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Sunday, June 6, 2010
Corsi's Anonymous Smear
Topic: WorldNetDaily

This is from a June 5 WorldNetDaily article by Jerome Corsi:

A top adviser to President Obama is the contact person within the White House for communications with the Free Gaza Movement over plans to challenge Israel's blockade of the terrorist Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, according to a reputable source close to the Netanyahu government.

The source, a career official whose reliability was established through his tips for the book, "Why Israel Can't Wait," identified John O. Brennan, deputy national security adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism, as the contact.

The allegation raises the bizarre possibility that the Free Gaza Movement's flotilla action in the Mediterranean was being coordinated with the White House, something that would align with a shift in U.S. policy toward Israel being debated within the Obama administration.

Mike Hammer, a National Security Council spokesman, told WND flatly the report "is not true."

Sorry, Jerry -- anonymous sources don't cut it in real journalism -- remember, Corsi's boss, Joseph Farah, says that anonymous sources are used for "quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better," so it appears Corsi may have broken WND's own anonymous-sources policy.

At no point does Corsi explain why his source is anonymous or what exactly the source claimed in Corsi's book "Why Israel Can't Wait" that makes him so "reputable." If Corsi can't explain why his source is anonymous, why trust him?

Later in his article, Corsi continued his attacks on Brennan by asserting that "Brennan tilts toward Islam," citing as evidence of this that "Brennan commented that using 'a legitimate term, 'jihad,' meaning to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal' to describe terrorists 'risks reinforcing the idea that the United States is somehow at war with Islam itself.'" Corsi does not explain how that translates into Brennan "tilting toward Islam," especially when President Bush has made similar statements about the nature of jihad.

In all, it's another piece of biased crap from Corsi. Who would expect anything more from him?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:01 PM EDT
The MRC's Double Standard on Adultery Accusations
Topic: Media Research Center

It's kinda cute how the boys at the Media Research Center are getting so annoyed by reports that South Carolina Republican gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley had an affair.

Tim Graham whined that the accusation is "unproven" and lacks "details or proof," later insisted that the charge is "unsubstantiated." TimesWatch's Clay Waters lamented that the charges are being reported in the media "without substance like emails or phone messages." Scott Whitlock asserted that MSNBC "didn't let lack of proof stand in the way of interviewing a man claiming he had an affair with a conservative favorite." Mark Finkelstein suggested that the story is not worthy of coverage because "Haley has categorically denied the allegations" and that those making the allegations are "men with possible political axes to grind."

This, as we've noted, not only runs counter to the MRC's previous enthusiastic promotion of adultery allegations against Bill Clinton despite substantiation -- indeed, the MRC was upset that "the national media" wasn't digging deeply enough into "the questions surrounding Clinton's personal life" -- it also runs counter to the MRC's enthusiastic promotion of adultery allegations against John Edwards long before there was any credible substantiation of it.

As we detailed at the time, the MRC was flogging the affair even though the only thing approaching evidence they had at the time was a National Enquirer story. P.J. Gladnick complained that the media was "maintain[ing] their silence on the alleged John Edwards scandal, and was later upset that the supermarket tabloid was not considered a reliable news source. And Brent Bozell later praised the "New Media" -- of which the Enquirer is apparently a part -- for spreading the rumors despite a lack of actual evidence.

All of which, of course, ran against the MRC's previous denouncement of salacious allegations against Republican politicians as "rumor and gossip, fit to print only for the likes of the National Enquirer."

It seems that the MRC's ethics on such things are situational, invoked only when they can used to forward its right-wing agenda. That makes the MRC a somewhat effective political organization -- not someplace to turn for serious media analysis.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:44 AM EDT
WND's Bilderberg Freak-Out
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The Bilderbergers have long been one of WorldNetDaily's favorite conspiracies, and WND took the opportunity to flog the conspiracy yet again in a May 25 article by Bob Unruh:

Once considered a "conspiracy" theory, the secretive story of the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission and Bilderbergs – tycoons worth more than the combined wealth of all Americans – will be told in public before the European Parliament.

Daniel Estulin, author of the hot-selling book, "The True Story of the Bilderberg Group," has been invited to present an unprecedented speech before the European Parliament in Brussels June 1 on the subject of the secretive cabal.

"This is an opportunity to bring Bilderberg into the mainstream," Estulin said. "A subject that was once considered to be in the domain of conspiracy theories is now being taken very seriously indeed."

He was invited to speak by Mario Borghezio, Italy's most senior member of the parliament, considered one of the most powerful legislative bodies in the world.

