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Monday, March 8, 2010
Stupid Newsmax Poll Question of the Day
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax and Zogby, with a history of polling stupid questions, polls another one:

If Americans could have a former living U.S. president run the country and deal with the problems facing the nation today, they would pick Bill Clinton by a wide margin, a Newsmax/Zogby poll reveals.

Buried at the end of the article, was this interesting result:

Despite Obama’s weakening popularity, Americans still would elect him president if he were in an electoral showdown with former President George W. Bush.

Asked whom they would chose if a presidential election took place today between Obama and Bush, 48 percent said Obama, 38 percent chose Bush, 12 percent said neither, and 2 were not sure.

A year of relentless attacks on Obama by Newsmax hasn't convinced people that he's worse than Bush.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:07 PM EST
WND's Financial Adviser Is Ready to Flee the Country
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The headline on Porter Stansberry's March 5 WorldNetDaily "Investor Insights" column reads: "Stocking up on meds and ammo, NOW!" The actual article manages to be even crazier than that.

Read the rest at Media Matters.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:01 PM EST
WND Ignores Debunking of Purported Terrorist 'Dry Run'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Back in December, WorldNetDaily made a big deal out of a report of a purported hijacking "dry run" by Muslim terrorist on an AirTran plane, a story that spread by a "widely circulated e-mail." WND got a few more stories out of the claim, even after it became clear that the person who wrote the email, Tedd Petruna, wasn't even aboard the flight.

A couple weeks ago, Talking Points Memo obtained FAA documents on its investigation of the incident:

In the end there was no amateur porn viewing. There was no shout of "infidel dog!" There were no Muslim hijackers.

FAA documents obtained by TPMmuckraker through the Freedom of Information Act thoroughly debunk NASA diver Tedd Petruna's tale of a thwarted hijacking aboard AirTran Flight 297 in Atlanta last November.


What really happened on AirTran Flight 297 is this, according to the flight attendant reports that are included in the FAA investigation documents:

A man traveling with several others did not comply with flight attendant requests to put away a camera and stop taking pictures before takeoff. Other passengers complained about the "unruly" group of about four -- reportedly Muslim -- passengers. The plane was taxied back to the gate to let the man with the camera off, but the compatriots of the man complained when a flight attendant asked him to leave. Other passengers said they were uncomfortable and did not want to travel with the group.

A replacement crew of flight attendants was put on the plane and it later took off from Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport bound for Houston.

WND has yet to report on this release of documents that debunk its earlier reporting on the incident. Surprised? Don't be -- WND tends to offload or ignore reporting that conflicts with its own, even (or perhaps especially) if it proves WND wrong.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:18 PM EST
Newsmax Invokes Soviet Imagery to Attack Obama Admin.
Topic: Newsmax

Here's how a March 7 Newsmax article begins:

In the days of the old Pravda, one could determine who was winning secret Politburo power struggles by just looking at the official Soviet newspaper. Those winning simply got better press.
Perhaps it may be no different here in the United States.
This week two of the heaviest guns in American media, The Washington Post and The New York Times, unloaded their missiles at Obama adviser David Axelrod while heralding White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel as a centrist and pragmatist.

Newsmax has no evidence of any palace coup, of course -- the article's anonymous writer has merely let his imagination run wild (perhaps that's why he has chosen to remain anonymous). Nevertheless, the article concludes: "Kremlinologists can see the handwriting on the wall. Axelrod will soon be ousted or sidelined. Rahm emerges, and so does a more pragmatic and moderate Obama."

The funny thing is, Newsmax acts in a rather Soviet fashion as well. Misbehaving columnists such as John L. Perry and Bernard Kerik were disappeared from Newsmax without explanation to readers -- one day they were there, the next they were gone. Similarly, columns deemed offensive post-publication quietly vanish into the ether also without explanation.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:45 AM EST
CMI's Knoploh Tries to Read the Minds of More Reporters
Topic: Media Research Center

Is Sarah Knoploh clairvoyant? Apparently so -- she has decided that she can read another reporter's mind.

In a March 4 MRC Culture & Media Institute item on the legalization of gay marriage in the District of Columbia, Knoploh delcares that Washington Post reporters "cheered that the 'fight' for gay marriage had won in the district" and were "giddy" about it."

How does Knoploh know the reporters were "giddy" and "cheer[ing]"? She doesn't, of course -- as before, she's merely imparting motives she cannot possibly know to people she has in all likelihood never met. In her mind, all reporters are biased, and if they don't work for a right-wing outlet like CMI sister organization, they are hopelessly liberal, and all liberal reporters inject their stories with liberal bias. That's just axiomatic in MRC-land.

