CMI Unhappy That Censorship Failed Topic: Media Research Center
A Nov. 24 MRC Culture & Media Institute commentary by Matt Philbin is headlined, "Iowa Parents Lose to Sex Ed Lobby." But it would be more accurately headlined "Censorship Effort Fails."
The issue is a periodical on sex education available in the teen section of a public library in Ames, Iowa. Parents had protested it, but the library board voted to continue to make it available. Philbin claims that its availablility means that "after baseball practice, little Billy can read threads about herpes, or masturbation or what qualifies a girl to be a slut."
It seems Philbin's objection is that teens are exposed to sex education at all. He depicts sex education as being the same thing as "sexualizing children and (added bonus!) normalizing all manner of sexual proclivity" and attacks the magazine for "playing to the average self-absorbed adolescent’s fantasies of repression."
Philbin claims that "the ultimate analogy for tempting fate is '… like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.'" That is a reference to P.J. O'Rourke's famous quote about giving money and power to government. But O'Rourke didn't mention anything about sex, and Philbin doesn't explain how knowledge about sex is a bad thing.
(O'Rourke also says the following about knowledge: "Even very young children need to be informed about dying. Explain the concept of death very carefully to your child. This will make threatening him with it much more effective.")
Posted by Terry K.
at 11:26 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, November 25, 2009 11:27 AM EST
Another One-Sided Article, More Nazi Smears From WND's Unruh Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've detailed how WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh, despite his longtime work for the Associated Press, regularly writes articles for WND that would never pass AP muster, including single-source items. Unruh comes through yet again in a Nov. 23 WND article.
The article focuses a homeschooling case in Germany (one of Unruh's favorite subjects, since he homeschools his children, a fact undisclosed in this article). Unruh appears to be taking his cues from a press release by the Home School Legal Defense Association.
At no point does Unruh indicate that he has made any effort to verify the information he got from the HSLDA, including direct quotes of the Germans involved in the case.
Unruh and WND like to smear critics of homeschooling and supporters of public schools by playing the Godwin card, likening them to Nazis. He does so here, noting that German laws on compulsory school attendance that the German homeschoolers are running afoul of were enacted under the Nazis in 1938.
Meanwhile... Topic: WorldNetDaily
Media Matters details the latest manifestation of WorldNetDaily's anti-gay agenda: a Nov. 23 column by Joseph Farah insisting that homosexuality must be outlawed because God wants it to be and will punish America if it acts otherwise, and a related poll asking readers, "What do you think of homosexuality?" (The unshocking answer: Not much.)
A Nov. 22 NewsReal post by Paul Cooper properly notes that criticism of right-wingers citing Psalm 109:8 in reference to President Obama is valid: "The context of the passage is of an evil leader being killed – it is not talking about someone being voted out of office. I believe proper use of the Bible centers around using verses in their proper context."
But then Cooper adds that "the verse is used by most people as a joke and not for genuine prayer." Cooper offers no evidence to support the claim. Indeed, we saw no evidence of humor or irony in Joseph Farah referencing it; of course, he also failed to present it in its proper context of killing a leader.
Does Walsh Want A Return to Racist, Eugenicist Immigration Policy? Topic: Newsmax
James Walsh, in his Nov. 23 Newsmax column, continues his lamentation of immigration changes in 1965, because they allowed people from "Mexico and other Third-World countries" to enter the U.S. Walsh adds that proposals for comprehensive immigration reform "promises to continue legislative attempts to Third-World-ize the mighty United States of America."
What Walsh doesn't note: As we detailed, those 1965 changes replaced what was a immigration policy based on racism and eugenics, essentially limiting immigration to the U.S. to those from northern Europe.
Does Walsh want a return to pre-1965 immigration policy? It seems he does.
New Article: How Many People Will WorldNetDaily Kill? Topic: WorldNetDaily
WND has long opposed vaccines, but it has gone utterly conspiratorial in its fearmongering about the swine flu vaccine. Will WND's irresponsible editorial policies actually result in the deaths of some of its readers? Read more >>
Nancy Pelosi offering Americans her health-care bill as our Christmas gift excites me about as much as a slave being promised a new set of chains from the slave master. Her idea that taking freedom from millions of Americans is a gift is grotesquely warped. Please take me off your list, Nancy.
Speaker Pelosi and Mr. Obama are so drunk with power as a result of controlling both Congress and the White House, they have blatantly ignored the separation of powers clearly outlined in the Constitution. The executive, legislative and judicial branches are what make up our system – not just Congress and the presidency.
Nancy Pelosi is no friend of yours, the Constitution, freedom or the country. She wants the people in government chains. Her first words as speaker, as she lifted her gavel to the heavens, were, "Let's hear it for the power." Very revealing.
