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Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Farah's Disingenous Defense
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An April 21 WorldNetDaily article repeated criticism of WND Books' upcoming title, "Why We Left Islam," "first U.S. book ever to feature an image of Muhammad on the cover":

"This book is put out by WND Publishing (sic), which promotes hate every day on its extremist anti-Muslim hate site," Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told the New York Daily News. "The editor is a guy who suggested air-dropping pig's blood over Afghanistan. There are 7 million American Muslims and over a billion worldwide who love Islam and practice it peaceably on a daily basis."

Joseph Farah, an Arab-American and the only person ever to serve as editor of WND, said, in response, he has never advocated air-dropping pig's blood over Afghanistan.

"CAIR can always be counted upon to make wildly untruthful and reckless claims about others, while maintaining a hypersensitivity about its own concerns," said Farah. "Here, for example, Hooper makes this claim that WND promotes anti-Muslim hate on its site every day, offering only one example – and that one is totally untrue. Why other responsible media outlets continue to offer CAIR a platform for making such outrageous statements is beyond me. How many CAIR staffers and officials need to be indicted and convicted before my colleagues recognize these people as the extremists they are?" 

But CAIR's claim is not as "wildly untruthful" as Farah portrays it. On Sept. 27, 2001, WND did publish a column by then-WND reporter Paul Sperry making the following plan on how to defeat the Taliban:

Few in Washington want to admit it, but these Islamic fanatics have baited us into a holy war. And like it or not, we'll have to use their religion against them to win.

U.S. forces should start by dropping leaflets over Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, warning residents, in their native Persian tongue, that we've enlisted Afghani moles to contaminate their water supplies with pig's blood.

The propaganda would also warn that American soldiers have greased their bullets with pork fat. We could tell them, while we're at it, that we've ordered special pigskin-lined fatigues for this mission.

At night, we could bombard bin Laden's camps with recordings of hog-snorting. If he and his fellow terrorists won't come out of their caves, send pen-loads of trotters in to nuzzle them.

Can't find bin Laden? Force-feed Taliban clerics pork rinds until they give up his location. If that doesn't work, air-lift pigs into their homes.

In the meantime, airlines could reupholster plane seats with pigskin, and cover cockpit yokes with the "unclean" hide to repel future Islamic hijackers. For insurance, serve passengers bacon bits instead of peanuts.

If their religion is driving them to hate Americans, and rewarding them to kill our people, then it's hardly indecent to use their faith against them to protect us.

Hit them where it hurts. They hit us where it hurts – and they're already planning to do it again.

They're not afraid of death. However, they are afraid of pigs. Send in the porkers, lock them out of Paradise, and watch them surrender.

Editor's note: Letters threatening physical harm to staffers will be forwarded to FBI Deputy Director Tom Pickard, who is heading the PENTTBOM investigation at the Special Information and Operation Center in Washington. 

Since WND is less a "news" website than a platform to advance the personal views and agenda of its founder and editor -- Farah -- it's a logical assumption that Farah condones, if not approves, such actions. For Farah to narrowly defend himself and portray CAIR's claim as completely baseless is disingenuous and a cynical attempt to sell books.

UPDATE: Richard Bartholomew adds: "Joseph Farah, of course, has a bit of a problem: [h]e wants us to hate and fear Muslims, but as a Christian dominionist he also despises habits of religious moderation, pluralism, secularism, and respect for reason which would provide a sensible way forward for the Muslim world."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:16 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 1:34 PM EDT
WND Distorts Its Web Traffic Stats
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An April 20 WorldNetDaily article proclaims that WND "ranks among the top 25 news websites in both unique visitors and sessions per user, according to March statistics gathered and analyzed by Nielsen Online."

The link WND supplies to back this up is a Nielsen list of news sites ranked by "sessions per user." It proves to be a strange metric in which WND ranks ahead of the Washington Post website. Also included in those stats, though, are the unique-visitors numbers, which shows a little more realistic view of things: the Post website draws nearly nine times as many visitors as WND.

WND also misleads with these numbers as well. In claiming that WND "ranks among the top 25 news websites in ... unique visitors," it appears all WND did was take the sessions-per-user list and reordered it by unique visitors. In other words, it's not an actual top 25 unique visitor list.

