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Tuesday, October 12, 2010
AFA's News Operation A Hellish Place to Work
Topic: The ConWeb

We generally don't monitor OneNewsNow, the American Family Association's "news" operation, because it makes no pretense to be a fair news website, as the ConWeb components like Newsmax, CNS, WorldNetDaily, et al., do. Plus, there isn't enough time in the day to take down all the bias and falsehoods there.

It turns out things there are worse than even we imagined. Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches has an article detailing the hellish work envionment at the AFA that also confirms everything we presumed about OneNewsNow:

The AFA's radio and news division, in particular, said Martin, had become a place where authority could not be questioned, and where the "news" was nothing more than a mouthpiece for conservative "sources" whose views were portrayed as fact. (The Values Voter Summit award citation to Wildmon described One News Now as a "respected online news service.")

And those views were extreme, even by Martin’s standards of conservative evangelicalism. He said that the director of the news service, Fred Jackson, had a "hateful, hateful attitude" that "carried over" into stories. Martin described editorial meetings in which "liberals were accused of hating their kids," while Chad Groening, who covers immigration, described gay people as "degenerates" and "reprobates."

In the newsroom, said [former AFA news reporter Allie] Martin, "I saw the tone of stories develop in a way I thought was disturbing."

"They get people as news sources to say what they want to say but can't say," he added.

After Obama got elected, said Martin, "this went up to a whole new level, we have to vilify this man."

Questioning Authority="Attitude Problems"

In 2008, Jackson sent Martin an email with the subject line "attitude problems," citing scripture he said governed "a worker's attitude toward their [sic] superiors." The verses he cited included Ephesians 6:5-8 ("Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, singleness of your heart, as unto Christ") and Colossians 3:22-25 ("Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.") He closed the email with a "final warning" that "any further breaches in this area will be turned over to Brother Don."

Among the topics about which Martin had raised concerns was the news room's approach to immigration. Martin said that Groening has, for example, called undocumented immigrants "stupid," "scumbag lawbreakers" and "freeloaders." Groening believed that illegal immigration would "destroy" the country, and that "we have the best way of life, and if our borders aren't secured, this country would be destroyed."

Martin also noted that Groening had referred to Muslims as "raghead scumbag terrorists" and referred to Allah as "Satan."

According to him, Groening received a subscription to American Renaissance magazine at the office. American Renaissance is published by white nationalist Jared Taylor, and, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the magazine and website "regularly feature proponents of eugenics and blatant anti-black racists." Taylor's New Century Foundation, which runs the magazine, "also sponsors American Renaissance conferences every other year where racist 'intellectuals' rub shoulders with Klansmen, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists."

(h/t Right Wing Watch)

Posted by Terry K. at 8:41 PM EDT
WND Still Peddling Bias, Falsehoods About 'Nutrition Ministry'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's reporting on the battle between the Federal Trade Commission and the so-called "nutrition ministry" Daniel Chapter has apparently passed from the heavily biased Bob Unruh to Brian Fitzpatrick, but the reporting isn't getting any better.

An Oct. 9 WND article by Fitzpatrick screamed that "Two federal agencies, backed up by state and local police, have swooped down on a peaceful Portsmouth, R.I., ministry like Eliot Ness busting up one of Al Capone's Prohibition-era breweries." Fitzpatrick interviews only Daniel Chapter One representatives and makes no apparent attempt to verify the information they gave him; there's no indication in the article that Fitzpatrick even bothered to contact any federal officials for their side of the story.

Thus, Fitzpatrick shovels out horsepuckey like this:

The FTC alleges that Daniel Chapter One falsely claims its products can cure cancer.

"We never said that," said Tricia Feijo. "They took a few words from one paragraph, some words from another paragraph, put them together, and said we implied we could cure cancer … their biggest complaint was testimonies of people saying they were healed of cancer."

If Fitzpatrick had bothered to read the FTC's administrative complaint against Daniel Chapter One -- again, there's no indication he did even that level of rudimentary research or his article -- he would have know that the FTC specifically laid out several instances in which Daniel Chapter One did just that. It claimed one product "inhibits angiogenesis ­ -- the formation of new blood vessels" which "can stop tumor growth," that another product "battles cancer," and that yet another product can serve "as an adjunct to cancer therapy."

