MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch Topic: Media Research Center
MRC chief Brent Bozell appeared May 9 on "Fox & Friends." Following the template, Bozell appears solo and is not identified as a conservative.
Referencing the murky endorsement of Barack Obama by Hamas, Bozell said, "Wasn't it bin Laden who endorsed John Kerry in '04? And when Republicans talked about that, liberals said, 'Oh, well, that's awful. That's dirty politics. You can't talk about that." In fact, as Ron Suskind wrote, bin Laden's pre-election 2004 videotape, which conservatives portrayed as an endorsement of Kerry but contained no explicit endorsement, was actually "designed to assist the President's reelection."
Farah Demands Credit He Doesn't Deserve Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah wants credit, dammit! From his May 9 WorldNetDaily column:
Yesterday, a story reported exclusively in WND became the hottest topic in the country as Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama sparred over a statement by a Hamas leader that sounded much like an endorsement of the latter.
There were hundreds of stories about the political feud in print. The story led most TV and radio newscasts in the late afternoon. It was the buzz of many talk shows from coast to coast.
All of these stories, newscasts and talk shows have one amazing thing in common: Not one mentioned the context of Hamas' kind words about Obama, the forum in which they were made, or the name of the only news agency that published them.
Um, wasn't this statement made on John Batchelor's radio show before it was reported on WND? Strangely, there's no mention of Batchelor -- who certainly deserves at least part of the credit -- anywhere in Farah's column.
Of course, Farah doesn't explain why a Hamas spokesman would chat up pro-Israel, anti-Hamas activists like Batchelor and WND's Aaron Klein, let alone why a Hamas spokesman would willingly contribute to their anti-Obama agenda, or why anyone should take the words of a Hamas spokesman at face value.
Farah goes on to whine:
They don't like to acknowledge the impact WND and the New Media are actually having on our society including our political system.
It is indecent and shameful that other media people would overlook his work in this way. They overlooked his original story. It wasn't deemed important enough to be picked up by any other news agency. Only when it was picked up by a presidential candidate was it ever mentioned again. But, even then, not one other media enterprise had the common decency to explain the "who, what, when, where, why and how" of that story's origin.
But I won't accept that.
If the Big Media won't credit WND for its stories, maybe I should not credit them for theirs.
'An Unusually Misguided Display of Anti-Porn Hysteria' Topic: WorldNetDaily
Someone who can speak somewhat authoritatively on porn weighs in on Chelsea Schilling's manufactured Wikipedia pornscandal. From Fleshbot (NSFW, since they show the pictures Schilling is too afraid to):
Not only is this an unusually misguided display of anti-porn hysteria—anyone looking for free unblocked smut can do a lot better than Wikipedia—but their complaints show a shocking misunderstanding of how Wikipedia actually works. It's completely created, edited and policed by its users —i.e. anyone and everyone—and if there's a problem the users are the ones who fix it.
Take that infamous 1976 Scorpions album cover, which could be considered child pornography: it might have been banned, but one could also argue that it has some sort of historical relevance. If the community doesn't agree, then the community of Wikipedia users can remove it ... which they eventually did. (Here's the discussion about it, which predates the WND article.)
Tattling to the FBI about nudie pics on the internet is like complaining to Congress about evolution. Hating it enough won't make it go away. Besides, one way or another people have to learn about strippers—so it's either on Wikipedia or in a strip club. Take your pick.
Meanwhile, Schilling's latest article claims once again that "the FBI is reviewing the image" of the Scorpions album cover without offering any actual evidence it is, in fact, doing so. Schilling also repeats the results of WND's meaningless opt-in poll on the subject.
Yet another example of Aaron Klein's biased reporting: A May 8 article on Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's alleged involvement in a "very serious criminal investigation" is his second in three days to feature it. But as we've noted, Klein has never done an article on the rape scandal involving former Israeli President Moshe Katsav (and has mentioned it only in passing) -- presumably because Katsav is a member of the right-wing Likud Party, with whom Klein sympathizes.
