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Monday, January 25, 2016
The ConWeb Censors How Badly Benghazi Movie Tanked
Topic: The ConWeb

We've detailed how the ConWeb plugged the heck out the new film "13 Hours," about the attack on Benghazi, and praised it for functioning as "rightwing propaganda." But the ConWeb won't tell you one key thing about it: how well it did at the box office.

That's because it didn't.

In its opening weekend, "13 Hours" -- which cost $50 million to make -- made just $19.2 million, despite having the action-film credentials of Michael Bay behind it and despite a wide opening on more than 2,300 screens. This past weekend, the film took in just $9 million. That does not bode well for the prospects of making back its production costs.

Forbes thinks that one reason the film is tanking is that it's "trapped by its inherently political origins" and how the film was marketed to conservatives and the right-wing media outlets who praised it as a way to torpedo Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Remember the headline of Drew Zahn's WorldNetDaily review of the film was "How can Hillary possibly win after this?" Forbes adds: "In short, the film arguably wouldn’t have existed save for the controversies surrounding the 2012 terrorist attack, but it was the existence of said controversies that prevented the film from crossing over beyond the would-be converted."

You won't read any bad news about "13 Hours" in the ConWeb, however. WND, Accuracy in Media and NewsBusters have all censored news of the film's tanking. published the usual Associated Press stories on weekend box office takes, one of which noted that the film "failed to make a large impact." But they were never given a link on the CNS front page, which means they may as well not have been published at all given how unlikely the typical CNS reader is to read anything on the site that didn't appear on the front page.

The film's flop hasn't stopped the ConWeb from promoting it, however. The Media Research Center's Tim Graham whined in a Jan. 18 NewsBusters post about how a Washington Post film reviewer told the truth about the film's political agenda. Even though that post was written after the opening weekend numbers came out, Graham made sure not to mention that his beloved film tanked.

That's ironic, because the MRC has a history of mocking paltry box office takes when they involve films they don't like.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:37 PM EST
Updated: Monday, January 25, 2016 7:43 PM EST
WND Tries To Revive Clinton Body Count, Pretend It's Not Discredited
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As we've noted, a key component of WorldNetDaily's plans to cover Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign is to relive its '90s coverage of (Bill) Clinton scandals, however false and misguided that original reporting was.

A Jan. 17 WND article by Chelsea Schilling goes on a deep dive into one of these pseudo-scandals, claiming that "Women in Clinton’s past were targeted by the IRS and reportedly found themselves on death lists":

As WND reported back in 1999, during Linda Tripp’s two-day deposition with attorneys from Judicial Watch on Filegate issues, she mentioned a “list” that was given to her mysteriously.

While she believed the list was left at her workstation in the White House counsel’s office by her former friend Monica Lewinsky, the list originated with former WND investigative reporter David Bresnahan.

Known around the Internet as “the Body Count,” the list was a collection of names of people associated with Clinton administration scandals who died mysterious and often violent deaths. Bresnahan broke the story of the list during the summer of 1997 while researching his book, “Cover Up: The Art and Science of Political Deception.”

“I started looking into all the various deaths of people that were involved in various Clinton scandals,” Bresnahan said in 1999. “I started to investigate the entire picture instead of just one focused event.”

clintonsBresnahan’s list was the same list given to Tripp, as well as the head of the FBI and Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr to name a few.

“It was common discussion on radio talk shows,” Bresnahan said. “Every student of the Clinton scandals would run into the list.”

The list spread on the Internet and received extensive coverage on talk radio.

Bresnahan was able to construct such a lengthy list because he investigated all of the scandals surrounding Clinton.

“Nobody out there was putting it all together,” he said. “If you look at one scandal, you’ll find one dead guy. When you investigate all Clinton scandals, you find similarities, you find common tactics, you find common actions and you find dead people.”

Schilling makes sure to ignore the fact that Bresnahan's "Clinton body count" has been utterly discredited. As Snopes points out, the goal of the list was to play word games by portraying the deaths as somehow directly implicating a Clinton in causing it -- which there is no evidence: "The longer the list, the more impressive it looks and the less likely anyone is to challenge it. By the time readers get to the bottom of the list, they'll be too weary to wonder what could possibly be relevant about the death of people such as Bill Clinton's mother's chiropractor."

As Snopes, explains, "Any unexplained death can automatically be attributed to President Clinton by inventing a connection between him and the victim." For instance, one person on the list, former White House intern Mary Mahoney, was killed during the 1997 robbery of a Starbucks where she worked, along with two co-workers.Deaths by natural causes have also been thrown onto the list. Sn opes concludes:

One final question to ask yourself before falling for any Clinton Body Count list: If the Chief Executive was having people bumped off left, right, and center, why aren't Monica Lewinsky and Linda Tripp on this list? At the time of Mary Mahoney's death — a death this list hints was ordered by Clinton — neither Tripp nor Lewinsky were the high-profile household names they now are; they were complete unknowns. It would be another six months before information about them would explode into the news. If the President were in the habit of having those dangerous to his presidency put in the ground, why didn't he order these deaths? 

