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Monday, September 22, 2008
Meanwhile, Over At HuffPo...
Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've written a brief history of WorldNetDaily at Huffington Post.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:19 PM EDT
Who Said Palin Wanted to 'Burn' Books?
Topic: Media Research Center

In a Sept. 22 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham claimed that "Brent Bozell's latest culture column explored how liberal nitpickers landed in Alaska and quickly jumped to conclusions that any right-wing, Jesus-loving politician must be a book-burner." But despite Bozell's mention of "'anti-censorship' activists, perpetually filled with visions of a trash can full of burning books" and an "imaginary book-burning torch," there's no evidence whatsoever that anyone accused Sarah Palin wanted to "burn" books.

Further, in his column, Bozell misleads on the question from Palin that led to the book-banning (not "burning") criticism of her. Bozell writes that "Palin dared to ask the town librarian what would happen if anyone objected to an inappropriate book. She merely inquired," but that's not how the librarian, Mary Ellen Eammons, and others in Wasilla, Alaska, put it:

In December 1996, Emmons told her hometown newspaper, the Frontiersman, that Palin three times asked her -- starting before she was sworn in -- about possibly removing objectionable books from the library if the need arose.

Emmons told the Frontiersman she flatly refused to consider any kind of censorship. Emmons, now Mary Ellen Baker, is on vacation from her current job in Fairbanks and did not return e-mail or telephone messages left for her Wednesday.

When the matter came up for the second time in October 1996, during a City Council meeting, Anne Kilkenny, a Wasilla housewife who often attends council meetings, was there.

Like many Alaskans, Kilkenny calls the governor by her first name.

"Sarah said to Mary Ellen, ’What would your response be if I asked you to remove some books from the collection?" Kilkenny said.

Bozell doesn't mention that the church Palin attended at the time she was mayor, the Wasilla Assembly of God, did show interest in censoring books, particularly one written by a local minister called "Pastor, I Am Gay."

Bozell also misleads a bit on the fight in Nampa, Idaho, about whether the books "The Joy of Sex" and "The Joy of Gay Sex" should be generally available in the library or hidden in an office and released only to those specifically requesting them. Bozell wrote that "parent activist, Randy Jackson, was stunned to hear in 2005 that these books were lying around on the library tables for any child to page through." We've highlighted the word "hear" to point out that the evidence against the book is hearsay: As the Idaho Statesman reported, "Randy Jackson began campaigning to remove the two books from Nampa's library after a friend's teenager saw the book 'The Joy of Gay Sex' on a library table in late 2005."

Nevertheless, Bozell huffed: "Immediately, one wonders: Who were the two who felt it appropriate to display this garbage in a public library, in front of children?" But Bozell offers no evidence that the library itself displayed the book.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:28 PM EDT
Corsi Pushes Discredited Claim About Obama, Fannie Mae
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've previously noted that Jerome Corsi's reporting on alleged connections between Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac and Barack Obama's campaign ignores the fact that John McCain's campaign also has Fannie/Freddie connections. It looks like Corsi may have gotten something else wrong as well.

Corsi's Sept. 17 WorldNetDaily article asserted that former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines has "close ties to Obama" and "currently advises Obama on housing policy." Well, not so much, it appears: According to Politico's Ben Smith in a Sept. 18 post, Raines issued a statement saying, "I am not an advisor to Barack Obama, nor have I provided his campaign with advice on housing or economic matters." Obama's campaign also denied a link.

Still, Corsi wrote a Sept. 20 WND article portraying Raines as having "perpetrated an Enron-like accounting scandal as chief executive officer of Fannie Mae." Corsi repeated his claim that Raines is a "current Obama housing adviser," citing as apparent evidence a Washington Post article claiming that Raines takes "calls from Barack Obama's presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters."

But as Smith pointed out, that claim is not specifically attributed to anyone, "the kind of blind sourcing that suggests the source was Raines." And nowhere does Corsi note the denials of Raines and the Obama campaign that Raines is a "current Obama housing adviser," even though they appeared two days before Corsi's article was published.