Power has made her drunk. Drunk people do stupid things. It is time to send her to the drunk tank. If anyone should go to jail, it should be her.
A Nov. 23 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard highlights how "Palin documentarian John Ziegler has called for NBC to fire" Norah O'Donnell, noting, "So contemptuous of the former Alaska Governor is O'Donnell that she actually went to a Palin book signing event last week armed with crib notes to attack fans of the outspoken conservative." Ziegler himself similarly notes the incident in the item on his personal website to which Sheppard links: "This query is especially relevant given her shameful performance while covering a Palin book signing in Michigan where she went out of her way to embarrass a teenage girl who was just there to see the political superstar up close and personal."
Sheppard failed to note that what McDonnell did -- ask people in line at a Palin book-signing about Palin's view on political issues, which the fans were generally unaware of -- was essentially what Ziegler did last year, commissioning Zogby to do a poll asking Obama voters about issues related to the election and declaring that "Just 2% of voters who supported Barack Obama on Election Day obtained perfect or near-perfect scores on a post election test which gauged their knowledge of statements and scandals associated with the presidential tickets during the campaign."
Of course, given that Ziegler is a right-wing supporter of Palin, the questions were misleading, and he is a foul-mouthed thug with anyone who challenges him.
Ziegler, needless to say, doesn't see the similarity. From his website: "For the record, while some have tried to compare the two, my interviews with Obama voters on election day were fundamentally different from what O'Donnell did, if only because I am not an alleged 'news' reporter and they were backed up with scientific data."
Still, it's a stunt that Ziegler has pulled in the past, and Sheppard should have noted it.
NewsBusters and other Media Research Center divisions have served asenthusiasticshills for Ziegler's biased projects.
WND Tries to Spin Its Way Out of 'Muslim Mafia' Document Capitulation Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily must have labored all weekend to figure out a way to spin its apparent legal capitulation in agreeing to return documents purloined from CAIR -- used in the WND-published book "Muslim Mafia" -- back to CAIR.
And spin WND does. The most obvious sign that WND feels rather sheepish about returning the documents is that there is no story with that as its sole focus. Rather, WND's spin is buried in a Nov. 22 article by Art Moore that is a fluffy profile of the lawyer for co-author David Gaubatz.
It's not until the ninth paragraph -- after touting how the lawyer, Martin Garbus, is a "First Amendment advocate who has represented the likes of Ronald Reagan, Nelson Mandela and Andrei Sakharov" -- that Moore gets around to his buried lead, the news of the agreement to return the purloined documents to CAIR. And it's a response that reads like it's been filtered through lawyers:
Garbus told WND the material will be returned, and a proposed order filed Thursday indicates both sides have agreed.
He argues there's "no point in having a fight over the right to distribute documents that have already been distributed."
"My client had this material for a long time, and I presume during that long time other people saw it," Garbus said. "So whatever use is being made of the document, I presume has already been made."
CAIR contends the documents were stolen, but Garbus believes that's "not an issue with respect to whether or not the book should be published." David Gaubatz insists the research described in his book, including securing the documents, "was conducted professionally and legally" in cooperation with law enforcement officials. Relevant material is in the hands of the FBI, he said.
"The agreement to return the documents is hardly, as CAIR officials have irresponsibly suggested publicly, an admission the material obtained in this investigation was stolen. We believe the documents and recordings were all obtained legally," said Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND, the parent company of WND Books, which published "Muslim Mafia." "Many of those documents have already been turned over to law-enforcement authorities – not typically the practice of those interested in 'stealing' things. I know the defendants in this lawsuit would prefer to see all the material handed over to law enforcement for review before being returned to CAIR."
Farah added: "But, remember, what is being returned to CAIR are documents that were headed for CAIR's shredder. Once CAIR was eager to dispose of them. Now, suddenly, the group is treating them like they are the crown jewels. Go figure."
"Further, ultimately, there is only one reason the defendants didn't decide to fight CAIR in the courtroom as a matter of principle," said Farah. "That's because the cost of their defense would have been so high it would have wiped them out financially. That's the sad truth of American justice. An extremist group with foreign backing can press litigation against American citizens with impunity. It's an example of economic terrorism."
Of course, if WND actually believed it had a case here, it wouldn't be hiding the news about the document return in an unrelated story, would it?
In line with the declaration of poverty, the article concludes with a plea for readers to donate to WND's legal defense fund. But as we've detailed, there are too many unanswered questions about the legal case WND is making in defense of Gaubatz to make any donation a risky proposition.
Further, WND might have more money to spend of legal defense of Gaubatz if he hadn't spent seven years fighting a libel lawsuit against WND it knew or should have known had merit, rather than making a correction at the outset.
