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Wednesday, October 1, 2008
CNS Still Treating Alveda King's Honorary Doctorate As Real

A Sept. 30 article by Mary Jane O'Brien about an interview by CNS editor-in-chief Terry Jeffrey of anti-abortion activist Alveda King repeatedly refers to her as "Dr. Alveda King" and "Dr. King." The problem, as we pointed out last time CNS did this: King has apparently not earned any doctorate degree.

As biographies of King on several websites state, King "received her honorary Doctorate of Laws from Saint Anselm College."As a Saint Anselm publication details, in 2001 she "was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree for her extraordinary efforts as an advocate for education reform and improvement of race relations and for her passionate participation in the political and academic arena following the great challenges of her young life." While it's an honor, it's not a real doctorate.

King does not hold a doctorate she has earned, as far as we can determine; even if she had, Associated Press journalistic style dictates that the "Dr." honorific is given only to medical doctors.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:25 AM EDT
Newsmax Promotes John Fund's Dubious Book
Topic: Newsmax

John Fund has released an "revised and updated" version of his factually challenged 2004 book "Stealing Elections" in time for the 2008 election, publicized in a Sept. 28 Newsmax article by Dave Eberhart.

And promote he does, regurgitating Fund's claim that "miscounts and voter fraud scandals everywhere from Seattle to Miami have rocked elections during the past several years — and, in very bad news for the election next month — many of the problems have not been resolved."

Eberhart claims that "Fund details Obama’s involvement with ACORN throughout his career," but there are questions about Fund's veracity. As Media Matters details, Fund claims that "ACORN also runs something called "Camp Obama," which trains campaign volunteers in the same tactics that Obama honed as a community organizer" -- but the newspaper article Fund cites as evidence of his claim makes no mention of ACORN. In fact, Camp Obama is run by the Obama campaign to train volunteers how to recruit voters for Obama.

Eberhart also states that Fund's book addresses "how ACORN led 'the worst case of voter-registration fraud' in Washington State’s history." This appears to be a reference to a 2007 case of seven ACORN workers who were indicted in Seattle in 2007 for submitting more than 1,700 voter registration forms that were found to be fraudulent, many of which bore the names of celebrities or "nonexistent people." But as Media Matters also points out, no votes were cast under those fradulent voter registrations.

Despite Fund's additional dubious reporting, Eberhart's article serves up several points at which one can buy the book from Newsmax's store.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:10 AM EDT
Huston Misleads on Obama's Soldier Bracelet
Topic: NewsBusters

A Sept. 28 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston was less than eager to tell the full story about the bracelet carrying the name of deceased soldier Ryan Jopek that Barack Obama said he was wearing as a counter to the soldier bracelet John McCain's bragged about wearing. Huston promoted a claim by Jopek's father that "his family had asked Barack Obama to stop wearing the bracelet with his son's name on it. Yet Obama continues to do so despite the wishes of the family."

It's not until Huston updated his post later in the day that he takes a stab at telling the other side of the story, citing an Associated Press article in which Jopek's mother weighs in, quoting only her statements that she "asked Obama not to mention the bracelet on the campaign trail" and that she was "satisfied" with how Obama discussed the bracelet in the presidential debate.

Ignoring the fact that the mother's claim that she "asked Obama not to mention the bracelet" is substantively different from the father's claim that he asked Obama "to stop wearing the bracelet," Huston asserted: "The fact remains, the woman has repeated that she asked Obama not to mention her son on the campaign trail and this AP report confirms that." But he ignored the AP article's claim that while she "never got a reply" to her request for Obama not to mention the bracelet, she "said she didn't hear of him mentioning it after that" until the debate.

Sounds to us like Obama kept his word until McCain felt the need to play up his dead-soldier credentials at the debate.

Over at Newsmax, Phil Brennan cited Huston's post for a Sept. 28 article claiming that Jopek's father said "his ex-wife [Jopek's mother] had asked Obama to stop using the bracelet as a publicity stunt." He makes no mention of the AP article Newsmax published the same day repeating the mother's claim that she approved of the mention.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EDT
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
WND Finally Tells The Other Side of Obama 'Truth Squad' Story
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 29 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn finally gets around to reporting the other side of the story regarding membership by Missouri law enforcement officials in an Obama "truth squad" that previous WND articles baselessly suggested would use the power of their office to legally harrass anyone running ads critical of Obama. But Zahn baselessly frames it as the officials "back[ing] off the intimidating implications," even though there's no evidence they made any such claim in the first place that needed to be "backed off."

Zahn further fails to note that John McCain's campaign also utilizes law enforcement officials on its "truth squads," let alone question the propriety of that in the same way it attacked those on the Obama side.

Zahn ends by quoting one county sheriff who is a "truth squad" member noting, "I came into my office Monday morning, and I've got 500 emails and 19 nasty phone calls calling me a communist pig!" Is WND proud of its readers doing that sort of thing?