Rather than providing coherent defense of the idea that products that make such claims should have scientific backing for their claims, Fitzpatrick allowed the owners to blather on about faith and the evils of medicine:

"The position for the FDA is only drugs can treat illness. We believe drugs don't treat anything. Fifteen years on the radio, no one's ever complained, no one's ever been harmed, we haven't been sued, but 106,000 people will die this year from FDA-approved drugs," said Jim Feijo.


"They ordered [us] to tell our customers there is no science behind our products, that only conventional medical treatment has been proven safe and effective in humans. We know from experience that chemotherapy and radiation are not safe," said Jim Feijo.

"We told them we can't comply, because there is scientific evidence in favor of our products. They wanted us to give in to their position of scientism and deny our religion of faith in the Lord Jesus.

"They acknowledged that we are a ministry, but then they denied all our rights as a ministry, all our constitutional rights," Feijo added. "We are a corporate soul, a 508 corporate soul. We have same legal status as the Roman Catholic and Mormon churches.

"We told the IRS during the raid they have no legal right to do what they did because of our 508 status. We're immune to filing papers and so forth because we're a 508 corporate soul. They've gone against their own laws."

Fitzpatrick even botches the name of one of the agencies allegedly involved in the raid, referring to the "Federal Drug Administration." That, presumably, is the Food and Drug Administration.

Fitzpatrick has reporting for WND for a couple months now. Between his shoddy reporting and his obvious right-wing, anti-gay bias -- an old Townhall bio shows he once served on the board of directors of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality and is a former senior editor for the professional prudes at the MRC's Culture & Media Institute -- he's fitting right in at his new employer.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:22 PM EDT
Kessler's Favorite Push-Poller Complains About Supposedly Bogus Polls
Topic: Newsmax

Ronald Kessler's Oct. 11 Newsmax column repeats unsubstantiated claims by pollster Gabriel Joseph of ccAdvertising that "pollsters find respondents are reluctant to identify themselves as Democrats" and that any poll sampling registered voters instead of likely voters is "biased" because it oversamples Democrats.

What Kessler doesn't tell you -- which he didn't the last time he featured Joseph in his column -- is that Joseph is a Republican pollster who's notorious for push-polling, which makes his complaints about the veracity of others' polls seem more than a tad disingenuous in comparison. Instead, Kessler benignly describes Joseph as running a company that "conducts polls for a range of candidates, interest groups, and members of Congress."

Kessler had been doing so well last week by properly identifying Brad Blakeman as a conservative whose attacks on Democrats should be dismissed as partisan hackery.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:02 PM EDT
WND Paints Parents As Victim, Glosses Over Abuse
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Oct. 8 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh claims that an hours-old baby "was snatched from her parents by authorities in Concord, N.H., after social services workers alleged the father is a member of Oath Keepers." Unruh continues:

The father, Johnathon Irish, told WND that the affidavit signed by Child Protective Service worker Dana Bicford seeking government custody of newborn Cheyenne said the agency "became aware and confirmed that Mr. Irish associated with a militia known as the 'Oath Keepers.'"

Irish, in an interview with WND, said officers and other social services workers ordered him to stand with his hands behind his back, frisked him and then took his daughter from him and his fiancé at Concord Hospital where the baby had been born.

The facts show, however, that this isn't exactly the case. The Manchester Union Leader reports that there's much more to this story:

In court paperwork, the state alleges the health and safety of the infant, named Cheyenne, was in "imminent danger" if she was left with her parents because of "a lengthy history of domestic violence" between them.


DCYF asked for the case to be moved from family court in Concord to the family court in Dover, citing that court's familiarity with the family involved.
Their battle with DCYF dates back to January of last year, Taylor said, when the state welfare agency took her other two children, boys who are now 2 and 3, for alleged abuse and neglect.

The boys currently live with a foster family, and Irish said he was told baby Cheyenne will go to live with the same family for now.

DCYF is legally prohibited from discussing child welfare cases. A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services said it can't even confirm a child was taken into custody at Concord Hospital.

