Kessler Keeps Quiet About CPAC Controversies Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax's Ronald Kessler is very tight with David Keene, head of the American Conservative Union, which operates the annual CPAC conference for conservatives. He has repeatedly interviewed Keene for his column and fawningly promoted CPAC, and Keene has returned the favor by awarding Kessler the inaugural "Robert Novak Journalist of the Year Award" at last year's CPAC.
So why is Kessler not covering the current controversies surrounding CPAC?
Newsmax rival WorldNetDaily has been repeatedly attacking CPAC over the past few months -- as we noted, in apparent retaliation for CPAC refusing to allow WND editor Joseph Farah to put on a birther panel at last year's convention. (Farah essentially admitted as much in his Jan. 15 column, relating how his animus was motivated by CPAC officials "boasted publicly about turning down my private request in an interview with the Los Angeles Times – using insulting and degrading language in an apparent effort to ingratiate themselves with the media elite.") WND has been touting how some right-wing groups are refusing to take part in this year's CPAC due to the participation of the "homosexual activist organization" GOProud and playing guilt by association by attacking CPAC board member Suhail Khan as an "Islamist" who is "infiltrating" CPAC.
WND, interestingly, has also suggested that Keene's ex-wife, who WND says was the bookkeeper for the ACU, embezzled "hundreds of thousands of dollars in donor money" from the group.
If ever there was a time for Kessler to run to the rescue and do some fluffy interviews of Keene -- as he loves to do -- this would be it. But Kessler hasn't written a word about the controversies. Instead, he's been focusing on such weighty matters as Donald Trump's presidential prospects and the "secrets" of a long-retired Washington restauranteur.
Why won't Kessler get involved on behalf of his friend Keene? This seems like the perfect opportunity to flex those "Robert Novak Journalist of the Year Award" muscles and get at the truth.
Is Kessler simply too close to CPAC and Keene that he won't bite the hand that gives him awards?
Farah Just Can't Stop Lying About WND's Birther Coverage Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah seems to think that if you repeat a lie enough times, it becomes true.
So it is with Farah's Jan. 17 WorldNetDaily column, in which he complains yet again about the Los Angeles Times doing something other than uncritically praising his work. This time, Farah is annoyed that the Times reported that WND is "a prime force in the movement that claims President Obama was born abroad." Farah huffed: "I have never once said Obama was born abroad. No one at WND has made such an allegation."
That, of course, is a bald-faced lie. As we've detailed, Farah has repeatedly invoked the false claim that Obama's grandmother said he was born in Kenya, and WND's heavy promotion of the "Kenyan birth certificate" it couldn't be bothered to authenticate before publishing it is most certainly an allegation that "Obama was born abroad."
Farah also rehashed his whining about a previous Times article about him, calling it "a sleazy, unethically prepared hit piece." In fact, as we noted at the time, the article was accurate.
If the editor of a publication is so amoral as to lie to your face about things that can easily be fact-checked, why should you trust anything else he publishes?
UPDATE: And don't forget that a WND banner headline called Obama "undocumented," synonymous with illegal/born abroad.
In Latest Anti-Gay Freak-Out, MRC Attacks Book Blurb Topic: Media Research Center
How much does the Media Research Center's Tim Graham hate gays? He's attacking a writer for contributing a blurb to a book by a gay author.
Yes, Graham dedicated an entire Jan. 16 NewsBusters post to attacking a Washington Post staffer for contributing a blurb to a new book by the "editor of the DC gay news magazine Metro Weekly." He finds no bias, though he complains that the staffer isn't identified as a Post staffer but, rather, as the author of two books. Instead, he's upset that the staffer's blurb included "a hurrah for gay 'equality' of respect."
Apparently, respecting gays is against MRC policy, and Graham is nothing if not a slavish follower of MRC policy -- so much so that he must attack book blurbs to enforce it.
