Obama's Uncontroversial Speech Doesn't Stop the Crazy Train Topic: The ConWeb
President Obama's speech is over, nothing controversial was in it, but the ConWeb crazytrain rolls on.
Brent Bozell's Sept. 8 column, appearing after the speech, condemned Obama's speech because, well, it was Obama:
Why is this controversial? What is more American than having her president addressing the young? Reagan did it. So did Bush. The problem is Obama and his administration. There is – always is – a political agenda.
The mission was not to educate, it was to indoctrinate.
Bozell went on to conflate criticism of the overreaction of right-wingers like him to Obama's speech to attacks on all criticism of Obama, then denounced the very idea of public education: "It’s not insane to wonder why our schools should be directed by the government to discuss how the Dear Leader is inspiring the young, and how the Dear Leader can be helped."
A Sept. 11 WorldNetDaily column by Dan L. White similarly attacks the idea of public education, claiming that it allows the governmnet to "control the minds of its citizens and thereby centralize power. And that's how Obama was able to give his speech to millions of captive young minds, subservient to the socialist institution, ready to be led by the master – because of the centralized school system." As if homeschooling -- the "decentralized, individualized and maximized" ideal White presents -- isn't about a similar attempt control the minds of children, this time by parents.
Meanwhile, the ConWeb sought to find partisan intent in Obama's speech where there wasn't any. A Sept. 8 WND article was headlined, "Prez injects politics into school speech," but the article pointed out that Obama "stayed carefully in the encouraging mode during the broadcast portion of the speech" but brought up health care reform in "a conversation with students." WND's headline writer is apparently unclear on the difference between a speech and a conversation.
A Sept. 9 CNSNews.com article by Penny Starr similarly tried to find something wrong with this, expressing alarm that Obama "made a pitch for health care reform in a discussion with 40 freshmen." It wasn't until the 14th paragraph that Starr got around to mentioning that "Obama omitted any discussion of health care" during the broadcast speech.
In his Sept. 10 WorldNetDaily column, Bob Just writes that "Too many Americans have forgotten America. And so we must stand and remind them." He then adds: "They don't think 'under God' belongs in our Pledge and don't care what history says on the matter."
Well, history says that when Francis Bellamy, a "Christian socialist," wrote the Pledge of Allegiance in 1892, "under God" did not appear; the words were added by an act of Congress in 1954.
We care what history says on this matter. Does Bob Just?
Defying Boycott, MRC Advertises At WND Topic: WorldNetDaily
The Media Research Center has been, as far as we can tell, completely silent on conservative efforts to boycott WorldNetDaily by protesting those conservative groups who enable it through advertising or renting its mailing list. Perhaps that's because it's one of those enablers.
The MRC is currently running ads at WND. This screenshot is from earlier today:
Will the MRC explain to its readers and supporters why it's financially supporting WND in the face of a conservative boycott?
UPDATE: The MRC apparently bought the whole WND ad package. Here's an inline text ad:
We've regularlynoted the guilt-by-association attacks by WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein to draw links, however tangental, between the Obama administration and various and sundry "socialists" and "radicals." He actually cashed in with his attacks on Van Jones -- but only after Glenn Beck started repeating them.
Klein gives it another shot in a Sept. 8 WND article trying to create a grand unification guilt-by-association theory:
Was Valerie Jarrett, one of President Obama's closest advisers, introduced to the president's political circles by her father-in-law, a communist sympathizer who worked with the radical Obama mentor Frank Marshall Davis?
Kind of a reach there, Aaron. Do you really despise Obama that much?
A Sept. 10 Newsmax article by Rick Pedraza uncriticially repeats Karl Rove's assertion that President Obama made "glaring misstatements and distortions" during his speech to Congress on health care. In fact, Rove made several misstatements and distortions, which Pedraza failed to point out.
“Obama said people are concerned with setting up death panels to kill off senior citizens, but that’s not what they’re concerned about,” Rove told Fox News. “They’re concerned about the proposal that basically says we’re going to incentivize doctors to sit down with [a patient] and go over end-of-life decisions.”
In fact, as Media Matters has detailed, numerous conservative figures falsely suggested that Obama's health reforms would lead to denial of care for elderly.
