From Craig R. Smith's Oct. 19 WorldNetDaily column:
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
NewsBusters Eliminates Humor, Context Defenses
Thanks to P.J. Gladnick, NewsBusters is no longer allowed to cite humor or context to defend conservatives.
In an Oct. 16 post, Gladnick ridiculed Robert Reich's claim that his statements that an honest politician would make about health care, repeated by conservatives, were a "mock exercise" taken out of context. Gladnick called Reich's explanation "lame" and insisted that Reich was speaking in context.
Similarly, in a Oct. 17 post, Gladnick rejected Anita Dunn's explanation that her referencing of Mao Zedong with Mother Teresaas her favorite philosophers "was intended as irony," retorting, "You peons just don't have the mental ability to see that Anita Dunn was merely being ironic despite the fact that was absolutely nothing in her facial expression, vocal tone, nor in what she said that displayed the slightest sense of irony. In fact, she was dead serious as you can plainly see in the video of her speech."
Gladnick went on to dismiss both Reich and Dunn as offering "incredibly lame excuses those on the left come up with to try to explain away statements they made that have come back to haunt them."
The problem here is that humor and context are lame excuses NewsBusters has used to defend conservative remarks, particularly those by Rush Limbaugh.
An December 2008 post by Kathleen McKinley, for instance, complains about "leftwing bloggers" who don't understand that the "Barack the Magic Negro" song Limbaugh has frequently played on his show is an "example of Rush being a racist" rather than the parody it was purportedly meant to be.
Well, no more. Thank you, P.J. Gladnick, for dismantling those excuses as a conservative defense.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Examiner's West Unclear On the Concept
Topic: Washington Examiner
It appears that right-wingers are out for revenge over Rush Limbaugh getting squeezed out of a deal to buy the St. Louis Rams, and they're turning their ire toward (who else) Keith Olbermann.
And that's pretty much the way Diana West put in her Oct. 18 Washington Examiner column:
First, West overlooks the obvious point that Olbermann's harsh words weren't directed to anyone in the NFL -- unlike Limbaugh, who infamously complained that Donovan McNabb was overrated as a quarterback because the media wanted a black QB to succeed. That claim has largely gone unsupported, and West curiously fails to reference it.
Second, West falsely suggests that Olbermann bashed Malkin apropos of noting, omitting what it was Malkin did to provoke it. As the Washington Post describes it, Malkin sicced her readers on author Charisse Carney-Nunes regarding a YouTube video of children singing the praises of Barack Obama, even though she had nothing to do with the song:
Olbermann may have been over the top, but doesn't inciting people against an innocent person deserve some kind of response? West apparently doesn't think so, at least as long as the inciting is done in the service of bashing Obama.
WND Suddenly Offended By Antichrist Stuff
WorldNetDaily has no problem committing the offense of likening Barack Obama to the Antichrist. An actual movie called "Antichrist," however, is another matter.
An Oct. 16 WND article by Drew Zahn highlights right-wing angst over the "Antichrist" movie. Ted Baehr of "Christian media ministry" MovieGuide asserts that the movie contains "a wicked worldview, vile pornographic scenes, onscreen mutilation of private parts and some other material which I simply cannot describe to you in a family publication." Baehr also asserts that this film will be "coming to your local theater Oct. 23."
That's not likely. The film is directed by provocateur Lars von Trier, whose films (among them "Dancer in the Dark" and "Dogville") have never received a wide release in the United States, and it's distributed by indie-film maven IFC. Indeed, Box Office Mojo doesn't even list "Antichrist" on its release schedule for Oct. 23, suggesting that any release it does see will be very limited, to just a handful of screens.
It's unlikely that "Antichrist" will venture beyond the art-house circuit -- which we can safely assume few members of Baehr's target audience are sufficiently near to qualify as their "local theater."
In other words, this is a tempest in a teapot, even if Baehr's hyperbolic attack is even remotely accurate (which it appears to be; USA Today reports "fainting and vomiting at early screenings"). "Antichrist" may be an offensive movie, but it's not opening on 3,000 screens this weekend.
