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Friday, March 22, 2013
CNS Cites Conspiracy Theorist To Fearmonger Over DHS Supposedly Hoarding Bullets

Gregory Gwyn-Williams Jr. buys into the government ammunition-hoarding conspiracy in a March 22 blog post, uncritrically repeating a claim that "the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has failed to respond to multiple members of Congress asking why DHS bought more than 1.6 billion rounds in the past year."

The link to back up his claim goes to Infowars, the notoriously conspiratorial website operated by conspiracy-monger Alex Jones. That suggests the level of credibility this little rumor has.

Gwyn-Williams is also wrong that DHS has never responded to questions about its ammuntion purchases. In January DHS responded to Republican Sen. Tom Coburn's questions, which he posted on his website. DHS states that , contrary to the rumor-mongering, it purchased 103 million rounds of ammo in fiscal year 2012, which is actually a smaller number than was purchased in the previous two years. Those rounds were accounted for for training and operational purchases.

But why should Gwyn-Williams care about facts when he was able to get a Drudge link -- as the top story, no less -- out of his post?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:56 PM EDT
WND Anti-Vaccine Fearmongering Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Garth Kant keeps up his anti-vaccine fearmongering in a March 20 article claiming that "the federal government has now paid almost $6 million to victims of the [HPV vaccine] shot – including at least two who died after receiving it."

As always, Kant fails to provide any meaningful context, such as the fact that more than 35 million doses of HPV vaccine have been administered, making such a settlement rate extraordinarily low. Kant also claims "thousands of adverse reactions" to the vaccine without mentioning that the vast majority of them are minor and the scary ones he lists -- "seizures, paralysis, blindness, pancreatitis, speech problems, short-term memory loss, Guillain-Barré syndrome and even death" represent "no statistically significant increased risk" according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Kant also treats discredited claims that vaccines cause autism is true, even though the most prominent study making the link has retracted by the medical journal that published it.

Kant, by the way, is apparently a new WND writer. His WND bio claims "he spent five years writing, copy-editing and producing at "CNN Headline News," three years writing, copy-editing and training writers at MSNBC, and also served several local TV newsrooms as producer, executive producer and assistant news director. He is the author of the McGraw-Hill textbook, 'How to Write Television News.'"

The fact that Kant is no longer working in TV news but has descended to fearmongering at a bottom-feeding website strongly suggests he couldn't hack it in the big leagues and, like fellow real-media refugee Bob Unruh, decided to work at a "news" organization where things like truth and balance don't apply.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:32 PM EDT
ConWeb Latches Onto Misleading Claim About MSNBC
Topic: The ConWeb

The ConWeb readily embraced a too-good-to-check statistic from a Pew Research Center study of the media: that 85 percent of MSNBC's airtime is devoted to "opinion."

WorldNetDaily's Drew Zahn dishonestly rounded up the number to "nearly 90 percent" -- of course, it's equally near to 80 percent, but Zahn clearly didn't want to go there. Newsmax's Bill Hoffmann asserted, "If you’re looking for straight and unbiased news reporting, you may want to avoid MSNBC."

And the number was practically made for the Media Research Center, and indeed, Brent Bozell issued a snotty press release on the subject:

“Pick any Orwellian nickname you want: the Ministry of Truth, the Department of Agitation and Propaganda, but don’t dare call MSNBC a news organization. No legitimate news outlet spends 85% of its airtime pushing leftist commentary. Pravda would be proud.

“Both CNN and Fox News have close to a 50/50 news/commentary split. We have said time and time again that MSNBC in not a news network. Their absurd 15/85 split is a vindication of every single criticism we’ve leveled against them.

“MSNBC is a deeply unserious organization and should never have been placed under the ‘news’category on any cable system’s guide. They’ve Lean[ed] Forward right off the cliff of credibility. What a farce.”

Since that number was too good to check, the ConWeb couldn't be bothered to do one simple thing: find out how Pew made this determination.  Salon's Alex Pareene did:

That’s a bit of a misuse of the word “opinion,” which does not, in this case, refer to liberal punditry, but rather to all interviews and other segments that involve people talking instead of live reports or reported “packages.” That kind of programming is common because it’s cheap, and MSNBC and Fox do not actually pay many people to do “reporting” — they are cable “talking about the news” channels, basically. But don’t assume reported pieces are intrinsically superior to commentary. Some of that “opinion” programming is informative and useful in a way that live shots of, say, poop boats are decidedly not. And some of that programming is “Morning Joe,” the talking head equivalent of a poop boat.

