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Friday, January 3, 2014
MRC Censors The Reason Climate Change Antarctic Researchers Are Stuck In Ice
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has been trying to make some hay over a research ship stuck in ice in Antarctica because researchers on the ship were examining climate change.

P.J. Gladnick sneered in a Dec. 28 NewsBusters post: "Somewhere far, far to the south where it is summer, a group of global warming scientists are trapped in the Antarctic ice. If you missed the irony of that situation, it is because much of the mainstream media has glossed over that rather inconvenient bit of hilarity."

NewsBusters' Jeffrey Meyer joined in the mocking, insisting that there is "irony that this event is an embarrassment for those pushing the liberal 'climate change' narrative."

The MRC Business & Media Institute's Mike Ciandella huffed that "only one story out of 23 on the network morning and evening news shows mentioned that climate change had anything to do with the expedition." Ciandella followed that so-called bit of research by claiming that "nearly 98 percent of network news reports about the stranded researchers failed to mention their mission at all."

The MRC fails to mention, however, that the ship's predicament may in fact be a result of climate change. Fox News, shockingly, endeavors to tell the other side of the story:

The leader of a scientific expedition whose ship remains stranded in Antarctic ice says the team, which set out to prove climate change, is "stuck in our own experiment."

But Chris Turney, a professor of climate change at Australia’s University of New South Wales, said it was “silly” to suggest he and 73 others aboard the MV Akademic Shokalskiy were trapped in ice they’d sought to prove had melted. He remained adamant that sea ice is melting, even as the boat remained trapped in frozen seas.


Turney later told the ice surrounding his ship is old, rather than recently formed, and likely from a particular 75 mile-long  iceberg that broke apart three years ago. Climate change may have prompted the iceberg to shatter and float into the previously open sea where the mostly Australian team finds itself stranded, Turney said.

“The ice was swept across to this area by the South-East wind, its pieces creating a knock-on domino effect,” Turney told, speaking from a tent erected on the stranded ship’s top deck. “We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Apparently, it's too much to expect from the MRC to tell the whole story or put the story in its proper context. But we knew that already.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:23 PM EST
WND's Cashill Still Whitewashing The Murder A Sailor Committed
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jack Cashill couldn't be more happy that his favorite murderer is out of prison.

Cashill's Jan. 1 WorldNetDaily column celebrates the release of former Navy sailor Steven Nary, who served 17 years in prison for killing a man in San Francisco. Cashill performs his usual smear job on the victim, calling him a "chunky, coked-up" illegal immigrant whose sexual advances Nary was merely fighting off and who died from nothing more than a blow to the head with a mug.

Cashill goes on to lament that San Francisco wasn't sufficiently homophobic to let Nary get away with it: "If this incident had taken place in some city other than San Francisco, it is unlikely that Nary would have been indicted, let alone convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced."

As per usual, Cashill leaves out some certain 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 minutes and the apartment where Nary killed Pifarre was strewn with blood; and 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.

Still, Cashill insists the killer is the real victim. Go figure.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:24 PM EST
Updated: Friday, January 3, 2014 3:32 PM EST
CNS Hides Petroleum Industry Ties of Pro-Fracking Scientists

Barbara Boland writes in a Dec. 30 article:

Twenty-one scientists sent a letter this month to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown praising the use of fracking in California by oil companies and the new regulations on the procedure put in place that, they believe, will allow for a safe way to develop the “extraordinary” potential of the state’s shale oil reserves, improve the economy, create jobs, and reduce dependence on foreign oil.


The letter is signed by leading geological, petroleum engineering, earth sciences and engineering scientists from some of the leading universities in the country, including Cornell, Penn State, UCal-Berkeley, Syracuse, Texas Tech and Texas A&M.

Boland doesn't mention why such a letter would get written in the first place -- it was proffered by a pro-fracking group.