Newsmax treated this traffic-count issue a little more honestly. In a March 19 article, based on Nielsen stats from February, it proclaimed itself "the Web leader among independent news sites, sites unaffiliated with major media companies like the Huffington Post, DrudgeReport, and Salon."

The stat list it provides, for unique visitors, shows Newsmax with 4.1 million visitors in February -- and 1.2 million for WND. Newsmax's list is only of "selected web sites," so it doesn't offer a full picture either. But apples are being compared to actual apples, compared with WND's deceitful approach. (There's no mention whatsoever of Newsmax in the WND article.)

WND also claims that "By WND's own traffic counts, the site attracts about 6 million "unique visitors" (meaning different people) every month." That, of course, is just self-promotional blather, meaningless unless it makes public details of those numbers as well as the counting method used to arrive at them so their adherence to accepted statistical analysis models can be determined.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:55 AM EDT
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Frustrated Spin Dept.
Topic: NewsBusters

An April 22 NewsBusters post by Tim Graham claims that the hiring of "leftist cultural analyst" Thomas Frank to write a weekly column on the Wall Street Journal editorial page "frustrate[s] the Rupert's Right-Wing Ruination spin."

Graham does not say whether CNN's hiring of Tony Snow as a "conservative commentator" frustrates the MRC's CNN-Is-Liberal spin.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:09 PM EDT
Kessler Recycles False Clinton Attack
Topic: Newsmax

In the midst of an April 21 Newsmax column attacking Jimmy Carter as "the least likeable" president who "treated those who helped and protected him with contempt," Ronald Kessler writes:

After Reagan was inaugurated, GSA discovered that the Carter staff had left garbage in the White House and had trashed furniture in the old Executive Office Building, much as Bill Clinton’s staff trashed the White House before President Bush moved in.

But Clinton staffers didn't trash the White House. As we detailed when conservatives were originally peddling this meme, the federal General Accounting Office issued a June 2002 report rebutting claims of office-trashing by Clinton staff. Further, the GSA determined that "the condition of the real property [at the end of the Clinton administration] was consistent with what we would expect to encounter when tenants vacate office space after an extended occupancy."

Kessler's eagerness to swallow and regurgitate that lie about the Clintons makes us wonder about the veracity of his attack on Carter.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:07 AM EDT
Olivia St. John, Propaganda Recycler
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In an April 18 WorldNetDaily column promoting the new anti-evolution film "Expelled,", Olivia St. John unquestioningly regurgitates claims to support the film without telling the full story.

The first example, St. John caims, comes from "an April 11 news release by the American Center for Law and Justice," which is representing a college student, Gina DeLuca, who "was penalized by a pontificating professor determined to not only silence her beliefs but also have her renounce her Christian faith." But St. John offersd no evidence to back up her claims. Further, the ACLJ is representing DeLuca and, thus, has an agenda to push -- make DeLuca a victim and the professor a villain, no matter what the actual facts of the case are. That makes it a less-than-reliable source of information.

An April 11 WND article similarly regurgitated without question the ACLJ's side of the story without telling the other side. 

St. John continued:

In another recent case, California high school teacher James Corbett articulated Nazi-style aspersions that Christians are a threat to society. On April 2, Fox News' website reported Corbett's words: "What country has the highest murder rate? The South! What part of the country has the highest rape rate? The South! What part of the country has the highest rate of church attendance? The South!"


Thankfully, 16-year-old sophomore Chad Farnan outsmarted Corbett by tape recording the teacher's lecture for his study notes. And just as the ACLJ threatens to file a federal lawsuit in the DeLuca case in New York, the Farnans are seeking redress through the law firm Advocates for Faith and Freedom. In an amusing twist, Fox News states that the family may consider dropping their lawsuit "if the school agrees to put Corbett through sensitivity training and requires him to apologize to the students he offended." The school district is undoubtedly stunned at having the same tactics they use on students – turned in their direction. What comic justice!

Again, St. John makes no effort to tell the full story. As one student has stated, "The quotes are taken out of context. ... He's sarcastic in a rhetorical way to help prove a point. He tries to inspire free thinking." 

