WorldNetDaily's latest crusade is an unusual one: attacking an extreme right-wing radio host.
An Oct. 29 WND article reported on "anti-Semitic white supremacist" Hal Turner's statement that he "may have to" assassinate incumbent members of Congress who win re-election Nov. 7. Follow-up articles have noted a federal investigation into Turner's statement and Turner's response that he he was just kidding: "Since I don't actually plan to kill anyone, I didn't bother creating a list of any type."
This line of attack is unusual because typically, the only time WND goes after a right-winger is for not being right-wing enough. Heck, WND published Michael Savage's first two books, then defended Savage after he was canned from his MSNBC show for telling a caller to "get AIDS and die."
Turner, needless to say, is unhappy about the attention. On his website, he calls WND editor Joseph Farah a "filthy hypocrite," linking to our item noting that Farah condoned the killing of an adulterer. Turner concluded: "Hey Joe Farah: FUCK OFF, asshole!"
We're certainly not endorsing any of Turner's views; he's every bit as odious as WND depicts him as being, and then some. But given that Turner has been spouting these views for years -- in 1998, as a regular caller on Sean Hannity's radio show, Turner said that "if it weren't for the white man, blacks would still be swinging from the trees in Africa" -- we wonder what took WND so long to notice.
The latest polling for the Ohio governor's race shows Democrat Ted Strickland an amazing 36 points ahead of Republican Ken Blackwell, up from a 19-point lead a month earlier. The Columbus Dispatch notes that Blackwell recently "began airing positive commercials after other Republicans said his harsh criticism of Strickland was hurting the entire ticket."
That criticism, of course, centered on sex-related issues regarding Strickland -- his purported homosexuality, the hiring of a person who had once been convicted on indecency charges, a vote on a House bill condemning a sex-related study. As we've noted, all of these issues Blackwell raised were mirrored in a series of articles written by Jerome Corsi -- co-author of a book with Blackwell -- for WorldNetDaily.
Such overaggressive gay-baiting attacks, and the subsequent polling showing plummeting support for Blackwell, raise the question of whether Corsi ended up hurting his friend instead of helping him. He was over the top, at one point writing a column containing the phrase "lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender" or slight variants a whopping 22 times. That may also be why Corsi used his Nov. 3 column to praise Blackwell instead of bashing Strickland -- again, mirroring Blackwell's switch to more positive advertising.
It's two more days before the election, and two more days for Corsi to comment on it. Will Corsi go positive, or will he keep up his negative attacks on Strickland -- and risk hurting Blackwell's performance even further?
MRC: Haggard Was Anti-Global Warming, Not a Real Conservative Topic: Media Research Center
The ConWeb can't run away fast enough from evangelical Rev. Ted Haggard and his gay-sex-and-meth scandal. At the Media Research Center, they're questioning his conservative credentials.
On Nov. 3 and 4, the CNSNews.com front page resurrected a November 2005 column by conservative icon Paul Weyrich complaining that under Haggard's leadership, the National Association of Evangelicals had been on a "leftward drift" by supporting governmental action against global warming. Weyrich hoped that "NAE traditional values - rather than unproven science -- will win the day."
A Nov. 4 NewsBusters post by Amy Ridenour continued the theme:
In light of the recent scandlous allegations regarding evangelical leader Rev. Ted Haggard, many news outlets have been referring to Haggard as a "conservative." Only a small number are mentioning that Haggard also sees himself as a global warming activist -- and definitely not one of the "skeptic" variety.
So, you can't be a conservative and not want to do something about global warming?
Getting It Wrong: NY Times and Iraq Nukes Topic: Media Research Center
Media Research Center writers were eager to deliberately misinterpret a Nov. 3 New York Times article as claiming that Iraq was close to having a nuclear bomb at the time the Iraq war started in 2003:
-- Al Brown, in a NewsBusters post, excitedly claimed that "Saddam Hussein's regime was perhaps only a year away from developing nuclear weapons at the time of the US invasion," calling the Times article "a stunning November Surprise to the Democrats."
-- A Times Watch item by Clay Waters doesn't specifically assign the nuke claim to pre-2003 invasion but claims that it "suggests Bush was right to consider Saddam Hussein a threat," adding that "many [conservatives] think the Times has unwittingly proved Bush right on the matter of the threat dictator Saddam Hussein posed to the world."
