ConWebBlog: The Weblog of ConWebWatch

your New Media watchdog

ConWebWatch: home | archive/search | about | primer | shop

Friday, September 10, 2010
AIM Column Condones Quran-Burning
Topic: Accuracy in Media

We forgot to include this in our previous item on the ConWeb's reaction to Quran-burning pastor Terry Jones. Accuracy in Media, like other ConWeb outlets, has condoned the burning by way of a Sept. 8 column by "editors of Family Security Matters."

Responding to Obama administration criticism of the burning, the "editors" sneer: "It is strange to hear a member of this administration declare an action to be un-American, considering the manner in which this administration has acted recently."

The sneering -- and condoning -- continue:

An administration that has argued that a mosque should be allowed near Ground Zero, despite widespread opposition from American citizens, does test credibility when its leading members loudly condemn a pastor’s freedom of expression. A general does not sound like a military leader if he suggests that a conflict will worsen if a few people burn Korans. Due to restrictive ROE guidelines, the military in Afghanistan is still compelled to act like a team of social workers rather than as a war-winning team.

Pastor Terry Jones is doing what he thinks is appropriate. It would be unrealistic to suggest that there will be no reactions in the Muslim world. It is to be expected that there will be violence, and probably deaths. However, the hysteria on the part of the establishment in reaction to this upcoming event shows how much they apparently fear the volatility of Islamic extremists.

The 'editors" conclude with more acceptance (and more sneering):

In America the current administration’s apparent love affair with Islam, including Islamism (judging by the Islamist representatives invited to iftar dinners) has alienated many Americans.

The affair of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville is just a reaction to the current situation. It is rare for anyone in the administration to dare to take time to praise Christianity or Judaism, yet Islam – which is still a minority religion in America – is on the front pages ad nauseam, and is constantly being engaged with and apparently promoted by politicians who should be upholding the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Such apparent bias towards a religion that is alien to, and (in its strictest form) even antithetical to the American Way of Life, is bound to create a backlash. The Ground Zero Mosque has heightened the sensitivities surrounding 9/11, and a sense that the administration has “sided with the enemy,” with that enemy being Islamism.

Pastor Terry Jones is preparing to do something that is perhaps unwise, and is certainly going to offend many Muslims, including the vast majority of Muslims who try to live their lives as good citizens. But Pastor Jones is resolute, and his bravery can be respected. Now the media has become involved, he could become a target.

Burning Korans, or burning any book, is genuinely distasteful. But if Muslims have the freedom to worship in their mosques in America, and are supported in this by the administration, then Christians who choose to burn books must also be allowed to carry out their freedom of expression. No laws are broken, and no-one is physically hurt.

If the only reasons to argue against this event in Florida are that such actions will invoke violence, then what does that say about the nature of Islam? And if an administration responds cooperatively to fears of threats and intimidation by extremists, what does that say about the nature of the West today?

AIM insists that "Guest columns do not necessarily reflect the views of Accuracy in Media or its staff," but there is no evidence that columns are posted on the AIM website without an AIM employee explicitly approving such posting -- and, therefore, providing at least tacit approval of the contents of those columns.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:15 PM EDT
MRC's Baker Offended Amanpour Won't Falsely Smear Rauf
Topic: Media Research Center

Brent Baker uses a September 8 NewsBusters post to attack ABC's Christiane Amanpour for allegedly serving as a "public relations agent" to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf by spending "several hours" with him for an interview. Baker claimed that during the interview, Rauf "warned, as he did on Wednesday's Larry King Live, that if he doesn't get his way Muslims will murder Americans." Baker added: "Amanpour, however, didn't describe that as a protection racket or suggest he's employing blackmail."

That might be a valid concern if that's what Rauf is doing -- but it isn't. Baker is merely parroting the right-wing line that Rauf is threatening America with terrorist attacks if he's not able to build the Park51 Islamic center, and ignoring the fact that officials such as Gen. David Petraeus have said pretty much the same thing as Rauf regarding the national security implications of anti-Muslim protests.

