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Thursday, April 17, 2008
Speaking of WND's Anti-Gay Agenda ...
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Almost as if to hammer home the fact of its (mostly) anti-gay agenda, an April 16 WorldNetDaily article repeats Bob Unruh's unsupported claim that the "Daily of Silence" is a "homosexual-lifestyle promotion." Indeed, if one is being silent, how can one be "promoting" a "homosexual lifestyle"?

The article goes on to regurgitate a Liberty Counsel press release alleging "complaints from parents and students about a wide range of misbehaviors or misrepresentations presented by schools" without detailing any of those complaints, thus making it impossible for anyone to verify (we're pretty sure WND didn't bother to do so, which it does whenever the story is too good to ignore; see Sinclair, Larry).

The Liberty Counsel press release concludes: "Please pray that students will be protected from forced indoctrination by GLSEN, especially next week, and that the truth will prevail." But it offers no evidence that "forced indoctrination" is, in fact, occuring.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:47 PM EDT
New Article: WorldNetDaily's (Mostly) Anti-Gay Agenda
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WND has no problem distorting and outright lying about gays and laws barring discrimination against gays. So why did it hire a man with a gay-porn past as a correspondent? Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:10 AM EDT
Trippany Unhappy That Media Favors New News to Old News
Topic: NewsBusters

In an April 16 NewsBusters post, Terry Trippany is upset that the media won't follow her conservative agenda and continue to bash Barack Obama over the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, even though there has been nothing new to report on it for weeks, instead having the temerity to focus on something happening now, Pope Benedict's U.S. visit:

What better way to take the pressure off of Barack Obama’s Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy than to reignite the flames of the Catholic Church priest sex scandal? Finally, a target has appeared that is worthy of the left’s criticism and utter disdain. If only he had visited 2 or 3 weeks back.

Trippany moves on from that to being offended that nobody (read: nobody except conservative activists like herself) was bashing Hillary Clinton for her Elton John fundraiser when "six short months ago Elton John stood defending himself from charges of child pornography." Of course, he wasn't; he was merely the owner of a photograph taken by a respected photographer that had been seized from an art gallery on suspicion of being child porn. (It was ruled not to be.) But Trippany's conspiratorial overstatement machine ran wild anyway:

Don’t believe me? You can view the celebrated picture yourself on Radar online, a Web magazine that just happens to be run by Yusef Jackson (son of Jesse Jackson) and big time Clinton friend, supporter and contributor to Democrat causes and both Clinton campaigns, Ron Burkle.

Where’s the outage on that one?

Well, if we need some excess outrage (for Democrats, of course, never a conservative), we can always count on Trippany. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:29 AM EDT
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Puff Piece on Jenna Bush Not Puffy Enough for Blumer
Topic: NewsBusters

In an April 16 NewsBusters post, Tom Blumer expresses his outrage that "what is supposed to be a puff piece" about Jenna Bush on the MSNBC website mentions that "she was twice charged with misdemeanors for alcohol-related offenses":

Not only did the classless [author Mike] Celizic decide to bring forth news of minor misdemeanors that is almost seven years old (note how he omitted 2001, the year of the offenses, when Ms. Bush was 19), he brought up nothing else about her time at UT.

So, for the record, Mike, here is what Wikipedia has that you didn't have the decency to include:

She attended the University of Texas at Austin where she was a legacy member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority (her mother, First Lady Laura Bush, is also a Theta).

..... Jenna graduated from UT with a degree in English in 2004.


Apparently, in Mike Celizic's world, telling readers about the noble things a daughter of George Bush has done is less important than citing the minor blemishes in her distant past -- even in a puff piece.

Shame on you, sir.

Only at NewsBusters, it seems, would being a legacy member of a college sorority be considered "noble."

You may recall that the ConWeb was way too eager to blame anyone but Jenna Bush herself for said alcohol-related offenses. 

Posted by Terry K. at 9:16 AM EDT
ConWeb Swallows Judicial Watch Attack, Ignores McCain's Foreign Fundraising
Topic: The ConWeb, Newsmax (reprinting the CNS article) and WorldNetDaily all bite on a Judicial Watch press release, regurgitating its claims that Elton John's recent fundraiser for Hillary Clinton's campaign was illegal because John is a foreign national and prohibited from contributing to a U.S. presidential campaign. None of the articles makes an effort to contact Clinton's campaign or offer any contradictory view.

Further, none of the outlets mentions -- presumably because Judicial Watch didn't put it in the press release -- that John McCain held a campign fundraiser in London last month. As the Washington Post reported, an invitation sent out by the campaign says the fundraiser was organized "by kind permission of Lord Rothschild OM GBE and the Hon. Nathaniel Rothschild." Gee, sounds like a foreign national contributing to a presidential campaign to us. 

