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Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Huston Takes Obama Quote Out of Context
Topic: NewsBusters

In a July 30 NewsBusters post, Warner Todd Huston asserted that "Jonathan Weisman is reporting on his "The Trail" blog that presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama told House Democrats that he believes himself to be the symbol of all that is good in America. It appears that he is beginning to believe the over-the-top hype that he really is the Obamessiah for America." Huston goes on to rant: "Wow, the arrogance in that. The hubris, the astounding hubris of it all is overwhelming to anyone that knows even a tiny bit of human history. ... Why Obama gets a pass for this sort of messianic rhetoric is amazing to me."

But Huston didn't note the rest of Weisman's post, which puts the quote in its proper context:

But one leadership aide said the full quote put it into a different context. According to that aide, Obama said, "It has become increasingly clear in my travel, the campaign -- that the crowds, the enthusiasm, 200,000 people in Berlin, is not about me at all. It's about America. I have just become a symbol."

Why did Huston refuse to tell his readers about the full context of Obama's statement? Was he just in the mood to rant -- he is prone to those, after all -- and needed a out-of-context claim to set him off?

This, combined with Tim Graham's repeating of another apparently false claim that Obama himself released his prayer at the Western Wall -- which Graham has yet to update or correct as of this writing other than to add "Report:" to the beginning of the headline to make it slightly less declarative of a false claim -- tells us that NewsBusters and the rest of the MRC are descending quickly into Obama Derangement Syndrome territory. The truth, it seems, no longer matters to them.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:35 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 4:55 PM EDT
FrontPageMag Whitewashes JDL
Topic: Horowitz

A July 28 FrontPageMag article is a Q-and-A conducted by Dave Gordon with Meir Weinstein, the the head of the recently reconstituted Canadian branch of the Jewish Defense League. In it, Gordon serves up a softball question that allows Weinstein to whitewash evidence of the JDL's past extremism:

DG: The JDL is thought by many to be a controversial, even extremist group.

MW: I was involved with the Jewish Defense League when the main issue was Soviet Jews. The Soviet policy towards Jews was genocide, through cultural genocide. Jews were sent to Siberia for wanting to go to Israel. When we protested we were told to stay on the other side of the street. But Meir Kahane (JDL founder) would cross over the police barricade and marched right in front. Those activities got front-page news… [however] people would do things in the name of JDL and claim credit for it, but it doesn’t necessarily mean we did it…

This ignores the JDL's history, as even FrontPageMag has reported it. From an August 2005 article by Ben Johnson:

The elder [Meir] Kahane was most notorious in this country for founding the Jewish Defense League (JDL), a group an FBI report classified as a "right-wing terrorist group" that was widely suspected to have bombed the Los Angeles headquarters of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee 20 years ago, a bombing that killed ADC director Alex Odeh. According to the Anti-Defamation league of B'nai B'rith -- hardly an anti-Semitic organizaiton -- the JDL has admitted, been convicted of, or been tied to attempted bombings of multiple foreign embassies, bombing an Iranian bank, attepmting to hijack an Arab airplane, the severe beating and hospitalization of enemies, and the firebombing of a vehicle belonging to the Christian missionaries "Jews for Jesus." Former Kahane Chai leader Binjamin Zev Kahane justified the bombing of the Syrian Embassy to the UN, forwhich a Kahane Chai member initially claimed responsibility. Kahane Chai member Baruch Goldstein committed the last (and deadliest) act of Israeli terrorism, murdering 29 Muslims at prayer in a mosque in 1994.

Have David Horowitz and FrontPageMag changed their position on Kahane and the JDL? If so, that would explain why FrontPageMag would publish JDL/Kahane sympathizer (and, thus, terrorist sympathizer) Cinnamon Stillwell.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:00 PM EDT
Folger Pushes False Obama Claims
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a July 29 WorldNetDaily column, Janet Folger repeats several discredited claims about Barack Obama.

Folger asserted that Obama has "plans for an $845 billion to a taxpayer-supported poverty program" [sic] and a "$439 billion 'civilian national security force.'" But as we've detailed, the poverty bill commits no actual money to it, and the "civilian national security force" is just a false scare tactic peddled by Joseph Farah.

Folger really should know better than to trust WND as a credible news source.

