MRC Scooped By WND On Its Own Story Topic: Media Research Center
In a story posted at 9:55 p.m. ET on Jan. 6, WorldNetDaily's Brian Fitzpatrick reported that the Media Research Center would not participate in the conservative confab CPAC "because of the continued participation of the homosexual activist organization GOProud."
As of this writing, however, this news has not appeared on any MRC-operated website.
That is curious. Why did the MRC allow WND to scoop it on a story it arguably owns that would be of interest to its right-wing audience, especially when the MRC operates numerous websites -- including its own "news" operation, CNSNews.com -- that could have just as easily gotten the story out?
That seems extrordinary dumb management of the story by the MRC. One must wonder if surpisingly successful anti-gay attack on a Smithsonian art exhibition was just a fluke.
Since WND is involved, it goes without saying that it couldn't get the story completely correct. Fitzpatrick also portrayed the Heritage Foundation as pulling out of CPAC over GOProud; Slate's Dave Weigel reports that Heritage spokesman Mike Gonzalez -- whom Fitzpatrick quotes in his article -- says that GOProud's participation is not why the group is not taking part in CPAC this year.
WND Misleads About FDA Actions on Drugs Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Jan. 5 WorldNetDaily article by Gene Koprowski makes a rather desperate attempt to revive the discredited "death panels" smear on health care reform by claiming that the Food and Drug Administration "appear to have started making life or death choices for Americans in 2010 using the cost of a therapy, apparently, as a primary criterion for acceptance or rejection." Needless to say, Koprowski has to twist facts to do it and doesn't actually prove his allegation.
Koprowski asserted that "new drug approvals declined dramatically last year" at the FDA from 25 in 2009 to 21 in 2010. In fact, as Warren Throckmorton detailed, there's nothing at all dramatic about the decline -- three of the past 10 years saw few new FDA drug approvals than in 2010.
Koprowski also falsely claimed that the FDA revoked use of the drug Avastin for breast cancer because "the product didn't appear to help patients live longer at an affordable price." In fact, affordability had nothing to do with it; FDA advisory panels found that the drug did not extend patients' life spans at all compared to other treatments, and also increased the incidence of side effects and other complications.
Further undermining Koprowski's argument, the FDA doesn't even consider cost-effectiveness when reviewing drugs for approval, and he offers no evidence that it does.
Koprowski went on to falsely suggest that the FDA restricted use of the diabetes drug Avandia and withdrew painkillers Darvon and Darvocet from the market out of an effort to harm the profitability of their manufacturers. In fact, Avandia was restricted in both the U.S. and Europe because it's believed that thousands needlessly suffered a heart attack, stroke or heart failure, or died because of their use of the drug. As for Darvon and Darvocet, it was withdrawn because the drugs can cause potentially fatal heart arrythmia. (Darvon was first developed in the 1950s and has been available in generic form for decades, so development costs have presumably been amortized by now.)
MRC OK With N-Word, Not Gay Art Topic: Media Research Center
In a Jan. 6 MRC TimesWatch post, Clay Waters takes New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof to task for approving of the "bowdlerizing" of Mark Twain's classic "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by removing the N-word with the hope that it would return to school reading lists. Waters added: "If the book is being pulled from reading lists over the historically accurate and textually important use of the N-word, then perhaps the problem isn't with the book but with the hypersensitive sensibilities of modern-day school administrators."
This is the same MRC, mind you, that exhibited its own hypersensitive sensibilities by manufacturing a controversy over gay-themed art in a Smithsonian gallery, which resulted in the removal of an 11-second video clip that it could be argued was historically accurate and textually important.
Interesting that the MRC thinks offensive racial slurs shouldn't be removed from public view, but that art it doesn't like should.
Newsmax Snarks About Criticism of Committee Name Change Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax was full of snark in a Jan. 6 article on reaction to a House committee name change:
Looking for proof that labor leaders have a little too much time on their hands? House Republicans’ decision to drop “labor” from the name of a committee in that chamber has led some of those leaders to rant that Republicans have it in for them, The Hill reports.
