Newsmax Ignores Disclaimer on Torture Briefing Docs Topic: Newsmax
A May 7 Newsmax article asserted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "lied" when she said she wasn't briefed about how waterboarding was used about specific detainees, claiming that a recently released report from the National Intelligence Director's office "refutes in considerable detail Pelosi’s statement last month that she was never told about the use of waterboarding or other special interrogation tactics."
But Newsmax fails to note that a letter from CIA head Leon Panetta accompanied the report as submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee stating that the report is based on, in part, "notes that summarized the best recollections of those individuals" who did the briefings, and that the committee "will have to determine whether this information is an accurate summary of what actually happened."
In other words, even the CIA won't vouch for the reliability of the report. But Newsmax won't tell you that.
UPDATE: A May 8 Newsmax article by Chris Gonsalves repeats Republican Rep. Pete Hoekstra's call "for the release of more CIA documents, and perhaps even congressional hearings, to determine what fellow lawmakers such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi knew about CIA interrogation methods like waterboarding." At no point does Golsalves mention the cover letter from Panetta raising questions about the report's reliability, or the fact that, as Greg Sargent noted, Hoekstra himself has a copy of it.
Some Catholic members of the Obama administration were invited to attend the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast. According to the Washington Times, those invited included Joe Biden, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and DHS Chief Janet Napolitano.
Since Obama wasn't going to be there, none of them knew who they should pray to anyway. So they just skipped the event and stayed at the White House where they could pray to, er, with, their boss.
WND Still Perpetuating Hate-Crimes Lies Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily seems to be backing away from the outrightlie by uncritically declaring that the hate-crimes bill "would provide special protections for pedophiles." One would hope it's because they know it's a lie and they're dishonoring God by telling falsehoods, but we doubt it.
A May 8 WND article by Bob Unruh tempers things a bit, stating that the bill "has been dubbed the 'Pedophile Protection Act.'" But Unruh is still behaving unethically by repeating purported evidence that the bill protects pedophiles -- as we've detailed, a false claim -- but refusing to allow anyone to refute the claim by telling the truth. Unruh also uncritically repeats Matt Barber's false claim that Matthew Shepard "was killed during a robbery for drug money gone awry" while failing to note that one of Shepard's killers used a gay-panic defenseduring their murder trial.
How can a "news" organization that so blatantly lies to its readers be taken seriously?
Selective Outrage at the WJC Topic: Western Journalism Center
The latest winner of the Claude Rains Memorial Gambling Awareness Award is the Western Journalism Center's Caleb Heimlich, who in a May 5 WJC blog post is shocked -- shocked! -- that people in the Obama administration watch MSNBC:
Today Kareem Dale, Obama’s special assistant to the president for arts and culture and a key White House advisor on disability policy stated that “at the white house, we always like to say we love MSNBC…”
That is quite a shocking development. The White House watches the network that shills for them on a daily basis.
I am comforted to know that the President is watching the channel that parrots everything he says.
Was Heimlich -- or Floyd Brown or anyone else at the WJC -- similarly shocked (or comforted) to learn that the Bush administration kept its TVs tuned to Fox News, which shilled for him on a daily basis? Or that a Fox News host served in the Bush administration?Or that Vice President Dick Cheney demanded on out-of-town trips that all TVs in his hotel suite be pre-tuned to Fox News?
Somehow we suspect that neither Heimlich nor Brown were able to get themselves terribly worked up about that. Which, of course, nullifies what Heimlich has to say now.
More Obama (And Souter) Smears From Ellis Washington Topic: WorldNetDaily
Ellis Washington has toned down his Obama smears of late (gosh, you think we had something to do with that?), focusing recentcolumns on another bit of craziness, the purported need to abolish the exclusionary rule (something even libertarians oppose doing).
But Washington clearly can't restrain himself for long -- in his May 6 WorldNetDaily column, he references "Chairman Maobama" and calls Obama a "sophist and Manchurian Candidate."
