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Friday, June 5, 2009
The Case of the Disappearing WND Columns
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily had links on its commentary page to two columns on June 4 that, near as we could tell, did not work the entire day. Given the subject matter, we have to wonder if WND had second thoughts about posting them (though they remained on the WND commentary page).

First up was the latest video from Jackie Mason:

That's right -- the guy who insulted Barack Obama by calling him a "schvartze" wants to instruct blacks about the evils of reverse discrimination. The video doesn't appear to have been posted on Mason's YouTube channel either, so we wonder what happened with it.

Second is a column by Phil Elmore:

Perhaps the idea that outlawing texting while driving is some sort of unforgivable encroachment of state power was too stupid for even WND to post.

UPDATE: Both columns are functional now, apparently coinciding with the update to the next day's commentary items. So it appears to have been a technological glitch.

And yes, Elmore does indeed rant that laws banning texting while driving are oppressive:

It's a fact of left-leaning, illiberal politics that whenever something becomes popular, there will be a statist politician, regardless of party affiliation, who will want to ban it. Given our technologically advanced, technologically saturated world, many of these proposals involve emerging, developing, or simply increasingly popular technology, period.

[...]

If the forces of statism cannot, however, persuade you that using your phone to text while driving will GET YOU KILLED, they'll settle for propaganda that convinces you that the act of texting itself is bad for you and for your children.

And Jackie Mason does indeed rant about reverse discrimination and calls Sonia Sotomayor "the lady who's up for the Supreme Court with the Spanish heritage" and asserts that "she made judgments that are so ridiculously sick or stupid or racist that you have to be a moron not to notice it. But everybody is covering it up like it doesn't mean anything."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:42 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, June 5, 2009 1:49 AM EDT
Thursday, June 4, 2009
WND Wants The World to Know How Hateful Molotov Mitchell Is
Topic: WorldNetDaily

How does WorldNetDaily reward video columnist Molotov Mitchell for his fact-free screed smearing Sonia Sotomayor as an "anti-American racist" and the National Council of La Raza as "the tan Klan"? By begging people to spread his hate, of course.

From a June 4 WND email:


Most people would be ashamed to promote such hate. Not WND and its publicist, Maria Sliwa.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 4, 2009 12:40 PM EDT
Kessler Won't Acknowledge Existence of Conservative Media Bias
Topic: Newsmax

Ronald Kessler's June 1 Newsmax column strangely praises the Washington Post for making "making an honest effort to be fair": "Hit jobs against Bush administration programs and Republicans in general have virtually vanished. Instead, the paper presents issues fairly. No longer is the other side suppressed or relegated to the last paragraph."

But Kessler offers no evidence that the Post ever did that in the first place. In fact, the evidence suggests that the Post has always had a soft spot for conservatives and their views. For example, in 2007 the Post published a fawning profile of right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin that glossed over her most controversial comments, and in 2006 published a similarly fawning profile of then-Fox News anchor Brit Hume.

Kessler cites another example of the Post's supposed change of heart: "On May 29, a Post editorial described Obama’s budget, with its reliance on $9 trillion in borrowing during the next decade, as 'simply unaffordable.'" In fact, the Post has long shared numerous editorial positions with the decidedly conservative Wall Street Journal.

Kessler then goes on to defend Fox News: "Although Fox News prominently features conservative commentators, when it comes to news, the network has a rule that guests from opposing sides must appear on any partisan issue." Kessler offers no evidence that this rule actually exists -- which is necessary because there's a decided lack of evidence that it's put into practice. As we've detailed, appearances on Fox News by employees of the conservative Media Research Center are typically solo or with like-minded conservatives, a nary a mention that the MRC is, in fact, conservative.