Boland links to a copy of the letter hosted at a website called Energy In Depth, which states about itself:

Launched by the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) in 2009, Energy In Depth (EID) is a research, education and public outreach campaign focused on getting the facts out about the promise and potential of responsibly developing America’s onshore energy resource base – especially abundant sources of oil and natural gas from shale and other “tight” formations across the country.

It’s an effort that benefits directly from the support, direction and technical expertise of a broad segment of America’s oil and natural gas industry, led in Washington by IPAA, and guided on the ground by IPAA’s more than 6,000 members and affiliates in the states.

On this site, you’ll find fact sheets and videos and charts and graphs — some boiling down the steps involved in the development process, others straightening out the myths you may have heard about what we do and how we do it. You’ll find letters and quotes from state and federal regulators testifying to the safety of the process – from drilling and completing the well, to managing and recycling the water, to bringing that well-site back to its original condition. And you’ll also find studies – some on jobs, others on safety, and even a few about how the shale “revolution” in the United States continues to impact energy markets (for the better!) all around the world.

In an Energy In Depth post promoting the letter, it's noted that "Energy in Depth helped to organize the letter, but exerted no editorial control over the content."

This bias  is something Boland's readers should have been told about, but Boland apparently didn't find it newsworthy.

CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, has received funding from ExxonMobil and oilman T. Boone Pickens, and CNS frequently promotes talking points from the oil and gas industry.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:31 PM EST
Updated: Friday, January 3, 2014 2:35 PM EST
WND's Monckton Keeps the Birther Faith
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Even as WorldNetDaily has largely given up on promoting birther conspracies, WND columnist and foreigner Christopher Monckton (we refuse to call him "Lord," as he insists we do, because it's a title, not a name) has soldiered on in his rabid birtherism. Monckton rants in his Dec. 31 WND column:

In the House, there are probably enough votes to bring forward a bill to impeach Mr. Obama. Taking advantage of having gotten away with riding roughshod over the Constitution with his Donald Duck “birth certificate,” he has bypassed a largely supine Congress time and again, from Benghazi to Soetero”care” to the tyrannical legislative powers wielded by the sinister, out-of-control EPA in flagrant defiance of Article I, Section 1, of the Constitution.


Here is my New Year’s program for those justifiably antsy Republican members of the House who want to strike a final blow for liberty and democracy.

Step 1: Stop being panty-waists. A senior member of the House, whose opinions I have learned to respect, once told me that the real reason why no congressman has yet moved to set up a congressional inquiry into the self-evidently bogus “birth certificate” that festers to this day on the White House website is that they are terrified that the left will work night and day to trash the reputation of anyone who dares to question Mr. Obama’s legitimacy.


For two reasons, the GOP caucus should get its wobbly bottom down to Phoenix and get itself up to speed on the investigation.

First, the chief investigator, Mike Zullo, is no longer making public the results of his inquiries. The initial findings were publicized to attract people with evidence to come forward. That tactic worked. It is now clear to the investigators that criminal charges will be brought. So they cannot compromise the coming prosecution by saying what they know.

Secondly, the sheriff has now called in professional, full-time detectives to supplement the unpaid volunteers who have, until now, doggedly worked unrewarded and unthanked. Joe Arpaio would never have taken that step unless he were very sure of his ground.

Monckton conveniently ignores all the evidence that debunks Arpaio, Zullo and other birthers -- among them John Woodman's book and the discovery that a document scanned into a Xerox WorkCenter 7655 office machine creates the same anomalies birthers have used as evidence that Obama's birth certificate is fake.

Zullo and Arpaio have yet to say anything about Woodman and the Xerox claims, which suggests that their so-called investigation is less than thorough.

Monckton also ignores the careless errors Zullo's investigation has made, which include fabricating evidence by using the wrong racial codes for Obama's certificate.

But then, facts and reality have never been something birthers like Monckton care much about.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:55 AM EST
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Newsmax's Bernard Kerik Image Rehab Campaign Continues
Topic: Newsmax

Bernard Kerik was one of Newsmax's first image rehabilitation projects, right up until he went to prison. Now that Kerik is out, the rehab project has continued.

