Good and Bad From Aaron Klein Topic: WorldNetDaily
First the good news: In a May 18 WorldNetDaily article, Aaron Klein correctly stated that Barack Obama "term[ed] the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a "constant sore" last week." If you'll recall, an unbylined WND article took Obama's words out of context to falsely claim that he called Israel a "constant sore."
Will WND issue a correction and apology for its previous article, now that Klein has gotten it right? Probably not -- not even after publishing two articles with conflicting, irreconcilable claims. But we'll watch for one anyway.
Now the bad news: The rest of Klein's article is another desperate guilt-by-association smear of Obama, suggesting that using the term "constant sore" means that Obama "borrow[ed] the phraseology of a pro-Palestinian activist and harsh critic of Israel who has been described as a friend of the senator."
Klein repeated a claim from a previous article that Khalidi "dedicated his 1986 book, 'Under Siege,' to 'those who gave their lives ... in defense of the cause of Palestine and independence of Lebanon.' Critics assailed the book as excusing Palestinian terrorism and claim the dedication is in reference to the Palestine Liberation Organization, which at that time committed scores of anti-Western attacks and was labeled by the U.S. as a terror group[.]" Klein does not identify who these purported "critics" are.
Klein also delves into the murky anonymous-source pool, citing "a professor at the University of Chicago who said he has known Obama for 12 years" who "spoke on condition of anonymity" and other never-identified "sources at the University."
UPDATE: In a previous article, Klein referred to William Ayers, not Khalidi, as a "confessed domestic terrorist." This item has been edited to conform.
The names of over 31,000 American scientists that reject the theory of anthropogenic global warming are to be revealed on Monday.
Although this will occur at the National Press Club in Washington, DC., it seems a metaphysical certitude media will completely ignore the event.
Roughly the same level of metaphysical certainty, we'd guess, that Sheppard won't tell his readers about the agenda of the group pushing the petition, the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.
After reprinting the OISM's press release verbatim, Sheppard does take a stab at explaining the petition's background (reflecting his own biases, of course):
Folks should recall that this petition was first circulated in 1999 garnering more than 19,000 signatures. The alarmists discounted its significance because there were some duplicate names, and some of the signatories apparently weren't scientists -- or so the story goes.
With over 31,000 now on the list, all with degrees in science -- including 9,000 PhDs! -- what might this do to the nonsensical premise of there being a consensus concerning this issue?
SourceWatch, meanwhile, offers up a little more background on the OISM's petition than Sheppard seems to want to share with his readers:
The Oregon Petition, sponsored by the OISM, was circulated in April 1998 in a bulk mailing to tens of thousands of U.S. scientists. In addition to the petition, the mailing included what appeared to be a reprint of a scientific paper. Authored by OISM's Arthur B. Robinson, Sallie L. Baliunas, Willie Soon, and Zachary W. Robinson, the paper was titled "Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide" and was printed in the same typeface and format as the official Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Also included was a reprint of a December 1997, Wall Street Journal editorial, "Science Has Spoken: Global Warming Is a Myth, by Arthur and Zachary Robinson. A cover note signed "Frederick Seitz/Past President, National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A./President Emeritus, Rockefeller University", may have given some persons the impression that Robinson's paper was an official publication of the academy's peer-reviewed journal. The blatant editorializing in the pseudopaper, however, was uncharacteristic of scientific papers. Robinson's paper claimed to show that pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is actually a good thing. "As atmospheric CO2 increases," it stated, "plant growth rates increase. Also, leaves lose less water as CO2 increases, so that plants are able to grow under drier conditions. Animal life, which depends upon plant life for food, increases proportionally." As a result, Robinson concluded, industrial activities can be counted on to encourage greater species biodiversity and a greener planet[.]
In reality, neither Robinson's paper nor OISM's petition drive had anything to do with the National Academy of Sciences, which first heard about the petition when its members began calling to ask if the NAS had taken a stand against the Kyoto treaty. Robinson was not even a climate scientist. He was a biochemist with no published research in the field of climatology, and his paper had never been subjected to peer review by anyone with training in the field. In fact, the paper had never been accepted for publication anywhere, let alone in the NAS Proceedings. It was self-published by Robinson, who did the typesetting himself on his own computer. (It was subsequently published as a "review" in Climate Research, which contributed to an editorial scandal at that publication.)