Jeffrey's Claim That Senate Bill Funds Abortion Debunked Topic: CNSNews.com
Media Matters details how Terry Jeffrey's claim in a Nov. 19 CNSNews.com article that the Senate health care reform bill "would mandate federally subsidized abortion" is false. In fact, the section of the bill Jeffrey cited explicitly prohibits the use of federal funds to provide coverage for abortions that are currently restricted under Hyde, and requires segregation of non-federal funds from federal funds to pay for those procedures in a manner similar to that used in many states that cover such abortions under the federally subsidized Medicaid program.
Will CNS publish a correction? It's not exactly known for doing so.
For someone who claims to have a law degree and works as a law professor, James Hirsen seems to lack a grasp of the finer points of the law.
In his Nov. 20 Newsmax column, Hirsen writes that the photo of Sarah Palin that recently appeared on the cover of Newsweek was originally shot for Runner's World magazine, and the photographer's contract allegedly stated that photos from that session were "under embargo" -- not to be used by anyone other than Runner's World -- until August 2010. Hirsen then writes, "It appears that the sale to Newsweek was illegal."
No, it wasn't. A violation of a contract is not the same thing as a violation of law. No criminal statute address the sale of photos. Newsweek will not be hauled into court -- nor will anyone else -- to be arraigned on charges of selling or buying an allegedly embargoed photo. Violations of contracts, when they do enter the court system, are handled in civil court, not criminal court.
Hirsen does seem to understand that, stating that the photographer or his agency "may have violated provisions of his contract for some fast cash from the magazine." But that didn't keep Hirsen from calling it "illegal."
Then, even as Hirsen narrowed down the alleged culprit in this case to the agency that sold the photo to Newsweek, he found a way to attack Newsweek anyway, insisting that the "big question with respect to Newsweek is whether or not anyone there knew that Adams, the photographer, was not contractually free to sell the picture" -- despite quoting a Newsweek spokesman saying that the magazine was "not aware of any issues with it."
Hirsen then snarks: "Isn’t it comforting to know that when Newsweek violates journalistic ethics they do so in a gender-neutral way?" This from a guy with a long history of violating journalistic ethics by repeatedly failing to disclose his close relationship with Mel Gibson even as he wrote numerous fawning articles at Newsmax about the actor and his projects.
Aaron Klein Mighty Wurlitzer Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
As we've detailed, New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind is a handy source whenever WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein feels the need to bash anyone critical of Israeli right-wingers in general or Jewish settlements in occupied territory in particular.
This time, Klein farms out his Mighty Wurlitzer work to Samuel Sokol, who tout in a Nov. 20 WND article how Hikind "laid the cornerstone for the second phase of a new Jewish construction project in the Nof Tzion neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem." Oh, and of course, Hikind also 'asserted banning Jews from building in neighborhoods was segregation. He expressed wonder that an African-American president would endorse such a policy in the 21st century."
No mention, of course, of Hikind being a longtime disciple of right-wing Israeli extremist Meir Kahane, since Klein apparently doesn't think an organization that drives followers to murder is extreme.
Joseph Farah's Thin Skin (and Denial of the Obvious), Day 2 Topic: WorldNetDaily
For the second day in a row, Joseph Farah is so apoplectic that someone would dare criticize WorldNetDaily that he can't get his facts straight.
Farah's target in his Nov. 21 column is an Anti-Defamation League report, "Rage Grows in America: Anti‑Government Conspiracies." After noting that the ADL states that "Some even compared the Obama administration’s intentions to Nazi eugenics programs," Farah proudly notes, "Well, to the aforementioned, I plead guilty."
But then, after defending his pro-Jewish bona fides by stating that is "asked to speak to more Jewish audiences, including many chapters of the B'nai Brith, both in the U.S. and Canada, than Christian audiences" and that his "coverage and analysis of the Middle East has been hailed by Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as thousands of other prominent Jewish leaders in Israel and the U.S.," he writes, "If that's the new definition of anti-Semitism in America, I guess I am one."
But the ADL is not accusing Farah or WND of anti-Semitism -- indeed, the word is nowhere to be found in the report's introduction or its section on the birthers, where WND figures prominently. The focus of the ADL report is on anti-government conspiracies, which WND is undoubtedly guilty of propagating.
Nevertheless, Farah takes this opportunity to lie about himself and WND: "Of course, no one at WND to my knowledge has ever said Obama wasn't born in the U.S. or suggested he was born in Kenya."
Does Farah really think is readers are that stupid? Between this and his longtimedenial of the painfully obvious fact that WND has a right-wing bias -- a myth he tried to perpetuate again in his previous column -- it appears so.