Here's the graf in question from the Times article:
Among the dozens of documents in English were Iraqi reports written in the 1990s and in 2002 for United Nations inspectors in charge of making sure Iraq had abandoned its unconventional arms programs after the Persian Gulf war. Experts say that at the time, Mr. Hussein’s scientists were on the verge of building an atom bomb, as little as a year away.
It's not very clearly written -- the writer drops three different time periods to which "at the time" could apply -- but it appears that given the order of the paragraph, "at the time" applies to "the Persian Gulf war." It makes even more sense when you consider that at least three U.S. or U.K. government reports concluded that Saddam did not have an active WMD or nuclear program at the time of the 2003 invasion; in fact, those reports also conlcuded that Saddam's nuclear capability was destroyed in the 1991 Gulf War. While Saddam may certainly have wanted WMDs, desire and capability are two different things.
By downplaying or misinterpreting the most logical date that Saddam was "on the verge of building an atom bomb," MRC writers like Brown and Waters do their readers a disservice. Or is their version of attacking "liberal bias" not supposed to be based in fact?
In co-authoring "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry," John O'Neill and I documented that Kerry's insults against the U.S. military trace back to his 1971 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. There, Kerry falsely accused our troops in Vietnam of being an army of Ghengis Khan that were committing unspeakable crimes. Kerry further claimed our military in Vietnam were committing these crimes on a daily basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command.
Kerry based his claims to the committee on false statements made to a Vietnam Veteran's Against the War set of "hearings" known as "The Winter Soldier Investigation," held in Detroit, Mich., in January and February 1971. In a book entitled "Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation was Robbed of its Heroes and its History," authors B.G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley documented that much of the testimony given at these mock hearings was fraudulent, much of it given by those who had never served in Vietnam.
In fact, as ConWebWatch has detailed, Burkett's claim that the Winter Soldier testimony was "fraudulent" is based on a claim in a 1978 book by historian Guenter Lewy. He claimed that there was a Naval Investigative Service report that discredited Winter Soldier -- but the Navy can't confirm the existence of the report, and Lewy himself "does not recall if he saw a copy of the naval investigative report or was briefed on its contents."
Hardly a solid, stellar piece of evidence. And Corsi wrote an entire book about Kerry based on evidence such as this, folks.
A Nov. 3 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones (who else?) bizarrely equates the burgeoning gay-sex-and-meth scandal involving evangelical leader Ted Haggard with former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey's admission that he is gay:
There was no immediate reaction from homosexual advocacy groups to the allegations surrounding Pastor Ted Haggard, the Christian evangelical leader accused of engaging in extra-marital homosexual trysts -- something he denies. Readers posting comments on one liberal blog were screaming "hypocrisy."
But when former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey, a Democrat, was forced out of the proverbial closet two years ago, homosexual advocacy groups praised his courage under pressure, even though McGreevey, as governor, had opposed same-sex marriage.
"The governor's coming out today was no doubt poignant for every member of the lesbian and gay community in New Jersey and, in fact, across America. We all know how difficult it is to come out as openly gay, whether to family or other loved ones. No one could imagine what it's like to come out to 300 million people -- this is totally unprecedented," Steven Goldstein, chairman of Garden State Equality, said at the time.
Steven Fisher, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, told MSNBC-TV: "Coming out is a deeply personal journey, and Gov. McGreevey today showed enormous courage."
But unlike McGreevey, Haggard has yet to admit that he is gay or that he engaged in homosexual behavior; in fact, Jones quotes Haggard as saying that he "never had a gay relationship with anybody." And unlike Haggard, McGreevey wasn't forced out of his position after the gay-related allegations were made public; he resigned as he made them public himself.
So we're not sure how Haggard is like McGreevey at all, unless it was a desperation move by Jones and CNS to equivocate the Haggard allegations with some Democrat. Mark Foley, of course, would have been a much closer comparison, but he's a Republican.
MRC Misleads on Olbermann Claim Topic: Media Research Center
A Nov. 3 Media Research Center CyberAlert item (and NewsBusters post) by Brent Baker falsely suggests that MSNBC's Keith Olbermann was wrong to claim, in naming MRC president Brent Bozell as a nominee for Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World" segment, that Bozell "wrote the Willie Horton ad." Baker wrote: "Bozell 'wrote the Willie Horton ad'? That 1988 ad, which continues to infuriate liberals, certainly has a lot of fathers."
