WorldNetDaily doesn't practice what its founder, Joseph Farah, preaches in his hagiographic book. Instead, he hides behind his Christianity as an excuse to practice crappy journalism. Read more >>
Thursday, April 24, 2008
New Article: Stop the Mendacity!
WorldNetDaily doesn't practice what its founder, Joseph Farah, preaches in his hagiographic book. Instead, he hides behind his Christianity as an excuse to practice crappy journalism. Read more >>
Posted by Terry K. at 1:31 AM EDT
AIM Still Playing Guilt-By-Association on Obama, Slavery Reparations
Topic: Accuracy in Media
We noted last month how desperate Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid is to smear Barack Obama by suggesting that he supports slavery reparations without offering any actual evidence that he does -- so desperate that one of his crucial pieces of evidence toward that end was that a character on "The West Wing" purportedly based on Obama supported reparations.
AIM keeps it up in an April 21 AIM Report (unbylined, but presumably written by Kincaid) that plays the guilt-by-association card again, claiming that people with whom Obama has had contact with support reparations and thus suggesting that he does too. (Fictional characters are left out of it this time, though.)
Like before, AIM offers no actual evidence that Obama supports reparations or any evidence that it tried to contact Obama's campaign to find out if he did.
Posted by Terry K. at 12:34 AM EDT
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
WND's Cheap Publicity Stunt for Anti-Islam Book
As we've noted, WorldNetDaily is promoting its new book, "Why We Left Islam," as "the first U.S. book ever to feature an image of Muhammad on the cover." In articles on April 21 and April 22, WND editor Joseph Farah goes on to say: "If Muslims rioted around the world after a Danish newspaper published a political cartoon making fun of Muhammad, what will they do in response to this?"
Farah is clearly seeing dollar signs at the possibilities.
The only reason to put Muhammad on the cover of the book is to be provocative -- and gin up book sales from the controversy. Seeing the Danish controversy, Farah obviously wanted to get the same reaction for WND Books' latest title, and what better way to generate some cheap publicity than a little religious blasphemy?
(Of course, the occasional disingenuous attack doesn't hurt, either.)
As for the book itself, Richard Bartholomew notes of the authors:
And we have to wonder: Will one of the people in the book telling their story of how they "left Islam" be Walid Shoebat? As we've detailed, questions have been raised about the veracity of his claim to be an ex-terrorist. And Bartholomew notes that the Jerusalem Post raises even more questions have been raised about him and his foundation -- none of which, by the way, has ever been mentioned at WorldNetDaily, a longtime promoter of Shoebat.
Posted by Terry K. at 2:18 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 2:32 PM EDT
CNS Serves Up More Gay-Bashing from Matt Barber
CNSNews.com has given Concerned Women for America's Matt Barber yet another opportunity to spread his gay-bashing views.
An April 23 column by Barber pines for "a fitting redefinition of so-called 'homophobia,' that being 'Homophobia: the rational fear that 'gay sex' will kill you!' " Barber adds: "The fact that we don't have mandatory surgeon general warnings on the side of condom wrappers is a testament to the power and influence wielded by the radical homosexual lobby."
Barber also attacks the "Day of Silence" event, asserting that it teaches "that biblical truth, which holds that human sexuality is a gift from God shared between husband and wife within the bonds of marriage, is 'homophobic,' 'hateful,' and 'discriminatory.' " Barber doesn't explain the evidence for this claim; still, he goes on to add: "Our schools are supposed to be places of learning, not places of political indoctrination." Barber doesn't explain how the "Day of Silence" is "political indoctrination," either.
Barber's anti-gay attacks are repeated in an April 22 article by Melanie Hunter-Omar, who does not provide anyone an opportunity to respond to them.
Posted by Terry K. at 1:26 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 4:03 PM EDT
Graham: McCain Anger Story Untrue Because McCain Flack Said So
In an April 21 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham repeats a claim that a Washington Post story about "John McCain’s 'volcanic' outbursts of anger" is "99 percent fictional." And just who made this claim? Mark Salter, longtime McCain staffer who is, as Salon.com once claimed, the voice of John McCain.
Graham offers no independent evidence to back up Salter's claim, just merely repeats what he says, then adds ominously: "This severe a charge will need to be answered by the Post." Graham also offers no reason to take a paid flack at face value; after all, Graham would never do the same for an aide to a Democratic presidential candidate.
Graham also fails to mention that, as we've noted, his fellow conservatives -- chief among them Newsmax's Ronald Kessler -- were among those pushing the McCain-is-too-angry-to-be-president story during the Republican primary season earlier this year, which makes it difficult to hang that particular meme around the neck of the so-called liberal media. Will Salter and Graham attack Kessler's veracity as aggressively as they have attacked the Post, even though they wrote about the exact same subject? Will Graham insist that Newsmax "need[s] to respond" to the suggestion that its reporting is "99 percent fictional"? After all, since it appears that Salter is denying the truth of all incidents of McCain anger, it stands to reason that Kessler must be as much of a liar as Salter claims the Post is.
Will Graham hold Newsmax and the conservative media who have reported on McCain's anger to the same standard he's holding the Post? As fellow NewsBuster Noel Sheppard might say, it's a mathematical impossibilty.
Posted by Terry K. at 9:29 AM EDT
Farah's Disingenous Defense
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":
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:
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
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.
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
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:
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
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:
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:
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
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
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
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:
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."
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
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?
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
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