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Sunday, December 6, 2009
NewsReal: Palin's Not A Birther Because Palin Said So Herself (Eventually)
Topic: Horowitz

It's kinda cute how David Swindle is pretending that Sarah Palin isn't promoting birtherism.

In a Dec. 4 NewsReal post, Swindle bashes "leftist polemicist[s]" for highlighting Palin's statement that "the public, rightfully, is still making" Barack Obama's birth certificate an issue and "I think it’s a fair question" to ask Obama to present further evidence of his birth. Yet Swindle insists that Palin is not "part of the cult of crackpot conspiracists who know for certain that President Obama was born in Kenya or, is at the very least, 'hiding his birth certificate'" becausePalin tried to walk back her statement on her Facebook page.

Based on that statement, Swindle declares: "So, no, Palin is not a birther. She was just caught off guard in an interview and chose her words poorly."

Swindle refuses to acknowledge the possibility that Palin is trying to have it both ways -- pretending she's not a birther (Swindle fell for that -- he has no evidence that she initially "chose her words poorly" on the subject) while also raising questions about Obama's birth certificate.

If birtherism is, as Swindle says, "poisonous crackpot conspiracism" on a par with 9/11 truthers, then why give Palin a pass by taking Palin's walk-back as a denial and ignoring the fact that she played into the hands of birther conspiracists like WorldNetDaily by answering the question as she did?

In an update to his post, Swindle complains about an Alaska blogger who noted that Swindle failed to note that Palin's statement, in the same interview in which she made the statement about Obama's birth certifciate, that she has released Trig Palin's birth certificate is apparently not true -- as Andrew Sullivan points out, no birth certificate or other evidence has been released by Palin. Still, it gives license for Swindle to complain about "crackpot 'Trig Birtherism' conspiracy theories." Never mind that his boss, David Horowitz, has flip-flopped on embracing conspiracy theories like depicting Obama as a "Manchurian candidate."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:55 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, December 6, 2009 10:51 PM EST
Hirsen Hides Right-Wing Views of Pair Demanding Gore's Oscar Be Withdrawn
Topic: Newsmax

A Dec. 4 Newsmax article by James Hirsen notes how "Two members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have called on the group to take back the Oscar awarded to former Vice President Al Gore for the documentary 'An Inconvenient Truth.'" At no point does Hirsen mention the right-wing partisan leanings of those two, Roger L. Simon and Lionel Chetwynd.

Simon is the founder of the right-wing Pajamas Media,  while Chetwynd, writer and producer of a a Citizens United-funded film attacking Michael Moore, "Celsius 41.11," has blogged there.

Then again, Hirsen is not exactly known for reporting the full truth in his articles.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:09 AM EST
Saturday, December 5, 2009
WND Spreads More False Smears About Jennings
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Dec. 4 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh parrots the right wing's latest smear against Obama administration official Kevin Jennings (about whom WND has lied before) -- that the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network, a group founded by Jennings, "is recommending XXX-rated sex writings for children as young as preschoolers."

In fact, none of the books whose "XXX-rated sex writings" Unruh cites is recommended for preschoolers -- indeed, none of them appear on GLSEN's list of recommended books for grades K-6. All of the books cited appear on a list of books recommended for students in graded 7-12.

Unruh also misleadingly crops a disclaimer on the GLSEN site, reporting only the statement that "All BookLink items are reviewed by GLSEN staff for quality and appropriateness of content." Unruh ignored the rest of that statement, even though it's in bright red type:

However, some titles for adolescent readers contain mature themes. We recommend that adults selecting books for youth review content for suitability. The editorial and customer reviews listed at often provide information on mature content.

But Unruh, it seems, is too distracted by hyperbolic descriptions of "stories of public masturbation" and "semen flying through the air" that this undermines his entire attack. Perhaps that's why he deliberately chose not to include it.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:38 AM EST
Is CNS Censoring Words Out of Comments?

At the end of the version of Brent Bozell's latest column (bashing the show "DeGrassi: The Next Generation" for "deliberately pushing its gay agenda to youngsters"), a commenter's post states: "And it's not like it's on Nickelodeon proper. It's on TeenNick. A network for TEENS. Teens with hormones, who are starting to think about *** and sexuality-- whether you like it or not." Later in the post, it states, "Being *** hurts no one."

