Topic: The ConWeb
Hillary Clinton's presidential run has inspired the ConWeb to spew all manner of hatred at her and her husband (again). Read more >>
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Aaron Klein Anti-Obama Agenda Watch
In his 31st WorldNetDaily article attacking Barack Obama (versus just one attacking John McCain), Aaron Klein claims in a May 28 WND article that "inconsistencies remain regarding the much-touted military service of the presidential candidate's family."
UPDATE: It appears that Klein is sleazing his way down the right-wing blog chain for his Obama smears now. Sadly, No! reports that Dan Riehl (best known for his false smears of S.R. Sidarth) and Sweetness and Light are on this story as well. This does comport with Klein's recent reliance on right-wing blogs to fuel his Obama dirt.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch
Topic: Media Research Center
A May 28 appearance by the MRC's Brent Bozell on "Fox & Friends" gives Bozell an opportunity to spout the conservative line on Scott McClellan's new book ("he's bitter and he's cashing in.") While Bozell appears opposite radio host Mike Papantonio (with whome he has appeared before), the incomplete clip on NewsBusters (which edits out Papantonio) shows that "Fox & Friends" adheres to at least one part of the template: Papantonio is introduced as a "Barack Obama supporter" while Bozell is introduced only as "Media Research Center founder and president" with no mention of his conservative leanings.
Aaron Klein's Anti-Obama Twofer
Aaron Klein's anti-Obama article tally is up to 30 now (as opposed to just one article critical of John McCain). This time, Klein gleans from right-wing blogs for his attacks.
The first article details how Obama "has been caught in an apparent gaffe" over which relative helped to liberate which Nazi concentration camp; Klein cites three different right-wing blogs to support his claim. Klein did not note that McCain has made verbal gaffes as well -- given that they involve things like foreign policy and defense rather than personal anecdotes, McCain's are arguably more serious.
Klein's second article rehashes an alleged deletion of a sentence of a speech Obama gave from a transcript on Obama's website -- also plucked from a right-wing blog.
UPDATE: Media Matters offers a compedium of McCain's gaffes on foreign policy, which WND has largely ignored.
Huston Rants Against Garrison Keillor
Warner Todd Huston uses a May 28 NewsBusters post to rant against "A Prairie Home Companion" host Garrison Keillor over his inability, as expressed in a recent newspaper column, to understand what is inherently patriotic about riding a motorcycle. Despite attacking Keillor's column as a "screed," Huston was in full screed mode himself, referencing "Lake Blowbegone" and calling Keillor a "pseudo-intellectual" wfho associates with "tea-drinking, pinky finger lifted, emasculated, lefties." (Of course, a "psudo-intellectual," unlike Huston, would know that putting a comma after "emasculated" is grammatically incorrect.)
If Huston want to do some, you know, actual research into Keillor, he might want to check out last Saturday's edition of "A Praire Home Companion," in which Keillor devotes the "News from Lake Wobegon" to Memorial Day and reads a moving Memorial Day sonnet -- both done in ways that even Huston might approve.
Has Jerome Corsi Ever Actually Listened to the Decemberists?
WorldNetDaily blunders in late to the Obama-Decemberists party, in the form of a May 27 article by Jerome Corsi that begins: "A hip rock band that features the Soviet national anthem and communist-inspired lyrics was on stage to open for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama at his record-breaking Portland, Ore., rally that attracted 75,000."
We suspect that Corsi has never heard of the Decemberists before this mini-controversy erupted and wouldn't know a "hip rock band" if one walked up to him and gave him a Masonic handshake.
Corsi rehashes Robert Knight's errant assertion that people at a Portland rally at which the Decemberists played before an Obama speech were there to see the band, not Obama. Corsi counters the claim that the band is "a relatively unknown independent folk-rock group that plays small clubs at local Portland nightclubs" by noting that "the band has appeared on national television."
Corsi also went on to play WND's favorite game, guilt by association, asserting that "What remains undisputed is the group's pro-communist image" and noting the band's "unfinished song with communist-style lyrics" endorsing Obama (though Corsi never explains what "communist-style lyrics" are supposed to be).
Shouldn't a writer who criticizes a band's music have actually listened to that band before issuing his criticism? Corsi shows no evidence that he has -- or that he has ventured beyond conservative blogs for the information he threw in his article.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Farah Dumps Hagee, Defends Parsley
Apparently, Joseph Farah and John Hagee are not friends anymore.
In his May 27 WorldNetDaily column, Farah surprisingly throws Hagee -- who, as we noted, Farah has described as "my friend," who has written a column for WND and whose books are available for sale at WND's online store -- under the bus over Hagee's assertion that Hitler was doing God's will to get Jews to move to Palestine. Farah begins his column this way:
Farah then quickly moves on to defend another evangelical pastor whose endorsement McCain has flip-flopped on -- Rod Parsley:
Farah also says, "In fact, the only disagreement I would have with Parsley is in his endorsement of McCain!"
Farah goes to great pains to differentiate Hagee and Parsley:
While Farah fulminates about McCain in his column, it's important to remember that WND has never done a news article about the controversial statements made by either Hagee or Parsley -- which plays into WND's de facto pro-McCain agenda, however much Farah disingenuously denies he's helping McCain.
