Waters Repeats Clinton Travel Office Myth Topic: NewsBusters
A Feb. 23 NewsBusters post (and TimesWatch item) by Clay Waters references the Clinton administration's "persecution of the White House Travel Office."
In fact, as we've detailed, this alleged "persecution" is a right-wing myth. As the final report by independent counsel Robert Ray pointed out, Clinton was within his legal rights to hire whomever he wanted to run the travel office, and there was evidence of financial mismanagement in the office.
WorldNetDaily wants you to think that Barack Obama plans to plunge America into chaos. Apparently, that's what Glenn Beck told it to do.
Its lead story for most of the past day is a Feb. 21 article by Drew Zahn uncritically repeating crazy man Alan Keyes' attacks on Obama:
"Obama is a radical communist, and I think it is becoming clear. That is what I told people in Illinois and now everybody realizes it's true," said Keyes, who ran unsuccessfully against Obama for the state's open Senate seat in 2004. "He is going to destroy this country, and we are either going to stop him or the United States of America is going to cease to exist."
"I'm not sure he's even president of the United States," Keyes continued, "neither are many of our military people now who are now going to court to ask the question, 'Do we have to obey a man who is not qualified under the constitution?' We are in the midst of the greatest crisis this nation has ever seen, and if we don't stop laughing about it and deal with it, we're going to find ourselves in the midst of chaos, confusion and civil war."
Keyes, who stated he refuses even to refer to Obama as president, labeled the man in the Oval Office as "somebody who is kind of an alleged usurper, who is alleged to be someone who is occupying that office without constitutional warrant to do so."
Needless to say, Keyes' extreme rhetoric struck a chord at WND. Joseph Farah was quick to jump on the bandwagon with his Feb. 22 column:
When we think of the word "chaos," normally we associate it with spontaneous acts of malcontents rebelling without a cause.
But most of the chaos in the world today is what I call "directed chaos" – usually government-directed and with one single-minded purpose: the consolidation of power.
That's the way I interpret the so-called "economic stimulus" legislation approved by the Democrat-controlled Congress and signed by President Obama.
In the meantime, prepare for chaos.
Prepare for harder times than you have seen in your lifetime.
Farah also repeats the false claim that "Groups like ACORN, the shock troops and brown shirts of their movement, are being paid off with billions of dollars."
Rodger Hedgecock echoed the theme in his Feb. 22 WND column:
This column is bad, really bad. And it's getting worse. It could be a catastrophe, an Armageddon.
Our new president wants to revive the economy with similar rhetoric.
This much we already know. Trillions of dollars of new debt will burden generations of Americans who haven't even been born. Government control of banks will continue political interference in questions like who is eligible to get a home loan. Welfare programs will be expanded to include illegal immigrants. Community activists will be funded by the government to shut down talk radio.
There's a growing suspicion that if this president is successful in all he wants to do to transform America, "We the People" will suffer for it for generations to come.
The lesson: Don't take your cues on political discourse from Glenn Beck. Or Alan Keyes.
Examiner Repeats False Claim on EFCA Topic: Washington Examiner
The Feb. 22 Washington Examiner list of the "10 brightest ideas of the week" repeats a false talking point about the Employee Free Choice Act, claiming that it "would eliminate the secret ballot in union elections."
As we pointed out the last time the Examiner did this, the measure does not ban secret ballots but, rather, adds the option of a card-check provision for employees to form a union.
A Feb. 23 CNSNews.com article by Matt Cover takes out of context a statement by President Obama regarding the Bush tax cuts to make it appear as if he plans to institute "massive tax increases" on Americans.
During the presidential campaign, then-Sen. Barack Obama pledged to repeal the tax cuts.
"I want to eliminate the Bush tax cuts," Obama told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in a May 2008 interview.
But Cover fails to detail the full context of Obama statement, in which he makes it clear he plans to restore tax cuts elsewhere. From the May 11, 2008, edition of CNN's" Late Edition":
BLITZER: So, you want to just eliminate the Bush tax cuts?
OBAMA: I want to eliminate the Bush tax cuts. And what I have said is, 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.
