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Tuesday, October 27, 2009
WND Author Asks Racially Charged Poll Question
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've previously detailed how WorldNetDaily author Brad O'Leary uses slanted polling by Zogby to peddle his right-wing attacks on President Obama. Well, O'Leary has outdone himself.

As Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting noted, the latest Zogby-O'Leary poll includes the following question:

Federal Communications Commission Chief Diversity Czar Mark Lloyd wants the FCC to force good white people in positions of power in the broadcast industry to step down to make room for more African-Americans and gays to fill those positions.  Do you agree or disagree that this presents a threat to free speech?

(It's question 4 in the full results.)

O'Leary's Zogby poll also misrepresents the hate-crimes bill recently passed by Congress. Question 3:

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a 'Hate Crimes' bill that would make assault based on sexual orientation or perceived gender identity a felony. As it is currently the written, the bill would also allow the prosecution of people whose speech allegedly influences others to commit hate crimes. Some experts believe this could lead to serious infringements on free speech, as well as the prosecution of religious preachers, talk show hosts or political activists who speak against homosexuality or transsexuals. Others say the bill  is an effort to try and stop people from committing such crimes in the future. Do you agree or disagree with the Hate Crimes bill?

As we've detailed, the hate-crimes bill specifically states that "Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the Constitution," which would include the First Amendment protection for freedom of religion -- and which O'Leary and Zogby failed to tell poll respondents.

Further, it seems O'Leary is suggesting that incitement to violence should not be punished if a homosexual is a victim. He might want to explain that.

UPDATE: An Oct. 27 WND article by Bob Unruh uncritically promotes O'Leary's poll -- racially charged question and all. It even invites you to contact WND's PR folks if "you are a member of the media and would like to interview Brad O'Leary about this story."

UPDATE 2: Media Matters points out that the phrase "good white people" comes from a statement by FCC official (and right-wing witch hunt target) Mark Lloyd. But the poll's claim that Lloyd "wants the FCC to force good white people in positions of power in the broadcast industry to step down to make room for more African-Americans and gays to fill those positions" is completely false.

And Nate Silver weighs in:

It seems clear, however, in light of this new poll, that Zogby has made a decision to become the bottom-feeders of the polling marketplace, a one-stop-shop for wingnuts of all stripes, who will make no particular distinction between fact and innuendo in the questions they poll. To be clear about the issue at hand, there is a distinction between a merely leading question -- merely couching a statement of fact in favorable terminology -- and a misleading one -- reporting a highly questionable statement as fact to the respondent. To imply from Lloyd's statements that the FCC is considering pursing a policy of forced resignation for white broadcast personalities seems pretty far over the line. That the question as posed is highly racially charged is somewhat tangential to the ethical issue at hand, although it arguably raises the stakes and may certainly further indict John Zogby's judgement.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:44 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 28, 2009 4:00 PM EDT
WND Still Spinning Revisionist History of Anti-Gay Protesters
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has long been misrepresenting the facts surrounding the 2004 arrests of anti-gay protesters at a gay festival in Philadelphia as Christian persecution.

That revisionist history continues in an Oct. 26 WND article by Bob Unruh:

It was in five years ago when [Michael] Marcavage and 10 others were charged for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the public streets of Philadelphia during an annual taxpayer-funded celebration of homosexuality called "Outfest."

He describes how by preaching the Word of God, singing songs of praise and carrying banners with Bible verses, the Christians were perceived by law enforcement officers as a "threat" and were arrested.


"After being jailed for 21 hours, each member of Repent America was charged under Pennsylvania's 'hate crimes' law called 'ethnic intimidation.' They were also charged with a host of other bogus felony and misdemeanor charges, including 'criminal conspiracy' and 'possession of an instrument of crime,' and each faced a possible sentence of up to 47 years in prison along with a $90,000 fine," he said.

Marcavage and Unruh conveniently omit unflattering facts, as we've detailed:

  • Marcavage was also wielding a bullhorn, contrary to his suggestion that his group was merely peacefully "preaching the Word of God, singing songs of praise and carrying banners with Bible verses."
  • Marcavage's group tried to demonstrate in front of a stage performance at the festival, thus provoking a confrontation.
  • Marcavage's group never actually faced "up to 47 years in prison"; even the lawyer for the group that ran the festival said, "They might get six to 12 months probation. ... Nobody's going to jail for 47 years." (The charges were later dropped.)

Unruh did not tell his readers that Marcavage's version of the story is at variance with the facts.