Folger also complained that "every network news anchor – NBC's Brian Williams, CBS' Katie Couric and ABC's Charlie Gibson – followed Obama like lemmings of the left." This ignores the fact that news coverage of Obama is more negative than that of John McCain.

Folger then repeats a claim that Obama canceled a visit to wounded troops in Germany "after it became clear that campaign staff and the traveling press corps would not be allowed to accompany Senator Obama." In fact, there is no evidence that Obama ever planned to bring the press with him on the visit or that he canceled the visit because he couldn't.

And because this is an anti-Obama screed, Folger serves up a big helping of Obama Derangement Syndrome:

But in Berlin, instead of pretending to be president or even a presidential candidate, Obama sounded more like Nicolae Carpathia, of the "Left Behind" series.

He spoke of a "global partnership," "global citizenship" and "global commitment," "global development" and "those left behind in a globalized world." "Left Behind" in a globalized world? Interesting wording.

Someone who portrayed a neo-Nazi racist as a credible source should not be complaining about the "interesting wording" of others.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:18 AM EDT
Graham Repeats Dubious Claim About Obama Prayer
Topic: NewsBusters

Tim Graham writes in a July 29 NewsBusters post:

The publication of Barack Obama’s supposedly secret prayer at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem was a scandal in Israel. James Taranto noted the newspaper Ha’aretz reported calls for police investigations into the removal and publication of the Obama note, published by the newspaper Maariv. But Maariv said it was Obama who authorized the unveiling of his temporarily private message to God.

Maariv's response: "Obama's note was published in Maariv and other international publications following his authorization to make the content of the note public. Obama submitted a copy of the note to media outlets when he left his hotel in Jerusalem. Moreover, since he is not Jewish, there is no violation of privacy as there would be for a Jewish person who places a note in the wall."

Stop right there. First, Taranto also cites as part of his evidence a report from Israel Insider -- as we've detailed, a right-wing, anti-Obama website that is, for all practical purposes, the Israeli WorldNetDaily -- so it really can't be trusted at face value.

Second, The New Republic has been chasing the story as well, and Zvika Krieger has a critical update that undermines Graham's attack on Obama:

Yesterday, I posted an item about an accusation from Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv that the Obama campaign had leaked a copy of his Western Wall note to the foreign press (rather than Ma'ariv having bought it from some yeshiva kid who stole it out of the wall). After some additional reporting last night, I noted that the story sounded a bit fishy--not only has Ma'ariv not offered any tangible evidence to support this claim, but they also have only made the claim via a spokesman to various Israeli papers rather than printing the accusation in their own paper.

I just got off the phone with a Ma'ariv spokesman who says that the accusation is "completely false," and that he has no idea who these papers were quoting from Ma'ariv. "No official spokesman for Ma'ariv told this to any of the papers." I've got some calls in to these papers to find out where they got the quote. (I'll update here when I hear back.) He told me definitively that "the Obama campaign did not give us a copy of the letter or approve it for printing."

UPDATE 1: I just spoke with an editor at one of the four publications who quoted the alleged "Ma'ariv spokesman." This editor broached the possibility that Ma'ariv was trying to deflect criticims of it by releasing these spurious rumors about the Obama campaign, but upon realizing that they'll have to back up those accusations, is now disavowing them. This editor is going to look into this alleged "Ma'ariv spokesman" they quoted in his publication so we can try to ascertain if this is a Ma'ariv cover-up. I'll update here when I hear back from him and if I get anything interesting from the other publications who also quoted this alleged spokesman.

Looks like this Israeli newspaper can't even get its own story straight. Graham should have looked into this further before being so eager to smear Obama that he made assertions that may turn out to be false.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:54 AM EDT
Return of the ConWeb's Tabloid Double Standard
Topic: The ConWeb

The ConWeb loves to denounce salacious news about Republicans as worthy of only the supermarket tabloids, if that, while salaccious news about Democrats is always considered to be front-page news in real newspapers.

For instance, earlier this year, the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell denounced New York Times article suggesting that John McCain might have been involved in an extramarital affair as "rumor and gossip, fit to print only for the likes of the National Enquirer." Yet posters at the MRC's NewsBusters blog want the mainstream media to print rumors about an affair involving Democrat John Edwards that surfaced in, yes, the National Enquirer.

