Bozell Misleadingly Parses Obama Speech Criticism Topic: Media Research Center
In a Sept. 8 press release, MRC chief Brent Bozell defends "parents objecting to the proposed Barack Obama Administration 'lesson plan,' which was to accompany a speech President Obama delivered today to their children," claiming that "the leftist media are attacking parents."
But that's misleading. It wasn't just the "lesson plan" right-wingers like Bozell objected to -- it's the speech itself.
As we've repeatedly detailed, the ConWeb has attacked the mere idea of Obama speaking to students -- not the "lesson plan":
Joseph Farah called the speech an attempt "to steal the minds of your children."
Rita Kramer called the speech the modern version of the "Hitler Jugend."
Dan Mangru claimed that students were having "their grades decided" by how they reacted to the speech.
Pointing out the insanity and hatred in such attacks is not "attacking parents" -- it is telling the truth. Is any attack on Obama out of bounds for Bozell?
Where was Bozell when Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush was speaking directly to students? We suspect he wasn't complaining about their "lesson plan," since that's the kind of school indoctrination he wants to see.
It's not safe to send your child to public school today.
Chances are good the indoctrination level will go from Defcon 2 to Defcon 1.
Barack Obama has already stolen your money. Today he attempts to steal the minds of your children.
In fact, as of today, it may be too late.
Why is he speaking to schoolchildren? Because he knows most adults no longer believe anything he says. Because he knows children are not discerning enough to see through his lies. Because he is attempting to find new constituents for the 2012 election, at which time fully a fourth of these helpless subjects will be of voting age.
Why is it important that you listen to him? It is not. It is important that children not listen to him.
And that's why I am urging all responsible parents to keep their children out of school today or insist your district provide alternative education plans for the time of this speech.
Children don't need to be politicized.
I know Obama's friend Bill Ayers would disagree.
Farah, by the way, doesn't identify anything he finds objectionable in Obama's speech, nor does he mention that Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush have given speeches to students without being accused by him or anyone else of "indoctrination." Then again, that appears to be the kind of indoctrination Farah believes in.
Determined not to be outdone by even Farah, WND columnist Janet Porter writes:
America demanded a rewrite of Obama's speech he is to give to our children today. The indoctrination of the captive audience in public schools was going to be subjected to helping President Obama secure his radical agenda of government take over of health care – but instead of recruiting "Obama Youth," with written pledges, that agenda has been thwarted for another more opportune time – like when people aren't watching as closely.
Of course, Porter cannot know if a previous version of Obama's speech ever existed, let alone that it was about "government take over of health care," and thus cannot credibly claim there was a "rewrite."
Is WorldNetDaily, after months of fawning over Orly Taitz, finally criticizing her? Well, yes and no -- but mostly no.
A Sept. 6 WND article by Drew Zahn notes that "Lucas Smith, the man who tried to sell an alleged Barack Obama Kenyan birth certificate on eBay, has filed court papers in a high-profile eligibility case insisting – under threat of perjury – that the Obama birth certificate in his possession is the genuine article." That case is one filed by Taitz. But Zahn curiously waits until the 11th paragraph to explain why he made a big deal about Smith filing "under the threat of perjury": "an investigation by Jerome Corsi maintains the document is a forgery."
Actually, we reported that Smith's "birth certificate" is an apparent forgery long before Corsi or anyone else at WND did.
While Zahn focuses on Smith and his apparent exposure to perjury, he says nothing about Taitz's similar exposure. After all, it's arguably an ethical violation for Taitz to file a document she knows or should know to be a forgery. Indeed, Zahn makes no mention of Taitz filing Corsi's debunking of Smith's "birth certificate."
Zahn's article marks the first time in a month that WND has quoted Taitz, since WND's embrace of another "Kenyan birth certificate" touted by Taitz went up in flames.
WND seems to be more wary of Taitz, but it clearly isn't ready to directly confront her history of shoddy legal work on birther cases -- of which the filing of a "birth certificate" she should know to be a forgery is but the latest example.
WND followed up with a Sept. 6 article suggesting that there is "panic in D.C." because the U.S. Justice Department has filed an order to have Taitz's lawsuit dismissed on procedural grounds -- even though that's a perfectly valid legal procedure. The article, like Zahn's, downplays the fact that WND itself determined that Smith's "birth certificate," filed as a part of this lawsuit, is a fraud -- it's not mentioned until the 18th paragraph.
If WND really cared about journalism, the lede of these articles would be that Taitz is putting herself in legal jeopardy by knowingly filing fraudulent documents in court. But as we all know, it doesn't.
