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Monday, July 21, 2008
Farah Expands His Obama Lie
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Scruples-free WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah uses his July 21 column to expand on his lie that Barack Obama has a secret plan to create his own SS, this time referencing "Barack Obama's secret $439 billion plan for a mysterious initiative called the 'civilian national security force.'" The dollar figure comes from Farah's assumption that Obama's statement that "We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded" means that it would receive exactly the same funding as the Department of Defense. Farah seems to have decided that as long as he was making stuff up about Obama, he might as well go all the way.

Farah goes on to claim, "We don't know any more about this plan than we did when Obama announced it July 2 in a speech," going on to claim that it's "some kind of domestic Big Brother program as the chilling words first suggested to me."

Farah still appears to have done no actual research into what Obama said. As we pointed out when Farah first started spreading this lie, a July 8 interview with Military Times details that Obama was talking about "the way the State Department is structured and [Agency for International Development] and all these various agencies." Farah makes no reference to the Military Times interview; while he notes that "a few have suggested" Obama was talking about "a greatly increased commitment to the Foreign Service," Farah quickly dismisses it in order to launch into his conspiracy theory.

Among the alleged "questions raised by this nebulous proposal," Farah writes: "Why do Obama campaign officials not respond to WND's repeated requests for more information about his initiative?" Um, because WND has a history of telling lies about Obama and smearing him at every opportunity while John McCain receives relatively benign treatement? Why would Obama want to cooperate with a news organization that sells "NObama" bumper stickers?

Obama's campaign knows that Farah and WND will not treat him fairly. And Farah's willingness to lie about Obama confirms that all the more.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:02 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 2:59 PM EDT
Aaron Klein's Anonymous Terrorist Buddies
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Aaron Klein's 42nd anti-Obama article (versus just one anti-McCain article) tries once again to link Obama to terrorists. The July 20 article claims that "Members of the most active West Bank terror organization are set to serve in security forces being deployed to protect Sen. Barack Obama during his trip to the West Bank." Klein's source: Members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades who were "speaking to WND on condition of anonymity."

That's right -- Klein is so cozy with terrorists that he protects their identities. Klein has done this before.

UPDATE: Klein's 43rd anti-Obama article is another piece lifted from right-wing bloggers -- in this case, conservative attacks on Obama's 2001 statement that the 9/11 attacks were motivated in part by "a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers." Klein does not identify any of Obama's critics as conservatives.

Klein also writes: "Obama's piece gained little notice outside the Hyde Park Herald, which covered Obama's district as a Chicago state senator. The Hyde Park area is heavily influenced by the Nation of Islam." Klein offers no evidence to back up this claim -- and he also seems to think that Chicago is a state.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:29 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 21, 2008 1:16 PM EDT
NewsBusters Misleads on Maliki Comments
Topic: NewsBusters

A July 20 NewsBusters post by Dave Pierre claims that a Los Angeles Times article stating that Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki has endorsed Barack Obama's 16-month timetable for removing U.S. combat troops from Iraq is "dishonest." Why? Because "the Times makes no mention of the fact that a spokesman for the prime minister immediately disputed the story and said comments from Nouri Maliki in a controversial interview in Germany's Der Spiegel magazine 'were misunderstood, mistranslated and not conveyed accurately.'"

We'll take that as a sign that we can call Pierre dishonest in his criticism. Why? Because Pierre didn't mention that -- according to the Washington Post in an article posted two hours before Pierre's --  the spokesman's comments followed a call to the prime minister's office from U.S. government officials in Iraq. Further, the spokesman did not say what specific comments were "misunderstood, mistranslated and not conveyed accurately." In other words, it appears that the "dispute" is actually Bush administration damage control.

Further, according to the New York Times (h/t Talking Points Memo), the interpreter forthe article was Maliki's, not Der Spiegel's, and Der Spiegel provided the Times with a tape recording of the interview, which was then independently translated and confirmed the accuracy of the original Der Spiegel account. The Times also details the White House's pressure on the Iraqi government to walk back Maliki's comments.

Will Pierre (or anyone else at NewsBusters) tell readers about all of this? Somehow we doubt it.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:56 AM EDT
Another WND Lie About Obama
Topic: WorldNetDaily

If Joseph Farah was capable of a sense of shame, he would apologize.

