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Tuesday, September 29, 2009
WND Follows the Herd, Selectively Edits Quote
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 28 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh follows the lead of Fox News and the Washington Times by uncritically repeating their claims that "radical homosexual activist" Kevin Jennings, President Obama's safe school czar, "violated a state law" by failing to report that when he was a high school counselor, he "was told by a 15-year-old high school sophomore that he was having homosexual sex with an 'older man.' At the very least, statutory rape occurred."

In fact, the evidence cited by the Times and Fox News, which Unruh uncritically repeats -- an audiotape of Jennings relating the story of the student in question during a 2000 speech -- was edited by both organizations to omit the fact that Jennings expressed concern to the student over sexually transmitted diseases because, he said, "my best friend had just died of AIDS the week before." Further, the audio cited by Fox and the Times does not specifically indicate, as they suggest, that the teen was involved with an "older man" or that sex between them actually occurred (though that can be plausibly inferred).

Posted by Terry K. at 1:54 AM EDT
Horowitz Declares War on Marc Lamont Hill
Topic: Horowitz

For reasons clear only to him, David Horowitz has felt the need to smack down Marc Lamont Hill.

In a Sept. 25 Newsreal post, Horowitz declares Hill -- a frequent guest on "The O'Reilly Factor" -- to be "an embarrassment to his own standards and an insult to the intelligence of African Americans particularly and his entire audience generally." Why? Because, Horowitz writes, "Hill is an expert on “hip-hop culture,” i.e., rap music. His academic degree is in education. What are his views on foreign policy worth, unless putting him on was designed to show up the shallow views of the left?" Horowitz continues:

I wonder if O’Reilly understands that putting on such a lightweight feeds the racism of low expectations. There are  very intelligent blacks (and leftists) who could provide an interesting foil for conservative views if that was the agenda. Having a Columbia professor of rap music comment on the foreign policy views of Karl Rove (who was featured in the preceding segment) is demeaning to Rove and embarrassing to every African American watching. First we have a figure involved in every major foreign policy decision of the Bush administration who happens to be white. Then we have an aficionado of rap music who happens to be black? What does that say to the television viewer?

If O’Reilly wants to bring Hill on to defend Ludacris or some other morally-challenged rapper then fine. If he is the best defender that ACORN can get, then fine too. But spectacles like tonight’s segment are like circus sideshows that reflect poorly on the judgment of the Factor’s producers and are unworthy of the Factor itself.

Of course, O'Reilly himself has no particular experience to draw on that would give him expertise in discussing foreign policy. But Horowitz doesn't seem bothered by that.

Needless to say, Hill was not happy with this unprovoked attack, responding on his Twitter account, writing among other things: "David Horowitz has made his career calling people communists and/or anti-semites. He sees no irony in challenging credentials, while exercising the freedom to talk about whatever he wants with NO training at all. How does his Masters in literature allow him to write books on Islamic radicalism? "Furthermore, why hasn't he challenged Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh's ability to analyze politics and lead the GOP w/ HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMAS?"

This, of course, merely set up Hill for more abuse from Horowitz. In a Sept. 27 FrontPageMag article headlined "Fox’s Affirmative Action Baby Whines," Horowitz again sneered that "Hill’s expertise, such as it is, is hip-hop culture — the very low end, in other words, of popular music which is better known as rap," adding, "With an expertise in rap music, Hill has a professorship at Columbia University, illustrating  my often made observation that our liberal arts colleges have fallen to their lowest intellectual level in 100 years." Horowitz asserted that "a rap professor pontificating about geopolitical issues" feeds "the soft racism of low expectations and that it was in fact an insult to all those black academics who would actually have had something intelligent to say about the Iran crisis."

Horowitz went on to complain that Hill's use of Twitter to respond to him was "bad judgment" because it revealed that "His Twitter web page is wall-papered with one of his heroes, Assata Shakur — a fugitive killer, wanted for the cold-blooded murder of a New Jersey state trooper in 1973." Horowitz then expanded his smears of black liberals:

Marc Lamont Hill, out of all the black intellectuals available, to talk about cultural issues (let alone international affairs.) Hill is one of a community of black intellectuals promoted well beyond their abilities — Michael Eric Dyson and Cornel West are two obvious others — who are poisoning the minds of  black youth with the idea that politically correct murderers like Assata Shakur are heroes, and patriotic Americans are devils incarnate. Of course confronting O’Reilly — and cherishing his air time and Fox stipend — Hill is far more moderate on TV than he probably is in his classroom or at the public speaking venues his gig on Fox makes possible.