It also overlooks the fact that, even though Pew gives Fox News credit for 45 percent of its content being "factual reporting," that does not equal unbiased reporting. Fox's ostensible "news" anchors are prone to spouting biased opinions, and it has a history of shortchanging the Obama administration on airtime.

But thte ConWeb doesn't care about facts, not when it has an official-sounding number.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:49 AM EDT
WND's Klein Peddles Zombie Lie To Link Obama, Alinsky
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily sure loves to tell lies long after they've been debunked.

The latest instance is a March 21 WND article by Aaron Klein, who asserts that Saul Alinsky's book "Rules for Radicals" is "dedicated" to Lucifer. It's not -- it's dedicated to "Irene." There is an "over-the-shoulder acknowlegement" to Lucifer for being "the first rebel," but it's not a dedication.

Klein also claims that President Obama's speech in Israel "channeled Saul Alinsky" by referring to "the world as it is" and "the world as it should be." While Klein quotes Alinsky making a similar reference, he offers no evidence that the concept originated with Alinsky -- meaning Klein is merely speculating that Obama was "channeling" Alinsky.

The rest of Klein's article is devoted to his usual guilt-by-association attempts to link Obama to Alinsky, along with descriptions of a fantasy version of Alinsky as described by David Horowitz.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:04 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, December 11, 2014 12:34 PM EST
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Noel Sheppard Endorses Ted Nugent Smearing People As 'Subhuman'
Topic: NewsBusters

We've documented how NewsBusters associate editor Noel Sheppard cares about political civility only when liberals are the ones who aren't being civil -- conservatives are allowed to be as incivil as they want to be.

He's at it again in a March 19 post, approvingly quoting Ted Nugent calling Michael Moore and Piers Morgan "subhuman punks" for for expressing their constitutionally protected opinions gun rights, even agreeing with Nugent that Moore's remarks in particular 'brings into question his humanity."

Sheppard also reiterated his one-man good cop/bad cop routine regarding Jay Leno's monologue in a March 20 post, complaining that he made a Dick Cheney joke:

Will Dick Cheney is evil jokes ever go out of style?


Now in fairness to Leno, he has been quite an equal opportunity offender in his monologues in recent months.

As NewsBusters readers are well aware, Leno's even been taking shots at President Obama.

My beef here is more with the sophomoric, almost archaic nature of the joke.

Cheney is too evil to be Satan? Isn't that political satire's penultimate "Been there, done that?"

Sheppard is being disingenuous -- he hates it when Leno jokes about a conservative.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:33 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: Goodbye, Les Kinsolving
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's biased, whine-prone White House reporter hangs it up. But don't worry -- we'll still be treated to his homophobic rants in his WND column. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 3:09 PM EDT
CNS Won't Blame Bush For Troops Killed In Iraq, But Want Him To Get Credit For War
Topic: has a lot of trouble admitting that thousands of American troops were killed in Iraq under President Bush, even as it runs monthly body counts of troops killed in Afghanistan under President Obama. But by golly, CNS wants to make sure Bush gets credit for killing Saddam Hussein!

A March 19 CNS article by Fred Lucas states:

President Barack Obama issued a statement today, the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, that praised U.S. troops but did not mention President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003, and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, after being pressured by a reporter, only said there was a “causal relationship” between Bush’s decision to invade and Saddam’s ouster.

A reference to the American troops killed in Iraq comes only in quoting Obama noting "the nearly 4,500 Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice to give the Iraqi people an opportunity to forge their own future after many years of hardship."

Lucas also endeavors to justify the war, claiming that "At the time, U.S. intelligence believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, as did many in the international community, including opponents of the U.S.-led invasion."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:20 PM EDT
WND Raising Money To Help Arpaio (And His Birther Friends) Fight Recall Election
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has long been cozy with Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, working closely with him to make sure his cold case posse's "investigation" of President Obama's birth certificate stuck to WND's birther conspiracies and ignored inconvenient facts. Now, it appears the ties have grown closer than ever.

On March 20, WND sent out an email (screenshot below) to its "a subscriber to the Offers from e-mail list or past customer" soliciting donations to a fund to defend Arpaio against a recall effort. The email's text echoes a Feb. 21 WND article by Bob Unruh announcing the creation of a "citizen coalition," Citizens to Protect Fair Election Results, to defend Arpaio against the recall.

In fact, the "concerned citizens" behind the group are the birthers from the Surprise Tea Party who petitioned Arpaio to do his birther investigation following a presentation by WND's Jerome Corsi. And as we've previously noted, the group is represented by none other than failed lawyer Larry Klayman, who is forwarding the false legal argument that Arpaio can't be recalled until six months after starting his new term, a requirement that applies only for an elected official's first term. Like Unruh's article, the flawed legal reasoning is repeated in the email and the group's birther ties are not mentioned.

