Topic: Media Research Center
The MRC's Culture & Media Institute follows its parent in issuing reports using skewed evidence and that make questionable conclusions. Read more >>
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
WND Continues to Prove Farah A Liar
WorldNetDaily seems to be extremely determined to prove its own editor a liar.
We noted that editor Joseph Farah's assertion that "no one at WND to my knowledge has ever said Obama wasn't born in the U.S. or suggested he was born in Kenya" has been discredited (further, anyway) by WND's focus on media references claiming or suggesting Obama was born in Kenya.
WND has since published two more articles on the subject. At no point does writer Drew Zahn investigate the veracity of those making the claim. Nor does WND mention its own previous embrace of fake Kenyan birth certificates.Nor does Zahn report that claims that Obama was born in Kenya have been repeatedly discredited.
We'd call this shockingly dishonest behavior on Zahn's and WND's part, but sadly there's nothing shocking about it at all. Dishonsest behavior, especially on matters involving Obama, is WND's stock in trade.
Another Stealth Geller Column At Newsmax
Again we ask: If Newsmax is ashamed to publicize Geller's column, why publish it at all?
WND Petition Milestone Remains Murky
An April 10 WorldNetDaily article makes a big deal over WND's petition "demanding proof" Barack Obama is eligible to be president receiving more than 500,000 signatures. But WND's dishonesty on the issue makes it less big.
First, WND has offered no evidence that the signatures are genuine. As we've previously detailed, the signatures have been kept secret, and there's no apparent verification mechanism to prevent people from signing it more than once or the use of fictitious names. Further, signers apparently not screened for being of legal voting age, proof of voter registration, or even U.S. citizenship. Most importantly, there's no independent evidence provided to back up WND's claim about the number of signatures on the petition.
Second, the petition has been flirting with this milestone for months. A Novmeber, 29, 2009, WND article stated that the petition had "more than 480,000 signatures." Which means it took WND four months to gather (or invent) 20,000 signatures. That's not much of an achievement.
NewsBusters 'Editor's Pick' Is From Anti-Semitic Website
Among the "Editor's Picks" of outside article on the front page of NewsBusters is this story from a website called the European Union Times, which repeats a bizarre alleged claim by French President Nicolas Sarkozy that President Obama is going insane.
The boys at NewsBusters apparently didn't check out the EU Times before linking to it. As the Village Voice points out, the website is littered with anti-Semitic rantings and is reportedly registered to the wife of a racist skinhead gang member who was involved in a stabbing incident.
Of course, NewsBusters wasn't the only right-wing outlet to pounce on the story without checking out the website (or even investigating whether the claim is anywhere close to being correct). Other conservative blogs and even Fox Nation blindly went over the cliff with NewsBusters.
Look for NewsBusters to quickly make this link disappear without an explanation of why they found an unsupported claim newsworthy in the first place, let alone an explanation of its embrace of an anti-Semitic website.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
-- Barbara Simpson, April 12 WorldNetdaily column
NewsBusters' Sheppard Promotes Idea Obama is Anti-Semitic
NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard used an April 11 post to descend into far-right conspiracy territory by endorsing the idea that President Obama is anti-Semitic.
The post highlights a "Saturday Night Live" skit in which the person playing Obama highlights alleged questions in the census, one of which was, "Do you feel that Jews have too much influence on Wall Street and the media?" In context, of course, that's a joke, playing on the fears of some far-right extremists. Sheppard, of course, didn't see it that way: "Honestly, what kind of question was that? Wouldn't a lot of people find that anti-Semitic, or is my sense of humor lacking at the moment?"
Sheppard then updated the post to add a commenter's observation: "I think Armisen's Obama impression portrayed what Obama truly feels about Jews and about Israel and was not intended to be Armisen or SNL itself being anti-Semitic." Sheppard then asked: "Is he right? Was this a slam at Obama and not Jews?"
Sheppard obviously thinks so -- concurrently, Sheppard used his Twitter feed to affirmatively state what he suggested at NewsBusters: "Was Saturday Night Live actually mocking Obama's anti-Semitism with this sketch?"
We expect far-right outlets like WorldNetDaily to spread such hateful conspiracy theories. Should NewsBusters really be trying to get into that same credibility-destroying business?