The latest effort is a Dec. 31 article by Sandy Fitzgerald that largely rehashes a New York Daily News item about how Kerik plans to sue his defense attorney for allegedly working with prosecutors to send him to prison. There are a couple token paragraphs noting the attorney's side of the story, but much of Fitzgerald's article is dedicated to supporting Kerik's claims.

In case Newsmax's intent wasn't clear, the b ottom of thet article links to a 2009 puff piece headlined "Bernie Kerik, The Trial of an American Hero." As we documented at the time, the article hides facts in order to portray Kerik as the victim of "overzealous federal prosecutors."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:54 PM EST
WND's Corsi Touts Dubious Claim About Muslims Buying Christians' Blood
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jerome Corsi cranks up the luridness in a Jan. 1 WorldNetDaily article:

Atrocities by Syrian jihadist rebels have reached sensational new levels, according to a revered nun working with persecuted Christians and an explosive new video report.

Sister Hatune Dogan told WND in a Skype interview that members of the Syrian opposition are draining the blood of Christians they behead and selling vials to Islamic radicals for $100,000 a piece.

The Syrian Orthodox nun explained that the blood is used in a ritual washing of hands in the belief the act atones for sins and provides privileged access to heaven.

The Christians, she said, are beheaded in ceremonies in which they are forced to kneel, with their hands and feet bound, as the Muslim radicals read a death sentence imposed because the victim refuses to renounce Christianity and embrace Islam.

She detailed how the head of the victim is brutally severed with knives. The blood spurting from their necks is captured in basins and then bottled.

“The Muslims sever the necks and collect the blood in vessels to sell the blood. The Muslims believe that if they kill a Christian and wash their hands in the blood of the Christian, they will go to heaven,” she explained.

She said the sale of the Christian blood “is a big business.”

This being Corsi, he makes no apparent effort to fact-check Dogan's claims, which, given the luridness of the claims, he would want to. As Richard Bartholomew points out, there are many unanswered questions:

However, this story is so extraordinary it is reasonable to ask a few questions: who exactly is this man whom the nun met, and why has he not been punished for his confessed crimes? How has a “big business” trafficking bottles of Christian blood into Saudi Arabia managed to develop without any evidence coming to light? Also, while it’s of course possible that a terrorist financier might want to vicariously participate in a killing in this way, there’s no precedent for this “big business” in Islamic history, and Wahhabi fanatics reject religious practices that amount to “innovation”.

Another red flag is that the story is being promoted by anti-Muslim activist Walid Shoebat, who has his own credibility problems. Corsi notes that Shoebat is  "accepting contributions" for the nun "through a foundation he created for Hatune," -- but Bartholomew notes that Shoebat has not claimed credit for this foundation.

But hey, since when has a complete lack of veracity kept WND from publishing anything?

WND editor Joseph Farah, meanwhile, demonstrates his disregard for journalism by using his Jan. 1 column to not only swallow Dogan's story whole but also repeat another unsubstantiated claim by Shoebat, then turn it all into an attack on the president he hates so much: "It’s time for American Christians to get on their knees in repentance for what we have done. Our own sins are responsible for Obama."

Farah, of course, is responsible for WND's many journalistic sins, but we've never seen Farah on his knees repenting. He has no moral authority whatsoever to talk about this subject.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:32 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, January 2, 2014 9:41 PM EST
Noel Sheppard Is Just Asking: Did Obama Know Robin Roberts Was Secretly Gay?
Topic: NewsBusters

Writing about ABC's Robin Roberts coming out as gay, Noel Sheppard goes out on a speculation limb in a Dec. 29 NewsBusters post:

According to The Wrap, "Roberts’ sexuality had been known to her family, friends and co-workers for some time."

Makes you wonder if the President was also aware of this and that aided in his decision to give Roberts an exclusive interview in May 2012 wherein he famously flip-flopped on his position on gay marriage saying, "At a certain point, I've just concluded that - for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that - I think same-sex couples should be able to get married."