Indeed, we could find no reference whatsoever to McCain's fundraiser on the Judicial Watch website. Is that because JW is slipping back into its old double-standard ways of attacking the Clintons and nobody else? Perhaps, since it knows that the ConWeb will just mindlessly repeat whatever Clinton-bashing it spews out.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:09 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 16, 2008 1:19 AM EDT
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
'Powerful Circumstantial Evidence'
Topic: NewsBusters

The Capital Research Center's Matthew Vadum tries again to attack Media Matters (disclosure: our employer) in an April 15 NewsBusters post, claiming it's a "George Soros-funded character assassination factory" and insisting there is "powerful circumstantial evidence that suggests Soros funds MM at least indirectly."

Um, how can evidence be both "powerful" and "circumstantial"? Doesn't the fact that Vadum is resorting to circumstantial evidence to support his claim demonstrate that it is, in fact, not powerful?

Vadum claims regarding Media Matters chief David Brock's chairmanship of Progressive Media USA, a group separate from Media Matters that intends to criticize John McCain's record during the presidential election season: "At last he has publicly unmasked himself as a partisan political operative, as opposed to a mere liberal ideologue." Vadum doesn't note that the precedent for such "partisan political operative" activism was set by ... the Media Research Center:

  • MRC chief Brent Bozell served as chief fund-raiser for Pat Buchanan's 1992 Republican presidential bid.
  • then-editor in chief Scott Hogenson spent the 2004 election year working for the Republican National Committee.
  • And the MRC itself reguarly serves as an echo chamber for Republican talking points.

Vadum also serves up his own rather hilarious version of what Media Matters does: "Media Matters relies on what could be called a Leninist approach, complete with paid professional revolutionaries, in an ongoing effort to shame Americans who deal in ideas into embracing, or at least not opposing, their political agenda. This tack motivates the faithful and silences opponents." Huh?

Vadum also claims that Media Matters, "media content analysis ... mau-mauing the media into mouthing the politically correct platitudes that pass for profound insights on the far left." How is that any different from what the MRC does from the "far right"? Vadum doesn't say.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:32 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 15, 2008 1:34 PM EDT
WND Attacks 'Vagina Monologues'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An April 14 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh repeats attacks by the anti-gay group Americans for Truth About Homosexuality on the play "The Vagina Monologues, repeating claims that the "radical feminist" play "celebrates a lesbian rape-seduction, underage drinking, and a lesbian adult asking highly inappropriate sexual questions to [a] six-year-old" Unruh also weirdly fixates on the idea that play author Eve Ensler is "identified in some reports as a bisexual"; the headline references the "[b]isexual's program."

Unruh does not report the context in which these alleged incidents occur in the play, let alone how it purportedly "celebrates" what it depicts. Nor does Unruh bother to talk to Ensler or anyone who defends the play. Unruh also fails to explain why the play is suddenly being attacked now when it has been around for 10 years.

The article also attacks Oprah Winfrey, "who has advocated for Democratic presidential candidate Baracak Obama and promoted a New Age religion in recent weeks too," for being a part of a celebration of the play, where she was "to perform a monologue written for her by author Eve Ensler." But the article offers no evidence that a monologue was "written for" Winfrey.

Unruh has a long history of writing slanted articles for WND that uncritically repeat conservative attacks, and this is just another one. 

Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 AM EDT
WND Works Its Terrorist Gimmick Again
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has been making use of Aaron's Klein trust-the-terrorist-to-reinforce-conservative-talking-points gimmick again.

An April 13 article by Klein quoted "Hamas' top political adviser in the Gaza Strip," Ahmed Yousuf, as calling Jimmy Carter a "noble person" whose planned meeting with Hamas would help the terror organization "engage with the world community." An April 14 article, headlined "Terrorists want this candidate to win presidency," featured Yousuf "express[ing] 'hope' Sen. Barack Obama will win the presidential elections and 'change' America's foreign policy" to right-wing radio host (and Klein buddy) John Batchelor.

Does Yousuf know that Klein, Batchelor and WND are using him as a pawn to reinforce conservative attacks against Democrats? How do they know Yousuf isn't using them to bring about the re-election of Republicans? After all, Osama bin Laden did exactly that in 2004 by putting out a message before the presidential election that was interpreted as an endorsement of John Kerry; CIA analysts agreed that "bin Laden's message was clearly designed to assist the President's [Bush's] reelection."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:37 AM EDT
Monday, April 14, 2008
Waters Misleads on Gorelick Memo
Topic: Media Research Center

Just as the folks at the Media Research Center continue to repeat the discredited claim that Richard Armitage was the first, or the only, person to leak Valerie Plame's identity, they take refuge in another canard: that Clinton Justice Department official Jamie Gorelick was the person who created the "wall" keeping the CIA and FBI from sharing information, thus allegedly contributing to 9/11.

