An Aug. 29 CNSNews.com column by Matt Barber, policy director for cultural issues at Concerned Women for America, is an attack on a book for teens that pulls quotes out of context and doesn't mention what the book is about.
Barber bashes an Illinois school district for assigning "summer reading to 12- and 13-year-olds that is replete with harsh profanity and references to teen sex (even teen sex with adults)." He then offers salacious quotes from "one of the books," "Fat Kid Rules the World" by K. L. Going. Barber accused the school district of "educational malpractice" for purportedly "willingly -- if not eagerly -- contribut[ing] to their moral degradation by pushing this kind of vulgarity on them." But nowhere does Barber tell readers what the book is about or in what context those quotes appear.
So, what is this purportedly offensive book about? Here's a summary from Common Sense Media, which
Troy, a 300-pound high-schooler, is contemplating jumping in front of a train when he meets Curt, an emaciated, homeless, guitar-playing, drop-out legend in his school. Before he knows what has hit him, Troy has agreed to be the drummer in a new band Curt is forming, despite not playing drums. With a faith in him that Troy doesn't understand, Curt is Troy's nightmare and dream come true, often at the same time.
Though Troy's father suspects that Curt's a junkie, he ultimately supports Troy's efforts to learn the drums, the first thing he has seemed interested in since his mother died. But getting involved in Curt's world of punk rock and street life is more than any of them bargained for.
Common Sense Media raises caution flags about much of the book's content, but rather than issing blanket condemnations, it states for most of those flags, "know your kid." It seems to believe, unlike Barber, that the book covers subjects that adolescents can learn from. Indeed, as the reviewer states:
Troy's father, ex-military, is a rigid stereotype in Troy's, and for a while the reader's, eyes. But from Curt's point of view, and in the midst of crisis, his faults morph into virtues without too much gong-beating from the author. As often happens when we meet someone who has real problems, Curt brings with him a dramatic perspective shift, and young readers may have cause to reassess their opinions of their own parents.
Is that not a message Barber can endorse?
Common Sense Media aims to "provide trustworthy information and tools, as well as an independent forum, so that families can have a choice and a voice about the media they consume." It appears to be using more common sense and logic than Barber.
CNSNews.com is actually taking a stab at making its labeling in stories on gun issues a bit fairer -- sorta.
In the past, aswe'vedocumented, CNS has frequently juxtaposed terms such as "anti-gun" for any non-conservative position on guns, while portraying those on the other side of the issue as "Second Amendment supporters." An Aug. 29 CNS article by Nathan Burchfiel on protests outside of a gun shop from which guns sold there have been linked to numerous crimes, changes things up a bit; "opponents of gun rights" are pitted against "pro-gun demonstrators." Burchfiel uses the "opponents of gun rights" tag even though he quotes one protester saying of "pro-gun" counter-protesters, "We're not trying to take away the rights of the folks that are protesting behind us."
An Aug. 28 NewsBusters post by Bill Hobbs countered a blogger's claim that the roster of syndicated columnists at the Tennessean newspaper is overwhelmingly conservative by claiming:
While it's true that the paper does run a healthier selection of nationally syndicated conservatives than it does liberals, the Nashville blogger has defined the equation too narrowly - he's left out the paper's own editorials, which consistently lean leftward on national, state and local issues.
And the Tennessean does not employ a local conservative political columnist.
The paper's roster of national syndicated conservative columnists masks the paper's liberal leanings. Strip away all the syndicated stuff, liberal and conservative - which readers can get online and from a myriad of other print sources anyway - and what you have left is the local editorial and commentary content. And it leans heavily leftward.
Hobbs offers no evidence to his readers that the Tennessean's "local editorial and commentary content ... leans heavily leftward. Is he running on the normal conservative assumption that because a newspaper is not explictly conservative, a la the Washington Times and New York Post, it must ipso facto be liberal?
It would appear so. Who needs evidence when you have conservative shibboleths?
Huston: Bush Critics Hate America Topic: NewsBusters
Warner Todd Huston is still operating on a blown gasket. Fresh from ranting against anyone who identifies "Hillary haters," he's now asserting that historians who think George W. Bush ranks among the worst presidents are America-haters who lack academic credentials.
In an Aug. 28 NewsBusters post, Huston rages against a McClatchy article he calls a "pointless Bush bashing presidential rating story filled with quotes from partisan, hack 'historians.'" Huston asserted, "These "ranking" stories are always full of partisan left nonsense and this one is no different," adding that "these 'historians' are part of the far left University system we are saddled with." Note Huston's repeated use of scare quotes around "historians."
