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Tuesday, September 30, 2008
WND Finally Tells The Other Side of Obama 'Truth Squad' Story
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 29 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn finally gets around to reporting the other side of the story regarding membership by Missouri law enforcement officials in an Obama "truth squad" that previous WND articles baselessly suggested would use the power of their office to legally harrass anyone running ads critical of Obama. But Zahn baselessly frames it as the officials "back[ing] off the intimidating implications," even though there's no evidence they made any such claim in the first place that needed to be "backed off."

Zahn further fails to note that John McCain's campaign also utilizes law enforcement officials on its "truth squads," let alone question the propriety of that in the same way it attacked those on the Obama side.

Zahn ends by quoting one county sheriff who is a "truth squad" member noting, "I came into my office Monday morning, and I've got 500 emails and 19 nasty phone calls calling me a communist pig!" Is WND proud of its readers doing that sort of thing?

Posted by Terry K. at 3:18 PM EDT
CNS Article's Claim Lacks Evidence

A Sept. 30 article by Susan Jones promotes the claim by conservative activist Richard Viguerie that the defeat of the Wall Street bailout package "shows the power of the New and Alternative Media." But Jones doesn't cite any specific examples of how the "New and Alternative Media" -- in context, the conservatively correct term for right-wing blogs, websites and talk radio -- caused the bill to fail, beyond a claim that "Even the Associated Press noted the power of the Internet in torpedoing the bill." The AP quote that Jones serves up -- "furious pressure built up against the bill in e-mail campaigns and on Internet Web sites" -- also offers no specific examples.

Further, since a significant minority of House Democrats also voted against the bill, credit for defeating the bill cannot go to right-wing media alone.

Nevertheless, Jones uncritically repeated Viguerie's assertion that the bailout bill "the support of the mainstream media, who told us ad nauseam that everyone -- everyone! -- supported a bailout." No evidence is offered to support Viguerie's claim.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:28 PM EDT
Where Was Huston When ...
Topic: NewsBusters

A Sept. 29 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston bashed the Obama campaign for violating "the right of free political speech" by banning signs at a rally, further bashing "weak-spined school officials" at the Virginia college where the rally was held because they "bent over and meekly accepted the rules derived from the fascistic penchant of the Obama campaign with its anti-first amendment proclivities."

Funny, we don't recall Huston exhibiting similar outrage when, for instance, a woman was arrested outside a John McCain "town hall meeting" purportedly open to the public for carrying a sign. Or when the Bush administration engaged in a policy of expelling possible critics from Bush's public appearances.

Tell you what, Warner: Try getting a little mad about that, and then you might have a right to indulge your Obama Derangement Syndrome.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:04 PM EDT
Yet Another WND Double Standard
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Back in 2005, WorldNetDaily began promoting a book called "Sex Appealed" by Janice Law, which attacked the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas that overturned state sodomy laws by claiming that "the events of September 17, 1998, [upon which the case was based] were a prearranged, orchestrated set-up designed to test Texas Penal Statute 21.06 – a too-perfect case."

In an Oct. 25, 2005, column, Joseph Farah similarly attacked "the pre-meditated nature of the Lawrence case setup," adding, "It was quite simply the misdemeanor dream case homosexual activists in Texas and nationwide had been dreaming about. Or had they done more than dream about it? Had they schemed about it, too?" He further asserted: "If the Lawrence case were known to be a setup during the five years following the arrests, then the defendants would not have a right-to-privacy claim, and the U.S. Supreme Court probably would never hear the case."

An Oct. 27, 2005, WND "news" article repeated Law's claim that the Lawrence case "was based on a pre-arranged 'setup' of police, state judicial authorities and, ultimately, the highest court in the land." The same day, a WND column by Law bashed the case as "a set-up case of invited arrests," further exclaiming, "Isn't the U.S. Constitution good enough anymore?"

But there's a new case brewing that is a similarly pre-arranged setup. But instead of being horrified by it, WND has promoted it.