The email, which lists Klayman as its author, concludes by stating: "I urge you to make a donation to support Sheriff Joe Arpaio right now – no matter the amount. If everyone who reads this appeal gave the minimum amount of $5, it would raise the considerable necessary resources to protect Sheriff Arpaio."

That text links to a page at the WND online store where one can donate to Citizens to Protect Fair Election Results.

This raises all sorts of red flags. First, the email is not listed as paid for by Arpaio, CPFER, or Klayman, which means that WND is, for all intents and purposes, donating to a political campaign.

Second, as the Arizona's Politics blog details, CPFER is registered with Arizona state corporation officials as a limited liability corporation, or LLC. In other words, it's a for-profit corporation. As far as we know, it's highly unusual for a political action group to be an LLC.

While we're unclear on how the law works, we suspect this means that not only are donations to CPHER not tax-deductible, there is no requirement for the group to disclose its donors. As Arizona's Politics, the LLC filing largely protects group members from individual liability should, for instance, it be required to pay legal fees in the event of an unsuccessful legal action. But it will likely not stand as an LLC because of its political activities -- it should eventually be turned into a political committee that is required to disclose donors and finances.

In other words, it's a very shady thing all around, and WND's direct involvement in the group is very much a red flag for possible election law violations. And remember that Klayman is also WND's attorney, which raises conflict-of-interest issues.

So it seems WND isn't completely ready to give up on the birther stuff just yet.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:16 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2013 3:18 AM EDT
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
At The MRC, Reporting Facts = Contempt
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is taking the Colbert axiom that facts have a liberal bias to the next level: It's an expression of contempt to merely report facts.

Kyle Drennen wrote in a March 19 MRC item, headlined "Report on Iraq War Anniversary By NBC's Richard Engel Drips With Contempt" (boldface is his):

In a report on the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War for Tuesday's NBC Today, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel was unable to conceal his contempt for the conflict: "Iraq's oil money was supposed to pay for the war. It didn't work out that way. From now on, the war set its own agenda, an insurgency erupted that became a religious civil war....Iraqis accuse the United States of invading to find weapons of mass destruction that were never there, and destroying a delicate religious balance."

Engel continued: "The [Bush] White House stopped claiming all was well in Iraq, and thousands more troops surged. The violence dropped, and Americans left. Nine years, almost 4,500 troops killed, 32,000 wounded, 130,000 Iraqi civilians killed. The cost, according to a new study, nearly $2 trillion."

How did Drennen read Engel's mind to confirm the "contempt" in his heart? He doesn't say. And Drennen never contradicts anything Engel reported.

That means Drennen is holding Engel in "contempt" for reporting the truth. That's what passes for "media research" at the MRC.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:52 PM EDT
The Month in Joseph Farah's Gay-Bashing
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah has been on quite the gay-bashing tear of late.

In a March 5 column, Farah called gay marriage "one of the most radical ideas considered since child sacrifice." A week later, Farah denied he was likening gay marriage to child sacrifice -- "Of course I didn’t say they were the same. I just proclaimed them radical ideas" -- but then writes, "I didn’t intend to link child sacrifice with same-sex marriage. Yet they are linked. They are inextricably linked as behaviors characterized as abominations by the God of the Bible. They both emerge right from the pit of hell."

On March 18, Farah took aim at Sen. Rob Portman changing his mind about gay marriage because his son is gay: "I guess we should all be grateful Rob Portman’s son didn’t choose to become a polygamist or a serial killer."

And on March 19, Farah rants about proposed laws against anti-gay conversion therapy, declaring that "The homosexual lobby is powerful and forceful in the world of psychology, psychiatry and counseling."

But Farah ignores how some of that "conversion therapy" is conducted -- one gay teenager recounted how he received electroshock therapy, was ordered to masturbate to images of women, and was forced to medicine to induce vomiting when a therapist flashed a photo of two men holding hands.

Apparently Farah approves of such coercive tactics, perhaps reasoning that merely being gay is much worse than the psychological damage inflicted by such treatment.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:26 PM EDT
CNS Wants You To Think Lesbians Are Fat And Drunk
Topic: has been in quite the lesbian-denigrating mood of late.

A March 11 CNS article by Elizabeth Harrington complained that the National Institutes of Health "has awarded $1.5 million to study biological and social factors for why 'three-quarters' of lesbians are obese and why gay males are not." Harrington followed that up with a March 18 article grousing that the NIH "has awarded $2.7 million to study why lesbians are at a higher 'risk for hazardous drinking.'"