He compared his address there to an invitation to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress, a rare honor for anyone outside the ranks of the government.

Well, actually, not so much. Richard Bartholomew points out that Borghezio is less known as "Italy's most senior member of the parliament" and more know for being a right-wing nutjob who associates with fascists and burned down the tents of immigrants. Further, Bartholomew adds, Estulin's little presentation was not made "before the European Parliament," as Unruh claims, but as a press conference in the EU headquarters.

A May 30 WND article by Drew Zahn followed up by tout Estulin's claims that the Bilderbergerers engineered the world financial crisis. (Of course, WND is selling Estulin's book.)

A June 1 WND article by Unruh reported on Estulin's actual presentation -- based on "the text of his remarks," since it appears WND didn't send anyone to cover it --  uncritically repeating Estulin's ranting:

"The idea behind each and every Bilderberg meeting is to create what they themselves call the aristocracy of purpose between European and North American elites on the best way to manage the planet. In other words, the creation of a global network of giant cartels, more powerful than any nation on Earth, destined to control the necessities of life of the rest of humanity, obviously from their vantage point, for our own good and in our benefit – the great unwashed as they call us," he said.

Sometimes, he said, this power comes through the destruction of economies.

"They are destroying the world economy on purpose," he explained. "This isn't the first time either. This was done in the 14th century New Dark Age: 30 percent of the population wiped out."

As Bartholomew points out, Estulin is suggesting here that the Black Death was deliberately spread. Bartholomew also notes an interview Estulin did with state-owned Russia Today (also a favorite of WND), in which he claimed that the Bilderbergers descend from the "Venetian Black Nobility," whatever the heck that means.

Its treatment of such conspiracy-mongering as serious reporting -- not to mention misleading about the nature of Estulin's presenatation -- is yet another reason why WND should never, ever be treated as a legitimate news source.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:33 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, June 6, 2010 12:34 AM EDT
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Your Economic Lesson of the Day
Topic: WorldNetDaily

I tend to be a target at limousine-liberal gatherings, and, sure enough, a middle-aged gentleman of means came up to me and, from out of the blue, blurted, "Capitalism is the most evil system ever invented."

Displaying my finest George Will deadpan expression, I asked how an intelligent, successful gentleman like him had managed to arrive at such a fascinating conclusion. To which he groused, "Under capitalism, the poor are exploited by the rich." Yikes – it was the ghost of Vladimir Lenin!

Masochist that I am, I asked him to define the terms "rich" and "poor" for me, but he simply waived aside my question as though it were frivolous. My acquaintance's wife then intervened and admonished us that political discussions were forbidden in her house, thus preventing a Sunday afternoon homicide.

Darn. I didn't even get a chance to see the expression on his face had I been able to lay this one on him: The gap between the rich and the poor is supposed to increase under capitalism! It's built into the system.

But also built into the system is the fact that almost everyone is better off under capitalism. Why? Because trickle-down economics really does work.

-- Robert Ringer, June 5 WorldNetDaily column

Posted by Terry K. at 11:41 PM EDT
WND Skews Sestak Story, Ignores Debunking
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Of course WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah would call for the impeachment of President Obama over conversations with Joe Sestak -- that's how he makes his money. (He has bumper stickers to sell, after all.)

The dirty little secret behind Farah's manufactured outrage, though, is that WND has hidden from its readers any evidence that the Sestak conversation is not illegal.

Nowhere in Farah's impeachment screed -- or in purported "news" articles on the Sestak non-scandal -- is it mentioned that numerous legal experts have stated that federal statutes were not violated, or that the Bush and Reagan administrations also offered jobs to politicians in exchange for quitting race.

It's yet another case in which WND has demonstrated an inability to tell the truth. (WND's repeated lies about Obama are but another example.)

In his eagerness to smear Obama at every possible opportunity , Farah has abandoned any pretense of journalism, and he cannot claim to operate a "news" operation. He, and his website, are nothing but a sad, rage-filled joke.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 AM EDT
Friday, June 4, 2010
Farah Admits He 'Can't Believe' What He Reads At His Own Website
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah writes in his June 2 WorldNetDaily column:

I have to admit it.

Sometimes I read WND headlines and can't believe what I am reading.

That's no reflection on the competence of my staff.

We know the feeling. But Farah is wrong on that last point -- it is precisely because of the competence of his staff (or, more accurately, the lack thereof) that you can't believe anything you read at WND.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:57 PM EDT
Sycophantic Kessler Defends Bush's Pronunction of 'Nuclear'
Topic: Newsmax

Ronald Kessler was always in the tank for President Bush, so it's no surprise to see he still is. But it's still a bit bracing to see Kessler be so sycophantic to Bush that he's defending the former president's mispronuciation of "nuclear."