Remember WND editor Joseph Farah was whining that a small newspaper in Kansas wouldn't print a full retraction of an incorrect claim about WND in a letter to the editor? Here's a chance to demonstrate that he and WND take all false claims seriously, and that he's a better and more responsive editor than that guy in Kansas, by fulling retracting and apologizing for Corsi's article.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:59 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 2:31 AM EDT
Is O'Leary Ashamed Of His Publisher?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The two websites Brad O'Leary is using to publicize his new, factually challenged Obama-bashing book, "The Audacity of Deceit" -- for instance, he claims that Obama "supported withholding emergency medical aid for babies who survive an abortion!!!!" which we've noted is categorically false -- have most of the usual things: a profile of the author, a link to buy the book, etc. But one thing is missing -- any mention of who published the book.

Could that be because it's published by WND Books?

Indeed, O'Leary's blackout of any mention of WND is total: the buy-the-book link on his website goes not to the WND store but to Amazon, and he's using not WND's favorite publicist Maria Sliwa, who has promoted previous WND books, but his own direct-marketing company.

For an author like O'Leary to refuse to make use of the major promotional resources of his publisher is unusual. But for O'Leary to utilize a code of silence by not even mentioning who his publisher is is even more so.

What is O'Leary afraid or ashamed of? There are plenty of reasons. This year alone, WND settled a libel lawsuit earlier this year by admitting it published false claims, and it has condoned child abuse in a family of homeschoolers. WND has published articles that are not only arguably anti-Catholic but also favorable toward polygamist cults.

We would point out WND's publishing of numerous false claims about Barack Obama as one possible reason, but since O'Leary repeats many of those claims in his book, we sadly doubt that's a factor. 

So actual shame may not be a factor -- perhaps just a desire not to be too aligned to the right-wing wackos at WND. If so, that's not exactly a show of gratitude on O'Leary's part for the company that published hisa book, is it?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:27 AM EDT
The Shame of Joseph Farah
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah's Sept. 20 WorldNetDaily column is a massive tantrum at a small newspaper in Kansas that wouldn't do as he dictated.

Turns out this paper, the Pittsburg Morning Sun ("I didn't know there was a Pittsburg, Kansas," Farah sneered, further smearing the paper as "some rag") printed a letter to the editor that Rep. Steve King took his false claim that illegal immigrants in the U.S. kill 12 people a day from WND. Actually, as Farah states, "In fact, WND's 2006 report on this matter – not that illegals commit crimes, but that they kill 12 Americans a day – was clearly attributed to him as the source."Farah continues:

I was hopeful the editor-publisher of the Morning Sun would recognize he had printed a letter that is defamatory, prejudiced, incendiary and just verifiably untruthful and retract it and apologize for it. Having been an editor and publisher of daily newspapers much bigger and more influential than the Pittsburg Morning Sun, I was actually confident of being able to reason with Stephen Wade. I was wrong.

He wrote back to me suggesting I pen a letter to the editor in response. Facts were not important to him. Reality is not important to him. Stephen Wade, like so many other media types in this strange new world, seems to think everything is just a matter of opinion. And that's scary.

Funny -- that's Farah's outlook on life as well, for he treats false and misleading claims in WND in exactly the same way Wade did. For instance, when WND published an article by Bob Unruh and a column by Scott Beason making numerous false and misleading claims about a public school Bible curriculum called "The Bible and Its Influence," did Farah run any corrections? Nope -- it ran an op-ed by an editor of the curriculum debunking it that is not linked to from the other articles.

And when Clark Jones wanted WND to retract false claims it published about him, did Farah print a correction? Only after seven years of fighting a libel lawsuit Jones filed, only to abruptly settle it just before it was to go to trial.

A false claim that a 13-year-old girl was beaten for a sign she made for a history class calling for an end to illegal immigration remains live on the WND site with no indication whatsoever that WND has published a separate article pointing out that the girl fabricated the story.

Indeed, we've documented numerous false and misleading claims WND has published over the years -- claims WND has made no effort to correct. By the way, Farah has never publicly declared anything we've written about him or WND to be "defamatory, prejudiced, incendiary and just verifiably untruthful"-- which tells us that we're right.

