WND's Unruh Keeps Up Anti-Gay Slant Topic: WorldNetDaily
Bob Unruh keeps up his misleading claims in service of his anti-gay agenda in a Feb. 6 article about a lawsuit against a sex education curriculum in the Montgomery County, Maryland, school district.
Unruh claimed that the curriculum "teaches students homosexuality is innate." But he doesn't tell the full context in which the reference appears -- as a Washington Post article noted, the judge who ruled to uphold the curriculum "said the school board's use of the term 'innate' was defensible, noting that it was couched in a much broader definition of factors that determine sexual orientation."
Curiously, Unruh does not use the word "conservative" anywhere in his article; he describes the Thomas More Law Center, which brought the lawsuit against the school district, only as a group "whose work is funded by donations," even though its causes -- "abortion, pornography, school prayer, and the removal of the Ten Commandments from municipal and school buildings" -- are indisputably conservative.
In keeping with the pattern of his WND reporting, Unruh quotes opponents of the curriculum at length but keeping statements attributed to supporters or school officials to a bare minimum, and he makes no apparent effort to contact school officials to give them the opportunity to respond to the opponents' claims.
Bizarrely, Unruh attributes information in the article to "the Portland, Ore., Examiner." Why is Unruh using an Oregon website for information about a story in Maryland? In fact, there is no such publication as the Portland Examiner; the Portland website is merely a city-themed portal -- of which there are many -- for Examiner newspapers that are located only in San Francisco, Washington and Baltimore.
The Examiner article from which Unruh apparently cribbed doesn't go into much detail about the "innate" question, but it points out what Unruh didn't -- that the lawsuit was brought by "a group of Christian conservatives." While Unruh pulled the more inflammatory quote from a member of the school board saying, "To the other side, I say get out of town, shut up, quit costing Montgomery County taxpayers money for litigation, and we're right and parents believe we're right," he doesn't acknowledge the school board member's other statement, that the opponents "speak for a minority. ... Many do not even live in the county."
(Updated to reflect Unruh's inclusion of the more inflammatory of the school board member's quotes.)
He danced the complete Kabuki, right down to the mandatory move about considering John McCain for his VP slot. But at the end of the day, Mike Huckabee has admitted the obvious: he'll take the Veep nomination if John McCain offers it.
Mike Huckabee won five races last night. Mitt Romney won seven. Mike Huckabee has 190 delegates. Mitt Romney has 269 [see results here]. The only closed Deep South state left on the primary calendar is Mississippi. Romney has the message and money to compete across the USA.
As a commenter noted in Finkelstein's first post: "What does this have to do with media bias? When did this site turn into the Romney propoganda site?"
Sheppard Retains Ability to Be Shocked by Non-Shocking Event Topic: NewsBusters
A Feb. 6 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard declares that the New York Times has done the "almost unthinkable" by printing a "surprisingly skeptical piece concerning man's role in the liberal bogeyman known as global warming" by John Tierney.
But as we pointed out the last time Sheppard did this (when he called a Tierney column "shocking"), Tierney is a conservative; thus, it's unsurprising that he would take the same denier point of view associated with conservatives such as Sheppard. Further, Sheppard continues to be unfamilar with the idea that newspapers like the Times regularly publish multiple points of view on a given subject -- unlike, say, NewsBusters.
And on a related note, not a peep from Sheppard thus far on our challenge to him to back up his claim that Al Gore is a global warming activist only for the money.
New Article: Noel Sheppard's Very Convenient Lie Topic: NewsBusters
The NewsBusters blogger has repeatedly asserted -- without any real evidence -- that Al Gore is only in global warming activism for the money. Will he put up or shut up? Read more >>
AIM Misrepresents Hillary Photo Topic: Accuracy in Media
In a Feb. 5 Accuracy in Media column, Jerry Zeifman writes:
I have just seen Hillary Clinton and her former Yale law professor both in tears at a campaign rally here in my home state of Connecticut. Her tearful professor said how proud he was that his former student was likely to become our next President. Hillary responded in tears.
Zeifman, in fact, did not see this. As Media Matters detailed, the photo Zeifman supplied of Clinton purportedly "in tears" was not taken during the introduction by her "tearful professor," as a video of the introduction demonstrates. The original Associated Press caption on the photo described Clinton as "wiping her eye and sipping water to get her cough under control" -- not crying during the introduction.
Hey, guys, you're called Accuracy in Media. Try it sometime.