In effect, what Baker is demanding is that Amanpour tell a lie by twisting Rauf's words to conform to Baker's political agenda.

Baker, by the way, is no low-level NewsBusters blogger --- he's the vice president for research and publications at the Media Research Center, which runs NewsBusters. Baker's post also appears on the main MRC website.

That a top MRC official wants the media to spread lies says all too much about the "media research" standard at the MRC.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:50 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, September 11, 2010 10:39 AM EDT
WorldNetDaily’s Factually Deficient “Eligibility Primer”
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The birther obsessives at WorldNetDaily have issued a new downloadable “Obama eligibility primer” (you have to give up your email address to WND to receive a copy) that it hyperbolically claims “could sink Obama’s presidency.” In fact, the report is yet another rehashing of many of the factually dubious claims WND has been making since it latched onto the birther issue two years ago.

WND repeats the discredited claim that “On Oct. 16, 2008, Obama’s step-grandmother, Sarah Obama, famously claimed in a telephone interview with an American religious leader she had been present at Obama’s birth at a hospital in Mombasa. Sarah Obama speaks Luo, not English.” WND goes on to claim that “Other Luo speakers who have listened to the tape, however, including a member of the Kenyan government, say she insisted twice that she had been present at his birth in Kenya.” This is an apparent reference to a WND article by Jerome Corsi citing anonymous “members of Sarah Hussein Obama's Luo tribe” making that claim. Corsi is not exactly a reliable source, having pushed his own birther conspiracies, so anything he has to say on the issue is suspect.

Noting that in 1981 “Obama traveled to Pakistan during a period when it was difficult for U.S. citizens to enter that country,” WND claims that “Obama would have needed a passport to travel to Pakistan, and apparently the passport he used was not American.” But since The New York Times and the State Department were offering advice at the time on how Americans could obtain the proper papers for entry into Pakistan, it likely was not as “difficult” as WND suggests.

WND goes on to suggest that Obama, while a student at Occidental College, “received scholarship funds set aside for foreign students.” As details, this idea is based on a hoax.

WND also highlights how “[c]omputer graphics expert Dr. Ron Polarik (an assumed name) contends the COLB is not a record of Obama’s birth at all, but an outright forgery” -- never mind that points out that it has “seen, touched, examined and photographed” the certificate, concluding that “[c]laims that the document lacks a raised seal or a signature are false.”

WND even goes so far to promote the idea that because “[n]umerous African newspapers have described him as Kenyan-born” and “[h]is wife, Michelle Obama, has twice implied publicly that he is a native of Kenya,” it’s sufficient reason to question where Obama was born. WND tries to immediately downplay this, calling such statements “probably the least compelling reasons to doubt Obama’s eligibility,” but then insists “they have become prominent parts of the Obama eligibility lore.” Indeed, WND has endeavored to make that so -- nearly six pages of its 32-page pamphlet are devoted to recounting these statements.

WND has long desperately promoted any claim, no matter how specious or discredited, to promote the idea that Obama is not a real American. The most notorious example of this is the “Kenyan birth certificate” WND promoted without bothering to verify its authenticity first, before finally conceding the certificate was “probably not authentic.”

A real “eligibility primer” would have included all relevant facts, including the exculpatory ones -- but the full truth is something WND has shown little interest in reporting.

(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)

Posted by Terry K. at 9:56 AM EDT
ConWeb All Over the Map on Quran-Burning Pastor
Topic: The ConWeb

The ConWeb just can't seem to figure out a consistent stand on Quran-burning pastor Terry Jones. It seems that every attempt to criticize it is countered with an instance of condoning it. A Sept. 7 article by Nicholas Ballasy that was heavy on condemnation of Jones was followed by a Sept. 9 article by Patrick Goodenough detailing how the Quran had been burned throughout history, starting with an early caliph who ordered all rival versions burned -- thus seeming to offer tacit approval for Jones' burning, despite concluding with a pair of Christian ministers who oppose book-burning.

