We would like to beg you, our readers, to nominate ConWebBlog in the 2009 Weblog Awards. Since there isn't a media category per se and we're not quite poltical, we're going to aim for the Best Large Blog, defined as having a Technorati authority rating of between 301 and 500 (we're at 440).
ConWebWatch is listed in the comments as a nominee (which is where the shameless self-promotion comes in), so what you need to do is click on the "+" icon in that particular comment to indicate your preference.
The nomination phase ends Nov. 20, so act quickly! We appreciate your support.
Newsmax Parrots McCaughey's False Claims on Health Reform Topic: Newsmax
A Nov. 7 Newsmax article summarizes a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Betsy McCaughey on the "shocking details" of the health care reform bill passed by the House. But Newsmax made no effort to analyze the bill, instead merely copying-and-pasting parts of the column to show that the bill "illustrates the Democrats' radical agenda."
For instance, Newsmax repeats McCaughey's claim that "Illegal immigrants are exempt" from supplying "proof that you are in a qualified plan" with your taxes. In fact, as Media Matters detailed, the exemption is for "nonresident aliens," which are not the same thing as "illegal immigrants."
Newsmax also repeats McCaughey's claim that "Sec. 1114 (pp. 391-393) replaces physicians with physician assistants in overseeing care for hospice patients." In fact, Section 1114 adds physician assistants to the list of those qualified to oversee hospice patients and does not remove physicians from the list.
McCaughey further claims, and Newsmax repeats, that "Secs. 2521 and 2533 (pp. 1379 and 1437) establishes racial and ethnic preferences in awarding grants for training nurses and creating secondary-school health science programs." In fact, contrary to McCaughey's suggestion that race and ethnicity are the only guidelines by which the bill awards grants, the bill establishes numerous metrics.
WND on Hasan: Double Standards and Manufactured Outrage Topic: WorldNetDaily
When Scott Roeder murdered abortion doctor George Tiller earlier this year, WorldNetDaily went out of its way to portray him as apart from the anti-abortion movement WND supports. It made sure to paint Roeder as mentally ill and, as we detailed, avoided any mention of Randall Terry's inflammatory remarks condoning Tiller's murder. Indeed, Roeder has not even been mentioned in a WND article or column since June 4.
How times change -- WND is taking the opposite approach with Nadal Malik Hasan, accused of the murder of 13 people at Fort Hood.
WND was quick to highlight the fact that he's Muslim. In contrast to its refusal to report Randall Terry's remarks condoning Tiller's murder, a Nov. 6 article by Bob Unruh features a "radical Muslim group" who was "videotaped condoning the massacre at Fort Hood by Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan because it was a military target."
Yet the Nation's column is not much different than what WND columnist Jane Chastain wrote in a June 4 column about Roeder:
Tiller's alleged killer also considers himself to be a Christian and had a fish decal with the word "Jesus" prominently displayed on the rear window of his car.
"Thou shall not murder" is one of the Ten Commandments of God. The Bible prohibits individuals from punishing another for wrongdoing, no matter how grave. However, it supports using the judicial system to punish those who commit crimes.
Clearly, both Roeder and Tiller felt free to violate the absolutes in God's word when it suited their purposes.
A Nov. 8 article by Aaron Klein attacks a writer for "the left-leaning Nation magazine" for noting that "those who highlight the Fort Hood killer's Muslim ties are inspiring 'Islamophobia.'"
This is happening in the streets of America. No arrests. No condemnation. No attacks.
I'm not even aware of any temporary restraining orders being filed against these creeps.
All I can say is they are very lucky this Arab-American wasn't walking down that street when they pulled this stunt!
Farah also works in some crass commerce: "Purchase a copy of 'Muslim Mafia.' Better yet, purchase two copies – one for you and one for your member of Congress."
By contrast, not only did Farah not issue a similar condemnation of Randall Terry, he had a nice chat with Terry while guest-hosting (domestic terrorist) G. Gordon Liddy's radio show last week. Farah fawned over Terry, stating, "Randy, you've devoted -- your life's work, really, is preserving life, protecting life."
Of course, if it weren't for double standards and manufactured outrage, WND would have nothing to stand on.
