ConWebBlog: The Weblog of ConWebWatch

your New Media watchdog

ConWebWatch: home | archive/search | about | primer | shop

Wednesday, September 16, 2015
NewsBusters Writer Bashes 'Liberal Media Narrative' With False Conservative Media Narrative
Topic: NewsBusters

Jeffrey Lord -- who thinks it's a "legitimate conservative" tactic to smear people as Nazis -- spends his Sept. 12 NewsBusters column complaining about the purportedly dishonesty-laden "Liberal Media Narrative." He explains:

How does the Liberal Media Narrative game work? Like this.

Reported the New York Post of then-Senator Barack Obama during the fall campaign of 2008 in a remark that was instantly seen by Republicans as an attack on Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

“You know, you can put lipstick on a pig,” Obama said, “but it’s still a pig.”

….Many in the Obama crowd leaped to their feet in delight – apparently taking the “pig” comment as a direct slam at Palin.”

The liberal media of  the day was outraged. From the New York Times to the Washington Post to MSNBC, Obama was pilloried for being a sexist and a misogynist. His poll numbers tanked.

Just kidding. The media didn’t care a whit, Senator Obama was not only elected president he was re-elected.

Except, well, that's not how that happened at all -- starting with what Obama actually said.

Obama was criticizing John McCain's policies by referencing a common saying, and Obama's full statement in context shows that he didn't reference Palin at all. The New York Post made up the part about the statement being a "direct slam at Palin."

Contrary to Lord's claim, MSNBC did, in fact, promote the idea that Obama was attacking Palin. Even the Associated Press, whhich Lord would most certainly count among the "liberal media," did it as well.

Media critic Howard Kurtz, now with Fox News, pointed out at the time that the right's narrative on the "lipstick" quote was a "manufactured story that was pushed by the right ... pushed along and made up by Drudge, Sean Hannity, and the New York Post," and yet the media did "segment after segment on it."

That's what you might call the Conservative Media Narrative -- and Lord fell for it.

Why is Lord doing this? To deflect from Donald Trump's recent misogynistic remarks toward Carly Fiorina and Fox News' Megyn Kelly. He's following the MRC playbook as Ted Cruz did by insisting that any criticism of Trump is, by definition, liberal:

Now comes the media dust-up over Trump’s remark’s about Carly Fiorina. And unlike the media’s treatment of then-Senator Obama’s attack on Sarah Palin with his “lipstick on a pig” comment, Trump gets no pass. As he did not with his comments on Fox’s Megyn Kelly after the Fox debate. The Liberal Media Narrative game is in play.

And it isn’t working.

What is the lesson here?  It’s an easy lesson, an old lesson and a lesson that has nothing whatsoever to do with Donald Trump on Carly Fiorina’s looks or Ted Cruz on a government shutdown beyond the fact that they are Republicans. The fact is that no Republican - no matter who he or she is - will get a pass on anything the media decides is “controversial.” The Liberal Media Narrative must be served  come hell or high water.

Despite the fact that Obama was definitely not referencing Palin in his remarks while Trump was directly and unambiguously directly his remarks at Kelly and Fiorina, Lord insists that Trump's fans -- himself apparently among them -- "understand why comments about the physical looks of a woman are bad if coming from Donald Trump, irrelevant and dismissed if coming from Barack Obama."

At no point, however, does Lord breathe a word of what Trump actually said about Kelly and Fiorina in his defense of them; he simply declares any atempt to hold Trump accountable for his words (never mind the fact that even conservatives criticized his nasty jabs at Fiorina and Kelly) is part of the "Liberal Media Narrative."

But if there is a dishonest "liberal media narrative" that Lord believes exists, then there is also a conservative media narrative that is just as dishonest -- and Lord's column is all about furthering that dishonesty.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:33 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
CNS' Chapman Ignores History of Anti-Catholic Sentiment Toward JFK To Attack Sanger
Topic: managing editor Michael W. Chapman turns in another one of his "news" articles that put a right-wing political agenda before facts in pursuit of the Media Research Center's dishonest war on Margaret Sanger.

In that Sept. 7 "news" article, Chapman obsesses over Sanger's criticism of Catholics, highlighting that "Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger opposed the Catholic Church for decades because of its moral teachings and its theology in general, to the point that in 1960, when John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, ran for president, Sanger said if he were elected, she would “find another place to live.”

But Chapman is a curiously incurious "reporter": Completely missing from his article is the fact that Sanger was far from alone in opposing to Kennedy's election on the basis of his Catholicism. Indeed, two of the most prominent people in invoking anti-Catholic sentiment against JFK in the 1960 presidential election was his Republican opponent, Richard Nixon, and Billy Graham.

