Newsmax Takes On Another Conservative Rehabilitation Project Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax is already running rehabilitation efforts for Bernard Kerik. Now it's picked up another disgraced conservative to rehabilitate: Ralph Reed.
Reed, the longtime evangelical leader and former executive director of the Christian Coalition, was tarnished by his association with scandal-ridden lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who hired Reed to lobby on behalf of an Indian tribe in Mississippi to stop tribes inneighboring states from opening casinos that would compete with those of the Mississippi tribe. The Washington Post reported that Reed had received at least $4.2 million from Abramoff to mobilize Christian voters against the casinos.
Those revelations played a role in Reed getting crushed in a 2006 Republican primary for Georgia lieutenant governor.
But as with Kerik, Reed's political humilation and links to a corrupt lobbyist are all water under the bridge as far as Newsmax is concerned.
Newsmax's Reed rehabilitation appears to have begun with a June 24 article touting Reed's new advocacy group, the Faith and Freedom Coalition, which is "aimed at using the Web to mobilize a new generation of values voters." This was followed up with a July 20 article (and accompanying interview with Newsmax's video operation) touting Reed's claim that "Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings can actually help Republicans in upcoming elections."
By August, Reed was writing columns for Newsmax and awarded a slot on Newsmax's "blog" page, complete with bio. Needless to say, neither of those previous articles nor Reed's Newsmax bio mention his ties to Abramoff nor his ignominious 2006 defeat in Georgia.
Reed, however, seems eager to use his Newsmax slot to discredit himself. In his Sept. 13 column, Reed claims that President Obama's speech on health care reform contained "falsehood after fib after misrepresentation after distortion about both his plan and his opponents' opposition to it," citing as one instance Obama's claimthat "his plan did not provide care for illegal immigrants," which Reed branded "false," asserting: "By rejecting a Republican amendment requiring proof of legal residence prior to receiving care under the government-run plan, the Democrats have opened the door for non-citizens and non-legal residents to receive care for which they have not paid into the system."
But as we've noted, FactCheck and PolitiFact have refuted the claim that a lack of enforcement enforcement provisions in the bill itself doesn't mean that no enforcement of a ban on illegal immigrants making use of government health care will take place.
Reed also writes:
Obama said — falsely — that [Sarah] Palin and others have claimed that “we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens.” This is totally false, and Obama knows it. What critics have pointed out is that seniors will be required to submit regularly to “end of life” counseling sessions (detailed on page 425 of H.B. 3200) that, combined with cost controls and rationing of care, could lead to them being denied life-saving treatment.
But FactCheck and PolitiFact have refuted Palin's "death panel" claim as well. And Reed's the one who's telling a lie here: No one is "required to submit regularly" to end-of-life counseling.
Reed is also lying when he says Palin never claimed that Obama "plan[s] to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens." Palin said exactly that when she wrote that the elderly and disabled "will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care."
All in all, not an auspicious debut as a rehabilitation subject. Reed better hopes he quickly gets the full whitewash treatment Newsmax just gave Kerik.
A Sept. 14 Newsmax article touts how "conservative thinker and best-selling author David Horowitz likens President Barack Obama to the 'Manchurian Candidate' — a tool of the far left fostering the implementation of its radical agenda."
Newsmax didn't mention that Horowitz's position is a flip-flop from just a few months ago, when he was denouncing inflammatory rhetoric like "Manchurian candidate."
CNS Touts Inflated Protest Numbers From Group That Has Lied About It Topic: CNSNews.com
A Sept. 14 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas repeated baseless crowd estimates for Saturday's anti-Obama protest without reporting more credible numbers, or that the group he's quoting as reporting those numbers has been caught in a lie about them.
Lucas wrote that "Adam Brandon, spokesman for Freedom Works Foundation, one of the main sponsors of the event, estimated the crowd at 150,000" and that "the group’s Web site estimated that hundreds of thousands of people turned out." Lucas later uncritically noted that "High Caliber, a conservative rapper," said, "I’ve done tea parties for 500 people. But not 500,000 or whatever it is we’ve got here."
