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Tuesday, August 11, 2009
New Article: WorldNetDaily Does Not Do Journalism
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah spilled the beans -- he's an activist, not a journalist. WND's irresponsible treatment of the purported "Kenyan birth certificate" is yet another example of this. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:40 PM EDT
Meanwhile ...
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We didn't have time to get to this, but fortunately, World O' Crap did -- pointing out that Ellis Washington missed the point of another movie, this one "The Silence of the Lambs," in his Aug. 8 WorldNetDaily column that's yet another love letter to Michael Savage.

Key takeaway: "Oh, sorry, Prof, I couldn’t hear the silent lambs.  I had John Cage’s 4′33″ turned way up."

Posted by Terry K. at 2:14 PM EDT
WND Promotes Vicious Obama-Antichrist Link
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily wants the world to know how vicious it is by linking President Obama to the Antichrist.

On Aug. 10, it sent out an message to its mailing list touting Joel Richardson's hateful Aug. 5 WND column likening Obama to the Antichrist. While WND includes Richardson's disingenuous disclaimer that "Richardson is quick to point out he does not believe Obama is that future global leader," it makes sure to add that Obama's "messianic appeal and some of his policies do foreshadow the dreaded 'man of sin,' says Richardson."As we noted, Richardson is engaging in hateful deception.

The message also touts Richardson's new book, "The Islamic Antichrist," which claims that the Islamic messianic figure the Mahdi is the Antichrist. WND unironically states that "Richardson's book stands in stark contrast to most other popular prophecy books of the last 40 years," but somehow fails to note that it's likely because Richardson is wrong.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:46 PM EDT
WND Repeats Discredited Claim About ProPublica
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In an Aug. 9 attack on the Associated Press for agreeing to distribute reporting by "groups with financing from philanthropist George Soros and another far-leftist billionaire," WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein repeated a discredited attack on one of those groups, ProPublica. Klein wrote: "A report by the Capital Research Center concluded ProPublica 'churns out little more than left-wing hit pieces about Sarah Palin and blames the U.S. government for giving out too little foreign aid.'"

But as we detailed, the CRC's report on ProPublica is unbalanced, factually deficient and more about advancing a partisan agenda than actual "research." It mostly complained that ProPublica didn't slavishly repeat right-wing talking points on Palin, and it even contradicted the claim that it's a left-wing shill by stating, "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."

Klein apparently didn't read that far into the report to find that claim.

Klein also asserted that another group, the Center for Public Integrity, "churns out regular partisan pieces," adding, "One widely debunked CPI study from last year, covered extensively by the AP, claimed it found President Bush and top administration officials had issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq as 'part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.'" But Klein offers no evidence that the claim was questioned at all, let alone "widely debunked."

Klein also failed to mention that WND published a series of articles that were underwritten by CPI -- the notorious multipart 2000 series by Charles C. Thompson II and Tony Hays attempting to link the-Vice President Al Gore to all sorts of nefarious goings-on in Tennessee. Then again, WND got sued for libel over that series, and despite fighting it for seven years, WND abruptly settled the case just before it was to go to trial by admitting it had published numerous false claims about one person named in the series. That, in turn, cast shadow over the rest of the series and, by extension, the journalistic integrity (such as it is) of WND itself.

But since when has WND ever cared about telling its readers the truth?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:25 AM EDT
MRC Won't Blame Limbaugh For His Nazi Rant
Topic: Media Research Center

In an Aug. 9 Media Research Center item, Brent Baker joined Newsmax in regurgitating Rush Limbaugh's talking points by absolving Limbaugh of all responsibility for what he says.

Baker insisted that it was "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who first put Nazi comparisons into play by accusing the opponents of 'carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on health care,'" and that Limbaugh was merely "reacting" to it with a screed likening Obama and Democrats to Nazis. Baker even linked to a transcript of Limbaugh blaming Pelosi and refusing to take responsibility for his own behavior.

We now know where the MRC gets its talking points from, don't we?

Baker failed to acknowledge the truthfulness of Pelosi's claim.

Similarly, an Aug. 10 MRC item by Rich Noyes complained that Limbaugh's Nazi rant was taken "out-of-context" by NBC, which did not mention that said rant "was part of a lengthy reaction to scornful statements by Pelosi smearing anti-ObamaCare protesters at town hall meetings." Noyes later asserted that "Pelosi had triggered the exchange with such a venomous charge." But Noyes, like Baker, failed to acknowledge that Pelosi's claim is true.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:33 AM EDT
Variations On An Anonymous Theme
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've detailed how WorldNetDaily makes copious use of anonymous sources to smear President Obama. There's another way WND hurls smears without accountability: anonymous commenters.

