A May 8 WorldNetDaily article promoted a "Zogby Poll done for the National Abstinence Education Association" which claimed that "nine out of 10 parents agree being sexually abstinent is best for their child's health and future and, mostly, believe the message to wait is lost when sex education teaches the use of contraceptives." The article quotes Valerie Huber, the association's executive director, as saying that the poll "also reveals the preference for abstinence-only education programs rises sharply – from 40 percent to 60 percent – when parents understand that sex education programs encompassing contraceptives do encourage sexual activity."
But a closer look at the poll shows it to be, in essence, a push poll designed to elicit that response.
Of course, since the National Abstinence Education Association paid Zogby for this poll, the entire point is to obtain results that conform with their agenda, and a look at the poll questions show how that was done. Before the survey got to the que4stion asking whether "Sex Education classes in public schools should place more emphasis on promoting abstinence rather than on condom and other contraceptive use" (question 18), respondents were targeted with a series of questions with scary, unsupported and/or unexplained claims:
7. According to the publication Contraceptive Technology, among typical couples using condoms for birth control, more than one in ten become pregnant each year. Do you ... that your child should be educated on how often condoms fail to prevent pregnancy based upon typical use?
8. Since adults only use condoms consistently less than 50% of the time, according to a study done by the University of California Berkeley, it is even less likely for teens to correctly use a condom every single time they have sex[?]
10. According to the Centers for Disease Control, condoms do not offer 100% protection against any sexually transmitted disease or STD. Do you ... that your child should be instructed on the limitations of condoms in preventing specific STDs?
12. Do you ... that promoting different forms of sexual activity in sex education classes, such as showering together and mutual masturbation as alternatives to intercourse encourages sexual activity among teens?
The poll questions also, without evidence, unfavorably compare comprehensive sex education with abstinence-only sex ed:
19. If you knew that typical Comprehensive Sex Education programs spend as little as 5% of the time teaching abstinence, while instead, some programs spend much more time teaching students how to put condoms on models of male genitalia, would you be ... to support teaching Abstinence Education in place of Comprehensive Sex Education?
20. If you knew that typical Abstinence Education Courses place a higher emphasis on building healthy relationships, bolstering self worth and self-control, rather than on condom usage skills, would you be ... to support teaching Abstinence Education in place of Comprehensive Sex Education?
21. If you knew that some Comprehensive Sex Education courses may advise students to experiment with different flavors and colors of condoms as part of its sex education, would you be ... to support teaching Abstinence Education in place of Comprehensive Sex Education?
22. If you knew that typical Abstinence Education Courses teach teens how to develop healthy relationships to improve their chances for a healthy future marriage, would you be ... to support teaching Abstinence Education in place of Comprehensive Sex Education?
23. If you knew that some Comprehensive Sex Education teaches and promotes alternative forms of sexual activity, called outercourse, which may include showering together and mutual masturbation as effective ways to avoid pregnancy and disease, would you be ... to support teaching Abstinence Education in place of Comprehensive Sex Education?
24. If you knew that typical Abstinence Education Courses teach how an unplanned pregnancy and/or contracting sexually transmitted diseases can negatively affect a teen's future physically, financially, and emotionally, would you be ... to support teaching Abstinence Education in place of Comprehensive Sex Education?
25. If you knew that typical Abstinence Education Courses teach teens about increasing their self-worth as a method for reducing premarital sexual activity, would you be ... to support teaching Abstinence Education in place of Comprehensive Sex Education?
The poll offers respondents no evidence for its attacks on comprehensive sex ed, nor does it raise questions about the effectiveness of abstinence-only sex ed (remember who paid for the poll). Indeed, a week after the polling was completed, a congressional study reported that abstinence-only sex ed does not keep teenagers from having sex, nor does it increase or decrease the likelihood that if they do have sex, they will use a condom.
In other words, the Zogby study is too biased to be meaningful to anyone other than pro-abstinence, anti-comprehensive sex ed activists.