WND's own pathetic record on accuracy notwithstanding, Farah decides to climb on his high horse and get pissy with the Pittsburg Morning Sun:

So I wrote to Wade's bosses at GateHouse Media in New York demanding a retraction and apology – so far to no avail. Bottom line: I may have to sue these people, costing them and me a lot of money, just to motivate them to do what decent journalistic and business ethics should motivate them to do.

Imagine now, if you will, how ordinary Americans feel when they get slimed.

I have something of a public profile.

I have financial and legal resources.

I have the ability to call out the errors and bad behavior of people.

I make a habit of doing just that – it's my job.

Nevertheless, because of arrogance or ignorance or stubbornness or pettiness, this little newspaper in this little town refused to do the right thing.

Too bad Farah can't get as incensed about his own publication's falsehoods as he does about that of a small paper in Kansas, isn't it?

Farah is a horrible journalist (not to mention plagiarist) who credibility is lacking most completely when he judges other journalists, holding them to standards he himself has no interest in upholding. Wade did the exact same thing Farah has done in similar situations -- but he thinks he deserves special treatment. He has repeatedly failed to do the "right thing" he now demands Wade do for him. How arrogant.

The shame of Joseph Farah is that he's so utterly shameless in his hypocrisy. Indeed, we've previously noted Farah's similar whining.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:14 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 22, 2008 1:26 AM EDT
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Huston Wrong About Pat Oliphant
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Sept. 21 NewsBusters post attacking a Pat Oliphant editorial cartoon, Warner Todd Huston calls Oliphant the "political cartoonist of the Washington Post."

Wrong -- he is a syndicated cartoonist unattached to a specific newspaper. (Tom Toles is the Post's in-house editorial cartoonist.) His cartoons appear on the Post's website and occasionally in the paper itself They also appear at the Yahoo! News site and 500 other publications worldwide, but Huston found that unworthy of note.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:17 PM EDT
WND Misleads on Obama, Abortion
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a Sept. 20 WorldNetDaily article pushing back against a Barack Obama campaign ad that criticized an ad accusing him of "letting infants die" as a "despicable lie," Drew Zahn writes:

Obama did, however, vote against Illinois born-alive infant-protection bills four times, as Jessen's ad claims.

Obama has often said, and his own website repeats, that he would have supported the Illinois state law protecting those born-alive infants if it had had a "neutrality" clause like the federal version, which states the law specifically is not intended to impact the status of babies before birth.

As WND reported earlier, however, documentation uncovered by Doug Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee reveals Obama did vote against a version of the Illinois law that was the same as the federal law, contrary to what the candidate has stated.

Zahn fails to tell the whole story of Obama's opposition to the "born alive" law anti-abortion activists were pushing in Illinois. As we've noted, a state law containing the same language as the federal law would not have offered the same protection because federal laws do not regulate abortion as state laws do. Thus, a state law that declared it was not undermining Roe v. Wade -- the provison cited by anti-abortion activists as the identical clause in both the state and federal laws in question -- would also need to specifically state it was also not undermining relevant state abortion regulations as well.

Zahn also failed to mention Obama's other defense for not supporting a "born alive" law -- that it was unnecessary because the behavior it banned was already illegal, meaning that such a law would be a political statement instead of a new prohibition.

Zahn further fails to note that in 2005, a "born alive" law did pass in Illinois that specifically stated that it would not affect "existing federal or state law regarding abortion," a clause missing from earlier versions of the bill.

This misleading attack on Obama -- largely driven by WND columnist Jill Stanek -- has been a staple of recent WND "news" coverage of Obama as a way to make the false claim that Obama supports "infanticide."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:14 AM EDT
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Palin-Philia Watch
Topic: Newsmax

Parallels abound between Gov. Sarah Palin’s quest to be a heartbeat from the U.S. presidency and Margaret Thatcher’s rise to power in Great Britain.


Like Thatcher, she is tough talking and outspoken. Palin’s actions speak louder than her words.

In 1979, Thatcher’s plain speaking on Conservative plans to cut taxes and regulations on business galvanized the party’s base and she was elected prime minister. Her vision of “a man’s right to work as he will, to spend what he earns to have the state as servant not master” inspired her country.

Three decades later, Palin has likewise energized her party and has become a rallying point. Would a Vice President Palin be a future Margaret Thatcher?

-- James Humes, Sept. 18 Newsmax column.