Confused by the asterisks? It seems the commenter was too. That resulted in another comment by the same person:

For readers, the first *** in my earlier post is s-e-x. and the second *** is g-a-y. It's weird they're blanked out because the original article uses both words. If these words can't be displayed on a NEWS site, then how are our teens supposed to get accurate information, and have frank discussion on anything regarding sexuality. After seeing this unnecessary censorship and nervous tip-toeing around issues of serious importance to today's youth, I think we probably need shows like Degrassi now more than ever. Thank God for Nickelodeon.

The commenter appears to be right -- words like "sex" and "gay" are replaced, automatically or otherwise, by asterisks. Some of the comments in a Dec. 3 article on a California school on "a pro-homosexual workshop given to 8th grade students in a leadership class" replace the words "gay" and "sex" with asterisks, even though those same words appear in the article ("gay" is limited to quotes, since CNS' preferred word is "homosexual"):

  • "At age 13 most of these kids have already been sexualized. These programs start in first grade - I saw a clip where a *** man was singing a song to 6-year-olds praising the "virtues" of being ***." 
  • "Why do we need pro-homosexuality programs? Is the *** community recruiting? Is this a religion now?"
  • "Since the *** Ed classes started in the schools, we not only have more teen crimes like sexual assualt, but more teens having babies, and the dumbing down of teenaged America also started about then."

It's a strange bit of prudery that CNS doesn't appear to trust its commenters to use words like "gay" and "sex" in commenting about articles on gayness and/or sex. Are they really so incendiary that only professional journalists are permitted to use those words? (Again, CNS reporters aren't permitted to use "gay" unless it's in quotes.) CNS' comment threads aren't exactly hotbeds of vulgarity and promiscuity as it is; most readers are well-behaved, if right-wing reactionary.

CNS might want to explain this censorship things to its readers -- as well as why it frowns upon the usage of "gay" in its news stories.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:31 AM EST
Friday, December 4, 2009
NewsBusters Attack on Gore Backfires
Topic: NewsBusters

An earlier version of this blog post incorrectly stated that John Harris and Mike Allen of Politico declined to ask former vice president Al Gore about controversial emails from climate scientists who support the idea of anthropogenic global warming after knowledge of those emails was publicly disclosed.

In fact, the interview with Gore occurred before the emails were public knowledge, therefore Messrs. Harris and Allen could not have asked Gore about them. NewsBusters regrets the error.

-- Lachlan Markay, Dec. 4 NewsBusters post

Posted by Terry K. at 8:06 PM EST
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

I can't get worked up by the specter of Tareq and Michaele Salahi frolicking with Rham, Barack and Biden. Trashy people crashed the White House. So what? The place was packed with nasty, noisome parasites. An extra pair should make no difference. Quite the contrary: There's something apropos about a couple of reality-show exhibitionists, who themselves "have left an extensive paper trail in federal bankruptcy and state court filings," brazenly elbowing their way into a party of ponces. (From the White House are issued shake-down schemes that make Bernie Madoff, much less the Salahis, look like babes in grand-larceny boot camp.)

Besides, the Salahis, like Obama, are of their time and place. Obama was launched by the Queen of Kitsch, day-time talker Oprah Winfrey. He now sits at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It's entirely fitting that a supermarket culture should have representation at the White House.

-- Ilana Mercer, Dec. 4 WorldNetDaily column

Posted by Terry K. at 1:36 PM EST
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Richard Bartholomew looks into the claims of a WorldNetDaily advertiser who promises a "Frightening 150 Page Report on Obama’s New World Order." It's pretty much what you'd expect from a WND advertiser.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:47 AM EST
NewsBusters Misleadingly Blames CNN for Questionable Obama Threat Claim
Topic: NewsBusters

Mike Bates uses a Dec. 3 NewsBusters post to crow about how CNN's Rick Sanchez has abandonded a claim that death threats against President Obama have increased 400 percent over threats against President Bush. But Sanchez wasn't the first to make the claim -- a conservative was.

Bates documents Sanchez first making the claim on Aug. 28, which he then lamented "was eagerly picked up by sites like Daily Kos and Racism Review." But more than three weeks earlier, Ronald Kessler -- no Obama fan, as we've detailed -- forwarded the claim in an Aug. 3 Newsmax article promoting Kessler's then-new book on the Secret Service:

A new book by Newsmax Chief Washington Correspondent Ronald Kessler features startling revelations about current and former U.S. presidents, including Barack Obama.

"In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes With Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect," released Tuesday, discloses that threats against the president have increased dramatically — by a staggering 400 percent since Obama entered the White House.

