WND Repeats CRC's Dubious Attack on ProPublica Topic: WorldNetDaily
A May 3 WorldNetDaily article is a poorly done attack on the nonprofit journalism site ProPublica and its main funders, Herb and Marion Sandler. The article is, in turn, based on an even more poorly done Capital Research Center report on ProPublica.
The report, by Cheryl K. Chumley, asserts that ProPublica "churns out little more than left-wing hit pieces about Sarah Palin," repeatedly accusing it of having a liberal bias withoutnoting ProPublica's response to the accusation. For instance,editor-in-chief Paul Steiger has stated:
Coming into this, when I talked to Herb and Marion Sandler, one of my concerns was precisely this question of independence and nonpartisanship... My history has been doing 'down the middle' reporting. And so when I talked to Herb and Marion I said 'are you comfortable with that?' They said 'absolutely'. I said 'well suppose we did an expose of some of the left leaning organizations that you have supported or that are friendly to what you've supported in the past'. They said 'no problem'. And when we set up our organizational structure, the board of directors, on which I sit and which Herb is the chairman, does not know in advance what we're going to report on.
Evidence offered by Chumley and the CRC that ProPublica's news coverate is biased are largely limited to complaining that it didn't slavishly repeat right-wing talking points about Sarah Palin, ACORN or Barack Obama. For instance, Chumley writes:
On Oct. 16, ProPublica’s website linked to an ABC News story entitled, “Experts: McCain ACORN Fears Overblown.” The lead sentence of the story began, “Charges of potential voter fraud volleyed by Republicans, including Sen. John McCain himself, are out of proportion to reality, according to election experts.”
On Oct. 29, a ProPublica reporter ignored the ACORN voter fraud reports and wrote a story instead about the background of a public affairs group that had attacked ACORN in a prepared advertisement in the New York Times.
At no point does Chumley accuse ProPublica of not telling the truth -- just of not swallowing right-wing spin in its article (i.e., that the group attacking ACORN was merely a "public affairs group"; in fact, it is run by one of the harshest critics of organized labor, Rick Berman, whose own son has denounced him). The problem for CRC, it seems, is not that ProPublica got the facts wrong but, rather, that it told a side of the story the CRC didn't want told.
Chumley also complained that ProPublica reported on "pork spending by Sarah Palin." Again, Chumley offers no evidence that any of its reporting is factually deficient, only that it was reported at all.
WND, meanwhile, apparently loved this report so much that it couldn't be bothered to do anything beyond mining it for claims to fill out its article.
Chumley then appears to contradict her attacks by noting that "ProPublica reporters should receive high praise for their stories on Obama’s stimulus package and banking bailouts, on recent business and financial scandals, and on other issues related to open records and open government." But this is buried near the end of her article, Chumley refuses to elaborate, and she immediately moves on to yet another complaint that it didn't follow right-wingers by attacking "Barack Obama's personal associations." Can't have inconvenient facts get in the way of the argument she's being paid to make, y'know.
Like its attacks on Media Matters, the CRC's attack on ProPublica is unbalanced, factually deficient and more about advancing a partisan agenda than actual "research." But as we've repeatedly noted, WND doesn't care about facts; they care about destroying their enemies, so such half-assed "research" is plenty good enough for them.
Tapscott Repeats Inflated Tea Party Attendance Figure Topic: Washington Examiner
In a May 1 Washington Examiner blog post, Mark Tapscott uncritically repeats a claim that the April 15 tea party protests featured "1.2 million patriots."
As we detailed when WorldNetDaily did it, any million-plus figure is highly inflated. Even Americans for Tax Reform counts as of this writing 578,000 participants -- and even thatnumber can be reasonably assured of being inflated since ATR has an interest in a high number as well.
Tapscott pulled his number from the Tea Party Patriots website, which does not substantiate it.
