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Friday, June 19, 2009
Aaron Klein Desperate Obama Smear Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The headline of Aaron Klein's June 19 WorldNetDaily article shouts: "Obama tied to Ayers ... at age 11." That's your first clue we're in for yet another desperate smear job by Klein.

Klein's story is about a the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu, "where President Obama attended Sunday school," which apparently has a history of "political activism." Klein then slips into screed territory, declaring that church as "a far-left activist church that may have helped provide the president's initial political education" -- specifically, that the church "served as a sanctuary for draft dodgers and was strongly tied to the Students for a Democratic Society, or SDS, during the time Weatherman radical Bill Ayers was a leader in that organization. The Weathermen was an offshoot of the SDS."

And therein lies Klein's desperate Obama smear: 

The SDS connection to Obama's boyhood church is instrumental. During last year's presidential campaign, Obama notoriously brushed off Ayers' extremism as irrelevant since most of the Weathermen radical's violent actions were carried out when Obama was a kid.

Klein offers no evidence that the SDS carried out any "violent actions" when Ayers "was a leader in that organization" -- or any violent actions at all. Nor does Klein offer any evidence that Obama was exposed to any SDS activities as a child, though he omiously asserts that "Obama, however, likely learned values during his Sunday school days at the First Unitarian in the early 1970s." No, not "values"!

Klein then goes completely off the conpsiratorial rails. Among the evidence he cites for the church's activities as "a hotbed of far-leftist activism," Klein states that the church was "instrumental in founding the League of Women Voters." We weren't aware that the League of Women Voters was a "far-leftist activist" organization.

It's quite sad to see Klein is debasing himself so abjectly by writing such desperate smears. Apparently, there's nothing going on in Israel, where he's supposed to be heading up WND's Jerusalem bureau.

P.S. WND has a long history of negative portrayals of Unitarians.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:42 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, June 19, 2009 3:47 PM EDT
Examiner Misleads on LA-Vegas Train
Topic: Washington Examiner

A June 18 Washington Examiner column by National Review Online staff reporter Mark Hemingway falsely suggests that Harry Reid earmarked $8 billion in the stimulus bill for "a 300 mph, magnetic levitation (maglev) train between Los Angeles and Las Vegas." In fact, the money is designated for high-speed rail in general and not earmarked toward any one project.

Hemingway also falsely portrays the maglev option as the only possible solution for a high-speed rail line between LA and Vegas and, thus, the project is doomed without it. In fact, as the Los Angeles Times reported, Reid "now favors a conventional high speed train."

it's also worth noting that Hemingway's NRO affiliation is curiously absent from the Examiner's end-of-column bio, which describes him only as "a writer in Washington, D.C."

Posted by Terry K. at 2:29 PM EDT
NewsBusters Ignores That Fox Ignored Crucial Facts in Walpin Case
Topic: NewsBusters

A June 18 NewsBusters post by Brad Wilmouth highlights how "several FNC shows recounted the latest developments in the case of President Obama's suspicious, and possibly illegal, firing of former inspector general Gerald Walpin after an investigation headed by Walpin found Obama friend and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson guilty of misusing over $800,000 in funding intended for the AmeriCorps program." But Wilmouth somehow missed the fact that Fox News wasn't telling the full story.

As Media Matters details, some of those Fox News programs Wilmouth cited refused to mention a crucial piece of evidence in the Walpin case that led in part to his dismissal: a letter from acting U.S. attorney Lawrence Brown detailing allegations that Walpin and his staff "did not include" or "disclose" relevant information regarding the case to Brown's office; that Walpin repeatedly discussed the case in the press after being advised "under no circumstance was he to communicate with the media about a matter under investigation"; and that Walpin's "actions were hindering our investigation and handling of this matter."

Instead, Wilmouth reported only Walpin's side of the story, also failing to note Brown's letter.

UPDATE: A June 18 post by Wilmouth recounts Walpin's appearance on CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight," but doesn't note that Dobbs failed to bring up Brown's letter.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:41 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, June 19, 2009 2:52 PM EDT
Speaking of Apologies...
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In their June 18 WorldNetDaily column, Floyd and Mary Beth Brown -- caretakers of Joseph Farah's baby, the Western Journalism Center -- begin:

Here's a hint, David Letterman: An apology starts with you admitting you were totally wrong ... no equivocation ... no explanation ... no rationalization, and ends with you expressing your sorrow, giving a promise that it won't happen again and offering an act of contrition (such as your resignation or self-imposed suspension) ... no smirking ... no laughing ... period.