Ellis Washington Gets It Wrong -- Again Topic: WorldNetDaily
Ellis Washington writes in his Nov. 7 WorldNetdaily column:
What was Obama doing the night the election returns were coming in? According to his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, Obama was enjoying a sycophantic HBO documentary about himself and his presidential campaign rather than watching the election returns.
If the Roman despot Nero fiddled while Rome burned, then surely it can be said that Obama watched TV while the Democrat Party crashed and burned in the special elections Nov. 3.
In fact, Gibbs never said that. Fox News reported the claim but later retracted it, with Major Garrett claiming he had "misheard" Gibbs and that Gibbs was pointing to the HBO documentary as evidence that Obama does not routinely watch election returns.
The rest of Washington's column is the same kind of Obama derangement we've come to know and love from him, baselessly asserting that the reason Obama isn't going to Berlin to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall is because he really wants to rebuild it:
Twenty years later, President Obama, as the anti-Reagan, is trying to rebuild the Berlin Wall brick by brick with fascist policies designed to undermine freedom of all Americas and the liberties of those people around the world yearning for a republic founded on the rule of law. Obama wants to place those same shackles Stalin put on the Soviet-bloc countries on America with his socialist health-care bill, which, if passed, would place government in our lives from cradle to grave.
Yeah, you've heard this kind of hateful blather from Washington before.
Sheppard Buys Dubious Claim By Dubious 'Democrat' Topic: NewsBusters
Noel Sheppard was quick to use a Nov. 7 NewsBusters post to echo a claim that the Obama White House " is putting pressure on Democrat consultants" not to appear on Fox News, purportedly corroborated by Fox News contributor Pat Caddell, a former pollster for Jimmy Carter.
But, as Oliver Willis points out, Caddell is hardly a reliable source for claims about Democratic consultants, given that he's one of those "Fox News Democrats" who do nothing but bash their fellow Democrats.
Pat Boone Drops Eliminationist Rhetoric, Still Lies About Obama Topic: WorldNetDaily
Pat Boone may have dialed back the eliminationist rhetoric for his latest column (published at WorldNetDaily; it remains to be seen whether Newsmax will publish it after removing the eliminationist one), but he's still lying and misleading about Barack Obama.
Boone claims that "Candidate Obama swore that he'd veto any of these porky earmarks that found their way into any bill that crossed his desk" yet signed a bill containing "contained $7.7 billion in nearly 9,000 earmarks." In fact, Obama never promised to eliminate earmarks; rather, he promised to reform the earmark process and eliminate wasteul spending.
Boone also writes that "Our president informed the Muslim world that 'America is no longer a Christian nation.'" As we noted the last time he did this, Boone is taking Obama's words out of context; Obama actually said that America is not just a Christian nation but "also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers."
As he has before, Boone embraces the birther movement, bashing Obama for his "steadfast refusal to provide to the public who deserves and wants it an actual copy of his birth certificate! Not the 'certification of live birth' that has been produced and accepted by a strangely gullible and meek Congress." Boone adds:
The growing number of determined citizens who are demanding transparency are being derided and smeared as "birthers," in the hope that they'll be written off as irrational or politically biased.
But my question is – and has been for over a year now – "MR. OBAMA, IF YOU HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE, WHY ARE YOU SPENDING A FORTUNE TO HIDE IT?"
It's an acknowledged fact that Barack Obama Jr. was born to an 18-year-old American girl and a Kenyan father, a British citizen. Some have seen an actual videotape, now strangely unavailable, in which the boy's fraternal grandmother describes being in the delivery room in Mombasa, Kenya, when young Barack was born.
In fact, there is no "actual videotape" of this. There is, however, a selectively edited audio clip of a phone call made to the grandmother by Anabaptist minister Ron McRae that leaves out the part in which it appears that the grandmother's misunderstood what McRae was asking and that, when asked more directly whether Obama was born in Kenya, the grandmother's answer is no. McRae has spread other dubious claims about Obama and is apparently opposed to race-mixing.
We probably shouldn't be expecting scrupulous accuracy from retired pop idols, but couldn't Boone at least try to get his facts straight?
A Nov. 6 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh is little more than a rewrite of a press release from Republican Rep. Dave Camp claimin g that "the House Democrats' health-care bill could impose penalties of up to $250,000 in fines and five years in jail for failing to buy the proper insurance coverage."