Posted by Terry K. at 3:18 PM EDT
CNS Article's Claim Lacks Evidence

A Sept. 30 article by Susan Jones promotes the claim by conservative activist Richard Viguerie that the defeat of the Wall Street bailout package "shows the power of the New and Alternative Media." But Jones doesn't cite any specific examples of how the "New and Alternative Media" -- in context, the conservatively correct term for right-wing blogs, websites and talk radio -- caused the bill to fail, beyond a claim that "Even the Associated Press noted the power of the Internet in torpedoing the bill." The AP quote that Jones serves up -- "furious pressure built up against the bill in e-mail campaigns and on Internet Web sites" -- also offers no specific examples.

Further, since a significant minority of House Democrats also voted against the bill, credit for defeating the bill cannot go to right-wing media alone.

Nevertheless, Jones uncritically repeated Viguerie's assertion that the bailout bill "the support of the mainstream media, who told us ad nauseam that everyone -- everyone! -- supported a bailout." No evidence is offered to support Viguerie's claim.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:28 PM EDT
Where Was Huston When ...
Topic: NewsBusters

A Sept. 29 NewsBusters post by Warner Todd Huston bashed the Obama campaign for violating "the right of free political speech" by banning signs at a rally, further bashing "weak-spined school officials" at the Virginia college where the rally was held because they "bent over and meekly accepted the rules derived from the fascistic penchant of the Obama campaign with its anti-first amendment proclivities."

Funny, we don't recall Huston exhibiting similar outrage when, for instance, a woman was arrested outside a John McCain "town hall meeting" purportedly open to the public for carrying a sign. Or when the Bush administration engaged in a policy of expelling possible critics from Bush's public appearances.

Tell you what, Warner: Try getting a little mad about that, and then you might have a right to indulge your Obama Derangement Syndrome.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:04 PM EDT
Yet Another WND Double Standard
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Back in 2005, WorldNetDaily began promoting a book called "Sex Appealed" by Janice Law, which attacked the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas that overturned state sodomy laws by claiming that "the events of September 17, 1998, [upon which the case was based] were a prearranged, orchestrated set-up designed to test Texas Penal Statute 21.06 – a too-perfect case."

In an Oct. 25, 2005, column, Joseph Farah similarly attacked "the pre-meditated nature of the Lawrence case setup," adding, "It was quite simply the misdemeanor dream case homosexual activists in Texas and nationwide had been dreaming about. Or had they done more than dream about it? Had they schemed about it, too?" He further asserted: "If the Lawrence case were known to be a setup during the five years following the arrests, then the defendants would not have a right-to-privacy claim, and the U.S. Supreme Court probably would never hear the case."

An Oct. 27, 2005, WND "news" article repeated Law's claim that the Lawrence case "was based on a pre-arranged 'setup' of police, state judicial authorities and, ultimately, the highest court in the land." The same day, a WND column by Law bashed the case as "a set-up case of invited arrests," further exclaiming, "Isn't the U.S. Constitution good enough anymore?"

But there's a new case brewing that is a similarly pre-arranged setup. But instead of being horrified by it, WND has promoted it.

A Sept. 26 WND article by Drew Zahn touted plans by the conservative Alliance Defense Fund to use "a select team of 33 pastors in 22 states" who "will be preaching on politics in a direct challenge to a federal tax statute that forbids churches from interfering with political campaigns." Zahn added:

The ADF has promised it is ready to equip and defend the pastors selected for "Pulpit Freedom Sunday," even if that means going to court and challenging the tax code.

"We're reminding them that they have the right to openly discuss the positions of political candidates," ADF counsel Mike Johnson told WND, "and we're going to be there for them if there's a challenge."

Doesn't the fact that the ADF is specifically enlisting people to break the law wiht the express purpose of creating the basis of a court case in which the law can be challenged make their action the exact same type of pre-arranged "set-up case of invited arrests" WND condemned when it involved homosexuals? It certainly appears that way.

Yet Zahn offers no substantial criticism of the initiative -- only one paragraph in his 21-paragraph article.

Just another chunk of hypocrisy in a "news" organization already laden with it.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:33 AM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The 2008 presidential election in America is the most crucial election in this country's history, not because the issues are that critical but because of Sen. Barack Obama. The Democratic presidential candidate's language, posture and demeanor suggest that he may suffer from narcissistic personality disorder, or NPD.


NPD is the prime disorder experienced by all the madmen of history – from Hitler to Stalin, Mao, Kim, Pol Pot, Osama, Khomeini, Saddam and Idi Amin. These men wreaked havoc and killed millions. They looked normal. Few suspected their insanity until it was too late.