What they’re worried about is the change from the “House Education and Labor Committee” to the “House Education and the Workforce Committee.” Heady stuff, no?
“It really does mean something,” Bill Samuel, the AFL-CIO’s director of government affairs, tells The Hill, referring to the name change. “More than the rhetoric, they have a different agenda.”
He’s not alone. “We basically think this name change is symbolic of the new majority’s hostility toward the rights of everyday working Americans,” says Chuck Loveless, director of legislation at the American Federation of County, State and Municipal Employees.
More than anything else, this attitude may reveal why workers have deserted unions in droves during recent years.
Newsmax doesn't comment on whether House Republicans have a little too much time on their hands by insisting on changing the committee's name, nor did they mention the presumed additional costs to change signage and stationery to the new name.
Cashill Defends His Favorite Murderer Again Topic: WorldNetDaily
Jack Cashill devotes his Jan. 6 WorldNetDaily column to once again defending his favorite convicted killer, Steven Nary, this time comparing him to Esteban Núñez, the son of former California Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez whose sentence for manslaugher outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger controversially shortened.
Unsurprisingly, Cashill skips over the major significant difference: Núñez has never been definitively identified as the person who killed the person he and others got into a fight with -- Schwarzenegger asserted that Núñez was "not the actual killer" -- while there's no question Nary killed his victim, Juan Pifarre.
Cashill continued to play his little deceptions and denigrations regarding the Nary case -- asserted Nary "unintentionally kill[ed] his would-be rapist," smeared his victim as a "cokehead from Argentina" with a "reputation as a mean drunk," claimed Nary "eventually told the ship's chaplain what had happened," and insisted that Nary got a "kangaroo" trial in San Francisco because Pifarre was gay.
As we've detailed, Cashill's revisionist version of history ignores a few inconvenient facts -- Nary allowed Pifarre to perform oral sex on him, for which Pifarre offered to pay Nary $40; Nary told police he choked Pifarre for five minute; Nary originally denied any sexual contact with Pifarre and told the Navy medic who treated the broken hand Nary suffered in killing Pifarre that he had hurt it playing basketball.
But it wouldn't be Jack Cashill if he was telling the full truth about his favorite convicted killer, would it?
AIM's Lame Attack on Wash. Post Topic: Accuracy in Media
In a Jan. 5 Accuracy in Media blog post, Don Irvine attempts to shoot down former Washington Post editor Leonard Downie's claim that the paper "is not coming from a point of view" with this response:
For Downie to say that there is no partisanship at the paper is truly devoid of reality. The Post has a long history of going after conservatives and Republicans while largely giving liberals a pass. AIM pointed out once such incident in 1998.
If there is such a "long history" this, why did AIM have to go all the way back to 1998 to come up with an example? And that example is not a particularly good one: Irvine links to a 1998 AIM item by Cliff Kincaid repeating a right-wing claim that then-United Nations ambassador Bill Richardson "apparently lied when he said at his recent confirmation hearings that a UN job he offered to Monica Lewinsky last year was to fill an existing opening." The only reference to the Post in the item is its presence among the media outlets listed by Kincaid that failed to report the right-wing claim. Even then, the question at hand -- whether the position Lewinsky interviewed for was existing or was created for her -- is minor at best and, given that Lewinsky declined the job, something of a moot point.
This is really the best example AIM could come up with?
WND Pretends Gay-Nazi Book Isn't Discredited Topic: WorldNetDaily
The Scott Lively-Kevin Abrams screed "The Pink Swastika" -- which claims that the Nazi Party was dominated by homosexuals -- has gotten perhaps the best endorsement it could hope for: a place in WorldNetDaily's online store and gushing praise from editor Joseph Farah.
A Jan. 4 WND article baselessly asserts that the book is "disturbing, compelling and persuasive on its major point," adding that it is "a highly footnoted, meticulously documented book" that "makes the case that the Nazi Party is best understood as a neo-pagan, homosexual cult." Then the gushing from Farah kicks in:
"This is a deeply disturbing book," said Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND, who recently added a new 4th edition of the book to the WND Superstore. "Perhaps not until very recently, with the mandating of open homosexuality in the military and the widespread promotion of same-sex marriage, could Americans have been expected to see the relevance of this remarkable work to their own society. We say, 'never again.' But do we mean it? Do we even understand what actually happened? I didn't – until I read this book."