In a July 15 WorldNetDaily column, Farah sounded the alarm bells about a statement Barack Obama made in a July 2 speech -- "We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded." Farah went into freak-out mode:

Now, since I've never heard anyone inside or out of government use the phrase "civilian national security force" before, I was more than a little curious about what he has in mind.


If we're going to create some kind of national police force as big, powerful and well-funded as our combined U.S. military forces, isn't this rather a big deal?

I thought Democrats generally believed the U.S. spent too much on the military. How is it possible their candidate is seeking to create some kind of massive but secret national police force that will be even bigger than the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force put together?

Now, maybe he was misquoted by the Congressional Quarterly and the Chicago Tribune. I guess it's possible. If so, you would think he would want to set the record straight. Maybe he misspoke. That has certainly happened before. Again, why wouldn't the rest of my colleagues show some curiosity about such a major and, frankly, bone-chilling proposition?

Are we talking about creating a police state here?


Is Obama serious about creating some kind of domestic security force bigger and more expensive than that?

If not, why did he say it? What did he mean?

So far, despite our attempts to find out, the Obama campaign is not talking.


Who will Obama appoint to administer this new "civilian national security force"? Where will the money come from? Where in the Constitution does he see justification for the federal government creating such a domestic army?

The questions are endless.

Farah clearly didn't look very hard to find an answer, or he's lying about what Obama said. From a July 8 Military Times Q-and-A (h/t Sadly, No!):

I should add, by the way, that part of the change that I want when it comes to Army and Marine structures is the mix of training that we’re providing and mix of personnel that are in these forces. One of the things I have been so impressed with is the heroic job that our men and women in uniform have done basically on the fly having to train themselves on the spot to function as engineers or function as social workers or function as translators or political consultants. There’s just been a whole bunch of work that has been done that we haven’t prepared people for. They learn on the job, but if anything Iraq should have given us a template for the kinds of skill sets that we’re going to have to provide to our military. And that’s true in Iraq. That’s true in Afghanistan. That also means, by the way, that we’re going to have to, I believe, reconfigure our civilian national security force. In a way that just hasn’t been done.

I mean, we still have a national security apparatus on the civilian side in the way the State Department is structured and [Agency for International Development] and all these various agencies. That hearkens back to the Cold War. And we need that wing of our national security apparatus to carry its weight. When we talk about reinventing our military, we should reinvent that apparatus as well. We need to be able to deploy teams that combine agricultural specialists and engineers and linguists and cultural specialists who are prepared to go into some of the most dangerous areas alongside our military.


A: Absolutely, but the only problem with soft power is the term itself makes people think it’s not as strong as hard power. And my point is that if we’ve got a State Department or personnel that have been trained just to be behind walls, and they have not been equipped to get out there alongside our military and engage, then we don’t have the kind of national security apparatus that is needed. That has to be planned for; it has to be paid for. Those personnel have to be trained. And they all have to be integrated and that is something that we have not accomplished yet, but that’s going to be what’s increasingly important in our future to make sure that our military has the support that it needs to do what it does the best, which is fight wars.

Given that this Q-and-A was posted a full week before Farah wrote his false accusations, it would seem that Farah is either incompetent or lazy.

Will Farah tell his readers the truth behind Obama's statements, or is Farah too committed to the lie to ever be honest with his readers and retract his baseless speculation? We suspect, sadly, that the latter is true. After all, WND has already demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that it will spread lies about Obama, so what's one more on the pile of deceit? 

As we said, if Farah was capable of a sense of shame, he would apologize. But he's not, so he won't. Perhaps another libel lawsuit that puts him on the losing side might get his attention.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:30 AM EDT
Sunday, July 20, 2008
WND Misleads Again on Philadelphia Anti-Gay Protesters
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A July 18 WorldNetDaily article begins by asserting that "A federal appeals court dismissed a civil rights complaint by 11 Philadelphia Christians, ruling their First Amendment rights were trumped by the First Amendment rights of homosexuals at the city's taxpayer-funded 'Outfest' celebration in 2004."

Of course, the appeals court did no such thing; as the article's second paragraph details, it favored the right of holders of a city permit to hold an event "for the purpose for which it was obtained," overthe right of "counter-protestors" whose goal is "disrupting or interfering with the message of the permit-holder."