Corbett himself, meanwhile, has defended his teaching:

“Of all classes, we know that kids hate history the most,” Corbett says. “They see it as irrelevant. I’m making it relevant. . . . That really—sadly, on some levels—is the job of a social-science teacher: You must get across to the kids that there are many different points of view. And of course, the problem comes when you start dealing with recent history.

“As soon as you start talking about what’s going on now,” he says, “then there are people who have a position—and they don’t want that position challenged.”


Corbett says he denied Chad permission to record the lectures and encouraged him to take quality notes instead. But Chad hid the recorder and taped anyway, says Corbett—which, he says, violates the state’s education code.


He hands over a statement titled “How to Succeed in European History,” which he sends to students’ homes during the summer before they begin his class. “That’s one of the problems with this whole thing no one understands,” he says. “As you can see there, I spend 10 minutes or so each day, sometimes more, talking about current events.”

He is explicit in the letter: “Discussions will be quite provocative and focus on the ‘lessons’ of history,” it reads. He also explains that his goal for the current-events segment is for students to go home “with something that will provoke discussion with your parents.”

“Students may offer any perspective,” it reads. “I encourage a full range of views.”


Before the lawsuit was filed in mid-December, neither Corbett nor the principal nor the district had heard from Chad or his parents regarding the allegations in the suit. “If his parents had come to me, I think we could have solved all of this without going to court,” says Corbett.


Corbett maintains that his comments in class were and are not hostile to Christianity. “Honestly, I think that most people who hear what I have to say are going to realize that I would never do what they have accused me of doing,” he says. “I don’t care what other people’s religion is. I will admit that I’m intolerant of religious-based racism, misogyny, homophobia and a variety of other religious-based excuses for discrimination.”

One of Corbett’s former students, a staunch Christian who plans to earn a master’s of divinity, recently sent a statement to Corbett about his years as a pupil: “Dr. Corbett does not hate religion or religious people,” Taylor Ishii wrote. “As an educated person, he understands a lot about Christianity and has no problems with pointing out if things that Christians do don’t line up with their core beliefs. Never did I feel like he hated me or persecuted me in class for my beliefs. If anything, he challenged me to think more critically from my given Christian perspective.”

Quite a different picture than the one St. John painted, isn't it? That's what happens when a columnist's blinders are so narrow as to read only what fits into her predetermined biases.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 AM EDT
Sheppard Shocked Again By Non-Shocking Event
Topic: NewsBusters

Noel Sheppard has an amazing capacity to be surprised by things that aren't surprising at all.

The latest: In an April 21 NewsBusters post, Sheppard declares it "astounding" that the right-leaning Investors Business Daily would publish an editorial praising President Bush.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:08 AM EDT
Monday, April 21, 2008
Meanwhile ...
Topic: Newsmax

Media Matters points out a false claim by Dick Morris, in a column published April 21 on Newsmax, that Hillary Clinton was formerly on the board of an organization that "gave funds to the Palestine Liberation Organization, at a time when the PLO was officially recognized by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization." In fact, the organization gave funds to another group which then, apparently, diverted the funding from its original purpose to the PLO.

An April 19 WorldNetDaily article by Jerome Corsi also unquestioningly repeats Morris' false claim.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:56 PM EDT
Farah Sorta Defends Polygamist Cult
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his April 19 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah offers a somewhat convoluted quasi-defense of the polygamist cult whose children have been taken into custody by the state as part of a child abuse investigation.

While he repeatedly claims that "I don't like polygamy. And I don't like child abuse," he seems willing to tolerate both in the name of religious freedom and to serve as a poke in the eye to what he considers to be overreaching government officials. 

Because the raid on the cult semmed from an "anonymous call" made by someone who has yet to be identified, Farah claims he is "left wondering if the action by the state was excessive." He adds:

I don't doubt that some horrendous abuses took place within the walls of the YZR Ranch. Please don't label me as an apologist for this false religion, which I detest.

What I do doubt is that it was appropriate and legal to seize more than 400 children on such skimpy and non-specific evidence of real criminal abuse.

Is there a community in America where child abuse is not taking place?

Don't we normally arrest individual suspects and try them for their crimes?

Do we normally and preemptively round up all the children in a community where it is suspected abuse is taking place without specific evidence?

When a government school teacher is arrested for abusing one student, are all the students in that school assumed to be victims?

