Shocker: WND Debunks False Obama Rumors -- And Aaron Klein Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Aug. 23 WorldNetDaily article by news editor Drew Zahn about a lawsuit by Hillary Clinton supporter Philip Berg attempting to stop Barack Obama's candidacy does something unthinkable for WND It not only debunks myths about Obama's citizenship, it debunks WND's own reporting furthering those myths.
Zahn writes that "the suit claims Obama was not born an American citizen; lost any hypothetical American citizenship he had as a child ... may not now be an American citizen and even if he is, may hold dual citizenships with other countries." Where we've stuck that ellipsis resides the statement, in italics no less: "Editor's note: This point is not supported by U.S. citizenship law."
That arguably discredits Aaron Klein's suggestion in an Aug. 17 WND article that Obama was, and may still be, a citizen of Indonesia. In that article, Klein also falsely impugned Obama's patriotism, claiming that Obama's alleged dual citizenship "could raise loyalty concerns." Zahn also wrote:
Berg explained in a radio interview with Roger Hedgecock of KOGO in San Diego that Internet reports had been persistent over the last several months that Obama's birth certificate was a forgery and that he may not be an eligible, natural-born citizen. After doing his own careful research, Berg explained, he came to the conclusion the reports were more fact than rumor and that he needed to act quickly, before the election process proceeded.
"I filed this action at this time," said Berg in a press release, "to avoid the obvious problems that will occur when the Republican Party raises these issues after Obama is nominated."
However, FactChecker.org says it obtained Obama's actual birth certificate and that the document was indeed real. The site discredited some of the claims of Internet bloggers, such as that the certificate as viewed in a scanned copy released by Obama's campaign lacked a raised seal. FactChecker.org also established that many of the alleged flaws in the document noted by bloggers were caused by the scanning of the document.
A separate WND investigation into Obama's birth certificate utilizing forgery experts also found the document to be authentic.
This also contradicts recent WND reporting, which -- after first reporting in June that National Review blogger Jim Geraghty declared himself satisfied that Obama was born in Hawaii as he has claimed -- claimed in an Aug. 8 article that the right-wing anti-Obama site Israel Insider "is reporting that analysts working separately have determined the birth certificate posted on the Daily Kos website and later on Sen. Barack Obama's 'Fight the Smears' campaign website is fraudulent."
We can't recall a previous situation in which WND has so definitively shot down its own previous reporting -- and especially on a subject like Obama, whom WND has sworn to attack regardless of the truth of its accusations. Given Zahn's allegiance to actually living up to WND's claim of reporting the truth without sacred cows -- which runs counter to WND's reality of denigrating liberals and fluffing conservatives -- we can't imagine much of a future for Zahn at WND.
So, will WND do the right thing and publicly apologize to Obama for forwarding those false claims about him in the first place? Don't count on it -- WND has its own anti-Obama screed to peddle, and it wouldn't want to reduce sales for that.
(UPDATE: While Klein eventually concluded that "If Obama indeed possessed Indonesian citizenship as a child, it is unlikely he retains such citizenship," he didn't bother to reveal that until the second-to-last paragraph of his 24-paragraph article, which was written to negatively highlight the citizenship question and unsubstantiated "loyalty" concerns.)
An Aug. 22 WorldNetDaily article on a presidential "report card" issued by the right-wing Campaign for Children and Families engages in dishonesty by not only refusing to put an accurate "right-wing" or even "conservative" label on the group -- it instead uses the conservative-correctness term "pro-family" -- but also repeats the laughable claim that the group "isn't taking a position on the political candidates." Yeah, right -- given the slanted, inaccurate language that CCF uses (and WND repeats), it's clear at least who CCF doesn't want as president.
WND quotes CCF president Randy Thomasson as calling the report card "carefully researched," which is true only if one defines the term as making liberal use of slanted language and cherry-picked quotes and even ignoring the findings of said research. For instance, in support of its claim that "Barack Obama has pledged to increase taxes and to eliminate existing tax cuts," the CCF report card lists a statement by Obama in which he says, "I will institute a middle-class tax cut. So, if you're making $75,000, if you're making $50,000 a year, you will see an extra $1,000 a year offsetting on your payroll tax." It also lists a statement that Obama will "eliminate the Bush tax cuts" without noting that he has also said he would eliminate them only for the richest Americans.