Nevertheless, Baehr goes into censorship mode, demanding that the film be slapped with an NC-17 rating, since most theaters won't show NC-17 movies. But since it's a foreign art film in limited release, it's more than likely that the film will be released unrated.
Now, if Baehr and WND could only work up similar offense about likening Obama to the Antichrist...
More Biased 'Experts' At Newsmax
We've previously mentioned how Newsmax likes to present "experts" to attack Obama policies without clearly explaining that all of the "experts" they cite are conservative and are presumably more interested in advancing a political agenda.
This happens again in an Oct. 18 Newsmax article by David Patten citing "scholars" to back up a claim that "President Obama's healthcare proposals face serious legal problems" and that "at least some provisions will be ruled unconstitutional. Patten's list of "scholars" begins with Andrew Napolitano, "senior judicial analyst at the Fox News Channel." According to Wikipedia, Napolitano describes himself as a libertarian -- a political slant Patten does not mention.
Indeed, none of Patten's "scholars" are explicitly labeled as conservative. For instance, he describes the Competitive Enterprise Institute, from which one of hislegal experts hails, only as a "think tank," making no mention of the group's conservative leanings.
Other connections are drawn by inference -- a Republican congressman, former staffers in Republican administrations, articles published in the Wall Street Journal and Investor's Business Daily, both conservative-leaning. Again, Patten makes no effort to explain that these analyses are coming from a conservative perspective.
WND Misfires in Attack on Dunn
WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein is one of the leading perpetrators of guilt-by-association attacks on Obama administration staffers. As we've detailed, some of his attacks are more specious than others.
Another one of Klein's specious attacks is the subject of an Oct. 18 WND article, headlined "White House boasts: We 'control' news media; Communications chief offers shocking confession to foreign government." But the claim Klein is peddling is much less "shocking," and it certainly doesn't support the headline:
Dunn is talking about efforts by political campaigns to manage media coverage of their candidate -- which every political campaign of any size tries to do. There's nothing "shocking" about this at all.
So the headline is completely wrong -- Dunn could not have been boasting about how the White House controls the media because Obama had not yet been inaugurated at the time she gave her speech.
MRC Report on Limbaugh Hides More Than It Tells
Topic: Media Research Center
In its fine tradition of not-so-special "special reports," the new Media Research Center report by Tim Graham, "Rush to Ruin: the Left's Character Assassination Campaign Against Rush Limbaugh," is more significant for what it omits than for what it includes.
The errors of omission start at the beginning, with a quote from P.J. O'Rourke that "It’s the twilight of the radio loudmouth, you know? I knew it from the moment the fat guy ... refused to share his drugs." Nowhere is it mentioned that O'Rourke is a libertarian conservative.
Graham goes on to highlight how Limbaugh's statement that "We are being told that we have to hope Obama succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles, bend over forward, backward, whichever, because his father was black, because this was the first black President" caused the "media establishment" to "denounce Limbaugh and demanded that Republicans distance themselves from his claims." As the MRC has before, Graham gives Limbaugh a pass on the sexual crudity of Limbaugh's remark, just one of many references to anal sex by Limbaugh that Graham and his MRC buddies don't find offensive, though references to anal sex by other entertainers are routinely denounced.
Graham complains how Limbaugh has been subject to "vicious personal attacks" by various people in the media. But the MRC has a long history of personal attacks on President Clinton in the form of sex jokes.
Graham also engages in irrelevant evidence on another claim, calling it unfair that Limbaugh was criticized as racist for his 2003 statement regarding Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb that "The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback can do well" and insisting that there was "plenty of evidence of liberal sports columnists 'desirous' of black advancement in the NFL (New York Times columnist Selena Roberts complained the NFL was 'white as baking soda')." But a single example making a general claim about blacks in the NFL -- which, as excerpted, does not demonstrate support for the claim -- doesn't prove Limbaugh's specific assertion regarding McNabb correct. As we detailed back then, the MRC couldn't back up Limbaugh in 2003, either.
