Over the past week, religious blogger Richard Bartholomew has done an outstanding job of shooting down numerous claims published by WorldNetDaily:
He dismantled WND columnist Janet Porter's fearmongering that the government will force all Americans to get swine flu vaccines and will send those who refuse to one of the internment camps the National Guard was seeking employees for (another bogus conspiracy Porter and others at WND bought into).
He called out WND for a misleading headline suggesting that the baptism of Barack Obama's mother was somehow illegitimate when, in fact, the baptism in question is an unauthorized one performed in her name by the Mormon Church long after her death.
He demolished another example of Joel Richardson's questional biblical scholarship. Richardson had claimed that the army that destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem was actually overwhelmingly comprised of Middle Eastern peoples, not Romans or Europeans, insisting that "the historical evidence is overwhelming." As Bartholomew points out, Richardson doesn't do any actual research on the issue but, rather, "guides us through some of the primary sources and recent secondary literature on the subject. And even here Richardson fails to provide page numbers and his quotes are dubious."Bartholomew adds that such a claim "is part of the Christian Zionist fantasy of an essentialised eternal conflict between east and west, which today pits the USA and Israel against Muslims."
Bartholomew has some insightful writing on religious extremism of all stripes.
Sheppard Discredits Himself In Two Paragraphs Topic: NewsBusters
Noel Sheppard writes in an Aug. 23 NewsBusters post:
On August 5, Congressman Brian Baird (D-Wash.) likened recent town hall meeting protesters to Nazis:
"What we're seeing right now is close to Brown Shirt tactics. I mean that very seriously."
In the space of two paragraphs, Sheppard has just discredited his own post. As he proves, Baird did not "liken recent town hall meeting protesters to Nazis"; he likened the protesters' tactics to those of Nazis.
Is Sheppard really unable to tell the difference between criticizing a person and criticizing aperson's tactics? Or is he just feigning ignorance in order to throw up a cheap, dirty attack post?
An Aug. 22 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn details how Michael Savage's website "was forced to shut down for nearly an hour" due to a "computer hacker, who had snuck into the webpage's server." Zahn added, "The website's repair crew told WND the hacker had broken in through a feedback portal, requiring the site to be shut down before any further damage was done."
What Zahn doesn't report: Savage's website is hosted by WND. That's a conflict of interest that should have been disclosed, but WND frequentlyviolates journalistic ethics by failing to offer such disclosure.
Zahn also lists a number of people who appear with Savage on a list of people banned from Britain. Conspicuously absent from Zahn's list is Mike Guzovsky, aka Yekutiel Ben Yaacov, a one-time source for WND reporter Aaron Klein who is a sympathizer of the outlawed far-right Kach/Kahane Chai movement in Israel. WND whitewashed Guzovsky's identity, changing the description of him from a "extremist" to a "nationalist," and Klein himself has responded by touting Guzofsky as merely a patriotic Jew who leads "workshops to teach self-defense to Jews" and fails to acknowledge Kahane's violent history or his condoning of fellow Kahanist Baruch Goldstein's 1994 massacre of 29 Arabs at Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs.
Indeed, WND has not mentioned Guzovsky's name, let alone his placement on that list, since May 16, even though WND has done numerous articles on Savage's ban that reference other members of the list.
Mooney Misleads in Bashing Al Gore Topic: NewsBusters
In an Aug. 21 NewsBusters post, Kevin Mooney touts a new "documentary" purporting to claim that "Scientifically unsound claims about global warming are being used to seduce young students and to cajole lawmakers into accepting the legitimacy of regulatory schemes that restrict the use of fossils fuels." Mooney writes:
Although the British High Court recently ruled in favor of parents who objected to the distribution of Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth” in the school system, its message of pending man-made climate catastrophe continues to hold sway with students who are interviewed in“Not Evil, Just Wrong."
John Day, the lawyer for British parents who sued the British Department of Education over Gore’s film, discusses the court ruling in the film and compares actual scientific estimates of climate change contained in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) with the assertions made in “An Inconvenient Truth.”
“The judge identified nine aspects of `An Inconvenient Truth,’ nine core errors, where Al Gore either misstated the IPCC or prejudicially exaggerated what they found,” Day said. “For example in relation to the sea level rises which is perhaps the starkest error in Al Gore's film arguably. Al Gore is giving an impression that the sea level is going to rise by 20 feet in a very near future. The IPCC talks about 20 feet sea level rises over millennia, over thousands of years, thousands and thousands of years. And sea level rises by a matter of inches by the end of the century. Now that is a very disturbing misstatement of the science.”
