"Stop the presses!" You've heard newspaper editors shout that phrase in old movies. Joseph Farah was never a newspaper editor in the movies - he was one in real life. But he no longer works with ink, presses and newsprint.
A decade ago, Farah founded WorldNetDaily.com (WND.com) and became a pioneer on the New Media frontier. Today WND.com is the largest independent news service on the Internet. Stop the Presses! is not just Farah's story, but that of a new wave of media superstars who have forever changed the way Americans get their news and express their views.
Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Matt Drudge...these are just some of the New Media names that old-school media like ABC News has acknowledged "rule our world." This revolution has shaken the foundations of the mainstream media, eroding its ability to control the flow of information...and with it, the power to control the lives of millions around the world.
The New Media revolution's beginnings have never been told - until now.
In other words, look for it to be at least as self-congratulatory on conservative media -- and even more silent on WND's unjournalistic biases, distortions, plagiarism, unseemlylinks with sources, and unquestioningrepetition of conservative talking points -- as Richard Poe's (similarly WND-published) book, "Hillary's Secret War."
This time, Sheppard's tagets are Al Gore and the Washington Post -- specifically, the Post doing a front-page article on Gore's unusual path from vice president to Oscar-nominated filmmaker. From a Feb. 25 post:
The headline on the front page read: “Al Gore, Rock Star; Oscar Hopeful May Be America's Coolest Ex-Vice President Ever.”
No, this wasn’t the National Enquirer or some other cheesy tabloid that you try to ignore when you’re at a supermarket checkout counter.
This was the Washington Post.
And, much like the headline, the text despicably read like a tabloid story about Britney Spears' shaved head or Elvis sightings in Las Vegas.
This is pretty sickening, isn’t it? But there’s more:
Had enough? I have. Those that are interested can read the rest at their own risk. I’ve got to go wash my hands, and disinfect my keyboard.
Apparently, in Sheppard's world, it's "despicabl[e]" and "sickening" that anyone should be nice to Gore.
Sheppard has previously mocked Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" as a "schlockumentary" and a "farcical political advertisement" and attacked Gore and his "liberal, hypocritical, millionaire friends."
In a earlier Feb. 25 post, Sheppard touts an attack on Gore and "An Inconvenient Truth" by the Cato Institute's Patrick Michaels. But Sheppard fails to note Michaels' and Cato's ties to oil, coal and energy interests.
Sheppard Defends Another So-Called 'State Climatologist' Topic: NewsBusters
We've previously noted that NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard bought into the case of an Oregon "state climatologist" who was to be "fired" from his "job" for being a anti-global warming activist. Problem is, there's no official Oregon "state climatologist," the guy in question is not trained in climatology, and losing the title will not cost him any income or his current job as a college instructor.
Well, Sheppard's at it again. In a Feb. 23 post -- after once again citing the bogus claim about the Oregon "state climatologist" -- he repeated an article claiming that Delaware's "state climatologist," David Legates, has been ordered by the governor to "stop using his title in public statements on climate change." Sheppard added by way of weak qualification, "I haven’t been able to identify how long Legates has held this title, but it doesn’t appear to have been given to him by her." In fact, according to the article he cited (but doesn't include in his excerpt for his post), the "state climatologist" position carries no salary or state authority.
Sheppard does, however, note the article's citing of Legates' links to a pair of conservative groups -- the Competitive Enterprise Institute, "linked by some environmental groups to an Exxon-Mobil-funded 'misinformation' campaign," and the National Center for Policy Analysis. Sheppard claimed this was evidence that "this might be all about knocking off one of the primary global warming skeptics," adding, "This raises an important question: Is anybody safe during this witch hunt?"
If Sheppard really deplores such tactics, he might want to have a chat with NewsBuster nea-namesake Ken Shepherd. In a Feb. 22 post, Shephed complained that a public radio report that featured a certain study "didn't tell listeners about the political donations of the study's liberal author." Doesn't that make Shepherd a "witch hunter," by Sheppard's definition?
WND Misleads on Author's Visa Topic: WorldNetDaily
The headline of a Feb. 23 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh reads, "U.S. bans book sales by missionary." It implies that the U.S. has banned the missionary's book -- in this case, Charl Van Wyk's WND-published book "Shooting Back"; in fact, it has not. (Bartholomew details Van Wyk's background here.)