Even though Farah appears to be throwing Hagee under the bus here, WND's virtual blackout on the controversy over Hagee's words demonstrate that Farah and Hagee may still be at least somewhat buddy-buddy after all -- enough to work parallel on a shared anti-Obama agenda, anyway.
WND Repeats False Attacks on Day of Silence
A May 19 WND article by Chelsea Schilling unquestioningly repeated anti-gay group Mission America's claims about its attempts to, as the headline asserts, "squash" the Day of Silence event designed to show support for gay students victimized by violence and bullying (we've previously noted that Schilling asserted without evidence that the event is "pro-homosexual"). Schilling went on to detail "some incidents that took place during the silent protests and were reported by Mission America," making no apparent attempt to fact-check Mission America's claims.
Well, somebody did fact-check those a couple of those claims -- Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor popular in conservative circles whom WND approvingly quoted earlier this month in the midst of attacking gay activist Wayne Besen. Throckmorton didn't like what he found.
Schilling wrote, apparently cribbing straight from Mission America:
He told me that a couple of parents called to express disagreement with the Day of Silence and one mother met in person with him but he did not express any judgment about the mother’s views. He further explained that the matter of an excused absence would be at the discretion of the building principal.
Schilling also wrote:
Throckmorton concludes: "And those were just the first two bulletpoints. I guess you can’t believe everything you read." That same warning applies to a lot of things one reads at WorldNetDaily.
UPDATE: Tweaked description of Throckmorton; he doesn't specifically advocate gay conversion therapy (but defends the right of those to seek it out).
Aaron Klein Anti-Obama Agenda Watch
Aaron Klein's 28th anti-Obama article for WorldNetDaily is a May 26 piece claiming that "The Israeli government estimates Sen. Barack Obama will win the presidential elections and is rushing to finalize a deal with the Palestinians and possibly Syria before President Bush leaves office." Klein's source: "two top Israeli diplomats ... speaking on condition of anonymity." Yep, yet another anonymous attack.
Keep in mind that Klein's boss, Joseph Farah, calls claims made by anonymous sources "usually quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better."
Klein uses the article to rehash his previous guilt-by-association attacks on Obama, ascribing the views of alleged Obama associates to Obama himself, without once noting what Obama has said about the U.S. relationship with Israel -- an omission one has to assume is a delibarate attempt to falsely portray Obama as anti-Israel.
Klein also references yet again his interview (with radio host John Batchelor) of Hamas official Ahmed Yousef, in which Yousef expressed support for Obama's candidacy. Klein proudly calls it a "now notorious interview" -- just another piece of evidence to support the claim that the interview was a calculated political hit job by Klein and Batchelor on Obama, with them either collaborating with Yousef or playing him for a fool. Klein has yet to publicly respond to questions we have raised about the interview.
Kincaid Hearts WND's Stenography
Topic: Accuracy in Media
We've previously described how two different news organizations treated Cliff Kincaid's attempts to portray Barack Obama as a secret commie: WorldNetDaily's Jerome Corsi swallowed Kincaid's assertions without question, while the Washington Post's Dana Milbank applied the skepticism such claims deserve.
Guess which version Kincaid prefers? From his May 25 AIM column:
That's not a surprise -- of course Kincaid would prefer a news organization that swallowed everything he said hook, line and sinker, not asking any pesky questions about his partisan motivations or even bothering to verify his claims. And Corsi and WND are all too happy to oblige -- after all, they didn't ask any questions when Larry Sinclair made his false claims against Obama, either.
Monday, May 26, 2008
WND Uncritically Quotes Writer Who Likens Homosexuality to Incest, Polygamy
The May 7 article was devoted entirely to summarizing a "open letter" by Robert A.J. Gagnon reacting to a controversy over University of Toledo associate vice president for human resources Crystal Dixon, who was fired allegedly over an article she wrote taking "great umbrage at the notion that those choosing the homosexual lifestyle are 'civil rights victims'" because "thousands of homosexuals make a life decision to leave the gay lifestyle" and because gays are well-educated and have higher-than-average incomes; she went on to call homosexuality a "revolt" against "God's divine order."
The unbylined May 7 article described Gagnon as "[a]n author who wrote two books about homosexuality," adding" "He holds degrees from Princeton, Harvard and Dartmouth and wrote the 'Sexuality' entry for the 'New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics,' the same entry for the 'Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of Scripture,' and dozens of other such articles. He's written for 'Theology Matters,' 'Catholic Biblical Quarterly' and 'Journal of Biblical Literature.'" From the article:
As befits WND's anti-gay agenda, no apparent effort is made to allow anyone to respond to Gagnon's claims.
Gagnon's "open letter" goes even farther than what WND quoted. In it, he calls homosexuality "an impulse-related condition" and titles one section, "Why is homosexual practice wrong?" He concluded: "My point is that if you find adult-committed incest and adult-committed polyamory offensive on formal or structural grounds, you should find adult-committed homosexual practice even more offensive."