Given the anti-gay agenda of CNS and its Media Research Center parent, it's not a stretech to surmise that one purpose of Harrington's articles is to hold lesbians up for ridicule. Indeed, the comment threads of both articles are littered with hateful anti-gay invective, and no apparent attempt has been made to moderate the thread or delete extremely homophobic comments.

This combination of gay obsession and refusal to police its readers' invective reveals just how hateful and homophobic CNS employees are.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:15 AM EDT
WND Push-Polls On Obama Impeachment
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily is continuing its shift away from Obama birtherism and toward Obama impeachment.

On the former front, birther queen Orly Taitz seems to have become persona non grata at WND. Not only did it ignore Taitz's crashing of a CPAC session headed by anti-Muslim activist Pam Geller to rant about birther stuff, Geller didn't even bring up Geller in her WND column about her CPAC appearance.

That's strange for two reasons: Geller is a birther, and she referenced Taitz's interruption on her blog, Atlas Shrugs:

Taitz's remonstrations and insults were wrong. Her insults were rude and wrong. Her issue is with CPAC, not Breitbart. If she wants to be there, she should take a room and hold an event.

Is Geller following in WND's footsteps and pretending she didn't swallow the birther conspiracy hook, line and sinker? How dishonest of her.

On the latter front, a March 17 WND article by Bob Unruh summarizes the latest handiwork from ethically challenged pollster Fritz Wenzel, which purports to claim that more Americans are demanding Obama's impeachment. But if you look at Wenzel's questions -- which Unruh laughably called a "scientific survey" -- it's clear that Wenzel was pushing his respondents to agree with his predetermined conclusion that Obama should be impeached.

Look at the progression of questions  on one issue, recess appointments:

The U.S. Constitution provides for the president to fill vacancies in his administration when the U.S. Senate is in recess, but when the Senate is in session, they must confirm his nominees. But while the Senate was in session in January 2012, President Obama made what he called recess appointments and these people took office and began to take action on federal business. A federal court later ruled that these appointments violated the Constitution, but these officials continue in their positions. Do you agree or disagree that President Obama should have made these appointments?

Do you agree or disagree that these officials should remain in office making decisions after a federal court has ruled their appointments unconstitutional?

Do you agree or disagree that President Obama should be impeached for making these appointments in violation oo the Constitution?

Wenzel is simply reciting right-wing talking points about the case in a biased, misleading way, completely omitting the Obama administration's arguments. Further, it was not a "federal court" that declared the appointments unconstitutional -- it was a three-judge panel of that court, the DC Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. The administration can appeal to have the full DC Circuit review the case, after which it can go to the Supreme Court. In fact, one of the federal agencies involved in the case is petitioning the Supreme Court to review the case, bypassing the full DC Circuit.

In short, the DC Circuit panel that reviewed the case is not the last word on it, but Wenzel didn't see fit to tell his poll respondents that.

Wenzel similarly leaves out important details in a series of questions on Obama's drone policy:

The Obama administration has used missile strikes fired from unmanned drones to kill at least three United States citizens, none of which had renounced their citizenship or been convicted of a crime in any U.S. court. The administration received no permission to conduct these killings from Congress or from any federal judge or court. Regardless of whom these people were who were killed, do you agree or disagree that the Obama administration had the right to kill its own citizens in this manner?

These citizens were all said to have links to terrorist activities, despite not being adjudicated by the courts. Knowing this, do you agree or disagree that the Obama administration had the right to kill these American citizens?

Had the Obama administration pursued and won criminal convictions against these people, even if in absentia, would you agree that following that legal process would then give the Obama administration the right to kill these American citizens, or would you have preferred these people be captured and subjected to the traditional U.S. court system of punishment?

Do you agree or disagree that President Obama committed an impeachable offense by ordering these U.S. citizens be killed?

Wenzel doesn't tell his respondents who the American citizens are who were killed by drone strikes -- known terrorists Anwar Al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, and Al-Awlaki's teenage son -- nor did he mention that all of these drone strikes occurred on foreign soil, not in the United States.

And, yes, Wenzel is a highly partisan pollster with a heavy anti-Obama bias, as Unruh demonstrates:

“American voters apparently are finally, after more than four years, beginning to connect the sluggish economy, the precarious state of international affairs and Barack Obama,” Wenzel said. “After an inauguration bounce, his job approval has now returned to near the lowest level he has ever seen, with 42 percent giving him positive marks for his overall performance.”