But then, Schilling's job isn't to do actual reporting (something at which she fails miserably); her job is to write what WND wants told and not to dig too deep into it. That's how she stays employed at WND.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:27 AM EST
Sunday, January 24, 2016
MRC's Bozell Leads Conservative Heathering of Trump
Topic: Media Research Center

National Review's issue dedicated to denouncing Donald Trump is, in effect, a mass Heathering. And who should be in the middle of that but a guy who runs an organization dedicated to Heathering anyone who deviates in the slightest from right-wing orthodoxy, Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center.

Indeed, Bozell's anti-Trump rant in National Review shuns Trump because he doesn't "walk with us":

A real conservative walks with us. Ronald Reagan read National Review and Human Events for intellectual sustenance; spoke annually to the Conservative Political Action Conference, Young Americans for Freedom, and other organizations to rally the troops; supported Barry Goldwater when the GOP mainstream turned its back on him; raised money for countless conservative groups; wrote hundreds of op-eds; and delivered even more speeches, everywhere championing our cause. Until he decided to run for the GOP nomination a few months ago, Trump had done none of these things, perhaps because he was too distracted publicly raising money for liberals such as the Clintons; championing Planned Parenthood, tax increases, and single-payer health coverage; and demonstrating his allegiance to the Democratic party.

We conservatives should support the one candidate who walks with us.

That's some textbook Heathering right there. It's only in the bio blurb that it's noted Bozell has endorsed Ted Cruz, who is apparently "the one candidate who walks with us" to which Bozell was referring.

This effectively marks the MRC's shift from quietly hands-off on Trump to actively opposing him. We've documented how the MRC refused to follow up on Trump's accusation of media bias against him in the Fox News-hosted debate, but w as much more amenable to echoing Ted Cruz's bias accusations.

Now that Bozell has gone public with his anti-Trump Heathering, the MRC itself is becoming more anti-Trump. A Jan. 24 post by Curtis Houck highlights now National Review editor Rich Lowry "blasted Republican strategist Alex Castellanos for coming out as someone who’d accept Trump as the GOP nominee after his attempts to seek alternatives (i.e. a moderate, establishment candidate) failed and 'your donors wouldn't go with you.'" While Houck noted National Review's anti-Trump issue, he failed to disclose that his boss contributed to it.

A Jan. 23 NewsBusters post by Tom Johnson highlights "left-leaning pundits commenting Friday on National Review’s anti-Donald Trump editorial and symposium" pointing out that conservatives helped create the rise of Trump, but he also failed to disclose that the publisher of NewsBusters was a key player in that "symposium."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:09 PM EST
Ex-Newsmax Reporter Kessler Is Still A Trump Sycophant
Topic: Newsmax

We documented how Ronald Kessler, then with Newsmax, was an enthustiastic promoter of Donald Trump's presidential ambitions during the 2012 presidential campaign -- while failing to disclose he was a good friend (or at least a sycophantic hanger-on) of Trump, having slobbered all over the guy in a 1999 book he wrote on Palm Beach's social scene.

Now Trump is actually running for president, and Kessler remains a loyal sycophant.

The headline of a piece Kessler wrote for the gossipy British tabloid the Daily Mail -- "Truffle and ricotta ravioli, surf & turf, Trump's own bubbly and Secret Service agents struggling to open bejeweled clutch purses to search for weapons: My New Year's Eve dinner (and other good times) with Donald Trump" -- is as overstuffed as the article itself, dripping with praise for Trump as he lovingly documents the "black-tie New Year's Eve party, which my wife Pamela Kessler and I attended at Mar-a-Lago, his club and Florida home in Palm Beach":

First came hors d'oeuvres and champagne on the terrace overlooking the pool, always heated to 78 degrees, like the second pool right on the ocean.

Cocktail shrimp, stone crab claws, cold lobster, oysters on the half shell, sushi, and caviar dished onto blini were among the offerings.

After that, the guests swanned over to the ballroom for dinner and dancing. No one would be hungry for dinner, which included truffle and ricotta ravioli and filet mignon and scallops. The bubbly: from Trump's own Charlottesville, Virginia vineyard.

If Donald had wanted to invite them, he could have attracted some of the biggest celebrities in the country to the bash. But the guests were club members and old friends.

Donald's family, including nine-year-old Barron, sat with him watching the rocking event band, Party on the Moon. 

Kessler went on tell how "Like a proud maitre d', Donald went around greeting guests and posing for photos with his stunning wife Melania," repeat unsubstantiated allegations about Hillary Clinton's relationship with the Secret Service, quotes Trump emplpoyees about how awesome he is, then took a potshot at President Obama before fawning over Trump one more time:

In his book 'Dreams From My Father', Barack Obama admitted that as a community organizer, he got some asbestos removed from some pipes in one Chicago housing project but accomplished little else.

In contrast, Trump has amassed a fortune of $10 billion and employs 34,500 people. He didn't do that by being an idiot, a nut, or a bigot, some of the kinder terms that have been used to describe him.

Trump is running for president because he believes deeply in America. He symbolized that when he engaged in a protracted dispute with the town of Palm Beach over the American flag he erected on the front lawn of Mar-a-Lago on South Ocean Boulevard. 

