NewsBusters Chooses Tunnel Vision, Beck's Fearmongering Over Facts Topic: NewsBusters
An Aug. 27 NewsBusters post by "Mithridate Ombud" echoes his employer's tunnel vision on blaming "liberal bias" on every media problem by suggesting that newspaper advertising has declined because the publications "have spoon fed the progressive movement to the United States for the last several decades."
"Ombud" adds: "The people have spoken and if newspapers don't want to ask the hard questions we don't want the product. Online or off." That "hard questions" link goes to a FoxNews.com article by Glenn Beck listing questions that need to be asked "with boldness." The most recent entry at the time of "Ombud's" post is "Day 4," taken from his Fox News show that day in which he boldly fearmongers about the "civilian national security force" President Obama wants to create:
• Why do we need a civilian force?
• Who is posing a threat to us?
• Who will this "force" be made up of?
• Who is the real enemy?
• Does the president know of a coming event? If not, who builds an army against an unrecognized enemy?
• Why won't the media get off their butts and look into these radicals in the White House? And into this civilian army?
If "Ombud" had bothered to look outside the right-wing media sphere for his information, he/she would know that Beck's fearmongering about a "civilian army" has been discredited.
WND Dares Not Call It Indoctrination Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Aug. 28 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh takes the side of the right-wing Alliance Defense Fund -- indeed, Unruh's article is in large part a rewrite of an ADF press release -- in telling the story of an ADF client, a homeschooled 11-year-old child who has been ordered to attend public school as part of a family court case involving her divorced parents.
The girl's mother homeschools the child, and the father believes that homeschooling "prevented adequate socialization for [the child] with other children of her age." But what the ADF and Unruh -- who, as we've noted, homeschools his children and has demonstrated such pro-homeschool, anti-public education bias that he portrays any critic of homeschooling as Nazis -- are really interested in is the father's belief that "exposure to other points ot view will decrease [the child's] rigid adherence to her mother's religious beliefs, and increase her ability to get along with others and to function in a world which requires some element of independent thinking and tolerance for different points of view."
ALso of interest to Unruh and the ADF is the finding of the child's guardian ad litem that the child "appeared to reflect her mother's rigidity on questions of faith" and that the child "would be best served by exposure to different points of view at a time in her lift when she must begin to critically evaluate multiple systems of belief and behavior and cooperation in order to select, as a young adult, which of those systems will best suit her own needs."
What's so objectionable to exposing children to different points of view? As Unruh quotes the ADF as saying, "It is a parent's constitutionally protected right to train up their children in the religious beliefs that they hold. It is not up to the court to suggest that a 10-year-old should be 'exposed' to other religious views contrary to the faith traditions of her parents."
But there's another issue here. WND has long railed against what it calls "indoctrination" in public schools -- for instance, in a 2006 article, WND described as "sexual indoctrination" a plan in California that would prevented any school teaching materials or activities from "reflecting adversely" upon homosexuals, bisexuals or transgenders.
And what is a child who rigidly adheres to a parent's religious beliefs but an indoctrinated child? Isn't all indoctrination bad, wherever it happens?
As this case illustrates, indoctrination goes on all the time in homeschooling -- but WND will never call it that, because its employees would have to admit that this what they are doing to their own children.
For WND, apparently, identifying "indoctrination" depends on who's doing the indoctrinating.
Wash. Post Scooped Both Goldberg And Kincaid Topic: Accuracy in Media
The other day, Bernard Goldberg made a big deal about discovering that former "60 Minutes" producer Mary Mapes, who was in charge of the notorious 2004 report on President Bush's National Guard service that eventually got her fired and forced Dan Rather to retire from CBS, knew that Bush had volunteered to serve as a pilot in Vietnam but did not put that in her report.
Cliff Kincaid is not happy about this. He writes in an Aug. 26 Accuracy in Media column:
Sorry Bernie. Your "scoop" is old news. It's no "exclusive." Your Deep Throat is pulling your leg. AIM had the story four years and seven months ago and everyone knows it.
Indeed, it looks suspiciously like Goldberg's secret "source" simply had access to the AIM archives, even if Goldberg did not. It's too bad that Goldberg failed to acknowledge on the air that we had the story four years and seven months before he did. Of course, to make such an admission would make Goldberg look like a Johnny-come-lately-more than four years after the fact-to an important story.
Well, it seems Kincaid is taking a little too much credit. As David Neiwert at Crooks and Liars details, the fact that Bush had volunteered to serve in Vietnam was reported by the Washington Post as early as 1999. While this may be, as Goldberg said, a "crucial fact," it isn't the way Goldberg and Kincaid think it is. Neiwert points out that the 1999 Post report notes that "there was no chance Bush's unit would be ordered overseas" because the plane Bush was trained to fly was being retired by the military:
In other words, if Bush actually did volunteer for Vietnam duty, he did so secure in the knowledge there was no chance he'd actually be called upon. That is, he was talking big talk, once again, knowing full well he'd never have to back it up.