The Browns might want to pass that advice along to Farah. It took seven years for Farah and WND to admit to publishing false claims about a supporter of Al Gore after it became clear that it would lose the libel lawsuit the supporter filed against WND, which was about to go to trial. And even then, at no point in the official statement does WND offer any "act of contrition" amid the legalese. Farah and WND also wimped out by refusing to disclose the settlement terms of the lawsuit.

The Browns, meanwhile, make the false claim that Letterman was "joking about the rape of Palin's 14-year-old at the hands of a professional baseball player." Letterman says that wasn't his intention, and the Browns can't prove otherwise.

The Browns might want to apply that apology advice to themselves and apologize to Letterman for making a claim it can't substantiate.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 AM EDT
Jeffrey Puts Words in Reid's Mouth

A June 17 article by Terry Jeffrey asserts: "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) vowed Monday that the Senate would consider a 'comprehensive' immigration reform bill that would include giving amnesty to illegal aliens—an item he referred to as 'bringing the 11 million people out of the shadows.'"

Reid never said "amnesty" -- that's Jeffrey's imagining. And nowhere does Jeffrey explain his opinion -- which is exactly what this is, despite being presented as a "news" story -- that "bringing the 11 million people out of the shadows" is the exact same thing as "amnesty." Heck, Jeffrey doesn't even bother to define what he means by "amnesty."

In other words, just mark this down as a sloppy smear job by a right-wing activist throwing around scare words he refuses to define in order to rally his fellow activists.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:14 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, June 19, 2009 12:42 PM EDT
Newsmax vs. Hoenlein
Topic: Newsmax

On June 14, Newsmax published an article by Ronald Kessler featuring the claims of Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, that Jewish leaders in America are, as Kessler wrote, "deeply troubled by" President Obama's "recent Middle East initiatives, and some are questioning what he really believes." While Kessler claimed that "Hoenlein says he is only offering his personal views," he obfuscated that by asserting that "the conference he represents is a political powerhouse that includes 50 major Jewish groups. Among them are the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), B’nai B’rith International, the American Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee, the Zionist Organization of America, Hadassah, and the Anti-Defamation League."

Hoenlein has since been trying to distance himself from the article. The Forward reported that Hoenlein's remarks "drew immediate criticism from Jewish activists," who said that they are "a mistaken reading of Jewish public opinion." Hoenlein is now claiming, according to the Forward, that his "quotes were taken out of context."

Meanwhile, JTA reported that Hoenlein is claiming that Kessler "conflated the questions with the answers":

"My point was" the community "is not monolithic," he said, noting that the article never directly quotes him saying what the lede of the piece claims, that "President Obama’s strongest supporters among Jewish leaders are deeply troubled by his recent Middle East initiatives, and some are questioning what he really believes."

In fact, Hoenlein said he said the same things in the Newsmax interview that he has told several interviewers since the president's speech, but no one else drew the same conclusion.

In response, Newsmax posted the transcript of the relevant segment of Kessler's interview with Hoenlein under the headline "Transcript Confirms Jewish Leader's Comments That Jews 'Very Concerned' About Obama," noting that Hoenlein "has backtracked, claiming to Jewish news outlets that his comments were taken out of context." (Newsmax also released the audio of the interview.) But Hoenlein never directly says what the headline claims he said even though, as the transcript shows, Kessler was actively trying to get him to do so. He didn't, so Kessler used a bit of inference to get to that assertion:

Kessler: Are you finding that Jewish leaders are starting to have buyer’s remorse about Obama?

Hoenlein: I can’t speculate about that. I do think, and I’ve heard and read comments that people have made, the concerns that they are expressing, that people were concerned about what was said. I’ve heard it from some of his strongest supporters, expected from his detractors, but I think many of them were concerned, even people close to him have said to us that there were parts of the speech that bothered them.

Kessler: Could I ask did you vote for Obama and now do you regret it?

Hoenlein: I never discuss how I vote.

Kessler: But have you heard that from some Jewish leaders, just privately?

Hoenlein: That they’re saying that?

Kessler: Yeah.

Hoenlein: Let’s say there’s a lot of questioning going on about what he really believes, what does he really stand for. I think there’s a lot of uncertainty right now.


Kessler: I’m just thinking of the fact he got such overwhelming support from Jews, and now what are they thinking.

