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Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Newsmax's Patten Baselessly Asserts "Franken-Style Vote Grab"
Topic: Newsmax

A March 31 Newsmax article by David Patten on how New York Republicans are seeking "a wide-ranging injunction to prevent Minnesota-style snafus seen in the Al Franken-Norm Coleman race from disrupting the hard-fought 20th congressional district race in upstate New York" carries the headline: "NY GOP Moves To Block Franken-Style Vote Grab."

At no point in the article does Patten support the headline's contention that questions about the Minnesota election and recount, in which the lead transferred from Coleman to Franken, equates to Franken "grabbing" votes from Coleman.

Patten has previously accused Franken of instigating a "vote grab" -- also baselessly.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:11 AM EDT
Feder Repeats Bogus Shepard Revisionism
Topic: Horowitz

In a March 31 FrontPageMag article, which he claims is the speech he would have given to a college Republican group railing against hate-crime laws had he not be subject to "an organized and highly disruptive demonstration by a mob of socialists, 'peace activists,' and homosexuals," Don Feder writes:

Take the 1998 homicide of Matthew Shepard. Was Shepard murdered because he was a homosexual? Possibly. But it’s equally plausible that he died because his murderers wanted drug money, and Shepard (weighing in at 105 pounds) was an easy mark. According to a 2004 report by ABC’s “20/20,” that’s what many close to the case believe.

As we detailed, what Feder portrays as "many close to the case" is in fact merely one of the men who killed Shepard -- who has a history of telling lies about his role in the death of Shepard and who mounted a gay-panic defense during his murder trial -- changing his story. The others are right-wingers like Feder who believe the killer because his new story fits in with their anti-gay agenda.

Here's what an actual person "close to the case" -- the former police chief of Laramie, Wyo. -- said at the time about the killer's new story: "Only three people know what really happened that night. ... One of them is dead and the other two are known liars and convicted felons -- murderers."

Indeed, Feder is a veritable font of misleading far-right talking points in this speech-that-never-was. He recounts the overblown case of anti-gay protesters who were arrested at a 2004 gay event in Philadelphia, claiming they "could have been sentenced 47 years in prison and $90,000 in fines," adding, "They weren’t disruptive. They didn’t attempt to block access to the event." In fact, as we detailed at the time, the leader of the protesters, Michael Marcavage, carried a bullhorn, leading his protest in the middle of the celebration and refusing to obey an order to go to an area on the edge of the event. (Feder doesn't explain how the use of a bullhorn can be anything but disruptive.) Further, even the attorney for the gay group that organized the event said, "They might get six to 12 months probation. ... Nobody's going to jail for 47 years" (the charges were ultimately dropped).

Feder also repeats the case of college librarian Scott Savage, who was accused of "sex-discrimination and harassment ... for recommending four books," one of which was David Kupelian's anti-gay "The Marketing of Evil." We realize Feder could care less about getting facts straight (witness his work for Accuracy in Media's anti-New York Times website), but as we've noted, the actual accusation against Savage was "harassment based on sexual orientation," something functionally different from what Feder said.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:51 AM EDT
Newsmax Mum on PAC's Role in NY Special Election
Topic: Newsmax

A March 31 Newsmax article by David Patten on the special congressional election in New York made an attempt to explain away how Republican Jim Tedisco's 18-point lead over "Democratic upstart" Scott Murphy disappeared in a month's time: the economy, the popularity of President Obama and Kirsten Gillibrand (whose vacant seat Tedisco and Murphy are vying for after Gillibrand was named to fill Hillary clinton's Senate seat), "the surrogate war" and "negative campaigning."

One factor that Patten didn't name: the National Republican Trust PAC.

As the Washington Independent reported, the PAC has spent more than $190,000 in ads on behalf of Tedisco that attacked Murphy, ads that have been criticized as being too negative, so much so that they were turning off voters:

According to the Siena Poll released on March 12, Murphy has closed a double-digit gap and is now just four points behind Republican candidate Jim Tedisco. Only 12 percent of voters said the ads they saw for Tedisco made them more likely to support the Republican, to 28 percent who said they became less likely to support him.

Why won't Newsmax talk about the National Republican Trust PAC's role in the Tedisco-Murphy race? Perhaps because the PAC has a relationship with Newsmax columnist Dick Morris, or because its executive director, Scott Wheeler, also writes a Newsmax column -- a recent Wheeler column touting Tedisco failed to disclose his PAC's role in bankrolling hundreds of thousands of dollars in pro-Tedisco ads.

Or perhaps because the PAC is a Newsmax advertiser. For instance, the PAC used Newsmax's mailing list to send out at least three emails since March 19 supporting Tedisco and attacking Murphy (one of which was signed by Dick Morris).