Newsmax Repeats Flawed Study Attacking Stimulus
An April 12 Newsmax "Insider Report" item touts a study claiming that "congressional districts represented by a Democrat have received significantly more money from the $787 billion stimulus bill than those with a Republican representative":
But Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com points out that de Rugy's study is flawed because it ignores that many of the districts receiving the most funding contain state capitals, which tend to lean Democratic: "A lot of stimulus funds are distributed to state agencies, which are then responsible for allocating and administering the funds to the presumed benefit of citizens throughout the state. These state agencies, of course, are usually located in or near the state capital."
In a later post as part of an exchange with de Rugy, Silver also points out that de Rugy baselessly suggests the stimulus was deliberately designed to disproportionally benefit Democratic districts.
Dave Welch's Anti-Gay America
First, Welch bizarrely asserts that efforts to give gays legal protection under hate-crimes laws are "Marxist-driven." He sneeringly continues:
The then offers a"brief quiz" on "Which of the following two lists more closely reflect the overall condition of America today?"
Welch is highly reflective of the hatred, rivalry, factions, and envy parts of the first option.
NewsBusters Obscures Real Issue in Va. Confederate Proclamation
An April 7 NewsBusters post by Candance Moore was generally offended that "The national media are outraged this week by an announcement from Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell to observe April as Confederate History Month, and more specifically that "most energetic complaints came from the Washington Post, which published more than half a dozen pieces in the same day."
Moore tried to whitewash the situation by uncritically repeating McDonnell's defense that he was trying to "shore up Virginia's economy by emphasizing its historical significance," but at no point did she address the crux of the controversy: McDonnell's proclamation did not mention slavery.
Despite Moore's framing of the issue as part of the Post's purported vendetta against governor, McDonnell's omission was pretty much universally condemned across the political spectrum. Indeed, conservative writers took to the post to criticize it. Ramesh Ponnuru:
Will Moore criticize Ponnuru and Gerson as well?
Sunday, April 11, 2010
WND's Lamb Falsely Scaremongers About 'Obama's Private Army'
Henry Lamb scaremongers in his April 10 WorldNetDaily column:
In fact, as we detailed the last time WND fearmongered about this, even the conservative website Hot Air calls it baseless. The statute creating this reserve corps was first implemented in 1944, and the only significant thingthe health care reform did to it is increase its funding.
Lamb is being irresponsible. But he works for an irresponsible "news" outlet, so it's fitting.
Sheppard Endorses Sen. Coburn's Whining About Maddow
In an April 8 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard uncritically repeated a claim by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn in a Daily Caller interview that cited MSBC's Rachel Maddow as an example of how liberals "demonize people": "Look at Rachel Maddow. She comes at me on the basis of emotion. She demonizes me. I don't want conservatives to win on the basis of emotion. If we lower ourselves to the level they operate on, we hurt ourselves and our arguments."
Sheppard adds: "Tough to argue with that. In fact, this is very much what we see from liberal media members these days: attack the messenger NOT the message."
This is rather hilarious, since 1) neither Coburn nor Sheppard offer examples of how Maddow has "demonized" Coburn, thus engaging in the baseless demonization they accuse Maddow of perpetrating, and 2) Maddow has a reputation of being among the more intellectual commentators around and less than likely to argue "on the basis of emotion."
Sheppard rather hilariously concludes: "Maybe what this country needs is a more thoughtful, courteous approach to the debate over the direction of our nation without all the invective." You first, Noel.
WND Touts Anti-Gay Pediatricians Group
An April 8 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh touted "letters to thousands of school superintendents across the United States" sent by the American College of Pediatricians "with a warning that promoting – or 'affirming' – the homosexual lifestyle to young children can damage them." Unruh benignly described the ACP as "A professional organization for pediatricians" and "a nonprofit organization funded by members and donors," but Unruh made no effort to explain the anti-gay stance of the group.
The ACP was created in 2002 by a small group of anti-gay pediatricians upset with a policy statement by the mainstream, much larger American Academy of Pediatrics supporting adoptions by lesbian and gay parents.
Unruh goes on to promote ACP's "Facts About Youth" website, uncritically repeating the ACP's claim that it is a "non-political, non-religious channel." Unruh also uncritically repeated some of the website's claims about homosexuality -- including advocacy of therapy for "adolescents experiencing same-sex attraction" -- making no effort to contact anyone for a contrary view.
