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Saturday, July 26, 2008
CNS Selectively Edits Obama Speech

An unbylined July 25 article on Barack Obama's speech in Berlin was headlined, "A 'Citizen of the World' Campaigns in Berlin." The article also quoted John McCain's campaign saying that Obama was"proclaiming himself a 'citizen of the world.'" But nowhere does CNS note that Obama also said in the speech that he was also "a proud citizen of the United States."

CNS also fails to note that in June 17, 1982, speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Ronald Reagan said, "I speak today as both a citizen of the United States and of the world."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:44 AM EDT
AIM Column Riddled With Falsehoods, Distortions
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A July 25 Accuracy in Media column by Olavo de Carvalho ("a philosopher and the author of several books" who "writes for three very influential dailies in Brazil") aiming to smear Barack Obama is loaded with falsehoods, distortions and unsupported claims:

  • Carvalho claims that Obama said that the American flag is "to many people a symbol of violence." A quick Google search uncovered no instance in which Obama said those words.
  • Carvalho writes: "To collect funds for his campaign, he organized a lottery system - which is illegal in all 50 American states." First, lotteries are not "illegal in all 50 American states." Second, what Obama was actually accused of was a promotion that appeared to require a donation in exchange for a chance at the prize in question, considered a form of gambling that's illegal in most states; the campaign quickly moved to add language to the promotion permitting people to participate without making a donation.
  • Carvalho claims that Obama "flies everywhere in an airplane that does not meet the required security standards, and was recently forced to make an emergency landing." In fact, "required security standards" were not the problem; rather, there was an apparent mechanical problem, and there is no evidence whatsoever that Obama deliberately uses planes lacking in safety or "required security standards."
  • Cavalho enters the territory of far-right conspiracy-mongers by asserting that Obama's "dedication to covering up his past prompts him to hide his own birth certificate." Even conspiracy-happy AIM tried to distance itself from that claim, adding an "editor's note" stating, "The Obama campaign has released an alleged copy of the candidate's birth certificate, showing that he was born in Hawaii. However, some have questioned its authenticity."

Indeed, Carvalho is a font of smears in this piece. He baselessly asserts, "In the Democratic Party and U.S. big media, nobody seems to find anything strange about Obama. Even among supporters of John McCain there is some sort of tacit agreement not to hurt the opponent's feelings with demands beyond his capacity." He also asserts that Obama "listens to the Star-Spangled Banner with his hands on his genitals, and not on his heart" -- making us wonder what kind of things they teach in Brazil -- and claimed that "the candidate displays the kind of absolute trust in his own invulnerability that is so typical of revolutionary sociopaths."

Apparently, standards of journalistic accuracy in Brazil are even lower than they are at AIM.

AIM tried to distance itself further from Carvalho with the disclaimer, "Guest columns do not necessarily reflect the views of Accuracy in Media or its staff." But AIM does not have any auto-generated content and is under no obligation to publish views it disagrees with; all copy is, as far as we know, put through some kind of approval process before being placed on the AIM website. IN other words, somebody at AIM thought this article reflected their views to the point that it was deemed worthy to post. To pretend otherwise through a disclaimer is disingenuous.

Perhaps AIM could share with its readers the rationale for putting such a hateful, inaccurate, genital-obsessed piece of crap on its website.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:11 AM EDT
Friday, July 25, 2008
WND 'Letter of the Week' Is From Terrorist Sympathizer
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's July 25 "Letter of the Week" is from David Ha'ivri, who begins bitterly: "Barack Obama, your visit here is just a waste of time; you're not wanted or needed here. We'll do just fine without you, and you'll probably do better with out us, too. Don't come around here acting as if you're looking out for the good of Israel. We know who you are and who your friends are." Ha'ivri makes repeated references to "Barack Hussein."

What WND doesn't tell you: Ha'ivri is a terrorist sympathizer.

As we've previously noted, Ha'ivri is a sympathizer of extremist rabbi Meir Kahane, who led the Kach movement in Israel (which became Kahane Chai after Kahane's death). In a CNN documentary last year, Ha'ivri refused to condemn a plot by Jewish extremists to detonate a bomb outside a Palestinian girls' school, saying only, "I make no judgment. I think that war is an ugly thing." Ha'ivri's MySpace page even lists Kahane as a friend.

