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Monday, December 21, 2009
This Just In: MRC Still Hates Ted Kennedy
Topic: Media Research Center

Ted Kennedy may have died months ago, but the Media Research Center's visceral hatred of the man will apparently burn for all eternity.

We've already documented how the MRC has repeatedly falsely portrayed an article about Kennedy as praise of him -- named it the MRC's quote of the year, in fact -- when, in context, it was criticism. Now, the MRC has demonstrated it plans to keep the flame of hatred for Ted Kennedy and obsession with Chappaquiddick alive in perpetuity by naming another Kennedy-related quote its quote of the year.

This year's winner is not a network or even a newspaper employee, but a blogger,  Melissa Lafsky, who is described by the MRC as "Discover magazine deputy web editor... who formerly worked on the New York Times’s Freakonomics blog," and whose post appeared at Huffington Post. Lafsky had the misfortune of running afoul of the MRC's Kennedy hate machine by writing upon Kennedy's death that "[One wonders what] Mary Jo Kopechne would have had to say about Ted’s death, and what she’d have thought of the life and career that are being (rightfully) heralded. Who knows — maybe she’d feel it was worth it."

The MRC's awards are supposedly for "the year's worst reporting." It's  a bit of a stretch to treat a blog post by a non-journalist as "reporting." But that's how much the MRC hates Kennedy.

That's not all. A Dec. 20 NewsBusters post by MRC director of media analysis Tim Graham assails a Parade magazine article on Kennedy's widow for not hating the late "pro-abortion, pro-gay ultraliberal" senator as much as he does. And, of course, he has to add: "'Tell that to Mary Jo Kopechne' was not a sentence that appeared in the article."

Um, Tim? Teddy's dead. Has been for months. Get over it already.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:42 AM EST
Farah Still Wants You to Think WND Is A Legitimate News Organization
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Poor Joseph Farah -- he still thinks his WorldNetDaily is a legitimate news organization.

Farah plays the victim yet again in his Dec. 19 column, complaining that WND was "the only legitimate news agency banned by the U.N. convention" in Copenhagen. He goes on to insist: "As a 30-year veteran of the American press, I caution you that this is a threat to all the free press and your free speech and rights to self-governance. This is how it begins. If the U.N. can get away with denying access to a well-established and popular news agency, accredited to cover both the White House and the Congress of the United States, it can deny anyone."

Farah's first problem is believing that WND is in any legitimate. How can a "news" organization that has published lie after lie about President Obama and his administration be considered in any way legitimate?

His second problem is that little "Death to the U.N.!" thing, which he curiously fails to mention. And as before, he fails to explain why he's demanding press credentials from a group whose legitimacy he does not recognize and which he would like to see destroyed.

Which, of course, is yet another reason why WND cannot be considered legitimate. But Farah's too busy throwing a pity party for himself to notice.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:07 AM EST
WND Declares War on Army Major in Afghanistan
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It's not often a right-wing organization declares war on an active-duty soldier serving in Afghanistan, but that's what WorldNetDaily has done in choosing to attack Maj. Brian L. Stuckert.

Why? Because because Maj. Stuckert has committed the offense of being conservatively incorrect.

In May 2008, Stuckert -- then a student at the Army Command's School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas -- wrote a 61-page monograph titled "Strategic Implications of American Millennialism." In it, Stuckert examines how millennialism, specifically dispensational pre-millennialism -- the branch of Christian eschatology that Jesus will return to take up Christians into heaven by means of a rapture immediately before a seven-year tribulation, then return to Earth to reign for a millennia -- has influenced American military policy. Stuckert supports his claims with copious footnotes and an extensive bibliography. From the abstract of Stuckert's monograph:

Military leaders, planners and strategists require greater understanding of American millennial thought. Millennialism shapes both American culture and U.S. government policy. While most Americans are influenced to some degree by the ideas of pre-millennialism, many are unaware of the philosophical or theological underpinnings. Military leaders charged with interpreting policy into strategy and acting on behalf of the nation on the international stage cannot afford to remain ignorant of the effects of pre-millennialism. Due to a general lack of awareness of millennialism and an uneasy reticence to discuss religious factors, understanding and analysis of our own policies and motives is often deficient. Additionally, the cultural imprint that derives from millennialism impairs our understanding of the words, actions and motives of other actors on the world stage. These factors can be problematic for any military leader or planner attempting to achieve U.S. Government policy objectives through strategy, operations and programs.