Hoenlein: They are thinking, that’s what’s important. You should always be thinking. You shouldn’t vote without thinking, and after they vote, they should think about what’s going on. And people are genuinely very concerned not just about President Obama. I mean it’s a time of heightened concern, and I think this is part of it.

It appears that Kessler -- who, as we've detailed, is actively anti-Obama -- came into the interview with an specific agenda: to use Hoenlein to portray Jews, who voted overwhelmingly for Obama, as regretting that support. While Hoenlein didn't completely cooperate despite Kessler's leading questions, he said things that were close enough that Kessler could make the claim anyway and, thus, stay on message with his agenda.

While Kessler and Hoenlein are each trying to portray themselves as innocent victims, they both share the guilt. Kessler had an agenda, and Hoenlein cooperated just enough with it.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:16 AM EDT
At the Examiner, The Political Slant That Dare Not Speak Its Name
Topic: Washington Examiner

The Washington Examiner announced on June 17 that its owner, Clarity Media Group, had acquired the Weekly Standard. Two words, however, are curiously missing from the Examiner's announcement.

The first missing word: "conservative." As in the Standard's political bent, as well as the Examiner's. Given that the right-wing tilt can be assumed to be a compelling reason for the acquisition of the Standard, the absence of any mention of it is quite strange, especially since the acquisition will likely result in a degree of synergy between the Standard and the Examiner in the further promotion of stories favorable to conservatives and critical of liberals.

The second missing word: "Anschutz." As in Philip Anschutz, the conservative billionaire who owns Clarity Media Group.

By contrast, the Los Angeles Times reported that Anschutz is a "conservative media mogul" and that the Standard is a "right-wing political magazine." The LA Times has further reported that Anschutz "has long been an advocate of conservative causes, and owning the Weekly Standard could boost his political influence even further."

Why doesn't the Examiner want its readers to know about its owner's political leanings? Why is it afraid to use the word that most accurately describes its own editorial slant?

UPDATE: The Washington Independent has more on the Examiner.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:17 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, June 19, 2009 12:18 PM EDT
Thursday, June 18, 2009
CNS Hyperventilates On 'Pro-Gay'

The headline of a June 18 article by Adam Brickley reads: "Obama Appoints Pro-Gay Activist Who Promotes Pro-Gay Clubs in Public Schools to be 'Safe Schools' Czar."

You sure you couldn't have worked "pro-gay" into that headline one more time, guys?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:24 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, June 19, 2009 12:35 AM EDT
Another Lie From Joseph Farah
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Apparently it's Bald-Faced Lies Week at Joseph Farah's WorldNetDaily column. Farah keeps up the streak in his June 18 column by asserting that Matthew Shepard "wasn't victimized because he was a homosexual."

As we've detailed, Farah's belief in this lie depends on his believing known liars and convicted killers, since believers must believe the story that Shepard's killers were peddling in 2004 that they killed Shepard as part of a robbery. 

Farah's belief in this lie means he must ignore the documented record of the Shepard case, in which one of the killers mounted a "gay panic" defense during his trial and the contents of his in-custody interview, during which he made numerous anti-gay statements (as we've also noted).

But, as is all too clear, Joseph Farah doesn't care about the truth when it conflicts with his worldview. He has no problem telling lies that advance his political agenda. That makes him the opposite of the moral Christian he portrays himself to be.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:44 PM EDT
CNS Misleads on Miranda Rights for Detainees

A June 18 article by Bridget Miller and Edwin Mora falsely suggests that a decision to read Miranda rights to detainees was initiated under President Obama and is done to all detainees.

In their article, Miller and Mora referenced "The Obama administration's decision to make this statement to terror suspects captured on the battlefield in a foreign country." In fact, as we've detailed, the author of the original report, Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard, has said that there are reports of Mirandizing detainees as early as July 2008 -- under the Bush administration.

Miller and Mora failed to note a Justice Department statement that contradicts not only that claim that it began under Obama but also the suggestion that all detainees are being read Miranda rights. According to the statement: "There has been no policy change and nor blanket instruction issued for FBI agents to Mirandize detainees overseas. While there have been specific cases in which FBI agents have Mirandized suspects overseas, at both Bagram and in other situations, in order to preserve the quality of evidence obtained, there has been no overall policy change with respect to detainees" [emphasis ours].


Posted by Terry K. at 1:30 PM EDT
Kincaid Ignores Shared Interest of AIM, Von Brunn
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A June 15 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid regurgitated the right-wing talking point that Holocaust Museum shooter James von Brunn couldn't have been a right-winger because "Von Brunn's anti-Semitism is shared by Jeremiah Wright, a left-winger who was Obama's pastor for 20 years."

