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Wednesday, September 23, 2009
MRC Ignores Full Story on Criticism of Medicare Letter
Topic: Media Research Center

A Sept. 23 MRC item (and NewsBusters post) by Brent Baker accuses the Obama administration of "using the full power of a federal regulatory agency to suppress free speech -- specifically, to silence Humana's predictions about the impact of proposed ObamaCare cuts to the Medicare Advantage program." But Baker hides the full nature of the criticism of Humana.

At issue is a mailer Humana sent to its clients in the Medicare Advantage program, which claimed that the Obama adminisration wants to cut "important benefits and services" of Medicare -- essentially electioneering on an issue it has a major interest in. This resulted in a letter from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services asking Humana to stop such mailings, claiming that "the information in the letter is misleading and confusing to beneficiaries, who may believe that it represents official communication about the Medicare Advantage program." CMS is also investigating whether Humana inappropriately used the lists of Medicare enrollees for unauthorized purposes.

By not mentioning the possibility that Humana may have misused mailing lists for political purposes -- and not bothering to fact-check the mailing to see if it actually is as "misleading" as the government claims -- Baker falsely portrays the issue as one of free speech.

Baker further misleadingly repeats an ABC report calling the CMS letter a "gag order." Humana has not been "gagged" on this issue; rather, it is been asked to stop making misleading claims and misusing mailing list for unauthorized purposes.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:19 PM EDT
Drennan Can't Tell Difference Between Celebrity Writer, Ex-Administration Official
Topic: NewsBusters

A Sept. 22 NewsBusters post highlights the skepticism of CBS' Harry Smith toward a new book by Christopher Anderson about the Obamas' marriage, then complained that "Smith was not at all skeptical when discussing a tell-all book about President George W. Bush by former press secretary Scott McClellan."

Of course, there's a difference between a celebrity author like Andersen writing about something he is, never was, and can never be part of -- the Obamas' marriage -- and someone like McClellan, who was very much a part of the administration he wrote about. Too bad Drennen can't see the difference.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:16 AM EDT
New Article: WorldNetDaily Red-Baits Obama
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Led by Aaron Klein, WND has repeatedly attempted to tie the president -- however desperately and tangentally -- to communism and socialism. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:54 AM EDT
Obama-Nazi Reference of the Day
Topic: WorldNetDaily

But someone who'll be there that you didn't hear about is Kitty Werthmann. Kitty was 12 years old when Adolf Hitler took over Austria.

She is 83 with a "vivid memory" of what happened in her homeland next. She witnessed the government take over the banks and the auto industry. Sound familiar? In the last nine months, Obama and the Democrats in Congress have successfully orchestrated the government takeover of Chrysler and General Motors along with countless banks.

She witnessed the "compulsory youth" service and indoctrination. That sounds a little like Obama's call for "mandatory volunteerism" for America's youth.

The government takeover of the schools immediately replaced crucifixes with pictures of Hitler and Nazi flags. "All religious instruction was replaced with physical education," said Werthmann. No prayer was allowed. That all happened here decades ago. It is interesting, however, that Obama's speech to the captive audience in the government schools – complete with the essay assignment about how students could help him achieve his political goals – was replaced once the American people got wind of it. And speaking of government control of education, if the Senate agrees, all student loans will be government issued, according to a bill that passed the House last week.

Werthmann saw what happened next when the government took over the health-care system. Her brother-in-law was a physician, and by the time he got to his office, 40 patients were already waiting in line. And if the medicine they needed wasn't on the "government-approved list," the cost came out of his own salary – "which dwindled down to almost nothing," Werthmann recalled. Sounds like H.R. 3200.


They had Joseph Goebbels; we have Mark Lloyd, the diversity czar, who is already poised to shut down private radio stations like his hero Hugo Chavez did – threatening licenses and waging outrageous fines on stations (up to $25 million dollars) who say things he doesn't like.


Werthmann said it took five years for Hitler to rise to a dictatorship, and is amazed at how fast history is repeating itself here. "It has to be done fast," she added, "so people won't catch on."