Knoploh appears to be so invested in this mindset that she doesn't see her own bias, which causes her to impute motives she cannot possibly know. Such failures of logic may not fly at most places of employment, but they are embraced at the MRC.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:05 AM EST
Sunday, March 7, 2010
No (Whale) Justice, No (Human) Peace
Topic: WorldNetDaily

or centuries, Western civilization has prided itself in being founded on the Judeo-Christian traditions of intellectual thought. But then came the advent of a Darwinian worldview in the 1860s, which removed mankind from his lofty perch of special creation by God and placed humanity equal to (or beneath) animals, and the ascendancy of the progressive movement in the 1890s that intellectualized and codified Darwinian thinking into public policy, culture, medicine, education, law, politics and economics.

Humanists and social egalitarians of today contend that people are no higher or better than animals.

Now, because of perverse ideas of egalitarianism, modern society is reluctant to kill Tilikum, the killer whale who willfully killed three people on three different occasions, but instead we rationalize that it wasn't the whale's fault. SeaWorld, therefore, felt emboldened to conduct a big press conference with a back drop of the offending killer whale swimming carefree in his tank, while the body of the murdered Dawn Brancheau lies six feet underground in a cold, dark grave in Chicago, Ill.

America, is this justice? Have we not lost our way, our humanity and our moral virtue when a serial-murderer killer whale acting according to its name and nature can frolic in his holding tank in front of millions of people all over the world and not be killed for his multiple murderous acts? This makes no sense to me on any level.

-- Ellis Washington, March 6 WorldNetDaily column

Posted by Terry K. at 10:03 PM EST
CNS Joins McCaughey in Taking Emanuel Out of Context

In a March 5 article on comments made by Obama administration adviser Ezekiel Emanuel, Christopher Neefus noted that "Betsy McCaughey, the former lieutenant governor of New York State, wrote a commentary for the Wall Street Journal on Aug. 27, 2009, about Ezekiel Emanuel that was headlined, 'Obama’s Health Rationer-in-Chief.'" Neefus later added that "Emanuel came to be known as the 'deadly doctor' and by August was defending himself in TIME Magazine, saying he was taken out of context."

What Neefus failed to note, however, is that McCaughey -- who has a long history of making false and misleading claims about health care reform -- repeatedly distorted and took statements by Emanuel out of context. Indeed, McCaughey had to walk back her false assertion that Emanuel wanted to "eliminate" the Hippocratic Oath.

Indeed, in portraying Emanuel as the "deadly doctor," Neefus follows in McCaughey's footsteps by taking Emanuel's statements out of context:

In a 1996 paper written for a nonpartisan bioethics research group, the Hastings Center, Emanuel outlined a scenario in which people might decide in a public forum which health care treatments are “basic” and should be socially guaranteed, and which are not. He mentioned that some health care providers might consider not guaranteeing services to those “prevented from being or becoming participating citizens.”
“An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia,” wrote Emanuel.  “A less obvious example is guaranteeing neuropsychological services to ensure children with learning disabilities can read and learn to reason.”

In fact, as Media Matters noted, Emanuel was describing a "consensus" view on the issue, not his own personal beliefs, as Neefus suggests.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:45 PM EST
Logrolling In Our Time
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jim Fletcher's March 1 WorldNetDaily column looks at two upcoming books on President Obama, whom he describes as " the fellow I like to call 'The Man From Kenya.'" (Wait, -- wasn't Joseph Farah insisting that birthers weren't questioning Obama's citizenship?)

One, by David Remnick, is published by a major publisher, Knopf.  Fletcher dismisses it this way:

In fact, the whole project reminds me of that comical old saying, that description of flattering pieces written by fawning hacks: glow jobs. That journalistic epithet appears to be dead-on with this propaganda piece by Knopf and the White House.

Rounding out the press release for Remnick's book is the announcement that the book will also include letters Obama wrote to his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham. I find this interesting only if someone explains why her name was Stanley. Perhaps she was chummy with Oliver Hardy.


This book will worship Obama in a way that the commander-in-narcissism couldn't get away with in a memoir.

In fact, Dunham's name has been explained -- her father wanted a boy.

By contrast, Fletcher said this about Aaron Klein's upcoming Obama hatchet job:

The Manchurian President: Barack Obama's Ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists," by the investigative team of Aaron Klein and Brenda Elliott, will be released by WND Books.

I've seen an advance copy of the book and let me say this: You and I have never read anything like it and likely will not again. It is explosive like an atom bomb is "explosive." That is to say, "The Manchurian President" will reduce the Obama myth to a mere shadow as it blasts the political landscape upon release.

In fact, the book is so revealing in its investigation of this consummate change agent … well, I've put even my beloved Westie, Ralph, into witness protection (our other dog, a Jack Russell, is on his own). I can only imagine what kind of heat will come Klein's and Elliott's way.


