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Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Hostetter Misleads on Self-Identifying Conservatives
Topic: Newsmax

In a column published Oct. 28 at Newsmax and Oct. 30 at Accuracy in Media, Ralph Hostetter writes: "With conservatives at 40 percent and moderates at 36 percent, slightly more than three-quarters of the nation in total identify themselves as an electorate that has made a major move to the right, leaving liberals at 20 percent of the voting public."

But as we've previously noted, research also shows that a significant number of people who self-identify as "conservatives" don't necessarily hold conservative beliefs.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, November 2, 2009
WND's Misleading Non-Story
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The headline of a Nov. 1 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein promises a lot: "Surprise! Guess who visited White House," with the subhead, "Lots of infamous names on logs, Obama in full-court denial mode."

But Klein's article is much tamer -- so much so it barely registers as news. Klein's big scoop is that "Malik Zulu Shabazz, national chairman of the radical New Black Panther Party, refused to confirm or deny to WND whether he visited the White House since President Obama took office, despite his name appearing on a recent administration disclosure." Klein's statement that the White House has noted that Shabazz and other infamous names on the list "were 'false positives' – names that make you think of a well-known person, but are actually someone else" is quite old news, having been released by the White House on Oct. 30.

A statement of fact is not a "full-court denial," something Klein and WND do not seem to understand. And the White House claim is entirely plausible given that, as ABC's Jake Tapper notes, ther are 59 listings for Malik Shabazz at Klein curiously fails to mention that.

That's it for actual news in this article; Klein pads out his article with recycled attacks on Shabazz.

A little desperate to bash Obama, are we, WND?

Posted by Terry K. at 4:07 PM EST
Updated: Monday, November 2, 2009 4:09 PM EST
Newsmax, WND Embrace Pat Boone's Eliminationist Rhetoric
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax has apparently learned nothing from the controversy over columnist John L. Perry calling for a military coup against President Obama.

It has published a column by Pat Boone calling for a "tenting" of the White House:

Experts come in, actually envelope the whole dwelling in a giant tent — and send a very powerful fumigant, lethal to the varmints and unwelcome creatures, into every nook and cranny of the house. Done thoroughly, every last destructive insect or rodent is sent to varmint hell. In a day or two, the grand house is habitable again.


I believe — figuratively, but in a very real way — We need to tent the White House!

For reasons only the current occupant can explain, he purposely has brought a whole flock of social and political voracious varmints with him into our White House. He doesn’t own it; he hasn’t even rented it; we the people simply have given him the keys and invited him to live there for four years, making it convenient to serve us better, to carry out our expressed wishes for our country.


To the dismay of millions of us, this occupant seems to think we need an emperor.


Our White House is being eaten away, from within. We urgently need to throw a “tent” of public remonstration and outcry over that hallowed abode, to cause them to quake and hunker down inside. And then treat the invaders, the alien rodents, to massive voter gas — the most lethal antidote to would-be tyrants and usurpers.


We must clean house — starting with our own White House.

WorldNetDaily has also published Boone's column. But WND doesn't care about truth, and hateful anti-Obama rhetoric is rife. But Newsmax actually showed some responsibility by removing Perry's column (though not to the point where it apologized to its readers for publishing it in the first place). 

Will Newsmax show the same quasi-responsibility here by curbing Boone's eliminationist rhetoric?

UPDATE: Newsmax appears to have placed Boone's column in some sort of weird stealth mode -- the column is still live, but it's been removed from Boone's column archive.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:08 PM EST
Updated: Monday, November 2, 2009 7:37 PM EST
Kessler Ignores Facts to Defend Fox News
Topic: Newsmax

Ronald Kessler uses his Oct. 28 Newsmax column to defend Fox News from criticism by the Obama administration, claiming: "If Obama and his aides actually watched Fox, they would see that its news coverage — as opposed to its commentary programs — really is fair and balanced."