Tim Graham, who huffed back in February that "The 'news' alleging adultery against McCain is not 'fit to print,'" now finds in a July 24 post that news alleging adultery against Edwards is quite fit to print:

The double-standard here clearly looks partisan -- Edwards vs [Larry] Craig, or Mark Foley. There's also another standard that strangely kicks in. Trivial sexual matters like toe-tapping and scuzzy Internet messaging are more likely to get coverage than charges that raise more serious questions like cheating on a dying wife (or charges of raping a political supporter, as in the Juanita Broaddrick charges). Reporters laughed and joked about Craig and Foley. They're not laughing when the shoe is on the foot of their favorites.

There is a double standard all right, and it's Graham's. In portraying Edwards and Craig as equivalent scandals, we have rumors that everyone involved is denying vs. an actual guilty plea in court to an actual criminal charge.

Elsewhere at NewsBusters, Dave Pierre howled that "the Los Angeles Times has banned its bloggers from writing about the reported affair between Sen. John Edwards and a blonde named Rielle Hunter. And P.J. Gladnick is concerned that Wikipedia refuses "to allow their John Edwards entry to be updated with mention of the alleged scandal which was reported in the National Enquirer with many of the details confirmed by Fox News." In fact, Fox News confirmed nothing beyond one person making the affair allegations was a hotel guard -- not the purported affair itself.

Gladnick went on to assert:

So far the only cracks in the MSM wall of silence on this matter have come only in the form of opinion columns. However, it will be increasingly difficult in the days to come for the MSM to refrain from reporting on this. Unlike the days before the Web, such a story cannot remain permanently on ice. There are just too many sources already covering it and for the MSM to refrain from reporting on this scandal just makes them look even more foolish than they already are.

Never mind, of course, that there's no actual verification that any of this actually took place.

Meanwhile, over at Newsmax -- with its own history of double standards regarding tabloid-sourced material -- James Hirsen goes into concern-troll mode:

This is a man who ran as a serious candidate for leader of the free world and whose wife is bravely battling cancer. Still, the mainstream media for the most part have remained mum.


Is this the two Americas Edwards was talking about — one whose residents recklessly play around but don’t get busted, another whose residents get pummeled in the media for the same activities but whose reputations are left at death’s door?

Again, there's no actual evidence that Edwards did what he's accused of doing. Hirsen is the one who wants to make sure Edwards' reputation is "left at death’s door."

This is the same Newsmax, by the way, that used to claim that the Enquirer was targeting Republicans because the head of an investment group that owns the tabloid was once an official in the Clinton administration.

It's the same old double standard -- the ConWeb is disturbed by tabloid sleaze only when it's about Republicans.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:45 AM EDT
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: Newsmax

In a July 29 Newsmax column, Phil Brennan declared that Barack Obama was "an acolyte at the feet of the Marxist Saul Alinski [sic]."

It's highly unlikely that Obama did anything at the feet of Alinsky, who died in 1972, when Obama was just 11 years old.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:26 PM EDT
Newsmax Reports on One Gallup Poll, Ignores Another
Topic: Newsmax

A July 28 Newsmax article proclaims:

A surprising poll released Monday confirms Sen. Barack Obama's worst nightmare: he actually lost ground to Sen. John McCain after a global trip meant to buck up his sagging credentials in foreign and military policy.

The USA Today/Gallup poll has McCain leading Obama by four points, 49 percent to Obama's 45 percent, among likely voters.

But the article makes no mention of another Gallup poll that Newsmax was complaining about just the day before -- a tracking poll showing Obama with a 9-point lead and a trend line of increasing support during Obama's foreign trip.

The article also baselessly claims regarding Obama's "callous" canceled visit to wounded soldiers in Germany: "When the Pentagon informed Obama's campaign that the hospital would be closed to the press and campaign staff -- only the senator and his official staff would be allowed in -- Obama decided to cancel the event." In fact, there is no evidence that Obama ever planned to bring the press with him on the visit or that he canceled the visit because he couldn't.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:14 PM EDT
CNS Ignores Group's Political Agenda

A July 28 article by Penny Starr reported on a demand from a group called In God We Trust that Barack Obama "condemn the message on a billboard in Denver, the site of next month’s Democratic National Convention," that reads "Imagine No Religion" -- even though, as Starr goes on to write, "the billboard will only stand through July and will not be present during the time of the Democratic convention." Starr describes In God We Trust only as "a national political inter-faith advocacy group" and "a non-profit organization."

