A July 11 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones uncritically repeats a claim by House Minority Leader John Boehner: "Why can’t we have a vote right here in the House on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a 19 million-acre plot of ground and where we would use about 2,000 acres to actually do the drilling?" In fact, as we've previously noted, opponents of drilling in ANWR have pointed out that far more than 2,000 acres would be affected by roads and pipelines connecting drilling pads as part of the drilling operation.
Indeed, Jones offers no challenges to any of the Republicans' claims she cites from their "American Energy Tour." By contrast, Jones twice interrupts a section on Democrats' stands on energy to insert parenthetical claims about what "critics" say about those stands.
Richard Bartholomew deconstructs a July 12 WorldNetDaily article claiming death threats against Brad Thor, author of a book WND describes as the "Islamic Da Vinci Code," in that it fabricates a conspriacy based on the discovery of manuscripts alleged to be part of the Quran.
Turns out Thor and WND not only get the date of the discovery wrong, they mislead about the actual content of those manuscripts upon which Thor based his book. The death threat is unsubstantiated as well; as Bartholomew points out, "it is clear that Thor is revelling in creating a possible controversy to rival the Dutch Muhammad cartoons."
Which, of course, made her a natural choice to write a "news" article for WorldNetDaily.
King's July 12 WND article is a puff piece for Will Bower, who heads a group of anti-Obama activists who claim to be Hillary Clinton supporters. Because King is not a journalist, she does nothing of the things a real journalist would do:
She interviews only Bower, making no attempt to talk to others to put Bower's activism in perspective of the larger Democratic political situation.
She makes no apparent attempt to verify Bower's claims that he has 2 million supporters that have raised $10 million to retire Clinton's campaign debt; she merely regurgitates what Bowers says as the undisuputed truth, even dubious, unsubstantiated assertions like "Eight super-delegates left Obama this week."
She does not disclose her own pimping of Bower's group on her webcast and blog, in which she calld it "a tsunami-like movement determined to topple the Democrat leadership's well laid plans to crown Obama at their National Convention in September."
Indeed, some cursory Googling would raise a couple red flags (for real journalists, at least):
In short, King offers no evidence whatsoever that Bower is anything more than a guy with a website, an ax to grind against Obama, and a knack for publicity. That hardly makes him a credible spokesman for anything, much less the unassailable movement leader King portrays him as.
Then again, King does point out that most of Bower's supporters (if they do indeed exist) will be supporting John McCain -- which means this whole thing ist just a part of WND's stealth pro-McCain agenda.
Which, after all, is probably the reason WND had a biased anti-Obama activist write this article in the first place.
NewsBusters Runs to Gramm's Defense Topic: NewsBusters
The boys at NewsBusters are tearing themselves away from their obsessionoverJesseJackson's "nuts" comment to run to the defense of Phil Gramm's seemingly indefensible claim that America is in a "mental recession" and America is a "nation of whiners."
How so? By trying to prove that Gramm is right and blame -- you guessed it -- the liberal media for anyone thinking that there's a recession:
A July 10 post by Brent Baker (also an MRC CyberAlert item) claimed that ABC's Charles Gibson "conceded 'the fundamentals of the economy may be sound, as Gramm argues." Huh? Housing and oil aren't economic fundamentals? Baker also asserted that "ABC's World News has delighted in highlighting silly whining from hapless Americans."
Scott Whitlock insisted that "when discussing former Senator Gramm's comment about whining, media outlets should examine their own role in this debate."
Ken Shepherd cited an unreliable opt-in poll to assert that "61 percent of respondents think that, yes, America is a nation of whiners" and lamented how "the media refuse to take responsibility for their role in hyping doom and gloom to make America's economic woes seem worse than they objectively are."
Kyle Drennen resorted to the narrowly technical: "In reality, Gramm’s assertion that America is not in a real recession is completely accurate, as a recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth and there has yet to be even one quarter of negative growth."
Justin McCarthy similarly insisted that "remark that we are not in a recession is a fact."
Nathan Burchfiel echoed Whitlock, claiming that "the media have played a big role in drumming up negativity and pessimism about the economy. Gramm criticized the media for ignoring positive things that are happening with the economy."