"You will never look at Nazism or homosexuality the same way again after reading 'The Pink Swastika,'" concludes Farah.
Already, only a few days after introducing this new edition of the book into the WND Superstore, Farah says homosexual bloggers and commentators have taken notice and "are pulling out the long knives of invective and abuse."
"They say this book has been discredited," Farah says. "But I've read the book and I've read all the criticism. The book more than stands up to all the attacks I've seen, most of which are completely baseless."
Farah, of course, doesn't explain what the criticism or why he has declared it to be "baseless." In fact, "The Pink Swastika" has been quite soundly discredited.
Warren Throckmorton -- a psycohology professor at the conservative-leaning Grove City College whom WND has previouslyapprovinglycited -- has been hammering away at the book, pointing out its attempt to link fascism and homosexuality by attacking German writer Thomas Mann as "an apologist for Nietzsche and thus an unwitting contributor to Nazism" when Mann was, in fact, an active opponent of the Third Reich.Throckmorton also noted how Lively and Abrams selectively quote from the work of Gunter Grau to prove "homofascism," ignoring examples that contradicted their thesis.
Throckmorton also highlighted the ciritcism of Grove City College history professor Jon David Wynekin, who has extensively studied Nazi history, who called the book "simply not good history and is, in fact, not really history at all. Instead, in my view, it is a book that uses history as a weapon in a contemporary political battle, completely outside the historical context of Nazi Germany." Wynekin added that Lively "does no original research in primary archival documents; meaning, he has not examined the thousands of documents available on these subjects for himself."
(Throckmorton has responded to Farah: "I am not a homosexual blogger; Grove City colleague and historian Jon David Wynekin is not a homosexual blogger and we spent lots of time and detail demonstrating the flaws in the book. Campus Crusade for Christ is not a homosexual blogger organization and it removed an exerpt of The Pink Swastika from one of their websites. Exodus International is not a homosexuality affirming organization but they removed the link to The Pink Swastika. NARTH is hardly a gay affirming bunch but they removed all references to Scott Lively and The Pink Swastika.")
Lively, meanwhile, runs the group Abiding Truth Ministries, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as a hate group. Lively is also reportedly one of the inspirations behind the proposed Draconian law in Uganda that would permit the death penalty for mere homosexuality -- a law endorsed by WND's own Molotov Mitchell.
In the face of detailed criticism of Lively's book from professional scholars, Farah might want to explain to his readers why they're wrong. Maybe Farah doesn't have the guts; after all, Throckmorton has deconstructed WND's shoddy reporting before.
Is Judith Miller Another Newsmax Rehab Project? Topic: Newsmax
Last October, a surprising name popped up on Newsmax's "blog" list: Judith Miller, the former New York Times reporter whose work prior to the Iraq war promoting the idea that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction -- driven by her main source, Ahmed Chalabi -- has been largely discredited.
How did Miller end up there? She discussed it with Yahoo News' Michael Calderone:
In recent months, Miller has written several online posts for Newsmax but will now also contribute to the print magazine. Her first piece — on drugs, terror financing, and a little-known program for U.S. law-enforcement officials to embed in Iraq — appears in the January 2011 issue.
In a separate email, Miller explained why she accepted "an excellent offer" from Newsmax chief Christopher Ruddy to write more for the publication. "Newsmax offered me a lot of space for what we both think is an important story, and support for the reporting that produced it," she said. "Both are rare commodities in American magazine journalism these days."
Miller said she had no reservations about writing for a partisan outlet, pointing out that she's also written op-eds for the Los Angeles Times and New York Daily News, essays and reviews for the Wall Street Journal, opinion pieces for Fox News, and reported articles for City Journal — a publication put out by the Manhattan Institute, of which she's an adjunct fellow.
"I've even written for the Independent, in London," Miller continued. "I value my political independence. So do Fox and Newsmax." (Incidentally, she voted for Barack Obama in 2008).