As per usual, WND benignly describes what the protesters -- led by anti-gay activist Michael Marcavage -- did, claiming only that they were "quoting the Bible and expressing their views against homosexual behavior on a public street during 'OutFest,' a publicly funded celebration of homosexuality." As we detailed at the time, a prosecutor said that Marcavage and his crew tried to demonstrate in front of a stage performance at Outfest and were arrested only after they refused to go to an area on the edge of the block party and went instead in the opposite direction.

That's a side of the story WND has never seen fit to tell its readers, instead presenting Marcavage's version of events as the undisputed truth.

WND also repeats the distortion that Marcavage and his protesters "faced criminal counts that could have resulted in prison terms of 47 years." In fact, the legal representative for Outfest speculated that "They might get six to 12 months probation. ... Nobody's going to jail for 47 years." 

Surprisingly, WND makes no mention of any grandmothers who were protesting. As we documented, the grandmothers involved in the protest have a long history of such activism. 

Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 PM EDT
WND's Lamb Misleads on Gore
Topic: WorldNetDaily

From Henry Lamb's July 18 WorldNetDaily column:

Al's crushing defeat in 2000 left him rudderless for a few years, but he re-emerged with his "An Inconvenient Truth." This spectacular movie won an Academy Award. Gore received the Nobel Peace Prize. Once again, Prince Albert ascended to the global warming throne, despite the fact that the film's assertions were not supported by science, according to more than 31,000 scientists.

Yeah, winning the popular vote by 600,000 votes was a "crushing defeat." And as we've detailed, the petition Lamb references, from the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, is little more than a publicity stunt, with little evidence that the signatories' scientific experience involve disciplines related to global warming. Indeed, one blogger found that of a selection of 60 petition signers, there were a grand total of zero publications behind the sampled signatories that were relevant to climate or climate change. (h/t Sadly, No!)

Posted by Terry K. at 10:27 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, July 20, 2008 10:28 AM EDT
WND Misleads on College Admission Lawsuit
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A July 19 unbylined WorldNetDaily article details one side of a lawsuit filed by a Christian school in California, Calvary Chapel Christian School, against the University of California system over UC's rejection of some Christian textbooks in courses used qualify for admission to UC. There's no indication that the anonymous author made any attempt to contact UC officials for their side of the story.

In fact, the issue at hand is much narrower than the article portrays. According to a Jan. 12, 2006, USA Today article on the case: 

Christopher Patti, a lawyer for the university, says UC isn't stopping Calvary Chapel or its students "from teaching or studying anything." He says students are free to take courses uncertified by UC, and there are alternative paths to admission — including taking extra SAT tests in specific subjects.

UC has certified 43 Calvary Chapel courses and has admitted 24 of the 32 applicants from the high school in the past four years, Patti says.

WND makes no mention of the Calvary Chapel courses UC has approved or the number of Calvary Chapel students UC has admitted. The USA Today article also notes:

A biology book from Bob Jones University presents creationism and intelligent design alongside evolution. The introduction says, "The people who have prepared this book have tried consistently to put the Word of God first and science second."

UC says such books would be acceptable as supplementary reading but not as the main textbook.

WND does not quote anyone justifying a biology book that declares it does not put science first.

A May 2 WND article by Bob Unruh also reported on the lawsuit, but he failed to mention Calvary Chapel's role in it; he also failed to note the the Bob Jones University biology textbook proclaiming that it "put[s] the Word of God first and science second."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EDT
Saturday, July 19, 2008
CNS Ignores Lack of Evidence to Back Up McDonald's Boycott

The problem with reporters being sympathetic to one side of the issue they're covering is that they overlook gaping errors in the logic of the side they're sympathetic to.

Which is what we see in a July 18 article by Pete Winn about the American Family Association's boycott of McDonald's of its support of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and, more specifically, a McDonald's spokesman's statement in reaction to it that "Hatred has no place in our culture." Winn uncritically quotes Matt Barber, now of Liberty Counsel, as saying, "He insulted tens of millions of Americans who believe that the historical definition of marriage between one man and woman is important and crucial to society. He said that we’re haters and we’re motivated by hate. That, on its face, is a bold-face lie." Winn also writes, "Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, said Christians who oppose homosexual marriage do so for moral and practical reasons, not because they 'hate' homosexuals."