None of the coauthors of "Environmental Effects of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide" had any more standing than Robinson himself as a climate change researcher. They included Robinson's 22-year-old son, Zachary, along with astrophysicists Sallie L. Baliunas and Willie Soon.
When questioned in 1998, OISM's Arthur Robinson admitted that only 2,100 signers of the Oregon Petition had identified themselves as physicists, geophysicists, climatologists, or meteorologists, "and of those the greatest number are physicists." This grouping of fields concealed the fact that only a few dozen, at most, of the signatories were drawn from the core disciplines of climate science - such as meteorology, oceanography, and glaciology - and almost none were climate specialists. The names of the signers are available on the OISM's website, but without listing any institutional affiliations or even city of residence, making it very difficult to determine their credentials or even whether they exist at all.
Gee, sounds like the OISM has a certain agenda -- the same one Sheppard has. That increases the metaphysical certitude that Sheppard won't discuss the full truth about this petition.
NewsBusters' Distorted Comparison of Presidential Investments Topic: NewsBusters
A May 15 NewsBusters post by Terry Trippany has the stated purpose of "Applying the AP's McCain Standard to Barack Obama Shows Sudanese Connections to His Campaign." But that's not what Trippany did.
Here's Trippany's explanation:
AP writer Jim Kuhnhenn is applying a six degrees of separation style standard in trying to accuse John McCain of investing in the Sudan because his wife owned some mutual funds that had holdings in an Indian company that allegedly does business in the Sudan. The far left has picked up on this "AP newsbreak" as evidenced by its front page status at The Huffington Post.
So I decided to play the game myself by looking at the mainstream media's favorite target of obsessive adulation, Barack Obama. My my, would you look at that? When I applied the McCain standard to Barack Obama I quickly discovered that Obama's top contributors are being targeted by activists that are targeting financial companies to divest in the Sudan. Surprised?
But a supporter of a candidate is not the same as the candidate's spouse.
Trippany then distorts things further by directly equating donations by individual employees of a company or organization with the activities of that company:
According to OpenSecrets.org Barack Obama received $544,000 from people associated with or employed by Goldman Sachs. Not good. In 1998 China was set to make its first public offering on the New York Stock exchange via a company called the China National Petroleum Company (CNPC). The deal quickly came under fire because China was financing arms sales to the Sudan and allegedly used Chinese prison laborers to build oil pipelines in the region.
Trippany then called Goldman Sachs "Barack Obama's number one contributor" even though it's individual Goldman Sachs employees who have donated to Obama's campaign. Not the same thing.
Trippany distorts things further by calling the University of California "Obama's number 2 contributor" without the disclaimer that the university itself did not donate -- we're pretty sure that would be illegal -- but individual employees did.
Indeed, the OpenSecrets.org page from which Trippany cribbed this information has at the top of the page in big red letters, "The organizations themselves did not donate," adding,"rather the money came from the organization's PAC, its individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families."
Trippany asserted that the AP's "standard is bogus,"but doesn't note an important piece of informatin from the AP article -- that Obama divested Sudan-related investments from his portfolio a year ago.
Which explains why Trippany had to resort to the misleading comparison of Obama supporters vs. McCain's wife.
WND Columnist Lies About Global Poverty Act Topic: WorldNetDaily
Donald Hank begins a May 17 WorldNetDaily column this way:
Conservatives know that Sen. Barack Obama has recently introduced the Global Poverty Act, which some commentators have said would bankrupt America by giving an additional 0.7 percent of GDP to Third World governments.
That may well be true.
Actually, it's not. As we detailed, the Global Poverty Act would establish no specific funding source, would not commit the United States to any targeted level of spending, and would not give the U.N. the power to impose a tax on the U.S.
Yet Hank goes on to pretend that it does all of these things. In railing against "government-enforced socialist wealth sharing" and claiming that welfare is only about "paying people to live a dangerous lifestyle," Hank adds:
[B]y politicizing charity and impoverishing Americans (to the tune of over $10,000 per person), the Global Poverty Act would make it more difficult for Christians to continue being the most generous people in the world. Instead, we would make them unwilling donors to the world's most corrupt charity, the U.N.
But it doesn't. And Hank is irresponsible and deceitful to claim, in the face of facts, that it does.
Farah Still Quasi-Defending Polygamist Cult Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah keeps up his quasi-defense of polygamist cultists in his May 16 WorldNetDaily column. This time around, he's defending the idea that refusing to immunize one's children is a good thing. This is a major WND hobbyhorse; it has long engaged in anti-immunization scaretactics.