Lyndsi Thomas cited a MRC Business & Media Institute report to claim that "print media coverage at the actual beginning of the Great Depression was more balanced and less hyperbolic than current reporting about the economy, which has been cooling, but not yet entered a recession." But that report compared apples to oranges --"daily news reports from Oct. 28 to Nov. 3, 1929, in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post ... were compared to daily reports on ABC, CBS and NBC from March 13 to March 19, 2008."
Kneejerk defense is an amazing thing, isn't it? We can't wait to see how NewsBusters spins McCain's statement that the funding mechanism used by Social Security since its inception is an "absolute disgrace."
McCain's defenders – in the McCainian spirit of chilling political speech – forbid us from criticizing him because he is a war hero. That's irresponsible nonsense. Voters and analysts have an obligation to assess McCain's suitability for the presidency. To consider and verbalize the negatives is not to demean his service or sacrifice.
We can recognize and honor McCain's indescribably grueling POW experiences without taking the leap of arguing they automatically qualify him as an ideal commander in chief. His qualifications should be evaluated on the merits, not on sentimental appeals to his service.
Understandably, I suppose, pundits often glibly assert that one of McCain's many advantages is his character – a character that was molded by the hardships he endured. McCain's captivity undeniably involved more character building than anything most of us will ever experience. But to say he is a rugged, battle-tested hero does not mean he is incapable of prevarication, opportunism, demagoguery or other mischief. Nor does it immunize him from scrutiny concerning the credible claim that he lacks the temperament to be president.
Wesley Clark? Code Pink? Some other Obama-loving liberal?
Nope -- conservative David Limbaugh, in a Jan. 25 syndicated column. Funny, we don't recall hearing anyone complain then that Limbaugh was "degrading" McCain's service.
Farah Still Wants You To Think He Wants McCain to Lose Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah is still pretending he doesn't want John McCain to win the presidency. In a July 11 WorldNetDaily column, he writes:
Don't vote for either John McCain or Barack Obama. Make your vote really count this year by voting for none of the above for president. Choose your favorite third party candidate, or write in Mickey Mouse, but, for heaven's sake, do not participate in this presidential electoral charade by voting for the lesser of two genuine evils.
That proclaimed agenda is not what is happening at Farah's WND. As we've detailed, while WND's news pages have continued to attack Obama, they have not only held back on criticizing McCain, they have also held back on promoting third-party candidates. Further, WND managing editor David Kupelian has endorsed the supposedly "genuine evil" McCain.
And the imbalance continues: A July 11 WND article rehashes a Judicial Watch complaint against Obama regarding the mortgage on his house (even though there's no evidence that any wrongdoing occurred). WND has yet to report on Judicial Watch's complaint against McCain regarding an overseas fundraiser.
'Name That Party' Goes the Other Way, Too Topic: NewsBusters
One of NewsBusters' favorite games is to profess outrage that the media doesn't identify Democratic politicians in trouble as Democrats. As Tom Blumer wrote on July 3: "Yes, the 'Name That Party' exercise is getting old. But somebody has to do it, or 10-20 years from now we'll have people searching the web and concluding that only Republicans had ethical problems during the 21st Century's first decade.
Reading stuff like that, why, you'd think that the media is so biased that it always label Republicans in trouble and never Democrats.
Of course, that's not true at all. Colorado Media Matters has detailed how a major Colorado paper, the Rocky Mountain News, has a habit of labeling only Democratic politicans in trouble and not Republicans.
Shock! Will NewsBusters express concern about this as well? Don't count on it.
Lil' Wayne and Cliff Kincaid, Together At Last Topic: Accuracy in Media
A July 10 Accuracy in Media blog post by Don Irvine falsely asserted that Barack Obama "praised" rapper Lil' Wayne, citing a post at Time's Swampland blog. But Swampland's Michael Scherer got it wrong too; he claimed that Obama was "praising Lil' Wayne's rhyming ability at a campaign event in Powder Springs, Georgia."
In fact, according to his source -- a Swampland post by Karen Tumulty -- Obama did no such thing. Tumulty quoted an ABC post headlined "Obama Slams Hoop Dreams for High School Students":
"You are probably not that good a rapper. Maybe you are the next Lil' Wayne, but probably not, in which case you need to stay in school," Obama, D-Ill., told a cheering crowd, brought to a standing ovation at a town hall meeting in Powder Springs, Georgia.
