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Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Bozell No Longer Disclosing His Conflict of Interest With Cain
Topic: Media Research Center

We've already noted that Brent Bozell's second ranting Media Research Center press release on the sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain lacked something his first one had: the disclosure that Cain is a "personal friend" of Bozell's as well as the former national chairman for the MRC's Business & Media Institute.

That sudden lack of disclosure, after starting so well, has spread to other venues where Bozell has popped up. In an Oct. 31 interview with Newsmax, Bozell repeated his assertion from his first press release that "The one thing the left cannot bear is an uppity conservative black man leaving the liberal plantation." But there too, Bozell failed to mention his relationship with Cain.

Meanwhile, other items on Cain at MRC websites have continued to not repeat Bozell's disclaimer, even though it appears to be a significant factor behind the MRC's pushback.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:33 PM EDT
NewsBusters Criticizes Politico -- But Not Cain -- About Vagueness of Cain Allegations
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein has been working his little corner of the Media Research Center's defense strategy on behalf of Brent Bozell's personal friend, Herman Cain: monitoring MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and pushing a certain theme in the process.

In an Oct. 31 post, Finkelstein complained that a reporter for Politico, which first published the allegations of sexual harassment against Cain, "was being evasive about the details of the allegations" in his appearance on "Morning Joe," going on to further attack the story's "sketchy generalities." Finkelstein went on to grumble that "as for the details in the Politico story, they are as ambiguous as can be," adding, "Politico is going to have to do better than that. [Jonathan] Martin's evasiveness today was telling."

Finkelstein repeated that theme in a Nov. 1 post on that day's "Morning Joe," which featured another Politico staffer, Mike Allen. Finkelstein huffed that rather than detail the publication's 'vague allegation that Herman Cain had made gestures "that were not overtly sexual but that made women uncomfortable,' Allen's telling first instinct was to point to the story's popularity on a social networking site."

Finkelstein didn't mention that nobody has contradicted Politico's claims about Cain, even as vague as they are. Nor did he mention that many of those details he's seeking are bound by confidentiality clauses in the settlement agreement that Cain's accusers reached with the National Restaurant Association. 

As we've noted, there is one easy solution to all that ambiguity: Cain can ask the National Restaurant Association to unbind everyone involved from the confidentiality clause.

Will Finkelstein make that request of Cain? Then again, he was quick to blame Politico for the vagueness of the allegations while exempting Cain -- the man who can answer all of Finkelstein's questions -- from responsibility for that vagueness.

Finkelstein also played the Clinton equivocation the MRC loves so much -- minimizing the seriousness of the allegations against Cain by comparing them to something Bill Clinton did --  in another Oct. 31 post, this one attacking Democratic strategist Bob Shrum for noting that "if he didn't do anything, why in the world did they pay tens of thousands of dollars to these women?" First he smeared Shrum by claiming he was "suffering from the not-so-early-onset of some dread memory-loss syndrome," adding, "Does the failed presidential campaign consultant's support of Bill Clinton, despite his much larger, $850,000 settlement with Paula Jones while "adamantly denying" her claims, fire any synapses in Shrum's cerebrum?" Finkelstein further minimized the allegations by adding, "And remember that the reported five-figure settlements by the National Restaurant Association represent  no more than a long-week's work for a team of big-time defense attorneys."

Well, Finkelstein does have a actual title at NewsBusters -- senior contributor -- which tells us he's on the MRC's payroll. And even if he isn't, he's very much down with the MRC's agenda of protecting Bozell's buddy.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:09 PM EDT
Newsmax, MRC Mix Gay Panic With Their HPV Vaccine Fear-Mongering
Topic: Newsmax

WorldNetDaily isn't the only ConWeb entity peddling myths and falsehoods about the human papilloma virus vaccine Gardasil. With federal approval of a recommendation that the HPV vaccine be administered to boys, a new crazy narrative has popped up: that only gay males are susceptible to the types of cancer an HPV vaccine can prevent.