WorldNetDaily: As we noted, WND began the week with Aaron Klein's softball interview of Jones. It gre more conflicted from there:

  • An audio interview with anti-Islam activist Brigitte Gabriel opposing the burning.
  • A column by Ann Coulter calling the burning "a nasty thing to do," like building a mosque near Ground Zero. (Will this be the straw that finally causes WND to drop her column?)
  • A column by Craige McMillan condoning it, stating that "America's self-imagined elites should chill out about the Quran burning" and "let the god of Islam contend for himself."

NewsBusters: It also started by defending Jones, feeling sympathy for him under pointed CNN questioning. Then it moved toward being more consistently critical, mostly that it was being likened to the upcoming Glenn Beck-Sarah Palin shindig in Alaska and to "Ground Zero mosque" opponents. Brent Baker dismissed Jones as a "widely condemned Florida pastor with barely a few dozen followers." Then, Noel Sheppard blundered in to ask, "did the media negligently create this controversy?" sneering that Jones is "some unknown Pastor - with a following smaller than what's normally in line at an In-n-Out restaurant drive-thru!" Sheppard went on to pontificate:

For weeks now, the press as a result of America's opposition to the Ground Zero mosque have been trying to convince the citizenry that we are an Islamophobic nation that hates Muslims. Despite the lack of any supporting evidence, this has been the media narrative for approaching a month.

With this in mind, an attention-seeking, unknown Pastor advertising a Koran bonfire was exactly what the press needed to prove once and for all just how much antipathy there is for Muslims here.

Sadly, they gave this guy his fifteen minutes of fame without any regard for the harm that could be done to Americans living abroad, in particular those fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. More hypocritically, so-called journalists are now blaming Jones for endangering the lives of others.

Wouldn't this not be the case if they ignored him? Isn't it all the press attention he's gotten that has actually caused this controversy? If media really are worried that his actions might result in an international incident, given how few people there are in his own area that care what he's got to say, couldn't they just similarly pay him no mind?


Consider that the press are largely in favor of the Ground Zero mosque despite being in the minority concerning this matter. They base their view on the Islamic center backers having the Constitutional right to build at that location regardless of how anyone feels about it. Yet, these same people are now in an uproar over Jones without a care for his Constitutional right to burn Korans.

But couldn't the same argument be made that the "Ground Zero mosque" was ginned up by conservative media in order to push their anti-Mulsim agenda? Sheppard seems uninterested in answering that question.

Newsmax: It has largely stuck to wire stories on the controversy, and what little supplemental material it has run has been critical -- a column by Susan Estrich and an interview with its own Ronald Kessler.

UPDATE: Accuracy in Media condones Quran-burning, too.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:07 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 10, 2010 8:16 PM EDT
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Corsi Wrong on Supposed Clinton Attack on Obama
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a September 8 WorldNetDaily article, headlined "Et tu, Hillary? Panic button hit on Obama's colossal debt," Jerome Corsi writes that in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, Hillary Clinton "said the U.S. budget deficit under the Obama administration poses a national security threat and projects a "message of weakness" internationally."

In fact, Clinton made no mention of Obama during that segment of the speech, and her words, in full context, are critical of the Bush administration, not Obama's.

Corsi hints at that by noting Clinton's specific reference to the activities of the Bush administration, but he dismissed it as "an apparent effort to blame President George W. Bush for the federal budget deficit problem."

