ConWeb Silent on Questions About Its Favorite Ex-Terrorist Topic: The ConWeb
The ConWeb loved Walid Shoebat when he surfaced in right-wing circles a few years back.
WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah featured him on his radio show (more than once) and wrote a fawning profile of him, a story that dovetails nicely with the typical conservative view of the Middle East:
Walid Shoebat, born in Bethlehem, began attacking Israelis when he was 8 years old, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails.
He was, Shoebat says now, an Islamic terrorist in the making – a product of his environment, including schools, media and mosques that preached hatred of Jews.
"I never actually met any Jews," he said. "But in school we were taught from the Quran that they were pigs and monkeys.''
By 15, he had already served time in a Jerusalem prison for participating in an anti-Israel riot. While there, he was recruited into the Palestine Liberation Organization.
At 16, he was chosen to take a loaf of bread, packed with explosives, to blow up the Bethlehem Bank Leumi. His instructions were to place it in a garbage can near the door of the building. But seeing Arab children playing nearby, he decided to throw the bread on the roof where it did little damage.
He once blinded a man during a fight and was "so happy" to learn he was a Jew.
He was also involved in the near-lynching of an Israeli soldier. Though Shoebat and his friends took the soldier's gun and beat him, he managed to escape.
"I wanted to die as a martyr," said. "We were indoctrinated to look forward to heaven.''
Now Shoebat has turned his activism in a completely different direction. He calls himself a Christian Zionist, giving speeches around the country and in Canada, where he made an appearance this week. His ultimate dream, he says, is to go to Israeli prisons to teach Palestinian youngsters Jewish history – a dream he understands is fraught with danger from the people who think as he once did.
But WND isn't the only ones in the ConWeb to have promoted Shoebat:
Newsmax, in a lengthy July 2006 profile, declared him a "terror expert" and "a man with a tough message" -- "a former fundamentalist Islamic terrorist who, incredibly, reformed." It printed an interview with Glenn Beck touting that Shoebat would appear in a segement of his TV show called "Exposed: The Extremist Agenda."
An October 2006 CNSNews.com article touted a speech by Shoebat and another former terrorist. A CNS "Fact-O-Rama" repeated highlights from Shoebat's bio.
But was Shoebat really the badass terrorist he claims to have been? The New York Times writes of Shoebat and two other purported ex-terrorists with whom Shoebat has done speaking tours:
Academic professors and others who have heard the three men speak in the United States and Canada said some of their stories border on the fantastic, like Mr. [Kamal] Saleem’s account of how, as a child, he infiltrated Israel to plant bombs via a network of tunnels underneath the Golan Heights. No such incidents have been reported, the academic experts said. They also question how three middle-aged men who claim they were recruited as teenagers or younger could have been steeped in the violent religious ideology that only became prevalent in the late 1980s.
Arab-American civil rights organizations question why, at a time when the United States government has vigorously moved to jail or at least deport anyone with a known terrorist connection, the three men, if they are telling the truth, are allowed to circulate freely. A spokesman for the F.B.I. said there were no warrants for their arrest.
The Times article also notes that the speeches by Shoebat and the others are little more than Muslim bashing and Christian prostletyzing; according to one critic, "It was just an old time gospel hour — 'Jesus can change your life, he changed mine.' ... That is mixed in with 'Watch out America, wake up America, the danger of Islam is here.' "
In response, the men have spent significant time trying to prove that they actually did kill people, and that they used to hate Jews as much as the next Muslim extremist. "I planted a bomb in a bank!" insists Shoebat, whose handler, Keith Davies, has threatened a libel suit against The Times over the article that questioned his claims.
That's right: Shoebat is claiming libel against anyone who says he wasn't a terrorist -- as Richard Bartholomew notes, the most absurd libel threat ever. Bartholomew noted that Shoebat has issued a similar libel threat against a blogger who claimed to have talked to a relative of Shoebat, who called his terrorist story "a manufactured fabrication," adding that "The biggest act of 'terror' he ever committed was to glue Palestinian flag on street posts."
It should be no surprise that the controversy over Shoebat's veracity can be found nowhere on the ConWeb. It's mentioned nowhere on the websites that have touted him -- WorldNetDaily, Newsmax or CNS -- even though the story first surfaced two months ago.
