A Feb. 20 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh repeats numerous unsupported claims regarding laws about gays and education that is essentially one huge invocation of the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy.
Unruh highlighted "Massachusetts father" David Parker, who accused teachers of "indoctrinating his 5-year-old son in the homosexual lifestyle." Parker has been in a dispute with Massachusetts schools that began according to Unruh, "in the spring of 2005 when the Parkers then-5-year-old son brought home a book to be shared with his parents titled, "Who's in a Family?" The optional reading material, which came in a 'Diversity Book Bag,' depicted at least two households led by homosexual partners." Parker has been a cause celebre ever since, highly sympathetic to his side and denigrating or ignoring entirely any contrary view.
(Columnist Kevin McCullough even claimed in a June 2006 WND column that "10 ... thug-kins" who were "recruited ... to participate in angry anti-Parker demonstrations outside the school" allegedly "grabbed David Parker's 7-year-old son, dragged him behind the corner of the school, well out of sight from school officials, and proceeded to punch him in the groin, stomach and chest, before he dropped to the ground when they then kicked and stomped on him." in fact, the fight was with one other child, not 10, it was over who got to sit where in the cafeteria, and the school district noted that "following the incident the boys were observed arm in arm at school and subsequently the child who was hit went to the house of the child who hit him for a play date.")
Unruh devotes pretty much the entire article to Parker's anti-gay attacks. They never explain how a book that states the simple fact that there is such a thing as homosexual couples equals "indoctrinati[on] ... in the homosexual lifestyle," yet Unruh repeatedly quotes Parker using the word,i.e., "Teachers are being postured to have a constitutional right to coercively indoctrinate little children."
Of course, it wouldn't be an Unruh article if he didn't deliberately distort that California law on gays and schools, and he doesn't disappoint. This time around, he falsely describes the law as "requiring indoctrination that not only is pro-homosexual, but also affirms bisexuality, transsexuality and other alternative lifestyle choices," offering no evidence that this is, in fact, the case.
Indeed, Unruh gives Parker a free pass, permitting no one to respond to his claims, even his Godwin's Law-like assertion (something Unruh is quite familiar with) that "if homosexuality and bisexuality can be taught by public school teachers to children as young as age 5, there is virtually no topic, up to and including Nazism, that educational precedents would not allow to be taught to young children."
Newsmax's Anonymous-Sources Double Standard Topic: Newsmax
A Feb. 21 Newsmax article by Phil Brennan bashed the New York Times article on John McCain, in part because "the Times called upon anonymous sources who seemed eager to spread their suspicions, as long as their names go unmentioned." Brennan also bashed the Times' "squad of anonymous informants" who "all but openly accuse[d] this American hero of adultery and favoritism toward the lobbyist with no proof.
Brennan might want to have a little chat with his coworker Ronald Kessler. In a Feb. 7 Newsmax article, Kessler used anonymous sources to attack Hillary Clinton and depict her as "two-faced and perpetually angry." Kessler's "squad of anonymous informants" can be just as easily described as "eager to spread their suspicions, as long as their names go unmentioned."
Why does Brennan give Kessler a pass for using anonymous sources while the Times gets bashed for doing the exact same thing? Sounds like the Clinton Exception at work.
Richard Bartholomew notes that WorldNetDaily is now selling trinkets containing dirt from Jerusalem's Temple Mount. Of WND's claim that it "was able to salvage a very small amount of soil from the Temple Mount slated to be disposed by the Waqf, the holy site's Islamic custodians," Bartholomew adds: "One imagines Aaron Klein stuffing his trousers with the brown gold while interviewing local Islamists, or some such scene." Klein, of course, is WND's notoriouslybiased Jerusalem correspondent.
WND concludes its sales pitch by exhorting, "Show your love for Jerusalem's holiest site. Purchase a Temple Mount solidarity necklace containing earthy soil from the Mount and pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Act quickly as supplies are extremely limited."
MRC's 'Old News' Double Standard Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has gone on the attack against the New York Times article on John McCain:
An MRC press release dismissed it as a "nearly decade-old 'news' story" that "contains nothing new and nothing newsworthy." MRC chief Brent Bozell further bashed it as "[a] ten-year old piece of gossip."
