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Sunday, August 9, 2009
Graham Misses the Point
Topic: NewsBusters

In an August 8 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham complains that an Associated Press story on the American Psychological Association's repudiation of "reparative therapy" to change homosexuals into heterosexuals complained not only that the article portrayed proponents of "reparative therapy" as "religious conservatives" -- even though the vast majority of them are -- but also that the article "failed to balance the story with the recent case of Kerry Pacer, the lesbian Person of the Year now living with a man."

But according to the NewsBusters post on the subject to which Graham linked, Pacer did not undergo "reparative therapy" -- in fact, it quotes Pacer as saying, "You can’t help who you fall in love with. No matter what, you have to be happy and follow your dreams and be who you are."

In other words, the question is not whether people's sexual orientation can change -- it's whether a coercive process like "reparative therapy," promulgated by people who oppose the very idea of homosexuality, should be used in doing so.

Graham also complained that the AP article didn't quote any conservatives, but had to correct the post after "more thorough Googling" uncovered another version of the story that did.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:11 AM EDT
CNS Auditions More Faux Controversies
Topic: has devoted much of this year to ginning up baseless controversies to attack President Obama. It's been holding auditions for more molehills to turn into mountains.

A July 23 article by Edwin Mora attempted to put Sen. Christopher Dodd on the spot by asking him whether money in the health care reform package would go to ACORN. But Mora offered no evidence that ACORN engages in health care-related activities.

An Aug. 3 article by Penny Starr did the same sort of ambush on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, asking her whether "a section of the Senate health-care reform bill that requires her to 'develop standards for the measurement of gender'—as opposed to simply relying on 'male' and 'female'—for use in a new federal database that will collect information about all beneficiaries of government-run or government-supported health care programs." Sebelius replied that she had "no idea" what Starr was talking about.

Turns out, neither did Starr. As Media Matters noted when Rush Limbaugh picked up on the story:

To us, it appears that CNS News and Rush are trying really hard to see things that aren't there. It seems pretty clear that the bill is simply mandating that HHS develop standards for collecting data on gender, geography, socioeconomic status, etc. That's why the language appears under a section titled: "Collection Standards." (Page 411) It's likely the case that the authors of the bill simply used "collection" and "measurement" interchangeably in a way that couldn't possibly be considered controversial unless taken completely out of context -- which is exactly what Rush and CNS News did to roguishly imply that the government is establishing new gender categories.

Starr followed up the next day with Sebelius claiming that the database "will only use the categories 'male' and 'female'—not lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender--when making entries for a person’s gender."

Another nonexistent "controversy" from which CNS managed to extract two stories. The only place there was a controversy about this was in Starr's fevered brain.

But if one molehill can't be built into a mountain, there are other molehills. Starr tried again in an Aug. 6 article, trying to whip up outragge that a city in Virginia was using stimulus money to train staff in dealing with gay and lesbian domestic violence. Starr's problem with this? "Marriage is not legal" in Virginia. Or maybe that public money should not be spent on anything regarding gay people, even (or, perhaps, especially) if it's to prevent violence against them.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:26 AM EDT
Saturday, August 8, 2009
MRC Mum on Beck's Desire to Poison Pelosi
Topic: Media Research Center

In an Aug. 6 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard purported to be outraged that "liberal radio host Mike Malloy called for Fox News's Glenn Beck to commit suicide and do it on television 'because somebody will capture it on YouTube and it will be the most popular video for months,'" calling it "disgusting as well as dangerous."

Meanwhile, neither Sheppard nor any other employee of the Media Research Center has said a word about Beck's desire to poison Nancy Pelosi. Apparently, Sheppard doesn't think such a threat to be either disgusting or dangerous.

Similarly, the MRC has yet to say a word about Rush Limbaugh's repeated likening of President Obama to Nazis -- even though the very day Limbaugh made those remarks, MRC head Brent Bozell issued a statement of outrage that Pelosi accused anti-health care reform agitators of "carrying swastikas." But then, the Media Research Center has always been tolerant of conservative hate speech.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:59 AM EDT
Newsmax Defends Limbaugh's Nazi Remarks, Flip-Flops From 2004
Topic: Newsmax

An August 7 Newsmax article defends Rush Limbaugh's repeated comparison of President Obama and Democrats to Nazis by complaining that -- almost precisely echoing Limbaugh's own defense -- by complaining that the "mainstream media" didn't report "Speaker Nancy Pelosi's reference to a swastika when she claimed that hecklers at a pro-Obamacare town hall meeting were carrying swastikas."