In an Aug. 5 article dedicated to spreading the falsehood that a White House email address set up to collect reports of misinformation being spread about President Obama's health-care reform plan is a "snitch" program that collects data on people, Bob Unruh includes the following:

Bloggers and readers were livid.

Wrote one observer to WND, "In my life I never thought I’d see this happen in America. What are they going to do with the information they get?? Pure terrorism."

Added another, "Why wait for a snitch to turn your name in, when you do it yourself and save them the trouble. It only makes sense."

A third reader simply sent a link to an online history resource that cited the use of informants during the prelude to World War II.

Unruh offers no reason why these particular responses were chosen, or why they were granted anonymity. After all -- as WND editor Joseph Farah should very well know -- newspapers do not publish anonymous letters to the editor.

WND does not explain why anonymous comments, a lower grade of commentary because no one is accountable for it, should be given a privileged place in a bylined "news" story. Unless, of course, WND doesn't care about news -- or journalistic ethics -- at all.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:27 AM EDT
Monday, August 10, 2009
Farah Doesn't See That WND Deserves Birther Ridicule
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah, in his Aug. 10 column, complains that he and his fellow travelers are being ridiculed over their birther obsession.

Is a guy whose website currently features a birther claims cribbed from a supermarket tabloid really complaining about being ridiculed?

Farah doesn't seem to understand that he sets himself up for such ridicule when his website embraces unproven supermarket tabloid claims, slobbers all over incompetent lawyer Orly Taitz while hiding said incompetence from its readers, and publishes information it can't be bothered to find out if it's true before publication, the "Kenyan birth certificate" being only the latest example.

In other words, Farah and WND deserve the ridicule it receives because they act in such a clownish, unprofessional matter and embrace the fringe crazies who promote the birther story.

Farah then defends the birther movement: "It's a leaderless movement – the hardest kind to crush. And it's righteous because it is rooted in the desire for truth and upholding the Constitution."

Well, no. As we've detailed, Farah cares more about running his partisan playbook and selling trinkets than he does the Constitution -- after all, as far as he's concerned, the birth certificate is nothing more than the new Vince Foster.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:52 PM EDT
NewsBusters Lies About Pelosi-Hoyer Op-Ed
Topic: NewsBusters

An August 10 NewsBusters post offered as a "possible talking point" for the day: "Pelosi and Hoyer say speaking out is un-American!"

That is a lie. As the excerpt NewsBusters provided clearly shows, Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer said no such thing in an Aug. 10 USA Today op-ed. They stated: "Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American."

Further, NewsBusters edited out the part in which Pelosi and Hoyer wrote:

We believe it is healthy for such a historic effort to be subject to so much scrutiny and debate. 


The dialogue between elected representatives and constituents is at the heart of our democracy and plays an integral role in assuring that the legislation we write reflects the genuine needs and concerns of the people we represent.

NewsBusters needs to retract this lie.

UPDATE: Newsmax takes the same false approach in a headline that reads, "Pelosi, Hoyer: Healthcare Protests 'Un-American.'" But the Aug. 10 Associated Press article to which that headline is appended clearly states that Pelosi and Hoyer wrote that "some of the behavior of health care overhaul opponents" is un-American. Further, the original AP headline reads, "Pelosi, Hoyer: Protesters' behavior 'un-American.'"

Posted by Terry K. at 12:43 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, August 10, 2009 4:14 PM EDT
NewsBusters Heathering Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

Kathleen Parker is so not invited to P.J. Gladnick's pool party.

We've previously identified Gladnick at one of the Heathers at NewsBusters who denounce anyone to commits the offense of straying too far from conservative dogma, and conservative columnist Parker as a frequent heathering victim.

Gladnick performs the heathering deed in a Sept. 9 post assailing Parker for criticizing the right-wing disruptors of congressional town halls:

Kathleen Parker has an interesting little shtick.

Few noticed her when she was writing from a conservative point of view...until she started attacking conservatives about a year ago. Then she went whole hog and has made a lucrative new career of attacking conservatives...while still going through the motions of pretending to be conservative. 

Gladnick's main reason for kicking Parker out of his treehouse? She used the word "teabagger" to describe the protesters, which Gladnick declared to be "insulting both the townhall and tea protesters."

Gladnick concludes: "If there were truth in advertising for newspaper columns, this one would contain this disclaimer: "Kathleen Parker is not a conservative, she just plays one in the media." Meanwhile, we'll have to assume that Gladnick's answer to the immortal question "Did you have a brain tumor for breakfast?" is to the positive.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:31 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, August 10, 2009 12:03 PM EDT
WND Embraces Unsourced Tabloid Journalism
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Is WorldNetDaily proud to be named as a source by a supermarket tabloid? It appears so.