As detailed in the book “The Making of a Catholic President: Kennedy vs. Nixon 1960″ by Shaun A. Casey, major Protestant denominations and influential Protestant leaders teamed with the Republican Party and Nixon to feed anti-Catholic prejudice among the large Protestant voting majority to try and prevent JFK's election. One reviewer summarizes:

Famous names like the Rev. Billy Graham and Norman Vincent Peale are uncovered as joining in, nay, leading the charge, in order to keep the Catholic Kennedy from the White House.

Casey’s research shows how Protestant ministers and church leaders used their pulpits and their printing presses to blatantly state that no Catholic could ever be trusted to uphold the U.S. Constitution as president.


In going after the anti-Catholic vote, Nixon took up a suggestion from Rev. Billy Graham, who wrote in a letter to the then vice president, “when the chips are down I think the religious issue would be very strong and might conceivable work in your behalf.” Graham in fact shared his mailing list with the anti-Kennedy efforts.

Graham even lied to Kennedy about not being involved in anti-Catholic efforts against him. Randall Balmer writes:

On August 10, 1960, for example, Graham sent a letter to John F. Kennedy, the Democratic nominee for president and only the second Roman Catholic to run on a major-party ticket. Graham assured Kennedy in no uncertain terms that, contrary to rumors, the evangelist had no intention of raising the “religious issue” during the course of the campaign.

Eight days later, however, Graham convened a gathering of American Protestant ministers in Montreaux, Switzerland, to discuss how to derail Kennedy’s campaign. The follow-up to the Montreaux meeting was a closed-door gathering of 150 Protestant clergy at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington on November 7—the purpose of which, once again, was to sound the alarm about the dangers of a Roman Catholic in the White House.

None of this makes Chapman's article -- possibly because he's an admirer and sycophant of Graham's son, Franklin Graham, and would rather hide the truth than dare to make his idol mad. But then, hiding facts to advance a political agenda is what Chapman's CNS is all about these days.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:33 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: MRC vs. A Dead Woman
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center is spreading lie after lie about Margaret Sanger as part of the right-wing media's campaign against Planned Parenthood. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:39 PM EDT
Monday, September 14, 2015
'Exclusive' WND Columnist Ben Carson Bails On His WND Column
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Earlier this year, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah made a big deal out of getting an "exclusive" column by Ben Carson after his syndicate dropped him for making moves toward a presidential candidacy. Farah then played off the ethical implications of a news outlet giving a presidential candidate a regular platform to speak in what Farah proudly called "his own unadulterated words" by offering "every serious, bona fide presidential candidate – Democrat and Republican, Libertarian and others associated with smaller parties – the same opportunity" of having a regular column at WND.

How's that working out for Farah and WND?

As you can see from WND's columnist lineup, no active presidential candidate has taken Farah up on his offer. On top of that, a look at Carson's WND column archive shows that he hasn't written one since June 30.

One might argue that Carson is too busy running for president to write a column -- though he wrote a piece for USA Today last month, so apparently the "exclusive" deal he and WND had is over -- but it may also be that Carson realized that WND is so far-right fringe that it would hurt his chances of election to be associated with it.

You can't blame him. Why would anyone want to be associated with a man and a website known for telling myriad lies, being the center of birtherism (for people named Barack Obama, anyway), and seemingly helping to inspire a terrorist attack?

Posted by Terry K. at 3:51 PM EDT
Sunday, September 13, 2015
WND Falsely Tries to Link Osama Bin Laden to Mecca Crane Collapse
Topic: WorldNetDaily

There are many reasons nobody believes WorldNetDaily, and its shoddy writing is just one of them.

A Sept. 11 WND article by Leo Hohmann carries the headline "Bin Laden crane collapses, kills 107 on 9/11 anniversary." But the article makes no mention of Osama bin Laden, as the headline implies: instead, it notes that "The giant Binladin Group was heading up the nearly two-year construction project to enlarge the mosque by 4.3 million square feet, enough space to accommodate 2.2 million Muslim worshipers inside the mosque at one time."

Hohmann later writes: "The Binladen Group was founded by Osama Bin Laden's billionaire father Mohammed and the sprawling construction conglomerate runs a large amount of major building contracts in the Saudi kingdom."

Between the headline and Hohmann's incomplete reporting, WND is suggesting that Osama bin Laden has had a role in the operation of the Binladin Group -- which is a lie.

The Wall Street Journal reported shortly after the 9/11 attacks that the Binladin family had disowned Osama long before the attacks, that Osama never owned an equity stake in the Binladin Group, and that a family spokesman expressed "the strongest denunciation and condemnation of this sad event, which resulted in the loss of many innocent men, women, and children, and which contradicts our Islamic faith."

In 2013, a U.S. appeals court upheld the dismissal of lawsuits against the Binladin group by victims and survivors of the 9/11 attacks, which had claimed the group supported the attacks.

All of this information about how the Binladen Group hasn't had ties with Osama bin Laden for decades is easily found, but Hohmann didn't feel the need to put that in his article.

