NewsBusters Still Trying To Spin Arizona Anti-Gay Bill As 'Religious Freedom' Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters remains in denial mode, insisting that the proposed Arizona "religious freedom" law wasn't really about discriminating against gays.
In a Feb. 26 post, Jeffrey Meyer actually did acknowledge that it was about gays, but huffed that an MSNBC panel "disregarded the religious freedom argument associated with SB 1062," adding: "MSNBC could have had a serious discussion on the merits of this bill and whether or not SB 1062 needed to be clarified to ensure that businesses cannot simply deny services to individuals for being gay but still protect companies such as florists and bakeries from being forced to service a gay wedding. Unfortunately, no such discussion occurred on Morning Joe, as the liberal media has chosen to bully supporters of the bill to prevent actual discussion about religious freedom and gay rights from occurring."
In another Feb. 26 post, Meyer complained that "MSNBC seems to be perfectly content presenting SB 1062 solely as an 'anti-gay' bill rather than discussing the merits of whether or not the state should force private businesses to participate in a gay wedding if it goes against their religious beliefs."
A Feb. 27 post by Ken Shepherd stated that the Wall Street Journal "portrayed accurately the religious freedom legislation" (by framing it as "religious freedom") while "the headers for the print stories at the Washington Post and New York Times were loaded." Shepherd pretended it wasn't an anti-gay bill:
As such, SB 1062 is not an "anti-gay" statute which green-lights discrimination. It's a bill which tightens the legal standards for levying damages against a defendant in civil court for not providing a service when that business owner cites religious conviction as the reason for not providing said service.
Again, the law itself is content neutral, it's about protecting religious conscience. It could just as well be used by a person sued in court for refusing to cater a strip club's Christmas party or an abortion lobby's fundraising gala out of religious objections to participating in and condoning sin.
While Shepherd conceded that "a lawsuit in neighboring New Mexico against a Christian photographer had been the impetus for the legislation," he failed to mention that it involved photographing a same-sex couple -- and, thus, continued ignoring the fact that anti-gay sentiment was really the "impetus" for the bill.
Randy Hall asserted that the bill could not possibly be targeting gays because "the word 'gay' was not mentioned in the legislation."
On March 2, Meyer again complained that the media was "portraying SB 1062 as an anti-gay bill without ever giving the religious freedom argument consideration."
The next day, Meyer went after the Daily Beast's Kirsten Powers for her "outright mischaracterization of a the motives of proponents of the now-vetoed bill" by pointing out that the bill "is very much about gayness." Citing the case against one photographer who refused to shoot a same-sex wedding, Meyer retorted: "But the proprietors of Elane Photography do NOT have a problem with rendering photographic services for gay persons, just with photographing activities which they consider sinful and offensive to the conscience, including nude photo shoots." Meyer added: "Powers may be unaware of those facts, but she should educate herself on the issue and not SLANDER her fellow evangelical Christians for their sincere religious beliefs."
But why must gays be discriminated against in situations like this? How does he know that the photographer's religious beliefs were "sincere"? Shouldn't the sincerity of the same-sex couple's relationship also be taken into consideration?
Meyer then asserted that the proposed bill really wasn't about discrimination:
Powers provided no evidence that SB 1062 would result in a wave of anti-discrimination in Arizona, and there is no evidence that the law would authorize discrimination. It’s highly unlikely we would have seen a wave of discrimination because businesses could get sued and deal with the subsequent legal costs. Would many small businesses want, or be able to afford, such costs associated with a lawsuit simply to “discriminate” against gay people? Yes, under SB 1062, they could recover court costs in the event of winning the case, but the court hassle to get there is not worth it for most folks.
But as Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer noted when she vetoed the bill, it "does not seek to address a specific and present concern related to Arizona businesses," and the out-of-state examples "are not issues currently existing in Arizona. So the law addressed a problem that did not exist, which raises legitimate questions about the motivation of its proponents. Any chance Meyer will acknowledge that?