If Kessler actually watched Fox, he would know that it most definitely is not "fair and balanced." Nor Kessler explain how reciting Republican talking points, which Fox is prone to do, is "fair and balanced."

Kessler also asserts: "The press ganged up on the Bush administration, but Bush never tried to isolate a news outlet." Well, actually, yes, it did, as did other prominent Republicans during the Bush administration.

Kessler also throws in some non-Fox News-related misinformation, claiming that "Obama and the Democrats have entirely shut out the Republican leadership from participation in drafting healthcare legislation that will affect one-sixth of the economy." That's not true either.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:05 AM EST
MRC Suddenly Unconcerned About Journalists at Partisan Political Events
Topic: Media Research Center

In a Oct. 30 MRC TimesWatch item (and Nov. 1 NewsBusters post), Clay Waters defends John Stossel's speaking at an upcoming "tea party" event in Arkansas because ... a New York Times reporter attended a pro-choice march 20 years ago.

No, really. After writing that a Times article "suggested that Stossel’s scheduled appearance in front of a conservative group is a rare foray of a journalist into a partisan political event that vindicates the White House’s attacks on Fox News," Waters brought up "Former Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse, who marched in a pro-choice rally in April 1989."

Of course, the situation is not analogous; Greenhouse merely attended a political event, while Stossel is speaking at one.

Doesn't it demonstrate the weakness of Waters' argument that he has to go back all the way to 1989 to find something to bolster it? And isn't telling that the MRC, which criticized Greenhouse's behavior in 1989, is now seeking to justify Stossel's behavior?

Posted by Terry K. at 8:32 AM EST
WND Hides Details on Fetal-Cell Skin Cream
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Oct. 28 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn regurgitates a press release by the anti-abortion group Children of God for Life claiming that a company's anti-aging skin creams "were developed from the tissues of an aborted baby." But Zahn makes no effort to go beyond the press release's claims beyond attempting to contact the company making the cream. If he had, he would have learned there's much more to the story.

For instance, there's no mention of the original journal report on the Swiss-based research that apparently led to creation of the cream (a link to which Children of God for Life includes in its press release). That report, from the journal Experimental Gerontology, describes fetal cells as having "a high potential for the treatment of acute and chronic wounds of the skin in humans," with a specific focus on leg ulcers. CoGfL does not state a position on fetal cell-based treatments used to heal chronic skin wounds.

Since CoGfL and WND didn't see fit to quote the journal report, there's no mention of the fact that not only does the report state that the fetal sample was obtained "with informed and written consent and approval from the local Medical School Ethics Committee, the report has a section that discusses the "Ethical aspects of working with human fetal cells":

Although there is a high medical support for developing cellular based therapies to reach as many patients as possible, there exists a governing political controversy. Scientists and medical doctors have used fetal tissue since the 1930’s as a means to understand cell biology and as an essential tool in the development of vaccines. The 1954 Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to immunologists who developed the polio vaccine using cultures of human fetal kidney cells. The drastic change in the political environment changed in 1988 when scientists began using fresh fetal tissue and cells for transplantation into patients with Parkinson’s disease. Unfortunately, the Reagan administration (US government) declared a moratorium on all federal funding for fetal tissue research. Advances for fetal cell research were then left only to the ‘‘private sector” where there is no medical peer-review of adapted therapies. Indeed, if research on whole-cell bio-processing of many fetal tissues could have continued, there certainly would have been advances in the amount of tissue necessary for developing efficient therapies (such as with fetal skin where only one organ donation is necessary to allow for cellular expansion to develop over 900 million fetal skin constructs). In Switzerland and most countries, the fetal skin is considered as an organ donation by law. This process is highly regulated including federal approval for tissue biopsy, stocking and transplantation and ethics committee approval of the procedure and all information for the donor.

Further, neither CoGfL nore Zahn explain that Neocutis, the company selling the cream, is a miniscule player; Zahn hints at it by stating the company has "estimated annual sales of in excess of $2 million." In a beauty-products industry with more than $20 billion in sales, that's barely a ripple.