In a TimesWatch item and NewsBusters post, Clay Waters similarly dismissed it as "old news" because "the Times waltzed down memory lane to recap the Keating Five savings and loan scandal."
A CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones, headlined "NY Times Begins Its Campaign Against GOP Frontrunner," stated that the Times "even dredged up the Keating Five scandal of the late 1980s."
Of course, when it comes to alleged scandals among Democrats, there is no such thing as "old news" at the MRC. For instance, Ted Kennedy's 40-year-old Chappaquiddick scandal was most recently referenced by the MRC in October 2007, just four months ago. In 2003, Bozell made a point of noting that Robert Byrd "civil rights in the '60s and, as is often noted, briefly joined the Ku Klux Klan" -- events occurring as far back as 60 years ago. And, of course, no Clinton scandal is ever "old news," as Bozell's recent book demonstrated. And the MRC's Tim Graham bashed the New York Times last December because it didn't rehash old Clinton scandals.
UPDATE: MRC now has an action alert urging readers to complain to the Times about the McCain article because it "dredg[ed] up 8 year-old allegations."
UPDATE 2: CNS has a second article on the Times' McCain story that carries the headline "Innuendo: McCain Forced to Defend Himself." Somehow, we suspect that CNS has never used the headline: "Innuendo: Clinton Forced to Defend Himself."
At the bottom of a Feb. 19 article that regurgitates an Accuracy in Media item on the alleged commie-pinko past of a mentor to Barack Obama, WorldNetDaily added: "Obama's campaign also, for the third straight day, declined to respond to WND requests for comment on the report of a Minnesota man who alleges he shared cocaine with Obama when Obama was a state lawmaker in Illinois."
As we've noted, WND has offered no evidence whatsoever to support the man's claim and has ignored evidence that the man may not be telling the truth. Shouldn't it prove the man's claim is true first before making demands that Obama respond to it?
The funny thing is that WND repeated Cliff Kincaid's statement in his AIM hit piece on Obama: "Let's challenge the liberal media to report on this. Will they have the honesty and integrity to do so?" Let's turn that around: Does WND have the honesty and integrity to do actual reporting on Obama beyond regurgitating whatever sleaze comes its way?
Newsmax Ignores That McCain Defender Is On McCain Payroll Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax has officially fallen into Republican lockstep in support John McCain for president.
"The liberal New York Times is wasting no time in smearing John McCain, the Republican Party nominee for President," Newsmax declared in a Feb. 20 article, expressing alarm about a new Times article that "suggested the Arizona Senator has been engaged in an illicit relationship" with a "female lobbyist." By contrast, according to Newsmax:
Noted Democratic attorney Robert Bennett appeared on Fox News Wednesday night and called the Times report nothing more than a "real hit job."
Bennett, brother of conservative pundit Bill Bennett, had served as private counsel to President Bill Clinton in the 1990s during the Paula Jones scandal.
A Senate Ethic Committee probe found that McCain was only guilty of “poor judgment” in the affair. Bennett noted that he served as the Democratic counsel to the committee investigating the five U.S. Senators. Bennett said he concluded that McCain was an "an honest man."
He added that Times report was "shameless" and slammed the paper for publishing the story, which he described as "entirely unsourced."
Newsmax failed to note one thing: Bennett is on McCain's payroll, hired in December specifically to address allegations about his relationship with the lobbyist.
New Article -- WorldNetDaily: Officially Discredited Topic: WorldNetDaily
WND has admitted that it published false claims about a businessman who supported Al Gore in order to settle a libel lawsuit. Will its history of recklessly putting its political agenda before sound journalism -- which the libel settlement hasn't stopped -- eventually kill Joseph Farah's baby? Read more >>
Oh, what a surprise: A Feb. 20 WorldNetDaily article on Peter Paul's accusations against the Clintons yet again downplays Paul's criminal history -- as WND is wont to do fore anyone willing to conform to WND's political agenda and bash the Clintons. The only reference is a brief, buried to reference to Paul's "past felony convictions"; no reference, of course, to his current felony conviction.