In fact, the closest thing to an official estimate comes from the Washington, D.C., fire department, which reported a turnout of 60,000 to 70,000. But Lucas didn't report that, or the fact that FreedomWorks already has a record of lying about turnout numbers. ABC traced a claim that it had reported that more than 1 million attended the rally -- in fact, ABC reported no such thing -- to FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe.
WJC Spreading More Birther Conspiracies Topic: Western Journalism Center
A new Western Journalism Center report by Steve Baldwin purports to explore "the mystery of Barack Obama" but Baldwin is much more interested in spreading baseless conspiracy theories about Obama.
Baldwin asserts that "at least three document authentication experts have declared the scanned 'Certificate of Live Birth' Obama’s campaign team gave to a pro-Obama website to be an obvious phony." In fact, at least two of the people whose claims Baldwin is presumably referring to -- "Techdude" and "Ron Polarik" -- have been discredited.
Baldwin then promotes some new, novel conspiracies -- such as "it was discovered that Obama’s Selective Service card may have been doctored." His source for this? Far-right blogger Debbie Schlussel, who's known much more for her screechingrants than any sort of legitimate research. Nevertheless, Baldwin buys in: "The real reason why Obama probably did not submit this form as a teenager is that he assumed his Kenyan or Indonesian citizenship exempted him from this requirement."
Baldwin goes on to assert that "Obama has multiple identities in term of possessing numerous social security numbers." His source for this? The increasingly self-discrediting Orly Taitz.
How crazy are those conspiracies? Even WorldNetDaily is largely staying away from them.
The WJC is already on record spreading discredited claims about Obama. If the WJC wants to be taken seriously as a legitimate critic of Obama, it should probably stay away from fringe-of-the-fringe conspiracy theories.
NewsBusters Complains That Better-Than-Average Protest Coverage Wasn't Good Enough Topic: NewsBusters
The front page is not enough for Tim Graham.
Despite conceding that the Washington Post put the anti-Obama tea party protest on the front page, Graham used a Sept. 13 NewsBusters post to complain that the Post's website referred to the protest in "teeny-weeny type."
The Post said "Authorities in the District do not give official crowd estimates, but Saturday's throng appeared to number in the many tens of thousands." How many tens? Enough for the Post to say "hundreds of thousands" were present? Their headlines on the front page and inside the paper stuck to "tens of thousands" – not even "many tens of thousands."
But there's no evidence there were "hundreds of thousands" -- only the "tens of thousands" cited.
Graham further complained that even the front-page coverage was insufficient because "the April 2006 rally promoting amnesty for illegal aliens" received much more thorough coverage from the Post. Graham fails to point out that the immigration protest was much larger, involving the "hundreds of thousands" of protesters Graham imagines were at the teabaggers' protest, as well as similarly large protests across the country.
Also unmentioned by Graham is the fact that, as Eric Boehlert has noted, the anti-Obama protest got better play in the Post than another similarly sized protest: a 2002 anti-war protest.
Similarly, a Sept. 13 NewsBusters post by Tom Blumer complains that the New York Times didn't give sufficient attention to the protest. But Boehlert points out that the 2002 anti-war rally got similar play in the Times.
WND Columnist Blames Train Crash on Homosexuality Topic: WorldNetDaily
Add train engineer to the list of occupations anti-gay activists don't think gays would be allowed to work in.
A Sept. 12 WorldNetDaily column by William J. Murray blames a 2008 California commuter train crash that killed 25 on homosexuality. No, really:
The engineer, Robert M. Sanchez, 46, was a homosexual, and he was sending a text message to a teenage boy when he blew through a red light, crashing head-on into an oncoming freight train. Because being "gay" is a media cause in America, and particularly in California, virtually no gay crime is reported. Domestic violence involving gays is rarely if ever reported in California newspapers despite the fact that it represents a disproportionate number of police calls. Simply put, the minute the individual who caused the train crash was identified as being homosexual, reporting on the disaster came to a virtual stop.