That's the kind of writing that ensures Kessler and his wife keep getting invited to Mar-a-Lago. Appropriate, since Kessler gave up being a serious reporter years ago.

(Photo: Ronald and Pamela Kessler with Trump, from the Daily Mail article.)

Posted by Terry K. at 5:49 PM EST
Saturday, January 23, 2016
WND's Favorite Obama-Hating, Projecting Mind-Reader Is Back
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Andrew Hodges is a self-proclaimed forensic profiler who purports to uncover "secret" confessions in President Obama's words through pseudo-scientific methods -- though it seems more accurate to observe that Hodges is just an opportunist who's projecting his own hate onto the president and try to make a little sweet right-wing coin in the process. Indeed, WorldNetDaily loves him and sells his Obama-bashing book.

Now, Hodges is back with more made-up revelations about Obama he purports to have gleaned from, well, who knows where. And WND is on it.

In a November article, Bob Unruh dutifully transcribed Hodges' displaced Obama-hate:

President Obama is revealing, through his Iran deal, a “destructive rage beyond belief” that should be alarming to the world because of its implication for the balance of nuclear-weapons power, according to a forensic profiler whose work includes the double-murder case against O.J. Simpson and the Natalie Holloway disappearance.

Andrew G. Hodges, M.D., a board-certified psychiatrist in private practice, in a response to WND, cited Obama’s recent description of himself as an “uncaged bear” and his statement there’s “no telling what I might do.”

“He warns us he’s slipping mentally – his judgment impaired,” Hodges said.


Hodges explains Obama uses “three basic psycholinguistic maneuvers, all unconscious: denial, projection and use of key images which reflect his true intent.”

“Secretly his words tell us about his true psyche deep down.”

He cites a 2014 speech by Obama in which “he secretly confessed to hidden attacks on America driven by a deep inner madness.”

“Not a clinical madness but a ‘near madness’ – the disturbance of a secretly angry traumatized leader,” Hodges said.

Well, Hodges does know all about projection, doesn't he?

But wait, Hodges is not done projecting. Unruh does some more transcribing in a Jan. 10 article:

President Obama, despite his promises the U.S. “will not relent in the ISIS campaign” and his assurance that the world would not accept extremists’ attacks, such as that in Paris, actually is saying he is doing nothing of real consequence, “In fact, accepting the ISIS attacks as normal.”

“Indeed, he has constructed a new normal by failing to protect America, a stance which he has totally rationalized. In fact, he remains totally submissive to ISIS.”

The new comments come from Andrew G. Hodges, M.D., a board-certified psychiatrist in private practice, in an email conversation with WND.


Hodges conclusion?

“We have an exceptionally weak president who is actually destructive in his passivity. He’s misguided and secretly terrified. These traits lie behind the smooth bluster of his powerless words. No one but Obama believes ISIS is the ‘JV.’ Again you can see Obama’s confession hidden in this key projection. Obama, not ISIS, is the true ‘JV’ – a pretend president who’s in way over his head when it comes to protecting America.”

Does the fact that Hodges keeps bring up projection mean he's secretly admitting he doesn't know what he's talking about and is just projecting his own Obama-hate and created this imaginary world of "thoughtprint decoding" to make up for his own career and personal inadequacies? Makes at least as much sense as anything Hodges claims.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:49 AM EST
Friday, January 22, 2016
CNS Still Ignoring Its Own Reporting On Syrian Refugees
Topic:'s Patrick Goodenough has cranked out another body-count-esque article on Syrian refugees admitted into the U.S.:

The United States has approved the settlement of 483 Syrian refugees since the Paris terror attacks last November heightened concerns about potential security risks in the refugee admission program – and only one of them (0.2 percent) is a Christian.

One-quarter of the 483 Syrian refugees admitted into the United States since Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) terrorists attacked the French capital on November 13--125 of them--are men between the ages of 14 and 50.

The sole Christian among the 483 is identified in State Department Refugee Processing Center data as an adherent of the Greek Orthodox Church.

As he has previously, Goodenough ignores his own reporting and that of his fellow CNS reporters on why so few Christians have been admitted: the U.S. statistics are based on numbers from the United Nations, and Christian refugees tend to go through other agencies.Also, some Christians are not fleeing Syria because they feel safer under Bashar al-Assad.

Goodenough also waits until the final paragraph of his 19-paragraph to admit  one other inconvenient fact: the Muslims are facing religious persecution as well, since ISIS is targeting them.

But in Goodenough's right-wing world, Muslims aren't real people and don't suffer real persecution, while Christians must always be put first.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:49 PM EST
After Ignoring Cruz For Months, WND's Corsi Pretends To Be A Reasonable Birther
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Earlier this week, WorldNetDaily's Jerome Corsi did an interview with Alan Colmes on his webcast (WND's headline oddly billed Colmes as a "Fox News star," even though he currently just does a radio show and the webcast, and he hasn't hosted a show on Fox News proper for years; then again, this is also the closest anyone from WND has gotten to Fox News proper in years, so it has to take what it can get). Corsi's still clinging to his Obama birther fantasies, suggesting that Obama's birth certificate is fake and that there was likely fraud involved in portraying him as a citizen.