What Tea Party Did James Walsh Go To? Topic: Newsmax
A May 4 Newsmax column by James Walsh asserted of the anti-Obama tea parties: "There were no insults of persons or groups, and even the messages critical of Congress and the president were respectful. There were no vitriolic attacks on elected officials, no name-calling, no hate signs, no slogans of racism."
Sheppard Won't Apologize to Gore, Will Still Mislead About Him Topic: NewsBusters
We appear to have an answer to our question of when Noel Sheppard plans to apologize to Al Gore for falsely claiming that Gore is profiting from his global warming activism: Never.
In a May 3 NewsBusters post, Sheppard finally noted that "Gore was asked about his financial interests in pending cap and trade legislation at a recent hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee." He then proceeded to misrepresent what Gore said by using a heavily edited transcript of the exchange taken from Fox News' "The O'Reily Factor" that misleads about what Gore actually said: that "every penny from the movie, from the book, from any investments in renewable energy" goes to a nonprofit group, the Alliance for Climate Protection.
Nevertheless, Sheppard goes on to assert that Gore has "personal investments in green companies that will benefit from cap and trade legislation" that "seems to debunk Gore's claim that his investments in such entities are exclusively through his non-profit organization" -- even though Sheppard, by quoting the selectively edited "The O'Reilly Factor" exchange, has never acknowledged that Gore gives his profits from those investments to the nonprofit.
Sheppard also selectively quotes a March 2008 Bloomberg article to suggest that the growth in Gore's net worth comes only from his global warming activism. In fact, the article goes on to note Gore's speaking fees, his holdings in the Current TV channel and possession of "pre-public offering Google stock options."
Amazingly, Sheppard then claims: "As I have maintained from my first article concerning this matter, it is not my suggestion that Gore is doing anything wrong." Oh, bull. By using selectively edited transcripts instead of telling the full truth, Sheppard is very much trying to suggest that Gore is doing something wrong.
WND Puts Klein's Obama-Hate on Display Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has decided to let Aaron Klein's Obama-hate show after all.
An April 29 WND article touting Klein's new book "The Late Great State of Israel" repeats Klein's claim that "The Obama administration is a direct threat to Israel and Middle East regional stability" and that Klein "documents more than 10 ways President Obama's policies are likely to cause grave harm to the Jewish state."
WND goes on to note:
During the recent presidential campaign, Klein broke some of the most important stories about Obama, including the politician's associations with Weatherman terrorist William Ayers and anti-Israel personalities such as PLO supporter Rashid Khalidi. It was during an exclusive interview with Klein that the Hamas terrorist organization infamously endorsed Obama.
As we've detailed, Klein has refused to give a full public accounting of the interview in which Ahmed Yousef, "Hamas' top political adviser in the Gaza Strip,"endorsed Obama -- namely, why a member of a "terrorist organization" that Klein despises would willingly cooperate with Klein and advance his partisan anti-Obama agenda.
Klein also noted Obama's ties with Khalidi while largely ignoring John McCain's ties with him. Further, Klein has a longhistory of hurling dubious guilt-by-association claims in an attempt to smear Obama.
In an April 29 interview on fellow Obama-hater (and hateringeneral) Michael Savage's radio show, Klein claims that "one of the major issues that I really see coming up is whether Obama is going to legitimize Hamas terror." He fails to mention that Obama has long been opposed to direct negotiations with Hamas -- a stance Klein also largely neglected in his attempts to link Obama to Hamas.
Klein is obviously too blinded by his Obama-hate to be taken seriously about any claims regarding Obama and Israel. But Obama hatred is what WND is all about these days, so Klein will be well rewarded for his.
Klein Uses A Liar To Substantiate Obama Lie Topic: WorldNetDaily
On our massive list of lies WorldNetDaily has told about Barack Obama is the claim that his grandmother, Sarah Obama, has confirmed that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. In a May 3 WND article by Aaron Klein about the shocking fact that Sarah Obama, a Muslim, is planning to do the Hajj pilgrimage -- which, of course, provides an excuse for Klein to yet again rehash Barack's purported ties with Islam -- Klein repeats the lie again: "WND's Jerome Corsi reports in the April issue of Whistleblower that Sarah Obama is also the woman who affirmed her elected grandson was born in Kenya, prompting doubts that Barack Obama is eligible to serve as president of the United States."