That last point is a laugher, since WND arguably makes a similar claim about "government schools" -- better known to the rest of us as public schools -- on a regular basis by regularly and falsely portraying something as innocuous as showing students that homosexuals merely exist as irrefutable evidence of "indoctrination."

Farah essentially admits that. After claiming that "neither do I want to see children abused at the hands of the state," he immediately adds, "It happens in government-run schools." He then follows with the usual litany of liberal-and government bashing, concluding with "It happens when officials in states such as California actively try to ban homeschooling."

Two points:

1) Farah distorts the California court ruling to which he is referring. There was no "active ban" of homeschooling; it merely pointed out that California has no provision for homeschooling.

2) Farah ignores the fact that there was, in fact, child abuse happening in the family at the center of the California homeschooling lawsuit. As we've detailed, courts have found that the father, Phillip Long, "has a long history of physically abusing the children and mother has a long history of not protecting them from father."

But WND has virtually ignored the abuse aspect of the Long case. Why? Because it has decided that promotion of homeschooling is more important than the welfare of the Longs' children.

In the Longs, we have a perfect example of what Farah described as "crimes that need to be prosecuted individually." But he won't call for that to happen because Phillip Long is more useful to him as a homeschooling poster boy.

Instead, Farah complains: "But cults aren't illegal, and polygamy and sexual abuse are crimes that need to be prosecuted individually, not collectively on a community that may have allowed them to happen." Farah ignores the closed, insular society in which the polygamist cult operated, making it nearly impossible to gain knowledge about individual cases of abuse. When an entire society is based on that abuse, a collective approach may be the better one.

Thus, like the abuse of the Longs' children, Farah is willing to condone the abuse of the cult's children to prove a larger point. Which seems to put the lie to his claim that he doesn't like child abuse.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:22 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, April 21, 2008 1:14 PM EDT
Selective Outrage Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

We've previously detailed the Media Research Center's double standard on those who engage in Catholic-bashing: Liberals get denounced immediately, conservatives get a pass. Now, they've done it again.

Less than 12 hours after Bill Maher made his latest remarks critical of the pope, Noel Sheppard slapped up a NewsBusters post, complete with video of the offending words, insisting that Maher "made something crystal clear that conservatives have known for decades: Liberal means never having to say you're sorry."

Sheppard also attacked Maher's claim that previous pope-bashing statements were a joke, "which is what we've seen the past few years any time anybody on the left makes a senseless, insensitive statement." He doesn't mention that we've also seen it from conservatives defending, among other things, Ann Coulter's death threats against a Supreme Court judge and the New York Times -- like, er, Sheppard's boss, Brent Bozell. ("It is an inescapable truth that Ann Coulter was dripping with sarcasm when she made her remark.")

What you won't see at NewsBusters -- at least we haven't yet -- is any mention of Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo's attack on the pope on the floor of the House of Representatives. Tancredo claimed that the pope promotes illegal immigration into the U.S. in order to bolster Catholic Church membership.

Is that not offensive to the Catholics at the MRC? Or will Bozell and Co. give Tancredo a pass because, like John McCain, he is a Republican? Will they ever admit this double standard to their readers?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:09 AM EDT
Aaron Klein's Newest Terrorist Buddy, Or, What's Wrong With This Picture?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein has gotten a lot of mileage out of his guilt-by-association attacks on Barack Obama. The latest is a April 14 article in which he touts an interview by him and radio host John Batchelor in which Ahmed Yousuf, "Hamas' top political adviser in the Gaza Strip," expressed support for Obama. This has gotten some traction: John McCain has built a fundraising appeal around it, and NewsBusters' Warner Todd Huston ponders why it hasn't gotten even more coverage. 

Perhaps because there are too many unanswered questions about this interview -- specifically, the motivations of all involved.

First of all, why would a Hamas representative have a friendly conversation with two conservatives -- Klein and Batchelor -- who despise both Hamas and Obama? As one profile points out, Batchelor "does not stray far from the political leanings of Laura Ingraham and some of his other WABC counterparts," which translates to a strong pro-Israel stance. He has also written an attack piece on Obama for the conservative Human Events.

