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Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Topic: NewsBusters
Jamison Foser appropriately calls "the dumbest media-bias claim of the day" Tim Graham's NewsBusters post complaining that the Washington Post's obit on Patrick Swayze mentioned his "drag-queen turn" in "Too Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar" before his role in "Red Dawn," "a movie about American teens fighting a resistance against a Soviet invasion of the United States." Graham goes on to huff: "There are clearly no fortysomething Reaganites working in the Washington Post newsroom."

Posted by Terry K. at 5:13 PM EDT
WND, CNS Still Can't Get It Right on Crowd Estimates
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Two ConWeb agencies that have published inflated attendance figures for Saturday's anti-Obama tea party protest take another stab at it.

WorldNetDaily -- which previously treated unverified inflated numbers as real -- follows up with a Sept. 14 article by Chelsea Schilling that is little more than a compilation of various claims about attendance without any further investigation into them, or making it clear that the higher numbers are all provided by groups involved in the protest who have an interest in promoting the higher figures.

Schilling wrote that FreedomWorks "is still working on trying to get an estimate," but failed to note that a false claim that ABC had reported that more than 1 million were at the protest was traced to FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe., meanwhile, sent its previous repeating of discredited FreedomWorks numbers down the memory hole for a Sept. 15 article by Penny Starr stating that the attendance figure "is a matter of media speculation because no government agency makes official estimates of crowd sizes for such events." Much of Starr's article is devoted not to examining the protest numbers -- or pointing out that FreedomWorks got it wront -- but to examining crowd estimates for President Obama's inauguration.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 PM EDT
Newsweek Offends Geller By Telling Both Sides of The Story
Topic: Newsmax

Pamela Geller's Sept. 14 Newsmax column is one long screed against Newsweek for doing what Geller won't -- tell both sides of the Rifqa Bary story.

Geller complained that the Newsweek article stated that "Muslim scholars say that in Islam, there’s no such thing as an honor killing for apostasy," asserting that "Newsweek was conflating two distinct Islamic practices: honor killing and the killing of apostates." She doesn't mention that it appears that Bary -- who claims her Muslim parants want to kill her for converting from Islam to Christianity -- is the one conflating the two, as news reports featuring references to "honor killings" indicate. As Richard Bartholomew notes:

The girl gives a rather strange interpretation of what an “honour killing” is for; rather than being the remedy for a perceived dishonour suffered by a family, she tells the journalist that to kill her would be an especially ”great honour” because she is the the first Christian in her family for “150 generations” and it would show her family’s love for Allah (Lorenz concurs with a “yes” at 5:03). This seems to me to be a garbled “Christianized” understanding of the phenomenon, making it into something like a human sacrifice.

Geller has conflated the two as well.

Geller goes on to complain that Newsweek described a "33-page memorandum that Rifqa’s attorney, John Stemberger, filed about the Noor Islamic Center’s connection with Islamic terrorists and radical elements" as being filled with "innuendo and provocative allegations." In fact, Newsweek supports its claims:

Among them: that the center is connected to an FBI terror probe (which the FBI denies) and that its CEO has connections to the Muslim Brotherhood (which, along with every other allegation, the Noor Center denies). The mosque is actually regarded as mainstream and regularly hosts interfaith events.

Has Geller ever reported that the FBI has discredited this report? We suspect not.

Geller's sole source for contradicting the Newsweek article is "Jamal Jivanjee, Rifqa’s friend and confidante." But Geller offers no independent confirmation of these claims; Jivanjee is clearly too close to the situation to be objective. Indeed, Geller has been a mouthpiece for Rifqa and her supporters, taking all of their claims atfact value while making no apparent effort to independently verify them.

Why is Geller so afraid of the other side being told? That she is so intent on trying to discredit an article that commits the apostasy (as far as Geller is concerned) of telling both sides of the story belies a certain insecurity about the side of the story she's on.

