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Monday, August 10, 2009
Farah Doesn't See That WND Deserves Birther Ridicule
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah, in his Aug. 10 column, complains that he and his fellow travelers are being ridiculed over their birther obsession.

Is a guy whose website currently features a birther claims cribbed from a supermarket tabloid really complaining about being ridiculed?

Farah doesn't seem to understand that he sets himself up for such ridicule when his website embraces unproven supermarket tabloid claims, slobbers all over incompetent lawyer Orly Taitz while hiding said incompetence from its readers, and publishes information it can't be bothered to find out if it's true before publication, the "Kenyan birth certificate" being only the latest example.

In other words, Farah and WND deserve the ridicule it receives because they act in such a clownish, unprofessional matter and embrace the fringe crazies who promote the birther story.

Farah then defends the birther movement: "It's a leaderless movement – the hardest kind to crush. And it's righteous because it is rooted in the desire for truth and upholding the Constitution."

Well, no. As we've detailed, Farah cares more about running his partisan playbook and selling trinkets than he does the Constitution -- after all, as far as he's concerned, the birth certificate is nothing more than the new Vince Foster.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:52 PM EDT
NewsBusters Lies About Pelosi-Hoyer Op-Ed
Topic: NewsBusters

An August 10 NewsBusters post offered as a "possible talking point" for the day: "Pelosi and Hoyer say speaking out is un-American!"

That is a lie. As the excerpt NewsBusters provided clearly shows, Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer said no such thing in an Aug. 10 USA Today op-ed. They stated: "Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American."

Further, NewsBusters edited out the part in which Pelosi and Hoyer wrote:

We believe it is healthy for such a historic effort to be subject to so much scrutiny and debate. 


The dialogue between elected representatives and constituents is at the heart of our democracy and plays an integral role in assuring that the legislation we write reflects the genuine needs and concerns of the people we represent.

NewsBusters needs to retract this lie.

UPDATE: Newsmax takes the same false approach in a headline that reads, "Pelosi, Hoyer: Healthcare Protests 'Un-American.'" But the Aug. 10 Associated Press article to which that headline is appended clearly states that Pelosi and Hoyer wrote that "some of the behavior of health care overhaul opponents" is un-American. Further, the original AP headline reads, "Pelosi, Hoyer: Protesters' behavior 'un-American.'"

Posted by Terry K. at 12:43 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, August 10, 2009 4:14 PM EDT
NewsBusters Heathering Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

Kathleen Parker is so not invited to P.J. Gladnick's pool party.

We've previously identified Gladnick at one of the Heathers at NewsBusters who denounce anyone to commits the offense of straying too far from conservative dogma, and conservative columnist Parker as a frequent heathering victim.

Gladnick performs the heathering deed in a Sept. 9 post assailing Parker for criticizing the right-wing disruptors of congressional town halls:

Kathleen Parker has an interesting little shtick.

Few noticed her when she was writing from a conservative point of view...until she started attacking conservatives about a year ago. Then she went whole hog and has made a lucrative new career of attacking conservatives...while still going through the motions of pretending to be conservative. 

Gladnick's main reason for kicking Parker out of his treehouse? She used the word "teabagger" to describe the protesters, which Gladnick declared to be "insulting both the townhall and tea protesters."

Gladnick concludes: "If there were truth in advertising for newspaper columns, this one would contain this disclaimer: "Kathleen Parker is not a conservative, she just plays one in the media." Meanwhile, we'll have to assume that Gladnick's answer to the immortal question "Did you have a brain tumor for breakfast?" is to the positive.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:31 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, August 10, 2009 12:03 PM EDT
WND Embraces Unsourced Tabloid Journalism
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Is WorldNetDaily proud to be named as a source by a supermarket tabloid? It appears so.

An Aug. 9 WND article touts a story in the Globe "proclaiming Barack Obama's 'official birth document' a fake and suggesting the president may actually have been born in Canada." The article adds that the Globe "also cites WND's reporting about the changing stories about the hospital in which Obama was born."

According to WND, the Globe is citing "reports by unnamed document analysts" for its claim. That fits in with the type of anonymous sourcing WND is doing a lot of lately.

As with the Kenyan birth certificate, WND has no idea of any of what the Globe has reported is true -- but is publishing it anyway. Not that WND ever cared much about journalistic standards in the first place, of course.

WND's newfound respect for tabloids is a bit of a flip -- WND editor Joseph Farah was denouncing them when the National Enquirer was reporting on Rush Limbaugh. But it's not a surprise -- as we've detailed, the ConWeb always denounces the tabloids when they report on Republicans but embrace them when they report on Democrats.

So, does this mean we can look forward to WND passing along the Globe's latest dirt on Brangelina?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:19 AM EDT
Newsmax Adds Right-Wing Extremist Writer
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax has added Pamela Geller as a "blogger" (Newsmax used to call them "columnists"). Her Newsmax bio claims at her regular blog, Atlas Shrugs, she is "bringing you the news you will not hear from the mainstream media, covering little-reported events of great import." But of course, there's no attention given to the wacky extremist views she holds.