Kessler then disappears into disingenuous territory:

Regardless of one’s politics, most people want to feel they are being exposed to all sides of an issue. That is one reason Newsmax.com has been so successful. With an average 4 million unique visitors a month, according to Nielsen Online, Newsmax is bigger than many news Web sites, including the Drudge Report. If ranked among the nation's top 10 newspaper Web sites, Newsmax would rank with leading brands such as The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. It is also one of the few Internet news sites to make a profit. Though it features conservative columnists and news angles that the rest of the media ignore, Newsmax prominently runs stories that are critical of Democrats and Republicans alike.

Note that term "news angles that the rest of the media ignore." In other words, Newsmax has a right-wing bias. Kessler just can't admit it to himself.

Kessler's claim that Newsmax is "critical of Democrats and Republicans alike" is dubious at best. In fact, Newsmax has been disproportionately criticial of Democrats, even going so far as to report outright falsehoods about President Obama's stimulus plan. Its columnists invent quotes to put in the mouths of Obama and his aides. And Kessler himself is guilty of distorted attacks on Obama and creepy obsequiousness toward conservatives.

Kessler further touts a claim -- unsupported by evidence since Newsmax is privately owned by Richard Mellon Scaife and Christopher Ruddy and doesn't make its financial records public -- that Newsmax is "one of the few Internet news sites to make a profit," suggesting that its supposed editorial balance is the reason for it. But it's not balanced, so that can't be the reason.

Of course, Kessler is on Newsmax's payroll, so he's more PR agent here than honest reporter. It's unlikely he will ever admit that Newsmax -- and, by extension, Kessler himself -- is hopelessly biased.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 4, 2009 4:26 PM EDT
WND Still Misleads on Gun Case
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has a problemwith telling its readers the full truth, especially in gun related cases. A June 2 WND article repeats this pattern by once again refusing to tell the full truth about the case of a man convicted for loaning out a fully automatic machine gun.

As it has before, WND tells only the man's story as promoted by his defense attorneys -- that the man, David Olofson, merely "loaned out" a "broken rifle" that "malfunctioned" -- but obscuring the evidence against him that led to his conviction.

As we've noted, Olofson has been described as having "considerable knowledge of weapons, considerable knowledge of machine guns," and thus knew or should have known that the gun fired automatically. Olofson also has previous gun-related convictions and has been reprimanded for corrupting Army computers and perhaps providing militia groups access to sensitive information, and a search of his home turned up books on converting rifles to fully automatic. 

Further, Olofson has had contact with vigilante groups and professed to be part of the sovereign movement, which doesn't acknowledge federal laws as applying to them -- not unlike Scott Roeder, the man suspected of killing abortion doctor George Tiller.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:36 AM EDT
Vadum Distorts ACORN, Unhappy About Getting Busted For It
Topic: Capital Research Center

Matthew Vadum got caught hurling a load of BS, and now he's complaining that he got caught.

PolitiFact.com wrote a fact-checking item about the distortion inherent in a claim, originated by Vadum's work at the Capital Research Center, that ACORN is eligible to receive $8.5 billion under the economic stimulus bill, which it describes as "false." How does Vadum respond? By going after PolitiFact, of course in a June 2 NewsBusters post. (In NewsBusters, Vadum has found bretheren with a similar fondness for shooting the messenger.)

Vadum kicks off by asserting that PolitiFact is "carrying water for the radical left-wing activist group ACORN and attacking Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) for trying to warn the public about the group." He also asserts that PolitiFact has a "liberal bias," but could only come up with three alleged examples (to which he fails to link so that readers could judge for themselves):

"On Oct. 24, PolitiFact gave then-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's statement that Obama would 'experiment with socialism' a 'Pants on Fire' ruling." In fact, PolitiFact backed up its ruling. Palin's claim centered on Obama's plan to increase income taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year; as PolitiFact pointed out, "His desire to 'spread the wealth' through progressive taxation makes him no less a capitalist than McCain, or Lincoln."

"On Sept. 14, an editorial attacked Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign. 'McCain's straight talk has become a toxic mix of lies and double-speak,' it said." This is actually an editorial in the St. Petersburg Times, which operates PolitiFact. Vadum does not contradict any of the claims in it.