Let's get real: Bob Sanchez was using his position as a railroad engineer to pick up teenage boys who had an interest in railroads. In his excitement in communicating with a teenage boy by text message he took his eyes off the rails in front of him and killed himself and 24 others while leaving dozens with permanent injuries, some crippled for life.
My point: Don't expect to hear too much more about one of the worst rail crashes in history. To report on the crash the facts of it would have to be discussed. Since the central fact is that a homosexual engineer was text messaging a teenage boy at the time of the crash, reporting will be greatly diminished.
What of those individuals and families who will suffer for life as a result of Mr. Sanchez's actions? Will the New York Times publish a 40-paragraph article about the lives of the victims, their ambitions and their grief? Don't hold your breath.
A year after he killed himself and 24 others, a search on the Internet for the Robert M. Sanchez produces hardly any results. Any references to him do not expose the role that his homosexual behavior played in the deadly crash. Had Sanchez been an evangelical Christian texting a message to a potential convert, no doubt there would be hundreds of derogatory articles in the "mainstream" media about him, including hour-long exposés on ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC. The crimes and reckless behaviors of homosexuals should be treated equally in the media with those of non-homosexuals. The special treatment should stop.
So homosexual texting is somehow more distracting than heterosexual texting? We don't get it.
WorldNetDaily and NewsBusters have enlisted in the effort to perpetuate the myth that there were much more people at Saturday's tea party protest than there actually was.
A Sept. 12 WND article by Chelsea Schilling and Alyssa Farah reports that "crowd estimates vary from as low as 60,000 to 70,000 according to ABC News to a high of 2 million by London Daily Mail." But the Daily Mail's estimate is not sourced and is more ambivalent that Schilling and Farah admit.
The Daily Mail article states that "Up to two million people marched to the U.S. Capitol," leaving open the possiblity that the actual number is much lower. Elsewhere in the article, a photo caption reads, "Tens of thousands of people converged on Capitol Hill on Saturday to protest against government spending" -- which suggests that it has little actual faith in that higher number.
Nev ertheless, the headline on the WND article demonstrates where its sympathy lies: "A million or more rock Washington." And Schilling and Farah begin with the hyperbolic claim that the protest "could be the biggest protest ever – potentially dwarfing the Million Man March and the Promise Keepers Rally," which did in fact attract hundreds of thousands.
But as the Washington Post reports: "Authorities in the District do not give official crowd estimates, but Saturday's throng appeared to number in the many tens of thousands."
Meanwhile, a Sept. 12 NewsBusters post by Matthew Sheffield stated: "Estimates for crowd sizes are starting to come in. We're talking at least a million people, folks." Sheffield linked to a post on Michelle Malkin's blog stating that "ABC News reporting crowd at 2 million." But as a later update to Malkin's post noted, ABC reported no such thing; in fact, it reported a crowd of "approximately 60,000 to 70,000 people," citing the DC fire department.
WND Fails to Fully Retract Another False Article Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've previously noted how, in April 2008, WorldNetDaily published an article about a 13-year-old Texas girl who claimed she was beaten over a sign she made for a history class calling for an end to illegal immigration remains on its website uncorrected, despite the fact that WND published another article the next day pointing out that the girl fabricated the story.
Well, the WND brand of incomplete retraction of false claims has reared its ugly head again.
On Aug. 29, WND published an article about Heather Lawrence, a "16-year-old Junior ROTC member" who "saw a teachable moment and took it" when, she claimed, she saw a fellow student wearing a hijab "refusing to participate" in the Pledge of Allegiance. "Take that thing off your head and act like you're proud to be an American," Lawrence said she told her.Lawrence then claimed she was "suspended for five days" from school over the incident.
The problem? It's mostly not true. As the St. Petersburg Times reported on Aug. 31, Lawrence did indeed mouth off to the Muslim girl, but she fabricated that part of the story that she claimed to have seen the girl not take part in the Pledge of Allegiance. An investigation turned out that Larence never left her homeroom and, according to the school principal, "could not have seen what she said she saw."