But then, does any sentient being with a lick of sense take anything Corsi writes as face value? Didn't think so.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:31 PM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch, Ben Shapiro Division

If Obama were a dog, he'd be a bad dog. The kind of dog that routinely drinks from the toilet, and simply will not be taught that drinking from the toilet is bad manners (think Obama on health care).
He'd be the kind of dog that barks at all hours of the night, just for attention (think Obama's pathetic need for constant adulation). The kind of dog that runs from intruders when danger's in the air (think Obama on Iraq, Iran, Russia, North Korea, China-hell, just think about Obama's position on any country that isn't an American ally). The kind of dog that chews on the furniture out of pure spite (if Obama's actually going to chew on the furniture, by the way, let me be the first to suggest he start with the new, hideous Oval Office accoutrements).
If Obama's a dog, he's a puppy that has never been housebroken, whose owner continually babies it and never requires basic standards of behavior. President Obama has never had to make a living; he has never had to face the consequences of his behavior, whether that behavior is hanging out with terrorists, doing cocaine, or attending a racist church for 20 years. He's never been held accountable. Finally, he's being held accountable. He doesn't like it, so he's rhetorically urinating in the middle of the living room.
Obama, like a bad puppy, acts badly because he doesn't recognize that he's not in the true position of authority. The American people stand above him. He is a public servant, a servant of our will. He seems not to believe that-in fact, he thinks that America's the dog, he's the master, and he can simply order Americans to agree with him. He's utterly disconnected from reality.
In short, Obama has to learn to obey the American public. If not, we'll continue to treat him like a bad dog. Only worse, since he refuses to learn. And in November, he'll find out that bad dogs don't get any electoral Scooby treats.

--  Ben Shapiro, Sept. 8 column, published at

Posted by Terry K. at 2:11 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 9, 2010 2:12 PM EDT
Seven Months Later, Molotov Challenges Breitbart
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his Sept. 8 WorldNetDaily video, Molotov Mitchell takes on Andrew Breitbart for claiming that raising questions about Barack Obama's birth certificate was "not a winning issue" -- a mere seven months after Breitbart made the claim.

Mitchell praised Breitbart, claiming he has his respect "as a fellow conservative as a savvy media producer," but cited polls showing an increase in Americans who believe Obama was not born in the United States as evidence that Breitbart should rethink his stance.

Mitchell then touted about in 2008, his film company "released the first major viral video about Obama's eligibility," in which he interviewed birther attorney Philip Berg. In the video, Berg pushes the conspiracy that is covering up for Obama by claiming the birth certificate he released is genuine because it's "owned by Annenberg of Chicago," which "Obama sat on the board for for a number of years, dispersing up to $60 million a year." In fact, Obama never sat on the board of the Annenberg Foundation, which is headquartered in California; Obama was board chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a local education reform group started with an Annenberg Foundation grant. Berg also repeats the discredited claim that Obama's grandmother claimed that Obama was born in Kenya.

This is the man Mitchell trusts to tell the truth about Obama's birth.

The real laugher is that Mitchell introduced the video by asserting, "I am not into conspiracy theories. I don't wear tinfoil hats."

That Mitchell has embraced such falsehoods -- which he has done elsewhere -- shoots down his case that being a birther is a winning issue, since Mitchell has built his case on a pack of lies.

Then again, ol' Molotov isn't exactly known for letting the facts get in the way of his propaganda, is he?

Posted by Terry K. at 8:54 AM EDT
WorldNetDaily's Zombie Lies March On
Topic: WorldNetDaily

When we detailed how WorldNetDaily's Joe Kovacs spread lies about Elena Kagan purportedly representing President Obama in birther-related lawsuits -- followed quickly by a complete walkback and replacement of Kovacs' article with something else -- we noted that the original falsehood-laden article was reposted at numerous other websites, thus ensuring it will live forever uncorrected., which published a debunking of the story that sent WND scrambling, is now reporting that it got an angry email from someone questioning the debunking and accusing it of being politically biased liars. Snopes continues:

This correspondent's e-mail was also posted to the web, and from there it was embellished and sent winging around the Internet through e-mail forwards and blog posts, all undertaken by people who also didn't bother actually reading our article or otherwise verifying the veracity of what they were reproducing — they gleefully passed it on with complete disregard for the truth because it seemingly confirmed concepts they wanted to believe.