But Starr does not note the conservative political agenda of the group's leader, Council Nedd II. Nedd is a member of the National Center for Public Policy Research's black-conservative group Project 21, chaired by none other than liberal-basher and big-word user Mychal Massie. In God We Trust also has a political agenda, targeting "left-wing God-hating atheists" who are purportedly "imposing their radical agenda on America."

CNS has had a pretty good record of late in identifying the the political affiliations of the groups it covers. Why not for In God We Trust, especially when it's doing a clearly political thing in demanding an apology from a politician for something he didn't do?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:24 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 11:29 PM EDT
WND Bothered More By Fictional Christian Terrorist Than Real One
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A July 28 WorldNetDaily article by Chelsea Schilling offers up the best possible free publicity an unknown band could ask for -- denouncing one of its songs:

A punk band has released a music video featuring a "Christian" teenage suicide bomber and criticizing believers and homeschoolers for imposing their values on the nation.

Kill the Hippies, a rock group from Kent, Ohio, made a video called "Teenage Suicide Bomber" that features a mentally disturbed teenager who straps a bomb to his chest and slaughters children on a public school bus, dancers in a nightclub and a crowd of abortion protesters – all in the name of Christianity.

WND asked lead vocalist Matt Trahan why the band decided to portray the suicide bomber as a Christian.

"The reason I used Christians, really, is because everyone around me that I know pretty much comes from a Christian background," he said. "When I look at Muslims, I see pretty much a minority in this country, and I don't really like picking on the little guy."

Trahan said the video is a satire about people who want the U.S. to be a theocracy.

Schilling notes that "While Trahan said the film is a parody, he insisted there is some truth to the idea that Christians can be terrorists," but she makes no mention of just how true that became two days ago, when Jim D. Adkisson opened fire in a Unitarian church in Ohio, killing two.

WND's article on the shooting spins Adkisson as someone who "apparently resented Christianity, disliked the Bible and even got angry over the fact a neighbor's daughter graduated from a Bible college." It's not until the 16th and final paragraph that WND alludes to Adkisson's main motive: that he had a "stated hatred of the liberal movement."

In fact, Adkisson's hatred of liberals goes much deeper than WND bothers to report:

An out-of-work truck driver accused of opening fire at a Unitarian church, killing two people, left behind a note suggesting that he targeted the congregation out of hatred for its liberal policies, including its acceptance of gays, authorities said Monday.

A four-page letter found in Jim D. Adkisson's small SUV indicated he intentionally targeted the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church because, the police chief said, "he hated the liberal movement" and was upset with "liberals in general as well as gays."


Adkisson "stated that he had targeted the church because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country's hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of the major media outlets," Investigator Steve Still wrote. 

Sounds a bit like the kind of person who reads WND, no? 

Indeed, WND has endeavored to portray Unitarians negatively over the years:

  • A July 26 article attacked an upcoming appearance by both Barack Obama and John McCain at the megachurch operated by frequent WND target Rick Warren as being "co-sponsored by a left-leaning group led by a Unitarian-Universalist minister who once headed her denomination's homosexual advocacy office."
  • A July 21 column by Michael Ackley highlights an article describing Berkeley, California, as a place "where residents might head for a screening of a film on urban organic farming in Cuba at the local Unitarian Universalist congregation." 
  • A May 6 column by John Lofton bashing the idea of a "Pluralism Sunday" cited the example of "Epiphany Community Unitarian Universalist Church of Fenton, Mich., has invited a Zen Buddhist 'with a Christian background' to be the preacher that day." 
  • An October 2007 article cited Unitarians among the "Religious Left" who were planning a day of fasting to call for an end to the war in Iraq, along "with the support of an organization named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a Texas terror case and another lobbying for multiple sexual partners."
  • A July 2007 article decried a flyer promoting a "Pagan Christmas ritual" at "a Unitarian Universalist congregation that also teaches 'Exploring Islam,' 'Women Weaving Wisdom,' 'Discovering the Healing Power of Dreams' and other religious subjects" that was being distributed at a school -- allowed, ironically, because the conservative Christian legal group Liberty Counsel sued over a vacation Bible school flyer that was not distributed.
  • Noting that Rep. Pete Stark is ""a Unitarian who does not believe in a Supreme Being," Joseph Farah accused him in a March 2007 column of having "perverted beliefs."
  • A November 2006 article noted that a woman "shared Unitarian Universalist church theologies with" a "Democrat community leader" who pleaded"guilty to extensive child pornography offenses involving children as young as six."
  • A January 2005 article quoted a message purportedly sent by an "enemy" of anti-gay activist (and WND fave) Michael Marcavage: "As a member of the American Civil Liberties Union and a Unitarian-Universalist, I am committed to your suffering the maximum penalty the law will give you. And I will take particular delight knowing your families and loved ones will suffer, too."