Given WND reporter Aaron Klein's own sympathies toward right-wing Israeli extremism, it's no surprise that Klein has featured -- and whitewashed -- Ha'ivri. In articles about the 2005 march Ha'ivri and other right-wing Jews led to the Temple Mount "in hopes of reclaiming the site from its Islamic custodians," Klein depicted him as simply a pious Jew and didn't mention his Kahane ties.

(WND also doesn't tell you that Ha'ivri's "letter" previously appeared elsewhere; it was also posted on the Israeli National News (Arutz Sheva) website.)

In a 1997 column, WND editor Joseph Farah listed the Kach movement as one of the "terror-supporting groups" that he claimed to "have no use for." But if a Kahane/Kach sympathizer is willing to bash Obama, Farah apparently does have a use for it after all.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:18 PM EDT
WND Embraces False Kincaid Claim
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a July 25 WorldNetDaily article, Bob Unruh writes:

The U.S. Senate soon could debate whether you, your spouse and each of your children – as well as your in-laws, parents, grandparents, neighbors and everyone else in America – each will spend $2,500 or more to reduce poverty around the world.

The plan sponsored by Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, is estimated to cost the U.S. some $845 billion over the coming few years in an effort to raise the standard of living around the globe.


Cliff Kincaid at Accuracy in Media has published a critique asserting that while the Global Poverty Act sounds nice, the adoption could "result in the imposition of a global tax on the United States" and would make levels of U.S. foreign aid spending "subservient to the dictates of the United Nations."

He said the legislation, if approved, dedicates 0.7 percent of the U.S. gross national product to foreign aid, which over 13 years, he said, would amount to $845 billion "over and above what the U.S. already spends."

In fact, as we've noted, contrary to Unruh's and Kincaid's assertions, the bill has no funding mechanism, doesn't commit the U.S. to a targeted level of spending, and doesn't give the United Nations the power to impose a tax on the U.S.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:02 PM EDT
What NewsBusters Writers Don't Post At NewsBusters
Topic: NewsBusters

Many NewsBusters bloggers have their own blogs, and it's interesting to see what appears there that doesn't make the NewsBusters cut.

Over at the National Center for Public Policy Research, Amy Ridenour does the unusual for a "name" conservative: defend Michael Savage. In making "an appeal for calm" over Savage's trashing of people with autism, Ridenour merely regurgitates Savage's spin:

In response, Savage says his comments were taken out of context by Media Matters. ... He added that his comments were actually in support of truly autistic children, who, he said, lose out on services and funding they need because money is "pilfered by those who are not autistic." "The truly autistic child needs as much help as he or she can get," he said; what he opposes is "fakery."

Except that's not true at all. Savage has falsely recast his original remarks to claim they were taken out of context, and he's also on the record calling autism a "phony disease." Nevertheless, Ridenour continued:

My sense of this is that those who are calling for Savage's firing should calm down. Savage clearly has sympathy for children disabled by autism. His greatest offense was that his disgust over what he believes is people using autism for financial gain encouraged him to exaggerate the extent to which autism is overdiagnosed and the ease with which genuine autism (which presently is incurable) can be cured. The hyperbole was not helpful, but it should not be confused with an attack on the genuinely disabled.

Except Savage has never offered any evidence (that we've seen, anyway) of anyone "using autism for financial gain." Giving Savage a pass for mere "hyperbole" runs counter to the evidence, as opposed to what Savage wants people like Ridenour to think.

Meanwhile, at Stop the ACLU, NewsBusters' John "Jay" Stephenson is singing the praises of the upcoming book by Walid Shoebat and Joel Richardson (who helped gather stories from Shoebat and others for the WorldNetDaily-published book "Why We Left Islam"), which purports that "the Anti-Christ of Christianity is the Mahdi of Islam." Unsurprisingly, there's no mention of Shoebat's credibility problems.

