CNS Passes Off Press Releases As 'News' Topic: CNSNews.com
Apparently, CNSNews.com is now in the right-wing press release business.
A Jan. 9 CNS article by Barbara Hollingsworth is, for all intents and purposes, a press release for the right-wing American Action Forum:
Regulations that went into effect in 2013 cost Americans $112 billion – or $447 million for each of the 251 days the federal government was open - according to a study by the American Action Forum (AAF), which predicts that the regulatory burden will increase to $143 billion in 2014.
“That’s in part because they’re going to finalize a lot of the big proposals that they had this year and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is going to regulate existing greenhouse gases from stationary sources for the first time, and we recognize there’ll be a big price tag for that,” Sam Batkins, AAF’s research director, told CNSNews.com.
“And in January, they are going to finalize new rules for cooling water intake structures for power plants to preserve aquatic wildlife, and we’re also going to see the final push of Dodd-Frank and Affordable Care Act implementation. There are two notable Affordable Care Act rules that will be finalized.”
Not only does Hollingsworth fail to mention the AAF's political bias -- it's headed by right-leaning economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin -- she also can't be bothered to solicit reaction to the study from anyone who might have a different view. AAF's Batkin is the only person quoted in the story.
CNS' Penny Starr performs the same service for the American Petroleum Institute, using a Jan. 10 article to tout that " A new report commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute stated that the United States, in partnership with Canada, has the energy resources to make the country completely independent of outside sources for liquid fuel supplies by 2024." Like Hollingsworth, Starr makes no effort to seek out other points of view, quoting only API sources.
CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, receives funding from ExxonMobil and pro-fossil fuel philanthropists like T. Boone Pickens, and Starr's article is in line with CNS' previous shilling for the oil and gas industry.
WND's Cashill Now Claims Obama Didn't Go To Kenya To Research Book He Supposedly Didn't Write Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Jack Cashill has been trying (and failing) for years to prove that Barack Obama didn't write his book "Dreams From My Father." He's taking a different tack in his Jan. 8 WND column, this time claiming that Obama didn't go to Kenya to research the book he supposedly didn't write:
Instead of going to Africa, Obama may have contented himself with going to the local library and pillaging the memoirs of longtime Kenya resident Kuki Gallmann.
This is the theory proposed by Shawn Glasco, the tireless researcher I refer to in my book “Deconstructing Obama” as “Mr. Southwest.” Obama’s evasions about his research trip make Glasco’s theory all the more credible.
Glasco was intrigued by the title of Gallmann’s 1991 memoir, “I Dreamed of Africa” – later made into a film with Kim Basinger – given the similarity between her title and Obama’s.
Glasco was intrigued even more by the many words and phrases in “Dreams” that also appeared in Gallmann’s book, “African Nights,” which was published in 1994.
These include words like Baobab [a tree], bhang [cannabis], boma [an enclosure], samosa [a fried snack], shamba [a farm field], liana [a vine], tilapia [a fish], kanga [a sheet of fabric] and shuka [decorative sashes].
It is possible that Obama remembered these phrases – and many more – from his two previous short trips to Kenya, but it is not at all likely. More likely is that he swiped them from Gallman.
“Nothing is so tempting for conspiracy theorists as what appears to be a hole in a life,” sneers Maraniss.
In leaving this hole so conspicuously unfilled, it falls to us conspiracy theorists to do the job real biographers used to do.
As Peter Millican -- the Oxford scholar whom Cashill and others tried to recruit into substantiating his theory that Bill Ayers wrote Obama's book -- pointed out in eviscerating Cashill's Ayers analysis:
The trouble with these sorts of claims is that they are far too easy to make: take any two substantial memoirs from the same era and you are likely to be able to pick out a fair number of passages that have some similarities. Unless the similarities are really close (and they weren’t), just listing them makes no case at all, even if it might be enough to persuade some readers.
At least Cashill admits he's nothing more than a conspiracy theorist, so we can safely ignore him.
MRC's Graham Bashes Author Of New Roger Ailes Bio Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center proved it's a loyal soldier for Fox News by working to protect the channel from a phone-hacking scandal taking place in other News Corp. operations. Now, it's attacking a new biography of Fox News chief Roger Ailes as insufficiently fawning.
In a Jan. 8 NewsBusters post, the MRC's Tim Graham goes on the warpath against Gabriel Sherman's new Ailes bio, calling it an "anti-Roger Ailes book" and railing against its use of anonymous sources -- as if the MRC has never touted anonymous claims before. Graham then contradicts himself and attacks onr on-the-record claim, involving an alleged instance of sexual harrassment by Ailes, because he doesn't like it.