Mooney fails to mention that, as we've detailed, the judge also said many of the claims made by the film were fully backed up by the weight of science. He identified “four main scientific hypotheses, each of which is very well supported by research published in respected, peer-reviewed journals and accords with the latest conclusions of the IPCC.”
Further, Gore never claimed that "the sea level is going to rise by 20 feet in a very near future." What he did say is that there would be a 20-foot rise in sea levels if the Greenland or West Antarctic ice sheets were to melt completely or collapse at an indefinite point in the future.
Obama-Nazi-Sauron Reference of the Day Topic: WorldNetDaily
For example, take Gandalf's admonition to Frodo: "Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again." Just like Gandalf had to wage constant battles with the forces of evil in his day – Sauron, the equivalent of Satan, Saruman, a corrupt puppet of Sauron, the former mentor of Gandalf, and the legions of Sauron's foot soldiers, useful idiots Tolkien calls Orcs – so do we battle the fascist tactics of President Barack Obama in modern times.
Gandalf just as easily could have been discussing the decline of Western Civilization and America in the Age of Obama.
It amazes me that just 20 years after the great Ronald Reagan brought peace, economic stability and record prosperity to the United States as the tyrannical evil empire of Soviet communism began to crumple throughout the world, this diminutive Marxist professor, Barack Obama, is not only systematically deconstructing the fabled "Reagan Revolution" brick by brick, policy by policy, but he has arrogantly proclaimed FDR's "New Deal Part 2." Recall that it was these unconstitutional programs like Social Security, WPA and AFDC that first addicted Americans to the destructive narcotic of socialism as it plunged the United States, Europe and most of the civilized world into a self-destructive love affair with the welfare state.
Frodo replied to Gandalf: I wish it need not have happened in my time. Frodo is like most Americans today – good, hard-working people who want to believe that their president will not willfully lie to them, yet are they so willfully naïve to believe that a government that will soon control their entire lives from cradle to grave will not decide who lives and who dies? That's delusional thinking.
The Jewish people believed this Big Lie 80 years ago, and Hitler took their gold teeth from their mouths, cut the hair from their heads and made soap and lampshades out of their flesh for profit!
Tapscott Claims Beck Is Being Slandered, But Doesn't Say How Topic: Washington Examiner
Mark Tapscott runs to the defense of Glenn Beck, sort of, in his Aug. 20 Washington Examiner column. While Tapscott says he has "no idea" wether Beck is correct in attacking President Obama as a "racist" with "an abiding hatred of white people," he is nonetheless certain that Beck is the victim of "a vicious, hypocritical campaign to slander him" led by Color of Change, which is leading a advertiser boycott against Beck's Fox News show. Tapscott dismisses Color of Change as "the Potemkin creation of a former MoveOn.org organizer and his three cohorts."
While Tapscott insists that Beck is being slandered, he offers no evidence of what exactly the "slander" is. Yet Tapscott himself is not afraid of slandering people, having once declared that Joe Biden's use of "Jesus Christ" as an expletive was "hate speech" -- despite never providing his readers the full context in which Biden used the exclamation so readers could judge for themselves.
Following in the footsteps of her similarly one-sided article the day before, an Aug. 20 CNSNews.com article by Penny Starr quotes only "conservative analysts" claiming that because an amendment was rejected to the health care reform package that explicitly sets up a "verification provision" to excluse illegal immigrants from taking advantage of public health care, the bill "s and other non-citizens to receive medical services paid for by taxpayers."
As before, no dissenting view is presented. One dissenting view that Starr could have provided but apparently chose not to is that of Rep. Lloyd Doggett, who claims that the amendment is not necessary because the bill prevents anyone in this country illegally from gaining federal help for premiums, just as current law prevents those people from gaining Medicaid and other medical coverage.
CNS, by the way, still claims that it "endeavors to fairly present all legitimate sides of a story." But Starr has failed to do that for the second day in a row.
WND Hiding Facts In Conversion Case Topic: WorldNetDaily
How do we know there's a high likelihood Chelsea Schilling, in an Aug. 20 WorldNetDaily article, is hiding facts in the case of Fathima Rifqa Bary, the 17-year-old who ran away from home claiming her parents plan to kill her because she converted from Islam to Christianity? Schilling cites blogger (and Newsmax columnist) Pamela Geller, who we'vedocumented hiding facts about the case.