Unruh uncritically repeats claims from Camp's press release without any indicated attempt to fact-check or obtain any response to the claims -- even Camp's assertion that the Joint Committee on Taxation is "non-partisan." In fact, it's bipartisan, given that it's operated by 10 members of Congress. Unruh also lets Camp's whoppers stand uncorrected, such as his assertion that "the jail time provision is a threat to every family who cannot afford the $15,000 premium her plan creates" and that "the lowest cost family non-group plan under Pelosi's health-care plan would cost $15,000 in 2016."
In fact, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office details, the only people who would face a fine for not purchasing insurance are those who can truly afford to purchase such insurance, and it would only be in extremely rare circumstances that criminal prosecutions of any kind would be pursued, as is the case with tax fraud.
Further, the $15,000 figure is misleading because it ignores the fact that premiums for most people will be subsidized to some extent, and only those families with income of more than $102,000 would face paying the full $15,000.
But Unruh has a political agenda to push, and that's more important to him -- and to WND -- than the truth.
CNS Still Auditioning Constitutionality Story Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com keeps pushing the idea that requiring Americans to obtain health insurance promoting it in a pair of Nov. 6 articles. The first, by Penny Starr, uncritically qutoes right-wing radio host Mark Levin claiming that those who support the idea "are saying 'the hell with the Constitution.'" The second, by Edwin Mora, uncritically quotes John McCain saying that he expects a challenge to the constitutionality of the provision if passed.
As in previous CNS stories promoting the idea, Starr and Mora fail to report the views of non-conservative legal experts who believe that it is constitutional.
WND Columnist: Anti-Gay Activists Not Anti-Gay Enough Topic: WorldNetDaily
Linda Harvey's Nov. 6 WorldNetDaily column was aghast that anti-gay activists in Maine who favored repealing the gay-marriage law there supported the idea of domestic partnerships:
This is a huge concession to the hopes and aspirations of "gay" activists. Are there indeed "rights" that need to be accorded to the behavior of homosexuality? No self-respecting Christian would take this position. This paves the way for the pseudo-marriage of "domestic partnerships."
Indeed, Harvey's message is that anti-gay people weren't hateful enough. She goes on to take the Catholic Church to task for saying that it "respects and accepts gays":
Really? The Catholic Church accepts homosexual behavior? Two men having sex with one another? Women excluding men from their lives and shacking up as lesbians? This is respectable and acceptable in Catholic teachings? This seems to say there might be truth to the claim of "gay" identity, something homosexualists would love for Christians to embrace.
Harvey's main excuse for being hateful is that God commands her: "God has no tolerance for damaging, destructive homosexual behavior. This kind of short-term thinking may win a few battles, but will guarantee we lose the war."
However, Hasan is being reported as a participant in the GWU Homeland Security Policy Institute's Presidential Transition Task Force, not as a member, noting the group was a university think-tank, not part of the Obama administration official transition team.
Further, the institute's deputy director is quoted saying he is unable to say if Hasan made any input to the group's final recommendations.
Other participants in the task force included many members of congressional staff who work with both the House and Senate homeland security committees, as well as staff from the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice.
This is lame for several reasons. First, it's at the end of the article, not the beginning. Second, WND changed nothing else -- the headline still falsely claims "Shooter advised Obama transition." Third, this editor's note corrects something the Huffington Post wrote, which is outside WND's bailiwick.
Finally, WND is still not admitting Corsi's claim is completely false even as it keeps proving it wrong -- as this editor's note does.
To sum up: The editor's note corrects not something WND wrote that needs a correction but something somebody else wrote about WND, which has no business being in this article.
Is WND so stubborn and/or ethically deficient that it cannot publish a simple, honest correction of an obviously false statement? It appears so.
WND Spreads Lies In Anti-Muslim Freak-Out Topic: WorldNetDaily
Because the alleged shooter in the Fort Hood massacre is apparently a Muslim, this has given WorldNetDaily license to engage in a full-on anti-Muslim freak-out.
WND's initial report on the shootings began: "A Muslim U.S. Army officer opened fire at Fort Hood in Texas today, killing 12 soldiers and wounding 31, before he was shot by a base police officer."