A March 30 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh makes a big deal out of McDonald's "sign[ing] onto a nationwide effort to promote 'gay' and 'lesbian' business ventures" without explaining what, exactly, is so offensive about it.
Sure, Unruh does a lot of dog-whistle implying regarding McDonald's being a "corporate partner and organization ally" with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce -- Unruh calls the group a "special interest chamber" and "the 'gay' advocacy organization" which is "promoting the LGBT community first and always" and accused McDonald's of supporting "the agenda of the homosexual business lobby."
Unruh even offers a list of what the NGLCC does, including "disseminate news and information central to the success of LGBT businesses, … ensure increased opportunity and equality for LGBT professionals, … help LBGT businesses gain more procurement opportunities, …. provide strong lobbying efforts for LBGT business causes." But where's the problem? Unruh never says, beyond the article's overall tone of hatred of gays as a whole.
Unruh makes a logical leap when he states, "Other corporate sponsors of the NGLCC include expected names such as Coors Light and Kodak, who have been leaders in advocating homosexuality." Again, he never explains how supporting gay-owned businesses equals "advocating homosexuality."
Unruh also stated: "WND reported earlier when Wal-Mart joined the NGLCC, and how the corporation's income later started declining as Christian organizations reacted to the news." In fact, in the December 2006 WND article to which Unruh links, the cause-and-effect is rather tenuous. In it, anti-abortion activist Flip Benham takes credit for Wal-Mart's post-Thanksgiving sales coming in "0.1 percent below expectations." The article describes Wal-Mart's tie to the NGLCC as an example of its "developing support for the 'gay' agenda" as well as that it has "not fired a homosexual marketing agency."
What it appears that Unruh and WND, as well as activists like Benham, want to do is blacklist gay businesses. Is that really a responsible or moral thing to do?
Newsmax Flip-Flops on Media Ownership Conflicts Topic: Newsmax
In a March 27 Newsmax column, Lowell Ponte notes that one of the private equity firms that has been negotiating a deal to buy radio giant Clear Channel Communications -- which also owns Premiere Radio Networks, syndicator of such consrevative hosts as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh -- is Bain Capital, co-founded by former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Ponte writes:
These hosts never told listeners that a company Romney co-founded, and with which he was still involved, was signatory to a 2006 agreement to buy Clear Channel and that completion of this deal was in process during Romney’s presidential run.
Should these hosts tell their listeners about Romney’s tangential connection to the purchase of Clear Channel if bank funding is resolved and this buyout of the broadcast giant gets back on track — and if Gov. Romney becomes Senator McCain’s running mate?
Nothing in Mitt Romney’s potential involvement in this buyout is in any way whatsoever illegal or unethical. The same can be said for honorable Clear Channel hosts who spoke favorably of Gov. Romney.
But in our age of highly charged, hotly polarized partisanship, leftists have demonstrated an eagerness to turn even the tiniest molehill into a mountain of accusation against Republicans, and even against one another.
Caesar’s wife must be above even the slightest suspicion in our era of undue influence and strange political bedfellows.
By bringing light and ventilation to Bain Capital’s and Mr. Romney’s role (if any) in the Clear Channel buyout, we can give McCain more freedom to consider Gov. Romney as a potentially excellent running mate.
Newsmax wasn't so magnanimous when faced with the opposite situation.
As we've noted, back in 2000 Newsmax was absolutely offended that one investor in the company that owns the National Enquirer is "Clinton confidant and one-time Whitewater figure Roger Altman." Citing stories that made Republicans look bad whose facts it didn't dispute, Newsmax huffed: "Watch for the liberal media food chain at work. ... Smear stories in tabloids that bounce up to the networks."
Of course, Newsmax has some tabloid-esque tendencies -- witness Ronald Kessler's endless Obama attacks -- and serves that exact role in the conservative media food chain, promoting "smear stories" that "bounce up" to talk radio and Fox News. And it considered those very same tabloids a reliable source of information when they reported scandalous information about Democrats.
Newsmax in 2000 wasn't calling anyone at the National Enquirer "honorable" or pointing out that their ownership by a former politician was not "illegal or unethical." And it most definitely was trying to turn "the tiniest molehill into a mountain of accusation."