Newsmax doesn't explain how its defense of Limbaugh's remarks squares with its 2004 criticism of a Democratic website for defending an ad submitted to a contest that depicted President Bush morphing into Adolf Hitler (despite its own publication of writers who likened President Clinton to Hitler).

Posted by Terry K. at 10:31 AM EDT
WND 'Editor's Note' Tries to Walk Back 'Authentic' Birth Certificate Claim
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has apparently gotten tired of certain people pointing out that in August 2008, it reported that the birth certificate released by Barack Obama's campaign was "authentic" -- after all, that assertion clashed with all of WND's subsequent attempts to discredit the certificate (most recently by Jerome Corsi).

Here's what it originally reported:

A separate WND investigation into Obama's certification of live birth utilizing forgery experts also found the document to be authentic. The investigation also revealed methods used by some of the bloggers to determine the document was fake involved forgeries, in that a few bloggers added text and images to the certificate scan that weren't originally there.

Sometime recently, however, WND has added an "editor's note" to that 2008 article, immediately following the above paragraph:

(Editor's note: WND's investigation into the certification of live birth did not include inspecting the actual document, but only asking experts to evaluate the online image. Those experts, therefore, could not "prove" the document's authenticity. The experts told WND merely that many of the forgery claims made against the image were inconclusive or falsified, leaving them no evidence that would cast doubt on the image's authenticity.)

That's a pretty aggressive walk-back of the original claim -- even redefining the article's use of "authentic." But that's the sort of redefinition that is done when previous work is suddenly out of step with present-day political agendas.

But that's not the only agenda-clashing issue in that original article. In pointing out that "at least part" of Philip Berg's birther lawsuit "relies on discredited claims," the article also lays out the evidence against the claim that Obama "lost any hypothetical American citizenship he had as a child." That statement is immediately followed by an editor's note, dating to its original publication, that "This point is not supported by U.S. citizenship law."

Yet WND editor Joseph Farah has tried to advance a variation of that claim -- that Obama holding dual citizenship as a child disqualifies him as a "natural born citizen."

Will we see yet another "editor's note" appended to the article in the near future attempting to explain that one away too?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:55 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, August 8, 2009 1:00 AM EDT
Friday, August 7, 2009
Topic: Media Research Center
Jamison Foser notes that Brent Bozell's Aug. 6 demand that the media report "on this hate speech" from Nancy Pelosi accusing anti-health care reform agitators of "carrying swastikas" -- adding that "Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have never said anything like this" -- might have been more effective and less hypocritical if, the very same day, Limbaugh had not repeatedly likened President Obama to Hitler.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:44 PM EDT
Shocker: MRC Writer Throws Off the Blinders
Topic: NewsBusters

An Aug. 6 NewsBusters post by Mitchell Blatt commits a grievous offense for a Media Research Center writer: He refuses to blame liberal bias for a media company's problems.

In noting that the company's "operating income dropped by over 30 percent in its latest earning report," Blatt shockingly states that the company's "struggles are due to the recession, but newspapers have been struggling long before the recession. With content available for free online, fewer people are paying to subscribe to newspapers and magazines." Even more shockingly, Blatt predicts that the company's plans to charge for online content will fail not because of the far-left bias of said content but, rather, because "Americans have been reluctant to pay for subscription fees for news content online, especially after having received it for free for fifteen years."

What's that? The company Blatt is writing about is News Corp., owner of conservative outlets like Fox News and the New York Post?

Never mind...

Posted by Terry K. at 9:36 AM EDT
Newsmax Fully On Board With The Birthers
Topic: Newsmax

This past week marked Newsmax's official coming out as a member of the birther conspiracy, demanding the release of Barack Obama's "long-form" birth certificate.

While it had published the occasional article touching on it, it was never as obsessed as WorldNetDaily. That shifted in July with a repetition of birther talking points, repeated in an Aug. 3 article claiming that "Lou Dobbs is right" on the issue.

Newsmax editor Christopher Ruddy officially signed on this week -- first in an Aug. 3 appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor" (apparently subbing for WND's Joseph Farah, whose demands O'Reilly decided not to accede to), then in an Aug. 5 column rehashing those old talking points.

While Ruddy asserts that "I believe Obama was born somewhere in the state of Hawaii," he adds that "we have no idea of his birthplace," and concludes with a list of presidential birthplaces, with Obama's listed as "unknown."