In railing against an apparent decision by Texas officials to have the children of the cultists that they have taken into custody vaccinated against the usual diseases, Farah asserted that the parents are "mothers and fathers made conscious and well-informed decisions not to immunize their kids because of the potential for dire health risks." Really? How does Farah know this? Indeed, he offers no evidence that the parents "made conscious and well-informed decisions not to immunize their kids"; in fact, one can plausibly argue that, given that they are members of a polygamist cult, they have a demonstrated history of not making "well-informed decisions."
And, like before, Farah refuses to offer any meaningful criticism of the cult, even though they have acted in ways he purports not to like: "Again, I don't like some of the things that went on in that community. I don't approve of them. There may even have been some laws broken. But there is no evidence being made public to suggest every single mother in the compound abused or neglected her children – or to suggest these poor kids would be better off with the state of Texas as their parent."
Again, as we've noted, it's more important to Farah that parents have the right to do what they want to with their children -- including pawning them off into an illegal polygamist relationship -- than actually punishing said illegal behavior. Farah is willing to condone the abuse of the cult's children to make an anti-government argument, just as he ignores the abuse of children in the Phillip Long homeschooling case in order to make Long a martyr to the homeschooling cause.
NewsBusters Spins Bush 'Appeasement' Attack Topic: NewsBusters
The folks at NewsBusters are doing their best to try and pretend that President Bush wasn't referring to Barack Obama when he raised the subject of "appeasement" in a speech to the Israeli Knesset.
Yet, as the Boston Globe reported, "White House officials indicated that the criticism applied to Obama, who has said that as president he would rely on greater diplomacy to improve relations with unfriendly nations." A May 15 NewsBusters post by Matthew Balan acknowledged that CNN also reported this in claiming that Democrats were being "hypersensitive" to the remark.
But when White House press secretary Dana Perino asserted that Bush was not referring to Obama, certain NewsBusters quickly glommed onto that as the gospel truth. Noel Sheppard, in trumpeting Perino's assertion without offering a reason to believe her at face value, huffed that CNN's sources claiming that Bush was referring to Obama were merely "unnamed 'White House aides.'"
This allowed NewsBusters and the MRC to move onto its next talking point -- that any news report mentioning the controversy was taking "cues from the Obama campaign," as Brent Baker put in a May 15 NewsBusters post (and May 16 CyberAlert item, in which he also, as we noted, tried to spin away an analogy between negotiating with Iran and Reagan's negotiations with the Soviet Union).
Baker's post made reference -- the only one we can find -- to the fact that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has also advocated negotiation with Iran, but only in a transcript; he never addressed it directly.
A post by Justin McCarthy, meanwhile, claimed that a report on NBC's "Today" "sounded almost like an Obama campaign press release" and that NBC's Andrea Mitchell was acting as a "mind reader" by claiming that Bush's speech "could hardly have been an accident"; he insisted that Mitchell showed "journalistic irresponsibility" for not noting "the White House’s denial that President Bush referred to Senator Obama." Of course, McCarthy is similarly irresponsible by not noting that sources claiming that Bush was.
In a May 16 post, Balan complained again that "CNN carried the water for the Democrats and portayed President Bush’s 'appeasement' remarks before the Knesset in Israel as an attack on Barack Obama."
A post by Lyndsi Thomas, meanwhile, asserted that any claim that "Bush’s statements were an attack on Obama" was "Democratic spin."
In the midst of all this, Noel Sheppard tossed out a big, steaming chunk of Bush sycophancy that would not being out of praise coming from Ronald Kessler's pen. Sheppard praised Bush's Knesset speech as "stirring and emotional" and "one of the greatest speeches of his career," while attacking the media for "exclusively report[ing] 83 words they felt insulted the candidate for president they have been unashamedly supporting for over a year." Sheppard then posted the entire Bush speech, complained yet again that only the "appeasement" attack "got through" the media's "bias filters", then declared:
The rest they stole from us, and for this we are owed an apology that certainly will never come, for instead of Americans being proud of the job our President did representing our nation on this historic visit, this day will live in infamy rather than immortality.
How much did Dana Perino pay you for that post, Noel?
P.S. For all of the MRC's obsession with making sure that Democratic politicians caught in wrongdoing are properly identifed as such, there is no mention whatsoever that the 1930s-era senator whom Bush quoted in his speech as saying, "Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided," was Sen. William Borah -- a Republican.