This is especially so considering what followed -- namely, that Bush wound up failing to fulfill his obligations to the Texas Air National Guard, precisely because he failed to maintain even the most basic, fundamental components if his TANG pilot's status beginning in the summer of 1972.
Indeed, there is a set of facts about Bush's service that is irrefutable: Lt. Bush did refuse an order to take a required physical, and he was suspended for "failing to perform up to standards". Moreover, the sequence of events that failure set in motion eventually ensured that Bush did not fulfill the entirety of his military obligation.
Somehow, we don't see Goldberg or Kincaid falling over themselves to address that.
On signing the 1965 Civil Rights Law, Lyndon Johnson lamented, “We [Democrats] have lost the South for a generation.” This moved Kennedy to commit perhaps his most egregious acts when he sponsored two Immigration reform bills that slammed the door on Europeans who had traditionally brought industriousness and honor to America. Instead they cleared the way for millions and millions of legal and illegal aliens from elsewhere who often bring no skills but palpable contempt for America. Kennedy is responsible for the damage they have done.
In other words: White people ("Europeans") are hard working and love America, non-white people ("from elsewhere") are lazy and hate America. That smacks of racism, does it not?
We've detailed how some conservatives seek a return to immigration laws of the early 20th century, which were largely driven by racism and eugenics. Columnist E. Ralph Hostetter, writing for CNSNews.com, has even specifically blamed Asian immigrants for "threatening America's cultural and ethnic future" because the 1965 immigration law "gave 60 percent of the newly established quota -- 170,000 new openings -- to Asians, who bring a different culture to America."
Farah Spews Hate At Ted Kennedy Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah lets his hate flag fly in his Aug. 27 WorldNetDaily column, spewing bile at Ted Kennedy:
I know there's an old adage that one shouldn't speak ill of the dead.
But I don't subscribe to the idea that when evil and foolish people die we should pretend they were something other than evil and foolish.
And Ted Kennedy was evil and foolish.
He wasn't just a politician with whom I disagreed.
He was a rotten man – a wicked man.
I know you're not hearing this from the rest of the press. I know you're not even hearing this from his worst critics. But if we can't call Ted Kennedy wicked and immoral, those terms have lost all meaning.
Farah goes on to reference "is alcohol-addled brain" and "his unfulfilled ego," and declares, "I'm not going to forget the idiotic way he characterized Ronald Reagan's brilliant initiative for strategic missile defense as 'Star Wars.'"
Richard Bartholomew details the backstory on Ron McRae, the Anabaptist minister whose questionable affidavit Jerome Corsi is relying on to support his claim that Barack Obama's grandmother claimed that he was born in Kenya. Turns out McRae is founder of something called the Street Preachers' Fellowship -- remember, WorldNetDaily justloves street preachers.
Bartholomew notes that McRae also appears to believe that the Bible endorses separation of the races and, perhaps not coincidentially, expresses even more hatred for Obama than he did in his affidavit.
An Aug. 25 NewsReal post by David Forsmark touts Jim Towey's misleading claims about a Veterans Health Administration booklet advising veterans on end-of-life care. Forsmark uncritically repeats Towey's description of the booklet as an attempt to "steer vulnerable individuals to conclude for themselves that life is not worth living."
In fact, the booklet emphasizes that "your wishes will direct future health care decisions" and presents preserving one's life "using any means possible" as an option to consider.
Forsmark also includes a transcript of Towey's appearance in which he and host Chris Wallace discuss the appearance in the VA booklet of the statement "If I'm a vegetable, pull the plug" without noting that Towey and Wallace failed to explain the full context in which the phrase appears.
Forsmark goes on to criticize VA spokesperson Tammy Duckworth for pointing out that Towey is selling his own end-of-life-choices book, thus "cast[ing] doubt on Towey’s motives and to confuse the issue about who is responsible for the work sheet being available currently."
In fact, given that Towey has attempted to get the VA to buy his booklet, Towey's motives are a legitimate issue, on top of the fact that he's misrepresenting the VA's booklet. Further, Forsmark downplays the fact that the VA booklet was available and promoted throughout President Bush's presidency.
MRC Can't Stop Misleading About Ted Kennedy Profile Topic: NewsBusters
In an Aug. 26 NewsBusters post reviewing how "journalists admired [Ted Kennedy's] policy efforts and treated him as their hero," Brent Baker writes: "Back in 2003, a Boston Globe profile forwarded: 'If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age.'"
In fact, as we've detailed, the MRC has long taken the statement, from an article written by Charles Pierce, out of context. Pierce has written that he considered the statement "a tough, but fair, shot" pointing out that the death of Kopechne "denies to him forever the moral credibility" to be president.
