Joseph Farah Is Larry Sinclair's PR Man Topic: WorldNetDaily
It is not normal behavior for news organizations to hire a PR firm to promote news articles, particularly ones in which the claims made in it have not been substantiated.
But WorldNetDaily is no normal "news" organization.
Yesterday, WND sent out a press release on behalf of its PR firm, M. Sliwa Public Relations -- operated by Maria Sliwa, sister of Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, which WND has previously retained to promote books from its publishing operation -- to tout WND editor Joseph Farah's Feb. 22 column claiming that Larry Sinclair's accusations against Barack Obama, which WND has unskeptically promoted and even admitted is "sleaze," are so much worse that what the New York Times published about John McCain. Indeed, the press release's headline screams:
FARAH'S LATEST OBAMA BOMBSHELL
Leaves McCain Scandal in the Dust
As we've noted, WND has offered no evidence whatsoever to support Sinclair's claims, or even suggested that it made an effort to find any -- which puts it in a position similar to the one that resulted in WND having to settle a libel lawsuit by admitting that it published false information and didn't fact-check its reporting before publishing it.
The press release repeats Farah's disingenuous claim that he "is an independent journalist who supports neither Obama nor McCain, and says WND will continue to report both stories regardless of whether he supports either candidate." Again, as we've noted, WND has covered the Times/McCain story only in the context of attacking the Times for running it, whereas it has accepted Sinclair's claims against Obama at face value.
Further, Farah doesn't just not support Obama; he's openly hostile to him. Farah has used guilt by association to smear Obama as a communist and stated that the idea of Obama as president "scare[s]" him. He has smeared Democrats as "socialist race-baiters and phony feminists." Any suggestion that Farah's non-support for Obama translates to "independent" neutrality is absurd.
WND's press release also makes Farah available for interviews about the Obama-sinclair story. We've put in a request to Sliwa's firm to interview Farah, particularly about the unseemliness of a "news" organization hiring a PR firm to promote an unsubstantiated political smear. We'll see what happens.
MRC Tries to Bury Times-McCain Story Topic: Media Research Center
Media Research Center employees are doing their best to pretend the New York Times article on John McCain is false (though they make no effort to prove it so) and meaningless:
TimesWatch's Clay Waters insists at NewsBusters athat the story is, in the words of his headline, "dying on the vine," making sure to hit those conservative talking points about the article, "anonymous sources" and "nine-year-old allegations."
Mark Finkelstein hit those same talking points, citing "anonymous, disgruntled former associates as sources" who were "dredging up old stories."
A NewsBusters post promoting a Brent Bozell appearance on C-SPAN notes that "Bozell speaks of the Bill Keller New York Times disaster."
Noel Sheppard insists With each passing moment, it appears the New York Times laid a big egg with its hit piece on John McCain."
Rich Galen, at CNSNews.com, dismisses it as "nothing more than coffee-machine gossip, inference, speculation, and conjecture," as well as "the journalistic equivalent of a blogger sitting in his basement feeding out rumors to the internet over his dial-up connection."
Tim Graham plays the distraction card by accusing Times editor Bill Keller of adultery. Graham doesn't explain how this is relevant to to the veracity of the Times story.
Brent Bozell called it "rumor and gossip, fit to print only for the likes of the National Enquirer."
By the way, telling "old stories" wasn't a problem for the MRC a couple years ago, when it used CNSNews.com to attack Democrat John Murtha's 40-year-old war record and 25-year-old scandal ties.
Newsmax Again Ignores That McCain Defender Is On McCain Payroll Topic: Newsmax
In the Feb. 21 "Newsmax.TV Minute" video, host Ashley Martella called Robert Bennett, who defended John McCain from a New York Times article, "a prominent Democrat" and a "Democratic Party attorney" without noting that McCain hired Bennett specifically to address issues raised by the story. Further, despite Martella's suggestion, there appears to be no evidence that Bennett was employed by the "Democratic Party."
From the video:
MARTELLA: Even a prominent Democrat is slamming the New York Times for a hit job on John McCain. Democratic Party attorney Robert Bennett, who represented Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones scandal, calls the front-page story shameless. Without naming any sources or offering any evidence, the Times suggests McCain had an illicit relationship with a female lobbyist eight years ago.