Speaking of Pots and Kettles ... Topic: NewsBusters
A May 9 NewsBusters post (and Times Watch item) by Clay Waters claimed it was a "pot meets kettle" moment when the New York Times described the New York Post and Fox News as being "known for their right-wing political bent and racy tone." Waters writes: "Strange how the Times never cops to its own undeniable liberal bias, yet doesn't hesitate to label Fox News as right-wing or conservative."
And it's equally strange how Waters offers no evidence to contradict the Times' claim. He and his MRC buddies just can'tquiteadmit that Fox News skews right. Perhaps doing so would jeopardize the fawning coverage Fox gives to them.
New Article: Scaring Grandma Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily wants you to believe that a new hate-crime law will result in your grandmother getting thrown in the slammer for "sharing the Gospel of Jesus." Unless granny is a bullhorn-wielding anti-gay activist, don't worry about it. Read more.
A May 7 NewsMax article is a regurgitation of a press release by the conservative Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) recounting the case of Arizona community college instructor Walter Kehowski, who was purportedly placed on administrative leave for, in NewsMax's words, "simply sending out an e-mail to colleagues containing George Washington’s 'Thanksgiving Day Proclamation of 1789.' " The NewsMax article contains only FIRE's side of the story and makes no attempt to contact anyone at the college.
What neither NewsMax or FIRE want you to know is Kehowski's history of promoting inflammatory anti-immigrant rhetoric -- which, along with his repeated violations of school email policy, is a more likely culprit behind his purported woes than e-mailing Washington’s Thanksgiving Day proclamation. After all, when the white "racialist" websites American Renaissance and VDARE are running to your defense -- as they have for Kehowski in the past -- the issue is bigger than George Washington.
The AmRen site reproduced a November 2004 Arizona Republic article stating that Latino faculty members have accused Kehowski of using his college computer "to send discriminatory messages and to create a Web site with links to White supremacist sites."
"The e-mails transmitted by Mr. Kehowski have, among other things, denounced 'multiculturalism 'and 'd-d-d-diversity' and encouraged recipients to acknowledge and celebrate the superiority of Western Civilization," the lawsuit claims. "These e-mails also contained excerpts from and links to articles denigrating Latinos, immigrants and many other minority groups, with titles such as ‘California’s Being Invaded, Too—By Hispanic Holidays.' "
"Plaintiffs, students and other employees complained directly to (college) officials," according to the suit, which describes Kehowski's computer transmissions as racially disparaging, abusive, threatening and hostile.
AmRen adds at the end of the article, "Tell Mr. Kehowski and Glendale Community College to stand firm," providing emails for both.
The column Kehowski forwarded titled "California’s Being Invaded, Too—By Hispanic Holidays" is a March 2003 article at VDARE by Joe Guzzardi, in which he bashes "Mexican celebrations that will dominate California school calendars and guarantee a steady stream of dopey newspaper articles."
In a Dec. 10, 2004 VDARE article, Guzzardi noted the Kehowski controversy and defended his column: "I merely observed that school age Mexican-Americans would be better served spending their time mastering English instead of participating in Cinco de Mayo celebrations." Guzzardi goes on to quote Kehowski at length, noting that he conducted "several interviews" with the professor. According to Guzzardi, Kehowski attacked the college's "Dia de la Raza" event -- which he described as sort of an anti-Columbus Day -- claiming that the school was "endorsing an explicitly racist event" and proposing a "a celebration of Columbus Day and Western culture" instead.
Glendale Community College's school newspaper reported that Kehowski's emails also included statements like, "It’s time to acknowledge and celebrate the superiority of Western civilization" and "the half truths of…multiculturalism and diversity versus the full truth of its anti-Western, anti-Christian, anti-American and ultimately anti-White Marxist agenda."
Also unmentioned by NewsMax or FIRE is the fact that, as reported by the Arizona Republic, school district chancellor Rufus Glasper has noted that Kehowski has "continued to disregard district policies despite previous sanctions and directives. Kehowski was suspended without pay for five days in September 2005 for a similar violation."
Given such a lack of honesty from FIRE about Kehowski's history and views, NewsMax may want to rethink its support of Kehowski -- and its refusal to fact-check FIRE's press releases.
