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Saturday, July 4, 2009
WND Chooses to Trust Another Untrustworthy Source
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Asa we've mentioned, WorldNetDaily has spent the past several days obsessed by a person's attempt to sell on eBay what is claimed to be a a certified copy of Barack Obama's birth certificate issued in a Mombasa, Kenya, hospital in 1961. WND initially expressed skepticism, even trotting out Jerome Corsi -- who knows his fake Obama documents from Kenya -- to cast doubt on the claim.

But as eBay has tried to warn people away from it by warning of the likely fraudulent nature of the offer, noting its policy forbidding the sale of certain government documents, and repeatedly removing it from its website, WND has decided to treat it as real and is now in league with the seller. A July 2 WND article quotes the seller, "colmado_naranja," as saying that after he posts a video about the alleged certificate on YouTube, "I will be heading over to WorldNetDaily to talk with Joseph Farah. I will disclose everything to them." (The article adds: "But there has been no video or verbal contact with WND.")

WND repeats the seller's claim that he is "a self-proclaimed 'collector of old Dominican and Cuban money' and has worked in the Congo." But WND has revealed no evidence that it has done any investigating into the background of "colmado_naranja."

However, a blogger at the Barackryphal website has -- and what he found raises numerous questions about the seller's trustworthiness:

So "colmado_naranja" is apparently Lucas Smith, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Another quick round of Googling promptly turns up this story from the Syracuse Post Standard:

Jim Jr. was born with one kidney. It kept him going for the first 18 years of his life. He rarely missed school, and even felt fine the day a school nurse took his blood pressure and realized something was wrong. Go see a doctor, she told him. Right away...

Jim Jr. was put on the national kidney transplant list in November 2001, five months after doctors diagnosed him with end stage renal disease...

In late 2002, a man from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, sent an e-mail to the family. The man, who called himself Lucas Smith, said he was 23 years old and had emigrated from Russia five years earlier. He had seen the Web site and, Smith said, he wanted to help.

The Wilsons stopped searching for a donor. Smith passed all of the medical, physical and psychological tests. They thought he was going to save their son's life.

Then, on May 3, 2003, Smith sent Jim Wilson Sr. an e-mail saying he wanted to be compensated for donating his kidney.

Wilson said they would pay his airfare, but because it was illegal to receive money for an organ donation, they wouldn't give him any other cash.

Five months after holding out a lifeline, Lucas Smith disappeared.

Jim Wilson Sr. called the Cedar Rapids police.

Yes, at least one Lucas Smith of Cedar Rapids, Iowa has previously attempted to extort money for a valuable commodity in his possession, only to never deliver on it. Maybe it's the same Lucas Smith of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Maybe not.

Barakcryphal adds:

Another FreeRepublic poster ran Mr. Smith's name through the archives of the Cedar Rapids Gazette, and unsurprisingly, Lucas Smith has a criminal history. Most notably, in 2000 he pled guilty to passing several bad checks after opening a bank account with false information, and in 1998 he received a deferred judgment on a charge of forgery.

WND might want to get serious about engaging in its supposed mission of investigative journalism before promoting this story any further. Then again, WND has a lower standard of fact -- well, actually, no standard of fact -- when the target is one of its political enemies. After all, it has yet to admit it was wrong in repeating never-verified allegations by the utterly discredited Larry Sinclair.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:08 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 20, 2009 1:23 AM EDT
Friday, July 3, 2009
WND Proven Wrong Yet Again on Obama Birth Certificate
Topic: WorldNetDaily

While WorldNetDaily is obsessing over an attempted eBay auction of a purported Barack Obama birth certificate from Kenya -- a picture of which the seller won't even post, let alone offer any independent, credible authentication of the purported document -- yet another fact-checker has proven another WND allegation regarding the certificate wrong.

A July 1 item examines an allegation by WND, in league with the Western Journalism Center, that White House press secretary Robert Gibbs lied when he told WND's Les Kinsolving in a White House press briefing that Obama's birth certificate is posted on the Internet:, through an owner The Western Center for Journalism, responded with an ad in the conservative publication Human Events, in which they called Gibbs' response arrogant, factually incorrect, lies.

Moreover, the ad said, "members of the liberal elitist media...instead of pressing Gibbs on his outrageous statements...openly laughed."

The ad is right about that, journalists could clearly be heard chuckling at Kinsolving's questions.

The question here is, did Gibbs lie?