Corsi does his one-sided job by touting a poll claiming that Cornyn was "polling below 50 percent" with Stockman at 28 percent. But as we noted, it's a fundamentally flawed poll because it found 29 percent had not made up their mind and didn't include the six other candidates who are also running in the Republican primary for Cornyn's seat.
Meanwhile, another poll taken around the same time as the one Corsi cites shows Cornyn with 60 percent and Stockman with 16 percent (and, yes, it did include the other candidates).
In true PR flack tradition, Corsi talked only to Stockman, included numerous attacks on Cornyn, and made no effort to let Cornyn's campaign respond.
Corsi also touts Stockman's libel lawsuit against a Cornyn-linked super PAC without mentioning that he has no case.
Corsi also fails to mention controversies involving Stockman, such as apparently violating election law by sending out a fake newspaper promoting him and bashing Cornyn.
The headline on Corsi's article reads, "Famous Republican about to fall out of sight?" But Corsi won't give you the full facts to inform you that the person who best fits that description is Stockman.
P.S. After Corsi's article appeared, TPM reported that Stockman has threatened to imprison anyone who has published the mugshot from his 1977 arrest for possession of a controlled substance. Somehow we suspect that neither Corsi -- who called the release of the photo "a particularly low moment" in the campaign, though he concedes it's authentic -- nor anyone else at WND will be defending our First Amendment rights.
Meanwhile, CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, is launching a new "Tell the Truth!" campaign (which, if history is a guide, will exempt itself and anyone seeking to tell the truth about conservatives from that demand) starting, yes, Mark Levin. It's promoted by the ad image shown at right -- which has appeared on the CNS front page alongside the above Levin articles -- and it links to page that states at the top, "As Heard On Mark Levin."
None of the three CNS articles about Levin mention that he is a paid spokesman for the MRC.
The Society for Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics states that journalists should "Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived" and to "Disclose unavoidable conflicts." But CNS hasregularlyfailed to tell its readers that Levin is a paid spokesman for its parent company.
WND Still Pushing Matthew Shepard Revisionism Topic: WorldNetDaily
Art Moore writes in a Feb. 28 WorldNetDaily article:
The Associated Press reported the Brooklyn Nets’ Jason Collins, who signed a 10-day contract with the team Sunday, met after his game in Denver Thursday night with the parents of Matthew Shepard.
The AP, in its recounting of the horrific 1998 assault, stated matter-of-factly that Shepard “was tortured and murdered in 1998 because he was gay.”
However, a book by an accomplished, openly gay journalist published last fall presented documentary evidence that the murder of Matthew Shepard had nothing to do with hatred of homosexuals.
It was so convincing that the Advocate, which calls itself the “world’s leading source for LGBT news and entertainment,” published a positive review of the book titled “Have We Got Matthew Shepard All Wrong?”
In “The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard,” author Steve Jimenez contends Shepard not only knew his murderers, he engaged in homosexual acts with them. They also bought drugs from each other and partied together.
Jimenez speculates Shepard’s killers, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, wanted a stash of methamphetamine they believed Shepard possessed. McKinney, according to Jimenez, was on a prolonged meth binge that made him prone to extreme violence.
Ten years ago, the ABC News program “20/20″ interviewed the convicted killers, who, like Shepard, were both 21 at the time of the murder.
As ABCNews.com summarized, they told ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas “that money and drugs motivated their actions that night, not hatred of gays.”
But what Moore claims is the "truth" about Shepard is extremely dubious. Media Matters points out that despite Jimenez's claim, quoted by Moore, that he "didn’t write the book from a political point of view," his objectivity is questionable, most notably because he is a friend of the defense attorney of one of the killers.
Moore doesn't mention that Jimenez was the person responsible for that 2004 ABC story, and that he had already decided that Shepard's death wasn't a hate crime before doing that story.
And as we've previously noted, the killers' claim that Shepard's death was fueled by drugs and not hate belies the fact that one of the killers mounted a gay-panic defense during his trial.
Moore's boss, Joseph Farah, similarly tried to revive Shepard revisionism last fall when Jimenez's book came out.