WND's Lamb Defends AmRen -- But Not By Name Topic: WorldNetDaily
Henry Lamb uses his Jan. 15 WorldNetDaily column to channel Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid in defending a certain organization:
What's far more dangerous and damaging than anything Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck or any other conservative has said is the irresponsible actions of the Department of Homeland Security when they issued a memo to law-enforcement officials that said there may be a "possible" connection between the Tucson shooter and an organization they labeled as "anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), anti-Semitic."
When asked by Accuracy in Media, the group's leader, Jared Taylor, said:
"That is complete nonsense. I have absolutely no idea what DHS is talking about. We have never used the term 'ZOG.' We have never thought in those terms. If this is the level of research we are getting from DHS, then Heaven help us."
DHS has backed away from its memo, saying that it has no direct connection or linkage between the Tucson shooter and the group mentioned, but the damage is done. The group's reputation has been damaged beyond recompense. The DHS should be liable for those damages, but will not be held accountable.
Note that Lamb never mentions the name of the group he's talking about. That, of course would be American Renaissance, the group for which Kincaid insisted there was "no evidence" that it "by any objective standard is a racist organization." Of course, that's not true, and Kincaid walked it back a few days later.
Lamb went so far as to name AmRen's leader, but not the name of the group itself. Is Lamb afraid to be associated with the group he's defending? Doesn't that make it hard to do a proper defense?
Lamb also gets his facts wrong about the memo. He claim it was issued by DHS, which is what Fox News initially reported; it later stated -- and does so in the Fox News story to which Lamb links -- that it was "a law enforcement memo based on information provided by DHS." Politico later reported that the memo was issued by the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center, was meant as a hastily prepared internal status report on what center employees were working on, and it was never meant for public dissemination.
Yet Lamb insists on blaming DHS for the memo, even though DHS had no role in its preparation.
MRC's Gainor Retweets Terrorist Sympathizer Topic: Media Research Center
Media Research Center of president for business and culture Dan Gainor issued this retweet:
While the message being conveyed isn't controversial, the person who originally made it very much is.
As we've detailed, David Ha'ivri is a far-right Israeli activist who has organized numerous protests at Jerusalem's Temple Mount, the ancient site of a Jewish temple that is now the site of a mosque. Eden Natan-Zada -- the AWOL soldier who slaughtered four people on a bus in Gaza in 2005 -- joined in one of those protests before he committed his massacre.
Ha'ivri was a follower and sympathizer of the Kach/Kahane Chai movement -- he's also a brother-in-law to the son of movement founder Meir Kahane. which has been outlawed in Israel for its links to anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian violence. And Ha'ivri refuses to condemn such violence; Ha'ivri appeared in a 2007 CNN documentary on religious extremism in which he refused to criticize a plot by Jewish extremists to detonate a bomb outside a Palestinian girls' school.
Additionally, according to the New York Times, Ha'ivri celebrated the assassination of Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and has served a six-month jail term in connection with the desecration of a mosque.
In short, Ha'ivri is a terrorist sympathizer, if not an actual terrorist. This is hardly the kind of person who deserves attention. Too bad Gainor didn't check him out before retweeting him.
Ben Stein: 'Most' Muslims 'Don't Wish Us Well' Topic: Newsmax
In arguing against cuts in defense spending in a Jan. 14 Newsmax column -- insisting that while the United States "is by far the most heavily armed nation in the world" yet 'we are grossly underarmed for what faces us" -- Ben Stein decides to smear Muslims in the process.
One of the reasons that we are "grossly underarmed," Stein writes, is: "Facing us are over 1 billion extremely unsettled Muslims, most of whom, according to polling data, do not wish us well."