But Concord police Lt. Keith Mitchell confirmed officers from his department were asked by both DCYF and Concord Hospital security to "stand by" during a "custody issue" on Thursday and again yesterday.

"We were there just to keep the peace, to make sure there were no issues between the parties involved," Mitchell said.

Mitchell said there are no criminal charges pending in the case from his department.

[Mother Stephanie] Taylor said she is seeking a divorce from her sons' father, who lives in Seabrook. But because she is still married to him, DCYF considers her husband to be the "legal father" of baby Cheyenne, according to the affidavit.


In its affidavit, DCYF cites "significant mental health and safety concerns" involving "all parents" that remain unaddressed. It also states that a termination of parental rights hearing was held on Sept. 14 in Rochester Family Court involving Taylor's other two children; a decision is pending.

DCYF says Taylor "has failed to recognize the impact of domestic violence in her life and the potential danger it poses to a newborn baby."

And it states that Irish "has not acknowledged any responsibility to date and remains a significant safety risk to an infant in his care."

The agency concluded that "the infant's health and safety is in imminent danger if left in the care of" either Taylor or Irish.

The Union Leader also notes that the DCYF also noted Irish's purchase of "several different types of weapons including a rifle, handgun and Taser."

Unruh doesn't mention Irish's cache of weapons, let alone explain why he feels the need to have a Taser. Unruh also doesn't mention the name of the infant's mother.

Most disturbingly, Unruh plays down the abuse allegations, uncritically repeating Irish's claim that it presumably "pertained to an incident weeks earlier in which one of his fiance's older sons allegedly was struck by a babysitter."

WND has a sad history of burying the background of abusive parents who serve as symbols of WND's far-right agenda. As we've detailed, WND -- based on reporting by Unruh -- promoted a family as role models for homeschooling while burying the family's history of a controlling and abusive father (who wouldn't even allow his children to have birth certificates), a meek and acquiescent mother, sexual abuse by a family friend, deplorable living conditions, and a substandard homeschool education.

A follow-up Oct. 11 article by Unruh concedes in the first paragraph that this is an "abuse case" -- but then never mentions it again, trying to change the subject by making the Oath Keepers mention the issue, not the abuse. Unruh does note Irish's weapons cache this time but offers no explanation of why Irish needs a Taser.

Unruh also quotes the local Oath Keepers guy as calling for a "peaceful gathering in support of both the due process rights of the parents," but he doesn't mention that the day after the baby was taken, the FBI reported threats against the hospital where the baby was born.

Face it: Condoning child abuse is just something WorldNetDaily does. Is that because many of its staffers, Unruh included, homeschool their children?

Posted by Terry K. at 7:33 AM EDT
Newsmax Drools Over Palin
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax has been touting Sarah Palin's appearance in an Obama-bashing video series for a couple weeks now, and now that the appointed day is almost here, the hype machine has been cranked up.

An Oct. 7 article touted Palin's appearance at Newsmax's offices for the taping of her segment, with more than a bit of sycophancy on both ends:

The charismatic Palin toured the Newsmax headquarters, taking time to shake hands and visit with Newsmax employees. Staffers were impressed that she wanted to know the name of each person she greeted. She also acknowledged personal touches, commenting, “Look at all those kids,” as she surveyed the collection of family photos on one worker’s desk.

Palin also appreciated Newsmax staffers' shout-outs of encouragement for one of her own kids: Bristol, in her quest to the win the "Dancing with the Stars" competition on ABC-TV. Palin, who calls her daughter "Bristol the Pistol," said the contest is providing a "sweet diversion."

Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy meets with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in his office. Stopping for a TV interview outside the Newsmax building, Palin said, “It’s great to be here at Newsmax, I’m a big fan of this publication. But Florida — beautiful, wonderful, politics so interesting in this part of the country. You know, it’s never boring to tune in and find out what’s going on in Florida.”

It's no secret that Palin is an avid Newsmax reader. In November, she told Fox News host Sean Hannity that Newsmax is one of her primary sources for online news. On Wednesday, she again praised Newsmax and said she has the site bookmarked as one of her favorites.



This generated a similarly sycophantic article from U.S. & World Report's Paul Bedard, who portrayed the visit as "the latest and clearest example of her plans" to run for president in 2012.