New Article: A Quote Not Yet Unquoted Topic: Media Research Center
How long will the Media Research Center continue to take two sentences from a 2003 profile of Ted Kennedy out of context and falsely portray them as praise instead of the criticism they were intended to be? Read more >>
WND Hates Google, But Will Take Their Money Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has been a longtime critic of Google. WND editor Joseph Farah spent an entire chapter of his book "Stop the Presses!" attacking Google as an "immoral" company that "may not be able to discern right from wrong," mainly for purported discrimination against conservatives, not offering a customized version of its logo to mark Memorial Day, and because political donations by its employees lean heavily Democratic (oh, and because it purportedly doesn't place WND as high up in searches as Farah would like them to be). And in July, he accused Google of deliberately downplaying in searches WND's "content dealing with Barack Obama's eligibility," describing Google as "my old adversary."
So, with such hatred, you think Farah would be doing everything in his power to not have any business dealings with Google, right?
Wrong. Look at what we noticed on the WND website the other day:
That's right -- WND is a member of the Google AdSense ad network.
That in and of itself is not news. A lot of websites use AdSense to generate revenue (including us). But WND's use of AdSense is massively hypocritical because of WND's self-proclaimed adversarial relationship with Google.
So it seems that while Farah thinks Google is "immoral," it's perfectly happy to take their immoral money.
Farah clearly doesn't have the courage of his convictions -- he's just too greedy.
NewsReal Falsely Portrays Maddow Show Segment Topic: Horowitz
A Sept. 5 NewsReal post by Paul Cooper falsely portrays a segment on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" as on in which "guest host Ana Marie Cox called for censorship of blogs like NewsRealblog.com and WorldNetDaily (which is her focus)" and that "Cox and [guest Sam] Tanenhaus both are ready to call all moderate Republicans to silence and 'reign in' [sic] conservative blogs."
But WND is more than the "focus" of the segment -- it's the only outlet mentioned. Not only is NewsReal not mentioned, despite Cooper's suggestion otherwise, no other "conservative blog" is either. And Cox didn't "call for censorship"; as Cooper goes on to write, she urged mainstream conservatives to denounce such fringe publications as WND and not mainstream their conspiracy theories.
Cooper then writes:
The focus of the interview is suggesting that conservative blogs are promoting “conspiracy theories” like the Obama birthers. Cox and Tanenhaus draw a comparison to the 1960s when William F. Buckley Jr. effectively wrote the John Birch Society out of the conservative movement by denouncing them as crank conspiracists. Cox and Tanenhaus claim that there’s no one in the Conservative Movement doing this today. This is a complete lie. “Mainstream,” “moderate” conservatives have denounced the Birther Conspiracy. David Horowitz, NewsReal, Mike Huckabee, and Ann Coulter have all dismissed the notion that President Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen.
But the birther issue is not the only conspiracy theory Cox cited. She also noted WND's role in promoting the "deather" issue -- the discredited idea that health care reformcontains "death panels" -- and that "it's currently warning that the White House is spying on your Facebook page." Cooper doesn't mention these -- perhaps because his fellow NewsReal writers, far from dismissing it, haveendorsed the "death panel" attack.
Further, Cooper's claim that "'Mainstream,' 'moderate' conservatives have denounced the Birther Conspiracy" belies the fact that such denunciation has not been consistent. As Cooper Cox and Tanenhaus note:
TANENHAUS: Now what we see are supposed intellectuals on the right who are really mouthpieces of the party and don't differ with it in any way. So they give you not denunciations of these sorts of conspiracy theories but highbrow versions of them. In other words, they agree.
COX: Like in the National Review recently, actually, about this birther thing, they sort of very -- I think very proudly pat themselves on the back about running this editorial saying that they didn't buy into the birther movement. But then --
TANENHAUS: They pulled out some evidence.
COX: That's right.
TANENHAUS: Well, you know, the great historian --
COX: They pulled -- they had someone write a piece that said, "Well, I don't believe in the birther movement, but it raises some interesting questions."
Indeed, while NewsReal sister publication FrontPageMag did denounce the birthers back in April, it has not done so in any significant way since then -- and we don't see Cooper exactly rushing to do any substantive denunciation now.
David Weigel at the Washington Independent has a good article on WorldNetDaily's role in promulgating conspiracy theories and attacking the Obama administration, such has its campaign against Obama adviser Van Jones.
And MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," with Ana Marie Cox as guest host, highlights WND's conspiracy theories as well.