Gaham stuck to the Limbaugh party line in defending him over his 2007 statement that he appeared to call soliders who called for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq "phony soldiers." Graham wrote:
In fact, it was not at all clear that Limbaugh was referring to MacBeth at the time he said the remark. As Media Matters documented, Limbaugh had not mentioned MacBeth at all on that day's show before he made the "phony soldiers" remark, and then did not specifically reference MacBeth until 1 minute and 50 seconds later. Limbaugh did not call MacBeth a "phony soldier" at that point either; rather, he berated the media for not checking out his story.
Given that Graham's report came out in the midst of Limbaugh's failed attempt to buy a piece of the St. Louis Rams, Graham complained that some media outlets attributed racially insensitive statements to Limbaugh that have since proven to be unverified or fabricated. Unsurprisingly, Graham didn't mention that there are numerous other examples -- fully documented -- of racially charged statements by Limbaugh.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
WND Tries to Distract From Author's Anti-Muslim Sentiments
An Oct. 18 WorldNetDaily article by Art Moore attempts to defend against allegations that David Gaubatz, co-author of the new WND-published anti-CAIR tome "Muslim Mafia," is a "an anti-Muslim bigot associated with a racist organization" by focusing narrowly on a CAIR statement and and painting Gaubatz as a friend to all Muslims while ignoring actual evidence to the contrary.
For instance, at no point does Moore make no mention of the following about Gaubatz, as documented by Talking Points Memo:
Moore also ran to the defense of the Society of Americans for National Existence, which operates a project called Mapping Shariah that Gaubatz has been involved with. AFter noting that CAIR stated that SANE "offered a policy proposal that would make it illegal to be a Muslim." Moore featured SAND director David Yerushalmi responding:
But the Yerushalmi piece Moore links to does, in fact, admit that SANE did, in fact, "call for outlawing Islam" because it "defined Islam as synonymous with Shariah." SANE has since more narrowly defined its calls for imprisonment and deportation to those who advocate Sharia in the U.S. (which it still calls "A SANE Act to Deal with the Islamic Threat to America’s National Existence").
NewsBusters Bias-Hunting Fail
A pair of NewsBusters attempts to sniff out liberal bias have gone, shall we say, awry.
An Oct. 16 post by Ken Shepherd purports to finda hidden agenda in the fact that a voiceover announcer for MSNBC also supplies the voiceover for an ad by "a pro-ObamaCare group."As County Fair's Matt Gertz points out, Shepherd persists with this conspiracy even after pointing out that MSNBC told him that the announcer is a freelancer who isn't prohibited from taking on other work.
Meanwhile, Noel Sheppard tried in an Oct. 15 post to find something sinister in Al Gore advising Google about "aspects of search quality," citing alleged "ongoing concerns about Google's political leanings and how its search algorithms might be manipulated to favor liberal news outlets over conservative points of view." As Sadly, No! noted, Sheppard failed to mention that Gore was acting on behalf of Apple, where he's on the board of directors.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Farah Insults Yet Another WND Critic
Joseph Farah continues to be as thin-skinned as he ever was.
Farah used his Oct. 15 WorldNetDaily column to rant against a Roanoke Times columnist, Dan Casey, who criticized WND for endorsing censorship over a book lent by a high school teacher to a student, who lent the book to another student, whose father purported offense and ran to WND to complain. Casey's main offense, in Farah's eyes, was describing WND as a "California-based conspiracy-theory laden 'news' website." Farah retorted:
Of course, Farah is lying -- WND is very much "conspiracy-laden." As MSNBC's Rachel Maddow nicely summed up, WND is "a clearinghouse for most of the wackiest conspiracy theories on the right: President Obama is secretly foreign! Health reform is a secret plot to kill old people! The president's speech to school kids is a secret plan to form a new Hitler Youth! FEMA is really a secret plan to put conservatives in concentration camps!"
But, Farah being Farah, he had to insult Casey and his newspaper as well. On top of calling his paper a "fish wrapper," Farah smears Casey as a "twisted individual" and "the kind of creature I can't stand" who writes his column "thankfully in virtual obscurity."
Farah, meanwhile, shows no evidence of having read the book himself -- he recites the laundry list of offensive descriptions in the book without explaining their context, yet he repeats without comment Casey's noting that the Bible contains "passages about sex, and homosexuality, adultery, sodomy and incest. Plus murder, fratricide and idolatry" and pointing out those incidents have a "larger context."