For all of the theological credentials WND cited, questions have been raised about his conclusions (which, of course, WND fails to acknowledge). For instance, as one Amazon.com reviewer writes regarding the Gagnon co-authored book "Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views": "Technically he's telling the truth, but to those of us with linguistic training and training in the Biblical languages, he's being intellectually dishonest or he didn't check an important claim in a source he didn't cite." And a blogger writes of Gagnon's argument that the book of Genesis explains why homosexuality is wrong:
As one might expect, Gagnon also hangs around in right-wing anti-gay circles. He served as a speaker for the Illinois Family Institute's "Love and Truth" campaign (alongside presentations titled "How the gay movement endangers and corrupts children" and "The severe health risks of homosexual behavior"). And a 2004 WND article featured criticism from Gagnon of an "annual convention of American religion scholars" that featured "sessions favorable toward sadomasochism, transvestism, transsexualism and polyamory":
Farah praised Gagnon as a "courageous whistleblower" for exposing the meeting, describing it as an example of "just how low our culture has plummeted, just how completely our institutions have been subverted, just how evil men's hearts are and just how blind we as a society have become to the depravity that surrounds us."
P.S. In an weird little sidelight, Gagnon on his website defends use of the term "homosex" in his writing:
Matt Sanchez's Gay Problem
Matt Sanchez spends his May 24 WorldNetDaily column pointing out Barack Obama's "gay problem" -- that is, he opposes a ban on gay marriage and supports, in Sanchez's words, "mainstreaming the marginal" (you know, treating gays like everyone else). Sanchez further claims that "Eliminating 'don't ask, don't tell' [in the military] is an invitation to give priority to the self-serving activism of 'out and proud' over the self-sacrificing commitment of 'just doing my job'" (without citing any evidence to support the claim, of course).
Needless to say, nowhere is it mentioned -- nor, indeed, has it ever been mentioned on WND -- that Sanchez used to work in gay porn.
Doesn't that history make Sanchez's attack a little, you know, hypocritical? And don't both Sanchez and WND look more than a bit dishonest for failing to disclose a relevant piece of factual information?
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Graham Misleads on 2000 Recount
In a May 25 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham asserts that the upcoming HBO movie "Recount" "aims to mislead the public into believing Al Gore won the presidency in 2000, when every recount (even the liberal media’s) found otherwise."
In fact, as we've previously noted, the National Opinion Research Center recount, funded by a consortium of news organizations including the Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, found that Gore won Florida in four different counting scenarios.
Graham also suggests that the "Recount" movie has a liberal slant because "liberal media consultants" were hired for their help with the script, among them Jake Tapper, who wrote a book on the 2000 Florida turmoil. But a July 2003 MRC CyberAlert said of the book: "To be fair, Tapper’s book was supposedly also pretty tough on Al Gore." (We've previously noted the MRC's attempts to dismiss Tapper as a liberal.)
UPDATE: Brent Baker gets in on the misleading fun, insisting that "both recounts conducted by major media outlets in 2001 determined George W. Bush would have won anyway" and that anyone who claims otherwise is "re-writing ... history." Baker, unlike Graham, does try to quantify things, claiming that "George W. Bush still would have won under either legally possible recount scenario which could have occurred" and citing a Gore win under "a scenario which never could have occurred." But Baker, like the November 2001 CyberAlert item from which he cribs, never explains how he concluded that the two recount scenarios he cites in which Bush won are the only "legally possible" ones.
Aaron Klein's Anonymous Buddies
Aaron Klein's 27th Obama-bashing article (versus just one critical of John McCain) is a May 23 piece accusing Barack Obama of "misrepresenting" his relationship with "pro-Palestinian activist and harsh critic of Israel" Rashid Khalidi. In rebutting Obama's claim that he has "had conversations" with Obama and little more, Klein claims that "Obama's relationship with Khalidi goes beyond conversation." His lead piece of evidence: "Sources at the university told WND that Khalidi and Obama lived in nearby faculty residential zones and that the two families dined together a number of times. The sources said the Obamas even babysat the Khalidi children."
Yep, it's anonymously sourced. And remember what Klein's boss, Joseph Farah, said about claims made by anonymous sources: that they're "usually quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better." Still, Klein does make regular use of anonymous sources -- even granting anonymity to terrorists.
Klein's article also contains the subhead "Israel a 'constant sore'" -- referring to WND's false claim that Obama made such a assertion in an interview.The article itself, meanwhile, correctly states that "Obama termed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a 'constant sore'" (while also referencing a previous desperate attempt by Klein to smear Obama by claiming he stole the term from Khalidi). By clearly asserting its willingness to repeatedly smear Obama with a false claim, WND demonstrates it clearly has no intention of reporting actual facts to its readers.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Wonkette notes that conservative bloggers such as Michelle Malkin are insisting that what TV cook Rachael Ray is wearing around her neck in a Dunkin' Donuts commercial is a Palestinian kaffiyeh scarf.
Believe it or not, this has happened before: As we noted, NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein has accused accused "Today" host Matt Lauer of expressing support for the Palestinians by wearing a black-and-white-checked scarf, and has also accused a random civilian on TV of the same.
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