A May 15 NewsBusters post by Ken Shepherd whack's CNN's Ed Henry for "hack[ing] out 29 paragraphs on his network's Web site dedicated to the proposition that 'President Bush launched a sharp but veiled attack Thursday on Sen. Barack Obama and other Democrats.'" by suggesting that some Democrats were acting in the same way some Western leaders did when they appeased Hitler in the runup to World War II. Why? "Obama's presidential campaign Web site itself lays out in pretty simple terms the Illinois Democrat's view about engaging the Iranian regime in "direct" negotiations with no preconditions," Shepherd writes.
But the statements Shepherd quotes don't say anything about appeasement. Heck, they don't even say "negotiations." Here are the statements Shepherd highlighted:
"tough, direct presidential diplomacy"
"willing to meet separately, without precondition"
"the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them - which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration - is ridiculous."
None say anything about appeasement or negotiation. Diplomacy is not appeasement or even negotiation.
Meanwhile, on the same subject, a May 15 NewsBusters post (and May 16 MRC CyberAlert item) by Brent Baker responded to Obama's statement that "Presidents Kennedy, Nixon, and even Reagan also negotiated directly with America's enemies" by saying, "But Mikhail Gorbachev hadn't promised to nuke Israel."
Um, didn't Gorbachev's Soviet Union have thousands of nuclear weapons pointed at the U.S., which trumps the crap out of a threat from a country that has no nuclear weapons at all?
CNS: 'California Court Strips Children of Right to Mother and Father' Topic: WorldNetDaily
Like WorldNetDaily, CNSNews.com offers a creative, misleading interpretation of the California Supreme Court ruling overturning a ban on same-sex marriage. In a May 16 article headlined "California Court Strips Children of Right to Mother and Father," Terry Jeffrey writes:
In Thursday's 4-3 decision legalizing same-sex marriage, the California Supreme Court stripped children of the right to be raised by a mother and a father.
Most of the media coverage of the California Supreme Court's decision has focused on the court's declaration that there is a right to same-sex marriage. The ruling invalidated California's Proposition 22, a state ballot initiative that passed with 61 percent of the vote in 2000, and which banned same-sex marriage in the state.
But the California Supreme Court decision goes beyond simply giving same-sex couples the right to call their unions a "marriage." It also strips children of the right not to be artificially conceived or adopted by people other than a mother and a father.
Indeed, the court does not recognize that children have any right whatsoever to a mother and a father.
Jeffrey offers no evidence beyond this interpretation of the ruling, such as quoting legal experts, that this is the case. Jeffrey's CNS bio indicates no evidence of legal expertise; he holds a bachelor's degree in English literature and has studied toward a master's in Arab studies.
This article is, essentially, Jeffrey's own personal opinion. Yet it is presented as a "news" article.
UPDATE: The CNS front page now describes Jeffrey's article as a "News Analysis." But the article itself is not labeled as such.
In a May 14 column, published at Newsmax, E. Ralph Hostetter made the following claim about drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge:
No recognition is given to how little of the ANWR reserve is brought into play for the entire development of the oil drilling site that would yield 1 million barrels of oil a day from its billions of barrels in reserve.
The footprint, so to speak, that is necessary for full development of a drilling operation to deliver the 1 million barrels is a mere 2,000 acres.
This tiny footprint represents one one-hundred thousandths (0.0001) of the total area of ANWR's 19 million acres. This is equivalent to one large farm in a state about the size of South Carolina.
[T]he Seattle Post-Intelligencernoted on February 28  that while drilling supporters have pushed the 2,000-acre figure in an effort to minimize the potential environmental impact, "[o]pponents counter that far more area would be affected by roads and pipelines connecting drilling pads." The Los Angeles Times reported on March 30, 2002, that "the Sierra Club says a 2,000-acre footprint could still support a broad level of development," and Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope noted that "one scenario that was consistent with the 2,000-acre footprint ... would sustain 53 drilling pads and 250 miles of roads and pipelines." These roads and pipelines would extend well outside the 2,000 acres[.]
A May 13 item on the Columbia Journalism Review's website described how ABC's Jake Tapper handled the out-of-context twisting of Obama's "constant sore" comment:
Given the mainstream media’s tendency toward false even-handedness, we might have expected this to be reported neutrally, under a headline like: “Boehner Attacks Obama Over Israel Comments.”