And Graham is really, really upset that the New York Times did an article on Sherman's book, and for the Times pointing out that Zev Chafets' fawning Ailes bio -- done with the full cooperation of Ailes -- served as "a plastic funnel for Mr. Ailes's observations" and avoided "tough questions about Fox News's incestuous relationship with the Republican Party, its role in accelerating partisanship in our increasingly polarized society or the consequences of its often tabloidy blurring of the lines between news and entertainment":
Obviously, Gabe Sherman can expect a much more favorable Times reception. It's already begun. But all this demonstrates the liberal media elite's ongoing lack of self-awareness. They've never worked to elect a president.They've never had an "incestuous" relationship with a Democratic administration. They've never been responsible for "accelerating partisanship" or a "polarized society." They've never acted as a "plastic funnel" for the observations of their leaders. It's warm and comfortable inside their bubble.
Graham doesn't mention the conflicts of interest that would explain why he would be so harsh on a perceived Ailes critic like Sherman:
His boss, Brent Bozell, has a weekly segment on Sean Hannity's Fox News show.
A few days earlier, Graham himself appeared on Fox News' sister business channel to engage in a little Times-bashing.
WND Wants to Ensure The Mentally Ill Remain Armed Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily does not consider itself to be constrained by facts, as its coverage of Barack Obama amplydemonstrates. That's demonstrated once again in a Jan. 8 article by Bob Unruh that puts fear ahead of facts in writing about guns.
Here's Unruh's overly dramatic and fearmongering opening:
In an end-of-week “information dump” often resorted to by political leaders to publicly release information they would like overlooked, President Obama formally has launched his much-feared expansion of the use of mental health diagnoses to crack down on gun ownership.
The Obama Department of Homeland Security already is on record casting aspersions on the mental ability of returning veterans, third-party candidate supporters and people with pro-life bumper stickers – calling them potential “right-wing extremists.” It was also caught, through the IRS, targeting conservative organizations that might be critical of Obama.
So critics of the administration long have warned the move would come. On Friday, it did.
Obama announced that his Department of Justice is proposing a rule change that would “clarify” that being committed to a mental institution – a key red flag under gun ownership rules – would include receiving nebulous “outpatient” services from a professional, such as a psychiatrist.
The president said his Health and Human Services agency is issuing a rule to pierce the privacy protections of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act so there would be “express permission” for “entities” to hand over to the federal government certain medical records – that is, “information necessary to help keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands.”
Notably, Unruh can't be bothered to link to the proposal in question -- that would have kept him trying to support the article's headline "See a shrink, lose your gun":
Some states have reported that certain barriers under current law make it difficult for them to identify and submit appropriate information to the federal background check system regarding individuals prohibited under federal law from having a gun for mental health reasons. Today, DOJ and HHS are taking steps that will help address these barriers.
Some states have noted that the terminology used by federal law to prohibit people from purchasing a firearm for certain mental health reasons is ambiguous. Today, DOJ is issuing a proposed rule to make several clarifications. For example, DOJ is proposing to clarify that the statutory term “committed to a mental institution” includes involuntary inpatient as well as outpatient commitments. In addition to providing general guidance on federal law, these clarifications will help states determine what information should be made accessible to the federal background check system, which will, in turn, strengthen the system’s reliability and effectiveness.
Some states have also said that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s (HIPAA) privacy provisions may be preventing them from making relevant information available to the background check system regarding individuals prohibited from purchasing a firearm for mental health reasons. In April 2013, HHS began to identify the scope and extent of the problem, and based on public comments is now issuing a proposed rule to eliminate this barrier by giving certain HIPAA covered entities an express permission to submit to the background check system the limited information necessary to help keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands. The proposed rule will not change the fact that seeking help for mental health problems or getting treatment does not make someone legally prohibited from having a firearm. Furthermore, nothing in the proposed rule would require reporting on general mental health visits or other routine mental health care, or would exempt providers solely performing these treatment services from existing privacy rules.
At no point did Unruh explain that the proposed rule change "not change the fact that seeking help for mental health problems or getting treatment does not make someone legally prohibited from having a firearm" or that "othing in the proposed rule would require reporting on general mental health visits or other routine mental health care, or would exempt providers solely performing these treatment services from existing privacy rules." Instead, he quotes gun activists as claiming “The real agenda of the gun-hating Obama administration is to strip gun rights from law-abiding Americans, even if the result is to discourage people from seeking counseling" -- even though Unruh knows that's not the case.