This also being an article about the hate-crimes bill recently passed by Congress, Unruh repeats all of his old lies about the law, led by the false claim that it protects pedophiles.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:09 PM EDT
Ponte: Blame Sick Immigrants For Low U.S. Life Expectancy
Topic: Newsmax

From Lowell Ponte's Oct. 26 Newsmax column:

[Andy] Rooney also complained that our medical care is the most expensive in the world, yet America ranks 50th in the world in life expectancy. He never mentioned that we take in emigrants from every nation, ethnicity, and climate, along with their various health vulnerabilities and genetic susceptibilities.

Why is he surprised that some therefore die younger in our diverse population than in a frozen Scandinavian genetic monoculture?

So the U.S. needs more of those long-living (blond and blue-eyed) Scandinavian immigrants to balance out the (not blond and blue-eyed) unhealthy ones?

Posted by Terry K. at 10:38 AM EDT
Kerik's Character Witness at Newsmax: Bo Dietl
Topic: Newsmax

Does Newsmax really think that someone accused by a mob informant of taking bribes from the Gotti crime family is really the best character witness for jailed former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik? It appears so.

An unbylined Oct. 25 Newsmax article featuring more ranting from Geraldo Rivera that Kerik -- whose bail was revoked last week after allegedly trying to taint the jury pool in his upcoming corruption trial -- is the victim of a "cynical ploy by a runaway judge" also noted:

Joining Rivera was famed security expert Richard “Bo” Dietl, a former NYPD detective who said that revoking Kerik’s bail was a “travesty” of justice.

“They should do the right thing – let the man go home, let the man go to trial,’’ said Dietl. “If he’s guilty, then they should prove that he’s guilty. Don’t do this to this man. You’re destroying this man and his family. He was an American hero.”

But, as the New York Post reported last month:

More than a dozen corrupt cops – allegedly including celebrity detective Bo Dietl and a former NYPD detective-driver for Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau — fed information to the mob and took part in crimes including drug dealing, armed robbery and murder, according to a blockbuster FBI report obtained by The Post.

The stunning allegations come from Gambino crime family rat John Alite, who’s expected to be the prosecution’s star witness at the upcoming racketeering and murder trial of mob scion John "Junior" Gotti.


In a series of sit-downs between June 2007 and last August, Alite told the feds he personally witnessed Dietl, a fixture on cable television, take cash payoffs from Richie Gotti, brother of the late "Dapper Don" John Gotti.

Alite "had several conversations with Richie Gotti regarding Dietl, during the course of which Gotti told [Alite] Dietl was ‘with them’ meaning the Gambino family and was available to do what the Family asked of him," according to the report.

Dietl vehemently denied the allegations.

"For this punk to say I took a penny from Richard Gotti, he’s a f---- liar," Dietl told The Post by phone from Venice, Italy. "I want to be put on the stand. I want to tell the guy to his face he’s a f--- liar. My reputation is on the line."

Let's see -- a former cop accused of being on the take defending a former cop accused of corruption. That doesn't really help Newsmax's Kerik rehabilitation project, does it?

Posted by Terry K. at 8:59 AM EDT
New Article: WorldNetDaily Can't Stop Whitewashing Orly Taitz
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Why is WND afraid to tell the full truth about the birther attorney's questionable lawyering work to its readers? Perhaps because her credibility reflects that of the birther movement WND leads. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 12:36 AM EDT
The Right Wing-PayPal Connection
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A few weeks back, it was revealed that James O'Keefe -- who has gained right-wing fame for his clandestine videos of ACORN -- received thousands of dollars for a previous stunt from Peter Thiel, a co-founder of the online payment site PayPal with major conservative credentials (despite being gay).

Interestingly, Thiel is not the only PayPal alum with their toes in right-wing activism.

Eric Jackson is the former marketing director for PayPal, and Norman Book is its former financial systems manager. After leaving the company following its acquisition by eBay, the pair in 2004 founded World Ahead Publishing, with the goal to publish conservative-oriented books.

In 2006, WorldNetDaily selected World Ahead to be its latest partner in its WND Books imprint. And in 2008, WND purchased World Ahead outright. As part of the deal, Jackson was named executive vice president of strategy of WND (he has since left that position; he currently "advises startups and non-profits on their business and product strategies"), while Book was named (and remains) executive vice president of operations.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:10 AM EDT
Monday, October 26, 2009
CNS, Baehr Mislead on 'Antichrist'

As we've detailed, the provocative and gruesome Lars von Trier film "Antichrist" is the right wing's new obsession. Now has jumped aboard the outrage bandwagon with an Oct. 26 article by Pete Winn.