Stuckert concludes:

As demonstrated by American history, millennialism has predisposed us toward stark absolutes, overly simplified dichotomies and a preference for revolutionary or cataclysmic change as opposed to gradual processes. In other words, American strategists tend to rely too much on broad generalizations, often incorrectly cast in terms of ‘good’ and ‘evil,’ and seek the fastest resolution to any conflict rather than the most thoughtful or patient one.

Not an especially controversial conclusion, is it? It is if you're WorldNetDaily. Here's how a Dec. 19 WND article by Bob Unruh spun this paper -- and thus declared war on an active-duty soldier:

A research paper written by a U.S. Army major for the School of Advanced Military Studies in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., calls for Americans to lose the evangelical Christian belief of pre-millennialism because of the damage it does to the nation's foreign interests.

At no point does Stuckert, whom Unruh notes is "reportedly assigned in Afghanistan," demand that "Americans ... lose" belief in pre-millennialism -- he can't, given that Stuckert's monograph is directed at military strategists and not the American public at large. Nothing Unruh quotes out of the paper supports such a claim; indeed, the closest he comes is Stuckert's statement that "We must come to more fully understand the background of our thinking about the U.N., the E.U., the World Trade Organization, Russia, China and Israel. We must ask similar questions about natural events such as earthquakes or disease." That is clearly not the same thing as a demand that Americans abandon pre-millennialism, as Unruh claims.

Unruh waits until the eighth paragraph to quote thte head of the Fort Leavenworth program saying that Stuckert's monograph "was simply an 'academic paper' like works at any college across the nation, 'which is to say it reflects the author's own opinions.'"

Then, strangely, Unruh appears to give credence to Stuckert's conclusions by quoting a blogger's baseless and paranoid reaction to it:

Others were more blunt in their assessments of Stuckert's work. Blogger John McTernan, for example, called it "the most dangerous document to believers that I have ever read in my entire life."

"After reading this document, it is easy to see the next step would be to eliminate our Constitutional rights and herd us into concentration camps," he said.

"The last third is an interpretation of Bible belief on world events. This report blames all the world evils on believers! World peace would break out if it were not for Bible believers in America," he said.

[...]

McTernan said he had contacted Col. Stefan Banack, listed on the monograph as the director of the School of Advanced Military Studies, who defended the writing.

"The conversation was extremely heated between us, and he hid behind the freedom of speech to produce it. He refused to let me write an article to refute this attack on Bible believers. He refused to tell me what this study was used for and who within the military was sent copies. I believe that it represents an official military view of Bible believers as Col. Banack said there was no study or article refuting this one," McTernan said.

Unruh also writes of McTernan, possibly explaining how this came to WND's attention in the first place:

"While God is in control, I believe it's also naive to deny the … stage-setting events happening right before our eyes," he continued. "Read the many articles from WorldNetDaily (www.wnd.com) covering the EXTREME thinking of [President Obama's] core group of advisers."

Unmentioned, of course is the fact many of those articles on Obama's "core group of advisers" are false and misleading.

Other than quoting a ranting blogger and distorting what he wrote, Unruh offers no challenge to Stuckert's views.

Which raises the question: Why does WorldNetDaily hate our troops in Afghanistan? And why is it so afraid of an academic paper?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:48 AM EST
Updated: Monday, December 21, 2009 9:12 AM EST
Sunday, December 20, 2009
CNS Column Repeats Misleading Claims About Stolen Emails
Topic: CNSNews.com

In a Dec. 18 CNSNews.com column, professional global warming skeptic Patrick Michaels asserts that the stolen emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit shows that climate scientists were "seriously manipulating the scientific literature that goes into the august IPCC scientific reports" and "blacklisting certain professional journals." He adds:

One series of these e-mails called out the journal Climate Research, which had the audacity to publish a paper surveying a voluminous scientific literature that didn't support Mann's claim that the last 50 years are the warmest in the past millennium. Along with the CRU head Phil Jones and other climate luminaries, they then cooked up the idea of boycotting any scientific journal that dared publish anything by a few notorious "skeptics," myself included.
 
Their pressure worked. Editors resigned or were fired. Many colleagues began to complain to me that their good papers were either being rejected outright or subject to outrageous reviews — papers that would have been published with little revision just a few years ago.

In fact, as Media Matters detailed, the Climate Research paper in question -- a 2003 paper by Soon and Baliunas, which was underwritten by $53,000 from the American Petroleum Institute -- did have problems, and even the editors of the journal admitted that the paper's analysis was deeply flawed and should not have been published as written.

Further, regarding papers that emails by Penn State University scientist Michael Mann showed he expressed a desire to keep out consideration by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Michaels' viewthat Mann was successful in doing so is belied by the fact that at least some of those papers did make it into IPCC reports.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:12 PM EST
WND Selectively Edits Criticism of Attack on GLSEN's Book List
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Dec. 19 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh is the latest in WND's war on Kevin Jennings, attacking a blog post by Martin Garnar, the chairman of the American Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Committee. But as per WND style, Unruh omits exculpatory information in his attack.