Tammy Bruce summed up that attitude in an Oct. 26 Newsmax column: "After all, I suppose it’s easier to inject a drug into every child than to suggest we guess which ones will become gay."

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham, a longtime gay-basher, copped a similar attitude in an Oct. 26 NewsBusters post with the alarmist headline "Will Your 11-Year-Old Boy Get Cancer from Gay Sex? Networks Avoid Angle As They Push HPV Shots."

Graham grumbled: "An advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that the HPV vaccine be given to boys aged 11 to 12, and not just girls. Why? Boys aren’t at risk of cervical cancer." He noted a New York Times article stating that "many cancers in men result from homosexual sex," then complained that "the gay angle was completely missing from network TV coverage."

Graham's suggestion that he has no problem with gays dying of a preventable cancer is as offensive as it is misleading. CBS offers a more rational approach:

Preventing a cancer that's associated with gay men may not be much of a selling point, said Dr. Ranit Mishori, a family practice doctor in Washington, D.C. and an assistant professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine.

Some parents may say "`Why are you vaccinating my son against anal cancer? He's not gay! He's not ever going to be gay!' I can see that will come up," said Mishori, who supports the panel's recommendation.

Schuchat said the CDC is ready for that argument: "There's no data suggesting that offering a vaccine against HPV will change people's subsequent sexual behavior," she said.

Graham is too committed to gay-bashing to be bothered with such common sense.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:26 AM EDT
MRC Defends Clinton Accusers, Smears Cain Accusers
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has moved onto the next step in playing defense for Brent Bozell's buddy, Herman Cain: the Clinton Equivocation, the right-wing art of minimizing bad news about a conservative by comparing it to something done allegedly first and worse during the Clinton administration.

In the case of allegations that Cain sexually harassed two women while he was head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, the obvious MRC response is to bring up President Clinton's alleged affairs with women. A Nov. 1 MRC "Media Reality Check" by Scott Whitlock and Rich Noyes follow the Clinton Equivocation textbook:

Since the Herman Cain sexual harassment story broke late Sunday night, the broadcast networks have covered it extensively: full stories on Monday's morning news shows (ABC's Good Morning America led off their broadcast); full stories on Monday's evening news shows (the CBS Evening News made it their top item) and ABC's Nightline; and the top story on all three Tuesday morning shows.
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Monday hyped the story as a "bombshell blast" and on Tuesday he derided Cain's "bizarre series of interviews" on the subject. On Tuesday's Early Show, Jan Crawford highlighted how Cain has been "trying to shoot down these allegations." NBC's Matt Lauer gloated that the Republican was "finding out the hard way about the attention that goes along with being a front-runner."

Cain's accusers are still anonymous. Three women publicly accused Bill Clinton of far more serious instances of sexual harassment in the 1990s, but the networks all but ignored them. The coverage that did exist was often skeptical, insulting and hostile, an astonishing double standard.

Whitlock and Noyes overlook one crucial distinction between the Cain and Clinton cases: The Cain allegations are all on the record and not even Cain has disputed the basic facts, while Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick were all exploited by Clinton-haters as a tool to bring down the president. Further, as we've documented, Broaddrick's claim that Clinton raped her came after years of denying any such thing occurred, and may very well have been motivated by a grudge Broaddrick's family held against Clinton.

Brent Bozell, meanwhile, followed up with another rant-filled press release:

“ABC, CBS and NBC pounced on the opportunity to slam GOP hopeful Herman Cain - even with unnamed accusers and sources. It is indefensible how the networks were quick to defend Bill Clinton by not reporting public accusations of rape, inappropriate physical contact, and explicit behavior – and are quick to attack Herman Cain on the basis of weak allegations by anonymous sources.

“While these women received a different kind of ‘Clinton Treatment,’ the media have their own version, and are quick to put it aside when it comes to Herman Cain. They want to see this smart, successful, black man come to ruin – all because he is a conservative. A disgraceful President who faced public accusers and an impeachment trial received better treatment in the so-called ‘news’ than a candidate whose accusers remain unnamed.”