Only someone like Sheppard -- employed by someone with an anti-gay agenda like the Media Research Center -- could turn someone's coming out into a conspiracy.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:25 AM EST
WND Unintentional Irony Watch, Continued
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A couple weeks back, we wrote about how WorldNetDaily promoted a story about a news anchor who couldn't take a joke and sued a person who sent him an allegedly threatening tweet -- despite WND's own demonstrated inability to take a joke by suing Esquire magazine over a satirical blog post.

Well, WND has followed up -- and the unintentional irony is as thick as ever. Joe Kovacs picks up the story in a Dec. 25 WND article:

The weeks leading up to this Christmas have in no way been merry for Martin Pierro, the South Florida comic publisher who apparently freaked out his local CBS news anchor with an online joke the journalist perceived as a murderous threat.

The 41-year-old Lake Worth, Fla., man had been living in a virtual pressure cooker after he was arrested and charged with intimidation through a written threat to kill or injure WPEC anchorman John Discepolo, despite Pierro’s assertion he was merely clowning with the anchor about his ominous-sounding news teases.

But now, Pierro is having a happy holiday and can breathe easily into the new year as the criminal charges against him have just been dropped.


Hundreds of readers have been verbally hammering Discepolo for what they perceive to be his inability to take a joke.

“I don’t see the threat. He did not threaten anyone! The news guy is a wuss,” said Tracy Brock Ash.

“This reporter needs to have his estrogen levels checked. What a mangina!” exclaimed WND reader John Freeman. He reminds me of the jerk in class everybody hated in high school. Why don’t he take his ball and run home to mommy? Maybe she can kiss his boo boo and make it all better. What a jerk!”

“His wife should’ve married a man,” added Robert Ralph.

No word on whether Kovacs thinks his boss, Joseph Farah, and WND's loser attorney, Larry Klayman, are wusses or need to have their estrogen levels checked due to their inability to take a joke after WND's lawsuit against Esquire was tossed out of court.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:04 AM EST
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
MRC's Graham, Starr Still Upset Over 2010 Gay-Themed Art Exhibit
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center director of media analysis Tim Graham has spent years keeping his employees obsessed over the "macaca" remark that help to sink George Allen's campaign for a Virginia Senate seat in 2006. So he clearly has experience nursing a grudge.

That tendency appears again in a Dec. 29 NewsBusters post by Graham:

In the Arts section of Sunday’s Washington Post, they celebrated the appointment of curator David Ward as the senior historian of the National Portrait Gallery. Why does it matter? Ward was a central figure in the controversial 2010 exhibit “Hide/Seek,” which contained a defamatory video of Jesus crucified being crawled on by ants.

As a libertine leftist, Ward hated it when complaints from top Republicans caused the gallery bosses at the time to "cave" and remove the Jesus-trashing piece, as did liberal journalists. So the headline on Sunday honored Ward as “A historian with an eye on the future.” The caption under his picture promised Ward “is not afraid to present history in new ways.”

Notice how Post reporter Katherine Boyle – not on staff during the 2010 controversy – completely elides exactly what was controversial about the exhibit – no mention of Jesus or ants crawling on his dead body – and like most reporters, ignores how the story broke, in a eye-popping report with pictures by Penny Starr of our own

Why disturb the Post subscriber on Sunday by describing how Christians were mocked with their own money?

As we documented at the time, this was a completely manufactured controversy -- Starr, and by extension Graham and their boss, Brent Bozell, were simply upset that a gay-themed art exhibit and wanted to exploit the exhibit in order to engage in a little homophobia and rile up their right-wing base.

Graham botches a few facts in his rant, though. First, it seems that Graham is unable to differentiate fact from fiction by suggesting that the video showed the actual Jesus with ants crawling on his "dead body." In fact, the ants were crawling on a plastic crucifix. We grew up Catholic, but we don't recall transubstantiation applying to crucifixes.