Colmes then got to the key questions regarding Ted Cruz's eligibility, trying to pin down Corsi:

COLMES: So will you be going after Cruz the same way you went after Obama for not being born here--

CORSI: Well, I've already published this and made a point of it.


COLMES: You've been one of the most prominent writers about the Obama birth issue. Would you do the same if Ted Cruz is the nominee?

CORSI: I've already started.

COLMES: What are you doing?

CORSI: I wrote an article making the point I just made, that under Vattel standard --

COLMES: So you will go after Cruz -- you're no fan of the left, I know, but Cruz --

CORSI:  -- Cruz is not a natural born citizen. We're going to have to expand the standard to get Cruz and Rubio, because Rubio has a problem...

It's only a five-minute interview, so not much gets covered. But notice how Corsi weasels out of how he has ignored Cruz birther issues until now, citing how he just "wrote an article" on the subject. That, presumably, is the one where he tries to cover for Cruz by uncritically citing a congressional research report on the issue that he previously attacked because it made the case that Obama (and, by extension, Cruz) is eligible.

If Corsi is just now getting around to covering the Cruz birther issue, he's either pretty lazy or willfully blind. Certainly he's been aware of the issue for years; he could have been reporting on it for the months that Cruz has been a presidential candidate. We pointed out last year that Corsi ignored eligibility issues when Cruz announced his candidacy and seemed concerned only that Cruz's wife had links to the "globalist" Council on Foreign Relations.

But let's be clear: Corsi and WND like Cruz, and he didn't want to make his eligibility an issue for fear of hurting his campaign. It's only because Donald Trump has turned it into an issue that Corsi and WND have finally gotten around to covering it  -- and in a way that's completely opposite of their relentless birther attacks on Obama. Indeed, another Corsi article at WND complains that Trump is using the birther issue to drive Cruz off message.

More proof of this is in Corsi's Twitter feed. Even though, again, Cruz has been a presidential candidate for months, it's not until about Jan. 15 that he starts bothering to tweet about the birther issue, mainly to declare that "TRUMP WAS RIGHT" that it would come up and that (gadfly-ish) Democrats would file legal actions on the issue.

Corsi and WND never actually cared about the Constitution when applying birtherism to Obama; it was just another attempt to destroy him. They were determined to ignore Cruz birtherism until Trump made it an issue -- and effectively shamed them into covering it because it was all too noticeable that they were, in fact, not going to treat Cruz like they did Obama.

Corsi now has to pretend to care about the Constitution, calling for a definitive court ruling on what a "natural born citizen" is. Of course, if Corsi can't even accept that Obama's birth certificates are real, there's no point in him suddenly trying to look like a reasonable birther now.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:46 AM EST
Thursday, January 21, 2016
Somebody Said Something Less Than Nice About Mark Levin, And The MRC Is ON IT
Topic: Media Research Center

It's apparently part of the Media Research Center's business arrangement with Mark Levin that it defends him against anyone and everyone who voices any criticism of him, no matter how benign.

That would appear to explain this Jan. 18 NewsBusters post by Mark Finkelstein:

Mark Levin is American media's most knowledgeable, passionate proponent of constitutional conservatism. No wonder Chris Matthews hates him.

On his MSNBC show this evening, Matthews slurred Levin as "one of the most distasteful human beings out there." Matthews' attack came in the context of commenting on the defense that Levin and Rush Limbaugh have mounted against Donald Trump's claim that Ted Cruz is "nasty."

That, presumably, was immediately forwarded to Levin by the folks at the MRC. So we get a follow-up post by Tim Graham -- it apparently required a top MRC official to do this -- detailing Levin's (lengthy) response to Matthews, which includes the witty repostes "I find him to be a puke" and "This guy’s a nobody. He’s stuck on MSLSD his entire career."

So it seems "American media's most knowledgeable, passionate proponent of constitutional conservatism" has a bit of trouble handling criticism. Not that it's an obstacle to the the MRC's contractual love affair with him, of course.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:03 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, January 21, 2016 4:04 PM EST
WND Columnist Mocks Cruz Birthers, Gets The Constitution Wrong
Topic: WorldNetDaily

How non-seriously is WorldNetDaily taking the issue of Ted Cruz's eligibility? It published a column mocking Cruz birthers.

Matt Barber took a break from hating gays to do said mocking in his Jan. 15 WND column:

Stinkin’ Canadian. Dang feriner, conspirin’ to come over here and replace our delicious, crispy, all-American bacon with that floppy, communist, Canadian crap. And Budweiser? Like your Budweiser? Forget it. If he’s elected, it’s nothing but that skunky Molson swill for you, my friend. Football? Banned. It’s all sticks, pucks and missing teeth from here on out. A wall on the southern border? ISIS? TB-infected Mesicans and Central Americans? Ha! A mere diversion. Trump needs to build that wall up north to keep commie Canucks like Ted Cruz out of the White House.