The presumptive Democratic nominee was speaking about high school drop out rates and the need for people to be committed to working hard in school so they can get a job after school.
Obama said nothing about Lil' Wayne's "rhyming ability," let alone offer any praise for him; Obama cited Lil' Wayne as a example of success that can't be duplicated unless one stays in school.
Irvine also pulled from Scherer's post an example of Lil' Wayne's "foul-mouthed" lyrics, but he curiously overlooks another example Scherer cited that would comport closer to sensibilities of Irvine and his fellow AIM acolytes:
For the same reason, the pop culture stature of Rev. Al Sharpton, another former Democratic candidate for president, has been directly challenged by another track from Lil' Wayne's latest album. At the end of the song Misunderstood, the rapper goes into an extended rumination on race, crime and politics in America. It ends with a blistering appraisal of Sharpton:
Mr. Al Sharpton, here’s why I don’t respect you, and nobody like you. You’re the type that gets off on getting on other people. That’s not good. . . . And rather unhuman, I should say. I mean, given the fact that humanity - well, good humanity, rather - to me is helping one another no matter your color or race. But this guy and people like him, they’d rather speculate before they informate, if that’s a word.
It turns out informate is a word, at least in one dictionary. Lil' Wayne goes on to call Sharpton "just another Don King, with a perm, hahah, just a little more political, and that just means you're a little unhuman."
Meanwhile, a July 10 AIM article by Cliff Kincaid, which -- in addition to whining again that Fox News still won't use his commie-conspiracy smears of Obama, as well as suggesting a new conspiracy, that Fox News is working in concert with Obama to out Jesse Jackson's crude comments about Obama in order to enable Obama "to rise above Jesse Jackson-style politics" -- smacks around Al Sharpton:
Into the mix comes another discredited and disgraced black politician, Al Sharpton, who has been all over Fox News commenting on the “controversy.” Sharpton was on Fox News this morning and on Hannity & Colmes last night. He might as well sleep in the “green room” where guests get ready to go on the air. He was also on Bill O’Reilly’s show last week talking about something else. That’s three times in about a week and a half. Remember that Sharpton is the “Reverend” who hyped black woman Tawana Brawley’s hoax about being raped by white men. Why is he even on the air?
Craig R. Smith concludes a July 10 WorldNetDaily column noting dire statistics about the economy this way: "Gold is no longer a luxury; it's a necessity. Approximately 10-25 percent of every portfolio should have a gold hedge, in the form of coins physically held in the owner's possession, as it is now seen as a currency." Nowhere is it disclosed that Smith's company, Swiss America Trading Corp., is a dealer in commodities, including gold. Smith was merely repeating his company's reason for being: "Swiss America has advised clients to diversify at least a small portion of their assets into U.S. gold coins."
In other words, Smith's column is merely an ad for his company.
WorldNetDaily has a history of blurring the line between editorial and advertising when it comes to Smith and Swiss America, a longtime WND advertiser -- a Swiss America employee even wrote a WND "news" article.
CNS Obscures McCain Flip-Flop on Immigration Topic: CNSNews.com
A July 9 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas followed in the footsteps of his boss, Terry Jeffrey, by trying to pretend that John McCain hasn't flip-flopped on immigration.
Lucas wrote that "McCain explained that comprehensive immigration reform would be a high priority in his administration," adding:
The issue of immigration reform has been difficult for McCain, however, who angered many conservatives last year by supporting legislation that included a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens, along with increased enforcement. The bill was supported by President Bush and congressional Democrats.
After the legislation failed, McCain said the federal government must prove it will enforce the borders before the public will support a “comprehensive” approach.
Lucas did not mention that McCain has said that he wouldn't support his own bill if it came up for a vote in the Senate, or that McCain's recent focus on an "enforce the borders" approach contradicts a previous claim that border security could not be disaggregated from other provisions regarding comprehensive immigration reform.