But Bozell does, in fact, proclaim his involvement in his Nov. 1 syndicated column: "For the record, it was your humble writer here who produced the very first Willie Horton ad." It may not be the specific ad to which Olbermann is referring, but Bozell is clearly taking credit for introducing the Willie Horton issue (though he claims that "[i]t was only when I was shown the final ad that I learned that Willie Horton was black").
Despite what Baker suggests, Olbermann's claim (though not entirely accurate) is not coming from out of nowhere and is based in Bozell's own words.
A Nov. 2 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein purports to quote "senior terrorist leaders" who "ay they hope Americans sweep the Democrats into power because of the party's position on withdrawing from Iraq." But Klein is unusually cozy with the terrorists he quotes, and they have a history of popping up to reinforce conservative talking points.
For instance, Jihad Jaara, who Klein describes as "a senior member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades" and who he quotes here as saying, "Of course Americans should vote Democrat," did a cozy sit-down interview with Klein and radio host Rusty Humphries that aired in January.
Abu Ayman, an Islamic Jihad leader in Jenin who Klein quotes as saying that he is "emboldened" by those in America who compare the war in Iraq to Vietnam, is positively chatty with Klein. Just three days earlier, Klein quoted Ayman saying that Ramadan prayers "helped the mujahedeen fighters to mark a great victory" over the U.S. in Iraq.
Upon the death of an American teenager, Daniel Wultz, from injuries suffered in a suicide bombing in Israel in May, Klein reported that Ayman "threatened all Americans and Jews worldwide and expressed regret Wultz was not imediately killed in the blast."
Another terrorist confidante of Klein's is Abu Abdullah of Hamas, whom Klein quotes as saying that a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would "convince those among the Palestinians who still have doubts in the efficiency of the resistance." In an Oct. 14 article, Klein quotes Abdullah as claiming that Hamas is "open" to attacking the U.S. And as part of Klein's crusade against Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, he quoted Abdullah in a July 7 article as touting the range of Hamas missiles.
WND was more than happy to play partisan with Klein's article. A Nov. 3 column by Joseph Farah used the article to attack Democrats, claiming that "the terrorists really do want the Democrats to win."
Nowhere in Klein's article does he mention that he may be counterproductive. You may recall that conservatives spun a video released by Osama bin Laden shortly before the 2004 presidential election as evidence that bin Laden supported the election of Democrat John Kerry. In fact, in his book "The One Percent Doctrine," author Ron Suskind reported that CIA analysts agreed that "bin Laden's message was clearly designed to assist the President's reelection."
When CNN aired a video of an insurgent sniper in Iraq targeting U.S. soldiers, conservatives rushed to attack CNN for it, claiming that it was airing terrorist propaganda. Yet Klein's frequent consorting with terrorists gets no notice from these same conservatives, though he is doing the exact same thing -- repeating terrorist propaganda. Why?
Do the terrorists Klein hangs out with know that he's just using them, promoting their statements to whip up conservative sentiment against them and to smear the political enemies of Klein and his employer? Or are they in on Klein's game?
UPDATE: Regarding Jarra, Klein notes that he is living in exile in Ireland, but does not explain how he can be a "senior terrorist leader" though he lives so far from the Middle East. Klein has also done a previous interview with Jarra in which he asks if the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades "used pages of the Bible as toilet paper" during a 2002 siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
Kessler Can't Stop Misleading on Dems, Patriot Act Topic: Newsmax
Republican fluffer extrordinaire Ronald Kessler is still pushing his dubious attacks on Democrats. A Nov. 2 NewsMax article by Kessler claims:
In contrast, with the exception of Joe Lieberman and a few others, when it comes to recognizing the threats we face and taking appropriate action, Democrats are in a state of denial. As outlined in an Oct. 31 NewsMax story, Democrats have sought to kill the USA Patriot Act, which FBI agents and CIA officers consider their single most important tool for hunting down terrorists and preventing another 9/11 attack.
As we've detailed, the Kessler-penned article to which he links makes numerous false and misleading claims about Democrats and the Patriot Act.
A Nov. 2 CNS article by Finkelstein forwarded without challenged a claim by the "chief spokesman for the U.S. military in Iraq" that the "reason why Americans don't hear as much good news as bad news from Iraq" is because "as soon as we announce [good news], the insurgents will immediately ... target that, in order to discount it." There's no mention of how this explanation conflicts with the standard explanationoffered by conservatives like himself -- that the media, not the military, is to blame for the lack of good news from Iraq.
At the end of that article is the following note: "Mark Finkelstein is heading to Iraq later this month and will report for Cybercast News Service from Baghdad and Fallujah."