NewsBusters Equivocates on Abortion Violence Topic: NewsBusters
A Feb. 20 NewsBusters post by Dave Pierre rants against an Associated Press article noting that "researchers say domestic extremists who commit violence in the name of their cause -- abortion or the environment, for example -- account for most of the damage from such incidents in this country," claiming it's an attack on pro-lifers -- even though that line is the only reference to abortion in the entire article.
Pierre first asserts that since 9/11, "pro-lifers have committed a grand total of zero murders, attempted murders, and bombings directed at abortion workers and clinics across the United States and Canada." A commenter on the post, meanwhile, notes an arson at an abortion clinic in New Mexico last December; Wikipedia lists several post-9/11 attacks on clinics. Pierre then cites the anti-abortion activist group Life Dynamics -- best known for engaging in a sting operation by calling abortion clinics impersonating a 13-year-old impregnated by an adult man and then seeing if the clinics would report the purported statutory rape to authorities, not to mention peddling false claims that abortion providers illicitly traffic in the sale of fetal tissue -- who claims that "in the years 1993 and 1994, the worst period of violence in pro-life history in which five abortionists and clinic workers were killed, more farmers and twice as many hairdressers were murdered on the job."
Are those farmers and hairdressers somehow more human or more dead? Nice bit of equivocation there, guy.
Posted by Terry K.
at 9:59 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2008 10:15 AM EST
Rewarding Good Journalistic Behavior Topic: CNSNews.com
Evan Moore was less than happy with our critique of his CNSNews.com article on "The Vagina Monologues," using his personal blog to bash us ("flaming lib") and even our choice of webspace providers. He does appear to concede, though, that our concerns are valid, insisting that he had written what we complained wasn't in the article -- actual evidence that the play "degrades women," not merely assertions by conservative activists -- was edited out by higher-ups. Of course, we judge an article not by what wasn't printed, only by what was.
So, in the interest of promoting good journalistic behavior -- which is what we hope to accomplish by doing what we do; we think our critiques hold up even outside of political considerations -- let us praise Moore for an article that includes proper balance. In a Feb. 19 article, Moore led with assertions from conservatives that the Democratic-led Congress is obstructing the judicial nomination process, then counters by pointing out that President Bush has fallen behind on nominating judges and that more judges have been confirmed when Congress was controlled by Democrats than it was by Republicans.
That's what we like to see, and what readers have a right to expect from a news organization: the full story being told. We operate on a simple principle here -- that the ConWeb should be held no less accountable for its journalism than the MSM. If Moore cares about journalism, he should have no problem with that.
Actually, Elder Bush Did Bash Clinton Topic: Newsmax
In a Feb. 19 Newsmax article bashing the idea of a Hillary Clinton presidency as a de facto third term for Bill Clinton, James Humes writes:
True, George H.W. Bush made private fundraising appearances for his son in 2000. But never once did he personally criticize John McCain, Al Gore, or John Kerry. For that matter, he never made any public statements that expressed opposition to his successor’s (Bill Clinton's) policies.
In fact, the elder Bush repeatedly criticized Clinton administration policies while Clinton was in office.
Humes also writes that Bill Clinton called Barack Obama "another Jesse Jackson," putting that phrase in quotes. We could find no instance in which Clinton used the phrase "another Jesse Jackson" to describe Obama. What Humes is presumably referring to is Clinton's noting, after Obama won the South Carolina primary, that Jackson won it as well when he ran for president, but Clinton never specifically called Obama "another Jesse Jackson," as Humes claims.
Humes is described as "professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs" (as well as a "former White House speechwriter"). Shouldn't a college professor have researched his article better than this?
Shrillary is anything but likable – and her voice sounds like a rusty nail scraping a blackboard. I won't comment on her looks – except to say most people are sick to death of seeing her. Period. End of story.
Hillary looks like a robot — like a Stepford Wife. Her latest stand-up stance — with the microphone in one hand and her other arm stretched out like a minister giving a blessing — is yet another phony stance.
Looks like CNSNews.com got its marching orders from the Repubicans regarding the House's failure to pass an extension or permanent approval of the Protect America Act: Portray Democrats as in the grip of trial lawyers since they oppose granting retroactive immunity for phone companies who permitted the government to wiretap suspects without a warrant in apparent contravention of law.