An Aug. 9 WND article touts a story in the Globe "proclaiming Barack Obama's 'official birth document' a fake and suggesting the president may actually have been born in Canada." The article adds that the Globe "also cites WND's reporting about the changing stories about the hospital in which Obama was born."

According to WND, the Globe is citing "reports by unnamed document analysts" for its claim. That fits in with the type of anonymous sourcing WND is doing a lot of lately.

As with the Kenyan birth certificate, WND has no idea of any of what the Globe has reported is true -- but is publishing it anyway. Not that WND ever cared much about journalistic standards in the first place, of course.

WND's newfound respect for tabloids is a bit of a flip -- WND editor Joseph Farah was denouncing them when the National Enquirer was reporting on Rush Limbaugh. But it's not a surprise -- as we've detailed, the ConWeb always denounces the tabloids when they report on Republicans but embrace them when they report on Democrats.

So, does this mean we can look forward to WND passing along the Globe's latest dirt on Brangelina?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:19 AM EDT
Newsmax Adds Right-Wing Extremist Writer
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax has added Pamela Geller as a "blogger" (Newsmax used to call them "columnists"). Her Newsmax bio claims at her regular blog, Atlas Shrugs, she is "bringing you the news you will not hear from the mainstream media, covering little-reported events of great import." But of course, there's no attention given to the wacky extremist views she holds.

Geller is a rabid birther -- indeed, we've detailed the falsehoods and distortions Geller peddled in one of her Newsmax columns -- er, blogs on the subject. But she has also had dalliances with European fascists and promoted the far-right British National Party. (Geller doesn't think these folks are "neofascist," apparently feeling that their anti-Islamic activism )

Newsmax's readers have already gotten a taste of Geller's rabid birtherism. Shouldn't they also be told about her dalliances with neofascists?

Posted by Terry K. at 9:04 AM EDT
MRC vs. Dear Abby
Topic: Media Research Center

The bluenoses at the Media Research Center really hate Dear Abby.

Last year, the MRC's Culture and Media Institute issued a report claiming that Dear Abby's "columns on sex reflect an unwillingness to support traditional, common-sense moral values that steer people away from destructive behavior and protect them from harmful situations. Dear Abby’s advice on sexual matters cannot be trusted." Among the pieces of evidence cted for this conclusion: "Abby never says homosexual behavior is morally wrong," and "adopts a permissive attitude toward a variety of odd sexual behaviors."

CMI repeats the criticism in a July 31 article by Matt Philbin, which concerned a letter writer who learned that the money the writer's sister has been donatingto the college funds of the writer's children came from the sister's work in adult films -- or, as Philbin put it, "the ill-gotten gains of immoral exploitation" -- and wanted to know what to do, since she didn't "want my sister's sexual exploits paying for our kids' education" but also didn't want to cause a family rift. Abby responded:

If you refuse her generosity, it will appear that you are rejecting her. Nor do I think your children should be penalized because you don't approve of Cilla's lifestyle. Your husband is being pragmatic; you are being emotional. That money has already been earned. You're not going to change your sister. You may not approve, but love her for the generous and caring aunt she is trying to be and let the money be used for something positive.

That's practical advice. But Philbin isn't interested in practical advice -- he's interested in moral superiority. Here's Abby's answer as filtered through Philbin's prudery:

If “Sister” was hoping for the easy way out, she turned to the right advice columnist. Jeanne Phillips (the “Dear Abby” writer) replied that “Sister” was being “emotional;” her husband, “pragmatic.”

“If you refuse her generosity, it will appear that you are rejecting her. Nor do I think your children should be penalized because you don't approve of Cilla's lifestyle.”

[Sigh] Don’t be such an up-tight prude. The important thing is that the money makes your life easier and your porn star sister doesn’t feel rejected.

Phillips went on: “You're not going to change your sister. You may not approve, but love her for the generous and caring aunt she is trying to be and let the money be used for something positive.”

If you really must be [shudder] judgmental, then rationalize taking the money by telling yourself it’s for a “positive” goal. Just so long as you don’t do anything to harm you sister’s self esteem.

In other words, Philbin wants the woman to blow up her family in order to feel morally superior to her sister. Philbin doesn't mention whether he wants the sister to wear a large red "P" around her neck.

Philbin's article was headlined, "Dear Abby, Is There Any 'Lifestyle' You Won't Embrace?" We have to ask Philbin: Is there any instance in which family harmony trumps moral superiority?

(Given that Philbin's fellow CMI writers have effectively condoned the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller, any moral superiority he's asserting is severely undermined as it is.)