Rove doesn’t believe the president when he promises the American people that no one will force anyone to give up their coverage.
“The fact of the matter is the proposal –– which was designed in the House of Representatives –– says if you’re a business you can either continue to provide health care to your employees or you can pay a fine equal to 8.5 percent of your payroll costs. Those companies now are paying for healthcare coverage in excess of 8.5 percent. So, they pay the fine, dump the coverage, and you’re in the government program.”
In fact, the Congressional Budget Office found that the House draft will would cover 2 million more Americans through employer based policies in 2019 than are covered now.
Rove disagrees with Obama when he says his plan will not add to the deficit, but notes the Congressional Budget Office has determined it will add to the deficit in the first 10 years.
But Obama didn't say "his plan will not add to the deficit" -- he said he would not sign a bill that added to the deficit.
CNS Still Whitewashing Lewin Group Topic: CNSNews.com
A Sept. 9 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas asserting that several claims President Obama has made about health care reform "have been refuted by non-partisan sources" references a study by "the Lewin Group, a private health care analysis firm claiming that "119.1 million Americans would leave private plans for the public option."
In fact, as we've noted, the Lewin Group is somehwat less than nonpartisan -- it's owned by a health insurer, UnitedHealth Group, which has a stake in not wanting people to switch from private insurance.
A Sept. 10 article by Susan Jones reported that "he Peter G. Peterson Foundation released a study which found that in its second decade, H.R. 3200 would increase federal deficits by more than $1 trillion," but made no mention whatsoever that the study was conducted by the Lewin Group.
Farah Lies About Himself, WND Topic: WorldNetDaily
It's almost cute how WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah will tell the most obvious lies about himself and WND.
He does so again in his Sept. 9 column. After baselessly claiming that "much of the criticism of WND over the last 12 years has been motivated by jealousy," he then asserts, "They don't understand what it is we do. So let me try to explain it":
Unlike any of them, I have been a newsman my entire life. I have never run a "conservative" organization. I don't consider myself a "conservative." I don't consider myself a "political activist." I don't consider myself a "community organizer." I don't consider myself a "Republican." I don't take instruction from any one. I don't have any sacred cows. I am a newsman – as I was for the last 30 years, running daily newspapers in major markets before launching WND in 1997.
Let's break that down, shall we?
1) Farah himself said a month ago he stopped being a "newsman" to become "an activist, a crusader" on the Obama birth certificate issue. Of course, Farah has been an activist and crusader -- not a journalist -- for a long time now.
2) Farah has many sacred cows. His current chief sacred cow is Orly Taitz.
3) Who one considers himself to be does not necessarily mesh with who one actually is. Farah can deny he's a "conservative" and "political activist" all he wants, but that's exactly what he is (though Farah's politics are more accurately described as far right than conservative).
4) You mean the Western Journalism Center -- co-founded by Farah specifically to attack President Clinton and currently serving as an anti-Obama group under Floyd Brown -- is not a "conservative" organization?
Farah knows exactly who he is and what WND is. That he will so blatantly lie to his readers -- in the face of the contradictory evidence surrounding him that is in plain sight for everyone to see -- tells us more about Farah's dishonest, amoral character.
Kincaid: Van Jones 'Bigger Than Watergate' Topic: Accuracy in Media
Cliff Kincaid writes on the Van Jones kerfuffle in his Sept. 8 Accuracy in Media column:
Remember what they asked during the Watergate scandal: What did the President know, and when did he know it? This is a scandal much bigger than Watergate. There are Marxists in the White House.
Really, Cliff? Some obscure White House official holding views Kincaid disagrees with is worse than agents of the president committing a crime against political enemies and the president himself authorizing a cover-up of said crime? Really?
WND Demands Right to Rebuttal -- Which It Rarely Allows In Its Own Reporting Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has been up in arms about reporting critical of WND -- for instance, a report on "The Rachel Maddow Show" -- because WND was not given an opportunity by them to rebut the claims. This showed up on WND's front page over the weekend:
Meanwhile, my colleagues in the news media are having a field day with the story of those attacking WND. They interview all kinds of experts on the subject, but don't bother to ask me about it.
