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Sunday, July 20, 2008
WND Misleads Again on Philadelphia Anti-Gay Protesters
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A July 18 WorldNetDaily article begins by asserting that "A federal appeals court dismissed a civil rights complaint by 11 Philadelphia Christians, ruling their First Amendment rights were trumped by the First Amendment rights of homosexuals at the city's taxpayer-funded 'Outfest' celebration in 2004."

Of course, the appeals court did no such thing; as the article's second paragraph details, it favored the right of holders of a city permit to hold an event "for the purpose for which it was obtained," overthe right of "counter-protestors" whose goal is "disrupting or interfering with the message of the permit-holder."

As per usual, WND benignly describes what the protesters -- led by anti-gay activist Michael Marcavage -- did, claiming only that they were "quoting the Bible and expressing their views against homosexual behavior on a public street during 'OutFest,' a publicly funded celebration of homosexuality." As we detailed at the time, a prosecutor said that Marcavage and his crew tried to demonstrate in front of a stage performance at Outfest and were arrested only after they refused to go to an area on the edge of the block party and went instead in the opposite direction.

That's a side of the story WND has never seen fit to tell its readers, instead presenting Marcavage's version of events as the undisputed truth.

WND also repeats the distortion that Marcavage and his protesters "faced criminal counts that could have resulted in prison terms of 47 years." In fact, the legal representative for Outfest speculated that "They might get six to 12 months probation. ... Nobody's going to jail for 47 years." 

Surprisingly, WND makes no mention of any grandmothers who were protesting. As we documented, the grandmothers involved in the protest have a long history of such activism. 

Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 PM EDT
WND's Lamb Misleads on Gore
Topic: WorldNetDaily

From Henry Lamb's July 18 WorldNetDaily column:

Al's crushing defeat in 2000 left him rudderless for a few years, but he re-emerged with his "An Inconvenient Truth." This spectacular movie won an Academy Award. Gore received the Nobel Peace Prize. Once again, Prince Albert ascended to the global warming throne, despite the fact that the film's assertions were not supported by science, according to more than 31,000 scientists.

Yeah, winning the popular vote by 600,000 votes was a "crushing defeat." And as we've detailed, the petition Lamb references, from the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, is little more than a publicity stunt, with little evidence that the signatories' scientific experience involve disciplines related to global warming. Indeed, one blogger found that of a selection of 60 petition signers, there were a grand total of zero publications behind the sampled signatories that were relevant to climate or climate change. (h/t Sadly, No!)

Posted by Terry K. at 10:27 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, July 20, 2008 10:28 AM EDT
WND Misleads on College Admission Lawsuit
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A July 19 unbylined WorldNetDaily article details one side of a lawsuit filed by a Christian school in California, Calvary Chapel Christian School, against the University of California system over UC's rejection of some Christian textbooks in courses used qualify for admission to UC. There's no indication that the anonymous author made any attempt to contact UC officials for their side of the story.

In fact, the issue at hand is much narrower than the article portrays. According to a Jan. 12, 2006, USA Today article on the case: 

Christopher Patti, a lawyer for the university, says UC isn't stopping Calvary Chapel or its students "from teaching or studying anything." He says students are free to take courses uncertified by UC, and there are alternative paths to admission — including taking extra SAT tests in specific subjects.

UC has certified 43 Calvary Chapel courses and has admitted 24 of the 32 applicants from the high school in the past four years, Patti says.

WND makes no mention of the Calvary Chapel courses UC has approved or the number of Calvary Chapel students UC has admitted. The USA Today article also notes:

A biology book from Bob Jones University presents creationism and intelligent design alongside evolution. The introduction says, "The people who have prepared this book have tried consistently to put the Word of God first and science second."

UC says such books would be acceptable as supplementary reading but not as the main textbook.

WND does not quote anyone justifying a biology book that declares it does not put science first.

A May 2 WND article by Bob Unruh also reported on the lawsuit, but he failed to mention Calvary Chapel's role in it; he also failed to note the the Bob Jones University biology textbook proclaiming that it "put[s] the Word of God first and science second."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EDT
Saturday, July 19, 2008
CNS Ignores Lack of Evidence to Back Up McDonald's Boycott

The problem with reporters being sympathetic to one side of the issue they're covering is that they overlook gaping errors in the logic of the side they're sympathetic to.

Which is what we see in a July 18 article by Pete Winn about the American Family Association's boycott of McDonald's of its support of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and, more specifically, a McDonald's spokesman's statement in reaction to it that "Hatred has no place in our culture." Winn uncritically quotes Matt Barber, now of Liberty Counsel, as saying, "He insulted tens of millions of Americans who believe that the historical definition of marriage between one man and woman is important and crucial to society. He said that we’re haters and we’re motivated by hate. That, on its face, is a bold-face lie." Winn also writes, "Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, said Christians who oppose homosexual marriage do so for moral and practical reasons, not because they 'hate' homosexuals."