Or you might call it another Newsmax career rehab project. Like Bernard Kerik and Ralph Reed before her, Miller has a damaged reputation that Newsmax thinks can be repaired by giving her space to pontificate about the subjects of her choice.
This time, Miller is running a two-front rehab; in addition to Newsmax, she is also a Fox News contributor who appears on the channel with some regularity. So it's likely she will fare better than, say, Kerik.
At MRC, Repeating A Fact = 'Liberal Bias' Topic: NewsBusters
As we've previously noted, the Media Research Center is much more interested in scoring political points than doing actual media research. Yet another example surfaces in a Jan. 3 NewsBusters post by Matthew Balan, in which he recounts John Roberts' purported "reputation for liberal bias."
Balan's first example of "liberal bias"? Calling the 2008 Democratic primary "historic." No, really. Apparently Balan doesn't think that a presidential primary between a woman and a black is not "historic."
By the way, Balan could come up with only 13 examples of "liberal bias" from Roberts, even though he has been in network news for 17 years. That's not much of a reputation, is it?
Another Zombie Lie Roams At WND Topic: WorldNetDaily
It seems WorldNetDaily justcan’tstop telling lies about President Obama, no matter how many times they've been debunked.
The latest example is a January 4 article promoting WND editor Joseph Farah’s “premium online newsletter” G2 Bulletin. It states:
It was Obama who barnstormed on behalf of Raila Odinga, the socialist who hails from the same tribal heritage, the Luo, as Obama, when Odinga was seeking the presidency in Kenya.
Appearing with Odinga at campaign stops, Obama gave speeches accusing the sitting Kenyan president of being corrupt and oppressive.
As we’ve previously detailed, PolitiFact.com found "no evidence to indicate that Obama 'openly supported' Odinga" during his 2006 trip to Kenya – in fact, Obama made a point of saying that he tried to “meet with all parties” during his visit, including Odinga’s opponent, Mwai Kibaki. While Odinga clearly wanted to associate himself with Obama by attending some of Obama’s events during the visit, PolitiFact wrote, Obama “remained neutral in Kenyan politics, and did not support Odinga during his trip.”
This latest attack, by the way, comes while noting that Odinga -- whom WND called “Obama’s African buddy” -- was helping to negotiate a conclusion to turmoil in a presidential election in the Ivory Coast. WND portrayed the controversy as a conflict between “opening practicing Christian” Laurent Gbagbo, who is trying to cling to power and resist being unseated by his Muslim opponent, Alassane Quattara, amid allegations of vote fraud and the Gbagbo-controlled constitutional council’s overturning of the country’s electoral commission to declare Gbagbo the winner.
But WND leaves out one pertinent detail: The United Nations and the European Union have certified the vote declaring Quattara the winner as free and fair, despite some isolated incidents of violence. Further, National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer noted that the provisional results were in favor of Quattara, adding, “Credible, accredited electoral observers have characterized the balloting as free and fair, and no party should be allowed to obstruct further the electoral process.”
WND does write that the constitutional council that declared Gbagbo the winner is headed by “a loyal Gbagbo ally,” but focuses instead on claims of “massive vote-rigging” in Quattara strongholds and presents the controversy as a religious one in which “outsiders” are supporting “an attempt by a Muslim to unseat a Christian president.”
So, to sum up: WND is not only pushing zombie lies, it’s siding with an African leader who has demonstrated contempt for the principles of democracy.
NewsBusters Hides Full Truth About Attorney In Catholic Abuse Case Topic: NewsBusters
Dave Pierre uses a Jan. 2 NewsBusters post to screech about how the media is ignoring what is essentially a friend-of-the-court brief filed in a court case regarding sexual abuse of children by priests in the Los Angeles Catholic Diocese by "veteran attorney Donald H. Steier" in which he asserts that "about ONE-HALF of the claims made in the Clergy Cases were either entirely false or so greatly exaggerated that the truth would not have supported a prosecutable claim for childhood sexual abuse" (capital letters are his)."
Pierre makes a big deal out of how Steier submitted his brief "under penalty of perjury" and attacked an advocacy group for the victims of the priests.