"Last month it praised President Obama's selection of radical jurist Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court because she was someone with a 'powerful intellect who demonstrates compassion and a common touch.'"Again, this is an St. Petersburg Times editorial, not a PolitiFact item.

So Vadum has demonstrated himself to be disingenous by misleadingly conflating a research group with newspaper editorials -- indeed, Vadum has found only one item at PolitiFact with which he disagrees, and he provides no evidence that anything in it is wrong. He's similarly disingenuous when criticizing PolifiFact's ACORN findings, selectively quoting from it and failing to provide the full context (and, as with his other attacks, refusing to directly link to the PolitiFact so that readers can judge for themselves).

Vadum writes:

There is no legal impediment of which I am aware that would prevent ACORN taking in the whole $3 billion sum from the stimulus package, which has already been enacted. There is also no bar to ACORN taking in the entire $5.5 billion from the HUD budget, which is pending before Congress.

In other words, ACORN is indeed eligible for the whole $8.5 billion, as Bachmann said.

[...]

Bachmann never said ACORN alone was going to receive $8.5 billion, but [PolitiFact's Robert] Farley then proceeds as if she had, writing a news article that depicts something quite different from what actually transpired.

But Vadum fails to acknowledge his deliberate use of the overbroad word "eligible," which he's a little more candid about to PolitiFact:

"The key word here is eligible," Vadum said. "Eligible is a pretty expansive word. I made it clear they are not going to get that full amount."

Yes, he made that point in the Washington Examiner. But when Bachmann says ACORN could get that amount, it assumes the group would get every single dime in the stimulus for fixing up abandoned homes. And remember, they said they don't even have plans to apply for any of it.

Vadum tries to discount that denial, calling it a "dubious statement." He then suggests that restrictions on federal housing funds that bar them from being used for political purposes are meaningless because of purportedly "suspicious transactions" made by ACORN's housing division to other affiliates in " the nebulous ACORN network."

PolitiFact points out, meanwhile, that "if ACORN Housing was to apply for and receive CDBG money, it would be for a very specific project. And legally, it could not be transferred to other ACORN affiliates to perform political activities like voter registration," though Vadum offers no evidence that federal grant money specifically designated for housing-related purposes was ever shifted to another "nebulous" ACORN affiliate for forbidden purposes. Vadum's main response is that "neither Bachmann nor I actually said ACORN Housing was necessarily going to be the protagonist in this publicly funded drama."

Vadum also fails to mention that the federal grants for which ACORN is eligible are up for competitive bid, which meanst that, if it was indeed seeking those grants, it would be competing with other organizations to receive them.

Vadum ultimately complains that PolitiFact is trying "to depict her as a shameless liar. That's reprehensible." Here's how PolitiFact summed up its piece:

Charges of voter registration fraud by members of ACORN during the 2008 elections are a serious matter. Investigators allege ACORN employees tried to fraudulently register thousands of ineligible voters. Among them, one Mickey Mouse.

But Bachmann's statement is irresponsibly misleading on several levels. She says the group under indictment for voter registration fraud could tap into billions of federal dollars. In fact, none of the federal money can be used for voter registration activities.

An affiliate like ACORN Housing could conceivably apply for a grant to build an affordable housing project, or to buy, fix and sell abandoned homes, but that's exactly what the money would have to be used for. Suggestions that one of the affiliates might funnel money to ACORN for political activity is, so far, unsubstantiated conjecture. And then there's the matter of trying to make a splash by throwing out the massive $8.5 billion number, suggesting ACORN "could get" it, as in all of it. That's absurd. We rule Bachmann's statement False.

Vadum is basically taking refuge in deliberately overbroad statements like "eligible" as a way to portray his attack on ACORN as somewhat true. By that same overbroad standard, both Vadum and us are "eligible" to receive that money too.

Now you see why Vadum had to resort to shooting the messenger -- he got called out on his BS and now has to cover for it.