-- Janet Porter, Sept. 22 WorldNetDaily column

Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 AM EDT
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
WND Keeping Mum on Latest Taitz Disgrace
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily appears to be taking Orly Taitz's admonition to avoid criticism of her to heart.

The biggest story so far this week on the birther front is that Connie Rhodes -- An Army captain whom Taitz is representing in a lawsuit seeking to block her deployment to Iraq because Obama has purportedly not demonstrated himself to be an American citizen and thus qualified to be commander in chief, a case WND has touted -- has sent a letter to the judge in her case denouncing Taitz for filing motions in court without her knowledge or approval. Rhodes goes on to request that the motion be withdrawn and state that she no longer wished Taitz "to file any future motions or represent me in any way in this court," and Rhodes also states that she "plans to file a complaint with the California State Bar due to her reprehensible and unprofessional actions."

Taitz has repsonded by suggesting that Rhodes' letter is a forgery, even though Talking Points Memo has reported that thus far it appears to be legitimate.

It's been more than 24 hours since Rhodes' letter was first reported by TPM, but WND has yet to acknowledge its existence. After all, they wouldn't want to make Taitz look bad.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:13 PM EDT
Anti-Abortion Violence Is A 'Myth'?
Topic: Media Research Center

A Sept. 22 MRC Culture & Media Institute item (and NewsBusters post) by Colleen Raezler carries the headline "ABC Perpetuates Myth of Violent Pro-Lifers."

We suspect that George Tiller doesn't consider that to be a myth. Or Barnett Slepian. Or David Gunn. Or Robert Sanderson and Emily Lyons. Or Shannon Lowney and Lee Ann Nichols.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:31 PM EDT
WND's Racist 'Sting,' Starring Kathleen Willey
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily is currently touting an exposé of sorts in which Kathleen Willey -- yes, that Kathleen Willey, who apparently needs the work now that her Clinton-hating business has mostly dried up -- went undercover for WND to work as an employee with a government contractor to process rebate forms for the cash-for-clunkers program. The article's headline calls it a "sting," even though all Willey did was "taking notes on all she observed and experienced for WND."

The undercurrent of WND's "sting," however, is latent racism on the part of both Willey and WND. The article, by Chelsea Schilling, makes sure to note that the contractor that hired Willey and others for the program is "a minority-owned staffing company." Schilling continued:

Willey said she was the only non-minority applicant in the room. While human resources required a strict dress code for the position, she said she was shocked by the clothing and conduct of other candidates who were interviewed:

I was the only one dressed for a job interview. Everyone else had on jeans and T-shirts. Most women wore flip-flops. One woman was barefoot. The women were dressed extremely unprofessionally, in jeans and very revealing tops. A lot of them wore T-shirts that barely covered their stomachs. What I noticed most were the foul mouths of everyone around me.

Perhaps WND could have done better than to hire an admitted liar to conduct a "sting."

Posted by Terry K. at 11:23 AM EDT
MRC's 'Profile of Bias' on Sawyer A Little Thin
Topic: Media Research Center

Shortly after Diane Sawyer was named the new anchor of ABC's World News, the Media Research Center slapped together a "Profile in Bias" of Sawyer, purporting to detail her liberal slant presumably pulled from the MRC archives. In doing so, the MRC stretches things a bit, citing only 35 examples over a 20-year career -- not that many for someone who was on TV either daily ("Good Morning America") or weekly "20/20") throughout much of that time.

By contrast, Media Matters cites 14 examples of what might be called conservative bias by Sawyer just since 2006.

The MRC also presents simple recitation of facts by Sawyer as "bias." For instance, a statement that Yasser Arafat was "treated as a hero, freedom fighter, revolutionary" in parts of the world was classified under "Putting a Soft Focus on World’s Worst Thugs" -- even though the MRC also quotes Sawyer as saying that Israelis saw Arafat as "a bloody terrorist and nothing more."Similarly, Sawyer's noting in 1990 that Vladimir Lenin "retains an almost mystical hold on the Soviet people" was translated by the MRC as a "touting" of Lenin.