Meanwhile, the the entire basis of Shoebat and Richardson's book is fundamentally flawed. As Richard Bartholomew details:

[P]art of their thesis is the claim that the Greek letters for “666″ in the Bible are actually the Arabic for “In the name of Allah”. To reach this conclusion, they point to the Codex Vaticanus manuscript of the Bible, which was written in th Fourth Century. Unfortunately for them, they failed to understand that the original Codex does not contain the Book of Revelation; it was added centuries later using a different script which didn’t exist in the Fourth Century, and the nineteenth-century facsimile edition they consulted replaced this with a typeset version (there are also other objections, but this one highlights their incompetence the most dramatically). 

It's usually a good idea to see if a book is based in fact before one endorses it.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:18 AM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Obama would do well to forget, for the moment, his contempt for America and her traditions, and realize that many in the Middle East hate America even more than he, his wife and his self-professed closest advisers do.

-- Mychal Massie, July 22 WorldNetDaily column

Posted by Terry K. at 2:03 AM EDT
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Apparently feeling desperate that Barack Obama's trip to Israel didn't generate much in the way of Obama-bashing material for him, WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein is reduced to using his 45th anti-Obama article to huff that "Sen. Barack Obama's campaign plastered the entrance to the Western Wall – the holiest site in Judaism – with official campaign posters."

But nowhere does Klein accuse the Obama campaign of any offense -- the posters, he later notes, "adorned police barricades erected at the Western Wall plaza for Obama's visit" -- not actually on the Wall or any other holy site, so Klein is unable to accuse Obama of blasphemy. The only "controversy" Klein tries to whip up is over how far in advance the posters showed up, complaining that a Reuters photo caption "implied supporters brought along the pro-Obama material."

That's it. That's the only "news" peg Klein has for this article.

Has Klein finally burned out on his Obama hatred, or is he just recharging in order to unleash a new burst of hate as the election nears?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:20 AM EDT
Thursday, July 24, 2008
How Do You Say 'Decemberists' In German?
Topic: NewsBusters

Remember when NewsBusters tried to absurdly claim that a throng of 70,000 who went to see Barack Obama speak in Portland actually went instead to see local indie-rock band the Decemberists (which hasn't filled up a single venue a tenth of that crowd anywhere, let alone Portland) play? Well, they're at it again. From a July 24 post by Noel Sheppard:

Well, it has been learned that before the presumptive Democrat nominee spoke to a crowd in Berlin Thursday, two popular German acts -- reggae artist Patrice and rock band Reamonn -- entertained the gathering audience.

Will media report this tonight, or just gush and fawn over the huge crowd again?

Would it kill Sheppard to simply admit the undeniable fact that Obama is a popular person and is quite capable of attracting audiences even without opening acts? Apparently so.

And as much as we can safely assume no one at NewsBusters had ever heard of the Decemberists before they opened for Obama, it's an even safer bet that Sheppard has never heard of Patrice or Reamonn before this, let alone possesses any actual knowledge just how popular they are in Germany.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:34 PM EDT
Dear Mr. Farah...
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Dear Mr.Farah:

You write in your July 24 column that the New York Times' rejection of John McCain's op-ed is a "shameless act of political partisanship," "stunning decision to turn down publication of one candidate's opinion while gleefully publishing the other's opinion,"  further calling the Times an "immature and stridently ideological rag." Such words serve the implication that WorldNetDaily is somehow different, even though WND has a long history of telling only one side of many issues -- including numerous attacks on Barack Obama without a meaningful opportunity for response.

Since you want to suggest that WND, unlike the New York Times, is not "immature and stridently ideological," I offer the following opportunity for you to back you your words: If you are truly committed to an open and full range of opinion at WND, publish (or, heck, even link to) my op-ed about WND's coverage of certain religious groups. Every claim in it is substantiated, which equals, if not surpasses, WND's reporting standards, so I don't foresee any problem in that area.

Are you and WND mature and non-ideological? Here's your chance to demonstrate it.


Terry Krepel

Posted by Terry K. at 9:27 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 24, 2008 9:29 AM EDT
Kincaid Still Lying About Poverty Bill Cost
Topic: Accuracy in Media

 A July 22 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid references "Senator Barack Obama’s Global Poverty Act," adding, "This costly $845 billion bill commits the U.S. to spending 0.7 percent of gross national product on foreign aid to meet United Nations objectives."