Geller is a rabid birther -- indeed, we've detailed the falsehoods and distortions Geller peddled in one of her Newsmax columns -- er, blogs on the subject. But she has also had dalliances with European fascists and promoted the far-right British National Party. (Geller doesn't think these folks are "neofascist," apparently feeling that their anti-Islamic activism )

Newsmax's readers have already gotten a taste of Geller's rabid birtherism. Shouldn't they also be told about her dalliances with neofascists?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:04 AM EDT
MRC vs. Dear Abby
Topic: Media Research Center

The bluenoses at the Media Research Center really hate Dear Abby.

Last year, the MRC's Culture and Media Institute issued a report claiming that Dear Abby's "columns on sex reflect an unwillingness to support traditional, common-sense moral values that steer people away from destructive behavior and protect them from harmful situations. Dear Abby’s advice on sexual matters cannot be trusted." Among the pieces of evidence cted for this conclusion: "Abby never says homosexual behavior is morally wrong," and "adopts a permissive attitude toward a variety of odd sexual behaviors."

CMI repeats the criticism in a July 31 article by Matt Philbin, which concerned a letter writer who learned that the money the writer's sister has been donatingto the college funds of the writer's children came from the sister's work in adult films -- or, as Philbin put it, "the ill-gotten gains of immoral exploitation" -- and wanted to know what to do, since she didn't "want my sister's sexual exploits paying for our kids' education" but also didn't want to cause a family rift. Abby responded:

If you refuse her generosity, it will appear that you are rejecting her. Nor do I think your children should be penalized because you don't approve of Cilla's lifestyle. Your husband is being pragmatic; you are being emotional. That money has already been earned. You're not going to change your sister. You may not approve, but love her for the generous and caring aunt she is trying to be and let the money be used for something positive.

That's practical advice. But Philbin isn't interested in practical advice -- he's interested in moral superiority. Here's Abby's answer as filtered through Philbin's prudery:

If “Sister” was hoping for the easy way out, she turned to the right advice columnist. Jeanne Phillips (the “Dear Abby” writer) replied that “Sister” was being “emotional;” her husband, “pragmatic.”

“If you refuse her generosity, it will appear that you are rejecting her. Nor do I think your children should be penalized because you don't approve of Cilla's lifestyle.”

[Sigh] Don’t be such an up-tight prude. The important thing is that the money makes your life easier and your porn star sister doesn’t feel rejected.

Phillips went on: “You're not going to change your sister. You may not approve, but love her for the generous and caring aunt she is trying to be and let the money be used for something positive.”

If you really must be [shudder] judgmental, then rationalize taking the money by telling yourself it’s for a “positive” goal. Just so long as you don’t do anything to harm you sister’s self esteem.

In other words, Philbin wants the woman to blow up her family in order to feel morally superior to her sister. Philbin doesn't mention whether he wants the sister to wear a large red "P" around her neck.

Philbin's article was headlined, "Dear Abby, Is There Any 'Lifestyle' You Won't Embrace?" We have to ask Philbin: Is there any instance in which family harmony trumps moral superiority?

(Given that Philbin's fellow CMI writers have effectively condoned the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller, any moral superiority he's asserting is severely undermined as it is.)

Posted by Terry K. at 1:34 AM EDT
A 'Blood Libel' Against Birthers?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We had previously asked WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah to address the possibility, if not fact, that some of his fellow birthers are motivated by racism. Farah finally did so, in his Aug. 7 column. But he did so in a most tin-ear kind of way -- by claiming "The only evidence of racism in that election was among black voters who cast 95 percent of their ballots for Obama. The white candidate received only 51 percent of the white vote."

Needless to say, Farah refused to admit any racist motivation not only in himself but in any fellow birther or even any critic of Obama:

I guess now we're supposed to believe that in the last eight months, white Americans have reverted to their old racist ways again. Now they're trying to rid themselves of the black guy they mistakenly elected last November by coming up with an excuse.


I think the real racists are those who see only in black and white – the people who are so self-conscious about race that it explains everything for them, people who can't stop looking at race, who can never get beyond it and who hurl the most vicious invectives rather than resort to logic and reasoning.

Farah curiously ignores the spate of racist emails targeting Obama -- even some sent by law enforcement officers -- which looks like de facto evidence of racism to us. It's curious that Farah won't investigate this with the tenacity he has reserved with, say, Obama's birth certificate.

Even more curious is the headline Farah stuck on his column: "The blood libels against 'birthers.'" As Wikipedia tells us (even if Farah wouldn't approve of our using that source), "Blood libels are false and sensationalized allegations that a person or group engages in human sacrifice, often accompanied by the claim that the blood of the victims is used in various rituals and/or acts of cannibalism." They have been most notoriously used against Jews.

Is Farah saying that people are claiming that birthers engage in human sacrifice? Or are all somehow Jews? We don't get it.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:10 AM EDT
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

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