You already know the answer: no. FactCheck recounts the factual evidence that shoots down WND's assertions, then concludes:

So back to the claim that Gibbs lied about posting Obama's birth certificate on the Internet. WorldNetDaily is correct that the Obama campaign didn't post his original birth certificate on the Internet. But their suggestion that there is some significant difference between the two documents is wrong. They both prove the same thing. Maybe the original would identify the hospital where Obama was born, but that's irrelevant. The issue is what city, and therefore country, was he born. The document posted by the campaign proves Obama was born in Honolulu, according to Health Department officials. And that's really the central issue here.

The Health Department says the "Certification of Live Birth" is Hawaii's version of a birth certificate. Calling it by other names - Certificate of Live Birth, Certification of Live Birth - is just semantics. WorldNetDaily may be right that the original birth certificate wasn't posted, but if Hawaii says the the document Obama posted can rightly be called Obama's birth certificate, how is Gibbs lying? We harbor no delusions that anything we say here will slow the persistent drumbeat of the birthers, but we rule this statement False.

Will WND respond to this, or will it pretend it doesn't exist and hide it from its readers, as it has the numerous previous debunkings of its claims?

Posted by Terry K. at 10:04 AM EDT
Obama-Nazi Reference of the Day
Topic: Newsmax

ObamaCare legislation would finance universal health care by eliminating the most fragile among us. Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union had elaborate plans for the disposal of unwanted fetuses, the handicapped, and the elderly.

-- James Walsh, July 2 Newsmax column

Posted by Terry K. at 9:35 AM EDT
Your Jackie Mason Bile-Filled Rant of the Week
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A little birdie tells us (in the form of the WorldNetDaily commentary page) that it's time for another bile-filled anti-Obama rant from Jackie Mason. Take it away, Jackie, and make sure you hit those right-wing talking points while you're at it:

You know what I want to talk to you about? I bet you'll never guess: Barack Obama. You know why? Because there's nothing m ore important than what Barack Obama's doing right now. I'm talking about the harm he's doing -- I wish there was something good he was doing. But one thing I do know, that he's doing anything possible to destroy everything that this country represents

Free enterprise is the essence of America. That's what made this the most powerful country in the world, and he's destroying the whole free enterprise system of this country without announcing it. While he's telling you about how he's trying to help everybody get a job, we're losing jobs every day. He came in with 6 1/2 percent unemployment, it's 10 percent unemployment. While he's telling you he's worried about the deficit, he created a $900 trillion deficit. He can take any action in a second and a half that will destroy the economy and do everything to undermine everything this country represents. A nationalized health care system where all of a sudden nobody will be able to get health care without waiting six months, 10 months, a year and a half for any operation that's necessary.

Anything that will do harm to this country, he could do in a second. He's the most decisive president who collects more things and plans to destroy America than anybody in the history of this country. Nothing he's done is to serve any good purpose whatsoever in any way in this country. There's nobody more decisive when he wants to destroy things, but when he wants to do something important like Iran -- when Iran started killing people in the streets by the hundreds, he couldn't get his voice out. He could -- he forgot that he's president. All of a sudden, he couldn't function. He because paralyzed or retarded, and it took him a week and a half to even say there's anything wrong with what they're doing.

At this point, Mason descends into a retread of last week's rant in which he displays his ignorance about Iran and world politics. The only change is an attack on the United Nations: "The U.N. is a wealthy bunch of frauds and lowlifes and pigs whose only purpose every time they have a meeting is to call America names for our own money."

Even Mason's call for Obama to act more decisively on Iran is hateful:

For the first time in your life, do something good. Take an action that serves a purpose for the good instead of destroying the economy of America. When it comes to deficits, you're an expert. When it comes to taking some kind of action that will do any good, we can't hear from you. You lost your job. You forgot you're the president. Do something! Once and for all that will serve a purpose for humanity of this country and this world.

When did Jackie Mason become an old, Jewish Joseph Farah?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:14 AM EDT
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Newsmax Promotes Limbaugh's Misleading Obama Paranoia
Topic: Newsmax

A July 1 Newsmax article by Rick Pedraza asserted that Rush Limbaugh "has a point" when he claimed that "President Barack Obama and his political operatives already are laying the groundwork for a third term." Among the evidence Pedraza cited:

Upon Obama's taking office, Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., introduced legislation in the House to repeal the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, which limits presidents to two consecutive terms or 10 years in office. Serrano’s justification for the bill is that, until 1951, nothing prevented a president from serving more than two terms.

