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Monday, May 10, 2010
CNS, Newsmax Repeat False Attacks on Kagan

The ConWeb seems to think that quoting from press releases equates to journalism.

A May 10 Newsmax article is solely dedicated to a rewritten press release from the right-leaning Center for Military Readiness, which claims that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan has shown "deliberate hostility" toward the military, adding, "It is unfortunate that President Barack Obama has chosen to replace the only military veteran on the Supreme Court with a nominee whose only significant record indicates deliberate hostility and opposition to laws protecting the culture and best interests of the American military."

In fact, Kagan is not only not "hostile" to the military, she has repeatedly praised it.

Meanwhile, a May 10 article by Susan Jones uncriticzlly forwards the complaints by "conservative groups" about Kagan, including the false claim she has "anti-military views." Jones also cites Kagan's "lack of judicial experience" without noting that the last justice with no judicial experience was William Rehnquist, or that the chief reason Kagan has no judicial experience is because Republicans blocked her nomination for two years in the 1990s.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:38 PM EDT
WND's Klein Misleads on Kagan
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As is his wont, Aaron Klein tries his best to smear yet another member of the Obama administration by unleashing false and misleading attacks on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.

In one May 10 article, Klein rehashes right-wing attacks on Kagan without identifying any of the groups he cited by their political ideology. These include an assertion by the right-wing Move America Forward that Kagan is "radically anti-military" -- a claim that is utterly false.

In another article, Klein purports to read the contents of Kagan's mind when she was a college student, baselessly claiming that in her Princeton undergraduate thesis, Kagan "lamented the decline of socialism in the country as "sad" for those who still hope to 'change America.'" In fact, Kagan never claimed in her thesis that she personally supported socialism, and Klein is lying when he suggests she did.

UPDATE: Klein tosses out yet another misleading claim in a new article -- that Kagan "argued certain forms of speech that promote 'racial or gender inequality' could be 'disappeared.'" It's not until the fourth paragraph that Klein notes Kagan is referring to the "uncoerced disappearance" of such speech [emphasis ours].

Posted by Terry K. at 8:03 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 10, 2010 10:24 PM EDT
Kessler Falsely Suggests Obama Hid Health Reform Report
Topic: Newsmax

Ronald Kessler writes in his May 6 Newsmax column regarding a Department of Heatlh and Human Services report claiming that the cost of the health care reform bill will be higher than originally estimated:

Richard S. Foster, the chief actuary of Medicare and Medicaid who prepared the report, says the reason his analysis did not come out before the bill was passed is that he “didn’t have access to the reconciliation legislation itself until it was publicly issued on March 18, which was three days before the House vote took place on March 21. Because of the complexity of the reconciliation changes, it wasn’t possible to estimate the package prior to the vote.”

In other words, the White House, which claims to endorse transparency, had no interest in telling the public the real costs of the bill until after it was passed. Otherwise, it would have made sure that Foster received the appropriate information in time to prepare an analysis.


Now it turns out Obama misled the country about a measure that affects one-fifth of the economy, yet there is no outrage except from Republicans. The news media have treated the story as a non-event.

The New York Times played the story on Foster’s report on page A8. The Washington Post and USA Today did not run a story. With the exception of Fox News, none of the networks touched it.

If Obama were a company that advertised such false claims, the Federal Trade Commission would take action. If Obama were a Republican, the news media would play his deception as a scandal.

But Obama is neither. He is a pitchman who has victimized the American people with his sham reform.

The idea that the Obama administration conspired to withhold the report until after the vote -- first promoted by an anonymous report in the American Spectator and repeated by Newsmax -- has been discredited.

Further, the report that was eventually released is, according to Time magazine, "nearly identical" to Foster's report on the Senate health reform bill -- which was issued in January. If you'll recall, the House voted on the Senate reform bill; the updated report reflects changes made in the accompanying reconciliation bill that the Senate later approved.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:29 PM EDT
Newsmax's False Headline
Topic: Newsmax

A May 9 Newsmax article on pay for military personnel carries the headline: "Outrage: Obama Administration Targets Military for Pay Reductions."

That headline is a lie. As the Washington Post article that Newsmax based its article on states, The Obama administration is not proposing a "pay reduction" for military personnel, it is proposing a smaller pay increase than Congress:

The Pentagon wants a pay raise of 1.4 percent for service members next year, an increase based on the Employment Cost Index, which the Labor Department uses to measure private-sector salary increases. Congress, as it has for the past several years, has indicated it favors a slightly bigger bump, of 1.9 percent.