UPDATE: Vadum takes his fight to the comments section of the Minnesota Independent, which cited the PolitiFact article in criticizing Bachmann.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:16 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 4, 2009 4:54 PM EDT
Horowitz Crushes Kupelian's Obama Derangement Syndrome
Topic: Horowitz

David Horowitz's FrontPageMag has surprisingly been a voice of restraint against the Obama Derangement Syndrome plaguing his ConWeb bretheren, particularly WorldNetDaily. FrontPageMag has decimated WND's obsession with Barack Obama's birth certificate with claims to which WND has yet to directly responde.

Now, a June 2 blog post by Horowitz appears to take direct aim at WND managing editor David Kupelian's June 1 column alleging that the Obama administration would use the shooting death of George Tiller like Hitler used the Reichstag fire:

I continue to get emails comparing President Obama to Hitler, the most recent suggesting that the murder of an abortion doctor might be Obama's "Reichstag Fire" and would be used by Obama to take away our civil liberties and terminate our Republic as Hitler did the Weimar Republic in the 1930s. This is lunatic stuff. Obama is better compared to Neville Chamberlain than to Adolf Hitler if you like these kinds of comparisons. Americans are not Germans -- it's a very big difference as far as political cultures are concerned, and Obama is not Hitler. Obama is a machine politician and whatever dangers he represents (and as I see it there are many) are dangers because they reflect the heart and soul of today's Democratic Party not because he is a Manchurian candidate or a closet Islamist, as more than a few conservatives seem to think.

Thus his appointment of a advocate of institutional racism to the Supreme Court is a predictable selection for any Democrat in the White House. His appeasement of Iran and the genocidal Palestinians, perhaps the most worrying of his foreign policy moves is the policy of his Secretary of State, his congressional leaders and his chief of staff. These facts add up to a worrisome prospect but a revival of the Third Reich is not one of them, and those who think it is and say so discredit only themselves.

Horowitz surprisingly also shoots down another right-wing conspiracy while he's at it: "As a footnote to the above, the claim that the Obamaites used their control of Chrysler to terminate Republican dealerships is demonstrably a myth." As we've documented, WND is just one of the ConWeb outlets promoting that conspiracy.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:07 AM EDT
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
MRC-Fox News Appearance Watch
Topic: Media Research Center
Tim Graham's appearance on the June 3 edition nof Fox News' "America's Newsroom" follows the template: Graham appears solo, host Bill Hemmer serves up softballs to help advance Graham's statements, and neither Graham nor his employer, the Media Research Center, are identified as conservative.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:11 PM EDT
Molotov Mitchell Smears Sotomayor, La Raza
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Molotov Mitchell lets the smears fly against Sonia Sotomayor and La Raza in his June 3 WorldNetDaily video:

Picking an anti-American racist like Sotomayor is classic Obama. I wouldn't be surprised if this broad lived in a commune with Bill Ayers at some point.

You've heard her infamous quote "A wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiecne would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male."

Oooh, Obama likee! But most Democrats are racist -- that's easy. If you really want to get on Obama's good sie, you've got to be part of an anti-American group. Fortunately for Sotomayor, she is a card-carrying member of the National Council of La Raza. La Raza, aka the Tan Klan. La Raza, literally meaning "The Race," is a racist, Hispanic-only organization with ties to crazy groups like Aztlan. No, not Aslan -- Aztlan, a cartel-connected organization that is literally trying to take over the American Southwest.

[...]

A La Raza member that believes in legislating from the bench. It makes me wonder: Could Obama be stacking the deck in case we ever prove he's not a natural-born citizen?

Despite calling his video "For the Record," Mitchell doesn't back up his claim that Sotomayor is "anti-American" or a "racist." And his claim that La Raza  has "ties to crazy groups like Aztlan" ignores the record completely -- as we've pointed out, it doesn't support Aztlan.

Further, if Mitchell cares so much about "the record," then he must surely know that the place where his videos appear has already declared the Obama birth certificate he posted in his video to be "authentic."