This phenomenon prompted a wave of e-mail messages to us (many of them collected here) from people who mindlessly forwarded us the original message, accused us of being liars, insisted they would never, ever trust us again, and demanded that we remove the "false" information about the non-existent Obama/Kagan eligibility connection from our site. All of these correspondents had clearly not made even the slightest effort to read our article (if they had, they'd have known that we didn't claim no docket items containing the names "Kagan" and "Obama" existed); they instead either blindly accepted the accusatory e-mail at face value or repeated the very same error that WND made and then berated us for supposedly stating that "there were no such dockets."

Every single one of those correspondents received a detailed response from us explaining why they were mistaken. To date, we haven't received a single apology. 

So, WND's zombie lies continue to live. Exactly what Joe Kovacs was paid to do. Good job, Joe -- your sleazy pack of lies accomplished exactly what you and Joseph Farah wanted.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:15 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
New Article: How David Kupelian's 'Evil' Works
Topic: WorldNetDaily
The WorldNetDaily managing editor's new book is filled with the same factually suspect moralizing as his last one, though (so far) without the unethical promotion gimmicks. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 3:50 PM EDT
CNS Word-Count Watch

The headline of a Sept. 7 article by Terry Jeffrey reads, "Obama Used ‘Invest,’ ‘Investing,’ or ‘Investment’ Seven Times in Labor Day Speech to Describe Federal Spending and Special-Interest Tax Loopholes."

CNS likes to count Obama's words.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:32 PM EDT
MRC Flails to Portray Couric As Biased
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has long tried -- and failed -- to paint Katie Couric as an unrepentant liberal and her stewardship of the "CBS Evening News" as an unrelenting font of liberal bias.

The MRC tries yet again in a new "Profile in Bias" to mark Couric's fourth year at CBS. It begins by citing its own report after her first year -- which, as we detailed, could only come up with a dozen instances of "liberal bias" from 200-plus shows. (Media Matters, meanwhile, found 17 instances of "conservative misinformation" from Couric during the same time period.)

The new report claims to serve up "Katie Couric's top forty most biased quotes from her four years at CBS." That's much less impressive than it sounds -- it amounts to less than one a month.

Actually, it's even less than that, since the MRC is also counting things Couric wrote on her blog or did, other CBS shows, and even a Facebook chat. We counted 12 non-"Evening News" attacks, which makes the instances of alleged "Evening News" bias much closer to one every two months.

For most people, that would be a pretty good record. But the MRC tolerates no deviance from the right-wing agenda, so even just one instance would be sufficient to brand Couric as "liberal."

Of that paltry evidence of "liberal bias," it's unsurprising that some examples are hypersensitive takes. For instance, two entries are questions to President Obama deemed insufficiently hostile. One was simply Couric's repetition of New York Times columnist Tom Friedman's statement that Obama is "better at making us smarter than making us angry."

That, apparently, is the best the MRC can do in trying to brand Couric as biased, telling us that its researchers had to seriously struggle to come up with 40 examples.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 PM EDT
Ron Kessler's False Equivalence
Topic: Newsmax

Ronald Kessler's Sept. 7 Newsmax column presents the idea that Saddam Hussein wanted to develop nuclear weapons as some sort of recent revelation. Kessler proclaimed that the Iraq war "eliminated a nuclear threat," adding that "the mainstream media largely ignored Saddam’s admitted plans to pursue nuclear weapons."

Of course, it's not news that Saddam wanted to have nuclear weapons. The more important question was whether he had the capability to do so. Kessler, however, seems to be conflating ambition with capability -- and Kessler ignores evidence that Saddam lacked the capability to do so in any quick fashion, despite Kessler's unsuported statement that Saddam planed to develop "nuclear capability within a year."