Proposing a smaller raise is not proposing a "pay reduction."

UPDATE: On her Facebook page, Sarah Palin links to the Newsmax story and repeats the false headline: "Soldier pay decreases in the midst of overspending elsewhere and government union pay raises? Seriously? What are our priorities?"

Posted by Terry K. at 9:45 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 10, 2010 7:42 PM EDT
CNS Corrects (One) False Claim

A May 6 article (as posted at Free Republic) by Fred Lucas carried the headline, "Gibbs Can't Say, Won’t Check, If Obama Used Sexual Slur Against Tea Party Activists." The article began, "White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said he did not know and could not imagine asking President Barack Obama whether he used the vulgar sexual term 'tea baggers' to describe Americans active in the Tea Party movement."

But Lucas didn't tell the whole story -- as the transcript of the May 6 White House press briefing shows, Gibbs added, "I can’t imagine I’m going to ask the President that. But I will entertain it. ... I will check."

So  CNS had to walk it back. Lucas' article now begins with a correction: 

Correction: An initial posting of this story by Fred Lucas had incorrectly reported that White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in his Thursday, May 6, 2010 press briefing that he would not check if President Barack Obama had used the term “tea baggers” to describe activists in the Tea Party movement. In response to a question about whether President Obama had used the term tea baggers, Gibbs actually said, “I can’t imagine I’m going to ask the President that. But I will entertain it.” Gibbs later added, “I will check.” 

So CNS does make corrections after all. It still hasn't corrected Matt Cover's false claim that when then-Transportation Security Administration director nominee Erroll Southers referred to some groups that post a domestic security threat as being "Christian-identity oriented,"he was referring to a specific extremist group called Christian Identity and not to Christianity in general.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:24 AM EDT
WND's Meaningless New Anti-'Amnesty' Scheme
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has a new money-making scheme.

In the tradition of its dubious and factually inaccurate "pink slip" campaign, WND has concocted a new letter-writing campaign designed to fleece its readers. This time, WND will send a letter on your behalf to all 100 senators that opposes "amnesty" for illegal immigrants.

Just one problem: At no point in the letter or the WND article promoting it is "amnesty" defined. The article suggests that "comprehensive immigration reform" is the same thing as "amnesty," but it offers no explanation of why this is so. Instead, we're treated to Joseph Farah ranting that "Amnesty will tear this country apart" and "Americans will not accept the destruction of their country lying down."

Farah will, however, shamlessly embrace making a buck off of people's fears.

WND is also playing the same numbers game it did with the "pink slip" campaign, promoting the number of letters issued rather than the (unimpressive) number of people WND has fleeced to send them. It's now touting that it's sent "50,000 individual letters to senators in the first week"; if you do your math and divide that by 100, that's only 500 people who have taken part.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:54 AM EDT
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Newsmax Email Makes False Claim About Obama
Topic: Newsmax

A May 6 email to Newsmax's mailing list contains the following subject line: "Insider: Obama May Stop All Oil-Drilling, Wants Lithium."

But the email itself -- a third-party promotion hyping the stock of a company involved with the "miracle mineral" lithium -- doesn't make that claim. Heck, it doesn't even mention Obama at all. And the only mention of oil is in a claim that lithium will "get us off foreign oil sold to us by people who hate us."

So who's responsible for making this utterly false and completely unsubstantiated claim about Obama? Given that the email itself doesn't make this claim, suspicion must fall on Newsmax. It's previously harnessed Obama-bashing to make a buck through shilling investment schemes, so why wouldn't it toss out a casual, libelous smear to plug someone's stock?

Posted by Terry K. at 10:58 PM EDT
CNS Twists Pelosi's Words

The headline of the May 6 article by Edwin Mora blares: "Pelosi: It’s Cheaper to Treat Teens for Drug Use Than Interdict Drugs at Border." The statement is repeated in the first paragraph of Mora's article.

Mora and CNS are twisting Pelosi's words. They have framed the article to suggest that Pelosi doesn't support interdicting drugs at the border and endorses drug use among teens, which of course is completely false. Mora knows that too -- but he doesn'ty report the full truth until farther down in the article. It's not until the ninth paragraph that he puts Pelosi's words in their proper context: "To solve the drug problem, she said, requires reducing demand."