The "report card" lists as one category "Require Schoolchildren to Think Favorably About Homosexuality" with Obama listed as a "Yes." But as support, it lists only a quote from Obama saying, "the fact is my nine year old and my six year olds, I think, are already aware that there are same-sex couples. And my wife and I have already talked about it." There's no mention of discussing same-sex couples "favorably," or even that he would "require" anyone else to do so. CCF appears to be invoking the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy, in which there is no such thing as as neutral depiction of homosexuality and that any non-negative depiction must be positive.
WND uncritically repeated CCF's claims without pointing out the flaws in its "research" or interviewing anyone else with a differing view.
Not-So-Colluding Commie Strikes Back Against Kincaid (And Us) Topic: Accuracy in Media
We noted that back in July, Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid was touting the word of a self-proclaimed communist named Alan Maki as "deadly confirmation that a hard-core CPUSA member [Frank Marshall Davis] played a key role in helping raise [Barack] Obama," further describing Maki as a "friendly fellow." Turns out Maki isn't eager about the connection.
In the midst of a lengthy screed attacking us for being "a Democratic Party hack" and suggesting that we would be joining Conrad Black in jail -- we're not sure exactly what brought this on since all we did was note Kincaid's approving cite of him and criticism of Maki and Kincaid by Frank Marshall Davis, who claims to be Frank Marshall Davis' son -- Maki made the following declaration:
In fact, the “collusion” to which Krepel refers--- between me and Cliff Kincaid--- is me telling Mr. Kincaid in no uncertain terms--- using language I am sure Mr. Krepel would object to--- to never call me again, and my reporting his calls to me to the United States Department of Justice, the Minnesota Attorney General, Lori Swanson, and the Minnesota Commissioner of Public Safety, Michael Campion because I consider Kincaid’s call to me to be part of the vicious right-wing hate campaign against me initially instigated by Brian Melendez in his attempt to silence me from bringing forward working class issues involving the rights of casino workers; public ownership as a means to save the closing St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant; bringing forward the issue of single-payer universal health care as the MN DFL Party leadership was trying to betray the wishes of Minnesotans on this issue; and my persistent opposition to this dirty imperialist war for oil in Iraq predicated upon lies and deceit which the Democrats acquiesced to and went right along with--- including funding the carnage in Iraq when that money is needed right here at home for education, health care and housing.
In fact, Mr. Krepel, had you bothered to pick up the phone and make two-calls… you would have found that I forced Cliff Kincaid to recant his vicious and malicious postings about me because had he not, I intended to sue him for libel and defamation of character. I wouldn’t walk across the street to vote for your dear Barack Obama; and Cliff Kincaid tried to use me to demonstrate Communist Party USA support for Barack Obama. As a proud long-time member of the CPUSA it would be a cold day in hell before I ever voted for a capitalist politician no matter what their name… I have stated my intent to vote for Cynthia McKinney--- a real progressive and the best Democrat in the race. My one and only interest in the Obama Campaign is to try to make sure working peoples’ voices are heard loud and clear by the incoming Obama Administration and my blog postings make this crystal clear… unlike you, I state where I stand and what motivates me right up front…
Well, all righty, then.
Maki then goes off and makes numerous false about us, which leads to the aforementioned linking of us with Conrad Black over our original cheekily alliterative headline, "Is Kincaid Colluding With a Commie?"
Your headline reminds me of what Conrad Black wrote about me: “Commie, Go Home.”
Mr. Krepel, you might want to take note of where Mr. Black currently makes his home.
Which begs the question: Why did Kincaid, initially at least, treat Maki as a credible source? That raises some questions about Kincaid's judgment. Is Kincaid so desperate to smear Obama that he'll take the word of just anyone? If Maki sent the same kind of screeds Kincaid's way as he did ours, does Kincaid still think he's a "friendly fellow" whose word can be trusted?