So, not only is news bias encouraged at the MRC, it's rewarded.
Corsi Back to Gay-Baiting Strickland Topic: WorldNetDaily
More evidence that the whole "staffer arrested for indecency" issue has turned out to be a dead horse for Jerome Corsi to use as an attack against Ted Strickland: His Nov. 2 anti-Strickland column doesn't mention it. Instead, half of it is a cut-and-paste of Family Research Council attacks on Strickland.
Corsi does, however, goes back to gay-baiting, citing Strickland's alleged support of "the extreme left's radical moral and sexual agenda" and referenced an earlier column in which he used the term "lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender" or slight variants a whopping 22 times (as we've noted).
New Article: The Payroll, Part 2: Works of Fiction Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com downplayed George Allen's "macaca" slur, but it flooded the zone on Jim Webb's fiction excerpts. Did it work with Allen's campaign in doing so? Read more.
Kincaid Bashes Clinton (Yawn) Again Topic: Accuracy in Media
A Nov. 1 Accuracy in Media column by Cliff Kincaid takes a whack at the New York Post for endorsing Hillary Clinton's re-election to the Senate, claiming that it "can only be explained by direct orders from [owner Rupert] Murdoch to his editor that he wanted Hillary endorsed no matter how bad a record she had on the issues. Kincaid added that "[t]he paper said Clinton had been a 'pretty good Senator' but offered no reasons to believe that's the case."
In the letters column the next day, one reader wrote, "The Post was the only New York paper I could turn to without a liberal left-wing slant; then I woke up and discovered your endorsement. Clinton is a leftist tax-'em-to-death liar who is against monitoring terrorist communication, the Patriot Act, tax cuts and school choice."
But, as he accused the Post of doing, Kincaid offers no evidence (nor, apparently, does the letter writer) to back that up. After all, if you're going to attack others for lack of evidence, shouldn't you be backing up your own claims?
It's just as well -- otherwise, we'd have to spend a lot more time debunking his false and slanted claims. As it is, Kincaid makes one misleading claim about Clinton, that she "indicated she would approve of state action to legalize homosexual marriage." In fact, Clinton said she would not oppose New York approving a gay marriage law because she supports states making the decision on the issue. Kincaid fell for a version of the depiction-equals-approval fallacy: Supporting a state's decision to approve gay marriage is not the same as supporting gay marriage.
Olbermann Watch Falsely Flails At Media Matters Topic: The ConWeb
An Oct. 30 post by Robert Cox at Olbermann Watch (a Keith Olbermann-bashing site referenced on occasion by NewsBusters) purports to respond to a Media Matters item:
Ultra-left, Soros-funded, Media Matters for America is attacking Olbermann Watch for pointing out Keith Olbermann's disturbing habit of referring to the President of the United States as "mister" and monitoring Olbermann's behavior with the nightly "mister meter". Citing a profile of Keith Olbermann by media writer Stephen Spruiell of National Review, MMFA contrasts Olbermann with a few lines taken out of context from a column by National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr. In neither case does MMFA provide working links to support its claims.
Where to begin?
-- Media Matters did not "attack" Olbermann Watch; the focus of the item was on Spruiell, who cited Olbermann Watch.
-- If by "a few lines" you mean more than 150 instances, then, yeah.
-- If a lack of "working links" means that you have to be a subscriber to National Review in order to access them, then, yeah. We're surprised that Cox doesn't doesn't already subscribe.
-- Cox does not explain how a reference to "Mr. Bush" in a Buckley column could be "out of context."
-- Cox never actually refutes anything in the Media Matters article.
(Full disclosure: I work for Media Matters. Cox runs the Media Bloggers Association, of which I am a member and whose logo is on the left side of this page.)
Sheppard's Double Standard on Double Standards Topic: NewsBusters
A Nov. 1 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard purports to complain about media coverage of John Kerry's remark on education and Iraq compared with Trent Lott's 2002 comment that if the country had voted for segregationist Strom Thurmond in 1948, "we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years."
While Sheppard claims each remark was a "botched joke," that's not how he depicts them; he called Kerry's comments "insensitive remarks," while Lott is described as making an "innocent comment." Why is Lott's remark depicted as "innocent" when he should have known that Thurmond ran as a segregationist in 1948? Why is Kerry depicted as "insensitive" when he is on record saying that (unlike Lott) he meant to say something other than what he actually said?