And it's not until the very end that Mora notes the actual question he asked of Pelosi: "Madame Speaker, the Justice Department has reported that one in five teenagers used illicit drugs last year and that most of those drugs came across the border from Mexico. Are you committed to sealing the border against the influx of illegal drugs from Mexico and, if so, do you have a target date in mind for getting that done?"

It's a gotcha question, its goal to illogically equate not "sealing the border" with endorsing teen drug use. Such a question penalizes any nuanced answer, and that's exactly what Mora does to Pelosi.

The dozens of outraged comments at the end of the article show that Mora's word-twisting had the intended effect of inflaming anti-Pelosi hatred.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:00 AM EDT
WND's Shameless Bizarro World
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Sometimes you gotta look in awe at the utter shamelessness of WorldNetDaily.

WND devoted an entire story to the satirical suggestion by a "conspiracy website" that a promotion for Aaron Klein's conspiracy-laden, birther-promoting, Obama-bashing book caused the recent stock market "flash crash."

WND also performs a bit of cleverness that the rest of us would call a false claim. The "conspiracy website" WND is referring to,, is not a "conspiracy website"; rather, it debunks conspiracy theories -- like WND's long-held belief that Obama is not an American citizen.

This means that WND is bizarrely suggesting that the people telling the truth about Obama are the real conspiracy theorists. Talk about Bizarro World...

Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 AM EDT
Saturday, May 8, 2010
WND Falsely Links Allegedly Coerced Abortion to Non-Existent 'Death Panels'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

From a March 6 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh:

A longtime veteran of the battle against abortion in the United States says the case of a Philadelphia teen who reportedly was coerced into a late-term abortion by a social services agency can be blamed on government's so-called "death panels."

The issue of "death panels" came up during debate over the Democrats' health-care reform law. Critics said the plan, signed into law in March, included government boards that would approve or refuse certain medical services for some patients.

"Obamacare" supporters denied that such panels existed or would exist, but Troy Newman, president of the pro-life Operation Rescue organization, said the Philadelphia case is evidence they already exist and are operating.

Let's unpack the mendacity, shall we?

Unruh is lying about the existence of "government boards that would approve or refuse certain medical services for some patients." Unruh's couching it in the weasel words of "critics say" is dishonest; at no point does he explain exactly how those "government boards" constitute "death panels," nor does he report the actual truth: there is no such thing as "death panels" in the bill.

Even if the "death panels" did exist as right-wingers like Unruh claim they do, the Philadelphia case would not have fallen under their purview. Since WND's reporting is so untrustworthy, we consulted Unruh's original source, the Philadelphia Daily News, which appears to confirm the basic facts. Unsurprisingly, Unruh fails to tell the whole story, filing to mention that the Daily News also reported "a source familiar with the case insisted that the girl was not coerced and that her foster mother, whose first language is Spanish, did not understand the conversation between the girl and the DHS worker."

If true, such alleged coercion raises ethical questions within the Philadelphia Department of Human Services. But coercion is not "approving or refusing certain medical services."

But WND is Obama Hate Central, and Unruh embraces his opening claim like he's contractually obligated to smear the president.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:44 PM EDT
Newsmax's Ponte Still Lying About MEChA
Topic: Newsmax

Lowell Ponte just can't stop lying about MEChA.

In his May 6 Newsmax column about an incident in which a California high school sent four students home for wearing American flag-emblazoned clothing during the school's Cinco de Mayo -- celebrated by "Mexican-American students" he declared to be "brainwashed" -- once again described the Hispanic group MEChA as a "radical organization" that is "working for the reconquest of the Southwest."

As we detailed the last time Ponte made this claim, MEChA has never advocated such a thing in real life, and its references to reconquista are only spiritual.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:10 AM EDT
Klein's Co-Author Not Taking Criticism Well
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Brenda J. Elliott, co-author of Aaron Klein's WorldNetDaily-published (and problematic) anti-Obama tome "The Manchurian President," doesn't like what we wrote about her PR agent. After highlighting a blogger who claimed Klein's book "is being shunned and bastardized by the conglomerate media and their 'Handlers'" (while misspelling the name of Tim McVeigh and the name of the building he blew up), Elliott writes:

The reference may also be to the hideously ridiculous suggestion made by George Soros-funded, Media Matters/ConWebWatch lackey Terry Krepel’s Cass Sunstein-inspired nudge-toward-the-exits piece, WND’s PR Agent Torpedoes Her Career. Enough said.