Obama's not the target of this column, though; that would be Justice David Souter, whom Washington describes, along with Arlen Specter, as "two well-known traitors of the Republican Party; two proud enemies against America's most sacred and enduring principles like truth, loyalty, justice, godliness and respect for the original intent of the Constitution's framers." But Washington was just getting warmed up:
I am one of the few writers today to openly speculate that Souter's cloistered, monastic existence with mother dearest ostensibly gave this man a bitter resentment toward the American people, which impaired his ability to rightly judge on the weighty issues that hundreds of millions of people would be compelled by law to follow.
When Obama referred to Souter as "a fair-minded, independent judge who defied labels," that is a big lie. Souter is a liberal activist judge who believes that the Constitution is a "living document" that can be manipulated at-will to fit a radical, secular, socialist agenda. As far as relying on the constitutional text for judicial guidance is concerned, Souter's 19-year legacy on the Court showed him to be a modern-day Benedict Arnold.
There is not one judicial opinion that I've read of the hundreds Souter authored, concurred in, or dissented that is in any manner respectful of the original intent of the Constitution's framers.
For almost 20 years, Souter reveled and delighted in ramming his radical liberal activist opinions down the throats of the conservatives, the Christian right and the majority of American citizens who still believed that a judge's only legitimate duty is to interpret the Constitution according to the original intent of the Constitution's framers, not to show "empathy" and legislate from the bench as Souter has done.
Justice Souter's entire judicial legacy on the Supreme Court amounts to the cold, duplicitous kiss of a Judas.
And that's why I spell traitor S-O-U-T-E-R.
I think what we have here is a case of Souter Derangement Syndrome.
In his May 7 CNSNews.com column, professional gay-basher Matt Barber asserts that the federal hate-crimes bill "would grant special federal resources and preferred minority status to pedophiles, homosexuals, cross-dressers and... a host of other APA recognized “sexual orientations” (i.e., deviant sexual fetishes and perversions).
As we've pointed out, that is a lie. Pedophilia or any of the other "deviant sexual fetishes and perversions" are not considered sexual orientations, disabilities or gender identities under federal law, nor are they defined as such under the hate-crimes bill, so they are not protected.
Barber repeats another related lie: that "the most famous supposed 'hate crimes' victim of all, Matthew Shepard ... was killed during a robbery for drug money gone awry." Barber, in perpetrating a false revisionism, has chosen to take the word of a known liar and convicted murderer over that of authorities who know that the killers mounted a gay-panic defense at trial. Funny that Barber overlooks that little fact.
We've repeatedlydocumented WorldNetDaily's regular violations of journalistic ethics by refusing to disclose its personal and financial interests in the topics and people it covers, so it's only fair to highlight them when then they do properly disclose such things.
A May 7 WND column by Jerome Corsi bashing Chris Christie, a Republican candidate for New Jersey governor, for his involvement in "a plea bargain with the operator of a Honduran sex-slave ring" begins with an unusual (for WND) disclaimer:
Editor's note: Jerome Corsi is a consultant for the Freedoms Defense Fund, a PAC that opposes Christie in the Republican primary and has funded his opponent, Steve Lonegan.
You may remember that Corsi was slow to disclose as he was bashing Ted Strickland in 2006 that he wrote a book with Strickland's opponent for Ohio governor, Ken Blackwell.
Good job, Jerome Corsi and WND. Now, can y'all get around to telling your readers about the relationship between WND and Orly Taitz?
A May 6 Newsmax article carries the false headline, "Obama: No Prayer in the White House."
At no point does the article claim that President Obama has banned prayer in the White House. Rather, it's about how Obama has issued a proclamation marking today's National Day of Prayer "but not hold any public events with religious leaders as President George W. Bush did." The article even goes on to note that the Obama administration "has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which claims the day violates the separation of church and state."