He’s gaining on The Donald, you see. And so finally the question of his eligibility to serve as our 45th U.S. president is fair game. Oh, sure, Ted grew up in Houston, Texas. And, oh, sure, his mother, who happened to be over the border in Canada when Ted was born, is a U.S citizen, herself born in Wilmington, Delaware, which, oh, sure, automatically makes Ted a U.S. citizen from birth. But, hey! I, the guys down at the Elks Lodge with their pocket constitutions and whatnot, and Donald Trump, who, with his own political self-interests in mind has suddenly flip-flopped on the subject, all disagree. Ted Cruz is ineligible to serve as President of the United States based upon our extreme-minority take on the phrase, “Natural-born citizen.”

For that matter, and based upon our own arbitrary and narrow definition – I know, it’s not defined in the Constitution, but derpity derp derp anyway – some might suggest that, rather than being grandfathered in, and to be fair to future generations, eight of the first nine U.S. presidents should have been ineligible to serve as well. Since they were all born as British citizens in the British colonies, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, et al., should have been, one and all, constitutionally ineligible.

Sure, the world’s on fire and America is spiraling down the global toilet bowl of life, but before we start worrying about tertiary issues like “national security,” “the economy” or “illegal immigration,” I, The Donald and the boys down at the Elks Lodge want – nay, we demand! – that Ted Cruz be immediately arrested, tagged in the ear and bussed back to Calgary posthaste.

And then, let’s get about the business of impeaching (posthumously, of course. Whaddya think, we’re idiots?) James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson and the rest of them shifty immigrants already mentioned above, before we hold even one more debate.

Imagine WND running a column by one of its stable of right-wing columnists mocking Obama birthers between 2007 and 2014. Actually, you have to imagine it because it didn't happen. We don't recall Barber weighing in on the subject of eligibility before -- hating gays takes a lot of time, after all -- and he makes sure not to mention Obama in his column.

Oh, and Barber is completely wrong that the first nine presidents are ineligible to serve. The Constitution -- article 2, section 1 -- specifically grants presidential eligibility to those who "a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution," which covers "James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson and the rest of them shifty immigrants."

And since he asked: Yes, we do think Barber is an idiot.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:48 AM EST
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
MRC's Double Standard on Rock-Star Jailbait
Topic: Media Research Center

In their Jan. 15 column, Tim Graham and Brent Bozell complain that stories on the death of David Bowie "ignored new reports surfacing just in the last two months that Bowie deflowered a 15-year-old groupie named Lori Mattix (and then brought in her 15-year-old gal pal Sable Starr to make it a threesome)." They add that " it adds to the litany of famous male entertainers who've exploited underage girls with their celebrity, from Roman Polanski to Bill Cosby to Woody Allen."

Graham and Bozell conspicuously omit one name off that list: Ted Nugent. 

As Larry Womack details at the Huffington Post, Nugent has a historic predeliction for underage girls, which he celebrated in a song called "Jailbait," about having sex with a 13-year-old.

During a "Behind thte Music" documentary, Nugent bragged about bedding underage girls, suggesting that it was OK because he "got the stamp of approval from their parents." Nugent even made himself the legal guardian of one 17-year-old so he could a patina of legality to his relationship with her.

Ah, but Nugent is a conservative, not to mention a member of the board of the National Rifle Association. So he gets a pass on this from Graham and Bozell.

We presume Graham and Bozell will also give a pass to Nugent's death threat against President Obama.

(Image: Gawker)

Posted by Terry K. at 4:20 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, January 20, 2016 4:23 PM EST
WND Columnist Repeats False Internet Rumor About Cargo Ships
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It appears that vaccines and other medical issues aren't the only thing Jane Orient will peddle misinformation about.

Orient -- head of the right-wing Association of American Physicians and Surgeons -- writes in a Jan. 17 WorldNetDailiy column:

The economy, despite Obama’s State of the Union celebration, is as dead as the logs in Ollie’s fireplace. One map shows that there are no cargo ships crossing any of the earth’s oceans. They are all stuck in port.

That would be alarming if it was true. It's not, of course.

The mythbusters at Snopes detail that the claim originated from some previously unknown website known for publishing false stores, which ignored the fact that tracking system from which it drew its map covers only certain coastal areas, not the middle of the ocean. Other tracking systems show numerous cargo ships in the Atlantic.

Remember, WND editor Joseph Farah is weirdly proud of the fact that WND publishes misinformation, so Orient is simply being a good WND columnist.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:49 AM EST
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
ConWeb Praises The 'Rightwing Propaganda' Of '13 Hours'
Topic: The ConWeb

The ConWeb is so happy that the new Michael Bay film "13 Hours," about the attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, because it reinforces the right-wing -- read: anti-Obama and anti-Hillary -- narrative on Benghazi.