Thus armed, CNS not only hurled columns by Robert Novak and Rich Galen advancing the meme on Feb. 18, a "news" article by Susan Jones pushed it as well. Jones merely uncritically repeated Republicans' Dem-bashing without letting an actual Democrat respond (indeed, only one paragraph of the 20-paragraph article actually quotes a Democrat); House Minority Leader John Boehner is quoted as saying that Democrats are "paying off trial lawyer campaign contributors."
Jones also ignores errors and contradictions made by those she quoted.
While Jones notes that "Democrats say the intelligence community can still go to a FISA court to get warrants," she then paraphrases President Bush making the contradictory claim that "the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence will be stripped of their power to authorize new surveillance against terrorist threats abroad." Further, Jones paraphrases Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell as saying that going to a FISA court to get a warrant "reduces speed and agility in gathering information on America's enemies," but she doesn't note that FISA provides for obtaining warrants after surveillance has already begun.
Graham Ignores Conservatives' Smears of Va. Tech Victims Topic: NewsBusters
A Feb. 18 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham bashed a "bizarre" article at "the leftist site Alternet" for not showing "compassion and sympathy for a community after a horrifying mass murder, such as the killings at Northern Illinois University." The article, in Graham's words, "trashed NIU as a mediocre school for mediocre students, and suggested that the "flat" plains of Middle America could make anyone shoot up a school or a post office."
But as with many things, conservatives have led the way in such insensitivity. After last year's Virginia Tech shootings, conservatives regularlyblamed the victims for getting shot, with Mark Steyn even claiming that the school "exemplifies" a "culture of passivity."
Where was Graham's outrage about that? Oh, that's right, there wasn't any.
WND's in the Obama Sleaze Business Topic: WorldNetDaily
Looks like WorldNetDaily will try to do the same thing to Barack Obama as it did to the Clintons -- hurl unverified, sleazy charges.
A Feb. 17 WND article unquestioningly repeats accusations made by one Larry Sinclair that he "he took cocaine in 1999 with the then-Illinois legislator and participated in homosexual acts with him." The article merely repeats Sinclair's claims and links to a YouTube video he made -- even reprintingalawsuit Sinclair filed against Obama containing the allegations -- without examining Sinclair's background or even making much of an effort to get a response from the Obama campaign (it adds at the end at "Calls placed to the Obama campaign were not returned").
Interesting that the bluenoses at WND -- remember, it banned links from its site to Salon.com in 2001 because it ran "erotic art" and moved to a subscription based model, thus it was "sell[ing] porn" -- adds an "editor's note" at the top saying, "The accompanying YouTube video contains sexual language that some will consider offensive. The article itself contains material that is inappropriate for children." Apparently, porn isn't offensive to anyone at WND when it can be used in the service of attacking a political enemy. WND even cynically acknowledges what it's doing by putting "sleaze charge" right in the headline.
It's also interesting that WND reprints Sinclair's lawsuit when it couldn't be bothered to reprint any of the legal papers filed in Clark Jones' libel lawsuit against it (as we had challenged WND to do). WND just settled that lawsuit by admitted it made false claims about Jones (and, presumably, handing over a little cash for damages), thus suggesting an answer to why it wouldn't post any lawsuit documents (though we did). With this article, though, WND continues to demonstrate that it learned nothing from that lawsuit by being a disseminator of charges it suggests are true that it has made no effort to verify.
But then again, WND was -- and still is -- all too willing to repeat claims against the Clintons by people whose veracity, shall we say, leaves something to be desired, from Kathleen Willey to Peter Paul. This is all in the service of a conservative agenda that WND refuses to acknowledge.
Meet the new sleaze, same as the old sleaze...
UPDATE: One blogger notes a couple things WND could have investigated but didn't: Sinclair claims to be a resident of Duluth, Minnesota, but apparently is actually from Texas, and while WND claims Sinclair "says he is a registered Democrat but has never voted for any candidate," he is apparently a Ron Paul supporter.
UPDATE 2: WND has added another article repeating Sinclair's allegations and making no effort to verify anything he has said.
Such smear jobs on Democrats are nothing new for WND: In 2004, it did several articles repeating never-proven tabloid-based claims that John Kerry had an affair.