We've written a brief history of WorldNetDaily at Huffington Post.
Monday, September 22, 2008
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:
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.
Corsi Pushes Discredited Claim About Obama, Fannie Mae
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.
Is O'Leary Ashamed Of His Publisher?
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?
The Shame of Joseph Farah
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:
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:
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.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Huston Wrong About Pat Oliphant
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.
WND Misleads on Obama, Abortion
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:
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."
Saturday, September 20, 2008
-- James Humes, Sept. 18 Newsmax column.
CNS Misleads Again on Obama Staff Pay
A Sept. 18 CNSNews.com 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.)
Michael Reagan: Bring Back Redlining!
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:
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."
Friday, September 19, 2008
Does Aaron Klein Want to Disenfranchise Israeli Arabs?
A Sept. 18 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein begins:
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.
WND Non-Disclosure Watch
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.
Newsmax's Reporting on Study Is Incomplete
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.
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
-- Erik Rush, Sept. 18 WorldNetDaily column
Kessler Hides Background of Notorious Push-Poller
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:
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.
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