Horowitz also gets pedantic about what Hill actually wrote:

Hill’s second complaint is that I wrote a book called Unholy Alliance about radical Islam but I’m not an expert in Islam. This is supposed to take the heat off him for making inane comments on the Iranian crisis. Actually, my book — which he obviously didn’t read — is about theAmerican left — not Islam — and is an attempt to explain its tacit alliance with the Islamic totalitarians of al-Qaeda and Hamas. This is a subject I happen to be an expert on. I have studied the American left longer and know more about it than Professor Hill does about hip-hop culture or, for that matter, about me.

Horowitz doesn't address Hill's point about conservative radio hosts who pontificate about geopolitical issues with no college degree at all.

Remember, this is all happening because Hill is a black liberal who likes rap music -- and therefore, in Horowitz's eyes, isn't qualified to talk about anything else.

And Horowitz is the one complaining about others' "soft bigotry of low expectations"?

UPDATE: Cliff Kincaid follows Horowitz's lead by complaining in a Sept. 28 Accuracy in Media column that Hill is allowed to comment "on issues that go far beyond his expertise on hip-hop culture."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:00 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 1:12 AM EDT
Monday, September 28, 2009
Graham Offended That Ruddy Stopped Hating Clinton
Topic: NewsBusters

Newsmax's Christopher Ruddy has renounced his membership in the He-Man Clinton-Haters Club, and club member Tim Graham doesn't like it, not one bit.

In a Sept. 28 NewsBusters post, Graham notes a Washington Post article on the newfound friendship between Ruddy and Bill clinton -- which we reported on two years ago -- to lament: "Which statement here is weirder? Newsmax boss Christopher Ruddy now declaring that Bill Clinton was a 'great president'? Or Clinton telling him he did a 'good job' hounding him in the 1990s?" Graham adds: "If this deep bow is what it takes to gain access for an interview with the former president, the price is too high. It sounds a lot like Joe Scarborough apologizing all over Hillary Clinton a few years back."

Apparently, Graham believes that the Clintons must be hated at all costs. Graham also overlooks the fact that Newsmax hasn't actually eliminated Clinton-bashing.

By the way, in that Washington Post article, Ruddy is quoted as saying of Newsmax: "We are the heart and soul of the Republican Party and not out to demonize people." Barack Obama would beg to differ.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:49 PM EDT
Contradicting Cashill, Andersen Denies He Claimed that Ayers Wrote Obama Book
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As we've noted, WorldNetDaily's Jack Cashill has been gloating that author Christopher Andersen confirmed his claim that "Bill Ayers played a major role in the writing of Obama's much acclaimed 1995 memoir, 'Dreams From My Father.'"The headline on Cashill's Sept. 23 WND column states, "Bookconfirms: Ayers wrote Obama's book," and Cashill goes on to depict this as a "Obama-as-Milli Vanilli story."

Unfortunately for Cashill, it turns out the truth is not quite as simple -- Andersen is quite adamantly pointing out that Ayers played any major role in the writing of Obama's book and definitely did not ghost-write it. From the Sept. 27 edition of CNN's "Reliable Sources":

HOWARD KURTZ (host): Let's talk about Bill Ayers, the one-time terrorist. You say that when Barack was writing his first memoir that he sought advice from Ayers, who was an acquaintance in Chicago, and he submitted the manuscript thanks to the help from the veteran writer Ayers. How do you know that?

ANDERSEN: There are several people on the record who say that in the book. And I might add CNN, in its own investigative report on the connection between Ayers and Barack Obama that was done for Anderson Cooper's show, said that indeed there was a closer relationship than the campaign said there was at the time.

KURTZ: I'm not asking about how close the relationship was. I'm asking about the notion that Ayers actually helped Obama with his book.

ANDERSEN: Neither one denied it. And in fact, you know, he -- there are definitely named sources in the book that point out the fact that there wes a group of writers in Hyde Park Chicago at the time who had input on each other's writings. I definitely do not say he wrote Barack Obama's book. Again, I'm putting up, you know, the accurate picture, which is that they knew each other, they -- he helped a little bit, gave his opinions. That's all I'm saying. And in fact, he did not write Barack Obama's book. So again, you talk about the spin, and I don't like the fact that --

KURTZ: I didn't say that you said that he wrote it, I quoted from the book. All right, Tony Rezko --

ANDERSEN:  I know, but you're hinting.