First of all, Unruh portrays the blog post as "a defense of Kevin Jennings and the sexually explicit books recommended for children by the homosexual advocacy organization that Jennings started, the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network." But in quoting much of the post, Unruh curiously omits one key paragraph:

Many organizations create and distribute recommended book lists as a means of advising either their members or the general public regarding the organizations’ opinions on the contents and suitability of certain books or other materials.  In addition, many libraries develop and make available their own readers’ advisory book lists to assist users in locating information on topics of interest.  Librarians and educators should be free to provide information about such reading lists to their communities, regardless of viewpoint.

Unruh's only not to this was quoting another ALA official as pointing out that the blog post is "specifically about the book list on the GLSEN website." But that came in the 25th paragraph of Unruh's article, well after he repeated cherry-picked excerpts from the offending books without providing the context in which they appear.

Also, as he has before, Unruh omitted the fact that GLSEN explicitly states that the recommended books "contain mature themes" and "We recommend that adults selecting books for youth review content for suitability."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:26 AM EST
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: Newsmax

Like Tiger Woods, President Barack Obama arrived Friday for the finale of the Copenhagen climate gathering eager to give cold cash to get hot love.

-- Lowell Ponte, Dec. 18 Newsmax column


Posted by Terry K. at 12:09 PM EST
NewsBusters: Calling Maddow Pretty A 'Unique Choice'
Topic: NewsBusters

A Dec. 18 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock bashes Stephen King for liking thte show "Breaking Bad" for "examining the American dream: shiny and addictive on top, hollow at the core. And dark. Very dark." Whitlock then sneers: "Hasn’t King made millions of dollars off the "hollow" American dream?"

But then Whitlock adds: "In a unique choice, he also praised Rachel Maddow as 'insightful' and 'pretty in a no-nonsense way.'"

Why is a "unique choice" to call Maddow pretty? Alas, Whitlock fails to elaborate. But the commenters on Whitlock's post are more than happy to do so:

  • Based on his spectacles and assesment of Ms. Maddow it is also clear that he is myopic.
  • King's writing shows a taste that favors the macabre, and the guy hails from Maine.  No surprise, then, that he thinks MadSow is pretty and leans to the Left.
  • Yes, she would fit perfectly into one of your novels.
  • I'm quite certain that Maddow's makeup selection...is patterned on Stephen King's Pennywise character from "It".
  • I find it odd that he thinks a man is "pretty in an on nonsense kind of way".
  • Can someone post a photo of Maddow next to one of King?  I think it will be obvious why he thinks his clone is pretty.
  • Rachel Maddow looks a lot like a guy I knew in high school -- a good friend of mine, actually. She's not a bad-looking guy.
  • Oh come on he is a lot prettier than Madcow is

You stay classy, NewsBusters folks.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:56 AM EST
Ted Baehr, Movie Spoiler
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Is it OK for a reviewer to give away the ending of a movie if he doesn't like it?

That seems to be what Ted Baehr believes. And Baehr really, really does not like "Avatar," the new James Cameron movie. But Baehr's giving away the plot pales in comparison to the derision he heaps upon the movie.

In his Dec. 15 WorldNetDaily review, Baehr writes:

In the story, a group of nature-worshipping aliens triumph over the greedy, evil human corporations that want to destroy their planet. The aliens eventually send the humans back to a dying earth to die. How marvelous!

If you think this sounds as if Al Gore wrote the script for "Avatar," not James Cameron, you may be right. This theme of kill all the humans, especially the pro-American, capitalist humans, has long been an underlying message of the left-wing, environmentalist movement, beginning with Rachel Carson's hysterical plea to ban DDT, even though, to this day, there is no evidence that DDT is harmful to humans or the environment, and even though the use of DDT can save millions of human lives from the deadly disease of malaria.

Not only does Baehr give away the end of the movie, he's wrong about DDT. As we've previously noted, DDT has in fact been found to cause cancer, endocrine disruption, adversely affect the immune system; it also persists in the environment and affects the food chain. It is, however, more effective than other, more safe mosquito eradication treatments, so it's returning in a limited way in developing countries.

But never mind the factual errors; Baehr is off to the races since "Avatar" offends his delicate far-right senibilities:

For hundreds of years, the pagan, communist ideas expressed in this movie circulated among a threadbare group of outcasts with dirty fingernails and greasy hair, who shared their obtuse, occult ideas amongst themselves with manic, alienated glee. Now, James Cameron has made these insane views the major bulwark of a very spectacular movie, but the spectacle does not make these Neo-Marxist views any more coherent, rational or uplifting.