Unruh then tosses in unrelated items that purport to support his contention, such as claiming that government will "crack down on gun ownership." He claims that "the government has been using its interaction with veterans to designate many of them – by the tens of thousands – incapable of handling their own financial affairs and, therefore, banned from having guns."
Unruh is comically exaggerating his numbers. The article to which he links to support his claim states only that "hundreds, perhaps thousands, of veterans" have allegedly been affected -- a far cry from the "tens of thousands" he's now claiming.
Remember, this is the kind of stuff Unruh left the Associated Press to join WND to write. His former employer would never have published something so fact-free. And his pathetically misleading reporting has the effect of ensuring that the mentally ill remain armed -- and possibly harm themselves or others.
WND Still Trying to Prove Corsi's Oil Theory Is True Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Jan. 3 WorldNetDaily article tries to take a victory lap on Jerome Corsi's 2005 WND-published book "Black Gold Stranglehold," which promoted the fringe theory that oil is continuously generated from within the Earth, or abiotic, rather than a finite biomass. WND's big claim is that Corsi's book accurately predicted rising crude oil prices:
The book, which was ridiculed by many industry analysts, argues against the “peak-oil theory” that predicted peak oil production had already been reached as the world was facing a diminishing quantity of oil available in the earth.
Corsi and Smith also predicted that oil, then trading below $50 a barrel, would trade at $100 a barrel, which has become an industry standard in recent years.
Oil expert Darren Wolfberg of BNP Paribas projected on Thursday that oil will trade in the $93 to $100 a barrel range in 2014.
Given the fact of continual instability in the Middle East, including an Iraq war that was going on at the time Corsi's book was published, that was hardly a risky prediction. WND then tries to give Corsi credit for shale oil:
Despite strong pushback from oil industry analysts, Corsi followed up the publication of “Black Gold Stranglehold” with a series of WND stories based on data predicting shale oil could be at the heart of a U.S. oil boom.
At the time, oil experts were going the opposite direction, predicting U.S. oil depletion was proceeding at an irreversible pace.
But the article to which WND links to prove this contains no mention of shale oil. And WND fails to mention that shale oil production is feasible only because of higher oil prices -- shale oil costs more to extract than crude, and Forbes reports that crude oil needs to be at least $80 a barrel in order for shale production to be profitable.
And late last year, Royal Dutch Shell took a $2.1 billion writedown on its $24 billion investment in shale in the U.S. because it has not generated a profit.
Of course, shale oil has nothing whatsoever to do with Corsi's abiotic oil theory since, like crude oil, it's already in the ground.
Newsmax Concedes Christie Bridge Scandal Is a Real Story Topic: Newsmax
Last month, Newsmax published an article by Melanie Batley complaining that "The bridge closure controversy that has dogged New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for weeks is threatening to go national as Democrats see a possible chink in the armor of the GOP's potential 2016 presidential nominee." Batley further complained that "Democrats have also created a politically-charged YouTube video with a narrative designed to raise the profile of the issue and link it to questions about Christie's character and integrity."
Now, with the release of emails showing that Christie aides directly ordered the bridge lane closure, Newsmax is essentially flip-flopping by devoting the top of its front page to the scandal:
That's better than WorldNetDaily and CNSNews.com, each of which are mostly downplaying the Christie scandal.
WND's Farah Has Another Problem That's Solved By Sending Him Money Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah is not giving up on trying to separate you from your money.
Farah's Jan. 7 WorldNetDaily column considers how "Republicans in the House need to be convinced" that "they can defund Obamacare and dozens of other wasteful programs by denying any more hikes in the debt limit." And surprise, surprise, it involves sending your hard-earned money to Farah:
How do we do it?
This isn’t a new idea. It’s one I have been pushing since January 2011. It’s called “The No More Red Ink Campaign.” It’s a plan to deluge House Republicans with the demand to say no to any future hikes in the debt limit – the amount the government is permitted to borrow.
Those Republicans need your support.
I’ve devised an easy and inexpensive way for you to reach all of them – every single House Republican – with an urgent message, guaranteed to be delivered to their individual offices by FedEx, that demands they stop the borrowing the next chance they get.
So far, more than 1.5 million such messages have been spent. More and more House Republicans are getting the message. If the deluge continues, even the leadership will get the message.
If you’ve got a better idea, let me know.
Otherwise, give this one a try.
Go to “The No More Red Ink Campaign” website. It will take you no more than a minute to send the message to every House Republican. It’s fast and it’s inexpensive.
As we've pointed out, Farah has provided zero evidence that his scheme -- one of many letter-for-hire scams WND has promoted over the years -- that spamming members of Congress with his bulk letters accomplishes anything beyond lining Farah's pockets.