Back then, Newsmax wanted to highlight a media ownership issue to attack it. Now, a Newsmax columnist wants to highlight the issue in order to whitewash it.
In a March 28 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham makes a big deal out of liberal blog Think Progress correcting an "inaccurate smear" of John McCain. If Graham and NewsBusters are so big on accuracy, let's see NewsBusters correct the record on the following:
-- Writing about controverisal remarks made by Barack Obama's pastor, John Stevenson wrote, "Don't expect Obama to repudiate these remarks." In fact, Obama already had.
-- NumerousNewsBusterswritershaveclaimed that, in the words of Richard Newcomb on March 6, "it was State Department hack Richard Armitage who actually first mentioned [Valerie] Plame's name." In fact, Karl Rove and Scooter Libby also leaked Plame's identity to reporters; Armitage's leakee, Robert Novak, was merely the first to go public with it.
-- Sheppard's false claim that "at the beginning of January, just hours before the New Hampshire primary, and days after a devastating loss to Sen. Barack Obama in the Iowa caucuses, Democrat [sic] presidential candidate Hillary Clinton teared-up in front of the camera." She didn't.
-- Scott Whitlock falsely claimed that author Steven Dubner "Touts Abortion as a Way to Reduce Crime." In fact, his research has merely noted that the legalization of abortion reduced overall crime rates.
-- Kyle Drennen accused CBS' Harry Smith of "sounding like a liberal conspiracy theorist" and "reminiscent of left-winger Rosie O’Donnell" for "question[ing] the authenticity of an audio tape of the confrontation between U.S. and Iranian ships on January 6," even though the Pentagon itself has backed away from the implication that the voice on the tape unquestionably came from an Iranian ship.
That's just this year. We're still waiting for NewsBusters sister site CNSNews.com to apologize to Paul Begala for falsely claiming in 2005 that he said Republicans were trying to kill him and his family.
Navrozov Misstates NY Times Circulation Topic: Newsmax
In a March 27 Newsmax column, Lev Navrozov stated: "In 1993, The New York Times had 757,000 readers, and by 2006, the number fell to 529,000."
That's misleading; those numbers are the Times' daily circulation only in the New York metropolitian area. The Times' total circulation has changed relatively little (not for Navrozov's purpose of attacking them the Times as a dying newspaper, anyway), hovering around 1.1 million during that same time period, as the Times shifted to more of a national focus. Circulation of the Sunday Times declined from 1.7 million to 1.6 million.
Even More Stuff Wrong With Klein's Reporting Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've found yet another thing wrong with Aaron Klein's attack reporting on Barack Obama.
Klein's March 20 WorldNetDaily article claimed that Obama's church "reprinted a manifesto by Hamas [actually, just a Los Angeles Times op-ed] that defended terrorism as legitimate resistance, refused to recognize the right of Israel to exist and compared the terror group's official charter – which calls for the murder of Jews – to America's Declaration of Independence." While Klein claims that "Obama's campaign also did not reply to phone and e-mail requests today for comment," Media Matters notes that a March 20 Jewish Telegraphic Agency article quotes Obama as saying: "I have already condemned my former pastor's views on Israel in the strongest possible terms, and I certainly wasn't in church when that outrageously wrong Los Angeles Times piece was re-printed in the bulletin."
Obama is further quoted as saying, "Hamas is a terrorist organization, responsible for the deaths of many innocents, and dedicated to Israel's destruction, as evidenced by their bombarding of Sderot in recent months. I support requiring Hamas to meet the international community's conditions of recognizing Israel, renouncing violence, and abiding by past agreements before they are treated as a legitimate actor."
Klein doesn't get around to mentioning this until a March 22 article, claiming that the statement was made "following WND's story." He offers no evidence to support the assertion.
Klein also referenced the Hamas "manifesto" in the church bulletin in a March 23 article -- but not Obama's condemnation.
We've added this to our ConWebWatch article on Klein.