Ruddy then tries to refame the issue: "The issue over Obama’s birth certificate is not about President Obama’s citizenship. It is about his honesty and his promise to be the most transparent president ever." Or it could be that the issue is Obama's critics refusing to accept the validity of official state documents in order to de-legitimize him. Ruddy is curiously silent on that possibility.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:33 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, August 7, 2009 11:14 AM EDT
Your Joseph Farah Birther Lie of the Day
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah just can't stop lying about WorldNetDaily's coverage of the Obama birth certificate, can he?

IN his Aug. 6 column, he asserts: "Once again, I am not making accusations about where Obama was born."


  • "The only living person who claims publicly to have been present at Obama's birth is his paternal grandmother, Sarah Obama, who says the birth took place in Mombassa, Kenya."-- Farah, July 23
  • Of course, the only living person in the world who claims to have been present for Obama's birth is his paternal grandmother, Sarah Obama, who says it took place in Mombasa, Kenya. -- Farah, July 15

Further, as we've documented, that claim is false -- a fact Farah and WND have hidden from their readers.

Telling a lie about where someone said Obama was born is, in fact, making an accusation about where Obama was born.

Farah also writes:

His "evidence" is a document that could never and will never suffice. It's called a certification of live birth. It is not a birth certificate. It does not prove even the first question we ask for proof of natural born citizenship: Was the subject born in the United States?

It wasn't just possible to obtain such a document having been born outside the country, it was actually quite easy. All it would take was the word of one parent.

But since certifications of live birth are generated  from the original birth certificate, Farah is saying that the original "long-form" birth certificate, because it could have been based on fraudulent information, is not acceptable evidence of Obama's birth -- even though that's what he's been screaming for for months.

In short: There is no evidence Farah will accept as sufficient proof of Obama's birth in Hawaii.

And the cycle continues. And Farah sells a few more bumper stickers.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:14 AM EDT
CNS Downplays Evidence of Manufactured Town Hall Outrage

An August 6 article by Fred Lucas uncritically promotes the claim by "conservative activist" Rick Scott of Conservatives for Patients Rights that "Vocal opposition to the Democrats’ health care overhaul legislation – evident at town hall meetings across the United States -- is genuine, not manufactured." But Lucas downplays evidence that the opposition is at least partly manufactured.

While Lucas notes a statement by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs that Scott's group is among the groups "that have bragged about organizing and manufacturing that anger," and added in the final paragraph of his article that "Conservatives for Patients' Rights’ Web site has posted a list of town hall forums scheduled by members of Congress," Lucas fails to report other evidence of coordination behind protests at town hall meetintgs -- including the fact that Conservatives for Patients' Rights is taking credit for ginning up the town-hall outrage.

When you're taking credit for manufacturing outrage, it does tend to undercut your claim that the outrage isn't manufactured. Too bad Lucas didn't feel the need to tell his readers that.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:11 AM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

I recall an episode of the 1970s documentary "Scared Straight" in which one of the teenage subjects (whom the authorities were attempting to turn from his evil ways via direct exposure to convicts) divulged that it was his intention to enroll in technical school to learn about security systems. That way, he reasoned, he would have carte blanche with respect to any establishment he wished to rob.

So I believe was the objective of one young Barack Hussein Obama when he set about the study of constitutional law. This does make sense; in many ways, President Obama's machinations have been akin to those of a stalker or bullying neighbor who has sufficient knowledge of the law to keep his actions just inside the law, while smugly flouting all notions of morality and ethics.

-- Erik Rush, Aug. 6 WorldNetDaily column

Posted by Terry K. at 12:16 AM EDT
Thursday, August 6, 2009
How To Respond to Phil Brennan In Four Words Or Less
Topic: Newsmax

Phil Brennan's Aug. 4 Newsmax column carried the headline, "Record Lows Dispel Global Warming Myth."

Uh, no, they don't.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:53 PM EDT
WND Debunks Kenyan Birth Certificate -- But Raises More Questions
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Deviating from established policy in its reporting on President Obama,, WorldNetDaily has surprisingly found a lie it will no longer perpetrate.

An Aug. 6 WND article by Jerome Corsi states, "The Kenyan birth document released by California attorney Orly Taitz is probably not authentic, according to WND's investigative operatives in Africa." Corsi added that "WND obtained several samples of Kenyan birth certificates in use around Aug. 4, 1961, the date of Obama's birth, showing differences from the Taitz document."