Ali Sina, Sept. 30 WorldNetDaily column. Hilariously -- though perhaps not so much for someone in the grip of ODS as this person is -- Sina concludes by stating, "There is no basis upon which to assume Obama would become a murderous tyrant." So why devote the rest of the column to claiming there is one?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:54 AM EDT
Kincaid Once Again Repeats False Claim About Global Poverty Act
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Cliff Kincaid once again claims, in a Sept. 28 Accuracy in Media article, that the Barack Obama-sponsored Global Poverty Act "cost an estimated $845 billion" -- a claim we've debunked every time Kincaid makes it. The bill has no funding mechanism, doesn't commit the U.S. to a targeted level of spending, and doesn't give the United Nations the power to impose a tax on the U.S.

Nevertheless, Kincaid went on to claim: "Commentators such as Andrew C. McCarthy have pointed out that Obama’s Global Poverty Act (S. 2433) would cost even more than the $700 billion that is being proposed as part of a socialist takeover of the U.S. financial sector."

But the McCarthy article to which Kincaid links -- a Sept. 19 piece at National Review -- offers no evidence of it either. In fact, McCarthy does nothing but repeat Kincaid's own false claims about it:

The GPA is a monstrosity. Thanks to Obama’s praetorian guards in the mainstream media, it is a better kept secret than most covert intelligence programs. But Accuracy in Media’s Cliff Kincaid has been digging (see here). If the GPA became law, the United States would be required to fork up for foreign aid 0.7 percent of its gross national product through 2015. That is, Obama would skyrocket U.S. largesse from its current annual level of about $21 billion (the world’s most generous) to — you’ll want to be sitting down for this — $85 billion per year.

It's logrolling in our time -- Kincaid cites McCarthy, who cites Kincaid.

Kincaid also complains about something called the Jubilee Act, a debt-forgiveness bill to which Obama has signed on as a co-sponsor, because it "would cancel the debts of 26 foreign countries even while the U.S. suffers through its own financial crisis and Americans are losing their homes and savings."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 AM EDT
Monday, September 29, 2008
Sheffield Baselessly Claims Most Top Papers Are Liberal
Topic: NewsBusters

In making a big deal out of Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell's claim that most editorial cartoonists are liberal, Matthew Sheffield claimed in a Sept. 28 NewsBusters post that "Just two of the top twenty editorial pages in the U.S. lean conservative," and offered a list. Sheffield offered no evidence to back up his assertion -- and indeed, there are problems with his list. For instance:

  • He claims the Chicago Tribune is "liberal," even though it has endorsed only Republican presidential candidates for the past 130 years or so.
  • He claims the Washington Post is "liberal" even though it has often shared editorial positions with the "conservative" Wall Street Journal.

While it may be treated as a given inside the MRC offices that everyone in the media is liberal, out here in the real world, we require evidence, and not the circumstantial kind.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:05 PM EDT
NewsBusters Repeats Bogus Attack on Obama 'Truth Squad'
Topic: NewsBusters

Tom Blumer plays McCain water carrier in a Sept. 29 NewsBusters post, repeating unsubstantiated claims that an Obama "truth squad" in Missouri that includes a prosecutor will "threaten and intimidate" of Obama critics. Blumer howls: "These people are prosecutors. How do prosecutors "respond" to actions they feel violate the law? They prosecute. Most reasonable viewers would have concluded that they were planning to act against 'offenders' in their official capacities."

But as we noted when WorldNetDaily repeated this bogus claim, none of the law enforcement officials on the "truth squad" have said they would use the power of their office to silence critics (a claim Blumer baselessly rejects as "horse manure"). Blumer also fails to note that McCain has members of law enforcement on his "truth squads."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:52 PM EDT
NewsBusters Runs to McCain Campaign Manager's Defense
Topic: NewsBusters

A Sept. 26 NewsBusters post by Jacob S. Lybbert complained: "Rather than investigate the campaign donations paid out to Senators Dodd, Clinton, and specifically, Barack Obama, by Fannie Mae and Freddy [sic] Mac, the [New York Times] focused instead on McCain aide Rick Davis's employment by the consulting firm, Davis & Manafort."

Lybbert fails to note that Davis wasn't just employed by Davis & Manafort; he was a key employee of the firm (as the name "Davis" in the "Davis Manafort" name hints at). He also neglects to mention that Davis is much more than an "aide" (or, as he writes later, a "campaign adviser") to McCain; he's McCain's campaign manager.

Lybbert then uncritically repeats the McCain campaign's response to the story and treats it as fact, without noting evidence that would seem to undercut the campaign's basic claim that Davis has no involvement in his own company -- specifically, that Davis is still listed as an officer of it. And it's since been reported that Davis did, in fact, maintain financial connections to the firm well after the date he claimed he separated himself from it.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 29, 2008 9:18 AM EDT
Klein Repeats Claim from Discredited Obama-Basher
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a Sept. 29 WorldNetDaily article repeating claims that Barack Obama is "hiding something from his college days," Aaron Klein writes:

In a posting that was referenced on multiple other blogs, Andy Martin, executive editor of, asked whether Obama met Ayers at Columbia.