In an April 13 "review" printed in the New York Post of Eric Lichtblau's book "Bush's War," Clay Waters repeats that canard again, stating: "[M]uch ardor is spent defending 'well respected' Clinton Justice Department official and 9/11 commission member Jamie Gorelick against Attorney General John Ashcroft's 'McCarthyesque' accusations. (Former Attorney General John] Ashcroft claimed a Gorelick memo helped build the 'wall' between intelligence officers and criminal investigators, preventing their sharing counterterrorism information.)"

Waters leaves out the context of Ashcroft's claim, as well as the problems with it. As we've noted, the "wall" was created in 1978, not in 1995, when Gorelick issued a set of guidelines regarding it. Further, Ashcroft's own deputy attorney general formally reaffirmed Gorelick's 1995 guidelines just a month before 9/11. And the manner in which Ashcroft made his accusation against Gorelick arguably was "McCarthesque" -- through a document that Ashcroft had conveniently declassified for presentation during his testimony before the 9/11 Commission.

The Post, meanwhile, obfuscates over Waters' identity, stating only that he is "director of Times Watch, a division of the Media Research Center." Nowhere is it mentioned that the MRC is a conservative group, or that Waters' Times Watch is dedicated to attacking the New York Times, which employs Lichtblau, the author of the book Waters was ostensibly reviewing. Thus, Waters is hardly an impartial reviewer.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:32 PM EDT
LeBoutillier Repeats False Obama Attack
Topic: Newsmax

In an April 14 Newsmax column trying to paint Barack Obama as "an Ivy League snob, a left-wing elitist who thinks he is better than rural people," John LeBoutillier list among "recent events" that allegedly "paint a picture of a guy definitely out of the mainstream" the assertion that Obama "has refused to salute the American flag during the Pledge of Allegiance."

But LeBoutillier gets the attack all wrong. First, it was the national anthem, not the Pledge of Allegiance (as we noted, NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein originally got it wrong). Second, nobody is required to "salute" during the Pledge or the national anthem. Third, the bone of contention, per Finkelstein, is that Obama didn't put his hand over his heart (not "salute") during the national anthem (not the Pledge) -- something that is not required by federal law but merely suggested as customary. And even that claim about Obama is misleading.

P.S. Isn't it just precious to hear a Vanderbilt scion accusing someone of being an "elitist"?

Posted by Terry K. at 3:06 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, April 14, 2008 3:42 PM EDT
Will Sheppard Hold His Boss To Same Standard He Holds Gore?
Topic: NewsBusters

An April 12 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard bashed Al Gore because he gave a speech "with specific instructions for no press members to be allowed through the doors." Fair enough. But will he criticize his MRC boss for his involvement in an organization that loves to hide from the press?

Brent Bozell's own bio identifies him as member of the Council for National Policy, a group of the nation's most prominent social conservativves with a penchant for secrecy -- meeting behind closed doors at undisclosed locations, featuring speakers that include presidential whose words rarely leave the room they were spoken in. Reporters lacking ties to conservatives are not allowed through the doors, and those reports that are made public  are limited to what CNP honchos want publicized; WorldNetDaily was a willing participant in that self-censorship, as we've noted.

If Brent Bozell can keep reporters out of his little group, why can't Gore keep reporters from his speech? Will Sheppard excoriate his boss for engaging in the same behavior as Gore?

As Sheppard himself might say, there's a metaphysical certitude that won't happen. As such, move along ... nothing to see here. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:58 AM EDT
Sunday, April 13, 2008
WND Anti-Gay Agenda Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily is still misleading readers about California anti-discrimination laws for gays in schools: An April 11 article refers to "California's mandated homosexual indoctrination programs for public schools" -- no evidence is offered that any "indoctrination" is taking place -- and again calls the bill in question, SB777, "a legislative plan to mandate only positive messages about homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality in public schools," which is a logical fallacy that assumes any non-negative depiction of homosexuality is automatically positive.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:23 AM EDT
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Corsi Still Misrepresenting Kerry's Vietnam Record
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In an April 10 WorldNetDaily article, Jerome Corsi -- co-author of the Kerry-bashing book "Unfit for Command" -- bashes John Kerry again for "assert[ing] he served two tours of duty in Vietnam," without actually disproving that he didn't. Corsi writes:

This counts as his "first tour of duty in Vietnam" his service on the guided-missile frigate USS Gridley following his completion of 16 weeks of officer candidate school at the U.S. Naval Training Center in Newport, Rhode Island, on December 16, 1966.

