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Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Taitz Uses WND To Further Grudge Against Ex-Webmaster
On April 4, WorldNetDaily published an article by Bob Unruh repeating Obama birth certificate obsessive Orly Taitz's accusations of "alleged cyber crimes connected to her work":
As is the case with a lot of Unruh's work, Taitz's claims are uncritically presented as undisputed fact, and no other views are allowed to be heard.
Which is too bad in this case, because it may not be a "cyber crime" issue at all but, rather, a dispute with former partners.
Until earlier this month, Taitz was based at a web-based operation called Defend Our Freedoms. Lisa Ostella, who worked with Taitz until recently, tells her side of the story:
Ostella has challenged Taitz to post her PayPal records, which Taitz has not done.
Ostella's site, meanwhile, demonstrates that Taitz is not needed to maintain a conspiratorial bent. One post appears to equate the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing with "the 'shots heard around the world' were fired at Lexington and Concord where the Minutemen began our Revolutionary War by engaging the British" as "a call to action to reclaim our sovereignty from a tyrannical government."
Who's correct here? We don't know. But Taitz's apparent attempt to turn a personal grudge into a (literally) federal case nicely illustrates the kind of people WND has chosen to align itself with.
Speaking of alignment, a closer look at Taitz's new blog shows just how close the connection is between Taitz and WND. An email attacking Ostella was CC'd to Unruh, WND editor Joseph Farah and WND reporter Chelsea Schilling (as well as to fellow birth certificate obsessives Alan Keyes, Philip Berg and Arlen Williams, Gary Kreep of the right-wing U.S. Justice Foundation, and foul-mouthed right-wing documentarian John Ziegler). Taitz sent other information Unruh's way as well.
Will WND indulge Taitz's apparent personal grudge against her former webmaster by once again uncritically reporting her claims, or will the people Taitz is attacking be allowed to tell their side of the story? We shall see.
UPDATE: We have our answer: An April 20 article by Schilling uncritically repeats Taitz's attacks on Ostella, then claimed that "Ostella did not respond to WND's request for comment." At no point does Schilling acknowledge the responses to Taitz that Ostella posted on the Defend Our Freedoms blog. We found them easily enough -- why couldn't Schilling?
Monday, April 20, 2009
Kincaid Hasn't Read Book He's Trashing
Topic: Accuracy in Media
Does Cliff Kincaid even understand what he's attacking?
An April 20 Accuracy in Media column is Kincaid's latest attempt to bash former "communist terrorist" Mark Rudd for writing his memoirs, since that censorship gambit didn't pan out. Kincaid serves up "suggested questions" to ask at his promotional appearances as he is, in Kincaid's words, "trying to cash in on his bloody record." Among them:
Perhaps if Kincaid had actually read the book he's trashing -- something he has provided no evidence of doing -- he would know the answer to that question. From an April 12 Washington Post review of Rudd's book:
Kincaid seems to want to portray Rudd as unrepentant when the truth is the opposite of that.
By the way, Kincaid doesn't oppose all domestic terrorism, as evidenced by his ties to G. Gordon Liddy -- indeed, Kincaid appeared on Liddy's show a few weeks ago, ironically talking about the Weather Underground.
WND's Fellow Right-Wingers Dismiss Birther Conspiracy
WorldNetDaily will almost never admit to be suckers after promoting a story that proves to be false -- normally, it just stops reporting on it and refuses to correct the record. We saw it when WND promoted claims that the murder of a Coptic Christian family was done by Muslims; when it turned out to have perpetrated by non-Muslims as part of a robbery, WND stopped reporting on it and did not apologize for falsely impugning Muslims.
More recently, we saw it in WND's attacks on Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign, from promoting lurid but never-verified sex claims made by an obviously unreliable person to touting the claim by purported "news agency" African Press International that it had a tape of Michelle Obama berating WND's attacks on her husband, even though a cursory examination of API before publication -- which WND clearly failed to do -- would have shown API's claims to be highly illogical at best and utterly false at worst. As API continued its refusal to make its purported tape public, WND did eventually indirectly cast doubt on API's claims but merely dropped the story instead of following up with any sort of investigation of the truth behind API or apologizing for choosing to be suckered.