Given Farah's eagerness to smear any critic of his work (as we know all too well), of course, there's no admission by Farah that WND libeled the teacher at the center of the manufactured controversy by suggesting that she wants to have sex with her students.
Herbert London Whitewashes His Own History
Prefacing his Oct. 13 Newsmax column's straw-man attack on the claim that "criticism of the president’s healthcare proposal is based on race" -- no evidence is provided that anyone has actually made that assertion, only a nebulous assertion that "some have argued" it -- Herbert London wrote:
London fails to detail the circumstances that resulted in Bob Herbert making that claim about London, which puts the lie to any claim that he was "reluctant to challenge" McCall. From Herbert's Nov. 2, 1994, column:
It's obvious that by the time Herbert's column appeared, London had been campaigning in anything but a chastened manner. Further, the election was held on Nov. 8, 1994; Herbert's column appeared just six days earlier, making it unlikely that London's assertion he was "reluctant to challenge" McCall as a result of the column has any basis in fact.
Herbert was far from the only person to complain about London's campaign tactics. Even some of London's fellow Republicans distanced themselves from him, stating that "unfounded allegations or sneering hints of anti-Semitism are the most disgusting campaign tactics that exist."
Any claims of hurt by London at being labeled as engaging in racially charged tactics are nothing more than crocodile tears designed to distract from the fact that that's exactly what he was doing.
Friday, October 16, 2009
And MSNBC's Rachel Maddow points out that WND is "the pulsing, throbbing cuckoo core" of various right-wing conspiracy theories, which, she adds, "would just make them inadvertantly hilarious, if the Republican Party wasn't paying WorldNetDaily for their email lists. And now, congressional Republicans are doing the book publicity tour for the latest WorldNetDaily blockbuster cuckoo conspiracy book."
Republican Rep. Sue Myrick wrote the foreword to the book.
Kessler Contradicts Cashill
In his Oct. 15 Newsmax column, Kessler comes to Obama's defense from the likes of Jack Cashill by asserting that Obama did indeed write his own books:
Kessler curiously traces the rumor back only to the Ayers airport encounter, completely ignoring Cashill's obsessive conspiracy surrounding it.
Unfortunately, Kessler spoils the mood by giving in to the urge to smack around somebody. That would be John Kennedy, for not writing "Profiles in Courage."
WND: Obama Born In Kenya -- The Internet Says So!
If it's on the Internet, it must be true -- that appears to be WorldNetDaily's philosophy of fact-checking.
An Oct. 15 WND article by Bob Unruh touts how an "archived article" from a 2004 Kenyan newspaper calling Barack Obama "Kenyan-born." This, Unruh asserts "is significant."
Um, no, it's not. Well, it is, but only to people like Unruh and his fellow birther obsessives at WND. Given that the newspaper article also misspells Obama's name, it's a sure bet that standards of accuracy are not the highest -- that is to say, they are a lot like those at WND.
But spreading yet another lie is not enough for Unruh -- he has to gin up a conspiracy as well:
If a blogger couldn't find evidence of a false claim anywhere else, then it must be true!
Of course, a legitimate news outlet would have made an effort to verify the claim before publishing it. But that's not how WND rolls -- remember, it published the Orly Taitz-supplied "Kenyan birth certificate" without bothering to investigate its veracity beforehand. It was only several days after publication that WND conceded that the "certificate" was a forgery, citing "several samples of Kenyan birth certificates" it obtained -- even though it cited "other birth certificates from Kenya" to claim that they "appear to be identical" to the forgery.
But that appears to have been the point of publishing something it couldn't be bothered to verify beforehand -- to rope in the suckers who believe that if it's on the Internet, it must be true.
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
-- Jack Cashill, Oct. 15 WorldNetDaily column
Buy through this Amazon link and support ConWebWatch!
Accuracy in Media
Capital Research Center
Free Congress Foundation
Media Research Center
The Daily Les
Western Journalism Center
Support Bloggers' Rights!