By contrast, a historian quoted in the article who said that history has yet to judge Bush is praised by Huston as a "reputable and brilliant historian"-- no scare quotes needed.
Huston then digresses to a rant about Andrew Jackson's place in history:
Every time we see these ridiculous stories, I harken back to the fact that from the 1820's until about the 1920s Andrew Jackson was considered one of the most famous presidents we ever had. How many "Jackson" towns, counties, schools, streets, and other such named municipal buildings do we have across America? "Historians" thought Jackson the best president ever until the PC idea that his owning slaves and fighting Indians made him persona non grata. Now, no matter what he did as president, his name is anathema to these so-called historians all his work forgotten, shunned even, despite the fact that his name is so ubiquitous across the country --now with no one even knowing why thanks to these "historians."
These Charles Beard/Anthony Zini [sic] influenced America haters have no standing by which to be believed. They are almost universally uneducated enough to assess economic history and this makes them completely useless in assessing any president after Andrew Jackson destroyed the Second Bank of the US. Worse, few if any of them have the slightest clue about Constitutional history and interpretation.
Huh? Andrew Jackson's presidential ranking was lowered by his owning of slaves? Huston offers no evidence to support the claim. Anyone who disagrees with Huston's idea of history have "clue about Constitutional history and interpretation"? Really?
And yes, Huston is saying that any historian who disagrees with him, and who would rank Bush low on the presidential scale, is an "America hater." He offers no evidence that any of the historians quoted in the McClatchy article were "influenced" by Charles Beard of Anthony Zinni, or why it's purportedly such a bad thing to have been "influenced" by them.
As an extra added bonus, Huston rails against Franklin Roosevelt:
The proof of this is the fact that these so-called historians continue to rank Franklin Roosevelt as one of our presidential "greats."
Roosevelt was a socialist in everything but name. He destroyed our Constitution, ruined the economy, made the Great Depression last decades longer than it had to, did nothing about Civil Rights, and lied our way into WWII. His "legacy" is high taxes, welfare, a broken and unconstitutional social security system and a Supreme Court run amuck. But to the extreme leftists in our Universities he is a great president despite all the harm he did to our nation.
This goes beyond revisionhist history to fiction. FDR "made the Great Depression last decades longer than it had to"? Social Security is "unconstitutional"?
And a strident supporter of President Bush bashing another president for having "lied our way" into war? Oh, the irony.
Huston Pretends Hillary Hate Doesn't Exist Topic: NewsBusters
Warner Todd Huston seems to have blown a gasket, angry at the idea that any journalist would write something that undeniably exists: "Hillary haters."
In an Aug. 27 NewsBusters post, Huston lambasted UPI for "shilling for their favored candidate; Hillary Clinton" by writing about "Hillary haters." Huh? UPI is owned by the Moonies, so it's highly unlikely that a Democrat is any UPI employee's "favored candidate."
(Actually, the UPI article appears to be a condensed version of a Chicago Tribune article on the subject that Michael M. Bates, to a lesser degree than Huston, lambasted on NewsBusters the day before.)
In response to the article's statement that the Hillary haters "aim to crystallize voters against Clinton, much the same way as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in the 2004 election denigrated John Kerry's military service in Vietnam," Huston responded:
UPI forgets one little thing in their partisan dismissal of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against Kerry. What they Swift Boaters had to sell was truth. That is why it hurt Kerry so bad. The truth came out and it hurt him. They weren’t selling hate, they were revealing truth and that is why it worked so well against him.
Um, actually, no -- the Swift Boat Vets made several false or misleading claims.
And in response to the article's calling the attack site StopHerNow.com "snide," Huston retorted:
Unlike Koz, and other far, far left sites, you will not find cursing, foul language, or wishes for Hillary to die in baneful language like you do for conservatives and other GOP candidates on those other sites. You just won’t find the kind of REAL hate you see on those leftwing nutroots sites if you go to StopHerNow.com.
In focusing on only one conservative site, Huston conveniently ignores sites like Free Republic, where we were immediately able to locatenumerousthreads in which Hillary is called "Hitlery." Does Huston consider that "REAL hate"? We suspect not.
Bartholomew points out that WorldNetDaily reporter Aaron Klein's attempt to disassociate Baruch Goldstein's 1994 massacre of Arabs at Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs is even more hypocritical than we first described.
The CNN documentary on religious extremism that Klein criticized for noting the Goldstein massacre featured David Ha'ivri, who refused to criticize a plot by Jewish extremists to detonate a bomb outside a Palestinian girls' school. Haivri, like Goldstein, is a sympathizer of the extremist movement of Meir Kahane. While Klein was adamant about declaring that "the movement [Goldstein] was a part of was outlawed in Israel," but that didn't stop Klein from featuring Ha'ivri in articles about the 2005 march he and other right-wing Jews led to the Temple Mount "in hopes of reclaiming the site from its Islamic custodians," depicting him, in Bartholomew's words, as "simply a pious Jew" and not mentioning his Kahane ties.