This is the second time that Newsmax has touted Bennett's Democratic ties in his defense of McCain and ignored that Bennett is on McCain's payroll.
A Feb. 22 column by Michael Reagan, pubished at Newsmax and FrontPageMag, takes a hysterical kill-the-messenger approach to the New York Times' John McCain story by lashing out at the Times.
Reagan refers to the paper as "the ultra-liberal — ahh, let's say it outright — the Marxist New York Times" and "this virulently anti-American house organ for every enemy of the United States," cited its editors' "corrupt way of thinking," claimed the McCain story was "waiting in Times Editor Bill Keller's bottom drawer, where presumably he also keeps the cross he burns in front of his former Roman Catholic church and his holy Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez relics," and asserted, "Who needs the Times, especially since we already have al Jazeera?"
Reagan ends with one final dose of bile:
Time after time, The New York Times has shown itself to be the Typhoid Mary of American journalism, and as such should be quarantined to prevent its viruses from further infecting our body politic and endangering both our national security and the safety of the American people.
Nowhere does Reagan offer any evidence that what the Times reported about McCain is incorrect.
In his Feb. 22 column claiming a double standard in how Larry Sinclair's unverified claims against Barack Obama are getting short shrift against the New York Times' legally vetted, multipily (if anonymously) sourced claims against John McCain, Joseph Farah writes of his creation of WorldNetDaily: "I believed it was time for a real media alternative – one that not only had professional journalism standards, but applied them evenly without fear or favoritism."
What are these "professional journalism standards" he speaks of? Didn't Farah and WND just settle a libel lawsuit by admitting they published false statements about someone, after having previously admitted in court papers that the reporting in which those false statements were made was never fact-checked prior to publication? There was certainly no application of "professional journalism standards" there.
Farah himself, meanwhile, is a documented plagiarizer and spreader of false claims. No "professional journalism standards" there, either.
And it's rather curious that Farah is pointing out that the McCain is being "accused by unnamed sources" in the Times, when WND itself hasregularlyusedanonymous sources, including support for the claims WND had to retract as a result of the libel lawsuit.
If WND actually had "professional journalism standards," wouldn't it have tried to verify the accuracy of Sinclair's claims about Obama -- which it has not indicated it his done -- before publishing them? The fact that it apparently hasn't, while demanding verification of the charges against McCain and taking McCain's denial at face value, demonstrates that he is, in fact, showing "favortism" despite claiming that he is "an independent journalist who supports neither Obama nor McCain."
Farah went on to claim: "In fact, I can promise you WND would report both stories regardless of whether I supported either candidate." But WND has done no original coverage of the McCain story, other than an attack on it by Rush Limbaugh.
Apparently Farah has learned nothing from having to admit just a week ago that his website engaged in libelous behavior.
Media Matters busts assertions by Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid in a Feb. 12 column that a Senate bill sponsored by Barack Obama to fight global poverty "would commit the U.S. to spending 0.7 percent of gross national product on foreign aid." In fact, the bill imposes no spending requirement or tax. Kincaid's false claims have been repeated by Rush Limbaugh and WorldNetDaily.
A Feb. 20 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh repeats numerous unsupported claims regarding laws about gays and education that is essentially one huge invocation of the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy.
Unruh highlighted "Massachusetts father" David Parker, who accused teachers of "indoctrinating his 5-year-old son in the homosexual lifestyle." Parker has been in a dispute with Massachusetts schools that began according to Unruh, "in the spring of 2005 when the Parkers then-5-year-old son brought home a book to be shared with his parents titled, "Who's in a Family?" The optional reading material, which came in a 'Diversity Book Bag,' depicted at least two households led by homosexual partners." Parker has been a cause celebre ever since, highly sympathetic to his side and denigrating or ignoring entirely any contrary view.
(Columnist Kevin McCullough even claimed in a June 2006 WND column that "10 ... thug-kins" who were "recruited ... to participate in angry anti-Parker demonstrations outside the school" allegedly "grabbed David Parker's 7-year-old son, dragged him behind the corner of the school, well out of sight from school officials, and proceeded to punch him in the groin, stomach and chest, before he dropped to the ground when they then kicked and stomped on him." in fact, the fight was with one other child, not 10, it was over who got to sit where in the cafeteria, and the school district noted that "following the incident the boys were observed arm in arm at school and subsequently the child who was hit went to the house of the child who hit him for a play date.")