Pedraza failed to note, as has, that Serrano has introduced a bill to repeal the 22nd Amendment in every Congress since 1997 -- which included years when a Republican was president. Pedraza also doesn't explain why a Democrat would introduce a bill to allow a Republican president to serve a third term.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:23 PM EDT
Annals of Conservative Media Criticism
Topic: NewsBusters

How out of tune is the so-called media criticism at the Media Research Center? Tim Graham uses a July 1 NewsBusters post to berate Details magazine for writing a fluff article tangentally related to Barack Obama, sniping, "And they says bloggers are news-lite."

Details is a fashion magazine. Nobody's reading it for hard news.

Graham then complains that the Details article in question, on a definition of masculinity as defined by Obama, features "bold assertion and zero research." But isn't that pretty much how the MRC operates?

Meanwhile, on the subject of Graham, Media Matters' Jamison Foser catches him trying to build a left-wing conspiracy out of the Obamas' failure to choose a church home in Washington (even though President Bush didn't have one either).

Posted by Terry K. at 10:45 AM EDT
Newsmax Not Willing to Give Franken Credit for Win
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax published numerous false and misleading claims about the post-election battle between Al Franken and Norm Coleman -- all of it designed to make Franken and his supporters look bad. Now that the contest is finally over with Coleman conceding defeat following a Minnesota Supreme Court decision, Newsmax isn't taking it as graciously as Coleman did.

A July 1 Newsmax article by Dave Eberhart asserts that "the sting of controversy has not lifted entirely from the field," uncritically quoting Michael Thielen the Republican National Lawyers Association as saying Franken "owes his victory to being selected by a Secretary of State instead of being chosen by the voters," adding:

"Coleman was defeated in November 2006 when the George Soros-backed Secretary of State Project poured money into [replacing] a competent secretary of state with an inexperienced political hack."

"This political hack, Mark Ritchie," he adds, "disenfranchised military voters, treated people differently based on the county they lived, and even ignored the attorney general’s opinion of absentee ballots all in his effort to deliver the Senate seat to Franken."

Eberhart failed to note that the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled unanimously in rejecting such arguments:

1. Appellants did not establish that, by requiring proof that statutory absentee voting standards were satisfied before counting a rejected absentee ballot, the trial court‟s decision constituted a post-election change in standards that violates substantive due process.

2. Appellants did not prove that either the trial court or local election officials violated the constitutional guarantee of equal protection.  

3. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it excluded additional evidence.  

4. Inspection of ballots under Minn. Stat. § 209.06 (2008) is available only on a showing that the requesting party cannot properly be prepared for trial without an inspection.  Because appellants made no such showing here, the trial court did not err in denying inspection.

5. The trial court did not err when it included in the final election tally the election day returns of a precinct in which some ballots were lost before the manual recount.

Eberhart goes out of his way to avoid giving any credit to Franken for his victory; he quotes others who claimed that Coleman presented a flawed case and a professor who claimed that "Franken was lucky ... and Coleman was unlucky."

Posted by Terry K. at 8:41 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 2, 2009 8:47 AM EDT
Hilmar von Campe, Liar
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Hilmar von Campe -- the self-proclaimed former Nazi who's using Nazi tactics against Barack Obama -- began his July 1 WorldNetDaily column by claiming that President Obama said in his June 3 speech in Cairo that "Israel has been depriving the Palestinians of their homeland for 60 years."

Von Campe is lying -- Obama said no such thing. That direct quote does not exist.

Obama did say that "On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people -- Muslims and Christians -- have suffered in pursuit of a homeland.  For more than 60 years they've endured the pain of dislocation." Even if von Campe paraphrased that to claim that Obama said "Israel has been depriving the Palestinians of their homeland for 60 years," he would still be lying.

Von Campe then bases the rest of his column on that opening lie, baselessly asserting that "Obama doesn't seem to know the history of the area he talks about nor visited Israel."

We've written von Campe to ask for a full retraction and public apology to Obama. We'll see what happens.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 2, 2009 12:16 AM EDT
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Topic: NewsBusters
Media Matters details the cozy relationship between NewsBusters and the Fox Nation website: "as of 10:30 a.m. ET on June 30, six of the 13 stories that the Fox Nation was promoting on its front-page 'Media' section came from NewsBusters."