After the polls closed, Patten's article was rewritten to reflect election results (without notifying readers that the article was altered, of course), and all references to the lead Tedisco blew were deleted, save for a reference in the final paragraph that the race "only a few weeks ago appeared to be a virtual lock for the GOP." No reference to the National Republican Trust PAC was added.

UPDATE:  Politico reports that the National Republican Trust PAC spent $819,000 trying to get Tedisco elected.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:09 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 1, 2009 2:06 PM EDT
More Details of WND-Orly Taitz Relationship Emerge
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've detailed WorldNetDaily's silence about its relationship with Obama birth certificate obsessive Orly Taitz, including supplying her with a copy of WND's secretive anti-Obama petition to present to Chief Justice John Roberts. More evidence of this relationship shows up in a March 23 post on Taitz's Defend Our Freedoms website:

Today, Dr. Orly Taitz, Esq; or as nicknamed by our volunteer Judith, our Lady Liberty!, was in Washington DC with WorldNetDaily’s Joseph Farah. Among their tasks in DC was visits to the Department of Justice and to the Supreme Court. It has been learned, proven, and now documented that many of the signed receipt documents send in since December have not been received. Dr. Taitz, or our Lady Liberty, will have a full detailed account for everyone soon.

Thank you Joseph Farah for documenting this historic day!

The claim that Taitz was "with WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah" indicates that Farah had a hand in planning Taitz's trip and the meetings she attended,  Farah has not discussed this visit with Taitz, or his apparent squiring of her around Washington. 

A week before, Farah wrote a column effusively praising Taitz:

I have to tell you, this lady is rapidly becoming one of my heroes.


Personally, I'm ready to support Orly Taitz for whatever office she seeks.

I'm ready to give her any support she needs to adjudicate this issue.

Apparently, such support includes violating journalistic ethics by maintaining a close relationship with a person they're supposed to be reporting about without disclosing that relationship to his readers.

In WND's mission statement, Farah declares, "the world has a right to know." Farah seems to have decided that the world has no right whatsoever to know about his relationship with a source.

We've added this information to our earlier article about the questions WND has refused to answer about Taitz and the birth certificate.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:41 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 1, 2009 12:49 AM EDT
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Feulner Lies About AIG Bonuses

In his March 31 column, Heritage Foundation president Ed Feulner writes: "These bonuses, paid to executives at AIG, were specifically authorized by language in the massive 'stimulus' bill passed in February."

In fact, the bonuses would have been paid without the stimulus bill, having been previously agreed to. The stimulus bill language actually restricts future bonuses, which Feulner does not note.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:41 PM EDT
Caruba Can't Stop Lying About Global Warming

Alan Caruba asserts in his March 30 column:

The Earth is not currently warming. It has been cooling for a decade and likely to continue for at least another twenty years or longer.

As we've pointed out every time he makes this misleading claim, British meterological experts and researchers have reported that "[t]emperatures are continuing to rise" and states 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." Further, NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies reports that "[t]he eight warmest years in the [global] GISS record have all occurred since 1998, and the 14 warmest years in the record have all occurred since 1990."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:31 AM EDT
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Mychal Massie invokes his favorite five-dollar word once again in his March 31 WorldNetDaily column:

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is the Erebusic personification of President Obama's contempt for free-market capitalism. Together they have successfully maligned Wall Street and AIG, et al., vis-à-vis rule 13 of Marxist Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals," i.e., "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it."

In brief, pick someone or something you don't like and demagogue the daylights out of it until others enjoin the pile-on.

Of course, by using fancy smear words like "Erebusic," Massie is making use the very same Alinsky tactic he purports to despise against Obama and Geithner.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:21 AM EDT
New Article: The Return of the Western Journalism Center
Topic: Western Journalism Center
With a new smear artist at the helm in Floyd Brown, the WJC is armed and ready to hurl discredited conspiracy theories at President Obama the same way it attacked President Clinton when Joseph Farah ran it. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:32 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, April 19, 2009 4:47 PM EDT
Newsmax Bashes Obama for Auto Plan It Praised Romney For Supporting
Topic: Newsmax

The following package appeared at the top of Newsmax's front page for most of the day Monday:

The Associated Press article to which the package linked made no mention of Obama as "the most liberal president in history," and Newsmax does not otherwise indicate why it felt the need to point that out.

Indeed, Obama's purported political affiliations have nothing to do with "openly talking of bankruptcy." After all, last November Newsmax approvingly quoted Republican Mitt Romney -- whom Newsmax touted as having "success revamping corporate finances and is credited with turning around the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City" -- saying that "bankruptcy may be the only path to solvency for the Big Three automakers."