And as one review of the company notes (and the company's website confirms), Neocutis products are available only through a physician, so it's not like one can run down to Macy's and pick up a tube. The review also points out that Neocutis was "founded in 2003 as a spin off from the medical school of the University Hospital of Lausanne, Switzerland," and the company's focus is "wound healing, dermatology and skin care."

So, far from CoGfL's claim that the Neocutis is motivated by "pure vanity," the requirement of going through a physician to obtain the products indicates that Neocutis has other things on its mind. Too bad CoGfL and Zahn couldn't be bothered to mention that.

(Thanks to an alert ConWebWatch reader for the heads-up.)

Posted by Terry K. at 12:43 AM EST
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Joseph Farah's Petulance
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah's Oct. 31 WorldNetDaily column is another whine-fest about how the rest of the media is being mean to WND over the birther issue, and this time he's issuing threats:

I believe I have been far too kind to my colleagues in the rest of the media.

I have been playing Mr. Nice Guy.

Well, Mr. Nice Guy has been around this business for 30 years and knows where a lot of bodies are buried.

And if I have to redirect some of my attention toward reporting on the media, I will do it.

Consider that a warning.

Consider this a shot across the bow.

Uh, when has Farah ever been nice?

Well, to people who hold his same far-right views, sure -- see WND's Orly Taitz protection racket. But this is a man who condones the murder of adulterers and advocates censorship through the return of the Hollywood blacklist. As we've detailed, Farah in 2004 described John Kerry as "a privileged rich boy," "traitorous," "rotten to the core," and, of course, "truly dangerous ... truly contemptuous ... truly egomaniacal ... truly without character ... truly transparent as a political huckster and charlatan." Oh, and he called an Obama White House adviser "toga head."

This is "Mr. Nice Guy"?

What set Farah off this time was Bill O'Reilly talking about birthers:

There was pompous old Bill O'Reilly again this week attacking one of his favorite targets – "birthers."

He had two guests on with him – neither one cognizant of the facts surrounding the Barack Obama eligibility questions. Both of them happily nodded in agreement to most of the tripe emanating from O'Reilly's big, ill-informed mouth.

Night after night, show after show, network after network this goes on.

This is journalism?

Whatever happened to "fair and balanced"?

Whatever happened to getting other points of view?

Whatever happened to the idea of interviewing those with whom you disagree?

Whatever happened to the notion of representing honestly the opinions of others?

I'm getting flat-out sick of it.

Really? If so, Farah might want to keep his reporters and columnists (and himself) from engaging in those very same behaviors. As we've detailed, WND's articles are not "fair and balanced," and its reporters frequently do not gather other points of view. Nor does it honestly represent the opinions of others, as, John Holdren and Chai Feldblum, among others, know all too well.

Needless to say,  a few paragraphs after he whines about "representing honestly the opinions of others," Farah misrepresents facts, complaining that "Not one of these cable networks, let alone the Associated Press, New York Times, Los Angeles Times or the major networks, has reported the significance of the fact that Michelle Obama admitted her mother-in-law gave birth out of wedlock." But that's not what she did -- An Oct. 27 WND article by Aaron Klein dug up a quote of Michelle Obama saying "during a July 2008 round table at the University of Missouri" that Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, "was very young and very single when she had him." That's not the admission Obama was born "out of wedlock" Farah portrays it as or even "contradicted previous claims President Obama made about the circumstances of his birth,": as Klein writes, since it could also describe that Dunham was estranged from her husband at the time. Farah and Klein have simply chosen to interpret it that way. 

Farah seems to be oblivious to the fact that petulant screeds like this and sloppy, biased reporting -- on top of Farah's inability to handle criticism -- are precisely the reason why WND isn't treated with respect, nor does he seem to realize that there are other reasons as well, such as repeatedly reporting lies as fact.