One has to wonder if such negative spin on beliefs with which it disagrees (they're not fond of Catholics either, by the way) has an influence on people like Adkisson, especially when a steady diet of intolerance spews forth from websites like WND. We don't know if Adkisson read WND, but his actions would seem to be the logical extention of WND's ultra-orthodox reconstructionist Christianity.

Yet WND is trying to hide this -- while getting all worked up over an obscure punk band singing about the same subject. 

UPDATE: The Knoxville News-Sentinel notes that inside Adkisson's house, "officers found 'Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder' [sic] by radio talk show host Michael Savage, 'Let Freedom Ring' by talk show host Sean Hannity, and 'The O'Reilly Factor,' by television talk show host Bill O'Reilly." Savage, of course, is a longtime WND fave, having published two of his books and hosting Savage's website.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:52 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 9:32 AM EDT
MRC Silent on Study Documenting Negative Obama Media Coverage
Topic: Media Research Center

A study on media bias issued by the Center for Media and Public Affairs should be a big deal for the Media Research Center. After all, as we've noted, 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. But a new CMPA study has drawn nothing but crickets so from from the MRC.

As the Los Angeles Times reported, the new CMPA study found that evening news shows on ABC, NBC and CBS were tougher on Obama than on Republican John McCain during the first six weeks of the general-election campaign:

During the evening news, the majority of statements from reporters and anchors on all three networks are neutral, the center found. And when network news people ventured opinions in recent weeks, 28% of the statements were positive for Obama and 72% negative.

Network reporting also tilted against McCain, but far less dramatically, with 43% of the statements positive and 57% negative, according to the Washington-based media center.

Why has the MRC been so quiet about this? Because it can't spin those results away since the CMPA is a trusted source to it. And also because it contradicts the MRC's cherished claim that, in the words of MRC chief Brent Bozell, the "liberal media" are "neck-deep in the tank for Sen. Obama."

Indeed, even after the Times published its story on July 27, posters at the MRC's NewsBusters blog are still clinging to the old meme in July 28 posts:

  • Mark Finkelstein asserted that there is "plenty of MSM sycophancy for Barack Obama." 
  • Jeff Poor bashed NBC's Brian Williams for suggesting there wasn't "a pro-Obama bias in the media" despite "allegations of just the opposite."
  • Seton Motley asserted that the media was serving up "wall-to-wall slavish and adoring reporting" on Obama. 
  • Lyndsi Thomas cited the alleged existence of "'Obamania' present within the mainstream media," "the glowing media treatment of Obama" and "their gushing ways to help their candidate of choice."

None made mention of the CMPA study that makes their views inoperative. After all, overwhelimingly negative coverage isn't exactly "gushing."

Will the MRC acknowledge the existence of the study? Ore are they feverishly devising an explanation to downplay its results? Then again, the MRC's own analytical skills leave something to be desired.

UPDATE: A July 29 MRC "Worst of the Week" item complained that the network evening newscasts gave Obama's foreign trip "more than ten times the coverage" than to McCain's foreign trip in March. Again, no mention of the CMPA study.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:27 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 3:02 PM EDT
Where Are They Now?
Topic: Free Congress Foundation

Back in 2005, we detailed how conservatives who complained there wasn't enough obstruction of President Clinton's judicial nominees were quick to complain about obstruction of President Bush's nominees. One of those critics was John Nowacki, former head of the Free Congress Foundation's Center for Law and Democracy, who left in late 2003 to take a position as senior counsel in the Justice Department's public affairs office.