Dreew Zahn pretty much gives the game away in his Jan. 17 WorldNetDaily review of the film, proudly proclaiming it to be "rightwing propaganda" and insisting that the film "doesn’t mispresent what actually happened in Benghazi." The headline of the review gets even more to the point: "How can Hillary possibly win after this?" serves up a review of the film by former soldier -- and, more relevant, an employee of the right-wing Heritage Foundation --  proclaims how the film is "highlighting the Obama administration’s inaction that directly contributed to the loss of four Americans." Wood goes on to note that one of the Libyan terrorists who attacked the facility had been imprisoned at Guantanamo, adding: "Various reports cite a recidivism rate of those released from Guantanamo of nearly one-third, surely something to keep in mind as Obama seeks to close the detention facility before the end of his final year in office." In fact, actual confirmed recidivism is about 17 percent; Wood makes sure not to explicitly point out that the Libyan terrorist in question was released from Guantanamo under the Bush administration.

The Media Research Center, meanwhile, whined that anyone dared to criticize the film. Christian Toto asserted in a Jan. 16 NewsBusters post that the movie's being bashed because it depicts "depicting heroic military types risking their lives against people from a foreign country" and because "the men in the movie are men." Toto also makes sure to get his right-wing talking points in on the incident: "We’re mad because Hillary Clinton blamed the coordinated terrorist attack on a YouTube video to the families of the dead and the media rolled over rather than speak truth to power. We’re seething because some of those who died that day might still be alive if help could have reached them in time."

Toto doesn't mention that this central narrative has been challenged by one of the key figures involved in the actual incident. The Washington Post reports that the CIA chief in Benghazi at the time that there was no stand-down order, as the movie claims. This reinforces findings by a Republican-led House committed that came to the same conclusion.

Toto also takes care not to mention that as someone who as written for right-wing sites like Breitbart and the Washington Times -- his personal website describes how Andrew Breitbart is an inspiration to him -- he is the target audience for "13 Hours," to the point that the filmmakers are actively courting people like him.

The Hollywood Reporter describes how the film is being marketed to conservatives, buying commercial time on Fox News and courting right-wing radio hosts. It describing the Texas-sized premiere held for it:

Even the film’s Tuesday night premiere, held at AT&T Stadium (home of the Dallas Cowboys), seemed to be aimed at the right. Beyond Bay, star John Krasinski and other castmembers, there were performances by The Band Perry, a country act, and Madison Rising, a patriotic group whose rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" closes Dinesh D’Souza’s film America (which clearly targeted conservatives). About 32,000 people attended the premiere, and each was asked to donate $1 to a veteran’s charity with Paramount promising to match the total collected.

Guess who was at that premiere? Accuracy in Media.

AIM's Roger Aronoff devoted his Jan. 15 column to the flim, lovingly describing how "This week I had the great honor and opportunity to attend the world premiere screening of the new Michael Bay movie, '13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.'" It was quite the junket, too -- Aronoff points out that "I was there along with other members of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi." You remember, the right-wing kangaroo court AIM established a couple years back because it wanted some scalps and didn't care how they got them.

Aronoff didn't mention whether the list of commision guests included Wayne Simmons, the commission member who was scrubbed off the AIM website after it was alleged that hehad invented the 27-year CIA career he invoked to get government consultant jobs and get on AIM's little kangaroo court. He also doesn't mention who paid for the kangaroo court to fly from Washington, D.C., area to Dallas for that premiere -- that's no small expense for a shoestring organization like AIM.

Anyway, back to the slobbering. Aronoff pretends that the film doesn't have a political agenda, then praises it for serving right-wing purposes:

I personally thought the film was brilliant, powerful and emotional. It felt like you were watching this horrible nightmare unfold before your eyes. I strongly urge everyone to go see this film. You won’t wonder any more what all the fuss is about Benghazi. And I certainly hope that the members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi all see the film before issuing their final report.

Aronoff joined the rest of the ConWeb in avoiding any mention that the film's key event is disputed by one of its key participants. There's an agenda to advance, after all.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:47 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 19, 2016 2:48 PM EST
Birther Corsi Flip-Flops, Embraces Report On Eligibility He Once Attacked
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's foot-dragging on covering Ted Cruz birtherism is finally getting a little less foot-draggy. First WND editor Joseph Farah has had to address it; now birther extraordinaire Jerome Corsi has been foot-dragged into it -- and he's changing his birther tune.

In a Jan. 17 WND article, Corsi hits a couple of the old birther notes, referencing Vattel and sneering that Obama's birth certificate was "supposedly issued in 1961 by the Hawaii Department of Health." Apparently he's forgotten that the Cold Case Posse he was a part of learned that Hawaii has officially verified Obama's Hawaiian birth, even if state officials wouldn't let Corsi, Mike Zullo and the other amateur sleuths see the physical certificate.

Corsi also throws in this unusually even-handed passage:

On Nov. 14, 2011, the Congressional Research Service published a research report authored by legislative attorney Jack Maskell, titled “Qualifications for President and the ‘Natural Born’ Citizenship Eligibility Requirement.” The document was published as Obama was being pressed to make public his original long-form birth certificate, supposedly issued in 1961 by the Hawaii Department of Health as proof Obama was born in Hawaii.

The CRS document said the applicable standard for defining “natural born citizen” was the 1790 Naturalization Act.

The 1790 First Congress, which included 20 members who had been delegates to the original Constitutional Convention – eight of whom were members of the Committee of Eleven that drafted the “natural born Citizen” clause – passed the Naturalization Act of 1790 (1 Stat. 103, 104). It provided: “And the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond the sea or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens.”