We will likely see the same behavior from WND with the Obama birth certificate story, as the bogus claims it has forwarded crumble under the weight of the truth.
The latest blow to WND's credibility is an April 17 FrontPageMag article by Andrew Walden likening the birthers to 9/11 conspiracists. Walden (who has gone after the birthers before, only to claim a new conspiracy that right-wing obsession over the birth certificate is just what Obama wants) curiously pulls a couple of punches here: He links to numerous WND articles but fails to mention WND by name as arguably the chief promoter of the birth certificate conspiracy. Walden also notes Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid's statement at CPAC that "Back during hate 1980s, at least we knew that our president was born in the United States," though without actually naming Kincaid.
He makes up for that, though, by reminding people of what an anti-Semitic loon Andy Martin is (as we've noted, WND's Jerome Corsi is regurgitating some of Martin's claims on Obama's birth) and rightly denounces Philip Berg as a 9/11 conspiracy-monger. He even takes a swipe at far-right radio host Alex Jones (on whose show Corsi has appeared), dismissing his "built-in audience of drug-addled losers."
More importantly, Walden shoots down a number of claims that WND has forwarded. Linking to a March 24 WND article by Bob Unruh claiming that "While [Obama's] supporters cite an online version of a 'Certification of Live Birth' from Hawaii, critics point out such documents actually were issued for children not born in the state," responding:
Walden further adds:
Walden also effectively shoots down Orly Taitz's attacks on Obama and the attention Taitz's role in the birther conpsiracy has received from supermarket tabloid the Globe:
Walden also takes a swipe at "Ron Polarik," who purports to demonstrate the birth certificate released by Obama's campaign is fake. Last December, WND's Unruh uncritically reported Polarik's claims, ignoring the irony of demands for documentation coming from someone who is hiding behind a pseudonym. Unruh helpfully noted that "WND verified that he is not misrepresenting his credentials or expertise."
WND has a history of ignoring or refusing to provide truthful responses when its claims about Obama's birth certificate are challenged. Look for Joseph Farah and crew to ignore Walden as well.
NewsBusters Heathering Watch
P.J. Gladnick is one of the Heathers at NewsBusters, hurling bile and snark at any right-winger deemed to have committed the offense of thinking for themselves and straying from conservative dogma. Gladnick's latest target is Meghan McCain, and the Heathers' favorite crime is invoked in Gladnick's April 18 post:
Jealousy much? Seems like Gladnick would like McCain's TV face time.
Gladnick goes on to complain that McCain "Meghan also indulged in the almost obligatory slams against Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh," seemingly oblivious to any reason such criticism is deserved (or maybe Gladnick is sticking to his MRC overlords' doctrine of Coulter and Limbaugh as They Who Must Not Be Criticized.
Gladnick then bashes McCain for purportedly failing to acknowledge the anti-Obama tea parties, adding, "Of course, any positive response from Meghan to the tea parties would jeopardize her self-promotion tour in the MSM which is why there has been no response from her."
Yep, Gladnick is totally jealous of McCain. Like, totally.
Will Farah Lead By Example?
Joseph Farah thundered in his April 18 WorldNetDaily column that CNN's Anderson Cooper's use of the word "teabagging"in reference to the anti-Obama tea party protests was "grossly degrading," and he "should have his dirty, little gutter mouth washed out with soap" and then be fired. Farah added: "This is hardly the kind of comment Americans would expect from a respectable TV newsman paid by one of America's largest media corporations in prime time." This from someone whose website published a column by Erik Rush calling Attorney General Eric Holder "another floatie in the septic tank that is the Obama administration" -- that is, a piece of shit.