"Obama spent two years at Columbia University yet left virtually no fingerprints of his presence there. Could that be because Columbia was where Mr. Obama first met 'mad bomber' William Ayers?" asked Martin.

You may recall Martin from our entanglements with him: He sued us and our employer, Media Matters, for (accurately, it can be reasonably argued) calling him anti-Semitic -- a lawsuit that was laughed out of court (twice), in no small part because he has a long history of lawsuit abuse.

Martin has a history of launching all sorts of Obama smears into the world -- he takes credit for launching the essentially false claim that Obama is hiding his "Muslim religion." As we've previously noted, Martin published a March 2007 article at Newsmax claiming that Obama has "locked ... away" his white grandmother "in his racist closet," calling him "one of the most racist politicians in America today" and accusing him of trying to hide his white heritage.

And Klein is taking the word of this guy as fact? Does he think that because an article is "referenced on multiple other blogs," that automatically makes it true?

Klein also fails to mention that Martin claims to be the executive director of something called the Committee of One Million to Defeat Barack Obama, which might make his musings just a tad biased and, thus, suspect.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:54 AM EDT
NewsBusters Accepts Misleading Defense on Palin 'Road to Nowhere'
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Sept. 24 NewsBusters post and Sept. 25 MRC CyberAlert item, Matthew Balan asserted that CNN "desperately tried to criticize vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin for a 'Road to Nowhere' that was part of the infamous 'Bridge to Nowhere' project," accepting as fact a Palin spokesperson's claim that ""under ordinary circumstances, Governor Palin would not have allowed the Gravina road project to move forward. But given the federal earmark was granted and because the contract for the road was already signed before she got into office, the governor was left no viable alternative."

Turns out that's not exactly true. According to ProPublica:

But the governor did have a viable alternative. Gov. Frank Murkowski (R) signed the contract for the road on Dec. 1, 2006, three days before he left office. Palin could have cancelled that contract upon taking office, according to Alaska Department of Transportation spokesman Roger Wetherell. In such cases, contractors are reimbursed for any expenses incurred in association with the project.

For instance, in her first month in office, Palin cancelled a $18.6 million contract to build a one-lane, 11-mile gravel road out of Juneau. That contract had also been awarded by Murkowski at the end of his term, but Palin, judging the project wasteful and the contract award insufficiently transparent, terminated it. The state reimbursed the contractor for $65,500 in expenses, Wetherell said.

Gov. Palin also had a "viable alternative" when it came to the earmark. It's true that the Gravina Island Highway presented a more difficult case than the Juneau road, which was funded entirely with state money. But it's not true that the earmark forced Palin to spend the money on the road. Palin could have opted not to use the money, and Congress has the power to send it to other federal needs, said Federal Highway Administration spokesman Doug Hecox.

Will Balan mention this? Don't count on it.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EDT
Sunday, September 28, 2008
WND Anti-Obama Agenda Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's anti-Obama slant continues in a pair of articles accusing the Obama campaign of creating "[a] team of Obama-supporting prosecutors and sheriffs in Missouri" to "pursue legal challenges to any presidential campaign ads deemed to be false or misleading." WND cited a St. Louis TV report and such purportedly authoritative sources as "the blog Gateway Pundit," "Missouri blogger Doctor Bulldog" and "the St. Louis Examiner" (which, as far as we can tell, is not an actual newspaper in St. Louis but a city-based portal web page run by Philip Anschutz's conservative-leaning Examiner newspapers in Washington and San Francisco).

The articles baselessly suggest that this truth squad will use their official positions to legally harrass anyone running ads critical of Obama. WND makes no apparent attempt to contact the Obama campaign or anyone else involved in the truth squad for a response to criticism it published by the National Rifle Association or Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt (whom WND fails to identify as a Republican who supports John McCain).

By contrast, the Springfield, Mo., News-Leader reported that "Despite having law enforcement officials on the truth squad, none of them have publicly said they will invoke their official powers to enforce facts about Obama’s record"and pointed out that Blunt was "[u]sing his taxpayer-funded press office to level a political attack" in issuing his response, quoted by WND, in which he called the truth squad "police state tactics."

The News-Leader also reported that "a review of McCain’s own truth squads shows he has a district attorney from New Mexico and the South Carolina attorney general ready to respond to misleading ads from Obama and Democrats in their respective states."

This is all information that was readily available, yet WND chose not to inform its readers about it, even though it's essential to telling the full story here. But then, WND has an anti-Obama, pro-McCain agenda, so it's sadly not surprising.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:11 AM EDT

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