If this meaning of “natural born” is considered with regard to Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution, there is no requirement that the person be born in the United States to be a “natural born Citizen,” as long as he or she is born to parents who are U.S. citizens.

The CRS argued that the applicable legal precedent for the 1790 Naturalization Act was not the political theory of natural law relied upon by Vattel, but English common law.

“Concerning the history of the constitutional provision, the clause’s apparent intent, the English common law expressly applicable in the American colonies and in all of the original states, the common use and meaning of the phrase ‘natural born’ subject in England and the American colonies in the 1700s, and the subsequent action of the first Congress in enacting the Naturalization Act of 1790 (expressly defining the term ‘natural born Citizen’ to include those born abroad to U.S. citizens), it appears that the most logical inferences would indicate that the phrase ‘natural born Citizen’ would mean a person who is entitled to U.S. citizenship ‘by birth’ or ‘at birth,’” Maskall wrote on page 3 of the CRS report.

“Such interpretation, as evidenced by over a century of American case law, would include as natural born citizens those born in the United States and subject to its jurisdiction regardless of the citizenship status of one’s parents, or those born abroad of one or more parents who are U.S. citizens (as recognized by statute), as opposed to a person who is not a citizen by birth and thus an ‘alien’ required to go through the legal process of naturalization to become a U.S. citizen,” Maskall continued.

Under this definition, all three – Obama, Cruz and Rubio – would be “natural born citizens” under the meaning of Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution. None of the three had to undergo a naturalization process to become U.S. citizens, but rather were considered U.S. citizens from the time of their birth.

But when the Maskell research report was first issued, Corsi was much less even-handed, accusing the writer (without evidence, of course) of shilling for Obama.

In a November 2011 WND article, Corsi huffed that the very same Maskell report he's now uncritically reciting "appears aimed at providing members of Congress with talking points to respond to constituents contending that Barack Obama is not a “natural born citizen” within the meaning of Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution." Corsi went on to grumble:

The end result of Maskell’s analysis is that an anchor baby born to two illegal immigrants, or a baby born in “birth tourism” to two foreign national parents and raised outside the United States would both be eligible to be president, provided the person was 35 years old and had spent 14 years as a resident living within the United States before running for president.

Maskell typically states as established fact legal principles that truthfully remain in dispute – for instance, on page 1 of the report, where he asserts that a person born “in” the United States of one or more alien parents is “clearly a U.S. citizen ‘at birth’ by the 14th Amendment.”

In so concluding, Maskell intentionally ignores the “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” qualification within the language of the 14th Amendment that opponents to anchor babies and birth tourism feel invalidates the entire concept that being born in the U.S. is sufficient to being deemed a “U.S. citizen at birth.”

Moreover, even if the 14th Amendment were to establish being born a native to the U.S. is sufficient to being deemed a “U.S. citizen at birth,” that does not make a “natural born citizen” equivalent to being a “U.S. citizen at birth.”


Similarly, Maskell wants to read English Common Law into the “natural born citizen” requirement of Article 2, Section 1, because under English Common Law a “natural born subject” is anyone born on English soil, a principle known as jus soli – a right conferred by place of birth – rather than jus sanguinis – a right conferred by blood, requiring an inquiry into the citizenship of the parents at the time a child is born.

That English Common Law is applicable to the interpretation of Article 2, Section 1, was advanced by the Supreme Court in dicta – i.e., arguments made by the justices that are not central to the decision in the case, hence arguments that are not considered determinative for the purposes of legal precedent – in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898).

While Maskell accepts the dicta in Wong Kim Ark because he agrees with the argument, he dismisses as dicta the only Supreme Court definition of “natural born citizen” that is on point regarding the meaning of Article 2, Section 1, namely, Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 21 Wall. 162 (1874), where the Supreme Court implied “natural born citizens” were those born on U.S. soil to parents who were U.S. citizens at the time the child was born.

Corsi repeats none of these attacks on the Maskell report in his new article, nor does he mention the  Minor v. Happersett case long clinged to by birthers like himself as the controlling precedent.

Corsi also writes in the 2011 article that amongh the "several obvious liabilities" Obama has regarding the "the natural-born-citizen question" is that "Obama’s father was a citizen of Kenya when Obama was born in 1961, hence both Barack Obama Sr. and his son at birth were citizens of the Commonwealth of Great Britain." That very same issue is a "liability" for Cruz as well, but Corsi does not describe it as such in his new article.

In 2010, Corsi further attacked previous research Maskell did on eligibility for a member of Congress because it included "copies of four articles from the Internet aimed at debunking and dismissing arguments questioning Obama’s eligibility" and not "published articles questioning Obama’s eligibility" (read: Corsi's birther conspiracy theories). Corsi actually interviewed Maskell for that article; Corsi noted that "he ended the call abruptly saying, 'I am getting contacted by irate people over this memo. It was meant as an advisory to a member of Congress. It was never meant to be released to the public'."

Corsi ended his 2011 article this way:

Unfortunately, rather than advance the eligibility debate with a truly scholarly analysis, Maskell produced for Congress what amounts to a footnoted polemic aimed at appearing scholarly to prop up Obama’s eligibility defense.