UPDATE: Here's a still from Mitchell's video (via Media Matters):

 


Posted by Terry K. at 11:55 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 3, 2009 4:31 PM EDT
CNS Hides Hateful Tone of Pravda Opinion Piece
Topic: CNSNews.com

One of the stranger sights we've seen lately is right-wingers' embrace of "news" sources, no matter how dubious, that reflect its preferred talking points -- as illustrated by the ConWeb's embrace of an editorial on global warming published by a 9/11 truther on the Russian Pravda website.

That spectacle repeats itself in a June 2 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas that follows other right-wing media in embracing a Pravda website opinion piece lamenting "the American decent [sic] into Marxism."

Lucas claimed that the piece was "published in the once-official newspaper of the Soviet Union"; in fact, Pravda.ru, where the opinion piece appeared, is largely separate from the Pravda newspaper, with the website taking a much more sensationalist and nationalist approach.

Lucas fails to make note of the overall hateful tone of the opinion piece. For instance, it refers Rep. Barney Frank as "Senator Barney Franks [sic], a social pervert basking in his homosexuality."Moreover, the author of the piece has also attacked America as "a democracy where the rights of the minority, such as the homosexuals and Muslims, routinely trumps the rights of the Christian majority, who are viewed by the elites as a vast unwashed, ignorant economic unit to be taxed as needed, bled for the right causes ... in foreign wars and socially experimented on, at the elites' whim."

Are those sentiments Lucas and CNS endorse as well?


Posted by Terry K. at 9:16 AM EDT
New Article: The Insta-Conspiracy
Topic: The ConWeb
The ConWeb quickly latched onto a right-wing claim that Chrysler dealers losing their franchises were disproportionately Republican -- a claim that was just as quickly debunked. But they're too invested in the conspiracy to honestly report the truth. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:30 AM EDT
Newsmax Predicts 'Zimbabwe-Level Inflation'
Topic: Newsmax

From a June 2 article by Julie Crawshaw on Newsmax's Moneynews website:

Investing experts now worry that inflation in the United States will approach that in Zimbabwe because the Federal Reserve will be reluctant to raise interest rates when it should.

Zimbabwe’s inflation rate was last reported at 231 million percent in July.

At no point does Crawshaw quote any "investing expert" offering a contrasting opinion, let alone citing Zimbabwe's situation as a likely scenario the U.S. faces. Nor does she define "hyperinflation" as anything but "Zimbabwe-level inflation."

The Motley Fool, meanwhile, appears to be a much more sane and trustworthy source on the subject:

Let's get one thing clear from the get-go: Hyperinflation is an extreme occurrence.

In the worst-case scenario of hyperinflation, a country's currency is rendered worthless; a trillion dollars wouldn't buy you a Coke. Uber-reporter Michael Lewis wrote an eye-opening account of the kinds of things he saw while visiting recent hyperinflation victim Iceland: an epidemic of people blowing up their Range Rovers for insurance money, hoarding food and foreign currency, and seriously contemplating emigrating from the country.

Stepping back from that dire possibility, a more conservative definition of hyperinflation is a doubling of prices over three years. For the century or so we've been keeping track, the U.S. hasn't come close.

[...]

The U.S. banking problems are bad, but we have the rest of our income-producing industries to fall back on. While hyperinflation in the U.S. is possible, it's just not very likely.

Then again, the Motley Fool doesn't have a political agenda to trash President Obama (and then try to profit from said trashing).


Posted by Terry K. at 12:14 AM EDT
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Your WND Hate-Crimes Lie of the Day
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A June 1 WorldNetDaily article again calls the federal hate-crimes bill the "Pedophile Protection Act" and uncritically repeats the demonstrably false claim that the bill offers protection for "all 547 forms of sexual deviancy or 'paraphilias' listed by the American Psychiatric Association."

As a special bonus, WND also uses the article to whitewash an alleged hate crime in Missouri:

No one really knows what was going through the mind of Nicholas John Profitt, 31, when he allegedly threw rocks that damaged the front door of the Islamic Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Was it an act of anti-Islamic bigotry? Or was it a random act of vandalism?