And indeed, Schilling does exactly that. She reports that Bary's father called the pastor to whom Bary fled, Blake Lorenze and his Global Revolution Church, "a cult group who kidnapped my daughter and took her away." But she ignores the evidence that suggests cult-likebehavior on the part of Lorenz: his claim, as reported by Richard Bartholomew, that he receives special personal messages from God about the imminent end of the world.
While Schilling reports that an Ohio police officer who investigated the case told the press that Rifqa's father "comes across to me as a loving, caring, worried father about the whereabouts and the health of his daughter," she adds that a group called International Christian Concern (an anti-persecution group) claimed that "a source who spoke with the same investigating officer said the officer indicated earlier that he has spoken with 20 different people who warned him that the girl's life was in danger."
The ICC press release on Bary makes the same anonymous, unsubstantiated claim, citing only an unnamed "ICC source." We're guessing the "source" is taking the officer's comments out of context; ICC must reveal more information in order for its claim to be treated as credible.
Given WND's recent history of embracing anonymous claims, it's no surprise that Schilling would fall in line as well.
WJC Redefines 'Running the Ad' Topic: Western Journalism Center
The other day, we pointed out that a Western Journalism Center video claiming that Rachel Maddow's statement on "Meet the Press" that MoveOn.org never ran an ad comparing President Bush to Adolf Hitler was a lie because the ad in question was not commissioned by MoveOn but, rather, a submission to a 2004 MoveOn contest that was taken down after controversy arose about it and never ran anywhere as a paid ad.
The WJC has now responded by calling us liars, accusing us of "splitting hairs" and asserting that it "never claimed the ad was run on commercial T.V. We consider posting the ad on its website to constitute 'running the ad.' "
So a submission to a contest that was (briefly) posted on a website is the exact same thing as buying airtime for it on commercial TV? Interesting redefinition of "running the ad."
That's not "splitting hairs" -- that's comparing apples and oranges.
Further, the WJC video remains a work of lying by omission: It presents the Bush-Hitler video but at no point does it explain that the ad was a contest submission, never ran as a paid ad, and that MoveOn itself said that "[w]e do not support the sentiment" in it. The WJC post accusing us of being liars doesn't mention that either.
The WJC should try telling the full truth instead of redefining words to fit previous lies.
NewsReal Condemns One 'Anti-Gay Slur,' Endorses Another Topic: Horowitz
An Aug. 20 NewsReal post by "FrontPageMgEd" -- presumably, Jacob Laksin -- declared offense at Chris Matthews' comment that Tom DeLay, who was showing Matthews the high-heeled shoe he will wear in his upcoming stint on "Dancing With the Stars," would be "a little light in that shoe," calling it an "anti-gay slur" and "a Fifties-era phrase coined to mock homosexuals." Laksin added: "Had these words been spoken by Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, or any townhall protester in the country, the left-wing blogosphere would be on fire, Media Matters would have sent out a blast FAX, GLAAD would have called a boycott, and it would be the lead story on every program in MSNBC prime time."
But a day earlier, Limbaugh did make an anti-gay slur -- and NewsReal endorsed it.
In an Aug. 19 post -- more accurately, the post immediately previous to Laksin's -- David Swindle responded to Limbaugh's statement that gay congressman Barney Frank "spends most of his time living around Uranus":
Confession: I laughed when I heard it. Sure, it’s a cheap shot. Yeah, it’s the kind of thing we learned in third grade. And yes, it’s slightly homophobic. But funny is funny. When it comes to humor I don’t care from which ideology a joke emerges. If it makes me laugh then it’s acceptable.
So an anti-gay slur is OK as long as it makes a conservative laugh?
Also unmentioned by Laksin is that, despite his attack on Matthews as a man of "the Left," Matthews and DeLay are apparently close enough that DeLay will send scoops Matthews' way. That suggests Matthews' remark was more about jesting between friends than the malice endemic in Limbaugh's slur of Frank.
Molotov Rails Against Public Schools Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has long despised public education, and that hate shows up again in Molotov Mitchell's Aug. 19 video.