January is traditionally a slow business month, and Farah's solicitation should probably be examined from a financial standpoint, rather than any desire to send a political message.
Newsmax Won't Admit Limbaugh Is Wrong about Polar Vortex Being a 'Hoax' Topic: Newsmax
A Jan. 7 Newsmax article by Amy Woods touts how Rush Limbaugh claimed that "the polar vortex is 'a hoax' perpetuated by the liberal media to further its agenda of climate change and global warming." What Woods didn't mention: Limbaugh is wrong.
AccuWeather senior meteorologist Bernie Rayno points out that the polar vortex is, in fact, a real thing: "We've been using the name in this field for — I've been in this field for 25 years, this isn't anything new. ... Usually meteorologists would never even use that term because people wouldn't understand it."
It seems that Newsmax is just as scared as CNSNews.com to tell its readers that Limbaugh was spreading a lie.
WND Hooks Up With Messianic Jewish Publication In Israel Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Jan. 6 WorldNetDaily article on Barack Obama having a Jewish half-brother actually comes from a publication called Israel Today. The article contains a link to the WND online store for a subscription offer to Israel Today, stating that "Israel Today’s mission is to be the definitive source for a truthful and balanced perspective on Israel and to provide timely news directly from Jerusalem."
But the description of the magazine at WND's online store promises something other than balance. It states that "Israel Today is a Jerusalem-based news agency providing a biblical and objective perspective on local news" and also claims to be "the only Israeli magazine providing a Messianic perspective on events in the region."
Israel Today's declaration of a "Messianic perspective" seems at odds with its claim to also be "balanced" and "objective." Also at odds is the fact that Israel Today appears to be unabashedly pro-Israel; a graphic on the website's front page states, "Please help us in the online media war against Israel!" which links to a registration page for the site.
The fact that Israel Today has specifically declared pro-Israel and pro-Messianic biases means that, by defintion, it cannot be "balanced" and "objective." It makes sense that Israel Today is hooking up with WND, which claims in its mission statement that it seeks "truth and justice" despite publishingnumerousfalsehoods.
Regardless of its agenda, the fact that Israel Today has hooked with such a mendacious publication as WND does not make Israel Today look good.
CNS Pretends Pat Caddell Is A Real Democrat Topic: CNSNews.com
A Dec. 17 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones touts how "Former Democratic pollster Patrick Caddell says the midterm election could be a 'rolling disaster' for Democrats."
Jones doesn't stop to wonder why someone who is so eager to cling to an identity as a "Democrat" would be so disparaging of those in the same party. Indeed, Caddell hasn't done anything for Democrats in years -- he's frequently seen on right-leaning Fox News where, as Salon's Alex Pareene notes, "he’ll reliably repeat every idiotic right-wing talking point that comes down the pike." Caddell also served as a consultant on an anti-Obama film made by right-wing group Citizens United.
Does that sound like someone who should be identified as a Democrat? It does to Jones, which tells you all you need to know about CNS' journalistic standards.
Will WND's Loudon Confront WND's Playground Politics? Topic: WorldNetDaily
Gina Loudon writes in her Jan. 5 WorldNetDaily column:
Politicians and their consultants are like amateur sociologists and psychologists. Politicians spend each election season trying to figure out what constituencies want and get into the mind of the voter. The 2014 midterms will be no different.
The political bullies hit the playground every two years and do the same thing they did in elementary school (which is exactly why I homeschool my children). Dr. Dathan Paterno and I called this “Playground Politics” in our book, “Ladies and Gentlemen,” and I believe we could lose our country based upon our gut reaction to political games and our childish reaction to the head games they play on the political playground.
Loudon then lists those playground tactics, pretending that only liberals engage in them and failing to note that her employer does the very same thing. Let's help her out, shall we?
Fear the rich kid
WND -- and Aaron Klein in particular -- lovestofearmonger about George Soros, as if no right-wing billionaire ever sunk lots of money into politics.
Fear the new kid (he is extreme)
That's pretty much the underlying theme of WND's mendacious coverage of President Obama for the past five years.
Fear the unknown
That's the underlying theme of WND's birther obsession. There's a reason why WND never reports that birther conspiracy theories have been discredited.
Sadly, Loudon is too busy ranting against "most vacationing, golfing, tyrannical president in the history of the republic who has never even held a job in the private sector, met a payroll or successfully built an empire based on his own merit" to hold her employer accountable for the very same behavior she's criticizing.