A July 9 FronPageMag article by Cinnamon Stillwell criticizes professor and blogger Juan Cole for "excus[ing] violence and hatred directed at Israel" and issuing an "apologia" for the Palestinian who unleashed a bulldozer attack on civilians in Gaza. She dismisses Cole statement that "Violence against innocent civilians is always condemnable and deplored" as a "perfunctory admission" and concludes: "Cole’s so-called informed commentary is a font of uninformed conspiracy-mongering where terrorists are excused and the regimes that support them whitewashed."
Stillwell's commentary might be taken seriously if she didn't have her own history of excusing violence and terrorism.
As we've detailed, Stillwell has endeavored to minimize the violence of Meir Kahane and his Jewish Defense League and ran to the defense of Earl Krugel, a JDL member sentenced for plotting to bomb a California mosque and a field office of Republican congressman Darrell Issa, who is Lebanese-American. Stillwell ludicrously insisted that "neither [bombing co-conspirator Irv] Rubin nor Krugel had ever been convicted of any violent crimes," as if plotting to bomb a congressman and a mosque wasn't violent.
Stillwell also sought, in an August 2005 article published at Intellectual Conservative (slogan: "Extremism you can believe in"), to explain away the killing of four Arabs on a bus in Gaza by Eden Natan-Zada, an AWOL Israeli soldier linked to Kahane's Kach movement in Israel, which has a similar history of extremism and violence. As she did with the JDL, Stillwell tries to minimize Kach's extremism, asserting that "their effectiveness as such is arguable and any previous acts of 'terrorism' practically nil."
While making the statement -- one might even call it a "perfunctory admission" -- that "Natan-Zada’s crime cannot be justified," Stillwell still did her best to explain it away, claiming that Natan-Zada was "clearly disturbed" and "insane," that "the vast majority of terrorist acts, both in the Middle East and around the world, are perpetrated by Islamic terrorists," and that the Israeli government was really to blame by pushing for disengagement from Gaza:
But how many years of Israeli capitulation in the face of never-ending Palestinian terrorism can go on before people start losing patience and taking matters into their own hands? It’s only human nature to eventually seek an eye for an eye. It’s not right, it’s not Jewish or Christian, but there must be a breaking point somewhere.
So far, the vast majority of the opposition to the disengagement has been peaceful, but as the case of Eden Natan-Zada makes clear, that may not last forever. You can’t simply tear apart a democratic society and expect all the people to follow along meekly. Sooner or later, something’s got to give. This time around, it was Eden Natan-Zada.
Stillwell also takes the Aaron Klein approach in complaining that Natan-Zada was ultimately stopped from shooting more people by "literally beaten to death by the surrounding crowd of Israeli Arabs." After also lamenting that Baruch Goldstein, a Kach follower who murdered 29 Arabs inside Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs in 1994, was victimized by "the crowd in the mosque" who "proceeded to take the law into their own hands and beat him to death," Stillwell adds: "But is it really so inconceivable to ask that Arabs behave as civilized people and let the authorities do their job?" Somehow, we don't think Stillwell considers the off-duty Israeli soldier who eventually shot and killed the Palestinian in the bulldozer to stop his rampage to have "taken the law into their own hands."
Further, as you may remember, Stillwell attempted to "correct" us a while back by disingenuously claiming that the organization she works for, Campus Watch, "is not tied to any particular political ideology, nor do we critique (not "attack") academics on the basis of political proclivity," even though its agenda parallels that of conservatives and its website is laden with attacks on liberals.
We'll again ask the question we asked back then: If Campus Watch truly has no political agenda, why is a terrorist sympathizer like Stillwell still working for it?
More Catholic-Bashing At WND? Topic: WorldNetDaily
A July 9 WorldNetDaily article begins this way: "A student at the University of Central Florida says he's now getting death threats after he stole and later returned a wafer representing the 'Body of Christ' from a Catholic Mass in Orlando." The article includes a strident statement from the Catholic League's Bill Donohue: "For a student to disrupt Mass by taking the Body of Christ hostage – regardless of the alleged nature of his grievance – is beyond hate speech."
Is WND trying to paint Catholics as violent bigots? It would seem so; the article quotes a friend as saying, "I was kind of confused because I always thought that Jesus was a pacifist, and they're using violence in order to get back the body of a pacifist." And also note that WND put "Body of Christ" in scare quotes; that would seem to be a belittling of the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, which means the communion wafer is not "representing the 'Body of Christ'" as the WND article claims -- it is the Body of Christ.