We've previouslydocumented Zeifman taking refuge in his claimed status as a "life-long Democrat" -- a claim he makes here as well -- to attack other Democrats.)
Warner Todd Huston calls John Mellencamp "filled with hate" in a Feb. 5 NewsBusters post, but it appears that Huston is the hateful one.
Huston snidely calls him "Johnny Cougar" twice, never mind that Mellencamp hasn't called himself that in, oh, 30 years or so. He also throws in a gratuitous slam at Rolling Stone magazine: "I'm always surprised that anyone who works at Rolling Stone is able to come out of their drug induced stupor long enough to even peck out their little "news" stories on their munchies encrusted keyboards, myself."
Gee, project much, Warner?
Meanwhile, Tim Graham is complaining about Time's Ana Marie Cox making a "cheap shot" against Rush Limbaugh. Maybe she was inspired by Huston...
WND Still Misleads on Lawsuit Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Feb. 5 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh about the libel lawsuit against it by Tennessee businessman Clark Jones repeats (without credit, of course) some of the news we first reported months ago, then goes downhill and self-serving from there.
Unruh notes that the lawsuit is scheduled for trial in March and concedes that the articles by Charles C. Thompson II and Tony Hays that drew the lawsuit were "researched and [written] under the sponsorship of the Center for Public Integrity" -- things we first reported last November, and which WND has never reported until now.
Unruh then turns the article into a self-serving exercise -- telling only WND's side of the story, painting WND as a First Amendment martyr and focusing narrowly on the side issue of identifying confidential sources when the main claim of Jones' lawsuit is libel. Indeed, Unruh recites the claims WND made against Jones -- that he was a "suspected drug dealer" who "reportedly intervened in a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation probe into narcotics trafficking" -- without even bothering to note, as it has previously, that Jones has denied the claim.
Further, Jones does not mention, as we detailed, the claims of shoddy journalism against Thompson and Hays -- that the reporters declined Jones' request to have a court reporter present during their interview and that Jones has submitted expert testimony that claimed the articles, in the words of one expert, "grossly violated the basic standards of care advocated by professional journalism organizations and practice in reputable newsrooms."
Unruh is equally uncurious about what he does report as well; he noted that WND "does not even know the identity of confidential sources used by the reporters" without offering an explanation why that is the case. Indeed, as we noted, court documents show that WND apparently did no fact-checking on Thompson and Hays' articles -- which makes it difficult for WND to claim the truth as a defense when it can't say with any certainty what the truth is.
This article would seem to demostrate that WND remains tolerant of the type of biased, shoddy reporting that resulted in Jones' lawsuit in the first place.
It's also worth noting that WND has never posted any legal documents on its website or any other evidence that would support claims made in its articles about the lawsuit. However, we have, so judge for yourself.
A Feb. 5 WorldNetDaily column by Les Kinsolving takes a certain amount of glee in the fact that the "strongly liberal" Washington Post is losing circulation:
So what is the Post doing about this precipitous loss in circulation and income?
Are you sitting down?
They are raising this price of each copy of the paper from 35 to 50 cents.
This despite the fact that a new daily newspaper competitor. the Examiner, is delivered at homes and available in street boxes – for free.
The Post in this story, "Post newsstand price going up to 50 cents," did not mention this free competing daily – or the fact that the Washington Times still retains its 25 cent price – as well as a smaller but hardly sinking number of avid readers, particularly on Capitol Hill.
Kinsolving adds: "I would suggest that both of these Old Big Media giants [the Post and the New York Times] might, before they lose a quarter million more in circulation, consider some ideological emulation of the conservative New York Post – one of the very very few daily newspapers that recently reported an increase in circulation."
But Kinsolving ignores the fact that the Washington Times and the New York Post are working off of a different economic model than the Washington Post and the New York Times. As we've noted, the WashTimes and the NY Post are perennial money-losers kept in business only by the deep pockets of their conservative billionaire owners. They are not competing in an open business market, while the WaPo and the NYT are -- which tells us that conservative newspaper journalism is not a smart business move. If the Washington Times were actually in the newspaper business to make a profit, it would not still be 25 cents a copy.
Will WND Get Its Facts Right on Leprosy? Topic: WorldNetDaily
The new issue of WorldNetDaily's Whistleblower magazine has the theme, "The New Plagues," in which "self-destructive 'alternative lifestyles'" and "out-of-control immigration" are blamed for "long-'vanquished' illnesses [that] are once again ravaging the U.S., puzzling scientists and terrifying millions of victims and their loved ones." Will WND get its facts straight on the issue?