Winn misleads from the beginning, asserting that "Antichrist" "opened nationwide on Friday." Winn didn't mention that it opened on only six screens.

Winn then wrote that Ted Baehr of Movieguide -- not identifying Movieguide as a right-wing group -- "has launched a campaign to get the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to alter its rating" to NC-17, adding that "Baehr said the MPAA does sometimes change its ratings, and it does sometimes change them under public pressure." In fact, the MPAA cannot "alter its rating" of "Antichrist" because it was never submitted to the MPAA for a rating in the first place.

The movie was released in theaters unrated, as are many foreign films in limited release in the U.S.

Baehr's petition demanding that the MPAA rate the film NC-17 is similarly clueless, calling the film "Hollywood’s latest assault on our tender and impressionable children." But "Antichrist" is not a Hollywood production; it was made by a Danish director with a mostly Danish crew and entirely foreign money.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:02 PM EDT
Newsmax Repeats False Claim About Fox News, Feinberg
Topic: Newsmax

As evidence of "President Obama's decision to employ bare-knuckled Chicago tactics in his street fight with Fox News," David Patten cites the following in an Oct. 25 Newsmax article:

On Thursday, the administration suffered an embarrassing setback in its campaign to cast Fox News Channel as a media pariah. The Treasury Department arranged interviews for "pay czar" Kenneth Feinberg, but directed that Fox News would not be included.

According to, the Washington bureau chiefs of the other networks conferred and informed Treasury officials that Fox could not be excluded because it is a member of the network pool.

Either Fox would be permitted to participate, they said, or none of the networks would provide coverage.

The administration quickly backed down from its plan to exclude Fox.

But that storyline has been discredited. As we've noted, Talking Points Memo uncovered what actually happened, and there's no evidence that anyone in the administration "directed that Fox News would not be included":

Feinberg did a pen and pad with reporters to brief them on cutting executive compensation. TV correspondents, as they do with everything, asked to get the comments on camera. Treasury officials agreed and made a list of the networks who asked (Fox was not among them).

But logistically, all of the cameras could not get set up in time or with ease for the Feinberg interview, so they opted for a round robin where the networks use one pool camera. Treasury called the White House pool crew and gave them the list of the networks who'd asked for the interview.

The network pool crew noticed Fox wasn't on the list, was told that they hadn't asked and the crew said they needed to be included. Treasury called the White House and asked top Obama adviser Anita Dunn. Dunn said yes and Fox's Major Garrett was among the correspondents to interview Feinberg last night.

Simple as that, we're told, and the networks don't want to be seen as heroes for Fox.

Will Patten correct his article? Don't count on it.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:45 AM EDT
Another Unbalanced Anti-Abortion Article From CNS

An Oct. 23 article by Karen Schuberg -- which claims that "Abortion kills more black Americans than the seven leading causes of death combined" -- is a highly biased affair.

Most notably, conservative anti-abortion activists are not identified as such.  While Rev. Clenard H. Childress Jr.'s identification as "founder of" is arguably self-explanatory, Schuberg identifies Freda Bush only as "an obstetrician and gynecologist in private practice in Jackson, Miss." In fact, Bush is affiliated with the Medical Institute for Sexual Health, which is a conservative group that argues for abstinence-only sex education, even to the point of arguing against condom use as ineffective against sexually transmitted diseases even though, as Slate reports, teaching people to protect themselves by using condoms can successfully reduce the spread of disease.

Only one person on the conservative side quoted by Schuberg, "Dr. Alveda King, niece of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.," is labeled as a "pro-life activist." In fact, as we've noted the last time CNS granted Alveda King the "Dr." honorific, her doctorate is not in medicine and appears to bemerely honorary.

By contrast, Schuberg cites only one source on the pro-choice side, from the Guttmacher Institute, which she describes as "a pro-abortion group." And the Guttmacher Institute was not permitted to respond to the more inflammatory claims the anti-abortion activists made, such as King's assertion that "abortion has done what the Klan only dreamed of" and Bush's reference to Margaret Sanger being "a known eugenist, also had a Negro project" (without explaining that the Guttmacher Institute is an outgrowth of Planned Parenthood, which was founded by Sanger).

CNS has a long history of labeling bias and unbalanced reporting on abortion.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:18 AM EDT
Compare and Contrast, NewsReal Division
Topic: Horowitz

Any comments that fall within the following categories will most likely be deleted:


1. Abusive, Ad Hominem, Overly Mean-Spirited. Attack arguments and ideas, not people.


2. Hyperbolic Nazi References. Try not to compare people to Hitler and the Nazis unless they’re actually advocating anti-Semitism, racism, or genocide. See Godwin’s Law. These references usually poison debate and are indicative of intellectual laziness. 