For some reason, Bozell no longer feels the need to disclose, as he did in his previous rant-cum-press release, that Cain is a "personal friend" of his as well as the former national chairman for the MRC's Business & Media Institute -- a connection that is clearly driving the MRC's aggressive response.

Also, there's a simple solution for the  "unnamed accusers and sources" behind the allegations: Cain can ask the National Restaurant Association to withdraw the confidentiality clause on the settlement agreements with his victims. Will Bozell publicly demand that Cain do that in order to put this to rest once and for all? We somehow doubt it.

For as much respect Bozell and the MRC demand  that Clinton's accusers receive, you'd think they would be just as respectful of Cain's accusers, who are anonymous only because of confidentiality clauses in their settlement agreements with the National Restaurant Association.

But apparently not. MRC vice president Dan Gainor portrayed one accuser as a gold-digger, retweeting a message about a Washington Post article stating that one of the accusers would like to speak publicly about the case; Gainor added: "Or make a book deal?"

By contrast, the MRC was apoplectic over James Carville's criticism of Paula Jones' alleged motivations, infamously stating, "Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find." In 1999, the MRC's annual awards banquet gave out a "Corporal Cueball Carville Cadet Award (for impugning the character of Clinton’s adversaries)."'

The MRC once condemned Carville's tactics; now it's emulating them. Well played, guys.

UPDATE: Dan Gainor is still cranking out the smears:

Dan just can't stay on message, can he?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 2:41 PM EDT
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Two Years Later, WND Still Lying About Obama's 'Civilian National Security Force'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Back in 2008, we identified one of the earliest lies WorldNetDaily told about Barack Obama: that Obama's reference to a "civilian national security force" was a call to create a police-state apparatus. In fact, Obama was referring to an expansion of the foreign service.

More than two years later, WND is still spreading that lie.

An Oct. 27 WND article announcing the latest edition of its Whistleblower magazine begins this way:

While running for the presidency, Barack Obama made a mysterious and bizarre campaign promise.

He said that as president he would create "a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded" as the U.S. military, to advance his "objectives" for America.

The astonishing announcement, made July 2, 2008, to an audience in Colorado Springs, was ignored by virtually the entire media – except WND. Nobody bothered to ask Obama specifically what he meant, or how he could possibly assemble and fund such a massive civilian army, or why – and he never spoke of it again.

WND is still lying. Obama did explain what he meant -- WND simply chose to ignore him.

This time around, WND furthers the lie by claiming that the "civilian army" is a reference to unions:

America's largest labor unions – especially the huge government employee unions like the 3-million-member National Education Association and 2-million-member Service Employees International Union – provide battalions of ground troops in the ongoing war to "fundamentally transform" America into a socialist utopia.

"But wait," you might ask. "I know most unions lean left, some engage in street tactics and their dues strongly support Democrats. But what about Obama's statement that his civilian army would be 'well-funded' by the government?"

As the scathing November 2011 issue of Whistleblower proves, "OBAMA'S ARMY" is very large – and very well-funded.

In fact, from Day One the Obama administration has been generously "funding" the union army. From the General Motors bailout, which blatantly favored union workers, to Obamacare, whose burdensome new regulations don't apply to many unions thanks to special White House waivers exempting them; from Obama's early executive order requiring all federal agencies to accept construction bids only from contractors who agree to use union workers, to packing the D.C. bureaucracy with union officials – the Obama regime has been characterized by non-stop union payoffs, special treatment, insider access and blatant power grabs. All in return for their undying loyalty and service in "OBAMA'S ARMY."


"Every army has its generals, its politicians, its propagandists and its behind-the-scenes chess-masters," said WND Managing Editor David Kupelian. "But in Obama's army, who are the ground troops? This issue of Whistleblower dramatically and definitively answers that question."