Klein continues his aversion to accurately labeling right-wingers, describing Likud only as the "opposition party" while throwing out "leftist" and "extreme leftist" for other parties mentioned in his article.
New Article: Schmoozing With Smearmongers Topic: WorldNetDaily
Why is a member of Hamas chatting up -- and endorsing Barack Obama with -- conservative radio host John Batchelor and right-wing WorldNetDaily writer Aaron Klein, who are pro-Israel and anti-Hamas? Read more >>
In a May 7 WorldNetDaily article, Chelsea Schilling follows up on her alarmist "Wikipornia" article accusing Wikipedia of peddling "sexually explicit images and content" but failing to explain that they appear in the context of an encyclopedia.
This time, Schilling focuses on a single image, the non-U.S. cover of the Scorpions' 1976 album "Virgin Killer," calling it a "photo of a nude adolescent that could violate federal child-pornography laws."
But Schilling does not explain that child nudity is not the same as child pornography, as some parents can attest. Pornography, child or adult, involves "sexually explicit conduct" or images on websites that "exist for the sexual stimulation of viewers." Given that Wikipedia is not a porn site (no matter how much Schilling and Matt Barber want to potray it as one), and given that the picture's primary use in Wikipedia is for illustrative purposes, not for "the sexual stimulation of viewers," Schilling would have a hard time pressing a federal child-porn investigation.
Of course, Schilling never explains any of this -- she's too busy trying to manufacture controversy and distort facts by smearing Wikipedia as a porn merchant.
UPDATE: A couple other things worth noting about Schilling's article:
-- She claims "the FBI is now reviewing" the photo, but she offers no evidence -- i.e., a quote from an FBI spokesman -- that this is, in fact, the case. Schilling's previous article stated, though, that Matt Barber "said he will be contacting the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney's office to determine whether Wikipedia may be engaging in the dissemination of illegal obscenity." Is that what she's going by?
-- She concludes: "In a WND poll related to that story, the No. 1 response at more than 47 percent had readers saying Wikipedia is clearly violating U.S. obscenity laws and should face prosecution." As we've detailed, since WND polls are opt-in, the results have no basis in reality and are not a reliable indicator of anyone's opinion on anything.
It wasn’t enough that journalists’ opinions (just forget the facts, ma’am) were choking out the sunlight in journalism like kudzu vine. Those opinions not only had to be seen and heard, they also had to be followed by the folks who make things happen.
The next leap, from influencers of action to takers of actions, was a short hop.
Today, the goal of insatiable pseudo-journalists has metastasized from being among the elite to being an equal of the elite who not only decide what’s to be done but actual do the doing.
Put more clearly, the accepted standard for failure among today’s aspiring, and aspired, pseudo-journalists is to become ineffectual, or, God forbid, irrelevant.
Assisting them in those pursuits, it became acceptable to write the news as those manipulators wished the world to appear, to make the soil of society more fertile for the seed of their ideological agenda.
Wearing self-deceiving blinkers like that, it’s no wonder today’s pseudo-journalists don’t get it, don’t get it why they, and the politicians cozying up to them, are the only ones left who have much respect for them or even take them seriously anymore.
What’s happened is that these pseudo-journalists have sucked the life’s blood out of journalism, and turned what was once a noble and respected profession into an empty husk.
Not to Perry. Instead, he concludes that "It is the leftists who are robbing this country of its genuine journalism," offering no evidence to back it up and refusing to examine the role his employer has played in debasing "genuine journalism" (something Perry has a habit of doing).
Wikipedia, the online "free encyclopedia" written and edited by its users that contains 9 million articles in 253 languages, now includes detailed photos of nude homosexual men engaging in sex acts and a variety of other sexually explicit images and content.
While Schilling actually talks to Wikipedia officials -- an relatively rare instance of WND actually making an effort to report both sides of the story -- she gives bigger prominence to attacks on Wikipedia by, you guessed it, Matt Barber.