On Oct. 16 , an Anabaptist minister named Ron McRae called Sarah Hussein Obama, the president-elect's 86-year-old paternal step-grandmother, at her home in Kenya. Two translators were on the line when McRae asked if the elder Obama was "present" when the president-elect was born. One of the translators says "yes." McRae contacted Berg and gave him a partial transcript of the call with a signed affidavit. He opted not to include the rest of the call, in which he asks the question more directly—"Was he born in Mombassa?"—and the translators, finally understanding him, tell him repeatedly that the president-elect was born in Hawaii.
Klein goes on to state that "Obama supporters say Sarah Obama's words were mistranslated" -- but refuses to detail the evidence backing up with those "supporters" say. He then asserts that Corsi claims "eyewitnesses and affadavits from a translator verifying Sarah Obama testified to being present at Barack Obama's birth in Mombasa, Kenya."
Whistleblower, Corsi writes, obtained an affidavit submitted by Rev. Kweli Shuhubia, the official Swahili translator for the Anabaptist Conference held annually in Kenya.
In the affidavit Shuhubia states that he visited Obama's grandmother at her home to conduct a telephone conference interview with Bishop Ron McRae in the United States, in which the bishop asked Sarah Obama if her grandson was born in Kenya.
"Ms. Sarah Hussein Obama was very adamant that her grandson, Senator Barack Hussein Obama, was born in Kenya, and that she was present and witnessed his birth in Kenya, not the United States," Shuhubia states in the affidavit. "During the conversation, Ms. Sarah Hussein Obama never changed her reply that she was indeed present when Senator Barack Obama was born in Kenya."
Corsi's assertions, however, mean nothing because he is a documented liar. Also among the list of WND's Obama lies are claims by Corsi that documents he purported obtained in Kenyaprove that Obama had a close relationship with Kenyan prime minister Raila Odinga. But as we've detailed, those documents are almost assuredly fraudulent.
Klein is using a liar to back up a lie. Not exactly responsible journalism, is it?
Porter Encapsulates WND's False Claims on Hate-Crimes Law Topic: WorldNetDaily
Janet Folger Porter's April 28 WorldNetDaily column is a perfect storm of false claims and bamboozlement on imagined threats to right-wingers like herself to be as hateful as they wanna be.
First, she claims:
The "hate crimes" bill, H.R. 1913, which passed out of the House Judiciary Committee last week, is aimed at silencing speech. This thought crimes bill is scheduled for a vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives tomorrow, and when you pair it with existing law (found in Title 18 of the U.S. Criminal Code), it will unmistakably criminalize speech.
It specifically targets anyone who dissents to the homosexual agenda as aiding in the commission of a crime, making them "punishable as a principal."
In fact, it does no such thing. The bill specifically states that "Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the Constitution," which would include the First Amendment protection for freedom of religion.Further, the House Judiciary Committee has stated:
The bill is designed only to punish violent acts, not beliefs or thoughts -- even violent thoughts. The legislation does not punish, nor prohibit in any way, name-calling, verbal abuse, or expressions of hatred toward any group, even if such statements are hateful. Moreover, nothing in this legislation prohibits the lawful expression of one's deeply held religious or personal beliefs. The bill only covers violent actions that result in death or bodily injury committed because the victim has one of the specified actual or perceived characteristics.
Porter also falsely asserts that the Department of Homeland Security report on right-wing extremism "call[s] law-abiding American citizens 'the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.' Conservatives are the New Terrorists." Again, false. Here's the relevant claim from the report:
DHS/I&A assesses that lone wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent rightwing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States. Information from law enforcement and nongovernmental organizations indicates lone wolves and small terrorist cells have shown intent—and, in some cases, the capability—to commit violent acts.