KURTZ:  I'm not hinting, I'm not suggesting, I'm not implying.

WND currently links to a video of the interview, surprisingly even highlighting the statement "I definitely do not say he wrote Barack Obama's book" in the subhed -- though WND baselessly puts "wrote" in scare quotes. But the video is at, and it doesn't reside on the WND website. Will Cashill note this crucial distinction? We shall see.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 28, 2009 9:30 AM EDT
WND's 'Pink Slip' Gets Facts Wrong
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In another attempt to cash in on the hate instinct of its readers, WorldNetDaily is teaming up with Faith2Action's Janet Porter to get people to pay $29.95 -- "a remarkably low price based on economies of scale" -- to send "pink slip" notices to every member of Congress. But the "pink slip" substitutes false and misleading right-wing talking points for facts.

The "pink slip" essentially threatens any member of Congress who votes for "government health care," "cap and trade," "hate crimes" legislation and "any more spending" by asserting, "If you vote for any of these, your real pick slip will be issued in the next election." 



The argument against a federal hate-crimes bill that protects gays (which is the actual, unspoken issue here) is stated: "It protects pedophiles and sends pastors to prison for biblical positions and speech!" In fact, as we've detailed, the bill does not protect pedophiles and it specifically states that "Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the Constitution," which would include the First Amendment protection for freedom of religion.

The case against "government health care" includes that "it has tax-funded abortion, rationing and euthanasia." The claim that health care reform mandates euthanasia (or "death panels") has been repeatedly debunked. As for funding of abortion, anti-abortion activists cite a convoluted path for how this occurs since no proposal offers direct funding for abortion. As a Sept. 21 CNS article summed it up: "the House bills and one of the Senate bills includes language allowing federal funding for private plans that would pay for abortions. Thus, fungible money would allow for indirect funding of abortion."

This isn't the first time a WND spam letter has contained falsehoods -- which would be embarrassing if anyone at WND were capable of shame. As we detailed, an August letter to Obama claimed that a Hawaii birth certificate "could easily be obtained for a birth that took place out of the state or out of the country" without noting that there's no evidence that Hawaii issues birth certificates "for a birth that took place out of the state or out of the country" that claim the person was born in Hawaii.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:39 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 28, 2009 1:42 AM EDT
Mr. Washington, Meet Mr. Godwin
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It's been a while since Ellis Washington has hurled any decent smears at President Obama. But never fear -- he's taken up the gauntlet again in his Sept. 26 WorldNetDaily column, reviving that hoary old Nazi smear.

Washington centers this attack around Obama's speech to the United Nations, which he claims "was delivered with the dispassionate indifference of a man who was handed a speech others wrote for him and loaded into his teleprompter for him to read like a robot" and insists "could just as easily been written by Col. Moammar Gadhafi." Washington goes on to claim that Obama's goal of a Palestinian state -- a goal not unlike that of most previous U.S. presidents -- contains "perhaps the most evil, anti-Semitic language I've ever heard from any American president against Israel."

Washignton then veers into Godwin's Law territory, attacking Obama's goal of Middle East peace: "What "goal" does Obama wish to pursue for God's chosen people? Is Obama's "goal" tantamount to Hitler's "Final Solution" regarding the nation of Israel?"

Then Washington claims he's trying "[n]ot to be histrionic here." Feel free to take a few moments to laugh your heads off.

Ah, but Washington isn't done with his histrionics. He concludes:

The Muslim world has dreamed of this day when a weak, Quisling leader in America like Obama would seek to curry favor of the Muslim nations to bolster his own universal reputation. The price? – a revival of Hitler's "Final Solution" and the genocide of the independent nation-state of Israel.

Bravo, Mr. Washington. You've achieved the full Godwin.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:05 AM EDT
Sunday, September 27, 2009
CNS Misleads on Supposed 'Gag Order'

A Sept. 24 article by Melanie Hunter-Omar misleadingly claims that the Department of Heath and Human Services "told Humana Inc. and other health care companies that contract with Medicare to stop sending information to seniors about how the [health care reform] measure might affect their Medicare benefits - this after Humana Inc. sent a mailer to seniors saying the health care bill could cut their benefits."