As per usual, Mitchell is long on hate and short on insight. After declaring that "public school teachers are killing America,"Mitchell notes that Finland is rated at or near the top in math and science while the U.S. isn't in the top 25. The reason for this, he declares, is "vouchers. Finnish parents get tax credits so they get to send their kids to whatever school they want, public or private."
But there are other explanations that Mitchell fails to mention. For instance, the Toronto Globe & Mail reports:
Finnish children do not begin primary school until they are seven years old. But from the age of eight months, all children have access to free, full-day daycare and kindergarten. Finland has had universal access to daycare in place since 1990, and of all preschool since 1996.
Primary-school teachers all have master's degrees, and the profession is one of the most revered in Finnish society.
Students and teachers receive a free hot meal daily. Classrooms and hallways are so clean many students walk around in their stocking feet. There is only a minimal amount of homework, and students call teachers by their first names, says George Malaty, a professor of education at the University of Joensuu in Finland.
"There is a very informal relationship between teachers and students," Prof. Malaty says. "The children enjoy the socializing, the hot meal, it's a rich experience for them. School isn't only to prepare for the future. It's their life and they must have a good day every day."
By contrast, Mitchell is content, and indeed eager, to further denigrate public school teachers. To them, he claims, "unless you're talking about teen abortions without "parental consent, choice is a dirty word."
Finally, Michell asserts that "the public education system cannot be reformed" because "the goal was never education, it was always about indoctrination. And that's why our kids know everything about sex and nothing about history."
But isn't homeschooling a form of indoctrnation and inculcation as well? Mitchell doesn't seem offended by that.
We've previously noted that a Aug. 19 CNSNews.com article by Christopher Neefus failed to note the Lewin Group's links to a private insurer, throwing doubt on the article's claim that the organziation is "independent." But there's something else worth noting about the article as well.
The article was ostensibly about a "liberal Yale scholar" claiming that "he does not see the public option as a 'Trojan Horse' that could lead the United States to single-payer, government-run health insurance." Neefus permitted a representative of an anti-reform group to rebut the claim.
Meanwhile, another Aug. 19 CNS article by Penny Starr promoted the idea that sentencing teenagers to life without parole is not "cruel and unusual punishment." By contrast to Neefus, Starr at no point quotes anyone who objects to that idea.
Interesting that CNS presents a conservative claim unchallenged but decides that a liberal claim must contain a conservative response.
NewsBusters Perpetuates Health Reform Falsehoods Topic: NewsBusters
Rusty Weiss tries to perform debunking of claims about health care reform by attempted ridicule -- instead of, you know, using facts -- in an Aug. 19 NewsBusters post.
Citing a columnist who claimed that right-wing assertions that "the plans would give health insurance coverage to illegal immigrants; would lead to a government takeover of the health system; and would use taxpayer dollars to pay for women to have abortions" are "all claims that nonpartisan fact-checkers say are untrue," responds, essentially, that they are true because right-winger said they were.
Weiss makes no attempt to actually examine the claims in question -- if, say, Michelle Malkin said it's true, then by golly it's true.
Weiss then claimed that the columnist "goes on to rip Sarah Palin as ignorant, calling her death panel comment as ‘inane' and ‘absurd'. Therefore, if you too, believe the health care plan will lead to death panels, then you are not only as inane as Sarah Palin, but you're [sic] argument is as absurd as Rush Limbaugh's." Again, Weiss makes no effort to point out that the "death panels" claim has been repeatedlydiscredited, instead relying on an appeal to authority by assuming that anything Palin and Limbaugh say must be true, even though they have no demonstrated expertise on health-care issues.
Weiss went on to complain that "the liberal mainstream ‘fact-checking' media" reports that such arguments have been debunked by "fact-checking Web sites," then asks, "who is fact-checking the fact-checkers? They have been refuted before; here, here, and here."
Weiss then attacks FactCheck.org -- even though the link under his first "here" in the previous paragraph is a NewsBusters piece that defends FactCheck's research debunking various claims about Sarah Palin. Citing a FactCheck piece he fails to link to, Weiss writes:
In regards to the illegal immigrant aspect of the poll, FactCheck.org claims this to be a false argument because ‘the House bill specifically says that no federal money would be spent on giving illegal immigrants health coverage'. This completely ignores the amendment voted on and shot down by Democrats in the House Ways and Means Committee in July, which would have prevented illegal aliens from accessing taxpayer-funded health care benefits. The measure would have enforced income, eligibility, and immigration verification screening on an estimated 9.6 million illegal immigrants.