WND was a little slow to pick up on this. It was not until late on Sept. 1 that WND ran an article relating the St. Petersburg paper's account -- taking care not to mention the Muslilm girl's status as an innocent victim but making sure to relate Lawrence's father's assertion that he still believes his daughter.
But WND's original Aug. 29 article has not been updated to indicate that Lawrence's story is bogus. Thus, anyone who reads that article has no idea that Lawrence's claim has been completely discredited.
Such insufficient effort to correct a false claim is, sadly, emblematic of WND's cavalier indifference to the truth. It apparently sees nothing wrong with publishing false claims that it makes no effort to correct -- and it typically won't do so unless threatened with a libel suit. Just ask Clark Jones.
It appears that, after months of attempting in vain to counter the worst anti-Obama impulses of his fellow right-wingers, David Horowitz has decided to embrace them.
A Sept. 11 Obama-bashing FrontPageMag article by Horowitz carries the headline "The Manchurian Candidate," illustrated with this front-page image:
Horowitz thus contradicts his earlier criticism -- from just four months ago -- of far-right critics like WorldNetDaily's David Kupelian: "Obama is a machine politician and whatever dangers he represents (and as I see it there are many) are dangers because they reflect the heart and soul of today's Democratic Party, not because he is a Manchurian candidate or a closet Islamist, as more than a few conservatives seem to think."
Apparently so, because he also appears to be content with echoing Rush Limbaugh.
Horowitz apes Limbaugh in a Sept. 11 NewsReal post claiming that Obama "lied not once in his Health Care speech but twice — and not on inconsequential issues, but big ones." The first one he cites:
The lies were direct and were compounded by the fact that he accused others of lying because they called him on his lies. Joe Wilson who sat on the congressional committees which reviewed the amendments that were then killed which would have required people to prove they’re citizens. Of course!
But Wilson is wrong to call Obama a liar for asserting that health care reform won't cover illegal immigrants -- FactCheck and PolitiFact have demonstrated it.
Horowitz goes on to assert: "The Democrats are for death panels. Of course they are. ... Of course if you’re going to have one Big Brother — single payer system — ration health care, you’re going to have death panels. There’s no other option." FactCheck and PolitiFact have debunked that claim too.
Horowitz's post is headlined "Brazen Democrats Defend White House Liar." It is much more brazen for Horowitz to assert that claims repeatedly demonstrated to be false are the truth.
All Horowitz needs to do now is go full birther, and the transformation will be complete.
NewsBuster Reads Beck's Mind, Finds It Pure Topic: NewsBusters
Jeff Poor has apparently read Glenn Beck's mind, and he declares it to be filled with only the purest of intent.
Responding in a Sept. 11 post to Alex Pareene's item on 9/11 at Gawker that calls "a hate-and-expletive-filled anti-President George W. Bush, anti-conservative and anti-Glenn Beck attack," Poor takes issue with criticism of Beck's 9/12 Project and Pareene's assertion that "On 9/12, people in New York (and DC) did not feel as 'great' as Glenn Beck. ... They felt scared and confused and depressed. Many of them were drunk. And only an idiot or an actual terrorist would want to always feel like it was 9/12/01.":
Pareene and other left-wing critics of Beck's 9-12 Project have totally misunderstood Beck's intent. It's not to create euphoria, but as the Web site explains, it "is designed to bring us all back to the place we were on September 12, 2001" and overcome political divides.
How does Poor know what "Beck's intent" is for the 9/12 Project? He doesn't. Indeed, given that most of us who remember 9/11 remember the accompanying fear and uncertainty of the days immediately following it, for Beck to want to "bring us all back to the place we were on September 12, 2001" must logically include bringing back that same sense of fear -- which, it can be argued, has nothing to do with overcoming political divides but, rather, exacerbating them.
Nevertheless, without any actual knowledge of "Beck's intent," Poor has declared it to be only the purest.
WND's Washington Falsely Conflates Social Darwinism, Evolution Topic: WorldNetDaily
In a Sept. 12 WorldNetDaily column bashing Obama appointee Cass Sunstein, Ellis Washington asserts that "Sunstein's entire legal philosophy and worldview is encapsulated" in part by "Social Darwinism [evolution]."