He was on the Gridley from June 1967 to June 1968.

But it was Feb. 9, 1968, when the Gridley set sail for Western Pacific deployment where the guided-missile frigate performed guard duty for airplanes operating in the China Sea and the Gulf of Tonkin.

Specifically, Kerry's tour of duty on the Gridley would be described as service on a deep fleet ocean vessel, involving no combat.


The Gridley operated in the Western Pacific, but was "in a fighting zone" arguably only for a time far off the coast of Vietnam, and then only for less than five weeks while Kerry was aboard.

What Corsi doesn't tell you: His own "Unfit for Command" co-author, John O'Neill, has conceded that Kerry's service on the Gridley was indeed "recorded as combat theater duty" and that for this service Kerry was "given credit by the Navy for serving in Vietnam."

Corsi never states his definition of a Vietnam "tour of duty"; he seems to be saying that only a full 12-month stint in Vietnam under combat conditions can be considered a "tour of duty," but he never actually states that -- thus undercutting the raison d'etre of his article. Then again, he references "the discoveries about his career made by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth during the 2004 presidential election" without disclosing in the article that he was co-author of  the Swift Boat Vets' book, "Unfit for Command."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 AM EDT
Friday, April 11, 2008
AIA's Kline Selectively Cites Article About Poll
Topic: Accuracy in Media

In an April 8 Accuracy in Media article, Accuracy in Academia's Malcolm Kline writes:

The latest survey on academic bias has sent academics into their usual state of denial despite evidence of same that frequently stares them right in the face. “Taken together, 40 percent of the Americans in the survey said professors often use their classrooms as political platforms,” Robin Wilson of the Chronicle of Higher Education reported on April 4th of a Gallup poll.

“When that many Americans think this happens often, higher ed has a problem,” says S. Robert Lichter, director of its Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University. Higher ed doesn’t feel that way:

• “The more you have less real experience on a campus, the more likely you might be to buy this ambient background belief,” Jeremy D. Mayer, director of the master's program in public policy at George Mason says.

• “The farther away you are from academe, the more worried you are about what goes on,” Harvard sociologist Neil R. Gross says.

Actually, proximity may prove correct a maxim of author M. Stanton Evans. He outlines what he calls “Evans’ law of inadequate paranoia”: “No matter how bad you think things are, they’re worse.”

But Kline doesn't the full context of the statements he plucked from the Chronicle of Higher Education article. The lead of it stated: "The older Americans are, and the less time they have spent on a college campus, the more likely they are to believe that professors are politically biased."

Kline also clipped the quote from Mayer. He went on to say: "If you have never been in a college classroom, the fantasies and hyped-up expectations promulgated by David Horowitz and others may seem plausible descriptions of the typical American campus."

Why would Kline do this? Perhaps to hide the article's suggestion that the main way older and non-college-educated people would agree with Gallup's question "How often do you believe that college professors use their classrooms as a platform for their personal politics?" would be through the millions of dollars spent by and on behalf of conservatives such as Horowitz -- and Accuracy in Academia, the AIM offshoot of which Kline is executive director -- to promote that very idea.

Thus, it would seem that all this poll does is confirm the work of Kline and other conservatives to push the idea of academe as hopelessly liberal -- and that their millions have had an effect on persuading people with no recent contact with higher education, or no contact at all, to swallow their side.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:36 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, April 11, 2008 3:37 PM EDT
Sheppard Downplays His Gore-Bashing
Topic: NewsBusters

An April 11 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard begins: "For years, NewsBusters has reported on Al Gore's financial interests in advancing global warming hysteria around the world."

Actually, NewsBusters (read: Sheppard) has done much more than that: As we've detailed, he has alleged -- without offering evidence -- that Gore is into global warming activism purely to make a profit.

Sheppard offers no evidence of that here, either, of course -- thus contining to forsake our challenge to support his claim. Instead, he makes a big deal out of Gore admitting "to having 'a stake' in a number of green 'investments' that he recommended attendees put money in," adding "as he tours the world demanding nations stop burning fossil fuels, he will financially benefit if they follow his advice and move to technologies that he has already invested in."

Sheppard offers no evidence that Gore is behaving any differently from any other activist in advising people to invest in things they have admitted they have a financial stake in. Indeed, Sheppard writes that Gore is acting "like an investment advisor or stock broker giving a seminar to prospects and clients."

So what, exactly, is Sheppard's problem, besides an apparent personal dislike of Gore?

UPDATE: Newsmax's Phil Brennan regurgitates Sheppard's post. Like Sheppard, Brennan fails to explain why Gore's behavior is beyond the pale.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:31 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, April 11, 2008 6:24 PM EDT

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