Sheppard's Weasel Words (And Censorship) Topic: NewsBusters
A May 8 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard begins this way: "If Democrats had accused former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois) last year of earmarking funds that could help real estate investments owned by his wife, would the media have reported it?" He continued: "Well, the Associated Press published a story Monday about current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) possibly earmarking funds that would benefit her husband's investments around the San Francisco Bay."
We've highlighted the weasel words above to show that Sheppard has no evidence that the earmarked money actually does benefit Pelosi's husband's investments. And in a fit of censorship, Sheppard chopped from his version of the article comments from Pelosi's office that put the situation in context: "Aides to the San Francisco Democrat denied any connection, noting that the waterfront improvements were requested by the Port of San Francisco and the four rental properties in question are at least a mile away."
Given that a mile typically comprises 12 to 16 city blocks, that's a long walk from Pelosi's investments to the port, making it unlikely that Pelosi would benefit.
Sheppard also did a censorship job in quoting from a New York Post article about the earmark, repeating Republican congressman Jeb Hensarling's statement, "The appearance is obviously not good, and she needs to be forthcoming about how this impacts her financial interest," but deleting the next paragraph in which the Post writes, "He didn't offer proof that Pelosi would benefit." Sheppard also excised a statement from Pelosi's spokesman:
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said "1.1 miles is a long way in San Francisco," adding, "This isn't stuff that she pushed, this is what the port came to her with."
"This is another baseless attack from a Republican minority seeking to distract from real issues of the day."
Sheppard also quoted from a Congressional Quarterly article in which an anonymous "senior Republican aide" says, "If Tiger Woods teed a ball up at Pelosi’s million-dollar rental property, he could easily hit the earmark in two strokes, with a slight draw to avoid the water." That's an absurd claim, which Sheppard should know since he specifically censored the part stating that that the property is more than a mile away. We don't know of any golf courses with a par-2, 1,800-yard green; perhaps Sheppard does.
UPDATE: Media Matters has more on just how false that Tiger Woods comparison is.
A May 7 NewsMax article promotes the results of its latest poll, on Don Imus. Nowhere does NewsMax inform its readers that it's an opt-in poll whose results are meaningless as an indicator of overall national opinion. This applies to prettymuchevery "Internet poll" that NewsMax promotes.
While the aricle details results for questions such as "Should Imus make a media comeback to radio & TV airwaves?" and "Do you believe Al Sharpton has any credibility attacking Imus?" it doesn't share the results of the final question: "Who did you vote for in the 2004 election?" Perhaps NewsMax knows if that was made public, the poll would be revealed for the biased sham it is.
CNS Ignores False Claim by Romney Topic: CNSNews.com
A May 7 CNSNews.com article by Kevin Mooney featured several conservatives who praised Mitt Romney's commencement address at Pat Robertson-founded Regent University, where he stated that, in Mooney's words, "Americans who embrace self-sacrifice over self-absorption in the form of committed marriages help to set America apart from Europe." But nowhere did Mooney mention the false claim Romney made during the speech:
In France, for instance, I'm told that marriage is now frequently contracted in seven-year terms where either party may move on when their term is up. How shallow and how different from the Europe of the past.
Did Romney confuse reality with an Orson Scott Card novel or a French comedy film? Will Mooney (or anyone else at CNS) muster up the interest to find out, or will they continue to pretend he didn't say it?
Sheffield's Double Standard on Dual-Tier Stock Topic: NewsBusters
Matthew Sheffield's May 7 NewsBusters defense of Rupert Murdoch's bid for Wall Street Journal owner Dow Jones reminds us: In all of Sheffield's fulminations over the New York Times Co.'s dual-tier stock structure, not once has he noted that Dow Jones has a similar structure, with the Bancroft family controlling 64 percent of the company.
So, Matt: If dual-tier stock is bad for the Times, why isn't bad for Dow Jones?