-- David Swindle, Oct. 24 NewsReal post

Editor's Note: This is the first in an ongoing series in which NewsReal’s Paul Cooper focuses on the exploits of CNN’s Jon Stewart-wannabe, the clownish embarrassment Rick Sanchez.

-- Paul Cooper, Oct. 24 NewsReal post

Last night, Brit Hume and Bill O’Reilly informed their audience, in a discussion about recent White House attacks on Fox News, that partisan comparisons to Nazi Germany in today’s political world are verboten. Apparently it rebounds negatively back onto the writer or speaker. However, sometimes the shoe fits so well, it must be worn. White House interim communications director Anita Dunn is desperately trying to avoid the fate of her historical doppelganger sister in arms, Leni Riefenstahl.

-- Michael Rulle, Oct. 21  NewsReal post

Posted by Terry K. at 12:07 AM EDT
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In the Age of Obama, America is internationally mocked, defenseless, bankrupted and on our knees. Since Jan. 20, America has been in the midst of a bloodless coup d'état fueled by chaos theory, never allowing a good crisis go to waste, and the genocidal ideas of Marx, Mao and Alinsky.

To Narcissist in Chief Barack Obama and his legions of fascist minions, We the People are the enemy. When Obama says, "I'm just getting started," he is deadly serious. What this means is that every cog of the multi-trillion-dollar machinery we call the federal government will be used to achieve the supreme will of President Obama.

-- Ellis Washington, Oct. 24 WorldNetDaily column

Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 PM EDT
Will MRC Retract False Claim About Feinberg Interview?
Topic: Media Research Center

So the Media Research Center's Tim Graham is trying to make a big deal of claiming that Media Matters (disclosure: our employer) promoted purported inflammatory quotes by Rush Limbaugh that turned out to be unsourced, if not fake. Actually, as Media Matters' Eric Boehlert pointed out, a blog post merely quoted a columnist who cited the statements, then updated it to note that the quotes were in question.

Now, it's the MRC's turn to retract a false claim -- an actual one this time.

An Oct. 23 MRC press release "applauded ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN for uniting with competitor news network Fox News in response to the Obama White House excluding Fox from an interview with “pay czar” Kenneth Feinberg." The release went on to quote MRC chief Brent Bozell as saying:

“Not even Richard Nixon would have dared try this.  This was a White House attempt at censorship and brass knuckle intimidation.  But it backfired. 

“This was more than a strike at Fox News. It was a calculated and frightening declaration of war on our First Amendment right to a free and unfettered press.  And it might have been successful had ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC caved to the pressures of the White House.  

“But they did not yield and for that, they should be commended. These networks recognized this as a direct assault on free speech.  I applaud their dedication to operating on the vital truth that freedom of the press trumps everything, including ratings and market share.  

The problem? Bozell's version of events -- that Fox News suffered a violation of its First Amendment rights by being deliberately excluded from the Feinberg interview until other journalists stood up for it -- appears to be completely false.

As Talking Points Memo detailed, the facts are much less sinister:

Feinberg did a pen and pad with reporters to brief them on cutting executive compensation. TV correspondents, as they do with everything, asked to get the comments on camera. Treasury officials agreed and made a list of the networks who asked (Fox was not among them).

But logistically, all of the cameras could not get set up in time or with ease for the Feinberg interview, so they opted for a round robin where the networks use one pool camera. Treasury called the White House pool crew and gave them the list of the networks who'd asked for the interview.

The network pool crew noticed Fox wasn't on the list, was told that they hadn't asked and the crew said they needed to be included. Treasury called the White House and asked top Obama adviser Anita Dunn. Dunn said yes and Fox's Major Garrett was among the correspondents to interview Feinberg last night.

Simple as that, we're told, and the networks don't want to be seen as heroes for Fox.

Further, pretty much everyone involved is shocked that Fox News (along with its MRC fellow travelers) is blowing this up into a First Amendment issue:

TPMDC spoke with a network bureau chief this afternoon familiar with the situation who was surprised that Fox was portraying the news as networks coming to its rescue.

"If any member had been excluded it would have been the same thing, it has nothing to do with Fox or the White House or the substance of the issues," the bureau chief said. "It's all for one and one for all."