Kupelian is lying. WND is lying. There's no reason to take WND's word for anything.

To paraphrase an old journalistic saying: If WND tells you your mother loves you, check it out.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:20 PM EDT
Still Waiting: When Will NewsBusters Correct $16 Muffin Claim?
Topic: NewsBusters

Back in September, NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard pounded out a post criticizing Jon Stewart for not being aware of the controversy over alleged $16 muffins paid for by the Department of Justice, as revealed in a report by the department's inspector general. As we noted at the time, both DOJ officials and the hotel that hosted the DOJ conference where the muffins were served disputed the claim, asserting that the amount covered much more than muffins. Even the DOJ inspector general started backing away for its claim.

A few days later, NewsBusters highlighted a Washington Post article refuting the $16 muffin claim -- but Sheppard's erroneous post was not corrected.

Now, the DOJ inspector general has officially retracted the claim, admitting in a revised version of its report that "the Department did not pay $16 per muffin."

Will NewsBusters now finally issue a correction to Sheppard's erroneous muffin claim? Or will it be content to let a false claim stand on its website?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:38 PM EDT
Pat Boone's Obama Smear Fail
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Pat Boone writes in an Oct. 28 WorldNetDaily column ranting about Occupy Wall Street:

This should not surprise us. Our community organizer in chief learned his techniques from Saul Alinsky in Chicago. In the "Rules for Radicals" playbook, the organizer creates or greatly exacerbates a crisis, fans it into rabid, angry, violent protests – and then presents himself as the one who can resolve it, often accusing the ones who helped him aggravate the crisis.

In fact, Alinsky died in 1972, when Obama was 11 years old and living in Hawaii.

Boone still hates Obama with a passion -- so much so he can't be bothered to get his facts straight.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:09 AM EDT
CNS Defends Cain, Doesn't Disclose Major Conflict of Interest
Topic: was swift to defend Herman Cain against allegations reported in Politico that, while head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, he was accused of sexual harassment by two women, which resulted in confidential settlements with them.

CNS kicked things off by pulling one of its favorite stunts, rewriting the headline of an Associated Press article to add right-wing bias. The article the AP sent out with the headline "Cain denies report of sexual harassment"...


... came out of the CNS bias machine with the headline "Politics of Personal Destruction? Cain Denies Liberal Media Report of Sexual Harassment."

At no point does the article mention either "politics of personal destruction" or the "liberal media." Indeed, given how much of Politico's early promotion strategy was based on getting its articles linked at the Drudge Report, a much more plausible case can be made that it has a conservative bias.

CNS followed up with even more kneejerk liberal-bashing in an article by Susan Jones that uncritically repeated Ann Coulter's assertion that this revelation about Cain shows that “Liberals are terrified of Herman Cain.” At no point was it demonstrated that either Politico or the source of its story is "liberal."

Jones penned another article repeating Cain's defense that "I have never sexually harassed anyone -- anyone. And absolutely, these are false accusations."

Meanwhile, CNS was touting Cain's statement attacking Planned Parenthood as "planned genocide." Terry Jeffrey promoted Cain's attack in an Oct. 30 article published before the sexual harassment allegations were made public, and Michael Chapman followed up the next day that Cain's assertion that Planned Parenthood wants to prevent "black babies from being born" was "indirectly confirmed by data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

Missing from all of these articles, though, was a crucial bit of disclosure.

Brent Bozell, head of the Media Research Center and publisher of CNS, ranted in an Oct. 31 press release that the Politico article was "unsubstantiated and thoroughly hypocritical" and showed that “In the eyes of the liberal media, Herman Cain is just another uppity black American who has had the audacity to leave the liberal plantation. So they must destroy him, just as they tried destroying Clarence Thomas." As with CNS, Bozell offered no proof that Politico is part of the "liberal media."

He did, however, include a statement at the end of his press release: 

Note: Herman Cain is both the former National Chairman for the Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute, and a personal friend of Brent Bozell. 