WND Presents MLK Smearmonger As Victim Topic: WorldNetDaily
Brian Fitzpatrick uses a Jan. 13 WorldNetDaily article to paint a sympathetic portrait of a radiostation owner who, he says, is guilty of merely broadcasting "a commentary acknowledging the smudges on the character of Martin Luther King, Jr.":
Death threats. Character assassination. Public repudiation. Demands to quit the local school board. Infringement on his right to bear arms. A pressure campaign against his advertisers. All for daring to broadcast a commentary acknowledging the smudges on the character of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Greeley, Colo. businessman Brett Reese, a real estate investor and owner of radio station KELS and the Greeley Gazette newspaper, has been weathering the storm since last Friday, when he began twice-daily broadcasts of a listener's commentary questioning whether America should celebrate Martin Luther King Day.
"To me it's a First Amendment right, but apparently in our society you can't pee on the altar of political correctness. That is enough to get you death threats," Reese told WND.
As with most sympathetic profiles WND publishes, a lot of the truth is being left out. For one, the size of Reese's media empire. KELS is a low-power radio station broadcasting at 100 watts, which has a broadcasting radius of around three miles. As for the Greeley Gazette, it appears to be little more than a self-published free publication available at a handful of locations around the city, with a related website.
For another, Fitzpatrick writes about those "smudges":
The controversial five-minute commentary raises a set of historically accurate but rarely acknowledged facts about King, including his repeated sexual infidelities and plagiarism. The commentary refers to King as an "America-hating communist," a charge that is disputed. It also describes King as a "sexual degenerate."
The commentary initially referred to a website that Reese subsequently discovered was linked to a racist organization. After Reese found out about the racism, he removed any mention of the website.
In fact, the entire commentary is derived from a "racist organization." As the Greeley Tribune reported, the commentary, called "The Beast As Saint," was pulled from a website using King's name that is in fact operated by the neo-Nazi group Stormfront. It's disingenous for Fitzpatrick to assert that Reese "removed any mention of the website" from his commentary when the entire commentary is from that same website.
And as you might expect for a rant plucked from a racist website, the factual accuracy of Reese's commentary is somewhat less than "historically accurate." From a letter signed by several Greeley-area pastors (h/t World O'Crap):
As suggested, we did our own research and found the website he referenced is owned by Stormfront, the Internet’s largest forum for racists, white supremacists and Neo-Nazis. Our research also showed that Dr. King’s doctoral thesis was heavily plagiarized and there are in fact conflicting accounts about his infidelity.
However, we also found that contrary to Mr. Reese’s broadcast, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was ordained a Baptist minister in 1948, a real “reverend.” His name was legally changed by his father from Michael to Martin Luther when he was 5.
Boston University did not take away his doctorate degree. The bulk of his “I Have a Dream” speech is his own but the conclusion is borrowed from a family friend’s earlier speech, and while he was wiretapped and investigated for communist ties by the FBI, the documents that have been released through a Freedom of Information Act request show no such ties.
Fitzpatrick, of course, makes no mention of the pastors' letter.
Fitzpatrick goes on to quote one writer for Reese's newspaper fluffing his employer:
Greeley Gazette writer Jack Minor noted that Reese has been broadcasting the commentary for three years, but encountered no complaints until this year.
"This year the only thing that's different is the Gazette," Minor told WND. The conservative-leaning paper is a new publication, and Minor said Colorado politicians have told him the Gazette's presence has forced the rival Greeley Tribune to provide more balanced political coverage.
Minor suggested the MLK tempest is not inspired by genuine outrage over the commentary, but by a desire to discredit the Gazette by smearing Reese. In addition to influencing local news coverage, the Gazette covers the Obama presidential eligibility issue extensively."
What's left out: the fact that Reese was so dumb as to run his commentary for three years without realizing it came from a racist neo-Nazi website. Fitzpatrick also doesn't question why any writer would want to work for an editor so clearly unable to do basic research.
While Fitzpatrick makes a big deal about the purported death threats, he also notes that "Reese declined to describe the threats in detail." Unmentioned: The Greeley police have no record of any death threats against Reese.