A Sept. 26 WND article by Drew Zahn touted plans by the conservative Alliance Defense Fund to use "a select team of 33 pastors in 22 states" who "will be preaching on politics in a direct challenge to a federal tax statute that forbids churches from interfering with political campaigns." Zahn added:

The ADF has promised it is ready to equip and defend the pastors selected for "Pulpit Freedom Sunday," even if that means going to court and challenging the tax code.

"We're reminding them that they have the right to openly discuss the positions of political candidates," ADF counsel Mike Johnson told WND, "and we're going to be there for them if there's a challenge."

Doesn't the fact that the ADF is specifically enlisting people to break the law wiht the express purpose of creating the basis of a court case in which the law can be challenged make their action the exact same type of pre-arranged "set-up case of invited arrests" WND condemned when it involved homosexuals? It certainly appears that way.

Yet Zahn offers no substantial criticism of the initiative -- only one paragraph in his 21-paragraph article.

Just another chunk of hypocrisy in a "news" organization already laden with it.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:33 AM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The 2008 presidential election in America is the most crucial election in this country's history, not because the issues are that critical but because of Sen. Barack Obama. The Democratic presidential candidate's language, posture and demeanor suggest that he may suffer from narcissistic personality disorder, or NPD.


NPD is the prime disorder experienced by all the madmen of history – from Hitler to Stalin, Mao, Kim, Pol Pot, Osama, Khomeini, Saddam and Idi Amin. These men wreaked havoc and killed millions. They looked normal. Few suspected their insanity until it was too late.

Ali Sina, Sept. 30 WorldNetDaily column. Hilariously -- though perhaps not so much for someone in the grip of ODS as this person is -- Sina concludes by stating, "There is no basis upon which to assume Obama would become a murderous tyrant." So why devote the rest of the column to claiming there is one?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:54 AM EDT
Kincaid Once Again Repeats False Claim About Global Poverty Act
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Cliff Kincaid once again claims, in a Sept. 28 Accuracy in Media article, that the Barack Obama-sponsored Global Poverty Act "cost an estimated $845 billion" -- a claim we've debunked every time Kincaid makes it. 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 went on to claim: "Commentators such as Andrew C. McCarthy have pointed out that Obama’s Global Poverty Act (S. 2433) would cost even more than the $700 billion that is being proposed as part of a socialist takeover of the U.S. financial sector."

But the McCarthy article to which Kincaid links -- a Sept. 19 piece at National Review -- offers no evidence of it either. In fact, McCarthy does nothing but repeat Kincaid's own false claims about it:

The GPA is a monstrosity. Thanks to Obama’s praetorian guards in the mainstream media, it is a better kept secret than most covert intelligence programs. But Accuracy in Media’s Cliff Kincaid has been digging (see here). If the GPA became law, the United States would be required to fork up for foreign aid 0.7 percent of its gross national product through 2015. That is, Obama would skyrocket U.S. largesse from its current annual level of about $21 billion (the world’s most generous) to — you’ll want to be sitting down for this — $85 billion per year.

It's logrolling in our time -- Kincaid cites McCarthy, who cites Kincaid.

Kincaid also complains about something called the Jubilee Act, a debt-forgiveness bill to which Obama has signed on as a co-sponsor, because it "would cancel the debts of 26 foreign countries even while the U.S. suffers through its own financial crisis and Americans are losing their homes and savings."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 AM EDT
Monday, September 29, 2008
Sheffield Baselessly Claims Most Top Papers Are Liberal
Topic: NewsBusters

In making a big deal out of Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell's claim that most editorial cartoonists are liberal, Matthew Sheffield claimed in a Sept. 28 NewsBusters post that "Just two of the top twenty editorial pages in the U.S. lean conservative," and offered a list. Sheffield offered no evidence to back up his assertion -- and indeed, there are problems with his list. For instance:

  • He claims the Chicago Tribune is "liberal," even though it has endorsed only Republican presidential candidates for the past 130 years or so.
  • He claims the Washington Post is "liberal" even though it has often shared editorial positions with the "conservative" Wall Street Journal.