Second, Graham's description of the video as "Jesus-trashing" and "defamatory" conveniently ignores the intent of the artist, David Wojnarowicz, and the context of the time of its creation. As we pointed out the last time Graham did this, the image is a reflection of Wojnarowicz's personal and religious themes as someone who grew up Catholic and was a victim of AIDS at a time when that diagnosis was essentially a death sentence.

Third, Graham's claim that "Christians were mocked with their own money" ignores the fact that the exhibit in which the video appeared was privately funded.

Starr made her own contribution to reviving the homophobic attacks in a Dec. 31 CNS article in which she ignores the fact that the exhibit was privately funded and waits until the 24th paragraph of her 28-paragraph article to mention the artist's intent. Biased much?

Posted by Terry K. at 6:45 PM EST
WND: Crazy Birther General Is Just Like George Washington
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Drew Zahn does some heavy-duty slobbering in a Dec. 29 WorldNetDaily article:

In 1775, an American people preparing to fight for their freedom turned to a retired military officer to lead them.

For more than 15 years, Col. George Washington had been retired to farm the Virginia countryside, until Boston patriots waged their famous tea party and the Battles of Lexington and Concord erupted. Washington, the former fighter of the French and Indian War, determined he could remain on the sidelines no longer.

When Col. Washington (ret.) showed up shortly thereafter at the Second Continental Congress in his dusted-off uniform, the spirit of the American Revolution had at last found a man it could follow.

Today, as the tea party rages again in cities across the U.S., a retired American military commander is drawing attention to a new crop of George Washingtons already leading the charge for freedom.

As WND reported, Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely declared it’s time for millions of Americans to “stand up” to a federal government that is “conducting treason … violating the Constitution, violating our laws.” He’s calling for marches, a legislative vote of “no confidence” in President Obama and congressional leaders, even citizen arrests – drawing inspiration from the 33 million Egyptians who stood up to their government and removed Muslim Brotherhood officials from office.

Now Vallely tells WND the radio interview in which he called for a new American uprising has struck a note with the millions of modern tea partiers who are looking for unifying leadership.

That's right -- Zahn is portraying Vallely as George Washington. Needless to say, Zahn doesn't mention that Vallely is a rabid birther who shouldn't be trusted with anything, let alone the military coup he's planning. And Vallely is planning one:

“It’s fallen upon senior, retired military to take stands against the overreach and tyranny of a corrupt government,” Vallely said. “I think for people, they respect what the military has gone through. Senior military guys are very well educated, they’ve gone to the right schools, gone to combat for the most part, have had to manage enormous budgets, were involved in major financial decisions and are heavily steeped in foreign policy and national security.

“No other group, no CEO that has that kind of background,” he said. “Obviously our politicians don’t have that background. They have legislation experience, not leadership experience.”

Zahn also writes:

Vallely pointed to the work of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi – which included Vallely, Navy SEAL Capt. Larry Bailey (ret.), Admiral James Lyons (ret.), former Congressman and retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Allen West and several other retired military officers – as evidence that the missing leadership may once again be rising from the same place it did in 1775: from the ranks of those who have served our nation in combat.

As we've noted, Vallely is just one of several birthers and Obama-haters on Accuracy in Media's little kangaroo court on Benghazi, which has provided no evidence thus far that it will do anything other than push right-wing talking points on Benghazi.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:54 AM EST
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
MRC Unhappy That MSNBC's Hayes Told The Truth About the 'Knockout Game'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Brad Wilmouth complains in a Dec. 26 Media Research Center item:

On Monday's All In with Chris Hayes, host Hayes for a second time griped over Fox News giving attention to reports of primarily black teens playing a "knockout game" in which they target white victims for violence, suggesting that the game does not really exist.

As he awarded his choice for the "over-covered" and "under-covered" news stories for the year, Hayes began: "Over-covered is the Fox News/Drudge obsession with the so-called 'Knockout Game,' which this is a flavor of what that, and this has been on Fox all the time."