We suspect not. Among the topics covered:
Leprosy, the contagious skin disease evoking thoughts of biblical and medieval times, is now making its mark in the United States, and many believe the influx of illegal aliens is the main factor.
As we detailed, in 2005 WND repeated the false claim -- first made by Madeleine Cosman in an anti-immigrant screed masquerading as a "scientific" article in the conservative Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons -- that more than 7,000 cases of leprosy were reported in the United States in "the previous three years"; in fact, that number is for the past 30 years. WND rehashed the claim in another 2005 article. Given that WND has never bothered to correct that information, it's likely that it has seeped into Whistleblower as well.
The magazine also lists the following article:
"Chicken-plant workers test 'positive' for TB" – revealing that while 212 out of 765 processing employees were infected, the company said HIV-privacy laws prohibit screening
This is apparently a rehash of a November 2007 WND article. Despite its suggestion that illegal immigrants are responsible for the outbreak -- as we noted wen David Horowitz's Discover the Networks used this article to make that claim -- buried far down is the note that, according to a spokesman for the plant, "despite the large number of foreign-born Hispanic employees working at the Decatur facility, all have been verified as legally working in the U.S."
Actually, Noel, she didn't "tear up" and she didn't cry; she just expressed a little emotion.
While we're on the subject, in the same WorldNetDaily column in which he smears John McCain as a communist collaborator (as noted below), Jack Wheeler writes: "Maybe McCain will try to fight back by confirming Hillary's well-known bisexuality and her lesbian affair with her beautiful assistant, Huma Abedin."
The ConWeb is getting in a last bit of John McCain-bashing before Super Tuesday:
-- Ronald Kessler, apparently bitter that his favorite candidate, Mitt Romney, is going down in flames, lashes out in a Feb. 3 Newsmax column. Kessler uses David Keene of the American Conservative Union to complain that "John McCain is largely a creation of the media," then adds: "In contrast to the glowing coverage of McCain and his Straight Talk Express, the media have largely ignored a telling clue to Romney’s character. As first fully reported by Newsmax, when told in July 1996 that the 14-year-old daughter of one of his partners at Bain Capital had been missing in New York for three days, Romney closed down the firm. He asked its 30 partners and employees to fly to New York to try to find her." Kessler desperately adds: " While Romney changed some of his positions while he was Massachusetts governor or later, he has changed his position on fewer issues than did McCain."
-- In a Feb. 4 column, Jack Wheeler calls McCain "psychologically unstable" and a "nutcase wack job," then -- echoing the "Manchurian candidate" smear -- uses anonymous sources to claim that McCain "collaborat[ed] with his Communist captors" while a POW in the Vietnam War. (UPDATE: We've previously noted that WND has engaged in some ethical-boundary-blurring advertising-disguised-as-news on Wheeler's behalf.)
-- The headline of a Feb. 4 CNSNews.com column by Chuck Muth sums up the general conservative dilemma: "Slit a Vein or Vote for McCain?" Muth writes of the idea that Newt Gingrich or South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford would ride in as a "dark-horse savior" at a brokered convention: "Do it! Do it! Do it!"
-- Mark Finkelstein touches on a host of conervative bogeymen in a Feb. 2 NewsBusters post, noting that "the liberal [Los Angeles Times] likes McCain because he's weak on border fences and strong on global warming."
Kincaid Mum on Savage's Racist Rant, Paul's Bigotry Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid has been a notable defender of Michael Savage and Ron Paul in recent weeks.
Kincaid ran to Savage's defense after he was the target of an advertiser boycott by the Council on American-Islamic Relation, claiming that CAIR is trying to "muzzle its talk radio critics" and calling the group "radical Muslims." Kincaid has evenappeared on Savage's show.
But Kincaid has yet to weigh in on a recent statement by Savage on his radio show, in which he said to a caller he presumed was black:
SAVAGE: If you study the science [of AIDS] -- but I don't think you have the capacity to understand science, my dear friend Kojo.
SAVAGE: See, we don't live in Africa where people settle arguments with machetes. We live in a country where we settle it with arguments. Something you apparently don't know anything about.