Meanwhile ... Topic: Newsmax Media Matters details how Dick Morris, in his March 25 Newsmax column, yet again repeats the false claim that Hillary Clinton "said that Chelsea [Clinton] was jogging around the World Trade Center on 9/11 and happened to duck into a coffee shop when the airplanes hit. She said that this move saved Chelsea's life." In fact, she didn't say that at all; rather, Clinton said that her daughter had "gone, what she thought would be just a great jog. She was going to go down to Battery Park, she was going to go around the towers. She went to get a cup of coffee and -- and that's when the plane hit."
Barber Misleads on Gays, Blood and South Africa Topic: CNSNews.com
In a March 27 CNSNews.com column, Matt Barber essentially claims that gays are filthy, disease-ridden scum who are plotting to kill straight people by donating blood. On top of that, he misleads about a few things. One claim in particular is of note:
In South Africa, militant homosexual activists have been "protesting" by deliberately and surreptitiously violating that nation's blood ban, aiming to flood blood banks with 70,000 units. Who knows how much blood has been contaminated or how many innocent people have been infected. This isn't a protest; it's an act of violence.
Barber treats this as if it was a current story; in fact, the BBC first reported on it in January 2006. The BBC goes on to note that at the same time, the South African National Blood Services also banned blood donations from blacks, noting that "President Thabo Mbeki's blood was destroyed because he was black and because his doctor had refused to complete the personal history questionnaire used to screen donors." Does Barber approve of that ban as well?
Barber doesn't mention that South Africa has since lifted the blanket ban on gay men donating blood, allowing those who have been celibate for six months to donate.
While Barber makes a big deal in his column about HIV and AIDS being a "gay disease," that's not the case in South Africa. It's estimated that as many as one in five South African adults -- and nearly 30 percent of pregnant women -- have HIV.
Barber also doesn't mention that most countries test donated blood for HIV, making the actual threat much smaller than he purports it to be.
New Articles -- Anti-Obama Frenzy: Ronald Kessler and Aaron Klein Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax's Kessler peddles the inflammatory statements by Barack Obama's pastor while he downplays or hides Obama's criticism of them. WorldNetDaily's Klein hurls guilt-by-association attacks as he admits his hatred of Obama.
Unruh's New False Claim in Homeschooling Case Topic: WorldNetDaily
Bob Unruh -- still condoning child abuse by not reporting the truth about the dysfunctional family at the center of a homeschooling case in California -- is making a newly minted false claim about the case in a March 26 article:
The Longs say they have homeschooled because of an anti-Christian bias in public schools. The ruling stemmed from a juvenile proceeding that already had been closed by the court when court-appointed attorneys for their children appealed, specifically attempting to ban homeschooling. The ruling from Appeals Court Judge H. Walt Croskey granted the attorneys' wishes.
Unruh offers no evidence that the court-appointed attorneys for the children "specifically attempt[ed] to ban homeschooling" in their appeal. Indeed, the ruling mentions nothing beyond trying to get the Long children out of their homeschooling situation, which even the juvenile court admitted was “lousy,” “meager,” and “bad.” Croskey merely recited state law in "grant[ing] the attorneys' wishes" -- that there is no provision for homeschooling in state law and no expressed "right" to it in either the California or U.S. constitutions.
And again, Unruh fails to note that the court ruling stated that the Longs have made multiple claims regarding why they homeschool, including that "educating children outside the home exposes them to 'snitches.'"
Anti-Obama Frenzy, AIM Division Topic: Accuracy in Media
In a March 26 Accuracy in Media column, Cliff Kincaid declares that Barack Obama probably supports slavery reparations because ... a fictional character reportedly based on Obama supported reparations.
One of the liberals’ favorite television shows, “West Wing,” about a fictional White House, also examined the controversy in the context of a controversial nominee for assistant attorney general for civil rights who advocated financial reparations for slavery.
At the time, we noted that three veteran Democrats were advisers to the show. They were former Clinton White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers, former Carter official Patrick Caddell, and former Senate Democratic aide Lawrence O’Donnell. Time magazine reported that Conyers’ staff had sent along “200 pages of material on the issue of paying reparations to black Americans as compensation for slavery” to the producers.
Interestingly, it has now been reported by The Guardian that one of the characters in the show, a presidential candidate, was modeled by one of the Democratic writers after Obama. The character in the program wins the presidency.