What is missing from Winn's article -- as we've previously noted is also missing from other ConWeb accounts of the boycott -- is any evidence that NGLCC is in any way involved with the issue of gay marriage. Given that McDonald's puported "taking sides" on the issue of gay marriage by its support of the NGLCC is the crux of the boycott, no evidence has been advanced to demonstrate that this is, in fact, the case.

The weakness of the fundies' case against McDonald's is (probably inadvertently) summed up by Winn:

LaBarbera took issue with that view, characterizing the NGLCC as “a homosexual group which is working to extend advances made by homosexual activist groups over the last two decades or more.”
He also noted that the organization takes political positions on legislation that involves homosexuality and the homosexual agenda.
“McDonald’s paid $20,000 so that one of its top executives could have a seat on the (NGLCC’s) board of directors,” LaBarbera said. “How is that not an endorsement of the homosexual agenda?"

LaBarbera can be expected to traffic in vague statements that obscure the weakness of his argument -- to him, a mere $20,000 from a multibillion-dollar business given to a business-promotion group (LaBarbera provides no apparent evidence that it's anything other than that) is prima facie "endorsement of the homosexual agenda." A news organization that purports to "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story" should have higher standards.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:40 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, July 19, 2008 11:02 PM EDT
WND Still Lists Discredited Articles Among 'Scoops'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

On the 2000 page of its "Scoops" section, WorldNetDaily claims the following:

Between early September and election day, Nov. 7, 2000, WorldNetDaily published an exhaustive series of investigative reports by native Tennessee reporters Charles Thompson and Tony Hays on Vice President Al Gore and his Tennessee past — including his vast connections to Soviet operative Armand Hammer, his alleged interference with various criminal investigations involving family and friends, and even documented reports of the environmental champion being a notorious polluter in his home state. As a result of these reports, claim radio, newspaper and law enforcement representatives in Tennessee, Gore lost his home state — and its 11 electoral votes — and lost the presidency.

In fact, WND settled a libel and defamation lawsuit by one person named in those stories, Clark Jones, by admitting that "no witness verifies the truth of what the witnesses are reported by authors to have stated" about Jones and that "the sources named in the publications have stated under oath that statements attributed to them in the articles were either not made by them, were misquoted by the authors, were misconstrued, or the statements were taken out of context." WND, it can be presumed, also paid a cash award to Jones to settle the matter (the settlement terms have not been made public).

If claims about just one person named in the articles can be so egregiously wrong, it's not unreasonable to assume that other sections, if not the entirety, of these articles -- written by Tony Hays and Charles Thompson II -- also contain falsehoods. WND has made no statement either standing by the remainder of the claims in the Hays and Thompson's articles or indicating that it would check the veracity of those claims.

As it stands, the entire series is discredited, and WND discredited itself by printing them out of political animosity without bothering to do even rudimentary verification of what Hays and Thompson had written (as we detailed). WND discredits itself further by continuing to list these articles as "scoops" when they have little apparent basis in fact.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 AM EDT
Friday, July 18, 2008
Scott McClellan Is Dead to NewsBusters
Topic: NewsBusters

Apparently, NewsBusters believes that the media is never permitted to mention Scott McClellan now that he has decided to criticize the Bush administration. The noting in the 21st paragraph of an Associated Press article on Tony Snow's funeral of McClellan's appearance there caused Tom Blumer to blow a gasket, calling the mention "classless," "execrable," "tabloid trash," "journalistic vandalism," an "inability to stay classy," and "reflective of an organization that ought to consider renaming itself the Arrogant Punks." Not exhausted of venom, Blumer goes on:

So of the three Bush press secretaries who attended (both Ari Fleischer and Dana Perino must have been there, or Feller could not have written "press secretaries"), the AP reporter only deemed McClellan worthy of mention -- apparently, we must conclude, because McClellan is the only one of the lot who has had critical things to say about the President.

By omitting Fleischer's name, Feller also was able to conveniently avoid the need to mention that the President's first press secretary has essentially shredded the key claims McClellan made in his liberal-published, possibly George Soros-funded "tell-all" book.

As we've previously detailed, NewsBusters' desperate attempt to link Soros to McClellan fails because the publisher of McClellan's has, in addition to publishing books by Soros -- nowhere does NewsBusters offer any evidence whatsoever that Soros has any financial connection with the publisher beyond that -- published numerous books by conservatives like Dinesh D'Souza, Linda Chavez and David Frum.