It appears Fitzpatrick interviewed only Reese and his supporters for his article. There's no evidence he made any effort to contact any of his critics.
Oh, and one more thing Fitzpatrick doesn't report: According to the Greeley Gazette, "In 2008, [Reese] pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child pornography in a plea bargain. He served slightly less than two years in prison for the conviction."
P.S. Since Fitzpatrick's article was first published, Reese has been stripped of his concealed-weapon permit and had a restraining order placed against him by the owner of another local radio station who claims Reese threatened "shoot-out" over allegations of stealing advertisers. Fitzpatrick has so far not seen fit to write a follow-up.
WND Still Pushing Loughner Book List Lie Topic: WorldNetDaily
Once WorldNetDaily gets a hold of a misleading claim, it just doesn't let go, regardless of the actual facts. Here's Tim Daughtry in his Jan. 15 WND column writing about Jared Loughner:
Furthermore, the suspect listed "The Communist Manifesto" and "Mein Kampf" as favorite reading.
Marx and Hitler advocated big government, control of any speech they did not like, and gun control. Those ideas are repugnant to the tea party, but they are apple pie for liberals. So, if the suspect has any discernible political beliefs at all, he seems to have far more in common with the left than with the mainstream.
As we detailed, there are 19 other books Loughner listed at "favorite," including Ayn Rand's "We The Living." Why doesn't Daughtry want to mention that?
MRC Ignores Own Out-of-Context Attacks To Bash NY Times Topic: Media Research Center
NewsBusters' Lachlan Markay penned an open letter to the New York Times demanding a correction of columnist Paul Krugman's claim that Rep. Michele Bachmann once said that she wants her constituents "armed and dangerous." That was taken out of context, Markay wrote: "Clearly, Ms. Bachmann was not stating her desire for a constituency that is literally 'armed and dangerous.' She used the phrase as a metaphor -- she wanted her constituents 'armed' with information so that they would be 'dangerous' to cap and trade legislation and Democrats' energy agenda."
Markay was soon backed up by NewsBusters' publisher, the Media Research Center, whose MRC Action division launched an email campaign attacking Krugman's "blatant omission of key words":
This kind of hate-inspired assault against conservatives -- especially in the wake of the shooting massacre in Tucson cannot be tolerated. That's why we've sounded the alarm for the MRC Action team to email key members of The New York Times demanding the following:
An admission of guilt and wrong-doing
An immediate, public retraction
A public apology to Rep. Bachmann
A commitment to properly and responsibly vet quotes used by columnists to ensure this kind of egregious action cannot repeat itself.
Of course, for all its fulmination about the Times, the MRC can't be bothered to be as circumspect about its own work.
As we've detailed, the MRC and its employees have repeatedly taken out of context a quote from a 2003 magazine profile of Ted Kennedy to falsely accuse the profile's author, Charles Pierce, of being a Kennedy sycophant. The full quote in context, however, shows that Pierce was criticizing Kennedy, not praising him. Yet the MRC named this its "quote of the year" and repeatedly invoked it as a cheap shot ever since -- Brent Baker most recently did so in April 2010. And, of course, there's the MRC's infamous quoting from former New York Times editor Howell Raines' book that presented two selectively chosen excerpts 28 pages apart as a single quote with an ellipses that misportrayed what Raines wrote about Ronald Reagan. It took the MRC nine years to issue a "clarification" on that.
If Markay is really serious about correcting the record on out-of-context quotes, he might consider starting with his hypocritical employer.
A Jan. 11 WorldNetDaily article by Michael Carl begins:
Agree to do abortions or you can't go to school here.
That's the message from Vanderbilt University's nursing residency program, where the school requires applicants to sign a pledge stating they'll participate in abortions.
Just one problem: That lead is a lie.
Carl goes on to write that the Alliance Defense Fund "has filed a complaint with the federal Department of Health and Human Services in response stating the policy violates federal law," asserting that "federal law states that any institution that receives federal grants cannot require students to do abortions in violation of their religious beliefs."