Needless to say, Porter refuses to acknowledge that DHS released a report earlier this year about left-wing extremism.
Porter's column is an encapsulation of WND's overall "news" coverage of both issues. An April 30 WND "news" article, for instance, insists that HR 1913 will allow "law enforcement officers to identify and criminally prosecute speech and thought offensive to homosexuals" without bothering to tell the full story.
That article also touches on several right-wing canards as supposed evidence to support their claims. It asserts that Matthew Shepard was "Wyoming homosexual who was killed in a horrific robbery and beating in 1998" -- a bit of revisionism which ignores the fact that one of his killers used a "gay panic" defense during his trial.
It also asserts that state laws that list gays in hate crimes "have resulted in persecution for Christians. In Philadelphia several years ago, a 73-year-old grandmother was jailed for trying to share Christian tracts with people at a homosexual festival." In fact, as we've detailed, the grandmother was part of a group of protesters that tried to interrupt a stage performance at the festival with their preaching, and were arrested only after they refused to go to an area on the edge of the event. The group was led by a preacher who has endorsed putting homosexuals to death simply for being homosexual.
Vadum Swings, Misses Again in Attack on Media Matters Topic: Capital Research Center
We finally got around to reading Matthew Vadum's attack on Media Matters (disclosure: our employer) in the current issue of Townhall magazine. Vadum, of the right-wing Capital Research Center, has a history of putting his hatred of all things non-conservative ahead of the facts in his so-called research, so there was sure to be more whoppers this time around. Let's see what he botches, shall we?
-- Vadum repeats his favoritefalsehood, that George Soros funds Media Matters. This time around, he seems to concede that he knows he's lying by fudging numbers. He states that Media Matters "has received $7 million under the auspices of the Democracy Alliance, a Soros-led consortium of wealthy liberals that matches donors to causes it believes will make a lasting contribution to the success of the so-called progressive movement. The $7 million donation may have come from Soros himself, though Media Matters denies it." In fact, the Democracy Alliance makes no donations in its name; it is, as the Washington Post describes it, "an accreditation agency for political advocacy groups." Donors make contributions in their own names based on Democracy Alliance recommendations.
This is just another way of falsely suggesting that Soros directly donates to Media Matters when Vadum knows very well he hasn't.
-- Vadum states that "in-house columnist" Eric Alterman "writes the 'Altercation' blog that appears on the Media Matters website." In fact, Alterman last wrote Altercation for Media Matters in December; it now appears at The Nation's webiste.
-- Vadum complains that Media Matters "relies heavily on personal attacks rather than substantive or-fact-based arguments" -- then smears Media Matters CEO David Brock as "deeply narcissistic" and Morris Dees, head of the Southern Poverty Law Center, as a "race-baiting ambulance chaser."
-- Vadum falsely defends those he deems to have been unfairly attacked by Media Matters. He asserted that Media Matters "suggested Glenn Beck was deadly serious when he asked a guest whether then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was the biblical Anti-Christ. In reality, Beck was attempting to dispel this notion." In fact, as the Media Matters item in question clearly illustrates, Media Matters did not criticize Beck for asking his guest, Rev. John Hagee, whether Obama was the Antichrist; it criticized him for asking Hagee that question instead of discussing numerous controversial statements Hagee -- who had just endorsed Obama's rival, John McCain -- had made.
Vadum also claimed that Media Matters "claimed to be able to read the mind of White House press secretary Robert Gibbs" when it pointed out that Gibbs was not issuing a threat to CNBC's Rick Santelli over Santelli's rant against mortgage bailouts. Vadum quotes only Gibbs' statement that "I'm not entirely sure where Mr. Santelli lives or in what house he lives," suggesting the statement was "ambiguous," uncritically repeated G. Gordon Liddy's asserting that Gibbs was making a "veiled threat," and insisted that "failed to disclose how exactly it knew what Gibbs was thinking." But Vadum took Gibbs out of context and does not reproduce the entirety of Gibb's statement:
I'm not entirely sure where Mr. Santelli lives or in what house he lives, but the American people are struggling every day to meet their mortgage, stay in their job, pay their bills, to send their kids to school, and to hope that they don't get sick or that somebody they care for gets sick and sends them into bankruptcy. I think we left a few months ago the adage that if it was good for a derivatives trader that it was good for Main Street. I think the verdict is in on that.