Posted by Terry K. at 2:40 PM EDT
Your Molotov Mitchell Smear Video of the Day
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Molotov Mitchell opens his July 1 WorldNetDaily video in his usual Obama-smearing way:

A lot of people ask me, "Molotov, how do you think we ended up in this crisis?" How did we elect a Congress full of anti-American socialists? How did we elect Barack Hussein Obama, the guy from Reverend Wright's church, the guy who's systematically destroying our economy and dropping charges against Muslim terrorists -- a guy who, I might add, refuses to unseal his citizenship records?

Mitchell goes on to attack pastors for not being as right-wing as he is, bashing Joel Osteen (a WND target) and asking, "When Notre Dame was defiling its own name by honoring 'resident' Obama, why didn't the cardinals step in and put a stop to it?"

Mitchell concludes: "America will not survive if the church doesn't take a stand. Jesus never ran from controversy. So if you pastor or priest does, I suggest you leave. My wife and I had to do it. Leave and find a church where the leadership isn't afraid to take a stand for what is right."

Remember, Mitchell has said that he embraces "sexual purity" through "the abolition of homosexuality" as well as lamenting "the lost value of extremism." Makes you wonder about what kind of church Mitchell attends (he is, after all, a self-admitted Christian Zealot) -- and whether he will go all James von Brunn on us sometime in the future in order to fulfill his "abolition of homosexuality" and "lost value of extremism" mandates.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:03 PM EDT
Examiner Columnist: Sanford Just As Patriotic As Fellow Adulterers FDR, JFK
Topic: Washington Examiner

The award for the most bizarre defense of Mark Sanford's affair comes from Noemie Emery, who in a July 1 Washington Examiner column declares that Sanford is just like Alexander Hamilton, FDR and JFK in that history shows that leaders who cheat on their wives can still be good Americans:

Another thing to remember in these situations is that snap judgments made at a distance can have little basis in fact. Is it true a man's character is all of a piece, and one who breaks vows to his wife will also break vows to his country? Think again.

Of course, Sanford's patriotism isn't the issue -- it's that he abandoned the state he was supposed to be leading for five days to fly to Argentina to be with his mistress without letting anyone know where he was.

UPDATE: Emery also makes this observation:

Unhappy families are not alike, and neither are those who have made them unhappy: Gary Hart was a flake, Bill Clinton a delayed/prolonged adolescent, Eliot Spitzer a creep; Jim McGreevey and Larry Craig even creepier.

So homosexuality, suspected or actual, is "creepier" than procuring prostitutes?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:47 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 12:08 PM EDT
Aaron Klein Labeling Aversion Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've long documented Aaron Klein's aversion to labeling right-wingers as right-wingers. That aversion shines through once more in a June 30 WorldNetDaily article.

In it, Klein asserts that Israel's Kadima party "is considered a "centrist" party politically, although in reality its politics are leftist." He then states that Kadima "supports a Palestinian state and under Prime Minister Ehud Olmert engaged in negotiations with the Palestinians that reportedly included the willingness to relinquish sections of Jerusalem and 94 percent of the West Bank." But he doesn't explain why such a stand is "leftist."

By contrast, Klein states that the Likud Party "states it stands against giving up Jerusalem. Likud officials also say they are against halting Jewish construction in the strategic West Bank." If Likud supports the opposite of what Kadima does, then that means Likud must be the opposite of Kadima's as well -- that is, right-wing. But Klein never states Likud's political orientation -- the words "right-wing" or "conservative" appear nowhere in his article.

The article's central claim is the kind of hollow attack thatKlein has been peddling lately. Klein purports to quote "top minister in the Israeli government"as saying that "It seems there is a coordinated assault between the U.S. and some European countries to remove Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and his party and to replace them with the Kadima party."But the minister is anonymous ("due to possible political fallout from his comments," Klein claims) and, by Klein's own admission, "does not have any proof of possible U.S.-European collusion to influence the composition of the Israeli government."

In keeping with the Likud labeling aversion, Klein also curiously fails to even mention the name of the party Lieberman belongs to (Yisrael Beiteinu), let alone its political orientation (right-wing).

WND's headline writers, however, betrayed Klein's aversion. The article's subhead reads: "Top minister claims aim is to replace right-wing coalition in Jerusalem."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:25 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 12:37 PM EDT
MRC Ignores Full Story of 'Suppressed' Report
Topic: Media Research Center

Various Media Research Center outlets have touted claims that the Environmental Protection Agency suppressed a report by an EPA researcher that criticized the idea of global warming. But these outlets aren't telling the whole story.