Carl makes no apparent attempt to contact Vanderbilt for a response, instead quoting form a media statement it released pointing out that "A Vanderbilt University Medical Center policy has been in place for years for employees, including nurse residents, so they may be excused from participating in activities due to religious beliefs, ethical beliefs or other associated reasons." ButCarl then allowed an ADF representative to claim that despite the policy, theschool requires nursing students "to assist in abortions."
In fact, it does nothing of the sort. As the Tennessean reported (h/t Right Wing Watch), a Vanderbilt spokesman points out that the school does not require any student to participate in an abortion procedure, but students "will be asked to provide care to women who have had, or are seeking, abortions." Carl didn't mention that in his article.
When the ADF claimed that the school "modified" its nurse residency application "so that it no longer requires applicants to pledge that they will participate in abortion procedures," WND uncritically reported in an unbylined Jan. 13 article. But the only source for the new information in the article appears to be an ADF press release; WND made no apparent effort to obtain a response from Vanderbilt.
Perhaps that's because they knew ADF was lying again. As Right Wing Watch points out, Vanderbilt did not "modify" its policy; it merely issued a "clarification" that restated existing policy that "no health care provider is required to participate in a procedure terminating a pregnancy if such participation would be contrary to an individual’s religious beliefs or moral convictions."
NewsReal Upset Media Won't Make Fun of Michelle Obama's Looks Topic: Horowitz
A Jan. 9 NewsReal post by Megan Fox is titled "The 11 Most Ludicrous Free Passes Given to The Obamas." It's the usual right-wing claptrap, plus one shockingly hateful one: One of those "free passes" is that Michelle Obama wears things Fox doesn't like.
And yet, the press (even the mean-queen Joan Rivers) is silent on what can only be described (truthfully) as a hot mess. Of all the strange and borderline absurd outfits in the first lady’s closet, this next one bothered me the most. As the FLOTUS, Michelle should recognize that she represents this country at all times and when stepping off of Air Force One she should know there are going to be photographers beaming her image across the world. Put on a suit, smile for the cameras and then go change into your vacation-wear at the (very expensive) hotel we put you up in. Do not get off Air Force One wearing something most people wouldn’t even wear to pull weeds.
And then, just for laughs we have the ever-present, not easily understood and always growing Klingon War Belt collection. Thank God for the Internet and snarky writers with blogs! Without them, we would be subjected to the grovelling, sycophantic praise of outfits that are simply head-scratch worthy. I don’t get this. Michelle can look great. I’ve seen it. Why does she do this to herself?
Whose bright idea was this giant belt (wide enough to retread your tires) over the little cardigan? Is anyone wearing this look but her? I haven’t seen it anywhere. If Michelle really was like Jackie O, who inspired an entire era of fashion, every mom on the block would be belting their cardigans with mini corsets. I’ve seen the belts…but not like this. This is something so special it has inspired another Web site (doing the job the old press used to do.)
They’re going to have to add an entire wing to the Smithsonian just to house Michelle’s belts! A famous play in the leftist handbook is to keep repeating a lie until people believe it’s true. There is a concerted effort by the media to tell us the first lady is the most fashionable first lady they’ve ever seen. But our eyes keep contradicting their claims. The hypnosis job isn’t working on me. How about you?
If Fox thinks that not calling Michelle Obama ugly is the worst thing the media has done, there's no need to lose sleep over this. Although, perhaps, Fox ought to for being such a hateful, catty bitch.
Aaron Klein Anonymous Source Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Jan. 12 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein, which accuses the Obama administration of "selling out Lebanon," is completely devoid of named sources. Klein attributes this claim to "top Christian leaders in Lebanon" who "spoke on the condition their names be withheld," but he did not explain why they requested anonymity or why he granted it (aside from the obvious -- that they give him cover to bash Obama).