Wenzel said: “Some of this has to do in particular with his ham-handed management of the recent sequester budget battle with Congress – and the aftermath which has shown he and his administration spokesmen deceived the country. Even some media outlets have started grilling administration officials over inconsistencies and other problems. The tide seems to have turned against the Obama administration, as not even a majority of Democrats give him positive marks for his handling of his job.”

Can anyone really expect a "scientific" poll about Obama to come from someone with such clear animus against him? Bob Unruh apparently does.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:24 AM EDT
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Examiner's Demise Shows Even Conservatives Are Tired Of Funding Conservative Journalism
Topic: Washington Examiner

NewsBusters' Matthew Sheffield has long been begging right-wing funders to fund right-wing journalism. but even right-wing sugar daddies have limits to how much money they're willing to lose on the perennial money pit that is conservative journalism.

This has been proven again with the Washington Examiner's announcement that it will cease being a daily newspaper and refashion itself into a weekly conservative opinion journal. The Examiner is owned by conservative billionaire Philip Anschutz. While the privately held Examiner has never released its financial numbers, but given the shaky state of the newspaper industry as a whole, it's highly doubtful that the Examiner was a money-maker -- if it was, Anschutz would likely not be pulling the plug.

We detailed in 2009 how the Examiner stacked its opinion pages with conservative commentators that peddled the usual misinformation -- indeed, Anschutz reportedly mandated that the paper carry "nothing but conservative columns and conservative op-ed writers." While Examiner editor Stephen G. Smith insisted that the paper's news reporting was "down the middle," its was bound to be tainted by the opinion pages' right-wing tilt, fairly or not.

And there was some bias in the Examiner's news product, from pushing misleading talking points on health care reform to launching attacks on government security officials. One reviewer complained that the Second City comedy troupe didn't make enough anti-Obama jokes. A front-page headline once infamously blared, "Obama disses white guys." The bias even spread to the sports page.

Smith's insistence that the Examiner is "not some wild-eyed right-wing Web site" overlooks the fact that extremism has had its moments, which include promoting birtherism and Examiner columnist Tim Carney arguing against anti-discrimination laws.

Even giving the Examiner away -- it's a free paper -- apparently hasn't generated much reader loyalty or created much traction, at least not enough to make it profitable. The paper is typically sparse of advertising, with few display or classified ads, and often more legal notices from local governments (which the Examiner contracts with local governments to print) than either.

The problem with Sheffield's call for conservative journalism outlets ignores the fact that conservatives have demonstrated they don't want journalism, they want opinions that reinforce their views. The Examiner's move from journalism to full-time ideologically driven conservative writing is just the latest example.

UPDATE: Jim Romenesko catches the Examiner making a big front-page boo-boo in today's paper, on top of the news of its imminent dismantling:

Posted by Terry K. at 6:24 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 9:56 PM EDT
On 10th Anniversary of Iraq War, 'Iraq' Appears Nowhere On WND Front Page
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has long defended the Iraq War -- a 2007 column by Joseph Farah, for example, declared that increased terrorism in Iraq meant that "most of the terrorist violence is taking place in Iraq should suggest our strategy to make America safer is working," and that the Democrats' "surrender plan" would mean that "All the sacrifices we have made in Iraq to date would be for naught."

So on this 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, WND should be proudly looking back at its accomplishments, right?

Well, not so much. As of this writing, not only does today's WND front page not mention the anniversary, the word "Iraq" doesn't even appear. It does, however, feature a story on how a devil character in a Bible miniseries looks like President Obama.

WND clearly has its news priorities straight.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:47 PM EDT
NewsBusters Does Damage Control for CPAC
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters' Matt Hadro labored to downplay an incident at last weekend's CPAC in which an audience member at a session titled "Trump the Race Card: Are you sick and tired of being called a racist when you know you're not?" touted the benefits of slavery.

In a March 18 NewsBusters post, Hadro attacked CNN for reporting on the incident, dismissing the audience member as "a random CPAC attendee" and calling the incident "isolated." Hadro also played up how "GOP strategist Ana Navarro gave some much-needed context" by further playing it down by claiming that "there were 10,000 people that went through there in three days" and "it's very hard to keep some jerks out, to keep the crazy out."

Has Hadro or anyone else at NewsBustsers ever given that benefit of a doubt to a liberal event? Probably not.

Hadro also uncritically repeated Navarro's claim that the people who brought up slavery in the session "got thrown out." In fact, TPM reports that they weren't removed and that " several attendees expressed sympathy with their grievances about oppression against whites if not their take on slavery."

So, no, it wasn't as "isolated" or "random" as Hadro would have you think.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:20 PM EDT

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