But evolution, a biological process, is not the same thing as social Darwinism, which is not biological. As we detailed in 2006 when WND was promoting Coral Ridge Ministries' misleading attempt to tie evolution to Hitler, anti-evolutionists have long conflated social Darwinism with evolution, even though Charles Darwin himself never advocated such a thing. Indeed, the racism and ethnic cleansing pejoratively associated with social Darwinism existed long before Darwin.
MRC Debunked By ... MRC Topic: Media Research Center
Sometimes the Media Research Center's right hand doesn't know what its ... er, other right hand is doing.
A Sept. 10 NewsBusters post by Matthew Balan complained that a CNN "poll on President Obama’s health care speech to Congress on Wednesday significantly oversampled Democrats." Balan later appended a statement from MRC chief Brent Bozell:
CNN has no business airing a ‘poll’ that is straight partisan reaction from those already in the can for ObamaCare. Caveat or no caveat, CNN was dead wrong to run this and on national television proclaim, ‘We have important numbers here.’ It is an embarrassment that their news directors deemed it newsworthy to begin with. This network simply cannot be trusted to cover this hugely important story fairly.
But Balan and Bozell overlooked on crucial aspect of the poll -- it sampled only people who viewed Obama's speech. Balan did note that a CNN article "didn’t mention the over-representation of Democrats until the third paragraph," which stated that the poll "surveyed the opinions of people who watched Wednesday night's speech, and does not reflect the views of all Americans."But Balan didn't note this until the 10th and final paragraph of his original post.
It fell on another MRC division to prove Balan and Bozell wrong. A Sept. 11 CNSNews.com article by Pete Winn not only accurately describes the poll's methodology but does so by quoting a conservative pollster, Kellyanne Conway:
But Conway, who has questioned the validity of numerous polls in the past for being slanted against conservatives, said it would be wrong to question the validity of this CNN poll.
“This is a poll of debate-watchers – not the general population,” the pollster said.
In fact, polls like this one are not designed to sample what the American public at large thinks – they are “a random-call measure of who the audience really was – and what those specific people thought,” she told CNSNews.com.
“To their (CNN’s) enormous credit, they reported it that way,” Conway told CNSNews.com.
“They did not say ‘2 out of 3 Americans now support the president on health-care reform,” Conway said. “What (CNN) said, from the beginning, was ‘2 out of 3 Americans who watched the speech said . . .’”
In this case, she said, Wednesday night’s poll talked to more Democrats simply because Obama’s audience itself leaned overwhelmingly Democratic.
In fact, CNN “went the extra mile” to make it clear that the number of those who identified themselves as Democrats was “8 to 10 percentage points higher than the national Democratic sample would be if this were a survey of voters,” Conway said.
“I can bet the farm, there will be pundits and programs and hosts, who will say, ‘According to the CNN poll, the president has really gotten back on track. Two-thirds of Americans now support his health-care. . .’ No-no. They would be misreading the poll and using the poll for their own purposes.
“But in fairness, CNN did not report it that way,” she added.
Winn even quoted a CNN spokesperson to back it up:
“We can’t control who watched the speech, but we found those people using scientific methods,” a CNN executive, who asked not to be identified, said.
The number of Republicans versus Democrats in the sample will vary depending on which party is in office, the spokesman said.
“It goes back and forth, and back and forth depending on which party controls the White House, but we’ve seen this for a really long time,” the spoksman added.
“In 2005, just after the 2005 State of the Union speech, for example, 52 percent of our sample were Republicans – that’s about 16 points higher than the whole public at that time -- and only 25 percent of the speech-watchers were Democrats, and that’s about 7 points under what you might have expected at that time if you had done a sample of the whole population.”
The analogy is to baseball, according to CNN.
“The audience (for a presidential speech) tends to self-select, like a Yankee audience and a Red Sox audience,” the spokesman said. “Red Sox fans don’t watch Yankee games and Yankee fans don’t watch Red Sox games.”