BLITZER: Define middle class.
OBAMA: Well, look, I think that the definitions are always a little bit rough, but if you're making $100,000 a year or less, then you're pretty solidly middle class, and you deserve relief right now, as opposed to paying higher taxes. But people who are making over $200,000 or $250,000 have benefited the most from economic growth.
Indeed, nowhere in his article does Cover mention the fact that Obama has proposed cutting taxes for 95 percent of working families.
It's irresponsible of Cover and CNS to pluck Obama's statements out of context without telling the full story.
A Feb. 22 WorldNetDaily article declares that its petition "calling on all controlling legal authorities to ensure that Barack Obama is constitutionally eligible to serve as president" "has now been signed electronically by more than 250,000 different people – averaging nearly 3,000 new signups a day."
But how do we know for sure? As we've previously noted, the petition is very secretive -- WND offers no independent verificaction mechanism, nor is there any apparent mechanism to keep people from signing the petition more than once or from signing fictitious names. There's probably a fair number Mickey Mouses on that petition.
Indeed, if you click on the "Click to Sign Petition" button and don't fill in a name, you still advance to a page thanking you for signing the petition and trying to sell you some books.
It appears that the so-called petition operation is little more than a marketing scheme to glean email addresses for WND's mailing list.
Further, such a petition should ideally be limited to registered U.S. voters who are eligible to vote in federal elections -- but there's no evidence that WND screens for that, either.
So, WND: Provide evidence that you have, in fact, signed up "more than 250,000 different people" and detail the methods used to determine that all signatures are valid and non-duplicate -- or post the names so we all can see who signed it and count the valid signatures ourselves. Otherwise, there's no reason to trust this petition.
WND Misleads on Anti-Gay Video Controversy Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Feb. 20 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn uncritically repeats claims that a Michigan TV station's cancellation of a paid program attacking homosexuals was somehow the responsibility of a person who hasn't worked for the station for five years. At no point does Zahn indicate he made an effort to contact anyone from the TV station for their side of the story.
Further, Zahn fails to report one aspect of the imbroglio, even though WND reported it in a Feb. 13 article by Chelsea Schilling: The station offered the group sponsoring the program, the American Family Association, an opportunity to air it at a different time. When the AFA didn't respond after 24 hours, the station canceled the showing.
Zahn also fails to mention the Human Rights Campaign's claims that the program contains numerous falsehoods.
A real reporter would have told both sides of the story. Zahn is concerned with telling only one side.
Huston Repeats Baseless Attack on Star Tribune Topic: NewsBusters
Warner Todd Huston begins a Feb. 21 NewsBusters post by asserting, "The Minneapolis Star Tribune is often called the "Red Star" Tribune by residents of Minneapolis for its long-time, virulently left-wing outlook."
As we noted the last time he did this, Huston offers no evidence that anyone other than Huston smears the Star Tribune this way.
Huston goes on to claim that the Star Tribune is "tilted to the far left," but the only evidence he offers of this is that the paper endorsed Barack Obama for president.But Huston curiously fails to mention that the paper also endorsed Norm Coleman over Democrat Al Franken in the state's Senate rate, and its news coverage has tilted in favor of Coleman.
Huston also cites the Star Tribune's efforts to void a contract with one of its employee unions as an example of hypocrisy. But Huston fails to mention that the paper has editorialized against the Empoyee Free Choice Act, seen as a pro-union measure.
Huston accuses the paper of having problems dealing with reality, but that more accurately applies to Huston himself.
WND Allows Reisman to Spin Her Lies Topic: WorldNetDaily
You know you're in for a wild, factually dubious ride when an article begins by calling Judith Reisman a "renowned expert on the life and work of sex scientist Alfred Kinsey." And that's exactly how a Feb. 21 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh begins.
Thus, Unruh racks up the first baseless claim of his article. In fact, as we've detailed, far from being "renowned" for her work on Kinsey, Reisman has repeatedly been proven to be biased, vindictive and factually flawed on the subject.