Watch Rachel Maddow at MSNBC for a classic example of this kind of "journalistic responsibility" in action.
Even when WND is the story, no one asks us to respond or debate.
At least Van Jones was given the opportunity to respond to charges that he promoted "conspiracy tales" – not WND, not me!
But not permitting targets to rebut charges appears to be WND's editorial policy.
For instance, a Sept. 8 WND article on Rifqa Bary -- the teenager who fled to a Christian pastor after claiming that her Muslim parents were planning tokill her for converting to Christianity -- is filled with quotes by supporters of Bary accusing her parents of abuse, such as anti-Muslim writers Pam Geller and Robert Spencdr, but no attempt is indicated that WND contacted Bary's parents or their attorney for their side of the story.
Another Sept. 8 article repeating various revisionist prophecy claims by WND author Joel Richardson -- such as that thebiblical Antichrist is the Muslim Madhi -- are not rebutted by anyone with differing views.
Even the article that precipitated some of this new scrutiny of WND-- in which Jerome Corsi suggests that a plan to establish emergency centers for civilians on military bases is just like "concentration camps for political dissidents, such as occurred in Nazi Germany"-- no one is given an opportunity to rebut the smear. Indeed, as we noted, even though the sponsor of the bill that would establish those centers, Rep. Alcee Hastings, issued a press release several daysbefore the article's publication outlining his rationale for it, Corsi did not quote it and instead attempted to smear Hastings.
Why should anyone do for Farah and WND what they will not do for the people they reports on?
Posted by Terry K.
at 11:10 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 9, 2009 11:18 AM EDT
Farah Blocked From Birther Speech at CPAC Topic: WorldNetDaily
Jon Henke at the Next Right -- who has called for a boycott of conservative groups that enable WorldNetDaily -- reports that according to an organizer for the annual CPAC conference of conservatives, WND founder Joseph Farah "asked if he could speak on the issue (birther movement), but that isn't something we're interested in."
Newsmax Continues to Fawn Over Kerik Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax takes its rehabilitation of Bernard Kerik to the next level with an article in the September edition of its magazine, hyperbolically titled "Bernie Kerik: The Trial of an American Hero." Newsmax thought so much of this piece that it created a PDF of it and posted it on the website. But as Newsmax has done before, writers Dave Eberhart and Jim Meyers hide facts in order to portray Kerik is the victim of "overzealous federal prosecutors."
Eberhart and Meyers allow Kerik's attorney to criticize "government tactics in this case, especially the recent third indictment in a new jurisdiction, Washington, D.C." But they fail to accurately explain why those charges were filed in the first place, repeating a claim in an earlier article by Eberhart that the dismissal of certain charges in the New York-based indictment against Kerik "apparently irked the prosecutors, who decided on May 26 to open up the new indictment against Kerik in D.C., including charging him with crimes [Judge Stephen] Robinson had dismissed."
In fact, as we detailed, those charges were dropped specifially so they could be filed in D.C. The judge essentially told prosecutors to do exactly what they did -- as Newsmax itself reported at the time.
Also as Newsmax has done before, Eberhart and Meyers obfuscate about what exactly Kerik is charged with doing, selectively citing specific charges that they feel can be easily rebutted. There's no mention, for example, of what the Washington Post described as a $250,000 loan allegedly granted to him on an interest-free basis by an Israeli businessman that Kerik allegely failed to disclose on federal tax returns and when he was nominated to be Homeland Security secretary in 2004. There's also no mention of Kerik's alleged failure to report $500,000 in income to the IRS and falsely claiming tens of thousands of dollars in tax deductions.
Eberhart and Meyers reference an inquiry into "whether he aided a New Jersey construction firm in gaining city permits in return for a lowball price on the home work" without mentioning that, as the Post also reported, the construction firm in question was under investigation by four government agencies for ties to organized crime at the time it did the work for Kerik.
The writers also falsely suggest that one of the charges Kerik faces involves wiretapped phone conversations with then-Westchester County District Attorney (and current TV judge) Jeanine Pirro, who "asked him to conduct surveillance on her husband, whom she suspected of marital infidelity. According to published sources, the tapes indicate Kerik had tried to talk Pirro out of the surveillance." But since Kerik apparently did nothing wrong, he was apparently never charged in that particular incident, in which Pirro is the one who looked bad; the recordings came to light as part of the corruption probe of Kerik.
