Newsmax's Hirsen Mum on Mel Gibson's Divorce Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax's James Hirsen has made something of a career out of bashing Hollywood -- he once claimed that "you want to make it in Hollywood these days, guess you have to be prepared to take the Hypocritic Oath."
There's no shortage of hypocrisy in Hollywood, of course, from political causes to self-proclaimed family men who jettison their wives for newer models -- like, say, MelGibson (who, as a bonus, has gotten said newer model pregnant out of wedlock). Given that Gibson is a Catholic so devout that he created his own splinter sect that rejects the Vatican II church reforms of the 1960s, and that Catholicism generally rejects the very idea of divorce, Gibson is a perfect hypocrisy target for the likes of Hirsen.
At least, he would be if Hirsen wasn't involved with Gibson and his sect.
As we've detailed, Hirsen heads something called the World Faith Foundation, which owns a tract of land in western Pennsylvania purchased for the purpose of permitting Gibson's father, Hutton Gibson, to found a branch of Gibson's ultraconservative splinter sect.
Not only has Hirsen failed to tell his readers about his relationship with Gibson even as performed PR duty by fluffing Gibson's movies and assailing Gibson's critics, he has completely ignored the story of Gibson's divorce.
That may be a bigger hypocrisy than anything found in Hollywood.
Boone Takes Obama Out of Context, Makes Up Quotes Topic: WorldNetDaily
Pat Boone's June 6 column, published at WorldNetDaily, begins with a series of out-of-context and manufactured quotes of President Obama in an effort to smear him as "a president without a country."
For instance, Boone quotes Obama as saying, "We're no longer a Christian nation," which he later responds to by writing, "America is emphatically a Christian nation, and has been from its inception!" In fact, Boone hides the full context of Obama's statement, which highlights the diversity of America:
Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation – at least, not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.
Boone also quotes Obama as saying, "America has been arrogant," suggesting he got the idea "during the 20 years you were a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ under your pastor, Jeremiah Wright." But there's no evidence Obama said that exact quote. Boone appears to be referring to Obama's speech in Strasbourg, France, in which he said that "here have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive." ButBoone ignores what Obama said immediately after that:
But in Europe, there is an anti-Americanism that is at once casual but can also be insidious. Instead of recognizing the good that America so often does in the world, there have been times where Europeans choose to blame America for much of what's bad.
On both sides of the Atlantic, these attitudes have become all too common. They are not wise. They do not represent the truth. They threaten to widen the divide across the Atlantic and leave us both more isolated. They fail to acknowledge the fundamental truth that America cannot confront the challenges of this century alone, but that Europe cannot confront them without America.
Boone served up another purported Obama quote: "After 9/11, America didn't always live up to her ideals." But like the previous statement, that's a paraphrase. It appears to be taken from Obama's recent speech in Cairo, and again, it's taken out of context:
And finally, just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter our principles. 9/11 was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course. I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year.
So America will defend itself respectful of the sovereignty of nations and the rule of law. And we will do so in partnership with Muslim communities which are also threatened. The sooner the extremists are isolated and unwelcome in Muslim communities, the sooner we will all be safer.
One wonders what country Boone belongs to that allows him to think he can misquote and distort Obama's words and get away with it.
UPDATE: Newsmax published Boone's misleading column as well.
CNS Reports Claim NY Times Retracted Topic: CNSNews.com
A June 5 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas asserts that "one in seven" detainees released from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility "were confirmed as having re-engaged in terrorist activity" or "suspected of doing so."
Unfortunately for Lucas and CNS, the New York Times just retracted a significant portion of that very same claim.
In an editor's note appended to its original May 21 article on the report, the Times stated:
The article said that the Pentagon had found about one in seven of former Guantánamo prisoners had "returned to terrorism or other militant activity," or as the headline put it, had "rejoined jihad."
Those phrases accepted a premise of the report that all the former prisoners had been engaged in terrorism before their detention. Because that premise remains unproved, the day the article appeared in the newspaper, editors changed the headline and the first paragraph on the Times Web site to refer to prisoners the report said had engaged in terrorism or militant activity since their release.
The article and headline also conflated two categories of former prisoners. In the Pentagon report, 27 former Guantánamo prisoners were described as having been confirmed as engaging in terrorism, with another 47 suspected of doing so without substantiation. The article should have distinguished between the two categories, to say that about one in 20 of former Guantánamo prisoners described in the Pentagon report were now said to be engaging in terrorism. (The larger share — about one in seven —applies to the total number described in the report as confirmed or suspected of engaging in terrorism.)
While Lucas does specifically state that his "one in seven" number includes those both "confirmed" and "suspected" of engaging in terrorism, the headline on his article -- "DOD Report: One in Seven Released Gitmo Detainees Returns to Terrorism" -- does not. And Lucas accepts the Pentagon's unproven premise that the released Gitmo detainees engaged in "terrorist activity" prior to their detention. Without that knowledge, Lucas' statement the released detainees in question had "re-engaged" in "terrorist activity" is unproven as well.
Lucas also fails to state one important and obvious fact about those detainee releases: they occurred under the Bush administration. Indeed, President Bush is not mentioned anywhere in his article.
NewsBusters Embraces Dubious Global Warming Item Topic: NewsBusters
The Boston Phoenix highlights a June 5 NewsBusters post by P.J. Gladnick repeating a Daily Tech report by Michael Andrews asserting that NASA, in a "new" study, has concluded that the sun, not man, is the cause of global warming.
Only, not so much. According to the Phoenix:
But when Andrews writes of a "new research report," he's a bit off, seeing as A) it's not new, and B) there's no report.