Newsmax followed up with an even more sycophantic teaser of what Palin said in her webcast (which airs later today):

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, in an exclusive interview airing at 1 p.m. Tuesday on, discusses her staunch opposition to President Barack Obama's healthcare plans and socialistic policies, and reveals new details about a possible presidential run in 2012.

She also warns that allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons may "lead to Armageddon" — a scenario that could lead to the deaths of millions in a Third World War.

Palin's comments came as Newsmax launched a special series of online webcasts entitled "Make America Great Again" — a title taken from Ronald Reagan’s campaign slogan when he was elected president in 1980.


Though the Newsmax interview has yet to be released, some of Palin’s revelations during the discussion already have made major headlines in the national media.

U.S. News & World Report reported that Palin’s visit to Newsmax last week for the show’s taping was the clearest sign yet that she is seriously contemplating a presidential bid for 2012. Newsmax is the most-read website for conservatives in the nation, U.S. News noted. 

Sycophancy, ho! The actual interview, we suspect, couldn't possibly be as exciting as Newsmax has made it, regardless of its desire to make money off Palin's name.

UPDATE: We've watched Palin's webcast, and it pretty closely echoes attacks on Obama by her fellow right-wingers. Our account is posted at Media Matters.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:41 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 10:23 PM EDT
Monday, October 11, 2010
Meanwhile ...
Topic: Horowitz
Media Matters, as part of its examination of Byron Williams, who got into a firefight with police as he was headed to shoot up the offices of the Tides Foundation and the ACLU in San Francisco after claiming inspiration from Glenn Beck, has a sidebar on Discover the Networks, the David Horowitz website purporting to be a "Guide to the Political Left." Turns out Williams drew some inspiration from DTN's conspiratorial musings as well.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:42 PM EDT
WND's Klein Misleads About Lessig, Al Jazeera
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Another day, another bogus attack by Aaron Klein on another Obama official.

An Oct. 5 WorldNetDaily article by Klein makes the misleading accusation that Obama adviser Lawrence Lessig has "mass marketed" video footage created by Al Jazeera:

In 2001, Lessig founded Creative Commons, a non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share.

In January 2009, Creative Commons launched a massive repository of broadcast-quality video footage, working with Al Jazeera to make the Arab network's video footage available for free downloading. Lessig's group mass marketed Al Jazeera's footage of Israel's December 2008 war in Gaza targeting Hamas.

Al Jazeera has been widely criticized for disseminating Hamas propaganda, including claims civilians were targeted in Israeli operations.

During the time it worked with Lessig's group, Al Jazeera said its online broadcasts increased by over 500 percent, while views of videos on its YouTube channel increased by more than 150 percent.

Klein appears to be seriously overstating what Lessig did with Al Jazeera. There's no evidence Lessig "mass marketed" Al Jazeera's videos, and Creative Commons does not operate Al Jazeera's video archive. Rather, Al Jazeera operates a video archive from which others can use video under a Creative Commons license, which according to a Creative Commons press release makes that video "available for free to be downloaded, shared, remixed, subtitled and eventually rebroadcasted by users and TV stations across the world with acknowledgement to Al Jazeera." It seems that at most, all Lessig did was help facilitate the license.

Further, as a non-profit group, Creative Commons doesn't really do any "mass marketing" beyond promoting that the video was available under a Creative Commons license.

The rest of Klein's article is his usual guilt-by-association red-baiting, such as calling Lessig a "close associate" of "an avowed Marxist."

Posted by Terry K. at 4:51 PM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The Declaration of Independence is America's birth certificate. It is the document that explains why each of us is eligible for "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" – because we were created by God in His own image.

Obama doesn't like it. He no more wants Americans reading the Declaration of Independence than he wants them seeing his own birth certificate. He prefers distributing edited versions of both documents.


There is no process for amending the Declaration, as there is with the Constitution. The Declaration is different. It's an oath. It's a creed. It's a vow. It's the basis for who we are as a people. If some prefer to live under tyranny of one sort or another, there are more than enough nations in the world willing to accommodate them.

But there is only one United States of America and one Declaration of Independence.