Baker referenced the quote again later in his post, linking to a July 18 NewsBusters post by Rich Noyes on the quote and the article from which it came. As we noted, Noyes failed to address Pierce's criticism of the MRC for taking the quote out of context.
Newsmax's Kennedy Obit Leads With Chappaquiddick Topic: Newsmax
An Aug. 26 Newsmax article by David Patten on the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy begins by stating that "retrieved the fallen banner of Camelot progressivism when assassins' bullets struck down older brothers John F. and Robert F. Kennedy in the 1960s" -- but then immediately follows with four paragraphs detailing the Chappaquiddick.
Patten was also quick to reference "Kennedy's well-earned reputation for licentious behavior" and sneered that Kennedy "passed the torch of noblesse-oblige liberalism to Barack Obama."
While the rest of Patten eventually turns somewhat balanced -- though with an emphasis on negative events in Kennedy's life -- and he even writes a few nice things about Kennedy, the factthat Patten views Chappaquiddick as the way to lead Kennedy's obit demonstrates his, and Newsmax's, bias.
This is another vile chapter in the still-young Obama presidency. Obama said he would not prosecute the great Americans who kept the country safe during the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Those heroic Americans kept this country so safe, in fact, that we felt free to elect a post-American, pro-jihad president.
One has to ask: why did this man run for president? The knee jerk reaction to such a question is that a man (or woman) runs for president because he loves America. It is becoming increasingly clear that Obama ran for president because he hates America and wants very much to indict it.
America electing an America-hater for president vanquished our moral authority.
The chaos from the anti-American presidency has not even begun.
Fasten your seat belts.
The man will never stop punishing America for electing him. We will pay with everything good and decent.
NewsBusters Commenters Quick to Dance on Kennedy's Grave Topic: NewsBusters
If took only two comments in a NewsBusters post noting the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy for NewsBusters readers to begin demonstrating a decided lack of class and sympathy:
Your father was a bootlegger- no better than Pablo Escobar, your father made a deal with the Chicago Mob thru Sam Giancana and then your equally sleazy brothers(I am not calling Mr Giacana sleazy- at least he didn't hide what he was) turned around and screwed the mob
Then worst of all you let Mary Jo die like a dog- you were never a man, just a sniveling, whinny, rich kid whi cried when he didn't get his way.
The world is a better place today
RIP Mar Jo
Stay classy, guys.
Needless to say, as a liberal, Kennedy gets no "RIP" (which even Robert Novak got) from the post's author, Tim Graham, though he conceded that "Kennedy was a historic figure in the Senate and an inspirational leader for American liberalism." Instead, he issued a warning that "We'll be watching for statements ... that don't ring true."
UPDATE: NewsBusters managing editor Ken Shepherd is using Twitter to bash Kennedy:
Kennedy also gave us Title IX, which has had mad unintended consequences, namely it's screwed numerous male collegiate athletes over royally
Molotov Tries to Discredit Snopes Topic: WorldNetDaily
How bad is the birther fight going? They're lashing out at the people who have discredited them.
In his Aug. 25 video, Molotov Mitchell follows in the footsteps of his WorldNetDaily overlords by trying to discredit urban-legend-debunking site Snopes.com, dismissing it as run by "just some guy and his wife, and neither of them have any credentials or formal training in investigative research whatsoever."
Mitchell adds: "In other words, Snopes has the credibility of a blog, like Perez Hilton's. And like Perez, they consistently attack conservatives. Basically, they're just commentators like me, with one huge difference: I don't pretend to be neutral."
At no point does Mitchell offer any evidence that Snopes has gotten any significant facts wrong -- about Obama's birth certificate or anything else -- or that Snopes "consistently attack[s] conservatives." In fact, we'd wager that Snopes' accuracy rate is much higher than Mitchell's -- orWND's or Perez Hilton's, for that matter.
Did WND Violate Copyright Law? Topic: WorldNetDaily
The Washington Independent details how WND's anti-Obama "documentary," "A Question of Eligibility," features a video made by Media Matters:
Most of the footage is taken from cable news coverage of the president’s election and first months in office. At the height of its sloppiness, the producers use, in its entirety, a video that Media Matters put together to mock Fox News coverage of the president’s first 100 days. You can spot the rip-off because the blue bars and white text that Media Matters mark the 100 days with are still on the screen. Where the liberal group meant to mock the hyperbolic rhetoric of Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and the rest of the network’s line-up, WND treats this like pages from the Gospels.
Did WND compensate Media Matters for using this video in its for-profit "documentary"? We suspect not -- WND has a pretty expansive view of what it considers "fair use" when it comes to its own appropriation of others' work, even though it's much more narrow when others use WND's work. And WND did not credit Media Matters on-screen either during the video or during the end credits.