The latest to board the crazy train that is the right-wingfreak-out over President Obama's upcoming speech to students:
A Sept. 4 Accuracy in Media column by Rita Kramer invokes the "Hitler Jugend," adding: "It's ridiculous to imagine Obama Youth, isn't it? Here? Once, in the beginning, it seemed ridiculous there too." Too bad for Kramer that Obama's not doing that.
Jeff Poor began his Sept. 3 MRC Culture & Media Institute column by invoking Obama's purported narcisissm: "His weekly address on health care Aug. 22 mentioned the word “I” eight times ... The week before when he talked about health care, he said “I” 12 times." Poor goes on to baselessly denounce Obama's speech as "indoctrination" and that it "should serve as a larger reminder that this kind of manipulation of young people occurs every day in America at the hands of the NEA." Poor adds: "Conservatives of all stripes – social conservatives, libertarians, Christian conservatives and more – all need to unify to stop government from manipulating our young people." If any manipulating is to be done, Poor seems to be saying, it's conservatives who should be doing it.
Meanwhile, Bob Unruh hides a partisan agenda in a Sept. 5 article highlighting the claims of the right-wing Liberty counsel and its founder, Mathew Staver, that Obama's speech is illegal. Unruh describes Staver as "A lawyer whose work has included myriad civil rights disputes and who has practice before the U.S. Supreme Court ," refusing to accurately identify Staver's right-wing, anti-Obama agenda.
WND Takes Credit for Van Jones' Scalp Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily wasted no time in taking credit for Van Jones quitting as President Obama 's green jobs czar, throwing up an article and column to that effect on a Saturday night of a holiday weekend to do so.
A Sept. 6 article credited Jones' resignation on "pressure mounted over his extremist history first exposed in WND." Joseph Farah's column was even less modest, carrying the headline "WND brings down the 'red czar'." He demanded: "Do you expect those so ferociously attacking WND as a 'conspiracy site' to recognize it was this news agency that first broke the Van Jones story in April and relentlessly pursued it for five months to the bitter end?"
But WND's reporting on Jones was conspiratorial and littered with guilt-by-association accusations, such as an Aug. 13 article claiming that Jones "served on the board of an environmental activist group at which a founder of the Weather Underground terrorist organization is a top director." This kind of reporting smacks of McCarthyism, pure and simple.
Plus, there's the fact that WND's reporting is sounreliableanddiscredited that the first reaction any sensible reader should have is to dismiss it out of hand. Farah has no one to blame for that but himself, due to his longtime pattern of putting his hatred of Democrats before the truth.
Farah seems to think that because WND's inflammatory actually had real-life consequences, WND is therefore not a "conspiracy site." He couldn't be further from the truth, given the fact that his website is claiming that Obama was to put his political enemies in concentration camps and kill Americans by forcibly giving them swine flu shots -- fearmongering that could have the effect of WND being responsible for the deaths of Americans.
It wouldn't be a Farah column if he wasn't self-aggrandizing and self-pitying. The former comes when he conflates the questionable ties of an obscure government official to a presidential sex scandal: "Once there was a story of a blue dress. Now there's the story of a red czar."
The latter comes when -- after denying that WND is a "conspiracy site" -- Farah asserts a conspiracy against WND:
I strongly suspect that the recent fusillade of attacks on WND – from the left and the right – over our unrelenting coverage of the missing birth certificate and other Obama papers was actually orchestrated as much by those who saw us closing in on Van Jones as over our pursuit of the eligibility story.
Of course, if you know me and WND, the relentless pursuit of the truth and our focus on all government waste, fraud, abuse and corruption won't end here. This is what we do. This is what we have always done. This is what we will continue to do no matter from which direction the brickbats fly.
But for WND, "unrelenting coverage" of the birth certificate equates to frequentlyfalse coverage. And as we have pointedout, that is not what WND has "always done," unless you append "when a Democrat is in the White House" to it.
NewsBusters' College Thesis Double Standard Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters has been fretting that too much attention is being paid to a Regent University master's thesis written by Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, in which he supports numerous hard-right views, such as declaring working women and feminists "detrimental" to the family and the idea of married couples using contraception "illogical."
Scott Whitlock complained about the Washington Post's "frenzied attack" on McDonnell over the thesis, later expressing his dismay that the Post has done "nine articles in five days" on "a 20-year-old master’s thesis on the family structure." Noel Sheppard suggested that the Post is doing to McDonnell what it did to George Allen, the 2006 Virginia Republican senatorial candidate who got caught on tape calling a staffer for his Democratic opponent, Jim Webb, the offensive name "macaca," which Sheppard dismissed as "a word he uttered that likely nobody in the nation had ever heard of prior to that point." Sheppard doesn't explain how the relative obscurity of an insult somehow makes it less offensive.