The Media Lack-Of-Research Center Topic: NewsBusters
An Aug. 23 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard declared an analysis of Barack Obama's pick of Joe Biden as vice president, written by the Associated Press' Ron Fournier, to be "urprisingly accurate." On what basis did Sheppard make this assessment? His own post earlier in the day -- which said noting about the accuracy of Fournier's analysis but cheerfully pointed out that it said "something negative about a Democrat."
The new Sheppard post goes on to note that "the far-left organization MoveOn" has criticized Fournier's analysis, noting that "Media watchdog group Media Matters wrote a report showing that Fournier's presidential coverage has consistently smeared Democrats and favored John McCain." Sheppard's response:
The posting cited ultra-left leaning shill Media Matters for America, which as readers know isn't interested in exposing what it believes to be conservative bias in the press, but instead wants to eliminate all right-leaning opinions available in print and across the airwaves.
Of course, why shouldn't MoveOn use MM as a reference given both organization's ties to George Soros?
Nowhere does Sheppard cite any actual facts to support his claims about Media Matters (disclosure: our employer) -- perhaps because there aren't any. There's no evidence that Media Matters "wants to eliminate all right-leaning opinions available in print and across the airwaves," and Soros has never given money to Media Matters, either directly or through another organization, so we're not sure what "ties" Sheppard is referring to.
Further, Sheppard offers no evidence he has even examined the Media Matters analysis of Fouriner that MoveOn.org noted. Perhaps that's because Sheppard doesn't want any pesky facts to interfere with the false impression he apparently shares with his fellow NewsBusters that Fournier is a liberal. Indeed, if Fournier is such a liberal, why was John McCain's campaign trying to hire him last year?
(And if Media Matters is an "ultra-left leaning shill," doesn't that make Sheppard's employer, the Media Research Center, an "ultra-right leaning shill"? Think Sheppard will ever acknowledge that?)
Sheppard might do well to remember to remember that the organization he works for has "research" in its name, not "baseless assertion" -- not that the MRC's "research" is worth writing home about, of course.
CNS Labeling Bias Watch Topic: CNSNews.com
An Aug. 23 CNSNews.com article by Terry Jeffrey repeatedly describes Joe Biden as "pro-abortion." As we've detailed, "pro-abortion" is an inaccurate term CNS frequently uses to describe supporters of abortion rights.
NewsBusters Disses George Clooney's Dad Topic: NewsBusters
An Aug. 22 NewsBusters post by Jacob S. Lybbert falsely portrayed Nick Clooney, father of movie star George Clooney, as a lightweight who received his new job as a "distinguished journalist in residence" at a college only because his son's a celebrity.
Lybbert begins by writing that "Democrats love their celebrities, and academia, well, they'll settle for celebrities' fathers," adding, "If George Clooney's dad, Nick Clooney, can be a professor of journalism, maybe I gave George's foreign policy chops short shrift." Noting the elder Clooney's book "The Movies That Changed Us," Lybbert added, "Doesn't that sound like just the title you'd expect for a book written by the father of a movie star?"
But the article Lybbert cited that reported Clooney's new position offers plenty of evidence of Clooney's qualifications for the new job and for writing a book about the movies:
Seemingly nothing fazed him in anchoring TV news in Los Angeles, Cincinnati and other cities; hosting national TV shows for ABC, AMC and the American Life TV channels; doing a movie screen test for legendary director Cecil B. DeMille; starring in two live weekday Cincinnati TV variety shows; writing a newspaper column for 18 years; running for Congress; or touring war-torn Darfur with his Oscar-winning son, George.
Instead, Lybbert highlighted the part stating that "Nick Clooney has practically no formal education since graduating from St. Patrick High School in Maysville in 1952."
Lybbert is a newcomer to NewsBusters, the writer of a blog that calls itself "maybe the 4th best conservative college blog in America" and where he describes himself as a "historian-in-training." Sounds like a little more training is needed to teach Lybbert how not to falsely smear someone.