On top of that, it's not clear who actually was reponsible for the crane. As ABC News reported, "It was not immediately clear who owned the crane that collapsed." In other words, Hohmann is making assumptions beyond the established facts -- something a real reporter would never do.

But then, Hohmann works for WND, which isn't exactly known for real reporting.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:34 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 13, 2015 9:36 PM EDT
Saturday, September 12, 2015
How The MRC Isn't All In on Trump (Just Like Bozell Wants It)
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center feels the same way about Donald Trump as it does about birtherism: not an issue until somebody cites it/him to criticize conservatives.

We got more confirmation of the MRC's Trump non-agenda in an interview chief honcho Brent Bozell did with Rush Limbaugh for the Limbaugh Letter. The MRC posted only the first two pages of it, and it's pretty fluffy -- just as you'd expect Limbaugh to do for someone who started an "I Stand With Rush" website in an attempt to shield him from criticism over his three days of ugly misogyny against Sandra Fluke.

The MRC has posted only the first two pages of the interview, but it includes the telling passage that Bozell is a Ted Cruz supporter -- but, he insists, "not through the Media Research Center, or through my other organization, ForAmerica, but personally."

Well, that's not exactly true (even if he has to say it in order to avoid legal questions about the MRC's nonprofit tax status): the MRC has been pretty quick to run to Cruz's defense, as suggested by the 818 NewsBusters items that mention him as of this writing. Some are pretty picayune, such as the post accusing the New York Times of "flirt[ing] with birtherism" by merely quoting Cruz's father's defense of his eligibility to run for president. And it absolutely loves the fact that Cruz is following the MRC playbook by dismissing tough questions from the media as "liberal."

By contrast, the MRC has not been as interested in embracing Donald Trump's media critiques, even though he's using the same MRC playbook Cruz used to make them. As we've noted, the MRC stayed silent on Trump's dismissal of  questions during the August Republican presidential campaign debate as liberal gotcha questions -- likely because the questions came from Fox News anchors, whom Bozell had previously demanded be put in charge of running Republican presidential debates.

That hands-off attitude was expanded upon by Bozell in his interview with Limbaugh:

Rush: What was your analysis of the public reaction to that debate, aimed at Fox News? Not just Megyn Kelly, but the whole thing as it related to Trump?

Bozell: People love Fox News. People have so much hope in Fox News, and I think people felt really let down by what they saw.

Rush: Is that right?

Bozell: Absolutely. I was there. I will tell you that the mood inside that auditorium was apparently very different from the mood on television. If you were to have taken a poll of the people who were there, in no way did Donald Trump win that debate. You could hear the grumblings in the audience. People were asking why there were so few questions to Cruz, why there were so few questions to Carson, and then question after question after question to Trump. People got very tired of it, Rush.

So Bozell also disliked the way Fox News handled the debate as well, if only (publicly, anyway) for letting Trump divert attention from his beloved Cruz. But, again, none of this criticism made its way to the websites of the MRC. It's as if Bozell is afraid of criticizing Fox News lest he lose his weekly spot on "Hannity."

Similarly, when Trump denounced "gotcha" questions in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, the MRC didn't feel like echoing it. Why? Because Hewitt is a conservative the MRC loves. It cheered how Hewitt claimed how NPR is the "liberal version of my show" and his ridiculous claim that the right-wing-fueled controversy over Hillary Clinton's emails was itself an "indictment" of her (as opposed to, you know, an actual indictment).

The only mention of Trump's MRC-inspired attack on  Hewitt was a few days later it happened, in a Sept. 6 NewsBusters post by Melissa Mullins noting that "liberal journo" Geraldo Rivera had backed up Trump. Mullins didnt mention the fact that Hewitt is a conservative.

Later in the Limbaughinterview, Bozell touted how Fox News chief Roger Ailes is "a master of this medium" by latching on to Trump and even by making Trump a focus of the Fox debate, then threw in some wishful thinking by grumping, "I think Trump may have peaked."

It seems to us that if you're afraid to engage in media criticism for fear of angering one side or the other lest you lose access because of it, you're a terrible media critic. It's never been afraid to play right-wingGod to decree who is and is not a true conservative -- that's what Heathering is all about, after all -- and there's no reason it should stop now, especially when it knows that Trump is an opportunist and not a genuine conservative (to judge from the Twitter feeds of MRC employees we've read who aren't buying his schtick).

The MRC is in a perfect position -- one it created -- to weigh in on Trump's fights with conservative media. But it won't, apparenly choosing to hope that Trump simply goes away.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:45 PM EDT
Friday, September 11, 2015
Time for Prayer and Repentance (For Everyone But Joseph Farah)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah started the 9/11 National Day of Prayer and Repentance a couple years back, despite his own refusal to publicly repent for his own sins and those of the website he runs, WorldNetDaily.

Well, it's that time again, and WND is on it:

That America is turning away from God is evidenced by events that are documented: Millions of unborn children have been killed in the womb through abortion, sexual immorality has been legitimized by the U.S. Supreme Court and materialism has taken over the culture – just look around.