What is missing from Winn's article -- as we've previously noted is also missing from other ConWeb accounts of the boycott -- is any evidence that NGLCC is in any way involved with the issue of gay marriage. Given that McDonald's puported "taking sides" on the issue of gay marriage by its support of the NGLCC is the crux of the boycott, no evidence has been advanced to demonstrate that this is, in fact, the case.

The weakness of the fundies' case against McDonald's is (probably inadvertently) summed up by Winn:

LaBarbera took issue with that view, characterizing the NGLCC as “a homosexual group which is working to extend advances made by homosexual activist groups over the last two decades or more.”
He also noted that the organization takes political positions on legislation that involves homosexuality and the homosexual agenda.
“McDonald’s paid $20,000 so that one of its top executives could have a seat on the (NGLCC’s) board of directors,” LaBarbera said. “How is that not an endorsement of the homosexual agenda?"

LaBarbera can be expected to traffic in vague statements that obscure the weakness of his argument -- to him, a mere $20,000 from a multibillion-dollar business given to a business-promotion group (LaBarbera provides no apparent evidence that it's anything other than that) is prima facie "endorsement of the homosexual agenda." A news organization that purports to "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story" should have higher standards.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:40 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, July 19, 2008 11:02 PM EDT
WND Still Lists Discredited Articles Among 'Scoops'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

On the 2000 page of its "Scoops" section, WorldNetDaily claims the following:

Between early September and election day, Nov. 7, 2000, WorldNetDaily published an exhaustive series of investigative reports by native Tennessee reporters Charles Thompson and Tony Hays on Vice President Al Gore and his Tennessee past — including his vast connections to Soviet operative Armand Hammer, his alleged interference with various criminal investigations involving family and friends, and even documented reports of the environmental champion being a notorious polluter in his home state. As a result of these reports, claim radio, newspaper and law enforcement representatives in Tennessee, Gore lost his home state — and its 11 electoral votes — and lost the presidency.

In fact, WND settled a libel and defamation lawsuit by one person named in those stories, Clark Jones, by admitting that "no witness verifies the truth of what the witnesses are reported by authors to have stated" about Jones and that "the sources named in the publications have stated under oath that statements attributed to them in the articles were either not made by them, were misquoted by the authors, were misconstrued, or the statements were taken out of context." WND, it can be presumed, also paid a cash award to Jones to settle the matter (the settlement terms have not been made public).

If claims about just one person named in the articles can be so egregiously wrong, it's not unreasonable to assume that other sections, if not the entirety, of these articles -- written by Tony Hays and Charles Thompson II -- also contain falsehoods. WND has made no statement either standing by the remainder of the claims in the Hays and Thompson's articles or indicating that it would check the veracity of those claims.

As it stands, the entire series is discredited, and WND discredited itself by printing them out of political animosity without bothering to do even rudimentary verification of what Hays and Thompson had written (as we detailed). WND discredits itself further by continuing to list these articles as "scoops" when they have little apparent basis in fact.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 AM EDT
Friday, July 18, 2008
Scott McClellan Is Dead to NewsBusters
Topic: NewsBusters

Apparently, NewsBusters believes that the media is never permitted to mention Scott McClellan now that he has decided to criticize the Bush administration. The noting in the 21st paragraph of an Associated Press article on Tony Snow's funeral of McClellan's appearance there caused Tom Blumer to blow a gasket, calling the mention "classless," "execrable," "tabloid trash," "journalistic vandalism," an "inability to stay classy," and "reflective of an organization that ought to consider renaming itself the Arrogant Punks." Not exhausted of venom, Blumer goes on:

So of the three Bush press secretaries who attended (both Ari Fleischer and Dana Perino must have been there, or Feller could not have written "press secretaries"), the AP reporter only deemed McClellan worthy of mention -- apparently, we must conclude, because McClellan is the only one of the lot who has had critical things to say about the President.

By omitting Fleischer's name, Feller also was able to conveniently avoid the need to mention that the President's first press secretary has essentially shredded the key claims McClellan made in his liberal-published, possibly George Soros-funded "tell-all" book.

As we've previously detailed, NewsBusters' desperate attempt to link Soros to McClellan fails because the publisher of McClellan's has, in addition to publishing books by Soros -- nowhere does NewsBusters offer any evidence whatsoever that Soros has any financial connection with the publisher beyond that -- published numerous books by conservatives like Dinesh D'Souza, Linda Chavez and David Frum.