But some college theses are more equal than others at NewsBusters. A June 18, 2008, post by Clay Waters appeared to complain that not enough attention was being given to Michelle Obama's undergraduate thesis, even though it is four years older than McDonnell's:
Has anyone except perhaps Hitchens and the Obama campaign read Michelle Obama's 225-page graduate thesis on race relations at Princeton in its entirety? The Times seems to be giving Michelle Obama the benefit of the doubt, even though her choice of topic bespeaks a bit of an obsession with race.
Funny, NewsBusters has yet to describe the subject of McDonnell's thesis as indicative of an "obsession" with feminists and fornicators.
In a Sept. 1 and Sept. 3 WorldNetDaily article on swine flu vaccines -- a subject about which WND is fearmongering -- Chelsea Schilling references a claim by "investigative journalist Wayne Madsen" that "even scientists who helped develop a vaccine for small pox are saying they will not take the vaccine and urging friends and family to refrain from taking the injection as well." But Madsen has a record of making dubious claims -- including claims about Barack Obama's birth certificate that apparently even WND didn't find credible enough to embrace.
Madsen has already made one discredited claim about swine flu: that it is the result of "gene splicing" and could not have occurred naturally. In fact, research has shown that the progenitor for the virus first surfaced in pig farming and processing operations in 1998.
WND reported in October 2008 that one claim in a lawsuit filed by Philip Berg over Obama's birth certificate was that "Wayne Madsen, Journalist with Online Journal as a contributing writer and published an article on June 9, 2008, stating that a research team went to Mombassa, Kenya, and located a Certificate Registering the birth of Barack Obama, Jr. at a Kenya Maternity Hospital, to his father, a Kenyan citizen and his mother, a U.S. citizen." But WND has not referenced the claim since, suggesting that it doesn't believe it to be true (despite WND's history of reporting false claims on the subject).
Madsen has also claimed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working with increasingly discredited birther lawyer Orly Taitz and conservative groups in the U.S. to use the birth certificate issue against Obama in retaliation for the Obama Administration's pressure on Israel to restrict expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem. You'd think that this would be a claim tailor-made for WND, since it merges two of its favorite obsessions, the birther stuff and Aaron Klein's efforts to portray Obama as pro-Muslim and anti-Israel (mostly through anonymoussources).
But WND has curiously kept its hands off that claim as well. Do they not believe it? Or are they a functioning part of Netanyahu's conspiracy?
Given that WND apparently can't trust Madsen's reporting on other subjects it's interested in, it's strange that Schilling has decided he is trustworthy on the subject of swine flu vaccines -- even though he has previously been discredited.
After initially claiming that he saw "nothing harmful " in what Obama was planning to say to students, Mangru quickly descends into that Obama might grade students on how they react to his speech, which then devolves into him irrationally asserting it to be fact:
What if these letters were required to be scanned into a central government database? What if the students were graded based on whether they helped Obama or not? Imagine if your child received a B instead of an A because he or she didn’t help out Obama enough.
In a couple of years, reelection will come up. Will students get better grades if they march the streets with Obama campaign signs? Or maybe that will just be an extra credit assignment.
The next question you might ask is, what did Obama have plan for our children in grades 7-12?
To think that in America, the land of the free, that we would force our children to be accountable to Obama, or force them to be inspired by Obama, and then have their grades decided by that.
Even worse, all of this indoctrination is being done with taxpayer money.
That’s right America. The tax dollars that we all pay are going for the production of this video, the streaming of this video to every classroom in America, all of the support materials on how the children should be accountable to Obama and be inspired by Obama, every single little thing… all funded with our taxpayer money.
Do you want to pay taxes to have your children forced to be accountable to Obama?
By the end, Mangru is in full rant mode:
But to go after the children, there is something wrong with that on a very fundamental level. To go after young and impressionable minds and tell them that they have to be inspired by our President and accountable to the President, that just crosses the line.
Children should be inspired by their parents and should be accountable to their parents, not to Big Government and its almighty leader President Barack Obama.
Perhaps Mangru needs to stick to financial analysis.
Examiner News Article Reflects Editorial Topic: Washington Examiner
The Washington Examiner unsurprisingly joins the right-wingfreak-out over President Obama's speech to students, using a Sept. 4 editorial to call it a "Dear Leader" speech and asserting, "providing mass life-counseling to school kids is not what presidents are elected to do."