We've previously noted Humes' factually challenged writing for Newsmax. 

Posted by Terry K. at 11:35 PM EDT
CNS Misleads Again on Obama Staff Pay

A Sept. 18 article by Fred Lucas asserts that Barack Obama "pays his own female Senate staffers, on average, only 78 percent of what he pays male staffers," suggesting that this conflicts with Obama's stance supporting equal pay for women.

As we pointed out the last time Lucas made this claim, that's a false conflation of issues. Lucas provides no evidence that women in Obama's office are being paid less than men with the same amount of experience doing the same job -- which is what the issue of pay equity is all about. (Pandagon weighs on on the issue as well.)

Posted by Terry K. at 11:16 AM EDT
Michael Reagan: Bring Back Redlining!
Topic: Newsmax

Michael Reagan has declared in his Sept. 18 Newsmax column that Democrats are responsible for the current financial crisis. Why? Because the Clinton administration got rid of redlining:

To find the donkey, you need to go back to the Clinton administration, which decided that everybody and his kid brother was entitled to a mortgage even when they didn’t begin to qualify for a home loan.

In saner days, banks designated certain areas as no-loan zones — depressed neighborhoods where lending money to potential home buyers was not just a risky investment, but a certain future foreclosure.

Critics of the practice called it “redlining,” and President Clinton and his chums on Capitol Hill decided that banks should no longer act like banks and lend money only to home buyers who could afford to handle the monthly payments. Now all bets would be off and people not the least bit creditworthy — and speculators — would be entitled by law to obtain mortgages even when it was obvious they couldn’t afford to handle them.

Actually, redlining as people who aren't Michael Reagan understand it -- a refusal to offer banking services and/or loans in certain areas, which in practice was racist because those areas were invariably minority-dominated -- has been illegal for decades. The Clinton administration merely stepped up enforcement of anti-redlining laws.

Does Reagan really want to bring back redlining and its attendant racism? It sure appears so.

A Sept. 19 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn makes essentially the same argument as Reagan, blaming "unsound – though politically correct – lending practices" but avoiding the term "redlining."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 AM EDT
Friday, September 19, 2008
Does Aaron Klein Want to Disenfranchise Israeli Arabs?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 18 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein begins:

Did fewer than 15,000 Arabs just determine who will serve as Israel's next prime minister?

That may be the case following Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's slim win here by just 431 votes in yesterday's primary for the leadership of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Kadima party. The primary elections had a high Arab turnout.

The overall tone of Klein's article is one of offense that Arabs were allowed to vote in an Israeli election inthe first place, even though Klein concedes they are "regular citizens" -- if Klein wasn't offended, why would he make such a big deal out of it?

We already know that Klein is sympathetic to right-wing Israeli views, but this indication of anti-Arab sentiment puts Klein in league with far-right Israelis such as Meir Kahane's now-outlawed Kach (and successor Kahane Chai) party, which advocated the explusion of Arabs from Israel. We've previously noted Klein's kid-glove treatment of Kahanists, downplaying their history of violence.

Klein's beliefs also appear to be in line with those of Avigdor Lieberman's right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party, which wants to strip Israeli citizenship from Arabs living in the West Bank.

Klein needs to honestly and publicly admit the right-wing biases that are all too clear in his writing so his readers can determine how much to trust his reporting.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:36 PM EDT
WND Non-Disclosure Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 17 WorldNetDaily article noting "the biggest one-day gain in history" for gold prices quoted Swiss America's Craig Smith promoting the virtues of gold as an investment, but it failed to disclose that Smith is a WND columnist and that Swiss America is a WND advertiser.

WorldNetDaily has a long history of blurring the line between editorial and advertising regarding Smith and Swiss America.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:37 PM EDT
Newsmax's Reporting on Study Is Incomplete
Topic: Newsmax

A Sept. 18 Newsmax article by Jim Meyers reported on a Wisconsin Advertising Project study that found "'Barack Obama aired more negative ads than his Republican rival John McCain last week." But Meyers failed to note that the WAP's definition of "negative" was any mention of the opponent's name, that WAP didn't measure the veracity of the ads, nor did it determine whether something was a personal attack or a policy attack.