This appears to be a direct contradiction of claims in WND articles published Aug. 3 and Aug. 4, which stated: "WND was able to obtain other birth certificates from Kenya for purposes of comparison, and the form of the documents appear to be identical." WND never detailed how "the documents appear to be identical," or published the documents used to make that determination. Further, Corsi does not explain how WND's stance flip-flopped from "identical" to "showing differences."

But as the image of the "authentic 1961-era Kenyan birth certificate obtained by WND" included in Corsi's article demonstrates, it looks completely different from the Orly Taitz-linked "Kenyan birth certificate." There is absolutely no way a reasonable person could claimed that the two "appear to be identical. (Then again, who said that WND employees were reasonable people?)

WND needs to explain the discrepancy. Was WND lying when it claimed the two "appeared to be identical"? Unless WND publishes the documents it used to make that determination, we must assume that it was, in fact, lying in order to perpetuate its editorial policy of smearing Obama (and, of course, to make money).

Posted by Terry K. at 4:21 PM EDT
More MRC Tunnel Vision
Topic: Media Research Center

We've previously detailed the Media Research Center's overeagerness to blame "liberal bias" for any and all media ills. Jeff Poor contributes with an August 5 MRC Business & Media Institute article (and NewsBusters post) blaming lower ratings at CNBC on, yes, liberal bias.

Poor's take is all the more interesting because he notes that other analysts have cited the network's "rightward, anti-Obama tilt,"specifically Rick Santeili's rant and Jim Cramer's attacks on Obama. But ignore all of that, Poor asserts:

But, the shift of CNBC has been anything but more to the right. The Cramer/Stewart feud followed Cramer's outspoken criticism of President Barack Obama's economic policies, and CNBC CME floor reporter Rick Santelli's famous outburst about the Obama's administration's mortgage policies. Since then, the network has gone out of its way to appease elements on the left and its ratings have dropped during that period.

Liberal storefronts have set up shop to influence editorial policy of CNBC (albeit without the same fervor they did three months ago). The network has hired former DNC chair and Vermont Gov. Howard Dean as a contributor and brought in Huffington Post liberal co-founder Arianna Huffington as a guest host on multiple occasions.

And according to the April 16 New York Post's gossip page "Page Six," CNBC brass had even instructed by General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt and NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker to back off some of the anti-Obama rhetoric come from the likes of Cramer and Santelli.

But, it was from that point forward that CNBC had seen its ratings show a real decline. 

But Poor offers no evidence that CNBC had any liberal-leaning commentators before -- while Cramer had his own daily program and Santelli reported regularly. Rather than portending a shift to the left, the addition of Dean and Huffington appear more to provide a balance to the likes of Cramer and Santelli.

Further, if viewers were genuinely turned off by the purported leftward shift of CNBC, they would have presumably gravitated to the competition, themore reliably right-leaning Fox Business Network. But Poor offers no Fox Business ratings -- perhaps because they are so low the folks at News Corp. won't release them.

This is the kind of tunnel vision that the MRC makes such a poor media watchdog (pun quasi-intended).

Posted by Terry K. at 9:13 AM EDT
Another Evidence-Free Aaron Klein Article
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Aaron Klein is hurling more anonymous accusations at President Obama. This time, in an Aug. 5 WorldNetDaily article -- provocatively headlined "Obama's spies monitoring Jews house-to-house" -- Klein asserts: "The Obama administration has set up an apparatus to closely monitor Jewish construction in Jerusalem and the strategic West Bank to the point of watching Israeli moves house-to-house in certain key neighborhoods."

His source? "informed Israeli officials," who "spoke on condition that their names be withheld."

The only person Klein names in relation to the charge is David Ha'ivri, "spokesmen [sic] for the Shomron Regional Council in the West Bank." But Ha'ivri is much more than a "spokesman" -- as we've detailed, he's a follower of Israeli extremist Meir Kahane and sympathizer of the Kahane-inspired (and outlawed) far-right Israeli political party Kach/Kahane Chai.

In other words, Ha'ivri is not exactly an unbiased source, though Klein has repeated featured his comments several times over the years (while hiding his extremist background). And Klein otherwise has no evidence from anyone on the record, which makes his claim meaningless until proven otherwise.

This is just the latest attack by Klein based on ephemeral anonymous sources.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:33 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 6, 2009 9:28 AM EDT

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