No, really. From Kessler's June 3 Newsmax column:

From the way he walked to the way he talked, Bush was the butt of constant derision by the press. Every action he took to protect America was portrayed as a sinister plot.

Bush’s pronunciation of “nuclear” was cause for constant tittering in the media. In fact, pronouncing the word NOO-kyoo-ler is a Southern rendering similar to Jimmy Carter’s NOOK-ee-yuh. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists the way Bush pronounced nuclear as an alternate, even including that version in an audio clip on its website.

Of course, "ain't" is in the dictionary, but that doesn't make it correct or proper English.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:10 PM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Still, in what parallel universe would a guy who boasted that the high point of his career was that he'd been a community organizer be elected the leader of the free world? After stating that the trouble with the U.S. Constitution and the civil-rights movement was that they didn't deal with the redistribution of the nation's wealth, I wonder how it is he got a thousand votes, let alone 62 million. He was also the chowder-head who, after saying that America was the greatest nation on earth, insisted that it was his mission to radically transform it!

Frankly, I think it was a classic case of Pygmalionism. Americans, thanks in great part to the most rancid media this side of China, were mesmerized by the mantra of Hope and Change. Voters were encouraged to think of politics in terms of a fairy tale, as if Obama was Prince Charming and that empty slogan was code for "And they all lived happily ever after."

The more Obama talked, the more, it seemed, poor, ugly men were lulled into thinking they'd become rich and handsome, while homely women came away believing they'd become beautiful and be pursued by rich, handsome men.

Pygmalionism, as you probably guessed, is the state of being in love with an object of one's own making. These days, it's also known as Obamaism.

The confounding aspect of all this is how so many people who regard religion as a sham, and who have nothing but contempt for Christianity and Judaism, continue to believe that Obama is the messiah.  

-- Burt Prelutsky, June 4 WorldNetDaily column

Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 PM EDT
CNS' Biased Approach: An Illustration

A June 2 article by Jane McGrath on President Obama declaration of June as LGBT Pride Month, in which he noted "his commitment to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act," contained reaction from not one but two representatives of right-wing organizations to criticize Obama for, inbthe words of one activist, "pushing ... Gay transgender stuff and gays in the military."

By contrast, a June 2 CNS article by Fred Lucas on House Republicans who "sent a letter to the White House counsel Wednesday saying they believe that a memorandum the counsel released Friday purporting to explain the administration’s actions in offering to appoint Rep. Joe Sestak (D.-Pa.) to a federal position in exchange for Sestak declining to make a Democratic primary run against Sen. Arlen Specter (D.-Pa.) presents a set of facts that appear to violate the law" -- specifically, "18 U.S.C. Sections 211, 595 and 600" -- without noting the numerous legal experts who have said those statues were not violated.

Nor did Lucas endeavor to explain what difference, if any there is between the Obama administration's conversations with Sestak and Karl Rove's reported offer of a Cabinet post to Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, or the Reagan administration's reported job offer to Sen. S.I. Hayakawa in exchange for dropping out of an election.

UPDATE: A June 4 article by Lucas referred to the Obama administration "discuss[ing] alternative jobs with at least two Democratic Senate candidates to 'clear the field' for President Obama's chosen prospects" without mentioning that Rove and the Reagan administration did exactly the same thing.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:24 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 10, 2010 1:23 PM EDT
Too Stupid, Even For NewsBusters
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein managed to top his notorious 2006 post speculating that Matt Lauer was a Palestinian sympathizer for wearing a checkered scarf. How? By declaring in a June 3 post that the World Cup soccer ball, as used on the cover of Time, "seems strikingly like that of the Obama logo."

We'll outsource the mocking to Media Matters' Simon Maloy, who later goes on to note that NewsBusters was apparently so embarrassed by Finkelstein's post that it was removed from the front page (though not completely deleted).

Posted by Terry K. at 2:14 AM EDT
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Bill O'Reilly to Help Promote Latest Newsmax Scheme
Topic: Newsmax

We’ve previously detailed how Newsmax uses anti-Obama scaremongering (and Dick Morris) to sell its financial schemes. Now Newsmax is apparently cooking up another scheme -- and it has enlisted another Fox News personality to help sell it.

A June 3 email sent to Newsmax’s mailing list promotes something called the “Economic Crisis Summit,” starring Morris (of course), but also “Premier Guest” Bill O’Reilly:

The purpose of the “summit” is described this way:
What is the Economic Crisis Summit?