It's relevant that the person who is ultimately in charge of CNS has a close personal relationship with the person that CNS is trying to defend. As such, CNS should be disclosing that relationship to its readers. After all, the Society of Professional Journalists' code of ethics states that journalists should "Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived" and "Disclose unavoidable conflicts."

Then again, just the other day, the MRC seemed to absolve conservative journalists from doing actual journalism. Does the MRC also believe that its so-called journalists at CNS are exempt from ethics codes as well?

Interesting that the MRC's activist wing would make such a disclosure while its "news" wing has so far refused.

UPDATE: CNS has posted Bozell's press-release rant, including the disclosure of his relationship with Cain. But  that disclosure still appears on no other CNS article.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:25 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 9:08 AM EDT
Monday, October 31, 2011
WND Shows Some Love to Santorum
Topic: WorldNetDaily


WorldNetDaily took a break over the weekend from its Cain-gasm to show alittle love to fellow right-wing presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

An Oct. 29 article by Drew Zahn uncritically repeats Santorum's remarks at a right-wing Republican gathering in Iowa. This was followed by another article by Zahn on the same gathering, which endorsed Santorum for president.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:31 PM EDT
CNS' Jeffrey Can't Stop Falsely Portraying Planned Parenthood's Federal Funding

Terry Jeffrey concludes an Oct. 30 article touting Herman Cain's hatred of Planned Parenthood by writing:

According to a fact sheet Planned Parenthood has posted on its website, the group did 332,278 abortions in 2009.  That same year, according to Planned Parenthood’s latest annual report, it also received $363.2 million in government grants and contracts.

As we've documented whenever Jeffrey dishonestly juxtaposes these two numbers, the two have nothing to do with each other. The federal money Planned Parenthood receives cannot and does not pay for abortion services.

Jeffrey has shown himself to be just as willing to deceive about Planned Parenthood as he has about President Obama, with the goal of advancing a right-wing agenda over the truth.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:24 PM EDT
WND Publishes Doubly Anonymous Attack on Obama Adviser
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An unbylined Oct. 29 WorldNetDaily article begins:

An influential Muslim adviser to the White House who has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood has succeeded in canceling a meeting between President Obama and the leader of the persecuted Maronite church in Lebanon, according to the Beirut news agency el Nashra

The Arabic-language report cited an unnamed U.S. source who said Dahlia Mogahed, "the highest adviser on Arab and Islamic Affairs in the State Department," sought to block a White House meeting with Patriarch Beshara Rahi, according to a translation by blogger El Cid at

Let's unpack this. We have an anonymous source telling an Arabic-language news organization for which virtually nobody in the  West, including WND, can vouch for its veracity or lack thereof. This article is then translatedby an anonymous blogger at a right-wing website, whose veracity is as unknown as his credentials for analysis and translation.

On top of that, WND spells Dalia Mogahed's name wrong, and the first paragraph is missing a period at the end.

So, to sum up:  We have a doubly anonymous claim that WND is simply regurgitating and has made no apparent effort to verify. And its copy editing sucks too.

Why should anyone trust WND?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:38 AM EDT
MRC Absolves Conservative Journalists From Doing Actual Journalism
Topic: Media Research Center

In an Oct. 27 Media Research Center item, Matt Hadro writes about a CNN interview with ambush journalist Jason Mattera. After noting CNN interviewer Carol Costello's question to Mattera -- "So you're tough with Joe Biden. So why not be a bit tougher with Republican candidates, even though you work for a conservative web site?" -- Hadro responded that Costello was "apparently unaware that since Human Events is a conservative publication it markets itself to a more conservative Republican audience."

So there are different journalistic standards for conservative journalists? They aren't required to be tough on their fellow conservatives, only on their ideological opposites?

Hadro continues by noting that "Mattera affirmed that Human Events has a conservative worldview and does hit Republicans, but from the right." Still, Hadro's presumption that conservative journalists aren't being held to the same standards as non-conservative ones is a bit odd. 