Klein, an orthodox Jew, has expressed his disdain for Hamas, even criticizing Condoleezza Rice for calling it a "resistance" movement while pointing out that the State Department "labels Hamas a terrorist organization. And of course, Klein hates Obama even more than Batchelor, to the point of writing dishonestly about him: As we noted, while Klein has been trying to tie Obama to Hamas since January, it wasn't until his April 14 article on the Yousuf interview that he told his readers that Obama opposes negotiating with Hamas.

Further, as we've also detailed, Klein has a coterie of terrorists he calls on -- compiled in his recent book -- all of whom conveniently reinforce conservative talking points and attack liberals.

In other words, Yousuf has no obvious motivation to talk to Batchelor and Klein, and Batchelor and Klein have every motivation to smear Obama. Was there a quid pro quo between Yousuf and his interviewers? Have Batchelor and Klein considered the possibility that Yousuf is using them? After all, as author Ron Suskind reported, CIA analysts agreed that a message Osama bin Laden released just before the 2004 presidential election, which conservatives seized upon to paint as an endorsement of John Kerry, "was clearly designed to assist the President's reelection." Indeed, this trio may very well be working together toward a shared goal -- defeat of Obama.

This "endorsement" should be considered a murky, premeditated political hit job until Batchelor and Klein can otherwise explain themselves.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:36 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, April 21, 2008 1:16 PM EDT
Sunday, April 20, 2008
WND's Unruh Takes Anti-Gay Agenda to Radio
Topic: WorldNetDaily

On the April 9 edition of "Trunews," "the only newscast reporting the second coming of Jesus Christ" (which airs only on the Internet and shortwave radio), Rick Wiles interviewed WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh about a number of his recent articles, and Unruh obliges by repeating previous distortions.

One was his March 30 article on McDonald's support of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Unruh claimed that the NGLCC "is a specific group that is set up asssembled to promote homosexual privileges for business people. ... Their desire is to have a special allocation or a special recognition of homosexual-owned or -operated corporations so that they get the favored contracts." When Wiles asked, "So this chamber of commerce is actively promoting the development of homosexually owned corporations, businesses, private enterprises which, again, would just greatly expand influence of gay and lesbians in the United States by generating more money or business contacts by just interweaving them into the corporate culture of America, and McDonald's is saying that this is such a great cause that we're going to put one of our corporation executives on their board of directors?" Unruh repliled: "That's exactly -- exactly correct."

While Unruh's article didn't explain exactly what was wrong with gays owning businesses, his agreement with Wiles' implication that it's a horrible thing for gay business owners to do anything that might "greatly expand influence of gay and lesbians in the United States" demonstrates what we suspect is the real dog-whistle point Unruh wants to make: that businiesses owned by gays should be blacklisted.

Also discussed was Unruh's April 4 article in which he misleadingly claimed that a Massachusetts school was "teaching homosexuality to children as young as kindergarten," and Unruh repeated his distortions here. Unruh rehashed the case of David Parker, who Unruh claimed "was very, very upset a number of years ago when his kindergarten son brought home a book that promotes the homosexual lifestyle." In fact, as we noted, the book was about different types of families that included, as Unruh previous wrote, "at least two households led by homosexual partners." What Parker and Unruh are objecting to is the idea of showing students that households with "homosexual partners" even exist. and that doing so is the same thing as "promoting the homosexual lifestyle" without offering any evidence to support it. Unruh also played up that Parker's "vehement protests landed him in jail at the request of the school authorities" because was arrested after he "would refuse to leave" the school "until he had a satisfactory answer that he would be notified by the school when they were trying to teach this to his child." That led to this exchange:

WILES: You know, today they'd have him tasered.

UNRUH: Probably so. Probably so.

WILES: And his kindergarten kid.

UNRUH: That's right. That's right.

Unruh didn't mention that Parker spent one night (and only one night) in jail because he refused to bail himself out in order "to prove a point."

Unruh also grossly distorted a court ruling that dismissed Parker's civil lawsuit against the school district over the issue. He claimed, rehashing a distortion he made in February 2007, that "lower courts have ruled -- and parents need to be very aware of this -- lower courts have ruled in Massachusetts that the state has an obligation to teach homosexuality to grade school students." In fact, the ruling to which Unruh is referring stated 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." And again, Unruh offers no evidence that showing students that homosexuals exist is "teach[ing] homosexuality."