Which makes now a perfect time for Americans to confess their sins as a nation and repent of their wicked ways. They will have a chance to do so Friday during the annual 9/11 National Day of Prayer and Repentance.

WND Founder and CEO Joseph Farah first issued the call for such a day on September 11, 2013. He was quickly joined by such figures as Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, former Rep. Michele Bachmann, Greg Laurie and Chuck Norris, and the movement is surging.


Interested people may also join Joseph and Elizabeth Farah, David and Jason Benham, Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, Dr. Richard Land and others in three national repentance conference calls, which will begin at 12:15 p.m., 1:15 p.m., and 3:15 p.m. Eastern time. Members of the public are asked to call 712-432-0075, then dial passcode 1412452#.

During these conference calls, various leaders will share the need to repent, and then all will have a chance to repent and pray for God’s mercy on America.

So today's "National Day of Prayer and Repentance" is now just a conference call? That's quite a comedown.

The article goes on to tout "numerous Christian and Jewish leaders" promoting the day, but many of them -- Jonathan Cahn, Carl "PPSIMMONS" Gallups, the Benham brothers -- have relationships with WND.

Another interesting thing about that article: While it touts Farah's role in creating the apparently dwindling event, nowhere does it affirmatively claim that Farah himself will be engaged in any act of repentance.

Goodness knows it's not for a lack of things to repent. In the past year alone, Farah and WND have spread lies, (thus violating the Eighth Commandment) Farah promoted a political super PAC that was effectively a scam, and WND has engangered people's lives by discouraging vaccination and seemingly inspired a racist mass murderer. Not to mention the numerous other ways that Farah and his website regularly fail to live up to the far-right Christian values they seek to impose on others.

So how about it, Mr. Farah? Will you actually publicly repent for your sins, or will you stay silent as you always have about your sinful nature?

Posted by Terry K. at 8:39 AM EDT
Thursday, September 10, 2015
WND Hides Key Fact About Its 'VIP' Interviewee
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Myra Adams slobbers over Roger Stone in a Sept. 7 WorldNetDaily "VIP Q&A" interview, which notes his "long and influential career" as a "seasoned political operative and pundit" who has written "numerous best-selling books." The point of the interview was to shill for Stone's upcoming anti-Clinton book that puports to tell the "appalling truth" about them but appears to merely rehash decades-old far-right speculation about Bill Clinton's "African-American son" and "Chelsea Clinton's real father."

Curiously, Adams fails to touch upon one significant aspect of Stone's life: he's what WND might call a sexual degenerate.

As a 2008 New Yorker profile of Stone details, he's a swinger. Stone had to resign from Bob Dole's 1996 presidential campaign after news of his swinging -- he and his wife had advertised on a swinger website -- got out. For the New Yorker interview, Stone took interviewer Jeffrey Toobin to a swinger club: "At first glance, though, the scene inside looks like a nineteen-eighties disco, with a bar, Madonna at high volume, flashing lights, a stripper’s pole, and a dancer’s cage. But a flat-screen television on the wall plays porn videos, and many clubgoers disappear into locker rooms and emerge wearing towels. From there, some of them go into a lounge, a Jacuzzi room, or one of about half a dozen private rooms to have sex—with their dates or with new acquaintances."

Oh, and the above photo is of a topless Stone getting licked by a substantially topless model during a 2010 gay pride parade.

Given that WND never misses an opportunity to, for instance, highlight Houston Mayor Annise Parker's sexual orientation -- one recent article has "lesbian mayor" in both the headline and the lead paragraph -- it's strange that  WND would be silent about Stone's sexual preferences, especially since he has been so public about them. That's probably because Adams didn't feel up to having to explain the above photo -- wouldn't want the facts to get in the way of a book promo, after all.

It seems that WND hates the Clintons more than it hates gays and other sexual degenerates.

(Photo: Broward-Palm Beach New Times)

Posted by Terry K. at 8:48 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
WND Yet Again Whitewashes Operation Rescue's Links to Anti-Abortion Violence
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily, it seems, just can't stop doing the bidding of anti-abortion extremists, particularly when they're denying they're extremists. From an unbylined Sept. 5 WND article:

The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that has been linked in a federal courtroom to a domestic terror attack, now has added pro-life activists to its expanding list of targets, smearing the citizen journalists who are exposing Planned Parenthood’s sale of baby body parts as “extremists.”

In a post on its ominously titled blog “Hatewatch,” SPLC’s Mark Potok complained the group “behind the recent spate of undercover videos accusing Planned Parenthood of illegally selling ‘body parts from aborted fetuses’ is tightly linked to some of the country’s hardest-line anti-abortion extremists.”

Potok attacked the Center for Medical Progress, which produced the videos. But he also targeted Cheryl Sullenger and Troy Newman, leaders of the pro-life activist group Operation Rescue and the authors of “Abortion Free: Your Manual for Building a Pro-Life America One Community At a Time.”