An unbylined Nov. 6 article rehashes claims allegations in its CAIR-bashing, theft-based tome "Muslim Mafia" that alleged shooter Nidal Malik Hasan "is just the tip of a jihadist Fifth Column operating within the ranks of the U.S. military – which is too blinded by political correctness to see the threat." The article also quotes Walid Shoebat, uncritically calling him "a former Islamist terrorist" even though the facts appear to show otherwise.
WND then jumped the shark from alarmist claims to outright falsehoods with a Nov. 6 article by Jerome Corsi -- with the blaring headline "Shooter advised Obama transition" -- asserting that asserting that Hasan "played a homeland security advisory role in President Barack Obama's transition into the White House,"citing Hasan's participation in a George Washington University task force that produced a document on "security priorities for the next administration.
But Corsi contradicts himself later in the article:
While the GWU task force participants included several members of government, including representatives of the Department of Justice and the U.S Department of Homeland Security, there is no indication in the document that the group played any formal role in the official Obama transition, other than to serve in a university-based advisory capacity.
As Media Matters noted, the task force first convened in April 2008 -- well before Obama had even secured the Democratic presidential nomination, let alone won the election. Further, as Gawker reported: "Daniel Kaniewski, the institute's deputy director, confirms that Hasan attended task force meetings as an audience member, and stresses that he was not a member of the task force."
If there's no indication the task force -- which Hasan merely attended and was not actually a member -- actually played an advisory role to the Obama transition, Corsi and WND are lying when they claim it did.
Cashill's Favorite Murderer Plays the Victim Topic: WorldNetDaily
Jack Cashill's Nov. 5 WorldNetDaily column is in large part a letter by Steven Nary, convicted of killing a gay man in San Francisco in 1996 and Cashill's latest cause celebre. As we've detailed, Cashill has been portraying Nary as a victim of politically correct prosecutors for killing a gay man and peddling a revisionist history of Nary's case to paint Nary's actions as self-defense.
Nary's letter embraces that same kind of victimhood, despite starting out by stating that "I have never been able to fully express to others what happened to me. The obvious reasons are my fear of judgment and my desire to not be labeled a victim."
Nary does allow that he's sorry for killing the guy, but adds, "However, I am frustrated that I have to keep saying that I am sorry because it takes away from what happened to me." Nary blames his victim for provoking him into a murderous rage, seemingly justifying his own actions: "Why is it so hard to understand the violation of one's body is enough to see the deepest of emotions come out?"
Finally, he laments: "I may end up spending the rest of my life in prison because I have trouble articulating this to a parole board that somehow came up with the conclusion that I wanted this to happen."
Nary doesn't seem to see that his repeated deflection of blame may be one reason he's still in prison. And Cashill seems all to happy to perpetuate Nary's victimhood.
A Nov. 5 WorldNetDaily article touted how Joseph Farah, filling in as guest host on (domestic terrorist) G. Gordon Liddy's radio show on Nov. 5, interviewed anti-abortion extremist Randall Terry, where he "reported live from the Capitol Hill protest where opponents of President Obama's health care takeover plan rallied."
Interestingly, this is the first mention of Terry at WND since before the murder of Kansas abortion doctor George Tiller. As we've noted, WND declined to report Terry's antics in the wake of Tiller's death, such as asserting that "left this life with his hands drenched with the innocent blood of tens of thousands of babies that he murdered" and that "I believe George Tiller was one of the most evil men on the planet; every bit as vile as the Nazi war criminals who were hunted down, tried, and sentenced after they participated in the 'legal' murder of the Jews that fell into their hands."
WND also failed to report on Terry's plan to burn people like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in effigy, calling it a "proud American tradition."
In his interview (about 47:00 in the audio linked to the article), Farah chucked as Terry described the stunts he had planned during his protest, saying at one point, "Am I going to have to bail you out, Randy?" Farah further slobbered over Terry: "Randy, you've devoted -- your life's work, really, is preserving life, protecting life."
Does this mean that Terry is out of the doghouse at WND, where he had been kept in order to keep the anti-abortion movement from looking a little less nutty and extreme in the wake of Tiller's death? It would appear so.