Reisman has a new DVD out -- which, unsurprisingly, WND is selling -- and in it, according to Unruh, Reisman "explains how Kinsey's campaign for extreme sexual permissiveness – many would say anarchy – now has resulted in aggressive demands for approval of alternative sexual lifestyles, rampant abortion, child molestations and even the kidnapping and killing of children." She calls Kinsey "one of America's original pornographers," and claims that "porn on the Internet" is his legacy. Unruh adds:
Reisman's documentary says, "Perhaps most disturbing, Alfred Kinsey has been accused of training pedophiles to work with stopwatches and record the responses of children being raped – all in the name of 'science.' Among his workers was a Nazi pedophile whose relationship to Kinsey was exposed in a German court. The information from these crimes was then recorded in 'Table 34' of Kinsey's ‘Sexual Behavior in the Human Male.’ How can lawmakers use such a document to define the moral parameters of our society?"
But as we've noted, Poppy Dixon examined Reisman's claims regarding Table 34 and found that, contrary to Reisman's assertion, "Kinsey interviewed people who were engaged in illegal sexual activity, but did not encourage, or facilitate in any way, any sexual behavior. He did not 'allow...child abusers to conduct experiments' as the Kinsey institute conducted no experiments, nor trained anyone to do so." Further, Dixon stated, "The Kinsey Institute has never carried out sexual experiments on children, either during Alfred Kinsey's time as director or since."
Unruh also states that Reisman's DVD "highlights convicted mass murderer Ted Bundy and his death-bed revelations about the essential role of pornography in encouraging sexual predators to commit their crimes." But as we've also detailed, true-crime writer Ann Rule, who knew Bundy before he embarked on his killing spree, concluded that Bundy -- who made his comments about pornography to Focus on the Family's James Dobson -- was lying and playing to the sympathies of Dobson, as well as immortalizing himself as a victim, thus perpetuating the damage he caused:
Even in death, Ted damages women. They have sent for the Dobson tape, paying the $29.95 fee, and watch it over and over. They see compassion and sadness in his eyes. And they feel guilty and bereft. To get well, they must realize that they were conned by the master conman. They are grieving for a shadow man that never existed.
Of course, Unruh doesn't bother to tell his readers any of this -- after all, the purpose is to pimp Reisman's video. It's not until the 34th paragraph of his article that Unruh uses a spokesperson for the Kinsey Institute to tepidly counter Reisman's claims, written in a way that makes nothing the spokeswoman said a direct challenge to Reisman:
Institute spokeswoman Jennifer Bass told WND the organization doesn't release information about any of the "subjects" in Kinsey's research, but said there's no reason to worry that he obtained data from a Nazi pedophile or others who orchestrated their "research" to fit Kinsey's documentary needs.
"Kinsey was not a pedophile in any shape or form," the institute's website states. "He did not carry out experiments on children; he did not hire, collaborate, or persuade people to carry out experiments on children. He did not falsify research findings and there is absolutely no evidence that his research 'opened flood gates for the sexual abuse of children."
But even the institute admits some of the "behaviors" that were revealed to Kinsey during his "research" indeed constituted illegal activities, "including abuse of children."
The data, however, were accepted and used confidentially, and remain that way today.
It also says Kinsey's "information about children's sexual responses" came from adults "recalling their own childhoods," as well as parents, teachers.
"Kinsey stated that there were nine men who he had interviewed who had sexual experiences with children who had told him about how the children had responded and reacted. We believe that one of those men was the source of the data listed in the book," the website continued.
Bass told WND the negative claims about Kinsey "just keep being repeated."
According to Unruh, Bass said Reisman was merely being negative -- not telling false claims. We suspect that's not entirely true, and that Unruh is massaging things to avoid the fact that the Kinsey Institute has indeed directly challenged Reisman's claims.
But Reisman isn't done lying: Unruh also states that Reisman said President Obama advocates teaching sex to very young children." Surprisingly, Unruh himself subtly debunks that one by going on to quote Obama as saying he supports "age-appropriate sex education."