Unruh devotes pretty much the entire article to Parker's anti-gay attacks. They never explain how a book that states the simple fact that there is such a thing as homosexual couples equals "indoctrinati[on] ... in the homosexual lifestyle," yet Unruh repeatedly quotes Parker using the word,i.e., "Teachers are being postured to have a constitutional right to coercively indoctrinate little children."
Of course, it wouldn't be an Unruh article if he didn't deliberately distort that California law on gays and schools, and he doesn't disappoint. This time around, he falsely describes the law as "requiring indoctrination that not only is pro-homosexual, but also affirms bisexuality, transsexuality and other alternative lifestyle choices," offering no evidence that this is, in fact, the case.
Indeed, Unruh gives Parker a free pass, permitting no one to respond to his claims, even his Godwin's Law-like assertion (something Unruh is quite familiar with) that "if homosexuality and bisexuality can be taught by public school teachers to children as young as age 5, there is virtually no topic, up to and including Nazism, that educational precedents would not allow to be taught to young children."
Newsmax's Anonymous-Sources Double Standard Topic: Newsmax
A Feb. 21 Newsmax article by Phil Brennan bashed the New York Times article on John McCain, in part because "the Times called upon anonymous sources who seemed eager to spread their suspicions, as long as their names go unmentioned." Brennan also bashed the Times' "squad of anonymous informants" who "all but openly accuse[d] this American hero of adultery and favoritism toward the lobbyist with no proof.
Brennan might want to have a little chat with his coworker Ronald Kessler. In a Feb. 7 Newsmax article, Kessler used anonymous sources to attack Hillary Clinton and depict her as "two-faced and perpetually angry." Kessler's "squad of anonymous informants" can be just as easily described as "eager to spread their suspicions, as long as their names go unmentioned."
Why does Brennan give Kessler a pass for using anonymous sources while the Times gets bashed for doing the exact same thing? Sounds like the Clinton Exception at work.
Richard Bartholomew notes that WorldNetDaily is now selling trinkets containing dirt from Jerusalem's Temple Mount. Of WND's claim that it "was able to salvage a very small amount of soil from the Temple Mount slated to be disposed by the Waqf, the holy site's Islamic custodians," Bartholomew adds: "One imagines Aaron Klein stuffing his trousers with the brown gold while interviewing local Islamists, or some such scene." Klein, of course, is WND's notoriouslybiased Jerusalem correspondent.
WND concludes its sales pitch by exhorting, "Show your love for Jerusalem's holiest site. Purchase a Temple Mount solidarity necklace containing earthy soil from the Mount and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Act quickly as supplies are extremely limited."
MRC's 'Old News' Double Standard Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has gone on the attack against the New York Times article on John McCain:
An MRC press release dismissed it as a "nearly decade-old 'news' story" that "contains nothing new and nothing newsworthy." MRC chief Brent Bozell further bashed it as "[a] ten-year old piece of gossip."
In a TimesWatch item and NewsBusters post, Clay Waters similarly dismissed it as "old news" because "the Times waltzed down memory lane to recap the Keating Five savings and loan scandal."
A CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones, headlined "NY Times Begins Its Campaign Against GOP Frontrunner," stated that the Times "even dredged up the Keating Five scandal of the late 1980s."
Of course, when it comes to alleged scandals among Democrats, there is no such thing as "old news" at the MRC. For instance, Ted Kennedy's 40-year-old Chappaquiddick scandal was most recently referenced by the MRC in October 2007, just four months ago. In 2003, Bozell made a point of noting that Robert Byrd "civil rights in the '60s and, as is often noted, briefly joined the Ku Klux Klan" -- events occurring as far back as 60 years ago. And, of course, no Clinton scandal is ever "old news," as Bozell's recent book demonstrated. And the MRC's Tim Graham bashed the New York Times last December because it didn't rehash old Clinton scandals.
UPDATE: MRC now has an action alert urging readers to complain to the Times about the McCain article because it "dredg[ed] up 8 year-old allegations."