See, there you go. Couldn't use the machete so his mind went blank. There, that's what we got. There's multiculturalism for you. There's immigration for you. There's the new America for you. Bring them in by the millions. Bring in 10 million more from Africa. Bring them in with AIDS. Show how multicultural you are. They can't reason, but bring them in with a machete in their head. Go ahead. Bring them in with machetes in their mind.
Kincaid similarly ran to the defense of Ron Paul in a Feb. 1 column, insisting that "the media are notoriously biased against him" and adding, "Whatever they may think of his views on this or that issue, Ron Paul's success can be traced to the grass-roots."
And, just as similarly, Kincaid makes no mention of a New Republic article last month detailing the bigoted sentiments -- racist and anti-gay -- issued over the years in newsletters published by Paul. Certainly such views are one reason why Paul is not taken seriously as a candidate, by the media and most everyone else (except Kincaid).
Kincaid needs to account for Savage's and Paul's racist leanings and how that factors in his vocal support for them.
Star Parker's Still On the Plantation Topic: WorldNetDaily
Star Parker apparently still thinks only conservatives can use the "plantation" analogy.
We've noted that Parker was upset two years ago when Hillary Clinton used the analogy to describe the treatment of Democrats in the Republican-controlled Congress -- after all, Parker wrote a book called "Uncle Sam's Plantation," and she considers the analogy to be her personal territory. Parker is still trying to beat Clinton with the analogy in a Feb. 2 WorldNetDaily column:
Nothing can be more threatening to these politics than a successful, talented black man like Obama running as an American candidate rather than as a black candidate.
But a black off the plantation is the last thing Sen. Clinton wants. She wants blacks to feel impotent and vulnerable and in need of a political patron to hand them the goodies they need.
Chalk Parker up as another conservative hypocritically condemning Clinton for using the "plantation" metaphor while freely using it herself.
How anti-gay is WorldNetDaily? It distorts the facts about laws intended to protect gays to the point where it is essentially telling a lie.
A Feb. 1 article by Bob Unruh starts off by referencing "a plan generated by California's legislature created a ban on the use of 'mom' and 'dad' in public schools." This links to an October 2007 WND article stating that a new California law means that "'Mom and Dad' as well as 'husband and wife' effectively have been banned from California schools" [emphasis ours]. Unruh goes on to repeat a previous false description of the California law as "mandat[ing] a positive – and no other – portrayal of bisexuals, homosexuals, transgenders and others choosing alternative sexual lifestyles in public schools."
As we've detailed when WND previously falsely described this law, SB 777 adds sexual orientation to the state's anti-discrimination laws as they apply to schools and requires that schools don't present material that "promotes a discriminatory bias" against those groups covered under the anti-discrimination clause. Unruh and WND are merely taking refuge in the Depiction-Equals-Endorsement Fallacy.
The October article goes on to state:
[Karen] England [of the conservative Capitol Resource Institute] told WND that the law is not a list of banned words, including "mom" and "dad." But she said the requirement is that the law bans discriminatory bias.
"Having 'mom' and 'dad' promotes a discriminatory bias. You have to either get rid of 'mom' and 'dad' or include everything when talking about [parental issues]," she said. "They [promoters of sexual alternative lifestyles] do consider that discriminatory."
So, in fact -- by WND's own admission -- the law does not ban "mom" and "dad"; it "is not a list of banned words" at all. It is only speculation by conservative opponents of this law that are speculating -- no actual evidence, mind you, just speculation -- that "mom" and "dad" are banned.
Unruh, then, is portraying speculation as fact.
This man worked for the Associated Press for nearly 30 years and presumably knows better -- but as we've documented, it appears he learned nothing from the AP.
Meanwhile, another Feb. 1 WND article stated that a Massachusetts court ruled that "there is an obligation for public schools to teach young children to accept and endorse homosexuality." This claim links to a February 2007 WND article by Unruh that makes the same claim -- and then went further, asserting the judge "ordered the 'gay' agenda taught to Christians who attend a public school in Massachusetts."
But that's not true either; as the judge's ruling stated according to the brief excerpt, buried amid a pile of ranting about "pro-homosexuality indoctrination," Unruh included in his article:
"Under the Constitution public schools are entitled to teach anything that is reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens in our democracy," the judge wrote. "Diversity is a hallmark of our nation. It is increasingly evident that our diversity includes differences in sexual orientation."
And, he said, since history "includes instances of … official discrimination against gays and lesbians … it is reasonable for public educators to teach elementary school students … different sexual orientations."
In other words, the judge approved teaching that homosexuality exists. Unruh invokes the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy again!