WND Mum About Latest Lawsuit Against It Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has made a lot of noise about the lawsuit filed against it by Clark Jones over a 2000 WND series that it brags cost Gore the presidency. But WND faces another lawsuit that WND hasn't said a peep about.
In mid-July, author Paul L. Williams filed suit against WND and Cumberland House Publishing, WND's former partner in the WND Books imprint. WND/Cumberland House published Williams' 2006 book "The Dunces of Doomsday," which, among other claims, accused Canada's McMaster University of having lax security around its nuclear research reactor that it let members of Al Qaeda enroll under fictitious names and carry off radioactive material. As we've noted, WND/Cumberland House retracted the claim in in June 2006.
According to the Nashville Post, Williams did not sign off on the retraction and stands by his claim. He further claims that WND and Cumberland House exposed him to the Canadian libel charge by selling the book in a country where "journalistic standards" differ from those in the U.S. McMaster has filed a lawsuit against Williams, who has started a legal defense fund.
To date, however, WND has not written a word about Williams' lawsuit against it -- even though it was filed more than a month ago -- nor has it mentioned McMasters' actions against Williams, though it repeated Williams' claims about McMaster in a June 2006 article promoting "The Dunces of Doomsday." WND still promotes Williams' book at the booom of related articles (like this Aug. 22 Joseph Farah column).
So much for WND's purported mission to "seek to stimulate a free-and-open debate about the great moral and political ideas facing the world." How can it when it won't have a free-and-open debate about itself?
So we wonder: Do NewsMax, WND, and NewsBusters -- some employees of which consider themselves to be journalists -- aware of the message that Those Shirts is trying to profit from? Do they endorse it, even though it applies to them as well? (After all, the shirt excludes no journalists from its fatwa.) And are they offended enough to pull Those Shirts' ads until the shirt is withdrawn from sale?
UPDATE: We've previously noted that WND's Joseph Farah objects to "disgusting" advertising on his website. Does he think that a death threat against journalists is "disgusting," or not?
In her column last week, we noted, WorldNetDaily columnist Ilana Mercer ran to the defense of Michael Vick over dogfighting charges and, by implication, sorta defended dogfighting. She continues her defense in her Aug. 24 column, further implying that mistreatment of animals shouldn't be a crime because, well, they're animals.
Mercer attacks animal-rights activists to anthropomorphizing animals: "The love and loyalty dog lovers see in their mutt's eyes is a projection of the owner's large, cerebral cortex." She continues:
Like PETA, I don't distinguish between the pig farmer and the dogfighter. Unlike PETA, I believe all animals are property. Man is the only top dog. Although people will go to great lengths to distinguish their preferred form of animal use from Vick's, the distinction is nebulous. One either owns a resource or one doesn't. Whether one kills animals for food or for fun, the naturally licit basis for large-scale pig farming or game hunting is the same: ownership of the resource.
Arguably, commercial pig farming is crueler than dispatching dogs, then-and-there, as Vick did.
Mercer concludes: "So far, public pressure, not the law, has brought about the termination of Vick's lucrative, promising career. Civil society is clearly quite capable of censuring Vick. The law should leave him be."
NewsBuster Shows Ignorance of Newspaper Economics Topic: NewsBusters
"Mithridate Ombud" demonstrates a basic ignorance of the current print-to-Internet media paradigm shift when he/she claims, in an Aug. 24 NewsBusters post, that the Tribune Co. is seeing reduced revenue because it won't "get rid of the bias, the America-hating columnists, the socialist editorials, and the reporters pushing a gay/lesbian/transgendered/illegal alien/pro-abortion/anti-God/anti-gun agenda."
"Ombud" fails to note that America's two most prominent conservative newspapers, the Washington Times and the New York Post, are money-losers propped up only by their deep-pocketed owners. Going that route would cause Tribune to lose even more money.
If we were giving out this kind of "advice," we'd write under a pseudonym, too.
Frank Salvato's Favorite Convicted Felon Topic: CNSNews.com
Frank Salvato jumps on the Peter Paul bandwagon in an Aug. 25 CNSNews.com column, but he spends much of his column trying to explain away the fact that Paul is a convicted felon.
Salvato repeated invokes Paul's assertion that his case -- in which Paul claims that he spent $2 million on a 2000 Hollywood gala for the Clintons -- is "the largest case of campaign fraud in US history" (a term he repeats three times). He asserted that the event "netted a sorely needed $1 million in hard money donations for Hillary Clinton's campaign, donations needed to keep the campaign from going broke."