In fact, as we detailed, HHS told Humana to stop making misleading claims about health care reform and to not misuse Medicare enrollee mailing lists. Hunter Omar uncritically forwarded the claim that the HHS request is a "gag order" despite the fact that the health insurance companies are not prohibited from providing factual information -- only misleading information and electioneering using Medicare mailing lists.

At no point did Hunter-Omar directly quote any administration official or HHS. Rather, she focuses solely on a letter by Republican leaders stating that they will "block the nominations of President Barack Obama’s health nominees until the Health and Human Services Department drops its 'gag order.' "

Posted by Terry K. at 2:38 PM EDT
More Obama-Hate In WND's Ads
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Back in April, we noted now WorldNetDaily had promoted an inline-text ad for a seller of homemade solar panels with the tagline "Still paying Obama for electricity?"

Well, is back, and its current WND text ad states: "Don't pay Obama for electricity any longer!"

In addition to engaging in superfluous Obama-bashing -- as before, the ad itself makes no mention whatsoever of Obama -- it's factually inaccurate. The majority of electricity in the U.S. is generated by either private/shareholder-held companies or municipal or regional public utilities. The closest anyone gets to "paying Obama for electricity" are customers of the Tennessee Valley Authority, which is federally owned.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:02 AM EDT
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Meanwhile ...
Topic: Washington Examiner

Media Matters' Eric Boehlert, after a bit of complaining, seems to have finally gotten action from the Washington Examiner's Michael Barone, who had claimed in a Sept. 20 column that "a union thug beat up a 65-year-old black conservative in Missouri." The column has now been corrected, with an editor's note at the end: "This post previously incorrectly stated the age of Kenneth Gladney. He is 38 years old." It remains uncorrected, however, in other versions of Barone's column, such as at Real Clear Politics.

Barone doesn't concede that the part about Gladney getting "beat up" is also in contention as well. As Boehlert points out, the video of the incident shows "Gladney walking around after the incident without an obvious scratch on his body, and in no apparent pain," yet shortly afterward, "Gladney showed up in a wheelchair at a right-wing rally thrown on his behalf."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:04 AM EDT
WND Uncritically Repeats Shoebat's Dubious Story
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 23 WorldNetDaily article touts editor Joseph Farah's appearance at the upcoming Strategic Perspectives Conference in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Also attending the conference is Walid Shoebat, whose supplied biography is uncritically repeated by WND, including claims that "As a young man, he became a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and participated in acts of terror and violence against Israel."

In fact, as we detailed, numerous questions have been raised about the veracity of the claims of "violence against Israel" Shoebat claims he was engaged in before he became an evangelical Chrisitan. There appears to be no evidence of a bombing of a bankthat Shoebat claims to have been involved with. Further, questions have been raised about the transparency of the charitable organization he runs.

WND ignores all of this, instead sticking with the handout bio. Indeed, WND has never reported any of this to its readers. Not only that, WND has added to its online story a book co-authored by Shoebat.

This is at least the second time Farah and Shoebat have shared a stage. No wonder he doesn't want to tell his readers the truth about Shoebat.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:31 AM EDT
Friday, September 25, 2009
WND Tries To Revive Jesse Dirkhising As Cause Celebre
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jesse Dirkhising still has not outlived his usefulness to anti-gay activists.

Dirkhising was a 13-year-old Arkansas boy who died in 1999 while abused during kinky sex. Because the two men currently serving prison sentences in Dirkhising's death are homosexual, right-wingers have long sought to portray him as the anti-Matthew Sheppard, a gay man murdered in 1998.

WorldNetDaily marks the 10th anniversary of Dirkhising's death with a Sept. 25 article by Chelsea Schilling, who complains that unlike Shepard, Dirkhising's "horrific murder continues to be largely ignored – with no plays, books or TV dramas to honor his memory." Schilling went on to note that "the case received a flurry of publicity after first being brought to the attention of the nation in WorldNetDaily."

The reality is a little more complicated -- as we detailed at the time, WND couldn't be bothered to provide original coverage of the trial of one of the alleged killers. Further, the two cases are not equivalent -- Shepard's death was very much a hate crime, WND's attempts at revisionism to the contrary, while Dirkhising's death was a sex crime.