From the full context, it is obvious that Gibbs was not "ambiguous" and was not threatening Santelli. It's obvious how Media Matters came to its conclusion: not by reading minds but by reading Gibbs' entire statement.
-- Further, Vadum faslely attacked Media Matters' Jamison Foser for pointing out that government spending "does more to stimulate the economy than anything else you can think of"; Vadum snarked, "This no doubt would be news to economists." Vadum ignores the fact that Foser cited economist Mark Zandi -- adviser to John McCain's presidential campaign -- to support his claim. Vadum provides no contradictory evidence.
If Vadum can't get basic facts correct, there's no reason to take his so-called research seriously.
Still Waiting for Sheppard's Apology Topic: NewsBusters
In a May 1 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard graciously acknowledged Jon Stewart's apology for calling Harry Truman a war criminal for using the atomic bomb on Japan. In a May 2 post, Sheppard demands that Al Gore apologize for using a claim from a New York Times article during his April 24 House testimony on global warming that the Times has since updated.
Sheppard, however, has remained stone silent about when an apology is forthcoming from him to Gore for falsely asserting that Gore is profiting from his global warming work. As he detailed in the very same April 24 House testimony Sheppard attacks elsewhere, Gore clearly stated that all profits from his investments in green-economy initiatives go directly to the nonprofit Alliance for Climate Protection.
Feder Still Hurling Misinformed NYT Smears Topic: Accuracy in Media
We don't watch Don Feder's Boycott NYT website as closely as we perhaps should -- after all, Accuracy in Media, which bankrolls Feder's venture, is apparently so ashamed by its association with Feder's slipshodsmears that it won't even link to the project from the main AIM website.
We may have to rethink that stance, because Feder is still coughing up stunning displays of misinformation.
An April 29 article by Feder asserts that New York Times are "unaware" of the Department of Homeland Security report on right-wing extremism, or criticism of it, because the Times never "covered" it.
The problem, of course, is that the Times did cover it here.
Feder adds: "Imagine The Times’ response if the Bush administration had issued a report saying feminists, environmentalists and multiculturalists were apt to be recruited by potentially violent left-wing extremists."
Ilana Mercer's May 1 WorldNetDaily column rhapsodizes over the late Madeleine Pelner Cosman, the "dazzling Randian" and "quintessential 'Renaissance woman'"whose "study of 'the effects of illegal immigration on the United States health-care system' culminated in the article 'Illegal Aliens and American Medicine,' published, in 2005, by The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. It addressed the effects on the health system of the bleeding Southwestern border." Mercer adds: "That Mexico is Swine Flu Ground Zero has thrown Dr. Cosman's work into sharp relief."
In fact, we we've detailed Cosman's "study" is little more than an anti-immigrant screed in which she rants about "Illegal aliens' stealthy assaults on medicine" and demands that America's borders be sealed with "fences, high-tech security devices and troops."More importantly, Cosman got her facts wrong: As we've also noted, she wrote that "Suddenly, in the past three years America has more than 7,000 cases of leprosy"; in fact, that was the cumulative number of leprosy cases over the past 30 years.
Mercer surely knows Cosman got that figure wrong because she cites a New York Times article detailing just how wrong the figure is, then tries to write around Cosman's falsehood:
Seven thousand cases of leprosy over the last 30 years may seem negligible, but "leprosy, a scourge in biblical days and in medieval Europe," had been eradicated in the U.S. Now it's back. By the reluctant admission of the New York Times, it was brought over from Asia and Latin America.