I will go so far as to say that this book will be a key reason Obama will be a one-term, Jimmy Carter-esque president. It's that stunning. Klein and Elliott leave no stone or acorn unturned as they peel away the layers of Obama's public face. The thing underneath is flat-out scary. There is original research into Obama's ACORN ties, his giddiness over black liberation theology (a hallmark of leftist ideology) and the mysterious "college years."

It's important to remember that Fletcher is writing at (and presumably getting paid by) WorldNetDaily -- whose editor and CEO has turned in a positive blurb for one of Fletcher's books and is selling said book at the WND store -- and praising a book by a WND reporters that is published by WND.

In other words, Fletcher's opinion can't be trusted.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:34 AM EST
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: Newsmax

In their morality, leftists are remarkably like Islamist radicals.

Islamists want the entire world ruled by a monolithic Caliphate theocracy, another flavor of collectivism.

And to achieve such domination over others, both leftists and Islamists are willing and eager to use both coercion and deceit.


But by leftist morality, it is virtuous to impose socialism and destroy capitalism. To them it makes no difference whether this is achieved by coercion, deceit, corruption or a coup d’etat against the Constitution and long-established Senate rules.

Under Barack Obama’s morality, the collective is everything and individuals like you are nothing.

Radical Democrats might share another value with radical Islamists. Both are ideologically zealous enough to become martyrs, throwing away their lives or careers to advance their collectivist cause.


The winning side of this culture war’s battle could determine whether the future of humankind for the next thousand years is collectivist or individualist. 

-- Lowell Ponte, March 4 Newsmax column

(By the way, reconciliation -- the process by which Democrats will apparently approve health care reform -- is not "a coup d’etat against ... long-established Senate rules"; it is in Senate rules.)

Posted by Terry K. at 11:23 PM EST
NewsBusters Pushes False Massa-Foley Comparison
Topic: NewsBusters

Brent Baker asserts in a March 5 NewsBusters post that "the allegations against [Democratic Rep. Eric] Massa of inappropriate same-sex harassment parallel those against [former Republican Rep. Mark] Foley toward subordinates."

No, they don't. Massa is accused of "inappropriate" behavior toward an single employee, while Foley sent numerous inappropriate emails and explicit instant messages to several teenage House pages. Further, the Foley scandal also involved the widespread failure of Republican members of Congress and their staffs to appropriately address Foley's behavior; by contrast, there's no evidence that Democratic congressional leadership tried to cover up Massa's alleged behavior.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:15 AM EST
CNS Embraces Smear of DOJ Lawyers
Topic: has chosen to serve as press agents for Liz Cheney's group Keep America Safe, with Fred Lucas spending two articles uncritically repeating the group's attacks on Department of Justice lawyers who once defended terrorism detainees, to the point of lovingly transcribing the group's video smear of the lawyers as thte "Al Qaeda 7."

What Lucas won't tell you, however, is that even prominent conservatives and former Justice Department lawyers in the Bush administration are turning against Cheney's tactics.

Or is conservatives criticizing the daughter of the vice president for acting McCarthy-esque not worthy of reporting at CNS? 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:41 AM EST
Friday, March 5, 2010
Kupelian: Obama Is Date-Raping America
Topic: WorldNetDaily

No, really. From David Kupelian's March 5 WorldNetDaily column:

The spectacle of a far leftist president literally forcing socialized medicine down the throat of an unwilling center-right America is reminiscent, perhaps more than any other contemporary metaphor, of date rape.

A man determined to have his way with a woman may start off seducing her with lies, flattery and the usual pretense of caring about her. But at a critical moment, when she says, "Stop, I'm not comfortable with this and don't want to go any further," he has a choice: Either do the right thing and back off, or abandon all prior pretensions and take her by force.

As president, Barack Obama courted us with sweet talk, but America grew increasingly uncomfortable with his advances and firmly said, "Stop" – in fact, screamed bloody murder for months. Yet Obama remains obsessed with forcing himself on America.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:14 PM EST
Cliff Kincaid, Conspiracy Arbiter
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid, in a two-part series, has declared himself arbiter of what are and aren't acceptable conspiracy theories to hold. Generally, anything that can be linked to liberals and commies is unacceptable -- "Communism was and is a conspiracy," he states -- while conservative conspiracies, like birtherism, are perfectly acceptable:

By releasing a copy of my own birth certificate, I have tried to demonstrate what other necessary information is lacking about Obama's birth. The only way to address these questions is to identify where exactly he was born, in what hospital, and what doctor was present. All of this information should be on an original birth certificate. There is some unexplained reason why this document has not been released. That is why the "birther" issue is still legitimate and why Beck and others should not cavalierly dismiss those like Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily who are willing to keep asking the hard questions.

So-called "conservatives" in the media, such as those mentioned in the Vogel Politico story who refuse to tolerate even the asking of serious questions about Obama's background, have either been intimidated by the liberal/left or are afraid of doing the hard work required to get answers. In any case, they are not part of any "conservative establishment" and have no claim of influence over the conservative media as a whole. Indeed, they give conservative journalism a bad name.