Geller declares of Rifqa: "As a high-profile apostate, she is Islamists’ highest value target right now." If she's "high-profile," it's anti-Muslim activists like Geller that made her one. Which means she's partially culpable for any harm that comes Rifqa's way.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:25 AM EDT
WND's Simpson Lies About Obama's Supposed Lies
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Barbara Simpson writes in her Sept. 14 WorldNetDaily column:

Who was most incorrect?

Was it Joe Wilson for having had enough of the outright falsehoods from the lips of the president about the health-care proposal and saying so?

Or was it the Obama teleprompter, which put the words in the mouth of the president?

Or was the president himself for mouthing the words that do not reflect the truth of the plan as it exists today?

I have the full copy of H.R. 3200 at home on my dining room table – all 1,017 pages of it. I've read it all. There's nothing in it that screens out non-residents, much less illegal aliens.

Simpson should try page 143 of the bill, where it says "NO FEDERAL PAYMENT FOR UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS."

Nevertheless, Simpson continues:

Indeed, two congressional committee attempts to pass legislation to specifically require proof of legality were twice voted down by Democrats.

That speaks volumes; they do not want illegal aliens screened out from receiving benefits. How else do you interpret those votes?

How about that an enforcement mechanism already exists in federal law? As PolitiFact details:

There is explicit language in the House bill that says illegal immigrants should not receive the subsidized benefits. But we find the Republican conference is right that the legislation does not directly mention verification procedures and, for that reason, it's possible that illegal immigrants who are determined to beat the system might be able to get around the ban. But it's likely that the IRS would, at least indirectly, help to police that. And, the health choices commissioner would have the authority to set up a verification system.  On balance, we rate the Republican claim Half True.

having misled on that, Simpson moves on to smear Obama as a secret Muslim-slash-commie:

There are verses in the Quran that say it's permissible to lie to your enemies to get what you want. Perhaps the president remembers those lessons from his schooling in Indonesia during his formative years.

Or perhaps he remembers the teachings of Marx and Lenin, reinforced by Saul Alinsky and supported by his Left-leaning friends from his youth who surround him today.

Or perhaps he's forgotten one of the Ten Commandments.

Or perhaps Simpson is so filled with hate for Obama that she can't be trusted to tell the truth.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:14 AM EDT
Farah Whines About Protest 'Non-Coverage'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah uses his Sept. 14 WorldNetDaily column to rant about "the abysmal, inexcusable non-coverage of the massive rally and march in Washington this weekend to protest government's abusive and unconstitutional excesses and power grabs."

Apparently, Farah didn't notice that his hometown paper, the Washington Post, put the protest, as the MRC's Tim Graham described it, "at the top of the Sunday paper with two color pictures, one of them a wide crowd shot below the Capitol dome."

That's "non-coverage"?

(Of course, as we noted, Graham went on to whine that that was insufficient.)

Posted by Terry K. at 1:12 AM EDT
Newsmax Takes On Another Conservative Rehabilitation Project
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax is already running rehabilitation efforts for Bernard Kerik. Now it's picked up another disgraced conservative to rehabilitate: Ralph Reed.

Reed, the longtime evangelical leader and former executive director of the Christian Coalition, was tarnished by his association with scandal-ridden lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who hired Reed to lobby on behalf of an Indian tribe in Mississippi to stop tribes inneighboring states from opening casinos that would compete with those of the Mississippi tribe. The Washington Post reported that Reed had received at least $4.2 million from Abramoff to mobilize Christian voters against the casinos.

Those revelations played a role in Reed getting crushed in a 2006 Republican primary for Georgia lieutenant governor.

But as with Kerik, Reed's political humilation and links to a corrupt lobbyist are all water under the bridge as far as Newsmax is concerned.

Newsmax's Reed rehabilitation appears to have begun with a June 24 article touting Reed's new advocacy group, the Faith and Freedom Coalition, which is "aimed at using the Web to mobilize a new generation of values voters." This was followed up with a July 20 article (and accompanying interview with Newsmax's video operation) touting Reed's claim that "Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings can actually help Republicans in upcoming elections."