It also explains the increasingly rightward tilt of the MRC's own "news" operation,

Posted by Terry K. at 12:34 AM EDT
Sunday, October 30, 2011
WND's Farah Keeps Up Anti-Gardasil Paranoia
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In keeping with the fearmongering, science-denying tone of his website's so-called reporting, Joseph Farah's Oct. 27 WorldNetDaily column is all about attacking Gardasil.

Farah complains that GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann "in the unfavorable light of the anti-science zealot" for raising questions about Gardasil. He then joins Bachmann in anti-science zealot land by repeating unverified claims of "adverse reactions" to the vaccine and asserting that "no one is even sure whether the drug, peddled by Merck, is even effective at preventing HPV and, thus, reducing cervical cancer."

Later, Farah asserted again that "some doctors have even challenge the link between HPV and cervical cancer." But the only doctor WND has cited as making that claim is Christian Fiala, whom anti-abortion websites have denounced as "Austria’s most notorious abortionist," which makes WND's embrace of him rather curious.

Farah also takes a unrealistic view of adolescence by claiming, "HPV, like all other sexually transmitted diseases, can be prevented 100 percent of the time simply through abstinence from promiscuous sex by teenage girls." That fixation on female behavior -- Farah makes no mention of the role teenage boys play in spreading HPV -- is reminiscent of WND's obsession with female teachers who have sex with their students, which similarly ignores the behavior of male teachers.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:19 PM EDT
Newsmax Denounces Obama Spending $750 Million On Re-Election -- As Newsmax Demonstrates Why He Must
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax's Christopher Ruddy wrote a tsk-tsking Oct. 26 column complaining about the money President Obama is expected to spend on his re-election:

New York magazine’s John Heilemann, co-author (with Mark Halperin) of “Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime,” an inside account of the 2008 presidential campaign, says Obama’s strategy is for a “demolition job” against the Republican nominee.

“He and his campaign [will] spend $750 million to make whichever Republican he’s running against unacceptable to the American people, the same way that George W. Bush did to John Kerry,” Heilemann recently said on Chris Matthews’ MSNBC show, “Hardball.”

“That’s a lot of money. And whoever they get is going to have real flaws. It’s possible they can accomplish that, but it’s going to be a demolition job.” Heilemann has predicted an “onslaught of negative advertising” against the Republican candidate, nothing less than a smear effort, in my book.

How depressing that Obama’s re-election has come to this, from a man who sought to present himself as a great uniter and healer of our nation.


With the election fast approaching, Obama seems to be desperate and employing a $750 million wrecking ball to demolish the Republican opponent next year will confirm it.

Ruddy doesn't mention one reason why Obama will be spending that kind of money: He and his Richard Mellon Scaife-funded Newsmax will be running its own wrecking ball against the president, trying to demolish his chances for re-election. Ruddy is simply complaining that his own anti-Obama propaganda will be countered by Obama campaign spending.

Just a few days after Ruddy's column appeared, the organization he heads sent out the following message to its email list:

If you're including Obama's middle name, you are most certainly aiming to demolish.

The link in the email leads to a lengthy video read by Newsmax's Ashley Martella, attacking Obama's "lack of leadership" and asserting that "you need to ask yourself, can you trust President Obama?" This turns into a solicitation for Newsmax magazine, in which you are promised four "special reports" on Obama featuring "new secret information you've never heard before" -- but it later becomes clear that Martella is talking about four back issues of the magazine.

That in turn links to a solicitation for those "special reports," including the usual throw-in of three free issues of the magazine that you must actively cancel when the free issues end to avoid being charged $39.95 for a full year's subscription.

And even then, the claims are misleading. For instance, Martella asserts that one of the "special reports" is about Obama's "attempts to quash the tea party revolution." In fact, the copy provided on the solicitation page describing the tea party issue makes no such claim; it's clear that the magazine takes a broader look at the tea party movement and how it "must find a way to translate electoral success into effective governance." The closest it gets is a line stating that one highlight of the report is "The Obama vow that can make the movement grow stronger."