As the CIA points out, Iraq's nuclear weapons program was dismantled in 1991. While Saddam likely intended to resume the nuclear program once sanctions were lifted against the country, those sanctions never were lifted. Saddam attempted to keep his nuclear scientists together and even ordered key equipment buried in one scientist's garden in anticipation of the day that sanctions were removed, the Iraq Survey Group report noted that Iraq's nuclear capability had decayed, not grown, after 1991. As ISG head David Kay stated:

Despite evidence of Saddam's continued ambition to acquire nuclear weapons, to date we have not uncovered evidence that Iraq undertook significant post-1998 steps to actually build nuclear weapons or produce fissile material. However, Iraq did take steps to preserve some technological capability from the pre-1991 nuclear weapons program.

Desire to have nuclear weapons is not the same thing as having the capability to do so. Kessler's attempt to pretend they are is dishonest.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:48 AM EDT
NewsBusters' Double Standard on Juvenile Taunts
Topic: NewsBusters

Mark Finkelstein devotes a Sept. 7 NewsBusters post to complaining that MSNBC's Ed Schultz "no fewer than four times referred to FNC host Steve Doocy as Steve 'Douche-y.'" Finkelstein -- who headlined his post "Schultz Goes Below Belt with Juvenile Name-calling of Fox's Doocy" -- sniffed that this was "middle school-worthy mispronunciation."

Of course, NewsBusters is no stranger to juvenile name-calling. For instance, a September 2008 post by Noel Sheppard is headlined, "Did MSNBC Throw Matthews Out With The Bathtub Boy's Water?" Sheppard helpfully explains: "Finally, for those scratching their heads about the headline, 'Bathtub Boy' is Fox News John Gibson's pejorative nickname for Olbermann."

Apparently, name-calling is only juvenile when liberals do it.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:17 AM EDT
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
NewsBusters Feels Sympathy for Quran-Burning Pastor
Topic: NewsBusters

Matthew Balan, in a Sept. 7 NewsBusters post, portrays Terry Jones, the Quran-burning pastor, as a victim after a CNN anchor dared to criticize him for the planned stunt. Balan wrote that CNN's Kiran Chetry "used General David Petraeus's denunciation of a planned Koran burning by a church to blast the church's pastor for any subsequent deaths of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan."

Balan, curiously, doesn't highlight exactly what Petraeus said about the Quran-burning, leaving it buried in the transcript: "Their actions will in fact jeopardize the safety of young men and women who are serving in uniform over here, and also undermine the very mission that they're trying to accomplish."

Later, Balan wrote, "Chetry turned theologian and quoted Scripture to Pastor Jones as she continued to question his planned action."

It's not often you see a Media Research Center employee rooting for the burning of holy books, regardless of religion, but Balan -- like WorldNetDaily seems quite willing to acquiesce to this hateful pastor.

UPDATE: NewsBusters did temper things a bit later, with Scott Whitlock declaring unhappiness that the upcoming Glenn Beck-Sarah Palin shindig in Alaska was mentioned in the same sentence as the Quran-burning. "Beck's rally, which will take place in Alaska on Saturday, will obviously not involve the burning of the Koran," he huffed.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:57 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 7, 2010 10:00 PM EDT
WND Finds Suitably Homophobic Replacement for Coulter
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The latest addition to WorldNetDaily's "Taking America Back" conference, Michael Savage, has one key advantage over dumped speaker Ann Coulter: He may hate gays even more than Joseph Farah does.

Media Matters has the details.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:25 PM EDT

Newer | Latest | Older

Bookmark and Share

Get the WorldNetDaily Lies sticker!

Find more neat stuff at the ConWebWatch store!

Buy through this Amazon link and support ConWebWatch!

Support This Site

« September 2010 »
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30

Bloggers' Rights at EFF
Support Bloggers' Rights!

News Media Blog Network

Add to Google