No, it doesn't. As we've repeatedly noted every time Kincaid makes this false claim, the bill has no funding mechanism, doesn't commit the U.S. to a targeted level of spending, and doesn't give the United Nations the power to impose a tax on the U.S.

Nevertheless, Kincaid repeats the claim in a July 23 AIM Report, falsely stating that the Global Poverty Act "commits the U.S. to spending .7 percent of our gross national product on foreign aid, at a cost over 13 years of $845 billion."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:11 AM EDT
Still No Evidence for Key Claim in McDonald's Boycott
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Bob Unruh writes in a July 22 WorldNetDaily article on the right-wing boycott of McDonald's:

It was because of a decision by the restaurant chain known for Happy Meals and its Golden Arches to deliberately advocate for homosexuality. The company has given $20,000 to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and placed one of its executives on that group's board. The NGLCC, among other things, lobbies for same-sex "marriage" provisions.

As we have previously noted, WND has yet to offer any actual evidence that the NGLCC -- a group that primarily aids gay and lesbian business owners -- "lobbies for same-sex 'marriage' provisions." Nor has the boycott's leading sponsor, the American Family Association; nothing on its boycott website substantiates the claim that the group lobbies for gay marriage.

You'd think a "news" website would point out this gaping hole of evidence in the AFA's boycott. But, of course, WND is no ordinary "news" website.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:55 AM EDT
New Article: Anti-Catholic AND Pro-Cult?
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's ultra-orthodox Christian views seem to have caused it to cater to an old hatred -- and cozy up a little to a polygamist cult. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:02 AM EDT
Bozell Overtaken By Events
Topic: Media Research Center

Brent Bozell's July 23 column starts out by declaring, "John McCain has figured out that one way to build enthusiasm among conservatives is to confront his former best friends in the liberal media," and asserting that "the media glorify Barack Obama."

Unfortunately, Bozell's column came out the same day it was revealed that McCain still has BFFs in the "liberal media" -- CBS was caught editing out a false claim McCain made about Iraq during an interview and substituting an answer McCain gave to a different question.

That undercuts the Obama media lovefest meme the MRC has been promoting, to the point that even NewsBusters hasn't mentioned it as of this writing.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:05 AM EDT
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
CNS Hops Aboard MRC's Tunnel Vision Train

A July 23 article by Kevin Mooney pushes the corporate Media Research Center tunnel vision that the only possible reason that coverage of the Iraq war has declined is because they don't want to report that the surge was a success.

Mooney wrote:

The number of reporters embedded with U.S. forces in Iraq declined dramatically after the surge in U.S. troop strength went full force last year and violence in the country, including U.S. casualties, started to decline.

As a consequence, there have been fewer reporters in the field with U.S. troops in Iraq this year to report on the successes those troops have achieved.

But Mooney mentioned none of the reasons offered by media analysts why Iraq war coverage has declined -- tight newsroom budgets, a focus on other news like the presidential election -- thus forwarding the baseless suggestion that the reason "there have been fewer reporters in the field with U.S. troops in Iraq" was to avoid reporting "the successes those troops have achieved." That baseless suggestion is reinforced by the article's headline: "As Surge in Iraq Succeeded, Embedded Reporters Receded."

If the MRC can't come up with actual evidence to back up this claim, they should stop inferring it.

UPDATE: A July 23 NewsBusters post by Craig Bannister repeats Mooney's claims, baseless suggestion and all. Bannister, by the way, is CNS' communications director; his NewsBusters bio is curiously empty.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:23 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 23, 2008 5:14 PM EDT
WND Pro-McCain Agenda Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's stealth pro-McCain agenda is a little less stealth: A July 22 article is little more than a regurgitation of the McCain campign's assertion that the media is, as WND's headline asserts, "twitterpated" over Barack Obama. The article even embeds a McCain campaign video making the same point.

Unsurprisingly, the article makes no mention of any evidence contrary to McCain's talking point -- specifically, CBS' splicing of an interview with McCain to remove a false statement McCain had made.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:00 PM EDT

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