The Truth About O'Leary's Misleading Polls Is Too Much For Him to Bear Topic: Washington Examiner
Brad O'Leary spent an entire Nov. 19 Washington Examiner column responding to Media Matters' highlighting of his skewed Zogby polls and, more specifically, his racially charged poll question regarding Mark Lloyd:
The author of this "racially charged" language is none other than Obama's Diversity Czar Mark Lloyd himself. Here is what he said at the 2005 Conference on Media Reform: Racial Justice:
"This - there's nothing more difficult than this. Because we have really, truly good white people in important positions. And the fact of the matter is that there are a limited number of those positions.
"And unless we are conscious of the need to have more people of color, gays, other people in those positions we will not change the problem. We're in a position where you have to say who is going to step down so someone else can have power."
I find it equal parts troubling and incredible that in 21st Century America there could be anyone, much less a high-level federal appointee, who thinks the government should be forcing hirings-and-firings at private companies based solely on race and sexual preference.
Media Matters, evidently, is only outraged that someone would dare report the matter or ask America's opinion about it. Or maybe Media Matters thinks it is unfair to hold a presidential appointee responsible for something he said just four years ago.
O'Leary, however, did not include any of that background -- which the vast majority of respondents would have no knowledge of without it -- in asking his poll question, which was this:
Federal Communications Commission Chief Diversity Czar 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. Do you agree or disagree that this presents a threat to free speech?
Also problematic for O'Leary is that the question, as asked, is false. At no point does Lloyd advocate using the FCC to "force good white people" in the broadcast industry out.
O'Leary has only himself to blame for his false, out-of-context framing of Lloyd's statement. And he's a veritable laugh riot in coming to Zogby's defense:
I choose to do polling with Zogby because they've been among the most accurate pollsters for the past two decades. I find that Zogby does very well in balancing my questions to remove any conservative or other bias that may exist. When you're searching for the truth, it does no good to rig the outcome.
NewsBusters' Double Standard on Hacked Email Accounts Topic: NewsBusters
When an email account belonging to Sarah Palin was hacked last year, NewsBusters was not amused:
Dave Pierre complained that the incident was not adequately covered by the media: "Imagine if Barack or Michelle Obama's e-mail had been hacked. Would the reaction from the folks at the Los Angeles Times be so muted? If an Obama were the victim, it's easy to picture Times editor Tim Rutten penning a hissy-fit op-ed, angrily demanding a federal investigation, and trying to formulate how the McCain campaign was directly involved."
Mark Finkelstein lamented: "One or more people hack Sarah Palin's email account and publish her private correspondence on the web. So MSNBC and Politico naturally want to know if. . . Palin did anything wrong and whether there might be anything embarrassing to her in the purloined e-letters." He added: "Let's turn the tables and imagine someone had broken into Obama's email account."
Matthew Sheffield devoted a post to how the "feds are zeroing in" on the suspected hacker.
Fast forward to yesterday. Upon the news that email servers at the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit -- which does research into global warming -- were hacked, NewsBusters expressed no concerns about the apparent illegality of the action. Rather, its writers rooted through them to find anything embarrassing -- even though it previously frowned on people doing exactly that to Palin's hacked email.
Indeed, Noel Sheppard howls that the emails "appear to indicate a conspiracy by some of the world's leading global warming alarmists to falsify temperature data in order to exaggerate global averages." While Sheppard noted a news report that "police had been informed" about the hacking, he expressed no reservation about published illegally obtained information.
Sheppard's lead piece of evidence supporting his "conspiracy" -- an email referencing a "trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline" -- is, of course, not evidence at all. As Real Climate points out: "Scientists often use the term 'trick' to refer to a "a good way to deal with a problem", rather than something that is 'secret', and so there is nothing problematic in this at all."
Further, the author of the email, CRU director Phil Jones, explains:
"No, that's completely wrong. In the sense that they're talking about two different things here. They're talking about the instrumental data which is unaltered -- but they're talking about proxy data going further back in time, a thousand years, and it's just about how you add on the last few years, because when you get proxy data you sample things like tree rings and ice cores, and they don't always have the last few years. So one way is to add on the instrumental data for the last few years."
Meanwhile, P.J. Gladnick touted the purported "shocking revelations" in the emails without mentioning the apparent illegality involved in obtaining them.
Apparently, NewsBusters believes it's OK to commit crimes against people if you don't agree with their political views.
(P.S. The hacking of Palin's email revealed that she was conducting state business on a private account, arguably a violation of ethics and open government. An Alaska judge declared the practice to be legal because state law didn't address it. NewsBusters has never mentioned this.)