Then again, perhaps we have come to expect such grossly degrading hate by dirty, little gutter mouths to ooze from WND.
Farah also noted that Cooper said regarding pray-the-gay-away therapy enrosed by right-wingers like Farah, "every one of them basically admits that they still are attracted to a member of the same sex, they're just forcing themselves to repress those feelings." Farah retorted: "One wonders just how many happy homosexual Christians Cooper has met. ... Cooper handpicks the guests he has on his program. How many members of Exodus International has he chosen to interview?"
As World O'Crap points out, Cooper hashad Exodus head Alan Chambers on his show, adding: "Actually, why guess? I mean, it’s the internet after all, so why risk looking like an ill-informed jackass who’s too lazy or stupid to type a Google search if you don’t have to?"
Cooper can also, if he's interested, interview Michael Bussee and Gary Cooper, two co-founders of Exodus International who left the group to be with each other. And then there's John Paulk, chairman of Exodus International at the time he was identified drinking and flirting at a gay bar. (He now insists that he made a "very foolish decision," a claim WND uncritically accepted.)
If Farah really wants Anderson Cooper fired from CNN for referencing "teabagging," he should lead by example on how to handle employees who make "foul-mouthed, offensive comments" by firing Erik Rush.
WND's Anonymous Attacks on Obama
WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah once defended his reporter Aaron Klein by asserting, "Aaron Klein doesn't use anonymous sources when he quotes senior terrorist leaders in Gaza and many of the most prominent Islamists in the world. He names names." That, of course, is a complete and utter lie -- Klein has granted anonymity to terrorist leaders.
Klein does so again in an April 17 article, in which he claims that President Obama will move to create a Palestinian state "more quickly than anybody could imagine," cting only an anonymous "chief PA negotiator" as his lone source. At no point does Klein explain why he has granted anonymity to the negotiator, whom, by definition as a Palestinian, is a terrorist in Klein's eyes.
WND wasn't done with hurling anonymous smears at Obama. An April 18 article promoting Farah's G2 Bulletin, "the premium, online intelligence newsletter edited by the founder of WND," asserts that Obama employed "restrictive rules of engagement that actually hampered the rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips and extended the drama at sea for days." The article cites anonymous yet purportedly "reliable military sources close to the scene" to back up the claim, which is otherwise unsubstantiated.
It appears that Farah's lies and hypocrisy about granting anonymity extend to his own work -- after all, he once denounced anonymous sources as a convenient basis for "quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better." There's no reason not to apply that same sentiment to Farah's own anonymous sources.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
WJC Strikes Back With Attacks, Smears
Topic: Western Journalism Center
We seem to have hit a nerve.
It appears that the Western Journalism Center has responded to our report on the WJC's revival (also posted at the Huffington Post) pretty much the way you'd expect -- by attacking me. From a WJC email apparently sent out on Human Events' mailing list (we haven't seen the actual email yet, but parts of it are posted here):
What does the WJC get wrong here? First, my article wasn't written for Media Matters; second, George Soros does not fund Media Matters. Demonstrating that the truth doesn't matter to them, they do concede that latter point later in the email, parentically noting that Media Matters is "more accurately, funded by a Soros-funded organization... those little degrees of separation appear to matter to liberal spin-meisters." Yet they call it "George Soros' Media Matters" anyway.
If Floyd Brown and the WJC are going to continue to insist on referring to "George Soros' Media Matters," does that mean we can refer to Richard Mellon Scaife's Western Journalism Center? (Unlike Soros and Media Matters, Scaife did directly fund the WJC.)
The WJC then to proceeded to attack Media Matters based on claims made by ... discredited journalist Catherine Moy:
What you won't find in the WJC's email (at least in the posted excerpt): any factual refuting of the claims I made. Indeed, it seems that the WJC wants to operate in dog-whistle mode --despite sending out this paid email, there is no mention of my report on the WJC website. It's impossible to tell at this point whether the WJC included a link to my report without a copy of the actual email itself, but I would venture to guess that there isn't one -- they're afraid to let their readers make their own decisions about what I wrote.