After playing several clips from various FNC shows, the MSNBC host added: "You get a sense of the racial politics and subtext, or not even subtext, text of that."

Wilmouth also huffed that Hayes "tried to discredit the existence of the 'Knockout Game'" ... by citing the New York City police chief.

At no point, however, does Wilmouth bother to prove Hayes wrong. Colin Flaherty's race-baiting aside, there is no evidence that the "knockout game" exists as a growing trend.

If Wilmouth couldn't prove Hayes wrong, what was the point of his attacking Hayes for reporting something that was apparently true?

Still, Wilmouth doubled down in a Dec. 31 post in which he complained that "MSNBC contributor Joy Reid asserted that the 'Knockout Game' was the 'most overrated story of the year,' as she complained that conservatives 'went absolutely ballistic' and 'wanted[ed] to stoke issues of race.'" Again, Wilmouth can't be bothered to disprove the claim -- he's simply upset the truth was told.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:12 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 1:14 PM EST
Jerome Corsi's 'Exclusive' Is Two Weeks Old
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jerome Corsi writes in a Dec. 30 WorldNetDaily article, carrying the "WND Exclusive" kicker:

In a move certain to shake up the world of conservative media, Salem Communications, one of the nation’s leading conservative and Christian radio-broadcasting networks, is completing a bid to acquire Washington-based Eagle Publishing, which owns one of the nation’s oldest conservative book publishers, Regnery Publishing, reliable insiders have confirmed to WND.

The acquisition would expand the reach of the Salem Radio Network – currently syndicating talk, news and music programing to some 2,400 affiliates nationwide – to book publishing along with a wide-ranged of Internet newspapers, newsletters and sites featuring leading columnists and commentators.

Just one problem: There's nothing "exclusive" about this story. Buzzfeed reported Salem's purchase of Eagle Publishing on Dec. 13 -- more than two weeks ago.

Sadly, this is the caliber of reporting we've come to expect from Corsi.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:12 AM EST
Monday, December 30, 2013
Noel Sheppard Thinks Spooning Is A 'Sexual Position'
Topic: NewsBusters

Noel Sheppard cranked up his outrage machine to rant in a Dec. 29 NewsBusters post:

On Sunday's Reliable Sources, vulgar comedienne Kathy Griffin - who will once again be co-hosting CNN's New Year's Eve special this year despite kissing Anderson Cooper's crotch on air last year! - actually asked new host Brian Stelter, "Have you ever spooned with Candy Crowley?...You might get a better time slot[.]"

Sheppard then adds: "For those unfamiliar, 'spooning' is a sexual position."

Well, not so much. As Talking Points Memo points out, spooning is more a form of cuddling.

Undaunted by his manufactured outrage and resulting stupidity, Sheppard tries to double down in a update to his post:

Update: There's been a lot of discussion about the term "spooning" and whether it's actually a sexual position. Some have claimed it's a term for cuddling. In reality, it's both.

In this instance, would the vulgar Griffin have asked Stelter if he's ever cuddled with Crowley? Consider that she followed her question up with, "You might get a better time slot."

Think about it: Have you ever heard of anyone cuddling their way to the top?

Notice that Sheppard doesn't acknowledge where this "discussion" is coming from -- likely because its happening mainly on liberal blogs that are ridiculing him. 

This is NewsBusters, folks.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:42 AM EST
WND Just Can't Stop Obsessing Over (Female) Teacher-Student Sex
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It's been a while since we've seen WorldNetDaily indulge in its creepy obsession with female teachers (never the male ones) who have sex with students. But Joe Kovacs delivers the filthy goods in a Dec. 24 WND article:

A Pennsylvania English teacher is charged institutional sexual assault for allegedly having sex five times in the past week with an 18-year-old male student.

Lauren Harrington-Cooper, 31, from Plymouth, Pa., is an instructor at Wyoming Valley West High School.