Sawyer also ran afoul of the MRC for highlighting the excesses of the Starr Report on President Clinton, pointing out that "I think there were 62 mentions of the word ‘breast,’ 23 of ‘cigar,’ 19 of ‘semen.’ This has been called demented pornography, pornography for Puritans."

At one point, the MRC seems to condone murder: Sawyer's statement that "The abortion debate turns deadly. A doctor known for performing late-term abortions gunned down at church" is prefaced by the headline "50 Million Dead Babies Later...."

As we've detailed, the MRC put together a similarly shoddy "profile in bias" of Katie Couric upon her appointment as CBS Evening News anchor.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:22 AM EDT
Farah Misleads on Obama Ads At WND (Among Other Things)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah's Sept. 21 WorldNetDaily column is a defense of ads for Obama's Fight the Smears website appearing at WND after "dozens of WND readers" expressed their concern and were "accusing me of everything from ineptitude to selling out." But Farah misleads about the nature of the ads -- and other things as well.

As the screen shots Farah included in his column show, the Fight the Smears ads aren't placed directly with WND but through Google AdSense (which we also use), which places ads based on the content of a specific web page. Because WND writes about (and attacks) Obama a lot, the Fight the Smears ads show up a lot as well. WND has merely chosen not to block them from appearing. AdSense's revenue model is based not on placement but on click-throughs. WND makes no money on these ads if its readers -- who, as a whole, are not inclined to support anything that even remotely benefits Obama -- don't click on them.

In other words, it's not as loftily principled as Farah portrays, and it is more about selling out.

There is a lack of principles on Farah's part here -- not for accepting the Obama ads but, rather, for using Google AdSense. As we've pointed out, Farah has repeatedly attacked Google, even calling the company "immoral" and that it "may not be able to discern right from wrong." Why is Farah working with an "immoral" ad partner? How does Farah explain how his "principles" led him to partner with such a company?

In other words, it's totally about selling out.

Farah also claimed that "WND hosted lots of ads for both John McCain and Barack Obama – even though your humble and ever-independent editor and founder wrote a book called 'None of the Above' and was outspoken in his criticism of both candidates."Farah doesn't mention that his own managing editor, David Kupelian, endorsed McCain -- a reflection of WND's overall coverage of the campaign, which tilted heavily in McCain's favor.

Farah goes on to write:

I mentioned last week in this space that WND offers what I believe to be the broadest spectrum of commentary in any news forum anywhere – on the Net or off. Not one person has challenged that characterization. Do you know why? Because it is indisputably true. Name one news source or commentary source on the Net or off that provides space or time to the views of Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter and Joseph Farah and Bill Press, Nat Hentoff and Ellen Ratner?

Actually, we have challenged it. Out of the three dozen or so regular columnists, only Press and Ratner can be described as liberal; the rest range from conservative to right-wing Christian to libertarian. The presence of Ratner and Press -- who rarely get promoted by WND the way it does its right wing columnists -- appear to be for the sole purpose of Farah claiming that WND offers "the broadest spectrum of commentary." Press and Ratner are outliers; WND's actual "spectrum of commentary" runs from conservative to far-right. It can't actually be described as "broad" when it's so heavily weighted to one side.

Farah also indulges in a little promotion of WND's book division, which he says "revolutionized the publishing industry in this country and opened the doors for best-selling books by Michael Savage and Mark Levin and Glenn Beck." How is publishing books by right-wing authors a revolution of any kind? And didn't Regnery beat WND to that punch by, oh, a decade or two?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:25 AM EDT
Monday, September 21, 2009
Newsmax Doesn't Tell Whole Story of FAIR
Topic: Newsmax

A Sept. 21 Newsmax article by Dave Eberhart touted a speech by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher at the Federation for America Immigration Reform's (FAIR) recent "Hold Their Feet to the Fire" gathering, noting how "Rohrabacher had come to the FAIR gathering to lend his support to that organization’s President, Dan Stein, who was busy himself sounding the clarion call about allowing the Obama administration to push through any reform that features amnesty."