In fact, as the New York Sun -- a conservative newspaper and no fan of the Clintons -- reported, "a Federal Election Commission analysis released at the trial found that a bookkeeper's decision to pay more expenses with hard money than the law required meant that, in the end, the understatement of Paul's in-kind donations did not benefit Mrs. Clinton's bid. Her campaign netted just $57,000 from the event, though more than $1 million went to national Democratic coffers."
Then comes Savato's whitewashing of Paul's status as a convicted felon:
Those who use the "convicted felon" argument in attempting to discredit Mr. Paul's assertions are relativistic. The federal government routinely uses the testimony of convicted felons and criminals to achieve favorable outcomes in trials.
Further, the fact that Mr. Paul is a convicted felon (an interesting story in its own right) is irrelevant due to the fact that the FEC documents and investigation proving the campaign finance fraud committed by Hillary Clinton's 2000 senatorial campaign are independent of Mr. Paul.
First: Yes, it's an interesting story -- so why doesn't Savato tell it? Perhaps because, as we've detailed when WorldNetDaily tried to whitewash Paul's criminal record, fraud and cocaine possession just doesn't look good on a resume. And Paul's most recent felony -- pleading guilty to a stock fraud scheme that cost investors and banks $25 million, during which he fled to Brazil to avoid arrest and fought extradition for two years -- doesn't look good either.
Second: Paul's current felony conviction is not "irrelevant." Paul has not been sentenced yet, and he's throwing out whatever juicy charges he can against the Clintons in order to stay out of prison (or at least get a reduced sentence).
Further, Salvato offers no evidence why a three-time convicted felon should be considered in any way trustworthy.
Salvato has been cranking out the liberal-hate columns of late. His Aug. 17 column was, to use a term he himself used, a "spittle-infused rant" against the "American Fifth Column," whch he bashed as "short-sighted, maladjusted, narcissists" and "the fringe elements of our society." He declared that "We, the silent majority, must shake off the apathy that has rendered ineffective our constitutionally mandated duty to civic responsibility and we must do it now, before it is too late."
And his Aug. 3 column was headlined, "I Don't Dislike Democrats, I Oppose the Progressive Left," which even includes the phrase, "I have many friends who are Democrats." The feeling one gets from it is that it's adapted from some long-lost previous work in which he substituted "black people" for "Democrats" and a certain N-word for "Progressive Left."
Kessler Not Interested In Freedom's Watch Funding Topic: Newsmax
An Aug. 23 NewsMax article by Ronald Kessler praises the creation of the conservative group Freedom's Watch, which is "running $15 million in TV, radio, and Internet ads aimed at bolstering support in Congress for President Bush’s surge strategy in Iraq." But while Kessler is quick to (erroneously) denounce George Soros for his support of liberal causes, he is strangely incurious about the sources of Freedom's Watch's money.
Conservatives have long wondered why no one has stepped forward to provide as much funding to push their issues as the left-of-center MoveOn.org operations started by George Soros. The new non-profit organization is designed to fill that void: Its funding will exceed that of entities that have been underwritten by Soros.
But Soros didn't start MoveOn; it was founded in 1998 by Joan Blades and Wes Boyd. Soros gave money to the group starting in 2003.
Kessler repeatedly references Soros' funding of liberal causes, but when it comes to the funding behind Freedom's Watch, he has no apparent interest in pressing group president Brad Blakeman -- who he points out is "regularly quoted in NewsMax’s Washington Insider," aka Kessler's column -- about where the group's money comes from. It appears that Kessler is way too close to Blakeman to report on Freedom's Watch objectively.
Kessler states that "the total assets of the organization and the largest sources of funds are not being disclosed," but doesn't explain why. Later, he states that "Blakeman declined to compare the group with Soros’ funding," even though that's what Kessler spends his article doing.
We have two great mysteries here: Where does Freedom's Watch money come from? And why is Kessler so unenthusiastic about finding out?
The Perils of Trusting Marc Morano Topic: Media Research Center
An Aug. 22 NewsBusters post (and MRC CyberAlert item) by Brent Baker praised Fox News Channel's Brit Hume for reporting that "skeptics are increasingly certain that the scare is vastly overblown," citing among other things "new research by University of Washington mathematicians" that "shows a correlation between high solar activity and periods of global warming." Baker added: "Hume was apparently relaying highlights from an August 20 posting, 'New Peer-Reviewed Scientific Studies Chill Global Warming Fears,' by Marc Morano of the minority staff of the Senate's Committee on Environment and Public Works. Morano's rundown summarized more than a dozen studies and reports.