Unruh's lead is similarly misleading:
The U.S. government proclaims on its visa information website that America is a "free and open society" and citizens from around the world are "welcome" to conduct business and work temporarily.
But there are exceptions -- such as Christian missionaries selling books.
At least that is what South African author Charl van Wyk, who wrote the immensely popular "Shooting Back" book about his response to an attack by Muslim terrorists on a Christian church, discovered.
In fact -- as Unruh eventually details, and even then not very clearly -- this is a visa question. Van Wyk will be traveling from South Africa to the U.S. to give a presentation at WND's News Expo 2007 and also to, in his words, "preach in churches and sell my book." But U.S. visitor visas don't allow their holders to sell things, and Van Wyk calling himself a "missionary" complicates things further.
But rather than summing up the real issue as one of paperwork -- Van Wyk doesn't hold the proper visa to do what he wants to do, and has been conducting activities not permitted under the current visa he holds -- Unruh misleadingly cast it instead as a religious freedom issue.
Salvato Touts Skewed GOP Poll As "Independent" Topic: CNSNews.com
In a Feb. 23 CNSNews.com column, Frank Salvato promoted a Public Opinion Strategies poll that claimed that "57% of those polled agreed with the statement, 'I support finishing the job in Iraq, that is, keeping the troops there until the Iraqi government can maintain control and provide security for their people.'" Salvato called the poll "independent," claimed that it "featured direct and straight-forward questions on the subject of the Iraqi conflict," as opposed to "manufactured polls" by "the agenda-driven mainstream media and opportunistic politicians" that feature questions "constructed in such a way as to pre-determine the outcome of the poll."
In fact, the POS poll appears to be the kind of "manufactured poll" Salvato purports to dislike. As Media Matters points out, POS has proclaimed itself a "Republican polling firm" that "mourn[ed]" the losses of Republicans in the 2006 midterm elections. And as blogger Greg Sargent notes, Republican pollster David E. Johnson criticized the poll as, in Sargent's words, "leading and designed to elicit the answers they got."
Salvato also called the poll "a bi-partisan cross-section of 800 registered voters." In fact, the poll was heavily skewed toward conservatives: 38 of repondents called themselves conservative, versus 21 percent who called themselves liberal. By contrast, as we've noted, Republican strategist and CNSNews.com columnist Rich Galen has stated that "In the general population, those who claim to be Democrats outweigh those who claim to be Republicans by 7 to 9 percentage points."
Another WorldNetDaily article about that (not independently confirmed) homeschooling case in Germany, another likening of anyone who criticizes homeschooling to Nazis.
And in related Nazi analogy news, WND is now selling the documentary it promoted last summer purporting to link Darwin to Hitler, "Darwin's Deadly Legacy," in its online store. As we noted, it falsely conflates social Darwinism with evolution, its producers -- the conservative Coral Ridge ministry -- misled a scientist and put him in the video without his knowledge, and even some conservatives criticized it.
And as a bonus, here's Mychal Massie in his Feb. 20 WND column:
I have repeatedly argued that the level of bigotry inherent in diversity should be glaringly obvious. It is a perverse form of Hitlerian motivations vis-à-vis attempted social engineering for no other reason than to have a color-coded campus matrix.
A Feb. 22 CNSNews.com article by Kevin Mooney features several critics who charge that the Al Gore documentary "An inconvenIent Truth" does not deserve to win an Academy Award for best documentary because it "arguably violates" the criteria for the award because it "departs from reality" in its depiction of global warming. But nowhere does Mooney allow Gore or his reprsentatives to respond to those claims or note that he attempted to contact them for a response.
Mooney also features Dan Gifford, the filmmaker known for the Oscar-nominated documentary "Waco: The Rules of Engagement," which examines the 1993 Branch Davidian siege. Mooney writes: "Gifford recalls that the documentary came under fire. Since president Clinton was in office at the time, entertainment industry libearals were inclined to defend the government's position," adding: "The Waco documentary withstood the criticism because actual footage was used and compelling evidence introduced."
On the other hand, one review at the time of its 1997 release noted that the film "follows the current trend of one-sided documentary filmmaking. 'Waco' often isn't so much a documentary as it is propaganda for pro-[David] Koresh sympathizers."