Then again, maybe Farah does know this, and refuses to acknowledge it publicly for fear of becoming even more discredited. Either way, it's not a way to earn the respect he so desperately craves.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:03 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, November 1, 2009 10:57 AM EDT
MRC Deceptively Defends Limbaugh
Topic: Media Research Center

We've detailed how the Media Research Center has led in defending Rush Limbaugh, largely through obfuscation and selective reporting. The MRC cranks up the obfuscation factor with a new report that blurs the distinction between true and apparently false statements attributed to Limbaugh.

After leading with an excerpt from its previous Limbaugh report, the new report singles out sports columnists and bloggers who repeated a pair of statements apparently falsely attributed to Limbaugh: that "Slavery built the South. I'm not saying we should bring it back. I'm just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark," and that Martin Luther King assassin James Earl Ray should receive the Medal of Honor. But in denouncing them, the MRC mixes in racially charged statements by Limbaugh that are undeniably true.

For instance, the MRC highlights this statement by Daily Beast writer Max Blumenthal:

But given Limbaugh’s well-documented history of racial controversy, and Steele’s position as the Republican Party’s first African-American chairman, his apology is more significant than Gingrey’s. Limbaugh has, for example, mocked Obama as a “Halfrican-American” who should “become white“; he has called for a “posthumous Medal of Honor” for the assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr., James Earl Ray, and told an African-American caller, “Take that bone out of your nose and call me back.”

But the "Halfrican-American" remark exists in audio form, and  the "Take that bone out of your nose" has not been challenged -- according to Snopes, Limbaugh acknowledges saying it (though he apparently did so in the 1970s prior to his current talk-radio career). Further, the MRC does not acknowledge that Blumenthal's post has since been corrected to remove the James Earl Ray remark, even though it has noted corrections by other writers making the claim.

Similarly, the MRC highlighted a post by San Francisco Chronicle blogger Zennie Abraham, narrowly focusing on one false quote (and noting that it's disputed) but carefully avoiding mention of the eight other Limbaugh quotes Abraham cited.

The MRC also highlighted USA Today blogger Sean Leahy's citing of the purpoted slavery quote -- and also statements that "The NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons" and Limbaugh's statements about Donovan McNabb. The MRC doesn't note that the latter quotes are both true, nor does it mention that the post has been corrected.

And there's the problem. By mixing in the true statements with the false ones, the MRC falsely suggests that all the statements are bogus.

Is that a bit of deliberate deception as part of running defense for Limbaugh? Probably. But it's also dishonest coming from a group that claims to do "research." A more honest approach would be to specifically state which statements it highlights that it's not challenging, or not to excerpt them at all.

Then again, the MRC isn't exactly noted for its scrupulously honest research, is it?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:18 AM EDT
Saturday, October 31, 2009
NewsBusters Repeats Bogus Claim About White House Visitors
Topic: NewsBusters

An Oct. 31 NewsBusters "open thread" begins:

For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: The White House visitors list.

Let's dig through this baby and find some of the gems. Clearly, William Ayers HAS to jump out at you...but don't say Obama's been palling around with him!

NewsBusters thus joins other right-wingers in trumpeting how Ayers, Jeremiah Wright and Michael Moore are on the list without noting that, as Think Progress points out, the White House has stated that those people aren't that William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright or Michael Moore.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:01 PM EDT
WND Draws Paranoia-Peddling Advertisers
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've noted how WorldNetDaily's advertisers reflect WND's paranoid anti-Obama agenda. Here's another one:

The link goes to a paranoid screed -- anonymous, of course -- claiming that "bureaucrats in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike" are "carefully maneuvering for an eventual silent coup... one that would never make headlines but would result in the transfer of power from the American people to a secret group of wealthy bankers who already had everything they wanted... except total power."

As part of this conspiracy, the anonymous writer asserts that the U.S. military is being trained to act against American citizens. A central part of this conspiracy are the so-called "FEMA Concentration Camps," a bit of fearmongeringWND has eagerly embraced.

This person a selling a publication called "Understanding and Surviving Martial Law," teasing, "There is no other book like this available anywhere, and if the globalists and their shameless enforcers have their way, it won’t be available for long. They are already attempting to seize control of the Internet and shut sites like this down."