While it may be treated as a given inside the MRC offices that everyone in the media is liberal, out here in the real world, we require evidence, and not the circumstantial kind.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:05 PM EDT
NewsBusters Repeats Bogus Attack on Obama 'Truth Squad'
Topic: NewsBusters

Tom Blumer plays McCain water carrier in a Sept. 29 NewsBusters post, repeating unsubstantiated claims that an Obama "truth squad" in Missouri that includes a prosecutor will "threaten and intimidate" of Obama critics. Blumer howls: "These people are prosecutors. How do prosecutors "respond" to actions they feel violate the law? They prosecute. Most reasonable viewers would have concluded that they were planning to act against 'offenders' in their official capacities."

But as we noted when WorldNetDaily repeated this bogus claim, none of the law enforcement officials on the "truth squad" have said they would use the power of their office to silence critics (a claim Blumer baselessly rejects as "horse manure"). Blumer also fails to note that McCain has members of law enforcement on his "truth squads."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:52 PM EDT
NewsBusters Runs to McCain Campaign Manager's Defense
Topic: NewsBusters

A Sept. 26 NewsBusters post by Jacob S. Lybbert complained: "Rather than investigate the campaign donations paid out to Senators Dodd, Clinton, and specifically, Barack Obama, by Fannie Mae and Freddy [sic] Mac, the [New York Times] focused instead on McCain aide Rick Davis's employment by the consulting firm, Davis & Manafort."

Lybbert fails to note that Davis wasn't just employed by Davis & Manafort; he was a key employee of the firm (as the name "Davis" in the "Davis Manafort" name hints at). He also neglects to mention that Davis is much more than an "aide" (or, as he writes later, a "campaign adviser") to McCain; he's McCain's campaign manager.

Lybbert then uncritically repeats the McCain campaign's response to the story and treats it as fact, without noting evidence that would seem to undercut the campaign's basic claim that Davis has no involvement in his own company -- specifically, that Davis is still listed as an officer of it. And it's since been reported that Davis did, in fact, maintain financial connections to the firm well after the date he claimed he separated himself from it.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 29, 2008 9:18 AM EDT
Klein Repeats Claim from Discredited Obama-Basher
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a Sept. 29 WorldNetDaily article repeating claims that Barack Obama is "hiding something from his college days," Aaron Klein writes:

In a posting that was referenced on multiple other blogs, Andy Martin, executive editor of, asked whether Obama met Ayers at Columbia.

"Obama spent two years at Columbia University yet left virtually no fingerprints of his presence there. Could that be because Columbia was where Mr. Obama first met 'mad bomber' William Ayers?" asked Martin.

You may recall Martin from our entanglements with him: He sued us and our employer, Media Matters, for (accurately, it can be reasonably argued) calling him anti-Semitic -- a lawsuit that was laughed out of court (twice), in no small part because he has a long history of lawsuit abuse.

Martin has a history of launching all sorts of Obama smears into the world -- he takes credit for launching the essentially false claim that Obama is hiding his "Muslim religion." As we've previously noted, Martin published a March 2007 article at Newsmax claiming that Obama has "locked ... away" his white grandmother "in his racist closet," calling him "one of the most racist politicians in America today" and accusing him of trying to hide his white heritage.

And Klein is taking the word of this guy as fact? Does he think that because an article is "referenced on multiple other blogs," that automatically makes it true?

Klein also fails to mention that Martin claims to be the executive director of something called the Committee of One Million to Defeat Barack Obama, which might make his musings just a tad biased and, thus, suspect.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:54 AM EDT
NewsBusters Accepts Misleading Defense on Palin 'Road to Nowhere'
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Sept. 24 NewsBusters post and Sept. 25 MRC CyberAlert item, Matthew Balan asserted that CNN "desperately tried to criticize vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin for a 'Road to Nowhere' that was part of the infamous 'Bridge to Nowhere' project," accepting as fact a Palin spokesperson's claim that ""under ordinary circumstances, Governor Palin would not have allowed the Gravina road project to move forward. But given the federal earmark was granted and because the contract for the road was already signed before she got into office, the governor was left no viable alternative."

Turns out that's not exactly true. According to ProPublica:

But the governor did have a viable alternative. Gov. Frank Murkowski (R) signed the contract for the road on Dec. 1, 2006, three days before he left office. Palin could have cancelled that contract upon taking office, according to Alaska Department of Transportation spokesman Roger Wetherell. In such cases, contractors are reimbursed for any expenses incurred in association with the project.