Eberhart failed to note that FAIR was founded by John Tanton, who has made numerous controversial and arguably racist statements about immigrants. Nor did Eberhart mention that AIR received $1.2 million between 1985 and 1994 from the Pioneer Fund, a foundation that supports the work of white supremacists, eugenicists, and others who seek to prove that genetic differences exist between races.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:04 PM EDT
AIM's NY Times Boycott Site Goes Dormant
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Has Accuracy in Media pulled the plug on its New York Times boycott website? has not been updated since early August. Its chief writer, Don Feder, last posted an item at the end of June. A Sept. 16 WorldNetDaily column by Feder did not mention any connection to AIM or the Times boycott in Feder's bio.

That's probably just as well, since Feder made a hash of things. As we've detailed, Feder's work at the Times boycott website was notable more for right-wing screeds filled with misleading claims than anything resembling legitimate, coherent media criticism.

AIM always seemed a bit embarrassed to be associated with Feder's website -- it rarely promoted the site, and never offered a link to it on the AIM front page. Now, AIM seems to be trying to quietly bury it.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:59 AM EDT
Ellis Washington's Radio Host Fluffing Week
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It was Radio Host Fluffing Week in Ellis Washington's WorldNetDaily columns this past week.

Washington's Sept. 16 column was yet another act of literary fellatio on Michael Savage (Washington has now declared himself the "authorized biographer for the conservative intellectual" Savage), touting an invitation by the Cambridge Union Society, "the world's oldest and most prestigious debating society," to speak at the British university. Washington asked: "Would he be allowed to debate the team at Cambridge Union Society alone, or would he be paired up with an assortment of radicals, racists and demagogues?" You mean besides Savage?

And the fellatio began:

Savage will be our voice, our representative in a foreign land, our Prometheus … our gladiator in the arena of ideas who will wage intellectual battle against the socialist barbarians who have prevented him from stepping foot on their land.


Michael, the entire audience of "The Savage Nation" and I beseech thee to go to Cambridge, England. Go to the land of the King James Bible, the land of the Magna Carta, the land of Sir Winston Churchill and present your petition of Due Process, Justice, Liberty, Reason, Freedom and Veritas (truth). Tell our cousins across the pond that PC doesn't mean political correctness, but "perversity correctness," that true freedom of speech means the obligation and willingness to hear those you may passionately disagree with. For to do otherwise makes us all either slave masters or slaves to tyranny.

Washington hiliarously adds: "I don't want to be unduly melodramatic here." But what other reason for existence does Washington have?

Washington gets away from the homoerotic overtones of his creepy fealty to Savage long enough to sing the praises of a different radio host -- Laura Ingraham -- for his Sept. 19 column.

I have been with conservative intellectual Laura Ingraham ever since 2001, when the maiden voyage of "The Laura Ingraham Show" set sail. I am never disappointed when listening to Laura, for she is first a quintessential American. She has a forceful personality and has the intellectual gravitas to delineate her views on a wide variety of subjects (not just politics), without coming off as overbearing or doctrinaire. Indeed, I call Laura the lioness of talk radio.


America! Let us support the yeoman's work of Laura Ingraham. Indeed, this woman is a real conservative, an American patriot, a God-fearing Christian and the adoptive mother to two beautiful children – Maria (from Guatemala) and Dmitri (from Russia).

Please visit her website at and perhaps become a "Laura365" member, or at least sign her "Ten for 10" petition.

Ms. Laura Ingraham, indeed you are the lioness of talk radio. You have that beautiful lion's mane of blond hair and a radiant visage. Roar for the conservative movement, roar for the Constitution, roar against the fascist administration of President Obama, and by all means, Laura … continue to roar for America!

It's good to know that Washington likes girls after all ... we think.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:27 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 21, 2009 9:58 AM EDT
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Posted by Terry K. at 1:23 AM EDT
WND Loves Cleon Skousen Too
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Last week, Salon published an interesting profile of Cleon Skousen, who has emerged as the ideological mentor of Glenn Beck. You will not be surprised to learn that WorldNetDaily loves Skousen as well.