Who endowed Obama with the right to tamper with it?

Can someone in the White House press corps please ask him that question?

-- Joseph Farah, Oct. 7 WorldNetDaily column

Communism's resurgence under the Obama/Ayers nexus was nothing short of spectacular! The manmade pandemic that had murdered 60 million of its own countrymen, for the crime of disbelief, returned to repeat its murderous tenure through a series of "czars" imported from Russia's authoritarian government to Washington, D.C. Democratic "representatives" looked America in the eye and told us we would have to pass their bills to find out what was in them. And Obama, channeling Ayers, signed them into law. A man with no past – and no future – intent on destroying the present. America's throat had been slit by its sworn protector, its pockets emptied and the body left in the smoke-filled back rooms where deals are done in Chicago.

The stimulus didn't "trickle down." Instead, it went into the pockets of Obama's bankers and backers – where it was sure to re-emerge and grease the palms of congressional Democrats and their media cheerleaders in the midterm elections.

-- Craige McMillan, Oct. 7 WorldNetDaily column

I also just can't help but be amazed that Obama has done nothing personally to help his destitute relatives in Kenya or here. I'm glad that he feels a sense of compassion for them. But doesn't he have the material wealth to aid them himself? Has he done so? Can he show us through that example how transferring wealth results in long-term success? If it doesn't work on a personal basis – family member to family member – why does he expect it to work through the coercive power of government?

I think you know where I'm going: He doesn't expect it to raise the standard of living in those foreign countries. That's not even the point. The point of these programs is to lower the standard of living right here in the U.S. That's his goal.

-- Joseph Farah, Oct. 8 WorldNetDaily column

Far be it from me to rain on the patriotic parade that the media is throwing for this president. Why let the facts distort the delusions the media hold about their savior?

They helped package, polish and promote Mr. Obama, who is a borrow-and-spend liberal, as a visionary politician of hope and change. The media made sure the masses would vote for Mr. Obama when they refused to do even an ounce of investigation into the background of a man we now know to be a big government socialist with some very strange approaches to leadership.

Mr. Obama is not only promising a chicken in every pot for those who take from the federal trough, but he is throwing in the stove and house to cook it in. Now 41.8 million Americans receive food stamps, 58 percent of households receive some form of government assistance and millions collect years of unemployment checks. That dependence must make Mr. Obama and his czars extremely happy.

I hope this media "patriotism" will not run out when everyone finally realizes we need a grown-up with the experience and wisdom to know that less government, lower taxes and less burdens on businesses and individuals are what is needed to save this nation.

-- Craig R. Smith, Oct. 11 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 10:28 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, October 11, 2010 10:35 AM EDT
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Global Warming Derangement Syndrome
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Under any other circumstances, Michael Mann and Phil Jones, to name just two participants, would be subject to trials to determine whether they had, in fact, deceived their respective governments and other donors in order to receive the funding that was at the core of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel (IPCC) reports asserting that the Earth was heating up and that carbon dioxide emissions had to be limited to avoid it.


Justice is not likely to be served in the case of Al Gore who has testified under oath before Congress asserting that “the planet has a fever” lied under oath. A long line of scientists and others have similarly misled Congress. The result in the House was the passage of the Cap-and-Trade bill that awaits a vote in the Senate.

We routinely put people like Bernard Madoff in jail for Ponzi schemes that defrauded people of billions. There is no reason why those who provided the data underwriting the fraud of Climategate should not face justice.

-- Alan Caruba, Sept. 29 Accuracy in Media column

Posted by Terry K. at 9:50 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, October 11, 2010 10:23 AM EDT
Noel Sheppard Needs A Thesaurus
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard loves to overuse a certain term. Can you guess what it is from these headlines over the past month?