We won't tell Blumer to stay classy -- if he did, we'd have to stop writing about him.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:00 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 18, 2008 4:47 PM EDT
Brennan Peddles More Global Warming Bamboozlement
Topic: Newsmax

Phil Brennan's July 17 Newsmax column begins by asserting:

Fact: All history reveals that time after time this planet of ours has experienced periods of warming and periods of cooling. A century of slight global warming, about half a degree, ended in 1998.

Fact: In this century a global cooling has set in.

Er, not so much. As the United Kingdom's Met (Meteorological) Office Hadley Centre and the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia report, annual global mean temperatures have, in fact, increased in the past decade. The UK Met office adds that "[a] simple mathematical calculation of the temperature change over the latest decade (1998-2007) alone shows a continued warming of 0.1° C per decade."

Despite his apparent aversion to simple mathematical calculations, Brennan nevertheless goes on to assert, "Global warming is clearly over, yet Al Gore and his acolytes keep warning us that the planet is heating up even as it continues to get colder." 

As we've noted, Brennan is a regular bamboozler on global warming.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:12 AM EDT
Klein's Lie Still Live on WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We previously detailed how a July 15 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein falsely claimed that Barack Obama made a "discredited distortion of the Holocaust." In fact, as Klein himself notes, the dispute in question is whether Obama's grandfather helped to liberate Auschwitz -- not the Holocaust. Thus, Klein is lying when he claims that Obama distorted the Holocaust.

We just checked, and it's still posted as originally written without change or apology.

We plan to continue highlighting Klein's lie until he retracts and apologizes for it. 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:09 AM EDT
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A July 16 Accuracy in Media blog entry by Don Irvine noted that "A New York Times story that analyzes their poll on the racial dimensions in this election was disputed by the Obama campaign." After reprinting seven points (copied from an ABC News blog post) that the Obama campaign says were "omitted from the story," Irvine adds: "Barack Obama was hoping for a free ride in the liberal press but even they can suppress the facts for only so long."

Wait -- didn't Irvine just show that, through repeating claims from the Obama campaign that he doesn't dispute, that the Times was, in fact, suppressing facts about Obama? We're confused.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:14 AM EDT
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The quintessential political prostitute, Obama marches to the tune of the far left fundraising machine put together by a kitchen cabinet (that includes billionaire financier George Soros); he is interested in the greater glory of Barack Obama – period. While his evil-eyed wife, Michelle, may have visions of crushing "white America" underfoot, it is likely that Obama is far more color-blind in this regard. Like most of the black activists this columnist has criticized, "black America" exists for his benefit, and crushing underfoot knows no race.

-- Erik Rush, July 17 WorldNetDaily column 

Posted by Terry K. at 9:46 PM EDT
Huston's Latest Harangue
Topic: NewsBusters

A July 17 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston is a long harangue of a writer of Larry Hunger, a "lifelong Republican" who wrote a New York Daily News op-ed explaining why he's voting for Barack Obama. Huston declared that Hunter is "dangerously wrong" and engaging in "apostasy," his arguments are "ill considered, filled with petulance, and self-defeating to the ideology to which he insists he hews" (you sure you're not talking about yourself there, Warner?) and, last but not least, his criticism of the Iraq war shows him to be "a complete traitor to all other conservative causes on nearly every level."

Aside from the usual unsupported Obama-bashing one expects from such right-wingers ("to actually and purposefully vote for Barack Obama is a direct stab in the heart to supposed conservative principles"), Huston had this curious response to Hunter's claim that America has "suffered the last eight years":

In this I have to say that Larry Hunter has no clue what the word "suffered" means. Our economy has not "suffered" too badly from the expenditures in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, this country has scarcely "suffered" at all from the war. Obviously, the war has touched only a small portion of our people and few Americans have been much put out by it. Even the battle deaths are miniscule compared to any of our past wars. (And YES, speaking as a father of one of our soldiers, it is heartrending to lose even one soldier)[.]

"Few Americans have been much put out by it"? Sure, if you don't count things like, say, deficit spending to fund the war and the Middle East turmoil that fuels specuators to raise oil prices to $140 a barrel and gas prices over $4 a gallon.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:23 PM EDT

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