Another Sept. 18 article, by Ashley Martella, uncritically quoted Republican operative Roger Stone citing the study without noting the full story behind it.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:23 AM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Since there are still many Americans who are ignorant of the facts, let us be blunt: The comparisons of Obama to Christ or Palin to Pilate are obviously far, far, from analogous. Barack Hussein Obama is a nothing, not in the eyes of God, or in the sense of human worth, but in the sense of his tissue-paper resume, fair game because he and his people tout it so audaciously. He was a community organizer, a position many would reckon is less important than dogcatcher.


It could be said – albeit defiantly and with a cattiness more characteristically employed by the left – that Adolf Hitler was a "community organizer," as well. After all, between the loss of World War I and the state of the world economy in the 1930s, Germany had been dealt a terrific blow. Thugs, petty criminals, communists and anarchists freely roamed the streets. Those who did have money flaunted their means, careless of those who were trotting down the sidewalks with wheelbarrows full of worthless paper money in order to purchase the most basic of necessities.

Enter Hitler, another master orator, by the way. And guess what? He told people precisely what they needed to hear: The uplifting voice of "change."

Of course there were still, small voices within certain circles that recognized Hitler for the dangerous sociopath he was – but you'd never get the average German to see it then. Such nice boys they were in their brown shirts. Well-spoken, clean cut … and they kept those damn communists off of the streets.

Community organizer.

Should a Hitler come along in America, rest assured that he will be hailed as triumphantly as Barack Obama. His shortcomings – like Obama's and Hitler's – will be purposefully overlooked, and he will sail to power with the pomp of a celebrated ocean liner coming into port.

And he will lay waste to some vital part of America, one left somehow intact prior to that point. Certainly Obama's ascendancy itself is a clear indication that some measure of what was America has already been lost.

-- Erik Rush, Sept. 18 WorldNetDaily column

Posted by Terry K. at 1:17 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, January 12, 2009 11:31 PM EST
Kessler Hides Background of Notorious Push-Poller
Topic: Newsmax

A Sept. 17 Newsmax column by Ronald Kessler begins: "Most polls may be overstating Barack Obama’s support by 5 to 10 percentage points because those surveyed may not be telling the truth about voting for him, ad executive Gabe Joseph III tells Newsmax." Kessler describes Joseph only as "president of ccAdvertising, which conducts polls for a range of candidates and members of Congress."

Turns out Joseph's background is much more interesting -- and notorious -- than that. As TPM Muckraker detailed, Joseph "may be the king of the push poll, in which real-sounding questions with ludicrous premises are asked to plant negative ideas in voters' minds." His company, ccAdvertising, was founded by former Reagan administration official Donald Hodel and has solid Republican ties. TPM continues:

As might be expected of an outfit that profits off of convincing people not to vote, ccAdvertising plays rough. Mother Jones reveals that Joseph once boasted of his firm's ability to "deliver a voter suppression message" to unfriendly voters. And as much as Joseph enjoys talking about the reach of his company's technology, he's not above threatening reporters: "If someone writes something that I don't like, I can make their life—I can make them understand a few things if I choose."

How would you know if you received one of the millions of calls ccAdvertising has made on behalf of clients, all Republican, in the past few months? A robo voice might have asked you, "Do you believe that foreign terrorists should have the same legal rights as American citizens?" or told you that your local Democrat "voted to allow the sale of a broad range of violent and sexually explicit materials to minors."


As hard as ccAdvertising works to smother its targeted voters with calls, it also works to cloak its identity. So if you get a call from ccAdvertising, you won't know it's them. Although the calls tend to disclose through which organization the call was ordered, the name on a recipient's caller ID is generic-sounding, like "Election Research" or, as in the case of the recent calls to Maryland and Tennessee, "P RSRCH 2006." The company maintains a stable of business aliases like those to stay anonymous. It even went so far as to make calls in a couple states under another business' name.

Joseph is unapologetic about his product. "There's no more effective free speech tool than what we do," Joseph told Mother Jones. "That's why people complain. Because we're effective. If it wasn't effective, nobody would say anything."

Yet Kessler wants you to think Joseph is a legitimate pollster. Then again, Kessler sold out his principles in the name of Republican loyalty, so he's not exactly a legitimate reporter.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:07 AM EDT

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