By August, Reed was writing columns for Newsmax and awarded a slot on Newsmax's "blog" page, complete with bio. Needless to say, neither of those previous articles nor Reed's Newsmax bio mention his ties to Abramoff nor his ignominious 2006 defeat in Georgia.

Reed, however, seems eager to use his Newsmax slot to discredit himself. In his Sept. 13 column, Reed claims that President Obama's speech on health care reform contained "falsehood after fib after misrepresentation after distortion about both his plan and his opponents' opposition to it," citing as one instance Obama's claimthat "his plan did not provide care for illegal immigrants," which Reed branded "false," asserting: "By rejecting a Republican amendment requiring proof of legal residence prior to receiving care under the government-run plan, the Democrats have opened the door for non-citizens and non-legal residents to receive care for which they have not paid into the system."

But as we've noted, FactCheck and PolitiFact have refuted the claim that a lack of enforcement enforcement provisions in the bill itself doesn't mean that no enforcement of a ban on illegal immigrants making use of government health care will take place.

Reed also writes:

Obama said — falsely — that [Sarah] Palin and others have claimed that “we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens.” This is totally false, and Obama knows it. What critics have pointed out is that seniors will be required to submit regularly to “end of life” counseling sessions (detailed on page 425 of H.B. 3200) that, combined with cost controls and rationing of care, could lead to them being denied life-saving treatment.

But FactCheck and PolitiFact have refuted Palin's "death panel" claim as well. And Reed's the one who's telling a lie here: No one is "required to submit regularly" to end-of-life counseling.

Reed is also lying when he says Palin never claimed that Obama "plan[s] to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens." Palin said exactly that when she wrote that the elderly and disabled "will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care."

All in all, not an auspicious debut as a rehabilitation subject. Reed better hopes he quickly gets the full whitewash treatment Newsmax just gave Kerik.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:31 AM EDT
Monday, September 14, 2009
Newsmax Touts Horowitz 'Manchurian' Article, Ignores Flip-Flop
Topic: Newsmax

A Sept. 14 Newsmax article touts how "conservative thinker and best-selling author David Horowitz likens President Barack Obama to the 'Manchurian Candidate' — a tool of the far left fostering the implementation of its radical agenda."

Newsmax didn't mention that Horowitz's position is a flip-flop from just a few months ago, when he was denouncing inflammatory rhetoric like "Manchurian candidate."

Posted by Terry K. at 2:13 PM EDT
CNS Touts Inflated Protest Numbers From Group That Has Lied About It

A Sept. 14 article by Fred Lucas repeated baseless crowd estimates for Saturday's anti-Obama protest without reporting more credible numbers, or that the group he's quoting as reporting those numbers has been caught in a lie about them.

Lucas wrote that "Adam Brandon, spokesman for Freedom Works Foundation, one of the main sponsors of the event, estimated the crowd at 150,000" and that "the group’s Web site estimated that hundreds of thousands of people turned out." Lucas later uncritically noted that "High Caliber, a conservative rapper," said, "I’ve done tea parties for 500 people. But not 500,000 or whatever it is we’ve got here."

In fact, the closest thing to an official estimate comes from the Washington, D.C., fire department, which reported a turnout of 60,000 to 70,000. But Lucas didn't report that, or the fact that FreedomWorks already has a record of lying about turnout numbers. ABC traced a claim that it had reported that more than 1 million attended the rally -- in fact, ABC reported no such thing -- to FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:40 AM EDT
WJC Spreading More Birther Conspiracies
Topic: Western Journalism Center

A new Western Journalism Center report by Steve Baldwin purports to explore "the mystery of Barack Obama" but Baldwin is much more interested in spreading baseless conspiracy theories about Obama.