Turns out he's been quite busy over there. The Chicago Tribune reported in May 2007 that Nowacki was helping to "shape the department's widely criticized response" to the controversial firings of several federal prosecutors for what appeared to be partisan reasons, adding "Nowacki worked closely with [former DOJ official Monica] Goodling to track the progress of congressional investigations and helped fashion testimony by top Justice Department officials, according to records released in the inquiry. That testimony is under review by departmental watchdogs trying to determine if Justice Department authorities intentionally misled Congress."

Now, a new inspector general's report asserting that Goodling "routinely broke the law by conducting political litmus tests on candidates for jobs as immigration judges and line prosecutors" offers a role for Nowacki as well. From the Washington Post:

Investigators cited discrepancies in information provided by Goodling, Sampson and former press aide John Nowacki, who, like Goodling, received his law degree from Regent University, founded by television evangelist Pat Robertson. But they stopped short of concluding that the conduct rose to the level of a criminal violation.

An earlier version of the Post story noted that Nowacki was "on assignment in Iraq." What the heck is Nowacki doing in Iraq, and who is he "on assignment" for?

UPDATE: TPM Muckraker has more on Nowacki.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 1:04 AM EDT
Monday, July 28, 2008
Farah's Disingenuous New Book
Topic: WorldNetDaily

So WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah has a new book coming out, "None of the Above," which a July 27 WND article hyperbolically describes as "is the first book of its kind in modern U.S. history – calling for Americans to send a message to the Democratic and Republican parties that they will not vote for candidates who do not honor and uphold the principles of the Constitution." The article adds: "Farah devotes chapters to explaining why both Barack Obama and John McCain are unqualified for the office and will each lead the country in the wrong direction – further from the uniquely American concepts of self-government, personal responsibility, national sovereignty and individual rights."

But as we've documented, the message that Farah's own website is sending is not "none of the above" but, rather, "vote for McCain." WND's news coverage is relentlessly anti-Obama -- to the point of telling outright lies about him -- while refusing to hold McCain to any meaningful scrutiny. WND has also offered only scant coverage of the type of third parties, even the ones with views that Farah presumably supports. Further, WND managing editor David Kupelian declared earlier this month that "John McCain really needs to be elected president in November."

Until WND offers genuine criticism of all candidates, not just the non-conservative ones, Farah's book must be considered as nothing but a disingenuous stunt.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:53 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 28, 2008 5:55 PM EDT
Newsmax 'Editorial' Misleads on Obama
Topic: Newsmax

An unbylined July 27 Newsmax article, billed as a "Newsmax editorial," misleads in its attempt to bash Barack obama over his visit to the Middle East and Europe.

The "editorial" tried to play fast and loose with poll numbers, complaining that "Press reports this weekend have almost completely ignored the Rasmussen poll" that showed Obama with a 5-point lead over John McCain -- thus showing that Obama didn't a bounce from his trip -- "to only report on a Gallup poll, which showed Obama with a nine-point lead. Not as good as the Newsweek poll from June, which had Obama 15 points ahead of McCain." In fact, the Gallup poll showed a trend of increasing support during the trip, suggesting that there was a bounce.

The editorial then tried to downplay the reaction to Obama during his speech in Berllin, asserting that "the crowd’s size was beefed up by the fact that the event was billed as a free rock concert for German citizens, with popular musical performers helping to draw the big crowd. Scant U.S. media even noted the warm-up rock draws of reggae artist Patrice and rock band Reamonn." As we noted when NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard made this claim, it's highly doubtful that anyone at Newsmax has any knowledge whatsoever of the German music scene, much less enough to determine that those bands, and not Obama, were the reason thousands came out to see the event.

The editorial also attacked Obama's speech, "in which he proudly proclaimed he was in Germany as a [sic] 'a fellow citizen of the world.'" Newsmax doesn't note that Obama also said that he was "a proud citizen of the United States." Nor does it note that, while addressing the United Nations in June 1982, Ronald Reagan said, "I speak today as both a citizen of the United States and of the world."

The editorial also claims:

Perhaps the most notable -- and reprehensible -- was Obama’s decision to cancel a visit to wounded American soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in southern Germany.

Apparently, the Pentagon informed Obama that since his visit was a political one, the hospital visit would be only open to him and his official Senate staff. This excluded the press and campaign officials.

The Pentagon did offer to allow Obama’s campaign plane to land at the nearby U.S. air base at Ramstein. The media also was to be accommodated there.