Krauthammer Smacks Down Inside Washington Panel Over GOP Campaign Contributions

Monica Crowley Smacks Down Eleanor Clift Over GOP Being 'Extreme'

Greta Van Susteren Smacks Down 'Delusional' Allred: It's 'Unthinkable' and 'Rotten'

O'Reilly Smacks Down Maher for Claiming Anti-Obama Sentiment is Racist

Matthews Smacks Down Guest Who Says Obama Threw His Family Under The Bus

Krauthammer Smacks Down WaPo's King Over Stimulus Jobs Created or Saved

George Will Smacks Down Beinart's Claim Sarah Palin Is GOP's George McGovern

Krauthammer Smacks Down WaPo's King Over Palin and Tea Party Agenda

Erick Erickson Smacks Down CNN's Bash for Calling Voter Anger Racist

Dan Rather Smacks Down Entire Matthews Panel Over Media Hyping Koran Burning

Judith Miller Smacks Down Alan Colmes For Saying 9/11 Shouldn't Be Commemorated

Certainly not every disagreement is a smackdown, is it, Noel?

UPDATE: Sheppard is clearly unable to find another term. His latest post carries the sadly familiar headline "George Will Smacks Down Paul Krugman With Simple Reaganomics."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:52 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, October 11, 2010 1:16 AM EDT
CNS's Starr Targets Corporate Sponsors of 'Gay Activist' Group's Dinner

Echoing WorldNetDaily's longtime obsession with companies who support gay causes, an Oct. 7 article by Penny Starr gives it away in the overly long and cumbersome headline: "Marriott, Comcast, Giant, Hyatt, Food Lion, Macy’s, Chipotle, Hershey's and Other Businesses Sponsor Dinner for Leading Gay Activist Group That Promotes Same-Sex Marriage, Attacks Catholic and Mormon Churches." That would be the Human Rights Campaign, and describing its criticism of anti-gay behavior by the Catholic and Mormon churches as "attacks" is stretching things a bit.

Starr contacted a few of the companies for a response, albeit botching the description of one. She writes that Giant Food, an East Coast grocery chain, is a "a Dutch-owned multi-national corporation"; in fact, Giant is a division of that "Dutch-owned multi-national corporation," not the corporation itself.

Starr also quotes the anti-gay Robert Knight ranting about how "Many corporations have bought into the false idea that people are born gay, can’t change, and that sexual inclination is the same as race," but she gave the corporations no opportunity to respond to those remarks.

Starr is CNS' anti-gay reporter, most recently expressing offense that a city was spending tourism funds to encourage gays to visit.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, October 10, 2010 9:53 AM EDT
Saturday, October 9, 2010
WND Endorses D'Souza's Highbrow Birtherism
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Being enthusiastic birthers themselves, WorldNetDaily is already selling Dinesh D'Souza's epic of highbrow birtherism, "The Roots of Obama's Rage," so it's no surprise it would promote the book in a "news" article.

An Oct. 8 article by Michael Carl is utterly devoid of skepticism, uncritically relaying all of D'Souza's assertions and avoiding all discussion of D'Souza's egregious factual errors that seriously undermine his theory that Obama is driven by anti-colonialism (not to mention the general wackiness of the theory). Indeed, Carl quotes nobody but D'Souza, treating him like an oracle. Then again, skeptical reporting on Obama-bashers is not something that WND does.

Meanwhile, in his Oct. 8 column, conspiracy-monger Jack Cashill takes the unusual approach that D'Souza's crackpot theory didn't go far enough. No, really.

Cashill complains that D'Souza makes Obama's mother "seem a hapless innocent," when she "was a veritable teen beatnik, hanging out in Seattle's coffee shops talking jazz, foreign films and liberal politics." Did she wear a beret and have a goatee too, Jack?

Cashill also laments D'Souza's "large omission" that "celebrity biographer Christopher Andersen confirmed my thesis that former terrorist Bill Ayers played a major role in the writing of" Obama's book "Dreams From My Father." In fact, as we've noted, Andersen himself backed away from this claim in an interview on CNN's "Reliable Sources," during which he explicitly said, "I definitely do not say he [Ayers] wrote Barack Obama's book."

A place where a nutjob theory is not only treated with reverence but inspires grousing that it's not nutty enough? That's WorldNetDaily for you.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:18 AM EDT
Graham Thinks FRC, Focus on the Family Aren't Insanely Anti-Gay
Topic: NewsBusters

In an Oct. 6 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham complains that the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association has highlighted how news stories about suicides of gay teens "have been blissfully free of 'crazy minister' interviews or the need to include someone from Focus on the Family or Family Research Council to provide a countering voice." Graham responds that the NLGJA "didn't make any attempt to define an example of a 'crazy minister,' but associating that mean-spirited stereotype immediately with Focus on the Family and the FRC implies that these are analogous to 'crazy minister' groups."