On June 17, an esteemed panel led by Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly and Dick Morris, along with global investor Jim Rogers and Newsmax CEO and Editor in Chief Christopher Ruddy, will convene to discuss inflation, higher taxes, our fragile economy, and real solutions that average Americans can take to ensure their wealth is safeguarded and positioned to prosper in an uncertain future.

Call it a hunch, but we suspect that Newsmax also wants to sell you something during this event.

As is standard practice with these things, Newsmax engages in anti-Obama fearmongering -- much of it misleading or outright false -- to whip up outrage and draw people into the “summit.” For instance, there’s this passage:

President Obama Will Usher in One of the Most Massive Tax Increases in History on December 31!

This is when the Bush tax cuts expire.

An immediate 10 percent tax increase across the board will strike citizens of all income categories.

He knows the capital gains tax will rise by almost 50 percent and the tax on dividends as much as 250 percent!

His Obamacare plan already calls for more taxes, including a $28,000 tax increase for millions of Americans.

And now Obama is openly talking about a new “value-added tax” which would be tantamount to a national sales tax. It is clear that the mentality of both the Obama White House and the Pelosi-run Democratic Congress is pro-taxes.

Let’s take that apart point by point:

  • Obama will not cause an “immediate 10 percent tax increase across the board.” Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget would allow the Bush tax cuts to expire only for individuals making more than $200,000 and families making more than $250,000.
  • Obama is also not allowing Bush tax cuts on dividends and capital gains to expire for most Americans. Obama’s proposed budget would raise the top rate on both from 15 percent to 20 percent, again applying only to the highest income brackets. That is not an “almost 50 percent” hike (for capital gains) or an increase of “as much as 250 percent” (for dividends).
  • Health care reform does not include “a $28,000 tax increase for millions of Americans,” and it’s unclear from which bodily orifice Newsmax is pulling that number.
  • Obama “openly talking about a new ‘value-added tax’ ” is pretty much limited to having once called it a “novel” idea.

The anti-Obama activism doesn’t stop there. If you sign up for the “summit,” you are redirected to a website containing a petition called “America’s Ultimatum,” which states in part:

We of this petition represent all parties and all people of this country. And we are united. We will not stand silently anymore as years of reckless spending have put at risk our wealth, our retirement savings, and our future. And we will not allow you to hurt the promise we’ve made to our children and grandchildren -- that they have the right to achieve financial prosperity and claim their piece of the American Dream. We realize that the only way to get the message across to you is in the voting booths. And this petition serves warning. Inaction on your part will not go unnoticed.

We know Morris has an affinity for taking part in such shameless hucksterism and fearmongering. But how did O’Reilly get roped into this? Have Morris’ frequent appearances on The O’Reilly Factor rubbed off on him? Or has palling around with Glenn Beck unlocked some sort of latent shameless-huckster gene?

(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)

Posted by Terry K. at 8:35 PM EDT
Lowell Ponte's NASA Derangment
Topic: Newsmax

Lowell Ponte's derangement doesn't end at Democrats, it appears.

Ponte's June 2 Newsmax column takes issue with Glenn Beck's embrace of the space program as a more noble cause than the "dope-smoking hippies rolling erotically in the mud with strangers" at Woodstock.

Glenn Beck is right on both counts, as far as he goes. But I was troubled when Beck proclaimed these two events as our choice between two kinds of America.

Beck is one of the most libertarian voices in American media, but in comparing Woodstock and Apollo 11 he never made a libertarian analysis.


Woodstock was irresponsibility run amok, if not a riot, on many levels. Any society using Woodstock as its blueprint is doomed to failure.

But does Glenn Beck want the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as his model for rebuilding American ideals?

NASA is big government.

The Apollo program cost taxpayers more than $25 billion in 1960s dollars.

Thanks to NASA's employees and courageous astronauts, America won the space race, was first on the moon, planted flags and brought back moon rocks. But when the political value of such missions waned, so did NASA's budget for moon shots.

NASA, like any government bureaucracy, has limped forward by doing whatever the politicians are willing to fund.

In recent years this has included ultra-politicized research into purported global warming to justify vast expansions of government regulation and taxation.

Ponte then complains that NASA refused to commercialize space:

Even more frightening to those of us who anticipate humankind's future among the stars is that NASA is the manifestation of unyielding socialist rule forever in outer space.

Like other government institutions, NASA is eager to reshape the world in its big government image. NASA might actually have the power to do this literally on the moon, Mars and worlds beyond.