Since WND is already down with this paranoid conspiracy theory, shouldn't its book division be publishing this work?

Posted by Terry K. at 10:28 AM EDT
Friday, October 30, 2009
Even More Biased 'Experts' At Newsmax
Topic: Newsmax

An Oct. 29 Newsmax article by David Patten asserts that "Skyrocketing insurance premiums will slam millions of consumers next year because of "indirect taxes" contained in both the House and Senate versions of healthcare reform," a view Patten attributes to "various medical and insurance industry experts." As Patten has often done, he fails to acknowledge the conservative leanings of his "experts."

For instance, Patten describes Douglas Holtz-Eakin only as "the former director of the Congressional Budget Office," failing to note that he also worked for John McCain's presidential campaign. Patten also cites Dr. Russell Blaylock, who we last saw fearmongering about flu vaccines, a largely right-wing endeavor.

Patten also uncritically repeats claims made by insurance companies, and he quotes a few Republican congressmen without identifying how they can be considered "experts" on health care.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:35 PM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The Duplicitous Despot and his criminal minions – most notably David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, Anita Dunn, and Mark Lloyd – are out to shut down Fox News. No subtlety about it. They take seriously Mao's belief that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. After all, Anita Bandita looks to Chairman Mao when it comes to her philosophical inspiration.


When the reincarnation of Al Capone, David Axelrod, says of Fox that "It's really not news – it's pushing a point of view," it would be laughable if the stakes weren't so high. But as Tucker Carlson said, it's outrageous for a liar like Axelrod to say that Fox News commentators aren't being truthful.

It's like the schoolyard bully claiming that it was really his victim who bullied him. The bullies at the Kremlin House in Washington, of course, are all too aware that Fox is really the only station that is actually reporting the news, while the fringe media (ABC, CBS and NBC), along with CNBC and MSNBC, are going to great lengths to keep their viewers in the dark about what is really happening – particularly in Washington.


If I ever believe that we're getting close to that point, you'll read about it here first. In the meantime, let's be thankful that our illustrious president was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, because I have heard from a reliable, high-level source that he barely beat out three other equally worthy opponents for this great honor: Bernie Madoff, Charles Manson and Michael Vick.

-- Robert Ringer, Oct. 30 WorldNetDaily column

Posted by Terry K. at 9:38 AM EDT
NewsBusters Is Selectively Offended
Topic: NewsBusters

An Oct. 29 NewsBusters post by Tom Blumer purports to take offense that Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson called a female lobbyist a "K Street whore," calling the remark "grievously sexist and offensive" and Grayson himself an "ogre."

By contrast, you might remember, Blumer's Media Research Center colleagues had a lot of trouble finding anything offensive about Ann Coulter calling John Edwards a "faggot" or a statement by MSNBC's David Shuster that Chelsea Clinton was "sort of being pimped out" in her mother's presidential campaign.

Apparently, if a conservative is not being insulted or doing the insulting, such smears are A-OK with Blumer and his MRC co-workers.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:39 AM EDT
Newsmax, Examiner Peddle O'Leary's Biased Polling
Topic: Newsmax

Apparently, asking race-baiting poll questions is no impediment to getting promoted on the ConWeb.

Newsmax and the Washington Examiner both published separate columns by Brad O'Leary citing a poll that, in a question curiously omitted from mention in either column, falsely asserted that Obama appointee Mark Lloyd "wants the FCC to force good white people in positions of power in the broadcast industry to step down to make room for more African-Americans and gays to fill those positions" (as we noted).

Not to worry, though -- O'Leary presented lots more biased questions in his poll (as he's prone to do). His Examiner column repeated a question that misleadingly portrayed the conflict between the Obama White House and Fox News, stating only that "The Obama administration recently declared that the White House would treat the Fox News Channel as an 'opponent,' and declared that Fox News is not a 'legitimate news organization,'" failing to mention that Fox News provoked the conflict by declaring itself to be the "voice of the opposition" to Obama's presidency.