But Mercer overplays it too: As the Times article details, the number of cases rose from 76 in 2000 to 137 in 2006. The article continues:
What about the increase over the last six years, to 137 cases from 76? Is that significant?
“No,” Mr. Krahenbuhl said. It could be a statistical fluctuation, or it could be a result of better data collection in recent years. In any event, the 137 reported cases last year were fewer than in any year from 1975 to 1996.
That's hardly solid evidence of leprosy being "back." But Mercer wants you to think it is, backed up by a discredited "Renaissance woman" and "dazzling Randian."
WND Promotes Another Bogus Poll Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've previously noted how WorldNetDaily touted a dubious poll taken by an infamous push-polling firm as evidence that Roy Moore (who just happens to be a WND columnist) is a "leading candidate" for Alabama governor.
Now, an April 30 WND article finds an even more dubious poll to promote, insisting that Moore is "building on his lead" in the governor's race (about which, WND finally gets around to noting in the article's very last paragraph, Moore has "not made a formal announcement") by winning a "new unscientific readers' poll in the Birmingham Business Journal."
The word "unscientific" is the first clue to the dubiousness of this poll, though WND never explains what that means. In fact, the Birmingham Business Journal "poll" -- like most online polls -- is an opt-in poll that contains no stated restrictions on how many times a person can vote. WND justloves promoting meaningless polls that advance their agenda while hiding from readers just how meaningless they are.
While WND makes a big deal out of how one of Moore's possible opponents had been "directing supporters who visited his website to the poll," it does not indicate whether Moore's supporters were also promoting the poll -- which would seem to be a certainty if other candidates' supporters were, and would account for the poll's skew.
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch Topic: Media Research Center
The appearance of the MRC's on the April 30 edition of Fox News' "America's Newsroom" follows the template: Noyes appeared solo, and neither he nor the MRC are identified as conservative.
Host Megyn Kelly also baselessly called the MRC "the nation's largest media watchdog group." (Disclosure: I work for a certain other media watchdog group that might want to challenge that distinction.)
WND Treats Baseless Speculation As Fact Topic: WorldNetDaily
An April 30 WorldNetDaily article by Andrea Shea King gives unwarranted credence to speculation over the incident of Air Force One flying over New York for photos by someone who hasn't worked in the White House in more than a decade.
King features the claims of "Buzz" Patterson, who once worked in the Clinton White House, insisting tha t"it's almost certain that the "highest levels" of the Obama administration knew about" the stunt while offering no evidence whatsoever to back it up. Patterson is also "guessing" that President Obama himself knew about it.
You know where this is going. Patterson then launches into an anti-Obama screed:
"I think that it shows you… quite clearly the lack of focus or the understanding the Obama White House has toward the military, much like my former boss President Bill Clinton. I think it also shows a kind of arrogance to using toys – I'm sure that would be a phrase President Obama might use, his 'toys' – to get photo op shots around New York City and not recall or remember what happened on 9/11 and the fact that it might have caused some alarm. And I think really, it shows again a hundred days, a hundred mistakes with the Obama administration."
"I think that they are – much like the Clinton administration – incredibly ignorant and devoid of reality when it comes to this country. They didn't even think about the impact this might have, because they don't understand that the war on terror is a real war on terror. They've changed the verbiage. They've changed the terms," he said.
Another reason not to take Patterson seriously: He has a long record of making false and misleadingclaims about Democrats. Most notoriously, he has claimed that then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton "wanted to outlaw uniforms, military uniforms in the White House" -- a never-proven claim whose particulars Patterson changes with each telling.
Our hypothetical terrorist-in-waiting isn’t the head of the Aryan Nation, the Michigan Militia or the Ku Klux Klan. He is President Barack Hussein Obama, whose extremist ties include Bill Ayers, ACORN, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright and Louis Farrakhan. If you see the president acting suspiciously in an airport, please advise law-enforcement personnel.
Instead of smearing Obama’s opponents, perhaps the Department of Homeland Security should be staking out the White House.