Fretting over the ouster of "the head of a major U.S. auto company" is also unexplained, since Romney advocated the same thing, according to Newsmax:

Management as is “must go. New faces should be recruited from unrelated industries — from companies widely respected for excellence in marketing, innovation, creativity and labor relations.”

In other words, Newsmax is bashing Obama for what it previously praised Romney for advocating. And we're pretty sure Newsmax doesn't consider Romney to be liberal.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:06 AM EDT
Monday, March 30, 2009
Newsmax Columnist Lies About Pelosi
Topic: Newsmax

In a March 30 Newsmax column, James Walsh falsely claims that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "told an audience of immigrants that U.S. immigration laws are 'un-American,' suggesting that they need not be obeyed, startling rhetoric for a woman in the line of succession for the presidency."

Wrong. In fact, Pelosi called immigration raids that separate undocumented parents from their documented children -- not all immigration laws -- "un-American." Walsh offers no evidence that Pelosi ever suggested that immigration laws "need not be obeyed."

Posted by Terry K. at 6:25 PM EDT
NewsBusters Again Hypocritically Frowns on Liberal Blog Commenters
Topic: NewsBusters

A few months ago, NewsBusters was touting how classy their commenters were compared to all those uncouth ones on liberal-leaning websites. As we pointed out, NewsBusters commenters aren't as classy as their overlords like to think.

Undaunted, NewsBusters  takes another stab at it: A March 29 post by Michael Bates complains about a commenter on a Washington Post blog, adding, "If the Washington Post doesn't moderate its blogs, it might want to give serious consideration to doing so."

Which, of course, raises the question: Does NewsBusters moderate its comments to curb offensive content and outrageous remarks? County Fair investigates, and finds that the answer appears to be no.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:25 PM EDT
FrontPageMag Can't Stop Smearing Teresa Heinz Kerry
Topic: Horowitz

Back in 2004, we busted FrontPageMag's Ben Johnson for making false and misleading claims about Teresa Heinz Kerry's philanthropy. Kerry's husband lost the election more than four years ago, but FrontPageMag is still at it.

In a March 27 FrontPageMag, Johnson again misleads about contributions by the Heinz Endowments (in which Heinz Kerry plays a role in distributing) to the Tides Foundation, writing that "Teresa donated more than $8.1 million to Tides [Foundation] and established a branch in western Pennsylvania," then went on to list the purportedly "radical" organizations to which Tides has links. Johnson fails to mention the important fact that, as we've detailed, Heinz money was earmarked for specific projects, not a general donation to the Tides Foundation.

Johnson tries to gloss over his omission by claiming that "Tides keeps up to ten percent of the transaction as its fee, and from this largesse it finances such radicals as the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild, and the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR)." But as we've also detailed when WorldNetDaily made that claim, that's a grotesque logical distortion and a desperate attempt at guilt-by-association.

Johnson adds this curious caveat near the start of his article:

Nothing in this report should be construed as suggesting that the Heinz Endowments are only political organizations or engage in no philanthropic gestures.

That's another misleading statement. If Johnson wasn't out to smear Heinz Kerry and the Heinz Endowments, he would be more interested in telling the full truth. But he's not.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:35 PM EDT
Noel Sheppard Hypocrisy Watch
Topic: Washington Examiner

Noel Sheppard writes in a March 27 Washington Examiner column:

On top of this, the self-proclaimed “watchdogs” at ThinkProgress and Media Matters are busily cherry picking supposedly offensive snippets from those having the nerve to say or write anything they don’t agree with. Laughably, such edit advice extends to the Obama-loving Chris Matthews irrespective of his obvious support for Democrats and liberal policies.
What this means is the goal is not to create a fair and balanced media which many on the Right desire. Hardly. What these folks strive for is a complete and total elimination of all opinion and viewpoints that are not in complete and total lockstep with their own.

Really? You wouldn't know that from reading the site for which Sheppard serves as associate editor, NewsBusters. Post after post at NewsBusters -- including by Sheppard himself -- attack media outlets and those working for them for making statements conservatives like Sheppard don't agree with. It's difficult to argue that such attacks demonstrate that "the Right" wants only to "create a fair and balanced media."

Sheppard needs to stop pretending that his NewsBusters boss, Brent Bozell, is merely interested in balance when the evidence -- like cherry-picking 19 posts out of tens of thousands to attack the Huffington Post -- amply demonstrates the contrary.

(Disclosure: I work for Media Matters and post at Huffington Post, but neither have any involvement, financially or otherwise, in ConWebWatch.)

Posted by Terry K. at 9:59 AM EDT
Following the Thread: James Hirsen and Mel Gibson
Topic: Newsmax

Amazing where you end up when you follow a thread.