Baldwin asserts that "at least three document authentication experts have declared the scanned 'Certificate of Live Birth' Obama’s campaign team gave to a pro-Obama website to be an obvious phony." In fact, at least two of the people whose claims Baldwin is presumably referring to -- "Techdude" and "Ron Polarik" -- have been discredited.

Baldwin then promotes some new, novel conspiracies -- such as "it was discovered that Obama’s Selective Service card may have been doctored." His source for this? Far-right blogger Debbie Schlussel, who's known much more for her screeching rants than any sort of legitimate research. Nevertheless, Baldwin buys in: "The real reason why Obama probably did not submit this form as a teenager is that he assumed his Kenyan or Indonesian citizenship exempted him from this requirement."

Baldwin goes on to assert that "Obama has multiple identities in term of possessing numerous social security numbers." His source for this? The increasingly self-discrediting Orly Taitz.

How crazy are those conspiracies? Even WorldNetDaily is largely staying away from them.

The WJC is already on record spreading discredited claims about Obama. If the WJC wants to be taken seriously as a legitimate critic of Obama, it should probably stay away from fringe-of-the-fringe conspiracy theories.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:19 AM EDT
NewsBusters Complains That Better-Than-Average Protest Coverage Wasn't Good Enough
Topic: NewsBusters

The front page is not enough for Tim Graham.

Despite conceding that the Washington Post put the anti-Obama tea party protest on the front page, Graham used a Sept. 13 NewsBusters post to complain that the Post's website referred to the protest in "teeny-weeny type."

Graham then complained that the Post didn't inflate the attendance figures like his fellow NewsBusters did:

The Post said "Authorities in the District do not give official crowd estimates, but Saturday's throng appeared to number in the many tens of thousands." How many tens? Enough for the Post to say "hundreds of thousands" were present? Their headlines on the front page and inside the paper stuck to "tens of thousands" – not even "many tens of thousands."

But there's no evidence there were "hundreds of thousands" -- only the "tens of thousands" cited.

Graham further complained that even the front-page coverage was insufficient because "the April 2006 rally promoting amnesty for illegal aliens" received much more thorough coverage from the Post. Graham fails to point out that the immigration protest was much larger, involving the "hundreds of thousands" of protesters Graham imagines were at the teabaggers' protest, as well as similarly large protests across the country.

Also unmentioned by Graham is the fact that, as Eric Boehlert has noted, the anti-Obama protest got better play in the Post than another similarly sized protest: a 2002 anti-war protest.

Similarly, a Sept. 13 NewsBusters post by Tom Blumer complains that  the New York Times didn't give sufficient attention to the protest. But Boehlert points out that the 2002 anti-war rally got similar play in the Times.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:15 AM EDT
WND Columnist Blames Train Crash on Homosexuality
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Add train engineer to the list of occupations anti-gay activists don't think gays would be allowed to work in.

A Sept. 12 WorldNetDaily column by William J. Murray blames a 2008 California commuter train crash that killed 25 on homosexuality. No, really:

The engineer, Robert M. Sanchez, 46, was a homosexual, and he was sending a text message to a teenage boy when he blew through a red light, crashing head-on into an oncoming freight train. Because being "gay" is a media cause in America, and particularly in California, virtually no gay crime is reported. Domestic violence involving gays is rarely if ever reported in California newspapers despite the fact that it represents a disproportionate number of police calls. Simply put, the minute the individual who caused the train crash was identified as being homosexual, reporting on the disaster came to a virtual stop. 


 Let's get real: Bob Sanchez was using his position as a railroad engineer to pick up teenage boys who had an interest in railroads. In his excitement in communicating with a teenage boy by text message he took his eyes off the rails in front of him and killed himself and 24 others while leaving dozens with permanent injuries, some crippled for life.

My point: Don't expect to hear too much more about one of the worst rail crashes in history. To report on the crash the facts of it would have to be discussed. Since the central fact is that a homosexual engineer was text messaging a teenage boy at the time of the crash, reporting will be greatly diminished.