WND's News Expo Dies A Quiet Death Topic: WorldNetDaily
Remember WorldNetDaily's News Expo? WND announced it back in January as "an interactive conference event for news breakers, news shakers, news makers and news junkies," the place where "some 1,500 journalists, bloggers, publishers, authors and news consumers are expected to gather to participate in the breaking of news, the analysis of events and the discussion of trends," held at "the biggest hotel ballroom in the nation's capital." Ann Coulter was tapped for the keynote address, and it would also feature a "10th anniversary party for the leading independent news source on the Net – WorldNetDaily.com." Even a battle of the bands was planned to pick a musical act for the event. WND editor Joseph Farah breathlessly promoted the idea in a January 15 column: "Together, in one giant room – the biggest in Washington – you'll rub shoulders with top newsmakers, top journalists, top bloggers, top authors as well as top exhibitors and sponsors from the world of media and publishing." (Farah also erroneously described the May 11-12 event as occurring during D.C.'s cherry blossom season.) Farah exhorted his readers: "[Y]ou should make your plans to attend right now as a show of support to me and WND. We need to make this event a big success if, indeed, it is to continue as an annual tradition and if it is to have the impact we envision."
Uh, never mind.
The big event is a week away, and there's nary a word about it on the WND website. Indeed, the last mention of it at WND is March 9, at the bottom of an article by Aaron Klein, who had been scheduled to be part of the lineup. The expo's website redirects to the website promoting WND's 10th anniversary, where there's also nary a mention of the event. And it's missing from WND's calendar of anniversary events.
Yep, we'd say it's dead, ceased to be, bleedin' demised, bereft of life, joined the choir invisible. It is an ex-Expo.
What happened? Given that WND hasn't mentioned it in two months, it certainly isn't about to enlighten its readers as to why. We suspect there was a cost-benefit ratio problem: If we recall correctly, the admission price for the full weekend including the banquet at which Coulter was to speak was more than $600, a lot to pay for hanging out with B- and C-list right-wingers (Coulter's a A-list right-winger, but we doubt she would be hanging around the entire weekend). Other featured guests had included Hal Lindsey and Jerome Corsi; Corsi was to take part in the one event that could be described as not explicitly right-wing -- a debate with professor Robert Pastor over the idea of a European Union-like "North American Community," which Corsi virulently opposes. (We proposed a debate between us and Farah over WND's style of news coverage, but we never heard back.)
Other WND anniversary initiatives, meanwhile, seem to be going apace. We haven't heard much about the Courage in Media Awards lately either, but the website's still live, so we'll assume that's still a going proposition, even though the award was to have been given out at News Expo. And the Caribbean cruise is still promoted on the WND website, where at least you get some nice Caribbean scenery for your money that helps to make up for being stuck on a boat with Joseph Farah and David Kupelian.
Is MRC In Cahoots with Giuliani's Campaign? Topic: NewsBusters
In a May 5 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard notes an Associated Press claiming that Rudy Giuliani's campaign "called NBC News to complain about Olbermann being part of the debate telecast" prior to last Thursday's Republican presidential debate. Sheppard cited the "disgraceful performance of clearly left-leaning media members at Thursday’s event," linking to a NewsBusters post by Brent Baker in which, uh, Olbermann is not even mentioned.
The more pertinent issue, though, is one Sheppard didn't mention: Is his employer, the Media Research Center, in cahoots with the Giuliani campaign?
While Giuliani was complaining to NBC about Olbermann, the MRC issued a May 2 press release in which Brent Bozell "denounces NBC for presenting such a notoriously biased and partisan propagandist as an objective anchorman":
“Keith Olbermann is an avowed enemy of the Republican Party,” stated L. Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center, “yet NBC and MSNBC give him a microphone and turn a blind eye to his ultra-liberal, propagandist personal agenda.
“If they wanted to provide balanced coverage of the debate, why not pair Chris Matthews with a conservative? The answer is simple. Balance and objectivity are not part of their repertoire.
“NBC and MSNBC are losing what little credibility they had left.”
Coincidence or coordination? We report, you decide.
It's worth pointing out that in neither his NewsBusters post (the one Sheppard linked to) or his subsequent appearance on Fox News disingenously complaining about the "left-leaning questions" at the debate did Rich Noyes even mention Olbermann, let alone complain about his "ultra-liberal" comments.