This means that WND is attempting to profit off the work of others without obtaining permission to use that work or even offering credit to the creators -- a clear violation of copyright law. The Media Matters page on which its video resides carries a copyright notice at the bottom.
Wouldn't it be wonderfully ironic if Joseph Farah had to pay Media Matters for the unauthorized use of its Fox News clip?
Corsi Finally Coughs Up Affidavits, But Grandmother Story Remains Shaky Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've detailed how, in promulgating the apparently false claim that Barack Obama's grandmother claimed in a radio interview that Obama was born in Kenya, WorldNetDaily has repeatedly cited the existence of affidavits by the interviewer and a translator backing the claim -- but refused to publish those affidavits.
Now, an Aug. 24 WND article by Jerome Corsi links to the affidavits for the first. But in trying to bolster the case for the authenticity of the claim by Obama's grandmother, Corsi ends up demonstrating just how shaky it is.
Corsi cites only unnamed "critics" as pointing out that versions of the phone call between Anabaptist minister Ron McRae and Sarah Obama "leave out the section in which the interpreter insists she actually meant the birth took place in the U.S." -- even though people like David Wiegel at Slate are on record as debunking the claim. Nevertheless, Corsi attempts to discredit that claim by citing the affidavits of McRae and Kweli Shuhubia, a Kenyan Anabaptist minister. The affidavits were not obtained by WND, as Corsi has previously suggested, but were filed in a lawsuit by birther Philip Berg over Obama's birth certificate.
But McRae's affidavit asserts other things that are questionable and even directly contradictory to known facts, for instance asserting that "contrary to news media propagandas here in the United States, US Senator Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim and not a Christian."
McRae also repeats claims propagated by Corsi last fall, suggesting that he was a source for them: that Obama "sent his foreign policy advisor Mr. Mark Lippert, to Kenya at least three times to advise Mr. [Raila] Odinga on his campaign strategies," and that "everyone in Kenya is well aware that Senator Obama donated over one million American dollars ($1,000,000.00) to his cousin's Mr. Odinga's campaign."
We've detailed how the documents Corsi cited as supporting those claims are discredited. Further, the October 2008 Washington Times op-ed by Mark Hyman that McRae cited for the Lippert claim doesn't support what McRae says; Hyman writes only that "Obama sent his foreign policy adviser Mark Lippert to Kenya in early 2006 to coordinate his summer visit." Further, Hyman's op-ed has been criticized as being "filled with lies and innuendo."
In other words, McRae appears to be a guy who's overly eager to smear Obama and who is too anti-Obama to be trusted. Indeed, McRae stated in his affadavit that his interview was something of a "gotcha" in order to undermine Obama: "With Senator Obama being born in Kenya and not in the United States ... I felt it very important to obtain the testimony of his grandmother as a first hand witness, since it is commonly known throughout Kenya, and especially around the Kisumu area, that Sarah Obama was president when Barack Obama, Jr. was born in Kenya."
Shuhubia (which Corsi claims is "a pseudonym chosen to protect his safety") similarly claims in his affidavit that "It is common knowledge throughout the Christian and Muslim communities in Kenya" that Obama "was born in Mombosa Kenya."
Note that both McRae and Shuhubia cite "common knowledge" for their claims and not actual, substantiated facts. That's another thing that discredits these affidavits.
The "gotcha" factor of McRae's phone conversation with Sarah Obama seems even more clear with Corsi's noting of a report that she is "illiterate and doesn't know when she was born." Corsi goes on to cite another report claiming that Sarah Obama's husband was said to have been angered by the news of Barack Obama Sr.'s marriage to Stanley Ann Dunham, addding that the "Kenyan patriarch's anger over the marriage makes it even more unlikely Ann Dunham would have traveled to Kenya during her pregnancy."
Yet Corsi decides to cling to the story. Why? He cites "two members of Sarah Hussein Obama's Luo tribe who are fluent in the local Luo dialect, Swahlili and English" who allegedly "told WND that after carefully listening to the tape they believe she declared Barack Obama Jr. was born in Mombasa, Kenya, and that she was present at the birth." At no point does Corsi name who these people are, thus making this yet more anonymous sources WND has used to attack Obama.
As for the claim by "critics" that a second interpreter involved in the conversation,Vitalis Akech Ogombe, "clarified that her famous grandson was born in Hawaii, not Kenya," Corsi explains that away by quoting McRae baselessly claiming that Ogombe had "obviously been versed to counter such facts with the purported information from the American news media that Obama was born in Hawaii."
Corsi made no apparent attempt to contact Ogombe for this story.
We knew that Corsi's anti-Obama motivations are nakedly partisan. Now we know that Ron McRae's motivations are just as partisan. Instead of clearing up the issue, Corsi exposes the shaky foundations on which the grandmother story rests -- and that it cannot be considered to be reliable, let alone true.