Bozell Using His 'News' Organzation To Forward His Anti-CPAC Agenda Topic: Media Research Center
Brent Bozell has shown he has no problem using his Media Research Center to advance his personal political agenda -- which currently involves attacking CPAC for briefly inviting an atheist group to take part in its annual conservative confab. Now Bozell is using his "news" division, CNSNews.com, to hammer home his animus toward CPAC.
A Feb. 27 CNS article by Barbara Hollingsworth and Michael Chapman features a CPAC board member criticizing the since-rescinded invitation to American Atheists, and trying to get other CPAC board members and sponsors to answer whether CPAC "should insist on an official policy guideline making it clear that groups that are openly hostile to any one of the four major pillars of conservative thought--including traditional values--will not be allowed to participate in future CPACs." The authors couldn't be bothered to contact American Atheists for a comment.
CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey also did his boss' bidding with a blog post quoting William Buckley's "God and Man at Yale" and declaring:
There are Americans today, holding themselves up as conservatives, who argue that one can be both an atheist and a conservative. This is absurd.
There is a God, He made us and all things, and His immutable moral laws apply to all men, in all nations, at all times. These fundamental truths--recognition of which is not confined to any particular religious denomination--were embraced by our Founding Fathers. A social and legal order consistent with these fundamental truths is at the very heart of what modern conservatives seek to conserve.
Must the modern Conservative Movement be a classroom in which young Americans can be schooled in how to fight and defeat the forces of atheism so manifestly gaining ground in our society today? Of course.
Jeffrey didn't mention the CPAC controversy, but he didn't have to.
WND's Cashill Blames Everyone But George Zimmerman for Trayvon Martin's Death Topic: WorldNetDaily
Jack Cashill's Feb. 26 WorldNetDaily column is headlined "2 years post-Trayvon and nothing learned." That's not quite true -- along with fellow WNDer Colin Flaherty, Cashill has learned how well race-baiting plays with WND readers.
Indeed, the first thing Cashill tells us is that blacks are just a bunch of thugs, even if President Obama doesn't agree:
Like all men of color, said Obama, he knew what it was like to be followed in a department store or have women clutch their purses upon seeing him enter an elevator.
Even if true, Obama neglected to mention the motive behind this seeming bad behavior. Like Obama’s own grandmother, even the relatives of young black men know that they commit more than their share of crime, far more.
Obama did acknowledge that young men black men “are disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence,” but he abandoned this thread prematurely.
Although he had the opportunity to shake up the debate, he instead pulled his ultimate punch, not in what he said, but in what he did not say. He let the idea stand that Martin was one of the victims of violence, but not one of the perpetrators.
If the president had called attention to the fractures in Martin’s domestic life, his suppressed criminal record, his all but unseen descent into drugs and violence, and especially his reckless attack on Zimmerman, Obama might have lent a dollop of moral seriousness to his remarks.
Continuing his defense of George Zimmerman -- whom he lionizes in his recent book -- Cashill tells us that everyone but Zimmerman was to blame for Trayvon Martin's death:
Here is the real injustice. In the two years since Trayvon Martin died, roughly 15,000 black Americans have been killed by other African-Americans.
If asked, I doubt if Barack Obama could name a one of them. I doubt if Holder could either. In these last two years, in these last five, neither has made a serious inquiry into why young black males kill and get killed at such a frightening rate.
It is so much easier and so much safer to blame George Zimmerman.
Yeah, putting blame on the guy who had a gun and shot Trayvon Martin to death is just too easy.
CNS Ignores Extreme Anti-Gay Nature of Pastors Group It Promotes Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com's Penny Starr manages to get three articles out of a press conference from a group of African-American pastors:
The main story, about how the pastors are calling for the impeachment of Attorney General Eric Holder for allegedly violating his oath of office by trying "to coerce states to fall in line with the same-sex 'marriage' agenda."
A second article featuring group leader Rev. Bill Owens, bashing President Obama by claiming that he "has done more to hurt the American people than any president, as I see it, in my lifetime and in history.”