In the final analysis, Maskell’s purpose appears thinly disguised – namely, to advance the ongoing cover-up regarding Obama nativity facts and evidence by quashing with arguments couched in legalese the continuing concerns held by millions of Americans that Obama has truly not proved to the American public or any duly-constituted governmental institution that he is eligible to be president.

Corsi is much less harsh on Maskell now because his work supports the idea that Cruz is eligible to be president. The fact that Corsi has flip-flopped on the report is more evidence that his birther crusade was never about the Constitution and was completely about trying to destroy Obama.

Does Corsi have the guts to publicly admit this truth? Doubtful. We'd ask Corsi ourselves, but he's blocked us from following him on Twitter.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:07 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 19, 2016 12:16 AM EST
Monday, January 18, 2016
NEW ARTICLE: Anti-Abortion Damage Control, Redux
Topic: The ConWeb
Just as it did when an abortion doctor was murdered in 2009, the ConWeb rushes to spin away a fatal shooting spree inside a Planned Parenthood clinic. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:10 PM EST
WND's Farah Denies It's Promoting Cruz Birther Debate (While Still Promoting Obama Birtherism)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has been dragged kicking and screaming into the Cruz birther story. now, it's effectively being forced to take a stand.

Joseph Farah spends his Jan. 15 column ranting about a Daily Beast article linking WND to Cruz birtherism. Farah does have a point for once, despite his notoriously thin skin; the Daily Beast does falsely portray WND's perfunctory reporting on Cruz birtherism as support for it, ignoring that WND has adamantly refused to treat Cruz birther like it did Obama birtherism -- namely, admit that by its own standards Cruz is as ineligible to be president as it claims Obama is.

Then, Farah rants about how far he's running from Cruz birtherism -- and still perpetuates Obama birther lies:

No one at WND – not one single employee or executive – is supporting [Daily Beast reporter Gideon] Resnick’s elusive “cause” to declare Ted Cruz ineligible. In fact, I told him that in no uncertain terms. What I said to him was the following: I think Ted Cruz acted admirably in handling the potential for confusion on this matter – by releasing his birth certificate before announcing his candidacy, explaining the circumstances of his birth and citizenship status. It stood in marked contrast to what Barack Obama did beginning in 2008.

Obama, I explained, was the original birther. When it was convenient for him to label himself as “born in Kenya,” he did so – for many years. We know he did it when he was marketing his first book and for years afterward. We don’t know if he used it to be accepted to Occidental, Columbia or Harvard, because he refused to release any college records. He made a point of not releasing his birth certificate during the campaign or for years after he became president. It became a national joke. In effect, he mocked the constitutional requirement, even after his opponent in 2008, John McCain, was investigated for his own status as a “natural born citizen” because of his birth in Panama. McCain’s eligibility was investigated by the New York Times and eventually the U.S. Senate, which approved his eligibility, with Obama’s vote.

Farah's lying when he claims Obama didn't release his birth certificate while running for president; Obama released a certificate of live birth, which is what Hawaii routinely issued and which is legally binding, no matter how much WND has claimed otherwise. The issue became a "national joke" in part because of WND's obsession with it and refusal to publish any evidence that discredits its birther conspiracies.

Farah, it seems, just can't stop lying about how much of a (Obama) birther he is:

Finally, after 17 paragraphs, the Beastie boy typist informs his readers, if they got this far, that I actually like Ted Cruz, but not before he labels me a “purveyor of conspiracy theories about Obama’s birth in Kenya.” Again, to show you how egregious this insulting lie is, I began our conversation by telling Resnick that I was talking to him reluctantly because MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was still going off on her TV show accusing me of claiming Obama was born in Kenya. I explained that in the hundreds of thousands of words I had carefully written on this subject and in the hundreds of interviews and speeches I gave, never once did I say Obama was born in Kenya. I was attempting to make sure he wouldn’t step on this one land mine, but he did – obviously intentionally.

As we point out every time Farah tells this lie, Farah has at least twice promoted a discredited claim that Obama's grandmother said he was born in Kenya -- not to mention WND's embrace of a fake Obama "birth certificate" claiming he was born in Kenya.

Farah also takes offense to something else the Daily Beast suggests, that WND's publication and promotion of a new book by Rafael Cruz, Ted Cruz's father, is an expression of support for Cruz's candidacy; he huffs that "my motives are impugned." Given that Farah's refusal to apply Obama birtherism to Cruz birtherism is a clear indication that his motive in Obama birtherism was to destroy him instead of enforce the Constitution, there's good reason to question, and impugn, Farah's motives.

Finally, Farah's ranting about how unfair the Daily Beast article is -- although he does have a point -- is rather rich considering WND's own abysmal journalistic standards. What goes around comes around.

And throughout all of this, Farah refuses to admit the obvious: that by WND's own Obama birther standards, Cruz is not eligible, or that two years ago he declared that he didn't think Cruz was eligible. Talk about dishonest.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:52 AM EST
Updated: Monday, January 18, 2016 1:08 AM EST

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