In a Feb. 22 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard declared it "completely disgusting," "disgraceful," "despicabl[e]," "tripe," "nonsense," and "unmitigated audacity" that a GQ article would call for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney. Nowhere does Sheppard address any of the claims the article made in support of its assertion.
Also, we could find no similiar assessment by Sheppard of conservatives who advocated impeachment of Bill Clinton.
Sheppard concluded: "This isn't journalism -- this is activism." Uh, Noel, it's GQ, not exactly a historic bastion of journalism.
At NewsMax, Ruddy Silent About His Clinton Change of Heart Topic: Newsmax
Earlier this week, NewsMax editor and CEO Christopher Ruddy told the New York Times that he and NewsMax co-owner (and legendarily rabid Clinton-hater) Richard Mellon Scaife "have had a rethinking" about the Clintons: "Clinton wasn’t such a bad president. ... In fact, he was a pretty good president in a lot of ways, and Dick feels that way today."
Three days later, despite NewsMax's historic promotion of any reference to itself that shows up in the dreaded "mainstream media" (even when it's not necessarily positive) there has been no mention of the Times article or Ruddy's presence in it at NewsMax.
As we've noted, Ruddy's change of heart isn't stopping Clinton-haters from congregating at NewsMax. But shouldn't Ruddy be explaining this to his readers instead of leaving it to the MSM?
It seemed to begin in 2003, when WND noted the phenomenon of "Googlebombing" used to link the phrase "miserable failure" to President Bush (and a later Googlebomb used on WND editor Joseph Farah). WND cranked it up in 2004 with allegations that Google was reportedly banning an anti-gay group from using its keyword advertising program. It continued through a guilt-by-association attack claiming that someone operated a pro-pedophelia blog on its Blogger service.
WND has even bashed Google over its logo. It has complained that Google has not specialized its front-page logo for Veterans Day or George Washington's birthday. The strangest attack came in a Feb. 14 article, which attempts to tweak Google for misspelling its name in its Valentine's Day design, which is a reach (the second "g" is a chocolate-covered strawberry, and the "l" is the stem).
The presumed real reason for that article, though, was for WND to once again rehash its attacks on Google's alleged "one-sided political contributions and content policies." The one that comes even before the claim that "98 percent of all political donations by Google employees went to support Democrats" is perhaps the most important:
In addition, the company came under fire for an editorial decision giving preferential placement to large, elite media outlets such as CNN and the BBC over independent news sources, such as WND, even if they are more recent, pertinent and exhaustive in their coverage.
So, basically, it's just business -- WND wants better placement of its articles in Google searches, and will apparently continue to attack the company until that happens. That tantrum approach is something to which WND is no stranger.
Mason, Felder Use New WND Perch to Smear Democrats Topic: WorldNetDaily
In their Feb. 21 WorldNetDaily column, Jackie Mason and Raoul Felder demonstrate how they got their new gig by channeling Michael Savage:
Like a baby's dirty diaper, hypocrisy and duplicity soils the Democratic majority in Congress, and like the diaper, the closer you get to it, the worse it smells.
The Democrats have no conscience or moral purpose whatsoever. They are worse than mere hypocrites. They are accessories to the murder of American troops.
They go on to call Nancy Pelosi "Botox Babe" and repeat discredited claims about the bogus plane controversy:
-- "She claimed that it was "security people" who encouraged her to request a much larger airplane than the one used by her predecessor, Denny Hastert." In fact, it was the House sergeant at arms who sought the plane, and she herself did not request a larger plane.
-- "Then she said she needed the much larger plane because this country has a lot of enemies. ... Next she said she needed the larger plane because she is third in line for the presidency. Didn't Denny Hastert know about this provision in the Constitution, or was there a new Constitution written just for Nancy Pelosi?" In fact, the White House agrees that Pelosi "is entitled to military transport" and that "[i]t is important for the Speaker to have this kind of protection and travel" due to post-9/11 security concerns.
From a Feb. 21 CNSNews.com article by Nathan Burchfiel:
Dr. David Prentice, a senior fellow for life sciences at the conservative Family Research Council, told the handful of aides in attendance that peer-reviewed research on adult stem cells has resulted in 72 treatments - not cures - for ailments from cancer to heart disease to Parkinson's. Embryonic stem cells have yielded no such treatments to date, he said.
"It's the adult stem cells that are the ones that are actually making good on all these promises," Prentice said. "Patient health has been improved in over 70 different conditions."