We won't tell Blumer to stay classy -- if he did, we'd have to stop writing about him.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:00 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 18, 2008 4:47 PM EDT
Brennan Peddles More Global Warming Bamboozlement
Topic: Newsmax

Phil Brennan's July 17 Newsmax column begins by asserting:

Fact: All history reveals that time after time this planet of ours has experienced periods of warming and periods of cooling. A century of slight global warming, about half a degree, ended in 1998.

Fact: In this century a global cooling has set in.

Er, not so much. As the United Kingdom's Met (Meteorological) Office Hadley Centre and the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia report, annual global mean temperatures have, in fact, increased in the past decade. The UK Met office adds that "[a] simple mathematical calculation of the temperature change over the latest decade (1998-2007) alone shows a continued warming of 0.1° C per decade."

Despite his apparent aversion to simple mathematical calculations, Brennan nevertheless goes on to assert, "Global warming is clearly over, yet Al Gore and his acolytes keep warning us that the planet is heating up even as it continues to get colder." 

As we've noted, Brennan is a regular bamboozler on global warming.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:12 AM EDT
Klein's Lie Still Live on WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We previously detailed how a July 15 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein falsely claimed that Barack Obama made a "discredited distortion of the Holocaust." In fact, as Klein himself notes, the dispute in question is whether Obama's grandfather helped to liberate Auschwitz -- not the Holocaust. Thus, Klein is lying when he claims that Obama distorted the Holocaust.

We just checked, and it's still posted as originally written without change or apology.

We plan to continue highlighting Klein's lie until he retracts and apologizes for it. 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:09 AM EDT
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A July 16 Accuracy in Media blog entry by Don Irvine noted that "A New York Times story that analyzes their poll on the racial dimensions in this election was disputed by the Obama campaign." After reprinting seven points (copied from an ABC News blog post) that the Obama campaign says were "omitted from the story," Irvine adds: "Barack Obama was hoping for a free ride in the liberal press but even they can suppress the facts for only so long."

Wait -- didn't Irvine just show that, through repeating claims from the Obama campaign that he doesn't dispute, that the Times was, in fact, suppressing facts about Obama? We're confused.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:14 AM EDT
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The quintessential political prostitute, Obama marches to the tune of the far left fundraising machine put together by a kitchen cabinet (that includes billionaire financier George Soros); he is interested in the greater glory of Barack Obama – period. While his evil-eyed wife, Michelle, may have visions of crushing "white America" underfoot, it is likely that Obama is far more color-blind in this regard. Like most of the black activists this columnist has criticized, "black America" exists for his benefit, and crushing underfoot knows no race.

-- Erik Rush, July 17 WorldNetDaily column 

Posted by Terry K. at 9:46 PM EDT
Huston's Latest Harangue
Topic: NewsBusters

A July 17 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston is a long harangue of a writer of Larry Hunger, a "lifelong Republican" who wrote a New York Daily News op-ed explaining why he's voting for Barack Obama. Huston declared that Hunter is "dangerously wrong" and engaging in "apostasy," his arguments are "ill considered, filled with petulance, and self-defeating to the ideology to which he insists he hews" (you sure you're not talking about yourself there, Warner?) and, last but not least, his criticism of the Iraq war shows him to be "a complete traitor to all other conservative causes on nearly every level."

Aside from the usual unsupported Obama-bashing one expects from such right-wingers ("to actually and purposefully vote for Barack Obama is a direct stab in the heart to supposed conservative principles"), Huston had this curious response to Hunter's claim that America has "suffered the last eight years":

In this I have to say that Larry Hunter has no clue what the word "suffered" means. Our economy has not "suffered" too badly from the expenditures in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, this country has scarcely "suffered" at all from the war. Obviously, the war has touched only a small portion of our people and few Americans have been much put out by it. Even the battle deaths are miniscule compared to any of our past wars. (And YES, speaking as a father of one of our soldiers, it is heartrending to lose even one soldier)[.]

"Few Americans have been much put out by it"? Sure, if you don't count things like, say, deficit spending to fund the war and the Middle East turmoil that fuels specuators to raise oil prices to $140 a barrel and gas prices over $4 a gallon.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:23 PM EDT
'Obama's $50 Billion AIDS Bill' ... Isn't
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Writing in a July 13 Accuracy in Media article about "the irresponsible and budget-busting $50 billion global AIDS bill" -- carrying a headline calling it "Obama's $50 Billion AIDS Bill" -- Cliff Kincaid asserted that "Senator Barack Obama was one of the original sponsors of the bill." That's false; according to the link supplied by Kincaid detailing congressional action on the bill, it was introduced in March 7 by Sen. Joe Biden. Obama did not sign on as a co-sponsor until June 18.