Baehr concludes: "What the people in the movie need to deliver them from their greed and the aliens in the movie need to deliver them from their severe group think is the loving salvation available only through the true God, Jesus Christ."

Baehr's problem is that he's not reviewing the movie that was made; he's complaining that Cameron didn't make the movie he wanted to see. That's not how reviewing works -- but Baehr is too busy cramming his bias down the throats of his readers to notice.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:07 AM EST
Friday, December 18, 2009
NewsBusters Ignores Full Story of Franken-Lieberman Dustup
Topic: NewsBusters

A Dec. 18 NewsBusters post by Scott Whitlock complained that ABC's "Good Morning America" played video of "Senator Al Franken’s disrespectful snub of Joe Lieberman during a health care debate" by not granting him more than the alloted time to speak, but "never once mentioned what happened," which included John McCain coming "to the defense of [his] longtime friend."

But Whitlock doesn't mention that McCain wasn't telling the truth in his defense. Whitlock noted only McCain's statement that "I’ve been around for 20 some years, first time I’ve ever seen a member denied an extra minute or two to finish his remarks...I’ll tell you, I’ve never seen a member denied an extra minute or so, as the chair just did."

In fact, in a 2002 debate on giving President Bush the power to use force against Iraq, McCain objected to granting Democrats Mark Dayton and Robert Byrd more time to finish their remarks. He eventually acquiesed, then said "From now on, I will be adhering strictly to the rules" by holding speakers to their allotted time -- which is exactly what Franken was doing by not giving Lieberman more time.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:06 PM EST
Democrat Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Sometimes, when I'm daydreaming about what hell must be like, I envision a place where every day you wake up and have to go work for someone like Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, nasty sourpusses who think that their every whim should be immediately pandered to and who regard themselves as God, but with a bigger expense account, a larger staff and a better pension plan.

In short, Pelosi, Frank and Reid and their congressional cronies, could find true happiness working at a TV network, a movie studio or a theatrical agency. Perhaps you think I'm making this up, but I'm not. Liberal politicians are doing their best to shove Obamacare down our throats, pretending it's manna from heaven, but you may have noticed that they haven't the slightest intention of leaving their own medical care up to a lottery system. And can you really blame them? Do you think Pelosi wants a bunch of strangers deciding if she can get another dozen face lifts? You think Robert Byrd wants to leave it up to a death panel to determine if it's time to put the old Ku Kluxer on an ice floe?

You could call them hypocrites, but I call them Hollywood hopefuls. They'd fit right in. This is the town, after all, where people are still whining over the fact that a handful of mediocre actors and hack writers were blacklisted 60 years ago because they were, for the most part, unrepentant Communists whose allegiance was to the evil Soviet Union. But these same people think nothing of blacklisting writers and directors who have done nothing worse than made the fatal mistake of turning 50.

-- Burt Prelutsky, Dec. 18 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 11:35 AM EST
New Article: The Other (And Even More Hateful) Rush
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily columnist Erik Rush manages to outdo the original in his vicious attacks of Barack Obama and others -- even likening the president to a rapist. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:01 AM EST
WND Treats Bogus Obama Threat As Real, Hides Its Disintegration
Topic: WorldNetDaily

For something that has never been proven to be true, WorldNetDaily has sure jumped on the bandwagon of promoting the never-verified claim that the Obama administration threatened to shut down Nebraska's Offutt Air Force Base if Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson didn't vote for health care reform.

A Dec. 16 WND article by Joe Kovacs treated the rumor as fact. While Kovacs noted that "Both the White House and Nelson are denying any such threat ever existed," he ignored evidence that the instigator of the claim, the Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb, is backtracking on it. As Media Matters has noted, on the Dec. 16 edition of Glenn Beck's TV show -- which aired before Kovac's article was posted -- Goldfarb retracted his earlier claim that White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was behind the purported threat.

WND has also hidden other doubts about the claim, even by its own reporters. In a Dec. 17 interview with Radio America's Greg Corombos,  Republican Sen. Kit Bond said the claim was a "rumor" that "we haven't confirmed." Yet the headline linking to the interview from WND's front page was a separate Bond quote, "Total blackmail – the worst kind of Chicago politics." Nothing was highlighted regarding Bond's statement about the unverified nature of the rumor.

 

 

As if to demonstrate further that WND cares nothing about reporting facts if they don't conflict with its anti-Obama hate campaign -- er, "worldview," Kovacs goes on to note that "Despite the denials, some WND readers have expressed outrage if a threat were indeed made."