WND's Double Standard on Secret Meetings Topic: WorldNetDaily
A May 5 WorldNetDaily article highlights a "secret meeting" by the Bilderberg Group, "an elite invitation-only conference of influential members of the business, media and political community." The article adds: "Attendees of the Bilderberg conference are not allowed to speak a word of what was discussed in the meeting outside of the group. The group has no website and no minutes are kept of the meetings to ensure secrecy."
As we've detailed, WND editor Joseph Farah is also a member of a secretive group that bars news coverage that it can't orchestrate and forbids its member to talk about what was discussed behind closed doors: the Council for National Policy. For all of WND's fulimations about secret meetings -- it even sellsbooks that purport to blow the lid off such secretive groups -- it has remained silent about Farah's participation in clandestine CNP confabs.
In a May 6 "For the Record" video posted at WorldNetDaily attacking the DHS "right-wing extremism" report, Molotov Michell states: "Did you know that Hilter wasn't right-wing? He was actually a socialist. That's what Nazi means -- national socialist. He had a lot more in common with Obama than he did with Reagan or Bush or Bush Jr."
This is just the latest in a longstring of such smears at WND.
Mitchell also includes the following image to accompany his words:
Mitchell also repeats the right-wing talking point that "the Ku Klux Klan wasn't a bunch of Republicans in those bedsheet ... the KKK was actually founded by and comprised of racist, inbred Democrats." This falsely implies that the Democratic Party carries the same policies on race it did in the 1800s (or even the 1950s). Surely a "for the record" dude like Michell knows that's false. Perhaps Mitchell can do a video on why white segregationists like Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond switched their affiliation from Democratic to Republican in the 1960s after Democratic leaders expressed support for civil-rights legislation, or why Richard Nixon's "Southern strategy" was so successful in helping Republicans win elections.
In listing a number of people who purportedly fall under the DHS report's description of "right-wing extremist," Mitchell showed a picture of the Dalai Lama, with the caption "Anti-gay bigot":
In a 1997 interview, the Dalai Lama (the leader of Tibetan Buddhism and a widely-respected spiritual figure) was asked about homosexuality. He did not offer any strong answer either way, but noted that all monks are expected to refrain from sex. For laypeople, he commented that the purpose of sex in general is for procreation, so homosexual acts do seem a bit unnatural. He said that sexual desires in themselves are natural, perhaps including homosexual desires, but that one should not try to increase those desires or indulge them without self-control.
In a 1993 talk given in Seattle, the Dalai Lama said:
nature arranged male and female organs "in such a manner that is very suitable... Same-sex organs cannot manage well." But he stopped short of condemning homosexual relationships altogether, saying if two people agree to enter a relationship that is not sexually abusive, "then I don't know. It's difficult to say."
The Dalai Lama was more specific in a meeting with Buddhist leaders and human rights activists in San Francisco in 1997, where he commented that all forms of sex other than penile-vaginal sex are prohibited for Buddhists, whether between heterosexuals or homosexuals. At a press conference the day before the meeting, he said, "From a Buddhist point of view, [gay sex] is generally considered sexual misconduct." But he did note that this rule is for Buddhists, and from society's viewpoint, homosexual relationships can be "of mutual benefit, enjoyable, and harmless."
The Dalai Lama is well known for his activism for human rights, and this specifically includes equal rights for gays. According to an Office of Tibet spokeman, "His Holiness opposes violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation. He urges respect, tolerance, compassion, and the full recognition of human rights for all."
If Mitchell really believes in doing stuff "for the record," he should stick that "anti-gay bigot" caption where it much more accurately belongs: under a picture of Joseph Farah.
More about Molotov Mitchell: His real name is Jason, he has produced a number of inaccurate, smear-laden anti-Obama videos (including an embrace of the Obama birth certificate conspiracy), and he's a part of something called the Zealot Movement, an extremist Christian movement built on the straight-edge punk lifestyle that, according to Mitchell, "avoid[s] the pitfalls of American, effeminised Christianity" and embraces "sexual purity through the practice of abstinence until marriage and the abolition of homosexuality."