For instance, in her first month in office, Palin cancelled a $18.6 million contract to build a one-lane, 11-mile gravel road out of Juneau. That contract had also been awarded by Murkowski at the end of his term, but Palin, judging the project wasteful and the contract award insufficiently transparent, terminated it. The state reimbursed the contractor for $65,500 in expenses, Wetherell said.

Gov. Palin also had a "viable alternative" when it came to the earmark. It's true that the Gravina Island Highway presented a more difficult case than the Juneau road, which was funded entirely with state money. But it's not true that the earmark forced Palin to spend the money on the road. Palin could have opted not to use the money, and Congress has the power to send it to other federal needs, said Federal Highway Administration spokesman Doug Hecox.

Will Balan mention this? Don't count on it.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EDT
Sunday, September 28, 2008
WND Anti-Obama Agenda Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's anti-Obama slant continues in a pair of articles accusing the Obama campaign of creating "[a] team of Obama-supporting prosecutors and sheriffs in Missouri" to "pursue legal challenges to any presidential campaign ads deemed to be false or misleading." WND cited a St. Louis TV report and such purportedly authoritative sources as "the blog Gateway Pundit," "Missouri blogger Doctor Bulldog" and "the St. Louis Examiner" (which, as far as we can tell, is not an actual newspaper in St. Louis but a city-based portal web page run by Philip Anschutz's conservative-leaning Examiner newspapers in Washington and San Francisco).

The articles baselessly suggest that this truth squad will use their official positions to legally harrass anyone running ads critical of Obama. WND makes no apparent attempt to contact the Obama campaign or anyone else involved in the truth squad for a response to criticism it published by the National Rifle Association or Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt (whom WND fails to identify as a Republican who supports John McCain).

By contrast, the Springfield, Mo., News-Leader reported that "Despite having law enforcement officials on the truth squad, none of them have publicly said they will invoke their official powers to enforce facts about Obama’s record"and pointed out that Blunt was "[u]sing his taxpayer-funded press office to level a political attack" in issuing his response, quoted by WND, in which he called the truth squad "police state tactics."

The News-Leader also reported that "a review of McCain’s own truth squads shows he has a district attorney from New Mexico and the South Carolina attorney general ready to respond to misleading ads from Obama and Democrats in their respective states."

This is all information that was readily available, yet WND chose not to inform its readers about it, even though it's essential to telling the full story here. But then, WND has an anti-Obama, pro-McCain agenda, so it's sadly not surprising.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:11 AM EDT
NewsBusters Promotes Meaningless Opt-In Poll
Topic: NewsBusters

"I am not an expert on polls," Terry Trippany writes in a Sept. 27 NewsBusters post -- a claim she then proves by touting the results of an opt-in poll as meaningful.

Trippany makes note of an "AOL straw poll that shows John McCain solidly beating Barack Obama in a random sample of hundreds of thousands of readers," adding: "[I]t seems to me that the AOL poll is without the kind of bias that can be injected by pollster samples and then touted by the media as an advantage for Obama. The AOL straw poll has been relatively low profile and you must use a captcha to vote. It has been running for a while now and the results have been fairly consistent. The bias it does have would likely come from the demographics of AOL readers. The poll appears to be an outlier and I have no clue how closely a poll of this type tracks real votes. AOL states that it is not a scientific poll. In other words it just captures the votes that readers put in. Simple."

As we pointed out in 2004 when WorldNetDaily was promoting the AOL poll (which also similarly had the Republican candidate in the lead), opt-in polls are inherently unreliable because the sample is self-selecting and can be easily skewed by activists -- such as the right-wingers at Free Republic, which regularly encourages its readers to vote in opt-in online polls ... like the AOL poll.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:00 AM EDT
Saturday, September 27, 2008
We Respond ... At WND!
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has published our response to Joseph Farah's column attacking us over our Huffington Post article.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:50 AM EDT
Friday, September 26, 2008
Meanwhile ...
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah takes broad exception to our Huffington Post history of WND. We're working on a response.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:36 PM EDT

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