She’s accused of performing oral sex on the senior three times and having intercourse with him twice.

A probable-cause affidavit indicates the sister of the alleged victim told her brother that Harrington-Cooper said he was “hot” on Dec. 13. The sister subsequently gave him the teacher’s phone number.

Kovacs also reminds us of his employer's obsession by including a link to "The big list: Female teachers with students." He doesn't explain why WND cares so much about the sexual peccadilloes of female teachers while similar offenses by male teachers are apparently OK.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:59 AM EST
Sunday, December 29, 2013
WND's Unruh Throws Abused Child Under the Bus to Protect Homeschooling
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In 2008, WorldNetDaily defended abusive homeschooling parents. Now it's pretending that abusive homeschooling parents aren't real homeschoolers.

A Dec. 17 WND article by Bob Unruh is dedicated to fearmongering about a proposed Ohio law that would require parents or legal guardians seeking to remove children from public schools to go through background checks, have interviews conducted in their homes, and to allow their children to be interviewed separately in an effort to make sure the children are being protected from abuse. The law is motivated by a case in which a teenager named Teddy Foltz-Tedesco was beaten to death by a man who was dating his mother; the boy had been withdrawn from school by his mother, who claimed that she was going to homeschool him but instead was apparently trying to cover up evidence of abuse.

As we've come to expect from Unruh, he can't be bothered to contact any supporters of the proposed law for their views. Instead, he gives copious amounts of space to the Home School Legal Defense Association -- which Unruh lavishly calls "the world’s premiere homeschool advocacy organization" -- to attack the law and insist that Teddy Foltz-Tedesco is not representative of homeschoolers:

HSLDA argued the tragic case was not about homeschooling, noting the abuse began while the boy was in public school.

“HSLDA condemns child abuse and is saddened by Teddy’s death,” the organization said in a statement. “HSLDA supports the prosecution of child abusers like Bush and the improvement of systems that prevent child abuse. However, this proposed law does not actually address the problems that led to Teddy’s death and instead unfairly targets homeschooling.”

HSLDA said the 14-year-old had been abused for years, and after teachers reported the abuse to authorities, the mother withdrew the boy from public school to homeschool him.

Neighbors, friends, family, police, teachers and others all knew Teddy was being abused, HSLDA said.

“Finally, Bush beat Teddy so severely that he later died of his injuries. Bush and Teddy’s mother now are in prison,” the group said.

“Teddy Foltz-Tedesco was killed because those responsible for protecting him did not step in as the law or common sense would have dictated. Why?” HSLDA said in a statement. “Although news reports indicate that abuse had been reported for years prior to Teddy’s death, it does not appear that any serious intervention was made by government authorities charged with investigating such allegations.

“Why was not enough done to protect Teddy from known abuse?”

Subjecting hardworking parents who want to invest their time and money in their own children’s education is not the way to address such problems, HSLDA argued.

Of course, the proposed law is not aimed at impeding homeschooling -- it's aimed at exposing child abuse. The triggering factor is not a desire to homeschool; it's the withdrawal of a child from public school.

Given that there is some evidence of abuse in homeschooling families, you'd think that the HSLDA would want to be more proactive. Instead, the HSLDA tries to downplay it, insisting that "evidence suggests that abuse in homeschooling families is rarer than in the general population" and not addressing the issue of families using homeschooling to hide abuse.

Indeed, in the 2008 case referenced above in which WND defended abusive homeschooling parents, the HSLDA was much more concerned that the case would result in an overbroad ruling against homeschooling in general than about the welfare of the children. One HSLDA press release declared that the case was "a Juvenile Court case on allegations of abuse or neglect, which originally had nothing to do with homeschooling."

But Unruh doesn't want to write about that -- as a homeschooler himself (an apparent requirement for working at WND), he's too busy defending homeschooling from alleged threats that he doesn't care who gets hurt by his knee-jerk behavior and his shoddy, biased writing.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:49 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, December 29, 2013 2:14 AM EST

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