An August 21 WorldNetDaily article follows rather belatedly in CNSNews.com's footsteps in reporting on a Planned Parenthood website aimed at teaching teens about sexually transmitted diseases. But WND manages to pull off the feat of being even more egregiously biased against Planned Parenthood than CNS was three weeks earlier -- no mean feat, given CNS' jihad against the group.
WND starts off by asserting that "critics say" that "A website sponsored by Planned Parenthood, the biggest player in America's billion dollar abortion industry, is promoting oral sex and casual encounters in the name of encouraging the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases." The article makes no attempt to obtain a response and quotes only critics like professional gay-basher Matt Barber. It even repeats the old right-wing-approved eugenics attack on Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, even though it's completely irrelevant to the subject at hand.
Further, one video on the Planned Parenthood website is described in the article thusly:
A white youth appears only from the waist up, then a black youth suddenly stands up in front of him, and the white youth says, "I didn't spew."
Is WND objecting to the content of the video, or the fact that the two characters in it are of different races? Hmmmm...
Obama Wants to Send Infants to Preschool? Topic: CNSNews.com
An Aug. 21 CNSNews.com article by Penny Starr responded to a claim by "national law enforcement leaders" that "they said offers evidence that government-funded preschool can help prevent children from dropping out of high school and turning to a life of crime" by stating that "some experts questioned whether a new and costly federal program is the best way to keep all American kids in school and instill values that will lead them to become successful and productive citizens." But Starr quotes only one "expert," Don soifer of "the Lexington Institute, a conservative group," who "co-wrote a 27-page report released in March on the economic and sociological impact of a federally funded and operated universal pre-kindergarten program."
Starr provides no evidence that either Soifer or the Lexington Institute are education "experts" or why their anti-mandatory pre-K analysis should be seriously considered.
Starr also writes: "Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) calls his [pre-K] plan 'Zero to Five,' which promotes placing infants in government-run preschools." Why would an infant go to preschool? Unless Starr thinks 4-year-olds are "infants."
Obama's "Zero to Five" plan, by the way, says nothing about sending infants to preschool: "Obama's plan places key emphasis at early care and education for infants, which is essential for children to be ready to enter kindergarten."
Aaron Klein Labeling Aversion Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've previously noted that Aaron Klein's latest anti-Obama article, detailing a visit by Obama adviser Daniel Kurtzer to Syria, excludes Kurtzer's Orthodox Jewish credentials in order to paint him as "one of Israel's greatest foes in Washington." But a closer look at the article shows that Klein is indulging in his favoriteaversion: refusing to label right-wingers as right-wingers.
Klein attributes his assertion that Kurtzer is "one of Israel's greatest foes in Washington" to "Israeli leaders speaking on the record." But nearly all of the "leaders" he names reside on the right side of the political spectrum:
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which Aaron Klein portrayed as a "mainstream Jewish organization." But the Conference is headed by Malcolm Hoenlein, whom the Nation noted likes to refer to the West Bank as "Judea and Samaria" -- an affectation shared by Klein. Hoenlein has also suggested that Obama is anti-Israel, another Klein hobbyhorse.
Morris Amitay, former executive director of the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee. Amitay is associated with a long list of neoconservative-led or hardline pro-Israel groups and policy organizations, and AIPAC itself is arguably a right-leaning group, perhaps most notorious for being tied to the Lawrence Franklin espionage scandal, in which classified information regarding U.S. policy toward Iran was passed from Franklin to Israel via AIPAC staffers.
Yitzhak Shamir and Benjamin Nentanyahu. Both members of Israel's Likud party, which Klein doesn't even mention, let alone the fact that Likud is right-wing.
Klein wants to portray the Kurtzer controversy as an anti-Israel issue when, in fact, it's a liberal-vs.-conservative issue.
Meanwhile ... Topic: WorldNetDaily Media Matters explains why people should not take WorldNetDaily columnist and anti-abortion/anti-Obama activist Jill Stanek seriously. Not only does she have a history of inflammatory, extremist statements, the central claim on which she has built her activism -- that aborted fetuses that were born alive were abandoned at the hospital where she worked -- has never been substantiated.