What of those individuals and families who will suffer for life as a result of Mr. Sanchez's actions? Will the New York Times publish a 40-paragraph article about the lives of the victims, their ambitions and their grief? Don't hold your breath.

A year after he killed himself and 24 others, a search on the Internet for the Robert M. Sanchez produces hardly any results. Any references to him do not expose the role that his homosexual behavior played in the deadly crash. Had Sanchez been an evangelical Christian texting a message to a potential convert, no doubt there would be hundreds of derogatory articles in the "mainstream" media about him, including hour-long exposés on ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC. The crimes and reckless behaviors of homosexuals should be treated equally in the media with those of non-homosexuals. The special treatment should stop.

So homosexual texting is somehow more distracting than heterosexual texting? We don't get it.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:38 AM EDT
Sunday, September 13, 2009
WND, NewsBusters Repeat Falsely Inflated Protest Numbers
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily and NewsBusters have enlisted in the effort to perpetuate the myth that there were much more people at Saturday's tea party protest than there actually was.

A Sept. 12 WND article by Chelsea Schilling and Alyssa Farah reports that "crowd estimates vary from as low as 60,000 to 70,000 according to ABC News to a high of 2 million by London Daily Mail." But the Daily Mail's estimate is not sourced and is more ambivalent that Schilling and Farah admit.

The Daily Mail article states that "Up to two million people marched to the U.S. Capitol," leaving open the possiblity that the actual number is much lower. Elsewhere in the article, a photo caption reads, "Tens of thousands of people converged on Capitol Hill on Saturday to protest against government spending" -- which suggests that it has little actual faith in that higher number.

Nev ertheless, the headline on the WND article demonstrates where its sympathy lies: "A million or more rock Washington." And Schilling and Farah begin with the hyperbolic claim that the protest "could be the biggest protest ever – potentially dwarfing the Million Man March and the Promise Keepers Rally," which did in fact attract hundreds of thousands.

But as the Washington Post reports: "Authorities in the District do not give official crowd estimates, but Saturday's throng appeared to number in the many tens of thousands."

Meanwhile, a Sept. 12 NewsBusters post by Matthew Sheffield stated: "Estimates for crowd sizes are starting to come in. We're talking at least a million people, folks." Sheffield linked to a post on Michelle Malkin's blog stating that "ABC News reporting crowd at 2 million." But as a later update to Malkin's post noted, ABC reported no such thing; in fact, it reported a crowd of "approximately 60,000 to 70,000 people," citing the DC fire department.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:16 AM EDT
WND Fails to Fully Retract Another False Article
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've previously noted how, in April 2008, WorldNetDaily published an article about a 13-year-old Texas girl who claimed she was beaten over a sign she made for a history class calling for an end to illegal immigration remains on its website uncorrected, despite the fact that WND published another article the next day pointing out that the girl fabricated the story.

Well, the WND brand of incomplete retraction of false claims has reared its ugly head again.

On Aug. 29, WND published an article about Heather Lawrence, a "16-year-old Junior ROTC member" who "saw a teachable moment and took it" when, she claimed, she saw a fellow student wearing a hijab "refusing to participate" in the Pledge of Allegiance. "Take that thing off your head and act like you're proud to be an American," Lawrence said she told her.Lawrence then claimed she was "suspended for five days" from school over the incident.

The problem? It's mostly not true. As the St. Petersburg Times reported on Aug. 31, Lawrence did indeed mouth off to the Muslim girl, but she fabricated that part of the story that she claimed to have seen the girl not take part in the Pledge of Allegiance. An investigation turned out that Larence never left her homeroom and, according to the school principal, "could not have seen what she said she saw."

WND was a little slow to pick up on this. It was not until late on Sept. 1 that WND ran an article relating the St. Petersburg paper's account -- taking care not to mention the Muslilm girl's status as an innocent victim but making sure to relate Lawrence's father's assertion that he still believes his daughter.

But WND's original Aug. 29 article has not been updated to indicate that Lawrence's story is bogus. Thus, anyone who reads that article has no idea that Lawrence's claim has been completely discredited.