While Schilling offers vivid descriptions of the Wikipedia images that offend her, nowhere does she describe the context in which those images appear -- which, given that we're talking about an encyclopedia that, in the words of a Wikipedia rep Schilling quoted, "contains the sum of all human knowledge," is an important element of the story. Nor does she note how many pages of those 9 million contain such images; her use of Barber's calling Wikipedia "a bunch of hard-core pornographers," without giving anyone from Wikipedia any apparent opportunity to respond to Barber, suggests that WND's ultimate goal is to discredit Wikipedia. (In that case, it had better tell Aaron Klein to delete his puffery-laden Wikipedia page so he doesn't spend so much time scrubbing criticism of him from it.)
Further, while offering a sole heavily censored image of "one of the more mild photos featured on Wikipedia in the 'striptease' entry," she does not provide links so that readers can judge for themselves the content and context (which, sadly, runs against WND's history of illustrating the things that offend it so).
And yes, the headline blurb for this article on WND's front page reads, "Wikipedia or Wikipornia?"
WorldNetDaily keeps up its anti-gay agenda in a May 6 article headlined "'Gay' indoctrination starts in Minneapolis."
Of course, there is no "indoctrination" going on; the Minneapolis school district is merely instituting an anti-bullying program, "Welcoming Schools," that covers homosexual issues. But WND asserts without evidence that it is a "special interest program" that "promote[s] homosexuality," put together by the Human Rights Campaign, "which advocates for and promotes homosexuality."
The article uncritically repeats claims (pulled from a press release) by the conservative, anti-gay Alliance Defense Fund that the Minnapolis program "further[s]" and "promote[s] the homosexual agenda" and is designed to "indoctrinate young children." Like WND, the ADF offers no evidence to back that up, let alone how any mention of homosexuality specifically "promote[s] the homosexual agenda."
The article also references WND's previous anti-gay reporting, noting "the pro-homosexual 'Day of Silence'" and adding: "The advanced state of California's homosexual indoctrination program for public school students also has been documented." As we've documented, there's no "indoctrination" going on there, either; California merely added "sexual orientation" to a list of characteristics California schools are not allowed to "promote a discriminatory bias" against.
AIM Attacks Kessler Again Over McCarthy Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media has launched its second attack on Ronald Kessler's Wall Street Journal article countering Joe McCarthy revisionism. This time, a May 6 piece by the chief McCarthy revisionist himself, M. Stanton Evans, goes after Kessler's article by calling it "an odd amalgam of unverifiable hearsay and a handful of items checkable from the record. It's noteworthy that, on the checkable matters, Kessler is repeatedly, and egregiously, in error." Evans added: "Like many other critics of Joe McCarthy, Ronald Kessler would be more persuasive if he knew something of the subject."
But, like Wes Vernon before him, Evans fails to note that Kessler is a fellow conservative who works for conservative website Newsmax.
So Kessler has been on the receiving end of two smackdowns by McCarthy apologists. How will Kessler respond?
Are You Biased Enough To Work For WND? Topic: WorldNetDaily
A May 5 WorldNetDaily job posting for a "highly motivated editor-writer" begins: "Do you have what it takes to be part of the WND editorial team?"
While the posting lists only "demonstrable experience in reporting and editing" as a requirement, there's another important part of "what it takes" that's not mentioned: a desire to slant the news to the right, unfairly depict those you don't agree with and frame their claims through the eyes of their critics, and to portray conservative and/or right-wing Christians and Jews as positively as possible while refusing to report any criticism of them (or, if it is reported, not treat it as legitimate).
Well, that's obviously how folks like Aaron Klein and Bob Unruh got their WND gigs. Joseph Farah wouldn't have hired them if they didn't.