UPDATE 2: CNS has a second article on the Times' McCain story that carries the headline "Innuendo: McCain Forced to Defend Himself." Somehow, we suspect that CNS has never used the headline: "Innuendo: Clinton Forced to Defend Himself."
At the bottom of a Feb. 19 article that regurgitates an Accuracy in Media item on the alleged commie-pinko past of a mentor to Barack Obama, WorldNetDaily added: "Obama's campaign also, for the third straight day, declined to respond to WND requests for comment on the report of a Minnesota man who alleges he shared cocaine with Obama when Obama was a state lawmaker in Illinois."
As we've noted, WND has offered no evidence whatsoever to support the man's claim and has ignored evidence that the man may not be telling the truth. Shouldn't it prove the man's claim is true first before making demands that Obama respond to it?
The funny thing is that WND repeated Cliff Kincaid's statement in his AIM hit piece on Obama: "Let's challenge the liberal media to report on this. Will they have the honesty and integrity to do so?" Let's turn that around: Does WND have the honesty and integrity to do actual reporting on Obama beyond regurgitating whatever sleaze comes its way?
Newsmax Ignores That McCain Defender Is On McCain Payroll Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax has officially fallen into Republican lockstep in support John McCain for president.
"The liberal New York Times is wasting no time in smearing John McCain, the Republican Party nominee for President," Newsmax declared in a Feb. 20 article, expressing alarm about a new Times article that "suggested the Arizona Senator has been engaged in an illicit relationship" with a "female lobbyist." By contrast, according to Newsmax:
Noted Democratic attorney Robert Bennett appeared on Fox News Wednesday night and called the Times report nothing more than a "real hit job."
Bennett, brother of conservative pundit Bill Bennett, had served as private counsel to President Bill Clinton in the 1990s during the Paula Jones scandal.
A Senate Ethic Committee probe found that McCain was only guilty of “poor judgment” in the affair. Bennett noted that he served as the Democratic counsel to the committee investigating the five U.S. Senators. Bennett said he concluded that McCain was an "an honest man."
He added that Times report was "shameless" and slammed the paper for publishing the story, which he described as "entirely unsourced."
Newsmax failed to note one thing: Bennett is on McCain's payroll, hired in December specifically to address allegations about his relationship with the lobbyist.
New Article -- WorldNetDaily: Officially Discredited Topic: WorldNetDaily
WND has admitted that it published false claims about a businessman who supported Al Gore in order to settle a libel lawsuit. Will its history of recklessly putting its political agenda before sound journalism -- which the libel settlement hasn't stopped -- eventually kill Joseph Farah's baby? Read more >>
Oh, what a surprise: A Feb. 20 WorldNetDaily article on Peter Paul's accusations against the Clintons yet again downplays Paul's criminal history -- as WND is wont to do fore anyone willing to conform to WND's political agenda and bash the Clintons. The only reference is a brief, buried to reference to Paul's "past felony convictions"; no reference, of course, to his current felony conviction.
NewsBusters Equivocates on Abortion Violence Topic: NewsBusters
A Feb. 20 NewsBusters post by Dave Pierre rants against an Associated Press article noting that "researchers say domestic extremists who commit violence in the name of their cause -- abortion or the environment, for example -- account for most of the damage from such incidents in this country," claiming it's an attack on pro-lifers -- even though that line is the only reference to abortion in the entire article.
Pierre first asserts that since 9/11, "pro-lifers have committed a grand total of zero murders, attempted murders, and bombings directed at abortion workers and clinics across the United States and Canada." A commenter on the post, meanwhile, notes an arson at an abortion clinic in New Mexico last December; Wikipedia lists several post-9/11 attacks on clinics. Pierre then cites the anti-abortion activist group Life Dynamics -- best known for engaging in a sting operation by calling abortion clinics impersonating a 13-year-old impregnated by an adult man and then seeing if the clinics would report the purported statutory rape to authorities, not to mention peddling false claims that abortion providers illicitly traffic in the sale of fetal tissue -- who claims that "in the years 1993 and 1994, the worst period of violence in pro-life history in which five abortionists and clinic workers were killed, more farmers and twice as many hairdressers were murdered on the job."
Are those farmers and hairdressers somehow more human or more dead? Nice bit of equivocation there, guy.
Posted by Terry K.
at 9:59 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2008 10:15 AM EST