Potok suggested Newman implicitly supports violence against abortion providers and highlights Sullenger’s conviction in 1988 for providing logistical support in a conspiracy to bomb an abortion clinic.

But Sullenger fired back, arguing the Southern Poverty Law Center was misrepresenting her record and Newman’s record as well as trying to change the subject away from Planned Parenthood’s misconduct.

“The information provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center is a gross distortion of our backgrounds. Troy has always rejected violence against abortion clinics and providers. As for my criminal conviction, it was a mistake I freely admit. I have worked very hard since then employing peaceful means within the law to expose abortion abuses and bring those responsible for them to justice,” she told WND.

Wow -- this may be the first time WND has reported that Sullenger tried to blow up an abortion clinic, and almost definitely the first time since WND published an anti-abortion activism book by Newman and Sullenger nearly a year ago.

But note that WND euphemictically called Sullenger's role in the bombing attempt nothing but "logistical support." In fact, according to the SPLC article she and WND are ostensibly attacking, "The indictment said that Sullenger provided gunpowder and other material for the bomb and gave a wig to the man who actually planted it."

Providing the actual explosive material for a terrorist operation seems like a lot more than mere "logistical support."And it seems that if Sullenger were truly remorseful about her actions, she'd be using much stronger language than a "mistake" to apologize for it.

Also notice that WND and Sullenger never say exactly what the SPLC wrote about Newman, which is this:

In 2003, Newman issued a press release attacking “judicial tyranny” in the prosecution of Paul Hill, who murdered an abortion doctor and his bodyguard in Florida, and arguing that Hill, who was executed the same day, should have been able to present a defense of “justifiable defensive action.”

WND and Sullenger fail to explain how that description is a "gross distortion." That's because it isn't -- you can read the press release here and judge for yourself.

Needless to say, WND and Sullenger are also silent about Operation Rescue's own link to a domestic terror attack -- the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller by  Scott Roeder, who had contacts with Operation Rescue in the years before the murder and had a note with Sullenger's phone number in his car the day he was arrested.

By contrast, nobody at the SPLC can claim any personal conversations with Floyd Corkins, the shooter at the Family Research Council headquarters who simply found the group listed on an SPLC website.

Sullenger should stop trying to spin and distort the truth and fully own her terrorist past. Likewise, Newman should understand he's on record too many times endorsing anti-abortion violence, implicitly or otherwise, to claim he's some kind of peaceful activist -- after all, he moved Operation Rescue to Wichita, Kansas, for the explicit purpose of targeting Tiller, and it can be argued that the anti-Tiller atmosphere Newman, Sullenger and Operation Rescue helped create since then emboldened Roeder to murder Tiller.

And WND should stop playing press agent and report facts without fear or favor. But we know that will never happen, don't we?

Posted by Terry K. at 4:31 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Kengor Pushes More Anti-Sanger Falsehoods

WorldNetDaily is not the only place where Paul Kengor is given free rein to spread his dishonest attacks on Margaret Sanger.

An Aug. 21 column by Kengor -- originally appearing at the Heritage Foundation's Daily Signal website -- repeats his cherry-picked, distorted version of Sanger's talk to a Ku Klux Klan women's group in 1926. As he did in recounting the talk at WorldNetDaily, Kengor omits the fact that Sanger called the talk "one of the weirdest experiences I had in lecturing" and -- contrary to Kengor's claim that her audience was uniformly "enthusiastic" -- Sanger wrote that she feared if she "uttered one word, such as abortion, outside the usual vocabulary of these women they would go off into hysteria." Sanger also omitted the fact that the thing that kept Sanger from making the last train to New York, as a result of conversations she had afer her speech, was a local curfew meaning that "everything" in the town "shut at nine o'click."

Further, the KKK was a pretty mainstream organization at the time Sanger spoke to it, embracing fundamentalism and patriotism in ways that resemble today's conservative movement. And as PolitiFact points out, the women's division of the KKK was not the KKK itself, and biographers note that Sanger was never a supporter of the KKK or even a racist. PolitiFact mentions a writer critical of the eugenics movement Sanger was involved in in the 1920s admits that Sanger was not virulently racist or anti-Semitic.

None of that makes Kengor's column, of course. He does, however, uncritically repeat the anti-Sanger attacks of a group of right-wing black pastors, including a quote about Sanger's Negro project that a Washington Post fact-checker points out "is frequently taken out of context to suggest Sanger was seeking to exterminate blacks."

Kengor even asserts that the pastors "show that 70 percent of Planned Parenthood abortion clinics are located in minority neighborhoods" -- which we've documented is not only a false claim, it's not even what the pastors actually claimed (which was itself less than true).