Graham offers no evidence that Focus on the Family and the FRC aren't crazy on the subject of homosexuality -- perhaps because there's plenty of evidence they are.

For the FRC, we need go no farther than to Bryan Fischer. For instance, he responded to the death of Tyler Clementi by claiming that it was Clementi's own shame at being gay that caused him to take his life. In the past few weeks alone, Fischer endorsed Rep. Jim DeMint's plan to ban gays from teaching, declared that "Homosexuals are defined by one characteristic and one characteristic only: they want to use the anal cavity for sex," and asserted that the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell would be a "victory ... for the forces of sexual deviancy." (Right Wing Watch has a handy archive of Fischer's lunacy.)

As for Focus on the Family, founder James Dobson has made clear his disdain for gays.

Are these people who really have anything non-crazy to contribute on the subject of gay teen suicides?

UPDATE: Bryan Fischer doesn't work for the FRC; he works for the American Family Association. Fortunately, the FRC's Peter Sprigg serves as a similarly homophobic replacement. (Thanks to reader C.C. for the heads-up.)

Posted by Terry K. at 1:16 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 12:26 AM EDT
Friday, October 8, 2010
NewsBusters Complains Spitzer Sitting Too Close to Parker
Topic: NewsBusters

Mark Finkelstein has written some of the loopiest, most paranoid posts at NewsBusters, from speculating that Matt Lauer was a Palestinian sympathizer for wearing a checkered scarf to declaring that a soccer to hyperventilating over how a soccer ball on the cover of Time looks suspiciously like the Obama campaign logo.

Now, Finkelstein shows off his latest example of MRC-approved "media research": Eliot Spitzer is sitting too close to Kathleen Parker on the set of their new CNN show.

No, really. That's it.

Seriously, we're not kidding:

What were the Parker Spitzer producers thinking?  If there was one guy you'd want to keep at a decent distance from a female co-host, it's Gov. Love Potion #9.  But tuning into the show, for the first time, tonight, I was shocked to see the way the pair had been virtually thrown into each other's laps.

A bit of inside TV baseball: I host a local TV show in my hometown. I'm always struck by how, when I'm sitting what feels quite close to a guest, we appear miles apart on camera.  So for Parker and Spitzer to appear so close on TV, they must literally be rubbing, well, elbows.

I can't say Parker looked particularly ill at ease with the set-up, though at times she appeared to lean away some.  But it certainly made me, and presumably a chunk of viewers, uncomfortable to see a guy with Spitzer's track record getting so up close and personal.

For the love of Pete, put Spitz behind Plexiglass!

Maybe NewsBusters should try that with Finkelstein to keep him from writing more banal posts like this.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:29 PM EDT
Criminal-Coddling Cashill Named to Police Discipline Board
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Conspiracy-monger and WorldNetDaily columnist Jack Cashill has apparently found a new hobby: getting involved with Kansas City politics.

The Kansas City Star reports that Mayor Mark Funkhouser is naming Cashill to a "Citizen Advisory Committee to Review Police Officer Disciplinary Procedures," despite lack of apparent qualifications to serve on such a board. Indeed, Cashill's expertise runs more toward helping criminals avoid responsibility for their crimes.

As we've detailed, Cashill praised the murder of Kansas abortion doctor George Tiller as frontier justice, and has worked to exonerate the killer of a gay man in San Francisco by endeavoring to blame the victim and hiding the facts about the case.

Someone who has shown disdain for the law is probably not the right person to stand in judgment of the police.

Cashill has previously touted Funkhouser in his WND column as a "maverick Democrat" who ignored complaints about a member of the anti-immigrant Minuteman groupu he named to a city board. (The white suremacist American Renaissance website found this worth clipping.)

Perhaps Cashill's new appointed position is just payback for those kind words.

(h/t Tony's Kansas City)

Posted by Terry K. at 9:38 AM EDT

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