"Abolition of homosexuality"? Interesting wording, that.
That would seem to fit in with his declared philosophy of embracing "the lost value of extremism." Too bad he's not all that worried about the lost value of accuracy. Then again, the willingness to smear Obama with extreme prejudice (and extreme inaccuracy) is obviously why Joseph Farah loves himso -- WND has been promoting Mitchell's videos since February.
A May 5 WorldNetDaily article reports the question he would have asked in the daily White House briefing had he been called on to ask it: "The Drudge Report has shown videos of President George W. Bush entering this press room with none of the press reporters standing up for him, and then President Obama entering this room at which all reporters stood up. Question, was President Obama proud of this? Or did he regret it in consideration of his presidential predecessor?"
But that video is misleading and out of context. As Slate's John Dickerson reported:
It's a distorted picture, though. We stood all the time for President Bush. Reporters customarily do so to show respect for the office of the presidency. In the East Room of the White House, we stood not only when the president came in but to ask questions. Some reporters said thank you to the president even before asking their questions. This practice continues under President Obama.
There are different rules for the briefing room, though, which is the place both events on the video took place. It's more informal. (CBS's Mark Knoller talked to Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, who confirmed that no offense was taken when the press didn't stand in the briefing room.) It's not that there is a no-standing policy, exactly, but more that the question is unresolved. The press didn't stand for Bush in February but did when the president visited the briefing room for the last time. When he held press conferences in the Eisenhower Old Executive Office Building, the press did stand. Same with the Rose Garden.
Why, then, didn't the members of the press stay in their seats when Obama walked in last Friday? Unlike the Bush planned press conference in February, Obama's visit was a complete surprise (you hear fewer clicks because not every photographer is there), which meant the natural instinct to stand when a president enters the room may have kicked in as it did with Bush's last visit. As you can see from the video, they also ruined the shot, which means standing not only invited grief from conservatives but from their colleagues, too.
When some reporters stood up for President Obama last Friday, they forgot about the needs of their colleagues in the back of the room as well as the less formal atmosphere of the briefing room. Certainly it was a sign of respect for the president, but not one of disrespect for his predecessor.
It was President Obama’s first time at the briefing room lectern since taking office and for some new members of the White House Press, it was their first time seeing a president enter the room as well.
Tim Graham at NewsBusters also made a big deal about this, but has since failed to tell the full story.
Farah's Paranoid Defense of Savage Topic: WorldNetDaily
A dose of paranoia, courtesy of Joseph Farah in his May 6 WorldNetDaily column:
I believe with near 100 percent certainty, though I admit I can't prove it, that the initiative for this symbolic effort to ban Michael Savage from a country he had no intention of visiting came not from London, but from Washington.
Savage commands the third-largest audience of all talk shows in the country. He is also the most critical of Obama and the Democrat-dominated Congress. He is the edgiest. He pushes the envelope. He has been falsely accused of being a "hater" and engaging in "hate speech" plenty of times.
That's why he was the perfect target for a pre-emptive and insidious attack on his character.
Actually, accusations of "hate speech" by Savage are far from false -- they are quite credible, as merelylistening to Savage's words amply demonstrates.
WND Still Ignoring Full Story in Gun Case Topic: WorldNetDaily
A May 4 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh repeats WND's usual bias of telling only one side of the story -- this time in a the case of a man convicted of illegally transferring a machine gun. True to form, Unruh relates only Olofson's side of the story -- that he merely "loaned" a "semi-automatic rifle" to a "prospective buyer," who then "unleashed several bursts of multiple rounds" upon which the gun "jammed."
U.S. District Judge Charles Clevert said Olofson knew or should have known the gun in question fired automatically.