WND is currently including as a bonus for subscribing  to its Whistleblower magazine "the book Glenn Beck has been raving about," Skousen's "The 5,000 Year Leap"(also available in the WND store). WND says of the book:

The author explains in clear, concise terms all that came together to create a nation that literally accomplished a 5,000-year leap in progress. Skousen covers in detail what went into the design of the U.S. Constitution, highlighting the original sources for the principles that inspired the United States, and showing how the Founders developed these principles from the studies of Cicero, Locke, Montesquieu, and Adam Smith.

Well, actually, not so much. At Salon, Alexander Zaitchik says of the book:

"Leap," first published in 1981, is a heavily illustrated and factually challenged attempt to explain American history through an unspoken lens of Mormon theology. As such, it is an early entry in the ongoing attempt by the religious right to rewrite history. Fundamentalists want to define the United States as a Christian nation rather than a secular republic, and recast the Founding Fathers as devout Christians guided by the Bible rather than deists inspired by French and English philosophers. "Leap" argues that the U.S. Constitution is a godly document above all else, based on natural law, and owes more to the Old and New Testaments than to the secular and radical spirit of the Enlightenment. It lists 28 fundamental beliefs -- based on the sayings and writings of Moses, Jesus, Cicero, John Locke, Montesquieu and Adam Smith -- that Skousen says have resulted in more God-directed progress than was achieved in the previous 5,000 years of every other civilization combined. The book reads exactly like what it was until Glenn Beck dragged it out of Mormon obscurity: a textbook full of aggressively selective quotations intended for conservative religious schools like Utah's George Wythe University, where it has been part of the core freshman curriculum for decades (and where Beck spoke at this year's annual fundraiser).

Zaitchik goes on to note that "Skousen had authored more than a dozen books and pamphlets on the Red Menace, New World Order conspiracy, Christian child rearing, and Mormon end-times prophecy."

Skousen is also known for another screed, called "The Naked Capitalist," whcih Zaitchik calls "a foundational document of America's NWO conspiracy and survivalist scene" (which makes it somewhat of a surprise that WND doesn't sell it). Indeed, Zaitchik writes that "The Naked Capitalist" is a screed against "the dynastic rich" and "liberal internationalist groups such as the Council on Foreign Relations" (WND sells other works that conspiracy-monger about the CFR too, so its failure to stock this is doubly puzzling).

Then again, Skousen's work does have a bit of bad press surrounding it. A highly respected Brigham Young University history professor named Louis C. Midgley reviewed the book in 1971 and was not kind, pointing out that Skousen's personal position seems to me perilously close to the 'exclusive uniformity' which I see in Nazism and in the Radical Right in this country. In fact, his position has echoes of the original Nazi 25-point plan."

As we all know, only Barack Obama gets likened to Nazis (not to mention the Antichrist) at WND these days.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:27 AM EDT
Sunday, September 20, 2009
CNS Tries to Link Health Care Reform to Illegal Immigrants

We've noted that has latched onto a conspiracy theory tying together the issues of health care reform. As CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey has summed up: "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." CNS has pushed that conspiracy over the past week.

A Sept. 16 article by Matt Cover gave away the whole thing in its overly long headline: "[Steny] Hoyer Won't Answer Directly Whether Immigration Reform Would Make Current Illegal Aliens Eligible for Federally Subsidized Health Insurance Under Obamacare." Cover followed up the next day in the same vein, asking other senators "whether people who are currently illegal aliens in the United States would become eligible for health insurance subsidies under the proposed health-care reform plan if they were made into legal residents and put on a pathway to citizenship by an immigration reform bill."

CNS then latched onto what it seems to consider its smoking gun on the non-issue: a statement at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute that, as summarized in a Sept. 18 article by Nicholas Ballasy, "llegal immigrants would not get government funded health insurance under his health care reform, but said the debate over that plan underscores the need to legalize illegal immigrants so they can get that coverage."

Of course, all of this is nothing more than an attempt by CNS and its fellow conservatives to attack health care reform by hitching it to another issue conservatives despise, comprehensive immigration reform. As we've noted, CNS has repeatedly and baselessly attacked comprehensive immigration reform as "amnesty."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:39 AM EDT

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