Who cares what anybody has to say about a rumor? WorldNetDaily does -- if it can be used to smear Obama.

That's how much it hates Obama. That's the height of irresponsible journalism. But then, irresponsible journalism is the WND way.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:18 AM EST
Updated: Friday, December 18, 2009 12:19 AM EST
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Meanwhile ...
Topic: NewsBusters

Media Matters catches NewsBusters' Lachlan Markay inadvertently telling the truth -- that according to some people, "every aberration in weather patterns is taken as evidence that there is something seriously wrong with the climate, and humans are to blame."

The problem there, of course, is that's exactly what Markay's fellow NewsBusters do, by regularly portraying pretty much every cold snap and snowfall as evidence that there isn't global warming.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:56 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, December 17, 2009 8:57 PM EST
CNS Won't Let Bogus Story Die
Topic: CNSNews.com

Earlier this year, we detailed how CNSNews.com repeatedly and baselessly suggested that the Obama administration demanded that an "IHS" symbol (a monogram derived from the Greek letters for Jesus) be covered during a visit by Obama to Georgetown University, despite the utter lack of evidence that there was ever a specific demand from anyone to do so.

Months later, CNS is still pushing that bogus story. A Dec. 17 article by Nicholas Ballasy and Edwin Mora claims that, in purported contrast to Obama's visit to Georgetown, "Obama has spoken at a number of venues while standing or sitting in front of other prominently displayed symbols and monograms that were not covered up and that thus received national exposure and publicity thanks to the president. These have included the monogram for the American Medical Association (AMA), the monogram for the AARP, and the symbol of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s most prominent gay rights organization."

Unmentioned by Ballasy and Mora: It can be presumed that speeches at which the AMA and AARP logos were displayed likely had something to do with the content of the speech. Obama's speech at Georgetown, however, was about the economy, which does not dovetail with religious symbols.

As before, Ballasy and Mora are still suggesting that the Obama administration specifically demanded that the IHS be covered up -- and again, no evidence is presented to support the claim.

This obsession with a manufactured slight shows just how desperate Terry Jeffrey and CNS are to smear Obama.

UPDATE: Indeed, Obama's speech at Georgetown was a policy speech on the economy, not targeted directly to a Georgetown or religious audience.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:26 PM EST
Updated: Friday, December 18, 2009 9:48 AM EST
Kessler Still Obsessed With Rev. Wright
Topic: Newsmax

Ronald Kessler has long been obsessed with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, repeatedly using him as a way to attack Barack Obama, even as he has hidden Obama's criticism of Wright's more inflammatory remarks.

Kessler's obsession surfaces yet again in a Dec. 16 Newsmax column, in which he insists that, "In my view, Obama’s 20-year association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. told us everything we needed to know about how he would govern."

So obsessed with Wright is Kessler that he regales how he tried to shop the articles he wrote about Wright for Newsmax in early 2008:

As chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax, I began doing stories about Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ and its so-called Black Value System on Jan. 7, 2008, with “Barack Obama’s Racist Church.” The stories continued until mid-March, when the mainstream media finally began exposing Wright and his connection to Obama.

Beginning with the first story, I sent the Newsmax pieces and later a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed on the subject to key reporters, editors, and television producers at major news organizations. A reporter for one of the networks told me she could never pursue such a story.

“The media love Obama,” she said. “If you want to do a critical story about him, you are considered by the network to be biased.”

The problem here is that Kessler is likely hiding his motive for doing promoting this story. He wants us to think that he's being a responsible journalist trying to alert the world, but the more logical explanation is that Kessler -- who demonstrated his anti-Obama bias throughout the 2008 campaign -- was pushing an attack on Obama that he hoped would get him on TV.After all, Kessler was complaining just before the election that Republicans weren't using Wright against Obama to his satisfaction -- hardly the sign of a responsible journalist.

Remember also that Kessler, after months of bashing John McCain in order to promote his preferred candidate, Mitt Romney in the 2008 Republican presidential primaries (remember that creepy profile of Romney's wife?), quickly changed his tune after McCain clinched the nomination and became a committed McCain fluffer, portraying previously negative attributes as positives.

All of which makes it a bit rich that Kessler is complaining that "if the media had done the job the First Amendment envisioned for the press, Obama would not be president today." Kessler's work for Newsmax is largely bereft of evidence that he genuinely cares about journalism. Indeed, we're still waiting for Kessler to address or correct his longtime -- and since debunked -- claim that death threats against President Obama have increased 400 percent over threats against President Bush.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:23 AM EST

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