Three days later, Starr wrote another article from the press conference featuring Owens claiming that the Obama administration’s alleged promotion of abortion “is promoting murder.”
Starr quoted Owens claiming that Planned Parenthood clinics are "all in black neighborhoods" without noting that the claim is false. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the majority of abortion clinics are located in majority-white neighborhoods, while only 9 percent are located in majority-black neighborhoods.
In none of these three articles, however, did Starr explain what Owens' Coalition of African American Pastors is, perpetuating the notion that it is a mainstream group.
CAAP's claim that it is "not affiliated with any political party" is undermined by its political stances, such as wanting to impeach Holder and Owens' assertion that the Democratic Party is a "demonic party." Further, according to USA Today, Owens has longstanding ties with Republican politicians, and CAAP has been criticized as a right-wing front group.
WND Lets Steven Seagal Lie About Obama Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Feb. 28 WorldNetDaily article quotes the following from a Steven Seagal speech at the rant-y and race-y Western Conservative Conference last weekend:
“Never in my life did I ever believe that our country would be taken over by people like the people who are running it this day,” said Seagal.
“I think that when we have a leadership that thinks the Constitution of the United States of America is a joke, when we have a president who has almost 1,000 executive orders now, when we have a Department of Justices that thinks that any kind of a judicial system that they make up as they are going along can get by with whatever they decide that they want to do – like Ted Nugent said the Fast and the Furious, what’s happening with the Fast and the Furious? What’s happened with the truth about any of the greatest scandals of American history that have happened right before our eyes?” Seagal said.
In fact, as of January, Obama has issued only 168 executive orders, not "almost 1,000."
Seagal's misinformation appears to stem from a chain email that makes numerous false claims about executive orders. That WND didn't see fit to correct Seagal's falsehood is just another reason why nobody believes WND.
Imagine: American soldiers aim their rifles and handguns at enemy fighters running toward them across the battlefield. But when they pull their triggers, none of the weapons fire. Within moments our troops are shot down by the onrushing enemy.
Border patrol agents under attack by a Mexican drug gang likewise find their handguns suddenly inoperative, as if turned off at a distance by the criminal gang advancing and firing on them.
Could this be the future, if the advocates of "smart guns" get their way?
A California smart gun start-up named Yardarm, reports the Post, has developed a technology so that "Users can even remotely disable their weapons." If owners can do this, who else can?
The inevitable question: Given this potential to turn off smart guns at a distance, thereby de facto disarming the users, will the politicians who require us to have smart guns also require that these same "safer" smart firearms be used by our soldiers in combat, by the Border Patrol, and by local and state police?
This columnist has long said that progressive presidents eager to impose gun control should lead by example. Presidents who say Americans need no guns to defend themselves should first disarm their own heavily armed Secret Service bodyguard.
For Farah, WND's Web Traffic Still Trumps Ideology Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah has long pretended that his duty as a journalist keeps him from dropping Ann Coulter from the roster of WorldNetDaily columnists. That's a lie, and he's still lying about it.
Farah turns in his latest bill of particulars against Coulter in his Feb. 23 column, complaining about how she favors "electing Republicans – any and all Republicans. It doesn’t matter where they stand on the issues. It doesn’t matter how effective they have been in office. It doesn’t matter if they have betrayed those who elected them or the Constitution." But Coulter's latest betrayal of right-wing principles is still not enough for Farah to drop her column, and he does hint at why:
When Coulter hurled those invectives my way in 2010, many WND viewers urged me to dump her column and stop offering her books for sale.
As anyone can see, her column still runs in WND every week, the place more people read it than anywhere else.
Some wonder why.
Because agreement with me is not a requirement for being a WND commentator. In fact, WND boasts the broadest spectrum of political opinion among its dozens and dozens of columnists. And I have a very thick skin.
By bragging about how WND is "the place more people read [Coulter's column] than anywhere else," Farah is essentially admitting that Coulter drives too much traffic to his website to even consider dropping her. And his claim of WND having "the broadest spectrum of political opinion" is largely window dressing; there are only two explicitly liberal columnists, Bill Press and Ellen Ratner, and the rest of the "dozens and dozens" are definitely on the right-wing tilt.