A Treasury spokesperson added: "There was no plot to exclude Fox News, and they had the same interview that their competitors did. Much ado about absolutely nothing."

So, when can we expect that retraction from Bozell, Graham and Co.? We'll be watching.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:17 AM EDT
WND Scaremongers About Swine Flu Emergency Order
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As expected given its previous freak-outs on the subject, WorldNetDaily's first instinct after President Obama's declaration of a national emergency over the H1N1 flu virus was to fearmonger.

The subhead of WND's Oct. 24 article by Drew Zahn reads, "Is president's proclamation formality, or institution of Obama martial law?" Zahn then offered the possibility that "the Obama administration might use the declared emergency to suddenly expand government power," citing a writer for InfoWars -- not explaining that InfoWars is affiliated with conspiracy-monger extrordinare Alex Jones. Zahn also cited "a WND reader in an e-mail" who allegedly wrote, "Here we go with martial law" (remember, WND loves anonymous sources). Zahn framed these as "rumors" that were "quick to flame" because the news media offered "little explanation" about what the emergency declaration meant.

Zahn curiously doesn't completely dismiss the InfoWars assertion that "we may witness a move toward martial law, forced vaccination and internment of those who refuse," and indeed suggests that it's a realistic possiblity. It's not until the seventh paragraph that Zahn finally breaks away from the fearmongering:

But even if there really is a plot to manipulate the H1N1 virus scare into enforcing a sweeping expansion of federal power, today's "national emergency" falls far short of martial law.

In fact, the laws enacted by the president's proclamation do little more than clear administrative hurdles for quicker processing of Medicare payments, and the very provisions of the National Emergencies Act that the president cited in his proclamation actually limit the power his administration can take.

Why didn't Zahn lead with that instead of indulging in fearmongering and media-bashing accusations? Because fearmongering is what WND has historically done on the swine flu.

WND has embraced the views of muckraking writer Wayne Madsen on the subject, even though has a historty of making wild, discredited claims. WND has also accused Obama of "trying to cause a panic over a possible H1N1 virus" in order to "create enough fear that the American public will acquiesce to the passage of Obamacare."

That little conspiracy theory went unmentioned in Zahn's article, but don't doubt that it will resurface with Obama's emergency declaration. After all, WND readers eat that stuff up -- WND's poll of the day on the declaration features 25 percent of respondents saying, "I don't care what anyone says, I'm concerned this is the beginning of martial law."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:14 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, October 25, 2009 12:18 AM EDT
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Floyd Brown Still Lying to Promote Obama Impeachment
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Anti-Obama activist (and Western Journalism Center chief) Floyd Brown recently took his call to impeach President Obama -- which we've previously detailed is littered with lies and distortions -- to the Western CPAC conference. It didn't go over too well; as HotAir's Ed Morrissey pointed out, Brown's presentation was "[o]ne of the worst – and worst defended – ideas at WCPAC," adding that "Brown misstates history, draws ridiculous parallels to the Nazi era, and takes the wrong lessons from the Clinton impeachment, which at least had the virtue of coming from an actual impeachable offense."

Needless to say, Brown didn't take this well, so he ran to (where else?) WorldNetDaily, which had previously embraced his impeachement call, to defend himsel. Citing Morrissey's criticism, Brown wrote in an Oct. 23 column:

The most disappointing part of the Morrissey comments is his lack of interest in the driving issues. Instead of tackling the real issues that are compelling activists to call for impeachment, he tried to dispute peripheral issues of the process.

Apparently, getting his facts straight is a mere "peripheral issue" to Brown (as is lack of an actual impeachable offense), for he launches into another falsehood-laden bill of particulars against Obama.

Brown repeats his previous claims that Obama "vindictively fired" Gerald Walpin as AmeriCorps inspector general without Obama was acting on a unanimous request from the AmeriCorps board of directors that Walpin be fired due to questions about "his capacity to serve."

Brown also claimed: "Barack Hussein Obama appointed countless "czars" to oversee everything from the closing of Guantanamo to the food we eat. These czars don't have to be approved by the Senate." In fact, one-third of the "czars" tallied by Fox News were confirmed by the Senate or are in positions created by statute, and many of those positions had counterparts in the Bush administration, which we don't remember Brown complaining about.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:35 AM EDT
Meanwhile ...
Topic: Accuracy in Media

The Washington Independent's David Weigel details how attendees at Accuracy in media's 40th anniversary conference wanted speakers to delve into birtherism -- and not to debunk it.

We've previously noted how AIM's Cliff Kincaid has apparently bought into the birther stuff.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:59 AM EDT

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