To the contrary, the WJC sticks to repeating its bogus claims about the birth certificate, claiming he "refuses to release an actual birth certificate" when, in fact, he has.
The WJC goes on (enthusiasm for all-caps in original):
Actually, judging by the amount of vitriol in this email and its apparent refusal to link to my report so readers can judge for themselves, the people who are afraid here are Floyd Brown and the WJC -- and they're afraid of me, a guy with a website who told the truth about them.
Ellis Washington Redefines Adultery In Latest Obama Smear
Even Ellis Washington knows he can't credibly accuse Barack Obama of committing adultery -- he seems to be enough of a law professor to know that he would be sued for libel in a second. So, as part of his anti-Obama hate campaign to claim that Obama has violated every single one of the Ten Commandments, he redefines the term in his April 18 WorldNetDaily column, while insisting that "I have used Obama and his policies as a case study not to judge the man."
Really? Smearing Obama as a Nazi, a fascist, a gangster, and a devil is not "judging the man"?
Thus, Washington claims that Obama is committing "political adultery" by claiming that under him, "red-blooded Americans cannot exercise their First Amendment rights which part says: 'The right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances'" -- despite the fact that he also highlights "the thousands of tea parties that took place across America on Tax Day," which would be evidence to the contrary.
Washington then offers a list of what "conservative intellectual Michael Savage" saw as "as the first 10 of Obama's executive orders should he be elected, based on the Democrat's campaign website" -- even though none of the things on the list have actually happened, let alone by executive order.
In another stunning moment of self-awareness, Washington concedes that "To many readers it may be a stretch to equate Obama's goals with political adultery." But then, that goes away and he slips into his hateful smears again: "Obama and his fascist minion's intent is to provoke a socialist revolution in the image of the father of communism, Karl Marx; to bring to its apotheosis his diabolical vision including the abolition of Christianity, private property, the free market, separation of powers and individual liberty."
It's too bad that his knowledge that he can't actually accuse Obama of adultery didn't keep him for telling the contemptible lie that Obama intends to bring about "the abolition of Christianity, private property, the free market, separation of powers and individual liberty."
He -- and his publisher, Joseph Farah -- may be seeing that libel suit after all.
Gladnick Botches Attack on "Che"
P.J. Gladnick builds an April 18 NewsBusters post out of the claim that the movie "Che" "has turned out to be one of the worst box office bombs in film history," on the scale of the infamous "Heaven's Gate."
What does Gladnick botch in his attack?
1. Gladnick claims that "Che" and "Heaven's Gate" were made on similar budgets and lost a similar amount of money, but fails to index "Heaven's Gate" for inflation. As Wikipedia notes, "Heaven's Gate's" $40 million cost in 1979 is equivalent to about $120 million today," which means that "Heaven's Gate" cost three times as much to make -- and lost three times as much money -- than "Che." Indeed, the $39 million loss Gladnick claims "Che" has taken is not even in the ballpark of bombs by today's standards: As Wikipedia states, "The biggest box office bomb in terms of dollars spent that were not recouped is 'Alexander' with a loss of $120,702,809."
2. Unlike "Che" (rated at 63% at Rotten Tomatoes), "Heaven's Gate" got uniformly bad reviews and contributed to the collapse of a movie studio.
3. Gladnick baselessly posits that a movie's quality is measured by its popularity. At no point does Gladnick discuss the artistic merits of the movie, let alone suggest that any movie might have artistic merit. For instance, "Citizen Kane" did not make a profit on its initial release -- the same basis upon which Gladnick is declaring "Che" to be a failure -- yet it's heralded as one of the greatest movies ever made. We're not saying that "Che" is as good as "Citizen Kane" (heck, we haven't even seen "Che"), just illustrating the failure of profit as an reliable indicator of cinematic quality. Hey, "Batman and Robin" made a profit, so Gladnick must believe that it's a great film, right?