As we've noted, the evangelical Protestants at WND have some issues with Catholicism.
Desperate for any sliver of conspiracy to attack Barack Obama and boost John McCain, WorldNetDaily has renewed its previous attention to speculation that a birth certificate for Obama is not real.
A July 8 WND article repeats so-called "investigative work" by the website Israel Insider that the birth certificate "lack[s] authenticity." WND offers no information about what Israel Insider is, let alone any evidence that what it says can be considered trustworthy.
A scan of the website shows it to cater to right-wing Israelis as well as a hotbed of anti-Obama activism; currently on its front page is a rehashing of John Bolton's attacks on Obama as originially reported by WND's Aaron Klein.
Indeed, it's another sign of Israel Insider's bias that it loves Klein: It has reprintednumerousKleinarticles. It has also published opinion pieces by Klein. An August 2004 "open letter" to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon begins, "I am a bit worried about your plan to unilaterally vacate all settlements from the Gaza Strip in 2005." (Klein laer wrote numerous articles about the withdrawal for WND, nearly all of them biased toward the Jewish settlers being removed, in which he whitewashed the violent extremism of some settlers.) Klein also attacked a speech Sharon gave: "Was Sharon's speechwriter drunk when this masterpiece was constructed? Did Doctor Seuss come back from the dead to help Sharon with his verbiage?"
Opinion pieces tend to reflect a certain familiar right-wing ideology:
One column begins, "It simply feels wrong that liberal American Jews continue to relentlessly pursue and cast stones at John Hagee to further their political agenda." The writer does concede that "Pastor Hagee's rhetoric and gestures do present the Jewish people with certain halachic and moral challenges." (WND has a hands-off policy on criticizing Hagee, whom WND editor Joseph Farah has declared "my friend," on its news pages.)
Another begins: "It looks like Mr. Obama is a shoo-in for the White House. It also looks like my people are going to be betrayed once again by a badly misguided American president." (WND as a whole, and Klein inparticular, hate Obama and push an agenda that's pro-McCain.)
Another writes of the tenure of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: "When will this nightmare end?" (WND Klein hate Olmert too, to the point of trying to undermine him during a time of war.)
In other words, Israel Insider appears to be little more than an Israeli-centric version of WorldNetDaily. Given WND's history of reporting falseclaims, that's a bad thing for Israel Insider to be.
CNSNews.com's Penny Starr turns in another biased Planned Parenthood article, a July 8 piece that makes use of the inaccurate, pejorative descriptor "pro-abortion." As we've previously noted, "pro-abortion rights" is a more accurate descriptor.
In contrast to several previous articles critical of Planned Parenthood in which the organization is not provided a meaningful opportunity to respond, Starr quotes a respresentative of "the black pro-life movement" -- note that Starr does not use "anti-abortion," which is also arguably more accurate -- to comment on Planned Parenthood's endorsement of Barack Obama.
One thing you can say about John LeBoutillier: Unlike his Newsmax stablemate Ronald Kessler, he's not going to sell out his previous longtime of John McCain in order to ingratiate himself with his fellow Republicans -- well, at least not until it's much closer to the election and he has a full head of Obama-hate to rival his longtime Clinton hatred).
Indeed, in a July 7 column, LeBoutillier pounds on McCain yet again:
Has there ever been a president who has had so little support inside the base of his party? Has there ever been a president who went out of his way to attack that base? And took such glee is that base’s unhappiness?
How could McCain possibly lead the GOP, and the nation, with such poor relations with his own party?
A fascinating note: a long-time Reaganite Republican told me that virtually every conservative he knows is plotting against McCain not against Obama! What does that tell us about the state of the GOP and the conservative movement? It is riven with dissent and discord and, like any addict living in denial, it can’t be fixed until we reach the very bottom.
November 4, 2008 may be that bottom.
Yep, looks like LeBoutillier may need a little while longer to come around on McCain. Somehow, though, we suspect he'll be endorsing McCain by election day, if only because he thinks Obama is worse.