Posted by Terry K. at 1:34 AM EDT
A 'Blood Libel' Against Birthers?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We had previously asked WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah to address the possibility, if not fact, that some of his fellow birthers are motivated by racism. Farah finally did so, in his Aug. 7 column. But he did so in a most tin-ear kind of way -- by claiming "The only evidence of racism in that election was among black voters who cast 95 percent of their ballots for Obama. The white candidate received only 51 percent of the white vote."

Needless to say, Farah refused to admit any racist motivation not only in himself but in any fellow birther or even any critic of Obama:

I guess now we're supposed to believe that in the last eight months, white Americans have reverted to their old racist ways again. Now they're trying to rid themselves of the black guy they mistakenly elected last November by coming up with an excuse.


I think the real racists are those who see only in black and white – the people who are so self-conscious about race that it explains everything for them, people who can't stop looking at race, who can never get beyond it and who hurl the most vicious invectives rather than resort to logic and reasoning.

Farah curiously ignores the spate of racist emails targeting Obama -- even some sent by law enforcement officers -- which looks like de facto evidence of racism to us. It's curious that Farah won't investigate this with the tenacity he has reserved with, say, Obama's birth certificate.

Even more curious is the headline Farah stuck on his column: "The blood libels against 'birthers.'" As Wikipedia tells us (even if Farah wouldn't approve of our using that source), "Blood libels are false and sensationalized allegations that a person or group engages in human sacrifice, often accompanied by the claim that the blood of the victims is used in various rituals and/or acts of cannibalism." They have been most notoriously used against Jews.

Is Farah saying that people are claiming that birthers engage in human sacrifice? Or are all somehow Jews? We don't get it.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:10 AM EDT
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Graham Misses the Point
Topic: NewsBusters

In an August 8 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham complains that an Associated Press story on the American Psychological Association's repudiation of "reparative therapy" to change homosexuals into heterosexuals complained not only that the article portrayed proponents of "reparative therapy" as "religious conservatives" -- even though the vast majority of them are -- but also that the article "failed to balance the story with the recent case of Kerry Pacer, the lesbian Person of the Year now living with a man."

But according to the NewsBusters post on the subject to which Graham linked, Pacer did not undergo "reparative therapy" -- in fact, it quotes Pacer as saying, "You can’t help who you fall in love with. No matter what, you have to be happy and follow your dreams and be who you are."

In other words, the question is not whether people's sexual orientation can change -- it's whether a coercive process like "reparative therapy," promulgated by people who oppose the very idea of homosexuality, should be used in doing so.

Graham also complained that the AP article didn't quote any conservatives, but had to correct the post after "more thorough Googling" uncovered another version of the story that did.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:11 AM EDT
CNS Auditions More Faux Controversies
Topic: has devoted much of this year to ginning up baseless controversies to attack President Obama. It's been holding auditions for more molehills to turn into mountains.

A July 23 article by Edwin Mora attempted to put Sen. Christopher Dodd on the spot by asking him whether money in the health care reform package would go to ACORN. But Mora offered no evidence that ACORN engages in health care-related activities.

An Aug. 3 article by Penny Starr did the same sort of ambush on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, asking her whether "a section of the Senate health-care reform bill that requires her to 'develop standards for the measurement of gender'—as opposed to simply relying on 'male' and 'female'—for use in a new federal database that will collect information about all beneficiaries of government-run or government-supported health care programs." Sebelius replied that she had "no idea" what Starr was talking about.

Turns out, neither did Starr. As Media Matters noted when Rush Limbaugh picked up on the story:

To us, it appears that CNS News and Rush are trying really hard to see things that aren't there. It seems pretty clear that the bill is simply mandating that HHS develop standards for collecting data on gender, geography, socioeconomic status, etc. That's why the language appears under a section titled: "Collection Standards." (Page 411) It's likely the case that the authors of the bill simply used "collection" and "measurement" interchangeably in a way that couldn't possibly be considered controversial unless taken completely out of context -- which is exactly what Rush and CNS News did to roguishly imply that the government is establishing new gender categories.

Starr followed up the next day with Sebelius claiming that the database "will only use the categories 'male' and 'female'—not lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender--when making entries for a person’s gender."

Another nonexistent "controversy" from which CNS managed to extract two stories. The only place there was a controversy about this was in Starr's fevered brain.

But if one molehill can't be built into a mountain, there are other molehills. Starr tried again in an Aug. 6 article, trying to whip up outragge that a city in Virginia was using stimulus money to train staff in dealing with gay and lesbian domestic violence. Starr's problem with this? "Marriage is not legal" in Virginia. Or maybe that public money should not be spent on anything regarding gay people, even (or, perhaps, especially) if it's to prevent violence against them.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:26 AM EDT

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