Without the photo opportunity and his press entourage, Obama declined to meet the wounded soldiers. At first, Obama’s campaign claimed to the press he decided to cancel the trip to visit the troops because it was "a trip funded by the campaign," and therefore somehow inappropriate. [What is inappropriate about a presidential candidate visiting wounded troops?]

But the Obama story belies the fact it was only after the Pentagon closed the event to his traveling press, that Obama’s campaign nixed the event.

Rightfully, McCain noted that it is never inappropriate for a candidate or official to visit U.S. troops.

In fact, as NBC's Andrea Mitchell pointed out, Obama never planned to take the press with him to Landstuhl: "The Obama campaign thought that they could go, leave the press corps on the tarmac, and then take off with military escort and make this one last visit, as he did, by the way, in Iraq. He visited a casualty unit in the Green Zone without photographers as part of the congressional delegation. But the military said that the rules are that he could only go as part of a previously arranged congressional delegation to Rammstein." Newsmax never mentions this Green Zone visit.

Then again, if Obama had gone to Landstuhl, Newsmax would likely be attacking Obama for using the event to politicize the troops.

If we were the authors of this misleading "editorial," we would've left our byline off it too.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:24 PM EDT
CNS Lacks Context in Fighting GOP Obstruction Accusations

A July 28 article by Josiah Ryan goes the one-sided in citing two Republican congressmen "dismissed Democratic claims of obstructionism and expressed outrage last week over a government report that shows the majority of bills that have passed in the Democrat-controlled Senate of the 110th Congress have done so without any debate or even a vote." The source for this claim, according to Ryan, is "a non-partisan study released on June 10 by the government’s Congressional Research Service (CRS), which indicates that 855 of the 911 bills passed by the Senate of the 110th Congress have been streamlined by Democratic Party leadership with a procedural tactic known as Unanimous Consent (UC), which requires no debate or even a vote."

But Ryan offers no link to the study itself, nor does he report what the unanimous-consent rate has been in previous Republican-controlled Congresses to demonstrate that the current Congress' rate is somehow different (we suspect it's not). Ryan also fails to note that during those Republican Congresses, Republicans and allied groups regularly accused Democrats of obstructionism -- as CNS itself reported. A May 2005 CNS article, for instance, noted that the Republican National Committee kept an "obstructionist forecast" on Democrats.

While Ryan does quote the press secretary of Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the quotes are taken from a month-old article in The Hill, while the Republican congressmen, Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint, are desribed as speaking at a press conference last week (despite the article carrying an "On the Spot" tag, the name CNS uses for its ambush interviews of congressmen on the sidewalk outside the Capitol); Ryan also interviewed a conservative Heritage Foundation spokesman for the article. 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:59 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 28, 2008 4:02 PM EDT
Your Robert Beale Update
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The last time we checked in on Robert Beale, former investor in WorldNetDaily and father of WND columnist Vox Day, he was on the lam, having skipped town to avoid a trial on tax evasion. In the meantime, justice has been served.

After 14 months fleeing from justice, Beale was captured in November 2007 carrying fake ID cards and a fake passport. He later expressed regret for his the anti-tax crusade that got him into hot water (his insistence that he did not have to pay income taxes is what led to his life as a fugitive); while he was on the lam, his wife divorced him (and sued him to obtain assets she claimed were hidden in Swiss banks) and he was removed from the tech company he founded. Beale cited anti-tax crusader Irwin Schiff as the genesis for his own anti-tax activism; WND has portrayed Schiff as a victim of evil tax-grubbing feds, even after he was convicted on his own tax evasion charges. Remember, WND lists all tax-related stories with the tag "The Power to Destroy"; perhaps it's time someone checks on WND's tax record.

In April, Beale was found guilty of all seven tax evasion counts against him, with a potential penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

But the story doesn't end there: Earlier this month, Beale and three associates were charged with obstruction and conspiracy to impede justice. He was allegedly recorded on a prison phone saying he wanted the judge in his tax evasion trial "to be intimidated," adding in another call, "God wants me to destroy the judge. ... That judge is evil. He wants me to get rid of her." The four face a maximum of six years in prison on the conspiracy to impede charge and 10 years for the obstruction count.

In 2003, WND ran an article detailing Beale's complaint that Minnesota officials seized his $3 million, 30-room house for back taxes. It has been silent on Beale's current troubles.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:25 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 28, 2008 1:29 AM EDT

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