Saturday, April 18, 2009
WND Adds Another Hateful Columnist
Apparently, adding Michael Savage to the columnist lineup didn't make WorldNetDaily sufficiently hateful for founder and editor Joseph Farah. So Alan Keyes has returned for another gig. The sycophancy at WND for Keyes is disturbing, to say the least:
Real Americans, meanwhile, understand that Keyes is a nutjob.
And what is the "wisdom and insight" Keyes shares with his readers for his first WND column? That President Obama plans "to consolidate dictatorial control over the economy" (over-the-top hyperbole, one of Keyes' hallmarks) and "to establish a KGB-style national security force" (a contemptible lie).
Further, as befits a WND-style birther, Keyes asserts that Obama has made an "open display of contempt for the Constitution's eligibility requirements for the presidency." Never mind, of course, that he has released a birth certificate, as even WND concedes (even if it pretends it didn't).
Keyes' animosity toward Obama can mostly be attributed to Obama cleaning Keyes' clock during his carpetbagging 2004 Senate campaign in Illinois. That's just another reason to not take Keyes seriously -- a judgment that can be fairly applied to the majority of WND's columnists.
ConWeb Offended by 'Teabagging' -- Not Limbaugh's Anal Sex References
Topic: Media Research Center
Like Brent Bozell, WorldNetDaily is opposed to media depictions of anal sex:
It has criticized Wikipedia for including a "photo of two nude men having anal sex on a bed," bashed Spencer Gifts for carrying "pornaments" that "graphically depict anal intercourse between a snowman and a bare-breasted 'snowwoman,'" disapproved of the Wal-Mart website selling a book that "gives explicit instructions for engaging in oral or anal sexual acts," and denounced the movie "Brokeback Mountain" for depicting characters who "awkwardly and violently engage in anal sex."
And Joseph Farah asks: "Isn't it time to make anal sex taboo, again?"
Yet WND, like Bozell's Media Research Center, has been silent about Rush Limbaugh's frequent references to anal sex during interviews and on his radio show.
The hypocrisy continues on the part of Bozell and WND, who both take offense at references to the anti-Obama "tea parties" as "teabagging."
Bob Unruh complained of the references in an April 17 WND article: "Perhaps it's a new 'If you can't beat 'em, bad-mouth 'em' strategy on the part of some news anchors to denigrate the grass-roots Tea Parties that blanketed the United States this week." Unruh dramatically began with a parental advisory thathis story makes "explicit references to graphic sex and will be objectionable to readers. It is not suitable for children" and quoted anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera whining about "snotty liberal journalists telling insider sex jokes."
Of course, WND is no stranger to the "If you can't beat 'em, bad-mouth 'em" strategy: It once presented as "news" a picture of a copy of Hillary Clinton's biography in a bookstore's science-fiction section.
An April 17 WND article by Drew Zahn argues that CNN's Anderson Cooper should be fired for making "an openly lecherous comment that mocks protesting Americans with a homosexual term for a sex act." But mocking protesters used to be a good thing as far as WND is concerned -- it bashed those who protested the Iraq war as anything from two-bit agitators to vampires to crazy Froot Loops.
To sum up: Smearing Obama as a Nazi is perfectly legitimate and acceptable discourse at WND (as is, apparently, references to anal sex made by conservatives), but referencing "teabagging" is not. Got it?
Meanwhile, an April 16 MRC press release complained about "woeful bias," "lowly crassness," and "sleaze-riddled condemnation," and featured Bozell thundering that "MSNBC and CNN both allow this vulgar attack-journalism to go out on their airwaves without blinking an eye and without any sign of guilt."
This from the same organization that has regularly indulged in the lowly crassness of Clinton sex jokes, their favorite form of sleaze-riddled condemnation.
The relase also features a quote by Dan Gainor of the MRC's Business & Media Insitute (where he apparently carries the snazzy title of "Vice President of Business and Culture") baselessly claiming that the tea party protests were "grassroots."