As we are wellaware, Farah claim that he has "a very thick skin" is a complete lie. That's not the only lie he tells here:
I started to see some warning signs that Coulter was losing her principled edge just three years later in 2009, when she led a vicious public assault against “birthers,” as liberals and Democrats dubbed those who asked very tough questions about Barack Obama’s constitutional eligibility for the White House – questions that have still never been answered, by the way.
Actully, those questions have been answered -- Farah has simply chosen not to report those answers to his readers.
AIM Co-Sponsors Right-Wing Confab Filled With Rants, Racial Humor Topic: Accuracy in Media
For the past several weeks, Accuracy in Media has had on the front page of its website a promotion for the Western Conservative Conference (see right), which was held in Phoenix this past weekend. AIM served as a co-sponsor of the event.
And what did AIM get for its co-sponsoring money? A lot of right-wing ranting and racially charged so-called humor.
The racially charged humor came from Arizona State Rep. John Kavanagh during a roast of sheriff Joe Arpaio:
Early in his tour de force monologue, Kavanagh riffed, “It’s okay. I’m not the federal monitor. How many Hispanics did you pull over on the way over here, Arpaio, huh?” The crowd roared.
Then he pivoted to an immigration joke, “Sheriff Joe is the kind of guy that you gotta love. As long as you have papers.”
Soon he was making light of the controversy around the “religious freedom” bill SB 1062, which would allow businesses to refuse service to gay and lesbian couples. Kavanagh, who supports the bill, dismissed the criticism with a joke at the expense of Muslims and Arpaio:
Now a lot of people claim that SB 1062 is gonna cause discrimination based upon religion in Arizona.
And I scoffed at that until tonight. When a Muslim waiter serving up here walked up to Sheriff Joe, wouldn’t give him his dinner ’cause he said ‘I don’t serve swine.’
The crowd reacted with some shock, but not about the Muslim remark. Arpaio covered his face with his napkin. Kavanagh quipped that it “wasn’t quite a burka.”
The entire Western Conservative Conference was a hub of activity for far-right activists. As Media Matters notes, the conference was hosted by Floyd Brown, who has turned the Joseph Farah-founded Western Journalism Center into a hotbed of Obama-hating conspiracists (not that Farah probably thinks there's anything wrong with that). The conference also included other far-right fringers like Trevor Loudon and Russell Pearce.
These are the kind of people AIM was hanging out with in Arizona this past weekend.
WND's Unruh Still Can't Be Bothered To Report Both Sides Of A Story Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh has neverbeeninterested in reporting with any modicum of fairness on views he doesn't agree with (when he mentions those views at all), and that tendency shows up again in a Feb. 25 article.
In it, Unruh frames the issue of transgender rights for public school students through the eyes of its opponents, as the lead paragraph of his article makes all too clear:
Opponents of California’s radical “coed bathroom law,” which allows public school students to choose whether to identify themselves as boys or girls, are vowing to continue their fight even though state officials claimed they did not turn in enough signatures to have voters decide the issue.
WND has regularlyparroted right-wing fearmongering about transgenders by uncritically portraying the issue as being about "coed bathrooms" and showers.
Unruh lavishes attention of the anti-transgender views of Brad Dacus of the right-wing Pacific Justice Institute, a serial misinformer who peddles anti-gay views. Unruh makes no effort whatsoever to talk to a supporter of transgender rights.
Unruh also throws in the views of his equally anti-gay superior at WND, David Kupelian, complaining that transgenderism is being "de-pathologized" and no longer considered a "mental disorder."
NewsBusters Thinks George Takei Was Shrieking And Ranting On MSNBC Topic: NewsBusters
Jeffrey Meyer writes in a Feb. 25 NewsBusters post:
Actor and gay rights activist George Takei is known for his outspokenness when talking about gay marriage. As a result, the former "Star Trek" cast member felt the need to jump into the debate surrounding Arizona’s new religious freedom bill.