What seems to have happened is that in May 2008, a NASA guy wrote a general interest article, relying on NASA materials and quoting NASA researchers, about solar variability and climate change. It ran on Science Daily's site on May 12, 2008. The article is about how climate-change researchers are working to understand the relationship between solar variability and earth's atmosphere, in order to more accurately measure and predict the real global warming problem happening now, being caused by man-made emissions. (Andrews concedes that the "NASA study" blames current global warming on human behavior, but writes that this was where the study "went badly off the tracks.")
Andrews appears to have just stumbled across the article, didn't notice the old date, mistook it to be refering to a new study, completely misinterpreted the actual substance of the article, and -- voila! -- hot news item!
If he had bothered to check, you know, the organizations' respective websites and not relied on old information that hasn't been updated in a good two years, he would learn that CIM and Media Matters reside at completely different locations.
Oh, and George Soros has not donated to Media Matters -- a lie that Vadum just can'tstoptelling.
UPDATE: Vadum's claim is similarly smacked down at the Minnesota Independent, a CIM operation whose temerity to take on Vadum earlier in that thread prompted Vadum to do his sad little bit of research.
UPDATE 2: Vadum appears to have spent his Friday trying to prove us wrong by citing a lot of old information to claim that CIM and Media Matters still share office space. There's a clue in that previous sentence if Vadum is bright enough to figure it out.
We have a suggestion for ol' Matt: Give the CIM folks a jingle on Monday morning and ask 'em where they're located. Or bstter yet, since it doesn't appear to be too far from the CRC offices, just walk down there and check, just to see what happens. He just might learn something.
Your WND Hate-Crimes Lie of the Day Topic: WorldNetDaily
Bob Unruh apparently can't help himself. His June 4 WorldNetDaily article continues to peddle the lie that the federal hate-crimes bill would protect pedophiles.
Unruh also uncritically repeats the suggestion that the bill does not define "sexual orientation" and thus protects all sexual procivities including pedophilia. In fact, "sexual orientation" is already defined by federal statute as applying only to "consensual homosexuality or heterosexuality," so it cannot be defined as anything else.
Remember: Every time WND calls this bill the "Pedophile Protection Act," it is lying to its readers.
Shocker: Newsmax Publishes Non-Slanted Story On Kerik Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax stunned its readership (well, us, anyway) by publishing a June 4 article that fully and fairly describes the numerous charges against Bernard Kerik -- a story that runs counter to Newsmax's rehabilitation campaign for Kerik.
Ah, but there's a catch: Despite the Newsmax tagline at the endimplying that it's an original Newsmax product, it's actually an Associated Press article.
WND's Klein Channels Far-Right Israeli Fear of Arabs Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein lets his far-right sympathies show in a June 4 critique of President Obama's speech in Cairo. While he uncharacteristically praises some things Obama said, he engages in his usual attacks on other parts of the speech. One attack in particular stands out:
Obama also took the occasion to legitimize an "Arab Peace Initiative," which calls on Israel to make near suicidal territorial concessions and accept millions of foreign Arabs into its population (thus destroying Israel by population genocide) in exchange for "normalized" relations with the Arab world.
The expulsion of Arabs from Israel, or some other similar separation of Jews and Arabs, is a concept endorsed by far-right political political parties, such as Yisrael Beiteinu and the outlawed Kahane Chai. By expressing the (arguably racist) fear that Arabs in Israel would "destroy Israel by population genocide," Klein appears to endorse this view as well.
As we'vedetailed, Klein has long demonstrated sympathies for Kahanists, regularly whitewashing their backgrounds to make them appear more mainstream than they are.
Media Misinformer Congressman Heads 'Media Fairness Caucus' Topic: Newsmax
Ronald Kessler reported in a June 3 column how Republican Rep. Lamar Smith has created the House "Media Fairness Caucus," which "will point out unfair stories, meet with members of the media, and write op-eds and letters to the editor to highlight media bias." Kessler also quoted Smith as claiming that media bias is the "greatest threat to our democracy today."
This is all about so-called liberal media bias, of course; as we've noted, Kessler doesn't appear to believe there is such a thing as conservative media bias, even though he is employed by one of the biggest generators of conservative media bias.
The Media Research Center has embraced Smith's crusade, highlighting it in a June 4 NewsBusters post by Brent Baker that repeated parts of Kessler's article.
Just one little problem: Smith isn't much of a media fact-checker.
As we've detailed, Smith was essentially acting as a member of John McCain's campaign by making overblown claims of purported media bias. For instance, in an example published at Accuracy in Media, Smith asserted that the New York Times was falsely smearing McCain campaign manager Rick Davis by claiming that mortgage firm Freddie Mac paid Davis' consulting firm for consulting servicesand, thus, "clearly suggested wrongdoing on the part of Davis and, by extension, Sen. McCain."
But the Times never claimed Davis himself was paid by Freddie Mac; rather, the article stated that Davis' firm was contracted to receive the money and, despite not directly working for his consulting firm during the campaign, remained a partner and equity holder in it and thus benefited from the firm's income. Further, in claiming that "Davis was never a lobbyist for Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae," Smith ignored the fact that Davis was, as the Times article noted, the head of an advocacy group funded by Fannie and Freddie with the purpose of opposing regulation of the entities, which Smith seemed to think was not the same thing as "lobbying."
Smith's "Media Fairness Caucus" appears to be about little more than regurgitating what he reads at AIM and the Media Research Center. Smith could save himself some effort and hypocrisy by simply putting Cliff Kincaid and Tim Graham on his staff. (Which wouldn't be the first time an MRC employee jumped to Capitol Hill; Sen. James Inhofe hired Marc Morano straight from CNSNews.com.)
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).
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.
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."
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.
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 inventquotes 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.
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.
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).
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.