Another report claims to be about "Barack Obama's war on Fox News." Nowhere is it mention that Fox News started it by declaring war on Obama from the day he took office and asserting that was the "voice of opposition."

Make no mistake: Ruddy has earmarked a significant portion of Newsmax's Scaife-bolstered budget to attacking Obama at every turn with the goal of getting him out of office. His complaints about Obama doing similar spending are just crocodile tears.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:26 AM EDT
Saturday, October 29, 2011
WND Misleads On Foundational Birther Text
Topic: WorldNetDaily

One of the key tenets in WorldNetDaily's belief that Barack Obama is a "natural born citizen" who is not eligible to be president is the 1874 Supreme Court ruling Minor v. Happersett. For instance, Joseph Farah writes in his Oct. 25 WND column:

Any serious debate about Obama's eligibility should have ended a long time ago. He's not eligible. It matters not where he was born – which, ironically, is still very much in doubt. What matters is that he was not born of parents who were American citizens at the time. That's what "natural born citizen" means. It does not mean "born in the USA," much as Obama and his protectors in the media would like you to think.


"Natural Born Citizen" was defined by an 1875 Supreme Court ruling (Minor v. Happersett) as children born of two U.S. citizens – regardless of the location of the birth. It found: "The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners."


We need only ask ourselves one question: "Were both his parents U.S. citizens when he was born?" By Obama's own admission, and also by the questionable documents he has provided the public, the answer is "no." And that settles it. Obama is not eligible to be the president.

But Farah and WND have largely overlooked the inconvenient fact that Minor v. Happersett's definition of "natural born citizen" had nothing to do with eligibility for the presidency and was incidental to the legal issue at hand.

As the Obama Conspiracy blog details, Minor v. Happersett involved a woman who was suing for the right to vote. The court ultimately ruled that while the woman was a natural born citizen, that didn't make her eligible to vote. The blog states regarding the section of the ruling Farah quoted:

The most obvious point is that there are two and exactly two kinds of citizens discussed here: ” natural born” and “naturalized”. Take a minute and reread the citation and verify this for yourself. You will see no distinction made between those who are born a citizen and those who are a natural born citizen. Note: “all children born of citizen parents within the jurisdiction are themselves citizens” — not “natural born citizens” but “citizens” but natural born implied because they are born citizens.

The issue addressed in this section is not who is a natural born citizen, but who is a citizen. So when the court talks about “some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their parents” they are saying that there are “doubts” as to whether the children of aliens born under the jurisdiction of the United States are citizens at all. This is the point glossed over when trying to use this case to create a third type of citizen (the non-natural born, non-naturalized citizen).


The distinction is not between “plain citizens” and “natural born citizens” but between “natural-born citizens” and aliens (e.g. not citizens).

All of the preceding discussion is related to the situation before passage of the Fourteenth Amendment (“To determine, then, who were citizens of the United States before the adoption of the amendment”). The reason for this digression to the time before the Fourteenth Amendment was the question of whether Minor was a citizen apart from the Fourteenth Amendment. The court said that she was: “she has always been a citizen from her birth and entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizenship.” She was such a citizen because her parents were citizens and she was born under the jurisdiction of the United States, and the pesky argument about those not born of citizen parents before the Fourteenth Amendment “it is not necessary to solve”.

I don’t know if this question was ever solved for those born before the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, but it is not necessary for us to solve either because there are no more persons living born before the Fourteenth Amendment, and because it was solved for those born after by the Supreme Court in United States v. Wonk Kim Ark. Wong, born in the United States of alien parents, was declared a citizen. It is hardly reasonable to quote the dicta in Minor as casting doubts while refusing to recognize the dicta in Wong which resolved them.

When will Farah and WND report the full truth about Minor v. Happersett? Probably about the time that it acknowledges the existence of John Woodman's birther-debunking book.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:10 PM EDT

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