Kessler is the first journalist to penetrate the wall of secrecy that surrounds the U.S. Secret Service, and his book is based on interviews with more than 100 current and former agents.

Kessler was still repeating the claim, citing it in columns on Nov. 26 and Nov. 30 criticizing the security lapse that let a pair of gate-crashers into a White House state dinner.

Will the MRC hold Newsmax to the same standard it holds CNN? We'd like to see if it's capable of doing that.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:02 AM EST
AIM Repeats False Claim About Obama Cabinet
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A Dec. 1 Accuracy in Media column, from the "editors of," highlights a "fascinating chart, said to be from a JP Morgan research report," which purports to show that number of Obama cabinet appointees with "experience in the private sector" was less than 10 percent, far less than previous administrations.

Too bad it's not true.

PolitiFact looked into the claim, first reported by Michael Cembalest, the chief investment officer for J.P. Morgan Private Bank, and promoted by Glenn Beck, and found that, in fact, "at least three of the nine posts that Cembalest and Beck cite — a full one-third — are occupied by appointees who, by our reading of their bios, had significant corporate or business experience." Further, "Three other Obama appointees had legal experience in the private sector."

PolitiFact then talked to Cembalest, who admitted his errors, adding that he said "any effort to address the topic is heavily subjective, and he expressed regret that his work had been used for political ends, saying that it was not his intention to provide fodder for bloggers and talk show hosts."

So, will Accuracy in Media live up to its name and issue a correction? We shall see.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:31 AM EST
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Dueling NewsBusters
Topic: NewsBusters

Jon Stewart Rips Obama's Surge Speech: Sounds Like Bush in 2007

-- Dec. 3 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard

Brian Williams Loves the Lefty Humor of ‘Indispensable’ Jon Stewart: How Did We Live Without Him?

-- Dec. 3 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock

Posted by Terry K. at 10:59 PM EST
Farah: 'Yes, I Do Believe In Conspiracies'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

For once, Joseph Farah tells the truth (for the first two paragraphs, anyway) in his Dec. 3 WorldNetDaily column:

I am sometimes accused of believing in and promoting "conspiracy theories."

To this charge, I must plead guilty.

For a long time, I have warned of a massive conspiracy to persuade the American public, in fact the population of the entire world, that life as we know it is threatened by a phantom crisis. This conspiracy is so massive and bold it seeks literally to usher in a new age of global governance, even though there is no evidence to support the claims behind the imminent threat to the planet.

Nevertheless, most of the news media, most government institutions, most politicians of both parties, nearly all schools and universities – even most corporations – promote this conspiracy.

And, later this month, a United Nations global convention in Copenhagen aims to build upon the work of this conspiracy in the hopes of promoting unaccountable global governance – turning people in formerly free countries like the United States into little more than serfs far removed from their masters.

I speak, of course, of the widespread conspiracy and increasingly obvious fraud known as man-made, catastrophic climate change.



Sometimes, even the "paranoid" who claims "they're after me" is right.

The "climate change" crowd really is after you. They're after your money, your freedom and your life.

But how are the Bilderbergers and the Council on Foreign Relations involved? Alas, it seems only the WND store can help you with that.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:01 PM EST
Another Joke Anti-Global Warming Report, Endorsed by Noel Sheppard
Topic: NewsBusters

We've previously noted that NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard has no interest in fact-checking conservatives as long as they're spouting conservatively correct anti-global warming talking points. In one of those posts that we cited, Sheppard also wrote this:

The Science and Public Policy Institute issued a report on the money involved in funding the global warming debate in August concluding, "Over the last two decades, US taxpayers have subsidized the American climate change industry to the tune of $79 billion."

By contrast, the same study found that the media bogeyman "Exxon Mobil gave a mere $23 million, spread over ten years, to climate sceptics."

That breakdown sounded familiar to us. Sure enough, Marc Morano was peddling a similar breakdown a couple years ago. As we detailed, it has no basis in reality, making an apples-and-oranges comparison by compiling everything tangentally related to climate change, such as development of alternative fuels, to donations made by a single company.

That seems to be the case with the "study" Sheppard promoted. Sheppard links to what appears to be an op-ed making the claim, but no supporting evidence is offered or even linked to.

A little more digging around the 'Net uncovers the original SPPI report, which states that the $79 billion lumps together all "science and technology research, administration, education campaigns, foreign aid, and tax breaks." As with Morano, there's no detailed breakdown of exactly what programs are being included in the SPPI's count. (The report states that "details and sources" are in "Appendix I," which is not attached to the PDF of the report, and we couldn't find it anywhere else on the SPPI website.)