If this happens in real life, we may finally find out where Obama really stands on the issue of reparations.
In a March 25 NewsBusters post, Ken Shepherd is upset that "a blog mocking Republican presidential candidate John McCain for his false teeth" appeared at a website "funded by left-wing megamillionaire George Soros."
Given that NewsBusters, funded by right-wing megamillionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, has recently defended the existence of a Hillary Clinton nutcracker, we'd say Shepherd has little room to complain.
It's taken a while, but Ronald Kessler has finally figured out a way to work some of his trademark Bush administration fluffing into his attacks on Barack Obama: by claiming in his March 26 Newsmax column that Condoleezza Rice suffered more racism than Obama's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Yet while Wright, 66, no doubt had brushes with discrimination growing up in Philadelphia, it was nothing compared with what Condoleezza Rice faced — or, for that matter, what six million Jews who were slaughtered by Adolf Hitler faced.
In contrast to Wright, who attended an integrated school, Rice grew up in segregated Birmingham, Ala. Denise McNair, one of Rice’s friends and classmates, was one of the four girls who was killed in the Ku Klux Klan bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.
Rice's Unbridled Courage
Rice had to sit at the back of buses. When more whites got on, the driver would move a “Colored” sign farther back in the bus, making less room for blacks. Rice could not eat at the same restaurants as whites unless the restaurant had a separate room with a separate entrance for blacks.
She was not allowed to use the same drinking fountains or public restrooms as whites. But Condi Rice, a descendant of slaves and white slave owners, had something else going for her: Her middle-class black neighborhood had developed a culture separate from the rest of the city, one that shut out the racism all around and taught children they had to be “twice as good” to pull even with whites.
Instead of teaching Rice to carry a chip on her shoulder, as she has told me, Rice’s parents amplified those positive values, giving her a strong sense of self-worth.
Rice’s father, the Rev. John W. Rice Jr., instilled in his daughter the faith that she brought with her into the White House and the State Department.
While Rice is comfortable with her own heritage and often speaks before black groups, she does not dwell on the racism she experienced growing up. Above all, Rice is proud of America and the opportunities that everyone now has. Witness the fact that she is secretary of state.
What a contrast to the poisonous atmosphere at the church that Obama has chosen to attend for more than two decades and the demagoguery of the man he calls his friend, sounding board, and mentor.
In his March 25 WorldNetDaily column, Mychal Massie called Barack Obama's speech on race "a transpicuous opprobrium intended to obfuscate."
Massie also claimed that Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, "in effect said Natalie [sic: Natalee] Holloway got what she deserved." Actually, no. According to a Jan. 27 WND article, which first hyped Wright's statement:
"Black women are being raped daily in Darfur, Sudan, in the Congo and in Sub-Saharan Africa. That doesn't make news," Wright said in the August 2005 edition of Trumpet Magazine, a publication of his Trinity United Church of Christ.
But, "One 18-year-old white girl from Alabama gets drunk on a graduation trip to Aruba, goes off and 'gives it up' while in a foreign country, and that stays in the news for months!" he added. "Maybe I am missing something!"
Wright never said Holloway "got what she deserved" -- not even "in effect." Massie needs to do a little less thesaurus-mining and a little more fact-checking.
It's An Anti-Obama Frenzy! (And Naked Women!) Topic: WorldNetDaily
How much does WorldNetDaily hate Barack Obama? At this writing, WorldNetDaily has no less than six anti-Obama articles on its front page.
The lead article, by Jerome Corsi, proclaims: "Revealed: Obama's dad polygamist, alcoholic." But there's nothing new. As Corsi admits, his information is more than a year old, from a January 2007 article in London's Daily Mail.
The Daily Mail, by the way, is currently featuring nude photos of Carla Bruni, wife of French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. WND, if you'll recall, stopped linking to articles at Salon.com because the website contained "erotic art" -- you know, photos of naked women. Guess we can forget about that ban.
This is not the first time Joseph Farah and WND have abandoned their professed moral standards to indulge in hatred of a Democratic presidential candidate. In 2004, WND repeated never-verified rumors of a John Kerry affair, even though they originated with the British tabloid The Sun, notorious for its naked Page 3 Girls.