This could mean that on planets where NASA first plants the flag — soon a United Nations flag — regulations will instantly be imposed to create the equivalent of a national park or a pristine nature preserve planet-wide.

The development of tourist hotels, golf courses, McDonald's restaurants and other earthly manifestations of capitalism and individual freedom will either be entirely prohibited or permitted only under the tightest of restrictions.

Is there an alternative to NASA prohibiting capitalism in outer space (beyond the token examples that even President Barack Obama says he wants)?

Yes. Let free enterprise take the risks, pay the costs, and reap the rewards. As on earth, at least in America, so let it be in the heavens.

"Coca-Cola refreshes you best" should have been the first words Neil Armstrong spoke on the moon.

In exchange for this everlasting advertisement, quoted for centuries via every history book and video of the event shown to schoolchildren, Coca-Cola would have relieved taxpayers of the entire cost of the Apollo space program.

We thus could have commercialized space from the beginning, initially to help fund NASA to capture "the new high ground" for America's national defense.

And almost from that launch we should have offered tax benefits and other incentives to encourage private spacecraft development.

Imagine if the U.S. allowed private companies to stake capitalist private property claims on other worlds.

A single asteroid whose orbit comes close to earth could contain $4 trillion or more worth of iron, nickel, platinum and other valuable resources, a prize worth owning.

Ponte concludes: "Glenn Beck, is NASA really who you want to rule humankind's future in space?"

If the choice is between NASA and Ponte, we'll go with the former.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:20 PM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

President Obama had a golden Memorial Day opportunity to show the country that (contrary to his left flank) he is not anti-military and not anti-Christian, by telling Attorney General Eric Holder to order the Park Service to permit volunteer veterans to replace the Mojave Cross that was stolen on May 9. But he let the atheists and those who sneer at our veterans win the day.

-- Phyllis Schlafly, June 2 WorldNetDaily column

Posted by Terry K. at 10:47 AM EDT
CNS Baselessly Calls Tiller's Killer 'Mentally Unstable'

A June 2 article by Penny Starr baselessly claimed that Scott Roeder, the convicted killer of abortion doctor George Tiller, is "a mentally unstable man." Starr offered no evidence to back up her claim.

In fact, while Roeder family members claimed immediately after the shooting that Roeder suffered from mental illness, Roeder did not mount an insanity defense at his trial; indeed, Roeder attempted to justify his actions as necessary. Further, a psychologist hired by the defense found Roeder competent to stand trial.

Starr has previously referenced Roeder's alleged mental problems (also without supporting evidence) in an apparent effort to distance the murder of Tiller from the anti-abortion movement from culpability in Tiller's death -- as others in the ConWeb have done -- despite Roeder's association with the mainstream anti-abortion group Operation Rescue and a tacit endorsement of Roeder's actions by prominent anti-abortion figure Randall Terry, whose protest of President Obama's 2009 speaking appearance at Notre Dame CNS had favorably reported on.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:44 AM EDT
Kinsolving's Stupid Question Leaves Gibbs in Stunned Silence
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily actually tells most of this story straight for once, so we'll let them handle it:

A question about war memorials at Harvard apparently has left White House spokesman Robert Gibbs without a response.

The question was raised at today's White House briefing by Les Kinsolving, the third-ranking beat correspondent at the White House and WND's correspondent there.

"A two-part question relating to yesterday, Memorial Day. As a graduate of Harvard and Harvard Law School, the president has never protested," started Kinsolving.

"He didn't graduate from Harvard, Lester. He graduated from Harvard Law School, but he graduated from Columbia undergrad," Gibbs corrected.

"I'm sorry, I correct that. Thank you very much. The president has never protested the memorials to Harvard's war dead in World War I and II, which include the names of Harvard alumni designated as 'enemy' because they were soldiers of the Kaiser and of the Fuhrer. Has he – he's never protested that, has he?"

"I honestly don't have – I don't have any knowledge," Gibbs said.

In a second question, Kinsolving continued, "Does the president believe it is right for Harvard to have memorials mentioning these three German enemies, but no memorial at all to 71 Harvard alumni who died in the Confederate army?"

But instead of responding, Gibbs left the room.

WND goes on to try and explain that "The issue was raised because of the long-standing controversy over war memorials at Harvard and the fact that Obama is a graduate of its law school," but in fact there is no "issue," only Kinsolving's strange obsession, which Obama has absolutely nothing to do with and, thus, has no place at a White House press briefing.

And Kinsolving wonders why nobody takes him seriously.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:10 AM EDT

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