Why doesn't Weiss link to that FactCheck report: because it appears to debunk his final claim:
Of interest: About half of illegal immigrants have health insurance now, according to the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center, which says those who lack insurance do so principally because their employers don’t offer it.
Further, Weiss is nitpicking. The question was whether the bill "would give health insurance coverage to illegal immigrants" -- which it doesn't. Further, as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported:
Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, said Heller’s measure wasn’t needed because the bill prevents anyone in this country illegally from gaining federal help for premiums, just as current law prevents those people from gaining Medicaid and other medical coverage.
"The rejected amendment would have for the first time allowed insurance companies to access sensitive personal information to shop for customers and for other commercial purposes, while avoiding any responsibility to protect individual privacy or provide redress for errors as currently required of government agencies," said Doggett, the only Texas Democrat on the committee.
Weiss doesn't explain why such a violation of privacy -- which conservatives normally oppose -- is permissible in the pursuit of keeping illegal immigrants from getting public health insurance.
Our dialogue with David Swindle at David Horowitz's Newsreal blog continues in an Aug. 13 post by Swindle, who reports Horowitz's response to us:
Treating all black people like potential predators is racist and we’re opposed to that. First look at the statistics of how many traffic stops for broken tail lights turn up criminals and then ask yourself whether the inconvenience isn’t worth it. Because I have an artificial hip I get searched every time I take a flight (which is often). That’s a greater inconvenience than having your car searched because you didn’t bother to fix your tail light. Now consider how many black citizens have been robbed, raped, murdered and become addicted to drugs because of leftists who oppose these simple and reasonable measures the police use to stop crime.
Horowitz is making some baseless blanket assertions there. First, why the assumption that any vehicle with a non-functional taillight is that way because the driver "didn't bother" to fix it? Second, why the assumption that "leftists who oppose ... simple and reasonable measures" are to blame for crime? Third, where is it written that getting stopped for a broken tail light equals automatically "having your car searched"?
First, of course, the crew member from Glenn Beck’s show who relayed the alleged incident of racial profiling isn’t going to mention if there was anything else about him that might make him fit the profile of a potential drug dealer. What does he know about offender profiling? Certainly not as much as the cop who stopped him, who assessed the situation and saw clues of possible criminal wrongdoing beyond a busted tail light.
But the fact of the matter is that in this case, neither Krepel nor Horowitz and myself know what happened. We weren’t there, we can only guess. And it’s here where the subject of ideology emerges. How do we make our guess at what happened? Why do Horowitz and I tend to lean more heavily toward the idea that the cop was just doing his job? Why does Krepel see a potential racist?
True, we are arguing about a incident about which we know very little, only the limited information the Beck crew member related during the Horowitz interview. But Swindle leaves out one important component: the crew member thought that the search was unwarranted.
And this is where Horowitz's analogy about getting extra attention from airport security because of his artificial hip breaks down. Horowitz's inconvenience mainly applies in one specific situation: when he's boarding a plane. He can prepare for that eventuality and build time into his schedule to allow for it. The crew member, on the other hand, does not know what made the police officer search his car, and thus does not know what, if anything, he can do to lessen the suspicion. Indeed, the only possible contributing factor we're aware of is that he's black.
Further, I find it interesting that Horowitz publications such as NewsReal and FrontPageMag are so dedicated these days to denigrating the authority of elected officials whose politics they don't disagree with, yet offer deference to certain other authoritarian figures even if their motivation is in question, becuase they are "just doing their job." That's not a excuse Horowitz and Swindle would likely let any Obama administration official get away with.
Finally, Swindle writes:
So I return to Krepel with the question posed in my headline, which seems to be our primary fundamental disagreement: Is your average cop society’s sentinel or is he a racist authoritarian? Is racism within the law-enforcement community a systematic problem, or are there just a few bad apples? And if your answer is the latter, then why would you make the assumption that Beck’s crew member was likely the victim of one of those few?
In other words, which ideological approach is ultimately more accurate and more useful in 2009?
Why must it be either/or? I believe that the vast majority of police are doing the best job they can. I suspect that overt racism does not exist and is frowned upon within the ranks, and that any racism that does exist is by and large not consciously done and limited to situations such as what could be described as racial profiling.
I do, however, reserve the right to question the authority of anyone, law enforcement included, who hasn't earned it. And I don't have to resort to political ideology in the process.