But Pierre omits a pertinent fact: As Examiner.com's Kay Ebeling points out, Steier has served as a defense attorney for "accused priests all over southern California," which makes him hardly the unbiased, independent observer Pierre suggests he is. Indeed, the Los Angeles Diocese has paid Steier in the past.
As part of his representation of accused priests, Steier has opposed the release of internal church documents that would shed light on the abuse allegations -- which would seem to cast further doubt on the veracity of his claims.
Pierre goes on to hiliarously attack a response to Steier's filing by the victim-advocacy group SNAP, asserting that there is a "glaring absence from SNAP's statement. The organization does not refute nor deny any of the specific claims made by Steier. It simply labels them as 'outrageous' and 'hurtful.' That is hardly a blow to the explosive declaration aired by the veteran attorney." (Italics his.)
Pierre goes on to mock SNAP's call for church officialsto reveal how much money it has paid Steier. But Pierre doesn't deny that Steier was paid by the church, which raises the possibility that the brief Steier filed was also done on the church's payroll.
Pierre also has a poorly disclosed conflict of interest: His end-of-post bio asserts that he "is the author of the heralded book Double Standard: Abuse Scandals and the Attack on the Catholic Church." The Amazon page Pierre links to reveals that his book was published by CreateSpace, the self-publishing division of Amazon. As for how the book has been "heralded," the Amazon page has three Pierre-supplied laudatory quotes and exactly one reader review. We're not sure that qualifies as "heralded."
So Pierre is little more than an apologist for the Catholic Church, even as he concedes that "Yes, Catholic priests terribly abused minors, and bishops failed to stop the harm." That, by the way, is a line he basically copied-and-pasted from the promotional blurb for his self-published book.
A Dec. 31 CNSNews.com article by Edwin Mora continues CNS' selectiveobsession with counting U.S. troop fatalities by declaring "In the past year, U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan were killed at a rate of about one every 18 hours."
As before, no comparison is made with military casualties in Iraq. Mora makes a big deal out of the 496 U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan, ignoring that troop deaths in Iraq far outstripped that number.
According to iCasualties, U.S. troop deaths in Iraq exceeded the 2010 Afghanistan number in four separate years: 849 in 2004, 846 in 2005, 822 in 2006, and 904 in 2007. The total of 1,357 U.S. deaths in Afghanistan is also far outweighed by the 4,432 U.S. deaths in Iraq.
Indeed, the word "Iraq" appears only once in Mora's article, and that was only in noting that President Obama said during the 2008 presidential campaign that "President Bush had wrongly shifted the focus in the war on terror from Afghanistan to Iraq."
Mora wrote a Jan. 3 follow-up claiming that "Eighty-two percent of the U.S. casualties in Afghanistan in 2010 took place in Afghan provinces adjacent to the Pakistan border," but his numbers aren't consistent. This time, Mora claims that 497 U.S. troops died last year and 1,358 overall in Afghanistan. He doesn't explain the discrepancy between the two articles.
Does WND Think Presidential Death Threats Are Funny? Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Jan. 3 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn is largely sympathetic to a Florida sheriff's office employee who "left a Bible behind on a co-worker's desk with a note designating Psalm 109 as 'the Obama prayer.'" This is a verse that begins, "May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership." But it continues:
May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes. May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor. May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children. May his descendants be cut off, their names blotted out from the next generation.
Zahn uncritically repeats the employee's contention that the "Obama prayer" was supposed to be "funny," and Zahn himself refers to "'the Obama prayer' joke." The implication here is that Zahn thinks threatening the president's life, even implied, is a joke as well.
This is not the first time Psalm 109 has been invoked at WND. As we noted, editor and CEO Joseph Farah himself cited it in a November 2009 column headlined "How to make Obama nightmare go away," repeating only the introductory verse and not mentioning the apparent death wish the subsequent verses imply. Farah concluded: "Pray! It works. It's a promise."
Are Zahn and Farah praying for Obama's death. They need to clarify their positions. After all, given Farah and WND's obsessive hatred for Obama, the idea that they wish him dead -- as well as the idea that think his death would be a total laugh riot -- is not exactly a stretch.