Unruh also uncritically repeats Reisman's attack on David Ogden, a nominee for a top Justice Department post, claiming that Ogden "has contended there's a constitutional right to access pornography at public libraries." In fact, Ogden's legal arguments focused on the fact that "anti-porn" filtering software also blocks useful and constitutionally protected information (h/t Alan Colmes).
WND has previously published a Feb. 6 attack by Reisman on Ogden, claiming that Ogden shows "fealty" to "Big Porno."
Simple Answers to Simple Questions Topic: NewsBusters
After noting in a Feb. 20 NewsBusters post that "radical-left actor" Richard Belzer gave Sean Hannity a "Heil Hannity" salute, Tim Graham asks: "When will lefties stop comparing conservatives to Nazis?"
Farah's Double Standard on Abusive Behavior Topic: WorldNetDaily
In recentcolumns, WorldNetDaily has cited the case of a Muslim man who allegedly beheaded his wife and another Muslim man who allegedly mistreated his family as evidence that Islam is a horrible thing because it, among other things, "denigrates women to the level of chattel," and as a warning against multiculturalism.
So we wondered: What did Farah have to say about a man who, according to court records, is accused of the following:
Hitting his children "with a stick, hanger or shoe" if they did not follow his rules.
Married to a woman who "does not interfere with his discipline of the children and his rules. There is evidence she does not make even tentative decisions in dependency matters but rather defers issues until father can make decisions on them."
Keeping his home in "an endangering filthy, unsanitary and unsafe condition," filled with "approximately 60 guns, rifles and/or assault weapons; black powder in an unsecured location; and live ammunition, shells, and magazines, all of which was within access" to the children.
Allowing his children to be "chronically filthy, and unsupervised late at night."
Refusing to all his children to receive vaccinations or even to have birth certificates, and refusing to allow his female children to wear pants.
Failing to protect his children from a friend of the family who allegedly sexually abused at least one of his children; the child "told the parents about it when she was 12 years old but they did not believe her."The girl now "engages in selfmutilation (cutting herself with a razor blade) and has problems with depression, but her parents will not send her to therapy because father tells her that speaking with him is all the therapy she needs."
Answer: Nothing. In fact, quite the opposite: As we detailed, WND portrayed this man as a victim. Why? Because he homeschooled his children (just like Farah), and the state of California had ordered his children to be sent to an accredited school because the quality of the education they received at home was so deficient.
Not that WND told its readers about that last part, of course, or addressed the abuse issue substantively.
Farah had a chance to condemn child and spousal abuse in all forms, no matter the perpetrator. But because this man was a homeschooler and professed himself to be a Christian, Farah was silent. Or does he think such abuse is OK as long as you don't, you know, behead them?
A Feb. 20 FrontPageMag article by P. David Hornik runs to the defense of right-wing Israeli politician Avigdor Lieberman by whitewashing Lieberman's controversial statements.
Hornik states that while he has "reservations" about Lieberman because "has been under police investigation for a decade," used a campaign slogan that "smacks of bigotry," and "joined—and saved—the feckless Olmert government at a time of mounting public protest over the failed war in Lebanon," he defends Lieberman over claims that he is "racist and fascist" in his positions on Israeli Arabs, calling his position is not "necessarily reprehensible." But in doing so, Hornik joins in Lieberman's demonization of Israeli Arabs and fails to note Lieberman's most inflammatory statements, nowing only that "his rhetoric has once or twice gone over the top."
Hornik fails to detail any of those "over the top" statements, such as his likening of Israeli Arabs in the Knesset to Nazi collaborators and calling for the execution of any Arab Knesset member who meets with Hamas.
Hornik also claims that Lieberman's support of a loyalty oath for Israeli citizens "obfuscates more than it illumines" but that it "is a legitimate response to a very real problem and danger that Israelis live with."
NewsBusters Baselessly Attacks NYT Topic: NewsBusters
Stephen Gutowski turns his Feb. 19 NewsBusters post on the settlement of a lawsuit filed by Vicki Iseman against the New York Times over an article that, in Gutowski's words, "insinuated Iseman had an affair with John McCain" into an attack on the Times that the facts don't support.