Unruh went on to claim that a new controversy involving a new school curriculum that "the promotion of gay and lesbian lifestyles to students in kindergarten through fifth grade." In fact, as Unruh himself wrote, nothing more sinister is going on beyond the possiblity of schools assigning reading to students that includes "stories that show same gender parents." In other words, Unruh is once again indulging the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy.

Wiles concludes by telling Unruh, "If it wasn't for WorldNetDaily, there would be no reporting this stuff." Well, there would be, but it would be reported fairly and accurately.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:12 AM EDT
Clinton (And Earth Day) Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: Newsmax

In his April 18 Newsmax column, Lowell Ponte engages in wild attacks on a pair of targets.

The Clintons:

But ethics and morality died in America when President Clinton brazenly refused to resign after being caught lying under oath, losing his law license, committing sexual acts with an intern almost as young as his daughter, and being the first elected president ever impeached. 


On April 22, 2000, storm troopers acting on the orders of President Bill Clinton smashed down the door of a tiny house in Miami, Fla. They gun-butted two NBC pool reporters outside, smashed their camera, and warned the reporters they would be shot if they attempted to film what was going on.

The storm troopers then seized 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez, whose mother had drowned while trying to bring her son from the Communist dictatorship of Cuba to the U.S.

Earth Day:

Why did Earth Day’s founders set it on April 22?
One of the self-identified "founders" of Earth Day, Bay Area activist John McConnell, has written that in 1969 he proposed to the San Francisco board of supervisors a new holiday to be called Earth Day on nature’s first day of spring, the Equinox, around March 21.

But, McConnell wrote, in 1970 local anti-Vietnam War and Environmental Teach-in activists "who were planning a one-time event for April 22, also decided to call their event Earth Day."

This "one-time event" in 1970 was the 100th birthday of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, Lenin, who overthrew the democratically-elected Russian government of Alexander Kerensky (born April 22, 1881) to create the Marxist Soviet Union.

Requests by genuine environmentalists to change Earth Day’s date — as one logically would do if a holiday had been accidentally placed on the birthday of a mass murderer and environmental despoiler such as Adolf Hitler, or Lenin — have been harshly rebuffed.

Marxism is, of course, a pagan religion whose dogma replaces capitalism with socialism, abolishes private property in the name of ecological oneness, preaches that individualism is evil and collectivism good, and enshrines the all-powerful State in place of God.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:54 AM EDT
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Meanwhile ...
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Ed Brayton examines WorldNetDaily's recent attack on the Bible Literacy Project curriculum -- led by an April 10 article by Bob Unruh and column by Alabama state Sen. Beason, who is an adviser for a competing Bible curriculum program, the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools -- for not being right-wing enough. Brayton calls WND's attack "false and illogical," taking quotes out of context and playing guilt by association by recycling ad hominem arguments and guilt-by-association attacks on Charles Haynes, one of 40 people that reviewed the project's content.

Surprisingly, WND published a substantive response to its attacks in the form of an April 15 column by Bible Literacy Project general editor Cullen Schippe. Schippe points out that WND's attacks are "deeply misinformed and contain falsehoods and misleading, out-of-context statements":

Despite Beason's insistence, "The Bible and Its Influence" has never been supported or endorsed by the ACLU or People for the American Way. This statement is absolutely wrong. Yet our course has never suffered a legal challenge, because it is widely acknowledged that it is both respectful of the Bible as a sacred text and completely First-Amendment-safe for public schools.


Beason argues that a reference to renowned Christian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov" is irrefutable evidence of the Bible Literacy Project's promotion of communism. But the textbook, which explains the influence of the Bible on Western literature, history and culture, actually points out the murderous legacy of communism (page 65). 

By the way, neither Beason nor Unruh disclosed Beason's status as an adviser for a competing cuirriculum in their articles. But then, WND has always had a problem with disclosing conflicts of interest.