"This was a man who has considerable knowledge of weapons, considerable knowledge of machine guns," Clevert said. "Mr. Olofson, in this court's view, has shown he was ignoring the law."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Haanstad noted that Olofson had two previous gun-related convictions, including carrying a concealed weapon with his children trick-or-treating. He also noted that Olofson was reprimanded for corrupting Army computers and perhaps providing militia groups access to sensitive information.
People can legally own fully automatic, military-type M-16 rifles, but they must have a federal license and cannot transfer it to someone else.
According to court records, Kiernicki turned the rifle's firing selector to the third position, pulled the trigger, and three bullets fired with each pull. Then the weapon jammed. The automatic gunfire was reported to police, who contacted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Kiernicki testified Olofson told him the third position was for automatic firing, but it jammed, court records indicate. He also testified Olofson told him he had fired the weapon on the automatic setting at that same range without a problem, according to the records.
Clevert said the key was not what parts were in the weapon but whether it operated in automatic mode. He played a video used at trial showing ATF agents firing Olofson's weapon in automatic mode. He also noted that in one ATF test, the rifle didn't fire automatically when military-grade ammunition was used.
Haanstad said Olofson had provided weapons and ammunition to so many people he couldn't keep track. A search of his home turned up books on converting rifles to fully automatic, and e-mail on his computer showed he bought M-16 parts, records show.
Olofson had contact with vigilante groups and professed to be part of the sovereign movement, which doesn't acknowledge federal laws as applying to them, Haanstad said.
Unruh has a bad habit of refusing to tell the full story in gun-related cases.
Journalist I.F. Stone died 20 years ago, yet Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid still feels the need to attack him.
Kincaid is doing this in a convoluted way, by bashing liberal blogger Glenn Greenwald for accepting an "Izzy Award" for his independent journalism. Kincaid wrote Greenwald, stating that "I am preparing a story about Stone and would like your comments and about receiving an award named for a Soviet agent. Are you considering disavowing or giving back the award?"
Greenwald wrote back; in his May 4 AIM column, Kincaid made sure to highlight the insults ("Don't you have Barack Obama's birth certificate to hunt down and Hillary Clinton's sex life to sniff around in?") but obscured what Greenwald wrote about Stone by paraphrasing: "Rather than directly dispute the evidence of Stone's service to the Soviet Union, Greenwald cited some alleged anti-Soviet statements once made by Stone, when he apparently had a falling out with the Communist dictatorship, as well as an article from the Columbia Journalism Review."
Kincaid curiously refused to directly quote what Greenwald actually wrote about accusations of Stone being a Soviet agent:
There is much dispute about what Stone thought in the 1940s and early 1950s, but what is not in dispute is that in one of his earliest newsletters, he wrote: "Whatever the consequences, I have to say what I really feel after seeing the Soviet Union and carefully studying the statements of its leading officials, this is not a good society and it is not led by honest men" and "nothing has happened in Russia to justify cooperation abroad between the independent left and the Communists." Those anti-Soviet statements resulted in the loss of numerous previous supporters, a courageous stance that dishonest propaganda rags like Commentary would never take.
A publication with some actual credibility, Columbia Journalism Review, conducted a comprehensive review of the evidence and thoroughly debunked these falsehoods.
By failing to directly quote Greenwald, Kincaid is doing what he accused Greenwald of -- refusing to directly address his evidence. Kincaid goes on to suggest that Stone was an active Soviet agent for many years.
The truth is somewhere in the middle. Kincaid touts a new Commentary magazine article as containing "additional evidence of Stone's work as a Soviet agent." But the article defines it very narrowly, debunking Kincaid's suggestion:
The documentary record shows that I.F. Stone consciously cooperated with Soviet intelligence from 1936 through 1938. An effort was made by Soviet intelligence to reestablish that relationship in 1944-45; we do not know whether that effort succeeded.
To put it plainly, from 1936 to 1939 I.F. Stone was a Soviet spy.
Kincaid makes no mention of the apparent fact that Stone's alleged work for the Soviets was limited to a relatively brief period of a few years. Nor does he acknowledge Stone's rejection of the Soviet system.