In fact, Prentice's list of ailments treatable by adult stem cells has been discredited by researchers Shane Smith, William Neaves, and Steven Teitelbaum. In a letter to the American Association for the Advancement of Science for publication in the association's magazine, Science, the researchers state that FDA-approved adult stem cell treatments are available for only nine diseases, adding: "Prentice not only misrepresents existing adult stem cell treatments but also frequently distorts the nature and content of the references he cites."
We know Ronald Kessler hates John McCain, having dedicated numerous articles to his horrible temper. Now we know who he likes for president in 2008.
In a Feb. 21 NewsMax article, Kessler continued his sycophantic work for the Bush administration by featuring the claim that "Bush family members, friends, and key supporters are solidly behind Mitt Romney" and lists a number of "striking similarities between George W. Bush and Mitt Romney." In noting that "[b]oth men's lives have been touched by fatal car accidents," Kessler served up an oddly worded description of Laura Bush's crash:
In November 1963, when she was a senior in high school in Midland, Texas, Laura Bush, then 17, was driving on a dark country road with a high school friend when she missed a stop sign. Her parents' brand-new Chevrolet Impala slammed into a 1962 Corvair sedan driven by Michael D. Douglas, another high school friend, who was thrown from his car. He died at the scene.
Why not just say that Laura Bush drove the car that killed a friend, instead of weirdly detaching things? bBy saying she "was driving on a dark country road" when "[h]er parents' brand-new Chevrolet Impala" hit another car, nonsensically suggests that it was the car, not the driver, who was to blame for the accident.
Kessler concludes his column with a separate item which makes the even more weird argument that congressional Democrats are causing America to lose the war on terror by holding the Bush administration accountable for its actions:
With Democrats holding hearings to try to embarrass the Bush administration, FBI and CIA officials worry about the amount of time they have to devote to testifying on Capitol Hill and the number of people they have to divert from tracking terrorists to locating documents for hearings.
As it is, people at both agencies work night and day to prevent the next terrorist attack. Diverting personnel from hunting down terrorists who are determined to detonate a nuclear device in the United States so that Democrats can assess blame for intelligence failures that have since been addressed is not the way to win the war on terror.
So, Kessler just wants Democrats to move on? Weren't Republicans opposed to that concept when Clinton was in office? Why is it suddenly OK now?
Sheppard's Global Warming Obsession Topic: NewsBusters
Noel Sheppard is a tad obsessed with global warming -- specifically, reprinting every morsel that might chip away at the idea that humans have a role in global warming. In February alone, Sheppard has issued a whopping 29 NewsBusters posts on the subject, and there's still eight more days to go.
For instance, in a Feb. 7 post, Sheppard touted the case of Oregon "state climatologist" George Taylor, who was to be stripped of his "job" because he didn't "buy into the junk science of anthropogenic global warming." But, as we've noted, there's no official Oregon "state climatologist," Taylor is not trained in climatology, and losing the title will not cost him any income or his current job as a college instructor.
Meanwhile, a Feb. 19 post by Sheppard regurgitates Sean Hannity's attack on Al Gore for purportedly not be as carbon-neutral as he has proclaimed himself to be. But as NewsHounds points out, Hannity conflated "global warming" with "climate change" and "carbon imprint" with "carbon neutrality." Hannity's complaint that flying in a private jet, which he claims that Gore prefers, "does more than four times the carbon emission damage to the environment than flying a regular commercial jet" falls hollow given Hannity's own taste for the Gulfstream lifestyle, something Sheppard fails to note.
Further, as Wonkette notes, if there is no such thing as human-based global warming, as Sheppard appears to believe, how can Gore be causing it?
WorldNetDaily has enlisted Jackie Mason (and partner Raoul Felder) as a new columnist to serve up "political satire." This seems only slightly less strange than having Chuck Norris write a column, except for a couple things:
-- Mason is a conservative who says things WND likes, such as calling Islam a "murderous organization" that teaches "hate, terrorism and murder." He and Felder wrote a column for the conservative Jewish World Review until 2005.
-- Mason hosts a weekly radio show syndicated by Talk Radio Network -- which makes Mason part of the synergistic relationship between WND and TRN, founded by alleged cult leader Roy Masters (with whom top WND staffers have ties with).