Joseph Farah similarly uses his Sept. 25 column to honor Dirkhising as a useful tool for his anti-gay activism by proudly recounting the gory details of Dirkhising's death. Farah then launches into a predictable anti-gay rant, suggesting that Dirkhising died because homosexuals are allowed to exists -- or, as he put it, "maybe even because a certain politically protected lifestyle has been elevated to virtual sainthood" and because his killers belonged to "a politically protected class of Americans."

Farah then writes: "I don't know how many more Jesse Dirkhisings there have been since 1999, but I do know a day doesn't go by any longer that there isn't news of adults having sex with children." Is Farah really saying that Dirkhising's death made adult-child sex acceptable to society? How ludicrous. Farah can't prove that it's more accepted now than it was then, let alone that a new case of adult-child sex has surfaced every single day for the past 10 years.

Such obviously false hyperbole, it seems, is OK with Farah as long as it advances his anti-gay cause -- which is what resurrecting the Dirkhising case is all about.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:45 AM EDT
Another Empty Aaron Klein Article
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 22 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein hides behind anonymous sources to accuse the Obama administration of lobbying "to ensure against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu working with pro-Israel members of Congress in an attempt to ease White House pressure against the Jewish state." Klein 's article contains no named sources, referring only to anonymous "senior Palestinian officials."

Klein goes on to identify the group J Street "a far-leftist Mideast activist organization." By contrast, a JUne 2008 WND article by Klein idenitifies J Street's arguable counterpart, the right-leaning American Israel Public Affairs Committee, without an ideological tag, describing it only as "influential."

Klein also claims that J Street "has been accused of anti-Israel activity" but refuses to elaborate. In fact, it's only right-wingers who have made that claim.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:05 AM EDT
MRC Ramps Up Misinformation on HHS Letter
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center continues its misinformation campaign on a letter issued by the Department of Health and Human Services regarding a letter sent by the health provider Humana to its Medicare Advantage enrollees.

In a Sept. 24 press release, the MRC falsely claimed that HHS "demanded all private health insurance companies immediately stop communicating how health care legislation might affect their Medicare Advantage customers' plans and threatened to prosecute them if they refused to comply." In fact, the letter stated that HHS was asking firms to "suspend potentially misleading mailings to beneficiaries about health care and insurance reform." It does not forbid all communication with its clients -- just those that mislead and can be interpreted as representing "official communication about the Medicare Advantage program"and those that misuse "the lists of Medicare enrollees for unauthorized purposes."

The MRC hyperbolically asserted that "This is an abuse of power that would shock even Richard Nixon," and MRC chief followed up by claiming that the Obama administration is mounting "an orchestrated and deliberate attempt to keep American citizens in the dark, particularly vulnerable seniors."

Again, HHS has not forbidden all communication between insurers and their Medicare clients. It has asked -- not ordered -- that insurers stop misleading their Medicare Advantage clinets and not misuse mailing lists for unauthorized purposes. The MRC is lying by claiming otherwise.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:02 AM EDT
Thursday, September 24, 2009
MRC Gives Fox A Pass on Orchestrating News
Topic: NewsBusters

You'd think that video footage of a network news producer orchestrating crowd reaction off-camera for a news report would get the folks at a media watchog like the Media Research Center all hot and bothered.

But since the network in question is Fox News, the MRC is willing to overlook it.

A Sept. 21 NewsBusters post by MRC researcher Matthew Balan notes that CNN's Rick Sanchez used the footage of the Fox News producer "raise[d] her arms to get the crowd to hoop and howl on command" for coverage of the anti-Obama 9/12 rally -- but Balan said no more about it, choosing instead to attack Sanchez because he "didn’t raise any objections when former CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen lashed out on-camera at Tea Party protesters at an April 15 rally in Chicago."

The MRC routinely gives Fox News a pass for behavior it would criticize had it taken place on another network.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:02 AM EDT
Kessler Still Fluffing Mitt Romney
Topic: Newsmax

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Newsmax's Ronald Kessler made his mark by being a sycophantic supporter of Mitt Romney and saying creepily fawning things about Romney's wife.

Kessler's still at it. His Sept. 21 column touts the public health insurance plan Romney introduced as governor of Massachusetts, writing that it "has managed to cover nearly all residents at minimal additional cost to the state and could be a model for national healthcare reform." Kessler's source for that claim? Romney himself.

Kessler goes on to allow Romney to claim without challenge that any problems with the Massachusetts plan are not his fault: The state legislature "decided to add some features, which are ones that I did not support," and its coverage of abortions is "the product of a liberal court."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:41 AM EDT

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