Appearing as a guest on The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell on Monday night, Takei expressed his outrage with the Arizona bill and proclaimed that not only is Arizona’s SB 1062 “not a religious freedom bill at all” he shrieked that “religious freedom is just a cloak for prejudice.”
Takei continued his rant against the Arizona bill by pushing the liberal line that “They're trying to write their prejudice into civil law… But it's these right-wing religious extremists that seem to dominate in the legislature.”
Instead of acknowledging that private businesses are being sued for refusing to service gay weddings, the actor chose to make a blanket disparaging statement that religious freedom doesn’t really exist and instead is “just a cloak for prejudice.” Takei concluded his tirade by pronouncing that SB 1962 is “really a disgraceful repugnant bill that is trying to hide under the cloak of religious freedom.” [emphasis added]
We watched the video attached to Meyer's post (it's an edited one-minute clip plucked from a nine-minute segment) and we didn't see any "shrieking" or "ranting" by Takei, or even a "tirade." He spoke in a sonorous, steady tone -- the guy was Sulu on "Star Trek," after all -- and did not even raise his voice.
Did Meyer watch the same video we did? Or is he simply trying to discredit Takei's argument by falsely portraying him as a crazy ranter?
WND's Corsi Doesn't Understand How A Law Firm Works Topic: WorldNetDaily
Jerome Corsi coinspiracy-mongers in a Feb. 26 WorldNetDaily article:
Perkins Coie, the Seattle-based law firm that has defended Barack Obama in lawsuits challenging the authenticity of his birth records, has emerged as the muscle for Federal Communications Commission threats against media that run advertising critical of Obamacare and of Democrats running for election in November 2014.
Corsi falsely suggests that the same lawyers who worked for the Obama campaign are also working for the Democratic congressman on whose behalf Perkins Coie sent the letters to the TV stations about the inaccurate ad, but at no point does Corsi name the lawyers who sent the letter.
Perkins Coie is a very large law firm, with more than 900 lawyers in 19 offices across the United States and Asia, so it's extremely unlikely the exact same lawyers worked on both cases.
Corsi seems unable to comprehend that a law firm, especially a large one like Perkins Coie, can more than one client and more than one lawyer, and they usually don't work as a cabal.
CNS' Starr Has Another Anti-Gay Freakout Topic: CNSNews.com
Penny Starr is CNSNews.com's leadhomophobe, and she shows it again in a pair of recent articles.
Starr used a Feb. 24 CNS article to inform us that "Former Olympic figure skating champion Johnny Weir has not tried to hide his homosexuality as NBC’s daytime figure skating analyst. He has worn bright pink and huge, sparkling jewelry as he and former champ Tara Lipinski commentated on this year’s skaters at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia." Because wearing flashy clothing could only mean that Weir is gay.
In another Feb. 24 article, Starr complains that an "American Idol" contestant has two moms:
MK Nobilette is “making history” as the first openly lesbian contestant on "American Idol," but she is also the first contestant to have two lesbian mothers supporting her in the audience.
Nobilette, 20, was selected to go to Hollywood during the San Francisco, Calif., audition, where she lives with her girlfriend. On Thursday, she was named as one of the Top 13 on the show.
A Feb. 19 article on the 429 website noted Nobilette’s “two mothers.”
“Following her first performance of John Legend’s ‘All of Me’ on Tuesday, February 18, the San Francisco-raised Nobilette received a standing ovation from the crowd—which included her two mothers, one of whom was unable to hold in happy tears,” the article stated.
Starr must have had to work hard to find a news article that mentioned Nobilette's parents so she could work up the proper outrage. 429 is not even a news organization per se -- it's a website serving as "a go-to destination for the LGBTA professional set." It probably pained Starr to comb through that website as it did to say something positive about a gay person.
Starr ironically closes the article by quoting Nobilette as saying of her sexuality, "I hope in 10 years we won't even have to talk about this." Not if Starr and CNS have anything to do with it, and continue to feel they can get away with creating opportunities for their right-wing audience to mock and slander gay people -- as the comment thread on both articles indicate.