By the way, Chuck Norris is also a promoter of the evangelical-leaning National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools; last year, we wrote about his having to walk back the claim (read: inadvertently telling the truth) that the goal of the program is to "get God back into your public school."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:55 AM EDT
Friday, April 18, 2008
'Liberals Defend the Candidates by Attacking the Debate Moderators' -- But Bozell Did Too

An April 18 article by Susan Jones noting criticism by "a liberal advocacy group" of moderators Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos during the April 16 ABC Democratic presidential debate carried the headline "Liberals Defend the Candidates by Attacking the Debate Moderators." Nowhere did Jones note that such a tactic is not unusual -- conservatives also have criticized moderators and broadcasters of debates involving Republican presidential candidates when things did not go to their liking.

Indeed, Jones' boss, Media Research Center president Brent Bozell, did just that in his Dec. 4, 2007, column (also published at CNS), in which he attacked CNN over a Repubican debate.

Beginning by asking, "Is CNN capable and professional enough to host presidential debates?" Bozell insisted that "We can’t expect CNN to be an honest broker" because one questioner turned out to be "a Hillary Clinton supporter, and not just a supporter, but a man whose name was listed as part of the Clinton campaign’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Steering Committee." Bozell ominously added: "Shades of the Dan Rather Memogate story."

Bozell continued:

It’s a lose-lose for CNN. If somehow we were to accept that no one, absolutely no one at CNN knew this man’s political identity, what does this say about the professionalism of CNN? To believe that CNN didn’t know is to conclude that CNN is an incompetent news organization.

But ABC arguably pulled a similar trick on Obama during its debate, playing a question from a voter asking Obama "if you believe in the American flag" without disclosing that questioner was on record as opposing Obama in a New York Times article.

Her boss might not like it, but Jones shouldn't be pretending that only liberals criticize the media for political purposes.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:17 PM EDT
Armstrong Williams Fluffs HUD Chief, Ignores Scandals
Topic: Newsmax

An April 17 Newsmax column by Armstrong Williams is sycophantically complimentary of outgoing Housing and Urban Development secretary Alphonso Jackson, depicting the controversies surrounding him as unrelated to his performance:

In sports, coaches similar to Secretary Jackson are in tough positions. The team wins and the credit goes to the “star player.” Not the coach of course, but the home-run hitter, perfect shooter, or lightning-fast running back. However, if the team loses, it’s the coach that’s often attributed blame.

Washington is no different.


When Secretary Jackson’s initiatives led the nation towards its housing goals, he surely deserved coach of the year; but critics call foul once and the secretary’s vast, sometimes even record-breaking accomplishments are somehow passed over. 

Williams claimed that "a recent [Washington] Post story blam[ed] him for the housing and mortgage crisis facing this country," going on to call the article "mean spirited and way out of bounds." In fact, the story doesn't do that but, rather, suggests that he made things worse because he did little to react to it:

In late 2006, as economists warned of an imminent housing market collapse, housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson repeatedly insisted that the mounting wave of mortgage failures was a short-term "correction."

He pushed for legislation that would make it easier for federally backed lenders to make mortgage loans to risky borrowers who put less money down. He issued a rule that was criticized by law enforcement authorities because it could increase the difficulty of detecting and proving mortgage fraud.


[C]ritics say an equally significant legacy of his four years as the nation's top housing officer was gross inattention to the looming housing crisis.

They contend that Jackson ignored warnings from within his agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, whose inspector general told Congress that some of the secretary's efforts were "ill-advised policy" and likely to put more families at risk of losing their homes.

Williams glancingly refers to "[t]he inspector’s general’s investigation into favoritism of Mr. Jackson and other allegations" but offers no further detail of the allegations. Williams also wrote that "sometimes his often shoot-from-the-hip remarks have gotten him into controversial waters and have alienated him from many of his would be allies." But he didn't mention that the two are directly linked: Jackson had claimed during a speech that he how he once had killed a contract award because the contractor had disparaged his friend President Bush, which set off an investigation into favoritism at HUD. Jackson is now facing a broader investigation into contract favoritism, especially after Jackson testified before Congress that he didn't intervened in contracts.

Toward the end of his column, Williams writes: "I must admit for full disclosure that Secretary Jackson has been a friend for many years and I’ve been fortunate to watch him up close and cover him in many of our media forums. However, my admiration for him doesn’t color my written or broadcast commentary." Yeah, right. 

Posted by Terry K. at 9:31 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2008 1:11 PM EDT

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