SPPI also apes Morano and perpetuates the apples-and-oranges distortion by comparing the all-encompassing $79 billion only to the $23 million donated by Exxon Mobil. This ignores donations by other oil companies and funding of anti-global warming groups like SPPI.

In other words, this study is a joke -- which makes it perfect bait for people like Noel Sheppard.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:25 AM EST
Aaron Klein Mighty Wurlitzer Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Whenever Aaron Klein has an insufficiently right-wing policy he wants to denounce, he reaches into his Mighty Wurlitzer and digs out the Rabbinical Congress for Peace.

Klein hits that note again in a Dec. 1 article, giving the group space to bash rime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to freeze Jewish West Bank construction as an "irresponsible move that will only cause bloodshed in the region."

Needless to say, at no point does Klein acknowledge that the Rabbinical Congress for Peace is a right-wing group.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:03 AM EST
Geller Still Fearmongering Over Rifqa Bary Case
Topic: Newsmax

Pamela Geller just can't seem to stop distorting the case of Rifqa Bary, the Ohio teen who converted to Christianity and ran away from home to a creepy pastor in Florida she found on Facebook, claiming that her Islamic parents want to kill her for converting.

Geller's Dec. 2 Newsmax column purports to be outraged that Bary -- who has been returned to Ohio and placed in foster care -- is "in imminent danger of being returned to her family" and is being "deprived of access to the phone and Internet as well as "pastoral guidance," adding, "Convicts, murderers, rapists, and pedophiles all have access to 'pastoral guidance.'"

Given that the pastor to whom Bary fled believes that he receives special personal messages from God about the imminent end of the world, a lack of "pastoral guidance" is probably a good thing. Needless to say, Geller is silenat about the pastor's beliefs.

Geller also repeats unsupported claims of hostile Muslims, alluding to "powerful and influential Islamic supremacists" and "myriad busts for jihad activity in recent weeks." She also again treats "lose friend and fellow ex-Muslim" Jamal Jivanjee as a credible source, even though he's clearly too close to the case to be objective. Indeed, Geller quotes Jivanjee aping her: “If you are incarcerated in an American prison today, you have the right to have a visit from a pastor. Rifqa Bary does not have this most basic right that most criminals have today.”

Geller sums up by claiming that Bary is "isolated, alone, and in danger of being returned to Islamic jihadists who believe apostates from Islam should be killed. What has happened to America?"

The facts, however, are different than what Geller suggests. No credible threats to Bary have been found by authorities in either Florida or Ohio, and Ohio officials are attempting to work out a solution between Bary and her family, as the Columbus Dispatch reports:

Columbus runaway Fathima Rifqa Bary and her parents should talk about their respective religions and work toward living together again, according to a government case plan filed in Franklin County Juvenile Court.


A caseworker developed the plan with Rifqa and her parents, but only Children Services workers signed it. Rifqa and her parents disagree with the plan, and so does the guardian the court appointed for her, according to the paperwork filed with the court on Monday.

The plan reveals that Rifqa does not wish to see her parents, who both want to see her. She also is resisting visiting her brothers. Rifqa's reason for not wanting contact is "healing purposes," it says.

Mohamed Bary and his wife, Aysha, agree with Rifqa's current placement in foster care but would like a relationship with her, the plan says.

They are concerned that Rifqa misunderstands their Islamic faith, and Rifqa feels the same about her parents' understanding of her Christianity.

There are "severe differences between the parents' and Rifqa's perceptions of what has occurred," the caseworker wrote.

The plan lists the strengths of the family as well, saying that Mr. Bary is able to provide for his family and Mrs. Bary appears capable of caring for her children in the home. Rifqa has good communication skills and has been respectful toward adult authority, the plan says. The plan also says that Children Services will assess the homes of relatives and nonrelatives to try to find a suitable place for the teenager.

Geller, meanwhile, seems to think that fearmongering is a suitable substitute for the truth.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:27 AM EST
AIM Cites WND on Khalidi, Also Ignores His GOP Links
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A Nov. 30 Accuracy in Media article by Roger Aronoff links to a WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein trying to link the White House gatecrashers, President Obama, and "a pro-Palestinian professor" Rashid Khalidi.

Aronoff's imitation of Klein, however, goes right down to ignoring the fact that Khalidi has links to prominent Republicans, including John McCain.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:03 AM EST

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