Klein has a longhistory of hiding behind anonymous sources to attack President Obama and his administration, and his history of faulty and slantedreporting should not give readers any confidence that his grants of anonymity can be trusted.
The Media Research Center's Brent Bozell was on "Fox & Friends" trying to deflect accusations that vitrolic conservative rhetoric played a part on the Arizona shootings, as he's been wont to do lately. Bozell then said, "Politics had nothing to do with this. This is a man who never even listened to talk radio or watched the news." But if "politics had nothing to do with this," why is Bozell's organization trying to paint the alleged shooter, Jared Loughner, as a liberal?
Farah Blames Military Suicides on Gays, Muslims Topic: WorldNetDaily
In his Jan. 14 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah asserts that "I don't want to politicize a tragedy like" the reported spike in suicides at Fort Hood. But politicize it he does by blaming it two of his favorite targets: Muslims and gays.
The first thing Farah notes is that "Nidal Hasan was a psychiatrist at Fort Hood," adding: "The Army has been less than candid about what transpired at Fort Hood when Hasan went off like a time bomb – and every soldier understands why he was left in his position despite all the warning signs. It was a case of political correctness run amok." He then asserts about Hasan: "deeply and obviously deranged psychopathic Islamist killer was promoted to major, assigned duties to counsel soldiers, given access to firearms and allowed to slaughter 13 men and women in cold blood on an Army base." Finally, he says:
The Army has not learned the vital lessons of the Fort Hood massacre, and rank-and-file soldiers are bright enough to realize this. The chain of command hasn't acknowledged what it is doing wrong when it allows the enemy inside the gate and gives that enemy responsibility and power. How would you feel if you were a soldier in this situation?
One last hypothetical: I have heard directly from dozens and dozens of servicemen in the last year how angry they are about the impending demise of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on homosexuals in the military. I have personally heard from dozens of enlisted men and women and dozens of officers who are deeply frustrated and determined to leave the service as quickly as they can. They sense this is a policy specifically designed to destroy the effectiveness of the U.S. military.
Should it really be a shock that our soldiers are killing themselves when our elected leaders are clearly attempting to kill the institution to which they volunteered to serve and risk their lives?
Farah makes no apparent consideration of the idea that military members who are unable to deal with fellow soldiers who behave slightly differently in their personal lives have no business being in the military in the first place.
AIM's Kincaid Walks Back Insistence American Renaissance Isn't Racist Topic: Accuracy in Media
Cliff Kincaid's Jan. 12 Accuracy in Media column declares victory over the memo cited by Fox News that claimed links between Arizona shooter Jared Loughner and the publication American Renaissance. But Kincaid backpedals on his previous insistence that AmRen isn't a racist group.
We'll concede that AmRen isn't anti-Semitic, as Kincaid insists -- even the Anti-Defamation League agrees that founder Jared Taylor "personally refrains from anti-Semitism," though the very much anti-Semitic David Duke has appeared at some of AmRen's conventions, inciting debate between the pro-Jewish and anti-Jewish factions of the "racialist" movement of which Taylor is a part.
But Kincaid did dial back his defense of AmRen on the race front:
A controversial right-wing publication, AR publishes articles criticizing racial preference and “diversity” programs that favor minority groups at the expense of majority rights. It also examines racial differences, a taboo subject for much of the media that gives rise to frequent leftist charges of “racism” and “hate.”
Unlike a few days earlier, Kincaid refrained from asserting that "there is no evidence that American Renaissance by any objective standard is a racist organization." Because, as we detailed, that simply is not true. Also, last time Kincaid described AmRen merely as "politically incorrect"; now he admits it's "controversial."
On the other hand, Kincaid complained that the memo's questionable claims "smeared an innocent group in the process." Not quite; on the question of racism, AmRen is guilty as charged.
When will Kincaid admit that unambiguous fact? Don't hold your breath waiting.