It is quite sad that it takes a lawsuit for the New York Times to at least sort of admit their wrong doing in publishing the disgrace to professional journalism that article is. And it is maddening that their pseudo-apology falls well short of what is required for this kind of egregious assault on reporting. Not to mention that it seems to take a lawsuit to make the New York Times print an editorial contrary to their opinion.
Gutowski offers no evidence that the Times refused to to publish Iseman's side of the story before this -- for example, a Feb. 22, 2008, Times article specifically states McCain denying any affair and attacking the Times for purportedly suggesting it. He also ignores that the Times has regularly published conservatives like David Brooks and William Kristol. NewsBusters is much less likely to "print an editorial contrary to their opinion" than the Times is, which makes this a pot-kettle-black statement.
Further, Gutowski fails to explain how the Times' "pseudo-apology ... falls well short of what is required." The article contained no false statements, so there was no "wrongdoing" in the first place. Indeed, the fact that the lawsuit was settled with no retraction and no payment by the Times to Iseman, and got only a restatement of the article, is an indication of the weakness of Iseman's case.
By contrast, CNSNews.com -- like NewsBusters, a division of the Media Research Center -- has yet to apologize to Paul Begala for falsely claiming that he said that Republicans are trying to kill him and his family. Gutowski's anger seems a bit misdirected.
Newsmax's Weird Attack on Jack Valenti Topic: Newsmax
A Feb. 9 Newsmax article by Jim Meyers was a weird attack on Jack Valenti, the former aide to Lyndon Johnson turned movie industry lobbyist, playing up an assertion revealed by "Documents obtained by Newsmax under the Freedom of Information Act" that Valenti "was investigated by the FBI for his relationships with a 'top hoodlum,'" that "Valenti's father and father-in-law were both jailed for embezzlement," and that "an unsubstantiated report claimed that Valenti, who died in April 2007 at age 85, had arranged for an abortion for a woman impregnated by LBJ."
Why did Newsmax try to disparage Valenti, who died two years ago? Because he was a liberal? Because he's dead and, thus, can't fight back? It's unclear. But it is clear that Meyers was attempting a smear job.
A Feb. 19 Washington Post article offers a fuller view of what was in Valenti's FBI file than Meyers does. It points out that the information about Valenti's father and father-in-law showed up in "a routine background check performed when Valenti joined the Johnson administration in 1963," and that they were "picayune concerns," adding: "Nothing discovered during the background check was solid enough to endanger Valenti's position as a special assistant to the president."
Of much more interest to the FBI, according to the Post, was "the vexing question of whether Valenti was gay" and other sexually related allegations.
It's not until the 15th paragraph of his article -- after rehashing the alleged mob ties and criminal behavior of Valenti's relatives -- that Meyers gets around to the sexual part of Valenti's file. A note that an FBI agent heard from an informant who wanted Valenti investigated as a "sex pervert" because "he had read in the newspapers that Valenti swims in the nude in the White House pool" is dismissed only as "curious." The Post, meanwhile, puts the sexual stuff into context:
[T]he files ... provide further insight into the conduct of the FBI under [J. Edgar] Hoover, for whom damaging personal information on the powerful was a useful tool in his interactions with presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Richard M. Nixon.
In the Washington of the early 1960s, allegations or proof of homosexuality could end a career. In October 1964, Walter Jenkins, another senior aide in the Johnson administration, was arrested for allegedly having sex in the men's room of the Washington YMCA. The news leaked just before the election, and Johnson, rushing to stem the political damage, quickly secured the resignation of Jenkins, then his longest-serving aide.
Meyers devotes only two paragraphs late in the article to Valenti's alleged "association with a homosexual in California and Texas," identified as a professional photographer, adding that "President Johnson asked the FBI to probe any 'derogatory information' concerning his White House associates." Again, the Post tells the full story:
Johnson initially blocked the FBI from obtaining a sworn statement from Valenti or approaching the photographer, asserting that Valenti was "attracted to the women and not to the men," files show. But under FBI pressure, the president relented and approved an investigation of his close friend.
It's not surprising that Newsmax would hide information and not tell the full story. The question, still, is why Newsmax felt the need to attack Valenti.