Kincaid's main problem with the bill is that he apparently doesn't want any money spent to prevent AIDS, downplaying the fact that the bill would also cover tuberculosis and malaria. The particular bee in Kincaid's bonnet is that "the federal government has already spent $200 billion on HIV/AIDS. No cure or vaccine has been discovered and there are increasing doubts about the effectiveness of anti-AIDS drugs," while "other diseases ... don't benefit from such attention and interest."

As we've previously noted, Kincaid's crusade against money for AIDS research is little more than anti-gay activism. 

Despite getting Obama's link to the bill wrong, Kincaid does it again in a July 15 column, which again refers in the headline to "Obama's AIDS bill." While Kincaid notes that John McCain is also also a co-sponsor of the bill (he signed on the same day Obama did), nowhere does he refer to "McCain's AIDS bill."

Kincaid also takes a swipe at blogger Andrew Sullivan, who "is advertised as a 'gay conservative' but was exposed for soliciting so-called 'bareback' or unprotected anal sex on the Internet." Kincaid does not explain why such behavior disqualifies a person from being a conservative; in fact, it could be argued that it's a requirement.

Noting Sullivan's support for a repeal of a ban on HIV-positive people from entering the U.S., Kincaid writes: "It seems clear that some of these aliens could function as new sexual partners for those demanding their entry, increasing the number of AIDS cases in the U.S." Stay classy, Cliff.

UPDATE: A July 17 article by Kincaid again falsely calls it "Obama’s AIDS Bill," rants about "the $200 billion already spent by U.S. taxpayers on HIV/AIDS here and around the world has not resulted in any cures or a vaccine," and complains about "spending $50 billion at a time of growing economic difficulties in the U.S."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:16 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 17, 2008 9:31 AM EDT
New Article: Planned Attacks
Topic: serves up a slanted view of Planned Parenthood, issuing attacks on the group without giving it much opportunity to respond. Read more>>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:48 AM EDT
Shocker: WND Defends Catholics -- Again!
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has a notable history of anti-Catholic sentiment, which it abruptly flip-flopped on last week when it went from painting Catholics as violent death-threat issuers over a student who took a communion wafer from a Sunday Mass to attacking a college professor who referred to the communion wafer as a "cracker."

That abrupt change of heart continues in a July 15 article that labeled a San Francisco resolution critical of the Catholic Church's position on homosexuality an "anti-Catholic diatribe" that it claims is "violating the Constitution's prohibition of government hostility toward religion."

Shocking. Will WND take the ultimate step and reverse its previous stand that Catholics aren't real Christians?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:25 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 17, 2008 1:49 AM EDT
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
MRC Attacks Analysis As Liberal -- But Conservative Group Based Its Analysis On It
Topic: Media Research Center

A July 15 Media Research Center article gave a "Worst of the Week" award to news organizations that cited an analysis by the Tax Policy Center of John McCain's and Barack Obama's tax proposals, which found that Obama's plan would give a cut of more than a thousand dollars to families making between $37,000 and $66,000 a year, while under McCain's plan, they'd get just $319. Why? Because while the networks said or suggested the group was nonpartisan, "the Tax Policy Center is the product of the left-leaning Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute."

But shouldn't the standard be whether the numbers are accurate? The MRC makes no effort to disprove the TPC's numbers, only asserts that they shouldn't be taken seriously because they came from a "left-leaning" group.

The article also claims: The other side of the story comes from the conservative Tax Foundation, which reported that Obama would shift more of the tax burden to a relative few families. ... That's an aspect of tax fairness that rarely gets mentioned by TV reporters who seek out liberal analysts to prove liberal points." But this claim doesn't disprove the TPC's numbers either -- indeed, the Tax Foundation uses the TPC's analysis as the basis for its own, stating that "The Tax Policy Center has done the public a service by putting hard numbers on the candidates' tax plans and bringing a dose of reality to the political rhetoric."

So, clearly, there's nothing wrong with the numbers. Will the MRC ever admit that?

The article further bashes the media for "citing left-of-center think tanks as 'non-partisan' entities," which would have some credibility if the MRC didn't do the same thing. For instance, in a October 2006 "Media Reality Check," the MRC cites "non-partisan Center for Media and Public Affairs" as claiming that "more than three fourths (77%) of ABC, CBS and NBC evening news references to Democrats this fall have been favorable, while 88% of the coverage given GOP candidates has been negative, an unprecedented disparity." In fact, the CMPA is a conservative-leaning group whose work is the foundation of the MRC. It touts a book by CMPA founder Robert Lichter, "The Media Elite" -- which "demonstrated that journalists and broadcasters hold liberal positions on a wide range of social and political issues" -- at the top of one "Bias Basics" page.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:03 PM EDT

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