And in another May 5 post, Sheppard asked, "is there a reason why Republicans should give Democrat shills like Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann a platform to advance their leftwing agenda while pretending they’re objective?" without detailing anything "left-wing" that Olbermann said. (Not to mention the fact that Matthews isn't exactly "left-wing"; Sheppard also brings up "the deplorable questions asked by liberal media members at Thursday’s GOP event" despite the fact that MSNBC's debate co-sponsor, the new Washington publication the Politico, whose John Harris and Jim VandeHei moderated the debate along with Matthews, isn't exactly filled with raving left-wingers either).
Where's the beef, guys? Could it be that Olbermann, in fact, said nothing the MRC could attack?
Noyes Misleads About Debate Questions Topic: Media Research Center
In a May 4 appearance on Fox News' "Your World with Neil Cavuto," the MRC's Rich Noyes attacked questions during last Thursday's Republican presidential debate, which he called "a series of left-leaning questions" and "the kind of stuff on liberal bloggers." But Noyes didn't acknowledge that the candidates got right-leaning questions as well (as noted by Media Matters):
"Mayor Giuliani, how do we get back to Ronald Reagan's morning in America?"
"What would you need, as commander in chief, to win the war in Iraq? ... Do you need anything, beyond what the president has now, to win the war?"
"We're in the house of Ronald Reagan. Every cab driver in America knew what Ronald Reagan stood for: defeat communism abroad; reduce big government at home. Can you, Senator McCain, restore that kind of unity of purpose?"
These are "left-leaning questions"? Hardly. But Noyes pretends they weren't asked at all.
Noyes made this same point -- again overlooking the right-wing questions that were asked -- in a May 3 NewsBusters post and May 4 CyberAlert item.
Noyes' appearance on Cavuto's show was solo -- the latest in a series of unchallenged appearances by MRC reps on Fox News -- and, as before, Cavuto not only made no effort to challenge Noyes, he agreed with him and served up juicy softballs for him to hit. At one point, Cavuto stated: "What's interesting too, Rich, is someone had to ferret out those questions, right, and decide which ones to pursue. And so, obviously, there was a bit of agenda in who's doing that." Cavuto concluded: "My only reaction, Rich, was none of those Republicans was afraid to be in a venue where they knew they would probably get little snide questions like this on a network or with a host who has a certain leaning. Yet none of their counterparts in the Democratic Party would dare appear here." That, of course, served as a cue for Noyes to call MSNBC a "far-left-wing network."
So Dick Morris knows how to do disclosures after all.
A May 5 NewsMax column by Morris notes after a mention of Mike Huckabee: "(disclosure: a former client)." Yet Morris has never issued a similar disclosure in his columns to accompany his many attacks on Hillary Clinton. Of course, such a disclosure would have to be a bit more detailed:
(Disclosure: Her husband was a former client until I was dismissed from his administration after got caught with a hooker who liked to suck my toes. As a result, I despise her with the white-hot passion of a thousand suns and am actively working against her candidacy.)
Farah Misleads About Fluorescent Bulbs Topic: WorldNetDaily
An April 16 WorldNetDaily article by Joseph Farah on the alleged toxicity of "energy-saving and money-saving compact fluorescent lamps" that "everyone is being urged, cajoled and guilt-tripped into purchasing" featured the case of the Brandy Bridges family, who purportedly faced a $2,000 bill to clean up mercury contamination in their home after a fluorescent bulb broke. Since the family could not afford it and insurance would not cover it, the family "has been forced to seal off her daughter's bedroom [where the bulb broke] with plastic to avoid any dust blowing around. Not even the family pets are permitted in to the bedroom. Her daughter is forced to sleep downstairs in an overcrowded household."
Turns out Farah's article is a load of scaremongering hooey.
Via PZ Myers (h/t Oliver Willis), we learn that the newspaper article from which Farah apparently lifted his story about the Bridges family pointed out that a four-figure cleanup following a broken fluorescent bulb is unnecessary overkill:
Officials have said that Bridges has little to worry about and she could easily clean up the bulbs by hand.