O'Leary's Newsmax column repeats the misleading wording of a poll question about the recently signed hate-crimes bill. The question asserts that "Some experts believe this could lead to serious infringements on free speech, as well as the prosecution of religious preachers, talk show hosts or political activists who speak against homosexuality or transsexuals." without also explaining that the bill provides for protecting freedom of speech. The question also complains that the bill would "allow the prosecution of people whose speech allegedly influences others to commit hate crimes," seemingly suggesting that people shouldn't be prosecuted for inciting violence.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:57 AM EDT
Thursday, October 29, 2009
WND Orly Taitz Whitewash Watch, Suborning Perjury Edition
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's efforts to hide Orly Taitz's shoddy lawyering from its readers continues with an Oct. 29 article by Bob Unruh on the dismissal of a lawsuit Taitz filed against Barack Obama on behalf of a few dozen clients (minus two that dropped her in favor of Gary Kreep). As expected, Unruh buries the important stuff -- when he bothers to write about it at all.

The article begins not by detailing the ruling but by rehashing a non-issue -- that "one of the newest law clerks" for the judge in the case, David Carter, formerly worked for what Unruh describes as "the law firm that has been paid nearly $1.7 million to defend Obama from eligibility challenges." At no point does Unruh establish a link between the law clerk and the judge's ruling, making this a distraction and a waste of time.

Unruh follows WND policy by being unwilling to concede that the birth certificate released by Obama's campaign is legitimate. He added that "Taitz earlier submitted to Carter a copy of what purported to be a Kenyan birth certificate for Obama, asking for permission to verify its authenticity." Unruh failed to mention that his employer has found both previously released "Kenyan birth certificates" to be fake, nor does Unruh explain why Taitz needs a court's permission to verify the certificate's authenticity, or even whether Taitz admitted WND's debunking of the certificates into evidence -- which would presumably preclude the need for any verification efforts Taitz might undertake.

Once he finally gets around to discussing Carter's actual ruling -- to which he does not link, though he could have easily done so --  Unruh focuses narrowly on the procedural arguments Carter makes, completely ignoring Carter's statements about Taitz. As the Washington Independent points out, Carter highlights the usual issues with Taitz's lawyering:

Interpreting the Constitution is a serious and crucial task with which the federal courts of this nation have been entrusted under Article III. However, that very same Constitution puts limits on the reach of the federal courts. One of those limits is that the Constitution defines processes through which the President can be removed from office. The Constitution does not include a role for the Court in that process. Plaintiffs have encouraged the Court to ignore these mandates of the Constitution; to disregard the limits on its power put in place by the Constitution; and to effectively overthrow a sitting president who was popularly elected by We the People‚ sixty-nine million of the people. Plaintiffs have attacked the judiciary, including every prior court that has dismissed their claim, as unpatriotic and even treasonous for refusing to grant their requests and for adhering to the terms of the Constitution which set forth its jurisdiction. Respecting the constitutional role and jurisdiction of this Court is not unpatriotic. Quite the contrary, this Court considers commitment to that constitutional role to be the ultimate reflection of patriotism.

More significantly, Carter is taking seriously the accusations that Taitz suborned perjury:

[T]he Court has received several sworn affidavits that Taitz asked potential witnesses that she planned to call before this Court to perjure themselves. This Court is deeply concerned that Taitz may have suborned perjury through witnesses she intended to bring before this Court. While the Court seeks to ensure that all interested parties have had the opportunity to be heard, the Court cannot condone the conduct of Plaintiffs’ counsel in her efforts to influence this Court.

That's the story: Carter considers Taitz's alleged suborning of perjury to be a legitimate issue -- yet WND won't report it this newsworthy statement.

That's how morally and ethically bankrupt WND is. Orly Taitz must be protected at all costs -- even lying by omission.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:26 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, October 29, 2009 11:27 PM EDT

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