Friday, April 17, 2009
WND Promotes Inflated Tea Party Attendance Figures
An April 17 WorldNetDaily article by Jerome Corsi and Chelsea Schilling begins: "An estimated 1 million Americans participated in at least 1,000 tea parties, according to reports by organizers tabulating the nationwide numbers, with documented protests held in 50 states." But nobody they quote in their article offers any solid evidence to back up the numbers.
Corsi and Schilling quote one organizer as saying, "I would estimate it at over 1 million. I'm waiting on more numbers to come in from organizers right now. I can tell you it is absolutely over 750,000 right now." But it's clear that all attendance estimates are coming from the organizers themselves -- who would be prone to inflate their numbers in order to help their cause -- and have not been independently verified.
Indeed, the organizer's claim appears to be contradicted by an Americans for Tax Reform blog entry noted by Corsi and Schilling, which at this writing has counted only 360,495 tea party attendees. Like the organizer's count, these too are self-reported and vulnerable to inflation.
For example, Corsi and Schilling report that "as many as 10,000 protesters" attended a rally in Sacramento, Calif., a number also reported by ATR. But according to the San Francisco Chronicle: "While the California Highway Patrol does not make official crowd estimates, CHP Sgt. Steve Stone said the Sacramento gathering appeared to be around 5,000."
Unsurpringly, since it would contradict their agenda, neither ATR or Corsi and Schilling acknowledge the existence of the lower number.
CNS Still Pushing IHS Cover-up Non-Story; NewsBusters Joins In
Undeterred by previous attempts to baselessly attack President Obama, CNSNews.com is trying to create another Obama controversy where there isn't one.
We noted an April 15 CNS article by Edwin Mora suggesting that the Obama administration demanded that Georgetown University cover up the monogram "IHS," a symbol for the name of Jesus Christ, during an appearance by Obama there, even though he offered no evidence of it -- indeed, Mora admitted that the administration asked only that the university cover up "all of the Georgetown University signage and symbols" behind Obama's stage, not the IHS symbol specifically.
End of story, right? Wrong.
An April 16 article by Matt Cover noted that "Laura Bush spoke at Georgetown University in front of the same 'IHS'" -- falsely suggesting that Obama administration demanded that it be covered. As with Mora, Cover's suggestion is contradicted by his own reporting, in which he quotes an Obama White House statement that "Any suggestions to the contrary are simply false."
Mora, meanwhile, makes the false suggestion once more in an April 16 article, calling it "the unintended consequence of the White House’s desire to have a backdrop of flags behind the president." Despite all the denials issued by the university and the administration, Mora still treats the claim as legitimate, further falsely suggesting that there's a "contradiction" between those denials.
Other branches of the Media Research Center are now jumping on the non-story. An April 17 NewsBusters post by Mark Finkelstein breathlessly asserted that Obama's "hand-picked DNC Chairman [Tim Kaine] just went on national TV and denied that the Obama administration requested Georgetown University to cover up the IHS monogram representing the name of Christ" -- which, of course, is absolutely true -- further asserting that CNS "flatly report[ed] that such a request had indeed been made."
Wrong, Mark. CNS never claimed that the Obama administration demanded that Georgetown cover up the IHS -- which is exactly what Kaine said. Nevertheless, Finkelstein called Kaine's claim "credulity-busting."
No, what's credulity-busting is that CNS and Finkelstein are trying to build this molehill of a non-story into a fraudulent mountain of an attack on Obama.
Reagan Advances DHS Report Paranoia
Because there's no better way to respond to a fully supported claim that extremist groups will attempt to radicalize veterans than by baselessly likening Obama to a Nazi (as right-wingers are wont to do). Reagan keeps the smear going by calling the report "something out of a Gestapo directive."
Reagan, tellingly, makes no mention of the DHS report on left-wing extremism. But then, he would have to criticize that, too.
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