Kengor is a professor of political science at Grove City College, but his research skills seem to be a level of a lazy, dishonest undergrad who cares more about pushing an agenda than telling the full truth.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:21 PM EDT
Monday, September 7, 2015
AIM's Kincaid Pretty Much The Only One Defending O'Keefe Now
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Project Veritas provocateur and convicted criminal James O'Keefe unveiled his latest trolling operation last week, which consisted of an O'Keefe operative serving as a moderating party between a Hillary Clinton campaign merch table operator and someone who claimed to be Canadian who wanted to buy a couple of Hillary T-shirts, then claiming this was a massive scandal of foreign contributions to Hillary's campaign.

This was so embarrassing, even many conservative outlets ignored the story, and the right-wing Daily Caller pretty much mocked it.

But not Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid. "The law says that foreigners are strictly prohibited from contributing to U.S. political campaigns, and O’Keefe had dramatic evidence of the campaign law violation. The video was played on a television screen for all to see," he thundered in a Sept. 1 column, which was curiously silent about the exact nature of what happened. He complained that media outlets mocked O'Keefe (not mentioning the right-wing outlets that also mocked and ignored O'Keefe), then thundered again:

But those distortions won’t suffice when the video evidence itself can be seen by millions, telling the real story that some in the media try to conceal. As Project Veritas emphasized, the video shows Molly Barker, the Director of Marketing for Hillary Clinton’s national campaign, knowingly breaking campaign finance law by accepting a straw donation from a foreign national.

Kincaid didn't mention that if Hillary's campaign broke the law, O'Keefe's organization did as well.  As the Daily Beast's Olivia Nuzzi pointed out, Project Veritas broke the law twice by invervening in the transaction between the campaign and the alleged Canadian (Project Veritas doesn't know the identity of the that person, let alone if the person is actually Canadian) and by having its operative make the transaction under a false name.

But the facts don't matter to Kincaid, who declared that "the great number of journalists who showed up was an indication that, when it comes to Hillary, nobody really knows how serious the law-breaking will get. O’Keefe suggested that more evidence against the campaign is yet to come."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:50 PM EDT
Sunday, September 6, 2015
A Short History of the MRC's Semi-Birtherism
Topic: Media Research Center

Bryan Ballas complains in a Sept. 2 NewsBusters post that the Washington Post did an article on right-wing pastor Rafael Cruz's assertion that his son, Sen. Ted Cruz, is eligible to run for president, blaming the author for bringing up "a long settled birther issue" (never mind that it was Rafael Cruz who brought it up and that the Post is merely reporting what he said). Ballas further complained that the Post article noted that "Rafael Cruz himself has made birtheresque jabs at President Obama," adding, "One can only hope this was a filler piece and not the first sign of a long pattern of birther mud slinging."

So the Media Research Center has now decided that birther conspiracy theories are "mud slinging"? That's interestiing, because the MRC never really took that aggressive of a stance regarding birtherism as applied to Obama. While the MRC didn't exactly further Obama birtherism, it also did little to counter it.

Let's take a look back at how the MRC handled Obama birtherism, which mixes semi-denouncements with semi-endorsements:

  • A 2009 post by Clay Waters grumbled that the New York Times "questioned those questioning Obama's birth certificate, his citizenship, and his resulting eligibility for the presidency" while purportedly showing "far more respect to a conspiracy theory many times more incendiary and implausible: That the 9-11 attacks were an inside job, that the controlled demolition of the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon were engineered by President Bush."
  • Another 2009 post by Waters complained that the Times columnist Frank Rich "smeared the Birthers as racist with no evidence." Waters added: "Conspiratorial and wrong? Fair enough. But there's nothing necessarily racist about believing Obama was born in Kenya instead of Hawaii." It was not until 2011 that Waters finally admitted that birtherism is "discredited," and even then Waters was still trying to equivocate by bringing up 9-11 truthers, which no serious Democratic presidential candidate, actual or potential, has ever brought up, unlike with Republicans and birthers.
  • Noel Sheppard took offense in 2009 when someone called Lou Dobbs, then with CNN, an "immigrant-hating, birther-supporting zealot," refusing to admit that birtherism was extreme: "It sure is fascinating watching all manner of media member attack anyone that has the nerve to question the new President, isn't it?"
  • Sheppard took a somewhat different view in a 2011 post complaining that MSNBC "cherry-picked something Mike Huckabee said on Steve Malzberg's radio show in order to depict the possible Republican presidential candidate as a birther" -- but then said it was "relevant" to question why Obama had purportedly refused to release his personal records, which includes his longform birth cert ificate (which hadn't yet been released at the time of this post). Shappard also uncritically repeated Huckabee's assertion that he "disavows birthers" on the first page of his book "A Simple Government." In fact, Huckabee did no such thing; all Huckabee does on the first page is acknowledge that critics claim Obama is "lying about his citizenship" and adds that his book won't be about that because "I don't like to make politics personal."
  • Also in 2011, Mark Finkelstein took exception to columnist Charles Blow's claim that Donald Trump should not be allowed to spout his birther views on TV because "we know that this is not true": "Consider Blow's curious suggestion that the MSM collectively knows various things to be true, and should ban those who disagree.  What else does the MSM 'know is not true'?  Who else should it collectively ban from TV?"
  • In a May 2011 post, it was MRC director of media analysis Tim Graham who was rushing to the defense of the allegation that birthers were racists, asserting that the allegation was "unproven."
  • When its benign birtherism/non-birtherism didn't wash, the MRC also took the interesting position of blaming birtherism on the media -- the "liberal" media, of course, not right-wing outlets like WorldNetDaily who actively promoted birtherism. A 2009 post by Jeff Poor cheered on Rep. Michele Bachmann's assertion that "the left" is pushing birther questions (and her utter lie that "You don't hear people on the right bringing this issue up") under the headline "Bachmann Makes It Clear Who Is Driving the 'Birther' Train: The Media." (WND highlights Bachmann on its "big list of eligibility 'proofers'," which shows that WND considered her an ally to its birther cause.)
  • In a 2012 post, Scott Whitlock calls birther claims "untrue" and notes that CNN's Jake Tapper has pointed this out -- but he's mad that Tapper pointed out that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigned with Trump without denouncing those "untrue" claims. Later on in the presidential campaign, Brent Baker whined that news outlets "pounced on Romney for daring to make a birth certificate joke." Baker didn't offer his view on the leigitimacy of birtherism.
  • Jeffrey Meyer used a 2012 post to complain that MSNBC's Chris Matthews "decided to hurl a ridiculous question about birtherism" to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, calling it "an issue that numerous Republicans have disavowed since the beginning."
  • Sheppard took extreme offense to MSNBC's Joan Walsh pointing out that the right-wing Breitbart website had sunk "lower than Andrew Breitbart" by advancing birther claims: "Does Walsh have absolutely no shame or respect for the dead? Is nothing sacred when it comes to getting Barack Obama reelected?" Apparently, birtherism was OK with Sheppard as long as one didn't invoke a dead person's name in criticizing it.
  • Matt Vespa complained in 2013 that "Birtherism isn't all that bad to the liberal media when a rising conservative star may be the target." He then bizarrely blamed birtherism on the media: "If only the press suspended their affection for the 44th president, and wrote these articles affirming Obama’s eligibility – and he is eligible – then perhaps we would’ve been spared the idiocy of Orly Taitz, Joesph Farah, and others, who gave some in the media to label the conservative movement as racist."

Vespa is being dishonest by suggesting that non-conservative media ignored the birther issue: was pointing out that Obama's birth certificate was genuine as far back as August 2008, and the Associated Press reported in November 2008 that the state of Hawaii confirmed that Obama was born there.

If only the MRC had suspended its hatred for the 44th president and wrote articles affirming Obama's eligibility, it would be more likely that the "idiocy" of Taitz, Farah, et al, could have been kept from tarring the right-wing media. But it did not -- after all, letting the accusation hang so that the president was damaged by it was more important than building the credibility of right-wing media.

That strategy has come back to haunt right-wing media as a whole and the MRC in particular. Because the sections of right-wing media that fancy themselves more "respectable," like the MRC (not to mention Fox News, which was also a promoter of birther claims), wouldn't aggressively shoot down the birther conspiracies, birtherism has remained an issue. The MRC's silence back then means it has little basis to complain now.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:11 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 6, 2015 8:16 PM EDT
Saturday, September 5, 2015
CNS Unemployment Numbers Distortion Watch
Topic: has apparently given up on the multi-article attack in promoting bad news and burying or censoring good news about unemployment rates.

As it did last month, CNS' coverage of the latest unemployment numbers is a single article by Susan Jones that spends several paragraphs obsessing over labor participation rates and buying the actual news -- that 173,000 jobs were added and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.1. percent -- to a bullet item at the end of the article.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:23 PM EDT
Friday, September 4, 2015
CNS Editor Endorses Violating The Rule Of Law

Terry Jeffrey's Sept. 2 column carries a headline in the form of an extremely dumb question? "Can a Christian Be a County Clerk in America?"

To any reasonable person, the answer to that is an unqualified yes -- in fact, we can probably take it as a given that the vast majority of county clerks in America are Christian.

But the actual issue here is whether a self-proclaimed Christian in public office has the right to deny public services based on her personal religious beliefs. And Jeffrey has apparently decided that only a Christian who denies the existence of gay rights, or gays period, is the only true Christian, and everyone else is not a real Christian at all.

Which, of course, means that Jeffrey is defending Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk Kim Davis for denying a marriage license for a same-sex marriage, even though it is legal across the country.Jeffrey presents Davis as "a devout Christian, with a moral problem," making sure not to mention the fact that she has been married four times. (Davis' lawyers claim her past doesn't matter.)