ConWeb Repeats Dubious MRC Study Topic: The ConWeb
Both WorldNetDaily (in an Aug. 20 article by Bob Unruh) and Newsmax (in an Aug. 20 article by Jim Meyers) uncriticially repeat the Media Research Center's assertion in a study that Barack Obama received unduly positive coverage from the broadcast media before winning the Democratic presidential nomination. Unruh and Meyers praised the MRC study as "comprehensive" and "exhaustive," respectively, but both refused to note contradictory views -- specifically, a Center for Media and Public Affairs study finding that Obama has received overwhelmingly negative network news coverage since winning the nomination.
As we've noted, both studies can't be right, since the likelihood of network coverage of Obama shifting from highly positive to highly negative in a day's time is virtually nil. Since the CMPA is a historically conservative-leaning organization, and the MRC has not challenged the findings of the CMPA study to our knowledge, one can deduce which study must be the flawed one.
UPDATE: An Aug. 22 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas does the same thing.
Aaron Klein Anti-Obama Agenda Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
Aaron Klein's 50th (at least) anti-Obama article for WorldNetDaily notes that "A key foreign policy adviser to Sen. Barack Obama has traveled to Damascus where he reportedly urged Syrian officials to fast-track negotiations with Israel." Nowhere does Klein note the McCain campaign's own freelance diplomacy, including McCain chief foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann's work as a paid lobbyist for the nation of Georgia.
UPDATE: Heather Hurlburt notes that the adviser to which Klein is referring, Daniel Kurtzer, is an Orthodox Jew, the former dean of Yeshiva University, and has been caricatured in anti-Semitic cartoons in the Egyptian press during his tenure as U.S. ambassador to Egypt -- all things Klein curiously fails to tell his readers, perhaps because it conflicts with Klein's portrayal of Kurtzer as "one of Israel's greatest foes in Washington."
New Article: The Tabloid Double Standard Topic: The ConWeb
The ConWeb bashes the National Enquirer when it reports salacious claims against conservatives, but treats it as gospel when it reports salacious claims against liberals. Read more >>
MRC Study of Obama Clashes With CMPA Study Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has released a study claiming that the broadcast networks' coverage of Barack Obama "bordered on giddy celebration of a political 'rock star' rather than objective newsgathering," based on an "exhaustive analysis of ABC, CBS and NBC evening news coverage of Barack Obama — every story, every soundbite, every mention — from his first appearance on a network broadcast in May 2000 through the end of the Democratic primaries in June 2008." No big surprise there, though not necessarily because it's true -- it's the MRC's raison d'etre to make those claims, after all.
But there's a problem: it appears to clash with reality. As we've noted, a study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs, a conservative-leaning group whose work is the foundation of the MRC, found that broadcast network news evaluations of Obama in the six weeks after he clinched the Democratic nomination were overwhelmingly negative -- 72 percent negative vs. 28 percent positive. John McCain's coverage, meanwhile, was much better, 43 percent positive and 57 percent negative.
The MRC has not, to our knowledge, mentioned the study in any way, approvingly or otherwise. That silence can be interpreted as a tacit acceptance of the study's findings.
But to treat both the MRC and CMPA studies as accurate, one must accept the proposition that media coverage of Obama whipsawed from overwhelmingly positive to overwhelmingly negative in a day's time. We can't imagine how that would be possible.
Perhaps the MRC could devise a model a scenario of how both studies could be accurate. Or perhaps the MRC could just admit the bias and faulty analysis in its study -- a longtime problem.
Excuse me, because I have to throw up, wash my hands, and disinfect my keyboard -- not necessarily in that order.
I'm nauseated...talk amongst yourselves.
-- Noel Sheppard, in an Aug. 19 NewsBusters post reacting to news that Rachel Maddow has been given her own show on MSNBC. Sheppard further called the news an "abomination" and described Keith Olbermann as "the most hateful and biased person on the airwaves today." (Apparently, Sheppard has never heard of Michael Savage.)