In fact, the Facts About Youth website contains numerous false and misleading claims that Unruh fails to identify. Warren Throckmorton reports:
Thropckmorton goes on to note that ACP misrepresents one researcher on the subject of change therapy, who states that his words "have been juxtaposed in a way that suggests a somewhat different conclusion that I intended."
Alvin McEuen at Pam's House Blend details even more misleading claims, including its reproduction of a Canadian study about the life spans of gays. As we noted when Molotov Mitchell cited it, that study's research took place from 1987 to 1992, before HIV treatments became widely available. McEuen points out a letter written by the study's researchers noting that anti-gay groups who highlight the study "appear more interested in restricting the human rights of gay and bisexuals rather than promoting their health and well being" and that "if we were to repeat this analysis today the life expectancy of gay and bisexual men would be greatly improved."
We've documented Unruh's sloppy, biased and incomplete reporting, as well as WND's anti-gay agenda. Which makes it sadly unsurprising that Unruh has no interest in acting like a real reporter -- even though he was one for the Associated Press at one time -- and tell both sides of the story.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
WND Columnist Hides White Supremacist's History of Violence (And His White Supremacism, Too)
Ilana Mercer's April 9 WorldNetDaily column is dedicated to lionizing South African white supremacist Eugene Terreblanche, who was killed by two black farmhands. Mercer describes Terreblache's death as part of "the black onslaught against white South African farmers," lamenting "The dehumanization of the victim" and complaining that "Based on hearsay – and their abiding sympathy for savages – news media across the West are insisting that the motive for the murder was a 'labor dispute.'"
Mercer, meanwhile, is utterly silent on who Terreblanche was, other than a "farmer" and "leader of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB) that seeks the establishment of a homeland for the Afrikaners of South Africa." The AWB is a militant, right-wing, white supremacist group perhaps most notorious for invading the South African black homeland of Bophuthatswana, reportedly killing at least 37 people. The AWB logo resembles the Nazi swastika. As we've previously detailed (along with other examples of AWB violence), former WND columnist Anthony LoBaido was an AWB sympathizer.
Mercer makes no mention of the white supremacism of Terreblanche and the AWB. Terreblanche short prison sentence for attempted murder for beating a black security guard into a coma, leaving him with permanent brain damage.
Historical racial tensions in South Africa aside, Terreblanche reaped what he sowed; he led a violent life destined to end in a violent death. But Mercer doesn't want you to know anything about that.
That whitewashing puts Mercer in league with her fellow far-right terrorist sympathizer at WND, Aaron Klein.
Flashback: WND's Brief Dalliance With Westboro Baptist
Dual WorldNetDaily columns by Ann Coulter and Chrissy Satterfield denouncing the soldier-funeral-picketing haters at the Westboro Baptist Church got us to recalling a time when WND wasn't quite as down on Fred Phelps and his crew.
As we detailed in 2006, WND positively portrayed a Fox News appearance by Westboro protester Shirley Phelps-Roper in which she argued with host Julie Banderas. WND dispassionately described her as "who believes America's sinful behavior has resulted in God's cursings rather than blessings" and her church as an "anti-homosexual church" before mentioning the funeral protests. It seems that WND was attracted by Westboro's anti-gay behavior -- WND, after all, is anti-gay too.
This apparent trial balloon went over like a lead-filled one with WND's readers. As we noted, the lead answer on a WND opt-in poll about the on-air altercation was "Julie's comments were over the top, but the protests at funerals of dead U.S soldiers are even more disturbing," and the three letters WND ran about the story were all critical of Phelps-Roper, calling her "a disgrace and a psychopath," a "cult leader" and a "self-righteous, hateful, name-calling woman."
It wasn't until two years later, when the Westboro folks picketed the funeral of Bush White House press secretary Tony Snow that anyone at WND felt moved to condemn the group. That's right -- it took a prominent conservative being targeted by the church for WND to screw up the courage to denouce it as "infamous."
It took way too long for WND to come around, but it has at last joined the voices from across the political spectrum who agree (publicly, anyway) that the Westboro clan is a bunch of odious haters.
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