In fact, that study doesn't support the contention that global warming is "vastly overblown." As Media Matters details, a New Scientist article on the study notes that "[c]limate-change skeptics may seize on the findings as evidence that the sun's variability can explain global warming -- but [the report's co-author] mathematician Ka-Kit Tung says quite the contrary is true," adding: "Tung says his findings provide important real-world evidence that climate model predictions of global warming are correct."
Gee, Baker and Hume didn't mention that. Why? Because Morano didn't. Given Morano's track record of making bogus claims about global warming, shouldn't they have verified his assertions before regurgitating them?
Klein Finally Acknowledges Goldstein Massacre Topic: WorldNetDaily
Good news: At long last, WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein finally mentions right-wing extremist Jew Baruch Goldstein's massacre of 29 Arabs inside Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs. Bad news: He does it in an article where that history isn't relevant to the story.
In fact, in an Aug. 23 WND article regurgitating the pro-Israeli, anti-Arab group CAMERA's attack on the CNN miniseries "God's Warriors" -- a look at religious extremism of all stripes that CAMERA has declared "one of the most grossly distorted programs" ever aired on mainstream American television -- Klein complained that it was even brought up at all, and then explains it away as an isolated incident:
Tuesday's segment started off comparing "Jewish terrorists" to that of Muslims, specifically focusing on the few instances of violence or attempted violence by religiously motivated Jews against Muslims. It told the story of Baruch Goldstein, an American-born Israeli physician who killed 29 Arabs in the West Bank city of Hebron in 1994. Goldstein's actions were widely condemned by Israelis and worldwide Jewry. The organization he was a part of was outlawed in Israel.
What Klein doesn't note is that the organization Goldstein was a part of -- the Kach/Kahane Chai movement -- is something Klein has previously tried to whitewash and counts as its former members some of Klein's favorite interview subjects.
As we've detailed, Klein has positivelywritten about former Kach/Kahane Chai members who have been active in the Jewish settlement movement in the West Bank and Gaza -- specifically, those who oppose abandoning settlements in those areas. In an August 2004 article, for instance, Klein goes out of his way to depict former Kahane members -- who at that point were reportedly planning to blow up the Temple Mount and assassinate then-prime minister Ariel Sharon in retaliation for the his plan to close Jewish settlements in Gaza -- as nonviolent and having a "leisurely chat" with Israeli officials, further citing the Goldstein massacre as an anomaly, that Jewish terrorism "is considered extremely rare," and quoting an anonymous settler as responding, "But just because of this, settlers don't deserve these labels."
Where Klein should have mentioned the Goldstein massacre, of course, is in his articles on removal of right-wing Jewish extremists who attempted to move into a marketplace in Hebron (and were then forcibly removed by Israeli troops). As we've detailed, the main reason the marketplace was closed was because of the Goldstein massacre; further, the father of one of the squatters was a landowner who played a role in bombing Arab officials in the West Bank in the 1980s. Apparently, Klein doesn't think that's "terrorism."
Cashill, Part 4: The Leak of the Crime Is Worse Than the Crime Itself Topic: WorldNetDaily
It's Part 4 of Jack Cashill's Clinton Derangement Syndrome special at WorldNetDaily, and somehow Cashill has managed to avoid making obviously egregious or misleading statements. Perhaps that's because he's too busy trying to sweep Curt Weldon's apparent ethical problems under the rug.
Indeed, Cashill is more concerned with trying to portray the leak of the FBI investigation against Weldon as more serious than anything Weldon did:
As with the Plame investigation, also prompted by a leak, if the DOJ does not find something to pin on Weldon or his daughter Karen, the larger Democratic collaboration that inspired this case will come under fire.
If investigators look hard enough they are likely to find something on Weldon, his daughter or his associates. It is likely they could find something on any member of Congress.
And, of course, Cashill paints Weldon as a yet another victim of the Clinton Conspiracy:
The question the media should be asking is "Why Weldon?" What about the man inspired Sandy Berger, the Clintons, the Democratic Alliance, CREW and just about every key player in the Clinton national security apparatus to want Weldon gone?
The answer, and here I speculate: Weldon knew – or was about to learn – what Sandy Berger pilfered from the National Archives. Whatever Berger removed, it was a powerful enough secret to justifying risking his own career and destroying Curt Weldon's.
Remember, Cashill is the same guy who took seven WND articles to portray James Kopp as innocent of shooting and killing a doctor who performed abortions -- a few months before Kopp pleaded guilty to the murder -- so his judgment of guilt and innocence is a tad skewed.