Nevertheless, Profitt has been charged with a hate crime. What would have been a misdemeanor count becomes a class D felony.

Instead of facing a maximum sentence of four years in prison, Profitt is facing up to seven – the difference due to his state of mind, what he was thinking or not thinking when he threw the rocks.

That's partly what's at stake when the U.S. Senate considers a national hate crimes bill that will add special penalties against individuals guilty of crimes based on ethnic, religious and racial hatred and new classifications based on sexual orientation – legislation that has been dubbed by critics as "The Pedophile Protection Act."

WND misleads its readers by portraying Profitt as someone who benignly threw rocks at a door. WND fails to report other details of the case:

  • Damage to the door exceed $750.
  • Profitt is also accused of damaging the windshield of a car parked in the Islamic center's parking lot.
  • Profitt faces further charges of driving while intoxicated, speeding and failure to wear a seatbelt for offenses he allegedly committed four hours after the property damage.

Why does WND want its readers to think it's somehow acceptable to vandalize an Islamic center and face only minimal punishment for doing so?


Posted by Terry K. at 5:25 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 2, 2009 5:26 PM EDT
MRC Writer: Tiller Deserved to Be Targeted For Murder
Topic: Media Research Center

Back in April, we noted how MRC Culture & Media Institute writer Colleen Raezler complained that the media allegedly failed to report the fact that the victims of a plane crash were an abortion doctor and his family, and that Raezler's repeated insistence that "loss of human life is a tragedy" belied her overall tone that she believed the deaths of these people weren't.

Raezler turns in a repeat performance of this argument -- complete with disingenous discliamers -- in  a June 2 CMI article co-authored with Sarah Knoploh and also posted at NewsBusters. This time, Raezler goes even farther, suggesting that murdered abortion doctor George Tiller deserved to be targeted (as highlighted by Media Matters):

Loss of human life is a tragedy and should be reported as such, and premeditated murder is always wrong – something all the mainstream pro-life groups were quick to affirm in the wake of the killing. But in reporting this tragic story, the news media have much to say about a man who helped provide women with the “right” to end their pregnancies, but have little to say about lives he helped to end. In failing to highlight what Tiller’s work actually entailed, reporters do nothing to help their audience understand why this man was targeted.

By suggesting that Tiller was targeted for completely understandable reasons, she's also claiming that it's completely understandable that someone would want to murder him, her disingenuous blather about how "loss of human life is a tragedy" notwithstanding. 

Raezler goes on to repeat anti-abortion groups' condemnation of the shooting of Tiller as evidence that "the pro-life community truly views all loss of human life as a tragedy." But she takes pains to exclude Randall Terry from the "pro-life community" -- even though he is a seminal part of it. She lumped Terry's "inflammatory" assertion that "George Tiller was a mass murderer" with "several random responses from the Internet." 

But Terry's claim really isn't that much more inflammatory than Raezler's, is it?

UPDATE: Media Matters' Jamison Foser adds

Notice what Raezler doesn't say: she doesn't so much as hint at disapproval of the terrorists who bombed Tiller's clinic and shot him.  Instead, she is unhappy that mentioning those events increases "the aura of martyrdom that now surrounds" Tiller.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:10 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 2, 2009 12:14 PM EDT
Wheeler Distorts Obama Comment
Topic: Newsmax

In claiming that President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court is "a play right out of the standard Democratic dirty-tricks playbook: the race hustle," Scott Wheeler, in his June 1 Newsmax column, distorts Obama's comments on the Constitution and the Supreme Court made in a 2001 interview:

A chilling, January 2001 interview reveals what far-reaching consequences Obama-styled “empathy” can have for the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution. “The Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society,” Obama told an interviewer for a Chicago radio station.

He went on to complain that when ultra-liberal, judicial activist Earl Warren was chief justice of the Supreme Court “it didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution.”

He seems to really miss that the whole point of the Constitution was to prevent tyrants from “break[ing] free” from the rule of law and declaring themselves the final arbiters of what is legal. But, then again, maybe he doesn’t miss that point at all.