MRC's Double Standard on Officials On Vacation During Disasters Topic: Media Research Center
In a Dec. 29 NewsBusters post, Scott Whitlock was upset that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was criticized for being on vacation in Florida when a major blizzard hit his state. Whitlock huffed: Both CBS's Early Show and NBC's Today covered the anger in the New York/New Jersey region over the blizzard and the problems with the recovery. Neither of them, however, mentioned Christie."
But Whitlock's employer, the Media Research Center, has no problem attacking a government official for doing that very thing -- that is, of course, as long as the ofifcial in question is not a conservative. An April 1 CNSNews.com article by Penny Starr carries the headline "FEMA Administrator Visits Sunny Orlando as Rhode Island Deals With Worst Flooding in 200 Years." Starr writes:
On Wednesday, one day after President Barack Obama issued an emergency declaration for flood-stricken Rhode Island authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency “to coordinate all disaster relief efforts” for the state, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate was in sunny Orlando, Fla., giving a speech.
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service predicted a sunny day Thursday with a high temperature of 82 degrees in Orlando, Fla., where FEMA Director Fugate was known to be on Wednesday.
Starr did not explain why Fugate needed to be in Rhode Island or what would possibly be gained by him doing so -- or why, for that matter, it was necessary to twice describe the weather in Orlando.
What's the difference between Fugate and Christie? We don't see any. Whitlock and Starr, however, apparently do: Christie is a conservative, while Fugate is presumed not to be.
Another Year, Another Lame WND List of 'Underreported' Stories Topic: WorldNetDaily
It's the start of a new year, and you know what that means -- another year-end list from WorldNetDaily of all the right-wing stories they think are "underreported" that ignores the facts to show they were rightly ignored.
At the top of this year's list is -- surprise! -- a birther story. This is the one involving for Hawaii elections temp worker Tim Adams claiming that there is no Hawaiian birth certificate for President Obama. As it did when it firstreported Adams' dubious story, WND ignores the fact that Adams first made his claim on the radio show of a self-described "pro-white" radio host that was broadcasting from a conference of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a decendent of the openly racist White Citizens Councils of the 1950s and 1960s that the Anti-Defamation League describes as having a "white supremacy, white separatism" ideology. WND also ignores that the "senior elections clerk" position Adams claimed was described by his boss as a low-level data entry position, and that Adams would not have had access to any of Obama's election and related records since he is not registered to vote in Hawaii.
Another entry on WND's list is "the dark possibility of the manipulation of elections" as exemplied by, among other things, 'a formalized refusal by some states to follow election law regarding ballots for the military." WND asserted that "during the 2010 election some states simply disregarded – or demanded an exemption to – requirements that they get ballots to members of the military, who vote more conservatively than the general population, on time for them to be returned and counted." What WND didn't note is that claims about intentional efforts to prevent military members from receiving ballots are largely overblown, and states that failed to meet federal deadlines to send out military ballots reachedsettlements with the Justice Department to extend the deadline for their return to ensure those ballots were counted.
WND must have been running short on actual fake underreported news, so it had to come up wiht filler entries, like this one: "The push in the U.S. courts by homosexual advocates to demand the legalization of same-sex 'marriage' as well as through Congress to formally adopt the policy of allowing open homosexual behavior in the U.S. military." WND seems to concede it's not actually underreported, but it insisted that the issue "remains beyond the reach of most traditional reporting staffs." That seems to be code for saying that the media doesn't despise gays as much as WND does.
WND even threw in an "honorable mention" for its so-called "pink slip" campaign. If you'll recall, that was the right-wing screed that contained numerous factual errors. WND touted that the campaign "dispatched nearly 10 million warnings to members of Congress to return to the values of their constituents or face being removed from office in November," but if you divide 10 million by the 535 "pink slips" each participant generated,you have less than 18,690 people paying WND the princely sum of $29.95 to send out those slips -- hardly a massive outpouring (though WND grossed a cool $500,000-plus on the fleecing of its readers).