Kincaid, however, curiously fails to mention one area where AIM's and von Brunn's (and WorldNetDaily's) interests overlap: obsession with Obama's birth certificate.

AIM has published numerous columns referencing the subject, and Kincaid himself has demanded an FBI background check to find out the truth.

AIM, however, seems to have steered clear of another von Brunn obsession: hatred of the Federal Rdserve. That may be because AIM founder Reed Irvine used to work there.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 AM EDT
Your WND Hate Crime Lies of the Day
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A June 16 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh uncritically repeats many of the falsehoods we've previously identified as a constant in WND's coverage of the hate-crimes bill.

Falsely claiming that the bill criminializes speech? Check.

Falsely asserting that the bill protects pedophiles? Check.

Falsely claiming that protesters in Philadelphia were arrested only for "trying to talk about their faith at a homosexual event"? Check.

A June 17 WND article repeats the "Pedophile Protection Act" lie

Why Unruh and WND feel they can continue to spread lies with impunity is beyond us.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:16 AM EDT
MRC's Hypocrisy on ABC White House Special
Topic: Media Research Center

Recent MRC appearances on Fox News bashing ABC over an upcoming broadcast from the White House not only have mostly adhered to the template, they ignored pertinent facts about the news channel on which the MRC reps appeared.

The MRC's Seton Motley appeared on the June 17 edition of "America's Newsroom." He appeared solo, and host Bill Hemmer fed him softball questions and failed to identify Motley as a conservative (though a brief instance of on-screen text stated that the "MRC documents liberal bias in the media").

Later the same day, Fox News correspondent Mike Emanuel aired a clip of Brent Bozell saying, "Just try to imagine a world wherein ABC would give George W. Bush a two-hour opportunity to have a quote-unquote "discussion with the American people" on the war on terror. They didn't even cover some of his press conferences." Emanuel then added, "Bozell saying that a lot of the critics haven't seen any kind of press coverage like this in the past 50 years." Bozell was not identified as a conservative, nor did Emanuel clarify that the "critics" Bozell was talking about can be presumed to be conservative as well.

Further, Bozell has, in fact, seen this sort of coverage in the past 50 years -- the past eight years, to be exact.

As Media Matters has detailed, Fox News was given numerous instances of exclusive access to the Bush White House, during which it tossed softball questions and served as a platform for advancing Bush talking points. Bozell even feebly defended the practice in 2005, insisting against the evidence that an interview of President Bush by Fox's Neil Cavuto "was no puff job," though he made no effort to actually list any of the "challenging questions" Cavuto supposedly asked Bush.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:29 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 18, 2009 1:32 AM EDT
Farah Repeats Birth Certificate Lie
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah makes the same false claim for a second time in three days in his June 17 WorldNetDaily column, asserting that Barack Obama's mother "was an 18-year-old American whose own immature citizenship would not confer natural born citizenship upon her son," meaning that Obama "was in fact a Kenyan citizen at birth and a subject of Great Britain at birth – hardly what the founders had in mind for presidential eligibility when they ratified the Constitution."

But as we detailed, federal law that set automatic conferral of citizenship from a parent to a child at the time of Obama's birth to a citizen for five years after age 14 (Obama's mother was three months shy of her 19th birthday when Obama was born) was changed after Obama's birth to two years after age 14 and made retroactive to 1952 -- thus covering Obama. And his he did before, Farah offers no evidence that the Constitution bars an American who once held dual citizenship from becoming president.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:05 AM EDT
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Kincaid Ignores Shared Interest of AIM, Von Brunn
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A June 15 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid regurgitated the right-wing talking point that Holocaust Museum shooter James von Brunn couldn't have been a right-winger because "Von Brunn's anti-Semitism is shared by Jeremiah Wright, a left-winger who was Obama's pastor for 20 years."

Kincaid, however, curiously fails to mention one area where AIM's and von Brunn's (and WorldNetDaily's) interests overlap: obsession with Obama's birth certificate.

AIM has published numerous columns referencing the subject, and Kincaid himself has demanded an FBI background check to find out the truth.

AIM, however, seems to have steered clear of another von Brunn obsession: hatred of the Federal Rdserve. That may be because AIM founder Reed Irvine used to work there.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:17 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 18, 2009 9:25 AM EDT

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