In fact, as we've documented, Obama did not say what Wheeler accuses him of saying.He did not "complain" that the Warren Court "didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution"; rather, he said that Warren was not as "ultra-liberal" as Wheeler thinks he is because his court "didn't break free." At no point does Obama endorse "breaking free," and Wheeler is lying when he claims Obama did.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:21 AM EDT
WorldNetDaily, Abortion, and George Tiller
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has long been sympathetic to the extremist end of the anti-abortion movement. Two examples particularly stand out, as we've detailed:

  • In 2002, WND published a fawning profile of Neal Horsley, most notoriously known for operating a website with the names and personal information of abortion providers and their employees, and whose website served as a conduit for radical anti-abortion activist Clayton Waagner to issue death threats against 42 abortion clinic employees. WND portrayed Horsley asjust a guy who runs "a pair of popular pro-life websites" who's being discriminated against because of a few unpleasant pictures are causing Internet service providers to continally dump him. (Horsley is also, by the way, currently a candidate for Georgia governor.)
  • WND also published in 2002 a seven-part series by Jack Cashill claiming that James Kopp was framed for the 1998 death of abortion doctor Barnett Slepian. Cashill accused the Clinton administration of being "determined ... to protect the abortion industry" and of having "open hostility to the pro-life movement" (and Hillary Clinton in particular of having "made the department into a formidable feminist stronghold"), painted Kopp as having "an almost Gandhian devotion to non-violence and passive resistance," accused officials of singling out Kopp as part of "a fishing expedition," claimed that because Slepian was a "mediocre student" and performing abortions takes "no great talent" he "fit the classic stereotype of the abortion doctor," asserted that evidence against Kopp was planted, and even suggested that "the pro-choice side had a much greater motive to kill Slepian than did the pro-life side" because Slepian was allegedly considering leaving his abortion practice. Six months later, Kopp pleaded guilty to killing Slepian; Cashill has yet to correct his articles or apologize for them.

WND has also regularly attacked Tiller; as we've noted, the phrase "Tiller the killer" occurs no less than 92 times on WND's website, including several headlines. We've also noted that WND's attacks on Tiller tend to be one-sided with little to no effort to fairly tell both sides of the story. WND -- and particularly Cashill -- has promoted the anti-Tiller crusade of Phill Kline, former Kansas attorney general and current county attorney.

WND's initial article on Tiller's death was typically unbalanced: It rehashed a case in which he was "accused on 19 counts of illegally aborting viable babies" -- of which he was acquitted.

WND writers have unloaded harsh rhetoric against Tiller as well. For instance, in a July 2007 column, Cashill lamented that "In Kansas, we don't even have a Gestapo to explain our passivity" toward allowing Tiller to stay in business, adding that "I have to ask myself whether we judged too harshly those 'Good Germans,' who turned a blind eye to Nazi inhumanities." And in a March 2007 column, Jill Stanek asserted that Tiller's "secret is to spread abortion blood money so thickly among politicians that there is allegedly nary a one with prosecutorial influence he has not bought off!"

If violent rhetoric by anti-abortion activists can be said to have been a contributing factor in Tiller's death, then WND has undoubtedly contributed. Unsurprisingly, WND would rather divert your attention elsewhere.

A June 1 article by Chelsea Schilling hypes a claim that Tiller's accused killer, Scott Roeder, "allegedly suffered from mental illness." And a June 1 column by WND managing editor David Kupelian insists that "anti-abortion violence is extremely rare and is utterly repudiated by every pro-life organization and leader." (No mention, of course, of Randall Terry's deviation from that supposed norm.)

Kupelian goes on to liken abortion rights activsts' highlighting of anti-abortion violence to -- wait for it -- the Reichstag fire. But there's nary a word about WND's own anti-Tiller rhetoric, let alone any move by him to accept responsibility for it.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:15 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 2, 2009 5:51 PM EDT

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