NewsBusters Puts Words in Reporter's Mouth Topic: NewsBusters
Asserting that "a liberal print journalist has seen racism behind conservative concerns about Sen. Barack Obama," a May 6 NewsBusters post by Lyndsi Thomas claims that Washington Post writer Shankar Vedantam "asserted" in an article "that it is not Revered Jeremiah Wright’s incendiary comments that have damaged Obama, it is his race, sex and public style. If Wright were a white female who wrote her outlandish ideas in a scholarly journal, Vedantam thinks the effects would not be the same."
But Vedantam didn't "assert" anything. Indeed, there are no unattributed assertions in the article that can be interpreted to represent Vedantam's own view; Vedantam presents the article as a "thought experiment." Vedantam merely reported that "social psychologist Steven Neuberg believes that Wright has damaged the biracial Obama because, in his public persona -- as much as in his views -- he activates unconscious fears and racial stereotypes that many voters have about angry black men." Despite Thomas' suggestion that the article was about "racism behind conservative concerns" about Wright, the word "conservative" appears nowhere in Vedantam's article.
Further, Thomas does not know for a fact that Vedantam is a "liberal print journalist." As fellow MRC'er Tim Graham has a habitofdoing, Thomas is conflating the views of those whom the reporter quotes with the (supposed) views of the reporter him/herself.
WND Suddenly Offended by Hitler Comparison Topic: WorldNetDaily
The headline of a May 5 WorldNetDaily article shouts, "Evolutionist compares rabbi to Hitler!" It's a reference to Richard Dawkins alleging that Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, in a debate of sorts with Dawkins over evolution, delivered "a shrieking rant, delivered with an intemperate stridency of which Hitler himself might have been proud."
Why is WND so shocked? Its writers and columnists have regularly smeared those it doesn't like with Nazi allusions. Among their targets:
And if the bone of contention is that Dawkins likened a Jew to Hitler, remember that WND editor Joseph Farah did essentially the same thing in September 2007, asserting that Israeli leaders Ehud Olmert and Shimon Peres have a "final solution" to the dispute over the Temple Mount.
Following Brent Baker's lead, a May 5 NewsBusters post (and TimesWatch item) by Clay Waters complains about a New York Times article that "portrayed Democrats as victims of Republicans challenging their patriotism (without showing any actual examples of such)," later adding again, "Rarely is any actual evidence offered to accompany the accusation."
Um, guys, we offered plenty of evidence to support the accusation, even citing your fellow MRC co-workers (and boss) as examples. How about addressing that, instead of pretending such evidence doesn't exist?
Otis Moss, the man slated to become the new chief pastor at the Trinity United Church of Christ, referenced a rap song during one of his recent sermons that includes among its lyrics "F--- America" and states the U.S. is "still with triple K" – referring to the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan.
Trinity United, of course, is the church Obama attends. It's not until the 14th paragraph that you get to the nitty-gritty of Klein's attack:
"Do you know who's got our back? If I was Ice Cube, I would say it a little differently – you picked the wrong folk to mess with," Moss exclaimed.
The song Moss was referring to is actually titled "Wrong N-gga to f--- with." It includes the lyrics "F--- America, still with the triple K" and it uses the spelling "AmeriKKKa."
The full lyrics provided in the album:
"Down wit the niggaz that I bail out I'm platinum b-tch and I didn't have to sell out F--- you Ice Cube, that's what the people say F--- AmeriKKKa, still with the triple K Cause you know when my nine goes buck it'll bust your head like a watermelon dropped from 12 stories up Now let's see who'll drop"
The cover image of Ice Cube's album, titled "Death Certificate," features a dead man identified as "Uncle Sam" who is covered by an American flag.
To sum up: Otis Moss paraphrased a single line from a rap song. That's all he did. He didn't say "F--- America" and "triple K" to his congregation, as the headline and Klein's first paragraph falsely suggests. Moss didn't speak any of the lyrics Klein is trying to tie him to.
The hanging offense Klein is trying to pin on Obama is, again, that Otis Moss paraphrased a single line from a rap song.
That's how desperate Klein is to take down Obama.
P.S. If Klein is as scandalized by gangsta rap as he suggests, why is he able to quote the lyrics so easily?