A June 30 article by Christopher Neefus repeats the claims made by Alan Carlin, whom he describes only as a "career professional" -- that "raised questions about the validity of the agency's conclusions that carbon emissions are a cause of global warming and a danger to human health." But Carlin has no demonstrated expertise in climate science -- indeed, he doesn't appear to be a scientist. According to his bio, he holds degrees in physics and economics.

Neefus also uncritically repeats a claim from Carlin's report that  "Global temperatures have declined for 11 straight years." That's false -- annual global average temperatures have both risen and fallen over the past 11 years, and most climate scientists not on the take from oil companies reject the idea that those temperatures are any indication that global warming is slowing or does not exist.

Neefus' bias is evident in the way his article was structured -- the EPA was not permitted to respond to the claim until the final four paragraphs of his 36-paragraph article.

NewsBusters has also been enthusiastic about promoting Carlin's claims. Noel Sheppard, in a June 28 post, copied part of a article on Carlin -- but not the part where the EPA stated that "Claims that this individual’s opinions were not considered or studied are entirely false."

A June 30 NewsBusters post by Sam Theodosopoulos similarly treated Carlin as trustworthy by failing to note that the EPA disputes Carlin's version of events.

UPDATE: Also missing from these MRC reports is a critique of Carlin's study from an actual climatologist:

One can see a number of basic flaws here; the complete lack of appreciation of the importance of natural variability on short time scales, the common but erroneous belief that any attribution of past climate change to solar or other forcing means that CO2 has no radiative effect, and a hopeless lack of familiarity of the basic science of detection and attribution.


So in summary, what we have is a ragbag collection of un-peer reviewed web pages, an unhealthy dose of sunstroke, a dash of astrology and more cherries than you can poke a cocktail stick at. 

Meanwhile, Carlin himself tells TPM that he put together the report in just four days and that "I didn't have time to fix all the problems -- and they still aren't fixed."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:55 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 11:21 AM EDT
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Ruddy's Revisionist Take on 2008 Election
Topic: Newsmax

In a fawning June 28 Newsmax profile of John McCain ("John McCain is back — and he's in a fighting mood! The Arizona senator looked even younger and fitter than during his recent presidential campaign when I caught him last week on C-SPAN"), Christopher Ruddy offers up a revisionist view of the 2008 presidential campaign that leaves out certain inconvenient facts.

Ruddy writes:

In September, the McCain-Palin ticket was narrowly ahead in the polls. Then the roof caved in. The Bush administration announced that the entire U.S. and global economy was on the verge of collapsing. Bush requested a $1 trillion blank check to bail out the banks. McCain's campaign was doomed.

In blaming Bush for McCain's defeat, Ruddy fails to note McCain's own actions regarding the financial crisis. He first reacted by asserting that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong" -- a dubious claim that his later redefinition of "fundamentals" didn't improve -- then suspended his campaign to return to Washington and deal with the crisis. That move that backfired when 1) McCain made no apparent contribution to solving it, and 2) McCain bailed out on a scheduled appearance with David Letterman in announcing his campaign suspension, only to appear with Katie Couric at the time he told Letterman he was heading to the airport to go to Washington, which resulted in days of mockery by Letterman. (Plus, his campaign wasn't exactly suspended.)

Ruddy then asserted: "Despite carrying George W. Bush’s political baggage and unpopularity, McCain did better than expected — Barack Obama won 52.9 percent of the vote rather than the landslide numbers many had predicted." That comports with Newsmax's previous attempts to downplay the meaning and magnitude of Obama's victory; by contrast, when President Bush won re-election in 2004 with 51 percent of the vote, Ruddy asserted that "the American people voted decisively to re-elect President Bush."

Posted by Terry K. at 3:08 PM EDT
AIM Sneers At Gay Event In White House
Topic: Accuracy in Media

In a June 30 Accuracy in Media blog post, Don Irvine noted a report on President Obama hosting "the first ever Pride month celebration at the White House," which he claimed was an attempt "to repair relations with gays and lesbians." Irvine then sneeringly added: "Maybe next he can repaint the White House a nice shade of pink and hang the rainbow flag in front tos how his commitment to the gay cause."

Remember that AIM employs Cliff Kincaid, who thinks homosexuals should be "condemned just as tobacco companies are condemned for trying to get them to smoke" and is appalled that Rachel Maddow, "a lesbian with hair so short that she looks like a man," is even allowed on TV, let alone have her own show. so it appears that AIM's hostility to homosexuality comes straight from the top.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:30 AM EDT

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