Instead, Tapper posted an item on his ABC News blog last night under the admirably straightforward headline: “House Republican Leader Twists Obama Statement on Israel.” His post begins:
In an interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., talked a great deal about Israel. He was rather effusive in his support for the Jewish state. Apparently given nothing of substance to criticize, House Republican leaders then took a statement Obama made and twisted it to act as if the Democrat had insulted the Jewish state. Which he had not.
Tapper then went on to lay out the facts of the case, concluding:
When Obama twisted Sen. John McCain’s “100 Years” comment, it was pretty dishonest as well. [We agree.] But this may be worse, because Boehner et al are falsely accusing Obama of besmirching a nation and a people. They are accusing him of being anti-Israel, even anti-Semitic. It is false.
Tapper’s post serves as a model for how the media should handle these efforts by both parties to generate phony controversies. Here’s hoping it starts a trend.
Of course, WorldNetDaily did none of this -- as we detailed, it devoted an entire article portraying the false assertion as true and the phony controversy as legitimate. It remains on the WND site with nary a retraction or apology to be found.
Tapper's behavior here demostrates how real journalists behave. WND's behavior, by contrast, demonstrates that he is not a source of real journalism -- after all, it has hired Aaron Klein, a partisanhack whose repeated smears of Obama demonstrate that he may as well be on John McCain's payroll (if he isn't already) -- And it's another reason that WorldNetDaily cannot be taken seriously as a news organization.
UPDATE: The WND article in question is unbylined, and was apparently not written by Aaron Klein. This item has been updated to reflect that.
MRC: Don't Call John McCain Old! Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has decided: The media is not allowed to reference John McCain's age, or even to say something that might possibly obliquely refer to it.
A May 8 NewsBusters post by Geoffrey Dickens (and a May 9 MRC CyberAlert item) declared that NBC's Ann Curry has an "obsession" with McCain's age -- all she did was ask Cindy McCain whether her husband can handle the job of president at his age -- and that Curry is part of a "not-so-quiet, whisper campaign against the Arizona Senator this fall: that too he's old to be President."
And in a May 13 NewsBusters post, Mark Finkelstein has decided that Obama's statement that "We're not going to let John McCain wander around in those states unchallenged anymore" is playing the age card:
Wander around? Like the nice ol' feller found ambling down the street in his bathrobe who has to be gently led back home?
Will the MSM take note? Not that McCain would, but imagine if he were to invoke Obama's race in similarly subtle terms. I'd say the liberal media would be in an uproar.
That's right -- things that might be interpreted by conservatives to refer to McCain's age are verboten.
WND: 'Black Robes Trash Traditional Marriage' Topic: WorldNetDaily
The headline of WorldNetDaily's May 15 article by Bob Unruh on the California Supreme Court's overturning of a same-sex marriage ban is predictably bitter and biased: "Black robes trash traditional marriage." The first paragraph of Unruh's article follows in that same vein:
The California Supreme Court today trashed society's traditional institution of marriage, opening it up for same-sex duos because retaining the historic definition "cannot properly be viewed as a compelling state interest."
Of course, nowhere does Unruh offer any factual evidence that same-sex marriages "trash traditional marriage."
Unruh quotes only right-wing groups criticizing the ruling; it's as if people who support the ruling don't exist to him. Unsurprisingly, Unruh gives prime space to anti-gay activist Matt Barber, who referenced "radical San Francisco-style social experimentation" and declared, "So-called 'same-sex marriage' is a ridiculous and oxymoronic notion that has been forced into popular lexicon by homosexual activists and their extremist left-wing allies."
Bozell Nabbed for Quote-Lifting Topic: Media Research Center
Offsprung (via Sadly, No!) reports that Brent Bozell, in his May 9 column, describes a book called "Uncle Bobby’s Wedding" in language suspciously similar to that of a review of the book in a gay newspaper.
Sadly, No! also does a nice job of summarizing Bozell's column:
What censorship IS: not stocking every book that has ever been written.
What censorship IS NOT: demanding that books of which someone might disapprove are expunged from the library.
New Article -- Anti-Obama Frenzy: The Case of Cliff Kincaid Topic: Accuracy in Media
The Accuracy in Media writer's attacks on Barack Obama include calling him a secret communist, making false claims, citing fictional characters, and essentially defending lynching as an all-American activity. Read more >>