Jeffrey whines: "The crusade against Davis aims to establish that if you are a Christian, who believes in Christ's teachings on marriage and will not act against them, you are no longer qualified to serve as a county clerk in the United States."

Jeffrey ignores the fact that Davis' personal preferences are denying the civil rights of others, not to mention violating the rule of law -- something that conservatives normally oppose. Indeed, anti-gay conservatives like Jeffrey have not been rushing to defend Davis:

  • Anti-gay activist Maggie Gallagher states, “There is no way to maintain the rule of law if public officials can ignore direct court orders.”
  • Ryan Anderson, who just wrote a book on "the future of marriage and religious liberty," admits: "The citizens of Rowan County have a right to receive in a timely and efficient manner the various government provisions—including licenses—to which they are entitled. ... Saying your religion requires your entire office to stop issuing marriage licenses to everyone, while perhaps a sincere belief, cannot be reasonably accommodated without placing undue hardships on the citizens unable to receive their licenses in their county and forced to drive to another."

Jeffrey also has a rigidly dogmatic view of Christianity, one that many other Christian denominations do not share. Most Christian denominations do not teach their believers to deny gays civil rights that have been granted by the state. nor do they demand that parishoners who hold public office use that office to enforce church policy.

Thus, Jeffrey's defense of Davis breaks down because it's extremely situational. It doesn't apply to anyone who doesn't share his personal beliefs -- that is, anyone not as rigidly dogmatic, Christian, or anti-gay as he and Davis are. We suspect that a person in public office who was not a dogmatic Christian -- say, a Muslim -- who was using the office to forward his religious views would get quite a different reaction from Jeffrey.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:45 AM EDT
Thursday, September 3, 2015
The ConWeb's 'Porn Addiction' Defense for Josh Duggar
Topic: The ConWeb

The ConWeb is seeking to absolve Josh Duggar of responsibility for his actions -- which include molesting his sisters and having an account at the affair-facilitating Ashley Madison website -- by promoting the right-wing idea that pornography is addictive, which is what Duggar himself blamed his behavior on (until he didn't).

In an Aug. 29 WorldNetDaily article, Greg Corombos interviews professional gay-basher Matt Barber, who gets space to blame Duggar's woes on porn, declaring it "a gateway drug that leads people to act on their fantasies." and insisting that the mere act of viewing pornography is adultery.

Because Barber is also an Obama-basher, he drags politics into the issue, lamenting that "The problem in this Obama administration is there is no one at the Department of Justice who has any interest in going after obscene material and going after these pornographers and so forth."

Meanwhile, an Aug. 27 article by Penny Starr claimed that "Addiction to pornography affects millions of men and women in the United States, and many of those people identify themselves as Christians, according to a 2014 survey produced by a Christian organization dedicated to fighting pornography and sexual addiction." But the survey never defines, medical-wise or otherwise, what it means by "addiction" (other than a question to respondents if they thought they were addicted to pornography "based on your understanding of an 'addiction'") and seems to suggest that its definition of an "addict" is someone who views pornography as infrequently as once a month.

Starr's article doesn't mention Duggar, but it's clear that the article was written in response to Duggar's situation, to which CNS has devoted no original coverage.

Meanwhile, actual experts in the field generally dismiss the idea that pornography can be an "addiction," at least as we understand how addictions work. The Huffington Post reports:

A large study from neuroscientists at UCLA found that when people are shown erotic images, the brain's normal addiction reactions are reversed.

In the brain, porn "addiction" looks the opposite of addictions like cocaine, smoking cigarettes and gambling -- and therefore should be treated with different therapies.

Typically, addicts show increased brain reactions to the object of addiction. However, the new findings, which were published this week in the journal Biological Psychology, showed that people who struggled with excessive pornography consumption had decreased brain reactions when viewing porn.


So if porn functions differently from other addictions, as the findings suggest, it would be logical for them to be treated differently.

"Some people clearly struggle to regulate their porn viewing habits, but it is important to know why," Dr. Nicole Prause, a neuroscientist at the university and the study's lead author, told The Huffington Post in an email. "Calling it an 'addiction' may be harming patients, so we should require healthcare workers to provide treatments supported by research."

What, actual research on the subject? The ConWeb won't cotton to that.

But articles avoid the idea that Duggar may not actually be "addicted" to porn after all, despite what he sorta claims. As Bill Maher suggested, maybe he's "just horny" and isn't "cut out to be married."

The ConWeb won't buy that either -- not as long as it needs to get prominent Christians off the hook for their sex-fueled behavior  by blaming it on a mythical "addiction."

Posted by Terry K. at 3:24 PM EDT

Newer | Latest | Older

Bookmark and Share

Get the WorldNetDaily Lies sticker!

Find more neat stuff at the ConWebWatch store!

Buy through this Amazon link and support ConWebWatch!

Support This Site

« September 2015 »
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30

Bloggers' Rights at EFF
Support Bloggers' Rights!

News Media Blog Network

Add to Google