Such insufficient effort to correct a false claim is, sadly, emblematic of WND's cavalier indifference to the truth. It apparently sees nothing wrong with publishing false claims that it makes no effort to correct -- and it typically won't do so unless threatened with a libel suit. Just ask Clark Jones.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:04 AM EDT
Horowitz Gone Wild
Topic: Horowitz

It appears that, after months of attempting in vain to counter the worst anti-Obama impulses of his fellow right-wingers, David Horowitz has decided to embrace them.

A Sept. 11 Obama-bashing FrontPageMag article by Horowitz carries the headline "The Manchurian Candidate," illustrated with this front-page image:


Horowitz thus contradicts his earlier criticism -- from just four months ago -- of far-right critics like WorldNetDaily's David Kupelian: "Obama is a machine politician and whatever dangers he represents (and as I see it there are many) are dangers because they reflect the heart and soul of today's Democratic Party, not because he is a Manchurian candidate or a closet Islamist, as more than a few conservatives seem to think."

Horowitz, with his fliop-flop, thus aligns himself with the likes of Cliff Kincaid and Ellis Washington and Glenn Beck and Dick Morris and, yes, David Kupelian. Is that  the kind of company Horowitz wants to be seen in?

Apparently so, because he also appears to be content with echoing Rush Limbaugh.

Horowitz apes Limbaugh in a Sept. 11 NewsReal post claiming that Obama "lied not once in his Health Care speech but twice — and not on inconsequential issues, but big ones." The first one he cites:

The lies were direct and were compounded by the fact that he accused others of lying because they called him on his lies. Joe Wilson who sat on the congressional committees which reviewed the amendments that were then killed which would have required people to prove they’re citizens. Of course!

But Wilson is wrong to call Obama a liar for asserting that health care reform won't cover illegal immigrants -- FactCheck and PolitiFact have demonstrated it.

Horowitz goes on to assert: "The Democrats are for death panels. Of course they are. ... Of course if you’re going to have one Big Brother — single payer system — ration health care, you’re going to have death panels. There’s no other option." FactCheck and PolitiFact have debunked that claim too.

Horowitz's post is headlined "Brazen Democrats Defend White House Liar." It is much more brazen for Horowitz to assert that claims repeatedly demonstrated to be false are the truth.

All Horowitz needs to do now is go full birther, and the transformation will be complete.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:36 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 14, 2009 2:52 PM EDT
Saturday, September 12, 2009
NewsBuster Reads Beck's Mind, Finds It Pure
Topic: NewsBusters

Jeff Poor has apparently read Glenn Beck's mind, and he declares it to be filled with only the purest of intent.

Responding in a Sept. 11 post to Alex Pareene's item on 9/11 at Gawker that calls "a hate-and-expletive-filled anti-President George W. Bush, anti-conservative and anti-Glenn Beck attack," Poor takes issue with criticism of Beck's 9/12 Project and Pareene's assertion that "On 9/12, people in New York (and DC) did not feel as 'great' as Glenn Beck. ... They felt scared and confused and depressed. Many of them were drunk. And only an idiot or an actual terrorist would want to always feel like it was 9/12/01.":

Pareene and other left-wing critics of Beck's 9-12 Project have totally misunderstood Beck's intent. It's not to create euphoria, but as the Web site explains, it "is designed to bring us all back to the place we were on September 12, 2001" and overcome political divides.

How does Poor know what "Beck's intent" is for the 9/12 Project? He doesn't. Indeed, given that most of us who remember 9/11 remember the accompanying fear and uncertainty of the days immediately following it, for Beck to want to "bring us all back to the place we were on September 12, 2001" must logically include bringing back that same sense of fear -- which, it can be argued, has nothing to do with overcoming political divides but, rather, exacerbating them.

Nevertheless, without any actual knowledge of "Beck's intent," Poor has declared it to be only the purest.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:43 PM EDT

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