(Just as Newsmax enthusiastically touted Kerik's DHS nomination, it promoted Pirro's abortive 2005 Senate campaign against Hillary Clinton, declaring any and all unsavory claims against her -- and there were many, largely centering around her two-timing, out-of-wedlock-siring, tax-cheat hubby -- to be "old news" even though most people weren't aware of them.)
Eberhart and Meyers are much more interested in burnishing Kerik's credentials. For instance, they note that "Kerik worked for the Interior Ministry in Baghdad training police recruits," but not that, as the Post reported, the stint "has been widely judged a failure" because Kerik abruptly quit after two months -- or, as Sen. John McCain put it: "Kerik was supposed to be there to help train the police force. He stayed two months, and one day left, just up and left."
The writers cranked up the melodramatic aspect of Kerik's purported victimhood:
Today, Bernard Kerik is fighting for his innocence with a criminal guillotine hanging over his head. Cut off from most of his business and media access, his income has withered.
Despite depleting his entire personal wealth, Kerik is going into the final rounds a wounded, but not beaten, man.
In other words, Eberhart and Meyers aren't doing reporting -- they're writing a hagiography.
Oops: NewsBusters Writer Lets the Real Right-Wing Media Agenda Slip Out Topic: NewsBusters
A Sept. 6 NewsBusters post by Lachlan Markay complained that the Washington Post's ombudsman issued an "apology" for a profile of the head of the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage, for not including opposing views. After making a point of noting that the author of the piece "says she is a bisexual and has had romantic relationships with women in the past" -- but not noting that, as County Fair's Jamison Foser points out, this pretty much blows out of the water the conservative argument that liberal reporters are incapable of being fair, let alone fawning, toward conservatives -- Markay got to the nub of the issue and, perhaps inadvertently, exposed the right-wing agenda when it comes to the media:
But features pieces are not meant to be political debates. The story focused on a person—who, in Hesse’s words, is “pleasantly, ruthlessly sane”—not, directly, on a political agenda or debate, though they were certainly corollaries to the profile.
In other words: Conservatives don't want opposing views reported when the subject is a conservative.
By contrast, NewsBusters doesn't want that same courtesy extended to feature articles on liberals:
On Aug. 12, Ken Shepherd complained that the Post "a 42-paragraph front-pager that amounts to gushy Kennedy hagiography, in part because it was penned by a Kennedy hagiographer."
On July 14, P.J. Gladnick was annoyed that the Post "published a glowing article about likely incoming AFL-CIO president, Richard Trumka" that didn't mention his purported role in "in a money laundering scheme in order to fix a Teamsters election."
If conservatives are to be only hailed in newspaper profiles, Mackay and his fellow NewsBusters should stop complaining that liberals get fawning profiles too.
WND Can't Stop Lying About Teresa Heinz Kerry Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Sept. 8 WorldNetDaily article on Van Jones references a commentary by the "executive director of the Independent Media Institute, a 'progressive' alternative media outlet heavily funded by the likes of Teresa Heinz Kerry's Tides Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation."
WND has been telling the "Teresa Heinz Kerry's Tides Foundation" lie since2004. The Tides Foundation is not "Teresa Heinz Kerry's Tides Foundation" -- she's not even on the board of directors. Rather, Heinz Foundation money controlled by Kerry was donated to a branch of the Tides Foundation and earmarked for specific environmental projects in Pennsylvania.
You'd think after five years WND could get a simple fact correct. It appears not.
One is not permitted to draw parallels between the president’s actions upon taking office and those of Adolf Hitler but I urge my fellow Americans to take a look at “Triumph of the Will,” Leni Reifenstahl’s documentary of the 1934 Nazi party rally in Nuremburg, and come away not scared out of their wits as history attempts to repeat itself.
It’s all there, including speeches by Hitler’s deputy fuhrers pledging their undying allegiance to the leader and brigades of shovel-ready workers participating in Hitler’s economic stimulus program.
We are witnessing the attempted deification of Obama, even to subjecting school kids to mandatory lectures from the maximum leader.
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.