We're not even sure what that means. But whatever it means, it's clear Elliott doesn't understand what we wrote. So here's another stab at it.

Maria Sliwa's job as a PR agent is to schmooze the media into giving attention to whatever it is you're promoting. If you instead publicize the negative reaction by certain members of the media to what you're promoting in order to make them look bad, however petty that reaction might be, you have set up a situation in which these media members will not promote anything you're involved in, simply because you are involved. You have, therefore, failed as a PR person. Having worked in the newspaper industry, I know I would not be interested in dealing with a PR agent who made me look bad in public.

Plus, as I already noted, in defending her behavior, Sliwa proclaimed herself to be a liberal -- a political philosophy anathema to Joseph Farah and WND. She has given WND a reason never to hire her again -- try to find a liberal anywhere else on the WND payroll -- and, since she betrayed trust among members  of the media, promoting anything else, even a non-WND product, has become increasingly difficult. Thus, Sliwa has failed twice.

If we're wrong, perhaps Elliott or Sliwa could explain instead of offering illogical ridicule.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, May 8, 2010 1:08 PM EDT
Friday, May 7, 2010
Is Robert Ringer Advocating Violence Against Obama?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Robert Ringer writes in his May 7 WorldNetDaily column:

So, is Chairman Obama a communist or a mere socialist? No one can say with certainty what's in his heart, but my own feeling is that he would quite enjoy establishing a totalitarian government where the state owns all means of production with the aim of establishing a stateless society.


Don't allow your logic to get sidetracked by oil spills, union-inspired riots in Arizona, or BHO's wisecracks at elegant media functions about his birth certificate and his socialist policies. What is happening in Washington is not just another little shift to the left. It's a prelude to the coming insurrection.

If you don't believe me, by all means feel free to join the walking dead and cheer on BHO and his comrades as they continue with their plan to nationalize whole industries and collapse the U.S. economy through deficit spending.

Make no mistake about it: Criminal government in Washington is on a roll and moving forward at full throttle – and its momentum can be stopped only by a defiant and vigilant populace, a populace that clearly understands there is no last communist.

Wake up, America!

Given that it is illogical for a seated president to be described as leading an insurrection -- the word is defined as "an act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government" -- Ringer appears to be advocating an "insurrection" against Obama. And given his use of charged words like "insurrection" and "defiant," Ringer would likely not be disppointed if the "insurrection" he's calling for is armed and violent-- especially given that Ringer defines Obama as among the "one-third of the population" who "get their inspiration from M.M.M. (Mass Murderer Mao), and the barrel of a gun as the final arbiter is ingrained in their twisted minds."

Posted by Terry K. at 8:29 PM EDT
'The Manchurian President,' Dissected
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've had the distinct pleasure of fact-checking Aaron Klein's WorldNetDaily-published book "The Manchurian President" -- and we found a mishmash of false and misleading claims, conspiracy theories, an embrace of birtherism, and a heavy dose of guilt by assocation (despite Klein's claim in the book's introduction that "We do not believe in 'guilt by association'").

Read our report at Media Matters.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:17 PM EDT
Harvey Revives Discredited Attack on Jennings
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a May 6 WorldNetDaily column castigating Goldman Sachs for being "a major donor to GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network," Linda Harvey revives an old, discredited smear about GLSEN founder Kevin Jennings, claiming that he "wrote about one incident as a teacher where he apparently condoned sex between a teen boy and an adult male."

As we've detailed, that's a malicious distortion of events -- the student in question has stated that he was 16 (and thus of legal age of consent) at the time of his counseling by Jennings, and has also stated that he had "no sexual contact with anybody at the time."

Harvey also misleads about GLSEN's list of recommended books for students on gay issues: "The 'Book Link' on the GLSEN site lists resources the organization recommends to "support" students. I reviewed selected books from the list and found jaw-dropping descriptions of grade-school masturbation, student porn use, explicit teen heterosexual and homosexual episodes, gender-bending, homosexual hook-ups via the Internet and sex between underage teens and adults. All were described either positively or neutrally, as if this conduct is typical, manageable, legal and low-risk." Harvey fails to mention that the list is accompanied by a statement in big red type that "We recommend that adults selecting books for youth review content for suitability."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:47 PM EDT

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