Also unsurprisingly, the Examiner fails to mention that Republican presidents have engaged in the same kind of "mass life-counseling to school kids."
Perhaps unsurprising as well is that an Examiner news article directly reflects the editorial's agenda. The Sept. 4 article by Leah Fabel touts out one school district is refusing to show Obama's speech to its studentsand highlights how "conservatives blasted it as an attempt to indoctrinate young minds." Fabel gives space to the Cato Institute's Neal McCluskey to claim that the White House sent "detailed instructions to schools nationwide on how to glorify the president and the presidency, and push them to drive social change" but doesn't give similar space to anyone who sees no partisan, megalomanical agenda. Fabel also follows in the editorial's footsteps by failing to note that Republican presidents have also given speeches to students.
With such biased reporting, the Examiner runs the risk that its news content is portrayed as anti-liberal and pro-conservative as its news content.
Phil Elmore writes in his Sept. 3 WorldNetDaily column that President Obama is "brittle" and "oversensitive" and "cannot abide criticism," while his supporters regularly express "their deep and abiding outrage over those who've had the temerity, the unmitigated gall, to question the Obama administration's motley crew of radical left-wing advisers, czars, consultants, and bureaucrats." Elmore goes on to take a swing at us in the process:
A tiny blog called ConWebWatch even granted me their "Obama Derangement Award" for daring to question the president's desire to control your day-to-day communications and speech.
Elmore howled in a paranoid manner about "Glorious Leader Obama" endeavoring "to place his Orwellian visage on the telescreens of the nation's media outlets" so that "citizens are inundated with the inevitability of Obama's increasingly statist rule."
Elmore linked to WND's oft-repeatedlie that Obama wants to create an army of, in Elmore's words, "fascist brownshirts."
Elmore asserted that Obama "Twitters his daily enemies list through his Blackberry while waiting for his latest firearms prohibitions to be uploaded to iTunes as podcasts."
Elmore complained that Obama "appointed a chief information officer (a post that sounds disturbingly similar to some form of propaganda ministry, in title if not in fact)" -- apparently unaware that nearly every organization or business of significant size employs a chief information officer, which has nothing to do with propaganda.
There's a huge difference between "daring to question" Obama and making crazy, factually challenged statements about him. Too bad Elmore doesn't see the difference. Indeed, Elmore provides a link in his current column to radio host and conspiracytheorist Alex Jones, which serves as more evidence of Elmore's own unhinged approach.
Elmore seems to be unaware that the right to criticize and question others sets in motion the right of others to criticize and question you. And if you're making false claims and using unhinged rhetoric, expect to be criticized for it.
That's our job. If Elmore can dish it out, he should be able to take it.
WND Misleads on White House Archiving Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Sept. 2 WorldNetDaily article by Chelsea Schilling falsely portrays the scope of archiving the Obama White House plans to do of archiving its presence on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.
Schilling uncritically repeats claims by the National Legal and Policy Center that the White House "is hiring a contractor to harvest information about Americans from its pages on social networking websites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr."
In fact, as the right-wing Hot Air has detailed, the NLPCs claims are faulty:
The Presidential Records Act (PRA) essentially requires each administration to keep every pixel and keystroke ever published for later review by Congress or investigators, in case illegal activity takes place. We have seen this invoked ex post facto to the Clinton and Bush administrations, in the latter over e-mails sent and received outside the White House mail system. At that time, legal experts and investigators insisted that everything produced by an administration for anything remotely concerning official business had to be archived within the EOP.
A more careful reading of this RFP shows that to be the project. The contract directs the contractor to archive the “information posted on publicly-accessible web sites where the EOP maintains a presence“, including social networking sites like MySpace, Twitter, and so on. It doesn’t call for everything on those networks to be archived, but only “information posted by non-EOP persons on publicly-accessible web sites where the EOP maintains a presence[,] both comments posted on pages created by EOP and messages sent to EOP accounts on those web sites.” In other words, the archiving will include interaction on EOP websites and pages, but not anything else.
The headline of Schilling's article -- "On Facebook, MySpace? Obama's got your e-mail; White House spammer-in-chief wants contractor to track critics" -- manages not only to falsely suggest that the White House wants to collect information about everyone on those sites, it falsely suggests that the White House is specifically targeting its critics, something for which there is absoulutely no evidence.
A Sept. 4 WND article by Aaron Klein repeats the NLPC's faulty analysis, again falsely suggesting that the White House wants to gather information on all users, not just interactions with White House pages on those sites.