bizarrely claims that "U.S. seems to be practically disarmed" in "the current global media environment." We're not sure what the heck that means, considering the global influence of Hollywood movies and even the reach of CNN's international channel. 

Posted by Terry K. at 9:35 PM EST
Aaron Klein's Mighty Wurlitzer
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein has fired up his mighty Wurlitzer once again -- the same one where he keeps his terrorist buddies when he needs to cue up a Democrat-bashing quote -- and lo and behold, he found a New York politician to bash Ehud Olmert.

A Dec. 14 article features the comments of New York state assemblyman Dov Hikind, who is demanding Olmert's resignation. Nowhere does Klein state what, if any, special expertise Hikind has that makes him a credible critic of Olmert (beyond buying full-page ads in Jewish newspapers making the same argument) or anything else regarding Hikind's background and political affiliation -- seemingly essential background information given that the vast majority of WND's readers are not Jewish and not from New York.

As we reported the last time Klein cited him, a 1999 Village Voice article described Hikind as "a combative disciple of Jewish Defense League capo Meir Kahane." And we know how Klein has previously whitewashed the Kahane movement's violent history. Hikind is also, like Klein, an opponent of the Olmert-led disengagement plan of writhdrawing from Israeli settlements in Gaza and the West Bank.

Indeed, this is the 11th WND article -- all but two of which carry Klein's byline -- in which Hikind is quoted. Among them:

  • A March 2005 article by Klein stated that Hikind was one of a group fo Americans who "moved ... for three days" to an Israeli settlement in Gaza "protest Israel's planned withdrawal this summer from Gaza and parts of the West Bank." Hikind is the only person Klein quoted in the article. Klein wrote about a second Hikind-led visit to Gaza a few months later, as well as Hikind's unauthorized entry into post-evacuation Gaza in August 2005.
  • In a May 2005 article touting Gaza as, of all things, a tourist destination just a few months before the Israeli pullout from Gaza began, Klein quoted Hikind as saying, ""Of course I would recommend people vacation in Gush Katif [settlement in Gaza]. I felt completely safe while I was there."
  • A May 2006 article quoted Hikind bashing Olmert and claiming he is "establish[ing] a coalition to sponsor public information campaigns about what he called the dangers of an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, and to lead solidarity missions to communities Olmert seeks to evacuate."
  • Hikind was Klein's main source on a June 2006 smear piece claiming that the U.S. branch of Olmert's Kadima party plagiarized parts of its website from a state Democratic Party website.

So, it appears that Hikind is little more than a politician with an ax to grind (against a country where he is not an elected official) who has a kinship with a reporter who opposes the same things -- Olmert and disengagement -- as him. And Klein has a reliable quote-spouter when he feels the need to smack Olmert around.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:41 PM EST
Judge Moore Gets It Wrong
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his December 13 WorldNetDaily column, Judge Roy Moore attacked newly elected congressman Keith Ellison because he "shocked many Americans by declaring that he would take his oath of office by placing his hand on the Quran rather than the Bible."

But as was repeatedly pointed out when Dennis Prager made the same accusation, the official swearing-in of members of Congress is not done on a Bible or a Quran -- or any religious book, for that matter -- it's done en masse. Members occasionally pose for photos with their hand on a Bible, but there is nothing official about them, and they are unrelated to the actual swearing-in.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:46 AM EST

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