Winn gets extra points for accurately identifying Conway as a conservative pollster, something CNS has failed to do in the past. But he loses points for writing that "some conservatives in Washington were buzzing about the poll’s sample – and questioning whether it might have been partisan or slanted" and not noting that one of those conservatives was his boss.
So, will Winn's story spread across the rest of the MRC empire, or do Balan and Bozell care more about maintaining their fictional liberal-media-bias tunnel vision than they do about the truth?
CNS Flip-Flops on Immigrants and Health Care Reform Topic: CNSNews.com
Is CNSNews.com flip-flopping in its attacks on President Obama over illegal immigrants and health care reform?
In a Sept. 9 article, Fred Lucas claimed that Obama's claim that illegal immigrants will not be covered by health care reform has been "debunked" because "the proposal provides no mechanism for verifying legal status, making it difficult for insurers and medical personal to know who legally qualifies for federal subsidies under the plan."
But a Sept. 10 CNS article by Terry Jeffrey devises an entirely new rationale of why Obama's claim is false:
It is true that both the House and Senate health care bills as they are now drafted would make illegal aliens ineligible for federally funded health care. But President Obama has stated as recently as last month at a press conference in Mexico that he will seek “comprehensive immigration reform” legislation that will put illegal aliens on a “pathway to citizenship.”
Illegal immigrants won’t get federal health insurance benefits under Obama’s plan because they won’t be illegal immigrants anymore, they will be legal immigrants.
Jeffrey has a history of baselessly conflating comprehensive immigration reform with undefined "amnesty."
Jeffrey curiously makes no mention of his reporter's claims just the day before. Perhaps that's because the claim is not as solid as Lucas asserts it to be.
PolitiFact.com looked into the claim that lack of a verification mechanism means that illiegal immigrants will automatically receive health insurance under reform:
But there are two caveats that keep the Republican assertion from being fully accurate.
The first is if the tax credits are administered through the Internal Revenue Service, there would be built-in scrutiny. For instance, if a system were set up for taxpayers to declare insurance expenses and then receive a refund or a rebate, illegal immigrants couldn't obtain coverage, "because illegal immigrants do not have legitimate Social Security numbers," said Marc Rosenblum, a senior policy analyst with the Migration Policy Institute, a group that is generally pro-immigration. "Screening out illegal immigrants through the tax system would prevent them from obtaining health care-related subsidies."
The second caveat is that language in the House bill does provide clear authority for the new government official who will run the exchange to set up that verification, as the CRS report notes.
Rosenblum concurs. "The Commissioner could enforce these restrictions in one of two ways: through document- and database-based screening requirements as in the Medicaid system, or by reimbursing health care expenses through tax refunds," he said.
Because the House Republican Conference assertion referred to "any" of the Democratic bills, we also looked through the bill reported by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The bill is generally more vague on these issues, but we did find the following passage, which seems to grant similar authority as the House bill passage cited earlier.
"The Secretary (of Health and Human Services), in consultation with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, shall develop interoperable, secure, scalable, and reusable standards and protocols that facilitate enrollment of individuals in Federal and State health and human services programs. ... The Secretary shall facilitate enrollment of individuals in programs ... through methods which shall include (i) electronic matching against existing Federal and State data to serve as evidence of eligibility and digital documentation in lieu of paper-based documentation; (ii) capability for individuals to apply, recertify, and manage eligibility information online, including conducting real-time queries against databases for existing eligibility prior to submitting applications; and (iii) other functionalities necessary to provide eligible individuals with a streamlined enrollment process."
So let's recap. There is explicit language in the House bill that says illegal immigrants should not receive the subsidized benefits. But we find the Republican conference is right that the legislation does not directly mention verification procedures and, for that reason, it's possible that illegal immigrants who are determined to beat the system might be able to get around the ban. But it's likely that the IRS would, at least indirectly, help to police that. And, the health choices commissioner would have the authority to set up a verification system. On balance, we rate the Republican claim Half True.
CNS does not mention that there are verification measures already existing in federal law that health care reform can take advantage of, or that one reform proposal does in fact provide for a verification system.