State Toxicologist Andrew Smith said it would be unlikely that a person could contract mercury poisoning from the levels of mercury found in Bridges’ daughter’s room.
“In this situation, my understanding, was this 1,900 was the sign reading right at the spot of the floor where the bulb broke,” said Smith. “While 1,900 was certainly considered an elevated reading of mercury vapor, it was a very localized level that I would not expect to result in any sign of mercury exposure.”
Smith said mercury is only dangerous with long-term exposure and in this case the person would have to stay right at the spot of the 1,900 reading or there would have to be elevated levels of mercury vapor in the breathing zone — about 3 feet — above the spill. Mercury also dissipates over time.
The air in the bedroom at the 3-foot level measured between 31 to 49 ng/m3 of mercury, depending on the location.
Smith said a CFL light bulb breaking is not in the same category as when a mercury thermometer breaks.
Scott Cowger, director of outreach and communications for the DEP, said the DEP’s Web site (www.maine.gov/dep/) has guidelines for cleaning up a broken fluorescent bulb.
Cowger said it is important to ventilate the area by opening windows and not to vacuum the area of the broken bulb, which may spread the mercury. While wearing appropriate safety gloves, glasses, coveralls or old clothing and a dust mask, a person can remove the glass pieces and put them in a closed container.
The dust can be cleaned up using either two pieces of stiff paper, a disposal broom and dustpan or a commercial mercury spill kit. Afterward, the area should be patted with the sticky side of tape, according to the DEP Web site.
Cowger said all the items used in cleaning up the spill should be treated as “universal waste” or a household hazardous waste that can be disposed of without hiring professionals.
The DEP spokesman said, though, it “isn’t necessary to hire professionals at all” for a light bulb. The specialist who responded to Bridges’ broken bulb was trained to respond to chemical spills and to clean up such spills to “appropriate standards.”
So the bedroom doesn't need to be sealed off! They can air out the room and sweep up the glass! There's absolutely no reason to spend $2,000!
Further, Myers adds that according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the amount of mercury in a compact fluorescent bulb, plus the amount of mercury emissions from the electricity needed to power that bulb (as generated by a coal-fired power plant) is still less than the mercury emissions generated for the electricity needed to operate an incandescent bulb.
Farah didn't mention any of this. No surprise -- for being the head of a "news" organization, Farah's own reporting record is abysmal.
NewsBusters' Double Standard on Shunning Ideological Heretics Topic: NewsBusters
Continuing NewsBusters' obsession with the tussle between liberals and Washington Post columnist David Broder, Matthew Sheffield writes in a May 2 post: "The problem Broder is encountering is that even though he is a liberal, the fact that he has crossed the far left on its most important agenda item (surrendering in Iraq) has made him anathema."
First, Broder, while he may not be reliably conservative, is not liberal. Second, Sheffield implies that similar shunning of ideological heretics doesn't happen on the right; it does, and NewsBusters has participated in it.
In early 2006, Bruce Bartlett, an economist and policy analyst who worked in both the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, lost his job at the conservative National Center for Policy Analysis for writing a book questioning the current President Bush's conservative credentials. And NewsBusters did its part to shun Bartlett as well:
A Feb. 21, 2006, post by Mark Finkelstein complained that the only reason a "conservative author" like Bartlett got attention from "MSM shows" was because he took "serious shots at a Republican president." Finkelstein later snapped at Bartlett's claims about Bush: "I wonder what Bartlett's former boss Jack Kemp would think of that?"
In a March 13, 2006, post, Dave Pierre was upset that the Los Angeles Times quoted Bartlett in a series on the "Conservative Crackup": "How about problems in the Democratic Party and among liberals?"
Aside from a March 29, 2006, post by Tim Graham referencing "anti-Bush books by old Bush officials like Paul O'Neill and Bruce Bartlett," these are the only mentions of Bartlett to be found on NewsBusters.
It seems Sheffield and Co. consider Bartlett to have "crossed the far right" by violating an important part of their agenda -- criticism of Bush is verboten -- and, thus, is now as "anathema" as Democrats consider Broder. Care to discuss why that is, Matt?