In a March 24 "Left Coast Report" item, Newsmax's James Hirsen unsurprisingly comes down on the side of supporting the side of right-wing group Citizens United in a Supreme Court case over its Hillary Clinton-trashing movie. But Hirsen obfuscates about the movie and his role in the court case.

Hirsen writes of the "Hillary: The Movie": "The film in question didn’t request that its audience vote for or against a certain candidate. It is simply a feature-length movie that presents information about Clinton's background, experience, and character." Hirsen fails to mention that the "information" is all negative and all comes from longtime critics of Hillary. Hirsen also fails to mention that Citizens United's lawyer in the case is Theodore Olson, or that the movie is dedicated to Olsen's lte wife, Barbara. The film didn't have to "request" viewers to reject Hillary; that's the obvious intention of the film and the only possible conclusion one can draw from it, which Hirsen fails to acknowledge.

Why does Hirsen refuse to acknowledge such a simple fact? Because he's working to pretend it doesn't. As he also noted: "I was involved in filing a brief for this case on behalf of a public interest law organization and am familiar with the legal issues it raises." What "public interest law organization" is that? He won't tell us.

Fortunately, Google can. Hirsen is apaprently referring to an amicus curiae brief he filed in January on behalf of something called the Foundation for Free Expression, "a California non-profit, tax-exempt corporation formed on September 24, 1998 to preserve and defend the constitutional liberties guaranteed to American citizens, through education and other means." And who's the founder of the Foundation for Free Expression? None other than James Hirsen.

What does Hirsen's FFE do? Not much, though it's apparently part of another organization, the World Faith Foundation, which Hirsen also heads. What has it done? Most notably, it owns a 26-acre tract of land in western Pennsylvania purchased for the purpose of permitting Hutton Gibson, father of actor Mel Gibson, to found a branch of an dissident ultraconservative Catholic sect that rejects modern church reforms. Hutton Gibson is on record as a Holocaust denier and holding other anti-Semitic views.

Didn't know about Hirsen's relationship with Gibson? We didn't either. Hirsen has repeatedly failed to disclose it at Newsmax, even when it would have been the journalistically ethical thing to do.

For instance, a July 2006 Newsmax column by Hirsen -- published several months after Hirsen's foundation purchased the land for Gibson's Pennsylvania church --  is an attack on critics who claimed that the younger Gibson's apology for anti-Semitic rantings he made while under arrest for DUI (which Hirsen euphemistically describes only as "untoward statements" and fails to describe in any further detail) was insufficient. He predictably took his remarks in a political direction, whining that "critics on the Left" didn't find Trent Lott's apologies adequate for "regrettable remarks" that "were construed as meaning that the nation would have been better off if a segregationist's presidential campaign had been successful." Hirsen concluded "According to the Left's parameters, Gibson has exceeded that which is expected. According to human standards, he has exceeded that which is sufferable. No further apologies needed."

How did Hirsen determine that Gibson's apology for saying, F*****g Jews... The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," was sufficient? He doesn't say. And no, Hirsen doesn't mention his relationship with the Gibson family in launching this defense.

Unsurprisingly, Hirsen enthusiastically pimped Gibson's 2005 film "The Passion of the Christ," which some have suggested includes anti-Semitic elements. Of particular note is a November 2003 column viciously attacking Anti-Defamation League director Abe Foxman for criticizing the film's alleged anti-Semitic elements, claiming he "puked out" his criticism, was acting "like an angry villager in a Boris Karloff movie"and bizarrely claiming that Foxman wanted "not just to snuff out Mel Gibson’s film but also to extinguish Easter as Christians know it."

Hirsen has written numerous other articles for Newsmax praising Gibson or attacking Gibson's critics, dating as far back as 2002, without disclosing his relationship with Gibson and his family. (It's unclear when Hirsen's relationship with the Gibson family began; perhaps he can enlighten us.)

All this, by the way, is on top of the usual shoddy journalism we've come to expect from Hirsen.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:02 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, March 30, 2009 1:05 AM EDT
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Meanwhile ...
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Richard Bartholomew catches WorldNetDaily putting an biased anti-Muslim spin on White House efforts in a March 28 article on an effort to get the Obama White House to hire Muslims (through Rep. Keith Ellison and the Congressional Muslim Staffers Association, which sent a list of "45 of the nation’s most qualified" Muslims to the White House) by misleadingly potraying the White House's role in it and falsely linking it to the Muslim Brotherhood.

As Bartholomew notes: "But does the Congressional Muslim Staffers Association, or any of the '45 of the nation’s most qualified' Muslims have any links to the Muslim Brotherhood? Not a question likely to be asked by any of WND’s target readers."

Posted by Terry K. at 11:17 PM EDT

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