CNS Transcribes Limbaugh Global Warming Denierism Topic: CNSNews.com
James Beattie serves as CNSNews.com's dutiful transcriber of the pearls of so-called wisdom that fall from the mouths of right-wing radio hosts. He's so dutiful, in fact, that he can't be bothered to fact-check anything he transcribes.
Beattie performs another bit of stenography in a Jan. 6 CNS blog post:
Rush Limbaugh said "the truth and left never intersect, anymore" when discussing a Daily Beast article with a headline reading: "Thank Global Warming for Freezing You Right Now."
The article claims that this year's weather could be the coldest in history due to a "polar vortex," a term used to discuss a persistent, large-scale cyclone. Included in the article is a warning from the National Weather Service to Twin-Cities, Minnesota residents stating that "ANYONE STUCK OUTSIDE FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME WILL BE AT SERIOUS RISK FOR INJURY OR DEATH."
Responding his radio program today, Limbaugh said:
"There's an article - I referenced this a moment ago - it's in The Daily Beast, which is a Tina Brown website, so it means the leftists love this site, 'Global Warming is Freezing You' is the headline. It's journalistic malpractice. I'm telling you, the truth and the left never intersect, anymore. It's stunning how everything, their entire agenda, is based on one lie after another.
"'Global Warming is Freezing You' and the article claims that manmade global warming is slowing down the jetstream, and that's why the cold air is coming down. They don't explain how, they just say 'it must be,' because, see, they've bought it. They have bought hook, line, and sinker manmade global warming. They believe it.
"I've told you, I read the tech blogs. Stunning, folks. They believe it. There's no questioning it. In a lot of sectors, particularly millennials, young people, those who think they're experts in science. There's no doubt. They just believe it. And so there has to be an explanation. And whatever man is doing has caused the jetstream to slow down, and that is permitting the polar vortex, cold arctic air."
Beattie didn't mention that Limbaugh, in that same segment, also claimed that the polar vortex is a "hoax" perpetrated by global warming activists and the media -- which Beattie surely knows is wrong, given how he used part of his post to define the term.
If Beattie really is the aspiring journalist he claims to be, shouldn't he tell the truth about Limbaugh's false claim instead of selectively quoting around it in order to hide the falsehood? Then again, CNS is not paying Beattie to tell the truth about Limbaugh.
WND Does Oppo Research Work For Steve Stockman Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've noted how WorldNetDaily apparently has a quid pro quo deal going with Texas Rep. Steve Stockman -- WND gave Stockman copies of Aaron Klein's slow-selling impeachment book to give away to members of Congress, and Stockman gave WND the scoop on his run for John Cornyn's Senate seat.
Now, WND is trying to help Stockman's campaign with a Jan. 5 article by John Griffing trying to claim Cornyn isn't a real conservative because he purportedly is "not standing up to President Obama’s agenda to move the nation toward more socialism." Griffing declares that "Stockman’s assessment that Cornyn hasn’t lived up to his billing as a conservative is correct."
Griffing's article reads like an oppo-research document -- for all we know, Griffing worked with Stockman's campaign to put it together. Last time we checked, such blatant shilling for a candidate does not qualify as journalism under any reasonable standard.
Further, as conservative Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin points out, the fact remains that Cornyn "is no squishy RINO" and is "the second most conservative senator, according to one ranking."
WND loves to blather about how it has "no sacred cows." That has always been a baldfaced lie. And it's clear that Stockman is a very sacred cow for WND.
MRC Whines That Wash. Post Article On Kochs Used Accurate Information Topic: Media Research Center
Mike Ciandella whines in a Jan. 6 Media Research Center Business & Media Institute item:
The Washington Post slammed Charles and David Koch for their “political network” on the paper’s front page Jan. 6, but they partnered with a group funded by George Soros to get their information.
The Post proudly stated its partnership with the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), a group they labeled “nonpartisan.” Nowhere in their 2,457-word hit job on the Kochs, did the Post mention CRP’s Soros funding or Soros’ similar network of organizations and media outlets he uses to influence politics and the economy.
Apparently blind to the hypocrisy, the Center for Responsive Politics has received $725,000 from liberal billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundations since 2000. To the Post, the CRP was merely “a nonpartisan group that tracks money in politics.”
The Post attacked the Koch brothers, as well as a number of right-leaning groups, including the NRA, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Americans for Tax Reform.
At no point does Ciandella dispute any of the information in the Post article -- only where the information came from, and only because that place has taken money from Soros.
Despite his bandying around terms like "attack" and "hit piece," Ciandella offers no evidence that the Post article deviates from standard journalistic practice. Nor does he disclose that his employer has received money from Koch interests.