Kincaid also does a takedown of the Russia Today operation as a haven for conspiracists like Alex Jones:

Interestingly, Jones has become a regular on Russia Today (RT), the English-language state-owned TV propaganda channel for the Russian government. Last September Russia Today aired a three-part television series about 9/11 being an "inside job."

RT, which has a studio in Washington, D.C., broadcasts in New York, Los Angeles, and the Washington, D.C. area on various cable systems.

Russia Today's Anti-Americanism

More recently, RT has been taking out ads featuring superimposed images of President Barack Obama and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and asking "Who poses the greater nuclear threat?" The implication is that the U.S. nuclear arsenal is as much of a threat--or more--than nuclear weapons in the hands of Muslim fanatics in Iran.

Another RT ad compares U.S. military troops to Islamic terrorists.

Like its Soviet-era predecessors, Russia Today television tends to emphasize stories and interviews that make the United States look bad internationally. As Heritage Foundation scholars Ariel Cohen and Helle C. Dale note in a new study, "The Kremlin is using anti-Americanism as a strategic tool for pursuing domestic and foreign policy goals. Through media controlled or owned by the state, the Russian government is deliberately spreading poisonous anti-U.S. propaganda at home and abroad, blaming many of Russia's problems on the West, particularly the United States."

It's worth noting that, like fellow Kincaid target al-Jazeera, WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein has appeared on Russia Today: A Nov. 23 WND article touted how Klein planned to "debate a commentator from Iran" on the network. WND didn't mention Russia Today's state ownership, describing it positively as "a globally broadcast English-language news channel from Russia and the first all-digital Russian television network."

WND has also touted reports on Russia Today as part of its campaign to scaremonger about the H1N1 swine flu vaccine.

Kincaid has yet to call out Klein and WND for appearing on al-Jazeera. Will he criticize Klein for appearing on Russia Today? It's probably unlikely, since WND is valuable to him for its birther agitation.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:43 AM EST
Farah's Al Gore Derangement
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Is Joseph Farah still bitter that WorldNetDaily was caught making false claims about an associate of Al Gore and had to settle and apologize (and, we can presume, shell out cash to the associate who was lied about) just before it was to go to trial? It appears so.

Farah's March 3 column is one long harangue of Al Gore that laughably begins: "Which are you going to believe: Al Gore or your own eyes?" He's more trustworthy that WND has proven to be.

Since facts aren't his strong suit, Farah also perpetuates at least one lie about Gore, that he "once claimed credit for inventing the Internet. No, he didn't.

Farah goes on to call Gore a "two-bit charlatan," but Farah may as well be talking about himself.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:27 AM EST
CNS Embraces Bishops' False Claims on Abortion Funding

A March 1 article by Edwin Mora uncritically repeats the claim that "The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a 13-page document explaining why the Senate bill allows tax dollars to funded abortion," which states, "Of the two bills, only the House bill conforms to current law on abortion funding." But the bishops' statement misleads on one key claim.

The statement asserts that "Federal funds will make overall healthplans afforable for millions of new customers, who will then pay a nominal fee for full access to elective abortions -- estimated at 'not more than $1 per enrollee per month,'" further asserting that "insurers will requuire all enrollee to pay premiums for other people's abortions."

But it's not true that all enrollees would pay for abortion coverage they're not getting or subsidizing the abortions of others. As Slate's Timothy Noah explained:

If a health insurer selling through the exchanges wishes to offer abortion coverage—the federal government may not require it to do so, and the state where the exchange is located may (the bill states) pass a law forbidding it to do so—then the insurer must collect from each enrollee (regardless of sex or age) a separate payment to cover abortion. The insurer must keep this pool of money separate to ensure it won't be commingled with so much as a nickel of government subsidy.

Stupak is right that anyone who enrolls through the exchange in a health plan that covers abortions must pay a nominal sum (defined on Page 125 of the bill as not less than "$1 per enrollee, per month") into the specially segregated abortion fund. But Stupak is wrong to say this applies to "every enrollee." If an enrollee objects morally to spending one un-government-subsidized dollar to cover abortion, then he or she can simply choose a different health plan offered through the exchange, one that doesn't cover abortions. 

The bishops' statement also falsely asserts that the House bill's abortion provisions -- better known as the amendment introduced by Rep. Bart Stupak -- "conforms to current law on abortion funding," i.e., the Hyde amendment blocking federal funding of abortion. In fact, the Stupak amendment goes beyond Hyde by blocking insurance companies that take part in the health care reform bill's insurance exchange from offering any abortion coverage whatsoever, even if it is paid for by the policyholders' own money. 

Posted by Terry K. at 2:08 AM EST

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